the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
THE PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM
In the new order of the Kingdom of God all earthly and man-made
institutions cease to exist. Our
lives are not governed by external rules, regulations, laws, traditions,
systems, organizations, or hierarchies, but wholly by the guidance of the Holy
Spirit of Truth. Our citizenship is in heaven, therefore the rule of our realm is SPIRIT.
The Kingdom is not a physical, organizational, or political structure,
but always the doing of God’s will. Sonship
to God is a relationship. It is not
measured by movements, structures, forms, nor by creeds.
Indeed, true sons of God will not be characterized by unChristlike
conduct nor by false doctrine. Yet,
neither of these is a criterion for determining the reality of sonship to the
Father. Sonship is strictly a
spiritual relationship and is entered into by the reception from the Father of
the Spirit of sonship. Then only
can one cry, “Abba, Father,” out of a union of Spirit with the Father.
Because we are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our
hearts; and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Nothing external contributes anything to this sonship, nor is sonship
dependent upon any external thing for its manifestation.
Jesus broke every tradition and violated all accepted standards,
procedures, norms, orders, methods and systems.
He demonstrated the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven, and never did so more
eloquently than on the night of the last supper. On that solemn occasion Peter and John had made all the
arrangements for the Passover — all but for one
item. When guests entered a house
it was customary for their feet to be bathed, washing away the dust and grime of
their journey, for people in those days wore sandals or walked barefoot.
This washing of the feet was a simple act, but a menial task performed
only by servants. Each of these men
had been called to the Kingdom and were associates of the King.
They were anxiously competing for position and power in this Kingdom
about to burst upon the world. Not
one of them would stoop to take the place of a servant, to wash feet.
They jostled one another to prove their superiority and closeness to the
Master. Each thought the other
should be washing feet.
When the hour arrived for supper, no one’s feet had been washed.
Although no one mentioned it, there was an uncomfortableness about them
because the service had not been rendered.
Then it happened! Jesus, fully aware that the Father had put everything into
His hands, and that He had come from God and was returning to God, got up from
supper, took off His garments, and taking a servant’s towel, He fastened it
around His waist. Then He poured
water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe
them with the servant’s towel with which He was girded.
Peter watched, astounded. They
knew in their hearts who He was. They
had confessed Him as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God.
He was the deliverer prophesied by all the holy prophets since the world
began. He was the promised son of
David destined to rule all nations, Emmanuel, God with us, who was the King of
earth and the universe. And He was washing feet!
Peter’s blood was boiling, beads of perspiration stood out on His
flushed face, and His thoughts raced wildly.
This isn’t the way to rule over men, this isn’t a demonstration of
power! Caesar doesn’t wash the
feet of his soldiers, not even his generals!
Power would mean that they would wash his feet if he so ordered!
Power means that you are served, that your orders are obeyed, that your
rank, position, and prestige is respected, bowed to, even cringed before.
What was Jesus doing!
Jesus came to Judas, gazed gently into his shifty eyes, and humbly washed
and dried his feet. Peter was horrified and his mind was going crazy.
Jesus can’t do this, it isn’t right; what kind of a King is He if He assumes
the role of a servant; what is the dignity and power of this Kingdom if its King
serves His subjects instead of ruling
over them. And what will be our role as administrators in this Kingdom if we are to wash feet
instead of barking orders! It all
seemed so contradictory.
When Jesus came to Peter, Peter had his thoughts collected and said to
Him, “Lord, are my feet to be washed by you?
Is it your place to wash my feet?”
Jesus met Peter’s gaze and replied, “You do not understand now what I
am doing, Peter, but you will understand later on.”
Peter said to Him sharply, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Jesus calmly answered him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me
— no share in my
Kingdom.” Shocked, Peter said to
Jesus, “ If that’s the case, then Lord, wash not only my feet, but my hands
and my head, too!” Jesus said,
“Anyone who has had a bath needs not to wash except
his feet, but is clean all over except for where he has walked through the
dust. And you are clean — but
not entirely clean — your walk must
be cleansed, purified.”
The disciples took their places at the table.
Their damp, cold feet testified against their pride and condemned them
from beneath the table. A holy hush
fell over them as they tried to digest the full meaning of the event that had
just occurred. Their concepts of
the Kingdom were disintegrating, and their quest for power and position was
trembling beneath their feet. Jesus
looked from one to the other and said, “Do you understand what I have done to
you? You call me Master and the
Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is what I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet —
I have ministered to you in meekness and humility, and by my words and actions
have cleansed your walk — you ought, it is your duty,
you are under obligation, you owe it — to wash one another’s feet!
For I have given this to you as an example, so that you should do in your
turn what I have done to you.”
The Gospel of Luke gives additional insight into the events of the last
supper. According to Luke an eager
contention arose between the disciples as to which of them was considered and
reputed to be the greatest, and Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles
are deified by them and exercise LORDSHIP, ruling as emperors and tyrants over
them; and those in authority are elevated above the people and called
Benefactors. But this is not to be so with you.
On the contrary let him who is the greatest among you become as the
youngest, and him who is the chief and leader as one who serves.
For which is the greater, he who reclines at table (the master of the
house), or he who serves? Is not he who reclines at the table the greatest?
But I am in your midst as the one who serves.
See, I have esteemed you better
and greater than myself.” With
those words Jesus laid down one of the greatest principles of the Kingdom of
God: true greatness is not to exalt yourself above others to rule;
true greatness is to humble yourself before men to serve!
Jesus came to change the world, transform the world, and rule the world
by the power of the Spirit of God. Yet,
while on earth, He seemed to have no program, no method, no system, no
organization, no instrument, no structure
to accomplish such a feat. He
expended His energies on individual cases, teaching and healing all who were
drawn to Him, but forming them into no cohesive movement.
Christ’s life had no other program than that of personal influence, the
transformation of individuals. When
Jesus ascended, He left behind Him no system of doctrine, no instructions for
the organization of the ministry, no specified chain of command, no detailed
guidance about worship. Oh, yes, on
the day of Pentecost He founded the church, but He founded it neither as an
organization nor with a hierarchy. The
commission laid upon the church with respect to the world was to go out and make
disciples of all nations and continue His work upon individuals.
Christ’s definition of a church had nothing to do with a group of
people submitted under a pastor, a board of elders and deacons, with board
meetings, Sunday School, church buildings, fellowship halls, recreational
facilities, committees, youth programs, crusades and the like.
The Lord’s own definition of church is given in Matthew 18:20, “For
where two or three are gathered together
in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Our long years of captivity in Babylon have given us a distorted sense of
the ways of the Kingdom of God. The
Kingdom of God is not an externally organized government, it is the rule of God
in the lives and affairs of men by the
Spirit. To the church the
glorified Lord has given ascension
gift-ministries of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
“Wherefore he saith, When He ascended
up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave
gifts unto men. And He gave
some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and
teachers; for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the body of Christ: till
we all come in the unity of the faith, and
of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of
the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:8,11-13).
The apostles of the church age are not the same order of apostle as the
original twelve. The twelve
apostles were ordained apostles by Jesus during
the days of His flesh, while He was still on earth. They were already apostles when the day of Pentecost arrived.
The apostles of the church age are given by the ascended
Christ, after He had ascended on
He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” After
Christ ascended He gave to His church a new order of apostles and they were
given along with prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers and therefore have
been a continuing ministry in the body of Christ throughout the age.
Let all who follow on to know the Lord understand the undeniable truth
that there is an infinite difference between a gift-ministry
and an organizational hierarchy.
The gift-ministries are just that — gifts to the
body of Christ — not lords over
God’s heritage. As a teacher I am
myself a gift to the people of God.
I have a divine commission to teach, exhort, reprove, counsel, instruct,
beseech, encourage and strengthen the body of Christ in any and all ways He
leads and empowers me to do. But I
have no right to subject any man or group of men to my ministry, to form
them into a movement around myself, to rule over them, dominate them, control
them, or become a lord or master over them.
Let not those who have received the call to sonship imagine even for a
moment that some minister or ministry is able to usher them in to the fullness of Christ.
There is a great error propagated in the land that says that
the five-fold ministry has
been ordained of God to bring the Lord’s people into perfection, unto maturity
as a perfect man, and unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ —
sonship. Now should someone reply
that the scripture itself declares that God gave the five-fold ministry for
the perfecting of the saints, and to bring us all unto a perfect man and to
full stature in Christ, I must respond kindly but firmly that the scripture says
no such thing. A faulty translation
and faulty punctuation has spawned that erroneous and absurd notion.
But that is exactly what all the self-appointed
apostles want you to believe so that they can bring you under their
dominion. We are living in an hour
of great deception, and the land is
full of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets who will tell you that only their
ministry, or their revelation, or their
church, or their movement can
bring you to perfection, immortality, and sonship.
You see, my beloved, there is no punctuation in the original; the
punctuation is supplied by the translators as part and parcel of their
translation. There should be no
comma between the phrase, “for the perfecting of the saints,” and the phrase
that follows, “for the work of the ministry.”
The perfecting of the saints and the work of the ministry are not two
separate functions of the five fold ministry.
It should read, “And He gave some
the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry...”
A number of translations
have corrected this error and given the accurate sense of the Greek. I will quote just a few.
“And He gave some...for
the equipping of the saints for ministering work” (Wuest).
“And the same one gives these...toward the adjusting of the saints for
the work of dispensing” (Concordant Literal).
“And He gave some...with a view to the fitting of the saints for the
work of ministering” (Rotherham).
It should be a self-evident truth that no man can bring another man into
something that he does not himself possess. You cannot give what you don’t
have, neither can you bring anyone into a place you have not entered. The
five-fold ministry cannot bring God’s elect saints into something they have
not themselves experienced. It is
impossible for the five-fold ministry to perfect
the saints unless the five-fold ministry
itself IS PERFECT.
It would be an effort in futility for any ministry to try and make me a
PERFECT MAN IN CHRIST except that ministry should have already attained
perfection. How could any
apostle or prophet bring saints unto the measure of the stature
of the fullness of the Christ except that apostle or prophet has already
reached that position of absolute fullness in Christ? I cannot lead men to Christ if I have not myself experienced
Christ. Preachers who have not been
filled with the Holy Spirit do not go around laying hands on people, imparting
the gift of the Holy Ghost. A
teacher cannot successfully teach science or mathematics unless he is proficient
in those subjects. ONE CANNOT
MINISTER OR IMPART WHAT HE DOES NOT POSSESS.
If an apostle or prophet is to bring you into immortality, he must first
become immortal himself. No sick,
aging, or corruptible servant of God can minister incorruptible life to your
body. If a ministry can bring you into fullness, that ministry must first be
filled with fullness. Can we not
see by this that only one who is perfect can bring men to perfection, and only
a manifested son of God is able to bring men into sonship.
Thank God, there is ONE! “But
we see Jesus...crowned with glory and honour...for it became Him, for whom are
all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many
sons unto glory, to make the captain
of their salvation perfect through
sufferings” (Heb. 2:9-10). That
is why Jesus is called our great forerunner — He has entered in before —
HE is able to draw us in!
The five-fold ministry are indeed ministers to the body of Christ for the
blessing and edification of the body. But
notice the limitation of the perfection they minister. “And He gave some...for the perfecting of the saints FOR
THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY.” These
gift-ministries are placed in the body of Christ to perfect the saints in the area of ministry. The
five-fold ministry is just that — MINISTRIES!
Any ministry can take people only as far as that ministry has gone,
reproducing itself. The disciple is
never above his master — it is enough that he be as his master. Therefore
ministry can only perfect you in ministry.
They can bring you into what they themselves posses and which they are
able to impart. You can become as
that ministry in the experience of Christ.
All the knowledge, wisdom, anointing, power and ability of that ministry
can be reproduced in you. But they
cannot bring you to full Christ perfection
and stature because they are not themselves perfect or fully mature as sons
of God. They cannot bring you
to manifested sonship because they are not
The five-fold ministry continues “TILL
we all come IN THE UNITY OF THE FAITH AND OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SON OF GOD UNTO
a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”
There are three key words in this passage: TILL, IN, and UNTO.
The five-fold ministry is only valid TILL.
Then it is IN the unity of the
faith of the Son of God and the
knowledge or knowing of the Son of God that we arrive at the measure of the
Christ’s full stature. The
“till” is the dividing point. All
before the “till” is what the five-fold ministry can do for us.
It can edify us and equip us for the work of ministering in the present
“in part” realm of church experience. That is all. Everything
after the “till” is what the unification
of His faith and knowledge within ourselves can do for us!
Since HE is the only one thus far to enter into the perfection and
maturity of sonship, it becomes obvious that only by HIS FAITH, and only by
KNOWING HIM in intimacy of fellowship and vital union, are we enabled to enter
in! J. B. Phillips, in his
translation, has beautifully and accurately expressed the truth of these words:
“His gifts were made that Christians might be properly equipped for their
service, that the whole body might be built up UNTIL THE TIME COMES, when in the
unity of common faith and common knowledge of the Son of God, we arrive at real
maturity — the measure of development
which is meant by ‘the fullness of Christ.’”
The Kingdom is established by the power of the Spirit and it is ruled by
the ministration of the Spirit — not by men in hierarchical
positions of authority. Do I mean
by this that I am opposed to brethren meeting together as the church or the body
of Christ, with elders, pastors, teachers, prophets, apostles, evangelists, and
the various gifts and ministries the Spirit would bring forth among them?
Not at all! Let me be
understood very clearly. It is not
a question of whether brethren come together as a local expression of the
Lord’s body to encourage, strengthen, bless and edify one another — it is altogether a matter of the spirit in which they assemble, and the attitude, agenda and role
of those who minister. God is not
the author of organizational structures, man-made
dominions, or hierarchical lordships over His people.
But He is in the midst of His
people, and He does move among His
people, and He does flow through
spiritual ministry to the members of His body.
If I didn’t believe that I would put away my pen, for whether I write
the counsel of God via articles and personal correspondence to a vast, scattered
“invisible congregation” of God’s elect, or whether we meet together and I
speak the word of God to a local
“visible congregation” of saints — THERE IS NO
DIFFERENCE! The idea that a local
congregation with physical and visible ministry is Babylon, whereas a scattered
congregation with ministry via the Post Office and telephone is not
Babylon, is ludicrous. Either way I
would be the “ministry” and those who receive would be the
“congregation.” It is not a
question of whether, but a matter of how.
The Spirit flows through men in a fluid way, ministering as Christ
ministered, touching lives, healing, delivering, teaching, instructing,
encouraging, counseling, correcting, rebuking, and any other needed service —
as a ministry of the spirit and life, as a gift to men, not out of title,
delegated authority, organizational design, or hierarchical position.
The Kingdom is thus an unstructured kingdom, for it is the kingdom of the Spirit — who is like the wind — you hear the sound
thereof, but cannot tell from whence it comes or whither it goes.
The Kingdom is the rule of God in our hearts, activities, and
relationships. The Spirit teaches
us Kingdom ways and manifests through us in Kingdom grace, mercy, wisdom, glory
When I say that the Kingdom of God is unstructured
I do not mean that it is without parts, form or order.
There are two kinds of structure in the world — that imposed from without, and that unfolded from within.
Let me illustrate. There are
only two ways of building anything. It
must be built either by external manipulation — by the works of men’s hands — or
it must be a product of life. For
instance, a chair, an automobile, or a house is the work of men’s hands.
All of its design, symmetry and structure is achieved by a power outside
of itself. On the other hand, a
bird, a beast, a flower, a tree or a man is fashioned by an internal power apart
from any external manipulation at all. It
is not necessary to create some kind of “form” to slip over the tiny shoot
or the microscopic embryo in order to fashion it, as it grows and develops, into
the shape of an oak or a human. Its
nature, characteristics, function and structure are all the product of an indwelling
life. And therein lies the
difference! Everything in the whole
world that is fashioned by outward work or power is dead — no inherent life at all.
Automobiles have no life, furniture has no life, clothing and buildings
have no life. They do have
structure, but not life. Plants,
animals and humans, however, have form and order by life and out of life.
Education, technology, planning, design, skill, manufacturing and
organization play absolutely no role in what they are.
They are what the life in them is, and form by the life continually
ministered to them by nutrition. They
are created by life, develop by life, and function by life.
They are unstructured so far as the
operation of man is concerned.
The Kingdom of God is an unstructured Kingdom because it cannot be
“built,” “assembled,” “formed,” or “produced” by the wisdom or
ability of man nor by any external exercise, handicraft, workmanship,
management, control, administration or governance. The Kingdom is only by life
and out of life. Though the word of
the Kingdom be spoken and imparted into your life by man, just as the seed is
planted in the earth by man, the germination, growth, development and result is
all the work of life. Both the
foundation and superstructure of the Kingdom are the result of the reign of God
within our hearts. The Kingdom is
not, nor will it ever be, a political institution or outward organization
controlled and dominated by a president, prime minister, senate, parliament,
mayor, council, police force, army, pastor, apostle, bishop, or organizational
headquarters. The dominion that God
uses in His theocracy is something altogether different.
The Kingdom is God’s authority by
the Spirit versus Babylon’s authority by
system and hierarchy. The
Kingdom is God’s government by the flow of His life vs. the governments of the
world by law and force. When men
speak, act, and minister out of the anointing they express and manifest the
wisdom, power and glory of the Kingdom of God.
That is not structure — that is LIFE!
If you were Jesus and realized that you were going to leave the earth and
return into the heavens, surely you would have made arrangements with those who
were going to carry on your work and establish your church. It would seem to us, naturally and religiously speaking, that
after His resurrection, when the Lord Jesus planned a special meeting with His
chosen apostles on a mountain in Galilee, that meeting would have been a very
long meeting filled with much teaching and many detailed instructions.
We know that He was shortly to ascend into heaven, and how logical it
would be for Him to seize this opportunity to pass on many counsels, directions,
recommendations, directives, guidelines, and regulations for His disciples to
follow after His departure. Surely
He would dictate to them the creeds, doctrinal statements, liturgies, how to
organize local churches, methods for ordaining elders and selecting deacons,
with specifics about church finance, church programs, delegated authority and
the chain of command in the assemblies.
One would think the Lord would need to schedule a three week work-shop
with His disciples. But to our
amazement, instead of a three week work-shop, He appears but briefly and
delivers an 88 word memo! “And,
behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of
Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Lk. 24:49; Mat.
That was the first conference after the resurrection of Christ, and the
only one that related to the future church agenda!
The Lord Jesus was so simple. He
wasn’t concerned about external things and outward structure — He
was only concerned that they be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit! There
was no need for Him to tell them so many things, or to give them a book on
theology, a minister’s manual, or a church discipline.
There was only the need for them to possess the wisdom and power of the
Holy Spirit and to be led by the Spirit. The
Spirit Himself would guide and teach them day by day as to where to go, what to
do, and how to do it. They would
not need to write a book about it to guide those who would come after them, but
all God’s ministers, throughout all generations, would need the very same
credentials and qualifications — the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of
And the Lord would probably never do the same thing in the same way
twice, for God is a God of infinite variety and diversity.
One of our difficulties in doing the work of the Lord is that we think
only in terms of established patterns. We
want to know how God has done it, so
that we can follow the pattern. We
think that when God does something by His Spirit once or twice that He is
revealing a system for us to embrace and use. But it is impossible to limit God to a fixed pattern, to any
method He has used in the past, or anything He has done before.
Sometimes saints get the notion that if they fast for forty days —
because Elijah and Jesus fasted forty days — they
will receive the ministry of a prophet or become a manifested son of God.
But copying patterns is wrong. Just
because God blessed someone when they did a certain thing a certain way
doesn’t mean that is His purpose or requirement in our life.
God doesn’t usually do the same thing twice, in the same way, in our
own experience! Just as soon as we
think we have found the “groove” or discovered the “method” or laid hold
upon “the way it works,” we
discover that this is not His groove, but our
rut. Unless we are ready to follow the Lord along the new and
strange paths of HIS PURPOSES, discovering that His ways are inexhaustible, we
might become buried in this rut. As
wind, those who are born of the Spirit cannot tell whence it cometh or whither
it goeth (Jn. 3:8). Ever try
figuring out the wind? Where did it
start, where is it going? Can I
detect some sort of pattern so that
the next time I can predict its movements?
There are no precise patterns
for those who are born of God! There
are no precedents for the on-going ministry of the Spirit of God!
Our God is spontaneously
creative; He is not systematically
creative. What I mean is that God
does not employ a program in His
purpose; God is a God of spontaneity. God
moves not by system, method, or organization, but by the creative power of His
life. God is speaking in this hour
by His life. His words are words of
life. God is quickening, energizing
and transforming by supernatural life. The
life of God is the creative instrument of His nature. God is infinite in all of His thoughts, abilities, actions
and ways. God in creation is
ingenious beyond comprehension. Everything
God creates is unique. God is a God
of unlimited diversity, of infinite variety, of inexhaustible capacity, and we
behold the blessed wonder of this fact displayed gloriously in creation.
are billions of trillions of stars in the heavens and no two stars are equal in
their glory. With my finite human
brain I can’t even comprehend the understanding, wisdom, knowledge and power
that is able to create a billion trillion stars and make each one of them
unique, giving each an unduplicated glory and naming
them! Oh! the wonder of it.
How many snowflakes do you suppose have fallen upon the vast plains and
towering mountains of earth through the measureless ages of time?
And yet they tell us that no two snowflakes are alike!
What kind of a mind is the architect of this marvel of nature?
There are more than six billion people walking the face of this globe
today, and no two fingerprints match — no
two people are identical. God has
established it all by His creative word of life. When God speaks the superlative comes into existence.
And the varieties are as infinite as His divine mind.
The Lord builds His church and establishes His Kingdom, not in a human
way, but in a divine way; not in an organized way, but by His life-giving,
transforming Spirit. There is no
so-called “divine order” pattern or system for God’s church — what He does in
one place or at one time will be totally different from what He does in another
place or at another time — if it is by His Spirit!
The way He deals with you may not be the same as the way He deals with
me. What He requires of me in
specific acts of obedience may not be the same thing
that He requires of you. The
way the Spirit moves and directs His people to worship, minister, and the
structure He brings forth in their midst, will not be carbon copies of what He
did in Jerusalem, Ephesus, Colosse, Corinth, or in the body of Christ today in
the next city, state or nation.
Jesus never made any arrangements or left any schedule. He left a bunch of men in charge who only weeks before had
abandoned Him, who cursed and swore that they didn’t even know Him, and who
fled in terror into hiding. What a
faithless, unpredictable, undependable group!
From our natural viewpoint, what He did was a mess.
Everything occurred as a kind of accident.
Jesus did everything without any revealed plan or any appointments or any
pre-arrangements or apparent method. When
He wanted to speak to His disciples after His resurrection He just came.
He came in a way that was absolutely different from the religious systems
Even during His three and a half years of sonship ministry He never
called a formal meeting — there never was one.
Never did He announce that He would be preaching and ministering to the
sick on a certain day, at a particular place and time.
He held no organized crusades. He
did no advertising, nor mailed out any announcements.
He rented no halls, stadiums, auditoriums, and pitched no revival tent.
His meetings had no announced time of beginning or ending.
He hired no campaign manager and appointed no song or worship leader.
Peter didn’t open the meeting with prayer, James didn’t lead the
worship, John didn’t make the announcements or take the offering.
Think of it — no
prayer, no singing, no worship service, no Bible reading, no stirring of the
emotions, no form of preliminaries, no order of meeting, no hype
of any kind! There were absolutely
NONE of the activities or structure without which modern-day traditional
evangelistic, revival, crusade and church meetings could
not function. There was
certainly nothing religious.
Only His preaching and teaching as one having authority, and the
spontaneous manifestation of the power of God — that was all Jesus
used — that was positively all!
Sixty seconds is all it takes. When
sponsors of a television program want to entice viewers to tune in next week, a
one-minute preview of the most exciting scenes is all it takes.
If you like what you see in that brief encounter, you will surely love
the complete version — or
so they hope. In a similar way, the
Lord Jesus provided His disciples and the nation of Israel with a brief yet
powerful portrayal of the realm of sonship.
The only ministry of manifested
sonship the world has ever seen is the ministry of Jesus Christ, the
firstborn Son of God. As we
consider and meditate upon His sonship ministry I believe the Lord is revealing
something to us which is absolutely different from today’s Christianity.
The ministry of the sons of God must be absolutely outside of religion.
With religion, there is always a schedule, an organization, a system, an
arrangement. But with sonship there
is none. There is only one thing —
appearing of CHRIST in the sons.
Jesus raised Lazarus at the cemetery and Tabitha in her home.
Blind Bartimaeus was healed on the street and Zacchaeus was saved in a
tree. A cripple was healed in the
synagogue and another at the pool of Bethesda.
Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, and fed the multitude in a
desert place. The sea was calmed
from a boat and the centurion’s servant was healed by a word.
Jesus erected no platform, issued no “healing cards,” and the sick
were not formed into a “healing line.”
There was no production, no show, no theatrics; simply a continual flow
of compassion and power that worked wherever He was.
Will the many brethren minister
any differently? The Spirit of the
Lord has been speaking to my heart. He
is urging me to seek that ministry that is not
religious. He is planting deep
within the hearts of His elect the desire for that spontaneous ministry of Christ that will work at all places,
at all times, and in every situation and circumstance. In the open air or under a roof, indoors or outdoors,
in the homes, on the streets, in the business establishments, in the churches,
at the seashore, on a train or airplane — HE is always
there, unrehearsed, unprogrammed, unannounced — spontaneously appearing in glory and power.
That is how Jesus ministered, and He is the pattern, the prototype of the
life of sonship and the realm of the Kingdom.
Jesus ministered wherever He was, day or night, here or there, with one
person, two, ten, a thousand, five thousand — it mattered
not. He preached by the sea and in
the fields; He ministered on the streets, in the homes, in the desert, in the
temple, in the synagogues, in the mountain, by a well.
This is not the order of the modern-day church systems, but this is how
the Kingdom of God will be established on earth.
The sons of God will not function within the framework of our old kind of
Christian “service.” We must
confess that is pure man-made tradition. We
didn’t learn it from Jesus! It is
easy to get out of religion, to come out
of Babylon — but far more difficult to get the religion out of us!
We are called to be the sons of God, led by the Spirit; to speak the
words of God and do the works of the Father spontaneously at all times and in
every place, not doing anything religious, not doing anything of tradition,
organization, forms, rituals, ceremonies, showmanship, or churchiness.
The sons of God are the display of the infinitely creative, omnipotent
power of HIS LIFE.
Recently a brother shared with me a little article he wrote in which he
gave the following example. A
gentleman was on a plane that was in serious trouble. Someone on board the plane
suggested that all the passengers on board the plane bow their heads in prayer.
One man didn’t. Others asked why. He
said, “I don’t believe in prayer.” They
said, “Well, do something religious!”
So he took up a collection.
The firstborn Son of God opposed religion and all that went with it.
He broke the Sabbath, He companied with harlots and ate with sinners, and
He sat at meat with unwashed hands. He
acted so clearly “un-religious” before His disciples, showing them by
example His attitude toward religion. They
all saw it. By example He taught them the ways of the UNSTRUCTURED
KINGDOM. And when, after the day of
Pentecost, the apostles went out into all the world preaching the name of Jesus
and the Kingdom of God to every creature, they did it exactly the same way!
The twelve apostles and Paul and the other apostles all preached and did
mighty signs and wonders among the people.
This they did on the streets, in the temple, in the synagogues, by the
rivers, in the deserts and fields, in the homes and places of business, in the
shadow of pagan temples, on ships and in chariots — but
never in an organized “crusade.”
Read the book of Acts and you will see.
They rented no halls, established no system, made no program, announced
no schedule, built no platform. They
required no hour of “worship” to
create an “atmosphere” for God to move!
God was in them equally at all times and in every place to spontaneously
reveal the power of Christ. They
didn’t have to preach for two hours in order to get spiritually “primed”
so their “gift” would work! Their
ministries were not traditional “Christian” ministries, they did not do
things the way they are done today, but they had the goods even in this in-part
realm and they turned the world up-side-down!
While I was still writing this message brother Bob Torango’s paper
arrived in the mail. He has written
some words so poignant and powerful that I am compelled to share them here.
He speaks of the manifestation of the sons of God in terms of
the “New Millennium Ministry,” and says, “A millennial mind-set is
one that does not allow the world to dictate death and destruction to it, but
the world must line up to the order of this Millennial Ministry.
Their order dictates the blessing of God in the earth and they are the
representatives of an everlasting kingdom that will never pass away.
They are the shining lights of God’s presence and are His express will
in the earth. They are not preachers, teachers, bishops, prophets or any
other labeled office of ministry, but they are a new order, a company that is
totally re-programmed from the six-day mind-set.
They do not rely on the intellect of learned knowledge, but they operate
out of a millennial mind-set of newness. They
do not feel compelled to line up with the church system and know that the armor
of Saul will never fit them in the upcoming battle with Goliath.
“God has a ministry to minister to this Millennium!
We are being initiated into it even now and our heart-mind is teaching us
the order of it. One thing is
certain. This New Millennial
Ministry will not rely upon the smoke and mirror methods of the passing church
age to meet the challenges of this Day. Kiss
your Sunday morning religion good bye. You
can also kiss your dead, structured, lifeless, Bible thumping, pulpit pounding,
money pulling, program driven, people pleasing ministry good bye.
While you are at it, why don’t you kiss your philosophical,
theological, pseudo-psychological, metaphysical, intellectual, holistical,
rational, logical, apocalyptical, twice dead, plucked up from the roots,
doctrinal dogmas good-bye, also. None of these things will do anything for you or anyone else
if the collapse (of the world system and economy) comes.
“The only thing we can rely on, the only thing that will save us is the
Spirit of the living God. Anything
else that we have used in the past to try to describe that Life...will be
utterly useless to us. Only the
real McCoy, the 100%, concentrated, undiluted, unmanufactured, true blue, pure,
undefiled, unpolluted Life of God will help us in that case.
All temporary, maintenance type of ministries will not be Millennial
ready. The five offices of the
church, namely the Apostle, Pastor, Prophet, Teacher, and Evangelist are for the
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of
the body of Christ, UNTIL we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature
of the fullness of Christ. The
offices of the church are a maintenance
ministry, necessary and needful to KEEP THE CHURCH MAINTAINING, but in view
of the arrival of this new millennium, they are not Millennial ready!
I say that there is coming forth out of our midst a New Millennium
Ministry that will not be molded out of the old mold of the church maintenance
system, but will start a new lineage of priestly and kingly ministry”
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
The fame of Jesus’ miracles and teachings increased until vast
multitudes followed Him. He began
to teach in the open air. Once He
taught the people from the bow of a boat, while the multitude stood on the
shore. At another time He spoke on
a grassy knoll. But on one
wonderful occasion He climbed into a high place in the mountain and sat,
undoubtedly on the ledge of a rock, and delivered His wonderful words of wisdom. It was a plain, simple address.
It was but a few direct words. There
were no oratorical flights of eloquence. There were no stately rhetorical periods.
There was no emotional appeal, no animated theatrics, no soulish stirring
of the crowd to respond with “Amen’s,” “Hallelujah’s,” or “Praise
the Lord!” But in its simplicity
and unpretentiousness it was one of the mightiest and most momentous
proclamations of history. It was
potent because it came with divine authority.
It was a message from God. It
was delivered by His chosen messenger. A
great company of people sat listening, silently, hushed by the power of the
message which they heard. Today it
is called “The Sermon on the Mount.”
The crowd assembled before Jesus resembled the multitude of Israel that
stood, fifteen centuries before, at the foot of mount Sinai and heard the voice
of God and received His law. Men of
different opinions, persuasions and backgrounds were there. But they all had one thing in common — the
earnest desire that the Messiah should come and cleanse Jerusalem and the land
of Israel of the Roman legions and the Roman standards that were perched atop
every tower, and redeem the people of God from the degrading yoke of Roman
bondage and servitude. They were
ready to take up arms in the holy cause of patriotism and religion.
They waited only for the signal that the hour had come, and they would
march at His command up to the city of David as Israel had marched at Joshua’s
command to drive out the nations that polluted the land in the long ago.
They supposed that he would stand highest in the new Kingdom whose sword
had drunk most freely of the blood of the slain.
God would restore the Kingdom to Israel, and the law of the Lord would
again rule over His people.
What must have been their astonishment when the first sentence fell from
His lips, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their’s is the Kingdom of
Heaven! The Kingdom of God for
which you so earnestly yearn is not an empire of war and conquest, nor is it the
military power of Israel, to be exercised over foreign nations.
It belongs to the humble, the quiet, the peaceful, the contented.
You expect a Messiah to vindicate the weak against the strong, to revenge
injury, to repay insult; that He will set up His empire with the sword and
defend it by the sword. But I say
unto you, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
The gentle, the kind, the gracious, the merciful, the caring, the loving,
the compassionate, the peacemakers, the forgiving, the pure in heart are those
who are to flourish in the days of the Messiah.
They shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
The blessings and benefits of my Kingdom belong only to those who hunger
and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
They shall be filled with the quality of righteousness manifested by
those who experience God’s kingly power
in their lives. Those who become
citizens of my Kingdom, those in whom God reigns by His Spirit, receive a new
righteousness, the righteousness not of an outward law, but of an inward life.
It is a righteousness that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and
Pharisees, for it is the righteousness of God who reigns within.”
The Lord began His sermon on the mount by describing the citizens of
God’s Kingdom. The men seated
immediately around Him had seen things that no man before them had ever seen. Their ears had caught the sweet sounds of a message so
transcendingly glorious that even the soldiers exclaimed, “No man ever spake
like this man!” And now their
ears heard with joy His manifold blessings pronounced upon those who had the
spirit of the Kingdom of God in their hearts.
Blessed are the poor in spirit; blessed are they that mourn; blessed are
the meek, for they shall inherit the earth; blessed are they which do hunger and
thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled; blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy; blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see
God; blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God;
blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Never could man devise such a Kingdom as this!
This is how the citizens of the Kingdom live, this is how the citizens and
rulers in the Kingdom of God are.
All other kingdoms since the dawn of
earth’s history have been governed by man’s stupidity, fashioned as
they were by the weakness and futility of the carnal mind, and crumbling in
decay and disarray after a few fleeting years because of the deep corruption of
the human heart. Jesus told His
audience of a Kingdom that would be the direct antithesis of all former
kingdoms, a Kingdom in which the mind of God and the righteousness of God and
the love of God would both be shed abroad and rule in every human heart. The Sermon on the Mount is the Constitution of the Kingdom of God. It is the Constitution setting forth the laws and principles
by which the holy nation, the Kingdom of God, is governed.
Old Testament Israel had a Constitution — the law of Moses. Jesus
introduced a NEW CONSTITUTION for the NEW KINGDOM. He said, “It was said by them of old time (Moses,
specifically)...but I say unto you!”
And although we refer to the Sermon on the Mount as the CONSTITUTION or
LAWS of the Kingdom, I have chosen to title this article THE PRINCIPLES OF THE
KINGDOM OF GOD, for these are the wonderful principles
by which all life in the Kingdom functions, manifests, and ministers.
“Upon the mountain Jesus sat; the hillside by the beach
Grass-carpeted cathedral where He could speak, and teach
Those flaming, burning words of truth that priest and demagogue
Would never tolerate at all in church or synagogue.
His own cathedral He had built; had built it by His word,
And ‘neath its vaulted panoply the glory of the Lord
Would pale the light of noonday sun; for what He said that day
Would blaze and shine eternally, when worlds had burned away.
Back to their tasks the crowd had gone, and He was left alone
Save for a little company that He could call His own.
What use was there for restless crowds — the worldly, giddy throng
Might listen to the music, but never hear the song.
Blessed are ye, the tones rang
out, repeated o’er and o’er!
Galilee pressed with watery hands the keyboard of the shore;
And from her heaving bosom rose the music of her waves,
For heaven was calling earth to tell that only Jesus saves.
For can the sermon on the mount be lived by human life?
Can sinful man ascend so high above his sin and strife?
Is there the possibility that he can strive and strain
Through a thousand consecrations that life to attain?
Forgive us, Lord, if such we think, for this is not the way.
Oh, give us ears to really hear what Thou didst say that day!
We want life. Oh, vision blessed, from us, Lord, never part,
For we can only live it when Thou livest in our heart.”
Charles S. Price.
At that time only Jesus knew how to love His enemies; only Jesus knew how to pray for those who would despitefully use Him. No one but Jesus knew how to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first, and have all else added unto him. Only Jesus knew how to bring Himself to complete subjection to the Father, that He might stand in God’s place on earth. Jesus taught the people a higher realm of life, a dimension of life that is completely above any natural realm. IT IS NOT NATURAL TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES. Such is supernatural. It is not natural to pray for those who despitefully use us. It is supernatural to do that. It is not natural to seek first the Kingdom of God. It is supernatural to do that. It is natural to see material things first and the things of God afterward. It is natural to worry about tomorrow and what it will bring. It is supernatural to live in a world where worry and fear are unnecessary by the faith of Jesus Christ. This is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God!
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