that Saves the Soul
Giles at Bradford, Maine
like you to turn, please, to the last few verses of Hebrews chapter
10. I want to actually speak to you out of chapter 11, but I want
to just set it in context of the verses that have gone before, so
let’s read down from verse 36.
10:36 ‘For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the
will of God, ye might receive the promise.’
‘For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will
‘Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my
soul shall have no pleasure in him.’
‘But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them
that believe to the saving of the soul.’
know that the author of Hebrews is not established strongly, but
let’s say it’s Paul here. What Paul wants to do here is to set our
lives in context—into a time frame and into an attitude. He is talking
to us about the relationship between the present and what is to
talks about, in verse 36, us doing the will of God so that we can
receive the promise. The promise is, of course, resurrection and
eternal life. He’s telling us that while we are here in this mortality,
we need to be people who are living in anticipation of something
that is to come. He’s putting us now as we’re doing the will of
God, (we should be doing the will of God) as doing it in the context
of a tremendous hope of something that God is going to bring to
us at an appointed time, which he refers to here as the promise.
Not just promises, but the promise .
second aspect of it is in verse 37. He says,
10:37 ‘For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come,
and will not tarry.’
second part of the context is the returning and the appearing of
the Lord Jesus Christ— He who is going to come. He’s going to come
without delay at exactly the time appointed.
back to our present condition, he says the just—the righteous—shall
live by faith. That word ‘faith’ that he has used there, sparks
in him what is going to come in the next chapter. He gets excited;
he gets infused by it and the Holy Spirit comes upon Him and as
a result, we have this tremendous chapter that follows in chapter
says in verse 38 ‘but if any man draw back, My soul (this is God
speaking—My soul) shall have no pleasure in him.’
going back to the theme in a short while of pleasing God because
it comes up in the next chapter.
39: ‘But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of
them that believe to the saving of the soul.’
word “saving” isn’t the Greek word that you would normally expect
to be the word “saving”. It actually is a word that means, “obtaining”.
It reminded me as I looked it up of Jesus’ phrase in Luke 21:19
‘In your patience possess ye your souls.’
don’t know if you realize what we’re about at the moment. We’re
really on the job of getting our souls saved. You are well aware
of the verse that says:
Peter 1:9 ‘Receiving the end of your faith even the salvation of
have read that with our English understanding of the word “end”,
which is a 20 th -21 st century understanding of that word, but
it really has changed meaning.
you remember when Jesus was standing before Pilate and they were
debating about truth? Jesus said, “For this end have I come and
for this cause I’m in the world to bare witness to the truth.” Clearly,
He’s talking about “for this end I was born”. So, He’s not talking
about his birth being the end of the matter. He’s talking about
“purpose” and the next line He says “cause”. This word “end” really
had the meaning of “goal” or “purpose” or “reason” and the meaning
has changed. The purpose of something, of course, is fulfilled at
the end, so it’s now come to mean the conclusion of something or
finality, but that’s not really what it’s used to mean. Although
it doesn’t negate when we hear the phrase “the end of our faith”
meaning the finality of it; it means a lot more than that; it means
the purpose of our faith. The purpose of our faith
is to get our soul saved.
you are aware, our spirit has already been quickened, so the next
part of the operation of our salvation—the outworking of our salvation—is
in the area of the soul. I was so encouraged by the word that Brother
Andy brought because he was talking about the mind, which is part
of this area of us—the soul. The thing that God is requiring to
happen in us now is to get us saved in the area of our soul. To
get our minds saved; to take them out of the realm of
carnality and reasoning and imagination and fantasy and all the
worries and fears that invade our minds and to move them into a
different realm where we put our trust in God and we have a hearing
relationship with God and we invest our faith in the word of God
and all those other things are pushed and relegated into the place
where they belong, which is in the old man and we live in the life
of the Spirit. By doing that, salvation comes to the house.
comes to our soul when we yield our will , to the will
we come under the authority of the Holy Spirit in the area of our
emotions , salvation comes to our soul. That’s what God
wants to happen in these days—the Holy Spirit having control over
the vessel so that we possess our vessel.
purpose of our faith—understand this—the purpose of what’s happening
in our lives at the moment—the end of our faith is to get our souls
saved. This is the operation that God is working on in us in the
salvation continuum that He started in our lives.
says that we are going to believe—we’re going to believe—because
it brings about the possessing or the obtaining the salvation of
our soul, which is what’s going on now.
context—of the saving of our soul—is sort of the parameter in which
I want to focus our attention tonight and we’re going to talk about
faith. Clearly, faith and the saving of the soul are entwined together—they
are involved together. You cannot get your soul saved without faith.
It’s faith to the saving or the possessing of the soul.
11:1 ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen.’
2 ‘For by it the elders obtained a good report.’
3 ‘Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the
word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things
which do appear.’
4 ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying
of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.’
5 ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and
was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation
he had this testimony, that he pleased God.’
6 ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that
cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder
of them that diligently seek him.’
want to talk about verses 3, 4, and 5. Three different areas where
we need to have faith. It’s required for the saving of our soul.
I assume I’m on common ground amongst us that we want to have our
can see some foundations and directions of faith in these three
first one (Vs.3) says, ‘Through faith we understand that the worlds
were framed by the word of God.’ First of all, I want to talk about
the word, “worlds”. Once again, this is a word that, to our immediate
understanding, is not the same as in the Greek. We think of the
world as being a planet. We talk about the world and we think about
the globe and that really isn’t what’s in the meaning of this word
Greek word used here for “worlds” is “eons” and it means “periods
of time”. Where we think that “world” means “a place”, in the Greek,
it means “a time”. You’ll see that it’s in the plural because there
are different ages and different dispensations of time.
the writer is saying here is when God formed in His own heart or
conceived the plan of creation, right before any time was made;
before any of the ages happened; before anything at all was put
into practical effect; God had every detail conceived and known
right through to the very end of the very last age. This is a plural
word. We are in an age; we are not in all the ages. At this moment,
we are now in what we call “the age of grace” or “the church age”.
There have been ages before and there will be ages to come. There
are “ages of ages” according to the scriptures. This isn’t just
a verse that’s talking about creation. This isn’t just “and God
said, ‘let there be…’ and it was”—the way we would teach that to
our children in our Sunday schools. This is a verse that’s telling
us that as God stood there before
anything was done in the realms that we have any concept of, He
had everything in place; everything known right through to the end.
word “framed” is a great word. You know what a frame is. If I were
to bring a frame along, you would see a rectangle with two sides
and two ends. Everything happens, according to this scripture, inside
the frame. The Greek word there for “frame” means “planned, arranged,
finished, and perfected”. Right there at the very beginning, God
had it planned, arranged, finished, and perfected. Everything! There’s
a man named Vincent, who wrote a really good book on Greek words
and I need these people who are scholars because I borrow their
scholarship. He says the word “framed” indicates “all that the successive
periods contain”. Everything that has ever happened in any age,
at any time, to anybody, anywhere was conceived by God in the very
beginning! That’s pretty amazing! Just think of a God who could
do that! I don’t know, maybe we have 6 or 7 billion people on the
earth today—just taking today—and everything that happened to every
single one of them was known and planned by God; framed by Him;
planned, arranged, finished and perfected before anything was put
hasn’t at anytime changed His plan; He hasn’t taken any counsel;
He hasn’t had to rethink; He hasn’t looked at the plan and said,
“Whoa! We better do a bit of steering here!” He got it all right
from the beginning and He put it in place. Now you say, “Alright,
Andrew, I hear that and that’s a good doctrine, but why did I have
that car crash?” or “Why did I lose my job?” or “Why did so and
so die?” In those situations, when you’re hurting, when things are
not going right, you have a bit more of a struggle to accept that
right back there at the beginning, God said, “That’s exactly how
it’s going to be.”
our soul is going to get saved, we have to move into a realm where
we say, “God, I may not understand, in fact I don’t understand,
but God, I believe.” We are talking about the saving of our soul.
just think about what goes on in our minds in this “embracing the
purpose of God”. What goes on in our minds is when things happen,
we start to contest and contend with God over them. That is disruptive
to the state and the peace of our soul. It’s contrary to salvation.
It puts our soul into turmoil. That isn’t salvation!
we, as the people of God, can get to the place where we say, “God,
I trust You; that You only do things that are good because You are
a good god and nothing takes You by surprise. You have ordered this
only for my blessing and my benefit. I put my eyes on You in faith
and I accept it, Lord.” Then you can get to a place of peace on
the basis that God knows better than you do.
I could understand everything God did, God would be very small.
If men collectively could understand what God does, and they think
they can, that makes them god—that puts them in the place of God.
Men, professing themselves to be wise, have made themselves fools.
The foolishness of God is wiser than all men.
God is looking for is a people who will say, “Alright, God, I just
take that by faith. I do not understand, but I am not required to
understand.” If I understand everything that God does, I make God
as big as me or me as big as God; and that’s not a very good god.
“Alright, Lord, You had something in Your mind right back there
at the beginning and what You had in the beginning was good !
God, I don’t know. I don’t understand. I don’t know why that happened,
but God, I trust You and I know You did it for me; for my blessing.”
before I move on from this word “worlds” or “age”, let me just tell
you a couple of other places where this word comes up. Scripture
says that Satan is the god of this world . It’s the same
word that refers to time. Satan is the god of this age .
We could say, “Hallelujah!” here because that is in the singular.
This word is in the plural. There’s only one world—one age—where
Satan has been given authority; it’s the present age—the present
evil age. The next world or age, Satan’s not going to have any authority
there! He’s only the god of this age. God has restricted
him and cast him down to the earth, but God has restricted him in
time, as well. I like that! It makes me say, “Lord, bring on the
next age!” Because, he’s not going to have authority there! At the
moment, he does—temporarily.
there’s another verse, which this word “world” comes up and it means
the same word “age”.
Corinthians 10:11 ‘Now all these things happened unto them (the
nation of Israel) for
ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the
ends of the world are come.’
words “ends of the world” are the same words that we’ve been considering.
The phrase means “the purposes of the age.” It doesn’t mean that
we’ve come to 2009 and something is about to happen that was written
about 2,000 years ago. What it means is—upon the body of believers,
the purpose of this age has fallen. God has put the responsibility
of this age in His people; what He’s doing in this age is entirely
invested and focused in His people.
eyes of the world today are on Michael Jackson’s funeral. It has
nothing to do with the purpose of this age. Lots of people are thinking
of what is happening in North Korea; or what is President Obama
doing there; or how the meeting is with Obama and the president
of Russia and that sort of thing. Actually, what God is really about
is happening right here in this room because it says so in the scriptures—
the purpose of this age is to bring forth sons of God. All
the other things are the things that God is working around that
can see how this works in the picture of Israel. Do you know the
things God did for Israel? In Isaiah, I think it is, He said, “I
destroyed nations for you!” He was willing to wipe out nations so
that He could bring Israel through.
actually, He didn’t do it for them; He did it as examples for us
so that we can see how much God is willing to invest in bringing
the sons of God through. It’s all about us! I’m not saying that
so that we should all become vaunted and self-centered; quite the
reverse! God’s purposes are totally, at this time, to bring forth
a people because until that happens, this age hasn’t had its purpose
Paul says here in 1 Corinthians 10:11 ‘All things happened unto
them for ensamples… they’re written for our admonition because
on us the purpose of the age has fallen!’ It’s pretty impressive,
isn’t it? God is really into this thing of bringing forth sons!
This is what He is doing! He’s spent 6,000 years really, but at
least the last 2,000 years has been His focus to bring forth sons!
nations rage and the sea is in tumult, but that is just taking the
attention of everybody else. We know what God is doing because He
has revealed it.
turn to John chapter 9. Here’s a little story where Jesus was trying
to break some of this truth onto His disciples.
9:1-2 ‘And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from
his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did
sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?’
disciples were still in the understanding of “cause and effect”
being just within the short parameters of generations here and there.
Jesus takes them out of that and said, “It’s not really anything
to do with what this man did or what his parents did.”
9:3 ‘Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents;’
(that’s not what
it’s all about) ‘but
that the works of God should be made manifest in him.’ (italics
did it! Jesus said, “It wasn’t him; it wasn’t his parents; God did
it!” You could say He was just talking about the healing there,
but it says, ‘the works of God’. The healing was one of
the works of God; it was a work of God. “Works” is a plural
word. Making him blind was a work of God as well; it was conceived
in the heart of God from the very beginning—before there was anything
that was tangible was made—before any of the ages came into existence,
God said, “I’m going to have a man born and he’ll be 38 years old,
or however old he was; I’ll have Jesus come walking down the road;
I’ll have him born blind; He can sit in Jerusalem; when Jesus walks
by I’ll have him sitting at the side of the road; the disciples
will be there.” Every detail ! So that, the disciples
could ask the question and Jesus could take that example that was
before them and say, “ God did it! God made him blind and
God healed him!” Now we have a big stumbling block—God making him
blind, but by faith we understand.
was a word of the Lord to my heart in Bowens Mill Convention in
something John Basalyga shared. He was talking about how much of
our Christian spiritual activity is up in our head (mind) and not
in our heart.
Bible says, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart , so is he.’
I’ve been saying to the Lord, “Lord, make it so that my trust, my
faith, my Christianity isn’t in my head or mind, but in my heart!”
What you do in your heart directs your life. If you fall
in love, everything is affected by it. Your whole life is affected
by it and surely your thoughts are involved. You pursue the object
of your affection because it has gripped your heart; it’s not just
an analytical mental logical process.
a great danger that we get people born again with nothing more than
agreement with the doctrine rather than an encounter in their hearts
with the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ve been saying to the Lord since I
heard this, “Lord, in all your revealing; in all your speaking;
in all Your doing; don’t let this just be me agreeing with You just
because it makes sense to my mind; move me in my heart!”
where faith is—faith is in the heart ! ‘With the heart man
believes to salvation’! We have to get out of the place where we
have to understand in our minds everything that’s going on, because
it will never save our souls. I can’t tell you why God would ordain
a man to sit by the side of the road for all those years with all
the things that must have gone on in him; all the impact of that
upon his family; all the cry, the grief and the pain. I have to
say that Jesus said, “This was the work of God! God did this and
He wanted His works to be made manifest.” We say, “Well, that’s
just the healing.” No, it’s works —the whole thing. God said,
“Just put it down to Me.” I don’t understand. That’s par for the
course if God did it.
other things has God done that I don’t understand? Just about everything.
go to Daniel chapter 4. Remember this is the salvation of our soul.
It is part of that faith that we’re going to have to have if our
soul is going to come through into salvation.
4 is a very, very interesting chapter because I think it’s the only
chapter in the Bible written by a Gentile. I don’t know of any other
chapter. That makes it unique. It’s written by Nebuchadnezzar.
Mr. Obama goes over to Russia and meets the Prime Minister and the
President of Russia, he doesn’t say, “Vladimir, I’ve got a problem.
My wife is spending too much down at the store and the credit card
debt is running up and up and up.” He doesn’t say, “Vladimir, I’ve
got a problem with my kids.” Or he doesn’t say, “How do I train
my dog?” He doesn’t talk about domestic matters because he’s going
as a representative of a nation; he is the president. He doesn’t
talk about personal matters; I can’t imagine that he discusses such
things with Vladimir. What he does is talk about the global things,
the affairs of State, and the issues that he can talk about as President,
because he represents the whole nation. That’s what kings and leaders
do when they gather together.
was the king and he, according to the vision that came in Daniel
chapter 2, is actually the head of the kingdom of gold. All the
other kingdoms followed, but the kingdom of Babylon is the head
of gold. He is the king of the greatest kingdom that has ever been
in the world. That makes him pretty important; in fact, I believe
it makes him representative , just as President Obama doesn’t
go and discuss his domestic matters in Russia. He represents the
American nation when he goes there. He deals with matters that affect
we come to Nebuchadnezzar, what we’re viewing in his life is the
history of the Gentile nations; and by Gentiles, I mean those who
are outside of Christ, really. Think of that within this story that
he writes. He’s writing, actually, the history of the Gentile nations
in this whole chapter. He’s writing of those outside of Christ.
had a dream and he saw a great big tree. We’ve already some understanding
because we know that a tree represents a man’s life. Which man?
Well, this particular tree is the “Adam” tree; it’s the “people
outside of Christ” tree. A great tree; a glorious tree; it reached
unto heaven; ‘the sight thereof, to the end of all the earth’ (verse
4:13-14 ‘I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and behold,
a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud,
and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake
off his leaves, and scatter his fruit:’
‘branches being cut off’ means that there’s no joining anymore;
there’s division. The ‘shaking off of the leaves’ means there’s
no healing. The ‘scattering of the fruit’ means there’s no fruit.
It’s exactly what we see in the world today; no security; no safety.
4:15(a) ‘Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth,
even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field;
and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, (the
blessing of God is still coming on it because God causes
His rain to come on the righteous and the unrighteous) and
let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: let
his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given
probably know the scriptures about the heart of man being a beast’s
heart (Ecclesiastes 3:18 and Psalm 49). It’s very clear; the heart
that the unregenerate man has is a beast’s heart.
4:15(b) ‘and let seven times pass over him.’ (indicating
that this is the story of the whole of time for people outside of
4:17 ‘This matter is by the decrees of the watchers, and the demand
by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may
know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth
it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.’
comment on the last phrase! The whole procedure that Nebuchadnezzar
was taken through was as a man representing everybody outside of
Christ; the whole procedure that he is taken through is simply so
that he would know that God is in charge. That’s what the
whole thing is about.
is bringing the nations of this earth to a place where finally at
the end they are going to acknowledge, “God, You are the
King! Jesus, You are the Lord of all!” And that’s what He
is going to do. He is bringing them to the place where everything
they do fails. They’re going to fail politically; they’re going
to fail economically; they’re going to fail agriculturally; they’re
going to fail in every area. Constantly He is putting examples in
front of this world of their plans turning into ash; just crumbling
in their hands. You see how soon it is before three trillion dollars
fails to accomplish anything. God will just make sure it happens
because He wants to show that the Most High rules—that men can’t
do it, but God can.
know what happened here; Daniel comes in and he interprets the dream.
4:26-27(a) ‘And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the
tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that
thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, O king,
let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by
Nebuchadnezzar goes up onto the roof of his palace; he rises up
in pride. God takes his mind from him and he gets the mind of a
beast and seven times pass over him; exactly what was prophesied;
exactly what has happened to mankind.
4:34-36(a) ‘And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up
mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me,
and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that
liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and
his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants
of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his
will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the
earth: and none can stay his hand or say unto him, What
doest thou?’ (“Why
did You do that?”) ‘At
the same time my reason returned unto me;’
we don’t have to wait until then to get our souls saved. We can
do it now. Nebuchadnezzar does it here in this story and the Gentile
nations do it at the end, but we are the kind of firstfruits from
amongst His creatures; we are the ones who ought to be the first
partakers this fruit—of the saved soul. We’re going to get there
not because the evidence points to it, but because faith rises up
in our hearts and we put our trust in Almighty God and we say from
the Spirit of a sound mind, “Yes, God, You are in control;
You are good; You are doing it right and I am going to trust
You.” And sometimes we’re going to say that with tears pouring down
remember when Matthew, our oldest son, and his wife, Bethany, were
expecting their first baby. They got news from a scan that the baby’s
brain was not growing and there were serious problems. The doctors
were saying, “You need to have an abortion.” It was in the middle
of the Irish Convention. They called us up and said, “Can you come?”
So we went over and met with Matthew and Bethany and were praying
and talking with them. I remember one time when we had been praying
with them and tears were pouring down Bethany’s face and they had
agreed that abortion was not a possibility; I just picture it now;
her sitting there and she said, “I want to get everything out of
this that God has for me in it.” I thought that was just wonderful.
that is sometimes how this is going to operate. It’s going to be,
“God, I don’t know why. This is so painful. I don’t know how I’m
going to get through, but God, You rule and You are good.” And we
don’t move from that foundation. It will save our souls.
Meshach, and Abednego in the chapter before do the same. They say,
“King, you can say what you like to us; we’re not moving from the
position! We might burn to death as a result, but we are not going
to move from the position of our worship before God.” They didn’t
know how it was going to work out. They just said that God was in
charge of their lives; for good or for bad— and that’s not bad in
the sense of “evil”.
chapter 6 in the lion’s den, same thing again. I remember Dan Ricciardelli
ministering on Daniel and he made the point that when Daniel heard
the decree, he didn’t do any campaigning. He just carried on as
he had before. He didn’t adjust his life; he didn’t have to reconsider
whether he was doing the right thing. He just carried on walking
before his God. He opened his bedroom window and prayed toward Jerusalem
and the consequences were in God’s hands. He just knew what was
required of him and he was faithful. He didn’t know that he was
going to end up as a Bible story. He might have just ended up as
the lion’s breakfast and we may have never heard from him, but it
wouldn’t have made any difference because God rules in the affairs
of men! God rules sometimes to deliver and sometimes He doesn’t
deliver. If we read the end of Hebrews 11, we read of the times
that he didn’t deliver! Some were sawn asunder! But by faith, they
were sawn asunder.
said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?” The very, very
poor people used to eat the sparrows and so they were sold in the
market. They could buy two sparrows for a farthing. Do you have
farthings here? When I grew up we had farthings and it was a quarter
of an old penny, when there were 240 pennies to the Pound, and that
really helped our mathematics a lot! I use to have farthings and
they had a picture of a little bird on them as well, maybe it was
related to the Bible story, I don’t know. You could buy 2 sparrows
with a quarter of a penny! And then Jesus said, “Not one of them
is forgotten before God.” Not of them falls to the ground without
Him knowing! And we’re talking about a God who stood at the beginning
of it all and said, “I’m watching that sparrow. I see it fall to
the ground and I know.” And they were two for a farthing.
imagine if we could get hold of this what it would do to our soul.
Just think if we could get the trust in God where everyday in every
situation we say, “Alright, God, I praise You. You are doing it
right!” Think of the peace that could come to us! Think of the release
that would come to a people who just said, “I’m just going to trust
Him. I’m going to trust Him.” He said, “The very hairs of your head
are all numbered. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than
many sparrows.” If He knows when the sparrow falls to the ground,
He knows about you. In fact, the Bible says ‘the heart of unbelief
to Acts 17. It’s actually even better than I just said. Paul is
in Athens. He’s on Mars Hill and he’s found the altar there with
the inscription, “To the Unknown God.” And so he says, “I’m going
to tell you, Athenians, about the Unknown God.”
17:24-27 ‘God that made the world and all things therein, seeing
that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made
with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he
needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and
all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to
dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times
before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they
should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find
him, though he be not far from every one of us:’
know I’m in mid-sentence but I’m just going to stop there. Just
think about what Paul’s just said. He’s talking about everybody
on the face of the earth. He’s defined it; he’s talking about every
single person and he says, “God has determined the times before
appointed.” So right back at the very beginning, before God did
anything, He determined exactly when everybody was going to be born.
You were not born as a result of a physical act between your parents.
You may say, “You need a biology lesson.” But, your body came into
existence that way (as an act between your parents), but God caused
that to happen so that you could have a container for your soul.
But He said, right at the very beginning for me, “1948, that’s when
he should come.” Why did He say 1948? I’ll tell you in a minute.
And Paul says, “and the bounds of their habitation”. So there in
the county of Sussex, in south England, He said, “Not only 1948,
but East Grinstead, Sussex, England, that’s where he’s to be.” Put
your name in there, your date and location of your birth. This happened
to every single person on the face of the earth that has ever been
or is ever going to be. God predetermined when and where we would
live. It’s all in the plan. No accidents in this. We hear phrases
like, “Well, he wasn’t planned.” Oh yes, he was. “That was an accident.”
Oh no. There’s no such thing. There’s no such thing at all. There’s
not a single person who has ever lived on the face of the earth
and I would put into this context every aborted fetus as well. God
knew it all ahead of time and He is in control.
do you know why He did it? Why at the very beginning—this is so
awesome; it’s just amazing—why at the very beginning did He say,
“Andrew, 1948, East Grinstead, Sussex, England” or whatever He said
for you, do you know why? To give you or me the very best possible
opportunity to find Him. Because that’s what it says…
17:27 ‘that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel
after him, and find him,’
that is what it says, “that they should seek the Lord, if haply
they might find Him.”
determined when and where everybody was going to live; He determined
which nation you would be in. He determined for the Indians down
in the Amazon Jungle or the person on the streets of Calcutta; He
determined that because He said, “It gives that person the best
opportunity to meet Me.” I don’t know what it might be. It might
be a sunrise; it might be a rainfall; it might be a word that somebody
speaks; I don’t know, but God has got the whole thing in His plan
and He has determined it all to give everybody the best opportunity
to meet Him.
say, “Well, what about all those fetuses of the aborted babies?”
I don’t pretend to understand it really, but I don’t believe the
matter is finished and I think for them to have their best opportunity
probably—not probably—that was exactly what was necessary because
I think they are alive and I think there is a Millennium to come
and I think we’ll see all sorts of things happen that haven’t even
entered into the “little box” of our minds..
so they can seek after Him and find Him. Wow! No accidents in our
lives. Not a single accident anywhere. It’s all in the preordained
and sovereign plan of our God and I think we need to worship a God
who is like this and get our souls saved by believing it; faith
to the saving of the soul.
go back to the book of Hebrews.
11:4 ‘By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice
than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God
testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.’
know that the book of Hebrews is a book of comparatives. The word
“better” comes up a lot; a lot of comparison between the Levitical
priesthood and the Melchisedec priesthood, of which Jesus is the
High Priest. A lot of comparisons - and here we have a comparison.
It says, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice
than Cain.” The phrase “more excellent” isn’t only just found in
this verse, it’s found back in chapter 8 verse 6 and it’s talking
about the Lord Jesus:
8:6 ‘But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry’
we go back to the story of Cain and Abel; those two were brothers.
Cain was the older brother; not a lot to distinguish them. They
were born of the same family. They both had something stirring in
their heart for God. Both decided they were going to bring offerings.
The same Hebrew word is used for the “offering” that Cain brought
and that Abel brought; there is no distinction made. I think their
commitment is very laudable, but I think Cain’s commitment is especially
laudable because I’ve worked outside in the garden a little and
we keep sheep, so I’ve seen a bit of this firsthand. I know I simplify
things, but basically if you want to produce a lamb, you get a few
sheep, you stick the ram in and he knows what to do. He doesn’t
have to be trained; he knows what to do; he does his business and
however long it is—6 months later—the ewe does what she knows to
do. I know they do say about sheep that if there’s a new way to
die, the sheep will find it. (laughter) But there’s not much you
can do to help. Occasionally you have to pull one out, but basically,
the lamb flops out and there it is and the mother turns around and
licks it and it struggles to its feet. You can pull the goo away
from out its mouth, but basically nature does it! The lamb finds
where to suck and it’s quite amazing!
never found vegetables to grow quite as easily as that. I don’t
know what exactly was the fruit of the ground that Cain brought,
but he probably had to start by hacking away at some dry ground
and turning it over; working it and breaking it up; he got some
seed from last year’s work and he put it in the ground; covered
the earth over the seed; watered it; came out and had to frighten
the birds away because they wanted to eat the seed. Then the plant
started to come up and the white fly, the green fly, the black fly,
and in Scotland the Tartan fly (laughter)—they all come along and
want to do their part. He has to deal with all the bugs and the
weevils and then as it grows more he has to do the weeding and keep
working on this all through the summer in the heat of the day. What
is his brother doing while this is going on? Well, he’s sitting
under a tree with a straw hat on, a blade of grass in his mouth,
watching the sheep. Abel’s there while Cain is working. I have sympathy
for Cain! At the end, finally, he goes out there and he harvests
whatever he harvests having got calluses on his hands, sunburn on
his head, backache, and all that. He brings it to God and God says,
“I like the lamb.” OK, I’m reading between the lines—I confess.
God says of the lamb, “That was more excellent.” Abel was directed
to the sacrifice of the lamb; that’s why it was more excellent.
Somehow God spoke into his heart and it was an act of obedience;
that’s why it was an act of faith. Abel’s approach to God was by
faith and that’s why it was more excellent. Really, in one way it
had nothing to do with the lamb or the fruit of the ground; it wasn’t
the external; it was the response in the heart.
what God was also doing was creating a prophecy of what is going
to be acceptable to Him. Do you know how often we forget how we
approach God? We know that we don’t approach God on the basis of
“look at all that I’ve done” and yet that attitude can slip back
into our minds so quickly.
don’t know how you think, but I can hear in my thoughts, “Lord,
did I pray enough before I came to preach tonight?” Do you get that
sort of thought? Whatever it might be? “Have I read my Bible enough
this week?” As if God was keeping a log or a timesheet when really
what He wants us to do is “the just shall live by faith ”.
All these questions that bombard our minds and destroy our confidence
are questions that need to be relegated under faith!
10:19 ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest
by the blood of Jesus,’
is talking about the Holy of Holies; this isn’t talking about the
Holy Place. Here we are, and we’re a people who know that God is
requiring obedience of us and we know that He is requiring holiness
from us. But it’s not a holiness that qualifies us; in fact, we
have to walk by faith in this thing. There are so many assaults
on our mind that want to destroy our place of faith; to make us
feel like we can’t come and it takes us out of fellowship with God
who sent His son to reunite us with Himself. He wants us to have
the fellowship. Our souls need salvation in this area so that we
live in faith.
have noticed that there’s a thing that the devil wants to do to
us which is to put us under a cloud—an undefined cloud—of YUCK!
You know, a feeling of inadequacy; it’s a lie. The word says that,
“the word of the Lord is clean”. ‘It comes sharp’ and when there’s
something where your soul needs converting, the word of the Lord
will come and it will really be pointed. If God wants to convict
you of sin, He will convict you of sin. You will know! You will
get down on your knees to pray and it will be there. You get up
because you want to avoid it and you’ll try again later—it will
be there. He’ll keep on you; conviction of sin is very strong
and if it isn’t, ask God to make it strong because we do need to
have strong conviction of sin.
another thing that the enemy does where he tries to put us under
a feeling of inadequacy and unworthiness, which is from the devil
and not from God. We are not worthy; we’ve established that;
we know this is by grace. But the unworthiness that keeps us from
His presence is not of faith that will save our soul.
is particularly applicable to us, I think. The common ground in
nearly all the church, if you go out there into other church realms,
is “I’m fairly good and nobody’s perfect. I’m only human. We’re
saved by grace.” We hear a word that says, “You have to
be perfect! As good as everybody else, is not good enough. As good
as Jesus, that alone is good enough. And you are totally evil!”
That’s the line that’s been laid for us; it’s black and white, “You
are totally evil! Completely depraved and desperately wicked and
God requires you to be perfect.” The word generally in the church
is, “Don’t worry about it; you’re never going to be; you’re not
that bad; you’re not that good.”
here we have this terrible position of being so awful and God being
so holy and perfection being required, “You must be perfect!” The
only thing that is going to bridge that is some faith - rightly
placed faith in the blood of Jesus; in the work that He has done.
Not the work of Cain, but the faith of Abel.
David became king. His very first act was to go to Jerusalem; it
was part of the inheritance in the Promised Land, but it was occupied
by the Jebusites. The word “Jebusites” or “Jebus” comes from a Hebrew
word that means “threshold”. The threshold is the bit of the door
where you walk when you come into the room. I suppose that everybody
puts their foot onto the threshold when they come into a place.
From there, it came to mean “downtrodden”. So the spirit that occupied
Jerusalem, the Church, was a spirit that “put you down”—“downtrodden”.
Nobody, but nobody, had been able to dislodge the Jebusites.
really being spoken to us in that is there’s a spirit that is at
work in the Church that’s been very, very strong and hasn’t been
able to be dislodged. It’s a spirit that makes you feel inadequate.
How do I try to describe it? It’s this cloud—this feeling—oh, I
can’t describe it. It’s unspecific; it’s vague because the devil
cannot make it specific because there’s nothing specific in it.
If there were something specific in it, it wouldn’t be this “gooey
thing”; it would be the word of the Lord and it would be sharp.
The spirit of the Jebusite is rampant in the Church and it’s rampant
in our midst. David came along and said something really interesting.
He said, “Whoever goes up the gutter and gets into that city, will
be your chief and your captain.”
Concordance says that “chief” means “the head; the beginning; the
captain; the chief; excellent; first; forefront; head; height; highest
part; High Priest; principal; ruler; sum; top”. “Captain” means
“head person of any rank or class; captain; chief; general; governor;
keeper; lord; prince; ruler; steward”.
who goes up the gutter and gets into the city and takes the city
will be—could I just change the words and say—“firstfruits”? Would
that do for “chief and captain”? Head? First? I think it fits in.
Somebody is going to take this horrible gray area of unbelief that
says, “I can’t go in and be one with my God on the basis of what
Jesus has done because of _________”. The unspoken , unspecified
condemnation that the enemy puts on and God’s going
to have a people who are going to get into the place where the water
flows and say, “That is not a word of God to me. The word
of God is by faith. Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than
Cain. By faith I’m able to go with boldness into the Holiest of
All because of the blood of Jesus by a new and living way He has
consecrated for me through the veil and His flesh did it.”
you hear what I’m saying? This is to save our souls. Our souls are
not going to be saved apart from connection with God. This is a
thing that keeps us out of a vibrant connection with God. I would
suggest to you, if you identify with this, I would suggest to you
to get before God and say, “God, I’m willing to have You search
my heart and see if there’s any wicked way in me, and if there’s
something You want to say to me; that You want me to repent of;
I want to hear it; I want to hear Your verdict on my life at this
moment in time because I want to repent of any evil way that You
have to put before my eyes at this moment.” If He gives you something,
it’s wonderful because you can call it sin and you can deal with
it. You know exactly how to deal with sin. We confess our sin; we
repent from it; we turn from it and He’s faithful to forgive and
it’s taken off the record.
there’s nothing or if even if there is something and you deal with
it, then once it’s dealt with, you have boldness to enter the Holiest
of All and in boldness, go and do it! Just get there; say, “God,
I am coming. I am not accepting that cloud—that misty horrible thing—that
the enemy wants to put on me because I’m putting my faith in the
more excellent sacrifice.” And if something comes back and says,
“You need to do more; you need to try harder.” Say, “I want to do
everything that God tells me to do, but I have access by the blood
of Jesus.” There’s no other way in. The first people who take this
ground are going to be the firstfruits.
a wonderful Savior! What blood we have to carry in! We can’t go
empty-handed before a King so take the blood of Jesus and don’t
bother about the fruits of the ground. God isn’t pleased with us
without the blood, but He is pleased to accept us because of what
to Hebrews chapter 11:
11:5 ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;
and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his
translation he had this testimony that he pleased God.’
“translate” simply means to “change sides; to transfer to another
place”. It’s probably what you thought it meant anyway. To “please”
God means “to be fully agreeable; to gratify entirely”. This is
the sort of person who’s going to hear a “Well done” because God
is just totally sold on this person! He’s pleased; He’s fully gratified
by the life that they’ve lived; this has warmed His heart. We’ve
read previously, if we draw back His soul has no pleasure, but this
is a person—the Enoch people are ones about whom God says, “Wow!”
This is His delight!
we turn back to Genesis, we’ll read about Enoch. I know this is
familiar to you, but I’d like us to go back to Genesis chapter 5.
Chapter 5 is a chapter of genealogies and they all run pretty much
the same way. We could pick any one of the first six genealogies
here and they all follow the same pattern. We’ll pick one at random
5:9-10 ‘And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: and Enos
lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and
begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enos were nine hundred
and five years: and he died.’
all follow that pattern. “He lived so many years, he had a son,
he had a few more sons, he lived a few more years, add it altogether,
it came to this many and he died.” That’s the way the first six
genealogies go. I suppose today we would say, “And Andrew was born
in 1948 and he went to school; he got a job; he got married; he
had kids; he carried on his job another 40 years; he drew his pension;
his kids had grandchildren; and eventually he couldn’t live any
longer, so he died.” That’s the story of man; it doesn’t have to
be “Andrew”; you can put any name in there; that’s pretty much the
story. The jobs vary; the number of kids vary and the numbers change,
but that’s the story of man. That’s what we have here six times
over— until we get to Enoch and Enoch breaks the mold. He
is the first one to do anything different in that pattern. As we
read this, this should come as a surprise to us in Enoch’s story.
It has ceased to surprise us, but we’ve read six of these and nobody
has done anything different until we get to Enoch. Enoch starts
out in exactly the same way!
5:21 ‘And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:’
something a little bit starting to happen, because Methuselah means
“when he dies, judgment” so something must have been taking place
in Enoch’s heart that he would give his son such a name. I’m amazed
at some of the names that they give to these guys in the Bible.
Can you imagine running around in school being called “when he dies,
judgment”? Maybe he was home schooled. (laughter)
at this beautiful change in the midst of this despairing cycle of
human mortality and suddenly it says:
5:24 ‘And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three
hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of
Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked
with God: and he was not; for God took him.’
there’s something inside us that suddenly says, “Wow! It doesn’t
have to be the way it’s been for everybody else! Somebody did it
differently!” There isn’t the gravestone RIP (Rest in Peace)—‘and
he died’—at the end of Enoch. It puts some hope in you! There’s
an alternative end! The reason there’s an alternative end is because
there’s a different life! We’ve already been told that the life
was different so the end could be different.
do we access this? Either we’re going to be in the run-of-the-mill
existence where the story isn’t very much different from anyone
else’s—born, had kids, died—or else there could be that God’s going
to have some more people who access an alternative life.
Well, how do you access the alternative life? What we’ve been talking
about— by faith ! Something inside of us saying, “God’s got
something different for me; I am not here just to repeat what everybody
else is doing!”
has called us out and separated us unto Himself so that He can perform
and accomplish something different with some people. There might
be six out of seven in generations before and all they could do
was be born, have kids, and die, but God’s calling out a people
and saying, “Look! I’ll open up something different for you and
the key to it is ‘Enoch walked with God’!” And he walked with God
by faith despite the fact that God, then and now, cannot be seen.
I don’t believe there was any tangible manifestation of God to Enoch.
Enoch just in his heart connected him with the living God and continued
that connection. “He walks with me and talks with me along life’s
the Apostle Paul talks about ‘praying without ceasing’, he’s clearly
talking about a daily continual communication. That man was a busy
man! He talks about his busyness in all the things he’s in; he said,
“above all this, the care of the churches”. I go down to Africa
and I send out emails when I go into Africa and I say, “Please pray
for me”, but the rest of the year, I get bombarded with stuff from
Africa. It takes hours every week because I’ve made connection with
the saints there. I’ve been in America for a week and I’m still
getting emails from Africa. Some of them are easy to answer and
some of them I have to seek the Lord. It takes time. I’m sure Paul
was busy and he had learned, “I’m going to walk with the Lord. I’m
going to walk with the Lord. Constant communication; Lord, if you
want to say something, there’s an open heart here for You to speak
into.” Enoch, I think he had that. I don’t know when he got it,
but sometime in it all, he linked into God by faith.
just been telling you about the access into the Holiest of All by
the blood of Jesus. Here we go into the Holiest of All and now what
are we going to do? How about staying there ? I don’t think
it was meant to be access and egress; it’s meant to be access and
that’s now where we belong.
had this testimony that ‘he pleased God’. God is looking for a people
who love Him enough that they want Him; they desire
that fellowship. You’ve been there, and so have I, where it’s become
mechanical. You know, we go to church, we do the exercises but that’s
not what I’m talking about; this is a reality in faith and
knowing that things are right between me and God; I communicate
with Him and perhaps less, because the hearing hasn’t got that good
yet, but also He talks to me. That’s not me because I’m preaching;
that’s us because we’re called to this. Enoch is set before us as
son was Methuselah, as you know and I’ve already said that it means
“when he dies, judgment”. Some people say his name means, “when
he dies, it shall fall”. Enoch was aware of coming judgment. We
are to be aware that judgment is coming; actually I think the judgment
has started. I think what people are talking about as “credit crunch”
and that sort of thing are God’s judgments and I think we are seeing
the hand of God in those things.
we read in the book of Jude, he writes about what Enoch said and
14-15 ‘And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these,
saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly
among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed,
and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken
was really aware of the time that he lived in; he knew judgment
was coming. He was the man who lived right at the end of an age.
Hello? We are at the same place.
what do you know about Methuselah? He was the longest living man—
969 years. My mother is 93; that’s less than a tenth of Methuselah’s
life. She says to me every time I see her, “I don’t know why the
Lord doesn’t take me home.” My father died over five years ago and
she’s ready to go. She knows the Lord and she knows where she’s
going to go and she’s asking Him everyday to take her. She’s only
93! Poor Methuselah, can you imagine what it would be like to be
969? He was not in a happy environment! The wickedness of the earth
was everywhere, ‘every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts,
only evil continually’.
I think, was ready to go. I think he was more than ready
to go! Why did he not die? Why didn’t God take him? Why was poor
old Methuselah left there not just year after year, but century
after century? (Someone in congregation said, “Longsuffering”.)
Exactly that! You see, there was something that had to happen before
Methuselah could die; the ark had to be built. The longsuffering
of God waited in the days of Noah so that the ark could be built.
As soon as the ark had been built, I believe what happened was,
Methuselah died and the flood came. Certainly the same year; the
people who look into these things say a year; I wouldn’t be surprised
if it was the same week; same month anyway. Noah buried him and
got in the ark! It was the longsuffering of God. Let’s look at that
in Peter, it’s really an interesting truth there.
heard it said that ‘God is not willing that any should perish’ and
it’s generally spoken about anybody, anywhere. Actually, the context
is not that; the context is about us. Look at it in verse 9:
Peter 3:9 ‘The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some
men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward , not
willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’
that’s talking about us! ‘Not willing that any should perish, but
that all should come to repentance.’ That’s about us! The reason
why God hasn’t brought judgment to this world is not because the
world is not wicked enough yet. It’s simply for our sakes. He has
an appointed day, I know, but in one way, we are holding things
word “longsuffering” is a brilliant word; it’s the Greek word “makrothumeo”.
“Makro” is the opposite of “micro”; it means “big; large in space
or time”. “Thumeo” means “passion; emotion; feeling”. So what God
is doing is He’s holding on to His initial great passion and feeling
and love and emotion toward us as long as He possibly can; not wanting
to judge us; not wanting to condemn us with everyone else who is
going to drown in the flood. He’s holding back so that we can get
the ark built so that He can have mercy and grace to us and bring
us safely through.
there comes a time when longsuffering will come to an end and He’ll
say, “I can’t hold back in my passion anymore; I’ve got to judge!”
There are going to be those who perish because they haven’t used
the time of grace that’s been available and they haven’t taken advantage
of the longsuffering of God, which is just simply for our sakes
because He doesn’t want any of us to perish.
Saints! This is the time to walk with God! I don’t know what was
in the heart of Enoch; I’m sure he loved to walk with God, but he
also knew and had a tremendous awareness that judgment was
coming! If the carrot won’t get you there, let the stick get you
there! Get into God one way or another! It’s the time and He is
extending grace and mercy unto us, but it only goes a certain amount
of time. Longsuffering doesn’t last forever! There comes a time
when He’ll say, “I have given them opportunity after opportunity
after opportunity; I’ve brought My word to them; I’ve stirred their
hearts; I’ve been in their meetings; I’ve moved by My Spirit and
they still won’t walk with Me.”
judgment is going to come, just as surely as it came the first time.
As Peter writes in this chapter and he says, “There are people who
scoff and mock and don’t take it seriously”, but it is serious.
was coming and Enoch certainly knew it, even if he didn’t know the
time. He also knew the safe place. He walked with God for 300 years
and if you’ve ever studied through the scriptures, you’ll know that
300 refers to the sons of God, especially when you see it in Gideon’s
300. Kevin Connor* calls it the
“faithful remnant”. It indicates a vision, I think, that’s in the
heart of an Enoch people that, despite all the evil that’s all around,
are going to be a faithful remnant.
faith saves the soul and without faith
it’s impossible to please Him. God’s going to have an Enoch people
and He’s going to say, “Hey! I am entirely gratified. They’re just
so agreeable to Me! My delight is in them! Hephzibah!
The Temple of Solom y Kevin J. Connor