the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
KINGDOM OF GOD
PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM
Every nation on earth has a Constitution.
The Constitution of a country is its supreme law.
The Constitution is the basis of the national government.
The Constitution establishes the branches of government with their
respective powers, as well as the rights and privileges of the citizens.
In the United States, for example, no decree of the President, no act of
Congress, and no law of any state, county or city can conflict with the mandate
of the Constitution. The primary
function of the Supreme Court is to rule whether a law or act of any institution
or individual is “Constitutional,” that is, conforms to, and is permitted
by, the Constitution. Any law,
regulation, or activity ruled unconstitutional
is then unenforceable and forbidden.
If we admit that the Kingdom of God is
a kingdom indeed, then it must be acknowledged that it has a Constitution
and laws by which its government functions.
And though we refer to these as laws, I have chosen to title this message
“The Principles of the Kingdom of
God.” It is not difficult to
fathom what kind of principles an infinite, all-wise, all-powerful,
all-righteous and all-loving Ruler would adopt. Necessarily they must be in keeping with the nature and character and purposes
of that Ruler. They must work in
the same manner within the citizens of the Kingdom of God as they do in its
Ruler — by
the Spirit — for God IS SPIRIT. His
righteousness is the spirit of righteousness.
His wisdom is the spirit of wisdom.
His peace is the spirit of peace. His
joy is in the Holy Ghost. His might
is the spirit of might. That the
principles of the Kingdom are by the Spirit and therefore spiritual, does not for a moment mean that they are not real!
Spirit is real!
Peace is real!
Righteousness is real! Joy is real!
Power is real!
These things are not tangible or material, but they are very, very real.
There is an old saying that things are not what they seem; that is to say
our faculties are not infallible. The
testimony they give is not always dependable on its face value. The world is packed full of illusion. The earth looks as if it were flat but we know it is not.
The sun looks as though it rises and sets, but we know it does not.
We say that seeing is believing, but when we say that we forget the
curious tricks our senses play. Scientists speak of the phenomena of nature, but phenomena is
a Greek word and simply means appearance. The
appearance of things is not the reality; the reality is infinitely more
wonderful than the appearance. To
the eye the firmament is studded with fixed points of light but to the soul
these points are celestial worlds sweeping by at a breathless velocity.
I have met men who say there is no God, simply because they have never
seen Him. But then, my friend, have
you ever seen any of the really great things about you?
Have you ever seen any of the cosmic forces?
Have you ever seen a single motive that impels you?
Have you ever seen love or hate or joy or peace or patience? Have you ever seen music?
A visible God would not be our God.
A visible God would have limitations.
God, to be God, must be invisible. No
man can see thought but thought can be clothed in speech.
No man can see truth but truth can be communicated.
The seeming is not the real. The
real is the intangible, the eternal, the spiritual.
When I say that the Constitution or laws of the Kingdom of Heaven are
spiritual, it simply means that they operate in the realm of the spiritual, not
as external laws of force or
control, but as the inward law of life.
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.
The Beatitudes — “blessed
are...blessed are they...blessed are they that...” — these
are the preamble to the Constitution. The
key to all of this, as the key thought, is a change of nature, HIS LIFE being
worked out in and through us. Consider
just a portion: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what
ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put
on. Is not the life more than meat,
and the body than raiment? Behold
the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into
barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.
Are ye not much better than they? Which
of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither
do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these. Wherefore,
if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast
into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we
drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: for your heavenly Father
knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you. Take
therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the
things of itself” (Mat. 6:25-34).
Jesus repeated again and again, “Take no thought, be not anxious,”
meaning “Don’t worry, don’t fret yourself,” or as one brother put it,
“Save your nerves for an emergency!” Jesus
was teaching us that life in the Kingdom is free from worrying, that life in the
Kingdom is free from anxiety, that life in the Kingdom is free from fretting.
You have such a relationship with the King, you are so very close to Him,
so very one with Him, and you are convinced of His ability to rule your life and
to rule the nations, that there is no concern in you at all.
These are spiritual principles — the principles of the Kingdom of God!
There are, therefore, spiritual
principles that govern the Kingdom of God.
There is a difference between a principle
and a law, though the two are closely
related in the same way money and possessions are related.
Money is the cause, source, ability and power, and possessions is the
effect and result of having money. God
by His Spirit deals with principles. The
whole universe runs by principles, although often these principles are called
laws. Those of you who read these
lines who have children have sometimes said to them, “Do this,” or,
“Don’t do that.” The question
then follows, “Why?” “Because
I said so! You do what I tell you
and that’s that — or else!”
When we say it that way we have laid down a law.
But if we counsel them in wisdom to do such and such, or not to do the
other thing, and then they ask, “Why?” we can explain to them the principle
behind our advice. There are things
children want to do that will hurt them, disappoint them, end in failure or
break their hearts. We know this
both by observation and experience, we understand the principle by which such
actions work. On the other hand, we
know that if the child does thus and thus it will benefit him, it will work for
him and bring joy and satisfaction. That
is what I mean by a principle.
It is the reason behind the law.
God is a God of principles. The
law given to Israel was the external commandment.
The principle behind that law is the revelation of why men were given the law. The
law of God is given to reveal the nature of God Himself.
For instance, when God says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” He is
not merely trying to prevent us from enjoying our flesh.
He is telling us something about Himself — how He is. The
only eternal, unchangeable, immutable, invariable, unalterable, firm, fixed,
sound, solid, balanced, dependable, reliable, steady, steadfast, and trustworthy
thing in the whole universe is — GOD!
“Thou shalt not commit adultery” — it
means that GOD HIMSELF is committed, reliable, true, dependable, faithful and
trustworthy. He keeps His
commitments. He keeps His covenant.
He honors His word. He is
faithful to all His promises. He
will not cheat on you, lie to you, deceive you, forsake you or fail you.
He loves you and will take care of you, cherish you, nurture you, protect
you and cleave to you. THAT IS HOW
HE IS! When you understand the
nature of one who is not adulterous in thought, desire or action; who has no
roving eye or lying, cheating heart, you understand something about the
character of God. And that is how
He wants us, His sons, to be! These
are the very principles Jesus enunciated in the Sermon on the Mount. “It
was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto
you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery
with her already in his heart” (Mat. 5:27-28).
When God’s law is written in our heart, His nature — how He is — is inscribed upon the tablets (genetic code) of our inner
life. There would never be a broken
home, a heartbroken wife or husband, or deserted and destitute children if the
nature of God was written in all men’s hearts.
There would be no bigotry, no hatred, no crime, no war, no evil or
trouble anywhere on earth if the nature of God was written in the heart of every
man, woman and child, giving them a heart in the likeness of His own and a mind
as the mind of Christ. From the
redeemed and transformed heart the law (nature) of God flows forth as a river of
life. The law of life within us is
the principle of the external law. The
Sermon on the Mount enunciates the underlying principles of the Kingdom of God.
Under principles we are free — we can do what we want.
Nobody is telling us that we can’t do this or that, or we must do the
other. There are still those among
us who thunder the letter of the law from Sinai’s mount and would impose the
penalties for breaking it, but I do not hesitate to tell you that Moses’ law
has no authority or power in the Kingdom of Christ. In the Kingdom the Spirit of God reveals in our hearts the
way it works — what will happen if we do this or don’t do that.
Paul said it this way, “All things are legitimate — permissible, and we are free to do anything we please; but
not all things are helpful, expedient, profitable and wholesome.
All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive to
character and edifying to spiritual life” (I Cor. 10:23, Amplified).
There is the difference between the law of Moses and the Sermon on the
Mount. The law of Moses said,
“Thou shalt...thou shalt not!” and imposed a penalty if broken.
But the principles of the Kingdom say, “Blessed
are they that...”
Therefore it is in the Sermon on the Mount that we find the complete
statement of the Charter or Constitution of the Kingdom of God, answering to the
law of Moses, the Constitution of the nation of Israel, given at mount Sinai.
Both were delivered from a mount to God’s people by the very voice and
authority of the Lord Himself! The
contrast between the two mountains and between the circumstances of these two
givings of a Constitution to a people on
earth, is wonderfully expressive. At
the first were awesome sights and sounds; the mountain burning with fire and
quaking at the presence of God, the blasting of the trumpet long and loud, and
above all that terrifying voice of words
which caused the people to shrink back in fright and to beg that the word not be
spoken to them any more; and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I
exceedingly fear and quake.” Ah,
at the second mountain the same divine Lawgiver, now in lowly human guise, sits
quietly down, and the people gather willingly at His feet to drink in His words.
With tenderness and compassion He then opens His mouth and taught them,
saying, “Blessed are they that...”
Jesus assumed an authority above that of Moses.
The character of His teaching stood in sharp contrast to the teaching of
the priests and rabbis which relied upon the authority of
earlier rabbis. Nor did His teaching follow the style of the prophets who
said, “Thus saith the Lord!” The
prophets, including Moses, spoke on behalf
of God. But Jesus’ message was
grounded in His own authority and is repeatedly introduced by the words, “I
say unto you!” “It has been
said by them of old time (Moses and the prophets)...but I
SAY UNTO YOU!” Jesus did not
speak for God, He spoke as God.
Jesus was not speaking as a prophet, He spoke as the Lord Himself.
And that is the order of sonship.
Sons are not mere messengers for God, sent by God — sons are themselves, within themselves, the Voice of God,
the righteousness of God, the wisdom of God, the authority of God and the power
of God. As we move out of the old
order of the in-part church ministries into the reality of manifested sonship we will no longer use the gift of prophecy which
says, “Thus saith the Lord.” God
will speak to humanity out of us as us —
SAY UNTO YOU!”
In the Kingdom we must be able to discern what is constructive to
spiritual character in our lives and the will of God in the earth.
That is the way of sonship! It’s
not a matter of whether it’s good or bad, right or wrong, but is it
constructive to the life of God being raised up in men?
Is it in conformity with the principles of His Kingdom?
When we walk in the ways of the Kingdom we are BLESSED!
If we sow to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap corruption.
There is no avoiding that. But
we are not under a law. We are
blessed if we do the Father’s will, and not blessed if we don’t.
“Blessed are they that...”
It’s that simple. Only those who understand
and live within these Kingdom
principles shall be qualified to rule and reign in the Kingdom of God!
If the principles are fulfilled in your life you reap great glory and
heavenly wealth; if they are not,
you forfeit the blessings and benefits of the Kingdom.
In the Sermon on the Mount there are twenty-one principles of the
Kingdom. If by the Spirit of God
within you, you live by and in these principles it will set you free.
These principles are progressive, for they are the blueprint for
spiritual growth, development, and attainment.
MESSAGE TO THE SONS OF GOD
The underlying thrust of the Sermon on the Mount is revealed by the word
“Father” which pervades it. That
word, along with the word “sons”, beyond anything else, is its prominent
feature. It is here that the name
“Father” is first revealed in the word of God.
And it is here that the principle of “sonship” is first established.
The Sermon on the Mount sets forth the lifestyle, not of Israelites under
the law, nor yet of subjects of the Kingdom of God in some future age.
It is not a message to babes in Christ in the church systems teaching
them how to be good little children of God.
It is the very essence of the Kingdom of God instructing SONS OF GOD how
to be the sons of their Father, in
what nature and character to live and reign in the Kingdom.
Throughout the teaching Jesus speaks of “the Father,” “thy
Father,” “your Father,” and “our Father,” and “your Father in
heaven.” Then He teaches in what
spirit one should act “that ye may be the sons (Greek: huios,
mature, adult son) of your Father which is in heaven.”
The characteristics of the son company will be exactly the
characteristics of Jesus, the Pattern Son, and the Father who indwelt Him.
The Sermon on the Mount reveals the divine characteristics of the sons of
the Kingdom. In fact, some of the
principles specifically state that this divine kind of nature sets them apart as
sons of God, and to have this kind of disposition means they are in the Kingdom
of God. “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. 5:44-45). “Blessed
are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the
sons of God” (Mat. 5:9).
It is not true that the church is for the Gentiles, as some teach, and
the Kingdom of God is for Israel. The
most superficial knowledge of the scriptures shall confirm that both Israelites
and Gentiles enter into the church and also into the Kingdom of God.
It is not at all true, as has been taught by many theologians in the
church systems, that the Kingdom laws — the
principles of the Kingdom set forth in the Sermon on the Mount — were
for the Jews of Jesus’ day only; and now that grace has come we no longer are
subject to the words of Jesus Christ our King.
When we accept such flawed teaching we make the precepts of Jesus and of
His apostles of none effect by our tradition.
The Sermon on the Mount is the most important word in all the scriptures
given to the sons of God who are the sons of the Kingdom.
It is the Manifesto of the King, it is the Constitution of the Kingdom.
Today there are multitudes of believers who claim to be born again and
children of God, but they live lives that contradict the principles of the
Kingdom of God. The Sermon on the
Mount is not about salvation or being a church member or a servant of the Lord;
there is no mention in it of salvation, grace, or the church.
It is about the LIFE OF SONSHIP. It
teaches us who will be called “least” and who will be called “great” in
the Kingdom of God. You don’t
need to fulfill any of these precepts
in order to be saved by grace and be
in the Church. Living out these principles are the marks of sonship. Let
no one called to sonship despise the law of our King; rather let us consider
prayerfully the depths of truth and revelation nestled in the heart of this
great teaching. The principles of
the Kingdom are committed to those
sons of God who are called to rule in the Kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, the Manifesto of the King does not apply
at all to the outside world or to the carnally-minded Christians who fill the
pews of the churches. To attempt to
establish these high and holy precepts among the vast unregenerate masses of the
people or even among the millions of nominal church members would be an effort
in futility. It is as impossible
for those people to walk in the spirit of sonship as for a pig to fly.
The things Jesus spoke to His chosen disciples on this occasion can only
be fulfilled in the sons of the Kingdom. That
sublime and heavenly Manifesto is the enunciation of the very nature of the
Kingdom which no man can fulfill until He grows up into the measure of the
stature of the fullness of THE KING.
Only the Lord’s brethren, who
are led by the Spirit, and have been conformed
into His image, CAN FULFILL IT!
The Sermon on the Mount is the picture of the Perfect Man.
It is the portrait of one who has fully put on the mind of Christ which
is the mind of the Father. It
embodies all the deepest yearnings of the heart of the man or woman who has been
apprehended to live and walk and rule by the divine nature.
The man that Jesus describes in that sermon is poor in spirit, humble and
meek, always thirsting after righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, a
peacemaker, suffering for righteousness’ sake, yet rejoicing in it, the salt
of the earth, the light of the world, devoid of anger in human relationships,
using no contemptuous words, having the spirit of quick agreement when opinions
clash, without lustful thinking, relentless against evil, happy in family
relationships, truthful in speech and motive, ready to turn the other cheek,
giving sacrificially, going the second mile, giving to those who ask, loving his
enemies, blessing and praying for those who hate and persecute — being perfect as the Father in heaven is
perfect. What a word!
“It was said by them of old time...but
I say unto you...” If anyone
doubts the power and authority of this teaching of Jesus as the Constitution of
the Kingdom, let him recall what the Lord Himself said at the conclusion of His
teaching on the mount. “Therefore
whosoever heareth these saying of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a
wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the
floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for
it was founded upon a rock. And
everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be
likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain
descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having
authority, and not as the scribes” (Mat. 7:24-29).
The Holy Spirit also bears witness to the significance of the Lord’s
teaching. “God, who at sundry
times and in divers manners spake in time
past unto the fathers by the prophets,
hath in these last days spoken unto us by
His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the
worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). The
prophetic mysteries spoken by Moses himself give testimony to the blessed fact
that our Elder Brother, the firstborn Son of God, brought a new and higher word
than any word delivered to Israel by the great lawgiver at Sinai. “The Lord thy God shall raise up unto thee a Prophet from
the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto Him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desirest of
the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly (before mount Sinai),
saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see
this great fire any more, that I die not. And
the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
I will raise them up a Prophet from
among their brethren, like unto thee, and
I will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them ALL that I shall
command Him” (Deut. 18:15-18).
Christ was the prophet like unto Moses in that He spoke the words of God
to a people whom God had set apart for Himself.
When Jesus said, “It was said by them of old time,” it is abundantly
clear that He referred to the word and law of Moses. “It was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill.” “It
was said by them of old time, Thou shalt
not commit adultery.” “It
hath been said, Whosoever shall put away
his wife, let him give her a bill of divorcement.”
“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou
shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths.”
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.”
“Ye have heard that it
hath been said, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor, and hate thine enemy.” Can we not readily see from the above quotations how each and
every one of these is right out of Moses’ law, including the ten commandments?
Now listen to what Jesus says following each of the above: “BUT I
SAY UNTO YOU!” “I
SAY!” Ah, there is a word that is
higher than Moses’ word. There is
a commandment that transcends, as the heavens are high above the earth, the
commands of Moses. There is an
authority that is greater than the authority of Moses.
There is a law that supersedes and replaces the law of Moses.
“But I say unto you” is indeed a very impressive claim of the King
of the Kingdom. And His word always
goes beyond Moses’ word, and
sometimes completely reverses Moses’
law. See how radically and
powerfully the Son of God repudiates the commandment of Moses: “Ye have heard
that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy (Lev.
19:18; Deut. 23:3-6). But I
say unto you, Love your enemies, bless
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you...”
Moses gave an outward law to the people of Israel, but Jesus gives an
inward law to the sons of God. The
law of Moses, on the one hand, was the Constitution of the fleshly nation of
Israel, inspired, spoken and delivered by the hand of Yahwey to the prophet
Moses and the nation at mount Sinai. The
Sermon on the Mount, on the other hand, is the Constitution of the Kingdom of
God, inspired, spoken and delivered by the hand of the heavenly Father to Jesus
Christ the Son of the living God and to all who are called, chosen and
predestined to be the sons of God.
Which Constitution you live under, and seek to bring mankind under,
clearly and unmistakably reveals whether you are called under the Old Covenant
to be a human Israelite, or whether
you are called under the New Covenant to be a divine
son of God!
The Sermon on the Mount was not spoken to the careless and promiscuous
multitudes on the plain below. To
enjoy the unspeakable privilege of hearing the laws of the new order of the
Kingdom of God they must have the heart of a disciple, and must undergo the
exertion of climbing the mountain into a high place in God. There it was that Jesus opened His mouth and taught them and
there proceeded from His gracious lips those matchless words which God had
promised through Moses. One would
think that Jesus would have remained with the multitudes where there were such
pressing and desperate needs, to minister to them in their sicknesses and
sorrows. Who can deny that most
preachers today, hearing the urgent cries of the people for help, would have
reasoned with their carnal minds that the needs of the people should have
priority. Oh, how need
conscious we are! How man-centered
our gospel is! But not Jesus! Hearing within Himself the voice of the Father, and seeing by
the spirit His higher plan and wiser purpose, Jesus turned away from the
demanding pleas of the multitudes and led His disciples up the mountain where,
in a place of quietness and solitude, He taught them the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven.
“And seeing the multitudes,
He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him:
and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying...”
had a higher purpose in mind than just to minister to some needy people.
If Jesus would have healed their sick and cast out devils and done signs
and wonders all that day, all we would have of it would be the record
of some wonderful works done in a far away place on a long ago day.
God’s plans and purposes go beyond meeting physical and material needs.
His concern is for the whole man — that men might be sound in
mind, pure in heart, kind and merciful and loving in disposition, holy in
character, joyful in spirit, powerful in life, helpful and redemptive in
actions, honest and upright in motives, filled with righteousness, wisdom and
power. God sees the overall plan,
while we may see only the immediate problems.
It is His plan to bring the blessings and benefits of His Kingdom to all
the earth. The earth shall be
filled with His glory and all nations shall come and worship before Him.
The tabernacling of God in His sons shall be with men, and He shall dwell
with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and
be their God. And God shall wipe
away all tears from their eyes. And
all men shall be righteous for there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things shall pass
away and all things shall be made new. It is only as we are led
by the Spirit that we can be right on target and right on time in God’s
great Kingdom program of redemption and restoration.
When Jesus taught the Kingdom principles to His disciples, He set forth a
plan for His Kingdom that would raise up many more sons, just like the first
Son. And when His vast family of
sons was complete, matured and equipped, they
would set the whole creation free from the curse of sin and death.
That hour is now upon us for in our own generation, in the midst of the
sound of a mighty wind from heaven, as God has again visited His people in great
power and authority, the mouth of the
Lord has spoken it!
The scriptures record for our instruction the two great and wonderful
occasions in the history of the world when men heard the voice of God Himself
giving them the divine Constitution for their age.
What a marvelous contrast there is between those two occasions!
At mount Sinai there were terrifying sights and sounds.
The mountain was aflame because the Lord, the consuming fire, descended
in glory upon it and the smoke of His presence hung like a thick fog over the
craggy peak and the desert floor beneath; the whole mount quaked violently.
There were blackness and darkness and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet
which waxed louder and louder. But
the hardest of all for the people to endure was the voice of the Lord Himself
which was powerful and full of majesty, which so terrified them that they begged
that the word should not be spoken to them any more.
“And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the
noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they
removed, and stood afar off. And
they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God
speak with us, lest we die” (Ex. 20:18-19).
How different it was at the other mount, concerning which it is written,
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His
disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them,
saying...” Because of His
miracles great multitudes followed Jesus from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and
from Judea, and from beyond Jordan. It
was upon “seeing the multitudes” that Jesus purposed to sift and separate
“His disciples” from them by going up into a mountain.
Many have portrayed the vast multitude assembled on the mount to hear
Jesus teaching, but that is a mistake. There
was no great multitude at the Sermon on the Mount.
His closest disciples, not just the twelve, but all those whose hearts
were deeply stirred to pursue the depths of God in Christ, climbed the rugged
terrain to hear the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
And now we have His real ministry, which was not to heal nor to work
miracles, but to speak the Father’s
words to those whose hearts were ready to hear them.
Why did they come to Him now and not shrink back and stand afar off
as when the same Lord gave commandments to a fleshly people at mount
Sinai? Why did they climb that
mountain and listen unterrified to His words?
He was not working miracles on the mountain, nor dispensing loaves and
fishes. He was giving a new order
for a new age, just as He had done at the other mountain.
Yet His disciples came unto Him and quietly and reverently drank in His
words while He revealed the heart of the Father who had sent Him for this very
ministry. Ah, at Sinai we see man
shrinking from the presence and the voice of God, and standing afar off. That was LAW. But
on the Mount of Beatitudes we have Immanuel, God with us, the King of glory, the
blessed Saviour, come in the form of a servant, made flesh like unto His
brethren, to redeem, lift, and transform into the image and likeness of God.
That is the KINGDOM.
Those disciples, in response to a heaven-sent impulse, made their way up
the mountain, away from the distracting sights and sounds of earth, to that
quiet place where the Christ’s own voice might be heard speaking the words His
Father gave Him to speak, that they might be the sons of their Father in heaven.
Those who ascended the mount with Jesus heard His call by the spirit and
separating themselves from the noisy crowd, followed Him in silence.
On reaching the summit, Jesus sat down and they gathered around Him.
They had come not to be entertained, not to be blessed, nor to see a sign
and wonder, but to be taught by Him of the Kingdom of God.
Only those whose hearts were strangely drawn to Him were prompted to
climb the mountain, and only they heard those words of priceless worth that
poured from His lips.
Today, as then, it is necessary for every son of God, in order to hear
the words of the Kingdom of God, to leave the level of the crowds, even of those crowds that sing Hosannas and glory in the
signs, wonders, and miracles of the Christ in their midst.
Is it not sadly true that the multitudes still
follow Him for the healings, for the miracles, and for the loaves and
fishes? They follow Him for the
blessings, the meeting of their immediate physical and emotional needs, the
answers to their prayers about earthly
things. Few there are who leave
the noise, the clamor, the excitement, and the experiences
of the religious fervor below, to climb
the mountain, and to come to Him.
The difference between those who ascend into the high place, there to sit
at His feet, and listen attentively to His
words, and the “crowds” who follow Him for various causes, is entirely a
matter of being called to sonship and called to the Kingdom.
It is certainly high time for the saints of God to stop playing church and come apart
instead to be taught by the King of kings.
There is a place closer to Him than the multitudes that throng to
churches on Sunday mornings. There
is much subtle truth in the words of the Gospel writer where he records, “And
as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem He took
the twelve disciples apart”
(Mat. 20:17). Again, “And after
six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up
into an high mountain apart, and was
transfigured before them” (Mat. 17:1-2).
I wish to draw your attention for a moment to that word “apart”.
Matthew is especially specific about the word, mentioning several
occasions where either Jesus went into a place apart
to pray, or where He took His disciples to some remote or high place apart.
There was always something dramatic and especially significant that
transpired in these places apart. Indeed
all the Gospel writers, but especially Matthew, have a fondness for this word,
which, by the way, in the original is two words and denotes separation.
The Greek means aside, away from the people, the idea being that of
division. We speak of taking a
piece of mechanism apart as a watch or an automobile engine; we break it up into
its components. An apartment is a suite of rooms usually in a building separated from
others — the aim being that of privacy.
Our Lord loved the people, yearned after them, and met them
compassionately and powerfully in their need.
But how often do we read of His going away from them for a season. Every time there was something truly important and
superlative to be done He withdrew from the crowd.
So He went up, up to symbolically get near to His Father and to be alone
with Him. He was always stealing
away at evening to the hills. Most
of His ministry was carried on in the towns and cities by the seashore, but He
loved the mountains best and oftentimes when night fell He would climb into
their peaceful embrace. And I
cannot help feeling that what the sons of God need today, more almost than
anything else, is that they should go apart with their Lord and sit in
silence and holy solitude at His feet in the sacred privacy of His
Consider with bowed head and shoes removed from your feet the secrecy of true relationship with the Father.
Sonship is preeminently a personal matter; it is a strictly close and
familiar relationship; it is a sacred association.
There is something about the walk of sonship that was never intended for
the vulgar gaze, just as the relationship between a husband and a wife.
Sonship is different than brideship, but sonship can only be learned in
the presence of the Father. In
order to know intimacy of fellowship and vital union with our Father it is
necessary to find a state of retirement from the throng.
“Come,” says the Master, “come ye apart into a desert place, come
with me into the height of the mountain,” and He did not mean by that a vast
waterless, treeless, grassless, flowerless waste or a place with nothing but
rocks and boulders, but rather a place deserted by the people, a place of
tranquil and undisturbed and intimate communion.
We all know that there is a strange strength that is conceived in
solitude. The noblest creatures of
the field and the air are not sociable. Crows
go in flocks and wolves in packs, but the cougar and the eagle are solitaires.
When we study the history of the church we find a great deal said in it
about a certain class of people, some of whom were called saints and others
mystics. They were men and women
who seemed to have genius for the unseen. They
had a strange passion for seclusion. They
loved to go apart. They were a
company of God’s elect children who even in this dark age pilgrimed on the
heights — St.
Francis, Loyola, St. Teresa, Thomas a Kempis, Jacob Boehme, George Fox, Jane
Leade, Praying Hyde, and a long glorious chosen band on whom the Spirit came.
What a shining group they are as they walk the great white lonely way!
And the particular point just now that impresses me is that they all
loved the secret place. They lived
in the shadow of the Almighty. The
heavens were opened to them and they saw things none other saw, and experienced
the Lord in measures beyond all the divines of the church age.
They sang songs in the night.
In relation to mystics George Hawtin once wrote, “Though some may
disbelieve it, the truth is that all spiritual men must and will appear to be mystics. It is not because they try
to be so, but it is because they are so.
They cannot help being oddities and misfits here because they do
not belong to this world. Jesus
said, ‘Ye are not of this world,
even as I am not of this world.’ Therefore,
because we are not of this world, we
will always be strangers to it.
We are foreigners and wanderers in a strange country.
Our speech will always betray us. Our
actions and customs
will always reveal us. Our
communications with the spiritual realm will mark
us. The things we love will unmask us. Our lack of
interest in all that belongs to this present realm will give our identity away. We
will always feel that we do not belong
in this realm and that we neither can
belong nor wish to belong.
‘They that speak such things declare plainly that they seek
a country. And truly, if they
had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had
opportunity to have returned. But
now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not
ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city’”
— end quote.
We are living in a very wonderful age.
It is an age of drive and hurry and stress and storm. One would not go far afield today in describing our age as an
age of impatience and unrest. The
tragic fact in the life of the American people at the present time is the
absence of apartment or repose. We
believe in “drives.” We
slavishly pursue our careers and social involvements, we meet our husband or
wife in the hall and say, “Hi!” and we are gone.
It takes great effort and tenacity in order to find
a few minutes to spend “quality time” with the children.
If nothing else is going on we have the television going to keep our mind
engaged lest we discover the silence. We
are in too great a rush for repose. We
have little or no time for the inner chamber.
We prefer the limelight and the crowds, the hustle and bustle.
Nothing appeals to us but the strenuous and the thrilling.
Repose is too tame a thing entirely for this atomic space age.
The sad part of it is that it is no different in the church world.
The church is imitating the world. Christians
regulate their devotion by the clock. The
church schedule is packed with flesh-appeal programs and activities that run day
and night. They feel that a
ministry that does not cry aloud in the streets, and does not advertise in every
newspaper in glaring headlines is an ineffective thing.
They have the strange idea that nothing is being done unless somebody is
talking. So they fairly swarm to
conferences and seminars and committee meetings and platform discussions and
concerts and programs and workshops and conventions.
The inquiry that is nearly always made concerning a religious gathering
is, “Was there much of a crowd there?”
They take it for granted that if the speaker was a good talker and the
building was crowded, the meeting was a big success. Do you remember in “Pilgrim’s Progress” the
conversation between Christian and Talkative?
“I thought we should have a great deal of talk by this time,” says
Talkative. The moments when he was
pursuing his journey in silence seemed wasted.
The church systems are reaching out their hands to society around them
but their hands are so full that their hearts are empty.
What do busy preachers or busy Christians know about the secret
place of the Most High? The
churches are filled to overflowing with members who are so busy running hither
and thither, on errands of mercy and ministry it may be, that they are never alone
with God. Undoubtedly they
think that their heavenly Father is proud of them and their “Christian
success,” their “religious career” and their eternal, unceasing busi-ness
for the Kingdom of God, never giving thought to the fact that they are not
unlike the successful child who is so absorbed in his pursuit of position, fame
and prosperity that he never finds a moment to stop by and chat with
Dad who made it all possible.
The churches that don’t have great programs often specialize in the
noise of emotionalism, forgetting that their true power is out of sight.
Today we have the noiseless gun. The
noise is eliminated by the use of a muffler called a silencer; it being a
well-known fact that the noise which goes with an explosion is not produced by
the actual discharge but by the sudden escape of the gas.
There is no real power in noise. There
is never any real power in noise. The
prophets of Baal discovered this long ago on Mt. Carmel.
Many meetings today remind me of the scene on Mt. Carmel as the saints
shout and cry and dance about, commanding God and rebuking spirits with the
noise and fervor of a pagan war dance. They
tell me that the engine room of a great factory is often the quietest room in
the building, although it sets all the rest of the machinery in motion.
Strength is not in bluster and noise.
Strength is in quietness. The
life of sonship is deep rather than demonstrative.
“It is the brook and not the river that goes brawling,” someone said.
Jesus never sweat His garments wet while preaching, nor worked Himself
into a lather when healing the sick and casting out devils.
If the authority is there the calmest command will evoke obedience
There is no need for the President of the United States to yell and
scream and work himself into a frenzy in order to give a military general orders
to initiate hostilities against an enemy. The
quietest directive will do the job.
Oh, for the culture of the secret place!
It is in solitude that we catch the mystic notes from the depths of God
within. It is deep down in the
depths that the righteousness and power and glory of the Kingdom are known.
By going apart one gets a vision of eternal realities. How vast the soul
becomes when in the presence of the Infinite!
But ours is an age of fuss and trumpet blowing.
Most Christians have more faith in the noise and swirling activity of the
whirlwind than in the still small voice.
I have learned by arduous experience that God usually speaks in whispers
but we cannot hear these whispers for the clamor of the street.
We are called to heavenly places, far above the clamor of the world and
the babel of religion. For after
all our real home is in the heights. Our
real power is in communion and union. There
is a music that no one can hear until
the ears are anointed. The voice of
truth is a very low sweet voice.
Amid all the religious ruckus of the hour there is a little
flock that has climbed the mount with Jesus. They care not for the flamboyant humbug of the hour, but,
having beheld the glories of the Kingdom afar off, they are pressing through
surging waves of humanity to come apart
to receive instruction from the King of the Kingdom. At His feet they hear the call to the heavenly mark and find
a door opened for them to enter in to lay hold upon the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus. These
are they who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.
They lean hard upon Christ. The
spirit of His sonship dwells within them. They
are partakers of His mind. They
have been given the knowledge of His will.
They comprehend His plan and purpose in the earth, in His sons, and in
the universe. They have laid aside
every weight and the sin which does so easily beset them.
They are running the race with patience.
They esteem the hope that is set before them higher than all the
pleasures of Egypt and the prestige of Babylon.
They are patient in tribulation, knowing that through much tribulation we
shall enter the Kingdom. They
continue instant in prayer to God, and He comforts them and upholds them with
the right hand of His righteousness. To
them the voice of the Father speaks in words of everlasting hope and assurance,
“Fear not, little flock; it is your
Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
I will close this message by quoting some pertinent words from the pen of
George Hawtin. “Men and women must
abandon this mad rush of religion and come
before God in quiet meditation and prayer, looking to God and looking to His
word that they might clearly see how far away from God this sectarian religion
has led them. God has no
pleasure in it. He has pleasure
only in those who love Him and seek to
‘The ox knoweth his owner and
the ass his master’s crib, but Israel
doth not know, and my people doth
not consider’ (Isa. 1:3). How
dreadful a statement that is — that even a dumb ox should know his owner and a dumb ass
should know his stall, yet God’s people, the sheep of His pasture, know
not the voice of the Lord! They
know the doctrines of denominations. They
can recite the records of great men or rhyme off their litanies and creeds, but,
if they met Jesus on the street, nothing within them would respond or bear
witness to Him. Oh, how we need to know
Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering! Oh, how we need to say with Paul, ‘That I may know Him!’
“Let not those who enter into the secret place of God’s presence imagine even for a moment that other Christians will understand, for they will not. Tell them ever so earnestly, but they cannot hear. From this day forth the spiritual man will be a speckled bird (Jer. 12:9). Even while he tells them, their eyes will be heavy with sleep and he will seem to them as one who has taken leave of his senses. The hour is coming and now is when the sons of God, who are coming into the image of the firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, will find themselves living in a spiritual realm completely independent of the bondage of all that is earthly. It is clear to be seen that Jesus, even while He lived among men being found in fashion as a man, proved that sons of God are in all things independent of the bondage and power of this present world system. Always after the hour of His baptism in the Jordan the heavens were opened to Him and all the lasting and eternal benefits of that realm were His, never to depart from Him. When He ministered, the angels of God ascended and descended upon Him. Is it any wonder that no power of man or devil could stand before Him? This, then, is the heritage of sons!” — end quote.
Directory If you would like to receive
these studies write to: J. Preston Eby All writings are
distributed on a free-will basis. Homepage |
Elwin's Directory | Margit's Directory |
J. PRESTON EBY
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
If you would like to receive these studies write to:
J. Preston Eby
All writings are distributed on a free-will basis.
Homepage | Elwin's Directory | Margit's Directory | Ministry Links