I ended last week sharing about the condition of some in the body of Christ, adulterers spiritually speaking, because this is the season the Lord is calling the unfaithful believers back to Him. He is doing that by stirring a spiritual hunger in many believers as they see the world falling apart.
Picking it up from there...
He is extending an invitation by the Spirit, in the spirit-man to hear what He is doing. It feels like something deep resonates within, though the mind is trying to figure out what it means. But it is perceived deep inside a person.
He is emphasizing His inner working in the hearts of many, in part by showing the body of Christ the increasing gap between His culture and the world's culture. It's interesting that in James 4: 4 he calls some 'adulterers and adulteresses' for their love of the world, stating whoever loves the world is an enemy of God.
The Greek uses the word 'adulteresses' only, while the King James Version inserts 'adulterers' as well. Perhaps the translators wanted to make sure readers understood James was talking about men and women, we don't know. But the way James wrote in the Greek is doctrinally correct. Here is the literal Greek of James 4:4:
"Adulteresses. Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility with God? Therefore whoever has chosen to be a friend of the world constitutes (makes themselves) an enemy of God."
Calling the unfaithful home
The word 'adulteresses' references Jesus' definition of adultery in Matthew 5 as stated last week, as an affair of the heart, of the imagination. The world used here for 'friendship' is the root 'phileo' which is the love best friends have for each other, and the world 'world' here is 'kosmos', meaning world's system and culture.
And as you can read in the Greek, it very clearly states ''whoever has chosen to be a friend of the world" - it is on us. We are where we are now because of decisions we have made. Reorganizing our lives for Him starts with reordering the heart, reorganizing our priorities and then doing it.
Spiritual adultery is one who considers themselves part of the bride of Christ, yet has chosen to love the culture of the world. They have entered into an affair of the heart with the world's system, thus positioning themselves against what God is doing in the world, and what He is trying to do in their hearts. This is the person who doesn't want the Lord to come because they love the world and all that is in it. That reveals their first love.
The coming time we will start to see next year, involves calling spiritually adulterous believers out of love with the world and returning to their first love. This judgement that begins at the house of God, which is the Lord asking them to judge themselves, for these people, comes at a rate proportional to the world's descent into further darkness.
This is the first 'take away' from the visitation, and that the Lord will do it by bringing awareness of His culture set in contrast to the failing culture of the world. Many will seek true friendships in a home-based community of believers, and more than believers; disciples. Discipleship is about to take a giant step forward as more and more believers will decide to become disciples (learners, people who endeavor to live out what they believe.)
The visitation continues: What He said about what He is doing
"What you'll see in the coming year is my body becoming more aware of the culture of the Kingdom: Of the ways of the Father. Of my ways. For those who have an ear to hear, it will be sensed as a strong inner urge coming from their spirits, welling up, a desire that won't be satisfied with anything else."
"As the world continues in its way, many will see a chasm* growing between themselves and the way the world is going. Even now what they thought was stable and dependable in the world is no longer, and they see that, and many are afraid. As that culture crumbles and rearranges itself around them, they will seek Me and My culture, and they will find it, for I never change. I will abundantly pardon." *(chasm: A deep canyon, like the ground open up between people, increasingly separating them as the chasm grows)
At that point my mind was racing, examining He 'will abundantly pardon' against the fact all sins were legally pardoned on the cross, though not vitally (Vitally means 'a living reality' - we have to exercise our will to access or 'make alive' what was done for us on the cross.) So I was examining what He said oddly enough, for doctrinal error and thinking about all the possibilities so I could gain the fullness of His words.
He interrupted my silent cross-examination for He knew my thoughts: "You know what I said to the 7 churches; "He that has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." So it is now. It is an invitation to participate in what I am doing. I AM."
What He said to them, and the way He said it, is the same
By using "I AM" to describe Himself I understood He was saying He never changes. I immediately understood what is happening now is the same way He acted and spoke to each of the 7 churches in The Revelation chapters 2 and 3. He is looking for the same singleness of heart He asked of them.
His messages were invitations to hear. I should note the phrase 'has an ear to hear' is deeper than it first sounds.
The words used are 'echo ous akousato' or 'ears to hear'. You can see the root words 'echo' and 'acoustic' in the phrase. It is the difference between hearing the sound versus hearing the message. There are many in the body of Christ who hear the sound, but fewer will hear the message and implement that message into their lives. "He who has an ear to hear, let him hear", implies not just hearing the sound but understanding and doing what Jesus said.
Notice too, how our free will factors in. "He who has ears to hear" means it isn't predetermined - it is 100% our responsibility. The Lord is very much the same as when He appeared to Joshua with sword drawn, as the Captain of the Armies, outside Jericho, found in Joshua 5: 13-15. Joshua immediately fell to his knees and worshipped, and was told to remove his shoes for he was on holy ground, which is only done before God, never an angel.
(If you have any book or testimony from someone who teaches that was an angel appearing to Joshua, you need to seriously question the legitimacy of their experience and/or teaching, for they reveal they don't know their theology nor their Lord very well, for understanding Who it was is Bible 101.)
(The reason OT people had to remove their shoes before God (never an angel) is that shoes are man-made, and no one can come to God of their own efforts, of their own design. It is the same reason when they built an altar to God they could not shape the rocks in any way, they had to use them as they found them in nature. Taking a tool to a rock to build an altar to God would be coming to God on their own efforts, their own design.)
Are you for us or against us?
Joshua asks the Lord if He is 'for us or for our enemies?', and the Lord replied: "Neither" or "No" depending on your translation, "But as Captain of the Armies of the Lord have I come." We might say it this way: "No, you miss the point. I'm here representing neither the Israelite nor the Canaanite armies, but as Captain of the Armies of the Lord."
The point is that the Lord's allegiance is to the Father, to Himself, to heaven's culture and Kingdom. He wants us to have that same singleness of heart and purpose. It is the same today - he who has ears to hear let him hear.
But if not, the Lord will still do what the Lord will do, and the Spirit is speaking to the churches whether anyone pays attention or not. He is from heaven, not earth, so we are welcome to join Him and what He is doing, but if not, that is up to us. That is the invitation extended to the body of Christ right now. Believers become disciples. Please.
But if not, the Lord marches on, doing what He will do in the earth. He isn't expecting perfection, just growth, and that starts in the heart, followed by the backbone to make strong and often difficult decisions in Him.
Next week I'll cover what He meant by His culture, the culture of the Kingdom of God. Until then, blessings,
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