Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sovereign God

And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me, endowed with his Spirit. This is what the Lord says - your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’   Isaiah 48:16-17

Isaiah 46:9-10 reads, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.  I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”  Revelations 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The Holy Spirit is leading me to say more concerning the steps of Elijah and God’s sovereignty. Let’s not forget that the Lord has called us and we have been chosen by Him. We must realize we were chosen just as Abraham, Joseph, Elijah, Elisha and Jeremiah were chosen. We should esteem these men and hold them up in high honor, however the Holy Spirit wants us to know we are chosen by the same God, moved by the same Spirit and receiving the word from the same God. 

Because God was displeased with the state of Israel, He brought Elijah into the situation.  Just like Elijah, the moment we came into Christ Jesus, we were made a part of the whole plan of God to be fulfilled in His time by the instruments He has chosen and in the way it pleases Him. This is important because we can get so caught up with the circumstances and situations around us we forget that God is sovereign.  If we are going to realize God’s ways and fulfill His purpose we must allow the Holy Spirit to bring insight, understanding and revelation of who God is and what He is doing.  We are chosen by the sovereignty of God. We must also understand that God’s sovereignty governs and controls history and forces it to serve a specific end. Isaiah 46:9 confirms this, “… My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Revelation 1:8 also confirms this, “I am the Alpha and Omega...”  He is in control. You and I must see ourselves in God’s plan today as He shows us His ways.  

There was nothing particular about Elijah, he was much like us. God chose us in spite of our failures, limitations, questions and doubts.  God is transforming us into His instruments to fulfill His ultimate intention. God disciplines us, to prepare us to be endowed with authority and power.  God will not release us full of power and authority to do whatever we please.  We have to follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and the Word of the Lord that has come to us. We have to be governed and disciplined by God even though our intentions and motives seem to be good. Elijah was God’s sovereign choice and every step he took was led, controlled and directed by God.  We make a great mistake if we think that it is enough to know the divine thoughts, purpose and desires of God.  God’s thoughts, intentions and purpose must grasp us; control us. If we allow the Holy Spirit to be in control we will know when we’ve grieved Him by our wrong decisions or failure to obey.  When we are led into a situation we don’t understand but peace is in our hearts, He’s indicating to us things are OK.  God is moving us one step at a time and He will bring us through the difficult situations. Many times He won’t explain His ways because He is testing our faith in Him.  II Corinthians 5:7 (Amp.) says, “We walk by faith . . . not by sight.”  We are led by the spirit not by our emotions, not by our whims and desires.  God is bringing the soul of man under control; under the control of the Spirit of God. 

Let’s revisit Genesis for a moment, where God created man. God had communion with Adam. God is spirit and He communed with Adam through the spirit. When Adam disobeyed divine communion was severed. His spirit was cut off from the source of his existence. Adam’s will was now in control, not God’s will.  The soul took ascendency and Adam’s spirit became subject to his soul, to his emotions, his mind and his reasoning. God is bringing the soul of man once again under the control of the Holy Spirit through Christ who was born, crucified and resurrected. He is restoring us to Himself so He can again commune with us and take authority over our soul life. The Old Testament was objective in its events; the tabernacle, the sacrifices and offerings. The people could smell, see and hear what was going on during the rituals of sacrifice. From the moment Christ came into this world life changed, He was being led by the Spirit and the control of God’s will.   Jesus did only what He saw His Father do; spoke only what he heard His Father say.  Christ is teaching  us obedience and dependence of a son to His Father.  Can you see God controlling Elijah?  Not allowing His servant who has been endowed with authority and power to do what he pleases. It’s easy to allow the ego to take hold of God’s thoughts and use it for our own glory. Thank God He protects us from our ego when we are sensitive to His Spirit.

Elijah was endowed with power and authority and God used Him because Israel was in a critical spiritual state and needed deliverance. Satan had taken hold of Israel and had deceived them into worshipping Baal.  Ephesians 6:12 tells us; “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood . . .” Satan is at work. Elijah stood before the evil King Ahab and declared the Word of the living God; heaven heard and obeyed. Elijah exercised and displayed God’s power which went beyond the mere human situation.  He was not intimidated by the authority Ahab represented; he was under a greater authority.   God’s authority and power comes by revelation as we increase in Christ and grow in grace and knowledge. Elijah confronted Ahab in 1 Kings 17:1 (Amp.) with the statement, “As the Lord, the God Israel lives, before Whom I stand . . .” He knew his position was standing before God; he didn’t doubt.

We have not matured as servants if we start declaring empty words without first knowing where we stand. Responsibility comes with divine authority and power. Let’s use an example in the natural realm. A child who matures in a family begins to understand why the father, mother and older siblings tell him ‘no’.  It’s a process of growing up. Our Heavenly Father is maturing us; He’s leading us. The law is written in our hearts and the Holy Spirit directs our decisions, thoughts and actions.  Sometimes we hear Him as a still small voice, in a song, in a mature brother or sister in Christ, or a preaching.  God speaks to us in many ways. We need to be listening.  We want shortcuts but there are no shortcuts. There’s a starting point for everyone into God’s kingdom.  1 Peter 2:2 reads, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk . . .” Milk represents the Word of God which nourishes us so we can grow from a baby to a mature man.

The life of Elijah came forth from the secret preparation of God.  God is raising up men and women who are willing to pay the price to become instruments of restoration; restoring the Body of Christ. I say restore because much of Christianity has become weak and hypocritical; divorce continues and homosexuality has been exposed. The church is being mocked, not because of our convictions, but because we preach one thing and do another.  We worship our cathedrals spending millions of dollars for our meeting places while there are many people in various parts of the world who have not heard the name of Jesus.  God is not pleased with what He sees; He gave His all when He gave His Son. Romans 8:8 reads, “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” We see why God protects the servant He prepares in secret, so dependence will be on Him as the source of divine power and authority.

God ordered Elijah to declare judgment on Israel and after that God said “leave here”.  Get away from public exposure which is a place of danger because of ego. Hide yourself in Kerith.  Kerith means separation, cutting off. What the Spirit wants to tell us is that geography has little to do with this command. When we accept our Lord He takes us to Jordan to identify ourselves with His death; death to self.  He wants us to rise to a new life; His life, His purpose, plan, intentions and desires as mentioned in Romans 6:4-6.  Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “. . . I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  He’s telling us to spiritually hide ourselves.  The greatest stumbling block of ministry is self.  II Cor. 12:7 (paraphrased) Paul says, To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” II Cor. 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ ”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Paul would not fall into the trap of self.  After he received those revelations, self had to come under control.  He discovered that self was still very much alive and could at any time take hold of his ministry.  We must thank the Lord for these servants who have gone before us and have shown us the process of growth.  When we come into the Body of Christ we come into the same Spirit that was directing Paul, that was governing Peter and John and that was controlling Jesus Christ.  We have become a part of the same vocation and fellowship of Moses and Jeremiah of the Old Testament.

 It’s a shame that we have allowed the enemy to deceive us and keep us wrapped in ourselves not allowing the Holy Spirit to take us beyond the self life into Christ’s life.  I’m grateful to the Holy Spirit and how He directs us in the studying of His word.  He is always unveiling truth; the principles that govern the kingdom of God. 

Now notice that Elijah was adjustable.  He didn’t complain when God told him to go to the brook; he was ready to go.  Elijah didn’t have his own program or set course, he was waiting on the Lord for each step to take.  This can happen with a like minded church.  In Exodus look at how Israel was led out of Egypt one step at a time by God’s direction. The Holy Spirit reminds us how John the Baptist had prepared the disciples when they saw the Lamb of God. John 1:35-39, “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.  Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”  They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” The disciples didn’t question John about what to do they knew they were to follow Christ.  What we have to understand is that when we have been placed in a position of influence, in bible study or any one of the fivefold gifts our focus should always be to lead those followers to Christ’s fullness and not our likeness. Luke 11:34 reads, “Your eye is the lamp of your body, when your eyes are good, you whole body also is full of light, but when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.” Ministries today follow man’s charisma, however the leaders are at fault not the people.   Leaders have not learned to hide themselves in the presence of God.  If we follow men we are not following Christ.  If your ministry is making disciples of your likeness you are not making Disciples of Christ. The two disciples followed Christ and left John If you can’t receive revelations coming from other ministries something is wrong because if their words lead you to Christ’s likeness there will be an outflow of the principles of God’s law in your hearts.behind.     That’s the purpose of the fivefold ministry, to bring us into the stature of Christ.  Don’t build disciples around yourself but bring them into the fullness of Christ.

What we have to understand is that when we have been placed in a position of influence, in bible study or any one of the fivefold gifts our focus should always be to lead those followers to Christ’s fullness and not our likeness.

Elijah was known as a prophet of power because he was dependent on the Lord.   His relationship with the Lord allowed him to be used to fulfill God’s purpose. God knew what Elijah would encounter in this world and He prepared him for it.

Man is coming to his whit’s end.  Jesus Christ is preparing His people.  No doubt He will come for a bride prepared by the Holy Spirit and walking in His Word. The bride knows the groom, she knows her husband.  She’s not following other men; she’s following Christ, her lover.  God will continue to unfold this revelation as we are obedient.  May the Lord remove the spiritual cataracts off our eyes so we may see God in all of His Holy Word.  Amen!  

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