Dear brothers and sisters, this is not too hard to understand. If there is no increase, you should know that you have not had much growth, and you have not experienced much building. It is a regrettable thing that some Christians know a great many doctrines and have a good amount of Bible knowledge, yet they have only a very limited measure of the element of God in them.
When you meet such a one, you sense that he is a poor person who is short of God within. Please remember that being enriched in biblical knowledge does not make you a rich person. Only the increase of God Himself in you can make you rich. A person may know the Scriptures quite well yet still be a light person. God is not only the richness but also the weightiness in man. Sometimes when you meet a believer, you have the feeling that he is so poor, light, superficial, and short of God.
The more he talks about biblical doctrines, the more you feel that this person is destitute and as light as a feather. This indicates that he lacks God within. On the other hand, sometimes when you meet a believer, you sense that he is rich and weighty. When he speaks, even if it is just an ordinary sentence, it is still weighty. This is because he has a good measure of the element of God. You see that his will, emotion, perception, and the way he handles things are full of God. This is neither theory nor superstition.
All those who have spiritual experience know that this is the spiritual reality and that God Himself is this reality. As we grow up, eventually we will reach a certain stage and arrive at a full-grown man, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. When a person arrives at this stage, he is living before God and in God, just as Christ lives. A person with the measure of the stature of Christ does not loosely criticize or judge the church. Some brothers and sisters criticize and judge as soon as they experience something unpleasant.
This is because they do not have the measure of the stature of Christ. Some brothers and sisters are unrestricted in their speaking, and their lips have never been circumcised. They constantly stir up disputes and engage in loose talk among the saints. They are just like telegram dispatchers and telephone operators. This is also because they do not have the measure of the stature of Christ. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.
Because of the sinning of the Christian believers numerous people of the world are ignorant of God. There is no witness of God apart from the good works of the believers. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. We must keep a firm control over the appetites and lusts of our physical body. If we do not, our body will lead us into sin and we will disqualify ourselves from having any reward in the Kingdom of God.
No matter how great may be the results of our ministry, we will be cast from the Presence of Christ if we give way to our flesh. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. All people, including Christians, are tested in this world. God is faithful and makes a way of escape for the Christian so he or she can go through the test without sinning against God. Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.
God assists our pursuit of godliness by sending suffering on us. As we note from the verse above, if we allow our suffering to drive us to prayer the result will be we turn away from sin and live according to the will of God. When suffering comes upon you, go to the Lord. Do not blame Satan or people. Go to the Lord. If you are a believer it is highly possible you are experiencing God's discipline. Be very thankful because the end will be peace and holiness.
Peace and holiness are highly desirable attributes of behavior and are found in every true member of the Body of Christ. The unbelievers may be ready to blame us for all their troubles, but if we continue in godly, righteous behavior they will be forced to acknowledge their error and will give glory to God in the day when He visits them. The contribution of the evangelist is necessary as the Lord adds to the Church daily such as should be saved.
But the witness to the world consists of the godly character and behavior of the believers. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. Righteousness and praise can spring up in the sight of the nations of the earth only as the members of the Body of Christ are righteous in behavior.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, Gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Righteous character and behavior require the evil to be removed and the good added. As we follow the Spirit of God, cooperating with Him in every detail, He casts out the evil and fills us with the good. Love is infinitely more than the absence of hate. Love, joy, and peace are not the fruit of the Christian but of the Spirit.
Such qualities cannot possibly come from Adam though he try with all his might. They can come only as a human being meditates in the Scriptures to discover how he should be behaving and then goes to the Lord for help. If we hope to be raised from the dead and caught up to meet the Lord in the air we must be righteous in character and behavior. No believer who has not added the qualities of personality described in Second Peter has any hope of ascending to meet the Lord in His Day.
Such moral transformation another way of saying the formation of Christ in us is absolutely necessary if we are to participate in the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth. We must have faith that Jesus is able to transform us. The Christian churches often have maintained it is impossible to rise above sin while we are in the present world.
The Scriptures do not agree with this point of view. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. The New Testament informs us we can gain victory over sin through Jesus Christ. This will not take place in our personality until we are willing to mix faith with the Word of God. Righteous behavior comprises those kinds of actions that generally are considered by Christians and non-Christians alike as being righteous and godly. They correspond to the voice of conscience.
The only people on earth, apparently, who are confused concerning the nature of righteous behavior are the Christians. We have listed several verses of Scripture that exhort us to stop sinning and do the will of God, to exercise a strong hand over our flesh. The choice is ours.
We can choose to be the slave of righteousness and thus be qualified to be a member of the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord. Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. We can choose to obey the teaching and live, or we can choose to be a slave to sin and thus kill our own spiritual life, our hope of attaining the first resurrection from the dead.
The Judgment Seat of Christ will evaluate the choices we made during our lifetime and reward us accordingly. The wages for all people, including Christians of sin is spiritual death. The gift of the opportunity to attain eternal life has been given us from the Lord. Will we receive it and act on it?
It is a good thing to hold the hand of God. But because of the pressures coming upon us in these days we need to have God hold our hand. Due to the spread of sin throughout the world the prevalence of demon spirits and rebellious angels is increasing. The crimes committed in the United States are so heinous as to be beyond description. We are becoming accustomed to children shooting other children in school, to people chopping up bodies and leaving the parts in different locations.
It seems there is no end to the horrors. Yet the government keeps on playing political games, fiddling while Rome is burning. But if we consent to be the bondslave of Jesus Christ, God has promised to hold our hand. When God is holding our hand we can walk on the very brink of disaster as safely as though we were home in bed—in fact more safely. When you lay down at night do you say, "Lord, you alone make me dwell in safety"?
It is a good idea. A few months ago a spider bit my eye while I was snuggled "safely" under the blankets. What does this teach us about safety? How safe a child feels when Dad is holding his hand. How safe we ought to feel when God is holding our hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles. God wants every member of the Body of Christ now, and throughout the ages to come, to be a covenant for the people, a light for the nations of the earth.
The old covenant can be written on tables of stone, on parchment, on paper, on the walls of our house. The new covenant can be written only on the human mind and heart.
What we term the "New Testament" is actually a record of people who themselves are the new covenant. When Christ is formed in us, people can approach Him through us, and God through Christ. All that people need is found in God but they are unable to approach Him. They cannot see Him. When they pray they usually hear no response. God is far away in Heaven, somewhere beyond the galaxies. But when we are the bondslave of Christ, people can come to Christ and God through us and receive their needs and desires. For this purpose each member of God's elect was called and chosen to be the Presence of God Immanuel throughout the creation.
We ourselves are being made the covenant of God with His creatures. This is the role of the royal priesthood. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. One promises to do something and the other agrees and enters the covenant. God spoke the words of the covenant to Moses. Then the Israelites were to obey them.
When the Israelites obeyed the Law of Moses, God was bound by the covenant to bless them, give them victory over their enemies, prosper them in material possessions, and keep them in health. Because the Jews had only the adamic nature to enable them to keep the terms of the Covenant they failed on many occasions. God was not satisfied with them and issued a new covenant. The new covenant is not written with ink but with the Spirit of God. The new covenant cannot be written on parchment or paper but only on the mind and heart of man. The new covenant is not a covenant of the letter, as was the Law of Moses, but a covenant of the Holy Spirit.
The letter of the Law kills but the Holy Spirit gives life. The first covenant was a covenant of condemnation. The new covenant is a covenant of righteousness. The old covenant can be learned by devout, intelligent people and then communicated by speaking and writing to the students. The words of the New Testament can be learned by devout, intelligent people and then communicated by speaking and writing to the students.
A rigorous exegesis can be made of the various passages and then the text can be expounded. When the new covenant is to be formed in a group of people it first must be written on the heart of the apostle sent to them. This does not mean the apostle must first experience the new covenant and then tell the group about it.
Rather the birth and formation of the covenant in the group must be birthed and formed in the apostle. Aaron must carry Israel on his shoulders and over his heart, so to speak. The apostle must be a "father" to the group. But it is in the group that Christ is formed. The new covenant is Christ written in the mind and on the heart. As the apostle is brought down to death the Life of Jesus raises him from the dead.
The superabundance of eternal resurrection Life flows from the apostle to those around him and they live also. Christ is formed in them. They become the new covenant. Paul cried out from the Praetorian barracks, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice. The course of nations is affected. The new covenant is the eternal law of God made flesh in Christ formed in the personality of people who eat that flesh and drink that blood, the flesh and blood of the covenant. It is their responsibility to obey the law placed in their mind and heart.
If they do, the blessing of God will abide on them. Because the resurrected Christ ate the honeycomb we have no doubt He literally will drink new wine with us when the Kingdom comes. Would we be stretching His saying if we pointed out that when we open the door to Him we dine with Him on His body and blood within our own personality?
Perhaps this is a transcendent fulfillment of His promise. Not everyone may have been in a position to read the writings of the Apostle Paul, but they could read Paul himself. They could follow him as he followed Christ. When they did, God blessed them. Perhaps the people of the nations were not able to understand all that was said by those in whom the covenant was formed because of Paul's travail.
But they could read those people. They could follow them as they followed Christ. Every member of the Servant of the Lord, of the Body of Christ, is being made a covenant with the nations of the earth. Christ is being written in our mind and heart through the travail of others, through their gifts and ministries.
Now we are the covenant of God with the nations of the earth. When they are willing to read us and follow us, God will bless them. But the nation and people that will not read and follow the saints will never be blessed by the Lord. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
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If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. During the Kingdom Age the nations of the earth will go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles by coming to be received and blessed by Christ, Head and Body, to enter the Divine covenant communicated by the saints. We can see instantly that none of these marvels can take place until the members of the Body come to the stature of the fullness of Christ.
But the Word says we indeed will come to this fullness and the nations indeed will come and be blessed. Will we indeed be a part of the fullness and the blessing? We will if we obey the Lord today. As we have said, the only moral light to guide the conduct of people is Christ, and Christ in His saints.
The moral light, the testimony, is the righteous behavior of God's elect. There is a time to preach the mysteries of the Gospel. But what the world is waiting to see is the Character of Christ, the new covenant, in the believers. The Gentiles will glorify God when they observe the godly behavior of the believers. But until they do they will view us as charlatans, as the Christian churches are often regarded in America.
It is our own fault! We Christians lay great emphasis on our religious antics. The world is waiting to see truth and integrity. How long are they going to have to wait? Until we are "raptured" and they see us no more? What moral light will guide them then? We need to wake up. The world is descending into Hell and the believers in the Western democracies are having their fun and playing their games.
In the case of the Lord Jesus He opened physical eyes and spiritual eyes. God wants us to do the same. We ought to pray fervently that God will give us the ministry and gifts we need to do the work of the servant. The peoples of the earth need their spiritual eyes opened and sometimes their physical eyes. It isn't going to happen until God empowers His Servant. Let us pray to this end, for the opening of blind eyes is an integral part of the covenant we are being made. Sometimes we become enraged over the abortions, the homosexuality, the drugs, the rapes, and the other abominations of our culture.
There are American Christians in the Midwest who wish the whole West Coast, especially California, would drop off into the Pacific Ocean because of the abominations that are practiced. If we had eyes to see what really is present in the dens of lust we would be horrified by the horrible ghouls that have the people enslaved.
We would want to deliver them from the chains that have them bound. We need to pray that God will open our eyes to the spirit realm so we can see the bondages that encase the minds and hearts of so many Americans. Then we would have compassion. Then we could pray effectively. As long as God leaves us on the earth we should pray that God will help us to grow to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. Then we will be able to free the captives instead of cursing them. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but mighty through God to the tearing down of the strongholds that compel the abortions, the homosexuality, the drugs, the rape, the murder.
People are being driven by demons. How can they help themselves? It is the role of the Body of Christ to free the captives, but not by our own wisdom, strength, or talents. Only as we wait on the Lord and inquire in His temple. Picture the citizens of the nations as prisoners in a huge dungeon. The floor is straw. They are thrown garbage each day for their food.
There are a few iron-barred windows but so high off the floor they cannot see out, and so they huddle in the darkness. This is a true picture of the nations of our day, be they rich or poor. They are eating garbage, sitting on the floor and unable to reach the light, huddled together in the darkness, competing with each other and killing each other for a little dry straw. Across town the Christians are playing ring-around-the-rosy in their churches, jumping up and down next to their pews so they will be able to go up in the rapture.
But then comes a member of the Servant of the Lord, powerful angels at his side, the Glory of the Spirit of God on him and in him. He commands the jailer to stand aside. He reaches for the massive door of granite and steel. The great lock melts away like mist. He pulls and a sliver of golden light reaches across the floor.
The prisoners rush to the door. This is exactly what will take place in the last days. When darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, the Glory of God will rise on the members of the Servant of the Lord, on those who are competent to work with Christ in the work of the Jubilee of release. It is not a time to curse the darkness but to pray and ask God to help us become the fruitful member of the Body He has called us to be. The outlook is bright with the promise of God. I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. In the day when we surrender our self-will and self-seeking to God and permit the Father and the Son to sit on the throne of our life. Salvation occurs in three stages: It is the third stage that is the goal of redemption.
As we enter the third stage of salvation, union with the Father through Christ, we understand the meaning of "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. In its place is a quiet rest in God. The Lord Jesus is our example.
Sometimes a sin hangs on in spite of our determination to cease practicing in it. There is no difference, it is the one Seed of Abraham. Living Stream Ministry retains full copyright on all these materials and hopes that our visitors will respect this. It shall come to pass precisely as He has stated! This is a true picture of the nations of our day, be they rich or poor.
He did not grasp His relationship to the Father. He was a lowly, humble man. He was at home among the poor. Always in every situation He gave the glory to God. He was at rest in the Father, totally free from the need to exalt Himself. Every member of the Servant of the Lord must permit the Spirit of God to deal with him or her until the desired state of oneness with Christ and God is attained. As long as we are seeking our own glory we make all sorts of blunders in our relationships with God and people.
But when the Lord alone is exalted we are fruitful. The world is not waiting for you or me. The world is waiting for God. Jesus Christ came to bring God to people. Now He is the Vine and from the Vine are growing branches. On the branches are being formed the fruit of righteousness and praise. When the nations behold our oneness in God, and the resulting fruit, they will believe that God has sent Jesus Christ. We would so much like for the world to believe in Christ. Jesus said the world will believe when we are one in Him and the Father. The Lord appoints some to preach the Gospel to mankind.
But of more importance is the witness given by the members of the churches. When the world sees Jesus in us they will believe. Throughout Church history the workers have proclaimed the Gospel. Much good has been done. But the testimony of the churches themselves has not been as godly as one could wish. We would like the glory of God for ourselves and for others.
But God will not give His glory to another. It is only as we are one with Him, as the Lord Jesus is, that God is free to share His glory with us. We have many idols in America: Much of God's dealings with us has to do with the removal of the power our idols have over us. Christ is under God. We are under Christ.
The remainder of the creation is to be under us, for it is appointed to the royal priesthood to govern and judge mankind and the angels. Christ continually is removing the gods that are between Himself and us and forcing them under our feet. How we howl in pain and unbelief because of this process! But if we cooperate with God's Spirit there finally is peace and rulership. Christ will have nothing between Himself and us. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.
Our is the age of communication. God also is a communicator. If you want to know what has taken place and what will take place in the future, spend time in prayer each day. The media pride themselves on furnishing us with facts. And so they do. But they do not furnish us with truth. Facts tell us what something weighs, what it looks like, what color it is, when it took place, where it took place, the names of the people involved, their ages, and so forth. They may make a prediction for the future based on the facts at hand. This kind of information is highly prized in our culture. Truth is a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
He helps us to see clearly and objectively what is a fact in the material world. But He is able to do infinitely more than this. Christ informs us of the significance of the thing, person, or event. Also He tells us of the outcome—which may be quite different from that assumed from the facts. The media is one huge lie, designed to bring to pass the desires of the sponsors which usually is the acquiring of money. The reason all sale prices end in 99 dollars or 99 cents is to give us the impression the item is cheaper than it actually is.
Most of what we hear from the government is "spin," that is an interpretation of an event that prejudices the reader in the direction desired by the politicians. The newspapers are slanted. It all is one massive lie. We do not know what really is taking place or why it is taking place. We are the dupes of the super-powerful and wealthy of the world. We are the dull slaves known as "consumers. It is harmful to dwell on this garbage. All we need to do is keep talking to Jesus. He will tell us the truth concerning the past, present, and future.
It is important for us to understand our times correctly. Jesus will give us all the knowledge, understanding, and truth we need to survive. He is absolutely dependable. The Servant of the Lord will finally prevail over the politicians, the wealthy, the powerful of the world. There is nothing they can do about it except fall on their faces before the living God! The creatures of God are full of eyes. God knows all things and in our time we will know all things. Righteousness opens our eyes. Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.
There always is a newness about Jesus Christ. The Christian discipleship is a prolonged, difficult journey through numerous obstacles. We can become weary and frustrated as our expectations are not fulfilled. If we keep praying and do not become discouraged and quit, there come seasons of refreshing. All of a sudden the Lord appears. Then everything is new. We are refreshed in spirit, soul, and often in body.
We renew our strength. We mount up as with wings. Of those who are lifting up themselves, even the youngest and strongest will finally collapse. But the faithful who wait on the Lord will not grow weary or become faint. They always are singing a new song. The firstfruits unto the Lord sing a love song to Him. They alone know the tune and the words. There is a reward for seeking the Lord. His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, all who live in them. We notice in the tenth chapter of Revelation that the great angel of the days just preceding the return of the Lord, stands on the oceans and continents.
God is the Lord of the whole earth. His praise is destined to arise from the ends of the earth, the seas, the continents. It is the responsibility of the Servant of the Lord to install righteousness and praise in every area of our planet. This indeed shall take place! Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements where Kedar lives rejoice. Let the people of Sela sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops. Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands.
The "desert" undoubtedly is speaking of the Arabian Desert and its cities. Kedar was one of the sons of Ishmael and refers to Bedouin Arabs. Sela, the rock, was an Edomite settlement, a rocky plateau feet above sea level—hence "let them shout from the mountaintops. Revival yet shall come to the Arab nations. Pray always for the Arab people because the Lord will get fruit for His table from among them. Again, the people who live on the islands of the sea will be praising the Lord. All the nations of the earth will rejoice when the Lord returns except for the great centers of commerce and education that will be part of the Antichrist system.
They will attempt to prevent the coming of the Lord but they are doomed to total destruction. Truly the creation has been made subject to futility; but it shall be released, at the coming of Christ and His Body, into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.
The Church for some years has been at Pentecost. Pentecost is the fourth feast of the Lord. The next, the fifth feast, is Trumpets. The Blowing of Trumpets announces the war between righteousness and wickedness. In order for justice to be brought to the earth Satan must be cast out. The casting out of Satan is the coming of the Kingdom of God. The price of redemption was paid on the cross of Calvary. But Satan will not release his slaves. The only solution is force, the force of God's Spirit. The Blowing of Trumpets has two aspects, one personal and one kingdom-wide.
The personal fulfillment of Trumpets occurs as the Lord Jesus Christ comes against the enemy in the lives of His people, declaring war against the powers of darkness. The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets will take place when the Lord Jesus descends with His overcomers and drives Satan from the earth. We are not accustomed to this role of the Lord Jesus. But the change is taking place today. Whenever change takes place among people an uproar is created. So it is today.
The believers, naturally, want to cling to the familiar. These hymns of the faith have brought the Christians through many a stormy trial. But new choruses are coming forth having to do with war and battle: On occasion the people will march around the church while the only sound is the drum, some of the worshipers carrying banners, including our great banner with Christ on His white horse descending to make war against His enemies. The worship team on the platform must envision themselves as an advance guard, driving the enemy from the congregation until the people are lifted into the prophetic milieu.
The presence of demons in the United States is increasing daily. The battle continually intensifies. The believers coming in to worship are torn and bleeding from what they have encountered during the week. It is the responsibility of the worship team to mount the attack until the Spirit of God is predominant. The platform during the worship is no place for casual conduct, banter, or any kind of foolishness whatever.
It is to be all-out war and nothing less! All confusion and indecision must be settled in prayer prior to the commencement of the service. Nothing should be said or done that brings the congregation down from the heavenlies or focuses their attention on themselves or on the worship team. The song service should start strong and keep up the militant and worshipful attitude, even during the slower choruses.
He needs those who know the position and reality of ascension. As Christ is interceding in the heavens, there should be a group of people on earth who correspond to Him. As Christ is administrating, He needs some who are qualified to be one with His governmental administration of the universe and the whole earth — and these ones are the full-grown men, those full of the stature of Christ!
The more we allow Christ to live in us, the more His stature in us increases. We should not think that it is only at one point in the future or maybe not in our life-time will we be mature in life. We can, we must, and we will arrive at the stage of full maturity! Let us arrive today — this is not a dream or something unattainable in our lifetime…. The divine life we have received is a growing-unto-maturity life and a maturing life. The Lord is sounding out a call to all of us to come into the fourth stage of the experience of life that we may be mature in life, full of the stature of Christ!
The growth of life is the increase of the stature of Christ within us — and we need to grow in the divine life to arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ Eph. Christ has a fullness — this is His Body. This Body has a stature, and this stature has a measure. The measure of Christ in us needs to grow so that His stature in the Body would grow. Christ is the standard of this stature, and the measure we have is the measure we grow in Christ. We need to be brought on to be a fully grown man.
It refers to the increase of our spiritual stature in Christ. If we are lacking in our spiritual stature we can hardly be built up in the Body of Christ. We need to grow so that there would be more of the stature of Christ in us. We personally need to spend time with the Lord and give Him more ground in our being, and we personally need to assimilate the riches of Christ in our being. As His riches are being assimilated into us, as we allow Christ to make His home in our hearts Eph. Only grown up believers can be built up in the Body.