Sabtu, 18 Oktober 2008
I set aside yesterday morning to go to the Penang General Hospital to give blood to the blood bank. The blood bank needed blood and I have it to give away. So Vijaya and I went around the hospital block in our car at least 3 times looking for parking place. We could not find one parking space. I wanted to give away what I have and what they needed but no space to park our car.
At that moment the Father showed me a situation we are facing as Vijaya and I prepare for our European Ministry trip. I want to give away what I have received from the Father to the churches in Europe but they have no space for what is from the Father. If they do not know me, I understand but surely they should know the Father. They can ask the Father if they should allow me to minister in their churches.
This is what will happen if you invite me to your churches. There will be a stirring and shaking and then a raising of an Army of God.
Ezekiel 37:1-10 (NKJV) The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ’ ” 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. 9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ’ ” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
In His Majesty’s Service
John 5:19 (NKJV) 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
Dear Friends and Partners in the Kingdom of God,
There is a great need for us to be like Jesus the son of God. That is the desire of the Father. He desires to see His Son’s image in us. The Holy Spirit has come to live inside of us with this mission to change us to be like the Son of God. In the midst of so much of dependency in books, programs, “successful churches” and “super ministers’ we need to become like Jesus. The Son of God was very focused and dependent upon His Father. We too must be focused and dependant upon the Father.
John 5:36 (NKJV) 36 But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.
The Son of God did the Father’s work. He stayed close to the Father and did what he saw the Father do. The very works the Son was doing was bearing witness that it was the Father who has sent him. He was doing the same work of the Father.
John 8:29 (NKJV) 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him”
The Son always did those things that please the Father. He was not a man pleaser. He was not pressured by man into doing what man desired him to do.
Mark 1:35-38 (NKJV) 35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. 36 And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. 37 When they found Him, they said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”
Jesus the Son of God knew exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it? Where did he get His revelation? He got it from the Father. Observe Mark 1:35. Even though he had a very busy schedule the night before and did not have a 5 star hotel to stay in and have a proper rest, He rose early in the morning and went to a solitary place to be with His Father. To express His love, praise, thanksgiving and adoration to His Father. He also listened to His Father.
When Simon came and said to Jesus that everyone was looking for him, He said “Let us go into the next towns”.
If Jesus agreed with Simon and went to that place [where now he is famous] Jesus could enjoy a big offering, a more comfortable place to rest [perhaps]. But Jesus said that he needs to go to another place. Which place? The place where the Father is sending him. The place where the Father wants to work together with the Son.
My friends, let us follow the footsteps of Jesus the Son of God and always seeking to bring pleasure and delight to the Father’s heart. The Father wants to work together with His sons. He wants to show all things to His sons.
My friends, we too desire to please the Father. This November 1st Vijaya and I will be travelling to UK to impart what we have received from the Father. Arrangements are being made right now for us to minister in UK, and other parts of Europe [Germany, Holland …]. If you have church contacts there and you want us to be a blessing please write to your contacts and let them know about our availability. Do let us know also. The west has blessed the east so much in the past and it is now our time to bless the west tremendously with the Kingdom message.
Please continue to pray for our travel by air, road and rail for God’s protection, provision and for His Power to flow like a river and bring His healings, deliverances, changes and breakthroughs in individual’s life, families, churches and nations.
Thank you for standing alongside with us. May His favour be upon you.
In His Majesty’s Service
Christopher and Vijaya.K
Rabu, 15 Oktober 2008
The Case for Simple Church
Perhaps today, more than ever, it is vital that we grasp the significance of the simple church paradigm. Let’s look at why this is so important.
1. Simple Churches are Removing Hindrances
I love the way Eugene Peterson (translating Ephesians 1 ) expresses the essence of what the church really is: “The church is Christ ’s body in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.” Yet, as my wife and I travel throughout the world we see the church so often hindered by organizational forms and structures that are not necessary. By reducing or eliminating these human-made restraints, the church can be unleashed. My wife, Brooks , wrote these words after returning from Africa :
The Revolution is happening – it’s happening all over the world. We are in a Reformation. Acknowledge it or not. Be a part of it or not.. Jesus longs for his church to come alive, to become a living, breathing, organism. He longs for us to be in a real, live, intimate relationship with Him, regardless of others – and then in real, live relationship with our families – earthly and spiritual. And, He’s begging us to come alive, be who we are as individuals, alive and free in Him, telling the world who and what He has done for us…
What I saw in Kenya , I see in America and I see in other parts of the Christianized world. The enemy accepts that Christianity is in the world… but if he can just contain us, keep us from contaminating others, there’s little to worry about. If he can contain us in buildings, then the world will not know the truth and few will be set free. But what I saw in Kenya , I also see in America and other parts of the world. The virus is leaking. The Reformation of the 21st Century, led by the Holy Spirit, is taking Christianity out of containers into the open spaces of the neighbourhoods and nations of the world.
2. Simple Churches are Biblical
The New Testament does not seem to make a big deal about the forms and structures of church. The focus is much more on Christians going and living the lifestyle of Jesus. Yet, it is easily noted that most church gatherings were simple and natural, meeting mostly in homes:
Please give my greetings to the church that meets in their home ( Romans 16:5 ).
The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house ( 1 Corinthians 16:19 ).
Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea , and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house ( Colossians 4:15 ).
By meeting in homes, the early church gathered families, households, and other normal social connections together. The Gospel spread quickly through these lines of family and friends and everyday relationships. This methodology was biblical as well as effective for the spread of God’s message.
3. Simple Churches Empower All Believers
House churches make room for the spiritual gifts of all believers to operate on a regular basis. What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church ( 1 Corinthians 14:26 ).
By simplifying church and gathering simply and naturally in home-sized groups, everyone becomes a participant and every person’s gift is needed. This trains and equips the whole Body of Christ to become fully alive and fully functioning.
4. Simple Churches Foster Authentic Community Life
The desire for authentic relationships where we can open our lives, share our lives, and be vulnerable safely seems to be a universal hunger. Someone suggested that they had closer relationships at the neighbourhood bar before becoming a Christian than they experienced in their neighbourhood church after becoming a Christian.
The shared life that takes place in simple/house churches allows people to find a place of community that is real and honest, where practical living can be discussed and the real struggles of life addressed. As relationships develop it becomes possible to genuinely “encourage one another” and “bear one another’s burdens.”
John Eldredge says, “when Scripture talks about church, it means community. The little fellowships of the heart that are outposts of the kingdom. A shared life. They worship together, eat together, pray for one another, go on quests together. They hang out together, in each other's homes.”
5. Simple Churches Free Up Finances
Isaac Cheduke , a church planter in Africa , shared with us his deep grief in closing down a church that had nearly 100 members because they could not afford the rent on the building where they met. As he found the freedom to meet in homes and to network house churches, he is no longer constrained by buildings and finances. He has now developed a network of dozens of house churches that are multiplying and has money available to meet needs of people rather than cover the cost of buildings.
This is not just a problem in under-developed countries. It is estimated that it takes over two hundred thousand dollars to launch a church in America . Imagine the money that can be freed up for missions and poverty by simplifying our church structures.
6. Simple Churches Can Be Easily Reproduced
Perhaps the most significant case for house churches is that they can be easily started and multiplied. God’s clear desire is for the earth to be filled with the “knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea ( Habakkuk 2:14 ).” Rather than build buildings and organizations that require tremendous time, finances, and energy to reproduce, the kingdom of God multiplies organically: one seed produces fruit that produces more seed that produces more fruit. The power of multiplication is far more powerful than we realize. Take a look at any forest and realize how much is accomplished through natural reproductive processes without any human aid at all.
One of the most exciting developments around the world is rapid church planting movements. These take place where disciples are reproduced quickly and simple/house churches are reproduced rapidly. When this happens, entire cities and regions are being impacted with the Good News of Jesus Christ. There are several components that must be present for Church Planting Movements to take place, but one of them is a model of church that is easily reproduced—a simple/house church model.
7. Simple Churches Can Ignite Our Generation
Many people, today, are catching the vision of what the church is meant to be as she throws off the hindrances and becomes the Spirit-filled movement of Believers she is destined for.
We are catching the vision for living life, 24/7, with and for God without one moment or place being more holy than another. It is a vision of every believer contributing to one another through the spiritual gifts that reside in each one. It is a vision of every believer, using his/her gifts, to take God’s love and power into the world we live in. It is a vision of no longer thinking of the church as an event or place to go, but realizing that we, his people, really are the church everywhere and every place that we go.
Wolfgang Simson describes his vision of what the church, unhindered, is becoming:
[I dream of a] church, which does not need huge amounts of money, or rhetoric, control and manipulation, which can do without powerful and charismatic heroes, which is non-religious at heart, which can thrill people to the core, make them lose their tongues out of sheer joy and astonishment, and simply teach us The Way to live. A church which not only has a message, but is the message. Something which spreads like an unstoppable virus, infects whatever it touches, and ultimately covers the earth with the glory and knowledge of God.
Minggu, 12 Oktober 2008
The Anatomy of False Prophet
We need to be jealous for the truth of the prophetic calling, for if the church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, then we cannot be careful enough in the consideration of this subject. Do our present-day prophets speak out of their own hearts and spirits? Do they draw from each other, or do they come to us out of the secret place of God? Out of what formative relationships in the Body have these prophets come? Has there been an appropriate nurturing, not only of the gift, but of the character of the men before they were visited on the church? How long and how rightly have they been part of a local fellowship? Have they been sent out by the same in a sending that is more than a ceremonial thing? Do we even know what a true sending is? False prophets validate each other, where the one applauds, affirms and establishes the other, but it is not a fellowship that has validated them. They have not risen up out of the organic work of God itself, like the church in Antioch. Instead they pay tribute to each other and compliment each other, especially those who are flowing in much the same thing. What is the source of their prophetic speaking? Where does the prophet get his word? If it is not out of the council of God, the secret place, then how is it God's word? If men do claim to be commissioned, we have a right to look for evidence that they have indeed stood in that place.
God's Indictment of Israel's Prophets
In Jeremiah chapter 23, God gives us a powerful statement about true and false prophets. Talk about an indictment! It is one thing to have an indictment against Israel, but when you begin to indict the prophets of Israel, when the loftiest and the best and the noblest thing has become the most profane, then that must be a symbol or a statement of the low condition of a nation prior to its judgment.
In verse 9, it is Jeremiah himself speaking about himself in his own prophetic condition:
As for the prophets: My heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble; I have become like a drunken man, even like a man overcome with wine, because of the LORD and because of His holy words.
That is not a light word. That is a word that has churned the prophet up himself.
For the land is full of adulterers; for the land mourns because of the curse. The pastures of the wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil, and their might is not right (v.10).
The word 'adulterer' does not only mean moral infidelity, where you have a sexual union with someone other than one's spouse, but when you adulterate something, you water it down or you mix it with something other than what it is in itself. You change, therefore, the quality, the character and the integrity of that thing. It probably is a gradual process, little by little, until finally what you have is colored water and it is no longer wine at all.
For both prophet and priest are polluted; even in My house I have found wickedness," declares the LORD (v.11).
There is a conjunction between prophet and priest:
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! (Jer.5:31a).
It is remarkable how self-serving this reciprocal thing is between heads of movements or fellowships and the false prophets, and how comfortable they are with one another and how they affirm one another. The people are in an unspoken agreement with their ministers: "You present a biblical message. We will pay the bill and have a Sunday service that will leave our lives free from any kind of demand that would really touch our true vested interest and value. We don't want a message that is going to challenge where our heart really is. We want to be able to say, 'Amen' and 'We've been to church'"—and that kind of thing. As the priest, so also the people. As the pastor/preacher, so also the congregation. Into that situation we have to come prophetically—and likely be stoned!
Therefore their way will be like slippery paths to them, they will be driven away into the gloom and fall in it; for I shall bring calamity upon them, the year of their punishment," declares the LORD (v. 12).
It implies that there is not an immediate judgment, but that there is an appointed time in which God judges those that profane His house—those who originally had authentic and holy callings. That may well be why the Lord is allowing to continue that which is presently being called prophetic and is so popular, but for them, as with the priests and prophets of old, there will be a year of visitation or a time when God calls a halt.
Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: they prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray (v.13).
There is a consequence for false prophecy. It will affect the entire nation and therefore the entire church by the same principle.
Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: the committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; and they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah. (v. 14).
This verse deserves a lot of attention. Their view of the truth, of the word of God and of doctrine is corrupted by their sensual and ungodly living. Here also, the walking in lies and the committing adultery go hand-in-hand. If you are going to commit adultery, then there is a way in which you have to inwardly justify yourself, and you can only do that at the expense of the truth of God. There is also a consequence in that it strengthens also the hands of evildoers. There is nothing about their proclamation that causes repentance and return, but rather a condoning of those who are in a place opposed to God. It is something like judges today who cannot bring sentence upon transgressors. The modern court system is a calamity because of judges who cannot and will not judge. They cannot bring the severity of the law against the lawbreaker, because their own life personally is itself a transgression. You cannot bring the severity of the law to others when you yourself deserve it.
Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets, 'Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood and make them drink poisonous water, for from the prophets of Jerusalem pollution has gone forth into all the land.' Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you...' (vs. 15-16a).
Notice that God still calls them prophets. It is maybe because the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. They still retain their official title, but what they are performing under that title is in God's sight an abomination. There is nothing more profane than when the sacred is no longer authentically sacred. When we take the sacred phrase, 'Thus says the Lord' and merely employ it as a device to win the attention of our hearers, then we are desecrating the sacred. We are making the sacred profane and once we have done that, what else can be hoped for? If we are not as a priestly people setting forth the distinction between the profane and the sacred, what can be hoped for in the world? The ramifications of what we are talking about are beyond any full grasp.
They are leading you into futility; they speak a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise Me, 'The LORD has said, 'You will have peace'; and as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say, 'Calamity will not come upon you.' (v.16b-17).
This must be the very quintessence of what a false prophet is, namely, the giving of a false comfort and a false assurance of peace that does not regard the truth of the conditions that need to be faced. It is an unwillingness to bring a hard word. The things that are prophesied are normally flattering and encouraging to the flesh, rather than challenging or threatening. False prophets have historically prophesied peace when there is no peace. 'Calamity will not come upon you' is unhappily the kind of prophetic statement that is coming forth even today, especially in Israel. They are giving a false comfort to those who are not even properly aligned to God. Humanly speaking, we would not see these people as those who despise God. God sees them, however, as despising Him and we need to see it as He sees it. The false prophets are actually bringing a kind of encouragement to those people who are already out of right relationship with God and give them an assurance that their relationship with God is in order.
But who has stood in the council of the LORD, that he should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened? (v.18).
Here is the key verse. You almost want to put that verse in a box, as if the Lord is saying, "Of all those who not only profess to be prophets, but even those who have been called to be prophets, how many are speaking the word that can only be obtained in the council of the Lord?" Is it not remarkable how everything in God, in the last analysis, comes down to the issue of relationship? He will never give anything independent of relationship. When He called Moses up to the Mount to receive the tablets of the law in order that he might teach them, Moses was first to come up and be there. How dare we say, "Thus says the Lord", who have not stood in the council of the Lord and heard His word? I think it is impossible for a flamboyant, gainsaying, gain-seeking minister to even be in that place. To be in the council of the Lord requires a certain humility, a certain brokeness, a certain utter dependency upon God, a certain capacity to wait and a certain separation from self-interest, fame, fortune and recognition. Men attenuated to those things cannot be in the council of the Lord, and yet they are the first ones to so readily say, "Thus says the Lord."
The characteristic of modern day ministries worldwide is the separation of ministry from relationship. We have made ministry a thing in itself. It is not that we do not talk about worship and the Lord, but somehow we are able to perform it out of a virtuoso ability or maybe even out of the gift, but not out of the depth of relationship. Relationship is not only key to the bestowing of the gift or the tablets of the Law, but the ongoing ability to rightly teach them. Once you sever relationship from ministry, you are on exceedingly dangerous ground. The ministry flows out of the life and the life out of the relationships, and if we break that connection and have a ministry independent of that, then it is not going to be a ministry that God recognizes.
But who has stood in the council of the LORD...?
That phrase implies a closeness to God. How is it, then, that these prophets who were speaking prolifically and influencing the nation toward evil were not in this place? Why did they not get the word of the Lord out of His council and out of His presence? That there should even be a moment's hesitation about answering this question is a real statement about us! They were adulterers and walking in lies, and therefore, how can such men be in the council of God? This God is holy and you cannot come into that presence in that condition. You do not even desire to come into that place in that condition! That is why you get your words from others, or out of your own skull, because this requires a sanctification. This requires something about your own condition that permits that kind of relationship, particularly if it is an abiding.
We can even become utilitarian in this thing where we say in our minds, "Well, if that is what the Lord says, I guess I have to find my way into His council and into His presence in order to get the word". That is not the way it works. It is being in the council of God and being in the Presence of God that the word may come, but if you make the word and the attainment of it the condition for entering the presence, then you have already stepped off holy ground. You are coming in the spirit of utility and not in the spirit of devotion to God for His own sake. Moses was told to come up the Mount to God and be there, not for the benefit that was going to accrue to him for coming, even the ministerial benefit, but simply because God is God. He is the Creator and we are the creation. We are simply to be there, and if no word comes, then no word comes. If we come looking for a word in that expedient, utilitarian sense that we have, then it is no longer the holy ground. We are ruled by the spirit of utility much more than we know. It is the spirit of the world which has the underlying premise that one must do this in order to obtain that. We are paying for this if we can get that.
We simply do not know what it means 'to do' or 'to be' for its own sake. If we have never come to that place first with God, then how shall we come to it with men? There is, therefore, a warp in all that we do and say that does not have its true place out of the presence of God, which place cannot be entered in the spirit of utility.
Moses, who wrote the five books of Moses, could say of himself that he was the humblest man on the face of the earth. That is true humility, where we are devoid of any sense of spiritual self-consciousness. We can merely state the fact of something without any effect upon ourselves, because the humility is not a statement to our honor. Humility is not something that man can work up by himself on the earth and develop as a character trait. Humility is what God is in Himself, and the only one who will display and exhibit it, is that one who has been consistently in the presence of God. It is humbling to be there and that is why Moses could state it not as a credit to himself, but to God, out of whose presence that humility was established. God requires still that His prophetic men be in His presence.
I want to say that there is nothing more difficult for anyone than this requirement. Everything contends against it—the dinner bell, the faucet is dripping, the light bulb needs to be changed, the dogs need to be fed—a thousand things continually nipping at you that require attention. Even if that were not so, there is something about the pulse of the flesh itself that is inimical and opposed to seeking the Lord. Seeking the Lord is an extraordinarily difficult thing and few have sufficeint incentive. It is a suffering, and in fact, just to be more ruthlessly honest, it is a dying. Living on the earth, in the flesh, in the world and in time, and to confide and to commune with God, is an extraordinary and ultimate attainment. If you attain it, then maintain it, because you do not want to have to do it all over again. Can you maintain it and still go to last night's birthday party, and dancing, and hooting, and singing, and stomping and not lose it or be jarred from your sensitive spiritual place by what seems to be just a time of fun? We are talking about something very critical. I would not expect in the earth today many men who are in this place. What then shall we say for the whole rash of prophets that have arisen in recent years for there are many men professing to be prophets, but are we hearing the council of God? God's judgment about the failure to obtain His word in that place is severe:
Behold, the storm of the LORD has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling tempest; it will swirl down on the head of the wicked (v. 19).
The word 'wicked' is almost exclusively used for those who should know better. It is those who profess or should have every reason to know God and are yet, by intent, acting wrongly. That is wickedness.
The anger of the LORD will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the purposes of His heart; in the last days you will clearly understand it (v. 20).
Notice that the judgment is deferred. It is not immediate, but it will come later for something now that is an offense to God, namely, the whole compromise of His prophets and the way it has affected the nation.
I did not send these prophets, but they ran; I did not speak to them, but they prophesied. But if they had stood in My council, then they would have announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from their evil way and from the evil of their deeds (vs. 21-22).
We can know when the word is out of the council of God because it has this salutary effect. It will affect the nation or fellowship in turning it toward God, rather than away from Him and from their evil ways and their practices. I can remember a full gospel breakfast where the speaker was from Sweden, a leading evangelical personality, but it could have been anywhere. He was wearing a Gucci shirt and tie and a silk-type suit, and he began by saying, "The Lord has spoken to me this morning and given me a word for you." I leaned forward to catch every syllable that had come from the heart of God. As I heard it, however, there was nothing from God at all, but clichés, evangelical phrases and full gospel hogwash. The men who were hearing that word that morning, and nodding their heads, and "amening", applauding and affirming, need to know that there are consequences when we allow that kind of monumental lie to be expressed and not to be contradicted. It will deaden and dull our sensitivity so that the next time we will be an even greater candidate for deception for anything that comes down the pike.
There needed to be someone in that audience that morning to get up and say, "I am sorry for whatever pain and dislocation I am going to cause, but I cannot allow that phrase and that statement to be made in our hearing without being contested. That was not the word of God and we dare not allow that kind of terminology to be employed merely to sanctify or to give a kind of credibility to what is otherwise just an ordinary statement." How often is that being done and to what extent has our failure to do so had a negative effect on the church today? We have paid much for cheap, casual references to God, as if we could invoke Him at pleasure or say, "God gave", when He did not give.
I attended a conference where the theme was, 'How to invoke the presence of God by our worship.' We were told that if our song liturgy was of a sufficient kind and quality, then we could actually make manifest His presence. I did speak up that time and you can be assured that I have not been invited back since. I touched a holy cow. I said, "You would be doing far better to teach people how to continue in faithfulness with God without the sensing of His presence, which is more likely to be our end-time reality, than to think that we can calculate, engineer, or evoke God's presence at our will." It was a manipulation of God, as if He is going to give Himself to the devices of men.
Generally speaking, when men will invoke the phrase, "Thus says the Lord", it is almost a testimony to the fact that the Lord is not saying. If He is saying, then we do not have to embellish the statement by authorizing it. The statement itself will ring with the truth of God and the sense of God. Is it a rhema, a quickened statement of God of an original kind that we need to hear in the crisis place that we are, or is it just some kind of an embellishment to give a charismatic aura to our proceeding? It will have the effect of cheapening the whole integrity of the prophetic thing and make it a light kind of thing that anyone almost at will can offer. I would much prefer fewer such statements, but when they come you know that God has spoken.
When Israel's prophets said, "Thus says the Lord", then you know that what is following is going to be a judgment that is so horrific that God validates even the words that bear His resonance, because they are words of an ultimate kind of judgment. It must, therefore, be clear from the inception that this is not the prophet speaking out of himself. We have it passed down to us as written prophecy of a kind that has affected the history of Israel, but in spoken prophecy we need to discern whether it is the Lord speaking by the weight of what is being said in terms of the anointing and the authority, rather than in having it labeled for us.
The same ones who will dismiss God rudely are the same ones who will invoke Him lightly. Prophets are called to come into that whole scenario, and bring the sword of the Lord, and bring the fear of the Lord, and the truth of the Lord to people who have been long spoiled by such cheapy things as I am now describing, and as every one of us at one time or another, more than we would like, have experienced. This is why we have anguished and God is calling a halt.
That is why there are false prophets. That is why, if I can say it, the Charismatic and kindred movements themselves are kind of false movements, wanting the effulgence of the Spirit and the excitement and the activity, but evading the cross and the necessity for suffering out of which the Spirit of God is given as solace, comfort and power. We come back again and again to the cross. The false prophet speaks words of comfort when God would not have His people to be comforted, but to be agitated. True prophets can bear the reprisal, the rejection and the mortification of that word coming back into their own teeth. They can bear giving the word and then someone cueing the piano player to drown it out. Prophetic anguish is to bring the word of God and then to have it refused and come right back into your teeth. It is mortifying and the antithesis of the joy and the gratification that comes when the word of God flows out of you, and through, and into the people who are receiving it. That is like tonic for your soul. We have to be as willing for the one as the other, or we will not speak the other. The call to the prophet is the call to the cross. It is a frequent, if not continual form of suffering of an exquisite and ultimate kind. Can we say, "Thus says the Lord" without actually articulating those words or implying those words in your statement, except that your word has come through the cross? It is out of a death. It is not your own word, but His, which can only come from that cross-centered place. That was true for the prophets before the advent of the cross. Elijah preceded the cross, but he knew the death of it when he said, "...there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." Jesus knew the cross before He knew the cross. The cross only exemplified and made visible the thing to which His life was all along submitted.
'Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?' declares the LORD. 'Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?' declares the Lord. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, 'I had a dream, I had a dream!' (vs.24-25).
The heart of the offense in being false before God is that all of this takes place as if He is not seeing and does not understand and is not aware of what is being done. It is an enormous presumption that God takes note of, though we do not. It is a complete absence of the fear of God or the reverence for God as God. They really believe that they are hearing from God and what they are communicating is the council of God. They have reached such a place of deceit, that they have persuaded themselves that when they say, "Thus says the Lord", it is the Lord saying. We can come to that condition by a gradual erosion, a little day-by-day, slight kind of a thing, that when the process is finished, one is not only false, but one thinks that one is still true. There is a daily vigilance required over the issues of the heart in order that deception does not have its ultimate work, where the man deceived thinks that he is in the right and leading many to their doom. That is why God urges us to exhort one another daily while it is still day, because tomorrow is already too late.
...who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another...(v.27a).
That is to say, to communicate a sense of God that is not God and allow those listening to think that it is God because they have fastened the name of Jesus to it. False prophetic things and things that are deceitful will affect how people perceive and understand God, especially if they are affirmed in their shallowness, or if a certain lightness and frivolity is communicated. God cannot help but suffer loss. They are prophesying in the name of the Lord, but because it is false, the effect of it is to get people to forget His name, which is to say, to lose the sense of God as God, and the character of God intrinsic to His name.
How do we know that it is God's word and God's council? It is because it is likely to be the word that is expressed in verse 29:
'Is not My word like fire?' declares the LORD; 'and like a hammer which shatters a rock?'
In other words, "My word is not some soulish 'making nice'. My word breaks up the deeps; it demolishes and it burns." That is how you can tell whether it is a false word or a true word. If you want to distinguish between a prophetic word that is God's word and a prophetic word that is assumed by man, conjured out of his own mind and imagination and that is false, then here is the distinction: God's word is like a fire. His word burns and is like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. It is devastating and brings an effect and contains a power that breaks in or burns through. It will never be some innocuous, syrupy thing that confirms us in what we are doing, especially when our lives our slovenly and slack. His word should burn in our heart and reveal the true condition of it and not as we thought it to be.
Every true word requires, and if we do not respond, then it means that we have not really heard. "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb. 4:7b)." If we have heard, then it should evoke a response in us. Not to respond is to harden. There is no such thing as neutrality. The word of God when it is the word of God has to have consequence for ill or good. We can never ignore it or allow it to pass and nod our heads by saying, "Yes, that was a good and interesting word. I enjoyed that." It requires or we harden, and that is why we find so many people in a hardened condition and then God's last appeals would be a prophetic cry, but it has got to be like a hammer upon a rock that breaks through until the necessary repentance and release.
A prophet has got to speak what is true. Men who are man-pleasers and will not risk the consequences are those who become false prophets. We will be continually searched and tested in this. It is not established for all time and you are the one or the other. There is always a continual tension of standing before men, and if there is anything that yet craves recognition, acceptance and approval, then we will likely find ourselves compromised and yielding to the enormous pressure of 'going along'.
"Therefore behold, I am against the prophets," declares the LORD, "who steal My words from each other. Behold, I am against the prophets," declares the LORD, "who use their tongues and declare, 'The LORD declares.' Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams," declares the LORD, "and related them, and led My people astray by their falsehoods and their reckless boasting ('and by their lightness'- King James Version); yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,"declares the LORD (vs. 30-32).
One thing that this text reveals is the lightness that is intrinsic to false prophets. There is a certain levity, a certain kind of air of casualness, that seems to prevail in conferences and sessions where men who have not been sent of God have had opportunity to speak as if they had been sent of God. I have observed that very same levity prevailing in the very place where the man who was introduced to the congregation was introduced as the 'oracle of God' and the 'prophet of God for the hour'; and yet not only was his own speaking disappointing, though biblical, there was a levity and a kind of lightness, a kind of a joking spirit, that even when it was over that same spirit prevailed in the audience.
The unhappy thing is that great numbers of Christians in the world have never heard a true prophetic word spoken in the authority of God, and all they have ever heard they assume is normative, and think that this is what the prophetic word is. They have no basis for comparison. To hear such a word once, however, is to be ruined forever for anything less. There is, therefore, a great cry and need for that word and that authority to come into the earth, that the church might be rightly ruined and made candidates for the truth.
False prophets steal God's words from each other and often speak the same kind of word. I have been around now over thirty years as a believer, and I have to say, that what I have seen is a succession of fads, panaceas, gimmicks and things that we latch onto. There is a way in which we can put our finger up: "Which way is the wind blowing? What is current? What is now popular? I know that if I speak on faith, the people will love it; or prayer, or worship, or church growth, or power evangelism." We seem to go through periods where certain themes have found a place of acceptance and then you just move in that, and you pick up what others are saying, and then you say it. You know you are going to find an acceptance because it has been proven.
There is a difference between speaking about, for example, the 'Mystery of Israel' because it is in vogue and because you can learn it as anyone else, as opposed to waiting for the revelation when it is given. The speaking will employ unavoidably very much the same words, and yet for the hearer, the hearing of the one and the hearing of the other is a profoundly different experience. One communicates information while the other communicates revelation and life, and in so doing it becomes an 'event'.
There is a place for simplicity of lifestyle and dependency upon God that has very much to do with integrity and the quality of the word that is issued. There is something about poverty that is more than accidental. I know that religiously we can perform at it and make a cheap kind of thing as Catholicism has done. I would suspect, however, that the men who are saying, "Peace, peace..." and are bringing comforting messages, are somehow not living in that poverty. In fact, the very popularity that comes with speaking messages that are approved and that men want to hear will assure you of response both in admiration, applause and in giving. I am not demeaning the motives of men to say they are choosing a wrong message in order that their lifestyles might be maintained and subscribed, but somewhere in the realm of the labyrinthine corridors of the soul, somewhere someone must know that to be accepted, to be popular and to be approved, is also to prosper. To speak a word that is unpleasant and contradictory is somehow to ensure that you are going to cut yourself off from the kinds of things that would have maintained a lifestyle that you would have thought appropriate.
God knows and sees through it all, and there is nothing that He will judge more severely than men who say, "Thus says the Lord", when God has not said. I wish that we could come to a place of real brokenheartedness over this, that somehow our travail over what has already so saturated the Body of Christ through cheap utterances and pseudo-prophecies could somehow be removed from the mind and the memory of God's people in order that they would be made virginal again; and that they would be brought to a place of appreciation, and expectation, and willingness to wait for a true word when it comes. For when it comes, that word alone brings life-changing power. There is a waiting that requires as much a dying in the church as the dying in the man who is sent. As I have said, to fight your way through to the secret council of God, and to be in His presence—not just on the hit-and-miss basis to obtain the word, but as a communing that is consistent, out of which the word will come when God chooses to give it—is so rare, so painful and so difficult, that the flesh shrinks from it. It is easier to hear the word from other men and to imitate and repeat that, knowing that it is already popular and has found approval. We desperately need to hear what is on God's heart now, and the only one who can communicate that is he who is close to His heart. Everything conspires against it, including your own flesh and the things that are legitimate—your family, the light bulbs, the dogs. There is a dying to find your way into the place of the secret council of God, but it is in that place that the word of the Lord will come—and no other.
Selasa, 07 Oktober 2008
Agony and the Ecstasy of Paul
The Testimony of Jesus Christ is Spirit of Prophecy
Sunday 1st Service ( (24 October 2004)
By Art Katz
Praise the Lord. Good morning dear saints. If I look in any fresh, that’s a deception, I’m altogether crumpled, tired, uninspired, uninstructed, feeling and finding my way, and yet cherishing this final occasion. I can’t tell you how deeply… not to miss the mind of the Lord in any particular… the issue is not to find what is good but to find what is perfect.
There are a lot of good things, tested, given things. But what is the appropriate and intended word for the conclusion of these days, as if it were once and for all and will not be given again. We think that for that a man would need a full night’s sleep. The marvel is if I’ve had any. But hat is a necessity that I would stand before you in a kind of crumpled condition because I can tell you that when you’ll be called upon to give a climatic final moment of utter and eternal significance, you’re not going to feel any better than I’m feeling presently and you’ll have to be obedient in the want of vim and vigor, strength and inspiration that you think you ought to have to the uttermost because the moment is so critical but you’ll have it least. You’ll have to be obedient in your weakness. And so I’m required, as a prophetic man, not only to speak, but to demonstrate the thing to which you are so for-called. Got that picture?
So even here, we’re talking in the car, what shall be said and how shall we conclude and what text? And I’m not even sure now though I’m moments away from having to open my mouth. So Lord, our confidence is in you. If we’re jealous for this conclusion, for this finale, as if it will never again be our privilege, what ought to be spoken Lord? In Your so great wisdom. Who alone knows the end from the beginning. You know the destiny my God of the Church and this expression in this city and in this nation. What ought to be spoken Lord? And how? Come have all the more opportunity to express yourself because I’m in a condition of weakness. Because my mind is fuzzy. Because I can’t humanly put it together. Exhibit my God your wonderful grace, that resurrection and power for which these children will be called to fulfill in their weakness what you are setting before them and mine. And we thank you for the mystery of it and your provision through it and your wonderful grace that as one who has gone before in exactly this way, for You were crucified in weakness. So we thank You and give You praise for this conclusion now. Lord let every word be a sword and a dagger. Every piece of punctuation, your accent, your voice, the disposition of your heart and mind, that nothing my God will fall to the ground. We’ll cherish it we promise and thank You for the privilege of it in Jesus Name, Amen
Well it would almost be criminal to have passed through these days and not one time to speak to you out of Romans 11. Are you aware what Romans 11 signifies for the Apostle Paul? It is his very heart. Are you aware what the book of Romans signifies for the Apostle Paul? It is the most systematic statement of his apostolic creed, of his whole perception of the faith and of reality.
The book of Romans is classic beyond all estimation and scholars have rightly said that chapters 1 through 8 are the preliminary for 9 through 11, which is the heart and 12 through 16 is the aftermath, the working out, the application of what is spoken as the centerpiece which is Romans 9 through 11, the subject of the mystery of Israel and the Church.
Can you imagine what a statement it is of God’s wisdom that the Church that is gentile, would take to its heart this great burden and this great mystery not just as an aspect of its consideration or concern, but the very heart of its purpose, call and being. That a gentile Church who should be preoccupied with the destiny and faith of the Jewish nation is a remarkable statement to the principalities and powers of the air who preside over mankind in their premise that men are only goaded and provoked by their self interest and will only seek what pertains to themselves, their pleasure, their security and all the rest. God wants to being that false interest down. Not only to contradict it but to utterly to destroy it because it has made of captive nations and races of men who live for number one, for themselves, their security, their selfinterest, their satisfaction as an unspoken premise that this is the principle for life. That if you have any kind of reason, you know that you take care of number one first and if you have anything left over, you might consider a bit of philanthropy and altruism. But God contradicts all that and says that the utterness of the divine wisdom is a consideration other than yourself, contrary to yourself. That not only does not promote your self interest but threatens it. And so I can tell you with confidence, anyone who will take up Paul’s burden of the mystery of Israel through the Church in the last days makes himself an especial candidate for suffering. The powers of darkness will hate this determination on your part not only because you’re gentile, but because you are Chinese. Because you’re oriental, you’re Asian. So that which is to say, you’re the least ones of whom anyone would expect some kind of identification with that
Semitic people in the other part of the world whose representative is standing before you. Why should you have any affinity for the Jew? Any interest in the destiny of that nation? All the more when its track record stinks. When the Lord acknowledges that you have blasphemed my Name in every nation where I have sent you, where I have cast you in judgment. And now in the last days, you’re even doing it in the land that you presently occupy. And you’ll continue to do it until I bring that final last day sifting and judgment by which the great majority of you will not survive and the remnant will
constitute the redeemed nation who returns to Zion with everlasting joy upon their heads, sighing and mourning passing away.
So will you take my word for it, you dear saints? I know that this is a strange subject you’re not acquainted. But I want to introduce it. I want to by the grace of God sound a theme. There’s no way that we can begin to develop this, this takes a 3 to 5 day seminar at least to dwell upon this and draw this out. What I’m hoping for in the gravity of time, which means shortness that the theme will so be sounded that it will ruin you, that it will haunt you. It will come back into your thought, your consciousness, “Israel, why should we be preoccupied? It’s as distant and remote a subject and concern as could ever be put before us as Asian Christians. And yet if we don’t take it up, we will contradict the very mystery that was at the heart of the great apostle’s consideration. That to remove this from Paul is to remove Paul.
And what are we, if we do not reflect and take to our heart what was central to him. What is the Church if it’s not built upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets? So we want to probe and feel and identify and grasp what pulsated in this great apostle’s heart. What was given to him as revelation over which he was a steward of the mystery. And no where else does he say, “Brethren my desire is that you should not be ignorant of this mystery lest you become wise in your own conceit.”
There’s no other place where he warns that the loss of a mystery will have any negative consequence except here. To lose this mystery, not to obtain it, opens you to consequences that are undesirable and change and threaten the entire character of the Church itself.
He said, “I would not have it that you be ignorant of this mystery lest you become wise in your own conceit.” Something pompous, something inflated, some swelling up of your Christian egotism will necessarily follow the absence of, the lack, of this mystery. This mystery is calculated to temper you, to humble you, to bring you into a sense of
God in the majesty of His mind and will, because Paul ends this remarkable statement in Romans 11 with 3 verses that in a most magnificent, poetic paean of praise to God stated anywhere in the whole corpus of the Bible, Old or New Testament. There’s no greater ecstatic statement that stretches language to breaking than Paul’s spontaneous eruption at the end of his final statement in Romans 11. “Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” The man is staggered, he is reeling, his breath fails him. “Oh the depth of the riches.” What has he seen, that he would
exclaim something so ecstatically that it defies language to comprehend? Who has been his counselor? Who has given to him and it shall be given again? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to Whom be glory forever.” You dear saints, if you trifle with this, if you think that Paul is only employing a little piece of flourish and rhetoric, some stylistic thing to end his remarkable statement in Romans 11 with the glory of God forever because it has a nice lofty sound, you are condemned, you’re shortchanging God, you’re crippling yourself, you’re losing the heart and nub and genius of apostolicity itself…is the issue of the glory of God forever.
Don’t you understand? If we miss what Paul is saying, why he is ecstatic, why he concludes like that, we turn the word “glory” into a piece of traffic. We make it a little piece of convenient verbalism that we can write, put into our choruses, our songs, taught to pray, but we don’t know what it means, it doesn’t pierce us through…We don’t understand the ultimacy of the word “glory”. Which is at the heart of Church that is Church, it’s very purpose for being, beyond any and every other consideration
of any benefit that it derives from believing, is the purpose pertaining to the glory of God.
If I could only make that point, if I could only sink that home, if I could only drive it into your corporate consciousness and into your deeps, I will heave a sigh of relief and feel that I have discharged my obligation to toward you.
A Church that is not jealous for the glory of God is ipso-facto not the Church. It can call itself that, it can have services and programmes and all the rest, but it has lost its reason for being. And how do we understand this? The glory of God? The phrase itself defies every concept. We can’t even summon humanly an understanding, let alone an appropriation of a phrase like “the glory of God forever.”
So I want to tell you flat out, that there’s no way that you can even aspire to it or consider it, unless it is given you by the grace of God.
Isn’t it remarkable contradiction that we can’t live for the jealousy of the glory unless God Himself should communicate something of the substance and spirit and meaning of that word? That we’re dependant upon Him even to catch some sense of the thing which is to be central to our own reason for being. That’s why he says, “for of Him and
through Him and to Him are all things to whom be glory forever.”
I’m pleading with you to wrestle with that, that Paul is not just going on a flight of fancy
and getting poetic to bring a nice, lofty sounding conclusion to a great epistle. This is
the heart, the genius of what is apostolic because it recognizes that the remarkableness
of our call, the ultimacy is so beyond our ability even to understand it, let alone to fulfill
it, because it’s of Him. It’s not from Art Katz or any man however clever. This is of
Him, this mystery that no man could have conceived. That there is a relationship in
God’s wisdom between the Jewish people, that nation that is despised and even now
stirring the hatred of the world toward it which will increase in torrents. It will be an
Anti-Semitic inundation worldwide. They will be the most hate and despised of all
peoples, like the Lord before them. And you’re going to be identified with them in
those last days?
It’ll threaten your future, it’ll mark you, it’ll make you an object for persecution because
whoever hates them and wants to drive them into the sea and to obliterate them once
and for all and blame them for every malady and failure of world and society will bring
upon you some measure of that vitriolic hatred as upon them if you are seen to be in
any way sympathetic towards them or identifying with them or willing to extend
yourself for them when they are universally hated and despised and looked upon as the
enemies of mankind.
Got the picture?
That you should yet be willing to suffer that risk and count it privilege to identify with a
people who in no way have done anything for you for which you have received the
benefit and yet you’re willing at the sacrifice and peril of your own life and family to be
so identified with them whom you’ve never even seen in the flesh? That’s a mystery.
That’s an extraordinary phenomenon that can only be understood out of the councils
of the wisdom of God which Paul being the apostle that he is and the steward of these
mysteries had seen.
Not to see it, dear saints, is to condemn us to charismatica. Is to condemn us to
predictable services oriented for our enjoyment, our pleasure. They’re good, its
Biblical, it brings a dimension of something that is desired, but it falls short of the glory.
“For of Him” This mystery, only God could have conceived it in the divine mind. This
reciprocal relationship between not only two different kinds of people, but people who
have been in historic enmity throughout the whole chronicle of the ages – the Jew and
I know you don’t know anything about that. Will you take my word for it? That I grew
up with it as a Jewish by in a Jewish home with a Jewish mother who when she was a
kid in London, England and they had to take swimming, her gentile teacher threw her
into the pool and said, “sink or swim you fat Jew.” My mother in her 90s still
remembered that and never forgave that gentile insult. Jews carry with them a history
of the enmity of the gentile world against them. Where have they been safe? In what
nation in the world where they had been aliens and cast out. At what moment would
the bottom fall out? Even when they achieve a measure of security and then suddenly
something turns as in Germany. And they become the object for annihilation.
You can’t understand how deep and savage has been the history of enmity, fear and
suspicion between Jews and the gentile world. And yet God says in His mystery, that
there’s a necessary relationship between a gentile Church and this people. So necessary
that if you don’t enter it consciously and willfully, even though there are few Jews in
your midst to whom you can demonstrate this presently, you forfeit the possibility for
the fulfillment of yourself as Church.
The issue of what your are as Church is altogether related and totally identified with
this people. You cannot even understand yourself as Church or fulfill your purpose as
Church if you have not the consciousness of the intended relationship with that people.
Nor can they come to the fulfillment of God’s intention for them independent of you.
And that’s humbling for any Jew who wants to make it alone and independent and
show himself morally and in every way superior.
God in His wisdom has created these differences that requires a reconciliation, a union,
an identification which only He can affect. He calls us to the impossible. With man this
is impossible. But with God…So then why Katz are you bursting your jugular vein to
communicate this if it’s but God? Do we just lean back and sit and wait for the magic of
His performance? No. There’s a required participation of a conscious willful kind. It’s
an agreement to pay for this and sacrifice because what is the first verse after Romans
“Brethren therefore I beseech you make of your bodies a living sacrifice as an
altogether proper worship unto the Lord.” What is he saying? This is not going to be
fulfilled by sitting on our haunches. This is going to require ultimate sacrifice, which is
your proper service. Or it cannot be fulfilled.
How many times have I used now already the word “ultimate”? How many times have
you ever used it? I would bet dollars to donuts (American idiom) that there’s hardly a
soul in this room who has ever once breathed the word ultimate. Or has spoken about
ultimacy. And yet the prophetic heart cries out for that word especially.
Because if we will not be ultimate in the intention of God, we will be predictable,
ordinary, mundane, mediocre. And that is a contradiction in terms because “unto Him
be glory in the Church,” not mediocrity. Got the picture?
You would sink into a necessary mediocrity of predictability of religion as a Sunday
addendum where your first purpose is really the success of your career and the
attainment of your education and the finding of a wife or a husband and having a family
and a nice home and car, etc. You would necessarily go the way of all flesh if God in
His mercy had not just called you to religion but to ultimacy. To things beyond your
ability that requires an ultimate sacrifice, an ultimate determination, an ultimate
understanding, an ultimate jealousy for the glory of God which itself is an ultimate
subject. And the heck of it is this; you can’t even perform that by yourself. It is of such
a nature and kind that it requires corporate fulfillment or no fulfillment at all.
That’s why he had you on the floor the other night, you young ones. Because unless
you are incorporated in those purposes, and come early to the recognition of the
ultimacy of your call and destiny in Him, we older ones cannot fulfill it without you.
We’re in something together.
Those that believed were together. It’s more than being alongside each other in chairs,
looking up at a platform and enjoying the service. The whole issue of the Church is the
issue of this mystery, its comprehension and its fulfillment, which is of Him.
But if it’s of Him, it must necessarily be through Him. All of your well meaning
intention, all of your brittle ability, your well meaning clever(ness), you did well in
school, now you’ll do well in Church, You’ll fulfill this mystery out of your capability; no
This is so requiring, so ultimate that has been conceived of Him, that it can only be
fulfilled through Him. That’s why I’m in my crumpled condition this morning. Because
the speaking itself of this mystery cannot issue out of human expertise and ability. Not
even human energy. It’s got to be through Him or not at all. Even the proclamation of
the mystery, the setting forth of it has got to be through Him. Through His life, through
His power, through the resurrection reality which is at the heart of the genius of the
faith and not just the expediency by which Jesus was removed from His tomb and
elevated to the right hand of God.
Resurrection through Him, which means that you are so now under obligation to move
from the mere acknowledgement of the truth of resurrection as doctrine, to the
appropriation of resurrection as – the Germans have a good word, they always do; the
urs brunk – the motivation, the animation, the spring of life itself.
But I know that I know, there’s hardly one of you in the room that has ever tasted that
reality. Though you thought that you had done God service by acknowledging the truth
of it as doctrine.
You’ve got to live through the resurrection. You’ve got to live through that life.
Through that power, through its enablement, which is given all the more opportunity in
weakness which is to the human flesh humiliating.
Everything that is human in us wants to strive on the basis of our ability, our strength,
our clarity, our clear-headedness, we’ve got it together. God will never allow the
greatness of His mysteries to be fulfilled even so much as an iota from that which
springs out of man himself. With man it is impossible, that’s why it’s to the glory of
God you dear saints, that He should triumph in the fulfillment of this extravagant vision
to resurrect a nation being brought to a death as the consequence of its own sinful
rejection of its own God, the breaking of its own covenants, that has every reason to
be forsaken of God and cast away and discredited.
That’s why the first question that Paul takes up in Romans chapter 11, “has God cast
away His people whom He has foreknown?”
The Church thinks that He should have. By every reckoning they’ve had their
opportunity and blown it. Now let the Church take over and be the Israel of God. He
says God forbid that you should think that. That would be your natural tendency to
replace Israel, as if their finished and have had their chance and have blown it and have
had full opportunity. Because that’s total human, worldly reasoning. But God is God
when He extends mercy to whom He will extend mercy. Not because they’re
deserving, but all the more because they are undeserving. Because what does mercy
mean? It’s not something that is obtained on one’s merit. It’s exactly to those who have
no merit, have no deserving because when God extends mercy, He’s being who He is
in Himself. I AM that I AM and I will have mercy upon whom I I will have mercy, I will
elect whom I will elect, and the way in which I show myself in the utter sovereignty of
my own will that can never be conditioned by man or by need is by choosing a nation
which least deserves this consideration, and in that do I display the genius of who I am,
as I AM that I AM. And if I can do this with Jews, with Israel, that has blasphemed my
Name in every nation, failed again and again in covenant faithfulness and even now a
totally secular nation that is not even willing to consider Me in view of their impending
destruction, then there’s hope for any people and any nation anywhere.
The issue of Israel is the issue of God. As the issue of the communication of that which
alone can be hope for the nations who will observe both Israel’s judgment, uprooting,
casting out and restoration and return by the mercy of God.
That’s why he says in Romans 11, “By Your mercy, they may obtain mercy.”
How many of you dear Chinese saints have mercy to extend? Where will you find it?
It’s not a commodity. It’s not an abstract aspect of our creedo. But there’s got to be a
palpable, substantial mercy which is the very character of God exuded by Chinese
Singaporean Asian saints to Jews who will be coming into your midst in greater
numbers than you could ever imagine. Who have been uprooted from nations
elsewhere in the world will find their way here somehow in the mystery of God
because He says in Amos chapter 9, “I will sift you through all nations.” And not the
least of the reasons for that sifting is to sift you.
What will you do? If you will find them in your midst, uprooted, disheveled, unkempt,
cast out, broken in spirit, absolutely disheveled and not knowing what hit them because
when it comes, it will come suddenly.
And what are they doing in your part of the world? How did they get here? By some
process of God. God knows. He said I will sift you through all nations, so that in the
day of my judgment, I will separate in the nations the sheep and the goats over one
question – what did you do with the least of these my brethren?
I want to announce in whatever measure of authority I have as a prophetic servant of
the Most High, that this will be your test. This will not be an abstraction. And it will
come in your generation and in your time. The conditions for it are already working
and it is at the door.
They themselves don’t know it. There’s going to be upheaval of a kind that could hardly
be imagined after the Nazi holocaust that will eclipse the Nazi holocaust and bring a
devastation greater than that by which 6 million Jews were systematically annihilated in
But now the extent of this of which Jesus spoke in Mt 24, that there’s coming a trouble
for the nation such as exceeds any thing they have previously known nor will again
know. And if that time were not cut short, no flesh will survive. But for the elects’
sake, for the surviving remnant, that time will be cut short whatever that means.
I want to tell you, if I know anything, if I am anything in God, that is future, but it’s a
near future, and I think the only thing that prevents its eruption now is your
Everything is in place for Jewish catastrophe, but the Church is not yet ready to receive
them and to extend mercy that they may obtain mercy because the Church only knows
mercy as a category, only as an abstraction, only as an article of faith. It does not know
it substantially as a palpable reality, so how can it extend it?
You know what’s happening to me right now with my headache and condition? I’m
experiencing the mercy of God. Can you see it? I should be in bed or some other place
where you put old withering men. But if you’re receiving anything, and it’s so critical
that you will, or you’ll be doomed to be just another expression of church as it is
conventionally known, but performing a little better than your neighbour.
God has a greater destiny for you, or I would not be here. I would be someplace else.
I’m here because His eye is upon you. Because He is seeing the investment of
preparation, the intention, because you’re read and prepared for a word now by which
you can come of age.
God forbid that you should only be a successful Christian work. God forbid. He has
greater intention than that you dear saints, that touches the issue of forever.
How does Paul end that of Him, through Him and to Him are all things to Whom be
glory forever. So I don’t know about you Chinese, because there’s something about
ancestor worship…are you better prepared than Caucasians than ___ (33:40) to
understand eternality? Of things that lie beyond time? Beyond the present moment?
And that the present moment, though it seems so engaging and so total is only a
transient thing and a time of preparation for that which is eternal?
Brother Art, you sound like you are right out of the Middle Ages. Isn’t that what they
thought? That this life is a veil of tears and a time of preparation and it’s all for that
which is future and eternal?
Yes! And they were right!
It’s you modernists who are all wrong. You’ve bought a bill of goods from the wisdom
of the world that has its origins from the pit that says this life is what it’s all about.
Success now, your life, you’ll only live once. Your marriage isn’t happy? Well dump her
and try, try again. Because it’s only the one life that you have now. This is the now
generation. Instant. Boy have you been deluded.
So the word “forever” needs to come into your consciousness, not just as a category,
but as a pulsating central consideration that brings the now moment into its present
perspective that is appropriate in God’s sight. Or else you will be slaves, victims,
jerked, manipulated, palpitating for a Toyota or something even a little better. Why
not? This is only the one life. And how is it measured? And how is its satisfactions
obtained? By what you possess, what you own, what you use. The only thing that will
free you from the power of now is the consideration of that which is eternal. You’ll
never be a great expression of the body of Christ until eternity has come into your
heart as Pastor himself spoke and prayed this morning. And how do you obtain it? Even
the consciousness of it? Only in conjunction with the mystery of Israel and never
independent from her or apart from it. God in His wisdom has locked you in. You’re
doomed to be merely charismatic and only successful unless you take into your
deepest consideration what Paul took into his; the mystery of Israel and the Church in
the last days.
You cannot be eternally minded and “glory forever” conscious independent of that
mystery. It’s all wrapped up together. He’ll not allow you to have it separately except
as vocabulary. But if you’re going to have it actually and existentially, it’s only in
conjunction where he has set the mystery himself.
Am I getting too fancy? Sorry about that. But you’ll have the tape to ponder and pastor
and others to elaborate the foundational premises that must come to you through a
prophetic man. Because it had to do with your foundations.
Well let’s begin with the beginning of Paul’s great mystery, Chapter 9 (of Romans). Just
to show you the remarkable sweep of this that ends with an exclamation of
unparalleled praise, we need to begin where Paul begins, with unparalleled sorrow.
You think this is accidental? You think Paul plotted this? No he was only writing to the
Church of Rome, he never thought it would be in the Bible. And not only is it in the
Bible, it is a text central to the consideration of the Church of every age and every
location, especially the Church in the last days.
Are you that Church? Are you last days conscious? You think that we’re moving
toward the end? The consummation of the ages? Are you expecting apocalyptic fury of
the powers of darkness who know they have but a short time and will ventilate it in the
earth and seek to destroy this people? Why? Because if this people succeeds, after ages
long apostasy, of a return to Zion and to the God of Jacob, then the King who is
contained in the heavens and Acts 3:21 waiting for the restoration of all things spoken
by the prophets since the world began is released to be the King at Zion on the holy
hill where God says, “I have set My King on the holy hill of Zion and I’ve given him the
nations and the heathen for His inheritance.” Where am I quoting? Psalm 2. The great
eschatological Psalm that speaks of a very literal kingdom and rule in the in the one
place in earth where it is appointed, which we would not ourselves had chosen. And
that one place is Zion. That one place is Israel, not as it is presently constituted, but as
it will be when the Lord will restore them and renew covenant with them in an
everlasting way and give them His Holy Spirit and forgive them their iniquities in the
day of their restoration after they have been rescued and saved out of death by the
mercy that they have received through you.
Isn’t it remarkable? Just as there’s no greater exclamation of praise, they call it a paean
of praise at the end of Rom 11: 32-36 and if you provoke me I’ll sing it. That’ll be
But isn’t it remarkable? That something that ends with this ecstatic statement, that
where Paul is beside himself in joy in depth of riches of what he has seen of the wisdom
and knowledge of God because he has seen something more than Israel’s own
restoration. What has he seen that makes him flip out? He has seen the transfiguration
of the Church. A bride prepared for the bridegroom through the conditions that will
bring the Church to its final maturity and preparedness for its own eternal destiny as
the bride of the Lamb by the crisis brought to it by Israel.
Don’t get scared. I’m not expecting you to understand me, but I am under obligation to
speak this. Late on it will come into your consciousness and into your understanding.
Now you can just look bewildered. This is the prophetic predicament, which itself is a
suffering and a cross and a form of death, because what speaker does not want to be
gratified by being understood? But after forty years I still have a wife who’s scratching
her head and wondering what kind of husband has she got? Who never wanted to
marry a preacher, and if she had to, why can’t he tell jokes like the others?
So there’s always a necessary suffering that precedes glory.
But we need to give at least a few moment to the remarkable way in which Paul opens
the heart of the book of Romans for which everything from chapter 1 through 8 was
preparation and now commences the elaboration of the great mystery from 9 through
11 and ends with this ecstatic outburst of praise. But it begins with the most pathetic
cry of sorrow for his people to the point where he would wish himself accursed.
I say the truth in Christ. I’m not play-acting, I’m not putting on a performance, I’m not
getting dramatic, Paul is saying. I lie not, my conscious also bearing me witness in the
Holy Ghost. God knows. He’s looking upon me. I’m not effecting something. I’m not
getting sentimental, emotional for effect. This is deep in my apostolic consciousness and
needs to be so in ours that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen
according to the flesh.
Listen dear saints, unless the issue of Israel begins with this cry, the rest cannot follow.
There cannot be the great climax nor the depth of the riches of joyous exclamation
unless it begins with the depth of this sorrow. And this saves you from shallowness!
You’re such candidates for shallowness that I’ve not seen anywhere. What is it about
you? This Singaporean culture and civilization, for which I am the antithesis, that is
calculated for your shallowness., for your reduction. To make you either objects of
commerce and trade, employment to fit into the economy. As I was being told
yesterday, so many places was for those who would become engineers or lawyers or
doctors according to the need of the society. I said, “How many Singaporean students
take liberal arts as their major? Philosophy, English, Literature, Ethics, Morality? I’ll bet
there’s not one in ten thousand who would misspend their university education for the
luxury of a subject realm that has nothing to do with personal success.
You’re on a train, you’re on a track, you’re being groomed for use, for exploitation. To
fit into the economy, to produce it and to buy it. And shallowness aids in that purpose.
This is a society that doesn’t want you to be reflective and contemplative, let alone that
you should experience sorrow. It may mean that you’ll not be effective on the job or
your computer will get gummed up…. Hey better than this, return to Confucius, better
that you should become shallow Christians, at least become Confucian in an attention
to philosophy if it will save you from inevitable shallowness. God didn’t call you to be
one dimensional cut-outs, paper machete saints. His called you to reveal His glory in
the breadth which is of God Himself, in our emotion and in our thought level and our
So it’s no accident that the great apostle begins with the deepest expression of sorrow,
which is unpleasant to experience. You say, “Oh that’s Paul, cause he’s Jewish, of
course he’s going to feel sorrow for his own kinsmen according to the flesh. But that saves me from any necessity because I’m not Jewish.” See how simple you are? You
think that Paul is crying out because he is Jewish. You’ve not understood. He’s crying
out because he’s apostolic. It’s his apostolic heart that is full of sorrow for the
condition of his people that he would wish himself accursed for those who happen to
be his brethren. But he would be equally as grieved and sorrowful if it were pygmies
that God had appointed to be the people of His choice in the fulfillment of His
kingdom. Am I threatening your insurance policy?
Listen you dear saints are you following me? If you have no intention for apostolic
reality, if you’re content with mere religiosity, I’ll shut up right now. Why listen to this
spectacle, unless you have an intention that is ultimate? It’ll save you from being merely
Chinese and Singaporean. Ultimacy will save you from being one-dimensional,
predictable cut-outs who say the right thing and sing the right thing, but are not the
right thing, This is not going to be a sending nation and the Antioch to the world and to
Asia unless there are those who can be sent. That’s the genius of the word apostolos,
the sent ones. But not sent from predictability, but not sent from predictability or
mediocrity or ordinariness. Sent from a vibrant community of believers who are jealous
for the glory of God and have taken to their hearts a mystery for which there’s no
natural explanation that they should even be interested let alone absorbed. There’ll be
no sending there’ll be no Holy Spirit saying, “Separate unto me.” Unless you have come
to a reality of a kind that Paul describes in his epistles and he was in himself. For the
apostolic man, as the prophetic man is the thing in himself. It’s not an affectation, it’s
not an overlay, it’s not professionalism, it’s not learning a new lingo, new vocabulary,
new phrases to show yourself pert and clever. It’s ultimate reality, you know why?
Because the high priest of our confession is also our apostoler. He’s the chief apostle of
our confession because He’s also the high priest. And His glory is when He is replicated
and expressed in the corporate body that shows forth the same mercy, magnanimity,
breadth of understanding, jealousy for the will of the Father, the glory of God unto
sacrifice unto death is His intention through the Church.
I almost wanted to say, “If you have no heart for this, please leave now.” Let’s not clog
up the work with too many bodies. Let’s reduce the Church to the Church that is the
Church, God’s remnant people who are serious about His glory and honour and Name
and know that it has got to cost something. The lost of career, the lost of marriage, the
lost of body, life, who knows what and what form? The last days are going to be
tumultuous in the clash of kingdoms. There will be casualties. Martyrdom is not the
rarity, a something that falls upon a few that we cluck our tongues and heave a sigh of
relief, “It’s not me.” Martyrdom is the normative intention of God for all the Church. If
the Church is not a martyr Church, it’s not the Church. It doesn’t matter how we
actually end our lives, martyrdom a conclusion that comes unhappily in a way that we
would try to avoid, it’s the logic of a life lived in a certain way that is sacrificial and
martyr in it’s very composition mentality and genius.
Lord, Lord, grace Lord. Let my faith fail not as I look out on these precious faces that
are looking at me in unbelief like, “What is the man saying?” Here’s what I’m saying.
You don’s have to be Jewish to sorrow for Israel. It’s not because Paul is Jewish that
he’s having this deep sense of grief. It’s because he’s an apostle. He’s expressing his
apostolic heart, which is to say, the heart of God.
The apostolic heart is God’s very heart of concern and anguish for this people. And if
we’ll not have it for them, for whom will we have it? Do I have to indict you as I did
those German students a few days ago? When my first statement was to them after
hearing their Christian choruses and they’d got it altogether, “You lack a tragic sense of
life. I don’t see in you any disposition to sorrow. You’re shallow, the range of your
emotion is happy, happy, happy and maybe you’ll have a bad day, but you don’t know
the depths of the anguish of soul of Paul. How then shall you be able to recite with
meaning the glory of the conclusion? “Oh the depth of the riches.” The two are
profoundly connected. One is the beginning, the other the end. You cannot come to a
place of joy without a beginning in a place of sorrow. Are you willing to know grief?
Pain? Sorrow? The heart of God which is painful which is painful to experience? But if
you don’t begin there, there’ll be no ending of that kind. And it’s the mystery of Israel
that brings you in. This is your privilege, this is the mystery itself, to save you from
being merely Singaporean. Can you see it? This why the Church is so distinctive an
entity in the world, because it expresses the range and magnificence of very God
Himself, in His capacity both for pain and sorrow and grief and acclamation and joy and
estatic reverence. That’s living saints. That range of response is living. And anything less
than that is falling short of the intention of God for our humanity. And the heck of it is
that history shows, if we’ll not come into the fullness of this apostolic intention, we will
become instruments, not of life but of death.
Like the great nation of Germany. However unequalled the level of its civilization,
became the brutal, bestial engineers of factories of death through which Jews were
passed. Isn’t that remarkable? That if we’ll not be the one we’ll be the other? If we’ll
not extend mercy, we’ll deprive them of mercy? If we’ll not be larger than life we’ll be
less than life? And it is all centered in one mystery, the issue of Israel. The Jew, the
despised nation who have no sense of their own calling and don’t even know that the
gifts and calling of God as Paul says in Romans 11, are irrevocable. They’ll not be taken
back. It’s without repentance. What does that mean? That God is obliged to fulfill it.
That even though they want to be the Hong Kong of the Middle East, God has a
greater intention. To be a nation of priests and a light unto the world despite and
against their own unwillingness even to consider such a destiny. Can He succeed with a
people who are not even willing? Yes. Cause He’s God, because He’s powerful and
because He’s willing to bring them down that He might raise them up because He said
to their father Abraham that from your seed, I’m gonna form a people who will bless all
the families of the earth.
You think you’re blessed now? You ain’t seen nothing yet. When this nation will come
into its destiny as a nation of priests and a light unto the world, it will disperse over the
earth. Art Katz is in every place. You call that blessing brother?
There is a quotient, there is a dimension you’re receiving. You’re too young and
innocent, maybe too dumb to know it, but it’s still being expressed. So unique, you
don’t know how unique. After I’m gone, you’ll appreciate it. Send me a note. Now
you’re too young. Nevertheless it’s been expressed.
We branches who have been broken off, Jewish atheists, ex-Marxists, radical, anti-god,
we’re saved by the mercy of God because one of my students and her mother were
praying for this atheist teacher. And the hound of heaven pursued me for fourteen
months through Europe and the Middle East as I’m looking for philosophical and
ideological answers for a broken life. And revealing Himself by every believer who
picked me up off the side of the road. And the one who put the New Testament in my
hands for which God gave me revelation at the first reading.
I’m grafted back into my own roots since and Paul says, “How much more when they
the natural branches are grafted back into their own root.” And God is able to graft
them in again. You’ll not appreciate that unless you realize that what Paul is saying
when he describes you as wild branches that were grafted into our root. Did you know
that? All you would have been capable off is chop suey places and commerce if you had
not been grafted in. Now something new is flowing out of the sap of life from that root,
that gives you a larger vista for the use of your life than you would otherwise have had.
You would have been unhappily Chinese, all too Chinese; human, all too human. But
now, you’re grafted in to a remarkable tree that has an Hebraic history. The patriarchs,
the prophets, the psalmists, the apostles, and whose roots are in God. And the sap that
issues from the roots and come up into the branches is the very life of God. Or else
you would be pathetic dumb-dumbs. And I’ll tell you what, you’re only enjoying that life
to the degree that you’re conscious that you’ve been grafted into somebody else’s tree
and you’re grateful for the privilege. It’ll only flow to the degree of your
acknowledgement and your gratitude. But if you’re only merely Christians who got
saved, and don’t realize the dimensions of that salvation, because salvation is of the
Jews! How did you get into the act?
I always will remember my first experience in Singapore. Years ago, I forget which
church it was, maybe you can identify it as I describe it. It was a large building and there
were seven or eight hundred Chinese believers singing the praises of the God of Israel.
I came undone. Chinese people are celebrating my God. And celebrating Him with
meaning and real devotion in a Hebraic way that would bless His soul to hear and does.
And on the walls were the plaques commemorating the death of the missionaries that
had come to Singapore. Mary Jones, arrived 1903, died 1907, malaria. John Smith,
arrived 1912, died 1915, malaria, yellow fever, typhus. There was a roll call of the death
of missionaries who expended their lives that you should not be Chinese dumb-dumbs,
and outside the purposes of God and fitted only for commerce. But He brought you
into His eternal purposes that you should not regret a misspent lifetime given ver to
servitude to things, but called into the majesty of the knowledge of the God who is
God, the Creator of heavens and the earth, the God of Israel and of Jacob and to be
the very salvific agent for their return. For He is able to graft them back in again if He
was able to graft you in who were wild branches and fruitless, is He not able to graft
them in who are natural? And when He does, Paul says, it will be nothing less than life
from the dead. A nation of priests and a light unto the world.
We are living beneath the intention of God in our own society. That’s why it all
commercial. Why it’s all things. Why it has not an ethereal and spiritual content and
richness is because a people who were called to bring you that priestly dimension are
yet presently out of it. But Paul says, the great apostle, the gifts and callings of God are
If He has called them, let them spit out their guts, let them be more commercially
minded than you, and accomplished in every field other than their calling. I will restore
them to the calling to which I have called them, because I have spoken it. It is a promise
and a call, and if I do not fulfill it, how then am I God?
And Paul says in verse 25, “And so all Israel shall be saved. For the Deliverer shall come
out of Zion and take transgression form Jacob according to the covenant that I have
made with them. As it is written, ‘when the fullness of the gentiles be come in.’ How
can you read an apostolic statement and not choke and gasp and fall before the
magnitude, the richness. Who can understand it? It stretches language to breaking. That
despite ages long apostasy, despite the fact that we Jews have turned to every other
field and given the world Karl Marx and communism, and Sigmund Freud and
psychiatry, and every kind of malicious alternative to the redemption of men and God
through Christ, we’re foremost subversives. Despite all that, God will restore us to
our calling because the issue of the nations is at stake, including yours.
You need a prophetic and priestly intrusion. You need someone to blow the whistle on
those things which you have accepted as normative and thought that that’s what life is
all about. That comes from priestly men who see through the apparent things and
whose hearts palpitate for the glory of God and know that there’s a sinister world that
conspires against truth, against reality, against eternity. This is the priestly function, to
show things as God Himself sees them to those who would otherwise be mesmerized
and live their lives fruitlessly in any kind of significance and die that way.
Your involvement in being the agents of Israel’s restoration will bless all the families of
the earth, including your own. But it won’t be an easy and a cheap role for you to play.
And you’ll not play it at all unless you understand that what is at stake here is the issue
of God’s glory forever.
So I’m quoting as I’m being led out of Romans 11, ans I just read the genius and heart of
it, verse 25, “I would not brethren that you should be ignorant of this mystery.” Listen
to you, dear Chinese saints, do you have a heart for mystery? Do you have a
disposition for mystery? Or are you all factual, analytical , critical, mathematics and
statistics oriented? That very preoccupation spoils and inures you against mystery. And
yet the heart of the faith are the mysteries of which Paul was steward, and at least you
should have a sensitivity, a disposition, an appreciation for mystery. Or else how can
you appreciate the prophetic man who speaks strangely and not systematically and is all
over the landscape saying this, that and everything as he’s being prompted. There’s
mystery. You need a sense of mystery. There are things that lie too deep for words.
Things that cannot be reduced to system. God forbid that that should characterize the
Church, that has been reduced to system, to manipulation as it is so unhappily is
everywhere. There’s mystery. The things where you stop speaking, where you choke,
splutter, where you can’t go on, where you feel you don’t know, you have to feel, intuit
and not analyze. Paul was the steward of mysteries. You need to at least appreciate the
word, who says in apostolic authority, “I would brethren that you should be ignorant of
this mystery.” You can’t afford to be ignorant of this one, lest you should be wise in
your own conceit. You’ll become inflated and pompous. You’ll say the kingdom now,
you’re gonna take over society, you’re gonna replace Israel, all of these are
presumptions of the vainest kind that inevitably will follow those who do not know the
The mystery saves you from what would otherwise be inordinate conceit, ending
puffed up. Because if you become a puffed up and conceited church, you’re no longer
the Church. You’re no longer reflecting and revealing the character of God who at its
essence is humble. Learn of Me, for I am lowly and meek. The King shall come to you
lowly and meek riding on the back of an ass upon which another man sat. That’s our
King, He was born, came into the flesh, lay aside His deity, took upon the form of an
infant, that had to breastfed and have His diapers changed, our God would reduce
Himself to that humiliation and live a life of obscurity and die as a criminal, the most
painful, grotesque of all deaths, nakedly came into the world, nakedly went out of it
nakedly. His whole is a statement of the humility of God. What is the Church that
doesn’t reflect that? The Church that becomes pompous and inflated and, ‘we’ve got it
together, look at our numbers, look at our programme, we’re number one, we’re this,
we’re that.’ It’s no longer the Church that reflects Him, it’s no longer the Church. It’s
an institution, it’s a culture, it’s a blessing society for itself. And that happens if you miss
This mystery is calculated to keep you humble. Because it shows that God has elevated
a people to a place of prominence and significance over you – Israel. And has chosen as
the centre of His theocratic kingdom not Singapore which you would have thought, of
all the world, but Zion, the holy hill. It’s not even a mountain, it’s a pimple. That’s why
He’s chosen it, because He chooses the foolish things and the weak things to confound
that which purports to be mighty and wise. There’s a drama here saints. It’s a
statement that God is wanting to make of essential truth as He knows it, that needs to
come into all mankind through the fulfillment of this mystery. That blindness in part has
happened to Israel until the fullness of the gentiles comes in. Well maybe I’ll talk about
that in part two in the next service.
But I can tell you this, it’s not only numerical, it’s also actual. There’s a fullness that is
the key to Israel’s restoration that must come to you. Not just in number but in
quality. And when it will come to you, you know what happens? You’ve lost your Asian
cast of character and you become Hebraisized. Not Judaized, Hebraisized. You
become like the sweet singers of Israel. You become prophetic, you become like the
psalmists of old. You’re infused with the things that are Hebraic, of a special quality and
kind that saves you from the narrowness of your own racial and genetic origin.
Not only you, but even we Jews need to come into that largeness and into that fullness
which God Himself infuses us as we take up His mystery. And when it comes, He will
take care of Israel. Israel will not take care of herself, she’ll be down and out, incapable.
And so it is written, “Israel shall be saved, all Israel. There shall come up out of Zion
the Deliverer shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob for this is My covenant with them
when I shall take away their sins.” I don’t even wait for their repentance. I shall take the
initiative. I will take away their ages old transgression and sins, even the crucifixion of
my Son. I don’t even wait for them to understand, to be sorry or repent, I will, I’ll take
the initiative so soon as the fullness of the gentiles come in, I’ll act upon Israel.
So the issue of Israel is not Israel, the issue of Israel is you. Your fullness. That’s the
mystery. And so Israel is delivered and you’ve come to a place of the fullness which is
the whole purpose of your salvation. Because when you exit this world and this life, it’s
not to play a harp on a cloud, it is to administer the kingdom that has come, and some
of you will rule over five cities and some over ten, based on your excellence in this life
and maturity and discipline to which you yourselves have submitted. This is preparation
dear saints for the eternal kingdom which is a gift and a reward for the righteous, for
which you need to be in conscious preparation. God will have a restored nation, but
He’ll have an exalted Church, glorified and administering and overseeing from the
heavenly realm displacing those fallen angels, the administration of His theocratic rule
over all creation.
We will not come to it except we are trained up by it in embracing this mystery and
giving ourselves to it by the mercies of God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable
unto God because we’re jealous that His covenant should be fulfilled. That His
promises should be fulfilled. That what is written should be fulfilled. Because if God will
not be fulfilled in the things which He has written and spoken and promised and
covenanted in writing, how is He God? The issue of Israel’s restoration is the issue of
God as God. And how can we be the Church and not be jealous over that fulfillment
and give ourselves as living sacrifices to the attainment of it?
So I want to pray for such a Church here. Lord, encourage my faith. I believe, help my
unbelief. Everything in Singaporean society and Chinese ancestry, all that is Asian, is
counter to the Hebraic genius of apostolic and prophetic faith. They would have to be
transcended, to come out of themselves, to become larger than life, to break the
power this world that wants to fit them into a system. And so many doctors, so many
lawyers, so many accountants, to fit he purposes of society and fall short of the
purpose of God unto glory forever. Lord break that power. Loose these captives. Give
them ambitions and intentions beyond economics success and my own this and my
own that, I, I, I, me, me, me. Let them be jealous for the glory of God that alone will
liberate them from such a puny consideration to succeed merely at the level of
profession, take their place in the anonymous sea of peoples who are fitted into a
system in the world that has no eternal consequence whatever and is doomed for
judgment and will pass away as dust. Lord I bless this congregation. My God use this
foolish speaking Lord my God to awaken something, to stir them, wake them from
their sleep to raise them out of their graves, to give them intentions greater than
anything that they have ever considered and waits upon the consideration of that
mystery alone - the issue of Israel and the Church in the last days. Give them a heart
for this Lord, open their understanding, bless their ministers and pastor as they seek
and dwell upon these remarkable verses in Romans and are given the ability to
expound them and make them known. Ruin this people Lord, by the magnitude of the
mystery and that to which we are called as privileged. And we thank You and give You
praise, in Jesus’ Name and God’s people said, “Amen.”
Cornerstone Community Church : : Singapore
Message can be downloaded from our website at www.cscc.org.sg
(Spiritual Food > Teachings)