“…and in their ministering to the LORD and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate to Me both Barnabas and Saul to the work to which I have called them,”
Acts 13:2 (LSV)
Service Unto the Lord
“No one can truly work for the Lord who has not first learned to minister to Him. It was while Barnabas and Saul ministered unto the Lord and fasted that the voice of the Spirit was heard calling them to special service.
And it was to the divine call they responded, not to the appeal of human need. They had heard no voice but the voice of the Spirit: they had seen no claims but the claims of Christ. It was on His authority alone that they went forth.”
– Watchman Nee
“And the foundation of the wall of the city having been adorned with every precious stone: The first foundation, jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald…”
In Revelation 21:19 we see that John lays out the twelve precious stones of the foundations of the wall. Every one of those stones speaks of an aspect of the glory and the graces of God in us. The first foundation is the jasper. John said when he saw the throne of God, he saw One that sat upon the throne who was like jasper.
“And at once I became in spirit. And, behold, a throne was set in Heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And the One sitting was in appearance like a jasper stone, and a sardius; and a rainbow was around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.” Revelation 4:2-3
The first foundation in our life is the character of God Himself. That jasper stone speaks of the immovable character of God and the immutability of His promises to us. We can trust His promises because we have come to know the One who made the promise. Many of God’s people try to embrace the promises of God without knowing the character of God. They are always trying to convince themselves of something. But as you come to know your God, spending time with Him in prayer and communion, you begin to step out of the boat of your own understanding into the storms that God brings. Think about Peter. He stepped out of the boat. Why? Because Jesus was out there and there was a faith that rose and said, “I can trust my God.” As you begin to feel the movements of God in your heart, He is going to call you out of all kinds of boats. The boat may be comfortable, but He is going to call you out into the turbulent waters, and you are going to find that His character sustains you. His grace enables you to walk beyond your own capability. Allow God to establish you by walking in His word, trusting His character and His promises, and He will make you one who is able to stand in the days ahead.
In the book of Isaiah 32:2, God is prophesying of the last days and says, “My people will be a covert…” for others. My people will be a hiding place. My people will be a source of strength and stability to others. You cannot give to others what you do not have yourself. That is why God has invited you into the school of His Spirit, to strengthen and establish you in Himself.
“And David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”
(2 Sam 5:19)
2 Samuel 5:17-25 is the Story of David and his second set of victories, illustrating how we are to stay current with God, gaining conquests in our own hearts. Our inheritance in God, our place of growing under His authority, is going to be to the measure in which we gain our own spiritual victories, both internally and also externally.
God has graciously provided us opportunities to grow into that authority that He is going to unveil in and through each of us, individually and corporately on this Day. The key to victory is to never go up to do battle in your own strength, but to remain in the Stronghold – Him Who IS your victory!
“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door”
To live with an awareness of His watchfulness is the secret to walking in the way of the Lord. Carelessness is simply the revelation of a heart that is out of touch with His Living Presence. Unforgiveness, grumbling, harbouring of resentments, and isolation from His people, are symptoms of a life who has lost touch with Him who is the Life.
Ignorance of His Presence will not excuse us of the truth “the judge is standing at the door”. The assumption that we are secure in Christ because we “believe” right while holding unresolved issues with our brothers and sisters, is the horror of hypocrisy.
“…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive”
The conduct of one’s life reveals the heart and the spirit in which one walks.The pride of man seeks division and dissension for self-promotion, but one who knows that “the Judge is standing at the door” will conduct himself accordingly.
“And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord”
1 Kings 15:11
Life is short; the opportunities afforded us of growing in His nature and grace are presented to us every day. May the consciousness of His Presence enable us to walk humbly in the knowledge that “the Judge is standing at the door”.
“And… Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day“
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to usin His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Heb 1:1-2)
In times past God spoke through men, but now in these last days, He is speaking by His Son, in and through YOU! The five-fold ministry is to bring YOU into your unique ministry, to develop and add YOUR voice to THE VOICE of many waters that YOU should become HIS VOICE to others.
God has already apportioned to each of us a mighty deposit of His Spirit, but we don’t enter into it by prayer, but by obedience. God has already given you the land, but now says, “My land is not to be talked about, My land is to be walked about!”
Mercy must be coupled with truth to equal righteousness. Truth must be in harmony with mercy to be consistent with the character of God. Mercy tempers self-righteousness and truth delivers us from apathy and carelessness. It is in the blending of these two Divine realities of God that righteousness culminates.
“…keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation”
Moses’ response to such a pure and Holy revelation was this:
“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped”
Pure worship is the result of seeing God in the wonder of His Glory and Holiness. His Glory is His character; His character is the basis of His Judgment. The deceived corrupt His Likeness by “perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint”. Others corrupt His truth into a callous caricature of a malicious despot. Truth magnifies mercy and brings the work of Christ into holy living, worthy of His sacrifice. Mercy breaks the proud heart of the natural man. In brokenness, we find obedience unto Him by which we are made free and alive in Him.
“But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple”
There is no contradiction between the Mercy of the Lord and the Fear of the Lord. Only the pure in heart can understand the fusion of these two great and solemn attributes.
A Gospel which declares a mercy void of truth produces apathy, the womb of unholy living and damnable heresies.
“For certain men entered surreptitiously who were of old predicted with reference to this judgment, men destitute of reverential awe towards God, perverting the grace of our God into moral anarchy and lack of self-restraint, and denying the only absolute Master, even our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Jude goes on to declare:
“Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this**, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe”
How we need to be reminded of the verity of God. It is to this end we encourage and admonish one another to “live godly in Christ Jesus”. Let the unmerited ministrations of His mercy break our stubborn hearts and bring us into obedience that the world may see the truth of Him in us.
“Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
2 Corinthians 7:1
Those who believe in the “promises of God” pursue purity of heart and are ever in the process of seeking holiness in the fear of the Lord.
“The diverse aspects of the divine nature, to separate which is the tendency of the unregenerate mind of man and of all paganism, are united in perfect harmony in the Lord Yahweh… But the perfect revelation of the harmony was reserved for the fulness of time when “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” was made known to us in the flesh as both our Saviour and our Judge”
* Hebrew – To meet together (face to face), to concur, join
** The early Church knew of these powerful truths and the resounding expression of them brought forth a people who were the light of Christ unto the world. Compare the glory of the early church with the ethos of the present.
Prayer is the means to discovering the “Go” of God’s Will. It is in our time with Him that He communicates and empowers. In the enormity of Jesus facing Calvary’s wretched death, He who knew no sin about to become the sin-bearer of the world, He drew near unto His Father for strength and grace to walk out the Will of the Father. So it must be for us. Through the intimacy of prayer, we hear Him speak and have the privilege of participating in His Will in the earth.
“…making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”
– Ephesians 1:9
The KJV of this verse speaks of something past tense: “having made known to us the mystery of His will”. There is something amiss in this past-tense translation which is not at all expressed in the original Greek. The Will of God is a daily thing. It is a mystery which unfolds as we commune with Him and allow His Lordship to speak into our hearts His purposes for the now of life. The true Christian Life is an adventure which can only be experienced through the medium of Obedience. Paul, writing to the Church at Ephesus, used the Greek participle concerning God “making known unto us the mystery of HIS will”. How blessed we are to discover fresh opportunities of Faith to walk in His purposes!
The more we obey the impulse of the Spirit the more we discover confidence; a growing boldness, a dynamic which arises out of our own experience with God. It is here the depth of our prayer life is revealed and established. Prayer without the communication of the Will of God to us should be disconcerting, for prayer is simply the participation of our heart with His. Obedience and prayer are harmonious. I know from my own personal experience the wrestling and struggles to obey that which He has given me to DO in my time alone with Him. Knowing and discovering His Will is a mystery which is only solved when I personally step into it. I can have a word or an impression of God to go, but until that step is taken His Will lingers, unfulfilled.
“Go ye therefore…”
“Go” is the impulse of God; “Go” is God’s heart to His Own. It is the word of God for us to explore, venture and invest ourselves in His purposes to make His salvation known to this world. What does that “Go” look like to you? Where does that “Go” personally take you? That is the exciting thing about the glory of prayer!The Go of God is bound up in us first coming in prayer, the secret place of communion (co-union) with Him.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
Unless we come to Him with a heart alive and burning with a desire to do His Will there will never be a “sending”. His Will is waiting for you to take His deliverance, His word of life and His love to heal the broken and lost of humanity. His House is filled with many who need His touch in their lives. Do we not hear the “Go” of God within our own hearts to be involved in making Him known?
It is the “lukewarm” who say, “I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing”. They are content and feel no need to venture into the world around them nor expend themselves in making Him known. Those who need nothing will see nothing concerning the will of God. The soil which at one time received the seed of life with gladness has now become infested with the cares and comforts of this life and the life is choked with the thorns and thistles of their own sowing.
It is needful that we draw away from lukewarm living, carelessness and deception. Let us discover afresh the secret chambers of prayer and communion with Him. It is in this holy place that we feel the Fire of His Being igniting the altar of our hearts.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
God has a very simple and powerful remedy for us all: Prayer. The kind where we meet with Him and spend time alone in the holy atmosphere of His majesty. Not prayers asking Him for things, but prayers of communion where we learn to simply wait, child-like, without any other need but HIM. It is as we thus wait upon Him that we will find a renewing of our strength and a rising up to the honour of doing His Will. Prayer to the true child of God is not optional; it is the essential element of a fruitful life in Christ!
Eternal destinies are bound within our faithfulness to the talents He has graciously given us. The slothful, disobedient and the careless reap the disregard they show to the deposits of His gifts to us.
“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine…”
To which Jesus declares:
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
“It is not the incorrect that the Lord despises but the proud; it is not the hot or the cold that the Lord spews out of his mouth but the lukewarm. When we are standing still out of fear of being wrong, we will certainly be regarded by him as ‘wicked and slothful’ not cautiously prudent.”
– Eric Foley
Eldership begins in the home. It begins in earnest with the birth of children and the opportunity they present for us to learn the wisdom of our Heavenly Father. The challenge for us is to instill in them a desire to discover the great mystery of Christ for themselves. We cannot unravel the mystery for them but we can minister to them their need to find God for themselves.
If we are unable to present the glories and the wonders of God to our own children, how will we ever be equipped to present Him to the household of faith? Pat answers will not produce the intrigue of the adventure of walking with God. Often Jesus would answer a question with a question. It was hunger and quest He sought to instill rather than mere answers. Hunger of heart will take one further in God than information with no spirit of awe or wonder.
Home is the canvas upon which we can learn to paint. An artist works in shades, splashes and hues, each one reflecting a thought, a wisp of truth. Over time an image appears and each brush of color is hidden within the wonder of the whole. Eldership is but a reflection of the wisdom of our Heavenly Father; the work of His grace and longsuffering to present such a one to the Body of Christ.
“For by it (faith) the elders obtained a good report”
“There are no artists more divine than those who know how to fashion a child’s soul within themselves. Such artists know how to draw forth the greatest divine radiance into their souls”
– St. John Chrysostom
Obviously having children is not a prerequisite for being an elder in God's House. For those who do, let God's wisdom in His dealings with you be an example of how you are to deal with your children.
“Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted to God. He therefore is the devout (godly) man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety (godliness), by doing everything in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His Glory” John Murray
Devotion to Christ is revealed in the life lived not only in the words spoken. If the life is lived well the words spoken will carry the weight of the life of Christ within them.
“Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God”
– Samuel Chadwick