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Bring forth Spiritual Fruit

October 20, 2002
Sterling, IL

(For printable version click here.)

I would just like to open with prayer for the Word.  Father, we do thank You for Your grace and Your mercy toward us this morning.  We thank You because we have this privilege to meet, to gather together, to feel the presence of God, to feel the presence of the heavenly host.  To know, Father, that it is the will of God to gather ourselves together unto You.  Father, we pray for the loosening of the Spirit of God this morning.  Father, not so much in what is said, but in the Spirit of God as it moves forth and speaks to every heart, Father, the Word and the substance of life that is needed.  Father, there were many things that Jesus was teaching in His time while He was here on the earth, but there were particular needs that were also met in the midst of all of the teaching and all of the place of instruction that was being given, Father, and some of it was because of the tenacity of the people that were involved that wanted the touch of God and persisted, Father, crying out unto the son of David, that He might stop and recognize them, and that He might extend the hand of grace toward them.  So this morning, let us have that tenacity.  Let us have that determination.  Let us have that desire.  Father, we also want to pray this morning, I want to ask for the authority that is in the heavenlies, the authority that has been delegated unto us.  You see the happenings over on the East Coast.  Father, we’re asking for the spirit of blood lust to be bound.  We are asking, God, for the authority of the church to rise up and begin to come against this wickedness, Father, that the perpetrators might be arrested.  Father, that they might be arrested and stopped in their wreaking of havoc, murder, and death and mayhem.  Father, we just come against this spirit of murder in the name of Jesus.  Father, we have an authority as a church, Father, to rise up in the Spirit.  We have a responsibility, Father, to pray and to intercede for the nation, as well as the activities that are going on in the midst of the nation.  Father, wake us up, that we might begin to be a people that begin to fight the war, Father, in the manner and fashion that it has been delegated unto us, in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

I want to encourage you all in your times of prayer.  I believe that there is an authority given to us as a church.  One of the reasons that I think that the United States has been the United States and that we have enjoyed the liberty and the freedom that we have enjoyed is because of the Word of God.  When you begin to eliminate the Word of God, then the authority begins to dissipate and wickedness begins to manifest itself.  It seems the church at-large, or the church out there, has lost its authority.  I don’t know that it’s so much reliant upon numbers as it is the sincerity of the individuals that are involved in the church, and the power that they come to a realization that they have and they begin to assert it with regard to certain situations.  Hallelujah.  I believe that we can pray against these different things that are happening.  Amen.  I believe that judgment is upon us, and this well could be part of the judgment, but it does not alleviate our position of responsibility, IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT IT IS JUDGMENT.  WE STILL HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO INTERCEDE FOR THE PEOPLE.  AMEN.

The priest, when he went in before the Lord, wore an ephod and he wore a breastplate.  They call it the breastplate of righteousness, and upon the breastplate were twelve stones, which were representations of each of the tribes of Israel.  Now, Brother Craig, I believe it was, mentioned the fact that we are kings and we are priests before the Lord.  That’s what Peter said.  He said, “You are a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9).  He said that you are kings and you are priests before the Lord.  One of the responsibilities that came upon the priest as he went in before the Lord was for the humanity of the people whom he was a priest unto, and we are priests unto each other.  Hallelujah.  That fact is very well established in the very beginning of the Book, back in Genesis, when Cain rose up and slew Abel.  The Lord came to Cain.  Now, you have to understand, God knew what had happened, so His question, in a sense, was rhetorical.  He said, “Where is your brother?” (Genesis 4:9)  It was a question He asked, not only for Cain’s benefit, but for our benefit, that we might know that we have a responsibility for each other.  Not just family and friends, but we have a responsibility for others.  You know, it is very hard for us to empathize, I mean, we are not having to deal with the spirit of fear, you understand, because what is going on in the East Coast isn’t going on in this area.  We may think, “Well, that is very bad,” but we can still walk out our door without trepidation or looking around or looking over our shoulders.  So, it is very easy for us to distance ourselves from sets of circumstances and to be somewhat indifferent with regard to the situation that is going on.  But, there is a responsibility that we have in the Lord with regard to the things that are happening in our land, hallelujah, in spite of the fact that judgment is upon the land.  Hallelujah!

You might want to open your Bibles today to Luke.  There is a particular passage of scripture that has been coming to my mind for a number of days.  In chapter eight of Luke, Jesus is telling them of the parable of the sower, and the meaning of it.  He goes through the parable and He takes His disciples aside and He begins to explain to them what He was speaking in parables.  Before I get into that though, I want to go back on a point with regard to Moses’ experience with the Lord upon the mount.  When they were gathered around that particular place in that desert location and God said that He would meet with them.  I believe it was also during that time frame that God brought Moses up to the top of the mountain and there He appeared to Moses and began to give Moses instructions as to the religious environment, if I might use the word “religious,” without it having a bad connotation.  He began to instruct Moses with regard to the religious environment which the children of Israel were to create and to maintain.  One of the things that He gave to Moses in that time frame was the pattern of the tabernacle.  Now, I know that you probably have heard much about the tabernacle.  Well, I too, have heard much about it.  In the number of years that I have been a Christian, I probably have been in more meetings than you overall, some of you, and I probably have heard the tabernacle preached and have preached it more times than I can remember or recount.  But every time I hear it and every time it seems that the Lord gives me a Word concerning the tabernacle, there is something new, something different, something of another stone, or another building block that God gives me in my spiritual understanding with regard to the plans and the purposes of God.  Hallelujah.  God wants us to understand Him.  Now, I am sure you can understand as well as I that the magnitude of that or, at least, we can see how much and how far above our understanding it really is.  But, nevertheless, you know, a big house is not really built in an instant.  You don’t just pour something out in the dirt and add water and put heat to it and get an instantaneous house.  It is one step at a time.  One step at time.  One of the things that we need to come to grips with, is that God wants us, not only to start the race, not only to run the race, but He wants us to finish the race.  Now, Paul made mention of this in one of his epistles to one of the churches (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), and he made the analogy of a runner that is running a race.  I don’t know of any runner that runs any race that he does not enter with the idea that he is going to win that race.  Hallelujah.  I don’t know, some of you are familiar with tennis, but you go into the game, not for the sake of giving that other person a hard time and then losing and allowing them to win, but you go into the game for the purpose of winning.  You apply every bit of knowledge that you have with regard to the handling of the instrument that you are using.  If it is golf, you know, your stance, everything is important.  Sometimes even the equipment that you are using, and whoever goes in to whatever fact or whatever thing that they do, they want the best equipment, they want the appropriate instruction, and they want to have the ability or the endurance, you know, to maintain and to finish the race, or finish the job.  So it is also with us as Christian people.  We should be inquisitive.  We should want to know what is going on in the business of God that concerns us, and in the position or the place of our activity, what it is that God is expecting of us, with regard to all of those issues.  Hallelujah.

I have a couple of scriptures that I am wanting to look at this morning.  Luke chapter 8.  Eight is the number of new beginnings.  Hallelujah.  I have always liked the numerics.  I would encourage you to look at a little book that has been out many years by a man named Bullinger.  It is a very simple book.  It is not really in depth.  It is kind of a condensed version, I suppose, of his years of study, but he goes into the numerics of the Bible.  I suppose that there are other books out also.  I ran across one here, I don’t remember what the name of it was, but it was very good.  But, the fact is, we need to understand, because I think there is a significance with regard to the numbers in the Bible.  Now, I understand that the Greek and the Hebrew are not divided up into chapters and numbers, but that does not mean that God cannot use chapters and numbers as a means by which to convey to us a thought that is relevant to what is being spoken.  So, in Luke chapter 8 and verse 11, He says, Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God.  Now, this is basically the Word, I believe, that the Lord has laid upon my heart which was overshadowing the Word last night.  So, I really believe that this is the culmination of it, or the finishing of it, because we were dealing with the Word last night and the reality of it.  Verse number 12, Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  Now, it is interesting to me, this is just a little side note on this verse.  That’s verse 12.  Twelve is the number of government and usually those people who are in rebellion, are in rebellion against governmental control.  Now, I am not talking about the governmental control out here, although there is some symbolism in the aspect of a man who is rebellious against the authority, or the constituted authority of the land, and he will more than likely also be in a position of rebellion against the constituted authority of God.  Hallelujah.  Because God chose man by which to administrate God.  Are you following what I am saying?  Hallelujah. 

So, here we have in verse 12 and it goes on into verse 13, They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  Now, verses 14 and 15 are the principle verses that have really been weighing on my mind.  14And that which fell among the thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  I am so glad He put that in there, you know, because that is not in the other renditions of that particular verse.  If you would turn over into Matthew 13, where He speaks of that particular [parable.] Verse 22, He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the Word; praise the Lord, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the Word, and he becometh unfruitful.  Hallelujah.  But in Mark, I think that it is the eighth chapter, it also somewhat reemphasizes the position of being unfruitful.  But, in this particular verse (Luke 8:14) it says, and bring no fruit to perfection.  So, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t some fruit.  It is just that the fruit does not reach the position or the place of fullness that God desires it to be.  Hallelujah!  Amen, can you say, amen?  OK, verse 15, But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it…  Don’t you like that?  Some bringing forth fruit with patience.  And bring forth fruit with patience.  Now, if you were to go back over into the other renditions in Matthew and in Mark, it says, of that particular verse, beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty (Matthew 13:23).  I am glad that He said hundred first, because I believe that is the position and that is the place in which God desires you and I to be.

Turn with me, please, over into Ephesians the fourth chapter.  Four is the number of tribulation.  Hallelujah!  Of course, you probably don’t have too much tribulation, right?  Verse 15, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Amen, amen.  Can you say, “Amen?”  16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part…  Boy, you know, I love the way that Paul wrote.  He didn’t leave anything to doubt.  He explained it very critically.  Hallelujah!  …To the effectual working in the measure of every part.  Hallelujah.  You and I have a responsibility before the Lord in working out our salvation in fear and trembling.  Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need the Body, because without the Body, you have no purpose.  You have no destiny.  You have no definition in who you are or what you are in God.  Hallelujah.  We all like our space, right?  We all like our little position, our little domain, but the fact of the matter is, that is one of the things that God is dealing with us in every situation in our position of personal experience before the Lord.  …According to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.  OK?  Hallelujah. 

Now, I want to jump up to verse 12 if I may.  Hallelujah!  I think that it is very pertinent for us to go back to verse 12 to understand what He is saying in these particular verses.  12 For the perfecting of the saints… We just read in Luke that we are to bring forth fruit unto perfection.  And here we are in verse 12, For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13 Till we all come in unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Now, in the building of the tabernacle, or in the plan of the tabernacle, this thought of thirty, sixty, and one hundredfold is represented in the diagram that was given.  As you may be aware, the tabernacle is divided up into three parts.  You have the Outer Court, which consists of the perimeter fence and the gate which is all a part of the outer court, and it is just as important as the instruments that are in the Outer Court.  We have, in the Outer Court, the brazen altar and we have the brazen laver.  Then toward the back of that structure, we have the Holy Place and it’s enclosed, sealed, as it were.  It is divided up into another section which is called the Holy of Holies.  There were priests that had the responsibility of the Outer Court ministries.  There were things that were going on that they were responsible for, and they could move about within that realm of experience with regard to God.  So it is in the Word of God.  I believe that that is the experience of a thirtyfold Christian. 

Then you had the inner court or the Holy Place.  There were priests of a certain order that had the right and the liberty to go in and amongst this structure, and that, in itself, I believe, is representation of a sixtyfold Christian.  Hallelujah. 

However, we had one man who was designated by God to go into the innermost sanctum of God, which was considered the Holy of Holies.  Now, we are not necessarily told about the relationship of Moses and God, other than the closeness that God had with regard to Moses, and the feeling of affection and favor that was upon Moses.  So, it is my estimation, and it is just my estimation, that Moses had the liberty, although he was not High Priest, to go in before the ark of the Lord and to commune with God, and I think that this is at the designation of the favor of God.  Do you understand?  Outside of the favor of God there is an order which God demands and we have to bend with regard to moving in the things that pertain to holiness and righteousness.  I think that fact is also demonstrated in the relationship that David had with God.  Hallelujah.  Do you remember how David moved the ark and brought it and put it outside the palace there somewhere?  He just put it in a tent and he would go out and sit before the ark or before the presence of God and worship and commune with the Lord.  I think that all of that was allowed by God to give us an understanding of the position and the place of favor that God has for mankind.  Hallelujah.

Someone was referring to the scripture last night with regard to the angels that were in heaven and viewing the things that were happening with regard to man and God, and expounding, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4).  I think it was David that gave us that Psalm.  And the son of man, that thou visitest him?  Well, man is nothing.  Man has no position or place or right, because of the place that he is in.  Even the substance of which he is made is considered base and low, and certainly not heavenly, and yet, on that baseness, God breathed something to bring forth a royalty and a favor and to designate them to a position of preeminence.  We mentioned it a little bit earlier.  Peter talks about it in one of his epistles.  Turn with me over into the first epistle of Peter, chapter 2.  Hallelujah.  Peter starts out chapter 2, verse 1, Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings…  Why would he say that?  Well, because he knows the baseness of the character upon which God chooses to rest and reside within, and there is a necessity for you and I to work at the aspect of our humanity to bring it into some position or place of subjection to the power of the living Lord.  Hallelujah!  In fact, it is not only a desire of God, or a necessity for us, but it is also absolutely essential if we desire to be sons of God.  Hallelujah.  Now, my personal position of belief, and I believe that it is scriptural, I could probably give you a number of scriptures to validate why I am saying this, but I don’t believe that we all go into the heavenly realm at the same level.  I don’t believe it.  I believe that one of the reasons why one of the writers of the Bible said to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), is that you are given an opportunity, a time frame, a space, hallelujah, an experience by which you might begin to accumulate the wherewithal to be in a particular level in a particular place with the appearing of God.  Hallelujah.  Now, I don’t know how it works after it all happens, whether there is an expansion and a growing, I don’t know.  But, what I do know, is that I don’t believe that the thief on the cross went into the realm of the heavenlies at the same level that Paul went into the realm of the heavenlies.  I don’t believe it.  Paul must have been somewhat aware of his position of righteousness, because he said, “I know that I have laid up for me in heaven a crown that is incorruptible” (II Timothy 4:8; I Corinthians 9:25) and the other word that comes to me is, “and indisputably mine.”  Hallelujah, hallelujah.  So, there is something of the reality of heaven that we have to come to grips with, with regard to our earthly position of experience.  You know, I sometimes think that, even if you haven’t had church experience, there is a “church” mentality that comes with Christianity that says, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.”  I don’t say that it is not going to be a day of rejoicing, but I don’t know that some people are going to be rejoicing as much as other people.  Hallelujah. 

I remember, sometime back, I had a dream.  A very disturbing dream.  It moved me emotionally and I started weeping and that is what woke me up.  In the dream, it was really kind of a weeping/laughing.  I don’t know if you have ever had one of those experience.  You’re laughing, but you are weeping.  You’ve got joy, but you are also sad.  In the dream, I was very much aware that we had had a major confrontation, a major battle.  I remember standing in the battle field and I was somewhat cognizant of my attire.  I was disheveled and dirty, as if I had been walking through the brush and running, and fighting and wrestling, and I was extremely tired.  I was almost totally exhausted.  But, I had this great big sword.  I don’t know, it must have been mine, but I don’t know how in the world I would have ever wielded the thing, because it was big.  The cross guard of the sword was about right here at my head and I had my arm up around the handle and over the cross guard and I was leaning on the sword because I was almost too exhausted to stand.  As I was leaning, I was surveying the battle scene, and as I was seeing it, I was also getting flashback.  You know what I mean by flashback?  I would see one of my comrades and he had been slain in the battle.  As I looked over at him, I would get a flashback, and I would see the actual situation in which he had been involved.  I saw him, and he was fighting three men.  One in the front, and one on each side of him, and he had a grin on his face.  You could tell that he was enjoying the battle.  He was enjoying the battle!  He was fighting, and he was doing a good job!  He was doing a good job, but in the midst of his fighting there was one that snuck up behind him and sliced him across the back.  I can remember, and that’s one of the things that woke me up, is that he was slain in the midst of the battle, and as I came out of sleep, David’s ballad, David’s word concerning Saul and Jonathan, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:25; 27), was on my mind, and I began to weep.  So, I don’t know that we are all going into the same realm of the heavenlies.  That began to make me think about my own position, my own place, my own set of circumstances, and how grievous it would be for me to be able to stand before the Lord and know that I had an opportunity to do something, and I didn’t do it, that I fell short of the expectation of God.  I could make all kind of excuses, you know.  “Well, I wasn’t spiritual enough Lord.  I wasn’t this or I wasn’t that.”  But it would not alleviate the position or the feeling of sadness that I would have, knowing I could have done it if I had really wanted to.  I think the crux of the whole matter is that we can do it in the Lord if we really want to do it.  We can suffer physical pain.  We can suffer mental pain.  We can suffer emotional pain.  We can suffer all manner of things that are contrary to us being comfortable, if we really want to do it, on the basis of moving into or pleasing God and fulfilling the idea of the destiny that He has for us in being Sons of God.  Hallelujah.  It is not something that is going to happen over there in the heavenlies.  I don’t believe that.  I don’t believe that some day, on a shore far away, or in the sweet by and by, on that beautiful shore.  I don’t believe that that is the type of experience or the place which I am going to obtain to my inheritance with regard to the calling and the election that is upon my life.  I believe that the calling and the election upon my life is reliant upon what I do the moment that I’m in the midst of my position of tribulation and trouble that presses me, the moment that I come into conflict with regard to personality differences.  Hallelujah!  Where would we be if we didn’t have personality differences with our children, with our husbands, or with our wives, with our fathers or with our mothers, or with our employers, or just the community at-large?  The neighbor that lives next door to you.  You know, I know a family that has been at war with their neighbors for who knows how long.  Hallelujah.  I know another situation where a man has been involved in a work environment that was designed to bring forth the goodness of God, but in the aspect of his humanity and the familiarities that he is dealing with, it has produced flesh.  Hallelujah!  Those are not designed to bring forth destruction and defeat.  Now, it can bring forth destruction.  It can bring forth death.  But, in the midst of death, in the midst of destruction, there has to be something of a reality of resurrection with regard to all of that.  That doesn’t mean you get to feeling better.  It means that there is something that happens on the inside of you that causes you to look at your environment differently than what you were looking at it before you came to that realization!  Hallelujah.  God said that He would be with you and that He would never forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  Hallelujah!  He was with the disciples in the boat, but, nevertheless, the boat was sinking.  Hallelujah!  The storm was raging.  Hallelujah.  The Word, it was a prophetic “happenance” that was happening with regard to them in actuality, that was designed to minister a Word to you and I with regard to our own personal position of experience.  Hallelujah! 

I believe in the Sons of God message.  I believe that we are being conformed to the image of Christ if we are allowing our circumstances to bring forth the fruit of righteousness and not the fruit of bitterness.  There is no middle road, brethren.  There is absolutely no middle road.  Now, you might like to think that there is devil, flesh and God, you know, and the devil has his due, and God has His due, but there is some place in the middle there where you have some sort of preeminence or dominance with regard to your life work or life experience, or life relationship with humanity.  I am sorry, I don’t believe in it.  I believe that humanity is made with the aspect of being subjected to something, with the need of being subjected to some thing, and you can either be subjected to the world and to the prince of the power of the world or to God. 

Now, let us for a moment just go over into Romans, if I might.  Romans the 6th chapter.  Paul is talking about the subjection and the position of subjection that one is in.  Hallelujah.  You start out being in the world, and you end up being in Christ.  But, he gives, in verse number 12, there again we’re in the aspect of government.  12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body…  Now, we’re born in sin, we’re conceived in sin, we’re brought forth in iniquity.  Hallelujah!  You need to establish that fact in your thinking with regard to your humanity.  There is no good thing that was within you and I, in the beginning, before we met God.  OK, now, you have met God.  Now, you have had a baptism with God.  You have been planted together in His likeness and you are to be raised together in His resurrection.  Hallelujah.  And now, He is saying, verse 12, Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Hallelujah.  13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  Now, the word “instruments” is a Greek word that means “weapons.”  It’s talking about your mind.  It is talking about your emotions.  It is talking about your desires.  It is talking about your will.  Now, you can come down another level.  It is also talking about your body.  Hallelujah.  The things that you do with your bodies.  Your eyes.  Your ears.  Hallelujah!  Your mouth.  Hallelujah!  However and whatever.  It says, these instruments were under the captivity and the subjection of sin, and they were used as weapons to destroy you.  They were weapons that were being used against you. 

My mother used to tell us boys, there were three of us and she said to me in particular, probably.  She said, “Burt, you are always your worst enemy.”  Or she would say, “Burt, you are always cutting your nose off to spite your face.”  You know what I mean?  You are always doing something that puts a bad mark on you.  You’re meaning it to do good or to show a position of preeminence, but your preeminence or good is turning out bad.  Hallelujah.  So it is with regard to you and I.  There is a position, there is a place that we come to in God in our personal set of circumstances, in the moment or the conflict of personalities and wills, and it could be nothing more than husbands and wives as they get into certain situations, certain circumstances, or of parents and children.  Hallelujah.  There is a response that is human, and there are instruments or weapons of emotion, of action, of words, that can be utilized as weapons of destruction to bring destruction, to deal a blow, to cause a wound, or they can be utilized in a manner or fashion to bring forth healing or to bring forth deliverance.  We have a choice in the midst of those things that are happening to determine on which side we are going to be.   It is not something that you reason with your mind.  Romans chapter 8, verse number 5, For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh.  Now, remember, we are talking about things that are more abstract.  Personality conflicts.  I think that I really need to deal with that aspect of it.  Personality conflicts.  They way that you and I respond as a personality to other personality-created environments.  Hallelujah.  I want to go left.  You want to go right.  Hallelujah.  How do you resolve the issue of which way to go?  When it is resolved, is there some feeling of resentment and bitterness in how it was resolved, if it was resolved in a way that isn’t satisfactory to you?   Now, we think that it is a human thing.  We think that it is a human thing that happens and there are not any consequences.  We may feel a little bad about it for awhile, or something, or over a course of time we may even forget about it.  But, the fact of the matter is, if one did not move in the Spirit of God, of the Christ and the nature of God, then there is something that is enacted against you to bring some sort of destruction.  5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  Hallelujah. 

There are only two positions as far as I am concerned, and each position has a principle or a god to which one subjects themselves.  If you yield yourself to the flesh, it is not just humanity that you are yielding yourself to and you are just doing what you want to do, but you are yielding yourself to the god of the flesh.  You yield yourself to the prince that is over the flesh.  We need to understand that.  Hallelujah!  But they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 

Now, hallelujah, you can make a list and say, “Things that are flesh,” and you can put down those attributes here.  You know, resentment, bitterness, anger, “me-ism”, self-exaltation.  Just make a list.  And over here, “Spiritual.”  Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are of good report.  If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think upon these things (Philippians 4:8).  What is your thought process in the midst of the circumstance that you find yourself in with regard to your spiritual confrontation with other personalities or with life in general?  Hallelujah, hallelujah. 

But, he says, 6For to be carnally minded is death.  Now, remember, I said that there is not another position other than these two positions.  You’re either in the flesh or you’re in the Spirit.  Now, you can be moving from the flesh to the Spirit and having to deal with the flesh by the Spirit, or the flesh can be pulling you from the Spirit into the flesh.   But there are only two positions.  There are only two places.  The reisnoneutral territory.  Hallelujah!  It says, 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind, that is your natural mind, hallelujah, the mind which you were born with is enmity, that means that it is in total rebellion against God, hallelujah.  Hallelujah, you know, I am so glad that God is doing the job, because if  I were involved in it, I would throw my hands up and say, “It is absolutely impossible.”  But with God, nothing is impossible.  Hallelujah!  For it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 

What is it that you want to do?  Is it that you want the commendation of men?  Is it that you want to be comfortable?  Do you just not want to have tribulation?  What is it that you want to do?  Well, what we should be wanting to do is, wanting to please God.  How can I please God in the relationship that I have with my wife?  How can I please God in the relationship that I have with my children?  Let me tell you, as your children grow up, the relationship changes, and sometimes it doesn’t change the way that you really want it to change, and your children begin to move in a manner or fashion that is contrary to your thinking.  And yet, in that environment, in that situation, there is a response that is required of the parent that has to be unto God.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah. 

One of the problems that I have with the church, or with Christians that are in the church, is that there seems to be some sort of separation of work and God, like separation of God and state, you know what I mean?  But, there is a separation.  They have a different demeanor, a different attitude, and a different approach in business with worldly, ungodly people than they have when they are in the church, or dealing with Christians that are in the church.  They are very Christian when they are dealing with other Christians.  But, they don’t demonstrate or show that Christianity in the midst or the place of their dealing with the world.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  For us, and when I say “us,” I mean those of us who desire to be sons of God, that is something that God cannot tolerate or will not tolerate for the fact of your own salvation, and the desire that you have to be a son of God.  Hallelujah.  I cannot see Jesus walking about doing His business… We’re not told too much of His childhood.  We’re not told of anything of what His responsibilities were, but knowing some of the Jewish history or culture, the oldest had a responsibility with regard to his family.  Most of what his father would have would go to the elder son.  Hallelujah.  Now, there is a very small scripture, very small scripture that is noted in one of the gospels, if not all four of them.  I haven’t looked it up.  But, when He was on the cross, Jesus took His responsibility and put it upon another man.  I don’t know how many people have ever seen that, but He looked at John and He looked at his mother and said, “Mother, behold your son, and son behold your mother” (John 19:27).  There was something of a delegation of authority, which tells me that He was very cognizant of His position in the human realm with regard to His responsibility to His mother.   So, we are not told what went on, but I can assume on the basis of righteousness, that there was something of a position that He had with regard to His mother, and His brothers, and His sisters.  You know, we are not told when Joseph died, but whenever he died, there was a responsibility that went on with regard to overshadowing the family that was delegated to Him.  Hallelujah.  I can’t see him going about the family business, hallelujah, and behaving any differently than He did about the Father’s business, and dealing with the people with regard to all of those things that pertain to life and liberty.  Hallelujah, but in the church, it seems that we can have this Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde demeanor, and it is as though we can change.   We can be…who was the good guy?  Dr. Jeckyll was the good guy and Mr. Hyde was the bad guy.  Anyway we can be in the church and be Mr. Good Guy and go out and be the monster out there in the world.  We can move as the world moves, behave as the world behaves and order our business on the principles of the world.  Hallelujah. 

It is not easy being Christian, you know.  It is not easy being Christian in the home, but the problem with the home is the familiarities.  We are so used to one another.  You understand?  Sometimes we take one another for granted without understanding the significance or the position of reality with regard to the piece or the part of the Body of Christ that the person we are living with is, hallelujah, because of our familiarity.  Familiarity comes, “Oh, well I know him, and how he is, and this is what he does,” and blah, blah, blah, and “She is over here and blah, blah, blah.”  All of these things.  Familiarity working, working, working, working, working to reduce everything to one common denominator, hallelujah, and that is strife, confusion and discontentment with one another.  Hallelujah!  You should not take your discontentment to someone else.  Someone else cannot do for you anything that is going to alleviate the discontentment that you think that they are creating. 

I have found out something, that no one has the power to change unless they want to change.   Oh, yes, I have found that out.  You may talk to them about change.  You may tell them about change.  You may show them the need for change and all the change, change, change, change, change and turn around and find yourself right back the next minute, if it even waits that long, dealing with some issue that has to do with change, and no change has ever been made.   CHANGE COMES FROM THE INSIDE.  Change is something that is done by the Spirit of God, when man’s spirit comes into confrontation with God’s Spirit.  Hallelujah!  What we need to do in our relationships is to have all things AS UNTO THE LORD.  So, if we are going to get into a fight, let’s fight as unto the Lord.  If we are going to get into a disagreement, let’s disagree as unto the Lord.  I mean, that changes the whole ballgame.  You are not going to talk to the Lord the way that you would talk to someone else, or you may talk to Him for a little bit like that, but there is going to be something that comes that tells you, “Wait a minute!”  There is going to be something of a tapping on your shoulder and saying, “You better watch what you are saying, and you better watch what you are doing.”  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Believe you me, brethren, I believe that the Body of Christ extends out beyond the borders of what we call “church” or the coming together of the people that we call church.  Hallelujah!  I believe that the Body of Christ exists in our individual personal environment with regard to those individuals that we are in constant communication or constant conflict with, however it may be, hallelujah, in the realm of humanity.  Hallelujah!  Are you understanding what I am saying?  You and I need to overcome and WE ARE NOT TO OVERCOME ONE ANOTHER.  We are not to overcome one another.  We are to overcome the principalities and the powers. 

You know, we think that it would be OK if everything would just go our way, or if the other person would just change.  I remember a little story that I heard one time about a woman who was praying for her husband.  She was a Christian.  She was a Full Gospel Christian and he was a sinner man, and he was always bad mouthing her church.  Of course, she was always feeling very persecuted, with regard to his sinning and with regard to his position of heathenism.  Hallelujah!  She was praying for his salvation, and she said, “Oh God, if You would just take care of John Doe, get him saved, God, then everything will be all right.  If You would just get him saved.”  She was very faithful and she prayed for him many years.  Well, one day he got saved.  You think her troubles went away?  No!  He really got saved!  He got on fire for God and he began to go all out for God!  It began to vex her that he was always running after God, and she began to feel neglected and she began to feel persecuted, in the fact that he was saved and running after God.  Hallelujah.  Your problem is not the problem that the other person is creating for you.  The problem that you and I have is the nature of sin that is within us that demands a position of preeminence, that demands a position of domination.  Hallelujah!  If you could be delivered of “me-ism”, you probably wouldn’t have any problem at all.  Hallelujah. 

That is why Paul talks about death to self.  When I first came into this message many years ago, we were preaching and being preached to about death to self.  You could almost be sure, if you went to a meeting, you were going to hear about the brazen altar, the brazen laver and all of the aspects of death to self.  You were going to hear about the scriptures that pertained to being buried with Him in baptism.  Hallelujah!  I am going to say something else here, if you haven’t been baptized and baptized with the thought of being baptized unto God, hallelujah, with regard to signing a contract and living it out in the days to come after you get dried off, then you need to get re-baptized, and make it a right baptism, with regard to the position of responsibility that you want God to put upon you, and the accountability that you want God to hold you to.  It is a whole different ball game when you go to God on that basis, because, when you come to God on that basis, He knows that you mean business, and it is the business that He enjoys doing, because He knows that it will create within you the thing that He wants for you.  Hallelujah. 

So, Romans 8, verse 7, says, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.  You cannot reason God.  You cannot logically think God.  You cannot move in carnal knowledge or wisdom with regard to God.  It has nothing to do with God.  For it is not subject to the law of God.  I suppose right there you could underline that word “subject.”  It is not subject.  Subjection.  Go home and look it up in your dictionary.  Look it up in the Greek as to what it means.   There are a number of passages when it talks about you and I as Christians, or as servants, the King James says servants, but it uses, I believe, the word “doulos.” (#1401 Greek in Strong’s Concordance).  Hallelujah.  It is not talking about a servant at all.  It is talking about a slave.   Now, remember, there are positions or delegations or places of experience that we have that develop into something else.  You know, you go from a slave to a friend of God.  Who was it that God was talking to?  It was Abraham I think that He was talking to.  He said, “Should I not tell my friend?” (James 2:23).  Now, a friend is someone who is far above the status of being a slave, but there is a position that a friend has to have in the aspect of being a slave, before he can become a friend.  Hallelujah.  A slave, in the culture in which this Word was written, had absolutely no rights.  Norights.  There was no legal association that he could go to, to demand fairness in the treatment that he was receiving.  He was a piece of property.  Something of this fact came home to me when I joined the Service many years ago.  I ceased being a piece of the property of Asbill, and I became the property of the United States Government.  That is how they look at you.  They look at you as property.  I remember very well, there were two boys in one of the platoons that was next to mine in boot camp who, at the end of the camp, when we had this time of leave, they went out to the beach and they got extremely sun burned.  They put them in the hospital for care and concern, but when they got out of the hospital they court-marshaled them for destroying government property.   A piece of property.  You had no rights, at least when I was in the Service.  It may be different now, I don’t know.  They could do with you what they wanted to do with you.  If they wanted to beat you up, they could beat you up.   If they wanted to say bad things about you, they could say all the bad things they wanted to, and you couldn’t say anything back to them.  Hallelujah.  They would march you as far as they could march you or as far as you were able to march.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  You were a piece of property.  You were something that they had a responsibility to tear down and to recreate, hallelujah, after the fashion and the form that they wanted it to be created.  Now, in God, we don’t have a dispassionate or unloving, or uncaring Father.  You understand?  We sing a song that says, He careth for you.   There is a concern and care that God has for us.

OK, verse 9, we’re back in Romans 8, But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  We want to come into that position, that place of relationship with God, by which we might be called one of His.  Hallelujah!  But, there is a process that we have to go through.  Now, I am telling you all this in order to hopefully excite your appetite for God.  You might be satisfied with salvation.  You might be satisfied with baptism of the Holy Ghost.  You might just be satisfied with baptism, salvation, and all of the things and having the Word of God, hallelujah, as a means to know about God.  There is a difference in having the Word about God and having the Word of God inyou.   Hallelujah!  Hallelujah.  There is a little marquee on a church that we passed and it said, “No God, No Peace.”  Then, down below it it said, “Know God, Know Peace.”  Then I thought, “No, that is not right.  It’s ‘Know God, Have Peace’.”   Because if you know God the way that God wants you to know Him, then there is something of God that is inside of you that begins to bring forth the peace that is in Him.  It’s the same as Jesus Christ that was in the boat.  We are like the disciples in the boat.  We get into certain situations, the waves start rolling and the boat begins to fill with water and it looks like we are going to be inundated, brought down to the bottom, and it says that the Lord was asleep in the boat (Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25).   The Lord was asleep in the boat.  I wonder why they waited that long?  Or maybe they thought they could just do it themselves.  “I can just do it myself!”  Come on, hallelujah.  There is a position a place that God wants us to be in. 

Now, I want to go back into Ephesians the 4th chapter.  We started out by reading those verses down there, 16, 17 and 18.  Then we went up to verse 12.  Now, I want to go back up farther to verse 7.  It says, But unto every one of us is given grace…  Now, I don’t know how you view grace, whether you view it as an abstract thing, like unmerited favor, or what, but I see it as something more personified than that.  I see it as an entity.  I see it as a personality that walks besides you, that has your interest in mind.  I see it as a friend, if I might use that word, who has an interest in what happens to you, and what your response is in the midst of the happening.  I see grace in that way.  It says, every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Everyone of us, there is something of God that is deposited within the soul of every believer that has within it the capability of moving within the framework of your personal, individual environment to infect or affect your personal outlying environment.  Hallelujah!  Are you following what I am saying? 

7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Now, there is something very peculiar about that word “measure.”  It is a stretchable word.  In the Greek it is a stretchable word.  It means, “something that is capable of expanding when it is exercised.”   It’s not that you are given something like a measure that is in this bottle and that is all you get.  But, it is a measure that, if I work the bottle, the bottle will begin to expand to hold the capacity of water that I am wanting to put in it.  The more water that I put in it, the bigger the bottle gets.  That’s what this word means.  Therefore, it is necessary for God to put us into certain situations by which we begin to exercise the gift of grace, the entity of grace, the personality of grace.  To exercise it, that it might do what?  That it might expand.   Hallelujah!  Now, this thought is carried out in the subsequent scriptures when it says that every person needs to grow.  What does it say?  …Maketh increase of the body unto the edification of itself in love (Ephesians  4:16). 

Turn with me back to chapter 1 of Ephesians.  Verse 17, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.  You and I need a personal revelation of the knowledge of who?  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened…  “Being” is, what is it they call it, a present tense verb?  “Being” is something that I am receiving at that moment and will receive as I continue to receive.  It is something that is going on at the point of time.  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope, of whose calling?  His calling.  Hallelujah.  And what the riches of whose inheritance?  His inheritance.  We’re not His oriented.  We are Me oriented.  Or we are We oriented.  But, the whole basis, the whole process, is on the basis of what it is that God has spoken to Him

Now, let me go over here, hallelujah, I am trying to condense this, I really am.  Let’s go over here to Hebrews the 1st chapter.  Hallelujah.  He’s talking about, in some aspect or some degree, the position of the place of inheritance that was given to Christ.  Now, he sums it up down here in verse number 12.  12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: Now, he is talking about the natural versus the spiritual, because he says in verse 10, And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: Hallelujah, they shall be changed.  We’re talking about the whole process of humanity and the position or place of change that God wants to create within us! 12 And as a vesture thou shalt fold them up, and they shall be changed:  but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.  13But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?  14Are they not all ministering spirits, (the angels) sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?  What salvation?  The salvation that it’s speaking of, or the promise or the Word that was given to God, that God gave to God!   Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  I like the expression there where he said, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.  I like that expression.  It is in relationship to the word of prophecy that God prophesied to the woman or to humanity, if I might use that term, hallelujah, in the very beginning, when Satan deceived her and brought her into degradation.  Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy head…(the woman’s seed)…shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.  He is talking about the putting of humanity and Satan under the foot, the foot of Jesus Christ. 

Now, I personally believe that we are the Foot ministry.   I personally believe that we are the Foot ministry, and your personal, private set of circumstances is a piece of the heel to bruise the head of the servant that is vexing you in that set of circumstances.  Some aspect, some position, or place of preeminence that it has had over your flesh, you are able to begin to move in a particular manner that it will bring it into a place to fulfill the Word that was given to the church.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah! 

One last scripture here, with regard to that thought, and that is in Revelation.  Hallelujah.  He starts us in Genesis with the thought of bruising the head, or the Foot ministry, working to bruise the head of Satan, and then tells us the finish of the story in Revelation.  When John was on the Island of Patmos, in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, when he turned to see who it was that was speaking, he saw God.  Hallelujah!  He saw God in His completeness.  And it’s particular.  He said, verse 14, His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet were like unto what?  Fine brass, as if what?  They burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 

Hallelujah.  Can you say, “Amen?”  God has given us a job to do.  God has given us a destiny to fulfill.  God has put a calling and an election upon our lives that is irreversible.  Hallelujah!  Not that it is undestroyable.  It is irreversible.  It means that God will not pull it back, and He will do everything in His power that He possibly can to bring the fulfillment of the promise and the Word and the fact of what you are involved in to demonstrate the fullness and the magnitude of God to be God in your set of circumstances.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  It is not something that is easy.  It is not something that is impossible in the realm of God in the demonstration of His power.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).  Hallelujah, I am going to stop right there.  Praise the Lord.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.

 

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