Sacrifice To Reconciliation
by George Kirkpatrick
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets," *** Hebrews 1:1
The writer of Hebrews continued:
"God hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." *** Hebrews 1:2
After the prophets, God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, to show His creation the way that their Creator intended for man to live. Jesus left His life as an example that we should follow. Today God speaks to His creation man through the Holy Spirit anointing.
It is still God's overwhelming desire that man again return into total fellowship and communion with Him. God has laid out five steps we all must complete in our lives if we are again to return into His presence.
These fives steps are:
These complete God's plan of salvation in His Word. We need only to study and search his Word for these marvelous revelations to renew our mind and open our Spiritual eyes to His wonderful truths. May God reveal Himself as you study these five steps man must take to return again into the presence of the Father.
God's Overwhelming Desire
"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." *** Genesis 3:8
It is recorded, "They heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden." In the garden, Adam and Eve had lived in a state of innocency, dwelling in God's presence. But we need to remember that Adam and Eve fell from their original state of innocency because of their disobedience and rebellion. They had descended from their Spiritual realm of existence to their fleshly existence.
Their Spiritual eyes had been closed, and they could only see with their physical eyes. Therefore God's Spiritual existence could no longer be seen, only felt in their fleshly existence. This is the present condition of man. But this was not God's desire for His creation man. His desire was that He could walk, communicate and fellowship with His creation, man, in the cool of the day.
After Adam and Eve sinned, they hid themselves from the presence of God because they could no longer stand in His presence clean and whole. They had fallen into disobedience and rebellion to His voice. Man's condition has not changed much from that time. Many who call themselves by His name are still walking in disobedience and rebellion to His voice.
The garden was God's protected place for His creation, not man only, but His whole creation. There was no death in the garden because God's presence was there. Death is only present when we are out of the presence of God. After Adam and Eve sinned, they had entered into the death realm, being alienated from God and His promise of eternal life.
Adam and Eve hid from the presence of God because of their sin. Today man still hides himself from God's presence because man cannot stand in the presence of God without having His sin revealed. When the great prophet Isaiah came into the presence of God, he could only proclaim:
"Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." *** Isaiah 6:5
Isaiah had been a prophet of God for many years before being taken up in the Spirit into the presence of God. Isaiah's first statement was, "I am undone". All that Isaiah had accomplished in His life for God up to that time had become undone in the presence of the Father. Nothing that man can accomplish in the flesh will mean anything when we return to the presence of the Father.
Then Isaiah proclaimed, "I am a man of unclean lips". Isaiah was a prophet of God, and Isaiah thought he had been speaking what God was giving him to say, but like so many today who are speaking the Word of God, they have their own fleshly, carnal idea of what God is trying to speak through them. And what comes from their lips has been tainted by man's teachings, man's ideas, man's interpretations and the doctrines of men that have nothing to do with what God is wanting said.
Isaiah proclaimed, "I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips". This is the general condition of God's created man. It was God's desire that all His creation dwell together in peace, but "unclean lips" in many of God's people have brought division and separation in His body.
God gave man the herbs and the fruits of the trees so that man would have no need to kill in the garden. It was only after the flood that God added meat to man's diet.
"And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things." *** Genesis 9:2-3
When God added meat to man's diet, it was necessary for Him to put fear and dread upon all the animals, the fowls, the fish of the sea and everything that moved upon the earth. The word fear means "fearfulness and terror". The word dread means "darkness, destruction and death". It was God who put this fear and dread in His creation because He had given them to man for food. God established a defense for each animal: to some He gave swiftness, to some He gave strength; to some He gave camouflage; to some He gave the ability to burrow into the earth. To the birds He gave the wing. This was God's grace to His animal creation.
It was God's original design that man should dwell in His presence. God has not changed His mind. He still desires man to dwell in His presence. God sent His only begotten Son that man could have forgiveness of their sin. Jesus was the perfect and only sacrifice for sin.
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:" *** I Peter 2:21
Jesus left us His life as an example of the life that we must live if we, too, are to return to the presence of the Father. The writer of Hebrews recorded God's revelation to us:
"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." *** Hebrews 12:2
When Jesus completed the work the Father had given Him to do, He sat down again on the right hand of the throne of God. The right hand is the hand of ministry. The left hand is the hand of receiving what we are given to minister. Jesus made this same promise to His disciples. When the mother of James and John desired her sons to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus in His kingdom, Jesus' answer was:
"Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? they say unto Him, We are able.
And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father." *** Matthew 20:22-23
It will be necessary for those who will enter again into His presence to drink of the cup which He drank, and to be baptized with the baptism with which He was baptized. Those who will sit on the right and left hand of the Father have been prepared for that place from the beginning. If we are to enter into the place prepared of the Father, then we must begin to drink of that cup and seek the same baptism that Jesus received of the Father.
Most in the church today believe all that is necessary to enter into that place in God is to ask forgiveness of sin and be baptized. If they will do this, they are home free. This is erroneously called "Eternal Security", or "Once Saved, Always Saved". The Pentecostals and Charismatics, or those who are in the "Latter Rain Movement" believe because they have been baptized by the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues they, too, are home free, with nothing more to be accomplished in their life. Both these groups have failed to drink of the cup that Jesus drank of; nor are they seeking the baptism that Jesus received.
John, the beloved, revealed the anointing that Jesus had received:
"For He whom God hath sent speaketh the Words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him". *** John 3:34
Jesus received the Spirit without measure.
Paul gave us insight on the anointing that was received on the Day of Pentecost. It was not the same baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus received:
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." *** Romans 8:23
To the Corinthians he wrote:
"Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." *** II Corinthians 1:22
We who live in this time have received the firstfruits or the earnest of the Spirit. Firstfruits refer to the wave offering that was made up of the first ripe grain that was waved before the Lord to insure a bountiful harvest. It certainly never represented the fullness of the harvest. The earnest of the Spirit is only the down payment. It certainly is not the full payment. Jesus received the fullness of the Spirit. The Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost so that God would have a bountiful harvest at the end of the age.
To receive the fullness of the Spirit and hear the Father say, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased", we, too, must drink of that cup that Jesus drank of. This cup was given to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane:
"And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." *** Matthew 26:39
The cup that Jesus had to drink was the total dying to His self-desire, to allow the Father to have His complete will in His life. When Jesus stated, "Not my will, but thine," He knew that drinking of this cup would bring all the pain and suffering that he must endure on the cross. Yet Jesus partook of that cup of suffering, and so must we.
Most in the church today want nothing to do with the suffering message. When suffering comes they want to be gone. But as Jesus plainly proclaimed, if man wants to sit on His right and left hand, then he must drink of the cup He drank of and be baptized with the baptism with which He was baptized. That baptism is the fullness of the Spirit where we, too, must state, "Not my will, but thine".
THE FIVE STEPS BACK TO THE PRESENCE OF GOD
God has revealed five steps that we must climb if we are to return to the presence of the Father. In the process of ascending these steps, we must drink of the cup of suffering and receive the same baptism as Jesus our example. These five steps go beyond our salvation and our Pentecostal experience. These are steps we must take if we are to come into the fullness of God. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to go on unto perfection:
"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment." *** Hebrews 6:1-2
If we are to go on into perfection, we must leave the foundational teachings of Christ and begin to seek the cup that Jesus drank of, and to desire the baptism that Jesus was baptized with. We, as Paul, must begin to cry out:
"That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;" *** Philippians 3:10
Paul knew that suffering was part of the price that must be paid if we are again to enter into the presence of the Father. Paul wrote to Timothy:
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." *** II Timonthy 3:12
We have God's promise that all who live godly shall suffer persecution. Paul further stated in the same letter to Timothy:
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us:" *** II Timothy 2:12
If our desire is to rule and reign with Christ, then suffering will come. There are no shortcuts back to the presence of God. We must follow our example, Jesus. He is the only way to the Father. Jesus warned His disciples when He sent them forth to minister:
"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
The disciple is not above His master, nor the servant above his Lord." *** Matthew 10:22-24
Is the disciple better than his Master? Suffering was required in our Lord's life, and it is required in our life if we are to rule and reign with Him. When you hear the "No Suffering Message", or the message of "Escape", beware! Line up all teachings in the Word and by Jesus, our example.
The five steps back into the presence of God are for those who are completely sold out to God. They are not for those who are just going on. They are for those who are intent upon going in. In Paul's letter to the Romans, he laid out the first of these five steps.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service." *** Romans 12:1
GOD'S ACCEPTABLE SACRIFICE
As Paul proclaimed, we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice unto God. Our bodies must be a holy sacrifice, undefiled by the things of this world.
These two words "living" and "sacrifice" appear to be contradictory. The word living is ZOA and means "to be alive, or to live". Whereas the word sacrifice is THUSIA and means "to give up one's life, to be offered upon the altar of sacrifice". The sacrifice never survives.
When Paul said we were to become a living sacrifice, his indication was that we were to offer our bodies, our lives, our whole existence as a sacrifice unto God. We must lay our lives on the altar of His service. Our old lives must cease so that His life may be lived through us. Paul was our example of this sacrificial life when he stated, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live," *** Galatians 2:20.
Paul only lived the life that Christ lived through him. Paul practiced what he preached. Jesus was also our example of that sacrificial life lived before the Father. Jesus proclaimed:
"He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him." *** John 8:29
Jesus always did the things that pleased the Father. Is this our testimony, or do we come up short of the word "always"? Our sacrifice to God must be a living sacrifice, not a sacrifice of dead works. Dead works are not acceptable in the sight of God as our reasonable service. All our life, all our service must be laid on His altar to see if they are acceptable in His sight.
Paul told the Corinthians that Israel was given to us as an example:
"Now all these things happened unto them [Israel] for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." *** I Corinthians 10:11
The word translated world is the Greek word AION and should have been translated "age". We are those upon whom the ends of the age have come. We stand at the end of the sixth age of time. That New Day, the Seventh Day is about to spring forth. As we examine how God dealt with Israel we will discover how God will deal with His church.
As we study the Old Testament, we discover that God put restrictions on Israel's sacrifices. Certain things were not acceptable in the sacrifices Israel offered to God. Their sacrifices had to be without spot or blemish. They had to be perfect to be acceptable.
God gave specific instructions on what was acceptable and unacceptable in the sacrifices that were offered unto Him. Moses recorded God's desire:
"And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein." *** Leviticus 22:21
An animal with any imperfection was not acceptable in the sight of God. God expects his sacrifices to be perfect, the best, the ultimate of the flock. These same restrictions were placed upon those offering the sacrifice before the Lord. God spoke to Moses:
"Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.
For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,
Or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken:
No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish: he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of His God." *** Leviticus 21:17-21
God made it plain who were acceptable and unacceptable to offer sacrifices unto the Lord. As we view these limitations through Spiritual eyes, we understand the changes that must be made in our lives, if we are again to come into His presence.
# 1 A priest who was acceptable to offer sacrifices for the people could have no blemish.
The word blemish means "to stain". Jude wrote of those who are spiritually stained:
"And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." *** Jude 23
Those who have their garments [robes of righteousness] spotted by the flesh are blemished. These have not dealt with their flesh in all areas of their lives. Jesus was our example of the life we must live if our living sacrifice before God is to be acceptable in His sight. Jesus was the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice, acceptable in the sight of God. Peter proclaimed:
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" *** I Peter 1:18-19
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice before the Father. He was without spot and blemish. Those who make up His true church, the body of Christ, must become as Jesus their example. Paul revealed to the church at Ephesus that the Lord would sanctify and cleanse His church by the washing of water by the Word, *** Ephesians 5:26:
"That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." *** Ephesians 5:26-27
No blemish will be acceptable in the sight of God. Those who enter again into God's presence must be holy and without blemish.
# 2 A Blind Man
A blind man has no vision. Solomon wrote:
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." *** Proverbs 29:18
Those with no vision are dwelling in the death realm. They have no Spiritual vision and the veil has not been removed from their minds when they read the Old Testament:
"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ." *** II Corinthians 3:14.
Those who are Spiritually blind cannot see Israel as their example because the vail has not been removed when they read the Old Testament. Their vision is only upon fleshly things and fleshly understanding of God's Spiritual Word. These who have no Spiritual vision cannot stand in the presence of God.
# 3 A Lame Man
The lame men are those who's walk before God is crippled. They cannot walk on the strait and narrow. Therefore they cannot enter at the strait gate. These walk on the broadway. There is no narrowness in their walk. These have become part of the generation that proclaims, "If it feels good, do it!" These will never stand in the presence of God.
# 4 Those Who Have a Flat Nose
These are those who have their nose in everyone's business but their own. Paul wrote to Timothy:
"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." *** I Timothy 5:13
Busybodies, who attend to everyone's business but their own will not stand in the presence of the Father.
# 5 Brokenfooted
We are admonished to put on the whole armor of God, *** Ephesians 6:11. Part of that armor is to have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, *** Ephesians 6:15. Those who are brokenfooted are not prepared with the gospel of peace. Their walk has been crippled because their motives are not pure before God. These generally raise up a following after themselves instead of pointing the way to Christ. These will not come into God's presence.
# 6 Brokenhanded
The hand represents ministry. Our ministry must be clean, pure and whole before our God. The Psalmist declared:
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place?
He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." *** Psalm 24:3-4
Only those with clean hands and a pure heart will ascend God's Holy Hill and stand in His Holy Place. Those whose ministry is not pure before the Lord are brokenhanded and will not dwell in His holy mountain, the New Jerusalem.
# 7 Crookbacked
The crookbacked are those who are burdened down with the cares of this life, those who are bent by the load they feel they must carry to be acceptable in the sight of God. These have neglected Jesus' words:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." *** Matthew 11:28
Those who are crookbacked have not come unto Jesus with all their burdens. They are burdened and heavy laden with the cares of this life. These have not entered into His rest, nor will they stand in His presence.
# 8 A Dwarf
A dwarf is one who has not come to full stature. These remain about the size of a child. Paul wrote to the Ephesians of the gifts that God had given unto man. These gifts were the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These gifts were for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till the whole body comes into the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, and lastly until we come into the measure of the stature of Christ. Those who are dwarfed have never grown up into the head which is Christ.
Those who have not grown up into the headship of Christ will not come into the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man. Those who have not come into completeness and maturity will not stand in the presence of God.
# 9 Scurvy
The word scurvy means "to itch. Scurvy is caused by those who are confined, whose main diet consists of salted meats, and no fresh vegetables and fruits. Those who contact this disease fail to exercise, and because of this have great difficulty breathing. Those who suffer Spiritual scurvy are those who are confined in their thinking to their religious precepts and doctrines that will not produce life. Their diet consists of salted meat that has been preserved by their denominational system. They will allow no freshness of God's Word to enter in. Their exercise is limited to their ritualistic worship, and God has withdrawn His breath of life. Paul wrote to Timothy about those who have contacted Spiritual scurvy:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;" *** II Timothy 4:3
Those who have itching ears heap to themselves teachers who will scratch their itching ears with doctrines that will enhance their lust. These will not stand in the presence of the father.
# 10 Scabbed
Those who are scabbed are those who have been wounded and have never healed. There are multitudes today who are wounded in the spirit who will not receive the healing that God has put in His Word. Jesus, when addressing the scribes and Pharisees,
"They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick." *** Luke 5:31
Those who are sick need a physician. Those who have not been healed need the Great Physician. Those who are whole have been made whole through the Word of God. When we are healed the scab comes off and we can stand in the presence of our God.
# 11 Broken Stones
Those with broken stones (gonads) cannot produce life. All they speak of is death, dying and going to heaven. Jesus did not talk about dying, but living. In Jesus' words, He told His people why He came:
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." *** John 10:10
Jesus came that we may have life. Those with broken stones cannot reproduce the life of Christ. All they can bring forth is their lifeless denominational dogma, and because of this they will not enter into His presence.
In the Old Testament, those who were not physically perfect could not approach unto God. Today God does not look at man's physical condition, but his Spiritual condition.
This truth was revealed when Samuel went to Jesse's house to anoint the next King of Israel. Samuel was sure God wanted him to anoint Eliab, Jesse's eldest son, but God admonished Samuel:
"Look not on His countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." *** I Samuel 16:7
God has not changed. He still looks upon the heart, not the outward appearance. Those who approach unto the Father must become that living sacrifice without spot or blemish to be acceptable unto the Father.
God gave Israel as our example that we may know what is acceptable and unacceptable in His sight. As God dealt with natural Israel in the flesh realm so will He deal with Spiritual Israel [His body] in the Spiritual realm. When we come to this understanding then we come to the realization that we were given the Old Testament that we may come to a Spiritual understanding of God's desire in His people. The writer of Hebrews gave us much insight in reference to the Old Testament:
"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." *** Hebrews 10:1
The law was only a shadow of the good things that God brought bring upon the earth through His New Covenant. The sacrifices Israel offered could not make those offerings and sacrifices perfect. Even though the sacrifices had to be perfect, and those offering the sacrifices had to be perfect in the flesh, their hearts were not perfect before God, and because of this those offering the sacrifices were still dwelling in their sin. The Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world [Jesus] had not been revealed to them.
Israel had to offer their sacrifices year by year. But when we follow Jesus our example, we can become that perfect living sacrifice. Then we will be acceptable in the sight of God, and we can return again to stand in His presence.
A LIVING SACRIFICE
Those who are totally determined to enter again into the presence of God must become a living sacrifice to be acceptable in the sight of God. As Paul revealed:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." *** Romans 12:1
Paul's words were, "I beseech you". The word beseech is the word PARAKALEO and means "to call to one's side", or "to call to one's aid". It also means "to exhort". Paul called all aside, all who would hear, to exhort them. God is calling all who will hear to become a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.
As Paul proclaimed, "This is our reasonable service unto God".
When God asked for this sacrifice to come forth, He was not being unreasonable. God expects us to become a living sacrifice before His throne, acceptable in His sight.
As our desire for the things of God increases, our desire for the things of the world decreases. Peter proclaimed the sacrifices we must offer up before the Father:
"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a Spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." *** I Peter 2:5
In order for our sacrifices to be acceptable before the Father, they must be Spiritual sacrifices. Spiritual sacrifices are those sacrifices in our lives that overcome the will of the flesh. When Spiritual sacrifices are made, then the flesh comes under the control of the Spirit. When our flesh comes under the control of the Spirit, then we begin to build our Spiritual house. Only then can we become God's holy priesthood to offer up Spiritual sacrifices that are holy and acceptable unto God. No flesh is going to enter into the presence of God. Only those who are dwelling in their Spiritual house are going to enter in.
The prophet Ezekiel was shown God's Spiritual house:
"Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern." *** Ezekiel 43:10
God told Ezekiel to show the house to the house of Israel that they might measure the pattern. The pattern that our house must measure up to is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our example of the house that God is building in the earth today. If we do not measure up to Jesus, our example, then we will not enter into the presence of the Father.
God admonished Ezekiel to show the house to the house of Israel. We must first know what the house is to look like so that our blueprints are patterned after Christ:
"Thus saith the Lord God' No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel." *** Ezekiel 44:9
Our Spiritual circumcision is in the heart and in the spirit. This circumcision must be complete if we are to become that acceptable living sacrifice in the sight of God. As the prophet Ezekiel wrote by the inspiration of God, no stranger that is uncircumcised in the heart or flesh is going to enter into His presence. Only those who have had the flesh cut away to expose the headship of Christ in their lives are going to enter in. Paul spoke of this circumcision in his letter to the Romans:
"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh;
But he is Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." *** Romans 2:28-29
Paul was revealing God's Spiritual Jews, His Spiritual Israel, who have been Spiritually circumcised in the heart [mind] and in the spirit, whose praise is not of man, but of God. Many who are called by His name are still seeking the praise and recognition of men. Their circumcision has not been completed and the headship of Christ has not been exposed in their lives.
As one of the last prophets in Judah, Jeremiah proclaimed a truth that is evident in Spiritual Israel today:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart." *** Jeremiah 9:25-26
God's judgment is coming upon the circumcised and the uncircumcised alike. This is referring to the natural Jew and the Gentile. God revealed that all the house of Israel, natural and Spiritual Israel are uncircumcised in the heart [mind].
Jeremiah listed five classifications of people upon whom God's judgment would come because they were not circumcised in the heart.
We must consider these nations Spiritually.
# 1 Egypt
Egypt represents the world, or the worldliness that still exists in God's people. These are those who have come to the knowledge of God, but because of their inability to separate totally from the world, remain uncircumcised in heart. These, who are supposed to be circumcised in the heart, have not separated themselves from the uncircumcised. Those who have come to the knowledge of God and are called by His name, yet have not come out of the world and their worldly ways, are still dwelling in Egypt. Those who remain in Egypt (the world) refusing to be totally separated unto God, have viewed the Spiritual house and have decided to live a compromising, double-minded existence with one foot remaining in the world. These are uncircumcised in their hearts.
# 2 Judah
All Judah had been circumcised in the flesh. It was standard practice that all males that opened the matrix were to be circumcised on the eighth day after birth.
Spiritually speaking, Judah is the people of praise, the people who have not only come to the knowledge of the truth, but have been baptised in the Spirit. Jeremiah wrote these are also uncircumcised in the heart. As Paul proclaimed:
"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." *** Romans 2:28-29
Our circumcision must be in the heart and in the spirit if we are to become part of that people of praise, and become part of the house of Israel that God is raising up in the earth. In his letter to the Romans, Paul also proclaimed:
"For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, the circumcision is made uncircumcision." *** Romans 2:25
The law Paul was speaking of was not Moses' Law, nor was it Man's Law, but God's Law. God's Law is the whole Word of God. We cannot take part of God's Word, we must apply every Word of God to our lives if we are to become vessels fitted for the kingdom , and once again stand in His presence.
# 3 Edom
Edom was the name given to Esau after he had sold his birthright in God. There are those today, like Esau, who have sold their birthright in God. These have come to the knowledge of the truth, but have turned and walked away from the "meat" of God's Word, settling instead for a "bowl of boiled soup" [a watered-down message]. These, too, have viewed the Spiritual house, yet have chosen not to enter in. Peter wrote of these who have turned away:
"For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them." *** II Peter 2:21
There are many today who are walking in Edom. They have been wounded in the church and want no part of the hypocrisy they witness in those who are called by His name. Those who are walking in Edom will not enter again into the presence of the Father.
# 3 Moab and Ammon
Moab and Ammon were the incestuous sons of Lot. After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot, in his drunkenness, lay with his daughters and fathered Moab and Ammon. Moab and Ammon have always been the enemies of God's people. They have the same bloodline as the Father of Faith, Abraham, but have decided to walk in the ways of their natural father instead of their heavenly Father. These also are uncircumcised in heart.
When Israel left Egypt (the world) the Moabites and Ammonites would give Israel no food or water. They hired Balaam to curse Israel. Many who profess that they are children of God are enemies of the Father. They refuse to give those who are desiring to totally separate from the world the true "water" and "meat" of the Word. They even go so far as to "curse" God's true Spiritual Israel. For this reason God proclaimed:
"An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:" *** Deuteronomy 23:3
No Moabite or Ammonite will ever enter into the presence of the Father. Spiritually speaking those who are birthed by any other father other than our heavenly Father will not enter again into His presence. Many today are following men, and many refer to those whom they are following as "Father". These will not be part of the congregation of the Lord.
Jesus admonished all who will hear:
"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." *** Matthew 23:9
Those who have another father are those who are trying to climb up some other way. Jesus responded, "...the same is a thief and a robber", *** John 10:1. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees and Saducees and told them, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do," *** John 8:44. The religious system of Jesus' day, like many today, were sure they were serving the true and living God, but their ways glorified the spirit of darkness and not the Father of lights, *** James 1:17.
# 5 Those who dwell in the wilderness
Jeremiah also included all those who dwell in the wilderness, the utmost corners of the earth. Many choose to leave the Father to dwell in a "far country" away from the Father's Spiritual house. They have chosen to walk in dry, thirsty places where there is no refreshing "water" of God's Word. God's Word is all inclusive. All who dwell in Egypt, Judah, Edom, Moab and Ammon, and those dwelling in the utmost corners of the earth are uncircumcised in the heart and in the spirit.
Then Jeremiah concludes that all the house of Israel, natural and Spiritual Israel are uncircumcised in the heart. Not only Egypt, Judah, Edom, Moab and Ammon, and the utmost corners of the earth, but all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart. All have not removed the flesh from their thinking. All includes the circumcized with the uncircumcized. Jeremiah states that the nations of the world, and those who are called by God's name, are still dwelling on the desires of the flesh and the things of this life, allowing the cares of this life to choke out the Word of God, and because of this their sacrifices are not acceptable before the Father. Mark recorded Jesus' words:
"For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." *** Mark 9:49
When Mark recorded these words, the sacrificial system had ceased for those who were living under the New Covenant. So we know that Jesus was not speaking of the sacrificial system under the law. He was speaking Spiritually to His people.
We must look at salt and fire Spiritually. Salt has the meaning of "incorruptibility and preservation". Salt was used in ratifying covenants. These were called "covenants of salt". Covenants of Salt could not be changed or broken. These were eternal covenants.
Salt was used in reference to God's wisdom. It was used for speech seasoned with grace. Salt was also used to relate to the preservation of the life of God in our lives. Life itself cannot exist without salt.
Jesus proclaimed that we must be salted with fire. Fire is the cleansing power of God in our lives. That cleansing power in our lives is the Holy Spirit. It is recorded that on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came as cloven tongues of fire and sat on each of them. This was the cleansing power of God that came to cleanse His living sacrifice and make it acceptable in His sight.
As Mark recorded, every sacrifice will be salted with salt. Every sacrifice that is acceptable before the Father will be purified, cleansed and preserved incorruptible. This is when the cleansing power of the anointing that came on the Day of Pentecost will complete its work.
Mark went on to warn God's people:
"Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another." *** Mark 9:50
"...If the salt has lost its saltiness..." We need to ask ourselves, "Has the Holy Spirit been allowed to accomplish God's purpose in our lives, or has it been hindered? Has God's desire to salt us with fire been hindered, or has the Spirit been given free course to accomplish His plan and purpose in our life. To become that living sacrifice before God, we need to ask ourselves if that salt we have been salted with has produced peace one with another.
The Psalmist wrote:
"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." *** Psalm 51:17
Our sacrifices before God are a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. Has the salt we have been salted with produced a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart? These are the sacrifices that are acceptable before the Father.
The prophet Isaiah wrote:
"For thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." *** Isaiah 57:15
God is going to inhabit eternity with those who have a humble [broken] and contrite spirit, those who have been salted with fire and have become those living sacrifices before the Father. Our sacrifice must be complete to be pleasing before the Father. A partial sacrifice, nor an unwilling sacrifice, is unacceptable.
The writer of Hebrews gives us other examples of the Spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable before the Lord:
"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." *** Hebrews 13:15
Our lives must be a continual praise before our God. Our lips must give thanks to our God in all things. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." *** I Thessalonians 5:18
We are to give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. There is no such thing as an accident in the sight of God. All things are planned and ordained in our lives. Nothing happens by circumstance. When we come into a place of praise where God is praised continually as a sacrificial offering, then our Spiritual sacrifices before our God become acceptable. The writer of Hebrews continued:
"But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." *** Hebrews 13:16
We are admonished to communicate and to do good. The word communicate means "to commune or have fellowship, to have in common, a partnership, to share equally with one another." When the body begins to understand this concept of communicating with their brothers and sisters in the Lord and to do good to one another, then this becomes a sacrifice that is well pleasing in the sight of God. This selfish care-less for one another attitude must cease if we are to stand in the presence of the Father and be pleasing in His sight.
The Psalmist wrote:
"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord." *** Psalm 116:17
When we offer God our sacrifice of thanksgiving, it truly is the fruit of our lips giving thanks. Fruit is only produced by a mature plant. When we come into maturity, our lips will begin to produce fruit for the Father. And only then will our sacrifices become acceptable before the Lord.
Becoming a living sacrifice is only our first step to return to the presence of the Father. The next step is obedience, obedience to His voice and to His Word. We cannot come into total obedience until we become those living sacrifices, acceptable in the sight if the Father.
"Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams." *** II Samuel 15:22
God informed Samuel, "To obey is better than sacrifice". The step beyond becoming a living sacrifice is coming into total and willing obedience to the voice and Word of God.
Many proclaim today. "God knows I am but flesh, and He does not expect me to know or understand His Word". This is a total lie. God does expect us to know, understand and become obedient to all that He has written. When we make excuses for our shortcomings and our disobedience, it grieves the heart of God. The psalmist David wrote:
"I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name." *** Psalm 138:2
God's Word is to be magnified above His name. Paul revealed:
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:" *** Philippians 2:9
Jesus' name is above every name. So we must ask ourselves, "Where does this place God's Word in our lives", and "How can we become obedient to His Word?" The first step is to fill ourselves with the Word. Then we are to study the Word to show we are workmen that need not be asahmed, *** II Timothy 2:15. Finally we are to search the scriptures, for in them we have eternal life, *** John 5:39. Only the Word can change and mold us into His image." The writer of Hebrews proclaimed:
"For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the Word of righteousness: for he is a babe." *** Hebrews 5:13
Those who are unskilled in the Word of life are still babies partaking of milk. We cannot take the next step back into the presence of the Father until we become skilled in the Word of righteousness and become obedient to that Word.
One of the first areas that must be brought under the headship of Christ is our imagination. Paul wrote:
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" *** II Corinthians 10:5
We must cast down imaginations. Imaginations lead us into a false reality of life. Our imaginations cause problems in our marriage, in the work place, in our home, with our children, but most of all with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We imagine what they are thinking, what they are feeling and draw conclusions that have nothing to do with what God is trying to accomplish in our lives. These imaginations bring separation and division in the body of Christ.
We must bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. All those high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God must be cast out of the holy place [our minds]. These thoughts must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ and His Word, the high place in our lives is reserved for Him alone. Paul wrote to the Romans:
"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." *** Romans 1:21
Those who allow their vain imaginations to occupy the high place reserved for God are allowing their foolish hearts [minds] to be darkened to the glorious gospel of the Truth. This greatly hinders the Word from completing the work that must be accomplished in our lives if we are to come into total obedience to His voice, His Word and His will. When disobedience persists, the Word is crowded out of its rightful place. Every thought must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Christ is the anointing. The anointing must be allowed to complete His work if we are to return to the presence of the Father. Much is being proclaimed today about the Holy Spirit and the anointing that God sent upon His people. When the early church was in its infancy, the apostles were taken before the council. They revealed a truth that has been generally overlooked by the modern church:
"And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him" *** Acts 5:32
The apostles revealed that the Holy Spirit is given to them that obey Him. Many today believe they are walking in the Spirit when they are still walking in disobedience to God's Word and His voice. In contrast, we must become as those who were in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. We do not know how many disciples Jesus' had, but we know that 120 were waiting in obedience to God's voice to receive the promised power from on high. Jesus told them:
"And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." *** Luke 24:49
Those who received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost tarried where God told them to tarry. They stayed there until they were endued with power from on high. Many today are like King Saul who errantly offered up sacrifices unto the Lord because Samuel showed up late. Only those who were waited in obedience to His voice received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
Today if God does not perform to fit man's schedule, they do as they think God would want them to, or as they please. These have not come into obedience to His voice or His Word. Peter proclaimed, "God hath given the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him".
If our desire is to walk in and live in the Holy Spirit anointing, we must come into obedience.
God looks upon the heart of man, and yet we continue to try to convince God of our purity by the words of our mouth. The Hebrew author reveals:
"For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." *** Hebrews 4:12
God judges all things by His Word. That Word divides the soul and the spirit. The soul dictates the actions of the body. The Spirit should direct the thoughts of the soul. But too many times the soul is directed by the spirit of darkness, and because of this, every thought is not brought into the captivity of the Holy Spirit.
God's Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart [soul]. God does not only judge our actions. He judges our thoughts and the intents of our hearts. Our obedience must begin by bringing every thought into the captivity of Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." *** I Corinthians 10:13
When we are not obedient to the Word, and bring every thought into the captivity of Christ, we fall into temptation. These temptations do not come from God, but from the spirit of darkness. These temptations come because we have not been obedient to God's Word. James declares:
"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:" *** James 1:13
God does not bring temptation into our lives, but He allows these temptations to come upon us because we have allowed the spirit of darkness to occupy the high place in our life, and have allowed vain imaginations to take root and grow. God will give us a way to escape every temptation that comes in our lives, but we must want to escape. James wrote:
"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." *** James 1:14
When we allow our lust to draw us away from the knowledge of God, then we are enticed or trapped by our own lust. James goes on to relate:
"Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." *** James 1:15
When we allow our lust to continue and do not look for the way of escape which God has provided, then we fall into sin, Spiritual death follows. Spiritual death is the punishment for disobedience, just as it was in the Garden of Eden. God judges our disobedience by His Word.
Paul admonished the church at Corinth:
"And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." *** II Corinthians 10:6
We must come into a readiness of mind to revenge all disobedience in our walk with God. We must allow our obedience to God's will, His voice, and His Word to be fulfilled in our lives. Paul makes our position clear when it comes to being obedient or walking in disobedience:
"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? *** Romans 6:16
It becomes very clear. Our obedience leads to righteousness and our disobedience leads to sin and death. Many seem to slide back and forth. Every day in our walk with God, from our first initial walk into salvation, to our entering again into His presence, we are either going forward into obedience; or sliding back into disobedience. Each step backwards requires two steps forward to regain our foothold toward entering into God's
presence. Salvation is only the first step in our walk with God. Every day is a continual moving forward towards God's kingdom, and every thought and action must be brought into the captivity of the mind of Christ.
Disobedience leads to sin and death. The word for sin is HARMATRIA and means "missing the mark". When we slide backwards into disobedience, we miss the mark of God in our lives. Paul stated:
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" *** Romans 3:23
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Here again the word sinned means "missing the mark". So all those who are walking contrary to God's will, His voice and His Word have missed the mark that God has for their lives. Paul stated to the Philippians:
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." *** Philippians 3:14
Paul continually pressed forward to hit the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus is the risen, glorified Christ. Paul pressed ever forward in obedience to come into righteousness, so that he could walk into God's glory. In Paul's last letter, he made these statements:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." *** II Timothy 4:7-8
Paul had chosen to be obedient unto death. He had pressed toward the mark and was ready to receive His crown of righteousness. Paul's life was not easy. It was a life of suffering, separation and loneliness, but he finished his course, and through it all kept the faith. The words Paul wrote to the Romans burned deep in his heart:
"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." *** Romans 8:18
We, too, must press forward as Paul. Sufferings are God's tools to make us strong and immovable. Sufferings are to be expected in our walk towards obedience if we are to enter into His presence. We, too, as Paul can walk into righteousness and partake of the glory that God desires to reveal to all those who are obedient to His will, His voice and His Word.
Abraham was the Father of Faith. It was recorded of Abraham:
"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice." *** Genesis 22:18
Abraham obeyed the voice of God and became a blessing to all nations. It was further recorded of Abraham:
"And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." *** Genesis 26:4-5
Abraham not only obeyed God's voice, he kept His charge, His commission, His duty. Abraham kept God's commandments, statutes and His laws. Abraham also pressed toward the mark of the high calling that God had set in His life. Paul remarks about Abraham's faithfulness:
"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." *** Romans 4:3
Abraham believed God and sought to accomplish God's will for his life because he knew God's commission, his commandments, his statutes and his law. Abraham sought God continually and was obedient to His voice, and it was counted to him for righteousness.
When the church began, those who were led by the Spirit knew that their obedience to God was their only protection from the religious system of that day. When Peter and the apostle with him were ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus, their answer was:
"We ought to obey God rather than men." *** Acts 5:29
Their words should be engraved in every believer's heart. But all too often those who say they are looking to God in all things are still looking for man's approval in what God has told them to do. Many are still depending on man instead of looking to God in all things. And as Peter so aptly put it, "We ought [it is necessary] to obey God rather than man."
Jesus left us His life as an example that we must follow. It is the only way to get to where He is and to walk in the same glory He received. Jesus pleased the Father in all His actions. Because of this obedience, Jesus could say, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth", *** Matthew 28:18. Jesus demonstrated this power many times. When Jesus taught it was said of him:
"And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes." *** Mark 1:22
Jesus did not teach as the scribes. He taught as one who had authority. This authority came from the Fatherd because of His obedience. When Jesus cast out an unclean spirit in the synagogue those around...
"...were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him." *** Mark 1:27
The unclean spirits obeyed Jesus because of Jesus' obedience to the Father. He had power over them. When Jesus and His disciples were in a ship in a storm, and the disciples feared for their lives, Jesus calmed the storm. His disciples remarked: "What manner of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey Him!
Jesus was obedient to the Father's will, His voice and His Word. Because of His obedience all power was given unto Him in heaven [the Spiritual realm] and in earth [the physical realm]. If we walk ever forward into total obedience as our example, Jesus, then we, too, will be given power and authority.
God has given us His Word, and in His Word He has given us many warnings: In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul warned of the coming judgment:
"In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power;" *** II Thessalonians 1:8-9
Paul reveals two groups:
# 1 Those who "know not God"
# 2 Those who "obey not the gospel"
It is not expected of those who do not know God to obey His gospel. Only a believer can choose to obey or disobey the gospel. Any believer who is not walking in obedience is a "child of disobedience". Paul wrote to the Colssians:
"For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:" *** Colossians 3:6
The wrath of God will come upon those who profess to know God, but our walking in disobedience to His gospel. That flaming fire of vengeance will come upon those who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
How can we know what is pleasing to God if we do not know His Word? Peter, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit also gave warning:
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" *** I Peter 4:17
God's judgment has begun on His house. It is evident that God is trying His people through His Word. Peter asked, "What shall the end of them be that obey not the gospel of God?" On these God's judgment will be severe and swift. The "children of disobedience" must endure God's judgment.
God is calling those who have become living sacrifices into obedience. But it is not enough to become living sacrifices. It is also not enough to walk into obedience. If we desire to enter again into God's presence we must also "overcome".
Much has been spoken about overcoming. But how much has been said about becoming a living sacrifice and walking into obedience in the overcoming process? Every step is important, and no step can be missed if we are to hit the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus in our lives. We must be overcomers if we are to walk into the kingdom of God and enter again into the presence of the Father.
"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be His God, and He shall be my son." *** Revelation 21:7
The next step in our entering into the presence of God is overcoming. We have God's promise that He that overcometh shall inherit all things. He did not promise inheritance to those who have had their sin forgiven. He did not promise inheritance those who who have been water baptized. Nor did He promise inheritance to those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. His promise of inheritance is to the overcomer. What then must we overcome to become inheritors?
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." *** I John 5:4
Those who are born of God overcometh the world, and we overcome the world by faith. Paul wrote to the Romans:
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." *** Romans 10:17
Our faith can only come by hearing. And our hearing can only be opened by the Word of God. Paul spoke of this hearing of faith to the Galatians:
"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith". *** Galatians 3:2
We receive the Spirit by the hearing of faith. When faith becomes operative in our lives, then the Spirit is given free reign, and the overcoming power of God begins to be manifest. When we become submissive to the Holy Spirit and obedient to His voice, then overcoming will bring us into His perfect will. As John wrote those who are born of God overcometh the world.
Today much is being spoken about being "born again". All who come to God's saving grace proclaim to be born again, even though there is no evidence of overcoming the world in their lives. John records Jesus' words when He spoke of overcoming:
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." *** John 3:3
The phrase born again is the Greek word GENNAO and means "to beget, or to give life". The word again is the Greek word ANOTHEN which means "to make new, or from above". Those who are born again are given new life from above. These become that new creation man in God.
Jesus spoke that only those who are born again can see the kingdom of God. Those who are not born of God are Spiritually blind to what the Word speaks about the kingdom of God. The word kingdom means "king's domain". The king's domain is the area He has complete rule and dominion over.
What we call the Lord's prayer states, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done as in heaven so in earth, *** Luke 11:2. When God speaks of His kingdom being IN earth, what is He referring to? Luke recorded Jesus' Words:
"Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." *** Luke 17:21
The Kingdom of God is within us, and as Jesus further revealed to the Pharisees, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation," *** Luke 17:20. Only those who are born again can see the kingdom of God being made manifest in their lives and in the lives of others. Those who have not had their hearing opened by faith and their Spiritual vision and understanding opened by the anointing cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus spoke to His disciples:
"Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not?" *** Mark 8:18
If we are to see God's kingdom, then our Spiritual eyes must be opened. Our Spiritual hearing must be sensitized to what the Word of God is speaking to us. John further proclaimed Jesus' words:
"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." *** John 3:5
Those who will enter into the kingdom, must be born of water and of the Spirit. There is a great difference between seeing the kingdom of God and entering into it. Even those who are born again and see the kingdom of God will not enter into it if they do not overcome the world.
As Jesus related, a man must be born of water. Those who are born of water are made new from above by the water. Water has many applications in the Word of God.
To John the Baptist it meant repentance.
To those who had their feet washed it meant refreshment.
To those who washed their feet it meant humility and servitude.
It was used to show the flowing of the Spirit.
Jesus turned the water into wine, the anointed Word.
Water had the meaning of cleansing.
Water also means life. No living thing can survive without it.
Water also meant the Word of life. It is referred to many times as living water. We are told in the book of Revelation that this water of life flows from the throne of God, *** Revelation 22:1
Paul wrote to the Ephesians that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, *** Ephesians 4:25. "That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word," *** Ephesians 5:26
Christ [the Holy Spirit] is going to sanctify and cleanse His church by the washing of water by the Word. Those who are born of water, or who have been made new from above by the continual washing of water by the Word that has been turned into wine [the Spirit-anointed Word of God] are being prepared to enter into the kingdom of God.
John also related that those who will enter into the kingdom of God must be born of the Spirit. Those who will enter into the kingdom of God will have been made new from above by the Spirit of God. The Spirit is working, cleansing, changing, refreshing and bringing to repentance those things that are not pleasing in God's sight. This is a daily cleansing of water by the Word of God. These not only see the kingdom through Spiritual eyes, but are being prepared to enter in. Jesus stated:
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." *** John 3:6
That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. These two do not mix. If we are still minding the things of the flesh, then we are fleshly. If we mind the things of the Spirit, the we are Spiritual. To the Galatians Paul wrote:
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." *** Galatians 5:16
If we are still fulfilling the lust of the flesh, then we are not walking in the Spirit and the overcoming process has not taken place in our lives. Paul continued in His letter to the Galatians:
"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." *** Galatians 5:25
Those who have not been made new from above are not living or walking in the Spirit. How can we be sure that we are living and walking in the Spirit? Jesus concluded His revelation to John by stating:
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whiter it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." *** John 3:7-8
Jesus informs us that the wind blows where it wants to. We can hear the sound of the wind, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going. Then he makes a profound statement that most have overlooked. Jesus stated, "So is everyone that is born of the Spirit". Those who have truly been born of the Spirit, or born again, are like the wind. No one knows where they come from or where they are going. These get their direction directly from the Father. These have not come under the control of man, nor have they brought themselves under the bondage of man's system. Their Spiritual eyes and ears are in tune with what the Father is speaking and what the Father is showing them in His Word. They have come into the overcoming realm of inheritance.
Those who come into this overcoming realm must enter in by faith. This is the victory that John was referring to. Yet most of the body of Christ today still fear what man can do unto them. They fear failure, rejection. They fear the government. They fear the devil more than God. And yet with all these fears they still stand up and proclaim "We are born again and have overcome", when, in reality, they have refused to exercise their faith, nor acted upon God's Word. Peter proclaimed:
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." *** II Peter 2:19
"Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage." Those things we have not overcome in our lives, the things we are still in bondage to, are the bondages that hinder our walk and ruin our testimony. While these bondages are still in our lives and we proclaim that we are overcomers and are born again, we become as sounding brass and tinkling symbols in the ears of the hearers.
Jesus is our example of overcoming. John recorded Jesus' words:
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." *** John 16:33
What did Jesus mean when He stated, "I have overcome the world"? The world had no hold on His life. There was nothing in the world that He desired. He came to perform the will and plan of the Father in His life.
Those who claim they are part of Jesus' body today proclaim, "I could never be like Jesus". God's Word is clear. If we do not become like Jesus, we will never enter into the presence of the Father.
When Jesus gave John the revelation of himself on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus gave John seven promises for the overcomers:
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." *** Revelation 2:7
To the overcomer, God has granted that they can again partake of the Tree of Life in the midst of the paradise of God. Jesus was speaking of eternal life, and it only exists in the presence of God.
When Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden of God, a cherubim was set at the garden entrance with a flaming sword which turned every way to keep man from returning to the tree of life, *** Genesis 3:24. That flaming sword is the cleansing fire of the Word of God. Those who are hearing what the Spirit is saying unto the church have allowed that flaming sword to pierce them through and through. They are allowing the Word to overcome their soulish life, and empower their Spiritual life. They are allowing the Word to pierce all the way to the joints and the marrow. [See "Flaming Sword" by George Kirkpatrick]
The marrow is the innermost part of man. It is the center of his very being. This is when we allow the Word of God to penetrate our innermost being. This is when we bring every thought and intent of our heart to God's Word to be changed and molded into an useable vessel. Every emotion and imagination must be weighed before God's Word. These are the overcomers who will partake of eternal life in the presence of God.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." *** Revelation 2:11
The overcomers will not be partakers of the second death. What is the second death? Jesus explained the second death to John. Many would have us believe that all will be saved, even satan himself, that no one will be lost. This false teaching is called "Ultimate or Universal Reconciliation". We must remember it was Jesus who spoke of the second death. This was His revelation to John and to all who are hearing what the Spirit is saying unto the churches. Jesus revealed the second death.
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." *** Revelation 20:14
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." *** Revelation 21:8
The second death is eternal separation from God. John lists those who will partake of the second death: the fearful, the unbelievers, the sorcerers, the idolaters and all liars. The list does not simply included unbelievers, but those believers, also, who are fearful and liars. Some are even idolaters. They have many gods before them other than God the Father. Believers who fall into any of these categories will have their place in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. We have Jesus' promise that the overcomers will not have part in this second death.
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it." *** Revelation 2:17
God will give the overcomer to eat of the hidden manna. The hidden manna is that Spiritual food that satisfies the spirit and the soul, not the belly. This is the food that Jesus spoke of when His disciples desired Him to eat when He was talking to the woman at the well. When His disciples wanted Him to eat, he proclaimed:
"I have meat to eat that ye know not of". *** John 4:32
Jesus was already partaking of this food that fed His soul and spirit. He did not need physical food because He was eating of the hidden manna that can only come from the presence of God.
Jesus has promised those who overcome a white stone with their new name written thereon. He is speaking of the Holy City. And those who will make up that Holy City have become the right- eousness of God. God's Holy City will be clothed in the
righteousness of the saints, *** Revelation 19:8. [See "White Stone" by George Kirkpatrick]
"And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father." *** Revelation 2:26-27
Those who have kept their works unto the end are those whose works are gold, silver and precious stones. Their works before God have been tried by the fire of the flaming sword and have stood the test. Their works are acceptable before God. Those whose works are wood, hay and stubble will be saved, but only by the fire, *** I Corinthians 3:15.
God has promised those whose works abide will be given power over the nations. These will rule and reign with Him one thousand years. Jesus proclaimed, "They shall rule with a rod of iron". The word rule is the Greek word POIMAINO and should have been translated "shepherd". The overcomers will shepherd the nations [peoples] with a rod. The rod symbolizes "authority". Iron symbolizes "strength". The overcomers will operate in God's authority and power.
The Psalmist asked the question:
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" *** Psalm 2:1
The Psalmist answers that question:
"I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." *** Psalm 2:7-9
The Psalmist knew God's overcoming people would rule and reign by His power and authority. As Jesus revealed to John, the overcomers are His sons. And they shall inherit all things. We are admonished to hear what the Spirit is saying unto the churches.
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out His name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." *** Revelation 3:5
The overcomer shall be clothed in white raiment. This is the righteousness of the saints. Their white raiment will clothe the Holy City. Their name will not be blotted out of the book of life.
All those who have come to our Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of sin have their name written in the Lamb's book of life. It has been taught, and many believe that once it is written there, it is an eternal etching that nothing, no one, nor any act can erase. But in Jesus' revelation to John, He states that those who are not overcomers, those who have not clothed themselves in the
righteousness of God will have their name blotted out of the book of life.
The word blot means "to wash, or to smear completely, to wipe off, or obliterate". The overcomers are promised God will not blot their names from His book of life. He also promises to confess their name before the Father and His angels. His confession shall be, "These are my beloved sons in whom I am well-pleased. Enter into the presence of the Lord." The church needs to hear what the Spirit is revealing in this last hour of time:
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and He shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name." *** Revelation 3:12
God has made great and wonderful promises to His overcomers. The overcomers will become pillars in His temple. Paul revealed:
"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" *** I Corinthians 6:19
The overcomers are becoming the temple of the Holy Ghost. God has promised that they will become pillars in his temple. Pillar means "strength", or the main supporting structure of God's temple.
These pillars will become a strength to the rest of His temple. That place in God is eternal, there will be no more going out or coming in. These will have become an eternal resident of God's presence. We will have God's name. This is when the adoption has taken place. Paul wrote to the Galatians about His adoption:
"To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." *** Galatians 4:5
Jesus came to redeem those under the law, so that this adoption of sons could be made possible. To the Romans He wrote of this adoption:
"And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." *** Romans 8:23
Our adoption and redemption of the body will take place at the same time. When God writes His name upon us, we have come into this adoption process. Those who become His sons will carry His family name. The name of His city will also be theirs. This means they will receive their eternal inheritance in His eternal city. God's overcomers will make up that city and the residents of that city will have His new name.
The Spirit is speaking to the church today. Only those who have developed their Spiritual ears are hearing, and only those who have opened their Spiritual eyes are seeing. It is not God's desire that His people walk in darkness. But His people have made this their choice.
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne." *** Revelation 3:21
To the overcomers Jesus has promised that they will sit with Him in His throne. Jesus' disciples heard what Jesus spoke to the rich young ruler when He told him he must sell all he had and give it to the poor. Jesus proclaimed:
"If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." *** Matthew 19:21
The rich man turned and walked away desiring the things of this world more than the things of God. Jesus stated, "A rich man can hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven". He went on that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God, *** Matthew 19:23-24.
The disciples asked, "Who then can be saved?" *** Matthew 19:25. Peter questioned, "Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee. What shall we have therefore?" *** Matthew 19:28. Jesus' answer was very reassuring:
"Verily, I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." *** Matthew 19:28
Those who follow Him in the regeneration shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. This promise was made by Jesus to the overcomers; those who, as Peter proclaimed, had left everything and followed Jesus. These will be part of the regeneration, and partake of every promise that God has made to man. These are hearing what the Spirit is saying unto the church, and are doing it. These have become obedient to God's voice, His Word and His will. They have given their lives as Spiritual sacrifices unto God. These are allowing the overcoming Spirit to do the work necessary in their lives that they may be prepared to stand again in the presence of the Father.
What is the next step to enter into the Holy of Holies into God's presence? "Restoration!". The restoration of all things is at hand and the Spirit is proclaiming, "Restore!" unto the church. Our Spiritual ears need to hear the message of "Restoration".
As we consider the next step in our return to the presence of the Father, we must realize as we continue that our life takes on new dimensions as we become more useable in the hands of the Father. More is expected of us as we hear and understand Jesus' words that "whomsoever much is given, to him shall much be required," *** Luke 12:48. As God bestows His grace and mercy in greater abundance, He also asks more of us.
The process of restoration is not an easy one, nor is it a walk that many will understand. But it is a walk that is necessary if we are to return to the presence of the Father. The prophet Isaiah wrote of our day when He proclaimed:
"But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil and none saith Restore". *** Isaiah 42:22
Those who are sitting in their prison houses of denominational systems have become a prey. Peter recorded the words of the Holy Spirit when he wrote:
"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." *** II Peter 2:3
Those who have become a prey in their prison houses have been made merchandise of. The word feign means "carefully moulded and shaped, to deceive." Another meaning is "to fabricate". Those who are trapped in their prison houses have been robbed, cheated and deceived. They have been robbed of their inheritance in God. In his seond letter to Timothy, Paul warns God's people":
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." *** II Timothy 3:5
Many teach a form of godliness but deny the power [the Holy Spirit] of the living God. Paul commanded, "From such turn away". Those who are trapped in their prison houses are not hearing the message of restoration. As Isaiah proclaimed, "NONE SAYETH RESTORE."
The only hope those who are trapped in their prison houses are given is dying and going to heaven, or to be taken out of the world by some secret escape plan. There is no hope in overcoming. Those who are not seeking to overcome have no hope in restoration. They have been robbed and deceived with feigned words. They have denied the power, the Holy Spirit operation in their lives, which will lead them into all truth. The truth is the Holy Spirit of God. When we know the truth, then the truth will set us free, *** John 8:32. The Holy Spirit will make us free to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, *** Philippians 2:12.
As we come into this restoration process, we must know where to begin. The Psalmist David related:
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." *** Psalm 23:1-3
When we make God our shepherd, He makes us many promises. First He states we "shall not want". When most read this they assume God is going to supply abundantly. This He may do, but if we look at this through Spiritual eyes, we can see what God is saying. God will take away our want. He has promised to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. He did not say He would take away our need, but our want. It is not our needs that keep us in turmoil, but our wants. Our wants become lust that lead us into sin, and sin brings forth death; not physical death, but Spiritual death and separation from God. So as we make God our shepherd, He leads us away from our wants and desires of the flesh.
God makes us to lie down in green pastures. To lie down means "to enter into His rest". God has promised that we would enter into His rest:
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." *** Hebrews 4:1
As long as we follow our shepherd, we will never come short of His rest. We will lie down in His green pastures. Green is the color of life. As long as we are dwelling in His green pastures, then the death realm has no hold on us. We can dwell in, and rest in, His eternal life.
"He leadeth me beside still waters". Still waters are where we are refreshed. These are the waters where there is no turmoil. The still waters are the waters of the Word. They never change. They are settled in heaven. They are the wonderful words of life. The still waters are when we are allowing God to speak His Spiritual truths through His still small voice, His pure Word, instead of trying to line God's Word up with the precepts and doctrines of man's denominational system.
When we partake of the deceitful waters of man's precepts and doctriness, the water is stirred up and becomes agitated. When the Word is discussed through carnal understanding it brings forth contention and strife which produces separation. Paul wrote to the Romans:
"But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath," *** Romans 2:8
Those who are contentious about the Word obey unrighteousness.
These will suffer indignation and wrath. They stir up the still waters and are not following the great shepherd, but follow their own lusts. The prophet Ezekiel spoke to the pastors. He stated:
"Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet?" *** Ezekiel 34:18
Many pastors who have drank of the deep waters, have fouled the residue with their feet. Many pastors have stirred up the still water and made it a word that suited their purpose of enslaving God's people.
"He restoreth my soul". The soul is the heart of man. It includes his thinking processes and his innermost being. Paul spoke of this inner man and outer man in his letter to the Corinthians:
"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day." *** II Corinthians 4:16
When the outer man is served, the soul is intent on serving the flesh. This outer man must perish. But our hope lies in the fact that the inner man is being renewed day by day. This is when the soul serves the Spirit and the things of God. This is what David called, "Restoring" the soul to serve God, instead of the flesh. Paul explained the old man to the Ephesians:
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" *** Ephesians 4:22
The old man or the outer man is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts of the flesh, the wants that consume his life. This old man, or outer man, must be consumed by the inner man, and do as Paul wrote to the Colossians:
"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him:" *** Colossians 3:10
The new man is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him. When we desire to have our soul restored, then we move into God's restoration plan. We begin to desire to walk as the ancients who had an intimate relationship with God. They did not have all the confusion of the troubled waters that the world suffers from today. Jeremiah wrote:
"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." *** Jeremiah 6:16
The Lord admonishes us to walk in the ways of the old paths. God's Word tells us this is the "good way". He promises that if we walk in these old paths, we will find the rest that God has promised His people for their souls, and their souls will be restored.
The prophet Isaiah knew the day would come when God would again call a people unto Himself. He knew that God was going to restore a people again to their created position:
"And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in." *** Isaiah 58:12
This people that God has called into restoration will build the old waste places where man formerly dwelt in God. They will raise up the foundations of many generations. The foundation is the base, the strength on which the truth of the Creator can build His Spiritual house. These will be called the "Repairers of the Breach", the breach that was caused by sin between man and God. That breach still exists because of sin that has not been dealt with in the lives of His people.
God has a people who will not only repair this breach, but will restore the paths that God's people are to dwell in. Those who walk in this place can proclaim, as the Psalmist:
"I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts." *** Psalm 119:100
We can know and understand more than the ancients because we keep His precepts, and not the precepts of man.
The Psalmist continued, "He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake," *** Psalm 23:3. When we follow the Great Shepherd He will lead us in the paths of God's righteousness.
Paul spoke of those who choose not to be led by the Great Shepherd, when he wrote to the Romans:
"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." *** Romans 10:3
Those who are trapped in prison houses of their denominational systems have established their own righteousness, and refuse to submit themselves to the righteousness of God. These are not walking in the righteousness of their name sake (Christ), but have established their own name and their own system to worship God. They have established their own righteousness. They have
disregarded the old paths. Those who are walking in the paths of their own righteousnesss will not be part of God's restoration plan for His people.
David was a man after God's own heart. In another of his Psalms he wrote:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit." *** Psalm 51:10-12
David wanted God to create in him a clean heart. David was a man who had fought many battles. David had fallen many times into gross sin. All these things scar the heart. The memories of past deeds, and our past lives must be dealt with if we are going to have our inner man renewed day by day.
David wanted God to cleanse his old heart and create in him a new heart, one that had eliminated all the old scar tissue of his past life. David also wanted a right spirit renewed in him.
Many today feel they have the Spirit of God working in their lives, when in reality they are serving a religious spirit. The religious spirit generally proclaims what the person is doing for God. The right Spirit is evident in the person's life when it proclaims what God is doing for them.
David cried out, "Cast me not away from thy presence". David's total desire was to return into the presence of God, and no matter the changes he had to make, he wanted, even more then being king of all Israel, to return to God's presence.
Part of David's cry was, "Take not thy Holy Spirit from me". David knew that without the Holy Spirit's direction and change in his life that he could not return unto the presence of the Father. Many today have rejected the right Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, and have settled for a religious spirit, and believe they are walking in the righteousness of God.
David continued that his desire was that "God restore unto him the joy of his salvation". God's salvation plan is threefold:
We were saved
We are being saved
And we are going to be saved
Our spirit was saved when Jesus reclaimed it on the cross.
Our soul is being saved as we cry out, like David, to have our soul restored and to have a clean heart created in us through the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are going to be saved when our bodies are changed and preserved. Paul prayed for the preservation of the body:
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." *** I Thessalonians 5:23
Paul also spoke of a change coming to the body:
"And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." *** I Corinthians 15:49
This is all part of God's restoration plan. As we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. The earthy is the body we have now. Paul speaks of a change that will come in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when this corruptible [apt to die] will put on incorruption [cannot die], and this mortal will put on immortality, *** I Corinthians 15:53. This is God's restoration process when we will bear the image of the heavenly or Spiritual man.
As we come into the knowledge of the truth, then the joy of our salvation can truly be restored, and that is what God has prepared for His people. God's restoration plan encompasses many parts of our lives; first the soul or heart of man must be restored, the joy of the knowledge of who we are in God and what God did for us. But this is not the end.
It is God's desire to heal our Spiritual blindness. Mark revealed the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida. The blind man besought Jesus to heal his blindness. Jesus took this man out of town and spit upon his eyes, and put his hands upon him and asked him what he saw, *** Mark 8:23-24. The blind man could only see men as trees walking. Trees represent people and walking reveals their way of life. When we look at man, we only see their way of life, how they act and what they do. Then Jesus laid his hands on the man again:
"After that He put His hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly." *** Mark 8:25
When our God lays His hands on our Spiritual vision, we will look up. Our eyes will no longer be on man and the ways of the world. Then we will see every man, not as man sees him, but as God sees him. This is when our Spiritual vision will be restored. We will begin to look upon the heart of man and not on his outward appearance. Only then can we see every man clearly as God sees him.
One day Jesus entered the synogogue and found a man with a withered hand, *** Mark 3:1. The word withered means "to dry up". As we are informed this event took place on the seventh day, *** Mark 3:2. We are coming to the end of the sixth day. The seventh day lies directly ahead of us. Jesus spoke to this man and said, "Stand forth!" There was something this man had to do. He had to leave the crowd of Pharisees, and move toward Jesus. This man could no longer stay among the Pharisees if he was to have his hand made whole:
"And He saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace." *** Mark 3:4
Jesus asked if it was lawful to do good on the sabbath, or to do evil, to save life or to kill it. All the Pharisees knew were their precepts and doctrines. They had never been face to face with the Word of Life. So they could say nothing.
"And when He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other." *** Mark 3:5
Jesus told this man to stretch forth his hand. And when he did, his hand was healed. Looking at this dried up hand through Spiritual eyes it is easy to see that the withered hand Jesus healed is the right hand of ministry. This right hand of ministry has been dried up because it has dwelt among the Pharisical, organized denominational system. But God is calling forth His right hand ministry, and it will be healed on the seventh day. The right hand ministry of God will again go forth in full power and authority. This right hand ministry of God will do the greater works that Jesus spoke of in John 14:12. The prophet Joel spoke of this time of restoration:
"Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month." *** Joel 2:23
Joel addressed this to the children of Zion, those who have the name of the Holy City written on their foreheads, those who's righteousness clothe the Holy City.
Joel promised that we have received the former rain,
moderately. This is the anointing that came at Pentecost. This anointing came only moderately. Paul called this anointing the "Firstfruits, the Earnest of the Spirit".
Joel also spoke of the "latter rain". The latter rain was poured out in the last century. There have been Holy Spirit revivals recorded all over the earth. In our nation it was the Azusa Street Revival in 1906, the Latter Rain in 1948, the Charismatic Movement in the late '60's and early '70's. These outpourings are nothing when compared to what God has promised.
Joel speaks of the promised Double Portion anointing when we will receive the former rain and the latter rain together. This is the fullness of the Spirit. Joel relates that this will come in the first month, or the beginning of the Seventh Day. This is when God will anoint His restored right hand ministry to do the greater works.
Joel also recorded God's promise to those who will come out of their Pharisical orders to be healed:
"And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you." *** Joel 2:25
The cankerworm, the caterpiller and the palmerworm are all in the locust family and mean "destroying power". These represent the destroying power of the spirit of darkness that have been given place in the lives of God's people. The Lord has promised to restore all the things that the spirit of darkness has destroyed in the lives of His chosen ones. God's promise to restore is total, nothing left out or missing, but total, complete, absolute. This restoration must be complete if we are again to enter into the presence of the Father.
When Jesus and His disciples came down from the Mount of Transfiguration where Elijah and Moses appeared unto Jesus, Peter, James and John, the disciples, being puzzled, asked Jesus, "Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?" *** Matthew 17:10
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." *** Matthew 17:11
Jesus told His disciples Elijah would come first and restore all things. The Elijah ministry is in the earth today to restore all things. This ministry will turn the hearts of the children back to the Father, to be healed and begin to walk in communion with the Father.
God's plan of restoration is at work in the earth today, man's physical earth. The Holy Spirit is crying, "Restore". God is wanting to set His people free from those who have deceived His people. God is desiring to restore our souls. He is desiring to refresh us by His still waters and green pastures. God is going to restore His right hand ministry in those who will step forth from the Pharisical orders to be healed. Those who desire to walk in the ancient paths as God has set before His creation man will return again into the presence of the Father.
The final step in our complete return into the Father's presence is "reconciliation", being totally and absolutely reconciled in our relationship and our position that God had originally designed for His creation man.
Those who are looking up and have had their Spiritual eyes healed can see God's reconciliation for His people, Spiritual Israel. Those who will make up His kingdom, those who have allowed the king's domain to inhabit their entire life and existence, will be reconciled back unto God.
"Now when we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." *** II Corinthians 5:20
Paul prayed in Christ's stead that we be reconciled to God. The word reconcile means "to return to favour with, be reconciled to one; to receive one into favour". Reconciliation means "to return to our created place in God".
There is another word that is used inter-changeably with reconcile or reconciliation. It is the word "regeneration". The work regeneration means "new birth, renewal, recreation; the production of a new life consecrated to God; a radical change of mind for the better; the restoration of a thing to its pristine state".
Regeneration is the restoration of a thing to its "pristine" state. The word pristine means "its most vital state". Webster states that the word pristine means "the first, the original, the state of innocence". Those who are reconciled back unto God and are part of the regeneration will be returned to their "pristine" state, to their original created place which man possessed in the garden in his most vital state, in complete innocency. This is the place God intended man to be so that He could communicate and have fellowship with His creation. This is where man must come to in Christ that he may subdue his earth [his body], and bring it again under the headship of Christ.
God created the earth for man. And in the garden, God gave man dominion. But man gave it away. Now, in order for man to return to his pristine condition in God, he must first subdue his earth [his body], then God will again give him dominion on the earth and over the earth.
God has a plan of reconciliation for His creation. Paul spoke of God's plan of reconciliation to the church at Colosse:
"And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled". Colossians 1:20-21
When Jesus shed His blood on the cross, He set God's plan of reconciliation in motion. Paul related that through Jesus, God would reconcile all things to those who have made peace with God through the shed blood of Jesus.
Many who have accepted God's grace to have their sins forgiven by the blood of Jesus have not come into the peace of God through His blood. This is because they are still alienated and enemies of God in their mind. The Bible only lists two enemies of God:
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." *** Romans 8:7
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God" whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." *** James 4:4
The carnal mind and the world are the only two enemies that God has. Those who have alienated God from their thinking, whose minds are not stayed on Him, are enemies of God in their minds. Also those who have not been circumcised in the heart and in the spirit, *** Romans 2:29, are also enemies of God.
God's plan of reconciliation includes those who have made peace with God through the blood of Jesus. Reconciliation also includes those who are allowing the work of the Holy Spirit to cut away all the flesh from the heart [mind], so that the headship of Christ may be exposed in their life. These have allowed their mind to become the high place for God to dwell. In his letter to the Romans, Paul spoke further about God's plan of reconciliation:
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by His life." *** Romans 5:10
When Jesus died on the cross, the way was provided for all men to return into the presence of the Father. The veil into the Holy of Holies was rent (torn down). The way was prepared because, as Jesus proclaimed, "I am the way", and no one returns to the Father unless they walk that way. But, as history has taught, man has not walked that way.
And even though the way has been prepared, we also must realize there was a day of entering in. The high priest could only enter the Holy of Holies one day a year. And this was on the Day of Atonement which takes place during the Feast of Tabernacles. The Day of Atonement was on the tenth day of the seventh month.
Israel had three main feasts: Feast of Passover, Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Passover foretold Jesus' life, death, burial and resurrection. The Feast of Pentecost foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The Feast of Tabernacles foretells God's plan of reconciliation, when His people will come again into His presence to rule and reign and to live eternally in the presence of the Father.
Paul stated that when we were enemies of God, our minds were alienated from God. We were then reconciled to God by the death of His Son. Then Paul continues that much more being reconciled we shall be saved by His life. Jesus gave us His life as an example, and we must follow in His steps, *** I Peter 2:21. It is only by living the life of the example given that we can be saved. We must follow in His steps if we are to return to the Father.
Jesus is not a way to the Father, He is the only way. Paul stated that we will be saved by Jesus' life. His life must become our life. His way must become our way, and our only way. This becomes our hope in Christ. Paul did not stop there. He further stated:
"And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." *** Romans 5:11
The word atonement is a mistranslation. Atonement is an Old testament word which means "to placate, to set aside, to condone". When Jesus died on the cross, He did not placate, set aside or condone our sin. He completely forgave us our sin that we could again establish a relationship with God.
The word atonement should have been translated "reconciliation". It is only by and through our Lord Jesus Christ and by living the life that He left as an example, that we can become part of God's plan of reconciliation. Paul, who understood God's plan of reconciliation, wrote to the Corinthians:
"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." *** II Corinthians 5:18-19
God has not only committed the ministry of reconciliation to His people, He has also committed to them the word of reconciliation. The ministry of reconciliation is to bring His body again into a pristine condition, that they may again return to the presence of the Father. These can stand clean and whole before the Father, because all flesh will have been circumcised from their hearts. These have been completely and totally cleansed by the washing of water by the Word, *** Ephesians 5:26.
God will have a glorious church without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. These are those who will again return into the presence of the Father and commune and fellowship with Him for all eternity in their pristine condition.
God's plan of regeneration is working in His people today. The kingdom of God is truly coming within His people, and it is coming without observation. God is changing the heart of man. This is not happening in big meetings or conventions. It is happening in prayer closets in times of close communion with the Father. He is opening the Spiritual eyes of His people so they may see and hear His Word. So they may see and hear not only what Jesus and the apostles had to say, but also what Moses and the prophets proclaimed of the days ahead for His body. As Jesus proclaimed to His disciples:
"Verily, I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." *** Matthew 19:28
Those who follow their example into the regeneration will be part of those who will sit upon the twelve thrones of judgment to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. These who are part of the regeneration will enter into God's presence. These will rule and reign with Christ for 1000 years in the presence of the Father. Paul, in his letter to Titus, proclaimed:
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" *** Titus 3:5
We cannot enter into the presence of the Father through our own righteousness which is as filthy rags in the sight of God, *** Isaiah 64:6. We will enter in by the washing of the regeneration of the Holy Ghost . The washing of water by the Word will bring us again into that pristine condition. Then we will become acceptable in the presence of the Father. This can only be accomplished by the daily renewal of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is when the Holy Spirit moves upon the water of the Word, and turns that water into wine. Wine is the anointed Word of God that will bring about the needed change in our thinking processes. This will allow God's regeneration to take place in our being.
Our vision must be such, that not only do we see God's total plan and purpose for man, but that by and through the Spirit we begin to move toward that new day when God will restore man to His created, pristine condition. This will bring man into a oneness with God. When addressing His disciples, Jesus declared:
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." *** John 17:20-23
God desires that we become one with each other, just as Jesus was one with the Father. Jesus revealed "I in them, and thou in Me". This is when God will come again into oneness with His creation man.
It is God's desire to have a renewed communion with His creation in His day of regeneration and reconciliation. As Jesus proclaimed to John on the Isle of Patmos:
"And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." *** Revelation 21:5
It is God's plan to make all things new as they were in the beginning. When we view the Bible in its proper perspective, we will see that the end of Revelation is the beginning of Genesis. We can begin to see that God is again bringing His creation to their rightful place in Him, where man might partake of the Tree of Life which is set in the midst of the Garden. It is God's intended plan and purpose that man can eat of the Tree of Life and live forever.
Christ Jesus is our Tree of Life, and as we partake of the life of Christ, and He becomes our total substance and desire, then we, again, will partake of eternal life which only exists in the presence of the Father. Paul's second letter to Timothy proclaims this eternal presence:
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began," *** II Timothy 1:9
Those who will again enter into His presence have an holy calling in their life. That Holy Calling is God's purpose and grace. This was purposed for us in Christ Jesus before the world began. Before God placed man in the garden, God's purpose and grace were established in each person who would return again into the presence of the Father.
"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." *** Romans 8:29
Those who allow themselves to be conformed to the image of the Son will become one with each other and one with the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Those who will again enter into God's presence must become those living sacrifices who are acceptable in the sight of the Father. These also must come into total obedience to His voice and His word because obedience is better than sacrifice. When we come into total obedience to God's voice and His Word, we become overcomers, overcoming the desires and the dictates of the flesh.
When we enter the overcoming realm, then all things will be restored unto us. The message of restoration is ringing clear in the earth today. Our next step into the presence of the Father is reconciliation and regeneration, when man can again, in his pristine condition, stand in the presence of the Almighty, All Powerful and All Glorious God, the Creator of all things. This is our promise in Christ Jesus:
"Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." *** Ephesians 1:20-21
God has His predestined place for His people. If we are to walk into that prepared place, then our lives must reflect the life of our example. We must walk in His way if we are to dwell in the presence of the Father. We can only partake of the Tree of Life that stands in the presence of the Father when we complete all five steps that God has placed before us: sacrifice, obedience, overcoming, restoration and reconciliation.
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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