|This ministry has a distinct kingdom, Messianic vision, identifying with God’s call and plan for the Jewish people and the church. My position is pre-trib! Personally: I was saved in 1976 while working as a war correspondent, journalist, photographer, artist and environmentalist. My calling is to share these great end-time dramas, to stand as a watchman and above all, to glorify my God.|
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Shabbat (Sabbath) begins on Fridays at 6pm and ends on Saturdays at 6pm. The purpose is to help the church and Israel become reconciled in Messiah and to identify the rift, and the needed restoration. There is much in the church that needs to change before it can be fully reconciled with the Jew. Likewise, changes in Jewish thinking are also needed.
Edition 406: February 27th 2018
Signs of maturity:
Maturity in the Lord is different for everyone. “To whom much is given, much is required and to who little is given, little is required”. But there are many consistent requirements for all believers.
This edition is about is about maturity in the Lord in these days, and the end-time obstacles.
There is no end to the depths of maturity in our Lord! Its effects endure forever!
Transformation from glory to glory:
At the new birth something glorious happened. We became one with our Lord in spirit – holy and pure. We now have incredible potential for that perfection to work from our spirit, into all areas of our lives as we follow our Lord to maturity.
Mirror, mirror on the wall...what are you telling me? The word of God is an odd mirror. As we look into it we see our risen Lord in all His glory and perfection. Too many have smashed God’s mirror in the street! Now all they have is Satan’s monster-mirror of deception and lies to look into.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “We all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
As we, reverently look into God’s mirror, why do we see an image of our Lord? Firstly it’s because that is just what we are like in spirit. Secondly, it’s because that is our standard and measure of comparison. It shows us how many things need changing and transformation, in the soul realm.
Note that we change from glory to glory and into His image. This is an amazing mirror!
People really don’t value God’s word these days as they should, because they don’t see or understand eternity. They don’t understand the eternal value of their potential transformation. They are also hindered by many of the forces of the world and its god, Satan.
Our Lord said of Satan: “The ruler of the world has nothing in Me.” (John 14:30) As we arrive at the destination of maturity we will see little or nothing of Satan’s ways left in our lives.
Luke 13:3 “If you don’t repent you will be condemned with the world.”
As we look into God’s mirror we see many things that require attention and immediate repentance.
People generally find it easy to accept our Lord. But, you see, our Lord said – “follow Me.” So salvation is not just accepting the Lord, although that is a part of the process, it includes believing and following!
Following our Lord is costly. It means changing our direction and going His way. It means not following the world!
As we approach the entire end-time drama, we are approaching the final manifestation of Satan. His world is becoming more and more disgusting, and tragically acceptable to the spiritually blind. But it will always produce its rotten fruits of stress, inner torment and much more.
Ephesians 2:1-2 “He made you alive who were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who works in the sons of disobedience.”
Hebrews 12:8-10 “If you are without chastening of which we all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons...we are chastened that we may become partakers of His holiness...which yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness.”
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 “If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. “
If you are unsaved you are automatically on the world’s path. If you are saved, and on this path, you must change course fast as a wilful, determined act of repentance in faith.
You go forward to ever-increasing maturity in the Lord by faith and repentance.
Psalm 17:4 “By the word of your lips, I have kept myself from the paths of the destroyer.”
Psalm 119:11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you.
What an amazing calling!
We have been called by our Lord to salvation and more. What an incredible calling it is! Here are some amazing verses. Please note just what they are saying.
Ephesians 1:4 “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him...”
Ephesians 2:8-10 “By grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
2 Timothy 1:9 “We have been saved and called with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Messiah Yeshua, before time began.”
1 Corinthians 2:7 “We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”
Now let’s list what these amazing verses above are saying:
●We are to be “holy and without blame” in maturity!
●God “prepared for us” good works to walk in.
●We have been called to with a “holy calling” not of human works or origin, but for His purposes.
●We have been given “the hidden wisdom of God to speak.”
All of the above relates to our works and growing in maturity.
But the really amazing thing is when these things occurred: They all happened “before time began and before the foundation of the earth.”
Do you see it? It is not only our salvation which was determined by a calling before the foundation of the world, but the very works that we do!
So, He called you to maturity, not only before you were born, but before the world was born!
That should give you real security, comfort, strength, assurance, and confidence. Amazing indeed!
It’s not a hit and miss, haphazard, anything-goes situation. This is why planning your own life can be most frustrating.
Foreknowledge is a powerful thing. For example, if you need to go to a nearby town to get something, and you know the way, you can confidently jump in your car and go there. If you don’t know the way, it’s a different story. You need a road map, which will give you the foreknowledge.
People always get confused about predestination. The Bible teaches that predestination is according to God’s foreknowledge. He knew beforehand that you would choose to become a child of God, he then predestines you according to that foreknowledge.
Here we see that God’s foreknowledge of our salvation and the works we are to do, came about before the foundation of the world.
In other words, our full, mature, completion... spirit, soul, body and works are all predetermined. But we must still find that predetermined plan and walk in it.
He who does the will of God abides forever! (1 John 2:16-17) It is not so much the person that abides forever, but the person and his godly works, manifesting in eternal reward enduring forever.
A lifestyle of humility before God and repentance is most rewarding. It fixes even things we didn’t know were broken in our lives. It begins to reveal to us many wonderful things.
As a Christian, there is always a way out of our troubles. It’s called repentance. As a non-Christian there are a million ways out. They are all dead-ends!
Life itself is a gift of God because it has intrinsic, potential, eternal value locked up in it every day. Gold, silver and precious stones, symbolically, are given by God as His gift to us for our works done, led by Him, everyday. (1 Corinthians 3:12)
That’s just why long-life can be such a blessing.
Or you can just live for yourself everyday and waste your life entirely.
A total impossibility:
You cannot serve God and love the world.
It is the cross and application of it that delivers us from the world.
2 Timothy 4:10 “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world...”
What a terrible situation! Here Demas, a disciple and follower of our Lord and of Paul, leaves him because of his love for the world. We don’t know what exactly caused the apostasy of Demas, but we most certainly know more than enough from that one short verse!
Here is the answer and requirement to move forward with our Lord in maturity:
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified to the world and the world to me. It is no longer I that live, but Messiah, who lives in me.”
The cross stands between the world and you. The world thinks – you are dead to me, I can’t use you. And you think of the world - I am dead to it, it has nothing in me.
Do you want to be free from sin? Then die on the cross.
Romans 6:6-7 “Our old man (sin nature) was crucified with Him that that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. He who has died has been freed from sin.”
You can’t follow our Lord, and do His will, without your cross.
The maturity counterfeit:
Jeremiah 17:5-7 Cursed is man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. He shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes...Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters...”
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
The great Christian maturity counterfeit is trusting in self and its power. Note in the verses above that it brings a curse! Don’t brush that aside!
Filling self with Satan is ultimately unfulfilling and terribly damaging.
Paul brings out the same message in his letter to the Galatians.
Galatians 3:1-2 “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes, Yeshua the Messiah was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Note that a cursed witchcraft spirit is within this church. It leads them away from truth, and above all, obscures the cross. They are operating in self-effort, and legalism with no faith or grace – cursed.
This is the way of the Christian masses today. It’s a cursed way...the way of darkness.
The carnal (fleshly, self orientated) mind is enmity with God. (Romans 8:7) Many people don’t get their prayer answered, even though they say they love the Lord, because they are God’s enemy!
Many people unwittingly feign maturity. They think that worldly maturity is spiritual, Christian maturity. Yet it’s all of the flesh.
So often you meet someone and immediately, red lights start flashing – red, fleshly, flashing lights! His words may all seem right, but something from within is all wrong.
Then sometimes you meet someone and there is an immediate inner witness and heart-connection, and you just know that the same spirit has been encountered.
Here are some deadly characteristics of counterfeit maturity:
●The spiritual and supernatural gets substituted for the soulish and materialistic.
●Doctrinal theology and understanding takes place of revelation.
●Psychological reasoning is substituted for discernment.
●Works are substituted for faith and power.
●Legalism takes the place of grace, faith and love.
Today, many of these things have crept into the church: Hedonism, self-gratification, indulgence in superficial enjoyment and pleasure.
True maturity can’t be counterfeited, because it comes from God and is on the far side of the cross.
Only the cross of Calvary makes you holy!
Without the cross, you can be as good as you like, all to no avail. Without the cross your maturity is a fraud, a lie and a deception.
The Pharisees could not produce one miracle, yet claimed to be good, and in touch with God! They obeyed the law, yet were stone dead in sin. They, in fact tried to kill our Lord, because He broke their Sabbath law. Their maturity was a lie.
Galatians 4:30 “Cast out the bond woman and her son. (Ishmael = the flesh, legalism) The son of the bondwoman shall not be heir...”
You can’t mature in the Lord by the works of the law, the flesh, the world or anything apart from the cross of Calvary.
The “pride of life” will get you nowhere. Be careful of the ministry that does not preach or teach on the cross and its personal application and that does not teach a lot on repentance.
Many will never mature:
●Many will never change because they don’t want to. They’re happy going nowhere.
●Many can’t change. They’re under a curse from which they need deliverance first.
●Many will never change because they are counterfeits, planted by the devil in the church.
●Many will never change because the cost of discipleship and repentance is too high for them.
●Many will never change because they are in love with the comfort and approval of the world.
Luke 6:26 “Woe to you when all men speak well of you!”
There are so many ways to a successful life. There are so many voices, so many motivational messages and ways. Most work to some degree. All fail with God.
Most people think they are born to live for themselves and that’s all they do all their lives.
The absolute pinnacle of success in the world, the desire of man, is empty when you get there!
Hebrews 5:14 “Solid food belongs to those who are full of age (mature), that is, those who have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
1 Corinthians 2:6-7 “We speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory.”
James 3:17 “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy.”
Characteristics of maturity:
●Maturity goes hand in hand with godly wisdom.
●Maturity means diligently seeking godly knowledge and understanding.
●Maturity means rejecting many things. It is a narrow road, not wide!
●Maturity means knowing God’s word and the author – Well.
●Maturity is stability. This includes disciplined doctrinal stability.
●Maturity is a characteristic of the trustworthy.
●Maturity in a believer is seen in being able to take criticism and rejection.
●The end result of maturity in the Lord is inner peace.
●Those who are mature in the Lord are other-worldly and have a degree of mystery about them.
●The mature will be shocked at how much hogwash they used to believe.
●The mature will be bond-slaves to our Lord and His word, in liberty and free from legalism.
●The mature have a deep love of and for truth and holiness.
●The mature in the Lord have a degree of nervousness about them, before the Lord. They are secure in their faith, but the nearer you get to God the more in awe of Him you become, and realise how totally helpless you are and dependant on Him.
●The mature develop a deep love and appreciation for all living things. Wherever there is God-created life, they will be amazed, and not just at red setters (dogs). The mature will be in awe of and celebrate God’s magnificent creation.
●The mature will have a deeply rooted, broad kingdom vision, as opposed to a local institutional church vision. The local church, is of course part of the entire kingdom view.
Scars of maturity:
I’m a wildlife freak, and a tree-hugger, with a passion for God’s creation. Here in Southern Africa, you can tell how mature a lion is with one glance. His face will be full of scars from fights. He may have a limp; his colour is fading, his skin is deeply scarred and marred with permanent blood stains.
When he looks at you, you shudder! When he roars, you are riveted!
Beloved brethren, don’t fear the scars of maturity. They mean that you are a glorious survivor and have learned a great deal. You have beaten the devil, the world system and even your own flesh!
If you think you won’t get scarred as you mature, perhaps you better go to sleep now for the rest of your life.
Satan makes you stupid. He blinds you. He makes you proud and prevents you from growing and maturing in the Lord.
If pride blocks your growth and makes you obnoxious, then humility opens you to growth and makes you wise. Humility and repentance are the ingredients for metamorphosis.
God has a predetermined plan for you to walk in. You are called to maturity.
If the Lord does not come soon, your end-time...your death is coming. The instant our Lord comes for us in rapture or death, it’s all over. Your maturity, or lack of it, is eternally set! Think about that for a while. Pray about it. It’s true.
You see, salvation is wonderful, but there is much more to it. You don’t want to step into eternity and see all the great things that God had planned for you before the foundation of the world, go up in smoke, because you were a turkey all your life.
I took the lion picture in Botswana and combined it with an acacia sunset a leaf and feather.
Shalom and grow in His Grace!