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Who Shall Stand at His Appearing?

November 24, 2001
Schuyler, Nebraska 

(For printable version click here.)

Amen.  Amen.  Can you say amen, hallelujah!  Just bless the Lord.  Just bless the Lord!  Hallelujah.  Oh hallelujah!  Glory to God, hallelujah!  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah!  Glory to God.  You know, I don’t think we really understand the spirit that God has put in the Body with the fact of the administration of the Word, and the things that pertain to God.  Do you know, prophecy is not just one man moving in a spirit or an unction of God to bring forth some aspect of knowledge or revelation concerning an individual?  It’s the whole Body participating.  It’s the whole Body entering into the thing and the moving of the Spirit.  You don’t know what God might do if we got into a place of administering to the administration of the Word of God.  Hallelujah!  We might get to that place that Brother Jack was praying for me; we might get to a place to where we can hardly contain ourselves.  There might be a revelation and an unfolding of God that you and I have never experienced before.  Hallelujah!  You know, it’s something very great that God can reach down His finger in the midst of a man’s soul, or a woman’s environment and touch their environment in the manner and fashion that brings with that touch some aspect of deliverance!  Loose!  Hallelujah!!!  Be what God has called you to be.  Be all of what God has called you to be!  Strengthen yourself in the Lord!  Hallelujah.  You know, when David’s men deserted him and they rose up against him, it says that David separated himself and he went into a place where his relationship with God, or his conversation was strengthened, and encouraged himself in the Lord (I Samuel 30:6).  When you think no one else is around, it’s time to run into God!  It’s time to run into God, run into God.  Hallelujah. 

You know, I have been very much in the Word the last several weeks.  I’ve been looking at the prophets.  They call them minor prophets, I don’t know why, they were very major in what they were doing, but I have been in the book of Haggai, I have been in the book of Zephaniah, and I have been in the book of Malachi.  All three of these prophets came forth in a time frame, in a time period that was very important to Israel.  Now, you remember how, because of their disobedience, because of their rebellion, Israel was given over to the Babylonish kingdom.  They came in, they invaded them.  Now, God used the Babylonish empire to punish the inhabitants of Jerusalem and I find that quite apropos with regard to you and I, because oftentimes when I find myself in rebellion against God, God will use some aspect of the worldly government system or the world system to bring chastisement upon me.  Hello?  If I’m not paying attention to God, and doing something contrary to the laws of the land, like if I’m speeding, I get a ticket.  There is a chastisement that God does with regard to my actual position of life – because of the heavenly calling that is upon my life.  The jurisdiction or the government that is upon us is not the government of the land in which we reside, it’s the government by reason of the new birth that you and I have experienced.  There’s a scripture in John that talks about that thing that is born, not of the will of man nor of the will of flesh, but of the will of the Father (John 1:13).  That’s the aspect of life that I’m talking about with regard to you and I.  The problem that you and I have is that we are natural people in a natural environment, and that oftentimes takes precedence, or overrides or overshadows that supernatural environment into which we have been born again.  I believe that when you are born again, now this is my belief, my personal belief, that everything changes for you on a personal level, on a natural level.  I really believe that you are translated out of the realm of carnality, out of the realm of natural affection, out of the realm of that relationship that you have on this natural plane, to a higher realm that has other attachments.  Now, not that I don’t have responsibilities, not that I don’t have concerns or affections, I’m not talking about that.  But I’m talking about that which takes precedence and overrides, or cancels out, as it were.  I think that “canceling out” is a more apropos word because by reason of my death – isn’t that what the Bible says? – I am buried with Him in baptism that I might be raised in what?  The oldness of life?  All the aspects and the abilities of my flesh and my carnality and all the familiar attachments that I have with regard to that realm?  Am I raised again to once again find myself in that position of bondage?  No.  That’s not what the Bible says, if you know your Bible, if you know Romans (Romans 6:4), hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  But there’s a canceling out.  I don’t know that we really understand the rudiments of what happens to us when we give our lives to Christ.  I don’t know that we really understand the ramifications of what it means to be “born again.”  Now, we think we understand, and we think that we have a perception, and maybe mentally we have some sort of comprehension, but I do not think that the aspect of you being my brother, or you being my sister, is as real as that these sisters are sisters.  And they have that sister relationship.  Or this mother has this relationship with these daughters.  Hallelujah.  That is something that is very prominent, very real, very natural, something that you can lay your hands on.  You’re in an environment of constant interaction with each other.  But I believe that when you are born again, something transpires on a spiritual realm that begins to cancel out all of those things that we have had to deal with on a natural plane.  There’s something of a precedence, there’s something of an importance, that it must begin to take a position of first place within the thoughts and the minds of every individual that is born again.  I think one of the reasons we have so much trouble in the church is because of this fact – we don’t understand what it means to be born again.  We do not understand what it means to come into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.  You’re not only saved from hell, you’re not only assured of going to heaven, but you are incorporated, you are inducted, you are adopted into a family, hallelujah, a spiritual family, hallelujah, that has a spiritual father and has a spiritual mother.  The mother is our church.  Hello.  Our fellowship with one another is, as it were, with our mother.  Hallelujah.

There’s an interesting fact that I find in the Bible.  That fact is that in the chronological detail that God gives us with regard to the kings of Israel, He always gives us the information concerning the mother.  If she was a God-fearing woman who desired the righteousness of God, what happened?  Her son is a God-fearing king who desired the righteousness of God.  But if the mother was a wicked woman, then the son was a wicked man.  My goodness.  What a place of authority and a position of overshadowing that the woman has as a mother, as a wife in the home.  The destiny of your children lies within your hands.  The ability to shape and to mold and to bring about the will of God and to come forth in some aspect of manifestation of the kingdom of God.  And as it is on a natural level, so it is on a spiritual level.  There are mothers in Israel, do you know that?  They have the ability to succor and to save children.  They have the ability to bring forth spiritual children.  They have the ability to overshadow those children and instill within them, hallelujah, the aspects of life and liberty and the things that are pertinent to the kingdom of God.  You know, I would think that if I were a woman, of course, you know, this would be a man thinking, but I think that if I were a woman, and I realized the potentiality and the magnitude or the vastness of the number of children that I could have, I would be very busy in the things of God, prolificating the kingdom of God, and bringing forth spiritual children!  Now, am I all wet in thinking that?  Huh?  Am I wrong for thinking that?  Come on, ladies.  There is something of an attachment that you have when you birth a child, there is a bonding that comes in the pain and in the travail, that forges and welds something into your soul, and that child becomes a part of your soul.  You know, you take a woman that miscarries, it doesn’t make any difference in the aspect of when she miscarries, because there’s something of a loss that she feels, that something personally has been taken out of her physically.  Now, is that true?  Huh?  Is that true?  Absolutely.  Absolutely it’s true.  Now, how do I know that?  Because of the spiritual principles that work within the realm of this Book.  When God talks about the church, He talks about mothers in the church, hallelujah.  Now, you can be a father, but you can’t be a father in the sense that I’m talking about with regard to women.  You can only be a father in your position of oversight and instruction.  God is our Father.  God is our Father.  Don’t let anybody ever come along and tell you that the ministry is the father of the church.  It’s a lie out of the pit of hell, and it brings forth death and desolation and destruction.  It brings forth deception and error.  It brings forth fornication and adultery, is what it brings forth.  I’ve seen it. 

We need to have some idea of what it means to be children of God.  We need to know what it means to be in that position or that place of fellowship with God, and the responsibility that God places upon you and I with regard to that relationship.  It’s not just getting to heaven.  You know, I believe that the Sonship message, Brother Mark, has become something of a rapture doctrine.  It seems like our safety lies in the fact that all of a sudden one day Jesus is coming into His tabernacle and we become sons.  My Bible tells me that the two witness company ministered in sackcloth.  They ministered in a place of roughness, they ministered in a place of tribulation.  They were not in a position of being comfortable.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I have to deal with being comfortable as much as any other person has to deal with it.  I don’t like to be cold.  And I live in Illinois and it gets cold.  But you know, I dislike paying heat bills more than I dislike being cold.  And of course, the cost of gas last year went up like one of these rockets they shoot off, and if you want to conserve, and you want to be frugal, or for whatever purpose, you have to turn down your heater.  Well, my heater doesn’t get much above 55 or 60 degrees when I’m there.  Now, you know, if I’m really cold, I might turn it up to 61 or 62.  But we’ve learned to, it’s kind of silly, you sit around in your coats and boots.  Well, at least I’m not cold.  That’s just something very minor, that’s something very trivial, but that’s something I have to deal with with regard to the environment that I’m in.  We like to be comfortable.  You know, my wife can testify to my grumbling.  “I don’t wanna be cold.  I don’t like being cold!  Illinois is cold!”  What I’m saying is, “Why, God, did You put me in Illinois?  Why couldn’t You have put me in Jamaica?  Or Florida?  No, I don’t want to be in Florida.  But somewhere where it’s warm.  Somewhere there’s no ice.”  You know, I don’t like ice, I don’t like ice.  When I get on ice, I’m a wheel clutcher.  I clutch the wheel.  I stiffen up, as though that is going to help me from sliding.  I figure the harder I grip the wheel the safer I am, but it doesn’t work that way.  I find that, no matter how hard I clutch the wheel, I can still slide off into the ditch.  Hallelujah!  But that’s where God has put me, in spite of my discomfort.  Sometimes I think He put me there because He knew I would be uncomfortable, and in the midst of my discomfort, I can find the reality of the fact of what I am supposed to be doing with regard to God on a spiritual level, and the bringing forth of the kingdom of God.  You and I seem to be waiting for the kingdom of God to come and collect us.  It’s like the kingdom of God is a taxi, and we’re standing on the corner.  “I’M SAVED, I’M FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, I GO TO MEETINGS WHERE THEY PROPHESY AND TALK ABOUT THE END-TIME CHURCH.  COME ON, GOD, I’M WAITING FOR THE TAXI!”  We are supposed to be building the kingdom of God!  We are supposed to be involved in the construction of the kingdom of God.  Now, I can’t tell you what your responsibilities are, but God can.  And I can guarantee you that as you go to God and ask God, “What is my part?  What is my piece?  What is my portion?”, God will tell you, because that is the purpose for which you and I have been born.  You haven’t been born to make money, for the fact of making money.  You haven’t been born for the fact of driving a good car, of building a nice house, getting good clothes, or being in a location that is comfortable for you.  I’m all for the fact of taking care of my family, I believe in it, but there is something of the precedence of God, the responsibility or the burden that God would lay on each and every soul, that overrides, that overrides, that overshadows that position of natural affection and environment of responsibility.  I have found out something.  If you do God’s business, God will take care of your business.  Now, He might not take care of it in the way that you would have taken care of it.  But nevertheless, God will take care of it, however He sees fit.  And if you have to suffer in His taking care of it, so what?  That’s the whole of it.  You know, Paul said, “I bear in my body…(Galatians 6:17)”  Some of us go into situations, we go into circumstances… If the devil is going to afflict me, let him afflict me on the basis of my involvement in the kingdom of God.  Let him not afflict me on the basis of my indifference, let him not afflict me on the basis of my uninvolvement, let him not afflict me on the basis of my position of lethargy, or my position of carelessness.  Let him afflict me on the basis of my involvement, and he wants to stop me in my involvement.  We are so carnal, we are so down on this earthly realm, this earthly level, that we have a very difficult time with the precepts of what it means to be a son of God.  Hallelujah!  Can you say, “Amen?”  Maybe you don’t agree with me.  Maybe you can say, “Oh, me.”  Or, “Oh, my.” 

Well, Haggai was one of the first prophets that came along with regard to the Word of God and the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, or the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  You know, under Darius, there were three kings.  It was during the reign of three kings that God began to show favor unto the nation of Israel.  They were allowed to go back into their homeland and begin to restore the things that had been destroyed by the Babylonish occupation.  Hallelujah.  Now, in this hour, this time frame that we are living in, we, I hope, are not looking for the rebuilding of a natural Jerusalem under the hand of the Jews and the restoration of a natural, carnal temple.  But I think, on a spiritual level, we are in a somewhat similar position, a somewhat similar place, but instead of being in the beginning, we’re in the end.  Now, someone quoted Malachi here yesterday, and we use that verse quite a bit with regard to the appearing of God, and the coming of the sons of God, or the restoration of the house of Levi.  You should read chapter 3 in context with the rest of the book of Malachi.  It’s a very hard book.  It’s a book that puts the finger, not on the iniquity of the heathen, but on the iniquity of the household of faith.  Not only does it put its finger on the household of faith, but it deals with the priesthood.  Now, there is one common thread that runs through all three books, and that is the dealing of God with the priesthood.  Hallelujah.  Every instance there are chapters or verses that are devoted to the encouragement of that operation of God, or the chastisement of God with regard to that operation that does not meet up with His standards.  That’s another fact that we really need to establish this morning, that God doesn’t go by your assessment.  He does not go by my assessment.  You know, I may think I’m doing pretty good.  I might think that I’m behaving quite well.  I might think that I am functioning as I should function.  But there is something of, always in God, a dissatisfaction with regard to my position and my place.  Why?  Because He knows I’m not where I should be, and that He wants me to do better.  So He’s dealing with the priesthood.  Now, lest you get the wrong idea, I need to clarify what the priesthood is.  Hallelujah. 

Peter brought us a very good definition of that priesthood.  Hallelujah.  The Bible says we are all kings and priests (Revelation 1:6, 5:10).  Peter said that ye are a royal priesthood.  Hallelujah.  Let us read it.  First Peter 2:9, But ye are, I am, you are, every household is that has had the Blood of Jesus Christ apportioned unto them, has been baptized in the Holy Ghost, has had the revelation of the end time, and has had the desire of Sonship put within their hearts.  You know, it’s not something that you did of your own volition.  It’s not something that you manufactured because of your involvement with whomever you’re involved with.  It’s something that God put in you because God desired it from the very beginning.  He said, “I would that they would be made after My image, and after My likeness (Genesis 1:26).”  Now, the only way that God could get that type of situation is if He were to birth something out of Himself, into something else that would be like Him.  Hallelujah!  You know, whenever I get frustrated with myself, and believe you me, I do get frustrated with myself, I remember, I begin to think upon the plan that God had for me from the very beginning.  I just need to think about that a while and it gives me the courage to get up and dust myself off, to repent for my anger, repent for my shortsightedness, repent for my lack of tolerance or my lack of longsuffering, and go on and try to do better.  Hallelujah.  But he says, Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.  Now, someone ministered yesterday, and they brought forth the scripture that is found in Romans, where it talks about the predestination of God.  Hallelujah.  The predestination of God is not by personal selection, “This one, not that one, this one, not that one, this one, not that one,” but it’s by the overall desire of God to have sons.  Do you understand?  He desires sons.  So that means that if you desire Sonship and I don’t, you become a son.  You are preordained, you are predestined to be a son because you have desired to lay hold of that principle.  Are you following what I’m saying?  That’s why the Bible says, that you and I are to work out our own salvation with what?  Fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).  Why?  Because there is the chance that you could make some decision, in some manner or some way, with regard to your destiny or your preordained destiny in God that would give you another destiny.  It’s really a scary thing, to think that I hold within the grasp of my hand, and when I say my hand, I mean my soul hand, within the grasp of my emotions, within the grasp of my desires, within the grasp of my mind, within the grasp of my will, I hold within the palm of my soul hand the destiny that God has for me.  And I can discard it, or I can cleave unto it.  It’s up to me.  And I am confronted on a daily basis.  WHEN YOU ARE CONFRONTED WITH A SITUATION OF DISCONTENTMENT OR ANGER, YOU HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE GOING TO BE MAD AND IRRITATED, OR WHETHER YOU’RE GOING TO CRY OUT TO GOD TO BRING DELIVERANCE INTO YOUR LIFE.  You know, you don’t have to be vocal to be an angry person.  You don’t have to be an aggressive person to be an angry person.  You can be very timid, very shy, and yet be very angry inside.  Hallelujah.  It’s a very dangerous type of malady.  It’s much better for a person who is angry to get angry and display their anger, especially if they are Christian, because then God can convict them of their position of transgression!  Hallelujah.  It’s somewhat difficult for God to deal with something that is not visible or manifesting itself but that does not mean that it does not manifest itself somewhere else down the line.  Usually, when it manifests itself, it’s when nobody is looking.  You go out and you slam the car door, you kick the tire, you slam something up against the side of the house or you throw something in the corner of the room.  Or there is some aspect, there is some manifestation or some activity that you do when nobody is looking.  You think that nobody is seeing and you’re okay, you’ve gotten away with it.  But it’s not true, it’s not true.  God has a different destiny for you!  God has a different plan for you, and God sees your activity and it’s very hard for God to convict you of your transgression because nobody else is involved.  You can reason in your mind, you can reason within your hand, you can reason with your hand, your soul hand, that that wasn’t really a transgression of God, and you begin to disregard the destiny that God has for you. 

Well, if that weren’t bad enough, the devil is no slacker.  We do not understand the strength and the power of the entity that we call the devil.  Now, I am not afraid of the devil.  I don’t think I am, but I have a very healthy respect with regard to what he can do, how he can do it and when he can do it.  I do.  I fear God, do you hear me?  I don’t fear the devil, I fear God.  That means if I walk out from under the covering that God has afforded for me with regard to that position of service that I’ve been called to, if I walk out for whatever reason:  for anger, for discontent, for depression, for frustration, for futility, or maybe because people aren’t doing what I think they should be doing.  Of course, you never have that problem, do you?  You don’t have personality problems, do you, where you come from?  We don’t have personality problems.  You know, we think that the answer to personality problems is to eliminate the personality, and in a manner or fashion, we commit spiritual murder.  Now, I’m talking about the kingdom of heaven.  I’m talking about the spiritual realm into which you have been birthed.  Now, that person doesn’t drop dead because you dis-fellowship them, because you disassociate yourself from them, because you withdraw your friendship from them.  They don’t drop dead, but something in the spirit dies.  Something in the spiritual realm, the connection that you have, begins to deteriorate.  It’s like, if you were to take a rubber band, and put it around your finger, or put a tourniquet very tightly around your arm or around your leg and pull it very tight, and draw it down so that there is no blood flowing in the veins of that member, what’s going to happen?  It’s going to die.  It becomes physically dead.  Is that not true?  You that have medical training, is that not true?  If I leave it on there long enough, it will rot off.  You can do that on a spiritual level!  You can do that on a spiritual level!  You know, the devil is no dummy.  He knows that the way to conquer is to divide, to bring division and separation.  You know, I don’t agree with everybody that I fellowship with.  We have contentions, we have strife, we have trouble, and sometimes we go toe to toe.  But underlying that, there is an aspect of fear that I have with regard to God and the position and the place of relationship that I know is enhanced by my relationship with them.  Hallelujah.  I have a responsibility, not only for my own personal safety, my own personal health and well-being, spiritually speaking, but I also have a responsibility with regard to that member that is attached to me.  There’s only one reason for any kind of separation and dissolution, and that is when God comes in and He excises something.  He comes and surgically removes it.  Hallelujah!  God is about the business of doing what is necessary with regard to His Body, do you know that? 

Now, let me give you another spiritual principle that deals along this line.  I believe it was Brother Peter that was talking about pruning, if I’m not mistaken, is that right?  Well, you prune different things different ways.  I like the Biblical analogy.  The Bible uses the almond tree as a symbol for first fruits.  Isn’t that right?  Are you in agreement with that?  It was the almond bud, was it not, that was on the candlestick.  Was it not also on the border of the garment of the priest?  I think that it was, or was on some part of their clothing.  The almond tree is different than the peach tree.  Did you know that?  You can take a peach tree and you can prune the dog out of it.  You can prune it down to a nub.  Do you know that that peach tree will reproduce fruit wood?  Now, fruit wood is the wood that produces the fruit.  Not all wood on a tree produces fruit.  Some of the limbs are for the purpose of drawing up the sap and the nutrients that are in the ground.  Some of them are for putting on the leaves, to gather all of the photosynthesis that goes on, but on that limb or on that portion of the tree, there is a sprig that comes out, and on that sprig there is the bud of life that has the potentiality to produce fruit.  You can prune a peach tree very hard, very severely, and it will always produce fruit wood.  An almond tree is not like that.  You cut off the fruit wood from an almond tree and it will not replace it.  That’s why God is the pruner.  That’s why God is the one that prunes. 

You do not haphazardly prune the peach tree, you prune in a particular manner, in a particular way.  Now, the way that we pruned peaches in California was that we pruned the tree so that it would grow down, because we wanted what we call “hangers.”  Hangers are where the fruit is produced.  It’s much better for the tree for the fruit to be hanging, because it becomes very heavy, and it is very easy for you to come along and prop it up.  It is very easy for you to pick.  You can pick it from the ground, or you can pick it from a short ladder.  The longer the ladder, the longer it takes for you to get the fruit, and the more expensive it becomes.  An almond tree is not like that.  You don’t prune an almond tree necessarily for it to produce fruit in that manner or in that way.  You shape the tree, because you have a vision of what the tree is going to be in the end.  A peach tree will be very low, very squat, and very compact.  It looks, in my estimation, if you compare the two of them, very bedraggled.  Huh?  Like a ragamuffin.  I mean, you look at a peach tree and it looks like you would think a ragamuffin would look.  It’s very prickly, it’s very sticky, it’s not very pretty, it’s got these big knobs at the top and all of these limbs hanging down, and there’s nothing majestic about it.  It’s a very short and squat tree.  But an almond tree is not like that.  An almond tree will grow to very great heights.  We had an almond tree in our orchard that was probably every bit of 20 feet high.  It had a massive trunk, massive limbs that went out and around.  You shape the tree in accordance to the position or the destiny at which it’s going to arrive or that you want it to achieve.  You do not want to cut the fruit wood off.  You want to prune it so that light can get in, and that air can flow through it, hallelujah, but you do not bother the fruit wood!  You do not want to damage the ability of the tree to produce for you when it’s at an age that it would produce in a great amount. 

We prune the Body of Christ like it were a peach tree, oftentimes.  We randomly and without thought begin to clip here, and clip there, and oftentimes we are damaging each other’s fruit wood – the ability to produce fruit.  Sometimes we do it to ourselves.  Because of some sort of situation or circumstance that happens, we become offended, our toes get stepped on in some manner or some fashion, and we behave irrationally in the Spirit.  Did you hear me?  We behave irrationally in the Spirit.  We think that what we do on a natural plane has no effect, but what we do not know is that there is something of a damage that will manifest itself down the road.  If nothing else, it will manifest in the bearing of fruit.  Where I should be getting 1 ton or 2 tons of almonds to the acre, I might only be getting a ton and a half, I might only be getting a half of a ton of almonds to the acre.  That means that all the energy, all the labor, all the things that I have invested as far as that land and those trees are concerned, has been for naught.  I come out at the end of the year with a deficit. 

Now, there is a scriptural principle in the Word that deals with this thing that I’m talking about.  It’s called 30, 60, or 100 fold.  You have the ability to be 100 fold.  No matter what you have, you still have that ability.  That is demonstrated in the parable of the master that went away and gave unto his servants ten talents, five talents, and one talent.  It doesn’t make any difference if you’re the one talent or the five talents.  There is an expectation in God, that you would bring forth fruit unto Him.  You do it in connection with the tree.  I haven’t found one almond tree that produces out there all by itself.  I lop off the limb, and throw it on the ground.  And I expect it to bear fruit?  That’s silly, isn’t it?  And yet, that’s what we do with regard to our relationship with the Body, or our relationship with God.  We think that we can lop off a piece or a portion of the Body and still enjoy some aspect of relationship.  I’ve got news for you, you’re only fooling yourself, and you, above anybody else, will know it.  You know that God does not speak to you like He used to do, God does not flow in you like He used to flow in you.  You know, it took a long time for Adam to die.  Do you think that when Adam ate the fruit, when Eve ate the fruit, they realized that they were dying?  I don’t believe that.  Now, Adam might have had some insight, I don’t know.  Maybe we could ask him when we see him.  I don’t know if he had an insight or not.  But I know what God said that in the day you eat it, you will surely die (Genesis 2:17).  The moment that they took the fruit and they partook of it, something of the aspect of God began to drain out of them.  Something of the strength and vitality that was eternity began to waste away.  Their strength and their consciousness of God began to dissolve.  We see the deterioration from Cain and Abel right down unto Noah, when all humanity was finally infected with the disease that God said unto them, in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.  I’m telling you, if you are moving in that position or experiencing that thing, you are experiencing the aspect of death working in your members.  God will not speak to you as He had spoken to you, God will not flow through you as He had flowed through you.  You will not have the visible results that you would have had, had you not done what you did with regard to lopping off something that was a part or a piece of the Body of God. 

There is a revelation that I believe is in the Bible, that you and I have an opportunity to see and understand with regard to this principle.  This spirit that infects the Body, that makes the Body turn upon itself, is not a good thing.  You know that cancer is a little like that, I believe.  Does not cancer utilize aspects of its personal environment, not only to hide, but to grow and mature?  Something in the body begins to turn on the body, and begins to develop a disease within the body that has the ability to destroy the body.  All the time you think you’re healthy until you begin to feel some little discomfort, or little pain, or something twitching or hurting you.  You go to the doctor and all of a sudden that ugly word, “cancer,” is pronounced over you, and it’s as if someone has signed, as it were, a death warrant with regard to you, and your name is across the top of it.  There is a cancer in the Body of Christ that is working to bring destruction to the plans and the purposes of God.  You know, the devil hasn’t changed his tactics, he hasn’t changed his mode of operation.  What do they call them?  Modus Operandi?  M.O.?  He hasn’t changed his position or his desire, and especially so when we find ourselves on the verge of spiritual history being made when we find ourselves on the verge of the kingdom of the antichrist coming into a position, a place of fullness, as we stand upon the verge of becoming the sons of God.  How much more is a spirit that was alive in the days of Moses, alive in the day of the end-time sons of God?  How much more is the devouring devil running about seeking whom he may devour?  Oftentimes, he’s devouring within.  Hallelujah.  The Bible says, in I Peter, continuing on there in the second chapter, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 

There is a need for intercessors in the Body of Christ, especially in this hour and in this day.  Hallelujah.  You know, any time that I see something of the nature of the Body turning upon itself, I think of some of the stories that bring forth that type of example in the scriptures.  You know, there are those types of examples.  The Midianites.  There was a Midianite spirit maybe, I don’t know, that rose up in the camp of the Midianites when they came to attack the household of faith.  The brother or the sister might be in a place of deception, or you might be in a place of deception.  Your only safety lies, not in the position of being happy about their adversity or their maladies, but being in a place of intercession for them, that the destiny to which God has called them might come to a place of fulfillment.  The way that God destroyed the Midianites or allowed them to be destroyed, was to allow a spirit of division to come within their midst and they rose up against themselves and they slew one another.  Do you know that when we rise up against one another to smite one another, we are not rising up in the Spirit of God, we are not rising up in the spirit of faith, we are not rising up in the spirit of love and compassion and concern, but we are rising up in a Midianite spirit?  And oftentimes it’s for our own sake of personal preference.  It’s no mistake that the Bible says that we are to pray for them that despitefully use us (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:28).  Have you been despitefully used?  Do feel like you have been despicably treated?  DO YOU HAVE A CONTENTION WITH AN INDIVIDUAL, OR A BROTHER OR SISTER, BECAUSE THEY HAVE MOVED IN A DESPICABLE MANNER?  DO YOU WANT SOME SORT OF SATISFACTION?  DO YOU WANT SOME SORT OF JUSTIFICATION?  DO YOU WANT SOME SORT OF VINDICATION?  IF YOU DO, YOU’RE WRONG!!  You’re wrong!  You’re not in the position or the place of “God so loved the world,” which is the rudiment of our birth, the rudiment of our position of spirituality.  We do not understand the ministry to which we have been called as individuals. 

God so loved the world, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died (Romans 5:8).  Is it just a matter of dying?  He labored in and amongst them.  He prayed for them, He said, “Peter, I have prayed for you.  I have prayed for you (Luke 22:32).”  He took Judas…are you dealing with a Judas?  Have you made the determination that they are unsaveable?  Have you come to the conclusion that it’s hopeless with regard to them?  Are you dealing with a Judas?  Well then, deal with them as Christ dealt with Judas.  He gave him the purse, He gave him liberty, He gave him the opportunity to hear the revelation of being a son of God.  He gave him an opportunity to rule and reign with Him.  For three and a half years He labored with that thief, with that man, that despicable man.  He labored with him, He lived with him, He slept with him, He ate with him.  Can you imagine what kind of man he must have been?  Personal habit-wise?  You know, I believe if you are bad spiritually, you are bad physically.  You don’t do the things that make you comfortable to be around.  Yet He labored with him, He labored with him, He labored with him!  He labored with him until it came to the time that there was nothing else that He could do, and He released him.  He released him!  He released him and that means there was a power that Christ had over a man’s soul, and He held him, He held him, He held him, and He held him.  He held him!  Do you understand?  You have the power to hold someone from sin!  YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HOLD SOMEONE FROM SIN!  The only reason for which you can relinquish your grasp, your hold, is if God says to you, “Let him go.”  You have no other prerogative as a son of God, you have no other position or place, you have no other responsibility, do you hear me?  How dare we allow our humanity to dictate to us, or to dictate to God, how the kingdom of God should work?!  He held the man. 

I want to tell you something.  God tells you to release people, if you are really holding them by the Spirit.  I remember one time years ago, there was this elderly person that I had a great deal of affection for.  I didn’t see her very many times, just a few times.  She really wasn’t in the things of the move of God that we are in, or I was in at the time, but there was really something in my heart that was one with her, and there was something in her heart that was one with me.  She had an affection for me.  She never spoke it, she never said it, but I could feel it in the Spirit, and it was just comfortable to be around her.  You understand what I mean.  One time I got called to come because she was dying.  Now, this is a literal example to express a spiritual principle.  When I went in she was not conscious, she was semiconscious, you know, how you get when you’re on the edge, on the verge of going home to be with God.  You’re here, but you’re not here, you’re over there, and God is talking to you all the time.  As I came into the room and I reached out and grasped her hand, her hand squeezed on mine, and the minute she squeezed me, I heard, in the Lord, “I want to go.  I want to go.”  So I said, “God, we release our sister.  We release her in Jesus’ name.  We release her into Your hands.”  And you know, she just slipped away into the hands of God.  There comes a place and a time in the spiritual level, that if you’re hanging on to someone, if you’re moving in the Spirit of God and your concern is that this individual reach the optimum level of spirituality, that they fulfill the calling and election of God but God sees something in their position, or in their character, that defies the moving of the Holy Ghost, He will say to you, “Release them.”  It is not your prerogative to say, “I release you.”  It is God that speaks to you!  And let me tell you, you’d better be sure that it’s God.  You’d better be sure that you’re praying in the Spirit and by the Spirit. 

We have been called as kings and priests, we have been called as warriors of God.  We’ve been called to elevate our position or place of relationship.  We have been called to a different dimension of understanding.  Hallelujah!  We should be functioning and working to bring forth the revelation of the Body in the midst of our own personal environment.  I have been created for one purpose only, and for one purpose only have I been created, that I might be a part, a cog, a piece in the picture of God.  No matter what that part or that piece is, that’s why I have been created.  It is my desire to expend my energy, expend myself, my circumstance, my natural resources, for the purpose of bringing forth God!  I don’t know why it is that we think that we are different.  I don’t know if it’s because of the Western culture that we live in, but I don’t think it’s that because I have seen it in other mentalities and thinking in other cultures that don’t have what we have.  Yet it seems that our natural environment is so paramount and so pressed upon us that it becomes the epitome of all that is eternal and it’s not.

Have you ever thought about it, that you are allotted, what?  Threescore and 10?  That’s 70 years.  You know, when I was this young man’s age, I never thought about being 50.  I never thought about 70.  And you know, 70 is a whole lot closer now than it was when I was your age.  Huh?  Time has a way of slipping by, time has a way of just evaporating, time has a way of being blown upon.  Fact of the matter is, it says man is as grass (I Peter 1:24).  So temporal.  Have you ever tried to nourish grass?  The least little bit of lack of water, it dies.  The least little bit of lack of fertilizer, it doesn’t produce.  The least little bit of traffic you get on it, it dies.  Grass is not something that is always looking healthy.  You’re always having to do something to keep it looking vibrant.  In fact, you put up signs, “Keep Off The Grass.”  We need a reality of the kingdom of God.  We need a reality. 

I listen to a lot of tapes.  I thank God, I was thinking about it the other day, I thank God for those who have gone on before me.  Brother Warnock is one of them.  We still have him, thank God.  Brother Ravenhill is another one that I have learned much from.  He’s no longer with us.  Do you know that that generation is slowly passing away?  Do you know that in America we are almost a whole generation away from any type of trouble or tribulation that we have ever experienced on a national level?  Those that have gone through that are gone, my folks are dead, they went through the Depression and all those things.  We don’t have that type of experience very much anymore.  Hallelujah! 

I wonder what you spend your time listening to.  The people in the Bible suffered for the sake of the kingdom of God.  In the New Testament, Jesus says unto the hierarchy, “You’ve killed all of the prophets!  You slew every one of them”(Matthew 23:31, 37)!  Even Zacharias, was it, between the porch and the altar (Matthew 23:35).  That means he was in the temple when they slew him!  In the ministry of his office, in the midst of his giving forth of the Word of God, they slew him!  And they turned around and they slew Stephen!  Hebrews says of the church that they lived in holes (Hebrews 11:38).  Jesus says of Himself, I have no place to lay My head (Matthew 8:20, Luke 9:58).  What makes you and I think that we’re different?  What makes you think that there’s some position or place that you and I can find where we will not have to suffer in that manner or have like things happen to us?  Malachi was the last prophet that God brought on the scene.  Do you know that the building of the temple was 16 years delayed from the time that it started until the Samaritans came in and began tostir up?  You read it and it’s like it’s only a short time between this chapter and that chapter, but it was something like 15 years.  The Samaritans, do you know what a Samaritan was?  He was a mixture of Jew and Gentile.  Hello.  He was a mixture of Jew and Gentile.  Hallelujah!  It was 16 years that they delayed the building of the temple and God sent this man into the midst of them with a burden.  He said it was a burden of the Word of the Lord to Israel, by Malachi.  I thank God for people that have a burden for the Body of Christ, that spend their time, their energy, their money, their finances, their lives for the sake of the Body of Christ.  I suggest that you read the whole book of Malachi.  I think it’s very apropos to your and my situations with regard to our involvement in the thing that God is doing in this hour.  Do we not believe that God is rebuilding the temple of God?  Do we not believe that you and I are the temple of God that God is rebuilding?  Is it not then paramount for us to be involved in and doing whatever it takes to bring forth that revelation and that manifestation?  Would not the thing that is being spoken of by these prophets be pertinent to the circumstance and the situation that you and I are in?  Is it history?  Is it just something that happened back there and was recorded, or is it pertinent?  Is it pertinent to the hour we live in, to the circumstances we are in, to the people we associate with and fellowship with?  There is so much to do.  There is so much to do.  There is so much to do and not enough strength to do it!  Well, I can tell you one thing, by the time I got to Malachi chapter 3, and it says, who shall stand at His appearing (verse 2), I could say in my mind, “Not those people in chapter one and two.  Those people in one and two aren’t going to be standing, they are not going to be abiding the coming of God.  And God, if I’m in one and two, deliver my soul, deliver my being from that position of affliction!  Deliver myself from that position of transgression!  Deliver me, God, deliver me!  I want to stand!”  Malachi 2:1, And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. 2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.

This is the Word of the Lord to the Body of Christ.  If you are in a position or if you are in a place, and guilty of what these people are guilty of, may God have mercy on you.  May God have mercy on us.  May God have mercy on us!  Verse 3, Behold, I will corrupt your seed.  How pertinent is that?  I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces.  You know what it’s talking about.  Do you know what it’s talking about?  It’s talking about children and the shame that they bring.  What does Proverbs say about a child, that a disobedient child brings shame (Proverbs 29:15)?  Even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. 4 And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. 5 My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.  We’re talking about the fear of God.  6 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. 7 For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. You don’t have to wonder who the messenger of the Lord of hosts is.  The Bible tells you who the messenger of the Lord of hosts is.  We’re using verse one as apropos to our time element, to our time frame, to the thing that we are involved in.  If that is so, then this is so.  You cannot take it out of context so it means this, and it doesn’t mean that.  This is pertinent to you and I! 

9 Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.  They were keeping part of it.  Keeping a piece of it, keeping some little aspect of it, some sort of religiosity or some sort of holiness, a little bit of spirituality.

10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?  It is talking about Judah, it is not talking about the outer court people, not talking about the household of faith per se, but talking about Judah. 11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem…  This comes right on home to us.  This comes home to us!  The terminology of the Bible is spiritual, and it means that there is a spiritual people that is called Jerusalem.  There’s a spiritual people that is called Judah.

 …for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.   Do you know that self-will is an idol, it is a god, and some of us are married to it?  Self-will.

12 The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. 13 And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand.  I believe, quite frankly, that some of the things that we have done that God has allowed us to do, God has somewhat winked at our doing of it.  He is no longer going to wink, nor do what He would have done had we not done it.  I think that there is something of a preciseness and an exactness that God is going to begin to exact upon us, with regard to our administration and our position and our responsibility as sons of God.  Not in the aspect that we are sons, but in the aspect that we want to be sons. 

14 Yet ye say, Wherefore?  Are you saying, “Wherefore have I done this thing?”  Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  There is a relationship that God wants us to have with Him.  There is a relationship that God wants us to have with Him.  That is paramount in the eyes of God.  And then he says in verse one of chapter 3, Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

I ask you, do you think chapter one and two and those who were therein will stand in the midst of that coming?  Do you think that they will survive the refiner’s fire?  Do think that they will be able to abide the fuller’s soap?  I don’t think so.  I don’t want to be found in that place.  I don’t want you to be found in that place.  Let us commit ourselves to the hand of God.  Let us release our destinies into the hand of God.  Let us release our hopes, our aspirations, our desires, the things that we dream about, let us release them into the hand of God, and ask God to bring forth a revelation of His kingdom within us, in Jesus’ name.

 

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