"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“God has begotten us again in Christ” April 2014, Part 2
Reading, or being taught biblical truths is only a part of the equation; and it will remain a philosophy or mere theology until we begin to apply them to our personal lives. Being begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead carries immense ramifications to the observant child of God. Surely, these cardinal truths are not given in scripture merely to fill empty spaces; and God does not speak to us simply to be saying something in his spare time.
Every word God speaks is a creative word! In the previous letter, we have shown the importance of reckoning ourselves to be dead, but not only as an act of salvation. The idea is to reckon ourselves as being crucified WITH CHRIST as Paul alluded to, and, because in his letter to the Ephesian Church, Paul indicated that we are God’s workmanship (handiwork) created IN CHRIST JESUS.
In baking a cake from scratch, we put a dozen eggs in the flour, also butter, fine sugar, rose water, vanilla, nutmeg and other spices. But we do not call the finished product egg, or flour, or sugar, or vanilla: we call the finished product cake. But here is one point of interest that we cannot afford to overlook. After all the many ingredients are poured into the mixing bowl and the blending begins, one cannot change his mind and demand to have his eggs back, or his vanilla back. They are now an integral part of the cake!
So we are created in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, and none can separate you from being a part of who he is: not even you yourself: and because HE IS, so are we. Christ never sought to distance himself from us mortals. Sometimes in life, we work with someone and seem to be pals, until the whistle blows or we hit the clock and head for the parking lot. In many cases the friendship ends there because we’d rather not be seen as being friendly with certain individuals in public.
I know this to be a fact that I observed when I lived in England. Jesus saw our connection to him as a Divine master plan, and until we see the relationship through the eyes of the Father and of Jesus Christ the Savior, we are selling ourselves short of our divine inheritance, and the enemy wins by default. The fact that we have been begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, should not be taken lightly, and should not be treated merely as a part of a good biblical story that can be soothing to our ears and good for relaxation. To be “begotten” means to be born to, as an offspring; so the process means that God legally birthed us as children unto himself. That is why Paul could refer to the fact that certain poets said that we are the offspring of God.
Jesus walked in our midst with the full knowledge of the children who would be added to his heavenly family. From the very beginning he taught his disciples to pray saying: “OUR FATHER.” Those two words said it all, because he did not say “MY FATHER.”
So he began to teach the disciples the idea that God is their Father. That was okay as far as the disciples were concerned, but when Jesus said that God was his Father in the temple, they took up stones to stone him: and for what? Here is their reply! We stone you for blasphemy because you being man makest thyself God, saying that God is your Father making thyself equal with God. They understood the logic behind that statement: but do you understand it?
We pray saying: “Dear heavenly Father, we come before you again in prayer.” We do not hesitate to call God our Father without considering all that it entails. You cannot look upon your son and say: “that is my son, but he is inferior to me.” After all, he is flesh of your flesh and bone of your bones, and that is exactly what Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians. “For we are members of his body [not his mystical body as we are often told] of his flesh and of his bones.” Ephesians 5: 30.
That is why when Saul was met on the Damascus Road and asked “who art thou Lord that I persecute?” the Lord answered, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” But Saul was going to persecute Christians and in reality that should not bother Jesus at all. But the Lord said you are persecuting me!
Why? Because we are his body, his flesh and his bones! The resurrected Lord is now our high priest in heaven where he makes intercession for us. But on earth, as sons of God, begotten by God himself through the power of the resurrection, we are the physical body of Jesus Christ. We cannot get any more like him than that! Of course, across Christendom to talk this way like the Jews who opposed Jesus said: This is blasphemy! But we are not claiming something based on our own ego and personal ambition. We are not inventing doctrines that do not come from God.
We are putting our thoughts in line with what the bible actually teaches us. Peter, preaching on the day of Pentecost said that David was a prophet, even though he is not listed among the major or minor prophets in the bible. But he wrote many Messianic prophecies that were fulfilled in the life of Christ. Among them he wrote: “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” Psalm 22: 22. As the writer of the Hebrews addressed that same issue, he quoted from the words penned by David.
Timothy, writing to the Hebrews from Italy, found the connection between the saints and Jesus Christ, that he made plain how we should view and understand the issue. He wrote: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons [that includes us] unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. The very thought of being subjected to human sufferings lowers the playing field and brings Christ down to the same level as us.
For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of ONE [meaning that the spiritual connection and relationship between Christ and us IS ONE and it cannot be broken.] For which cause [because of this fundamental truth] he is not ashamed to call them [us] brethren.
At this point, Timothy reached back in ancient history to quote the words of David who was born in 907 B.C. But almost a thousand years did not dim the truth or negate what the Spirit of the Lord signified away back then. Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, [that means Jesus and us] in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” Hebrews 2:10-13.
Religion, as being practiced across the broad spectrum of Christendom is designed to build up a deep feeling of continued guilt in God’s people, thus creating a mindset of “not being worthy.” We are taught to see a holy God and Jesus Christ, high up in heaven surrounded by holy angels, looking down on unholy men; a people that are held in sin and made captives to the enemy of souls.
Back home in my country, there are saints of God whom have walked with God for fifty years. But every time they stand to testify of his goodness, they address themselves as sinners, still standing “on repentance grounds.” They are never taught that one cannot be a sinner, saved by grace. Have you ever heard that statement? Thank God that I am a sinner, saved by grace they say! But let us set the record straight! Pardon me Sir! Pardon me Madam! One cannot be both at the same time; otherwise one’s life is confused, not being able to discern between good and evil. In the true sense of the word, a sinner is one who does not know Christ, or his saving grace. That person has never had Christ to enter into his heart to take up residence within. Being saved by grace means that one is justified by faith, and is past from death to life, and has walked away from under the influence of the law of sin and death, to abide forever under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
But both sentiments or ideologies cannot co-exist: we must either be one or the other! By adding “a sinner saved by grace” it is intended to paint a picture of humility and imperfection that renders us “unworthy. But Christ has made us worthy! Timothy, in his letter, points to divine truth and principle that we will do well to believe and appropriate unto ourselves. Taking it from the top in practical terms as Jesus saw it, we are told first of all, that both he that sanctifies [Christ Jesus] and they who are sanctified [all of us] are all OF ONE.
Because Jesus knew this truth and willed himself to live within the context of these truths: for this cause he is not ashamed to call us brethren. He is the firstborn among a family of many brothers. John came directly to the point and said: “Beloved NOW are we the sons of God.” What we shall be in the future will depend upon his appearing.
In my sermons I used to say that what we shall be when he appears, will have to wait until he does appear. But in the meantime: “Beloved NOW are we the sons of God.” Perhaps as dinner time approaches, you do not have all the ingredients you’d love to have to prepare the dish you’d love for that evening.
In such case, what do you do? Do you sit in a rocking chair twiddling your thumbs, hoping that the necessary ingredients will suddenly materialize in your kitchen? Of course not! Instead, you go to the kitchen and begin to cook the ingredients you already have. God isn’t asking you to wait until you are endowed with all nine gifts of the Spirit.
Even if you have been given only one gift, God expects you to use that one gift, and quite likely when you are faithful in utilizing that gift willingly, and with a glad heart, others will be added to you.
In the divine process of bringing us back to the level of spiritual reality as God has fore-ordained, Christ came clothed upon with the seed of Abraham, and became as one of us, while retaining his divinity, even though he did not use it in his work. He lived, worked, and died as one of us. He leveled the playing field and made the game free and open to all of us. The problem we have as Christians, is that we can readily accept the fact that as God, Jesus Christ laid aside Deity and came to us a servant, being obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, as Paul wrote to the Philippians.
We laud Christ for coming down to our sinful level to save us from utter destruction and eternal torment.[So they teach] But they neglect to teach the other side of the equation that is of paramount importance to our ascent into God as his true sons.
Here is how Paul laid out this truth that we will do well to embrace in all its fullness. “For he hath made him to be sin for us [God made Christ to be sin for us] who knew no sin; [to the end and for the purpose] that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”2nd Corinthians 5:21.
So in all the dynamics of redemption as we know them, God lowered the gates and opened the doors for us to be exalted to sit with Christ Jesus in heavenly places. Jesus said to Mary: “but go to my brethren [that includes us all] and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” John 20:17.
Ladies and gentlemen! This truth is as clear and as visible as the nose on your face! Jesus once again removed the wall of partition between God and us, and reminds us that the wall of partition has been broken down. It is sin that separates man from God: but Jesus took all our sins and nailed them to the cross.
And although the divine plan was in place before the world began, Jesus Christ activated and set in motion all of these dynamics on our behalf. He finished the task and added the finishing touches of God’s excellence on our behalf.
Jesus inferred that if a man loves him, his Father would also love him, and both would come and make their abode with him, or in him. John, in the Revelation saw the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, the bride of Christ, coming down from God out of heaven.
But John did not stop there in his description of what he saw. He wrote: “And God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:2, 3. Notice how clearly we are shown God’s ultimate intentions for his people. He does not intend to support a dividing line between himself and us. In fact Paul indicated that: “As God hath said I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2nd Corinthians 6: 16.
While the church continues to teach separation between us and God, the scriptures we have shared all point to the very opposite. The truths being shared in these studies are not meant for mental or intellectual exercises, or for mere discussions at religious workshops. As we usually say: we need to take them off the pages of the bible and immerse them deep in our spirit within.
But here is something of vital importance to ponder for a moment! No matter how qualified and gifted a teacher of scripture may be, the onus is on the hearers. We are told this in scripture! “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” Hebrews 4: 2.
Shouting and dancing down the aisle in response to a dynamic message coming from the preacher is no guarantee of further spiritual growth. Not if the word received is not mixed with faith in the hearers. So along with saying “Amen” to the truth, one must apply faith, which is the substance of things hoped for: the evidence of things not seen. People who come to church to be entertained have missed the essence of what God is imparting to us by faith in his word.
Sadly enough, preaching seemingly has become nothing more than an act: or a solo performance and a show-piece put on by one person to a sanctuary full of spectators. Holding the microphone a certain way, and doing certain physical gyrations often trigger shouting and dancing down the aisles. But have we received the spoken word by faith when it’s all over?
Years ago I got to know a minister who used to be an entertainer with some big bands in Las Vegas. He brought along the same skills and tricks of the trade into the ministry of the word of God. At certain points in his sermons, he tilts the microphone, makes certain sounds that are supposed to indicate the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and move his body in ways that get the congregation on its feet.
Should you show up at his local Assembly in downtown Los Angeles at 11 o’clock on a Sunday morning, you will find standing room only. But after the dancing and shouting, and speaking in tongues are over, the truth is that we grow by receiving the sincere milk of the word: Not by dancing and falling out. Some years ago I was talking with a dear sister who had just returned from church. During our time of fellowship she said: “If I can just get my dance in, I will be satisfied.” But that kind of progress will never produce overcomers! Please understand that we are not sitting in judgment: and we are not casting vain assertions against God’s people, no matter what level of growth or understanding they may be living on. But to progress in our lives, we must critique ourselves. Paul said we should examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith or not. The subject of being begotten of God not only relates to us [of which we should really be dancing] but it also relates strongly to our Lord Jesus Christ. Embracing God’s promises to the father, we read from Acts 13: 32, 33: “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.”
By this we see that the process that we are required to go through, Jesus Christ went through it before us as our example. But what status and caliber of persons does the process produces? Watch what happens when we expand the subject under the searchlight!
“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is fore ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom.” Hebrews 1:5-8.
Let us not forget that any reference to the “only begotten, or the only begotten Son: refers to Jesus by himself. But any, and all references to “the firstborn or the first begotten or the first begotten Son” reaches down to all of us right where we live today. If Christ is the “firstborn” it stands to reason that there must be others born in the same family, following after the firstborn.
This truth is laid out by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman church. This is well known, but let us reiterate as a reminder and for good measure. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he [the Son] might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Or among a family of many brothers, and this includes women, for the term sons of God is not determined or applied by gender. Beloved now are we the sons of God applies to the church in general as the collective body of Christ. Just a friendly reminder that your monetary gifts must be made payable to Royce Kennedy: and I take this moment to thank everyone who were moved to lend a helping hand throughout last year and the year before. I could hardly have made it without you. Be blessed in all that you do! Bro. Kennedy.
Please be reminded to make your gifts payable to Royce Kennedy and not to the ministry. Thank you!