Mystic Moments: Press On!

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There is an ever-increasing number who cannot forget that God means what He speaks: “Be perfect,” and who regard themselves as under the most solemn obligation to obey the command.  The words of Christ: “Be perfect,” are to them a revelation of what Christ is come to give and to work, a promise of the blessing to which His teaching and leading will bring them.  They have joined the band of like-minded ones whom Paul would associate with himself; they seek God with their whole heart; they serve Him with a perfect heart; their one aim in life is to be made perfect, even as the Master…. Fear not to take your place before God with Paul among the perfect in heart.  So far will it be from causing self-complacency, that you will learn from him how the perfect has yet to be perfected, and how the one mark of the perfect is that he counts all things loss as he presses on unto the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ. – Andrew Murray

Waiting: The Truth of the Gospel Part 2

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Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.  (Psalm 25:4-5, NKJV, emphasis added)

The truth of the gospel is made powerful when you wait on God with great hope – Part 2.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.  (Ephesians 1:13, NKJV)

In Him you also trusted after you heard the word of truth.  In Him refers to Jesus Christ as the context reveals.  It is in Christ we trust after hearing the word of truth.  Trust is inserted by the translators, though it is true, it was not needed to be put there.  We were placed in Christ after we responded to the message proclaimed to us, the good news of the gospel.  As you meditate upon this passage wait for God with hope to give you understanding to the blessings that are yours being placed in Christ (Read  and meditate upon Romans 3:21-26, 6:11, 6:23, 8:1-2, 8:38-39 and 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1:30, and 15:22; 2 Corinthians 2:14, 3:14, and 5:17-19; Galatians 2:16, 3:13-14, 3:26-29, 5:6, and 6:15; Ephesians 1:3, 1:7-14, 2:6-10, 2:13, 3:6, and 4:32; Philippians 3:9 and 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 5:18; 2 Timothy 1:9, 2:1, 2:10, 3:12, and 3:15; and 1 Peter 5:14).

The gospel of your salvation.  The word of truth is defined for us as the gospel of our salvation.  Salvation is ours in Christ is indeed good news, and that is the faith preached to us by the faithful messengers of the gospel.  Romans 10:17 is right on point as it says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  The word of truth is spoken to us and we respond in faith.  Waiting on God brings understanding.  Know the word of truth is the gospel or our salvation.  Hear the word of God and act in faith.

In whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.  Our faith, our belief in Christ, is validated by being sealed with the Holy Spirit promised to the Church by Christ and to the world by the Old Testament prophets.  Sealed in the Greek is to set a seal upon or to mark with a seal.  The Holy Spirit is the seal.  This analogy can be seen in other passages which are applicable here such as:

(1) A completed transaction (Jeremiah 32:9-10: and John 17:4 and 19:30)

(2) A seal of ownership (Jeremiah 32:11-12 and 2 Timothy 2:19)

(3) Security (Esther 8:8; Daniel 6:17; and Ephesians 4:30).

This seal would then represent great truths.  The Holy Spirit is indwelling us to show the transaction that purchased our redemption has been completed and the price is paid in full and we are forever secure in our salvation.  Truly this is good news.  Wait on God with great hope and allow these truths to come into focus.

Prayerfully meditate upon the following passages concerning the promise of the Holy Spirit.  As you wait upon the Lord with hope allow the reality of your salvation, the gospel of truth, to penetrate your heart and your mind, surrendering your will to the One who purchased you.  The transaction is complete; you are now God’s possession.

Isaiah 32:15

Isaiah 44:3

Joel 2:28

Zechariah 12:10

John 7:39

Acts 1:48

Acts 2:16

Galatians 3:14

Teleios: God’s Love is Complete

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Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.  (Matthew 5:48)

But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.  (1 Corinthians 13:10) 

Perfect is teleiosIn this verse, Paul is using the word as complete versus incomplete; or the process to completion is the agape love of God.  In this Love Chapter love is shown to be the perfection of God’s creation, His crown jewel, what He has given for man’s benefit.  The passage from which the Matthew 5:48 reference is located is also the perfection, or completion of love.  The only way to live the Sermon on the Mount of Matthew 5 and 6 is through the love of God.  To be complete, to live teleios, is to live in God’s perfection, His love.

Poor in Spirit: Jeremiah 1:4-6

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Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”  Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD!  Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.  (NASB)

The call of the prophet Jeremiah is rich in understanding both the call of God and also His will for all Believers.  This call also shows us Jeremiah was a man poor in spirit when he took it all in as to what the Lord had to say in His commission. 

I formed you in the womb.   God has His hands on us before conception and forms us for His use.  We were made for His pleasure and to walk in fellowship with Him.  He is our Creator who delights in us because we were made in His image.  

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.  (Psalm 139:13-15, NASB) 

Let those who want my vindication shout for joy and be glad; let them continually say, “The LORD be exalted, He takes pleasure in His servant’s well-being.”  (Psalm 35:27, HCSB, emphasis added) 

For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation and adorn the wretched with victory.  (Psalm 149:4, Amplified)

So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.  (Genesis 1:27, HCSB) 

I knew you.  Before conception; before the foundations of the world were laid; God had a plan for Jeremiah’s life.  The same holds true to the man who is poor in spirit.

I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, in order to plant the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, “You are My people.”  (Isaiah 51:16, HCSB)

Then the King will say to those at His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”  (Matthew 25:34, Amplified)

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.  For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight.  In love.  (Ephesians 1:3-4, HCSB) 

I consecrated you.  Jeremiah was set apart for God’s work from the beginning of time; and the Lord has a plan for our lives too if we are poor in spirit.

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].  (Ephesians 2:10, Amplified) 

I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.  Our church needs more Jeremiahs who sense their God-given ordination in life and who pursue it with their whole being. What is the calling given to you before you were created?  Are you pursuing it? 

Alas, Lord GOD!  Jeremiah learns that God formed him, knew him, and sanctified him, and that he should go forth in his calling ordained by God.  The following of that call from the beginning came with a struggle.  He was broken by the presence of the Lord and all that he could say at first was Ah, Lord God!  In that moment, Jeremiah became poor in spirit as he recognized a painful and humble awareness of his condition in relation to the awesomeness and power of God in all His splendor and holiness.

Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.  Jeremiah sees himself as he really is: as inadequate for the task of serving the Lord of glory.  But God does what He needs to do to work through His servants: He encourages His servants and empowers them through the Holy Spirit to fulfill the call:

But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.  Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.  See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.  (Jeremiah 1:7-10, NASB)

What is the calling given to you before you were created?  Are you pursuing it?

The Plow: What Jesus Commanded Part 4

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Jesus Gave Commandments to the Apostles

Until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His sufferings by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.  (Acts 1:2-3, emphasis added) 

The chosen Eleven were the original field generals chosen by Christ to lead the Kingdom Revolution.  At this time the Eleven received their field commission from the risen Lord.  They were given authority by commandment to issue orders in the early Church.  These commandments are still the directives from headquarters for us today.  As we have seen there has been a direct transference of both authority and commands to the Church today which originated from the mouth of Jesus.  The message given to the Eleven pertained to the Kingdom of God and the Revolution for which we fight in battle today.  From the discourse of Jesus in verses four through eight of this same Chapter One of Acts the power and authority to continue the ministry of Jesus was given through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  This is true for us today.  The command is not given, and the command cannot be carried out without the work of The Holy Spirit in our lives.  It is essential to the understanding of the commandments in which we have received.  In the earthly ministry of the Son of Man the commandments were from Christ to the Eleven.  In the heavenly ministry, the message is transmitted from the Word of God to the disciple by the Holy Spirit.  This is how the Kingdom operates.

Waiting: The Truth of the Gospel

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Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.  (Psalm 25:4-5, NKJV, emphasis added)

The truth of the gospel is made powerful when you wait on God with great hope.

In the Greek, the noun gospel is good news.  The phrase was common in the Roman Empire as a greeting translated, “Do you bring good news today.”  The Greek authorities while discussing its religious usage in the first century give the illustration of Caesar worship.  Whenever an announcement of the emperor’s birthday, visit, or the installation of a new emperor was made this word  for good news was used in the proclamation with great joy.  The truth of the gospel is indeed good news because God came incarnate into His fallen world in order to redeem lost sinners and to bring glory to His name.  The truth of the gospel is what this world needs to hear proclaimed because it truly is good news.

To whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.  (Galatians 2:5, NKJV)

In the passage from which this verse is found Paul is giving a defense of the gospel message against the attack of false teachers.  As there is truth there will be opposition to it in this fallen world because the prince of the power of the air is doing what he can to pervert the truth of the gospel.  This is a reason why we should be waiting on God when we study His word so we will not pervert the gospel truth.  Yield submission in the Greek is a voluntary act, not one imposed on from outside.  It is clearly a choice the disciple makes because he submits to the will of the Father.   Submission is best shown in waiting because getting our marching orders from the Commander in Chief is our priority.  Continue in the Greek is not rest in, but a preposition denoting an active bearing upon your life.  Paul was talking about a serious error being taught in the Church and is relating to his readers the stance he and his small group of interns took for the truth of the gospel.  The same seriousness should be expressed in our lives because the gospel is truth and should be communicated and lived out with all diligence and seriousness.  Waiting on God will impress upon our hearts the gravity of the gospel truth.  Waiting with hope will bring us under submission to the truth of the gospel.

But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel…  (Galatians 2:14, NKJV)

Later in this passage, Paul gives an example of the seriousness of the gospel truth when he mentions that he had to rebuke the Apostle Peter for not being straightforward (to walk with straight feet or to walk a straight course in the Greek) with the gospel.  Peter’s attitude and life at this particular incident referred to did not coincide with the gospel truth.  It was a bold move on Paul’s part to take a stand against Peter, a pillar of the Church, but he had to do it for the sake of proclaiming correctly the truth of the gospel.

This blog meditation should bring forth seriousness which relates to the diligence expressed in another meditation.  Wait before God with great hope and ask for the Holy Spirit to change your character to one who is serious about proclaiming and living the truth of the gospel.

Mystic Moments: Hindrances to Perfecting Holiness

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Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Every defilement, outward or inward, in conduct or inclination, in the physical or the spiritual life, must be cleansed and cast away.  Cleansing in the blood, cleaning by the word, cleansing by the pruning knife or the fire – in any way or by any means – but we must be cleansed.  In the fear of the Lord every sin must be cut off and cast out; everything doubtful or defiling must be put away; soul and body and spirit must be preserved entire and blameless.  Thus cleansing ourselves from all defilement we will perfect holiness…Beginning with the perfect childlike heart, pressing on in the perfect way, clinging to a perfect Savior, living in fellowship with a God whose way and work is perfect, let us not be afraid to come to God with His own command as our prayer: Perfect Holiness, O my Lord!  – Andrew Murray

Poor in Spirit: Isaiah 66:1-2

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Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool.  Where then is a house you could build for Me?  And where is a place that I may rest?  For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD.  But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.”  (NASB)

In this passage, true worship from the man poor in spirit, is presented.  It is not worship in a building, but worship that comes from the heart through the spirit of man.  Because God is Spirit He is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).  God’s throne is not in a building on earth according to this passage.  To worship the Lord, we need to be heavenly minded (Romans 8:6) recognizing we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), thus we have communion with the living God at all times (1 Corinthians 1:9).  Because the Lord is upon His throne He is our King and heaven is the place where He holds his court.  We meet Him there when our spirit communes with His Spirit.  Our spirit as we have been learning has fellowship and communion with the Holy Spirit only when we are poor in spirit.  This passage teaches the same.

 For My hand made all these things.   God has created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.  He has placed His throne in heaven and man on earth.  The only way to worship, commune, and fellowship with God is through the Spirit.  From this passage the Holy Spirit walks with is the one that is poor in spirit.

But to this one I will look.  The word for look in the Hebrew means, to watch, to regard.  The word has the sense of looking somewhat intensely in a focused way at something.  We should all desire for the Lord to be intensely focused on us.  We should desire God’s loving eye watching out for us (Psalm 17:8; Psalm 33:18; and Psalm 34:15) and giving out of His abundant grace (1 Timothy 1:14) and His perfect will (Romans 12:1-2) to walk in moment by moment as we go through life.  What a wonderful promise from Scripture we can hold on to.  The passage illustrates who these people are that He focuses on – those who are poor in spirit.

Who is humble.  He who is humble and poor in spirit is the one God looks intently upon.  The Lord regards with extreme favor the person that is humble and subdued in spirit.  If our desire is to have God focused on us and our needs, we need to develop that character in which His grace can be bestowed upon us.  There is a condition for the Lord’s focus – being poor in spirit.

And contrite of spirit In the Hebrew this is a spirit that is broken, crushed, or deeply affected by sin that is repented of and renders the cleansed sinner in a place of hopelessness, except for the reality of the mercy and grace of the loving Father who cleansed him.  This contriteness stands opposed to a spirit that is proud, haughty, self-confident, and self-righteous.  This is being poor in spirit.

 And who trembles at My wordThe man who is poor in spirit fears the Lord and has reverence for God’s word.  We can use this to test where we are at in the development of our character: do we revere God’s Word?

Take the test today to determine where we are in the development of your character: do you revere God’s Word?  Pray about this honestly and develop more passion for the Word of God.

Teleios: Perfect will of God

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Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.  (Matthew 5:48)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:1-2, emphasis added)

Though I would love to expound on one of my favorite passages the goal of this blog series is to focus on the Biblical concept of perfection, the teleios, of Scripture.  How is teleios used in this passage?  It, as an adjective, describes the will of God.  God’s will for us is perfect; a will that lacks nothing else as necessary to bring to completeness or maturity.  Is it not reassuring that God’s desire for you is perfect?  What more could we want?

Not only is the will of God perfect for you, the passage clearly instructs us to the fact that we can discern (prove) what that will is.  We can allow the Spirit to work in three areas of or life: (1) present or lives as a living sacrifice; (2) by not conforming to the evil system of the world; and (3) being transformed by renewing the mind.  The work of sanctification will accomplish these three parts of or growth and road towards knowing the will of God.

That is my prayer and I hope my blogs help both you and I in our journey to Christian maturity, the teleios of Scripture.

 

Waiting: We Can Do Nothing Against the Truth

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Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.  (Psalm 25:4-5, NKJV, emphasis added)

We can do nothing against the truth and we are empowered by waiting on God.

For we can do nothing against the truth, but for truth.  (2 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV)

Truth stands alone and is a formable wall.  Truth is a position set against that which tries to pervert or retard it.  Yet truth never changes; only that which tries to oppose it; the opposition changes to the direction of truth or falls (1 Peter 2:8).

For we can do nothing against the truth.  How is this so?  As first-fruits of God’s creation we are set apart to be holy and used for His purposes, and His purpose is to do His Word, the Word of truth, not to work against it.  As the special creation of God we are engineered and empowered to do His will.  As workers approved of the Lord we have been tested and have met his specifications as instruments of His will.  Set apart as holy we can do nothing profane or common, thus we can do nothing against the word of truth.  The true disciple cannot do anything against the truth because he belongs to the Lord of glory.  Character is formed by waiting with hope; the character of truth.

The disciple can only work for truth.  This is an easy deduction from what we just considered in this meditation.  There is no neutrality.  One either works against truth or for it.  A man or woman produces good fruit or bad.  Waiting produces good fruit because through waiting we become separate for God’s good purpose.

Prayerfully meditate upon the following passages and commit to wait upon God with great hope until the good fruit is produced for truth:

 

Matthew 3:7-12                                              Matthew 7:15-20

Matthew 13:18-23                                          Luke 3:9

Luke 6:43-45                                                   John 12:20-26

Romans 5:1-5                                                  Romans 12:1-2

1 Corinthians 3:16-17                                      Ephesians 5:25-27

Colossians 1:9-14                                            Colossians 1:21-23

Colossians 3:12-17                                          2 Timothy 1:8-14

Hebrews 3:1                                                       James 1:2-8

1 Peter 1:13-16                                                   1 Peter 2:4-10

2 Peter 3:11-13