KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE POWER OF THE KINGDOM
SPIRITS OF GOD
THE OMNIPOTENCE OF LOVE
I have observed in the ministry of the firstborn Son of God that there was never a problem He faced that He could not solve, never a need He could not meet, no victory He could not win, no realm of revelation, relationship or being in God that He could not possess. Some of us speak of the exploits we have done in Jesus' name, but we seldom mention all the times we have failed! Some of us fast and pray and wrest an answer from the Lord, and then run squarely into another problem we can't deal with at all. If Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, needed the fullness of the power of God, which is the Seven Spirits of God, the Spirit without measure, then we His younger brethren must have it too!
It is significant that nowhere in the four Gospels is the supernatural ministry of Jesus Christ ever associated with the gifts of the Spirit. No place does it ever say that Jesus received or operated a gift of the Spirit. Although He healed multitudes, it doesn't state that He received the "gift of healing." He revealed the secrets of men's hearts, but no mention is made of either the gift of the word of knowledge or the word of wisdom. He certainly prophesied, and is referred to as a prophet, but He did not move in the "gift of prophecy." However, like most of us, I assumed that He did! And I could always make it fit. Every time Jesus healed someone I assumed that He exercised His gift of healing, although the scripture didn't say so. When He prophesied coming events I supposed that He spoke by the gift of prophecy, although the Holy Spirit records no mention of it. When He perceived men's thoughts and intents I took it for granted that He received a "word of knowledge," but the Bible is silent about that.
How is it that Jesus didn't move in the gifts of the Spirit? Because when you function in a "gift" of the Spirit you function in LIMITATION! Paul said of the gift realm, "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect (full, complete, mature) is come, then that which is in part SHALL BE DONE AWAY" (I Cor. 13:8-10). Yes, my friend, the gifts are all in part. It could not be otherwise! If your friend gives you a gift, do you then possess all the fullness of your friend? No, what you receive is merely a fragment of his possessions or wealth. And you certainly don't possess your friend! Gifts of the Spirit are not the Holy Spirit Himself, but abilities and enablements given by the Spirit.
In the realm of that which is in part, in limitation, one cannot meet every need that arises. "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts" (I Cor. 12:29-31). Does it say in I Corinthians 12:8, "To the whole church is given the word of wisdom?" or, "To the whole church is given the gift of healing?" No, it says, "To one is given," to one member of the body of Christ. Then, "to another is given the gift of faith, prophecy," etc. In other words, there is a distribution so that everyone does not have all the gifts. How can you meet every need if you don't possess all the power and wisdom and ability of the Holy Spirit? And how can you meet every need, even in the area of the gift you do possess, if the gift itself is by measure? You can't! And that is why we feel so helpless sometimes. You can try, you can fast and pray, you can think positively, you can confess and claim and step out by faith and boast of your inheritance in Christ, but you still can't meet every need, solve every problem, speak to every situation, bless every life -- in the gift realm! In that realm it is always just a word here, a miracle there, a healing someplace else, a failure here and a success over there. Who can stand and deny that this is the truth!
But the ministry of Jesus was not in the gift realm, it was not in part, it was not by measure, but His ministry was the ministry of a MANIFESTED SON OF GOD in all the power and wisdom and glory of the Father! The great secret of the ministry of Jesus was that it was not in limitation but in fullness. It was not a gift in the church realm, but the incarnation, the embodiment, the personification of the FULLNESS OF THE FATHER. This is the realm of sonship. And that is just why creation is not groaning for another gift of healing, or another gift of miracles, or another gift of faith, or another apostle, or another prophet, or another evangelist. Creation is in pain and travail waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God! Only the sons of God will possess within themselves the fullness of the power of the Kingdom of God as did Jesus! Only the sons of God can deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. Jesus is not the firstborn among many Christians or among many saints or among many church members -- He is the firstborn among many brethren! The brethren are like Him. He is not bringing many gifted Christians to glory, He is not bringing many deacons to glory, He is not bringing many Sunday School teachers to glory, He is not bringing many musicians to glory, He is not bringing many preachers to glory, He is not bringing many apostles to glory, He is not bringing many prophets to glory, but He is bringing many SONS to glory! Hallelu-jah!
Sonship is glorious beyond anything our eyes have seen or ears have heard. Jesus Christ is the firstborn Son of God. And now all His brothers are empowered to follow Him to maturity. All will follow His steps, becoming what He is. The spiritual life of every son has the same origin as the firstborn, for all are born of God. We are being perfected by the same process, and will ultimately achieve the same result. Jesus Christ was the personification of the Father, and so shall we be. The holy nature of Jesus Christ is ours to be raised up within us. The works that He did, we shall do as well. The authority of Jesus Christ, even the dominion of the ages and all things, He will share with those who come to the measure of the stature of His fullness. Jesus possesses the totality of God's substance, and this is the heritage of every manifested son of God. The present resurrection, ascension and enthronement of Jesus Christ is a portrait of our destiny!
The sons of God are destined to inherit all things; they are selected by the Father to become the dispensers of blessing to all created realms. Thus creation groans in sympathetic birth pangs, longing for their arrival! From powerful angels in heaven, to worlds in the farthest galaxy, the universe resonates with anticipation of the glorious unveiling of the sons of God. The sons will share the fullness of the glory of their Father. They will grow up into the attributes of God as a permanent state of being. The sons of God will partake of Godlikeness, and a spiritual inheritance that is incomprehensible to natural men, even religious men, saved men, and Spirit-baptized men. This celestial race of beings shall be endowed with all the authority and capacity of God. Immortal omnipotence will flow from them as the light rays from the sun. In the days before us, those who have attained to sonship will be displayed in the blazing glory of immortality. This climatic finale is a fast approaching certainty. From the difficulties, struggles, testings and processings of this present time the son company will burst into everlasting splendor, streaming glory, wisdom and power as a shower of stars. With Jesus as the Captain, this reigning government of God shall invade the bastions of darkness and by war, yea, by spiritual warfare shall they take the rule from the kings of the earth. These are celestial kings and priests, trained and tested in conquest. They are invincible in the nature and power of the Father. Nothing shall confound them; all will succumb to their sway. This company of sons is the final world government -- it will never be overthrown. They will subdue every enemy, and be the fountainhead of every blessing! They are the solution that God has ordained for the travail of earth's teeming billions. God's sons will enter into His state of being -- they will become what He is in an unchangeable personal possession. This is the destiny of God's Christ, Head and body!
For many years now there has been a great moving of the Spirit of God across the land and around the world. It has manifested itself through many movements on various levels. We have witnessed great healing meetings, evangelistic crusades, baptism in the Holy Spirit, prophetic ministry, apostolic ministry, five-fold ministry, gifts of the Spirit, impartation through prophecy with the laying on of hands, and much more. And I have rejoiced with joy unspeakable to be a partaker in this visitation of God! But I testify to you today that not one of these ministries, nor all of them put together, has come within the range of the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. No matter which of the healing evangelists, or which of the miracle workers, or which of the prophets you watched; and no matter which church or movement with all its ministries and gifts and outreaches you observed, it did not measure up to the ministry of THE SON OF GOD. We kept saying, "We have the same anointing, the same Holy Ghost, the same power, and we can do all the works Jesus did!" And as hard as we tried, and as much as we wanted to believe it, and as faithful as we were, it still just wasn't true! We had the same anointing alright, and the same Holy Spirit, and the same power, but -- we had it by measure -- not WITHOUT MEASURE, as Jesus did! And that is just the difference between the church and sonship! And don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking the church and I'm not belittling anything we have had or done. But my heart is desperately crying out for something more, and I certainly know that this sin-cursed world is crying out for something more! Oh, yes!
THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD
This puzzled me for many years. Then one day the Spirit drew my attention to a passage of scripture in Isaiah 11:1-2. 'And there shall come a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots: and the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord." This does not say that Jesus would receive a "gift" of "a word of wisdom." It says that He received the SPIRIT OF WISDOM. It doesn't say that Jesus had a "gift or healing" or a "gift of miracles." He received instead, the SPIRIT OF MIGHT. Jesus didn't have just a "gift" of "a word of knowledge." He possessed the SPIRIT OF KNOWLEDGE! Not a fragmentary word of wisdom here, or a little sample of knowledge there, or a gift of healing operating tonight and prophecy tomorrow night. No! Upon the firstborn Son of God rested all the fullness of the Sevenfold Spirit of Sonship, as Isaiah prophesied:
"The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding;
The Spirit of Counsel and Might,
The Spirit of Knowledge and Fear of the Lord."
"Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from THE SEVEN SPIRITS which are before His throne" (Rev. 1:4).
"These things saith He that hath THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD" (Rev. 3:1).
"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD" (Rev. 4:5).
"In the midst of the throne...stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD" (Rev. 5:6).
For many years we did not know that God has seven Spirits! Are there really seven Spirits of God? If you say that God has seven Spirits, that makes you a heretic in all church denominations! If, on the other hand, you say that God does not have seven Spirits, you contradict the word of the Lord Himself! Is the Spirit of God, then, seven or one? On the one hand, if God says there is one Spirit, then there is one Spirit. On the other hand, if God says there are seven Spirits, then there are seven Spirits. It's just that simple, my friend!
One of the keys to this mystery is found in the verse in Revelation 4:5. "And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." In the Old Testament, the structure of the lampstand (candlestick) was quite unique: below was one lampstand, above there were seven branches, and in each branch there was a lamp (Ex. 25:31-37). It was one lampstand, yet it had seven lamps. There were seven lamps, yet it was all but one lampstand. Therefore, it is correct to say that there is one lampstand, but neither is it wrong to say that there are seven lamps! So also is the Spirit of God. There is no doubt about it, the Holy Spirit is one Spirit. "For there is...one Spirit" (Eph. 4:4). But this one Spirit is also called "the seven Spirits," that is, the sevenfold, the intensified fullness of the Spirit of God!
Seven, in the scriptures, was the most sacred number of the Hebrews. This number is used more often, in the Word of God, than all other numbers, with the exception of the number one. It is the number denoting spiritual perfection, fullness, and completeness. In this connection it is interesting to note that in the title "Holy Spirit" the English word "holy" comes from a root meaning "whole." Hence, the "Holy Spirit" is simply the "Whole Spirit"! The seven Spirits of God, seven denoting spiritual perfection, fullness, and completeness, are likewise a figure of the "holy" or "whole" or "complete" Spirit. Armed with the understanding that the number seven conveys the idea of unity and fullness, rather than diversity, then we can see with unclouded vision that the seven Spirits of God are the sevenfold, intensified Spirit of the Lord -- the absolute FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD! And where is the source of these seven Spirits of God? The Lord Jesus is! "In the midst of the throne stood a Lamb...having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God" (Rev. 5:6). The Lord Jesus Himself said to John on Patmos, "These things saith HE THAT HATH THE SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD" (Rev. 3:1).
This sevenfold Spirit of God is the fullness of the wisdom, knowledge, glory, nature, and power of God! This is the Spirit without measure. This is the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD. This is the SEVENFOLD BRIGHTNESS OF GOD'S GLORY! This is the power of the Kingdom of God! "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord" (Zech. 4:6). This is why Jesus could know all things, have all revelation, heal every disease, cast out every devil, discern every thought and intent of men's hearts, command all elements of nature, raise the dead even after they were deteriorated and stinking, and could Himself die and rise again from the dead! Some of us have been able to do a very limited amount of this. And all of us together have been able to do only a small amount of this! Some of us have had a gift of healing and have healed some sick people, but who has healed them all, and who has healed them every time? And how many have stayed healed? Some of us have been healed ourselves, but we got sick again of something else. Jesus never got sick! Some of us have prophesied, but who among us has had every word we spoke come to pass? Some of us have had wonderful miracles of supply, but which of us has walked on the sea, fed a multitude from five loaves and two fishes, or turned water into wine? Some have had their countenances lighted with the joy of the Lord, but who has stood on the mount of Transfiguration with even their raiment shining as the brightness of the noon-day sun?
Is the elect of God to end this dispensation in failure and defeat? Is a little flock of faithful saints to undergo an emergency "evacuation" via a "rapture" off the planet at the last moment just before the devil takes over the whole world? Not if the word of God is true! The prophet Daniel prophesied of these days, "But the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32). God is going to have a people that will be "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners." Yes, a people who, in the darkness of this hour, shall "arise and shine" until the nations come to their light and kings to the brightness of their rising (Isa. 60:1-3). Some folks say that the "rapture" is the next thing on the agenda, that God must deliver us out of this mess, and that Jesus may come and snatch us away at any minute. Now you can forget about that! Jesus is not going to come crashing down through the clouds at any minute! He is not coming to take us away so the antichrist and the devil can do their thing on earth. Oh, no!
In Hebrews 10:12-13 we read, "But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting TILL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE HIS FOOTSTOOL." Now that doesn't say that Jesus is going to come again and take us all to heaven. And it doesn't say that Jesus is coming again to make His enemies His footstool. No, it plainly says He won't come again until His enemies have been made His footstool! So, if the devil is getting ready to take over the world, Jesus can't come. It's just as simple as that. Jesus has been on the throne in the spiritual heavens of God for two thousand years expecting...expecting His body on earth to put all enemies under His feet. For you see, the Head is in heaven, and the feet are on earth. "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool" (Isa. 66:1). The feet of God's Christ are the elect of God upon earth when the fullness of the body of Christ comes forth on the earth. When a child is born, the head is the first member to come forth and the feet are the last members to be born. The head gives direction to the body, but the body does the work, and the feet carry the body to its appointed place, and they are the members that actively "tread on serpents and on scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy." This is all talking about the many-membered body of Christ. Those members who are the feet company are the ones appointed of God to put all things under God's Christ. The members of the feet company are the only members of the Christ body on earth today, at the end of the age. For this reason, the feet company is uniquely chosen to usher in the new age and the next stage of the Kingdom of God on earth! Not only shall the feet company arise in power and great glory to do warfare, but the rest of the body also shall be arrayed in spiritual attire to fulfill their role as the body of Christ goes out to do battle in the name of the Lord.
What a glorious day this is! Christ shall lead His army by the power of His indwelling Spirit, which is the completed and glorified body of Christ, into total and complete victory everywhere. This work has already begun in us! It is within us first that every enemy must be put under foot. We know this work is going on, for we are being thoroughly processed, purged, prepared and strengthened by the Spirit. The Christ has arisen within us and is leading us and shall continue to lead us victoriously in battle until every enemy is defeated, within and without, and put under His feet. Then Christ shall be Lord and King indeed in all places and to all people. Our glorious Head is still seated at the right hand of God in the heavens, He is still expecting the job to be done, He is still expecting every enemy to be put under His feet company, and they shall be, praise His name! The glory of the Lord will shine from within us when His work in us is finished, and the feet of the Lord's army shall march radiantly and triumphantly throughout the whole earth in the power of His might. After speaking of how the body of Christ shall arise and shine in the fullness of the glory of the Lord, the prophet Isaiah declares, "The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel" (Isa. 60:14). Why should it be that the enemies of Christ will bow down at the soles of His feet? Because the feet company of the body of Christ shall have done their work well! They are putting Satan under them and are overcoming him, thus destroying his power and bringing deliverance to every captive. What a hope! What a vision! And what a responsibility is ours!
We read in Acts 3:20-21, "And He shall send Jesus Christ...whom the heaven must retain until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." All right...what is our job then? Is it to pray for Jesus to come, or look up in the sky expecting Him to come, or is it our job to go out and RESTORE ALL THINGS TO GOD? It is not Jesus who is coming back to bring the Kingdom, for the prophecy is sure: "But THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL TAKE THE KINGDOM, and possess the Kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever" (Dan. 7:17-18). Only under the sevenfold intensified fullness of the Spirit of God can this mighty work be accomplished! It cannot be done with only the firstfruits of the Spirit, which is the baptism in the Spirit we have now received. If the firstfruits of the Spirit, the earnest (down-payment) of the Spirit, the Spirit by measure, could subdue every enemy and restore all things surely it would have done so sometime in two thousand years! You see, God's people greatly misunderstand the purpose of the firstfruits of the Spirit. It is not to bring the Kingdom to the whole earth, or to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. The gifts and ministries of the Spirit given to the church are for "the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:12,16). All these things relate to the development of the body of Christ, not the deliverance of creation. The calling, formation and edifying of the body of Christ is a wonderful ministry! But in these significant days God is stirring and preparing the hearts of His sons to move into the fullness of the sevenfold Spirit of Sonship, which is the power of the Kingdom of God!
"For Him whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him" (Jn. 3:34). The firstborn Son of God was not limited in any way, for He received the Spirit without measure. He did not have all nine gifts of the Spirit, as I have heard some men say. He didn't have "gifts" at all! The Father didn't give His Son "gifts," He gave Him the fullness of the Giver of the gifts -- the fullness of God Himself! "For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." And, "for whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). "As my Father has sent me, so send I you" (Jn. 20:21). God is sending sons in this new Day of the Lord, and if He is not sending sons then He has no one else to send, for every other church, revival, movement, outpouring, method, endeavor, program, and effort has fallen short of putting all enemies under His feet and bringing the Kingdom of God to pass in all the earth. The New Testament Church didn't accomplish it, great as were the ministries of the apostles of our Lord! The great missionary efforts of the 19th century didn't accomplish it, neither has the Pentecostal, Latter Rain, or Charismatic movements of our generation. They have all failed for they have all been in part. Creation is still waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God! The only way for us to be sons of God is for God to give us the Spirit without measure. This belongs to those who are called to sonship. This is the anointing that God would send in this hour. God is separating a people unto Himself for this very high and holy purpose! If it tarry we shall wait for it, and we shall seek it with all of our hearts. Nothing else can satisfy. There is no hope for creation and no hope for the sons in the failed callings of yesterday!
In his marvelous visions on the isle of Patmos the beloved John saw the risen, glorified Lamb of God in the midst of the throne having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the SEVEN SPIRITS OF GOD SENT FORTH INTO ALL THE EARTH. You can never come to share His throne without possessing the seven Spirits of the Lamb upon the throne! Those under this sevenfold anointing, sent forth into all the earth, are those who in His dominion shall bring deliverance to the whole creation. How often we ask, "Why have we still been faced with failure? Why have we been so limited? Why have we not seen more happening?" I will tell you why! There is nothing worse than a partial success. There is nothing worse than seeing a few more people saved, a few more people healed, a few more people delivered, a few more people blessed, a few more baptized in the Spirit, a few more gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, because any believer, church, or minister who has that kind of partial success will think, "Praise God, this is great," and will then settle for it. All of us are made that way! If you have just enough to show that you are alive and that God is still working, you are satisfied. It is hard to believe that God has more for us, or that He requires more of us.
I will tell you what God is doing in this hour. He is doing just the opposite to what most folk believe He is doing! Most people believe that we are seeing a greater and more powerful moving of God today than ever before in history. That is not true! Don't you believe it, and don't settle for that. We are seeing many people affected by the move of the Spirit of God, we are seeing great numbers of people involved in the blessings the Lord is pouring forth, but we are not seeing greater miracles today than ever before, or greater demonstrations of power, or greater wisdom, or greater righteousness, or truly earth-shaking, world-impacting, nation-saving, Kingdom-bringing ministry. And for some of us upon whom the dealings of the Lord have been heavy, there has a been a separation from even that which appears to be the great moving of God in the land. We have been called out of all the fervor and out of all the activity and all the blessings of the church systems. And this is of God! The Lord has limited us, He has weakened our strength and cut off the flow of deliverance, He has stripped and pruned us back to the trunk, and He is facing us with an intensified problem until we are beginning to realize: Oh God, we can do nothing to meet the need! We are nothing as we ought to be! The challenge is too great for us! God is doing this that we might not trust any longer in our PARTIAL SUCCESS, that we might not rest in the limitations of the in-part realm of the Spirit, but that we shall cry out unto the Lord until He arises mightily within His chosen ones and brings forth in us THE SEVENFOLD BRIGHTNESS OF HIS GLORY! God is raising up a people in this new Day who is willing to turn from the hustle and bustle of religion's feverish activity, to turn aside from the snare of blessings of limitation, to wait upon God, to sanctify the Lord God in their hearts, so that when God moves afresh He shall have a people prepared to show forth the fullness of His glory in the SEVENFOLD BRIGHTNESS OF HIS INTENSIFIED POWER.
Paul certainly had the realization of such an incomprehensible fullness in mind when he wrote to the saints in Ephesus, "May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory...that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself" (Eph. 3:16,19). The King James Version reads, "That you might be filled with all the fullness of God," but a better translation from the original is, "That you might be filled unto all the fullness of God." This speaks of eternal increase unto the unfathomable and inexhaustible!
It has been my privilege at various times over many years to stand on the Pacific Coast and look out over the broad expanse of the largest ocean on this planet. The glorious stretches of shore, sky, and sea are wonderful. Imagination quickens and thrills as our littleness is placed alongside the immensity of the unending expanse. Suppose I were to take a pint jar to the edge of the water, lean down and allow the ocean to run into the jar. It will take just one gesture to fill that jar with the Pacific Ocean. But how could I fill that jar unto all the fullness of the Ocean? If I carry my bottle back to Texas, to someone who has never looked upon the ocean, and tell him that he can now see and understand the ocean because I have it in my bottle, in fact my bottle is filled with the ocean, he will not see what the ocean really is. All he will see is a pint of sea water! There will be none of the mighty sweep of distance, none of the power of the waves, none of the swelling of the ocean surfaces, none of its blue beauty, and none of the wonders of its depths. I cannot put into a bottle the breaking of the surf or the vast reaches of the sea!
Such a sampling, sea water in a jar, would fit the meaning of Paul's words if he said, "filled with all the fullness of God," if we understood merely that God means to fill us to our capacity with Himself, putting in just that small measure that we can contain. But in keeping with the untranslatable signification of the Greek word PLEROMA, which is the word for fullness, it would be necessary to put THE WHOLE OF THE OCEAN in the bottle, and then, and only then, could we understand what God purposes to reveal in, upon, and through that glorious body of sons who come to His very image, likeness, and dominion. Each and every son shall contain the full measure of God in all that He is, just as does the firstborn Son. God does not purpose to make each of us little "samples" of Deity. He does not look upon us as little children who shall display "pints" of His power. He purposes to increase and enlarge each of our capacities forever and ever. We are to be filled UNTO all the fullness of God! This is the glory of sonship! This is the power of the Kingdom of God!
As one has written, "And lest there be some fearful saints, who still think the measure of our heritage must be confined within certain limits, then God tells us exactly what those limitations are: '...and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named...' (Eph. 2:19-21). There is the measure of the power that is available to the saints! Not merely the power that Moses demonstrated in Egypt, or at the Red Sea; not the power that Joshua had when he commanded the sun and the moon to stand still; not the power that Elijah had when he locked the heavens for three and a half years, and then opened them again; not the power that Elisha exercised when he caused the iron to swim, the waters to be healed, the hungry to be fed, the dead to be raised; not the power that Daniel had in the lion's den, or Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had in the fiery furnace; and not even the power that Jesus revealed in His earthly ministry when He healed the sick, cast out devils, walked on the sea, called back the dead. The power available is even the 'working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ WHEN HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, AND SET HIM AT HIS OWN RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES...' And still we could go on, for Paul continues to enlarge upon the immensity of this power which Christ now has, and which is ours: power and authority over all principalities and powers, even power to put 'all things under His feet'" -- end quote.
The realities of the Kingdom of God are not to be found in the things you know about God nor in the knowledge and understanding you acquire even of the "deeper truths" of sonship, reconciliation, etc. One knows that a person is in the Kingdom of God because of the life that emanates through him by the inworkings of the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. Ah, you may be able to preach like Paul, understand all the mysteries, and explain all the revelations God has given for this Day. But the correct understanding of all these things is not the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom of God is the power of God to transform you into the image of God, grow you up into the fullness of God, and then minister that to the blind, lost, and dying creation.
The Kingdom of God IS POWER. We learn in I Corinthians 1:24 that "Christ is the power of God." Therefore, Christ and the Kingdom are synonymous! The power of the Kingdom is the power of Christ, and God's Christ is His anointed, the body that possesses all the fullness of the power of the Lord! There is nothing clearer in the history of this world than that Christ is power. He has made new men and women of tens of millions. He has turned them right around and set their faces toward God. That is the hardest task in the universe! To create a world is nothing compared with the creating of one soul in the image of God. The victories of Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Napoleon were child's play in comparison. Their power could crush men into a feigned submission, but it could not penetrate the inner nature and change the secret heart and will and soul. This is what Christ has done again and again!
Have you ever tried to reform some person held in the grasp of sexual perversion, alcohol, drugs, a violent or devious disposition, or some other sin? Motive after motive you try to instill in him -- the injury he is doing to himself, his self-respect, the love of friends and family, his place in this world or the next -- all in vain. For a moment the poor sinful feet make a struggle to lift themselves out of the mire, and then sink back deeper. A sense of despair comes over you: you feel as though there were nothing to which to appeal. You feel helpless, and it seems the situation is hopeless. And then one day a new heart, a new will, a new spirit are given by the sovereign operation of God; the man stands up in the glory of Christ. If you ask him the secret, he will tell you with Paul, that CHRIST is the power of God unto salvation!
Now, believe me, there is nothing worth calling power compared with the power that can accomplish that. To break a man's spirit; to reverse his will; to turn the currents of his heart; to make him love what he formerly hated; to set his spirit triumphantly superior to sin and weakness and sorrow and death; to translate him into the Kingdom of the Son and give him seating in heavenly places; to make him a son of the Most High with a calling to glory and virtue: whoever can work these transformations is strong beyond all that the mighty of the earth have ever conceived as power. And Christ has done it again and again. But now, in the fullness of time, this mighty Christ is coming in many sons brought to glory, in the fullness of His sovereignty to do this, not apart from them, but through them, for they are called to rule and reign, they are called to share His throne and exercise His regal authority; they are equipped to subdue all things, to put every enemy under foot, to take the Kingdom and possess the Kingdom forever and ever, to restore all things and deliver all men and all creatures and all worlds from the bondage of corruption, until every last soul in heaven, earth, and hell has been re-created in the image of God, and the whole vast universe is filled with the fullness of His Life and Light and Love. THIS IS THE POWER OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
THE OMNIPOTENCE OF LOVE
Many a sermon has been preached on the power of God, and I suppose most of them have missed the mark, but it is very important that we realize that His power is not something separate from His love. The Pattern Son has made it very plain that the power of God is not that of force, violence, or compulsion, but the power of love which "never fails." The death of Jesus on the cross was one of the most momentous hours of all history and it was there on Calvary that Jesus demonstrated that the power of God is the Omnipotence of Love -- "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Love is all-powerful and power is love in action. It would do us all a world of good to make this eternal connection between love and power! Have we, in our desire to reign with Him, forgotten that the God who reigns over all IS LOVE?
The failure to distinguish between the power of force and violence and the omnipotence of love is the cause of all the hideous doctrines of the church systems and the mis-guided questionings of unbelievers. It is the answer to those who say, "If God is omnipotent, why does He not stop war, sin, suffering, and all forms of evil?" The omnipotence of love is something far grander and more noble than the power of force, though it is slower in operation. And it IS omnipotence, for with God's Love, all things are possible! As we learn to know the power and ways of Love we find a gradual change in our attitude about and toward all things. We realize that it is not so much a matter of our getting possession of God's power and using it in our daily life and ministry, but more a matter of God's power getting possession of us and using us. We realize that there are incredible potentialities within each of us who have the Spirit of the Christ because God is love and Christ is the power of God. Christ in you is sufficient to overcome all difficulties within and without, and to use them as stepping stones to the throne; power to be adequate for every situation; power to become all that He has apprehended you to become; yea, power to become the sons of God! There is no limit!
As I have mentioned earlier, Paul talks about the power of God revealed in the gifts of the Spirit (I Cor. 12 & 14). At the time of the great move of the Spirit that came in 1948 I was just a boy and I remember hearing my father and another Pentecostal minister talking about it, and the only thing they said about it was that the brethren in that move were laying hands on people and imparting the gifts of the Spirit. I don't even remember whether they were criticizing it or merely discussing it. I do know they never entered into it. And I'm sure they were unaware that my young ears were eagerly drinking in their every word! The part of the conversation I overheard lasted only a few minutes at most, but in the brief moment that they spoke of those wonderful things something leaped within my spirit, as the babe leaped in Elizabeth's womb, and I said within myself, "I'm going to find those people!" By a strange series of events the Lord sovereignly arranged the circumstances so that not long afterwards I did indeed come into contact with that move of the Spirit of God. It was wonderful and glorious beyond words and I rejoiced with joy unspeakable as the Lord set my young life aflame and imparted a ministry in the gift realm.
By the time I was fifteen years old I was off preaching more than I was attending school. The Lord wrought remarkable healings and impressive miracles through the laying on of my hands, and multitudes were baptized in the Spirit by the laying on of hands. Prophecy flowed like a river and the Lord revealed to us the order by which the body of Christ would be edified and strengthened by the ministry of each member. We rejoiced greatly in the mighty power of God in the miraculous released by the faith of the Son of God sent forth into our lives. We saw the body of Christ begin to come together, and we sang and praised God as the glory of the Lord flooded our souls. But I testify to you today that, glorious as it was, none of this was the goal or the end of the purpose God had in mind! You see, God's purpose is not to save and heal and thrill and bless and deliver some people. The real goal and the true purpose is the preparing of a people to inherit the Kingdom! The purpose is not a great "end-time revival," but the birth of a manchild to rule all nations with a rod of iron. Many have gotten side-tracked and failed to go on to the fulfillment of the purpose, so taken are they with the gift realm that they camp there and refuse to move on in God!
The apostle Paul continues on in the thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians speaking about the gifts developed to their fullness. I will paraphrase some of this and use my own words. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am nothing but a big noise." Then he talks about the gift of prophecy, after which he goes on beyond the gifts and talks about understanding all the mysteries of God, and having all knowledge, and all faith, so that we could remove mountains. Who wouldn't want to know all about the mysteries of God, and have all knowledge and all faith, and be able to move mountains! What giants we would be in the things of the Spirit! We would have the answer to every problem. We would know all there is to know about everything. There would be nothing that could stand before us, not even death itself. There would be nothing we could not do. How great that would be! Who wouldn't desire to attain unto this height! And who has ever reached it but the firstborn Son of God? But were we to attain to even this place, if we did not have love, we would be -- NOTHING! In the eyes of men we would be great, and what multitudes we could attract. But in the sight of God we would be absolutely NOTHING. That is what Paul says, and all that we had attained would profit us nothing at all. Love is ALL!
So this is what the Holy Spirit is testifying to us here. Covet earnestly the best gifts, and desire spiritual gifts, they are a great blessing and edification along the journey, but don't make them your goal. And don't get your desires and pursuit all wrapped up in mysteries and knowledge and faith and miracle-working power -- but follow after love, make love your quest, as one translation puts it. Make love your goal, that is the only thing that really counts, and without it nothing else is of any value. Why is this? Because the greatest power of God is LOVE. Whether there be tongues, they will cease; whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. Miracles, great and wonderful and necessary though they be, do not add anything to us personally. Though they bring great blessings into our lives and bodies and circumstances, and turn our focus upon the goodness of God, they do not do anything toward transforming us into the image of God. They do nothing in bringing about the metamorphosis into the nature of Christ. They do not impart unto us the mind of Christ. In fact, sometimes gifts and power have the opposite effect, building up our ego, which God is working to destroy. They could increase our pride and build up our old carnal nature, and turn us away from the true purpose of God in our sonship.
We are wrong to suppose that gifts of the Spirit are proof of a man's or woman's godliness or greatness in God. We need to recall the definition of gift. A gift is "something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation." If it is a gift, then it cannot be earned. If I give someone a check for $10,000.00, that gift says nothing about what that person looks like, what kind of person they are, what they do, or their relationship to me. It does not say whether they are honest or deceitful, hardworking or lazy, wise or foolish, a friend or an enemy. It indicates that for some reason, known only to me, I am moved to be generous and helpful. A gift is not given because of the goodness or worthiness of the recipient, but because of the goodness and purpose of the giver! A gift says nothing about the recipient, but much about the donor.
And so it is in the Kingdom of God! While we were yet sinners and enemies in our minds by wicked works, God commended His love toward us and gave His only begotten Son to us! We were not worthy. We could do nothing to earn or merit His favor. "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling." A gift is not a merit badge, not a badge of honor. A gift is free! There is no qualifying! There are no requirements! It is given only out of the heart of generosity and love of the giver! The gift of the Holy Ghost, and all the gifts of the Spirit are just that -- they are gifts. They make no statement about the holiness, character, worthiness, spiritual status, maturity or destiny of the recipient. Rather, they reflect the grace and power of God! God has given some of His gifts to the greatest of scoundrels! God is not gifts. The Government of God does not operate by gifts. God graciously gives gifts, but gifts do not reveal the depths or His heart nor manifest the fullness of His power. A man might give someone a brand new Mercedes. That would not disclose his true wealth. He might be broke after giving the gift, or he could be a multi-millionaire. Our Father is incredibly rich beyond anything we have ever seen in any of His gifts! God IS love! Love is what God IS. Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail. But love never fails! Love is omnipotent! Love will transform our natures and change us from the carnal, corruptible creatures that we are, into the incorruptible and divine. Love is ALL! Gifts can bless men in a variety of ways, but only love can reconcile all, redeem all, restore all, transform all, and finally make God ALL IN ALL. That is the omnipotence of love! That is the power of the Kingdom of God!
How beautifully brother Carl Schwing has expressed the outcome of the reign of God through the sons of Love: "There will be a shaking of heaven and earth, mankind, and all creation as there never was before. The angels will sing the Song of the Sons. The saints shall wave their palms of victory, and their shouts of joy shall thunder through the universe. And from this shaking shall come the new heaven and the new earth. All the heavenly lights shall be the reflection of the Light of the Lamb, and the glory of the Sons. The earth shall be a Paradise of God, and all nature shall speak of the kingdom, the power, and the glory of our everlasting Father and His glorified Sons...as once again they walk and talk amid their handiwork. All mankind shall stand in the Light of Saving Grace and partake freely of the Liberty of the Sons of God. And the house of hell shall be desolate. Hallelujah!
"The empty graves of the saints will bear the flowers of the earth. From the battlefields of man shall rise the anthems of freedom and peace. No cities or buildings...no temples or shrines; like dust they were carried away in the wind. The land will be free and the beauty thereof, untold. At last shall man and beast dwell together in the love of life. The Son of Beginnings shall rise in the sky, and the Light of Eternal Day shall nourish all things...and there is no night there! Hallelujah!
"This, my brothers, is the Kingdom of God and His Christ Sons. This is the Kingdom which existed before all things. This is the Kingdom that will always be, and the increase thereof shall be endless...and the seed of the sons, innumerable. This Kingdom is holy, because He is holy...it is spirit, for He is spirit...it is eternal, for He is eternal...it is the expression of the Father and His Sons. Its resources are infinite, its rule is boundless, and its purposes are immutable. All shall live within the gates of this City of the Kingdom. The government of the Sons will be the fruit of the Spirit, and the Word of the Father will be the Lord of the land. Many secrets remain in the House of the Rising Sons. Hallelujah!" -- end quote.
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
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J. Preston Eby
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