Do You Have a Viable Relationship?
August 15, 2004
(For printable version click here.)
[word began in prophecy]
….that is above thee, saith the Lord. I will open unto thee the doors of heaven that thou might view the splendor and the glory of My being, saith God. For surely I am He that delivers. I am He that bringeth out of darkness. I am He that bringeth up out of death and desperation. I am He that giveth unto thee life. I am He that giveth unto thee liberty, saith the Lord. It is Me that thou must focus on, it is Me that thou must concentrate on, saith the Lord, that I might give unto thee power; power to overcome thy enemy, power to overcome thy soul, power to rise up into Me, saith the Lord.
It is not a time, saith the Lord, as thou hast known in the times past, when thou could come and go, and come in, and go out, but I say unto thee, it is a time that thou must come in and abide with Me, saith the Lord. For surely, I say unto thee, if thou wilt abide with Me, I will abide with thee, and I will give unto thee strength, I will give unto thee power, and I will endue1 thee, saith the Lord, with that which thou needest for this hour to overcome the enemy of thy soul. For surely, I say, that it is not the enemy that is outside of thee, but the enemy that is inside of thee that thou must bring under subjection to the power of My Word, to the power of My Blood, to the power of My deliverance, to the power of My Resurrection. For surely I have called thee for this time that thou might rise up, but thou must put thine eyes upon Me. Thou must focus upon Me, saith the Lord. For surely it is I that giveth unto thee the victory, it is I that have defeated the foe, it is I that have brought up out of the grave, death and desolation. I am the resurrection, saith the Lord. I am the life, saith the Lord. He that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. I say unto thee, look thou unto Me, call thou upon Me, and abide with Me that I might give unto thee those things that are expedient for thy salvation, saith the Lord.
Father, we thank You for the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ. We thank You for the effervescent life, the light, the life that was in Him. It says that He was the light in the life of men. Father, we thank You for the presence of the Living God. We thank You for the power, the unction of the anointing. Father, we want to walk in accordance to the will of God; we want to move under the auspices2 of the Holy Ghost. We don’t want to move out or circumvent the will of God. We don’t want to move contrary, Father, to Your objective. We want to be concentrated. We want to be focused, Lord, on the presence and purpose for which You have called us.
My God, let us harness our soul. Let us bring it into a place of subjection. My God, let the power and the unction and the anointing of God, not so much move in the environment that we are in, but the environment that is inside of us. My God, if we have that place, if we have that relationship, if we have that awareness of the preeminence of You in that place, then God, our outward, external environment will begin to come into that place of subjection to the power and the unction of the anointing of God.
We thank You this morning for Your presence. We thank You, God, for the Word of God. We thank You, God, for the moving of the Holy Ghost, moving, walking, talking in and amongst Your people, touching their souls, moving in the midst of their minds, moving in the midst of their emotions. My God, You are delivering, You are lifting up, in spite of ourselves. You are working, working, Father, to bring us to that place of redemption. My God, we thank You for Your plan. We thank You for Your purpose. We thank You, God, that You have called us. You have elected us. Not by reason of the virtue of our own being or intellect, but, God, You said that whosoever will, that would answer and that would say, “Yes Lord,” to Him, You said You would come and You would sup with him and You would come into that place of fellowship with him. We thank You, God, for that, whosoever will this morning. My God, we would just have You to break the bread in Jesus’ name. In Jesus’ name.
Can you say, “Amen”? Come on, say, “Amen.” Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. You know, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of concentration to catch hold of God and to move in accordance with His desire. I’ll tell you, I had a vision in one of the conference meetings. They were kind of wandering around in the praise. I’m not saying that you were wandering around this morning, I’m just telling you something that the Lord is bringing to my mind. We were in a place of praise and as they were beginning to praise, I went into this vision, and every time they would bring a song, the vision would change. The intent of God was to bring us before His throne. How many of you know that when you come together in this form, the intention of God is to bring you into His presence? To bring you at His feet, at His throne, that you might worship Him, and that He might do whatever it is that He wants done. Sometimes He wants to heal. Sometimes He wants to instruct. Sometimes He wants to rebuke. Sometimes He just wants to bless you. Hallelujah! Sometimes He wants to deliver you. But we don’t know what the intention of God is because we are so busy within ourselves. Hallelujah! We are so busy with all of our thoughts and all of the things that are going on within the realm of our soul, but God has an intention so, by the means of coming together, which He has designed, that we may come into that place with Him, that we might begin to put our cares to the side.
So, we were singing this song and the intention of God was to bring us to His throne. Here we come in through the gate. The first song we sang was a song the Lord wanted and we came in through the gate. (Now, I’m talking about times past, I’m not talking about this morning.) Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. I didn’t hear any “amen.” Maybe you don’t think we were on the right track this morning. Hallelujah! It was like we came in through the gateway of heaven, standing on Ascension Avenue. I’m telling you, I’m standing there and I see the sign that says Ascension Avenue, and it goes right up to the Palace. But the Palace is way out there across the city. But Ascension Avenue is straight, long, a big thoroughfare with big lights and all of these things and it had palm trees. You can hear, as it were, the angels singing. All these things going on, you know you are in heaven. No “amen”? We’re going to have to dig you out of the ground this morning, I see. We’re going to have to transplant you out of the earth land, into Glory Land. Come on. Hallelujah! And we are walking along, and the song is coming, and the Spirit of God is moving. Hallelujah! And we are so enraptured with the feeling of heaven, and the presence of God, that pretty soon the magnificence of the place causes us to take our eyes off of the throne, take our eyes off of the Palace. All of a sudden we are singing another song and it is like we come to this lane and it says Glory Be. All of a sudden we take a right turn. We are still in heaven, but we’re wandering around now. There is no purpose, there is no focus, there is no Word that God is bringing to us in the midst of our circumstances, in the midst of the congregation. And we go down the lane for a while, and we take another turn onto Hallelujah Lane. And pretty soon we are lost in heaven. We are wandering around looking for the right road, looking for the right way. Everything is beautiful, everything is perfect. It is perfect in it’s own way. We hear the sound in the music of heaven, but we have lost our objective.
You have to fight! You have to concentrate. It takes a lot, you people that can play music, you people that can sing. I wish that I could sing. I just make a noise unto the Lord. Hallelujah! Sometimes it is joyful, sometimes it is not. But you have to work, you have to get into a relationship with God, to allow God to begin to come through you. Hallelujah! The thought of God this morning was “preeminence.” Did you get that? The thought, the prevailing thought of God in most of the songs that came was preeminence, exalting Him, putting your mind, your focus upon Him; preeminence. And then, all of a sudden, He wants to bring us to, not only preeminence, but our position, our place with Him in that preeminence. But without Him, there is no preeminence.
So often we want to take the preeminence off of Him and put it on ourselves. Do you know there would not be any sons of God if it wasn’t for the Father? The sons of God exist because of the Father. If there was no Father, there would be no sons of God. Hallelujah! So there is a position, there is a place. I kept hearing the last song that we were singing. It is a victory proclamation. We were singing it like a funeral dirge. Maybe it’s our own funeral that we are thinking that we are celebrating, I don’t know. But we are singing it – not as we should have sung it. I heard the horn playing “Swing Wide.” But I hear, in my ear, there is a proclamation – swing wide, swing wide ye everlasting doors, and let the King of Glory come in. That is nothing to be sad about. A King that is returning from a battle. That is a King that has just conquered, stomped the enemy. He went out and He kicked this one and He kicked that one, and He killed this king and He killed that king. And He delivered you and I out of the pit of hell. And we sing “swing wide, swing wide” like an old rusty door. Creeeeek! And it doesn’t open except with much effort.
There is something that we have to understand. When God brings us together in this type of a forum, there is something very peculiar that God wants. Maybe none of you have tribulation. That must be what it is. None of you have any trouble. None of you need any kind of victory in your life. None of you have any need for some glorious, victorious – well, the Revelations depicts Him as riding on a white horse with a sword (Revelation 19:11). You don’t need that, do you? Nobody really needs that, really. We are singing it like we don’t need it. We don’t understand the ramifications of what God is saying in the midst of our circumstances. We’re thinking about our circumstances. We are thinking about our flesh. We’re thinking about how much trouble we’ve got instead of looking at the King, looking at the Victor, looking at Elohim, looking at Jehovah-Jireh, looking at Jehovah-Nissi, and all of the other 28 names of God. How many names have you got? The best I can do is three, and they are all named after mortal human flesh.
Well, I want to tell you something. I have a new name written in heaven, and it has nothing to do with Asbill, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the man I was named after. Hallelujah! Because when I was born again, I was translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the marvelous kingdom of light. The Bible says that I no longer have a natural father, I have a heavenly Father and I am to be purposed and placed in a position that He called the sons of God. Hallelujah! I mean, isn’t that something to “TOOT” about? When you think back upon your life and all of the things that you were in, and the hole that God pulled you up out of, and the power of God that He gave you, and the doors that He opened that were totally impossible – He opened those doors for you. You are sitting there, not by virtue, by your honesty or integrity, but because of the grace of God. So, how about that little squeaky iron door? CreEEeeeeEEEEeek! That’s what it sounds like to God. You can be the most melodious, harmonious person in the world, have the most beautiful voice, and it sounds like an old rusty door if you are not moving in the way that God wants you to move. Loose! Hallelujah!
Well, I really didn’t get up here to preach that. Hallelujah! But I guess I really did. I know that I am breaking your protocol. I trust that you will forgive me. Hallelujah! But I don’t know when I’ll be back again. I have to give you what I feel that the Lord has been speaking to me and I believe in striking when the iron is hot. I don’t want the anointing to dissipate. I don’t want it to leak out of one of our old buckets. Instead of leaving church like a deflated old balloon, shuffling out the door, in the midst of our humanity, wearing our rags, as it were, of humanness. I want us to walk out on the power and the light and a little above the circumstances that you are in. Can you say, “Amen”? Hallelujah! There is a scripture in Hebrews where Paul, when he was writing the Hebrew letter, he is talking about the ordinances that were done in the Old Testament with regard to the tabernacle and the offerings and all of those things. I just want one little portion of a scripture there. I believe it is there. Hebrews 10:1, For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Before we get into this I need to tell you. First of all everyone who knows someone in the Czech that someone has told me to tell you hello, and that they love you and that they are praying for you. They send their best to you all in the aspect of overcoming in the place that you are. So, I’ve fulfilled my obligation. Hallelujah! And I’ve also covered the fact that I probably forgot somebody that told me to say something to somebody. Hallelujah!
There is something of the word that God brought us in Czech that I want to talk to you about this morning. But first I need to share with you a vision that was very pertinent. Glory to God. It was before the main meetings really got going forth and the Word of God began coming, or it was during that timeframe that one of the sisters there in that fellowship had a vision and she saw the high priest. She saw the high priest all dressed up in his regalia. He had his robe on. He had his miter on. He had his breastplate upon him, but she noticed that he had bells attached to a bracelet that went around his ankle. Then the scene changed. Now he was in the Holy Place. Then the scene changed and she saw Jesus Christ in the Holy Place with a bowl of water, a laver of water. What she said was that it was a laver. He had it laying down there and He was taking this rag and He was mopping up the floor and the floor was very dirty. As He was rinsing out the rag, the water became very murky, very dirty. He took the bowl and He discarded the water outside of the Holy Place. Then He took and filled it with fresh water and went down and began to work. Hallelujah! The interpretation of that vision that came was that the bells were upon the ankles so that the woman would notice the bells. Traditionally speaking, the bells were supposed to be upon the bottom of the hem of the priest garment. Hallelujah! I don’t believe it tells us that in the scriptures, but in traditional Jewish history, I have been told that that is what they did. Now, they may even have something around the ankle. I don’t know. The purpose of the bells was that the high priest was getting ready to go into the Holy of Holies. You know what the bells were for, don’t you? As long as they heard the bells, they knew he was alive and well, and all was well with them. But if the bells stopped, oh, woe is me. I don’t know if you would start packing your bags and take the next train out of town or what you would do. Nevertheless, those bells had a purpose. They were indicative of the place that Christ was in and the fact that He was going into that realm that they call the Holy of Holies. The Word that came with regard to the second part of the vision is the Word that is found in one of the Peters. I Peter says, Judgment must begin at the house of God (I Peter 4:17). So, we are living, not only in the time frame of the coming into the Holy of Holies, but we are living in the timeframe where God is beginning to clean up His house. Peter said judgment must begin at the house of God. Hallelujah! What I wanted here in Hebrews was the reference to the fact of the high priest while he was standing there, where it says he would go in once a year to sacrifice those things that were to cleanse the nation of Israel (Hebrews 9:7). Hallelujah!
So, the timeframe that we are living in is the timeframe of going into the Holy of Holies, and I believe it is that timeframe we are standing, as it were, in that Holy Place getting ready to go in. It says in Revelation 1:6, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. But God is saying that there is a necessity of those that are in that place, to begin to be aware of this judgment that God is working in that environment. One of the words that came in regard to all of that was the word, “INDIFFERENCE.” The word, “indifference.” Well, you know, we read something in the paper and it may affect us for a little while. We may feel a little bit of compassion. We may feel a little sympathy. We may feel a little anger. Some of us get very irritated with what we read in the paper. But how lasting is it? How much time and meditation do you really spend upon it? A perfect example is 9/11, New York. So, for those that weren’t really emotionally, mentally, physically involved, how much credence or credit do they give to it? Well, I can tell you how much the people do, how much they resent what has happened because I just got through traveling. I heard people talking all about the searching and the security that was going on. (Grumbling, mumbling, grumbling, mumbling.) It is totally inconceivable to me to think that people are not aware of the danger that is all around them. The spirit of murder and mayhem, the lust of blood, wanting to cause as much devastation as it possibly can in a human realm. You know what? The measures that they are using still are not enough. I went through some checkpoints where these people were laughing and joking. They were not paying attention to what they were doing. They were just getting a paycheck. Hallelujah! I suppose if I had something blatant like 100 pounds of dynamite in my luggage, they might see it. But I’m still not quite so sure that they would see it. We walked out in Chicago through customs. You transfer through there and you have to go through those big machines that you put all of your stuff through. I left a bag there. When I walked out, I left one of my little bags there and the bag just sat there. How did they know what could have been in the bag? They had no idea. I had to tell somebody and they had to get somebody to go in there and get my bag. They went in there and got my bag. It was sitting right there where I left it. I mean, what kind of alertness is that when you are looking for terrorists that are wanting to blow up things? What kind of alertness is that?
I don’t get on a plane without praying. Do you know that? I don’t get on a plane without praying, praying, praying. “God, this is Your will. I want You to work for me. I don’t want to get on that plane if You don’t want me to get on that plane. I don’t want me going over here or over there if You don’t want me to go over here or over there. And I want to do it in Your time and in Your place.” I’m not indifferent about blood and broken bones, especially when it is my blood and my broken bones. That seems to be the only time we get un-indifferent! Hallelujah! There is something that goes with indifference that God has been showing me the last few weeks and it is the spirit of isolation. It begins to isolate you from everything else and your isolation becomes your shield or wall and you think you are perfectly safe. You begin assessing things, not from an outside perspective, not from an omnipresent perspective, but you are assessing it from your personal vantage point, and your personal vantage point cannot possibly take in all the factors that are going to affect you with regard to what is going on in the world. That’s why it is very important for you and I to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and we are indifferent about it.
Now, indifference can take many different forms. Did you know that? Hallelujah! Your indifference could be your husband. Your indifference could be your wife. Your indifference could be your children taking your attention. Your indifference could be your job. Your indifference could be your ministry becoming the focal point of your world and you’re looking at your own position of self-importance; self-esteem. Oh yes, we have to know who we are. But my Bible says that I’m not to know you or any man, including myself, after the flesh (II Corinthians 5:16). Do you know what? If you don’t believe what is in the Bible is for today, here’s a little quip that the Lord spoke to me: “Just cut it out.” Cut it out. If you don’t believe it is pertinent for the day. Cut it out. Cut it out. It is just taking up so much space. It is taking up so much page, and it is standing between you and what is really relevant in the rest of the Bible. Cut it out. When you get through cutting out all those things that are not pertinent… I remember very well sitting in a message one time, many years ago and they were using Old Testament history and the dispensation of time with regard to the Holy Ghost, and this fellow says, “Oh, that stuff is not for this dispensation.” Cut it out. Cut it out. Healing, it’s not for this dispensation, cut it out. Prophecy, not for this dispensation, cut it out. Everywhere in the Bible that you have the word “prophecy,” cut it out. My goodness, we certainly would have a “holey” Bible. It would be very “holey,” but not “Holy.” It would have see-through pages, but not transparency. Come on, brethren. You either have to believe what is in the Word, or you had better get yourself another Bible. You know, that is what they have done, the people that don’t believe the Word of God, that don’t believe that this is the Bible. You know, the King James Version that came out of the original text that was brought forth was preserved by the fact of blood. No other book has had such a high price tag on it. I’m not talking about dollars and cents. I’m talking about life. I’m talking about blood. I’m talking about broken bones. I’m talking about broken heads. I’m talking about children that grew up without parents. I’m talking about parents that grew old without children. I’m talking about husbands that went without a wife, or a wife that went without a husband because of the Word of God. No other book. No other book. No other book has been preserved with such a cost on it of human life. You talk about the “holocaust” and all of those things that went on, but it does not compare to the fact or the reality of the blood that is between these covers. It does not cover the fact of the sacrifices that people made, that they might preserve it that they might become a living epistle.
Have you ever thought about that? Paul said something about us becoming living epistles written by the finger of God (II Corinthians 3:3). Hallelujah! You’ve got Abraham. You’ve got Isaac. You’ve got Noah. You’ve got David. You’ve got all of these different ones who lived their life and experienced things, pain and all the emotions of the things. How about all of those in Hebrews 11? Talked about how they would not accept their deliverance (Hebrews 11:35). They would not accept a partial payment of resurrection because they had something of a hope that was on something greater than the reality of the world that was around them. Oh, my goodness. Hallelujah! We are talking about the preservation of life. We are talking about the Father of lights. Living epistles, not written down by the pen, by the quill, but by the finger of God that moved with a man and wrote with the blood upon the pages, and we take it so lightly, and we have so much indifference toward it. “Oh, I can’t read the Bible. It bores me. Oh, I can’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it. Oh, I read the Bible and it’s just all this history and stuff. It just bounces in one ear and goes out the other. It’s just this or that, or that or this.” You have all heard people give excuses for not reading the Word of God, and yet it is a living epistle, written with the blood of men and women and children. Do you know that the childrens’ blood from 2 years of age and down wrote some of book of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament? Do you know that children were slaughtered for the sake of the Word? Because there was a word that was prophesied, that out of the Jewish nation would be coming a savior that they would call Christ. A man who was in a position of presumed power thought he could usurp the Word of God by spilling blood, and he went out and slaughtered an untold number of babies. Blood – written down, written down, written down – page after page – their blood!! Do you hear me? Quill dipped in and they are the pen in writing that writes the Word, that tells us of the account and of the story.
What do you think is the price to God when it comes to that aspiration of hope? We treat it so frivolously. Some of you probably have Bibles that have been sitting around on a table for years, haven’t been cracked, haven’t been opened, and certainly haven’t been studied. You haven’t wept over them for understanding, or even for the unveiling of the truth of God’s Word. You would rather come to a Sunday service, feel like you have done your part, paid your price, done your thing, and be a Christian and walk out again and do the same old things that you were doing before you walked in. I’m telling you, it is because of indifference and a spirit of isolation that is working that you do not know the reality of the gift that has been handed to you. And if you think for one moment that there isn’t an accountability, that we don’t have an accountability before God with regard to how we handle this Word, you are sadly mistaken. Sadly mistaken. You are going to stand before the Judge of the whole earth, do you hear me, and you are going to have to hang your head because you did not believe the blood and the worth of it, that was shed to write what you have taken for granted.
I’m not preaching something that is not in scripture! You turn over to Revelation, and the souls that were under the altar whose blood was shed, for the sake of what? Their testimony (Revelation 6:9). What do you think this is? What do you think it is? It says they overcame him by the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11). By the Word of the Lord; the word of their testimony. They loved not their lives unto the death, so that they might become living epistles. What we think that means is that God is going to put some type of anointing upon us and we are going to spew out some platitudes and things that pertain to a religious environment, to become what we might think is a great man of God. You tell me one great man of God that did not shed his blood, his life, his family, his friends, his reputation, all of those things that were pertinent to the human realm, that did not shed it as a snake sheds its skin. Hallelujah!
Personal, viable relationship. Do you want to know why you struggle when you come together? You don’t have a personal, viable relationship with Jesus Christ. You are not spending time before the Father. You are not spending time in that place of solitude and seeking His face. I’m not saying you don’t pray, I’m not saying you don’t read your Bible, but you are not doing it to the degree that it needs to be done for you to overcome the environment that you are in. Hello! You bring your environment with you when you come in the door and God has got to work through all of that paraphernalia, He has got to work through all of that presumption, He has got to work through all of that mentality and mortality to get you to a realm and a place where you get your eyes up off of the ground and begin to look up into the realm of heaven. And it always seems that God brings the most contention before you come together where He really wants to move in the midst of the congregation. Trouble at home with the kids, trouble with the husband, trouble with the wife, trouble with the neighbors, trouble with this, trouble with that, fight, fight, heads clashing, bitterness, and all of those things welling up – my goodness. Then you come to church and smile. “Praise the Lord. Very glad to see you. Praise the Lord. Nice to be here today. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”
Do you know what Jesus said? You hypocrites (Matthew 6:5)! That’s what Jesus said. Now, I’m not calling you a hypocrite, I’m telling you what Jesus called the Pharisaical system, the religious leaders of that day. He called them hypocrites – no, He did worse than that, He said “You’re worse than vipers” (Matthew 3:7). Then He did worse than that, He said “You’re worse than dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27). What do you think Jesus was doing? Why was it written down and why was it preserved? Is it just so we might know how He reacted to the religious environment of that day? Then it is just a historical note. You can tear that section out of your Bible and you can put it in another book that says history. But that isn’t the reason why He did what He did. He did it because it is a spirit. It is a religious, ecumenical spirit that works in the midst of people, humanity, and especially in church. Why would the devil need a religious deception for people who aren’t religious? It’s not quoting the right scriptures. It’s not even having your name written in the book of heaven. It is the fact of whether or not your name is being written indelibly with the finger of God. Do you understand? Written indelibly with the finger of God on a rock, the tablet of your heart, a name that no man knows. How is He going to do that? Well, you are going to be the stylus, the pen, and your blood is going to be the ink. And even as He begins to scratch out your name, with every movement… Of course it would probably be in Hebrew. I believe it says that no man can read it (Revelation 9:4).
You know, you could speak in tongues all day long and if God doesn’t give anyone the interpretation, nobody knows what you said. Do you know the gifts are given for the edification of the Body? Now, that is another thing that really, really bothers me – we are supposed to be what you call a “New Testament Church.” That means the manifestation of all the diverse gifts that are in the Body. God says there are given divers gifts(I Corinthians 12:7-11). There is diversity, diversity, – Hello? Does that mean one every now and then, or maybe one particular individual? What is diversity? Does anybody know what it means? It means many different things from many different people and yet we all sit like bumps on logs. Or better yet – let me use a scriptural position – like rocks! Somebody said, “Ain’t no rock gonna take my place,” and yet many of us are doing just that. We are moving out of our position, out of our place, that some rock that God might speak to, somewhere, sometime, some place, might rise up and begin to sing and extol His praises. You know, God could just as well be talking about the rocks that are in this cement. I know one thing for sure, He is talking about the hard, cold, stony heart. He said one day that we all will need some sort of a transplant. Some of us have got a partial transplant. Hallelujah! We are trying to mix Christianity and God with our humanity and it’s like the clay and the iron in the image that Nebuchadnezzar set (Daniel 2:33). It won’t mix. It won’t adhere. It won’t stick.
There is a need for us to be converted. Isn’t that the word? Can you imagine walking with Jesus for three-and-a-half years, and not being converted? Can you imagine? “Oh, I wouldn’t have done that. Oh, that doesn’t apply to me.” Oh, come on! Come on! Come on! Do you want to know how much it is going to apply to you? You wait for the right test, the right time, the right set of circumstances, and PHOOM – you’re right there with Peter in the midst of the court. Jesus is up there being whipped and ridiculed and beaten and you’re swearing and cursing that you never knew the man. Hallelujah!
It was kind of funny – we had this one service where the Spirit of God began to move. I love it when God begins to move. He just begins to break down cultural barriers, He steps on everybody’s toes, He pulls people’s shirts, He rips their coats, their pants, whatever place it takes to get them into a place for God to begin to move, and people begin to hug each other. A brother came up to me later and said, “That isn’t Czech.” I said, “It certainly isn’t.” I said, “It’s God.” God has to deliver us from our multi-cultural position, our multi-cultural perspective, our multi-cultural aspect of who we are in a human realm. John said it in a very different way – now come on, come on. John wasn’t a saint. Do you know that? They call him Saint John, but he was no saint. He wanted to be in a position of preeminence above all of his brethren, just him and his brother. They call that nepotism. Do you know what nepotism is? It is when you give favor to family. Hallelujah! Favor to family! Favor to family! “I’m not prejudiced,” and we move in and make our brother vice president and our sister president of a business. All of his family was involved in it. What a mess. What a mess. What a mess. Do you know, he lost most of it because of family? Hallelujah! John was not a saint. John was no saint. He wanted a place of preeminence, “Oh God, put us up, one on your left and one on your right.” Where does that leave James? Where does that leave Peter? Where does that leave Nathaniel? Where does that leave Bartholomew? Where does it leave them? Out in the cold! NO, NO, just under them.
I had a dream one time. I was praying. You know where it talks in Revelation about He shall rule them with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:7)? Man, I wanted the “rod of iron.” I wanted that rod of iron. I wanted to run around and bash heads, break legs. Of course, you never felt like that did you? You never felt like that? “Who is he to think that he can talk to me that way? Who is it that he thinks he could treat me this way? If you only knew.” I wanted that rod of iron. I wanted to use it like a baseball bat. Get in the midst of my enemies and start swinging. Oh, in the name of Jesus – CRACK!! Heads roll, bones are broken, blood is flowing – you never felt like that? You never had that feeling of revenge? No, you are too good – too saintly. That’s not the way I felt. I didn’t feel saintly. I felt authoritatively. I wanted to be a son of God. I wanted that rod of iron. That shepherd’s rod. I said, “Oh, God, I need some revelation. I need some understanding. I need some justification.” How many times do we want revelation on the basis of justifying our position, our reaction with regard to how we respond in a given situation with God? So that we feel perfectly saintly – justified. I just moved in my saintly portion of inheritance. No matter that I created mayhem. No matter that I cut and wounded. It makes no difference what happened in the realm of the human soul. But, boy did I feel good. Self-vindication.
God gave me a vision. I had a dream. In the dream I was lying on my bed and that rod of iron was about three feet away from me. I had no jurisdiction over it. You know, it did what it wanted to do. If it wanted to stand up, it stood up by itself. If it wanted to roll over, it rolled over. If it wanted to lay down and I tried to pick it up, I couldn’t get it off the bed. It had nothing to do with what I wanted to do. Then He said to me, Labor therefore to enter into my rest (Hebrews 4:11). Harden not your heart (Hebrews 4:11). Me? Harden my heart? I wouldn’t do that. I wouldn’t be that way. Harden not your heart. Do you know what resentment is? Do you know what bitterness is? Do you know what anger is? It is hardening of the spiritual arteries. It is plaque build-up in the blood vessels. It is something that begins to work against the motion of the mechanism that is in your body that keeps you alive. Hallelujah? He began to read to me out of His Word. Let me look at it just a minute here. Hebrews 4:1, Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. You know, you’ve got to work at dying. You’ve got to work at dying. You’ve got to work at determining to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You know, people will say, “What do I do? What is my ministry? Where am I going? What is God going to do with me?” It is like fast food. They want to drive up to the speaker phone, roll down their window and say, “Hey, God! Give me ministry. Give me this. Give me that.” Then zip – zoom, around the corner, at the window – “WHERE IS IT?”
Do you know something? It takes time, time, and some more time. Do you know God seasons men and women before He will let them do what He wants them to do? Usually they are in the pressure cooker, they are in the fire, they are in all manner of tribulation. We don’t know what went on in the totality of Daniel and the 3 Hebrew childrens’ lives on a daily basis until the time that they were written about. What did they suffer? Can you imagine being ripped out of your homeland? Your folks were probably killed and you are brought into a place to serve a heathen king who doesn’t believe like you. Not only that, but they de-masculated them. Can you imagine? Can you imagine the feeling of personal humiliation and the place of agony and suffering that was going on, and yet we aren’t told about all of that. We are just told that they stood up and defied the order of the King to fall down to worship a beast. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! We would rather pick apart the preacher. We would rather pick apart the neighbor. We would rather pick apart this one. We are pick apart people. Picky, picky, picky! Hit, hit, hit! Rip, rip, rip! Cut, cut, cut! All of the time, you are defiling the sanctuary. Do you know that? You are defiling the sanctuary.
It says, let us therefore fear. “We shouldn’t fear, God isn’t a God of fear! He is a God of Love.” Cut it out of your Bible. If you don’t believe it is fear, go to the concordance and look it up. It is fear. It is fear. There is an aspect of God’s love that we don’t know about. Did you know that God’s love will kill a man in order to save him? Because, to God, flesh is nothing, flesh is nothing. Flesh is like grass, like a vapor. Here today, gone tomorrow. My goodness. How unpredictable is the weather? Can you change it? We need hot weather. Do you know we need hot weather, but it doesn’t make any difference what I need. Things do not grow in cold weather. Hot weather plants do not grow in cold weather. I can go outside that door and say, “GOD! I need hot weather.” But if God does not choose to give me hot weather, there is nothing I can do about it. It is outside of my control. So is my destiny! So is my objective in Christ. It is outside of my control. I must be able to relinquish my position of control over my soul, over my mind, over my emotions, over my family, over my situation, in the natural as well as in the spiritual. I have no ability outside of God or outside of the love of God that He has for me. I have to fear Him. I have to learn to fear Him. It says, fear God. Isn’t that what Proverbs says (Proverbs 1:7)?
Go into your Bible and look up fear. “Oh, that is some sort of little serious thought or sobering position of thinking that you have to have.” Sober, right! That is like knees knocking together and the bones quaking. It says that John – I don’t know what we think when we read the Bible. It says when he turned around and he saw who was talking to him, he fell down as one dead (Revelation 1:17). Now, when you fall down as one dead, what do you think you are? I think you are dead. It says that God picked him up, revived him. Have you ever had that experience? Have you ever seen that personage? This is New Testament personage, by the way. This is not Old Testament that has been relegated and dedicated to a different dispensation. Cut it out of your Bible. We are talking about New Testament revelation. John fell down as one dead. This man spent three years with Him. He was closer to Him than any others. It says he was the man whom God loved (John 13:23). The disciple whom God loved. God loved him, and yet when he saw his friend, his friend – boy, when David and Jonathan moved as one man, caring for one another. The lament from David when Jonathan was killed. Hallelujah! This was the relationship that was going on between the man called Jesus Christ and the man called John, the son of thunder. Yet, when he turned around and saw the living Christ, he fell down.
We have the presumption to get up and shake our fist sometimes in the presence of the Almighty on the presumptuous basis of who we think we are, or who we think we know. But, we don’t know what we think we know. Not if you aren’t building a viable living relationship with a living God. Well, I had a sticker on my car at one time. I really liked it. It said, “My God’s not dead. How about yours?” And you know something? My God is not dead. He is not dead. He is a living, viable person who talks with me. Do you know God talks with me? He tells me those things that are pertinent for me to know. Sometimes I get very irritated with Him, and then I have to repent because He won’t tell me some of the things that I think I need to know. Of course, you are not like that are you? I have a little expression when people come around and they ask me this or that, or that or this, what I think about that, or what I think about this. “I don’t know.” “What do you mean you don’t know? Aren’t you supposed to be a man of God?” “Yes, but I don’t know.” “What do you mean you don’t know? Why don’t you know?” “Because God hasn’t told me.” I figure if God doesn’t want to tell me, I don’t need to know. I don’t want to know what your business is if God doesn’t want me to know what your business is. I’ve got enough trouble handling my own business. I’ve got my hands full walking out my own salvation. But the problem is, many of us are trying to walk out each other’s salvation. That’s why there is gossip in the church. That’s why people are talking. That’s why people get offended. Blah, blah, blah. Destruction, death, damnation defiling the temple, and all the time, God is outside looking on. He is not inside having jurisdiction over the set of circumstances. We are always taking matters into our own hands and moving to our own detriment, walking, as it were, toward a precipice, going closer and closer, and God is doing everything in His power to keep us from going over the edge, and yet we resist God. God is pulling on our shirttail, pulling on this, pulling on that, and we are hitting at the hand of God.
Have you ever seen a child that you wanted to restrain and he didn’t want to be restrained? I remember one time, I chased one of them all over the parking lot. They did everything they could to get away from me. I was younger then. Hallelujah! In a lot better shape, I think. Anyway, they didn’t get away from me. I finally caught up with them and boy, when I did, I tell you one thing, that child never ran from me again. I wasn’t brutal, I wasn’t abusive, I wasn’t totalitarian, I didn’t knock them senseless. I just made sure that the next time I called them – they came. Or the next time I said, “Stop!,” they put on the brakes like they had all four wheels locked up, and the only moving that they would do was the sliding from the momentum, and when the dust cleared, they were standing there like a statue. It is no different to some of the ways that we act in regard to God and what He is doing in our lives. I knew the importance. I knew the place, the discipline that needed to be reenacted in their lives. I knew the place of subjection that had to come. Not by clubbing them into a place of submission. I’m talking about dealing with the spiritual principle of rebellion as being as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as the sin of idolatry (I Samuel 15:23). Loose! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
So, we have this position, we have this place. Somebody once ministered, I don’t know if it was here or somewhere else, but they were talking about the sound of the door closing. Do you know that the sound of the door closing on the Ark had a different sound on the inside than on the outside? It closed. Have you ever been in a room that is airtight, and you close the door? It goes, “Fwoom.” I like the sound of a door that closes well. I like a door that closes well. I like the sound of it, and when I get all done and it closes and it makes that sound, I just feel so good. I feel good. Oh, I did a good job. I look at that door and it has the right gap, and I can just sit there and close it. Open and close it, open and close it. And every time it closes it goes, “Fwoom.” How does that feel? It feels so good. Do it again. Do it again. You know, that is the way God is with us when we obey Him, when we move in a manner that pleases Him. He just opens and closes, opens and closes, opens and closes. He says, “That feels/sounds so good. Well done, thou good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21).” I like that. I like that. I want to hear that kind of commendation. I don’t want to hear, “Depart from Me, you worker of iniquity, for I never knew you.” Now, listen to me. He is not talking to the heathen. If you think He is talking to the sinners, you get in your Bible and read that passage of scripture where it talks about, “Well, didn’t we cast out devils in your name?” (Matthew 7:22). You know, He didn’t say, “No, you didn’t.” “Didn’t we heal in your name?” He didn’t say, “No, you didn’t.” So, it is at least implied that they did and that He was aware of the authority that He had given them. Yet He said, “You depart from me. I don’t know you.”
So, that means that you can spend all of your life in church, listening to all of these great messages, all of these things that are going on and if they are not applicable – if you don’t begin to apply them in the manner and fashion to let God begin to work out the will and the way and the thing to do, then what you have heard is of no value to you. Do you know, a man can sit in the pew and go to hell? Hallelujah! I heard a story from a credible source about a man who spent all of his life in church. He was a deacon of the church. Hello? But when it came time to die, he died cursing God. Everybody thought he was the great evangelist. He helped the poor. He helped the sick. He helped the widow. He was instrumental in many of the programs going on in the church. He was there every Sunday. He was out in the visitation market, moving around, doing all the things of the church that people do, and yet he died cursing God. Why? Because the God he thought was just salvation never became a living reality to his soul, never was able to walk in the midst of his being and become what God wanted to become in the midst of him. Oh my God.
So, let us therefore fear – that was all brought on by that first verse. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it (Hebrews 4:1). Now, if you believe that this is a progressive and living Word, if you think that this was written for the Hebrews of Paul’s day, cut it out. But if you don’t believe that, then you would have to assume, and I believe your assumption would be correct, that the “you” is you. That the “you” is you and me. It says let us therefore fear… lest any of you should seem to come short of it. Indifference! Indifference! Indifference! I want you to think about indifference, and how it works in your life. Oh, we used to have this saying, you know, when we were doing work in the construction trade when you couldn’t quite get it right. You couldn’t get it where it needed to be. “Well, that is close enough for government work.” We had this other saying. “Oh, that’s okay. Sheet-rockers will take care of it.” What we meant was to just cover it up and nobody would ever know it was there. And you know sheet-rockers, that’s what they did. They came in and they just covered everything up. They covered electrical sockets, outlets, and light outlets. They covered up everything. And if you looked at the walls after they got finished, you would think you didn’t do anything, because it was all covered up and underneath, but God knows what’s there. When God talks about judgment beginning at the house of God, He is not going to deal with those surface veneer things. He’s not going to deal with that freshly coated sheet of sheet-rock that has been taped by an expert and been plugged, and it looks so nice, and you can hang pictures on it. You can take pictures of it and everyone thinks, “Oh, what a lovely wall.” When all of the time, all of those things underneath those walls that are your human character, nature that is mortal and quite susceptible to death. Things that are working, working, working, always working to bring you to a place of death and hell. Do you know that any defect in a house, over time, will show up in the house itself? Hallelujah! Do you know that if you have leaky plumbing and you can’t see it, somewhere along the line you will become aware that your plumbing has been leaking and you have a major mess? Do you know that if your foundation is not what it should be, when your house begins to settle, you get these big old cracks running up your walls, through your floors and your doors will begin to sag. It is evidence that something in the house is wrong. Somebody didn’t do what they needed to do when they needed to do it and they just covered it up.
Well, God is saying, “Enough is enough.” Do you know that? If you don’t desire to be a son of God, if you don’t desire to be in that place that God desires all humanity to be in, lest you think I’ve got a selective gospel, you need to read the scriptures. You need to read the scriptures. Because you see, I will talk about this gospel to anybody. Because you know what? It is being offered to everybody. And I’ll tell you something else, it is not contingent upon your age or your geographical location. I can take you around the world, because I’ve been there, and I can take you to people who believe that the word I’m telling you is the Word of God. I can take you to multi-cultural people. They can speak “Ebo,” they can speak “Effic,” they can speak whatever they want to speak. They can speak French. They can speak Latin. I don’t care what they speak. They may not even speak at all. But the fact of the matter is, that they have something of a reality of God and the desire for humanity to bring that humanity out of the place of death and desolation into a place of life and liberty. And we want to sit around in the office of death, in the auditorium of death. We want to do all of the things that death does. Yes, we do. Yes, we do. Yes, we do. As a human race, we do, we do, we do. Because God comes again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and He speaks to us. He begs us to rise up into a place, to focus upon Him, and we go right out of here and we focus upon everything else but God.
I don’t believe that my religion, if I might use that term without you thinking too badly of me, is not something that is a secondary effort. I believe that God created me for one purpose, and one purpose alone, and that was for being the tabernacle of His presence. I don’t think that that is a presupposition on my part. I think it is a spiritual, scriptural position. He wants to dwell in men. He said, I would that I could walk in them, talk in them, write my laws upon their heart (Hebrews 8:10). Hallelujah! God is not a part-time business. Now, if you want to be a part-time Christian, you are listening to the wrong Word. Some of you are going to take that differently than the way I said it, but nonetheless, that is what I said, and that is what I mean. God has to be my focal point. He has to be your focal point. I suppose there is a halfway tree for halfway people. But for those people that want to be 100-fold, it’s not a matter of me saying you are 100-fold, you are 60-fold, you are 30-fold, you are something between 60 and 75. It is a matter of what is in a person’s heart and what they want with regard to eternity. I’m not talking eternity out there someplace, sometime, out beyond the grave, because Jesus Christ said, “Heaven is within you” (Luke 17:21). And He said, “I and My Father, we will come and make our abode within you.” (John 14:23). I am taking about eternity in you.
Now, I want to ask you a question and I think it takes some serious consideration. The omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God comes, God of the whole universe, the God of absolutely everything, comes to make His abode in you – what position, what place do you think He expects? That’s essential, totally, absolutely, that is His name. “I Am that I Am.” Oh, my goodness. Hallelujah! It says, therefore was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed, not being mixed, with humanity in the things of the human heart. Something other than humanistic qualities, something spiritual, something apart from ourselves. Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2).
James 2:19a, Thou believest that there is one God – Oh, yes. Amen. We believe in one God triune: the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. Does anyone here believe any different than that? All right! We’ve got a unanimous vote here, Lord. Thou believest that there is one God – so that must mean that He might be talking to us. James 2:19b, thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. Do you know that the devils tremble more at God than we do? I guess they have good reason to believe that, right? James 2:20a, But wilt thou know, O vain man, Do you know what vain means? Self-centered. What do you call it when you are self-centered? Self consumed with self. O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?Faith will always produce works. Works will confirm and verify faith. Hallelujah! 21 as not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Something was required. 22a Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, That was the action of the bringing down of the knife on the basis of what he believed that God would do. and by works was faith made perfect? My goodness. You could get into that one. 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, 23And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he wascalled the friend of God. How many of you want to be called the friend of God? Oh boy! I would suggest that you put on your Abraham boots. I suggest that you begin to walk in Abraham’s shoe print. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent [them] out another way? Do you know that that was an indictment against the church? God took a harlot to demonstrate how the principle of how God would work even outside of the realm of religion. And do you know something? Not only was she justified by her works and by the faith that she demonstrated, but she was in the lineage of Jesus. Oh, my goodness. What are we going to do with that one? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Substance is something that you can lay your hands on. It is something of a demonstration, as far as I am concerned. The evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
There is something of a demonstration that we have to show or work out in the midst of every set of circumstances that we find ourselves in. There is something of a revelation of the nature of Christ that has to be demonstrated. One of those positions of demonstration is in the viable, manifested position of personal relationship and a demonstration of that relationship to the public at-large.
God Bless You! Amen!
1 Refs endue – to lead in; to put on; to provide; to endow; [Webster’s Dictionary]
2 Refs auspice – protection; support; [American Heritage Dictionary] approval; guiding sponsorship; [Webster’s)