11 November 2009
When Jesus asked the Father to sanctify the eleven and also those who would believe in Jesus through their message, He was asking that disciples be “Set apart for sacred use” or “Make holy,” as this is something done by the Father and reinforced by Jesus who also sanctified Himself so that the consequences of the disciples (us) being sent into the world would be nullified.
You see, when the Father was asked to sanctify us, it is not so that we would be secreted into a monastic life or a hermit’s life to maintain and to live out our sanctification, but rather, the reason the Lord Jesus asked the Father to sanctify the disciples is because, “I have sent them into the world, as You sent Me into the world.” So the holiness, the setting apart for sacred use, involves an engagement with the unholy world with all its sin and temptations in the same way as Jesus engaged the world – walking, talking, eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors so that He came to be a “friend of tax collectors and ‘sinners’ ”.
Sanctification as such has been provided by the Father and the Lord, and we who are His disciples are sanctified for the specific purpose of being sent into the world as He was sent into the world. Sent into the world to finish the work was what Jesus was sent into the world for… to save the world and to reveal the Father to those the Father gave Him. Since the work of salvation of the world is finished and the revelation of the Father is finished by Jesus, for He said, “It is finished,” we are sent therefore not to do the sacred work, but sent as He was sent to do our own set of work with the same prerequisites which were given to Jesus… and that is, to work for the honour of the One who sent Him and to not speak on His own.
So, what then is our work? To preach the good news of the finished work of Jesus to all creatures, to make known the revelation of the Father to all who have been drawn by the Father and to allow the E/end to come with the completion of the preaching to all the nations. And this work is to be done as Jesus did it… to honour the One who sent us, that is, to honour Jesus.
Honour for Jesus begins when all creation, creatures and mankind rejoice at the good news of the finished work of salvation of the world… it is finished. We dishonour Jesus when the so-called gospel we preach calls sinners to believe so that salvation can begin in them, rather than to repent and believe that the work of saving them has been finished by Jesus. So perfect is that work that no one can add to it, but can only be grateful for it by living a life of one who is saved.
Jesus is dishonoured whenever men in His Name add more conditions for those who are meant to be the beneficiaries of salvation for salvation to begin. If the disciples understood the dishonour the men from Judea who came down to Antioch teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised, according to the customs taught by Moses, you cannot be saved,” had brought to the Name of Jesus, there would be no need for Paul and Barnabas to go to Jerusalem to have the matter settled. Jesus said to the Jews who believed in Him but who did not continue in their belief, “…I honour My Father and you dishonour Me,” when they turned from their belief to disbelief and said, “Aren’t we right in saying that You are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
The moment James the Younger said, “…we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God,” and made his recommendations, he had in fact dishonoured Jesus, as if the way Jesus had made for Gentiles in John 4.40-41 to be saved is harder than partial observance of the Mosaic Law. It was also an insult to God who gave Moses the Law (which is more than the Ten Commandments), as if the Law was hard on the Jews in the first place. Harder than slavery in Egypt?
You see, at any point we disbelieve, at any point we add to or belittle the work of Jesus, we have dishonoured Him.
So, how could have those men from Judea who went to Antioch been working for Jesus’ honour? How could James’ recommendations be working for Jesus’ honour? And if they are not, then how much more we have never worked for the honour of the One who we say sent us when we have not listened to Him and our very words, actions and lives constantly make Him out to be a liar?
The truth that sets us free – when we learn to hold onto the teachings of Jesus, when we learn to listen to Him – is that we are constantly dishonouring Him with our work, and as such, there has been something false about us. Repentance of our falsehood, our practice of it, our love of it, is what will set us free into the true freedom to know the sanctification that is ours so that we may go as He went, for we have been sent as He was sent.
This sanctification is what John was speaking of when he wrote: But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. As articles of the old system were sanctified by the anointing of blood or oil, so articles of the New Covenant are anointed, sanctified, set apart by the truth – the word of God and the Truth, the Word of God (capital W). This anointing then is not just for a few, but for all who have believed and are discipled so that they are fit to be sent out as Jesus was sent out… and it reveals itself not as mighty oratory skills or signs, wonders or miracles or success… no, it reveals itself in honour.
When what a person says, does and plans for honours Jesus and His finished work, that is the anointing of truth and he who has that anointing is a man of truth… and the sanctification of the word and of the Lord is displayed when disciples who are sent out work for the honour of the One who sent them without speaking on their own.
So, from the time we began to dishonour Jesus, we began to lose the anointing. When we thought the words of His messengers were nonsense, we began to dishonour Him. When we went where we wanted after He told us to stay, we continued to dishonour Him. The road we have travelled from that first morning of the new birth of the Firstborn from the dead, from resurrection morning, has been the road of dishonour… and any relief along that road has been because God is gracious and will not allow Himself or His Son or His Spirit to suffer disgrace. Had we been travelling on the road of honour from the first morning, then the disciples would have encountered the Lord on the road and not in some locked room.
The man of God from Judea failed to honour the word of the Lord and instead of walking the road of honour to return to Judea, he encountered the lion on the road and received death and dishonour… for the donkey lived and he died.
Elijah, in running off before the cloud arrived at Mount Carmel, found himself fleeing from a woman’s threat. Instead of being enveloped by that cloud and being transfigured on Mount Carmel, he met with the word of the Lord in a small dark cave.
Moses, when he struck the rock the second time and failed to honour the Lord as holy in the sight of Israel, was placed on the road to death rather than remaining on the road to the promised land and could only see it from a distance.
You see, a man of truth does not repent of sin as a sinner repents; rather, his repentance and his concern are of dishonour and honour. Repentance of our dishonour of Jesus restores us to the road of honour… the road where we might encounter Jesus and be changed even as we are on our way. Failure to repent of our dishonouring of Him casts us on to the road, the broad road, of destruction where only death, fear and a distant view of what we lost awaits us.
See in 1 Kings 13.24 after the lion had killed the man of God from Judah, the lion and the man’s donkey stood beside his dead body. Why did the man of God not repent and remain in Bethel, for after all, was not the word of the Lord to him after his disobedience this: “Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your fathers”? Had he showed his repentance by honouring the word of the Lord by staying put in Bethel so as to fulfil the word, he would have lived and enjoyed a ministry in Bethel as the man who shrivelled and healed the arm of the king. You see, even when God is angry with His servants, His word of rebuke still gives life and honour and life abundantly, if only we learn to honour Him. For the man of God to hop on his donkey to go back to Judea was adding dishonour to disobedience.
Elijah redeemed himself when he obeyed the Lord and went and anointed the men God told him to anoint, including his own successor. His obedience to the rebuke saved him from death. Moses’ obedience to anoint Joshua, the choice of God, saved his body from decay, and centuries later he did set foot on the promised land as he stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with Elijah to speak to Jesus of His day. So, what did Elijah and Moses have in common? When they knew they had dishonoured the Lord, they restored His honour by obeying Him at His rebuke without trying to behave as if the rebuke never happened, like the man of God from Judah did. Have you not wondered why we do not know his name? When you do not know someone, you do not know even his name.
The encounter of Saul on the road to Damascus is a very different encounter, different from the nameless one, from Elijah and from Moses. For Saul was on the road to Damascus to honour the ones who sent him, the sanhedrin, and in a way, to honour the God he knew as a pharisee of pharisees. Even though he was breathing threats and murder, honour of the one who sent him was truly in his heart, and so he met with his true Master on that road, and it changed him forever. The eleven did not set out on their road as they were commanded, invited and told, and even though they saw Him again at least three times, it did not change them for long. Whereas Paul relinquished all his Jewishness, except when he listened to the elders of Jerusalem… the eleven were only too eager to re-embrace their Jewishness at the first opportunity.
As long as Paul had nothing to do with the observance of the Law for his righteousness, his sanctification was in place so that no one could hold him… even a prison was broken by an earthquake when he sang. The moment he went back to participating in the observance of the Law, especially in a purification rite, he broke not faith… no, he broke honour with Jesus and suffered the consequences.
You see, elect, when you are a believer you can break the faith, for that is all you have with God as long as you remain a believer. However, when you are sent as Jesus was sent… and now understand this, disciples… Jesus was not sent as a Man of God, nor as a Disciple of Moses or of God for that matter… He was sent as a Son, the only begotten Son, for He had testified, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… that the world through Him might be saved” …Jesus was sent as a Son, the Son… so likewise, when we are sent as He was sent, we are sent firstly as sons who have been discipled to bear witness to the truth of God as He was.
And sons do not break faith with the Father who sent them. No, unfortunately, I wish that is all we break… sons, elect, break the honour of the Father and in so doing, break His heart whenever they do not work for His honour.
The prodigal son broke the honour of his father when he wasted his share of the inheritance on foolish living and lived amongst the pigs. If he had been seen by those who knew his father, he would have brought shame to his father… and shame to your father is to break his honour.
The commandment that carries a blessing: “Honour your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you,” was to teach the Israelites the truth of honour, for when you cannot honour your father and mother you know you can never honour God whom you do not know. Though Jesus lived only thirty-three years in Canaan, He will live a millennium as its King very soon.
So you see, elect, it is true that “…narrow is the road… and only a few find it,” for the road that leads you to all God has planned for you is called righteousness, and to find that road takes honour. Righteousness may be credited to you by faith… true, but it is honour that confirms that righteousness.
Your faith in God may have accredited to you the righteousness to receive the salvation, but it is your honouring of God that manifests for you the righteousness of His salvation, that is, God showing creation the rightness of saving you… the justification of your salvation, why you are truly worth saving, so that in the end He is not ashamed of you and will not say to you, “I never knew you.”
So then, elect, your journey from here on is not the walk of faith, neither is it the walk of knowledge… for Satan knows but will not honour. You see, the antichrists, all antichrists, even the antichrist, have faith; they have the faith to deny Jesus is the Christ and to believe in other gods and even themselves as a god. So they are walking that road of faith. The antichrist himself knows Jesus is coming back. He doesn’t just believe it… no, like you, he knows it, and he is out to oppose it. So, when you see that the road of faith and knowledge in God and about God is not as holy or sacred as you thought it was… it is then you will see the path few see… that path of honour upon which a man of truth alone will venture and have his encounter at the end of it to be one greater than a man of truth. Sufficient however for now that you see the path and walk in it, as the Holy Spirit says, “This is the way; walk in it.”
That sanctification, which has always been yours, manifests in its fullness when you walk the way of honour for the One who has sent you, and the man of truth whom God has sent is revealed full of grace and truth with power to confirm every word he has been told to say.
So then, elect, the work for which you have been set aside for by the Holy Spirit is that same work Barnabas and Saul were set aside for – to oppose all those who dishonour the Lord and His Name, to bring to nothing all who have added or subtracted from the prophecy of Jesus Christ, who have added to His delay in returning and who have subtracted from the honour and glory of the fulfilment of His promise: “Yes, I am coming soon” …restoring honour to Jesus by proving that it was we, His lazy and wicked self-serving servants, who prevented and delayed His return so that “soon” has become a laughable 2000 years.
And restoring the glory by turning the delay into a richer, deeper harvest and more auspicious occasion, so that not only will the Son of Man find faith when He returns, but He will find knowledge, and more than knowledge… honour. He will have no fear of not being recognised, no matter what form He chooses, for this time there will be those who know Him even though they have never seen Him.
And if He were hungry He need not ask or tell us, only to find a piece of broiled fish brought to Him, but rather, a fruit that even the Tree of Life has not borne… a fruit denied the Tree of Life for Adam had shunned it for the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He will find… He must find… He should find honour awaiting Him… honour that He can receive and treasure to forge into a dowry befitting His bride, the New Jerusalem, coming out of God from Heaven. Honour!
As Jerusalem of old was trampled by gentiles… so the New Jerusalem will enjoy honour because of her King, her Husband, the Lamb of God, who resides in her, and as John saw it, so it shall be… the kings of the Earth will bring their splendour into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it.
You see, dear brothers and sisters, your Father is generous beyond understanding, for what else can you expect from One who is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked”? If that is how He is to those who are wicked and ungrateful, how much more will He be to those who are grateful and who do not forsake Him, who do not leave Him to pursue their own desires, goals and ambitions, whilst demanding from Him what they want; those who do not leave Him assuming that He does not need or appreciate their help? God is God and He does not need our help… yes, after all He has said if He were hungry He would not tell us. Now that is a sad, sad statement that we must never allow God to ever say again. What sort of sons or daughters are we if we cause our Father to say, “If I were hungry I would not tell you”?
No, to those who are grateful, to those who have ears to hear the desires, the needs and the hopes of God in every carefully chosen, perfect word… God gives the power of a man of truth in whom is nothing false. Power to not only part the Red Sea with an outstretching of the arm, but the power to cause Him to set the day and hour for the arrival of Jesus Christ, because what He needs, what He desires and what He hopes for Jesus to receive is in its place on Earth.
So then, set your heart, mind, will and strength not only to love the Lord your God, but set it all to honour Him, and to honour Him not as students, servants or friends do… no, but as sons and daughters would honour their good Father, whose Apple of His eye is His Firstborn… bringing joy as well as honour to the Father in how you participate in the preparation for the Kingship and soon and coming marriage of the Heir to His bride.
So, lift up your eyes, elect… if you complete this simple task of bringing the Son of God back with honour to crown Him King of the Earth, the Son of Man… then it will be your reward to not only reign with Him, but your privilege to prepare the New Jerusalem for her immortal appearance out of the Heavens. Immortal because the sight of her coming out of Heaven from God will be forever emblazoned in the eyes and hearts of every creature, great and small. To some it will be eternal joy, but to others it will be eternal torment.
So honour Him who has sanctified you for the work He has for you and guard yourself from dishonouring Him. Let the patriarchs’ lives teach you, rebuke you and discipline you, so that together with you we may all testify to the goodness of what God had planned, for as it is written: Only together with us would they be made perfect.
All those heroes of faith are waiting, waiting for the heroes of truth. So together… yes, together shall they witness…
Love and faithfulness meet together;
Righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Faithfulness springs forth from the Earth,
And righteousness looks down from Heaven.
The Lord will give what is good,
But only as sons… when we are sent to work for His honour is He truly glorified.