What the Lord has Cleansed, Don’t Call Common

Acts 10:9-16
On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat
But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Many of us today in our Christian walk don’t consider ourselves to have prejudice or be judgmental. We really feel like we have the love of God toward all men until God begins to bring us into the presence of something or someone that flies in the face of all that we consider holy, right, just and good. How do we respond when God places us in the midst of drunks or drug addicts, gothic peoples with colored or spiked hair, tattoos and piercings? How about ministering to people that are slow, poor of speech and dress, lacking in cleanliness, etiquette and manors? What about old people, incapacitated and lacking in faculties and social skills? Can we really love those extremists, god-haters, abortionist, gays, idol worshippers and those of false religions? You might be thinking, “well, wait a minute, God hates sin and a lot of these that you are mentioning are sinners and anti-god.” Yes God hates sin, and what were we before He saved us and washed away our sin? The truth is that, like Peter, we all have prejudices; rather we acknowledge them or not. All of us can be put in situations with certain people groups that we would feel uncomfortable to say the least. The fact is that consciously or subconsciously we avoid or condemn what we don’t feel comfortable or accepting of. There are times in life when God will put us right where we don’t want to be. What we would often protest to God, that is unclean, common and should be rejected, is exactly what He suffered and died to redeem and sanctify. Not unlike Peter, we don’t want to be the ones to defile our hands and dirty our righteous garments. We are faced with a crossroads at certain times in our lives. Will I live out of a pious religious attitude that says to me, “I am better than these people, I will just cross the street and walk on the other side and ignore their existence?” Is the Holy Spirit convicting us in these times that, “you are not your own, you were bought with a price, it was the same price that Christ paid for these you deem undesirable and rejects.” “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
Don’t think it strange when God begins to move in what we might consider some unholy arenas and areas of humanity. Jesus loved that demoniac that no one else would dare to go near. We have to be willing as the priests and ministers of God to operate out of a love that requires that we die to personal prejudices and feelings. These are still a part of our natural man and not a part of the Spirit and love of Christ within us. Jesus was never afraid to roll up His holy sleeves and get his hands dirty with tax collectors, sinners, adulteresses, people demon possessed, sick, diseased, criminals, enemies of Judah, crippled and lepers. Those that no one else wanted anything to with Jesus loved and ministered life, health and deliverance. Quite honestly, most all of us have lived in our comfort zone where nothing we consider common or unholy enters in. In that place we can live piously, comfortably and enjoy our little religious, well groomed lifestyles. The truth is that Jesus went to Hell to redeem the most defiled and ungodly of sinners. Dare we turn our backs on those He so loved and died for? Will these not stand up to testify against us on judgement day? The Love and nature of Christ in us will take us outside of our comfort zone if we will really listen to the Spirit within us. His love reaches out to the depths of humanity. When He cast out His net of salvation He draws in the clean and unclean alike.
We, like Peter, have to have a revelation of our prejudices and God’s incomprehensible love. We have to be willing to lay down our lives, our pride, our dignity, so that Christ might reach through us to love and save the lowliest of men. Are we willing to get our hands dirty? Even the priest of the Levitical order had to get bloody, stinky and dirty as they prepared the sacrifices for the altar. It went with the job. Whatever it takes we must be willing to do, wherever He leads us we must be willing to go. We have been called to be Christ to the Nations. Are you truly willing?

Blessings,
#kent

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Persevere to Pursue Holiness

Hebrews 10:19-25
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Here in Hebrews we are again being exhorted and encouraged to draw near to God. We are not being told to draw near hoping that we’re good enough or hoping that God will accept us. He already has accepted us in Christ and if we are to draw near and have boldness to enter into the Holiest, we must do so based not on identifying with our former selves, but based upon who we are in Christ Jesus. It is His blood that has cleansed us, purified us and given us acceptance before Him. When the Father looks upon us now He sees us in Christ and receives us as such.
One thing the tone of this scripture brings to us is that we do not enter in by the attitude of “I wish I may, I wish I might”. The scripture is saying to us gird yourself up in the confidence of who you are in Christ, with a true heart, in fullness of faith. We know that the blood of Jesus has dealt with the sin issue that separated us from God. We know that His Word is renewing our mind and thinking, washing our bodies with the water of the Word. But do we have a true heart? One that is truly set, fixed and will settle for nothing less than His manifest presence? The Lord is telling us that we have everything we need to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus. That Holiest is where the light of His glory is present over the cherubim. It is that place in his Holy presence we meet with Father, Almighty. While we have access and provision to come here, it is not a place for the weak and faint of heart and faith. They will not see this place. We are talking about a place and dimension at the mountaintop. Most will not enter in because the path is not well traveled. It takes the passionate person that will persevere in faith, boldness and confidence. God is looking for a people that are wholly sold out to Him, where He alone is the object of the their passion and desire. A people who covet nothing less than His manifest presence and life. They don’t want to settle for just living in Israel. They don’t want to settle anymore for just living in Jerusalem. They have their have their eye single and steadfast upon Mount Zion, where the King reigns. They have been promised through this Word an audience with His Majesty and they will not be detoured by anything until they have come into His presence. They will make whatever spiritual preparations required, but they have determined that they will not be denied His promise. Most of us get discouraged and distracted along the way and we give up on our highest pursuit. The whole reason we meet together and have church where two or more are gathered in His name is so that He might be in our midst and so that we might stir one another up in our passion to pursue Jesus into the Holiest. We have to keep one another focused on our life purpose, which is to know Him and manifest His nature in these mortal bodies.
Hebrews 12:1-4 goes on to exhort us after we have just left the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. It tells us, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Whatever it requires of us, we want to be God-chasers, passionately intent on entering into that place where He has made a way. This is our quest to enter into the prize of His glory and presence. On the journey we will find ourselves changed and transformed, for the closer we get to Him, the more His consuming fire burns away all that is perishable within us. The closer we get the more in His likeness we become. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Summon up your faith in all boldness and with a true heart and all of your might, pursue the Lover of our souls into the Holiest.

Blessings,
#kent

 

Enter In, the Third Dimension, Part 2


Hebrews 9:16-22

This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

 

This scripture is pregnant with promise and while we as Christians enjoy a greater degree of intimacy and closeness in our relationship with our God, yet there is still an itch in our spirit that cries out to be scratched.  We experience our God’s glory and presence in a measure, but we know that there is so much more we have yet to experience.  In those moments in our walk with our God, when we taste of a deeper revelation and experience of His holy presence, when His Spirit comes over us and we are undone in ourselves and yet sense the fullness of joy and completeness that only His presence can bring, our spirits cry out, “Abba, Father, we want more of you”.  Inwardly we groan and travail because we know that still we haven’t experienced and aren’t walking in the fullness of what He has created us for.  

It is a principle of God that many times God gives us a promise that we lay hold of and enter into by faith, but we don’t always experience the full manifestation until its fullness of time. Abraham had the promises of God, but saw only a small portion of them fulfilled in his lifetime.  God has given us principles here and in the Old Testament examples for entering into the Holy of Holies.  

First, we know that there is no entrance without the blood of Christ applied to our hearts by faith.  Secondly we see that Christ Jesus was not only the sacrifice, but also the high priest and it was only the high priest that could enter into the presence of Almighty God.  In the Old Testament the high priest wore what was called an ephod or breastplate set with two onyx stones. These stones represented the twelve tribes of Israel (Exodus 28:12).  When the high priest entered into the Holiest of All, all of the tribes and all of the peoples were represented there in that ephod.  We could have no entrance before the presence of God in ourselves, but as believers, by faith, we are in Christ.  The identification of who we are is no longer seen in that former sinful man we were, but in the Christ man that we are, one in Him.  When we come before the Father in faith He no longer sees sinful, corrupt flesh, He sees the righteousness of His Son because we are in Him and covered by His blood.  This is what gives us that boldness to approach His throne.  We don’t come before the Lord with defilement.  The Word says here, “ Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”   We have touched on our ‘approaching in full assurance of faith’, meaning without doubt or wavering.  It says that our hearts should be sprinkled from an evil conscience.  We need to deal with heart issues that aren’t right with the Lord whether that be unforgiveness or sin we are still harboring in our hearts.  These issues need to be dealt with and put under the blood of Jesus.  Otherwise there is a defilement that brings separation.  Our bodies are to be washed with pure water.  It is Spirit and Truth, the washing of the water of the Word, quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4:24, “ God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”  It is not about where we worship that matters, it is about how we worship that matters to God.  

Lastly let us discuss this area of worship because it is the atmosphere that God lives in continually.  In heaven around His throne we see the picture that there are multitudes of heavenly hosts of angles and the redeemed of the Lord singing and worshipping their God continually without ceasing.  This is the atmosphere that we need to cultivate within our spirit.  There was a piece of furniture that stood at the entrance of the Holy of Holies.  It was the altar of incense.  The priest would burn sweet smelling incense and wave the smoke of it before the Lord.  This is our praise. Our worship and praise is foundational to our entering into the Lord’s presence.  Praise is used in some 216 verses, so the Holy Spirit is telling us this is a key not to be overlooked in approaching the throne of God.  Psalms 22:3 says, “But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  If we want to enter in and experience the presence of the Holy One we need to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  We need to create the atmosphere of praise and worship that invites His presence into our midst.  We will experience more of the presence of God in this atmosphere than anything else we can do.  

The body the Lord has given us is His tabernacle.  We have a body, outer court, a soul, holy place, and a spirit, which is our Holy of Holies.  What part of your being are you living out of?

Ours is a progressive walk in the Spirit as we seek to grow up into Christ in all things.  By faith and the blood of Jesus we go through each entrance into a deeper level and experience with God.  We have only touched on a vast subject as we briefly looked at each entrance into the greater depth and dimensions of God.  In conclusion, let us share the vision that Paul had as He pursued the fullness of God for his life in Philippians 3:8-16, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” 

 
Blessings,
kent

 

Enter In, the Third Dimension


 

As we touch upon the entrance of this Dimension we do so with utmost reverence, respect and awe for in this place the very presence of the Almighty God dwells and resides.  In the Old Testament tabernacle the glory cloud of the Lord rested over this place.  The Holy of Holies was a foursquare room inside of the Holy Place.   It contained the Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat that covered it.  Within the Ark it contained the ten commandments, the golden pot with manna and Aaron’s rod that budded.   In Holy of Holies only the high priest could enter once a year to make a blood atonement for the people of Israel.  The high priest had better be right in his heart and life when he entered into this dimension, because he would fall dead if he entered with any defilement.  He had bells on the bottom of his robe so they could hear if he was still moving and they would tie a rope around his waist in case he died so they could pull him out.  

This is the highest and most holy realm of all.  The Word says that anyone who beheld God would surely die.  Our flesh can’t stand before Him and live.  In this place God was pretty much separated from man.  It was only the blood sacrifice and the atonement that allowed any access at all.  It is important that we see that in every dimension the blood never looses its power, but it is the only substance that provides access into the presence of the Almighty from beginning to end.  This is why Christ Jesus is so central and the key of our salvation is in Him.  In the Father’s eyes He is the sinless Lamb of God, offered upon the cross and His blood was shed for the atonement of all mankind.  The blood of animals only stood as a substitute until the fullness of times came and Christ Jesus came on the scene to be that eternal, once for all, sacrifice for all of mankind, past, present and future.  Not only did Jesus become the supreme sacrifice; He is also the spiritual High Priest of our confession no longer after the Levitical order of the Old Testament priest, but after the order of an eternal priesthood, the order of Melchisedec.  This is explained in Hebrews 7.  There is so much here and I can only hope to begin to touch on it, but Hebrews 7:22-26 says, “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;” What we now see is that with the New Testament and the advent of Christ there is a new order that changed the old order of how things were.  When Christ Jesus hung upon that cross and gave up the spirit something supernatural and even superspiritual happened.  Matthew 27:51 says, “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;” The veil was the thick seven layered curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.  God was revealing that through the death of His Son, the veil, representing His flesh was torn and access was now provided that had never been available before into this most Holy Place.  Hebrews 9:16-22 says it like this, “This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them.  And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”  

We will continue this in the next session and speak more of Entering In, the Third Dimension.

 

Blessings,

kent

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