Die in Place
Montego Bay, Jamaica
(For printable version click here.)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)
Praise the Lord. I trust that we are listening to the Holy Ghost.
I had a dream last night. It was kind of a distressing dream for me personally, but in spite of that I think it was a good dream because some of us were still alive at the end, at least for a time. It is the dream and the thoughts that it provoked that I want to share with you this morning.
In the dream, we were in a battlefield situation. It was very difficult, very hard. We were in a major conflict. We had started out with a fairly large number of people, a battalion or something of that nature. I do not know quite what our objective was except that we were to take a certain position out of the enemy’s hands; we were supposed to win and the enemy was giving us a very hard time.
They brought out this machine. We called it “The Killing Machine” (when I say ‘we’, I mean the group of men that I was involved with). It was mowing us down until just a handful of people were left. Nothing seemed to phase it. Whatever we would try to stop this machine would not work.
First of all, I was very much aware of the commitment and the camaraderie that was in this small group of men. We had been through much together. We had seen many people die. I do not know if many of us really know the joining and union that comes in that type of a situation. I have experienced it to some degree out on the mission field when we have been attacked by the devil. As we have been out in the mission field and the devil rises up to smite one of us, there is just something that is birthed in the Spirit that goes beyond my explanation. You feel that kinship and unity. You feel their pain. You feel their suffering and you want to be in their place. You want to stand between them and their foes, against whatever it is. You are willing to lay down your life. That feeling was in the midst of the fellows I was with.
Now, I did not recognize any faces. So, you always have to take it that you might be entertaining angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2). You might be entertaining fellow fox-hole buddies unawares. In the midst of it all, the situation was very tough. It was cold. Now, I do not like cold. I do not like to be cold. There is nothing about cold that I think is beneficial, except for freezing farm ground if you want to kill bugs. Besides that, the Bibles says, And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter (Mark 13:18).
It was cold, wet and mucky. We did not have a lot of ammunition or food left. If the powers that be would have given us an opportunity to get out of there, we would all have probably said we were ready. But that was not the case. We knew that we had to take care of this situation, so we just gathered around this measly little fire. It was just the thought of the fire that was comforting us, because it certainly wasn’t giving us any warmth. To top it all off, it was drizzling ice and snow.
We were discussing ways we could deal with this situation, how we could take this killing machine out. We came to the conclusion that it was going to cost us our lives. We made a covenant with each other, that down to the last man, we would do our utmost.
I do not know if you have ever seen any of these war movies about when they were storming beaches and the enemy had all of the fortifications up, the barbed wire and anything they could think of to try to keep the troops on the beach from going anywhere, so that the enemy could mow them down. There was a munitions unit that had what they call “pipe bombs.” I do not know if you know what they are, but they were sections of pipe that you put together and then shoot a charge through it. Then they push that pipe up under whatever they are trying to get over and they blow a hole in the obstacle that is impeding their progress.
When one man goes up there, they have numbers. The squad that has the pipe gives them numbers. (One through 10, or one through 12, or whatever it may be.) They will say, “Number 1!” Number 1 has his section and he is going out there. Then they say, “Number 2!” and number 2 will go out. Maybe number 2 gets shot down and they call out there because his section is still out there. They call out, “Number 3!” Now, you just witnessed the falling of that individual and maybe you are number 5, 6, or 7, or maybe even number 15. Slowly but surely that offensive mechanism that is going to break through and give the others a chance to live creeps forward, but it is at such a great cost. What has to be foremost in one’s mind is that if one is to live, one must be prepared to die. This thought has to be foremost in their minds.
They say that in times like that there is something supernatural or spiritual that comes to individuals, that they somehow lose their position of self-preservation. I do not know what it is except that I believe it has to be God that gives them some anointing to go out and put themselves in a position where their life is in jeopardy.
One of the problems in the Body today is the instinct of self-preservation. Our circumstances have the tendency to overcome us. I do not care what they are. I have been all over the world: Europe, India, Africa. I have been to different parts of Africa. I have been to Europe and I would say that the spirit of self-preservation is alive and well. It has a lot of vitality and intent to maintain its position of life, wherever it may be.
You would think that a man who has nothing would not think that he has anything to lose and would not really be holding on to anything. Of course, I am looking at his nothing from my perspective, because I think I have something. In reality, the something that I have, because it is not blessing God, is really nothing. Can you follow that? I may be comfortable. I may have clothes and shoes to wear. I may have food to eat and water to drink. In that aspect, I think that I have something worth preserving.
But the Bible is not into preserving “self.” The Bible is very “self” destructive. Now, I am not promoting a spirit of suicide, because I have a confidence that there are not many people here that would want to commit suicide. But there is a place that we have not yet come to in our relationship with God where we have grasped the totality of what God expects of us. Hallelujah. That is why the church is in the shape it is in.
Well, in the dream we had come to the conclusion that the only way to get this machine was to somehow destabilize and demobilize it. We decided that we had to somehow or other get these pipe bombs on the tracks of this machine and try to blow it. We all knew that it was a suicide mission but we also knew that was the only way to do it, and that it would work. Hallelujah.
Not too long ago I was privileged to read an article that was written by a Marine. I think he was a Special Forces Marine. He had the training that they call “die in place.” Now, “die in place” is a death wish. It is a “die in place” philosophy, it is a “die in place” doctrine. It is really not something that is worldly. It is really not something that is military. It is a biblical principle.
Jesus had the “die in place” doctrine. He was sent on a mission where He knew that there would be no reprieve, there would be no intervention and that something was going to happen that would take from Him that which is most precious. Hallelujah. Now, I can not for the life of me think of Jesus Christ, a man in the flesh, physical, wanting to die in the flesh physically UNLESS He had a spiritual understanding or a revelation of the ability of God to move within that circumstance to give or restore to Him something that He did not have in that relationship with God. It was not until He came to the conclusion that this should be that He prayed the prayer in John 17. I suppose you think He could have prayed that prayer anytime? But He could not until He was confronted with the absolute totality of what He had been walking out for 33½ years.
Now, I want to ask you a question. Jesus Christ was called to die! He was also called to resurrection, but you have read the back of the book. If you read the back of the book then you should know that you and I, if we are to walk as Jesus walked, must come to the same conclusion. But the church does not think that way. Come on, church! The church thinks that somehow, someway there is going to be some miraculous wand waved over us in the twinkling of an eye and we are going to be changed – much like “Cinderella.” We really believe that. We have a rapture doctrine that has been cloaked in a sons of God theology. We think that somehow, some way, God is going to alleviate our position of suffering. It amazes me. I mean, I amaze me because I am preaching this word and you would think I would be walking it, wouldn’t you? That is not the story. I am telling you that the spirit of self-preservation is just as strong in me as it is in anybody. What amazes me is that I cannot seem to get hold of the concept that is in the Word: …Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit (John 12:24). We want to take it and spiritualize it. We want to make it metaphorical. We want to make it some allegorical situation when God says it is not allegorical, it is not spiritual, it is actual. There is a dying that has to be done. There is a dying mentally, emotionally, within your desires, and there is going to come a time when there is a dying in your flesh. The difference between that and a suicidal position is that, No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself (John 10:18). Now, I am not saying that we will never die. I did not say that. I am saying that you have to die to live. You have to die in order to live, but we are not dying! Some of us are encapsulated with our own desires, whether they are natural or whether they are spiritual. In some of our aspirations we have to be in a place of spiritual significance in the eyes of the people that are around us. This is just as bad, if not worse, as far as I am concerned, concerning the issue of life and death. Hallelujah. The Bible tells me that I am not supposed to think more highly of myself than I ought (Romans 12:3). I know what I am made of. I know the desperation of my heart. The Bible tells me that my heart is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Desperately! Not only does it say “desperately wicked,” but the Amplified says that it is mortally sick. It is depraved and it is terminal. That means that I am going to die anyway, sister. Doesn’t it? Hallelujah. So, if I am going to die, I should die for something that is going to give me life after I am dead, not die for something that when I am dead, I am just dead.
So, here we are and we find ourselves in such a pitiful place. I think it is a true picture. You know that there are many things that the Lord has spoken to me about the Body. Now, when I say “the Body,” it is not that I am saying that the Body is you and not me. I am not saying that. I consider myself a part of the Body. At least, I have the desire and the expectation of being a part of the Body where you and I might be joined together. Hallelujah. So, when I say “the Body,” I am talking about me. BUT, I don’t believe that the Body has the concept of what it means to be a son. I do not think that they have the concept. They might have the desire; they might want the position and the authority. What it really boils down to is the position of authority. I think it is the position of authority and excellence we want more than the process by which it is achieved!
My goodness. The anointing of God is so marvelous. It is so marvelous that you can open your mouth (considering what is in your heart, in your mind, in your life) and OUT COMES GOD! Sometimes we seem to judge ourselves by what the anointing was in the time frame that God gave it. When God takes the anointing away, we are the same poor, desolate, miserable, wiped out, totally weak, wimpy and self-centered individuals that you could possibly ever think of. But we do not have that revelation. We do not have that understanding. I do not know what it is, except for the instinct of self-preservation and that we really do not want to own up to it.
We have not yet even overcome that which was perpetrated in the Garden of Eden when Satan came to the woman. Now, Satan came to the woman but it was not just the woman that Satan was coming to. It was the church and the church has swallowed the lie as much as Eve ever did, …ye shall be as gods (Genesis 3:5b). “You are going to be a son.” We take that knowledge and that position and we are presumptuous in our actions, because we refuse to walk the road.
We are presumptuous in our actions because we think that the knowledge that we have gives us the liberty to move in a manner that is not conducive to “sonship.” There is only one way that I can be a son: if I am willing to die in this circumstance that God has put me in. DIE! Do you hear? Not just be part-dead. Dead is dead! Dead! There is no twitch, no wiggle. I have still got a lot of wiggle left. If you touch me the right way, if you poke me in the right spot, you will find out how much I am not dead. Hallelujah.
If I put a piece of meat on the grill, it does not move. If you put me on the grill, that would be another story. Do you know something? If I do not flip that burger, it is not going to get flipped. I do not know how many pieces of toast that we put in the toaster at the restaurant, but pretty soon someone says, “Do I smell something burning?” Usually my answer is, “Well, I hope it isn’t me!” Sure enough, we look and there is this cremated piece of bread in there. I mean, it is dead. The only thing that is making us aware of its deadness is the stench in our nostrils as the odor of the burning bread begins to permeate the area around us. But do you know what? We have this big fan we turn on. It sucks everything out. We have to be careful. Sometimes I have to tie down my help or it will get sucked up too! That is what our position should be in the midst of our circumstances and trials, our tribulations and agonies, our position of sufferings or whatever it may be. Hallelujah.
It is not that you cannot share your needs. There was something of a camaraderie that I had with these other individuals in the dream. I knew that the one sitting next to me was just as cold and hungry and miserable as I was. His clothing was not adequate. We were short on ammunition. We knew that we were facing the reality of dying. I knew I was already feeling the loss in my heart that this one or that one was not going to be left in a position where I would be able to fellowship with them, where we could say, “My! Didn’t we do a good job?” I do not know how it is with some of those people that do miraculous things in the natural to brag about it later, but those that are sincere don’t. Most of the time they do not even want to talk about it. They do not want to even share it. I do not know if they are just embarrassed that they did not do enough, or if they are thinking of the ones that were lost and here they are standing. What made them more worthy of being there than those that went on before them, or helped them in getting it and here they are getting all the glory? I do not know what it is, but they don’t normally want to talk about it. That is not true with the church. The scripture says, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth (Matthew 6:3). Now, that would almost be dyslexia, I think. But nevertheless, that is what it says. “Do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing.” But the head that is attached to the body can make out the doing of each hand, to make it do what it needs to do in the aspect of giving. We want people to know how good we are. Now, if the shoe does not fit, do not get mad at me. Please! Somewhere, somewhere it is going to fit.
There are people that are standing before the Lord that have a word with tremendous power to do what needs to be done and the only thing that is going to activate it is if they are willing to commit to a position of self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice does not mean that if you have two pennies in your pocket, you pull out one and give it to someone else. Self-sacrifice does not mean that if you have a coat in your closet and one hanging on the wall, you take one and give it away. You still have one. Now, I am not telling you to take your coats out of the closet and give them to people. What I am telling you is that you have to listen to the Holy Ghost, because maybe, just maybe, God will want them both. Will you be ready to give them both? At this point, in general, I don’t think so.
What I am telling you is that you have to listen to the Holy Ghost. You have to get yourself in a position where you can hear the Word of God. You have to come to a place where God might be able to speak something to you and you have the knowledge that THIS IS GOD and you are going to move no matter what the cost or what is going to be demanded of you. You have come to the conclusion that you are an expendable commodity as far as God is concerned and that that is good enough for you.
John had the revelation, He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). Well, I do not know if John was just being super-spiritual or religious, but there was a time down the road when the reality of his “decreasing” confronted him in a real and viable way. He was arrested and put into prison. I surmise that John said, “Well, did I do the right thing?” Maybe he thought, “Maybe I was a little legalistic. I could repent to Herod and his wife. I could absolve myself from my position of liability.” I do not know. Maybe he did not have those thoughts. Maybe he was not as human as the rest of us, but we know that there was something going on because he sent messengers. There was something going on. He was struggling with his position of understanding and he was wrestling, grasping hold and trying to maintain his integrity. Jesus did not rebuke him. He said, “Come and follow me.” He took them about with Him and His disciples and at the end of the day, He said, …Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard… (Luke 7:22). I can tell you with confidence that there was something of a joy in John’s heart when he heard what the disciples had to say to him about the situation. He said, “This is right. This is the way. This is the walk. I do not care what comes. I am committed. I am going to die in place.”
The “die in place” philosophy is that you are given training before you are given orders. You have come to the place and the belief that obedience is better than sacrifice, that something else is so much more sacred, so much more holy, so much more worthwhile than your own life. Next to it your own life has no value, no position. All of these people that go out and do heroic things for their country, if they live long enough, if they live through it, if they can testify of it, they can testify of their love for their country, their love for the flag, their love for the position of who they are and what they are. Don’t discount it. Some of them are going to stand in that great cloud of witnesses. Do you hear me? They are going to ask you and me, “Where was your loyalty to the Word that you received and to the unction and the anointing and the understanding of what God was offering you? Where was your loyalty?” Some of us are going to have to hang our head in shame, because they did a much better job with what they had than what some of us might be doing with what we have.
That does not mean that you will not do, or that you can not turn around if you come to a place of repentance and ask God. I am not telling you to do what I tell you to do. I AM TELLING YOU TO HEAR GOD! You have the Holy Ghost. You have the Word of God. God can speak to you by the Holy Ghost out of the Word of God, and out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, God can bring you a witness to what it is that He is speaking. But instead, we are unilateral parts of this Body. Unilateral: that means that we make decisions unto ourselves without thought as to the time that we are living in or what it is that God desires us to do, or what effect our decision will have on those around us as it relates to the plan of God.
I do not understand people who say they have the Holy Ghost, but who do not know what the Holy Ghost is saying. I do not understand it on the basis of my experience with God, as short as it may be. I know when the Holy Ghost talks to me. He is not always saying, “Good boy. Good boy. You are doing a great job. Just keep on keeping on.” Sometimes He says that. Sometimes He does not. Sometimes He says, “Burt, you are a bad boy.” Sometimes He says, “Burt, you are so bad that I am taking you to the woodshed.” You know, the Father and I have had a lot of woodshed experiences.
My mother had an old razor strap. Do you know what a razor strap is? It is a leather strap that is doubled over and it has a thong on one end and you hook it on a door knob or something and you take a straight razor and you go back and forth on it to sharpen up that razor. Well, the only razor that she was sharpening was the back-side of us children. It was my grandfather’s razor strap, so she thought it was the local authority to make adjustments in attitudes. I want to tell you, when Mom got the razor strap out, it didn’t matter how much you repented, you knew you were going to get what you deserved. She was going to give it to you and she did not wrap it around a door post or the door knob. She wrapped it around her hand and right through her hand and she grabbed hold of your arm and she started working Bible against you. Boy, I could always repent in those situations. I could always get the right attitude. I could always say, “I am sorry.” I could always say, “Well, please forgive me.” They would say, “All right, we forgive you.” Then I would think, “All right, big deal!” and go out and do it again. Only the next time I was a little sneakier, because I thought I could still outsmart Mom. Do you understand?
Some of us are thinking that we can outsmart God. We do this and we do that and we offer this and we offer that. It is all right. I am not saying that you should not offer this and offer that, but if you are a people that are hearing that God wants ALL and you are giving ONE LITTLE PIECE, or ONE LITTLE BIT, or maybe YOU ARE GIVING HIM 90%… Okay! Praise the Lord! That is wonderful! BUT GOD DOESN’T WANT 90%. HE WANTS 100%.
How are you going to be assessed? Are you going to be assessed on the basis of well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, here is your position (Matthew 25:21)? There is something about James and John that I like, as contentious as they might have been. They were not called the “sons of thunder” for nothing. I think they could have been “hot-heads.” Do you think they might have been “hot-heads”? I think that they were easily provoked and a lot of things would come out of their mouths. “Oh, yes, Lord. We will not forsake You. We will stand with You. We will be right there, God. Yes, we will.” But as good as they were and as faithful as they might have been and as much time as they spent with Him, not one of them remained steadfast in their position of commitment! Where would you and I be in the face of that situation? We would be given over to the instinct of survival, the instinct of self-preservation! You know, in spite of their carnality, in spite of their deception, in spite of who they were and what they were, there was something in them that wanted more of God.
What was the Word that was given to them? I am telling you that there is something very serious about the Word that we are hearing, my dear brothers and sisters. It makes us liable and culpable. There is an assessment that is going to be made on the basis of what we are hearing!
I almost feel guilty for sharing this word because of the retribution, because of the ramifications, because unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required (Luke 12:48b). You know, it makes no difference whether you understand it or not. Hearing makes you culpable. Why? Because God brought you and put something in you to recognize the voice of the Holy Ghost. I feel trepidation. I do not know how to explain it. I feel somewhat concerned with regard to you hearing what God is saying to the church in this hour. You can go out and do your church thing, but that does not release you from the liability of the message that you heard.
Many of us are “working before the Lord.” I did not say “working for the Lord.” Working for the Lord and working before the Lord are two different things. The Bible says that Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord (Genesis 10:9). That does not mean that he had God’s favor. If you are working for the Lord, He is your boss. I have not been a boss a lot, but the mentality of the employee has changed from the time that I was an employee. It has changed. It has something to do with ye shall be as gods (Genesis 3:5b). You shall know, and you shall have the right to make the decisions of what is right and what is wrong. “Oh, yes. That sounds good. Doesn’t that sound good?” “You can be responsible. Of course, you are under the covering of God. Of course, you are under the unction of the Holy Ghost. You have Him inside of you.” But more than likely He is bottled up in some little box or some little place and you only let Him out at certain little times.
I do not understand that mentality. I worked for my father. Most of my childhood I worked for my father. It was not that my father and I got along very well, because we did not. I want to tell you that I always thought that my father thought that his children were just cheap labor. I have a new thought. I have repented of that position. Unfortunately, he was not there in the natural for me to repent to, but nevertheless, I think he knows of the change that is in my heart. When my father spoke, my father spoke. There was no opportunity to discuss it. I want to tell you also that my mother taught us children to revere my father. Now, that does not mean that everything was right, because it was not. But there was something in what she was doing that was godly and it was building a foundation in me in spite of my resistance, in spite of my position of rebellion, in spite of my being out of sorts with God and in the world.
She taught us to revere Dad and to think that he was the absolute most capable person in the entire world. There was a respect that came forth out of that nurturing and that teaching. So, when Dad said something, we listened. When Mom said that she could not handle it and that she was going to tell Dad… Oh boy! You talk about the woodshed. I am thankful that my father exemplified God in substantiating my mother’s position of authority. Much like the centurion that said, For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it (Luke 7:8). Well, when Mom said that she was going to Dad, you knew that Dad was coming and that he was not going to argue with you. You knew Dad was not open for discussion. Negotiations were closed. They were all “out to lunch.” When Dad came in, you could just grovel down on the ground like an old dog, but you knew that he was going to substantiate Mom’s authority in the home, and he did. Praise the Lord. Hallelujah.
That taught me something. You know, there was a principle being instilled in that, but it was not enough. That was not enough, because I went out and did my own thing and God had to bring me back again into the house and under the authority of my father. It happened just after I got out of the Service. I thought the Army was bad. My goodness. I was ten years in boot camp after the Service.
My God, I appreciate how God has managed my life and brought me through the things that He has brought me through. Hallelujah. To think that God was able, in the midst of the circumstances and the place that I was born in, to reach down His hand and begin to address the deficiencies of my humanity and bring me to the consciousness that I needed Him. I NEED HIM! Some of us do not need Him. Oh, we need Him sometimes, like when we are sick or when we have some affliction in our body, or maybe our pocketbook is not feeling as fat as we would like it to feel, or maybe there is some persecution going on. Then we might need God. But when that persecution is past, or that indignation has gone on, we come out of our hiding place, not any the better for what we went through. Well, the scary part of all this is that you have to walk what you preach one way or another.
There is a place that we are going to have to come to. We are going to have to wrestle with God like Jacob wrestled with God. It was not until the night of the wrestling that his name was changed. Do you know that? Yet Jacob was still pretty predominant from that point on. It was not until the latter days of his life and maybe as he passed over into the land of God that he became aware and started wishing that he could have done more.
I do not want to come into the land of heaven, into the place of passing over, saying, “Boy, I sure blew it, Didn’t I?” I do not want Him to stand there and say, “Oh, yes, you did!” I do not want to hear that. I want to hear, “Well done! Well done! Well done! Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” My whole life exists on the basis that I desire that position. I have to have one focus and one focus only.
You know, I am not really puffing myself up. I really am not. But I do not know what to testify to if I cannot testify to the power of God in my life. My father, at one time, was a very wealthy man. In life he had three boys. I am the middle one. My father would say to me, “Son, one of these days this is all going to be yours.” It was not a lot if you look at some of the things that people have now, but from my perspective, it seemed like a lot. You know, my dad drove a Cadillac. Every year he got a new one. Every two years my mother got a new one. There seems to be something wrong with that equation, don’t you think? Well, his was a business expense. He wore good clothes. He ate good food. He lived in good houses. He went where he wanted. He was a big game hunter. I grew up in this environment. You could say that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Oh, yes. I had anything and everything I ever wanted, that is, if I had the time to want it. Clothes were given to us. Every year Mom would take us down to the clothing store, not the shabby Wal-Mart over here, but down to the exclusive place and she would clothe us and deck us out. Here Dad was saying, “Son, one of these days all of this is going to be yours.” In my old mind, the wheels were turning.
Then came the day that the reality of the situation was that it was not mine at all. I do not know that you really know the position and the struggle that goes on in the mind. I had spent most of my life working for Dad because “all of this was going to be mine.” Up to that point “all of that was mine.” Then to find out that I was not going to get even an itsy bitsy bit. I had nothing except a debt, a house (which was not even mine) that I had to move out of. There came a time in my life that I had to come to a point in that realm, in that level of life and experience that I had to come to God and GOD CAME TO ME. He said, “I have not called you for natural inheritance! I have not called you for natural things! I have not called you for comfort! I have called you to be a son!” He said, “If I am thy Father and you are My son, none of this is expedient!”
You know, I like nice cars. I like new cars. I do. I like houses that have heaters that work, especially if I am living somewhere cold. I like houses that have windows that do not blow when they are closed. I liked having nice clothes. I liked that. Do you hear me? I liked that. Yes. But it is not something that is expedient for my purpose of LIFE. It will not facilitate the will of God.
Now, your life may be a mansion, praise the Lord. Get ready for everybody else to move in with you. If you do not think that is going to be hell, then you have got something else coming. Just let somebody move into your house. Isn’t that right? Oh, yes. You will think they are inconsiderate, insensitive, and absolutely worthless. There can be no jerk as jerky as the jerk that is living in your house. They will not really be looking after your interests, or even concerned about them. It is for sure that you will be convinced they have no consciousness of your position of importance. “I own this house! I own this house. You are living here by my authority, by my grace! How about a little respect?” We might stand it for a week, two weeks, a month, a year, two years, or five years. How about ten years? How about fifteen years? How about twenty years? Oh, yes, twenty years, and it would be “enough is enough.” YOU ARE NOT DEAD YET! NOT DEAD! NOT DEAD! Something is still twitching. Something is still hopping around on that grill. There is no smoke ascending up into the heavens as a sweet smelling savor. You know, our smoke can not go up as stenchy, stinky flesh. Oh, my. How about, “I do not want to do it, but I am going to do it because you are making me do it.” NO. It is better not to do it at all. Because in your doing it, you think you are doing something for God and you deceive yourself into a position where the devil will come and begin to work other things in your life that will bring forth compromise and, inevitably, death. GOD HELP US!
We want to be the two witnesses company, Brother Gary. Oh, yes, they are going to be given power and authority. Oh, authority! They are going to stop the mouths of lions. They are going to smoke the enemy. They are going to bring down all the governments of the world that are in league with the devil. We are going to be in that place of might and strength. We want to be sons. Hallelujah.
“Son” is a different mentality. Do you know that as you read the life of Jesus there is no position of personal preference? Have you noticed that? Now, we are only told of the last three and a half years of His life, but what of those things pertinent to those to whom He was entrusted? You know what? God entrusted the care and upbringing to two natural people, a natural man and a natural woman. It literally blows my mind. Now, it is not that there was some sort of supernatural impartation being given to them during all that time. But the integrity of the parents that He was given to, there was something in their character that was very God oriented. There was something in the reality of their being that could hear from God. I do not know if we ever consider that in the natural. Some places I know that we don’t. But, my goodness, the children that you have. Why do you have that child? Is it something that happened because you married a certain person and in the course of events a child comes forth? My God! Don’t we understand the spiritual concept with regard to the position of authority and the place of training and instruction? Can we understand that God has enough confidence in you to bring that child into being? Especially for those that are married under the auspices of THIS WORD! ESPECIALLY!
Do we understand it? Do we understand that it is a spiritual position of responsibility that we have concerning the issue that comes forth out of our union? I see parents in the church raising their children to be independent, not dependent. We think that it is a right or a liberty that we have and we think that we have really accomplished something if we make our children come to a place to where they are entities unto themselves.
I think Jesus was going to Joseph many times and asking for his advice. How do I know this? Because God was talking to Joseph. Now, you think about it. This man had character. This man had integrity. This man had a relationship and a reality in his heart with regard to God. He had a woman that was found to be with child. He was thinking about putting her away privately. He did not want to embarrass her. That is integrity in itself. “Well, I am not going to do that because this woman is in this condition and that is the way it is.” We want to justify our actions, but God came to Joseph in a dream. He sent His word. He sent His messenger. “Joseph, do not do what you are going to do.” Now, what made the man do the word of God that came to him in a dream? He did it because he knew the reality of the Voice that was speaking to him on the basis of the relationship that he must have had with God in his pursuit of godliness under the forum that was upon him, concerning the law. HE FOUND GOD UNDER THE LAW. I should say that he found God because of the law.
How can you separate it? The law is a taskmaster, or a tutor to bring us TO CHRIST! (Galatians 3:24). Here you have a man under the taskmaster of the law and his wife-to-be is bringing forth the revelation of Christ. Oh, God help us to understand the reality of the power of the word that has been committed to us! You know, I said I liked James and John and I do, because they saw something afar off. They did. They saw it by the Spirit, in the spirit, through the Spirit. They said, “Jesus, let us sit on Thy right hand and on Thy left hand.” Maybe the two witness company? Quite frankly, I do not know how they came to terms on who was going to sit where, but I can imagine that there might have been a discussion about that. They might have come to a compromise, “Well, we are both the same because we are on each side and we will be standing in the same position of authority.”
They wanted the position, but they had not yet come to the revelation of sonship and Jesus touched it. He said, Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able (Matthew 20:22). “Oh yes Lord! We are able to drink it!” Well, we know that they were not. Not because they could not, but because they would not. Couldest not thou watch one hour? (Mark 14:37). They had not yet graduated from self to son.
What kind of circumstances are you in? What kind of tribulation? What kind of trouble? What kind of wrestling are you doing? Can you not watch with Him one hour, so that in the time of confrontation you do not cut and run? Maybe some of us will be running away naked. This Word, this sonship Word, is sweet to the mouth, bitter to the belly (Revelation 10:10). Bitter in the belly, because there is a walking out, a place of coming to the reality that you are called to die. You are being trained not to “hit and run,” but you are being trained to “hit and stay and die.” DIE IN PLACE!
You know, they do not deceive these soldiers. They do not say, “We are going to send you into this place and it is going to be tough and rough and you are going to be cut off from support, but we are going to stand behind you. We are going to give you all that you need to do what you need to do.” NO WAY! They say, “You have got this. You have got this. You have got this. Do not expect any more. This is what you have to do. You have to do this and this and this and this. DO IT!” They say, “Do not look for evacuation because it is not coming. Do not look for help because it is not coming. Do not look for support because it is not coming. When you get in there to do what you have to do, you are on your own. AND DO IT UNTIL YOU CAN’T DO IT ANY MORE!” That means you are dead. THAT MEANS YOU ARE DEAD. DEAD! DEAD! DEAD!
ARE YOU DEAD? No! I’m not dead. My goodness, it amazes me how NOT DEAD I am. This is serious business that God is calling for. God is looking for volunteers. They told me in the Army to never volunteer. That did not stop me from getting volunteered. The sergeant would come out and say, “You, you, you, you and you. You just volunteered.” “There must be some mistake, Sergeant. I did not open my mouth.” “Oh, yes! I heard it loud and clear. You volunteered.”
It is not that way under the auspices of this Word. BUT that does not mean that you are going to escape the trouble and tribulation, because you heard something. A seed has been planted. There is something going on in the midst of your soul and it is going to take tribulation. It is going to take fire. It is going to take trouble. It is going to take distress. It is going to take you finally coming to the position that you are going to have to expend yourself, that you are an expendable commodity, that whether you live or die is relatively of no importance. In the Bible there is nothing said about the Son in relationship to the Son. He is only mentioned in His relationship as it pertains to the Father’s interest. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise (John 5:19).
“Whatsoever the Father does, I do it.” How did He learn that? Do you think it was because of some sort of spiritual, supernatural laying on of hands? Do you think it was just something that came because He was Christ, the anointed? Or do you think it came because of His position as a carpenter and that His father was a carpenter? How did He learn to be a carpenter? Was He not Christ as a carpenter and as a son in His father’s house? Do you think Joseph was acting toward Him as though He was Christ? Except for his position of responsibility, he knew He had a job to do. I believe that Joseph was in contact with the Father and the Father was giving Joseph instructions concerning the Son until the Son came of age, or at least, until Joseph had given Him all that could be given. But do you know what is most miraculous about all of that? It is the insight that we are given when we are told of that incident that happened in the temple when He was twelve years old.
So, there was a revelation going on and yet it says that He put all of that aside. They said, “Dost thou not know that Your mother and I…” They did not have His perspective. Yet, He did not condemn them, nor did He rebel against them. He just simply said to them, I must be about my Father’s business (Luke 2:49-51). Don’t think that they didn’t go home chewing on that. But it says that He submitted Himself to them and it was not until the wedding feast that He was released from that position of subjection. It was not until the wedding feast when His mother came to Him and said, They have no wine. 4Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come (John 2:3-11). “Well, wake up, son. Wake up, son. Wake up! Don’t You hear the alarm bell going off? Wake up! It is time for You to exert Your position of excellence. Wake up! They are out of wine. Make them some more wine.” He went and did what? He obeyed His mother. The mighty God, the omnipotent, the omniscient, omnipresent God did what? Can you imagine? God speaking to the woman and not His Son.
Woman, what have I to do with thee? Something happened between the thee and the time He told the servants to grab the firkins of water. Some communication must have gone on in the Spirit. Something clicked. Something happened that triggered a response, something that was the catalyst for Him..
How little do we perceive the reality of what we have? It is not what we hear. It is not what we speak. It is what we walk. IT IS WHAT WE WALK! He said, “I do nothing, nothing…” He said, “Nothing!” “Oh, I can do what the Father says sometimes.” Oh, yes. I can do what the Father wants. And I do. Sometimes I do what the Father wants. But there is a whole lot of time when the Father is not telling me to do something and I am doing it and I am wondering, “WHAT AM I DOING? and WHY AM I DOING IT if the Father did not speak, what am I doing?”
Oh, better than that! This is the talking-est group of people I have ever seen! We talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. We have meetings and talk, talk, talk, talk. We talk, we talk. We have elders’ meetings. We have church meetings. We have business meetings. We get together and discuss this and discuss that. Oh, we can all go home and pray about it. So, we all go out and pray and the only conclusion that we come to is that we have to have another meeting. Then we talk some more and we talk and we talk and we talk. We talk until we are hoarse and we can’t talk any more. Then we start writing notes and e-mails. Nothing gets done! NOTHING GETS DONEand it comes down to the wire and NOTHING IS DONE! NOTHING IS DONE! AND YOU ARE CULPABLE! IF YOU DO NOT THINK GOD IS GOING TO HOLD YOU RESPONSIBLE – YOU ARE WRONG! YOU ARE CULPABLE!
Jesus did not only talk, He walked. For 33 years He walked first under the subjection of His parents, then under the hand of His Father. Boy, some of us can not even take it for a year, a month, a week, a day. But He walked. He talked.
God puts us into a situation where He wants us to learn how to submit and to obey and we rebel and rebel and rebel. We rebel and then we come to the time where we say, “I am not going to take this anymore!” So we shut the door and we walk out, never knowing that the circumstance that we walked out of was the circumstances that God ordained to bring forth the nature of the Son in us.
We have to come to a place of decision. How did they do it? Those Hebrew children, how did they do it? How did those Hebrew children come to the revelation or the understanding of “though you slay us, yet will we serve HIM” (Daniel 3:17-18). How did they come to that understanding? I have the Blood! I have the power of the Holy Ghost! Something hits this body and I start whimpering and crying and lamenting and thinking about, “Oh, I am going down. I am going into the grave. I am going to die.” WILL I YET PRAISE HIM? WILL I YET SERVE HIM? OR will I accuse Him? “Oh God, why hast Thou forsaken me in the midst of this tribulation? Why am I in this condition?” Because I do not believe Him. I do not believe the reality of eternity.
I was in a service one day and a woman came up with a particular ailment. I thank God for the tenacity and the ability of the Holy Ghost, but I also so much appreciate people who move under that unction. She had a disease. Something was attacking her body. She was dying. I had known that she was dying because God showed me she was dying. We brought her up for prayer and we laid hands on her. This woman gets up and lays hands on her and says, “God says, ‘Throw away your medicine and live, or take your medicine and die.’” Well, she threw away her medicine and she is still alive today.
Do you know that people who have no intimate relationship with God sometimes have a better concept of the power of God? They do not know what they are trusting in, but it is God. We have this health food store and we hear many different testimonies from people that come in. There was this one man that came in. He had had five major surgeries in one year. Not only did he have five major surgeries, but he also had to deal with cancer. He got hold of a book. Now, the book was not the Bible, but the book was based on Bible concepts, written by a Christian who found out the revelation of eating right. Something in the book encouraged the man to make a commitment, “You know, this medicine I am taking is killing me.” It is not my fault. I was not talking to him. He was reading a book. He said, “The medicine that I am taking is killing me. I am going to stop it.” Five major surgeries, on medication, do you know what they put him on? All this garbage: blood thinners, beta blockers, all this stuff. He was supposed to walk a mile and a half a day and he could not walk three-quarters of a mile after three years. He came to the conclusion that the medicine was killing him. He said, “I am throwing it away. I am not going back to the doctor. If I die, I die. It is not worth living like this.” We are talking about a man that is walking outside of the saving grace of God and this man heard something from God. He threw away his medicine. He said, “Cold turkey! The first three months were hell.” He thought he was dying. He said that many times he was tempted (he did not use the word tempted), but he said he was tempted to go back to the doctor and get more medicine. But he had determined in his mind to tough this thing out. After all of this, he came into our store, vibrant and very healthy looking. He walks five miles a day and has more energy than he knows what to do with. He is following a principle. The book he got hold of is called The Maker’s Diet. It is a book that is based on the biblical principles of how you are supposed to eat. My goodness. I am talking about a man who does not have the concept of God that we have, putting into operation the principles of “sonship,” of obeying the word of the Father. I believe that faith which is being exercised in his situation is going to be a condemnation to how I relate to God in similar sets of circumstances.
Now, you have to have a relationship with the Father. You cannot do it on the basis of the story that I am telling you. You cannot do it on the basis of what I believe, because quite frankly, I am talking up here! I don’t know that I really believe it yet. I do not know what is up there in front of me. I do not know what I am going to have to go through. I do not know what I am going to have to experience.
I heard a testimony by Brother Gruver. He got pushed over a cliff and was hanging by a twig. I always think of it as the hyssop that springeth out of the wall. He caught a twig. There were demons all around him laughing at him. He could not walk; there was something tragically wrong with his leg. It was not broken, but all the tendons were snapped or something, all bunched up here and all bunched up down here. He had no strength in his leg. But then the Word came in, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). So he kind of secured his position on the little piece of hyssop, hanging over the cliff. He pulled out his Bible and just began to read. With the demon host all around him laughing and snarling, he was reading them the scriptures out loud.
Thank God somebody is willing to pay the price. I am telling you, when I heard that testimony, something inside said, “It can not be that easy.” Of course, you would not have done that, would you? I would have expected the man of God to get in the anointing and begin to rebuke devils and demons, to rise up in the Spirit, sprout wings and fly up to the top of that cliff and have the last “ho, ho” on the devil. But he had to inch his way up that cliff. Piece by piece, stone by stone until he got to a particular spot where he thought he could not go on any more. He pulled out his Bible and began to read it. He read it for two or three hours. Not just a scripture here and there. We want to open our Bibles and say, “Thus saith the Lord, Mount up on wings and fly” (Isaiah 40:31). How about, “Oh, Jacob, thou worm?” (Isaiah 41:14).
Finally he got to the top. He walked all right as far as I could tell – not without suffering. He went to the doctor for an exam. The doctor said, “You can not be walking.” He said, “Ho, ho, ho. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” What kind of a Word do we have? What kind of a Word do you have?
You know, he said another thing in that testimony when he was sharing it. He said, “One of the things that you have to do is to start casting down vain imaginations.” I never thought of a vain imagination being, “Oh, what are you going to do? You are going to get sick and die. You are sick. You are going to die. This fever, you can’t have a fever like this. You can’t have a fever like that this long. You are going to die. Take some medicine.” He said, “Casting down vain imaginations.” The devil comes, not even the devil, just your knowledge of the physical being, comes to you and says, “Oh, oh, you are in big trouble!” Your mind is just racing. Well, maybe your mind does not do that. The mind just begins to conjure up all of these things. You begin to think this scenario and that scenario. Sometimes you might even get to imagining who is going to be at your funeral. Oh, yes. “I wonder if they are going to be there? I wonder what kind of words will be spoken over me?” Casting down vain imaginations. He said, “Start with something small. Do not do something major like go out and step in front of a car. Start with something small.” A headache. My goodness.
You know, I never was one to have headaches until I started thinking about all of this. But there is a position of strength that we have in God. It does not mean that it is going to be one hour, two hours, one day, two days, three weeks, twelve weeks, twelve months, or twelve years. Hello? It will take whatever the Father determines it takes to iron out the difficulty and to get you from point A to point B that you might go from point B to point Z. Whatever it takes, that is what it is going to be. I have to maintain my position of integrity before the Lord. Not before you! You do not know what is going on in my heart. You do not know what is going on in my mind. You do not know what is going on in my life, much less what my relationship is between the Lord and the things that I am dealing with. But I have to maintain my position of relationship with God that I might have a horizontal relationship with the Body that is under the auspice and the examination of God.
Oh, believe you me. I have followed all of the complaint procedures. “But, God, You are not asking this of them! You are not asking that of them! Why are you not asking them?” “I am not talking to them. I am talking to you. Do you see them? Are they in this conversation?” “But, but, but!” Have you ever asked God a question and He does not answer you? Maybe it is because He already said something and you are not hearing what it was He said. My God.
The Bible says that we are to shake ourselves, shake ourselves of our position, our place of dust, to rise up into the realm of the heavenlies and to sit down, not in our throne of authority, but at His feet (Isaiah 52:1-2). We all want the throne. Nobody wants the feet. Why? Well, because the throne is more glamorous. It says that there are two witnesses that are going to be given great power. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth (Revelation 11:3). Now, that is where we stop. Oh, yes it is! “Sackcloth” is your position of expendability. The strength of your prophesy is going to be determined by the quality of your sackcloth. Some of us want our sackcloth lined. I never used to like wool unless it had the lining in it. We are “wannabe sons.”
I think God is offering us an opportunity. I think God is bringing us to a place of consequence. What is your decision going to be? What is your choice in the calling and election that you are called to fulfill? Are you going to be a son? Or are you going to be a hireling? There are only two categories as far as I am concerned. As far as I am concerned I do not want to be a hireling. I do not want the mentality of a hireling who flees when he sees the wolf coming. Why? He is thinking about his own skin, his own position of preservation, his own position of life.
A son does not think about that. He says, I am the good shepherd, I give my life for my sheep (John 10:11). He demonstrated it. How are YOU going to demonstrate it?
God bless you.