Bringing Tongues Of Fire From The Sparks Of Faith…
THE GOSPEL I
By Rev. G. Evan Newmyer
INTRODUCTION TO LESSON 10
Our study of the Gospel will be divided into seven parts, with the first section being this lesson. Matthew will be divided into two sections, as will Luke, Mark is one lesson, as is John. The Gospel of Peace contains information regarding the Good News Jesus granted us, thus we will take more time in this area, than any other. The New Testament letters center on the presentation of the Gospel; therefore, understanding the Gospel makes it easier to understand the letters. The Good News contained in the Gospel of Peace opens the Door to our victory, gives us a reason to believe, the Truth to be free, the ability to enter God’s Liberty by faith.
Jesus said the Law and Prophets were until John (Matt 11:13), then He said among those born of women (natural birth, excluding Jesus) there is none greater than John (Matt 11:11). It would include David, Moses, Solomon, Elijah; then Jesus added, the least in the Kingdom is greater than John (Matt 11:11). If we are the least in the Kingdom, we are greater than the greatest man born of natural birth, it’s only the beginning of the Good News.
John’s ministry was vital, there was none like it before, there will be none like it after, yet we find some interesting things about John and his ministry. When Paul found disciples in Ephesus he asked if they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2). They said they hadn’t even heard there was a Holy Ghost, then Paul asked, “unto what were you baptized?” (Acts 19:3). He didn’t say, “what name?”, or “by whom”, it was “unto what”, indicating the purpose of their baptism, or what did they understand their baptism to mean. They answered by saying they were baptized Unto John’s baptism. Paul then said, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying the people should believe (Acts 19:4). Then Paul felt it necessary to re-baptize them in water, afterward he laid hands on them so they could receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:4-6). If John was so great, why baptize these disciples in water again? John’s ministry was between two places, he was not Old Testament, since the law and prophets prophesied unto him, but he was not New Testament either, since he was not a member of the ministry of Jesus. John’s ministry was specific for a time and purpose, it pointed to the kingdom, it didn’t deliver it. After the Resurrection, Jesus sent His disciples to baptize people in water under His Name (Authority). John’s was unto repentance, the baptism in the Name of Jesus was acceptance into the Body, based on our belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The water didn’t accept or save the person, it was a Token, or a Sign of the person accepting the call to enter the Body by God’s Mercy. All this shows the Gospel events were not Old Testament, since the law and prophets were unto John, yet it wasn’t New Testament either since the New Testament begins with the Blood of Jesus, what was it? The Mercy of God, the very foundation of every believer. Mercy heals us, maintains us as vessels of honor, while securing us in Grace. We must have both Mercy and Grace in order to come boldly to the throne of Grace to Obtain Mercy and Find Grace (Heb 4:16).
The Name of Jesus refers to Authority granted to those in the Body, thus the Body is the place of Mercy unto Grace. There is no other Name (Authority) on this earth to grant Salvation, Jesus made it clear in Mark 16:16, wherein He said if we are “baptized’ (indicting placement in the Body), then continue to Believe we shall be saved. If one is not “baptized” (in the Body) then the premise of “shall be saved” does not apply, thus the premise of shall be saved is only directed to those who continually believe after they are in the Body. However there are conditions regarding those in the Body, continually believing is one of them, to walk in faith another, to love one another is yet another, to be in Peace with God another, there are more we will view shortly.
Jesus never made leaders, He made disciples who became leaders. There is a beginning place for all who enter the Kingdom, it doesn’t matter if one has fifty diplomas or none, we all begin at the beginning. This lesson will look at some “beginning” elements to view the foundation for our search into the “Gospel of Peace”. The entry place is called the kingdom of heaven, the place between places, the Kingdom of God was granted on Pentecost, however, the entry is still the kingdom of heaven, making the kingdom of heaven the womb to the Kingdom of God.
God has many names by which He is known, El, Jehovah, God, and so on, but it doesn’t mean there are different gods attached to the names. God’s Name refers to the authority He is using at the time, God doesn’t need a name for identification. Peter said the holy men of Old were moved by the Holy Ghost to write, yet the title “Holy Ghost” never appears in the Old Testament, but it appears over 80 times in the New. The title Holy Spirit only appears seven times in the entire Bible, three times in the Old referring prophetically to the New, then four times in the New, thus it’s a title directed to the New Testament alone, a very special attribute from God. The function of the Holy Ghost is to be the Sower, Teacher, Guide, Placing people in the Offices on behalf of Jesus, empowering us to deal with the masses (Acts 13:1-3), thus He is a New Testament concern. In essence He becomes the delivery force of God’s Character and Power. Although the Holy Ghost was behind the scenes guiding the men of Old to write concerning the things of the Spirit of Christ, we find the men of Old didn’t know about the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost was not apparent until the time for Jesus to appear in flesh as the Word. One of the main functions of the Holy Ghost is the Sower of the Seed, or placing the Word in us, which is the Holy Spirit. Being Born Again is the greatest act God has granted mankind, it came as a result of what Jesus did for us.
THE GOSPEL I
From the Old to the New to discover our Salvation (Thank God). The New contains some terms similar to those in the Old, yet the concepts, or meanings are much different. Grace is one example, in the Old it referred to a mercy granted from one to another to pull them from pending danger, or a fondness granted between individuals, but in the New it is the very vehicle (New Birth) granted from God allowing one into the Kingdom of God. Grace is the means to do the things of Grace, without the Spirit no one can become Spiritual in nature. We find there is a circumcision in the Old, and one in the New, yet they are different by definition. There is a Jubilee in the Old, and one in the New, yet they are different by definition. There is a sabbath in the Old, and one in the New, yet they are different by definition. There is a Law in the Old, and one in the New, yet they are different by definition. There is the Tithe under the Old, and tithes in the New, yet they are different by definition. There is a priesthood under the Old, and one in the New, yet much different by definition and purpose. If we don’t know the differences we might find ourselves under bondage to the Old, thinking we are in the New.
First Corinthians 13:13 tells us the three pillars of Grace are Faith, Hope and Love, the greatest of these is love (Agape). Does it mean Love by itself is enough? No, it means Love added to the attributes makes them beneficial for all. In Hebrews 11:1 we find faith and hope connected, in Galatians 5:6 we also find there is a faith which works by love, thus we can have faith, even a working faith, but it must have love attached to it in order to be beneficial to all. Without Love we will see the anointing work in our lives, yet think it’s by our power and might, thus Love keeps things in order. We can cast out devils, yet act like a devil in the process, as did Judas. We can do many things, yet do them because we want people to honor us, or pay attention to us, or validate us; we can even use the Name of Jesus to draw attention to us, rather than Jesus. The danger is the meaning of the phrase, “knowledge puffs up”, but if we fail to know the context of the phrase we might think knowledge will always “puff up”. If we presume the phrase means knowledge in general, we have to ask how did we know knowledge puffs up? By having knowledge, thus the context must go further. In First Corinthians 8 Paul does say “knowledge puffs up”, but then he added, “we all have knowledge” (I Cor 8:1). However he was specific about the knowledge relating to the freedom in Grace absent love, without love the same knowledge becomes a weapon of self-importance. Those in Grace are free, but to use ones freedom to place others in bondage lacks love. How? “Oh I see you still keep the sabbath”, “oh I see you are still under the Law”. Whether one keeps a day or not has nothing to do with their Salvation, if they do, or don’t, they still keep it unto the Lord. Which means they don’t make it doctrine, they don’t force it on others, they don’t except special treatment, above all they don’t make it a requirement. Love keeps us from beating people half to death with our freedom, while thinking we are superior. However, the strangest thing about Grace is how it makes us superior, Jesus said we can tread on serpents and scorpions, as well as all the works of the devil; He also said if we are in the Body and continue to believe we shall be saved. We are the only ones on this planet who have the God granted authority to baptize people in water, simply because we are members of the Body of Christ.
Paul confirms this by showing Knowledge wasn’t the problem, using it without love was. We can have knowledge of the freedom of Grace, yet use it against others to belittle them, or make them feel inferior to us. However, Grace was designed to draw others into Liberty and Freedom, it was not designed to exalt the self-nature, or put others in bondage. Love would never seek to belittle another just to exalt the self, thus knowledge absent love produces legalists and Pharisees, who go about beating up people with religion, while proclaiming they are so holy they create the water they think they walk on. Our goal is to find the keys to the Kingdom so we can be transformed into a son of God.
Before Jesus made it possible to be Born Again all mankind was lost under the shadow of darkness, no one was righteous, no not one. Paul best defined it in Romans 7, even if someone wanted to serve God, they really couldn’t since their effort had to be through the flesh, making the entire matter corrupt. We cannot serve God through the fall nature; yet Jesus provided a means wherein the flesh is imputed dead, so we can operate through the Body of Christ. The importance of Romans chapter 7, is Romans chapter 8, two complete different premises. In Romans chapter 7 it was using the flesh, or using the fall nature to impress God, a losing endeavor, causing the Commandment to fall on the person, proclaiming them condemned, appointed unto sin and death. In Romans 8 we begin with “there is Now therefore no condemnation”, the proviso is to walk in the Spirit, yet the Spirit wasn’t given until Jesus was glorified (Jn 7:39).
The first course of duty was to show the Mercy of the Father, thus Jesus as the Word took on the form of man, to die for man, so man in the flesh can accept the death of the Cross in order to obtain the Spirit of Christ by the granted Authority of Christ. In order to gain this we first have to define the obstacle, the old man who is the natural nature of man, the fall nature held us under the yoke of bondage. The old man is the spirit lusting to envy, motivated by the spirit of man (disobedience), yet we were not devil possessed, we were in bondage to the fall nature. The New Birth has many benefits, one is we can account the old dead in order to gain the New. The Nature of Christ is the only freedom afforded mankind, no other system or order, grants mankind freedom from the fall nature. Not even the Old Covenant granted man freedom from the fall nature, the only way to be free is to be Born Again by having the Seed delivered by the Holy Ghost; the Seed then becomes the New Man, created (or formed same word) after the true holiness and righteousness of God (Eph 4:24).
The old man will attempt to tell us what we used to be, we still are, yet the New Man has a vision of what we can be. The old man uses facts lacking Truth, the New Man uses faith based in Truth. The battle is to hold to our faith in Christ, knowing God is fully able to bring about the salvation of our souls (I Pet 1:9). Before the battle began, before we accepted the Cross, God made sure we had more than enough ability to win. None of us “just made it into the Kingdom”, we were hand picked by God, then placed in the Body by His Mercy, so we as a people could obtain the Grace of God by the Spirit.
In our Old Testament studies we found the yoke was destroyed because of the anointing, not the other way around. Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me” (Luke 4:18). If we have the Spirit, then we must be anointed; if we are anointed, then the yoke is destroyed. The problem is do we believe it? The old man will tell us, “no, you are just as bound as ever”, the New Man is presenting the perfect Law of Liberty, which one we believe is a matter of our choice; thus belief is a matter of choice, two people hear the same Truth, one accepts it, one rejects it. However, we are in the Kingdom, thus we are the ones who accepted the Truth are Free indeed.
The Record is a written document containing all the facts and truths regarding something considered as done. In our case we call it Predestinated, which simply means God has a Record for us. When we were in the world it was the Plan, not we are Born Again we fall under the Record, the Record needs an ability so it can be carried out, yet none of us in and of ourselves are capable of fulfilling the heavenly Record. The Record consists of the Father, Word, and Holy Ghost as One, but the Witness on earth is the Water, Blood and Spirit. The soul is the treasure in this, not the Witness. The Water refers to the Mercy of the Father, the Blood to the Grace provided by Jesus as the Word, the Holy Ghost brings the gift granting us the Spirit. The Witness carries out the Report, not the other way around. If we accepted the Mercy of the Father, the New Covenant in the Blood of Jesus, and we are Born Again, we have the Witness in us to complete the Report.
The devil uses illusions continually, he brings up the past as if it still exists. Like the roaring lion he is, he attempts to get us to accept his roar of judgment and condemnation. Once we accept the roar, we become the devoured one. One day a thought comes, we panic, “Gee, I thought it was under the Blood, what is this?”. An illusion, we rebuke it, we don’t play with it, promote it, or accept it. Our belief says the flesh is imputed dead on the Cross, all things are new, we are covered by the Blood of Christ, but the illusion says it’s not so, we haven’t changed, it’s all a mind game. Is it under the Blood? Yes, if it’s confessed. Here we are thinking we’ve been free for years, or even days, then all of a sudden out of no where comes a thought. Have we lost Grace? No, the enemy is attempting to plant an illusion, to get us to accept the lie as the truth. Faith looks for the Hope of God, if the enemy can remove our Hope, our faith has no direction.
An illusion is different from a delusion, a delusion is retained in spite of evidence showing the thought to be false; an illusion is based on something we think is real, but it lacks evidence of reality. The old man uses illusions from our past, or attempts to present the illusion of him still having power over us. The old man uses “feelings” and “lusts”, not truths. The flesh does things to gain the feeling, or the emotion for the moment. Our faith in God must entail our knowledge of the delivering power of God being fully able to free us from any darkness, or bondage of the flesh. If we are delivered from the world, what do you think the old man will use as an illusion? The cares of this world, just to get us back into the thought process.
The devil used an illusion at the tree when he told the female she could be as the “gods”. The old man will have us looking through a dark cloud of the self, the New Birth brings us Clarity as a pure and clear view of events and things from the perspective of God. James called it the Wisdom of God, the ability to discern or deal with people and events in a Godly manner. It begins by being Born Again, then growing in the Birth to become a mature person in Christ.
The New Man is the greatest detective of all time, he sees the clues and gives us the information. Clarity, means one sees the intent behind the action, there are times when the visible and the intent are miles apart. Clarity is invaluable, it gives us insight to our own intents, as well as the intents of others. They may set the trap, but we need not fall into it.
When we received Jesus we gained Potential, it’s the potential scaring the devil. We have the Power of His Christ within, when we accepted the Cross the devil knew his means through the old man was doomed, yet the old man doesn’t give up easily. We know there is a battle; one of the tricks of the enemy is make us think the old man is greater than the New Man. We have Scripture to counter the attack, Greater is He in us, than he in the world (I Jn 4:1-4). However, if the old nature can get us to question the Bible, or worse to consider the Bible the work of the hand of man, we’re defeated before we begin. We may find what appear to be slight mistakes in the Bible, whether David defeated 700 chariots or 7000 men who fought from chariots, but they only prove the prophetic power of the Scriptures, only a fraud would make sure each point was absolutely correct. Our foundation is to continually believe, but believe what? Anything? What intellectuals say the Bible says? No, our place of Belief is knowing the Scriptures point to Jesus, Who has our redemption. The enemy attacks in many ways, thus if he can get us into unbelief regarding our source, we are doomed. The enemy has his massagers change, alter, or challenge the Bible, but the Holy Ghost is able to guide us into all Truth.
Another trick of the old man is the illusion of us not being able to make it, since we keep doing the same dumb things over and over. Lies from hell, look at Peter and the others, did Jesus reject them because they made mistakes? Hardly, the life of Peter before and after Pentecost show us we are in training, reaching toward the goal. There is a vast difference between making a mistake, and setting out to sin against another while enjoying it. The meaning of “to continue to sin”, means we like sin, we don’t feel any conviction for the wrong, hardly the same as someone who finds they have fallen into a trap.
Our soul is the prize in all this, if our souls were not worth saving, why did Jesus go to the Cross? We find God thinks more of us than we think of ourselves. Each of us is the Prize, the Treasure in the Field; if we’re not worth it, why did the Father send the Son? Why did the Father and Son send the Holy Ghost to give us the Spirit? We have to recognize what Jesus did for us, and why. How could Paul say, “He did it for me” if he didn’t understand what Jesus did? After Paul was converted he gained clarity, by the clarity he saw what Jesus did for him, then his appreciation of Christ became the driving motivation behind his love for the Lord. It’s the same attitude bringing us into the fullness of Christ, as well as keeping us there.
We must also know the Purpose for being Born Again, Jesus said it was to “see” and “enter” the Kingdom of God (Jn 3:3-5). The word See in John 3:3 means To perceive or understand, the word Enter in John 3:5 doesn’t mean to physically enter, rather it means to Begin. The premise is defined for us in First Corinthians 2:9, where we find eye has not “seen”, nor ear heard, nor “entered” into the heart of man those things God has for those who love Him. Then we find the Spirit has brought those things to us. The premise “that born of the Spirit is Spirit (original KJV, or spirit modern KJV)”, means the person’s soul is changed from flesh thinking to being Spiritual in nature by the Spirit of Truth in the person. We were first born of the flesh, our souls associated with the flesh. However, if one is Born Again they have entered the realm of being a Spirit. The concept of “that Born of the Spirit is Spirit” is not talking about the Holy Ghost bringing the Spirit, it’s talking about the person‘s soul being formed by the Spirit. We were flesh minded, we still have the flesh, because we are born of the flesh, but then our souls become Spirit because of the New Birth. Our flesh remains, although imputed dead on the Cross, so our souls can connect to the Spirit. Our souls were natural, but now we are being trained to be spiritual by the New Man. The reason Jesus said Ye Must be Born Again is based on the Kingdom of God being Spirit in nature, since God is Spirit. Of course we look through physical eyes, see a physical body, then think, “yeah right, no way”. However, the process is internal, our belief knows we asked, we received, our faith then reaches to the Hope set before us, as Jesus is, so are we in this world.
It begins when the Holy Ghost brings the Seed of God, which Seed is the Word, and the Word is Jesus. The Seed is planted in us, with the purpose of conforming us into the Image of God’s Son. So, does it mean we will look like Jesus? No, it means the Nature of Jesus was given to us in the New Birth to bring us into God’s Nature. This is not a removal of our souls, or a removal of our personalities, rather it’s a “saving” process. Does having the Spirit mean one is Born Again? If being Born Again means we are Spiritual, why did Paul say the Corinthians had the Spirit, but they were not Spiritual? (I Cor 3:1 & 3:16). The planted Seed is not the same as being Born Again, rather Jesus said the Fruit comes when the Blade comes forth, thus it’s a Process. The Seed planted would be like unto conception, the Root like unto the fetus stage, then comes the Birth as the Blade breaks forth.
The Corinthians were blinded to spiritual matters by their carnal thinking, yet they had the potential to be spiritual. They were not robbed of the opportunity, they simply needed to enter in. When we are carnal we needed a written guide to show us sin, when we are Born Again we have a guide within cleaning us from sin.
How did it begin for us? We prayed for the Will of the Lord to be done, then we prayed for the Kingdom to come, thus we asked to be Born Again into the Kingdom, to have the entire process in the manner and method God desires. Therein lays the problem for some of us, we wanted God to do the effort, but we wanted it done our way. When God did it His way, we got mad, cursed the darkness, then found ourselves face to face with a sand storm in the wilderness. There are provisos to being Born Again, the first is to forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgive us, yet how do you forgive the unforgivable? By faith, the decision is first, we make the decision to please the Father, thus faith pleases God. Once we make the decision the Father will flood us with His Mercy granting us the power to forgive as we are forgiven.
A Kingdom is a place where the Will of the King is being carried out, thus the Kingdom of God is where God’s Will is being carried out. Our will as kings must fit the will of the King, or rebellion takes place. We as kings can run our kingdom any way we want, but in the end we will face the King of kings. If we as kings say we don’t believe in something, we have banned it from our kingdom; however, if the King of kings has not banned it, we may find ourselves in trouble. Therefore, our will must fit the will of the King of kings, before we can be Godly kings.
The Kingdom of God is within, it doesn’t come with Observation (being able to see with the naked eye, meaning it’s faith centered – Luke 17:20), but the result of having the Kingdom inside will be seen by others. Jesus equated the New Birth to the process of how one is birthed into the flesh, yet He also separated the two by saying that born of the flesh (is) remains flesh, and that born of the Spirit is Spirit. From the statement we are given two elements, the flesh and the Spirit, so where is the soul in this? The prize, if we are not Born Again our soul will join to the flesh, yet the flesh is joined to darkness. If we are Born Again then our soul has the opportunity to join to the Spirit to have the saving Grace of God.
When Jesus said that born of the flesh was flesh, He did not say, that born of the flesh is flesh, is flesh, is flesh. Even Nicodemus knew Jesus wasn’t talking about some type of reincarnation. How many times can we be born of the Spirit? Once, there is no born of the Spirit, born of the Spirit, born of the Spirit; however, don’t confuse it with being filled with the Holy Ghost, they are different. The Holy Ghost brings the Seed, the Seed is the Spirit, the Spirit in us has two main functions, linked together. First is the saving of our souls, but the New Man (Spirit) will also manifest in those one on one situations (I Cor 12:7-11). The Holy Ghost will fill us to deal with the masses, or grant us the extra ability needed for the moment (Acts 4:29-31 et al). The Holy Ghost also appoints to the Offices on behalf of Jesus (Acts 13:1-3), thus the Spirit in us is not designed to appoint Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers or Pastors. However, the anointing on the Offices does allow leaders to appoint Bishops, Deacons and Elders. God has an Order, one He expects us to follow.
The New Birth does not mean some spirit in us was re-born, the concept would then be “that Born of the Spirit was re-born”, meaning it was not a New Birth, but a “re-birth”. We are Born Again by the Seed granted by the Holy Ghost into a spiritual potential nature by having the Spirit of Truth in us, thus we can count on being led into God’s wilderness by the Spirit to defeat the works of the devil.
The term “again” in the phrase “Born Again” means a second birth, but it’s in conjunction with the birth of the flesh being first, thus the “again” is the birth of the soul into a Spiritual state. The word New means “never before”, the New Birth means something never before in the history of the earth until Jesus was glorified by the Resurrection (Rom 1:4), yet for the disciples it began on Pentecost and continues until the Rapture.
Once we understand the New Birth is a process, then we can understand why we find terms like, “Babes in Christ”, or “Growing up into the Head”, or other terms showing a process. All this still hinges on Faith, yet Faith and Belief are different, but related. Faith is a present tense condition based on something not seen, reaching to a Hope set before us, which is not seen, but known. Belief is based on past information or knowledge which we accepted as Truth, whether we heard the information, or experienced it. Belief is also a Now, or present tense condition, but it’s based on past awareness, whereas Faith is based on a future hope. Belief and Faith meet in the Now, thus we must believe Jesus is raised from the Dead, but we must also have faith to be partakers in the First Resurrection. Jesus being raised from the dead and the Rapture are interrelated as the First Resurrection, thus our Belief is based on what has happened, giving us the foundation for our faith to what will happen. Belief is not the unseen of faith, since we saw or understood something in order to believe. The unseen of faith can be the New Man, it can even be the hope before us, but our faith in action will show the unseen motivation. If we use our faith in self-based ways, the source is the flesh. If we use our faith to please God, the source is the New Man.
We are saved by Grace through faith, yet in James we read faith alone won’t save us, so what gives? We are saved by Grace through Faith, two things, faith without Grace won’t save us, just as belief without being in the Body can’t produce “shall be saved”. James also says the devils believe in one God, so simply believing in one God isn’t enough, we must be in the Body of Christ for the belief to have effect. To say one believes in God, yet deny God’s only Son makes them a devil according to James. The Jews considered anyone who worshipped idols devils, they also considered the idols devils. James merely asks the question, how can one say they believe there is One God, or they love the One God, yet deny His Son? First John tells us if deny either the Father of the Son we are antichrist in nature (I Jn 2:22). The Father is connected to Mercy, the Son to Grace, we come to the throne to obtain Mercy, but find Grace.
Now the Love part, there are various types, or forms of love, we love our pet, but not like we love our children. Some love just to get the feeling, but do we love God to be loved of God? Or do we love God for what God has done for us? Do we love God only because He does things for us? Or do we love God regardless of the things? All these issues are sorted out by the New Man (Word) in us. Once we see we Love God because of what He has done, is doing, and will do, as well as loving Him for who He is, regardless, then all the facets fit together in a Love which will not be rocked, shocked or broken. Let’s face it, some people love others simply to get all they can out of the relationship, without giving a thing: it’s a type of Love God does not impart to us, but it is the type of love the old man uses.
The purpose of all this is the saving of our souls, yet without the Spirit (New Man) in us we can’t begin the process. The Scriptures tell us over and over again, no man can save his own soul, if a natural person regardless of their credentials attempts to save another soul, both will fall into the ditch. If anyone attempts the saving of the soul through the old man, or through the ability of man, it ends in self-denial, rather than denying the self. There is a Greater Work, a Good work which can overwhelm the natural mind of man. There was no way Peter, John, or any of the others could enter the Saving of their souls until Jesus sat down next to the Father. A greater work? Yes, Grace is much greater.
The Body of Christ has done some great things, it has also done some stupid things. The Body of Christ is doing some good things, it is also doing some very stupid things; however, we are not judged by what the Body does or doesn’t do, we are judged by what we do, or don’t do as members of the Body. The Scepter of the Kingdom is the Righteousness of Jesus, making all other forms unrighteous (Heb 1:8). One of those forms of unrighteousness is self-righteousness, it always seeks the glory for itself, the pat on the back, or “you owe me” attitudes, but those works last for the moment, then they are dead. The Righteousness of Jesus is proven, it has already accomplished the task, thus we don’t work to obtain, we do deeds because we have obtained.
This study is sent to the person who loves Jesus, yet has discovered systematic theology, intellectual hermenutics, or the nonsensical eschatology has failed to produce the power of Christ. It’s sent to the one who is tired of the same old Christian status quo’, or has found it wanton; it’s for those in the fire of affliction, or the one who knows there is more to being a Christian than a social religious moralistic appearance void of power and authority. Theological jargon just doesn’t cut the “grain of mustard seed”, today there are many questions, yet God still has the answers.
Today we see many attacks against the premise of God having Faith, or against the Power of the Spirit, or against the Rapture, each attack is against the knowledge of God. There is also the worldly pressure of compromise, the acceptance of all the religions of the world, whether they believe in Jesus or not. Our job in the Body of Christ is to be fishers of men, not compromisers with the world. The answer to these attacks are not more attacks, but a display of the Power of His Christ based in the Love of God. God’s Power is found in His Love, thus His Light and Life are coupled with His Love, yet the actions of all three are only found in the one who is Born Again. The good “fisherman” has “good bait”, thus good bait will always catch fish.
The number one fear of mankind is not death, it’s rejection. The Power of Christ removes us from the fear of rejection, into a place of acceptance. At times our motivation is based on the fear of rejection, rather than faith. We fear God will not give us the new job, the new car, or will bring destruction into our lives if we don’t appear holy. We put on the mask of holiness, then enter the illusion of self-righteousness. We must allow the holiness and righteousness in us by the New Birth to become our source, not some fear of not being accepted by God, or mankind.
Whatever God begins, He finishes. He brought us into His wilderness by the Spirit to finish the process of salvation while defeating the works of the devil. In the wilderness we find the differences between Mercy and Grace; between forgiveness of sin and remission of sin; between being transformed, or entering self-transformation; between transformed and transfigured; between the Spirit of Christ and the spirit of antichrist; between puny faith and great faith; between who we are, and who we can be. However, when it’s time to leave the wilderness, it’s also time to leave the wilderness thinking behind. The error of the children in the Wilderness was not their failure to leave Egypt behind, it was their failure to leave Egypt thinking behind. The victory thinking of the generation who crossed the Jordan was to leave the wilderness behind. Retain the lesson, not the stripes.
When Peter walked on the water Jesus called it little faith, or puny faith, but the Centurion was told he had great faith. Peter said, “If it be You Lord, bid me to come Lord”, thus Peter asked a question, but it was a question allowing one answer, which is really testing the Lord. What was Jesus to say, “No”? When Peter began to walk on the water he was not “obeying” a command, rather he responded to an answer from a question he asked. Peter wanted to do something the Lord was doing, but in the process he was not doing what the Lord told him to do prior. The command was to get to the other side of the lake, not take a walk. The Lord used the opportunity to show Peter how showing off only lasts until the storm hits. We can see the intent, there was the storm, they were frightened, here comes Jesus walking on the water. Peter who was also frightened by the storm saw the opportunity to prove himself, which is self-confidence, or doing something in order to prove himself to himself. The issue of faith includes Obedience and Patience until the result is in hand; therefore, if they had labored to reach the other side, Jesus would have called it great faith. There are times when we do things we consider Great, just to avoid what the Lord told us to do. Jesus said He would meet them on the other side, He would not have said it unless He knew they would make it. It was the issue, not a display of ability mid-way, thus Peter did show a sign of faith, but he didn’t follow a command, he followed an answer to a question. “Lord if the sun is in the sky, then bid me to……”, what would the Lord say? No?
The Centurion said, “You say the Word Lord”, his faith was based in his knowledge of Authority, and who had it. The difference between the two is great, Peter wanted to copy the Lord, the Centurion didn’t, Peter wanted to show off his faith, the Centurion left it in the hands of the Lord. The Centurion understood authority, the result was Jesus saying the Centurion had great faith. The man didn’t venture into an area where he lacked authority, neither did he give commands to others outside of his authority. When the Centurion gave a command to those under him, they did it, when he was given a command by those above him, he did it, because he understood the levels of authority. The Centurion didn’t attempt to copy Jesus, he knew he lacked the authority, but he also knew Jesus had it.
Peter did something, the Centurion believed Jesus could do something going beyond the realm of natural man. Peter had “puny faith” since it depended on Peter doing something, the Centurion had great faith since it depended on Jesus doing something. This adds to our faith concept, showing faith can be a confidence in someone else to do something for us, whether we can, or cannot do it. We know better than to ask Jesus to brush our teeth for us, yet there are things we can do, as well as things we shouldn’t.
We must discern the purpose of the event, in order to gain from it. An example is Peter and the tax issue; a man asked Peter, “Does your Master pay tribute (taxes – Matt 17:24)? Peter did another walking on water trick by saying, Yes! Then he went to Jesus to find out if his Yea was really a Yea. Jesus sent Peter to catch a fish, in the mouth of the fish he would find the tax money (Matt 17:27). Why not just take it out of the bag? Because Peter made a statement outside of his authority, thus Peter being a fisherman had to use his trade to come up with the money. The problem was not whether Jesus did or did not pay tribute, it was Peter making statements outside of his granted authority. Of course this was Pre-Pentecost Peter, he becomes an excellent lesson on the differences the Spirit in us makes in our attitude, thinking, demeanor, and ability.
Faith propagated on the experiences of others is puny at best, but faith in Jesus never needs a formula. Formulas tend to give us the results of the process before we begin, leaving no room for faith. We find great faith in those areas where the person lacked any personal past event to point to, rather they Heard the Spirit then trusted in the Lord to complete the task. They had a foundation of belief, but not the experience. Peter saw the Lord walking on water, the Centurion had not seen Jesus grant any Gentile a blessing. Peter did something most of us haven’t done in a week or two, walk on water, although the feat was grand, the faith to do it was not. As great as the effort of Peter walking on water might have been, getting to the other side would have been greater. In the Kingdom some things seem little in the natural, but are great in the spiritual; some things seem great in the natural, yet mean little or nothing in the spiritual. Discerning what to do, and what not to do always takes the Spirit through the Wisdom of God.
The word Patience means to Stay the course, not to move from one side or the other, but to maintain until the goal is in hand. We ask by faith, than allow Patience to have her prefect work (James 1:2-6). Often Patience is the place where we fail, we want what we want Now. Patience gives us the ability to wait on the Lord, rather than attempt to make the Lord wait on us.
Faith in Jesus has nothing to do with the mundane daily tasks; if we are looking for someone to tell us to put on our shoes, we need a nursemaid not a Lord. Our measure of faith is by Measure, meaning it has a limit, thus we have the same measure to reach the desired position, where we find the Faith of Jesus has obtained for us. The kingdom of heaven is the Rock, or the Body, meaning it’s Mercy based. The Kingdom of God is the Church, or the Blood of Jesus, meaning it’s Grace based. We are in the kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of God is within. Often we say “the Lord told me”, in truth we heard from the New Man, thus the New Man speaks not of himself, but as he hears so shall he tell us. Our connection to heaven is the New Man, it’s not theology, or church standing, or the lack thereof. The New Man is the Tree of Life in us, the connection on this side of the River of Life reaching to the higher area of the Report at the Throne of God (Rev 22:1-2 & I Jn 5:7-8). From within us comes Rivers of Living Water, this Jesus said regarding the Spirit (Jn 7:38-39). The River of the Water of Life flows from the Throne of God, yet there is a Street or something used to get from one place to another, on either side is the Tree of Life. The Holy Ghost holds to the Tree of Life, the New Man in us is the Spirit holding to the Tree of Life on this side, giving us the ability to say ABBA Father.
Being Born Again is a Gift from God called Grace, based in the Blood of Jesus. It’s for a Season, yet the Water represents the Mercy of God. Again, we need Mercy, Grace by the Spirit in order to be a Witness. The Witness then connects to the Record, between the two is the River of Life, the very footprints left by the Faith of Jesus allowing us to follow Him by our measure of faith, through the New Man.
The old man was a product of worldly things, the purpose of the kingdom of heaven is to expose and defeat the power of the old man. The purpose of the Kingdom of God is to clean us from all unrighteousness, and to save our souls. We must understand our souls are not evil, they picked up evil things, thus the purpose of our faith is the saving of our souls (I Pet 1:9). We are the Just being Justified, who believe (daily) unto the saving of the soul (I Pet 1:9 & Heb 10-38-39). We minister by the Spirit, thus the dumbest thing anyone can do is minister through the old man. Yet, if we haven’t denied the self, we end ministering by the spirit of man, rather than the Spirit of Truth. How does it fit here? If we are not Born Again and walking in the Spirit, we will find those times when we’re in need, we will minister to ourselves through the old man, ending in the pit of self-pity, or run off being presumptuous. Faith comes by hearing, the hearing by the Rhema, yet we can reverse the process, thinking if we say something, we will force God to perform. The path is we hear, faith then comes, it’s not the other way around.
Jesus made a simple statement regarding what we do with our measure of faith, as He said “have faith in God”. He didn’t say “have faith in your ability”, nor did He say “have faith in your faith”, nor did He say “make your faith work for you”, nor did He say, “have faith in your potential”. Faith will work, but it’s designed to be placed in God, thus our measure of faith is still under our control. Faith without “works” is dead, to think it means we’re suppose to go about promoting our beliefs is not only error, but misses the point by miles. James tells us to pray for God’s wisdom, but do so in faith. Our faith must work toward God to please Him, or it’s dead. Some think, “well I’m pleased, so God must be”, not so, we found out in the Old Testament the people were pleased, but God wasn’t. God is pleased when we deal with people and events as He would; the ability is found in having His Wisdom. We have the choice, to walk in the Wisdom of God, or use the wisdom of man. However, man’s wisdom is lust driven and envy based, it will seek to enhance the self, rather than please God.
Without the measure of faith we lack a starting place, thus our faith is very important, but it doesn’t end there, we must move from faith to Faith in order to win this. There is our faith by measure, but there is also the proved Faith of Jesus without measure. Our faith is for things regarding Mercy, the New Man is able to lead us on the path of the Faith of Jesus. It in no way means we control the Faith of Jesus, it means we must walk the path of His Faith, without changing, or challenging it. There are prerequisites, deny the self, and pick up our cross. If we attempt to jump over denying the self or picking up our cross, thinking we will able to follow Jesus, we error.
Whenever we place our faith in something or someone other than God, it twists to mind power, yet mind power is the mother of witchcraft. The Faith of Jesus brought us life (Gal 2:20); therefore, we have faith in God to experience the Faith of God. What if some have failed to believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God to no effect? (Rom 3:3). No, let God be true and every man a liar. The faith of Jesus is tried and true, so much so we are of “The Faith”, guess which faith it points to.
Offense and confusion are in the heart of the holder, Jesus said Woe to the one who brings offense, yet we find Jesus offending many. His intent was not to offend, rather it was to expose unto correction to bring perfection. There are two different areas of Offense, one is to make someone sin, which is the Woe, the other is when offense comes to expose some wrong. Therefore, we can give a word of correction, one intending to heal a person, or bring them into a teachable place, yet if they will allow the old nature to become angry, or be offended causing them to reject the very Word the Lord sent to save them. The Pharisees also offended many, but their intent was to exalt their self-based position and condition. Showing us the two different types of offense, one unto correction to bring about perfection, the other to belittle someone for the sake of self-enhancement.
Confusion is in the mind of the confused; at times when Jesus spoke to the disciples they became confused, so did Jesus confuse them? No, since God is not the author of confusion (I Cor 14:33). Jesus spoke to the religious leaders, yet they ended in confusion, so did Jesus confuse them? No, what happened? When someone speaks Truth, yet we have a stronghold we will be confused. The truth didn’t confuse us, the truth came to set us free, thus the stronghold is the basis for confusion. It doesn’t seem so at the time, many of us have said, “you know I was fine until they showed up, now I’m confused”. If we have the Truth we can’t be confused, but if we’re holding fables saying they are truth, yet when truth comes we will be confused.
The heart of the Gospel tells us because of what Jesus did, we who in no way deserve it, can have the Spirit of Truth, the very essence of the Son of God in us. The Spirit is sent to save our souls, by granting us a position in heaven no angel was ever promised. The Gospel is the Power unto Salvation, the Bible talks about the elements regarding the Gospel, but the Gospel is something in us granted by God through the Seed of God.
The Bible is the rule book, within the rule book we find Jesus told the Pharisees just because they read about life, it didn’t mean they had it (Jn 5:38-42). Just because we read about Grace, doesn’t mean we have it either. It takes the Word in us, thus the Bible defines the Word as Jesus (Jn 1:1-8 & James 1:21). James will tell us the Word in us is dividing and separating, and fully able to save our souls (James 1:21). The Bible cannot save our souls, it takes Jesus (the Word) in us, the very basis of being Born Again. Never forget the same Bible says the Word is able to save our souls, defines itself as the Scriptures (Matt 21:42 et al).
In all this we do have a problem, called the “old man”, a nature who became our natural fleshly guide while we were in the world. The old man is also known as “the spirit lusting to envy”, a product of the spirit of man also known as disobedience, but he is “natural”, not spiritual, thus he tempts us with things common (worldly) to man. The metaphor “Spirit” pertains to the essence of something or someone, the old man is the essence of the darkness, not as an entity, but more of a nature or character. When Eve took of the fruit she picked up something else, the nature of the serpent. Both Adam and Eve went from products of God, to the beasts of the field, the evidence was their subtle behavior. Neither of them were demon possessed, but they were guided by a nature ignorant of understanding the things of God (I Cor 2:11).
This opens the term “spirit” to include ones attitude, or way of thinking, or better their nature, or heart. When we are Born Again we gain a New Heart, one with the flesh cut away, one centered on forming our souls into a spiritual nature. However, it begins with basic principles; we deny the self, we don’t kill it. We impute the old nature and flesh dead by the Cross of Jesus by picking up our cross.
The self nature is the product of the old man, it will always look for the self-based natural benefit, whether it’s pride in the doing, or allowing others to trumpet our endeavors so we can gain the feeling of pride. The old man is flesh related, he is a product of darkness, yet if the flesh ceases, so does his effectiveness. If we are Crucified with Christ, how come we’re still walking around? If we are dead in Christ, how come we’re still breathing? Two words of importance in the things of God, Imputed and Imparted. Imparted is the easy one, it pertains to something granted to us, or within us, such as the Seed of God. The Imputed part gets a little more complicated, yet it is vital to understanding how the Cross of Jesus functions in our lives. God imputed righteousness toward Abraham, but if Paul said none were righteous, would it not also include Abraham? Yes, yet in the same letter where he says were none righteous, he points out how God imputed righteousness toward Abraham (Rom 3:10 & 4:22). Imputed is an act of placing something on someone based on a trait found in them connecting to a much greater trait found in someone else. God looked at those who would believe in Jesus, thus belief became the basis. God treated the belief of Abraham as a point of righteousness for a specific reason, not saying the man was, rather God treated the belief of the man as righteous, God could then impute righteousness on the man who held the belief, in order to enter Covenant, so it might be by faith. Abraham is like anyone else, without a contract (Covenant) there is no binding agreement. Although Abraham believed in what God said, it would take something else to reach to the confidence of the promise; much like adding a signature on the dotted line to secure the promise. The token of Abraham’s Covenant was after the fact, he was not circumcised to enter the Covenant, but his offspring would have to be. God made Covenant with Abraham regarding the Seed of the man, thus the Seed would have a Token granting them permission to enter Abraham’s Covenant. It is any different for us? Not really, we believe in the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus, we begin our adventure by belief. God imputes His Mercy on us, we make a decision to forgive as we are forgiven, then God imparts His Mercy in us. We ask for the Spirit, the Holy Ghost plants the Seed, we believe we receive, then the process begins.
Paul tells us the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments have a power and authority, as well as a realm wherein they operate. However, both are nailed to the Cross, since both are against us (Col 2:14-16). The Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments are linked together by the token of the sabbath day, but both only pertain until the person dies, then they become the books one is judged by. The Cross removes us from the principality of their realm, but it leaves us lawless. Through the Cross and imputed death we have the obligation to do the least Commandments of Mercy, but there is no “Law of Mercy”. We must accept the Resurrection power of the Spirit to enter the Law of the Spirit. If we stop part way, it would be the same is getting out of the boat, without reaching the other side.
The imputed part is something we must accept by the efforts of another in our place, before we can receive the imparted righteousness, so it can be by faith. We are not saved by Mercy through belief, or by Grace through belief, or by faith through belief, for by Grace (Spirit) are we saved through faith (Eph 2:8), not of our own. Since it’s Through faith, rather than by faith it means we must travel Through something to reach the hope on the other side. We must be Born Again so we follow the New Man along the path of faith.
It’s still appointed unto all men once to die, then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27), all we did was call something done based on what Jesus did for us. Paul called it, “never the less I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the Faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20). For this reason we find God will not impute sin on us, because we have taken on the nature of Christ. How can the Father hear, “forgive them”, yet not? When we came to Jesus we asked to be forgiven based on the Mercy of God, through the words of Jesus. Anything Jesus asked of the Father, the Father granted, including, “Father forgive them”. However, in order to receive, we must make the decision to forgive, then believe we have received the ability. Therein lays the imputing, the second we ask God to forgive us the magnitude of His Mercy covers us, thus His Mercy is imputed on us. The second we make the vow to forgive others, the same Mercy becomes imparted, giving us the ability to complete the vow. The same is true with the Seed of God, or the Wisdom of God, we ask, we believe we receive, then we allow the growth to take place. However, believing we received doesn’t mean we go about attempting to use what we believe we received, it means we wait for the growth, as we wait by Faith for the product to manifest.
When we impute ourselves dead in Christ, the act becomes the very separation between the Law of Moses, and the Law of the Spirit. The Law of Moses granted one a way of life until death, thus it defined the law of sin and death; the Law of the Spirit speaks of an existence after death. Grace is a granted authority and power for those who have received the Resurrection power of Christ, thus they had to be considered dead by the Cross of Jesus: no one is going to be Resurrected until they die.
Being able to impute ourselves dead also means the devil can no longer run our lives, or dominate us. Through death Jesus destroyed (made ineffective) he who had the power of death, that is the devil (Heb 2:14). Therefore, by accepting the death of Jesus, the devil becomes ineffective in our lives. Our problem is not the devil, it’s the wiles of the devil (Eph 6:11).
What then is this? We cannot be resurrected, or have the power of the resurrection unless we are dead, yet we can’t be dead and receive the Spirit until we pass the Judgment. Nicodemus’ knowledge was based on this issue, to him being Born Again meant to have another chance in the flesh with the knowledge of past errors, so what? We would just make new errors. Jesus was talking about something one could have now in order to be free of the power and dominion of the flesh and darkness. Jesus used the staff of Moses as an example, Moses took a brass serpent which caused the serpents in the camp to be ineffective. When the Cross of Jesus is lifted up, then all things changed, the serpent would no longer be effective (Jn 3:14 & Heb 2:14). The Cross was not the only step in this, the way to the Cross was included, as well as the Grave and Resurrection. Without the Resurrection, the Cross would have been a vain effort. The Cross grants us the position as a son of man (Mercy), the Resurrection of Jesus opened Grace declaring the ability for us to be sons of God (Rom 1:3-4).
When we were water baptized it was a token, or sign on our behalf to enter the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Death is an act of Mercy, the Resurrection one of Grace. Our water baptism didn’t provide the acts, it was our Token of acceptance to enter a place in the Body where they acts could take place. Later in this Lesson we will discuss the importance of water baptism, but for here we want to focus on the Doctrine. There is One Baptism, but it has parts giving us the Doctrine of Baptisms (Eph 4:5 & Heb 6:2). Water baptism was our first act of imputing, if Jesus was buried in the ground, why do we use water? Why not dirt? Water is a sign of God’s Mercy, we enter the water, or have it sprinkled, whichever, as our acceptance of the Mercy of God (II Cor 1:3). The idea was to be immersed in the Mercy of God, not merely water. The water didn’t save us, God did. The water isn’t going to give us the Gift, the Holy Ghost does. We used the water as a symbol, thus we imputed the water as the Mercy of God, so was it? How about the bread and wine (grape juice)? Did the wine turn into real blood? How about the bread, did it become flesh of Christ in our hands? No they are symbols for us to Remember what Jesus did for us, thus He said, “In Remembrance of Me” (I Cor 11:24). Jesus also told us the Holy Ghost will bring things to our remembrance, both are based on Jesus.
No one is going to be Resurrected unless they first die, thus we impute ourselves dead by the Cross of Jesus, then we ask for and receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost to gain the Spirit. By our act of imputing death based on what Jesus did, God looks at us as if we are dead in Christ, meaning we become a New Body, one called the Body of Christ. From the new position we can gain the Same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Rom 1:4 & 8:11). All this would be a mind game, except for what Jesus did, thus our proof of the Resurrection is having the Spirit, which will produce a change in natures.
In order to impute we must have two things, something said or granted from God, and His permission. We can’t simply run around imputing this or that, we must fit the requirements. This imputing is also the basis behind the ministry of reconciliation, although we know sin exists, we do not impute sins on people, because God doesn’t impute sins on us (Rom 4:8 & II Cor 5:19-20). The concept shows we as sinners accepted the Cross, by the act God does not impute sin on us, rather the Father views us as innocent, this is called the Declaration of Justification. We then have the position to claim ourselves dead in Christ, yet we live by the Spirit in us (Gal 2:20 et al). Once the imputed death takes place we have completed the Law of Moses (law of sin and death). Once we receive the Life of Christ we know the flesh remains until it’s purpose is complete, but the power of the flesh is no longer effective. By the Cross and Resurrection we can say No to the lusts of the flesh, with the position to make the declaration effective. Paul could say with complete honesty and confidence, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live”. Was he really dead? If so why did Nero cut off his head? Paul understood by the efforts of Jesus, the man Paul was able to impute something before the fact, so it could be by faith. How do we know it worked? Are we Born Again? Do we have the Spirit? It worked.
The sting of death is the result of sin, the result of death is hell. We bypass punishment by what Jesus did for us, so we can also say, “death where is thy sting?”. We will physically die someday, or in a twinkling of an eye leave this tent of flesh to obtain a new and everlasting resurrected body, thus it means the consequence of sin is no longer a factor over us. We have to accept the premise by faith, there is no way natural reasoning is going to accept the process of imputing. We accept the Seed, something happens to confirm the experience, perhaps speaking in unknown tongues, prophesy about the wonderful things of God, or a joy beyond the confines of the reasoning of man, whatever the sign it confirmed the act of the Seed being planted, but it wasn’t a sign of the Birth. The Corinthians spoke in tongues and did prophesy, as they should, but they stopped there, as they shouldn’t.
We didn’t enter this race to stop halfway, Jesus didn’t enter it to stop at the Cross, or even at the Resurrection, His goal was to reach heaven to give the greatest Sacrifice of all time, yet there had to be a start. The Book of Hebrews puts it this way, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh, and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil” (Heb 2:14). Jesus was born of the flesh, not like any human, but nonetheless took on flesh for the specific purpose of dying on the Cross, so He could be raised on the Third Day, so we could have the absolute privilege of accepting what He did for us. Jesus didn’t die for Himself, or to escape the earth, the purpose was for us, something we could not do.
God wanted a people who would be with Him, but those people had to make the choice to be with Him by becoming Spirit because God is Spirit. They had to desire to be servants, not masters, yet He would make them kings. Until the Truth settles in our souls how being Born Again is the greatest gift any of us can have, we will never reach the true appreciation of what Jesus did for us. When we are crucified with Christ all the old things are passed away, behold all things are new. Our past died on the Cross, the only ones who remind us of the past are the old man, or those who listen to the devil. God doesn’t hold a thing against us, rather He is for us.
Yet we know the voice out of darkness says “it’s not so”. What did the old man do to capture us to begin with? Impute, he still does, yet he lacks permission to do so, in his case it becomes a suggested illusion. The old man is a master of deception, a professional in presenting illusions. The old nature attempts to get us to use some wile, some effort of his to reactivate his authority in our life, really the world is an illusion, based on supposed natural reasonings lacking truth. Paul told us not to give place to the devil, which is the same as saying, giving the devil opportunity (Eph 4:27). There is an assurance God has given us, Jesus said the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, because He was anointed (Luke 4:18). If we have the Seed of God in us, we’re anointed. If we are anointed, we are set apart. If we are set apart, then God is dealing with us as children, meaning we are holy. The first battle is, which report will you believe? The illusion of darkness, or the hope of God?
The New Birth gives us the ability to gain a New Start, a New way, a New power, a New authority, a New Nature, and a Newness involving Life while at the same time being free of the spirit of disobedience. Jesus didn’t crucify Himself, neither can we. We are told to pick up our cross, not crucify ourselves. The faith act of picking up our cross is the acceptance of the death of Jesus, with all it entails, including our trip to the grave. However, the work will be completed by the Spirit of Truth if we continue in faith.
When Jesus told the Pharisees they were of their father the devil and the lusts of their father they would do, He wasn’t belittling them, He was making a statement of fact (Jn 8:44). The truth of exposure was there, their ways proved it. They had all the religious talk, they knew the Law of Moses, they talked of God all the time, but when their Ways were exposed the display of their nature proved they were still of their father the devil, being run by the spirit lusting to envy. Even Pilate said they sought to kill Jesus because of their envy (Mark 15:10). Therefore, the New Birth is not rebirthing the spirit of man, but gaining the True Spirit of Holiness from God. The spirit of man knows all the things of man, but is void of any understanding regarding the Spiritual things of God (I Cor 2:11).
Examine the reaction of the Pharisees, did they say, “Oh yes Lord, what would you have us do?”, no, they allowed the old man to guide them. The Word of Truth came, although they thought they were retorting in a “Godly manner”, they were merely proving the point, they were self-based, they did the lusts of the devil. How can it be, they were among the chosen religious order God ordained for the earth? The nature of fallen man is still the spirit of man; thus God winked at the nature of man until the Cross, the Cross made a place of change for all mankind, Jew or Gentile (Acts 17:30).
When any natural person says they have a spirit, it’s not good, since the spirit of man is the spirit of disobedience. Paul also talked about the “spirit of the world” being opposed to the Spirit which is of God (I Cor 2:12). Accordingly there could be no spirit of the world until there was a Spirit which is of God, John called it the he in the world, or the induction of the things of the world into the Body of Christ, to corrupt the Body, the danger is within, not without.
Why would anyone try to use the old man to crucify the old nature? Control, being able to master over their own life. The result? Self-transformed, going about as a minister of righteousness, but inside Satan still reigns (II Cor 11:13-15). Ouch, Satan and the old man are so close, you can’t tell one from the other. When Jesus told Peter, “Get thee behind Me Satan”, was Peter the devil? No, Peter used a statement from the old nature. Yet moments prior the same Peter told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. When he did, Jesus said, “blessed are you”, since the information came from the Father. One second something from the Father, the next from the pit of hell, yet Peter couldn’t one for the other, they both sounded right to him. No one can tell the source of their intent without the Spirit of Truth in them to discern the intent from the thought (James 1:21). What sounds right to the natural mind, often ends in death.
If this strongman (old nature) was the boss, how did we make the decision to come to Jesus to begin with? The strongman can twist the love God gave us, he can deceive us into using the measure of faith for all sorts of things, but he can’t destroy either love or faith, thus he can’t stop anyone from coming to the Lord. The old man can’t even force us to act when we were in the world, his used the power by suggestion through the lusts of the flesh. When the call came for us to come to the Cross we were drawn by the Holy Ghost. We accepted the Cross over the objections of the old man, there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. The devils have influence, but anyone who has the Mercy of God has power over devils, even Judas cast out devils.
Lusts are not always what they seem to be, they can, and often are deceptive. We can have a lust centered in greed, yet it may surface in some sexual area. We fear the worst, and go to battle against the lust before anyone finds out, yet we also don’t want God to know, so we use a lust to defeat a lust, thereby ending exercising it. Lusts use “feelings”, greed has a feeling, superiority has a feeling, self-pity has a feeling, and so on. We do things to get the feeling, they don’t have a life of their own, rather they are based in a nature which uses the flesh. They need to be deflated and defeated, but how? Since they are based in the old nature, don’t you think a New Nature would be the means? Yes, we are being Transformed from one nature to another.
However, we do not use the feeling as a judge, “Oh I know this isn’t manipulation, because I know the feeling of manipulation”. No, we can’t use the feeling, since the feeling itself is based in deception, thus if we trust in the feeling to tell us anything, we end in more deception. Ears hearing sounds are as common as dirt, ears hearing the Spirit of Truth are rare indeed.
In truth, the old man never had a right to run our lives, he came from his father the devil, who usurped authority at the tree. God’s desire was for us to be in His image, yet there is no way anyone can assume for a second the spirit of disobedience is the Image of God. God has a soul (Heb 10:38-39), God is Spirit (Jn 4:24), and His Word took on flesh (Phil 2:6-8). We put off the flesh, seek the Spirit which is of God to have our souls saved by becoming spiritual in nature, the essence of the Gospel.
When Jesus was on the Cross He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Who was the “them”? You and I, or anyone else who was the victim of the spirit of disobedience. The sign above the head of Jesus was written in three languages, Hebrew, Greek and Latin, the three languages of the world, thus the “them” became all inclusive. The Cross was just a Cross, it was Jesus on the Cross making it special. The cup Jesus used was just a cup, the symbol of His Blood made it special.
The Cross had a shadow, it was the door of the first Passover, the Blood was in three places around the door. We will read about the “time of doors”, but the first Door we find is the Cross. In our case Jesus granted us permission to enter, but then comes the grave and resurrection. At the Door we find Jesus knocking, we have to give Him permission to enter and sup with us; as He enters, so do we into the Kingdom.
The Gospel has two elements, the Mercy of the Father and the Grace of the Son, with the Holy Ghost bringing the gift of Grace (Spirit) to those who ask. The Mercy part is the area far too many of us overlook, yet it holds the Will of the Father. The Father received the request from the Son, granting forgiveness to anyone who accepts Jesus. Those same people are then asked to forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven them (Eph 4:32). Forgiving is the key to all this, yet we all know there are some we either simply can’t forgive, or we refuse to. If we refuse to, we know the area is a Tare needing to be removed, but if we simply can’t forgive, we find the answer in the theological term, Ingress Aires From Majesty On High. However, to begin with we have some words of Wisdom; Jesus said, “when you stand praying, forgive, if you have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses, but if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:25-26). A great Incentive, yet there must be a method. Also it doesn’t take long to see we are the ones who initiate the act. If Grace is something you can’t earn, buy or steal, how is we are the ones who initiate the premise? Because it’s Mercy, the very means of binding and loosing. We loose people by forgiving them, then God will loose His Mercy toward us. If we bind people to our unforgiveness, we have Bound God’s Mercy from us.
If Jesus knows all things, He knows there are some who are very difficult, if not impossible for us to forgive, so He must have given us a means. One is imputing by faith. as the desire before the act. We desire to forgive, because our faith desires to please God, thus we make the decision to forgive. We then impute the act on the person in prayer, we do not go up to people and say, “I forgive you because my God has commanded me to”, or any other manipulative statement making us feel superior, or them inferior, which is just another manipulative way of placing blame on the others to validate our innocence. We keep this in prayer, as Jesus commanded, thus obedience gains the reward. On the same not we have no idea of the pain and hurt we caused God, yet He forgives us based on how we forgive others. Once we enter this area, then James tells us if we have aught with another we settle the matter by praying for one another (James 5:16).
The decision opens the door for God to instill in us His Mercy, then His Mercy gives us the ability to complete the effort. Once Mercy is imparted, we forgive the more, until our nature is one of Mercy, or Mercy as a way of life for us. If we are to forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us, then God will give us the same Mercy He used. Freely we received, freely we give. We come boldly to the throne of Grace to obtain Mercy and find Grace (Heb 4:16). The boldly part is not pride, it’s knowing we are doing something God desires, yet the first step is Obtaining Mercy, then we will be able to find Grace. If we reject Mercy, we can hunt, seek and knock, yet never find Grace.
This is not an easy area to understand, but refusing to enter it makes us a worker of Iniquity. Mercy is a Joy in and of itself, it grants us peace in the storm, or stability in the wrecks of life. Mercy is the constant mindset of forgiveness, even when there isn’t a cause. Paul called it the ministry of reconciliation (II Cor 5:18-21): the heart of reconciliation is refusing to impute the sins of others on them, this doesn’t excuse them, it simply refuses to find them guilty.
What about “validation”, have we forgiven some, but refuse to forgive others? Do we demand for someone to at least recognize the wrong? Validation is a sign showing we have yet to forgive; of course, the most obvious is the demand for Justice or Punishment. We cannot accept the Mercy of God, then refuse to extend Mercy to others, it makes us hypocrites of the highest degree, placing us in the molding room for the vessels of dishonor (Rom 9:21-23). Jesus said when we stand praying, forgive, for the same manner as we forgive, God will forgive us, the call is a Commandment, not a suggestion. There is no “maybe”, or “can be”, it says “when you” (Mark 11:24-26). The “ability” is not the same as the “desire”, the desire must come first, then God will grant the ability. Knowledge of imputing is the key to receiving the ability to forgive, if we don’t grasp the importance of imputing, we will never understand how there were none righteous, Yet God treated Abraham as if he was righteous.
The Truth will set us free, but the prerequisite is to have Jesus in us, since Jesus is Truth. The Truth without having Jesus in us will not set us free, it will point to the freedom, but only the New Man (Jesus) in us can set us free. We can play at being a Christian, or we can have Christ in us changing us into a Christian, the choice is ours.
Sometime in the past someone told us about Jesus, we asked for the Spirit, or had hands laid on us, or simply believed we received, then the Seed of God was planted by the Holy Ghost. Jesus tells us the Seed is the Word, yet He is the Word, thus the Seed of God, the Word, or the Greater He in us are all the same, it depends on the growth as to what area we’re talking about. James 1:21 tells us the Word is able to save our souls; First John 4:14 says the Greater He in us is able to overcome any antichrist behavior, Paul said in Romans 8:16 the Spirit of God bears witness with our Spirit (Spirit that is of God) showing we are children of God. All these point to being Born Again, Grace is the ability to do Grace. No human has a right to the Spirit of Truth, yet God gave us position by freely giving us the Spirit through the Seed of God.
We tend to look at the word Name as a form of identification, which in turn puts us in bondage thinking if we don’t call God by His “name” He won’t hear us. The word Name means Authority, each Name of God stands for a point of authority, rather than a form of identification. When God walks into the room, He doesn’t have to identify Himself. Even the devils looked at Jesus and said, “thou are the Son of God”. Legalists get concerned over identification, saints seek to know what area of Authority they have. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus said all power (authority) was given to Him, then He said, “In the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”. The Report in Heaven consists of the Father, Word (Son) and Holy Ghost. However, Jesus said “name” not “names”, thus it’s One Authority. Among those included in the Statement was the “Son”, is Jesus the Son? The Name of Jesus is the authority granted to the Body of Christ, we do not cast out devils by El, we don’t heal in the name of Jehovah, we don’t lay hands on people in the name of Elohiym. Jesus is the one who handed us the Bread and Cup, it’s to Him we answer. So, what if we said, “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”? Nothing, it’s still one Name (authority), rather than question the wording, look to the results. If the Pharisees who questioned John the Baptist would have considered the results, they would have obtained a Godly viewpoint, rather than the one they ended with.
Jesus said the Comforter is the Holy Ghost, but He also talked about Another Comforter. All these connect, showing us the various aspects of Authority and Power. Authority is the granted permission to do something, Power is the means granted to carry out the Authority. Jesus said “go ye”, but then He said, “Tarry for the Power from on High”. Two things, using the Authority without the Power leaves us wanton, using the Power without the Authority is rebellion. We are called, trained, then sent out, no one is going to jump from called to sent out, there is a time of training.
We can be trained by natural means, learn languages, the meanings of words, read the various manuscripts, yet without the Authority and Power of Christ, it’s still natural, and lacking. It doesn’t mean knowledge is wrong, it only means there is more to being trained than natural knowledge. Paul had tons of learning, but he counted it all a waste compared to his experiences with Jesus (Ph’l 3:8). However, we need knowledge so the New Man can work with us. The Holy Ghost teaches by comparing spiritual to spiritual, yet if we remain carnal, we will miss the teaching. The New Man is not the student, we are: our souls are in prize in this, the more we learn from the Spirit the more spiritual we become, thereby our souls become Spirit in nature. Like any schooling procedure, it had to begin with a beginning.
When we first heard and believed, it may not have been the first time we heard about Jesus, however, it was the first time the words had effectiveness, wherein we believed. The combination of hearing and belief had to come together, in order for us to receive what we heard as truth. The Truth of the Cross came to our ears and we agreed when the words made sense to our soul. We made a decision based on the granted information; then we heard about the Seed of God, we asked to receive. The Seed was planted, as a change took place deep inside, the change was enough for us to know there was more, yet we knew there remained something inside not right. We were drawn to the Cross, but the old man was not far behind. The old man either told us it wasn’t true, it was a mind game, or all these people are nuts, or the really big lie, why this religion, find another believing in One God. Or the granddaddy of lies, “see, you could have done this years ago, you have wasted your life, what a mess, you’re good for nothing, nothing at all”. Of course we responded, “gee you’re right, I guess I really blew it”. Nope, nay, not at all, if the Holy Ghost drew us to the Cross, then it was the perfect time and timing. If God knows all things, then He knew the exact second we would receive Jesus. No mistakes, just time and timing.
After we put some duct tape on the old man’s mouth we settled down, but then someone told us, “you’re born again”. We looked at ourselves and said, “born from what, to what, by what, for what?”. We found we were in the family of God, we became water baptized as our Token of acceptance, things did begin to change. We were separated from the darkness, yet for the first time we knew it. We had a desire to read the Bible, things seemed to go along just fine for a period of time; then one day it happened, the war started, we said, “I don’t know who I am”, or “I think I’m going crazy”, or “I’m losing my mind”, or the famed, “I’ve lost my salvation”. We were “losing a mind”, by gaining another. In truth we never knew who we were, we lived a lie, worn a mask, believing the mask was the real us, yet the real us was granted when we received the Spirit, yet the same Spirit took us into the wilderness to defeat the works of the enemy, so we could be Spiritual in nature.
In the wilderness we found when they told us we were Born Again, we weren’t, we were conceived as the Holy Ghost planted the Seed, now the Spirit as the Root is digging around in places we didn’t want to look at. The Root pushed things to the surface which needed to be recognized and dealt with, but we didn’t know how. Ignore it? Push it back down? What are we going to do with this? Jesus told us to say unto the Mountain “Go”, then trust God is able to remove it. How is God going to remove it? By bringing in something better, something so powerful the old shakes, then vacates. God doesn’t just remove things, He brings an attribute of His, forcing the old to leave. Light is always superior over darkness, no one turns on the darkness, they have to turn off the light.
The Root is still part of the Seed of God growing, thus we find the Stronger One (New Man) has moved in to bind the strongman. Perhaps we knew something was going on, but what? The Root is the preparation for the Birth, the fetus in the chamber moving to break through. We were in the kingdom of heaven, being prepared to have the Kingdom of God within. When the breakthrough came, the victory was there, as “little children” we knew our sins were forgiven. The growth continues until we as Youngmen have overcome the wicked, then it grows the more until we become of full age. Sounds like a Process doesn’t it?
There is a difference between Mercy and Grace, between being Spirit and spiritual, between natural and spiritual, between conception and born again, between knowing of God, and being known of God. The phrase, Supernatural Authority, is still Natural regardless of how super it becomes, if someone is physically super, they are still physical. However, we are given supernatural authority in Mercy plus spiritual authority in Grace. Jesus said all authority in heaven, and on earth was given to Him, thus we find the natural and the spiritual in the phrase. The supernatural is the same ability the disciples had before the Cross, it comes by Mercy, the spiritual comes with the New Man.
The supernatural grants us authority over the darkness as it pertains to the natural, the spiritual element pertains to the things of Salvation and Grace. In essence we find the supernatural takes care of earthly matters, the spiritual the heavenly.
There is the physical realm, the natural realm and the spiritual realm, all have their points of authority. Paul told us the demonic realm is run by the prince of the power of the air, the air is the unseen element in the soulish natural realm. James told us about the spirit lusting to envy, thus the two are the one element of the spirit of disobedience. Nonetheless, all authority is under the Authority of Jesus, which authority is giving only to those who are in the Name of Jesus (Body).
The paradox of the counterfeit really proves we are a special people, the prince of the power of the air has a principality in the carnal, natural unseen air. The fall nature is reproduced in the old man, who is the spirit lusting to envy, but the element is restricted and limited. It can only suggest, it can’t force man to do anything, it can only use the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, or the pride of life, it can only operate in darkness. The paradox is the New Birth, the New Man is the Seed of God delivered by the Holy Ghost, meaning the New Man is Light, his realm is Salvation, he produces the Fruit of the Spirit and the Manifestation of the Spirit, the ability is above all things, the authority and power are granted from on High. The enemy counterfeits, he doesn’t create. A counterfeit is an illegal copy, being illegal it’s always inferior.
Are there those in the Body who are not Born Again? Yes, Paul said there is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus (the Body) who walk not after the flesh, but after the Sprit (Rom 8:1). If no one in the Body walked after the flesh, then why begin the statement with “which are in Christ Jesus”. Surely the letters to the Romans and the Corinthians show some in the Body walk after the flesh, or are carnal. We also know of some disciples who were in Ephesus who hadn’t heard about the Holy Ghost, yet it’s the baptism of the Holy Ghost bringing the Seed (Acts 19:2-3 & 11:15-16). Paul said the Corinthians had the Spirit, yet he also said they were carnal, and unable to understand spiritual matters; therefore, there is a difference between having the Spirit and walking in the Spiritual nature (I Cor 3:1-3 & 3:16). He also told the Romans to be carnally minded is death (Rom 8:6). How did Paul battle this? By teaching the Romans and Corinthians what it was like to be Spiritual. Knowledge allowed them to know what to expect, allowing them to let it take place.
God’s love believes all Things, yet all Things are of God, thus it becomes a matter of determining what is a Thing, or in which realm the Thing belongs. There are all sorts of things we believe, but it doesn’t mean we do them. We believe there is a hell, but we don’t have to go there to believe it exists. However, the enemy produces fables and strongholds which are not things; fables are not considered things, thus they not a matter for discussion (I Jn 4:1-4). Rather than disbelieve fables, or say “I don’t believe it”, we simply make no room for the fable, they are moot, not accounted, not considered, not to be debated. Even unbelief takes up room in our minds, thus if the statement fits Salvation then we add it to our Belief, if not, we discard it as if it never was. Not easy for a teacher, who must face the “I don’t believe” statements, or address them, but it’s not impossible either. Holding “I don’t believe” statements as doctrine becomes doctrines of devils. Doctrines of devils is not teaching about devils, it’s what the devils teach, which is unbelief. The moment we have to teach someone not to believe in something, in order to make our point, we are teaching from the spirit of disobedience (unbelief). The spirit of disobedience may not have a grip on us, but we may have brought some roots with us. “I find it hard to believe Moses led all those people”, “I really doubt Jesus walked on water”, “I don’t believe Peter walked on water, because I can’t”, “If the Bible is the so true how come we find conflicts?”. The so-called conflicts are often tests placed by the Holy Ghost, rather than seek error, we seek the opportunity to learn.
Mark 16:16 is not only known to us, the devil knows it as well. The phrase “shall be saved” has to connect to two things, being in the Body (baptized) plus our continual belief. Remove the belief, we’re in trouble. If it offends us, we search out some reason to discount the verse, thus thinking we’re free of the obligation. Not so, the Holy Ghost is the Author, not the men who penned the words. If the Holy Ghost used any person it doesn’t discount the truth of Him being the Author. The Witness has to be the New Man, if the New Man tells us “ABBA Father”, we must receive it. The natural mind looks for reasons not to believe, the saint searches for reasons to believe.
We call John’s Account the “Gospel of faith”, yet the word Faith never appears in the entire account. The word Believe in one form or another appears more times in John than in all of Paul’s letter put together, including the Book of Hebrews. John says the purpose of the his account is, “we might believe” (Jn 20:31). Belief and Faith meet in the Now, if we lack Belief, our Faith will lack purpose or direction.
Division has many areas, there is the sinner, yet there is the Wicked, there is a difference between the two. The Wicked are those who entered by the mercies of God, but retained the authority of the world, which authority Paul called the “old man”. The Wicked talk about the Spirit, even use the Name of Jesus, but their weapons are carnal, their minds are carnal, their thinking is worldly, yet to be carnally minded is still death. Paul said the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, neither do we fight against, or with flesh and blood (II Cor 10:4). The metaphor blood in this case means something inside, relating to the personality of the person. We don’t use personality to war with, nor do we war against someone’s personality, neither do we follow people around like little puppy dogs because of their personality. This gives us the Weapons we don’t use, as well as the Battlefield we are not to engage in, guiding us to the Weapons and Field we do engage in. In the world the bigger gun wins, but not so in the Kingdom. When anger attacks, we use peace, when manipulation attempts to trick us, we preach the Truth in love, when deception appears, we use clarity. We never use the same weapon used against us on others; the deception of the evil battle is to get us to use the same weapon used against us in our retaliation. When we “turn the other cheek”, it’s not to give them another target, it means we don’t use the same methods used against us.
Paul tells us about the Strongholds as they retain high things coming against the knowledge of God. He defined these Strongholds as Imaginations, thus the battlefield is in our own minds; this battlefield is demonic, but it does not contain the devil, or devils. The word Imagination means Extending something beyond it’s intent, or Making something based in Truth, an untruth, or producing a fable, or better forming tales about what we think should happen, or what we think did happen, or what we think is happening. We term it unconnected inferences, an example would be taking a verse far beyond it’s intent, or making an event something it was not.
The term “Parenthetical Phrase”, or the use of Parentheses “( )” is found in some of Paul’s letters. A parenthetical phrase either defines the subject of the surrounding text, or contains the subject being defined by the surrounding text. In II Corinthians 10:4-5 we find such a situation, the parenthetical phrase points to the term “strongholds”, then in II Corinthians 10:5 defines the stronghold. Once defined, we limit our focus to the defined area. The defined area shows us the metaphor Stronghold is limited to 1) “imaginations”, 2) “high things coming against the knowledge of God”, and 3) “thoughts”; all of which are products of the mind, which come from carnal illusions attempting to define something they are incapable of. In light of this verse if we were to say strongholds are places where devils dwell above cities, we would then have a stronghold about strongholds. There is no mention whatsoever about devils, it’s our own natural reasoning and carnal thinking producing strongholds in our minds, or the minds of others.
There are theological strongholds, as well as strongholds from life. Since all strongholds come against the knowledge of God, we must ask, “What does God know?”. All things? Yes, thus one forms strongholds by misconceptions of events, or attempting to use natural reasoning to decipher events, or using carnal means in an attempt to define spiritual matters. In any case the New Man takes down strongholds by Godly Knowledge and Truth, brick by brick if necessary, yet we must be willing to cast those bricks off when they are discovered.
We prayed, “not my will Lord, but Yours”, but we didn’t give up our Will, we gave up our agenda to accept God’s Record for us. In order for our part to be faith, it must entail we don’t know all the Report, but our belief knows God does. In order to carry out ones Will, they need two things, authority and power. Will power is the ability behind the Will, it’s the element making the will come to pass, thus if we still using the old power, yet changed our worldly agenda to some carnal religious agenda we are none the better. Therefore, using carnal Will power to carry out a religious agenda still makes the agenda worldly.
We didn’t give up our Will, we sill have a Will, if not we couldn’t resist the devil. We changed from self-promotion, to serving the Lord. From doing what we want, to a pleasure in doing the Will of the Lord. Really it has little to do with events, rather we find the Will of the Lord is for us to be filled with the Spirit, speaking to ourselves in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts unto the Lord; giving thanks for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 5:17-20). Therefore, it’s not a matter of giving up the will, but a matter of exchanging desires, as we put off the old, by putting no the New so we can be saved.
We can receive Jesus as our Savior, yet retain our soul as lord, but when we make Him Lord we become servant, no one can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost (I Cor 12:3). How can a servant know what to do, if they don’t hear the Master? How can one be a servant, yet demand control? Anyone can say, “Jesus is Lord”, it would seem Paul’s statement was in error, but it’s not. The context doesn’t mean saying “Jesus is my Lord”, rather it means to live it, thus no one can be a Servant of the Lord without the Spirit in them; therefore we can’t say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Ghost bringing the Spirit. On the same note, whenever we speak by the Spirit, whether in tongues, ministry, or prophecy means we never call Jesus accursed (ineffective – I Cor 12:3). If we are Born Again, Jesus is our Lord, because if we are Born Again we have the Spirit, anything said by the Spirit is Truth, also it’s approved by God. Would the Spirit which is of God, curse God? Not hardly, don’t be tricked by carnal minded people who go about attempting to prove the Spirit which is of God is a fraud. Paul says the Interpretation is by the Spirit, if someone has to travel all over the world to find a supposed translation, they don’t have the Spirit, neither do they have a clue regarding the differences between translation and interpretation. For us we will speak as the oracles of God, as we enjoy the things of the Spirit.
Our soul will be at its happiest being a servant to God, but the old man will resist the effort by using false information to tell us submission is being a forced “slave”. Not so, a Bond Slave is one of the happiest people around, they have their need cared for, they don’t have to worry about tomorrow, they are treated as a friend, they have close contact with the Master, they don’t have to make decisions, they simply carry them out; they are at Liberty.
The old man knows when we finally make the decision to walk in the Spirit he is domed, so what will he do? Attack everything pertaining to the spiritual realm, or twist it. The old man will use a dress code to promote holiness, or self-righteousness in place of God’s righteousness within the person working on the soul.
All of us will face our wildernesses, each is designed to give us some victory over the old man and his deeds. Each wilderness pertains to the Law of the Spirit, the established Tabernacle in our hearts. Each is prepared to save our souls, bringing us into the Rest of God by our belief. Only the prideful and wicked avoid wilderness experiences. Some of us don’t understand the wilderness, which is why some avoid it. The wilderness of Jesus is an example of how the Spirit leads us into the wilderness so we can face the wiles of the enemy. Being Born Again means we have the Holy Spirit as the stronger one, the ability to be free indeed is having the Word in us. The Word is cleaning, separating and leading us through the Process (James 1:21 & Heb 4:12).
An example of how the enemy works is found in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares, the enemy plants his tares, then leaves. The same field where we find the Wheat, we also find Tares, thus the Wheat is good, the Tares are evil. The Parable is about the kingdom of heaven, but it shows us method, the Wicked are the Tares in the Body, they still use the spirit of the world, as they cause strife, division, or lie in wait to deceive. Although they bring the strife, they also move in as the great healer so they can claim they are the peacemakers of God. The deception causes the problem, they bring about strife, then claim they healed the conflict, so they can brag in their carnal activity. Bragging in our efforts and giving a testimony are different. There are those who insert their goodness into the testimony, causing the testimony to take on a completely different form. The old man is quick to steal the glory, but the Word in us is quicker to bring conviction. The Wicked however, lack conviction, rather they enjoy the feeling of superiority, they desire the special something to hold them higher in their minds than the rest of the Body. The Word in us discerns moment by moment, dividing and separating the thought and intent to keep us from falling into deceptive ways. The cleaning process in the various wildernesses we go through remove the tares from our souls, bringing us closer to the spiritual nature. In essence the flesh is being washed away, as the our souls become more spiritual in nature.
The Tares have allowed deception to rule in the souls of the victims, in the process they lie in wait to deceive others. Their self-deception assumes they cannot do anything wrong, thus they never feel repentance is an act they should do. The same as the Pharisees, as it was with Judas. Judas repented himself, or better was sorry because things didn’t turn out the way he wanted: he even said he sinned, but he repented to the wrong people, for the wrong reason. He sought forgiveness from whom he thought was the power at the time, rather than going to the feet of Jesus. Being sorry is one thing, repenting to the world for our sin is another.
There is a difference between Character and Personality; one’s character is the combination of elements distinguishing the person from the group, or places them in the group. Our personality determines our outward behavior from our character. Our old character was being formed by the spirit lusting to envy, the same fallen nature who formed all those Strongholds. The old man is a result of taking the wrong fruit, but the New Birth comes as a result of being Born Again, thus we now have the a New Mind, producing a change in character, wherein we are being formed into the Image of God’s Son. This is not a personality change, but a refining, bringing our personality into it’s intended purpose. Our old character has a name, a position, a realm, a will, a power and a course it followed, it would have continued to follow the oldness, if it were not for Jesus. Our old character was darkness, based in the spirit of disobedience, but Christ is Light, we are the Light of this world. This changing process is called Justification, the Just still live by faith. Jesus said the Father was in Him, and He in the Father. Our goal is to be in Jesus, as He is us, it can only be done by the growth of the seed of God through the New Birth.
More people believe about Jesus, than we think. How many children today are named “Judas”? Why didn’t Jesus cast the devil out of Judas? There was no devil in Judas, it was his nature powered by his greed making him a devil (Jn 6:70). When we get to the Gospel accounts we want to keep an eye on Judas, for two reasons; we want to identify his offspring when they show up, next we want to make sure we don’t become one of his offspring.
Peter was told to Watch and Pray, Jesus tells us three times to Watch and Pray, they all relate to the Hour of Temptation. What did Judas do? Start the hour, yet the Hour has the Day and Night, thus the last two prayers of Jesus in the Garden relate to the Judas minded who are formed during the Day, but enter the Night as the “drunken”. Jesus wasn’t praying against them, He was praying for them. His sweat was as it were Blood, it wasn’t Blood, it was so heavy it appeared as Blood; indicating a lack of Salt in the system, showing the Wicked either don’t have, or lost their Savor. In the Garden Jesus as the Head of the Body (Rock) prayed over the Rock regarding one thing, “the fourth cup”. The center of the prayer was based in “will”, yet it was not a battle of wills, it was the manner of performance. The Father finished the works of Night, Jesus prayed for all mankind, yet He also took the Cup of the wrath of God. It will be poured out, but only after we’re removed to the safest place of all.
Jesus never prayed for the world (Jn 17:9), so did He pray for us when we were in the world? Yes, since for Jesus we were called to the Kingdom before time began, thus He prayed as if we were in the Kingdom, at times our intercession should follow the same pattern, we should pray for people as if they are in the Kingdom.
In John’s account we find what Jesus did during the forty day fast, it doesn’t take long to see He spoke of being Born Again, yet it was written so we might believe. It shows we can’t reject water baptism, but neither can we stop at water baptism thinking the race is complete. Iniquity means Unequal, refusing one baptism for another is unequal.
Since Judas was part of the ministry, he had all the same opportunities as John, Peter, Philip, or any of the others. He had more responsibility, since he was the treasurer (Jn 13:2), but he also used the bag for his own gain (Jn 12:6). Judas would give to the poor, indicated on the night of the Passover, but he would also hold back for himself. Perhaps the ministry received 50 pieces of silver, Judas would give 35 to the poor, yet kept 15, then he could say, he did wonderful works. Judas cast out devils, but failed to show Mercy toward Jesus, he was Unequal.
If even a man like Judas had power to cast out devils before the Cross, what kind of Power do we have now? Greater, we’re in a win, win situation if we receive it. The very second Jesus forgave our sins the power, authority and seat of Satan became powerless in our lives. Sin lost its power to deceive us, the first taste of freedom we had was the removal of the power of sin in our lives.
In Acts chapter one when Peter makes the determination to fill the position of Judas one of the base requirements was “from the baptism of John”, or better from the ministry of John’s baptism. Peter made two mistakes, the first is obvious, they were told to Tarry, not vote. Next he wanted to replace the man, but the man began the position of the son of perdition. Peter used Scripture and prayed, but didn’t hear one word from the Lord, not even the still small voice. They were out of order, no human can appoint others to the five fold Offices, only the Holy Ghost on behalf of Jesus appoints to the five-fold Offices (Acts 13:1-3). We appoint Bishops, Deacons, and Elders, not Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers of Pastors, confirm yes, appoint no.
However as out of order as Peter and the rest were, the requirements do tell us something about Judas. In John’s account we find Andrew, with one unnamed disciple from the ministry of John joining Jesus just after Jesus was baptized (Jn 1:35-42). John shows there were only two of John’s disciples who joined Jesus (Jn 1:35 & 1:37). Since there were only two “from the baptism of John” the field narrows down considerably. Philip was called from the area of Galiliee after the two disciples from John’s ministry joined Jesus. Philip obtained Nathanael, who was also known as “Nathanael Bar-Tolmai” or Nathanael Bartholomew, yet neither Nathanael or Philip were from the ministry of John (Jn 1:43-46). Judas not only held a position in the ministry of Jesus, he came from the ministry of John. Judas had all the right “qualifications”, but the wrong character.
The devil uses anger, bitterness, wrath, envy, strife, slander, error, pride, ego, or any aspect of the self-nature as his weapons; Paul called those weapons “rulers of darkness”. Emotions are good, God has them, but emotions controlling us, making our decisions for us, or causing us to do things we should not, end ruling us. Saved emotions are beneficial, unsaved emotions will damage us and others continually.
Our Weapons are many, the New Man, the Name of Jesus, Mercy, Grace, God’s Righteousness and true Holiness, Faith, Truth, Peace, Clarity, Knowledge, Understanding, Wisdom of God, Hope and Love. God will not leave us, but like Judas did, we can leave Him. If God won’t leave us, we must discern the difference between correction, and the presumption of being attacked. Correction is not punishment, rather it’s purposed to keep us from being condemned with the world (I Cor 11:32). God will spank us, but not beat us, thus He is saving us. The old man wants us to test the protection by walking down the middle of the street to see if the cars can really run over us. The old nature wants us to look down the barrel of gun to see how fast the bullet comes out. God wants to save us by keeping us in the highest place.
It’s our soulish conclusions and lack of knowledge regarding the Ways of God causing us to enter warfare against God. It takes the Spirit to bring the Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom to discern the Ways of God. When we are able to discern how our battles are against the works of the devil, we will also be able to discern the event, rather than curse it. We will discern if we are fighting God, or the works of the devil. When we join God in the fight, it becomes a Joy, not frustration.
The decision (key) is in our hands, we entered this wilderness to be tested, proved and brought to a place to know we have overcome the Wicked. The progression of our growth is the method God uses to build us into the Christ Nature, each step is one of faith into the Faith. God proved His love for us in Jesus, thus when we enter the kingdom of heaven it becomes our turn to prove our love for Him. If we love Jesus, we will strive to give Mercy. If we continue to be nasty, full of manipulation, always wanting our own way, we will separate ourselves further and further from the Spirit (Jude 19). Of course we may not always walk in faith and love, but if we are seeking to, we’re on the right path. There is a difference between the wheat and a tare, the tares are looking for ways to avoid the call, the Wheat is looking to complete it.
How many times have we said “I’m going to show them love”, or “I’m going to walk in love today”, or the more used, “I love God with all my heart”, then turned right around and cut the heart out of someone? We didn’t fail, but the exposure found the desire to Love was there, but there was yet something missing. We needed the Power from on High to bring us into the training so Patience could have her perfect work. This brings us to the process of being “Born Again”, Jesus said it is something done here on earth (Jn 3:6-12). Hold it, do you mean earth as in the earthly, sensual and devilish? No, not at all, rather it’s a matter obtained here on earth, from something granted in heaven. It begins when we use Mercy then desire to walk in the Christ nature. We are the only people on earth from time beginning to the time’s end, who can have the Spirit of the Resurrection before physical death actually happens.
In each case when Jesus spoke on this subject we find “when you ask”, thus our desire must be to have the Spirit by asking in faith. Cornelius didn’t ask with his mouth, but the context of Acts 10 shows he was willing and seeking, then God blessed him (Acts 10:44-48). If we ask God for the Spirit, the Spirit is what we get, the devil has no ability to counterfeit it, or stop it (Luke 11:13). Once the Seed is planted, the Process begins.
Jesus also explained how being Born Again relates to a “grain of mustard seed”, yet we know mustard seed is hardly flesh, a mustard seed has no soul, or mind, nothing from which to establish belief or faith. “Well. maybe it’s having faith as the size of a mustard seed”. It would be “little faith”, rather it’s a comparison feature, although the mustard seed is the smallest of the herb seeds, it grows to the largest of all herbs, yet it’s the conception process drawing our attention. The mustard seed has the unique ability to grow the root while the grain yet lives, yet in order to spring forth the grain must die. The comparison shows the Seed of God entered, but there remains some of the old root in the ground which must die. The Root of the Seed of God penetrates the soil, as it comes across some old corrupt roots, it will expose them. When the Sprout begins to move toward the surface it also pushes those old ineffective, worthless roots up. When the roots appear we panic, “My God what is that?”. It’s not Manna, it’s horrid. The washing of the water by the Word is the application of God’s Mercy by the Word in us. It’s a process, one wherein we grow as the Seed of God grows. Jesus said, the fruit comes from the blade, full ear, or full corn in the ear, not the seed or the root (Mark 4:28). The ineffectiveness of the darkness over us is gone, yet tares, roots without power or authority remain in the field. Forcing something back down, and having authority over it are different.
We tend to fight the process when the Root of the Seed of God is growing in our hearts to free our souls. Jesus also said the branch failing to produce fruit, will be cut off, but the branch who produces fruit, will be trimmed to bring forth greater fruit (Jn 15:1-5). Fruit comes after the blade has come forth, not when the Root is still growing. The seed is planted, which we call conception, then the fetus time, which is akin to the root, then comes birth. None of us celebrate our conception day, but we do our birthday. If the New Birth is a birth, and Jesus equated it to the seed, or to “that born of the flesh is flesh”, surely we can see this is process. First John shows the process from little children, to youngmen to fathers, it’s the little children who are in danger of being trapped by the spirit of antichrist, but the youngmen have overcome the Wicked (I Jn 4:1-4 & 2:13).
Taking it a step further we find another truth, when we reached five years old we didn’t go down to the “flesh” store and trade in our flesh for a larger size, rather we found the flesh grew as we did. It’s a correlation we must consider, as we grow in the Spirit, the Spirit also grows with us. The paradox is the flesh is dying, the Spirit is living. There are attributes of the Spirit bringing growth, we know there are things required by the flesh in order to grow, so it is with the soul and Spirit. The soul has to accept the Spirit as master, as the soul takes on the role of servant (disciple) in order for the Spirit to bring us into the Spiritual nature. Once the acceptance takes place, so does humbleness, then we stop attempting to tell the Spirit how to be Spiritual.
The Greek word used for Grain is the same Greek word from which we get the English word Cocoon. The Greek word for Transfigured is the same Greek word from which we get the English word Metamorphosis. The cocoon is a covering during the change, the metamorphosis is the process between changes. The butterfly wasn’t waiting in the cocoon for the caterpillar to show up, rather the change took place inside the cocoon. Yet, the cocoon didn’t bring the change, rather it was the protection while the change was taking place. The change must be on the inside of the covering, painting butterflies on the cocoon isn’t going to bring about the change. Painting apples orange, will not change the apples into oranges. Jesus said we needed a tree change to bring about a fruit change, not the other way around. In order to be Born Again one must have the Spirit, in order to be Spiritual one must have the Spirit, thus Born Again is an advancement in the Spirit until our souls become spiritual. When we were all flesh, our souls were all flesh centered, now the change is making us Spiritual in nature, it doesn’t happen over night.
We must be Transformed and Transfigured by God, and God alone. There is no self-transfiguration, but there is a self-transformation. Paul used the word Transformed in II Corinthians 11:13, but his context is self-transformed, rather than transformed by God, this is found in the phrase “Transforming themselves”. His use of the Greek word is not to be confused with the English word Transformed used in Romans 12:2. The wording in II Corinthians 11:13 means A self induced change by the person’s own will power to produce an outward appearance, without having an inward change. In essence self-transformed means the person is wearing a mask of righteousness, but inside the old man still reigns. The Godly transformed condition comes from Mercy, the transfiguration by Grace through the Spirit, both are products of God. They call for a process, a process calling for patience.
Transformed is a change on the outside, while Transfigured is a change within producing a change on the outside, we need both. Translated is being moved from one place to another.
The Greek word and context in Romans 12:2 shows the change is by an outside source caused by the Pardon of our sins, which produces a renewing of our mind on the inside, thus Romans 12:2 is not mistranslated, but a deeper view of the word Transfigured; showing Grace and Mercy working together to free us from the bondage of the flesh. The Renewed Mind is not a change in the old mind, but a renovation of the soul. One would think Why do I want the old mind back? We don’t, we want it removed of the hindrances, but we don’t it destroyed. Therefore the mind is Transformed, the word Renewed means Renovation, the word Renovation means to restore to an earlier condition. Jesus said we are to come to Him as little children, thus this Renovation is the removal of all the fleshly concepts, yet leaving the mind intact.
The Renovation doesn’t mean we forget the Bible, neither does it mean we depend on our natural reasoning. The Mind is one part of the soul, the saving of the soul by the Word in us doesn’t mean we no longer need the Bible, rather it means the Bible will become more important. The Bible is our instruction manual, the source of impression, a door to the hidden things of God. Once our soul is in the saving process the verses will begin to bring truth. It will seem as if God had the Bible written just for us, all of a sudden we will find verses speaking to our hearts. Instead of attempting to figure out what the scribes were saying, the spiritual child of God Hears the Interpretation of the Holy Ghost through the Spirit.
The mind of man guesses at the meaning of the Scriptures, which some term Natural Theology; whereas, the Spirit applies Life through the Scriptures to bring a change within the person. There is the knowledge of man, and a Knowledge from heaven, thus one’s “theology” can be based in either. Sound theology is beneficial, it’s our study (logy) of God (Theo); however the Holy Ghost is our Teacher, the New Man our tutor, we must have the knowledge of God, not just a knowledge about God (Col 3:10).
If we have the Word in us, we also have the Love of God in us, thus the next step would be to allow the Word to flow forth from the New Man through the soul (Eph 4:24, Jn 5:38 & 5:42). Being Born Again means we can See things from the perspective of the Kingdom, which we term Clarity. The Word (Logos) in us divides and discerns things, yet the Scriptures are the Bible, but the Bible cannot interpret the Bible, if it were the case we won’t need the Holy Ghost bringing the Interpretation. The Bible defines itself, which is different from interpretation. The Bible defines the “Word” as Jesus, it defines itself as the Scriptures. It’s difficult to say the Bible is a rule book, if we keep making up our own.
We have to accept how the Scriptures are God Breathed, Jesus used the Scriptures, but He is Life. It takes the Rhema from the Spirit to explain the Logos, as the Logos brings clarity to the Scriptures. The Word (Jesus or Logos) comes to life through the growth of the Seed of God in us, thereby producing the Greater He in us. We have to make the distinction between the Bible and the Word in us, if not we might think if we read the Bible we have life. The Bible speaks of Life, it is a guide to Life, but it cannot produce Life, only the Holy Ghost (Sower) can produce Life by the Seed of God.
There are many things God will do, some He will not. God will not believe for us, nor will He make our choices, nor will He study for us. God will be there to study with us, He will be there to help us in our choices, He will provide the evidence for us to believe, but He won’t do them for us. Since this is a Covenant we are told to “seek ye first”, we are not told God will do the seeking for us.
God knows the heart of man, but He is saving our souls, don’t confuse the two. During our Season God will present the Seed to all, no one can say they didn’t have a chance. They may have rejected the Seed, but it nonetheless came. Wait, what about “many are called”? When the Seed takes hold, then the “called” takes effect, from the Called come the Few. The Good News is the Few is only relative to the Many, thus when John sees the Few they are so many they can’t be counted (Rev 7:9). Later he sees another great multitude, the Greek shows two different words used between the first and second group. The second group has some added to it, not only could it not be counted, but the end thereof couldn’t be seen (Rev 19:6), showing there is room for us.
Since the Seed is tossed in all directions, we find some receive, some don’t. Out of those who receive we find various types; there are some outside of the Way who love the spirit of man, when they hear the Word they reject it immediately for the power of the darkness (Mark 4:15). It’s important to know this group is on the Outside of the Way, they are not in the Way (Called). For those who receive the Seed there remains other areas as forms of growth, all of which are testings for our faith.
This next grouping would be the “Many”, once someone receives the Seed of God they still have a likewise condition, which means they still have the spirit lusting to envy, but at least the Seed is planted. They entered the doorway to the kingdom of heaven, as long as the experience produces pleasure, they are happy, but when affliction or persecution comes for the Word’s sake (purpose) they are offended (Mark 4:16-17). When we entered we were looking for escape from the worldly, thus we were seeking God more than pleasure. This group consists of those who seek pleasure more than they seek God, instead of jumping for joy at the offense, they become offended the more. Jesus shows they lack the Root of the Seed, they never allowed the Seed to grow. They are moved by the emotions of the moment, yet reject the responsibility of having the Seed. They chase all over wanting other people to believe for them, but when the call comes to deny the self or forgive, they are offended, get mad, rebel, or run.
The next group receives the Seed, they have the root and some growth. They face the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things, they too would fit the Many. The cares of this world tempt us to change the course of the world to satisfy our self-desires. The deceitfulness of riches is the thought of money curing our ills or problems, or money providing our security. When we panic over money, or allow money to be the means by which we make decisions, we have fallen into this area. God will bring money problems to expose how we are falling into the deceitfulness of riches, not to harm us, but to free us from the trap of the deceitfulness of riches. This lust causes us to associate, or use wicked means to reach what we assume is a Godly result. This has nothing to do with being responsible to God for the money He has given us, this has to do with “trusting in riches”. The lusts for other things, tempts us to use Bible principles, or any means “legal to man” to satisfy the self-nature. When we use the “sales policies of the world” to fill the treasury of the temple, we have fallen into the lusts for other things.
The group we seek to be are those who receive, grow to the Blade, or those who endure the process. This is the productive group, they are also those who know how to submit to the New Man to get through this. The clarity comes in the wording, “be ye transformed”, showing we submit to the Spirit allowing the Renovation of our minds. Clearly the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit being active in our lives is the greatest gift anyone on this earth could have. Understanding the specialness makes one humble: the God of all looked down on mankind then gave His Son as a Sacrifice just for us; because He loved us long before we loved Him.
We know the evils of the Pharisees, but there was also the teacher Nicodemus the first human to hear the words “Born Again”, the same man who would be at the Cross of Jesus. Therefore, Nicodemus proves there were exceptions, although he was among the Pharisees, he was not part of them. There were the disciples, but among them was Judas, the opposite end of the spectrum; therefore, Judas proves being called a “disciple” doesn’t mean one is holy. There were the Romans who ruled the land, but there was the Centurion who had great faith. There were the people, those who believed and received, and those who didn’t believe, or receive. We want to find what determined what, and how it all fits into the Restoration of our souls.
LESSON TEN – GOSPEL I – THE RESTORED SOUL
What is the difference between holding to a religion (devotion to a religious idea), and being Christian? The difference is the Born Again experience. A person in a religion can change habits, but the source is still the spirit of man (II Cor 11:13-15). One can force their self to pray ten times a day, refuse to eat certain foods, keep one day above another, yet use the spirit of man to accomplish it all, ending none the better. The facade of religion can be something any of us can fall into, portraying the role, dressing right, performing the various rites, yet inside we’re dead. There are those who engage in the deception of religion, thinking nothing inside is out of place, all is holy and perfect. Deception manifests when someone thinks the role they are playing is real, they take pride in their efforts, soon becoming a legalist going about enforcing their rules and regulations on others. There are others who know something inside is wrong, they either lack the Spirit, or lack submission to the washing of the Water by the Word. The Christian experience is a change in natures by a source directly from God. It’s the Tree change, to bring about fruit acceptable to God: however, in the process there will be things “not right” within, but they being removed day by day. A religious minded person trains their self to do what they think are good works, a Christian does good works by nature. We would be surprised to find how many Good works we do by nature, or how many bad things we don’t do anymore, because our nature has changed.
A mask is merely changing the fruit on the tree, but leaving the tree the same. Painting oranges to look like apples doesn’t make the tree an apple tree. Sooner or later the oranges will manifest for all to see. Jesus told us to change the tree, but while we are in the world we only had one tree. How can we change the only tree we had? The Holy Ghost has the other Tree, the one based in Life, which has two places of residence with a street between (Rev 22:1-2). The Tree of Life is seen next to the river of life, as the river of life flows from the Throne of God, but to where? Our Hearts, the place of the Spirit, the residence of Life in us. How can we obtain this Tree? No secret there, Jesus provided a means for us to obtain, but He did so through a Covenant.
There is the “pure and undefiled religion” but the main element is for the doer to be unspotted from the world (James 1:27). Religion defined by James pertains to man’s relationship with man; whereas a Christian is centered on their individual relationship with God by the Spirit. Without being Born Again one cannot remain unspotted from the world, rather we will either fight the world, or use it (Jude 23). Those who walk with Jesus washed their Robes in the Blood of the Lamb, they are the unspotted (Rev 7:14).
Paul will tell us a good soldier is not caught up in the affairs of this life (Greek Bios meaning world – II Tim 2:4): the cares (anxieties) of this world entice us on a daily basis, the world will even condemn us if we don’t get all worked up over their cares. The cares of this world are a product of the fall nature, in the Night things will change, but the end thereof is death. The cares of this world will overtake us when we deny all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose. The manifestation of the Good may not be immediate, but the Scripture says we will gain, therefore we will. Sanctified means Separated unto God for a holy purpose (Rom 8:28); the second God called us to the Cross we were Sanctified by the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus unto obedience by the Spirit (I Pet 1:2).
Some enter religious duties to have a good feeling about themselves, some enter so they feel morally superior over others, some so they can appear holy before man, others because they want to know God. Those who want to know God, have the activated measure of faith, thus when their faith is directed in the proper direction they will find God, and soon know He desires to save their souls. However, it’s a process entailing various other areas concerning the soul. The healing of the soul is one, the restoration of the soul is another.
Psalm 23 is a shepherd’s psalm, but David was a shepherd who became a sheep. It’s not evolution, since no actual sheep ever becomes a human, much less a shepherd, rather it’s humbleness on the part of David. Jesus is our Shepherd, but He is also the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Jn 10:11 & Rev 5:12). Peter was a shepherd, yet said we were all sheep lead astray (I Pet 2:25). We all begin as sheep, Jesus picks some to be shepherds (pastors): not evolution, just metaphors.
In Psalm 23 we find the word Restores, in the phrase “restores my soul”, but restored to what? To a point it was before we came to Jesus? Big deal, it’s still lost. The Hebrew word for Restored is Shuv with several meanings, including delivered, but the central thought is a movement back to a point of departure, it was often used in reference to repentance. In the case of Restoration is refers to the point before we entered sin by an action, or to the point where we are innocent. In the Psalm we find the Lord restores our soul, so this can’t refer to repentance, since repentance is an act on our part. This Psalm shows the Restoring takes us back to the moment God set the plan for our souls. Entailing many things, including a healing, removal of strongholds, introduction of Light, a new character and nature. The restored soul is when our soul matches the Designers intent, therein we find the Peace which passes understanding.
We were all born into the sin nature, because we were born of the flesh, sold out to death; however, we became sinners when we used sin. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but all made the choice to sin. When we were little babies we made sounds, or whatever to get someone to help us, it’s not the same as using the fall nature to satisfy a lust. Our parents can usually pin point the day we moved from “oh how cute”, to “what is wrong with you?”. We found by using some element among the wiles of the enemy we could get our way, we enjoyed the “game”, or feeling we obtained, thus we learned to use other wiles, giving ourselves to sin. We then continued to sin to get the feeling, whether it was using self-pity, kindness, anger, manipulation, or some other mask we found worked on people. As we grew we became impressed with ourselves, pride became our motive, the self our lord.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, the Record had a Restoration project in hand, one bringing us into the place of intended Goodness, which is Perfection in God’s eyes. Perfection is based on the ideas of the one doing the forming, not the thing formed. If God molds us by His Perfection, we are Perfect. What would it take to bring this Record into our lives? The Witness, the Water (Mercy of the Father), the Blood (Grace of the Word), and the Spirit (Seed planted by the Holy Ghost), therein lays our Perfection, the Mercy of the Father, the Grace of the Word, the Spirit granted by the Holy Ghost are all Perfect, without exception.
When we came to Jesus the Promise entailed many things, yet they were all centered on what God desired for us. The saving of our souls may seem “self-based” on the surface, but it’s not. If we understand, the result is something God sees for us, then we see the treasure for God is the saved soul. It would be self-based if we made the rules, or formed the plan, but we find the Record and Witness are void of the flesh and soul; the flesh being considered dead, the soul being the prize in this. We gain the benefit, but we are not the Benefactor, thus removing the saving of our souls from being self-based. It does no good for Jesus to tell us to deny the self, if we are going to turn around and use the self in some feeble attempt to save our souls. Those who try to save their souls, lose their souls because they attempt to save the self, by using the self, failure in the making.
The self is not the means granted to save our souls, but it’s exactly the method the old man desires for us to use. Someone can be religious, yet remain nasty, arrogant, boastful, hateful, or use manipulation to belittle others, all signs of the self attempting to become religious, while remaining worldly.
We are bought with a price, the process shows the Holy Ghost takes, He blesses by giving us the Seed. Then the Water and Blood are applied as we grow until the effort is complete. In Hebrews 10:38-39 the wording “saving of the soul” is strange at best. The Greek word for Saving isn’t Sozo, or even Soteria as one would suspect, rather it’s a Greek word meaning to redeem a purchased possession. Even more strange is the word Believe, which is often translated as Faith, so did the translators make a mistake? No, not at all, we find the Holy Ghost is showing us the Now, the English word Believe means we have a Now confidence based on past experiences, or knowledge of what Jesus promised us. Faith on the other hand reaches to a future hope, it’s based in the unseen, while the act of faith is seen. In the case of Hebrews 10:38-39 the phrase “The just live by faith” shows the Just live moment by moment based on their knowledge of the Process, yet they look for the hope of the Just being glorified. In essence the Just live in the Now, by connecting their belief to their faith in the process.
We are given the New Man to form our souls into the Image of God’s Son, to be a son of God, enabling us to be the Bride. The idea is for the soul to join the New Man so the two can be One Spirit. What good would it do for the New Man to join to the soul to be natural? The Resurrection body is not Spirit as Jesus said, but the inhabitant of the Body must be Spirit, thus that Born of the Spirit is Spirit.
The restoration project entails something in us greater than the product to be restored, John called it the “Greater He”. On the other side of the coin we have a enemy based in destruction, one who only knows how to waste termed the “he in the world” (I Jn 4:1-4). This “he in the world” holds three major weapons, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (self-confidence – I Jn 2:16). The wisest thing we can do is put off the old man (he in the world) with his deeds, then put on the New Man (Greater He – Eph 4:22, Col 3:9, Eph 4:24 & Col 3:10). From there we move to be the Bride of Jesus (also known as the Lamb’s wife, or Bride of Christ), so the two can be One with Jesus. Eve came from Adam, the Bride of Christ comes from the Body of Christ.
If we were sinners, how then can the old mind who used the wiles of the enemy be one with Christ? This is not a personality destruction, it’s a salvation process. We see how this relates to the renovated mind, only in this case it’s the restored soul. It also shows there must be a healing of the soul included in the saving of our souls. When it takes place the New Mind by having the New Heart instructs us, no longer are we guided by pains, hurts, self-based conditions holding us down, or haunting us. This entire effort is having something eternal directly from God, designed with God’s Holiness and Righteousness, without condemnation, centered on one thing, to save our souls, thus God provided the New Man (Eph 4:24).
When we have hurts, tares, bruises, and misconceptions in our souls, they all work against us. We will filter every experience, every word, and every person we come in contact with through the maze of tares in our minds. If we hang onto those tares we will minister through them, instead of helping someone, we will end another victim.
Psalm 23 begins with identification, the Lord is our shepherd, there is no other, we are not our shepherd, the prince of the power of the air isn’t, and man isn’t. This relates to us in the Body, and only to us. Jesus is the Bishop and Shepherd of our souls (I Pet 2:25). This connects to John 10:11 where Jesus said He is the “Good Shepherd”, yet the thief enters not by the door, but another way. What other way is there? The window, the window is used to pour the blessing out when the Door is closed, yet a true son enters by the Door (Jn 10:7-9). Unless one comes by Jesus, they are a thief and a robber; including any self-righteous endeavors or religious endeavors absent Jesus.
There is the Porter, the Porter opens the Door, thus the sheep cannot enter without the Porters permission. The word Porter is the Greek Thuroros meaning A doorkeeper, or guard, it’s akin to the guards at the Tabernacle who inspected the sacrifice determining if the sacrifice was acceptable. In their case the person wasn’t at issue, only the sacrifice, in our case the Porter grants permission to those who have accepted the Lamb of God as their sacrifice. After entry the sheep are trained to hear the voice of the Shepherd, meaning the voice of the stranger they will not follow (Jn 10:1-5). This is very interesting, we enter based on the Sacrifice, but once inside it’s a training on an individual basis. We are trained by the Word in us, there comes a time when all we hear is the Word, then we can venture in and out.
Confining, restricting, dominating religious orders, whatever name they go by, attempt to take the place of the Porter by keeping the sheep bound to the pen, or under bondage to religious rhetoric. Usually the leader is either a Legalist or Wicked, who think they are shepherds, but they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus wants us to be free to travel in and out, so we can go “fishing” for new converts. Therefore, Psalm 23 progresses to the pastures, the place where the sheep feed, but it’s also a place of rest (Ps 23:2). The still waters relate to the gentleness of God’s mercy, the pasture to the Bible, then we find the “paths” not “path” of righteousness, so how many are there? More than one, thus in David’s day it was self-righteousness, in ours it’s the Righteousness of God, yet God’s Righteousness has paths on the path, some may go through a wilderness, some into a cave, others along fields, others by the sea, but it’s still by God’s righteousness.
The valley of the shadow of death is not death, it’s the place where the shadow is, which is the world. This doesn’t say the shadow is over us, nor does it say death is upon us, this is a valley, a place between mountains. In either case we fear no evil, because the Rod of God’s correction, plus His Staff of guidance will lead us. Then we find the Table in the “presence of the enemies”, the word Presence means face to face, but the context is still without fear. This is extremely interesting, referring to Judas being at the table, thus Jude also tells us, “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when the feast with you, feeding themselves without fear” (Jude 12). The confidence of God in our lives means even if they are spots, we fear them not.
The finish shows Goodness and Mercy shall follow us, so why not in front of us? The word Follow means to pursue with the intent to secure, this relates to giving Mercy and Goodness have them pursue us. Therefore, it we give Mercy, it will come back shaken down and running over. The more Goodness and Mercy we give, the more they chase us.
The House of the Lord doesn’t refer to the local church, it’s the Hebrew Bayith meaning To build a Tent, generally it points to the inside of the structure, which reflects to the Holy Place and Holy of Holies. This entire process places us in the House, it also calls for a relationship with the Keeper of the House.
There are various degrees of relationships, but only one degree of fellowship with God. The old man looks at fellowship as entertainment, not so, fellowship is when two have like desires, concerns and goals. The concept is found in First John as we find we can have fellowship with the Father, if we care for the people of God in the same manner as God. If we say we have fellowship, yet we slander the brethren, we are in darkness (I Jn 2:11). There are those who say, “well I don’t think they are of the Body”, or “Paul said some things about Hymenaeus and Philetus in II Timothy, so I can talk about these people” (II Tim 2:17). Second Timothy was a pastoral letter, Paul reminded the young pastor what happens when we fail to stir up the gift of God. As far as making a self determination regarding who is, or who is not in the Body, we can’t. What to do? Preach the truth in love. On the other hand, if the Spirit of the Lord has us rebuke, correct or become very austere, then we obey. The point of course is never allow the old man to insert his agenda, which is always slanderous in nature. Slander is based on intent, not whether the thing said is fact or not. The thing said could be a fact, but if it was said with the intent to cause harm, it’s slander.
The Father desires for us to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, would it be self-centered on His part (Jn 4:23). No, it releases us from worship which is laced with the feelings of the old man. Some worship so they feel better, but it doesn’t mean they worshipped in Spirit and Truth. Some worship to impress the people around them, but it doesn’t mean they worshipped in Spirit and Truth. How can one worship in Spirit and Truth? By having the Spirit of Truth (Jn 14:16-17 & I Jn 4:6). The purpose is to be on the same plane as God, God is Spirit, that born of the Spirit is Spirit.
Relationships are established on like concerns, we can have a relationship with our church, our pastor, our theology, all fine, except it doesn’t mean we have fellowship with the Father. The Father centers on Mercy, thus if we treat people with Mercy, we will have fellowship with the Father.
Our salvation depends on a relationship with Jesus, a spiritual connection. The Good News not only put us in a Mercy condition, but gives us the opportunity to have a Grace position. This position calls for a process called the Saving of the Soul. Our souls are not Born Again, they are empowered by the Spirit to become Spiritual in nature. In John 3:7 the word Born is the Greek Gennao meaning Birth, but to the Jew it means To bring someone into a way of Life, thus we are Born Again by the Holy Ghost as He gives us the Spirit, then our souls are Converted from flesh to Spirit by the Spirit.
Jesus said, He and the Father are One, then He prayed we May be One with the Father, as He is with the Father (Jn 17:20-21). The words May and Might are permissive; therefore, we are granted Mercy to have the foundation to be One, then we enter Grace to have the Spirit in order to become One as the chosen. This entails our souls joining to the Spirit, it’s not going to be the other way around.
The chosen position is purpose for the process of justification, in the process we find the Saving of the Soul. Matthew’s account opens the door to Mercy pointing to this area, Mark’s account tells us how to obtain it, much of Luke’s account calls for the decision, then John tells us what to expect while obtaining. All the accounts center around Deny the Self and Pick Up Your Cross, which point to death, but entail Mercy, leading to Grace, opening us to the premise of being justified by God.
As strange as it seems we entered this to have Life, yet both acts of denying the self and picking up our cross point to death. The soul was connected to the flesh, yet the flesh was formed from the earth, but became corrupt into death by the fall. The Spirit is given us so our souls can change from death to life, by changing from flesh to Spirit. Paul tells us to Mind the Spirit, or put our minds on Spiritual matters.
The strongman produces and maintains strongholds; Paul told us the stronghold contains imaginations, thoughts, and soulish conclusions coming against the knowledge of God (II Cor 10:3-5). Imaginations put wood where there is no fire, or attempt to ignite fires where there is no cause. Imaginations are fables, wild dreams, snares attempting to trap our mind. They presume what an event consisted of, or what someone was doing, but the interpretation is fable based, usually giving birth to hate, bitterness, or seeking some validation. The restoration process exposes all the tares the strongman used to deceive us, all those roots of bitterness he planted, to trap us in unforgiveness. When Adam said, “it was the woman You gave me”, he not only placed the blame on Eve and God, but he spoke from unforgiveness, unforgiveness is based in the fall nature.
We were a people without hope, yet the Cross made us a people of hope. Since all things are possible with God, what was impossible for us, is possible through the New Birth. The renewed soul knows all things are possible with God, but not all things are profitable. It was possible for James and John to be placed one on the left and right of Jesus, but it was not profitable for John, James or Jesus. It was possible for the Father to take the cup away from Jesus, but it was not profitable. The unsaved soul takes the phrase “all things are possible with God” then sets it in a self-based mode, forgetting, or not caring how things from the old man are not profitable to God, or us. God does say “No” to unproductive requests, praise the Lord, He does. Before we make the claim, “All things are possible with God”, we must conclude what is profitable for God, then when we ask, we must be ready to accept the answer.
On the same note we find God will “allow”, especially when our mind is so made up we’re going to find a way to do what we’re going to do anyway. An example? Balaam, although God did show the man his own foolishness, we find God also knew Balaam was going to do what Balaam wanted to do. We can be so set on doing something we will put out fleece after fleece, ask everyone their opinion, seek only the signs and answers agreeing with our desire, while ignoring all the signs showing us our folly. Then when we fail, we blame God for letting it happen, “you could have stopped it Lord”. We can be assured of the guidance of the New Man, but it still takes our submission to the guidance. Let’s face it, how can the New Man guide us, if we’re chasing every wind of doctrine?
The New Man will not force himself on us, he is sent to Guide and Instruct, not to dominate. Jesus trained the disciples, He didn’t beat them, at times He allowed them to make mistakes, but the purpose was for them to learn. The New Man is the same, but he will not turn on us, as did the angel in the Garden. The angel in the Garden was perfect until he found iniquity, the New Man has no iniquity, He is created after God’s True Holiness and Righteousness (Eph 4:24).
The saving of our soul by the New Man brings a new way of thinking, the ability to see intent before it becomes a thought. The ability to see the trap while the enemy is still setting it. If our minds are being renewed to think as Jesus, then the other elements in the soul are also being renewed; included in our soul is our mind, will, emotions, personality, nature and aspersions. Changing habits is not the same as having a Nature change. Worldly religions follow the path of habit change, or judge holiness by habit changes. They use deeds based in self-righteousness, yet they are using the spirit of man to perform the deeds. All they do is put on a self-transformed mask to appear righteous and holy to impress others, or their selves, but inside they are still using the same fallen nature. The old man doesn’t mind being religious, as long as he remains in charge. However, as soon as the Light shines, the old nature is made ineffective. Paul’s point in Romans chapter 7 centered on this issue, using the flesh or the spirit of man to be religious, causes the Commandment, “Thou shall not Covent” to fall against the person, finding them guilty.
The counterfeit to having a renewed mind would be the use of mind power to form religious habits. It may sound strange, but what do worldly religions do? They have set rules of a religious nature, then use mind power to conform to the rules. What did the Jews do? They had the Law of Moses, but used mind power to conform to the rules; called self-righteousness, which is different from having a Righteousness conforming us to a nature. The battle for us is to submit to the Righteousness in the New Man, rather than use mind power to force the flesh to behave. When Paul found Jesus, he also found through Christ he obtained the ability to do all the things of Christ by the Christ nature in him; he no longer had to worry about the Commandment. All worldly religions are concerned about death, the Christian has a life beyond death: oh death where is thy sting, or grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law (I Cor 15:55-56). The Law is nailed to the Cross, our sins are forgiven, we are Born Again, we have the same Spirit of Holiness who raised Jesus from the dead; thus we must believe God raised Jesus from the dead (Col 2:14-17).
We then conclude the Process does entail a wilderness; the children of Israel crossed the wilderness to obtain the Promised Land to complete the promise, but their land was still inhabited by heathens. The Promised Land for Israel was still of this earth, it was physical in nature, thus we can’t compare it to the Kingdom of God, but we can use the experiences of the children as warnings (I Cor 10:1-11).
The Tabernacle was not a product of Egypt, neither was it built in the Promised Land. Once they took possession of the land, the Tabernacle, like Enoch was no more. The Temple became the center of worship in the Promised Land, we know the Temple was built by at the request of David, approved by God through Nathan during the night. The Temple is a sign of judgment, not salvation. In our case we seek the Holy Place of the Tabernacle where the Bread of Life is found, where the Light of God is found, where the Prayers of the saints lead us to the Holiest of All. Just as there is a Zion of the earth, there is one for the heavenly Born Again saint. Just as there is a Jerusalem of the earth, there is New Jerusalem for the Born Again saint. Just as there was a wilderness for the children, there are wildernesses for the Born Again saint.
Some of us assume we have finished the race while we are still in the starting blocks. The kingdom of heaven is not the finish of the race, it’s the place of protection provided by God so we can finish the race. The Kingdom of God holds the ability to finish the race, thus we are in the kingdom of heaven, being saved by the Kingdom of God in us. Heaven is a place, God a personage, the Kingdom of God is not a place, it’s a people, but the kingdom of heaven is a place. Matthew will defined the differences, Luke will show us how the Kingdom of God is within (Luke 17:21-22). The kingdom of heaven is the womb for the those who are partakers of the Kingdom of God. The kingdom of heaven is Mercy based, the Kingdom of God Grace based, both are required.
The Book of Acts is a testimony for or against those called Christian. The history of the early Jews is a testimony for or against anyone who enters the kingdom of heaven. One can obtain the kingdom of heaven, yet allow the self nature to rule, causing them to miss the Kingdom of God, yet the Kingdom of God holds the Greater Promise, the ability to finish the course based on the Spirit of Holiness. We are God’s glory, if we’re running all over looking for the “glory to fall”, we need to read Romans 8:18 where we find the glory is within. What is within us? The New Man.
The Cross, Grace, Resurrection and Sacrifice are all separate events, yet they are connected into One purpose for us. There are many words in the Greek for the English word One, the Greek words can mean inclusive, as the only One, or exclusive as One made up from many parts. Jesus used the term One in reference to the prophets, does it mean there is only one prophet? Hardly, it means the prophet was one of many in the One office. All the prophets formed One purpose, they were seen as the “body of Elijah” on the Mount. All those who do the Law of Moses were seen as the Body of Moses on the same Mount, but does it mean all of them are little heads glued to the Body of Moses? On the same Mount was Jesus with His Body, yet the Father said, “hear ye Him”. Does it mean we are a billion little heads stuck on the Body of Jesus? Hardly, we are called One Body, but we are members many, yet the One Faith of Jesus is One without parts to make it One. We can have One Baseball, yet know the baseball has a covering, an inner part and a core, all separate parts making the One Baseball. The Body of Christ is in like manner, we are members many, each with a calling in the Calling. We can see someone active, yet they are not doing the same job as we. If we’re not careful we can presume they’re wrong, and we’re right. When in truth both are parts in the One calling doing what God knows they will. Because the core of the baseball doesn’t get the autographs, does it mean the core is not of the baseball? If the covering says to the core, “I have no need of you”, does it mean the core is not of the baseball? Sounds silly, but there are times when we forget we are a part of the total, not the total. The concept explains how we can have the Doctrine of Baptisms, yet One Baptism. The One Baptism refers to the Body of Christ being the only element on the face of the earth with the Authority of God to baptize others in water, or to receive the baptisms of the Holy Ghost and Fire. It’s extremely precious, Jesus didn’t say, “World go into all the Body and baptize”, but He did say to His Body, “go into all the world and baptize”. Other religious organizations may call their efforts “baptism”, but they lack Godly Authority, thus they are taking a bath, or a swim, but not a baptism.
Some of us have no idea what deny the self means, much less having the concept of what the self entails. In order to be restored, we must know what we are being restored to, as well as what purpose the restoration is taking place. The saving of our soul goes right to the foundation of the Good News, but it also exposes all those times we used the pride of life, then called it faith. More important, we will have a handle on those times when we are tempted to use the pride of life instead of faith. If we keep using the pride of life we’re like the three monkeys, we see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but we’re still a monkey.
Natural man’s most treasured possession is the self nature, but the house for the unsaved soul is the flesh, thus man spends time and money preserving the flesh to give the soul self-confidence. Why does natural man seek this “self-confidence”? To entertain the soul, to enhance the self, in the process man makes the self his god, the soul becomes the lord of the self. The self desires to make itself a hero, to make a mark on the world, to show they are someone. It’s all flesh centered, the Spirit in us is bringing us to the innocent nature of Christ, so we can have a Spiritual nature.
Take a look around, some claim to be God’s only people, yet they war continually, lie, use the world to get what they want, take great pride in their efforts, or blame others for their failures. They hate entire nations or people based on their envy, yet they are religious. Natural leaders manipulate the minds of people, yet the world thinks it’s “spiritual”; hardly, it’s demonic (James 3:15). Man making himself god is what the world calls “success”, the term “pride of life” means self-confidence, or a trust and faith in ones self nature (I Jn 2:16). The devil is still saying, “you shall be as gods”, the lie makes the self the guide to the soul. The self uses a prince called the old man, the old must be crucified before we can live. The Cross of Jesus gives us the advantage, the old man, the deeds of the old man, the wiles of the devil, and the devil become ineffective in our lives by the Cross of Jesus.
The wages of sin are death, but if we can receive a death in our place, then death no longer has a hold on us, thus the wages are paid by another so we can be Free. The physical death will take place, but it’s the second death we’re free of. The first death is a separation of the soul from the flesh, the second death is a separation from any and all attributes of God. There is the First Resurrection, then the last resurrection. The last resurrection has two parts, one unto life, the other unto damnation. Both are eternal, meaning a place where time is not a factor. Those who partake in the First Resurrection finish the Resurrection of Jesus by having the same Spirit.
The self nature was birthed by taking of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, whereas life is a product of the Tree of Life. We seek the fullness of the Life Jesus provided for us by the same Spirit who raised Him from the dead. The mainstay of the Church is Prophecy, Jesus is the Spirit (reason) of prophecy, Paul said prophecy exposes the secrets of our heart (Rev 19:10 & I Cor 14:25). When a true prophet speaks, they expose the secrets of the heart, but when a babe in Christ is exposed they either fall into self-pity, or self-justification, thus they need to have knowledge knowing why exposure is necessary. Once any of us know the purpose of exposure is not to belittle us, or destroy us, but to rid of us of hindering elements, our attitude toward exposure changes.
Exposure and damaging statements are different, Exposure brings forth the problem: damage statements cause wounds, or plant tares. Pride rejects exposure, but it will use damaging statements against others. The wounded really don’t understand the process of Salvation, they produce more self-imposed wounds attempting to preserve tares. Whether imposed by another, or self-imposed, they are nonetheless wounds. If we are told God wants to deal with our pride, yet we allow pride to jump up and protect us against the exposure, we missed the opportunity. We must take the opportunity, it doesn’t mean everyone who says something is speaking from God’s position, but it does mean we “consider” the words by bringing them to the Lord.
Paul tells us to put on all the Armor of God, yet we are also told the battle is the Lord’s, the victory is ours (Eph 6:11-13 & I Sam 17:47). What gives? Simple, the Armor of God is God’s, fitting those of God, thus we are told to put on the New Man, who is the Armor, then the battle is still the Lord’s, the victory is still ours. It’s the protection of the Lord, not the retaliation of the Lord. To misuse the Armor is dangerous, we come against many things, but the manner in which we do will tell the tale in the end.
How would we come against a ruler of darkness? What would happen if we had no idea what a ruler of darkness was? Is it a devil? Can’t be, Paul said we fight the Wiles of the devil, not the devil. What is a Wile? The word Wile means Methodology, or the Manner in which the devil operates, a policeman would call it the “devil’s M.O.”, or Modus Operandi (method of operating or functioning – Eph 6:11-12). So what is a ruler of darkness? When we see the word “ruler” we automatically want to attach some physical figure to it, but it means something controlling the mind of a person. Paul tells us they are anger, clamor, evil speaking, bitterness, wrath, corrupt communication, plus other out of control emotional traits. When anger dictates what we say, how we say it, what we do, or how we do it, it rules over us. If self-pity or bitterness control us, they rule over us. Later we will look at many others, but we see how the Restoring of our soul is a removal of the power making those elements rulers. Paul said be angry and sin not, the sin part is when our anger guides us. Rather than they controlling us, we find we can tread on them. So, does it mean we are emotionally void? No, God doesn’t want to rid us of emotions, rather He wants them saved to become useful tools, rather than ruling us.
When we gain the advantage in this area we find when anger jumps up, peace answers. When bitterness bangs on the table, joy responds. The washing of the Water by the Word is a scrubbing process to bring us to a glorious position and condition (Eph 5:26-27). This scrubbing is not automatic, it still takes our cooperation. The evidence is found in the words “might sanctify”, and “might present” (Eph 5:26-27). First the exposure, then the cleaning, but we can reject the exposure, or refuse the cleaning. We can also submit and allow the cleaning to take place, we have the keys.
God brings exposure in different ways; the purpose of exposure is to build us, not destroy us. Yet our natural minds can take the same freedom and turn it into bondage through legalism or pride. The Law of Moses accuses us, the Law of the Spirit encourages us to continue on in Jesus; however, if we attempt to discern the event by our natural minds, we end perceiving the exposure as punishment, or some attack from the enemy, or some form of criticism, but God exposes to bring us into His perfection.
We also find some who think tearing us apart is “discernment”; there is a vast difference between discerning, and being critical of people. We discern to determine what God is doing, so we know what we are suppose to do. Being critical of people is not discernment at all, it’s judging to belittle them based on our opinions (Luke 18:11-12). When the role is reversed the old nature will use self-justification to deny the exposure, or find some way to justify the exposed wile. “Everyone else does it”, “no one would blame me”, “They are prideful, I won’t listen”, all fall-nature voices attempting to avoid the exposure. When exposure comes we deal with it, we don’t attempt to avoid it. The children in the wilderness avoided it, denied it, rejected it, but they died in the wilderness never seeing the Promised Land (Jude 5).
Looking for fault in others, then saying we’re only dealing with their “problems” is not Godly. Jesus dealt with fault when it appeared, the Pharisees went out of their way to find it. The two show us something very important, Jesus didn’t look for fault, but the Pharisees were so intent on finding fault their own reasoning invented fault when there was none (Mark 7:2). They thought they found fault in Jesus, so did they? Of course not, the fault was in their own minds. Dealing with fault to rescue someone from the snare is one thing, making up a fault so we can feel superior over them another. Discernment draws the line between the natural and spiritual as it divides thought and intent.
The Scriptures mean what they say, fables begin when the old man wants the Bible to condone to his earthly knowledge. The old man uses statements like, “what Paul meant to say was”, or “what Jesus meant to say was”, or “this is doubtful”, or “we don’t think this happened”, these are axes of natural reasoning cutting the Bible into soulish pieces, so the person can reject being responsible to Scripture. The same is true with the famed “I have a revelation the Body isn’t ready for”. These are warning signs, anyone who assumes they have a revelation the Body isn’t ready for, also assumes they are the Head of the Body. Revelation is the opening of something already there, no one person has it all, the Five Fold Ministry shows parts to the Total, each adding to the other. If the person is of the Body, yet the Body isn’t ready for the revelation, then neither are they.
When someone doesn’t like a verse, they will attempt to get around it. The famed, “well, really what Jesus was saying is this….”, tells us the person assumes Jesus didn’t know what He was saying, so they have to correct Him. The old man is natural, he cannot understand spiritual matters, thus he attempts to interpret them in natural ways. The Renewing of our minds removes the natural foundation, by bringing a spiritual awareness. The spiritual mind understands the natural and spiritual, it’s the natural thinking person who gets all this confused. The entire process is to bring about the saying, That Born of the Spirit is Spirit. We were natural, born of the flesh, we imputed the flesh dead, obtained the New Man, who is forming our souls into a Spiritual nature so we can live in our true home, heaven. Our souls must become spiritual in nature to fit with the Spirit, so we can walk in the resurrected body Jesus has for us; although the resurrected body is not spirit, that which is inside of it is.
The Spirit leads us into God’s wilderness of justification so we can gain ears to hear, and eyes to see the great things of God; however, we must always look for God in order to see God doing the work. If we are in the hand of God, we’re in the hand of God; therefore, look for God first. The event may not please us, the words may not agree with us, but nonetheless we must seek the Precious, as we believe “God Is”.
Once we entered the kingdom of heaven the devil could no longer take us at his will, he is not allowed in the kingdom of heaven, thus the devil is so far from the Kingdom of God it’s pathetic. The enemy planted tares, the only method he has are the tares. The enemy will send his messengers to entice us to use his wiles, thus giving him place. Whenever we use a method of darkness the New Man will convict us, not to embarrass us, but to expose the source before we give place to the enemy. Conviction is a warning, yet we can go right ahead and do it anyway, but at least we can’t say we weren’t warned. Pay attention to the conviction, thank God for the exposure, it keeps us from doing for the devil, what he can’t do for himself.
Before the children left Egypt they hated the bondage, they hated the society of Egypt, they hated Pharaoh, yet they used the same nature against God, the golden calf proves it. We may hate the world, we may hate the devil, but as long as we are using the old nature we are still using the wiles of the devil in some manner. The wilderness is the place where we can face the old man, see the old nature for what it is, then make the decision to reject those ways, by gaining clarity to how they work. At first we are sick and tired of the manna, or the sand in our shoes, but when clarity comes we find God has answered our prayers. The wilderness brings us to a profitable conclusion through the justification process. It’s the old man who doesn’t like it, he shouldn’t, he is going to remain in the sands of the wilderness, there is no place for him in our Promised Land; therefore, we should take Joy, rather than join the old man’s pity party.
The just still live by His Faith, by His Faith we have life, boldness and access, thus we are saved from the world to enter the process with the goal of gaining the Salvation of our souls. God’s Mercy brought us into the kingdom of heaven separating us from the world: we were taken from the realm of the power of the prince of the air, removed from the place where the power, authority and seat of Satan reign, but we had damaged goods within us. There needed to be an inner healing, then a saving of what was healed. We obtained the Mercy of the Father, but we need the New Birth of Grace as well.
God uses exposure to heal us, far too often we know much less about us, than we do others. Deception is the mask of destruction, we can hate hypocrites, yet be one, and never know it. God uses a mirror at times, James says a man looks into a mirror and walks away soon forgetting what he saw, but the perfect Law of Liberty stays with us. The Mirror of God is a means whereby God will put people before us who are like us in many ways; however, the mirror is used when we have become self-deceived regarding our ways. When we tell others about these “people”, they look at us weird. Why? We are defining ourselves, “I hate my new boss, he is so controlling, by the way did you do all I told you to today? Or am I going to have to do it myself”. “I can’t stand to be around her, all she does is talk about herself, by the way let me tell you all the Lord did for me today, and all I did for Him”. In the midst of all this we see the mirror, yet at times we must also remember God will show us an elephant to expose the ant. Discernment is always the key to victory, thus there are times when we are not facing a mirror, but nonetheless we need discernment to know how to deal with what we see in order to minister to ourselves, or those in need.
We can be so self-justifying it’s pathetic, yet never know it. Someone under the anointing brings it to our attention, and we say, “they’re crazy, I’m not that way”, but then within minutes, or hours we will be caught in the very act of self-justification. Our first exposure to the mirror of God was a matter of tough love. We found we weren’t who we thought we were, but from there we knew who we were, and more important we also became aware of who we can be in Christ.
The self nature ignores who we are, lies about who we can be, and uses the pride of life in some ego based endeavor to obtain an impossible position of what we assume we can be. The day came when we fell on our face and said, “I don’t know who I am any more”, we never did, we were a mask running around in the lap of self-deception. The wilderness removes the masks, cleans away the deception, placing us in a position to be used of God.
We can’t build half our house on the Rock, the other half on the Sand. We must make a choice regarding the Foundation, which foundation we use is still our choice (Matt 7:24-26). Before we can build, the old foundation most be removed, a renovation must ensue. As the process moves along we find God uses a Golden Plow to turn up some nasty old stones, or roots we didn’t even know were there. Some are religious (sand), some worldly (sea), yet they are hindrances. The old things are not who we are, they are from the nature we used while in the world. We cut the trees down, but the Lord found the roots. However, we can make the mistake of thinking they are who we are, ending fighting the process. We have to recognize the soul in and of itself is not evil, it may have obtained evil things, but don’t forget the purpose of our faith is the salvation of our souls (I Pet 1:9). If the soul was evil, why save it? Why not create a new one? Because the soul isn’t evil, it was created by God when the reproduction of the flesh occurred (Gen 2:7). Jesus is the Reason, but we are the purpose, we don’t take pride in the issue, but it does make one humble.
In the process of the cleaning we found there were things of the darkness we hated, or things we didn’t like, but there are fleshly or worldly things we retained, because we still liked the feeling they produced. When the things we hated left, we jumped for Joy, when the things we liked were being removed we were displeased, we cried, murmured, complained, or fought the process. The old nature uses “feelings” as a trap, remember how good it used to feel? Why not do it again? The rulers of darkness have feelings, enticing elements to tingle the flesh as bait, in order to trap the mind. Pride, self-pity, self-glory, feeling superior over others, feeling morally superior, or desiring to be affiliated with a certain religious group to feel more moral than anyone else, or more special than the rest of the Body are lustful desires. Using anger to control others, or manipulation to dominate others generate feelings, but from the wrong source. Discernment by the Word in us identifies the feeling as well as the source before it becomes an act. We must understand the Cross was a massive division point, all things on the other side the Cross either died or became ineffective. Once we find the imputed dead flesh is the element seeking the feeling from darkness, we can use our God given Authority in a Godly way to be free indeed. So, is it wrong to have feelings? No, it’s wrong to have feelings run your life, or guide you into areas you should not be.
We can enter a taste not, touch not theology, and feel “good” in our efforts, but we also have fallen from Grace. However, praise the Lord this is not a “once fallen, always fallen” situation. First John 5:16 tells us to pray for a brother who has sinned, this verse has nothing to do with praying someone into the Kingdom, rather the context is a “brother”. James tells us “Brethren, if any of you do err from the Truth, and one convert him; let him know, he who converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20). This is directed at a “brother”, like Peter who denied the Lord three times, yet was told by Jesus, “and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren” we find we can fall into error, but it’s not the end, just a small detour on the path of Righteousness (Luke 22:32). We are not of them who draw back to perdition, but of them who believe unto the saving of the soul (Heb 10:39).
Jesus offends the strongman, rips apart the stronghold, exposes the foundation (Matt 12:29). The strongman and stronghold are facades, the strongman has eyes seeking self-satisfaction, the stronghold uses self-based fables seeking its own, both of these are attempting to form a natural corrupt foundation. The old man could care less if we paint the stronghold white, or hang a cross on it, as long as we keep it intact. The old man goes into a panic the second we join forces with the New Man, at the moment the union between the soul and Spirit takes place, the old nature becomes a stranger, no longer able to fool us. The Power to overcome the flesh, or old nature has been around since the Cross, it became effective for us when we believed it.
God’s Spirit bears witness to our Spirit (New Man), as Deep still calls to Deep. When there is a work going on inside of us by the Spirit it begins Deep, then works to the surface. Natural man on the other hand attempts to change the outward product assuming it will change the inward; however, in man’s case it’s just another mask, in God’s case it’s a cleaning unto perfection through Justification.
We are Transformed by Mercy, Transfigured by Grace, the saving of the soul is a transfiguration process moving us between stages until we become the Image of God’s Son. When we begin to see the hope of Salvation, the old man will challenge us, complain, get mad, murmur in his tent, gripe, or attempt to use the pride of life to save himself. The New Man is encouraging us to continue on, a battle is taking place, one which is internal, but leads to a newness based in the confidence of Christ.
Any ministry isn’t worth it’s salt unless it has the experience to back it up; many of the events we have experienced were merely teachings to prepare us for a ministry. How can we minister to people, if we can’t say “been there, done that, yet God set me free”? We need not experience the exact event someone else is going through, but we must have an experience of God’s deliverance in our lives. Talking about the experiences of others is not the same as living them. Telling someone exposure is a good thing, when all we do is avoid it, is not Godly ministry.
God removes the self nature little by little, increasing the growth of the Seed (Ex 23:30). Denying the self is denying the self nature a role in our lives, it’s the rejection of our lustful desires, natural agendas, or worldly ambitions. The self nature uses subtle ways and methods as a hidden agenda, but the Mind of Christ doesn’t play games. The old man hates to give up, he fights for control, yet he is no longer effective, the only weapon he has are suggestions. Paul said, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word (Rhema) of God (Rom 10:17), the opposite would be true as well, faith goes by hearing, and hearing by the flesh.
Knowledge comes by the Logos, but Faith comes by hearing, we need both the Logos and Rhema to gain the victory. Jesus said, “He who has an ear, hear what the Spirit says” (Rev 2:29). Faith comes, but it takes an ear to receive it. Mark 16:16-18 will show us how the disciples were upbraided with their unbelief, yet Jesus still told them to “Go”. Then Jesus told them someone would hear and believe, for those who continue to believe the signs will follow. It was important for the disciples to believe, but even if they didn’t they were still to “Go”, since someone would hear, then believe. However, we also see the disciples repented, then believed, as the signs followed them, thus it’s always possible to change from unbelief to belief, it is a matter of choice (Mark 16:18).
To protect the beam in our eye, we will form a self-deceived theology, or go about saying, “God made me this way”. What is worse is the false concept of the Body of Christ receiving all sorts of sinners, but leaving them sinners; it has to be the biggest deception of all, we came into this as sinners, in order to be saved. One cannot enter the Body and retain the sin nature as a matter of “that’s just me”. The “just me” needs to be nailed to the Cross, it has no place in the Kingdom.
Neither did Jesus bring us into this so we could brag, or boast in our religious endeavors. If we are still prideful, ego infested, seeking the self benefit, concerned about the cares of this world, using our self nature to control others, or seeking God for self-pleasure, we can be assured God didn’t make us worldly, rather the spirit lusting to envy made us worldly. We simply liked the feeling, thus we didn’t want to change. It’s scary, yet it’s exactly what makes the legalist a legalist. The difference between a legalist who says they are Christian, and a Christian, is the Christian knows without Jesus they are nothing, the legalist thinks without them, the Body is nothing.
The Christ Nature removes us from facing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil by bringing the Tree of life into our lives. Adam’s Tree of Life was external, ours is internal. It doesn’t mean we won’t face danger, or face temptation, rather it means we have a source to detect those areas, with a better method of dealing with them. When man uses the pride of life to suppress the lust of the flesh, or the lust of the eye, he is merely using mind control to suppress the urge, but at some point in time the urge will overtake him. Sin without power is merely a small voice of suggestion, but sin with power is an overcoming force. All the stories of the leaders who fall, the mass killers who attended church, the various people who murder in the name of God, the self-proclaimed prophets, or whackos all used the pride of life to counterfeit Grace, they all paid the price. God did not intend it to be the case, yet we are the ones with the Keys. Nonetheless God works things into the plan to benefit His children. How could the Wicked benefit us? Knowing it’s possible to end Wicked for one, the premise keeps us fighting the good fight of faith.
Jesus was betrayed from within the group, not from without. The enemies of a man are in his own household. The New Man is fully able to detect the wiles of the wicked, the Greater He is always Greater than the wile. The Word of God is Always Sharper than Any two-edged sword, it’s fully able to divide for clarification (James 1:21). The Word in us is not a Two-Edged Sword, it’s sharper than one. The first place is internal, then we will be able to discern and deal with the external. The Law of Moses worked with the external, while it ignored the internal, but the Law of the Spirit works with the internal, by imputing the external dead.
The self nature looks to the flesh, the Christ nature to the Spirit. Our souls are between the flesh and Spirit fighting a fight only the New Man can win, thus we must put on the Armor of God (New Man). When we came to Jesus, we were given the promise of life, with the opportunity to reach life more abundantly. We can only enter the promise by first obtaining life (mercy), then being baptized with the Holy Ghost to obtain the Spirit as we continually believe unto life more abundantly.
The devil can’t cross the Blood, he does send the self-transformed as messengers of Satan with their thorns (darts). Darts still need a target to be effective, no target, no damage. The saving of the soul places us in the Armor of God, while in the Armor we find God is removing the targets, while at the same time protecting us from the darts. The Armor of God works by its own power, we don’t need to wax it, or shine it, it is fully able to protect us from the wiles of the enemy.
It all began with Repentance, yet there are different types of Repentance, Judas repented himself, or entered self-repentance, he was remorseful, but only because things didn’t turn out the way he wanted. Judas saw his plan fall apart, then he sought restoration through the religious leaders by attempting to give them back the money, thus he felt he could buy his repentance. There are those who repent to avoid the immediate danger, which is also an act of self-repentance, it’s short lived. The fruit of repentance is an awareness of how sin effects us, what it does to others, and a true guilt for the wrongs caused others, including the wrong caused God. Peter looked at Jesus and knew what he did, causing Peter to weep bitterly. Judas felt remorse and guilt, but was more interesting in himself, than his wrong, thus the wording, “repented himself” (Matt 27:3). Someone once said, “So, do you think Jesus would be mad at me if I wanted them dead?”. It’s not the question, rather the question is, “Do you care if Jesus is mad, or disappointed in you?”. As a Christian our concern is how Jesus views us, true repentance takes the view of Jesus into consideration.
Regardless of who we think we were, we have all sinned and come far short of the Glory of God. However, it’s like being on the other side of the lake. We are not sin, or are we sinning, rather we have all sinned, a past tense phrase. Once we passed the Cross, we moved to the side of the lake where sin has no power. The same is true with the law of sin and death, we were under the law of sin and death even if we weren’t a Jew, but when we came to the Cross we imputed the flesh dead, in so doing completed the purpose of the law of sin and death. Now there is no condemnation in those in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom 8:1). What does it mean? We can place our minds on an attempt to make the flesh look holy, but if we do, we are then flesh minded (thinking of the flesh). We can put our minds on the Spirit of Christ, if we are Spirit minded (thinking of the Spirit), the flesh is no longer be a problem. The results of minding the Spirit produce spiritual people, but if we mind the flesh we have to do so second by second, the second we let up, the flesh will take advantage. Minding the Spirit causes the flesh to lose its power to deceive, the more we walk with the Spirit, the less the flesh becomes a concern. If we mind the Spirit, then we are saying we are Spirit, making the flesh is no longer active. It was completely out of the question for the Jew, since it was not possible through the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was not designed with the Spirit in mind, rather it demanded for the doer to mind the flesh. Therefore, those with the Spirit required a New Law for the New Nature.
Under the Old Covenant the Jews felt a man who had lustful thoughts of adultery, yet refused to engage in adultery was more righteous than a person who never had thoughts of adultery. The same was true with pork, the person who desired to eat pork, but refused to, was considered more righteous than a person who never thought of eating pork. What did Jesus say? If one thinks (ponders, plans, or places their mind) on adultery they have already committed it. He wasn’t putting the Jews down, He was showing there was a better way, a way to be Free from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. The Way is Grace, the New Man, being Born Again, having the Fullness of Christ in us as the Hope of Glory. However, it is a Process (or did we say that?).
Repentance involves our understanding of our inability, with faith in God’s ability. Part of our repentance is to follow the procedure set forth by the Lord, which begins with our commitment to forgive as we are forgiven. “Well, you don’t know how many have hurt me”. No, but do you know how many you’ve hurt? “Who me?”. Those under the hand of the prince of the power of the air use his methods, we were no different. Disobedience is disobedience, yet all unbelief is disobedience (failure to believe, or think about the consequences of ones actions). A great many of us have no idea of the damage we have done to others, things said without thinking, things done without thinking, or things said for the purpose of justifying ourselves, while putting the other person in their place. What we thought was a cute, or clever saying, or something we did to defend ourselves, or even making a joke about someone were all means the enemy used to get us to plant tares in others. “Well, all I did was tell the truth”. When we were in the world we didn’t have a clue to what the truth was. We thought our opinion was truth, we went about telling everyone our opinion then called it ‘”truth”. Most of the time it generated strife, or caused wrath, then we said, “what’s wrong with them?”. We used the sword of terror, or the self-based words of corruption, just as all the children of disobedience. Of course it was all we knew, thus we were limited by our capabilities. Then the Cross of Jesus entered our lives, and Behold all things became New.
When Paul was still Saul he felt killing Stephen was an ordained Godly duty, an act God would honor, yet we know Stephen was a man filled with the Holy Ghost. Do we think Saul (Paul) knew Stephen was a man of God? Not for a second, he felt Stephen was attempting to destroy the Law of Moses, it was all Saul (Paul) needed to gain the incentive to kill him (Acts 7:58). After Paul was converted he knew the killing of Stephen was sinful, but did he carry the guilt with him? No, he knew God was able to forgive the past, making a New man out of Saul (Acts 22:20). From Saul the Christian killer to Paul the saint, really when Paul was Saul the Christian hunter he was a terrorist. The point being, instead of thinking about the hurts done to us, we need to forgive as God forgave us. The old nature turns the premise around by saying, why should we forgive? We need someone to proclaim our innocence, someone to validate us, then we will consider forgiving. The premise is how we forgive in the same manner as God forgive us; by the words of Jesus. How would we like to explain to God each and every sin we committed? Most of us have no idea of how many sins we committed, how many times we hindered someone, belittled them, mocked them, or sinned in many other forms, including using the old man to engage in what we felt were “good acts”. It’s far better to make the decision to forgive, enter God’s Mercy in order to impart forgiveness to be free indeed. It was once said unforgiveness is like taking poison hoping the other person dies.
The children in the wilderness were told by God how He was in the process of testing them, so they could appreciate and care for the rewards they would gain in the Promised Land. Yet, they interpreted the testing as punishment and presumed, “we’re going to die”. The Test secures us in the Reward, but we can’t jump over the test, expecting to land on the Reward. There is a Diligent Seeking to take place, at times it may appear as if God has left the building, but He hasn’t, we need to do some Diligent seeking, therein lays the Victory.
In the testing we are able to cast off the self agendas, then line up with the Report God has for us. The children failed to mix the Word with Faith, which tells us when we think destruction is the purpose for the testing, we’re not thinking in faith. They wanted the Prize, but they wanted God to be their slave. They wanted God to perform for them, to answer their beckon call. Their concept of faith was if they were happy, God must be. Yet we find God was not pleased with many of them (I Cor 10:5).
Jesus said, “whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt 16:25). The Greek word used for Life is the same one translated as soul, the meaning is the same. There is a paradox in this, our old “life” was a “soul-life”, not a “living soul”, as a flesh centered life depending on the soul, thus it was a “walking death” waiting to happen. The paradox? When we came to Jesus we came to die so we might live, thus in dying for Jesus we live. Instead of a walking death, we enter a walk by faith; instead of facing the second death, we find we are free of it. This paradox shows we thought we had life, but it was death, in dying we were dying, but we were granted the opportunity to impute the flesh dead, so we could have the Power of the Resurrection unto true Life.
When we entered the kingdom of heaven we became kings, but it doesn’t mean the world is subject to us, rather it means we are no longer subject to the world. The position gave us a certain supernatural power, thus when a king speaks, a law is invoked. If we use corrupt communication we are invoking evil laws into our realm, if we use words of Mercy and Grace we are establishing Peace. The principle of being a king is a paradox in its own, if we are all kings, who then are our subjects? Could you be mine? No, you are a king, could I be yours? No, I am a king, who then are our subjects? Things are our subjects; concepts are subjects as well. If we say no priesthood in our kingdom, there is none. If we say no Mercy in our kingdom, it’s vanquished. Of course we will face the King of kings regarding how we kept our kingdom order. On the other hand if we grant principalities, or areas for the things of God, we will find our kingdom filled with Godly elements. Kingdom rule has many facets, two people say they are of the Body, one swears by one thing, the other by another, yet both feel “comfortable” in their stands, how can this be? They are kings, what they condone in their kingdom, is condoned. What they reject is vanquished, it’s far better to accept the Godly into our kingdom, than the wiles of the enemy.
The Restored soul is not the same as the Saved soul, although being restored is part of the Process. There are verses to help us in the area of the salvation of our soul, First Peter 1:9 tells us the purpose (or end) of our faith is the salvation of our souls; therein we find the primary purpose of faith. Hebrews 11:1 tells us faith has a source, yet it also has a display in the present as it looks for a future goal. Faith is seen, yet Faith is the evidence of things unseen, some of us twist it into thinking faith produces the unseen. It’s not what the verse says, rather it says faith is the product of the unseen, yet faith can be seen. Faith is the Now issue, based on the unseen, reaching to the unseen, but the Now is visible. By the manner in which one uses their faith we can detect the source, some have faith in their intellect, or theology, some in their abilities, showing the source is carnal and self-based. Some have faith in God, showing the unseen is the New Man.
The “unseen” which supports or produced our faith can be present tense or future, or both present and future. The present tense is the Spirit of Truth, the unseen New Man within us holding the promises of God, the future is of course the Hope waiting at the finish of the race, yet we must run the race in a lawful manner. Faith has many elements, one of those is the assurance of whatever gift we receive from God, we treat or use in a Godly manner. Faith must begin by believing God Is, then faith must always be diligent in seeking God (Heb 11:6). The very premise of God Is shows a present tense belief, the seeking points to the future. If our faith is seeking anything other than God, we have twisted it into the self. Not very wise.
James is a book written for us, but to the dispersed Christian, who were once Jews who lived among the Gentiles. In Acts 15 James and the other apostles sent a letter to the Gentiles, the Book of James is another letter sent to the Jews among those Gentiles. To a Jew a “rich” person is one who is presented the Promise; a “poor” person would then be a Gentile. James shows there is neither Jew or Gentile, but if a Jew remains too much a Jew, they could end killing the just, attempting to save them. The premise being, one can become legalistic in their thinking by imposing regulations on others they themselves can’t keep (Acts 15:10). A hypocrite is one who judges others under them, but they do so based on the false premise they are doing what others are not. The Pharisees felt they were so holy the Law of Moses was coined after them, but Jesus said they would do the lusts of their father the devil, and they did.
In the Book of James we find the works of faith include asking for the Wisdom of God, then using it accordingly. Wisdom is the manner in which one deals with events and people, if one uses the wisdom of the world (natural man) they are using an element based in earthly (void of heavenly knowledge or awareness), sensual (soulish, void of spiritual awareness), and devilish (void of Godly attributes – James 3:15). The result of earthly wisdom is strife, envy and confusion, all products of the spirit lusting to envy.
On the other hand the Wisdom of God is first Pure, what you see is what you get, no masks, or games. Then it’s peaceable, able to sow peace, it’s gentle, full of good fruits, easy to be entreated (teachable), without partiality, and without hypocrisy (James 3:17-18). Didn’t Jesus show partial treatment toward James, John and Peter? After all, they were able to go to places the other disciples were not. No, being partial doesn’t mean picking people over others, it means exalting people who can benefit us personally. James points out the faith of Jesus showed us something, the something is also part of the attributes of Wisdom (not being partial, James 2:1-3). The family of Jesus showed up at a meeting, the people felt Jesus would show them a greater honor than others in the group, but Jesus said, “whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother” (Matt 12:46-50). We also find a division, there are those who do the will of the Father (Mercy), as well as those who don’t, yet only those who do the Will of the Father are members of the family of Jesus. In either case the decision was not based on the personal benefit for Jesus, but the benefit for the person who does the will of the Father. It was also the separation point between the Just, and the workers of Iniquity (Matt 7:21-23).
The saving of the soul then demands the Wisdom of God in order to operate in the Nature of Christ, thus operating in the Wisdom places us among the Family of God. The ability is also defined in James as having the Engrafted Word in us, this is not the Bible, but the Spirit in us as the Logos, a product of the New Birth (James 1:21). We know Grace cannot be earned, but in order to do the things of Grace, one must have Grace. The Engrafted Word is the result of Grace being active as part of our soul, the Spirit of Truth is the Greater He bringing us to the point of our souls being Spiritual.
Our part in the Engrafted Word process is to put away superfluity and naughtiness, then receive with meekness the Engrafted Word which is Able to Save our Souls (James 1:21). The word Superfluity means Excess, or going beyond what is required. At times we pick up bits or pieces from the Law of Moses thinking we are better, but it’s defined as Superfluity. God tells us to do one thing, we add more thinking we’re doing more. We’re not, we have entered Superfluity, an interesting concept since rebellion often goes beyond the requirement in order to take pride in the effort. Saul did it, thus he felt he did all the Lord commanded, but he found it was rebellion as he went beyond the commandment (I Sam 15:23).
The word Naughtiness refers to disobedience, or something improper, it means not doing what is required, which is what the workers of iniquity do. The two words keep us in order, do what is required, don’t attempt to go beyond, or come up short, allow the Word to become Engrafted, then walk in the Wisdom of God as God intended.
James 2:22 tells us to be “doers” of the Word, the Word again is the Logos in us (Spirit). The word Doer is the Greek Poietes, which was translated as Poet in Acts 17:28, it means one with beautiful thoughts, or a keeper of a precept, the word comes from the Greek Poieo meaning an Action, connecting to “let him ask in faith”, meaning the desire and determination to have the Wisdom of God as a working part of ones life: or as James put it, “let patience have her perfect work” (James 1:4). So, what does it mean? It means there will be experiences in our life where Wisdom will be required, our souls will soon find the Word Engrafted works by the Authority granted us.
Patience means keeping the course until the goal is reached, no walking on the water, no turning to the right or left, but remaining steady on course; really Patience would be not going beyond, or coming short of the requirement, but a desire to reach the goal.
Hebrews 4:12 connects to James 1:21, showing us the Word of God in us is working all the time. It’s “quick” or Life based and centered, working on the things of life, not death. The Word is again the Seed of God, the same Seed the Sower planted in us, granting us the Born Again position, also known as the New Man, Another Comforter, or Christ in us the Hope of Glory. The Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, thus it’s not a sword, but shaper than one. In the Book of Revelation we find Jesus with a two-edged sword coming from His mouth, so is the Word greater than Jesus? Hold it, Jesus in the Book of Revelation is the “Judgment Jesus”, the Word in us is the “Salvation Jesus”, thus the Word in us will spare us from the wrath of God to come.
The context of Hebrews 4:12 is very interesting, it points to the duties of a priest preparing a sacrifice, the cutting away and division are not to separate, but to open up so the inner areas can be inspected, for us it points to discernment. The purpose is so we are open and naked before God, no masks, no games, just open (Heb 4:13).
Hebrews is to us what Leviticus is to the Jewish priest, we are made priests, so wouldn’t it be nice to find out what our priestly Order consists of? Yes, we will, but we also find as priests we inspect, yet give sacrifices as well, not like the priests of Old, but like those under the New Order. We give ourselves a living sacrifice, we give the sacrifice of praise, we partake in the elements of the Sacrifice of Jesus. There is a difference between praise and entertainment, just as there is a difference between worship and entertainment, just as there is a difference between prophesy, and asking God to perform.
The entire premise shows none of this is possible without the Word in us, the Logos of God is the Spirit of Truth bringing us into a spiritual nature. Once we know we are the blessed of God because we are in the Body of Christ, the only place where the words “shall be saved” are a reality, we can add joy to our faith knowing this valley has victory. Instead of counting the stripes from the last battle, we diligently seek God in all things; knowing if we’re involved in the event, then “God Is”. If we continue to look at the stripes we will become bitter, yet bitterness is the root of defilement (Heb 12:15). The old man keeps telling us “look what you’ve been through”, but the New Man says, “God has delivered you again”. It’s the point isn’t it? We’ve been through it, it’s done, it’s time to move on with the lesson in hand.
All this shows us the truth of Hebrews 4:12, “For the Word (Logos) of God is quick (alive) and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul (Psuche) and the Spirit (Pneuma) and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. There is a difference between the joint and marrow, a difference between the soul and Spirit. The Greek words used for joints and marrow are only found in Hebrews 4:12, today we know the marrow is not in the joint, rather the marrow is found in a few select bones as the blood producing agent. The joint is not the bone, but the place where two or more bones join to produce movement. Since we find the plural (joints), we also denote more than one movement. The Body of Christ needs joints to move the Body, without movement we are not a Tabernacle, but a Temple.
Between the Marrow in the bone and the Joint we find bones: without bones in our body it makes it a little difficult to “stand”. This also shows there is an “unseen” element producing our ability to Stand. The Word in us sits between elements, bringing clarity in the division, at the same time bringing us the ability to stand. Paul says the New Man is in us, yet he tells us to Put on the New Man as well, then he tells us to put on the Armor of God. Yikes, far too many clothes for me. Wait if we put on the New Man, we are putting on the Armor. The New Man is fully able to protect and teach us in the process.
The joint without the bone has no purpose, the marrow without the bone is useless, they each need bones, or they lack purpose. Our souls cannot define the intent, or expose tares, or heal itself, but the Word in us is always fully able to accomplish the tasks. In the process we need to identify elements, things we called “friends from the past” are often hidden time bombs waiting to destroy us. The old man attempts to hide intent by projecting a false intent. All thoughts have an intent, thus intent is a reason for the thought. Most know their thoughts, few if any know their intent. The Word in us will separate the thought from the intent, we will be able to see why do things. Some of us have a thought, it sounds right, even wise, but what is our intent? The thought and intent are different, the thought is the method we use to set the plan in motion, but the intent is the impulse behind the motive bringing the thought. The intent can be self-based, or Christ based. The thought tells us little, the intent tells us much.
The phrase, Dividing Asunder, comes from the Greek word, Merismos; this word is also found in Hebrews 2:4, only translated as gifts. The definition of Merismos is a separation to detect the difference, without dividing the elements apart from one another. By the Greek word Merismos only being used twice, both times in the Book of Hebrews, it tends to show it’s a Priestly related word. The “gifts” in Hebrews 2:4 in the phrase, “bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost”, thus it could read “separations of the Holy Ghost”, either would be correct, since the Merismos is by the Gift of the Holy Ghost in us; therefore, the Merismos is only conducted by the Holy Ghost gift of the Holy Spirit in us, no book, no formula is going to give us this precious attribute of God.
The Word in us will separate for clarity to bring us into the Unity of the Faith, but the Word will not Divide the Body. The Word in us will correct, but it will not attack someone. The Word in us will expose, but it will not slander. The Word in us is all God, but it’s not all God is. The Word in us is centered on Salvation, not Judgment. We have the Mind of Christ, but we don’t have the “Mind of the Lord” (I Cor 2:16). The Mind of the Lord knows more than the Mind of Christ, although one might say, “they are the same”, they are not. Christ is not the last name of Jesus, it’s His title, just as He is Lord, He is Christ. We have the Mind of the Anointing (Christ), yet it’s limited to the function alone. The New Man, or Word in us has two functions, to Witness Jesus, and to save our souls. The call and anointing in the New Man is so strong and powerful in those two regards, we find if we hinder, grieve, or vex Him, He will turn and become our enemy (Isa 63:10-11, Eph 1:13 & 4:30).
The broken Body of Jesus is not an act of God, rather it’s caused when the Wicked attempt to divide the Body through strife by introducing doctrines of men, or devils. It’s really no secret the Body is divided into more parts than there are countries. However, the Church is not divided, neither is it in trouble, or feeble.
The Wicked made Jesus their Savior, they are saved from the world, they even had the Knowledge of Jesus as Lord and Savior, but they are still in bondage to the flesh (II Pet 2:18-22). They lay in wait to deceive, thus they have deceived others so much, they are deceived by their own deceivings. This explains Romans 8:1, there are those in Christ who walk after the flesh, but most walk after the Spirit. The Wicked teach the traditions of men as doctrine, they twist verses, use verses out of context, in order to prove an un-provable point. The doctrine of devils is not teachings about devils, it’s what devils teach, which is unbelief. The Word in us will discern false elements, or traits of unbelief and doubt, while giving us reasons to believe. The Word is Progressive, always moving forward to the goal, yet not casting off what is good and right. Although the Broken Body is not a product of God, we find God worked it into the plan, just as He worked the vessels of dishonor into the plan.
An act of Merismos would be like the dove in the sacrifices we studied in the Old Testament, they were divided, but not completely parted. Rather they were opened so the inside becomes evident on the outside. This is what the Merismos does in us, what is hidden becomes evident to our minds, before it becomes an act. Confidence comes when we know for sure it’s God, rather than a mask of self-confidence. Another Greek word containing Merismos as a root word is found in Luke 12:51 as the Greek Diamerismos meaning a clear cut parting between items, thus the addition of the Greek Dia shows the division to separate the parts, where Merismos shows an opening for clarity without separating the parts. We don’t want to pull the soul from the Spirit, we want to detect which is which while they are yet joined. The Spirit never listens to the flesh, but the soul will from time to time, the Word makes the clarification for us.
Jesus said He came to bring diamerismos between the father and son, mother and daughter, but this refers to the Old and New Covenants, not our natural families. In the wilderness we are separated from the Old, by gaining power and knowledge of the New. We only “wilderness wander” when we hinder the process, the New Man is determined to get us to the Promised Land.
The Greek word for Discerner in Hebrews 4:12 is Kubernetes, this is the only place where we find this Greek word, it means To judge clearly, or To judge with the intent of instruction. It connects to, “he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man, For who has known the mind of the Lord, that He may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor 2:15-16). Division is Godly judgment, Jesus separates the goats from the sheep, thus the Judging going on in us helps us with judging things externally. We no longer judge people, but we do judge things. When we know the “thing” is ungodly, we don’t participate.
Within the Born Again Believer we find the Word taking the masks off the hidden elements of danger, exposing those spies who came in to destroy us, yet claimed to be our “saviors”. We learn what we thought was confidence turns out to be pride. What we thought was protection for our hurts turns out to be unforgiveness. What we thought was clever, turns out to be corrupt communication. These all help us in the division of natures, the more we join to the New Nature, the more the old nature dies off.
Pride will hide behind most anything, even the false assumption of since we’re in the Body, we can do no wrong. When we have a “corruption eruption”, yelling, screaming or belittling a person, then say “Well God wanted them to know”, we lie. God wanted someone to know something, but it was us, not them. It was those corrupt things we’ve been hiding from, which all of sudden appears for us to see. Self-justification is the mask used by pride, we will use all sorts of excuses, even “righteous indignation”, yet the source was bitterness, or anger, or pride retained. We even formed the thought of, “we were right and they were wrong”. We assume being right gives us a right to hold unforgiveness, but we can be factually right, yet spiritual wrong. There is a way which seems right to man, but the end thereof is death; we can be right, yet dead (Prov 14:12).
The saving of the soul also entails the saving of our emotions, our emotions in and of themselves are not evil, but when emotions use the authority of the world they will control us, becoming rulers of darkness. The old man uses emotions to express himself, he could care less if the emotion out of control causes damage. Not only do the wild emotions under the power of the old nature hurt others, they end hurting us as well. We lose our temper, we yell, then we hit something, or someone, or do something destructive, indicating anger ruling over us. God brings emotions to the surface to expose the self nature, not glorify it. The saved emotion is a benefit, saved emotions allow us to praise the Lord joyfully.
The Spirit which is of God gives us great insight to the soul, the only way we can objectively view the soul is by the Spirit. No two wildernesses are the same, each path has different steps, but in all cases it’s the Spirit who accomplishes the task. Each point of faith was established from the foundation of the world just for us, each event brings us deeper into a relationship with Jesus. The New Man in us is a specific creation, just for us, all the victory is built in, all the effort to win is built in, it’s possible through God, it always is.
The Greek word Psuche is translated as soul and life, from this word we get the English word Psyche. The early Greeks understood man had a soul, but they exalted the soul of man as a god. Natural man hasn’t changed, he still exalts his mind as a god. Intellect still gets the best job, still exalts man in his social position, still seeks self-glory. The Greeks had many names for their gods and goddesses, Psyche or Psuche was one of those names. The unsaved Psuche is still the natural life style, based in the pride of life.
The lost soul is dangerous, the unsaved soul is deadly, there is a difference. The lost soul is still in the world, but the unsaved soul is one who comes into the kingdom, but refuses to accept the Spirit. The unsaved soul can’t tell the difference between the knowledge of the world, or the Knowledge of God, between the wisdom of man, or the Wisdom of God. The old self nature wants to get to heaven by its own merits, it wants to sit on the sides of the Mount of God by its own power and abilities. An attempt at the spiritual without the Spirit of Christ ends in witchcraft, even if there is some success, it’s still by the flesh and short lived.
Jesus told the Pharisees, “Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me” (Jn 5:39), and “I Am the bread of life: he who comes to Me shall never hunger” (Jn 6:35), and “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53). Here we find two elements not one, we must be the Bread, but we must have the Blood. Mercy and Grace are two elements, yet like the Bread and Blood they are connected, relating one to the other, while remaining separate. The Body is not Grace, since Grace is by the Blood of Jesus as the New Covenant, thus we enter Grace by the Blood, we enter the Body by the Mercy of God. When we gain the Spirit (Grace) then we have the Passport to come boldly to the throne of Grace (position) to obtain Mercy (condition), and find Grace (the position to maintain the condition). The prayer of faith gains mercy to heal us, but it’s Jesus who forgives our sins and raises us (James 5:13-15). However, if our actions show we are not discerning the Lord’s Body, or if we are making a religious rite out of the Lord’s table, we are open to the chastening of the Lord. It isn’t bad, since He chastens those He loves to keep them from being condemned (judged) with the world (I Cor 11:31-32). It’s time to worry when we know we’re playing mind games with God, yet we are not being chastened.
We must know by now no one is granted Grace without receiving the Spirit, and no one is Born Again unless it’s by the Holy Ghost (I Jn 3:9 & Rom 8:1-11). To find Grace we must come to the throne of Grace, but one can’t find Grace without obtaining mercy, and mercy entails forgiving others as God for Christ’s sake forgave us (Eph 4:32). God didn’t forgive our sins for our sake, He forgave our sins based on what Jesus said, thus our good works, or lack thereof had nothing to do with it. Once we enter the kingdom, we find this is Covenant, we do, God does: God does, we do, part of our duties is for us to deny the self, and pick up our Cross, as we seek the Kingdom and His Righteousness, then God will give reward us with the things.
On the surface the denial of the self seems easy enough, but when we dig into it, we find the price each of us must pay in order to reach the ability to follow Jesus. We can’t follow Jesus without the Spirit, if one doesn’t have the Spirit, they will attempt to make Jesus follow them. We are told to resist the devil steadfast in the Faith (I Pet 5:9), yet Jesus said “But I say unto you resist not evil” (Matt 5:39). The difference between the two statements is the word Faith. We can’t resist evil by mind power, or will power, rather we resist by submitting to the Spirit (I Pet 5:10). Putting our minds on the tares, evils, and corrupt matters isn’t going to vacate them. Putting our mind on Jesus, and seeking the fullness of the Spirit will remove us from the evil. Sitting in the mud battling the dirt isn’t victory, but allowing Jesus to pull us from the mud, then submitting to the cleaning action of the Word is victory.
The wall of pride is formed around our soul, it’s a stronghold we formed to protect the strongman (self), each brick is laid with corrupt mortar. Each of those bricks is made from soulish elements we thought were important, or concepts based in the wrong power and authority. The brick of self-righteousness is one, the brick of ego another, the brick of manipulation another, the brick of control, and so on. Within the stronghold are things we assume are treasures, those elements we don’t want anyone to know about. In many cases they consist of elements we don’t want to know about, so we hide them in corners. How can it be? Any of us can be self-deceived regarding some past pains, or thoughts, even areas which might be plain to others, but not to us. There are also tares planted directly by the enemy, some we planted in ourselves at the suggestion of the enemy, or they came with the flesh through the sin nature. On the same note, someone said something from the wrong source, we received it, then planted a tare in our soul. Jesus said the enemy came while men slept and planted the tares, but the tare was not exposed until it grew. The metaphor “slept” means unaware, someone said something, it took effect, as they planted a tare in us. A tare lacks the heart of the wheat, but they will grow as they form a root system. A “tare” is merely a plant appearing as wheat, but lacks the kernel, which is the heart or usable part of the wheat. A tare will fool even the elect, until it opens so the emptiness can be seen.
The Parable of the Wheat and Tares goes to the end times, but it also shows us how the enemy works. The tares are the works of the devil, in the Parable the tares are people, but it’s not the only thing the enemy plants. We are sent to destroy the works of the devil, Jesus already destroyed (made ineffective) the devil (Heb 2:14). It doesn’t mean we destroy people, thus the parable shows there are Good and Bad in the same field, just as there are Good Fish and Bad Fish in the same net (Jude 22-23). The Parable defines one field, in the field we find God planted some Wheat, but the enemy planted Tares then left, giving us the method of how the enemy works. The Parable above all else shows the enemy plants, then leaves. Often we see the result of the enemy, yet we think the enemy is still around; however, the enemy is gone, the result remains. We are not demon possessed, we picked up tares known as demonic hindrances absent life, they are centered on death. This method is one we find all the time, the devil knew the possibility existed for any of us to accept the call, thus he planted as many hindrances as he could. When the Wheat started to surface, the Tares were obvious. Don’t forget the tares have no heart, they are sent to choke and hinder the process. The workers of the field couldn’t remove them, it would take something connected to the “spiritual realm” (angels); thus the New Man is fully able to identify and remove tares. However, this is a Covenant relationship, it still takes our permission. The Parable also shows us how God planted Wheat, in our case the first wheat was the measure of faith, then we entered the Kingdom to receive the Stronger One who is fully able to heal and save our souls.
The enemy heard “He restores my soul”, then set out to put as many roadblocks (gates of hell) in place to stop the process, yet before he placed one, God had a way around or through each one for the gates for those who Love God, or are called according to God’s purpose. The enemy planted the tares, consisting of self-traits, misconceptions, pride, ego, pains, anything to cause us to miss the premise of being restored, yet anything not planted by our heavenly Father will be uprooted.
The saving of the soul is not a change in personally, although it may happen, but more than likely it’s the perfecting of our personally by ridding us of all the manipulation, nasty tones, or undue harshness. While we were in the world our soul followed the character of the world, the developed personality was formed by disobedience, thus causing our personality to be tainted, or corrupt. All these areas of darkness gave us a nature, supported by the old man (flesh). One day we prayed for God to save us, when God answered we entered panic. For some of us we didn’t like His method of restoration, the fight started. If anyone wants to see their enemy face to face, they need only look in the bathroom mirror. The old nature fights the things of God, often by calling the things of God of the devil. The old man would love for us to remain religious, to stop us from being Born Again. The old man will devise traditions, assuming we automatically gain the Spirit in water baptism, yet the Book of Acts shows two different baptisms, one in water, one by the Holy Ghost. Nonetheless, once we are Born Again our position changes dramatically, so much so the old man can be put off as easy as we take off our coat. It began when we submitted to the Cross, everything the old man used against us was nailed to the Cross, thus when we received the Spirit we received the Power to overcome. When the children crossed the Red Sea Pharaoh became powerless, but the ways of Pharaoh carried on. The wilderness was not to destroy Pharaoh, it was to remove the ways of Pharaoh from the minds of the children. God was training them to rule the Promised Land, not like Pharaoh ruled Egypt, but as God would rule, in Mercy. It was easier to get the children out of Egypt, then Egypt out of the children. This gives us the reason for the wildernesses we face, to rid us of Egypt thinking.
We get a better idea of the word Soul when we recall the English word Psyche comes from the Greek Psuche (soul). The study of the Psyche is called Psychology, termed the study of the thought processes of the mind of man; however, if this is applied by the natural mind of man it’s the blind leading the blind, or the corrupt teaching the corrupt how to be more corruptible, or the spirit of man teaching the spirit of man how to use the power of darkness through the soul, hardly Salvation (I Cor 2:11-13); however, by the manifestation of the Spirit we find a soul saving a soul. Psychology is still a study, not a performance, the word means “Study (logy) of (o) the soul (Psyche); who needs to study the soul, we need it saved. Any time anyone natural attempts to save man, the result is not salvation, but destruction. This is not against “psychology”, rather it shows Jesus said no man can save his own soul, which also means no natural soul can save a natural soul. Rather than run to a natural soul to heal our souls, we must have the Spirit which is of God, who will not exalt the pollution, He guides us to the solution. The New Man is not studying our souls, rather he is saving our souls.
Light always has power over darkness, God proved it in the very beginning. When we enter a room we don’t turn off the darkness, we turn on the light. When we leave the room we don’t turn on the darkness, we turn off the light. Therefore, the evidence shows Light has more power than darkness. When we want to destroy pride we don’t use the pride of life, we enter humbleness; therefore, humbleness has much more power than pride. Pride tells us humbleness is weak, but pride is the second biggest liar in all the world. Pride will tell us we must have some great ability in us, so great God couldn’t help but call us into the Kingdom. What ability? Control, Manipulation, Debate, Bitterness, or Natural intellect? Why would the old man say those things? To keep the power of the old man involved in the process. God gives us the Ability in Grace, the Spirit is fully able to train us, guide us and bring us to the result without any help from the old man. If we want to destroy rebellion, we submit to the New Man, if we want to destroy bitterness we obey the Spirit, if we want to destroy anger. The Witness is still the Water (Mercy of the Father), Blood (the Word), and the Spirit (Gift of the Holy Ghost), the soul is not the Witness, it’s the treasure being saved (I Jn 5:7-8); therefore we find natural man uses the lost soul to dominate the lost soul, hardly victory or freedom.
The areas of submission or love seem difficult at best, but whatever the Spirit tells us to do, He has also given us the ability to complete. The Spirit would not tell us to love one another, if it were not well within the realm of possibility. He would not tell us to submit, if it were not within our power to do so. Of course it depends completely on having the Spirit of Truth in us. Submission is not being someone’s doormat, rather it’s avoiding debates, arguments, in many cases allowing things to continue on their God given course.
When the Process, the Word begins to divide and separate, our souls say, “What is this? some blessing, I’m being cast down”; however, in those moments we find the truth of, “My soul melts for heaviness”, and “my soul is melted because of trouble”, but we also find, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul, Praise ye the Lord”. Our soul thirsts for God, when the Living Water came our souls wondered, maybe even feared what was going on. During those times we can ask our soul, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? hope you in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the Health of my countenance” (Ps 42:11 & 43:1-5).
There are those, even in the Body who object to the premise of the saving of the soul, but it seems those who oppose the loudest, are those who still use the old man as their guide. They want Salvation, they simply don’t want to pay the price. They are the ones who jump and shout when they get God to do something they want, but they are also the same ones who attack when they don’t like what God is doing. We are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of them who believe unto the saving of the soul. If we just know the process, we will join in. The Method God uses for each of us is individual in nature, thus no two methods are going to be exactly the same. We are individuals, thus God works with us one on one, the command of “Follow Me”, is also predicated by “what do you care what I do with him, you follow Me”. Denoting how the Lord deals with us as individuals, if He was dealing with us all the same the command would be, “watch them, to see what I’m doing with you”. Paul told us to watch how he follows Christ, but it was not to follow him, but use him as an example of one following Christ (I Cor 11:1).
Some of us think Jesus receives us as we are, but plans on leaving us as we were. Truth says, Jesus received all of us as we were, but He plans on bringing a change into our lives by the Spirit. Why even give us the New Man if the old was sufficient? Desiring change without wanting to be changed is error. We read of the common everyday men named, Peter, James, Mark, Paul, Stephen, Philip and others, but we see how the Spirit changed these men into mighty workers for God. Yet, some of us have exalted them above measure, placing them far above us, but we did so to have an excuse not to be like them. We entered the lie of self-justification by saying, “oh it’s too bad it’s passed away, I can’t be like them now”. We have the same measure of faith they had, the evidence given us in the Bible proves how the Holy Ghost still plants the Seed of God. The Seed is still the Holy Spirit, thus we have the same opportunity to be changed into useful servants by the Spirit. God is still looking for someone who will deny the self, pick up their cross and follow Jesus. How can we ignore so great a cloud of witnesses?
The old man is the third biggest liar, he gets his information from pride, the second biggest liar, pride gets his information from the spirit of disobedience the first biggest liar. The spirit of disobedience gathered his information from the devil, the father of all lies. If our soul remains natural it will follow the voices of liars, causing us to reject the purpose for our faith. The old man is the first to say, “do you think the Bible is really true? Has God really said?”. When we accept his words, we begin to form our mind around them. Rather than believe the Bible, we question, or challenge it. We then hold to words of other unbelieving people who wrote their unbelief, then we lose the very foundation for our faith. There are the unbelieving out there who question the Bible, but using the words of unbelievers never negates our unbelief. Everything produces after its own kind, unbelief seeks words of unbelief, faith seeks faith; whichever we seek tells the tale.
It’s not strange, we followed the voice of the stranger for years, but then we changed positions from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom. Now we can discern the voice of the stranger, from the voice of the Great Shepherd. When God tells us our vision we say, “well now, let me look and see what others say about it”, or “brother I need confirmation on this”. Some of us are told directly by God, yet we tell God, “well, I don’t know, I better pray about this”. Pray about it? God just told us, who are we going to pray to? Sound silly? We all do it, God speaks and we wonder if its God. Some of us hear, and ask, “is it you God?”, we’re asking God if it’s Him? Some believe the devil talks all the time, yet God doesn’t talk at all. We must have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying, especially when we seek the saving of the soul.
The Saving of the Soul brings the soul to the one place where we find joy, peace, confidence, a place to become completely useful for the work of the ministry. Our souls were designed by God to be happy, willing and joyful servants, they were not designed to be their own master, nor did God design our souls to follow death. In the Beginning Adam was a “living soul”, the designer’s purpose. It was Adam who caused death to enter the world, not God. Although we know there was no life on the earth when God saw the void darkness, we also know Adam was the first to have moral choice. When Adam left the Garden and started the world, yet the planet was here prior.
Unbelief takes on all sorts of shapes, one is seeking the perfect formula. One to remove all question, but it also removes faith. Self-deception attempts to master the program with formulas, or theological jargon producing failures and frustrations. Someone does something by faith, we attempt to copy them looking for the same result, but they did it by faith, we’re not. There is a process God has ordained to bring about the result, His way is the only way in which we find victory. God may have us use another person as an example of following Jesus, but our method is still faith, not formulas. The Way of God is Spiritual in nature, to follow the way one must have the Spirit.
Another Greek word we run into is Pneuma translated as Spirit, Ghost or spirit, and once as “Life” in the Book of Revelation; there it doesn’t mean the image of the Beast is spiritual, rather it means those who once had life bartered it off to the image of the beast. From Pneuma we get the English word Pneumatic, or air driven; for example, the air filled tires on our automobile are called pneumatic tires. From the Greek Pneuma we get the Greek Pneumatikos meaning Spiritual, or Spirit Driven. Pneumatikos and Charismatic are basically the same, they keep us from being automatic (self-driven, or self-motivated).
However, from Psuche comes the Greek word Psuchikos meaning The natural nature of man, referring to the old man, who is automatic, or Natural (sensual). A close kin to Psuche is Pseudo (false), the unsaved Psuche leads one to being a Pseudo teacher, but the saved Psuche brings one to Charis Pneumatikos. If that born of the Spirit is Spirit, if the process was not open to man until Pentecost, then no man had a Spirit from God until the Spirit was given by the Holy Ghost (Jn 3:6 & 7:39). This shows the spirit of man is not from God, it becomes the spirit of disobedience, yet we in the Kingdom have the Spirit which is of God (I Cor 2:11-12).
The world tosses the words Spirit, Spiritual, Faith and Create around like water to dilute the importance of the words. If man already has a spirit from God, why seek God for the Spirit? If man’s measure of faith can accomplish the goal, why follow the faith of Jesus? If all dogs go to heaven, why bother? The devil brings his lies to trick us into tossing away (perdition) the promise, rather than believe unto the promise (Heb 10:35-39). There is a war going on, but for the most part the battlefield is within.
The Greek word Logos is translated as Word, or the spoken Word, or the Word used once, Jesus is the Word (Logos) of God (Jn 1:1). John 1:1 tells us the Logos was, thus when the Logos became flesh the door was open for us to have the Logos inside us so we can bring the Rhema. The Logos is the discerning knowledge of God from God, the Rhema is the ability for the Logos to function. The Logos and Rhema are different, the word Rhema means a series of words, or a connection of Logos to Logos extended to bring ability and clarity to the Logos, thus the Rhema brings the clarity and ability of the Logos. Hearing comes by the Rhema, thus the Rhema is also an attitude to hear the words of life and Spirit (Jn 6:63). For those who are Born Again they see the Logos as the Authority, the Rhema as the Power. The Report in heaven is not “Father, Jesus, Spirit”, it’s “Father, Word and Holy Ghost”; whereas the Witness is the Water, Blood and Spirit.
The Logos in us will divide and discern, while the Rhema applies the ability to finish the course of the division and discernment. It’s one thing to know something is wrong, another to fix it. Since the Logos is in us, meaning the Rhema is the action of the Logos, we find Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Rhema to give the Logos the Ability. Before there can be a Rhema of God, there must be the Logos, and the Logos (Jesus) projects the Rhema. Jesus (the Logos) said the Words (Rhema) He speaks are Spirit and Life (Jn 6:63). We tend to call the Bible “The Word of God”, but the Bible says Jesus is the Logos, thus the Bible testifies of Jesus. The disciples called the Bible the “Scriptures”, not the Word. The Scriptures are holy, being holy have defined themselves as Scripture, and defined the Logos of God as Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is the Word made flesh, thus to confess Jesus is come in the flesh, is to project the Logos in us by the Rhema. Jesus as the Word said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me”, thus showing the connection between the Logos and the Spirit. We also find there is the Rhema of God, and the idle rhema of man. There is the Logos of God, and the logos of man, just as there is the wisdom of man, and the Wisdom of God, and just as there is the knowledge of man, and the knowledge of God. Man’s logos is self based, producing idle rhema by the spirit lusting to envy; it stands if the envy is incapable of doing good, then the lust which produced it is also incapable of doing good, meaning the spirit who produced the lust is incapable of doing good. Without the Word in us discerning and separating we would use the idle rhema of man, thinking it’s spiritual, the world does it all the time.
There are elements called the “works of the flesh”: Uncleanness, Lasciviousness, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Seditions, Heresies, Envyings, Murders, Drunkenness, Revellings, and Such Like (Gal 5:19-21). It doesn’t take long to discern how these elements are works of the flesh really begin mental in nature based on envy. These works are the result of something, they manifest from a source, thus fighting the manifested works doesn’t mean we have overcome the source. On the other hand, the Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance, Against which there is no Law (Gal 5:22-23); meaning the Law of Moses is opposed to the flesh. The Fruit identifies the tree, the tree identifies the source. In both cases we find the manifested evidence points to the source. In many cases we are in the process of the New Man removing the corrupt tree by the New tree.
Self-pity is a form of manipulation, a method to arouse the emotions of others, or trick them into giving us pity, allowing us to feel self-justified in our corrupt position. Self-pity wants to change the event to please the old man, Jesus called it a product of Satan (Matt 16:23). Having pity on others is much different from self-pity, when self-pity begins to come upon us, we must rebuke it, or it will fall into depression, from depression we fall head long into the pit of despair.
Compassion is felt for those who want to leave their position, pity is for those who don’t want to leave their position. Both compassion and pity are Godly, but only if they are applied to others with the intent of completing God’s will. Self-pity lacks the desire to leave the position by using, “woe is me” to justify itself. Self-pity is the personification of self-deception at work. When we pity our self, or tell others, to pity their self we are seeking the things of man (Matt 16:23). This same premise is true in telling others to believe in their self, we are never told to believe in ourselves, which is self-confidence based in the pride of life (I Jn 2:16). We are told to Believe in God, thus we have a Choice of what to believe, or even to believe. Whatever we believe becomes our foundation, faith is the projection to a hope, but our belief informed us of the hope. If we believe in ourselves, our faith will be self-based, it will fail in the time of crisis. Belief is not the unseen producing faith, but it is the springboard by providing information toward faith. Without Belief, Faith lacks direction. We read the Bible, we believe the promises, we act on those promises, thus our belief in what was written became a springboard to our faith to reach for the promise. Consider the destruction of unbelief, if we make the choice not to believe, our faith reverts itself to making up it’s own hope, then flying off in many directions, none of which is toward God.
This brings us to the two areas of our Will, we have a Will to do, or resist. The Pharisees used their Will to resist, but they used it to resist Jesus. Their Will to do, was used to bring about the Cross. They used both areas in reverse of the intended purposes. When we resist the devil we do so by doing something of God completely the opposite of what the devil is tempting us with. Our Power to do is found in the Power of His Christ, thus we do the things of Christ by the Power of Christ. We resist the devil by doing the things of God, this is seen in the phrase Resist the devil and he will flee from you, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, for God resists the proud, but gives Grace to the humble. Humbleness is a weapon of our warfare used to defeat Pride, as Pride becomes the calling card of the devil.
If we go after our soul to destroy it, we would be involved in a form of self-annihilation. It’s not our goal, self-annihilation leads to attempting to save our soul by using the fall nature. Neither do we want to lose our identity, rather we want to find our true identity in the character of Christ. We found we were not who we thought we were, in some cases who we were made us sick, now it’s time to find who God says we are.
Blessed means, a reason to be happy, in the midst of the fire we have a reason to be happy. If we don’t reach for it, we won’t find it. Any of us can die of thirst while looking at a glass of water. Personality is found in the soul, Character is found in the heart, if we merely change our personality, we are self-transformed, we need a Character change, to bring a personality suitable for the work of the Lord.
Tares cannot be removed by hours of natural psychotherapy, one can cut the top off a tare, but only the Word in us can remove it. Neither do we want to analyze, scrutinize, or exercise the old man, nor do we want to use our ability to remove a tare, it only produces more tares of a different nature. Jesus said unless we take care of the beam in our eye, we can’t help our neighbor with the twig in their eye. If attempt to puck out the twig with natural resources, we will only produce telephone poles in the person. God gave us the manifestation of the Spirit for a purpose, not merely to speak in tongues or prophesy, but to assist others in those one on one contacts (I Cor 12:7-11).
Replacing hurt with anger is not the saving of the soul, pushing unforgiveness down deeper isn’t freedom, learning “to live with it” is hardly freedom. We want to identify the methods of the old man, then stop entertaining, or exercising them. We must know when to say, “no Satan”, and when to say, “thank You Lord”, while not confusing the two. We must ask for, and receive the Spirit, then submit to the Spirit to become spiritual in nature. We need a New Heart, God will deliver it, if we ask.
In order to identify the soul, we must be identified with Christ. Each person is different, the Spirit is the only one who knows us, or knows how to remove the tares; therefore as the Holy Ghost is our Comforter, He has given us Another Comforter as the New Man. Jesus has come to us in the Spirit of Truth, thus the Spirit of Truth is the Greater He in us, the New Man, Another Comforter, the Ability and Power to complete this task before us. The New Man has the Joy of the Lord, the Joy is given so our Joy might be full (Jn 15:11). The New Man will Testify of Jesus, then we shall Bear Witness (Jn 15:26-27). God is Spirit, yet we have the Spirit which is of God, we can’t forget we are not God, but praise the Lord, we have the Seed of God in us by the New Birth.
Don’t forget the “word of our testimony” is not what we say about us, or what we say about Jesus, it’s what others say about us. Do we have to tell them we’re Christian? Or do they recognize our ways as being Christian? The disciples were first called Christian in Antioch, they didn’t go about telling others they were Christian (Acts 11:26, 26:28 & I Pet 4:16). It takes the Spirit, not constructive criticism to build a sound foundation. On the other hand we can count on the messengers of Satan to come with words of slander, to disrupt the word of our testimony, it happened to Jesus, and Paul.
When we use manipulation on our mate or on the congregation, they will adjust their actions to fit our thinking, rather than adjust their actions to fit the mind of Christ. We can’t judge others from our presumed position, neither can we judge others from our known position. Our Spirit filled witness removes excuses for anyone who is called, whether they are outside the kingdom or standing in the doorway. Jesus used people most of us won’t talk to, He used a woman who had been married five times before, yet when He talked to her, she was living with a man, not her husband. Most of us wouldn’t let her in the front door, but did Jesus cast her out? No, some of us would and have, but Jesus didn’t, He used her to evangelize an entire town. Jesus picked a man so full of demons, so much so they were called Legion, as soon as the demons were cast out, Jesus told this man to preach to his home town. Jesus picked a woman who was freed of seven devils to proclaim, “He is risen”. In each case the people sought change, then submitted to being changed by Jesus. They made a decision, their choices backed up their decision, they were set free. Jesus accepted these people in their condition, forgave their sins, changed their condition by granting them mercy, then He sent them to proclaim, preach, or act on His behalf. Jesus took a bunch of ignorant, unlearned fishermen, a lonely tax collector, and an outcast hot headed Pharisee to begin the Church. However, they were changed by the Power from on High to become very useful.
Today we have many learned men who tell us we don’t need the Spirit, or prayer is magic, or worse, they tell us the events recorded in the Bible are “doubtful”. A person with an experience with the Holy Ghost far out weighs a person with an opinion. These areas are not something we “try”, since the word “try” indicates no decision has been made. We can’t “try” faith, we can’t “try” Grace, we must make the decision, then allow the choices to follow our decision; therein we will find the joy of the Holy Ghost planting the Seed. Many of us fail because we “try” faith, our failure comes because we want to see something before we make the decision. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of something not seen, thus if we demand evidence to see before we apply faith, we will never gain: we try on clothes, we do faith.
Jealousy is the fear of losing something we think we possess, there is a spirit (strong attitude) of jealousy, this spirit is coupled with the emotions (Numb 5:14). Jealousy couples with anger forming thoughts to protect a supposed possession, even if we have to destroy it to keep others from having it. Envy is wanting something someone else has, or wanting something someone else has the potential to have, but envy refuses to walk the same path to get it. Envy will war to stop the person who does have it, even if it means destroying them in the Name of God. Wanting something someone else has, yet willing to walk the same path to get it, is not envy, if it was the case we would all be in trouble. God is a Jealous God, but in His case He owns all things, we find He also protects them, a much different form of jealousy than man’s.
Evil based envy can seek the anointing, the revelation, position, witness, light, ministry, blessing, or faith of another, but refuse to follow the same lawful means to obtain those benefits. Envy will fake it, counterfeit it, but when the real appears, it will react and come against the real to protect the fake. Many of the attacks against those who have the Spirit of Christ come from the envy of the person who is void of the Spirit, or from one who has failed to continue to believe. The religious rulers delivered Jesus to Pilate based on their envy, yet the Pharisees didn’t heal the sick, raise the dead, or preach with authority, but they did preach and teach. They were not Anointed Teachers, they taught what others said the Bible said, or talked about the Law or history, but they never understood the mysteries. There is a difference between someone who teaches history, and someone who teaches the Bible.
The envy of the Pharisees coupled with their pride caused them to attack the Anointing, rather than seek it. Korah wanted the position of Moses, but he refused to walk the same path to obtain it. The result was the ground opening to swallow him and his followers. God did a “new thing”, Korah found out some new things are not always pleasant things. Envy will cause us to rejoice in the fall of another, or we will cause the fall of a brother or sister who disagrees with us.
Most of the areas of the flesh we pass over, or equate with other cultures or times; witchcraft is not just putting a bunch of needles in a doll, rather it means anyone who uses natural means to reach for a spiritual condition, whether they obtain it or not. A witch doctor will use natural elements to join with evil spirits, to produce some self-based supernatural reaction. There are degrees of witchcraft, but any witch uses the deepest power of the devil, thus when the natural mind of man uses the spirit of man, witchcraft is the result.
The three realms of the physical, natural, and spiritual have been present on this earth since Pentecost, but the wicked are in no way, shape or form spiritual in nature. There is the super-physical and supernatural, the disciples operated in the supernatural power in the Name of Jesus before the Cross by healing the sick, and casting out devils, but the spiritual power is purposed to save souls, something they didn’t have until they received Power from on High. The supernatural power in the Name of Jesus is based in Mercy, the Spiritual in Grace. The disciples were not Born Again before the Cross, yet they cast out devils and laid hands on the sick, we have no excuse.
The Spirit brings three simple steps for us to be corrected and restored. First comes the revelation as the Spirit brings Light to our souls to expose the things hindering us. Next comes the transfiguration, as we make the decision to agree with the Spirit as the Process begins by the Spirit removing the Old by bringing some attribute of the New. Lastly is the manifestation, or the completed effort, when the Spirit finishes the work. Each of these are matters between the individual and the New Man. Every time a tare goes, the wheat grows. The self based soul hears the revelation, but uses the pride of life in some feeble attempt to make the tare appear as wheat. It’s an act of self-righteousness which never reaches the manifestation. We submit to the Lord based on our love for Him, if we love Him, we will do as He says.
There are warning signs of the self attempting to take ground, they are the deeds or wiles of the devil, what are they? A list to add to the list given in the Welcome Lesson includes: self-reliant, self-seeking, boastful, independent, prideful, self-motivating, self-centered, hard, hateful, self-worship, self-awareness, self-sufficient, self-pity, self-love, self-pleasing, self-willed, rough, clever, opinionated, pushy, demanding, trusting in one’s natural talent, ability or gift, manipulative (using anger, guilt, intellect, body language, affection, position or fear to get one’s own way), holding unforgiveness, unbelief or doubt, or seeking ways to gain revenge whether personally, or through prayer, using the power or authority of the world, or using the natural mind of man to accomplish spiritual matters.
We will be amazed of the things the Holy Ghost will show us, but it’s only when the Blade appears allowing us to see these things. We are still saved by Grace through Faith, not of own. Simply allowing God to do what God does by submitting to the New Man brings the Godly result.
We can now answer the question, “who can be saved?, by saying, “with man it’s certainly impossible, but not with God, for with God all things are possible for those who believe” (Mark 9:23). The Good News is Good, knowing what the Spirit is doing changes our sorrow to joy, rebellion to cooperation. Anyone can follow doctrine, tradition or the experiences of others, but God is looking for those who have faith in Him, those who are willing to make the decision to believe in God’s vision, those who receive and follow the Doctrine of Christ. Our goal is to reach the place where we can proclaim, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me”. Our Season is one of faith, hope and love in the Spirit. Is there proof Jesus is seeking a one on one relationship? Yes, it’s called the Gospel, or Good News, yet it begins with the Cross.
LESSON TEN – GOSPEL 1 – THE WEEK OF THE CROSS
We have four accounts giving us the written Gospel, each adding to the other covering a time period of no more than 34 years, running from the birth of Christ, to the Resurrection. We also find a great deal of the ministry of Jesus centered on one week, which was really nine days long; however, it nonetheless becomes one of great importance. The week began with the Anointed being anointing for burial, ending with the Resurrection of Jesus. Although one could say the actual verses for the week are limited to the ending chapters in each Account, we also fine during the ministry of Jesus, He pointing to the week, as well as its importance through teachings, parables and many statements. The Book of Revelation tells us the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world, thus we also find the purpose of the birth of Jesus was the Cross of Jesus. The importance can be seen in other ways, there are 1040 verses in Matthew, 678 in Mark, 1151 in Luke, and 879 in John. Out of those the specific verses found within the time element of the week of the Cross are 389 in Matthew, 253 in Mark, 313 in Luke and 343 in John, or one-third of the entire Gospel. Not counting the many references made before Jesus was Anointed in Bethany, such as Matthew 17:22-23 where Jesus talked about the Cross, or when John said, “Behold the Lamb of God”, which is a direct reference to the Cross, or when Jesus talked about being Born Again, which was presented after the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection is included in the week, as well as many other Parables and verses pertaining to the week of the Cross, not counting the plans of the religious rulers well before the week regarding putting Jesus to death. All of this shows a great majority of the contextual material in the written Gospel pointing to the one week in all man’s history to bring a change beyond the ability of human existence.
All the way back in Genesis we find God created the earth in six nights, on the seventh He did rest, thus the creation was from evening to morning. The creation Jesus made possible is for the Children of the Day, a New Creation so complex and important it would take more than “six days”. Let’s face it, the week of the Cross is very special. Out of all the time of man from Genesis to the end of time there would not be another week like it, one special week to change all things by opening the Street to heaven for man by bringing a New Creation from God. A Creation no one is worthy of, but one everyone can have, whether Jew or Gentile.
The one week was so important the Holy Ghost spent much of the Gospel speaking about it, so do you think it would be nice to know what happened? Yes, not only were many Old Testament prophecies fulfilled, but there are other events helping us in our walk as Christians. We as Christians understand the four accounts are not the opinions of these four men, they are not what they presumed happened, they are not their viewpoints, rather these four men were merely scribes, the Author is still the Holy Ghost, the information contained in the four accounts prove it.
Natural man reads these accounts and presumes events are in conflict, then adds to the presumption with the false thought of the accounts being the opinions, or logic of men who penned the works. We know the accounts are named after the men, but we also know it’s not to give the men some special honor, rather it’s to give us a reference. Just as the chapter and verse numbers were added with the King James Version to give us references. Therefore, if we refer to “Matthew” or “John” one is not saying these men are the authors, rather it’s for reference only. What other evidence do we have of this? The Law of Moses, it was given to Moses, even named after him, but the source was not Moses. If the Gospel were merely what these men thought happened, all of us are wasting our time, but Praise be the Lord, it’s not the case, it’s not the case at all. We will find the events fit like a heavenly glove, each account contributing to the other giving us an overall picture, yet each account left to its own leaves gaps, or unanswered questions. The information in these accounts show there is no way the natural mind of man could have put this together.
There are some other matters one must consider, first, Jesus never lied; second, man has a tendency to form traditions. If Jesus said He would be in the grave three days, and three nights, and raised on the third day, then He was in the grave three days and three nights and raised on the third day. So, how does the three days and nights fit with being raised on the third day? Perfectly, the accounts will prove it. Traditions are natural concepts held by one generation, taken as fact by the next generation, then as truth by the next generation, finally ending as “doctrine”. The doctrines of men make the Word of God to no avail; therefore, it behooves us to find, then hold unto the Truth.
We begin six days before the Passover in John 12:1, the scene opens in a house in Bethany. In the house was a man by the name of Lazarus, a man raised from the dead by Jesus. A fitting place to begin this week, sitting in a house with a man Jesus raised from the dead looking to the moment when Jesus would be Resurrected from the dead. We don’t want to confuse what happened to Lazarus as being a “resurrection”; his was more of a resuscitation, since Lazarus came back to the same life in the flesh, thus Jesus is the first Resurrected from the dead. According to Matthew and John the house belongs to one “Simon the Leper”, who was the father of Judas (Matt 26:6 & Jn 13:2). The time element helps us, when we count these “six days” we must do so as a Jew. The day for the Jew begins at sunset, there are no part days. They have four watches for the day, and four for the night. If a Jew could use “part days”, then they could keep the sabbath in the morning, claiming the afternoon is another day. Not so, their sabbath day begins at sunset and runs to sunset the next day.
The sixth day from this date would be the Passover, the Passover is connected to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, both of which are outlined in detail in the Law of Moses. The weekly sabbath was always on a Saturday regardless of the date, but the High Sabbaths were connected to Feast days, they were on a date regardless of the day. The Passover was always on the 14th of Abib, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was a High Sabbath beginning on the 15th of Abib (Numb 9:5 & Lev 23:6). Accordingly the High Sabbath began as the sun set on the Passover, meaning the day change for the Jew is sunset, not midnight.
As we know Passover really began in Egypt just before the children left the bondage of Pharaoh, it has stood as a reminder of the delivering power of God every since, a fitting day for the Cross of Jesus. The Feast of Unleavened Bread immediately follows, yet Paul said we are the Bread (I Cor 10:17). The Passover was the Preparation day for the High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened bread, since it was the day the lamb was slain. The weekly Preparation day was always Friday, with the weekly sabbath according to the Commandment on Saturday. Keeping these sabbaths separated will be the key to understanding the days of this week. All this shows the weekly sabbath is by Commandment, the High Sabbaths are by commandment as well, but they are outlined in the Law of Moses, not the Ten Commandments. The weekly sabbath was found in the Ten Commandments, linking it to the token for the Law of Moses, but the feast days were not in the Ten Commandments, but they are in the Law of Moses.
We’re still six days from the Passover, or better, the sixth day from this point will be Passover. It’s also important, we must keep all these things in mind in order to see how the prophecy of three days and three nights was completed to the letter. The scene is still in the house of Simon, but the focus has changed to Mary the sister of Lazarus. She had a pound of expensive ointment of spikenard, she was in the process of anointing Jesus. Whether she really knew what was about to happen or not isn’t clear, what is clear is the week of Cross begins with an anointing of the Anointed, or “preparation”. We will find this sixth day prior to Passover was a preparation day for the weekly sabbath, which makes the next day even more important.
The Scriptures not only show Judas saw this anointing, but he thought it a waste, he was able to persuade some of the other disciples into thinking it was a waste (Matt 26:8). We must take into consideration at this point these disciples were not Born Again, the Spirit was not yet given as John 7:39 points out. They were still motivated by what they saw, thus the disciples lacked spiritual awareness. Peter had a revelation many days prior, but it was not spiritual awareness, since he had no idea his revelation came from the Father until Jesus told him so.
Of course the excuse Judas used was to obtain money, with the guise of feeding the poor, but really he wanted more money in the bag, so he could steal more (Jn 12:5-6) . The reasoning of Judas sounded right, after all they were sent to feed the poor, every Jew on Passover gave to the poor. The more they gave, the greater their life for the following year would be. Wow, sell the anointing oil, give the money to the poor, sounds like a solid Jesus teaching, after all He tell the rich man to do just that, so how can He allow this waste? Judas’ statement seemed right, often what seems right to a natural mind, is out of order to the spiritual. After the disciples gained the New Birth their awareness would change, they would know Judas was nothing more than someone who loved power, but failed to loved the Lord. Judas was someone who allowed their lust to control their life, but at this point in time, including the time of the Passover meal they were still under the impression Judas was a key member in the ministry, as well as a trusted member, one so trusted the Lord Himself allowed the man to keep the entire ministry treasury. Of course we know Jesus knew Judas was a thief, He even called him a devil long before this point in time (Jn 6:70).
When Judas made his objection known, he was told by Jesus, “for the poor always you have with you: but Me you have not always” (Jn 12:8). Didn’t Jesus say He wouldn’t leave them? Yes, what can this mean? Are the poor associated with Judas? No, there are some ministries beneficial at anytime, feeding the poor is one of them, but there are other ministries happening only once. At the moment Judas had his golden opportunity to say, “yeah Lord, You’re right I’m sorry, forgive me”, but all he heard was “poor with you”. To this thief the saying was never going to come to pass, he would make sure the Kingdom would be set up on earth, with him as the treasurer. Judas used his “faith”, but in an evil manner. He made a decision to get what he “hoped for”, a treasury so great the city itself couldn’t hold it. Jesus talked about the kingdom, so all Judas had to do was help matters out a little, usher the kingdom in, then he would be in control of the treasury of a lifetime.
One time ministries, or one time ministry events are important, but we don’t want to lose sight of ministry duties either. The ministry of John the Baptist was a one time event, as was the ministry of Jeremiah, just as the Cross was a one time event, it never happened before, it would not happen again. Does it mean feeding the poor is a lesser ministry? Not at all, Judas could feed the poor the next day, or in a week, or in a month, or he could use the money he had been stealing to feed the poor. This one day was set aside in the time of mankind for one event, the oil was to be used for one thing and one thing only. To sell the oil would be misusing it, yet misusing the things of God is always a transgression. A transgression is crossing the line, or doing something we’re not suppose to, but iniquity is a failure to do what we’re suppose to do, or being unequal. Judas did transgress, but more important he was deep into iniquity. He was a “worker of iniquity”, since he worked at it. His iniquity was a failure to care for the charge Jesus placed in his hand, he was given a position, it was not to tempt him, but to give him the opportunity to deny his self nature, in order to be a trusted servant. Judas became a prime example of the “Lord, Lord haven’t we” people (Matt 7:21-23). It wasn’t what these people did, it’s what they failed to do (the will of the Father – Matt 7:21) which produced the saying, “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity”. In order for a person to commit iniquity they must have the ability to do the effort, be commanded to, yet work at not doing what they should do, while doing other things they are required to do, thus making them Unequal.
As this anointing was going on in Bethany, the chief priests were putting together their nefarious plans to kill Jesus. Their envy was driving them to destroy the evidence of the miracle, Lazarus. Therefore, Lazarus was a walking, talking product of the power of Christ, because he was visible many of the Jews believed. To the religious leaders the answer was simple, remove Jesus, remove the evidence, and the people will forget. The purpose for Communion is to Remember, because the natural side of man wants to forget the good while retaining the bad.
John 12:12 goes to the “next day”, which would be five days before the Passover, making this next day a weekly sabbath day. This would be the day Jesus would make His entry into Jerusalem, this event is recorded in Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, and Luke 19:28-40, and in John 12:12-19. Since all four accounts have this one day, it becomes a marker for us in understanding what happened leading up to the Cross during the week. This day being the sabbath sent the religious rulers into a rage, here Jesus was allowing all the people to conduct labor, how dare He! The religious rulers told Him, “do something”, He was about to. Jesus didn’t get the colt, the disciples did, Jesus didn’t get the palm branches, the people did, Jesus didn’t lead them in shouting, they did it on their own, but the religious leaders came to Him. Their very act of coming to Jesus to ask Him to stop the people was a recognition on their part of His leadership, yet they failed to see it, rather they felt there a violation of the sabbath day.
John’s account jumps from the entry day to the night of the Passover, but the other accounts fill in the gaps for us. Since the entry is our marker in all accounts, we can go to Matthew 21:1-11 where we find Jesus making entry into Jerusalem. On the same day, or five days before the Passover Jesus cleaned out the temple then said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves” (Matt 21:13). This is interesting since by this time Judas was being drawn to the religious leaders to bring about his plan, thus Judas being a thief, was drawn to the den of thieves. This would be the day after Judas saw the anointing oil, and heard “the poor with you always”.
The next morning, which would be four days before the Passover Jesus spoke to the fig tree, then Jesus went into the temple, where His authority was questioned by the religious rulers (Matt 21:18-22). The questioning shows this was the day after He cleaned out temple, helping us keep the days in order.
Mark adds to this, Luke confirms it; in Mark the event could be misconstrued in light of all Jesus taught us on Blessing. The Sermon on the Mount contained all Blessing and no cursing, but Moses went up to his mount and came back with a Law containing cursing and blessing. Jesus sees a fig tree, then makes a statement based on His knowledge as a statement of fact, not a prophecy, or a curse. The fig tree is a metaphoric symbol of the religious order of Israel; the metaphor connection goes all the way back to the Garden, where Adam used “fig leaves” to cover his flesh after he sinned. Jesus sees the symbol of the religious order to make a statement of fact. The Fig Tree would not produce fruit again, yet Jesus will talk about the leaves appearing at a later date. The Fig tree has two types of fruit, the first fruit is not eatable, the second fruit grows over the first making it eatable. The time of the second fruit was not yet, but Jesus was looking at the first corrupt fruit. In order for the leaves to be productive, the first fruit had to be in a position where the second fruit could not appear. If the second fruit covered the prior fruit, both would be corrupt, but the Leaves would not have a chance in the Night to be a covering.
The Olive Tree is connected to us, the olive oil was used by the Jew as fuel for the menorah, but not as a symbol of their religious order. Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to give us the least commandments of Mercy, James tells us to anoint with Olive Oil, thus the symbol relates to Mercy. No one during the earthly ministry said, “Son of David have Grace on me”, but they did say, “Have mercy on me”. Grace is vital, but we can’t discount Mercy, we need both to be equal. The Olives from the Olive Tree cannot be taken directly from the tree and eaten, they must be prepared by soaking them in lye. In order to make oil for burning it takes eight days, but fig oil won’t burn. The Fig tree can be transplanted, which it will be, but if one transplants an olive tree it will not produce olives again. This paradox shows the Fig Tree can appear in the Night with leaves, but no fruit. However, no one can transplant the Olive tree then expect it to produce.
What structure does a tree have? A trunk, what did the religious leaders have? A temple, the temple even impressed the disciples, but not Jesus. Jesus knew the “trunk” (temple) of the tree would fall based on a corruption of the first fruit, thus Jesus saw something the naked eye couldn’t see, then used it as a lesson on Faith. Jesus perceived the hidden evidence making a factual statement, but Peter saw it differently, which shouldn’t surprise us. Many days prior Peter made another statement, then Jesus told him, “Blessed are you Simon BarJona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven” (Matt 16:17). Peter like the rest of us thought one word from God made him a prophet, thus he also felt he could give Jesus advise, after all one revelation means all our words are revelations, right? Wrong, a short time later Peter made another statement, only this time Jesus tells him, “get you behind Me Satan: you are an offense to Me” (Matt 16:23). One minute Peter gets a thought from the Father, the next he gets a thought from the pit of hell, yet the man couldn’t tell one from the other, but Jesus could. This same Peter will see something, then make an assumption, but he missed what Jesus was doing. Jesus told us to Bless, Paul said we are to bless and curse not. Paul also told us all curses are nailed to the Cross, whether the are contained in the Law or not. Therefore, a Christian is free of curses, meaning they cannot put a curse on anything or anyone, since we are not under a curse. Jesus came to Bless us, not curse us, we can’t give what we don’t have. Since this tree is representative of the religious order of Israel we can’t for a second think the Son was cursing something the Father established. What did happen? The cleaning of the temple proved the religion came from the Father, but was placed in the hands of men. It was the evil in man, not the religion from God, making the fruit corrupt.
If Jesus builds the Church why does He tell many of the seven churches they have to repent? Because there are churches in the Rock, but there is only One Church on the Rock. God wanted the Tabernacle, David wanted the Temple. If someone tossed strange fire into the Tabernacle they died, but it’s obvious the religious rulers were robbing the people, yet they didn’t die. The temple was given to man by the permission of God, thus those in charge would have to make the change. Jesus pointed out the corruption, He didn’t force change, the same is true with the churches in the Rock. The temple was to be called of all nations a House of prayer, but they made it a den of thieves, showing the operation was in the hands of man. Who then had more power to resist Jesus? The devils? Or the religious leaders? The devils always did what Jesus told them, not one devil ever told Jesus, “I’m not coming out, and You can’t make me, so there”. Yet the religious leaders resisted Jesus time and again. However, when we came to the Cross the devil, the darkness, the wiles of the devil couldn’t stop us, all because of what Jesus did (Heb 2:14).
We can look at Mark 11:21, and the verses following. We just established Jesus spoke to the tree four days before the Passover, now Mark gives us the next day, or third day before the Passover. Jesus and the disciples were walking along, as they passed the fig tree Peter makes his statement based on his observation through his astonishment. The day prior this same tree had leaves, although it wasn’t “time” for the figs, it nonetheless had leaves. As well as the first fruit which appeared normal, Jesus spoke to it, then one day later there it is, dried up from the roots. Like Peter’s statement of “be it far from You Lord”, he makes another, “The fig tree which You cursed” (Mark 11:21). This time Jesus didn’t say, “Blessed are you Simon BarJona”, but He did say, “have faith in God”. What does faith have to do with cursing? Nothing at all, the Law of Moses is not of faith, yet it has the authority to bring a curse. Faith is based on pleasing God, what then could something cursed please God? The Fig Tree resisted Jesus, mocked Him, accused and tempted Him, it caused it’s own drying up. The tree was Dry, meaning it lacked Water, since Water is a metaphor for Mercy, we find the religious order was drying up for it’s lack of Mercy. The rest of Mark 11 defines what happened: Jesus connected the entire event to “when you stand praying, forgive” (Mark 11:24). There was surely more than enough reasons for the disciples to hold unforgiveness against the religious rulers, but they were told not to. Considering this is a faith issue, the event about to take place makes sense. The disciples were about to face the most horrid of events, yet Jesus tells them it’s a faith issue, they had to forgive, then believe God was able to bring the ability for them to forgive.
The issue of “believe you receive” is connected to seeing the mountain go, rather than come to us like a trained dog. They had to believe when they prayed forgiveness would be vacated by the Mercy of God. The Faith part was still a future manifestation of what was said. Yet, they had to believe what they said, this issue is seeing the spirit of the world go back to the world, thereby changing our viewpoint, rather than see cursing, we will see opportunity to bless. The tense used shows this mountain is over us, we’re not over it. Since the mountain was over us, we tended to interpret events by the mountain, as Peter did. Peter, like us needed to have the mountain removed, it had to be placed back in the Sea (world).
Unbelief is the mental concept of God not being able to begin something, doubt is the mental concept of God not being able to finish what He started. In Mark 11:23 the danger is not unbelief, since we said, but doubt. “Is the mountain gone? Doesn’t seem like it, oh well it didn’t work, it never does for me”. Faith must believe God is, then He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. If the mountain doesn’t appear to be gone, we pray the more. It will Go, Jesus said it would.
The fig tree had to have its authority removed, it was established to stand between the people and God; whereas the Olive Tree was established to bring man to God. Jesus was speaking of Olive Tree opportunity, not a Fig Tree separation. The context shows the Fig Tree was no longer effective for those who accept the Cross of Jesus (Col 2:14-15).
The entire next day Jesus was challenged by one religious group (the fig tree), then another (fig tree), each time they were causing the roots of their own tree to dry up. Which would have been two days prior to the Passover.
Mark’s account then gives us another clue, in Mark 14:1 we find the phrase, “after two days” was the feast of the Passover. This is the “feast” of the Passover, not the Passover, thus this is speaking about the night of the Passover. It’s not confusing when we know the Preparation day and Feast day are two different days, thus showing the plans Judas made with the religious rulers came just before the Passover. From Mark 14:3 it might appear as if Mark puts the anointing at Bethany at this time, but in context we read how the event at Bethany was the element to set Judas to the point of protecting the bag by selling the Lord. This is just another area showing how important it is to keep all the accounts together. Some think John’s account doesn’t fit with the other three, but if one takes the time to study certain key marks they will see John is merely filling in gaps by giving us a time line.
It’s here in Mark were we find the “lust” in Judas motivated him; the bag Judas held was not evil, the money in it wasn’t evil, the anointing by Mary wasn’t evil, but Judas saw it as evil to his position. The evil was in the heart of Judas, not the bag, money, or in the anointing. Natural man thinks things are evil, yet things are things, it’s what we do with them making them either good or evil. If we allow a lust to guide us in using the thing, then the thing will be used for evil, but it doesn’t mean the thing is evil. If we allow God to guide us, then the same thing is used for Good; therefore, the thing is just a thing.
We can close the eye gate, lock the ear window, slam the nose door shut, but all we’re doing is trapping the lust inside. James tells us God cannot tempt us with evil, simply because God has no evil in Him from which to tempt us, but God can give us a good gift, yet we can twist it into something evil, as Jude points out (Jude 4).
It takes two things to make a temptation complete, and two different things to make a test. A temptation is complete when the one doing the tempting has a lust, and the one being tempted has a lust drawing them to the temptation. Therefore, for a temptation to be complete both parties, the one presenting and the one being tempted must have a lust in them. A temptation is not complete when the one doing the tempting attempts to tempt another, yet there is no lust in the one being tempted. It’s exactly what we find with Jesus in the wilderness, the Spirit of the Lord took Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but the temptation was never complete, since there was no lust in Jesus. There are three main lusts from which the devil operates, the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, thus the devil tempted Jesus in these three areas, yet Jesus did not fall into sin. It places Jesus in a special grouping, He could not be tempted unto evil, neither will He tempt us unto evil.
A test is also found when a party without a lust presents us with a suggestion, or command, or event, as God did with Abraham, or as God did with the children, or as God does with us. If we have a lust in us, we will turn the event into evil, but it doesn’t mean the thing or event was sent as evil, or even as a means to induce evil. If we have no lust in us then the event becomes a testing to prove us. If we twist the test by a lust, we will fall into divers temptations, yet we still can rejoice (yeah right). No, we rejoice because the lust is exposed, thus exposure is the first step to being free. Any lust gains its power through deception and darkness, remove the deception and darkness, then we are free indeed. All this is important since Jesus will tell the religious leaders they are tempting Him, if one assumes God cannot be tempted, they would jump to the false conclusion of Jesus not being the Son of God, or God the Son, because He was tempted. Yet, we also read where God Himself said He was tempted by the children in the wilderness some forty years (Numb 14:22, Ps 95:9, Heb 3:9, 3:17 et al). The temptation coming toward God, and God being taken by the temptation are completely different. Any of us can send a temptation toward God, but it doesn’t mean He is tempted. God will send us back a test or exposure to our folly, but in no way does it mean we tricked God. The religious leaders will send lust filled temptations toward Jesus, but they will have no effect Him. Jesus on the other hand will present them with statements of Truth to set them free, which is producing a test, or exposure to their folly.
To continue on we find Judas making his deal with the religious leaders, but was Judas tempted by Jesus? After all Jesus did give him the bag, and Jesus knew Judas was a devil from the beginning. Sounds like Jesus predestinated the man for failure. After all, didn’t Jesus pray for Peter? Why not Judas? He never did like him, right? No, no, and no, Judas was given more opportunity and knowledge to make the right choice. Peter wanted to do something for Jesus, but found he was weak. Judas on the other hand wanted to do something to Jesus, two completely different things.
Both Mark and Luke will assist us in clearing this up, Luke shows the temple being cleaned (Luke 19:46), then shows Jesus being questioned. Instead of saying the “day following” he uses the term “one of those days”. Nonetheless we see the “fig tree” drying up from the root. The day before they partake of the feast of unleavened bread is the Preparation day, or Passover, thus the Passover is not a sabbath day, it’s a Preparation for the holy sabbath Feast day. Mark shows this by saying the Passover was the Preparation Day, with the Sabbath following (Mark 15:42). This would not be the weekly sabbath since Mark connected it to Passover (Mark 15:37). Mark also shows the women were standing afar off at the Cross on the Passover, which becomes important when we add Luke’s comments.
Regardless of the sabbath, there can be no work done. However, Luke shows the women made spices on the Preparation day, then rested on the sabbath according to the Fifth Commandment (Luke 23:54-56). Spices are made by cooking, yet Mark says the women were at the Cross (Mark 15:40), Matthew names some of the women as Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome (Matt 27:56). Matthew also shows it was evening as the beginning of the sabbath, leaving no time for the women to cook spices, or anything else.
Jesus was discovered raised before sunrise on the first day of the week (Sunday – Matt 26:28 & Luke 24:1). John fills in the gap showing it was early in the morning, but still dark (Jn 20:1). Putting this all together, and keeping the prophetic word of Jesus in tact we see the Cross was on a Wednesday as the Passover, at sunset the High Sabbath for the Feast of Unleavened Bread began, making it the first night. The next day would be the high sabbath on a Thursday, making it the first day. That night the second night, then Friday the weekly preparation day would be the day the women cooked the spices, making it the second day. Friday night the third night, Saturday the sabbath according to the Fifth Commandment the third day, the same day He was raised, yet the discovery would not be until Sunday morning. Jesus entered the grave at the beginning of high sabbath, was raised on the third day which was the weekly sabbath, making Him our Sabbath. Mark shows the sabbath had passed when Jesus was discovered raised, adding Luke we find the weekly sabbath of Saturday had passed (Mark 16:1 & Luke 23:54). This is why we must keep the sabbaths separated, or we would have the women standing at the Cross cooking spices, which no Scripture supports. With all the days accounted for showing the prophetic phrase “three days and three nights”, as well as “be raised on the third day” were completed as Jesus said. Why would this be important? If Jesus was in error regarding how long He would be in the earth, then He could be in error in any point. However, the Scriptures show He was not in error, thus what He said came to pass.
Further we find Matthew provides the information regarding the motivation of Judas for making a bargain with the religious leaders was based the anointing at Bethany (Matt 26:26). Judas was the first “anti Anointing”, or as John terms it, “antichrist”. The Pharisees never could touch Jesus, the breach had to be one from the “same house”. Judas didn’t even need the thirty pieces of silver, yet he took the payment from those who desired to crucify the Lord of Glory, making Judas a prince of the world.
Matthew 26:17-35 covers the meal, with Matthew 26:36-49 covering the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark 14:12 shows the “first day of unleavened bread” which is Passover, then speaks of the meal until Mark 14:31, with Mark 14:32-42 dealing with the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:1 defines the Passover is the day before the feast of unleavened bread, showing the meal form Luke 22:7 to 22:38, then Jesus going to the Garden from Luke 22:39-46. John spends more time than any of them on the things said after the meal, which begins at John 13:1 until John 17:26, then John 18:1 shows Jesus in the Garden being arrested. These are separate studies giving us the particulars for the meal and Garden. The Meal is for those who believe, the Garden for those who reject the purpose of the Cross after they enter.
Jesus had five trials, first He was taken to the house of the high priest (Caiaphas) where the first trial took place in front of Annas. There were two priests involved, both were related to each other through marriage. Caiaphas was the high priest, but Annas was his father-in-law, Annas was the high priest until the Romans took over the land, when they appointed Caiaphas, but Annas remained as the voice behind the seat. Jesus first appeared before Annas (Jn 18:13), then before Caiaphas (Jn 18:14 et al). Then Jesus was taken to Pilate (Jn 18:28), which would be the third trial. Then He was taken to Herod, while at Herod’s the religious leaders were talking to Pilate, convincing him to crucify Jesus. Herod’s would be the fourth trial, then back to Pilate for the fifth trial.
Herod was a Jew, he was also a king appointed by the Romans, but he was not a priest. While at Herod’s palace Jesus was beaten, then a Robe was placed on Him. Jesus was also beaten at the hand of Pilate, but the purposes were different. Herod was mad because Jesus didn’t perform for him, Pilate was looking for some reason to pacify the Jews, so he could release Jesus.
When Jesus faces Pilate the second time, or the fifth trial He asked Pilate, “Say you this thing of yourself, or did others tell it you of Me?” (Jn 18:34). Showing while Jesus was before Herod, the Jews were talking to Pilate.
All these trials began around midnight, Mark shows the decision to crucify Jesus was at the “third hour”, but the Cross came at the sixth hour, then at the ninth hour Jesus cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (Mark 15:25 & 15:33-34). Mark and Luke show it was nearing the sabbath, which would be the High Sabbath for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not the weekly sabbath.
Jesus was taken down before sunset on the Passover, placed in the tomb where no dead body has been before. Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus went to Pilate to beg for the body of Jesus, so the body would not hang on the Cross over the high sabbath (Matt 27:57 & Mark 15:42-43). Joseph and Nicodemus used aloes and myrrh to help preserve the body of Jesus until the spices could be applied (Jn 19:38-39). The procedure was to mix the myrrh with the aloes, then pour it over the covered body. The manner of these “spices” is not the same as the cooked spices (Jn 19:40). At this time the women saw where Jesus was laid, meaning they were at the tomb at the beginning of the high sabbath (Mark 15:47).
The next day was the feast day as a High Sabbath, when the religious leaders went to Pilate in fear of someone taking the body of Jesus, then proclaiming He was resurrected (Matt 27:62-66). Pilate places a guard before the tomb, then the religious leaders engage in their feast day, which would have been a violation of the Law. The Law did have a escape clause, but it was not for the next day, it was for one month later (Numb 9:11).
Luke adds by telling us the women made spices on the preparation day for the sabbath according to the Commandment (Luke 23:56). Here is perhaps one of the biggest clues of all, the preparation day for the feast of unleavened bread would be the Passover, the very day Jesus went to the Cross, but in Luke we find the woman were at home on the preparation day, giving us a division of preparation days. The Passover day was the preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but the weekly sabbath also had a preparation day on Friday. The preparation of spices and ointments for burial involves cooking and time, neither of which could be done on the sabbath for the Feast day, but would be done on the day following the high sabbath feast day. Remember they didn’t have microwaves. Also we found Joseph and Nicodemus had the aloes, but in Luke 23:55 the women are making spices, thus we have two different events at two different times. On the Passover, which would have been the 14th of Abib, Joseph and Nicodemus placed the aloes on Jesus. Then came the high sabbath of the 15th, then the weekly preparation day when the women cooked the spices and ointments on the 16th, then the sabbath according to the Commandment on the 17th.
There is only one sabbath day according to the Commandment, which is Saturday, thus the preparation of the spices was after the Feast day sabbath, but before the weekly sabbath. Since it was the weekly preparation day connected to the sabbath according to the Commandment it had to be on a Friday. This puts the Passover on a Wednesday, which would give us the right amount of days and nights. However, with this added information we can determine Wednesday as the 14th of Abib, that night the first night, Thursday as the 15th of Abib was the day the priests went to Pilate making it the first day, as the feast day, or high sabbath; that night would be the second night, the next day would be Friday the 16th of Abib when the women fix the spices making it the second day, Friday night the third night. Then the sabbath day of Saturday the 17th of Abib would be the third day. Since Jesus was raised before sunrise on Sunday, we find the Day of Discovery was Sunday, but He was raised on the third day, pointing to Saturday.
The first day of the week is always Sunday, the last day is Saturday. Since the tomb was empty before dawn’s light on Sunday we can discount Saturday night, giving us three days and three nights, with Jesus being raised on a Sabbath day. Once death takes place, the Law of Moses has completed its purpose, thus we impute ourselves dead on the Cross of Jesus, completing the purpose of the Law of Moses, but opening the purpose for the Law of the Spirit.
So how does Good Friday work into this? The Early Church held three days of gathering, with one day a week spent witnessing to the Jews in temple. Of course the one day for witnessing to the Jews was Saturday, but the day they spent in breaking bread was in accordance with the discovery of the Resurrection, the same day Jesus made Himself known to the disciples, which was Sunday. Paul also called it the “first day of the week” (Matt 28:1, Mark 16:2, Acts 20:7 & I Cor 16:2).
The Early Church also kept Wednesday, which to them was the day of the Cross, even today many local bodies still keep Wednesday as “Bible study night”. The Early Church also kept Friday, but it connected to the Friday of the anointing, not the preparation day for the weekly sabbath. From the use of Friday, with the misunderstanding of the various sabbaths, man began a tradition, only this tradition calls Jesus a false prophet. Rather than three days and nights we end with one night and perhaps two days.
We know the anointing of Jesus by Mary was six days prior to the Passover, making the sixth day the Passover, making the Passover on a Wednesday, thus the anointing day would be Friday. This gives us Friday for the anointing, Saturday for the entry, Sunday for the fig tree observation, Monday the day Peter saw it, the same day Jesus was challenged in the temple, but accepted by the people as their Passover Lamb. Tuesday when Judas made his deal with the religious leaders, then Wednesday for the Cross. Thursday the sabbath day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Friday the preparation day for the weekly sabbath, Saturday for the weekly sabbath according to the Commandment, then Sunday the day of the discovery of the empty tomb.
With the information in hand, we find the morning the tomb was discovered empty. Another area where all the accounts play a part; if we read them all, putting them in order to the time and timing we find Mary went to the tomb, she found it empty. She ran back to tell Peter and John, who in turn run to the tomb, where they find the grave clothes, but no Jesus. They return to the house, but Mary stays. Then Jesus appears to her, she runs back to tell Peter, who runs again to the tomb, seeing nothing, he still doesn’t believe, walking away wondering. Giving us the evidence of Peter having two chances at this point in time to believe without seeing. Jesus appears to two disciples along a road, they run and tell Peter. Again Peter rejects the information, meaning Peter denied the Lord three times, then denied the Lord was raised from the dead three times. Jesus then appears and upbraids them with the unbelief. For a continuance of this study we now move to the “Commission of Christ”.
LESSON TEN – GOSPEL I – THE COMMISSION OF CHRIST
The word Commission means An assignment, when God calls, He Assigns, then He Equips, Trains and Sends forth. Jesus never made leaders, He made disciples who became leaders. Jesus made fishers of men, yet He ordained shepherds from among the sheep, there is a difference. Those in the Body are sent to build the Body (Rock), Jesus builds the Church. Never think we build the Church, yet we don’t stop tossing the Net until the Day ends. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I say also unto you, You are Peter, and upon this Rock I will build My Church”. If we make the mistake of thinking Peter is the Rock, we are right back to another Law of Moses, or the placement of a human between us and God. Within moments of Jesus saying this He also told Peter, “Satan get behind Me”, at the time Peter was not Born Again, he also lacked understanding of the Cross and Resurrection (Mark 9:32), yet Paul said the Rock is Christ (I Cor 10:4). With the events and time element we can’t assume Jesus was talking about Peter being the Rock, rather the mystery is found in the Greek, the word for Peter is Petros meaning a stone, or small rock. However the Greek word used for Rock is Petra meaning a massive Stone, much like a mountain. Peter was a stone, one of those who will make up the Rock, as was John, Andrew, and the others standing there. We also find the phrase “upon this Rock” is present tense, but “I will build” is yet future. Jesus ordained the disciples as apostles before the Cross, but they were restricted to the position of being “sons of men”, they were not sons of God at the time. They were Commissioned to perform specific tasks based on what they had received, not what they were to receive. This then shows the prior to the Cross the disciples operated in Mercy, not Grace. There is one Gospel, but it has two elements, one of Mercy, one of Grace. The New Covenant is in the Blood of Jesus, making the Blood Grace, but we also know we come boldly to the Throne to Obtain Mercy, and Find Grace (Heb 4:16). We are not going to Find Grace, until we Obtain Mercy. It’s exactly what the earthly ministry did, established the Mercy of the Father on earth. As members of the Body our base in Mercy, as members of the Church we have Grace. Forgiveness of our sins by the Father is Mercy based, but Grace is in the Spirit by the Blood of Jesus for the remission of sin, two things, yet joined in the One God. The Gospel shows us we can walk in Mercy, and do many Godly things, yet not understand spiritual matters (Mark 9:10 & 9:32). Once the Father forgives us we obtain Mercy, then we are expected to give it to others. Grace and Mercy are the Equal areas for the New Testament saint, we can’t have one without the other, yet expect to be equal. The Commission is only for those who have obtained Mercy, yet they have also found Grace.
The disciples did many wonderful things before the Cross, but nonetheless the Greater works are predicated on Grace, since Grace brought us the Spirit. Every person who received the Cross is forgiven of their sins, they have Power on earth as a “son of man”. They also have the greatest opportunity of all time, the ability to be Born Again to become a “son of God” (Rom 1:3-4). There are two things stopping us, one is our lack of knowledge, which is taken care of; the second is our lack of belief in the Name of Jesus, which is a matter of choice. The “Name of Jesus” points to Authority, one can run all over town saying, “Stop in the name of the Law”, some may for a while, until they find out the one speaking has no authority. Anyone under the Unction of the Name over the Body has the power to cast out devils, the saving of the soul is the issue of Grace. It doesn’t mean casting out devils is bad, far from it, but we must not rejoice in our power over darkness, rather we rejoice because our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Anyone in the Body, Born Again or not, minding the Spirit or minding the flesh has the ability to cast out devils, or lay hands on the sick, but the purpose of our faith is the saving of our souls. What good would it do to cast out all the devils, yet hear, “I never knew you” (Matt 7:21-23)? We must be Equal, cast out devils, yet engage in the purpose of our faith, even the salvation of our souls (I Pet 1:9).
Testimony and Testament are different, a testimony is something said, but a Testament is compared to a Will. God gave us a written document allowing us to view the Will of Jesus to determine the provisions of the Gospel. The Will contains the promises to those left behind after the death of someone, thus the inheritance is not in hand until the death of the Testate, thus the Testate is the subject of the Testament. We are the only ones with a written Will from God promising us many things, including the saving of our souls. So, when does death come for us? At the Cross, the Cross could only be a factor after Jesus gave Himself. Yet, the Cross without the Resurrection lacks competence. The main part of being a Christian is based in the Resurrection of Jesus, thus we identify with the death and resurrection, not merely the death alone. By the Cross of Jesus we are able to impute the old nature (flesh) dead, but we also have the ability to have the same Spirit of Holiness declaring us sons of God because we are Born Again. The Rapture, or Catching Away is not a separate Resurrection, it’s the completed Resurrection of Jesus, thus the same Spirit who raised Jesus will raise us, a provision of the Will. From this we can see how important it is to know Jesus spent three days and nights in the grave, yet was raised on the third day. If what Jesus said regarding the Resurrection is not true, then neither is anything else.
Jesus read His own Will in the Gospel, the Book of Acts displays how the inheritance was passed on. The Book of Acts is the proof of the inheritance being real, it’s in hand, if we receive it by faith. Nearly half of the uses of the title Holy Ghost are found in the Book of Acts. It becomes the proof of “the Holy Ghost was given, because Jesus was Glorified in the Resurrection” (Jn 7:38-39, completed).
Jesus said several times, “It is given unto you”, or “It is for you to know”; therefore, Jesus not only read His own Will, but died in the flesh to bring it to pass, then was raised to seal the promise with the Spirit of Holiness before the Father (Rom 1:3-4). His Acts and Ways opened the Way for us to have the Holy Spirit by the Holy Ghost providing the Gift of Grace so we could complete the provisions. Not only did He cause it to be written, He then gave us the ability to complete it. No wonder we love Him so much.
The “Living Water” is Mercy coupled with Life through the Spirit, thus the Living Water couldn’t come until the Spirit was given (Jn 7:38-39). This also shows the “Living Word” is the Logos with Life, not merely the Bible speaking of Life. When we have the Living Word in us, we will also have the capability to grant Living Water. Grace includes the Spirit as the Gift of God by the New Birth, meaning Christ in us the hope of glory, thus the Spirit is the ability to do Grace, making Grace the Gift (Eph 2:8. 3:7 & 4:7).
The Will of Jesus held two elements as well, one element unto Salvation, the other unto Judgment. Both Salvation and Judgment came with the Cross, we can’t have Salvation without Judgment being involved somehow, but wait, Grace is strictly unto salvation. Oh, the Day is for Salvation, we work while it is yet Day for the Night of Judgment comes when no man can work. The Book of Hebrews gives us the basic six rudiments to the Doctrine of Christ, one of those is the knowledge of Eternal Judgment. On the same note the same Book speaks of Eternal Salvation (Heb 6:1-2 & 5:9). There can be no eternal judgment until there is first an eternal salvation.
The description of Jesus in the Book of Revelation is much different from the one found on the Mount of Transfiguration. The Book of Revelation sees Jesus as the Son of man coming for judgment, but on the Mount it was Jesus as the Son of God holding Grace and Salvation. It’s not two Jesus’, but one Jesus with duties for two Seasons. We have conditions in the Will, the “little flock” have certain provisions relating to Judgment, yet they are divided from the Day, thus we are children of the Day, we are not children of the Night, nor of Darkness (I Thess 5:5).
A Testate has a legal valid Will established before death, but effective after death, the Executor of the Will makes sure all the provisions are performed so the heirs can gain the inheritance. The Holy Ghost is the Executor, the Father is the Probate Judge, but if one rejects, violates, challenges, or brings a different Will into the Court they must face the Judge. The enemies of Jesus attempt to change the Will by bringing their own personal agenda, then calling it the Will, as Judas did. The Seal on the Will is the legal mark identifying the property proclaimed by the owner. The seal (token) of the Holy Spirit protects us, enabling us to bring the Gospel with authenticity; however, the opened seals on the Will release the seven angels to bring the entire inheritance to God. The Remnant are sealed by the mark of God, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, there is a difference between a direct connection with the Spirit, and a mark of mercy provided by God. A Token or Seal is like a signature, the rainbow is God’s signature relating to the promise made to Noah, circumcision of the flesh is man’s signature relating to the Abrahamic Covenant, keeping the sabbath day is man’s signature to keeping the Law of Moses, our water baptism is our signature of agreement to the conditions regarding the Cross, yet the baptism with the Holy Ghost is the signature of Jesus relating to building us into the Church. The Will of Jesus was opened at the Cross, then made available by the Resurrection and Sacrifice, but it contains one main proviso, one element making it different from all the wills of man. In order to obtain from the Will of Jesus, one must be dead. This death is not a physical death as such, but a death based on imputing the flesh dead by the Cross of Jesus, in order to reach Resurrection Power to make us legal heirs with Christ. The Spirit is the proof of the New Covenant, thus the New Covenant is the Will of Jesus being granted to those who Believe.
There are stages of being an heir, each with provisions. If we are children of God, then we are heirs, then heirs of God, then joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). This is a process of growth, but growth comes by having the Spirit (Rom 8:1 & 8:11-15). Each provision was presented with the proviso of our faith in the One who originally read the Will. Since this is a Covenant relationship it depended on mutual vows, God made His vows, we make ours. The provisions hold all the Could Be’s, with the Will Be’s. In each case the one who inherits must lay claim to the inheritance in order to receive. The Will is like the glass of water before the dying man, if we don’t reach for it, we can die of thirst while looking at our deliverance. Even our legal system holds the same premise as a type and shadow, one could inherit a million dollars, yet never claim it, if not claimed, they lose it.
Can we have certain attributes in us, even if we don’t believe we do? Yes, they are waiting for the Permission from the one who is the heir to the inheritance. The New Man is the Spirit, the very Token showing we are heirs, thus our Spirit (New Man) bears witness with the Spirit of God. Romans 12:6-20 tells us each person who has the Spirit has certain attributes as actions (Charisma) of Grace (Charis); all of which are in the Born Again believer to assist them in helping the members of the Body. I Corinthians 12:7-11 relates to the Manifestation of the Spirit, they are areas in the Born Again believer to assist anyone, whether in or out of the Body. There are many clauses in the Will, we have more benefits than one can imagine, yet they will not manifest until we accept them.
Some of us have to see things before we believe, whether it’s some dove sitting in a tree, or a bunch of butterflies, or a face in a cloud, or something else, but Jesus said, “blessed are they who have not seen, yet have believed” (Jn 20:29). If we want to be Blessed, we must believe, not walk around looking for signs so we can believe. Signs follow a believer, signs don’t make one a believer.
To make sure we have help in all this Jesus gave gifts unto men to fill the offices of the Lord, known as the five-fold ministry (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher). The purpose of the five fold ministry is to build the saints, do the work of the ministry, and edify the Body, all of which helps the Body. Jesus said the work of the ministry was; “go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely you have received, freely give”, these were requirements for having one’s sins forgiven on earth by the Mercy of God before Grace came by the Blood of Jesus (Matt 10:7-8). It’s interesting the “saving of the soul” wasn’t included in the “work of the ministry”. Ahh, a mystery, Grace is for the saving of the soul, the work of the ministry is for reconciliation.
We also have to notice Jesus said “at hand”, not “in hand”, thus the Kingdom was being presented, but there remained another effort by Jesus before it could be in hand, the Resurrection. The declaration by the Spirit of Holiness regarding Jesus as the Son of God by the Resurrection is the same Seal we obtain. The Holy Spirit declares us sons of God, while in the process of making us sons of God.
The Gospel isn’t preached until the latter part of the command is completed, we can’t begin without the foundation of Mercy, but we can’t win without the Spirit. The main legacy (Gift) of the Will is Grace, which includes the New Birth. The New Birth is the provision to enter the adoption process, the means to move us from one family order to another, with the ability to leave all the curses and darkness behind. If one is a servant, or in the process of adoption they are not considered an heir until they are Begotten by the Gift of the Holy Ghost; however, once they reach a secured family position, they are entitled to the same provisions as the Begotten, making them a “joint-heir” with Christ. Does it mean we get to rule the world, and make people do as we want? Hardly, it means we have the ability and nature to do as Jesus did.
Jesus said, our traditions make the Word of God of no effect (without power – Mark 7:13). He also said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word (Rhema) proceeding out of the mouth of God”, faith comes by hearing, and the hearing by the Rhema (Matt 4:4 & Rom 10:17). Since the Bible is the Inspired document, we tend to call it “the Word of God”, but the Bible defines Jesus as the Word (Logos), the Rhema relates to Life and Spirit (Jn 6:63): therefore, Faith comes when our ears are centered on the things of Life, it doesn’t mean we have Life, rather our ears are centered on Life. Once we accept the Cross with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, we gain the Seed, which becomes Word in us fully able to save our souls (James 1:21).
The Bible is the Rule Book, but it’s also the written Will of God given by the voice of the Holy Ghost. However, God gives us more words coupled with the Bible by the Spirit as a provision of being in the Family, thus we of the Faith Hear the Rhema. Paul Read the Scriptures, but faith came when he saw Life in the words. Ears who hear sounds are as common as the sand, but ears who hear what the Spirit says are rare indeed. Ears can hear written words, but they hear them as the Spirit guides them into Truth. When the written word appears to come alive, it’s the Spirit breathing the breath of life on the words, thus our Rhema ears heard, causing faith to be received. God spoke in various ways in days past, but in this Season He speaks to us through His Son (Heb 1:2), the New Man is the voice of the Lord.
The Spirit takes each one of us on an adventure through the Bible, where we find there is no confusion, but a series of Truths opening up to new Truths. Those Truths feed the New Man, causing us to grow. The Scriptures mean what they say, the interpretation tells us Why they were written, the Holy Ghost doesn’t change the context, or surface meaning of the Scripture. The Holy Ghost applies the Scripture to the event we are facing at the moment. The same Scripture could fit our event, the event of another, or perhaps another event yet to come. It doesn’t change the meaning, it means we are taught as the Holy Ghost teaches us by comparing spiritual to spiritual. Of course there are the doubters and pouters attempting to erode our foundation by questioning the Bible, completing the challenge, “has God really said?”. However, the Word in us is fully able to separate the intent from the thought giving us clarity in the event.
We have One Gospel written by four scribes with One Author. John’s account spins around Mark 16:16-18, pointing to the Doctrine Of Baptisms, which includes many baptisms within the One Baptism. It’s not one over another, rather the Body of Christ is the only element on the earth who have the God granted legal right to baptize people in water, but only Jesus can baptize us with the Holy Ghost and fire. We know the word One in reference to One Baptism, means components making the total; thus there is One Baptism, which is made up of components, matching the Doctrine of Baptisms.
We know about the phrase “Great Commission” found in the last verses of Matthew, also the term, “Commission” points to the last verses in Mark, but like the word One, they make up parts of what one could call the Commission of Christ. Some proclaim John’s account is the builder of faith, but the word “Faith” never appears in his account; he does use the word Believe more times than Paul used it in all his letters, including the Book of Hebrews. Mark’s account says if we are baptized and continue to believe, we shall be saved, John builds on the concept, showing we must be Born Again, in the Body, then we continue to believe (Jn 3:16-17). Luke writes to a teacher, linking phrase to phrase, expanding on the command, “deny the self”. Luke says both Matthew and Mark were known and believed (Luke 1:1), then he adds information to assist the teacher. Luke shows Jesus said, “For I tell you, many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them” (Luke 10:24). From Luke 10:24 until Luke 19:28 we read those things as a teacher would see them, not as an historian would (Luke 9:23-24, 14:26-27 & 18:27). Placing Luke 10:24 through 19:28 in a chronological or historical time frame removes the reward of the teacher. Luke uses phrases such as, In a certain place, or At a certain time, or A certain person, with the intent of linking the teachings together no matter when they were taught. From Luke 10:24 to 19:28, nearly every word is attributed to Jesus, then grouped into the three areas of Deny the Self, Pick Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus.
Mark is the only one who says, “the beginning of the Gospel”, yet he doesn’t limit his account as the only Gospel. Mark’s account is given second, yet it does his say “the beginning”, it was also written first, ahh a mystery. The Holy Ghost placed the accounts in a certain manner to accomplish many tasks. The Holy Ghost uses whom He will to place Order as He sees it to benefit the Saint. The Gospel is a type of historical record, but we can’t limit it to history alone, it holds mysteries in the Holy Ghost. One of the proofs of how the Holy Ghost is the Author is the placement of the accounts; logic and reasoning would have placed Mark first, then Matthew, then Luke, then John, but the Holy Ghost arranged the accounts assuring us He is the Author.
The four accounts all join together, they are not separate, neither are they “the Gospel according to the men”; it’s the Gospel according to the Holy Ghost, written by four scribes. It’s stupid to say, “we have only one Gospel”, then turn right around and say, “Matthew’s Gospel”, it’s not Matthew’s Gospel, it’s the Gospel of Christ, Matthew is one of the four scribes. We then find a mystery, since Matthew is the first, we also find his account is the only one talking about the kingdom of heaven, also showing the kingdom of heaven has both good and bad. Matthew is written to the seed and root; whereas, Mark is written to the Blade, thus when we become a Blade the Gospel begins to take effect (Mark 4:28). Luke is written to the teacher, John giving us a firm foundation for our belief, making John the encouraging account, as it tells us what Jesus did during the forty day wilderness experience, it also fills in gaps giving us Hope, thus John is the evidence we need to retain our Continual Belief.
Some of us have been told, “Anything backward is witchcraft”; however, it doesn’t matter if it’s backward, forward, side ways, or upside down, it’s the intent making it witchcraft. Using wicked means to reach what we assume is a Godly result is just as much witchcraft as putting pins in a doll. If we take the backward thought to it’s limit, none of us would go back to our first love, nor would we back our car out of the garage in the morning. We would build everything so we are always going forward, or have the “reverse” gear removed from our vehicle. The Spirit in us separates the intent and thought, exposing the intent. Some things are backward and witchcraft; one is going back to the world after coming to Christ. However, another type of witchcraft is reaching into the Night and attempting to pull it into the Day, thus backward or forward it’s the intent determining if it’s witchcraft.
There are other things backward void of witchcraft; Mark wrote his account first, thus his account clearly shows it’s the beginning of the Gospel, yet it’s placed second in order, or backward. None of the accounts are in alphabetical order, unless we know alphabetically the name, John comes before Luke, Luke before Mark, and Mark before Matthew. The Holy Ghost placed the first four books in the New Testament alphabetically backward, then took the fifth book which starts with an A (Acts), and placed it after the first four. Then He placed the first two backward according to the time they were written. If we assume everything backward is witchcraft, we’re stuck with the premise of the Holy Ghost involved in witchcraft, which means the Record of the Father, Word and Holy Ghost is witchcraft. Silly? Some of our reasoning tends to be. Rather than look for witchcraft, we should be looking for Jesus.
The Holy Ghost shows us the intent so we can discern, rather than having us running about in fear yelling, “New Age, New Age”, every time we see a car back out of a parking place. Fear makes us run from truth, but faith makes us use the truth, the only thing new about the New Age, is our fear of it.
Some run to manuscripts lacking verses, but the manuscript is only one leg of the test. One must search for other evidences, many of the things said and done by the disciples were not written down until years later to preserve them. In many Codex and Documents we find the people of the time were making mention of the events and sayings. A good translator takes into account the things said by those of the time, by using all the evidence we gain truth, but anyone can deny Scripture, then find an excuse to support their unbelief. Our goal is to live to the title Believer, by seeking reasons to believe.
The Gospel is written in such a way the natural minded man must make some excuse for his unbelief. The over zealous scribe is one excuse, but it places the Bible in the hands of man, the old “what he really meant to say was…”, is another. These men were moved by the Holy Ghost to bring us the actual events, the intent of the events, the purpose of the events, why the events took place, the clarity in reference to our stage of growth as it relates to the event. Matthew uses one experience calling it the kingdom of heaven, Mark uses the same event, but calls it the Kingdom of God, Luke uses the same, but goes deeper into the intent and purpose, by using different words, but they are all based on the same event. The accounts give us the Holy Ghost granting knowledge, understanding and wisdom viewed from different perspectives, depending on ones growth, thus two people see the same event, yet depending on their knowledge and experience, they will gain different perspectives, but it’s still the same event, or verse. It’s not one person debating the event with another, but scribes viewing the same event from different aspects of growth as the Holy Ghost moved them. Got it? Good, because it’s how we are going to study them.
Paul said, the Gospel doesn’t come in word only, but in power with much assurance of the Holy Ghost (I Thess 1:5). It takes the Holy Ghost to present the Gospel, only He can present it with effectiveness, because He is the Author. We are called to defend The Faith, but how can we defend The Faith, if we’re not in The Faith? How can we give a witness, if we lack the True witness? How can we claim to be a Believer, if our theology is laced with unbelief? Any court will tell us the best evidence is the eye witness, we have the unique opportunity to have the Eye Witness as our New Heart. One can talk about the Bible, or talk about Jesus, or talk about Jehovah, but in each area they are giving their opinion based on their limited natural thinking. In a court it would be giving hearsay evidence, which is never considered reliable, or acceptable, the basis of heresy is what someone thinks happened. The New Man is a direct product of Christ, thus the New Man has the experience to bring the Witness. We must make the decision to enter the Commission of Christ by accepting the methods God has for our salvation.
All four accounts give us the Commission (Assignment) Of Christ, showing why it’s important to keep our Vows as we follow Jesus in a lawful manner. Since God does all things with a purpose, there must be a purpose for the accounts being in their specific order. John’s account doesn’t show the Ascension of Jesus, and neither does Matthew really, but both Mark and Luke do. Luke says the disciples were taken as far as Bethany, where Jesus lifted His hands and blessed them (Luke 24:50). Mark shows after the Lord spoke to the disciples, He was received up into heaven (Mark 16:19). Without the blade (Mark) we won’t understand the Ascension, without the teacher (Luke) we can’t reach the power of the Resurrection. The Believer (John) gives us the power to believe in the name of Jesus, yet without the Seed (Matthew) we wouldn’t understand the Authority granted.
Paul used phrases, concepts and wording from all four accounts, as did Peter, James and Jude, as well as, many early church fathers. These men raised the dead, healed the sick, and preached with authority, none of them used the phrases, “over zealous scribe”, or “what Moses meant to say was….”, they believed in God’s integrity, with their faith in God. Jesus didn’t tell the devil, “well I think it is written”, or “as it is translated correctly it is written”, or “what Moses meant to say was”; the integrity of God is found in His Character, thus the Bible is a mark of God’s integrity. Are there those who would change the Scriptures? Yes, but they are tampering with God’s integrity, not real smart on their part.
Peter denied the Lord three times, but without all four accounts, we will fail to see Jesus warned Peter three times of the events yet to come. We will also fail to see Peter said Jesus was the Son of God, but later added Jesus was the Christ, then Peter heard the wrong voice, and came up with “pity Yourself Lord”. One minute hearing from the Father, the next from the natural mind, yet Peter was unable to discern the difference between the revelation from the Father and his own soulish desires. Until the Day of Pentecost when he received Power from on High, the Power changed him considerably.
The reasoning of Peter sounded so much like the revelation, he was unable to discern the difference. In truth he didn’t know he had a revelation until Jesus told him, just as he didn’t know the source of “be it far from Thee Lord” until Jesus told him. Yet Peter walked on water, cast out devils, healed the sick, and did many wonderful works. The New Birth is the connection to know the Lord, rather than talk about Him. All these events lead us to understand how the mind of man without the Spirit jumps from the revelation to “the things of man” in a heartbeat. Peter’s wilderness broke him, but it didn’t destroy him. Before Jesus gave the Bread at the Last Passover, He Took, He Blessed, then He Broke (Matt 26:26). Paul said we are the Bread (I Cor 10:17), thus all of us in the hand of the Lord will be blessed, broken, then we become useful for the work of the ministry.
John’s account shows the various feast days, including how Jesus cleaned out the temple during the first Passover feast of His earthly ministry (Jn 2:16), then He taught on the living Bread during the second Passover (Jn 6:4 & 6:32-40). Mark shows how Jesus cleaned out the temple a second time toward the end of the earthly ministry. Each event adds to the other; the first cleaning drove out the impulse to make gain from the things of God, especially the Dove (Spirit), the next Passover introduced the Bread of Life, then on the third Passover came the cleaning of the temple, because it became a den of thieves.
Some say John doesn’t even speak of the Wilderness experience, but we will find John speaks more on the Wilderness than the other accounts. John shows how there were two cleanings of the Temple; the first cleaning produced the saying, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”, which was twisted and used against Jesus during the trials (Matt 27:40, 27:63, Mark 15:29 & Jn 2:19). Jesus made a truthful statement, then proved it true, but was mocked for it. Any of us can find ourselves in the same predicament, we have choices in how we respond. We can react by self-justification, or respond by allowing the Lord to prove the truth.
Peter trusted in his own arm when he told Jesus, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I”, he meant it, he was willing to die in a good fight (Mark 14:29). Peter was the only one in the Garden who stood with Jesus, it was Peter who cut the ear off Malchus. Peter wasn’t taking aim at the man’s ear, rather he took dead aim at the man’s head (Jn 18:10). However, the Love of Jesus prevented two men from being on trial, Peter found the Truth of Mercy going beyond the mental limits of natural man. How could anyone love someone who is falsely accusing them, yet not only love them, but reach out to heal them? Peter had one concept of “Love not your life unto the death”, but Jesus was going to show Peter the manner one really denies the self.
When Peter saw the Mercy pouring out of Jesus during those horrid events, he knew no man could confess Jesus in the same manner as Jesus was confessing the Father. Peter wanted to do something for Jesus and failed, later he was converted and restored, but Judas set out to do something against Jesus for personal gain and found a piece of rope. Although both repented, the type of repentance, and the reasons for repentance were different, the results were very different.
When Jesus told Peter, “you will deny Me”, Peter told the Lord, “not so Lord” or “Lord, You don’t know me”. How many of us said, “Lord You don’t understand”? When Peter denied Jesus it was before small groups of no more than two or three people. We can deny Jesus before one or two, and be just as guilty as one who denies Him before fifty thousand. When Peter corrected the Lord, he didn’t understand the purpose of prophecy. Jesus gave Peter comfort in the phrase, “when you are converted, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:32). The word Converted means, Turned Around Again. Jesus didn’t say, “if you are”, it was “when your are”, meaning it would happen.
The last chapter in John’s account is for any of us who need to be converted so we can strengthen others. The conversion changed Peter’s confession from “not so Lord”, to “Lord You know all things” (Jn 21:17). Peter’s experience brought clarity to his limited ability, but like any of us, we can place our minds on our limits and miss what Jesus is telling us. Peter attempted to save the Lord by his own efforts, the conversion of Peter promised “another comforter”. Peter went from one extreme to the other, from the place where he put too much emphasis on his ability, to the place where he put none. In the last chapter of John we find Jesus converting Peter to the place where he can strengthen his brothers, but Peter was denying the call. As we will see, Peter knew his weakness, but he was also denying the ability of Jesus.
John shows Jesus at the sea shore, telling us this was the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after the Resurrection (Jn 21:14). The disciples were fishing, but not for a vacation, they really went fishing as an occupation. The location is the Sea of Tiberias, both Mark and Luke say the Ascension was just outside of Bethany (Luke 24:50), several miles south of Tiberias. This meeting on the sea shore is several days before the Ascension, Luke tells us Jesus was with the disciples forty days after the Resurrection (Acts 1:3). Pentecost is 50 days after Passover, or 49 days past the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus being in the grave for three days and with the disciples forty days, leaves seven days, which are accounted for in the Bible. During those seven days, Jesus went before the Father and gave the greatest Sacrifice of all time. Jesus did it for us, but at the same time proved none of us can equal the faith, ability, or efforts of Jesus; therefore, we have access by His Faith, since His Faith provided the Sacrifice. If we assume we have access by our measure of faith, we error, since our faith was designed to receive the Sacrifice, not give it. However, we do give sacrifices, after receiving the Sacrifice. We give ourselves as a living sacrifice, we also give the sacrifice of praise. However, none of our “sacrifices” are possible until we receive the Sacrifice of Jesus.
There was a specific reason why Mary wasn’t allowed to touch Jesus on the Resurrection day, and why Thomas was commanded to some eight days later (Jn 20:17, 20:26-27, & Luke 24:39). Something happened during those seven days which changed “touch Me not”, to “handle Me and see”, producing the saying, “Your throne, O God, is forever” (Heb 1:8). Hebrews 1:8 makes more sense when we read Psalm 45 and see, “all Your garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia” (Ps 45:6-8). The word for God in Psalm 45 is Elohiym, thus Elohiym called the Son Elohiym. Jesus saved us from the world as the Son of man, the Resurrection proved, or declared Him as the Son of God (Rom 1:3-4), then He opened the door so the Holy Ghost could bring the Gift of the Spirit. Jesus operated as the Son of man in Mercy, the Son of God by granting us Grace, as God the Son by maintaining the Kingdom.
It doesn’t mean Jesus was not the Son of God before the Resurrection, only the declaration by the Spirit came at the Resurrection, indicating we are only sons of God by the same Spirit of Holiness. The Word was God, the Word took on flesh to become the Son of Man, then went to the Cross as the Son of man, He will return to Judge as the Son of Man. Never giving up His position as the Word, or the Son of God, but putting them aside to accomplish for us, something none of us could. How could Jesus die on the Cross as the Son of God, if none of us were sons of God? It would take the Son of man, to stand for mankind. The Resurrection Declared Jesus the Son of God by the Spirit of Holiness, showing us the power of the Resurrection is the place where we gain the Spirit to make us sons of God (Rom 1:3-4, Jn 1:13, Heb 9:7-8, 9:14-24 & 9:28).
The Bible tells us a sacrifice, as well as the priest who offers the sacrifice are holy, and no one can touch a holy thing and live (Numb 4:15). The priest shall be consecrated, outside the temple for seven days (Ex 29:30 & 29:35). Therefore, Mary couldn’t touch Jesus, nor could anyone else for a period of seven days. However, in Matthew we see they “held Him by the feet”, but it’s metaphoric, then defined in John’s account. John uses a word meaning to Touch, but it’s not the same word Matthew uses. Rather we find the disciples at the time lacked the ability to worship in Spirit and Truth, thus they were holding the feet of Jesus by their unbelief, yet they worshipped Him from their natural minds. Mark clears it up by showing how Jesus upbraided the disciples with their unbelief, thus Matthew shows one can worship Jesus, yet hold unbelief. Thomas worshiped Jesus only after seeing, thus worship is admiration, but we can worship the Lord, yet hold unbelief. They didn’t want Jesus to leave, they feared the future, they wanted Jesus with them as their security. They didn’t understand how they had Authority, or how Jesus ascending would grant them Another Comforter from the Comforter. They had Authority, but unless Jesus went to the Father they would not receive Power from on High.
Mary was informed by Jesus to tell the disciples, “go into Galilee and there shall they see Me” (Matt 28:10). We know Jesus appeared in the house in Jerusalem, not in Galilee, thus the Command given and the performance of the disciples to the Command were different. Therefore, the command went forth, the disciples didn’t. Jesus had to appear to counter their unbelief before the Sacrifice could be given, thus they were binding Jesus to the earth by holding His feet, the Greek word means to Capture, or Hold by force. The Father was waiting for the Sacrifice, yet Jesus was bound to this earth by the unbelief of the disciples. Until belief entered the hearts of the disciples, the Sacrifice couldn’t take place; therefore, the disciples were binding their freedom to the earth, and bound heaven from them. They needed to loose their unbelief, by entering Belief, thus Jesus appeared to them to give them the foundation to Believe (Luke 24:25 & Jn 20:27-29).
Mark says, “afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat and upbraided them with their unbelief”; He didn’t upbraid them for their unbelief, rather He was bound to the earth because of their unbelief, thus the hardness of their own hearts was stopping the entire process. How could it? He died for them, not for Him. They believed not them which had seen Him raised (Mark 16:14). Not only didn’t they believe Jesus was raised, but they didn’t obey the command to go to Galilee. From this we see why it’s so important to believe Jesus was raised from the dead; we can’t enter the Sacrifice without belief.
Once the Sacrifice was given, the Father said, “let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb 1:6) with, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom” (Heb 1:8). Taking this to “the hour comes, and now is, when the True Worshipers shall Worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth” (Jn 4:23), we find the Sacrifice in heaven opened the Door allowing us to be Born Again messengers (angels) who are able to worship in Spirit and Truth, by the Spirit of Truth (I Jn 4:1-4). Adding this to the premise we find we can worship Jesus, yet without the Spirit of Truth we can still bind Him by our unbelief.
We seek the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, Jesus holds both. When Jesus said Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, He was speaking as the Son of man, not the Son of God, or God the Son. The position dictated the tenses and personage in the phrase. The same is true when He said not even the Son knows the Hour or Day, because He returns as the Son of man, not the Son of God. We know everything Jesus as the Son of man knows, but we don’t know everything Jesus as the Son of God knows, surely we don’t know everything Jesus as God the Son knows. We are told all things relating to us, with some things relating to others in order to help them, but it doesn’t mean we have the “mind of the Lord”. It does mean we have the Mind of Christ, as we are instructed by the Mind of the Lord (I Cor 2:16). Wait, it’s the same thing isn’t it? No, the Mind of Christ is the Anointing, the Mind of the Lord is the Mind of Jesus.
When the Sacrifice was given, the Street was complete, the Door to the sheepfold was open. Paul said, Jesus first descended into the lower parts of the earth, yet Jesus was buried in a ground level tomb (Eph 4:9). Peter said, the Body of Jesus could see no corruption, nor could the soul of Jesus be kept in hell (Acts 2:27). Paul also said Jesus descended, ascended and then ascended far above all heavens (Eph 4:10). Jesus first descended to defeat the devil, taking the keys of death and hell, then He ascended to take captivity captive (Cloud of Witnesses) to the altar of God, where He gave the Sacrifice, then returned to be with the disciples forty days. Then He Ascended to His position far above the heavens, all this is the First Coming of Jesus. Then the Holy Ghost came with the Gift of the Spirit, He also gave the Apostles commandments. One of the functions of the office of Apostle is to give Commandments.
When Jesus begins His return He will stop in the Air to receive the Dead in Christ, then after the 1,000 years He returns as the Son of man for judgment, thus the First Coming gave us all the elements of salvation, opening the door to heaven, but the Second Coming brings judgment. The First Coming provided us the means to be Tabernacles of Salvation, but Judgment comes from the Temple, thus Paul said the Corinthians were the Temple of God, rather than the Tabernacle. He also told them to pray their works get them through the Fire.
By using all the accounts, we discover Mary and the other women went to the tomb where they found the stone rolled away. Mary ran to Peter and John and told them the tomb was empty. Peter and John ran to the tomb, where John saw the grave clothes and believed, but Peter went back to the house (Jn 20:9-10). Mary remained at the tomb where she saw the angels, one at the door of the tomb (Matt 28:1-2), and one inside (Mark 16:5), but Mary saw them as men rather than angels (Luke 24:4). Mary thought they moved the Body of Jesus after hearing, “why do you look for the living among the dead”, convincing her someone removed the Body of Jesus, until she saw Jesus. After seeing Jesus and hearing, “go tell them and Peter”, she ran and told Peter again, only this time she told them she saw the Lord. Mary was told to tell Peter specifically, thus he was given his second chance to believe. Peter still failed to receive the prophet in the name of the prophet, missing the prophet’s reward. Again Peter ran to the tomb, but found it empty, then he walked away “wondering in himself” or questioning the words of Mary (Luke 24:12). Then the two witnesses saw Jesus, after they reported to Peter how Jesus appeared and talked to them along the road (Luke 24:33-34). Peter now had three chances to believe the Lord was raised from the dead, he was told three times he would deny the Lord, he did so. Peter didn’t make one mistake, or three, he made several, yet his intent was not to fail, rather he really wanted to serve the Lord, but knew he lacked what it took to stand for Jesus in the same manner as Jesus stood for the Father, especially in those times of pressure.
The Greek has several words for the English word Love, there is a difference between Agape love, Agapao love, and Phileo love. Phileo is a brotherly love, yet the Father Phileoed the Son (Jn 5:20); Jesus said the Father Phileos us, because we Phileo Jesus (Jn 16:27). This same Phileo love, is the foundation for the Church of Philadelphia, their Phileo love will be the little strength they need. Jesus also Phileoed the Laodiceans, which was enough to rebuke them (Rev 3:19). Agape as an entity is God, thus God is Agape, but Agape love is a love always working to benefit another regardless of the cost to the one who is granting the love; Agape is always self-less, or completely void of self-desires, thus God is the only one who can Agape, yet the Seed of God is like unto God. Agapao is based in some joy of the one who is granting the love, God so Agapao the world, He gave, but man Agapao darkness rather than light (Jn 3:16 & 3:19).
The Greek Agape is only found in revealed religion, it’s often translated as Charity, the Old English word Charity means grating someone benevolence without asking a return, or granting beyond the call of normal duty to see others cared for. The differences in the meanings of Love give us some insight to the conversion of Peter. Peter felt he was very strong, but found he was weak in many areas he never considered. However, he allowed the weakness to overtake him. In John’s account we find Jesus standing on the shore, as the disciples return from fishing (Jn 21:1-3). Peter felt he was still one of the boys, but he wasn’t sure about being one of the Apostles, his feeling was he missed it, especially when Jesus separated him by saying “tell the disciples and Peter”. Peter was separated from the position, but did it mean Jesus would leave him out of the calling? No, this one chapter shows any of us can slip, but it doesn’t mean we’re shut out.
When Peter went fishing, it wasn’t a vacation, rather he returned to his old line of employment, adding another mistake. Perhaps some of us are still questioning our position based on some of the things we have done. This last chapter of John gives us the hope of knowing Jesus doesn’t give up on us. There is a purpose and a reason for many of the things we call bad, often the purpose is very good. Jesus knew Satan would sift (gut punch) Peter, He knew the many times Peter would slip; however, Jesus never moved to stop it, showing the event as horrid as it might seem to Peter at the moment was the means to bring Peter to a place to be useful.
At this point in time these men had the protection of Mercy through the forgiveness of sins, yet they were told to the prerequisite to receiving the Holy Ghost was to forgive, or remit sins done onto them (Acts 1:8, Jn 20:22 & Mark 11:22-27). John 20:22 is often called the Ingress Aires from Majesty on high, but we will only understand the Ingress Aires From the Latin Ingressus Aeris, we use the more accepted and simpler term “Ingress Aires” (Jn 20:22). Right after Jesus breathed on the disciples He said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost”, but did they receive the Holy Ghost then? If so what about Pentecost? The answer is in the phrase, the English word Ingress comes from the Latin Ingressus, meaning Granting or Giving Permission to enter. The word used in the Greek is Emphusao meaning “to breathe upon”, which is a verb, yet either of the Greek nouns (Pnoe or Pneuma) were used, this verb is only used in John 20:22. If the verb Empneo was used, then we could say Jesus breathed Into the disciples, but the use of Emphusao is specific, meaning Upon. If the Greek Pneuma would have been used, then certainly this was the granting of the “Spirit” (Pneuma), but it was not, thus the Breathing was granting Permission for the disciples to receive the Holy Ghost, then the Power by the Gift of Grace on Pentecost, with the prerequisite condition to forgive sins done unto them, showing the Unity of prayer on the day of Pentecost. The breath of Jesus is on everyone who enters the Body, but it is not the Indwelling, since it was “on” the disciples. Yet it gave them an ability to remit sins done unto them. The purpose of the breath was defined in John 20:23; as they were told to remit sins, but this is not going about telling people “God forgives you, go in peace”, this is remitting sins done unto them, connecting to Mark 11:22-26. This is an act of Mercy to receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost. If we lack the ability to forgive, we need to ask Jesus for a fresh breath to cover us. This was so important many of the early water baptisms included a saint breathing on the candidate, then laying hands on them for presentation unto the Lord so they could be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Peter understood the premise, but here he is being asked to forgive himself in order to learn from the experience.
Of course the other side of the coin was the refusal to remit, to the Jew this was backward. Under the Law if we held unforgiveness the person we hold unforgiveness against had to make it right with us, of course the Law is for carnal minded people. Here Jesus says if we hold unforgiveness we have bound God’s Mercy in heaven, but if we loose the person then God will loose His Mercy on us.
If we attempt to make this the actual indwelling of the Holy Ghost we would be in error based on Scripture. Jesus just said “I send you”, but we find before they could Go, they had to Tarry for the Holy Ghost to “come upon” them (Acts 1:8). Since we find in John 20 they did not have the Spirit, giving them the Holy Ghost without also giving them the Power would be a violation of the procedure Jesus laid out in Acts 1:6-8. Next in Acts 2:4 we find when the Holy Ghost came the disciples spoke in other tongues, yet in John they didn’t speak. As Peter was preaching to Cornelius, the Holy Ghost fell on Cornelius, then Cornelius began to speak in tongues (Acts 10:46). Peter equated this to “baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 11:15). Later when Paul laid hands on some disciples and the Holy Ghost came upon them they began to speak in other tongues and prophesy (Acts 19:6). Two signs related to the Spirit are tongues and prophecy (I Cor 14:1-22). Further, the Greek word used for “receive” in John 20:22 is Lambano, the meaning depends on the usage, in John 20 Jesus is teaching thus the Lambano is used in reference to receiving the teaching of the teacher (Jn 1:12, 5:43, 13:20, 14:17 et al). The Latin really helps, showing how the Breath of Jesus granted them ability, something all of us need, the ability to forgive the unforgivable in order to be prepared to receive the Holy Ghost in fullness.
This is a very important issue, demanding study time. These same disciples were not asked, they were commanded to forgive, but we all know there are those who fit “I can’t forgive them”. What then? Can we forgive them seven times? Nay, seventy times seven. How can we? In and of ourselves we can’t, but the Breath of Jesus is the power of the Mercy of God. It gives us the ability to Loose Mercy, so God’s Mercy can be Loosed on us. It becomes the prerequisite to having the fullness of the New Birth (Mark 11:25-26). If we lack Power in our Christian walk it’s because we have neglected to enter this area, thus if we lack the ability to forgive, we know the breath of Jesus is sufficient. From this point on when we speak of the “Ingress Aires”, you will know what we are referring to.
We must make the separation between forgiveness (Mercy), and the baptism for the remission of sins (Grace), as well as, between a living soul and a quickening spirit. They are joined in the concept of Salvation, but they are also separated as the Rock and Church are. God breathed into Adam, then Adam gained the “breath of life”, but his ability to remain in life was found in the external Tree of Life. When Adam was separated from the Tree of Life, death entered, yet he continued to exist. In John we find a much different situation, the disciples were still under the old nature, but Jesus granted them permission to receive the Holy Ghost by allowing them to move to a position higher than the one Adam held. They wouldn’t need to run around looking for the Tree of Life, their Life was in the New Birth, making them the spiritual Tree.
Whether we know it or not, the second we accepted the Cross of Jesus, the breath of Christ is upon us. Then the Commission to “receive ye the Holy Ghost” is also upon us. The Cross is not the finish of the race, but there is no race without it. Our Commission is written for us, it begins with John’s Account. John’s Account shows the disciples fished all night and caught nothing (Jn 21:3). As they approached the shore, Jesus called out, “Children, have you any meat?” (Jn 21:5). The time and location are different from Luke 24:41; here they are by the shore, but in Luke’s account they were in the house, thus Luke points to a different date (Luke 24:41-43).
The first time Jesus appeared to the disciples was the night of the Resurrection. Then eight days later was the second appearance, when Jesus told Thomas and the other disciples to touch Him. John gives us the third time or the morning of the ninth day, or the beginning of the forty days Jesus would be with them prior to the Accession. Their answer to Jesus’ question was a sound, NO, showing their frustration (Jn 21:5). Prior Jesus said, these men would be fishers of men, now they are looking back to the ways of the world to obtain their need.
There are 153 blessings in the Abrahamic Covenant, Peter had to make his choice between holding the Abrahamic Covenant, or serving Jesus. If one engages in the Abrahamic Covenant they must comply with the Law of Moses as well, since one was incorporated into the other by the token of circumcision of the flesh. All this is still after the Ingress Aires, thus the Ingress Aires provided them the ability to remit sins done unto them so they could seek the Holy Ghost. Here Jesus is confirming what shortly will happen, thus showing the breath of Jesus didn’t grant them the New Birth, it granted them permission to receive the New Birth (Jn 21:18).
Prior Peter heard, “deny himself”, then he heard, “you will deny Me”, thus like most of us when he heard “deny yourself” he said, “But Lord I have”, when he denied the Lord, he found he had not denied the self, rather he was in the process of attempting to save it. It’s not to belittle Peter, rather it shows he lacked the ability, his experience shows us we too lack the ability until we receive the Spirit. There are many religions who do all sorts of acts of self-righteousness presuming they are “denying the self”, yet they are enforcing the self nature, not denying it. To deny the self is an act of death, it takes the Cross of Jesus, not religious exercises.
Peter had the information prior to the Cross, proved it by saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words (Rhema) of life” (Jn 6:68). It was the revelation the Father gave to Peter and the others at the time to secure the incentive to remain with Jesus. Peter didn’t walk away then, why would he later? Peter hasn’t walked away, he was still there, but so was Jesus.
Jesus told them to cast their net to the right side of the boat (Jn 21:6). This lesson was both an old one, and a new one. The old lesson was to listen to Jesus, then do as He says, even if the circumstances appear hopeless. Jesus didn’t say, “I called you to be fishers of men, get rid of the net”, rather He provided them a choice. Within minutes Jesus gave them a net breaking catch of 153 fish. This catch is a prelude to a choice facing Peter within moments. The evidence before Peter would be clear, he was still unable, he was even failing at doing what he used to do best, thus the added incentive would be the 153 fish. He could continue where he was at, and Jesus would bless him, but he made the vow to continue on with Jesus, now his choice will determine his decision. The net was on one side of Peter, Jesus on the other. Many of our wilderness experiences are no different, the element on one side, Jesus on the other.
Before Jesus asked Peter any questions, Jesus already knew Peter’s answers, but Peter didn’t, this test and restoration was for Peter. The disciples sat down to eat, Jesus not only prepared the meal, He did it with His catch. Here Peter had a net with more than enough, but Jesus had the need filled. There are times when “abundance” is not the blessing, the Need is. Our efforts to provide for our need may work, but Jesus already has the provision waiting, if we only ask. Jesus not only wants to provide for us, but He also wants us to trust in His ability to provide. It’s not whether or not we are sitting and waiting for the ravens to bring our need, or whether or not the Lord has us working to meet our need, it’s whether or not we are obeying the Lord in the endeavor. Peter was breaking his back pulling in the net, but Jesus was cooking the need (Jn 21:9). Jesus didn’t use one of the 153 fish, He provided the Things from another source, it should be a clue to some of us who chase the blessing like a dog after a cat.
The restoration and calling of Peter begins as Jesus says, “Simon son of Jonas, lovest (Agape) you Me, more than these” (Jn 21:15). The word “these” refers to the fish, as the fish represent the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant. Peter could have said, “Lord you know I love you, but I also love the fish, and they are part of the Abrahamic Covenant, and Abraham was promised these things by God Himself, You know”, but Peter had to decide to reach further than receiving the blessing, he had to decide if he wanted to finish the race by being a blessing unto God. On one hand he could have the blessing, on the other he could be a blessing.
Peter desired the calling, but his past conduct was holding him back: for the first time, Peter admits his limitations. Admitting our limitations, and allowing them to hold us back are different. It didn’t take long for Peter to turn his eyes from the net to Jesus. Peter heard Agape but answered, “Yes, Lord, You know I love (Phileo) you” (Jn 21:15). Peter knows his heart for the first time, he also knows his Phileo love wasn’t enough to stand in the time of pressure. Peter saw the “old man”, he didn’t like what he saw, but what could he do about it? His Phileo love was enough to heal the sick, preach the Gospel, and sit at the table with Jesus, but it wasn’t enough to face the pressure of affliction or the persecution for the Word’s sake.
From the English it would appear easy enough for Peter to mix the two types of love, but Jesus wasn’t talking to Peter in English, Peter heard right, he answered based on what he knew to be a fact. Peter already experienced his love in action, he knew it failed him before, surely it would fail again. Here Jesus is talking directly to Peter, but Jesus didn’t respond this time with, “Get you behind Me Satan”, no this wasn’t some Satan thinking Peter had, it was Fact. Peter knew man’s Phileo love is good, but not good enough to deny the self, or follow Jesus. The Remnant have Phileo, they will keep the Commandments of God, but they will also be overcome.
Peter’s puny faith put him on the water, but the same puny faith failed in the face of adversity, it almost killed him. Peter made his choice when he said, “Lord I Phileo You”, thus the denial of the self was confessed. Peter loves the Lord, but his desire is to Agape the Lord, yet he knows the ability is missing. Many days prior Jesus told the disciples, “if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life (Psuche), shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life (Psuche) for My sake, the same shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24). When Peter reaches “Follow Me” the test will be complete, but the work just beginning.
Here we find the difference between Peter and Judas, Peter loved the Lord, based his decision of Phileo love. Judas loved Judas more than anyone, his decision was to benefit Judas above all else, thus Peter sought the Lord, Judas sought the power and blessing. Judas taking from the bag indicates he felt the Lord didn’t know all things, as part of his error it became the root of his failure.
Like Peter, far too many of us have made mistakes, then decided it was all over, or we allowed someone else to tell us it was all over, or we stopped somewhere along the path of Phileo failing to reach for Agape. Phileo love can still point to God, but Phileo only provides a little strength, it’s not enough to maintain Grace, but with Grace comes Agape.
When God tells us our vision, we must agree with Him to see it complete. When Peter hears the vision Jesus has for him, it will be difficult for him to believe. Nonetheless Peter will end in agreement, as he makes the choice to believe beyond his natural ability. Peter still made mistakes after Pentecost, but God didn’t remove him from the office of Apostle (Gal 2:7-16). When Paul confronted Peter, Paul didn’t ask for Peter’s papers, rather his intent was based in restoration.
Even after Peter answered with Phileo, Jesus says, “Feed My lambs” (Jn 21:15). Perhaps in Peter’s mind he is thinking, Oh great, now I have a calling and no ability. The Greek here indicates taking the lambs (little ones) to the pasture of God so they can learn how to eat. This is a warning to Peter as well as a call; we never hinder the little ones, we encourage them to enter the pasture. Paul said, Forbid not to speak in tongues (I Cor 14:39), we do not stand in the way of others with rites, rules and carnal regulations. If the Lord gives us policies, we live by them, but self-imposed rules to control people is different.
David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd, He makes me to lay down in green pastures” (Ps 23:2). The pasture is the Bible, the place where we find Jesus, nothing builds us faster than making the decision to Believe. Perhaps this inquiry is all over with, the Lord knows Peter Phileos Him. Just maybe, Peter can sit down and eat. Not so, Jesus asks Peter a second time, “Simon son of Jonas, lovest (Agape) you Me?” (Jn 21:16). In this second question we don’t see the wording “more than these”; the issue was settled when Peter answered the first question. In reference to this second question, Peter again says, “Yes Lord, You know I love (Phileo) You” (Jn 21:16). Jesus changed the question, but Peter used the same answer. Peter knew the promise, and assumed he had to wait until he was filled before he could believe. Jesus is telling him to believe, then he will receive. Peter believed he had Phileo, because he did. Jesus is asking him to reach beyond the premise, to believe he can also display and operate in the Agape Love of God. To Peter this would make little sense, after all he did have the past failure to show he couldn’t, yet Jesus is telling him to believe he can.
In reference to the second question, Jesus tells Peter, “Feed My sheep” (Jn 21:16). This is somewhat different from the first statement of “Feed My lambs”. This time Peter is told to feed the young men personally, rather than take them to a place to be fed. Although Peter’s answer didn’t change, his calling did. Peter was acting like a son of Jonah (Jonas), he kept attempting to hide in “the fish”, but he couldn’t get away from the calling, neither can we. Jesus keeps referring to Jonah (Jonas), telling Peter, “stop running son”. Jesus is telling many of us, “stop running” accept the calling. The use of “Simon Son of Jonah” was a clue to Peter, but he was so involved his weakness, he couldn’t see the hope. Jonah was sent to a city in a nation who were enemies of the Jews, in essence Jonah was sent to the Gentiles, just as Peter would be. In Acts when Peter has his vision of what he thinks are unclean he will doubt at first (Acts 10:17), but the vision didn’t come one time, or twice, it came three times, a clue? Perhaps (Acts 10:16). In Acts Peter thinks it’s a test, he goes right back to “not so Lord” (Acts 10:14), thus he was Born Again, but it’s a Process (or did we say that?). If we make a mistake, we must learn from it, we don’t beat ourselves stupid because of it. Repent, learn, discern, but don’t burn.
Peter knows both the lambs and the sheep grow in the pasture; it’s one thing to take them there, another to lead them through it. Here Peter is being told to train (disciple) the called, yet Peter knows he is not even a babe yet. This time Jesus uses the Greek Poimaino for the English word Feed, from Poimaino we get the word Pastor. Peter keeps saying, “I don’t have what it takes”, but Jesus keeps adding to the calling. This time Peter doesn’t say, “You don’t know Lord”, but he is nonetheless attempting to hide from the calling. On the surface, or in the natural, it would appear as if Peter was right and Jesus wrong, but we know better, Jesus is looking at what will be, Peter is looking at what is.
Jesus says a third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (Phileo) you Me?” (Jn 21:17). Jesus has now changed from Agape to Phileo, Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the third time, “Phileo you Me”. Peter wasn’t grieved by Jesus asking three questions, rather it was Jesus using the word Phileo the third time. We become grieved when Jesus upbraids us with our own unbelief. Peter does Phileo Jesus, it’s not the issue. Peter is holding unbelief in the area of Agape, which is the issue. This is not “Peter do you even Phileo Me”; rather Jesus is using Peter’s own words. When Jesus uses our own words of unbelief, the upbraiding is upon us. This connects to the last verses in Mark, rather than all the disciples, this is Peter in reference to his calling.
Peter was holding to the present state of affairs, but unless he believes into the vision Jesus has for him, it will not come to pass. Jesus is reaching into the belly of the whale as He pulls Peter out of the hell of unbelief. Jesus is still looking to the potential which Peter will obtain on Pentecost, it’s Peter who can’t see it (Jn 21:17). Peter realizes Jesus knows all things, yet only God knows all things. We must prepare our heart for the seed to grow, Peter is now turning the soil.
Many of us have said, “look at the things I have done, how can God use me?”, or “I have denied Jesus three times, how can He forgive me?”, or “I’m not smart enough to serve the Lord”, or “I’m such a fool, how can Jesus use me?”, or “I have really blown it this time, I don’t see how I can go back to church, much less have Jesus use me”, or the classic, “I have committed the unpardonable sin”. The unpardonable sin is unpardonable since the one doing it never asks for Pardon. If we fear committing the unpardonable sin, it’s a sign we haven’t. These comments all come from the belly of the whale, when we “cry by reason of our affliction”, the Lord will hear, then we will sacrifice with the voice of thanksgiving soon finding ourselves on dry land again (Jonah 2:2-10).
Jesus used people most of us wouldn’t talk to, but He took, cleaned, anointed and sent them forth. In each case Jesus began where the people were at, but He didn’t leave them there. None of us are worthy, but Jesus takes us as the empty cup, cleans, and fills us with Living Water and His Blood making us worthy. The latter house is much better than the former.
Jesus tells Peter the third time, “Feed My sheep”. This is a combination of the first and second statements. The word, Feed is the same Greek word Jesus used the first time, but now He couples it with the word Sheep, thus combining the first and second request into this third, clearly this is the Calling. Peter would later say, “feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly, not for filthy lucre but of a ready mind”; Peter learned his lessons well (I Pet 5:2). What would have been “filthy lucre” in this case? How about the 153 fish? Yes, the wording Filthy Lucre doesn’t mean money alone, it means we don’t care where we get it from, or the strings attached. One who takes filthy lucre will put their hand out to gain from the devil, just as fast as they do from God.
Jesus tells Peter, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would..” (Jn 21:18a). This is a description of Peter’s self-run life style, ours as well. Like Peter, when we were self run we did as we wanted, allowing our unsaved souls to guide us. This is not when Peter was a physical baby, since we know no baby “girds” their self. The word Young is the Greek Neos meaning Into existence, thus it doesn’t restrict itself to being a baby, rather it shows Peter in the beginning of the ministry. Peter was not Born Again at this time, his thinking was still carnal, some of his actions and words prove it. Jesus isn’t condemning him, He is making a statement of fact. It was the best Peter could do, but times were changing and a New Season was coming. The word “would” could also read “desired”, it comes from the Greek Theatrizo meaning a Display of ones self. From Theatrizo we get Theatrical, which defines Peter’s life style before Pentecost.
Jesus continued with, “but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands and another shall gird you and carry you where you would not” (Jn 21:18b). The word “old” means mature, as an Elder, this is a promise to Peter. All this is again after Jesus gave them Permission to “receive ye the Holy Ghost”. The “another” or Another Comforter will change Peter completely, showing how the Spirit will guide Peter; he will no longer be guided by his self-nature (Jn 14:16). This confirms the “son of Jonah”, the place Peter would not go was the house of Cornelius proving it did come to pass.
Prior Peter felt he was incapable, but he failed to see Jesus is talking about being capable by a different source. Jesus is promising Peter Another Comforter will give him the ability to love others as Jesus loves him. Peter didn’t miss the boat, his hope was found in Jesus, not the net. Peter will put his arms forward not to the side, showing the guidance of the Spirit by Peter’s submission. This is still a choice, Peter can reject it, but Jesus knows the decision Peter has made. Peter’s choices reflect his decision, it didn’t take him long to turn his back on the 153 fish and face Jesus.
Peter will later tell us, “knowing shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as the Lord has showed me” (II Pet 1:14). Here in John the Lord is telling Peter something, not showing him something. This is the type of “death”, it has nothing to do with physical death, it has to do with “denying yourself”. This death is when Simon dies and Peter lives. The same type of death we must all have in order to truly be Born Again .
This confirms how Jesus taught on many things before the Cross, but the ability to do them would not come until after the Cross. Some of us “hear”, then think “we can”, but there is a training time for us before the “do” takes place.
The word Follow in the phrase, “Follow Me” is the Greek Akoloutheo which is a compound word meaning A union of accompany, it means to walk in the same manner. This explains our measure of faith is to keep our footsteps in the tracks made by the Faith of Jesus.
There is only one calling, the Scripture don’t say, “gifts and callings”, rather it says, “gifts and calling”, yet there are steps in the Calling (Rom 11:29). One would think Peter would enjoy the Good News, he did, so much so he became extremely excited. He sees John, his best friend approaching, now Peter wants to find out what Jesus has for John. We know this is John by the description and the events in John 13:23-24 (Jn 21:20-21). Peter wasn’t questioning Jesus, nor was he questioning or accusing John. Peter was taken back into the flock, ordained for a position, promised the Spirit, it would be no longer, “tell Peter and My disciples”, but “Peter is My disciple”. Peter would have a new courage beyond his old ability, instead of taking his sword, he will hold the Sword of the Spirit speaking words of Grace. Instead of cutting ears off, he will be speaking to ears eager to hear. Peter grabs his best friend, he again wants to enter the Two By Two ministry. However, the concept will change, Peter will walk with the Holy Ghost by the Spirit. Jesus says, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me” (Jn 21:22). This doesn’t say John will tarry, it says “what if”, much different. This shows us we can’t compare where we are with Jesus by looking at what Jesus is doing with others. Instead of hearing the voices of men, or the voice of the stranger (old man) Peter will be able to “Hear ye Him”.
Our first step to the Commission is found in John, the next is found in Luke. Luke 24:36-43, and Luke 24:44-52 are two different events. Luke 24:36-43 corresponds with John 20:26-29, this is found in the wording, location and references. Since the discovery of the Resurrection of Jesus was on a Sunday, and He appeared the second time a week later on a Sunday, the Church has used Sunday to show we have entered the Law of the Spirit, the Jew still holds Saturday as a sign of holding to the Law of Moses. The sabbath day was a token or sign used to associate them to the Law of Moses, but we are told to Follow Jesus, we do so to become members of His Resurrection. The Resurrection is the basis for the Church to worship on Sunday, not some New Age mystic attempting to change the Sabbath, rather the Sabbath changed from keeping a day to entering the Rest of God through belief. Yet if one wants to keep one day above another, let them do so, but let them keep it between them and the Lord. Which means they are not to condemn others for not keeping the day, neither are they to make it doctrine.
The first Sunday being the first day shows we can count ahead seven days bringing us to the next Sunday, it was on this Sunday when Thomas made his statement, “My Lord, and my God”. Thomas made a correct statement, since this would be after the Father called the Son God (Heb 1:8). The house where the disciples stayed was in Jerusalem, but the Ascension was near Bethany (Luke 24:44-49), thus the second appearance is Jesus speaking to the disciples in the house at Jerusalem, not at Bethany. The disciples left the house in Jerusalem, then went to Galilee, as Jesus commanded, then eight days later Jesus talked to them in the house in Galilee, then the third time at the sea shore. Here Luke picks up at the house in Jerusalem, where Jesus tells the disciples, “These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). These are the words Jesus spoke, not the words Moses spoke, thus there is a change taking place, a move from one Law to another. Also, the Testimony of Jesus is found in the Old Testament; how can we testify without knowing the Testimony, or how can we be a witness without the Witness? A good scribe knows both the Old and New, a Believer believes in the New and the Old, but lives by the New. Knowing the testimony of Jesus while attempting to complete the Law of Moses are different. A Testimony is spoken of, a Witness is lived, they should not be confused one into the other.
Jesus then said, “Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:46). Wait, where is it written? Jesus is talking about those things written in the Old Testament, thus the mystery of the Old is finding Jesus therein. The Holy Ghost was behind the scenes, as the men of Old were speaking of the Spirit of Christ yet to come. One example is Jonah being three days and nights in the belly of the whale. Jesus used the experience to show how long He would be in the belly of the earth. Again this confirms the three days, it had to be three days, not one or two.
The word Behooved means, Necessary, it wasn’t some evil, or by the will of man, it was in the Plan from the beginning of the world. It’s also necessary for us to see wars, rumors of wars, pestilence and famine, as the world is being prepared for the Time of Comfort, yet it’s not The End, neither are we to be “terrified” (Luke 21:9).
Again Jesus shows the importance of the Bible, as He says, “it is written”, how can we know what is written if we never read what is written? How can we receive without the Rhema? How can we speak of the Word, without the Word in us? Jesus didn’t discount the Bible, rather He shows the importance of it, yet we find without the Word in us, we won’t understand what is written.
Jesus wasn’t talking about the New Testament to come, but the many references in the Prophets, Law and Psalms said regarding Him. This shows it was written, it came to pass, thus what is written for the future, will come to pass. Prophecy proves itself by coming to pass, thus the Old Testament said it was going to be, it happened, thus what we are told will happen, will happen.
Jesus continues in Luke by saying, “and the repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). There are two areas named here, repentance and remission, water baptism pertains to repentance, the baptism with the Holy Ghost to remission; covering Mercy (repentance), and Grace (remission). Jesus uses the third person authority issue (in His Name); therefore, the Holy Ghost is speaking through Jesus projecting the change in Seasons, telling us how no one can “Hear Ye Him” without the Spirit.
The Church will begin at Jerusalem after the Spirit is given, not before. The Body was being formed before the Cross, “upon this Rock”, but the Church is spiritual in nature, it was birthed on Pentecost (I will build – Matt 16:18).
If we love Jesus, we will do as He says, He told us to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost before we can be a Witness (Acts 1:6-8). Authority and Power are different, Jesus first gave Authority, then He told them to wait for the Power. Authority is the granted permission to do something, power the ability to carry out the authority.
In Luke we find how we are to teach two areas, the Father’s Mercy granted by the person’s repentance of sins, coupled with Grace for the remission of sin (Spirit, New Birth, Grace, Blood of Jesus, Power of His Christ), we can’t preach one without the other.
Jesus then said, “And you are witnesses of these things and behold, I send the promise of My Father unto you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with power from on High” (Luke 24:48-49). Here is the key, they were to Tarry for the Power in order to be a Witness to carry out the Authority (Acts 1:8).
This area leads to Mark, some attempt to escape Mark by saying the last verses in Mark don’t appear in two early manuscripts, but they fail to see God has allowed to give us a choice, the choice just so happens to pertain to the spiritual calling of being a Christian. We can look for an excuse to deny the Lord, or seek to receive Him. What’s the difference between Mark saying we must believe, or Paul saying in Romans we must believe? It’s still an obligation for us to continue to believe after we are baptized into the Body. What appears to be conflicts or errors in the Bible are often tests placed in the context by the Holy Ghost. God provided evidence in the other accounts plus many of the letters to support Mark 16:16-18, including the context within Mark itself. Did Jesus lay hands on the sick? Yes. Did Jesus cast out devils? Yes. Is Jesus our example? Yes. Why then deny what He has called us to do? The division between Luke and Mark explains why some deny, or want to change Mark to fit their own carnal thinking. The last thing Jesus said in Luke was, “be endued with power from on high”, if one wants to complete their own religious agenda without the responsibility of the Spirit, they can stop short of the call to be endued with Power from on high, although they would be committing iniquity.
Looking at Mark 16:16-18 with the natural mind might make one wonder, but if we can see the metaphors with the “little words” we can gain much. To be water Baptized means we have entered the Body, thus these verses are only for those who have accepted the Mercy of the Father to become sons of men, so they can be sons of God. Jesus is upbraiding them with their unbelief, by showing what belief will accomplish. This is not a discourse on baptism, it’s about what we do after we enter the Body. After entry, if we continue to believe, then the words “shall be saved” apply, but if we enter and fail to continue to believe, then the words will not apply. This is how Jesus upbraids with the person’s unbelief, if they don’t believe, then the signs won’t follow. The disciples were there, they worshiped Him, yet they held unbelief, they were binding Jesus by the feet.
Prior they were told to go and heal the sick, even the 70 reported how the devils were subject to them by the Name of Jesus. The 70 were told by Jesus how they would tread on serpents and scorpions. In Mark He said “take up”, but before it was “tread”, so do we take up what we tread on? No, to tread means they have no power or authority over us, to take up means something different. The word Serpent doesn’t mean some snake, it means Malicious (intent to commit an illegal act), or Slanderous (intent to do harm) people. However, the key to this is the wording “shall take up”, which is the Greek Aheero meaning among other things “to take up a fish”, or to “lift high”; making no sense at all, except for Paul. When Paul was Saul he was a serpent, a malicious Pharisee who had papers allowing him to capture Christians, he was even behind the death of Stephen. Saul was so feared by the Christians, they were afraid to even meet him, yet he was caught in the Net, and Lifted. If we picked up some real snake, we missed the meaning of this Sign. This area has nothing to do with faith, Jesus did not upbraid them for their lack of faith, it was their unbelief. The signs follow those who believe, there is no way we will “lift the serpents” unless we truly believe in the power of the Gospel. This Sign merely shows those who Believe are able to preach the Truth in Love to those who are malicious in nature. To Tread shows the serpents have no authority over us, here it shows since it is the case, they are potential converts; Saul (Paul) being the best example.
The phrase Shall Recover comes from one Greek word Kalos meaning Well, denoting Doing Well, or Being Well. Jesus did all things Well (Kalos), He makes both the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak (Mark 7:37). Mark 16:18 and 7:37 relate one to the other, if we lay hands on the sick we do well, just as Jesus did well. The test here is not whether we’re well or not, but whether we laid hands on the sick. This says nothing about being healed, it does speak about doing something for those who are ill. This connects to James and how the Elders lay hands on the sick one (anoint with oil), thus showing another area where the context is supported by Bible evidence. The Doctrine mentioned here connects to the laying on of hands, not hands laid on us (Heb 6:1-2).
Don’t confuse the deadly area with Elisha putting the meal in the pot to rid it of the poison in II Kings 4:40-41, although one could make a point how the Bread (meal) removed the poison. The key to the poison is found in the phrase; it doesn’t say “will not kill”, which one would think would be the case, rather it says “hurt”. The word Hurt is the Greek Bdeloosso meaning To render foul, or To cause to turn away, it doesn’t mean “death”, it means to be effected to the point of giving up. Changing the entire meaning of the verse, showing temptations come against the Believer to turn them away, but if the Belief, they will not be harmed. Confirmed in James; “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2). Why? God is fully able to use the same temptation to make a way for us to escape, thereby giving us victory in the process (I Cor 10:13). Here in Mark it’s the same thing, only metaphoric, thus one can toss Mark 16:16-18 out, but they are still stuck with all the supportive verses and evidences.
What Bible defining evidence do we have? Immediately we can think of John 3:18 where we are told to believe to be saved, thus we could show many manuscripts containing those verses, as well as words from the church fathers using them, but we must also allow the Bible to define the Bible. We saw some connection, but continuing we find verse 16:16 is supported by Matthew 24:3, Acts 15:11 and Romans 10:9. One may avoid Mark, but there are other verses saying the same thing. Other areas are supported as well, Luke 11:20, Acts 16:18, and other places show us how we are to cast out devils. Speaking in New Tongues is supported by Mark 13:11, Acts 4:20, Roman 6:19, I Corinthians 1:10, and 2:6. Serpents in the true context by Matthew 10:16, 23:33 and Luke 10:19, deadly things by Job 6:4, Psalms 58:4, 140:3 and Romans 3:13, laying on of hands by Acts 8:18 and Hebrews 6:2, signs following by Acts 2:22, 4:30, Romans 15:19 plus more verses as well as documents supporting these words.
Since the verses are supported by verses, the Bible has defined itself, thus the context stands. Of course if one searches out a reason not to believe, they have in fact proved they fit “upbraided with their unbelief” position. On the other hand we can make the choice to Continue in Belief knowing Signs will follow.
In Luke it was, Go to Jerusalem and wait, now in Mark, it’s Go into all the world connecting the Acts to the commission, which again supports these verses. Jesus told them to be witnesses in “both” Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the uttermost part of the earth. It’s not “both”, it’s four, but what do we find? Jew (Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria), and Gentile (Uttermost part), giving us Both connecting to Mark.
In Matthew, we are told to teach by precept, we learn the precepts through the teachings obtained by experiences with the Spirit. We are also commanded to baptize others in water, but since it’s a token for them, it becomes an ordinance for them as well. No one is commanded to be baptized, but we do have a command to baptize in water. No one is commanded to give tithes under the new, but we are commanded as priests to receive tithes. The token of water baptism identifies the person with the death and resurrection of Jesus. The water didn’t save them, God did, the water didn’t forgive them, God did, thus the water is a Token, not the source. Once the person gives their token of water baptism they are inducted into the Body by being immersed with God’s Mercy.
We have traveled from the calling in John to see if we’re willing to Follow Jesus, to Luke to see if we are willing to submit to the Word and to our Pentecost to have Power from on High to be a Witness. Then into Mark to make the choice to Believe, now we can go to Matthew. Matthew is the only one who uses the phrase “kingdom of heaven”, thus we go ye into all the world to call the called into the kingdom of heaven, baptize them in Water based on their confession of belief, telling them about the Kingdom of God, present them to the Lord for the Baptism with the Holy Ghost to receive the Spirit. Matthew is the only account where the wording in the account ends with Jesus speaking; therefore, Matthew gives us the Amen (So be it, in the faithfulness of God).
In Matthew, Jesus says, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in the earth” (Matt 28:18). The word for Power is the Greek Exousia meaning Authority, thus the “Name” is not the common or popular identification a person is known by, it’s the Authority. Those in the Body have the Name, if they are carnal, spiritual, or carnal becoming spiritual they still have Authority in the Name of Jesus. Regardless of the names of God prior, there is only one Name on earth where man has connection to heaven (Heb 1:2). It doesn’t mean we can’t “talk” to the Father or the Holy Ghost, it means the Authority issue is One Name, found in the Body of Christ. Whether we say, “Name of Jesus”, or “the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” it’s still One Name, based in One Authority, for those in the Body. The name will not work for those outside the Body (Acts 19:15-16). However, we know there are people who mind the flesh, and those who mind the Spirit in the same Body (Rom 8:1 & 8:5).
Jesus continues in Matthew with, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt 28:19). It’s obvious among the Father and Holy Ghost is the “Son”, who is speaking. This merely shows the combined Authority of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is given to the Body of Christ, with Jesus as the Head of the Body. This is the Authority, granted to any person who is in the Body (in the Name of Jesus), but the Power is still from on High. The word “Therefore” means To look back and connect this phrase with the prior phrases. We Tarry for the Power from on High, some of us hear “go”, and we’re gone, yet the rest of the sentence was, “after you receive Power from on High”.
Water Baptism is done “in the Name of Jesus”, it has nothing to do with what we say, but everything to do with the Authority we use. The authority for John’s Baptism ceased when John was placed in prison, becoming no longer effective, or to be used. Doing the Godly thing, in an ungodly time is still ungodly. The effectiveness of John’s baptism ended when Jesus said, “In My Name”. John’s Baptism said the people should believe, the Baptism in the Name of Jesus is based on their belief. John’s baptism identified the person with repentance, our baptism identifies us with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. When John baptized the Cross was future tense, with us it’s past tense, with a present tense effect for us (Acts 19:2-6).
Jesus then says, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matt 28:20). Here is the second stage of teaching, or discipling the person, thus we teach by word, but after they are baptized, they need to be discipled. The term “ruling Elder” doesn’t mean one who makes decisions, it means one who is an example of Mercy, Grace and Wisdom. At this point in time they let go of the “feet” of Jesus, He was about to ascend unto the Father. Once He ascended, then the Holy Ghost would come with the Gift.
Each Gospel account links to the other, we can’t jump around picking some here or some there, God has ordained a process, a method, a means, we follow His rules, or we don’t follow at all. Without John’s account we can’t make the decision to Follow Jesus, without Luke’s we won’t know the precepts regarding our decision, without Mark’s we won’t know the choices we have regarding our decision to belief, yet without Matthew we can’t discern why we made the decision.
Taking all these sayings of Jesus’ in order will give us One Commission giving us a foundation for our decision and a knowledge of knowing the Truth of “He Did It For Me, Because He Loves Me”, we insert our name in place of the disciple; as we read:
(Jn 21:15-23) Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonas, do you love Me, more than these (things)? Feed My lambs. Simon son of Jonas do you love Me? Feed My sheep. Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me (as a brother)? Feed My sheep. Truly, truly, I say unto you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would: but when you shall be old, you will stretch forth your hands and another shall gird you and carry you where you wouldn’t (couldn’t) go. You Follow Me. If I will for anyone to tarry till I come, what is it to you, you Follow Me. (Luke 24:44-49) These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms, concerning Me. Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day: for repentance and remission of sins to be preached in My name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, and you are Witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but you tarry in the city of Jerusalem (city of peace) until you are endued with power from on High. (Mark 16:15-18) Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved but he who doesn’t believe shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them who believe, in My name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with New Tongues, 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. (Matt 28:18-20) All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.-
One letter, without break or confusion, placing us on the path of His Righteousness, giving us a foundation to believe. Jesus is for us, He has promised many things in His Will, all it takes is our Belief in Him. This letter is personal in nature, containing truths for the reader only the reader and God know. Our study of the Gospel will open this letter, although the study will be general, yet personal, the student will gain. However, with all the promises of God, with all the confessions we make, and all the decisions we make concerning God, we can expect a testing to prove our position and condition. God gives us the presentation of the promise, we apply our faith and belief, then comes the testing to determine if we are hypocrites, or if we mean what we say, then comes the manifestation. Our decision is very important, some give up in the middle of the testing never reaching the goal, because they are making faulty choices, not in line with their decision. Our concern is to endure and reach the goal, to hold the victory in hand, rather than go about with the victory at hand. We must have an understanding of the battle, the battle plan, and how we can Stand Firm: the next section approaches the area.
LESSON TEN – GOSPEL I – HAVE WE DONE ALL TO STAND?
Some confuse Standing with running, faith with fear, and defeat with victory, all of which happens when we are moved by the event, rather than understanding the purpose of the event. Before we can Stand for others, we must be able to Stand. Really, it seems easier to stand for others, than for ourselves, but the process demands for us to first stand for ourselves in order to be effective in standing for others (Eph 6:10-14).
Whenever we find a premise in the Bible, we must also find the example before we venture off with a self-imposed concept. We can use a God centered principle, but in an ungodly manner. Whenever we get an idea regarding Scripture, we make sure it’s what the Scripture says. Natural reasoning counterfeits revelation, or a desire to have some knowledge no one else has, produces rebellion, not revelation. We must be able to “check and balance” what we think are Godly premises, principles and sayings especially when we find ourselves stretching a verse to the breaking point to make it fit. Simply because we think something works, it’s no guaranty our method or intent are based in God. Witchcraft works, it’s why witches use it (Acts 16:16). The power of the world works, we all used it at one time.
Our choices must line up with our decision, or our choice will turn against us. If we made the decision not to use the power of the world, yet, we make a choice to use the power anyway, the same power will turn against us the second we begin to use it. Someone in the world will use the power of the world, yet it seems to work for them, but for us? Destruction. Why? They didn’t make the decision they did, their decision and choices line up, yet the end thereof is death. What we used in the world with proficiency, all of sudden seems to turn on us, yet it’s good news, the evidence shows the New Man is doing a house cleaning bringing us into the methods of Christ.
This does have to do with Standing, we can’t stand with God, if we use the ways of the world. Paul tells us to put on the whole Armor of God (Eph 6:11 & 6:13), but do we place the act with the premise? Or do we run off barking at the moon? He also tells us, “having done all to Stand, Stand therefore” (Eph 6:14). Have we done all to Stand? A times we want to jump over the first Stand then go into battle, but the premise is for us to stand correctly in the Lord. Are we trying to put the Armor of God on the self? Are we using the Armor of God to defend some self-based concept?
Paul listed four elements pertaining to the wiles of the devil, in each case the same letter defines what those elements are (Eph 6:12). Principalities are places, a prince is known by the principality he represents (Eph 6:12). There is the prince of the power (authority) of the air, the same spirit working in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:2-3). However, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, showing the a principality in the Kingdom is Peace; yet being a principality means it’s part of the Kingdom, not all the Kingdom. If we presume we war against all principalities, does it mean we war against Peace? No, James tells us the fruit of Righteousness is sown in peace (James 3:18). Have we done all to stand?
The Law of Moses is also a Principality, it’s not the nation, it’s not the city, but it does have authority, power as a place of operation. How then would we war against the Law of Moses? By doing the Law of the Spirit. The Greek word for Principality is Arche, it’s also translated as Beginning, as in the Beginning of the Gospel, do we war against the Gospel? Have we done all to stand?
Titus is a letter of instruction, within the letter we find Paul telling Titus to teach us to submit to Principalities (Titus 3:1). How do we fight a principality, yet submit? Paul told the Colossians the Principality of the Law of Moses and the power of the Ten Commandments were nailed to the Cross (Col 2:14-16 & Eph 2:14–15). We better find out what some of these things pertain to, and how to Stand: have we done all to stand?
It’s clear we need to understand the method of standing for and against in the Kingdom, as well as how it differs from the world’s concepts. In the world it’s always the biggest gun wins the battle against guns, not so in the Kingdom. In the Kingdom we find if we mind the Spirit, the battle is over, before it begins. Have we done all to stand?
Are we attempting to put the middle partition back up, after Jesus has removed it (Eph 2:14)? Do we keep things in proper Order? Do we allow the world to be the world? Or do we attempt to make the world the kingdom? Do we attempt to pick bits and pieces from the Law of Moses to gain some favor from God? Have we done all to Stand?
Powers are anything with power, has anger very controlled us? Yes, has greed? Without question. Emotions out of control will speak for us, cause us to act, guide us and use us, they are a Power. The rulers of the darkness of this world are things energized by disobedience ruling the soul of a person. The rulers are defined for us, they include corrupt communication (Eph 4:29), allowing anger to guide and instruct us (Eph 4:26), evil speaking (speaking against the brethren – Eph 4:31), bitterness, wrath, foolish talking and the such (Eph 4:31 & 5:4). Are we still using these? Or allowing them to use us? Have we done all to Stand?
Spiritual wickedness can only happen in high places, not the highest (Eph 6:12 & 3:10). The word Wickedness is the Greek Poneria meaning Iniquity, thus spiritual wickedness is not some spiritual being wicked, it’s when we fail to be spiritual (Eph 1:17-23). Have we done all to stand?
Have we taken some attribute of God, then made an idol out of it? Have we forgotten all things are under the feet of Jesus (Eph 1:22)? The anointing is required, but have we made a god of it? The glory is within, but have we made an idol of it? Have we elevated someone or something higher than God has? Have we done all to stand?
We can even make the mistake of elevating Adam to some supper god realm. Adam was made to remain in the Garden, it was Adam’s failure causing him to fall, he was a living soul, not a quickening spirit. Have we done all to Stand?
We know the day will come when we will get serious about all this, then we will make the decision to engage in Warfare. However, we have choices to make regarding the decision; the weapons we use, or where we fight the battle are just two. For instance some talk about a “holy war”, yet it’s flesh and blood against flesh and blood, to us that premise is sin, not holiness. Our attitude in warfare is who the real enemy is, Paul never said we war against the “devil”, he said we war against the “wiles” of the devil (Eph 6:11). Jesus destroyed (made ineffective) him who had (past tense) the power of death, who is the devil (Heb 2:14). If the devil is ineffective in the kingdom, then he is ineffective, it’s the wiles of the devil producing the problem. We can war against the devil 24 hours a day, yet use the wiles of the devil to do it. However, we also know we can give place to the devil (Eph 4:27), we do so by using the wiles of the devil, which in turn grieves the Holy Spirit of Promise we are sealed by (Eph 1:13, 4:30-32). Have we done all to stand?
The biggest battle we will face is perhaps the most important, “be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” (Eph 4:32). We do it by “understanding the Will of the Lord, be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled (in excess) with the Spirit (Holy Spirit); speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart unto the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:17-20). Difficult? At times, some event appears anything but good, yet the will of the Lord is to give Thanks for All Things.
We must also define elements as they are defined in the Scriptures; what is the purpose of standing? So we can run off feeling superior? No, when we have done all to stand, we stand therefore for the rest of the Body. Since Paul wrote this, what was his prayer request? “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel” (Eph 6:19). Where else do we see this type of warfare? Peter and John were going to Temple when they came across a man by the gate beautiful (Acts 3:1-3). We know the story, the man was healed, then he ran through the temple, causing the religious leaders to have a fit. Instead of one Jesus, now they had a house full, all doing the same things Jesus did. Peter and John returned to the group after they did all to stand, the group prayed, “Lord Behold their threatenings…” (Acts 4:29). Some of us finish the prayer with, “make them humble Lord, make them pay”. Not these people, they continued with, “and grant unto Your servants with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29). The same thing Paul requested, so is speaking all they wanted? No, “by stretching forth Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of Your holy child Jesus”. It would seem strange to pray to Jesus, then use the third person calling Him a “child”. Especially when they used the Greek Pais meaning a servant, usually meaning one who is servant to a king, rather than the King. Unless they were talking about themselves, since the context is the “Name” which is their Authority. Their prayer was in line with Paul’s concept of warfare, use the things of God by the Spirit, not the wiles of the enemy.
What about the Armor? “Oh yeah, get the sword and hack them up”. No, not at all, we begin with Truth, preach the Truth in love, yet there are those who lie in wait to deceive (Eph 4:14). We do not war as them, rather we speak words of Grace to the hearer. The wording “lie in wait ” is the same Greek word translated as Wiles, it’s the Greek Methodeia, it’s only used twice, both times in Ephesians. To lie in wait is to make plans before hand in order to trap someone by the use of deceit; usually involving slander, or using a question to lead someone into a place where the hidden trap waits. Much like the religious rulers did to Jesus, thus Jesus correctly said they would do the lusts of their father the devil. We’ve all had someone ask a question wherein we found they could careless about the answer, their question was a means to lead us into a place where they could trap us.
Are we blown about by every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14)? The winds of doctrine pertain to the outward edges of the doctrine, or twisting the doctrine to mean something it does not. An example would be First Timothy 5:22, where the young pastor was told not to lay hands suddenly no man. The warning was to be careful who we ordain to helps, or make elders, it had nothing to do with people laying hands on us. A “wind of doctrine” would be using the “lay hands” aspect, but twisting the concept to “watch who lay hands on you”. Have we done all to stand?
There are questions the good soldier must ask their self: which Righteousness do we stand with? Righteousness is the ability to stand before the Lord, “for through Him (Jesus) we both have access by One Spirit unto the Father” (Eph 2:18). “In whom (Jesus) we have boldness and access with confidence by the Faith of Him” (Eph 3:12). Are we attempting to use self-righteousness as our scepter? Have we done all to stand?
Our feet are shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace, the word Preparation is the Greek Hetoimasia meaning readiness, “in whom you trusted, after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you Believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:13); with, “And you put on the New Man (Spirit of promise) which after God is created in Righteousness and True Holiness” (Eph 4:24). Have we done all to stand?
The shield of faith, which is always able to quench (take the fire out) the fiery darts of “the Wicked” (Eph 6:16); with, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, or carried about by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Eph 4:14). Paul continues with, “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ” (Eph 4:19-20). Have we done all to stand?
The Helmet of Salvation, “you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation” (Eph 1:13); with, “In whom we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace” (Eph 1:7); “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the Gift of the Grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His Power” (Eph 3:7); “And what is the exceeding greatness of His Power to us-ward who believe according to the working of His Mighty Power” (Eph 1:19). Have we done all to stand?
The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word (Rhema) of God (Eph 6:17); “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, so it may minister Grace to the hearers” (Eph 4:29); “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30); “but speaking the truth in love“ (Eph 4:15). Have we done all to stand? If so, then we can stand for others. All these show us the mystery, the Holy Spirit refers to the New Man, thus we find the title used seven times in the entire Bible showing us the New Man in us takes us on the path to completeness. The use of the title in the Old Testament pointed to the New, thus Peter and Paul make reference showing the prophets of Old spoke of the Spirit of Christ we are privy to (II Pet 1:20-21, Eph 4:30 & Isa 6310-11).
There are three areas of warfare relating to fighting the good fight of faith, we war to become spiritual, we war to maintain in the spiritual, lastly there are those who war against the spiritual. This last area of warfare is conducted by the Wicked, but it still involves us, especially when we’re the targets of their warfare. When someone prays against people, or makes people their enemies they are engaged in spiritual wickedness. If they project their will into the lives of others they are engaged in witchcraft. “Wow, do you mean we can’t pray for people”. It’s not what we said, we said if we pray “against”, or attempt to make them do as we desire to please our emotions; a far cry from praying For someone. It’s the Lord’s desire for all be saved, thus a prayer in line with the will of the Lord is not witchcraft; however, when we twist the concept attempting to get the Lord to make someone do something we want them to, it becomes witchcraft on our part. “Well I did, and it worked, so the Lord must have answered it”. No, it worked because witchcraft works on the natural minded, it’s why witches use it.
There are two problems arising when we pray out of order, first we bring about the wrong type of warfare (James 4:1-4). Second we give the devil place (Eph 4:27), not only in the lives of others, but in ours. Perhaps it’s why some have to bind everything in sight everyday, they keep loosing darkness everyday.
The first two areas of becoming spiritual, or remaining spiritual bring us into the decision process, establishing us in the position. We put on the New Man, yet we put on the Armor of God, thus they are one in the same, since the attributes of one are the same as the other. We made a decision to enter this, but we must know when to speak, and when not to. There are times when we simply submit, or allow things to run their course. There are times to speak, thus the Holy Spirit is fully able to guide us. We must be aware of the elements we use, not only do we desire to have the Holy Spirit of Promise in fullness, but we desire not to grieve the Holy Spirit.
The Corinthians had the Spirit, but failed to be spiritual (I Cor 3:1-3 & 3:16). Church history shows they never did accept the teachings of Paul, or those of the disciples of Paul. After a few years they were no more, not Raptured, but so ineffective they disappeared in the waves of the Sea.
God is not going to give us the Spirit so we can remain carnal, the Spirit won’t leave us, but if we remain carnal we place a barrier or partition between us and the Spirit, thereby grieving the Holy Spirit, causing Him to turn to be our enemy. Jesus said it was possible to choke the Word out of us, which means to push it aside. However, as long as we are reaching for the spiritual things of God, the spiritual things of God will find us.
Since we are priests we find this area of Standing is one of our priestly duties as we minister in prayer for the brethren. Our prayers are a type of sacrifice, we as priests offer up gifts, sacrifices and offerings. As strange as it seems this Warfare is within the Body, there those who lie in wait to deceive, those who bring the winds of doctrine. Ever been belittled by someone in church? Ever have someone vent their anger or manipulation on you? Is there a weapon we use? Yes, we hit them with a big log. No, it’s the same method they used. Oh, we write some real nasty books about them? No, it’s the same method they used. We make tapes and mock them. No, it’s the same method they used. We hold John 7 meetings to get even. No, it’s the same method they used. We speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). Yes, the Sword of the Spirit, the Rhema words of Grace coming from us for edifying, rather than corrupt communication they used (Eph 4:30-32).
With this we must know what the word Stand means, what we Stand against, as well as how we Stand against elements. We must do so by using the Premises and Examples given in the Bible, rather than presumption. The power of the dragon works, but it doesn’t mean we use it. Witchcraft works, but it doesn’t mean we use it. Many things work, they are suppose to, even the Law of Moses works, but are we suppose to use it? Some love to show the devil they have Power, but in the process they are turning stones into bread, casting themselves down to prove the angels will hold them up. Using wicked means to arrive at what they think is a Godly result is out of order. Eve had “knowledge” after she took of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so did it work? There was a result, but it doesn’t mean it was Godly.
The hardest thing to keep in mind in all this is knowing we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12). The moment we assume some person is our enemy, we are in war against flesh and blood; causing us to use carnal weapons, thereby giving place to the devil. The battlefield for those in darkness is flesh and blood, it’s not our battlefield. If we are praying from a position of war against flesh and blood, we will cause a war, James says we have entered the place of adultery since we are praying from a lust (James 4:1-4).
The word Wrestle means Hand to Hand combat, yet if we are in hand to hand combat with the devil we are standing far too close to him. If Paul’s context is a hand to hand combat, yet we are separated from the devil, he must be pointing to something connected, yet separated from the devil. This combat is something so close we can touch it, something within our grasp. Since his context is within the Body, we find there those who use the wiles of the enemy, are the tares in our field of Wheat.
Why would we put on the Armor to begin with? So we can strut down the street? So we can boast in ourselves? Some of this becomes clearer when we keep it in context, for example the natural weapon for those who lie in wait is the wile of corrupt communication, the same temptation to promote tares in others (Eph 4:17-18, 4:23, 4:25 & 4:29). What weapons would we use? Speak the Truth in Love, let your words be Grace unto the hearer, put off the old “conversation” by making the choice to put on the New, use the Sword of the Spirit which is the Rhema of God. Instead of walking in the “vanity of” the mind, we walk “in love” (Eph 4:17 & 5:2). The world counters the lie by saying it’s a lie, we counter the lie by bringing the Truth. The world accuses to make a point, we forgive to make a better one.
One thing standing out in the three attacks of the devil against Jesus is the question, “If you are…”. The old man will question our position, challenge it, or ignore it. Those who listen to darkness seek fault, but they always seem to begin their questions with “If”. If you believe, do this or that. Did Jesus ignore the devil? No. Did Jesus react? No, He responded. Jesus is always our example, we can either follow Him, or presume He should follow us.
Those who have yet to overcome the old man, will speak from the position of the old man, showing the old man is the wile carrier for the enemy. Their intent is still envy based, thus they send darts at us. However, we will find them coming against the devil, but they also use pride, ego, arrogance, yet we find they don’t come against the wiles of the enemy, they use them. One can say all sorts of things about the devil, yet be using the devils wiles to do it. They come up with all sorts of “If’s”; “If it’s so, what about”, or “If Jesus said it, what about”, these are not in the area of Wondering, but they are debating issues, but they are speaking of things they know nothing of. Some ask to know, others ask to bring us into the area where they want to control the debate. Cultist use the form of questioning to narrow the field down to their topic of conversation. Some seek information, some could care less what the Truth is, they want to bring the conversation into one area of debate. The method defines the source, when anyone uses questions to trap, they are of the wrong spirit. So, are those people our enemies? No, it’s the methods they use, we combat the method to save the person. Some of us think cult members are the enemy, then off we go in battle to tell them a thing or two. The result? They get bigger, because we use carnal weapons, which in turn empowers them. Everything produces after its own kind, carnal produces carnal.
If we are going to Stand we must determine upon what we stand. One can have right standing in a court of law, but it doesn’t give them a better place in line at the restaurant. We must look at our foundation, our feet can be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, or are they covered with fear, or hate? If our feet are shod with the preparation for the Gospel of Peace, where are we standing? Could we be on someone’s head, on the Sand, on fear, or on some destroying mountain? We have the right shoes, but what are we standing on? We can build on the Sand, or the Rock. If we build on traditions, we won’t be able to stand in the time of adversity. If we build on self-works, we are won’t be able to stand. If we build on the old nature we won’t be able to stand. If we build on imaginations or high things, we will refuse to stand. If we build on the Rock, we will stand in the face of adversity.
Paul listed three other areas of warfare in other letters, strongholds is an area not listed in Ephesians, but nonetheless a place of warfare. Strongholds are mental in nature usually fable based. They could fit into the category of Traditions, or heresy, or winds of doctrine. A wind of doctrine promotes excitement for the moment, but no meat, usually the excitement is short lived at best. It causes the person to run from meeting to meeting to get the feeling. “God was there”, great, but is He in you?
Strongholds come against the knowledge of God, they are self-based; seeking a way to avoid the call, or seeking to control the call. We battle these by casting down imaginations, which would equate to putting off the old man and his ways. We must bring them into captivity (bind, keep from expanding) to the Obedience of Christ, which would be putting on the New Man. Then we have in readiness to revenge all disobedience, when our obedience is fulfilled (II Cor 10:5-6). How do we revenge the disobedience? By our obedience being fulfilled.
We find the Bible defines itself, without interpreting itself. Paul used a Parenthetical Phrase in II Corinthians 10:4 regarding strongholds, but defined them in II Corinthians 10:5 showing a Stronghold is mental in nature. If it’s the case, then the wiles of the devil are also mental in nature. Strongholds are formed by Imaginations, High Things (proud) coming against the knowledge of God, or wild thoughts not based in obedience. A stronghold can be assuming a dress code is holiness, or having the revelation the Body isn’t ready for, or having some element making the person better than the entire Body of Christ. A stronghold is deceptive, it can hold a premise wherein we think it’s belief, when in truth it’s unbelief, or doubt. We form an imagination, or accept a doctrinal premise without examination. Anything in reference to the fable must match it, or we cast it off. We can be on solid ground regarding a principle, yet hold a stronghold regarding another. Strongholds are two way filters, they will filter everything coming at us, and everything coming from us. If the teaching doesn’t match the stronghold, we will reject it without considering if it’s Truth or not. How many times have we heard, “the gift of salvation”? or “the whore of Babylon”, yet we know those are fables.
Once a stronghold is in place, it’s enforced by the strongman, rather than put him off, he is granted a position. Strongholds are faulty in nature, they may have some factual information, but they lack truth. Exposed strongholds use the rulers of darkness to defend themselves. Anger, deception, or using verses out of context, or manipulation will raise up to defend the stronghold, but Truth defends itself.
Does Paul give us a powerful weapon which works each and every time? Yes, it’s one we tend to forget at times. “Wherefore be not unwise, but understanding what the Will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17). The word Unwise is the Greek Aphron meaning mindless, or of the wrong mind. The word Understanding is the Greek Suniemi meaning To put together. Both of these words make sense when we read what this Weapon is. Paul continued with the Will of the Lord, “be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 5:18-20). Paul never said, “giving thanks for those things pleasing you”, or “giving thanks when the thought impresses others”, no, it was for All Things. We can add First Corinthians 15:57 supporting this issue showing our Victory comes when we give Thanks to the Lord for All things. Is it a battle? When someone is yelling at you, it most certainly is. When you know someone is playing a mind game, it most certainly is. When you have clarity, yet you are faced with someone who presumes their little games are going undetected, it most certainly is. Paul didn’t say, “speak into their face with songs”, rather this is in the heart, or better by the heart into the soul. The concept is to be in the Spirit, allowing the Spirit to master the soul, rather than allowing the soul to beat someone half to death with opinions.
Those who mind the flesh, war against flesh and blood, thus if they don’t like us, they will war against us, they will slander, make up things, but we can’t war against them in the same manner. Spitting gas on a fire is not wise, using Water (Mercy) is.
If we war against darkness, it stands we want to be Enlightened. It does little good to fight darkness with darkness. Paul also prayed “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the Knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17). Again, this is not manipulation, since Paul said “may”, rather than “shall”. This shows us words mean a great deal, we can pray with a demanding attitude, or one of a servant.
Paul said we are against things, so do we come against them in a carnal fashion, as world does, or in a spiritual manner? It better be spiritual, or we will end warring against the Light, rather than with it. In the entire letter of Ephesians we never find Paul addressing the devil, he speaks of darkness, but he doesn’t address it. His prayers are to God, the devil has no place in the conversation. Speaking of the darkness, and inviting it home for dinner are two different things.
Regardless of the event, we can be assured God has provided a means where we can apply Great Mercy to obtain a Greater Mercy from Him. There is no temptation come on us it’s not uncommon to man, but God has always provided a way for us to escape, the escape is by the Spirit of Christ in us (I Cor 10:13).
With this we can look at the word Stand in context with the Righteousness of Jesus. There are many words where we find the word Stand, there is Stand By, Stand Down, Standoff, Stand Over, Standout, and others. We want to Stand, so we can Stand for ourselves by the Spirit, enabling us to Stand for others Righteously. The first element is to Stand in One Place Upright, which is called a Standard. The word Standard in the Hebrew is Nace, it was used in reference to Moses holding up the brass serpent. Jesus used the event to explain the purpose of the Cross, but it doesn’t mean Jesus is a serpent, rather it means Jesus made the serpents ineffective, just as the brass serpent made the serpents in the camp ineffective. The Cross established the Body as the Doorway of entry. We Discern the Body, we don’t misuse it, or abuse it. We Discern our position and condition in the Body, we don’t force ourselves to be the marrow if we are called to be the joint. We don’t fall into self-pity saying, “well I’m not the eye, I’m just an old foot”; nor do we fall into envy and say, “will you look at the hand, I can’t believe it”. What God does with a hand or foot is no business of the eye, what God does with the eye is His business, not the business of the hand or foot. Before we can Stand for others, we must Stand by discerning our position and condition, and stop saying, “It was the church you gave me”.
The word Stand includes a Position, our Position is based in Grace, as a secure heavenly place. We are the only people who can Stand, Walk by Faith, and Kneel all at the same time. Our Warfare is to Hold our Position by keeping our Condition and Attitude spiritual in nature, as we apply the Wisdom of God.
The real key to standing is knowing in Whom we are; Jesus is above all things, and all things are under His feet. Those things do not dictate what Jesus must do, should do, or has to do, they do not rule over Him, they do not cause Him to change course. The same is true with us, we don’t allow the wiles of the Wicked to deter us, to make us walk on the water to brag in our position, we don’t follow winds of doctrine, or allow them to pull us from our course. We don’t abuse the Body, we don’t use the Body, we don’t misuse the Body, we Stand as Jesus stands, in Peace, Love, Grace, Mercy and Fellowship with the Father.
When we have to pick up the pieces of Babes who have been trodden under foot by some Wicked person, it’s hard not to form anger, but we can be angry and sin not, which means we will not allow our anger to speak for us, nor will anger be our motivation or driving force. We will stand in Love, to let Love Stand. In order to Stand we must Stand with the Spirit, we can’t stand with the flesh expecting to win the battle. We must submit to the battle plan God has, we can’t form our own. How can we be One with Jesus, if we go about enforcing our self-nature? In order to Stand one must be guided by what they are Standing for. Before one can Stand with Jesus, they must make the Decision to Stand as Jesus would.
There are those whose understanding is Darkened through ignorance, but we have not so learned Christ (Eph 4:17-20). We Submit to one another, the word Submit doesn’t mean slavery, it means to cease from debate, arguing, and self-serving manipulation to get our own way. If we can’t submit to those we can see, how can we submit to Him we can’t see?
In order to Stand we must Stand For Something or Someone, yet we must Stand on something. Do we stand for our own self-interests, or do we Stand for God with His interests? Are we attempting to avoid the event, or discern it? Are we standing to please ourselves, or please God? The word Stand also means Unmovable, while being Movable. To Stand means to Occupy a Certain Position, to be Fixed, to Continue, to Remain Without Injury, to Hold The Course, to Endure, to Stop one action, while doing another.
We tend to look at the Book of Ephesians as a book on marriage, in one sense it is, but in Truth it’s a Book on Standing to enter the Marriage of the Lamb. Paul tells us the marriage is really a mystery regarding Christ and the Church, thus he uses the marriage as an allegory (Eph 5:32). His placement of the marriage responsibilities would seem completely out of place, if we didn’t know he was speaking of warfare. It’s not to say a marriage is warfare, although some seem to be, rather it shows the manner of victory is based in love and submission working to become one.
Paul begins the letter by telling the Ephesians how he prayed for them, then he ends by asking for prayer (Eph 1:16-20 & 6:19). Each element of the Armor is found in his prayer life, each element is explained in his letter to them. Not only does Stand mean to maintain an Upright Position, but it means to Assume a Standing Position, we can be upright, yet not standing. We Remain Stable, Valid, Intact, Unchanged, Unmovable (committed to the position), Remaining without flowing from side to side, Maintaining an Attitude of Mercy, not vengeance.
God will not believe for us, or make our choices, but He will give us a New character and incentive to make sound choices enhancing our position. God always gives us a valid reason to believe, but the choice to believe is still in our hands. We make the choice to use the armor of the self, or the Armor of God, we can ask for the Wisdom of God, or remain manipulative, hard, bitter and soulish. A firm decision to stand for God in the manner God desires is not easy, but it is worth it.
LESSON TEN – GOSPEL PART 1 – BAPTISM.
The Doctrine of Baptisms can be a convoluted subject at best, especially when one adds all the Traditions, Presumptions, or Fringe elements. There is the One Baptism, then John’s Baptism, Water Baptism in the Name of Jesus, Baptism of Service. with the Cup, Baptized in the Holy Ghost and Fire. Where do we begin? Water Baptism is an important issue, but it’s something we either do, or submit to, thus it can be twisted into an act of self-righteousness, rather than the Token it’s suppose to be. Carnal minded, or natural thinking people want to have a masterful hand in their salvation, or they want to be the special of the special, to have something none of the rest of us have, to be elevated above the rest of the Body, often they take something to make it appear as if they are the only ones doing it right. The right “Name”, the right “place”, the “right” water, the “right” method, making it more than it is, which is very dangerous. When we take anything God has given us, then elevate it’s importance, or it’s capability above what God has, we just turned the thing of God into an idol. Traditions begin as “good ideas” by someone who really didn’t place a great deal of importance on the Tradition, but the next generation does, as they make it doctrine. One element evident in water baptism is how it’s conducted by the members of the Body of Christ, yet the only requirement for the candidate is to believe (Acts 8:12, 18:8 et al). Unless the requirement is satisfied, it wasn’t a baptism. The water can be pure Jordan water, or salt water, or running water, or dish water, the method can be exactly as John used, the perfect pronunciation of the Name in the original language, yet if the candidate cannot profess a belief, it’s all for nothing.
The Body of Christ is the only organization on the earth given Godly authority to baptize anyone in water. Jesus commanded us to teach, baptize and teach the more; however, for the candidate who is not yet in the Body their water baptism is an ordinance, based on their belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Other organizations may do things they call “baptism”, but they are taking a bath, a swim, or getting wet. The function of Baptism began with John’s baptism, but his baptism ended with John was cast into prison. In Acts 18:24 we are introduced to Apollos, who was born in Alexandria, he was teaching the Baptism of John, because it was all he knew. However, the husband and wife team of Aquila and Priscilla expounded the Way of God. Later Paul comes to the area of Ephesus where he found some disciples, he asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost. They indicated they had not heard if there was a Holy Ghost. They were Gentiles, yet said they were baptized under John’s Baptism. John’s ministry was short lived at best, his baptism ceased when he was cast into prison, but the effectiveness of his baptism stopped at the Cross, when Jesus presented the evidence to believe. This shows there were those going about baptizing under John’s Baptism, thereby giving the us the phrase “in the Name of Jesus only”, indicating no other Baptism has any effect for the person to gain entry into the Body (Acts 18:24-19:4). This also shows there were two active water baptisms being conducted but only One of the them was the accepted Token based on the Authority (Name) of Jesus. We find we are only allowed to administer the One baptism in Water, the others are conducted by the Holy Ghost on behalf of Jesus. Water baptism did not gain us the Spirit (Acts 10:45, with 11:16 & Acts 19:5-6), only the baptism with the Holy Ghost can gain us the Spirit.
Understanding the various facets regarding the Doctrine of Baptisms is paramount in our understanding of how the Gospel works in our lives. The Rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ are the very basic points of knowledge, or the first things any convert should be taught. Among them is the “Doctrine of Baptisms”, yet Paul said there was only One Baptism (Heb 6:1-2 & Eph 4:5). Ephesians 4:4-5 give us a series of “one” elements, but we find different Greek words used for the word One, depending on which Interlinear one uses. When Paul speaks of One Faith or One Lord, he uses a word meaning only one, but in speaking of the One Baptism, or One Body he uses the Greek Heis (pronoun) which also means to agree, or parts coming into agreement, showing the One Baptism is made up of parts, or components, just as the Body is made up of people. In the TR it’s the Greek Ev meaning place, showing the Body of Christ is the only organization on earth with God granted authority to baptize anyone in water, it would also eliminate John’s baptism. If we don’t understand this premise we can’t get past “Doctrine (one doctrine) of Baptisms (more than one baptism), while seeing there is One Baptism. If we center on One Baptism without seeing it pertains to parts making the total we will end rejecting purposed baptisms, thereby missing the importance and reward.
Jesus looked at His Body and said, “Go in My Name and Baptize”, which was the granting of the Authority to a specific group. We are the only people in the world who are given the command, it’s based on the Name (Authority) of Jesus, by the combined Authority of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It’s vital since we know Jesus will baptize us with the Holy Ghost and Fire, giving us at least two more baptisms.
There is a misnomer, one we tend to use, but it’s not in the Bible. The terms “Baptized with the Spirit”, “Baptism of the Spirit”, or “Spirit Baptism” are not Bible terms, either in the King James, or any manuscript, but we do find Baptized with the Holy Ghost is; however, it’s like Accountability, which doesn’t appear in the Bible either, but the concept is there. If we think we are baptized by the Holy Spirit to receive the Holy Ghost, we have it backward. If we say we are baptized by the Holy Ghost to receive the Spirit, we have it right. The Holy Ghost is the Sower, the purpose is to Sow the Seed of God. If we know the term “baptized in the Spirit”, means we are Baptized with the Holy Ghost to have the Spirit, then we have the concept. On the same note we know that born of the Spirit is Spirit, as we found this means our soul being united to the Spirit to be one.
The term “baptized with the Spirit” seems to have come from Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians (I Cor 12:12), but in the context it relates to the phrase, “the Spirit bears witness to our Spirit”, it refers to God as Spirit, or the total aspect of God being Spirit. Going back to I Corinthians chapter 10:1-4 we find the children were baptized Unto Moses, or Unto the Law as one people. The children saw the Water from the Rock, yet we are the Rock from which the Water flows; they were not the water, they saw it. The preview showed the Mercy of God flowing from the Rock, just as the water in our water baptism represents the Mercy of God.
In First Corinthians we find the Corinthians were divided, carnal, and not spiritual; however, the Purpose for God calling them into the Body was to be of One Spirit and One Mind. Viewing First Corinthians 12:12-14 we can see the Unity Paul is talking about refers to One Body. There is only One Christ, One Spirit for all, whether Jew or Gentile, thus we must Drink of the One Spirit, but what do we drink? Wine or grape juice, we don’t drink the bread. In First Corinthians 2:11-12 Paul tells us the spirit of man knows the things of man, but is completely ignorant of the things of the Spirit of God. Then he tells us the spirit of the world is opposed to the “Spirit which is of God”. The Spirit of God is all God, the Spirit which is of God is the New Man based on God’s holiness and righteousness; thereby giving us the Spirit of God baptizing (identifying) us into the Body so we can be Spiritual in nature by having the Spirit which is of God forming our souls to make us the sons of God.
We are Born Again because the Holy Ghost planted the Seed, the Seed is the Word, it grew until we were Born Again. The Seed didn’t need to be Born Again, it became the means allowing us to be Born Again.
The functions of the Holy Ghost are important, He reproves the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (Jn 14:26 & 16:7-11), He appoints to the offices for Jesus (Acts 13:1-3), He brings the Gift of Grace as the Seed of God (Acts 2:38 & 10:45), He teaches us all things by comparing spiritual with spiritual (Jn 14:26 & I Cor 2:13), He fills us to deal with the masses (Acts 4:31), no one can call Jesus Lord but by the Holy Ghost (I Cor 12:3). The Spirit in us is the Holy Spirit, or Spirit Holy, the very Gift given by the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is also known as the Greater He, the New Man, Another Comforter, and Spirit. His function is to save our souls, by bringing our souls into a Spiritual nature, as well as manifest the witness of Jesus through us (I Jn 5:8, I Cor 12:4-11, James 1:21, Heb 4:12). He has gifts relating to the Gift (Rom 12:6-21), allowing us to fellowship with the Father (I Jn). All this God gave to one group of people, those in the Body of Christ.
John’s Baptism centered on the people should believe after their repentance, it was termed “John’s Baptism”, indicating the name or authority was based in John. As noted, John’s baptism ceased when John went to prison. In John the Apostle’s Account we are given the activities of Jesus during the forty day fast, at one time during the fast John and his disciples were baptizing in water, as were the disciples of Jesus (although Jesus Himself baptized no one then – Jn 3:22-4:2). This was prior to John being cast into prison (Jn 3:24), yet when Jesus came out of the wilderness John was in prison (Mark 1:14). John’s baptism was in his name, although we find two of his disciples joined the ministry of Jesus, it doesn’t mean John’s ministry was joined to the ministry of Jesus (Jn 1:35). The Holy Ghost did fill John, but the Holy Ghost will not take us beyond our calling, or purpose, thus John did not cast out devils, or heal the sick, but he did baptize and witness the identification of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It also shows why John said he must decrease, his time and timing came once in all the time of mankind, but it had an end. If we knowingly baptize under John’s Baptism now, it would be illegal. The issue of John’s baptism being for a short time was so important the Holy Ghost made sure we understood it. The disciples Paul came across at Ephesus said they haven’t so much as heard of the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:2). Two points are seen, first it’s receiving the Holy Ghost, next the all important “believed”. Paul responded, “unto what then were you baptized” (Acts 19:3). Paul didn’t say, “into what”, or “by what”, or even “what name”, rather the baptism was unto something. John never baptized anyone into the Body of Christ; nor did he claim to. The disciples said they were baptized Unto John’s Baptism, but John’s, as important as it was, lacked many things. John was not a member of the Body, or among the disciples of Jesus, he was not privy to “Go ye” in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said John was great, but then He added the least in the Kingdom is greater (Matt 11:11). John’s baptism was unto repentance, based on the concept of the people should believe (Acts 19:4). John’s baptism was not Unto entering the Body, it was not designed for those matters. John’s baptism had a specific goal, to prepare the way, as he washed the Sacrificial Lamb of God since he was a son of a priest filled with the Holy Ghost.
Paul water baptized the disciples in Ephesus in water by the Authority (Name) of Jesus, then he laid hands on them so they could receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, they were then baptized with the Holy Ghost by receiving the Spirit (Acts 19:4-6). No one could baptize anyone in water under the Name of Jesus, until Jesus granted the Authority. We lay hands on people to present them to the Lord for the baptism with the Holy Ghost, but it doesn’t bring the Holy Ghost, it merely means we as members of the Body present the person for consideration, thus the only baptism we do is water.
If we are in the Body, we have a commandment to baptize those who believe (Acts 8:12-13 & 8:36-37). However, the person submitting to water baptism is not commanded to be water baptized. For them it’s an ordinance, or something Jesus would like them to do as their Token of acceptance. When we water baptize people we are accepting them by their confession of Belief into the Body, it doesn’t mean we gave them the Spirit, nor does it mean they are Saved by the baptism, it means it’s a Token on their part. Their part is the acceptance of the conditions and vows required, thus the act is a type of signature to the Covenant as a vow to continue to believe, seek the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and Fire, to reach for the goal of why they entered the Body to begin with: the salvation of their souls. How do we know they don’t receive the Spirit at their water baptism? Acts 10:44 shows Jesus baptized Cornelius with the Holy Ghost with signs following, then Peter wanted water in order to water baptize them (Acts 10:47-48). Peter later identified the act as the baptism with the Holy Ghost by saying, “John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 11:15-16). In Acts 19 regarding the disciples who were baptized under John’s baptism, Paul baptized them in water in the Name (authority) of Jesus, then laid hands on them to receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:5-6). Simon of Samaria was water baptized (Acts 8:13), but was rejected when it came to receiving the Holy Ghost baptism (Acts 8:18-21). Water baptism does not grant us the Spirit, it does mean we have given our Token regarding the Mercy of the Father.
What if they say they believe, but really don’t? Do we take them backward through the water to erase the baptism? No, the answer is again in the Bible. Philip the Evangelist came to Samaria, the third leg in the command, “Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, then unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We know the Both related to Jew first, then Gentile next (uttermost). Philip being an Evangelist was not beginning a new body, he was gathering for the Body in Jerusalem. Nonetheless he was extremely busy casting out unclean spirits, doing miracles, healing those with the palsy, those who were lame, and many other things. This was one man doing many works, but among the people was a man by the name of Simon, known in history as Simon Magus (Magician), or Simon of Samaria. This Simon used sorcery to bewitch the people of Samaria, saying he was some great one. Which might explain why Philip had to cast out so many “unclean spirits” (Acts 8:6-9). The word Unclean in Acts 8:7 is the Greek Akathartos meaning foul in a ceremonial sense, it was connected to the unclean things under the Levitical order, pointing more to an unclean religious spirit.
However, this same Simon saw and believed (Acts 8:13), thus Philip baptized him in water. Then came Peter and John to take the papers from Philip, no it’s not right. They came down to help Philip, their question was like Paul’s, had the people received the Holy Ghost? Philip said, “No, they had been baptized in the Name of Jesus” (Acts 8:15-16). This answers at least three questions, first the baptism in the Name of Jesus doesn’t grant us the Holy Ghost, next the baptism in the Name of Jesus is the one we do in water under the Authority (Name) of Jesus. The third shows there are Baptisms in the Doctrine, yet all connect to One Purpose in One Body unto One Lord.
Peter and John then laid hands on the people presenting them to the Lord, so the people could receive the Holy Spirit by the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:16). Does it mean only the Apostles could lay hands on the people? No, since in chapter 9 we find a disciple named Ananias, who was not a Deacon, Apostle, or Prophet, yet the Lord told him to go to a house where he would find a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:11). Ananias went to the house, “laid hands” on Saul, as Saul received the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17), then Saul was baptized (Acts 9:18); showing the order is not of importance. We just saw how Peter saw Cornelius baptized with the Holy Ghost, then Peter sought water to baptize them in the Name of Jesus (Acts 10:45-48 & 11:15-16). In the case of Cornelius no one laid hands on him, but he heard and believed (Acts 10:43). This gives us three methods, one can lay hands on us, we can believe and receive, or we can believe we have received.
Back to Simon, with the lesson he will present. Philip had baptized Simon in water, then Simon saw Peter and John laying hands on the people as the Holy Ghost came upon the people with the evidence of being baptized with the Holy Ghost. Simon seeing this wanted to “buy” this power, not for himself, but so he could display the power by laying hands on others, again seeing himself as a “great one”; Peter told Simon, “your money perish with you, because you have thought the Gift of God may be purchased with money, you have neither part nor lot in this matter: for your heart is not right in the sight of God, repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of your heart many be forgiven you. For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:20-23). Several things are seen, the “Gift of God” is noted by Peter to be in association with the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. The word Gift is not Grace (Charis), it’s the Greek Dorea, often relating to Grace, Dorea means a free gift with the emphasis on its gratuitous character. Next, if water baptism saved Simon, he just lost it.
Nonetheless we find another lesson, Simon believed and was baptized in water, but was refused the baptism with the Holy Ghost, so what should Philip do? Is he not spiritual enough to see this nightmare named Simon? Should he take Simon backward through the water? Should Peter, or John take Philip’s papers, or send him back to the tables? No, the answer is found in Jude, “and on some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 22-23). If they make the confession of belief, we baptize them in water, we do not make the determination if they are “suitable material”. The Commandment was to teach, baptize and teach, it was not: “judge to see if they are worthy” (Matt 28:19-20).
Simon was told to pray, but what did he say? “Pray you to the Lord for me” (Acts 8:24). It was not the remedy, he had to repent and pray. We find the man’s heart was still using deception; Simon later became known as the Father of All Heretics, he engaged in all sorts of witchcraft and heretical behavior.
The lesson is valuable, we don’t refuse to water baptize anyone if they make their confession of belief. Neither do we confuse the baptism we do in water with the baptism with the Holy Ghost. They are different, just as the “Name of Jesus” is not a matter of semantics, but a point of authority. Jesus said “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, showing it was One Name, or better One Authority (Matt 28:19). Included in the saying was the Son. The Body of Christ is the Body of Jesus, the Authority was granted to the Body of Christ, no other religious order has the Authority of the Father, Son or Holy Ghost. This is evident in the Report and Witness, the Report is the Father, Word and Holy Ghost, the Witness is the Water, representing the Mercy of the Father, the Blood pointing to the Grace of the Word, then the Spirit as the Gift granted by the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Whether it was Jehovah, El, Spirit of the Lord, it’s still One Name, then the Authority was given to Jesus, as He commanded us to Go in His Name. Whether someone who baptized us in water said “In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost”, or “in Name of Jesus”, it’s still One Godly Name. The evidence of course is the result, do we know we’re in the Body? If so, it worked. The premise shows the person doing the water baptism is a member of the Body, they receive our Token by the Authority granted.
In support of this we find the “sons of Sceva” who were Exorcists, the word Exorcist doesn’t mean one casts out devils, it means they bind them to silence in the person. Sceva was a chief of the priests, a man of the clothe don’t you know, but it was the wrong clothe for the Name his sons attempted to use. These sons had done Exorcisms before, since they were called Exorcists; however, they wanted to broaden their abilities, but lacked the position to do so. They came across a demon possessed person and said, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches”. They said “Jesus”, but they were not in the Body, thus they were not authorized to use the Name. The demon said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). They lacked authority, the demon tossed the sons of Sceva out of house naked (Acts 19:16). If we cast out a devil and it left, we’re in the Body. If we took authority over any element of darkness, and it yielded, we’re in the Body. Our baptism worked, but if someone baptized us in the Name of John, it didn’t work (Acts 19:1-7).
Philip was also taken by the Spirit to meet an Ethiopian eunuch of great authority who served Candace the queen of the Ethiopians (Acts 8:26-27). This is also interesting showing the hand of God in the moves of God. On the Day of Pentecost there were a 120 souls who received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, then 3,000 more were water baptized and then received the Gift. However, here with Philip we find something different, this eunuch is an Ethiopian, thus he was a Gentile, the door to the “uttermost’ was beginning to crack open. Would Philip be the one to open it? No, the Holy Ghost would use him in this one on one situation, then Peter in the house of Cornelius, adding Paul and Barnabas, thus no one person could say they brought the Revival. Whenever we focus on one person, we will make an idol out of them.
This meeting with Philip and the eunuch gives us the affirmation on the requirement of belief. It’s also obvious Philip was not sent back to the tables for baptizing Simon in water. The eunuch was reading Scripture, which generated a question, Philip would teach the eunuch by giving the answer (Acts 8:26-35). They came across some water, the eunuch said, “what does hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36). Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may” (Acts 8:37). Philip didn’t say, “No way, I just went through this, baptize yourself”, or “well I don’t know, cross your heart and promise to die if you are lying”. Rather the eunuch gave the one confession we look for, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God”; then he was baptized (Acts 8:37). If the person cannot make the confession, we have no authority to baptize them, rather we teach them the more.
During the Persecution many things started based on the circumstances of the time, but they were not considered Doctrine, nor supported by any Scripture. One such tradition was in reference to God-Parents; if someone had children, they wondered what would happen to the children if the parents were martyred? To assure the parents their children would not end in the hands of the heathen, believers would take an oath to raise the children in a Christian manner, then secure the oath with a token linking the child to the God-parent, thus they would be called the “God-Parents”, or Parents connected to God. The token had to be something the Body had the authority to do, thus the God-Parent would baptize the infant in water, the water representing Mercy, with the act linking the child to the God-Parent. It was based on the circumstances of the day, it was never intended to be a token for the infant, since it lacked the confession of belief. During the time, as today, there was also the dedication of babies and children, but based on Jesus laying hands on the children and blessing them, separating this act by placing it under the Doctrine of the laying on of hands (Heb 6:1-2). The water baptism issue would fall under the Doctrine of Baptisms, still based on the Doctrine of Christ, but separated from the Doctrine of the laying on of hands. Mixing the two Doctrines together would be a violation, since they are separated (Heb 6:1-2). From the token of the God-Parents accepting the children, to infant water baptism becoming a Tradition of men, then the Tradition becoming a Doctrine, which not only removes the Belief issue, but it comes against the Command to teach, then baptize. Unfortunately from the act of baptizing infants, the next step was the unfounded conclusion of water baptism saving us, rather than God saving us by the Cross of Jesus. This conclusion of course brought about self-righteous efforts regarding ones salvation, thus the person by their act assumes their act saved them. It also removed the purpose of the Token, as well as negating the Commandment. What commandment regarding water baptism? Teach, then baptize, if we can’t do the teaching, we can’t do the baptism (Matt 28:19).
In the 1500’s Martin Luther didn’t address the subject of infant baptism in his 99 Thesis, since he felt there were more pressing problems of corruption destroying the Body. However, there were others during the time who were opposed to infant baptism as a Doctrine. Much like keeping a day, if one felt better by doing it fine, but don’t consider the infant baptized in accordance with the Commandment. Among those opposed to infant baptism being a Doctrine were the “Anti-Baptist”, who were so named because they were Anti infant baptism as a Doctrine. They based their stand on the absence of Scripture to support the act, plus the two fold requirement, first we teach, next the person has to make the confession of belief. Water baptism is important, it is included in the Doctrine of Baptisms, but taking something beyond the Doctrine, or beyond the requirements makes it a tradition of men, then making the tradition a doctrine makes the matter more complicated and confusing for future generations, which robs them of the importance of the act.
The Scriptures give us the basic requirements regarding water baptism: the one doing the baptism must be of the Body (Authority), the candidate must believe by making some indication of their belief (Acts 8:37). The basic elements, plus the water, must be in place to fit the Doctrine. Like most Traditions of men, the thought became twisted into something it was not intended to be, then it became doctrine, causing many splits and controversies, as the gates of hell set up their divisions. A doctrine based on the traditions of men always lacks clear Scripture to make it doctrine, usually ending presenting religious Dogma as its support. There are other areas, wherein we may feel “good” about ourselves for doing an act, but the act itself is not supported by the rudiments of the Doctrine of Christ. Keeping the sabbath day is one, if we want to, fine, but keep it unto the Lord. If we don’t want to, fine, but do so unto the Lord. So, what does it mean? First don’t attempt to force it on others, as some point of holiness or doctrine. Next it means don’t expect any special favoritism from God because you do keep the day, or don’t. As long as one is doing it unto the Lord, let it remain so, between them and the Lord. If we want to baptize our infants, fine, but keep it between us and the Lord, don’t consider the infant a member of the Body, don’t think they are saved, but know they are sanctified by the believing parent, not the baptism (I Cor 7:14). Don’t make it doctrine, neither force it on others.
Doctrines of devils begin when someone wants to be the special among the special, the more superior among the superior, the holier than the holy, the more righteous, then the righteous. All cult systems begin by the lustful desire to be better than the entire Body of Christ, yet in the process they have to deny the Unity of the Faith and Spirit. They have to add their “special” things to separate them from the rest of the Body, thereby giving them a false feeling of superior holiness. However, it’s based on pride, not holiness, therein lays the error. One could say baptism must be conducted only in the day time, they would use verses where people believed and were baptized, then add “you see Luke wrote it, it was outside, thus it was daytime, showing any night baptism is heretical”. Sound goofy? You would be surprised how deceptive traditions can be. They put the emphasis on some element of the act to give the person the glory, ignoring the purpose for the act.
A fundamentalist is someone who takes the Bible strictly literal, if it says Rock, it means Rock, if is says Wife, it means Wife. However, a cultist is the complete opposite, they attempt to force concepts not suggested in Scripture into their doctrines. They also use the premise of, believe all things, in a deceptive manner. “Tell me are you a Christian?”, “Yes kind sir I am”, “Then you believe all things?”, “Yes friendly person I do”, “then you must believe this, in order to be truly baptized you must be facing the north, and the water has to come from the Jordan”, “Nay kind person who is weird”, “Then you are not a Christian, since you said Christians believe all things”. Ouch! What this person came up with was a “fable”, the baptism by Philip was not in the Jordan it was in Samaria, we are not Commanded to use the water of the Jordan; thus the premise becomes a moot subject without merit. Without clear verses to support the issue, it either becomes a wind of doctrine, or a fable. Peter would call it an attempt at private interpretation, really there is no private interpretation, rather we find the natural thinking attempting to interpret the Bible, ending in error, or heresy, which is a self-based opinion without a verse to clearly support it. The same Holy Ghost who caused the holy men of old to write the words is still fully able to interpret them. The same is found in defining a word, but forgetting what it stood for, or missing the tense. We could say baptism means Immersed, so it’s the only way it counts. It’s not immersed in the water, but immersed in the purpose (or did we say that? We did? Oh well worth repeating). Sound study discipline demands any inference in Scripture be related to the subject, if there is no related inference, then it’s a fable.
A connected inference is a conclusion based on clear premises, known and connected. For instance in John we find Jesus writing in the dirt, but in John we are not told what Jesus is writing (Jn 8:6). Back in John 7:37-39 Jesus taught on the Living Water, in Jeremiah 17:13 we find, “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they who depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters”. There is the connected inference, whether Jesus wrote the verse, or their names, they knew what He was doing, causing them to leave convicted by their own conscience (Jn 8:9). However, if we said Jesus wrote “you are stupid” in the earth, where would the inference be? There would be none, so it is with water baptism. If we remove the requirement of “belief”, we have introduced the basis for heresy. The candidate must be able to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus before they are baptized, it’s the only requirement for them. Therein lays the difference between John’s baptism, and the one we do. If we suggest they “should believe” at some future date, we did the wrong baptism.
Here is the paradox, the water surrounded us, even metaphorically it was not in us. The baptism with the Holy Ghost is in us, thus we find two basic differences, helping us keep the two separate. Generally the Greek word for Baptism is the noun Baptizo meaning To dip, or Immerse, or to saturate, but it’s the act becoming important. The act came from dying a clothe, the clothe was dipped into a solution to identify with the color of the liquid, thus the Verb means to identify with.
Peter used the flood saving Noah as a type of baptism. So was Noah immersed? No, he didn’t even get wet. However, Peter uses the act as a sign of our deliverance from the world. Noah didn’t go into heaven, he was raised above destruction on earth. Peter also said it was not the same as “putting away of the filth of the flesh”, separating it from water baptism, then added, it was related to having the answer of a good conscience toward God, which comes when we have the Power of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is associated with the baptism with the Holy Ghost (I Pet 3:20-21). For some reason when we see the word “baptize” we seem to attach the word “water” to it, but there are many baptisms we go through.
There are those who attempt to equate one baptism into another, missing the point. “When you were water baptized did you become water? Then if you are baptized in the Spirit, you didn’t become Spirit”. Two errors, the wording “baptized in the Spirit” is the first one, second we didn’t drink the water, yet the water stood for Mercy, we did accept the Mercy of the Father. The Holy Ghost baptized or identifies us with God by giving us the Spirit, since God is Spirit, making the Spirit the Gift the Holy Ghost brings (Acts 10:45 & 11:15-16). Jesus said That born of the Spirit is Spirit, in the Jewish thought process it means what is associated with the Spirit will become Spirit. The purpose for being Born Again is so our souls can become Spiritual in nature. When we were baptized in water it related to Mercy, not water, the water is a physical symbol. When we take Communion we use symbols to Remember. When we were baptized with the Holy Ghost we received the Spirit, the Seal of the Holy Spirit is the Token proving the Resurrection. We didn’t drink the water, but Jesus said Living Water would flow from our bellies, this spoke He of the Spirit (Jn 7:38-39). Couple the Water (Mercy) with the Spirit (Life), and it produces living water.
One day Peter was on a roof, at the time the Gospel was still limited to the Jews, as Jesus commanded them in Acts 1:8. We know the event, Peter saw a sheet, in it were all sorts of unclean animals. Peter was told, “Rise, Peter: kill, and eat” (Acts 10:13), Peter being a good Jew, said No, but then he heard, “What God has cleansed, don’t you call it common (worldly)” (Acts 10:15). Peter knew something was up, he would later discern it to mean God was about to clean a Gentile.
This vision happened three times, which had special meaning to Peter. He denied the Lord three times, in the last chapter of John we know he was asked three times regarding his love for the Lord. With his background we find the vision had a striking impression on Peter. Later Peter saw some men who came from the house of Cornelius, a centurion of the band of the Italian, who was not a Jew. Peter knew the vision was a command for him to receive Cornelius, thus he went his way to the house of Cornelius. While there he began to teach Cornelius, as well as the house of Cornelius about the Name of Jesus, then how those who Believe in Jesus shall receive the remission of sin by the Gift of the Holy Ghost. As Peter spoke the Holy Ghost fell on all; Cornelius and those of the house of Cornelius with the signs to prove it (Acts 10:43-44). Perhaps the most surprised was Peter, or the Jews with him. “Oh my Jesus missed, hit the wrong ones, you guys stop speaking in other tongues, it’s a mistake”. No, the Purpose was clear to Peter, the evidence was there, they spoke in unknown tongues and did prophesy, just as Peter and the others did on Pentecost. Peter immediately looked about, then commanded those of the house of Cornelius to be baptized in the Name of Jesus in Water (Acts 10:47-48).
Peter knew what he saw, Jesus had accepted these people, who was Peter not to? Peter perhaps made an error by sticking around too long, thus when he returned to Jerusalem he had to explain his actions. However, when the Apostles heard the “gift” was bestowed on Cornelius as they, based on the same premise of belief (Acts 10:17), they held their peace. Peter then equated the event to being baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 11:15-16). What does it tell us? The baptism with the Holy Ghost is the giving of the Gift of Grace as the Seed of God. Peter separated the baptism with the Holy Ghost from the water, the evidence shows they received the Spirit before Peter baptized them in water, dashing the concept of water baptism granting us the Spirit. Also these verses show there is no set order, we can be water baptized, then baptized with the Holy Ghost, or the other way around. Of course Peter knew his charge, he immediately knew water baptism was his duty.
These matters are basic, in Hebrews chapter 6 we find the rudiment, or the fundamental six basic principles of the Doctrine of Christ. Hebrews 6:1-2 doesn’t give us the entire Doctrine, rather it’s the six basic pillars, yet within the Doctrine we find “the doctrine of baptisms”. If this is basic and fundamental, don’t you think it would be nice to know what it’s all about? Yes, but how many of us were told we made a vow in our water baptism?
Paul tells us water baptism is into Jesus, or better into the Body, which identifies us with the death of Jesus (Rom 6:3). The Death of Jesus brought about the Mercy of God in the saying, “Father forgive them”. Paul affirms this to the Corinthians (I Cor 1:13 & 12:13), showing water baptism is the Token of induction into the Body. However, he also told the Corinthians they had the Spirit, but they were not spiritual (I Cor 3:1 & 3:16-17). Water Baptism is an identification with the Mercy of God, the Holy Ghost brings the Gift of Grace giving us the seal of the Holy Spirit of Promise. Both baptisms are important, if we class them in the proper order, we have the Mercy of the Father represented by the Water, and the Grace of the Son in the Blood, with the Spirit by the Holy Ghost. So why do we do the water baptism? The person is giving their Token of Mercy to the Body, they want to be the Bread. Taking this one step further, if we reject, or refuse water baptism, would it be denying the Father? Yes, if we reject, or refuse the baptism with the Holy Ghost, would it be denying the Son? Yes, but worse would be accepting baptism, yet rejecting the purpose.
Jesus said the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, but it seems the controversy and traditions of baptism have divided the Body. The gates of hell are points of ungodly division, thus gates are put in place to stop people from entering in, or to keep people from moving forward. The word for Gates means a large gate, one like those used to separate the city from the outside world. Hell’s gates hold death in one form or another, ungodly division produces death. Paul told the Corinthians, “by the Name (Authority) of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, that there be no divisions among you” (I Cor 1:10). Whenever a “gate of hell” is established we find a division hindering people from reaching the fullness of Christ.
The Holy Ghost brings correction and teaches us by comparing spiritual with spiritual, but the spirit of man brings confusion, strife and envy (I Cor 1:11-12). Ungodly carnal Divisions bring contentions, contentions bring carnal restrictions usually producing traditions or heresy. Paul asked the Corinthians, “Is Christ divided?” ( I Cor 1:13). What was the Corinthian contention over? Baptism (I Cor 1:14); Paul then says, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel” (I Cor 1:17). How can it be? Jesus told us, “Go ye and baptize”. Wait, Jesus said, Teach, then baptize. The Corinthians put all the emphasis on who baptized them, missing the Teaching, Belief and Purpose for the act. Water baptism is vital, it’s something we can’t mess around with, but it’s also something to remain in order.
What did the carnal Corinthians place the importance on? The purpose of their baptism? No, it was “who baptized you, oh mine is greater because it was by Apollos, meaning it was based in John’s baptism, you know Jesus was baptized by John”. “Well, Paul baptized me in the Name of Jesus, so my baptism is better”. Carnal minds center on the mundane as important, yet miss the importance. A perfect example of a wind of doctrine is the Corinthian debate over who baptized them, they forgot the purpose of the Token, making it something God never intended it to be.
In reference to the Doctrine of Baptisms Jesus also asked John and James if they were willing to take of the baptism He was baptized with (Matt 20:23). Was He talking about water? No, the disciples were already baptized in water, they had been baptizing others in water (Jn 4:2). This was the identification of service, one wherein the person is immersed in service to the point they can say, “I have no place to lay my head”. Therefore, we find there is a Godly division between the various baptisms, yet the purpose for all of them is found in Unity to make us one with God.
The purpose for being baptized into the Body is so we can be accepted by Jesus as He builds us into the Church. Why did Jesus tell Peter the Church was yet future? The Spirit had not yet been given (Jn 7:38-39). This helps us make the Godly separation between the water baptism we do, and the baptism Jesus does. Water baptism did not bring us into the Body, it was a Token or sign of our acceptance of the conditions regarding the Mercy of the Father to enter the Body. The person who baptized us was a “piece of the Rock”, as such they had the Authority to baptize us, thus their act was their Token of accepting us. When Jesus speaks of “baptized” it refers to the person being in the Body, thus Mark 16:16 is not a discourse on baptism, it’s a command to believe after we enter the Body. Sometimes we allow our belief to slip by the wayside, yet we need to keep our belief strong.
We can also see how Communion and Water Baptism have something in common, they each have tokens. Jesus held the bread in His hand saying, “this is My Body”, if it was His Body, how did He hold His own Body? Then Paul says we are the Bread, thus the Bread represents something, it is not the something. Jesus then took the Cup and said His Blood was in the Cup, thus His Blood, not the Cup was the New Testament, yet we know at the time He had not shed His Blood. Was it really the actual “Blood of Christ”, no, it was a symbol of the Blood establishing the New Covenant. Taking the Cup, without consideration for the Covenant, misses the point completely. There are people who search to find the “cup”, but forget it was just a cup, it was the symbol of the Blood of Christ making it special. Really if we want to find the Cup, we just need to look in a mirror. Peter says we are sprinkled with the precious Blood of Jesus, thus taking the Cup is a token of us, the wine or grape juice will not turn into the Blood of Christ, since the act is one of Remembrance, not production.
When we entered the water did we die? No, but it represented our acceptance and belief in the death of Jesus, with our vow to identify with the death by imputing ourselves crucified with Christ. By the act we were proclaiming to all those around how we accepted the concept of being Immersed in the Mercy of God, we would then prove it by forgiving as we are Forgiven. Did the Red Sea save the children out of Egypt? No, it’s the same idea, the water from the Jordan isn’t going to make our baptism more holy. It’s a Token, or our signature on the Mercy Covenant. We were buried in the water, so what did it mean? Rather than “from dust thou came, and to dust thou returns”, we find we were buried in the Mercy of God, thus God’s Mercy immersed us, whether the water did or not.
When we came out to of the Water were we Resurrected? No, it was a sign of our continuing to seek and receive the Spirit through the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, so the same Spirit who raised Jesus will raise us; therefore we find the division. Water baptism relates to the death of Jesus, the Spirit to the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4).
If we walk by faith, why do we need the water anyway? We find the Water represents something, as new coverts we used the water as a sign of the Mercy of God, giving our signature by submitting to water baptism. Jesus gave us His signature by the Seal of the Holy Spirit, two signatures a contract makes.
What about the Spirit? On the Day of Pentecost we find two baptisms happening, one of them twice. The disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost as they received the Spirit by the Power from on High. Then the people who heard and believed had to be baptized in water, then baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The Water part was conducted by the disciples, easy enough to determine. 120 baptized 120, making 240, who baptized 240, making 480, who baptized 480 making 960, who baptized 960 making 1,920 who baptized 1,920 making the total. If each baptism took a total of fifteen minutes, the entire matter would have taken about two hours. The baptism with the Holy Ghost would take about 30 seconds, all could receive at one time (Acts 2:38).
The key to water baptism as our token of entrance into the Body is seen in the first mass baptism, as all those who believed were “received” into the Body (Acts 2:39). Therefore, the disciples were baptized with the Holy Ghost to receive the Gift of Grace, the evidence was their speaking with other tongues. We know they received the Spirit, since the baptism of fire was also accomplished, with the signs following (Acts 2:3-4). One of the two groups outside heard the sign, knowing it was much more than people talking in their native language, rather they heard the noise, yet the noise became their native language in their minds. The Holy Ghost interpreted the language, as it pertained to the wonderful things of God (Acts 2:12). Another group heard the same sounds, but felt the disciples were drunk (Acts 2:13). Nonetheless the group who heard listened further to Peter preach, then they wanted to receive. They were then water baptized in the Name of Jesus, then they too received the Power from on High: two different baptisms, all in the same day, all found in the Doctrine of Baptisms.
Forgiveness by the Father is Mercy based, it’s our entrance ticket. It’s also the Unction (anointing of mercy) or covering over the Body. However, it’s clear we don’t “drink” the water, then presume we’re baptized, yet the pardon of sins is an inward act. Jesus taught on Mercy many times, if we accept the forgiveness of our sins, we must also use the “Keys” to the kingdom. Keys are not gates, they are not locks, they are not doors, they open things locked, or loose things locked up. The Water in our water baptism connects to “when you stand praying, forgive, if you have aught against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25 et al). The second we submit to water baptism our Token brings us into the prayer, granting us the power to forgive in order to be forgiven. Jesus called this the “keys” to the Kingdom, yet He gave us the “keys”. The keys to the Kingdom are not to lock things up, they are to loose the things kept from us.
The convert must know God isn’t going to forgive others for us, we must “remit the sins done unto us”. How? Let’s face it there are those who seem to fit the unforgivable category, just as there are those who seem to fit the unlovable, but we allowed the Mercy of God to cover us (Immerse). We then made a change of positions, from “I can’t forgive them” to “I have to”. Often it’s not we can’t, rather we want some vindication, or we want them to admit they were wrong, or we want some validation for the harm done to us. All God wanted from us was a request for Him to grant us His mercy, in return He asked us to forgive others in the same manner, only instead of them asking, we find God asking us to forgive as He for Christ’s sake has forgiven us. If His Mercy was able to forgive us, surely it’s powerful enough to grant us the ability to forgive others. Our Repentance must include the extension to forgive things done unto us.
Prior we found the prerequisite, or permission for gaining the Holy Ghost was in the Ingress Aires of Majesty on High (Jesus breathing on them – Jn 20:21-22). However, we also find the Ingress Aires could be misconstrued to mean the disciples were given the power to go about forgiving people’s sins. It would be akin to the same error as thinking water baptism saves us, rather than being a Token to show we are saved. The Ingress Aires demands for us to remit the sins done unto us as part of the Permission to receive ye the Holy Ghost in fullness. Therefore, it does connect to the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Our water baptism centers on mercy, or forgiveness, linking it to the Ingress Aires, but the breath also grants us permission to receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost. They are different baptisms, but associated with the intended result, even the salvation of our souls.
We also know this is a prayer issue, if we remit those wrongs done unto us, then the hurts, pains, with all the things connected to those wrongs will be remitted, then we will be free. Even the memory? No, the desires to gain revenge, getting even, or seeking validation will be seen as traits from the wrong spirit, we will be vacated of those elements as the Mercy begins to become part of our nature.
Water baptism is so important the requirements are narrowed down, so we don’t start putting carnal regulations on the act. The candidate must believe in Jesus, we must use water. Whether they say the right words in their statement of belief, or get the doctrinal points in order is not at issue. Whether we say, “In the Name of Jesus”, or “In the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” isn’t important, it’s being in the Name that’s important. Nonetheless, there are those who want to add elements, or take some away to give themselves some self-importance, but if they place a stumbling block before a new convert, well, we know the result of that folly.
So why did Jesus submit to water baptism? Did He have to repent? Of course not, but when Jesus came to John, it was John who would make an interesting statement about baptism. Again, we find the word “baptize”, but we can’t automatically attach the word “water” to it. John came preaching about one baptism, yet he did another. He did baptize in water unto repentance, but he preached how the baptism unto remission was to be done by Jesus (Mark 1:1-4). So, when John says to Jesus, “I have need to be baptized of you” (Matt 3:14); what baptism was he asking for? Water? Hardly, John preached how Jesus would baptize the people in the Holy Ghost and Fire, it was the baptism John wanted. Jesus rejected John’s request, not because John was like Simon, but because of the time and timing, thus we don’t restrict the word Baptism to water.
When Jesus was baptized the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased”. From the statement came the tradition of Jesus becoming the Son of God by the baptism, thus we become sons of God by our water baptism. Luke put the heresy to rest by showing when Jesus was 12 years old He knew His Father was God. The Baptism opened the ministry for the Son of man, Jesus was declared the Son of God by the Resurrection (Rom 1:3-4). The Spirit rested on Jesus indicating the purpose was the Cross and Resurrection, the Holy Ghost filled Him to deal with the masses (Jn 1:29).
Wow, what about our children? God made provision, a very good one. When Paul was teaching the Corinthians on this issue, he showed us how the protection of being in God’s family provides a covering from us to those in our family. The unsaved mate is set apart for a special work because of the saved mate, but more important to us as parents is, “else were your children unclean: but now they are holy” (I Cor 7:14). It had nothing to do with water baptism, it had to do with the believing parent.
We do find some interesting things regarding children, in Luke 18:15 we find infants being brought to Jesus, not to have them baptized, rather Jesus would “touch” them. This goes to the laying on of hands, not the Doctrine of baptisms. In Matthew 19:13 the people brought little children to Jesus, not be baptized, but for Him to lay hands on them. Again this is “laying on of hands”, a separate aspect in the Doctrine of Christ (Heb 6:1-2). In Mark 10:13 it’s the same thing, they brought children to Jesus, not be baptized, rather He might touch them. “Well, gee sure, Jesus didn’t baptize anyone, as it says in John 4:2”: how true, but it also says His disciples did; therefore, we also find when people brought the children, they didn’t ask Jesus to have His disciples baptize them. Because a child even under John’s baptism had to repent of sin, saying they would believe. Taking choice away from a candidate, is wrong, it removes the one requirement of Belief.
What about other baptisms? The Baptism with the Holy Ghost is when the Gift is induced into the person, producing the Kingdom of God within, from the Gift comes gifts. Paul said, “for by Grace are you saved through faith; not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God” (Eph 2:8). What happened to baptism? The foundation is to be inducted into the Body, then continue to believe, but it doesn’t end it. If it was not a one step endeavor, or there would be no grave, or Resurrection, just the Cross. If we believe we continue on to receive the other baptisms as well, bringing us into “by Grace (receiving the Spirit, New Man, Born Again) are you saved, through (Process) faith, reaching forward to the purpose of faith even the salvation of our souls.
It’s a Process, thus it’s By Grace, but Through Faith. The Gift part is the Greek Doron meaning to give, or a gift given as an expression of honor, but the word for Saved is not Soteria, but Sozo showing a Process. We could mistake this as “the gift of salvation”, but the context is Grace, which is found in Ephesians 3:7 where we read “according to the gift of the Grace of God”, thus the Gift is not Sozo, it’s Grace. Grace then becomes the gift of the Holy Ghost, reaching to the point of when our souls become spiritual in nature.
What about those gifts of the Gift then? Grace begins to establish a new nature in us by the New Man, as we become New in the New Man. In the New Nature we do things by Nature, but we also have “gifts” differing according to the Grace given to us (Rom 12:6). The Greek word for gifts in Romans 12:6 is Charisma meaning the action of Charis, the Greek word for Grace is Charis, thus we find there are Charisma of Charis. These areas are by nature, they are things we do, as we are moved by the New Man. Prophecy is the first one, not as the Office, but as the Spirit gives us words within based on the faith; (2) then ministry, but we wait to hear from the Spirit, we don’t minister through our pains, or soulish conclusions; (3) then teaching, or the ability to disciple others; (4) then exhorting in a Godly manner; (5) then giving, not as the Tithe of the Law, but as the tithes of a New Testament priest from a heart, not out of necessity (demanding a return) or grudgingly (from manipulation), but cheerful as the Spirit leads; (6) then ruling by example, not ruling by commands, or manipulation; (7) then mercy, the ability to forgive as we walk in God’s forgiveness: seven areas which are not pick and choose, they are elements or attributes of the new nature.
New Tongues and unknown are different, yet both are a result of being Born Again. The word New means not like before, referring to a language New based on a change in position and condition. Rather than seek validation, the New tongue forgives. Unknown tongues are by the Spirit within us speaking the great and wonderful things of God in a language not understood by human ears (Acts 2:11). On the Day of Pentecost the Church was born as Jesus began to build when the Holy Ghost bought the Gift, the result was 120 people (souls) all speaking in unknown tongues, something so New, it was never done before.
Paul tells us if we have speaking in unknown tongues in the assembly, we must also need the interpretation by the Spirit. His foundation for making the statement is found in the events on the Day of Pentecost, which was the first time anything like that happened. We don’t need someone to translate, or go around attempting to find some earthly language, we seek the Interpretation. The language could be most anything, but it’s not of earth, thus if we attempt to find an earthly language, we are in error to begin with. If the Spirit interprets, why would anyone run around the world with a tape recorder looking for a translation? They are those who do lack the Spirit, obviously.
The tongue issue is one thing, but the evidence shows us something New, so new it was never before, this was the Baptism promised by Jesus, the one of the Holy Ghost. The tongues were the Token, or sign it has happened. There is only one commandment regarding unknown tongues; we are never to forbid anyone from talking in unknown tongues (I Cor 14:37 & 14:39). There is no commandment telling us we should speak, but clearly there is one telling us never to forbid it. If we love Jesus we will keep His commandments.
On the Day of Pentecost we have three groups of people, not two. There were the speakers, the hearers, then the mockers, if Peter spoke Phrygia and a guy from Phrygia heard him, big deal it happens all the time; however, if Peter was speaking one language, yet a person from Pyrygia, one from Libya, another from Mesopotamia all heard the same language in their own tongue, then you have a miracle to the point of amazing the people (Acts 2:13-14). The third group seem to always be around somewhere, they were the mockers, they didn’t hear a thing but the actual noise, but it’s by this group we know what the unknown tongues sounded like to the physical ear. This third group thought the disciples were drunk, or the disciples were speaking mumbo-jumbo. Paul explains it as the voice of the Spirit, no man knows what is said, thus he who speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not to man, or in man’s language, but unto God (I Cor 14:1-2). Since no man understands, it means no man can. Paul added it was God doing the speaking, linking the speaking to the “Spirit which is of God” (I Cor 2:12 & 14:21).
Paul also says the Spirit speaks mysteries, so it takes the Spirit to interpret. Paul himself spoke in unknown tongues, he wished the Corinthians did as well, but he would rather they would prophesy. Knowing the Corinthians we can see why, better they speak words of unity and Grace, than the words of division and contention. Paul then points out tongues are a sign not for them who believe, but for them who do not believe. Why? The words he uses means a Negative sign, it’s usually evident. The unbeliever will attack what they don’t understand, the spiritually minded discern until they do understand.
Prophecy is for the unbeliever, we speak words they can understand to expose their heart. Although if one is a mocker, or an unbeliever they may not fall on their face, rather the exposure may cause them to attack, but in their heart they know the Truth has hit the stronghold like a great hammer.
Paul’s context is simple, first the conditions regarding speaking in unknown tongues in the gathering, this is not in respect to the person’s private prayer life. If the whole are speaking in unknown tongues, yet someone who doesn’t have the Spirit comes in, they will think like the third group on Pentecost, making up their minds the congregation is a bunch of nuts, or drunks. It serves no one any good, but if the same person hears God plowing the ground of their heart, bringing their hurts and pains to the surface where they can be healed, then we have something good for all concerned. Paul isn’t saying tongues are evil, rather his point is directed toward the person who walks in the door who is not yet a believer. Paul even says if we give thanks in unknown tongues we do well (I Cor 14:16-17). Do we have to speak in unknown tongues? Is it the only sign? No, prophecy is another, but the main sign is a change in the person. Now, if someone does prophesy do they speak? Yes, so tongues being spoken, have to be different. What is Prophesy? Words from God, thus we have two elements of God speaking. One is in the language of the New Man to ABBA Father, making intercession for us, as the New Man speaks the wonderful things of God. Then Prophecy which is God speaking in the language of the people present, but nonetheless speaking through a believer. “Well gee, what if I say something bad?”. No one speaking by the Spirit calls Jesus accursed (I Cor 12:3).
The Scripture tells us the yoke is destroyed because of the anointing; Jesus said the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him because He was anointed. Put it together and we find God breaks the Yoke so we can have the Anointing: because of the Anointing we gain the Spirit. If we have the Spirit we are Anointed, meaning the Yoke is broken. Is the Yoke removed? No, it’s broken, we have to take it off, then accept the Yoke of Jesus (Matt 11:29). What does the Yoke of Jesus relate to? The Rest of God, meaning we must believe in order to receive the yoke of Jesus, so we can find rest for your souls.
The Baptism with Fire removes those self-building elements, the things of darkness which ruled us. As long as the self nature governs our life, we will be in bondage. When anything of the old nature governs how we think, or react, or guides us in what we do, it rules us. If we make decisions based on anger, revenge, strife, then those things become our god. We war against those rulers of the darkness governing our thinking by having the fullness of the Spirit (Eph 5:18-20).
Okay, what about sprinkled, is there some Bible evidence there? The water is a symbol, like the cup and bread are symbols, it’s when we get locked into the definition and forget the purpose the side issues arise. However, in Acts 10 we find Peter going to Cornelius to speak of Jesus. As Peter was yet speaking the Holy Ghost fell on the Gentile Cornelius and those of his household (Acts 10:44). We know about the event, but then the wording, “can any man forbid water” (Acts 10:47). The area was very dry, water was important, yet no one said, “hey I have a river here”, or “yes my brother, I have a water truck here”, but the concern was Immediate, any water would do. Peter wasn’t looking for someone to have a river in their jacket pocket, he wanted water Now. On the same note the water from the Jordan isn’t going to make our baptism any holier than the water in the bathtub in the apartment next door, or the kids wading pool. The only requirement in the early church was not to use polluted water, for obvious reasons, just as today we wouldn’t use water in the alligator pond at the zoo.
Now we know the Doctrine of Baptisms has many great and wonderful experiences for us. We cannot discount one baptism for another, we must accept them all in the authority connected to them. Let us remember the Purpose, and enjoy our Baptisms.
By Rev. G. E. Newmyer – s.b.i. les10 Rev11/©2003