Category: Exhortation

Bibliolatry

“And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! (John 5:38-39)

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matt. 4:4)

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness,examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11)

There are many well-intended scribes among us in these latter days, devoted to external study, to mere words, many great teachers skilled at rightly dividing the written word. Mountains of books written, yet apostasy and falseness and superficiality everywhere and growing among so-called Christianity. They have taken the Word of Life and rendered it to mere fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; the wisdom of Solomon on scrolls of paper, but not written on the heart. “Live by biblical principles they say, and then reap the blessing of heaven.” They point to the Bible as some kind of path, some way out of death, when it was never given to be that. The Scriptures testify of Jesus Christ, and they witness to Him as the Word of God, sent down among us to express the very life and purpose of God in a way that we can comprehend. The “Word” of God is not just what Jesus (or His servants) said, but it represents all that He is – HE IS THE WORD OF GOD!

But (hear this please, for this is very important) life is not found in the Scriptures, and to take the New Testament and make its words and precepts so much like the law and prophets given to the Hebrews, is not what the Lord came to impart. “You do not have His word abiding in you,” said the Lord; and dedicating your entire life to mining, probing, dissecting, and parsing the written word may not get you one step further into the heart of God. You will become a scribe and scholar not a disciple trained on the bloody and narrow path that leads out of Adam into Christ. “Here take and you will be as God” said the dragon in the garden.

Jesus did not say it was better that He leave the twelve because He was going to give them the New Testament (and some super-apostle named Paul) to guide them in all matters of entering into the fullness of the Father – He said it was better because then He would indwell them personally and guide them from within through His Spirit. Then we will become branches of the true vine, bringing forth fruit of Him. Members of His body enlivened and directed by the Head, the Mind, the Brain that is Jesus. This does not negate the Scriptures at all but verifies them and substantiates them. Apart from the spirit, we cannot rightly divide them, or apply them, or even realize the rich spiritual meaning of them. But to take them beyond where they go, this is not helpful either. One can “know” the Bible and never truly know the Lord.

We all believe in the perfect, inerrant and Holy Bible, and it is an incalculable blessing to be sure. Yet it does not negate the need of each of us personally to be hearing the Shepherd as He leads us from within. We are to live by every word that God speaks; by His will in other words. Our lives in the Lord are living epistles and no less poignant or purposeful than the written letters we have brought down to us. As the Lord speaks to us He most often affirms this in the testimonies of those recorded in the Bible – this is my experience anyway, for what is worth.

When Ezra set up the schools to restore and circulate the written testimony of Israel, what evolved over centuries up until the time of the Lord was an oral tradition, a tradition of commentary and supplemental material (biblical principles and interpretations) from men known as as the Talmud. This was accompanied by sects, scribes, schools, each having their own slant on the testimony of God – sound familiar? This pattern has been repeated over the last 2000 years, until now many believers will not so much as stand up or sit down without affirmation from their favorite teacher or ministry. Well the Lord told them so much of what they had added to His Word was of the flesh, of men, and He then went on to teach what was really being expressed and intended. “You have heard… but I say….” They had taken the Scriptures as the end, the means to life, when it was really intended to point to and prepare the people for the coming of the Son of Man.

There is, to be sure, no less a Talmud it seems for Christians today than there was for the Hebrews. And this is at the least unhelpful and at the worst – dangerous. Rather than help the disciple to hear the Lord personally, these outward things can begin to replace His moment-by-moment leading. We are to obey the Lord, not some outward list of dos and donts. Converts are taught to live by “biblical principles” rather than following the Lord. Grace is stifled. Men (teachers) are exalted. Churches become schools rather than a body building up the members or a vine bearing fruit. Sermons become seminars with a step-by-step guide to living this life. There is great division over interpretation and ideas. The heart of the Lord is grieved. All because He is not first. All because men search the scriptures looking for something they can never give. Those who supposedly “know” lord it over His flock, yet they are not shepherds, and they are not the One True Shepherd!

We are to be led and instructed and illuminated in the ways of life from within, by the abiding spirit that will illuminate and breathe life into the written word. Yet the word on its own is just as useless for engendering life and salvation as the law. This is what Paul the pharisee taught, and this is why the Lord when selecting the twelve did not go the scribes or schools; He went to the seaside and the tax booth.

This “teaching” or that is not all that we need in this dark hour saints – but cross-bearing testimony, god-breathed witness and testimony, real spirit-touching-bone expression of life. And it begins and flows from within us, affirming His blessed Scriptures. “The Scriptures point to me” – yes but then we set Him aside and spend lifetimes returning to the Scriptures. They are a means to an end, not the end in itself!

…and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:19)

And so what indeed is “sound teaching”? It is everything and anything that leads to the increase of the love of Christ, that directs the thirty soul to drink deep at His well. It is never knowledge for its own sake. it is never – “if only I could learn enough, spend enough time at the feet of Gamaliel, etc.” That is spirit-sucking religion; it is outward, it looks and smells and feels so good but it can never engender the life and fullness of God.

Statements mean nothing! Statements of Faith even less! What is the the Lord saying to each of us now is what matters.

What matters is that the Living Word that came down has penetrated us and become flesh in us so that we live and move and have our new being in Him alone – the scriptures will then take care of themselves, and something wonderful will begin to happen – we will indeed begin to understand His divine purposes in the revelation of His written Word. We will see Jesus Christ in them, and once they have directed us to Him, deeper to Him, we can set them in their safe and rightful place.

This is a delicate matter saints, one requiring maturity and balance, yet what is needed in this dark hour is not more scribes, not more rabbis, not more textualists – but witnesses, prophets, cross-bearing, striped lambs who are willing to lay it all down for the Lord, to stand by Him and His little ones who are bearing the scorn and reproach of this world –

You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; (Luke 22:28)

Do that brothers, be that – and then you will see. The windows will open, and the scriptures will affirm all that you see. You cannot study life, you must live it, you must enter into it, knee-deep and then neck-deep until it is all and only the Lord, all His way in you – spirit, soul and body!

Bro Sparks writes on this subject of knowing, truly knowing, epignosis (Greek: knowing as a living, breathing, costly truth that is wrought at the very center of your spirit), knowing beyond mind, ideas, concepts, etc. And what makes this knowing real? Well it is the cross isn’t it, the very thing we have shunned in this generation, the very awful thing that we have set aside. The cross as it works its deep and terrible force in a man’s heart and life, unleashes a power that turns merely knowing into revelation – something laid bare and revealed. This is why the wilderness, why the cave, while the barrenness and loss, why the scorn and reproach, why the gates of hell come against us.

I absolutely adore how Bro. Sparks (below) so exquisitely conveys something that I have struggled to express for many years now. Oh for saints such as these, who have gone down, gone in, gone deep, and come out again with eyes wide open.

Oh pray that we would be willing to lose all that we might gain such an abiding knowing of our Lord and His ways.

The prophet must live the message he is to convey to the Lord’s wayward people. We need prophets today like never before, those willing to pay the price of seeing and hearing the Lord. Pray He will raise ones such as these among us in this hour.

Lord, we know what You have said, we know what is written, and we thank you Lord. Yet we need to know what You are saying to us now, in this time. Grant us Your word, your heart, that we might be everything we need to be for one another as the days grow darker, and the evil advances inside the gate. Let there be nothing we look back to once we have left this Sodom, let it all be released from our hearts forever, that You might have Your place on the very throne of our lives. In Jesus, we live and move and pray these things. amen


The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

After the Cross, all the fullness of the Divine power was released upon the world through those who had been brought into absolute oneness with the Lord by that Cross. That is the peculiar kind of knowledge which means the release of such forces and such powers upon the world situation as are unknown by the great world systems. First, let us remember that this knowledge of God is by revelation. We can never get this knowledge of God merely by reading, by listening, by attending meetings…. You may understand it all by mental apprehension, know the terms and the verses, and use them – but what about the dynamic of this thing? What does our personal presence in a situation mean? Does it mean that there is the going out of a power which cannot be accounted for on any human basis whatever, but which is a greater force than the forces that are represented by world organizations, world methods, world resources? It is a most important question. Is this thing alive, or have we merely got a little more mental apprehension of it through conferences? Do we know God in this thing by reason of a personal inward revelation on the subject?

Secondly, it comes by the way of pain. You get a thing revealed to you as truth, perhaps something about the Cross of Christ, or victory over Satan, and you think you know it, and you say, “This is beautiful!” And you begin to talk about it, and it is not very long before something happens – your circumstances are touched. Now you go down with this truth, down into the vortex of awful agony, right down to the gates of hell, your being is upheaved right from the very bottom, and all the time there is the question – “Will that truth hold good?” Is it going to work? And when you have got down as far as you can go, the flesh elements and the self elements have been dealt with, and you grimly hold on to the Lord in this matter of victory – then it comes out, you have tested it right to the very bottom of your being – that thing has become you, and then you can go to others in their grim conflict and their darkness, and say, “I know – I know this thing, and I know God is faithful, I know the victory.” You have got a mighty emphasis on your knowledge, it is a thing about which you have no doubt, because you have gone down into the depths with it, and proved it down there, and by the very pain the thing has been proved.

May this word speak to some of you groaning under the burden of never knowing enough.

Let us esteem each other more worthy than ourselves in this our, of our love, of our blessings, of our prayers and our treasure.

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Labels

I am personally finished with labels. They are designed solely to divide, exclude and discriminate, as they are so front-loaded with meaning and value. So what if you are not a “christian”, or an “evangelical” or this or that. The first response from those that are, is that “you are not one of us”, so there is suspicion. division and fear.

What is our first response when we here someone is a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Catholic?

Be honest now.

It is that you are not like me, you are not in my group, I have to change that. I either have to avoid you entirely or  convert you, change your mind in some way.

We hate racial prejudice but accept religious prejudice freely and loosely all the time. THIS IS WRONG and very dangerous, and it is not the way of our Lord. He never once said to anyone, go and become a christian, change your name. He said “go and sin no more” if I am not mistaken.

Look at how these pious, religious men treated lepers, the unclean, gentiles, Samaritans, and prostitutes in the New Testament. Look at how their labels reared up high walls around these human souls. Repugnant. Insidious. Then look at how the Master so graciously and irreverently tore them all down into heaps at their feet.

Let us here and now vow to stop labeling human beings, and start treating all human beings as children of God, individuals with a redemptive story, a history, value and meaning.

No more of this us and them mentality. No more caste systems! No more untouchables!

We will never learn anything or truly share anything with anyone if we are trying to convert them to our label. Love is impossible with labels, as you will never go deeper than the label and all of its associated bigotry and meaning.

Children do not use labels!

Go the playground and watch and listen.

Watch as little ones approach others they know nothing about.

Are their first words – “What are you?”

Or do they look for things they can share – a toy, an activity, an interest, and then plunge right in?

So over time, their parents begin the process of programming them to discriminate, and for this they need what – LABELS.

Black, white, rich, poor, christian, pagan, american, republican, democrat…

So by the time they reach adulthood, they are no longer looking for things they can share but things that discriminate and divide. They have become as narr0w, isolated and small as their parents.

“Come to me as little children” – said a very wise man.

Labels are a lazy, insidious, sheep-like way of making sense of all of the color and diversity in this world.

All is done.

Once you discover that the man over there is a Muslim, there is nothing else to know. You will never know what is in his heart, never discover that he deeply loves his family and works hard to support and provide for them, never know that the faith he holds is a sincere and deep one. You will never go to his home and share a meal with him.

In short, you will never, ever, ever be like the very one you profess to follow.

Consider how aggressively the various Jewish groups tried to get Joshua to proclaim which groups he was in – pharisee, saducee, herodian, etc. So they could then either shun or exploit Him. This still goes on today. The christian caste system is every bit as active and insidious as anything found in Hinduism.

“One can never safely approach God through theology, only by the Holy Spirit.”

Do you know who wrote that?

What would you say if I told you it was a Buddhist monk from Viet Nam.

“Oh but, but…”

See how this works.

NO MORE LABELS!!!!

The Wine of Her Fornication – W.E. Smith

Dear ones –

A drunken man has no discernment. All is haze and confusion. And this is a serious business. Notice the following passages –

“Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, ‘Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between the holy and the unholy, and between the clean and the unclean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.’” (Lev. 10:8-11)

“Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.” (Ez. 22:26)

“No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court…and they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ez. 44:21-23)

Now notice this relating to our very day –

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” (Rev. 17:1-3)

Babylon, at its heart, represents confusion and mixture, where the holy is not distinguished from the unholy. All is worked in together. Tares and wheat, leaven and meal. Babylon is a quasi-religious system where all is mixed together, the natural and the spiritual. And those who are drunken cannot discern the difference; their eyes simply do not see it. They have no spiritual clarity. It has gone long beyond understanding. The “Lie” has worked itself into them deeply, into their heart, their desire; their lives. You cannot convince them otherwise for they are wedded to Babylon and all she represents. Her uncleanness runs far too deep. Like the harlot who cannot merely change her clothes to become other than she is. Her fornication refers to her unholy communion (becoming one spiritual body) with the powers of the world, the political, the economic, anywhere and everywhere the enemy has principalities and strognholds.

The product of the harlot’s illicit union with the world is “the wine of her fornication.” This wine is the intoxicating influence of the mixture of this religious system. The mixed system does not try to sort out the things of God from those not of God. It mixes them all together into one confusing mass. This mixture influences all people on the earth in the realm of religion. All people, including genuine Christians, are put into a stupor, being unable to discern the pure truth concerning knowing, serving and following God. They are influenced by the teachings, and the natural and worldly philosophies, ways and practices of this religious system, Babylon. As a result, people cannot distinguish between the holy and the unholy. (Tom Finley)

The harlot is. perhaps, the very woman who has hidden the leaven in the meal.

Next notice how Austin-Sparks suggests this will only lead to trouble for those attempting to stand outside of this confusion, this mixture –

I have told you all this so that you may find your peace in Me. You will find trouble in the world – but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world! (John 16:33 Phillips)

When the spiritual stands to confront the merely formal, traditional, nominal and “natural,” then there is going to be trouble. This is not now merely the reaction from the world: it is the reaction from religion. I would go further, and say it may be the reaction from Christianity. There is a very great difference between formal, traditional, nominal, “natural” Christianity, on the one side, and spiritual Christianity, on the other; a great deal of difference. So much so, that this also becomes a battlefield – the battlefield of a lot of trouble.

Leave formalism alone, and everything will go on quite quietly. Leave traditionalism alone – that is, the set order of things as it has always been; that framework of things as it has been constituted and set up and established by man; that Christianity which is the fixed, accepted system of things – and you will escape a great deal of trouble. But seek to bring in a truly spiritual order of things, and trouble arises at once. And YOU are the trouble maker! The truth is that the trouble lies in the existing condition, the situation, the state; but it is only brought out by your action. And so spiritual men and women, and spiritual ministry, are called “trouble makers,” because the two things cannot go on together. That is where Israel was. They had the traditions, they had the oracles, they had the ordinances, they had the testimonies; they had the forms, they had the system – they had it all; but, in the days of the prophets, there was ever this vast gap between the “externals” and “internals” of life in relation with God. The heart is far removed from the lips. The spiritual reality is not found in the formal. You may have it all – but then bring in the truly spiritual meaning of things, and trouble begins in that very realm. It is the trouble which arises when what is external and traditional comes into conflict with something which is truly spiritual.

They tolerate us now, but the animus will be loosed soon, the restrainer will be removed, the locusts will swarm out of the pit. And then where does that leave us dear ones, all those who seek the true, the holy, the clean, the pure?

Where are you in your heart? Whose side are you on really? Is there mixture in your life? Are you intoxicated like the priests who brought unholy fire into the temple of the Lord? What do you tolerate, or reason away? What is the Lord Jesus to you anyway, deep down where spirit touches bone and life is revealed for what it truly is?

The time is at an end, and Babylon is rising dear saints. A new epoch is upon us. Babylon is not so much a place but a condition, a delusion appreciated only by those who are drunk with the wine of the harlot’s fornication. It stands for everything opposed to the Kingdom of our God, and her King! Once the seduction begins, it will grow increasingly difficult to resist, as every man knows all too well.

Do we have eyes clear and sound to see such things? Are we drinking the pure water of the Word, and leaning in to hear the Masters voice? Is the Spirit groaning within us in unspeakable ways, in a language only God knows?

Where then are those who will stand apart? Where are those who will resist the seductive wiles of this harlot and the beast she rides? Where are those who love their Lord beyond everything and anything this world has or represents?

Dear saints, it is all under water – America, the nations, the world system – the Lord of All Judgment has declared it, and although He will never flood this earth again, He will bring His fire, oh yes, He will bring down His holy, cleansing flame, to extinguish the chaff.

And so I ask again – where are you? Where are you right now at this very moment?

Dear ones, I appeal to the life of Jesus Christ within you – Choose life, choose Him, Choose the Holy One! Flee Babylon, for her gates are never high enough for the Lord of All Light!

No Place for Any Other First – W.E. Smith

Dear saints – It is with some fascination that I contemplate what men try so creatively, so ingeniously to do for the Lord. It is as though we don’t trust Him, or somehow feel we can do things better in terms of bringing about the fullest expression of spiritual body life. I absolutely relish this description by Sparks here of what really transpired shortly after He ascended –

“While there was some initial testimony, the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.”

Now if I may speak quite frankly, such a thing positively scares the life out of many believers, especially those who feel that everything of Christ must be branded, named, organized, systematized, collectivized, boxed, replicated, scheduled, itemized, etc.

Where I wonder in what Sparks has described is there a place for one such as Diotrephes, who loves to be first, over others, standing apart, in some place of self-importance?

I dare say that such Nicolaitans create these unnatural religious mechanisms so that they can control them, lord over them and derive no small degree of stature and importance from them – all in the name of Christ, all for Him ostensibly.

“THESE THINGS I HATE!”

…said the Master.

Rather than step back and glory in what the Lord through His Spirit was doing back then, we rather pull a verse out of the Book of Acts and create a system, a methodology from it – oh what a wonderful idea.

“They met in homes” – Oh so the pattern for church is to meet only and always in homes.

“The church in this city.” – Oh so we must organize city churches with spiritual headship over each jurisdiction.

“They all sold what they had…” oh so we are to give all of our resources to a centralized church body and have them manage and distribute it as they deem suitable.

Dear saints, what is so delicious, so marvelously impressive about the Book of Acts, is not only these things specifically, but that the wind was blowing, and that these saints allowed themselves to be swept up and away in its moving. Nothing of men, All from the Lord. Attempting, even with the very best of intentions, to replicate, simulate or return to the various particulars of what happened HAVE AND WILL FAIL EVERY TIME!

This book is a book not of patterns and templates, but of free-flowing life. It is the most un-religious book ever written.

May we open all of our doors, tears down all of our walls, open all of our windows – and simply let the mighty wind of the Spirit bring forth life into our fellowship and union with one another in the Lord. May we lay down all pride and lust for power and control. May we learn from John in his first letter which speaks of real heaven-blown fellowship and oneness in the LIGHT, LIFE and LOVE of God.

May He breathe on these words as they pass through your day today… amen

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From TAS –

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you. (Ephesians 1:18 NIV)

It is a seeing of the immense significance of Jesus in the eternal and universal order. With the Apostles that seeing was subsequent to the days of physical association. During the forty days after His resurrection it was like the dawning of a new day. First, those intimations, as when the uncertain light just passes over the heavens. Then more steady and certain rays, leading to the Day of Pentecost, when the sun appeared in full glory over the horizon dispelling the last shadow of uncertainty. On that day they saw Him as by an opened heaven. The mystery of the past was dispelled. The Bible lay open like a new book. They saw Him in the light of eternity. They began to see that, while He was the glorified, personal, Son of God, He was Himself the embodiment of a great, a vast heavenly and spiritual order and system. This seeing was absolutely revolutionary. It was a crisis out of which a new world and a new creation was born. True to this fundamental principle, all that vast revelation, which has come down the centuries from and through the Apostle Paul took its rise from that crisis described by him as “It pleased God… to reveal His Son in me” (Gal. 1:16). “I received it… by revelation of Jesus Christ” (vs. 12). All the implicates were in the crisis; the full content was a progressive and ever-growing revelation.

While there was some initial testimony, the Apostles did not formulate in conference an enterprise, a mission, with all the related arrangements and organization. The new Life forced off the old leaves and dressed the new organism with a new vesture from within. The might, energy and urge of the Holy Spirit within produced a Way and an order, un-thought-of, unintended by them, and always to their own surprise. What was happening was really that Christ was taking form within them, individually and corporately, by new birth and growth. The believers and the companies were becoming an expression of Christ.

Faith Made Certain

bibleNow faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.

… And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

… All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:1-2, 6, 13-16; please read all of this chapter)

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.

…Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:7-12, 16-18; please read all of this chapter)

Dear saints, all those who have the Light of God shining in your hearts, and have beheld the glory of God shining in the face of His Son, Jesus Christ (2 Cor: 4), we thank our Heavenly Father for all of you in this momentous hour. And we exhort you all in love and in Christ to fix your eyes and hope squarely on the only Savior who has come into this world, and is able to preserve you until the time of His appearance. Hold on and hold fast my brethren, and grip ever tighter with all the strength and determination His grace provides, for the testing of our faith in this hour will either weaken it or make it stronger and more steadfast.

Now as we consider further the topic of faith, we propose that it is nothing more or less than fixing our eyes on the Faithful One – the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith is simply turning our attention to, or fixing our eyes on Jesus – the Way the Truth and the Life, the Author and Perfecter of Faith, the Beginning and the End of all the plans and purposes of the Most High God. We fix our attention on Him that we might, by the grace of the Father through the Holy Spirit, come to know Him and to follow Him wherever He goes. It is by faith alone that we enter most fully into His very life and experience as the All-holy and Almighty One who always pleases the Father in Heaven.

In this message, the Lord willing, I would like to examine this further, and consider why our faith might be so important to the Father. Please reflect on the passages listed above, if you have not done so already. I believe that it is essential in this hour that we truly comprehend these matters, as the days ahead may prove to be very unsettling to our place in this world; and our faith in our God and His Word, will largely determine our spiritual condition at His coming.

The first thing I would like to mention regarding faith is that it seems, by all indications, to be extremely important to our God. He takes it very personally, in other words, when we are willing to invest all that we are – past, present and future – in Him alone, and in all that He has communicated to us by His word. In Hebrews 11:7, we see that when a man steps out on God’s word in obedience and trust, it is accounted to him as nothing less than righteousness. It is pleasing and precious to God when we take Him solely on His word; when His word, standing on its own, is sufficient for us. For all that He is, and is doing, and will do, is bound up in the word that He has communicated to mankind through all of His various means and instruments. And by this word, we most definitely mean all that the Scriptures associate with it, including the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Word made flesh (see John 1).

Have we therefore settled on the fact the Lord our God cannot fail to do all that He has planned and communicated to us through His word? He alone is faithful, and the veracity of His word must never be challenged or questioned. The enemy is forever sowing seeds of doubt and confusion, but if the Lord has declared something, it is so. PERIOD! Although, in the course of our lives on this earth, we see many things with our eyes,  hear many things with our ears, and touch much with our hands, we are not to live by any of this, but by –
EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD. (Matt. 4:4)

Now when the Lord communicates His Word, either through His Son, the Scripture, His messengers, or directly through the still small voice of the Spirit, it is often in diametric opposition to everything that our eyes and experience know to be so. We are to have absolute assurance that everything He has promised will be, but that assurance will by no means come through empirical evidence or the “things which are seen.” It is within this conflict between what the Lord says will be and what appears to be where our faith is tested and refined over time as we wait for His promises to be fulfilled. For not only does the Lord give us His word, but embodied in that is His expectation that we will be willing to wait for Him to perform it in entirety, precisely as He has declared. His Word is given, therefore, not just to communicate His plans and purposes, but to bind to Himself all those who will receive it by faith.

Notice how Austin-Sparks addresses the whole business of faith and experience in terms of times of trial and testing –

Now you see what happens. In the hour of temptation, God’s goodness is always impugned, and God’s truth is always brought into question, and all other tokens of His love, His veracity, are always obscured. The obvious answer to anybody alive and awake was, Oh no! look, look everywhere; everywhere there are evidences and tokens of God’s love: I have plenty of proof of the love of God if I like to contemplate it, if I like to sit down and think about it and weigh things up. But how many of you have ever done that in the hour of trial, and found your escape that way? Is it not true that, in the hour of trial, of temptation, of stress, of assault, all the blessings that have ever been are obscured? Somehow or other, a mist is spread over them, a fog bank, a smoke screen, and you only see your present adversity and the difficulty of the moment. You are obsessed with a question about God and His love and His faithfulness, His truth. I believe that this is why Jesus, in the final revelation, is called “Faithful and True” (Rev. 19:11). It is the great title of triumph in man; the triumph in man over all this work of Satan which raises for ever and aye the question as to God’s love and God’s truth. (from, The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus)

Brethren, as we all know, it is a relatively simple thing to confess that you believe in God; It is quite another matter altogether to believe God, especially in the midst of trial and confusion; when His word seems to be at odds with reality. And most certainly, He must know that we will believe Him, and trust Him, not only in the isolated or high moments of our lives, but beyond that such that we will be willing to entrust Him with all that we are, and forsake all things in this world. We then will be prepared to wait however long it takes for Him to restore all things and to fulfill all things in His Beloved Son.

ASSURANCE! CONVICTION! HOPE! Did you notice these running through the passages above? Clearly, all of these are rooted solely in His word and all that He has determined for our future. Our faith must bring us to the place where we know that He is more than just God, but to the point where we trust Him to fulfill everything that He has said He will do. That He is faithful and true (Rev. 19:11). That He is a God who always and forever keeps His word. That His word cannot fail; that it will endure forever. That His word is sure and certain, and perfect in every way, flowing out of the very attributes of God that are the foundation of all we believe. That the same Word that breathed life into the physical universe, and created (from nothing) the very planet we are living on, and the environment that sustains us, will also bring forth every other promise that He has uttered.

Folks, I am sitting here now looking out the window on a clear morning, at trees, and grass and birds, and cars driving by. This is very real to me, as my eyes convey them to my experience. And because my eyes see these things, I have an assurance that they are real; that they are so. No one in fact needs to convince me otherwise because I trust what I see. In other words, I require no other witness to prove the veracity of what I see with my own eyes.

In similar fashion, the Bible speaks of a reality made available to us by faith; and it is a faith based on a word. But not just any word from any source. This is why we must believe that “He is” and that “He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Such faith in Him joins us to Him in a very personal and poignant way. It is our personal pledge to the Father who gave that which He loved the most so that we could even begin this life of faith. And I do believe He smiles down on us whenever we simply trust Him with child-like faith, and when He knows that we are ready and willing to live by His every word. In fact, He attributes this to us as righteousness, as something pleasing to Him. This is the point, dear Christian, where our faith moves beyond mere doctrine or religion. Here is where it becomes quite intimate and personal, and we make that vital connection with the Personality that created and sustains all life. For we have determined deep in our hearts (in the inner man) to trust Him unequivocally, to abide in His promises, to endure however long it takes for all of His promises to be fulfilled.

Indeed, the Lord of All Life must know that we will not equivocate, that our love for Him and our faith in Him is certain! He must test and refine this faith throughout our lives, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, as a means for us to come to know Him and revere Him, and abide in Him! He must know that our faith is resilient and steadfast; that though our experiences will often seem to contradict His Word and leave us perplexed and distressed, we will in fact hold fast to Him; that we will not leave Him nor forsake Him.

He must know that we have come to the place where all that we are is fully invested in eternity (for this is in fact our ultimate habitation); that we place little relative value on things which pass away, and have no real life in them. He must know that we are willing to endure hardship, confusion, perplexity, pain, loss, suffering, whatever it takes – and that such testing will not loose the bond of faith and love that binds us to Him.

He must know that we agree with Him in all things, and actively seek a reward that is out ahead, established under better promises, a “better country” offering an “eternal weight of glory” far beyond anything we could ever compare or imagine.

Now as easy as this is to write, I know that in our daily walk it is hard; so very hard it seems. And I don’t ever want to suggest it to be otherwise. I know that many of you are, at this very moment, being afflicted, perplexed, struck down and persecuted, and in many ways being brought to the end of yourselves; that your faith is undergoing tremendous trial and testing. I also have a prophetic sense that as the “birth pangs” (see Matthew 24; Romans 8:22) marking the end of this present age increase and become ever more numerous and convulsive, we will be tested even more.

Yet I also know that His grace is more than sufficient for us, and that from these broken vessels of clay, the power and majesty of the Living God can come forth as a testimony of His grace, glory and power to all with eyes to see.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)

It is nothing short of His grace and our faith in Him that keeps us from giving way to despair, abandonment, and ultimate destruction amidst such intense trials and the seeming contradiction of our circumstances with His promises. We must learn to look out farther than the moment, or our own lives even, for His plans and purposes encompass all the world, and the reconciliation of all things in Christ. It is a perfect plan from a perfect God and it cannot fail! He has declared it and invited us by His grace to share in its execution, fulfillment and enjoyment!

But we must be ready! Yes, we must be made ready! We must prove ourselves faithful and steadfast to Him! Our bond to Him cannot be broken! This is why, I believe, our faith is so important to our God. This is why He takes our faith in Him very personally! This is why all of the champions of faith in Hebrews 11 are preserved there forever in honor. They were all willing to leave all and lose all in the present life, such that they might enter into His promise of something better; out there ahead beyond the horizon. And it is so comforting to know that they were mere human beings – jars of clay – like you and I.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:8)

Notice in this passage how faith in, and love for God are brought together. Clearly, we cannot go all the way with God in faith, regardless of what we are made to endure, unless we know Him, and love Him, and live by every word that He has breathed into this world. Note how James also suggests (in James 1:2-3) that the testing of our faith produces endurance, and that this endurance is considered blessed (see James 5:11 below) by God. Brethren, I am starting to see that the reason endurance is so highly esteemed by our Lord, is that it is the ultimate testament of our love for Him; that it reinforces over time the choice we have made to believe Him. And our willingness to endure with Him, and to be bruised and broken by Him (as He deems necessary), conveys to Him so much more than mere words or anything else that religion esteems. It affirms most genuinely that we truly do love Him and have joined with Him in all of His eternal plans and purposes.

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (Jam. 5:7-11)

I may be mistaken here, but it appears to me that our Lord most definitely returns or reciprocates our faith in Him with His grace and mercy. As surely as He has imposed the hardship and trial, He will also supply the appropriate measure of grace, peace, wisdom and encouragement (whatever He knows we need really in order to endure and learn what must be learned). I must say that in my own personal experience recently, I am starting to see how wonderful this is, and I praise God for His kindness. I also know on another level that all things, including our faith, begins with His choice to claim us as His own. He will indeed complete all that which He has begun in our lives with Him, and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! Amen and Praise God for that.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Matt. 4:4)

Dear brethren, the Holy Spirit seems to be emphasizing this need for a more fuller, life-sustaining faith for all of us in this hour – this sense that to go further and deeper into the life of the Lord requires so much more than anything we can naturally supply, or even anything that the Spirit has previously given. Clearly, the faith that is sufficient to come under the covering of blood, is not sufficient to withstand the rigors of the wilderness and entrance into the land. We can think of this as the faith that follows, after what Caleb said to Joshua at the end of his life –

I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought word back to him as it was in my heart. “Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt with fear; but I followed the LORD my God fully. (Josh. 14:7-8)

The many melted with fear, but Caleb followed His God fully! I have been asking the Lord what makes a Caleb and a Joshua; what is this faith that follows? Consider the many times the Lord Himself enjoined the people to “follow me”. What did Caleb and Joshua see that all the others did not? Why did they alone see the challenges before them within the scope and shadow of their God when all others shrunk back, and did not trust their God to advance before them?

I have determined that, as yet, I am no Caleb – that much of my spiritual walk is still carried out in the soul, based on what I see and know from my experience. To live, to actually and fully live by every word of God, to receive it and be changed by it through this advancing and possessing faith, this is what I need. For – “… whatever is not from faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23).

Why? For all of the reasons we have mentioned and so much more. Because without this faith, the Word of God and the life of God cannot advance. His purpose is stifled, and the fullness of Christ is limited. Life comes forth from His Word; this is the first thing we see in Genesis and the Gospels – that His Word came into the world, that the Word was made flesh to fulfill His living and dynamic purpose. For us creatures, when we speak, our word is an expression of many things – our personality, our mood at the moment, our opinion perhaps. Yet for God, the Creator, His Word is an expression of His active power and volition – it is a thing that brings forth something so much more than His thoughts. It is an agent of life and change in demonstration of who He is as the Creator! His Word is life and we enter into this life through faith, by believing everything He says, and living by every word breathed into the world by God. Experience means nothing! Though every indication in this world is that He is false, it is a lie. If He has said it, it is so! Nothing else matters to those who will follow their God fully in faith!

Israel of old believed just enough to cover their doors with the blood of the Lamb and to remain inside their homes until the morning. Yet this must lead onward to a faith that follows outside and beyond, across the sea, through the wilderness, and into a land inhabited by giants. Faith, not will power or human courage or tenacity! Faith believes and follows, and allows reality to be defined by the Word of God and not what we see and know. It is faith made certain. It is the life and power and will of God made manifest in the actual by all those who trust Him and believe Him and place all of their confidence in Him. Our faith doesn’t change God, as some suggest, but rather it acknowledges all that He is already. It opens the door to a new reality where He alone presides over all things in His creation.

Oh Lord, we ask humbly for this faith; this faith that follows; this faith made certain; the faith required in this dark hour to trust You alone; to wait for You to fulfill all that You have spoken by Your Word. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Loving His Appearing – W.E. Smith

Dear brethren, beloved of our Precious Lord, I pray for all of you always, that He might find you waiting and watching in this hour; for His appearing for His little ones. Be strong and of great courage, for our King is coming! That which is held in mystery in the present will soon be manifest; and let all who name the name of Christ Jesus be found standing fast in the faith when He comes to fulfill all of His promises.

Now there is a night and day difference between loving our Lord’s “appearing” and loving this present world. I draw your attention to 2 Timothy, where the Apostle Paul makes this vital distinction –

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. (2 Tim. 4:6-10)

Here we see that crowns (reward in His soon coming Kingdom) are destined for all those who love His appearing, and yet those who love this present world forsake the will of God. Early in this epistle, Paul prophetically declares the state of the Christian testimony “in the last days” –

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  (2 Tim. 3:1-7)

Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”; yet still wanting to appear very much righteous and christian-like, they hold to a “form of godliness”, yet deny the true spiritual power of this new life in Christ Jesus. I humbly ask you brethren – does this not most accurately describe the current state of the testimony of Christ in this hour? Indeed, maybe you may feel tempted to attribute this state of things to the unsaved world at large, yet this cannot be so. For the children of the devil have always fit this description. What the Lord is revealing through Paul here is the abominable state of the popular and professing church just prior to His appearing. And just like Demas, many Christians will abandon the true testimony of their King for the things of the world – pleasure, money, the glory of men, and a powerless religion that will never produce true godliness or peace in this world.

What about you my brother or sister? What is it right at this moment that you love first and most. Are you like the believers in Ephesus that seemed to have all things together but let slip their first love?

But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. (Rev. 2:4-5)

Are you so caught up in your buying and selling, and arranging your little space in this world that you will be found unworthy and unapproved when the thief comes at night to take away His precious things? Is our Lord your first and deepest love? And does His coming for His saints pervade your hope and attention in this last hour?

And yet what does this mean to “love His appearing”? It would seem, my brethren that this is precisely what the message to Timothy is primarily about (and indeed many others as well). Here you will find a continuing exhortation to endurance, patience, and holding fast to the faith and to the Lord when seemingly everyone else abandons Him for the world, its things and its god. Hardship and discouragement may be the result, and deep confusion, as all things Christian seem to be turned inside out and upside down. The command by our Lord in the letters to the churches, written for precisely this time, is –

TO WATCH!

TO OVERCOME!

TO STRENGTHEN THE THINGS THAT REMAIN!

TO HOLD FAST WHAT YOU HAVE UNTIL HE COMES!

TO PERSEVERE!

TO RETURN AND REPENT IF NECESSARY!

TO KEEP THE WORD OF HIS PATIENCE!

Now if this sounds something like a siege, then may we suggest that this is precisely what it is, and we have but a little strength (Rev. 3:8) until our Liberator comes. In the meantime, we are not to give in or give up;  we are not to lose hope. Yet our faith and resolve must be tested by He who must know He can trust us; that we are faithful and true to the One Who is the rightful heir and king.

Consider the definition of the word “persevere” –

To persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly. (Dictionary.com)

Indeed, the counter influences of the flesh and the world, and even the false testimony of Christ that is all around us besiege the child of God daily. Its opposition flows from the enemy himself; the god of this present age who knows he has but a short time. Only in Christ Jesus, only in the Spirit that keeps us, can we truly hope to maintain our purpose and not abandon our present course. He will never abandon us certainly (for He is coming quickly as a thief in the night), but the question remains – will we, as Demas, abandon Him for this present age and its empty promises?

Dear saints, if you have not done so recently, I would encourage you to prayerfully review all of these letters to the churches in Revelation, as well as Titus, James, 1st and 2nd Peter, 2nd Timothy and 2nd Thessalonians. For this admonition is directed to us today, and whether we are a Demas (a lover of the present world) or a Paul (a lover of His appearing) depends on whether our hearts receive it or not.

In his letter to Titus, Paul once again draws this distinction between the Lord’s appearing and this present age.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2:11-15)

Rather than love (and be caught up and conformed by) this present age as Demas, we are to stand against it as a living testimony by living “sensibly, righteously and godly”, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus”. For we are a new creation in Christ and a heavenly people. We are not of this world but of His Holy Kingdom that will soon subsume all kingdoms of this present age. All that remains is for the Father to put all of His enemies beneath the feet of His Beloved Son – Jesus Christ. He has been anointed and He is currently marshaling all of His “mighty men” (consider David wandering in the wilderness prior to actually assuming the throne over a united Israel) to serve with Him in His kingdom.

The injunction for us is to STAND FAST, as this false and lifeless  testimony of Jesus pervades the church and the world like a cancer, and as our Lord allows all iniquity, in Israel, the church and the gentile world, to flourish unto judgment. And what was yet future when Paul and John wrote these epistles, is now the present for us. Those with eyes wide open in the spirit know this to be true. It is not merely one man’s opinion or perspective, but the conviction of the Holy Spirit of truth and the eyes of our Lord as He surveys His flock just prior to His appearing.

HE IS COMING!

And the prophetic witness borne of the Spirit indicates that the hour is imminent!

“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev. 22:7)

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thess. 3:3-5)

Go to Him now, my friends, and ask that this might be so. And we must also ask Him to reveal our hearts to us most fully, that the love of this present world might be replaced by the love of His appearing; and that we might have patience until He comes.

Then pray for one another dear children; that our hearts might not be –

… weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

This is our sincere prayer for all of you; and may our Lord encourage and establish you in this hour, in all watchfulness and readiness, in all faithfulness and hope; that He might preserve you for His heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:8), and that He might not come as a thief unexpectedly and find us distracted by worldly things.

We are further admonished in Ephesians to be “making the most of the time because the days are evil” –

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:15-18)

One way we do this is by allowing the Holy Spirit full reign within our hearts to fully sanctify us – spirit, soul and body – before the coming of the Lord. This is nothing less than the complete reproduction of the nature (or image) of Jesus Christ in our human spirit (in fulfillment of Genesis 1:26).

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thess. 5:23-24)

While we are here in 1 Thessalonians, let us back up a bit and include the verses that proceed those above, for they speak of this very subject, and the dark and difficult times in which we live –

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thess. 5:1-11)

Again, do not presume that those caught asleep and unaware are children of darkness, for it is readily apparent that these words are written for Christians (whatever their condition) and not the children of the evil one. That these (like Demas) are sleeping saints is obvious once you comprehend this and other such admonitions given to the servants of the Lord throughout the New Testament. To allow oneself, as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, to become intoxicated by the pleasures of this present age, is to invite shame, loss and devastation at His appearing. A strong message indeed my brethren, but these are the times in which we live, and again, all of this was foreseen by the Spirit at the inspiration of these apostolic epistles. Jesus Himself asked –

However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

That there are indeed such back-sliding and ill-equipped Christians (then and now) is further confirmed in Paul’s letter to the Philippians –

Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Phil. 3:17-21)

So do we set our minds on earthly things to the neglect of our heavenly inheritance in His kingdom? Have we determined that these few fleeting and hollow moments of sensual gratification and earthly glory are worth more than sharing in our Lord’s glorious inheritance of the Kingdom? Have we so quickly forgotten His command to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” and effectively forsaken our first love? Have we allowed our belly to become our god, and to lead us away from our Lord’s table? Are we little more than the Israelite scoffers in the wilderness, pining for a return to the delicacies of Egypt?

Dear children, this cannot be, for the time is at hand, and our Lord will come with eyes of fire to judge His people, and who can stand in that day?

Again, James encourages us to –

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. (Jam. 5:7-8)

Then Peter reminds us of the glory of the heavenly inheritance that is as sure and certain as our Lord Himself –

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  (1 Pet. 1:3-9)

Oh that we would pray for one another always that we would be kept in this awful hour by His mighty power, and that the proof of our faith might be fully proven and realized. I pray this for all of you dear readers, if indeed you have this hope within you, and you are one who loves His appearing for His saints.

Peter continues, echoing the end-time exhortation of the Apostle Paul –

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours  in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Pet. 1:13-16)

Are you ready therefore brethren, for the time will come and indeed is here already, when many (even those professing Christ) will scoff at His appearing, as though it were some kind of impossible dream.

Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their  mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the  heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, (2 Pet. 3:3-14)

We see then, brethren, that the admonition for those truly seeking the Lord and loving His appearing in this final hour before the Thief’s coming is consistent among all of the apostles, as the Holy Spirit inspired them all. He alone can keep us, and help us to stand fast in the hope of our salvation, and the coming of His righteous and eternal kingdom, of which we are to share in His inheritance. Only He can establish our hearts against all of the impending unbelief and earthly wisdom pervading the testimony of Christ on the earth at the end of this present age.

Now I realize fully that this is a hard message to bear, but the time for ear-tickling, soul-gratifying and flesh-affirming words is long past. Dark and difficult times are upon us, and we may well be that final generation on the earth before the commencement of the final days of tribulation yet to come.

There is much here, brethren, to inform our prayers, and I beseech all of you to go to Him now, in supplication and fasting to plead for His grace and help in this time of need. I also solicit your prayers on our behalf, for we are all one in Him dear ones.

In Jesus’ Precious and Mighty Name. Amen.

The Fire

Oh dear saints, dear, dear saints and brothers. Have our hearts so fully and uncompromisingly been given to the interests of the Lord in this hour, in this time of such utter abandonment and declension? He has tolerated so much these many centuries since He left us in the body, hasn’t He? So many ideas, concepts, expressions, ambitions – so much that is of men, and not from Him at all. So patient has He been, so long-suffering, as everything associated with His name has become so recklessly degraded, earthly, limited.

Consider the gap between the Old and New Testaments, from the time of Ezra to John the Baptist, and how this reminds us of what we have seen since the beloved apostle John left this earth.
Synagogues and sects and divisions; merchants as veritable fixtures in the temple. A religion borne of human scholarship, so very well documented yet barely breathed in the lives of men. Division, declension, fleshly and false religion.
So that when He arrived in the very flesh, they knew Him not. Simeon and Anna did, yes, for they were not part of the many and their religion. They were given wholly to the Lord’s interests. They did not follow men and creeds and groups and isms or  ‘ologies. They were not this or that; they were merely all in for the Lord.
Oh how patient is our Lord and Judge. But there comes a time when the fire comes, and when it does, all that is of men, and all that is of the soul will be purged away. This is what the letters to the churches speak to us. “I know your works….” He declares. He sees with piercing eyes, and all that is not truly of Him and from Him and for Him will not stand.
Please be pierced by this word from Bro Sparks –

(From Brother Sparks)

The fire will test the quality of each person’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:13 NIV)

I have no doubt that you love the Lord. I am not raising any question about that. But, I do say again, we are involved in a great system which is a very complicated thing, and a great deal of it is not of the Lord. It is something that man has brought in. Man has put his hand upon the things of the Lord, and man has made things according to his own mind, and therefore a great deal has come in which is of man and not of the Lord. And when we say that, we are not only thinking of Christianity in general, we are thinking of ourselves. This is true of ourselves. We have all come into something called Christianity, and we have all taken on something of Christianity, and there may be a great deal that we have to get rid of, and come back to the simple fundamental reality. And the fundamental reality of all realities is the presence of the Lord. We have got to know that the Lord is with us, and that the Lord is with us in all that we do, that this did not originate in our mind. It did not originate in our will, it did not originate in our emotion. It did not come from our soul, this thing has come from the Lord in every detail, like the tabernacle. Just like Jesus Christ, in every detail it has to come to us from God.

That ought to send us back to our knees – to go through all our work. It may be necessary for us, from time to time, to stand back and ask the Lord about all that we are doing. ‘Is this out from God, or is it something out from ourselves? Is this way of doing things the mind of God, or is it our mind? Is the Lord in this, or have we come into it?’ You see, that is a great deciding matter. Make no mistake about it! Everything that is only of man is going to perish. Sooner or later it will be shaken. Every man’s work shall be tried in the fire, says the Word of God.