He Must Increase, I must decrease

John 3:30
He must increase, but I [must] decrease

These were the words of John the Baptist as his disciples questioned him about this other man Jesus and why everyone was going over to Him. John understood his life’s purpose and that all that God had given him and all that he had become was to point the way to Christ. He was a forerunner sent before to prepare men’s hearts to receive Christ and the salvation only He could bring. Our purpose is very much the same today. Our lives are not about us being glorified and put upon a pedestal, it is about bringing Jesus before men that they may see all that He is and all that He has provided. Sometimes Christians miss this. They get caught up in what the Lord can do through them and instead of really building His Kingdom, they end up building their own. We must guard against the glory men may want to bestow on us when they see Christ working through us especially in love and the demonstration of miraculous works. There are signs that Jesus said would follow His disciples, but in whatever the Lord chooses to bring forth through our lives, we must be careful to give the praise and the glory back to Him. Isaiah 48: 9-12 tells this about what He thinks of His glory, “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off. Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, [even] for mine own sake, will I do [it]: for how should [my name] be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another. Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I [am] he; I [am] the first, I also [am] the last.” When we deserved God’s anger and judgement He did not cast us off, but He is refining us through the furnace of affliction. If we aren’t trained up in humility and brokenness, understanding the true grace and goodness of God, we will pollute His name. In fact we are seeing the Lord’s name being polluted in Christendom today. Much of why the world rejects Christ and Christianity is not because of who Christ is, but because of who we are. We proclaim His name, but we don’t proclaim His nature. Because we do not truly live to His glory we rob from Him the glory and praise due to His name by our selfishness, greed, and worldliness. Is the world really seeing anything in us different than what they see in themselves? I believe Christianity spread like wildfire in the early years of Christianity, even in the midst of great persecution, because people saw the glory of God. It was not because these Christians glorified themselves, but it was because they allowed Christ to be glorified through them. They truly learned what it meant that He must increase and they must decrease. Aren’t most of still caught up in our increase, in our success, our name and our fame? Who is really being glorified in and through our lives, Christ or ourselves? Galatians 5:26 warns us, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” God has called us out to be a people for His possession and for the praise of His name. Where is our focus in life; is it on us or on Him?
The greatest honor the Lord could bestow on us is the privilege of allowing Him to be glorified through us. When He is glorified through us then men no longer see us they Christ in His glory and splendor. They just see a vessel that is the facilitator of His majestic glory and wonder. This is the desire and purpose of God, to be glorified in His saints. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 tells us that with the Lord’s coming He will be glorified in us, “When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” The Lord may well grace our lives with some miraculous things, but we must never presumptuously take the glory from that to ourselves. There is only one who is worthy of all the glory and all the honor and all the praise and we aren’t Him. We are privileged to be the instruments of His praise and His glory. We must decrease and He must increase, so that in all things we point the way to Jesus and defer all praise and glory to His worthy Name. As we decrease in this life and the things of this world He will increase within us and His kingdom will come in us. His will, will be done in us as it is in heaven. We are privileged to be the lamps through which His glorious light shines. Let us not pollute or diminish that light by allowing ourselves to have the preeminence that belongs only to Him.

Blessings,
#kent

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The Glory of the Latter House

December 27, 2013

The Glory of the Latter House


Haggai 2:9

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts


There is spiritual principle in the second chapter of Haggai.  I believe it is prophetic of what God wants to do with a people in this day and in this hour if we have ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking to the church.  Through the years and all of our efforts we continue to come up short of God’s highest and His best.  There have been seasons through history that have seen mighty outpourings of God’s Spirit upon the earth and a precious flow of His anointing through various individuals.  For the most part all of our spiritual efforts have fallen short of producing what we saw in the Acts of the Apostles and early church times when God’s Spirit moved so powerfully and miraculously.  That early power of the Holy Spirit had diminished so much through the years that many in the church world have developed the philosophy that these demonstrations of power and anointing were just for the early church to get it started and until the Bible was written.  I believe the often used pretext for this is, “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away (1 Corinthians 13:10).”  If the Bible is that which it referred to as the perfect then why are we still living in an “in-part realm of the Spirit”?  I’m not saying the Bible isn’t perfect, I am just saying that the Word is the road map and the life guide to direct us to that which is perfect.  I believe 1 John 3:2 might provide a clearer picture of the perfect that is to come, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  Until the fullness of Christ is seen upon the earth the “in part” will remain.  In the meantime the spiritual temple needs to be rebuilt.  Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”  When we, His temple, are rebuilt then He will come in all His glory to fill that temple. 

Haggai gives a parable in chapter two that illustrates why we aren’t being blessed and why all that we attempt to do is coming short.  “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests [concerning] the law, saying, If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. Then said Haggai, If [one that is] unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean.  Then answered Haggai, and said, So [is] this people, and so [is] this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so [is] every work of their hands; and that which they offer there [is] unclean (Haggai 2:11-14).”  The holy flesh was that which had been offered on the altar of sacrifice and cleansed by fire.  We might see it in the context that we bear holy flesh in the sense of “Christ in us” born in the skirt of our garments of flesh or our bodies.  We are sanctified and made holy by Christ in us, because of our faith and trust in Him.  We are born again spiritually and cleansed of our sin.  While we are made holy by the blood and life of Christ it doesn’t mean that everything we touch shall be holy.  That holiness and cleansing isn’t transferred through our bodies, it is only the Holy Spirit working through us that can sanctify and make holy.  Without His life and power at work nothing is going to happen through us.  On the other hand, if we who possess Christ go out and touch the dead things of this world or have our fellowship with unbelievers we can be defiled and made unclean.  Why?  Because we have touched sin and the death that surrounds it.  As a result we don’t lose Christ in us, but we are defiled and made unclean.  How do we get clean again?  1John 1:7-9 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”There is the process of confession and repentance that again cleanses us through the blood of Jesus.  Are we trying to operate spiritually in a state of defilement and uncleanness?  Is this the reason, “I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye [turned] not to me, saith the LORD (Haggai 2:17).”  God’s desire is to bless us as never before. God desires to move us to that place of repentance, confession and sanctification where we are keeping our lives before the Lord and in a place of right relationship and holiness.  This is the place of blessing and increase he is bringing us too.  “…From this day on I will bless you (Haggai 2:19b).”

 

Blessings,

kent

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