Category Archives: Body of Christ

God’s Answer For The Famine Of The Word

We have been talking about the famine of hearing of the words of the Lord—words that the Lord Himself speaks, and therefore are living words that sustain us and give us the strength we need for our daily walk in this world.

That’s what bread is for—to strengthen man’s heart (Ps. 104.15).  And we need this daily.  It’s simply impossible to go through the day and meet its demands without the strength of the bread of life.  I know, as long as things are going okay and we are prospering nicely, it seems we can get along without this living Bread.  But the hour is at hand when many people—even many Christians—will suddenly see that their spiritual plates are empty, in fact have been empty for a long time.

Jesus Christ is Himself the bread of life.

I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on my shall never thirst (Jn. 6.25).

Jesus is not speaking here of a one-time thing—when I came to Him and was converted.  He is speaking of a continual coming to Him, and in doing so, discovering an unfailing supply for my daily need whatever that need is.  His promise is that “as are thy days so shall thy strength be” (Dt. 33.25).  In other words, there cannot be a day that proves too much to handle when we come to Him for the bread we need for this day.  This is the experience of many Christians who take their need for the living Bread seriously and come to Him expectantly day by day.

But let’s look at this in larger terms than the twenty-four hour day.  For we are now entering upon a very difficult day, and it is going to require great spiritual strength to get through it.

What provision does God have for this day now dawning?  Apart from a major spiritual revolution we face grievous spiritual famine in our western lands in spite of all the Bibles and Bible studies and Internet resources and weekly sermons by our favourite pastor.  All this, good as it is, was never meant to be the answer for the needs of the world around us.  What is God’s answer then?  Yes I know, Christ Himself.

For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world (Jn. 6.33).

I am the living bread which came down from Heaven: if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever: and the bread which I shall give is my flesh which I shall give for the life of the world (Jn. 6.51).

His flesh?  This caused a strife among those listening.  “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

Even His own disciples found this hard to comprehend.  They couldn’t imagine themselves eating His flesh.  Jesus answered their perplexity with another perplexity.

Doth this offend you?  What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where He was before?  It is the Spirit that quickeneth (that giveth life): the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life (Jn. 6.62,63).

In other words, it wasn’t eating His physical body that Jesus had in mind.  “It is the Spirit that quickeneth.”  He would ascend into Heaven and by the Holy Spirit speak living words from Heaven, words which to partake of would be one and the same as eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

But there is something else here—a very important implication in Jesus’ statement that “it is the Spirit that quickeneth.”  In sending the Holy Spirit, Christ means you and I, ordinary Christians in the body of Christ, to become His very flesh, the bread that He gives for the life of the world.

For we being many are one bread (or, loaf) and one body; for we are all partakers of that One Bread (1 Cor. 10.12).

Partaking of this One Bread causes us ourselves to become vitally a part of that One Bread.  For, as the saying goes, you are what you eat.

And how is this accomplished—that we become this one loaf and one body?

For by one Spirit are ye all baptized into one body… (1 Cor. 12.13).

This is the implication of His words, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth…”  He is talking of the sending of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, by which, wonder of wonders, we are made one with Him who is in Heaven– are made one Loaf with Him, one Body.

Fellow Christian, we must be earnestly seeking this kind of intermingling and interaction with the Spirit of Christ—something that produces an entirely different kind of church, one in which every single member is a vital participant in the Bread of Life, and there is a very real sense of all having become One Loaf with Christ Himself.

And those in leadership must seek earnestly to give the Spirit of the Lord His liberty and lordship so He can bring this One Loaf into being– His answer for the spiritual hunger of the world.

We have many good pastors and teachers these days who can deliver a good word.  We are thankful for them.  We have many great ministries who through modern media feed multitudes of Christians all the world over with powerful messages. We are thankful for these as well, for they certainly meet a need.

But this will not meet the need of the day at hand.  God has something greater in mind.  In fact even now—can we not recognize this?—we are in a state of famine.  Is not this abundantly clear when we look at the needs of our world around us, first on the local level and then out further?  With all our present provision we are still in a state of famine.

And we will be in a state of famine until this One Loaf begins to appear.

It is this Loaf—the body of Christ—that the Lord has in mind for the day at hand, and is even now preparing.  It is this Loaf that He breaks in His hands to feed every need of the hungry.

This is the Bread that Christ gives for the life of the world.

This is the Loaf that finally brings to an end the famine of the words of the Lord.

The Minister Of The Holies

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The following passage of Scripture has been much on my heart of late.

Now a summary of the things being spoken of is, we have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the greatness in the heavens; a minister of the holies, and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man (Heb. 8.1).

This is from my Interlinear Bible; the King James Version has, “a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle…”  But the original Greek has, simply, “a minister of the holies,” that is, of the holy things, or holy places.”  I think the context lends itself to holy things, that is, the holy duties of the priest relative to the things of the tabernacle—his ministry relative to the brazen altar and the laver, the table of showbread, the lampstand, and the golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant.

What is the true tabernacle?  It’s that Tabernacle you and I are part of—Christ Himself, the Dwelling Place of God.  The old tabernacle in the wilderness was but a type of the true tabernacle.  Aaron ministered in that one; Christ Himself is the High Priest in this Tabernacle.  He is the Minister, ministering about the holy things of the Tabernacle.  We catch a glimpse of this in The Revelation, where John saw One walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands—our great High Priest trimming the lampstands.

The Lord Jesus Christ, then, is the Minister of the true Tabernacle.  How can this be so?  He is in Heaven, and we are here in the earth.  But—and this is the most wondrous of truths, and utterly astonishing to me, as I wrote last time—by the Holy Spirit here in the earth, Christ Himself is present here in the true tabernacle ministering about the holy things of God.  For Jesus told His disciples when He was about to leave them, “I will not leave you comfortless (orphans), I will come to you.”  And He was speaking of the coming of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth.

Sometimes when I consider this momentous truth I feel like one asleep in the dust being awakened by fits and starts.  I am barely conscious to this reality.  I awaken for a moment and the revelation is so wondrous I can scarcely take it in… and I sink back into sleep.  Why can’t I stay awake?  Then I am awakened again… and am struck with wonder again.  This truth is so overwhelming in its beauty, so rich with reality… you mean this is what God has for us?  It’s too much for me to take in.  By comparison my present experience is so puny; I feel I am too far behind.

But this has been quickened to my heart again the last few days… and I must trust Him who is awake to continue to awaken me.  And I know He will.  I am anticipating a greater consciousness of this Minister of the holy things in the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man.  I almost said awareness, but consciousness is the better word, because it’s by the Holy Spirit in us that we are made one with this Minister of the holy things.  It’s by the Holy Spirit that we are made conscious of Christ Himself—that we are One with Him. 

Jesus said:

For where two or three are gathered (that is, have been gathered) together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them (Mt. 18.20).

How is Jesus in the midst?  Not invisibly, somehow.  He is in the midst of those gathered in His Name because of the Holy Spirit in them.  The High Priest of the true tabernacle is in the midst of the tabernacle because of the Holy Spirit in those who are part of this Tabernacle.  Oh for eyes to see Him, then—that it is He Himself who is ministering in the midst of those who are gathered in His Name.

In fact Christ Himself is the only valid Minister in the tabernacle.  Only what He Himself is doing is sanctioned by God.  How attentive, then, you and I must be—how sanctified unto Christ—that our ministry and involvement in this Tabernacle be His very own involvement.  Think of that, beloved.  Even at this moment the High Priest of the true tabernacle is ministering therein.  What is He doing?  I say to you, only as the Holy Spirit in you and me communicates to us that knowledge, that awareness—that consciousness—are we able to minister in this Tabernacle in any valid way. All else is futile, even counterproductive.  What He is doing, this alone must be our own doing.

The writer of Hebrews calls us “holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling” (Heb. 3.1).  He is talking of the heavenly priesthood.  And notice the word partakers there.  In other words, there is only one calling—Christ’s calling—of which we are partakers.  He is the apostle and high priest of our confession; only as we partake of His calling are we functioning acceptably before God in His Tabernacle.

And so this must be more and more our cry and prayer—oh, to become more conscious of this Great High Priest who is ministering in the true Tabernacle while at the same time being seated at the right hand of the Throne of God.  How can He be there and here at the same time?

Again, because of the Holy Spirit.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

Oh for the scales to fall from our eyes!  The Holy Spirit in the earth and the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven… they are one.

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.

His Unspeakable Gift

When I was a boy I used to think on certain great people I admired… and secretly wished I could be.  It’s been a while, and I can’t remember now who was on my list.  Except for two.  I remember two.  Superman was one.  I used to wish I could be Superman.  To have that superhuman strength, and, wow, to be able to fly…  Wouldn’t that be something!  I knew of course that Superman wasn’t real, and I could not be Superman.  But I liked to imagine being Superman and astonishing all my friends.

The other one I remember was—and I can never forget this one—Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I knew He was real.  At least I had been taught He was real, and it never entered my mind to doubt it back then (that came later).  I would think on Him and… none of my thoughts about Superman contained the same sense of… of reverence, of awe… that thinking on the Son of God did.

And I would think… the Son of… God?  He is the Son… of God?  And I would be deeply disappointed.  For I knew I could not be Him.  And it didn’t seem fair to me.  Why did He get to be the Son of God and I had to live such an ordinary life?  Why did He get to be the Son of God, and not me?

It wasn’t till many years later that I discovered the most wonderful truth.  If I couldn’t be the Son of God Himself… I could be one with Him.

I was sitting at my kitchen table in Burmis one day; this was after I’d had to quit my job because of my affliction.  By this time I’d come to know the Son of God was real, had known this for many years.  And I was going through the Gospel of John verse by verse, and Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament on the book of John, and at the same time reading George Warnock’s book Crowned With Oil, in which he goes through a portion of the book of John verse by verse (John Chapters 14-17).  It seems this is my lot; I don’t get revelations the way some people do—with the Lord revealing things to them in dreams and visions and other awesome ways that I envy; it seems my lot is to have to plug away at reading the Bible earnestly seeking to open my heart to the Lord.

And so, I was reading these books, along with the Gospel of John… verse by verse.  I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary; I was just doing over again what I love to do—labouring in the word.

And I came to John Chapter 14.  And I came to verse 15.

If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

And then I read verse 18.

I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

And suddenly… I saw!

This is a passage of Scripture I had read countless times; it had also been ministered to me many times.  But now suddenly… my eyes were opened… and I saw!

I will not leave you comfortless (orphans): I will come to you.

The Paraclete, the Spirit of truth in you and me… it means that the Son of God Himself is here in you and me!

This is utterly astonishing.  The Spirit of truth here in the earth is one with the Son of God in Heaven.

I tell you, this revolutionized my whole thinking.  My Bible, even after many years of reading it, became a brand new book to me.  Light had dawned, and as it shone upon my Bible, I was able to read familiar passages in an entirely new light.

Like Psalm 22, for example.

I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.

How does the Son of God praise the Father in the midst of the congregation—but by the Holy Spirit in you and me?  The Son of God Himself is in the midst of congregation—because of the Holy Spirit in you and me.

What a wonder.  It is true, brothers and sisters, it’s really true: because of the Holy Spirit in us, we are the very body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.13).  Our Head is in Heaven; we in the earth are one with Him—one body—because of the Holy Spirit.

We are the temple of God because the Holy Spirit dwelleth in us (1 Cor. 3.16).

He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit (1 Cor. 6.17).

Jesus had been telling His disciples He was about to leave them, He was going away, and it grieved them deeply to hear this.  But He told them this was actually a better plan than if He were to stay.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you (better for you, more profitable, to your advantage) that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you… (Jn. 16.7).

We are inclined to think this cannot be right.  Surely it would be better for that Man who walked the earth two thousand years ago to be still here with us.  For if we had Jesus still with us He could continue to do the wonders He did back then; we would have His perfect input into every difficult situation we face; we would have His protection; He would resolve all our troubles… He would be able to speak the perfect word of God just as He did back then; He would be able to continue bearing witness to the truth just as faithfully and perfectly as He did back then.

The point is, with the Holy Spirit we still have this!  For in the Holy Spirit, Christ Himself is still with us!

I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you.

The Holy Spirit is able to manifest as perfect a witness to the truth as the Son of God Himself did.

But there is One Thing more we have in the Paraclete that we would not have if Jesus Himself were still here in the flesh.  Because of this wondrous Advocate not just with us, but now in us, we too share the same relationship with the Father that Jesus the Son of God did… which the disciples back then did not have.  Truly, it was better for them—and for us—that He went away.

He told them He was leaving them… and coming back to them again (Jn. 14.28).  He told them He was going to the Father, and therefore they would not see Him.  That’s understandable enough.  Why would they see Him not?  Because He was going to the Father.

But then this enigma.  Because He was going to the Father, they would see Him.  Why would they see Him again?  Because He was going to the Father.

He was going to the Father, and would send to them the Promise of the Father—the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth.  And in this One, He Himself would be in them.  And so He said:

Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more, but ye see Me: because I live ye shall live also (Jn. 14.19).

And He said:

At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (Jn. 14.20).

What day?  The day of the coming of the Comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit… because of whose coming Jesus Christ Himself is with us—even in us!  Oh, the wonder of this!  Whatever is yet to come with regard to the revelation of Jesus Christ, oh, let us not miss out on the fullness of this revelation—that Jesus Christ in Heaven is with us, even in us… because of the Holy Spirit in us!

Jesus Christ the Son of God in Heaven… and the Holy Spirit here in the earth in us… they are one.

…I know what you’re thinking—that because of the Holy Spirit in me, I too am a son of God now.  Yes, and I am growing up into Him in all things, into His very image and likeness.  What a wonder.  My boyhood wish has been realized after all.  To think that a loving God had prepared such wonder for a wondering boy…  it is too much.  I too get to be a son of God.

…But I tell you what is more meaningful… if that’s possible.  It’s the realization that the Holy Spirit in me that makes me a son of God… is one with the Son of God in Heaven. It’s this that leaves me with my mouth open.

Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!

More On Heaven Quakes

This from Micah.

For behold, the LORD cometh forth out of His place, and will come down, and tread upon the high places of the earth.
And the mountains shall be molten under Him, and the valleys shall be cleft as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place (Mic. 1.3,4).

And this from the Psalms.

Bow Thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Cast forth lightning, and scatter them; shoot out Thine arrows, and destroy them (Ps. 144.6,7).

Do you ever get revelations?  I am sure you do—those moments when the “light bulb” comes on and you see some beautiful facet of the truth of God.  They can be life changing; they can be devastating.

Now, how does God touch a mountain?  With His hand, of course.

It is the most awesome of truths that we are the body of Christ—His feet, His arms, His hands…

Beloved, we the body of Christ appear to be very weak in the earth at this time (at least here in the western world); we are not considered to be much of a threat to the kingdoms of this world, the kingdoms of darkness around us.

This is going to change.  And it’s going to change by a revelation—or to put that better, a response to a revelation.  Obedience to that revelation.

Jesus told Nathanael, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see Heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of man” (Jn. 1.51).  He was referring to Jacob’s experience at Bethel when he dreamed of the ladder between earth and Heaven, and the angels ascending and descending on it.  Jesus is saying, I Myself am Bethel; I am that ladder, the top of which is in Heaven, and the foot of it in the earth.  It’s the awesome revelation of Christ—His head in Heaven and His body here in the earth.

Notice what Paul said.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Cor. 12.12).

Paul didn’t say, “so also is the body of Christ.”  He said, “so also is Christ.”  They are not two separate things:  Christ in Heaven and the body of Christ in the earth.  Christ is a many-membered Man whose Head is in Heaven, and the body in the earth.

Beloved, we are scarcely awake to this reality, and when we are awake to this, it is going to shake Heaven and earth.  Christ the Head in Heaven and the body of Christ in the earth are one Man, one temple—Bethel, the house of God.  Jesus Christ our Advocate in Heaven and the Holy Spirit His Advocate here in the earth—they are One Advocate; they are one.  Jesus told His disciples when He was about to leave them, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you” (Jn. 14.18).  He was speaking of the coming of the Comforter, the Spirit of truth.  “I… will come to you.”

And so Jesus promises, “Yet once I shake not the earth only, but Heaven also” (Heb. 12.26).  How shall He accomplish so great shakings?  By speaking.  “Whose Voice then shook the earth…”  This refers back to God speaking at Sinai when the whole mountain shook, and all the earth around.  “But now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but Heaven also.”  The Voice of the Son of God in Heaven through the lips of His body in the earth is going to cause great shakings in our world.  I tremble to think of it, and am fearful at the prospect.  But at the same time I cry to Him to do it—shake, Lord, bring the shakings!  For they are necessary shakings, and it will mean the removal of all the kingdoms of man, all that can be shaken, all that is unstable in our fractured troubled world, ultimately leaving “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”  What a wondrous hope.

And so let us earnestly seek to be responsive to revelations from Heaven, as that Egyptian church we mentioned last time was.  They heard from God; they were obedient; suddenly their whole nation was shaking.

God can and will touch mountains—the kingdoms of this world that have been there it seems forever—and they will go up in smoke.  How shall He touch them?

He shall come down and tread upon the high places of the earth. How shall He do this?

“And the mountains shall be molten under Him…”  Under whom?

Beloved, let us be walking in obedience.  Let us be listening with foot ready to walk in what our Head is hearing and seeing.  Let us seek earnestly to be responsive to our Head in Heaven.  He has given us the provision we need to do this—He has given us His own Holy Spirit, thus making us one with Him, thus making us alive unto Him.

You and I may consider ourselves weak and small and of not much account.  That’s actually the way it should be.  But let us, weak as we are, be in such union with our Head in Heaven that He can stretch out His hand and touch a mountain, and cause it to go up in smoke.

Just high sounding words, these?  Ask those Egyptian Christians if they are just high-sounding words.

Faith Works By Love

Last time we pointed out that faith is dependent on hearing the word of God.  I cannot muster faith for an idea of my own that I want to bring into being.  “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

At the same time, it’s possible for God to speak and faith is not created.  Perhaps there is disobedience in a life, or someone is entrenched in unbelief; the heart is hard.  God is speaking and trying to get through, but I simply refuse to hear.

But if a heart can be hardened in unbelief it’s also possible to cultivate the soil of the heart so that faith can thrive.  Yes, I know, God deals to each one “a measure of faith” and we must always be careful not to try to function beyond that measure (Rom. 12.3).  But this does not mean we are forever limited to the measure we now have.  Faith can grow.

And, like certain plants, it seems to grow better in company.  Paul spoke of “the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4.13)—that is, the mutual inspiration of faith among the members of the body of Christ that grows and increases till ultimately it enables the expression of “a perfect Man.”  He commended the Thessalonian saints because the atmosphere of unity and love in their midst created healthy habitat for faith to grow (2 Thes. 1.3).  He encouraged the Philippians to continue to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel” (Phil. 1.27).  He  also wrote Timothy that those who desire to serve their brethren “purchase to themselves a good ‘step upward,’ and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 3.13).

What do all of these passages of Scripture have in common?  They all reveal the kind of habitat faith thrives in.  Love.  “…Faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5.6).  It’s the assembly that is nurturing love in their midst that discovers, lo and behold, plants of faith thriving.  It’s those who are of one mind and are standing fast in one spirit who are better provisioned to strive for the faith of the Gospel.  It’s the assembly that is edifying one another in love that is coming together unto the unity of the faith, where all the measures of faith are working together in a powerful manifestation of the Son of God.

And—let’s look at this one more fully—it is the one who earnestly desires to serve his brethren that taps into a great boldness of faith.

For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 3.13).

As I thought about this verse, Stephen came to mind.  There had been a murmuring in the early church over the daily distribution to widows.  Certain ones were being neglected.  The apostles didn’t feel it would be right for them to leave the service of the word of God and prayer to attend to this. “It is not meet for us to leave the word of God and wait on tables” (Acts 6.2).  So they selected seven men to do this.  Stephen was one of them.

The Greek word translated wait on comes from the same root as the word deacon.  It could read, if there were such a verb, “It is not right for us to leave the word of God and deacon tables.”  So the seven men were to fulfill a deacon kind of ministry.

The passage in Timothy talks of those who “use the office of a deacon well.”  But the original Greek doesn’t have the same emphasis on ecclesiastical taxonomy—bishop, deacon—common to the King James Version.  In fact the word office is entirely lacking in the original Greek; it should read more like, “they that have deaconed well,” or simply, “served well…”

Stephen was a deacon, then—a server.  We’re not being introduced to an office here; we’re being introduced to an attitude—Stephen’s love for the family of God, and his humility, his earnest desire to serve them.  It’s this I am sure that accounts for what we read about him.  He was “full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (6.5).  He was “full of faith and power” (6.8).  Stephen’s faith was really working.  Why?  It was “faith that worketh by love.”  It wasn’t his own importance Stephen had in mind, or his own benefit.  It was the benefit of others.  God, it seems, is more than willing to lavish faith on those who want it for the sake of others.

Stephen’s servant heart gained him great boldness in the faith, as we find in Chapter Seven.

…And good degree as well—a good “step upward”—even to the throne of Christ.

I am reminded of yet another passage that shows us faith in operation.  Among the gifts of the Spirit Paul mentions “to another, faith by the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12.9).”  A gift of faith?  Yes, it seems so.  And sadly all too often the one who has been granted this gift looks down on his brethren who just don’t seem to have the bold faith he has.  He has failed to recognize that the gift doesn’t belong to him.  It has been given him for the profit of all (1 Cor. 12.7).  It was given to him on behalf of others.

As with all the gifts: they are the heritage of all; the one who has received the gift is just the minister, the server, the deacon, the steward of that gift.  It actually belongs to the others.  “As every man hath received the gift even so minister the same one to another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pt. 4.10).

…Lord, search our hearts.  Oh, how deeply we realize our deep need for faith in this hour… that we need to be earnestly contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).  But even as we consider this exhortation we are reminded that just a few verses later, as Jude calls us to build up ourselves on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, he urges us to keep ourselves in the love of God…

Amen.

The Sword In The Shadow

One thing about the Internet is that it has brought into being an information overload.  There is an overwhelming ocean of information available.  We have been deluged with knowledge… and you pretty much need an “ark” to get through it all safely.  For, though it was never God’s intention, even Christian teachings end up becoming that—just more information.  There are thousands of websites hosted by Christians, thousands of messages, thousands of blogs like this one.  How much of it actually penetrates the heart in a way that changes us?  It can become a habit to not read things carefully and prayerfully—and selectively—with a prepared heart.  You just skim things quickly, and move on.

Let us be careful that our spiritual faculties don’t become dull with all this use.  That can happen.  I want to be watchful to not let that happen.  Here is why.

The other day I sensed the Spirit of the Lord reminding me again that He yet intends to speak forth a very powerful word.  And it is going to surprise many.  I was reminded of a passage in Isaiah.

Listen, O isles, unto Me; and hearken, ye peoples, from far; The LORD hath called Me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of My name.
And He hath made My mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid Me, and made Me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid Me;
And said unto Me, Thou art My Servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isa. 49.1-3).

This passage is no doubt speaking of Christ Himself.  For it is Christ who has “the sharp sword with two edges” proceeding out of His mouth (Rev. 1.16, 2.12).  At the same time this is speaking of a corporate testimony:  “Thou art My Servant, O Israel…”  Israel is a corporate entity.  Yet here this corporate entity is spoken of in the singular.  “Thou art My Servant, O Israel…”  In the King James Version of the  Bible, thou is always the second person singular pronoun.

And so I think this is one of the places in the Old Testament where we see hidden the mystery of the corporate Man that God revealed to his apostles—particularly the apostle Paul—the mystery of Christ.  Paul wrote, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Cor. 12.12).  He didn’t say, “so also is the body of Christ.”  He said, “so also is Christ.”  We then as members of the body of Christ are this sword, this mouth, that Christ greatly desires to speak out of.

One of the weapons of our spiritual armour is, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6.17).  It is not just the Bible.  It is “the Spirit’s sword, which is the word of God.”  It is the word that the Spirit of God speaks that is the sword of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But it is we who wield—actually become—this sword.

We are reminded of Gideon and his little band of three hundred.  “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon…” they cried.  Not just the sword of Gideon. And not just the sword of the Lord either.  “The sword of the LORD and of Gideon.”  One sword!  The sword of the Lord and of Gideon and his little band of dedicated men who were one with Him.  It wrought utter havoc among the enemies of the people of God.

How little we have seen of this formidable, fearful, spiritual weapon.  How little our world about us has seen of it.  How little our enemies have tasted of it… though they dread it like nothing else.

We—and they—are yet going to see this terrible swift sword.

There is no more formidable weapon in the whole universe.

And it is going to go forth only from the mouths of those who have been hidden in the shadow of the hand of the Lord.

The hand speaks of the Lord’s dealings in our lives: His discipline, His chastening… His love… His covering, His protection… His own work.  “In the shadow of His hand hath He hid me…”  Others can’t see you there.  His shadow is over you… and He is working.  What is He doing?  You yourself may wonder at times.  Is He doing anything in my life?  You may wonder why you never amount to anything when others are out there in the light doing great things for God.  But as He keeps you hidden from view in the shadow of His hand He is molding your mouth, shaping your mouth, into a sharp sword with two edges.  You are learning not to speak your own words, but His.  You are learning that many times you have nothing to say.  His purpose in it is that you might become part of this corporate Servant in whom He is glorified.

Jesus said of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, “He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shew (declare) unto you” (Jn. 16.15).  This is the commitment of the Holy Spirit—not to speak from Himself, but what He hears the Son of God saying (Jn. 16.13).

But when He speaks—He and the one in whom He abides—it is Christ Himself speaking.

What is the Lord Jesus Christ going to do with this sword?

First, He is going to purify His churches with it (Rev. 2.12).  It is a two-edged sword (a two-mouthed sword as the original has it: God’s mouth and our own mouth) that pierces to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  It is a sword—a word—with the very eyes of God in it, and lays all bare before Him (Heb. 4.12,13).  Only those in whom the hand of the Lord has wrought the heart of a priest are going to be entrusted with this kind of sword.

Then He is going to bathe this sword in Heaven (Isa. 34.5).  That is, He is going to cause principalities and powers in heavenly places, the rulers of the darkness of this age, to know its devastating power.

And He is going to visit the serpent, the dragon, in the midst of the sea with this sword (Isa. 27.1).

Very wondrous things, these, and fearsome.

A mouth that is a sword of light–  laser sharp… and just as penetrating.

A man or woman who, long-hidden in God’s quiver, is the arrow He selects and suddenly shoots into the heart of His enemy like a bolt of lightning.

Only those who continue to abide under the shadow of God’s hand will become this kind of weaponry.

The Sea And The Waves Roaring

I don’t know if you are feeling the same way I am about things in the news these days. It seems to me things have “morphed” into a frightening ugliness.  My news source is the Google news page, and I don’t make a habit of going through it all.  A lot of it I dare not read; it’s unclean.  Much of it I can’t read; it’s too painful to read it.  So I skim the headlines.

The other day as I considered it all, these words came on my heart again and again.  “…The sea and the waves roaring… The sea and the waves roaring…” (Lk. 21.25).  That’s what Jesus prophesied things would be like just prior to the coming of the kingdom of God.

Upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring…

That’s a perfect description of the sea just now—the sea of nations, the sea of humanity.  There is so much distress, and perplexity, and unrest.

In fact I wonder if I don’t see a new beast rising up out of the sea, something along the lines of Daniel’s vision, “and behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.  And four beasts came up from the sea…” (Dan. 7.3).  John the Revelator saw something similar—a beast having seven heads and ten horns rising out of the sea.

Now, I’m not trying to invent a new eschatology of what that is all about, and I’m not saying I’ve had a divine revelation; it’s just a feeling I have; I’m just surmising.

What I’m thinking of is the “waves” of influence that have arisen as masses of ordinary people in various nations have gathered together—multitudes in the streets banding together in a common cause.  They just came up “out of the sea.”  They discovered that massed together, rising up together, they had power.  Is this a new political force in the earth– a new beast rising out ot the sea?

Some of these waves have been extremely violent.  Add to that the frightening riots in our so-called orderly democratic societies.  Anarchy right before our eyes.

Now add in this– the influence of social media these days.  The little people who had no voice now have a megaphone that has turned their puny voice into a shout that gets political attention.

Whereunto shall all this grow?  Truly the waves of the sea are becoming very restless.  Very boisterous.  I believe they are going to grow even more boisterous.

A storm is gathering strength.

I take courage in knowing this—the One who stilled the waves on Galilee will in His timing speak again and still the waves of this great sea.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them.  (Ps. 89.9).

What I mean is… consider this verse in the light of the one just before it.

O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto Thee? Or to Thy faithfulness round about thee?
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise Thou stillest them.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea.  Who is that?  The LORD God of hosts.

Fast forward to a stormy night on Galilee centuries after this psalm was written.  Who was it that stilled the raging waves of the sea that stormy night on Galilee?  It was a Man whom to see was to see the LORD God of hosts, a Man who did only what He saw His Father the LORD God of hosts doing.  The things this Man did, it was God the Father who dwelt in Him who did the works (Jn. 14.10).

And so it was the LORD God of hosts who calmed the sea of Galilee that night, fulfilling an ancient prophecy of the psalms.

I believe we shall yet see an even greater fulfillment of that prophecy.  I anticipate that this same One shall speak again and still the raging waves of the restless sea of humanity.  How shall He do so?  Through that same Man again—and those who are in union with Him because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

That will indeed be a very powerful word going forth from the mouth of the Lord—in the body of Christ.

High sounding words?  Do you think it’s even possible for this kind of word to go forth from the body of Christ?  I do—when it is Christ Himself speaking.

Which means you and I must seek very earnestly to abide in Christ and hear His Voice and speak what He is speaking.  Be sure that it’s only those who are abiding in Christ— only those who are walking in the yoke and lowliness of Christ, who are going to be entrusted with this kind of word and authority.

But it’s the only answer for this increasingly lawless and violent and godless world.  We are already seeing anarchy in many places.  So far men have always felt they could solve their problems and bring things under control.  I believe God is going to convince man that this is no longer true.  The problems are becoming too great, too complex.  Things are spinning out of control.

The sea is getting very stormy indeed.

It frightens me… and I’m glad to read the disciples of old were scared too that night on Galilee.  They were sure they were about to perish.  I can identify.

…But didn’t they know who was with them in their little ark?  And don’t I know too?

Jesus—He was asleep on a pillow through it all—awoke to their cries.

And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still.  And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mk. 4.39).

Notice that.  “He rebuked the wind…”  That’s where the real problem is—those “four winds of the heavens” that are always stirring up the great sea.  These are the real instigators behind all the turmoil—evil principalities and powers in the heavenly realm.

“…And He said unto the sea, Peace, be still.”  He rebukes the wind and speaks to the sea—to the peoples in turmoil and unrest.

And there was a great calm.

The disciples were overawed at this.

And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, what manner of man is this, that even the wind and the waves obey Him?

They weren’t even sure He was a man, as the original Greek implies.

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?

Who?  What manner of Man?  A Man who is one with God.

Likewise shall many be overawed when this same Man speaks peace and brings order out of chaos again.