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To think as a natural born son, to have a mind like a natural born son, is the true mind of Christ, for Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God who came from the Father to show us the Father He knows who is the God He knows.  That is why He, Jesus, said to Mary after He was raised from the dead, “Do not hold on to Me for I have not yet returned to the Father.  Go instead to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’”

And who are the brothers of Jesus Christ?  According to Jesus’ own words and not what the church and theologians tell us, they are:  “Whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”  “Whoever does God’s will is My brother and sister and mother,” and “are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”  See that it does not include believers, but those who hear and do by putting what they have heard into practice.  All who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved is the promise of Joel 2:32, and all who believe in the Name of Jesus will be saved is the promise of John 3:16.  However, your apprenticeship is not just about salvation of souls or even the preaching of the Gospel, it is about the glory of God, which is manifested in His sons and daughters, as Paul wrote:  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.

Again, remind yourself now this is no longer about being a believer, disciple, friend, child of God or even an adopted son of God, but about being a natural born son of God, which is the fullness of the stature of Christ.  The stature, which includes the authority and very demeanour of that Person, not just in speech or action, but the very carriage and posture of you, which comes from within you, and just as your thoughts and desires are generated from within you, whereas your actions and words can be learned and received from without, your thoughts are from within.  Like all believers who have heeded the call to follow, listen, practise and watch Jesus, and have learned what to say and what to do, even how to say and do as Jesus says and does, now apprenticeship is about you being able to think as Jesus thinks, the proof that you have the mind of Christ in you and that mind is alive, not dead.  It is about thinking like the son who has on his mind how to bring glory to His Father by fulfilling His Father’s command and finishing the work given him to a level beyond what is expected.

Again, it is only if you are interested in listening to Jesus and putting His words into practice to come to understand Him that the Holy Spirit will care to make known to you His thoughts.  If you are only interested in what you can get out of God’s kingdom, then be assured the generosity of God will guarantee you will get what you are seeking, but you will never know what God is thinking, especially about you.  You see, Paul did not write:  I consider our present blessings are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us but, our present sufferings.

So, those who come seeking to be blessed are blessed and will be blessed, but it is those who are prepared to seek His glory for Him, even to the point of death, who will reveal the glory to the full extent.  Remember, it is those who are beheaded who are returning, not those who are bedded, that is, died comfortably in bed, who are returning in the glory of the first resurrection.

Nowhere in the personal speech of Jesus in the Gospels or the Revelation does Jesus use the word ‘adopted’ when speaking about those He calls His brothers and sisters.  As such, the term ‘adoption’ as used by Paul is unfortunately a hangover from the Jewish mindset of Paul who did consider that for Israel was their adoption as sons.  The mindset of a natural born son neutralises all racial, socio-economic and religious mindsets, for the mindset of a natural born child is common to all races, religions and social statures, for everyone born on Earth through a woman can and does have that mindset.  What we may not share is the quality of that relationship as some of us were abandoned from birth and mistreated in the first decade of our lives, yet, the mind of a natural born child is available to all, and as such, the mind of Christ is available to all.

The privilege that Jesus has is that He is the only begotten Son of God who is the good Father, the righteous Father, and it is His goodness and righteousness that makes Him the “Holy Father,” even though men try to make a mockery of this by having their converts address other men of no kin as ‘father’ or ‘holy father’.  When Jesus instructed the crowds and His disciples, “Do not call anyone on Earth ‘father’, for you have one Father, and He is in Heaven,” He was beginning to show the disciples the sonship that is for all who do God’s will and put into practice God’s words that they have heard.  It was unashamedly without apology a complete severing of all parental ties with their parents of flesh, for disciples who are born again of the Spirit have the Spirit as the Father of their spirit, and God is Spirit.  So, as much as we cling to our sentimental attachments of our parents of flesh and we respect and obey them, thinking well of them and loving them, the mind of Christ in us will bring us to the place where we would address them as ‘man’ and ‘woman’ as Jesus addressed Mary the mother, “Woman…” at Cana and from the cross.  Disrespect?  No, rather it is fullness of respect to His true Father, God.

The leaving of our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers, even our children for Jesus and His Gospel, allows the mind of Christ to be unveiled in us so that the ability to think as He thinks can begin in us, and we can come to a relationship with our God and our Father that is like the relationship that Jesus has with His Father and His God.  So that the co-heirship, which Paul spoke of in Romans 8:17, is not that of an adopted child sharing a natural born child’s inheritance, but as natural born children sharing the inheritance.  For John did not write that to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to be adopted children of God, but simply, the right to become children of God.

So then, where does the mind of Christ begin?  Where do its thought patterns begin?  It begins with knowing who your Father really is.

That is why any church that does not help its people come to know their Father is like a prostitute whose children do not know who their fathers are.  Jesus came to show the Father to those whom the Father has given Him.  That is why He said, No one comes to the Father except through Me,” after He said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life” of how a son of God can relate to God the Father.  He so concentrated His ministry to showing the disciples the Father that He could say to them, “If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well.  From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.”  From the perspective of Jesus revealing the Father to His brothers and sisters amongst the disciples, you will see that most of His statements and comments to the Jews, Sanhedrin and disciples are about His relationship with His Father, not His relationship with God.  Elijah had to call down fire from Heaven to prove he was a man of God… Jesus told us things of the Father that only He knew to show us that He is not only a Man of God but the Son of God, by teaching with an authority that no one else has and also doing things that no one else could do, like healing the cripple to show that He has the authority to forgive sins, which the religious say is vested in God alone. 

Was Jesus claiming to be God?  No, never, but all along He always told His disciples and everyone else He is God’s Son, who is One with the Father.  The fact that He also operated with miraculous powers to do what no one else had ever done on a scale not even Moses did, was the evidence that, as He said, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.”  His mission was never about showing us that He is God, but rather, who the Father is, and so focussed was He to show us the Father, He always used figures of speech that clearly distinguished Himself from the Father, like “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you.”  Why did He do that?

Because the focus of His ministry beyond the salvation of all that is lost is to bring those the Father has given Him into the sonship that is their destiny.  You see, Jesus never said that He is God Almighty Himself.  Though many may understand and believe that He is, that is not the point of the ministry at this stage in time.  What the focus is, is that those whom the Father gives Him are shown who the Father is so that they too can become sons and daughters like Him.  The likeness of Him that we are to have and become is and never will be Lord God Almighty, so Jesus never had to demonstrate that to us.  What we are chosen and called to be after we are saved are children of God growing up to be sons and daughters of God who would learn to relate to God like Jesus relates to God.

Just before Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing,” He said, “Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”  So then, the very purpose that we can do what He does is to show that He and the Father are One, but on the flipside, when we do believe that He and the Father are One, we will be able to relate to the Father as He relates to the Father!  Look now beyond the power, miracles, titles and inheritance, and see what Jesus has been trying to show us, and not just know but understand that it is in the heart and mind of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit that from those who are saved, who are willing to hear God’s word, do His will and put His words into practice who will become brothers and sisters of Christ, will be raised up those who can relate to the Father as Jesus relates to the Father.  Not because it is God’s will, not because it is Jesus’ will, or the Holy Spirit’s will, but because it is the will of that particular brother or sister of God, as He said, “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” 

The wishes of a child to the wishes of a son, and then there is the wish the Father hopes to grant the one who would wish it.  And what is that wish?  The one wish the Father hopes is wished by His sons and daughters?  Let us go to the parables.  You know now that the parables contain the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God and of the secret of the Kingdom of God.  However, you are not called to be the elect on the basis of faith and knowledge only, but you are to come to the understanding of God.  The parables may contain the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdoms, but wherein lies the understanding of those secrets?  You see, the parables themselves are designed so that, as Jesus said, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.”  But yet it is the hope of God that “they might… understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”

You see, the parables yield thirty, sixty and a hundredfold of the word sown into the heart that is good and noble as Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower.  So many seek the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom by looking at the parables and listening to the words of the parables, but fail to look at the One who is speaking the parables, listening to Him as He mouths and forms the word, and ask, “Why?”  You see, faith comes when you ask, “How?”  And knowledge comes when you ask, “What?”  But understanding comes when you ask, “Why?”  The disciples asked, Why do You speak to the people in parables?” and Jesus answered them, “This is why I speak to them in parables:  ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.’”

So then, not only is the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdoms hidden in the parables so people do not see or hear, but the understanding of those secrets are also there.  The understanding of the secrets of the kingdoms is the beginning of the understanding of Him who formed those kingdoms.  There are those who are prevented from seeing or hearing what is shown and spoken, then there are those who are meant to see and hear what is shown and spoken in the hope they understand.  For it is when you understand the parables that you can see what is not shown and hear what is not spoken, the very thoughts of God that contain within them His desires, hopes, wishes and dreams.

Through the Parables of the Two Sons and the so-called Prodigal Son, you have been shown the third Son, the One who spoke the parables who said “Yes,” and did it and the One who went out to seek the lost son, brought him back to the Father and shared with him His inheritance also.  Jesus began the Matthew parable saying, “What do you think,” and said, “There was a man who had two sons,” repeating those same words in Luke 15:11 about the other parable, “There was a man who had two sons.”  Meaning that with the parable of Luke 15 He was also interested to see, “What do you think?”  It is time to see these parables for what they truly told – the secrets of natural born sonship.

You see, the four sons, the one who lost his fortune and went home; the sulking one who was not happy with the father’s kindness; the one who said, “Yes,” and did not fulfil his word; and the one who said, “No,” and then repented, are all sons, they are all brothers of the Son who is telling the parables. 

This is not about lost sinners being saved, believers being saved, disciples learning the word and going into ministry, no, this is about the other sons, brothers of the One who was telling the parables.  It is about the behaviour of brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ who have heard God’s words and do God’s will, do the will of Jesus’ Father, and put God’s words into practice.  Each and every one of us at one time or another will behave like the son who asked for his share of the inheritance to squander it and come home with our tails between our legs.  We will also behave like the one who was upset with the Father’s mercy and kindness to his useless brother, for after all, didn’t he keep all the rules and work hard?  Many times we will say, “Yes, Father” and not do it or say, “No, Father,” and then regret it and do it. 

What these four sons have in common is this:  Each of them is a source of grief for his father.  The son who took his share and went to a distant country left the father with worry and heartache for his son whom he must consider lost, and turned his father’s life into one of longing and hoping for good news and not bad news.  He was a source of constant worry and grief.  The son who stayed home, just at the moment of his father’s great joy and relief is the source of disharmony and even insult and loss.  His reply certainly took the shine off the moment when he said, “Look!  All these years I have been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders.”  The word “slaving” means the father had been a slave master to him!  How would you feel if you were the father?  How would you really feel that at that moment you have to plead with your other son to reconcile him to the lost son?  How does the father of a son who says, “Yes,” and does not do it feel?  What an insult to any father for a son to say, “I will not,” even though he repents later and does it.

You see, each of these four sons contributed to the father’s grief and loss of joy.  There is grieving the father and then there is causing the father to lose his joy.  The son who stayed at home may not have grieved the father, but he caused the father to lose his joy on the father’s greatest day of celebration!

Jesus is the Son who is the source of the Father’s joy and glory.  That is why not only is He beloved, He is also well pleasing.  The mindset that you are to learn to acquire and also the heart-set, that is, the way of your thoughts so that you can understand your Father, is to see the four sons for what they truly are and to see Jesus as the Son He truly is.  You see, once you are a brother or sister of Jesus, you can still behave, and indeed that is exactly when you can behave, like those four sons and be a source of grief to the Father and loss of joy more than a million servants.  You see, Balaam was neither a source of grief for God nor a source of loss of joy; he was merely a servant after all.  If he did what he was told, good; he had earned his way.  If not, it did not matter; he could be dismissed and thrown out of the household with his wages.  But, when you are a child, a son, you cannot be dismissed; your exile will still cause pain.  Look at how David grieved over Absalom, and David was not exactly a man you want to base a model of fatherhood on.  If David could cry like that over Absalom, how much more so God? 

What do those four sons have in common as well?  It is that they thought only of themselves first.  One son wanted his share, another wanted his reward, the other said, “Yes,” and did what he wanted, and the last said what he wanted.  Not one of them thought of what the father wanted.  That is why when the elders and the priests answered, “The first,” to the question, “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” Jesus answered them, insulting them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God ahead of you.”

The prodigal son only cared for his stomach.  Look at what he said when he came to his senses, “‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare…’” not, “How I have squandered my father’s wealth,” or, “What a shame I am to my father.”  His only thought of the future was to grieve the father further and to shame him further by being a servant in the father’s household.  And as I have said, the one who stayed at home was concerned for his reward.

Brothers and sisters of Christ who do what they want, say what they want, who care only for their own wellbeing and their own reward, is what we can be and are most of the time, but then that is what children are like.  It is the love of the parent that they overlook the negative, the sins, and remember only the good even as they seek to discipline.  But that is not the standard set by Jesus, and indeed, if we are to do the things Jesus has been doing beyond the superficiality of the signs, wonders and miracles, but to enter into the depths of the relationship He has with the Father, we need to learn to think afresh, to stop thinking as a beneficiary of salvation, to stop thinking as a servant and to stop thinking as a child and an adopted one at that.  Even if you could assume the posture and mindset of a natural born son, you can still be a source of grief and loss for the Father, like those four natural born sons were.

The standard of our Brother who is so well pleasing to the Father is this:  He did not do what He wanted, but just what the Father showed Him.  He did not say what He wanted, but just what the Father told Him.  And He was neither concerned about His wellbeing, comfort or reward, but went into utmost of harm’s way in order that the work might be finished, even when He was forsaken, and so, without reward, He still pressed on and finished the work.  He is our inspiration, the Firstborn who shows us the way and the life of a well pleasing Son, and the truth about sons of what makes them well pleasing even though they are all loved.

You see, many say, “God loves me.”  Of course God loves you, like the father never stopped loving the prodigal son.  And many also say, “I love God.”  That is true, but you see, this is where Jesus’ question to Peter cuts deep when He asked Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love Me more than these?”

So likewise, now you have been shown what it is to be a natural born son and what these natural born sons do to their father.  The question therefore for each of us is what type of a son or daughter are we going to be?  What sort of a brother or sister are we to Jesus?  Do you understand what the Father’s hope about you truly is?  Have you begun to see the wish that the Father hopes you would wish, as you master abiding in Jesus and have His words abide in you?   What do you think?

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