CHRIST THE DELIVERER: FOUR
CHRIST THE DELIVERER: FOURCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Christ the Deliverer: Four" is taken from Behold My Servant!, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
The Holy Spirit instructs each Christian to be blind and deaf. To be blind and deaf in the Lord means we see only what God wants us to see, in a given situation, and we hear only what God wants us to hear. We learn to walk by the Word, will, and purpose of God rather than by what we observe in the material world. Such blindness and deafness are a mark of spiritual maturity and require a period of time for their development.
When we are walking in the wisdom and strength of the flesh we see by the light of this present world, but we are as blind to the will of God as were the Pharisees of Jesus' day. When we are walking in the flesh we hear the multitude of voices that counsel us to eat, drink, and be merry in the attractions of the present age, but we do not have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. We must become blind so we may see God's Glory in the earth. We must become deaf so we may hear the voice of God's Christ.
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: (Isaiah 11:3)
The Servant of the Lord is blind and deaf as far as the glitter and noise of the present age are concerned.
Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. (Isaiah 42:20)
When the Servant of the Lord looks about Him in the world He beholds the Glory of the Lord. The disciples showed Jesus the magnificence of Herod's Temple. But Jesus "saw" the Temple in a condition of complete destruction.
Jesus beheld with His physical eyes what His followers were pointing out. But Jesus did not perceive Herod's Temple in the manner in which they had expected. Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, perceived the Temple of God as God perceived it--a den of thieves soon to be demolished by Roman soldiers.
God desires to develop in each member of the Body of Christ blindness and deafness to the things and events of the present world in order that we may behold what the Word of God is bringing into existence. Commencing with the Church of Christ, the entire creation of God is to be re-created in Christ. No creature, thing, or situation is excepted.
And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5)
"All things new."
Jesus did not pay too much attention to what He was seeing and hearing in the world. He was listening to the voice of the Spirit of God. As a result, He made righteous judgments.
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)
Many times we make decisions on the basis of what we are seeing and hearing in the world rather than what we are hearing from God. Therefore the judgments we are making are not righteous but warped, being founded on incorrect information plus our own perceptions and feelings.
The Servant of the Lord is "blind and deaf" to the sights and sounds of the present age, to the demands of his own will and fleshly nature, and to the threats and enticements of the devil and his hordes.
This does not mean the Christian is to be unaware of what is about him, ignorant of the needs of his family, unappreciative of beauty, impractical, or foolish. What it does mean, however, is that the believer is to perceive everything about him through the eyes of the Lord and that he is not to be moved solely by external circumstances. He does not make quick judgments based on what he sees and hears but waits for the Lord to reveal the truth of the matter.
The Servant of the Lord has the mind of Christ. He hears the voice of the Spirit of God and "sees" the will of God for the present and the future. He interprets the past as God gives understanding to him.
Every human being seeks to understand his or her immediate situation and desires to have the power to change that situation according to his or her needs and inclinations. We enjoy having the ability to plan what we should do next, how our circumstances should be arranged so as to secure our interests for the future.
Little by little the Lord brings us to the place where we are willing to sit in darkness until He reveals His will to us. If we remain faithful, sitting in the Lord's darkness (not in the darkness of sin, rebellion, passivity, or indecision), He will come to us in His time. There will be light at the end of the tunnel if we abide in Christ.
Let us not force our way out of the prison in which God is keeping us.
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay on his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. (Isaiah 50:10,11)
When we come into a dark place in the Lord and have no light, then we must trust in the name of the Lord and wait for God to make the pathway clear to us. Meanwhile we are to keep on doing what is at hand, "occupying" until He comes.
We are to avoid "kindling fires" of our own and "compassing ourselves about with sparks." This is a figurative way of saying we should not attempt to break out of the tunnel God has put us in by working out solutions of our own.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
The Servant of the Lord is willing to wait on God. Waiting on God productively requires considerable experience. Eventually we learn to distinguish among the many sights, sounds, and impressions that come to us. The observations God wishes us to make and the voices He desires that we regard will appear in time, although there may be confusion and uproar before the gentle voice of the Spirit speaks to us.
The Lord's sheep know His voice but sometimes the lambs are not as discerning. One of the main lessons we learn in our Christian walk is to follow the leading of the Lord and to be "blind" and "deaf" to everyone and everything else.
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into the world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9:39-41)
The judgment of God causes those who "see" by the light of the present age to be blind to the truth, and those who are "blind" to the things of this age to see the Kingdom of God. The children of darkness see by the light of the world but the children of light behold the glory of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus advises each of us:
I counsel thee to . . . anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)
The Servant of the Lord is blind and deaf to the ways and things of "the prince of this world." The Lord's Servant observes the will and way of God and hears the voice of the Holy Spirit, and bears witness of these.
We Christians are to keep ourselves, through the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit, in the place where we are sensitive to God's will for our life. Such sensitivity and awareness require time set aside for prayer, Scripture reading, and Christian fellowship.
Also, strict obedience to the Spirit is necessary. If we "walk in the light," that is, in the will of God as it is made known to us, we have fellowship with God and with all the saints.
When God puts His Spirit on His Servant, the Servant becomes the witness of the Person, the ways, the will, and the eternal purpose of God Almighty.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
The power of the Holy Spirit enables the Christian people to be the Lord's witnesses by means of signs and wonders, by the fruit of moral character grown in the Christians, and by what the Christians testify with regard to what they have seen and experienced in Christ.
Notice (Isaiah 43:10,11) how the power to bear witness depends on our personal knowledge of God. The testimony is developed between us and God before it works between us and people.
That ye may know Me!
That ye may believe Me!
That ye may understand that I am He!
Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
"I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour."
We grow in the power of our testimony as we grow in the personal knowledge of the Lord. All of us saints want to give a clearer testimony. The route to the heart of God is the route to a purer testimony. The closer we walk to God the more powerful the testimony becomes. We can bear witness of God only to the extent that we know and believe God. The Holy Spirit creates the testimony in us and through us.
The Servant, Christ, is the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the congregation, to speak figuratively. Christ is the Testimony of God, the Light of the world. The Holy Spirit is the Oil that burns in the Lampstand giving light (Exodus 25:31).
The Lampstand of the Tabernacle was a heavily ornamented shaft of refined gold beaten into shape. On top of the shaft was a cup filled with oil and a wick in the oil. This shaft represents Christ, the Son of God, the Servant of the Lord, the Light of the world.
There were six side-branches that were formed as part of the Lampstand as it was being beaten into shape. They also held oil-filled cups. The purpose of the side-branches was to shine on the central shaft. Six is the number of man, man being created on the sixth day.
The central shaft is Christ. The six side-branches plus the central shaft support seven cups, seven lights. Christ possesses the seven Spirits of God.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (Revelation 1:4)
We might think of the Lampstand as being the olive tree of Romans, Chapter 11. If this is true, the side-branches of the Lampstand represent Israel. Israel then is seen as an inseparable part of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.
At one time the physical descendants of Jacob were the children of promise. The calling and Glory of God abode on them. But when physical Israel rejected Christ the calling and Glory of God departed from the nation, except for a remnant. The nation of Israel was broken off from the Lampstand and the elect Gentiles are being inserted in its place.
The members of the Body of Christ always are so by the Divine promise, not by physical birth. The Divinely ordained inheritance of Abraham cannot be passed from father to son by physical birth unless ordained so by promise. The election comes to each individual by promise according to God's foreknowledge.
After the full number of foreordained Gentiles have been grafted on the golden shaft of the Lampstand of God, the Spirit of God will open the heart of the nation of Israel to Christ. Then the elect Jews will be grafted on the Lampstand. The nation of Israel once again will assume its original role as Israel, the witness of God.
The whole Lampstand, the shaft and side-branches, is Christ--the Light of the world. It is the Vine of the Lord that is destined to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6).
The Holy Spirit is the power and wisdom of God. He creates in us the witness of Christ.
The Holy Spirit continually is bringing us to a fuller revelation of Christ. As He does we are empowered to give a fuller witness and revelation of the Person and will of God. The revelation of the Person and will of God is Christ, the living Word of God.
Christ is the Expression of the Life of God. That Life is the Light by which all mankind can see and understand the true Person and Nature of God Almighty, thus obtaining righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5)
The heroes of faith of the Scriptures were witnesses of the Person and will of the Lord. God kept drawing them to a fuller knowledge of Himself. They were holy people--holy in the sense that they belonged peculiarly to God and were under His guidance.
When we look closely at the lives of Jeremiah, Moses, Abraham, David, we can notice that the circumstances of their lives led them ever closer to the holy Fire. They were not perfect men but the Spirit of God made them the testimony of the Person and will of God.
Noah, the only righteous man on the earth of his day, bore witness for more than a century. But people did not gather to him or repent. Yet Noah gave, and still is giving, a true witness of the Person and will of God.
God draws people of His own choosing to Himself and creates them the witnesses of His true Being and way. God's covenant with His witnesses always is by blood, always by fire, always by the Spirit, always by the Word, the sword of God.
We cannot learn much about God through means of our intellectual processes. When we attempt to do so we often miss the Lord. The knowledge of God comes to us when He draws us to Himself. Then we become witnesses of the one true and living God. We declare then that Jesus is Lord and that there is salvation in no other name.
He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. (Matthew 12:19)
The meaning here is not that Christ never raises His voice because we know from the record that He did:
And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. (John 11:43)
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. (John 7:37)
The concept of not striving or crying has to do with the gentle, kindly ways of the Servant of the Lord and with the enormous authority and power of the Word of God spoken by the Servant. The power of the Holy Spirit performs the work if we are in the will of God and are announcing the Word of God that the Spirit of God is directing toward the specific occasion.
We are not to "smite the rock" but merely to speak to it (Numbers 20:8). The Servant of the Lord is a prophet. He prophesies according to the burden of the Spirit of the Lord. When we behold the "valley of dry bones" we do not rush forth and attempt to make something of the bones by sticking them together. We "prophesy to these bones" (Ezekiel 37:4).
The concept of not striving but rather speaking the Lord's Word often is ignored. Each Christian church organization sets out to build the Kingdom of God by its own efforts. The result has been the employment of every kind of human force available, ranging from begging for money to the torture of heretics.
To the present hour the great whore, Babylon (man-directed Christianity) stands in the marketplace and heralds the things of God, offering them for a price. "Money, money, money," she cries. "Give me your money and I will sing and dance for you. I will give you the graces of God."
Soon the true Bride of the Lamb will depart from the whore, the religious enterprises, and will embrace Him who comes skipping on the mountains of spices.
The work of the Kingdom of God is accomplished by means of the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God, not by the ambition and striving of the will and flesh of men.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:24-26)
We Christians are not to be constructing the Kingdom of God in our own strength. Our task is to gently teach all people, waiting patiently for them to cease opposing themselves so God may enable them to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil. If we will do our part God will do His part, and many souls will be turned to righteousness according to the will of God.
If anything permanent and of value in the Kingdom is to be accomplished the Lord Himself must be working with us, confirming His Word with signs following.
Nothing built by adamic wisdom and energy will endure in the Kingdom of God.
Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psalms 127:1)
Every man's work shall be made for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (I Corinthians 3:13)
How much of the work of the Church of Christ has been put together by man and how much is of God? We shall know in the Day of the Lord because the works of men will perish. What has been wrought in God will abide eternally (I John 2:17).
Those of us who feel the desire in our heart to accomplish the works of the Kingdom of God have to learn this great lesson: "the Servant of the Lord must not strive." We must learn to wait for the Lord. We must follow Him in all things, doing as He does, speaking as He speaks, walking as He walks.
To commit every aspect of our life to God requires faith and experience. We must labor to enter the rest of abiding in Christ. Our reward is that "as he is, so are we in the world."
The Spirit of God performs the work of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we who are laborers in the Kingdom must work hard, extending and overextending ourselves as necessary. But when we are moving in the Spirit of God there is renewal.
The "water comes out of the jawbone" (Judges 15:19). God raises us from the dead, as it were. We live and work in His strength. We renew our failing mortal strength from His eternal strength. We are given the "hidden manna."
We never attempt to force the will of God on anyone nor do we run ahead of God. We do not argue, fret, or become upset when matters are not proceeding as quickly as we wish or in the manner we think they should.
We do not "try" to bear witness. Our efforts are to be directed toward serving the Lord to the best of our ability. The witness comes as an indirect result of our serving the Lord. To try to bear witness in the conventional sense is just one more of the fruitless duties put on the believers by men who are seeking their own glory, not the Glory of God. It often is an attempt to proselyte, not to bear witness.
Noah, Abraham, and Job did not "try" to bear witness of God. But because of their trust in God they are ranked among the eternal witnesses of God. The same is to be true of us.
We are the Lord's ambassadors and we are to go before Him announcing His coming as He directs and empowers us to do so. We declare the will of the Lord with the confidence that springs from the certain knowledge that He who has called us and is directing us is the Lord and Master of all men and every situation. He possesses all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth.
It helps us serve the Lord more effectively when we understand the sovereignty and extraordinary wisdom and power of the Lord God Almighty. Salvation is of the Lord. Foreknowledge, predestination, and election play important roles in the program of redemption and restoration.
It is difficult for us humans to find the balance between our efforts and the sovereignty of God. If God has all authority and power, why is it necessary for us to seek God with all our strength? Why must we pray so fervently and consistently for God, who knows all things, to perform His own will? Yet both sovereignty on God's part and diligence on our part are built into God's plan of redemption in Christ.
After we have done all we can we begin to doubt the outcome. We become discouraged. The task appears to be impossible. Wickedness increases in the earth after all of our efforts. It is during such times as these that we need to call to mind the awesome majesty of the Lord. All that is written shall come to pass precisely as God has stated.
Christ never shall fail because God Almighty has declared He shall not fail. No matter how tumultuous the conditions of the earth may become, no matter how wickedness may flower and grow to mature fruit, no matter how the nations may rage and the people imagine foolish, fruitless things, the Kingdom of God shall come to the earth.
God's will shall be performed on the earth to the same extent it is performed at the highest level of Heaven. Christ shall be King of kings and Lord of lords both in the heavens and on the earth.
Sometimes it appears as though our wrestling against evil spirits results merely in a compromise at best, in defeat at worst. Sometimes it seems as though the devil will inherit the earth and most of the peoples of the earth.
But such is not the case. God Almighty has a plan, a blueprint, a master schedule. Every person, every event, every circumstance, every thing, is moving along according to the knowledge and will of the Most High God. God is certain of what He is doing. He understands completely the outcome of what is taking place in the heavens and on the earth. Nothing ever takes God by surprise.
We may ask, if God is sovereign, if He can perform His will, why does He allow sin and anguish to continue in the earth?
God never causes anyone to sin. God is not the author of sin. God did not cause Adam and Eve to sin but He understood fully that they would. God easily could have prevented their sinning by sending an angel, but He did not do so.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was put in the garden by the Lord (Genesis 2:9). God knew that the first people would fall and that the result would be thousands of years of agony, labor, frustration, ugliness, rebellion, insanity, and death.
God is God. God is not a man, He is God. His wisdom is infinitely greater than ours. The eternal plan of God took into account that the first humans would sin and that every one of Adam and Eve's descendants would be born with a lawless personality.
The Divine program of redemption includes the creation of a royal priesthood. God is creating judges and kings who are destined to govern the works of God's hands, and each member of such a ruling priesthood must be perfected in obedience in the midst of temptation.
Out of the human travail of the centuries God will bring forth innumerable relationships, creatures, and things of incomprehensible value and glory.
Of one fact we can be certain: God is good; there is none good but God.
God is righteous in all He does. God is equitable. God is true. God is holy. God is merciful. God loves us and is not willing that any should perish but desires that all come to repentance. The death of God's only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary teaches us of the compassion of God toward mankind. There is no fault in the Lord God or in Christ, His Son.
When a man sets out to build a house he works with hammer and saw. It is well that wood cannot talk or there would be moaning and complaining all the while that the carpenter was working: "Quit sawing on me! Please don't drive any more nails in me! Ouch, that planing hurts!"
We are dearer to God than wood is to a carpenter. (What carpenter would give his life for his wood?) But the Scripture does state that God is a builder (Hebrews 3:4). It states also that God is the potter and we are the clay (Romans 9:21).
No doubt wood and clay have little comprehension why the carpenter or the potter do what they do. So it is that God's dealings with the universe and with the individual person are as far above our understanding as a carpenter's understanding is above that of his wood. We must learn to trust in God in His goodness, in His perfect knowledge of the details of our life.
When pain is necessary for our perfecting, God will cause pain to come to us. It cannot be helped. Character, like precious stones, is formed under pressure and heat.
The Scripture informs us that those whom God foreknew He also predestined to be changed into the image of His Son. All things and events in the universe are working toward the end of shaping the brothers of Christ into His image.
By stressing foreknowledge and election we are not teaching that it is of God that some people wallow in the filth of immorality or that this is what God desires. What we are stating is that God knows how people will react and He plans accordingly. No matter how mankind may reject God, God slowly and with certainty is moving toward the establishment of His Kingdom, His will, in the earth.
Even when we come to accept fully the concept of Divine sovereignty we are, nevertheless, to continue letting God know the desires of our heart. If we are abiding in Christ we can ask what we will and it shall be done. Therefore let us never give up. We shall receive our heart's desire if we will do the Lord's will with rejoicing. Let us ask in faith, nothing doubting, and the Lord God shall bring to pass what we are requesting.
The Book of Revelation describes the years that will follow our day, even to the rebellion of Gog and Magog at the end of the thousand-year period. Those people have not been born as yet! Here is an example of the Divine foreknowledge and predestination.
God has spoken concerning you, dear reader. He knew you before the creation of the world. The Spirit of God has opened your eyes and granted you repentance unto life. God gave His Son to die in your place.
God already has provided the solution for every problem you ever will encounter, the escape from every snare the adversary will set for you, the wisdom and strength to overcome every tribulation and testing that ever will befall you. God has called you, justified you, and glorified you. There is a plan for your life.
God gave His Son for you. Will He not, therefore, add to you every blessing, fulfilling the desires of your heart? Will He not with Christ freely give you all things?
But you must be diligent if you are to be successful in laying hold on the inheritance to which the Lord God has called you. All the Messianic promises are for those who are an integral part of the Servant of the Lord, for those who are abiding in Christ and in whom Christ is being formed. However, you continually must grasp that for which you have been grasped.
Our great salvation always remains an opportunity; it never is a foregone conclusion. We must match God's calling with a corresponding zeal if we expect to attain fully to the inheritance to which we have been called in Christ.
Christ will succeed in bringing justice to the peoples of the earth. The islands of the sea will wait for His law. There will be no failure, no discouragement for the Servant of the Lord.
Why is it there can be no failures in the life and ministry of the Servant of the Lord? How can we be sure that even our mistakes and shortcomings will work for our good as we follow on to know the Lord? How do we know that one day God's will shall be performed in the earth as it is in Heaven? How can we be certain all wicked spirits will be cast into the Lake of Fire and that even the memory of sin will be erased from mankind?
We are confident of all these things because of who God is and what God has stated.
As to who God Is:
Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people on it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (Isaiah 42:5)
And as to what God has stated:
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (Isaiah 42:6,7)
There is no doubt about it. God will bring to pass exactly what he has stated. When we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit we are baptized into the Conqueror. No matter how low we may be brought, no matter how discouragements may mount up against us, no matter how weak we may become, no matter how bleak, grim, and oppressive the future may appear, we yet shall reign in glory with Christ.
We do not have to strive. We do not have to force people or circumstances. We do not have to fret ourselves because of those who are bringing their wicked plans to fruition and who appear to prosper in their lawlessness. We are not obligated to become dismayed and fearful because of the world situation. We are not required to rush about in panic and distraction.
If we are in Christ we are in the Conqueror. We are in the one true Vine. We are abiding in Him who possesses all the authority, all the power, all the promises, all of the Word and will of God Almighty.
Christ cannot, shall not, fail.
You shall not fail if you are in Him.
Christ never shall fail or be discouraged. The Day most assuredly will come when justice and truth have been firmly established throughout the entire earth and the peoples of the islands of the sea are lifting their hearts expectantly in joyous anticipation of the knowledge of God being brought to them by the Servant of the Lord.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35,36)
To note the actual creation of the Servant of the Lord we must go to the New Testament writings.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (Revelation 12:1,2)
The "great wonder in heaven" is the Church of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:26). Church-attending people, believers in Christ, worship and work on the earth. But the true Church of Christ is a heavenly institution--a wonder in Heaven. The life of each believer in Christ is now at the right hand of God, far above every other authority and power (Ephesians 2:6).
The Church is clothed with the "sun" (the Glory of Christ). All the created works of God (the moon) are under the feet of the Church because of the dominion given to the Church through her marriage to Christ.
It is our point of view that the twelve stars of the woman's tiara are the saints of God of all ages who have been true to God: Moses, Job, Daniel, Jeremiah, Peter, John, Paul, John Wesley, Watchman Nee, Oswald Chambers--those who have lighted the long night and have been a guide to the multitudes of pilgrims who have made, and yet are making, their way toward the city "which hath foundations."
Such are the Lord's own who remained true to His Word, both the written Word, and the Word revealed to them personally. God's stars reach out to us across the years and help us remain in the righteous ways of the Lord.
The woman (the Church) is not at rest but is in travail. So it is today that all the ministries and gifts of the Church of Christ are laboring to bring forth Christ in the Christian believers. Sometimes the travail results in pain for those who are bearing the burden!
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
We who love the Lord can feel the call of the Spirit in these days. We can hear the sound of the trumpet. God is drawing us to a deeper, stronger place in Himself. Christ is being formed in us. However, the fullness of the glory that God is seeking has not as yet been created in the Church.
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads. (Revelation 12:3)
We can notice that there are two wonders in the heaven. The Church of Christ is a wonder in the heaven. Also, the great red dragon is a wonder in the heaven. It is the destiny of the Christian Church to bring forth Christ. Christ will cast the dragon out of the heavenlies. The battle of which we are a part is being waged in the heavens.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4)
When Jesus was born of Mary, King Herod was "exceeding wroth" (Matthew 2:16). Herod was not concerned about Mary or Joseph, he was concerned about Christ. Herod was a king. Christ is the King chosen by God. Herod did everything in his power to destroy Christ. King Herod was being motivated and guided by the great red dragon.
Satan still is attempting to resist the birth of Christ. Satan is not afraid of the Christian believers. It is Christ who is the threat. It is Christ who is the Destroyer of the works of the devil. Satan is terrified of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of God the Father.
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
The "man child" (Greek, male son) represents Christ who is being formed in the saints through the travail of the Church.
Notice that the Son, although portraying the members of the Body of Christ, is singular in number. In other passages of Scripture the "many sons" are emphasized, but not in Revelation, Chapter 12. The male Heir is singular because this chapter is emphasizing the formation of Christ, the Seed of Abraham, in the Church.
The Son is singular in number. The Seed of Abraham is singular in number. It is important we keep in mind that Christ, and Christ alone, is the Word of God. The battle is His alone (in the ultimate sense) and the victory is His alone.
We Christians do not overcome the world and Satan. It is Christ in us who is the Conqueror. We overcome because of the Overcomer who is in us. We conquer because of the Conqueror who is in us. We emerge victorious because the Victor is in us.
We Christians do not enter merely into our own death, our own resurrection; we enter Christ's death, Christ's resurrection, Christ's rest in God.
The Church is bringing forth Christ. It is Christ who is being formed in us; not merely Christ-likeness or the image of Christ, as important as our change into Christ's image is. The central truth on which everything in the Kingdom of God depends is that Christ is being formed in the Church. We are the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
It is Christ who is the Servant of the Lord.
There are two principal ways in which we can err concerning the truth of our identification with the Glory of Christ. We can lean too heavily on the identification or we can lean too lightly on it. Either error can weaken our spiritual strength.
The first error, leaning too heavily on our identification with Christ, is produced by an extreme emphasis on "grace." This attitude reveals itself in such expressions as: "There is nothing good in me. He did it all. I know I am sinning but He saves me by His grace. Jesus suffered so I shall not have to suffer."
Who could deny the truth of such statements? To the repentant sinner they are the light shining across the rocks on a dark and stormy night. We do not minimize the greatness of the grace of Christ in saving us sinners.
But if this attitude is carried throughout the Christian pilgrimage, if it is extended past its proper scope, it can prove to be a means of avoiding the demands for personal growth and discipleship made on each of us daily by the Holy Spirit. It runs dangerously close to calling Jesus "Lord" and then not doing what He says. The doctrine of grace can become error if it is not kept in perspective with the remainder of the Word of God. A bloated justification destroys the need for righteous behavior.
The second error, leaning too lightly on our identification with Christ, can be made by fervent disciples. In some cases we may become preoccupied with our death, our resurrection, our spiritual power, our victories. Such zeal is scriptural and it will bear fruit to a point. But if we are not careful we may lose sight of the fact that the Church is in travail to bring forth Christ, not to bring forth expert Christians.
Also, the struggling overcomer may become discouraged if He does not learn to lean more heavily on who Christ is and on what Christ has done, is doing, and yet will do. In this case the believer may be attempting to hold up the Rock instead of trusting in the Rock to support him. Indeed, one of the keys to the life of victory is knowing when to emphasize our identification with Christ and when to emphasize our own diligence and zeal.
Today there are many who are emphasizing grace to the point of error. The concept of humanism, of man-centeredness, finds merit in the idea that God suffered so man does not have to suffer; Christ became poor so men may become rich. The humanist will endorse a religion that is man-centered and brings happiness and security to the adamic nature of people.
Another great error of our day is that of stressing the power God wants people to have. In the current "prosperity" and "faith" messages we may be witnessing that which will culminate in the False Prophet.
Christ is seen as a spiritual power whose desire is to help the believer get what he wants. One would think the idea of making Jesus our butler would never be received by any blood-washed saint. But the error of attempting to use Christ to assist men in the attaining of their goals is widespread in the various Christian movements.
The way to overcome the deceptions of the last days is to seek union with Christ. Strictly speaking, God is not multiplying believers. God is multiplying Christ. The Seed is One. Our willingness and ability to fall back on Christ and on the victory of Christ over Satan can make the difference between victory and paralyzing discouragement in the rugged trials that lie ahead.
The battle is the Lord's. Christ in us is coming against God's enemies. The judgment we exercise is the judgment of God working through Christ. We can become a vehicle for the exercise of that judgment if we will allow Christ to have His way in and with us. Apart from the Divine judgment there can be no deliverance, truth, or justice for mankind.
The correct concept of the oneness of Christ, of the Seed, of the Victor, must fill the whole Servant of the Lord. Each member must identify totally with Christ and view himself as an integral part of Christ. Yet, the believer is not to allow this identification to become an excuse for an undisciplined, lawless life.
That we are complete in Christ does not mean God has done away with the many New Testament statements that warn us of the fatal consequences of continuing in sin as a Christian.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (II Timothy 2:19)
When the male Heir is born he is "caught up unto God, and to his throne." As soon as Christ is formed in us He is caught up to the Throne of God Almighty.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in the world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:21)
Today the Servant of the Lord is in Heaven at the right hand of God. Although each of us is busily engaged in learning the lessons being taught to us by the Holy Spirit, and in ministering to the Body of Christ as the Lord leads, yet that part of us that is Christ, that is the Servant of the Lord, has ascended already. Our eternal life is in Heaven with Christ, far above the principalities and powers with which we are wrestling.
Very soon the whole Servant of the Lord--Head and Body--will appear from Heaven. He will bring justice and truth to the nations of the earth. In that Day all who are rebellious will be destroyed out of the earth by the judgment of God.
The Day of the Lord, the day of redemption, is a great day, a terrible day. Although the Lord God will use the members of the Body of Christ to judge men and angels in that Day, in actual fact it will be the Lord Himself working through Christ--Head and Body. The Lord God will be performing the work of judgment and redemption (Joel 2:11; 3:16).
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4)