PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART LXXXVI
To manifest God in His Life and His Deeds, Jesus Himself set aside time to partner with His Father in prayer, and so should we. We do admire people who tell us that they withdraw to be with God, and it is a good thing. Jesus did seek the solitary place, He did pray for individuals, and encouraged prayer (Mark 1:35; 6:46; Luke 22:32; Luke 18:1). The question is, “How does one withdraw to be with God who is Spirit and can be everywhere and as close as our breath in us (Psalm 137-12; Acts 17:25)?” Paul told the Athenians that there was no need to look for God because God already is, “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). All a person has to do is to open his or her heart, by faith in Christ, and God’s Spirit takes up residence in the person (John 14:23). The Romans were looking for Christ and Paul answered thus:
“Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved (Romans 10:6b-10).
ARE WE LOOKING FOR CHRIST? THEN JUST OPEN YOUR EARS, EYES, AND HEARTS AND MINDS
Jesus left us some outstanding promises and examples as to how He would always be with his disciples. Before Jesus’ earthly life was terminated, and after He returned alive from the dead, He made this promise and proved it with His Presence in His Spirit (Matthew 28:20):
I will not leave you desolate: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him (John 14:18-21).
Jesus did manifest Himself to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18), the Emmaus disciples, the Apostles for forty days (Luke 24:13-42; Acts 1:3). Then Jesus appeared to five hundred believers, to James the brother of Jesus, and last but not least to Paul (I Corinthians 15:6-8). And that was only the beginning! Being in the Spirit, Jesus our Lord could manifest Himself to the Seven Churches in The Book of Revelation all at once: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Let just select Laodicea and see what the Spirit of the Lord had to say? Then be aware of the fact that while Christ is in the Spirit, He can communicate with every human being who tunes in on Him, via man’s human spirit, God has planted in man at the time of creation.
And to the angel (pastor) of the Church in Laodicea write: ‘The of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 3:14-22).
IN ESSENCE MAN IS EQUIPPED TO MANIFEST GOD OR ANYONE ELSE AS MAN WISHES
Jesus the Christ wants to be manifested, so that God the Father is glorified and honored. While man manifest by confessing with his lips, he also has to back it up with his deeds. The idea that one can believe in his or her heart and confesses with his or her mouth can be saved is very appealing, but is it true (Romans 10:8-10)! Jesus had a problem with it and so should we. The Law of God was the Word of God and the Will of God. The Jewish traditions and their rituals voided God’s Law, God’s Word, and God’s Will (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13, and used some examples. The Jews shamed God with their conduct (Romans 2:24).
So, for the sake of your tradition, you made void the law of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men’ (Matthew 15:6-9).
And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And every one who speaks a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say (Luke 12:8-12).
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great (Luke 6:46-49).
He (Jesus) went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And some one said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at tale in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last” (Luke 13:22-30).
MANIFESTATION IS THE EVIDENCE IN WHOM AND WHAT ONE BELIEVES AND DOES BECAUSE OF IT
John, the Baptist, stood immersed in the river Jordan, as a sign that the people had repented and that they would lead changed lives. However, the water did not change anyone because man must decide and must be determined to give up his sins and start living a clean life. And no one will or shall bear new or healthy fruit overnight. Fruit trees require care and fertilizer and so do humans. Man can only bear what he plants or seeds, good or bad fruit. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized and John exploded with these words:
“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:7-10).
And Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Lo, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down; why should it use up the ground?’ And the gardner answered him, ‘Let it alone, sir, this year also, till I dig about it and put on manure. And if it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down” (Luke 13:6-9).
In the morning, as Jesus was returning to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside he went to it, and found on it nothing but leaves only. And he (Jesus) said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree withered at once?” And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and never doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:18-22).
WHAT DOES A PERSON NEED TO MANIFEST HIS FAITH?
Man needs a clean conscience and deeds that represent the “One” they believe in (Matthew 5:16; I John 3:19-24). Even in nature, there is no room for rotten and fruitless trees that no longer produce or reproduce; and neither is there any room in the Kingdom of God for people who wither and crumble under pressure, for lack of self-discipline in their faith. In the eyes of the unconverted, a Christians is a fruit that is edible or disposable.
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).
For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:43-45).
I am the true wine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless it abides in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples (John 15:1-8).