The Most Profound Aspect of the Character God

This article has been curated from "My Father, My Father" by Sam Soleyn. You can download your FREE copy from the eGen store.

GOD IS A FATHER

The most profound aspect of the character of God is that of Father. God as Father expresses completely His nature of love: the love of God is inseparable from its expression as Father, and the nature of Father is inseparable from the character of love, particularly when fathering is by design.

God conceived of man as His son deliberately to express the nature of love. His careful attentiveness of this purpose explains why God would enter into a covenant with Himself to benefit man before He created Him. Man was not designed as merely a continually evolving protoplasmic flotsam, adrift in the vastness of the universe. God tied His own being to man by His unbreakable oath to Himself. In the creation of man, He set forth a proving ground for the demonstration of His nature of love. Although God always had in mind to put the majesty of His love on display, the depths of His love could not fully be displayed until He created a Son in His own image and likeness.

GOD IS LOVE

This process exists due to the nature of love. Love does not exist merely as a theory or concept. For love to exist, it must be actualized—expressed and tested. Love may be demonstrated in a variety of ways. In the Kingdom of God, such demonstrations exist as forms of order and governance that benefit all who are within the Kingdom. However, love is presented perfectly within the context of a father and his children, because that is the only form in which the nature of love, as defined by God’s relationship to man, can be fully tested and, therefore, fully expressed.

God’s relationship to man, as Father to sons, is neither accidental nor casual. It is a deliberate order and foreordained by God. God decided to create man as His son; man was powerless to influence this decision in any way.

The love of God for man is the foundation for man’s purpose in creation. When man separated himself from his Father, his purpose in creation was lost. It is only by being reconciled to his Father that he may regain the true purpose for being. The love of God should never be construed as the basis for permitting man to engage in reckless and dissolute behavior without consequence. For indeed, such a fashion of life has consequences, both in time and the hereafter. These profound truths about the nature of God and His purpose for creating man seem contrary to the normal religious emphasis of the unworthiness of man, as the background against which to view the charity of God.

A SON BEARS THE FATHER'S EXPRESSION

Prior to the coming of Christ and man’s restoration to sonship, man’s purpose in creation was defined by this hope of redemption. Accordingly, in this time of types and shadows, God favored certain behaviors, the significance of which were largely unrecognized by the participants. People were allowed to engage in religious activities that mimicked principles of father and son relationships, preserving the purpose for creation and the hope of redemption in the culture.

For example, Abraham did not understand why God would ask him to go through the preparations of sacrificing Isaac, then stay his hand at the last moment and provide a sacrifice Himself. However, his willingness to proceed as far as he did showed the heart of God the Father, who was willing to sacrifice Jesus to save Adam. On the basis of that undertaking, then, God qualified Abraham to be the recipient of the promise to bring Christ into the world through his lineage.

One should not construe this hope of restoration nor the restoration to sonship through Christ as the end within itself. The restoration of man through Christ is primarily a restoration to his lost state. It is a repositioning of man. God made man as a son, and Christ restored him to sonship. The restoration to sonship is God’s provision for accurately realigning man in the earth so that God may put on display the true meaning of Father through him.

Just as a son needs a father in order to properly understand his identity and his purpose, a father requires a son in order to put on display the father’s nature. A son’s history and his origin are determined by the father out of whom the son issued. Accordingly his purpose can never be furthered in contradistinction from his father. Correspondingly, the father is pledged to support the existence of his son. This is the role God chose when He created the son to put His nature on display. Father and son, therefore, is a symbiotic and intricately interconnected relationship toward a mutual and continuing purpose.

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What Every Man (and Woman) Needs

This week's article has been curated from "Awakened to My Wife" by Dana Thompson. Get your copy in the eGen store. 

FROM THE BEGINNING

When God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, He knew Adam still had a need. God chose to create a distinctive sense of “aloneness” in Adam that was not filled by His personal presence. I know that may sound like blasphemy to a theologian. However, Genesis 2: 18 states, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (NIV). God said that Adam was “alone”; not lonely, but alone. Adam experienced God in the beauty of His holiness, and in His splendor and perfection, yet Adam was alone. Spiritually, Adam’s need was met. His emotional and physical needs, however, were impossible to satisfy without the presence of another person, another human being like himself. God foreknew this, and planned to fulfill Adam’s every need with a helpmate. And He did this in part by providing a wife. God knew Adam needed a wife to fulfill his emotional and physical needs.

GOD HAD A PLAN

I’m sure that at first it was hard for Adam to see his need for a helper who was “suitably fit” just for him. Like most men, he became so involved in his work of tending the garden that he was unaware of his personal needs. So many men start working and establish their identity through their work early on; as a result, they fail to realize their need for a helpmate.

So the Lord prepared Adam. He brought a group of animals for him to name. Yes, this was an exercise for Adam to use his creativity, but it was also the means by which God showed Adam his need for a helpmate. Can you imagine going through hundreds of paired animals in a day, looking at both of them, and giving them names? How long do you think it took for something to click in Adam that revealed his need for a companion? No telling! Yet it took God’s intervention to make him aware of his need for a wife. Until and unless God awakens the need within a man for a wife, he will remain unmarried all of his days.

The Lord caused a “deep sleep”to come on Adam. Ladies, this is very important for you to remember, so I’ll say it again: unless God awakens a man’s need for a helpmate, he will remain unmarried. I’ve seen women do everything possible to get the attention of the man they felt would be their future husband, but to no avail. Why? He was in a “deep sleep!”And he will stay in that deep sleep until the Lord awakens him.

THAT REQUIRES TRUST & PATIENCE

When I was a minister at a particular mega-church, I occasionally had door duties greeting people leaving the services. One Sunday a young lady came to me and said, “I need your help.”I went over to see how I could assist her. She told me that a young man was following her and she knew he wanted to ask her on a date. I considered that to be a strange concern. My thought was, “If you are not in any type of physical danger, why bother me with a guy who is interested in dating you?”I asked her to show me the young man. When she pointed him out, I smiled, because I knew him. I told her that he was a law student who had just returned from school for the summer, and his parents were very well-known in the church and the community. I looked at her afterwards as if to say, “You ought to be honored that he is interested in you.”She looked at me with mild disgust and walked away.

That same young lady is now my wife. I didn’t know it then, but I understand now that she was trying to say, “Hey, numb skull! I really like you, and someone else is on to me. Be my hero and take me away in your arms!” Back then, I was in a deep sleep; I had no inkling that the Lord’s provision was right before my eyes. God will present to a man His provision, his future wife, but that man has to receive the gift. Adam’s way of accepting God’s provision was in his statement, “Wow! This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh! She shall be called, ‘My woman!’”(Gen. 2: 23 NIV with author’s paraphrase)

Ladies, you can wear your best hairstyles and outfits, have your eyebrows arched, put on your best perfume, and stand right in front of a man, saying with unspoken beauty, “Here I am! You’d best know your God, and receive this precious gift.” Yet, if he is still in a deep sleep, you will be wasting your time and energy. Until God awakens him, he will not be able to see or receive you as the provision of the Lord.

I want to thank you for being patient with us, women. Pray that God will awaken His unmarried men in this hour. Once God awakens a man and reveals to him the provision of the Lord, he will open his mouth and say, “This is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh!”Or, as they would say in the movie The Matrix, “She’s the one.”I tell you the truth, the majority of men today need Christ and a wife. I am so thankful for a helpmate who complements me. She teaches me how to submit to Christ and protects me from my weaknesses.

AND IS MEANT FOR OUR GOOD.

Notice that God did much more than give Adam someone so that he would not be alone. God’s solution for Adam’s need was to “make a helper suitable for him”(Gen. 2: 18b NIV). It’s important here to note that “helper” does not mean “second-rate partner.” On the contrary, in the day when Moses wrote these words, to identify a woman as a “helper” ran counter-culture to the commonly held inferior view of women. Moses actually elevated the sense of woman’s worth and role by calling her by the same name used in other places in the Old Testament to describe God Himself. To be called a “helper” here speaks more to the simple fact that God had plans for Adam that he could not fulfill without a wife—he was incomplete. Adam needed His wife Eve. Adam needed Christ and a wife.

Please understand that I am not implying that every unmarried person is incomplete without a spouse. We are all created in the image of God to fulfill His purpose and plan for our lives. Nevertheless, in God’s timing, He may sovereignly choose to bring a husband and wife together for them to accomplish together as one what they could never accomplish individually. When God calls you to awaken to your mate, He gives you a spouse who, by divine design, will perfectly complement you. Together you will be resilient and more effective than either of you were when you were apart.

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Finding God's Design for Marriage

This article has been curated from "Marriage: Finding God's Design" by Dr. Corbett Gaulden. You can purchase your copy in the eGen store.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS SONSHIP

Many have acknowledged that the first human relationship was marriage; specifically, the marriage of Adam and Eve subsequent to Eve’s coming forth from Adam. The only relationship that preceded marriage was the Father-son relationship that GOD had with Adam (Luke 3: 38). Technically, even that is not true, because before Adam could take Eve in marriage, Eve had to be brought forth out of the living flesh of Adam (Genesis 2: 20-25). It may be provocative to say so, but this implies that there is a kind of spiritual womb in a man that stands in some kind of parallel to the natural womb in a woman. Now, it is only fair to say that GOD was in a “startup”mode and that Adam and Eve were the first of each: male and female. Hence, each of these starter-persons had to come into existence. First, GOD created the male from inanimate earth and breathed life into that inanimate object (Genesis 2: 7). He could have repeated that process to create Eve. He could have taken some more inanimate earth, rolled it up, and breathed the female into existence. However, He did not choose to make Eve in that manner. To bring her into being, GOD caused the man to fall into a very deep sleep, opened his living flesh, took some component from that living flesh, and then closed the opening in the man’s flesh. Then, with that extracted, living flesh, He made the woman. The woman was “born”from (came out of) the flesh of the man. Subsequently, all human beings have been born out of the living flesh of a woman.

Apparently, Adam approved of the work GOD had made from his living flesh. Adam immediately claimed that woman as his own because she came out of him. He reclaimed that which had been within him and took her as a wife. This, obviously, was the first marriage. But Eve was first Son of Adam; her flesh-being came from his flesh-being in a manner that did not require the normal mechanisms of human reproduction. There is no evidence that GOD breathed life into the woman. It seems that the living flesh of the man had the requisite life already in it. GOD simply made the living flesh of the man into the woman. Her life came out of the life of the man.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS FELLOWSHIP

There is an interesting implication in this opening narrative of human history. It is found in Adam’s declaration, upon first seeing Eve: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”(Genesis 2: 23, emphasis added). GOD’s act was not political or sociological in any way; He “simply”made the woman with purposes of His own. In so doing, He also knew what He expected from the man (Genesis 1: 28-30). It was a simple wedding, really. There were no groomsmen or bridesmaids, and only heaven was there to witness the events. But they were truly married, nonetheless, in humanity’s first wedding “ceremony.”Adam’s use of the first person singular possessive pronoun—“bone of MY bones and flesh of MY flesh”—signals his recognition that GOD made this particular woman for him and brought her to him. In this particular instance, it was absolutely true that she was bone of HIS bones and flesh of HIS flesh. She was exclusively “of” him in all her being. There was not another from whose bone or flesh she was taken to make her and bring her to life.

It is interesting to note in passing that when GOD created the man, the woman was already inherently in the man; that is, once the man was created, all that was needed to make the woman was already in the man. Scripture specifically implies this (Genesis 1: 27). GOD created them “male and female.” Thus, man was some sort of compound being from the start, in spite of his apparent solitude. This compound being needed fullness of expression in a manner that provided human fellowship for the man (Genesis 2: 18). That fellowship came in the form of the woman. This was not intended to replace the man’s fellowship with GOD, but to add the richness of human fellowship with the woman to the divine fellowship Adam already enjoyed with GOD. The divine fellowship was of a Father-son type (Luke 3: 38), while the marriage was fellowship of a very different kind.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS ONENESS

It is my assertion that the marriage dyad is of fixed construction. Not only is it composed of one man and one woman, but it is composed of a particular man and a particular woman .

Suppose for a moment that it were GOD’s will that a particular woman who was alive in the earth at a particular time be the wife of a particular man who was alive in the earth at the same time. Could GOD not fashion the spirit-life in the woman from the spirit-life He placed in the man as He did with the flesh in the case of Adam and Eve? I’m not trying to sound creepy, but is it possible that an omnipotent GOD could do such a thing? If so, would it not be wonderful for the particular man to be united with the particular woman in a marriage? Or is marriage simply a random phenomenon?

In distinction from our modern cultural ideas, Scripture presents us with the idea of the man and the woman becoming some sort of unitary phenomenon. The two are to become “one flesh”(Genesis 2: 24; Mark 10: 2-12; Ephesians 5: 31). This design feature is unequivocal. One of GOD’s expected outcomes of marriage is that the flesh man and the flesh woman together exemplify the oneness of CHRIST and His one, particular Bride. There simply is no room for ambiguity in this matter. Marriage between the man and the woman has a nature that, while mysterious, is not ambiguous. Part of that nature is to put on display on the earth the oneness that CHRIST displays in eternity with His Bride, the church.

Obviously, a man and a woman in a marriage do not occupy the same existence. They can be in places that are separated by great distances. They are not physically congruent. So, what is this “oneness”of which Scripture speaks? Oneness does not mean sharing a brain or a physical body, but the word clearly implies the sharing of something. It may even imply sharing virtually everything. We actually have a picture available to us in the form of inheritance in the patriarchal family. The husband inherited property and built its value. The wife lived in it and gave it color. She was as entitled to whatever was her husband’s as he was, whether they were in the middle of a quarrel or celebrating some great thing together. It was his but it was hers. This was not a distribution of things; it was a sharing of things. That must have something to do with oneness.

Oneness may also include shared purpose. If this be so, it implies that the marriage is working properly when the purposes of its partners are the same and not at variance with one another. This, of course, is not always an easy matter, as each partner has their own mind, senses and feelings, but generally it works in life.

GOD'S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE DISPLAYS PERMANENCY

The permanency of marriage in the face of the vicissitudes of life is quite a phenomenon, particularly in today’s self-interested culture. Regardless of stress, however, marriage is to result in a permanent oneness. As CHRIST and His Bride are eternally faithful to one another in their permanent oneness , so we must treat our own marriages. We must always be of the mind that whatever trials we face in marriage are simply for the purification of our frail humanity. This is necessary if we are to adequately represent CHRIST and His Bride in the world of humans .

Many people in most modern cultures today insist that these principles are too confining. They see oneness, in particular, as an offensive requirement for both males and females. That very struggle is a significant component of marriages in the world today. Oneness has been reduced to a political consideration. For all who follow CHRIST, however, marriage is a spiritual phenomenon, not a political one.

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Embracing a Life of Better Things

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This article has been curated from "Hebrews: the Book of Better Things" by Bill Britton, a series of messages written and published earlier in booklet form, which we considered so vital to present truth that we decided to put them in permanent book form. 

LEAVING THE OLD TO EMBRACE THE NEW

Many scholars believe that the apostle Paul was the author of Hebrews, based on internal evidence, the style of writing, the revelation of grace, and the pattern of his logic. Paul, who was once the most orthodox of Jews, blameless in the matters of the Law, has had a vision of Christ and a revelation of the gospel of the grace of God. He now is the strongest opponent of the Law of Moses with its rituals, ceremonies, and animal sacrifices. He will not succeed in destroying the old order completely, nor will he be able to convince all the Jews to leave that dead system (it still has millions of followers today.) But he is sounding a clarion call to those Christians who have tasted the reality of Christ and want to follow Jesus into full Sonship. The message is that they will have to turn loose of the past and rid themselves of every remaining garment of the Jew’s religion. We have a better way. The shadows are gone... we have arrived at the substance.

Christians in our day are not very concerned about the controversy of Paul’s day between law and grace. So is the book of Hebrews relevant for us today? Yes! For today we are faced with an old order that is passing away and a new order that is coming in, bringing a revelation of Sonship... a higher order. The revelation of this high calling was given to the apostles in the early church, and they faithfully wrote it down. But it is obvious that the early church, the earnest or firstfruits of God’s order for His Body, did not fully reach that maturity and perfection in their generation. They certainly did not attain this maturity and perfection during the dark ages, and still have not, even up to our present time. But the work of God is ever progressive and gaining momentum continually.

And today we see the need for a new understanding of the book of Hebrews. It is the New Testament book of Sonship.

First of all, the Sonship of Jesus Christ; and finally, the revelation of the Body of Christ, the corporate, many-membered Son that inherits the Melchizedek priesthood order by virtue of being in Him. While the blind still lead the blind and the masses still stagger along in a dying system of “churchianity”and religion, we see a great company of Sons breaking forth into the glorious light of God’s new day.

So the need, now as then, is for God’s people to realize that they cannot hold on to the old system of religion, however well it served them in the past. Too many today, like the Jewish Christians back then, are trying to hang on to the best of two worlds. It won’t work. The Jewish Christians in the early church were constantly being hammered by the preachers of the circumcision. They were told that Jesus was their Messiah and that the Holy Spirit was for them too; but they were still obligated to fulfill the Law of Moses. Holy Spirit-filled preachers were using the only scriptures the church had to prove to them that they had to be circumcised, observe the Sabbath, keep going to the temple, and keep the Law in order to be saved. It sounded logical. If you have Jesus and the Law, how could you lose? 

The argument was that you had to touch all the bases. Paul’s answer was that the old covenant and its laws were no longer one of the bases. God has done away with it. He has now instituted a better thing. And now, in our day, the Holy Spirit is being poured out upon all flesh, in many denominations and systems of religion. And men are still telling God’s people to take the new thing, but to stay in the old sectarian order. “This new thing is simply an improvement on the good old way,” they say.

THE SONSHIP JOURNEY IS THE BETTER WAY

The book of Hebrews begins with a glorious declaration as to how God speaks or reveals Himself to us. Once He spoke through prophets, those who spoke for Him and in His name. But now He speaks or reveals Himself in Sonship.

Hebrews 1: 1-2: Many were the forms and fashions in which God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these days at the end He has spoken to us by a son—a Son whom He has appointed heir of the universe... (Hebrews 1: 1-2 Moffatt)

Now dear friends, if you think that Jesus is keeping all the glory of this Sonship and heirship to Himself, then you just haven’t read Romans 8: 17, which tells us that we are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”Verse 29 of that chapter states plainly and emphatically that Jesus Christ is God’s Son but that He is the “firstborn among many brethren.”Further, Revelation 21: 7 says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”The unveiling of God in the person of a Son did begin in our Lord Jesus Christ, for He was “the beginning of the creation of God”(Rev. 3: 14). But it did not stop there. God ordained that Jesus would be the first, and that because of Him, and through Him, there would be a great harvest of the precious fruit of the earth. The Sonship of Jesus is complete; “it is finished.” God is still waiting patiently for “the precious fruit of the earth”(Ja. 5: 7). This harvest of Sons will be joint-heirs with Jesus, “Heir and lawful Owner of all things”(Heb. 1: 2 AMP).

BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY

First of all, we are talking here about Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The Bible refers to this entire dispensation of grace as “the last days.” The apostles wrote of their own days being the last days, and yet we know that today (over 2,000 years later), we are still in the last days. We read in Mark 15: 25 that Jesus was lifted up on the cross as our sacrifice at the third hour of the day, the time of the morning sacrifice. He remained on that cross until the ninth hour, the time of the evening sacrifice (Mk. 15: 33-34).

In other words, the work that He came to do (provide a way of salvation from sin for mankind,) was being done until the time of the evening sacrifice, when He cried, “…it is finished…”(Jn. 19: 30). Now we see another Son, a many-membered corporate Son known as “the church, His Body” come into view. Jesus said that because of what He did for us, we would do His works, as well as “greater works”(Jn. 14: 12). So we see a Son coming forth in the morning time of these last days, the dispensation of grace, and doing a work in the souls of men. And now, in the time of the evening sacrifice (the closing hours of these last days), we see the only begotten Son of God crying, “It is finished.”He is taken down from the cross, and pours Himself (by the Spirit) into a waiting Body of Sons. What the whole world now shall see is the ministry of “greater works”that Jesus promised. It is the time of the evening sacrifice. It is the time for the younger Son, the many-membered Son, the church, His Body, to be manifested. It was the firstborn Son who created this world and brought life to it. Now it is the younger, many-membered Son, who shall (in cooperation with Christ) restore the creation to divine order. They shall be joint-heirs together. This is why He is bringing many Sons to glory (Heb. 2: 10) and why we must be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8: 29). This is what all creation is groaning and travailing for with earnest expectation (Rom. 8: 19-22). It is the time for the younger Son, the many-membered Son, the church, His Body, to be manifested.

So at the time of the morning sacrifice, God spoke in a Son, Jesus Christ. He expressed Himself fully in Jesus. The Son was the “express image”of the Father, “the brightness of his glory”(Heb. 1: 3). And now, at the time of the evening sacrifice, God shall again speak and manifest Himself through a Son. This time it is a corporate Son, of which Jesus Himself is the Head.

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The Stages of Sonship Defined

This article has been curated from "The Elementary Doctrines" by Dr. Sam Soleyn. Download your FREE copy in English or Spanish from the eGen store.

THE GREATEST TASK BEFORE US

There is perhaps no more intensive task one can choose to undertake than the raising of children. For parents, children are their posterity, with the potential to extend their destiny beyond their natural lifespan. In the Body of Christ, however, we all are sons of God. We come into the family of God through birth. Our initial stage is that of newborn children. As in natural families, there is an anticipated growth through various stages resulting in one becoming mature. We start as children whose growth and maturity is determined and stewarded by the head, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ has organized His Body as a multigenerational family. The foundation of this family is Father-Son relationship, established by God as Father and as Son, and cultivated intentionally through spiritual fathers. The complete picture of this family is that of a Holy Nation that exists as one functioning Body under Christ's headship that displays the Kingdom of God in the earth. 

Therefore let us leave the elementary teaching about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgement. And God permitting, we will do so (Hebrews 6:1-3 NIV).

THE CULTURE OF THE CORPORATE SON

The Elementary Doctrines both identify aspects of the culture of the corporate Son and provide the means by which that culture is established in every believer. This process is inextricably tied to the concept of maturity. Specifically, the stages of the maturing son of God depend upon the working of the Elementary Doctrines in a believer’s daily life. Scripture identifies these stages of sonship as a means of identifying one’s maturity level within the range of an infant son to one who has reached his or her full representation of God the Father within the greater Body. Similarly, the stages of sonship may describe the maturing of the corporate Son, the Body of Christ, as the Body matures through new revelation across epochs of time.

STAGES OF SONSHIP

The stages of sonship begin with the infant, or newly born-again believer, and progress to the mature son. Each stage refers to a particular Greek term for “son,” its meaning, and the manner in which it is used in Scripture. The infant son, or earliest stage, is called the nēpios stage [see Strong's #3516]. When one is first born again, that person is a son of God and, therefore, an heir in the house of God. However, the nēpios, though an heir, “does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything" (Galatians 4:1 NASB). The newborn believer is like an heir under guardianship. Such an heir is not sufficiently trained or mature enough to have free access to the resources of the household, though he is heir to everything in it. Regarding the teaching and training of the nēpios, that person is ready only for “milk,”which is described in Scripture as the opposite of “a message of wisdom among the mature” (2 Corinthians 2:6). For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant [nēpios]. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5: 12-14 NASB). One should note that the writer of Hebrews prescribes, specifically, the Elementary Doctrines as the starting place for the infant son of God and identifies the mature as one who has practiced them. Paul also equated the message for those in this infantile state as preaching “nothing …except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified,”and that this message is in contrast to a message of wisdom for the mature. The nēpios stage is one in which great learning and foundation are necessary, but one in which the individual does not freely or intentionally access the resources of the House of God for lack of maturity.

The next stage of sonship is the paidion stage, often translated in Scripture as a child or children (pl.). John writes, I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men [neaniskos], because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children [paidion], because you know the Father (1 John 2: 13 NASB).

A paidion is a young child. In Scripture, the term is used for one who is able to recognize the Father. This stage may be considered the second stage of sonship as it is at times synonymous with a child who is an infant (See Strong's #3813).

 The teknon stage comes next, and it is the first stage in which the son is sufficiently mature to be given responsibility and the opportunity to respond to rule. In terms of maturity, the teknon is still considered a child. (See John 2:12.) In terms of sonship, however, the teknon is a son who is sufficiently mature to engage a reciprocal relationship with the Father. Jesus told the following parable, which involves sons who are in the teknon stage of maturity: “…A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21: 28-31 NASB).

These sons are of sufficient maturity to be given rule and responsibility but whose inconsistencies in carrying out the will of their father show that more training is necessary before they are sons who are the complete representation of the father.

The next stage, the neaniskos stage, is similar to the maturity of “young men”: I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men [neaniskos], because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men [neaniskos], because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2: 13-15 NASB).

This is the stage of the overcomer. It is a son who has been tested and displayed strength, and who, in the testing, has represented the word of God. The neaniskos is no longer a child, and the implication of overcoming the evil one indicates one who has been refined greatly through suffering.

THE SON SETS THE STANDARD

The final stage of sonship is huios. This is the son who may be sent as the full, complete representation of the Father. Perhaps the most important distinction of the huios in Scripture follows the parable described above of the man with two, teknon, sons, when Jesus tells the following parable: “…There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vinegrowers to receive his produce. The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. But afterward he sent his son [huios] to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (Matthew 21: 33-44 NASB). The Son in the parable references Christ, the Son who was sent.

This Son’s representation of the Father is so complete that He may be knowingly sent into harm or death and that such harm is itself an indictment against those who would reject him. The huios son carries a measure of the House of God when he is sent, establishing the standards of righteousness by his representation of the Father. This is the fully mature, Christ-like son.

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Achieving Financial Success God's Way

This article has been curated from "Coins Left Over" by Eugene Strite. Buy it from the eGen store by clicking here. 

ONE MAN'S SUCCESS STORY

The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s brought upheaval into the lives of millions of Europeans. Euphoria over newfound freedom quickly mingled with fear of the breakdown of social order. Hope for the future was tempered by uncertainty over the present. Triumph or tragedy, everyone had a story. One young man, an artist, struggled for nearly two years to survive as a beggar on the streets of an eastern European city. One day, moved at the sight of two other beggars in similar circumstances to his own, he counted out the biggest coins he had and divided them between the two. Soon after this, someone bought not one, but two, of the lovely little paintings he was selling. This was the beginning of his rise out of poverty. What made the difference? Reflecting on what had happened, the young artist remembered reading Jesus’words, “Give, and it will be given to you…”(Luke 6: 38 NKJV). It was then that he realized the true value and power of giving.

In fact, giving is the most important principle for achieving success God’s way. Does that surprise you? Do you find it hard to accept the idea that a key to establishing financial success in your own life is learning to give away your financial resources? Conventional wisdom in the world would say otherwise, but the world’s wisdom is different from God’s wisdom.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,”says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”(Isaiah 55: 8-9 NKJV).

All things belong to God because He is the Creator of all. His Kingdom is an infinite Kingdom with infinite resources that can never be exhausted. Those resources are available to every Christian who is willing to apply and live by God’s financial principles. As we learn to give as God has blessed us, we discover also that no matter how much He gives from His storehouse, He never runs out; hence, neither do we. There will always be just as much as there was before. The road to financial success begins with adjusting our mind-set to think in terms of God’s economy, not man’s. Giving is risk-free when you draw from an infinite supply. As counterintuitive as it may seem to a “rational” human mind, giving is a fundamental principle in the economy of God’s Kingdom.

 GIVING GOD'S WAY

Another word for money is currency. Related to the word current, currency carries the idea of movement, as with water in a river—something that flows. And just like water, money that does not move becomes stale and stagnant. It needs to move frequently in order to remain fresh and productive.

As Christians, we are to be channels through which the finances of the world flow, not people who hoard money. Why should we hoard money when we are heirs to the infinite riches of God?

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory (Romans 8: 16-17 NIV).

Whenever you are afraid or selfish with what God has given you, you stop the flow. You create clogged pipes, making it hard for finances to come back to you. The way to get the flow going again in your life is to start giving. Open the valve; be generous! Give extra tips. Make a deliberate choice to bless others and then watch what happens!

One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11: 24-25 NIV).

Giving does more for the giver than for the receiver. Indeed, Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”(Acts 20: 35b NIV). Giving and receiving are in fact two sides of the same coin. People often ask me, “Should we tithe on the gross or on the net income of our paychecks?”Giving is an issue of the heart. It’s not a question of percentages. The joy of giving exceeds the law of giving ten percent. The law was cancelled in Jesus Christ. How much you should give really comes down to the question of how large a harvest you want. The key to establishing financial success in your own life is learning to give away your financial resources.

Paul instructs us, as he did the Corinthian church, to make sure that we excel in the grace of giving.

But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving (2 Corinthians 8: 7 NIV).

Although personal benefit should never be our primary motivation for giving, Jesus makes it clear that generosity in giving brings back abundant returns to the giver.

Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6: 38 NKJV).

One of the reasons God blesses us with finances is so that we can share with those who are less fortunate than we are. Giving can be a very enriching and rewarding experience. Every believer, regardless of his income, should learn to be a giver. Giving is the best way to keep material things in the right perspective in our lives. God doesn’t need our money, but we need to give as a guard against greed and selfishness. Sharing with others helps keep our heart in the right place. Giving is risk-free when you draw from an infinite supply.

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Positioning Yourself for Divine Breakthrough into the Unlimited

This article has been curated from "Sons of God Awake" by Bill Britton, a series of messages written and published earlier in booklet form, which we considered so vital to present truth that we decided to put them in permanent book form. The purpose of this book is to show the unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ in His Sons. 

A TIME FOR STRETCHING THE LIMITS

Man is surrounded by limitations. In fact, he is a creature of circumstances, limited by time, space, human knowledge, physical strength, and endurance. No matter how desperate he is to perform a task, he can stay awake only a certain number of hours before he becomes weak and useless physically and mentally and must give in to sleep and rest. No matter how large an empire he has to rule over, he can only be at one place at a time. No matter how rich he is, or how much money he has to bargain with, he cannot buy more than his allotted time on this earth. Sometimes, due to the limitations of the physical body, even the greatest of men have to leave this earth, weeping, in the zenith of their power and authority. These limitations are imposed by divine authority. God has set the boundaries, and only by an act of God can those boundaries be crossed. Man can survive for a few weeks without food, and only a few days without water, yet Moses stayed on Mount Sinai in the presence of God for almost three months without food or water. He was sustained by divine Life.

Men used to gaze heavenward and wonder what the vast universe was like. Human knowledge of the sun, moon, and stars was very limited and made up mostly of imagination, guesswork, and superstition. But this is rapidly changing in our time. Men are sending up scientific instruments to probe the heavens, making landings on the moon, and sending their cameras and radio transmitters to other planets to send back information. For more than fifty centuries this sort of thing was only a wild dream in the minds of a few “crackpots,”some of whom were jailed and persecuted for their ideas. But now it is becoming a reality.

Yes, man’s physical world is undergoing a tremendous revolution. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15: 46: “first…that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.”The natural revolution is only a shadow of things to come in the spiritual. Why this sudden change in the natural world? Because it is now time for a great change in the spiritual world. In the natural, man has begun to press against the barriers that limit him.

Great strides have been made rapidly in the speed of transportation since man first broke the sound barrier in the 1940s. As airplanes approached the speed of sound, violent vibrations occurred that nearly shook the planes apart. But scientists soon discovered how to engineer planes that could withstand the vibrations of the sound barrier, and once they had broken through and exceeded the speed of sound, they discovered that there was almost no limit to the speed they could attain. However, planes flying through the “heavens”faster than the speed of sound cause sonic booms that shake those living on the earth, sometimes causing fear and trembling. So also in the Spirit.

BREAKING THE 'SOUND' BARRIER

Saints of God began to cry out against the “sound barrier”of men’s voices telling them how fast and far they could go with God, what they could and could not believe, and how much of the Word of God they could appropriate for today. As they approached the barrier set up by the sound of men’s voices and men’s doctrines and traditional interpretations, a shaking began to take place that nearly tore some vessels apart. But the precious Holy Spirit, the greatest engineer of them all, began to bring forth some “Sons”who could withstand the shaking and press through the barrier to a glorious liberty and release in the Spirit where there was almost no limit to the progress they could make in spiritual revelation. They were amazed at the liberty on the other side of the “sound barrier”of the voices of doubt and fear.

But as the Sons progressed rapidly through the heavens in their newfound liberty, they set off spiritual “sonic booms”that terrified and upset those living on a low earthly plane of spirituality. Carnal Christians shook their fists at the heavenly travelers, called them false prophets, fanatics—even heretics—and made great attempts to slow their progress or pull them down to an earthly level.

These are trying times for those who are fenced in by the limitations of the carnal mind and the sectarian sounds of man’s ways. Many on the earth level find themselves in great frustration and fearful of all heavenly activity, shaken by the “sonic booms”of sound waves from those moving through the heavens. They hover together in their little denominational shells, hoping for their traditional fairy tales to come true, while in the heavenlies, eagle saints find little traffic, but great liberty—and no fences. No longer bound by earthly sounds, they soar through spiritual heights led only by the Spirit, and hearing the voice of Him who speaks from heaven. The carnal activity of earthbound creatures interest them not at all, but they find a glorious fellowship in the mystery of God with those who soar with them in divine revelation and spiritual attainment. They cannot hear the sounds of earth, the noisy city, the busy factory, the screaming mobs, or the warring dictators. They wear a look of divine peace, for a peace is given to them that passes understanding as they refuse to take part in the frantic earthly activity of carnal men. Theirs is a heavenly calling, having broken the barrier of earthly sounds!

BREAKING THE POWER OF 'GRAVITY' 

It was a great day for scientists when they were able to overcome the pull of gravity and launch a rocket high above the earth, through the heat and friction barrier, and into the realm of space. In doing so, they had to surmount many obstacles. They had to deal with the tremendous heat caused by the friction generated by an object passing through the air at hitherto unbelievable speeds. As the rocket ascended into the higher heavens, it passed through a radiation belt, coming into contact with forces that would melt and destroy ordinary materials. Finally, it burst through to outer space where there was no friction, no resistance to motion, and seemingly absolute weightlessness. Its speed and altitude compensated for the pull of Earth’s gravity, which seemed to have no more attraction for it.

Let me tell you, dear ones, that there are people right now being brought by the Spirit into heavenly realms where powers of darkness are setting up terrific forces to try to destroy them. But, thank God, these are not made of “ordinary substance.”They are called and ordained of God, anointed by His Spirit, and lifted by divine energy into realms never before attained by Adam’s race. To say that there is great opposition to their ascension is putting it mildly. Tremendous heat and friction are being generated by powers of darkness in a desperate warfare against the Sons of God who are ascending into realms long held by satan. Thrones are being cast down, the powers of heaven are shaking, and great fear pervades satan’s kingdom. The hordes of hell have not known such a shaking since Jesus arose from the grave and ascended into the heavenlies, defeating every power of the enemy, and putting satan to an open shame. Now is the time; the generation is here for the consummation of the battle of the ages. Overcomers and saintly warriors of all ages who defeated the enemy by faith in other realms are now awaiting the final thrust…the breakthrough into an unlimited realm in God! Overcomers and saintly warriors of all ages who defeated the enemy by faith in other realms are now awaiting the final thrust…the breakthrough into an unlimited realm in God!

A REALM WITHOUT LIMITATIONS

The Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were bound and cast into a furnace of fire. When they went into the fire they were bound and limited by their bonds. But when they came forth from the furnace, they had no bonds. Their limitations had burned away, while their persons and their clothing suffered nothing from the fiery trial. When they came out of the fire, they were promoted to a place of great authority in the kingdom. Psalm 78: 41 states God’s indictment against rebellious Israel in the wilderness: “they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” Folks, there is no limitation with God. He has no boundaries. Furthermore, he is bringing forth a new creation and setting up a holy nation, a peculiar people in His own image and after His likeness. He is not “trying”to do anything; He is simply doing it.

There is no limitation to His ability, and this glorious work will be completed right on time!

Think of it…a people dwelling on the face of the earth in the image of God, with no limitations. Sure, I realize it’s hard to believe, but the Word of God declares it, and I hereby declare it to be so. The sound of them has gone throughout the earth. Too long carnal man has limited God. “He can do this, but He can’t do that.”He can let us die and take us to a beautiful heaven in the sky, but He can’t empower us to overcome death and have a perfect unlimited church right here in this life. So they say. But I declare to you that the day has arrived for the fulfillment of the promises of God and the prophecies of the prophets who saw this day coming…a people dwelling on the face of the earth in the image of God, with no limitations. 

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3 Things You Need to Know About the Power of Your Confession

This article has been curated from "His Name is John" by Frans Du Plessis, the final offering from his pen before stepping over into eternity in 2013. 

OUR CONFESSION ALIGNS US WITH THE PURPOSES OF GOD 

Our confession is so powerful that if it is not in agreement with the declared Word of God it could have serious consequences for others as well as for us. It could delay the purposes of God for years in our lives. This reminds us of the history of Israel, how a whole generation delayed their exit from the wilderness by forty years because of their evil confession. What made their report evil was not that they lied about Canaan and what they saw, but that their confession was contrary to what God had said and promised them. Millions died outside the promise of God because they could not believe and confess what God had declared and promised them. They had a different spirit than God. Isn’t it sad that they all came out of Egypt but never exited the wilderness? They spent their whole lives outside of God’s purpose for them. But that’s in the Old Testament; what about thousands of “saved”people today who never live within the plan and purpose of God for their lives? They are spiritual wanderers without direction, hoping to escape one day and go to heaven.

Forty years later, God had to shut the mouths of a whole nation for one entire week. God instructed Joshua that no one was allowed to utter a word while marching for seven days around Jericho, the first city to be conquered in Canaan. The walls of Jericho were so intimidating and humanly impossible to penetrate that had the Israelites been allowed to talk while marching, they would have confessed what they saw and become discouraged, rather than believe that God could fulfill His promises.

As a true servant and son of God you must learn when to shut the eyes and mouth of your soul to your environment and see and speak only with your spiritual eyes and mouth.

Spiritual eyes do not receive their light and sight from the sun or the physical environment but from the Word of God. The same goes for our speech and our confession; we should speak only what we hear from the Spirit. The concept of “confession” is more than what we usually limit the word to mean. Normally, we think of it only in terms of confessing our sins, but the Bible tells us about having a “good confession”: Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1Timothy 6: 12). The Greek word for confession is homologia, composed of two smaller Greek words: homo, “the same,”and logia, “word.” Confession, then, is to say the same thing or to agree with. This is very difficult for mankind because we have been guided by our soul since the fall of Adam. The natural man lives by his environment, his intellect, his will and his emotions. God wants a people who will live from His Word, Spirit and will.

OUR CONFESSION BREAKS CYCLES OF TRADITION

“His name is John.” No other name could be given to this boy. Zacharias’ test came that day in the temple when the people asked him, as the father, to name his boy. His confession determined whether he would ever speak again. Zacharias played a huge role in accurately naming his firstborn; he had to break the strong family and Jewish tradition. Giving him a name that was not part of the family history meant that the boy would not build and declare the family name but the name of another. The pressure was on Zacharias. As the dispute over the boy’s name intensified , the mute Zacharias asked for a writing tablet. I imagine the heavens hushed as Zacharias took the writing tablet from their hands. Would he give in under the family pressure to follow the tradition of the family and name his son Zacharias, or would he shock all of Jerusalem by breaking an age-old tradition? The silent old man wrote on the tablet, “His name is John.” That very same moment , Zacharias opened his mouth, spoke again, and praised God.

Why was Zacharias struck mute until he accurately named his son? Jesus declared that man-made tradition is one of the most powerful forces that can imprison humanity. Tradition can render the Word of God helpless: “making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Sometimes, in order to break the cycle of man’s traditions, radical steps have to be taken. We can so easily miss the new thing God wishes to do as we carry on in our family and national traditions by just doing the same things we have always done. Someone once said: “If we do and say only the things we’ve always done and said, how can we expect any different results?” To me this whole issue about the silence of the father and the changing of John’s name shows how God enters into the history of man. He disrupts life as usual, gets the attention of Jerusalem and the nation, and changes the cause of history.

OUR CONFESSION EQUIPS A GENERATION

The arrival of John was not about John alone but about the Christ. John was the gift of God sent as a voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the promised Messiah. He was the first to proclaim to the people the arrival of the Kingdom of God, and he called them to repent accordingly. He had to be the witness to the arrival of the Lamb of God. The 12 disciples were also baptized by John to prepare them for their coming Master. Jesus would not have called them had they not believed John, who prepared the way for Him. Although they were called from their nets, they all must have had a heart for God and the Kingdom, for John would not baptize those who did not repent of their sins. This principle must always be at the forefront of our minds and lives as well. Each of us can see only a small part of the whole; there is always a bigger picture . The full picture is Christ, and therefore placement and timing are of the essence if we are part of Him. God wanted the nation’s attention because He was about to enter into His own creation. The Ancient of Days (Timeless-One) was about to enter into the chronology of man through the incarnation, but first He needed someone to prepare the way for Him.

Today, once again, God has a son in the earth, a corporate son whom He has hidden from the eyes of the religious. And just like John who came as a forerunner in the spirit of Elijah, preparing the way for the Son, there is also a corporate Elijah on the earth today, prophetically declaring and preparing the way for this corporate son to be manifested in our day. Christ is about to appear in His glory in, amongst, and through His sons. The world will again ask, “What kind of man is this?”when they see and experience the grace, truth, and glory of God manifested through His body.

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The Greatest Sign We Are Given {and how this sign is fulfilled}

This article has been curated from "Jesus the Pattern Son" by Bill Britton, examining the Life of Christ in His humanity here on earth as a divine pattern for the perfect endtime body of Christ. 

THE GREATEST SIGN AND WONDER

In our time, as in the New Testament Church, God is showing forth His power and making known His presence by many signs and wonders. The writer of the book of Hebrews tells us that this glorious gospel “at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according his own will”(Heb. 2: 3b-4). Mark 16: 17 says, “…signs shall follow them that believe.” Notice that it does not say that believers follow after signs; too much of this is being done today. Our first job is to preach the gospel in the power of God’s Spirit and let the signs follow according to His will. Verse 20 says that the early believers went everywhere preaching the gospel, and the Lord worked with them, “confirming the word with signs following.” There is nothing in this to be ashamed of or to hide, as some so-called “preachers”try to make us believe.

Signs are given to be seen and heard about.

Daniel 4: 2-3 says, “I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are His signs! and how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion is from generation to generation.” But I would not speak of the many signs and wonders that God is giving forth in this hour, and there are many.

But a greater sign than all these has been given and it is this marvelous and glorious wonder, God’s greatest sign, that I wish to address in this book.

Jesus is God’s greatest sign!

THE GREATEST SIGN IS A SON

In Isaiah 7: 14 the prophet cried out, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ”Now I want to show you that the sign was not the virgin who brought forth. It was not the swaddling clothes He was wrapped in, nor was it His miraculous birth itself. Rather, the promised sign was the One who was born and brought into the world in such a manner. He was and still is God’s greatest sign.

A sign always points to something, and the life of this man Jesus—His birth, death, and resurrection—points unerringly to that great thing which God is doing in the earth. God’s eternal purpose is revealed in Christ Jesus! Read Matthew 1: 18-23 and you will see plainly that the sign was not fulfilled when Jesus was born. It was given at that time, but not fulfilled at that time. Isaiah 7: 14 promised that God would give them a sign, and God gave them this sign when He gave them Jesus in Bethlehem’s manger.

A sign is not fulfilled when it is given. It is fulfilled when that to which it points comes to pass.

That baby lying in Mary’s arms is the greatest sign God ever gave to the earth, and it shall not fail. That to which it points shall most surely come to pass. Glory to His mighty name! The angels spoke to the shepherds in the field on that glorious night, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”(Lk. 2: 10b-12). Jesus is God’s greatest sign!

Later in the same chapter we find Simeon, that old prophet of God, coming by the Spirit into the temple, where he sees Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus. Here we find hands being laid on Jesus and prophecy going forth over Him at the tender age of six weeks, for Simeon took Him up in his arms and began to prophesy. Hear, my friends, what the Spirit said about Him: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against”(Lk. 2: 34b). Yes, beloved, this child is for a sign.

See what He says about Himself in Luke 11: 29-30: “This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of Man be (a sign) to this generation.”The prophet Jonah was a sign pointing to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This sign was given to the Ninevites when Jonah came forth alive after three days in the belly of the great fish. The sign of Jonah was fulfilled when Jesus came forth from the tomb. Jonah’s sign pointed unerringly to the truth; it did not fail. And now a greater sign than Jonah is given.

A SIGN POINTS TO A FULFILLMENT

Let us hear Christ speak once again through the mouth of the prophet: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders…”(Is. 8: 18a). We discover in Hebrews 2: 13 that the One who spoke these words was actually our Lord Jesus. What He is saying is that He is for a sign, and so are the children (sons) that God has given Him, those who are to be conformed to His image; the body of Christ, the Overcomer. Hallelujah! Thank God for His eternal plan and purpose!

Now our minds begin to wonder: if Jesus is the sign, and the Scriptures most plainly show that He is, then who or what is the fulfillment of that sign? Our precious Lord does not leave us in doubt, for the Bible very plainly reveals this great mystery. This is the glorious mystery that was revealed to Paul the apostle, which he calls “my gospel.”For it was Paul who saw the wonderful truth of the body of Christ, the “perfect man,”the sons of God, the many-membered man that God was making after His own image. But this is not gender-specific. God’s “man” is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free; “he” is made up of many members of both genders and every ethnicity, and we are all one in Him. If you are called into this high calling of God in Christ Jesus, chosen of God to be made in His image, and faithful through the fiery test, then you are a member of the perfect man regardless of who you are.

Everything about the life of Jesus points to the body of Christ, of which He is the Head, as well as filling the whole body. He is the divine sign, and that which is coming forth to rule and reign with Him in God’s eternity must follow that sign and fulfill it to the letter.

Yes, the mystery of the body of Christ is hidden to them that are lost. Nevertheless, it is in the Word of God , and is now being made manifest to His saints; those “to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery… which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1: 27).

 
 

The Power of an Opportunity (and the two ways successful people obtain them)

This article is curated from "Not Another Rich Idea: Turning Riches into Wealth" by Eugene Strite. 

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE RECOGNIZE OPPORTUNITIES

What separates the successful from the unsuccessful? Why do some people succeed while others do not? There could be many reasons: motivation, passion, education. One of the most significant factors is that successful people know how to recognize and seize opportunities when they appear, while unsuccessful people do not. Opportunities abound for those who know how to look for them. Although the timing of opportunities cannot be predicted, it is possible to prepare ahead of time for when they do come. There is power in an opportunity. Depending on the circumstances, an opportunity met or missed can be life-changing. One key to seizing opportunities is to realize that they often appear in unexpected ways or in an unexpected form. Failure to recognize this fact can lead to a missed opportunity.

In 1995, I had been invited to travel to South Africa for the first time in my life. I gave little or almost no thought to this invitation and made a hasty decision to decline the offer. I had no desire to travel that far during that time of my life; nor did I see any advantage in spending time in a place where I knew absolutely no one. Six months later, I was presented with the same invitation. This time, I hesitated before making a decision. When the same proposal was extended to me a second time, I paid more attention. It didn’t take long before I decided I had better accept the offer. The end result was that, because I was willing to travel to an unfamiliar place, I was able to eventually purchase four game farms, several apartment complexes, and houses—all in South Africa.

Here is my point. Opportunities often appear in unexpected ways or in an unexpected form. We miss some good fortune because the opportunity comes in a much different way than we had expected it to. It may involve people we don’t care for or situations that we are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. Hence, we immediately disregard the potential of the experience.

I almost missed my chance because I saw and concentrated on a risk that I wasn’t willing to take. Fortunately, I put aside my lack of knowledge, shifted my perspective, traveled to a far-away country, and realized a substantial profit through acquiring several real estate properties. However, my narrow, fixed expectations almost cost me the chance of a lifetime. Once I saw things from a different perspective, I recognized the opportunity that was mine and seized it.

 
 

 

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES

Narrow vision can be our greatest enemy in recognizing and seizing opportunities. We can be sidetracked by pride, prejudiced thinking, or other limitations and consequently miss wonderful opportunities for growth and increase that may come our way. This is why we need wisdom in our finances and every other area of life. Wise people expect, prepare for, and look for opportunities…and then grab hold of them as they come by.

Webster’s Dictionary defines opportunity as “a good chance for advancement or progress.”In this life, time is all we have and opportunities are what we get to make our time on earth meaningful and significant. Life, then, is a collection of seasons of taken or missed opportunities.

It is opportunities met or missed that determine our success or failure. The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized during the lifetime of that opportunity. Opportunities are time sensitive. It may never come again. If we do not seize the opportunity while it is there, we must live with the consequences of our inactivity, possibly for the rest of our lives. The big challenge of opportunities is that they will always take us out of our comfort zone. Some people don’t want to be made uncomfortable, which is why they never succeed.

Oprah Winfrey, a successful American business entrepreneur, has said, “Success comes when preparation and opportunity meet.”It is a true statement. An egg may be small and fragile, but it is destined to fly. Opportunities, then, are stepping-stones on the way to success. They are vehicles to help us get where we are going. Sometimes, opportunities may be small or appear not to hold much promise. Don’t let that bother you. Remember, an egg may be small and fragile, but it is destined to fly.

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