"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."


 Part 19



            God rules with a great, infinite and eternal love.  He gives all His ability to His sons in love.  Love is the foundation of His Kingdom throughout the universe.  Love is the very essence and atmosphere of the Kingdom of Heaven.  His laws, proceeding from His heart, win the love of all His subjects.  The scars on His brow, in His hands, on His feet, and on His back are the insignia of love and show that when He occupies the throne, love sits on the throne and presides.  He came to found an empire of which Rome, with her pride and tyranny, could never be the symbol.  He came to win an allegiance that no legions in shining armor could ever compel.  That empire is the empire of love and that allegiance the response that men can make to that which they know to be love and which, because it is love, commands their bodies by winning their hearts.  So down this costly way of unreserved love Jesus came, His birth-chamber a stable, His cradle a manger, and His lot in life cast among the poor.  He trod the pathway of misunderstanding, rejection and malignment, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  “Wherefore,” the apostle says, “God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him the name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11). 


            The King of Love girds His people with gladness.  He sows the whole earth with gladness and joy.  The news which is sent from His courts lifts the heads of all men.  At the mention of His name our hearts leap for joy, and the coming of His presence among us fills us with exceeding wonder.  The air is filled with music.  He makes the morning break over the everlasting hills with rejoicing, and causes the evening to glow with the fire of His glory.  He is the King of Love within our hearts! 

            Our poor, lisping, faltering tongues cannot proclaim the Gospel as we would like; but we have God’s word that is true for the present time, and for all the times of all the ages: “God IS LOVE!”  IS unchangeably!  IS eternally!  God is love in heaven, in earth, in hell!  Wherever He is He can be no less than He is.  “If I make my bed in hell, Thou art there,” proclaims the Psalmist.  God IS LOVE everywhere!  And the great practical consequence is for you and me to respond to that God and to that love, to become filled with that love, one with that love, the embodiment and manifestation of that love to all men in all realms.  That is the supreme purpose of sonship.  “Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God” (I Jn. 4:7).  And those who are born of God are the sons of God THE SONS OF LOVE! 

            The best and most wonderful word in the universe is Love.  For God is Love.  And the best and most wonderful word in the inner chamber of our heart must be Love.  For the God who meets us there is Love.  What is Love?  The deep desire to give itself for the beloved.  “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father” (Rev. 1:5-6).  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (I Jn. 3:1).  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (Jn. 3:16).  Love finds its joy in imparting all that it has, to make the loved one happy and fulfilled.  And the heavenly Father, who offers to meet us in the inner chamber let there be no doubt about this in our minds has no other object than to flood our hearts, and the hearts of all men, with His love. 

            But the spirit of love is not in you till it is the spirit of your life, till you live freely, willingly, universally according to it.  It knows no difference of time, place, or person; but whether it gives or forgives, bears or forbears, it is equally doing its own delightful work.  The spirit of love does not want to be rewarded or honored; its only desire is to become the blessing and happiness of everything that needs it. The wrath of an enemy, the treachery of a friend, only gives the spirit of love an opportunity to be more triumphant.  The rebellion of Adam but opened up avenues for mankind to experience and know the incredible depths of the love of God!    God IS LOVE.  And His SONS are of His own nature.  The Sons of Love what a blessed thought!  And what a call what purpose and responsibility!  Little wonder, then, that the whole vast creation, sold under slavery and bondage to sin, sorrow, pain and death, groans in travail for the manifestation of the SONS OF LOVE! 

            Those who put on the mind of Christ see all men with the eyes of love which are the eyes of God.  How we see men and think and act towards them is a measure of the Kingdom in our lives.  Perhaps you have heard the story of a stranger who settled in a town and asked his neighbor, “What are the people around here like?”  The neighbor, a Quaker, replied quietly with a question, “What were the people like where thee came from?”  The newcomer answered, “I have come from Anytown.  The people there were very mean, dishonest, and unfriendly.”  The Quaker answered, “I’m afraid thee will find them all here.”  A third person who had overheard the conversation, joined in by remarking, “This surprises me, because I have come from the same town and I found the people there to be very kind, honest, and friendly.”  And the old Quaker, turning to him, said, “Thee will find them all here, too.” 

            Kingdom love flows from us like the powerful waters of Niagara.  It is a giving of ourselves without reservation or limitation.  Kingdom love does not allow us to withhold part of ourselves it requires us to give away ourselves completely.  Kingdom love does not stop to consider the worthiness of the one about to receive it.  “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the SONS OF YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on  the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mat. 5:44-46).  Kingdom love is a “living sacrifice” that remains always upon the altar.  This love is the expression of our total energies toward another without reservation, qualification, or hesitation.  It is going the second mile and the third, fourth, fifth, one hundredth and one thousandth if necessary. 

            Larry Hodges, in one of his SHOFAR LETTERS, has wisely asked, “Shall there be a people who will rule and reign with Christ who are not under the absolute dominion of Love?  Shall there be a people who shall open and no man shut, and shut and no man open, who are not in perfect accord with Love?  Shall there be a people claiming to be Love’s true representatives who have not this Love in all its perfections?  Shall the rod of iron be given into the hand of any other than Love’s own children, the children of the resurrection?  What people shall do and speak only what they see and hear their Father doing and speaking but that people that is under the absolute dominion of Love’s rule?  We may speak well and write much on ‘Sonship,’ ‘Kingdom,’ and whatever else we may wish to call this kingdom, but unless we love Love, carefully guarding its beginning flame, we are become as tinkling brass or a sounding cymbal.” 

            The omnipotent power of God is not best demonstrated in violence, throwing thunderbolts and spreading devastation, but in self-sacrificing love and goodness.  It is love (not tyranny) that never faileth, and with God (love) all things are possible.  God is almighty, omnipotent.  That is fundamental.  But it is vital that all God’s elect realize that His power is not something separate from His wisdom and His love.  Jesus has made it abundantly clear that the power of God is not that of force, violence, or compulsion, but the power of love which “never faileth.”  “I, if I be lifted up (on the cross) from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  Love is all-powerful and irresistible divine power is simply love in action.  The failure to distinguish between the omnipotence of force and violence and the omnipotence of love leads to the false ideas about God and His Kingdom that are so prevalent in the church systems today.  It is the infallible answer to those who impudently ask, “If God is omnipotent, why does He not stop war, sin, suffering, and all forms of evil?”  The omnipotence of love is something far grander and more noble than the omnipotence of force could ever be, though it is slower in operation.  But the end of love’s omnipotence is sure and abiding.  Love never faileth!  God so loved the world, and when love’s power has been played out through the progression of the ages, love will win, will conquer all.  Then all men will love God, not fear Him.  What a plan!  What incomprehensible wisdom! 

            Almost a hundred years ago Joseph Fort Newton, preaching in London, said, “Not until we see God as the Father of all souls not simply ‘like a Father,’ as a Psalmist said, as if it were only a symbol, an analogy, an allegory, but the actual Father of men, as revealed in the life of Jesus do we behold the highest truth.  There is made known what love really is in its utmost sweetness of sacrifice and redemption.  Love is social; it cannot live alone.  Heaven was never a Hermitage.  In that long-ago beginning God did not say, ‘Let me make,’ but ‘Let us make.’  Humanity could not worship and adore an Infinite Egoist.  Such is the deep and beautiful truth of which the Godhead is the symbol the truth of the eternal society.  Older than our religion, older than the human home and the human family, it is a vision of God through the home as a family in Himself Elohim.  Love is creation.  It cannot be inactive.  It must devise order, goodness, beauty, joy.  God does not love the world because He made it; He made it because He is love.  Here lies the secret of the strange and haunting beauty of the world, and the eternal motive behind  it.  Love is also providence.  It cannot be content with the joy of creation, but must follow and watch over what it has made with absorbing solicitude and care.  Men of old seemed to think that God made the world, set it going, and sat on the edge of it watching it.  But love is never idle, much less aloof, and it must stoop to share the lot of those whom it serves. 

            “Alas! many in our day, to whom it is not difficult to believe in God, the Creator, find it hard to believe in His loving care.  Storms desolate the earth.  Pestilence and famine fill myriad graves.  Youth is blighted in its bud.  Forever the cup of death is pressed to the lips of love.  War, pillage, cruelty, and brutality might make human life a hell.  There are heartless tyrannies that endure.  How can one talk of the loving care of God in face of these facts?  Why did not God make a thornless world and fill it with noble men, true women, and a race just, gentle, and generous?  Because He could not do it.  Character cannot be created; it must be achieved.  It is not a gift, but an attainment something wrought out amid trials and tears, as Polasek has shown us in his figure of a man finding himself and freeing himself by laboriously chipping away the stone in which he is imprisoned.   

            “Suppose a man were to have a family created for him in an instant a wife, a boy, a girl sitting about a table in a lovely home which he never saw before.  Would it be his family?  Would these children be the offspring of the love and sacrifice and pain of his wife and himself?  No.  He might learn to know and love them deeply, but they would not be his family because not created by his love, not nourished from his heart, and not sanctified by his thought, consideration and purpose.  His wife, not having experienced the babe in the womb or the pain of childbirth, would be unable to value the children of the family as highly as she might.  Omnipotence does not mean arbitrariness.  What love cannot do God cannot do.   

            “There are methods love cannot use, acts it cannot perform, weapons it cannot employ.  Divine love looks like weakness until we know what it really is, how it works, and the path it follows.  The love of God is more than a mere indulgent good nature, more than an indiscriminate, mushy sentiment.  It is wise, and therefore takes the long look; relentless, and therefore seemingly austere; ruling, not arbitrarily, not impatiently, but with inflexible purpose and educative discipline permitting the prodigal to wander if he will, knowing, as he does not know, that riotous living leads to husks, and these to the coming to himself, and that to the painful and penitent return to Father’s house and to the discovery of a love that would not let him be happy in exile!  Oh, the wisdom of love! 

            “Of love is born the hope of immortality, and the love of God is its only sure basis and token of promise.  What sunshine there is in that truth!  The more deeply we love wife and child and friend, the more longingly we wish for immortality.  Only men who know not love, who are lonely, disappointed, broken-hearted, devastated, bitter and hopeless desire the solitude and silence of death over life.  Only miserable men cherish no hope of immortality!  Again I say, of love is born the hope of immortality.  The more deeply we love the more surely we may know that there is One who loves our loved ones and ourselves more than we do.  Men and women, lay to heart the awful and wonderful truth that God loves each of us as if there were no other in the world, and all of us as though we were one child at His knee.  And it is not only His obedient children that He so loves, but the vilest sinner and the most rebellious  blasphemer.  ‘God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’ (Rom. 5:8).  Yea, He loves me, even me, distinctly, separately, passionately, unconditionally, eternally how can it be!  And He loves you, each of you, with a love peculiar, particular, unutterably precious loves you unto the uttermost, and cannot be happy without your love in return!  Let us not ask ourselves whether we love God or not.  Let us trust His love of us, trust it in our sorrows, our needs, our failures, our weakness, our sins, knowing that love never faileth for God is love. 

            “What is this Reality which men call Christ?  Perhaps we can best make it clear by asking our hearts one question: What is it that we worship?  Is it mere Power?  No!  Power may awe us, crush us, command us, but never yet has it won the worship of the heart.  Is it Knowledge?  No!  An infinite Intellect may invite admiration, but we do not worship Wisdom.  Is it Vastness?  Not so!  Consider for a moment and you will see how a cold, bare infinitude, so far from winning the love of man, strikes him dumb with terror.  What, then, do we worship?  Reverently let us say that, though God speak with the tongues of lightning, though He have all power so that He could remove mountains or hurl suns into space, yea, though He have all knowledge and understand all mysteries, and have not Love, we cannot worship Him.  Only love can win love, and if God be not Infinite Love we cannot love Him, albeit we may cower before Him, trembling and afraid.   

            “Think it all through, up one side and down the other, and you will find that our ideal, our dream, our hope, that to which we pray, is no other than the Spirit that lived in Jesus, shone in His face, wrought in His works, spoke in His words, and hung upon a cross.  The Spirit of Jesus in its strength, its gentleness, its august and wonderful humility, its incredible patience, its fathomless pity, its relentless love, its all-forgiving mercy, its victorious valor, its purity, its gladness that is what is meant by God.  Beyond that love it is not possible for any man to imagine anything more divine.  The Spirit of Jesus is the ultimate Divine Reality so far as we can know it.  Where the Spirit of Love is, there God is.  Because that Love lived  in Jesus in its fullness, richness, its unclouded beauty, He is the supreme revelation of what God is”   end quote.  And, may I add to these beautiful words this thought all the sons of God, who are the sons of Love, are the extension, completion and fullness of that supreme revelation of God unto creation.  Hallelu-yah! 

            I once read the moving account of a woman seen constantly on the streets of Strasbourg in the fourteenth century, carrying a pail of water in one hand and a torch in the other.  When asked what she was about, she would reply that with the pail of water she was going to put out the flames of hell and with the torch she would burn up heaven, “so that in the future men could love the dear Lord God for Himself alone and not out of fear of hell or out of craving for reward.”  A man comes closest to the Kingdom of God when he truly perceives the depth of truth proclaimed by that little lady so long ago!   

            Is it not true that vast multitudes of Christians today serve the Lord either out of fear of hell or hope of heaven.  It is the absolute truth.  Anyone who dares to proclaim the beautiful truth of the restoration of all men to God and pins people right down to the word of God is immediately accused by the unthinking masses of teaching heresy, and is accused of teaching doctrines which give the sinner nothing to flee from, no reason for accepting salvation.  Such thoughtlessness!  These poor simple folks are merely admitting in this that they themselves have never yet had a revelation of the abounding love of God.  Nor do they know and worship God FOR HIMSELF, apart from all other considerations of either torment or bliss. Should the preachers one day call a news conference and announce to the world, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have just discovered that there is no hell,” I do not doubt for one moment that a great number of so-called believers would immediately tell God to “go to hell” and commence to live like the devil in the pleasures of sin.  Those who use hell as the incentive to bring men to God are but admitting their shame in upholding a false gospel which would attempt to scare men into the Kingdom of God.  It never has worked.  It never will.  Oh, it does indeed scare men into the “church,” but it does not bring men to truly know God.  Christ leads and draws through love.  Sometimes love disciplines and breaks, but it does not play games by “scaring” people into God!  Fear is not the instrument of God to bring men unto Himself. 

            Is there a hell?  Yes.  But hell is not what salvation is about.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).  It is not written that “the wages of sin is hell.”  If the wages of sin is eternal torment in hell, then we must re-write the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  We must make the Bible say that, if that is what God meant.  We must go back to the very beginning and make the Bible say, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely SUFFER ETERNAL TORMENT IN HELL” (Gen. 2:16-17).  We must correct the word of God so that it says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall be eternally tormented in hell” (Eze. 18:4).  John 3:16 must be made to correctly read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not be eternally tormented in hell, but spend eternity in heaven.”  If the wages of sin is the torments of the damned in hell, then Romans 5:12 must be made to say, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and torment in hell by sin; and so the torments of hell passed upon all men, for that all have sinned...”  You will have to tear the Bible all to pieces and re-write literally hundreds and thousands of passages if you say that the wages of sin is eternal torment in hell! 

            “The wages of sin is death.”  It is not written that the wages shall be death, but the passage we have before us, penned by divine inspiration, states plainly that “the wages of sin IS death.”  “She that liveth in pleasure,” the scriptures again says, “is dead while she liveth.”  “Dead in trespasses and in sins” is the way the apostle Paul expressed it.  Death takes in this whole dreadful realm of sin, weakness, fear, sorrow, pain, heartache, rebellion, strife, war, sickness, torment, sadness, and trouble in which men walk without the peace and joy and transforming power of God in their lives.  It is a sad and most horrible fact that there are millions and thousands of millions of people going about this earth who are the walking dead.  Dead to God!  Dead to virtue!  Dead to truth!  Dead to reality!   Dead to righteousness!  Dead to peace!  Dead to joy!  Dead to promise!  Dead to hope!  DEAD!   

            Death is the wages of sin.  But the gift of God is the life of the ages.  Every man is on one side or the other; either he is now reaping his wages, or renouncing sin to receive God’s gift.  The gift is not heaven.  The gift of God is not streets of gold, gates of pearl, or walls of jasper.  The gift of God is not a cabin in the corner, or a mansion over the hill top.  You will have to re-write your Bible again if you say that heaven is the reward  of the righteous.  Is there a heaven?  Yes.  But heaven is not the issue in salvation.  The issue is life.  It was this very truth that Jesus was making clear to us when He said, “He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”  The issue in Eden was a matter of life and death; the issue in salvation and redemption is likewise a matter of life and death.  Heaven and hell are not the issue.   

             Instead of preaching a false gospel to sinners, instead of holding up before them fancied horrors which they may escape, or a celestial Disney World which they may obtain, the true gospel tells them of LIFE MORE ABUNDANT, of the unsearchable riches of Christ, of the glory of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  Who wants to remain a faltering mortal, when one may be quickened and made alive in God to become the very same manner of being as the One who created the worlds?  Oh, that all men might learn God’s one and only everlasting Gospel, the Gospel of Life and Light and Love and then preach it!  And BE it!  Love alone can draw all men to Calvary’s crimson fountain.  Only a Calvary love can transform a world gone mad, and revive a sleeping church obsessed with her deliriums into a thing of beauty and praise and usefulness.  And anyone who is lifting up to a lost and dying world anything or any one other than Jesus and His wonderful Love is simply living a wasted life and fulfilling a spurious ministry.  The Love of God must be lifted up IN US.  The sons of God are the sons of Love, for GOD IS LOVE! 

            What consolation and understanding is inspired by the blessed knowledge that in spite of all the bluster and might exhibited by the kingdom of darkness, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!  God is the King, and His power He rules over all.  But, dear one, if you will examine the basis of that Kingship, the Kingship of the Lord from the beginning of the world, you will find that it rests on God’s Creatorship.  He is Lord of the world and men and rules and overrules in all their doings because He is their Creator with divine plan and purpose for their destiny.  But God wants to be King in and by Jesus Christ that is to say, He wants to be King  by virtue not of His power, but of His love.  He wants men to reverence and obey Him not because they are afraid of Him, not because they are out-witted and out-maneuvered by Him, not because they cannot help themselves, and even because He promises them a Glory World above, but because they love Him.  It is reconciliation, fellowship, union, participation, oneness with man that the heart of God is after. 

            Let us meditate deeply upon these words: “Our Father...Thy Kingdom come.”  Whose Kingdom is it?  Ah, it is “our Father’s” Kingdom.  Not the Kingdom of the Lord God of the Old Testament, not the Kingdom of Yahweh, but the Kingdom of our Father.  Of our Father it is written, “God is love.”  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...”  In other words, God so loved the world that HE BECAME A FATHER!  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed up us, that we should be called the sons of God.”  “Who hath delivered us from the rule of darkness, and hath transferred us into the Kingdom of the Son of His love.”  Oh, what words are these!  The Father’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of Love!  It is the Kingdom of a Paternal Love!  It is a Kingdom of Beloved Sons!  It is a Ruling Celestial Family!  Yahweh’s Kingdom was a Kingdom of power.  Yahweh was a God of war.  But God wants to be King not because He is Creator, not because He is Sovereign and can ruthlessly control everybody and every thing.  He wants to be King because He is FATHER.  He desires men to be obedient to Him, not because He has omnipotent power and can do anything He wants and have His way with men, but under the sweet constraint of love.  God has been King by His position as Creator since the world began; God was King in Israel by the omnipotence of His hand; but now He will become King by the position of Father.  It is for this Kingdom that sons are instructed to pray for the event in which all men everywhere shall realize what God’s Fatherhood means, for the circumstances in which men’s hearts shall be so touched by God’s love to them in Jesus Christ, that out of the response of their own hearts they shall return from the far country to Father’s house and out of a pure and genuine affection will render Him a willing and glad obedience. 

            The message which beams from the cross of Christ like the blazing rays of the noon-day sun is one of SACRIFICIAL LOVE REDEEMING LOVE.  The truth of love in Jesus Christ was that He loved without retaliation for evil, a love that suffered long, even to the agonies of the cross, and then was kind enough to pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  And I declare to you that regardless of what other sins those wicked men may come into judgment for, they will never stand in the judgment condemned for killing the Son of God, for HE AND HIS FATHER FORGAVE THEM!  This truth of the love of God in Jesus Christ must also be true in us, the younger sons of God.  Jesus did not love people because He loved Himself, as it was under the law.  It was the Father’s unconditional and all-surpassing love flowing through Him, surging as a mighty river our to humanity, overflowing redemptively, so that He could say, “Let your love for others not be based on love for yourself, but on what is true in Me: If the Father could love Judas through Me, and love Peter through Me, and the people that crucified Me, then let the Father’s love so find expression through you.”   

            In years past we have sung a chorus that goes like this: “His love has no limits, His grace has no measure, His power has no boundaries known unto man; for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”  This is a lovely chorus and I love to sing it and I say it is true.  In Jesus Christ, there is NO LIMIT to His love, NO MEASURE TO HIS GRACE, and NO BOUNDARIES to His power, for He is  omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and His mercy endureth throughout all generations and ages.  If I say that there is one sin, one condition, one creature, one place, one age or group of ages unto which His love and His grace shall not reach then I LIE and know not the truth.  Jesus loved His friends, He loved His enemies, the man who betrayed Him, the man who denied Him, the mob that cried, “Crucify Him!” and the men who nailed Him to the cross.  There just was no limit to His love!  You could never find a place where you could say, “So far would He love, but no farther.”  Is that love true in us?  Or do we say, “Well, I will only stand so much, I will only forgive so long, I will only trust so far, and that is the end of it.”  It is God’s purpose that His love should find no limit in us, His grace no measure in us, and His power no boundary in us.  This is the first mark of sonship. 

            God is preparing a people who, when they stand up and say, “God is love,” are not talking about God’s love in heaven, or God’s love in Jesus; no, they will be expressing the love of God in their own person.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.”  Everyone likes a verse like that.  But how many would like a verse like this: “God still loves the world so much that He would like to give His sons, right now.”  We do not like that.  We like to be sons if God will keep us, if He will bless us, if He will take us to His bosom and not let us go.    But what does God do with His sons?  Why, He GIVES THEM!  He thrusts them out into all the sorrows, tragedies, troubles, sicknesses, pains, strife, hatred, rebellion and death of this world.  Jesus said, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”  What did Jesus also say?  “This is my flesh, my B-O-D-Y, which I GIVE for the life of the world.”  If we are His body, then will He not give us for the life of the world?  “Oh,” someone says, “I do not like the kind of religion where I do not get something, sacrifice is asking too much.”  Well, my brother, my sister, that is how it starts, by receiving, but it must not end there.  We must come to the place where God can give us, where we can lie down and become a channel, a river the River of Life poured out into humanity! 

            This truth might well be illustrated by the children’s story of the sun and the wind.  In the little make-believe story, the sun and the wind discussed which of them was the strongest.  The wind said that he could prove that he was the strongest by blowing the coat off of a man who walked on the road below.  So the sun slipped behind a cloud and Mr. Wind started blowing until the man thought a tornado had come up.  But the harder the wind blew, the tighter hold the man took on his coat.  Finally the wind saw that he could not blow the man’s coat off, so he gave up in defeat.  Then it was the sun’s turn to try.  The sun came out from behind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man.  Presently the warm loving rays of the sun caused the man to pull off his coat.  The sun had proved that the power of love and kindness is stronger than fury and force! 

            Love never fails.  Sons don’t say, “I’ve had enough!”  Perhaps you’ve said it too.  Maybe you’re a parent and you’ve told your kids that you’ve “had enough.”  Perhaps you’re a teacher, and today was one of those days when you sent a student out of the classroom because you’d “had enough.”  Or perhaps your spouse has betrayed you once too often; you’ve “had enough” and this can’t go on.  Or perhaps one of your workers showed up late once too often, and you had to let him go.  Or perhaps your neighbor had another wild party late into the night, playing his loud music, disturbing your sleep, so you called the police or “gave him a piece of your mind.”  You’d “had enough” and couldn’t take it anymore.  Love, however, divine love, can never say, “I’ve had enough!”  If God had had enough, the United States of America wouldn’t be here today, and neither would you or I.   

            “No man hath seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us” (I Jn. 4:12).  Where is God?  The question is as old as humanity.  And people’s answers range all the way from “God is everywhere and in everything” to “God is nowhere and in nothing.”  In fact, the question can be shortened and made even more significant: Is God?  The beloved apostle John gives us an “object lesson” to demonstrate the reality and the presence and power of God, saying, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.”  John is saying, “Do you want to know where God is?  Do you want to see God?  Do you want the whole wide world to see God so that they can know that He exists?  Then, with divine love, love each other and all men and the whole world will see and discover God in it.”  If we love with that wonderful, God-initiated, self-giving, unconditional love, people will say, “So that’s where God is!  So that’s how we know that God is!”  It’s an object lesson that makes God impossible to miss!  Creation will respond as the Roman soldier at the foot of the cross responded to the love of Jesus, “Truly these are the sons of God!” 

            Divine love does not only love the lovely, divine love does not only love the brethren, but every man.  Divine love suffers long not only with our loved ones, our wife or sweetheart, our parents and our children, but also with our offensive neighbors, our difficult associates, the stupid, hateful, slothful, disobedient, wayward, rebellious, unlovely, and our persecutors.  Love suffers long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy; is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.  Love is not conceited, arrogant, or inflated with pride; it is not rude, and does not act unbecomingly.  Love does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or complaining or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it pays no attention to a suffered wrong.  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.  Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it sweetly endures everything.  Love never fails never fades out, becomes obsolete, never is destroyed by anything, and never comes to an end.  THIS IS THE POWER AND THE GLORY OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD! 


            “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do?  And he said unto them, Do violence to no man...” (Lk. 3:14).  Love will affect every attitude and action toward men on both the personal and corporate level.  I have no hesitation in telling you that I have been a “conscientious objector” to war all my life because from a small child I could never believe that the spirit of warfare with its hatred, killing, and violence is compatible with the love of God or the spirit of sonship. 

            Oh, yes, we have our excuses and a thousand reasons are given to go forth and kill and maim and destroy by warfare.  “The government requires me to do it,” we say.  That’s reminiscent of that other time-honored cop-out, “The devil made me do it!”  “I must defend my country and our liberties,” we explain, “we have an obligation to our families, our communities, and our nation to defend ourselves.”  So we wield the sword, fire machine guns, and bomb villages and cities into oblivion, blasting thousands, yea, millions of innocent men, women and children out of this world, and call on God to bless!  What strange beings we Christians are who profess to follow in the footsteps of Him who said, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Lk. 9:56).  I tell you today that no son of God is sent into this world to destroy men’s lives, but every son of God is sent into the world of save them.  No son of God, no brother of Jesus, is sent into this world to destroy even one life, but to become a saviour for all men. 

            War is not a matter of one soldier against one soldier.  It is now a war of guns and bombs and germs and chemicals and land-mines against soldiers and mothers and children and babes.  Any way to intimidate the foe!  Scare and blast loved ones out of the fox holes into hell or heaven that is the way to win.  We little realize the awful depths into which the spirit of warfare carries us.  As one wrote of a certain war: “I had to aim carefully at the straw roof and only succeeded at the third shot.  The wretches who were inside, seeing their roof burning, jumped out and ran off like mad...surrounded by a circle of fire about five thousand people came to a sticky end.  It was like hell, the smoke rose to incredible heights, and the flames reddened the setting sun.”   

            War is still ruling our world and it is not spiritual; it is carnal, political, and devilish.  As ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven we pledge allegiance to a higher Kingdom than any of the kingdoms of this world.  We cannot fight carnal warfare because we are ambassadors for Christ.  An ambassador is a representative of another country or person and he is not subject to the political laws of the country where he abides.  The King whom we represent has commissioned us to “love our enemies,” to “bless and curse not,”  and “see that none render evil for evil to any man.”  We are to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering.”  “Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.”  How directly opposed are these to the rules of war!  Under the Old Covenant Yahweh required that His people Israel should go to war and fight and kill, but that covenant has been done away and we are under the New Covenant whereby the law (nature) of God is written upon our hearts, and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God

            Well has Philip Mauro written, “War is an instrument of the god of this world.  War stems from greed and political intrigue.  Preparing the soldier for war is a godless procedure.  Hate is drilled into him.  He is taught every trick there is to kill.  This must be so for war is a dirty business.  War differs from ordinary murders only in that it is on an enormous scale.  Every invention and contrivance that men can devise, every deception and stratagem to which they can resort, every cruelty and atrocity which they can perpetuate, are elements of warfare.  Hence  it is not merely a questionable proceeding not merely a thing which it is perhaps better to avoid war is the thing of all things that is farthest removed from the spirit and work of Christ.  It is the work of the devil to destroy.  War is the great all-inclusive, sum total of everything that is devilish.  When General Sherman tersely said, ‘War is hell,’ he uttered a truth.  Heaven is peace.  Hell is war.  Let us look  the ugly fact squarely in the face, that the man who enlists (or is drafted) commits himself in advance to the perpetration of every unnamable atrocity that war is held to justify.  He repudiates his individual responsibility to God and man, and pledges himself blindly, by an oath and under penalty of death, to obey the commands of his officers, whatever they may be and to whatever work they may send him.  If we then are to go forth and kill our fellowmen, whose lives shall we take?  Shall we slay the unsaved, to whom we owe the gospel of Christ?  If not those, then are we to slay our fellow saints to whom we owe our love and service?  War and the gospel are as far apart as the east is from the west, as far as hell is from heaven...”   end quote. 

            If fighting and killing on carnal battlefields is right for the sons of God, then the Priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek, the priesthood of grace, mercy, love and salvation is wrong; if the gospel of love, even for our enemies, is right, then war is wrong.  Jesus showed us clearly that the life of sonship is completely independent of every earthly tradition, custom, and requirement.  The life of sonship belongs to the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven which we are to seek first of all.  Jesus came to preach the Kingdom.  That was His gospel.  That was His one and only purpose.  There lay His one and only allegiance.  All the things that were spoken in the sermon on the mount pertain to the Kingdom which we are entering.  Just as the law of Moses given at Sinai was the Constitution of the government and nation of Israel, so the sermon on the mount is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.  All the blessed truths set forth in the sermon on the mount are to be fulfilled in us “that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven” (Mat. 5:45).  These are the principles that govern the lives of God’s sons and all who live and walk in the Kingdom, just as surely as the law of Moses governed the dispensation of the law.  The Kingdom is the realm of sonship.  It is the realm of the will of God.  It is the realm of the nature of God.  It is the realm of the mind of Christ

            The principles of the Kingdom of God are set forth with divine clarity in the sermon on the mount, where the spirit of sonship is revealed.  While living here on earth, our Lord was extremely kind.  He picked up little children and blessed them.  He healed all who were suffering with pain.  While relatives were weeping over dead loved ones, he raised four of them to life again.  The Saviour of ALL men said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you;  go, and sin no more.”  His KINDNESS made an evangelist out of that immoral woman at Jacob’s well.  Because Jesus really loved the weak, helpless creatures whom He had created, He wept over them, prayed for them and taught them continually.  Can you imagine for one moment that Jesus, even if commanded by the government of Israel, would have taken up the sword and slain thousands of Romans to liberate His people from the cruel, pagan yoke of Rome?  Think of it!  Even when Peter cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, in defense of the Son of God, Jesus stooped and picked up the severed ear and healed it back on the man.   He then turned to Peter and reproachfully said,  “Put up thy sword into the sheath: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”  If you can believe for one moment that Jesus, drafted or not, would have gone out to slay men in defense of His country, then you may also justify the sons of God in this hour fighting and killing in defense of their homeland.  The issue is really just that simple.  “What would Jesus do?” 

            Except for those religious Pharisees, Jesus never spoke one cross word to the unconverted masses, Israelite, Roman, or otherwise.  He was very tender and kind in all His dealings with men.  His approach to them was very gentle, delicate, and considerate.  Surely, then, we are safer in His hands than anywhere else!  The things He has in store for every one of us are far greater than we could plan for ourselves.  He will do us only good, and never evil.  Does God expect His other sons to be different than His Firstborn?  Jesus has taught us, “But love your enemies, and do good...and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be THE SONS OF THE HIGHEST; for HE IS KIND UNTO THE UNTHANKFUL AND TO THE EVIL, BE YE THEREFORE MERCIFUL, AS YOUR FATHER also is merciful.”  In this instance Jesus plainly says that if we desire to be the SONS OF THE HIGHEST, we must be merciful as He is merciful.  THE HIGHEST IS MERCIFUL TO ALL.   

            The question follows: Why should the Highest be merciful to the evil and the unthankful?  The answer is clear that the evil one and the unthankful one may come to know the mercy and goodness of God!  They would never know that mercy in any other way.  If Jesus teaches us we are to be kind to those who mis-use us, reproach us, attack us, curse us, and make themselves our enemies, then what kind of a God and Father would He be, whose words Jesus taught us, who would HATE HIS ENEMIES and cast them into merciless eternal hell to burn forever?  If such a thing were to be, then God would require us to be better than Himself!  Jesus teaches us that we are to be merciful and kind, to bless and do good to all who are enemies.  Do we then have a Father whose nature is entirely opposite to ours?  Impossible!  The sons of God are sent, as was the Son, to reveal the nature of our Father to all. 

            If we see a God that loves only those that love Him, or who defends Himself, and attacks His enemies, banishing them to eternal damnation, torturing endlessly those that curse Him, meting out eternal vengeance upon those that hate Him, and shutting up all mercy from those who persecute Him, then we have a God who establishes His Kingdom in the same spirit, and along the same lines, and by the same methods as the kingdoms of this world.  But we are commanded to love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to those that hate us, and pray for them that despitefully use us, and persecute us THAT WE MAY BE THE SONS OF OUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust...BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT AS YOUR FATHER WHICH IS IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT (Mat. 5:38-48). 

            Sons of God are instructed to love their enemies and not to resist evil (Mat. 5:39).  In so doing they proclaim the nature and principles of the Kingdom of God which is the nature of unconditional redemptive love.  We are not to fight with our enemies, either personal or national even if they attack us.  God is not preparing His sons to be warriors carrying carnal weapons to establish His Kingdom on earth.  The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God, for they are spiritual weapons of faith and power and love.   There is abundant historical evidence that the early Christians considered themselves citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, ambassadors of the spirit of Jesus, and as such refused to be conscripted into the military service of the Roman government.  They objected to war as carnal, political, and immoral.   

            God is raising up in the earth a Kingdom of Priests as SAVIOURS shall they come up on mount Zion!  It is impossible to love all men while hating some men.  And in the “war machine” of the nations it is impossible to go into battle with the “right frame of mind” unless your superiors have instilled in you a sense of outrage, anger, hostility, and hatred toward the enemy.  It is not possible to be in preparation to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption while going out in the world’s war machine to savagely blow men to bits for whom Christ died.  The irony of war is that there are in most cases soldiers who are Christians on both sides.  These men, saved, perhaps baptized in the Holy Spirit, members of the body of Christ, who are to love and care for one another, and esteem one another, as Christ does us; and who supposedly are endued with a divine and heavenly love for all men, march out on the battlefield of carnal warfare at the command of their worldly governments and unregenerated politicians and BLOW ONE ANOTHER’S BRAINS OUT!  Brother shoots brother, and brother bombs brother each sometimes in the name of Christ!  Ponder the fact.  In international wars over the past 2,000 years, professing Christians have killed professing Christians by the millions!  I do not hesitate to tell you that it is one of the most ridiculous contradictions in the world. 

            In that blessed day when the mountain of the house of the Lord is established  in the tops of the mountains it shall come to pass that “many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isa. 2:1-4).  The spirit of that blessed day must first be perfected in those who are destined to rule with the Lamb from mount Zion; the swords and spears in our own hearts must be turned into acts of mercy and blessing to all men of all nations now

            When men come to mount Zion they turn their weapons of destruction into instruments of blessing for their neighbors.  The characteristic of the holy mountain is the Lamb sacrificial, redeeming love.  The only sword carried by the Lamb is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Sons who stand with the Lamb on mount Zion have surrendered their right to be the aggressor, the destroyer with the sword.  These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.  These have the mind of the Lamb, the spirit of the Lamb, the nature of the Lamb.  They are rendered defenseless before their enemies, armed only with the power of redemptive love.  They can no longer fight any man or any nation with words or attitudes or actions of murderous rage, let alone with weapons that maim, kill and destroy.  They come under the rule of the spirit of the defenseless Lamb who is the Saviour of the world.  The sons of God belong to a spiritual Constitution.  Their foes are spiritual, for they wrestle not against flesh and blood.  Their armor is the armor of God and their sword is the sword of the Spirit. 

            I am reminded of the story of a missionary who was trying to explain Christian living to the chief of a primitive and warlike tribe.  The chief was very old, and he listened patiently.  “I do not understand,” the old man said at last.  “You tell me that I must not take my neighbor’s wife or his ivory or his oxen.”  “That’s right,” said the missionary.  “And I must not dance the war dance and then ambush my enemy on the trail and kill him.”  “Absolutely right,” replied the missionary.  “But I cannot do any of these things anymore,” the old chief said regretfully.  “I am too old.  To be old and to be Christian they are the same thing!”  We may be amused at the old chief’s logic, but the solution is plain.  He did not do those things because he could not we do not do them because we will not! 

            It is time to evaluate our Kingdom walk.  The ascended Christ stands at the doorway and bids us set our eyes toward the world above and listen for His voice.  We came from that higher world, we are sent as ambassadors of that higher world; let us seek first the Kingdom of Heaven.  Let us think, listen and watch for those things of the higher world.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  Do not fill your minds with the things of this dark and dying age.  Conspiracies, government actions, politics, foreign policy, taxation, terrorism, all are topics of great interest and fleshly appeal, but they are all related to the world of darkness and not that of the higher world of the Kingdom.  They are all earthly things that Barabbas would involve himself and others in. 

            I first learned this beautiful truth from a good and holy man, my natural father.  It was his earnest conviction that Jesus taught that a child of God and citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven is required by the Holy Spirit to walk out the principles of the Kingdom  in the totality of life.  He believed in what he termed “non-resistance” and saw the basis for this principle in the sermon of the mount and in the words of Paul: “Recompense to no man evil for evil.  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath...therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:17-21). 

            Under the law we have a right to harm someone who has harmed us.  It is fair and just to retaliate when someone attacks us.  The walking out of these Old Covenant principles range from sibling pinches to international war.  If someone takes advantage of me, I have the right to take advantage of them.  If someone files a lawsuit against me, I have the right to file a counter suit.  If someone swindles me in an agreement, I have the right to swindle him back.  In every case it is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.  If a nation launches missiles against us, we have a right to send missles back.  “You have heard that all of this has been said,” Jesus declared, “BUT I SAY UNTO YOU!”  Ah, now we are on Kingdom territory!  And what is the higher law of the Kingdom that Jesus brought?  “Resist not evil...don’t retaliate...don’t sue anyone...if they take your car let them have your truck also...if they force you into a bad situation, fulfill what they require and more!” 

            My father lived by these principles.  On more than one occasion he was attacked by men who had sworn to kill him because of the gospel.  They came at him with bricks and two-by-fours and brute physical strength, and my father was a small man.  He fearlessly stood his ground and spoke only the words, “I love you!”  Their arms stopped in mid air and they dropped their weapons.  On one occasion the scene was less dramatic, but the Holy Ghost was on my mother.  As she spoke in tongues and turned the car around, my father was able to jump in and make his escape.  He would never resist evil, never retaliate, never manifest any fear, antagonism, anger or animosity.  And he was never injured!  God was powerfully with him at all times. 

            In the 1940’s my father joined himself to one of the Pentecostal denominations.  When he was being examined for ordination to the ministry in this denomination he told the brethren, “There is something I must let you know.  I am a conscientious objector.  I do not believe a Christian has any right in the spirit of Jesus to resist any evil or go to war to fight against any enemy of our country.”  He explained in detail his views on this matter.  The brethren said to him, “But, brother Eby, what if a thief or rapist entered your house at night with the intent to rob you,  or to molest your wife and children, or even to kill you what would you what would you do?”  He answered, “I would call on God and God would congeal him  in the doorway and he would be unable to do us any harm.  The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, they are mighty through God.”  “But,” the brethren pressed, “what if everyone believed as you do?  What if no one would join the armed forces to defend our country?  What if our enemies attacked us what would we do?”  My father responded, “My dear brethren, if everyone in this country believed as I do, there would be so much of the power of God in this nation that our enemies would not be able to attack us!”  “Well, brother Eby,” the brethren said, “we don’t agree, but we do admire your faith.”  They ordained him.  My father was a small man, only five feet, one and a half inches tall, but he was a man of courage, fearlessness, conviction, and a man of faith and power with God.  He lived, breathed, and walked out what he perceived as true in God.   And it worked!  God was with him. He was an example of the power of the grace and love of God to overcome all evil with good.  That, precious friend of mine, is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God

            Lorain and I have two sons and one daughter.  We are blessed that all of them are walking with the Lord and with us in this Kingdom word.  I tell you today that we are willing to see any or all of them offered up for our Lord Jesus Christ.   We are willing to see them suffer privation, ill health, persecution, pain, or even death for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom, should the Father lead them in such paths.  Lorain and I have made great sacrifices (though we did not consider them as such!) through the years in order to fulfill the call of God in our lives.  And we are now willing with joy to have our children suffer that and even greater things in the walk of this Kingdom.  We would not hinder one of them from following the Lord to any of the far-flung mission fields of the world even to give their lives there for the gospel.  We would be willing to see them die for Jesus but we are NOT willing to see them die on any battlefield of any nation of this world.  We are not willing to see them carrying guns or driving tanks or flying bombers to take the lives of men for whom Christ died.  We are not willing to see them blowing to bits men to whom we have been called to bring the Kingdom of Life and Light and Love.  I am willing to see my sons and my daughter pay whatever price necessary to deliver creation from the bondage of sin, sorrow and death but I am not willing to see them, at the whims of carnal politicians, blow men away into hell and judgment.  The sons of God must be preeminently the SONS OF LOVE.  You cannot love and maim and kill at the same time.  The very thought is an absurdity, a horrible blasphemy.  “For God so loved the world...”  And so will all who are called to sonship!  That is the power and the glory of the Kingdom of God!



To be continued...                                                                                                                                                                       J.



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