by Grant Marshall
Since our last dispatch in January 2020, the nation of the UK finally cut the cord that tied us to the EU. At this moment we are going through the process of finalising the withdrawal process. It does not mean, however, that everything is settled. There are threads that will remain because of agreements and agendas. It is easy to see Israel’s departure from Egypt as somewhat of a parallel. Certainly, our movable community is a mixed one. There are those who wish we were, as a nation, still in the EU, and others, especially some Christians, who see it as God’s will – a prophetic sign of our own deliverance from Babylon. *Danny Kruger, MP for Devizes, highlighted in his maiden speech to Parliament this month, that we are a nation built on important Christian values, and perhaps the time is now to reflect on those values as we push forward in rebuilding our nation in this new era.
Now several questions arise for those who believe that this move is God ordained. Who will serve the Lord? Is it enough just to see our separation from the imperial clutches of the EU as an exciting period of revival as an island people, or should we be looking once again to the cultural and moral foundation of the British Isles under a new political government or truly under the government of God? If we believe the latter, then we can be sure that serious conflict is going to arise and that will indeed bring about persecution to those who want to see God’s word established in the corridors of power, the education of our children and of course the Church.
In Exodus 32, Moses confronts the people and asks this same question. Having come from generations of idol worshippers, will they now lay down these practices and embrace the new way? The outcome is startling.
25 When Moshe saw that the people had gotten out of control — because Aharon had allowed them to get out of control, to the derision of their enemies — 26 Moshe stood at the entrance to the camp and shouted, “Whoever is for Adonai, come to me!” All the descendants of Levi rallied around him. 27 He told them, “Here is what Adonai, the God of Isra’el, says: ‘Each of you, put his sword on his side; and go up and down the camp, from gate to gate; and every man is to kill his own kinsman, his own friend and his own neighbour!” 28 The sons of Levi did what Moshe said, and that day three thousand of the people died. 29 Moshe said, “You have consecrated yourselves today to Adonai, because every one of you has been against his own son and against his own kinsman, in order to bring a blessing on yourselves today.” CJB
The removal of idolatry from their midst, and in ours today, brings what? The blessing upon ourselves!
The caveat built into the covenant and in our walk, corporately and individually with God, is to remove idolatry in every form and practice. It is impossible to draw near to God with any thread of it attached. As a result, any move toward where God wants us to be, will take longer. God’s grace allows us in this age, to look for it in our lives, and do something about it through repentance and allow Him to forgive. These two actions allow us to begin again and thank the Lord that we can.
Every process for every new believer, genuinely converted, is to become a carrier of the Holy Spirit. This has been my deliberation over the last few weeks. If we are not to be representative of Messiah’s image in this world, if we cannot affect our surroundings, if we cannot affect the lives of others, if we cannot heal and be ministers of reconciliation and bring peace, then what is the point?
Something is failing. Either God has withdrawn from us or we have placed something between us.
In this article, I want to bring something out through a couple of illustrations the Lord has shown me over these few weeks.
It is important to understand that for someone to be born again, a death must first take place.
1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will ask, “In what manner are the dead raised? What sort of body do they have?” 36 Stupid! When you sow a seed, it doesn’t come alive unless it first dies. 37 Also, what you sow is not the body that will be, but a bare seed of, say, wheat or something else; 38 but God gives it the body he intended for it; and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all living matter is the same living matter; on the contrary, there is one kind for human beings, another kind of living matter for animals, another for birds and another for fish. 40 Further, there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies; but the beauty of heavenly bodies is one thing, while the beauty of earthly bodies is something else. 41 The sun has one kind of beauty, the moon another, the stars yet another; indeed, each star has its own individual kind of beauty. 42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. When the body is “sown,” it decays; when it is raised, it cannot decay. 43 When sown, it is without dignity; when raised, it will be beautiful. When sown, it is weak; when raised, it will be strong. 44 When sown, it is an ordinary human body; when raised, it will be a body controlled by the Spirit. If there is an ordinary human body, there is also a body controlled by the Spirit. 45 In fact, the Tanakh says so: Adam, the first man, became a living human being; but the last “Adam” has become a life-giving Spirit. 46 Note, however, that the body from the Spirit did not come first, but the ordinary human one; the one from the Spirit comes afterwards. 47 The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 People born of dust are like the man of dust, and people born from heaven are like the man from heaven; 49 and just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so also we will bear the image of the man from heaven. CJB
This is a wonderful profound passage from the Chapter 15. I encourage you to read it all. The Apostle Paul writes about how a change in him came about. He writes in Galatians 2: 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
The message in these two references amplifies Yeshua’s admonition in John 3:5 Yeshua answered, “Yes, indeed, I tell you that unless a person is born from water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. 6 What is born from the flesh is flesh, and what is born from the Spirit is spirit. 7 Stop being amazed at my telling you that you must be born again from above! CJB
In my first illustration, we will look at the image of an envelope. You know, the white ones that usually bring personal letters from friends, and brown ones that bring official letters. This illustration will show that we, as believers are just like envelopes. We are meant to carry in us a message, that like the journey of the letter from despatch to delivery, will travel into the ether in any which way that is deemed to land in the hand of those it was meant for. Our stamp is the official seal of God, the blood of messiah. The cost of delivery is paid for through the lives and sacrifices of those that have gone before us through the ages.
Unlike every other letter though, that may simply be put into a letter box, ready for the post van to pick up, our envelope is registered and recorded too. There is a responsibility, however, for those that deliver the message, to make sure that the homeowner still lives at the address and that it does not simply fall on the floor waiting to be recycled and shredded up.
Unfortunately today, messages that prevail in some ministries, have been reconstituted and reshaped. The image of Messiah in the message, has changed and been made to be relevant to a generation that has neither known God nor forgotten the point, and wishes to remain as some did during Israel’s release in exodus, in idolatry. If it were not for God’s grace and mercy, we would not be allowed to mature. Idolatry must be pointed out and highlighted within the repentance process. It is something that is the main emphasis of the opening chapters to the angels of the Messianic Communities in the book of Revelation.
It is not so much that we choose to worship an idol, but that we choose to do so, even though God, stands before us. Making such a choice, brings the curse upon us. That was the condition Adam and Eve found themselves in when they chose to listen to the serpent. They did not in essence, however, choose to worship the serpent, but chose to make their own decisions in becoming like God. Such a decision removes us from the presence of God and thus from His blessings upon us.
God is not the god of the flesh but of the resurrected – those that were once alive in the flesh but have died as the seed dies when it hits the ground and is rejuvenated again, as the blessed rain falls upon it.
When the word of God is released, the prophet is often the envelope chosen to carry the message, Absolutely, every, message is important and needs to be taken notice of. In this case the message comes in the official brown envelope, so to speak. In our modern world, our post travels by many means, and through various conditions, including storms and floods and other elements the wind has to throw at us. Often, we have no idea that even a letter is on its way to us unless we receive notice. For us, that notice is a sign or even a prevailing message over time.
In the Church, prevailing messages can become mundane for the person who hears it but fails to listen to it and act upon it. For them, the message is lifeless. It is like a seed that falls to the ground and is swept away by the wind or eaten by the birds.
Now here is the frightening aspect of what it means to work out one’s salvation with fear and trembling. The message sent to us brings us our deliverance and acceptance into the Kingdom of God. God does not desire that anyone should perish, and thus as a loving Father would do for His children, He will do everything possible to save us from the storms and trials we find ourselves in. He gives us His word on this. It is written in His covenant agreement. It is the word that comes through the Spirit of God. To ignore such a message is blasphemy. Blasphemy is not name calling as some see it to be but denying or ignoring the work of the Spirit.
Exodus 23: 20 Behold, I am sending an angel before you to protect you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21Pay attention to him and listen to his voice; do not defy him, for he will not forgive rebellion, since My Name is in Him. Berean Bible
It should be emphasised, that our response in receiving such an official message, is indeed to open it immediately, with trepidation and apprehension. Will it bring surprise or rebuff, or indeed a reward for services rendered?
The Holy Spirit is the energy of God, the sap of life that runs through every branch connected to the vine. Scripture is clear in indicating the prevailing conditions of this attachment. The Father and Son do not come to live inside the one who does not maintain the connection. They do not dwell in one who chooses to make their own path, or serve other gods.
In our opening scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 15, we are presented with Paul’s reference to what is corruptible and what is incorruptible. In my final illustration, we look again at ourselves as another form of vehicle.
Imagine that your car, if you have a car, and one that may be a few years old, suddenly starts driving and responding better than it usually does. The engine sounds smooth, the emissions are cleaner, and the fuel consumption is better. What on earth has happened, you might think. You decide to open the bonnet and are surprised to see a brand new super-efficient engine. What is more, the engine now must to be supplied with a new type of fuel.
However, what remains is the existing body. It reflects its age – the journeys it has been through. It’s got chips and knocks and the odd spots of rust. The new engine in this car represents our capacity to hold the energy of the Holy Spirit. God, however, chooses to use the existing carrier – the car. Why does God choose to marry the spirit with the physical, the incorruptible and the corruptible in such a way? We draw our answer from divine wisdom and foreknowledge – the work of God. He is choosing the earthly physical dimension to show the spiritual dimension a process that will ultimately see the restoration of His kingdom. What happens on earth is the testimony to the heavenly witness. When we become incorruptible, the physical dimension can no longer remain our environment. It will pass away. We pass from the glory of being part of God’s creation to being glorified with and united in Him, holy and separate, inhabiting another realm. We pass from being out to being in. We pass from being the working out of Yeshua’s prayer to finally the fulfilling of it.
John 17.14 “I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world — just as I myself do not belong to the world. 15 I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil One. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 On their behalf I am setting myself apart for holiness, so that they too may be set apart for holiness by means of the truth.
20 “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word, 21 that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one. CJB
Be encouraged, no matter what you are going through or where you find yourself, you are being used as the carrier of God’s word. Remain close to Him and abolish any form of idolatry in your life. If you pray, the Spirit of the Lord will reveal it, be quick to respond to His direction. Declare as the people declared, now!
Joshua 24: 14 Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; cast aside the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if it is unpleasing in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD!”
Joshua 24:24 So the people said to Joshua, “We will serve the LORD our God and obey His voice.”
Are you In?