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Our Spiritual Endowment (intro.)

Our Spiritual Endowment – …still available, but largely untapped.

The Spirit of God from Beginning to End – It is not by accident that the Bible begins and ends with the Spirit of God, or that we see Him in action all the way through.  Genesis 1:2 says, “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”  And in Revelation 22:17, we find, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’”

First we see God’s Spirit active in creation, and last we see Him calling us to our Creator’s own eternal home.  In between we see Him in operation literally hundreds of times.  And now, throughout this New Covenant period when God is working with us by many ways and means, each one either directly or indirectly involves His Spirit.

Our salvation comes through the Person and work of God’s Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and our constant Companion is the Holy Spirit.  Many volumes have been written about the third Person of the Godhead, indescribable as He is, and countless conversations held, but still so much about Him remains a mystery.  So much about Him, and how God would use Him through us, can only be learned when we actually experience Him personally.  That is what God wants.

This little explanation about our spiritual endowment is meant to simply, and succinctly point out the vital role the Holy Spirit was meant to play in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, God’s ambassadors to the world.  The Bible teaches that God would have Him play a much more prominent role in our daily lives than most of us realize.  And that should be an issue of great concern to all of us.  He is God.  And He is God’s Agent in the world today, bringing about God’s perfect plan even as we speak.  He is carefully orchestrating nations and kingdoms, spiritual dominions and the powers that be, things both great and small, leading everything to God’s predetermined end – that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and that God the Father is glorified to the full!  The Spirit of God is the gift of God to all those born of Him, and God the Father wants us to work in concert with Him constantly, and continually.  Let us do just that!

The Hope of God’s Glory in the World – The Spirit of God revealed mysteries of ages past to the apostle Paul, first – secret truths put in place before the world began.  They were spoken by the prophets, but never really understood.  Those hidden secrets, referred to approximately twenty times throughout the New Testament, involve God’s work among us, how He freely gave up His own life to the death so that we might be saved; and afterward that He would come alongside us, and even inside us making His abode, accompanying us all the way to our heavenly home.  What an incomprehensible thought!  But what a profound reality!  Right now “we have this treasure [His Spirit] in our earthen vessel.” II Cor. 4:7

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27

This present-day, inconceivable union between God and man is how God chose to glorify Himself in the world more than in any other way.  That alone should get and keep our undivided attention.  I pray that I will give Him my utter devotion, and that you will too.

O dry bones, hear the word of The Lord!

Do not be discouraged brothers and sisters!  We are about to see it again!  And if we will keep this thought at the forefront of our minds as we enter into even more perilous times, we can rejoice all along the highway of greater holiness!  Along this highway we will have a greater opportunity than ever before to enjoy His glorious presence and power since we are among those who will make up His Glorious Bride!

A number of years ago the Holy Spirit quickened to my heart a likeness to Ezekiel’s prophecy about the restoration of natural Israel that the world officially signed into place on November 29, 1947, and that Britain permitted to become a reality on May 14, 1948 – some 2,500 years after Ezekiel prophesied.  In the same way that the bones stood up and came together then took on flesh followed by the breath of God giving His life, Old Covenant Law was like the skeletal structure upon which God would add “grace and truth” that came through Jesus Christ (adding flesh to the bones), followed by the infilling of the Spirit of The Lord giving His life.

Today, I would like to share another simple observation.  Those foundational truths that were rediscovered as a result of the Reformation era may be likened to those bones standing up and coming together again.  The spiritual revelation received that added spiritual knowledge with understanding for those who sought Him outside Mainline denominational institutions may be likened unto the flesh coming on those bones.  Then finally, periodic outpourings of His Spirit throughout the last few centuries have added His breath and life to much of His body.  I have been convinced by revelation of His Spirit lining up perfectly with His Word that the greatest outpouring is still to come; and all those outside the camp who seek Him in Spirit and in Truth will receive a fresh outpouring of His Spirit, even with the power of the first Pentecost, so that we will be completed as His Glorious Bride! (Ephesians 4:13-16)

Take heart.  There is much glory to come along with much persecution!  I remember the first time the Holy Spirit inspired me to preach about coming persecution to the West.  It was in the late nineties.  I was in a city somewhere in South America, the meeting hall was packed to capacity, and the believers were sitting on the edge of their seats!  What The Lord spoke through me that day has remained a primary part of my understanding since then.  In the midst of persecution we will see His manifested power and know His presence in a way that previous generations of persecuted believers have not known on a broad scale.  This is not to say that it will not be difficult, but that as we truly become more like Him, growing in our intimate relationship with Him, we will take on the attitude of Paul and Silas in prison, where they were singing in spite of it all!  Whatever evil could befall them was of no consequence to their joy in The Lord.  This is important to lay hold of, and even to look forward to!

Through continual prayer and seeking of His face for many years, I believe the Holy Spirit has shown me that even the very difficult road of persecution that awaits those of us outside the camp will have the opportunity to walk in the joy of His presence and power in a way that no other generation of persecuted Christians has ever seen.  This fresh surge of His presence and power has everything to do with the time in which we live, and what He is preparing us to become – His Bride.  His fresh breath is about to be blown upon us in a way that will enable us far beyond all that we could ask, or think, or even imagine!  Far beyond what we are seeing in the persecuted church in the world today.

Oh, dry bones… Take on flesh, and receive the knowledge of The Lord with understanding… Seek to become like Him exactly as He is, and patiently wait on an outpouring of His Spirit to accompany us all the way through with His life!

Holiness in the Lord

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Heb. 12:14

That is a stand-alone statement – apart from all other aspects of a person’s life and/or his or her perceived relationship with God. Even those of us who are born of His Spirit must walk in holiness if we would see God. That is a lot to swallow, but it is confirmed many times throughout the Bible, nonetheless.

The same Holy Spirit who inspired the writer of Hebrews inspired the other writers of the Bible, making abundantly clear that anyone who is not holy cannot see the Lord. This is a fundamental truth, and it is not one to be made light of. In today’s era of post-modern church, “gospel speakers” (there are no post-modern-minded preachers) belittle those of us who still recognize God’s call for personal responsibility toward Godliness, beginning with holiness (separation from the world and the lust of the flesh thereof). My friend, the holy state God freely gave us remains only as we pursue a walk in that holiness, otherwise we can become unholy again. Fortunately, God is long-suffering and patient, working with us for many years through the personal sanctification (holiness) process. For this we should be forever grateful! But there may come a time when we are called to give account, and are not ready due to our slothfulness to respond properly to His great patience.

Let us take heed to our need for holiness and separation from the world with the lust thereof, especially from the lust of the flesh by which we may be so easily beset.

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” II Cor. 3:17

“A Quickening Spirit”

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. I Corinthians 15:45

Oh, what a great contrast between the two: “a living soul,” and “a quickening spirit.” One is temporal, and the other is eternal. One is mortal, the other immortal. One has the similitude of Creator God, and the other one is Creator God (the Spirit within us, and not us). One is sin bound, while the other is righteous bound. One is filled with passion… man based, and the other filled with inspiration… God breathed. One is holy, the other unholy. One is pure, the other filthy. One is earthly minded, entangled with the affairs of this life, and the other is heavenly minded, running away from the affairs of this life. One has crucified his life with Christ, and the other one has preserved his life. And the list goes on, and on. The contrasts are limitless indeed.

Yet how easy it is for those of us who have been born again, who have been made after “the last Adam” (a quickening spirit), to be drawn back into the grip of “the first Adam” (a living soul). They are so far apart, yet they have a certain similitude whereby we can be deceived as to which one we are actually walking out.

So subtly the enemy works… sometimes quickly, and sometimes over a long period of time by his cunning supernatural ways he draws us back into living life like all those living souls around us, rather than the quickening spirit God has made us to become. And let us not say that it isn’t so, lest we close our eyes and stop up our ears to the God of grace and mercy that would draw us unto Himself again.

Oh, beloved! We are indeed in “the evil day,” and those “perilous times” the apostle Paul prophesied about are already upon us! Let us not neglect abiding in the Word, and prayer, and worship. And let us be careful to fellowship together, giving and receiving the word of the Spirit of the Lord according to the word of God that resonates with that quickening spirit within. Let us be careful not to be encumbered with the affairs of this life, but to live heavenward always lest we become just a living soul again!

“Not only that, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Rom. 8:23 

Remnant Action Still Lacking

Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” Woe to those who seek deep to hide their counsel far from the LORD, and their works are in the dark; they say, “Who sees us?” and, “Who knows us?” (Isaiah 29:13-15)

After many years of mingling with and observing the scattered remnant among those who profess Christianity, I realize that I have been making a wrong assumption.

I assumed that the remnant would actually draw nigh to God in the same way that they draw nigh to His message – but that is not so. It is true that many of the remnant draw nigh to the message of the Lord at critical moments, but it is not true that a notable percentage of the remnant are drawing nigh to the Lord. They want to be informed, but not transformed. There is a great difference.

As long as there is the tiniest shred of anything to hang onto for comfort and security, the vast majority of even the remnant are not willing to take definitive steps toward transformation into the fullness of Christ’s image. It is too costly and requires too much living faith – faith they have never had. A small percentage of them will draw near to the edge of transformation, but only a tiny handful of that small percentage will actually choose to take definitive steps toward transformation.

The prospects of real change among the remnant toward spiritual maturity looked promising beginning with the scare of the financial crisis that started back in 2008, but for the most part they came out into daylight just long enough to learn what God was saying about the matter for the benefit of knowing how they might protect their assets. Of course, many who came out were not part of the remnant at all, but the majority claimed to be.  Well, after holding out for a few years until the immediate financial scare seemed to fade away, they went right back into their darkened corners where they felt comfortable and secure before the scare.

After proclaiming God’s message with much spiritual insight and with an undeniable anointing of the Holy Spirit, and seeing little more than lip service in response, we realized that only a spook for disaster was not enough to drive anyone to real transformation. The dollar must fail altogether for that – and even then there will be some who can continue to survive on their own, and will. Oh, how the spirit of individualism and independence does still reign.

Finally, after it has become clear that the umbilical cord of Americanism is about to be cut from Christians too (which news, by the way, has really brought an unprecedented number of believers out of the woodwork), still we do not see anything more than lip service. (We are sure that some, like us, are doing all they know to do, and that some steps into greater transformation are just not yet readily visible.)

Notwithstanding, I am convinced today just as I was a dozen years ago that “Christianity – American style” will reign even among the remnant as long as that remnant has the slightest thread to hang onto. Oh, well. The welcome mat into “Christianity- American style” lives on…and on…and on… even among the vast majority that call themselves the remnant.

“The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it…” Isaiah 1:5b

Shaped Through Trials – Made Perfect in Weakness

“You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.” Dan. 2:34

So it was that “the God who reveals secrets” revealed King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel. This part of the dream speaks of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and how He would be fashioned by God Himself, not by man. Suffering in obedience to His Father’s plan was an essential tool God used to shape (perfect) His Son. The writer of the book of Hebrews testifies that “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Heb. 5:8-9)

Our Lord was actually “made perfect” by the things which He suffered. He was never imperfect, but the successful completion of His journey on earth brought about the completion of what God had purposed before the world began; and He did it perfectly. (II Tim. 1:9; John 17:4; Heb.4:15; II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:22)  The point here is that suffering through obedience to His Father was critical to Him carrying out His mission... perfectly. And for all those who “obey Him,”  we also suffer various trials (II Tim.3:12). And in the same way that our Lord was perfected by continuing to yield to the Spirit through His suffering on earth, so we can be. This is the sanctification process on earth. James the brother of our Lord wrote that it is through “patience” in suffering trials that we are made “perfect and complete, lacking NOTHING.” (Jam. 1:2-4)

Obedience through suffering is a necessary part of the equation for continuing sanctification and a righteous life – especially if we pursue becoming “perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) This kind of suffering is not something that should ever be laid on a brother or sister from another, but rather it is a natural response from the world as we shine as His light in the world. Brothers and sisters are to relieve one another in suffering when possible, “bearing one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal. 6:2)

And so the persecuted church is one that is increasing in number, and it shall continue to increase until suffering for true Christians is present all around the world. (Rev. 6:9-11) Then our Lord will come for the bride that He has made “ready,” “complete,” “perfect,” “without spot or wrinkle,” or even a “blemish”! (Eph. 5:27)

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (II Cor. 12:9-10)

Let us let Him make us ready for that glorious day when we shall shine even as He shines!

A Prophet in His Own Country

“‘Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So the were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.’ Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” Mark 6:3-6

How sad it is to see that this human condition still continues among New Covenant believers today. The gifts of God given to those across town, down the street, next door, and even in our own living rooms should be greatly appreciated in much the same way we appreciate those on the other side of the world. Are they not all gifts from God? Oh brothers and sisters! How can we ever be “fitly joined together” into one body if we hold at arms length those nearest to us? We cannot.

Let us see one another through spiritual eyes, and listen with spiritual ears. Oftentimes our unpleasant parts are actually designed by God to be the most useful. The big toe is a good illustration of that point. All of God’s people have been gifted in part, for the benefit of the whole; and all are necessary to make the whole. To avoid one is to hurt the whole. Let us patiently help each other in the process of maturity in sharing his or her gift to his or her very best. In this way, we are sure to be in route to Christ’s full measure!

“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” II Corinthians 5:16

 

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