"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Oneness with God—taught by Jesus & Paul” August 2015—part 6
Let us begin this chapter by reviewing two simple, but profound lessons as taught by Jesus and Paul. We could render one unrelated to the other, and we have for umpteen years preached fire-brand sermons on each passage of scripture, yet did not make their connection to our “oneness with God” as we have been discussing for a few months now.
Frankly, there is so much truth in scripture that seems to ooze out of our innermost being; that it is like walking through a hot mountainside on a hiking trip. Suddenly, we come upon a rock on the rolling hillside, and from under a rock covered with beautiful wild ferns we discover cool water shooting up from between the rocks. We stoop over and begin to drink from our hands clasped together. We linger and linger, still drinking and wish we did not have to leave that spot.
The more I consider this subject, the more new thoughts are created within and I hasten to put those thoughts on paper. Nothing we have been saying in this series is new: but the nuggets of truth are like treasures being unearthed in the desert after being buried from the days of the Pharaohs. Searching the scriptures is like excavating an area that is rich with buried treasures. I remember while spending a week in Nassau, in the Bahamas with the late Brother Bennie Skinner from West Palm Beach who was conducting a week of meetings, the host pastor used to say to us: “Let us dig some more to see what we will find.”
Like archaeologists digging for ancient treasures and forgotten artifacts, as we dig into the Word of God, layer by layer, we continue to unearth golden nuggets of truths that leave many in disarray and throw some in total denial. Others who are conscious and aware of what the Holy Spirit is doing are inspired to dig even deeper and deeper: until streams of living water begin to gush from within until it forms the river of living water that John saw in the Revelation.
Let us revisit Jesus and his disciples as he taught the union he has with his church: this ties in beautifully with the concept of our oneness with God. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (The chief vine-dresser) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine;
No more can ye, except ye abide in me. Notice this bold declaration that for umpteen years in the ministry, we somehow failed to emphasize the truth contained herein. “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth IN ME, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me (outside of me) ye can do nothing.” John 15: 1,2,4,5. These scriptures said it all in plain English, and already the full picture should be framed before our eyes and in our heart.
Notice that I have highlighted in me—in you for added clarity and emphasis. Without saying too much even from this vantage point, the message of our oneness with Christ and God is already clearly laid out for us by the Lord himself. But to do a little leg work, let us take a stroll to our backyard garden, from which we grow corn, tomatoes, pumpkin, peas and other vegetables. These are called six month crops, so they come and go in a set sequence that we hardly notice.
In school, we learned that plants breathe by their leaves, and that they absorb food by their roots then it is fed to the whole tree by a process called capillary attraction. Suppose we pay a visit to our plants, first thing in the morning when the roosters are crowing up a storm, announcing the dawn of a brand new day.
As a silent by-stander and observer, let us check on the mindset of all the plants around us as the branches remain connected to their individual vine. For the purpose of this study, let us figure out what the mindset of each branch is. Do you suppose that each branch begins the day wondering about water supply for that day?
Do you believe that each branch begins the day worrying about another day’s full supply of nutrients and that there will be a full supply of clean fresh air for them to breathe? What is the total responsibility of each branch?
Jesus put his finger on what is required for life, good heath, and maximum productivity! All that is required of each and every branch is to abide in the vine. And the union is such that it works both ways to ensure long life, heath, and maximum productivity.
Jesus configured the lesson on the basis that the Father requires fruit from his vineyard: and if there is fruit, he waters (tends) the garden that more fruit is produced; and the Father is glorified that much fruit is yielded. Look at the test, or proof of true discipleship! “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8. Bearing fruit in his garden is the ultimate result that the Husbandman is waiting for. We go from fruit, to more fruit, and finally to much fruit.
Not only is there no need for the branches to wonder for their survival each day—they simply abide in the vine: without improvising or inventing, each branch possesses the same nature as the vine, as long as it abides in the vine. That is how we are made partakers of the divine nature: (2nd Peter 1:4.) as we abide in the vine.
This is a classic lesson that opens up for us the highway that runs directly through God’s garden that is designed to produce vibrant and healthy food, fit for the Master’s use. The picture painted by Christ is full of oneness and life: but the only aspect of death is cast upon those vines that fail to produce fruit. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away and Jesus added a sterner warning.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15: 2, 6. Let us rehearse this vital point once more. As we have pointed out (let me rephrase it some) all that is required of the branches for their survival and optimum productivity is to “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” Verse 4.
That is the width, the height, and the depth of what Jesus taught in this lesson. It is plain and simple; perhaps so much so, that millions have missed it for more than two thousand years of church history.
To abide in the vine suggests a place and state of being at rest. There is no need to struggle and fight with the elements until you are left drained, dried, and frustrated.
In his call, Jesus promised rest: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you (be yoked to Christ like a horse pulling a cart being yoked to it) and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11: 28, 29.
As we mentioned earlier, as long as the branches abide in the vine, there is no need to construct a daily list of requirements just to survive a twelve hour day. This is why it is of paramount importance that we fully comprehend the sentiments shared by Jesus when he exhorted us as the branches to always abide in the vine. As we research this subject, we quickly notice that the scriptures are awash with endorsements and support of the concept of our oneness with God.
Let us add a little more insight to Paul’s visit to Athens, where he encountered a group of people who were worshipping “the unknown God.” Going down the passage we see the apostle bringing the reality and existence of God to the very doorsteps of his audience. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Notice that Paul did not regard this concept offered by the poets to be fable, or error, and totally unacceptable in the ranks of sacred scriptures sound doctrine. On the contrary he wrote: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Acts 17: 28, 29. Being God’s offspring is an outward expression of the oneness of which we speak. It is understood that your offspring is an expression and an extension of yourself: bearing your family characteristics and DNA.
Parents take great pleasure and pride in their newborn, and do not hesitate to show them off to neighbors. They wonder openly about whose resemblance the new born has taken on. The parents are pleased to “show off” their newborn, and a family album is quickly put in place to house the many photos that are being taken from time to time. All of this is for future showings from the family’s archive.
Notice the complete package offered by Paul! “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace are ye saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. But for what purpose, and unto what end is the process designed?
“That in the ages to come (after Paul’s time) he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 6,7. The exceeding riches and his kindness will be shown to the whole creation from what will be God’s master piece. It will be shown by those who have been raised from the dead: (the ministry of death that still pervades Christendom) and are seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
The whole process and intent behind our salvation, is for us to become physical expressions of God and Christ, to a world seething in total darkness. It is no wonder that we hear the clarion call rise and shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. As the five wise virgins awoke and trimmed their lamps, five others will awake to find that their oil is gone out. Do you think that a branch that is abiding in the vine will ever be surprised and shocked to find that its sap is gone out of its bark?
The bible laid out three formulas in the born again process: and a new birth is mandatory because that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Peter comes along and assured us that we are being born again not by corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever. This, my friend, is the nature of God, of which we are made partakers by the “born again process.” Even among us humans, nature (genes) cannot be transmitted through adoption: it must be through the birth process.
Let us apply more basic truths that we have preached and studied for centuries of church history. Herein we will see how our oneness with Christ and God forms the basis of our salvation. Let me repeat once more, that our salvation was not a process designed merely to separate good people from the bad. I like the consensus outlined in scripture for our edification, and when we take time to connect the dots, and to run a direct line that links one truth with another, we find that there are not many varied truths—just a single truth shared and broken down into segments.
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Notice the sanction or heavenly seal being offered by the Spirit itself. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children (sons and daughters) of God. That is the first part of the equation; and it leads us to investigate what ramifications are pending herein. All of these truths dove-tail into a single truth and pattern that God devised for us before the world was.
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.” Romans 8:15-17. Here we have a complete picture of God’s grand design for us as a people destined to reflect God from mountains to the plains and across the vast oceans. I like the offering made by the Phillips translation.
“The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well.” Based upon the law of inheritance, each heir has an equal share in the inheritance determined by percentage. In other words, among four heirs, each would receive 25% of the inheritance. Being heirs of God that is how the inheritance breaks down.
But we are also joint-heirs with Christ and that comes under a different plan under the law. If there are fifty or a hundred joint-heirs each to be given their portion of the inheritance, the law determines that each joint-heir must be given 100% of the inheritance. If both spouses have a joint account at the bank, either spouse has 100% ownership over the account and either can withdraw from it at will.
So we are in a win—win situation because in God we have a percentage of all that God owns: and with Christ we have 100% of all that Jesus Christ claims as his. ALL power is given unto me! Raise your hands and say “ME TOO”. I am the resurrection and the life! Raise your hands and say “ME TOO.” As Jesus IS, so are we in this world. We are born into a heavenly family by the effective working of the Holy Ghost: and as such, we are eternally bonded in sweet communion with the Godhead, who now expresses itself through a unique people on the earth today.
Royce O. Kennedy
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