• Consecration and Breaking

    by Published on 03-15-2015 01:20 AM     Number of Views: 473 
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    On His Side and Consecration on Our Side

    We ought to know the purpose of God in creating us and in redeeming us. He wishes for us to manifest the life of His Son and share in His Sonís glory. Even before the foundation of the world, God has purposed one purpose, which is to say, that He wants to have many sons just as He has the only begotten Son. And thus it states in Romans 8.29: ďwhom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.Ē Why has God done such things? Because He had foreordained us to be conformed to the image of His Son. This is the eternal purpose of God. He purchases and redeems us that He may possess us.

    Yet God uses two means to possess us: one is on His side, the other is on our side. On His side, God sent His Son to die for us, to buy us back. According to the right of purchase, we are His bondslaves. Thank the Lord, He has bought us. God once said to Abraham, ďHe that is born in the house, and he that is bought with money, must needs be circumcisedĒ (Gen. 17.13). Hallelujah, we are not only born of God we are also bought by Him.

    We are bought by God and thus belong to Him, yet He sets us free. Although according to the right of redemption we belong to God, He nonetheless will not force us into service. He will let us go if we desire to serve mammon, the world, the belly, or other idols. For the moment God is inactive: He is waiting for us to move: till one day we say on our side: ďO God, I am Your bondslave not only because You have bought me, but also because I will gladly serve You.Ē A verse in Romans 6 unveils a most precious principle concerning consecration. We become Godís bondslaves not only for the reason that He has bought us, but also for the reason ďthat to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye arewhom ye obeyĒ (v.16a).

    Here, then, are the two means by which God possesses us. On the one side, we are His bondslaves because He has bought us; on the other side, we willingly and gladly present ourselves to Him as His bondslaves. As regards law, we become Godís bondslaves on the day He purchased and redeemed us. As regards experience, we become His bondslaves on the day we offer up ourselves to Him. From the viewpoint of right and ownership, we are Godís bondslaves on the day we were redeemed. From the viewpoint of practice, we are truly His bondslaves on the day when we voluntarily and gladly give ourselves over to Him.

    Consequently, no one will ever be ignorant about his being a bondslave of God, for in order to be His bondslave, the believer will always need to voluntarily present himself. Such consecration is totally oneís own choice and initiative. Hence the offerer will know what he is doing. God will not coerce a person to serve Him. And that is why Paul, knowing the heart of God, does not force, he only ďbeseechesĒ (see Rom. 12.1a). God delights to see His people offer themselves willingly to Him. . . .
    by Published on 02-13-2015 09:40 PM     Number of Views: 545 
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    Authority and Submission

    Godís Throne Established on Authority

    The acts of God issue from His throne, and His throne is established on His authority. All things are created through Godís authority and all physical laws of the universe are maintained by His authority. Hence the Bible expresses it as ďupholding all things by the word of His power, which means upholding all things by the word of the power of His authority. For Godís authority represents God himself whereas His power stands only for His act. Sin against power is more easily forgiven than sin against authority, because the latter is a sin against God himself. God alone is authority in all things; all the authorities of the earth are instituted by God. Authority is a tremendous thing in the universeónothing overshadows it. It is therefore imperative for us who desire to serve God to know the authority of God. . . .

    Authority, the Controversy of the Universe

    The controversy of the universe is centered on who shall have the authority, and our conflict with Satan is the direct result of our attributing authority to God. To maintain Godís authority we must be subject to it with all our hearts. It is absolutely necessary for us to meet Godís authority and to possess a basic knowledge of what it is.

    Before he knew authority Paul tried to wipe out the church; after he had met the Lord on the Damascus road he saw that it was hard for the feet (human power) to kick against the goads (Godís authority). He immediately fell to the ground and acknowledged Jesus as Lord. After that, he was able to submit to the directions given him by Ananias in the city of Damascus, for Paul had met Godís authority. At the moment he was saved he knew Godís authority as well as Godís salvation.

    How could Paul, being a clever and capable person, listen to the words of Ananiasóan unknown little brother mentioned only once in the Bibleóif he had not met the authority of God? Had he not encountered authority on the road to Damascus he could never have been subject to that obscure little brother in the city. This shows us that whoever has met authority deals purely with authority and not with man. Let us not see the man but only the authority vested in him. We do not obey man but Godís authority in that man. Otherwise, how can we ever learn what authority is? We are on the wrong road if we meet man first before we obey authority. The opposite is the right way. Then we will not mind who the man is.

    God has purposed to manifest His authority to the world through the church. Godís authority can be seen in the coordination of the various members of the body of Christ.

    God uses His utmost power to maintain His authority; therefore His authority is the hardest thing to come up against. We who are so self-righteous and yet so blind need once in our life to encounter Godís authority so that we may be broken unto submission and so begin to learn obedience to the authority of God. Before a man can subject himself to Godís delegated authority he must first meet Godís inherent authority.

    Obedience to Godís Willóthe Greatest Demand of the Bible

    The greatest of Godís demands on man is not for him to bear the cross, to serve, make offerings, or deny himself. The greatest demand is for him to obey. God ordered Saul to attack the Amalekites and destroy them utterly (1 Sam. 15). Yet after his victory Saul spared Agag, king of the Amalekites, along with the best of the sheep and oxen and the fatted beasts and lambs and all that was good. Saulwould not devote them to destruction; he argued that these were spared to sacrifice to God. But Samuel said to him: ďBehold, obedience is better than sacrifice, attention than the fat of ramsĒ (verse 15.22 Darby). The sacrifices mentioned here were sweet-savor offeringsóhaving nothing to do with sin, for sin-offering was never called an offering of sweet-savor. They were offered for Godís acceptance and satisfaction. Why did Samuel say that ďobedience is better than sacrificeĒ? Because even in sacrifice there can be the element of self-will. Obedience alone is absolutely honoring to God, for it alone takes Godís will as its center.

    For authority to be expressed there must be subjection. If there is to be subjection, self needs to be excluded; but according to oneís self-life, subjection is not possible. This is only possible when one lives in the Spirit. It is the highest expression of Godís will. . . .

    As Godís servants, the first thing we should meet is authority. To touch authority is as practical as touching salvation, but it is a deeper lesson. Before we can work for God we must be overturned by His authority. Our entire relationship with God is regulated by whether or not we have met authority. If we have, then we shall encounter authority everywhere, and being thus restrained by God we can begin to be used by Him. . . .

    Christians Should Obey Authority

    There is no authority except from God; all authorities have been instituted by Him. By tracing all authorities back to their source we invariably end up with God. God is above all authorities, and all authorities are under Him. In touching Godís authority we touch God himself. Godís work basically is done not by power but by authority. He upholds all things by the powerful word of His authority, even as He created them by the same word. His word of command is authority. We cannot say how Godís authority works; nevertheless,we know that He accomplishes everything by it.

    A beloved servant of a centurion was sick. The centurion knew he was both under authority and in authority over others. So he asked the Lord to but say a word, believing the work of healing would thus be doneófor are not all authorities in the Lordís hand? He believed in the Lordís authority. No wonder our Lord commended him for his great faith: ďVerily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in IsraelĒ (Matt. 8.10). Touching Godís authority is the same as meeting God. Today the universe is full of authorities set up by God. All the laws of the universe are established by God. Everything is under His authority. Whenever a person sins against Godís authority he sins against God. All Christians must therefore learn to obey authority. . . .

    No Unity of Body Without Authority of Head

    God is working towards recovering the oneness of the body. But for this to be accomplished there must first be the life of the Head, followed next by the authority of the Head. Without the life of the Head there can be no body. Without the authority of the Head there can be no unity of the body. To maintain the oneness of the body we must let the life of the Head rule.

    God wishes us to obey His delegated authorities as well as himself. All the members of the body should be subject to one another. When this is so, the body is one with itself and with the Head. As the authority of the Head prevails, the will of God is done. Thus does the church become the kingdom of God. . . .

    Philippians 2.5-7 forms one section and verses 8-11, another. In these two sections our Lord is seen as having humbled himself twice: first He emptied himself in His divinity, and then He humbled himself in His humanity. By the time He came to this world, the Lordhad so emptied himself of the glory, power, status, and form of His divinity that no one then living, other than by revelation, knew Him nor acknowledged Him as God. They treated Him as a man, as an ordinary person of this world. As the Son He willingly submits to the Fatherís authority and declares that ďthe Father is greater than IĒ (John 14.28). Thus there is perfect harmony in the Godhead. Gladly the Father takes the place of the Head, and the Son responds with obedience. God becomes the emblem of authority, while Christ assumes the symbol of obedience.

    For we men to be obedient it should be simple, because all we need is but a little humility. For Christ to be obedient, however, is not so simple a matter. It is much harder for Him to be obedient than for Him to create the heavens and the earth. Why? Because He has to empty himself of all the glory and power of His divinity and take the form of a slave before He is even qualified to obey. Hence obedience is initiated by the Son of God.

    The Son originally shared the same glory and authority with the Father. But when He came to the world He on the one hand forsook authority and on the other hand took up obedience. He willingly took the place of a slave, accepting the human limitation of time and space. He humbled himself further and became obedient unto death. Obedience within the Godhead is the most wonderful sight in the whole universe. Since Christ was obedient unto deathósuffering a most painful and shameful death on the crossóGod has highly exalted Him. God exalts whoever humbles himself. This is a divine principle.

    To Be Filled with Christ Is to Be Filled with Obedience

    Since the Lord has initiated obedience, the Father has become the Head of Christ. Now because both authority and obedience have been instituted by God, it is natural for those who know God andChrist to obey. But those who know not God and Christ know neither authority nor obedience. Christ is the principle of obedience. He who accepts Christ accepts the principle of obedience. Hence a person who is filled with Christ must be one who is also filled with obedience. . . .

    Learning Obedience through Suffering

    It is told in Hebrews 5.8 that Christ ďlearned obedience through what He suffered.Ē Suffering called forth obedience from the Lord. Please note here that He did not bring obedience to this earth; He learned itóand He did so through suffering.

    When we meet suffering we then learn obedience. Such obedience is real. Our usefulness is not determined by whether or not we have suffered, but by how much obedience we have learned through that suffering. The obedient ones alone are useful to God. As long as our heart is not softened, suffering will not leave us. Our way lies in many sufferings; the easy-goers and pleasure-lovers are useless before God. Let us therefore learn to obey in suffering. . . .

    Those who are set up by God are to exercise authority for Him. Since all governing authorities are ordained and instituted by God, they are meant to be obeyed. If we would indeed learn how to obey God, we would then have no trouble recognizing on whom Godís authority rests. But if we know only Godís direct authority, we may possibly violate more than half of His authority. Upon how many lives can we identify the authority of God? Is there any room for us to choose between Godís direct authority and His delegated authority? No, we must be subject to delegated authority as well as to Godís direct authority, for ďthere is no authority except from God.Ē

    As to earthly authorities, Paul not only exhorts positively towards subjection but also warns negatively against resistance. He whoresists the authorities resists Godís own command; he who rejects Godís delegated authorities rejects Godís own authority. Authority, according to the Bible, is characterized by a unique nature: there is no authority except from God. He who resists authority resists God, and those who resist will incur judgment. There is no possibility of rebellion without judgment. The consequence of resisting authority is death. Man has no choice in the matter of authority. . .

    Be Fearlessly Subject to Delegated Authority

    What a risk God has taken in instituting authorities! What a loss God will incur if the delegated authorities He institutes misrepresent Him! Yet, undaunted, God has set up these authorities. It is much easier for us to fearlessly obey authorities than for God to institute them. Can we not then obey them without apprehension since God himself has not been afraid to entrust authority to men? Even as God has boldly established authorities, so let us courageously obey them. If anything should be amiss, the fault does not lie with us but with the authorities, for the Lord declares: ďLet every soul be in subjection to the higher powersĒ (Rom. 13.1). . . .

    Authority Finds Its Fullest Expression in the Body

    The fullest expression of Godís authority is found in the body of Christ, His church. Though God has established the procedure of authority in this world, none of those relationships (rulers and people, parents and children, husbands and wives, masters and servants) can give authority its fullest expression. Because the many governing authorities on earth are all institutional, there is always the possibility of the appearance of subordination without there being the real subjection of heart. There is no way to detect whether the people are following an order of the ruler from their hearts or merely rendering lip-service. It is equally difficult to tell whether the children are hearkening to their parents whole-heartedly or not. Hence subjectionto authority cannot be typified by the way children are subject to their parents, servants to their masters, or people to their rulers. Though Godís authority cannot be established without subjection, neither can it be if the subjection is not from the heart. Then again, all these instances of subjection lie within the scope of human relationships; consequently they are temporal and are subject to separation. So it is clear that absolute and perfect subjection cannot be found in them.

    Only the relationship between Christ and the church can fully express both authority and obedience. For God has not called the church to be an institution; He has ordained her to be the body of Christ. We often think of the church as a gathering of believers with the same faith or as a meeting of loving hearts, but God looks at her differently. She stands not only for the same faith and united love but even more so as one body.

    The church is the body of Christ, while Christ is the Head of the church. The relationships of parents and children, masters and servants, and even husbands and wives may all be severed, but the physical head and its body are inseparable; they are forever one. In like manner, Christ and the church too can never be sundered apart. The authority and obedience found in Christ and the church are of such a perfect nature that they surpass all other expressions of authority and obedience. . . .

    For the Body to Obey the Head Is Most Natural and Agreeable

    God has provided that the head and the body should share one life and one nature. It is therefore most natural for the body to obey the head. Indeed, in such a relationship disobedience would be strange. For example, it is normal for the hand to be raised at the instruction of the head; should the hand fail to respond, something would be wrong! In like manner, the Spirit of life which God has given us isone and the same as that which the Lord has; so is the nature of our life the same as His. Thus, there is no possibility of discord and disobedience. . . .

    Yet right here lies the common fault of Godís children. We need to recognize in other members the authority of the Head. The function of each member is limited; the eye is to see, the hand is to work, and the foot is to walk; we must therefore learn to accept the functions of the other members. We ought not refuse the function of any member. If the foot should reject the hand, it is the same as rejecting the Head. But if we accept the authority of a member, it is the same as accepting the authority of the Head. By way of fellowship all other members can be my authority. Although the function of the hand of the physical body is tremendous, it has to accept the function of the feet when it comes to walking. The hand cannot feel color, so it needs to accept the authority of the eye. The function of each member constitutes its authority.

    The Riches of Christ Is Authority

    It is impossible to make each member a whole body; we must each learn to stand in the position of being a member and of accepting the workings of the other members. What others see and hear is reckoned as my seeing and hearing. To accept the workings of other members is to accept the riches of the Head. No member can afford to be independent, since each is but a member in the body; whatever the other members do is taken as the doing of all the members and hence the doing of the body. . . .

    We often misunderstand authority as something which oppresses us, hurts us, and troubles us. God does not have such a concept. He uses authority to replenish our lack. His motive in instituting authority is to bestow His riches on us and to supply the need of the weak. He would not have you wait for decades and pass throughmany dark and painful days before you are able to see by yourself. By that time you might have led many into darkness. Indeed, you would become the blind leading the blind. What damage would God suffer through you! No, He first works in the life of another, and works thoroughly, so that He may give that person to you as an authority above you for you to learn obedience and to possess what you have never possessed before. This manís wealth becomes your wealth. Should you overlook this divine procedure, though you may live for fifty years, you may still lag far behind the attainment of that person.

    The way God grants His grace to us is twofold: sometimes, though rarely, He grants grace to us directly; mostly He gives His riches to us indirectlyóthat is, God puts above you the brothers and sisters in the church who are more advanced spiritually so that you may accept their judgment as your judgment. This will then enable you to possess their wealth without you yourself having to go through their painful experiences. God has deposited much grace in the church; but He dispenses to each member some grace in particular, just as each star has its own particular glory. Hence authority brings in the riches of the church. The wealth of each member is the wealth of all. To rebel is to choose the way of poverty. To resist authority is to reject the means to grace and richness. . . .

    In the past both authority and obedience were objective, that is, an outward subjection to an outside power. Today authority has become a living thing, something inward. Authority and obedience meet each other in the body of Christ. Instantly both turn subjective and the two are merged into one. Herein is the highest expression of Godís authority. Authority and obedience reach their consummation in the body. Let us be built up here; otherwise, there is no way. The place where we meet authority is in the body. The Head (the source of authority) and the members (each with its function, ministering to each other as delegated authority as well as being obedient toauthority) are all in the church. If we fail to acknowledge authority here, there is no way. . . .

    Difficulties in the Church Often Derive from Slanderous Words

    Speaking inadvertently is largely responsible for the breaking of the unity of the church and the losing of power. Probably most difficulties in the church today are due primarily to slanderous words; only a minor part of the difficulties are real problems. In fact, most of the troubles in this world have been created through lies. If in the church we can stop slandering we will have eliminated the major part of our difficulties. How we need to confess our sins before God and ask for His forgiveness. All our words of reviling must be carefully and thoroughly terminated before God. ďDoth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter?Ē (James 3.11) There ought not come from the same lips loving words and slanderous words. May God set a watch over our lips, and not only over our lips but also over our heart, that we be delivered from rebellious thoughts and reviling words. May reviling words forevermore depart from us. . . .

    ďI Am the Lord Your GodĒóThis Is the Reason

    In Leviticus 18-22, each time God orders the people of Israel to do certain things, He interpolates a phrase: ďI am the Lord your God.Ē This is not even prefixed with the preposition ďfor.Ē It means ďI so speak because I am the Lord your God. I do not need to give any reason. I, the Lord, am the reason.Ē If you see this you will never be able to live by reason any more. You will say to God: ďWhereas in the past I lived by thought and reason, now I bow and worship You; whatever You have done, because it is You who have done it, is sufficient for me.Ē After Paul fell on the road to Damascus his reasonings were all cast aside. The question he asked was, ďWhat shall I do, Lord?Ē He instantly put himself in subjection to the Lord.No one who knows God will argue, for reason is judged and set aside by the light.

    To argue with God implies that God needs to get our consent for all He does. This is utmost folly. When God acts He is under no obligation to tell us the reason, because His ways are higher than our ways. If we bring God down to reasonings we will lose Him because we make Him one of us. In reasonings we shall not have worship. As soon as obedience is absent, worship is lost. By judging God with our reason we set ourselves up as gods. Where, then, is the difference between the potter and the clay? Does the potter need to ask the consent of the clay in his work? May the glorious appearing of the Lord put an end to all our reasoningís. . . .

    We may perceive whether or not one has met authority by observing whether his words, reasonings, and thoughts have been duly dealt with. Once one encounters Godís authority his tongue dare not freely wiggle, his reasonings and, deeper still, his thoughts can no longer be loosely expressed. Ordinarily man has numerous thoughts, all fortified with many reasonings. But there must come a day when Godís authority overthrows all the strongholds of reasoning which Satan has erected and recaptures all a manís thoughts so as to make him a willing slave of God. Whereupon he no longer thinks independently of Christ; he is wholly obedient to Him. This is full deliverance.
    One who has not met authority often aspires to be Godís counselor. Such a person does not have his thoughts recaptured by God. Wherever he goes, his first thought is how to improve the situation there. His thoughts have never been disciplined, hence his reasonings are so many and so unceasing. We must allow the Lord to do a cutting work in us, to cut to the very depth of our thoughts until they are all taken captive by God. Thereafter we will recognize Godís authority and will not dare to freely reason or counsel. . . .

    Testimony of the Kingdom Brought In through Obedience

    God does not look at how fervently we preach the gospel or how willingly we suffer for Him; He looks to see how obedient we are. Godís kingdom begins when there is an absolute obedience to Godóno voicing of opinion, no presenting of reasonings, no murmuring, no reviling. For this glorious day God has waited since the creation of the world. Although God has His firstborn Son who is the first-fruit of obedience, He is waiting for His many sons to be like the Firstborn. Wherever there is a church on this earth which truly obeys Godís authority, there is the testimony of the kingdom and there Satan is defeated. Satan is not afraid of our work so long as we act on the principle of rebellion. He only laughs in secret when we do things according to our own thoughts. . . .

    Submission Is Absolute, but Obedience Is Relative

    Submission is a matter of attitude, while obedience is a matter of conduct. Peter and John answered the Jewish religious council: ďWhether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge yeĒ (Acts 4.19). Their spirit was not rebellious, since they still submitted to those who were in authority. Obedience, however, cannot be absolute. Some authorities must be obeyed; while others should not be, especially in matters which touch upon Christian fundamentalsósuch as believing the Lord, preaching the gospel, and so forth. Children may make suggestions to their parents, yet they must not show an insubmissive attitude. Submission ought to be absolute. Sometimes obedience is submission, whereas at other times an inability to obey may still be submission. Even when making a suggestion, we should maintain an attitude of submission. . . .

    When delegated authority (men who represent Godís authority) and direct authority (God himself) are in conflict, one can rendersubmission but not obedience to the delegated authority. Let us summarize this under three points:

    1. Obedience is related to conduct: it is relative. Submission is related to heart attitude: it is absolute.
    2. God alone receives unqualified obedience without measure; any person lower than God can only receive qualified obedience.
    3. Should the delegated authority issue an order clearly contradicting Godís command, he will be given submission but not obedience. We should submit to the person who has received delegated authority from God, but we should disobey the order which offends God. . . .

    Indispensable Signs Accompanying the Obedient

    How can we judge whether a person is obedient to authority? By the following signs:

    1. A person who has known authority will naturally try to find authority wherever he goes. The church is the place where obedience can be learned, since there is not really such a thing as obedience in this world. Only Christians can obey, and they too must learn to obeyónot outwardly, but from the heart. Yet once this lesson of obedience has been learned, the Christian will look for and find authority everywhere.

    2. A person who has met Godís authority is soft and tender. He has been melted and is not able to be hard. He is afraid of being wrong and thus he is soft.

    3. A person who has truly met authority never likes to be in authority. He has neither the thought nor the interest to become one in authority. He does not take delight in giving counsel, nor does hetake pleasure in controlling others. The truly obedient is always in fear of making an error. But alas, how many there are who still aspire to be Godís counselors. Only those who do not know authority are those who wish to be authorities.

    4. A person who has contacted authority keeps his mouth closed. He is under restraint. He dare not speak carelessly because there is in him a sense of authority.

    5. A person who has touched authority is sensitive to each act of lawlessness and rebellion around him. He sees how the principle of lawlessness has filled the earth and even the church. Only those who have experienced authority can lead others into obedience. Brothers and sisters must learn to obey authority; otherwise the church will not have any testimony on earth. . . .

    There is no one who is fit to be Godís delegated authority unless he himself first knows how to be under authority. No one can know how to exercise authority until his own rebellion has been dealt with. Godís children are not a heap of yarn or a mixed multitude. If there is no testimony of authority, there is no church nor work. This poses a serious problem. It is essential that we learn to be subject to one another and subject to delegated authorities.

    Three Requirements for a Delegated Authority

    Beyond a personal knowledge of authority and a life lived under authority, Godís delegated authority needs to fulfill the three following principal requirements:

    1. He must know that all authority comes from God. Every person who is called to be a delegated authority should remember that ďthere is no authority except from God; and those that exist are set up by GodĒ (Rom. 13.1 Darby). He himself is not the authority, nor can anyone make of himself an authority. His opinions, ideas and thoughts are no better than those of others. They are utterly worthless. Only what comes from God constitutes authority and commands manís obedience. A delegated authority is to represent Godís authority, never to assume that he too has authority. . . .

    For one to be in authority does not depend on his having ideas and thoughts; rather does it hinge on knowing the will of God. The measure of oneís knowledge of Godís will is the measure of his delegated authority. God establishes a person to be His delegated authority entirely on the basis of that personís knowledge of Godís will. It has nothing at all to do with having many ideas, strong opinions, or noble thoughts. Indeed, such persons who are strong in themselves are greatly to be feared in the church. . . .

    2. He must deny himself. Until one knows the will of God he should keep his mouth shut. He should not exercise authority carelessly. He who is to represent God must learn on the positive side what Godís authority is and on the negative side how to deny himself. Neither God nor the brothers and sisters will treasure your thoughts. Probably you yourself are the only one in the whole world who considers your opinion as the best. Persons with many opinions, ideas, and subjective thoughts are to be feared. They like to be counselors to all. They seize upon every opportunity to press their ideas on others. God can never use a person so full of opinions, ideas, and thoughts as the one to represent His authority. For example, who would ever employ a spendthrift to keep his accounts? To do so would be to invite acute suffering. Nor will God engage a man of many opinions to be His delegated authority lest He too should suffer damage.

    Unless we are completely broken by the Lord we are not qualified to be Godís delegated authority. God calls us to represent His authority, not to substitute His authority. God is sovereign in Hispersonality and position. His will is His. He never consults with man nor does He allow anyone to be His counselor. Consequently, one who represents authority must not be a subjective person. . . .

    3. He must constantly keep in fellowship with the Lord. Those who are Godís delegated authority need to maintain close fellowship with God. There must be not only communication but also communion.

    Anyone who offers opinions freely and speaks in the name of the Lord carelessly is far away from God. He who mentions Godís name casually only proves his remoteness from God. Those who are near to God have a godly fear; they know how defiling it is to carelessly express their own opinions.
    Communion, therefore, is another principal requirement for one in authority. The nearer one is to the Lord, the clearer he sees his own faults. Having been brought face to face with God, he dare not thereafter speak with such firmness. He has no confidence in his flesh; he begins to be afraid lest he err. On the other hand, those who speak casually expose themselves as being far from God. . . .

    Authority is representative in nature, not inherent. It means that one must live before God, learning, and being wounded so as not to project oneself into it. One should never be so mistaken to consider oneself the authority. God alone has authority; no one else possesses it. When Godís authority flows to me, it can then flow through me to others. What makes me different from others is God, not myself.

    Hence we must learn to fear God and refrain from doing anything carelessly. We should confess that we are no different from other brothers and sisters. Since God has so arranged that today I should learn to be His delegated authority, I must live in His presence, commune with Him continuously, and seek to know His mind. Unless I have seen something there with God, I have nothing to sayhere to men. . . .

    Never Try to Establish Oneís Own Authority

    Authority is established by God; therefore no delegated authority need try to secure his authority. Do not insist that others listen to you. If they err, let them err; if they do not submit, let them be insubordinate; if they insist on going their own way, let them go. A delegated authority ought not strive with men. Why should I demand a hearing if I am not Godís established authority? On the other hand, if I am set up by God, need I fear lest men not submit? Whoever refuses to hear me, disobeys God. It is not needful for me to force people to listen. God is my support, why then should I fear? We should never say so much as one word on behalf of our authority; rather, let us give people their liberty. The more God entrusts to us, the more liberty we grant to people. Those who are thirsty after the Lord will come to us. It is most defiling to speak on behalf of our own authority or to try to establish authority ourselves. . . .

    This is life out of death. Only those who have passed through death and come out in resurrection are recognized by God as His servants. The touchstone of ministry is resurrection. No one may point to his position; it must be of Godís choice. After God made Aaronís rod sprout, bud, and bear fruit, and the other leaders had all seen it, they had nothing more to say.

    Authority, then, does not come by striving. It is set up by God. It depends not on a position of leadership but on the experience of death and resurrection. Men are chosen to exercise spiritual authority not because they are different from the rest but on the basis of grace, election, and resurrection. It requires great darkness and blindness to be proud! As far as we are concerned, though we might deposit our rods for a lifetime they would still not sprout. The difficulty in this present day is that so few fall on their faces acknowledging that theyare no different from the others. . . .

    Authority is of God, not of us. We are merely stewards of His authority. Such an insight makes us fit to be delegated authorities. Whenever we attempt to exercise authority as if it were our own, we are immediately dispossessed of any authority whatsoever. The dried rod can only dispense death. Where resurrection is, there is authority, because authority rests in resurrection and not in the natural. Since all we have is what is natural, we have no authority except in the Lord. . . .

    Nothing is more serious nor regarded more severely than for a delegated authority to do wrongly. Every time we execute authority we must ask to be united with God. If a mistake is made let us swiftly separate it from God lest we incur His judgment. Before we decide anything, let us seek to know His mind. Only after ascertaining His mind may we do it in His name. Moses could not claim that what he had done at the waters of Meribah was done in the Lordís name. Let us not be foolish, but let us learn to fear and tremble before God. Do not render judgment carelessly; rather, control your spirit and your mouth, especially at the time of provocation. The more one knows God, the less he is careless. There are some times when one may receive forgiveness after having fallen into Godís governmental hand, but this does not always happen. The government of God ought not be offended. Let us be clear about it. . . .

    Authority Comes from Ministry, Ministry from Resurrection

    A personís authority is based on his ministry, and his ministry is in turn based on resurrection. If there is no resurrection there can be no ministry; and if there is no ministry, there is no authority. Aaronís ministry came from resurrection; without that, he could not serve at all. God has never set up as an authority anyone who is withoutministry.

    Today authority is not a matter of position. Where spiritual ministry is lacking, there can be no positional authority. Whoever has spiritual service before God has authority before men. This means that oneís spiritual ministry gives him authority among Godís children. Who, then, can fight for this authority, for there is no way to strive for ministry. Just as ministry is distributed by the Lord, so authority is also decided by Him.

    All authority is based on ministry. Aaron possessed authority because he had service before God. His censer could atone for the people and cause the plague to cease, whereas the censers of the two hundred fifty leaders were cursed by God. The rebellion in Numbers 16 was directed not only against authority but also against ministry. Aaron was in authority for he possessed ministry. No oneís authority can exceed his ministry.

    We should not attempt to outdo the authority of our ministry. Our attitude must always be that we dare not occupy ourselves with things too great and too marvelous for us (see Ps. 131.1). Let us learn instead to be faithful before God according to our portion. Many brothers mistakenly imagine that they can take up authority at random, not knowing that the authority which comes from ministry never lords it over Godís children. Oneís authority before men is equal to oneís ministry before God. The measure of ministry determines the proportion of authority. If authority exceeds ministry it becomes positional, and is therefore no longer spiritual.

    If a delegated authority errs, God will come to judge. The highest principle in Godís government is His own vindication. Since God is willing to give His name to us and allows us to use itójust as someone trusts his seal to us for us to useóthen He must exonerate himself if we misrepresent Him. He will tell the people that the fault is not His but ours. . . .

    All who are used by God to be in authority must have the spirit of David. Let no one defend himself nor speak for himself. Learn to wait and to be humble before God. He who knows how to obey best is he who is best qualified to be in authority. The lower one prostrates himself before God the quicker the Lord will vindicate him. . . .

    Authority Is Not Lording Over but Humbly Serving

    The Lord continued His teaching on the matter of authority. He called His disciples together and instructed them about future things in glory. He said that, among the Gentiles, men seek for authority in order that they may rule over others. It is good for us to seek for the future glory, but we ought not have the thought of ruling or lording it over Godís children. To do so would cause us to fall into the state of the Gentiles. To exercise authority and to rule are the desires of the Gentiles. Such a spirit must be driven from the church. Those whom the Lord uses are the ones who know the Lordís cup and the Lordís baptism. As we drink the cup and receive the baptism we will naturally have authority. It is a most ugly thing if we seek to rule over men externally. We must drive this spirit of the Gentiles out from us. Else we are unfit to lead others. . . .

    To Be Great, One Must Be a Servant

    The authority whom God appoints must have a spiritual backgroundóhe must drink the cup, that is, absolutely obey Godís will; and he must receive the baptism, that is, accept death in order to release life. He must also not have any intention of exercising authority; on the contrary, he must be prepared to serve as the servant and slave of all. In other words, he possesses spiritual ground on the one hand and the spirit of humility on the other. Because he does not seek to be authority God can use him as one. It is irrelevant to talk about authority if the cup is not drunk and the baptism notreceived. To one who is truly humble and considers himself unfit for anything except to be servant of all, to that one the Lord announces that he may be great.

    The condition for authority is consequently a sense of incompetency and unworthiness. From the Bible we can conclude that God has never used a proud soul. The moment a person becomes proud, at that moment he is laid aside by God. His hidden pride sooner or later will be revealed through his words, for words do not cease to leak out. At the future judgment seat of God even the humble will be greatly surprised. And if that be true, how much more shall be the horror of the proud on that day! We must sense our incompetency, because God only uses the useless. Polite diplomacy is not the thing here; rather is it having a sincere sense that we are but unprofitable servants. Though we have tended the flock and tilled the field, yet in coming back we still acknowledge ourselves as unprofitable servants. We do not forget to stand on the ground of a servant. God never entrusts His authority to the self-righteous and the self-competent. Let us reject pride, learn to be humble and gentle, and never speak for ourselves. Let us learn to know ourselves in the light of God. . . .

    Authority Is Based on Sanctification

    Authority has its foundation in sanctification. Without sanctification there can be no authority. If you wish to live with the crowd you cannot be an authority. You cannot represent God if you maintain a very liberal and loose communication with the people. The higher the authority the greater the separation. God is the highest authority; consequently He is above all. Let us learn to be sanctified from things unclean or common. The Lord Jesus may do whatsoever He likes, but for the sake of His disciples He sanctifies himself. He steps aside and stands on the side of holiness.

    May we heartily desire to please God too and thus seek after deeper sanctification. It means we will be distinguished from the common, although not separated from Godís children as though we were holier than they. The more we are sanctified and are subject to the authority of God the more we may be delegated authorities. If those in authority in the church fail, how can obedience be maintained? Unless this matter of authority is solved the church will always be chaotic.

    He who is in authority does not grasp authority; he serves God, is willing to pay the price, and seeks not excitement. To be in authority requires one to climb high, to not fear loneliness, and to be sanctified. May we be those who lay our all on the altar so that Godís authority may be restored. This is the way of the Lord in His church.

    óSA 10, 12-15, 24, 50, 69-70, 76-8, 80-3, 91, 97-8, 101-2, 105, 107-10, 118, 142, 145, 151-3, 167, 174-6, 185
    by Published on 08-03-2014 02:44 PM     Number of Views: 532 
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    A Coy and Aloof Person is Subjective

    The subjectivity of a person can be detected in the smallest of things, for it is a natural habit. If you have learned the essential lesson of having your subjectivity broken, you will easily discern it in many small details of life. A subjective person is that way in all things. He loves to control people; he delights in being opinionated; he takes pleasure in giving orders. He knows what to do in every situation and circumstance. When a young person steps out to serve the Lord, put him together with a few other people, and soon you will see whether or not he is subjective. If he is alone in one place, you are not apt to find out. But when two people are put together, you see at once that the subjective person will try to dominate the other. He will insist on eating certain things, wearing clothing in a certain way, and sleeping at a certain hour. He is omniscient and omnipotent. Put two sisters in one room, and you will discern which sister, if either, is subjective. Put two subjective people together, and they will come to an impasse. One such person may live peacefully, but two such people cannot live on together.

    This does not mean, however, that hereafter we should not say anything. When there is difficulty in the work or a problem with people, we cannot be unfaithful by remaining aloof. What we mean is that after we have spoken, we will not force them to adhere. If they do not listen after we have spoken, we will not feel hurt. So precious and dear to themselves are the opinions of some people that they are hurt if they are not listened to. Such is the feeling of subjective people. Yet, for the sake of faithfulness, we have to speak out. To speak out, though, is not to be construed as signifying that the person doing the speaking is a busybody or that he has a talkative temperament. But for those who are subjective, it is wrong to speak without first having been taught. God has not appointed us to be masters of all. Some have the habit of always speaking or teaching in every situation. This plainly indicates that one is a subjective person.

    Unless his kind of temperament is broken, he is not fit to work for God. A subjective person is not necessarily a faithful person. One who is faithful speaks only when it is needed and not because he likes to speak or has the lust for talking. He speaks in order to rescue people from error. If he is rejected, he is not distressed since he is also able to remain quiet. Not so, however, with a subjective person, because having the lust to speak out on all occasions, he feels troubled if he does not speak. Have you ever noticed that a subjective person speaks out of his talkativeness? He simply loves to place his opinion upon other people. His idea becomes a yoke to others. He wants them to listen to him. He feels outraged if his opinion is ignored.

    A subjective person and a faithful person are totally different from each other. We should be faithful. Many times it is wrong for us to keep quiet. Nevertheless, we must distinguish between faithfulness and subjectivity. The latter kind of person loves to meddle in othersí business. He wants people to listen to him. He tries to control others.

    His way is always the first and the best. His way is most correct; therefore, everybody should walk in it. He cannot tolerate differences. Let it be known that the smallest person in the world is the subjective person. Only after oneís subjectivity has been dealt with by God can he become a big man, so big that he is able to tolerate differences. Subjectivity is uniformity; it cannot bear any differences. That is why there will be no peace if two subjective people are put into one room. Each has his own idea, so the room will be full of strife. Each feels he is bearing the otherís cross.

    Be aware that a subjective person tends to take things into his hands and set himself up as the leader of Godís people. He will decide everything for them. He has the habit of interfering in the smallest matters, and he likes to control everything. Because of this basic flaw, God will not commit himself to such people. We have never seen Him do so to such ones for He cannot use them. Nor have we ever seen any subjective person walk deeply in the Lord, simply because he has an unteachable temperament.

    Because a subjective person is opinionated and always meddling in other menís affairs, this constitutes a great difficulty in the work of the Lord. He cannot learn, hence God cannot trust him. He expends all his energy on his subjective lifestyle so that there is no strength left to expend on Godís work. When a person meddles in othersí affairs, he neglects his own affairs. He tries to keep the vineyard of others but overlooks his own vineyard.

    Let us acknowledge the fact that we really have no leisure time to be subjective. God has put into our hands enough ministries, responsibilities and concerns to care for so that we do not have the time to be busybodies. We need to concentrate our strength and time on performing that which we must finish. We are busy enough. Unless we forsake the work of God and leave our own responsibility, we will have no time to delve into the small affairs of others. This much is clear, that all who are subjective leave their own business undone that they might meddle in other menís business. How can we expect such a person to work well for God if he neglects his own work? A subjective person can therefore never do well in the Lordís work. The Lord cannot entrust anything to him since he will fail in every trust.

    It is difficult to change oneís subjectivity because it is a habit already formed and deeply ingrained. In his daily life, as we have seen, he is subjective in everything and at all times. He is not only this way in Godís work, he is also this way in his daily concerns as well as in other menís affairs. A subjective man is truly the busiest person in the world inasmuch as he feels compelled to look after everything. He is not able to walk the straight path of God. In all mattersówhether large or smallóhe has his idea, opinion and way. This becomes a hindrance to spirituality. We need to ask the Lord:

    "O Lord, be gracious to us that we may become tender and not be set in concrete before You and before our brothers and sisters."

    Take a look at Paul one more time. "His letters, they say, are weighty and strong" (2 Cor. 10.10a). In truth, while he dealt with the testimony before God, his words were weighty and strong. But let us note how he was viewed by the Corinthians: "his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account" (2 Cor. l0.10b). Paul would not relax as it pertained to the testimony he kept, and hence his letters were weighty and strong. But when he met the Corinthians, he was perceived as being a tender and flexible person. We need to distinguish between our ministry, which is to be weighty and strong, and our personality, which must not be subjective. Some preach Christ out of good will. Let us thank God for that. Some, though, preach Christ out of envy and strife. Let us thank God as well. For in every way Christ is proclaimed; and hence, we should rejoice even as did Paul (see Phil. 1.15-18).

    Do we see the balance here? We thank God if people, out of good will, want to walk with us; we are not distressed, however, if they prefer to go another way. Let us maintain this balance: faithful in testimony and not subjective in life. The faithful person is not subjective; yet the subjective person may not be faithful. These two are clearly distinguishable.

    To sum up, then, subjectivity is nothing else but the manifestation of an unbroken self. We need to ask the Lord to break us so that we will not be subjective in the affairs of others as well as in our own matters. Once having been broken by the Lord we will become tender and flexible. Otherwise, if we lack this experience of brokenness, we will always remain more or less subjective. Some may be strongly subjective, others may be less so; nevertheless, in relation to others, there will always beóto one degree or anotheróimposed opinions, coercive methods, and attempts at control.

    May the Lord deal with us drastically that we will not be able to stand on our own ground again. And once that happens we shall have the capacity to be faithful in testimony and to grant people the freedom to choose whether or not to listen to us. We will cease to speak on every occasion; we will cease to be teachers to so many people; and we will never force others to follow us. Let us ever be strong in ministry, but let us continually learn to be gentle in life. In short, we must not be subjective.
    by Published on 02-28-2014 11:14 PM     Number of Views: 529 
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    Why Do Some People Have Such a Hard Time
    Reading and Understanding the Bible?

    One who does the Lordís work must speak accurately. He should not be careless in his words. Only thus can he become a mouthpiece of the Lord and avoid many difficulties. We are deeply distressed by the fact that many times Godís workman lacks restraint in speech, with the result that brothers and sisters relish his storytelling and his judgmental words but despise his preaching of Godís word. Do not think that it does not matter if we speak wittily with our brothers and sisters today. Indeed, our speech may be very amusing. But wait until we stand up to preach the word of God, and then shall we see how
    they take it to be as amusing as was our storytelling. People will fail to respect what we say anymore.

    One brother may speak and people listen, while another may speak and nobody listens. Why this difference? Do they not speak the same words? The word is of God all right, but one of them has spoken differently from the other in ordinary days on other matters. Let us recognize the fact that if two of us speak differently concerning other matters, and even though we both may speak forth the same word of God, the power of Godís word will be different one from the other. For a person who speaks carelessly and without restraint in his daily speech will witness the same effect upon his hearers when he later preaches Godís word. It will be as loose and powerless as before.

    Let us not easily forget what we have learned from Scripture that a fountain does not send forth from the same opening both sweet water and bitter. It cannot yield up sweet fluid on one occasion and bitter fluid on another. Bitter water is always bitter. Though its bitterness may be somewhat diluted, it still remains bitter nonetheless. Note, too, that in mixing together clean and dirty water, the latter does not turn clean; instead, the former becomes dirty. Many brethren find that their power has been sapped not because they have done wrong in preaching Godís word but because they have spoken wrongly in daily matters; so that no one will listen to them when they stand up to preach. Please be well advised that words uttered on the platform follow the words spoken off the platform. If you speak unwisely away from the podium, your speaking from the podium will be totally diluted, and the sweet water will have been turned bitter by you. We need not daily prepare the words which are to be delivered from the platform, but we ought to pay attention daily to the words used off the platform. How can we expect to manifest power in Godís service if in our daily life we are undisciplined by speaking with carelessness, inaccuracy, distortion and jest, and even with outright lies? But having bridled our tongue
    in ordinary times from the outset, we may preach the word of the Lord.

    Then, too, there is a close relationship between our speaking exactly and our studying of the Bible. For the Bible is the most exact of books. There is but one set of words in the entire universe which is absolutely true, and that is what is found in the word of God. If we lack the habit of speaking accurately, we are not able to study the Bible nor to preach it. Judging by the way some brothers talk, we are forced to conclude that they have no possibility of studying Godís word. Just as it demands a certain character in a person in order for him to
    preach Godís word, so it requires a specific character in him who would study Godís word. A careless person can never handle the Bible rightly. For the latter is most precise, and a careless person would only allow the word of God to leak away and thus misunderstand it.

    Let us illustrate what exactness and precision here mean. Matthew 22 relates how the Sadducees did not believe in resurrection. They sought out the Lord Jesus and posed an apparently hard question to Him:

    Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first married and deceased, and having no seed left his wife unto his brother; and in like manner the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And after them all, the woman died. In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. (vv.25-28)

    What they were suggesting was that resurrection was something unbelievable. It was best not to have resurrection, or else it would create great trouble and confusion. They came to reason with the Lord that if resurrection were true, the problem it created would be beyond solution.

    But note how the Lord Jesus answered them:

    Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God .For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (vv.29-32)

    The Sadducees were those who had studiously pored over the Scriptures, yet the Lord said they did not understand them. And why? Because they were people who spoke carelessly; they never dreamed that God spoke so exactly.

    Now in order to prove to His questioners the truth of resurrection, our Lord did not quote any other Scripture but the one in Exodus 3: "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Yet how in the world, the Sadducees must have thought, does this verse prove resurrection? "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living," said the Lord. Abraham had died, Isaac had died, and Jacob too had died. All three were dead and buried. Would we not therefore have to assume that God is the God of the dead since Jehovah God had himself declared that He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? Yet our Lord added that God is not the God of the dead but of the living! How can this apparent paradox be resolved? Well, since God is not the God of the dead, Abraham, though he is indeed a dead person today, shall one day become living. So shall Isaac and Jacob. But how
    can the dead become living? The answer: it must be through resurrection. Abraham will be resurrected, Isaac will be resurrected, and Jacob too will be resurrected simply because the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob is not the God of the dead, but of the living. We see, then, how the Lord Jesus used these words to answer the question of the Sadducees. Note how very exact and precise was our Lordís speech. He showed them how they had erred due to their ignoranceóyea, even their inaccurate handlingóof the Scriptures as well as their ignorance of the power of God.

    If we talk loosely, we will not be able to perceive the exactness of Godís word. A careless disposition causes one to think inaccurately. He cannot be exact; therefore, he will allow to leak away the exact word of God. The Scriptures speak most truthfully. Every minute detail is exact. "One jot or one tittle," noted the Lord, "shall in no wise pass away from the law till all things be accomplished" (Matt. 5.18). The jots and tittles of each word which God uses are accentuated. They cannot be changed. And since God himself speaks with such exactitude, a servant of God must also speak in that manner.

    Let us not fail to note that Godís speaking is always solid. Every word of His is substantial and immovable. If you study the Bible and come to know it, you will confess that His word cannot have even one letter added to or taken away from it. We need to underline this point: that whoever speaks carelessly cannot be the Lordís servant. For he is not able to handle Godís word rightly nor will he have any power or impact with brothers and sisters when he preaches. How distressful it is to listen to a given brother preaching whom you know very well. As you listen to him, you well know that he is an undisciplined person who speaks carelessly. With the result that when he stands up to preach he treats Godís word lightly and loosely. Yet this should not surprise you, for how can he be careful on the platform when he has been so careless away from the platform? Let us realize that a careless undisciplined person can neither study the Bible well nor speak well for the Lord.

    Let us ask God to show mercy towards us, causing us to speak accurately. We need to pray one prayer constantly, which is, to ask the Lord to give us the tongue of the instructed that we may not be a loose person who allows to be leaked away the testimony of God. A person who is unrestrained in speech can neither find out the facts of Godís word well nor understand them. Let us therefore learn to speak carefully that we may also discover the exactness of each word in the Scriptures. (The Character of God's Workman, CFP, pp. 112-117).
    by Published on 01-22-2013 08:44 PM     Number of Views: 658 
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    Mortal Sin

    The Bible mentions a kind of mortal sin or ďsin unto deathĒ which believers may commit (1 John 5.16). The death here does not point to spiritual death, for the eternal life of God can never be extinguished; nor can it be an allusion to ďthe second deathĒ since the Lordís sheep cannot perish. It necessarily signifies the death of the body.

    Now let us especially notice what the essence of mortal sin is. To do so will enable us to know how to keep ourselves away from it so that (1) our flesh may not be corrupted, (2) we may not forfeit the blessing of being raptured before death, or (3) we may still finish the Lordís appointed work before our days are fulfilled and we die, if He should tarry and we must pass through the grave. May we say that because of their negligence in this matter quite a few of Godís children have had their years shortened and their crowns lost. Many of Godís workers, had they given attention to this, might yet be serving the Lord.

    The Word has not spelled out concretely what this sin is. It only assures us that such a sin is possible. From the Scripture records we understand that this sin varies according to people. A particular sin for some is mortal, yet to another person it may not be a sin unto death, and vice versa. This is because of differences in grace received, light accepted, and position attained among different believers.

    While the Bible never identifies this sin, we can nevertheless observe that any sin which results in death constitutes a mortal one. The people of Israel committed such a sin at Kadesh (Num. 13.25-14.12). Although they had tempted the Lord many times before (14.22), He always simply forgave them. But this time, though He still forgave them after they refused to enter Canaan, He additional caused their bodies to fall in death in the wilderness (14.32).

    At the waters of Meribah Moses was provoked to speak ďwords that were rashĒ (Ps. 106.33) : this was his ďmortal sinĒ: he died outside Canaan. Aaron committed the same offense as Moses and he likewise was forbidden to enter the holy land (Num. 20.24). The man of God who journeyed from Judah to Bethel disobeyed the commandment of the Lord with regard to eating and drinking; in so doing he committed his mortal sin (1 Kings 13.21-22). In the New Testament we learn how Ananias and Sapphira were punished with death because they committed what for them was their mortal sin, because they attempted to lie to the Holy Spirit by keeping back part of the proceeds from their land (Acts 5). The man in Corinth who lived with his fatherís wife was guilty too of this kind of sin, forcing the Apostle Paul to pronounce judgment by telling those at Corinth ďto deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the fleshĒ (1 Cor. 5.5). Not a few of the brethren in Corinth died because they were guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord (1 Cor. 11.27,30). They had committed the sin unto death.

    To overcome mortality we must persistently overcome sin, for the former results from the latter. If we wish to live till our days are accomplished or till the Lord returns, we should be careful not to sin. Negligence in this has driven many to the grave prematurely. The mortal sin is not any particular terrifying transgression, because it is nowhere fixed or specified. Such a sin as fornication, of which the Corinthians were guilty, may be counted as mortal; but so too may rash words such as Moses uttered become a sin unto death (for note how the Scriptures characterized Moses: ďnow the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earthĒ Num. 12.3; therefore no sin could be overlooked in this manís life).

    Now is the day of grace. God is full of grace. So let our hearts be comforted. Do not allow Satan to accuse you, hinting that you have committed the mortal sin and hence must die. Although the Bible does not encourage us to pray for others who have sinned this mortal sin, God will forgive us if we judge ourselves and genuinely repent. The man in 2 Corinthians 2.6-7 is believed by many to be that very one who had lived with his fatherís wife. In 1 Corinthians 11.30-32 we also are reminded that even though we may have committed the sin unto death, we can nevertheless escape death if we judge ourselves truly. Therefore never permit any sin to reign in your body lest it become your mortal sin. Our flesh can be weakened, yet we must never lose the heart of self-judgment. We must judge our sin without mercy. It is true that we can never attain to sinless perfection in this life, but frequent confession and trust in Godís grace are indispensable. God will yet forgive us. Those who seek victory over death need to remember this.

    Then he declares to them their work and their trangressions, that they are behaving arrogantly. He opens their ears to instruction, and commands that they return from iniquity. If they hearken and serve him, they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness. But if they do not hearken, they perish by the sword, and die without knowledge. The godless in heart cherish anger; they do not cry for help when he binds them. They die in youth, and their life ends in shame. (Job 36.9-14)
    by Published on 09-13-2012 12:42 PM     Number of Views: 3162 
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    A Believerís Experience

    WE CHRISTIANS BECOME affectionately attached to the Lord they are usually experiencing a life of feeling. Such an experience for them is most precious. They enter this phase of their Christian walk generally following their emancipation from Sin and before their entrance upon a true spiritual life. Because they lack spiritual knowledge, these Christians often assume this kind of emotional experience to be most Spiritual and most heavenly since it is encountered primarily after release from sin and affords them great pleasure. The delight it bestows is so satisfactory that they find it difficult to cut loose and forsake it.

    During this period the believer senses the nearness of the Lord, so near that the hands can almost touch Him. He is alive to the delicate sweetness of the Lordís love as well as gripped by his own intense love towards the Lord. A fire seems to be burning in his heart; it leave him with an unspeakable joy which makes him feel he is already in heaven. Something is heaving in his bosom, yielding indescribable pleasure, as though he were in possession of a priceless treasure. This sensation continues with him as he walks and works. Whenever the believer passes through this type of experience he wonders where his abode is, for he seems to have shed his earthly tent and now soars away with the angels.

    For the moment Bible reading becomes a real delight. The more he reads the more joyous he feels. Prayer is also very easy. How wonderful to pour out his heart to God. The more he communes the brighter the heavenly light shines. He is able to make many decisions before the Lord which indicates how much he loves him. Great is his longing to be quiet and alone with God; if only he could close his door forever and commune with the Lord his joy would be full, for no tongue can speak nor pen can write of the joy that lies therein. Formerly he was gregarious, as though crowds and individuals could satisfy his needs; but today he cherishes solitude because what he could derive from the crowds can never be compared to the joy he now receives when alone with his Lord. He favors seclusion more than companionship for fear that among men he may lose his joy.

    Moreover, service assumes considerable spontaneity. Hitherto he appeared to have nothing to say, but now with the fire of love aglow in his heart he experiences multiplied pleasure in telling others of the Lord. The more he speaks the more anxious he is to speak. To suffer for the Lord becomes sweet to him. Since he senses Him So near and dear, he gladly embraces the thought of martyrdom. All burdens turn light and all hardships grow easy.

    With such a consciousness of the closeness of the Lord, the Christianís outward conduct also undergoes change. In days gone by he was fond of talking, yet currently he is able to remain silent. In his heart he may even criticize others who talk incessantly. Previously ...
    by Published on 07-23-2011 11:09 AM     Number of Views: 1148 
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    2. Consecration and Breaking

    Lay thou thy treasure in the dust, . . . and the Almighty will be thy treasure. Job 22.24, 25.

    Generally speaking, believers seem to have financial difficulties. This is due either to their inability to continue on with whatever improper occupations they had engaged in before or to some spiritual reason for which God is dealing with them specifically. God sometimes takes our wealth away so as to induce us to seek after Christ that He might have the preeminence in all things. It is not impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, it is just difficult for them to do so.

    God dealt with the children of Israel in the wilderness by depriving them of earthly supplies of food and clothing so that they might recognize the abundance of God. As the supplies on earth ceased, the supplies from heaven came. Material difficulties drive us to seek after the Lord, to learn the lesson of faith, and know Christ as the first in all things.

    Because the Lord is impacting Christians because they have the Holy Spirit God influences their financial lives in ways the world is not affected by since the worldly don't have a conscience in Christ to be be touched by the Lord. Hence, this explains why Christians generally have financial difficulties. That's a good thing, not a bad thing, even though it may not feel like it at first.
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