How Much Of God Do You Have?

John 17:11, 21-23: And I am no longer in the world; yet they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy father, keep them in Your name, which You have given to Me, that they may be one even as We are…That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us that the world may believe that You have sent Me. And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.

This chapter of the gospel of John is the Lord’s prayer to the Father not long before His death. Here we see His desire to have a group of people who are truly one. This type of oneness cannot be in the natural man. Just look at the world around us. There is only hatred, enmity, division. And it’s not because man is all bad. There are many people with genuinely good hearts and good intentions. However, God is not looking for a group of people that have figured out a way to “bear one another” and “get along.” Actually, if we look at the tabernacle, it is a wonderful picture of the only way that Christians may truly be one. The tabernacle consisted of standing wooden boards made of Acacia wood. This Acacia wood was overlaid with gold. According to biblical scholars gold typifies the divine nature of God. It is only when we (as the standing boards) are overlaid with God (gold) that we are able to come together in oneness and be the habitation of God.

So, I ask you: How much of God do you have?

Today, our real need is for us to “sink into God.” Here are five crucial ways to gain the gold!

  1. Love the Lord. It is not a small matter to open our mouth and tell Him, “Lord, I love You. I really love You.”
  2. Contact the Lord. Contacting God is a moment by moment matter. Don’t wait to be in a “holy” place. Don’t wait to be the right person. Don’t wait! Just reach out and talk to Him!
  3. Listen to the Lord’s word. God is a speaking God. He speaks not only through the Word, but also gives us His instant speaking through our human spirit. We must take heed to the Lord’s speaking within us. When He says, “No.” We should simply respond, “amen.”
  4. Pray to the Lord. We need to take time to enter into a deeper fellowship with the Lord through our daily prayer to Him in and with the Word of God.
  5. Walk according to the spirit. Just like heeding the Lord’s word, we need to walk according to the spirit and not live simply according to our good intention and natural human concepts.

May we be those who are overlaid with gold to be the proper materials for the building of God’s house.

 

The Central Revelation

What is the point of the Bible? What is the whole point of living a Christian life? Is it to learn to be a good person? If so, I think 99.9% of Christians are failing at it. I wholeheartedly include myself in that 99.9%. And it’s not even just a matter of relativity: As in we are all “bad” because we don’t measure up to Jesus’ walk on earth. That’s not the point, see. So what is the basic and central revelation of the Bible?

Life and building are the basic and central revelation of the Bible.

Remember how the children of Israel were saved from bondage in Egypt? Recall what God said to Pharaoh about letting His people go that a they would serve Him in the wilderness? Well, after they reach the wilderness, what are they required to do? Two big things that we see in Exodus chapters 25-28 are the matters of the tabernacle and the priesthood.

In the gospel of John we also see these two matters. The tabernacle was God’s dwelling place on earth. When the Lord Jesus walked the earth He Himself was the real tabernacle, He was the dwelling place of God. Now in the epistles we are told that we, together, as the church are the dwelling place of God. This is not a matter of who we are, what we do or don’t do, etc. This is 100% a matter of the life within us. The gospel of John tells us that to those who believed into Him He gave the authority to be called children of God. To be a child of God is to have the life of our Father God.

When we have this life, there is a certain issue. In Exodus the sequence is first the life and building (tabernacle) and then the priesthood (service). This means that our service to God issues from our being built into God’s dwelling place and is for the building of God’s dwelling place.

God’s unique goal is the building. God desires to have a house, a home. A place for His rest. He wants this with us. If we want to be those whose service is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord than we must be built up in God’s house and do a work of building up God’s house.

The Tabernacle

The burden of the message on the three tabernacles (the type, the reality, and the consummation) centers on the experience of the believers in the tabernacle. The experience of it can be seen by the Psalmist’s experience in Psalm 84. The center of this Psalm is in verse 3:

At Your two altars even the sparrow has found a home;/ And the swallow, a nest for herself,/ Where she may lay her young, /O Jehovah of hosts, my King and my God.

The two altars refer to the bronze altar of burnt offering at the entrance in the outer court and the golden incense altar belonging to the Holy of Holies. These two altars have everything to do with our experience of the tabernacle.

The first altar, the bronze altar of burnt offering, was just inside the outer court. It signifies Christ crucified so that sinners may have an entrance into God’s dwelling place. It is at this altar that all of our problems before God are solved. We are redeemed, justified, reconciled, and accepted by God. It is through the daily experience of this Christ that we have the way to come to God boldly and enter into the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies to enjoy all the riches of God.

The second altar, the golden incense altar, was placed before the veil and belonged to the Holy of Holies. This altar signifies the ascended Christ. The Christ sitting at the right hand of God who today is interceding for us. His intercession gives us a deeper, fresher, richer experience of God. As we experience this Christ, we are daily, hourly, moment by moment, brought into a deeper more intimate fellowship with God until between us and God there is no more separation or distinction.

In Psalm 84:3 this type of experience is typified by the sparrow finding a refuge and the swallow building a nest. Our refuge is the cross of Christ. Our home is God Himself.

May the Lord have mercy on us that we would be able to experience these two altars that we might find our home and rest in God’s house.

 

Our Service to God

Close your eyes and picture a servant of God. What does this person look like? What does this person do? How does this person act? How does this person live? How does this person talk?

Regardless of our background or “religion” our mind comes up with a very similar picture so I won’t bother drawing one for you; however, what does the Bible have to say about serving God?

Multiple times in Exodus, Moses spoke to Pharaoh and related God’s words: “Let My people go that they may serve Me in the wilderness.” But what exactly did God want the children of Israel to do in the wilderness? Exodus 5:1, 17 state: “”Let My people go that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness…let us go and sacrifice to Jehovah.”

So what does it mean for us to serve God today? Are we supposed to back our bags and head out to Death Valley and have a party? Well, as we know, the Old Testament are types and shadows, pictures of a divine truth revealed in the New Testament. Let’s look at a story from the Gospels:

The Lord and His disciples were walking through Samaria. It was lunch time so the disciples went off to buy food for themselves and the Lord. The Lord then went to wait by a well. While He was waiting a woman came to draw water. He and she get into a religious discussion about the place where one is to worship God. Eventually the Lord reveals two things to her: One that true worshippers worship in spirit and that He is the One who gives living water that quenches man’s thirst. The woman, after this encounter runs off to tell those of her encounter with the Lord. The disciples then return with food and the Lord tells them that He has food that they know not of. The disciples, of course, are confused. Are you? Do you see the connection here? That woman, by drinking of the Lord as the living water (believing in Him) became a servant of God (held a feast for Him). So, going back to Exodus, the sole purpose of the children of Israel in the wilderness was for them to believe God, love God, experience God. Their being with God, and living with God was their service to God.

Today, God is still seeking these “True Worshippers.” He is still seeking servants. He doesn’t need us to “do” anything for Him. He simply wants us to spend time with Him. We need to “shut off” all the things that distract us and enter into a tranquil and transparent realm where we can meet with God. When we meet with Him, He gives us the experiences we need of Him so that He then has a way to shine out through our living. Our living, our very being becomes an expression of God and all that He is (love, light, holy, righteous).

This is to serve God. May the Lord have mercy on us that we could live a life of “feasting with God in the wilderness.”

Know God, Know His Ways

A few days ago, I had a realization: I have a very difficult time giving up control. This was a brand new realization, I always actually thought I was a pretty easy-going, hands-off type person. Over the last few years, (maybe longer) I have been in an internal struggle with the Lord over so many different aspects of my life. So the realization came about because I just realized, I want to control all parts of my life and yet, I don’t know what God is doing in me, or where He is going in my life. At the moment, the verse in Psalms came to mind that says something like: My thoughts are higher than your thoughts and my ways are higher than your ways. Inwardly, the struggle was over (at least for this particular thing) and in its place was just a peaceful, “Amen, Lord.”

Well, the second message was a confirmation of this experience. In Exodus 33:13 Moses offers a prayer to God in which he says, “Please let me know Your ways, that I may know You.”

Moses was led by God to know God’s ways. His ways refer to the ways in which He deals with us. This is a personal and intimate matter. God does not deal with every believer in the same way, rather He deals with each one of us in a very particular, intimate, detailed way. Our Christian journey is an eternal memorial between us and the Lord. Thus it is a matter that includes only us and the Lord, not any other person. This means that we cannot compare our walk with the Lord to anyone else’s. This means that our complaining to the Lord because His ways of dealing with us differs from His ways of dealing with someone else is vain.

We need to learn this crucial matter of knowing God’s ways of dealing with us. When we know His ways, we will come to know God. To know God means that we know Him as the God in our life. We will see that, actually, He is God and He is very good at being God. He knows what He is doing. Then, all that is left for us to do is accept His ways and to bow down and worship.

When we know God, accept His ways, and worship Him as God, then we will no longer be opinionated toward God, we no longer will attempt to give God advice or counsel, we no longer will demand that He explain and vindicate Himself because of what He chooses to do or not to do in our life. Instead, we will see what God does and simply be able to say, “Amen, Lord. I still just love You.”

When we relinquish control; when we know God; when we know and accept His ways; then and only then can we experience a peaceful life. This kind of a life is a simple life, it is a trusting life.

What can I say? Inside there is only an echo of Moses prayer, “Please let me know Your ways, that I may know You.” I pray this for myself and for each one of God’s children. May we each individually come to know and accept God’s ways of dealing with us and in this way, come to know Him as the only True and Real One.

A Matter of the Heart

Idols. Everyone has heard the word and we all have some particular idea of what is an “idol.” In the book of Exodus (Chapters 32,33) there is a clear instance where the children of Israel worshipped an idol: the golden-calf. While Moses was on the mountain top receiving the Ten Commandments from God, the children of Israel led by Aaron, forged a golden-calf and in the name of The Lord, worshipped it!

What happened was that when Moses was sent down to the camp, he broke the tablets that God had given him and took his tent and pitched it outside of the camp. If anyone, then, desired to receive a word from God they had to go outside the camp to Moses’ tent because here was God’s presence.

In Hebrews we are told that the children of Israel and their experiences are examples to us. So what is this matter of the golden-calf and the worshipping of it?

First of all, it is a matter of our heart. An idol, isn’t just a golden-calf (or otherwise) statue that we glorify. An idol is anything set up in our heart that usurps God’s place in us. Ezekiel 14:5, 7-8  shows us this; it reads: “That I may lay hold of the house of Israel in their heart, who have become estranged from Me because of all their idols…For each and every man of the house of Israel or of the sojourners who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart…I will set My face against the man, and I will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people…”

What “thing” is usurping God’s place in our heart? How can we remove the idols from our heart? Well, in the case of the children of Israel, Moses reacted by pitching his tent outside the camp. What does this mean? Did you notice the words that I italicized in my recounting of the story above? “In the name of the Lord.” That’s right, look at the verses themselves:

Exodus 32:4-6 And he [Aaron] took the gold from their hand and fashioned it with an engraving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt! And when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; then Aaron made a proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a feast to Jehovah. And they rose up early on the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

Did you catch that? “a feast to Jehovah.” They also did it with an altar and with offerings, just the way God had ordained all of their forefathers to worship Him. But was this the true worship that God desired? Obviously not, when God saw this He told Moses that the people had “corrupted themselves.” In fact, the reason Moses left the camp was because the entire camp had become corrupted. These were God’s people! The camp here signifies corrupted religious people who though they belong to the Lord in name, in actuality worship idols, that is they worship something and seek for something other than the Lord Himself.

We need to be those who remove the idols from our heart so that we “leave” our own corrupted religion and seek the Lord “outside the camp.” In Hebrews, we are given the secret of how to do this. Hebrews 6:19 states “Which we have as an anchor of the soul, both secure and firm and which enters within the veil” To enter within the veil is to come into the Holy Place. This is our spirit. When we turn our heart to the Lord, then the Lord has a way to work within us to remove all of the idols from our heart and give us a pure heart that seeks after only God Himself.

So, I will leave you with this: Psalms 27:8 “When you say, Seek My face,/ To You my heart says, Your face, Oh Jehovah, will I seek.”

Remember how God said He would turn His face against the one with idols set up in his heart? Well, Just like those who sought after God’s presence were required to go outside the camp, so when we answer the call in Psalms 27 to seek His face, we too will automatically be brought “outside the camp.”

Seek God, while He may yet be found. 😉

 

Study Questions ST2016

Well, it’s time for another semi-annual. I will update enjoyment from the messages throughout the week. For those of you who want them, I will update this post with the study questions for each message.

 

Message One:

  1. What is the intrinsic significance of the law and the sin of idolatry?
  2. What is the intrinsic significance of Moses’ going outside the camp, of the principal of the golden-calf idol, and of Moses being a companion of God outside the idolatrous camp?
  3. What is the goal and ultimate conclusion of the book of Hebrews?

Message Two:

  1. Why does God want us to know Him?
  2. What does it mean to know God as God, and what is required for us to know Him as God?
  3. What are the ways of God, and, from the Word and your experience, what have you learned concerning accepting the ways of God and worshipping His ways?
  4. What is the connection between John 17:3 and 1John 5:20, and what does it mean to know the true One?

Message Three:

  1. Explain the parallel between holding a feast to God and sacrificing to Him.
  2. Why did God have to bring His people to the mountain and show them the pattern there so that they could serve Him?
  3. Describe the blood of the covenant and the fire from heaven, which respectively enables and motivates us to serve God.
  4. Clarify the goal of God’s salvation in terms of the priestly service and the building of God’s house.
  5. To appreciate the scope of the message, try to commit to memory the eight main points (the Roman Numerals) of the outline.

Message Four:

  1. What are the three tabernacles revealed int he Holy Scriptures and their respective significances?
  2. Show how the New Testament, from Matthew through Revelation, is a record of the divine incarnation.
  3. Prove the close relationship between the golden incense altar in the Holy Place and the Ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies.
  4. Show how our experience of the two altars (the bronze altar of burnt offering and the golden altar of incense) leads us to be incorporated into the tabernacle, the incarnated Triune God, to become a part of the corporate Christ.

Message Five:

  1. What is the centra revelation of the Bible?
  2. Demonstrate that God’s house and the priesthood are one entity through the passages in Exodus 27:20-28:2 and 1Peter 2:5 and 2:9.
  3. Explain the importance of the building up of the believers into a spiritual house for the service of the priesthood.
  4. What is God’s unique goal?

Message Six:

  1. Say something about the introduction to this message.
  2. What is the highest definition of the oneness of the Body of Christ?
  3. What is the first aspect of the oneness of the Triune God seen in the tabernacle?
  4. What is the second aspect of the oneness of the Triune God seen in the tabernacle?
  5. What is the third aspect of the oneness of the Triune God seen in the tabernacle?

Message Seven:

  1. What is the significance of the four pillars on which the veil was hung, and why is there a great need for such pillars in the churches today?
  2. What is the significance of the five pillars attached to the screen, and according to what was spoken in the message, what does it mean to preach the gospel in the Body?
  3. Explain in detail why it is necessary for believers to be reconciled to God.
  4. Based upon what was presented in the message, what is the issue of the second step of reconciliation?

Message Eight:

  1. Explain the significance of Exodus 27:20-21 being inserted between the complete description of the tabernacle and the instructions concerning the garments for the priesthood.
  2. In order to light the lamps in the sanctuary, we must first experience the light ourselves. Explain the experiences we need in order to see the divine light and to walk in the divine light.
  3. Describe, from the experiential side, the fours elements involved in the genuine lighten got the lamps int he church meetings.
  4. What kind of person is qualified to light the lamps in the sanctuary? Explain his qualifications.

Message Nine:

  1. Explain why the breastplate should be considered the central and ultimate point of the priesthood.
  2. Using a case from the Old Testament, describe how the breastplate with the Urim and the Thummim functioned to provide a specific leading to God’s people.
  3. What are the requirements for us as the church to be the reality of the breastplate?

Message Ten:

Briefly cover the eightfold significance of the tabernacle related to:

  1. The redemption of Christ
  2. The manifestation o the divine nature
  3. The transformed human nature
  4. The balance in the Body
  5. The reinforcement at the turn of the Lord’s move
  6. The joining with others by the Holy Spirit
  7. The coving of a “fourfold” Christ
  8. The need of pillars in the building