There are monstrous problems in our communities and they’re affecting everyone dwelling on the earth. We can’t pretend to be unconcerned. However, it’s worse to pretend we have them under control— pretending in this way can cause us to be engrossed with solving earth’s problems to the neglect of worshipping and praising the Almighty God. That’s why the heart of God’s true people (His Church) not “our church”, is sighing and crying for the Lord’s fullness. It’s a call for Him to finish His blueprint for humankind.
God is responding as the Bread of Heaven is now touching His people’s soul more than ever and persuading those who’re not yet engaged to Christ Jesus to do so quickly. For these reasons, hearts no more want to “linger in Judea’s plain but desire to flee to the mountain top”. Therefore, the objective content in the saint’s prayers in this hour is captured in the song:
Hear us o Lord, Hear our souls deep sighing
Hear us o Lord for our hearts yearn for You
As the thirsty pants for the water brook
So our hungry souls pant after You
(You’ve awoken us from sleep and being awake, we clearly see) “the wild geese fleeing—flying away from the winter’s night like the lilies striving just to reach the light”. This is inspiring us to hear the “bridegroom’s call from our innermost being” and our sincere response is:
Lord, take us to Your mountain top as you have desired to have us as Your wife (Save us to the utmost).
This rich meditation for the Church is taken from “Feed My Sheep” by George H Warnock
What then did He do about it? Did He start acting upon the Scriptures that related to His Messiah-ship, and seek to fulfill what He had read and studied? His pathway is clearly set forth in the Word.
He simplified His life by walking in union with the Heavenly Father… and as a result ALL SCRIPTURE WAS FULFILLED THAT GOD INTENDED TO BE FULFILLED in the short ministry that He had in the earth… and what remained unfulfilled He was prepared to commit into the hands of the Father who sent Him. Doing the will of God was MORE IMPORTANT to Jesus than seeking to fulfill His Messianic office. With what result?
His ministry was cut short, for He was “cut off out of the land of the living…” But He did exactly what God intended Him to do… and the Scriptures which He did not fulfill while here on earth will yet be fulfilled in His Body, as He sits enthroned at God’s right hand in the heavenlies.
This may not seem important to some… but it is vitally important. For if we understand this WAY, then we can spare ourselves all the frustrations and needless anxieties that a minister of God has to endure when He sets his course to fulfill a New Testament ministry, or to bring into being a New Testament Church.
Let us not read the Scriptures with the thought in mind that it is up to you and I to strive to fulfill all that we read. Rather let us read the Word for our daily bread, that we might have the strength and the wisdom to do just what God wants us to do TODAY, and rejoice in the hope of the promise that seems as yet unattainable. And let us be assured that every glorious promise of the Word that God has given us… high and unattainable as it may seem to be, is nevertheless yours and mine to embrace as God quickens the Truth of it to our hearts. And as we faithfully walk in obedience in the realm that God has enabled us to walk in TODAY, the time will surely come when we shall also walk in obedience in a realm which is at present beyond our grasp.
I am not being “scriptural” when I try to fulfill Scripture; I am only being scriptural when I walk in fellowship with the Spirit, and in union with the Son… and in so doing I make way for the Word to take hold of my spirit and to nourish and renew the inner man.
“Dear Lord, as I meditate upon your Word, help me to know that I hold in my hands the plan and the blueprint of the greatest and most wonderful masterpiece of your creative power that you have ever undertaken to bring forth. For when you formed the heavens and the earth… the heavens and their wonderful galaxies and universes, and the earth adorned with beauty and majesty… you simply spoke a Word, and it came into being.
But when you saw fit to bring forth your Masterpiece, even the Church of the Living God, composed of redeemed sons of Adam’s fallen race. you must needs descend to the lowest depths with them in the Person of your Son, that in His death, resurrection, and exaltation to highest heaven we also might be lifted from depths unreachable to heights unattainable, in virtue of your own grace and wisdom and power.
And now in this Book that you have given us to read you have set forth in minute and intricate detail your plan and purpose concerning your people. Who am I that I could begin to formulate and arrange my life and calling, or the lives of your people, according to your Divine blueprint? I have it in my hands… I read it… I memorize it… I meditate upon it… But Lord! There is nothing that you say that is within my desire to perform or within my power to accomplish except as your indwelling Spirit breathes afresh upon the Word that you have spoken, and causes it to become Life within me.
Let me therefore read your Word with the consciousness that you are causing the very dew of Heaven to fall upon it, that it may quicken thy servant, and take on form and reality in my life as I receive it. Give me only that which I need for today, for thus you taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” May we not be greedy for wisdom and knowledge, while as yet we are not able to digest it. For again you have said, “Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it” (Proverbs 25:16).
Let us be happy as we walk one step at a time, as long as there is union with Thee, with a Word here and a Word there that we can lay hold upon. But let us not grasp hold of Scriptures, as an undisciplined and inefficient workman would grasp his tools… to erect the pillars and walls, and install the furnishings… when as yet the foundation has scarcely been laid. For so you have declared Thy Word would be fulfilled to a people who would enter in to your rest”:
“For precept must be upon precept,
Precept upon precept;
Line upon line, line upon line;
Here a little, there a little:
For with stammering lips, and another tongue
Will he speak to this people. To whom he said,
This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest;
And this is the refreshing:
Yet they would not hear”
And because Israel would not hear, God’s Word that was intended to bring them into rest, caused them “to go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (verse 13). “For if the light that is in you become darkness,” Jesus said, “How great is that darkness!”
Jesus, then, did not formulate any plan for the fulfilling of the Scriptures, nor for His own ministry… nor should we. He simply walked with the Father in perfect harmony and as He did everything came to pass as God intended, and the Scripture was fulfilled. How often we read the phrase, “That it might be fulfilled, according as it is written…”
This is how He began His ministry; for as He entered into the synagogue of Nazareth after His anointing and baptism, and stood up to read, He opened the scroll to the place where it was written concerning His great Messianic ministry. Then having read the portion that pertained to Him FOR THAT HOUR He closed the book, and handed it back to the minister of the synagogue, saying, “THIS DAY is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears…” (Luke 4:21).
There would be other days, when other Scriptures would be fulfilled, But for this day this was sufficient, and this was relevant, and God was truly glorified. God’s ministers often feel free to boast: “This is Bible, and I’m going to preach it…” But Jesus was confined to that portion of the Word that God was speaking TODAY.
Seasoned exhortation from T. Austin-Sparks taken from “All Things in Christ” CHAPTER 7
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. (John 5:39 NIV)
Ministry is the expression of Life, and not the taking on of a uniform and a title. Once I thought that to be in the ministry was to go into a certain kind of work, to come out of business, and, well, be a minister! So one got into the thing. Many, many are laboring and toiling in it, breaking their hearts, afraid to leave that order of things, lest they should be violating what they conceived to be a Divine call. Many others cannot get out of it because it is a means of livelihood, and they too are breaking their hearts. It is all false. Ministry is not a system like that. Ministry is the expression of Life, and that is but saying in other words that it is the outworking of the indwelling of Christ. Disaster lies before the man or woman who ministers on any other ground than that. When the Lord gets a chance in us, and we really will trust Him on that ground and take our position there, He will show us that there is ministry enough for us; we shall not have to go round looking for it. The real labor so often is to get us down to that ground, the delivering of us from this present evil age even in its conception of the ministry, unto the heavenly ministry.
The Lord Jesus is our pattern. You see the spontaneous ministry, the restful ministry of that Heavenly Man. I covet that! It does not mean that we shall become careless, but it does deliver us from so much unnecessary strain. That is how it should be. May the Lord bring us to it; the heavenly Man with the heavenly Life as the full heavenly Resource.
After Jesus had been incarnated, suffered, died and resurrected on our behalf to make us His betrothed chaste virgin (His body), He sprinkled our consciences with His own blood. He continues to intercede for His body and the impact on her is presently hard to fully comprehend. It’s driving the value of His cross deeper into her being causing her to be faithful, giving Him honor and being full of thanksgiving. It is making her put to death all things serving as a hindrance to His oil (His Spirit) from filling her vessel (soul) always; that is, anything that will stop her from meeting the bridegroom at His Father’s appointed time to enter the marriage supper (consummation).
Is Christ’s ceaseless intercession impacting your heart, soul and body? Saleh!
We are exhorted to intercede for one another because it produces visible results. That being the case how much more is Christ’s intercession on behalf of His body producing real results in His kingdom today. The result is the fruit of the Spirit we the branches are bearing.
We must remember that the flesh is weak and goes to sleep before midnight but, the heavenly gift (Christ’s life) which we possess, never sleeps or slumbers. Therefore, we’re called to worship in spirit and truth—this happens both when we are asleep and awake. If we go to sleep without the spirit in our vessels, then, we must buy oil again to remain in the light, have life and strength. Please note, in the parable of the ten virgins, those who awoke at the sound of the trumpet which announced the visitation of the bridegroom who needed to go and buy oil were described as foolish because they did not learn the lesson from the ants as advised by the Spirit Proverbs 30:25; 6:6-11. How many times the Holy Spirit must have prompted the ten virgins but the five foolish shunned the warning that their oil or measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ was lacking in their souls, thus they grieved the Spirit Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Paul’s emphasis in verse 30 of Ephesians 4 and verse 23 of 1 Thessalonians 5, underscores the point that we can’t save ourselves Galatians 3:11. Therefore, the Holy Spirit that has started us in Ephesians 2:8-9 is the only One who can bring us into the end of our faith; the salvation of our soul 1 Peter 1:9. We have been saved and shall be saved if we grieve not the Holy Spirit.
The summer given to man is fast coming to an end, the winter is almost here and it will be quickly followed by the midnight that will separate the wise from the foolish, the lazy from the diligent, men from the brethren, sheep from the goats Matt 25:32, Romans 11:21, Revelation 3:20-22. Dear believer, open your soul to His knock or prompting and buy oil now. Please read Hebrews 3:1-19 before continuing with the article.
A question to ponder is, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Galatians 3:3.
The flesh does not obey the Spirit—Indeed, it cannot! So, we must show ourselves as wise now and “put our flesh under submission” by faith in obedience to the Holy Spirit and resist the devil James 4:7, Romans 8:9-39. Please note, while neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, cannot separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord verse 38-39, unbelief, disobedience or grieving the Holy Spirit can. Saleh!
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 is a big encouragement to the kingdom of Christ. This is one of the deepest parables in the scriptures. In it, the kingdom of God is likened to the ten virgins. These virgins had one focus, which is, to meet the bridegroom. All the ambitions, needs and wants they had ever pursued narrowed down to this one destiny. Every other thing became a shadow. To inherit their destiny, they all took their lamps. At this point, the gospel that mattered is the gospel of buying oil and filling the vessel. It is the gospel of the Kingdom of the Bridegroom. It is the end time gospel that started after the resurrection of Christ. The gospel of the fulfillment of ambitions is not even secondary but useless and worthless. Dear reader, go for the gospel of His Kingdom that is within you.
Now, we note that the kingdom is one—so, it is not a comparison of two kingdoms but a narrative of the event within one kingdom. In other words, the ten virgins are of one kingdom with one bridegroom or blessing as their focus.
The virgins knew that they needed lamps and oil. They were all aware that they were responsible for taking their lamps that had been provided for them and also, to take enough oil made available to them and to hold unto it firmly till they unite with the bridegroom. Eventually, the time to meet with the bridegroom came and what was hidden became exposed. Five of the ten virgins were foolish (unwise) because they did not walk in the wisdom of virgins which is, buy oil without money when the Holy Spirit prompts or instructs to do so. Meanwhile, the other five listened to the Spirit and kept in step with Him—buying oil whenever the vibrancy of the Spirit in their soul (vessel) needed fanning. The ten virgins all recognized the joyful announcement of the spirit as it made attractive music to their ears, but to join in the spiritual songs, dance and festivity (not Christmas), their vessels needed to have been clothed with Christ Romans 13:14. Note carefully that verse 14 of Romans 13 is addressed to a people who already have Ephesians 2:8-9 blessing.
So then, virgins can walk as if they are not virgins and lose the benefit (the blessing Proverbs 10:22) entrusted to them. Virgins must walk as wise or chaste virgins till they are married to the bridegroom. The ten virgins were only betrothed to the bridegroom before that glorious day of consummation. John the apostle admonished those engaged to the bridegroom thus, “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us 1 John 3:24, Romans 8:14, Ephesians 4:30. The Holy Spirit is what enables the word to shine light on our path (soul); without Him (Oil) we will be empty and none of His. We will be foolish virgins—virgins that have no light and life when it is most needed.
After Paul the apostle had worked tirelessly not to “plant churches” but to encourage those engaged to Christ as virgins, he admonished them, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ 2 Corinthians 11:2-3. What is Paul’s concern for the virgins? It is unfaithfulness to the Christ. How can it happen? By them permitting for their thoughts (mind or soul) to be filled by another Jesus and spirit. Paul had great grace in understanding the mystery of God. He understood that man’s soul can’t be without a covering, a Lord, Apostle, Prophet, Shepherd and High Priest. So, he was concerned that that of the virgins betrothed to the Christ by the Apostolic Spirit of Christ in him were not deceived, seduced and married to or have “another (false) apostle, prophet, shepherd and high priest (the devil who is the antichrist).
A pure or chaste virgin is a wise virgin or remnant that keeps her thought and imagination on the Spirit and not on the flesh. Those whose minds (souls) are renewed and being renewed by the oil from their lamps.
The body of Christ as a virgin must be zealous for good works—meaning, being wise or pure. Here, good works are not our self righteousness (struggling to keep the laws of commandment) but, our obedience to the workings of the Holy Spirit in us and with us. This is obedience proceeding from the Spirit of life given to us in Christ Titus 2:14, Hebrews 9:14, 1 Corinthians 13:12. Paul says, the is a dimension of Christ at work in all who are in Christ and Christ in them—when, they eventually see Christ face to face, then, they will know something of Christ measure they have had all along that they did not know. This hope to eventually find out the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ God has worked in us that we cannot comprehend at the moment, gives the wise virgins dominion over sin Romans 6:14. Not even one of the sins in Galatians 5:19-21 shall have victory over you. Do you believe? Dare to believe Mark 9:23
1 John 3:1-2 describes firmly the truth that we are now betrothed which is our gift from God—the heavenly gift Hebrews 6:4. Consequently, our ceaseless zeal should be 1 John 3:3 as admonished. It is categorical not optional. This admonition to be wise is not a catalogue of things we don’t do and do but, a consistent dependency on the leading of the Spirit. It is a call of faith—to look unto Christ.
Paul’s exhortation to the church addressed to Timothy does not pass for our modern exclusive leadership training. Actually, leadership training does not exist in the bible.
The phrase in Paul’s speech in 2 Tim 2:2, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses”, indicates that the instruction was an open one. Some people have different understanding of the verse. However, no matter how we choose to comprehend it, it wouldn’t negate the truth that the exhortation was to the church and not those handpicked for leadership.
Jesus never took the apostles or his disciples aside to teach them how to lead others but how to serve Mark 9:35. He never taught them the psychology of humans since He never intended to relinquish leading or shepherding the people to His apostles or disciples. He always taught them God’s heart; His will for all men to be saved (not Calvinism) —and served. He showed them the general doctrine to be taught to all who truly know Him. Those whose hearts truly know Christ will pick it and follow on with God Hosea 6:3, 10:12, Jer 4:3.
The end part of Paul’s statement in verse 2 of 2 Tim 2, “entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” highlights what should be seen in those to pass on this “open knowledge” not “secret knowledge”. The key dispositions of the people are these;
*A life of faithfulness to God not to Paul
*Willingness to continue to learn ways to be more loving, obedient to Christ and joyfully serving others through the gospel.
This kind of faithfulness was Paul’s emphasis. In other words, not to selfish folks, but Christians (those who are selfless and eager to pass same knowledge they have freely received to others without demanding payment and or allegiance to themselves but to Christ). This is different from the mentor and protégé practice in the circular and religious systems.
In the gathering of the Church, to recognize the gifts in more matured believers and be drawn to benefit from it is perfectly scriptural. Therefore, to give due respect to such persons is highly advocated but to become their protégé is not scriptural Matt 23:8.
In the bible, particularly the New Testament, it was the matured Christians that saw the grace and faithfulness in the lives of younger believers and the areas of lack they can fill in their lives. So, they drew them closer. Paul and Onesimus in Philemon 1, Acts 18:25-26, 12:25.
However, the matured always recognized that they too stood to be blessed with the calling in the lives of those they had drawn into closer relationship for the work of Christ not their ministries 2 Tim 4:11. This is quite different from the mentor and protégé system where, the protégé submits their resume officially or unofficially for consideration by the mentor who sees him or herself as master having a disciple who owes him or her allegiance. The allegiance becomes the main criteria for passing those who are interested to serve their vision—though, it’s put smartly in scriptural terminology.
The relationship that Priscilla and her husband Aquila had with Apollos, Elijah and Elisha and Paul and Timothy is far from the mentor and protégé humanistic invention.
Only Christ should have us as His protégés or disciples and, —“you all are brothers” Matt 23:8. Paul and Timothy was referred to as servants of Christ and the church in Phill 1:1. For Timothy to be a servant of Christ and the church, he did not have to first be a protege or serve Paul.
Every believer has a spiritual gift which, those with ministry gifts also benefit from and yet, it doesn’t make them protégés. The counsel of scripture is, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” Eph 5:21, 1 Pet 5:5. The ministry gifts equip those who operate in it. They also benefit from the safety of the spiritual gifts in the body to which God has set them Eph 4:16, 1 Cor 12:7. John and Paul’s statements in John 1:9-10 and Gal 1:8 echo’s it, “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting” and “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Gal1:8, Acts17:11NLT.
Reading verse 8 of Galatians 1 carefully, you’ll notice that Paul is saying that the words they were inspired to preach is Christ himself or, their words were the voice of Christ. The implication is this; if the churches know the Lord’s voice, then, even if he (Paul) or anyone else came with another word, it is not to be received John 10:4-5. For this reason, as seen in 1 Cor 7:12, Paul always made it clear when he spoke from himself and not from the Lord.
The concluding statement of verse 8 of Galatians 1 indicates that God—not us, will be instrumental to those bringing their own words as if it were Christ’s to be accursed.
Paul never saw himself or others as above being derailed. How important that the Holy Spirit resides in every believer!
All believers are encouraged to grow in Christ by interacting with the other spiritual and ministry gifts in the fellowship of saints. In this interaction within and outside of one’s immediate community of faith, no one should be the disciple or protégé of a fellow believer. To use Jesus’ example of having twelve Apostles or many disciples to support the unscriptural practice of having a protector (mentor John 17:12) and the protected (protégé) is to say the least absurd.
Believers are to be equipped generally not specifically. True believers grow in Christ through fellowship with God, Christ and the saints by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When a believer has the privilege to give his or her time specifically to help another believer (for a season) to sharpen his or her comprehension and walk with Christ, it doesn’t obligate the helped believer to work in the gospel with the one who helped him or her. And, it shouldn’t turn the helped believer to the puppet of the one who God used to bring the help.
The Christian life is holistic not specialistic—as such, no individual in the body of Christ can supply another believer all he or she needs to fulfill their destiny. This truth will be appreciated if we understand there is a huge difference between our destiny and our ambitions. All Christians share one destiny which is eternal life but, ambitions run wild 1 Tim 6:12. God fulfils our destiny by taking us through His Way and ways if we’re willing Eph 4:1, Isa 1:19. Blindness and tragedy occurs when we accept His Way but refuse His ways because we want to fervently pursue our good ambitions. Misunderstanding the difference between our destiny and our ambitions is what drives us into the mentality and practice of mentor and protégé relationships.
It is true that mentor and protégé relationship can foster success in a particular specialty e.g., an architect seeking to advance in his field may be better off going to a more experienced and acclaimed architect who shows interest in him or her than going to an academic institution to acquire just a certificate. The additional benefit of profitable experience, contacts or networks the mentor creates is not likely to come from the institution of learning. But, if he or she is seeking to advance the entirety of his or her life as a Christian, the place to go is to God who holds her destiny in His hands. This is the reason all who become believers in Christ are added to a gathering of the saints.
We’ll continue in another post to examine and meditate on the subject
Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ