ORDER MY STEPS IN THY WORD

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ORDER MY STEPS IN THY WORD

ORDERMY STEPSIN THYWORDStudies in Abundant LivingVictor Paul Wierwille


ORDERMY STEPSIN THYWORDIn recognition of the dedication ofThe Word Over The World Auditoriumthis book is lovingly publishedwith joyful thanksgiving.


Other books by Victor Paul WierwilleReceiving The Holy Spirit TodayAre the Dead Alive Now?Power for Abundant LivingStudies in Abundant Living SeriesVolume I, The Bible Tells Me SoVolume II, The New, Dynamic ChurchVolume III, The Word’s WayVolume IV, God’s Magnified WordJesus Christ Is Not GodJesus Christ Our PassoverJesus Christ Our Promised SeedORDERMY STEPSIN THYWORDVolume VStudies in Abundant LivingVictor Paul WierwilleAmerican Christian PressThe Way InternationalNew Knoxville, Ohio 45871


The scriptures used throughout this book arequoted from the King James Version unlessotherwise noted. All explanatory insertions bythe author within a scripture verse are enclosed inbrackets. All Greek and Hebrew words areprinted with English letters and italicized.ToThe Board of TrusteesofThe Way InternationalRev. L. Craig Martindale, PresidentDr. Donald Ernst Wierwille, Vice PresidentMr. Howard R. Allen, Secretary-TreasurerInternational Standard Book Number 0-910068-59-3Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 70-176281American Christian PressThe Way InternationalNew Knoxville, Ohio 45871© 1985 by The Way InternationalAll rights reservedFirst Edition 1985. Second Printing 1985Printed in the United States of America


CONTENTSPrefaceixPart I God’s Order for Life1. God Almighty—El Shaddai 52. God’s Blueprint of Creation 213. Heirs Together of the Grace of Life 39Part II God’s Order for Leadership4. The Qualities of a Spiritual Leader 575. The Qualifications for Ordination 796. The Higher Powers of Romans 13 937. The Transfer of Leadership 107Part III God’s Order in Old Testament Times8. A Man in Whom the Spirit of God Is 1419. Choose You This Day 17110. The Way of Life or Death 187Part IV God’s Order for Quality Believers11. Climbing High to Seek Truth 20712. The Mark of Quality 22313. The Light of Life 23914. Quickened Together with Christ 253About the Author 291vii


PREFACEThe title of this volume, Order My Steps inThy Word, comes from Psalms 119:133.Order my steps in thy word:and let not any iniquityhave dominion over me.It is my soul’s sincere desire to have my lifeordered, or established, in God’s Word. Hisstandard is the standard I want for my life. Whenmy steps are ordered according to the standardof God’s Word, no iniquity or sin can have anypower over me because I’m living my life God’sway. God’s order and iniquity are mutually exclusive.Where God’s order is, iniquity can haveno dominion. And where iniquity has dominion,God’s order is excluded.God designed life—He made, formed, andcreated us. Therefore He certainly knows whatrichness of life He intended for us when we livelife according to His plain. When we believers lineup our lives according to God’s Word, God’six


Prefacerule book, we put ourselves in the position toreceive the maximum blessings of life—in body,soul, and spirit.Order My Steps in Thy Word is organized intofour parts: “God’s Order for Life,” “God’sOrder for Leadership,” “God’s Order in Old TestamentTimes,” and “God’s Order for QualityBelievers.” Within the parts, each chapter hasbeen researched and written as an individualstudy. The studies are grouped under generaltopics so that you as the reader can gain abroader scope of each topic. I pray and believethat a greater knowledge of God and His Wordwill uplift you and inspire you to better orderyour steps in God’s Word.PART IGOD’S ORDERFOR LIFEx


PART IGOD’S ORDER FOR LIFEGod Himself is order. As a matter of coursethen, His creation has order. God ordered theuniverse and everything in it. He even ordered away of life for each individual. The threechapters which make up Part I, “God’s Orderfor Life,” demonstrate God’s plan. The firstchapter shows that God, Who is Elohim andJehovah, is also El Shaddai, God Almighty. Andwhen God Almighty, the God of all might, worksfor His children, absolutely no obstacle is insurmountable.“God’s Blueprint for Creation” describes howGod so beautifully planned the interrelationshipsbetween Himself, man, the earth, and theuniverse.“Heirs Together of the Grace of Life” explainsGod’s original plan and His will forfamilies, most specifically for the husband andwife who want to order their relationship accordingto God’s Word.3


God’s Order for LifeWhen we know and understand God’s orderfor life, and how carefully and lovingly Heprepared for us and provided for our every need,our hearts overflow with wonder and thanksgivingfor our loving heavenly Father.Chapter OneGOD ALMIGHTYEL SHADDAIThere are some men in this world who are willingfor God to be the God of heaven, but they arenot willing for Him to be the God on earth. TheLord’s Prayer says, “Our Father which art inheaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdomcome. Thy will be done in earth, as it is inheaven.” Although the prayer says, “Thy will bedone in earth,” most people want their own willsto be done here on earth.Man’s reasoning—no matter how enlightenedor how logical he may believe that he is—willnever give man a true knowledge of God. Onlythe revelation from God in His Word does that.In order to see the greatness of our God as the“Almighty God,” we must observe God’s revelationof Himself.One way God lets us know Who He is isthrough the titles He gives Himself. God refers toHimself by a number of different names in HisWord. In verse 1 of Genesis 1, God revealsHimself by the Hebrew word Elohim, the45


God’s Order for LifeOften I pray, “Almighty God, unto whomevery heart is opened. . . .” I do not use thesewords haphazardly. Why should I? I study God’sWord so that I know what the words “AlmightyGod” stand for. I want to know what they meanBiblically, and then I endeavor to use them ac-curately.Creator. In the second chapter of Genesis Heuses the name Jehovah, denoting His relationshipto what He created. In this study I wouldlike to delve into the scriptures which reveal Godas El Shaddai, translated “God Almighty” or“Almighty God.” Genesis 17:1 contains the firstoccurrence of this name. In Biblical research, thefirst use of a word or a term or an expressionmust be studied most carefully for its significance.What is the great truth concerning thisname for God, El Shaddai, in its first use?Genesis 17:1:And when Abram was ninety years old andnine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and saidunto him, I am the Almighty God [El Shaddai].. . .God didn’t say to Abram, “I am Jehovah” or“I am Elohim”; He said, “I am the AlmightyGod,” El Shaddai in Hebrew. El is “God,”Shaddai is “almighty.” He is the Almighty God.Now what does it mean that our God, Who isElohim and Jehovah, is also El Shaddai, theAlmighty God? What exactly is being revealed tous about God? Let’s observe the rest of the versewhich contains this name.6God Almighty—El Shaddai. . . I am the Almighty God [El Shaddai]; walkbefore me, and be thou perfect.“. . . I am the Almighty God; walk before me,and be thou perfect.” The text literally says“walk before me and you are complete.” “Walkand be complete.” Walk upon what? “The revelationI have given you. Don’t walk by your reasoningor your opinions, but by the revelationthat I have given you.”Verse 2:And I [El Shaddai, Almighty God] willmake my covenant between me and thee,and [I will multiply thee exceedingly.God said to Abram in Canaan, “I, yourAlmighty God, will make a covenant with you. Iwill see to it that your offspring will be exceedinglynumerous.” The pronoun “I” refers7


God’s Order for Lifeback to God as El Shaddai, Almighty God inverse 1, throughout this section of Genesis.Verses 3 and 4:And Abram fell on his face: and God talkedwith him [revelation], saying,As for me, behold, my covenant is withthee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.Abram’s heart’s desire was to have children.And so as Abram carried out God Almighty’spromise of Genesis 17:1 to walk before God andbe complete, Abram received the fulfillment ofthat promise: God would make Abram “a fatherof many nations.”Verse 5:Neither shall thy name any more be calledAbram.The word “Abram” in Hebrew means “fatherof height.” God wanted this man to have a moreappropriate name, so He renamed him.8. . . but thy name shall be Abraham. . . .God gave Abram the new name “Abraham.”God Almighty—El ShaddaiAnd the word “Abraham” means “father of agreat multitude” or “father of many nations.”The name “Abram” no longer accurately describedGod’s man. God saw him as the father ofa great multitude, so that’s what He called him.Now Abraham, this father of a great multitude,was a friend of God. God says in James2:23: “And the scripture was fulfilled whichsaith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputedunto him for righteousness: and he wascalled the Friend of God.” Isaiah 41:8 states,“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom Ihave chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.”What a relationship God and Abraham had!Genesis 17:5:. . . for a father of many nations have I [ElShaddai, Almighty God] made thee.“God Almighty” put in the past tense what toAbraham was still future, was yet to come topass. The words “Almighty God” indicate thatHe is a God Who is an all-powerful God withevery resource for every believer.Verses 6-8:And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and9


God’s Order for LifeGod Almighty—El ShaddaiI [Almighty God] will make nations of thee,God Almighty blesses, makes fruitful, andand kings shall come out of thee.causes our seed to multiply. The Almighty GodAnd I [El Shaddai, Almighty God] willconfirmed with Jacob the same great promise Heestablish my covenant between me and theehad given to Jacob’s grandfather Abraham.and thy seed after thee [from Isaac toChrist] in their generations for an ever- Genesis 35:10:lasting covenant, to be a God [Elohim] untoAnd God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob:thee, and to thy seed after thee.thy name shall not be called any moreAnd I [El Shaddai, Almighty God] will giveJacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and heunto thee, and to thy seed after thee, thecalled his name Israel.land wherein thou art a stranger, all the landof Canaan, for an everlasting possession;God changed Jacob’s name. “Jacob” meansand I will be their [thy seed’s] God [Elohim].“supplanter,” one who takes the place ofanother. Instead of “Jacob,” God called himGod promised great things to Abraham by giv-“Israel,” meaning “prince of God.” God’sing him the land of Canaan and by assuringWord says, “Israel shall be thy name: and heAbraham that his offspring would follow Elohim.called his name Israel.”I want you to note that in chapter 28 of Verse 11:Genesis, Isaac, Abraham’s son, called God ElAnd God said unto him [Israel], I am GodShaddai. In the context of this twenty-eighthAlmighty [El Shaddai]: be fruitful and mulchapter,Isaac was speaking to his son Jacob.tiply; a nation and a company of nationsshall be of thee, and kings shall come out ofGenesis 28:3:thy loins.And God Almighty [El Shaddai] bless thee[Jacob], and make thee fruitful, and multi-God reiterated to Israel the promise He hadply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude ofmade to Abraham, again using the name El Shadpeople.dai. Associated with that title is fruitfulness, a10 11


God’s Order for Lifemultitude of nations, and kings from Israel’sloins.Verse 12:And the land which I gave Abraham andIsaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seedafter thee will I give the land.Do you see the encouragement and knowledgegiven in the Word of God? Another use of ElShaddai is found in Genesis 43 when Israel wasspeaking to his sons who returned from Egypt.Genesis 43:14:And God Almighty [El Shaddai] give youmercy before the man, that he may sendaway your other brother, and Benjamin. If Ibe bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.In this use, Israel was pleading for the mercyof “God Almighty” to deliver his two sons:Simeon and Benjamin.Genesis 49 speaks of Almighty God’s blessingson Joseph.12Genesis 49:25:Even by the God of thy father, who shallhelp thee; and by the Almighty [the AramaicGod Almighty—El Shaddaitext says “Almighty God”], who shall blessthee with blessings of heaven above, blessingsof the deep that lieth under, blessings ofthe breasts, and of the womb.The Almighty God is the fathomless fountainof living waters, completely bountiful. Not onlydo the words “Almighty God” denote bountifulwantsto supply every need of everyness, but they also show blessing. He is a GodWho supports His people. He is a God Whodefends His people. He is a God Who takes careof His people. The Almighty God is able to andbeliever.So the words “Almighty God” and “GodAlmighty” as they appear in God’s Word arealways in the context of bountifulness to thebeliever, blessing to the believer, support to thebeliever, defense for the believer, supply for thebeliever’s every need. This was the Word of GodAlmighty to the Old Testament believer. Andthis is the Word of God for born-again believerssince the day of Pentecost, the age of which youand I are a part. The Almighty God has notchanged His promise, for we also are Abraham’sseed by believing.You see, there are two classifications of theseed of Abraham: bloodline and believing.13


God’s Order for LifeGod Almighty—El ShaddaiGalatians 3:7:God and a child of Abraham by believing. We asKnow ye therefore that they which are ofthe believers’ line are children of Abraham. Andfaith [believing], the same are the childrenwe have the same God Almighty that Abrahamof Abraham.had—a God of bountifulness, a God of blessing,a God of support, a God Who defends us, and aWe who believe God are children of Abraham.God Who supplies our every need.Therefore, we have the promise of God forbountifulness, for blessing, for support, for de- Philippians 4:19:fense, for the supplying of needs. The sameBut my God shall supply all your need acpromisewhich was made by the Almighty God tocording to his riches, in glory by ChristAbraham is available to us as children ofJesus.Abraham because of our believing.This is the same God as the Almighty God ofGalatians 3:28 and 29:Abraham Who supplied all of Abraham’s needThere is neither Jew [Judean] nor Greek,and promised to do the same for Abraham’s seedthere is neither bond nor free, there isas well. How far below par we as sons of Godneither male nor female: for ye are all onehave lived! We need to understand what it means[born again of God’s Spirit] in Christ Jesus.to be children of Abraham. We need to dare toAnd if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’sseed, and heirs according to the promise.This “promise” in verse 29 dates back toGod’s promise to Abraham in Canaan. It is stilltrue to this very day and will continue to be sountil the return of Christ.When you confessed with your mouth theLord Jesus and believed God raised him from thedead, you were saved. That made you a son ofbelieve the Word which says that our God todayis as He was to Abraham. He is still a God ofbountifulness and still a God of blessing. He isnot a God Who punishes people or denies them.El Shaddai is a God Who so loves that He gaveHis only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for ourredemption so that we could have God in Christin us, the hope of glory.II Corinthians 6 says we are workers togetherwith this same God.1415


God’s Order for LifeII Corinthians 6:1:We then, as workers together with him [thatis, with God]We work together with God. God is ouremployer; He’s our boss.II Corinthians 6 also tells us the kind of peoplewith whom we should have fellowship.II Corinthians 6:14:Be ye [believers, Abraham’s seed] not unequallyyoked together with unbelievers: forwhat fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness.We believers are not to align ourselves in relationshipswith unbelievers. Righteousness andunrighteousness simply don’t mix. They areunequal and, in God’s eyes, cannot be yokedtogether.**“Unequally yoked” in Greek is the word heterozugounteswhich means “diversely yoked” or “yoked with anotherwho is different.” This refers to the practice of putting ayoke on two animals. A farmer would not yoke an ox andan ass together to help pull a wagon (Deuteronomy 22:10).They are different kinds of animals and could not pullsmoothly. Likewise Christians who are righteous are to“pull together” with each other, not with the unrighteous.Then they can work in harmony.16God Almighty—El Shaddai. . . and what communion hath light withdarkness?As a believer, you are light. What communion,or fellowship, do you as light have with anunbeliever, who is darkness?Verses 15 and 16:And what concord [agreement] hath Christwith Belial [the Devil]? or what part hath hethat believeth with an infidel?And what agreement hath the temple of God[the Body of believers] with idols? for ye[the Body of believers] are the temple of theliving God; as God hath said, I [God] willdwell in them, and walk in them; and I willbe their God, and they shall be my people.As Almighty God promised to bless Abraham’sseed, so He promises to bless the Church of theBody, Abraham’s believing line.Verses 17 and 18:Wherefore come out from among them [theunbelievers who are trying to tamper withyour life and tell you what to do], and be yeseparate, saith the Lord, and touch not the17


God’s Order for LifeGod Almighty—El Shaddaiunclean thing; and I [the Lord Almighty] will Revelation 19:11-15:receive you,And I [the Apostle John] saw heaven opened,And will be a Father unto you, and ye shallbe my sons and daughters [those who areborn again], saith the Lord Almighty.and behold a white horse; and he that satupon him was called Faithful and True, andin righteousness he doth judge and makewar.There it is—Lord Almighty. This is the sameHis eyes were as a flame of fire, and on hisAlmighty God Who spoke in Genesis. God sayshead were many crowns; and he had a nameto the Body of believers in the Church today, “Iam your Lord Almighty, the Almighty God. Iwill be bountiful unto you. I will bless you. I willsupport you. I will defend you. I will supply yourevery need.” This is the significance of the words“Almighty God” in God’s Word—not just toAbraham, but from Abraham all the waythrough to the Body of Christ, the Church, ofwhich you and I are a part.I began this study by saying that some peopleare willing for God to be the God of heaven, butnot the God on earth, because they want to bethe God on earth. But some day God Almighty isgoing to be the one totally in charge. This era inwhich we live is called “Man’s Day” in God’sWord. Man does the judging. But the “Lord’sDay” is coming; and when it arrives, the will ofGod shall indeed be done. And at that time thesame Almighty God of all bountifulness to uswill then deal with the unbeliever.18written, that no man knew, but he himself.And he was clothed with a vesture dipped inblood: and his name is called The Word ofGod.And the armies which were in heavenfollowed him upon white horses, clothed infine linen, white and clean.And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword,that with it he should smite the nations: andhe shall rule them with a rod of iron: and hetreadeth the winepress of the fierceness andwrath of Almighty God.Almighty God, Who to the believer is bountiful,protective, and supportive, a supplier of thebeliever’s every need, is the same Almighty GodWho one day will bring wrath and vengeanceupon the unbelievers. This same God will takesweeping action against His enemies. His Son19


God’s Order for LifeJesus Christ is coming back some day as king ofkings and lord of lords.Verse 16:And he hath on his vesture and on his thigha name written, KING OF KINGS, ANDLORD OF LORDS.The Christ who was promised to Abraham isthe same Christ who is our lord and savior today.And he is the same Christ Jesus who is going togather us together and then will come back injudgment, representing Almighty God upon theearth.After all the reassurances of blessings theAlmighty God has given us, surely we can trust inGod’s almighty ability and allow Him to guideour lives and supply our every need. Truly God isalmighty from everlasting to everlasting.20Chapter TwoGOD’S BLUEPRINT OF CREATIONGod alone conceived, designed, and orderedlife—all of it, from man to the earth to the entireuniverse. Only His mind could conceive it; onlyHis power could create it; and only His abilitycould achieve it.Then God, by way of His Son Jesus Christ,was able to beget spiritual children. Those of usborn again of God’s Spirit are these childrenwhom God begot because of Christ’s works. Andwe make up a family which is called the family ofGod, with God as our Father.The interrelationship of the Father with Hisfamily is the very core of Christianity. Christianityis the way of a Father with His family. God is ourFather; we are His children. We are members ofHis family and of His household. And He hasalready prepared a tremendous home wherethroughout all eternity we, God’s family, can betogether.True Christianity is not a religion. Religions21


God’s Order for Lifeare man-made; Christianity is what God wroughtby Christ Jesus when spiritual sonship becameavailable to mankind.Not only is Christianity not a religion, it is nota philosophy either. Philosophy is man’swisdom. The German word for “philosophy” isWeltweisheit. Welt means “world”; Weisheit is“wisdom.” “World wisdom” is philosophy.Christianity is not world wisdom, but a divinehumanrelationship.Not only is Christianity not a religion or aphilosophy, it is also not a theology. Theology isthe “science of God.” For man to explain Godwould be like having the Model T explain HenryFord. Man cannot begin to describe the fullnessof God’s nature and ability. So Christianitycould not be a science of God, but rather theunion of God and His children.Twenty-three miles northwest of Camp Gunnisonin Colorado, there is a little town known asIrwin, previously called Ruby Camp.**I’ve read a diary by H.C. Cornwell which covers the yearsfrom 1879 to 1886 at Ruby Camp, a mining camp. Thesilver mined there was actually a sulfide of silver. It had acrystal form that when crushed was a bloodred color; thusthe name “Ruby Camp.”22God’s Blueprint of CreationIn the spring of 1879 something very excitingoccurred at Ruby Camp. The driver of a freightwagon bringing supplies from the railroad camein early one morning. Workmen unloaded hiswagon, but he didn’t want to leave until thefollowing morning. Since the driver had nothingto do that particular day except wait, he toldsome people who were standing around that hewas thinking about mining a little for himself.The people he spoke to thought they would havesome fun with him and advised him, “If youwant to find a mine, go down that gully and juststart digging; you’ll find one.”The wagon driver followed the people’s suggestionwhich was meant as a joke. Less than 400yards from where he stood that morning, hestarted digging. To everyone’s amazement, hebegan to see the outcrop of a silver vein. As hecontinued digging, he found what he later namedthe “Forest Queen Mine.” A short time after hediscovered this mine, the man sold it for $50,000.Within two years the buyers took out of that veinsilver ore worth one million dollars.Hundreds of miners had walked over that minebefore, but no one had realized the tremendoustreasure so close at hand. None had found it exceptthis one man, who named it “Forest Queen.”23


God’s Order for LifeThe more profoundly phenomena havebeen studied by scientists and scientific phi-losophers the more gloriously have shownout the truths. . . that God has busiedHimself through untold ages in preparingfor man’s advent, that man has been thegrand goal of His endeavor, the ultimateThule of His creative thought on this planet;that all this prolonged preparation could nothave been merely to render comfortable ashort-lived and low-planed animal existence;that this patient approach could not havebeen to a consummation so inconsequentialand unworthy. . . . *The Forest Queen Mine is like God’s Word.The treasures of God’s Word have been availablefor centuries. The reason people never find itstreasures is that they never dig, never search, atthe right place. A person cannot know the greatnessof God by his five senses. In order to understandspiritual things a person must have thespirit of God within.* Now the Word of God isthe most remarkable document in the wholeworld. Even though God’s written Word is in thesenses realm, a man who believes it can receiveholy spirit and begin to understand the spiritualrealm.For the most part, people never see thegreatness of God’s Word because they are“natural” people, people without God’s spirit.The natural man never will understand God’sWord; he simply cannot understand it. Iwouldn’t criticize a blind man for his analysis ofa great masterpiece of art, would I? So whycriticize a natural man for his blind attempt toanalyze the spiritual truths in the greatest masterpieceof all time, the Word of God?*I Corinthians 2:14: “But the natural man receiveth not thethings of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him:neither can he know them, because they are spirituallydiscerned.”24God’s Blueprint of CreationW.W. Kinsley, in describing the masterpiece ofGod’s Word, wrote the following:Blind chance was not the author of life. Explorethe mineral kingdom; explore the animalkingdom; explore the vegetable kingdom. Fromthe lowest to the highest, there are marks thatspecifically call our attention to the superbly conceivedreality of that which we observe. Some*E.W. Kenyon, The Father and His Family, 11th ed.(Seattle: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, 1964), p. 18,citing W.W. Kinsley.25


God’s Order for LifeThe Word of God is for all believers the blue-print of creation. God’s plan of life to the lastfinishing touch is intricately set forth in thegreatness of His wonderful Word. But a personmust be born again to understand it and be willingto renew his or her mind to the truth of thatWord, rather than accept man’s opinions, religions,philosophies, and theologies.great design, some great intelligence confronts useverywhere we look in the realm of creation. Wecan always see an intelligent purpose behind thisrealm, which was brought about by some type ofconsistent power.Take a microscope, even a low-powered one.Focus under its lens an eyeglass, for example.You would see some imperfections in the glass,although perhaps only a few. Next, focus a highpoweredmicroscope on the same eyeglass. Youwill find that the more high-powered the microscope,the greater the imperfections that will beseen in the glass. There are imperfections inanything man-made.This example of the eyeglass demonstrates aprinciple. The more high-powered the microscopeused to observe the works of man, the moreimperfect the object appears. On the other hand, themore high-powered the microscope used to lookupon something that God formed or made, the moreperfect and orderly it appears. The closer thescrutiny of God’s Word, the more obvious becomeits beauty and perfection. It is only a man who usesa poor microscope who never sees the greatness ofGod’s Word. He does not observe it to see itsperfection.26God’s Blueprint of CreationI Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural manreceiveth not the things of the Spirit ofGod. . . .” If natural man does not receivespiritual things from God, then he does not havethem. No matter how sincere the natural manlooks, no matter how highly educated he may be,or how sensitive, intelligent, and tolerant, he isstill a natural man; and the natural man simplycannot receive the things of the Spirit of God“for they are foolishness unto him: neither canhe know them, because they are spirituallydiscerned.”The senses man may learn a great deal aboutthe universe in which he lives, but he cannotlearn anything about the Creator of that universe.The natural man may see structural designin the universe, but he will never be able to seethe Intelligence behind all creation: God. A personcan look at a watch and observe that there27


God’s Order for Lifenot? Because they need no revision. Theories, in-cluding Darwin’s, must constantly be revised andupdated. The first three chapters of Genesis havebeen scoffed at for centuries, and yet it is onlythose first three chapters that give the truthanswering the question “Why creation?” To seethe purpose of the universe, we must go to thefirst chapter of Genesis.must be some kind of intelligence behind it. Anatural man can do the same with the universe.But the natural man can never see the IntelligenceItself because that takes spirit to understand.The question “Why creation?” must be thefirst question answered when a person trulywants to understand God in relation to himselfor the world in relation to himself or the universein relation to himself. The highest sounding oftheologies has never given us a reason for creation.Theology, because it lacks a foundation,simply suspends a massive structure of thoughtand opinion in midair. Theology has given usseveral cosmological arguments for the existenceof God, but it has not given us the simply-statedBiblical answer.Theologians, for the most part, have foundmore pleasure in abstract theology than in personaldealings with God. They have found morejoy in metaphysics than in divine revelation.Most theologians have founded their positionsupon the opinions of men rather than on theWord of God. Theologies and philosophies needconstant revitalizing in order to survive. Truth iseternal. Have you ever met a person who wasconsidering revising mathematical tables? Why28God’s Blueprint of CreationGenesis 1:14:And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament[the expanse] of the heaven to divide theday from the night; and let them be for signs,and for seasons, and for days, and years.Without those lights in the firmament, theearth would have no days and nights, or seasonsand years.Verse 15:And let them be for lights in the firmamentof the heaven to give light upon the earth:and it was so.The earth was not made to give light to theuniverse or even to itself; the “lights in the firmamentof the heaven” were made to give light tothe earth.29


God’s Order for LifeVerses 16 and 17:And God made two great lights; the greaterlight to rule the day, and the lesser light torule the night: he made the stars also.And God set them in the firmament of theheaven to give light upon the earth.Notice the earth is God’s central focus in Hiscreative plan. Up to this point in Genesis 1,everything was made for the earth.Verses 18 and 19:And to rule over the day and over the night,and to divide the light from the darkness:and God saw that it was good.And the evening and the morning were thefourth day.The great star-spangled universe was designedto support the earth. What then was the earthdesigned for? Genesis 1 reveals that the earth wasmade to support the physical part of man.30Genesis 1:28-30:And God blessed them [Adam and Eve],and God said unto them, Be fruitful, andmultiply, and replenish the earth, and subdueit: and have dominion over the fish ofGod’s Blueprint of Creationthe sea, and over the fowl of the air, andover every living thing that moveth upon theearth.And God said, Behold, I have given youevery herb bearing seed, which is upon theface of all the earth, and every tree, in thewhich is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; toyou it shall be for meat.And to every beast of the earth, and to everyfowl of the air, and to every thing thatcreepeth upon the earth, wherein there islife, I have given every green herb for meat:and it was so.The earth was designed to physically supportman. God made the earth for man. The heavenlybodies, the animals, the fruit of the trees—thesewere all made for man. The reason for the earthis man. So then what is the reason for man? God.Ephesians 1:4-6:According as he hath chosen us in himbefore the foundation of the world, that weshould be holy and without blame beforehim in love:Having predestinated us unto the adoptionof children by Jesus Christ to himself, accordingto the good pleasure of his will,31


God’s Order for LifeTo the praise of the glory of his grace,wherein he hath made us accepted in thebeloved.God created man for Himself, so that Hecould have companionship, so that He couldhave children with whom to communicate.Psalm 8 contains a wonderful revelation of theposition God has given His children in His plan.Psalms 8:5:For thou hast made him [man] a little lowerthan the angels, and hast crowned him[man] with glory and honour.The word translated “angels” is elohim, theHebrew word for “God.” So what Psalms 8:5 isreally telling us is that God made man a littlelower than Himself. That’s how well-placed manwas intended to be. That demonstrates the greatnessof man as the pinnacle of God’s creation.Many years ago when I was reading E.W.Kenyon’s The Father and His Family, I becametotally absorbed in considering his insight aboutcreation, and I would like to share a passagefrom his book with you now. He noted therecord of a well-known astronomer who was32God’s Blueprint of Creationdiscussing with his son the influence of theheavenly bodies on the earth. The following iswhat the astronomer said to his son.I have noticed that at certain times the Earthis lifted out of her orbit or path by an unseenbody lying beyond the reach of our mostpowerful telescope. If ever they build alarger telescope, I wish you would go andsearch the heavens to find out what it is thatso affects this planet of ours. *Kenyon then goes on to say,When the great Lick Observatory was rearedwith its powerful telescope this son traveledacross sea and continent, and one clear nightturned the great telescope against the darkspace in the heavens where this unseen, unchartedplanet reached down its mightyhand and gripped the Earth.After gazing awhile, suddenly there appeareda tiny speck of light; it was a starswinging in its giant orbit away out on thefrontier of the Universe.*Kenyon, The Father and His Family, p. 22.33


God’s Order for Lifeas safely in the embrace of those uncountedand uncharted planets as a child in itsmother’s arms.The heavens are tonight Earth’s only perfecttimepiece; no watch or clock ever built byman can give us perfect time; but he whoknows the path of the stars knows that everystar, or sun, or planet will pass a certaingiven point in the great unpathed space onschedule time.The star may not have been seen for thou-sands of years, but she will appear at thecross-roads of the heavens not one secondahead nor one second behind her schedule.Oh! the wonder of the Architect, the marvelof the Creator, the might of the Sustainer ofthis great universe of ours!If the Earth is the reason for the stellarheavens, what is the reason for the Earth?Before the Morning Stars sang their first anthemto the heart of the lonely Father God,before the foundations of the Earth werelaid, before the first rays of light ever passedthrough the dark expanse, the heart of thegreat Creator God had a yearning, deep,mighty, eternal.He saw the planet that had so strangely affectedthe earth. It was millions of milesbeyond the farthest star that the human eyehad ever seen.Yet, this giant star sweeping on its great orbitcame regularly every few years closeenough to our planet, so that it could reachits mighty hand of gravitation down throughthe unmeasured space and grip our littleearth and lift it out of its orbit.As a ship on the ocean responds to theslightest touch of the helm, our Earthresponds to the touch of that distant sentineland veers swiftly out of its course; thenwhen the planet’s grip is loosed, back intoits path it comes and goes rhythmically onits way.This establishes one fact: that there isneither planet, nor sun, nor moon, nor starin all the vast universe but has its influenceupon this little planet of ours.How it thrills the heart to realize that thisEarth of ours, so small that one thousand ofthem can be lost in the sun, is the center andreason for the Universe.Tonight this old Earth of ours is being heldGod’s Blueprint of Creation34 35


God’s Order for LifeIt was the primordial passion for children.The Father heart of the Creator God longedfor sons and daughters.This yearning passion took form, and Godplanned a universe for His Man, and in theheart of that universe He purposed a Home.There is no time with God.Time belongs to day and night, to sun andmoon.The Omnipotent God was not hampered bydays, nor nights, nor years.When Love laid the foundations of thismighty universe, He planned, He purposedit all to be the Home of His Man.It was to be Man ‘s birthplace, Man’s Gardenof Delight, Man’s University where hewould learn to know his Father God. *God said that the earth is the reason for theuniverse. Man is the reason for the earth. AndGod is the reason for man. Why did God do allthis? The reason is very simple: God wanted sonsto love Him, and He wanted daughters to loveHim—not by compulsion, not out of necessity,but because of their desire to do so. God so lovedGod’s Blueprint of Creationthat He gave, so that we in turn can love Himand live our lives for Him. God’s heart yearnsfor children. He craves sons and daughters whowill freely love Him. Before God had children,He had angels to minister to Him as servants.But He still wanted children. So with love’swonderful, guiding hand, God prepared theearth and the heavens for His children.If this be true, and I believe it is true accordingto God’s Word, then man is the most wonderfulof all of God’s creation. And everything in theearth and in the universe is for the person who isGod’s child. Unbelievers also partake of theblessings of the universe and of the earth, butthese blessings were not designed for unbelievers.The blessings were designed for God’s children.If God so wanted children and so loved sons anddaughters that He spent ages in preparation forthem, what a wonderful place those childrenmust hold in His heart and in His eternity. You,as a believer, a son or daughter of God, arethe culmination of God’s dream because you areGod’s man, God’s woman. The earth was madefor you. You were made for God. He is yourFather Who loves you. This is God’s blueprint ofcreation.*Kenyon, The Father and His Family, pp. 22, 23.3637


Chapter ThreeHEIRS TOGETHER OF THEGRACE OF LIFEI do not expect that this chapter will agree withthe philosophy of any secular magazine—becausethe information of the world, of which anysecular magazine is a part, is not based on Godor His Word. But for those people who want tohear the truth of God’s Word, it is our opportunityand our joy to present it to them. Then ifthey want to believe and obey it, wonderful.Those of us who are already initiated in God’sWord know from experience that the only thingsthat ever live for us and that really work in ourlives are those things which are built upon thereality of God’s wonderful Word.Now Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord Godformed man of the dust of the ground, andbreathed into his nostrils the breath of life; andman became a living soul.” The Lord God formedman. When God formed man, He knew what Hewas doing. It seems to me if God was notsatisfied with how He formed man, He would39


God’s Order for LifeAdam had a responsibility to work in theGarden of Eden. Now if a contemporary govern-ment decides to financially support its citizenswho do not work for that support, that’s itsprivilege. But that’s not God’s order for theChristian man and woman in our world. Godplanned for mankind to work. My Bible says thatif a person is able but not willing to work, thatperson shouldn’t eat.* God planned for man towork. This was one of God’s guidelines. A personnever feels so good as when he or she canwork. It’s a wonderful joy, and it’s a privilege tobe able to work—to have strength and health andlife so we can work. The time to complain iswhen a person is sick or incapacitated and cannotwork. Then a person has something to complainabout. But to be able to work is a wonderfulprivilege and one of man’s needs. There areadults who are in business, who work in shops, infactories, on farms, in the home, who know thatit’s a privilege to work, joyfully living the greatnessof God in their lives.have re-formed him or done whatever wasnecessary to get man to the place that God wassatisfied with His own handiwork.God made man as He desired. Now it’s our job tofind out why God did it. We need to go to the Wordto see what God said man is all about, what womanis all about, and then to get our minds lined up withwhat the Word says. We shouldn’t expect God toget lined up with what V.P. Wierwille or somebodyelse might want to think. But V.P. Wierwille andeveryone else must line themselves up with what theWord says is the reason God formed both man andwoman.Verse 15 of this same second chapter of Genesissays, “And the Lord God took the man, andput him into the garden of Eden to dress it and tokeep it.” So the Lord God not only formed man,Adam, but He gave man a very definite responsibility.Adam was given a job.God said He put man in the Garden to dressand to keep it. Where did we ever get the ideathat Adam had nothing to do in the Garden ofEden? That is fiction. God put Adam in theGarden of Eden and said, “Look, go to work.Keep busy caring for the Garden and keeping itproductive.”40Heirs Together of the Grace of LifeLook at Genesis 2:18. Did the Lord God say,“It’s ideal for man to be alone”? No, He said,*II Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you,this we commanded you, that if any would not work,neither should he eat.”41


God’s Order for Life“It is not good that the man should be alone; Iwill make him an help meet for him.” Ahelpmeet, or helpmate, is a companion andhelper. The word “companion” means “onewho works alongside.” God said He would makefor man a helpmate, a companion. She’s not“just a housewife.”* She’s a companion, onestanding alongside of—not one standing underneath,not one who is a slave to her husband,children, or home.Generally a man is happiest when he has awoman who will stand with him, someone who isa companion to him. The woman brings out thebest there is in her companion. The thirty-firstchapter of Proverbs talks about the virtuouswoman—her qualities and attributes. One of thecharacteristics of a virtuous woman is that she isblessed because her husband sits with the eldersat the gate; in other words, she is blessed becauseher husband is a success. And every time he suc-ceeds, she succeeds. It is she who really controlsthe life stream, not only of the man, but of thewhole family. Yet the man is to be the head inthat family—not to lord it over the wife, but tobe the leader, the one who sets the example, theone who says, “Look, this is what will bless ourfamily.” It’s the father who puts that spiritualdepth in his family.*Notice also that God gave man a woman as acompanion. He didn’t design another man forAdam. He didn’t form men for men or womenfor women. Where did we ever get that idea? Itcomes from the culture Satan is trying to promote,that every adult has the right to say what is“right” for himself or herself. This certainlyisn’t what God’s Word declares. The Word ofGod teaches us what is right, and it says that man*It disturbs me when I hear a believing woman say that sheis “just a housewife.” Just a housewife?! That’s adisgrace. No woman of God is just a housewife. That kindof teaching has pulled some of our very roots out fromunder us. Women think they’re slaves just because theywash the dishes or clean the floors or keep the house inorder. I should say not. You’re wonderful women bornagain of God’s Spirit, and you’ve got a tremendous opportunity.You’re not “just a housewife.” You’re a womanwith a ministry, a mission, a purpose in life.42Heirs Together of the Grace of Lifewas made for woman and woman was made forman. And if you don’t like it, you ought to callup the Management and complain to Him. He’sthe one Who designed the pattern.Now, God made Eve as a companion toAdam. That means that a woman’s primary*For family responsibilities and relationships see Ephesians5:22-25; 6:1-4; I Peter 3:1-8.43


God’s Order for LifeHeirs Together of the Grace of Liferesponsibility is to help and be a companion toShe goes to work at four in the afternoon untilher man. At no place in the Word of God does ittwelve at night; he goes from eight in the mornsaythat a wife is just a childbearing machine.ing until four in the afternoon. And so twoThat is a denominational teaching. That’s all. Topeople live together for twenty years, have two orhave a child in a family is a blessing, but thatthree children, and still are strangers to eachisn’t the primary purpose of marriage. Theother. Isn’t that something? That’s why I adviseprimary purpose is companionship: having our newlyweds to get to know each other firstsomeone to converse with, someone to under-before starting a family. The husband and wifestand, someone to love, someone with whom toneed an opportunity to build their companionpursuegoals.ship. If a child comes in the first year of marriage,it will be a challenge to bring that marriagetogether. I think all of us know many familieswho have children, but lack a companionshipbetween husband and wife. And in that companionshipis found the sweetness of the life thatGod intended.So the first requirement of a marriage is com-panionship. And if you’re going to have com-panionship, you’ve got to be able to talk. Thehusband can’t say something and the wife imme-diately get angry; or the wife can’t say somethingand the husband get upset and storm out of thehouse. You’ve got to be able to communicate,have talking sessions. You have to be able to sitdown and talk things over. If you don’t havetime or if you don’t take time to communicate,you just cannot put a Christian family together.Exactly what do a husband and wife learn sittingI advise young people not to have children fortwo or three years after getting married. Even ifthey’re thirty when they get married, they canstill have babies at thirty-three. One of thereasons I advise newlyweds to wait a period oftime before having children has to do with ourAmerican culture. In Biblical times a newly marriedcouple went on a yearlong honeymoon. Duringthat year they accepted no invitations fromanyone except the immediate family on bothsides. During this honeymoon year the couplecould then learn to live with each other and toknow each other better. They also learned to getalong with the in-laws. Not a bad idea!In contemporary American culture, people getengaged today, married tomorrow, and thefollowing day each one goes to a separate job.4445


God’s Order for Lifeleave his father and his mother, and shall cleaveunto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Aman and woman don’t become this “one flesh”on the first occasion they have sexual relations.“One flesh” means to bring two individuals withdifferent minds, different backgrounds, dif-ferent mothers and fathers, into a relationshipwhere those two mold their lives together so theybecome as though one person, acting in unison.in front of a television set all night watching anouter space movie or a situation comedy? Howdo a husband and wife learn to communicate ifthey sit and watch television? It would be betterfor a couple to sit on a sofa and hold hands andlook into each other’s beautiful eyes and simplysay, “Honey, I think you’re the sweetest person.”At least that would get a reaction, and itwouldn’t be the TV causing it. You see, you’vegot to have time to talk. You need to have time torelate to one another.Another dimension that needs to be emphasizedin a Christian marriage is the awareness ofeach other’s presence, knowing that the otherperson is nearby. Sometimes the husband isaware that the wife is in the kitchen while he’s inthe garage. Just to be aware of her presence givesa husband pleasure. It’s just the knowledge thatthe other is nearby. That’s why a husband can’tcall “the boys” every night and say, “Hey,George, let’s go bowling.” Tomorrow night,“Hey, Herman, let’s go bowling.” When you getmarried, you aren’t marrying the fellows you’vebeen bowling with. In a Christian family youmarried your spouse, and you should spend timebuilding and maintaining that relationship.46Genesis 2:24 says, “Therefore shall a manHeirs Together of the Grace of LifeSomebody said that marriage would be mucheasier if it were like the old wagon—just onetongue. Sorry; there happen to be two tongues:his and hers. A husband and wife can’t becomeone flesh and be molded together unless they wantto be and unless they spend time achieving it.Genesis 2:24 says that a man is to leave fatherand mother. So, Dad and Mom, let him go! Youmanaged when you got married. Maybe your sonand his bride can manage, too, if you don’t putpressure on their relationship.When a man and a woman get married, theyought to move out of Dad and Mom’s house. Tolive with the parents and to work out of theparents’ home is not the Biblical way of marriage.A married man and woman have a right tomake their own life and their own decisions and47


God’s Order for Lifemade to have dominion. They cannot have do-minion if they are always at odds with eachother. When a husband and wife are not in agree-ment, haggling with each other, they cannot havedominion in the home—over the children, overthe environment, over the work in which they areengaged. It’s impossible because it’s contrary toGod’s Word.grow together in one flesh. And if they live withparents, there will be an extra challenge becausethe Word says that they’re to leave father andmother.Furthermore, parents should stay out of familyarguments. If the new wife can’t burn thetoast correctly, let her learn. Mother or motherin-lawdoesn’t have to go over to the newlywed’shome and burn the toast. Look, if you have toteach her how to burn the toast after she’s married,what kind of mother were you before shegot married? You mean to tell me you didn’tteach her anything before she was married; butnow after she’s married, you want to go over andrun the family? Let those young people work itout. And then the first time the young wife callsand says, “We’re not getting along so good,”you say, “Look, Honey, burn your own toast.”That’s right.The twenty-eighth verse of Genesis 1 says thatGod blessed man and woman. And then Godsaid to the man and woman that they should “befruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth,and subdue it.” And He said they were to “havedominion over the fish of the sea, and over thefowl of the air, and over every living thing thatmoveth upon the earth.” Man and woman were48Heirs Together of the Grace of LifeThere will indeed be challenges because thereare two heads and two tongues in a marriage.And to build a life together takes the renewedmind with the love of God, putting God first,and communicating with one another.Without putting God first and having God’sWord as a rule book to go by, a marriage cannever be put together. People may stay togetherbecause it’s convenient or because it costs less tostay together than it does to pay alimony orbecause somebody said that it would be betterfor the children’s sake. None of these reasonsdeal with the central issue: A true marriage has tobe built on God’s Word.In the Christian family God comes first forboth the husband and the wife. It is God’s willthat the husband and the wife put God first andfollow Him. Now if a husband doesn’t renew hismind to God’s Word, what does the wife do?49


God’s Order for LifeHeirs Together of the Grace of LifeThe wife still has the responsibility of puttingsubsequently work out that make a marriageGod first. Or if a wife doesn’t renew her mind togratifying. These challenges build depth in athe Word, then what does the husband do? Hemarriage. I do not personally know of two peostillhas the responsibility of putting God first.ple, even a husband and his wife, who see eye toThat’s right! That’s the order. God first. Lukeeye on everything all the time. However, I do10:27 clearly teaches this: “And he [Jesus] believe that two people can so work things out thatanswering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thythey can overcome any and every challenge.God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, andBut, most basic of all, the marriage has to bewith all thy strength, and with all thy mind; andbuilt on God’s Word. It is the Christian familythy neighbour as thyself.” Love God with allwhich gives the greatest positive wholeness toyour heart, soul, strength, and mind. That’s ourlife—the companionship and joy and peace andhighest priority. That’s the standard. And thehappiness which God intended when He set upsame God that lives in the Christian husband,the original pattern for man and woman as toldlives in the Christian wife; therefore, both are toto us in the first chapters of Genesis.put God first.So the Christian man and wife have a wonderfulopportunity to share their adult lives witheach other. As I Peter 3:7 says, a husband andwife are “heirs together of the grace of life.”Life is a gift—it’s grace, it’s to be enjoyed andappreciated. We need to keep this knowledge oflife as grace in the forefront of our thinking. Youneed to think of your spouse as an heir togetherwith you of the grace of life. This attitude willlead your behavior in a Godly direction. Therewill be challenges in the relationship. But it’s thechallenges with which you are confronted and5051


PART IIGOD’S ORDERFORLEADERSHIP


PART IIGOD’S ORDER FOR LEADERSHIPBecause God is a God of order, He gavespecific guidelines with regard to leadershipamong believers. Chapter 4, “The Qualities of aSpiritual Leader,” is a study of the first chapterof Titus. Titus 1 specifies for believers characteristicsa person is to demonstrate before that personis designated a leader. God does not simplystate once the qualities required for spiritualleadership, but these qualities are again enunciatedin the third chapter of I Timothy which isthe focus of “The Qualifications for Ordination,”thereby establishing and emphasizingthese necessary qualities.Romans 13:1 says that we believers are to besubject to “the higher powers.” Many peoplehave erroneously taught that these “higherpowers” refer to people in high political positions.Chapter 6, entitled “The Higher Powers ofRomans 13,” contains the inspiring knowledgethat the higher powers are the spiritual leaderswithin the Body of Christ.55


God’s Order for LeadershipOver a period of time, leadership in the Bodychanges as each generation is born, lives, anddies. So our God provides for orderly successionof leadership within the Body. In “The Transferof Leadership” we observe Joshua’s coming ofage. God was preparing Joshua over a period oftime to take the responsibilities of leadership atMoses’ death.To know and follow God’s guidelines in selecting,ordaining, respecting, and transferring leadershipis of great importance. God has not leftthese issues obscure. He clearly delineates themin His Word so that we can adhere to His instructionsand benefit fully by following His way.Chapter FourTHE QUALITIES OF ASPIRITUAL LEADERIn the Word of God there are seven bookswritten by the Apostle Paul which are known asthe Church Epistles: Romans, Corinthians, Galatians,Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, andThessalonians. These are followed by what arereferred to as Paul’s Pastoral Epistles: Timothy,Titus, and Philemon. And these are followed bythe General Epistles by various writers: Hebrews,which was written by Paul, then James, Peter,and John.In this study I want to observe some truthsconcerning spiritual leadership that are addressedto us as sons of God in Paul’s epistle toTitus. The reason these truths are applicable toour lives is that we, like Titus, are human beingsborn again of God’s Spirit who need personal instructionfor our individual relationships withGod. The God Who spoke to men and women inBiblical times is still the same God today. Therefore,these scriptures are dynamically revealing5657


God’s Order for Leadershipto each one of us, and especially to those holdingleadership positions in the Church.Paul begins this epistle to Titus by identifyinghimself.Titus 1:1:Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle ofJesus Christ, according to the faith of God’select, and the acknowledging of the truthwhich is after godliness.“Paul, a servant of God. . . .” During the Ageof Grace, a person cannot be a servant of God,one who serves God, until after he or she hasbecome a child of God. How can you serve Godif you are not born again? You could not serve orparticipate in your earthly family until you wereborn into it. So it is with God’s family. You mustbe born again before you can serve God.Titus is the only epistle in the Bible that Paul’srevelation from God was to open with, “Paul, aservant of God.” In no other place does he beginan epistle by identifying himself as “a servant ofGod.” And this letter is addressed to a single individual—Titus,a leader in the Church. Paulwrites very personally because the one person’s lifehe touches can affect many other people’s lives.58The Qualities of a Spiritual LeaderPaul’s letter continues, “and an apostle.”Now an apostle of Jesus Christ is one who is sentby God to bring new light to his generation. Paulbrought the new light of the Age of Grace. Paulwas an apostle “according to the faith.” Thisfaith is the household of faith. The faith thateach person receives when he or she is born againis the faith of Jesus Christ. The epistle to Titusgoes on to say, “according to the faith of God’select,” of God’s chosen, of God’s selection. Tobe selected of God brings up the issue of predestination.The subject of predestination has a very simplebasis, namely, God’s foreknowledge. Predestinationwithout foreknowledge would make humanbeings pawns of God. In fact, some people do indeedexplain predestination in this manner, ateaching which is totally erroneous. Our Goddoes not select some of us for heaven and othersfor hell. Rather, He knows in advance, by foreknowledge,the choices we will make. Each personmakes up his or her own mind whether he orshe wants to be saved and go to heaven or to stayunsaved and accept the consequences—to believeGod or reject Him. But because God knows whowill believe and be born again, those individuals,were chosen of God before the foundation, or the59


God’s Order for Leadershipoverthrow,* of the world recorded in Genesis 1.“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle ofJesus Christ, according to the faith of God’select, and the acknowledging of the truth whichis after godliness.”“Acknowledging” is “correct and preciseknowledge.” And “godliness” is our vital spiritualrelationship with God because we know theWord of God rightly divided.An interlinear translation of Titus 1:1 is asfollows: “Paul bondman of God, and apostle ofJesus Christ, according to [the] faith of God’select and knowledge of [the] truth which [is] accordingto piety.”** “According to” indicates“the standard of” and “piety” is “godliness.”What a wonderful verse.Verse 2:In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannotlie, promised before the world began.*Ephesians 1:4: “According as he hath chosen us in himbefore the foundation [katabole a throwing down or overthrow]of the world, that we should be holy and withoutblame before him in love.”** Englishman’s Greek New Testament (1877; reprinted., London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1970).60The Qualities of a Spiritual LeaderAt the very moment you were born again, youreceived eternal life. This eternal life is what Godhad in mind before He created the heavens andthe earth. God, Who neither does lie nor can lie,promised eternal life before the world began.Now the moment you were born again you receivedeternal life. But could people have eternallife before the day of Pentecost, before it waspossible to be born again? Yes, “salvation” wasavailable before the day of Pentecost, but it wasnot possible to be “born again.” In Old Testamenttimes people were saved as they believed inthe coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. God reckonedrighteousness unto them, as it says inRomans 4:5-9.Now Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, andthe rest of Jesus Christ’s twelve apostles, plus hisnumerous disciples, could not be born again duringthe Gospel period because the new birth wasstill not available while Jesus Christ walked onthe earth. But they could be saved by believing inJesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. JesusChrist came to make possible the new birth. Itbecame available after he had ascended and satdown at the right hand of God. Then the plan ofsalvation was completely complete, so that Godwas able to make the new birth available on theday of Pentecost.61


God’s Order for LeadershipThe Qualities of a Spiritual LeaderOnce something becomes available, anyoneGod does not lie; indeed, He cannot lie. Andmeeting the requirements may have it. Once theHe promised us eternal life. So we can hope for itnew birth was available, anyone who wanted towith certainty throughout all ages.could be born again. Another example of thistruth of availability is the difference between Verse 3:“believing” (or “faith,” as the Greek word pistisBut hath in due times manifested his wordis often translated) and “hope.” Believing per- through preaching. . .tains to those things which are available now.Hope anticipates something which will definitelyGod manifested His Word, His logos, throughbecome available at some point in the future.*preaching, or proclaiming. And this still remainsHope relates to something that a person cannotthe greatest method of outreach for God’s Word.have now but is part of the future, such asSomeone must get up and start holding forth theChrist’s return. We hope for Christ’s return. It isWord of God, word by word and line by line. That isnot yet available.proclaiming, and that is how His Word isTitus speaks of the “hope of eternal life.” Themanifested so that you can know it.reason the word “hope” is used is that the fullnessof our eternal life is yet future. And thewhich is committed unto me. . .. . . manifested his word through preaching,reason we have that future hope is that we belongto God now.Titus 1:2:In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannotlie, promised before the world began.*Romans 8:24 and 25: “For we are saved by hope: buthope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, whydoth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not,then do we with patience wait for it.”The literal translation of the phrase “which iscommitted unto me” is “which I was entrustedwith.” The responsibility of preaching God’sWord was entrusted to Paul.. . . [which I was entrusted with] accordingto the commandment of God our Saviour.The Apostle Paul was entrusted with thepreaching of God’s Word according to God’s6263


God’s Order for Leadershipcommandment. God said, “Paul, you preach.”Paul carried this out because it was “the commandmentof God our Saviour.”God is our Savior; but His Son, Christ Jesus,is also our savior in that his accomplishmentsmade it possible for us to be reconciled to God.Jesus Christ’s work fulfilled God’s will formankind.Verse 4:To Titus, mine own son [true child] after thecommon faith.The common faith is the faith that is commonto every believer. When we are born again ofGod’s Spirit and belong to the family of God,that’s the common household of faith. You haveit; I have it; everybody who is born in the familyof God has that common faith.. . . Grace [divine favor], mercy, and peace,from God the Father and the Lord JesusChrist our Saviour.Now a man can have grace (God’s divinefavor) and live very ungraciously. He can havethe mercy of God, and yet he himself be merciless.He can have the peace of God and live most64The Qualities of a Spiritual Leaderunpeaceably. That would not be God’s fault;that would be man’s fault in not recognizingwhat God has given him and renewing his mindto live accordingly.The word “Lord” in the phrase “Lord JesusChrist” does not appear in the majority ofcritical Greek texts, and the words “JesusChrist” are inverted. So the entire phrase shouldsimply be “Christ Jesus.” The first verse of Titussays “Jesus Christ”; verse 4 says “Christ Jesus.”We are servants of Jesus Christ as we minister topeople, but we are in Christ Jesus as Sons ofGod. “Jesus Christ” emphasizes Jesus’ walk onearth, the humiliated one who served. “ChristJesus” emphasizes the exalted, glorified Christ,with whom we are exalted.We can talk about the precision of science, butwe haven’t truly seen any precision until we lookat the perfection of God’s matchless Word. ThatWord sets like a diamond, yet people have bypassedit throughout the years because theycouldn’t fathom its depth. God’s Word is toogreat.We are in Christ Jesus who is God’s onlybegotten Son, who had a mission to accomplish.The Word of God says that when he was baptized,we were baptized with him. When he died,65


God’s Order for Leadershipwe died with him. When he was buried, we wereburied with him. When he arose, we arose withhim. When he ascended, we ascended with him.When he sat down at the right hand of God, wesat down with him. That is what Jesus Christ didfor us.We are sometimes told to “bear our cross.”Who is capable of bearing the cross Christ bore?No one but God’s only begotten Son. When theBible talks about taking up our cross and followinghim, it is referring to taking up our responsibilities.Jesus Christ died so that we might live.He carried the sins of mankind so that you and Icould carry God’s love to mankind. We don’t haveto carry around our sins. No one does. Jesus Christalready carried them. He carried the cross of painso we could carry the cross of deliverance. Hecarried the cross of envy so that we could carrythe cross of joyful response with love. You see,he carried all of those burdensome things so thatyou and I could carry all the good and gloriousthings. He died that we might live. Ho came thatwe might have life and have it more abundantly.66Verse 5:For this cause left I [Paul] thee [Titus] inCrete, that thou shouldest set in order thethings that are wanting [left undone]. . . .The Qualities of a Spiritual LeaderThe churches on Crete, an island in theMediterranean, were young churches. And Paulsaid to Titus, “I left you over there in Crete toput in order the things which still needed to bedone.”. . . and ordain elders in every city, as I hadappointed thee.Titus was told to ordain elders. “To ordain” isto set people in positions of responsibility. Theword “elder” denotes a leader who is not a newcomer,a neophyte, a fledgling, or a pledge. Aleader, or elder, is to be someone who has beenseasoned, having had time to become rooted inGod’s Word. The word “elder” describes someonewho is older in experience, with more exposureto the truth of God’s Word, though chronologicalage is not mentioned. It does not saythat a person has to be as old as Methuselah inorder to be an elder; ordination as an elder has todo with one’s quality as a believer, not one’s age.The word “elder” in the Old Testament hasthe same usage as the words “bishop” and“elder” in the New Testament. In other words,the elders of the Old Testament period served thesame functions as the bishops and elders in the67


God’s Order for Leadershiprebellious, disobedient, headstrong, per-verse].New Testament period. The word “elder” emphasizesthe dignity of the position, while“bishop” emphasizes the function of the office.“. . . Ordain elders in every city. . . .” TheGreek literally means “from city to city” or“city by city.” Ordination of an elder did not occurin every city. Not every city in Crete had agroup of believers. And God’s Word, via Paul toTitus, was to ordain a responsible person to runeach existing local fellowship, if a believer therewere qualified.Then God’s Word in Titus 1 goes on to tellwhat the requirements of an elder are.Verse 6:If any be blameless [anenkl‘tos]. . . .This doesn’t say “faultless.” It says “blameless.”None of us is ever going to live withoutfaults, without sins creeping in. But our faultsare not of the magnitude to be deserving of accusations;“nothing laid to one’s charge” is themeaning in Greek.68. . . the husband of one wife, having faithful[believing, steadfast] children not accused ofriot [asÇtia, looseness of manners and morals]or unruly [anupotaktos, insubordinate,The Qualities of a Spiritual LeaderA leader is to have only one wife and wellbehavedchildren. If you, as a Christian parent,can’t take care of your own offspring, you haveno right to lead other people. If you cannot leadyour own children and have them respond toyou, how can you direct the Body of the Churchof God?Verse 7:For a bishop must be blameless [anenkl‘tos],as the steward [oikonomos] of God; notselfwilled [authad‘s]. . .A steward of God is a manager of God’shousehold. And the manager of God’s householdcannot be self-willed, determined to dothings his own way.. . . not soon angry [orgilos] . . .In the Greek texts there is no word here for“soon.” And the word for “angry” is orgiloswhich can be translated “having a buildup ofemotion which is allowed to fester to the point ofseeking revenge.” So one of the qualities of amanager of God’s household is that he or she69


God’s Order for LeadershipThe Qualities of a Spiritual Leaderdoes not become emotional to the point of desir-Verses 6 and 7 of Titus 1 itemize some of theing punishment or revenge.qualities an elder or bishop is to avoid. Now,verses 8 and 9 list the qualities a bishop should. . . not given to wine [m‘paroinos]. . . demonstrate.That doesn’t mean a bishop can’t drink a little Verse 8:wine, but it does mean he is to be temperate, But a lover of hospitality [philoxenos]. . .moderate, in drinking wine. He is not prone tointemperance. That’s what the Word says.An elder, or bishop, is one who loves to behospitable, who is kind to strangers, and who. . . no striker [pl‘kt‘s]. . . makes welcome those who enter his home.A leader is not to be quarrelsome or pug-. . . a lover of good men [philagathos, goodnacious. things]. . .. . . not given to filthy lucre [aischrokerd‘s].“Filthy lucre” refers to the love of money.There’s nothing wrong with money itself. It’s notmoney that is the root of all evil. I Timothy 6:10says that it’s the love of money that is the root ofall evil. Why? Because a person who loves moneycan never get enough of it, and money becomes agoal in itself instead of a means to a worthy goal.The Greek word translated “given to filthylucre” literally means “greedy of dishonorablegain or base advantage.” A steward of God isnot to be greedy for dishonorable gain.70The text reads “a lover of good [things].” Inother words, a bishop should be a lover of whatis good. Many Bibles have the word “things” inthe center reference.. . . sober [sÇphrÇn]. . .The text literally means “of a sound mind.”The added nuances of being sound-minded are tobe discreet, sane, curbing one’s desires and impulses,self-controlled.. . . just [dikaios], holy [hosios], temperate[enkrat‘s].71


The Qualities of a Spiritual Leaderand “sound” is “uncorrupt.” Elders are tocleave to God’s Word so that by uncorrupt doc-trine they can exhort anyone listening, and theycan convict or refute gainsayers, or contradic-tors. How can you convict the contradictors? Bysound doctrine, by errorless teaching. A leadercan both encourage people and invalidate contradictorswith sound doctrine.Verse 10:For there are many unruly [anupotaktos]and vain talkers [mataiologos] and deceivers[phrenapates], specially they of the circum-cision [the legalistic Judeans].God’s Order for LeadershipThe Greek word for “just” means “equitable,”“honest,” or “fair.” “Holy” means “undefiledby sin and wickedness.” The Greek wordfor “temperate” means “having strong masteryof self.” Thus a leader is to be fair, undefiled,and master of himself or herself.Verse 9:Holding fast the faithful word. . . .To hold fast the faithful Word means that wedon’t let anybody talk us out of it; nor do we talkourselves out of it. The faithful Word must beheld fast before it can be held forth in teaching.Verse 9:Today we have the same kinds of contradic-Holding fast the faithful word as he hath beentors. Some are unruly, insubordinate, and rebeltaught,that he may be able by sound doctrinelious. Others are vain talkers, meaning their talk[right believing] both to exhort and to con-is useless, profitless, and characterized by worthvince[elenchÇ, convict, refute] the gainsayers.less debates. The contradictors deceive people’sminds.A Greek interlinear translation reads, “Holdingto the faithful word according to the Verse 11:teaching, that he may be able both to encourageWhose [the contradictors’] mouths must bewith sound teaching, and to convict those whostopped [epistomizÇ, muzzled], who subvertgainsay.”* The word “teaching” is “doctrine”[anatrepÇ, overthrow or destroy] wholehouses [entire households], teaching things* The Englishman’s Greek New Testament.which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s7273


God’s Order for Leadership[aischros kerdos, base or dishonorable gain’s]sake.The Qualities of a Spiritual Leaderidle, to quit lying, and to stop behaving like wildbeasts.The unruly people, the vain talkers, and the Verses 13 and 14:deceivers cause problems in households; theyThis witness is true. Wherefore rebuke [elendestroyfamilies with error. And they do it forchÇ, convict, refute] them sharply [apodishonorablegain. An elder must be able to muz-tomÇs, curtly], that they may be sound inzle such subverters.the [family] faith;Not giving heed to Jewish [Judean] fables[muthos, myths], and commandments ofmen, that turn from the truth.Verse 12:One of themselves, even a prophet of theirown, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil[wild] beasts, slow bellies [argos gast‘r, lazygluttons].This is no compliment for the people of Crete.One of their own people described his countrymenas liars, beasts, and lazy gluttons. Believersshould not be like this; they should be the exactopposite, according to the Word of God.Verse 13:This witness [testimony] is true. . . .Paul says that the observation about thoseCretians was accurate. That’s the way they were.They were liars and wild beasts and idle gluttons.Therefore, the leaders were to reprove them rigorously,telling them to go to work, to quit beingThe leader was to rebuke the Cretians withdirectness so that they might be errorless in thehousehold of faith and so that they would notgive heed to Judean fables or to the commandmentsof men which were turning people fromthe truth.Verse 15:Unto the pure all things are pure: but untothem that are defiled and unbelieving isnothing pure; but even their mind [understanding]and conscience is [are] defiled.In the Greek it is clear that this verse 15 beginsa new topic. It literally reads, “All things [are]pure to the pure.” God is still advising the leader7475


God’s Order for Leadershipto punish, not intemperate, not quarrelsome, notgreedy of dishonorable gain, a lover of hospital-ity, a lover of what is good, of a sound mind,self-controlled, fair and equitable, not defiled orstained by sin and wickedness, and havingmastery of self. We must hold to errorless doc-trine to encourage the hearers and to refute thecontradictors. This great sound doctrine ofGod’s Word has the power of God behind it; itcan take men’s and women’s lives from the valleyof mere existence and put them on the high roadto glory.so that he understands the defiled Cretians. Theyaren’t pure. They are stained and unbelieving, sonothing is pure to them.Verse 16:They [the defiled and unbelieving] professthat they know God; but in [by] works theydeny him, being abominable [bdeluktos, detestable],and disobedient [apeith‘s, told thetruth but rejected it], and unto every goodwork reprobate [adokimos, worthless].The impure say that they know God, but bytheir actions they deny Him because they aredetestable, rejecting the truth, and are worthlessfor every good work.This is a beautiful chapter in which Paulteaches Titus the basis on which to choose thespiritual leaders of Crete. A good leader is truly aservant—a son of God who chooses to serve Godby ministering to men and women. What greatqualities an elder, a leader, must have. All of usneed to think about these qualities and build thegreatness of this knowledge in our minds.Whether or not we are ordained as an elder, eachof us should work at developing the sound qualitiesset forth in Titus 1: blameless, not selfwilled,not angry or seeking revenge and desiringThe Qualities of a Spiritual LeaderWe thank God for setting forth these guidelinesfor leadership so that we can examine ourown lives and walks and set the Word’s standardsfor ourselves.76 77


Chapter FiveTHE QUALIFICATIONSFOR ORDINATIONNo greater commitment can be made by a manor woman than to accept God’s call to ordination.No responsibility exceeds the commitmentof a person who is ordained to the Christianministry. Since ordination is such a momentousresponsibility, surely God’s Word makes it clearwho is qualified to be ordained as a minister ofGod. What are God’s requirements? The previouschapter of this book examined the first chapterof Paul’s epistle to Titus, which states thequalities a bishop or leader is to possess. In thischapter, we will make an in-depth study of I Timothy3 to find out more about the qualificationsfor ordination.I Timothy 3:1:This is a true saying, If a man desire the officeof a bishop [overseer, elder], he desiretha good work.79


God’s Order for Leadershipused in secular Greek literature of a wrestler whois prepared at all points so that he won’t be pinnedby an opponent. How does a person become pre-pared at all points so as not to be caught by anantagonist? By the Word of God. That’s why westudy to show ourselves approved unto God asworkmen who need not to be ashamed, rightlydividing the Word of Truth. What a greatresponsibility for a candidate for ordination—tobe prepared at all points.“This is a true saying” literally reads,“Faithful is the [God’s] Word,”* “the Word isfaithful.” If a person aspires to ordination into aleadership office (or function), he desires somethingwhich God calls “good.” God approves ofa person’s desire for a leadership position. Aftergiving such a desire His approval in verse 1, inverses 2-7 God enumerates specific qualificationsfor this type of leadership.Verse 2:A bishop [overseer, elder] then must beblameless [anepil‘ptos], the husband of onewife, vigilant [n‘phalios], sober [sÇphrÇn],of good behaviour [kosmios], given tohospitality [philoxenos], apt to teach[didaktikos].A leader in the Church has to be “blameless.”Now this word “blameless” does not at all carrythe connotation a reader might assume. “Blameless”in its in-depth meaning denotes that abishop must be “prepared at all points, so as notto be caught anywhere by an antagonist.” TheGreek word for “blameless,” anepil‘ptos, is*This same Greek phrase (pistos ho logos) is also used inI Timothy 1:15; 4:9; II Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8.80The Qualifications for OrdinationBesides being prepared by knowing the Wordof God, a bishop is to be “the husband of onewife.” I don’t know if this statement means thatevery bishop must have a wife or not; but if so,he is to have only one.The Greek word for “vigilant” actually means“clearheaded.” “Not getting into a problemsituation,including not becoming intoxicated” isdenoted. A leader is not an extremist one way orthe other. He’s stable in all matters. That’s thesignificance of n‘phalios.The Greek word for “sober” means “a sound,rational mind to the end that he restrains his passions.”“Of good behaviour” is “well ordered, wellbehaved, discreet, respectable.”81


God’s Order for Leadership“Given to hospitality” means that a bishop isgenerous to guests and loving to strangers. It impliesthat the leader knows how to handle himselfor herself, how to be the most gracious host orhostess, how to groom himself or herself, andhow to make guests comfortable. That’s theword “hospitality.”Then “apt to teach” means “able and skillfulin teaching.” If a person has natural leadershipability and he does what the Word says, thenhe’ll learn to teach and always be ready to teach.So, “an overseer must be prepared at allpoints, a husband of one wife, clearheaded, havinga sound mind to the end that he restrains hispassions; he is also discreet and respectable,hospitable, and able and ready to teach.” That’sa literal translation according to usage of verse 2.Verse 3:Not given to wine, no striker [pl‘kt‘s], notgreedy of filthy lucre [aischrokerd‘s]; butpatient [epieik‘s], not a brawler [amachos],not covetous [aphilarguros].A leader is one who takes charge in his ownhouse, having his children “in subjection.”“Subjection” means “loving obedience.” TheGreek word for “subjection” is the same wordused regarding wives in I Timothy 2:11. Subjectiondoesn’t mean the children are slaves, any morethan a wife is. A bishop doesn’t mistreat his fam-ily, but he has well-behaved children. That’s whatit means. Children are not to rule the house. Aleader’s children are to be “in subjection with allA leader is “not given to wine”; if he drinks, hedrinks in moderation. And he is “no striker”—heis not eager to quarrel or pick fights. Neither ishe greedy of base gain. But a leader is equitable,The Qualifications for Ordinationfair, and forbearing. A leader tempers strictjustice with gentle mercy; that is, he does notshow favoritism. This is a very important qualityfor a bishop to have.“. . . Not a brawler. . . .” A “brawler” is onewho is contentious, one who always wants topick a fight. God’s leader, however, is not likethis. He is disinclined to fight, preferring peace.“. . . Not covetous. . . .” The Greek word for“covetous” means “loving money.” A leader isnot avaricious; he doesn’t love money. Money isnot a leader’s motivating force.Verse 4:One that ruleth [proist‘mi] well his ownhouse, having his children in subjection[hupotag‘] with all gravity [semnot‘s].82 83


God’s Order for Leadershipassume leadership responsibilities. “. . . Lest be-ing [in order that he be not] lifted up withpride. . . .” “Lifted up with pride” means“puffed up, or conceited.” A person who is aged(seasoned) in the Word isn’t puffed up with selfimportanceas a neophyte might be. He is movedneither by praise nor by criticism.gravity,” with all respect. The children respecttheir father.Verse 5:(For if a man know not how to rule his ownhouse, how shall he take care of the churchof God?)If a man can’t manage his own household,how could he oversee the Church of God? Hemay think he can, and he may put up a convincingfront, but the Word of God says he cannotoversee the Body of Christ if he can’t first rulehis own house well. So either God’s Word is rightor it’s wrong.Verse 6:Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pridehe fall into the condemnation of the devil.A leader is not to be a novice. “Novice” inGreek is neophutos, transliterated into “neophyte.”A pledge in a fraternity is a “neophyte.”In other words, the ordained leader is not somebodywho was just born again last night and ordainedas an elder in the Church this morning.Rather, he is someone who has stood faithfullyday after day, week after week, and even yearafter year—until the time is right for him to84The Qualifications for Ordination“. . . Fall into the condemnation of the devil.”The word “condemnation” is “judgments.” Aman puffed up over himself could possibly(“lest”) fall into devilish judgments.Verse 7:Moreover [but] he must have a good report[martus]* of them [also] which are without;lest he fall into reproach [oneidismos] andthe snare of the devil.A believer is to have a good report from theBody of believers that are outside of his own*The word “report” comes from the Greek word for“martyr,” martus. Martus is related to the Sanskrit rootsmr- or smarami, “to remember”; in the Zend language,mar signifies to recollect. A witness is one who recollects.When you’re brought into court as a witness, you are torecollect or remember. So how did the word “martyr”become associated with blood and death? Because of theChristians who witnessed to their beliefs who were killed(Acts 22:20). The Greek word became anglicized, and amartyr became one who dies for his beliefs.85


God’s Order for Leadershipimmediate family. He has to have a good report,a good witness, among the fellow believers. This“good report” has to be among those in theBody over whom he is the overseer.The word “lest” deals with the consequencesfor a bishop if he should not have a good reportwith believers outside his family. If a person whodoes not meet the requirements or have a goodwitness were put in a position of leadership, as abishop—an overseer or elder—that person could“fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”And the word “reproach” means that the leaderwould begin to be blamed and criticized bybelievers. The “snare” is a “trap.” The bishopcould fall into a trap of the Devil. However, solong as a leader walks by the revealed Word ofGod, he’s not going to get in that trap.Now we have read for ourselves the basic principlesof the walk of leadership. These sevenverses from I Timothy 3 are some of the primaryverses in the Word of God for any man orwoman to keep foremost in his or her mind inpreparation for leadership responsibilities. Menand women who want to be leaders for God mustlive by these principles. If they don’t, they’re goingto end up in the snare of the Devil.86Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore,The Qualifications for Ordinationbrethren, by the mercies of God, that ye presentyour bodies a living sacrifice....” This means thata believer, and especially a leader, doesn’tsleep in until ten o’clock in the morning. A personcalled of God has to be the first person up inthe morning—ready to work, preparing to serveGod’s people. A leader gets up, prays, readsGod’s Word, and speaks in tongues; he must beprepared with the greatness of God’s Word alivein his heart and mind. After men or women areordained, they are the ones who have to set thepace; they have to expend the time and energy tobe in the vanguard. When men and women areordained of God, they are responsible to leadGod’s people. Whatever it takes makes no difference;leaders simply do it. Why? Because theyare ordained of God; they are called by and committedto the Highest.And when God calls leaders, He expects themto stand faithfully on His Word. They have nofriends when it comes to the Word, except thosefriends who want to stand with them on theWord. God’s Word has to remain untouched anduntarnished because God magnified it above allHis name. It’s His Word that tells us His will. Noman will know the will of God without knowingthe Word of God. Anyone can guess. But truebelievers cannot afford to guess; we’re dealing87


God’s Order for LeadershipChrist, to take care of the Body, so that the Bodycan function more effectually and more effec-tively. Ordination is a call to service.with eternal verities. We’re dealing with God.We’re dealing with that which will take us throughoutall eternity. If God’s Word is wrong, then wehave nothing. But we do not believe God’s Wordis wrong; we believe that the Word of God is thewill of God—that the Word of God means whatit says and says what it means, and that God hasa reason for saying what He says—where He saysit, how He says it, to whom He says it, when Hesays it.A call to service indicates that someone musttake care of problems and needs. When a plumbergets a phone call from someone with a plumbingproblem, what does he do? He services the call.When an electrician gets a call, what does he do?He services the call. What about servicing thecalls of people with spiritual needs—needs thatcan only be met by God’s Word? God has calledleaders to serve His people. No matter how muchtime it takes, no matter what must be done,leaders must respond to the call. They areresponsible to God to serve God’s people: topray with them, to love them, to teach them, tominister to them. They simply have to dedicatetheir entire beings in service to God’s people.The life of an overseer is not an easy one. It’s adisciplined walk. And the sole purpose of ordainingmen and women is to bless the Body of88The Qualifications for OrdinationLuke 9 contains an account of Jesus Christ’scalling a few people to serve with him. I want toread this record specifically to watch the variousreactions to Jesus’ call. Luke 9:57 says, “And itcame to pass, that, as they [Jesus and his disciples]went in the way, a certain man said untohim, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thougoest.”Jesus responded to the man by explaining,“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air havenests; but the Son of man hath not where to layhis head.” Jesus Christ’s response does not meanthat he was poverty-stricken. It means that Jesusmoved among the people. He didn’t have a placewhere he stayed day after day, because he wasmoving about ministering to people.The man speaking to Jesus said, “Lord, I’llfollow you wherever you go.” Jesus said, “Ifyou plan to, let me remind you that foxes havetheir abodes and birds of the air have their nestsas homes, but the Son of man has no place wherehe lives week after week and month after month.”Jesus said to another person, in verse 59 ofLuke 9, “Follow me. But he [the man] said,89


God’s Order for LeadershipLord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.”This is an orientalism meaning “take care of myfamily.” The man wasn’t saying that his fatherwas dead. What he was saying was, “Let me stayat home until my father dies and I’ve taken careof my family responsibilities, then I’ll followyou.”In verse 60, “Jesus said unto him, Let the deadbury their dead....” Everyone knows that thedead can’t bury anybody. This orientalism,properly understood, means “Let the city burythe dead.” Jesus’ reply was, “Let somebody elsetake care of those responsibilities. I have an evengreater responsibility for you. You go and preachthe Kingdom of God.”Once you have put your hand to the plow, acceptedordination for God, you must not lookback. You must keep moving forward and lookingtoward that day when our lord and mastershall return, when those who are alive and remainshall be changed and the dead in Christshall rise. That is the long-term, wholeheartedcommitment to which a person agrees when he orshe accepts the call to serve God’s people in or-dination.Verse 61 says, “And another also said, Lord, Iwill follow thee; but let me first go bid themfarewell, which are at home at my house.” Inother words, “Let me go home and say good-byeto all my friends and relatives.” Jesus respondedto this request in verse 62, “No man, having puthis hand to the plough, and looking back, is fitfor the kingdom of God.”This statement by Jesus is a fitting messageabout serving God in ordination. No one who isordained, who puts his hand to the plow, who acceptsGod’s call to ordination, is fit for the90The Qualifications for OrdinationKingdom of God if he turns back or longs toreturn to his life before ordination.People have all kinds of excuses for a lack ofcommitment. But there is no acceptable excuse.There is nothing whatsoever that excuses a personfrom his commitment of ordination. There isno excuse for turning back to one’s old ways.91


Chapter SixTHE HIGHER POWERS OFROMANS 13I want you to be able to understand onechapter of the Bible which very few people dounderstand, namely, the thirteenth chapter ofRomans. This chapter speaks of subjectingourselves to higher powers. These “higherpowers” have been a source of misunderstandingwhich I want to clarify in this study. As backgroundto Romans 13 and the “higher powers,”we need to bear in mind the information given inI Corinthians 12:27 and 28.I Corinthians 12:27 and 28:Now ye are the body of Christ, andmembers in particular.And God hath set some in the church, firstapostles, secondarily prophets, thirdlyteachers, after that miracles, then gifts ofhealings, helps, governments, diversities oftongues.93


God’s Order for Leadership The Higher Powers of Romans 13“Now ye are the body of Christ. . . .” TheBody of Christ is the Church. We believers arethe Body of Christ, and every person in thatBody is a member in particular. God is telling usthat each person in the Body is special and has aspecific function, or ministry, in that Body.When each member of the Body functions withthe greatest of his or her God-given ability, eachperson’s spiritual life will be totally full. Thenthe entire Body of Christ, the Church, willoperate with complete perfection.A person in the Body of Christ has the samerewards available whether he or she serves as aprophet or as an apostle or a teacher or in helpsor governments or some other facet of theChurch. Those who teach are entitled to nogreater reward than those who minister in helpsor governments or in any other way. Each of usin the Body of Christ has a particular function inthat Body, and we are to function with all ourheart, soul, mind, and strength.Let me give you a literal translation accordingto usage of verse 28 of I Corinthians 12: “SoGod has placed some in the Church having theministries of apostles, prophets, and teachers.Some are effective miracle workers. Some are veryeffective in imparting the blessings of healings.94Some are very adept as helps and governments.And some contribute best with diversity oftongues.”Apostles, prophets, and teachers are gift ministriesto the Church. Miracles, healings, and diversitiesof tongues are manifestations of the gift fromthe Holy Spirit in the Church. And helps andgovernments are service ministries in the Church.Whatever a person’s God-given assignment is,he or she must proceed to carry it out. A personcan have the ministry of an apostle, a prophet, or ateacher, in helps or governments, or be adept inprophesying, but what profit is it until that abilityis put to work? A person may have the ministry ofteaching the Word of God, but instead of teachingthe Word of God, he just sits and does nothing.Then that ability will not be a benefit to anybody.The Body of Christ is perfected as each person carriesout his or her assignment in that Body.The same truth concerning the functions in theBody is set forth in Romans 12, the context ofthe thirteenth chapter of Romans, which is thefocus of this study.Romans 12:4:For as we have many members in one body,and all members have not the same office.95


God’s Order for Leadership The Higher Powers of Romans 13The word “office” means “function.” Allbelievers do not have the same function in theBody of Christ. Our assignments differ from oneanother’s.Verse 5:So we, being many, are one body in Christ,and every one members one of another.The reason we’re all members one of anotheris that we’re fitly joined together* and interdependentin the one Body. Each individual’s functionis vitally important.Verse 6:Having then gifts differing according to thegrace that is given to us, whether prophecy,let us prophesy according to the proportionof faith [believing].This verse has a tremendous literal translationaccording to usage. “Having then charismata[spiritual abilities, functions in the Body] differingaccording to the divine favor that is given to*Ephesians 4:16: “From whom [Christ] the whole bodyfitly joined together and compacted by that which everyjoint supplieth, according to the effectual working in themeasure of every part, maketh increase of the body untothe edifying of itself in love.”96us, whether in the ministry of prophecy, continueprophesying according to the proportion of yourbelieving.” Our spiritual abilities are charismata,God-given functions.Verse 7:Or ministry, let us wait on [en, in] our ministering:or he that teacheth, on [in] teaching.The words “let us wait” are italicized in theKing James Version and should be deleted asthey are misleading in contemporary English. So,verse 7 should read, “Or ministry, in ministering;or he that teacheth, in teaching.”In context verses 6 and 7 mean that the personwho has a God-given ability in prophecy shouldbe actively prophesying. And if another personhas a different type of ministry, he or she shouldget active doing that type of ministering. For example,if you have the ministry of teaching, getbusy teaching—do it.Verse 8:Or he that exhorteth, on [in] exhortation: hethat giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he thatruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy,with cheerfulness.97


God’s Order for Leadership The Higher Powers of Romans 13The first part of verse 8 logically belongs withverses 6 and 7: “Whether prophecy, get on withprophesying; or ministry, in ministering; or hethat teacheth, in teaching; or he that exhorteth,in exhortation.” He or she who has the ministryof exhorting is to be diligent in exhorting.Then verse 8 should begin with, “He thatgiveth, let him do it with simplicity.” The word“simplicity” is the Greek word haplot‘s whichliterally means “singleness” or “plainness.” Lethim who gives do so with simplicity, not withstrings attached or with ulterior motives. Nevergive with the attitude of “what can I get out of it.”He who rules—the word “ruleth” means“presides”—let him preside with diligence, expendingzealous effort.And he that shows mercy is to do it with cheerfulness.“Mercy” is the withholding of judgmentwhen judgment is deserved. The Greek word for“cheerfulness” is hilarot‘s, from which is derivedthe English word “hilarity.” God says, inother words, that if you’re showing mercy tosomeone, really enjoy it.Do you know why it is so beautiful and easy toshow mercy with cheerfulness? Because all youhave to remember is God’s mercy to you. When98you remember God’s mercy to you, then you willnever have any difficulty showing mercy withcheerfulness to a brother or sister. When Iremember the things for which God forgave mewhen I deserved judgment, I have no difficulty inforgiving others. But when I get puffed up andforget my own shortcomings for which God haswithheld judgment of me, then I become criticalof others. So it is with every one of us.A translation of verse 8 according to usage is:“He that gives in any capacity in the Church lethim do it with simplicity; he that presides ortakes charge, let him do it with diligence; and hethat shows mercy, let him do it with great cheerfulness.”See how perfectly this fits? All of theinstructions are on attitudes that men andwomen in the Body of Christ should have as theycarry out these benefits among God’s people.Now, in this context of Romans 12, whichgives the believer specific instructions regardingfunctions in the Church, comes this great, andusually misunderstood, thirteenth chapter ofRomans.Romans 13:1:Let every soul be subject unto the higherpowers [exousia, exercised authority]. For99


God’s Order for Leadership The Higher Powers of Romans 13there is no power but of God: the powersthat be are ordained of God.“Let every soul [every person, every individual]be subject unto the higher powers....”Usually this is interpreted to mean that the higherpowers refer to political governments. This is notand cannot be true. It’s very clear as we continuethe thought trend of Romans 12 that this firstverse of Romans 13 is speaking of the functionswithin the Body of Christ, the Church. God isnot talking about the Congress or the Presidentor the Supreme Court of the United States orthose with governmental authority in any nation’spolitical structure. The Word of God hereis talking about the Body of believers in relationshipto the higher authorities in that Body. Letevery soul, every person, be subject unto thehigher powers. The higher powers are thoseoperating charismata, the spiritual abilities andassignments, which God has set in the Church tohelp the Body function properly. That is the immediatecontext of this thirteenth chapter.“. . . For there is no power but of God. . . .”Everyone who has this higher authority in theChurch received it from God—”. . . the powersthat be are ordained of God.” “Power” is translatedfrom the Greek word exousia, meaning“exercised authority.” You could never say thatgovernmental powers are set by God, could you?But Bible commentators have! They have saidthat worldly powers are ordained of God, andthey quote this scripture. That’s not at all what isbeing spoken of here. This is talking about theChurch, the powers inside the Church. Those towhom God has given authority for governing theBody are ordained or appointed of God.A literal translation according to usage ofRomans 13:1 is: “Every believer is to be quietlysubdued to and lovingly reverent of the higherpowers placed in the Church by God. For there isno exercised authority in the Body but the specificallyand properly designated order of God.”Verse 2:Whosoever therefore resisteth the power[the authority that God has set in theChurch], resisteth the ordinance [diatag‘,order, arrangement] of God: and they thatresist shall receive to themselves damnation[krima, judgment].Here the word “power” again is the word exousia,exercised authority. “Ordinance” is theGreek word diatage, meaning “order, arrange-ment, setup.” The word “receive” is the word100 101


God’s Order for Leadership The Higher Powers of Romans 13lambanÇ, “receive to the end of manifesting.” Verse 4:“Damnation” is krima which means “judg-For he is the minister of God to thee forment.” A literal translation according to usagegood. But if thou do that which is evil, beof verse 2 is as follows: “The believer in the Bodyafraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:who stands against or sets himself above the ex-for he is the minister of God, a revenger toercised authority in the Church either by hisexecute wrath upon him that doeth evil.word or his action judges himself, for he opposesGod’s arrangement.”“He” is not the minister in a secular govern-Verse 3:For rulers are not a terror to good works,but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraidof the power? do that which is good, andthou shalt have praise of the same.“Rulers” are those who exercise authoritywithin the Body. The word “terror” is the Greekword phobos, meaning “a fear or fright.” To“be afraid of the power” is to have respect,reverence, awe for the authority (exousia) thatGod has set in the Church.The rulers in the Church are instituted to encouragegood works and to avoid evil. Thebelievers should reverence those exercising thisauthority. Believers should do those thingswhich are good and thus receive praise from therulers.ment, but this verse is speaking of the higherpowers in the Church, those who have exercisedauthority in the Church. They are ministers of Godto bring the benefits of God to God’s people—’ ‘tothee for good.”“. . . But if thou do that which is evil, beafraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain....”The “sword” has been said to mean shotguns,army rifles, tanks, bullets. No. What sword doesthe man of God carry? The Word of God. Hebrings the Word. He is the minister of God, onewho executes justice by reading the evildoer theWord and teaching it to him. The ruler executesjustice by showing the Word to the evildoer anddeclaring, “Thus saith the Lord.”Verses 5 and 6:Wherefore ye must needs be subject, notonly for wrath, but also for conscience sake.102103


God’s Order for Leadership The Higher Powers of Romans 13Body of Christ, the Church. Give to God’s min-isters whatever is due them, whether it be tribute,custom, reverence, or honor.For for this cause pay ye tribute also: forthey are God’s ministers, attending continuallyupon this very thing.A literal translation of verse 5 is: “Therefore,you the believer are to be lovingly in reverenceand subjection, but not because you know youwill be corrected by the Word if not. If you buildthe Word in your life as a habit pattern, then youwill need no correction.”Verse 6 begins, “For for this cause pay yetribute.” You are to give money. One of thereasons you give money is that the rulers in theChurch are God’s ministers, continually servingGod’s people according to the Word of God.*Be sure you are giving to the higher powers inthe Body all that is due them. It is a terrible thingto think that people reverence the national, state,and local governments more than they do GodAlmighty and His ministers. Let us see to it thatwe believers hold God’s Word in reverence andhave no debts to our leaders in the Body ofChrist, for they are the higher powers ordainedof God to keep order in the Church for thebenefit of the entire Body.Verse 7:Render therefore to all their dues: tribute towhom tribute is due; custom to whomcustom; fear [reverence] to whom fear[reverence]; honour to whom honour.Is God talking about a secular government?No. He is talking about the higher powers in the*See I Corinthians 9:1-19, especially verse 14: “Even sohath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospelshould live of the gospel.”104105


Chapter SevenTHE TRANSFER OF LEADERSHIPOn November 22, 1963, the day on which JohnF. Kennedy was assassinated, some friends and Iwere out hunting when the news flashed over ourradio. We were shocked speechless that ourPresident was dead. All of us were stunned beyondwords.While being pensive over the sudden death ofour President, this young man who projectedsuch vitality, I thought about how such shocksand jolting changes have occurred throughoutthe whole of history. There are many Biblical examplesof great leaders emerging in the face ofthis type of turmoil and adversity. When timeswere oppressive, men and women rose up whobelieved the greatness of God’s Word and whoselives gave direction to those around them in spiteof trying circumstances. Such a man was Joshuato whom the leadership of God’s people was transferredupon the death of Moses. Moses himselfhad risen up to lead God’s people during a timeof great oppression. He led the children of Israel107


God’s Order for Leadershipof Israel for forty years, his death surely was asshocking, if not more so, to them than the shockwe Americans experienced when President Ken-nedy was killed. Imagine what it would havebeen like had John F. Kennedy single-handedlyled our nation for forty years, as Moses had ledIsrael. Suppose Kennedy had taken us throughthe extreme hardships and great victories experiencedby the children of Israel under Moses.Suppose Kennedy had set our original guidelinesof life, as Moses had done in giving the childrenof Israel the commandments from God. Mosesinstructed the people, he led the people. And thepeople knew that it was Moses with whom Godcommunicated and to whom God listened. Suddenlythat man who had led the children of Israelfor forty long years was dead.out of the bondage of Egypt to the boundaries ofthe Promised Land. For forty years he taughtthem—he taught them both by his walk with Godand by his walk among men.God and Moses’ relationship had developed tothe point that they were on the best of terms.They spoke intimately, “face to face” as recordedin Exodus 33:11. Psalms 103:7 says thatGod “made known his ways unto Moses, his actsunto the children of Israel.” While the childrenof Israel saw the acts of God, God told Moses thewhys and the wherefores of His acts, the reasonsbehind them. During the forty years in whichMoses led the children of Israel, God’s blessingsremained upon them because Moses stood, withoutfaltering, in their behalf. Moses intercededtime and again for their mistakes and shortcomings,and God always honored Moses’ requests.So long as Moses interceded for Israel, God continuedto bless the children of Israel, and greatand gracious things happened. Yet one day thishuman monument, Moses, died.Joshua 1:2:Moses my servant is dead. . . .What a tremendous personal vacuum Moses’absence made. After Moses had led the children108The Transfer of LeadershipWhat a tremendous shock this was to the peopleof Israel when they realized that this manwho had led them and put up with their murmur-ings, bickerings, and insecurities for so manyyears was now gone. The man who had laid outGod’s guideline for their lives was dead.Thus Israel needed a new leader. And Godalready had a leader singled out for them. It wasJoshua, Moses’ minister, his assistant and understudy,whom God had called to take up the reins109


God’s Order for Leadershipof leadership when Moses was no longer there tolead that nation.Joshua had worked, side by side with Moses,faithfully carrying out responsibilities as Mosesdirected him. Thus Joshua had been an apprentice,so to speak, to Moses. So once Moses wasgone, God, being an orderly God, carried on Hiscommunications with Joshua.Joshua 1:1 and 2:Now after the death of Moses the servant ofthe Lord it came to pass, that the Lordspake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’minister, saying,Moses my servant is dead. . . .God spoke to Joshua, Moses’ minister, andsaid, “Moses my servant is dead.” If you couldread these words in the original text, you wouldobserve how mournful and hard they are. I can’texpress these words—”Moses my servant isdead”—to you in English the way they are writtenin the original. They held all the pathos andall the feeling Joshua would have felt after beingassociated forty years with the strong, demandingleadership of this one man, Moses.110I have often thought of Joshua and God’s callThe Transfer of Leadershipto him. Would you have wanted to be Joshuathat day? No, thanks. Moses had had his handsfull leading those stiff-necked Israelites. One daythey would sing God’s praises, and the next daythey would build a golden calf to worship. Oneday they would say, “Oh, Lord, we’ll always doyour will.” The next day they would conspire tooverthrow Moses as their leader. Knowing theIsraelites’ pattern of behavior, how would youlike to have been Joshua when God called him?Put yourself in the context of this situation.When the Lord spoke to Joshua shortly afterMoses’ death, the children of Israel were in grief;tears were flowing. But people can’t stay inmourning forever. That is why God spoke thoseweighty words to Joshua that day, saying,“Moses my servant is dead.” God was trying toget Joshua and the rest of Israel going by pointingout that they could no longer rely on Moses;Moses was gone. He wasn’t going to guide andintercede for Israel ever again. God as much assaid to Joshua, “Yes, Moses is dead, but otherslive on. So get over your mourning and startmoving again toward the goal of entering and livingin the Promised Land.”Joshua actually had been prepared for thisassignment. Leadership was not just suddenly111


God’s Order for Leadershipthrust upon him out of the blue. One example ofJoshua’s training was the time that Moses sentJoshua out with eleven other spies into the PromisedLand to bring back scouting reports. Inresponse to spying out the land, two of the twelvespies advised Moses to go immediately into theland and claim it without delay.Numbers 14:6-9:And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb theson of Jephunneh, which were of them thatsearched the land, rent their clothes:And they spake unto all the company of thechildren of Israel, saying, The land, whichwe passed through to search it, is an exceedinggood land.If the Lord delight in us, then he will bringus into this land, and give it us; a land whichfloweth with milk and honey.Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neitherfear ye the people of the land; for they arebread for us: their defence is departed fromthem, and the Lord is with us: fear themnot.Joshua and Caleb showed strong personalcharacter and confidence in the power ofJehovah. Not one of the other ten spies advised112The Transfer of LeadershipMoses to lead the children of Israel into thePromised Land at that time because those tenspies feared the circumstances; they did not trustthe strength of God.As you know, the children of Israel did notenter the land at that time because they sidedwith the reports of the ten fearful spies, ratherthan with the believing reports of Joshua andCaleb. But God did reward, as He always does,the believing stand of Joshua and Caleb as theyalone of their generation did eventually live inthe Promised Land.Numbers 32:11 and 12:Surely none of the men that came up out ofEgypt, from twenty years old and upward,shall see the land which I sware untoAbraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob;because they have not wholly followed me:Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh theKenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: forthey have wholly followed the Lord.Besides being a capable spy, Joshua also servedas Israel’s commander in battle.Exodus 17:9-14:And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us113


God’s Order for Leadershipeven greater impact, a longer lasting impressionon Joshua. Moses and Joshua were working to-gether, as we know in retrospect, to prepareJoshua for leadership.out men, and go out, fight with Amalek:to morrow I will stand on the top of the hillwith the rod of God in mine hand.So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, andfought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron,and Hur went up to the top of the hill.And it came to pass, when Moses held up hishand, that Israel prevailed: and when he letdown his hand, Amalek prevailed.But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they tooka stone, and put it under him, and he satthereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up hishands, the one on the one side, and the otheron the other side; and his hands were steadyuntil the going down of the sun.And Joshua discomfited Amalek and hispeople with the edge of the sword.And the Lord said unto Moses, Write thisfor a memorial in a book, and rehearse it inthe ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put outthe remembrance of Amalek from underheaven.Moses and Joshua not only worked together inannihilating the Amalekites, but then God toldMoses to write down the account of the event andrepeat the story for Joshua to hear—to make an114The Transfer of LeadershipExodus 24:13:And Moses rose up, and his ministerJoshua....Joshua was a minister, a helper, an assistant toMoses. He was always devoted and meek to Godand to God’s servant, Moses.Exodus 33:11:And the Lord spake unto Moses face toface, as a man speaketh unto his friend. Andhe turned again into the camp: but his servantJoshua, the son of Nun, a young man,departed not out of the tabernacle.Joshua, by his own personal qualities andchoice of priorities, was preparing himself inlesser roles of leadership so that God could placehim in a greater position of leadership.The day finally came when Moses was givencommand by God to proclaim Joshua as Israel’sleader, the man who would take charge afterMoses’ death.115


God’s Order for LeadershipThe Transfer of LeadershipNumbers 27:18-23:Israel may [should] be obedient.” Joshua wasAnd the Lord said unto Moses, Take theeMoses’ “heir apparent.” He was installed whenJoshua the son of Nun, a man in whom isMoses “laid his hands upon him, and gave him athe spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;charge” before all the people as the designatedAnd set him before Eleazar the priest, andleader.before all the congregation; and give him aWe have seen how this call to overall leadershipwas not suddenly thrust upon Joshua. Joshuacharge in their sight.And thou shalt put some of thine honourhad been maturing and preparing for thatupon him, that all the congregation of theposition since his youth when he had helped spychildren of Israel may be obedient.out the Promised Land. So when Moses died,And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest,there was no lapse in leadership for the childrenwho shall ask counsel for him after the judg-of Israel. All preparations had been made, andment of Urim before the Lord: at his wordthe people understood what God’s and Moses’shall they go out, and at his word they shallcommands were.come in, both he, and all the children ofIsrael with him, even all the congregation. Deuteronomy 34:5-10:And Moses did as the Lord commandedSo Moses the servant of the Lord died therehim: and he took Joshua, and set him beforein the land of Moab, according to the wordEleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:And he [God] buried him in a valley in theof the Lord.And he laid his hands upon him, and gave himland of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but noa charge, as the Lord commanded byman knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.the hand of Moses.And Moses was an hundred and twentyyears old when he died: his eye was not dim,Thus Joshua was designated by Moses, beforehis death, and by the high priest as the one towhom “all the congregation of the children ofnor his natural force abated.And the children of Israel wept for Moses inthe plains of Moab thirty days: so the days116117


God’s Order for Leadershipof weeping and mourning for Moses wereended.And Joshua the son of Nun was full of thespirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid hishands upon him: and the children of Israelhearkened unto him, and did as the Lordcommanded Moses.And there arose not a prophet since in Israellike unto Moses, whom the Lord knew faceto face.There has been only one prophet in all ofhistory greater than Moses, and that was JesusChrist himself, the Son of God. Moses was notthe Son of God, but he was a man who believedGod; thus God gave him tremendous revelationand great light for leadership. In the transferringof leadership, Moses laid his hands on Joshua accordingto God’s command so that Joshua wouldbe “full of the spirit” to receive revelation andlight from God.118Deuteronomy 34:9:And Joshua the son of Nun was full of thespirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid hishands upon him: and the children of Israelhearkened unto him, and did as the Lordcommanded Moses.The Transfer of LeadershipMoses was filled with the spirit. He had thespirit of God upon him, and therefore God wasable to speak to him. Moses was able to walk andtalk with God. And in the process of his walk,Moses was told by God to lay his hands onJoshua, thus signifying God’s presence withJoshua. God was making His provisions fororderly succession of leadership. Thus Joshua,when Moses laid his hands on him, became aman filled with the spirit.For forty long, laborious years Moses led thestubborn Israelites, and God’s Word clearlydemonstrates that they were stubborn. Time andtime and time again they revolted against thewisdom of Moses and brought problems to themselves.At those times Moses would intercedewith God and God would concede Moses’ requests.For forty years Moses dealt with theblind-hearted children of Israel; he was the onlyman who could do so at that time.*Moses loved God and loved the children ofIsrael. But Moses wasn’t going to live forever. Soin preparation for this eventuality, God began*Moses could handle the stiff-necked Israelites because hehad a God-given ministry at that time to God’s people.And when a person has a ministry of service to God’speople, he or she can tolerate a lot of things that he or shenever could otherwise.119


God’s Order for Leadershiptraining Joshua for leadership many years beforeMoses’ death. However, even with all that trainingunder Moses, Joshua still must have beengreatly challenged by the call to take charge afterMoses’ death. But because Joshua was meek, heattended to God’s commands and overcame anyinsecurities he may have had. He was stunnedwhen Moses died, but God commanded him totake the lead.Joshua 1:1 and 2:Now after the death of Moses the servant ofthe Lord it came to pass, that the Lordspake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’minister, saying,Moses my servant is dead; now thereforearise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all thispeople, unto the land which I do give tothem, even to the children of Israel.The essence of what God told Joshua that daywas, “Joshua, now you’re in charge. So takecharge and move! Don’t wait a while, but go intothe Promised Land now.” Joshua could havecowered and backed off, saying, “Oh, no, theriver’s at flood stage. Besides, directly on theother side waits the enemy, and that enemy is the120The Transfer of Leadershipbest-equipped army in the whole world. They’vegot massive weaponry, even nuclear power.”But God didn’t have a discussion with Joshua.God simply gave the command, “Now thereforearise, go over this Jordan.” Joshua was to havethe children of Israel pack up and begin movingimmediately.Joshua 1:10 and 11:Then Joshua commanded the officers of thepeople, saying,Pass through the host, and command thepeople, saying, Prepare you victuals; forwithin three days ye shall pass over this Jordan,to go in to possess the land, which theLord your God giveth you to possess it.God said to Joshua, in verse 2, “You get thepeople ready and walk them into the land that Iam giving you.” Well, if God gives something,who do you think is going to take it away? IfGod said to march into the Promised Land, thenthose who obeyed were going to be landholders.Who do you think was going to stop them? I tellyou, even the most precisely aimed artillerycouldn’t have hit one of them.121


God’s Order for LeadershipBut because of unbelief, sin, and general short-comings, God never instructed Moses to takethem into the land of their inheritance. EvenMoses himself was not permitted to enter. Butnow the time was right, and God said to Joshua,“Joshua, get up. Quit stewing and fretting be-cause my great servant Moses is gone. You mustnow assume the leadership. So arise and go overthe Jordan.” And God didn’t stop there. Hegave Joshua some tremendous encouragement.No matter how great the enemy, no matterwhat the obstacle, when God has given the commandto go, you must move. So long as you andI live according to the greatness of God’s Word,all the enemies and all the obstacles of the worldcan’t stop us because God’s Word is powerfuland effective and it lasts forever!The Word of the Lord came and Joshua wasable to take over when Moses’ life ended. From asenses point of view, it would seem impossible tostep into the position just held by Moses. ButGod always has and always will make availablethe power, the knowledge, and the ability tocarry out a given responsibility.God told Joshua to arise. He didn’t tell him tosit and mourn for another six months to lamentthe fact that Moses was dead. Whenever a person—includinga man of God—dies, life for theliving doesn’t stop. The things of God must goon; therefore, the message would be the same todayas it was to Joshua, “Arise, get on the move,and overcome whatever hurdle there is in frontof you.”Originally, when Moses had brought Israel outof Egypt, God had planned for them to marchdirectly into the Promised Land and to inhabit it.122The Transfer of LeadershipJoshua 1:3:Every place that the sole of your foot shalltread upon, that have I given [past tense]unto you, as I said unto Moses.God put in the past tense what was yet to cometo pass. The children of Israel needed only toarise and go. God said, “Every place that thesole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I[already] given unto you.”Notice that God said, “I’ve already given it.”God repeated for Joshua the promise He hadmade to Moses and to the children of Israel inDeuteronomy 11:24. The God Who created theheavens and the earth is not going to let a littlething like the Jordan River stop Him from moving123


God’s Order for LeadershipThe Transfer of Leadershipforward. Nor will the enemies on the other side Joshua 1:4:of that river stop Him. The word was “Arise andFrom the wilderness and this Lebanon evengo.”unto the great river, the river Euphrates, allthe land of the Hittites, and unto the greatsea toward the going down of the sun, shallbe your coast.Many people might hesitate after this clippedcommand and say, “Lord, your Word is wonderful,but I’ve got to think this through. MaybeI’ll be ready tomorrow; or maybe the next day. Idon’t know if I’m up to it right now.” WhenGod gives you specific instructions, He expectsyou to take action. He doesn’t expect you to procrastinate.We could die by hesitating to act onGod’s Word. But, if we dare to rise now with thegreatness of God’s Word and hold forth thatgreatness, God will again conquer the enemy andwe will again victoriously cross the rivers oflife—even at flood stage.It’s a remarkable thing that God put Hispromise in the past tense—”I have already givento you”—and He still does this today. Many,many times He puts in the past tense what still isthe future for us. Things that God has promisedus in His Word are already God’s will for us ifwe’ll only arise and cross our personal Jordans.But most people hesitate to arise; they’re afraidof the obstacles with which they’re confronted,the problems which they encounter. They are putoff by circumstances rather than relying onGod’s Word. But not so Joshua.124God specifically named and described theboundaries of the land that He had alreadydesignated for the children of Israel.Verse 5:There shall not any man [women too,because it’s an inclusive noun] be able tostand before [against, as to obstruct] thee allthe days of thy life. . . .God promised Joshua that there would be noperson able to stand against him all the days ofhis life. What comfort and encouragement thisrevelation must have been to the heart of Joshua.Perhaps Joshua was reflecting on the great man,Moses. So God said to Joshua, “Why are youlooking at Moses? I want to tell you there’s notgoing to be a man able to stand before you.”There would not be anybody who would have theability to confront Joshua and outdo him in anyway, shape, or form.125


God’s Order for LeadershipThe Transfer of LeadershipWhat reassurance this must have been tobanks. But this was no problem for God. GodJoshua who had stepped into the position of thesaid to Joshua, “Tell the priests to put the ark onmonumental Moses. To have God say to him,their shoulders and start walking.” And that’s“There shall not any man be able to standwhat Joshua did.against thee all the days of thy life” has to be encouragementof the strongest kind. Joshua 3:6-8:And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying,. . . as I was with Moses, so I [God] will beTake up the ark of the covenant, and passwith thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsakeover before the people. And they took upthee.the ark of the covenant, and went before thepeople.“. . . I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”And the Lord said unto Joshua, This dayHas God changed? The same God that was withwill I begin to magnify thee [Joshua] in theMoses and Joshua is the same God Who is withsight of all Israel, that they may know that,us today. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God isas I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.with you, that He will not fail you, that He willnot forsake you? The same God Who metAnd thou shalt command the priests thatJoshua’s needs meets our needs. And therefore,bear the ark of the covenant, saying, WhenHe is saying to us, “Arise, start moving.”ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan,ye shall stand still in Jordan.What dynamic believing these assurances fromGod made possible. God said, “Joshua, I’ll bewith you just as I was with Moses. I did not failhim, and I won’t fail or forsake you either. Sonow arise, go over the Jordan.”To go over Jordan at the moment God spoketo Joshua held a slight complication from aphysical aspect: the Jordan was at flood stage.The scripture says that the river was out of itsNow just imagine those orders. Flood stage.Do you know what the average person wouldhave done? Argued awhile: “But, Lord, the riveris at flood stage. Lord, why not wait until thewater goes down? Or maybe we should make afew rafts? Give us a few motorboats and amphibiousequipment.” But the Lord said toJoshua, “Walk!” So Joshua gathered the priests,126127


God’s Order for LeadershipThe Transfer of Leadershipand he commanded them, “Walk.” The scrip-God to move a flood out of the way than to moveture says that as the feet of the priests who carriedfifteen drops of water? He stopped the waters ofthe ark of the covenant touched the edge of thethe Red Sea in a wall for Moses. Would He dowater, the waters began to recede. That’s walk-less for Joshua? Same God, same power, sameing according to God’s revealed Word.promise. “. . . As I was with Moses, so I will bewith thee. . . .” What tremendous believing thoseJoshua 3:15 and 16:men had!And as they that bare the ark were comeunto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that Joshua 1:6:bare the ark were dipped in the brim of theBe strong and of a good courage: for untowater, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banksthis people shalt thou divide for an inallthe time of harvest,)heritance the land, which I sware unto theirThat the waters which came down fromfathers to give them.above stood and rose up upon an heap veryfar from the city Adam, that is besideZaretan: and those that came down towardthe sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed,and were cut off: and the people passed overright against Jericho.When Joshua was given God’s Word, he immediatelycarried through on it. And whatresults! When the average person today gets theWord of God, he wants to argue about it. TheWord of the Lord is always clear, it’s alwaysplain, and God can’t do a thing for you or meuntil we take action. God said, “Walk across theJordan, even at flood stage.” Is it any harder for“Be strong. . . .” Strong in whom? The Lord.We can’t be strong in our own strength. Ourpoor strength, what little there is, lasts only a fewearthly years. You and I have to be strong in thestrength of the Lord. When we are strong in theLord, we will have good courage. Why should wefear since God in Christ has conquered fear forus? Why should we be discouraged when He hasconquered discouragement? Why should we bedowncast when He has conquered every reasonfor being downcast?Discouragement is always from the Devil.Whenever we get discouraged, we are alwayswrong. Our God made us more than conquerors128129


God’s Order for Leadershipthrough Jesus Christ who loved us and gavehimself for us.God said to Joshua, “Be strong and of a goodcourage: for unto this people shalt thou [Joshua]divide for an inheritance the land, which I swareunto their fathers to give them.” Long beforethis, God had promised the land to Abraham,the forefather of these people. Now God hadbrought the children of Abraham back to thisland to inherit it.Verse 7:Only be thou strong and very courageous,that thou mayest observe to do according toall the law, which Moses my servant commandedthee: turn not from it to the righthand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper[sakal] whithersoever thou goest.Only be strong and very courageous. For thesecond time, the Word of the Lord to Joshua isto be strong, stand faithful, stay put, be courageous.God not only told Joshua once; He toldhim twice.We, too, have to keep telling ourselves, repeatingto ourselves, the same thing: Be strong in theWord of the Lord and be very courageous inwalking on the Word of God. For it’s only as weThe Transfer of Leadershiparise and start walking that the obstacles withwhich we are confronted will ever be overcome.So long as we sit looking at them in a slump ofdiscouragement, we will always be overcome bythe presence of the obstacles. But as we startwalking and approach the situation with believing,the obstacles begin to dissolve. Movingahead in the face of obstacles takes believing andtrusting God.God reminded Joshua to “observe to do accordingto all the law, which Moses my servantcommanded thee.” In other words, “Don’t turnto the right or to the left, but stay unswervinglyon God’s Word.” You see, the law was the Wordof God to Joshua as well as to Moses. And if youhave the Word of God, you know what God’swill is. Then you had better not turn to the rightor to the left. Just carry it out, right to the letter.The Word of God is the will of God. It meanswhat it says and says what it means. If you stayfaithful to your calling, God says that you willprosper wherever you go.“. . . That thou mayest prosper whithersoeverthou goest.” The word “prosper,” sakal inHebrew, is elsewhere translated “to act wisely”or “understand.” You will act with wisdom andhave understanding at all times when you adhereto God’s Word.130 131


God’s Order for LeadershipAfter giving Joshua this encouragement, Godthen told Joshua to continue speaking and toconstantly meditate on His Word.Verse 8:This book of the law [the Word of God]shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thoushalt meditate therein day and night. . . .God said, “You don’t need to run around allday gossiping or telling dirty stories. If you’regoing to use your mouth, you should speakGod’s Word.” That’s what God says here inJoshua 1:8: “This book of the law shall notdepart out of thy mouth. . . .” When you talk,you talk God’s truth.God also instructed Joshua to meditate in thatlaw day and night—in other words, all the time,constantly. He didn’t tell him to immerse himselfin newspapers and periodicals, radio andtelevision programs. He didn’t tell him to meditateon a theologian’s teaching. God said to Joshua,“Speak this law and meditate on it. Make thisWord the center of your life day and night.”You have to put the Word of God in your lifeso that whenever you speak, it is the Word beingspoken, it is truth being spoken. Don’t let itdepart out of your mouth and meditate in it day132The Transfer of Leadershipand night. Keep speaking God’s Word, keepthinking God’s Word, and align your thinkingand living with it.. . . that thou mayest observe to do accordingto all that is written therein: for thenthou shalt make thy way prosperous, andthen thou shalt have good success.God told Joshua that if he observed and livedaccording to the law of the Lord, then Joshuawould be prosperous and have good success.When we do the will of God, we too prosper andsucceed. And certainly we should prosper,shouldn’t we? God expects us to prosper.Ill John 2:Beloved, I wish above all things that thoumayest prosper....How do we as believers become prosperous?By putting God’s Word at the center of our livesas our rule book of believing and practice. TheWord of God gives us the rules whereby God’sspiritual ball game is played. His rules must beadhered to. We can’t make up new rules as we goalong. Prosperity—in all its forms—is dependentupon our believing God’s Word and continuingin it.133


God’s Order for Leadershipholy spirit, is the greatest truth you have in yourlife today. To know that you’re heaven bound inthe midst of all the hubbub of society and the in-volvements of the world in which you live. WithGod in Christ in you, the hope of glory, witheternal life, why should ever be afraid?“. . . Be not afraid. . . .” Be not afraid and youwill not be dismayed. Why?The key to sustained prosperity and success isto remain faithful to God’s Word. We see thisprinciple throughout the life of Joshua. God exhortedJoshua a third time to be strong andcourageous.Joshua 1:9:Have not I commanded thee? Be strong andof a good courage; be not afraid, neither bethou dismayed....God told Joshua in verse 6, in verse 7, and nowagain in verse 9 to be strong and courageous. Thefirst thing the enemy always endeavors to do is tointroduce fear into our lives. But when we’restrong and of good courage, what happens to thefear? It’s dispelled; it’s gone. So Satan can’t evenget a toehold in our lives if we’re strong and ofgood courage. “. . . Be not afraid, neither bethou dismayed. . . .” Do not be downcast byanything. Why? “. . . For the Lord thy God iswith thee. . . .”That is why Joshua could rise up and moveahead with the leadership of God’s people uponMoses’ death. And that’s the greatest thing toknow in the world today—that the Lord yourGod is with you. To know that you’re a Christian,born again of God’s Spirit, filled with the134The Transfer of Leadership. . . for the Lord thy God is with theewhithersoever thou goest.Wherever we go, we can be energized and canoverflow with the greatness of the power of God.Our God is with us wherever we are. God protectsus, He keeps us, He inspires us, He guidesus, He takes care of us.To know that you know that you know thatthe Lord your God is with you is the greatestmessage to the heart of any man or woman. Ifthe servants of God in the Old Testament wereable to believe God’s Word and follow His instructionswith such obedience, don’t you thinkthat you and I who are born again of God’sSpirit could follow God’s instructions andmanifest His peace and prosperity? Surely, theLord our God is with us.135


God’s Order for LeadershipVerse 9:Be strong and of a good courage; be notafraid, neither be thou dismayed: for theLord thy God is with thee whithersoeverthou goest.Men and women come and go—are born, live,and die—as did Moses and Joshua. But the Godof Moses and Joshua, Who caused them to prosperin some extremely difficult circumstances, isour God today. God is with you; God is by yourside; God lives within you. So move with thegreatness of His Word, trusting that Word to thelast letter. Now is the time. Arise, go, move onwardto hold forth God’s Word, “for then thoushalt make thy way prosperous, and then thoushalt have good success.” God has promised it.You believe it. And you shall see God’s magnificentsuccess in your life.PART IIIGOD’S ORDERINOLD TESTAMENTTIMES136


PART IIIGOD’S ORDER INOLD TESTAMENT TIMESThrough the centuries, men and women havecome and gone, but God’s Word lives and willcontinue to abide forever. The accounts of OldTestament believers to whom God revealedHimself are written for our learning. In this partof Order My Steps in Thy Word, God’s order inthe lives of three individual believers from theOld Testament is studied.“A Man in Whom the Spirit of God Is” givesthe record of Joseph’s deliverance from prison inEgypt and his rise to responsibility in Pharaoh’skingdom. It was Pharaoh who made the observationthat no one was so wise and discreet asJoseph, “a man in whom the Spirit of God is.”Because Joseph ordered his steps according toGod’s Word, he and all Egypt, as well as the childrenof Israel, were not only delivered from potentialdestruction, but they were able to prosper.139


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesThe chapter entitled “Choose You This Day”shows God’s man Joshua challenging the childrenof Israel to put away their idolatrous practicesand commit their ways to Jehovah evenafter Joshua’s death.“The Way of Life or Death” offers the twochoices that face all mankind. This chapter illustratesthe choices as heralded by the ProphetJeremiah to people who chose not to have Godorder their steps and who thus suffered the consequences.140Chapter EightA MAN IN WHOM THESPIRIT OF GOD ISThere is a record in the Old Testament of aman whose stand for God gave rise to thegreatest nation in the world at that time. Theman was Joseph. The nation was Egypt. Whatwas it that Joseph did to bring ancient Egypt tosuch great prominence? He listened to God, andthen he faithfully carried out His instructions.These two keys—listening and carrying out—arefoundational to the success of any person or anyfamily or any nation.When I first began to understand the record ofJoseph in chapters 37 through 41 of Genesis,I walked on air for days. Seeing how God movedin the life of one human being was electrifying.Very few people throughout history have learnedto listen to God as Joseph did; even fewer havelearned to walk in obedience. For Joseph, theWord of God was the will of God.According to Genesis 37, Joseph went to Egypt141


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isunder adverse circumstances. His brothers in-up the account of Joseph in the thirty-ninthtensely disliked him. They were jealous of Josephchapter of Genesis when Joseph was in prison asbecause their father, Jacob, had given him thea virtual nobody.robe of heirship.* The brothers were further antagonizedby Joseph when he told them about his Genesis 39:20 and 21:dreams that pictured his ruling over them.And Joseph’s master took him, and put himJoseph’s brothers considered slaying him, but hisinto the prison, a place where the king’soldest brother Reuben ruled out that idea. So theprisoners were bound: and he was there in thebrothers compromised by selling Joseph intoprison.slavery. Joseph’s owners took him to EgyptBut the Lord was with Joseph [even inwhere he was resold and eventually unjustlyprison], and shewed him mercy, and gavethrown into prison. In the midst of all thesehim favour in the sight of the keeperdeplorable events in Joseph’s life, God was makingprovisions for the salvaging of a whole na-[warden] of the prison.tion, Israel. Obviously Egypt also benefited fromJoseph was in a maximum security prison, incarceratedwith the king’s prisoners. But theGod’s plan as Egypt became one of the strongest,most enduring civilizations of all time. But theLord was with Joseph and showed him mercyultimate purpose of Egypt’s prosperity was forand gave him favor, putting him in the goodGod to keep His promise to Abraham—to raisegraces of the keeper of the prison, the warden.up a great nation from Abraham’s offspring, thechildren of Israel.In this chapter, I want to focus on Joseph andhis influence on the nation of Egypt. Let’s take*The “coat of many colours” of Genesis 37:3 was a garmentgiven only to the man chosen as heir. Thus, Joseph’sbrothers were jealous because their father, Jacob, hadchosen their younger brother as his heir. Barbara M.Bowen, Strange Scriptures That Perplex the Western Mind(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1944), pp. 43,44.142Verse 22:And the keeper of the prison committed toJoseph’s hand all the prisoners that were inthe prison; and whatsoever they did there,he was the doer of it.These responsibilities weren’t given to Josephimmediately after he was put in prison. It took143


God’s Order in Old Testament Timestime for Joseph to demonstrate to the warden hisfine character and abilities and to gain thewarden’s confidence.Verse 23:The keeper of the prison looked not to anything that was under his [Joseph's] hand;because the Lord was with him, and thatwhich he did, the Lord made it to prosper.Who made Joseph’s deeds to prosper? TheLord. You see, you’ve got to believe that God isgoing to cause you to prosper, no matter whereyou are. In a prison, a person cannot do verymuch on his own. But even there, if a believerjust does his part with integrity, then the Lordcan make the circumstances profitable. A believercan prosper even in that environment.144Genesis 40:1-8:And it came to pass after these things, thatthe butler of the king of Egypt and his bakerhad offended their lord the king of Egypt.And Pharaoh was wroth [very angry] againsttwo of his officers, against the chief of thebutlers, and against the chief of the bakers.And he put them in ward [in prison] in thehouse of the captain of the guard, into theA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isprison, the place where Joseph was bound[confined].And the captain of the guard chargedJoseph with them, and he served them: andthey continued a season in ward.And they dreamed a dream both of them[the butler and the baker], each man hisdream in one night, each man according tothe interpretation of his dream, the butlerand the baker of the king of Egypt, whichwere bound [confined] in the prison.And Joseph came in unto them in the morning,and looked upon them, and, behold,they were sad.And he asked Pharaoh’s officers that werewith him in the ward of his lord’s house,saying, Wherefore look ye so sadly to day?And they said unto him, We have dreamed adream, and there is no interpreter of it.[Nobody is able to tell us what our dreamsmean.] And Joseph said unto them, Do notinterpretations belong to God? tell me them,I pray you.What tremendous instruction for us. Manytimes we are at a loss to fully understand a situation.Our own sense knowledge can only take us145


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isso far. But revelation from God can give us ancannot be known by the five senses can be knownawareness and an understanding of things un-and understood when God gives revelation.seen. Just as the unfolding of His Word belongsto God, so truly the interpretation of the dreams Verse 12:belonged to God.And Joseph said unto him, This is the interpretationof it: The three branches are threedays.Verses 9-11:And the chief butler told his dream toJoseph, and said to him, In my dream,behold, a vine was before me;And in the vine were three branches: and itwas as though it budded, and her blossomsshot forth; and the clusters thereof broughtforth ripe grapes:And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and Itook the grapes, and pressed them intoPharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup intoPharaoh’s hand.Verses 9, 10, and 11 describe the butler’sdream. Now we must ask ourselves the question:What was the significance of the vine with thethree branches? By conjecture, it could havemeant any number of things. Joseph could haveused his own private interpretation to make thedream mean anything he desired. But Joseph knewthat the interpretations belonged to God. WhatJoseph could not have known this by his ownsenses; he needed revelation. God revealedthe dream’s interpretation to him, because hecould not know it by his own observation orknowledge.Verse 13:Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift upthine head, and restore thee unto thy place:and thou shalt deliver Pharaoh’s cup intohis hand, after the former manner whenthou wast his butler.This was good news for the butler. Joseph saidthat he would be restored to his former positionwithin three days. Knowing this, Joseph made arequest of the butler.Verses 14 and 15:But think on me [Joseph] when it shall be146147


God’s Order in Old Testament Timeswell with thee, and shew kindness, I praythee, unto me, and make mention of me untoPharaoh, and bring me out of this house:For indeed I was stolen away out of the landof the Hebrews: and here also have I donenothing that they should put me into thedungeon.Joseph also received revelation to tell thebutler to mention him to Pharaoh. After speakingto the butler, Joseph next interpreted thebaker’s dream.148Verses 16-19:When the chief baker saw that the interpretationwas good, he said unto Joseph, Ialso was in my dream, and, behold, I hadthree white baskets on my head:And in the uppermost basket there was of allmanner of bakemeats for Pharaoh; and thebirds did eat them out of the basket uponmy head.And Joseph answered and said, This is theinterpretation thereof: The three baskets arethree days:Yet within three days shall Pharaoh lift upthy head from off thee, and shall hang theeA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Ison a tree; and the birds shall eat thy fleshfrom off thee.The baker was expecting a similar interpretationof encouragement such as Joseph hadspoken to the butler. But the revelation was farfrom what the baker anticipated. The interpretationof the dream was that within three days thebaker would be hanged. The account in Genesis40 continues, showing how the interpretations ofthe two dreams were fulfilled.Verses 20-22:And it came to pass the third day, which wasPharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feastunto all his servants: and he lifted up thehead of the chief butler and of the chiefbaker among his servants.And he restored the chief butler unto hisbutlership again; and he gave the cup intoPharaoh’s hand:But he hanged the chief baker: as Josephhad interpreted to them.And then the next verse is so truly human. Sooften we forget the people who have blessed ourlives.149


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesVerse 23:Yet did not the chief butler rememberJoseph, but forgat him.So it is with most people, even the best of us.The adversary wants us to forget our benefactors.The butler could have gone to Pharaoh andsaid, “A most unusual thing happened while Iwas in prison.” And then he could have toldPharaoh how Joseph had interpreted both hisand the baker’s dreams, and how the interpretationscame to pass even as Joseph had said. Butthe butler did not do that; he became caught upin the routine activities of life and forgot aboutJoseph.Genesis 41:1:And it came to pass at the end of two fullyears. . . .This forty-first chapter begins two years afterthe events of chapter 40. How long Joseph was injail before this we do not know. But we do knowthat two years after the butler’s release, Pharaohhad some troubling dreams.150Verses 1-4:And it came to pass at the end of two fullA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isyears, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold,he stood by the river.And, behold, there came up out of the riverseven well favoured kine (cattle] and fatfleshed[meaty cattle]; and they fed in ameadow [plenty to eat].And, behold, seven other kine [cattle] cameup after them out of the river, ill favouredand leanfleshed [skin and bones]; and[they] stood by the other kine [cattle] upon thebrink of the river.And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kinedid eat up the seven well favoured and fatkine. So Pharaoh awoke.Normally, cattle are not cannibalistic—they donot eat each other. So Pharaoh was sure thisdream had a meaning, but what could it be?Verses 5-9:And he [Pharaoh] slept and dreamed thesecond time: and, behold, seven ears of corncame up upon one stalk, rank and good.And, behold, seven thin ears and blastedwith the east wind sprung up after them.And the seven thin ears devoured the sevenrank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke,and, behold, it was a dream.151


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God IsAnd it came to pass in the morning that hisAnd there was there with us a young man,spirit was troubled [Pharaoh was disturbed];an Hebrew, servant to the captain of theand he sent and called for all the magiciansguard; and we told him, and he interpreted[all the spiritualists] of Egypt, and all theto us our dreams; to each man according towise men thereof: and Pharaoh told themhis dream he did interpret.his dream; but there was none that could interpretthem unto Pharaoh.Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh,And it came to pass, as he interpreted to us,so it was; me he restored unto mine office,and him he hanged.saying, I do remember my faults this day.After two full years the butler rememberedAfter Pharaoh had searched all Egypt forand acted on Joseph’s simple request to “thinksomeone to interpret his dreams and all hadon me” and “make mention of me untofailed to interpret them, the butler rememberedPharaoh.” At this point, events in Joseph’s lifeJoseph, the accurate interpreter of both hisbegan to accelerate.dream and the baker’s dream. At long last thebutler recalled his promise to mention Joseph to Verse 14:Pharaoh. It was two full years before hisThen Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, andmemory was jolted. Thus, the butler approachedthey brought him hastily out of the dun-Pharaoh to tell him of Joseph.geon: and he shaved himself, and changedhis raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh.Verses 10-13:[The butler recalled] Pharaoh was wrothBefore Joseph appeared before Pharaoh, hewith his servants, and put me in ward in thecleaned up and changed his clothes to meet thecaptain of the guard’s house, both me andking appropriately groomed. In representingthe chief baker:God, we, too, should put our best foot forwardAnd we dreamed a dream in one night, I andhe; we dreamed each man according to theinterpretation of his dream.and be as attractive as we can be. Now, clothesdon’t make the person, but they surely help theimpression one person makes on another. What152153


God’s Order in Old Testament Timespeople have in their hearts is most important;but, still, as ambassadors for God, we shoulddress as is fitting for God’s representatives.Joseph shaved himself and changed his garmentbefore he was brought before Pharaoh.And yet God’s Word says they brought him“hastily out of the dungeon.” These little detailssimply delight me. That God would take time inHis Word to tell us that Joseph shaved lets us seethat people in the Bible were as human as we are.Why should God’s Word include details likethat? Simply to teach us about the greatness ofGod and the real, breathing people who walkedin that greatness. It encourages us to walk withGod. And, I want to tell you, Joseph was definitelywalking.Verse 15:And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I havedreamed a dream, and there is none that caninterpret it: and I have heard say of thee,that thou canst understand a dream to interpretit.Now, this was quite a position for Joseph to bein. He could have put real leverage on Pharaoh,saying, “I can do it, Pharaoh, but first tell mewhat it’s worth to you. What are you going to do154A Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isfor me in return for my interpreting yourdream?” But he didn’t. Joseph walked by thepower of God; he trusted God to work in thesituation. God was Joseph’s sufficiency, notPharaoh. And indeed God took care of Joseph ina way that Joseph could never have done by hisown power.Verse 16:And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It isnot in me: God shall give Pharaoh ananswer of peace.The first point Joseph made to Pharaoh wasthat the interpretation was from God and notfrom him. And then he immediately proceededto comfort Pharaoh with the revelation that theinterpretation would be an answer of peace.Verse 17:And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In mydream. . .Then Pharaoh told Joseph his dream. Rememberthe seven fat cattle and the seven lean ones,and the seven good ears of corn and the seventhin ones? The lean cattle devoured the fat cattleand the thin ears of corn devoured the full ears.All this Pharaoh told Joseph.155


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesVerse 25:And Joseph said unto Pharaoh, The dream[the two dreams] of Pharaoh is one: Godhath shewed Pharaoh what he is about todo.How did Joseph know this? God was revealingit to him.Verse 26:The seven good kine [cattle] are sevenyears. . . .We by our senses could not know what theseven cattle and seven ears of corn stood for anymore than we could know what the three vinesand the three baskets in the earlier dreams stoodfor. In Pharaoh’s dream seven represented thenumber of years.156Verses 26-32:The seven good kine [cattle] are seven years;and the seven good ears are seven years: thedream is one.And the seven thin and ill favoured kine[cattle] that came up after them are sevenyears; and the seven empty ears blasted withthe east wind shall be seven years of famine.A Man in Whom the Spirit of God IsThis is the thing which I have spoken untoPharaoh: What God is about to do hesheweth unto Pharaoh.Behold, there come seven years of greatplenty throughout all the land of Egypt:And there shall arise after them seven yearsof famine; and all the plenty shall be forgottenin the land of Egypt; and the famineshall consume the land;And the plenty shall not be known in theland by reason of that famine following; forit shall be very grievous.And for that the dream was doubled untoPharaoh twice; it is because the thing isestablished by God, and God will shortly[immediately] bring it to pass.What a great revelation! The interpretationends by saying that because the dream was doubled,dreamed twice, the events it foretold wereestablished and would quickly come to pass. Whenrevelation is given twice, absolutely nothing canchange the course of events, for it is established. Allthe prayers in the world won’t change it. Whenrevelation is doubled, it will never change and willoccur soon.**See Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17;Acts 10:9-18; and II Corinthians 13:1.157


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God IsAfter Joseph had told Pharaoh about thepreparing for the next fourteen years, or he couldevents which would occur in Egypt for the nextseek God’s counsel in dealing with the situation.fourteen years, what did Pharaoh do? How didThe Word of God has much to say abouthe prepare? What would our President give togovernment and governmental leaders. It hasknow what will happen in this country for themuch to say on how a nation can best functionnext fourteen years? What would he give toeconomically, politically, judicially, and in manyknow even for his tenure in office?other categories. If a nation is to prosper and notSuppose you were Pharaoh and you knew thatbe driven to depression, chaos, or weakness, itthe next seven years would be years of great plentymust ultimately come to God’s Word and theand the following seven years would be yearsprinciples of that Word. In this situation inof devastating famine. What would you, asEgypt, it was Joseph who was receiving the WordPharaoh, do about it? Would you change any ofof God. And Joseph continued speaking toyour policies? Would you cut exports? HowPharaoh after the dream was interpreted, tellingwould this affect your imports? Would you ap-him God’s plan for the salvation of Egypt duringpoint a new Secretary of Agriculture? How muchthe seven years of great famine, which were yetof your harvest would you store for the famine?seven years away.How would you store it? How much loss wouldyou allow for the mice to eat? Verse 33:Once Joseph, by revelation, gave Pharaoh theNow therefore let Pharaoh look out a maninterpretation of his dream, Pharaoh could[a single man, not a committee] discreet andeither accept what Joseph revealed or he couldwise, and set him over the land of Egypt.reject it. If he accepted it, he had to decide whatactions to take. It is one thing to have knowledge;it is another thing to have the wisdom toof overseeing Egypt was going to be givenThe person Pharaoh appointed to this positionact on that knowledge in the best manner.tremendous responsibility. That person wouldPharaoh could either rely on his own sensealso be given great authority. Responsibility isknowledge to determine what he should do inimpossible to carry out unless authority is givento execute the responsibility. Now if Pharaoh158159


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Iswas going to get the results of the Word of God, Verses 35 and 36:he had to believe that Joseph was speaking God’sAnd let them [the overseers] gather all theWord. Yet Joseph had been in prison. Can afood of those good years that come, and layjailbird be trusted? Well, somebody trustedup corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and letsomeone, as we are going to see.them keep food in the cities.And that food shall be for store to the landagainst the seven years of famine, whichshall be in the land of Egypt; that the landperish not through the famine.Verse 34:Let Pharaoh do this, and let him [the man ofverse 33] appoint officers [overseers] overthe land, and take up the fifth part of theland of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.Joseph told Pharaoh to appoint a wise manover the land of Egypt. Then this man should appointofficers, or overseers, to collect a fifth partof Egypt’s harvest for the next seven years. Afifth part is twenty percent. Joseph said theywere to take up only twenty percent of theplenteous harvests and store that. What happenedto the other eighty percent in those sevenyears of plenty? It could have been consumed inEgypt and also traded with other nations. Eightypercent of the harvest during the years of greatplenty gave Pharaoh an abundance to work with.Eighty percent of harvest during great plentywas, no doubt, more than one hundred percentof harvest during a normal year.So now we already know that there is not goingto be anything left of the food when the sevenyears of famine are over, because all will havebeen consumed. Remember, the lean cattledevoured the fat ones, and the lean earsdevoured the full ones. And the interpretationwas “the plenty shall not be known in the land byreason of that famine following.” The storedfood would all be gone at the end of the sevenyears of famine. However, there’s certainly noneed for leftovers when a famine is over.Verse 37:And the thing [Joseph’s plan] was good inthe eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of allhis servants.Pharaoh’s judgment was good; he liked the160161


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isplan which Joseph, by revelation from God, hadAnd Pharaoh took off his [signet] ring fromgiven. Of course, the servants agreed. If Pharaoh his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand. . .said, “I like it,” what could the servants say?They had better agree.Verse 38:And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can wefind such a one as this is, a man in whom theSpirit of God is?That was a great statement for a leader ofPharaoh’s stature to make. This great Pharaohof Egypt recognized that Joseph was “a man inwhom the Spirit of God is.” He knew of no otherman in the nation who had that spirit of God.This was quite an observation and a declarationto come from Pharaoh.Verses 39-42:And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuchas God hath shewed thee all this, there isnone so discreet and wise as thou art:Thou shalt be over my house, and accordingunto thy word shall all my people be ruled:only in the throne will I be greater thanthou.And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I haveset thee over all the land of Egypt.Joseph was elevated to the position of stewardover all the land of Egypt. The authority for thisstewardship was the signet ring Pharaoh putupon Joseph’s hand.*. . .and [Pharaoh] arrayed him [Joseph] investures of fine linen, and put a gold chainabout his neck.The gold chain in Egyptian culture stood forhonor.Verse 43:And he [Pharaoh] made him [Joseph] toride in the second chariot which he[Pharaoh] had; and they cried before him,*The signet ring given to Joseph was a ring with Pharaoh’sseal on it. Joseph then bad the same authority asPharaoh’s written signature. For further informationabout the importance of seals, see J.D. Douglas, ed., TheNew Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans,1962), s.v. “seal, sealing.”When we understand the significance of “sealing,” wecan begin to appreciate the truth that we as believershave God’s seal or signet impression upon us. See Ephesians1:13.162163


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesBow the knee: and he made him ruler overall the land of Egypt.Because the Egyptians bowed their knees, didthey believe Joseph was God? No. It simplymeant that the people honored Joseph as a manof authority, worthy of great respect.Verse 44:And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I amPharaoh, and without thee shall no man liftup his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.I want to tell you, Joseph was given realauthority. If Joseph said, “Let that fellow out ofjail,” what do you think happened? Nobodyquestioned Joseph’s authority. He had the absoluteright of control. Joseph was given completecharge, accountable only to Pharaoh.Joseph had not been thoroughly trained for hisjob by experience, but he had been trained for itby walking according to God’s instructions andby the spirit of God upon him. Education is important,but only leaders walking with the spiritof God can lead a nation out of darkness andchaos. Joseph not only had the spirit of Godupon him, but he was also upright and honest.164A Man in Whom the Spirit of God IsThese should be the greatest qualifications foranyone desiring public office or authority.Verse 45:And Pharaoh called Joseph’s nameZaphnathpaaneah [What a name! It means“revealer of secrets.”]; and he gave him towife Asenath the daughter of Potipherahpriest of On. And Joseph went out over allthe land of Egypt.Pharaoh didn’t ask Joseph if he wanted tomarry the priest’s daughter. He just said, “Here’sa wife for you.”Verse 46:And Joseph was thirty years old when hestood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. . . .Joseph showed a lot of wisdom for a relativelyyoung man. But Joseph’s greatness was not justhis acuteness of mind; it was his faithfulness incontinuing to walk with God. Even when soldinto slavery by his brothers and even when livingin an Egyptian prison, Joseph was steadfast,having confidence in God and listening to Him.He had the spirit of God upon him.165


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Is. . . And Joseph went out from the presence Verses 51-54:of Pharaoh, and went throughout all theAnd Joseph called the name of the firstbornland of Egypt.Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made meforget all my toil, and all my father’s house.Joseph did not interpret Pharaoh’s dream,And the name of the second called hemarry the priest’s daughter, and travel throughoutEgypt all in one day. This all took place overfruitful in the land of my affliction.*Ephraim: For God hath caused me to bea period of time.And the seven years of plenteousness, thatwas in the land of Egypt, were ended.And the seven years of dearth began tocome, according as Joseph had said: and thedearth was in all lands; but in all the land ofEgypt there was bread.Verses 47-50:And in the seven plenteous years the earthbrought forth by handfuls.And he gathered up all the food of the sevenyears, which were in the land of Egypt, andlaid up the food in the cities: the food of thefield, which was round about every city, laidhe up in the same.And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of thesea, very much, until he left numbering; forit was without number.And unto Joseph were born two sons beforethe years of famine came, which Asenaththe daughter of Potipherah priest of Onbare unto him.So Joseph had two children during the sevenyears of plenty.166Not only in Egypt, but in all the lands thefamine came. What do you think happened inthe other countries? They were in disastrousstraits, starving.Verses 55 and 56:And when all the land of Egypt was famished,the people cried to Pharaoh for*Joseph was indeed one of the great men of God of alltimes, and for it his descendants received a double inheritancein the Promised Land. Joseph’s two sons,Manasseh and Ephraim, each headed a tribe. This was indeeda great honor, a double-portion blessing because oftheir father. See Genesis 48.167


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesA Man in Whom the Spirit of God Isbread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyp- Verse 57:tians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you,And all countries came into Egypt to Josephdo.for to buy corn; because that the famine wasAnd the famine was over all the face of theso sore in all lands.earth: and Joseph opened all the storehouses,and sold unto the Egyptians; andthe famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.What a tremendous key to Egypt’s eventualdeliverance. Joseph did not give away the food tothe other countries. He did not even give it to theEgyptians. He sold it to them. A nation is to takecare of its own people first and foremost, but thisis not to be done through a welfare program orany system in which people are not expected towork to eat and live. Joseph, walking by revelation,sold the food to the Egyptians. Yet, as weshall see, his walk of wisdom is what enabledthem to survive the terrible famine.The God that provided for Egypt is the sameGod living today. God is always interested in savingpeople, whether it be as nations or individuals.God wants people to have life and tohave it more abundantly; but in order for peopleto have abundance, they must operate the principlesfrom God’s Word. Only adherence toGod’s Word will sustain a nation and cause it toprosper.Joseph never ran a giveaway program. Otherstarving countries were expected to buy the food,just as the Egyptians did. Was Joseph beingcruel? No, he was operating Godly principles. Agiveaway program actually helps no one.From these events recorded in God’s Wordemerges the most glorious era in Egypt’s history.The wealth of all the world poured into Egyptbecause of one man of God who knew by thespirit of God how to direct that nation.This brings us to a challenging and awesomeconclusion. Joseph lived in the Old Testament asGod’s servant. He could not be born again ofGod’s Spirit as we are. Yet he, by revelationfrom God, delivered a nation from what couldhave been total annihilation.Egypt was saved because the spirit of God wasupon one man. Today we have a great manymore people all over the world with the spirit ofGod in them. What could happen in our countryand in our world if believing people just took astand for the integrity and accuracy of God’s168169


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesWord and declared it in all its greatness, and thenobediently carried it out?We have the God-given opportunity and responsibilityto shine as lights in our nation. Letus do as Joseph did in the Old Testament: Listento God and faithfully carry out His words.Whenever “a man in whom the Spirit of God is”speaks God’s Word and allows His power toflow, God and all His blessings become manifested.Not only is one’s own country deliveredfrom adversity, but it provides the example ofobedience and hope for the entire world.Chapter NineCHOOSE YOU THIS DAYJoshua’s entire life was a witness for God. Westudied some of Joshua’s life in chapter 7, “TheTransfer of Leadership,” observing him fromthe time he acted as a spy to search out the PromisedLand to the time he took charge followingMoses’ death. Joshua had been a minister and aservant to the great Prophet Moses. And whenMoses’ death drew near, God instructed him totake Joshua to the tabernacle so that Joshuacould be given the charge to lead the children ofIsrael.Deuteronomy 31:7,8,14:And Moses called unto Joshua, and saidunto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strongand of a good courage: for thou must gowith this people unto the land which the Lordhath sworn unto their fathers to give them;and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.And the Lord, he it is that doth go beforethee; he will be with thee, he will not fail170171


God’s Order in Old Testament Timesthee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither bedismayed. . . .And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold, thydays approach that thou must die: callJoshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacleof the congregation, that I may givehim a charge. And Moses and Joshua went,and presented themselves in the tabernacleof the congregation.When Moses and Joshua presented themselvesbefore God, God told Moses to ordain Joshuaand to make clear to the people that Joshuawould be their leader when Moses died.Moses did die on Mount Nebo after he hadviewed Canaan, the Promised Land. Thus thereins of leadership passed to Joshua. Joshuaassumed the leadership of the children of Israeland, after thirty days of mourning Moses’ death,he immediately obeyed God’s. command to“arise, go” across the Jordan and begin claimingthe land which God had vowed to give toAbraham’s seed.172Joshua 3:7:And the Lord said unto Joshua, This daywill I begin to magnify thee in the sight of allChoose You This DayIsrael, that they may know that, as I waswith Moses, so I will be with thee.God assured Joshua that He would establishhim as the leader of the children of Israel. Inorder to magnify Joshua in the sight of Israel,God walled up the flooding waters of the JordanRiver so that all Israel could pass over to the westside of that river into the Promised Land.Joshua, according to God’s instructions, then setup memorial stones at the place where the priestswho had carried the ark of the covenant hadstood when the waters of the Jordan were “cutoff.”This great miracle of crossing the Jordan onthe dry riverbed was followed by Joshua’s firstvictory in taking possession of the PromisedLand at the city of Jericho. Joshua’s success atJericho was a result of his following God’s directionsto him, and following them exactly: Thechildren of Israel compassed Jericho once a dayfor six consecutive days. On the seventh day,God had them walk around the city seven times.Then the priests blew their trumpets, the peopleshouted, and the wall of Jericho “fell downflat,” just as God had promised.After these two great miracles—the crossing of173


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesChoose You This Daythe Jordan River and the conquering of JerichoJoshua lived a life pleasing to God. And as it—Joshua continued to act on God’s command tobecame apparent to him that his life was drawingrid the land of its inhabitants and have theto an end, Joshua took one last step to assurechildren of Israel take possession of it. But thethat the children of Israel would remain faithfulvery next confrontation, the battle of Al, was notto God. I call this “Joshua’s witness.” Thea success story. The army of Israel was defeatedspecific record of Joshua’s witness occurs veryby the army of Al because, unknown to Joshua,near the end of Joshua’s life when Joshua calledone Israelite warrior had disobeyed God at theall the tribes of Israel together at Shechem.battle of Jericho. With this defeat at Al, Joshua,surprised and sorrowful, besought the Lord, ask- Joshua 24:1:ing why He bad not helped them. God answeredAnd Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israelin Joshua 7:12: “...Neither will I be with youto Shechem, and called for the elders ofany more, except ye destroy the accursed fromIsrael, and for their heads, and for theiramong you.” Joshua was to destroy the man whojudges, and for their officers; and theyhad taken spoil at Jericho. Not only the man, butpresented themselves before God.his entire household was to be destroyed becauseof his disobedience to God’s command. Again,Before he died, Joshua not only called togetherJoshua obeyed God, the army of Israel attackedthe children of Israel, but he called them toAi, and this time was able to conquer it.Shechem. Why Shechem? Not because the tabernaclewas there, because it wasn’t. The tabernacleOver and over again Joshua proved himselfwas in Shiloh. Why did Joshua call the people toobedient to God’s instructions to him, dividingShechem? For several reasons. Shechem was thethe land of promise among the tribes, appointingfirst place in the Promised Land where God hadcities of refuge, and establishing the Leviticaltold Abraham that the land was his. So Shechemcities. He quelled a potential quarrel between thewas associated with God’s promise to Abrahamtwo-and-a-half tribes on the east side of the Jordanand the rest of the tribes, and peace reignedand His covenant with Abraham.* Shechem wasfor the children of Israel.*Compare Genesis 12:6,7; and 17:1 with Joshua 24:2,3,13,14.174175


God’s Order in Old Testament Timesalso the place where Jacob had buried strangegods, according to Genesis 35:1-4. And Shechemlay between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, thetwo mountains from which the blessings and thecurses of the law were pronounced, according toDeuteronomy 27.For all these reasons, Shechem was the mostimpressive place for Joshua to congregate thepeople of Israel to bring them into remembranceof the covenant and the law and to rebuild theircommitment.The people “presented themselves beforeGod” at Shechem. This means that theypresented themselves before God’s spokesmanand prophet, Joshua. Joshua then had thechallenge of presenting God’s Word to the peopleof Israel. God had done many great thingsfor those people as they were led out of Egyptinto the Promised Land, and Joshua remindedthem of this.176Joshua 24:11:And ye went over Jordan, and came untoJericho: and the men of Jericho foughtagainst you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites,and the Canaanites, and the Hittites,and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and theChoose You This DayJebusites; and I [God] delivered them intoyour hand.God said, “I delivered them [your enemies]into your hand.” It wasn’t the children of Israelwho won the victories; it was God Who wonthem. And He used unusual and amazing ways todeliver them. Israel’s deliverance from theAmorites is one example.Verse 12:And I sent the hornet before you, whichdrave them out from before you, even thetwo kings of the Amorites; but-not with thysword, nor with thy bow.God has a great sense of humor and great resourcefulness.His method of defeating the Amoriteswas to have hornets sting their mighty armies.Verse 13:And I have given you a land for which ye didnot labour, and cities which ye built not,and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards andoliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.I often think of how God has done things likethis for us today—He has given us things which177


God’s Order in Old Testament Timeswe did not deserve, victories which we did notachieve, things that from our point of view weshould never have had. God just handed themover to us.After reviewing with the children of Israelwhat God had done for them, Joshua nextreminded them of their responsibility to God.Verse 14:Now therefore fear [reverence, respect, holdin awe] the Lord, and serve him in sincerityand in truth: and put away the gods whichyour fathers served on the other side of theflood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.The first command Joshua gave the peoplewas to rid themselves of any other gods.Whenever anyone has a God other than the onetrue God, that person is in trouble. So long asIsrael was faithful and served the one true God,God delivered them.I know that God’s Word is talking aboutliteral idols here, and today you may not have anidol or a statue of a God. But you still can have agod other than the one true God. Your god couldbe a job, a social position, food, or a hobby—just anything that is more important to you than178Choose You This Daydoing God’s will. What is first in your life? Whatis your god? Joshua told the children of Israelto get rid of anything that stood in the way ofserving the one true God. If money is still moreimportant to you than God, you have a god—money. That is what is meant by the expression,“Put your wallet on the altar. Dedicate it toGod.” You have to get to the place that there isonly one God in your life, and that God is thetrue God, Jehovah, and He is the only one youwill serve. He is the one to whom you arededicated. Everything else in life is secondary.Matthew 6 tells us this.Matthew 6:33:But seek ye first the kingdom of God, andhis righteousness; and all these things shallbe added unto you.The only way to real success is to have the onetrue God and to put Him first in your life. Thedecision to serve the one true God and no othergods was Joshua’s concern in his final instructionsto the children of Israel before he died.Joshua 24:15:And if it seem evil [wrong] unto you to servethe Lord [Jehovah], choose you this daywhom ye will serve; whether the gods which179


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesChoose You This Dayyour fathers served that were on the otherWith these words, Joshua set an example and aside of the flood [and those gods weren’tchallenge for others to accept. Joshua and hispowerful enough to keep us from leavinghouse were determined to serve the Lord. TheEgypt], or the gods of the Amorites, inquestion still remained: Whom were the rest ofwhose land ye dwell [and those gods weren’tthe people of Israel going to serve?powerful enough to keep us from subduingtheir followers and taking their land]: but as Verses 16-18:for me and my house, we will serve theAnd the people answered and said, God for-Lord.bid that we should forsake the Lord, toserve other gods;Joshua told the people to choose, to make aFor the Lord our God, he it is that broughtdecision, whom they would serve. Jehovah hadus up and our fathers out of the land ofdelivered them from the Egyptians and theirEgypt, from the house of bondage, andgods, and Jehovah had delivered them from thewhich [Who] did those great signs in ourAmorites and their gods, to cite just two examplesof God’s power having been abundantlywherein we went, and among all the peoplesight, and preserved us in all the waymanifested to them. The children of Israel couldthrough whom we passed:serve the other people’s gods if they chose. ButAnd the Lord drave out from before us allthey also had the option of choosing to servethe people, even the Amorites which dweltJehovah, the one God Who had delivered themin the land: therefore will we also serve theover and over again.Lord; for he is our God.“. . . Choose you this day whom ye willserve. . . .” We, too, have to make a choice. Arewe really going to stand for God and His Wordor are we just going to talk about it? We mustmake up our minds. Joshua had made up his mindwhen he said with great determination, “As for meand my house, we will serve the Lord.”Once the people voiced their decision to continueserving Jehovah, Joshua could then give them furtherinstructions for their walk before God.Verses 19 and 20:And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot180181


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesJoshua responded, “You yourselves are wit-nesses of the promise which you just made.”serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is ajealous God; he will not forgive your transgressionsnor your sins.If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strangegods, then he will turn and do you hurt, andconsume you, after that he hath done yougood.This warning by Joshua is the Old Testamentway of saying that when people turn away fromGod, they are no longer protected by Him. TheDevil can then do as he pleases with them. TheDevil may get an inroad into some of our lives attimes, but the Devil’s power over those bornagain is limited because God is always presentwithin them.Verses 21 and 22:And the people said unto Joshua, Nay [wewill not forsake the Lord]; but we will servethe Lord.And Joshua said unto the people, Ye arewitnesses against yourselves that ye havechosen you the Lord, to serve him. And theysaid, We are witnesses.The people said to Joshua, who spoke forGod, that they would be faithful to Jehovah. So182Choose You This DayVerses 23-26:Now therefore put away, said he, thestrange gods which are among you [Somewere still around.], and incline your heartunto the Lord God of Israel.And the people said unto Joshua, The Lordour God will we serve, and his voice will weobey.So Joshua made a covenant [an agreement]with the people that day, and set them astatute and an ordinance [a commandment]in Shechem.And Joshua wrote these words in the bookof the law of God, and took a great stone,and set it up there under an oak, that was bythe sanctuary of the Lord.Joshua made an agreement with the peopleand wrote it on a scroll. To put the covenant intowriting after making an oral vow made a greaterimpact on the people’s minds, and it became asource of reference and a reminder of their vow.The covenant, or agreement, was the commitmentthat Joshua, God’s spokesman, had heardthe people make: They would serve God and183


God’s Order in Old Testament Timesobey His voice. When the people were given achoice of whom they would serve, they answeredJoshua in one voice, “We are going to remainfaithful to Jehovah. We choose to serveJehovah. And we are not going to allow ourpeople to marry men and women who serve othergods. We guarantee that we are going to standfor the true God.”Joshua then wrote the commitment whichIsrael had made, and he “took a great stone”—the longest lasting and largest thing he couldhave used—and built a place where all the peoplecould see the stone. This permanent marker wasto be a constant reminder of their commitment toJehovah, as witnessed by Joshua.Joshua took the symbol of their commitment,a great stone, and placed it beneath an oak tree.The oak tree in the Bible symbolizes the presenceof God. In Biblical times people would sit underan oak tree to pray. When a person in theEastern culture wanted to ponder something orwanted to consider carefully a situation andmake a decision, he would sit under an oak tree.Thus it was beneath an oak tree that Joshuachose to mark the children of Israel’s very greatand important decision to commit themselves toserve the Lord.184Choose You This DayAs years went by, the stone remained. TheWord declares that these people were to teach thecommandments to their children and to theirchildren’s children.* They would see the stoneand be reminded that their forefathers had madea commitment to serve no other God but Jehovahonly. This great stone was something they couldsee for years and years, and it would remindthem of the covenant made there at Shechem.Verses 27 and 28:And Joshua said unto all the people,Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us;for it hath heard all the words of the Lordwhich he spake unto us: it shall be thereforea witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.So Joshua let the people depart, every manunto his inheritance.Joshua sent every man back to his inherited*Deuteronomy 6:6-9: “And these words, which I commandthee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shaltteach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk ofthem when thou sittest in thine house, and when thouwalkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and whenthou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign uponthine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thineeyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thyhouse, and on thy gates.”185


God’s Order in Old Testament Timesland which God had given him. He allowed thepeople to go back and reap the fruit of thatwhich God had made available to them.As believers we have only one life to live and togive, and we have to give our utmost for God’sHighest. Our commitment to serve God releasesGod’s blessing on our lives, just as it did in thetime of Joshua. We have the freedom of choiceto decide this day whom we are going to serve.I exhort you to make the same commitment withme: “As for me and my house, we will serve theLord.” This is the great decision around whichall of our lives pivot. Commit yourself to serveGod and Him only, and teach your children andyour children’s children to do the same. Hold tothat commitment and enjoy the inheritance providedfor you by God through Christ Jesus, anddeclare boldly, “As for me and my house, wewill serve the Lord!”Chapter TenTHE WAY OF LIFE OR DEATHJeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, has beencalled the weeping prophet because he wasalways weeping over Israel when they turnedaway from God.* Regardless of what people maycall those who seek God and His way, God stillreveals Himself to the meek. And sometimeswhat God reveals is intended to give theunbeliever, who is meek, an opportunity to leavehis spiritual darkness and the valley of death andto follow the way of life. Jeremiah was God’smessenger to offer God’s plan to the people ofhis day. “There are two ways before you,”Jeremiah told the children of Israel. “One way isthe way of life; the other is the way of death.Now you choose which you will follow. Youchoose your destiny.”I think we of The Way Ministry are again settingbefore the people of our time those twochoices—the way of life and the way of death.*Jeremiah 13:15-17; 22:9,10; 48:29-32.186187


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesThose who reject God’s Word and those whodeliberately abuse it are choosing the way ofdeath. But those who come to God’s Word,believe it, and act on it are choosing the wayof life.When spokesmen of God declare these twoways and make clear to people the two alternatives,people are not always pleased. Theydon’t always want to hear the truth and may notappreciate those who speak it. Jeremiah andother prophets, some of whom are listed inHebrews 11, were wonderful spokesmen of Godwho heard God’s voice and who set before thepeople of their times the truth of God’s Word.Hebrews 11 describes how some of these prophetsand believers were treated in response to theirspeaking for God.188Hebrews 11:37 and 38:They were stoned, they were sawn asunder[cut up into pieces], were tempted, wereslain with the sword: they wandered aboutin sheepskins and goatskins [The skins offreshly skinned animals were sewed onthem. When the skins dried, the bodieswould be compressed inside.]; beingdestitute, afflicted, tormented;The Way of Life or Death(Of whom the world was not worthy:) theywandered in deserts, and in mountains, andin dens and caves of the earth.These were men and women of God who intheir day and in their time endeavored to carryout God’s Word; they held it forth to the best oftheir abilities. The people’s response to thesemen and women of God was what we just read.And people haven’t changed. Some individuals,yes, but whole nations, no. We must still come tothe position of again setting before people what Ibelieve is the way of life for those who believeGod’s Word and the way of death for those whodo not, regardless of their response to the personpresenting the choice.You set the Word before people and peoplemake up their minds whether they want tobelieve it or whether they don’t want to believe it.Those who believe it get the results of theirbelieving. Those who do not believe it get theconsequences of their unbelief. For those whobelieve, it is the way of life. For those who do notbelieve, it is the way of death.In the Book of Jeremiah, we are certainly impressedby the number of times Jeremiah was instructedby God to offer the inhabitants of Judaha way of escape from the doom which their189


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesThe Way of Life or Deathunbelief would bring upon them. By chapter 19upon all her towns all the evil that I have proofJeremiah, where this study begins, God hadnounced against it”—was not news received withrepeatedly told Jeremiah to declare to the peopleappreciation and meekness. In the days of theof Jerusalem and Judah that unless they de-Prophet Jonah, the entire city of Ninevehstroyed their idols and returned to worshipingresponded to a similar warning and penitentlyJehovah, they would be taken captive to Babylonturned to God. But the people of Judah rejectedfor seventy years. Literal captivity would be theirthe preaching of Jeremiah and felt no remorse,consequence for not heeding God’s voice via therefusing to hearken to God’s Word. In fact, theProphet Jeremiah. Now, the people didn’t wantBook of Jeremiah continues this account by telltohear this! They didn’t want to rid themselvesing the abuse which Jeremiah had to endure forof their idolatry; they didn’t want to change. Sohaving been God’s spokesman.God once again told Jeremiah to go to the peopleof Jerusalem and pronounce their doom to them. Jeremiah 20:1:Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest,Jeremiah 19:14 and 15:who was also chief governor in the house ofThen came Jeremiah from Tophet, whitherthe Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesiedthe Lord had sent him to prophesy; and hethese things.stood in the court of the Lord’s house [theTemple]; and said to all the people,We are about to find out how this man PashurThus saith the Lord of hosts, the God ofIsrael; Behold, I will bring upon this cityand upon all her towns all the evil that Ihave pronounced against it, because theyhave hardened their necks, that they mightnot hear my words.Jeremiah’s declaration of God’s revelation tohim—”I [God] will bring upon this city anddealt with God and God’s man, Jeremiah. ClearlyPashur was a man of prestige and authority.Besides being the son of a priest, thus havingstatus in the religious circles of his time, he wasalso the “chief governor in the house of theLord,” the Temple. What an elevated position ofleadership to have! Such religious and socialprestige!But Pashur, the son of a priest and the chief190191


God’s Order in Old Testament Timesruler of the Temple, was neither meek nor open toGod and His Word as delivered by the ProphetJeremiah.Verse 2:Then Pashur smote [nakah] Jeremiah theprophet, and put him in the stocks that werein the high gate of Benjamin, which was bythe house of the Lord.When Pashur heard that Jeremiah had prophesiedJudah’s doom, “Pashur smote Jeremiahthe prophet.” Jeremiah hadn’t hurt anybody. Hewasn’t out stealing from people. He wasn’t goingaround destroying property. And yet Pashur,this man of prestige and authority, a man highlyrespected by the vast majority of the people,smote Jeremiah the prophet, God’s spokesman.Now what do you think of when you read,“Pashur smote Jeremiah”? What exactly didPashur do? Maybe you never gave it muchthought. It’s just a word, “smote.” The Hebrewword for “smote” is nqkah. Deuteronomy explainswhat this word means, which is translated“beaten” in Deuteronomy 25.192Deuteronomy 25:2 and 3:. . .if the wicked man be worthy to be beatenThe Way of Life or Death[nakah], that the judge shall cause him to liedown, and to be beaten [nakah] before hisface, according to his fault, by a certainnumber.Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed:lest, if he should exceed, and beat[nakah] him above these with many stripes,then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.Pashur forced Jeremiah to endure thirty-ninelashes with a whip. That’s how Pashur smoteJeremiah. Then he had Jeremiah put into stocks,with his hands, his feet, and his neck locked betweentwo large pieces of wood, at the high gateof Benjamin.The high gate of Benjamin was at the northside of the Temple area, leading to the city. Thisgate was “by the house,” the Temple. Bypunishing Jeremiah in the area of the house ofJehovah, Pashur made the prophet a public exhibitionat the very place where God said Hewould meet His people. Pashur was making amockery of God’s spokesman, and therefore amockery of God, in the very area of God’s ownHouse!First of all, Pashur had Jeremiah beaten withthirty-nine lashes. Then he put him in stocks at193


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesThe Way of Life or Deaththe high gate of Benjamin, making him an exam-moment of his release. Would you have had thatple and causing fear in the people so that theymuch boldness?would not believe Jeremiah’s pronouncement ofdoom. If anyone believed what Jeremiah said, Verses 4 and 5:they would receive the same treatment he hadFor thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will makereceived. Nobody would dare to listen to him, tothee a terror [magor] to thyself [I’ll makefollow him, or to join him.you have fear yourself], and to all thyPashur left Jeremiah in the stocks all day andall night to punish and disgrace him and tospread fear and thereby to maintain control overthe whole city.friends: and they shall fall by the sword oftheir enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it:and I will give all Judah into the hand of theking of Babylon, and he shall carry themcaptive into Babylon, and shall slay themJeremiah 20:3:And it came to pass on the morrow [the nextwith the sword.Moreover I will deliver all the strength ofday], that Pashur brought forth Jeremiahthis city [all the manpower], and all theout of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah untolabours thereof, and all the precious thingshim, The Lord hath not called thy name[valuables] thereof, and all the treasures ofPashur, but Magormissabib.the kings of Judah will I give into the handof their enemies, which shall spoil them, andPashur was causing people to fear. Jeremiahtake them, and carry them to Babylon.told Pashur, “The Lord did not speak of you as‘Pashur,’ meaning ‘most noble.’ That’s not yourIt was not God’s will that this should happenname so far as God is concerned. Your nameto Judah, but the people caused it to happen byis ‘Magormissabib,’ ‘fear all around.’” It took atheir unbelief, by their rejection of God, and bylot of courage for a man in Jeremiah’s posi-their treatment of God’s prophet, Jeremiah, whotion—having just been beaten, put in stocks,spoke for God. When they rejected the way ofand publicly disgraced—to speak out with thelife and treated Jeremiah with contempt, it wasgreatness of the truth of God’s Word at theas if God were being treated with contempt.194 195


God’s Order in Old Testament TimesThe Way of Life or DeathMan can do a lot of things; but there is oneAfter seeing the boldness of Jeremiah in thething he can’t do and get away with—and that isfirst six verses of Jeremiah 20, the next threeto mock God. It may look like he’s getting awayverses in the King James Version seem out ofwith it at times, but don’t be fooled. It lookedcharacter for him.that way here when Pashur was wielding authority.But circumstances change. Pashur’s life Verses 7-9:wasn’t over yet.O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I wasdeceived: thou art stronger than I, and hastJeremiah had the boldness to look directly atprevailed: I am in derision daily, every onePashur and say, “Look, you can put me inmocketh me.stocks, you can beat me, that’s okay. But I wantto tell you something: You and all Judah are goingto suffer because you have not obeyed mylence and spoil; because the word of theFor since I spake, I cried out, I cried vio-warning.”Lord was made a reproach unto me, and aderision, daily.Verse 6:Then I said, I will not make mention of him,And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thinenor speak any more in his name. But hishouse shall go into captivity: and thou shaltword was in mine heart as a burning firecome to Babylon, and there thou shalt die,shut up in my bones, and I was weary withand shalt be buried there, thou, and all thyforbearing, and I could not stay.friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.Pashur could make a public mockery of theprophet. But in the end, the truth of God wouldindeed prevail. The prophesied end of Pashur,the powerful chief officer of the Temple, wasdeath in Babylon along with his friends. TheWord of the Lord was spoken clearly byJeremiah, and that’s exactly what happened.These three verses are hard to understand afterobserving Jeremiah’s forthrightness in the precedingverses. A much better and a clearer translationof verses 7,8, and 9 is found in Dr. GeorgeM. Lamsa’s Aramaic translation:Oh Lord, thou hast comforted me, and I amcomforted; thou art stronger than I, and196197


God’s Order in Old Testament Timeshast prevailed; I have become a laughingstockdaily, every one mocks me.For at the time when I spoke and cried out, Ispoke against the extortioners and againstthe robbers; because the word of the Lordhas become for me a reproach and derisiondaily.Then I said, I will not make mention of him[the Lord], nor speak any more in his name.But his word became in my heart like aburning fire kindling in my bones; and Isought to be patient, but I could not endureit.*This is tremendous. How wonderful thesewords of Jeremiah are. Jeremiah praises God forbeing his comfort. “Lord, you’ve comforted me.I am at peace.”Within himself Jeremiah was as every humanbeing would have been in his situation. Hewanted to be respected, loved, and blessed. Hewasn’t speaking God’s Word just because hewanted to make trouble. He spoke God’s Wordbecause that was the only thing he knew to do.*George M. Lamsa, trans., The Holy Bible from AncientEastern Manuscripts (Nashville, Tenn.: A.J. Holman, 1957).198The Way of Life or DeathBut then as he spoke God’s Word, he waspunished for it by people’s reproach, derision,and mocking. As a human being, Jeremiahbecame discouraged. Who wants to be a laughingstockand suffer reproach? Jeremiah becameweary of this, and his emotions almost overcamehim. He thought that if he didn’t mentionJehovah or speak in His name anymore, peoplewould leave him alone. But then, Jeremiahdeclared, “His word became in my heart like aburning fire kindling in my bones.” Jeremiahcouldn’t bear not to speak God’s Word.Worn down by the smiting, the ridicule, andthe mocking, Jeremiah had wanted to close hismouth and stay out of trouble. But then just ashe was going to withdraw and be quiet, God’sWord became like a burning fire in his heart.God’s Word welled up within Jeremiah. Hecould not keep silent. As God’s Word burned inhis heart and in his bones—his whole innerbeing—Jeremiah couldn’t keep still. He had tospeak what he was called by God to speak nomatter what the consequences; otherwise, he saidhe could not have endured it.Throughout the centuries, men have come andgone, but the Word of God has lived and willcontinue to abide forever. Jeremiahs come andgo, but the Word of God that they proclaim199


God’s Order in Old Testament Timescomes to pass. It’s the Word of God that comesto pass. And it’s the Word of God that stands nomatter what men say, think, or do. Don’t befooled by the world. Do you think the people ofthe world have power? Man has no power. Manis like the grass of the field—here today and gonetomorrow. It’s the Word of God that remains. Itis God’s Word which sets before mankind thetwo choices of life and death. Jeremiah, as God’sspokesman, presented these choices to the inhabitantsof Jerusalem and all Judah in his day.Jeremiah 21:8:I set before you the way of life, and theway of death.The choice is that sharp. You’ve got to makeup your mind whether you’re going to believeGod’s Word or whether you’re going to believethe Pashurs who speak contrary to God’s Word.200Hebrews 4:12:For the word of God is quick [living], andpowerful [energetic], and [the Word of Godis] sharper than [or above] any twoedgedsword, piercing even to the dividing asunderof soul [natural life] and spirit [spirituallife], and of the joints and marrow, and [theWord of God] is a discerner [critic; theThe Way of Life or DeathWord of God is the critic] of the thoughtsand intents of the heart [the mind of man].The Word of God is the critic. Yet many peoplethink that they are the judges of God and HisWord. Man always gets things backward whenhe goes his own way.You must make up your mind whether or notyou’re going to walk for God and live accordingto His Word. Whether or not you live accordingto that Word, now and always the Word of Godis still your critic. We, of our own free will,choose either the way of life or the way of death.Pashur couldn’t outsmart God by ridiculing theperson who spoke God’s Word. Neither can weoutsmart God by devising our own ways andworking contrary to His ways. Rather, we needto kindle the fire of God’s Word in our heartsand let it ignite our lives with the power of God.Thereby we choose the way of life.201


PART IVGOD’S ORDERFORQUALITY BELIEVERS


PART IVGOD’S ORDER FORQUALITY BELIEVERSQuality believers are those followers of theLord Jesus Christ whose lives are ordered inGod’s Word. It is evident that before anyone’slife can be ordered in God’s Word, that personmust first acquire an accurate knowledge of God’sWord. So it was with Zacchaeus in “ClimbingHigh to Seek Truth.” Zacchaeus sought the LordJesus Christ, gained a knowledge of the truth,and then ordered his life according to God’sWord.In “The Mark of Quality” we study Galatians5 and 6 to find the qualities that characterizeWord-oriented believers.“The Light of Life” details the significance oflight in God’s Word. Light orders our lives bothin a physical sense and in a spiritual sense.The last chapter, entitled “Quickened Togetherwith Christ,” is a study of the wonderful and inspiringtruths found in Colossians 2. Believers in205


God’s Order for Quality Believersthe Age of Grace are completely complete inChrist Jesus because of his accomplishments.God in His unfathomable grace and mercy tellsus who we are in Christ Jesus and what greatriches are available to us as God’s children. Howcan we not fervently desire to have our livesestablished by a God Who loves us so dearly?Psalms 119:133:Order my steps in thy word: and let not anyiniquity have dominion over me.Understanding God’s order should motivateall of us to order our steps more perfectly in HisWord. Sin will have no dominion over us, and wewill manifest God’s will as quality believers.Chapter ElevenCLIMBING HIGH TO SEEK TRUTHAs we pass through life, we must climb everhigher and higher in our hearts and minds withthe greatness of God’s Word. We must alwayskeep progressing to see more and more of God’sWord and His promises manifested in our dailylives.Luke 19 contains the record of a man wholiterally climbed high to see the savior. This is theaccount of Jesus and Zacchaeus, a story thatalways stirs the hearts of those hungering forGod’s Word.Luke 19:1:And Jesus entered and passed throughJericho.The city of Jericho is northeast of Jerusalem,situated on the Jordan River. Frequently whenJesus traveled from Galilee to Jerusalem, hepassed through Jericho. Luke 19 relates what occurredin one particular instance.206207


God’s Order for Quality Believersto demand more taxes than they were required tocollect. For example, if a tax collector were in-structed to collect $100 from you, he might in-form you that you owed $120. He would collect$120, turn in the $100 to the Roman government,and put $20 in his own pocket.Verse 2:And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus,which was the chief among the publicans,and he was rich.This Zacchaeus was the chief among thepublicans. Publicans were tax collectors. Zacchaeuswas not just a common tax collector; hewas chief in that area of Judea. Tax collectingthen, even more than today, was considered adisreputable occupation. The Roman system oftax collecting in Judea and throughout theRoman Empire during Jesus’ lifetime was knownto be an abusive system, compounded by the dishonestyand extortion of the publicans associatedwith it. Many passages in the Gospels bring thisfact to light, Luke 3 being one example.208Luke 3:12 and 13:Then came also publicans to be baptized [byJohn the Baptist], and said unto him [John],Master, what shall we do?And he said unto them [the publicans],Exact no more than that which is appointedyou [or, “Don’t take more than you’reordered to collect.”].It was not an uncommon practice for publicansClimbing High to Seek TruthAnother reason that tax collectors were held insuch low esteem was that these publicans, beingJudeans, were virtually aiding the uncircumcisedRomans at the expense of their own people.Publicans were dealing with and helping theforeign conquerors by doing Roman “dirtywork.”The Gospel of Matthew gives an account ofJesus Christ’s being confronted by a group ofpeople on this same sensitive issue of taxation.Matthew 22:17 and 18:. . .[the people asked Jesus] Is it lawful togive tribute [head tax] unto Caesar, or not?But Jesus perceived their wickedness, andsaid, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?In the situation recorded here, those questioningJesus weren’t sincerely interested in the truth;they were interested in trapping Jesus by catchinghim in his own statements. Nevertheless, we who209


God’s Order for Quality BelieversClimbing High to Seek Truthare sincerely interested in learning can learn fromJesus’ response.who collects taxes an extortioner. This is as truetoday as it was in the days of Jesus Christ.Some of these wicked hypocrites temptingI’ve explained this sidelight information aboutJesus were Herodians, Judeans who supportedpublicans in the first century in order for us toRoman rule. Among them were probably appreciate the great significance found in the acpublicanswho were exacting more taxes than thecount of Zacchaeus and Jesus in Luke 19. Welaw called for. Jesus knew who they were andneed to understand the social implications of taxcaught them off guard with his wise response.collecting and tax collectors.Verses 19-21:Shew me the tribute money. And theybrought unto him a penny.And he saith unto them, Whose is this imageand superscription?They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith heunto them, Render therefore unto Caesarthe things which are Caesar’s; and unto Godthe things that are God’s.For any nation there has to be some type oftaxation. It is our responsibility as citizens andChristians to give to Caesar the things that areCaesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,and we must recognize the difference.Just because tax collecting may be considereda vulgar occupation associated with extortion inan abusive system, that doesn’t make everybodyVerse 2 of Luke 19 tells us that Zacchaeus was“chief among the publicans, and he was rich.”Now people have read these two statements as ifthey were directly related. Some conclude thatthe reason Zacchaeus was rich was that he was apublican who collected more than was required,that he was extorting money from people. Butdoes God’s Word say that? No, it doesn’t. Itsimply states that Zacchaeus was chief among thepublicans and that he was rich. It doesn’t say hecheated to get rich. This may have been a practiceby other publicans, but it doesn’t say thatZacchaeus did it. We have no right to read intothis statement in Luke that Zacchaeus obtainedhis wealth dishonestly.Publicans were tax collectors, just as somepeople today are farmers or plumbers or politiciansor teachers. Just because a person is a richplumber doesn’t indicate that he is a corrupt210211


God’s Order for Quality BelieversClimbing High to Seek Truthplumber who has obtained his wealth dishon-television reporters. “Press” means “numbersestly. That’s an unjustified assumption. Neitherof people.” There were so many people suroccupationnor wealth indicates dishonesty. All Irounding Jesus that Zacchaeus couldn’t get aknow is that the Word of God says Zacchaeusglimpse of him.was a publican and he was rich. We learn oneother thing about Zacchaeus in this account and Verse 3:that is that he was motivated by a wonderful. . .because he was little of stature.desire: He wanted. to see Jesus.Zacchaeus was short. The biggest thing aboutLuke 19:3:him was his desire to see Jesus.And he sought to see Jesus who he was; andcould not for the press, because he was little Verse 4:of stature.And he [Zacchaeus] ran before [ahead ofwhere Jesus was walking], and climbed upZacchaeus wanted to see Jesus—who he was.into a sycamore tree to see him: for hePerhaps it was simple curiosity prompting him.[Jesus] was to pass that way.The text doesn’t say. But whatever the reason, atleast he wanted to see Jesus. I wish that today,Zacchaeus climbed up into a sycamore tree inacross our nation, there were more people whoorder to get a view of this noted person, Jesus,wanted to see Jesus. When people ask to seewhom people were talking about. ZacchaeusJesus today, we’ve got to show him. When theytook the necessary action to fulfill his desire.want to see Jesus, who he is, we can show themThat’s very important. If you want to see JesusGod’s Word and the greatness of Jesus Christ’sChrist through God’s Word, you need to move,position in the Word.take action. Zacchaeus took the initiative andZacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but hecouldn’t. The reason he couldn’t see him or getclimbed up into that sycamore tree.The record that the tree Zacchaeus climbedto him was for “the press.” That doesn’t meanwas a sycamore tree is interesting information. Athe news media, such as newspaper, radio, ortree called “a sycamore” in the Bible is not the212 213


God’s Order for Quality BelieversClimbing High to Seek Truthsame as the common sycamore tree found here inthey will have that desire met according to God’sAmerica. The sycamore tree spoken of in theWord. Those people who hunger and thirst afterEast in Bible times was a certain type of fig tree.righteousness shall (absolutely) be filled. That’sA sycamore fig is specifically what the tree was.right. What an example of fulfilling this promiseIt is significant that Zacchaeus would climb thisfrom this record in God’s Word.type of tree. Sycamore fig trees were despised;they bore a fruit that was fed to cows and pigs.* Verse 5:But Zacchaeus climbed one in search of spiritualAnd when Jesus came to the place, he lookednourishment from the Lord Jesus Christ, who isup, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacthegreatest food of all time; indeed, he is thechaeus, make haste, and come down; for tobread of life. Zacchaeus’ climbing the despisedday I must abide at thy house.sycamore fig tree was an act of great humility.Did Jesus say, “Zacchaeus, you’re a lowly,Verse 5:no-good publican”? Did he call, “Hey, Shorty”?And when Jesus came to the place, heNo. How did Jesus know his name? The recordlooked up. . . .doesn’t tell us, but he addressed Zacchaeusdirectly. Zacchaeus had never before seen JesusZacchaeus was crouched in the sycamore figChrist, let alone ever had a conversation withtree looking down, while Jesus Christ looked up.him. How electrifying!Jesus Christ cared enough about this one man toSince Zacchaeus could not see Jesus because ofstop amid all the hubbub and demands of thethe crowd and his size, he climbed up into apressing crowd and speak directly to that onesycamore fig tree to see him. Jesus came along,person.surrounded by masses of people, stopped, andI want to tell you, whenever there are men andsaid, “Hi, Zacchaeus. It’s wonderful that youwomen desiring to know the Lord Jesus Christ,are looking for me. Come down now. I’m goingto your house with you.” What do you think*K.C. Pillai, Light through an Eastern Window (NewYork: Robert Speller & Sons, 1963), p. 105.Zacchaeus’ heart did? I’ll bet it picked up a fewbeats. I’ll bet tears welled up in this surprised and214215


God’s Order for Quality BelieversClimbing High to Seek Truthblessed man’s eyes. Zacchaeus couldn’t conceiveThat is why I do not believe all the unsubstanofJesus’ offer to him. “Me? Me? Me?” Jesustiated things some people have suggested aboutsaid, “Yes, you, Zacchaeus. Come on, makeZacchaeus; such accusations cannot stand uphaste, come down. Today I’m going to spendagainst the truth of God’s Word. I believe Zactimeat your house.” And do you know, Zac-chaeus must have been a wonderful man.chaeus responded quickly and joyfully to Jesus’offer. It says so in verse 6. Verse 7:And when they [the people around Jesus,Verse 6:perhaps including apostles, disciples, andAnd he made haste, and came down, and re-others] saw it [that Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ceived him [in his home] joyfully.house], they all murmured, saying, That hewas gone to be guest with a man that is aZacchaeus made haste and received Jesussinner.joyfully into his home. No one who is livingdishonestly and cheating people, whose heart isThe people murmured. They didn’t speak inof stone, would receive Jesus Christ joyfully. Butnormal tones; they whispered, “How can Jesus,Zacchaeus’ heart and personal life must havethis great prophet, go to the house of and be thebeen pure and at peace, for he readily receivedguest of a man who’s a sinner?” How do you likeJesus into his home.that? The crowd didn’t come right out and say tohim, “Jesus, do you realize that you’re eatingwith a bad guy?” No, they murmured behind hisback.While the people were carrying on in their ig-norance, Zacchaeus was telling Jesus abouthimself.Put yourself in the same place. Let’s say youlived like the Devil, raised hell, ran around, andcarried on. Then an outstanding and powerfulbeliever came and said, “Come on, I want tospend the day with you.” How would you feel?Terrible. Your inclination would probably be tomake excuses and then decline the offer; thesituation would make you too uncomfortable. Verse 8:And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the216 217


God’s Order for Quality BelieversClimbing High to Seek TruthLord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods IThat is why Jesus stopped at his house. Hegive to the poor....didn’t stop there because Zacchaeus was anunderhanded thief, a dishonest tax collector. AsWhen Zacchaeus revealed this information, ita publican, Zacchaeus would be despised bygave a whole new perspective on this man. Howthe public as a whole. He would be considered bymany people do you know who give fifty percentmany to have a disreputable occupation workingof their incomes to help others? Zacchaeus gavefor the Gentiles. Yet Jesus stopped with him thatthat much. And he wasn’t lying to Jesus, or Jesusday because Jesus didn’t live by stereotypes. Hewould have known and reproved him. He said,walked by his revelation from God, and he knew“Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor.”that Zacchaeus was not a wicked, underhanded,hard-hearted person. Jesus knew by revelation. . .and if I have taken any thing from any that Zacchaeus was a wonderful, honest manman by false accusation [or extortion—ifdesiring to hear God’s Word. And Zacchaeus’I’ve taken anything as a tax collector,own words bore out that revelation.anything from anybody illegally], I restorehim [How much?] fourfold.I want to tell you, Zacchaeus was a wonderfulman! He was saying to the lord, “If I’ve takenanything from any man which I shouldn’t havetaken, Lord, I’d give back to him four times theamount that I took.” Quite a tax collector. Yes,he was rich. But that was not all that characterizedthis man. He was also extremely charitable.He shared fifty percent of his goods with thepoor. And he declared, “If I’ve extortedanything from anybody, I’ll pay it back fourtimes over.” What a man!Imagine Jesus Christ’s coming to this man’shouse! A man whom he had never met before. Itmust have been exciting for Zacchaeus. A oncein-a-lifetimeexperience.Verse 9:And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvationcome to this house.Why was salvation come to that house?Because the savior himself was there. Whereverthe savior is, there is salvation. But why Zacchaeus’house?218219


God’s Order for Quality BelieversClimbing High to Seek Truth. . . forsomuch as he also is a son of said, “Zacchaeus, come on down, and I’ll spendAbraham.some time at your house.” There Jesus taughthim God’s truth, and Zacchaeus believed it.Jesus then said that the Son of man, JesusChrist, was come to save those who were lost.Do you know what a son of Abraham is? Abeliever. A person who, when God’s Word isopened to him, hears the Word and believes it.*Zacchaeus was not only a blood descendant ofAbraham, he was a believer. Jesus went homewith him, shared his life with him, and taughthim God’s Word. Salvation came that day toZacchaeus’ house because a son of Abraham, abeliever, came to know Jesus the Christ. What awonderful record in God’s Word.Then comes Jesus’ statement in verse 10, whichreproved the murmurings spoken of in verse 7.Verse 10:For the Son of man is come to seek and tosave that which was lost.Zacchaeus had never before had the privilegeof meeting Jesus. He had never before heardwhat you and I today would call “the message ofsalvation.” Yet he wanted to see Jesus. So heclimbed up in a tree. When Jesus saw him, heGalatians 3:7: “Know ye therefore that they which are offaith [believing], the same are the children of Abraham.”Jesus Christ is a physician of the soul. A physicianis not needed when one is healthy. JesusChrist comes to seek and to save, to givewholeness to those in spiritual need. He seeksthose who are lost—men and women who needthe Lord Jesus Christ. He has no problem extendinghimself to you and to me, because we arethe people he came to seek and to save. Hebrews7:25 says that Jesus Christ is “able also to savethem to the uttermost that come unto God byhim.” Jesus Christ is always ready to meet you. Hemet Zacchaeus, who had climbed up in a tree to seehim. Wherever there are men and women whoreally want to hear, Jesus Christ is always there.There is no one so low that the arms of theAlmighty are not underneath him. There is noone so high that the arms of the Almighty are notover him. And there is no one other than His Sonwho can save people. For there is no other namegiven among men whereby we must be saved.**Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: forthere is none other name under heaven given among men,whereby we must be saved.”220221


God’s Order for Quality BelieversLadies and gentlemen, whatever you have todo to know the Lord Jesus Christ, do it.Wherever you have to go to learn about him, doit. The one great driving force of your soulshould be to know Jesus Christ. Who is he? Theonly way you’ll ever know who Jesus Christ is isto come to God’s Word. The Word makesknown Jesus Christ. The Word tells you who heis. It is that Word which brings you to aknowledge of salvation.What do you need to hear? God’s Word.*Jesus Christ was that Word, the Living Word,who met Zacchaeus that day in Jericho. And hebrought Zacchaeus to the great reality of being abeliever, because Jesus was willing to teach himand Zacchaeus was meek to learn. If you want toexperience the truth of God’s Word, climb highto seek truth. God always has and always willseek out and teach those who are looking toJesus Christ as their savior and lord.*Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, andhearing by the word of God.”222Chapter TwelveTHE MARK OF QUALITYAs children of God and imitators of JesusChrist, each of us wants to live a quality Christianlife. The type of quality we want is the Goddefinedquality which He unfolds for us in HisWord. Quality Christian lives are “fruitbearing”lives. They are fruit-of-the-spirit-filledlives. Galatians 5 enumerates the fruit of thespirit.Galatians 5:22:But the fruit of the Spirit. . .The topic is “fruit of the Spirit.” Spiritualfruit comes as a result of operating the manifestationsof holy spirit. To understand this, let’sexamine the production of natural fruit. Let’stake apples, for example. To grow an apple, firstan apple seed must be sown. When the life processesin that seed begin to function, a seedlingsprouts and grows. As the tree reaches maturity,it bears fruit—apples. Similarly, if each one of usis going to have the fruit of the spirit, we’ve first223


God’s Order for Quality Believersgot to have the spirit, which is seed. Then thisspirit must be cultivated by our “walking bythe spirit,” by our operating the manifestations ofthe spirit. The end result of the utilization of themanifestations of the spirit is spiritual fruit.Now what is this fruit that results? There arenine qualities listed as the fruit of the spirit inGalatians 5.Galatians 5:22-26:But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,Meekness, temperance: against such there is nolaw.And they that are Christ’s have crucified theflesh with the affections and lusts.If we live [zaÇ] in the Spirit, let us also walk[stoicheÇ, proceed] in [by] the Spirit.Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provokingone another, envying one another.Our mark of quality is our having the fruit ofthe spirit manifested in our lives. The mark ofquality is a fruit-of-the-spirit-filled life which isthe result of walking with the manifestations ofthe spirit.224The Mark of QualityNow, I couldn’t have that mark of quality if Ididn’t have Christ in me. “Christ in me” meansthat I have been born again—a spiritual birth.And that new birth is seed. It is the new creationby God’s Spirit. Yet that seed is simply potential.It is the cultivation of that seed which will resultin quality lives. Just what kind of life are youmanifesting? What are you doing in your walk?Do you have that mark of quality that God’sWord says you should have as a born-again sonor daughter of God? Galatians 6 begins to showwhat this walk looks like, how one recognizes thefruit of the spirit.Galatians 6:1:Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault,ye which are spiritual, restore such an one inthe spirit of meekness; considering thyself,lest thou also be tempted.Let those who are spiritual do what? Restore.We’re not to tear down believers who have afault. The word “restore” basically means “tocorrect.” All Scripture is profitable for doctrine,reproof, and correction.* In this verse, we are*11 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration ofGod, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction,for instruction in righteousness.”225


God’s Order for Quality BelieversThe Mark of Qualitytold to restore the person who has a fault by correctinghim or her in the spirit of meekness.Galatians 6:1 gives specific instruction regard-ing the person who is spiritual. It says that if youare a spiritual person, you don’t push down andstomp on a person overtaken in a fault. If youare a spiritual person, you correct the person inthe spirit of meekness. Meekness is a fruit of theI Corinthians 14:37:spirit, demonstrated by freedom from haughtyIf any man think himself to be a prophet, orself-sufficiency. Why “restore”? “Lest thou alsospiritual, let him acknowledge that thebe tempted”—to not walk according to God’sthings that I write unto you are the com-Word—and get caught in a fault, or offense.mandments of the Lord.This is a walk of correcting in meekness. It is anattitude of gentle correction like, “God’s WordIt is in this section of I Corinthians 14 thatsays this. And because I love you, I want you toGod commands Christians to speak in tongues.have the best and I know you want to haveHe also tells them that in believers’ meetings theythe best, so I’m correcting you.” You correct andshould interpret their message in tongues andrestore such a one who is “overtaken in a fault.”prophesy and operate all the manifestations ofthe spirit decently and in order according to His Galatians 6:2:Word. If we are spiritual, we shall recognize thatBear ye one another’s burdens [baros], andthese are commandments of the Lord; and if weso fulfil the law of Christ.are not spiritual, we’ll argue about them andconclude that they are not commandments of theHere is a verse people have difficulty withWe must also understand what is meant inverse 1 by “ye which are spiritual.” From thecontext in Galatians 5:16-26, we note that a personis to walk by the spirit and thus bear the fruitof the spirit. So, “ye which are spiritual” musthave the mark of quality, have a fruit-of-thespirit-filledlife. Further light can be found inI Corinthians 14 concerning those who are“spiritual.”Lord. So when Galatians 6 speaks of a spiritualman, that spiritual person (according to I Corinthians14 and Galatians 5:16-26) is one whorecognizes and lives by the instructions written inthe Church Epistles, which include manifestingthe holy spirit and bearing the fruit of the spirit.226 227


God’s Order for Quality Believersbecause it says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens,”and then verse 5 says, “For every manshall bear his own burden.” This sounds like acontradiction. The difficulty here is in theEnglish translation.In verse 2 the word “burdens” is the Greekword baros, meaning “a burden or pressure thatcan be shared or lightened by another.” We areto help one another. That’s love. If you restoresomeone in meekness, you share God’s Wordwith them. You help to carry their burden. Andas you do that you fulfill the law of Christ.What is the law of Christ? Many times peopletalk about the law of Christ, but they don’t knowthe practical side of it. Christ gave this law shortlybefore his crucifixion.John 13:34:A new commandment I give unto you, Thatye love one another; as I have loved you,that ye also love one another.You no longer love only in response to someone’sloving you. You are to love others as JesusChrist loves you. These are two totally differentThe Mark of Qualityconcepts. Believers are to love one another withthe love of God, as Christ loved us.*Galatians is addressed to the believer, not tothe unsaved, the unbeliever. You can’t restore anunbeliever. He needs salvation, not restoration.He needs to be born again. But we who are bornagain are to bear each other’s loads. We are tohelp one another wherever we can. That is whatthe word “burden” in Galatians 6:2 means. Itsays, “Bear ye one another’s burdens.” It doesn’tsay, “Think about it.” It says, “Do it.” Itdoesn’t ask you whether you like the way I lookor the way I comb my hair. It says that if I amyour brother you should help me carry my load.If you are my brother or sister, then it is myresponsibility likewise to help you carry yours.Galatians 6:3:For if a man think himself to be something,when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.*The Epistle of I John also tells us this. I John 4:20 and 21:“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is aliar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And thiscommandment have we from him, That he who lovethGod love his brother also.”228229


God’s Order for Quality Believersthat can be shared. This “burden” in verse 5 issomething that cannot be shared by another per-son. Nobody else can assume it or help you withit. That is the difference in these two verses. Twoentirely different Greek words are used for thesetwo entirely different situations. For instance,there are some things in my life which other peoplecan help me with. But then there are otherweights in my life that I alone must carry. Whenanother person can help carry my burdens, theword is baros. But in those areas where no onecan help me carry my burdens, or my responsibilities,the word phortion is applicable.In the context now we are still talking aboutbearing burdens. Verse 3 refers to those who feelthat they are self-made people. They feel theyneed no help in bearing their own burdens, and,conversely, they do not help others with theirs.That is definitely contrary to God’s Word. Thistype of man never fulfills the law of Christ. Aperson is never really self-made. The Word sayshe deceives himself because he does indeed needbelievers to help him carry his burdens, baros.Verse 4:But let every man prove his own work, andthen shall he have rejoicing in himself alone,and not in another.A man is to examine his own work to see if it ishis own responsibility and if he has met hisresponsibility. If he has, then verse 4 says he shallhave rejoicing in himself alone, and not in a“burden” shared with another, as in verse 2.Verse 5:For every man shall bear his own burden[phortion].The word “burden” here is phortion, notbaros. In verse 2, “burdens,” baros, is a weight230The Mark of QualityThe accuracy of God’s Word is astounding!There is no contradiction between verse 2 andverse 5 of Galatians 6. Isn’t the accuracy of thisWord wonderful.Verse 6:Let him that is taught in the word communicateunto him that teacheth in all goodthings.“Let him that is taught in the word. . . .” Theword “in” should be omitted. “Let him who istaught the Word. ...” “Word” is logos in theGreek, the same word used in John 1. “Communicateunto” is “share with,” referring to material231


God’s Order for Quality Believersand financial support. “Let him who is taughtGod’s Word share with him who teaches in allgood things.”Verse 7:Be not deceived. . . .In other words, don’t get fooled. When a personis deceived, the deception has to come fromthe adversary because he is the great deceiver.*So if you are deceived, you’ve been listening tothe wrong source, because you can’t be deceivedby the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.God does not deceive; He enlightens.Verse 7:Be not deceived; God is not mocked: forwhatsoever a man soweth, that shall he alsoreap.A great and deep truth is found here in thatword “mocked.” It is a graphic orientalism concerninginsults. If, in Biblical culture, you reallywanted to insult someone, you would tap him orher on the cheek. It wasn’t a slap, but rather just*Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast Out, thatold serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveththe whole world. .232The Mark of Qualitya touch on the cheek with the left hand, the handof cursing. This was a great insult. Another greatinsult was to spit at a person. Yet another type ofinsult was to literally turn up your nose. Theword “mocked” here in Galatians 6:7 is “to turnup one’s nose in scorn.” Be not deceived; God isnot someone at whom you can turn up yournose. In other words, a person can’t make a foolof God. The orientalism emphasizes that, withoutfail, a man reaps what he sows.Don’t try to turn up your nose at God in scornbecause what you really are in your heart will bemanifested, “for whatsoever a man soweth, thatshall he also reap.” If you don’t carry anybodyelse’s burden, nobody is going to help you carryyours. If I am your brother and you are not willingto help me when you are capable of it, you are turningup your nose at God. How can we say we loveGod when we don’t treat each other as brothers?We do just the opposite. That is what “sowing”refers to in this context of talking about the walk.The mark-of-quality Christian who really lovesGod and exemplifies it in his day-by-day walk sowsgood seed, such as restoring a person overtaken ina fault and sharing the burdens of others.Verse 8:For he that soweth to his [own] flesh shall of233


God’s Order for Quality Believersthe flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth tothe Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.To “sow” is to plant. When I love you withthe love of Christ, I am sowing. When you walkwith the love of Christ, you are sowing. Andwhat you sow you get back, you reap. If you giveout hell, that is what you are going to get back. Ifyou give out bitterness, that is what you are goingto get back. If you give out criticism, that iswhat you are going to get back. If you give outthe love of Christ, that’s what you are going toget back. You reap whatever it is that you aregiving out. In the context, sowing to the spirit isto walk by holy spirit. It is a walk.Verse 8:. . .he that soweth to the Spirit shall of theSpirit reap life everlasting.To “reap life everlasting” is beyond simplyhaving eternal life. Eternal life is acquired bygrace, not by works.* It is a gift. But here inGalatians 6 “life everlasting” is talking about*Ephesians 2:8 and 9: “For by grace are ye saved throughfaith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Notof works, lest any man should boast.”Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the giftof God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”234The Mark of Qualityreaping the results of our walk, our works. What isthe reaping? The reaping is the reward. When youtake your corn to market, you get paid for it.When you do a day’s work or a week’s work in afactory, you get paid. The reaping is that pay. Soas believers who walk by the spirit, we also get ourpay. But when? “Life everlasting” shows that thepay comes both now and continuing on from now.In its usage in verse 8, “life everlasting” includesall the rewards of walking on the Word both nowand throughout eternity. Christianity is so dynamicbecause not only do we have the joy of the abundantlife now, but we have all eternity to enjoy therewards of having sown to the spirit.I tell you, people who do not want to acceptthe Lord Jesus Christ and live God’s way have noidea of what they are missing. This is the only lifeof joy and blessing and peace. My friend RufusMosely used to say, “This walking with God is sofantastic that it’s heaven going to heaven, even ifthere is no heaven when you get there.” So makeup your mind whether you’ll walk God’s way,the way of His Word, or whether you’ll walk theway of the world. Every man and woman decideswhat kind of seeds he or she plants.Verse 9:And let us not be weary in well doing. . . .235


God’s Order for Quality BelieversWe must walk the Word and walk the Wordand walk the Word. We can’t be weary in doingthat. We have the joy of living by God’s Wordnow, and we will have the joy of reaping the rewardsof our quality walk throughout all eternity.Verse 9:And let us not be weary in well doing: for indue season [proper time] we shall reap, if wefaint not.God says that you are going to reap if youdon’t faint, if you don’t become weary in welldoing. To faint is to give up and say, “Oh, I amso tired of being good to people.” At that pointwe lose the greatness of bearing each other’sburdens. The conviction of God’s Word must bein our souls to serve even when our emotions nagat us not to serve.Verse 10:As we have therefore opportunity, let us dogood unto all men, especially unto themwho are of the household of faith.We are to do good to everyone, as the occasionarises, “as we have opportunity.” The rest of theverse says we are to do good “especially untothem who are of the household of faith.” We are236The Mark of Qualityto spend our time, energy, and resources doinggood to the believers. However, we do not do evilto anyone, but rather do good to everyone as wehave the occasion. This is the epitome of a qualitylife for a believer. This is a fruit-of-the-spiritfilledlife.Paul ends the epistle to the Galatians by pointingout the physical marks he has received ofmen.*Galatians 6:17:From henceforth let no man trouble me: for Ibear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.The word “marks” in the text is the Greekword stigma, the brand or mark of a slave. Whena slave in the East was purchased, he had hisowner’s brand, stigma, put on his earlobe orforehead. Paul uses the “marks” figuratively toshow that his master, the Lord Jesus, was madeknown by the marks of quality evident in Paul’slife. The stigma didn’t mean that Paul had beenbranded with a literal branding iron. A personcould be physically branded all over his body, yetthat doesn’t show or mean that he loves God.You could write across your forehead, “I love*II Corinthians 11:23-27237


God’s Order for Quality BelieversGod,” but that doesn’t mean you really do loveGod. What have you got on the inside?Paul lived by the spirit and therefore manifestedthe fruit of the spirit. He lived a life ofdedication with love and service. For his boldwitness Paul was thrown in prison and finallyexecuted, but he never renounced the truth ofGod or His Word. That is a mark of quality.What have you got on the inside? How is thatnew creation, the Christ in you, being manifestedin the senses world? Are you bearing spiritualfruit? Do you bear the burdens of others? Doyou restore with meekness those who stumble?Do you walk by the spirit? Are you faithful inwell doing? Do you do good to all men, butespecially to the believers? All of these thingsgive you the wonderful mark-of-quality life, alife lived for God Almighty.We must walk according to God’s Word; wemust stay committed to God and His Word. Letus stand for God’s Word—stand with meekness,with love, with faithfulness. Then our lives willclearly show the mark of quality. When we bearin our lives that mark of quality, then we areshowing that God’s brand, the most excellentbrand of all, is on us.238Chapter ThirteenTHE LIGHT OF LIFEThroughout the Word of God we see the importanceof light, both physical light andspiritual light. In the first chapter of Genesiswhen God was preparing this earth for us, thefirst thing He said was, “Let there be light.”Genesis 1:3:And God said, Let there be light: and therewas light.And one of the last things God reveals in theBook of Revelation also regards light. The settingis the new heaven and the new earth.Revelation 22:5:And there shall be no night there; and theyneed no candle, neither light of the sun; forthe Lord God giveth them light: and theyshall reign for ever and ever.The greatness of all that God ever did and everwill do between the time of Genesis 1:3 and239


God’s Order for Quality BelieversThe Light of LifeRevelation 22:5 is to make light available to man, I John 1:7:because God is Light.But if we walk in the light, as he is in thelight,* we have fellowship one withanother. . . .I John 1:5:This then is the message which we haveheard of him, and declare unto you, thatGod is light, and in him is no darkness at all.Throughout His Word it is recorded that Godis Light. Now how can anybody say that he haslight if he doesn’t know the true God, the sourceof light? Nobody can say that he has light untilhe knows God. God is Light and if anybody isever going to have light, he must have a relationshipwith God, he must plug into the source.Since God is Spirit* and therefore cannot beseen, the only way we by our senses can learnabout God is to go to His written Word, which isin the senses realm. If God is Light, so is HisWord. The light of God’s Word makes knownGod Who is Light. Without the light of God’sWord, people will never know God, and they willcontinue to walk in darkness. They may say,“We have light,” but this cannot be true. Thefact that somebody says he has light is sometimesfar removed from his actually having it.John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship himmust worship him in spirit and in truth.”If I live or “walk” in the light, God and I havefellowship. If you walk in the light, God and youhave fellowship. And as we have fellowship withGod, our Light, we have a luminous life.When believers see the greatness of God’s lightand really live it, their lives are blessed, theirfamilies are blessed, their communities are blessed.So when believers are scattered all over the globeblessing it, the world will see light, because Godis Light and His light is in the believers.II Timothy 1:7:For God hath not given us the spirit of fear[cowardice]; but of power, and of love, andof a sound mind.God did not give us the spirit of cowardice,“but of power, and of love, and of a sound*Manuscript 1850 (thirteenth century) omits the words“walk” and “as he is in the light.” The remaining wordsallow the verb “walk” by ellipsis: “But if we [walk] in thelight, we have fellowship.” MS 1851 (tenth century) reads,“But if we walk, as He is, in the light we have fellowship.”240241


God’s Order for Quality Believersmind.” God makes people powerful, loving, andable-minded. God makes winners, not failures.God is in the business of delivering people, notdefeating them. He gives people sound minds,minds with judgment. And we, as God’s peoplewho have been given sound minds, must renounceour former unsound ways.II Corinthians 4:1 and 2:Therefore seeing we have this ministry, aswe have received mercy, we faint not;But [we] have renounced the hidden things ofdishonesty [the shameful, secret things]. . . .Do you know what the hidden, shamefulthings are? No, they do not include smokingbehind the barn. The hidden, shameful things aredeliberate plans by people to promote theirdishonesty in order to deliberately fool othersabout God’s Word. How do they get in this sorrystate?. . .not walking in craftiness, nor handlingthe word of God deceitfully. . . .They walk in unscrupulous conduct and falsifythe Word of God—these are the hidden things ofdishonesty.242The Light of LifeHaving this ministry, we don’t faint; we don’tbecome weary of our responsibility. But becausewe have received mercy, we have renounced thehidden, shameful things—living unscrupulouslyand falsifying or handling the Word of Goddeceitfully. Because of what God has done forus, we clean up our lives and we handle the Wordof God truthfully.. . .but by manifestation of the truth commendingourselves to every man’s consciencein the sight of God.Instead of walking in craftiness and handlingthe Word of God deceitfully, we commend ourselvesto every man’s conscience, or belief ofwhat is right. Conscience is nothing but habitpatterns of thought which people establish intheir lives. Your conscience bothers you becauseof a habit pattern you’ve established. When youput on the mind of Christ and train your conscienceafter the doctrine of God’s Word, thenyour conscience will guide you with that Word.God’s Word will be the habit pattern for keepingyour everyday life on track.Verse 3:But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them thatare lost [perishing].243


God’s Order for Quality BelieversThis “gospel” is the gospel of the deliveranceof God. The word “hid” is “veiled.” At a weddingyou can tell there is someone under thebridal veil, but not until the bride gets to the altarand the veil is removed from her face can youreally see her face. This is the veiling of thegospel to them that are perishing. The gospel isveiled to the lost. They can’t see it well enough tobelieve it. Verse 4 then tells who is responsiblefor the veiling and who the lost are.Verse 4:In whom the God of this world hath blindedthe minds of them which believe not. . . .Satan has blinded those who are perishing bykeeping them from the true Light. He is in thebusiness of blinding people’s understanding sothat they cannot clearly see the Word of God.Sometimes he demonstrates his own counterfeitlight so brightly that it blinds people, orsometimes he makes everything contrary toGod’s Word look enticingly beautiful. But thewhole purpose behind Satan’s deeds is to blindpeople and keep them from the true Light.244Verses 4 and 5:. . .lest the light of the glorious gospel ofThe Light of LifeChrist, who is the image of God, shouldshine unto them.For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesusthe Lord; and ourselves your servants forJesus’ sake.Satan blinds the eyes of some who don’t believe,so that the gospel of Christ won’t light uptheir lives.Verse 6:For God, who commanded the light to shineout of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, togive the light of the knowledge of the glory ofGod in the face of Jesus Christ [“through theface,” a figure of speech meaning “throughthe work that Jesus Christ did”].We are the living reality of the presence of thepower of God, endeavoring to rightly divide theWord, setting men and women free. We walk sothat the light of the glory of God in us can beseen by others.Now this does not mean that we are no longercapable of making mistakes. As a matter of fact,God’s Word teaches that we are going to makemistakes. But when we do make a mistake, it isnot a deliberate, crafty perpetration of wrongly245


God’s Order for Quality Believersit is the Word of God. They don’t need giveawayprograms, they don’t need rehabilitation pro-grams, they don’t need armaments. They needthe Word. All these other things may have someuse, but without God’s Word man’s real, basicneed cannot be met. Only God’s Word will trulysatisfy. We must stand up and proclaim HisWord. The light of the glory of God is thetreasure that we have and that we want to share.We have only one life to live and give, and wemay as well give our utmost for His Highest.dividing the Word. Our mistakes are simply amatter of not knowing or doing better. Maybenext week we’ll know more of God’s Word, andthen we’ll change. That is what life is all about.Verse 7:But [For] we have this treasure [this light ofthe knowledge of the glory of God] inearthen vessels, that the excellency of thepower may be of God, and not of us.This great treasure which we have is “the light ofthe knowledge of the glory of God,” spoken of inverse 6. This most valued treasure of God is foundin earthen vessels. These “earthen vessels” are ourbodies. We have this precious treasure in ourphysical bodies. God contrasts so dramatically theearthen vessel with the excellency of His power.What a contrast! How dynamic the juxtaposition.With this knowledge of the glory of God, wecan come to the point in life that we totally trustGod to take care of us and to lead us. We holdforth the greatness of the Word to our friends,our loved ones, and everyone else with whom wecome in contact. Every place we go, we talk theWord. Do you have anything better to talkabout? No. So talk about the best, God’s Word.If there is anything the world really needs today,246The Light of LifeLet’s look at a few usages of “light” in theWord, beginning in Matthew 5 in order to gain agreater understanding and appreciation of Godas light and us as His light in the world.Matthew 5:14-16:Ye are the light of the world. A city that is seton an hill cannot be hid.Neither do men light a candle [lamp], andput it under a bushel, but on a candlestick [apillar]; and it giveth light unto all that are inthe house.Let your light [not your negatives, not yourdoubts, not your fears, not your worries] soshine before men, that they may see yourgood works, and glorify your Father whichis in heaven.247


God’s Order for Quality BelieversGod is the one Who delivered us from blind-ness. He’s the one Who took the darkness out ofour souls. God is the one Who made us what theWord says we are. Because of what Jesus Christdid, we walk as children of light for we are sonsof God.We are the lights of the world. Suppose wedon’t always live according to the Word’s way.Suppose we don’t act as children of light. Do weget down on ourselves and stay there? No, we getback into fellowship with God* and get back toliving His Word and radiating His light.John 8:12:Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, Iam the light of the world: he that followethme shall not walk in darkness, but shall havethe light of life.Jesus Christ is the light; he was God’s Word inthe flesh. The person who follows God in ChristJesus doesn’t walk in darkness, but “shall [absolutely]have the light of life.” Jesus Christ isthe light; and you are the light when you liveGod’s Word and witness to it. People must get tothe light of God through His Word in order tohave life. Otherwise they are in darkness, dead intrespasses and sins.Ephesians 5:8:For ye were sometimes [once] darkness [blind],*I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and justto forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from allunrighteousness.”248The Light of Lifebut now are ye light in the Lord: walk aschildren of light.I Thessalonians 5, in speaking of the return ofChrist, contains this great truth.I Thessalonians 5:5:Ye are all the children of light, and thechildren of the day: we are not of the night,nor of darkness.That’s right. You are not of darkness, you arenot of the night—you are children of the light,you are children of the day. And if people wantto see the light, they’ve got to look at you. Sogive them some light to look at, because you havethe knowledge of the Word to share with people,and that Word is light for them.Philippians 2:13 and 14:For it is God which worketh in you both towill and to do of his good pleasure.249


God’s Order for Quality BelieversDo all things without murmurings [complaining]and disputings [arguing about it].The text literally reads, “For it is God Who isat work in you.” God is at work within you. Tomurmur, or complain, is to say, “Look, I havebeen out witnessing for three days and nothinghas happened.” Is God dead? Remember Noah?He witnessed for a while—in fact, he witnessedfor 120 years!—and he didn’t give up. If he hadgiven up on the revelation God gave him, hewould have missed the boat ride. Sometimes peoplehave difficulty standing even momentarilyfor the true God. You won’t have that problem ifyou know the Word and believe the Word. Whatis the result when you don’t complain or argueabout doing God’s will?Verses 15 and 16:That [In order that] ye may be blameless andharmless, the sons of God, without rebuke[without blemish], in the midst of a crookedand perverse nation [generation], amongwhom ye shine as lights in the world;Holding forth the word of life. . . .The Light of Lifelight. Talk about it. Hold forth the Word of Life.The Light of Life is God’s Word. It gives light,making it possible for men and women to beborn again of God’s Spirit, to be filled with theholy spirit, to walk on the greatness of God’sWord, and to shine as lights. We hold forth thatWord of Life.God has called us to be His lights and toradiate His Word across the world. So walk withyour head high and your shoulders back, withjoy in your soul, because you have the light ofGod within you. Wherever you are, with God inChrist in you, there is that same radiance, thatsame glowing light, in you. Rise up and standtall, not because of who you are, but because ofwhat God has made you. You have the light oflife which cannot be extinguished and whichneeds to shine forth in these crooked andperverse times to draw people to the Light.You shine as lights in the world. Don’t putyour light of truth under a bushel. Walk on that250251


Chapter FourteenQUICKENED TOGETHERWITH CHRISTAs I see God’s Word growing in the hearts andlives of our people, I am immeasurably thankfulto God for His goodness and His grace. I oftenthink of how the Apostle Paul must have rejoicedas he traveled and taught God’s Word inthe first century. I, too, rejoice and am deeplygrateful for all who are making a stand for theaccuracy and integrity of God’s wonderful,matchless Word. God’s Word gives the samevibrancy of life right now as it did when JesusChrist himself walked on this earth.Recall with me the wonderful record in theGospel of Luke which tells of an occurrence theday after the resurrection of our lord and saviorJesus Christ. Jesus, on the road to Emmaus,joined two men who were discussing recent occurrencesin Jerusalem. After walking with thesemen for a little distance, Jesus Christ related importantinformation to them. Luke 24:27 tells us,“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets,253


God’s Order for Quality Believershe expounded unto them in all the scriptures thethings concerning himself.”My, how I wish I could have been one of thosetwo men. Wouldn’t that have been thrilling tohave Jesus Christ in your company explaining toyou the scriptures which relate to himself, beginningwith Moses and continuing throughout theOld Testament!After Jesus Christ left them, these two men expressedtheir great excitement by exclaiming, “Didnot our heart burn within us, while he talked withus by the way, and while he opened to us thescriptures?” Isn’t that beautiful! You see, whenthe truth of God’s Word is opened to us, our innerhearts become alive, like burning coals. God’sWord is so thrilling, so exciting, so motivating.The record in Luke 24 also states, “And their[the two men’s] eyes were opened.” That is exactlywhat happens to us, too, when the Word ofGod becomes known, unfolded, to us. Our eyesneed opening just as the two men’s were openedon that road to Emmaus. And because God hassuch great care and concern for us who are seekingto know more about Him, He is constantlyopening our eyes, illuminating our minds andhearts, and broadening our vision.Quickened Together with ChristTo see God’s great care and concern for us weneed to understand the truth found in the secondchapter of Colossians. Let’s begin with verse 1.Colossians 2:1:For I would [desire] that ye knew [were fullyknowledgeable of] what great conflict [agÇn]I have for you, and for them at Laodicea,and for as many as have not seen my face inthe flesh.The word “conflict” is the Greek word agÇnwhich was associated in Greek literaturewith athletes who competed in the Olympic games.This word agÇn means “care,” “concern.” Thegreatest care and concern were given to the trainingof these athletes so that they might competeat their maximum potential. Paul’s desire wasthat the believers at Colosse and Laodicea befully knowledgeable of the great care he had forthem, even for those who had not seen his face inthe flesh. This is the kind of care we must buildin our lives for one another. We must have anearnest concern for God’s people, even for thosewe have not seen.You see, if Christ had not cared and loved us,we could not love. But now we are able to love.254255


God’s Order for Quality BelieversGod loved us when we were unlovable, dead intrespasses and sin; and many times we, too, mustlove even the unlovable. Sometimes we lovebecause of and sometimes in spite of, but the importantand necessary thing is that we do loveone another. As born-again believers who arefilled with the power of God and who believeGod’s Word, you and I must meet people’s needsuntil they learn how to go to God to get their ownneeds met. We allow people to hitchhike on ourability to manifest God’s power until they learnto manifest the power of God in their own lives.We have to have great love and concern.What a tremendous verse of. scripture. An ex-panded translation of this verse would be: “Wehave this care for people so that their heartsmight be comforted and encouraged, beingunited with one mind in one spirit for the gloryof God by the manifested love of God which hasbeen shed forth in our hearts by holy spirit, tothe end that we altogether utilize, with full conviction,what we have learned by carefully listeningto and thoughtfully reflecting upon the Wordof God, with the ultimate goal of absolutelyknowing the Mystery of God (Who is our Father)and of Christ (who is the head of the Church).”This second chapter of Colossians is telling usthat things are to be used and people are to beloved. We can use things to advance toward ourgoals, but we never use people.Consider this: If God could so love me throughChrist Jesus that He could save me to the uttermost—thatI who was dead in trespasses and sinscould be made alive, that He would cast my sinsfrom me and remember them no more—is thereany person in this world whom I cannot forgive?I have no problem forgiving other people when Iconsider the great grace with which God forgaveme. And if you really know what God in Christdid for you, then you have no problem helpingsomeone else so that Christ can do the sameQuickened Together with Christredemptive, healing work for them. That’s thetenderness, that’s the concern we must have forall people everywhere.Verse 2 tells why we need to have that care andconcern for people.Verse 2:That their hearts might be comforted, beingknit together in love, and unto all riches ofthe full assurance of understanding, to theacknowledgement of the mystery of God,and of the Father, and of Christ.This desire to comfort and encourage was alsothe reason Paul sent Timothy to Thessalonica.256 257


God’s Order for Quality BelieversQuickened Together with ChristI Thessalonians 3:2:“. . .And to comfort you. . . .” Establish andAnd sent Timotheus [Timothy], our comfort. When people become solid on God’sbrother, and minister of God, and ourWord, it naturally follows that they will be comfellowlabourerin the gospel of Christ, toforted. The Greek word for “comfort” alsoestablish you, and to comfort [encourage]means “encourage” and “exhort.” Timothy wasyou concerning your faith.both to establish them and also to exhort or encouragethem.Timothy was the most loyal, the most dedicated,the best-equipped person for Paul to send“Concerning” is “for the advantage andinto a situation like Thessalonica. You wouldn’tbenefit.” Timothy was to establish and ensendyour least qualified believer; you wouldcourage the Thessalonians for the advantage andsend the best that you had into a demandingbenefit of their believing, pistis. Paul expressedsituation, and Thessalonica was difficult. So itthis same encouragement to the Colossians.was agreed that Timothy, “our brother and aminister of God,” was the right person to send to Colossians 2:3-5:Thessalonica. Timothy was also diligent, hard-In whom [In which, the Mystery] are hid allworking, and knowledgeable of the Word ofthe treasures of wisdom and knowledge.God. These were necessary qualifications.And this I say, lest any man should beguile[deceive] you with enticing [persuasive]words.For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am Iwith you in the spirit, joying and beholdingyour order, and the stedfastness of yourfaith [believing] in Christ.“. . . .To establish you. . . .” You see, gettingborn again is just the start. There are many peoplein the world who are born again of God’sSpirit but who have had no teaching, no establishing,no building of the depth of God’s Wordin them. That’s why this word “establish” is someaningful. Those born again need to beestablished, which means “strengthened,”“made firm,” made solid in God’s Word.Paul says, “Watch out for those persons whoseek to lure you away from God’s Word, thosewho move you away from it by enticing words.258259


God’s Order for Quality BelieversThe second point in I Thessalonians 3:6 per-tains to their attitude. “. . . And that ye havegood remembrance of us always. . . .” The word“always” means “continuingly,” not just at onemoment, but continuing. They continued havinggood memories of Paul, Silas, and the rest of thebelievers, holding them in high esteem.Yet be comforted and encouraged to know that Iam speaking in tongues for you, and I am joyfulover the steadfastness of your believing.” Paulwas always blessed when believers were faithful,like these believers in Colosse and those ofThessalonica.I Thessalonians 3:6:But now when Timotheus came from youunto us, and brought us good tidings ofyour faith and charity, and that ye havegood remembrance of us always, desiringgreatly to see us, as we also to see you.When Timothy returned to Paul after visitingthe believers in Thessalonica, he “brought usgood tidings of your faith [believing] and charity[the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation].”That was the spiritual condition of theThessalonians. These were the people aboutwhom Paul had been greatly concerned, wonderingif they, under persecution and ongoing affliction,were standing faithful. And when Timothycame back, he brought glad tidings of theirbelieving and of their walking with the love ofGod in the renewed mind in manifestation. Theirbelieving and love is the first point made in thisverse.260Quickened Together with ChristThe third point in this verse concerns theirmutual affection. “. . . Desiring greatly to see us,as we also to see you.” “Desiring greatly” means“wanting with an intense desire.” This shows thegreat affection of the Thessalonians for Paul.“. . .To see us, [even] as we also to see you.” TheGreek word for “as” means “even as” and indicatestheir mutual affection for each other, theirmutual desire to get together with each other.The combination “you” and “us” is used fourtimes in this verse: Timothy “came from youunto us,” number one; “brought us good tidingsof your faith and charity,” number two; “ye havegood remembrance of us always,” number three;“desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you,”number four. Four times these words occurtogether in the same verse. Such mutual appreciation,love, desire, and respect must be maintainedbetween the leaders and believers if they want thegreatness of God’s Word to really live.261


God’s Order for Quality BelieversQuickened Together with ChristI Thessalonians 3:7: Verse 7:Therefore, brethren, we were comforted overRooted and built up in him, and stablishedyou in all our affliction and distress by yourin the faith, as ye have been taught, aboundfaith.ing therein with thanksgiving.The word “comforted” here again means “en-“Rooted. . . .” That is number one in thecouraged.” Brothers, we were encouraged “bywalk. The believer must be rooted. Jesus Christyour faith,” by your believing or through yourshows the importance of being rooted inbelieving. “We were encouraged, in our outward Matthew 13.distresses and our afflictions from other people,because you stood faithful.”This same mutual love and faithfulness is whatPaul was writing about in the second chapter ofColossians.Colossians 2:6:As ye have therefore received Christ Jesusthe Lord, so walk ye in him.“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesusthe Lord, so walk... .” This doesn’t say we areto relax after we’ve received Christ Jesus. Obviously,since we are saved and have eternal life,we are going to heaven. But is that all there is tolife: get saved and tread water until the return ofChrist? Not at all. Just as we’ve made ChristJesus our lord, so we walk. And it is a minute-byminutewalk. How do we walk? Verse 7 tells us.Matthew 13:20 and 21:But he that received the seed into stonyplaces, the same is he that heareth the word,and anon [immediately] with joy receiveth it;Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth fora while: for when tribulation or persecutionariseth because of the word, by and by[immediately] he is offended [he stumbles].This man heard God’s Word and had great joyover it. But he had no root, and therefore enduredonly for a little while. When a problemarose, he immediately fell away, because he hadno root.So we see that in order to begin walking forGod, we have to be rooted. Otherwise whensomeone questions or attacks the Word of God,we won’t stand very long. Some people may262263


God’s Order for Quality Believersquestion you, “What do you know about God’sWord?” They’ll challenge, “Who are you to talkto a graduate of a theological seminary? Surelyministers and theologians know more than you.”The real question is this: Do they know God andHis Word better than you do? They may be moreknowledgeable of Plato, Aristotle, and Freud,but what about God’s Word? Where are thetreasures of knowledge and wisdom? In God’sWord! So we need to get rooted in His Word. Wemust drive that Word into our minds. We need toread the Word itself, listen to tapes on the Word,read anything that is rightly divided on theWord, memorize the Word. We’ve got to berooted. That’s number one.Number two, according to Colossians 2:7, wehave to be built up. You cannot have a tall oaktree without having a highly developed rootsystem. What’s the point of the vast root systemof an oak tree, if the trunk, limbs, branches, andtwigs aren’t equally developed? What’s the pointof being rooted in God’s Word if nothing else ismanifested in our lives? If you as a believer nevergo any further than just putting down roots,what can be accomplished? A believer must getrooted in the Word, but then he or she must growand mature, “be built up,” in the knowledge and264Quickened Together with Christwisdom of the Word. Being built up is stepnumber two.Not only are we to be rooted and built up inChrist, but according to Colossians 2:7, we alsoare to be established in the faith. An establishedtree is one that is at its peak of maturity. All theleaves are out, and the tree is in full bloom.Similarly, an established believer is one who haswithstood the test of time and has come to maturity,full fruition. “Established” in the Greekis elsewhere in the King James Version translated“confirmed.” One who is established is confirmed,steadfast, fixed, immovable, certain, andfirm.We are established, Biblically speaking, whenwe have grown up in Christ to the degree that weare manifesting the greatness of what God is. Weare bearing fruit. We are not blown about withevery wind Of doctrine. We are not excited aboutthe Lord one day and gloomy and depressed thenext. We’ve got to get so established in God’sWord that nobody can move us off center—as ifwe had cement poured around our feet, ankledeep,and we stood still until the cement set. Wejust can’t waver on God’s Word. We must be cementedin His Word—rooted, built up, and established.That’s what it takes to be minute-by-minute,265


God’s Order for Quality Believersyear-after-year representatives for God. That’sthe walk. That’s the talk.I want you to observe two such representativesof God told about in Acts 16.Acts 16:4 and 5:And as they [Paul and Timothy] wentthrough the cities, they delivered them thedecrees for to keep, that were ordained ofthe apostles and elders which were atJerusalem.And so were the churches established in thefaith, and [as they were established they] increasedin number daily.As it says of Paul and Timothy, so should it bewith you as a mature believer: The churches willbe established and the numbers will increase daily.And again in I Corinthians 3 observe two menwho were established.I Corinthians 3:6:I [Paul] have planted, Apollos watered; butGod gave the increase.I Corinthians 3:6 says that in Corinth Paul hadplanted the seed of God’s Word and Apollos had266Quickened Together with Christwatered, but who gave the increase? God. Who isgoing to do the planting and watering today?Believers who walk and believers who speakGod’s Word. And as we walk, God gives the increaseto the seeds we plant and water.Colossians 2:7:Rooted and built up in him, and stablishedin the faith, as ye have been taught, aboundingtherein with thanksgiving.There is only one way for people to begin to berooted and built up and established and that isfor somebody to teach them. So, in order to getpeople rooted, built up, and established, youneed to teach as you have been taught.Abounding therein with thanksgiving.”Thanksgiving and “thanksliving” go hand inhand. Your thanksgiving to God causes thanksliving.Live the Word with thanksgiving and joy!You can’t expect to be effective witnesses forGod unless you live His Word. You can’t justtalk the Word; you have to live the principles ofthe Word or you won’t last.Now verse 8 of Colossians 2 begins with an“unfriendly dog” sign: “Beware.” You have towatch out or beware (be aware) in order to maintainyour walk in Christ Jesus.267


God’s Order for Quality BelieversQuickened Together with ChristVerse 8: “misrepresentation”—in other words, inten-Beware lest any man spoil [sulagÇgeÇ] youtional manipulation. “Philosophy” and “vainthrough philosophy and vain deceit, afterdeceit” are tied together by the conjunctionthe tradition of men, after the rudiments of“and” because these two go hand-in-hand. Theythe world, and not after Christ.are both ego inflaters. They are “after the traditionof men.”“Beware lest any man [any person] spoil. . . .”“Spoil” is sulagÇgeÇ, which means “to carry offTo see the contrast between the greatness of Godas plunder or booty.” Don’t let the adversaryand the traditions of men, go to Matthew 15.carry you away as the plunder of battle. It’s notthe rotten or spoiled apples the devourer looksMatthew 15:1 and 2:for. It’s the good apples that are seized by theThen came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees,enemy. The adversary expends his best efforts towhich were of Jerusalem, saying,keep you from being a bold witness for God. Theadversary is not interested in the Godless; he’s interestedin getting God-loving people and carryingWhy do thy disciples transgress the traditionof the elders? for they wash not their handswhen they eat bread.them away asplunder.“Beware lest any man spoil you throughphilosophy. . . .” Philosophy is world wisdom.There are a lot of men and women who aretremendously keen with world wisdom; but weknow from the Word of God that true wisdomand knowledge come from God. The treattreasures of wisdom and knowledge lie with God,not in worldly wisdom. So beware, for you aregoing to be confronted with world wisdom.The next thing to beware of is “vain deceit.”“Vain” is “empty” in the Greek and “deceit” is268The scribes and Pharisees, who made up partof the Temple hierarchy, were confronting JesusChrist with the problem his disciples were causingby not washing their hands before eating.Washing the hands before eating was a “traditionof the elders.”Verse 3:But he [Jesus Christ] answered and saidunto them, Why do ye also transgress thecommandment of God by your tradition?269


God’s Order for Quality BelieversQuickened Together with ChristSo tradition can and often does transgress thefar from me.” Were they religious? Were theycommandment of God. And which of the two issincere? They certainly were. But being religiousthe more important—the tradition of the eldersor sincere is no guarantee of truth. God doesn’tor the commandments of the Lord? The answerlook on appearances; He looks on the heartis obvious. In verse 6 of Matthew 15 Jesus con-—and “their heart is far from me.”cludes, “Thus have ye made the commandmentof God of none effect by your tradition.” When Verse 9:tradition takes preeminence over God’s Word,But in vain they do worship me, teaching forthe commandments of God become ineffectual.doctrines the commandments of men.Then Jesus said to the people in the record ofMatthew 15, “Ye hypocrites.” Are you surprisedthat Jesus would say something so harsh? Didn’the love people? He certainly did; yet he calledthese people hypocrites. Remember the “beware”of Colossians 2:8? You must be aware ofthe tricks of tradition.Matthew 15:7 and 8:Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy ofyou, saying,This people draweth nigh unto me with theirmouth, and honoureth me with their lips;but their heart is far from me.“This people draweth nigh unto me with theirmouth, and honoureth me with their lips. . . .”They may say the right words, “but their heart isDid they, the people whom Jesus was addressing,worship? Oh, yes. They had candles, theyhad the altar properly arranged, they wore theright garb, they prayed at the right time, theorgan introduction was melodious, and thepsalms were read with the proper inflection.Everything looked so right, except for onething—their hearts were far from God. Thus,they worshiped in vain. So what did they teachwith their hearts far removed from God? Theytaught the commandments of men as their doctrine,not the Word of God.Therefore Colossians 2:8 says, “Beware lestyou be taken as plunder by worldly wisdom, bymisrepresentation according to the tradition ofmen, according to the principles of the world,and not after Christ.”270271


God’s Order for Quality BelieversColossians 2:9:For in him [in Christ] dwelleth all the fulness[full to capacity] of the Godhead bodily.Notice the word “Godhead.” This verse accuratelysays, “For in Christ dwelleth all thefullness of that head God.” And there is onlyone head God. There are two gods, but there isonly one head God and that is the Father of ourLord Jesus Christ. The other god is the god ofthis world, and he is certainly not head God.Jesus Christ was the first person mentioned inGod’s Word who had without measure all thatGod could make available at that time. Everyother person upon whom God had put His spiritwas given the spirit in a measured, specificamount. Look at John 3.John 3:34:For he [Jesus Christ] whom God hath sentspeaketh the words of God: for God givethnot the Spirit by measure unto him.“. . .For God giveth not the Spirit by measure.. . .” Jesus Christ then could operate to themaximum all the manifestations of the spiritavailable to him: prophecy, word of knowledge,word of wisdom, discerning of spirits, faithQuickened Together with Christ(believing), miracles, and gifts of healings.However, there were two manifestations he didnot have—speaking in tongues and interpretationof tongues, because they were not availableuntil Pentecost. That is why all the fullness ofGod, as full as it could be, dwelled in Christ. The“fullness of God” is everything that God canmake available. Today we have the fullness ofGod in us and we can operate all nine manifestations.Jesus Christ could operate only seven.Everything that God could make available at thattime, Jesus Christ had.Colossians 2:10:And ye are complete in him [Jesus Christ],which is the head of all principality and power.“And ye are complete. . . .” If you had one littlething missing, you wouldn’t be complete. Andyou are complete because of what God did inChrist Jesus our lord and savior. And if Christ isthe head and you have Christ in you, then thatputs Satan right under your feet. You belong toGod, and Satan has absolutely no rights over youor over your Christian brothers and sisters. Youcan extinguish all the fiery darts of the adversarybecause you have more power than he has.Ephesians 1 corroborates this.272 273


God’s Order for Quality BelieversQuickened Together with ChristEphesians 1:3: Colossians 2:11:Blessed be the God and Father of our LordIn whom [In Christ] also ye are [were] cir-Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with allcumcised with the circumcision made with-[every] spiritual blessings in heavenly placesout hands, in putting off the body of the sins[in the heavenlies] in Christ.of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.God has blessed you with every spiritual blessingand has made you complete in Christ. Godwas in Christ and Christ is in you. God in Christin you makes you complete in him. You are completein him with every spiritual blessing.Colossians 2:10 further says, “. . . which[Jesus Christ] is the head of all principality andpower.” We are completely complete in Christwho is head over all principalities and powers.Now consider this: If Christ is the head of allprincipalities and powers, and if you are completein Christ, are you powerful, are you morethan a conqueror? God in Christ in you gives youthe power to manifest the more abundant lifebecause you are over all principalities andpowers.**Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh andblood, but against principalities, against powers, againstthe rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritualwickedness [wicked spirits] in high places [from on high].”Born-again believers do not wrestle against flesh andblood, against people; they wrestle only against spiritual274The covenant of circumcision was a covenantof blood. God said to Israel, “Okay, you aremine; I’ll protect you. You’ve given your blood.We have a covenant, and I will not break thecovenant of blood.” So long as Israel walked onthe commandments of God, there was literallynobody who could harm them. But Colossians2:11 says that we were circumcised with the circumcisionmade without hands, which was puttingoff the body of the sins of the flesh.Our circumcision is the getting rid of the body ofthe sins of the flesh. The body of the sins of theflesh was circumcised from us because Christ boreour sins. It was Christ’s act, not our own, that putus into the blood covenant. We’ve just never seenthis Word and the greatness of what we have in Godin Christ, and the privilege we have of sharing it.power. We are to deal with causes, not symptoms. And thecauses of problems are principalities, powers, wickedspirits from on high. And since Christ is head of all principalitiesand powers and we have Christ in us, we are morepowerful than Satan and can overcome him and the powerhe wields.275


God’s Order for Quality BelieversVerse 12:Buried with him in baptism, wherein also yeare risen with him through the faith of theoperation of God, who hath raised himfrom the dead.“Buried with him in baptism. . . .” Do youknow what that baptism is? Christ’s burial.Frequently baptism does not refer to being immersedin water. “Baptism” means “to purify orcleanse.” In this context it’s going into the gravewith Christ. When he went there, we went withhim. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein alsoye are risen with him. ..We not only were circumcised in his crucifixionand baptized in his death, but when God raisedChrist, we got up with him. You and I were raisedwith Christ. “. . . Risen with him through (byway of] the faith [believing] of the operation[energeia, energy] of God, who hath raised himfrom the dead.” When Christ arose, we arosewith him. Jesus Christ believed that God wouldraise him from the dead, and we believe thesame. That’s the believing of Colossians 3:12.Ephesians 1 adds even more knowledge to this.276Ephesians 1:18-23:The eyes of your understanding beingQuickened Together with Christenlightened; that ye may know what is thehope of his calling, and what the riches ofthe glory of his inheritance in the saints,And what is the exceeding greatness of hispower to usward who believe, according tothe working of his mighty power,Which he wrought in Christ, when he raisedhim from the dead, and set him at his ownright hand in the heavenly places [theheavenlies],Far above all principality, and power, andmight, and dominion, and every name thatis named, not only in this world, but also inthat which is to come:And hath put all things under his feet, andgave him to be the head over all things to thechurch,Which is his body, the fulness of him thatfilleth all in all.Thus Colossians 2 says that we were circumcised,buried, and raised with Jesus Christ; andEphesians 1 says that we ascended with him andare seated with him. We are completely, completelycomplete! We are equipped; we’ve gotit. Not because of who we are, but because ofwhat God did in Christ when He raised him277


God’s Order for Quality BelieversAfter God forgives us of all trespasses, Colos-sians 2 further explains what He does with all theaccusations which were against us.from the dead and set him at His own righthand.When Jesus Christ got up, we got up with him;when he ascended, we ascended with him; whenhe sat down at the right hand of God, we satdown with him. It’s already fulfilled.Colossians 2:13:And you, being dead in your sins and theuncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickenedtogether with him, having forgiven youall trespasses.“. . . Comfort ye my people. . . . Speak ye com-fortably to Jerusalem. ...” Tell them that Godis going to double their sin on them. Now howcan you comfort someone if they are going toreceive double for their sins? That doesn’t makesense! Bishop K.C. Pillai finally explained to me“And you, being dead in your sins....” You areno longer dead in your sins, but dead tothem. You were dead in your sins before youwere born again. But when you were born againof God’s Spirit with Christ in you, you becamedead to them. Each of us is born into this naturallife dead in trespasses and sins, and the only wayGod can raise us up is by our confessing with ourmouths the Lord Jesus Christ and believing thatGod raised him from the dead, as Romans 10:9and 10 instructs us. Then we are given remissionof sin and God puts His spirit in us, which is Godin Christ in you, which is eternal life. We are nolonger dead in trespasses and sins, but rather webecome dead to trespasses and sins.Quickened Together with ChristVerse 14:Blotting out the handwriting of ordinancesthat was against us, which was contrary tous, and took it out of the way, nailing it tohis cross.I wondered about the meaning of this verse forfifteen or twenty years, realizing I did not understandit. I also had a problem with Isaiah 40.Verse 1 says, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people,saith your God.” The word “comfort” heremeans to soothe people, to give them peace andserenity. But the second verse of Isaiah 40 continues,“Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem[God’s people], and cry unto her, that her warfare[appointed time] is accomplished, that heriniquity [sin] is pardoned: for she hath receivedof the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”278 279


God’s Order for Quality Believerswhat the “doubled” sin of Isaiah 40 is, and thenI understood the phrase “blotting out the handwritingof ordinances” of Colossians 2:14.In Old Testament times a part of the judiciarysystem was the elders at the gate. These wereolder men, experienced and wise in human affairs.They were selected from the foremost menof the community and were known for theirhonesty and good judgment. A person whobecame an elder at the gate was held in highesteem. He became responsible for makingsound judgments and decisions regardingdisputes of any kind. These elders at the gatewere required to “sit” at certain appointedtimes, and if the city dwellers had disputes orproblems, they were to present them at thosetimes. Civil disputes and problems were settled inthis manner.Now, suppose an Israelite went bankrupt. Hewould have to report to the elders at the gate.The elders would make out a statement of bankruptcywhich listed everyone to whom the debtorowed money. When the elders had finishedwriting down all the creditors, they would nailthis bankruptcy notification on the gates of thatcity. It was posted as a constant public reminderof the debtor’s dilemma and shame. Day after280Quickened Together with Christday this notice would hang on the gate of thatcity until all the debts were paid.At any time during the posting of the debt aperson could come along and act as a benefactor.He might walk in the gates and read thebankruptcy notice. Maybe he knew the debtor orhis family. So the benefactor would go to see theelders at the gate and say, “I want to pay in fulleverything which is contrary and against thisdebtor,” and then he would pay the debts. Sowhat would the elders at the gate do with thebankruptcy notification? They would take itdown and “double” it. That means they wouldfold it over so that the writing of indebtednesswas inside and no one could see what had beenagainst the debtor. Then the elders did somethingelse. They wrote the former debtor’s name on theoutside of this doubled paper, and once morethey would take the folded sheet and nail it to thegate of the city. Thus everybody would knowthat all the debts, all that which was contrary tothe debtor or against him, had been fully paid.In Isaiah 40 Israel had their sins doubled.“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. . .for shehath received. . . double for all her sins.” Abenefactor, namely, the Lord God, paid for theirsins and gave them a clean, doubled paper on thegates.281


God’s Order for Quality BelieversLet no man judge you under the Old Testa-ment law because you are not under that OldTestament law; you are in the Body of Christduring the Age of Grace. The Old Testament lawwas only a shadow of the greater law of the spiritof life in Christ Jesus, which is now in effect.Similarly, Colossians 2:14 says, “Blotting outthe handwriting of ordinances that was againstus, which was contrary to us, and took it out ofthe way, nailing it to his (Jesus Christ’s] cross.”Jesus Christ who knew no sin became sin for usso we could become the righteousness of God inhim. He paid our debts, and then God went astep better and blotted them out. He completelyexpunged, or erased, those things that wereagainst us because Jesus Christ paid the price onthe cross. Therefore, there is no record of thecharges against us, only that all debts have beenpaid. Jesus Christ took the reproach which wasagainst us. It was nailed to his cross. Isaiah 53:6says, “All we like sheep have gone astray; wehave turned every one to his own way; and (but]the Lord hath laid on him [Jesus Christ] the iniquityof us all.”Colossians 2:15:And having spoiled [apekduomai] principalitiesand powers, he made a shew of themopenly, triumphing over them in it.This Greek word for “spoiled” means “havingput off from himself,” what he bore for us.He who knew no sin became sin for us. Then heput off from himself (spoiled) the sins, whichwere the principalities and powers. And he made282Quickened Together with Christa show of the principalities and powers openly,triumphing over them when God raised him fromthe dead.*Now comes more important information forbelievers to bear in mind.Verses 16 and 17:Let no man therefore judge you in meat, orin drink, or in respect of an holyday, or ofthe new moon, or of the sabbath days:Which are a shadow of things to come; butthe body is of Christ.Verse 18:Let no man beguile you of your reward in avoluntary humility and worshipping of angels,intruding into those things which he hath notseen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.*Ephesians 4:8: “Wherefore he saith, When he ascendedup on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts untomen.”283


God’s Order for Quality BelieversQuickened Together with Christ“Let no man beguile you. . . .” The wordswill be very strong in some other area; we com-“beguile you” mean “defraud you.” Salvationplement and support each other. That is beingis of grace and reward is of merit. Don’t letknit together. It takes all the parts of the Body,anyone cheat you of your prize by involving youeach carrying out its unique function, to makein his religious rituals, putting you under the the Body function properly. I Corinthians 12:21tradition of men, and feeling proud of it, vainlyexpresses this image so clearly: “And the eyepuffed up.cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee:nor again the head to the feet, I have no need ofyou.” Somebody has to be an eye, someone elsea wrist, a thumb, or an index finger. What wouldhappen if we were all the same part of the Body?Verse 19:And not holding [fast] the Head [Who is thehead? Jesus Christ.], from which all thebody by joints and bands [bonding, puttingtogether] having nourishment ministered,and knit together, increaseth with the increaseof God.Members act in different and varied capacitiesin the Body. But each is only a part of that Body,and each must do his job to the best of his abilityso that the whole Body can function effectively.If anybody does not function in his calling, theBody as a unit is hurt. Every member in par-ticular is important. And when each member isThe expression “knit together” in verse 2 ofColossians 2—”hearts might be comforted, beingknit together in love”-is repeated here. Weare to hold fast to the head, knowing that thewhole body, having nourishment ministered bythe bonded joints, increases. We minister God’sWord to each other and thus the Body of Christis nourished and grows. Every believer is part ofthat Body, and each of us goes forth to minister.Having received nourishment, we are knit togetherin the Body with every joint bonded togetherand contributing. One believer will be verystrong in one area of practice, and another oneI may never particularly appreciate my fingersuntil one of them is sore. It’s remarkable thatwhen I hit my thumb with a hammer, my wholebody feels the shock. Before hitting and irritatingit, I’m not even conscious that I have a thumb.And it doesn’t hurt for just that moment, but forsome time following. The Body of Christ is likethat. If one member is hurt, we all hurt. All theparts in the spiritual Body are interdependentjust as in the physical body.284 285


God’s Order for Quality Believersfunctioning, the Body increases with the increasefrom God. This is dynamic growth.Colossians 2:20:Wherefore [Because of this] if ye be dead [ifye died] with Christ from the rudiments[systems, principles] of the world, why, asthough living in the world, are ye subject toordinances.If we died with Christ from the systems of theworld, why do we allow ourselves to be subject tothem again? Why, as though living in the world,are we dogmatized again to ordinances? Whatkind of ordinances are meant? God’s Word goeson to explain this.Verses 21 and 22:(Touch not; taste not; handle not;Which all are to perish with the using;) after[according to] the commandments and doctrinesof men?These dogmatic ordinances are “after thecommandments and doctrines of men.” The“touch not; taste not; handle not” types of manmadeordinances corrupt the user. Why do wethen subject ourselves to those rules which are286Quickened Together with Christafter the commandments and doctrines of men?Remember Matthew 15? The Pharisees taught“for doctrines the commandments of men.”When we worship according to men’s commandmentsand doctrines, what kind of worship is it?Vain. It says in Matthew 15:9: “In vain they doworship me.”Colossians 2:23:Which things have indeed a shew of wisdomin will worship, and humility, and neglectingof the body; not in any honour to the satisfyingof the flesh.Man’s ordinances “have indeed a shew ofwisdom.” But that kind of wisdom is naturalman’s wisdom which, when studied earlier, wefound of very little value because true knowledgeand wisdom come from God. Man’s ordinancesand religious rituals do not “honour [have anyvalue] to [with a view to, toward] the satisfying[pl‘smon‘, filling up] of the flesh.” Man’s ordinancesand religious rituals do not have anyvalue toward the satisfying of the flesh.Colossians 3:1:If ye then be risen with Christ, seek thosethings which are above, where Christ sittethon the right hand of God.287


God’s Order for Quality Believers“If ye then be risen with Christ. . . .” And wewere told in Colossians 2:12 that when he arosewe arose with him. Remember? “If [Since], yethen be risen with Christ, seek those things whichare above, where Christ sitteth on the right handof God.” Seek the things of God; don’t followafter the world’s systems.Verse 2:Set your affection [phroneÇ, mind—verb]on things above, not on things on the earth.“Mind the things above” is how the text reads.It means absolutely to do it. You set your mindon the things above. You put God’s Word inyour mind, and you’ll see the greatness of God inChrist in you.“Set your mind on things above, not on thingson the earth,” because those things which we seewith our senses are temporal; but that which wesee spiritually, which is God in Christ in you, iseternal.Ladies and gentlemen, the outside world willnever see the greatness of your life until they seethe Christ in you. They have to read your lifebefore they’re ever going to read the Bible, Iguarantee you. They have to see it live in youfirst. We are living epistles, known and read of288Quickened Together with Christall men. We are to live the Word and let ourlights shine before men.Verses 3 and 4:For ye are dead, and your life is hid withChrist in God.When Christ, who is our life, shall appear,then shall ye also appear with him in glory.“When Christ, who is our life....” Christ isour life. That is the only thing we’ve got. We aredead to this world, but alive in Christ. He is rightnow our life. He is our life. And he is alreadyseated at the right hand of the Father and he’scoming back for us. That is what Colossians 3:4is saying. “When Christ our life shall appear,then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”When Christ appears, we will appear with him!I don’t know of anything more exciting andencouraging for a triumphant walk, than to livewith overflowing exuberance, looking forward toappearing with Christ in glory. I don’t know ofany greater way to encourage God’s people tolive a sustained walk. Because we are rooted andbuilt up in Christ, because we live God’s Word,because we have left this world with its systemsand wisdom behind, because we are the Bodyof Christ with each one of us having a specific289


God’s Order for Quality Believersfunction, because we are completely complete inChrist Jesus—for all these reasons and more, asseen in Colossians 2 and 3, we want to walk forGod as mature believers who abound in thanksgivingand thanksliving.Oh, what a life we have, what a privilege, whata joy to serve the Lord Jesus Christ! We’ve beenquickened together with Christ. We are completelycomplete in him, and we have the abilityand the authority to stand with him and with oneanother. We look forward to the day we will appearwith him in glory. That’s why our hearts arecomforted. That’s why we are knit together inlove in this extraordinary family of God.290About the AuthorVictor Paul Wierwille has spent several decadessearching out the truths of God’s Word.As part of his search he consulted and workedwith many outstanding individuals in Christianstudies for keys to power-filled, victorious living.Such men as Karl Barth, Joseph Bauer, GlennClark, Karl J. Ernst, Josiah Friedli, Louis C.Hessert, Elmer G. Homrighausen, E. StanleyJones, George M. Lamsa, Richard and ReinholdNiebuhr, K.C. Pillai, Paul Tillich, Ernst Traeger,and many others were a part of Dr. Wierwille’squest to find the truths of the Word of God.Dr. Wierwille’s academic career includesBachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theologydegrees from Mission House (Lakeland) Collegeand Seminary, graduate studies at the Universityof Chicago and at Princeton Theological Seminary,where he earned the Master of Theologydegree in Practical Theology. Later he completedhis work for the Doctor of Theology degree atPike’s Peak Bible Seminary and Burton Collegein Manitou Springs, Colorado.291


About the AuthorFor over forty years, Dr. Wierwille hasdevoted his major energies to intensive researchand teaching of the accuracy of God’s Word.Since 1953 he has taught Biblical research andteaching classes on Power for Abundant Living.He is the founder and first president of The WayInternational, a nonsectarian, nondenominationalBiblical research, teaching, and fellowship ministry.He is past president of The Way Collegeof Emporia, and he is the founder and first presidentof several other centers of learning: The WayCollege of Biblical Research, Indiana Campus;Camp Gunnison—The Way Family Ranch; andLEAD Outdoor Academy International.As Dr. Wierwille perseveres in his research ofthe Word of God, he continues to write moreresearch works and to develop further classes inBiblical studies, including The University of Lifeoutreach courses, an international Biblical studiescorrespondence school. As a dynamic teacher andlecturer, he travels worldwide to hold forth thegreatness of the accuracy of God’s Word.292

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