“Partial obedience is not obedience at all; to single out easy things that do not oppose our lusts, which are not against our reputation, therein some will do more than they need; but our obedience must be universal to all God’s commandments, and that because He commands it. Empty relationships are nothing; if we profess ourselves God’s servants and do not honor Him by our obedience, we take but an empty title”
– Richard Sibbes
“…But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not”
The road to apostasy is paved with carelessness, the watering down of true discipleship, and a refusal to hear the Word of the Lord. The calamities and judgments that followed such a prescription of “religion” are devastating and inevitable. Where the fear of the Lord no longer enters the mind of the people of God, His Holiness and Majesty is watered down to a God who no longer is concerned about righteousness and truth. Truth becomes a teaching rather than a life and righteousness is reduced to doctrinal position in the stead of a heart where the fire of God burns the dross of fallen humanity. Where the majority of the preaching today in its essence declares ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil”.
“And it shall come to pass at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men who are settled in complacency, who say in their heart, ‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil”
The result of the religion of men is to reduce God to an idea and a concept which portrays Him as one that neither rewards righteousness nor judges evil. While this is not said in so many words it is the premise of much of the presentation of the gospel in this hour. We tell the world that they need to repent but after having “accepted Him” there is a carelessness about how one lives. The complacency and apathy of the people of God in this hour is evident when we no longer expect from ourselves a life of true righteousness and those who are pursuing this life are told to “drink wine (compromise)” and in effect “don’t take this stuff too seriously”. We hear the expression that a man is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good; in fact it should be stated that unless we become heavenly minded our lives are no earthly good!
May the Lord stir up the prophetic word in this hour to show the error, apostasy and the carelessness of His people. Let there be a WORD going forth in the FIRE of His love and jealously that this is the DAY OF THE LORD. THIS IS THE DAY TO TURN FROM OUR WAYS. It is not a day to live carelessly and walk in the love of the things of this world for the WORD OF THE LORD IS…
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”
I John 2:15
The focus of our life is the revelation of the love of our life. Our prayer life reveals the things that are dear to us. If all we pray for is our needs, wants and troubles, if the only things we hold up in prayer are those things that concern US and OUR little circle then we NEED to find Him afresh. We are here for the “building up of the Body of Christ”; to see the “Unity of the Faith” revealed IN THE EARTH! If the Risen Christ is ever “making intercession for US” that expression of love for others should also be a reality in our hearts.
Life in God is all about seeking. There is the seeking one and the One who is sought. As with every spiritual relationship there is always one who is the initiator; God being love is the initiator of all things. At the core of all relationships are a seeking and reciprocation. The flow of interaction is what deepens and intensifies the bonds of relationship. In our pursuit of Him we find the One Great Love of the universe responding within the depths and wisdom of His own being. It is the story of the Beloved and the Loved becoming one in Spirit and in Truth. The scriptures declare the wonder of this very well:
“We love him, because he first loved us”
1 John 4:19
Our seeking of Him is based upon the reciprocation of Him seeking that which was lost. The impact of His love upon the human heart is always revealed in our pursuit of Him. The Parables of Jesus reveal the intensity of this relationship from both perspectives. The Parable of the Good Shepherd is the story of Him, though unsought by us, finding and rescuing us in our lost and wayward condition. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price is the description of us seeking Him and selling all to obtain its wonder. Those who are forgiven much love much. His creation was specifically designed to respond to and be governed by love. As a result of the fall, man was separated from the source and power of Love itself; we became slaves to the disorder of self-love, self-realization and depravity. The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts is one of reconciliation and growth ever moving onward to full unity in Him and with one another (John 17:21-22).
Our finding of Him will always be in proportion to our seeking of Him. Entering into deeper places of abiding in Him will be in proportion to our knocking at the door of Love’s domain. Seeing of Him brings us to new and fuller experiences of repentance and change; it is impossible to see Him and remain the same. The unfolding of His person brings us to new vistas of His love for us which in turn will be reciprocated by a further depth of our love for Him. True relationships hold the mystery of eternity for within those bonds with one another there is no point of arrival. Relationships stagnate here on earth because of the impurities of pride, stubbornness, unforgiveness and a myriad of other unresolved sins in our lives.
In truly loving God we are struck with the impossibility of holding aught against our brother for this is the very measure God uses to validate our love for Him.
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother”
1 John 3:10
The validity of our seeking Him and being born of Him is revealed in the simplicity of how we live. We not only seek Him in the secret places of prayer but also in the doing of righteousness and in the substance of loving one another in truth. Love is not just a teaching it is a life of becoming more like Him.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me”
God uses men. In His hidden wisdom He delights in His strength being made perfect through our weakness. Isaiah, having been broken by the seeing of God’s glory, his lips purified by the coals of the heavenly altar, was now able to hear the Word of the Lord.
“Whom shall I send…”
An unbroken and impure heart will never hear this word. It is the pure heart which sees God; one free from agendas and self-seeking motives. God sends those who serve Him (Romans 1:1). This invitation came to Isaiah in the midst of seeing his wretched condition and the true condition of all men. The invitation came to Isaiah expressly. For the Word of God to be filled with power and authority it must be to the individual; it must be specific and personal. The vessel to whom it comes must know it to be a transaction of life for life. The Call is costly and absolute; to the one who receives it there is no “plan B”. What was Isaiah’s reward in this world? He was sawn asunder (cut in half). What was John the Baptist’s reward? He was beheaded. What was Paul’s reward? He was beheaded; Peter’s reward, crucified.
God’s question goes forth again:
“Whom shall I send…”
Only those who have seen His glory are able to answer such a call. While many love to discuss end-time teachings and deliberate over visions and prophecies (as good as those may be) there is a Word going forth which only a few can hear; “whom shall I send”? God is not looking for contributions. He is looking for sacrificial hearts. The invitation is “whom shall I send”? There is no clarification as to what the call will look like. It may be to the multitudes or it may be to a prison cell where no one sees. It may be to a life of loneliness, seemingly set aside from all the religious activity of the day, or it may be to confront the earthly powers of the world (religious and political). The call is not to a position; it is to God Himself to send and use us as He sees fit.
The second question is… “who will go for us…” (see Part Two)
“…for now I know that thou fearest God”
In the context of this scripture Abraham’s obedience was offered to God in the spirit of faith and wonder. It was in the doing that God acknowledged the validity of Abraham’s Faith. Many hold faith in the intellect but it is in the crucible of doing that God acknowledges the weight of our fear of Him, love of Him and trust in Him.
A faith that does not give birth to works is a faith not worth the words in which it is spoken.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
The deeds are the verification of the substance of the love/faith that birthed them.
God’s declaration of “now I know…” is His testimony, His speaking of divine favor upon Abraham’s faith. The God who never changes is ever ready to give His witness to the reality of our offerings to Him when they proceed from honest and willing hearts.
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith”