“We know that we are of God,
and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
(1 John 5:19)
“No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life,
so that he might please the one having enlisted him.”
(2 Timothy 2:4)
“No one is able to serve two lords; for either he will hate the one, and he will love the other; or he will cleave to the one, and he will despise the other.
You are not able to serve God and wealth.”
It has been said by man that we should not be too heavenly minded lest we become no earthly good. How very typical of Satan! For he knows very well that if we were even half as heavenly-minded as we ought to be, he would have a great deal more trouble from our resisting of his works. Of course he would have us to be so earthly-minded that we are no heavenly good! Jesus has commanded us in ways beyond number not to be earthly minded in the least; but even to be “perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
In fact, God’s children, if they will be taught by God Himself and lead of His Spirit, will not represent themselves collectively as a player in the world marketplace; but will rather be those who live a life called outside of the camp, suffering the reproach of Christ.
For He said:
“My kingdom is NOT of this world.”
And He meant exactly what He said. But now, most of what is called “christianity” in our day has rendered unto God that which is Caesar’s and unto Caesar that which is God’s – and this all in the name of “cultural relevance.” Such are the delusional cries of the defeated and impotent earthly-minded entity once known as “Christendom,” still striking deals with the Devil even to its last dying breath, seeking that it should gain the whole world in exchange for every lost soul whom it entangles, an empty corpse ripe for animation by the spirit of antichrist. Buying into this spirit and appealing to the things promoted by world in order to be “relevant” is at best to condone the lie of the world’s self-supposed virtue; while truly there is nothing more relevant to this despicable human condition of proud sin and rebellion than the blood of Jesus Christ and the true spiritual life from the Father which He gives to those who follow Him.
Clamouring and striving for cultural acceptance and recognition before men is unbecoming of anyone who will remain a faithful servant of Christ, running utterly contrary to the commands and promises of Jesus for those who would follow Him:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men. For they will betray you to sanhedrins, and they will flog you in their synagogues. And also you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations…”
“…But brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child. And children will rise up against parents and will put them to death. And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but the one enduring to the end shall be kept safe. But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For truly I say to you, In no way will you have finished the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above his lord. It is enough for the disciple to become as his teacher, and the slave as his lord. If they called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more those of His household? Therefore, you should not fear them, for nothing is covered which will not be uncovered; and hidden, which will not be made known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light. And what you hear in the ear, proclaim on the housetops. And you should not fear the ones killing the body, but not being able to kill the soul. But rather fear Him being able to destroy both soul and body in Hell…”
“…Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to divide a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a bride against her mother-in-law. “Ones hostile to the man shall be those of his own house.” The one loving father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the one loving son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And who does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. The one finding his life shall lose it. And the one losing his life on account of Me shall find it.”
(Matthew 10:16-18, 21-28, 34-39)
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it has hated you. IF YOU WERE OF THE WORLD, THE WORLD WOULD LOVE YOU AS ITS OWN. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world: because of this the world hates you.
Remember the Word which I said to you, A slave is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted Me, they also will persecute you. If they kept My Word, they also will keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know the One who sent Me.
If I had not come and had not spoken to them, they had no sin. But now they do not have excuse as to their sin. The one hating Me also hates My Father. If I did not do the works among them which no other did, they had no sin. But now they both have seen and also have hated Me and My Father. But that may be fulfilled the Word that has been written in their Law, “They hated Me undeservedly.”
And when the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, that One will witness concerning Me. And you also witness, because from the beginning you are with Me.
I have spoken these things to you so that you may not be offended. They will put you out of the synagogue, but an hour is coming that everyone killing you will think they bear a service before God. And they will do these things to you because they do not know the Father nor Me.”
To hellfire with all striving, petitioning, clamouring and all gathering before kings and princes and all men to get them on our side! Such is begotten of the flesh and cannot please God: He will not bring spiritual increase to it – though he may allow it worldly success as a judgement of strong delusion upon those who constantly insist upon engaging in such idolatry. If your prayer is that men might be saved, that is very well; but from what and to what do you desire them to be saved? God is not interested in the movements which your own mind has conceived, neither is He pleased with the ambitions of your own carnal heart; and He is filled with great jealousy against those who would call themselves by His Holy Name and then seek to utilize the same means that this world utilizes for the proselytizing of other men into following them and making them their spiritual head rather than Christ alone.
“But do not be called Rabbi, for One is your Leader, the Christ, and you are all brothers. And call no one your father on earth, for One is your Father, the One in Heaven.”
“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from Him (Holy Spirit) abides in you, and you have no need that any man should teach you. But as His anointing teaches you all things, and is true, and is no lie – so as it has taught you, abide in HIM.”
(1 John 2:26-27)
The Spirit of God is severely grieved that our minds should be so worldly and filled with the seemingly virtuous narratives of vain men which lead our hearts to wander far and wide on an imaginary venture to “change the world” according to their own visions- while truly we are forsaking that which God has called us to and placed right before us every day. Merely changing the world around us for our comfort in it is just another earthly pursuit, making those who chase such a goal all the more worldly. The early church being described BY MEN as “turning the world upside down” was not the result of an agenda of cultural change: but rather a cultural change which happened simply as a by-product of the spiritual transformation of individuals – and it was certainly not viewed as positive by those around them.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Souls can be won: the zeitgeist cannot, for it is antichrist; and the enemy ever seeks to draw us into such carnal battles. If we fight for a cause which has not been ordained by God, then we have already lost the greater warfare: we have loved the world more than we have loved the Father – and this at the expense of those whom Jesus came to seek and to save OUT OF IT! Those who seek to establish through their own hands a likeness of their own vision of the kingdom of God on earth will be counted among the faithless when Jesus returns to establish HIS kingdom; no matter how much they lay claim to His Name, which they have truly taken upon themselves in vain. Such men are those who “are of the world; and because of this they speak of the world, and the world hears them.” For it is none other than the spirit of antichrist which searches far and wide for his double-minded and unstable prey, flattering them with delusions of grandeur as they seek to fulfill such worldly agendas, “being blown and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the sleight of men, in craftiness to the deceit of error…”
Jesus prayed for His disciples:
“As You have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world, and I sanctify Myself for them, that they also may be sanctified in Truth.”
“AS You have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world…”
– Jesus sends us “AS,” the Father sent Him: meaning that His sending of us is not merely copying the Father’s action of “sending;” but rather even doing so in like manner and under the same conditions as the Father sent Him.
And He Himself said of those conditions, “I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” So His first and primary order of ministry was toward the Father, in loving the Father. For He that loves not the Father does not truly do the Father’s will. “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” (Jn 5:3) Without Jesus ministering the first fruits of His love unto the Father, there could be no true rendering of the Father’s love through Him back unto us. So it must also be for us as the sons of God in how we relate to God and to men. There could be no “for God so loved the world” if there wasn’t first a, “He cannot deny Himself;” for His sacrifice on the cross was as much or more unto the Father as it was for men, since God’s infinite wrath for our sin had to be satisfactorily poured out upon the perfect everlasting Lamb if anything be redeemed, “making God both just AND the justifier…” (Rom 3:26). God would be wholly unjust simply to forgive with no such recompense, and so “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” even being “pleased to crush Him” (Isa 53). And this work unto God, being the pinnacle and summation of His earthly ministry, was ultimately one of intercession, which essentially means to stand in the gap.
Now Isaiah the prophet spoke regarding His intercession:
“And Jehovah saw; and it was evil in His eyes, that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, and He was astonished that there was no intercessor. And His own arm saved for Him; and His righteousness sustained Him. For He put on righteousness like armour, and a helmet of salvation on His head. And He put on robes of vengeance as clothing; and He put on zeal like a mantle. According to works, so He will repay; fury to His foes; recompense to His foes; He will repay recompense to the coasts.
So they shall fear Jehovah’s name from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the foe comes like a flood, the Spirit of Jehovah shall cause him to flee. And the Redeemer comes to Zion, and to those in Jacob who turn back from their rebellion, declares Jehovah.
Jesus interceded on behalf of those who would believe on Him; and He intercedes now on behalf of those who abide in Him, whom He desires to become honourable vessels of HIS intercession in this world unto the glory of the Father. For it is only by first being ministers UNTO the Lord that we are made into the true ministers OF the Lord. Like a priest, an intercessor, though he operates within and among the common people; his operating derives no suggestion or power pertaining to its functionality from anyone but God. The intercessor is FROM ABOVE, just as those born of water and the Spirit are “born from above.” And only these ones have an audience with the Father in heaven, for “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” And haven’t those who are fellow heirs with Him also proceeded from the Father in heaven? For they are made a kingdom of priests unto HIM.
If therefore we will live devoted firstly to God, He then will be able to bring us into His very near presence and more quickly shape us into honourable vessels of righteousness, from which may increasingly flow HIS true works unto men. It is only to the extent that we have thereby seen Jesus and been with Jesus that we will continually be empowered by His Spirit for truly and rightly dispensing the knowing of HIM, as “living epistles known and read by all men” – and how much shall we also be known, read, and feared by all the powers of darkness which ever hurl the fiery darts of the adversary’s accusations night and day!
God’s children have been called out of the world and all of its ways so that they might first and foremost minister unto the Lord: this is our high calling as priests unto Him (Rev 1:6, 1Pet 2:5, 9), placed under Christ the great High Priest Himself who is “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” – the one preceding the order of Levi, who only mediated that schoolmaster and earthly pattern of things to come (which was the Law). “And indeed, the many are now become priests…” In short, it is through the operation of this priesthood of the new covenant, which remains unbroken “unto the age,” so that “He is able to save to the end completely the ones coming near to God through Him who is always living to intercede on their behalf” (Heb 7). And neither shall we ever be useful priestly vessels of God’s intercession if our ministering is not first unto HIM as living sacrifices, having died to the world and the world to us.
“What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld, and what our hands touched, as regards the Word of Life. And the Life was revealed, and we have seen, and we bear witness, and we announce to you the everlasting Life which was with the Father, and was revealed to us.”
(1 John 1:1-2)
“…the Life was revealed…” – and what have men seen in us which they cannot deny apart from searing their own conscience? “People do not gather grapes from thistles, nor figs from thorn bushes, do they?” Likewise, in the lives of those who call themselves by the Name of Jesus, what by men is being heard, seen, beheld, and touched? It is only natural, considering that the apostle John goes on to speak with great clarity and power to the true spiritual state of the believer, that in God’s wisdom he should open his first epistle by reminding us of how the Life which “God hath… within Himself…” “…was revealed”. For this Life which God has within Himself is that very Life which is meant to be manifested in those who have been given “the power to become the sons of God, to them believing on His Name” (Jn 1:12).
Many today speak of serving people – and indeed, acting upon compassion for others should be a fruit we bear if we love God – but few have grown beyond a limited and carnal expression of ministry which exclusively expresses an earthly, at many times self-aggrandizing human compassion, and trades the fear of God for the fear of man! Such is to love the world and the things in it for the satisfaction of our own soul, even if it be called “ministry”. But “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is NOT in him.” It is HE to whom our first love must be; it is unto HIM that we are firstly required to minister, He from Whom all that is true and pure flows! The “first love” lost by the church at Ephesus was that of the Father, not men: and that is why they no longer did the first works! It is those who will obey the call of being priests unto God through whom the very Life of the Father is able to be clearly revealed. O, that His Life might be so magnified in the redeemed, that JESUS be ever more clearly seen in them – a revelation for which even all of creation is said to eagerly await in earnest expectation, groaning and travailing amidst its subjection to vanity!
There is no anointing of God upon our going “unto the uttermost parts of the earth” if we have not first tarried in Jerusalem according to His command. All of our waiting upon men will be to little spiritual good if we do not first wait upon God for His true anointing. No ambassador truly receives his unique commission unless he has waited in the presence of his king for both the orders and the blessing. It is true that the church at large has already been given her orders by Jesus; but the movements of the body shall never represent the true expression of the will of its rightful Head unless each individual part is consecrated to HIM, waiting upon HIS command and blessing for HIS work.
God once called Elijah to “go hide thyself” for three solitary years before he was commanded to engage in what most men would consider his most “useful” ministry. It is such obedience to the callings of God – to the point of death both to self and even to all men – that is rewarded with an ever closer walk with the Lord. And how often those of such a caliber of ministry unto God are so untimely taken away before the evil that comes upon those who would not receive the word of righteousness (Isa 57:1-2, Gen 5:23-24)! So let us not be found lacking in any obedience before the Lord amid such signs! How utterly lost among us is that blessed cry of the righteous, “though none go with me, still I will follow”!
If men who are blind (and they indeed all are except God open their eyes), if they shall be saved, then they must first SEE GOD and thereby see the great and terrible darkness of all other things in light of HIM. Only in HIS Light shall they truly see light. And if any of us would be a conduit of the light of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, then our eye must be SINGLE towards God, that through us men may behold HIS glory: “glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth”; but “if the light in you is darkness, then how great is that darkness!” So even though we be seated in heavenly places, let us take upon ourselves the attitude of Christ as becoming the lowest servant (Phi 2:5-11), desiring the love of the Father in the heart of Jesus before the cross, which Paul deeply echoed: “For I could wish that myself were accursed… for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Rom 9:3)
“But the priests… who kept the charge of MY sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to Me to minister unto ME, and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord God: They shall enter into My sanctuary, and they shall come near to MY table, to minister unto ME, and they shall keep MY charge.
…And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.”
(Ezekiel 44:15-16, 23)
If we will not first yield ourselves fully to the Lord for righteousness, then we will not become rightly prepared and purged vessels of HIS ministration toward men. For if we are commanded to “Rejoice with rejoicing ones, and weep with weeping ones”– and that in a manner pleasing to God who searches the thoughts and intentions of the heart – then we must have in us the very heart of the One who intercedes by which to do so in the sincerity of all Truth!
And who has been given the very heart of God, except he who denies his own self and gives himself to share in both the burdens and the joys of the Lord? The one who desires to keep the mind of Christ and the heart of God will make himself available to weep with God for that which grieves Him, even as much as to rejoice with Him over that which brings Him pleasure. There must be a willingness to see all things as they truly are in HIS eyes, no matter the cost of the discipline of the Lord to get us there. The burdens of the Lord are heavy upon the flesh; but if we shall carry them, He will always give us the abundance of HIS strength to do so, for by this His burdens are light, for we have been crucified with Christ: it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us!
The Psalmist said:
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
How shall the Lord be pleased to give us the desires of our heart if they do not come from HIS heart? If any man, whose first love and delight is not in the Lord Jesus, is still being granted all the desires of his own heart, then he has received his earthly reward; and how hard it will be for him to enter the kingdom of heaven! Such a man has insisted by his works that his own desires supersede those of God, and the system of this world has given him the temporal spoils of self-delusion. May he be granted the grace to repent! For the Lord is full of mercy and is longsuffering toward the stubborn; but He is jealous and will not leave the guilty unpunished for their continued pride. The enduring, fruitful faith and the interceding heart which God desires to work in His people in this hour is far too easily quenched by the love of this life.
It was said by the prophet Malachi regarding the former priesthood of Levi that when “the Lord will come into His temple,” nothing of the world or flesh would be able to stand before Him; “for He is like a refiner’s fire… and He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer UNTO THE LORD an offering in RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Mal 3:1-4) – How much more then regarding ourselves! For we are HIS temple, being the very sanctuary of the Holy Ghost. So let us take care lest His temple is being filled with the commerce of this world or overtaken by its cares; and let us not be as that earthly temple of earthly Jerusalem – which city “spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev 11:8) – not as that earthly temple which was destroyed along with the wicked city, the temple of former things which no man shall with God’s blessing ever raise up again (except perhaps as one being accursed). For “you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God,” (Col 3:3) and “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Ps 127:1).
“But you have come to Mount Zion (rather than Sinai which speaks of the earthly) and to the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY Jerusalem…” (Heb 12:22) The former things must pass away, and remain so. “He that sets his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of heaven.” All that our own minds have conceived and our own hands built must be counted as loss, our lofty hearts humbled, and our bodies yielded a living sacrifice fully unto God under the rule of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man may sow, that he also will reap. For the one sowing to his flesh will reap corruption of the flesh. But the one sowing to the Spirit will reap everlasting life from the Spirit.”
All our cunning and planning and moving in the flesh can only turn those who choose to be influenced by us into twofold the sons of hell as ourselves – which we shall indeed be if we rely upon our own devices or upon man’s ways through religious institutions and political systems for the dispensing of God’s work in the hearts and minds of men. Has not God appointed that those who are born from above should be born “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but… of God“? For the Spirit of God has not anointed these things, and neither shall we remain anointed on account of our trust in them. We will in fact partake in the downfall of every accursed thing with which we make fellowship and in which we place our trust. As we live in the world, the clarity of the Father’s Life being revealed in the midst of it depends greatly upon our abandon to Him alone.
Godless despair will be the reward of those who hoped in the world and sought to gain their life; but Godward hope will be fulfilled in those who despaired of the world and lost their life unto God.
“We announce to you what we have seen, and what we have heard, that you also may have fellowship with us. And truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.”
(1 John 1:3-4)
Many will proudly confess the names of men and their own “ministries”; since the spiritual rulers of this world have deemed it allowable because it ultimately serves their purpose, and God has ordained that the the tares may grow up amidst the wheat for the trying of the genuineness of the faith of the saints: but when the facade wears thin and more blatant persecution comes against those who are truly faithful and obedient to God’s word, then men reveal the true allegiances of their idolatrous hearts.
“Then everyone who shall confess ME before men, I will also confess him before My Father in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny him before My Father in Heaven.”
“…For we (each) shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ…”
Unless we can individually administer a sweet-smelling and pleasing incense of obedience before the Lord in secret, then all of our outward gestures and our gatherings with one another shall amount to nothing better than a repulsive stench rising before His nostrils. That which chooses the compromise of earthly unity at the expense of walking in harmony according to the Truth of God, not remaining unstained by the world, is practicing spiritual whoredom. The Spirit of the Lord is grieved and His heart is jealous; for those who indulge the arm of the flesh to fuel the social movements and cults of personality which are falsely called “ministries” and “churches” are the tools of Jezebel for seducing His people into committing adultery with Babylon and all of her harlot daughters, causing “these little ones believing in Me to offend” – and “woe to that man through whom the offence comes!”
But our Lord Jesus has prayed for the sanctification and endurance of His faithful and obedient remnant, that she will be His pure and spotless bride called out from this present evil world.
“And I heard another voice out of Heaven saying, My people, come out of her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues; because her sins joined together, even up to Heaven, and God remembered her unjust deeds.”
There are willows in the desert and well-fed sheep scattered throughout the far wilderness – who would happily be brought into one place but for the feigned love professed by those who by clinging to idolatry forced them into exile. Yet as they fasted from the foods of man, they found the pastures of heaven and the rest of God! Run away from the city of man into that exile of patient endurance, that you no longer need drink of their poison; but rather drink deep the of the living water which flows through the city on a hill whose builder and maker is God.