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“The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, [shepherds mourn] and the top of Carmel withers.”  And through Amos, the Lord said eight times, “For three sins… even for four, I will not turn back My wrath,” as He pronounced judgment on Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel.  See that neither His own people nor people who were enemies of His own people were spared from God’s wrath because of sin.  And what is sin… but refusal to listen and obey God.  And see that it was not for thousands of sins that these eight nations were promised God’s wrath, but for three or four sins.  And what three or four sins can those who profess to be disciples of Jesus commit?

  1. Not following Him;
  2. Not practising His words;
  3. Not listening to Him;
  4. Not obeying Him… and beyond that… not holding onto His words.

And what three or four sins is the church capable of committing?  Thankfully not three, not even two, but only one… failing to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying, and even then it is not the church that needs to hear, but as the command goes… He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  As such, the command of Revelation 2 and 3 is disobeyed by the individual and not a church per se… except a church is made up of individuals just as every nation is made up of individuals.  The eight nations of Amos are like the seven churches of Revelation, except whereas in the Old Testament, God punished nations… in the New Testament, it is the individual who is punished.

It is the individual who hears the Gospel and does not believe who is condemned, not the nation.  It is the individual disciple who hears the call to follow Jesus, to practise His words and to listen to Him… and even though the Holy Spirit has been poured upon all flesh, it is the individual who is called to hear what He is saying to the churches.

Thus, the degree the church will suffer the wrath of God’s judgment depends then on the individuals making up that church, and not the ‘church’ per se.  That is why when Jesus was writing to the church in Sardis, He wrote:  “Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes.”  As such, although the appearance of the church is like that of a body, the judgment will not fall on the whole body, but on each individual, and if there are a few individuals in a fellowship that does not follow Jesus, listen to Him and practise His words well enough to hear what the Spirit is saying to that church, then through the individuals who will be spared, the church will survive.

It is this awareness that it is the individual compliance that makes up the body’s compliance, rather than the corporate compliance of the church that vouches for an individual compliance, that sets the Galilean congregation apart.  No longer can an individual expect the grace and the blessing just because they belong to the church, but rather, it is the church that can expect the grace and the blessing because the individual is there.

Just as the eleven were discipled by Jesus to follow Him, to practise His words and to listen to Him, so the Holy Spirit, as He reminds each individual what Jesus said and teaches him, thus fulfilling the work set out for Him by Jesus in John 14, 15 and 16, will likewise reproduce disciples for Jesus who follow Him, practise His words and listen to Him… and so He will also teach anyone who is a disciple to make disciples in the same fashion.  The quality of each man’s work, each person’s work, will then be in the quality of the disciples they reproduce… judged not on how they have imitated their discipler, but judged on how well they each follow Jesus, practise His words and listen to Him, all of which is confirmed by the Holy Spirit with the sign of empowerment to witness for Jesus.  So each person is judged according to his diligence in following Jesus, practising His words and listening to Him, and the trustworthiness he displays with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the gift of miraculous power.  For it was with power, not wisdom, knowledge, understanding, the fear of the Lord or counsel, that the Holy Spirit used to declare Jesus to be the Son of God by raising Him from the dead, and in so doing displayed His holiness… His separation unto Jesus.

So it is the responsibility then of the individual, not the body, to ensure that he or she is following Jesus, practising the words of Jesus and listening to Jesus with all his or her heart, soul, might and mind… and it is a collection of such individuals whose due diligence, faithfulness, obedience and loyalty enable them to receive and access the power of the Holy Spirit that will manifest the church at full power to testify to all nations the truth of the Gospel of the kingdom.

Individuals who are able to retain their single mindedness on the things of Christ and not be persuaded easily by the behaviour of others or the need of acceptability from others… individuals like Paul who was able to hold the line even when Peter was lured into hypocrisy and Barnabas was led astray at the persuasion of men from James.

Individuals who through following Jesus, practising His words and listening to Him under the supervision of the Holy Spirit have come to the place to be able to not only see the truth, but to see why the Holy Spirit was first introduced to the disciples as the Spirit of Truth.  Not because He does not lie or because He always tells the truth… for after all, what is truth, as Pilate asked?  What makes something truth when everyone has his own perspective and slant on what truth is?

Jesus did not define truth as a set of facts or irrevocable conclusions or finite unchangeable rules or laws of science… He just said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  The truth is not a set of rules or laws, it is more than that, it is the way a person lives.  Jesus said, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”  So then when you understand this, you will see Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life… because He is the Way not to speak on His own but to work for the glory and honour of the One who sent Him, which makes Him a Man of Truth.  However, He is the Truth because of the way He glorifies the One who sent Him as well.  It is not just because Jesus worked for the glory and honour of the One who sent Him that makes Him the Truth… but the way He glorified His Father above and beyond that of any man.  For as He said to His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  However, do not even pagans do that… lay down their lives for their friends and families?  So what glory does that bring God who is perfect, because “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” and who is merciful (compassionate) because “…He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked”?

So how do you glorify One who is already perfect and merciful, for even pagans are merciful to those they love?  Jesus is the Truth because of the way He brought glory to the One who sent Him, the One who is perfect and merciful, by laying down His life, not for the friends or family of His Father… but for the enemies of His Father.  In laying down His life for this purpose, He defined what the Life is… Himself.  That is why He is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  Many a hero may lay down his life for friends, families, comrades and innocents, but to lay down your life for your father’s enemies… to save those who will kill, shame and desecrate your father’s name?  No man has ever done that before Jesus… He is the First.  As Paul testified… For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!  Yet the fact is:  Christ was crucified (sacrificed) before the foundations of the world.  And John wrote:  This is how God showed His love among us:  He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.  This is love:  not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  As such, the only way to work, to finish the work Jesus was sent to do by His Father… His perfect and merciful Father who loves His enemies, who causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous… was to die, to lay down His life for His Father’s enemies.  In so doing, He brought such glory and honour to His Father that no son of any other father could match, whether they are spirits or humans. 

As such, when Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life,” it is a statement that no one can refute unless you have also laid down your life to save your father’s enemies.  Only such a person can stand before Jesus and refute or agree… even comment as to whether Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life.  For until you lay down your life for your father’s enemies, you have not gone the way Jesus has, and you cannot know the truth of going that way, nor live the life of such a sacrifice to be able to refute it as a witness.  So then, since few men have ever laid down their lives for their father’s enemies, no one can judge Jesus… but all can be judged by Him according to His way, His truth and His life.  However, you can believe Him and in so believing, be saved, for if He would lay down His life for His Father’s enemies, how much more that life (paraphrasing Paul) would save the one who believes in His Father’s testimony and will.  And if faith can justify you, then how much more obedience and loyalty to Him will sanctify you and how much more imitation of Him will glorify you?  For to believe Him and to have faith in Him to the extent that the Holy Spirit will give you power, not only to witness for Him, but to do what He has been doing and greater things than that shall you do as He said… is truly glory.  For indeed, you are changed like water to good wine… an enemy of God to one who so imitates His Son that your life testifies to Him being the Way, the Truth and the Life by which all other ways, truths and lives are judged.

And so what would the world then see of the church if there was such a collection of individuals in fellowship together, all of who believe, know, love, follow and listen to Jesus, who can do what He has been doing and even greater things because of the Holy Spirit.  For as Jesus is the Truth, so He introduced the Holy Spirit to us, His disciples, as the Spirit of Truth.  He is the Spirit of Truth because He is the Spirit of the Man who worked for the glory and honour of Him who sent Him… He is the Spirit of Jesus, but not only that, He is the Spirit of Truth for He too is One who works for the glory and honour of the One who sent Him.

And if the One who sent you happens to be Jesus who glorified His Father by laying down His life for His Father’s enemies, then how would you, if you were the Holy Spirit, seek to work for the glory and honour of the One who sent you?  How do you glorify He who glorified the One who sent Him to such a level that no one has ever done it before or since?  If you realise that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth because He is always working for the honour and glory of Jesus who sent Him, then you have begun to know Him.

You see, it was when Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth that He said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of Truth.”  The Holy Spirit will be forever with those who know and understand what His title ‘the Spirit of Truth’ means.  It is when you see this that you will come to know Him, and the world will neither see Him nor know Him and will not accept Him because it cannot see that the Holy Spirit is here to work solely for the glory and honour of Jesus.  Certainly the world and its heroes can never accept Jesus, for the heroes of the world are those who lay down their lives for family and friends, king and country… not ones who laid down their lives for their father, their family, their king and their king’s enemies.  The sacrifice of Jesus’ life makes a mockery of even the most noble thing valued by men, so how can the world accept Him and definitely how can they accept the Holy Spirit?

And so the world accepts the church that cries out for vengeance against God’s enemies.  It accepts the God that they know before Jesus came to reveal the Father who is God.  So for them when the Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem, it is a shout of angry holy vengeance against God’s enemies and not the triumphant shout of the Lord who laid down His life for His Father’s enemies when with a loud voice He shouted, “It is finished.”  Yes, the Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, it is only a roar and thunder because men do not understand what He is saying, for by His unmatchable sacrifice, the floodgates of mercy were opened and that roar of many waters is the sound of God’s mercy upon His enemies through Jesus Christ, His Son.

It, the world, cannot accept the Spirit of Truth because He will only glorify and honour the One who laid down His life for His Father’s enemies.  It cannot accept the Spirit of Truth because the work of the Holy Spirit then makes a mockery of all that men hold dear and consider to be righteous, courageous and just.  For by the standard of Christ, all men are found wanting, so then it is not by works but by faith that justification comes.

But for those who can see why the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and love Him for it, they will come to know Him and see Him and will experience living with Him and in Him as Jesus knows Him, sees Him, lives with Him and in Him and He in Jesus.  For the words of John 14.12 will permit such an unimaginable relationship between Him and those who understand the meaning of the Spirit of Truth.

Now that you see and understand and know why He is the Spirit of Truth, you can understand why He will have no part of the ways of men who use the Name of the Lord to glorify themselves, justify themselves and make themselves seem holy and righteous with their judgments, doctrines and theories on Christ.  Yet you will also understand why He is prepared to wait 2000 years before He begins His work in earnest… to raise up the church that Jesus and the Father had in mind that no one has seen.  A church which is a fellowship of individuals who are each following Jesus, practising His words and listening to Him in order to bring glory to Him and only Him.  Individuals whose eyes are open to see Him, the Spirit, and know Him, the Spirit of Truth, and from that knowledge see and understand why He is the Spirit of Holiness, of Life, of Revelation, of Grace and of Glory… and above all else the Spirit of Sonship, the pinnacle of whose work would be if He could raise up one and ones who are in the fullness of the stature of the Firstborn, Jesus Christ. 

And He has succeeded… to a measure, though not yet seen on Earth.  For the truth is every martyr who laid down his life for the sake of Jesus and His Gospel, being beheaded for his testimony, has also in truth laid down his life for his enemies.  They had held onto their testimony, even to death… in the hope of convincing those who would kill them that the testimony of Christ is truly precious… worth more than life itself.

So all those who even now are preparing themselves for the return with Christ are those who have done what He has done… laid down His life for His Father’s enemies.  Yet, not one of those coming lords and kings of Jesus kept their enemies and themselves alive in order to be witnesses of these words of Jesus… “and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.”

So there is one last chapter of glory and honour… one last work… to raise up the body of Christ, the church, as it was originally intended had the eleven gone to Galilee that morning… a collection of disciples who are capable of not only keeping themselves alive, but the enemies of God alive until Jesus arrives.  Men and women who are able to raise the dead as Jesus did, but not only their own dead but the dead of their enemies as well.  A collection of men and women who because they know the Spirit of Truth and can see the Spirit of Truth… can hear what He is saying to the churches, which inspires them to shout with a roar from here today and tomorrow and the third day until they reach the Mount of Olives… “Amen Holy Spirit.”

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