Joseph Herrin (08-07-2012)
The hearing ear and the seeing eye, Yahweh has made them both.
That there are so many Christians who do not hear the voice of God today reveals that there are fundamental problems among the body of Christ. One has to go back to the root and address the foundational issues that have led to an absence of spiritual hearing rather than trying to treat symptoms.
As the last post in this series pointed out, a great many believers today have skipped over Christ’s admonition to count the cost of discipleship before they began self-identifying themselves as His followers. To many people today Christianity means little more than receiving forgiveness for their sins and gaining some assurance that they will go to heaven, rather than hell, when they die. Their main responsibility in their relationship to God is maintaining a confession of belief in Jesus/Yahshua as their Savior, the One who paid the penalty for their sins. Beyond this they usually adopt some moral code that is set forth by their denomination, or church leaders. They may pay tithes to their local church, attend functions at a local fellowship on Sunday and Wednesday. If they are sincere they may seek to share their faith with others, yet all of this falls woefully short of the high calling of God for their lives.
Christ Yahshua did not come merely to pay the penalty of mankind’s sin. He came to accomplish the foremost desire of His Father. Since the beginning of this present creation Yahweh has desired to have sons. Nor does He want just any sons. He wants full stature sons in His image and likeness. It was to accomplish this desire of the Father that Christ was sent into the world.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
One of the most common titles used in reference to Yahweh is “Father.” We use this word so frequently that we have failed to perceive how remarkable it is that the Spirit within us teaches us to cry out “Abba, Father!” To be sons of the living God, the Creator of all things, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent One whom no man has ever seen, is something that staggers the mind. One day the sons of God will receive heavenly bodies. They will be glorified like unto the firstborn Son of God. Paul declares that Christians will judge angels. The overcoming sons of God will be fully endued with the powers of the age to come.
The apostle John stated:
I John 3:2-3
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
It is not possible for me to cover this subject in depth here. I have written further on the subject in the book Christ in You – The Hope of Glory.
The apostle John, knowing the purpose of Christ’s appearing to man, to bring forth glorified sons in God’s image, taught that there was much more to being a Christian that confessing certain things about the Son of God. John said, “everyone who has this hope,” the hope of sharing in the glory of Christ in the ages to come, “purifies himself, just as He is pure.” Let me ask you, “How pure is Christ?”
The Scriptures state that there is no unrighteousness in Christ. He was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sinning. To see Christ is to see the Father. This is Yahweh’s desire for you and I. When people look at us Yahweh wants them to see His character. He does not want a bunch of people driving around with bumper stickers on their cars that say, “Christians aren’t perfect, they’re just forgiven.” What an abomination. What a tragic distortion and absolute failure to grasp the purpose for which Christ came. It IS the will of God that we come forth in His image and likeness. It IS His will that we be perfect. Christ ended the Sermon on the Mount with the following words:
“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Christ declared in this same sermon that man must be perfect not only in action, but in thought. It is not enough to abstain from adultery with the wife of one’s neighbor, a man must be faithful in his thoughts as well. It is not enough to refrain from committing murder, a man cannot harbor hatred in his heart for another. Love is the sum of the Law. Love does no harm to its neighbor.
When Christ enters into the life of a man or woman at the moment of their spiritual birth, they are unwashed, unsanctified, and fleshly. Their minds have been corrupted by the deceit of sin. Their soul is intrinsically selfish in its desires. There are many enemies dwelling in the land of their flesh; lust, fear, covetousness, anger, selfishness, pride, impatience, perversions, strife, and the list goes on and on. The Spirit birth is merely the beginning of the work of Christ in the life of a man or woman, yet tragically, the church today has made conversion the goal.
When Christ was preparing to return to the Father He gave final instructions to His followers. He did not tell them to make confessors of Christ out of the unwashed masses. He said:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, 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.”
Christ stated that no man could be His disciple unless He forsook all possessions and all relationships in this earth. Everything has to be secondary to one’s commitment to Christ. A man cannot be a disciple unless He hates his own life. Is it not obvious that the church is NOT making disciples today. Those who are brought into the church in great numbers are told that they may keep their lives. They are even assured that Yahweh wishes to satisfy every material desire in their covetous hearts. This is the message of prosperity proclaimed today.
Christ said that no man could be His disciple unless they took up THEIR cross daily and followed Him. Christ came to transform men from fleshly, selfish, sin enslaved creatures into spiritual, selfless, sons of God who share the Father’s righteousness and holiness.
This brings us to a critical point. God alone sees all that needs to be transformed in the lives of His sons and daughters. He sees the strongholds, the giants, the idols that exist in your life and mine. He alone can devise a path for us to walk that will lead us to discover and confront each of these enemies in the land of our flesh that we might rise up in spirit and crucify the flesh.
The first duty of a disciple of Christ is to yield their life to follow Yahshua wherever He would lead them. They are to count their old self-directed life as loss. They are to take up their cross and begin to follow the Shepherd of their soul wherever He would lead them. Christ will lead every son and daughter down an afflicted path. This path is perfectly designed to expose the sin in our flesh. At each new discovery we are encouraged to mortify the flesh and put on the new man formed in Christ’s image.
Only by embracing a life of surrender to Christ will any man or woman arrive at that spiritual maturity seen in the life of God’s firstborn Son. This truth is revealed in the following encounter between a young man and Christ.
Someone came to Yahshua with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” “Why ask me about what is good?” Yahshua replied. “There is only One who is good. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man asked. And Yahshua replied: “‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.'” “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” Yahshua told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The six highlighted words in the passage above reveal the true goal of discipleship and the purpose for which Christ came. The Son of God came to make men perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect. A person can conform to a moral code and be considered good in the eyes of other men, but to attain to the desire of the Father the saint must set their aim much higher. Conformity to Yahweh, and to the life of His Son, must become the goal of their life.
We are told that Yahshua loved this young man who came up to Him. He was an earnest and sincere young man. He truly wanted to enter into that divine life that comes from God the Father. This young man was moral. He was courteous. He honored his father and mother. He did not mistreat others. If he appeared in any church throughout America today he would be considered a model Christian.
Hear my words. This young man was NOT a disciple of Christ. He was unwilling to forsake all and to accept whatever life Christ chose for him. This young man’s soul was attached to a materially comfortable life. He went away grieved when he heard Christ declare what would be required for him to be “perfect.”
People of God, Christ came to make men perfect. He came to destroy the works of the devil and to transform darkened humanity into light. You do not become light by confessing Christ. You are not spiritually mature at the moment of your spiritual birth. You have only entered by the gate when you are born again and confess Yahshua as the atoning sacrifice for your sins. At the moment of conversion there is set before you a path that must be walked.
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is afflicted that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
You cannot remain on the broad path that the soul of man chooses and arrive at “life.” You must walk the path God has chosen for you. You must accept the invitation that Christ set before the rich, young ruler. Dispossess yourself of all you have, surrender all to Christ to be disposed of as He directs. “The come, and follow Me.”
Discipleship is embraced by following Christ. I do not mean that you are to embrace doctrines relating to the person of Christ. You must adopt Christ as your head, permitting Him to rule in place of your own soul. When the book of Revelations speaks of the overcomers in Christ being “beheaded” (Revelation 20:4), it is not speaking of literal decapitation. Revelations is a book where truths are conveyed through types and symbols. It is a book of parables. Those who have been beheaded are those who have removed their own head that they might take Christ as head of their lives.
I Corinthians 11:3
But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man…
While Christ was in bodily form He could lead a small number of disciples about. When He ascended He sent forth His Spirit. The Spirit of Christ is now engaged in directing the lives of a great many disciples from locations all around the world. You cannot walk as a disciple unless you hear the voice of God. You must understand that the essence of discipleship is to go wherever Christ’s Spirit directs you, and to do whatever the Spirit instructs you to do.
The Spirit will guide each son and daughter of God down a path perfectly designed for their spiritual maturation. If they will follow this path, crucifying the flesh and letting the life of Christ be manifest in them, at the end of the journey they will find that Christ has been formed in them.
We can only make the transformation from fleshly beings to spiritual as we are placed in situations where our character is tried. We must be brought into a variety of circumstances where the natural man will automatically respond with lust, fear, anger, and a host of other unrighteous thoughts and actions. In each instance our Father, by His Holy Spirit, urges us to arise as spiritual beings in His own image and put down the flesh in order to manifest the glory of God’s character within us.
It is a Spirit directed life you have been called unto. Those who accept Christ’s invitation, having counted the cost, will hear the voice of their Shepherd as He leads forth His flocks.
It may not be obvious to some why a message on hearing God’s voice is focusing so much on the subject of surrender to the will of God. The reason for this emphasis is to get the saints aligned with God that they might hear the conversation of His choosing. James wrote that the saints were praying amiss for their hearts were self-seeking.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
There are followers of prosperity preachers by the millions. Those who are influenced by Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyers, et al, are establishing the ground rules for communication with God. They come to God and ask Him to bless them, to deliver them from poverty, from sickness, from trials and distress. They ask God to enrich them that they might be comfortable and have excess to share with others. They wish to serve God and mammon, but Christ said that it is impossible to serve both. The disciples of Christ must choose whether they will pursue the life of their soul’s desires, or the will and pleasure of God.
If you have adopted the mind of Christ, you will not be presumptuous in setting the ground rules for conversation. You will acknowledge Christ as head and let Him guide you. Your attitude will be “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
It is essential that the saints settle this matter of surrender of their lives to Christ’s direction if they are to have their ears fully opened. Consciously, or unconsciously, many believers have placed filters over their ears. They will not permit God to speak to them in certain areas. They do not wish to hear God instruct them to do things their soul despises. Their ears are only opened to hear him answer them according to the desires of their own hearts.
If you are having trouble discerning the voice of Christ I would encourage you to consider whether you have ever embraced the surrender of your life to Him. Many Christians maintain the rule over their own lives. As they follow the course their own soul has determined they come to God from time to time and ask Him for guidance and counsel. They are often perplexed when they are unable to discern clearly God’s voice. They have not perceived that God wants to be the One leading.
Quite often when faced with decisions we will ask God to affirm our way. We will say “Father, should I take door number 1, or door number 2?” God is silent, for He has not chosen either one. He would say to us, “Lay down your life and follow My Son.” When we accept the invitation to follow Christ, then we will hear His voice and know the way in which we should go.
Thirteen years ago I was confronted by these truths. The Spirit brought me to face them and make a decision to surrender to Him, or to continue to hold portions of my life back in reserve. I was pressed greatly by the Spirit, and Yahweh prevailed in my life. I surrendered to embrace the path He had chosen for my life.
He has shown me that He has been leading a small group of sons from among the nations to experience the afflicted path ahead of their brothers and sisters. Like Joseph of old, these ones have been rejected by brothers and sold into a life of humble servitude. They have been experiencing humility, lack, reproach, fears, and many such things while their brothers have been living self-directed lives of comfort and prosperity.
A day came, however, when famine forced Joseph’s brothers to turn down the same path that he had traveled before them. Yahweh is at this time fashioning events in this world which will make it impossible for His elect to remain living the comfortable lives their own souls have chosen for them. World events, and crises, will compel them to take a path they would not freely choose themselves.
I have been testifying for a number of years that judgment is coming to the nations. The financial systems will collapse, society will descend into chaos, and there will be great unrest. Great oppression is coming against those who belong to Christ. Yahweh has been testifying that America will fall. In 2007 and 2008 Miss USA fell on stage at the Miss Universe pageant. This began the collapse of America’s vaunted financial system, ending generations of increasing ease and prosperity.
In the past few days I have had about half a dozen readers of this blog send me links to a similar testimony that occurred at the Olympics in London this week. I am encouraged that so many are discerning these parables for themselves. During the medal ceremony for women’s tennis as the national anthem for America was being played, the U.S. flag came loose and fell to the ground.
The Fall is Near
Just like the Miss Universe pageant, the nations of the world were gathered together before an international audience. Once more a symbol of America fell to the ground. To make the event all the more poignant, Yahweh had the flag fall at the precise moment during the playing of the anthem when the words “our flag was still there” would have just been spoken.