Following Christ is a lifestyle of constant warfare. Though it doesn’t sound sweet, it’s the truth. Sometimes, we’re at war with “men on foot” and at other times, with “horses” Jeremiah 12: 5, Ephesians 6:10-18. We can be victorious in both cases. But How?
In Isaiah 40, it was prophesied that those who “wait on the Lord” shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. The Spirit gives the Church the strength to win the battle of “running” and “walking” as she waits on the Lord or live in patience.
Having a robust understanding of the phrase, “wait on the Lord” to mean patience or long-suffering given as the fruit of the Spirit is crucial. It’s more than setting aside time to pray and fast. It’s not a seasonal character but a lifestyle produced in those whom Christ lives in.
Is putting a time frame to our “waiting on the Lord” to do this and do that for us a mechanism that builds our faith (relationship with God) or destroys it? For starters, it’s unwise to confine Almighty God to a time of our choosing. That is not faith. Faith rather trusts God to do for us the best at the best time.
The scriptures declares clearly that our timing and God’s is not the same and His is far better. The intent behind all of God’s timing in relation to His purpose and mission for our lives goes beyond giving us temporal goods to helping us reach the end of our faith — the salvation of our souls.
As disciples, none of us sees the end from the beginning. Therefore, in some ways, we’re all short-sighted. But, as we learn to live our lives in the patient fruit of the Spirit, we’re carried into the end of God’s intentions for us both spiritual and temporal.
While every temporal thing is as grass that wither away, we know, that God’s word and every fruit the Holy Spirit bears in us represents the nature of Christ which abides or remains forever. As Paul the Apostle puts it in 1 Corinthians 13, ‘Love is PATIENT and kind and endures all things.
As disciples of Christ, we need to know that we have His virtue of patience.
It is possible you’re reading this exhortation today because God wants you to stir your heart up to exercise “waiting on Him” as a lifestyle that builds and stabilizes your faith. Selah!
As disciples of Christ, we’re exhorted to be hard-working however, possessing our inheritance is by faith and Patience (Waiting on the Lord) Hebrews 6:12.
Currently, governments all over the world are passing legislation for or against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Should the “Churches of God in Christ” be opposing the legislation that favours these practises? I don’t think so for the following reasons:
Firstly, opposing the legislation means a subtle denial of what the Bible teaches regarding the consequence of Adam and Eve’s fall; Satan’s nature was instilled in humankind. So, everyone born into this world has all the characteristics of Satan. Hence, the sins practised by humans are not learnt from one another by association rather, association pulls out the sins that already exists inside our sin nature Romans 5:12. The bible upholds the truth that all sins are innate in humans. The Church doesn’t need scientific studies to authenticate its truthfulness.
Given we humans are born with Satan inside of us (Adamic nature) and dwell in his Kingdom of darkness as well as this world (his environment), his various characteristics are exhibited by different individuals in various ways including homosexuality that’s fuelling same-sex marriage (Marring of marriage) John 8:44a. However, when practised between two consenting adults, it’s not more sinful than fornication or adultery. In the absence of mutual consent, it becomes criminal as in the case of rape. Secular governments’ civil and criminal laws should be geared towards a harmonious and peaceful society by preventing any person(s) from infringing on the rights of others
Secondly, it gives the impression of a lack of insight into God’s redemption plan for humankind. Because God knew Adam and Eve would fall and its effect on humans He created, He provided the Way (His slain Lamb, Christ Jesus) through whom all humans would come back to Him after the fall 1 Corinthians 15:22. This Way of God is to be willingly accepted and received because we’re not created as robots. Those who accept and receive Christ are saved, Satan gets dethroned in them as they’re brought out of his kingdom and put into the Kingdom of Light (The body of Christ) Colossians 1:13. Accepting Jesus can’t be legislated John 3:16.
Thirdly, it will work against the church’s mission in the world which is, rescuing humanity by preaching God’s Way (Jesus Christ) Acts 4:12. Jesus came to save the unsaved in the world not to condemn them John 3:17. And, His apostles stated that the church needs to associate with those “outside Christ” for the sake of love and the preaching of Christ and His Kingdom. Not embarrass, emphasize their sins and intimidate them in order to change their nature and lifestyles by legislation.
Given the dilemma of those who have not accepted and received God’s Way, it should heighten the churches’ zeal and commitment to the great commission not fight unwarranted wars against those living according to the dictates of the king of the kingdom to which they belong. The churches of God in Christ should preach Christ and His Kingdom to humanity and wait patiently as they come to repentance 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 3, 4-6. Fighting government legislation meant for civil liberty is deviating from her mission to love and help them see God’s Way (Light) by the gospel alone. To hate and campaign against people who’re living their lives out there as citizens of this world is belittling and devaluing the Faith.
Deviating from the Mission
The new mission of the church to change the world’s culture by any means possible is sensual not spiritual. It was sensual minded folks who crept into many of the churches long ago that succeeded in changing the focus of the mission by redefining almost everything in the bible. They failed to recognise that the lifestyles and culture of the world is being powered not from the outside, not even from the mind’s realm but deep from the heart’s nature. Only Christ’s blood can awaken the hearts of humans towards God not government legislations, church dogmas or well envisioned and executed religious programmes.
For the church to fulfil her God given mission by His ordained pattern, she must live her purpose! What’s her purpose?
The Church’s purpose in the world
Let’s be reminded that the body of Christ (The Church) is a citizen of heaven not of Satan’s environment (The world). The bible and not secular government legislates for the Church. And, her purpose in the world is to praise God by glorifying Christ in holy living and declaring God’s manifold wisdom 1Peter 2:9, Ephesians 3:10. Hence, Paul the apostle said, we’re to judge (teach, correct, rebuke, train in righteousness for participation in all godly conduct) those of the household of faith (The pillar and buttress of the truth) 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Timothy 3:15.
The Church needs to be ready for her persecution that will usher in an amazing intervention of God and mass deliverance unto salvation of the unsaved as God’s word is uncompromisingly taught in the assemblies of the saints. Sinful living including homosexuality, same sex-marriage, fornication and adultery must not be tolerated in the churches of God in Christ Ephesians 5:3. Why? It’s the Churches’ responsibility to hold Christ’s disciples accountable as per the profession of the Faith. It was the primary concern of the apostles 2 Corinthians 11:28 NKJV. This should be the churches’ concern now.
It’s prescribed that believers who insist on misusing their bodies sinfully and dishonouring God 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 should be “put out of the fellowship of saints” with the hope the believer(s)’ direct rough experience with Satan may lead to repentance 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 11, 12-13. Presently, many churches have colossal failure keeping the faith (Living God’s purpose). That’s where duty calls! As the world sees a true gospel life, love and discipline in the churches of God, everyone will think twice before joining the church.
While His light exposes the darkness inside humankind, more freakish legislation will come as stated prophetically in the Bible as the unavoidable consequence of rejecting God’s light that came into the world over 2000 years ago. Everything outside the light (Christ) will experience increasing conflict within itself. Light drives out darkness, and exposes it too! Its war, a war not to be fought with carnal weapons but with heavenly weapons purified by Christ’s Blood. Church, Selah!
But, churches’ that forget her purpose will also forget her mission as is the case with many today. They’re in need of rebuke and correction from the ministry gifts of Christ than the people of the world! When churches that claim to be in Christ join and aspire to join international groups for world peace, poverty eradication et al, one wonders how the mighty is fallen!? Oh, how a people gifted with sight, purpose and mission has been blinded and derailed! Whilst busy with fights and projects God has not assigned, wild weeds has overtaken them.
It’s when the church is ostracised, called weird people and persecuted, that her purpose and mission advance through the Holy Spirit.
Neither Jesus nor the Apostles protested and lobbied against legislations! Let’s imitate their examples!
Truth created the world and all that is in it. Truth has a voice, its own pathway and a destination. Truth is so powerful—it is Almighty and He has made evolution theory childish thinking. In time, Truth makes the foolishness of all that oppose Him visible 1 Corinthians 1:20.
Babylon: Spiritual and Temporal
While Babylon (kingdom of darkness) that opposes God is invisible, it has visible manifestations. It is a system—Spiritual Babylon (SB) that operates in the soul of man and gives birth to recognizable structure—temporal Babylon (TB) on earth. And, it’s supported by many waters (people) who are directed by few bosses. It’s not random; it’s coordinated with a destination. Its destination is disaster and its core leader (Satan), a rebel against the Creator Proverbs 16:25, Matthew 7:13, Genesis 11:4.
Though, God started man afresh on the earth after the flood, He knew that man had not lost his free will to make choice—little wonder that He warned man not to kill his fellow man Genesis 9:6. Soon after, man became exceedingly evil again. The phrase “one language and one speech” in Genesis 11:1, is used to indicate that man’s heart and soul was once again seized and filled with evil. So, it is not that God doesn’t want man to enjoy unity among themselves rather, He forbids that evil should accentuate by unity Genesis 11:6-7.
Even when some walk in evil in the church, He permits disunity to arise in order to bring about repentance. Church, we need to examine the exceeding disunity we’re suffering today and examine ourselves 1 Corinthians 11:17-19.
The operation of SB in the soul eventually becomes visible as it births physical structure empowered by Satan. The things we support on the earth shows the Kingdom in operation in our lives. Selah!
Though the rebel (Satan) is supported by many, he supports none. The realization of his hatred for his supporters becomes apparent with time. Before God, he flees, abandons his supporters and the false city he is using them to build in order to challenge Christ. When God visits the peoples with confusion of faces, gloom, darkness and the stoppage of their ambitions to own their city that reaches heaven, the devil will be nowhere to be found by them. He will be waiting to receive them into eternal damnation (his destined home).
No one can escape Babylon and her awful end by any means other than through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11-12). No matter the degree all who are in the kingdom of darkness are at, whoever listens to the prompting of God (their Creator and a loving Father) in their heart John 6:44, and turn to believe in Christ and abide in Him will be rescued (John 3:16, Colossians 1:13, John 16:16). Through His love and grace—and by faith (believe), He rescues or regenerates the spirit or heart of man.
Kingdom of Truth
God is spirit, His Kingdom is spiritual and it also has visible manifestations. All whose hearts are regenerated are the visible channels by which God’s system and pattern are being birthed visibly on earth in preparation for the new earth and new heaven John 4:24, Matthew 6:10, 2 Peter 3:13.
The new thing God is doing in and with the soul of His new creation (church) in Christ is not an ideology. It is the birthing of truth within the new creations (believers) which lives forever 1 John 2:17, Galatians 4:19. It is a being and living that is glorious! Glorious to the new creation though perplexing!
To the old creation man, it is annoying and a pain. It fuels rebellion against Christ because He is overthrowing the things the devil uses to enslave man. Things man wants to live his life for; physical pleasure (a craving for everything we see), power and pride in our achievements and possessions.… 1 John 2:16NLT.
In the light of all these, are you a new creation man in the Kingdom of light? Are you walking in the light of eternity? John 8:12, Ephesians 5:8, 1 John 1:6, 2:11. How lovely that your answers should be yes. I rejoice with you! Are you exploding in righteousness, joy and peace which are an inheritance of all true believers in the Truth (Light or Christ)?
Among those walking in the light of eternity, bosses do not exist. Christ says to them, “You all are brothers”! The Holy Spirit is exhorting and admonishing, “I plead with you by the mercies of God, don’t be bosses among God’s people (Church) who gather to worship Him and serve (bless) one another”.
Bosses set up themselves for a snare. Babylon (spiritual and temporal) is always seeking to bring believers who have escaped her back to bondage. Therefore, she craftily solicits for help from those who will be bosses among those who escaped. Her aim is to bring them back to her slavery 2 Peter 2:20.
Babylon suffers from the disease of a double mind. She acts as if she likes God but hates Him. She talks about God but never submits to Him 2 Timothy 3:5, James 1:8. This is how complex she is. Babylon is religious but hates the truth.
She neither accepts the truth nor lives by it. Or, allow others to. She is unrepentant and feigns innocence while fast pursuing her clearly defined goal to make a name for herself, encage many and if possible, derail the faith of some saints Proverbs 2:16-19 NLT.
Committed, deliberate and active devil worshipers know their fate. They are wise, so to speak. They devote their lives totally to Satan and this present world. They don’t deceive themselves—they are aware that they can’t eat their cake and still have it. But sadly, according to the scriptures, the children of God’s kingdom in thinking they can eat their cake and have it become less wise than the children of the kingdom of darkness Luke 16:13, 8.
Verse 13 of Luke 16 hits its mark as we see in our generation, “fine preachers” telling us that we can talk about love, forgiving, repentance but never love, forgive or repent. We can kill, steal, be immoral, slanderous, occultist etc and still be God’s friend because we have once received Jesus. But, if those who have not received Jesus indulge in the same things, they go to hell. It doesn’t add up! 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 11-12, 13.
God’s intention for his children is to be as wise as the serpent but, innocent Matthew 10:16. How? Psalm 119:98NLT shows how, “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are my constant guide”. Proverbs 2:20-22.
Therefore, being made wise by God’s word, we are admonished in 1 Peter 3:16, Titus 2:7 and Matthew 5:16.
If God is helping you escape from Babylon (spiritual and temporal), then keep setting your eyes on Christ as He’s daily taking you on an exciting, glorious and straight journey. Don’t now listen to old prophets! 1 Kings 13:1-32.
No regenerated person has walked all the length of God’s street—no, not one! Christ does not have a wife yet. His bride is yet being adorned! Even those who have joined the cloud of witnesses above are still waiting for the cloud of witnesses below. Those who keep their eyes on Christ will overcome like Him and the cloud of witnesses above (brothers who have gone ahead to be with Him). Saleh!
Until the marriage supper, the Holy Spirit warns Christ’s bride (not house, institution, mega or emerging church, but just the Church) don’t be arrogant, remember your first love, abide and submit to Him. Resist the devil, resist him again, and resist him steadfastly! For us to remain in this “good success”, we are daily empowered to submit to God and resist the devil.
He is no match for the grace (power) that is in and with you. But, don’t be arrogant and unwise because the devil is a strong wooer who wants to feast on your soul. Therefore, look to Christ Jesus the High Priest who is the stronger man and the lover of your soul. He wants to save your soul to the utmost.
Let us look up His eternal promises which helps you participate daily in his divine activities happening in heaven that are happening also on the earth.
On one hand, Christ’s bride is using the scriptures to teach, reproof, correct, and trains herself in righteousness that she may be complete and equipped for every good work. On the other hand, Babylon is using the same scriptures both to bring people to herself and to help them rebel against Christ and live in and to their flesh! Matthew 23:15, Hosea 5:4. Babylon (the ignorant and unstable) is twisting scriptures to create room for the flesh 2 Peter 3:16.
We ought to be History students all our lives—read history! Babylon entraps and enslaves through allurement of momentary things. Let’s always take this truth to heart. Even the saints who God blessed with momentary things eventually left them behind to go and rest with Him. Therefore, we don’t let the blessings to be left behind blind us and prevent us from wholeheartedly taking hold of the blessing that will be with us for all eternity 1 Corinthians 13:13. Having loved this present world, Demas, a fellow worker in the gospel of Christ with Paul loosened His grip on destiny and took a walk on the opposite direction of eternal life Ephesians 5:15-21.
God is giving eternal life to man on earth—men and women are walking in eternal life today that is God’s will. A day comes and He will permit them to enter into its fuller reality through sleep. Though, some will be awake to see (enter) it like Simeon Luke 2:25-32.
The Holy Spirit bids the bride of Christ on earth, “Sow not to the flesh! Don’t build Babylon; cast her down by the power of God’s word in your heart and mouth”. You that fear and reverence the Lord stop to consider God’s plea!
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sow, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption (things that last temporally), but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:7-8).
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6). This is the kingdom of God: righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). This is the Truth! God’s word is Truth and true.
In the Old Testament God spoke to His people predominately through selected ministers who lived by faith and as such beyond their generation- the people heard God by the voice of His servants. Due to this fact, the people were missing out on the unique effect of hearing God directly; for there must be some advantage to hearing God’s direct voice.
According to God’s preordained plan which showed only in His “due season” (Heb 9:8), His superior law hatched in His only begotten Son Jesus Christ- the ONLY name (way) to salvation (rescue from the kingdom of darkness and translation into the Kingdom of light and life) was and is made visible for all to see. This dispensation of grace or the New Testament, has made the feared but highly valued voice of God now available to all who are in the Kingdom of God though the people of old, unwisely, begged not to hear it directly.
The partition-the curtain that kept God’s people, except the high priest, from entering into the holy of holies to enjoy God’s creative voice has been made available to us who are in Christ Jesus (Heb 10:19-20). May all praise be to Him for all eternity! Amen.
All the secrets of God in salvation is hidden and revealed in Jesus Christ (Col 2:3)
In Hebrews 5:11 and 1 Corinthians 2:6, Paul concluded that explanation of some things that relate to salvation that is hidden in Christ is not for the ears of those that are dull of hearing Heb 5:12 and babies in Christ Heb 5:14. We are to grow in our knowledge of Christ who is our salvation but that can’t happen if we’re not prepared to enjoy the privilege God has given us to hear His voice as His sheep (John 10:14 & 27).
To enjoy the voice of Jesus Christ we must love and live not just righteously but have godly lives. That was one thing most of the people of old were not prepared to do. They preferred someone else to hear on their behalf – that way, they have a person they can blame and harass when they get angry with God. They were wise enough to know that no one can continue to hear God’s voice and persist in sinning the way they had determined to pursue other gods. Their wisdom was foolish, earthy and evil because true wisdom comes by fearing the Lord continually which leads to obedience to God’s voice. The voice of God carries unction, prophecy and creative purpose. They knew hearing God directly would eventually change their deceitful and deceptive heart thereby conforming them to His image and purpose (John 5:25, Rom 12:1-2).
In our twenty-first century Church, most of God’s people like the Israelites of old are tilting towards this attitude of not wanting to hear God’s voice directly. It is time to awake to the fact that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit indwell all of His children. The ministers of God in this dispensation of grace are not like the Old Testament priesthood with the high priest. We need to remember that God has appointed all His people who have the Spirit of His Son (Christ Jesus) as kings and priests. The devil takes his field day to lie and harass God’s children with his deceiving voice to accuse and intimidate, but he is not God’s advocate. Jesus is and the Holy Spirit speaks His voice to us as Christ intercedes for saints His blood purchased. We simply need to repent (turn away from) wrong or sin when we fall for it (1 John 2:1, Acts 23:2-5 NLT).
Oh! How vital it is that we hear, learn and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit leading us to our Savior and Lord – Jesus Christ.
Paul who commended people to be children of God and faithful servants in different places in the scriptures tells us in Rom 8:16 that “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” It is only the Spirit that can witness to us that we are regenerated- born again, but if the sheep can’t hear the witness of the spirit how can the assurance come? Unfortunately, we resort to complex doctrine to resolve truths God has simplified for us already.
If the assurance of our salvation is not established in our hearts, how can the sheep willingly follow the good shepherd, much more endure suffering with Him.
For a change, why not determine in 2011 to open the ears of your heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit for your benefit and that of other believers you fellowship with and maybe beyond. We must not let laziness stop us from following the admonition in Col 3:16, Joshua 1:8 and 2 Tim 2:15. Those who are gifted with the ministry gift and spiritual gifts should wake-up, serve those who are weak and needy and let iron sharpen iron. It is time for all to fall upon their face before God to charge the battery inside us ( 2 Tim 1:6).
Let us learn God’s voice from the pages of the scriptures, obey it and see our lives blossom in God in all circumstances. If we are blessed to be doing so already, let us persist on it and look to bless others. The promised outcome in Eph 4:14-15 as a result of Eph 4:13 should encourage us to press on. I believe it is worth forming part of our core resolve this year and to aim for it with all of our hearts and strength.
One generation will praise thee O God to another generation and another and forever. Amen
Often times God intends to get our attention by asking us a particular question repeatedly as was the case with Peter (John 21:15-17). The temptation is to be grieved because we believe God knows our heart pertaining to the matter for which He is questioning us.
We also saw God repeatedly bringing a vision to Peter’s attention but this time, Peter had matured in the ways of the Lord. And as such, though He was perplexed as God’s ways will always be to us, he was not grieved thereby opening a window for his obedience to God. And his obedience led to the blessing of salvation and baptism in the Holy Spirit to others (Acts 10:9-48).
As we enjoy the Lord’s presence in fellowship and prayer, and hear His voice in a repeated questioning way deep in our hearts, may we be wise to pause and give attention to Him. That waiting (meditating) to understand what He is really saying can save us from a lot of trappings of the devil and bless us in a huge way and profit others immensely.
The Lord’s probing questions is not meant to grieve us. He knows us better than we will ever know ourselves and His love and care for us knows no bounds.
May the Lord help us to KNOW His boundless love towards us that we serve Him gladly with all patience (Romans 8:28).