Friday, July 30, 2010

MOSES' TABERNACLE - A PATTERN FOR INTIMACY: PT. 1

Who would think that a building, and a temporary one at that, would give us a pattern for developing the intimacy that God so desperately wants to have with each of us. But that is exactly what the Tabernacle of Moses does.

In this series we will go step by step and see how each item in the Tabernacle relates to us today, and confirms the Father’s desire to bring us back into sweet fellowship with Him through His Son, Jesus.

Moses built the Tabernacle from the inside out, starting with the Ark of the Testimony and finishing with the erecting of the fence. We, however, will be going from the outside in, since this more typifies how a believer develops in increasingly greater intimacy with the Lord.

OVERVIEW
It is important to note that God does everything in exquisite detail, so each word, each name and each item mentioned in Scripture is there for a specific reason.

The number three is significant of God’s divine purpose and will, and we can see it repeated throughout the Bible. Here are just a few examples.
  • Jewish men were to appear before the Lord three times each year for three different feasts. 
  • Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days. 
  • Saul, before he became Paul, was blinded for three days. 
  • God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
  • You and I are spirit beings, with a soul and housed in a body. 
 Most importantly, in the passion of Christ…………..Jesus asked the Father three times to remove the cup from Him; three disciples were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane; Peter denied Him three times; Pilate tried three times to release Jesus; there were three crosses; on Jesus’ cross were three inscriptions in three different languages; He was crucified at the third hour and He rose on the third day!!

In the Tabernacle we also see the same pattern of three. There is the Outer Court, The Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, also known as the Holy of Holies. Each represents a different degree of intimacy with the Lord.

THE FENCE – Exodus 27:9-19 
The outer court was enclosed by a fence which was made with sixty pillars of bronze, each capped with silver. Bronze represents judgment and silver represents redemption. How glorious to know that thousands of years ago the Father used the pillars of the Tabernacle fence to show that God’s judgment of our sin (the bronze) was covered when Jesus redeemed us (the silver) through His death, burial and resurrection!
The pillars were there to suspend hangings of fine white woven linen. White symbolizes purity. Linen does not cause a person to sweat, and in Scripture it represents rest. These hangings, then, tell us that when we enter into a relationship with the Lord, we should cease from self-effort and enter into His sweet rest. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way...


Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 4:1-3 (Amplified Bible)

The fence hangings were all of pure white linen, with one exception - the only entrance by which men could enter into the Tabernacle enclosure. There was no other way that they could come in. They couldn't climb over the white linen hangings; they couldn't crawl underneath. They could not make their own entryway. All who entered had to go through The Gate.

"Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy-laden and over-burdened, 
and I will cause you to rest. 
[I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]"
Matthew 11:28 (Amplified Bible)


To be continued…

Monday, July 19, 2010

THE CROWD, THE CALLED AND THE CHOSEN - PART 3


The Chosen


Out of the crowd that stood on the seashore Jesus called many, and from that group He chose a few.

There are some commonalities between those who are called and those who are chosen.
  • They were both separated from the masses. See Mark 3:13-15
  • They were both given the same authority and the same instructions. See Luke 9:1-3 and Luke 10: 1-2, 4, 9
  • They all heard His teachings about the Kingdom of God. See Matthew 5:1,2 and Luke 8: 9. 10

What, then, is the difference between the called and the chosen? The answer, I believe, resides in part in John’s gospel.

His disciples had just witnessed the miracle of Jesus feeding 5000 people with five loaves and two fishes. Now they were about to hear Him make an astounding statement about Himself.

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed." John 6: 51-55

Continue reading and you will see the distinction between the called and the chosen…..

Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” John 6: 60-61; 63-64

Jesus had just made the first of seven “I AM” declarations. The called were unwilling to accept it, so they didn’t stick around to hear the other six. They knew his acts, and they learned His teachings, but they never really got to know Him. This decision separated them from the chosen.

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6: 66-69

Many of those who were the called walked away because they took Jesus’ words literally. Even after He explained that the words He spoke were Spirit – which is the language of the Kingdom of God – they were not willing to follow through and learn that new language.

By contrast, Peter recognized Jesus’ speech as being of the Kingdom and spoke on behalf of the twelve, committing to follow Jesus.

In Mark 3 we read that the twelve were chosen so that they might be with Jesus. This was not said of those who were called. It is only when you walk in close union with the Lord that you will hear and learn His language, and therefore come to know His heart.

In summary:
  • The crowd today is made up of those who come primarily because of a need that needs to be met. They are not necessarily interested in having a relationship with the Lord. They just want Him to be available when they call on Him in times of crisis.
  • The called often are those who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour. They may be involved in ministry and even do mighty things, but stop short of becoming fully engaged in Him. They can become intoxicated with the pride of public acclaim, power and popularity of their ministry. Jesus simply becomes a means to an end.
  • The chosen are those who forsake everything for this blessed Saviour. They sacrifice their own desires for His. They learn the language of the Spirit – the language of God’s love - and they have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying. They are willing to trust the Lord and abide in Him even when they don’t always understand His ways. They eat His flesh – enabling Him to infiltrate and change every part of their lives. And they gladly drink His life-giving Blood. This is true intimacy! It is the chosen ones who will manifest the image of God in the earth!

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 
John 6:56

Are you part of the crowd, the called or the chosen?

Monday, July 5, 2010

THE CROWD, THE CALLED AND THE CHOSEN - Part 2

THE CALLED - MOUNTAIN LEVEL
 
And He went up on the mountain 
and called to Him those He Himself wanted. 
And they came to Him. 
Mark 3:13

Out of the crowd who were gathered at the seaside, Jesus called (invited) many to come up higher to Him. Those who responded to the call had a mountain level experience.

I believe these were the same disciples whom Jesus spoke to when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. These were the same ones who learned the principles of the Kingdom of God.

And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven….” – Matthew 5:1-3

The “called” were the ones whom Jesus sent out, giving them power and authority they never thought they could wield.

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves. …heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ – Luke 10:1-3, 9

They returned, excitedly reporting to Jesus the results of their mission, and He in turn confirmed their authority.

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” – Luke 10:17-20

Just like the people in that day you may have started off at ground level, so to speak, on your journey with the Lord. Maybe there was some crisis in your life – an illness, a broken relationship, a financial crisis or some other dilemma. You reached out to Jesus and He was there. Then you heard His invitation and you responded, entering into the mountain level experience. But is that all there is? Does this level guarantee you a place in heaven?

In John 3:3 Jesus told Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Soon afterward the Lord tells him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Is it possible to see the Kingdom of God and yet not enter it? I believe it is very possible, just as the children of Israel saw the Promised Land, but were denied access to it because of their disbelief and disobedience.

When you accept Jesus as your Saviour you are given the same power and authority that the seventy of that day were given, and it will work. However, note Jesus’ stern warning at the end of His Sermon on the Mount….

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:21-23

Remaining at the level of being “called” puts you in grave danger of
  • Double mindedness. You are still too close to the ground level and could “fall off the mountain” if you allow your senses to control you.
  • Being lukewarm. There are so many who sit in churches Sunday after Sunday and in weekly Bible studies. They hear the Word of God and are aware of the principles of the Kingdom, yet they fall into the sin of familiarity. The Word becomes so common to them that it loses its relevance, and therefore its potency. They become hearers and not doers of the Word. Jesus said that if you are like the lukewarm Laodicean church of Revelation 3 He will spit you out of His mouth!
  • False assurance of your position in Christ. You can be called to be an apostle, called to be a prophet, called to evangelize, pastor or teach. You may have the gift of healing, faith, tongues or interpretation of tongues. You may give liberally or serve faithfully in your local assembly. You may have the title of Bishop, Minister or Reverend. However, as the passage in Matthew 7 indicates, none of this guarantees your entrance into heaven.
  • Judgmentalism and a Pharisaical spirit. This happens if you apply the letter of the Law of the Kingdom without understanding or applying the spirit of the Law.
Scripture records that Jesus gave the same authority to the seventy that He had given to the twelve apostles (see Luke 9:1-2). Yet the end results were so different.

“….many are called, but few are chosen.” 
Matthew 20:16

To be continued….
Copyright © 2015 AudreyCharles. All rights reserved.