IT IS TIME TO MOVE FORWARD
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We have known Christ as the Good Shepherd. Now we are to become acquainted with Christ as the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. The Good Shepherd will always be with us as will the blessings of the Twenty-third Psalm. But the Spirit of God is pointing us toward the Warrior-King of the Twenty-fourth Psalm. Let us without delay open the everlasting doors of our heart to the Lord.
IT IS TIME TO MOVE FORWARD
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (Psalms 23:1—NIV)
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalms 24:1—NIV)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14—NIV)
The change that is upon us Christians today is suggested in the above three verses.
The first verse focuses on the Lord. The second verse focuses on the earth. The third verse focuses on the Kingdom of God.
The Old Testament type of the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is used by the writers of the New Testament to symbolize the Christian pilgrimage from bondage to the spirit of the world, to the promised inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Christian churches are clear as to the fact that Egypt represents the world spirit—that to which we were in bondage prior to receiving the Lord Jesus as our personal Savior.
The churches are not always as clear that the wilderness wandering speaks of our trials in the wilderness of the present life, sometimes believing that we jump from Egypt to Canaan by “faith.”
But when it comes to the inheritance we are not clear at all. Our assumption, based on our long-standing traditions, is that our inheritance is a mansion in Heaven. But there are two reasons why going to live in the spirit Paradise forever is not a proper fulfillment of the Old-Testament type of Canaan.
- We do not battle our way city by city into Heaven.
- There is absolutely no New Testament passage that points to Heaven as the goal of our salvation.
The Book of Hebrews remarks concerning the people of faith who already are in Heaven that they shall be made perfect together with us. They are witnesses who are observing the unfolding of the program of redemption. This statement tells us that residence in Heaven is not the rest, the perfection announced in the Book of Hebrews.
For two thousand years the Christian Church has been sojourning in the wilderness of the present life. Now we are approaching the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. We know little or nothing about the Kingdom of God because of our emphasis on going to Heaven. Yet the original Gospel had to do with the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, not the going of the Church to Heaven. The Gospel of the Kingdom has been lost to us.
Because the Kingdom of God is at hand the Lord is ready to move us past Mount Sinai, where we have been camped so to speak. Many passages of the Scriptures are being emphasized that to this point have not been emphasized.
This may be particularly true of the parable of the sower, the basic parable of the Kingdom. We all know of the parable, of the four kinds of ground on which the Word of God, the living Seed, is sown. We realize only one kind of ground bears lasting fruit, and even then the crop varies from thirty bushels to the acre to one hundred bushels to the acre.
We do not say to ourselves, “This is what the Kingdom of God is. It is not about going to another place but about a change that takes place in us as Christ is formed in us.” Our tradition concerning going to Heaven, as being what Jesus meant by the coming of the Kingdom of God, is so strong we cannot comprehend that salvation is not a change in where we are but in what we are.
Do you see what I mean? Truth is being emphasized today that has not always been in the forefront of Christian thinking.
Let me suggest at the outset that the land of Canaan, our inheritance, does not represent Heaven. Rather it is true that our inheritance, our goal, our mark toward which we should be pressing, is threefold:
- Total, untroubled union with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Total conformity to the moral, and eventually the outward, image of the Lord Jesus.
- The possession of the earth and its people.
This threefold goal is outlined in the twenty-fourth Psalm.
We presently are in the wilderness. Today the Spirit of God is urging us forward to the possession of our inheritance as sons of God, that is, union with God, conformity to the image of Jesus Christ our Lord, and the possession of the earth and its nations.
Since entrance into each aspect of our inheritance will be resisted bitterly by Satan, we are coming to a period of intense spiritual warfare. This also is suggested in the twenty-fourth Psalm.
The Lord Jesus Christ has been our Moses, the Good Shepherd. Now He is becoming our Joshua, the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. We are moving from the twenty-third Psalm to the twenty-fourth Psalm.
But the blessings of the Twenty-third Psalm will continue with us while we move forward into the Kingdom of God.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (Psalms 23:1—NIV)
The Lord Jesus has been our Shepherd for many years. He shall continue to be our Shepherd even though He is coming now to us as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Lord.
We shall not be in want. The writer has been a Christian for over fifty years. On numerous occasions it seemed there was cause for despair for one reason or another. Yet as prayer was made the Lord brought us through. Never once! Never once has the Lord failed us!
I know enough about statistics to realize the probability that the deliverances that have occurred throughout my discipleship took place by chance is so remote as to be not worth worthy of consideration. There indeed is a living Lord Jesus Christ and He fulfills His Word on time every time. I have not wanted! Have you when you were obeying the Lord?
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, (Psalms 23:2—NIV)
The Lord claims that His yoke is easy and His burden light. But how many times do we find ourselves in a uproar? It often is true (although not always) that the uproar is of our own making. God is dealing with us through circumstances and we are resisting strenuously because of our unbelief, fear, personal ambition, or for some other reason.
Brother Dowell used to say: “If you can’t get God to go your way, why don’t you try going God’s way?”
God makes us lie down in green pastures.
Audrey and I just returned from the “green and pleasant land” of England. As we rode along on one of the many splendid trains we had opportunity to relax and watch the English countryside. Can the like be found anywhere else in the world? The green pastures were so even, so perfectly formed, that they appeared to be manufactured by some great mill. There the sheep were safely grazing.
If there is any place more blessed than a quiet meadow I do not know what it is. Yet it is in this environment the Lord makes us lie down.
The waters of Shiloah run quietly and softly. How often do we find ourselves at our wits end? But it may be true that the confusion is of our own making. We are not seeking to enter the will of Christ but are striving to force the Lord to perform our will.
We Christians do go through crises and some of them are severe. But most of the time there are green pastures and quiet waters if we will just settle down and rest in God’s Person and will.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4—NIV)
This world is the valley of the shadow of death. It is becoming the shadow of Hell as well. We can look about us and see this is true.
We still are to fear no evil.
Anxiety and depression are widespread in the United States of America. It may not always be the case, but in many instances anxiety proceeds from fear. The fear is that something will be removed from us, such as a relationship, our money, our health, or even life itself. Sometimes the worry is worse than the event itself.
Every Christian is to present his body to God a living sacrifice. We are to deny ourselves, hate our own life, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus. Until we do these things we are not a true Christian at all and we will not go through the transformation from Adam to Christ that is the new covenant.
The reason people do not grow in Christ, do not change, do not become new creations, is they have never counted themselves dead with Christ and risen with Him. They do not understand that continual death and resurrection are the mainspring of the new covenant.
Because we have never reckoned ourselves dead, as Paul commanded, we clutch our relationships, our money, our health, our life. These actually are idols in that we love these more than we do God.
Therefore Satan has a handle on us. He keeps suggesting, sometimes to our subconscious mind, that we are going to lose a relationship, or our money, or our health, or life, or something else we hold dear. We become so frightened we do not bring up these fears to where we can see them clearly. We remain huddled in the cave of our self-will.
Only the believer who has placed everything, including all relationships, on the altar of God can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil. It is not possible otherwise.
When we love God above all we are delivered from fear. We accept the fact that God may require some treasure and so we give it to Him with as much joy as we can muster up. Then Satan no longer has a hold on us and our anxiety gradually fades away.
There are real dangers in this world, but Christ is greater than every enemy. God is seeking our joy. Whenever God asks for something (or someone) we are to surrender our treasure immediately. If it will bring us lasting joy God will return it to us. If it will only keep us in bondage and misery, alienated from God, God will not return it but will direct us to greener pastures and quieter waters. God is good and He is to be trusted!
We fear no evil because God is with us. When God is with us we really can get along without anything else. But God gives us many things to enjoy when we are doing His will, although He may bring us through seasons that test our very soul.
Christ’s rod and staff comfort us. They keep us in line.
As a former elementary school teacher I know some of the dynamics of the classroom. I will tell you this. If you want happy, contented youngsters you lay down the law at the beginning of the school year. You let the children know those who do what they are supposed to do will be rewarded and those who go about to practice mischief will be punished promptly. Then the emotionally healthy children, who ordinarily are a majority of the class, will settle down contentedly and do their work.
I suppose the same is true of the larger society.
We humans have to know our limits. When there are no walls, no limits, and we can do as we please, we may act out in a destructive manner. The truth is, the rod and staff of the Lord, the limits He sets on our behavior, actually are a comfort to us. We rest in the fact that Someone who understands us, and what the consequences of our behavior will be, will keep us from falling into a miserable pit.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Psalms 23:5—NIV)
We would much rather have the Lord prepare a table before us in the presence of our friends. We think when we get to Heaven and are surrounded with those who love us, that will be the time and place when the Lord prepares a table for us.
It is a testing of our faith, and a demonstration of God’s power, when a table is set before us in the presence of our enemies.
The greatest fulfillment of this promise will take place when the trumpet of the Lord sounds and the victorious saints of all ages are raised from the dead and the living overcomers are changed into immortality. At that time Antichrist and the wicked of the earth will stand by helplessly as the Lord’s army is caught up majestically to meet the Commander-in-Chief in the air
The Lord Jesus anoints our head with the Holy Spirit. It is a good thing too because the battle today is for the mind. Communication technology is developing at a pace that could not have been envisioned fifty years ago. Every sort of information is being channeled into the mind. No doubt the continual watching of television is having an effect on the human mind and body that has not been recognized as yet.
We are transformed by the renewing of our mind, the Apostle Paul tells us. It is of extreme importance today that we pray carefully so we may know what we should be seeing and listening to and what should be avoided.
There is “death in the pot” as far as television and the Internet are concerned. This is particularly true concerning children. It is an endless amazement that American people cannot awaken to the fact that the media to which the children are exposed, with its emphasis on lust and murder, is causing the children to act in antisocial ways.
Because of our love of comfort we are unwilling to demand that all such programming cease. But we must understand that until we do remove from the children and youth the media that glorify lust and violence we will have an increase of perversion and murder. To maintain that the orgiastic presentations have little impact on the behavior of young people is absolute nonsense. The youth are only acting out what is being fed to them constantly.
God told us to teach His ways to our children from the earliest possible age. When we do this with love and skill, the results are rewarding. When we turn them over to the moneymakers of the entertainment industry the results are catastrophic as we sit in court while our boy or girl is charged with murder.
We make the decision and our young people bear the consequences.
Our cup overflows when we follow the Lord faithfully. The higher the rank in the Kingdom to which we have been called the more time the Lord spends establishing the foundation. Many years of deferral of our desires may be required and we must hold steady in faith.
But when the building has been completed, our cup indeed will overflow. God has promised us limitless joy. Such shall come to pass in our life if we do not turn aside from the path set before us.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalms 23:6—NIV)
When we are living in God’s will we notice the little evidences of God’s goodness and love that keep appearing at unexpected times.
Recently, as I stated previously, we returned from three weeks of vacation in England in celebration of our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Since there are so many unknown factors and incidents when going to another country, I asked the Lord to micromanage (manage in detail) every aspect of our trip.
This He did. For example, we went to Thirske to visit the newly opened museum dealing with the life and practice of James Herriot, the famous veterinarian. When we got off the train at this small town there were no signs, no taxis, nothing but bare countryside. It actually was miles into town and we did not know how far it was or what direction to take.
Would you believe it? There was a bus parked across the street with only the driver inside. He said, “I have only been here once before.” I do not remember whether he explained why he was there on that day right at that time.
He drove us to a place where we could walk to the museum.
The Herriot museum is well worth visiting. I told one of the officials there how we enjoyed it but that it needed some kind of sign when one got off the train. The Thirske City Council probably has put up one since then with a telephone number or some other direction.
This is what I mean by the Lord taking care of the details.
The next day after arriving back in California I started to shave, only to find there was no shaving cream left in the little travel can. Not one drop! Yet there was plenty of shaving cream for my needs during the trip. Micromanagement!
So many times during my life and that of my family we have been brought into unpleasant circumstances. Yet there always was some sort of deliverance that revealed clearly the Lord was on the job and taking care of us.
When I leave my office in the church and go in to preach I say, “Lord, I’m here at my post.” Then the Lord responds, “I’m here at My post.” Then we go out together to declare our Father’s Word.
Surely goodness and love…
It is amazing that King David, a man of fabulous wealth, living in a palace, would have had such a desire to dwell in the house of the Lord. David held the key of the Kingdom. He seemed to know by instinct the heart and plan of God, as evidenced by his eating of the showbread, and by keeping the Ark of the Covenant separate from the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
Both of these actions were clearly punishable by death under the Law of Moses. Yet David sensed God’s approval because he had a heart for God.
God’s ultimate purpose for mankind is that each person who is saved become the dwelling place of God, to a greater or lesser extent depending on the individual’s calling in the Kingdom. Thus David’s desire will be granted to each one of us. We shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
In God’s house, which is Christ, there are many abiding places. Jesus said, “Abide in me.” We are to live always in Christ. He is our Home. When Christ is our Home, then God is dwelling in us and we are dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.
This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, and is the next step after the Pentecostal experience, Pentecost being the celebration that precedes the feast of Tabernacles.
These are the promises that have been made to us while we plod through the wilderness of the world. We older Christians know how faithfully God keeps His promises. The promises shall not cease as we approach the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
We are moving toward a new day. We are approaching the land of promise, the place of milk and honey that was set before us when we left Egypt.
As we said previously, the three areas of inheritance and the means of obtaining all three are found in the Psalm that follows the one we have been discussing.
Notice how it begins. This is very significant:
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalms 24:1—NIV)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14—NIV)
It has been so long since the original Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached Christians have forgotten that Jesus Christ is coming to rule as King of kings and Lord of lords on the earth.
The earth and everything in it belong to the Lord. How often do we hear this preached? Perhaps not often enough. Isn’t it true that the Gospel of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth has been changed into the catching up of the Church into Heaven? Yet there is no Scripture anywhere in the Bible that states the Church will be caught up into Heaven.
We go to Heaven by dying. The purpose of the resurrection from the dead is not to bring us to Heaven but to make it possible for us to live once again on the earth. When I teach this simple, scriptural, reasonable fact it sometime causes the believers to stagger about in bewilderment! Isn’t that amazing?
The earth and everything in it belong to God. He made it all in the first place and He has no intention whatever of turning over His creation to Satan and the wicked. It is the meek who will inherit the earth, not the wicked.
The nations of the earth and the earth itself are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus. We are coheirs with Him. He shall be crowned King on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and from there His government shall extend to the furthest limits of earth and the heavens. The Church has been created to be His counterpart, His glory who will reveal Him throughout the creation.
We do not always think about inheriting people. But except for God Himself, people are the only treasure worth inheriting. To inherit things can never satisfy us. We were made to be the Throne of God, the hand of God extended to every saved creature. Nothing else—absolutely nothing else—shall ever satisfy and fulfill us.
When we are filled with all the fullness of God and know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, we shall find that the love that has been placed in us is directed toward God and then to people. Divine love for the nations of the earth is a gift from God, it is not a virtue that can be dredged up from the adamic nature. Ask God sometime to give you of His love for the nations. Then you will understand the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
For he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. (Psalms 24:2—NIV)
There is no question that water cover’s most of the earth’s surface. But there may be a deeper meaning here. Seas and waters do not make for a solid foundation. You remember, Abraham was looking for a city that has foundations. Also the emphasis on the twelve foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem.
I think God is telling us that our life is not on a firm footing until it is founded on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is true also that the earth and its peoples will not be on a firm footing until the holy city, the new Jerusalem, has come down and the law of God goes forth to the saved nations.
We have mentioned three parts of our inheritance. The earth and the nations of saved people are one part. Now we come to the second part, which is our change into the moral image of Christ.
Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? (Psalms 24:3—NIV)
It was clear under the Law of Moses that only righteous people could stand in the Lord’s holy place, which is Mount Zion.
But this clarity has been greatly muddied by today’s Christian preaching. At some point during the Church Era the doctrine of the “state of grace” was developed. The bottom line of the “state of grace” is that we can come into God’s Presence and stand there without living righteously.
Yet the New Testament shows us that righteousness of personality and behavior are still required if we are to stand with the Lord Jesus on Mount Zion.
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:4,5—NIV)
Notice how the “state of grace” is dramatically missing from the above account of worthiness to stand with the Lord on Mount Zion.
The firstfruits of mankind do not stand on Mount Zion with the Lord by grace, by imputed righteousness. They are there because they are blameless in personality and behavior.
It may be there are teachers who will maintain that the blamelessness of the firstfruits has been imputed to them by Divine grace, so desperate are today’s scholars to prove we do not have to be transformed morally in order to participate in the new covenant. But such are grievously mistaken.
When world history has come to an end it may be revealed that the greatest lie ever to penetrate Christian thinking is that the new covenant, the Christian covenant, provides a “state of grace” such that God does not see the conduct of the believers. It is an enormous lie and has prevented the bringing forth of the new righteous creation that God is looking for, for which Christ died.
It is true that many aspects of the Law of Moses, such as the dietary laws, are not carried over into the new covenant. But the answer to the question raised in the twenty-fourth Psalm indeed is carried over. It reflects the eternal Nature of God.
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. (Psalms 24:4—NIV)
It always has been true, is true now, and shall forever be true, that if we are to ascend the hill of the Lord, if we are to stand in His holy place, we must have clean hands; we must have a pure heart; we must not lift up our soul to an idol; we must not swear by what is false.
This is the image of the Lord Jesus.
“Clean hands” refers to the fact that our actions must be righteous, that is, acceptable to God.
“A pure heart” refers to our heart and mind, our imaginations and motives. They must be pure in God’s sight. Until they are we cannot see the Lord.
Not lifting up our soul to an idol is speaking of the first commandment, that is, loving God above all else.
“Swearing by what is false” has to do with our speech.
The Lord Jesus is perfect in each of these four areas. If we would stand with Him on Mount Zion in the Presence of God we must follow the Holy Spirit until we become perfect in each of these four areas.
One of the great lies with which Satan has filled the churches has to do with doing God’s will perfectly. We humans are not an infinite cavern of iniquity. It is true that our heart is desperately wicked. But it is not so wicked that the Lord Jesus cannot cleanse it by His power and virtue.
The Lord Jesus always behaves righteously, in a manner that pleases God. As Christ is formed in us we grow into such righteous behavior. It is not impossible. In fact, it is expected. God is not as hard to please as we have been led to believe.
Satan has bluffed us into believing that as long as we are in the world we must sin. This is not true. It is not scriptural. The Lord Jesus did not come to forgive the works of the devil but to destroy the works of the devil.
It is no wonder God’s people are under the impression they cannot live righteously in this life. This is what they have been taught. Therefore they do not approach the Lord Jesus with the faith that He is able to cleanse them from all unrighteousness.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9—NIV)
The Lord Jesus Christ has a pure heart. We can have a pure heart if we will obey the Spirit of God and keep the commandments given by the Lord and His Apostles. We cannot develop such a heart overnight, but if we follow the Lord faithfully He will purify our heart.
We think when we go to Heaven we will have a new heart. A new heart does not come as a result of dying and entering the spirit world. Every kind of sin began in the spirit world. It is only through the Lord Jesus that we can gain a pure heart.
Those who have a pure heart before the Lord are blessed and shall see God.
The Lord Jesus does not worship idols. When we start out in the Lord we have numerous idols. Much of our Christian life consists of the Lord removing our idols, and this process is as painful as we make it.
We Americans worship money, lust, violence, pleasure, and sometimes witchcraft. In addition we often worship members of our family, our husband, wife, or children. Sometimes we place our health or our life, or the health or life of a loved one, in a position superior to our love for God. Then when one of these idols is threatened we become frantic, being unwilling to let God remove from us what He will.
The individual who is free from such bondages is blessed and shall find peace. But the person who refuses to die to one or more of his idols will be buffeted endlessly until either he surrenders to God or else God assigns him to the fire to be saved in the furnace of affliction.
The Lord Jesus does not “swear by what is false.” By our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned. It is true that God considers our heart. But He judges us by what we say and do.
The Lord said, “Every idle word an individual speaks will be brought up in the Day of Judgment.” We may not realize it but every word we speak is being recorded.
If we would have the record expunged we must confess our idle words, especially our profanity, to God and seek forgiveness and deliverance. If we do not we shall surely answer for our speech at the Judgment Seat of Christ whether or not we are a Christian.
Our actions, our heart, our love for God, and our speech must be made right in God’s sight if we are to stand before Him.
It is true that when we first come to the Lord we are very imperfect in these four areas. God forgives us through Christ and immediately sets about to perfect that which concerns us. We remain without condemnation provided we continue to follow the Spirit of God in putting to death the deeds of our flesh.
The monumental error of Christian thinking is that the initial forgiveness we receive, a forgiveness designed to make it possible for us to start on the path of moral transformation, is a new way in which God relates to man. “God used to require righteousness but now we are saved by grace,” we exclaim. I do not think it possible a more successful method of destroying the purpose of the new covenant could be devised.
God never changes. His goal for man never changes. We are to practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. When we are not doing this we are not pleasing the Lord. God forgives us as long as we are making progress toward this goal. But to believe the goal for man has changed such that God’s will is that we “believe in Christ” and then do not proceed in the program of moral transformation is to make the Kingdom of God a house of cards having no real substance.
God’s will is that righteousness and praise spring forth through His Church in the sight of the saved nations of the earth. We are to let the light of our good works shine so people glorify God.
One modern translation claims that the righteousness which is to spring forth from us is imputed, or ascribed righteousness while we continue in our sinful behavior. Since such a notion is neither logical (how could imputed righteousness spring forth in the sight of the nations?) nor scriptural, how did this translation of Isaiah 62:1,2 ever pass the board of Christians who authorized the translation?
How can the nations possibly see our righteousness when it is only ascribed to us, not actually wrought in us? One can see the depth of confusion and misunderstanding engendered by the concept of the “state of grace.”
But a new day is here. God is showing us plainly, from First John, Hebrews, and the writings of Paul, that the new covenant is God’s means of writing His eternal moral law in our minds and hearts until we indeed become living epistles. These texts have always been in the New Testament but it appears we have not been able to perceive them for some reason.
He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. (Psalms 24:5—NIV)
Who will receive blessing from the Lord? Whom will the Lord vindicate?
Then, now, and always, the righteous individual who maintains a pure heart, who loves God above all else, and who guards his speech. He will stand with the Lord on Mount Zion. He is not defiled with women (idols); he has kept himself pure; he follows the Lamb in righteousness wherever the Lamb goes; there is no lie in his mouth.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah (Psalms 24:6—NIV)
If we would gain the second part of our inheritance, which is conformity to the moral image of the Lord, we must seek the Lord constantly. “Pray without ceasing,” Paul advised us. It is true. The only way we are going to survive during the age of moral horrors which is upon us is by walking in the Lord’s Presence at all times. There never is to be a moment when we are not aware of His will for us. Such fellowship with God is developed through much practice. It is the generation of righteous believers who will cross over Jordan and gain the land of promise. The present level of Christian consecration and diligence is not adequate for the spiritual darkness that is coming upon us.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (Psalms 24:7—NIV)
We inherit the earth and its peoples. We inherit conformity to the moral image of Christ. The third area of our land of promise is total, untroubled union with God through Christ as Christ enters us and dwells in us.
The ancient doors are the doors of our personality. The King of glory is knocking at the door today. If we will permit Him to enter we will dine with Him on His body and blood, which are eternal life; and He will dine with us on our love, worship, and obedience.
He is the King. When He enters us the Kingdom of God enters us.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:8—NIV)
It is not the Good Shepherd of the twenty-third Psalm who is seeking entrance, it is the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Lord. The Lord mighty in battle.
We can see here the change from Moses to Joshua. It is a new day for us. We may have sung “Onward Christian Soldiers” but the fact that we shall be called on to drive the wicked from our inheritance may not be that clear to us.
However, there is no way in which we can take possession of the earth and its peoples, or be conformed to the moral image of Christ, or dwell in untroubled rest in the Father’s Person and will, except as we through Christ overcome the enemy. Satan is fiercely determined we shall not have any part of our inheritance, not the earth, not its peoples, not a righteous personality, not rest in God’s will. He will fight us every inch of the way. Victory would not be possible to us were it not for the fact that the Lord of armies is going before us, having shed His blood for us so we would be without any trace of condemnation.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory. Selah (Psalms 24:9,10—NIV)
The church at Laodicea is the church of the rights of people, the church that is filled with the spirit of democracy, every person being a god to himself or herself.
It is to this self-driven, proud group of Christians that the Lord says: “I stand at the door and knock.”
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20—NIV)
Sometimes we apply the above passage to the unsaved. It is not addressed to the unsaved but to the self-driven believers.
Much of what is going on today is being guided by ministers of the Gospel who are endeavoring to do the Lord’s will by their own efforts and talents. Some are seeking to command the Holy Spirit, or angels, so they will have successful meetings attended by large numbers of people.
It is in such a time as the present that the Lord is inviting us to open up the door of our personality that He may enter and dine with us.
But it is not the gentle Shepherd who enters. It is the King of glory, the Lord Almighty. He has come to make war against His enemies, beginning with His enemies in us.
As we press past Pentecost, seeking God with sincerity, we may find we are being made uncomfortable as various elements of our personality are coming up for examination. We do not realize it but before we can gain the peace of God’s rest we must first be wounded, so to speak. God is angry with us for a season as our idols are addressed by the Lord. But such anger works for our good, because if we continue in prayer we eventually are blessed with the coming of the Father and the Son to make Their eternal abode in us.
In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me.” (Isaiah 12:1—NIV)
The next verse in the third chapter of the Book of Revelation tells us that if we emerge from the struggle victoriously we will sit with Christ in His throne. This is the throne of our heart.
To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21—NIV)
When our heart becomes the Throne of God and of the Lamb, the eternal Life of the Holy Spirit will flow out from our innermost being and bring life to the saved peoples of the earth.
So we see we are moving forward from the twenty-third Psalm to the twenty-fourth Psalm. Yet the blessings of the twenty-third Psalm shall always follow us.
But now we are to think about our great inheritance as a coheir of the Lord Jesus.
The good land lies before us. Let us not be like unbelieving Israel and refuse to follow God to total victory. Let us have the spirit of Caleb who cried out, “Give me this mountain.”
God is pleased when we overcome our doubts and fears and press forward into all He has promised.
Let each one of us be counted among those who please God by pressing forward until we lay hold on every particle of that for which we have been laid hold of by the Lord.
The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 7:22,23—NIV)
“Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:12—NIV)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12—NIV)
(“It Is Time to Move Forward”, 3555-1)