#506 – Is The Kingdom Message Just The Ideal But NOT The Actual Expectation Of God?
Balancing The “BEFORE” Invisible Realm With The “AFTER” Visible Realms.
Making Clear Distinctions Between the Visible and the Invisible Realms.
The Error of Judging Only From the Visible Realms.
The Error of Judging ONLY From the Invisible Realms.
January 14, 2012
The Kingdom of God was established long before man existed and was established 100% out of the Absolute Sovereignty of God. Man was not consulted! The Kingdom of God has ALWAYS been the functioning Government of Heaven. This will NEVER change nor will it EVER be modified to adjust to man’s concepts or demands. It is THIS Government that we are to PRAY will come to earth SO THAT the will of God will be done on earth exactly as it is being done in heaven. “Ideally”, the full will of God MUST be done on earth. There is NOT a group in heaven that do NOT do the will of God. Why? Because God will NOT accept ANYONE into those realms EXCEPT those who do His will. Anarchy has been banned from these realms. But, brother, don’t you know that message is much too radical to build a church in today’s society? Can’t you just pretend that God loves us just as we are and if we accept Jesus as our personal Savior that God HAS to accept us, even if we don’t do the will of God on earth? Well, then brother, why should I try to deceive the people into believing a lie?
At one time there was a group in heaven that did NOT do the will of God but they were thrown out of heaven. This is REALITY! Therefore, to even suggest that we could balance or modify this truth to make it more acceptable to man on earth is ignorant at best. It is true that much of the visible church has no intention of doing the will of God on earth as it is being done in heaven. Of course they still pray the prayer out of some phony piety. If we are expected to modify the Sovereignty, Power, Authority and total Dominion of the Kingdom or the RIGHT of God to demand certain qualities or qualifications to participate in His Eternal Government, this is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Why? Because I know WHO HE IS!
Since God has predetermined and predestined all things according to His Eternal Purpose it is impossible to balance the Kingdom demands that God has firmly fixed with the carnal desires of the natural man. Therefore, it is a big waste of time trying to modify the Kingdom Message to satisfy the lukewarm believer or to try to adjust the message to satisfy the casual visitor or the partial believer. Man’s happiness is not even considered in the Kingdom Realms of Eternal Reality. God will never adjust His demands to accommodate man’s requests unless they are in harmony with God’s Government and His Predestined Purpose.
Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not;
The absolutely ONLY option that is left for us is that we CHANGE because God will NOT change and neither will HE lower His requirements if we want to participate in His Kingdom Government.
After I have made that VERY clear, is there any way to balance what we write in these documents to keep them more in line with the actual life and experience in the visible church? While that is NOT my purpose in presenting what I interpret as Bible Facts about the Kingdom and concerning God’s predestined Plan, there may be areas that we can balance out our words in a more reasonable way. However, in over 41 years I have discovered that most people listening to a “message” grade the message according to their own history but have no intension of changing or doing anything according to the eternal Truth in the message. Even if we preach a very clear and precise message about the Kingdom demands, there will always be a large majority in the meeting that firmly believe they are excepted from that “legalism” because they are “already” saved.
Therefore, I find a very clear, confrontational message, that is squarely in their face, is about the only way to get people’s attention. To confront the casual believer with the danger of remaining unchanged and in his carnal state, which will affect his eternal destiny, is the best way to get a slight reaction. Unfortunately, that reaction is generally very negative because people are offended by the truth. The TRUTH that will “set you free” will certainly first offend you. Effective TRUTH must first KILL your resistance to truth BEFORE it will set you free. Just “grading the truth of the message” with an A, B or C will do nothing eternal in your life or set you free from your man centered concepts and ways. We have the history of many years to confirm the total failure of “inspirational messages” to transform anyone in the visible church because people just remain in their carnal state. My question is this; If these “people friendly messages” are doing NOTHING to rectify the church, is there some message that possibly might be effective in turning the visible church from a predominately man centered emphasis to the God / Kingdom center? Is there some message that will at last bring the people NEAR to the Lampstand reality? There surely MUST be because we see this reality demonstrated in Revelation 2 and 3.
Our broad indictment of these visible, multiple and carnal church systems (denominations) is generally misunderstood because we may not have made a clear distinction between the visible and the invisible realms of life in the every day church function. Our messages may not have been made so clear that we precisely define the differences and make an understandable distinction between these two valid dimensions in the life of the true believer and the function of the church.
There is a great error of ONLY recognizing the visible outer life realm that deal with the outward function in the visible realm. This is what we call the “Mechanical Aspects of the System” of outward activity. In that same way there is a great error of only recognizing the growth of the new inner man and the wonderful communication with the Living and Abiding Word of God (the Spirit of Christ) and the Holy Spirit in that Secret Place of the Most High. These are realms that excite and inspire us but these realms are also offensive to those who have never touched these hidden areas of the New Inner Man.
If we have, even momentarily, touched the fringes of this invisible realm, it seems to immediately take precedent over every other activity in the Outward Realm. Anyone who has touched these higher realms of inner understanding and communion soon becomes worthless in the carnal church system. The thought is generally expressed that why would we want to waste our life and time in that physical realm if we might, even for a moment, touch this Divine communion within the inner man and encounter His Life and His Eternal attributes.
When Madam Guyon touched these realms in the first of the 16 th century and wrote about them she was severely warned by the church officials to repent and stop all communication with other believers. She ended up in the Bastille in France, in isolation for many years, and was treated like a criminal. Why? She was speaking of something the church officials knew nothing about so they assumed it was heresy and treated her as a heretic. They felt she was in rebellion against their position and authority.
In defense of the visible realms of the visible church we can point to MANY scriptures which just deal with the outward activities in the assemblies. These outward activities are certainly not wrong and scriptures clearly support these physical activities that are essential for the fellowship areas of the Christian Life! For example; We read about helps, administrations and outward functions in the local assembly!
1Cor 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
There surely must be a “place” where these ministries and activities can function. This “place” is for the outward activities of the church. Whether these “places”are discerned to be in large public meetings or in smaller assemblies or even in a home is not the issue. Whether these meetings are edifying or not will depend upon the LIFE within the people who are involved in these activities. If these are just carnal activities that have no spiritual depth, some people will be thrilled but some will be offended. The spiritual climate of the general assembly will be affected by the inner Life and revelation of the leadership. Different groups certainly have different desire, goals and requirements. The necessity for human leadership will vary from group to group.
Jesus chose His “place” of assembly on the mountain or by the sea shore or in a house or on a highway. The place was not important but His message was the central issue. His message was the Gospel of the Kingdom. But didn’t he feed the poor, cast out demons and heal the sick in outward ministry? Yes! However, all this was still in the context of, or demonstration of, the Kingdom of God.
Mat 12:28 “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Some only come to the assembly because they enjoy the fellowship or the singing. Some only come because they were offered a ride and wanted to get out of the house. This may not be wrong but we cannot adjust the message or the meeting to accommodate them. Some only come for the bread and fish to satisfy a natural desire. Jesus met that need but condemned it as too shallow.
John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled.
When we try to satisfy every motive and desire of the people who attend, we can take the people to a no higher place than the pew. Going on to perfection must be abandoned as a goal because too many people object to that goal. However, in our gospel, we can still accept BOTH the inner and the outward life as part of the whole package of assembling people.
For Example; Paul has certain concerns in 1st and 2nd Timothy that deals with the outward life and function within the outward church activities and fellowship. Some of this instruction was given to Timothy as a minister of God and how he should conduct himself. Paul also gives commands about what is the proper way to conduct ourselves, as believers, while we are on this earth. The Book of Ephesians, which is always considered as spiritual instruction to the church, has both instructions for the inner life AND the outer life. We see this same principle in most of Paul’s writings.
1Tim 2:8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; 10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. 11 Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
We don’t know the exact problem that Paul was correcting here but we clearly see this instruction is for the visible realm. However, if we preach any of these things in the visible church today we are immediately attacked as being LEGALISTIC. If we even mention how a woman is dressed in church we are met with scorn and a reminder that God is NOT looking upon the outward man but upon the heart and this woman that is dressed immodestly, we are assured by those close to her, that she has a pure heart. Of course this emasculates Paul’s instruction. Still, the husband of that woman will immediately enter into the discussion and tell everybody that is no body’s business but his and he likes her to dress that way. For him that settles the question!
It is very clear that the inner life of the assembly sets the spiritual level of the outward activities and level of the outward ministry and functions in the visible dimension of the church. Even if the activities or the order of the service is VERY shallow, that does not mean it is unimportant, it just seems irrelevant to those who are seeking a spiritual adjustment by attending. If the people are really “spiritual” shouldn’t they be able to accept the carnal activities of the shallow believers and offer Christian love and grace. That is the consensus most places I go!
If we printed out all the scripture that has been given to us as instructions in righteousness and concerning the outward life it would require another complete document. . Much of the instructions in 2 Peter 2 and Jude would be evaluated as lacking love and unchristian. We will just give a short example of things that are more acceptable and balanced.
Eph 4:20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 2 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
Eph 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH, EACH ONE of you, WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. 26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. 28 Let him who steals steal no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. 29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Here, in one context, we see both the Inner Life and the outward life addressed. Why? Because, both are essential. But, brother, we just want to hear about the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and about the deeper Life! Now, THIS IS what creates the PROBLEM!
Is it possible to separate the outward life from the Inner Life or the inner man from the outward man? Yes! The Inner Life of the New Man must be seen as personal experience. The Corporate life of the assembly is essential and is experienced in the visible realm. However, in our total experience we must treat these two as separate areas of Christian life because they are dealing with two different realms. The one is functioning in the invisible realm and the other is functioning in the visible dimensions which are a completely different realms of Christian Life and exist for different reasons. Each realm touches a different dimension of the Christian Life! Both are necessary for a balanced life!
However, in the Realm of the Kingdom Government of God, these two realms merge into one expression of His Government that is seen in the visible realm. It is for that reason that ANY man who is preaching the Kingdom of God that cannot live in the instruction given in Ephesians 4 above and in these other areas will be rejected by his audience. His message may be anointed and accurate but because his outward life is in view and does not reflect his message, that man’s message is rejected.
Therefore, we cannot reject the outward realm as irrelevant or see the mechanical aspects of the church as unimportant when we observe these things from the Kingdom viewpoint. Why? Even though the inner life is personal and invisible there is also the corporate life that is also essential. The Private Personal Life, which encompasses the New Man, revolves around the Divine Life, His Essence and His Substance and is not part of the public domain. Why? Because this is only known by the person and by God.
This Inner Man, this “holy place,” is the personal responsibility of the individual to keep it set apart for God, sanctified, consecrated and growing. The corporate ministry must also contribute to that growth rather than depreciate or criticize it! The outward aspects of the assembly must create an atmosphere where growth is encouraged and consecration to God and His Purpose is promoted. The ministry, ideally, must EARN the respect and loyalty of the assembly rather than demand it.
Still, we cannot read the scriptures without understanding that there is a valid God ordained ministry and a corporate life that IS shared in the visible realm. This Corporate Life we call “the assembly” or some may call it “church life.” While the name is not important the Corporate Group that is universally sharing the same Life is VERY important. The meeting places is NOT the primary issue!
1Cor 14:23 If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.
1Cor 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret; 28 but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;
Now let us be VERY clear about “WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE” to see this is ALSO instruction in the outward realm. I can testify to personally having attempted this kind of meeting at different times. I can testify that this was a tremendous disaster each time. Why? Because, if the whole assembly is not functioning out of an strong and disciplined inner life, this kind of meeting is a disaster. Still, this is the instruction that Paul is giving to the church “WHEN YOU ASSEMBLE.” We should also point out WHO is to participate; EACH ONE!
Well, brother, we tried that and it doesn’t work so we tore that page out of our Bible. This is a big problem from assembly to assembly where there is “selective” knowledge and occasional obedience of the scriptures. While the Kingdom Government of God and His non-negotiable Laws in the inner life make outward laws unnecessary in growing, spiritual persons, this is NOT the experience of most assemblies. Paul is very bold in addressing these carnal issues in the assemblies but Jesus is MUCH more bold in addressing issues in the Lampstand Churches. The responsibility of the ministry is the preparation of the assembly to adjust to the Kingdom demands BEFORE they advance to the Lampstand dimension. Why? Jesus is even more offensive in His correction and very confrontational in His threats of vomiting them out of His body if they don’t repent from their error. Preparing the assembly for this severe discipline is the work of the ministry. How? By preaching the full Gospel of the Kingdom to the assembly AS IT IS BEING PREPARED.
The problems and controversies arise when any assembly has a mixed multitude of persons with diverse goals, attitudes and priorities. In good and progressive assemblies there will be new souls that are very excited about VERY basic things and rejoice in a VERY low level of teaching. If the assemble is growing there will also be, of equal importance, more mature persons who have developed new visions, new goals, new spiritual understandings, new levels of expectations and, therefore, demand a higher and a more mature message. These are NOT trouble makers but normal Christian believers who are advancing in their Christian Life.
In a local assembly near here (A Church of God) the pastor, who is a friend, has standardized upon a “one message fits everybody” program. His assembly is like Grand Central Station with people coming in the front door and then, soon, out the back door because ONE MESSAGE WILL NOT FIT EVERYBODY. When the older members complain they are not receiving anything, they leave to try another group. In some groups, the dissatisfied are treated as trouble makers and whiners. This is a UNIVERSAL problem in many assemblies.
Next Sunday one of the pastors that meet here at my home will preach at that assembly with a Kingdom message. I will go to church there on Sunday to listen and see how this assembly responds because I know both pastors. I also know both messages and have tried to warn the pastor that “one message does NOT fit everybody.” If this trial is successful, two assemblies, that have different spiritual needs, will merge into one assembly to see if they can assimilate these two distinctly different messages in one assembly.
They may be assuming that a five-fold ministry might actually have five different messages for five different needs of the people in one assembly. Of course there may not be five valid ministries available so two might be better than one.
The “ONE MESSAGE FITS ALL” teaching ministries generally have a very low level of spiritual life and perception, personally, even though they may have large assemblies. The assembly seldom rises above the spiritual life and understanding of its leadership. Those pastors who are too busy “in ministry” to maintain a spiritual life will generally try to inspire their assembly to get as busy “in ministry” as they are. The leadership sets the standard for “OUTWARD ACTIVITY.” This, of course, is very unbalanced because the priority of the leadership should be to set the standard for the spiritual life of the assembly. A spiritual assembly will then engage in spiritual activities.
For example; Even sharing, ushering, casting out demons and healing the sick will be spiritual activities. Leading worship may either be very carnal or a spiritual activity depending upon the spiritual life of those involved. This also applies to those who are preaching or teaching. It is NOT just the words they say or sing but the life that is manifested that sets the effectiveness of the message!
This FACT is NOT an attack on anyone but a personal testimony of personal mistakes that I have made. It would have been a great blessing if someone would have taught me these things several years ago when I was beginning.
When I see a visible church system approaching Eternity in a comatose state of unconcern, my first priority is to warn them that this is NOT God’s Purpose for the church! Sometimes that makes me a enemy of the “church.” If my message is too harsh and offensive then I must stand before God with that arrogance and error in plain sight.
However, if I try to modify the Kingdom Message to make it acceptable to the casual believer who is both blind and deaf, I will also have to defend that “gospel” before the judgement seat of Christ.
James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.
2Tim 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.
Since I have been preaching small portions of the Gospel of the Kingdom publically since 1990, it has amazed me at the response of pastors and church leaders to this message. It is as if they had never read the Bible or been aware that The Gospel of the Kingdom is the ONLY gospel that either Jesus or Paul preached.
Act 20:24 “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. (**Kingdom) 25 “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more. 26 “Therefore I testify to you this day, that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
Paul was coming to the end of his earthly ministry but he was defending his life and ministry. He said he was just fulfilling the ministry he was given by the Lord Jesus. Paul was not making excuses or apologizing for the message because he knew what he was given to accomplish.
1Cor 9:16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, that I might win the more.
Paul certainly didn’t try to modify his gospel to make it acceptable to everybody.
1Thes:12 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 13 And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
A shallow, carnal word ALSO has its effect on the hearers. How do I know that? Because we see that everywhere we go. Both seeds produce after their own kind. The Kingdom seed produces Kingdom believers but a carnal seed produces carnal believers. God has warned us in Leviticus NOT TO PLANT OUR FIELD WITH TWO DIFFERENT KINDS OF SEED! That is offensive but Balanced.