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Codus Electi V

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Jesus answered, “The work of God is this:  to believe in the One He has sent.” Jesus spoke this to the Jews who had just been fed the glorified bread and fish that came from the multiplication of the five barley loaves and two small fish of the little boy the day before. And it is a work… that is, effort and time must be put into it in order to produce the result.  Faith alone without works is dead, James wrote… or more accurately, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. This is perfectly true if it is referring to action that is required to do the work of believing the One God has sent.

In the context of the people James was writing his letter to – the twelve tribes of Israel – it is correct that they should demonstrate their faith with actions, which, in particular, are actions associated with that which Moses had commanded them.  And in the same way, anyone who has believed Jesus to eat His flesh and drink His blood must likewise accompany that confession of faith with action by practising the words of Jesus.  The work then that God requires of a Jew is to believe the one He has sent to them, and that is Moses.  And that faith must be accompanied by the action of doing what the law prescribes.  An example is Saul who did the work God required of him through Moses by persecuting and imprisoning, even killing, the disciples of Jesus, for they were law breakers who were defiling the holiness of God’s temple with their presence, even though Herod’s temple of the time of Jesus was not the temple God had shown Ezekiel they should build when they returned from exile.  Yet for Saul, that temple, as compromised as it was, was all he had to honour God – the God of Moses – with.  So according to his faith and the work demanded by his faith, Saul was more righteous in persecuting the disciples of Christ than the disciples of Christ were in insisting on going up to the temple for prayer.

Likewise, the work God requires a believer and disciple of Jesus to do is to believe in the One who has been sent to them, and the action that must accompany that faith must be actions that practise the words of Jesus rather than the words of Moses.  As such, when it comes to tithing, it is appropriate for a Jew to practise this because they must do what Moses said.  However, for a disciple of Jesus, worldly wealth, even a tenth or all of it, must be used to win friends so that when it is all gone we would be welcomed into eternal dwellings. So then, whereas those under Moses must collect from God’s people to maintain the temple and its priesthood, those under Jesus should give to those who are not yet God’s people, even God’s enemies, to win them over as friends.

Those who are under the law of Moses are permitted to, no, expected to practise “…eye for eye, tooth for tooth…” because that is what Moses taught them for God, and as Jesus said, ” ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ “ But for those who are disciples of Christ it is, “Do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” In fact, if we who are under Jesus are to outdo the pagans, we have to greet not only our brothers, but also our enemies… for Jesus said, “And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”

Therefore, the one to whom God sent Moses is not doing the work required of him if he eats the flesh and blood of Jesus or does not collect the tithe or does not ensure there is a temple with which he can offer the prescribed sacrifice… just as the one to whom God sent Jesus is not doing the work required of him if he is busy practising the laws of Moses rather than the words of Jesus.  Ignorance leads to wasted time and effort that brings no reward in the end, but a rebuke at best.  And so Satan has also used ignorance as one of his means to deprive the people of God of their blessings.  Just as he somehow deceived those returning from exile not to finish the temple as described by Ezekiel but to make a poor attempt to replicate Solomon’s, so that no amount of temple worship or sacrifice by the returnees could ever allow them to be so blessed by the word of God that they could rise up again to the status of the Israel of David’s time.  So Satan, with the help of men from James and the Nicolaitans, Balaamites and Jezebelians, has deprived many well-meaning believing Christians of the power that they are entitled to.

Like the Jews who end up performing a shadow of the required worship in a temple that was a poor replica of the first, so believers and disciples of Christ do the same.  For the Jews, what was missing in the temple was the ark of the covenant, that piece of furnishing that permitted the high priest to speak to and hear from God directly and which, when carried into battle, unleashed power that toppled the walls of Jericho.  For the believers and disciples of Jesus, what is missing in their lives is power… the miraculous power that they need to testify for Jesus.  Like a temple without the ark can never fulfil the required worship, so a disciple or church without power cannot fulfil the required witness.

You see, Jesus never asked His disciples to worship Him, but only to believe Him.  God never told the three to worship Jesus… only just to “Listen to Him.” So if worship was demanded of the Jews with sacrifices, so witness is expected of all believers and disciples with sacrifices.  Whereas the Jews sacrificed bulls, cows, ewes, rams, lambs and pigeons… so disciples sacrifice father and mother, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, spouses, houses and fields, that is, parents, siblings, spouses, children, houses and fields.

Thus, a clear demarcation of the work required for a man or woman of God can be arrived at based on who has been sent to them.

In the same way, therefore, the work required of every disciple of Jesus who loves Him is also to believe in the One He has sent, as Jesus told the eleven, “If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth.” So then the work required by God of those who are His people – the Jews – is to believe in Moses whom He sent.  The work required by God of those whom He has drawn to Jesus is to believe in Jesus whom He has sent.  And the work required by God of those who are chosen to be disciples, to whom He has sent the Holy Spirit, is to believe the Holy Spirit as well.  And when we accept the One sent by Jesus we accept Jesus, and when we accept Jesus we accept the Father who sent Him (Them).

What then is the work required by God of the elect of the Holy Spirit?  For the Holy Spirit did say, “…for the work to which I have called them,” when He told the Antioch church to set Barnabas and Saul aside.  The work is still the same in principle, but different in details.  It is to believe in the One sent by God.  That is, we are to believe the Holy Spirit Himself whom God has sent in Jesus’ Name as well as to believe in Jesus whom God has sent.  The action that proves our faith to be alive is our practice of the words of Jesus… and the action that proves we believe the Holy Spirit whom the Father has sent to us at Jesus’ request is to come to the place where He can tell us the things that were too hard for the eleven to bear and then, some more.  Like Jesus, to fulfil that which is written so that that which is yet to be written may be spoken and revealed.  As Jesus fulfilled the written law and then began to speak the words the Father gave Him to speak, so the work required of the elect is to fulfil that which is written for them to fulfil as disciples of Christ and then to come to the place to speak the words the Father is giving to the Holy Spirit to speak through us, and finally… to speak what the Holy Spirit tells us to say.

The work – the action of our faith – that shows we do believe the Holy Spirit begins with what is written so that when it is our turn to face Satan (be it the devil or a man who does not have in mind the things of God)… to believe and treat the gospels with the words of Jesus, the Revelation with the words of Jesus, and the epistles with the words of Jesus and disciples as the very exact words that the Holy Spirit would bring to our remembrance to teach us, to guide us, to convict us and to reveal to us that which is yet to come and that which belongs to God as purely the heart and mind of God, for the Spirit searches the heart and mind of God.

If one believes the Holy Spirit, then you must believe He is the Spirit of God, omnipotent, able to guard the word entrusted to Him, able to ensure every word in every translation is precisely written in the way it is for a specific purpose, to hide and to reveal.  To hide so that those who see will not see and those who hear will not hear nor persevere or understand, for God has mercy on whom He has mercy and compassion on whom He has compassion.  And to reveal what God does want to reveal.  But if you do not care to really listen and are not serious about the practice of His words, for all you are seeking is some benefit to yourself, like an easy salvation or a quick blessing, then why should the Holy Spirit reveal anything more to you from what is written, aside from what is sufficient for you to be saved?  For Jesus has told us, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.” Are there not dogs outside of New Jerusalem and are not pigs part of God’s creation that is saved?  So the Holy Spirit will reveal and convict enough for all to be saved in accordance to God’s desire, for salvation is the common blessing from God through Jesus Christ.  We forget that “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son… to save the world…” so salvation came through Jesus Christ even for a cockroach.  And just because we believe does not make us any more special unless we take up our rights as children of God, as John said… no, not just take it up, but receive it, for John wrote it this way:  Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God…

Therefore, those who know their election will find that the written word for them is not a burden, but a joy… not a decoration, but a resource that they must know intimately.  So to believe the Holy Spirit you must believe every written word in every translation to be true and inspired by His divine power to be accurate.  So to believe the Holy Spirit you must treat that written word as holy to the total exclusion of all other written words.  If the words written by others agree with the written scriptures of the Holy Spirit, then they have a purpose.  If not, they have none.  If the written words of others are just theories of what they believe of the scripture, they are of dubious value.  But if the written words are testimonies of what they know and have come to know of the scriptures personally, then they are of some value.  For we were told to preach the good news, as news is not a theory made up by men, but rather, it is an accurate report and account of events that really happened.  It is not a thesis, nor a theory or a proposition, but simply a report, and the best news is that which is reported without bias, that is, simply stating what happened as it happened with an insight into the cause and reason to the events reported.

And we are told also to testify as witnesses.  Again, testimonies are not theories, proposals or propositions, but factual accounts of what we have heard, seen and experienced, and their effect on our heart, soul, mind and might.

For you then, elect, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the epistles and the Revelation are the written words of the Holy Spirit; that which He has chosen to be remembered and revealed, which carry the news and His testimony of the Jesus Christ of Nazareth and His church that He personally knows and is witness of.  Your work then is to believe what is written wholly.  And having done that, prove yourself worthy for Him to give you that which is sacred and valuable, which He has heard from the Father and even from Himself… and on hearing, believe.

(Now for the benefit of believers and disciples who have yet to be discipled; this believing of the voice you hear is on the basis that you have come to the place where you can recognise the voice of the Holy Spirit.)

If the sheep of Jesus know Him and listen to His voice, then how much more the elect of the Holy Spirit recognise His voice.  However, if you, though you call yourself a believer, even a disciple of Jesus, and have titled yourself an apostle, prophet, pastor, evangelist or teacher and yet do not consider the written word as the news and testimony of Jesus Christ brought to you by the Holy Spirit, then it should not surprise you that you do not really recognise His voice.  Your confession is and will be, “I believe God spoke,” but rarely will it be, “I know God spoke.”

Your works therefore, elect – the action that brings to life your faith, as James wrote – is to bring yourself to that Holy of Holies where you know the voice that speaks to you is the voice of God without the help of a temple made by men or a piece of furniture bound in gold with carved cherubim on top.  A place where the forefather of your faith – Noah – started from when he knew that it was God who told him, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the Earth is filled with violence because of them.  I am surely going to destroy both them and the Earth.  So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.  This is how you are to build it:  The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high,” and he carried out the instructions to the letter.

No disaster has surpassed the flood of Noah in magnitude where every high mountain was covered by a depth of more than 20 feet (that tells you the draught of the ark, ship builders).  Yet of the days that precede the arrival of Jesus Christ, He called them, “…days of distress unequalled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equalled again.”

As Noah knew, so you must know.  As Noah worked, so you must work, so that those who are to be saved can be saved because God is merciful.

Amen.

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