Monday, 10 January 2011

LUKE (Chapter 14) The purification of the holy place in order to come to “the end of all flesh” (Part 3)


In and through Christ we must be willing to be delivered from the noxious terrestrially and worldly minded view(s) of life.
This new chapter deals with the fatal, worldly influence(s) in the life of Christians; an influence which is experienced by the body (verses 1-6), the spirit (verses 7-11), and the soul (verses 12-24). It is the influence which is exercised on each worldly minded person (and thus also on each worldly minded Christian) by the spirit of this world; by the (demonic) forces in the air, whereby, in our human nature, from birth, there is rebellion against God and His will. And because of this influence by the tempting and deceiving forces going forth from satan, many Christians are reduced to spiritual death, to a life without God and without rules, because the power coming from satan fills them.
But God wants to cleanse us from every sinful lust in our natural spirit, soul and body, which this demonic worldly spirit seeks to manipulate by means of its temptations and deceits. That is also the reason why He says to us: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters..." (2 Corinthians 6:17-18; compare also Isaiah 52:11 and Revelation 18:4). And, if we really do what He asks of us, He will fill us with His nature and Spirit, so that we will be (or become) truly children of the almighty God.
At the end of this chapter (verses 25-35) He advises us to, carefully and with discreetly, accept the purifying and sanctifying working of His power of grace, because it is solely this way of the cross – namely the way we, in and through Christ, must go in order to (completely) die to (the powers of) sin within ourselves – which will lead us to the blessed presence of the fullness of His Spirit in us.

The spiritual death brings sickness in the body.
Luke 14 verse 1-6: "And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched him (closely). And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy (or oedema). And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? And they could (or rather would) not answer him again to these things."
The spiritual death reveals itself here in the dropsy (oedema; this is a sickly [abnormal] accumulation of fluid in the body) of that person, who was also invited into the house of the chief of the Pharisees. The same way the spiritual death can reveal itself in all kinds of sickness in our body, and weaken it, sometimes unto death. But Jesus came to deliver us (completely) from this spiritual death and from all its effects in our body, soul and spirit. And He will heal us, if we surrender to Him (completely), so that we will experience that wonderful rest (of the soul) which is in Him (see Matthew 11:28-29). But, in order to be (completely) healed by Him we must have completely mended our ways and turned away from all the old and sinful things in our heart and life. Also there must be, besides faith in Him, the desire to be (completely) delivered from all influence(s) of the spiritual death, which also causes sickness.

The spiritual death brings pride and the desire for honor and/or fame in our spirit.
Luke 14 verse 7-11: "And he put forth a parable to those which were (also) bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
The Lord here tells us a parable of someone, who was invited to a wedding feast. So are we all invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb of God (Revelation 19:6-10). Every worship service or (public) expression of our faith must be seen in the light of this spiritual feast.
Man finds himself, by nature, and thus under the influence of the spiritual death, very important and, at any occasion, loves to assign himself an important place. This, unfortunately, is also the case at all religious occasions, where one loves to be seen, and heard. Positions in the Church, which were taken this way, whereby one was driven by pride and the desire for honor and/or fame, unfortunately disturbed and/or ruined many gatherings already; sometimes to the extent that congregations were torn apart thereby... When do we learn to subject to that mighty guidance of God's Spirit? When will the sincere plea live in our heart which only asks: "Lord, what would You have me do?" On the other hand many spiritual leaders are also guilty of stubbornness (self-will); of the (often strong) tendency to rule and of short-sightedness, whereby they, and not the Spirit of God, have the say-so.
All those, who by their willfulness, and thus driven by pride or the desire for honor and/or fame, have taken in (or even won [by fighting for it]) positions in the Church of God, or who were called by people or by themselves (and so not by God!) to hold certain positions in the Church, and thus act in their own will, always oppose the Spirit of God, and by doing so harm the Body of Christ! Is it not Christ alone Who is the only Builder of the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:10; Psalm 127:1-2)? Therefore we all are to be called by Him alone, in order to be used as living instruments in and by His building Hand (1 Corinthians 3:10)! Is not Christ alone the only Good Shepherd (John 10)? Therefore all, who are called by Him to the pastoral function, should only be living extensions of His shepherd heart!
The satan, who is the cause of the spiritual death within us, always holds out the false hope to us of a great ministry in the Church and in the world. Let us therefore learn to recognize the voice of satan, and rebuke him, in order to (be able to) take in a lowly place at His feet, giving Him all the glory; to (be able to) hear His loving commands there concerning our ministry in Him, that we perform those in His strength (Romans 12:3). This way we shall learn to honor each other; namely the anointing which (also) works through our brother and/or sister. We shall also learn to esteem others more than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). If we have the sincere desire in our heart to serve Him, and if He has also called us personally thereto, then He shall lead us also personally to that position (appointed by Him) in Him. He will personally prepare us to (be able to) do good works (see Ephesians 2:10). As Christians we should not use our elbows; but God will remove all obstacles personally! In this way He also put David on the throne of Israel. The Word of God is applicable here: "He that believeth shall not make haste" (Isaiah 28:16)!
Should we, however, fill a position in the Church of God while we have not been called to it, and led by the Spirit of God, then we could, if we have a winning human personality, draw many to us and captivate them, but because of us these will, during their earthly life, not become "citizens of heaven" (by which is meant a life of complete subjection and devotion to God). For this is something only the Spirit of God can do. And if we are not called, we miss the so needed anointing of God, because only His anointing can work strongly and with power in the hearts of the audience, whereby they, should they really want this, could be (completely) delivered and renewed by His power. "For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

Because of the spiritual death our soul will crave worldly possessions.
Luke 14 verse 12-14: "Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors: lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."
Here the Lord describes what the motives of the soul are, that is ruled by the spiritual death: such a person is looking for a reward. Such a person likes to receive in return, in some form or another, what he gave the other. Only when we act in the opposite way, will we be deemed holy by the Lord, because it is proof that we have been renewed by Jesus and His Gospel. The NEW LIFE within us is not looking for a reward, but, prompted by the love of God, will give without any desire to receive something in return.
From the above it becomes clear what an enormous difference there is between the desire for (more and more) worldly goods, and the sincere desire for more and more of the Bread (i.e. the spiritual food) of the Kingdom of God. As we can read in the following verse, one of the listeners to Jesus made an allusion to this during the meal in the chief of the Pharisees' house.
Luke 14 verse 15: "And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God."
And, as we can read below, Jesus took up the remark and showed, how all desire for the Bread of the Spirit could disappear gradually, even from the heart of the children of God, when they, by not being alert (enough), have allowed the spiritual death into their life. Then the possession of (many) earthly goods may seem more important to them than eating of this divine banquet, whereby is meant the union with the Lamb of God at His Marriage feast.
Luke 14 verse 16-24: "Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent (in agreement with each other) began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them (try them out): I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of these men which were bidden (first) shall taste of my supper."
With the supper described above, the great Supper of the Marriage of the Lamb is symbolized by the Lord. It is a prophetic type thereof. Here the appalling fact is expressed that those that were invited to this supper, at the time that the Marriage of the Lamb will be celebrated, will have more interest in their possessions in this world, than in the partaking of this (divine) banquet. They give greater priority to worldly goods than to the spiritual and divine.
Those that are (will be) invited to the Supper of the Marriage of the Lamb are children of God; they are the ones who were cleansed in His blood and filled with His Holy Spirit. But we see what will happen in the end-time under the influence of the (ever) increasing unrighteousness: the love for their Lord and Savior, with many, will cool because of the (often unconsciously) permitted intrusions of the spirit of this world (Matthew 24:12). Therefore, especially in this end-time, we must fight sin in all its forms, so also worldly-mindedness, with fire and sword; in order to keep those outside the gates of our heart! (James 4:4). The prophecy of the parable of the five wise and the five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) tells us, that the spirit of this (present) world will have such a great effect on all of the Kingdom of God (namely on all ten virgins), that it will entirely fall asleep (spiritually)!

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By E. van den Worm