MAKING THE GLORY OUR OWN

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Words of Righteousenss)

MAKING THE GLORY OUR OWN Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The basic story of life is that of the prodigal son. It is the story of mankind, of Samson, of Israel, of the Christian Church, of each one of us.

We are given something wonderful, but because of the ease with which it was received we really can't appreciate it. In one way or another we have to make it our own if we are to keep it.

To have and to hold something, especially for eternity, we have to receive it twice.

MAKING THE GLORY OUR OWN

I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men. So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:18-20—NIV)

The basic story of life is that of the prodigal son. It is the story of mankind, of Samson, of Israel, of the Christian Church, of each one of us.

We are given something wonderful, but because of the ease with which it was received we really can't appreciate it. In one way or another we have to make it our own if we are to keep it.

To have and to hold something, especially for eternity, we have to receive it twice.

This is true of our health, isn't it? As a young person we are likely to take our health and energy for granted. If we do not follow principles of healthy living we may find by the time we are fifty we wish we had followed a better diet and had exercised. Regaining our health can be a very arduous undertaking, that is, if we have another chance at health.

The same is true of our home, or our marriage, or job, or anything else that came to us without too much effort. We may become careless and the next thing you know we have lost our home or marriage or job or money and may or may not be able to retrieve it. Gaining back what we have lost can be extremely difficult if not impossible.

This was the case with Israel.

God blessed King David because David had a heart for God and endeavored to live righteously. The result was David had marvelous success in conquering the nations around him. Garrisons were established from Edom to Lebanon, from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates.

Solomon inherited a mighty empire. God continued to bless the son of David until Israel was exceedingly wealthy—prospering in every area. The Israelites were all officials or soldiers. Slaves from the surrounding tribes did the manual labor.

Rulers came from many countries to hear the wisdom of Solomon and to behold the magnificence of the Temple of God and the palace of Solomon with its ivory throne flanked with the twelve lions. The wall surrounding Jerusalem was constructed from huge stones cut precisely at the quarry and then brought to the city.

The Temple of God itself was a marvel, an impregnable fortress of marble and gold, situated on a high point of the mountain on which Jerusalem was built. The total wealth of the nation of Israel at this time would be difficult to estimate.

The kingdom of Solomon is an example of great value given to a king and his people, a value gained by a previous ruler whose hands were stained with the blood of numerous battles.

Things of great value that are given freely are often lost by those who were not involved in acquiring them.

Solomon sinned later in his life and from that time the handwriting was on the wall. Israel became the two warring nations of Israel and Judah. Little by little the power and grandeur of the original kingdom were eroded until Israel was carried off captive by the Assyrians, and Judah by the Babylonians.

The Babylonians broke down the wall and set fire to Jerusalem, including the Temple of God. The glorious conquering nation was reduced to a handful of poor people who finally, in direct defiance of the Word of the Lord to them, fled from Jerusalem to Egypt, taking the Prophet Jeremiah with them.

Majestic Israel, the most powerful nation of the world, was brought down to a pitiful handful of poor, disobedient people, living in Egypt, worshiping the "queen of heaven." The Book of Lamentations reveals the depths to which the Lord brought down His disobedient children.

This is what can happen to any of us, no matter how blessed, if we do not obey the Word of God. It is going to happen to America very soon if the Christians do not turn from their fleshly ways and begin to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

After seventy years in Babylon God stirred up Cyrus the Great, the king of Persia, to encourage the rebuilding of the Temple of God in Jerusalem. A number of the families that had been led captive from Jerusalem to Babylon obeyed Cyrus, leaving the comforts of Babylon to return to the ruins of the Temple, a broken-down wall, and a desolated city surrounded by enemies.

What a contrast between the kingdom of Solomon, and Jerusalem when the exiles returned to rebuild the Temple, the wall, and the city! What a discouraging task! The elders wept when they remembered the original Temple.

So it is with us prodigals when we come to ourselves and decide to return to our Father's house.

But all is not lost! If God permits us to regain what was forfeited, it now becomes our own. We appreciate the value of the gifts that once had been given to us so freely. We have struggled and fought over every inch of territory, taking it back from the enemy. Now it is ours and, depending on what the particular treasure is, if it has died and been raised in Christ, it is ours for eternity.

Sometimes we are in the condition of Nehemiah. We are living in luxury. But then God makes us aware His work, His Church, is in great need.

We feel badly about this and go to prayer. Then we know what we are to do. But it involves leaving our comfortable situation and setting out to rebuild, under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions, that which has been lost.

We now are in the valley of decision. This is a genuine crisis. If we turn back to our luxurious living we will find that eventually we have lost everything. If we choose to give up that which is familiar and pleasant so God's house may be built, we gain an inheritance in God and His people of infinitely greater value than the approval of a worldly king.

Perhaps you are at such a point right now. You are pretty well situated in life as a middle-aged person, or a young person with a vision of what you intend to accomplish in life. Or you may be an older individual who had thought your useful years were concluded.

But you feel a stirring in your soul. It might be the Lord. Do you dare inquire further? Do you dare to think of changing your "secure" position? Or will you withdraw because of fear of the unknown or because you do not want to leave your comforts?

Perhaps you are part of a church that is very vital, in which the Lord's Presence is felt Sunday after Sunday. You may not realize it but you may be warming your hands at someone else's fire just as Solomon was warming his hands at David's fire so to speak.

Someone paid the price, you can be sure, if you are sensing the Lord's Presence at every service. Wouldn't you like it to be true of you that you know the Lord for yourself? Suppose you were called to another place. Could you bring the holy fire with you? How would you like to make that sense of God's Presence your own so no matter where you went you could bring it with you?

Eliezer the servant of Abraham referred to the God of his master, Abraham. God was not Eliezer's God but the God of the one who was willing to obediently offer his cherished son as a burnt offering.

How would you like God to become your God and not just the pastor's God?

You can, you know. But, like Nehemiah, you may have to leave the familiar (only as God leads!) and go into another place (perhaps not geographically) that is unfamiliar and seemingly dangerous if you are to make the Glory of God your own.

Nehemiah had to spend a lot of his own money and he received little thanks for it. But the wall around Jerusalem finally was rebuilt.

In the first century the Glory of God and the fullness of the revelation of the new covenant rested on twelve men, including the Apostle Paul. We know from the Epistles that the churches themselves were about as carnal as we are today.

Then, in the wisdom of God, the Apostles were martyred and the spirit of wisdom and revelation was not transferred to the godly Christian religious leaders. Not having the same Spirit of revelation as the Apostles of the Lamb the Christian scholars began to make commentaries and translations.

The Bible was copied laboriously by hand by the monks for several hundred years. Then, when the Catholic traditions had grown far removed from the Bible, the Lord raised up the Reformers.

From the time of the Reformers to the present hour the work of restoration (the latter, or spring rain) has progressed an inch at a time. That which had been given so freely was now in the process of being restored, but at what a price as the established Christian organization fought fiercely to hold onto its traditions.

Righteousness by faith and not by doing penances was one of the first glimmers of original truth. Then followed the priesthood of the laity. Water baptism by immersion. The reality of the born-again experience. Belief in the literal return of Jesus Christ. The need for personal holiness. Speaking in tongues and the ministries and gifts of the Spirit including miraculous healing. The concept of the Body of Christ.

In keeping with the restoration of apostolic truth, the unveiling of the major types, such as the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the seven feasts of the Lord, has given us pegs on which to hang the many facets of the Divine revelation.

The understanding of the new covenant given to the Apostle Paul, apparently as he spent years in Arabia, was given by him so freely to the churches. Yet Christian Jewish teachers of the Law of Moses apparently had little trouble enticing the Gentile believers away from the purity of Paul's doctrine. They did not realize in the Apostle Paul they possessed the very oracle of Divine revelation.

We seldom realize the value of what we have been freely given until we lose it.

To this very day the transition from Moses to Christ is not preached clearly, only in mumblings about how we are not under the Law but under grace, with no real understanding of what is involved in the transition, in numerous instances.

The massive centerpiece of Paul's teaching, the Divine mystery of Christ in us, is not preached or understood to the present hour. We still are occupied with our carnal reasoning about being with Christ in Heaven while reclining at ease in our mansion. The original Gospel of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth has been replaced with the traditional going of the Church to Heaven to be with Jesus. The mystery of the Gospel, that Christ is in us, is not ordinarily emphasized.

What bloodshed, hatred, and division marks each tiny step forward in the regaining of the original revelation! How the established churches resent any alteration of their treasured traditions! Only men and women, boys and girls, of unquestioned obedience and loyalty to Christ Himself, dare challenge the status quo at any point of Church history.

As soon as any new doctrine, such as speaking in tongues, has been restored, the reproach moves forward to a new restoration of Divine truth. The scouts and pioneers move out ahead of the wagon train. There is dangerous territory out here, lots of poisonous water holes, enemies, diseases. It is always so when people pioneer new territory. But the pioneers gain ownership of great holdings of real estate, like the middle of downtown Dallas, as they say.

Of the seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, only the Ark of the Covenant retained its carrying poles when the tribes rested. The Ark of God is always on the move!

Well, where is the reproach today? Speaking in tongues has been regained worldwide, even among many of the historic churches. The cry that "tongues are of the devil" grows increasingly faint with each passing year.

As soon as a part of the original revelation has been established, a number of traditions spring up like dandelions among the grass. So it is today in America where, as far as I know, speaking in tongues was first restored.

What is preached today in the Bible-believing churches does not, for the most part, correspond with the teaching of the Apostle Paul. What is heard over and over again each Sunday morning is grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven, grace-rapture-Heaven.

One would suppose grace-rapture-Heaven was the main emphasis of the New Testament, appearing in nearly every one of the Epistles.

The truth is, grace, as it is preached today as an alternative to righteous behavior, is not emphasized in the New Testament. Grace is shown to be the power of God in Christ to enable us to slay our carnal nature and begin to bring forth the fruit of righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

The so-called "rapture" of the saints, as it customarily is preached, is never at any time presented in the Scriptures. The catching up of the saints after their resurrection from the dead is taught in the Book of First Thessalonians, but this is not a special disappearance of the saints prior to the Day of the Lord. It is the historic return of Jesus to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

In any case, a person who read the New Testament carefully would never say that the catching up of the saints was emphasized in the Epistles. Yet today it is emphasized because the preachers are willing to please their listeners with the thought they will not be on earth during the dark days we are approaching.

The doctrine of the "pre-tribulation rapture" of the believers is a tradition, not a truth of the Scriptures.

If most of what we are hearing today is unscriptural tradition, as was true of the doctrine of penances at the time of the Reformers, what is being restored at this time? Where does the reproach lie that always accompanies the forward move of the Spirit? What is it that has to be restored stone by wearying stone, bar by dangerous bar, lock by unpopular lock?

There are several such areas of truth being restored. Central to the restoration is that fact that it is time for Christ to come to maturity in His Body. This necessitates a change from the pastor-do-it-all service to widespread participation by the members of the Body, particularly in the area of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit.

Following the pattern of the last three feasts of the Lord, the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, feasts that follow Pentecost, we can look for the following in our time:

An emphasis on war and the idea of a militant approach to entering the Kingdom of God.

An emphasis on confessing and putting to death through the Spirit the sins of our personality, including worldliness, lust, and self-will.

An emphasis on Christ being formed in us, and then the coming of the Father and Christ to dwell in the new creation that has been formed in us.

Generally speaking, it is time for the members of the Body of Christ to come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Two other insights are of great importance.

First, the goal of salvation. An understanding of the goal of salvation is critically important if one is to grasp what the Spirit is saying today.

Our traditional goal is to go to Heaven to live forever. Added to this is the hope of a beautiful mansion where we will visit forever with our friends, doing little of significance for eternity.

You will not find anywhere in the Bible that the goal of salvation is to bring you to Heaven where you will recline in your mansion and visit with your friends. The goal of salvation is to change you into the moral image of Christ and to bring you into untroubled rest in the center of God's will. The purpose of such change and such rest is that you might serve Christ forever in His Kingdom, that you might work with Him in bringing justice to the nations.

The second insight concerns the nature of the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ and the reason for His return to earth.

The current tradition is that the purpose of the coming of the Lord is to carry off His Bride to Heaven. You will not find such a notion anywhere in the Bible.

The purpose of the coming of the Lord is to establish His Kingdom on the earth and to bring justice to the nations.

In line with this purpose the Lord will raise His saints, His army, from the dead and clothe them with glorified bodies. Then they will be caught up together with the living saints to meet the Lord in the air, in the area of the spiritual thrones from which the world is governed.

After this the Lord will descend, followed by His victorious saints, and drive evil from the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ will be crowned King of kings on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. From there He and His saints will go forth and govern the nations, teaching them the eternal moral law of God.

Because the Lord's purpose in coming is to call His army to Himself, the lukewarm Christians of our day will be left behind. Only the called, chosen, and faithful members of the royal priesthood will be resurrected at that time and caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

Remember the parable of the ten virgins? Do you see that half of the virgins, all of whom were Christians but not all with the Life of Christ developed in their personalities, went to be with the Lord and the door was shut in the face of the other half?

So it will be at His appearing.

Now let's think about the truth that is to be restored in our day and see if we are willing to forsake our unscriptural traditions and bear the reproach that always accompanies the restoration of the original Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

We are entering a time of spiritual warfare. The hymns and choruses are becoming militant. Pageantry in the form of banners may be employed to emphasize the songs of war. No more are we to be just a crowd of believers. It is time to be disciplined as good soldiers of the cross. The lackadaisical approach to salvation no longer will suffice. It is time for war in the spirit realm.

Are we willing to be identified with those who are calling the churches to war instead of lulling them to sleep with the unscriptural teaching of the "rapture"?

Christ has forgiven our sins through the blood of the cross. Now He is ready to finish the job by taking away our sins. Because of this we must come to understand that Divine grace is not an alternative to righteous living but the power and wisdom through Jesus Christ to live righteously.

If you decide to help build the wall against sin, if you teach that God is not seeing us through Christ, as the unscriptural tradition states, if you portray God as ready to judge the worldliness, lust, and self-will in His churches with a view to removing them from us as we confess them and turn away from them, you are going to face much criticism and unbelief. But this is the wall that must be built in our day.

The churches are filled with unjudged sin. It is not true that God does not see this sin. He does and He wants to remove it from us. He wants us to judge our own conduct as sinful, as He directs us, and confess the sin, renounce it, and by His Spirit drive it from us.

Our Christian teaching concerning the grace of God, and the unscriptural "state of grace," is so deeply entrenched that to challenge it is to seriously disturb the supposed security of the believer. Because of their fear they will howl with unbelief.

Yet, it must be challenged for it is not scriptural. The days we are approaching will be so dark spiritually that the only reality we can be sure of is what the Bible states. The Bible does not state God sees us through Christ, or God sees us through the blood, or we who believe are living in a state of grace such that our behavior does not affect our salvation. The Bible does not teach these things any more than it teaches we are going to a mansion in Heaven.

It is time to get back to the Bible. Can you say Amen!

The removal of our sins is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement.

It is time for Christ to be formed in us. We have supposed that because we have received the blood atonement and have a portion of eternal life that we have the fullness of Christ. The Galatians had received the blood atonement and had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. Yet Paul was travailing in birth that Christ might be formed in them.

We are dead with Christ on the cross, the Bible says, and we have been raised from the dead with Him and have ascended with Him to the right hand of God in Heaven. This is where our born-again life resides. Because of this we must spend the remainder of our time on earth turning away from the passions of our flesh and soul and cultivating our new life in the heavens. We absolutely must keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, and God will help us to do this if we ask Him.

As we set our mind on things above and live a fervent Christian life, Christ will be formed in us to a much greater extent than we have realized would be possible. The forming of Christ in us is in preparation for His return and the coming of the fullness of the Father and the Son to dwell in us in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

There is so much more of God for us!

When we tell God's people that there is more of God for us this side of Heaven we may encounter some opposition. Yet one of the main doctrines of the entire Scriptures has to do with building the eternal house of God. The house of God, the tabernacle of God, is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the future government of the earth. This work has not been completed as yet. There is more to be done in our day.

When we have come as far as Pentecost we have the authority through the blood, and the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, to begin to enter the Kingdom of God. Specifically we have the authority, wisdom, and power to put to death the sins of our flesh and to embrace all the grace of God, including the body and blood of Jesus Christ. It now is time to enter the Kingdom.

The truths we have set forth above have to be restored. We have to make them our own by much prayer and by stern obedience to God. The average American Christian who has taken the "four steps of salvation" and whose discipleship consists of attending church on Sunday morning is in no condition to cope with the age of moral horrors we are entering. If he does not at the present hour turn to Jesus Christ with a desperate desire to get more of God he or she will not be ready to go with the Lord when He returns. The door will be closed in his or her face. You can count on this!

Don't wait for or expect your pastor to find God for you. In fact, he may not even understand what you are talking about. You have to find God for yourself.

The wall against sin has been broken down because of the current false teaching of grace. You may have to leave your comfortable, familiar situation, like Nehemiah, in order to put your own stone in the wall.

None of the understanding that is coming forth today is an addition to the Bible. The concepts of spiritual war, of the removal of our sins, of the forming of Christ in us, of our change into the moral image of Christ, of our entering untroubled rest in the center of God's will, of the return of Jesus Christ to call up to Himself His army, of the coming of Christ and His saints to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, are all found clearly in the Scriptures. We do not have to cut and paste verses together to support them as we do our traditions, such as having a mansion in Heaven, living in a state of grace, or being caught up to Heaven in a "pre-tribulation" rapture.

Today is a time for all of God's leaders to go back to the Bible and verify their doctrinal emphases. Some may be surprised that their favorite expressions, such as God seeing us through Christ, or our being covered with the blood, are not found in the Scriptures. Actually, the purpose of the blood is to forgive us and keep us free from condemnation as we are gaining the victory over sin, not as we wait to be carried to Heaven by grace. We wash our robe in the blood of the Lamb. But the blood is not our robe. The blood is as Divine soap that cleanses our robe. But the soap is not our robe. It is the righteous nature of Jesus Christ expressed in our person and behavior that is our white robe, and it is kept clean by the blood of the Lamb as we confess our sins and turn away from them.

We are trusting in the blood of Christ to keep God from seeing our behavior. This is not the purpose of the blood of Christ. The purpose of the blood of Christ is to forgive the saints and then make it possible for them to be so transformed morally that their godly character is a purified white robe that will cover their nakedness in the day of resurrection.

We see therefore that God is restoring truth today, just as He has in every generation. Those who are not hearing from the Lord will cling to their traditions. They will, as such always do, slander those who have entered the death of the cross and are waiting on the Lord Jesus. The believers who press into Jesus may be physically attacked, tortured, or even killed in the days to come. But what is that! The saints have always left bloody footprints in the snow.

We want to be among those who leave everything that we may build the wall against sin, the wall of the Kingdom of God. We want to be one of those who make the Glory our own, not just an onlooker who is warming his or her hands at someone else's fire.

We want to know God for ourselves and hear from God ourselves. We can, you know, if this is what we desire above all else.

When something of value is given to us freely we usually do not appreciate it. But when we have to regain it by a long, arduous, painful, sometimes dangerous struggle, we truly appreciate it. And, as I stated previously, in some cases the Glory we have gained, if it has been crucified and risen with Christ, is our treasure for eternity.

The Lord be with you as you press into Him.