Will you Follow Him?
Beloved Family… It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that an enormous ‘Wave of Salvation’ has recently begun to wash over our planet. I’m getting news bits from a variety of directions that indicate this is so. The reports contain news about astounding, very unexpected changes that are suddenly taking place in the hearts of more and more people. They’re being touched deeply by ‘Someone’ spiritual who is invisible to us. And He’s speaking into many hearts and their owners are being drawn to Him.
“But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives Life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are Life. But there are some of you (Israelites) who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that NO ONE CAN COME TO ME UNLESS IT HAS BEEN GRANTED HIM FROM THE FATHER!” (John 6:61-65 Amplification and emphasis added.)
At this time, the Lord made a tremendously deep statement. He revealed that only by His Holy Spirit, does Father draw people to His Son, the Living Word. And it seems that at this time, Father is drawing an increasing number from this generation to a conviction of Sin, and wholehearted repentance, and Salvation. Gloriously astounding tangible signs of radical life changes are emerging from within them! And more and more of these blessed people are becoming totally devoted to God’s service!
So there seems to be a ‘Grace Period,’ a ‘Window of Opportunity’ that has opened up… in the spiritual realms… through which God is impacting the world and revealing more of the incredible depths of His awesome Grace and Lovingkindness… through His Creative, Spirit-empowered Living Redemptive Word… His beloved Son!
I urge you to begin to look for signs of this taking place in your personal spheres of perception, awareness and influence. Perhaps you too will begin to hear and see similar things happening in your circles. If this is truly what is happening, I’d like to offer some things for our consideration, concerning the way the Holy Spirit will most likely be preparing the ‘soil’ of human hearts in the Last Days, for the sowing of the Seed of God’s Life-Giving Word. We need to become deeply aware of what traits and characteristics God has put into that Last Days Seed… so we can become aligned with His will and the true purpose He keeps in His heart. So let’s begin to ponder what is embedded within the parable and subsequent explanation that our Lord shared with some of His fellow first century Israelites:
“Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9)
Beloved, we’ve all read and heard this numerous times. And we’ve heard all kinds of teaching about it. But for now… let me direct your attention to what immediately follows the parable:
“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them:
“To you (My Israelite disciples) it has been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them (that is, to those Israelites whose hearts are not willing to follow Me into the New Covenant My Father has made with Israel) it has not been granted. For whoever has (a wholehearted open, obedient attitude to Me and what My Father sent Me here to be and do), to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have (the right heart attitude toward Me, and what I’m here to do at My Father’s command), even what he has shall be taken away from him!
“Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says: ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive; for the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear, and THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, otherwise they would see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’ (Matthew 13:10-15 Amplification and emphasis added.)
Dear ones… this is awesome revelation! Can you understand the enormous difference in the spirits of those two groups? The ‘multitudes’ would tail after the Lord, God’s Living Word… for short spurts of time. But then they’d leave Him… to occupy themselves with other ‘side issues’ that kept drawing them away from Him! At times, they’d focus intently upon Rabbi Yeshua… but then they’d forget all about Him, and immerse themselves in other things that, in their minds, were not connected with Him and what He was sent here to do. Nevertheless, those things seemed, to them, to be of equal, or greater, importance! But to His personal disciples, He was Everything… full time!
So we can consider the multitudes to have been ‘Part-time disciples’ or, more accurately, ‘exempt civilians’, who were unwilling to wear His uniform and serve fulltime under His Command. But beloved, the Lord is telling us that there is no such thing as a part time disciple! In this all-important area, God will never allow our hearts to remain double-minded and ambivalent and tentative. If we’re going to follow His call to follow Him out of this fallen world and let go of all of our entanglements to its systems… we must be wholeheartedly ready to forsake our former lives… and willing to drop everything… so we can be free to pursue Him and follow wherever He may lead us. The living Word of God revealed this to Israel through Moses! It was God’s Living Word, speaking through Moses, who said to them:
“You shall love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-6 Emphasis added.)
We can’t love God, who has spoken His Living Word to us, if we don’t wholeheartedly receive, embrace and follow His Word. His Word became flesh! And He is God’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased! So we must be willing to do whatever the Word says, with everything that is within us. We must follow Him with the heart velocity of bullets that are fired from a gun! There can be no ‘exempt civilians’ lurking in the ranks of the Last Days disciples! Every one of them will have to be what I sometimes call, ‘bullet heads’, or, ‘Kamikaze-level’ warriors… that will give their all to Him, and for Him… all the time… regardless of the circumstances!
So I ask you to notice that Yeshua never changed His attitude or His purposes in order to accommodate Himself to any of the contrary needs or wishes of those whom He had summoned to follow Him. He didn’t require that much from the multitudes; but with His disciples, He never backed off. He never ‘dumbed down’ His messages or requirements. Remember this awesome and changeless fact: the Word made flesh came to fulfill every jot and tittle of what His Father had revealed, commanded, promised and written… since Genesis!
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished! Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!“ (Matthew 5:17-20 Emphasis added.)
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All Authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations (train the Gentiles also to be My disciples), baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe ALL that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 Amplification and emphasis added.)
So, because of the supreme importance of what He was sent here to be and to do, our Messiah was adamant with the message He kept giving to the disciples He was training and preparing for the dawn of the New Covenant Era. The Truth is that only God’s Word Himself has what it would take to fulfill everything He was sent to reveal, command and promise to Israel and the world! Every revelation, commandment and promise is a revelation of Him, and what He was sent to do to us, in us and through us! This is at the heart of the New Covenant God has made with Israel and through her, with the rest of the world.
So it follows that in order to partake of the Righteousness, Loving Obedience and Perfection with which only He can obey the Father’s Will and Plan… the fallen human race, without exception, MUST believe, obey, embrace and become one with Him… the awesome Perfect Word… in whom the Father is well pleased. Apart from Him we can do nothing. But when we’re one with Him, all things are possible! This is what His New Covenant disciples would have to learn and absorb in order to fulfill their calling and purpose.
So, whenever He was dealing with them, He always operated on a ‘Here it is; take it or leave it,’ basis. He made it very clear that He was not here to beg or plead with them. He wasn’t here to ask for their approval and acceptance. He wasn’t asking them to ‘give Him a chance, or a try’. He wasn’t here to compete with all the other options that are presented in the world’s idolatrous menu of options. Nor was He interested in having them become willing to ‘ask Him into their lives’ so that He could sit by and wait upon them to decide how much attention and space they might be willing to allow Him, amid their busy worldly side schedules. And He most certainly did not come to bless their radically independent lives and to help them do a better job of running them. He came to take over and preside over everything that pertained to them – Absolutely, Completely and Eternally!
“Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God!” (Luke 9:61-62)
“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? (Luke 17:7-8)
God’s Living Word is here to take over completely… to require all fallen human flesh to drop everything of this world in which we are currently entangled. So we must be free to follow Him… with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength! Beloved… despite how fond we’ve become of our pat evangelistic formulas, our Master isn’t here to ‘come into OUR lives!’ He came to summon us all to forsake and crucify those ‘lives’… to crucify and dispose of them permanently. He must have free reign to be Himself to us and in us… in all of His Fullness… to be to us Eternal Life… in exchange for the Sin and Death that come from radical independence from God. If we submit all of that to the Cross, He will set us free from slavery to ourselves! The Lord is here to bring us into HIS ETERNAL RESURRECTION LIFE… so that His LIFE can impart His Fruit into us and reveal it through us! In this way, God can give us credit for what His own Eternal Word has done! This is what this fallen world must know about disciples and their ‘job description’… while there is still time for people to be saved from the Judgment that is to come!
So Yeshua wasn’t the least bit interested in getting people to become weekly ‘synagogue attenders’ or ‘church goers’! He demanded that we be His true disciples… that we love, trust and serve Him wholeheartedly… without any reservations whatsoever… at the level of true, authentic, personal FULLTIME bond slaves! That’s what He meant by the term, ‘disciples’!
The Lord came into our midst to take back everything the Serpent had usurped through the gullibility of our first parents! He came to retake the entire captive human race and bring it back under His very own Authority, as His own Personal Property and Possession and Treasure! And this is why He took pains to reveal the difference between the standoffish ‘multitudes’… and His own personal ‘disciples’ who trusted Him enough to be willing to drop everything in order to follow Him wherever He might lead.
But the multitudes could not bring themselves to trust Him that much. So they dabbled with Him on a ‘part-time basis.’ At times they appeared to be totally His… but at other times, they backed off and kept their distance. And it is because of that double-minded, half-hearted, back and forth, in and out kind of association, that He would only speak to them in parables.
But with His disciples, it was another matter. Yes, they too were spiritually obtuse and they still were trapped in their fallen dying flesh. They were still as selfish and self-centered and rebellious and controlling and manipulative and destructive as all the others… BUT… they were ready and willing to abide with Him and follow Him at all times… in all things. They were His personal Family and Household… FULL TIME!
Wherever He went… they went. When He stopped, they stopped. When He changed locations, they went with Him, when He got into trouble, they went through it with Him. Unworthy as they were, they were actually His personal Household… His SERVANTS OR BOND SLAVES! And they most certainly did not have any other side occupations or alternate identities or hobbies or agendas to develop or pursue, apart from Him, in their spare time! God’s Living Word was their one and only Agenda and Pursuit and Occupation and Motive for whatever they would ever choose to do or not do in the future. So, in this sense, they were ‘True Israelites’. And that also made them to be ‘True Disciples’ that were worthy of that title.
So beloved… in the Last Days Arena of Testimony… that’s the caliber of disciples that we will have to be. We must become equipped and fully trained and prepared to persevere no matter what. And we’ll have to be able to hold and protect our God-given Blood Covenant Ground… and overcome… any and all opposition… until the enemy finally realizes and admits that they have already been completely routed and driven into the ground… by the Perfect Finished Work of our Messiah! The true disciples will know this and that is what will enable them to stand firm. They’ll know that the war has already been won by their risen Lord, and will thus be able to see through and dismiss the deceptive, lying ploys of those that oppose them. But to those so-called disciples that still do not know these awesome facts, the Lord says this:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!’” (Revelation 3:15-22)
So very patiently, lovingly and thoroughly, the Lord spent the few precious first century years He had to complete His work on Earth… teaching, explaining and training those who were truly His very own.
“With many such parables He was speaking the Word to them (the multitudes), so far as they were able to hear it; and He did not speak to them without a parable; but He was explaining everything privately to His own disciples.” (Mark 4:33-34 Amplification and emphasis added.)
Dear ones, it’s going to be our job to give the whole world a very clear idea of what exactly the Lord calls His chosen ones to be and to do! Our job is not to try to prove anything by intellectual arguments. We’re not called to try to convince the world by forcing things to happen or by inventing clever manipulative programs or relying on emotionally stimulating devices to get people to accept that Christianity is a better way of life and the best path to follow! No beloved… we are not to focus on manipulating other people. We are to submit to and focus upon YESHUA! He alone is… THE PATH… the ONLY REAL PATH that is available to the human race!
So, it is our job to demonstrate the Truth of His Perfect Presence… by proving that our Messiah is truly and actually… risen from the dead and alive within us! We must demonstrate this Reality, through a ‘Watch us… now you try it’… disciple-training format. We must prove, by His supernatural Word-validating ‘fruit’ that begins to come out of our very lives, that the risen Lord has actually broken the power that Sin and Death and Worldliness had over us, and that He is actually living and working from within us! And this is what true, authentic Last Days disciples actually are to be and do… 24/7!
To demonstrate this to beginners will not be difficult or complicated. All we will have to do is… to be totally, perpetually focused upon our Master… depending on Him and drawing everything we need from Him… full time… for everything… in every situation… no matter what else may or may not be happening to us, in us or around us! And as we do that, He will manifest the truth of His words to the world. So, it will not be the people around us that we will have to convince of His Truth, Reality and Nearness… WE ARE THE ONES WHO WILL HAVE TO BE CONVINCED OF IT! If that happens, then everything else will fall into place and the Last Days Fulfillment will take care of itself! When He is truly our Supreme Lord, Master, Owner and sole Source of supply… we’ll be embodying and reflecting Him to others as He really is!
“Moreover (when the New Covenant that God will make with you Israelites, finally comes) the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live… For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in Heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to Heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the Word is very near you, (the Living Word of God is even now) in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it (that is, that you may embody what He has revealed to you about Himself, through me, Moses).” (Deuteronomy 30:6; 11-14 Amplification and emphasis added.)
Regardless of how inept, ignorant or clumsy His disciples were when He began teaching them, Yeshua did whatever was necessary to train them and give them the time they needed to mature, grow, develop and transform. He took great pains to explain everything they needed to know, because they were always present and available to Him. And He was also able, by His own life-example which they were always present to witness, to demonstrate the vast difference between those who truly are God’s chosen, separated priestly people, His living image and likeness, and those that remain double-minded, worldly, half-hearted, and unwilling to stand with God at all times, as disciples of His Word. How could anyone assume that God will be less diligent in training us than He was in training them? Would God give less attention to those that are called to fulfill His New Covenant Era than He gave to those that were called to introduce and launch it? No… that will never be. He is with us… ALWAYS! And He’s ready to start training, teaching and disciplining us… as soon as we believe He is here, with us, to such a degree that we will actually learn to interact with Him at all times.
So I ask you to pay close attention to the vast difference between the two groups of Israelites we read about in the Gospels. The writers of the Gospels tell us that one group ‘got it’… but the other group, even though it was extremely religious and truly blessed by God, did not have a clue concerning His true identity and significance!
So what was it about those people in the Gospels, and in the book of Acts, who did not recognize Yeshua for who He really was? What was missing in them? Beloved… I submit that the big difference between those who were wholehearted in their devotion to Yeshua… as opposed to those that were half-hearted, is this:
The difference between people that know Him accurately and precisely, and those that do not know Him accurately and precisely, is in the purpose Father has assigned to them. I propose that this calling to follow His Word comes from God and is only under His power and control. We do not choose to follow God’s Word. God chooses us, and sends His Word to summon us! Discipleship is not due to the will or initiative of men. So it is not our job to judge or compare ourselves to other people, nor are we to condemn them. Our job to make sure we have true obedience that comes from true faith. That will ensure that we have a right relationship with God and His Word and Holy Spirit.
“To you it has been granted (by God) to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” (Matthew 13:11-12 Amplification added.)
“But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me UNLESS IT HAS BEEN GRANTED HIM FROM THE FATHER!” (John 6:64-65 Emphasis added.)
So we can see from this that we’re dealing with a Mystery of the Sovereign Will and Plan of Almighty God! God is revealing more of Himself and His Plan to us through this. And we can see from other Scripture revelations that the difference between the two groups of people in this context has to do with whether they are able to know Yeshua as He truly is… or whether they have to settle for some imaginary, ‘homemade’ idea of Him that fallen intellects and imaginations devise for themselves.
If disciples truly know Him as He really is, it is because they have been personally pierced and penetrated and impregnated with God-given Knowledge. They have received a personal, God-given revelation of Yeshua! And that revelation will always leave them stunned and senseless and overwhelmed by His awesome Majesty and Authority! It isn’t something they have learned about Him. THEY KNOW HIM! And, from that time forward, they are ‘spoiled’ for this fallen world and its systems. From then on, it is not this world and the fallen dying men and women that serve as its custodians that they fear and hold in awe… IT IS THE RISEN LORD that they hold in awe!
“Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things, thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord.
“But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word!“ (Isaiah 66:1-2 Emphasis added.)
When you know Him like that, there is no doubt in your mind as to whether or not you will embrace Him totally and make Him the Center of your entire existence! You will have no other choice; you will be compelled by His Reality, Truth and Authority to focus on Him and Him alone! But, if people don’t know Him as really He is, they will continue to consider Him as just one, among many other empty and meaningless ‘options.’
But of course, all New Covenant disciples are intended to know Him at this level. But… if we are not wholehearted and full-time in our dependence on our Messiah, it will be because we have not yet submitted to His Authority over us. And then our true colors will show through. Those that are watching and learning from us will not be able to learn what they need to learn from us. So they will not know what true disciples really are. Nor will they be made ready and willing to go all the way with Him either. They will only be willing to be and do what they have seen us being willing to be and do!
The very idea of true disciples being part time or half-hearted is ludicrous. Can you even imagine something as ridiculous as trying to be a part-time mother or father, or a part-time husband or wife? When you enter into such blood covenant level relationships… there is absolutely no place for double-mindedness or half-hearted commitments, is there? And there’s no use trying to use a leaky vessel to contain water or coffee securely, is there?
Many in modern Christendom are the ‘Christian Equivalent’ of those first century ‘multitudes’ to whom the Lord only spoke in parables. The multitudes ‘went to church’ only they called it ‘synagogue.’ And many of them were much better versed in the Scriptures than we are! They observed the traditional Biblical feasts and the time-honored customs and dress and traditions of Israel! They behaved and talked like ‘Good Israelites’; and today, there are many who behave and talk like ‘Good Christians.’ But the Lord clearly tells us: that will not be enough to make disciples out of us. But He told us very clearly that He wants full time disciples, not part time dabblers! So we must submit totally and wholeheartedly to His Authority over us, and follow Him full time, no matter what! So take these words to heart:
“To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him! (Matthew 13:11-12)
I ask you to ponder the enormous before and after difference that took place in the spirit, soul, body and earthly existence of Saul of Tarsus in relation to the way he came to know Yeshua of Nazareth. One moment, he was like a terroristic thug, intent on hunting down any Messianic Jew he could lay his hands on… and then POW! He was pierced, penetrated and impregnated by the Living Word of the Living God! And after that moment, he was never the same:
“Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.“ (Acts 9:1-9)
Beloved, has something like that happened to you? Notice that in that awesome encounter with the risen Lord, Saul, who all of his life had been rooted in the Covenant of Sinai… suddenly died to that… and was reborn and transplanted into Israel’s New Covenant! As soon as he received that awesome Flash of Divine Revelation, Saul died to whatever he once was… And from that moment forward, he lived only to God… and submitted himself, spirit, soul, and body, past, present and future solely to His Messiah! He knew the Messiah so well after that, that he didn’t have to argue or try to convince or persuade other people to believe in Him. Instead, he relied on the Power of Almighty God to speak and intervene and validate the Truth and Reality of His own resurrected Son… the Living Word! He knew that what the Lord had done for Him, He would do for them, in His own way and in His own time.
Dear ones, do you know Yeshua like that? If you do, you will understand what happens to people when the risen Lord invades your space and take over completely. If you don’t, you’ll have to settle for whatever false impression and bogus description you can find in one or the other of this fallen world’s intellectual or social or religious ‘dumpsters’! The difference between the two ways of ‘knowing’ Him will be like night and DAY! If disciples truly know Him as He really is, they’re left stunned and senseless and overwhelmed by His awesome Majesty and Authority. From that time forward, it won’t be this world and the fallen dying men and women that serve as its custodians that they will fear and hold in awe… IT WILL BE THE RISEN LORD that they hold in awe, because they will know that He truly is here to fulfill everything His Father has revealed, commanded and promised, as only God’s own Word could do!
When you know the Word like that, there is no doubt in your mind as to whether or not you are compelled to embrace Him totally and make Him the Center of your entire existence! But, if people don’t know Him as really He is, they merely consider Him to be one, among many other empty meaningless religious concepts and dead ritualistic ‘options.’
A false understanding of God inevitably makes Him out to be much less than He really is. False understandings of Him allow more than one ‘menu’ to exist. The alternate menus are filled with a variety of possible choices we might make… instead of choosing God’s Living Word. In that case, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or Israel, becomes just another member of the world’s pantheon of gods… one of many available ‘buffet options’ from which people assume they are free to pick and choose. So, naturally, that’s what they do. They shop around and choose what seems best to their subjective sensibilities… so they can continue to suit themselves.
But when God’s Word revealed Himself to Abraham and Moses and Isaiah and to Saul of Tarsus… He wasn’t just another ‘entree’ to be displayed in a buffet type restaurant! He was the Underpinning and Sustainer of all of Creation… including every person, event or situation that Paul would ever encounter in the future! And in the Last Days Arena of Testimony… this is the depth to which we will also have to know our risen Lord! If we do, we will not have to seek anyone’s approval or acceptance. We will not have to hope or strive to earn anyone’s agreement. We will know the Truth. The Truth will set us free and raise us to a level that none of the devotees of the Lord’s non-existent competition will be able to reach! And so it will be enough for us to endure, persevere and wait patiently upon Him to finish His work of Salvation. And then… the time for His Judgment over all of Creation will be at hand.
And so beloved, this was the issue that God clearly brought out and put before Israel! In Yeshua’s day, Israel was filled with its own ‘denominations,’ sects, groups and factions. And in the days of Moses, the people of God had already been subjected to the worldly Egyptian version of the ‘God Buffet’… for over four hundred years! God’s chosen people were used to the idolatrous atmosphere of this fallen world… where people picked and chose from the vast variety of gods that were being offered. And Israel has been used to living amid all of that throughout all the centuries of her existence! But when that is what surrounds you, your mind naturally assumes that the world has many choices for us to choose from. And that is why bickering and arguing and striving continue unabated to this day.
And that is especially true of us who live in the twenty-first century. For we live in the Ultimate Consumer-based Society! In our society, ‘The Customer Is Always Right!’ But in the estimation of God and His Eternal Kingdom, we who love to shop around and pick and choose to suit ourselves in the enormous ‘God Buffet’ that offers so many possible entrees for people to pick from, people may call themselves, ‘customers’, or, ‘consumers’, but spiritually speaking, they hold those perspectives because they are still separated from a true knowledge and understanding of our Creator. And so they will be desperately in need of Him to save them from themselves!
All of that ‘diversity’ and ‘plurality’ that has been allowed to seep into our unconscious ideas of what is ‘true’ and ‘normal’, are spiritually lethal! So, disciples cannot afford to make peace with being part of a world system that provides ‘multiple choices’ concerning everything… even for the idea of ‘god!’ This is why God calls His chosen ones out of this world! None of what is common and normal in this temporary sinking ship will ever be seen in the Kingdom of God!
And so, suddenly, at very strategic times in God’s Plan… the True Living God sends His Living Word once more… to invade the world’s space and to pierce, penetrate and impregnate the victims of all of the demonic lies and falsehoods that become encrusted within their minds and hearts. He did that to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He did it to Joseph and Moses and Joshua and Caleb! He did it to all of Israel’s prophets and to her New Covenant apostles. He revealed Himself to the apostles at various times, AS HE REALLY WAS! They didn’t just have memories of Him. They didn’t merely harbor theological concepts concerning Him in their intellects. They were blasted and overwhelmed by His glorious Resurrection Presence! And, after He revealed Himself to them, He commissioned those that He had so pierced with this Reality… to repent of all they thought they had thought or known before that point. They had to forsake all that former religious fluff in which they had once believed, before His coming and before the overwhelming Revelation He had given to them. And from that time forward… they belonged to Him entirely! And they followed God’s Living Word full time, regardless of the cost. Despite horrendous demonic opposition, despite all the intimidation with which the worldly powers tried to force upon them, they proclaimed Yeshua… and Him alone… as He really is… whether this radically independent, self-asserting world liked it or not!
Beloved, God Himself reveals His beloved Son to the true disciples of every generation. And, thanks to the true Spirit-empowered, authentic testimony of those true, crucified, Spirit-empowered disciples, eventually, all the rest of mankind will be able to see and know the Truth… and many of them will be set free, before the Final Judgment comes. Those among them that will see and learn the Truth God will show them, are going to transform into the personal image and likeness of the true, one and only Living God of Israel. Thus they too will become authentic disciples of God’s beloved Son. And the others, who fail to embrace and absorb this Truth, will remain trapped in the Darkness of demonic delusion and continue to serve as the image and likeness of the rebellious, disobedient Serpent!
So we see in the book of Exodus, that God’s Living Word appeared to the entire nation of Israel… in awesome, terrifying Power… to transform those former slaves into His totally liberated prophetic priestly nation. They were to serve as God’s ‘Light to the Gentiles.’ So the Word appeared to them in that awesome overwhelming display of thunder, lightning and fire… to reveal Himself to them… as He really and truly IS… and to awaken them from the stupor that was induced by the Serpent’s lies!
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments!” (Exodus 20:2-6)
Dear ones… this is very difficult for our fallen flesh to handle. Even Israel, despite all that God has done to reveal Himself to her, has always struggled with this. Nevertheless, God is revealing that, in Reality… THERE IS NO BUFFET! There is no menu containing a multitude of alternate options from which men can pick and choose! There is only ONE GOD… ONLY ONE SOURCE… ONE CHOICE… FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING! Life, Provision and Wellbeing do not come from any other alternate source(s)! God’s Living Word abides with us and works in us on a permanent and exclusive basis, to be and do EVERYTHING we will ever need as we make our way through time and space and into eternity.
He is the only one that provides each one of us with every breath… every heartbeat… every brainwave and impulse… possession… ability… experience and asset any of us creatures will ever have! Everything comes from Him… and it will all return back to Him… in the End. And so God’s response to our humanistic claims about how independent and autonomous we can afford to assume we are, is diametrically opposed to anything this fallen world may dare to teach and demand to the contrary. And perhaps, as we consider these things, it would be good to consider something else we may have never thought about before… especially if we’re still struggling with that bad habit of being half-hearted and double-minded with God. If we still assume that we can afford to divide our heart’s devotion and trust in a variety of directions… putting some of our trust in God… and putting some other portions of it upon other things that He has created, then consider this:
How airtight and faithful and single-minded would you like the Real God to be with you, in relation to your personal care and protection? Is it okay with you if He is double-minded and sloppy? Is it okay with you if He only thinks about you part-time? Is it okay with you if He ‘springs a lot of leaks’ in the way He is devoted and faithful to you and your best interests? Will it be enough for you if He only supplies your breaths, heartbeats and brain waves on a ‘part-time basis?’ Will you be satisfied with having Him look after you and protect you and your loved ones… part time, in a half-hearted and very iffy way?
If that will satisfy you, then it’s okay for you to be the image and likeness of that part-time, half-hearted, double-minded god! But if you must have a God that is Eternally wholehearted in His faithfulness to you… and you presume to hope that He will restore you back to being His image and likeness… then it’s obvious that you will have to transform into His accurate wholehearted image and likeness!
If you ponder these issues in this light… you will see that if you do not have the right relationship with the one and only true and Living God… you will not be in position to receive everything you need from Him. Instead of eating exclusively at His Table… you’ll take it upon yourself to ‘eat out’… but there is no real other place that will be able to serve you what is actually REAL! So you will always be out of position to receive what can only come from the one and only Source! That is why you can’t afford to have a god that will give you life-sustenance ‘part-time!’ So, if having a part-time, half-hearted god isn’t good enough for you, then how could you assume that you, being a part-time, half-hearted, double-minded disciple of His Word will satisfy the Living God?
“But Jesus, conscious that His disciples grumbled at this, said to them, “Does this cause you to stumble? What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives Life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and are Life! But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew, from the beginning, who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?”
“Simon Peter answered Him, “LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE! WE HAVE BELIEVED AND HAVE COME TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE HOLY ONE OF GOD!” Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” (John 6:61-70)
Beloved… in that Last Days Salvation Roundup that has already begun to take place, there can be no doubt, ambivalence or misunderstanding on our part! We must have a firm grasp of the one true Gospel of Salvation and what it really and truly requires of God… and of us! And if it truly has been assigned to us to serve as God’s Last Days ‘Welcoming Committee’ for all the precious ones that Father is about to begin to draw to Himself… we must be faithful and true to God… and to them! We must project nothing but the Truth to the world… with accuracy and precision. We can only do that by personal example… in every conversation, teaching, explanation and interaction with other people.
We must not give out wrong impressions, false coordinates or imprecise directions… we must not steer people farther away from their Heavenly Father than they already are! We must realize that, thanks to the chaotic, unpredictability of the ways of this modern world, more and more people are already becoming very upset, extremely fearful and anxiety-ridden! So they are ready and willing to drop their false gods and begin to pursue Truth and Reality, and to receive reliable directions for the future during these very troublesome and increasingly difficult times. And that is what we Last Days disciples are being trained and equipped and prepared and commissioned to give them.
God’s faithful servants must be adamant and unyielding in their Testimony! Only then will they be the reliable, Truth-filled guides for those He is drawing to Himself that our Master requires! Remember the Revelation God gave to Moses in the Torah… His Living Word revealed that He had already created and instituted EVERYTHING that His Father originally sent Him to create and institute! Everything is already done and finished and perfectly complete and available for us in Eternity! (See Genesis 1 & 2:1-3) And God sent His Word to be here with us, to serve as our EXCLUSIVE Shepherd, Protector, Provider and Guide, to transmit God’s Perfect All-Sufficient Grace in Eternity… to us who live in space and time here on Earth! God has taken care of everything. He has everything and everyone completely covered! He is all we will ever need! And the disciples must be utterly convinced that this is so.
So it’s our responsibility, as His image and likeness, to be just as wholehearted in our focus and confidence and trust in His Eternal Perfection, as He is toward us… in His Perfect Love and Airtight, All Sufficient Blood Covenant Faithfulness! His Perfection and All-Sufficiency are what we are required to embody to the people around us. And that is why half-hearted, double-minded, part-time dabblers will never qualify to serve as our Messiah’s authentic New Covenant disciples.
Our devotion to our wholehearted God must respond to Him in the same wholehearted way that He deals with and supplies us! His airtight Credibility and Trustworthiness must be accurately reflected by our airtight Belief and childlike Reliance upon Him. Our focus must be exclusively on Him… and His Eternal Perfection. That is the level of Faith that will adequately serve as the ‘Mirror’ that will reflect the blinding Light that is God’s Beacon of Truth. If we reflect the absolute Perfection of God’s Light, faithfully and accurately, it will pierce, penetrate and dispel the demonic Darkness that enshrouds this fallen world! Our proclamation to all men must give the clear Message that they too can afford to draw continuously from our Lord Yeshua… receiving everything they will ever need for their Eternal salvation and wellbeing from Him and from Him alone!
“Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking about at those (fulltime disciples) who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF GOD, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35)
Yeshua made very clear distinctions between ‘part-timers’ who ‘go through all the external motions’ of being ‘Biblical’ and ‘Ecclesiastical’ as opposed to those who are single-minded in their focus and wholehearted in abiding in His Presence and Service. So we know God won’t accept what is merely a half-hearted external religious show. He’s concerned with where our hearts really and truly are… and what the prime object of our focus is, at all times. He wants to know whether or not we look to Him as our one and only Source. And when we truly know Him as He is… He becomes Preeminent to us… and all of that other fluff will disintegrate and disappear from our mental viewing screens!
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your Treasure is, there your heart will be also!” (Matthew 6:19-21; 7:15-27; Colossians 3:1-4)
Many people will respond to this with disgust and contempt. They consider messages like this to be mindless, irresponsible and highly impractical. They accuse people like us of being ‘so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly use!’ But they will react in that arrogant and self-assured way only because they still have not been allowed to see and experience the awesome Revelation that God has granted to us.
Their time to receive the same level of revelation may be coming. But until it does, they will be treading on very, very thin ice! What they will keep saying will appear to many others (that also do not yet know the risen Lord) to be sound and ‘down to earth’ and ‘practical’. To many of them it may even sound ‘spiritual and religious!’ But in truth, they will only be revealing their true humanistic self-adoring colors. Their slogans will contradict what God has revealed and said. Their humanistic message will continue to be: ‘God helps those that help themselves!’ But beloved, that is total delusion and a great deception. Only people that have not received the living Revelation of the Lord’s resurrected Presence can continue to think and speak like that. The Truth is that such talk is actually demonic in origin! That slogan implies that we have two or more sources to trust in and choose from… two or more gods! And that’s exactly what the Serpent suggested to Eve! Idolatry is what he so cleverly concealed and managed to slip deep into Eve’s heart in the beginning:
“The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil!” (Genesis 3:4-5 Emphasis added.)
At that moment, the Serpent gained access to Eve’s heart. He did it by blotting God’s Menu, that has only one option, out of her mind. And in its place, he slipped his delusionary ‘multiple choice menu’ into her innermost being. Thus, he lured Eve into becoming the first part-time, double-minded, half-hearted humanist. The integrity of her former faith in the one true Creator, and sole Source for all things, had a hole punched into it. Now her mind and heart had no purity or integrity or lucidity. Now her ability to understand Truth and Reality was mutilated, and so was that of her husband. So the souls of our first parents became useless containers that could no longer hold anything with integrity and reliability! They became like ‘sieves’ with innumerable ‘holes’ permeating every part! And that is the kind of souls that we have all inherited from our first parents!
So this is the challenge with which we all must contend: Now that God’s Living Word has singled us out and invited and challenged us to follow Him, we cannot afford to have even one leak in our ‘faith container.’ If there’s even one leak in our faith… we’ll never really and truly drop everything in order to follow Him! We won’t dare trust Him that much… with the wholeheartedness God is requiring of us… until we have seen and experience and known what God revealed to the true disciples of God’s Word that have preceded us!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It would be psychologically impossible for us to have faith in a god that would require more of us than he does of himself! It would be crazy to expect our faith to exceed that god’s ability and willingness to meet our needs! Let me say that another way: It’s impossible for us to place wholehearted airtight trust in a limited god whose faithfulness and ability leak! Such a being would not deserve our wholehearted trust! Who in his right mind would dare to give full time trust and credibility on such an absurd basis? Would you knowingly embark on a sea voyage… on a doomed ship whose hull had lost its airtight/ watertight integrity? What good would it be to believe, trust and obey a part-time, half-hearted god who could be relied upon to serve as our Provider, Protecter, Rescuer and Champion… once in a while? Who could be content with such a half-hearted, flaky, part-time deity! Could we ever be sure, at any given moment, that we could trust in something so imperfect?
No beloved, if the true, Almighty Living God requires us to have perfect, airtight faith in Him… then know that HE IS PERFECTLY CREDIBLE, TRUSTWORTHY AND AIRTIGHT IN HIS RELIABILITY AND LOYALTY TO US! GLORY BE TO GOD… THAT IS EXACTLY THE WAY THE REAL TRUE LIVING GOD ACTUALLY IS!
This is why it is so important for us to know our Lord and Master utterly precise Biblical accuracy. He has revealed this to us… with accuracy and integrity… in writing. And He has proven and validated the Truth of His Revelation by the Power of the Holy Spirit, who raised His Living Word made flesh from the Dead! And that’s why the job of the disciples that truly do know Him will prove to be so important. With such solidly-grounded emissaries and living embodiments testifying to the Truth and Glory of His Son’s Resurrection… as the Father continues to validate what they say with His awesome Power… can there be any doubt that the ultimate success of the Last Days Invasion of the Kingdom of Heaven will be total and complete?
“Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
“Remember your leaders [for it was they] who brought you the Word of God; and consider the result of their conduct [the outcome of their godly lives], and imitate their faith [their conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things, the Provider of eternal salvation through Christ, and imitate their reliance on God with ABSOLUTE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN HIS POWER, WISDOM AND GOODNESS]. JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNALLY CHANGELESS ALWAYS] the same yesterday and today and forever!” (Hebrews 13:5-8 Amplified Bible Emphasis added.)
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