Tag Archive: Ministry
I thought it appropriate to start this book with my earliest memories, and then move through my life while sharing my spiritual experiences. At the time, it seemed to be a nice way for the reader to get to know the author and his background. The surprise was the earth-shattering discoveries that I uncovered while I was writing. During this process, I came to realize that God had been working in my life from the very beginning; I just did not know it. He gave me people like my mom and dad, who were good people who cared for me and gave me good direction. He issued warnings of danger in ways that could have only come from Him. He showed me the truth of spiritual good and evil at a very early age. He took me by the hand and led me in the steps that I would walk. He closed all the doors but the ones that He wanted me to walk through. In addition, He protected me from harm time after time and did it in such a manner that His divine intervention could be the only possible explanation. Things that have no explanation just kept happening to me, and they were always for my benefit even though that may not have been the perception at the time. I was blind to the fact that God was at the heart of these unusual events. This blindness made it extremely difficult for me to rationalize these experiences, even to myself. To me they were true mysteries. I rationalized them by thinking that perhaps I was just lucky to have escaped harm, or that I was smart for having the foresight to know a better course. In some cases, I could not come up with any rationalization at all so I pushed the entire incident into the back of my mind and kept my mouth shut. I thought that it was better than having the whole world know with certainty that I was out of my mind. These events would always take me back to the question: why were these things happening to me? Why me? I would discover the answer to these questions through the creation of this book. Writing this book enabled me to see the big picture of what God had been showing me over the fifty plus years of my life. It revealed that God was protecting me because He created me for a purpose. God created me to possess the vision. When the time came and I turned my life back over to Him, He opened my eyes. Looking back on it now, I am amazed at all the things that He did to protect me or get my attention. The simple truth is that I had been dancing through life not paying any attention. I did not recognize many of the wonderful truths that God had been showing me. In some cases I did not recognize them even after I returned to Him. This book tells how God has communicated with me over the course of my lifetime. It is a story of the past, the present, and the future. It is a story that has value for everyone. In it you will learn the spiritual truths of this world and the next. This means that you will learn about the realities of heaven and hell, the angels and the devil, the portrait of the bride and even the judgment to come, just as I did. It is a story of God giving me a purpose that came to me in a line upon line, precept upon precept manner, just like the Bible tells us. I have no recourse but to pass these understandings on to you so that you will know the truth also. So fasten your seat-belt. What you are about to read will include some of the most fascinating experiences you have ever heard. Many of the stories in this book may be difficult to believe because they span beyond the laws of nature as we know them, and yet they are true. Many of the stories are parables. They communicate a true earthly narrative that is easy to understand but they also contain a heavenly message. So be warned, you will be stepping into the supernatural quite often as you proceed through this book. These events may shock you and leave you mystified but my prayer is that when you finish this book you will also know how to possess the vision.
How to Judge a False Teacher of the Gospel?
I had a reader comment that I was a false teacher. He based his opinion on my statement that Jesus claimed to be the entryways into the Tabernacle when He said; “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The problem according to this reader is that there is no direct scriptural reference to support such a statement. So, in this posting I will begin to address these issues. The first thing I would like to present is a statement from Paul that comes from 1st Corinthians 4:
1. Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
I am content on Paul’s statement as I am not concerned by the opinions of men and I am prepared to let the Lord be my judge. This is because I have only shared my personal journey with the Lord, a journey that has revealed many things to me and hopefully my readers as well. This journey was motivated by my desire to better understand Jesus, a task that included a quest to understand what He meant when He said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” This quest led me to the answers I have communicated on this site. It was a quest that included a comprehensive search of the bible, and reaching out in prayer asking for answers. Based on this I would say that the teaching of Jesus is that we should not Judge, not even someone we believe to be a false teacher. This is in line with the statement of Jesus that proclaims: “Judge not lest you be judged!” In addition, please understand that I should not be considered by any of you as your teacher, as it is written in Matthew 23:
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ,[b] and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
So as you can see that you have only one teacher. Your learning has to come by way of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. My part in all of this is to present my journey with the Lord to you, in the hope that the Holy Spirit will enlighten you pathway as He did for me. In my next posting I will address the other issues identified in the first paragraph. Until that time, may all of God’s blessings be upon you. Papa Joe
This posting is the third in a series of communications that look at God’s deliberate actions to reunite with His people. In our first posting we established that it is God’s desire to once again dwell with His people as He did with Adam and Eve in the Garden. Our second posting provided a generalized outline that demonstrated God’s repeated efforts to reunite with us. Today, we will look at one of God’s most influential covenants, one that became the foundation for the three most prevalent religions of the world today.
So, lets find out more about this covenant by looking at the 17th chapter of the Book of Genesis. As many portions of this scripture are prophetic of Jesus, I have inserted notes to identify them. I hope to be drilling down into them in future postings.
The Covenant of Circumcision
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless (as Jesus walked before the Father and was blameless). 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers (as Jesus made a new covenant with us and greatly increased the numbers of those who walk before the Father and are blameless because of the shed blood of Jesus).”
3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations (as Jesus is the Father of all Christianity). 5 No longer will you be called Abram (Jesus); your name will be Abraham (the Christ), for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. 8 The whole land of Canaan (the Promised Land where there are many mansions) where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. ”
9 Then God said to Abraham, “As for you, you must keep my covenant (the new covenant is a covenant of selfless love), you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. 10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised (symbolic of casting away ones own flesh). 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you (as our love for one another is a sign to others that we follow Jesus.) 12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner—those who are not your offspring. 13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant. 14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant. ” 15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” 17 Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!”
19 Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.
I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” 22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him. 23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him. 24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised, 25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen; 26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that very day.
27 And every male in Abraham’s household , including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.
What does the Covenant of Circumcision Mean to us?
Now while this seems like a nice story on the surface, it is very profound when you start to think about what happened here. God communicates with a 100-year-old man whose wife is barren and tells him that he is going to be the father of many generations. How many 100-year-old men do you know that have fathered a child? Most people would say that such a thing is highly improbable. Then God tells Him that His barren 90-year-old wife is to be the one who is going to give birth to his male child. I believe that this is an even more unlikely possibility. So we have a situation here that is doubly improbable, and even impossible to most people I know. Certainly, it would take an act of God to make these promises a reality and we find that Abraham has so much faith that he immediately follow His direction.
From my point of view the act of circumcision that Abraham performed is so contrary to the basic nature of man that I would also believe them impossible. Most men would most likely say something like, “What, are you kidding?” To cut the flesh off the tip of the organ that represents manhood, and throw it away as worthless is counter intuitive from my point of view. To start with, just think of the pain associated with this procedure. I might be able to believe that Abraham would be willing to circumcise himself, but then how did he convince the other members of his family to do so as well? Let’s internalize this for a moment. Visualize in your mind a situation where a member of your family comes to you and proclaims that they have heard from God and that all the men in their family were required to have a portion of their sexual organ cut off as a result. What would you say? Most likely you would say, “you are as crazy as a loon.” So once again we see a circumstance that appears quite impossible, but despite this Abraham does not even question the point with God, but rather simply complies and get’s his family to do so as well. How great a faith is that? For this reason, several of the New Testament scriptures proclaim that Abraham was deemed righteous based of his faith alone.
So when we look at this from a standpoint of God’s promise being the basis of our relationship, what we see is just another example of God directing His people in a way that leads them back into a relationship with Him. God trying to lead us back into a relationship like He had with Adam and Eve in the Garden.
In this scripture we find God leading Abraham toward the promised land (Canna), where He planned to dwell with his people from inside the Tabernacle that would be built later by Moses. As we have reported several times, the actions reported in these stories are physical in their nature. They are in fact parables or stories that are told to communicate a spiritual message (one that we can not easily understand), by using analogies taken from the physical world that we understand very well. So for example, God’s directing Abraham to the promised land is simply a parable to communicate that there is a spiritual promised land (heaven or the Garden), that we can aspire toward inhabiting. Jesus reaffirmed this concept on several occasions when he spoke about the kingdom of heaven. Just prior to the ascension of Jesus into heaven He told the apostles that he was leaving to prepare a place for them, one that had many mansions.
The bottom line here is that the actions of Abraham to God’s message are prophetic of the life, word and actions of Jesus Christ in every way.
So for example, the act of circumcision, or the cutting away of a man’s flesh serves several points. First, it points to our spiritual nature and tells us that the flesh profits us nothing (like Jesus told us). It also tells us that a sacrifice of the flesh is necessary to live in covenant with God, and this makes it easier for us to understand why Jesus had to sacrifice His life on the cross so that we could live under the new covenant, a spiritual covenant.
It tells us that there is nothing that is impossible for God and that it is in times like these, when things seem hopeless that God comes through. It teaches us that no matter how crazy the things of God may seem to the rest of the world, we must keep our faith and follow His direction. It also communicates that we must display a visible sign so that the world will know that we belong to God. In Abaraham’s day the sign was circumcision and today it is our love for one another. Therefore it is critical that people can tell that we are followers of Jesus by simply being with them.
But all of this is contingent upon us being able to hear from God directly and being sure that we can recognise His voice. So let’s take a look at this and all the other items identified here in greater detail. We will start this communication in our next postings.
Untill then, may all of God’s blessing be upon you.
Papa Joe Gordon
An Introduction to the Journey of God’s People
This posting is the second in a series of communications that look at God’s deliberate actions to reunite with His people. In our previous posting we established that it is God’s desire to once again dwell with His people. In this regard, we see that God originally created the Garden of Eden expressly to be with us.
His first attempt at reunification came when He instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle (as a place where God would dwell with his people on earth.) However, when the people choose to break the covenant of God’s law, God had to find another way. So He sent HIs Son to walk and dwelt with us on earth as a man. His Son was Jesus and He gave us a new pathway to the Father. His life was an example for all of to emulate because His actions and words reveal the heart of the Father. This pathway to the Father’s heart was sealed in a new covenant that included a promise that those who believe in the Son will dwell with God forever in paradise.
All who can keep the covenant of love established by Jesus will see the Garden of Eden re-established once again. So, what we have established here is that it is God’s desire to dwell with us and that this is a proven fact, because God has repeatability worked toward this objective in the past.
We initiate this new section because we believe that the actions of God and the response of God’s people to His direction are prophetic of the walk of the Christian nation today. Therefore, we believe that they are prophetic messages are applicable to every church, ministry and individual seeking to carry on the ministry of Jesus. We believe that this is true because of our work in contrasting the Tabernacle built by Moses, its attributes and functionality, to the life, words and works of Jesus Christ. What we found was that in every respect that the Tabernacle was prophetic of Jesus. Every purpose of every object is prophetic of Jesus.
For anyone unfamiliar with our work on the Tabernacle and Jesus can find a wealth of information here on this site (the-tabernacle-is-prophetic-of-jesus). We believe that this study is of paramount importance because it literally proved that Jesus is the Christ. In our study of this subject matter we found ourselves understanding the nature and attributes of Jesus in a much deeper and intimate manner. We found that the physical structure of the Tabernacle gives us a clear pathway to the Father, one that truly clarifies what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” It leads us to understand what true baptism is. It teaches us that conforming our nature and life attributes to His will lead us into positions of empowerment and even covenant with God. Well, if you’re interested we have about 50 postings on this subject. An index into them can be found on our homepage: https://possessthevision.wordpress.com/. In these postings we reveal great insights into the kingdom of God that truly have value to every Christian, ministry and Church. It is because of them that we have great faith that looking into the circumstances that surround them that many more great insights will be revealed to God’s people.
With all of this said, our future postings will look at the Bible passages that record God’s promises to the people of Israel, namely, that they will live in peace in the promised land, a land flowing with milk and honey. We will follow the travels of the patriarchs to the promised land and then into Egypt, where they eventually become enslaved for 400 years. We will look at the life of Moses who is asked by God to set His people free.
We will investigate the confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh, who only consents to the release of God’s people after suffer from a barrage of plages that culminate in the loss of all the firstborn of Egypt. We will see how the battle between God’s people and the evil powers of the world ends with Israel departing with all the riches of Egypt.
We will study all of the actions that take Israel from this point, to the time they take the Promised Land. We will look at their flight into the wilderness. We will study how Moses goes up to the holy mountain and is given the Ten Commandments of the Covenant with Israel. We will look at the Ark of the Covenant that became instrumental in leading the nation into the promised land.
We will also see how the nation refused to enter into the land and as a result they were forced to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until all the men who had refused to enter died off. We will see how God chooses a new leader, Joshua, to lead the people into the battle for the Promised Land and how the Ark of the Covenant was used to lead the Nation of Israel to defeat all its enemies.
Most importantly, we will correlate these passages with the life and words of Jesus and look for revelations of the future walk of the Christian nation.
God bless you,
God Wants to Dwell with us!
This posting is the first of a series of communications that look at the actions of God that have repeatedly resulted in the creation of opportunities for Him to dwell with His people. In this regard we see that He created the Garden of Eden expressly for this purpose.
Later, He instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle to bring His people into closer relationship with Him.
God then sent His Son who lived with us on earth. He established a new covenant that included a promise that we all have the opportunity to dwell with Him forever in paradise.
We initiate this new section because we believe that the actions of God reveal His love for us. The actions of God’s people to His direction are prophetic of the walk of the Christian nation today. We believe that the prior actions of God and His people are often predictors of what is to come. Therefore, we believe that they are prophetic messages are applicable to every church, ministry and individual seeking to carry on the ministry of Jesus. We hope to be able to demonstrate this as we move forward.
Today we start at the beginning in the book of Genesis with the creation of the Garden of Eden, (a place where God could dwell with His people.) I have attached Genesis: 2 (from biblegateway.com) to allow the reader to see what God created for man:
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created [a] and made.
4 [b] This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven. 5 Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to [c]cultivate the ground. 6 But a [d]mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole[e]surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [f]being. 8 The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 Now a river [g]flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four[h]rivers. 11 The name of the first is Pishon; it [i]flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon; it [j]flows around the whole land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is [k] Tigris; it [l]flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the [m] Euphrates.
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.16 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not [n]eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper[o]suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the [p]sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the [q]sky, and to every beast of the field, but for [r]Adam there was not found a helper[s] suitable for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22 The Lord God [t]fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23 The man said,
“ This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
From all of this we can say that it was God’s desire to have a place for us to live that was filled with all the good things that man needed. A place where God the Father could dwell with us and develop a relationship with us. God gave us a purpose and gave us dominion over everything in the garden. It is obvious from all of this that God loves us and wants to dwell with us forever in this paradise. This scripture tells us that this paradise is the end result that God wants for all of us. Even now, He is leading us to choose the Tree of Life (His Son Jesus) so that we can obtain this destiny.
Further proof of God’s desire to restore the the Garden of Eden for us is found in the 21st chapter of the book of The Revelations of Jesus Christ:
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will [a] dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them[b], 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
Therefore, this current environment that we live in pass away and God will once again create a new place for us to dwell with Him, exactly like it was in the beginning. People who take up their cross for Jesus can become a part of the New Jerusalem that comes down from heaven as a bride. Jesus is the Tabernacle of God (see the-tabernacle-is-prophetic-of-jesus) who then dwells among men.
So, as we stated in the beginning, the scriptures taken from Genesis are prophetic of the actions predicted in the book of Revelations. We can believe that this is true because of the other attempts to do this are recorded in the Bible. Certainly, the Tabernacle was built to be a place where God could dwell on earth with man (the-tabernacle-is-prophetic-of-jesus.) Ultimately, Jesus came and dwelt with us on Earth. Therefore, the prophetic value of the scriptures pertaining to God’s desire to be with us is confirmed. As a result, we can have confidence that the promises of God’s continued efforts will be in our future.
The Books of Moses and the Future of Christianity
Today we are starting a new section that will take a look at the actions of God and His people that led to the building of a place where God could dwell with His people. This place was the Tabernacle that was built to the exact specifications that God the Father delivered to Moses.
We initiate this new section because we believe that these actions of God and His people (the ones that were recorded in the books written by Moses), are prophetic of the walk of the Christian nation.
We believe that these prophetic actions are applicable to every church, ministry and individual seeking to carry on the ministry that was started by Jesus, and we hope to be able to demonstrate this as we move forward.
We believe that this is the case because the premise identified above is simply an extension of the prophesies of the Tabernacle, a topic that we have already covered extensively in this web site (https://possessthevision.wordpress.com/). If this is your first time here, we should say that our previous work revealed that the Tabernacle to be a prophetic model to guides our path toward building closer, more intimate relationships with God. For example, we are initially lead into a relationship of grace in which our sins are forgiven and we change our nature by integrating the words and actions of Jesus into ourselves (the baptism of the word of God – The-tabernacle-courtyard-is-prophetic-of-jesus-a-review). We then are led into a relationship of empowerment where our pathway is illuminated, we achieve a familial relationship with the Father and we are empowered for spiritual warfare by the Holy Spirit through prayer. If we can achieve this level of closeness to God, then He may lead us into an relationship of covenant with Him. There we will talk to God face to face, see His provision at a supernatural level and see our ministry lead His people into the spiritual Promised Land.
With all of this said, it is our hope that the coming investigative work will reveal even more insights into how to further direct our steps toward God. I hope you enjoy the work that is to come.
Jesus Wants us to Follow Him
I suspect that every real Christian knows that Jesus wants us to follow Him. It seems however that we sometimes wind us right where we started. In fact, it even happened to the disciples such that Jesus had to come to them after the Crucifixion to get them moving in the right direction. We find this story by looking at the 21st chapter of the Book of John:
Jesus Appears at the Sea of Galilee
1 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter *said to them, “I am going fishing.” They *said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus *said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved *said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.
9 So when they got out on the land, they *saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. 10 Jesus *said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 Jesus *said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.
So, what we find here is that four of Jesus’ closest disciples had gone back to where they had been when Jesus recruited them many years prior. Peter, Andrew, John and James were all fishermen. The 4th chapter of Matthew tells us this quite clearly:
18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
So based on this we can see that these four disciples started as fishermen and then returned to fishing after the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus singles out Peter because he is the one that is the leader of the group. He gives Peter a message that no Christian would like to hear. This message is recorded in the 21st chapter of John:
The Love Motivation
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.
18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, “Follow Me!”
This is what Jesus want of all of us. So, if we find ourselves back doing the same things that we did prior to our commitment to Him, then we would do well to heed His words and follow Him. Here are a few messages that He gave to us that support the messages above:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. (Matt 16:24)
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (Matt 19:21)
Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (John 21:22)
Developing A Relationship of Grace
To initiate a discussion about a Relationship of Grace, one must differentiate it from a definition of the State ofGracethat is found in certain Christian communities. As I understand this definition, a State ofGraceis demonstrated in the gifts that all people, good and otherwise, receive from God. Therefore, this Grace is demonstrated in that we are all alive and have the blessings of God’s provisions all around us. We have life, and air to breath, food to eat, and so on. So, in looking at the State of Grace in this way we give God the credit for all of the good things that we have here on Earth. In this regard, I agree that we should give God the credit for everything that we have as it is a reflection of God’s love that He has bestowed upon all of us.
In extending this definition of a State of Grace we can say that our ability to establish a Relationship of Grace falls under its definition. However, this Relationship of Grace requires our participation as we must choose to initiate it and we must work to develop it. I suppose that this is not much different from initiating action to acquire food and then process it, cook it and serve it to our families. The big difference between the two is that a Relationship of Grace is derived exclusively from the work that Jesus did while He was on the earth, especially the work that He did on the cross. It was this work that is the foundation of the forgiveness of our sins. It is this work that opens the doors to the establishment of an intimate relationship with God that in turn leads us to be empowered warriors for Christ Jesus.
This relationship starts with our belief in Jesus and His works and then matures as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Typically this leading starts with desire to learn everything that we can about the perfect model of God that is His Son Jesus. This is accomplished by reading and meditating on the Gospels that communicate the words and actions of Jesus on this Earth. In doing so the Holy Spirit calls us to examine our own nature in the pure light of these words and actions. He leads us to conform to the nature of Jesus such that we are not the person that we once were, but rather have metamorphosed into children of the living God.
So, when we step back and look at it, it is our desire to come closer to God and our willingness to do the work required to achieve it that activates the Holy Spirit to lead us toward our goal. Achieving a relationship with God that is led by the Holy Spirit is called a Relationship of Grace. Our ability to enter into such a relationship has been earned by the works of Jesus Christ on this earth.
The gifts of entering into this relationship are more than our metamorphosis however. Our reward is that upon the completion of our changed nature the Holy Spirit will lead us toward preparing ourselves for the ministry of Jesus Christ. When this occurs we will enter into an even deeper, more intimate relationship with God, one that empowers us to enter into the spiritual warfare of Jesus. This higher level of relationship is called a Relationship of Empowerment. In this Relationship of Empowerment our pathway will be illuminated and our prayers and actions will bring down the strongholds of the evil one.
This is the level of relationship that enabled the church to grow and prosper through all the times of adversity. It is the level of relationship that empowered the actions of the apostles and saints of our history. It is the type of relationship that sponsors miracles in response to our actions and words, just like it did thousands of years ago. But is it your path? Are you ready to invest your time into developing a closer relationship with God?
A few weeks ago I had a reader question the validity of water baptism, claiming that the only true baptism came through the washing of the word. Here is what he said.
The brazen laver exists no more as it’s function is over, nor does the baptism of John. Those who believe in it are clinging to the old covenant of rituals. We are now washed by the water of the word Ephesians 5:26 (KJV) ”That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,”. The brazen laver and the water it contained was a symbol of that which was to come -’The Word’. and the washing has to be by the word not by any water, even if it is in theJordan River.
I agree that baptism comes by way of integrating the word of God into ourselves by way of the Holy Spirit. Through this process our basic nature is conformed to God. However, I also believe that our physical actions can initiate the involvement of the Holy Spirit in support of our ministry. In this regard our action of being baptized in water is the outward demonstration that initiates the leading of the Holy Spirit in support of the ministry God has given us. My studies have revealed that each component of the Tabernacle (which was the place where God dwelt with His people) is prophetic of the ministry of Jesus. So, when the vale that separated man from the Holy of Holies (the place where the High Priest could talk directly with God) was torn in two, it effectively prophesied that all men now have the opportunity to change their nature to that of the High Priest, such that everyone is now capable of preparing themselves to entering into the most intimate relationship possible with God.
In a similar way, the Brazen Laver (that was used exclusively by the priest for washing in preparation for ministry) was fulfilled by Jesus in His Baptism by John in theJordan. This cornerstone of Christianity called baptism was given so that we could all partake of the ministry of Jesus. Now, to be perfectly clear, the ministry of Jesus is spiritual warfare, which is bringing down the evil spiritual powers that are often the source of the evil actions of men.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
The Gospels give us many specific examples of the spiritual warfare of Jesus. When we look at these examples it becomes evident that this warfare, all-though spiritual, required some form of physical action. It is as if the physical actions of Jesus triggered miraculous actions by the Holy Spirit. So for example, healing and other miracles were preceded by a touch or by spoken words.
So when Jesus declared, “I am the bread of Life” for example, His words were followed by the multiplication of the loaves for the multitudes that followed Him. Even the greatest spiritual warfare victory of all time involved the willing surrender of His body to torture and crucifixion. The miracles followed came in the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of His Holy Spirit that empowers our actions.
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10: 18-19).
The reason I bring these subjects up is because water baptism can be the physical action necessary to initiate the action of the Holy Spirit to launch us into ministry. I might add that I have seen the baptisms and heard the testimonies of adults who have been baptized in water and they bare witness that the physical act of water baptism brought the power of the Holy Spirit upon them. Their baptism of the word was sealed by their physical act of water baptism. When I have questions of this nature I often look to the early church and the actions of Jesus and His immediate followers. Certainly, one can not go wrong by following their example. So, in regard to these questions I can state that disciples of Jesus baptized more people than John did, which indicates that Jesus encouraged them to do so.
Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), He left Judea and departed again toGalilee(John 4:1-3).
In addition, the grand commission Jesus gave us, tells us to go into the world baptizing all in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The question has to be; was this a call to simply pour water over people or to teach them about God and conforming to Him. I think the later. This is the washing in the word. Jesus gave us His life as a model for us to emulate. The words that we cleanse ourselves in are the Gospels. They tell us about the life and words of Jesus. Therefore, they are a reflection of the actions and words of Jesus, which are the waters that give us a perfect self reflection such that we see ourselves as God sees us.
Jesus had already washed in the word of God as is evident in the Gospels. He was also without sin and therefore did not require cleansing. So why did He do it?
He knew that those who followed Him would seek to do the things that He did and greater things as well. He also did it to fulfill the prophesy of the Tabernacle that required all priests to cleans themselves prior to ministry. This physical action is required for our ministries to be truly empowered from on high. These things are confirmed when we look to the early church we see Peter preaching and converting thousands with a message of a baptism that leads to receiving the Holy Spirit.
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
Peter spoke under the power of the Holy Spirit and they were cut to the heart and sought the change Peter offered by way of water baptism. These actions launched a massive growth in Christianity. Why should we do differently?
Moving Toward a Closer Relationship with God
There are three distinct levels of relationship that man can achieve with God, and each has its own set of unique benefits and rewards. Interestingly, they are not well understood by many Christians and this often leads to disappointment as some enter into ministry unprepared. One of the fundamentals to entering into ministry is to have an established relationship with God. The reason for this is that the ministry of Jesus is spiritual warfare and as such, one confronts the evil principalities and powers of the spiritual world. As in all warfare, the fighters are in danger of being attacked and possibly loosing their lives. Running into a battlefield unprepared is foolish. Winning battles requires soldiers that have been well trained, well equipped and well directed. This is why Paul made the following proclamation in his letter to the Ephesians:
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But all of this requires preparation. Going out and buying a helmet, a flack jacket and a rifle will not make you a soldier. Intense training is required as is proper leadership. It this regard we look to Jesus and His Holy Spirit. The life of Jesus, His words and actions as recorded in the Bible are all examples of spiritual warfare. In His words and actions we can clearly see how they differ from ours. The journey toward God requires a transformation from our nature to His. When we are adequately prepared the Holy Spirit will lead us into the battle just as He led Jesus. The Holy Spirit will lead us to become like Him. This is confirmed in the following scriptures:
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matt 5:14).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:11-13).
Since everyone is created with a purpose, our relationship with God substantially affects our ability to complete our mission and destiny with God. As we uncover the basic principles of relationship with God, what we find is that in order to move closer to God we must go through a metamorphous in which we change our nature from what we were to an entirely new creature whose has conformed to God. In essence, the pupa becomes the butterfly in the eyes of God.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17).
The transformation often requires a true heart, a burning desire to develop a relationship with God and in some cases a substantial effort that in some cases can take years. In essence, there is a calling to complete the baptismal promise of our childhood by conforming our mind, heart and spirit to God, so that we become effective in achieving our purpose in life.
The bottom line here is that understanding the types of relationships possible with God means that if you are sincerely seeking Jesus you will then find the pathway that leads to a closer relationship with Him and you will find the breakthroughs and receive the protection you may be praying for.
With that said, lets start by looking at what these levels are, what they mean and then identify the path to moving toward a closer relationship with God.
The three levels of relationship possible with God are; A relationship of grace, a relationship of empowerment and a relationship of covenant. At a very basic level, the Relationship of Grace has been established as we proclaim that Jesus is God’s Son, who gave up His life for us as redemption for our sins. So, in effect, establishment of this relationship only requires our sincere proclamation of our belief in Jesus. Once this relationship has been established, the serious work of moving toward our baptism is conducted and this work is the preparatory work required to establish a relationship of empowerment, which is the next level of relationship. Once this level has been achieved, our relationship with the Father become personal, our pathway becomes illuminated and our prayers and actions become effective in bringing down the powers of evil. The final level is the establishment of a relationship of Covenant. At this level our relationship with God is as a precious friend that has the confidence of God. People like Moses and Elijah would fall into this category. Peter, John and Andrew would also qualify as Jesus had twelve disciples but only three saw the transfiguration on the mountain. At this level we talk to God face to face and we have the support of God’s angels in our ministry.
As we move forward in subsequent postings I will drill down on these levels and how one can work toward achieving a closer relationship with God. By the way, it should be noted that all of this work has been derived from a study of the Tabernacle that was built to the specifications of God to become the place where God would dwell with His people. The discovery of this study was that every component and object found in the Tabernacle is prophetic of Jesus and His words and actions on earth. Most of the blog posting contained in this web site have been devoted to this subject.
So please feel to go to our home page to find an indexed into the components of this study that you may be interested in. Alternatively, use the search box on this page.
God bless you.
Papa Joe Gordon