SEVEN STEPS of OVERCOMING

Letters to the Seven Churches

George Harris, Maine Convention

February 2009

Before we begin our study in the book of Revelation, I would like to preface it with the understanding that God’s plan includes the humbling of mankind. When He spoke to Moses, part of His purpose in taking the children of Israel into the wilderness was to humble them, and to show them that man does not live by bread alone. Peter, in his epistle, instructs us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God; for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. The trials He sends our way are not to perfect our strength, but to show us our weakness so that His strength might be made perfect. When we come to the end of our sufficiency, we find the power of God. The apostle Paul sought the Lord three times to be delivered of the thorn in his flesh, but heard only these words, “my grace is sufficient for you”. He found that when he gloried in his personal weaknesses and infirmities, that the power of Christ rested upon him. True humility is to understand, ‘apart from God, I can do nothing good.’ To humble oneself under the mighty hand of God is to surrender ones’ will to the sovereignty of His kingdom and righteousness.

 

Let us now look at one verse in Revelation 21:7, before we address the body of our text which is found in chapter 2 and 3. So often when we consider the term “overcoming” spoken of in the Bible, we think of it merely as hardness that we must endure and to some extent that is true. Paul exhorts his son in the faith, Timothy, to endure hardness as a good soldier. But overcoming is more than simply enduring. It involves ‘tapping into the life of God through faith;’ that life which is supremely able. This is all about Him; not about us. As the psalmist in 61:2 states, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” This overcoming is a work of God, performed by His Spirit in us, but only at our request.

 

He that overcometh shall inherit all things and I will be His God and He shall be my son.

Revelation 21:7

 

You can see here that it is not being born again, or being born of the Spirit that qualifies us for the inheritance. It’s that Spirit of the Overcomer. “It’s not by might, it’s not by power, but it’s by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

 

Everything we receive from God, we receive by virtue of inheritance. In fact, what we have received thus far is just the earnest of our inheritance. God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit, the down payment, until the day of redemption of the purchased possession, until we witness the redemption of this body. So then we will have what we have by virtue of inheritance, and we’ve now received the earnest of our inheritance, which is the Holy Spirit.

 

It is the Holy Spirit that is going to accomplish this work in us, and that is why it is so critical that we not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. The Bible says, “Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit, whereby you were sealed until that day of redemption”. (Ephesians 4:30)The Holy Spirit has been given to seal us, to preserve us blameless; spirit, soul and body. In the same manner that a can of vegetables or fruit has been sealed, so the Holy Spirit has sealed us. He stamps us with that stamp of authenticity and ownership. He is preserving us spirit, soul and body, so we must allow that seal to stay intact and not allow sin and disobedience to break that seal. As long as that seal is intact, the contents may be corruptible but they are not corrupted. But if that seal is broken, then what’s in that jar is corrupted – it’s spoiled by sin, by bacteria, by elements that enter in that defile. So, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit of God, so that is why we must not grieve the Holy Spirit.

 

Grieve is a love word . You know, only those who I love can grieve me. My children can grieve me because I love them, and we can grieve God when we resist or frustrate the Spirit of God. He says, “Don’t grieve the Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed” , and allow Him to have His way in your life, for He is the one that’s going to accomplish this in us. Don’t quench the Spirit, but yield yourselves to the Spirit; for “if you walk in the Spirit, you’ll not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”.

 

He has actually given us a provision; this provision is the Spirit of Truth who will take us, lead us and guide us into all Truth. There is no way we can know the Truth but by the Spirit of Truth, for the Truth is not an accumulation of facts, the Truth is a person. And the only way we can know the Truth is by the Spirit of Truth operating in our life, and by becoming intimately joined to that Spirit of God.

 

Jesus said in John 21 to Peter, “Peter, when you were young, you girded yourself and you went where you wanted to go, but when you are old, you’ll stretch forth your hands and another will gird you and take you where you would not.” And the Bible says, “He spoke these things concerning His death.” And you know, the Spirit of God is our guide, even unto death, for He’s the only one that knows how this death is to be accomplished in our life. He’s the only one who can conform us to His death, that we might know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, and be conformed to the death, that righteous death of the Lord.

  

And so, the Spirit of God is the only one that can take us there (to the righteous death of the Lord), and I believe He’s given us the earnest of the Spirit to see how we are going to interact with the Spirit of God. Will we yield ourselves to the Spirit or not? For only those that are led by the Spirit are the sons of God (the huios) the mature sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

In order to grow up in Him, we have to come into a greater and deeper submission to the Spirit of the Living God; where we are willing to go where we would not go; where we are willing to stretch forth our hands and allow Him to gird us and take us where we would not go! So He has given us the Spirit as an earnest of our inheritance to see how we are going to interact. If we do not desire to be filled with the Spirit, why would we want to be filled with all the fullness of God?

 

Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:18,19, “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” God does not want us to run on half a tank – He wants us to be filled with the Spirit of God! When you are filled with the Spirit, the desire for other things is just not present, and we find we are full and we are complete in Him and that He is our life and He is our sustenance and we live and we move and we have our being in Him. Then we don’t have the temptations; it’s not at our door knocking every day. “ If we’ll walk in the Spirit, we’ll not fulfill the lust of the flesh”. (Galatians 5:16)

 

“To Him that overcometh, he shall inherit all things”.

 

This inheritance can only come to us by and through the Spirit of God and He wants us to be strong. Where? In the Spirit, in the might of His power, to be strengthened with all might in the inner man. Man is a spirit and this outward man can perish, but this inner man, this man of the Spirit is renewed day by day, so He wants us to find our life in the Spirit . “When I’m in the Spirit, I am the voice of God; when I’m in the Spirit, heaven’s courts I trod; when I’m in the Spirit the city I can see; when I’m in the Spirit, He’s glorified in me.” It’s not my life, it’s His life, and the life of the Spirit of God is revealed as we yield to go down into death that He might be the one that lives.

 

We will be looking at Revelation Chapters 2 and 3. It tells us in the Book of Jude 3 that we are to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints.” The word “ contend” here means, “to strive with an adversary.” The adversary that I would like to speak about is the adversary that would like to derail you, that would like to take you and me off this path that God has set us on. There is a contending that you and I must do, for he is out to derail any of the sons that he can derail, for he knows he has but a short time. He knows that his days are numbered; he knows that when there is a company that God brings to the measure and the fullness of Christ and that when the 7 th trumpet blows, the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ and He’ll reign forever and ever and there won’t ever be any other kingdom established! It will be the Kingdom of God that will grow into a mountain which will never be removed. “But the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God” (Revelation 12:17)

 

There are seven areas I want us to consider. The first is the enemy’s work to miss-prioritize our affections. He is out to take your heart away from the affection of the Son.

 

Secondly, if he can’t do that, he is out to keep you in bondage all of your days through the fear of losing your life.

 

Thirdly, he would like to derail you by getting you to believe that by the doctrines and teachings of men you could remain alive, without paying the price for a relationship with the living God.

 

Fourthly, he has opened the bottomless pit and there is a hoard from hell, the fowls of the air that are blackening and darkening the mind of man; the demon spirits out of the pit of hell, the seducing spirits – that we are facing in this last day, temptations whose magnitude have not been seen in history. I believe there is a release of seducing spirits in these last days, and many shall depart from the faith and will give heed to seducing spirits. I believe they would take us away and keep us from being watchful, and knowing this, Jesus said, “Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation.” Satan wants to keep us in a position or a place where we are really not aware of what’s going on. Not just in the world, but in our own life, particularly. Essentially he wants to cause us to be impatient, rather than keeping the word of God’s patience, to move impulsively; to move before the Lord and not stay in harmony and in step with Him. Lucifer would lift us up in pride, so we would not have the ability or be able to receive correction. For you see, what keeps us from receiving correction is pride . Pride is a very insidious thing in our lives. It is the thing that will keep us from drawing nigh to God, for the scripture says that the humble He knows, but the proud He keeps afar off----He keeps them at arm’s length.

 

The enemy of our soul is there:

 

1 st ) To alienate or miss-prioritize our affections.

 

2 nd) To keep us keep us in the fear of losing our life.

 

3 rd ) That we would take heed to the doctrines of devils rather than maintain a hearing relationship with God.

 

4 th ) That we would be drawn away of our own lusts by seducing spirits.

 

5 th ) That we would not watch and pray.

 

6 th) So we would be impatient and seek to perform God’s word rather than waiting on Him to accomplish what He has promised.

 

7 th ) So we would be lifted up and not really give heed to the correction, for correction is the way of life---not in the way of life---it is the way of life.

So, I want to begin here by reading Revelation 2:1-5:

 

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee , because thou hast left thy first love . Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except they repent. (Italic’s put here to help tie it in with your following statement re. the heart.)

 

 

You can see, it’s your heart that is being addressed here. As Solomon writes in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of the heart are the issues of life.” Really our heart is where we believe – for a man to believe, it cannot be with his mind, it must be with his heart. I heard an analogy not too long ago, where one talked about the mind being the ant and the heart being the elephant. You know the ant can’t move the elephant; it’s got to be the heart that moves us, so we must believe with the heart. It is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and it’s the heart that we must keep with all diligence. Unfortunately, the scripture in Ecclesiastes says that God has set the world in our heart.

 

I can remember, back in 2001, my son Benjamin was there in Montana helping me finish the house we were going to be living in. We had a day planned where we were going to frame up the garage, and we drove down to Proctor to return a few tools to Jack Bowerman, who is a contractor there. When I drove up to his house, he said, “George, have you been listening to the radio?” I said, “No.” He said, “You’ve got to come in here!” Benjamin and I went in, and what we saw were those two jet liners hitting the Twin Towers. We sat there and watched it from about 8:00 that morning until 2:00 in the afternoon. It was like everything that seemed so important to us, actually was not important at all. We even tried after 2:00 p.m. to go back up to our house and build; we even got the tools out but we were still just numb. I said, “You know, I don’t think we are supposed to be doing this today. This just doesn’t seem important—whether I have a house or not; it just doesn’t matter to me anymore.”

God wants us to see things as they really are, for you know, we can put importance on things that really aren’t important. Martha did. And Jesus said to her, “You know Martha, Mary has chosen the important thing.” And God wants us to have a clarity in our hearts and in our minds about what’s important and what’s not.

 

There’s an urgency in our society that screams at you and me every day and would take us away from what’s really important. God doesn’t want us not to lose sight of that. I think that is why He tells us, in Hebrews 10, “Don’t forsake the gathering of yourselves together, and even so much the more as you see the day approaching.” This is so as to encourage one another; to rehearse these words to one another, so that you continually see what’s vital; what’s important; what’s priority.

 

How many of you find an attraction to the world in your heart? And yet He says I John 1, “Don’t love the world, for all that in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”. So we find in ourselves this attraction, these desires. If you don’t need anything all you have to do is pull out a SKY MALL magazine out of one of the back of those airplane seats and you come to realize all the things you don’t have and what you really think you need. There is a great marketing ploy in the world today to take our affection away, for the world and our adversary wants us to believe that our life is in the abundance of the things that we possess. Yet, so often after we buy it, we don’t know what to do with it, we put it on the shelf and it no longer holds our attention or our interest.

 

There’s something in us that wants to find our security in things, rather than in the living God. When our heart’s affection is turned – you can hear this in the Psalmist – he says, “Turn us again, Oh Lord; Turn us again and cause your face to shine and we shall be saved.” Our heart and our soul are so fickle! They can be turned very easily. You find yourself during the day, as the Psalmist, “Lord, Turn, Turn me again, Turn me again Lord!” Our heart has to come to a place where it’s fixed. David said, “My heart is fixed; my heart is fixed”. I’ve set my face as a flint, where there’s a prioritizing in heart where we are seeking first the kingdom, for He says here, “You’ve left your ‘ first’ love. ” That Greek word here is ‘ protos ’ which means: to be first in time, in place, and in importance. We can learn a lot about our affection by the way we spend our time—what is first in time, place and importance.

 

We can’t separate our love for Jesus from our desire to have Him rule over us. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.” So there’s no separating my love for Him from also having His government rule over me. He says, “I’ll know you love me, when you keep my commandments.” There’s no separating this. Our heart condition is what keeps that in the proper place. You can see here, for a company that won’t correct , He says, “I will come and I will remove the

candlestick out of his place.” When our heart is turned away from the Lord, the light of the candlestick inside goes out. You can see this literally happening in our day. For many, the lights have gone out – they don’t see what they used to understand. Well, what’s happening? Their heart has been turned away. Paul writes in II Corinthians 3:15,16 “that even unto this day, when Moses is read, (by the children of Israel) the veil is upon their heart, nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord; (“ it” being the heart ) the veil shall be taken away , and they can see clearly. Our heart condition is what enables us to see the invisible. But it is only the pure in heart that can see God.

 

This is where the devil wants to derail us, to alienate us, to misdirect our affection. Why? So he can take the light away. The light will be gone. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it happens, brethren. Recently there was a young ministry in our midst, commenting on one that had left, and he said, “He can’t see, he just can’t see.” We’ve heard, “If you keep your head in the lap of Delilah, you’ll not only lose your anointing but you’ll lose your vision”. You can regain your anointing, but you’ll never regain your vision. God wants us to keep our heart. We can do nothing apart from Him. But to him that overcometh, he recognizes that he has left, not lost, but left his first love and is returning.

 

Turn us, Oh Lord, turn us again, Oh Lord; cause thy face to shine and we shall be saved! The Psalmist says in Psalm 73, “Truly God is good to Israel, to those that are of a clean heart. As for me, my feet had well nigh slipped. I was envious of the prosperity of the wicked and I had cleansed my hands in vain, I washed my hands in innocency – Lord, the wicked are prospering and I am suffering – It’s just not worth it!! Until ----I came into the sanctuary of the Most High, then understood I their end. Surely thou hast set them in slippery places.” He goes on to say at the end of that Psalm, “Who have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon the earth that I desire beside thee.” Oh, let that be our testimony! Oh God, open our eyes to the truth! Keep our eyes open Lord! For if your eye is single the whole body will be full of light, so we have to keep our heart’s affection focused on God.

 

Oh God, keep our heart on YOU! You and I have to participate in this matter of keeping. He says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of the heart are the issues of life.” Settle it.

 

To him that overcometh will I grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

              Revelation 2:1-7

 

You realize that if you keep your heart with all diligence, you will have the opportunity and the right to eat of that tree of life. We are able to partake of it; we are able to enjoy it, as we are now. God opens that to us when you have a heart after Him and are longing for Him and our heart’s affection is for Him.

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

            Revelation 2:8-10

 

 

Hebrews 2 states the devil would keep us in bondage all of our life,

by the fear of death, by the fear of losing your life. Jesus said, “If you seek to save your life, you’ll lose it, but if you lose your life for my sake, then you’ll save it.” So, the devil would like to derail us by making us think we are really losing something, when REALLY, there is nothing that we can keep because no man brought anything into this world, and it’s certain that no man is going to take anything out. When the children of Israel were led out of Egypt on to Mt. Horeb, the mountain that burned with fire, there was thundering and quaking; it was austere and appeared dangerous. They said to Moses, “Listen, you go on up there and you hear what God has to say, and come back down and tell us, and whatsoever He says we’ll do, for no man can hear the voice of God and live.” But Jesus in response to the Devil in the temptations in the wilderness said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” So you and I are in somewhat of a dilemma because you can’t live if you hear His voice, but also, you’re only going to live by every word that proceeds forth out of His mouth. So you and I are on what is known as “The horns of a dilemma.” There was a translator several years ago who was asked when he was translating a message as to what that was, and he replied, “An animal I have never heard of!”

 

We’re in a position where we can’t keep our life if we want a relationship with Him, for by hearing His voice we are going to lose our own life. But it’s life to the Spirit. The outward man perishes, but the inward man is renewed, day-by-day. So there is a choice we have to make. The illusion is that you are losing something of value, but really, what you are gaining by losing your life, is the eternal weight of glory. You are losing the temporal for the eternal.

 

Last spring, my wife and I were on a trip to Florida, and we stopped in Orlando to visit her cousin. She put us in a guest room that evening that had a small full size bed with a headboard and a footboard. My head touched the headboard and my feet were flat on the footboard, so I felt a little confined and also I had a little chest congestion. I got up during the night because I felt like I couldn’t breathe and I went into this little office next to the bedroom. I got on my knees and as I was praying there, the Lord brought to mind a couple of experiences I had had recently.

 

One of them occurred when I was replacing the foundation under the tabernacle in Haines. We were jacking it up; (it was a wooden building on a wooden foundation,) because it was sinking like the sun setting in the west. The foundation was rotten and I was underneath that building while it was on blocks, and as I crawled under this beam, I got stuck. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced claustrophobia, but I was stuck there for a moment. Of course I began to panic a little because I was all alone. It was getting a little difficult to move and so I said to myself, “Don’t panic, stay calm, breathe shallow.” That experience came to mind that night while I was on my knees praying. When I was stuck the Lord reminded of that scripture in Matthew 24, “How hardly shall a rich man enter into the kingdom of God for it is more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.” And as I was there, stuck, the Lord said to me, “What would you give up for one breath? What is worth your next breath? Because, if you don’t breath it, you’re finished. What’s worth keeping? What’s worth holding onto that is more important than your next breath?” He then spoke to me that night and said, “All that you need to make it through any test is just your breath – the life. You don’t need any of the other stuff; all you need is the life.”

 

In I Timothy 6:8, Paul said, “With food and raiment, be content.” The devil would keep us in bondage to the fear of loss. And you can see it in this age. The word says in that day and hour men’s hearts will fail them, because their security blanket is being touched, is being taken away, and it is time for us as a people of God to know that our life is not in our possessions. Our life is not in the abundance of the things that we have. Our security is not in money; it’s not in 401K’s; it’s not in a job; it’s not in any of those things, and God is going to touch us all in these areas, to see whether we really believe that or whether we are just talking about it.

 

Brother Sam Fife used to say that he’d be really happy when we all came to the place when we were really broke because then, we would have to really depend on God. I believe that God has a supernatural provision for a people who will, not ridiculously, but cast caution to the winds. I am not talking about foolishness, but I am talking about no longer allowing ourselves to be caught in that web of possessions, that can possess you and me. Our life is in Him and that’s where He wants us to live these days.

 

God has promised that he would shake heaven and earth; I believe we are seeing the beginning of that operation and it’s only going to intensify; everything that can be removed, will be removed until that which cannot be shaken will remain, for He’s building a kingdom which cannot be removed.

To the angel in the church in Pergamos (Pergamos means: Fortified Castle) write these things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges. I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is; and thou holdest fast my name, and hath not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Revelation 2:12-17

 

I don’t believe there is anything that men hold more tenaciously to than to doctrine. You can see there it says, “Those that hold the doctrine of Balaam and that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.” This Pergamos is a fortified town. I have seen this tenacity when the word of God comes. “I am He that has the sword with two edges.” When the word of God comes, the struggle and resistance is to ‘let go’ of the doctrine. Often people find their security in doctrine or teaching rather than in a relationship with the living God.

 

The doctrine of Balaam is merely the teaching that gain is godliness, and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is the doctrine of eternal security. I am not going to get into both those doctrines, but I wish to focus on the truth that there are only two sources of wisdom. The wisdom, which is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruit, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Then there’s the wisdom from beneath; which is earthly, sensual and devilish.

 

There is not a third source of wisdom, so when you have a doctrine of men, really that doctrine or teaching is not of men, but of devils. If it’s not initiated in God, by default it comes from the other source, because there is no third source. We’d all like to think there is a gray area and that we are capable of original thought, but the truth is, we are listening to one of two sources. It’s either the wisdom of this world, or the wisdom of God, and the wisdom of God is the hidden wisdom. It’s a hidden wisdom that He speaks to them that are perfect, to them that are connected, to them that are unblemished and unspotted in their walk.

 

The wisdom of the world is a wisdom by which we cannot know God and it is a wisdom that will come to nothing. I Corinthians 1:9 says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the world, and I will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” And that is what God is in the process of accomplishing. He desires that we be taught of Him, so that we are getting our knowledge from the source, from the fountain of living waters and not from every table, which Isaiah 28 says is full of vomit. He does not want us getting the truth second hand, but He wants to teach us Himself. He doesn’t want us to substitute a cistern for the fountain of living waters. Tapes and books all have value but they cannot take the place of the anointing who can lead us and guide us into all truth.

 

When we recently went through the split in our fellowship, some of the first things that were said to me were, “You’ve got to hear this tape----you’ve got to hear this----this guy sounds just like Brother Sam.” If you are enjoying a fellowship with God, why would you want to listen to the voice of another? Brother Sam used to say, “I don’t want you to believe a word I say, unless God witnesses it to your spirit.” The Bible says that we’ll only know the truth by the Spirit of Truth. It takes that witness inside for you to know that you are on the right path.

 

The word spoken by another mouth is not necessarily the truth, because the scripture teaches us that we can change the truth of God into a lie. You can take the word here, that’s meant to bring life, and can handle it deceitfully or craftily and that can actually change its character. The way that is done is to worship the creature rather than the Creator. You see, this word of God is meant to bring us into a worship of the Creator, not the creature, and the truth of God is turned into a lie when it’s being used to benefit the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forevermore. That’s why it is so critical you and I hear the word from His mouth – every word that comes and proceeds forth from His mouth. That’s how you and I are going to live, and by no other. We can’t yield to the temptation of taking an easier way, for there is only one way, the way of the cross.

 

As the people of God, we have to pay the price for the relationship with Him. That is the daily sacrifice. We have to present ourselves daily; holy, acceptable, a living sacrifice that we might prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God and be not conformed to this world. When this daily sacrifice ceases to be offered, do you know what happens? The abomination which makes desolate is set up in the Holy Place. So there must be that continual daily sacrifice for us to stay upright and without fault before his throne.

 

….To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

              Revelation 2:17b

 

There is hidden manna reserved for those who will pay the price for that secret place relationship with Him. For a people who are not content to just hear the word from another’s mouth, but desire to have that intimate relationship with the living God. You know, He wants to keep you and me, and He says in Isaiah 54:13 that “ all the children shall be taught of God, and great shall be the peace of thy children.” We can’t know His peace; we can’t really know His grace unless He’s the one speaking that word to us personally. You know, the word coming through another won’t have the grace, won’t have the peace; won’t have the life unless it comes from the lips of the living God. You and I must hear it at His mouth.

 

And unto the angel in the church of Thyatira write; These things sayeth the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

            Revelation 2:18-29

 

I Timothy 4:1 says, “ In the last days some shall depart from the faith and they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.”

 

I would like to share with you a little bit about the nature of lust. In the book of James, the spirit says that “every man is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” And, “God doesn’t tempt you because He can’t be tempted of evil, neither tempteth He any man.” But “every man is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” James 1:16,17 says, “Don’t err my beloved brethren. Every good and every perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights with whom there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning.” In other words, you and I don’t have to turn one whit to receive every good and perfect gift from the living God; He will lay it right in our path. You and I err when we are drawn away of our own lust and enticed.

 

Lust is the desire for something God is not giving. It doesn’t have to be in our eyes and in our minds as evil necessarily, but it is something that we desire that God is not presently giving us. For every good and perfect gift, He lays it right in the path. You and I don’t have to turn aside; it doesn’t affect our relationship with Him, His gift only enhances our relationship with Himself.

 

You see, when we turn aside for something other than what He is giving us, what we actually are beginning to do, is we are beginning to cultivate a hunger for something that will never satisfy. The scriptures tell us in the Book of Habakkuk 2, ‘Hell is the enlargement of the desire that cannot be satisfied’, and to burn in hell, is to burn in desire for something that will never satisfy you; something that will never fulfill you. One author said it like this, “You and I come created with a God-hole, and the only One who can fill that hole is God.” If we try to fill it with anything else, it is a bottomless pit and you will never be fulfilled; you’ll never be complete; you’ll never be satisfied with anything else. It’s a bottomless pit and if you try to fill it, it is never enough. The belly and the fire say, “It is not enough!” How much is enough? It is never enough, so the nature of lust is the desire that will take us out of the way of God. It will take us away from Him.

 

There’s a book I read some years ago, Return from Tomorrow by George Ritchie. He tells his story, as a young medic in the Army, of how he died in a west Texas clinic, and of his subsequent ‘out of body’ experience. When he died of pneumonia (later to be revived) his spirit came up out of his body and he was above, looking down on his own body for some moments. Then his spirit began to travel out of the clinic, and to move east across the plains of west Texas, and he felt himself being lifted up as he crossed what he recognized as the Mississippi River. Later he came down on the eastern banks of the Mississippi which he later recognized as Vicksburg, Mississippi.

 

There he went into a bar where he saw people drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking. This experience left a tremendous impression on him, for he also saw spirits like him, who were reaching to satisfy their thirst or desire. But their hand would just pass through the bottle or pass over the cigarette. They couldn’t pick it up for they didn’t have a body. There was no body to fulfill the lust that they had cultivated in their soul. There was a burning desire to have, but they could not be satisfied. That’s what hell is; it is the enlargement of the desire that cannot be satisfied, and it will take you away; for as the Spirit of God desires to have the body, so do demons and devils. They walk about in dry places, and they are looking for a body to inhabit.

 

That is why godliness with contentment is great gain. Paul said , “I’ve learned in whatsoever state I’m in, therewith to be content.” You know, godliness with contentment is the great gain. If you and I think of gain as godliness, we’ll never be in the right place. There will always be someplace that has greener grass than where we are. But if we know in our heart, that godliness with contentment is the gain, you can experience the great gain wherever you are. To be content with God, to be content with Him and Him alone; “Oh God, bring us to that place.”

 

He says in Revelation 2:26 “To him that overcometh, will I give power over the nations.” You see, this is the big one – this is a big one here. They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and its affections and its lusts. You know Saul did not kill Agag the king of Amalek and guess who killed him? It was an Amalekite! The very one we are unwilling to put the sword to, in obedience to God, is the one that can take our spiritual life! He said, “Sin shall not have dominion over you; you don’t need to obey it in the lust thereof.”

 

What lust is, is sin in its infant stage . For when lust conceives, it brings forth sin, and sin, when it’s finished, brings forth death. I’m glad sin doesn’t execute immediately. Aren’t you glad? There’s a process whereby we can be recovered when we fall and when we sin. God can recover us out of that sin, but we can’t linger in that sin. The scriptures say that there is a sin ‘unto death’ and there’s a sin that’s ‘not unto death’. Well, the sin that’s ‘unto death’ is the sin that we won’t come out of, but any sin that we come out of, the apostle John states, “If you confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” He can make us just as if we’d never sinned; He can reseal us, if we stay on short accounts with the living God and come out of the sin. “God, give us eyes to recognize it in its infancy”. Paul said to Timothy, his son in the faith, “Flee youthful lusts.” That is not just lust that youth have, that’s sin in its infancy; it’s sin in its initial stages.

 

The scriptures say that Satan is a liar; in fact, that he is the father of lies. It says that he abode not in the truth because there was no truth in him. And yet Jesus says, “I want you to be as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove.” If I ask you, “What wisdom could you gain from a serpent who is a liar, the father of lies; who abides not in the truth for there is no truth in him? What wisdom could you and I gain from him?” Not a trick question – but I will give you a hint. His whole program is predicated on this. This truth is something that I believe God wants us to really get under our belt. It is this: God doesn’t lie . You see, he knew that if he could draw Adam out, as he did with the woman, and that when he disobeyed God and sinned, God’s judgment would execute. The lie that comes from the serpent is, “You shall not surely die.” It’s in direct rebuttal to the truth that Lucifer knows and has built his whole system on.

 

Paul says, “Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked. What a man sows that will he also reap. If you sow to the flesh, you’re going to reap corruption; if you sow to the Spirit, you’re going to reap everlasting life.”

 

‘To Him that overcometh, will I give power over the nations.’ You know, we have men now, ruling over countries that can’t rule over their own lives. They can’t rule over their own lusts and desires; these stories are all over the news. But He says to this company, “To him that overcometh, will I give power over the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron, and will break them to shivers as a potter’s vessel.”

 

God wants to bring forth a company of overcomers who realize it’s a losing proposition to be enticed to sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the temporal. Not only will you suffer the loss of the greatest prize, but we could end up burning in a fire that never goes out. God help us to see the reality of sowing to the flesh and its outcome in our lives, but also to see the nature of the son overcoming the nations, for He is able to rule these natural desires.

 

It’s in the test where we have to cry out to Him with strong crying and tears, unto Him that is able to save us from death. If we have that reverential fear and we don’t desire to lose the intimacy of that relationship with him; if we prize that above anything else, He’ll hear us. Like David in Psalm 27:4, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.” I will give him power over the nations!

 

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name and thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen those which intend to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

              Revelation 3:1-6

 

….they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy—they shall walk with me in white. He says, “If you’re not watchful, He’ll come upon you as a thief in the night”, but He also says we are not children of the night but children of the day, and that day should not come upon us unawares, if we understand the times that we are living in and we are circumspect.

 

Scripture goes on to say, “You have some in Sardis that have not defiled their garments that they have been kept unspotted, and they will walk with me for they are worthy.

 

I believe, as I was saying, that a watchfulness of what is going on in the world is not what He is really after here, but what we are to be watchful of, is what is taking place in our lives because He wants us to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. The scriptures say, a garment is spotted by the flesh, but you know what really stains a garment? If you are washing a garment, there are a lot of things you can throw in the laundry and the spots come out, but I believe the stains are what God is after these days.

 

What stains are, are spots that don’t come out. They are unresolved issues unresolved issues in our life . We can have white elephants in the room that we just walk around. Unresolved issues can exist in our lives, and generally take root when we feel that we are treated unjustly. We struggle with what appears to be injustice, and Jesus said that “offences must come, but woe unto him through whom they come.” But offences must come! It is interesting that Psalm 119 says, “Great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” NOTHING shall offend them! If we are in a place where we love the living God, even the bitter things —“To the hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.” Unresolved issues are the things that keep us from walking with Him in white.

 

You can see this in Job’s life. There was an ‘unresolved issue’ that he faced in his life and he went through a great struggle until he finally saw the living God and he said, “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye seeth thee and I repent in dust and ashes.” As we read the story of Job, so often it just kind of “trickles off our tongue” and we really don’t get the impact of what happened—what took place in his life.

 

In this same book that I mentioned, Return from Tomorrow , there is a chapter where after George had come back to life. He was in WWII and toward the end of the war; he was part of a group that liberated a concentration camp either in Poland or Germany. These prisoners had been ill-treated and they were basically just skin and bones.

 

As they checked them through medically, they met one man there that seemed to be stronger physically. He seemed more robust, and he seemed to be more alive than the others. They thought, initially, that surely this man has been here for only a few months and these other people have endured years of this. But as they looked through the records, they found this man had been there as long as anybody, and yet he was more robust and physically strong than any of the rest. As they began to look into the records, they found an account of this man’s history. He told them his story.

 

He had actually watched the SS machine gun down his family; his wife and children were literally butchered before his eyes with a machine gun. (His life had been spared because he could speak three or four languages and was useful to the commander.)

 

After that, for days and weeks he lived in a prison of torment, reliving the memories of seeing his family murdered. There grew a bitterness; a hatred; an anger in him that he could barely abate; it was just about overcoming him. Finally, he said he heard these words, “If you keep living the way you are living, you will be a prisoner of the past.” So, he got down on his knees and he actually began to forgive every man whose face he could remember. He forgave all of them there. When he got up from his knees, he found in the coming weeks and months, a zest for life.

He wasn’t plagued like the other prisoners by what had happened to him—the injustice; the indecency; the barbarianism—he wasn’t plagued by that. He had a zest to live today. He could see, that even as bad as his circumstances were, that this was the day the Lord had made. He began to minister to other prisoners. Those that were dying, he would spend time with and would pray for; he would even give up his food for these men. In fact, in many cases, he would eat less than the men that were skin and bones, and yet there was a vigor, a vitality; there was a life in him that none of the others had, and it was clearly recognizable.

You see, he had resolved the spot; he had resolved the issue in his life. He was walking in white. He was walking unspotted from the world. There was filth, and dirt and gnats all around him; he was above it all.

You know, the enemy would want you and me to believe that ‘time heals’. Time doesn’t heal; time doesn’t heal anything. There are areas in our lives where we have matters and times that are not resolved. You may avoid somebody when you walk into the room, rather than going to them for you are just not comfortable with them. I understand and realize there are some situations that you and I can’t change; you have to be led of the Spirit here, but there are issues that we can let continue in our life that will keep us from walking with Him in white; from being worthy For to attain to the resurrection and that world, you and I have to be counted worthy. It’s not just for anybody, but for those who are watchful and aware of the areas in their life that need to be on short accounts with God.

 

I know a little bit about loss; nothing like Job—nothing like Job. Job lost his whole family, save his wife. He lost all of his possessions; lost his health. He lost what appeared to be everything; he suffered the loss of everything. He couldn’t understand the fiery trial that he was going through.

 

Some years ago I was in a ministry meeting prior to the Bowens Mill Convention and was called out of the meeting by Woody Crossin for an emergency telephone call. I went over to the Crossin’s house on the campgrounds at about 10:30 am, which was about 5:30 in the morning in Alaska. My wife was on the other end of the call and she shared with me that our daughter Joy had just died. I had left home on a Friday morning (this was a Tuesday) and our daughter Joy jumped into my arms off the bench at the lunch table. She had given me a big hug and a kiss as I was leaving for the convention. She was a very vivacious little girl; in fact, we called her our “joy bell” for she had an energetic love for life. Shortly after I left, she got sick with nausea and couldn’t keep anything down.

 

We had a registered nurse living with us at the time and, I believe it was Monday night, she recognized what she referred to as the “cardinal signs”. Joy began to breathe very shallow, she had blueness around her lips, her eyes began to roll back, and Lynn Perkins at the time, and another woman there who was a midwife, Nancy Baltrum, began to give her, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

 

While administering the mouth-to-mouth, the nurses and my wife and son all piled into the van and were driven to the military hospital there in Delta Junction. When they arrived and met the attending physician, she pronounced Joy dead. It was a complete shock to our system; to my wife who was there by herself – not alone, but without her husband. And I was just torn to pieces inside. Brother Steve Doerter, Brother Tom Rowe and Brother Wayne Gentry drove me to Atlanta to meet my family so I could get back home.

 

That weekend prior to Joy’s death had been an interesting few days. On Saturday night I had flown into Atlanta and spent that evening with my parents. My Mother and Father had asked me a very penetrating question that night; “Why do the righteous suffer?” I had shared with them for about two and one half hours out of the Book of Job. The next morning when I attended their Presbyterian church service with them, the minister preached using the identical scriptures. My mother turned to me during the service and said, “I can’t believe this!” When we drove in the driveway after I had gotten the news about Joy, my mom opened the door to meet me and her first words were, “We had to hear it twice. We had to hear it twice.”

 

You know God knows what’s happening; He knows what’s going on. He doesn’t just know about our circumstances, He actually engineers them – He actually is the author working all things after the council of his own will. II Corinthians 5:17,18a says, “If any man be in Christ he’s a new creature, old things have passed away, behold, all things are new and all things are of God” ; Hosea 6:1 says “Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up.” He has broken us, and He’s the only one that can fix us or heal us.

 

I can remember flying back to Alaska in turmoil. I didn’t have any peace inside, and on the final leg from Seattle to Fairbanks, the stewardess had seated me in the back of the plane. I was in an unoccupied row with three seats to myself, and I was lying down just crying out to God! There in that desperate condition, God met me; He gave me peace that passed understanding. I knew He was in control of the situation. I didn’t have any answers but at least I had peace to console my wife when we met at the airport.

 

About a week following the memorial service where we had experienced the carrying power of God, I found myself becoming very angry inside. Angry at God, for there was really no one else to blame. If I could have found someone else to point the finger at, I would have, but there was no one but God. I knew that He’d allowed this tragedy and I struggled with this. I can remember running down the Alaska Highway from our community entrance to the Johnson river bridge, and in every footfall I could feel my anger. My feet were pounding the pavement in bitterness toward God! And God brought me to a place where I knew I would explode, if I didn’t get this issue with Him resolved. One person who knew my struggle suggested that I forgive God. That sounded like a consideration but as I searched the scripture, I noticed in the Book of Job, that Job’s remedy came when he repented . It came when he would say, and when he recognized, “God, you’re the potter. You’re the potter and I’m the clay.” Will I let You have Your will and Your way in my life?

 

You see, God has to work out these stains in our garment; these unresolved issues in our life. You can have them with God and you can have them with people. In Acts 24:16 Paul said, “I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence, toward God, and toward men.” God can’t heal us unless we return to Him. He’s smitten us, but He’s not going to heal us unless we return to Him. But, I’ll tell you something, He’s there, if you just ask. He can make you and me whole and we can walk with Him in white. You can walk with Him in white!

 

You know, my wife didn’t get over the death of our daughter easily. In fact, we were sitting in a service in Haines years later when John Jeffreys opened a Sunday service sharing about an incident that had happened the night before.

There was a young man who had been snowmobileing near our community who had gotton off the path while following his friend and run into the stump of a tree at a relatively high speed. John’s son, Andrew, had been called out as an EMT with others to the scene of the accident in an attempt to revive or resuscitate this young man. When the doctor arrived the young man was pronouced dead. As John was sharing the account He commented, “Just think, family, yesterday this mother had a son, and today she does not.”

With that thought, my wife began to sob deeply with tears. She wept, and as she did, a prophet who could not see my wife sobbing, began to have a vision. She saw a heart that had been smashed. It looked like it would never be repaired; it had been completely smashed! After a period of time a white substance began to rain gently down from heaven and bathe this heart, filling in all the cracks. And when this took place, the heart began to beat, ever so slowly. As the visión progressed the heart beat bécame stronger and stronger. Now it was with a beat that was so much deeper and vibrant—so much bigger—for the heart had the capacity to expand. That white substance had given it elasticity, and the prophet said, “I knew this heart could hold the grief of the whole world.”

You know, we don’t understand everything that happens to us, but we have to commit ourselves to God knowing that He who has smitten us can also heal us. He is the only one who can resolve these issues and remove these stains so that we might be able to walk with Him in white. You see, He’s allowing these things to happen to us, so that we can be saviors; those saviors that come up upon Mt. Zion who will have compassion because they themselves have been through the dealing of God the Father.

 

He says, “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”.

 

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan , which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee .

              Revelation 3: 1-9

 

Let me bring your attention to this thought; if God loves everybody, why would He make such a point here of saying, “I would make them to know that I have loved thee ?” Jesus never really minced words with his disciples. He was pretty direct with all of them. He commended Peter in Matthew 16:13-18, when he asked, “Who do men say I, the Son of man am?” , and Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus then answered, “Blessed art thou Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you but my Father which is in heaven and upon this rock I’ll build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

 

And then in verses 21-23 He began to share with His disciples how He must go to Jerusalem and suffer at the hands of the elders and the Pharisees. And Peter began to say, “Lord, pity yourself.” And Jesus didn’t respond by saying, “Oh Peter, you just don’t understand.” No, He was direct; bluntly saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan. Thou art an offense unto me; for thou savorest not the things that are of God, but those that are of men.”

 

Who then is this synagogue of Satan? Well, if we savor the things of men; relish, admire, draw into our affections the things men value, then we find ourselves as the enemy of God. Thou dust savor the things of men and not the things of God; who say they are Jews and are not, but do lie. Most of Christianity today is convinced that natural Israel is God’s chosen people. Paul in Romans 2 at the end of chapter lays this out clearly. “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; who’s circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God.” This is the critical issue; whose praise is not of men but of God; a people who are not seeking the approval of men. We can find ourselves in that position, right here in our fellowships, looking for the approval of men rather than the approval of God. We are not standing before men seeking their honor but before the living God desiring to be pleasing to Him that we might know the honor that comes from God only.

 

And He says, “Who say they are Jews and are not, but are of the synagogue of Satan, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation , which shall come upon all of the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” We are living in that hour of temptation , I believe, that has come upon all the earth.

 

In Revelation 19 there is a release of the fowls of heaven and a supper of the Great God that no deliverance service will turn around. Those fowls feed upon the flesh of all men from kings to the lowliest of our society. There is no distinction made when God releases the demons in this last day and allows men to have what they want. What is really transpiring during this time in history when men’s desires are out of control is the nature of each fowl (demon) is consuming the flesh or life of men. Men are yielding their bodies to a host of spirits that will consume them by manifesting their nature through their bodies never to be satisfied or fulfilled. God is releasing these unclean birds to accomplish his purpose in providing men the fulfillment of all their desire because they have chosen their own way rather than the way of the cross.

 

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all them that dwell upon the earth.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

            Revelation 3:10-13

 

The word of His patience is to persevere ; to not grow weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap, if you faint not. It’s in patience that you possess your soul. There’s a beautiful thing about patience. James1:2-4 discloses, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trial of your faith works patience, but let patience have her perfect work that ye might be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

 

The scripture says that we have need of patience, for it is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises. So it takes more than just faith; perseverance is necessary ; faithfulness through time and a certain knowledge that what God has spoken, He is going to do. This is not a process or promise that you and I are going to perform. It’s not going to have the fingerprints of men on it, but it will be purely a work of the Spirit of God.

 

When Paul in Romans 4:20,21 states that Abraham staggered not at the promise of God, it does appear that he staggered a little, but the word says, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.” God must be the author and the finisher, the Alpha and the Omega in this process; God not only spoke it but He also performed it ; and yet for Him to do that, we have to wait patiently upon Him because his workmanship in the interim is very necessary in our life.

 

In patience possess your soul. We are to possess our vessel in sanctification and in honor for this is the will of God. Just as Abraham had to walk through the land and place his foot on every portion that he would call his, we must also possess our promised land. God spoke to Abraham saying, “Arise and walk through the land, wherever you place the sole your foot shall your seed possess.”

 

Patience had its perfect work in King David’s life. David was anointed by Samuel as a young stripling. Later when he was still just a young lad, he slew Goliath. Although he was anointed to be a king, he didn’t become a king immediately. In fact, when he had the opportunity to accelerate the process a little bit, he withheld his hand. He could have slain Saul there in the cave; in fact his men were prompting him to just give them the word and they would have gladly disposed of him. They said, “Look David! God has delivered him right into your hands!” And David would not budge. He took his sword and cut off a piece of Saul’s garment, and it says, “His heart smote him”. David had a very tender conscience and heart toward the Lord. But David was given another opportunity, and he never moved to accelerate the process that God had him in. He didn’t stretch forth his hand to touch the Lord’s anointed because He knew that it was through the process of patience, God was forging by fire, a relationship that would qualify him to rule justly, with mercy and in the fear of God.

 

Saul and his son Jonathan were slain on Mt. Gilboa. Today there are Saul ministries that try to hold on to a position not realizing that shepherds lead by example through relationship. In Revelation 18:4 God is giving a stern warning cry by the Spirit, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” There is a Jonathan Company that loves the working of the Spirit of God and loves the David Company, but has a difficult time leaving; never leaving that Saul ministry and as a result, dies along side of them. Even though he had a rod, even though he recognized the truth; recognized the ministry; recognized the call; Jonathan died alongside his father Saul because he could never break the soulish affinity. What a tragedy for a man who has the call, sees the vision, has the courage of the Spirit, to die just because he cannot break the natural ties. David lamented when he heard of Saul and Jonathan’s death. He even slew the man who came with the supposed “good tidings”.

 

At that time, the scripture says that the men of Judah came to David and they anointed him king. This was the second witness. There was not only the witness inside, of that first anointing, but there was a second witness that came through the men of Judah. David was king of Judah for seven years because he kept ‘the word of his patience’. He knew what God had spoken to him, he was not going to lift his hand to establish or accomplish, but he was going to wait upon the Spirit of God to do it, to do a complete work.

 

David didn’t wait passively . Throughout the Psalms he was a man who not only waited on the Lord but also he cried out to the living God to perform all things for him. In the days of Saul he cried unto the Lord, who would perform all things for him.

 

David was king of Judah for seven years, during which time Isbosheth, Saul’s son, was king of Israel. David did not lift his hand against Ishbosheth. He had a mightier army; he could have easily consolidated the kingdom, but he waited on the Lord. He was not interested in establishing his own kingdom. When Ishbosheth was slain, David even lamented his death. He rebuked and held accountable the men that had slain a man more righteous than they were. He never rewarded iniquity, even though it had brought him some advantage. At that time, the men of Israel came to David and anointed him king and in I Chronicles 11:1-3 the Bible records, it was then, that David knew that God had established his throne. David knew that God had established his kingdom. The difference being that when God does something, He does it forever! So where is Jesus sitting? On the throne of David; He was referred to as the Son of David. His throne was established in mercy; in mercy and in judgment.

 

So, if you keep the word of My patience, I will also keep you in the hour of temptation that shall come upon all the earth. Through patience you will have possession of your soul in sanctification and honor. We need to know that “we are being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation which is ready to be revealed in these last days.”

I Peter 1:5

 

He says here, “Behold I come quickly. Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and you shall go no more out and I will write upon him, the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God which is New Jerusalem which cometh down out of heaven from our God and I will write upon him my new name.

            Revelation 3:11, 12

 

God will make him a pillar, and he’ll come in and go no more out. Only God can establish one on that kind of foundation. Only He can make us pillars in the temple of the living God. A pillar is meant to bear weight; in fact, there is nothing more useless than a moving pillar. We will never be a pillar in the house of God if we’re not willing to take some responsibility; if we’re not willing to let him place upon us His weight.

 

Years ago, I had a dog team at The Land. One summer we had this great idea of making packs for the dogs. We hunted there at The Land and one time we had two or three moose down in the woods, and we had a couple of caribou down on the plateau. In those days, we didn’t have horses. We had to carry the meat out on our backs. So I took this dog team, some women and a group of willing children to pack out the caribou. The men were going after the moose which were a much greater distance away, and our group went out to get the caribou.

 

One thing I noticed immediately about these dogs; they were full of energy and completely undisciplined. They were sled dogs and they were kept chained up most of the time. With just these empty packs on their backs, we couldn’t keep them on the trail. They were running through the woods chasing any diversion. Finally when we came to a creek I loaded their packs down with rocks. And I noticed after that, they never got off the trail. They took the shortest distance.

 

When God puts us under His weight, there’s not a whole lot of running around. I believe that as God’s people, when He places responsibility on our shoulders it will keep us from being flighty. We’ve got to be willing to take the responsibility that God gives us. It may just be prayer responsibility, but I will tell you, if you become like a fixed object on your knees, God will make you a pillar in the temple of the living God and He will write upon you His name, and the name of the city of our God, His new name.

 

A pillar is not really effective if there’s nothing under it. I was with an engineer recently and we were going over a set of plans. He made a statement that made me understand this a little better. He said, “Well George, what we really want to make sure of, is that the pillar is able to effectively transfer the weight to the foundation.” A pillar can’t in and of itself carry the weight. What a pillar does is transfer the weight to the foundation. That’s why the Bible in Psalm 55:22 states, “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” As we become able to effectively transfer that weight through prayer so that we’re not carrying it, the One, who can carry it all, is underneath bearing us up. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your heart and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7) He desires to make us pillars in the house of the living God – a people who will come in and go no more out. Amen

 

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

            Revelation 3:14-22

 

Revelation 3:20 – ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’ Years ago, I memorized that verse when I was involved in evangelical work and this was my closing line. Jesus is standing at the door, and if you’ll just open, He’ll come in, and He will sup with you and you with Him. But when you read this scripture here in context, really, what is Jesus knocking with? Why is there a resistance in us to open the door to Him? If He is our Beloved, why would we hesitate to open up? The reason is that He is coming with correction, because the condition of the church appears here that they don’t really have a clear perspective of their condition. What would you say about us?

 

Paul states that when a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. The condition of this church is that they thought they were “something”. They thought they could see; they could hear; they thought they we clothed; they thought they were rich; and what really is the true condition of the church? So when Jesus comes, He comes knocking with correction and for us to open the door, there is something that we have to swallow— our pride.

 

Brother Russell Stendall wrote a book on the Beatitudes in which he states, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, rightly translated is, ‘Blessed are those that are poor in pride’; blessed are those that have been divested, completely divested of pride”. God is in the process of divesting us of our pride, and opening our eyes to the truth; not to discourage us, not to take from us, but that we might no longer be lukewarm. But that we might be hot; that we might be desperately crying to Him because we realize our condition.

 

I’ve found that when I open my heart to correction that I have the most intimate times of fellowship with the living God. I believe this constitutes knowing Him in the fellowship of His sufferings; because He learned obedience, how? By the things He suffered. He was made perfect by the things that He suffered. So I believe, when we open our heart to the Spirit of God to bring that correction, that we are engaged in the fellowship of His suffering. We’re learning obedience. We’re enduring the chastening that He says is for our benefit that we might be a partaker of His divine nature. It’s in that time of discipline that we are buying the truth. One must buy the truth about his condition and see himself from God’s perspective.

 

Now in the Book of Matthew 25, at the end of the age there were 10 virgins, 5 of them were wise, 5 of them were foolish. They were all virgins; they all were asleep; they all had a light that was burning when they awoke. The difference was that 5 had oil in their vessels and 5 did not. Then, those whose light began to wane, asked of those who had the the oil. What did they say? “Give us of your oil.” They said, “We can’t. You have to go and buy for yourself.” What is happening when ‘we get that knock at the door’, is that we have an opportunity to buy the oil; when he comes to us with a word to speak into our lives, that’s our opportunity to receive or purchase the precious oil.

 

In Psalm141:5 David writes, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness. And let him reprove me; it will be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.” Here, you have a picture of the 5 wise and the 5 foolish virgins. In Rev 3:19 John states, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten;, be zealous therefore, and repent”. ‘I’m chastening you because I love you!’ In the Book of Proverbs 6:23 Solomon writes, “The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life .” They are not in the way of life; they are the way of life. This is something we have to do. We have to cultivate a love for the truth, because the truth will not just set you free, it will make you free. We have an opportunity to buy the truth and sell it not. He said, “To him that overcometh, to him will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame and am set down with my Father in His throne.”

 

In Proverbs 9 the author writes, “Rebuke a wise man and he’ll love you and be wiser still, but don’t rebuke a fool.” Why? He’ll turn and rend you. So God comes knocking; He comes knocking to see if you and I will open to Him and He is offering the most intimate time of fellowship when He comes with correction; when He comes with instruction. He’s offering an opportunity to buy the truth and to buy the oil—that anointing oil that will keep this light burning in the dark; the dark night that’s ahead. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne even as I also sat down with My Father in His throne.

 

To him that overcometh; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life in the midst of the garden of God.

 

To him that overcometh; to him that overcometh, he shall not be hurt of the second death; upon him the second death will have no power.

 

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna and I’ll give to him a white stone, and in that stone a new name, which no man knows save he, to whom it is given.

 

To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron.

 

To him that overcometh, he shall walk with Me in white and his name shall not be blotted out of the book of life.

 

To him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God and he shall go no more out and I’ll write upon him the name of My God, the name of the city of My God and My new name.

 

To him that overcometh will I give to him to sit down with me in my throne even as I also sat down with my Father in his throne.

 

To him that overcometh, he shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

 

(Brother Joe McCord closes the evening by quoting Brother Buddy Cobb’s parting remark:

 

  ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the decision is in your hands.’


   
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