Chapter 33: A Request

12/16/1990

BEFORE GOD, MY FRIENDS, as far as my feeble heart can do such a Godly thing, I love you. This book is in no way intended to be insulting. God has been very, very merciful to me in spite of the foolishness and sin that I have given myself over to, at times, in rebellion to my Lord. I don’t, and can not, make any claims for myself. I stand only by the same unmerited favor by which He saved me in the first place. And so, I ask your forgiveness if I have hurt anyone or have been the catalyst of any foolish reactionism in immature disciples. I have no glee in having spoken so frankly.

“I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren…”

If you’ve been enraged by and are indignant at the thoughts contained in this book because you’ve read it with a darkened heart, intentionally trying to find items that you can take exception to, that’s not good. If you’ve read dishonestly that you might attempt to “prove” otherwise — to save your clergy job or lazy lifestyle, or to protect the memory of “good ole Grandpa Clevis, the churchman,” then there is nothing that I can say to you. Except “may God have mercy on you (and all of us), and may He protect others from your influence as long as you are such.”

But if you are just thoroughly confused because of my poor communication skills, or bordering on despair since the answers to “What should I do next?” are not obvious right now, then I want you to know that it’s okay. You can be frustrated with me, or angry, and I don’t blame you at all.101 I dumped a truckload on you all at once. Had I been with you, I would have walked you into higher ground rather than just pointing at the fruitless, withered fig tree and telling you of a Higher way. Nevertheless, if you purposely forget all that you have just read and continue on your way, please, at least, don’t ever settle for less than what our Father desires for you personally, your family, and the believers of which you are a part. Ever? Okay?

Hebrews 11:9-16, applied

“By faith your heart has made its home in the Promised Land of God’s Truth like a stranger in a foreign country. You live, for now, in tents (a total contradiction of what your heart has longed for), as do so many fellow heirs of the same promise. For you are looking forward to the City with Foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God Himself.

“Though all the facts, and all of your personal history may scream out that it’s too late, you’re barren and it can’t be done — you will be enabled to bear fruit from Heaven, because you continue to consider Him faithful Who has made the Promise. And so from mere men like yourself, men as good as dead, will come descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

“And all these people will live by faith, if even until death. If they do not receive the things promised, they only see them and welcome them from a distance — they will press on. And they will admit that they are aliens and strangers on this planet.

“People who say such things show that they themselves are looking relentlessly for the Kingdom of our Lord, the expression of His Reign in His People. If they had been thinking of the worldly pleasures, security, and the religion of this age that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they are longing for a better country — one clearly “Born of God,” a Church that the gates of Hell can no longer prevail against. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a City for them.”

Hang tough, pilgrims!102 As our brother Isaiah has said, “God does not bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery!” As we pray the prayer that Jesus called out to His Father, “Father! Glorify your Name!” we can joyfully and expectantly await a similar answer from our Father, “I have glorified it. And I’ll glorify it again!”

In keeping with that heart, please remember that none of this was written so that a new generation of fault‑finders, revolutionaries, and “experts” in “how to have church” might arise. It was written to give a Vision and Hope to God’s true‑hearted People. It was written to “divide between soul and Spirit”…to expose motives, contend with the flesh that lingers in each of us, and to allow the folly of Jannes and Jambres, Korah, Ichabod, Nicholas, and Diotrephes to be “evident to all.”

And it is essential that I say goodbye to you by reminding you that our battle is not with ideas and formats.

Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

And that being the case, the only place Victory over those principalities and powers can be attained…is at the Cross.

Colossians 2:15

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Our course is secure because it is cemented in a tenacious, bold, peace‑filled, night-and-day Hope…made sure by the Blood of Christ. No matter what else happens! And a cross that you pick up for others, “while they’re yet sinners.”

There will be no Victory based on good ideas; only on your cross for others and by your total Trust in Jesus and His Atonement, will Satan be made a spectacle and publicly humiliated.

You’ll know who cares, who is genuine in their desire to follow Jesus, but is just needing help. Stand by those guys. And you’ll know who the charlatans are by whom you must not allow yourself to be shackled and blackmailed. Judge for yourselves whether its better to obey God or men.

Towards those who truly desire to follow our Lord Jesus, offer your unlimited love as you work out the preceding Truths. And we’ll see y’all at Home sometime soon.

Romans 15:1-7

“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please Himself but, as it is written: ‘The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’ For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have Hope.

“May the God Who gives endurance and encouragement grant you to be like minded toward one another, as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one mind and one mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the Glory of God.”

Footnotes

101 However, just a thought about a subject that few have considered, since books seem to be such impersonal things. Remember for others’ sake, and your own, that people who write books are sometimes your brothers and sisters. Don’t treat them as a faceless name that expresses ideas. For Jesus’ sake, treat them and the words that they have risked to offer to you with the respect that Christ has called us to offer one another. They may never know what you’ve said, and that really is not important anyway, but keep your record clean with the Holy Spirit whenever you speak of another. For the Testimony of Jesus. Back

102 The pouring out of God’s Glory in an unmistakable way is a very Sovereign thing. Though faithfulness and absolute obedience to Jesus is the only choice we would ever desire as followers of His, all of the faithfulness in the world cannot make God blow the whole show wide open as He did in the first century. When God is “shaking everything that can be shaken,” a simple fisherman’s rebuttal to an accusation that he had a drinking problem results in three thousand conversions in a matter of hours (Acts 2:1-47). Handkerchiefs and mere men’s shadows become instruments of devastation to the enemy’s strongholds (Acts 5:15, 19:11-12). That kind of manifestation of Power is God’s Sovereign choice.

The good news is this: God has fulfilled two of the three Jewish Feasts, Passover and Pentecost, in a profound and very visible way. There is much reason from Scripture to anticipate that the final and greatest of the three Feasts, Tabernacles, will be every bit as profound and visible. (See The Church Alive if this is of interest to you.) Expect another season of awesome Glory. Prepare the way.

Until that time, as one brother has said, don’t be bought, compromised, detoured, delayed, or deluded. Don’t flinch in the face of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

Though the victories, apart from God’s outpouring, will be much more demanding, carry on — basing the convictions of your heart on Truth alone. Be relentless and Faithful in carrying on God’s Work. Regardless of results, press on. No matter how few your companions, stand in the gap. Though you may feel as if you are trying to bail out the Titanic “a thimbleful at a time,” bail on! For Jesus’ sake.

History has known times of little Glory. Even Paul encountered some of this in his last days when he was rejected by “everyone in the province of Asia” — not long after he had spent three years warning them “night and day, in tears.” Yet we press faithfully on, with our hands to the plow and no rear‑view mirrors.

In times of little Sovereign Glory, we’ll fight the enemy for men’s souls in hand‑to‑hand combat, with short daggers. But, oh, for the return of the days where God equips us with hand grenades. Then, like Jesus, and as in the early days of the Church, we can blow up the enemy — and we don’t even have to be there! Multi-thousands can be instantly brought to a maturity level that doesn’t piddle around with foolishness, but, on day one, “all the believers are together and have all things in common,” fully “devoted to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” God did that once already (Acts 2:38‑47; 4:32‑35; Ezek.36:26‑27, 37:1‑10). Is the Arm of the Lord too short? Prepare your life and heart for Tabernacles! Make straight paths for the Coming of the Lord. Back

 

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