A Story Founded on the Truth in His Word
Ok class, you can see why Paul was being persecuted by His own people. The Jews named this new form of Judaism a Nazerian sect, or what many in the early church called-The Way Acts 24:5.
Acts 19:9 But some of them (Jews in the synagogue) became obstinate and ….publicly maligned ‘The Way’. So Paul left them.
Earlier, Paul himself mistreated The Way for the same reasons. Later, as you know, he gave his life for those he once persecuted. Acts 8:3, 2 Tim. 4:6-7.
The Holy Spirit would have indeed enlightened the hearts of these Jews if they were truly seeking the Face of God, as it says in the Jer. 29:13. In their ignorance however, many Israelites thought they were serving God.
A few centuries earlier, a Greek Ruler named Antiochus IV Epiphanes wanted to destroy the zealous Israelites for standing up against his rulership of that time. The Maccabees Jewish family were heroic, leading the revolt against this greatly outnumbered Seleucid Empire, many fighting to their death. They believed they were defending the Holiness of God by protecting His temple. Antiochus IV attempted to stamp out their zeal, defiling their temple in Jerusalem by sacrificing an unclean animal on their alter.
Now under the Roman dictate, many Jews were determined never to allow this to happen again. It was rumored Paul brought a gentile into the Holy Gates of the temple and was teaching the ceremonial unclean could now replace the Leviticus Priesthood. Both were untrue. Acts 21:28-29, 24:5-6, Acts 26:22-23.
This is why they hated Paul and why Paul persecuted the church before his Damascus awakening. In their religious fanaticism, they thought they were protecting Judaism and the temple of their God Acts 9.
It seems hard to believe, but in all but a few cases where the Gentiles became angry at Paul for disrupting their profits from their religious sales, the Jews from the synagogues were the main persecutors of Paul’s ministry to the non Jewish world. They were determined to stop this New Way, considering them a dangerous Jewish sect that would allow ‘all’ the Gentiles to be part of the Lords ‘chosen ones’ Acts 16:19-21, 19:23, Acts 17, Acts 21-26, Gal. 3:28.
Yes Marian, what is your question?
Ms. Pondera, you can’t be saying that these persecutors of Paul and the church were upright citizens of the synagogue just trying to be vigilant as they follow the Lords commandments…are you?
No, I am wanting us to consider all aspects of the Word, what it teaches. Like Saul before his conversion, they were not truly seeking ‘The Way’ of Christ, hearing from His Spirit-letting His Spirit help understand the Word. If they were, they would have been like the few who truly recognized His Divine Appointment. Mk. 6:3-4, Matt. 16:16-20.
Jesus teaches that there were Jewish religious leaders that indeed hated the Lords holy coming. It also teaches however that most did not recognize the special time they were in, even though John the Baptist was preaching Jesus was the Lamb of God Jn. 1:29.
Only a fraction of the fisherman, two boats, were moved by His Spirit to come and listen to the sermons by Jesus, early in His ministry Lk. 5:2-3. They were not spiritual giants by any means , they just were humble enough to hear from God, to be led by the Spirit. It seems, since they realized how unworthy they were to be called by God Himself to this New Spiritual Awakening, Jesus understood their hearts would be able to receive the Holy Way of God Lk. 9:46, Jn. 6: 67-67, Lk. 5:8. See Our Road With God
Similarities Between the First and Second Coming of Christ
Ms. Pondera continued. Let’s Look at His first coming, His first call to the church.
After Jesus fed the multitudes near His hometown, the Lord preached how radical we must be in order to follow Him. All the crowds left but the 12 disciples.
John 6:67-69 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” See entire chapter
There were only a few of His followers at the crucifixion, the masses did not understand His calling , His purpose for coming.
Luke 23:23-24 But with loud shouts they (the Jewish population) insistently demanded that He (Jesus) be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. Jn. 19:25-26.
When Jesus resurrected, all of His disciples from the entire nation of Israel, those He came to, could be found hidden away in one room.
John 20:19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
Yes, it is true. Jesus teaches there were evil men at His first coming, mostly in religious leadership. They thought themselves as superior and were blinded to this Holy Hour in time Mk. 3:5-6, Matt. 23:27.
What the Word also teaches is that the people of God-what we would describe as the church today, were not prepared or ready for His first coming. They were what the New Testament calls –in a state of sleeping Rev. 3:3, Eph. 5:14. It would be an interesting study to see why almost ‘All’ of the bride of Christ was found sleeping at His first coming. Yes, I would like to evaluate the similarities between the saints at His first and second coming. From what I have seen from Biblical history and prophecy, their comparisons are striking.
In Matt. 25, all the bride at His return are sleeping, not all perish, but ‘All’ are sleeping.
Matthew 25:5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they (His bride-church) ‘ALL’ became drowsy and fell asleep.
The church that is awake is so small it is counted as a mustard seed, a remnant. See Remnant Church.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober Matt. 13:31-32.
Jeremy was on the edge of his seat again…his patience was starting to lose the battle with his desire to comment.
Ms. Pondera, the Bible gives us a description of the remnant believers that brought about the first church…they seemed so different that what I see today. Gods display of power in Acts 2 seemed to transform the lives of these believers. Throughout the Book of Acts the church was being activated by the Holy Spirit. A believer in one city bonded instantly with other Christians in other regions. They seemed to have a unity and oneness of the Spirit, a passion for Gods new purpose in the land. Do you think the Pastor Tippet would be open to seeing if the churches in the area would gather in unity like the New Testament church?
The class chuckled at Jeremy. They knew he had a sincere desire for the church. It’s just his thoughts were weird, what the elders politely described as outlandish… ideas that were-kinda ‘out of this land’ or world 🙂 .
Ms. Pondera tried the reasonable approach. Jeremiah, the Church in the New Testament was indeed special. They were being persecuted; out of zeal and need they drew together as one-To God and each other. I simply don’t foresee this happening again. We can always pray though.
As usual, Jeremy’s hope would not die without at least a respectful rebuttal. There are scriptures that mentions a powerful radiant church that Jesus is coming back to. I have heard of some believe this will actually happen again. I’m not saying I understand…to be honest-my lack of understanding fills me at this point. I just know there can be more to our normal life in the church. We have to connect with God as the few in the early church did, one in Spirit. This fire of the Spirit seemed to be the main reason the church grew so fast Acts 2-3.
What happened next was subtle, but very interesting. It’s like Jeremy’s passion pulled the Holy Spirit into the room. Ms. Pondera did not reply as a teacher, but someone who also thirsted for more. We all felt what was said had merit, had meaning. Well Jeremiah, she replied, the Bible says the church will have great power when He comes back Acts 2:14-21, Eph. 5:27. We just seem to be preoccupied with what ‘we’ are doing, my doubt sometimes exceeds my faith for a miraculous move in our area. To be honest, I know the Lord desires this, but what can ‘I’ do? Feeling a little uncomfortable because of this conviction, she dismissed the class.
The ‘Touch’ Of Conviction
Ever have one of those weeks where there was something like a warm button pulling on the passage of your heart? Where ever you went, there was a conviction of truth tagging along within your spirit. Not so much a dialogue with God, just a touch of…I want you to consider My new direction for you.
There was as some would say…a complete circle of emotions and different feelings. It was exciting to think the Lord was showing a possible new adventure, an added joy because the He seemed to be opening a door to a special place. Knowing He still ‘has my walk’ is such a great assurance. It gave me a peace in my spirit.
I have to admit however there was an uncertainty of how to approach this new direction, or if I could carry out His assignments properly. For those of us without perfect faith, new territory always seems risky.
One thing was for sure however, Jeremy’s words were confirmed by the Lord. At first, they seemed glued to me. The Spirit was explaining that there is more truth displayed by one united Holy Spirit move of God, than by centuries of a divided fellowship Eph. 4:13, Acts 2:1-47, Mk. 3:24-25. See Fellowship or Friendship
The Word is true, the Lord will come back to a righteous united church, glorious and lifted up in Him. It’s the ‘how to’ in transforming this chunk of coal into the final diamond that has my mind rattled.
What program or method can selectively pick the truly sincere churches from street corners and make them into a Holy Body with the same heartbeat of the Lord. It will have to truly be an ‘out of this world’ move of God Matt. 25:6-7.
I could not shake off Jeremy’s conviction, I knew the Lord wanted me to walk through the door to explore this new direction. I had to laugh, if someone were to give the name on the door of this address, Life Changing would seem to fit perfectly.
To be honest, Jeremy at times made me feel uneasy. I had not quit figured out if he was overzealous, or if I just simply did not have the same level of enthusiasm. It did seem however, the Lord was always honoring his desire to want more of God. I did like his genuineness however. He was not pretentious and always made people feel they had great value through their potential with God. Possibly, if I upped my zeal I could learn to hang with him.
Despite his acknowledgement on how much he did not understand, he did not lack wisdom in cutting a deal for the Lords business. He tracked down those preachers who felt they were being called to proclaim the Lords purpose for the church Lk. 4:43. Knowing the Lord had His tug on me, he had me pledge a commitment to ‘my pull’. He directed me to try 3 different services for this move of God. If I did not feel led to continue, he would never bother me again about this-unless prompted by the Lord of coarse-he added in typical Jeremy fashion.
The first meeting was this Thursday, there are no delays with this brother. Off we went. To my surprise, the setting and service was similar to many I have been to. Yes, part of me was expecting off the wall religion. The tag on this pastor, I would say-for lack of a better term, was simplicity.
His method was slow and precise, not in any hurry to match any ones schedule. As a result of his precision though, he was able to get his message out within a short period of time-kinda liked the ‘short winded’ style. He was not trying to impress anyone, you could sense this. In fact, he was working in quit the opposite direction. He was teaching how genuineness, honesty and a correct understanding of meekness is our key to the greater things in life…as we Abide In Him Jn. 15:7. He was teaching if we work at the basic but most important truths in the Word, if one practices them with diligence, we will connect with His Divine presence, His glory. This ‘connection’ brings in the greater heavenly provisions, like His power and wisdom, resulting in an outpouring of the Lords love. This is where the church needs to be. I was starting to understood his direction. He was explaining, if pastors, leadership, or fellow believers do anything other than humbly pursue His ‘pure’ purpose, it will throw us ‘off’ His narrow path-what He is trying to accomplish with His Church Body. This requires a heart that is broken before God-in order to hear His voice and direction, as stated in the Word.
Psalm 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure;
He showed how the Word teaches that this applied to all the churches, not just to their congregation.
The only time I sensed there was a ‘divine link’ to any other church was at the end of the service. He prayed for the church to be united in the ‘breath’ of God’ to know His heart. To walk in singleness of Spirit.
The Spirit sooo moved in this prayer. It combined the unity and love for the Lord with finalizing the defeat of the devil. You could tell that he was bound with conviction for this purpose of the Lord. For some reason, the Lord did not provide an opportunity to talk after the service, but I was glad I visited. I was drawn to sincerity of the congregation.
On the way home, Jeremy wanted to do a complete expository on the sermon and how it applies for today’s church. I just mentioned I really wanted the Spirit to soak in. I absolutely knew the Lord was not only moving in my life, but also desired to move in the church as a whole. A new awakening Is. 43:18-19,
The churches that were part of this movement were in different areas of the state, as usually, the Lord wanted to test our devotion lol. This pastor was well seasoned in ministry and at first glance could pass as a one of the distinguished pastors of the community. I thought pros and cons here. We could have come to the wrong church-cause he doesn’t look like a fisherman the Lord would have picked out. If we are in the right church, maybe he just is marginally committed to this new or Renewed Way. If He is sold out however, what a catch. This bro would be the one guy that could convinces the established leadership to surrender their ministry-empire- and convince them God really is behind ‘The Resurrected Way’.
He had a more traditional approach than the first pastor. He taught with scripture how demonic divisions have created splits in the church. This has caused the different denominations, dioceses and just an independent thinking about ‘my ministry’ Jn. 14:26, Jn. 8:32, Eph. 4:13, Jn. 17:23.
How can we abide in separated colonies in a community and think we can ‘beat the devil’. With scripture he pointed out it takes a united church to accomplish this. See ft. 1 bottom
He made one thing perfectly clear. This unity is not a Christian conference, a great concert in a huge stadium…or a pastors meeting to console one another. It is recognizing the truth that a Believers unity starts by the blood Jesus shared for us. Being born into the kingdom of God. It is our brotherhood in Gods kingdom that calls us to be one. It is opening our spiritual eyes and moving with this calling that activates this brotherhood – the great city on a mountain, connected to God Matt. 5:14-15.
He also stressed in closing, unity to this calling comes by being in a place to hear from God. Like the majority in the First Coming, if you are not able to see the final call from God, how can you be unified in it Jn. 3:10.
I never noticed this until his final remarks. This great event is a secret and it is NOT revealed until we do the work that requires it’s uncovering. Interestingly though, he did not tell us what this work was. It was like he wanted us to start going to the Lord with all our heart-to pursue this truth…this was the key to this revelation.
Mark 4:11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables Mk. 10:15
It dawned on me while listening to these two pastors that they did not share a theology, nor an agenda, or a organization. They shared in a Passion from Heaven, a Divine Calling that started with a remnant in the early church and was being brought back for today. I was ‘getting it’. As we lost the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for almost 2 millenniums, we also lost our united purpose for the church for about that same time frame. As the Lord brought back this great manifestation of the Spirit for all the church in the early 1900s, likewise, He was reviving the mustard seed church to sprout to it’s completion. They both were intended for the entire church age, but as we know from the Garden of Eden, the devil and sin can postpone the Lords blessing for the church.
What was being burned into my spirit was these two pastors shared in a spiritual unity that only comes from being close enough to the Holy Spirit to hear His Words Jn. 14:26. They also knew they were to fight the devil together, a united kingdom. They were as individual as any church could be, but bonded together more powerfully than any evil could separate. These pastors were one. You could actually feel it, experience it. I thought, Lord-if this move catches fire-Your glorious fire from heavenly will truly come to earth in a most incredible way. You were speaking literally when You said,
Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN! Matt. 6:10.
On the way home, I had to confess to Jeremy. The fire of heaven exposed my complacency. Yes, I was guilty of sleeping. I see now what God is trying to accomplish with His church. Like Jeremy, I felt so humbled the Lord pulled at me-even reluctantly at first-to show us this amazing preparation He has for His bride. This second pastor is more than dedicated to ‘The Way’, he will be a great leader for His move. I also see such a beauty in how He uses different pastors and congregations. They are totally free to be who they are…different and unique. The Unity is holy…sharing the Voice and Move of the Holy Spirit. Like the fishermen in the two boats, they are hearing from the Lord where many others are ‘out at sea’. The pastors who are hearing Him around the world are the start of the kingdom-mustard seed church. There sole unity could be described and hearing from Jesus and the Father by the Spirit, and just following His ways….as one church would do if they were truly hearing His Voice.
Total conviction. I did not sense ‘the pastorate’ ministry from this preacher…I did feel the Word spoken like a Sword into our hearts Heb. 4:12. He prophetically proclaimed the truth of the Lord. He put things in black and white perspective. There was no question now that the Lord had His 24/7 connection line with these 3 congregations…and anyone else that cared to get serious with God.
He preached with such an urgency.
‘Coming together as one unites Gods kingdom…if done by the voice of His Spirit. Beloved this united Kingdom from heaven brings Gods glorious light to this dark world. Do you believe in the Bible…do you?’
Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness
Jesus says ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God’…Seek ye First-not second or fourth. Not after you get a building, or a program or a ministry. Jesus says don’t bury your father if it causes you to forsake advancing His Kingdom Lk. 9:60. Jesus preaches this drastic message because our Lord has experienced absolute truth. He has seen the worlds darkest horrors, those screaming in torment. In Eternal Wisdom Jesus understands how the devil blocks the truth of the Word from entering the hearts of the lost.
There is one way the devil works at sending your kids and your family to hell. He stops the light of His glory to come to them. This glory from heaven is His presence-the Truth. This is why Jesus was so radical with the kingdom call. It is their life support that diverts them away from eternal hell to everlasting love with God.
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
A united church, a united kingdom of God within us-breaks the evil bondage over this world, it penetrates darkness and exposes the truth and holiness of God. The lost will then receive His light from heaven so that they can see and be saved. When we gather together, united holy torches within a city, region or nation, Jesus is in the middle and darkness has to flee. The gospel light shines to those who are lost.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst (middle) of them.
When believers form a circle of unity in prayer, His presence and light penetrates the darkness in the middle of a sickness, school, bar, city or nation. We have to be united for this to happen-for a true spiritual victory.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. See Kingdom Light over Darkness
Jesus has Divine Understanding, when He says ‘Do this First’ why do we do anything else until we wholeheartedly accomplish this task. How can we as pastors and leaders in the church do anything unless we first seek the Face of God and pursue this great call. For nearly 2 thousand years we have Cared Not To Listen. The Word says we will unite, from a small mustard seed remnant to the greatest light of this World. Together, region by region we fight until the devils kingdom is divided and falls. Matt. 13:31-32, Matt. 24:14, Matt. 5:14-15, Rev. 12: 7-11.
This preacher said something that I knew would change my life. My direction, participation, purpose for the church would never be that same. If I did not pursue the kingdom of God-united with others doing the same, the devils darkness would not be effectively bound up and his strongholds over this world would continue ft. 1. I know I will stand before God when He evaluates my life 1 Cor. 3:11-15. He is going to know…if I used His kingdom power, Seek ye first-working with a united church-to defeat the darkness that covers those I love, those He has give me care over 1 Cor. 4:20. Never again will I participate in a congregation that refuses to be part of this great final call of God. I will unite with those who are truly hearing the Voice of God. I told Jeremy, bro- I will love those who do not understand…pray and try and show them The Way. I must stand however with you and the ones that see and hear from Him Phil. 2:2. I am not ashamed of proclaiming this great call He has for the church, it divides the kingdom of darkness and brings in the kingdom of God. The ones that do not hear, who have not sought the face of God we will pursue and try and bring them into The Way. It has to be said however, those like myself a month ago are in serious error for not pursing this united Holy Kingdom of God. Thank you Jeremiah, helping me understand this glorious move of God.
What Jeremy did next surprised me. He showed me a side of him that I had never seen. A deep hurt. He said, Tom, thanks for the encouragement. For so long, people have thought I was crazy, off the deep end. All I knew is there had to be something more. I am new at this, and you are the first one to listen. I know the Lord is enough, but until I saw brothers in the Lord respond…it was difficult. Thanks you for desiring to see His truth. The simplest act can be the most difficult but also the most important and rewarding . You showed a willingness to leave what you know-the securities of this world to pursue His truth. You made His truth more valuable than the goodness of what God gives on earth, those whom we care about. You chose truth over the comfort from where you came from. Jesus had to do the same, leave His Fathers glory for the cross Heb 1-2. This created for us, ‘The Way’ , life in Him. We know the devil will fight this truth harder than any other move of God. It divides his kingdom and brings him down Rev. 12:7-11, Matt. 24:14. It also brings the Lords glorious truth to the hearts of the Lord. We must never leave ‘The Way’ of His calling. We both understood the severity of what was just said.
A Talk With My Dad
It would be true if people claimed my dad was not the most vocal in the congregation, or the first to give his testimony. He did not display the most excitement, nor claim great ability for scripture exegesis. His service to God was a consistent walk with Him, a worn out path to God that others could easily follow.
He quietly showed others a steadiness in his walk that Jesus would admire. I may be mistaken, but if my dad was on the boat with Jesus in the storm, I kinda think he would be the only one who would have not woken the Lord. I see him thinking, if the boats turns over I’ll just reach out to the Lord and hang on…not worth changing course until that happens.
His spiritual compass was more accurate than any man I ever met. He never said…you must go this way cause I think it is the only way to go. He just would say what he would do in a certain situation and ask you to compare the circumstances. After prayer and direction from the Word, would have you do what you think is best. Looking back, I never took a wrong turn under his direction.
As usual, I over elaborated on everything…and dad just listened, coming to his conclusion well before the closing of the final curtain.
What amazed me most about his response was that I could tell he was truly touched. It was not that he was shaken or confused, but once in a great while my dad would show a seriousness about a situation that would cause us to take notice. When he talked about war, having gone through one…he would mention how life changing it could be and how one could experience things in battle that could shake your foundations. Some things he took quite seriously.
He spoke in terms of this move of God like war, only this one has eternal consequences. Instead of flooding him with the usually barrage of questions, I wanted to focus on a few, and truly come away with his take.
Dad, why the blindness to the final great call? Why is most of the church ignoring this? I can speak for myself, I was numb until the Lord dragged me in.
He waited and spoke a little more freely that his well mannered tongue usually allowed. When he criticized, which was seldom, it was always constructive. He usually felt if he was not directly responsible for their welfare, better left unspoken.
Tom, sometimes you just have to look at the Word and take it for what it says. This does not mean all the church is evil, but asleep. In America we have been comforted to a point of tranquility. We have dozed off and have not maintained the zeal needed to break through the evil darkness and truly hear from God. His greatest truths come from a diligent walk with Him. We have expressed interest in everything but paid the price for hardly anything. Truth always comes at a cost, the payment is letting go of the security and treasures of this world Mark 4:1-20, Matt. 13:44-46. See Our Road with God P1, P2.
What you have mentioned, the scriptures you have been given clearly state knowledge about the Kingdom is a secret, given to those who are like a child. A young child desperately need their parents to be kept safe. A child trust, listens and obeys the mom and dad-if not they will not survive Mk. 4:11, 10:15. Until we desire Jesus ‘like a child’, we cannot hear Him like a parent. I would feel uncomfortable making this any more complicated that what the Word states.
But dad, what can we do to get the churches united to advance the Kingdom of God.
Son, that is a good question and you know I don’t have all the answers. What I can say is the Lord wants us to act with the information and resources we do have Matt. 25:14-30. Attend the churches you feel the Lord is moving in, gather more truth from those you respect and as you know, of course, pray. In fact, this is most likely what the Lord wants us to do now.
Dad, you take over for tonight…I need to rest and receive right now.
‘Lord, I just want to thank you for touching my son, for showing Your Glorious Way to him. Father, you have touched me also. I too have felt empty and not sure why. You kingdom message unites the church in one accord, like the first believers in The Way. Sometimes you make the truth so simple Lord, we miss it, miss Your way, Your Purpose.
I have no doubt Father Your are bringing this to light for today’s churches. You always tell the truth Lord, this will start Your Kingdom like a mustard seed and grow into the greatest move the world has ever seen, even more powerful than the early church Matt. 13:31-32, Rev. 12:7, Eph. 5:27, Joel 2.
Help us be patient to see the fruition of your planned Kingdom church. Convict the body of Christ today, they have to be part of Your great commandment, this Holy calling. I believe you are seeking first those who have sincere hearts. As with the early church however, many of those were busy, but still missed His first coming. Convict all the sincere hearts they have to pursue Your First and Greatest commandments, or they too will walk in ignorance and disobedience Matt. 22:37, Matt. 6:33. When they turn their focus completely on Your Way Lord, when they discover Your Purpose, greet them with the greatest of Your love, show them they have done well. May their hearts overflow with joy, the church being one as You and the Father are One. Jn. 13:34-35.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
May the Lord bless you as your pursue His truth .