If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17,18 ASV)
The all-inclusive rule of the new creation is that “all things are of (out from) God.” Concerning this fact the Apostle Paul uses the word “but” – “But all things are of God” – as though he would anticipate, intercept, or arrest an impulse to rush away and attempt life or service upon an old creation basis, or with old creation resource. The great question then is: What does it mean that all things in this new creation are out from God? What kind of a life will such a life be? To answer that question adequately would be a very comprehensive task and the most revolutionary thing conceivable.
To begin with, we should have to be settled regarding the difference between the old and the new creations, and then as to how far-reaching that difference is. In addition, we should need to see that God has put these two creations asunder, utterly and forever, and however gracious and forbearing He may be with us in our ignorance and slowness of apprehension, He never accepts the overlapping or intertwining of the two. Then there would be the further need of an inward, intelligent judgment and power by which we are made aware of the Divine veto upon the one and energy toward the other….
It is not what is done for God that will last, but what is done by God. The measure of spiritual value is determined by the measure in which God promotes it, not the measure of human activities according to human judgments and energies in the name of God.
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.
In this article, we’ll look at the difference between the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) Prophets. The aim is to establish that, the New Testament prophets unlike the oldies are not exactly given to loneliness, extreme acrimony and hatred from the majority of the Church “representing the Israel of God”.
For clarity, I am not for replacement theology.
The Church, being those who are circumcised in heart by the atonement of Christ’s blood, have the Spirit of Christ in them. This point is crucial for the positive assertion of the theme of this article.
In the Old Testament, the natural Israel as a nation was unquestionably chosen by God as His people—This, they inherited from their forefathers that had the promise from the faithful Creator of the universe and beyond.
It is interesting and important to note that they did not choose God rather they only inherited His promise to their fathers. This has implications.
One key implication is this: they did not have the faith seed in their lives as their fathers. They were mere men struggling to keep the laws the God of their fathers gave. This had implication on the prophets.
The implication on the Prophets of old
The definition of a prophet elucidates the reason they had to be an extremely set of lonely people in their environment and interaction with this “mere men” who know not the God of their fathers that the prophets represented. The OT prophets had the faith seed in them and were always speaking the things which only faith, not law, could comprehend. See 1 Peter 1:9-25.
In verse 9 of 1 Peter 1, Peter the apostle spoke of, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls”. Then, note what he says next in verse 10 regarding the OT prophets, “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you”.
While the prophets was talking about the salvation of their souls, the Israelites were overwhelmed with desire to be saved from their earthly problems:
*For the God of their fathers to rescue them from physical Egypt,
*Give them cucumber and meat
*Make them greater than other nations they considered better than them because those nations had kings ruling them.
So, the prophets of the OT were prophesying to their people of something to be a gift by faith through grace to a future people in the dispensation of the Church. The prophets talked to a people whose spirit, soul and body was accustomed to naturalism—to only what they could see, feel and touch.
Against the above background, only those who by faith yielded to the God of their fore-fathers not just His laws could ever have been at peace with the prophets.
Only by faith did anyone escape the natural realm at their time to worship God in spirit and, it remains the same today. It is only by the means of faith could anyone interact with the great “I am that I am” the Yahweh of Israel and maker of the heavens and the earth!
Therefore, unavoidably, the OT prophets had to have loneliness, extreme acrimony and hatred from their own people because they were neck-deep with a people who had not what they had. The prophets’ only solace was to keep far away from their people and come to them only as the Spirit of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit moved them to speak out to the people. God kept speaking to the people through the Prophets despite the fact that they were hated.
God kept speaking to the people through the prophets though they were in the dispensation of the law because, He intended for the prophets words to burn in their hearts and ignite faith for their salvation. Even at their time, faith came “by hearing, the hearing of God’s word” Romans 10:17. Praise God the scriptures has record of those who at that time had faith and so, lived beyond the law and gazed at Christ Hebrew 11:17-38. They searched after Him as one searches after a precious city till they died or were taken Heb 11:10.
In each generation of the Old Testament, all who were searching for the City (Christ and His body) whose architect and builder was not man but God never had problem with the prophets. Men and women whose lives were centered around searching for the City no matter what happened to them or trade they engaged in, never joked with presenting their bodies as a living sacrifice to God. They always eventually came to understanding not by some human persuasion and persuaders’ that God, deserves to be loved by being worshiped in spirit and truth—mean, to give God our spirit, soul and body totally and progressively till we’re taken or die Genesis 5:24, 6:9 Hebrews 11: 13-14,39-40.
Prophets in the Church
Having defined the church and the much said above, NT prophets are relieved from the aloofness, loneliness, extreme acrimony and unpleasantness coupled with hatred the OT prophets suffered from their own people. Their people were law en-caged and governed, while the people of the household of faith in the NT are utterly faith and grace regenerated, lead by the Faith and Its grace. This NT peoples (the Church), serve one another by faith and grace in love and honoring one another because they are a spiritual people .
In OT, the people had nothing to give the prophets since they lacked faith while the prophets were motivated by faith. The prophets towered far above them rightly because, faith surpasses law by far! The prophets dealt with the Reality (Christ) while the people followed the shadows (laws). Even the levitical priest feared the prophets and could not really serve them. The prophets walked with God like Adam and Eve did before they fell in Eden garden.
The NT people however, are a royal priesthood headed and lead by only One High Priest, Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Shepherd and Evangelist from the beginning and so shall it be for all eternity. All the parts of this “many one body” which, the people who lived by faith in the dispensation of law longed to belong and have now belonged as part of the cloud of witnesses above through Christ’s resurrection had their gifts with which they served God and His people.
We in the NT are better advantaged in that, we all have been engrafted by faith as cloud of witnesses on earth, having each our own gift(s) by which we serve God and one another in the different assemblies God has planted on the earth. No gift in anyone is above the gift in another. They just function differently for His vision which is, to glorify Christ in serving one another by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in each part. And together, declaring the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and power in the heavenly places as we preach the gospel that redeem those outside Christ.
No one should accept to be driven to aloofness because of Christ’ gifting in his or her life and cheated out of the rich life of Christ flowing out from the parts of His body. No gift in the body is unique since, it is in the Body— this body whose origin and all who are in it have the same component (Christ) by faith.
How then, can anyone with the spirit of Christ fear, hate or disrespect any aspect of Christ’ ministry gifted to some of His sheep to serve other sheep and also be served.
Let us view this with respect to 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
For the People of God who love and want the truth, He obligates Himself to give them the truth and they will know what the truth is in living relationship with Him without doubt and confusion.
Those who seek a truth to use for their own kingdom purposes must be astute theological lawyers, authenticating and priding themselves in the knowledge of the law without the expectation of finding the truth in a living relationship with Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is why many of us are unbeatable in theology with our world–wide reputation yet, we remain cessationists which also indicate that we don’t believe in the Holy Spirit at all.
How then, will we not beat down those parts Christ’ ministry is flowing out from.
Have we failed the test…? I fear the subtle sin of being presumptuous therefore, I am examining myself… please dear reader, would you be exhorted to examine yourself too?
To those truly gifted with the ministry of Christ and his spiritual gifts, please come out of the false emotion of being lonely or, confined to walking only with people of similar gifting. Just be wise to know you operate in the gathering or places to which God has set you.
Not as a prophet but, I prophesy this: “We’re in a time for prophets to enjoy. Though, full of heaven’s burden, it shall be lightweight for, the ministries in My Body and the spiritual gifts are about to serve (bless) you greatly by playing their part to you. I the Lord am working in my Body to cause all parts of My Body to function well. Her increase is coming to fullness as each part is releasing My assigned measure. In Her, My banner of “Love” will be seen and Her hidden foundation will remain established as “love”. My glory and peace is with my Body”.
Scriptures establishes that as believer, we cannot have true growth in Christ and be strong except we’re first weak in ourselves. It means that the measure to which a Christian retains his or her own strength is the same measure to which the person is weak in Christ. This pill (truth) is hard to swallow, but if it’s taken, it cures the sickness of being weak in Christ.
Until this truth is understood, accepted and applied to oneself, praying aright and without ceasing will be hard and, humility will remain mere talk.
At the present time, a major problem confronting the Church is her weakness Rev 3:1-3. The message of God to the seven churches representing the gatherings of His people then, as well as the Church today, points to how God views His people’s weaknesses.
A dependence on the Holy Spirit in studying His message to the churches shows clearly that God does not kill His people because of their weaknesses. But, neither does He take it lightly that His people should continue in weakness.
His invitation is always that His people should become over-comers and inheritors of good Rom 12:21.
Peter the apostle gives us the clue why God wants us to always overcome evil in 2 Pet 2:19, “For by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage”. This is the reason why Paul and others always unashamedly declared that their bondage or prisoner status was only to Christ and not the devil Eph. 4:1, Eph. 6:6.
So, we are either in bondage to good or evil depending on our choice—that is, based on who we submit to.
Each time we submit, we are either being refined and polished as precious stones, or sadly giving room for our gift of a heart of flesh to be hardened Ezekiel 11:19, Heb 3:13. If we yield to Christ, we enter into bondage to righteousness (Christ). This is a beautiful thing! Conversely, if we yield to the devil we enter into slavery to do his mischievousness. This is ugly!
God does not want any stone that is ‘not precious’ but in bondage, to form part of the wall of His city. Hardened hearts are not precious stones! Therefore, He has established that every stone en-grafted into His city be laid properly on the foundation of His wall Rev 21:1-27, Eph 4:12-15. How is this to happen?
Well, Paul the apostle tells us, “The Foundation being Christ Jesus is laid and no other foundation can be laid—no other is accepted by God”. This Foundation is laid by the holy apostles with the prophets Eph 2:20.
In the next post, we will look at the apostle’s doctrine and how they help us answer the question asked earlier–how is this to happen?
There is a clarion call from God’s word; calling out to the – lively stones (Christ’s brothers), saying, “Worship in spirit and truth” John 4:23. Kiss the Son but not like Judas the betrayer! Luke 22:48.
Awake to the first love you had for Him if indeed you’ve ever loved Him— for, many know nothing about loving Jesus or having faith toward God (Daniel 3:16-18, Habakkuk 3:17-19) because we’re bombarded today with only the exercising of faith to possess our possessions (earthly needs) which the earthly people get without exercising our so called “faith”.
It’s imperative we know that verses 17-19 of Hab 3 did not happen as a result of lack of exercise of faith. Rather, such things happen for our own good as supervised by the Alpha and Omega. Well, I guess this will sound stupid and pass as escapist theory for the materialist minded (visualize and claim it folks). But, Romans 8:5-8, 28 should help us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose“.
Amplification of this truth shows that good is light Eph 5:8-9. Light (good), is what God intends to work out in the life of THOSE WHO LOVE HIM through All things He permits to happen to them John 14:15. This is actually His purpose!
Therefore, every situation that confronts us should lead us to the light of God e.g Stephen’s stoning and “early” death worked out light for him—He didn’t go cursing, hating and denying Jesus for not coming to his rescue despite his mountain moving faith. The phrase “work together for good” doesn’t mean, ‘Don’t worry it will all eventually turn out as you wish, just exercise faith’. If we walk in darkness because we’re confronted with evil circumstance, we’re missing the essence of us being lively stones (light) in the Lord Rom 12:21.
So, don’t give room to the magicians, sorcerers, and merchandisers with bibles, blind and reprobate religious gurus of this age wanting to deceive you. Don’t let the temporal successes or failures of this life drain God’s rich life in you Prov 27:24. Remember that Satan is still looking for those he will deceive with his voice and use them as sons of perdition to shame Christ Heb 6:6 (KJV).
Therefore, discerning voices is vital for the end times we live in as it was with the early church.Voice carries unbelievable power— it’s so important that God takes His time to train each lively stone to learn His voice.
Every part of His spiritual house must learn His voice John 10:4-5. We notice in verse 4, all the sheep know His voice. Many sheep echo His voice as He chooses to speak from anyone of them. Also, we’re made to be aware in verse 5, that while the voice of the stranger (Satan) speaks directly to deceive, he uses his messengers (strangers–wolfs in sheep clothing) to trumpet his voice to accomplish his purposes.
The phrase, “they do not know the voice of strangers” is well explained to us in the beginning of verse 5, “A stranger they will not follow”— not only that they do not follow or obey, “they will flee from him” because the scripture does not encourage anyone to enter into conversation or fencing with the devil and his cohorts. These seemingly simple words of Jesus is safety device for us!
But, because we ignore His wise counsel BY NOT SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES OR SEARCHING BUT FORGETTING THAT THE SCRIPTURES TESTIFY OF HIM (John 5:39, Acts 17:11), the voice of the smooth talker is making many build fantastic and admirable edifices (fake kingdoms with fake following) wrapped up with humanistic intentions which is another gospel.
We need to know that wood not overlaid with gold and silver, clay not broken, straw and hay can’t stand His fire Malachi 3:1-18. Wood overlaid and jars of clay broken will enjoy the resurrection now and attend to the future resurrection unto immortality with God.
Worship at the end, will be in God Himself the very temple Rev 21:22-27. It’s vital to mention that the kings in verse 24 of Rev 21 are now being prepared to learn to bring glory to the Lamb Who is the light of the temple or city. So, it’s not referring to men’s kings—who’re rulers of mankind!
His Royal Priesthood in our Generation
The church (His city) is far from dying as many suppose! By institutional measurement, the gates of hell have already prevailed longer than we can imagine. But for the spiritual house God Himself is building, there has never been any time a great number of the priesthood have been obedient to Christ like in our generation.
Myopic opinion will hinder many from seeing that His royal priesthood today is taking conscious decisions and steps that are far reaching in order to glorify Christ in different parts of the world (China, Japan, India etc). Meanwhile, MANY of us are totally engrossed with possessing earthly possessions! It boils down to the issue of balance which, watchfulness and prayer will help calibrate! As Christ is speaking to the church loud and clear, His word is awakening slumberers.
Listen with your ears if indeed you are part of His lively stones (kings-yes! kings are His servants) and act on His command to fit your place in the construction of His temple that has been going-on for over 2,000 years. The time to use the temple for the marriage feast is nearer now than ever before. Midnight is coming upon us fast that the bride may enter the dawn of His glorious morning!
How long more before the time is due? Only the arrogant knows! But, the humble takes the posture of obeying His instruction, “watch and pray” Mark 14:38. We must not run away from God because He sells His gold and silver to us by reprove and discipline.
It’s a show of His love for us! Rev 3:18-20. We need to continually examine our soil (old fashion talk but it remains valid 1 Tim 4:16, Acts 24:16). “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience”(Luke 8:15), Heb 6:7, Rev 3:10.
It is time for every lively stone as part of Christ’s body to abandon consumer mentality and timidity!
BE A BLESSING IN THE GATHERING OF THE SAINTS TO WHICH GOD HAS SET YOU BY EXERCISING YOUR GIFT NOT SKILL (Rom 12:5-8 NLT). Exercising skill doesn’t take devotion to God but for His gift in our lives, it does! We’re called to His devotion and then, to play our part according to the measure of faith and grace He is pouring into us daily as members of the present royal priesthood! Refuse to operate as a Levitical priest and have no high priest over you under any heading except Christ!
Take a look again at the picture above (which is a representation of the body)—notice the unique shape and colour of each small and big stone. Each stone is shaped and sized by God. The least of them is greater than John the Baptist! Imagine the big stones trying to brag to the small ones about their bigness when they cannot fit in the place the small ones fit and vice versa. See the beauty the blend of their colours gives; it’s because of their positioning! He that set each stones position achieved that beauty– God is indeed a designer!
While He has admitted us into His Life freely, we’re encouraged as individual lively stones to go further and accept His design for our lives and thereby enter into His abundant life (the fullest measure of God’s life mortals can enjoy while in the earth) not posh life (though nothing is wrong with that privilege). But, this richness of the soul the Holy Spirit is speaking to the great house about waits for every lively stone for the taking. Whoever is willing, CAN take it by force John 10:10, 1 Tim 6:12, Matt 11:12.
Always remember! You’re not a cement mixture which, you or other people pour into their molding machine to produce the shape of stone or block they need to accomplish their ambitions. You’re a stone hewn out from Christ to bear His image, praise and glorify the Father now and for all eternity. Our big caution! We don’t just relish in this knowledge—we accept it and it works in us and conform us actively, daily to His pattern and purposes. Amen.