The Reward of Faith
Oct 12, 2006
Paul says in 1 Thess. 2:13,
"For this cause also we thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it is truly the word of God, which effectually works in you that believe."
When people's eyes and ears are opened to believe the word, it is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Paul thanks God when people received what he was saying as "truly the word of God." But he continues by telling us that this same word "effectually works in you that believe."
The word is literally "energetic," and this is the first and most important evidence of hearing. So often we think that our ability to hear God's voice is limited to hearing a booming voice from heaven, or even the ability to hear a word that we can write down as we pray and converse with Him. But I have learned over the years that the most common evidence of one's ability to hear is simply the light that goes on when people hear the truth of the word.
Some are left cold by it; others are energized. I look for those who are energized and try not to waste my time on those who do not have ears to hear. The exceptions are when the Lord brings certain non-hearers my way in order to give me a "reality check." Such people serve as balancers for my own benefit.
Over the years I have taught the word in many different places and among many different groups or denominations. I have found that no matter where I go, I find God's people. At first I thought that surely the Pentecostal and Charismatic groups, who pride themselves on the Pentecostal experience, would have a high percentage of people who had ears to hear. But I soon discovered that the percentages there were on the low side. The highest percentages come from those who have left the church altogether--the ones that their Christian friends believe are "back-slidden."
It has been an interesting walk, for in my search for people with ears, I have learned not to shun any group or "cult" where I may have opportunity to share the word. I know that in any new group of about 40-50 people, there are at least a half dozen who have ears to hear. In talking to them individually, I find that most of them (if not all) had been praying for a fresh revelation, for they were dissatisfied with the level of revelation being fed to them in their current situation.
These are the ones who dwell in booths while walking in the wilderness. God told Israel that while they were in the wilderness, they were to live in temporary housing, booths, tents which could be easily moved when the Spirit of God moved to a new location for a new revelation.
The ultimate goal was to go to the Promised Land, representing the feast of Tabernacles. Only then can you build a permanent home, a fixed structure. The problem is, most people have been taught that the Promised Land is heaven, and that to get there, one must either die or be raptured. The Promised Land is divorced from the earth in this view. But this is not true.
In a way, the Promised Land is heaven, but heaven is in the process of coming to earth. Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done IN EARTH as it is in heaven." How many millions of people pray this without truly believing it or even wanting it to happen? They pray it with many winks and nods, believing that this will never happen.
Christians expect to go to heaven and still rule on earth (Rev. 5:10). This contradictory view is part of the double-mindedness in the Church. They have been taught both views from the same pulpit, and the mind is capable of schizophrenia, believing both things at the same time, depending on which personality is manifesting at the moment.
From the beginning, God created the physical creation in order to begin the process of creating a body for Himself. Hebrews 10:5 says, "a body hast Thou prepared Me," rather than sacrifices and burnt offerings. The earth and the entire created universe is Jesus Christ's inheritance, and for this reason He must reign until He has put all things under His feet.
Our inheritance is the Holy Spirit. Conversely, we are HIS inheritance. We inherit each other. This is what true marriage is all about, for it pictures the relationship between Christ and the Church--and, by extension, Christ and the entire universe, which is His House. When He comes here, and we go there, the two become one. Only then will the Lord's Prayer be fulfilled.
This is the message of the feast of Tabernacles. Like Israel of old, we are to have a Tabernacles vision while learning obedience in the wilderness. We are to dwell in "booths" during the Pentecostal Age, so that we never lose that vision.
Tabernacles is the feast where the people were to leave their houses made of dead wood and go to God's presence, dwelling in a booth made of living branches of goodly trees. It pictures the change from mortal to immortal, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4. As believers, we have two bodies, or "tabernacles" (tents), Paul says. One is from earth and is mortal; the other is from heaven and is immortal. Though Paul speaks of being clothed with the immortal tabernacle as if it were a future experience--and it is--we can also think of this as a present reality.
When Christ was conceived in you by the hearing of the word, you received that second tabernacle. Christ in you has two parents: God and you. You are the mother, even as Mary was the mother of Jesus. Christ in you is not only a Son of God, but also a Son of Man. It is the result of this marriage between heaven and earth, where Christ in you is filled with the Spirit, and God is embodied.
Many people ask, "Who am I?" You are either your Adamic flesh, or the real you is that holy seed within you, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Take your pick, and you will live with your decision. The one is perfect, and the other will never attain perfection. As believers, we are in the process of becoming the next generation that we are incubating at the present time.
In other words, Christ in you is not merely God; He is YOU as well. This does not mean that you are God. You will never replace God, nor will you ever be the Head over God. But you are His body under the Head, and as such, you are one flesh with Him. If you were strange flesh being transplanted like they do in modern surgery, the strange flesh would be rejected and might have to be forced together through artificial anti-rejection drugs.
To be "one flesh" means to be the same kind of flesh. Physical flesh can marry physical flesh in an Old Covenant relationship. But spiritual flesh can only marry spiritual flesh in a New Covenant relationship. It has to do with the quality of flesh or the quality of being ("I am"). Because Christ in you does not know Adam as father, Christ in you is qualitatively equal to Jesus Christ Himself. Both were conceived by the same Holy Spirit. He is our half-brother.
And the purpose of Tabernacles is to produce Christians (i.e., "little Christs") in the earth. Those who are manifested at the first opportunity will receive authority to "reign on the earth" so that they may teach others by example how to attain this same goal, so that they too might be God's inheritance at the next opportunity (resurrection).
The goal is not to sit on a cloud with a harp in a great retirement home in the sky, nor is it to be served by 70 virgins, nor to live in a mansion next to a street of gold. The goal is to be one with Christ, even as Christ was one with His Father. All will eventually reach that goal, but not all at the first resurrection. All are called (invited), but not all are inspired to accept that invitation. Yet.