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This month's teaching : Repentance

Tainted Influence

Here stands this powerful man of God before the Angel of the Lord, perhaps not even fully aware of what he was fighting within. There were so many troubling things that could not be understood. Why do I struggle with feeling guilty, or even filthy, yet I know I am not? I am a servant of the Most High God. I feel this sense of shame, and yet I know I am doing well. I am not aware of any sin in my life, yet I feel as though I am a sinner. Could it be that my ideas and expectations of a spiritual life exceed what true spirituality really is? Is there anything good within me? Can I even expect God to understand and help me when I am so needy? We can only imagine the thoughts this prophet of God may have contended with. Paul expressed similar experiences to us in his writings. 1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 2 Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair. V. 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. Many questions seemed to pervade these men, an apostle, and a prophet of God, as they continued in their faithfulness to the burden and calling upon their life.

Zechariah 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. V. 4 And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel. The unseen truth that stands as absolute reality is unveiled here, and we see how God addressed this issue with His servant. Joshua was about to discover a startling reality. There was an enemy that had soiled his garments. Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. Satan stood on his right hand as an accuser, resisting him in all that he did for Almighty God and His people. This evil presence had positioned itself as an influence within the mantle that he carried. It made him appear as a guilty, filthy man. This influence was present while Joshua was in the very presence of God and in the midst of his calling as he prevailed in faithfulness. Joshua was called by God for service and ministry as a high priest in the ancient days. It was the highest of callings on this man—a spiritual battle warrior, minister, and priest to the King of heaven and earth. Now this man of God finds himself clothed with filthy garments as he stands before the Holy Angel from Heaven. Was he filthy with sin issues? No, he was one of God’s saints and chiefly laden with purpose and responsibility. Joshua was called to higher purposes and heavenly duties. But as the task lay before him, there was a resister that stood on his right hand and the effects of a filthy, enemy-tainted influence upon him that felt completely ungodly.

There are many genuinely blood-washed saints today walking in the power of the full provision of Christ who yet wrestle with this mind-set. But they wrestle not against flesh and blood. The attacks of Satan can make the saint look as un-saintly as the filth of the enemy himself. This is the story of so many true children of God. When the enemy pursues the demise of these children he tries to taint them with filthy influences and dominate them through feelings of defeat and corruption. He does this because he knows they are the saints of God. When these true children of God see themselves as filthy, they become almost frozen in their duties. It causes great defeat in their walk with God. They fight discouragement and live in a state of crisis, feeling their relationship with Christ to be disjointed. They are tempted to think that perhaps God is their enemy.

In my 33 years of ministry I have never witnessed an outpouring of this unholy mess of dismay upon God’s people as I have in these last years. It seems to be the tool of the hour for discouraging the true children of God. These people are not wicked, but that is exactly how they feel about themselves. They are not hiding sin or justifying sin but living a life of purity and holiness before God. However, they become dismayed by a filth that has been cast upon them by the enemy. They are not sinners, yet they feel as though they are. They are not adulterers, yet they feel like they are. They are not liars, yet they feel like they are. They are told lies by an evil influence, and they carry around this complex, diminishing all hope and joy that they could rightly have.
The Lord said to the angel that stood before Joshua, ‘take the garments from him, and give him a change of raiment’. May God allow you dear people to see the spotless garments He has provided for you. In Heaven they will be clearly seen as the holy garments they are—clean, pure, and white!
Revelation 7:13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? They came from earth and out of great tribulation, having blood-washed robes. And that is us, my dear friends.

Seeking After Righteousness

When a Christian seeks after righteousness, God expresses a unique love towards them. But what does this desire look like in real day-to-day life? Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. So then, what is righteousness? Is it possible for someone to achieve true righteousness or is it only something we can follow after? Can something that must be followed after be granted back to the follower?

The apparent beautification and spiritual adornment upon the saints in Revelation 19:8 is that of something granted. When something is granted it is generally understood as perhaps an awarded gift but not something achieved by pursuit of something in anticipation of compensation. The righteousness that Abraham had was imputed from God and therefore not achieved. But although he desired for many years for the promise to be fulfilled, he did not noticeably pursue being righteous in the understood sense of the word. By believing God’s spoken word against all odds, the miraculous happened. I do not know that God ever told Abram that he must be righteous in order to receive the gigantic miracle of Isaac. It was given to him simply because he believed the promise of God against all the natural impossibilities.

We cannot waver when it comes to the promises of God nor consider them optional. The promises of God are His territory, and when we receive them we are on His property and within His ownership. So, we know that we must enter His property to receive His promises. But how can we know when we are upon the sovereign property of God? Once we are the property of God by His divine order of ownership we are deeded as His in covenantal recognition. In what manner and timing does this transaction take place? Man fulfills the criteria for receiving the outcome of God’s promise when his natural state of mind, being unbelief, is changed to the condition of simply believing. This is the entrance, or door, to kingdom living. It is the faith of the son of God as found in Galatians 2:20. This glorious place is a position of rest with Christ in heavenly places. Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This glorious place is one that most people cannot identify with. John 11:40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? The glory of God is the premises of God. Our walk with Christ is one of trust and faith in that which is finished. Our labor now transitions into believing without hesitation. I believe this to be the place where a life of prayer before God proceeds. It is the ministry that rests in faith and trust by the spoken word. Toil ceases when trust and faith begin.

The magnificent bride of Jesus is described as being arrayed in fineness—as in fine linen. Linen is a textile of exceptional coolness. A distinctive mark of the saints in the book of Revelation is that they are arrayed in sweatless service before God. This mark of sweatless service speaks of a deeper advancement into the kingdom of God that many do not experience. The service of many Christians is fraught with much sweat and turmoil.
As the saints of God move deeper, pressing into Holy of Holies, they take on a boldness that many cannot comprehend because of shallow and carnal representation. This spiritual boldness is not understood or clearly observed by the majority. It is, however, witnessed by a great cloud of spiritual witnesses.

To dwell in the secret place of the Most High is a surreptitious existence because it does not meet the approval of the carnal observer. It is viewed as myth or unrealistic imagination to some. Dwelling in this secret place is an astounding divergence from the way most experience the Christian life. The purified fineness of service, ministry, worship, and labor to our heavenly Father takes on a new meaning. Much of what we know in the realm of religion, and in the inner condition of the heart, is not describable as fine. This fine linen is clean and white, and these robes of pure white are called righteousness. Revelation 19:8 and to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (Emphasis added.) This is the righteousness that was displayed upon Abraham after it was granted as a gift of grace because he believed.
Isaiah 51:1 Listen to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. (Emphasis added.) We were hewn out of the rock, found in the hole of a deep pit. Follow on, my Christian companion, and waver not at obstacles. What are obstacles to God anyway? They are stepping stones—steps of faith! Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. It is also apparent that righteousness is something that can be thirsted after. So, thirst and hunger after righteousness, you will be filled!

Hallelujah!

The Spirit of Man

If there is any one thing on earth that God desires to compare Himself with, it is mankind; it is in us that He is expressed. We are created in His likeness and image. The source of God’s expression of similitude in likeness and image, was His own eminent righteousness and holiness. We tend to recognize this only in the physical sense, but the greater aspect is spiritual. This is exemplified in that God created us as spiritual beings, designed to live forever. These details of image and likeness have multi-dimensional depth that most do not recognize for lack of the pursuit of understanding. The fall of mankind in Eden was a massive shift away from God’s pattern of righteousness and holiness. There were no slight shifts of mere error in Eden that day. It was a gigantic and extremely destructive phenomenon which massacred the relationship between God and man. To begin to understand this collapse of horror, we must understand the Creator’s mighty spiritual impregnation of our eternal spirit within.

Within man there is an incredible edifice, designed to be strong enough to contain the presence of God and to disperse the resemblance of the majesty of His presence. This is a holy place and a temple of God, garnished as His office where the sacred meeting of His presence with man occurs. The directive given to Adam had connotations of maintaining order and beauty of the garden and everything within the garden. The outworking of this union was through spiritual strength with primary elements of dominion. This spiritual union between God and man was to subdue everything that was above and beneath the earth.

The destroyer was already present in the garden, lodged in a tree called knowledge. Somehow it was the tree of knowledge that he found to be the instrument of enticement. The contamination of that tree was to be subdued in one way—by leaving it alone. ‘Do not touch or eat of it’, was the simple solution of obedience. Herein we must understand that Adam’s dominance was to be propagated by these two directives—firstly, do not touch, and secondly, do not eat of that which hangs on its branches.

The pure and complete defense mechanism with which God equipped man, was righteousness. The opposite of that righteousness was to touch and eat from the branches of the tree of knowledge, where good and evil lodged together. When we look at God’s righteousness as being the defense against Satan’s artillery, we begin to understand our position in Christ. Paul instructs us in Ephesians 6:14 to cover the heart with a breastplate. He calls this breastplate, righteousness. We think of guarding the heart and tend immediately to forget that our heart is protected from the inside out. The righteousness of Christ is what protects the heart; it protects the heart against engagement from within. With this shield in place, the heart is protected from engagement through the mouth as well. The defense of Christ in the wilderness was alone what was written. We also must remember the silence of Christ throughout His trial, prior to His death. Satan goes about to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan wants to steal what is in the heart, which is what he did in Eden. This he can do if we give in to him with the mouth, for out of the mouth, the heart speaks. This is when the breastplate stands in full defense and we shall never flinch here with reasoning. Oh, that I would have understood this earlier!

God’s expression of likeness and image is exemplified in man. Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the heart. 1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Our spirit is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Our spirit knows all about us and God’s Spirit knows everything about God and us. This lies within us and is called a temple. This temple headquarters between God and man is lodged within us and is called our spirit. Never do we find the Bible teaching that the spirit can be annihilated or become extinct. This one function was designed to house the voice of God, or the Spirit of God. At the fall of man, the voice fled and was later found walking in the cool of the day seeking Adam. The spirit of man chased out the presence of God from within him, becoming void, dormant, and hollow—vulnerable to death and all its forms.

When Christ transforms fallen man and the Holy Spirit enters him, all that was stolen from Adam in Eden is restored. Christ’s righteousness is restored immediately and man becomes a new creature. The forgiveness of sin and acknowledgement of iniquity starts a radical and progressive move of restoration in man’s spirit. The Holy Spirit immediately finds the place originally designed for Him and flies with wings of a dove to His place of rest, and the glory of the Lord restores the temple of praise and power and majesty to reign till the return of Christ!

The Body is for the Lord

The righteousness of God appears to be the underlying foundation upon which all things exist which are subordinate to God’s plan, and the pattern of His eternal supremacy. Our body is a pre-existent design created to function as a constituent of the Creator’s righteousness in the heavenly family extended on Earth. We as man were created to rule over His estate, through His delegations of authority and with simple obedience to what has been designed and written. God implemented His plan through the human race, placing them in the garden Eden. He gave them global dominion over all things on Earth, giving them only one ‘thou shall not’. Humans were designed as representatives, to carry a valuable presence upon their bodily image with the likeness of the supreme Creator. God’s image and likeness carried uncontaminated traces of His eternal strength and supreme power on the earth.

As children of God, we need to have an understanding of what God’s righteousness is, and come into unadulterated surrender to it. This was all forfeited and lost in a spiritual sense in the Garden of Eden. Righteousness is the foundation and forum of continuity that draws from the existence of God’s holiness and influence, bringing us back into perfect fellowship with Him. This plan of endorsement was instituted as a legal acceptance agreement which originated from the eternal and foundational oracles of God; not tainted in any way by human effort. This plan was eternal and original with God and remains in perfect condition, never having changed. God never changed His righteousness. Even His requirements are same. The only way to God’s righteousness is to remain in full, uncontaminated relationship with Him. How is this done? The requirements for righteousness stand eternal as an unending constitutional vendetta against disobedience in any form—whether on earth, or in heaven. God’s eternal plan for His kingdom power, is holiness in righteousness; the plan was perfect. His righteousness never failed, nor was it ever diminished.

Abram was the first man after the fall to be accredited as righteous before God. God’s acceptance was complete and assured based on one thing—he believed God. Genesis 15:6 And Abram believed in the Lord; and he accounted it to him for righteousness. How is it that faith is so powerful, it actually reconciles with the eternal God? It is the only acceptable God-approved way to bring us back under His divine authority. This is why it is impossible to please Him any other way. Abram did not believe in God in the way which we in our modern day hear about believing. He did not believe things about God, he believed God. He moved by faith in that which he was told to do, and that which was told to him was by faith.

There is only one source of acceptable righteousness with God in our day; it is through the Son of Righteousness. Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; V.22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. It’s all in Jesus because He paid God’s acceptable price for our sin, to restore God’s righteousness to fallen mankind. This avenue is called grace by God’s gift of kindness. This grace allows God to accept faith which does not even come from us, but has made an appeal to us as a means of redemption. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Emphasis added).

There are people who say they believe this truth, but only know it in their mind and their life remains filled with sin and filth. If the truth does not set us free, it is not truth. It is within our body that all of this is contained. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. There are many temples which are filled with other things, where the Holy Spirit is a stranger at the door. It is our duty to welcome the Holy Spirit into our temple and give Him full access to use the vessel as He desires, without argument. 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? V.20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. We do not belong to ourselves anymore. If we belong to ourselves, then we do not belong to God. We were purchased when Christ hung on the cross. 1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. The Holy Spirit will only dwell in a holy place. So, what is our purpose on earth? We are the temple of the Holy Spirit—here to bring glory to God by His authority alone in Christ. Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Hallelujah!

Spiritual Thirst

Forty verses after Genesis 1:1 we find this word—river. It was a river of water that turned into four rivers to water the vast land. One must wonder where this powerful river came from. It came from Eden, the newly created garden of God. The source of this water was the great Creator, the importance of it being the survival of His new creation! It was a tremendous outpouring of water in mere moments to water the entire land. His original blueprint is still being carried out to this very day. Without water, there is no survival of anything. There is a fundamental law that can be seen within the subject of water which must be clearly understood. It is the simple truth that few will ever drink water without first thirsting for it. A healthy person thirsts for water.

There is a vital spiritual application that is key to going deeper with God. What we find is a similar depiction with those that deeply desire to be right with God. Being right with God is something that cannot be produced by us, therefore it creates a thirst. As we cannot create our own water, we cannot create our own righteousness. Hunger and thirst are present when one seeks to be right with God. Matthew 5:6 blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. When one is hungry or thirsty, he pursues, seeks, makes it a priority. When righteousness becomes a thirst or hunger, you will find yourself in the midst of an Abrahamic type promise in Christ. You will be filled. So, to be filled is where God’s acceptable righteousness in Christ reigns. What are we in thirst of? We might define the answer this way: we want more of God, more of Jesus. God’s answer to our need is His righteousness. This is why carnal people seek to construct their own righteousness, which God will never accept. They only produce rags of filth that hold no appeal to Him under any condition. Offering rags of filth generates no true thirst after God at all. The only thing it does produce is the envy found in Cain’s fruit basket, which God turns His face from.

Abraham is called the father of all them that believe. He received God’s righteousness by believing God’s promise. He simply became fully persuaded that what God promised, He was able to execute. Romans 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. V.23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; V.24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Our righteousness comes by believing on Him that raised Jesus from the dead. Who raised Jesus from the dead? Was it God or the Holy Spirit? It was truly God by way of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead. If the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us, he fills us with the same resurrected life that it took to bring Jesus from the dead. Many people will argue the technicalities in these verses, but the question remains in compelling display. Is the powerful resurrection of the Holy Spirit clearly activated within me? Does it repel sin within me? In this battlefield of flesh verses Spirit, we find the Holy Spirit to be the king of righteousness.

Jesus made a clear call to the thirsty in the land. John 7:37 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. V.38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. What a stunning answer to our thirst! We are to come to Jesus and drink, believing the scriptures exactly the way it is written. No private interpretation, no biases, no cultural blindness, without predetermined thoughts.

We must bow down to drink of this glorious river from Heaven! Until we can drink from this river God’s way, we will not have rivers flowing from us. V.39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many confuse other people’s rivers with being their own, but this is not belly water. Cistern water is not our fountain. When the fountain river gushes forth from within, then you can know that the righteousness of Christ is confirmed through the inner-workings of the spiritual unity of the Holy Spirit. Once we have truly received His righteousness, the flow starts. Hallelujah!

Many can speak with great doctrinal vocabulary and portray astounding theory. However, we must never be swayed by the ear ticklers that carry a message without Gods supernatural attestation. Jesus said the difference is simple. The one that truly believes God’s word as it is written has His evidence. Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; V.18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. These were the last words of Jesus before He departed.