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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!

 Sons of God – Part 4 

Before the manifestation of the sons of God takes place at the end of the age, must there be a change of spiritual environment? I do believe there are sons of God in our day, though rarely manifested as such because of the strength of antagonism against true biblical faith. In our day, faith is mostly understood as a way of practicing a belief system of doctrinal associations. It is a lifestyle of repetitive practices and preferences rather than decisive obedience through the imprinting and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit must have complete access to His temple to be a daily source of empowerment, fulfilling the purposes of God on Earth. I want to underline the truth that it is not an impulse-driven drama of misinformed emotion that guides the people of God. It is most often within these carnal parameters that we find the development of denominationalism that has thrived since the second century. This was not from God and is not found in the Bible’s history. I believe there can be areas of importance in denominational separation such as specific times we find in church history. Important developments being the separation from the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Anglican Church of England, and Lutheran church.

The Bible is undeniably clear about the intense anticipation within the creature and a great expectation for sons of God to come forth in manifestation. Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. The reality of this truth is that the power of the invisible God would again be obvious in a pure and apostolic authority upon the earth. This, I believe, will be witnessed as preparation before the return of Christ. Jesus will not return to a sick bride. He will return to one that is clean, spotless, holy, without blemish or wrinkles or anything remotely similar.

Where do we find any such earnest expectation for these sons to appear among us? Where are these children of God that are truly in anticipation for this truth to come forth? We must not misunderstand by thinking that great achievements and accomplishments of our own hands can replace that which can be achieved only in the spiritual world of divine consecration. Jealousy and competitive Christianity has ruled denominational agendas for years and must be replaced with a deep hunger and thirst for righteousness that few experience. There must be an atmospheric spiritual change among the professors of Christ to where they will welcome a deeper work of God—like in the days of Jesus and the Apostles.

The accumulation and summons of wealth that is hoarded in the name of contemporary evangelism is not what you will find in the manifestation of the sons of God. These manifested sons of God are not dream career-minded saints, driven by egos in pursuit of Christ. This move that God will bring upon the earth in the latter day will not come by self-seeking; it is the result of those seeking holiness and deep truth in Christ, willing to suffer the consequences so that the power of God can be manifested. The true, life-changing gospel does not come with human recognition. Rather, it seats us with Christ in heavenly places in Him. It is a place of faith in the promises of God. There is a place of true spiritual royalty where we reign with Christ in heavenly places—far above all principalities, powers, might, and dominion. This is a component of Christ’s inheritance with the saints. From Ephesians 1:18 it is paramount that the eyes of our understanding become enlightened; that we may know the hope of his calling, and what the riches are of His glory with the inheritance in the saints.

The true sons of God will always face rejection in the world’s environments because the power within is a threat to the unseen forces that exist. Those who have been used throughout the ages became familiar with rejection and the denial of pleasant reputation because of the places they have walked in secret. God has allowed these sons to be misunderstood so that they can stand before His very presence with nothing of themselves to present. These are they that stand before God as did Abraham, Elijah, and others of deeper usefulness. It is these who hold a purpose of holiness and consecration far deeper than is visible to the human mind and eye. Are all Christians sons of God? All have been given power to become the sons of God, the scripture’s wording clearly states that the power to become is not past tense. Does the power to become sons lie in the hands of the Holy Spirit?
I believe there is a spiritual movement coming at the close of the age that is more powerful than anything that has been witnessed on earth. This is a church that we clearly read about in the Apostolic age. It is a church that Christ presents to Himself—a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing but it will be holy and without blemish. The power to bring such a church into existence can only be found in the advanced work of the Holy Spirit and by His unadulterated gifts in full function. Hallelujah!

Sons of God – Part 3

As we seek to understand the manifestation or demonstration of the sons of God, we must come to an understanding of their purpose and how they function. These are common people with unusual strength, and they are marked by demonstration of the Holy Spirit. These are not men of great notoriety among mankind but they are known in the heavens, this being the realm in which they operate. They are the Daniels, intervening before the throne of God pleading for His intervention in many different phases and regions of spiritual environments. The manifestations of the sons of God are more clearly manifested in the secret places of the Most High. They are known in the heavens among a cloud of witnesses but are still among the living on earth. Like all humans, these creatures of dust were formed by the hand of God, however after they found salvation in Christ they ceased not to follow after deeper spiritual perfection and usefulness such the Holy Spirit alone can produce within a willing pursuant.
Death and the ensuing resurrection comprise the victory through which these saints transform into holy sons of God, divinely fitted by the Holy Spirit. There are a thousand deaths someone like this will experience, creating a thirst for pure righteousness in the face of the weakness they wrestle with. The depth of spiritual familiarity within a true son, who walks in human flesh while yet reigning with Jesus, seems to isolate them to where the cost required for deeper discipleship dissipates. The sons of God on earth have the pedigree of pure unadulterated sonship, being separated unto the Father in a way far deeper than can be achieved by human effort. These sons have learned to move as the Holy Spirit leads them through deeper truth that can alone be known by courage in faith. Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Emphasis added.) This verse answers the question of our own position. Many know very little about being led by the Holy Spirit, and further, take offense at the suggestion of its importance. These vessels of mercy have consecrated themselves for divine servanthood deeply desiring after the love of their master.
Days and years slip by as we see the world’s condition deteriorate into an assemblage of evil, the end fast approaching. The vast majority of Christians seem to be without influence or ideas as to what the true answer is. God will have a specific people of spiritual intervention to supplicate before Him, presenting appeals in accordance to the written word. This is the usefulness of His sons. God will call these to stand before Him in faith and present His spoken promises back to Him in the shaping of history till the end. 2 Corinthians 5:18 and all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. Reconciliation meaning restoration. God does depend on humans to fulfill His complete plan. I believe as the end approaches the Lord will do a new work on the earth. 2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. I understand that the new heaven and new earth are yet to appear. We have no record that this has transpired since it was written by the hand of Peter. I believe that the manifestation of the sons of God will become much more visibly effective when this new thing transpires.
The enemies of God are bold and influential spirits that use the tree of knowledge to wage warfare against the kingdom of God. The ministry of sons of God is vast and encompasses many facets of true kingdom work. A great part of the tasks performed by these children of God is in proclaiming the finished work of the cross and the empowerment it brings. The voices of God’s sons must proclaim the power that has been delivered to them in Jesus. This will break the yokes of the imprisoned. This supreme intervention from Spirit-led saints has eternal importance. They have the power to intervene in the heavens where principalities and powers have clouded territories and laid claim with tribal-type strongholds.
These sons stand with great boldness in their secret closets as priests and kings unto the true God. They know the heart of God at a depth which few dare to pursue. They are the ones who find a position of purpose before God that can only exist by faith. They understand the kind of spiritual boldness that thrusts us through the veil that was severed in the temple at the death of Christ. These are those that lay before God with the cry, “Here am I”. Hallelujah!