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The Kingdom of God part 6


PLAN OF THE AGES KINGDOM OF GOD PRAISE & WORSHIP HISTORY MISCELLANEOUS


   THE KINGDOM OF GOD

 Part 6

 BIRTHED INTO THE KINGDOM

             “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5). 

            Scripture abounds in figures, and Jesus always spoke in symbolic terms.  When He said, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you,” He certainly was not advocating cannibalism!  He was using a natural figure to illustrate a spiritual truth.  So when He says one must be “born of water” do not understand water to mean what we are accustomed to think of as the natural water that men drink or wash in.  It is a figure of THE LIVING WORD OF GOD.  New birth ever, and only, is by the Word of God and by the Spirit of God.  These are the only two agents directly involved in the new birth throughout the scriptures.  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:23).  Some have thought the water to mean baptism.  But there is no mention of baptism in chapter three of John, nor is baptism ever connected anywhere in the New Testament with the new birth. A man can no more be born again by coming up out of natural water than he can be born again by entering the second time into his mother’s womb.  Both are physical, natural, earthly, temporal and corruptible things.  They are not agents of the spiritual world at all.   

            Others have thought the water referred to physical birth the water in which the babe is encased in the womb of the mother.  That would make the scripture read, “Except a man be born physically and spiritually, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”  But the subject on the lips of Jesus has nothing to do with physical birth at all He is talking about being born again.  That is the only birth that qualifies a man for entrance into the Kingdom of God.  Natural birth brings man into the physical world, but has not one whit of power to usher a man into the Kingdom of God.  What Jesus was calling for had nothing to do with human origin, even if it was Abraham.  That had been given to Nicodemus by his parents.  The life Jesus spoke of had to be given by God.  God’s Kingdom is not a matter of descent, or national blood.  Jesus was saying that no one can be born naturally into God’s Kingdom.  The only entrance to this Kingdom was to be born of the Word and the Spirit; in fact, it could only be seen by being born of the Spirit.  The citizens of God’s Kingdom were Spirit-born.  No, my friend, Jesus is not speaking of either water baptism or physical birth He is saying that unless a man is born again of both the Word of God and the Spirit of God, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. 

            The traditions of the past have so dimmed our understanding that every truth is side-tracked and diminished by the shallowness of the carnal mind.  Thus it is with the truth of the agency of the Word and the Spirit in the new birth.  The great truth is that when Jesus announces the awesome reality of the new birth He presents to us THE TWO NEW PARENTS.  The Spirit of God is the new spiritual Father; the Word of God is the new Mother

            Let us understand exactly how the conception of a new life takes place.  Human life begins when a sperm cell from the father enters and fertilizes an egg cell of the mother.  The joining of these two cells is called fertilization or conception.  Together, the sperm and egg create one single human cell.  Every human life begins as one single cell.  This one cell contains 46 chromosomes.  Twenty three of the chromosomes are from the sperm of the father, and 23 are from the egg of the mother.  All heredity is dictated by the 46 chromosomes.  They determine whether the new human will be tall or short, have small or large bones, have blue eyes or brown eyes, even whether it will be susceptible to certain diseases or not.  At the moment of conception the chromosomes of the sperm cell and the egg cell come together, and the traits that the child will inherit from his parents are determined.  Both mother and father contribute equally to the child’s heredity with only one exception.  It is the father’s sperm  that determines whether the baby will be a girl or a boy. 

            This brings us to a mystery understood by very few of the Lord’s people, but it is the truth.  It is evident that God contains within Himself both the masculine nature of the father and the feminine nature of the mother.  Was it not when God created Adam male and female that he was said to be in the image of God? (Gen. 1:26).  God’s masculine nature is manifested as SPIRIT, whereas His feminine nature is expressed as WORD.  Now, as I have previously pointed out, there are two elements involved in our begettal as children of God the Spirit and the Word.  “Except a man be born of Water (Word) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”  Peter tells us that we are “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the WORD OF GOD, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:23).  It is significant to note that when Peter tells us that we are being born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, the word for “seed”  in the Greek is not SPERMA, or sperm, as from the Father, but the word SPORA which simply means a seed as that which contains the origin of life or the characteristics of nature. 

            We are born of the Word and we are born of the Spirit.  It is only when the Word is quickened or fertilized by the Spirit that divine life is generated within.  Just as it requires the male sperm and the female ovum to beget a human child, so it takes the union of the Spirit and the Word within the believing heart to beget a child of God.  And each contributes equally to the child’s heredity the kind of child he is.  The Word contributes, as it were, 23 spiritual chromosomes, and the Spirit likewise contributes 23 spiritual chromosomes.  Let us see how this works. 

            The SPIRIT OF LIFE is dispensed into us directly from our heavenly Father.  “Behold, I send the promise of the Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Lk. 24:49).  “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father...for truly John baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5).  “God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son (sonship) into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6).   The Spirit is the sperm of God.  Sinlessness is one of the hereditary characteristics passed on to a son of God from the seed of the Spirit.  “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed (Greek: sperma, sperm) remaineth in him (as inherited characteristics): and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (I Jn. 3:9).  Your outer man may through the weakness of the flesh fall into sin, but it is impossible for your new creation inner man to sin, for he is born of God. 

            The WORD OF LIFE, on the other hand, is dispensed into us through the church which is His body.  This true church is the Jerusalem that is above “which is the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26).  That God’s motherhood nature is revealed through the church as the bride of Christ is clearly shown in Ephesians 5:23-32.  “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church,  and gave himself for it; that he might present it to himself a glorious church (as a bride), not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies.  He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”   

            The Spirit of sonship is given to us as the sperm  of God directly from our heavenly Father.  But the Word by which we are begotten again is ministered to us via the ministry of the church.  The following verses make this very plain.  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever...and this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Pet. 1:23-25).  Again, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thes. 2:13).   

            This brings us to a truth which is at the same time both wonderful and dreadful.  When children of God are conceived by the joining of the sperm of the Holy Ghost with the ovum of the pure and incorruptible Word of God, the result is a perfect child of God that will be able in all respects to grow up as a son or daughter of God into the very image of God.  If you pause to think, however, you will become fully aware that the whole church system today and of many ages is filled with pathetically deformed children of God.  This is not due to any fault on God’s part the work of the Spirit in every man and woman who has believed has been a perfect work.  The sperm of God has absolutely no defect in it.  It cannot pass any spiritual defect on to its offspring.  But there is a great and damning fault in the church world that seems to be past explanation.  It is a fault that has developed and grown more grotesque as the years have come and gone.  The word that is ministered through the church mother has become an inconceivably perverted word, a polluted word, a defective word, and the defects within that word are passed on as congenital anomalies birth defects  to the children born of that word.  The children of God born of an impure word come into God’s spiritual world bearing genetic defects, flaws, weaknesses and abnormalities. 

            The Baptists preach one word, the Catholics preach another word, the Pentecostals preach a different word, the Mormons preach something else, and so on throughout Christendom.  Two thousand years ago the same beloved apostle John who wrote so extensively of God’s marvelous love also left us this solemn warning, “Little children, keep yourselves from IDOLS (that is, false gods, or false ideas and representations of the true God)” (I Jn. 5:21).  “Little children, keep yourselves from false ideas about God!”  Do we have false ideas about God?  I fear we do.  How the world and the church are filled with them!  Many people view God as a schoolboy did: “...the sort of person who is always snooping around to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it.”  Then others make God out to be a tyrant, or a vengeful, wrath-filled fiend.  Some paint a God so weak that the will of man is stronger than the will of God.  Others speak of God as always trying to do this and that, but the devil is ever hindering and thwarting God’s purposes, getting the upper hand, defeating God’s best laid plans, tripping up and overcoming the saints, until it would seem that the devil is himself the omniscient and omnipotent one.  Some have a God so capricious that He will only save you if the correct formula is repeated over you  in water baptism.  Vast numbers blaspheme the Holy Ghost by attributing the works of the Holy Spirit to the devil, contending that if you speak in tongues, prophesy, heal the sick, or do miracles you are of the devil, and dispense that perverted word into their offspring who do truly trust Jesus as their Saviour.  Some say that Christ can only be ministered to you through the sacraments, or a particular ritual, or the ministry of their denomination, or membership in their movement, or by believing only the doctrines of their church and listening to no one else.  Others teach their people that they cannot go to heaven if they use tobacco, drink wine, wear jewelry, put on make-up, cut their hair, go to movies, or wear or not wear certain kinds of clothing.  We could pile error upon error, with pagan holidays, customs, and philosophies that have been introduced into the church realm and have become such an established part of her practice and teaching until the whole world believes that these things are surely taught somewhere in the scriptures or were established by the apostles or by Jesus Himself! 

            A dear brother  in Christ has penned these valuable words of admonition: “The opinions we form by hearing about people are usually found to be wrong after we have come to know them personally and intimately.  This is also true concerning God.  When you come to know Him as He really is, you will find Him very unlike the description given by theologians.  You will come to know that much that they teach is only rubbish because it is contrary to the nature of God.  It certainly was so with the Jewish theologians and doctors of the law.  When Jesus came He smashed their theories to bits and tore the robes of their ecclesiasticism to ribbons.  He ate with sinners, cast the devil out of the Syropheonician, let a sinful woman of the street wash His feet, forgave a thief, healed on the Sabbath, ate with unwashed hands, called the most esteemed religionists of His day liars, hypocrites, children of the devil, whited sepulchers, and a generation of snakes.  They thought that they knew God, but they didn’t.  He was more pleased with the sincerity of sinners than with the ritualism of scribes and Pharisees.  When you come to know Him, you will find that it is the same now as it was then. 

            “Furthermore, to know Him who is truth empowers one to immediately recognize all that is error.  The more you come to know Christ, the more you come to recognize the flagrant error of so much that is taught in the name of truth.  If the doctrines that men try so hard to prove run contrary to the very nature of Christ, then know that all that is contrary to His gracious Spirit is error.  For years without number the evangelicals in their missionary fervor have taught that all heathen men will be condemned forever to groan in eternal flames in unremitting torment because they did not accept Christ, their ignorance of His existence being no excuse whatever.  I have no hesitation whatsoever in calling this a lie, because everything about it is contrary to the very nature  of the blessed Christ I know.  It is contrary to His love, contrary to His kindness and mercy, contrary to His foreknowledge, contrary to His immutable wisdom, and contrary to His great and all-inclusive redemption, of which it is stated that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”   end quote 

            While preparing this message for the printer, a word arrived in the mail from Bob Torango, a word so powerful and anointed, and so in accord with the burden of my own heart, that I would be remiss if I failed to share a portion with you.  He wrote: “Why, you may ask, doesn’t the world follow after the message of the church?  The answer is that the message is one of a God that is a dictator instead of a God that is a Father.  The message of the church is tainted with words of judgment promising harsh punishment for sins, delivered without a voice of love.  This nullifies the true reason for God’s judgment, which is to bring us to correction and joy unspeakable and full of glory.  It is the same scenario that is played out every day in an abusive home where the parents lash out at their children in a fit of rage, striking them with physical blows meant to bring them into submission but accomplishing the direct opposite.  There can be no substitute for love.  A hug will accomplish more correction than a blow to a child’s body.   

            “I am not suggesting that a child should never be reprimanded, for I realize that any child will continue to mis-behave if given a free reign, but I do believe that the parent is responsible for punishment that exceeds the transgression.  This happens more times than we want to think.  The parent has a bad day at work, the car breaks down, the air conditioner goes out, and the frustration over these matters is unleashed upon the children, which, by the way, can’t do anything right in the eyes of the enraged judge of the house.  The result is a beating that is more therapeutic for the parent in venting their frustrations than it is for correction of the child’s behavior.  Judgment of any kind should never be administered in a spirit of rage or loss of sensibility.  The result is much worse than if there were no punishment at all.   

            “The church, enraged over the continued rejection of their version of the gospel story becomes more and more abusive toward anyone that does not see things their way.  Instead of being the magnet of God’s love to creation, the church has become a judge of God’s wrath that cannot be approached by anyone except those who have lost all hope of love in their life, and they commit to the stranglehold of religion just to belong to a group that will give them a sense of security.  This, dear ones, is the standard definition of a child that is abused.  Some of us that have never been found in an abusive relationship have doubts whether or not the relationship is truly abusive.  Why don’t the abused children tell someone about their beatings, if they are truly abused?  Why don’t they run away from home?  The saddest truth of all in an abusive situation is that the abused individual, especially a child, is convinced that they deserve this treatment.  Added to this is the reinforcement that is given to this submissive behavior by our societal mores that continuously drill into our children that their parents are the judges of their life and have the moral and legal authority to administer beatings whenever they see fit.  The child is reinforced to never question the judgment of their parents by teachers, who are surrogate judges when at school, or by their playmates who are in ordinary relationships with their parents.  The abused child is cut off, quite literally, from any hope of escape or explaining their situation to others.  The result is a child that grows up to be either withdrawn, extremely low in confidence and self-esteem, or else one that acts out the acts of senseless violence upon society that were acted out upon them in this abusive environment. 

            “The world mirrors this same stereotypical attitude within the church.  They are either scared to death of the church, or they are violently opposed to it.  What a tragedy it is to see the church in this shape.  Whereas the church has been ordained to be the mother of the world’s lost children, opening her arms with grace and love to all that are in need, she has instead been seen as an abusive judge in the earth, spitting out statements of eternal damnation and unthinkable horrors on all that do not follow her commands.  No wonder the Lord is preparing another church!  The church that is known as “mainstream” is a fake, dear ones!  She is a wicked stepmother that has no bond of love with the world at all.  This wicked church loves the world in word only, and that only because the Bible says she must!  The lost children of the world are only her lawful responsibility, and by God, if they don’t shape up she is threatening to throw them all into eternal hell fire.  Raise up your Jerusalem, O Lord!  Raise up the true Mother of us all, bring her to us and let her lay her cool, soft hand upon the wounds that have been inflicted by the abusive, counterfeit church of religious dictators.  Let her sweet kisses fall upon our head and let them take away the fear and anguish that has been perpetrated upon the world’s lost children.  Oh, dear friends, can’t you just envision the power that will be unleashed when the true, nurturing nature of the New Jerusalem, the beautiful Bride of Christ, the loving, compassionate Mother of us all wraps her arms around us and holds us until the crying stops and cleans the dirt from us as she takes the filthy rags off of us that religion put upon us and she covers us in clean, silky linen made up of the righteousness of our Father. 

            “Even now, as we speak out against the tyranny of an out of control religious mother of Babylon, we see the damage that has been done and the scars that remain in the hearts of the people of God.  Some will flinch and pull away when the hand of Christ is stretched out to them.  For some, the message of a loving God that asks nothing of us but to believe in His love and come to Him to live with Him in peace and grace is too good to be true.  For them, the abused offspring of a wicked guardian, beaten without reason, locked up in cult-like communities of religious bondage, forbidden to question the teachings and rules of their overseers, psychologically brainwashed into testifying to the goodness of their tormentors in order to stay in good graces and not be publicly humiliated, for them the message of unconditional love is foreign and suspicious.  In their world of abuse, everyone has an angle, an ulterior motive, a con.  Nothing is truly free in their relationship with the wicked mother.  Yes, they have programs for the adults, a big gymnasium for the children, a beautiful building to gather in, but only if they continue to give their money to the wicked mother.  In fact, they have come to the awful truth that mother only loves them if they support her with their money.   

            “The wicked mother especially enjoys telling her forced child laborers the tales of what will happen if they think they could ever leave her domain.  She goes into great sickening detail in describing the terror that awaits them outside the walls of her prison.  Giant scorpions with tails that sting and torment you, dragons that eat little children, starving children that cannot buy any food and will watch each other starve to death without having the mark of the beast.  She tells them of devils lurking behind every door, waiting to jump on them and make them slaves of evil.   These are the bed time stories that the mainstream church puts her children to rest by.  The fake church tells her young children that they are hopelessly evil and that all their lives they will have to serve the wicked mother in order to earn their way to heaven.  The abused are told that God can’t even look upon them, that He never heard their prayers before they came to live with the wicked mother, that God turned away from them in their sorrow, because He is too holy to look upon sin!  Whereas, the opposite is true.  God always hears groaning creation, and not one word intended for His ears goes by the wayside.  Indeed, God has moved for us even when we were sinners, and countless times saved us from destruction with or without our asking Him to.  He has moved heaven and earth to keep us in this world  and is constantly working on our behalf”   end quote. 

            It is a mystery too deep to fathom, but God in His great mercy honors His Word on whatever level it is preached, and in spite of the character of those who preach it.  It is a fact that multitudes of men have been turned to seek and find God even by words that are pitiful mixtures of truth and error and preached by men and systems of reprobate minds.  Their children are born of mixed natures as was Ishmael, truly born of God by the Spirit, yet born of Hagar, the Egyptian bondwoman, through the fleshly word, the Word of God mingled with the ideas of men.  The many and varied erroneous ideas about God and His Kingdom, contorted representations of truth and reality, each bring forth spiritual expressions of their religious lineage.  Some of these unfortunate children are born completely paralyzed spiritually and others are still-born, conceived by a totally dead word.  Those who preach the Word of God as a dead letter of literalism, legalism, and carnality, void of spiritual understanding or the breath of life, fill the earth with children of God having inherited weaknesses, deformities, and pathetic imperfections.   

            I do not doubt for one moment that many who read these lines were first conceived in their spiritual life by a defective word!  Only as each of us is miraculously and supernaturally healed can we hope to come into the image and likeness of God as His sons.  How precious the knowledge that regardless of the poor and wretched condition of our early conception, GOD IS A GREAT HEALER!  He can heal the embryo in the womb, or He can heal the child of tragic birth.  As this great healing work takes place in our lives, through the gracious dealings and faithful processings of the Lord, we are dramatically and gloriously transformed in our spiritual lives.  Gone are those “religious” spirits, bondages, customs, speech, mannerisms, methods, practices, fleshly efforts, false doctrines, static creeds, empty rituals and ceremonies, lifeless programs, dead works and denominational hype which once characterized all our understanding, attitudes and activities.  All the marks of Babylon were upon us not impressed merely from without, but genetically reproduced within us by the very Word that conceived us.

             Have the flaws in your own character, my beloved, been magnified in your eyes until you despair of ever attaining to the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus?  Today, dear one, I point you to CHRIST THE HEALER.  Think not for one moment that Jesus Christ is the healer only of diseases of the body.  He has come to cleanse His church, to sanctify and purify His people, to purge and refine and make every whit whole His children called to be sons.  I declare to you today that HE IS THE HEALER AND RESTORER OF HIS FAMILY.  He purges out of His Kingdom all things that defile and offend.  Listen!  The great and wonderful mercy of the Christ receives those who have blemishes, and His power heals all who humbly bow before Him, calling upon the name of the Lord.  Have you received the call to sonship?  Then get rid of the blemishes!  The Holy Ghost is closely examining candidates for this ministry.  The qualifying time is NOW.  The “in part” ministries of the church age may get by with blemishes and defects, but the King-Priest ministry destined to deliver the whole creation from its bondage to corruption must itself first be freed from every vestige of carnality, weakness, limitation, sin and death, transformed into the image of God.  How is this thing done?  “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved BLAMELESS (without blemish) unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:23).  If you are to be cleansed, healed, made whole and preserved without blemish there is only one way, and that is shown in the verse that immediately follows the one quoted above: “Faithful is HE that calleth you, WHO ALSO WILL DO IT.”  What a word!

THE KINGDOM FAMILY OF GOD

             The Kingdom of God is that Kingdom which is God.  As with all kingdoms, the kingdom of Israel was a family of the children of Israel the family descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which became one of earth’s nations.  Nearly all kingdoms originated as an ethnic entity, a racial group, developed from a clan or family.  Thus, the Kingdom of God comprises the Family of God a family into which man may be born, and which is being formed into a RULING OR GOVERNING family that shall have jurisdiction over all nations, that is, the whole earth, and, eventually, the entire universe! 

            For almost two thousand years there has raged a theological battle over the Godhead.  Some have contended that God is one Person in three manifestations, and that Jesus is that one Person of God manifested in the flesh.  Others believe in the trinity that God is eternally three distinct Persons, co-equal, co-eternal, and con-substantial, united together as one God.  There is yet a third school of thought known historically as Arianism which views God as a duality the one eternal and almighty God together with His Son whom He begat at some point in time, and by whom He created all other things.  Now, I have my own view of these things, but far away in the depths of my spirit lies the secret, sacred knowledge that God is greater than all of man’s puny definitions.  It is no embarrassment to me to admit that I know nothing yet as I ought to know, but the spirit of truth within me today bears witness that the truth lies far beyond the limitation of any of man’s concepts.   

            None of the above views grasp the fuller truth set forth in the scriptures and now revealed by the Holy Spirit.  The wonderful truth is God is ultimately not one Person, nor is God two Persons, nor yet is He three Persons.  God is a FAMILY, for we are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and the sons of God who are led by the Spirit of God.  We are the citizens of the Kingdom of God founded upon the family of God.  God is a KINGDOM!  God is reproducing, expanding, increasing HIMSELF!  Jesus explained to Nicodemus that in order to enter the Kingdom of God or the GOD KINGDOM human beings have to be born again.  He patiently explained to this inquiring ruler of the Jews that it was not a physical re-birth into the human plane that He was talking about, but a newborn spirit being on the spirit plane.  The apostle John elaborated on this birth when he wrote, “But to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons (children, offspring) of God, even to them that believe on His name” (Jn. 1:12).  The word “sons” in this passage is from the Greek TEKNON which means “one born” or a “child”.  That a birth as the offspring of God is what John intended is made clear as he continues in the next verse: “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” 

            This is not a mere conception as some say, for the Holy Spirit testifies to every man, saying, “And I cannot speak unto you as spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto BABES IN CHRIST.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat” (I Cor. 3:1-2).  Again, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not strong meat.  For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: FOR HE IS A BABE” (Heb. 5:12-13).  Yet again, “As NEWBORN BABES, desire the sincere milk of the  word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:2).  Then John tells us, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth IS BORN OF GOD, and knoweth God...for whatsoever IS BORN OF GOD overcometh the world” (I Jn. 4:7; 5:1,4).  Regenerated believers are called the children of God all through the New Testament.  Nowhere does God call us divine fetuses or embryos!  Children are born ones.  Embryos and fetuses do not drink milk, neither do they love or do the will of God!  Nor are they chastened.  How beautifully does J. B. Phillips translate the meaningful words of the apostle John: “Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called children of God and that is not just what we are called, but what we are.  Our heredity on the Godward side is NO MERE FIGURE OF SPEECH which explains why the world will no more recognize us than it recognized Christ” (I Jn. 3:1). 

            The way into the Kingdom is so narrow that only one can enter into it at a time.  It is the way of life in everything else.  One baby is born at a time.  One flower bursts into bloom at a time, and yet it seems as if they all come together.  I am thankful that there are seasons of God’s moving in which great multitudes are born, but it is one at a time, and each one has an independent spiritual life.  That is the way of sonship.  God is not the Father of a great conglomerate of spiritual life.  He is the Father of spirits independent, original, unique, and absolutely independently constituted spirits.  Paul says of this Fatherhood of spirits, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection to the FATHER OF SPIRITS, and live?” (Heb. 12:9).  God is the Father of spirits not angels or demons or fairies He is the Father of our spirits.  The only spirits in the whole vast universe that are born spirits are the children of God!  Each one must be born of God by the distinct operation of the Spirit of God.  You may be as great a Rabbi as Nicodemus, and know nothing about these things.  You may have to be told as Jesus told Nicodemus, “Art thou a Rabbi, a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?” 

            The Greek word Jesus used which is translated “born,” is GENNAO.  It refers to the entire birth cycle from conception to entrance into the world.  Vast multitudes today do not know the difference between being born of man and being born of God.  And almost as many do not know the difference between such terms as forgiveness, reconciliation, justification, salvation and the new birth.  They repeat the sinner’s prayer and confess faith in Jesus and then are informed by the preacher that they have been “born again.”  But it is a lie.  It is a delusion.  It is a deception.  It is a monstrous heresy.  Error cloaked in Biblical terms is still error.  In the case of the current evangelical “born again” movement, scriptural terminology is being used to teach just the opposite of its original meaning.  Stated simply the error is this that men are born again as a result of something they do.  This something may be “going forward” at the close of  an evangelistic message, praying the “sinner’s prayer,” making a “decision” for Christ, or “repenting” and “believing” the gospel.   

            The sad results of such a teaching can be seen all around us.  Evangelists who believe that men dead in sin can and will be born again if the right kind of emotional and psychological inducement is presented, push and pressure lost people into making “decisions”.  Whatever is necessary to get people to come forward, or raise their hand, or pray a prayer, or sign a card, is tried by today’s “soul winners.”  Highly emotional meetings, prolonged appeals, repeated musical choruses, and even the deceitful tactic of having counselors strategically placed in the audience to come forward at the time of the “appeal” to make it appear others are responding all smack of the techniques of crowd psychology.  Those who do come forward are then rushed through a process, a formula, and coached into believing that they are now born again.  Deep down, though, the vast majority know that nothing so dramatic has really happened.  The evangelist has done something, the sinner has done something, but God has done nothing.  There has been no miracle.  The heavens have not been opened to them.  That some people are brought into an experience with God in these situations is no doubt true.  You may even be one of them.  But it is in spite of these methods, not because of them.   

            Men are not born again because of any action on their part.  What effort did you exert to be born into this world?  What contribution did you make?  Jesus said nothing of any action or decision that Nicodemus must make, nor did He quote him the four spiritual laws, or have him repeat a prayer, nor did He even tell him to repent and believe the gospel.  As a matter of fact, Jesus was not telling Nicodemus to do anything!  “You must be born again” was not a command Nicodemus was to obey, it was simply a statement of fact.  He was talking about God doing something, coming and sovereignly and miraculously generating life in man.  I never chose the family I was born to.  When I stop to think about it, I have had very little choices in life.  I certainly didn’t choose to be born!  I didn’t pick the chromosomes that make up the genetic structure called Preston Eby.  To a marvelous and beautiful degree there is a destiny that put us here, the way we are, where we are, when we are, and what we are.  “Of His own will begat He us.”  The new birth is something more than having your sins forgiven, or being reconciled,  or being justified, or being saved, as wonderful as all those things are.  It is the birth of a new and glorious life which thrusts one into a new and dynamic reality the Kingdom of Heaven.  In the new birth God does not become your Forgiver, your Reconciler, your Justifier, or your Saviour He becomes your FATHER in a most real and glorious way! 

            In that far away beginning the Almighty Creator proclaimed, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.”  God made cattle “after their kind,” after the cattle kind.  He made “every winged fowl after his kind,” after the bird kind.  But it is abundantly evident that God purposed to make man AFTER THE GOD KIND.  Now, incredible as it may seem to those who do not understand the mystery of God, God is a FAMILY.  This does not mean that there are many gods.  There is only one God, just as there is only one Adam and one Christ.  Adam is a many-membered man, Christ is a many-membered son, and God is a many-membered Godhead!  The Person of God is expressed through a variety of manifestations  of Himself as He reproduces Himself  after His own “KIND”.  It is in man that God is reproducing His kind.  Man is God’s idea, God’s image, God’s likeness, God’s expression, God’s revelation, God’s manifestation.  Man, out of all the infinite creation of God, has the supreme potentiality of being born into the very divine family of God, of which divine family Jesus Christ is the firstborn among many brethren.  Jesus Christ is the first perfect representation of God, and Jesus was and is a MAN.  He is the express image of God’s Person. 

             Do you realize what this means?  It means far more than having an immortal body.  The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Christ is “the express image of God’s person” (Heb. 1:3).  The word “express” is from the Greek word CHARAKTER from which we get our English word “character.”  It means that Christ is the CHARACTER IMAGE of God. The transcendent essential factor is that God is PERFECT SPIRITUAL CHARACTER.  It is the supreme intelligence, combined with holy and righteous character, that most importantly distinguishes God from every other life form.  Of course God, too, possesses supreme and omnipotent power and eternal, incorruptible existence.  But without right CHARACTER, such power and perpetuity would be destructive and dangerous.  A monster would be in control of the universe!  And should any one of us acquire an immortal body prior to having developed a holy and incorruptible character, a devil would surely be born!   

            Come now, and let us reason together.  Character springs from nature.  Understand this and you will understand a great truth: NATURE is inherited; CHARACTER is developed!  No  one is born possessing character.  Every child of Adam is born into this world with a sinful (flesh) nature.  But that precious little infant does not yet have a sinful character.  As the child grows its character is formed progressively out of its nature.  The nature gradually manifests itself through the actions of the child as character.  In the same way we have by regeneration been made partakers of the divine nature.  And while this new birth is the most astounding miracle of the ages, it is, nonetheless, merely the birth of a spiritual infant possessing divine nature but not divine character.  Now divine character must be developed from the divine nature God manifesting His nature outwardly through our attitudes, words, behavior and actions.  The character is formed in the crucible of experience, as we learn in every situation and circumstance to yield our vessel to the Holy Spirit who is the active agent in our divine nature. 

            We tread softly here.  With bated breath we read Ephesians 3:14-15.  “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the WHOLE FAMILY in heaven and in earth is named.”  Through the new birth we become bona fide members of the original cosmic family, actual generated sons of God.  Thus through the new birth we truly become God’s very own offspring, His kin, His family, His clan, His kingdom, a kind of “extension” of His Godhead.  That this group outranks all other orders of beings in the universe is attested by Paul’s dramatic questions in I Corinthians 6:2-3.  “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 

             In a recent meeting Bob Torango said, “We are citizens of the true Israel, not those who are born after the flesh, but those who are born of the Spirit.  The citizens of the Kingdom of God are from every nation, tongue, tribe and people.  It is that citizenship that holds us steady on course.  It is that citizenship that has brought us this far.  We cannot deny the genes of our natural body.  I can say that I’m not from my mom and dad, I can get angry with my parents and accuse them and say, ‘I’ll bet you just found me out on a tree stump somewhere,’ but that doesn’t make it so.  That’s what my brother used to tell me.  My brother, when he wanted to get even with me because of something I had done to him, would tell me, ‘Well, you don’t know it, but mom and dad found you out on a tree stump in the woods, and they brought you home.’  But I can’t deny them.  And they can’t deny me, because it’s in the genes.  If I’ve been born of someone, I have their genes.  I can move out of their house, I can change my name, I can alter my appearance, I can do anything I want, but my genes will remain the same.  I am a child of the loins of my parents.  You can do anything in the spirit, or in your flesh; you can get all kinds of titles such as “Doctor,” “Reverend,” “Bishop,” etc., but that doesn’t make you anything more or less than what you are in God.  You are the offspring of God, the fruit of His loins, the product of His Spirit.  Men can call you garbage, liars, wine-bibbers, wolves, heretics, Beelzebub, antichrist or any other title they might lay upon you all is absolutely meaningless the reality is in your genes!  It’s in your spiritual lineage that goes beyond Adam it goes right into the Father.  Adam isn’t the root of my tree.  The root of my tree is God, the I AM.  The Alpha and the Omega is the root of my tree”   end quote. 

            Here is an entirely new, unique and exclusive order of beings which may be classified as a “NEW SPECIES”.  There is nothing like it in all the kingdoms of infinity.  This is the order of beings that Paul called “the new man,” the “new humanity,” destined  through citizenship in the God Family Kingdom to be the aristocracy of the universe.  They form a new and exclusive royalty, a divine ruling hierarchy who are called “the sons of God.”  It is an organic family relationship.  How wonderful are these things!  They are far beyond our expression or the ability of the most eloquent to describe.  Oh, to be able to grasp the greatness of our calling!  We have been born again of the very life of God!  When we have matured and God has brought us experientially to the full potential of His life in us, there will be nothing impossible to us.  We will even have creative powers.  Like Father, like son.  We will be creators!  Can your faith go this far?  If we are born of God we are born of the life of the almighty Creator.  This is the life that Jesus lived and demonstrated.  Twice out of a few rolls of  bread and a couple fish, He created enough food to feed five thousands of people, and He said we would do the same.  “The works that I do shall ye do also, and greater works than these shall ye do...”  I want to know the life of this God!  I want to know experientially the power He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.  I want to know and experience all His holiness, righteousness, love, power and goodness.  To this end I seek to completely surrender myself to Him and I am asking Him for grace to be able to do this.  This is the power and glory of the Kingdom of God. 

            Gracious Son of God, reveal the Father to us in a way we have not known before!  Make us overcomers, that you may be able to write the name of your God, the Father’s name, the name of the city of your God, and your new name, on our foreheads.  God is in the process of preparing a people FOR HIS NAME a company that will bear His name, that will be called by His name, those who know His name because they are born of His seed.  To these the Son reveals the name of His Father, He reveals the Father unto them.  They will bear the name of Yahweh for they will be filled with His fullness and they will do His works, for the fullness of His power and understanding and nature will be in them.  He will be in each of them in the measure that He was and is in Jesus, and will speak His words and  do His works through them.  They will be like His first-begotten Son, they will be conformed to His image, the express image of His Person. 

            Jesus, the Son, knew the Father and He was the only one in His day who did.  The Lord said to the religious,  as He undoubtedly says to the religious today, “...ye say that He is your God; yet ye have not known Him; but I KNOW HIM and keep His saying” (Jn. 8:55-56).  “As the Father knoweth me, even so KNOW I THE FATHER” (Jn. 10:15).  The first-begotten Son knew the Father and it is this knowledge His spirit of sonship imparts to the rest of His brethren, that they also may know the Father, and knowing Him, shall reveal Him unto creation.  All creation waits for this manifestation of the sons of God.  For two thousand years creation has continued to wait for this manifestation, but the time of their waiting is fast drawing to a close.  The hour is at hand.  The Spirit has spoken this from one end of the earth to the other through the mouths of His holy prophets in this our generation.  It is a sure word.  It has been attended by mighty dealings and processings of God in the lives of those who have received the call to sonship.  In the fullness of time, “...the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits” (Dan. 11:32).  We will be this people “...if we follow on to know the Lord” (Hos. 6:3).   

            From earliest times there has been a thirst  for the new and undiscovered.  Astronaut Michael Collins remarked in The Home Planet: “It’s human nature to stretch, to go, to see, to understand.  Exploration is not a choice, it’s an imperative.”  Very few will probably ever have the opportunity to travel to the moon, and yet we can all take the most rewarding journey of all.  This is the spiritual exploration that reaches into the realm of infinite Spirit the present reality of God’s Kingdom on earth.  In the Bible we find stories of people who took such journeys in obedience to God’s bidding.  Abraham was certainly a spiritual explorer.  The book of Hebrews records: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went...for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”  Those who are willing to obey God and follow the Spirit’s leading in any age find themselves embarking on a spiritual quest in which the human heart reaches out for a larger sense of home.  Obedience to God’s leading and faith in God’s provision inspire many today to seek a stronger foundation on which to build their lives than material ambition and human prestige.  It takes courage and vision to be a spiritual pioneer, to follow the road of spiritual insight that signposts greater attainments and accomplishments for the sons of God. 

            Captain James Cook was a famous English explorer who lived about two hundred years ago.  His adventurous life began when he joined the British navy at the age of 27.  He surveyed the St. Lawrence Channel and the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador before he was given his own ship, the Endeavor, to command.  He sailed this ship all the way around the world, exploring the coasts of eastern Australia and New Zealand in that way.    After returning to England he set out again for the South Pacific with two ships, and explored the icy Antarctic Ocean.  He explored the New Hebrides Islands and discovered the island of New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean off Australia.  Captain Cook is recorded to have made the statement, “I have no desire to merely go where other men have not gone I want to go as far as it is possible for man to go.”  His dream, for all practical considerations, was realized in geographical terms.  He had no idea, of course, of the vast new frontiers yet to be opened to man by the advent of the space age. 

            Today I make Captain Cook’s dream my own but on a different and higher plane.  I do not idolize Peter or Paul or John.  I do not follow St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Menno Simons, John Wesley, George Fox, John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, the Pentecostal movement or the Latter Rain.  I have no desire to merely go where other men have gone in God or to do what they have done in God, however great and glorious that may have been.  As I write these things and meditate upon them I am keenly aware of the momentous Day to which we are come.  As George Hawtin once wrote, “The things belonging to the old order of the dispensation of grace have waxed old and are ready to vanish away.  But sadly and with deep regret we find that everywhere men and women are clinging to those old things that are passing away as drowning men cling to a straw.  To them these precious antiques must be kept at all costs.  They love their sects, their crowds, their endless and wearisome meetings, their sermons, song services and special numbers, their revival meetings and their missionary programs and all the other paraphernalia that has belonged to an age now passing away.   

            “We have become like the priests of the Old Testament whose greatest fear of Christ and His apostles was that they would change their beloved laws and customs (Acts 6:14).  They cared not about God’s purpose for the world and the universe.  That was not important in the least.  The important thing to them was that the old system be maintained and that there be no change.  Tradition has it that, when the great veil in the temple was rent in twain at the death of Christ, opening the way into the holiest of all, the priests had it sown together again that all things might remain as they had always been.  When Jesus was buried, they took every imaginable precaution to make sure He did not rise, but He arose in spite of their care and ever lives on high and in the hearts of His people”   end quote. 

            It is time, beloved children of God, to arise from the mists of yesterday and press onward and upward into the Kingdom of God.  “The fullness of God,” “the image of the Son,” “we shall be like Him,” “I will grant him to sit with me in my throne,” “the manifestation of the sons of God,” these are but a few of the wonderful phrases that speak powerfully of HOW FAR IT IS POSSIBLE FOR MAN TO GO IN GOD.  Jesus Christ is the trailblazer on this heavenly road.  He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  The Lord is actually inviting mankind to take a spiritual journey that breaks through all physical and mental limitations into the spiritual realm of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

            A certain man told his sons and daughters this story over and over as they grew up: 

                                                There was a calf that made a trail.

                                                The trail turned into a path.

                                                Dogs and sheep walked in the calf’s foot steps,

                                                Followed by men, complaining of winding trails;

                                                But came along day by day any way.

                                                 

                                                The path became a lane,

                                                Then a road, then a village street,

                                                Then a thoroughfare,

                                                Then the central street of a renowned metropolis.

                                                 Some centuries and a half

                                                Trod in the footprints of that calf.

                                                A hundred thousand men were led

                                                By one calf near three centuries dead.

 

                                                For men are prone to go it blind

                                                Along the calf paths of the mind;

                                                And work away from sun to sun,

                                                And do what other men have done!

 

                                                Beaten paths are for beaten men;

                                                They blindly follow where others trod;

                                                But men of faith search long for God;

                                                So they set sail where none have been.

 

                                                They sail on uncharted sea,

                                                Fearing not what men before have done.

                                                Their soul’s desire is just to BE

                                                The express image of the Son!

 

                                                There is a people in the land

                                                That follows God and God alone,

                                                Refusing beaten paths of man,

                                                They will not rest till they reach home.

 

                                             When the sons of God for joy did shout,

                                                We were there, and our hearts cried out

                                                For realms in Spirit to set us free

                                                We are the people sailing uncharted seas!

 

            To be continued...                                                                                           J. PRESTON EBY

                                                        

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