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Excellent spirit (2)

 

I was in a discussion recently with two men of God. We talked over a range of issues, from National security to the dwindling faithfulness of believers. In the course of our discussion, mention was made of a man of God, who pastors a well-run church; efficient staff, – paid of course. Sometimes I wonder if some of these Christians would be so efficient, em… faithful if not for the “secularism” or payment of salary. Just a thought.

Back to the main matter.

One of the pastors in our discussion said, “he has an excellent spirit!” I shot him a glance. Why?

Because of the phrase, “spirit of excellence”, or “excellent spirit.”

How do we interpret this? What message, and consequently, what spirit are we passing on to those God sent to us both to mentor and to disciple?

I still stand on my belief that the state of the Church today is traceable to the Pastors and Teachers of the Word.

What irked me in the discussion was the use and application of that phrase as concerning the pastor in question, who was known to the three of us.

True, when you enter their church hall, you will marvel at the beauty and neatness; the efficiency and corporate dressing of the church workers.

However, he has a bad reputation on his street and neighbourhood! Known as a brawler and wife – beater, I do not think that phrase should be applied to him.

I am not in any way judging the Man of God, neither do I advocate for him to be judged. He is not the issue before us. Nevertheless, I believe as servants of God, we owe it to the Lord and to the brethren, to correct interpretations we know to be wrong, else we will hear the Lord say to us:

“But I have this against you, that you let the woman Jezebel say she is a prophet and give false teaching, making my servants go after the desires of the flesh and take food offered to false gods.” – Revelation 2:20 (BBE) Emphasis added.

“But I have this against you: You let that woman Jezebel do what she wants. She says that she is a prophet, but she is leading my people away with her teaching.” – Revelation 2:20a (ERV) Emphasis added.

Certain things should not be tolerated. Again, if we do not correct these things the degeneration will not be arrested, but rather encouraged. We are the ones to withstand and resist this pollution and twisting of scripture.

So, it is not the man that we have before us, but an issue, a phrase that can be found in the book of Daniel, chapter five and verse twelve.

“Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.” – Daniel 5:12 (KJV)

This was something said to show that something more than human, a thing beyond the natural, was in Daniel. And what was this thing?

“There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him.” – Daniel 5:11a (KJV) Emphasis added.

“But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,” – Daniel 4:8 (KJV) Emphasis added.

The key words here are “spirit of the gods …in”, which stands for something beyond the natural or Adamic man; something that is of God, something divine and not earthly. A similar statement, not exactly the phrase, but implied, can be found in Genesis 41:38 (KJV)

“And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?”

This “presence” was in Joseph and as with Daniel. It is not what we do but who we are!

This is not just organizational ability to which the phrase is applied to today; no! The fact that a person, a church, or a business is so efficiently organized does not mean this phrase applies to him or it.

Jesus would call such organizational institutions “whited sepulchre.”

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” – Matthew 23:27 (KJV)

They look good, and perhaps godly from outside, like the tree Jesus cursed for lacking fruit; having as it seems, all the trappings of Christianity: a high steeple, a long cross on top, a solid altar made of marble, a pulpit of glass and aluminum, state of the art sound system, formally-clad staff, a clean sweetly fragranced convenience with two wings – men and women, powerful air conditioning system. Wao; good and dandy! Who no like better thing!

But wait! What is the spirit behind it all?

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1 (KJV)

What lies beneath all these beautiful “outer garments?” What would we see underneath the beautiful tombs? Rottenness? Dead men’s bones? Smelly-ungodly situations? The risen Christ? Whatever is found there is the real thing; the “substance!” Men do not go to graveyards to look at tombstones but to honour the ones the stones cover!

“Excellent Spirit” or “Spirit of excellence”, goes beyond the physical, it is the presence of God, seen in mortal man

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV)

 What is this treasure? It is the nature of God that we are called to share with Him.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” – 2 Peter 1:4 (KJV) Emphasis added.

What is this nature?

“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” – Exodus 34:6 (KJV)

 No wonder it is called the fruit of the Spirit!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23 (KJV)

Therefore, the spirit of excellence or excellent spirit does not talk about or refer to organizational ability, but to the presence of God in a person; Minister or Laity manifested through the fruit of the spirit! This is how we know them.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew 7:20 (KJV)

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life (2)

 

The Life of God is not what we pray to receive as every one child of God has a deposit of God’s Spirit.

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” – John 14:17-18 (KJV)

 

This deposit became possible from the day of Pentecost after Jesus shed his blood in death, resurrected and ascended to the Father.

However, the challenge is how to grow His presence in us. This takes a process well described in https://jimout2002a.wordpress.com/2018/07/23/fellowship-2

Furthermore, we need to:

  • Enrol in School. What school, and where? Not the School that has a geographic location, but a School that is located wherever you are at! Life itself is a school. Wherever you are, the teacher, the Holy Spirit, is there! This is the School of sensitivity – the School of the Spirit! Enrolling in His School means submitting your all to Him, being ready to obey all He asks you to do.

“His mother saith unto the servants, whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” – John 2:5-11 (KJV)

 

Miracles are borne out of obedience!

  • Get the book. Every school has its set of books or recommendation of books to acquire. Very serious students get their books and study them! It is disappointing when children are sent to school without books. Not only would they perform poorly, feel inferior when depending on others for books, they would not be able to confirm a sudden flash of illumination or understanding that come periodically to confirm what the teachers have taught; such a student might even fail!

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In the School of the Spirit, there is one key book, The Holy Bible, which contain 66 books. The Teacher would not teach outside the syllabus; the Bible is the syllabus used in this School. However, having the Bible would not grow the student, he needs to study it!

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

 

Approval – growth – can only come after study! Peter adds his voice to this; he calls it desire!

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” – 1 Peter 2:2 (KJV)

 

Spiritual growth is a function of study: the study of the word of God. Unfortunately, many are so busy they do not study. They only swallow hook, line and sinker, whatever their pastor says. It should not be so; they are humans too and have weaknesses and limitations. The true Teacher, the Holy Spirit, comes when we are alone, and filled with desire for the knowledge of the Truth. Let us go to Him in study.

  • Discipline. Every student must be enrolled for a specific subject or discipline. What course is to be studied to develop this Life of God in the believer? QUIETNESS!

This is the only means of minimizing us that He may increase. When we keep quiet, hear him, and carry out what He says, it would no longer be us living but He “working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13 (KJV)

 

As simple as this may sound, it is one of the most difficult things to learn and do because of pride and ego! Hear what God says about this.

“For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” – Isaiah 30:15 (KJV)

“Ye would not!” All because of pride; the self-spirit!

Quietness is a serious subject to study!

 

“And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (KJV)

 

 

quiet (2)

The devil wants us to be noisy so that we would not hear the Teacher! We cannot hear the teacher if we are busy or noisy. When students come into class and are before their teacher they keep quiet to hear him, if not, he has all the power to discipline them for “noise-making.”

The Bible enjoins us to be quiet when we come into the presence of our teacher.

“Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.” – Isaiah 41:1 (KJV)

 

The classroom teacher loves quiet and attentive students. In the same way, the Holy Spirit values and treasures observant and quiet students of His. Silence, quietness is an attribute or character trait that is precious in the sight of God.

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” – 1 Peter 3:4 (KJV)

 

Peter not condemning the wearing of ornaments, counsel women to pay greater attention to beautifying the inner man, with two things that are precious and of great price in the sight of God: meekness and a quiet spirit! They are of great worth in the sight of God!

It is in quietness that we hear His voice. He would not compete with the noise of our environment or the clanging noise generated in our hearts. Let’s pull down every other voice, and quietly listen to what He shall say to us in response to the challenges of our everyday life, and the life of the Spirit shall be enthroned.


life (2)

What are the features of this Life?

  • Sight. In our text Jesus talks of people seeing but not seeing. Most see only with the natural eyes and are not able to see with the eye of the spirit, to “see as God sees”. The Eye of the spirit sees beyond the physical. Jesus did not follow the sighting of His eyes because He followed the Eye of the spirit. (Isaiah 11:3)

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” – Matthew 5:8 (KJV)

Seeing God as Jesus taught here does not mean when one dies; but when one “sees well”, even while still alive, confirming what God said through Isaiah, “… but thine eyes shall see thy teachers.” – Isaiah 30:20 (KJV)

In Jeremiah I: 11-12, God asked the prophet what he saw and when he answered, God told him he had seen well.

The life of God in man can discern the mind of God in any situations; it passes judgment or makes opinion not based on natural events. He sees what others do not see.

Spiritual blindness can be treated when one goes to the Lord.

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” – Revelation 3:18 (KJV)

 

  • Sound

 

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive.” – Matthew 13:13-14 (KJV)

 

When Jesus quoted Isaiah, He was not speaking to people who were deaf or had no ears, no. He talked to people who had ears and could hear every word He spoke! Their auditory sense was alive, active and potent. They heard the sounds and syllables that He made, but beyond that they were lost; they could not perceive or understand what He meant!

Hearing is beyond hearing of sounds and syllables. What is the good in hearing someone speak to you when you cannot understand him, which is the essence of communication. Marriages fail, businesses fold up and relationships breakdown because someone heard but did not understand the other.

The Life that God imparts us in Christ has the power to understand not just our everyday conversations and affairs but can discern spiritual sounds and syllables! Like the silent whistles that only dogs can hear, spiritual sounds can only be heard by someone who has this life of God.

Till today, many hear preachings and teachings yet lack understanding.

“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. “ – Ephesians 4:18 (KJV)

 

“They can’t understand because they are in the dark. They are excluded from the life that God approves of because of their ignorance and stubbornness.” –  Ephesians 4:18 (GWT)   

 

The Life of God in man has ears deep behind the natural ears; it hears only hear when we are able to peel off the surface sounds and syllables of daily activities.

“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” – Isaiah 30:21 (KJV)

 

sensory (2)

  • Smell. The nose, with the olfactory sense, can smell emissions in its environment. Many people can smell things afar; their nostrils are sensitive. But if such people lack the spiritual life, the life of God, they can never perceive the mind of God!

“And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually.” – 2 Kings 4:9 (KJV)

The Shunammite woman did not go sniffing the Prophet, rather she smelt the aroma, aura or presence of God on the Man of God; she perceived him.

This nose is deeper than the physical nose.

  • Touch. The human system is wired with nerves that carry signals to the tactile sense making him able to feel, and sensitive to touch.

However, beyond the natural life is the massive spiritual ability to become suddenly “aware”, to have an intuition of something one may not be able to lay a hand on or explain initially.

“And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” – Mark 5:30-34 (KJV)

Jesus “immediately knew” something touched him apart from the physical contacts; even the woman knew something was done in her! How did she know, with no doctor to examine her for confirmation? It is the Life of God! No wonder Jesus said to her, “thy faith” has made you whole! The Life of faith is not possible without spiritual senses!

  • TasteThis is the sensation that results when taste buds from the tongue and throat carry information; it is distinguishing between two or more flavours. Spiritually, this means to participate in, to experience, to be a part of something divine.

Tongue

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 16:15-17 (KJV)

Peter did not know when he blurted his answer; nevertheless, it was of God. He partook in something divine; he tasted of the revelation knowledge of God, even before Pentecost.

Paul also partook in, tasted in something too wonderful to relate physically.

“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” – 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 (KJV)

These are experiences beyond the physical; they are things the natural sense cannot comprehend or understand because they are spiritual and belong to the Life of God.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”- 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 (KJV)

…to be continued.


 life (2)

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63 (KJV)

 

Life is in knowing the Word of God. However, knowledge is not life itself. Life can only be accessed through the revelation of knowledge. If you like acquire all the knowledge, if there is no revelation of that knowledge, you do not have the life in the knowledge.

Getting the life in the Word of God takes study.

“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” – Matthew 13:13-15 (KJV)

 

Jesus quotes Isaiah, showing the divide between natural life and spiritual life. Each life has its set of senses. The major features of life (spiritual and natural), are the senses. Here Jesus was not talking to dead people, but to people who are alive. However, they operate and live only by the natural senses.

“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” – 1 Kings 17:1 (KJV)

Heart main

The two sets of senses are at play here. Elijah spoke from the consciousness of standing in the presence of God, he operated the spiritual senses. Ahab, on the other hand, operating the natural sense, could have looked around hoping to see God.

“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 3:14 (KJV)

 

What the natural life has, the spiritual have also. However, many mind the natural life; they dwell on the natural life, either because of ignorance or unbelief. Jacob, while running from his brother came to a place where he saw a ladder reaching heaven; with angels ascending and descending, and said: “God is here and I knew it not.” The activities of his life then was centred on the natural senses.

“And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” – Genesis 8:21 (KJV)

God declares that man’s thoughts and imagination (where the treasure of a man is….) dwell on the natural (evil). We are not to live or dwell in the natural. Our minds should be more on and revolve around the things of the Spirit, the things of God.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

  God is not happy with the direction of man’s mind, hence Paul calls it death.

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” – Romans 8:6 (KJV)

He counsels:

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2 (KJV)

…to be continued.


fellowship

Every meeting must have a place of meeting. Meeting with the King is always held around the throne. Consequently, meeting with God, the King of Creation must be around His Throne.

“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.” – Revelation 4:6 (KJV)

“In front of the throne was something like a sea of glass as clear as crystal. In the center of the throne and on each side of the throne were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back.” – ISV

A transparent and clear place is seen “before” – in front – of God’s Throne!
That is the place of meeting! A place we all, the redeemed or ransomed of the Lord shall eventually be after the rapture; worshipping our God when Jesus would have taken us to the Father as His harvest from the Earth! We, His ministers (flames of fire – Psalm 104:4) will stand on this pure place singing the song of victory, Hallelujah!

“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” – Revelation 15:2 (KJV)

“Mingled with fire”, the victorious children of God stand here after the rapture!
That is why Jesus said it is not a place on the earth, “neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem”, but in spirit! – John 4:21

It is a place no unclean thing can enter!

“And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there.” – Isaiah 35:8-9 (KJV)

Nothing evil, nothing polluted, nothing of darkness can go up there! That is why we need to deal with or clean up the “dross” in our lives. In the Psalms, it is called the hill of the Lord.

“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” – Psalm 24:3-4 (KJV)

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Only the pure-hearted, clean hands and simple souls, called “fools”, shall go up there; a people without guile in their mouth.

“And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” – Revelation 14:5 (KJV)

That is the true place of worship: the true place of meeting; the place we meet with the Father. Every true Child of God, irrespective of denomination, temporarily goes there, in spirit, during worship! Jesus asked for this and the Father obliged Him.

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” – John 17:24 (KJV)

This is also how we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, though we are still on earth!

Beloved, how clean are your hands, your heart and how simple is your soul? These are the combination keys that unlock the place of meeting. Let us search ourselves and get rid of whatever pollutes and whatever makes offence if we really desire fellowship with the Father.

“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” – James 1:21 (KJV)

 


life (2)

“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” – John 6:63 (KJV)

 

Jesus speaking to some of His disciples tells of two kinds of life: the spiritual and the natural.

We often times take being alive for granted. Yes, we have this life and we forget that someday it would leave us no matter how tightly we clutch to it. Many live carelessly and before long this carelessness begins to manifest through ill health.

Another kind of life is available; bigger and better than what is obtainable in the world. It is the real life. It does not come and go neither does it bring health challenges; rather it battles and fixes every natural challenge. However, it does not commit itself easily, and can only be possessed through knowledge; not just any knowledge but a specific kind of knowledge.

 

Knowledge is only a vehicle in which life travels. Knowledge is not life, but the tube or channel through which life travels. And as said earlier, not all knowledge carries life. We may have scientific knowledge of the workings of the human, but that knowledge does not offer life.

We may have knowledge about the working of the heart, the dynamics of it, yet that does not guarantee life.

We do not apply knowledge to breathe or to keep the organs of the body working. Neither do we exert energy to keep them working and to stay alive.

We live by just believing! Life is a function of faith.

Faith itself is a function of the Word!

 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” – Romans 10:17 (KJV)

Life is a precious thing hidden in the Word of God.

 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” – Proverbs 4:20-22 (KJV)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” – Proverbs 25:2 (KJV) 

life2 (2)

Every kind of wealth is hidden, buried in the earth. To get them man digs. Life is available, but only to them, that search it out. Life in the word is to be dug out. If you do not dig or search deep into the Word, you cannot get it.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” –  2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV

 “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” – John 5:39 (KJV)

 

You search or dig through:

(1) Corporate Bible study or fellowship with the brethren.

(2) Private or individual Bible study.

 

….to be continued.


fellowship

The child of God, having gone through His fire, becomes a new creature; his attitude and character changes even his thought and manner of speaking reflect Christ. Moses, an orator (Acts7:22) emerging from God’s refinery, became a stammerer. No one will remain the same after passing through the Refiners Fire. It’s in the fire that the heart is circumcised and the person comes out “another man.”

That is why Paul could say “I live, yet not I …”

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth 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.” – Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

What I was before, I am not anymore; a change has taken place. I no longer hate, I love. I am not aggressive anymore, I’m gentle. Rather than the proud and haughty person I was, I am “meek and lowly of heart.”

The outer man, the flesh, “dross”, having been peeled off, the inner man, renewed after the spirit, is manifest. Like John the Baptist said, that “he may decrease and He increase.” This is the whole essence of “denying self”, which is indeed a very hard thing to do, but nevertheless a major requirement to having fellowship with God.

Paul was so proud of his new person; the person he had become that he counted his former person as nothing and his previous achievement as “dung”.

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” – Philippians 3:7-9 (KJV)

 He willingly lost “all things”, not some, but “ALL” things: his family, because of his new faith, disowned him and excluded him from the family wealth; his educational and Pharisaic attainments he also set aside for the excellency of knowing of Christ. His was a radical change.

Some of the things we should discard from ourselves if we are to have fellowship with the Father are in Galatians 5:19-21

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“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV)

A careful observation of the above scripture will reveal that these acts originate from the heart!

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“And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” – Matthew 15:16-20 (KJV)

Sin and uncleanness go beyond the act. They are products of the heart and start from thoughts and imaginations!

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” – Luke 6:45 (KJV)

 

The heart of man, being open to two sources of information, should be guarded with all diligence! And yes, we may not completely block out negative thoughts and imaginations, because the heart of man is wicked, yet we owe God the responsibility of pulling down every thought that does not conform to the word of God!

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Without the cleansing of the heart, one would not be admitted into the place of fellowship, and consequently cannot have fellowship with God!

 

….to be continued.