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“As given by no man but direct from the mouth of God.” The whole design of the Temple is to focus in on the Holy of Holies. The design of the gold lined walls, and floor and the thick curtain was so that the din from the busyness of what was happening around the Temple – the worshippers and the slaughtering of the sacrifices – would not hinder one who had entered the Holy of Holies from listening to the One with whom he was speaking face to Face.

There was only one who had entered this place when Jesus walked the Earth, and that one was able to focus, even in the midst of Martha’s banging of the pots and the jovial activities of the disciples, just like the noises at the Temple. Nothing else mattered. It did not matter whether it looked right, but what did matter was who she was listening to, what He was saying, and how He was saying it.

There is a design and a pattern for this Temple, and those who find it are few. Even for those who find it, the pattern is so intricate that it takes constant adjustment, and many of the few go no further, but think it is enough to remain where they are. They ask for love, mercy and grace from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. But they do not consider that they miss out on the greater glory, which they could give their Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus their Saviour. They neglect to honour Them by not continuing to complete and finish the whole pattern of the Temple. This is why those who desire to go further will only be able to continue with constant repentance.

As with the disciples who felt each his measure of importance –

· The importance of being chosen and elected;

· The importance of being close to Him;

· Importance because of the miracles He had done, and of the attention to Him and to them that the miracles drew.

· Importance because the understanding of His teachings in the parables was given to them, for the disciples came to Him and asked, “Why do You speak to the people in parables?” He replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”[1]

· Importance because He had sent them out with His authority. First, the twelve were sent with power and authority to cast out demons, heal all diseases, to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and heal the sick.[2] Then the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name.”[3]

· And importance, because He privately said to His disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” For earlier, He had said to the seventy-two disciples as well as to the twelve, “All things have been committed to Me by My Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”[4]

This is a place where we need to be in continuous repentance through willing, imperative, humble, submissive obedience, as we are in danger of becoming comfortable here and may have already, and so think it is enough to remain where we are. We may be like the seventy-two when Jesus said to them on their joyful return, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you; but rejoice because your names are written in Heaven.”[5] And so we are in danger of remaining in the joy of the success, and become comfortable and so go no further, never entering the Holy of Holies for the sole purpose to listen to the Father, drinking in what He is saying, and so be in communion with Him. Mary listened carefully to Jesus, her Lord, and as she was doing so, she was soaking in all that the Father was saying, and so she was able to respond to His words and give back to Him agape[6] mixed with philandros[7], which was displayed with a holy and tender reverence for He whom she loved when she prepared His body for burial. About Mary, Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good, beautiful, thing to Me. You will always have the poor you among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have Me. She has done what she could and has anointed, poured perfume on, My body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News, the Gospel, is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”[8] The disciples did not understand or appreciate what she was doing for her Lord, their Lord, as they had not themselves entered into the Holy of Holies, or actually eaten and drunk of His words to absorb them into their spirit, for even though they had heard them, they did not listen to hear or understand them.

Therefore what does it take to remain in the intricate pattern of the design of the Temple so that we may enter into the Holy of Holies?

We must have gone beyond the basic acknowledgement of our sin and need for salvation through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone, responding with deep gratitude and humility to the forgiveness extended to us through the Covenant for the Forgiveness of Sins, which Jesus forged with His Father, to have become full partakers of this Covenant, yet have not rested here. Many of us are unaware of our true sinfulness and consequently do not feel deeply towards what God has actually done for us. We do not know what it is like to be one aggressively thrown in front of a crowd at Jesus’ feet, by religious men accusing and demanding that she be stoned for the sin of adultery. Yet, to then receive no condemnation in such a compassionate and shrewdly just and right way that her very accusers were given to realize they were also worthy of a similar sentence to that which they had demanded for her, as each slipped away one by one, leaving her alone with the Saviour. Neither do we know what it is like to zealously hunt down members of the cult called “The Way” to rid the face of the Earth of them and their sacrilegious ‘false teachings’, yet to be met in such a merciful and honorable way by the very One rumoured to have started this movement—that He saved such a one and took what he was and poured into him WHO HE IS – giving him a truly righteous purpose to his zeal, packaged with the fullness of The Truth and knowledge of The Holy One of God. Nor do we know what it is like to be a slave trader with no prior respect for human rights, yet to be then saved by such amazing grace…

Yet that is also who we are… sinners saved by such amazing grace, saved by compassion in justice and righteousness, saved by mercy and honour… no better than anyone else with all our hidden ugly sins, which bring death to our members… in our thoughts, attitudes and actions, and in our self-righteous judgments of others. “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to Heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”[9]

Therefore, we urgently need to ask the Holy Spirit for knowledge and understanding of our true state – even as He convicts us and counsels us and makes known to us the things held within the Father and the Son, more than we ever dreamt possible or dared to believe for – that even as we draw into Their Inner Circle, the slightest neglect on our part in not responding to Them is a sin which devastates, and would have cataclysmic effects on eternity if They were to allow us to enter the fullness of Their eternity in any state of sin.

Yet there is a delicate balance of understanding one’s sinful nature without being self-absorbed and bearing false humility, not being able to move forward when we are looking back at ourselves, instead of leaving what is in the past behind with continuous repentance, but rather, looking ahead only to Jesus to become wholly Christ absorbed.

We are to willingly and imperatively apply humble, submissive obedience as we grow through listening to Jesus to hear and obey what the Holy Spirit is saying to us as a church group and in His personal counsel to us individually. This is not done to earn merit points to exalt ourselves, but is done with a hunger to get to know the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit intimately with an earnest heartfelt desire to honour Them. As They discipline, rebuke or even strike us, we are to have no self-justification, but again be in continuous repentance, acknowledging our Lords’ unmatchable, superior understanding in height and depth, width and breadth of right and wrong, obedience and rebellion, always applying Their corrections and refining us lovingly and faithfully in perfect justice, righteousness and mercy. And so we put our ongoing affirmation of trust in Them with every new situation that appears on our horizons. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the Likeness of His Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brothers. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[10]

We are to be of the nature of Christ, dying to ourselves, knowing that without Him we are nothing, were nothing and have nothing of any worth, no life within us that is not held within Him – only the surety of death. We have no gifting of our own that we created and which could earn us the assurance of salvation, no knowledge that was not given by Him, and no power to create or heal or do miracles for ourselves. Therefore, we need to come to the place of dying to not only what is of no worth, but ALL THAT IS OF WORTH, all of which came by Him and through Him into our lives, and we cherish everything that He gives us no matter how small or humble the gift, just because it came from our Father, or our Brother, or from our Counsellor, the Holy Spirit… What is meant by this?

It is to have fragile sensitivity yet steely resolve to the needs of all others so much so that you will do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a Man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross![11] Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”[12] Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault.[13]

You desire the ALL of God, yet give Him the freedom to give to whoever He desires, without having your hand up in front of others, even taking a step back so that He may have the pleasure to hand out, in whatever portion He delights to give, to whomever and whenever He delights… Even when it is not you time and time again, you will come to a place where you remain committed to love Him and rejoice, rejoice, rejoice with Him in His choices, backing Him all the way through secret prayer for others that they will fulfill His desires for them and through them to the max, so that He be only ever found to be perfect in His choices. And just as Jesus did, you put your hands to the plough to increase your Father’s estates by going out and bringing others in, working earnestly to help them to become full sons and daughters, knowing that you will be moving over to make room for them, to share with them your own inheritance that was first shared with you by your Older Brother, Jesus. And so you work with the Holy Spirit to fulfill Jesus’ desires that, “anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in My Name and I will do it, because the work of the Son brings glory to the Father.[14] This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”[15]

Always acknowledging that we are made up of gifts by our Father, for nothing was ours in the first instance… And even the talents, which They give us at the measure They choose that we work diligently to multiply, and the fruits that we work faithfully to manifest, would not be there if the Lord, the Lord, and the Lord did not design our lives with such an intricate pattern to daily bring us closer and closer to Them by Their loving, unspoken, enormous generosity and faithful, patient endurance. Nothing is done by us without Them first planning it, due to Their excessive, humble, submissive obedience to Each Other to bring about fruits that delight and please, and talents that are multiplied and thrill, and therein is Their passion. For it is THEY who are opulently excessive towards us, not we to Them… But for us, it is IMPERITIVE… For we could never be generously excessive towards our God whose Name is WONDERFUL, except that we will appear to the world as excessive in our striving towards our God as we submit ourselves to Him. And yes, it is that we have been excessive and inexcusable in our rebellion…

And if you have not already, you will come to a place where you will pour yourself out fully, without selection. You will without selection, include the most precious gift or gifts that you have within yourself, which you have to give to GOD, knowing that you may no longer be unique to Them as you have given and continue to give to others what makes you precious to the Ones whom you hunger to delight, so that others too may have that very most preciousness, which was once uniquely yours. But yet not expecting those whom you have poured into to ever add or reciprocate to you anything that is precious of themselves – and this will no longer matter one iota to you – for you are not giving to receive Aware that you may become completely poured out, so much so, for it may be the Father’s good will that He never add to you any other thing. That you remain a humble vessel of the plainest simplicity and unattractiveness, just as Jesus came with nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him,[16] whilst others may shine so gloriously bright for the Ones you love. Yet you are content to know your Father does love you even in your most seemly plainness, because, in truth, you have become just like THEM… willing to give yourself completely up, dying to your desires and initial motivation for reward of any kind, whilst yet still yearning for the all that is held within God, yet not holding Them to account.

For you know oh so well that They already have given you so much more than anything you ever deserved or could possibly earn of your own merit. But if adding to others what is desirable and precious of yourself, perhaps even exclusive, may just bring them to that place wherein they attain an even greater depth of glorious beauty and fragrance in attributes of character and every manner delightfully pleasing to THE ONES you love, the Lord the Father, the Lord the Son, and the Lord the Holy Spirit – then that is a true gift of LOVE. And that love does cost and will cut deeper than you ever anticipated, but you have come to that place where all else has no value to you – nothing else and no one else has a hold on you outside of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit… And whether your love appears foolish and even feels compulsively irrational, yet you have abandoned yourself to it because you have given everything, even any expectation for return or place or position or any right – even your due right. For, you have set your Father, your Older Brother, and your Counsellor free of any words or promise They may have given you. You will have no claim on them – and if this is what it takes for Them to have Their due rights and desires fulfilled through you for others… whether friend or foe… then so it shall be.

You have weighed up the cost – you know the cost – it is not what you would naturally choose – yet you are compelled to utter abandonment of yourself to that risk because your Father is a risk taker – Jesus is a risk taker – and the Holy Spirit is a risk taker – Why? They did risk Their all for us, but that is another story… That is why Their plans were most carefully resolved and established in perfect, meticulous precision, every detail exacted, leaving no possible occurrence unaccounted and unplanned for, everything in precise detail, before the foundation of the world was laid. And that is why Jesus did and said nothing that He did not see done or heard said first by His Father in Heaven; and why the Holy Spirit does nothing that He does not first hear from the Father and Jesus.

But would you then go further again for even your enemies—even those who seek to enslave you—even those who seek to stone you—and even those who seek to crucify you, so that they may be kept from going to the Lake of Sulphur? Why and how? Not because you are in love with them, but you agape them because of the depth of your love for and utter devotion to your Father, to Jesus and to the One who is understatedly beautiful, the Holy Spirit. Your devotion to honour Them, which is to bring Them glory, quite simply stems from that place where you have come to a renewed, abiding understanding that all you have that is of any merit was given by Them and is a part of Them, reflecting back to Them Their Image and Their Likeness in you. For if They had not called you, you would remain in your sin and die in your sin, but by Their bottomless wells of grace… Yet further still, They chose you… and then even more… They elected you… you! Such cherish-able, glorious generosity! How can we ever reciprocate Them, but by becoming of the same nature as They are, and risking our all for Them… We know not how, and we know of our own strength and volition that we are unable, but we do know these undeniable truths: We have been given the nature changing glory that the Father gave Jesus,[17] for with God, nothing is impossible,[18] and we have been baptized with and in the Holy Spirit[19] who counsels and trains us, making known to us what belongs to Jesus.[20] And where and when we are weak, His power and strength are made perfect.[21] So, we give ourselves over to Him and submit to His strictest of discipline, which comes directly from the Father that we may become of the stature, Image and Likeness of Jesus, the Christ, the One and Only Son of God the Father…

So, now you have come to abandon all of which you thought and cherished was yours, whether from within and a part of you, or what was rightfully due to you. And, as Jesus poured out His life even for His enemies in the most humble of ways ever imagined, enduring the shame of the cross, we also will pour out our lives that we would lower ourselves beneath others, even to the enduring of such shame, so that all mankind can be returned to the Father. For He did say that which is His desire – “Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the Name of the Lord and serve Him shoulder to shoulder”[22] for “Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”[23] And so we fervently prepare the church to be made ready and purified as the body of Jesus. And we have it in our heart to stand at the very end of the procession, like one condemned to the arena, as the plug for the hole into the Lake of Sulphur to ensure that none will have entry in apart from the four written, together with a very, very empty Hell.[24]

This is the greater love even again to that which has been shared – a love which knows no boundaries – a love which would pour itself out to the extent we would be willing to give up even our eternal life for our enemies… and it is enough that you have it in your heart because “love will find a way.”

Yet… the good news is that those who prepare His body for His return will receive the same reward as the one who prepared His body for His burial. He will not come back to a body filled with yeast, which is riddled with disease, overweight, disjointed, old and unsightly. Therefore, those who continue in the intricate pattern to enter the Holy of Holies by way of willing, imperative, humble, obedient, continuous repentance, allowing for constant adjustment, will pour themselves out so that His body is purified.

Would you submit yourself to come to this Most Holy Place?


 

[1] Matthew 13:10-17; Mark 4:10-11; Luke 8:9-10

[2] Luke 9:1-2, [6,10] see also Matthew 10:1-42; Mark 6:7-13

[3] Luke 10:1,17

[4] Luke 10:22-24

[5] Luke 10:17, 20

[6] impartial, self-sacrificing love or desire

[7] Greek – It is the compound word philandros, derived from phileo (a warm affection) and andros (man)

[8] Mark 14:6-9 NLT/NIV

[9] Luke 18:10-15

[10] Romans 8:28-29,35,37-39

[11] Philippians 2:3-8

[12] Galatians 3:13 [Deuteronomy 21:23]

[13] Philippians 2:1-8, 14-15

[14] John 14:12 ONLT

[15] John 15:8

[16] Isaiah 53:2 NLT

[17] John 17:22-23

[18] Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37; 18:27

[19] Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16 NLT + subtext

[20] John 16:14-5

[21] 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV/NLT

[22] Zephaniah 3:9

[23] Joel 2:32 [Romans 10:13]

[24] Revelation 20:10, 13-15

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