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It is not God who makes things difficult for men, but rather, it has always been men who make things difficult for God.  From the very beginning, there was only one command in the garden, “…you must not… die,” yet we chose death.  So God had to send His Son to save us by His death on the cross so that all who believe may be saved.  And for those who refuse to believe, we gave God the awful job of judgment and condemnation.  Awful, horrible and distasteful because it is not God’s just choice to judge or condemn.  Jesus tried to make this clear to us when He first said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  But how we love to judge and condemn, giving God no choice but to judge and condemn us as well, for Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you.” 

And when Jesus came, again God tried to make it easy for us by giving those He had given to Jesus as His disciples only one command, “Listen to Him.”  However, being true to our nature, we refused that easiness the Lord gave us and turned to listening to men like James the Younger and others like him who took us from listening to Jesus to listening to Moses.  When listening to men like James and Nicolas gave rise to churches contaminated with teachings and practices of Nicolaitans, Balaamites and Jezebelians, and leaving others weak and devoid of miraculous power, Jesus had to make it easy for us to be corrected and restored; He commanded us to “…hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 

And the Spirit had to make it easy for us by saying only one word, “Come!”  One command every time – 36 words in the wording of the first (Genesis 2.16-17); 16 in the second attempt (Matthew 17.5); 15 words at the third (Revelation 2.7, 11, 17, 29; 3.6, 13, 22); and finally just one word in the last, “Come!”

At all times, there was originally meant to be only one command, one law, one decree, and therefore, one sin, one basis of judgment and one basis of mercy or condemnation.  However, in our desire to add to what God has said, our own idea of holiness, righteousness and lawfulness, we added rules upon rules so that God’s simple system became so complicated that no one could obey the entire law and be declared righteous by the law and the rules of men.

So once more the system is restored to one command, one sin, yes, only one sin that brings death and condemnation, “…anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”  And the Holy Spirit Himself gave us the straightforward meaning of what it is to speak against the Holy Spirit by saying one word once for all to hear, “Come!” so that anyone who speaks and says to Jesus, “Do not come,” is of those who have spoken against the Spirit Himself.  Simple.

Since every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, then every heresy is forgiven men; only apostasy is unforgivable.  However, for there to be true apostasy, there must exist the true church.

What is the true church?  Firstly, it is not what men claim to be, for the true church is not of men but of God.  It is unjudgable by men but only by God.  Thus no man can pass judgment and say, “This is the true church,” but God alone.  Anyone claiming that he belongs to the true church has already judged all other churches, and therefore, he himself will be subject to judgment.  Only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can decree and declare which is and what is the true church, just as it was the Father and the Holy Spirit who alone could declare that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  One, by declaring it audibly before men, saying, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.  Those men being John the Baptist, Peter, James and John.  Four witnesses, one more than required by the law who can testify that they heard God declare, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”  And the other, declaring Jesus to be the Son of God by raising Him from the dead by His power. 

So likewise, in the same way, the Spirit and the Father will declare the well pleasing church, first by power to confirm the testimony of Jesus and then to bring them back with Jesus, some from the ends of Heaven, others from the ends of the Earth, to be with Him in the clouds just before His millennial reign.  For the seven churches of Revelation were all given the same command, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Which means not one of them was listening to the Spirit at that point in time.  Not one of them was well pleasing.  Not one of them had done everything they were told to do.  Like the four sons of the two parables, not one of them was a source of complete joy and glory.  Immediately, you will hear this chorus, “There is no perfect church.”  Well, the only reason that can be true is because if there are no churches that practise what Jesus commanded, which would make the individuals of the church perfect and therefore the church perfect, that is, “Love your enemies.” 

If you read the history of the church splintering over doctrinal differences, accusations and judgments piled on each other based on heresy, even as recently as this year, you would realise “Love your enemies” is spoken but rarely practised.  And if it is not practised, then there is no perfection, and as such, there is no perfect church.  You see, the perfect church is the church where everyone practises “Love your enemies,” not where everyone is dressed right, looks right and tithes regularly as the music is played professionally. 

But your apprenticeship is not about raising the perfect church.  It is about raising the ‘well pleasing’ church as Jesus is the Son with whom God is well pleased.  We need to see a church that God is just as well pleased with.  For just as Jesus Christ is the true Son of God because He is the Son who is well pleasing, so the true church is the well pleasing church.  The church with whom God is well pleased.  Jesus is the Son with whom God is well pleased because He listens to the Father and only does what the Father shows Him for the Father’s glory.  Thus, a well pleasing disciple is one who listens only to Jesus and does what Jesus shows him to the glory of Jesus.  And the well pleasing church is the one who listens to the Holy Spirit and does what the Spirit tells them.  And to the churches, not to individuals, the Spirit only ever said, “Come!” with the bride to Jesus.  Knowing that, you can be certain that the Holy Spirit is only working to set up the conditions for the arrival of Jesus in accordance to the words of Jesus, ensuring that there are ever many wars, famines and earthquakes.  Permitting false christs to live and preach their heresies.  Permitting men to plot rebellion and revolutions until, just like Jesus said, those events increase like the birth pains of a woman in labour until they reach a crescendo in the manifestation of the days of distress unequalled since the beginning of the world. 

And what part would the Holy Spirit expect the church to play in this work, especially in the grand finale when Jesus instructed Him to give us power to be His witnesses?  A church that looks forward to be raptured out of the way while the days of distress come on the world so that the ‘sinners’ can suffer without relief and die without repentance whilst the church looks on from the safety of Heaven?  A church that is more responsible for the present state of evil and wickedness, despair and disbelief, because of its powerlessness and man made rules and hypocrisy? 

Rather, would not the Holy Spirit raise up disciples who listen to Jesus only and do what Jesus does only to make up a church that hears what He says and does it?  Would He not display His true ability as the Spirit of Sonship to raise up sons for God who are like Jesus in their ability to well please the Father, sons who care not for their share of the inheritance, but only for the Father’s joy, and sons who do what the Father says for His glory?  A church that would be a helper to Him to prepare this Earth for Jesus’ arrival whenever that may be.  For indeed, who is that faithful and wise manager who Jesus has put in charge of His servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?  Who is it that Jesus said would teach, guide, remind and tell us about Him?  It is of course the Holy Spirit.  So it is not in the interest of the Holy Spirit at all to leave without making sure everything is ready for Jesus’ arrival, including all the servants, dressed and ready to receive Him, with the house swept clean and in order.  A church at full power able to fulfil the word of the Lord in the Spirit and in letter, able to protect the weak and the defenceless whilst opposing the evil and the wicked, keeping them alive till Jesus comes so that He can have the pleasure, the glory and the honour of destroying them by the splendour of His coming.

A disciple who understands this and a group of disciples who work together for this is the church that has begun to master the victory and please God.

Being cut off from the absolute Law of Moses because they have eaten the flesh and drunk the blood of Jesus by faith so that by that same faith their righteousness comes only from Jesus and His finished work and not from any of their own work, such disciples, such a disciple is freed from the constraints of the old law and its definition of a son.  For them, they live in the new dimension, the new land, the New Covenant, where sin receives its definition not from listening to Moses but from listening to and disobeying Jesus.  And in this New Covenant, every sin is forgiven and forgivable except for the one, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which can never be committed by the disciple who is preaching all the words of Jesus he has heard in order to fulfil the Holy Spirit’s word to Jesus, “Come!”

For such disciples, Everything is permissible… but not everything is beneficial …not everything is constructive.  That which Paul spoke of is seen in the light of fulfilling the great commission, the true great commission, which is not just to preach the Gospel to all mankind, not just to baptize the nations in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, not just to make disciples and to testify for Jesus.  The fullness of the great commission is to fulfill the words of Jesus so He can come and reign for His millennium.  That is what the church is commissioned to do, not just the preaching, not just the baptizing, the discipling, the witnessing or the healings, but the preparation of an Earth made ready for Jesus’ coronation at Jerusalem.  Those who concentrate on just the preaching and the baptizing and the discipling and so on, whilst looking forward to an early retirement to Heaven at 80 or even 90 years of age are like the Jews who laid the foundation of the second temple and then went off to look after their own houses, leaving it incomplete. 

Moses was not looking forward to his retirement at the end of his 40 years’ work in the desert.  The reason he asked, no, pleaded, to cross the Jordon was so that he could continue the work of building Israel into a mighty nation for God.  It was not Moses’ will to die and return to the comfort of Abraham’s bosom, but God’s.  So, if it is God’s will any of us should die, it is God’s, but it is certainly not our will that we should live and die whilst the work is unfinished.  It was not in the mind of Moses to leave the work to Joshua.  God didn’t give him a choice.  So then, likewise, the apprenticeship of the mastery of your mind and thoughts is to allow you to at least be like Moses in attitude, to remain alive until He arrives and to remain alive so that you can ensure that the great commission is completed in every detail.  Even if it is you alone who is left to finish it, so be it.   Be like Shammah who took the stand alone in the middle of the field when all of Israel retreated, whose attitude was that he would finish the battle that day for Israel even if no one else would.  Likewise, the church the Spirit is looking for is made up of those like Shammah and Moses, men who know to take the stand alone if need be and finish the work alone if need be.

When such a church, such a group of disciples, exists on the Earth, then there can be true apostasy.  For then anyone who turns his back on such a church and opposes its work is truly one who has spoken against the Holy Spirit and is fighting to prevent Jesus’ return for His coronation.  You see, it is the true church that defines the true apostate.  The apostate against the heretic is certainly no apostate even if the heretic is a true heretic.

Set free from the power of the Law of Moses and set free from all condemnation and judgment because for them only one sin is unforgivable.  The church that sets its mind, heart, soul and might on the completion of the great commission is like Shammah, free, standing alone in that field.  Subject to no command, for there are no commanders there.  Subject to no judgment by his fellow soldiers, for they all have fled.  Subject to no criticism as to how well he is planning his strategy or how well he is fighting, because there is no one else there to compare.  Set free completely to stand alone against the enemy for death and for life, but regardless of either, the glory is assured.  For Shammah took his stand and did not flee, and by the grace of God, lived to experience the victory and the glory.  If that is what God did for Shammah, how much more the Spirit of God does for those who would take their stand against the apostate and his hordes and defend the hallowed ground until Jesus’ feet touch it once more.  Amen. 

For Shammah, standing in that field alone, everything became simple – fight until he was killed.  Likewise for us, everything is simple – keep doing everything to bring Jesus back by finishing the great commission completely until you are killed.  And perhaps, like Shammah, you will find yourself alive in the field you have defended to chase away the Philistines, and you will see your King shining as He rides by you on His white horse in pursuit of His enemies.  What glory!  What honour!  What a life!  To have lived and never die!

 

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