Jud 1:20-21 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up by your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, eagerly awaiting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to everlasting life.”
What is the thing that builds us, or edifies us? That most holy faith – that faith that enabled us to see that we can freely come to Jesus, in all our sin, and receive pardon from Him, and eternal life. It is a faith that is more precious than gold – a faith that enables us to instantly have communion with Him, as by that faith we realize that He now dwells within us, in unbroken fellowship, and that He loves us, with a great love that is beyond what we can fathom, but that He demonstrated when He came to this earth as God in the flesh and gave up His life for us in our sin. By this faith – this leaning of our entire human personality on everything that God is, and says, and is to us and in us, we have a communion with God Himself. It is a communion that grows deeper as we pray and walk in His Spirit, and are set free from our flesh.
Darby: "The faith is, to the believer, a most holy faith; he loves it, because it is so; it puts him into relationship and communion with God Himself. That which he has to do in the painful circumstances of which the apostle speaks (whatever may be the measure of their development), is to build himself up in this most holy faith. He cultivates communion with God, and profits through grace by the revelations of His love. The Christian has his own proper sphere of thought, in which he hides himself from the evil that surrounds him, and grows in the knowledge of God from whom nothing can separate him. His own portion is always the more evident to him, the more the evil increases. His communion with God is in the Holy Ghost, in whose power he prays, and who is the link between God and his soul; and his prayers are according to the intimacy of this relationship, and animated by the intelligence and energy of the Spirit of God.
Thus they kept themselves in the consciousness, the communion, and the enjoyment of the love of God. They abode in His love while sojourning here below, but as their end, they were waiting for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."
What a privilege we have! What an incredible thing to be called children of God, and to have His Spirit abiding in us! How dare we neglect such a thing! It has become our new nature, as believers to be drawn to that which God has put within us, and desire to know Him more, and to cultivate that communion which He began. God has created us with a special place, where He alone was meant to dwell. No other thing can take that place. No human being can know us in the close intimate way that God Himself intended to know us, by dwelling in our spirit, making us one with Him in our thoughts, feelings, and our will. It is not in our heads, but in our hearts, that He dwells. He has become a fountain within us, springing up to everlasting life…
Joh 4:14 “but whosoever drinks of the water which I shall give him shall never thirst for ever, but the water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life.”
What is that water but His Holy Spirit indwelling us by faith, always bubbling up inside of us to meet the need, refreshing, nourishing, strengthening us, giving us eternal life.
It is this that enables us to know God and commune with Him through His written Word. His Word is more than letters on a page that we are to read with our mind. It is more than gaining much head knowledge. It’s a living, breathing, drinking communion with this Word that is living, and powerful and full of life, that is God’s letter revealed to us – His very heart! By a true and living faith He gives His Spirit to enable us to receive true life from this Word, to interact with it, and not only understand with a heart understanding, but to make it our life, and hope, and power of living. It is our rock and foundation. It is our promise, our map for living and reaching the goal of our faith. So then we cultivate our communion with God as we cultivate our knowledge - our living, heart knowledge, of God’s Word by faith in that Word, and communing with that Word in response to it by prayer and worship.
By prayer we cultivate our communion with God. Prayer must be that of praying in the Holy Spirit. If we are not walking in the Holy spirit, by faith and not in our flesh, then it is impossible to pray in the Holy Spirit, in accordance to His heart, purpose, and will. Prayer is not demanding from God what we want from Him, but learning to know God, and to commune with God, and become one with Him in our Spirit. As we commune with Him in this way, we are able to effectively pray and bring our requests before Him, knowing that He hears us, and we are able to pray with more boldness and faith, believing, as John said, that if we know He hears us, we know we have the thing we ask for. So often Christians try to bypass the knowing God – the communing with Him, and their only prayer life is petitioning God for necessities and desires, or to get them out of the fixes they find themselves in because of a life of living by their flesh. But as we learn to walk in communion with God, rather than praying occasionally, He does hear our prayers, He does come to our aid in times of need. His Will becomes ours. His heart becomes ours. His love fills us, and we love what He loves and hate what He hates. Worship naturally flows from our heart, not just Sunday morning but every moment in all parts of our life.
As we cultivate communion with God we are able to see what He sees. We are able to understand His will, and know His way. We are safe from deceivers that come into the body to bring false teaching, and trouble makers that would pervert the Word of God, such as happened in Jude’s day, and which He was warning them about in his letter. We are kept in the love of God that abides in us. That love that abides in us alerts us right away when something is contrary to it. This communion becomes our strength during trials and hardships. It keeps us from falling when everything looks dark around us. This communion with God is our security. Let us never neglect it! God has given us a choice to do so, or to cultivate it and to be built up in Him. It is our responsibility.
Dear Father, I pray that each day you would remind us to cultivate this communion, which You have so graciously privileged us with in Your Son, Jesus Christ!
Heb 2:1 “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.”
Gen 33:12 “And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee”
Rev 2:3-4 “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”
Col 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”
This journey we are on has many hills, valleys, mountains, steep cliffs, storms and sunny days. But in all of them we walk this journey with Jesus, and never alone. It is a walk of faith, and not sight.
Our natural tendency is to live to find comfort, pleasure, to get ourselves out of problems and difficulties, and we don’t sometimes think of our Christian life as a journey, but as a means to find that blessing, comfort, pleasure, and escape from troubles. But it is a journey, and it led Jesus to the cross. Where will it lead you? How will you live it? Has your walk with Jesus grown so that your love has increased, or have you lost the first love you had when you first came to Him? Whereas it led Jesus to the cross, our journey starts at the cross, and our union with Him in His death and resurrection.
There is only one way that Jesus intended us to walk this journey, and that is by faith in Him, just as we received His salvation at first. That wonderful grace filled our hearts with His love as we realized all was dependant on His sacrifice at the cross, and the blood He shed for us, though we were totally undeserving. He forgave our debt and our hearts were set free. Our slate was clean. This is how we are to walk this entire journey, in that same total dependence by faith in all Jesus did for us and is to us and in us. He is our Savior to the uttermost. He is our comforter, our helper, our righteousness, and our life.
It’s interesting to read of saints of the past and where their journey took them. We see Jacob, who became Israel as he wrestled with the angel of the Lord. We see Joseph, who was sold as a slave by his brothers, who became the leader of Egypt. We see Paul, who faced persecution, shipwreck, misunderstanding, prison, and many sufferings, and learned “whatever state I am in therein to be content”, and to “rejoice in the Lord always” and “in everything give thanks.” Our journey may take us to places here in this life, on this earth, that we don’t want to go to. It may take us down a road we dread and wouldn’t want to be on. But we must choose to walk where Jesus walks in this journey and by faith let it take us where He would take us, and not go our own way hoping He will come along with us and make it a smooth road for us. So often this is the way we start out. But like Abraham, God would have us to walk by faith in our journey with Him sometimes not knowing where He is taking us, or where it will leave us. We know we have a promised land, but the journey there, we do not always know where that will lead or what the road will be like. We must walk by faith, that God has prepared the way, gone before us, and that He indeed has a purpose in all He leads us to, and that it is taking us where He wants it to.
There is only one way to grow from that first love and to grow in love and knowledge of the Lord. That is the way of faith in Him on this journey – faith in Who He is, and Who He is to us, and in us. We must realize that each step of this journey is dependant on Him and His life within us, and not our own selves. If He leads us down in the valley, He is there with us. If He leads us through the rocky slopes, He is there making sure our foot does not slip, and if it does He is there to catch us and put us back on the path. When He leads us to the mountain top, He alone is able to give you the feet of hinds feet that enable you to reach that mountain top. When he sends you back down into the valley for others, where you don’t want to go, He goes with you strengthening you all the way, enabling you to face whatever dangers await you for the sake of others, and His love.
Gen 33:12 “And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.”
When we take our journey, the Lord does go before us, preparing the way. Will you choose the journey He has prepared for you or will you go your own way? Will you trust the Lord to take you on His journey with Him? He has wonderful things planned for you in the end of it. There is no question of that. But you must choose – do you want your own journey or His? This journey with Him will lead to the love and intimacy and knowledge of Him that you can find no other way. Many who have walked through life on their own pursuit have found their hearts grown cold and their first love no longer there. Christianity has become a duty and their works have become a burden to do for Him. They must once again go back to that first walk of faith in God’s grace to them, and walk in that love, and let it take them where it will, trusting in Him all the way.
Every difficulty on this journey, every hardship, only leads us to cling to Him all the more. We find we cannot do it…we are unable! We don’t have what it takes, but we soon learn that Jesus does. And that is why we never take the journey alone. It is a journey of total dependence. In this we find our love for Him grows - not in our doing but in our trusting as He does all in and through us.
May the Lord grant you a wonderful journey full of Himself as you walk it in faith in Him.
Rev 3:2-3 “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
Rev 16:15 “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
Many places we are told in scripture to “watch” and pray. The above scriptures says that, if we do not watch, He will come to us as a thief and we will not know what hour He comes. This would indicate that to those who are watching, His coming will be no surprise and they will be ready for it. Not that any of us will know the day or hour but we will recognize the signs and the time of His coming.
What things are we to watch for, then, if this is so important for us to watch?
1) We are to remember the things we have received from Him and heard – His true gospel of salvation, those things which originally drew us into communion with Him, a vital living relationship based on faith in His Word, as it also says in 1 John 2:24 – “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.” We are to watch our lives that they never depart from “that which we heard from the beginning”.
2) We are to keep our garments - which are symbolic of the righteousness of Christ given to us. If we try to walk in our own we are found naked and ashamed at His coming. We need to watch for anything that diverts from true righteousness in Christ alone by faith, and continue to walk and grow in His righteousness in us.
3) Luke 12:34-38 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.”
Our treasure is to always be in heaven. Our cares here, though they be many and hard, are always to be cast on Him. We are to watch as a bride watches for her groom, with our lights always burning, doing His will while we patiently await His arrival, with a heart and mind ready and waiting to gladly open to Him and go as soon as He calls, knowing He may come for us at any moment.
4) Luke 12:39-40 “And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”
We are to keep watch over our “house” – our vessel which the Lord dwells in – for Him alone - not allowing it to be “broken into” by another – a false teacher, or by the lust of the heart, the pride of life, the love of this world, but keeping watch as at any moment our Lord may come for it. We do not know that moment, and are to always, at all times, keep it prepared for Him, expecting Him. We are to watch eagerly for His coming. Jesus chided the Jews for not understanding the time they were in and not being aware of the prophecies about Him.
Mat 16:2-3 “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
5) Mat 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Our prayer life keeps us in communion with God which is our only defense against the temptations of the flesh.
6) Mar 13:34-37 “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
We are to watch that we are not found spiritually sleeping. (also Col. 4:2, 1 Thess. 5:6)
7) Act 20:29-31 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
We are to watch for false teachers and pastors in the church that are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They are not easy to spot because they look just like sheep. If they looked like wolves we would spot them instantly. So many are led astray because they do not know their Bible and cannot discern truth from error.
8) We are to watch for the schemes of the enemy - 1Pe 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
We are to not take our watching lightly, as too often is the case. It is a serious and eternal matter. May the Lord grant us grace to watch and be eager to see the One we watch for, not being caught by surprise.
Luk 8:15 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
Luk 11:28 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”
Rev 3:8 “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.”
Joh 17:6 “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
Rev 3:10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
God’s Word is His message of life to us. It is His truth revealed. It is living, powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, dividing soul and spirit. It is our comfort and strength in times of sorrow or weakness. It is our light to guide us. To the sinner, it is the way of salvation and deliverance. To the Christian, it is our all – our very life. Jesus Himself was the living Word manifested in the flesh to us. Through His Spirit that He fills us with, that Word is made alive in us and equips us with all we need for life and godliness.
How important than it is to keep His Word! And this He tells us over and over. Those who keep His Word are rewarded. Those who do not keep it, stumble and fall….are deceived, led astray, or choked by the cares of this world. As we keep His Word, His Word keeps us.
I like looking at definitions of words. They clarify things, so that we get the full significance of what God is saying and don’t overlook it…
keep 7kcp8 vt. kept, keep 1 to observe or pay regard to; specif., a) to observe with due or prescribed acts, ceremonies, etc. b) to fulfill c) to follow or adhere to d) to go on maintaining !to keep pace" e) [Archaic] to attend (church, etc.) regularly 2 to take care of, or have and take care or charge of; specif., a) to protect; guard; defend 3 to maintain, or cause to stay or continue, in a specified condition, position, etc 4 to have or hold; specif., a) to have or hold for future use or for a long time 5 to have or hold and not let go;
I hope one thing I am remembered for when I leave this earth is keeping God’s Word, as I have been kept by it. I have found His Word never fails. It has the power to keep us, and deliver us, to heal us, to guide us, and ultimately to present us to the Lord spotless, when it is kept by faith. It is only by faith we keep His Word.
We keep it by faith in the times we can do nothing for ourselves and we hold on to it for dear life. We keep it by faith when everyone else around us ridicules it, turns aside from it, clings to the philosophies of our day, tries to outdate it, and we continue to hold it fast, believing it, adhering to it, relying on it, and walking according to it. In our day many are finding – yes even many who profess to be Christians within the evangelical churches – they are finding that the Word is irrelevant to our day and to the felt needs of the lost, so they think. They need to come up with new methods to reach the lost. But the Word is for all time, and is just as powerful to convict of sin today and save a sinner today as it was when God first spoke it. It is just as powerful to heal and deliver today as it was when it was first in His mind.
I have told this story before – and there are many more in my life I could share of the power of God’s Word acting in my life, as all believers have – but I’d like to once again tell the story of how God’s Word healed and delivered me from severe depression and oppression. I had irrational fears, panic attacks, terrible spiritual oppression, condemnation, and no hope. The Lord directed me to flood my mind with His Word – His promises, and hold on to them. I made a scripture tape going through my pocket promise book and all the verses I could find in the Bible that spoke truth, deliverance, hope, life, etc. and recorded them on tape. All day I listened to it with my walkman and my headphones as I went about my day. I also hung scripture verses all over my kitchen and around my house. It was like a shield and soon my mind and heart was filled with His truth and when the enemy’s darts came at me to knock me down, His Word was there instantly as a shield against it and those darts became little pings that would easily bounce off my armor. I was set free. Nothing could penetrate that shield. I was filled with a new joy in His salvation.
Another time, I was having severe panic attacks from irrational fears after my second baby was born. I would have an attack so bad that I would literally black out on my bed. One attack came and I felt myself black out on my bed and instantly I heard the Holy Spirit speak one Word of scripture after another into my heart….just flooding me with His Word of promise and encouragement and healing….one minute I was sure I was dying, the next I was free and full of God’s joy and the power to stand!
This is why it is so important to keep God’s Word…to believe it, adhere to it, and to hold to it’s truths and never let go of them or exchange them for man’s way of thinking. If we do not, His Word cannot keep us. In our time of trial we will find man’s Word will fail, but God’s Word is our rock – our solid foundation and will never fail us. It will keep us forever. Compromise with the World will only weaken our hold on God’s Word. Mixture of psychology with the Word will only weaken the Word and it’s power in our lives. Man’s philosophies cannot be exchanged for the pure, unadulterated Word of life that God has given us to keep, to hold, and to live by. Look again at His promises above for those who have kept His Word. In this world today, the church is in danger of losing His Word as the world is mixed with it. But to those who come out of these and keep His Word to the end He gives promise. It is those who keep His Word that will be kept from the “hour of tribulation that is to come on the whole earth”.
May the Lord keep you as you keep by faith all He has given you.