Of Growth
And Strength


Darkness as Light -- Part 3

How many of us were able to lay hold of God and get an answer to prayer right off When we first beleived?

And if we found our first prayers unanswered did we say: well it must not be in prayer. And then we threw that whole thing aside and looked for God in something else? I dare say most of us if we have developed a prayer life have developed it over a long period of time line by line and here a little and there a little.

Ezekiel 34:1-5 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered.

We have been falsely taught that the Old Testament is the bible of the Jews and the New Testament is the Bible of the Christians.  Elsewhere I have a in depth study on this subject suffice to say that the word of God is one it is not divided. So here we have Ezekiel  prophesying against the shepherds. Who were she shepherds of Israel? Who called themselves shepherds of God’s people? Who among them had the power to heal the sick/ Who among them had the power to strengthen the diseased? Who among the Israelites God’s sheep did they drive out and scatter? The answer is none this is not a prophesy to Israel as much as it is a prophesy to the Church where its ministers were to be as the great shepherd Jesus Christ and instead the ministers have become hirelings that live for themselves while they exploit destroy and scatter the people of God for their own pleasure.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Because to the doctrines and traditions of men this verse is preached exclusively as a salvation verse. Because of this, this verse has come to little or no meaning to the Church because they say they are all saved  -- they have accepted God on their own terms, they have made a decision to be a certain level of Christian.  The truth is that we walk in a far greater darkness in this day than Origen did in his. And we call the corruption that has been handed down to us the glory and the light of God. We need to realize that this only works when none seek after Christ and none seek for the truth. It only works when we are content to live in the darkness of those to whom we are discipled to.  And when we reast on our careless leas in Zion we are doomed to being passed by, by the Lord just like he has passed by every generation before us.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The context this passage begins with John the Baptist’s disciples coming to Christ. John was in prison, and he knew he was going to die and it appears that he may have been plagued with some doubts. I have heard this message preached repeatedly and have repeated the words of others message on this as well in the past. However I see something new this morning as I write, that John the Baptist was not failing in faith, he was victoriously finishing his course and he attempting to make an orderly transfer of his remaining disciples over to Christ.

Remember at the beginning of Jesus ministry that John the Baptist sent John and Andrew to be with Christ – this is no different. Probably he had only his most ardent and most faithful disciples left those that had sworn allegiance to him unto death. And so John sends them to Christ to ask a question that they would see firsthand the demonstration and power and hear Christ’s teaching. John wanted his disciples to be confronted and to know by their own eyes and ears that Jesus was the Christ. And likewise John wanted his disciples to come back with an incontrovertible report – so that he could say: I have run my course, I have built the way of salvation – if you have heard my words and you seek to honor me and what God has done you must now go and become disciples of Christ.

The context of the passage continues with Jesus chiding the scribes Pharisees and the priests. Matthew 11:16-19   But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.  The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Jesus is clearly speaking here about sects of religious leaders cat calling to each other over their rules and regulations. This thought is brought out in some other passages.

Matthew 23:4 For they (the Scribes and Pharisees) bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

Luke 11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

Jesus then speaks of entire cities that rejected His message that He was the Messiah. Cities in which Jesus said He did His greatest signs and wonders. Was it the common people that did not believe – that is doubtful – it was the religious leaders with their burdensome rules exerting their authority over the locals that caused the rejection

So then what is the meaning them of  Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

It would appear that Jesus here is calling out to those under the heavy burdens of the scribes the Pharisees and the lawyers – he’s speaking to practicing and religious Jews perhaps even the followers of John the Baptist. If we were to update this to our day we could say that Jesus is calling to practicing Christians and the religious of our day he is calling them unto himself. He is calling them to abandon 1900 years of the doctrines and traditions of men that put an undo burden on believers.  And what is his first call? To come unto me, all ye that labor and I will give you rest. Labor in what? All this religious activity, to believe this, to do this, and to confess this or that.

Take my yoke – my commandments – my teachings and first and foremost learn of me. And was does He want you to be introduced to? Being meek and lowly of heart and in so doing you shall find rest for your souls. No in all the religious activities that are designed to keep you struggling and entangled. 

This is quite different than what is currently preached. – In most churches people get saved, people get filled with the spirit, and then they get taught the doctrines and traditions of men and get loaded up with things they need to do.  This is done instead of taking on Christ’s yolk and instead of coming unto Him and learning of Him. 

A major component of the preaching in our day is “doing.”  I am not ignoring scripture that speaks of us not only being hearers but doers I am saying that we have a religious leadership that has lost their way. We have teachers and preachers that preach 10,000 other gospels because like us they are also walking in darkness and If their light is darkness how great is that darkness with they teach others in the Church?

The first call of all believers is to come to Jesus. It is not to become a disciple to some pastor, or church, or denomination or some movement.  At yet ministers by enlarge don’t want you to come unto Jesus because that takes control from them.  Putting believers in the hands of Christ takes away authority and weightiness from the words they teach, so from a leadership standpoint that would be undesirable – its bad for business.

These ministers and ministries are pro-active they are not meek and lowly of heart because if they were they would not seek to exert authority of people as the princes of the gentiles do.  They would not be involved in political posturing to enhance their office their ministry or their denomination. They would not be demanding money for the building program or whatever other programs they want the church to fund. I am hoping that I can pry your eyes open to see that none of these preachers are wearing to yolk of Christ none have come unto to Him to learn of Him and none have found rest for their souls. Instead they are like the troubled seas.

All of these pretend that they are servants before their congregational audiences but in reality they follow not the saying of Christ and on a daily basis. And on a daily basis they do things that Jesus could not or would not have done.   

In ministry of the Church of this day there is not one righteous no not one and I include myself in this list.  I can no longer posture and deceive my hearers into believing that I am some how holier than them. Nor can I preach to the lost and tell that I am holier than them I am actively seeking a transformation the same transformation that changed the twelve disciples from being carnal selfish fleshly men into men of the Spirit. For those who would say that I doubt my salvation or that I might not at all be saved.  I will tell you that in 1972 I confessed with my lips that Jesus was the Christ the son of God and asked him to come into my heart and be Lord of my life – and I have never looked back on that issue. I am speaking of more than having a judicial salvation, I am speaking of more than having the bare minimum requirement to get into heaven – I want to like Paul to experience the depths the weight the depth and the width of this great salvation. I want to walk in the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. I want to experience what is declared in the end of the gospel of Mark these signs shall follow them that believe.

I have seen what is out there. I have read the testimonial books, I have heard the tapes of what we call the great ones, the spiritual giants of the last 150-200 years, I have searched out revivals in Church history and the moving of the Spirit and I have read the writings of the early Church and I judge all of these to have fallen short of the glory of God. I judge that none of these people, ministries, or movements came into the Gospel that Christ and the Apostles once delivered unto the Church.

On what do I base this observation?  No church, no ministry, no revival, and no denomination has ever produced one as Paul the Apostle that was spoken to from Christ in an audible voice that were caught up to the throne of God, and hand taught by Christ the Gospel and that could perform signs and wonders and say to the church this is the way walk ye in it.

There would be those that argued that William Brahnam was such a man sent from God and undeniably God wrought great miracles through him he had supernatural visions but his understanding of the word of God was very poor. Those that worked with him in the latter rain limited the man to minister with his gift rather than teach. After the revival waned Brahnam declared himself to be Elijah as many others have done throughout church history.  A cult of his followers exist to this day, and revere him and his voluminous prophecies not unlike people revere Edgar Cayce and his prophecies.     

I repeat all have fallen short – does that mean that a full restoration of what the early church had and knew of God is unattainable? No, it means that we have lost our way.  That we are not doing the same first works of the Church of Ephesus because we no longer know what those first works were.  The Church is not going to be restored because we can study the Greek and Hebrew text better. The Church is not going to be restored because we can study the writings of the Apostolic Fathers, and it is not going to come because we sit down and read the bible with or without the use of commentaries.

And even if we were to burn all the writings of all those before us and limit ourselves to the scripture along and the Greek and Hebrew that would not guarantee our restoration.   – though I would say that this step would be a vast improvement over what we now have. The restoration of the Church is going to come because of a singleness of vision of the Lord – Jesus said the kingdom cometh not by observation but by revelation. And revelation comes out of fellowship with God. Ever since the church fell away and lost its way, the Church has tried with the use of the knowledge of Good and Evil to make a better Gospel    

Exodus 21:1-6  Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.  If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.  And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:   Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.

It took Christ 3 ½ years -- 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to get the disciples prepared for his death burial and resurrection.

It took Christ 3 ½ years – 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to demonstrate to the disciples what a Spirit-filled believer looks like so that when the Holy Spirit came upon them for them they could hit the floor running. 

It took Christ 3 ½ years to get the disciples to go from having evil, envious and covetous eyes of corruption and walking in darkness to come to a single eye and walk in the light as he is in the light.   

When Christ spoke those words in Matthew 6:22-24 the disciples weren’t doing very well. So it should not surprise you that after a few years that you may still be having trouble with putting off the body of sin. It should not be of any surprise to you that when the light of truth shines on you that you find still have a love for the things of the world even after 5 or 10 years. It should not surprise you that you find that you still covet wealth, that you covet being the greatest, and that you covet being like the princes of world and exercising authority others even after being a believer for 5 to 10 years. The disciples wanted these things, they spoke of these things, and they did things again and again that demonstrated these deep seated carnal desires. Need I remind you that they did and said and did all these carnal things over and over again when Jesus was with them 24 hours a day and 7 days a week?

The truth is that that we have a tougher row to hoe – because Christ is not here bodily and we have neither hear his voice nor at any time seem his shape.

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.

We have not been really aware of our spiritual state of being. Sure we have little indiscretions, we have small outbreaks, little lesions, and we tell ourselves that none of this is serious.  But the reality of these outbreaks of sin, of covetousness, and of a love of the things of this world is that we still have a major infection of sin in our body soul and spirit that requires hospitalization and major surgery. Realizing like the disciples that our eye has been decidedly evil and that our light is darkness is essential, if we are at all care to recover. And like the disciples it may take us some time to fully accept Christ’s authoritative words on this and other subjects.

David said” One thing have I desired of the Lord and that will I seek after.  – The people of this evil generation can not abide such sentiment, instead the credo among believers of this day is: Many things have we desired of the Lord, and all those thing will we seek after. 

The Church has become so earth bound and so materialistically minded that it is commonly taught that one’s spirituality can and should be measured by one’s earthly wealth.  We can see this on a daily basis as high-powered ministries are locked in this never-ending struggle pitting themselves one against another to see who can amass the most things of this world and thereby prove that they are the greatest.  How else could you explain Christendom’s fatal obsession with Christian millionaires, Christian sport stars, Christian rock stars, Christian film stars, and other men and women of wealth and power?

1 John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  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.

By the mere fact that John the Apostle uses the words: “If we” he is plainly telling us that not only does this possibility exist, but that he was addressing believers in his day that were already walking in darkness. And notice that the “If we” of darkness is written with equal footing with the “If we “ of light.  In other words John did not minimize or put qualifies to limit the scope of the “if we” of darkness to a very select few. And likewise he did not say that the “If we” of light was the church by enlarge. So that the Apostle John in taking a neutral stance is stating that in the Church there are spiritual and carnal believers.  that in the church of his day and ours that there are those who are walking in the light and those who walking in darkness. How is this any different than when Christ spoke of the existence in the church of wheat and the tares.

I cannot over-emphasize that the Apostle John wrote these words to churches that had been hand taught by the Apostles. 1900 years later every pastor and every believer in every church confess that they walk in the light, and I might add that they also will tell you that they do not know or ever have met a person that walks in darkness in the Church.

Is it reasonable to say that by their combined testimony in our day that the true church of Jesus Christ is 100% tare free. Are we to boast that our preaching and teaching is so much better than Christ and the Apostles, so that we can routinely feel entitled to do things what Christ and the Apostles could not?

1 John 2:8–9 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.  He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

1 John 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

This is another verse that Christians routinely pass over because they say I don’t hate,

so therefore this verse doesn’t apply to me.  The word “Hateth” in the Greek is MISON

it can be translated to hate, or regard with ill will, it can be translated to abhor or to detest all of which are strong feelings that most believers even tainted believers would naturally refrain from, making many feel very bulletproof concerning this verse. However in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 14:26 MISON is translated “to regard with less affection”, “to love less” or “to esteem less.”  I do not believe that John would have selected a word that 98% of believers could simply bypass. I think that John was trying to prick the hearts of his hearers so that 98% that heard the word MISON would have to examine their hearts

So a better translation of this verse would read: “He that regards with less affection, or he that esteems less his brother is in darkness and walketh in darkness and knoweth not wither he goeth because the darkness hath blinded his eyes.” We can now see great meaning and broad reaching consequences in the Apostle John’s words. When we esteem our brothers and sisters with less affection we are walking in darkness. And I might note here that this person who is walking in darkness is blinded and therefore he knoweth not wither he goeth, nor can he see the damage he is doing to those whom he treats with less affection and less esteem.

The things that we say and do are not static. They are not one-time events with little of no effect or consequence. Day by day we are all changing and growing, we are all soft clay and we are easily affected by many things – if we do not seek release and forgiveness from the things that would taint us they become a larger and larger part of our lives. And over time the prejudices, and corrupt behavior we are imprinted with from others begins to take a life of it’s own in us. And if we let this process go on, it will bring us to a place of absolute defilement of body soul and spirit.  

Romans 13 11-12 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.   The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

In the Christian mindset of our day in which we are taught that we have everything there is to get in God. We are taught that we are seated in the heavenlies with Christ Jesus, and that the very angels of God are at our beck and call.

How is it then that in the early Church were those that were hand taught by Christ and the Apostles were told by Paul the Apostle that they needed to awake out of their sleep? How is it that Paul told these people on one hand that they are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus and almost in the next breath Paul says to the same people that they need to ”Cast off the works of darkness?”

1 Peter 1:15-16 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Peter tells us that God is pure and holy and that He cannot abide sin. Notably if there is any lack in the Church to day it is holiness – I am not speaking of the man inflicted bondage that parades itself as holiness in certain denominations – I am speaking of an all encompassing change in our inward parts, I am speaking of the conversion that took place in the Apostles sometime after the resurrection.    

We are now going to begin an exploration of the holiness that God’s seeks. Or the change in our inward parts that was once considered the central part of salvation and our life in Christ.

Is then salvation automatic? Is water baptism automatic? Is the baptism of the Spirit automatic? Or do we have to do something to take part in each of these things. I have had something for years burning in my soul. Something that I have never been able to express other than saying that: Believers confessing all the promises in God’s word as our own was wrong. I now know as I am writing this what is wrong with the modern confession movement.  The promises and positions that Paul spoke about were not automatic, then and they were never meant to be understood as being automatic now. Paul the Apostle never meant for people to be reciting his words as a confession mantra or praying his words as an official to God. 

The so-called promises spoken of by Paul have a lot to do with whether we are walking in the light or walking in darkness. If we walk in the light we can say what we will and we shall have it.

But instead of pressing into God that we might walk in the light as He is in the light, we have deceived ourselves into believing that we can walk in darkness blending what we like of this world with our serving the Lord. And that somehow if we pray or confess something “in faith,” that somehow God is blinded by that faith and will have to give in to the lust of our heart.

No. Paul said to the church of his day it was asleep and had to cast off the works of darkness. A fearful question that haunts in my soul and spirit is How much more arrogant is the church of this day that proclaims for all to hear it’s righteousness and holiness and that it is in need of nothing, while sleeping as a dead man and shrouded within and without with the works of darkness? 

We are familiar with the term “original sin.”  Scripturally that can only be defined as; the fruit of knowledge of Good and Evil that Adam and Eve partook of and passed on to the entire race. ”  The unregenerate heart of religious men has been at work for almost 2500 years reading the Bible and trying to build coherent arguments as to why God must obey us

The true evil of the Latter Rain Revival and its corrupt offspring namely the Word of Faith Movement and the Charismatic movement is that they are seeking to try bind God with His word in Scripture with a purpose of their getting God to submit to their every fleshly whim. How is this any different than when the serpent came quoting scripture to Christ?  Or how is this any different than when the Pharisees one of the many surrogates of the serpent that came time after time to try to bind Christ with scripture and to try to force him into sin? For as truly as Christ did not bend the knee to serpent when face to face in the wilderness, and if Christ did not bend the knee when serpent’s surrogates threatened with death by stoning or by the cross. Neither shall He be threatened nor bound by these children of deceit that know not, nor him nor love the truth.  

Hear the word of the Lord: God alone is to be worshipped. God is holy and demands He be worshipped in Spirit and in truth.