We Must Choose to be Chosen
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
To be the final, chosen generation…we must choose to be chosen. The call to salvation is a general call to “whosoever will.” (Romans 10:13; 1 John 5:1; Rev. 22:17.) Anyone who responds in faith to the invitation of the gospel for redemption through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, believing He died and rose again from the dead, and surrendering to Him as Lord, will receive eternal life. But there is another “whosoever will” extended to those who have been saved. It is the call to discipleship and destiny. We can do nothing to receive salvation except to accept what Christ has done for us. But, we must choose to be a disciple and we must choose to enter into His destiny for us.
Our Inheritance of Abraham’s Promises through Christ
…and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son–blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:16-18).
When the commanded blessing is released, the promises given to Abraham become an experiential reality in the lives of those who are in Christ. The blessings promised to Abraham include physical, mental, emotional, financial and family prosperity and blessings, as was demonstrated in the blessing of the Lord upon Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all their progeny. But there is another blessing promised to Abraham that all those in Christ have available to them: complete dominion over every enemy (“your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies”). This means there remains a promise yet unfulfilled that the Lord Himself said would happen.
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17a).
It is imperative that the church enter into the “bridal” identity designed for her by the Father on behalf of the Son. It has been the Father’s intention, from all eternity, to have the Son’s desire for an eternal companion fulfilled. (John 17:22-26.) The theme is continuous from Genesis through Revelation, and all throughout human history, that the purpose of humanity is to be the eternal companion of the Son of God.
The “bridal identity” of the church, by default, means entering into our identity as intimate, passionate lovers and partners of the Lord Jesus, in His Person and His work. The bridal identity of the church is summed up in the reality of becoming a kingdom of priests. (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.) Priestly ministry primarily involves worship and intercession.
(This article is a continuation of the previous article on “The Apostolic Shift – Part 1”)
Becoming a “Nail Scar” in His Hand
Paul, Timothy’s spiritual father, tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12: don’t let anybody look down on your youth but be an example. The first place in the New Testament the word for “example” (Gr. – tupos) is used is in John 20:25:
The other disciples therefore said to him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ So he said to them, ‘Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’
Thomas was absent in the first encounter with the Lord Jesus after the resurrection. The others tell Him of seeing and communing with the resurrected Lord, and he says, “I will not believe unless I see the nail scar (tupos).” This is what the lost, hurting, sin-loving, hell-bound masses are crying out for – a nail print! This is the beginning of true ministry. This is where the veil of unbelief is lifted off the hearts and understanding of the lost, blind and skeptical (Eph. 1:17-20), and where the Spirit begins the work of transformation in lives. This happens when people encounter the “nail scar” – the physical imprint of His life in us!
Proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, ‘I am strong.'” Assemble and come, all you nations, and gather together all around. Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O LORD. “Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; for the winepress is full, the vats overflow– for their wickedness is great.” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. – Joel 3:9-14
Believers are presently being exercised to make decisions, and not to have them made for us as children. We are faced with decisions that will have far-reaching and powerful effects and consequences now and in the ensuing weeks, months and years.
And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8)
The parable of the unjust judge has its resolution in the final statement above by the Lord Jesus. The Lord brings a contrast between earthly, unjust judges who may pass sentences depending upon their moods and convenience (or lack thereof), and that of the just and righteous Judge of the earth. We’re told that the Lord is aware of every injustice with which His saints have been afflicted and that every injustice will be requited when He gets the cooperative cry of faith and agreement from the saints on earth. But implicit in this parable is the reality of voluntary suffering that comes to the saints through injustice. This voluntary suffering (or in most cases, IN-voluntary suffering!) is part of the training process by which He conforms us to the image of the Son, who is the epitome of One who suffers injustice. Once these remedial judgments come to the saints of God, thus bringing us into full maturity and union with the Son, we then partner with Him in releasing His judgments into the earth with the main view to bring a harvest of souls.
The word “judgment” has received bad press, and that bad press has mostly come from the church….
In one extreme, parts of the church are now saying that God does NOT judge; He’s too nice and loving to do such a thing. This has been carried to heresy in those that deny the existence of hell and of a final judgment after death. Those who hold to such a view do not know the Lord in His awe-inspiring beauty and justice. If there is no judgment of sin, action and lawlessness, then God cannot be a just God. If He is not just, then He is not holy, without mixture. In denying this aspect of His holy nature, man thus has successfully remade God in our fallen image (at least what we would LIKE Him to be).
(It is highly recommended to go back and read Part 1 of this continuation to have a better understanding of the main premise.)
Counsel Between Friends
While on their way to judge Sodom and Gomorrah the Lord and His angels stopped at Abraham’s encampment. Sodom and Gomorrah had become the most wicked cities on the face of the earth. A grievous cry against the people of this valley had reached the throne of God and come before the face of the Lord. Genesis 18:20 tells us, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave“. In these cities, perversion was not only permitted but was also encouraged and promoted. Romans 1:32 and Hebrews 6:4-6 describes such behavior as representative of a debased mind, a mind that is reprobate…so seared that it is impossible to renew it again to repentance. The bowl of iniquity hanging over Sodom and Gomorrah was full, and God was about to allow them to reap what had been sewn, but on His way to judge, God stops to discuss His plans with Abraham. Why?
“Have you heard the latest prophetic word?” “Have you heard the latest revelatory teaching?” “The move of God at (fill in the blank) has to be the beginning of the final move of God in the earth!” “There’s no need for the local fellowship anymore, your business can be your ‘church’ and missions organization!”
“The ‘Bridal Paradigm’ has fulfilled all my longings and questions! The ‘Seven Mountains’ teaching has finally set my heart to rest because now I know my destiny! Praise the Lord, we can now all come to rest because all our questions, desires and destinies have now been answered!”
I have literally heard with my own ears statements like these. Such is my personal observation of how many in the “charismatic” wing of the body of Christ have acted and reacted for many years. Everyone is looking for “IT” – the one thing that will bring revival, rest, healing, fulfillment…again, fill in the blank. The enemy continues to keep hungry, but deceived Christians from coming to rest on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ by the excitement that many leaders continue to foment. I know this, because I have done “IT” in the past.
Hosea 2:6-7; 14-16: Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths. She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them; yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.’ Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her. I will give her her vineyards from there, and the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.” And it shall be, in that day,” says the LORD, That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer call Me ‘My Master’….
We have entered a new season of restoration (Acts 3:19-21) in which the full purpose of God in restoring His fullness and glory in the earth will come to fruition.
Several years ago, the Lord gave me the scriptures, Joshua 3:1-6 and Joshua 5:1-12, as templates of the activities of the Holy Spirit that will lead the body of Messiah up to a “crossing over” into a final season of restoration.