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)
“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)
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.
Have you ever relied on, hoped on a provision you had stored at home, and when the need for it came you could not reach it because it had been used by some other for something less important? That was what happened to God!
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” – Ex 32:1-8 (KJV)
Why did God ask them to borrow jewelry from the Egyptians? Couldn’t He have brought them out without it? Was it to beautify them? No!
(1) Egypt attained its power and wealth because of God’s presence.
“And Joseph was brought down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, captain of the guard, an Egyptian, bought him of the hands of the Ishmeelites, which had brought him down thither. 2 And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” – Gen 39:1-3 (KJV)
The prosperity of Egypt happened because of God’s presence in the life of His children, the chosen ones. So ultimately, they belonged to God.
“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” – Psalms 24:1 (KJV)
“And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD.” – Josh 6:24 (KJV)
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Hag 2:8 (KJV)
(2) God had a plan for His money. People build houses and buy things with their money. God intended the wealth for His house.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering. And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass, And blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, And rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood, Oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense, Onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.” – Ex 25:1-9 (KJV)
What God has given to you is not really for you, but for His work! You are only His instrument of “getting” and “investing” those things!
“The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” – Hag 2:8 (KJV)
“The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” – Psalms 24:1 (KJV)
Even the children we call ours belong to God; we are only care-givers or should we say “overseers”, to direct or invest them in the ways of God!
(3) This is where the corruption lies! We have not taken the pain to know why God gave these things to us. Why did He give us the children? Why did He give us the job or business? Why did He give us the car, the house, etc. What He purposed for Himself, we have held on to; and like the children of Israel, we worship those things: our children, our wealth and other blessings! Everything belong to God!
The instrument of this corruption is the blessing God blessed you with. All that you have today; money, children, land, cars, businesses, jobs, everything, are given to you by the Lord! Not for you but for His Kingdom and glory!
Today many claim to serve God but are carried away by wealth; the wealth they have and those they don’t have!
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” – Matt 6:24 (KJV)
MAMMON! This is the end-time god! They worshiped him in the desert and died; and now in the new dispensation, the New Covenant Church has been corrupted and many are dying spiritually!
On their own, these things are good. But they become corrupt anytime they enter into the heart! God should dwell here! Any other thing that enters there becomes corrupt! Why?
It takes up part of the heart and God will not have part! He deserves and demands all or nothing! A divided heart is a corrupt heart! You cannot serve God and mammon! This is the reason some Christians and their worship are accepted by God: a divided heart!
“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness…… “ – Ezek 28:17 (KJV)
This was what He said of Lucifer. God is no respecter of persons. His standard is His standard; it remains the same and does not change.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” – Ex 32:7-8 (KJV)
Our hearts should constantly be examined and whatsoever exalts itself above God in our heart should be cast down.
“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 Cor 10:5 (KJV)
This is done when we refuse to hold anything in our hearts that may turn our hearts from God. We should not treasure anything above God. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” – Ex 20:3 (KJV). This first commandment is still potent today!
Jesus would say
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matt 6:19-21 (KJV)
In other words brethren BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING!
After the fall of Adam, God entered another phase of His plan: a complete separation.
Adam sold the world to satan and man was powerless against the strong man.
God made a promise to send His Son to bind the strong man, destroy his works and set the captives free, for the purpose of separation.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Cor 6:14-17 (KJV)
CHRISTMAS IS A CALL FOR A COMPLETE BREAK!
From this world and its system!
‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.’ – Luke 2:7 (KJV)
There was no room for the Lord Jesus! The world would not accommodate Him! Indirectly the world told Him He did not belong here!
With His birth a new Kingdom was born; a spiritual kingdom. A Kingdom God wants us to be separated to.
“And be not conformed to this world.” – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” – 2 Cor 6:17 (KJV)
Every other thing done in Church is secondary! Be separated from this world! This is the primary reason for the birth of Jesus; NOT TO MAKE US RICH, but to separate us from this world for God and unto God!
This can be done through:
(1) THE BLOOD. This is the initial power that broke us loose from the clutch of satan. It has been done for us by the Lord Jesus when He shed His blood to save (separate) us. We have been called out of darkness!
”But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
(2) THE WORD. Retaining and maintaining this separation can only be done when we retain His word. This is our part in overcoming the enemy. Retaining the word, letting it dwell in us richly in all wisdom, circumcises our heart, strengthening us to stand, resist the devil and do the will of God that is why David said: “your word have I hid in my heart so that I will not sin against you.”
Where the world wouldn’t have room for Him we should, by allowing His word change our Character and speech!
“……but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2 (KJV)
Let us allow the Word of God separate us from the world by transforming and circumcising our heart.
“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” – Romans 2:28-29 (KJV)
Without this, Christmas is just a pagan worship!