(Excerpt from his monthly newsletter on the exegesis of Paul’s Epistle to the Church at Ephesus).
“…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling”
Ephesians 1:18 NKJV
“Evidence of spiritual blindness in the modern church is still a factor of concern. Paul was not addressing those outside the church, those who still had the veil of ignorance. He was praying for the church to have full comprehension of the hope of His calling. This is the hope of glory. This is the depth of His provision. To know Him is to see the vastness of His power and the encompassing of His love. Paul wants his congregation to experience what he experiences. He wants them to have “God Eyes” and take His view of things as reality rather than the circumstances around them. From a prison, he prayed for them to see the “big picture” and become a part of true fellowship”
– C.R. Oliver
C.R. Oliver is a very dear brother to me; his wisdom and kindness have been a refreshing fountain of God’s grace in my own life. The fire that burns within his heart has often kindled my own. I encourage any who read this to visit his site and to avail themselves of the wellspring of Christ within him.
“Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day”
Nadab and Abihu kindled their own fire; they knew not the difference between the Holy Fire of God and the religious fire of men. The fire of God falls upon those who are aware of their dependence upon His presence. The flame of God is His to give, and ours to maintain (Jude 1:20-21). In the days of Eli the priest, when Israel had fallen into great apostasy, we read in the scriptures the following description of the times:
“…the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision”
1 Samuel 3:1
The Hebrew word translated “open” literally means breaking forth; there was no vision bursting forth in Israel. The Word of the Lord was rare. The Priesthood were doing their religious routine, they were reading the prescribed scriptures as per the Law, but it was NOT the Word of the Lord. Where the living Word of God is scarce, there will be no vision bursting forth upon the people of God. The people of God were not being gripped with God’s purpose for their day. It was because of this apathy wherein the Lamp of God goes out! We see that the Word of the Lord to the Ephesian Church was that if they did not repent of their apathy God would remove His Lamp from their midst (Revelation 2:5).
“And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord”
1 Samuel 3:2-3
The mundane and unremarkable lives of His own, and the tepid hearts of many ministers, culminated in the Lamp of God going out in His house! It was The Lamp that burned with the Holy Fire of God having been kept for over 450 years by the Priests of the Lord; yet in Eli’s day it went out! It was a fire which could not be rekindled. It could not be manufactured by the will and energies of religion. As with Elijah, this fire only falls when God bears witness to any who are living and walking rightly before Him.
The Fire of God fell when the Tabernacle had been completed to God’s specifications. It fell when the singers and dancers were of ONE voice in Solomon’s day. It fell when Elijah had completed his obedience to the Word of the Lord in His day. It fell upon the people of God as they met in “one accord” in the Book of Acts. Throughout the history of the Church His fire has fallen when she could no longer tolerate the feeble fires of man’s making and the carnal aspirations of men seeking their own glory. In such times there was a cry from the people unto God to visit them afresh with His eternal fire.
During Eli’s time, when the lamp of God went out in His House, God simply deposited that fire within a man (for God’s fire will never leave the earth); a man who would declare to the House of Israel their waywardness and compromise, and would speak to the priesthood of that Day of their end and of a new beginning. The very night the Fire of God went out in the Tabernacle was the same night that God began to raise up a prophet to speak His Words and to usher in the dynamic change to God’s backslidden priesthood. Later he ushered in the Kingdom of David and pronounced an end to Saul’s reign.
Change is coming. His Fire is already beginning to fall upon those who can feel in their hearts the Day of change which is even now upon us. The change is of such magnitude that the only way to rightly describe it is: Resurrection Life. A life which will end the apathetic offerings of a blind and self-anointed priesthood. A fresh move that will see the Fire of God breathed into the life of every one of His own. A priesthood who will truly rejoice in the people of God overtaking them in their walk and relationship with the Lord. A priesthood who will consider it their own failure that it be not so. A priesthood who will rejoice as John the Baptist rejoiced to have his disciples forsake him to walk with Jesus. May our hearts be such and may the Glory of God arise that His Name will once again be declared from purified vessels who live only to bring honour to His name, and His name only!
“Let God Arise!”
Whenever God’s people touched the unity of His Spirit His Fire fell and the world knew that God was alive in the earth.
May the Lamp of the Lord burn with unquenchable intensity and may it purify our hearts unto the Love of Him and His people.
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”
1 Peter 1:22
A people who obey not the truth
are incapable of the true love of Christ
for HIS Body
“It is an empty altar which receives no fire”
“What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile”
The scriptures declare that life and death are in the tongue. Those who truly desire life guard their words with diligence. The wise hold within their consciousness a “fear of the Lord”. It is this wonder that causes His own to measure their words knowing that every uttered thing will be weighed in God’s balance. This sense of accountability is the means by which we enter into and abide within His Life. The “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Hebrew “principle part”). It is the awareness of His presence that delivers us from the folly of presumption.
The journey into the wisdom of God is one of simply growing in our sensitivity to His presence and being accountable for the life we live and the words we speak. Those who shun the “fear of the Lord” deprive themselves of the Life and Wonder of Christ within their hearts. It is as we walk with Him who is “THE WAY” that we are afforded the riches of His grace and wisdom. The discipline of measuring our words enables us to speak His Words with the authority of Christ Himself.
“Where the word of a king is, there is power”
The keeping of our tongue can only be known to the degree that we are in submission to Him. True spiritual authority comes to those who are under His authority. Spiritual authority does not come from holding a position within a religious organization or fellowship, nor from an educational degree; it comes from being under the authority of Christ. Authority derived by any other means than a submission to the Risen Christ, though it may have an appearance of authority, will be of no avail in accomplishing the will of God in the earth.
Freedom from Guile
Speaking evil is a hellish and deceitful thread woven into the cloak of the hypocrite. The workings of guile can be found hidden within the smooth words of friendship, manipulation of situations and the Christian jargon of our day. Discernment comes as we are free from seeking the approval of others and do not succumb to the pressure to “fit in” to the hidden agendas of those who seek their own gain. Discernment is God’s provision for freedom from guile.
May His fires burn and His truth reveal these things in our own hearts that we may apprehend the power, purity and marvel of His Life ruling and reigning within.
“What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile”
“…and he (Moses) looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed”
God’s purpose for man is revealed in this verse. The call of God is to bring men and women to this one end: lives that burn with His fire through fragile earthen vessels. In a fully yielded life of surrender we become His light to the world.
The secret of this life is in the wick drawing upon the oil of His Spirit allowing His pure desire and heart to be the flame. The only way the wick will not burn up is by keeping the flow of oil constant through the power of an abiding relationship. Where there is no flow the wick will burn out and become useless, no longer able to shine with the wonder of the flame of God.
The oil without the flame is of little value. So too are the gifts and ministrations of the Holy Spirit apart from the purifying and glorifying flame of God within the vessel. The magnificence of this life cannot be known without these three components: The Flame of God, the Oil of the Holy Spirit and the Fragile Earthen Wick.
“And the bush was not consumed”
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not”
Fire, like Love, cannot be kept to one’s self. Those who love God cannot contain His Fire; they cannot see apathy and not speak. Love is sacrificial. It must speak and express itself even in the face of opposition and indifference. It will not choose the easy way, it will always contend for truth, and will not compromise for the sake of acceptance.
Men who hold teachings and doctrines dear are content with those things. Men filled with God’s fire must speak, must move and must give way to the inner burning of the heart, for the message is more than the man himself. The desire to reveal God’s heart exceeds the desire for men’s approval. It is better to burn than to fit in. It is better to be alone than to be tempered into the current theology of comfort and acceptance.
Love, like fire, must consume the very object from which it springs. Men who hold God’s love in their hearts are like the flimsy wick that is simply the medium through which His Fire burns. Dead and insignificant in themselves they cast the very heat and light of God as they are consumed in His Glory. Life lived outside of such a grip is not worthy of Him. Acceptance of a life lived on any other level is to fall short of Him.
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”
“And ye said, Behold, the LORD our God hath showed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived? Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.”
Deuteronomy 5:24 – 27
Though Israel saw the works of God in Egypt and at the Red Sea it is here that they first caught a glimpse of the fact that He speaks to men. This reveals the possibility of relationship. It is one thing to see the moving of His hand; it is quite another to hear Him speak and enter into the place of comprehending His WILL and PURPOSE. Relationship denotes responsibility and accountability. Religion does not mind acknowledging God, nor does it have a problem with even His miracles and His words if they are related to us from a book or someone else. But the thought of hearing His voice for ourselves brings us to the edge of reality. It brings us to the awful place of His fire, His presence, and into the place of knowing. Religion is like an anesthetic; it gives us enough understanding to make us feel comfortable, but leaves us in enough darkness that we do not have to face that penetrating light and feel the heat from the fire of His presence. For it is in knowing that we see to some degree our state and His glory. It is in hearing His voice that He communicates His Will and His purpose for our lives. This is a fearful place. It is a place that strips us from the comfort of the shadows of obscurity into the knowledge of the Holy One by the revelation of Himself in and by His living Word.
“Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
and ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent,
him ye believe not. Search the scriptures;
for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me.”
The Jews had a confidence in their knowledge of the scriptures, yet that knowledge instead of revealing the Christ, blinded them to the seeing of Him, “…for in them ye think ye have life…” Their confidence was in the knowledge of words rather than in the hearing of His voice. If they had heard His voice they would have seen Him and known Him. The voice of the Lord is ever speaking into the earth looking and longing for His creation to hear and come that it might know Him and be changed.
It is the voice of God that calls us to the true knowledge of Him and to the awful revelation of ourselves. It is the voice of God that calls us to separation and obedience. No wonder the desire to remain in the comfort of obscurity. But, it is also the voice that reveals the Lamb of God in all of His Grace and Glory. It is the voice that draws us away from our sin and our sickness unto Holiness, without which no man can see God. It calls us to the place of worship, to the place of fellowship with Him, to the place of the mount of God baptized with fire and glory and ultimately it brings us to the place of His divine purpose, Christ in you the full hope of Glory. His voice is for one purpose; to make us so one with Him that our life becomes His voice to others, our life becomes his provision to those He brings our way. When the people asked John the Baptist who he was he simply replied…“I am a voice of one crying out in the wilderness… ” They could not recognize him because they knew not the voice that spoke through him, and that voice was to prepare the way for the true Shepherd who was to follow. It’s in hearing His voice that we become an echo of the One who is, who was and who is to come; “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy”. Let us not draw back in the hearing of His voice but as Elijah who upon hearing the “still small voice” wrapped himself in his mantle and presented himself to the Will and the Purposes of God.
How men and women in this day quickly trade away their true standing in God and seek out men who will speak to them in the stead of God! How sad it is that there is a professional “ministry” who would stand in the place of God so that the people can shirk their responsibility and sit in pews when they should be up and about doing the will of their Father. Where is that ministry which will confront this lethargy and speak with power and unction to cause people to recognize their birthright as “sons” and draw near to God with hearts that long to hear and obey the voice of the Almighty? Where is that true ministry such as John the Baptist that rejoices when his disciples forsake him to follow in the footsteps of the Son? May God arise and pour out His fire in this day to ignite the hearts of His people to give our lives unto Him as living sacrifices’!
“An empty altar will receive no fire…”