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To the elect of the Holy Spirit, gathered from the ends of the Earth:  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. [Ephesians 5:1-2]

If you care to break down this advice from Paul, there are a few key points:

  • Firstly, he wrote:  Be imitators, not imitations, and that distinction has already been explained in the previous chapters.
  • The second point is that the imitators are to be as dearly loved children and not as abused children, or slaves or friends or acquaintances.  That is, it is firstly family based in a Family familiar with love, and that is the love of a good Father, who inspires life and sacrifice.  It is important you see that God has called us to life and sacrifice, and not death and sacrifice.  We are to live and not die for love, and we are to sacrifice as Christ did for love and nothing else.

So the way of God was to raise up His only begotten Son with love, love that He knew and was reinforced by speech and action again and again, so that His Son would obey not out of fear, obligation or duty, but out of love for the Father.

As such, it is impossible for anyone to begin to be imitators of God in His thinking and His thoughts until they have come to know the Father who loves them as He loved Jesus.  Even part of the purpose of the glory of God, which has been given to us, is “to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me,” [John 17:23] as Jesus prayed.  Unless a Christian, a believer, a disciple, even an apostle, comes to appreciate this reality that God loves him as He loved Jesus and that God wants the world to know this, it is impossible for anyone to begin to imitate the thoughts of God.  For God’s thoughts for those who believe in Christ and have taken up their rights as children of God are those of a loving Father, a good loving Father for His children.

So then, every word and every action of Jesus that has been recorded for us is to reveal to us the Father who is in Jesus, the Father in action and in speech, so that those who would go deeper will then dip into the thoughts of their Father to see the motives and attitudes for His speech and actions.  The coming to know the Lord and God who sent Him is deepened by the knowledge and understanding not only of Their speech and actions, but the motive, thought and attitude behind each word and action.  Just as God searches our hearts and minds, so He desires that we search out His heart and mind so as to know and understand Him deeply and not just superficially.

Jesus, when speaking to the crowds early in His ministry in Matthew, said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” [Matthew 7:24] But in Luke, He said, “I will show you what he is like who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.” [Luke 6:47-48] At that occasion in Luke 6 where He taught His disciples from a level place [Luke 6:17] instead of going up on a mountainside as in Matthew 5:1, He added that He would show us what those who come to Him are like.  So then, there is a place for us to listen and practise His words, and there is another place where we go to Him first before we listen and practise His words, and that is the key for you who want to pursue an eternal life that has no limit and no bounds.  An eternal life that truly fulfils His words:  “Now this is eternal life, that they come to know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” [John 17:3]

That deepening of your knowledge of God the Father and of Jesus is the love the Father has for the Son and the thoughts of the Father for His Son and the thoughts of the Son for His Father.  The thoughts of God revealed by the Holy Spirit about Jesus are the thoughts of a loving Father to an obedient Son, and the thoughts of Jesus are that of an obedient Son for a loving Father.  When you and I learn to think in that manner, this is when our thoughts begin to imitate God’s, and if such thoughts are the motives and attitudes behind our speech and actions, then the outward manifestation is indeed a reflection of our knowledge of God.  When you have learnt to give careful consideration to your thoughts and ways in this manner, that is when you would never say to Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” and tell Him that you have prophesied in His Name, done miracles in His Name or driven out demons in His Name, for you would already know that He knows not only what you have done and said, but what you have been thinking.  In fact, you would remember His words, “Be still and know that I am God.” [Psalm 46:10]

There is no need of your clamouring, “Lord, Lord,” for if you have learned to give careful thought to your ways and speech before God, you will have the satisfaction to know that He has heard while you were speaking and answered before you called.  For if your thoughts are full of care for His wellbeing, glory and honour, you know He is already pleased with any word that overflows from such a heart and every action dictated by such a mind, for to be careful in your thoughts about God is to have Him foremost not only in your mind, but also your heart.  When the thoughts of your mind agree with the thoughts of your heart, you are no longer double-minded, but single-minded, just like Jesus was and is.

Now comes that separation from others, separation from the outer courts where there is much speaking and doing as the musicians play, the people praise and the priests do their duties, into the Holy of Holies, the place where you must go alone, not to speak to God, nor to do anything before God, but to listen and not just to listen to His voice, but rather listen to His heart and mind, to hear not His speech but His thoughts and motives.  For you yourself know that a man who is thinking does not use his mouth to speak, yet there is a voice in Him that speaks His thoughts and it is that voice that you can come to hear.  Not the thunderous voice of God Almighty from a cloud so that you might mistake it for thunder, or the voice of a man that you might mistake it for an ordinary mortal, but the quiet still voice of the thoughts of God at work, bringing everything into focus as He imagines and gives careful consideration to each new thought, which, when fully matured, would give birth to new things that have never been said or done before.

As He said, “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” [Isaiah 43:19]  It is when a person has no interest in the thoughts of God nor gives careful thought to their ways before God that indeed they are like the ones Isaiah prophesied about.  As Jesus said, “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand,” [Matthew 13:13; Isaiah 6:9] for they see and hear, but they do not know the thoughts behind what God is saying and doing.

And when you show no care in your thoughts for God, as an obedient son to a loving Father does, then the secrets of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God are kept out of your reach.  For what is the secret, what are the real secrets of the kingdoms?  It is not a power, it is not a method, it is not a plan or some formula, or even a place or some vault filled with treasure, and yet it is all of these.  Are not the thoughts of God the secrets of the Kingdom of God and of Heaven?  Yes, there are things that God has done and no one has knowledge of them, and there are words that God has spoken that defy translation, but behind all the actions and words lay the thoughts.  So you come to the place that is the true Holy of Holies wherein the deepest secrets of God are laid bare, the thoughts of God Almighty.

But who can come to such a place?  As David once asked, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His Holy Place?”  His answer was:  “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.” [Psalm 24:3-4]  Ascending the hill of the Lord, as David put it, to approach the place where God lives is so that you may see and hear what God does in private as well as in public.  However, the verse “Who may stand in His Holy Place?” has two meanings at least, if you can accept it.  Firstly, to actually stand in the temple of God on the top of the mountain of God, the Holy Place, as we understand what it means to be holy, on the surface it is being physically and/or spiritually in the Holy Place.  However, look again:  “Who may stand IN His Holy Place?”  That is, who can be His understudy, who can be His replacement or reliever?  Who can be His stand-in in His Holy Place as the Lord God Almighty?

The answer of course is unequivocally Jesus Christ, the Son, for Jesus said, “I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” [Revelation 3:21]  “Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgement to the Son … And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of Man.” [John 5:22; 27] The answer to David’s question, the real answer, is not the superficial general answer of the ‘saints of God’, but rather, it is His Son Jesus who can stand in God’s Holy Place, that separate place where Jesus said, “He is the Judge.” [John 8:50]

You see, Jesus now stands in God’s Holy Place as Judge, that is, Jesus has relieved God the Father of the duties and work of having to judge and He has given God rest as the Judge.  His qualifications?  He has clean hands, for Jesus only did what the Father was showing Him to do so that even when Jesus touched the dead, His hands remained clean.  And the purity of Jesus’ heart was that not only did He obey God, but He obeyed God for God’s glory, as He said, “I am not seeking glory for Myself…” [John 8:50]  It isn’t that His heart was pure as in sinless as defined by the Levitical Law, for Jesus’ one and only desire to obey the Father completely meant that His heart was always sinless, and it was pure because it was a heart that sought glory not for Himself but for the One who sent Him, a heart of pure truth, for after all the man of truth is the one who works for the glory of the one who sent him. [John 7:18] So that even when He was made the sin offering, made sin, His heart remained pure at all times.

The opposite of a pure heart is the heart of Satan, who said in his heart what he said, as recorded in Isaiah 14:13-14, all for his own glory.  You see, Satan wanted to be the one who would stand in God’s Holy Place, that is, displace and replace God with himself.  Between the heart of Satan and the heart of Jesus lies the heart of men, wicked beyond understanding, full of evil, [Genesis 6:5] but renewable, for men are capable to work for the glory and honour of the one who sent them.

Herein lays the paradox:  Every man (or woman) who works for the glory and honour of the one who sent him is a man of truth, so anyone who claims to be a man of God and works for God’s glory and honour is a man of truth, but likewise, a man of Satan who works for Satan’s glory who sent him is also a man of truth.  A so-called man of God who works for his own glory is not a man of truth, and therefore is a man of lies.

Herein lays the genius of God:  All of Satan’s best people are destined to belong to God, who is Truth, and all of God’s worst servants are destined to belong to Satan, who is the father of all lies.  So God ends up with only men who work for His glory, and Satan ends up with men who will work only for their own selfish glory.  That is why the ultimate betrayer, the false prophet, will betray Satan after Satan has handed all authority to the beast, [Revelation 13:2, 4] and it is the beast and the false prophet [Revelation 19:19-20] who are at the battle against Jesus.  Satan is not there, but is mentioned separately in Revelation 20:2.  You see, it is the beast who leads the armies of the kings of the world, with the false prophet performing miraculous signs on his behalf, not Satan leading those armies.  Why?  Because it is written:  Woe to you, O destroyer, you who have not been destroyed!  Woe to you, O traitor, you who have not been betrayed!  When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying you will be betrayed. [Isaiah 33:1] You see, the moment Satan handed over his authority to the beast, that is the moment he first trusted and stopped betraying, and he himself was betrayed.  And all this God makes plainly known now to show Satan that he couldn’t prevent it, even as he is forewarned.  Such is the irresistible reality of the will and word of God.

Jesus did not lift His soul to one He worshipped without knowing, that is, an idol, but to His Father, whom He knew and loved.  When His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, as He said in Matthew 26:38, He lifted it to His Father three times, the first time saying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me.  Yet not as I will, but as You will.”  And a second time, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.” [Matthew 26:29, 42] And the third time, “Abba Father, everything is possible for You.  Take this cup from Me.  Yet not what I will, but what You will.” [Mark 14:36, 39] He pleaded with One whom He loved and knew, not with a god He did not know.  Nor did He ever swear by anything, not on Earth or in Heaven, teaching us also not to swear, saying, “But I tell you, do not swear at all…” [Matthew 5:34] And since He never swore by anything, He could not swear by what is true or false.

You see then, the One who can ascend God’s holy hill and stand in His Holy Place is only Jesus Christ, no other, and also all who are in Him.  That is, all who have eaten His flesh and drunk His blood, as He said, “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him.” [John 6:56] That is, only those who are cut off from God according to the law [Leviticus 17:10-15] by obeying Jesus are found in Him, and being in Him, are eligible to stand in God’s Holy Place.  But how can you stand in God’s Holy Place if you do not know what the thoughts of God are?  For only the one who fully knows what another is thinking, intending and meaning in what they say and do can truly take their place!

There!  Shock, horror, blasphemy, for I am speaking about taking the place of God.  But then, how can you give a person rest unless you take his place at his work?  How can you and I give the Spirit of God rest unless we can take His place?  And you ask, “Does the Spirit want rest?”

Have you never read what the angel said to Zechariah as he, the angel, explained about the powerful horses that were straining to go throughout the Earth?  He said, “Look, those going toward the north country have given My Spirit rest in the land of the north.” [Zechariah 6:7-8] And who are those horses, or rather, what do those horses represent, for they are not part of the beasts that represent the Spirit of God, the Lion, the Oxen (Bull) and the Eagle that are with the Man? [Revelation 4:7] Those horses represent men and women who would carry the Lord into battle while lifting the Lord higher above the enemies.  Their carrying of the Lord is what gives Him rest, as well as honour and glory.  For even Haman suggested a horse as part of honouring the man the king favoured. [Esther 6:8]

The truth is, through Jesus Christ, all who have eaten His flesh and drunk His blood have ascended the holy hill of God and are eligible to stand in God’s Holy Place, provided they have come to know what God is thinking concerning what He is saying and doing.  Those who are in Christ but are not interested in knowing the thoughts of God, will stand in God’s Holy Place as observers, hearing and seeing what God is saying and doing, but unless they care to know what He is thinking, then they will be like ones who are “ever hearing but never understanding; …ever seeing but never perceiving.” [Matthew 13:14]

They will stand in God’s Holy Place but they will never stand-in God’s Holy Place.  Only those whom the Holy Spirit has chosen to come to know God’s thoughts will, and who can the Holy Spirit choose except those who make themselves available and show themselves to be diligent and holy in listening and doing first.  For what master would make his thoughts known to a wicked and lazy servant?  Wicked because he doesn’t listen, and lazy because he doesn’t do.  That which is written in Leviticus 26:14-45 is for the wicked who will not listen, and that which is in Matthew 7:26-27 and Luke 6:49 are for the lazy servants, just so you know how to apply the punishment.  We do not judge, but they judge themselves by their attitude and actions.

So then, the privilege awarded to those of you who give careful thought to the day and to your ways for the welfare and wellbeing of God, is for the training of your mind and heart until you can think as God thinks.  And in order to do so, you must first be trained in seeing and knowing what the thoughts of God are behind what He has already said and done.

And that training begins for those who have proved themselves not wicked because they have listened and not lazy because they have practised diligently.  To the elect chosen by the Holy Spirit for their attentive holiness and diligent hard work, He will make known the thoughts of God hidden behind the parables taught by Jesus and the miracles done by Jesus.  For as Jesus said of the parables, “This is why I speak to them in parables:  “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’ … But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” [Matthew 13:13, 16] “The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven has been given to you, but not to them. … The secret/s of the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables…” [Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10]

The parables contain above all else this one secret, now that you are ready to hear it:  “The secret of the Kingdom of God has been given to you.” [Mark 4:11] That one secret, which is above all other secrets that is the means by which everyone who has faith in Jesus can come to know what God is thinking, even as He is speaking and doing, [John 14:12] is contained in the parables.  For the parables hold the thoughts of God concerning what He has done, what He is doing and what He will be doing as well as all that He has said, is saying, and will say.  The parables can reveal to the holy and diligent servant the thoughts of God and the way God thinks so that truly those servants can take His place as they are placed in charge of five, ten and even more cities so that they will rule and reign in them as kings and lords.

See then, in the letter to the Laodicean, when the Lord said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot … If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me,” [Revelation 3:15, 20] He is speaking about doing and hearing again.  And, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne…” [Revelation 3:21] Due holiness in listening to Jesus and due diligence in practising His words will make you the overcomer who will sit on His throne and reign in His place in the cities and nations He will assign to you so that He can rest! [Revelation 2:26-27]

Those who love to listen to others and are lazy in practising the words of Jesus will never reign but continue to serve forever.

He who has ears to listen, let him hear.

He who has hands to work, let him work.

But let the wicked continue their wickedness,

And the lazy continue in their slumber.

“Two thousand years of pent up revelations will now be loosed on Earth, so that it will be loosed in Heaven and be bound on Earth as it will be bound in Heaven.”  Loosed by our hands and mouth as we pry into the thoughts of God, and bound to our mind, throat and hands, so that God will have dearly loved sons and daughters who are His imitators who think as He thinks, speak as He speaks and work as He works, to the glory of His Son who is the Lord of the Sabbath rest of the Lord the Spirit.  Amen

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