THAT THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, IF HAPLY THEY MIGHT FEEL AFTER HIM, AND FIND HIM, THOUGH HE BE NOT FAR FROM EVERY ONE OF US:
AGAIN,THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO A MERCHANT MAN, SEEKING GOODLY PEARLS: ( 46 ) WHO, WHEN HE HAD FOUND ONE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE, WENT OUT AND SOLD ALL THAT HE HAD, AND BOUGHT IT.
As we read the verse ( Acts 17:27 ) we see that the Apostle Paul is speaking to a group of people that are worshipping an unknown God. He making the point that, if they seek after him, possibly they will find him because, no matter where you are, he is not very far off. In the next verses ( Matthew 13: 45-46 ) the picture we see is one of known value. Once you find what you are looking for it’s worth you selling everything else you have and buying that one ( pearl of great price ).
We live in a world; that from the very beginning of time man, being inspired by Satan himself has sought to hide the very understanding of the one and true God from every person in every conceivable way. Yet, depending on your own desire, you can still find him and know him on a very personal level today if you have a passion to do so.
In ( Acts 17: 26 ) we see this. ( THE BOUNDS OF THEIR HABITATION ). What is he saying here? As we look at this, common sense tells us that ( this earth ) is our habitat. He set the bounds of our habitat. It also says that he made all men of one blood. That means that there is no difference in any of us that dwell on this earth.
As we consider this; what would be the one thing that would seperate mandkind from this earth but, cause us to stiil live here as the place of our habitat? Within the answer to this question is the answer of what principality you actually follow.
The verse we see in ( Acts 17:27 ), in my mind shows us just how dark this world we live in is, if we simply take the verse and leave it in context. It’s almost like saying you are searching for a small object in complete darkness. You are taking your hand and feeling around for something that is very close to you but, not easy to feel or find.
In reality, God is not that hard to find. However, the darkness created by this world and, the men that live here covers the light that he puts forth. This, my friend is by design whether we like to admit it or not. Look at two verses of scripture we see in ( Ephesians ). The first is found in ( 6:12 ) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Helen Keller, a lady that was both death and blind. was once asked the question. What could possibly be worse that being blind and death? to that question, she replied: Having twenty-twenty vision and not being able to see.
In the verse we just read; that is what this world and, all that is in this world seeks to acccomplish. Its sole desire is to keep you in complete spiritual darkness although you are very capable of gaining all the knowledge that God’s Spirit has to offer. Let me present you a question. If you took all the money, all the prestiage and honor out of every Church building, college, university and simply left it up to God having all the glory for it all. How long would any of those that teach or pastor those plases still be in existance?
The real problem with most things of this world is that they are far too attached to this world by ( spiritual wickedness ) ( power ) ( rulers of darkness ) ( flesh and blood ). When it comes right down to the bear facts, what is it in this world that you truly need? Do you need a building to worship God? Do you need a school to be taught by him? Do you need money that he might be satisfied?
Are we deceived by the principalities of this world into thinking that God is pleased with what we are doing and, all of our struggles to do certain things that they teach us to do; are actually designed to keep them in the positions they are in?
We, every one of us, live in this world. We are here and, God made this our habitat but, this does not have to be our home and, we do not have to abide by the principalities of this world. There is something else that is a ( hidden mystery ) also here. We must or, we can find it if we ( haply seek after it )( feel for it ). It’s hidden among all the commitees, special ministeries, activities and social things that we try our best to be a part of. All the things of this world are like straws in a hay stack and, we, as individuals are seeking for the needle in the midst of it all. Believe it or not; in most cases even the principality of the Church is designed to blind you from the truth of scripture. Can I prove that? Well, you prove it to yourself.
You must understand that it’s you, as an individual that must stand before God. You say you got saved, you got baptized, you joined Church. Do you know you are going to heaven when you did? How did you answer that question? How If you answered ( I hope so ) then how long have you been taught by the pastor of your Church, your Sunday School teacher? Yet. still you have no answer that that one simple question. Why not? Because it is a principality of this world and, you are a part of it.
Now, let’s look at another verse: ( Ephesians 3:10 ) To the entent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God,
I wanted to show you that verse but, let’s read the one just before that one. ( Ephesians 3:9 )And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Therefore, we see another principality, not of the world. This principality and the powers are in ( heavenly places ). ( Might be known ) ( by the Church ). Before we get into the depth of this, let’s notice one other phrase: ( all men see what if the fellowship of the mystery ). This verse and, what is being said here is ( the needle in the haystack ).
So, let’s look at a few things just randomly. Let’s begin with ( by the Church ). In ( Ephesians 3:10 ) is says ( known by the Church ). This concept, the Church was not even considered in the OldTestament. Jesus Christ mentioned this in ( Matthew 16:18 ) And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter , and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ( The Church ) was ( hid in God ). When I say that it wasn’t seen in the Old Testament, that is not completely true. Jesus Christ and the twelve apostles lived in the last days of the Old testament. The concept of the Church was being laid out, the foundation was being laid in the last days of the Old Testament. We can even argue that it can be seen all through the Old Testament with our spiritual eyes but, not by the world.
Just as Jesus Christ was not goverened by the ( principalities ) of this world, neither is the Church. The principalities and powers that govern the Church comes from above. The problem is, if you consider it a problem, that the only way you can hear or understand the principlities and powers that govern the Church is to be born into the Church.
The Church is an invisible body that houses every person that has ever been born again, since its conception in ( Acts 2 ). With that statement; I’d like to add this. There were people that believed in the Old Testament right up untild the day of the conception of the Church and, once that body; ( the Church ) is complete and, it is rapture out of this world, there with be other people that believe in the tribulation period. However, ( I believe ) that those people saved outside of that period of time will possibly have a different relationship with Jesus Christ than the people saved inside that period of time.
I can also see how ( the Church ) being ( hid in God ) could have all people that believe as part of the body of Christ. The main point is that it is completely seperate from any part of this world and, that means, the time before Christ and, the time after Christ.
Athough Jesus Christ died and rose again for the sins of this world. The world has to be born into the ( body of Christ ) which is ( the Church ) in order to get to heaven. I always try and point out that the place we, as believers will live is a ( prepared place ) for a ( prepared people ). The place we will reside is described in ( Revelation 21 ). This world is not our home. We are governed by ( principalities and powers ) beyond this world.
We often confuse to responsibilities we have. Look at these verses: ( Romans 13:1- 5 ) Let every soul be subject unto higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. ( 2 ) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. ( 3 ) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: ( 4 ) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. ( 5 ) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
I feel that we miss this concept of being born into God’s family; ( the Church ). Let me see if I can explain the two or, the difference therein. A member of this world rides down a road and, that person thinks they see ( the Church ). What they see is a building with the name ( Church ) in front of it. I’ve heard many people make this statement; If one of the members of that Church is going to heaven then, I shouldn’t have a problem and, I lot of other people are also going as well. The person they are referring to might be a member of that local assemby but that doesn’t mean they are a member of the Church, that body that you have to be born unto.
I realize that today, there are many laws that govern us that we don’t see in scripture. However, those laws are based on the laws we see in scripture. The verses we read in ( Romans ) are telling us that we are subject to those laws. It says that the men and women that are in charge of the enforcement of those laws are ( ordained by God ). It says that they are there for good and not for evil. In other words, the principalities of the world are supposed to be ( ordained of God ). Those principalities should never force any believer to do things that would be contrary to God’s word. If they do then our loyality is first and formost to Jesus Christ, enforcing the ( powers and principalities ) that come from above.
There are two at least two ways to be ( subject ) to the laws of men. ( 1 ) to abide by that law. ( 2 ) If we break that law, pay the price thereof. If man make a law that I cannot obey because of the peinciples I follow then I will gladly ( pay the price thereof ). By God’s grace, even unto death.
This is actually my whole purpose in writing this. Many people think and, are even taught that as long as they keep the law, that makes then right with God. The problem with that statement is that we are not governed by the principalities of this world.
Let’s study this verse and try to understand our roles as believers, member of the universal Church. ( 1 Corinthians 6:12 ) All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
I was born as a citizen of this world. One day; I was born again. On that day, at that moment, although I still live in this world, I became a member of another place. I was born into a body that one day will be removed from this world and, we will live in a new place or city. Since I am born again, I am not bound by the laws of this world. ( all things are lawful unto me ). However, the question I must ask myself is: what do I desire to accomplish while I live on this earth or, in this world? As I consider that question, my answer is, I desire to do God’s will, I desire to take as many people of this world with me as possible, ( placing them within the universal Church ). With this purpose in mind, realizing that God, by the power of his Spirit within me has to do a work; through me, in the hearts of other people then, ( all things are not expedient unto me.
Simply put, I can’t be like this world and still do God’s will. The law of God, to this world says: ( thou shalt not steal ). Do you think I don’t steal because ( the law ) tells me not to steal? That law has no control over me. Whether a law, made by this world is good or bad, it has no control over me. I am now governed by th ( law of Christ ) a completely different principality.
Do you realize that ( love ) is the greatest constraining force that there has ever been? From the most vilest sinner, to the most perfect saint, if I love you, tell me; what will I do to hurt you? The Bible says this: ( Romans 5:5 ) And hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
That place that the world cannot see. We call it the ( universal Church ) Every person that is born into that body had the ( love of God ) shed abroad in their hearts. I must ( expedite ) the love of God that’s in my heart out through my flesh. Why? Because if I don’t you cannot see that love. If you see me doing hurtful things to people such as lying to them, stealing from them, killing them, being jealous of them, coveting what they have then, do you see the love of God in that.
So, now let’s take it a step farther. I told you a while back that I’d heard people say that if certain members of a Church went to heaven that they wouldn’t have a problem, you remember that? Well, let’s look at it another way. There are probably people in that same Church that live almost perfect lives and, there is nothing wrong with that. However, if I am a lost person, lost without Christ, what does their right living do for me?
The fact that I live a good life or, you live a good life will never save one person. to use a metaphor, I have a very warm house and, it’s thirty below zero outside. I see you outside and even show you my warm house but, I never invite you in. What good is all I have to you if I don’t share it.
I don’t have to keep the law to be born again, even if I fall short of that law I am still born again. I keep the law by choice. I do that to put forth a picture of Christ and, to open a door that I might share the Love of God that is shed abroad in my heart. I desire that you receive him into your heart as well.
Since being born again, that is the principle I live by and, it’s not of this world. The world cannot see it unless we as born again believers reveal it through our flesh and, speak the love of Christ through our lips. God desires for each of us to speak his name to the people of this world, to be witnesses to the lost of this world.
The last thing Jesus Christ said before he was taken up was this: ( Matthew 28:19-20 ) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: ( 20 ) Teaching them to abserve all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, Lo, I will be with you alway, even unto the end of the earth. Amen.
Do you see there wher he says ( whatsoever I have commanded you )/ What did he cammand us? Jesus Christ is the head of the universal Church. That does not mean he is the head of the average local Church does it? I’m going to show you something that most members of the average Church cannot show you. We send missionaries all around this word believing we are ( going into all the world ) however we won’t even witness to our own next door nieghbor, maybe not even our children.
The statement ( whatsoever I have commanded you). What is he saying? Look at this ( John 15:10 ) If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
In this verse, who is it that kept the Father’s commandments? Jesus Christ kept the Father’s commandments, every one of us failed at that task. He saying here, I want you to ( keep my commandments ). What are his commandments? Look at what he is saying in this verse. He says the ( love of the Father ( abides in him ) because he kept his commandments, meaning, it was always there. He also says that, ( if we keep his commandments ) his love abides in us, Meaning, it will always be there. Just as God’s love was always seen in Christ, the love of Christ shouls always be seen in each born again believer. ( IT ABIDES )
We see his commandment in the next verse: ( John 15: 12 ) This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Now look at ( verse 13 ) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Do you see another commandment there? However, it’s not a commandment is it? Jesus Christ laid his life down for you? Will you willingly forget yourself, your desires and, become a witness to your friends, children, nieghbors? How can I say I love my nieghbor, my friends, my children but never tell them about Jeus Christ and, their need to have ( the love of God shed abroad in their hearts )?
There are two principalities. One is of this world, the other is from above. Which one of them directs you daily walk? Do you know why pastors of Churches don’t teach this, preach it with power? Why do members of Churches show envy, jealousy, gossip? Why are they so critical of people they see as sinners? Why do they set themselves above other members? Why? Because they are governed by the wrong principles.
Look at this picture. ( John 8:11 ) She said, no man Lord, And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condenm thee: go, and sin no more.
If you read this account you will see that there was a woman taken in the very act of adultery. The men were about to stone her to death. Now, let’s be honest; is it possible one of those men was guilty of the same act? It says that Jesus stooped down and began to write on the ground. It doesn’t say what he was writing however, consider this. Let’s say Jesus was writing the ten commandments. As he wrote; each man there seen the sin he was guilty of and, one by one walked off. Every man, which was her accusers left because they all were sinners.
Are you telling me that since you joined a Church, you are not a sinner? As Church members, we try to do things by the law; Whose law? The law of the world or, the law of Christ? Let’s take a Church that has fifty women as members not counting the men and children. Let’s say that one of those women is taken in adultery. Why wouldn’t the rest of the women gather around that one women, look at the men and say, whose accusing this woman? We love her. Why wouldn’t they stand with her and let her know so? Also add; you ( go and sin no more ). If it’s any place in this world that a sinner should be able to go and, see the ( love of God shed abroad in the hearts of men ) shouldn’t it be at a local Church? Souldn’t even Church members be understood as being capable of falling short as well?
I’m not saying that sin should be an exceptable part of any life but that we, as believers should understand what law we are supposed to recognize as being obedient to.
Why wouldn’t the pastor alone, being a type of Jesus Christ, stand before his Church and do the same thing Christ did? What? Are not all the people in his Church sinners? Pride becomes a problem because we are more concerned about how other people see us than we are about the soul of one person.
The principle of Jesus Christ. What is it and, how does it work? We see that here and, it is in complete conflict with the principles of this world. The one man, out of every man there that could have actually brought condemnation upon this woman, didn’t. He showed her grace and mercy. Do you realize that the law does not have the ability to punish or, to show mercy or grace? The only reason for any law is to show us what wrong or sin is.
( Galatians 3:24 ) Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Let’s look at this from the woman’s perspective or, any sinner that sees themselves as such. The woman has sinned, she is guilty ( caught in the very act ). She is standing face to face with the reality of the punishment for that sin. However, there stands Jesus, he stood there and preached a message to all sinners. Now, let’s consider something here. What if each of those men; when they were faced with the conviction of their own sin, would have kneeled down instead of walking off? Can you see how Jesus could have said to every one of them; neither do I condemn you, go, and sin no more?
There’s a difference in ( having your sin revealed to you ) and ( being caught in your sin ). There’s also a difference in understaning to punishment and thinking you can get by. Jesus Christ and his principles causes you to see yourself, realize that you have no other way out and, therefore, we turn to his grace and mercy. Let me give you a for instance. Let’s say that the woman that was caught in the very act of adultery here was standing there looking at the very man she was with. If or, since she was caught in the very act, those men had to know who the man was as well, would you agree? However, shall we say, being good ( Church members ), those men protected their own. In many case ( the Church ) is the way out, they protect their own or, those they like. Many people assume that just because they are members in good standing of a Church, some way they will sneak by. They hide their sin and are never born again, they are just members of a Church. Therefore, although this woman was taken in the very act of Adultery, she could see her demise, wasn’t the the blessed one?
I want to stop and take the time to teach something here. It’s so much to teach concerning the difference in these two principles but, I’d at least like to show you this. It will also help you as you study your Bible. Do you realize this story about the woman taken in adultery is only found in the book of John? There is a reason this is a fact.
The four gospels; the four books in scripture where Jesus Christ actually is the spokesman to man.In the Old Testament; God the Father spoke to man, in the Gospel; God the Son spoke to man and, in the rest of scripture; God the Spirit speaks to man. Jesus, in the Gospels is revealed to man differently in all four Gospels. Although, basically all four are tied together, they are all somewhat different. For instance: ( Matthew ) reveals Jesus Christ as ( the King of the Jews ). We can see his genealogy in Matthew revealed all the way back to King David. In ( Mark ) Jesus Christ is revealed as ( a servant to man ). In Mark we see no genealogy because where a servant comes from is not important. In ( Luke ) Jesus Christ is revealed as ( the Son of Man ). In Luke we see his genealogy all the way back to Adam. In ( John ) we see Jesus Christ revealed as the ( Son of God ). we see no genealogy because God has always been.
Now, I want you to see something about Jesus Christ in: ( Matthew 15: 22-28 ) And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is greivously vexed with a devil. ( 23 ) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away: for she crieth after us. ( 24 ) But he answered and said, I am not come but unto the lost sheep of Israel. ( 25 ) Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. ( 26 ) But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs. ( 27 ) And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the masters’ table ( 28 ) Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thy wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Before we move on, let’s look at one more thing. ( Mark 7:27 ) But let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it unto the dogs.
Mark is the only other place where this is seen. If you will notice in ( Matthew ) Jesus said only; that it was not meet to casts the children’s bread to the dog. However, in ( Mark ) he said: let the Children be fed first. Do you see the difference? As King, he is only concerned about his kingdom but, as the servant, he was willing but, we must feel the children first. Jesus Christ came to the Jew first. They had the first opporunity to receive him as their king. In ( John ) he is the Son, that came to die for the sins of this world.
In ( Matthew ) he was seen as not reaching out to anyone but the Jews but, in ( John ) he is seen as forgiving to the uttermost, to every person. Even the woman at the well in ( John 4 ). She had been married five times and, the man she was with, she wasn’t married to. However, salvation came to her that day.
I want you to see something else here. ( the crumbs that fell from the Masters’ table ). Under the law, which was actually written to the Hebrew people. It was not written to the Gentiles. We were seen as ( dogs ) unworthy of even being seen as a part of them. They; the Jews looked at us that way. Did you see in ( Matthew ) that the disciples told Jesus to send her away, she was a bother to them?
Friends, ( the crumbs the fell from the Masters’ table ) is the ( Word of God ) you hold in your hand. We are blessed with an abundants of food, rich in spiritual knowledge, if we choose to partake of it. The Word of God is not all that God knows but, it’s all we need to know about him until: ( we are known as he is known ) ( 1 John 3:1-2 ) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. ( 2 ) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
( 1 Corinthians 13: 11-13 ) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. ( 12 ) For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known. ( 13 ) And know abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
The verse just before these says ( 10 ) But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.
If we look at both of these scripture we see that; at some point in time, God allowed the word of God to be complete. We now have it, hold it and read it. It’s untold what any one person can gain the knowledge of if that person simply sells out to the Holy Spirit and studies God’s word, and that while we live in the flesh. However,one day we see in ( 1 John ) we will be with him and, we shall see him as he is. What a blessing!
What peinciples do you follow? Are you still sold under the ( Principalities of this world )? Or, have you sought ( The Principalities from above ) to govern you life, while you live here?
As a born again believer, I will never be judged by God for how I handled the ( principalities of the world ). Jesus Christ did that, for me on the cross of Calvary. However, I will be Judged, as a believer by how I surrendered to the ( principalities from above ).
SO MUCH TO TEACH; SO SHORT OF TIME.
MAY GOD ADD HIS BLESSINGS TO THE READING OF HIS WORD
I must decrease but, he must increase within me.
2 Timothy 1:7