RSS feed

Download the pdf file

 

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of Power, of Love and of Self Discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the Gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life.[1] And in some versions, it is written: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…[2] a spirit of fearfulness…[3]

The first half of the verse of 2 Timothy 1:7 is a popular topic of many preachers because by and large, the people are full of fear. We are full of fear; we fear lack, we fear the future and we fear death, and then some think that timidity and non-offensiveness is a prime requisite of being Christ-like, or rather, Jesus-like.

I know what Paul said God has given us and not given us; so why then do we see this timidity and fear amongst those who profess themselves to be Christians or ‘little Christ’s’, for this is what that term means. Compare the behaviour and the persona of the standard Christian you meet and compare that with the Jesus we know from Scriptures—there is very little Christ-likeness about them. So, if God did not give us a spirit of fear or timidity, where did it come from? Many would immediately say, “The devil.” Well, I have never seen the devil give anything away for free unless you bowed down to worship him. When Satan tempted Jesus, at the second temptation, Satan said to Jesus, “All this I will give You if You will bow down and worship me,”[4] when he showed Jesus all the splendour of the kingdoms of the Earth. When Satan tempted Eve, he didn’t give her anything either, just a sentence with a dose of doubt, but certainly no spirit of fear or timidity, for Eve was not fearful or timid in reaching out to the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and eating it. Indeed, neither Eve nor Adam showed any fear then, not even the fear of God until they had eaten of the fruit. So, when Paul said God has not given us a spirit of timidity or fear, we can also see neither has Satan. So, where does this spirit of fear and timidity come from, but from us? Since it is neither from God nor from Satan, it must be from man.

The spirit of fear and timidity exists because we did not value the Spirit of Power, of Love and of Self-Discipline that was given us. Our born-again spirit was given power by the Holy Spirit to be the witness of Jesus. It was also given love, love that we felt and knew as our sins were forgiven, and the outworking of that love was to manifest as we held onto and obeyed Jesus’ teachings of love to His disciples: “Love your enemies”[5] and “Love each other as I have loved you.”[6] The self-discipline came when we saw the discipline of Jesus. And God made it so easy for us with only one command to obey: “Listen to Him!”[7] That was it and that was all that God ever required of us: “Listen to Him!” But we chose to replace the power of God with the means and rules of men, and we chose not to love. We chose not to love our enemies, and then later not to love each other. Worse still, we turned to killing one another as ‘Christians’ (in inverted comas). We killed Christians because of theological and doctrinal differences. The sad truth is that those self-appointed executioners and inquisitors of those accused of heresy did not even have as much power as Moses, who at least said concerning those who challenged him in his day, “But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the Earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”[8] Without the Spirit of Power, of Love and of Self-Discipline, the vacuum was filled by ourselves with a spirit of fear and timidity and all we could do was spread fear, not love.

You see, it is God who saved us and called us to a holy life, a separated and sanctified life, a life to be spent listening to Jesus, following Jesus and practising His words, and not anyone else or anyone else’s word. The discipline of listening to Jesus, following Jesus and practising His word is possible only with the help of the Holy Spirit when the churches are prepared to listen and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying.

Thus, because we lost that Spirit of Power and of Love and of Self-Discipline, much of the suffering that has befallen those who are called ‘Christians’ has little to do with the Gospel, for true suffering for the Gospel can only be done by the power of God,[9] the power that is made perfect in our weaknesses. The first martyr, Stephen, displayed the perfection of God’s power in weakness when as he was being stoned, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” …and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”[10] Stephen paraphrased two of the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” and, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”[11] Stephen was not without the Holy Spirit, but rather, Luke reported, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.[12] So, we see that the first martyr was not only a person who had the Holy Spirit, but was full of Him and chose to commit himself to the Lord and forgive. That is power made perfect in persecution. Stephen died not because he had no power, but because he was full of the power of God, so full that he submitted to the Father’s will, and forgave.

As much as the power of God will allow us to perform signs, wonders and miracles, for when we speak of John 14:12 we think of the walking on water, the multiplication of food and the healings, etc, but the power of God also allows us to join with Paul in suffering for the Gospel. It allows us to submit to God’s will and not our will, and it allows us to forgive those who are killing us. It is the fullness of the power of God that allowed Jesus to be beaten and crucified and that caused Jesus to allow Himself to be beaten and crucified. The Spirit of Love and of Self-Discipline was made manifest in that suffering, love to endure the pain and self-discipline not to free Himself from the suffering. Self-discipline not to come off that cross and kill every one of us, self-discipline not to end the suffering quickly, but to hang on that cross until He could cry out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”[13] …and still finish the work.

You see, as Paul wrote: None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.[14] The rulers of this age have no understanding of God’s secret wisdom, as Paul wrote, that is in the message of Christ and His cross, which was why Paul preached his message not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.[15] And God’s power is given to us to be His witnesses, as Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”[16] And He said, “You are My witnesses and My servant whom I have chosen so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.”[17] It is time to understand, not just believe and know so that we testify, but it is time to understand God by the power of God and also to understand the power of God. The rulers of this age did not understand the secret wisdom of God and so crucified Jesus. If you and I are truly to reign in the Millennium of Christ, then as rulers of the age to come, we must understand the secret wisdom of God.

The power of God that was given from Acts 1:8 was first displayed to bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, so that through signs, wonders and miracles (the power of signs and miracles)[18], people who heard the Gospel might be helped to believe. Such is the grace and mercy of God. Jesus said, “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe,”[19] and then healed the official’s sick son so that he may believe. That is the grace and mercy of God. God does not force us to believe without presenting the evidence of who He is. “Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from Me, there is no saviour. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are My witnesses that I am God, yes, and from ancient days I am He. No one can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”[20]

From those early signs and wonders that produced faith, the power was to go on to give life, the eternal life that Jesus spoke of, “That they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”[21] The believers were to be raised up to become ‘knowers’ of God by the power of God, while raising up more believers with the same power. Thus, in their growth of their discipleship with increasing knowledge, such signs would accompany them—driving out demons, healing the sick, drinking poison, picking up serpents, and speaking in new tongues[22]—as their knowledge increased to the place where they would be doing what Jesus had been doing and even the greater things.[23] We will do the things that Jesus has been doing so that we may testify as witnesses to the truth of His word. However, in doing what He has been doing and even the greater things in being able to live and not die, what God purposes is not only that we are His witnesses, but that we come to know Him, and not just know Him, but come to understand Him and His secret wisdom so that we may truly be the rulers of the next age.

Understanding God is the greatest application of the power of God given to us and we will never understand Him fully unless we are prepared to suffer by the power of God. Many of our brothers have suffered without the power of God and died valiantly for their testimony of Jesus and for the word of God as John saw.[24] These heroes of faith were told to wait when they cried out, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the Earth and avenge our blood?” …and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.[25] Who are they waiting for? Merely more witnesses who would be martyred or a quality of witnesses who would be martyred? The Lord is waiting for the two witnesses as it is written in Revelation 11:6 (note the number reversals from 6:11): These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the Earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.[26] If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die.[27] However, they will be martyred for it says: Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them and overpower and kill them.[28] And three and a half days after that, Jesus arrives!

The quality of the martyrs will be raised by these two for all the others, from those who died for what they believed, to those who died for what they know like Paul and Peter, to those who will die for what they understand of God. Two witnesses at full power who understand they have to lay down their lives so that the rest of us may remain hidden to stay alive till Jesus arrives, or, it may be the last two of the group that marched on Jerusalem and finally make it into the streets of Jerusalem where they die. Whether they are only two or the last two survivors of the group assigned to do battle at Jerusalem while the others remain hidden to greet Jesus, I do not yet know. But this is certain, those witnesses are a quality of witness out of whom even as they testified, the word of God, which is a fire and a hammer, is mixed into their testimony. They are a group who understands that the words of Jesus must come first and that Jesus must come first before the church can reign as she desires to reign. The church that is attempting to reign without first bringing Jesus back has usurped the Kingdom and is in rebellion.

So, you believe Jesus – good, and you now know a little bit more about Him because you have started to listen to Him – that’s even better. Now for the best – do you understand Him? Martha chose what was good – she believed and Mary chose what was better – she listened. Now will you chose what is best – and understand?

The secret wisdom of God is hidden in His word that He gave Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. It is not, and it may shock many, it is not in the words He gave Adam, Abraham, Moses, or Ezekiel or anyone else. For Jesus alone knows the Father and the Holy Spirit alone understands Them Both, for He is the Spirit of Understanding who searches even the deepest parts of God’s heart.

The rulers of this age did not understand the secret wisdom of God and crucified Jesus because they did not believe and understand what He said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven.”[29] Those same rulers still do not understand God, that when He acts, who can reverse it? And as long as they stubbornly refuse to listen to Him and believe, but delude themselves by using His Name to justify their words that they are feeding the people, they will never understand. Their refusal to acknowledge Jesus Christ and understand God through Him, guarantees their ruin as it is written: “A people without understanding will come to ruin!”[30] No one can come to know God unless they listen to Jesus and no one can come to understand God unless they listen to the Holy Spirit, for He is the Spirit of Understanding who makes known to us what belongs to Jesus and to God.

As such, as long as we persevere in acquiring more faith, knowledge and understanding of God through listening to Jesus with the Holy Spirit’s help, we cannot be ruined or destroyed, even as all around us destruction and ruin increase.

So, it is time to shake off the timidity and fear and receive the Spirit of Power, of Love and of Self-Discipline from God so that we do not act like children with the power of God, but mature by the power of God with the power of God. Truly to be witnesses who not only believe but know and understand who God is, just as Jesus knows and the Holy Spirit understands who God is. Though it costs you all you have, get understanding.[31]

Disciples must listen to Jesus.

Churches must listen to the Holy Spirit—only.

AMEN


 

[1] 2 Timothy 1:7-9

[2] KJV

[3] ASV

[4] Matthew 4:9

[5] Matthew 5:43; Luke 6:27

[6] John 15:12

[7] Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35

[8] Numbers 16:30

[9] 2 Timothy 1:8

[10] Acts 7:59-60

[11] Luke 23:34,46

[12] Acts 7:55

[13] Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34

[14] 1 Corinthians 2:8

[15] 1 Corinthians 2:4-5

[16] Acts 1:8

[17] Isaiah 43:10

[18] Romans 15:19

[19] John 4:48

[20] Isaiah 43:10-13

[21] John 17:3

[22] Mark 16:17-18

[23] John 14:12

[24] Revelation 20:4

[25] Revelation 6:10-11

[26] Revelation 11:6

[27] Revelation 11:5

[28] Revelation 11:7

[29] Mark 14:62

[30] Hosea 4:14

[31] Proverbs 4:7

|


Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524