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Easy II – Easy Teachings

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So we walked off the mountain after forty days and nights in the presence of the Lord, and the Lord, with the Lord, the Holy Spirit, sitting on His throne in our hearts, as the living evidence of the finished work of Jesus, a temple of God made of living stones, with God enthroned in the Holy of Holies, the hearts of all the men and women who make up the temple. No longer would He see wickedness in the hearts of all men, but rather He would see the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men, and no longer would all the inclinations of the thoughts of men be only evil, but rather, their thoughts would be turned to the Lord and be of the Lord until all their thoughts were captive to Christ.

Paul wrote: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.[1] The way you think about something you have not witnessed is very different from the way you think about something you have lived through. Take an example from the world; those who have never fought in a war think very differently about war compared to those who were there on the battlefield. When you listen to a person who has never been in a war speak of war, it is very different from the one who has been in a war speaking. Likewise, we have never heard from anyone who was there that morning, who actually witnessed what God had prepared for the church to receive at Galilee, or whatever He had prepared had they waited in the city without wandering off fishing and sightseeing. As such, we have been listening to those who have not witnessed the fullness, but only some of the plans of God for the church. Just as the speech is different, so also are the actions of those who have never been to war different from those who have survived the war. My mother, for instance, survived the 2nd world war, and although we were never short of food in our house, she would never let any food go to waste; even food that we say has gone off or has passed the use-by-date. You and I would throw it out, but she would recook it and eat it, risking food poisoning as we call it, rather than waste it. Why? Because she had gone through the experience of living without food for days and even weeks during the war when every grain was precious. She told me stories of people picking up from the gutter the rice thrown out by the Japanese, and then sun drying it again so that they could make soup out of it.

That is the difference the witness makes to a person’s thoughts, words and actions. A disciple who received the Holy Spirit as tongues of flames sitting on them would think differently, speak differently, and act differently from the one who saw the Holy Spirit proceed from the Father and come into them as a wave of glorious fire in the presence of Jesus. Such a disciple, one who witnessed the place the Holy Spirit actually came from to dwell in them, would never dare write these words: it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us, to justify their own judgement. Rather, they would write: ‘the word from the Lord is this,’ and if it was their idea and not the Lord’s, they would write: ‘I say to you, not the Lord,’ so that they are careful not to usurp the Lord’s Name as an excuse to justify their thoughts, words and actions.

See how Paul wrote to the Thessalonians concerning the events just preceding his arrival. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you…[2] and when he wrote: To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord)…[3] and then: To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord)…[4] so that we know what is commanded by the Lord and therefore must be obeyed, and what is recommended by the apostle, which may be considered but not necessarily obeyed, unless the Lord has agreed to the recommendation.

In Acts 15:19, James the Younger said, “It is my judgement…” and the council should then have written in verse 28: It seemed good to James and to us not to burden you with… However, when you have not borne witness of who the Holy Spirit is and where He comes from, you will not treat Him as the King who is already in His temple on His throne in you, but you’d treat Him as some flames of fire that rest on you to help you, to counsel you, and to guide you. Yes, the Holy Spirit is here to remind us, to guide us, to counsel us, to comfort us, to reveal all things to us, and to bring glory to God, but He is here to do it as the King, not as a servant. Jesus came as a Servant, although He is the King, but there is not even a whisper that the Holy Spirit was coming as a servant, but as King.

And how did we receive Him when Jesus said, “I am going to send you what My Father promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high”[5]? If we had received Him as the Spirit of our King and Lord, we would have stayed and waited until He arrived without wandering off as if we could just as easily make another appointment with Him. We showed Him no respect! So, when we share about the Holy Spirit with anyone, have you noticed the lack of respect they show for Him, debating about the appropriateness of His gifts and even arguing with doctrines that claim that He has left? If presuming that your guest has left your house to go home is rude, then how rude are we to assume that the present rarity of miracles is because the Holy Spirit left with the last of the first apostles?

When you receive the Holy Spirit as He who proceeded from the Father’s throne, out of the Father to come to live in you, then listening to the Holy Spirit is not like listening to an adviser, but to the King, and His words are not words of counsel to give you wisdom, understanding and knowledge, but rather, the obeying of His words is what gives you wisdom, understanding and knowledge.

He is not even then your Teacher, for indeed Jesus said to His disciples, “Nor are you to be called ‘teacher’, for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”[6] So, the Holy Spirit is not here to teach us what to do with Jesus’ teachings, or His laws, commands and decrees, but rather, He is here to command us about the words of Jesus. We know what Jesus said, what He taught, what He commanded, and so on, but in truth, we do not know when we are to apply what the Lord has taught us. The Holy Spirit, when He reminds us of what Jesus has said, in truth is commanding us with regards to the time we should do it.

Jesus gave us the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, but it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the ‘when’, which is why Luke wrote: Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.[7]

Although Jesus had commanded, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to all creation,”[8] the Holy Spirit was the One who held them back from the province of Asia at that time. The Holy Spirit is the Lord of the times of God. He is the One who determines when is the perfect time to do what has been commanded. It means He is the Commander in Chief of the Lord’s Army, and we are the soldiers. We are to train, that is to practise that which we are taught, until He gives the order to do what we are told.

We practise preaching to all creation and every creature,[9] until the Holy Spirit tells us when to preach to mankind,[10] and where, in the same way as He decided with Paul and His companions. And if we get the timing wrong, we will find Him opposing us as well, just as He opposed the twelve when they wanted to go to Capernaum instead of Bethsaida, for it was neither the place nor the time. If the Holy Spirit opposed and did not allow Paul and his companions to go to Asia Minor to do what Jesus commanded because of the timing, imagine how much more He is against those who do not do what Jesus commanded and those who do what is contrary to what Jesus commanded. It is just as well He is the Spirit of Grace, or else many more would have dropped dead like Ananias and Sapphira. It is because He is the Spirit of Grace that He gives us time to repent when we fail to listen to Jesus.

It is because He is the Spirit of Grace that He allowed Himself to be poured out on the Day of Pentecost when those disciples had missed the first two appointments arranged for Him by Jesus. It is because He is the Spirit of Grace that He protects those who believe but do not listen to Jesus; that He nurtures those who listen but do not practise, and delights in those who believe and obey what they have heard, growing them into sons and daughters worthy of their Father and Brother. And from the sons and daughters He has raised, He then elects those who can be trusted to keep the household running until the Lord arrives.

Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light,”[11] giving us the picture of oxen yoked to plough the ground and to carry a burden. The yoke of an ox is easy if he does not have to strain too much to pull it and if it fits perfectly on him, that is, there is no chaffing.

Thus, perfection is what begins the easiness of the yoke and that comes from our practice of loving our enemies as Jesus commanded. That is, we pray for them, bless them and do good to them, things that Jesus also commanded that we should do in secret,[12] because for the oxen, the timing of the ploughing of the field increases the easiness of the task. It is easier for the ox if the ploughing is done in the cool of the day rather than at midday, and if it is done just after the rain rather than before the rain. In other words, after the practice, the timing of the execution of the work makes for the completeness of the easiness of it all.

The Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “will tell you what is yet to come.”[13] That is, He will tell you when as well. Imagine if you knew exactly when the share market would go up or down and by how much before it happens, then making a fortune in share trading is easy. Imagine knowing exactly when a person is ripe for receiving the Lord, then leading a person to the Lord is easy. Imagine knowing exactly when a disaster will happen, then avoiding it and staying safe is easy. Perfect timing makes the yoke easy.

Oxen ploughing ground softened by rain in the early morning with a perfectly fitted yoke is easy work. Oxen ploughing ground hardened by drought in the middle of the day with an ill fitting yoke is hard work and the plough is a heavy burden.

The commands Jesus gave us to obey, to follow, and to practice are made easy because the Holy Spirit gives us the perfect time to execute them, and our discipline needed to benefit from that perfect timing is to acknowledge Him, to know Him, and to witness Him as the Spirit of the Father enthroned in our hearts. Then, when the Holy Spirit does tell you to do something, you will learn to do it there and then, not later or earlier, but just at the perfect time. We know the words of God are perfect and flawless as are His works, but now we must learn to see that His timing is just as perfect. However, the Holy Spirit will withhold the Lord’s timing for you if you do not consider His words and works as perfect.

James the Younger did not consider the words of Jesus and His works as perfect, so he sought to improve them by adding a little of the old law for us Gentiles to observe as well, and when that happened, the ease of perfect timing was removed from the church, and we looked like people who were always turning up to catch a train at the wrong time, either too early and are kept waiting, or too late and are disappointed. How often have you experiences being kept waiting for an answer to your prayers or disappointed because your prayer was not answered?

If however we learn to be like disciples who have spent forty days and nights in the presence of the Word of God and beheld His glory and joy, and receive the Holy Spirit the way God wanted us to receive Him on that Mount of Transfiguration, then even the time you should pray, the Holy Spirit will tell you, so that you will experience no waiting or disappointment and that which you say, command, wish, much less pray, manifests at the exact moment you say it. Imagine for a moment, you always arrive at the station having walked there leisurely to find the train waiting for you and it starts as soon as you step on it. Imagine that every traffic light turns green just as you approach it so you neither have to stop, slow down or hurry up to cross it. That can happen if your timing is perfect.

Imagine every word you say on behalf of the Lord happens just as you say it because you have learnt to time it perfectly with the Holy Spirit. To those who behold what you are saying and doing, it will be truly miraculous.

The reason Jesus made His disciples get into the boat immediately that afternoon to go to Bethsaida[14] was because it was the perfect time for them to be on their own to do the miracle of opening the eyes of the blind man in Bethsaida. But they delayed going there and then decided to go elsewhere.

Learning to acknowledge the timing of the Holy Spirit daily is the first step to acquiring the skill to execute the words of Jesus you have practised at precisely the right time. The Holy Spirit will remind you what you are to do, that is, what you are to practice and what you are to say. He will also show you what to do and give you the power to do it, but above all else, He will give you the exact timing to execute all those tasks together so that their effectiveness is maximised.

That is why the Lord waits… He waited for Noah, waited for the sin of the Amorites, He waits until the perfect time… then suddenly “the Lord you are seeking will come…”[15] “like a thief!”[16]

Just as we have practised reading the word, listening to the word and doing the word, so now, we add to it timing the word. The Lord is exalted, for He dwells on high; He will fill Zion with justice and righteousness. He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.[17] When the prophet wrote: the sure foundation of your times, he was not just saying you can rely on Him during your lifetime and the time of your life, but He is also the sure foundation of the times that you do and say whatever you do and say in your life. He is the sure foundation of perfect timing if you have the fear of the Lord as the key.

And as Paul wrote: The Lord is the Spirit,[18] so that is the fear of the Holy Spirit—that awesome, love and respect of Him as your King, Lord and Master who reigns in your heart, for whom all your thoughts are taken captive for, then, how different then would the Acts of the apostles have been? How different? Now is the time to find out.

Amen


 

[1] 2 Corinthians 10:5

[2] 1 Thessalonians 4:15

[3] 1 Corinthians 7:10

[4] 1 Corinthians 7:12

[5] Luke 24:49

[6] Matthew 23:10

[7] Acts 16:6-7

[8] Mark 16:15

[9] Mark 16:15 NKJV

[10] NLT, NIRV, CEV

[11] Matthew 11:30

[12] Matthew 6:1-5

[13] John 16:13

[14] Mark 6:45

[15] Malachi 3:1

[16] Revelation 16:15

[17] Isaiah 33:5-6

[18] 2 Corinthians 3:17

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