Volume 2000/10

 

The Harvest Is Ripe!

"He will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner"

(Mat.3: 12)

 

 

 

(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi)

I was in a vision one morning and the Lord came to visit our group. He told each person what is missing in his or her life, which we must work on. One person was told "you need to die to self". This is why I am giving this exhortation about what it means to die to self.

This has to do with obeying the word of God even when it is at odds with our self-will.

Meditate on these scriptures:

(Gal.2:20) "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Gal.5:16: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the desire of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law."

I'll like to give example of a person who showed some self-less attribute in the bible.

The story of queen Esther comes to mind. Esther was raised by her uncle Mordecai, and when she was a lady, the opportunity came to compete in a beauty contest to become the queen. The process was scandalous if the religious Jews heard that Mordecai exposed her niece to this abuse, especially because if the lady was not chosen by the king, after sleeping one night with the king, she would become mere concubine. For Esther to succumb to that suggestion from Mordecai is self-less, not counting her life dear to herself.

"Then thus came every maiden into the king; in the evening she went, and on the morrow she returned into the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's chamberlain, which kept the concubines: she came in unto the king no more, except the king delighted in her, and that she were called by name." (Esther 2:13,14).

Now Esther became the queen by providence, and there came the time when the Jews were in danger due to the evil devices of Haman the Prime Minister of the kingdom, who had raised up an edict for all the Jews in the kingdom be destroyed in one day, and he tricked the king to approve it. But Mordecai the Jew, the uncle of Esther requested that queen Esther go petition the king for the live of the Jews.

"Also (Mordecai) gave (Hatach) the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. .

Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; All the king's servants and the people of the king's provinces, do know that whosoever, whether man or woman shall come unto the king, in the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.

Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this." (Esther 4:7-14).

Though she would be risking her life according to the law of the king, however Esther demonstrated a selfless commitment to his people and to God, when she said:

"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish."

Yea, as the Lord Jesus said, "he that keepeth his life shall lose it. But he that loseth his life for the kingdom of heaven shall keep it unto life eternal."

Like apostle Paul, we must count our life as nothing to serve the lord.

"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." (Phil. 3:7).

We should consider what queen Esther did in the above story as a self-less service for her people, the people of God. We all should consider ourselves as servants for the Lord, and a servant should not always expect reward for job done. This means we should also serve the master selflessly. The Lord said, "he that hate not his own life, cannot be my disciple". The Lord Jesus taught more on this concept in Luke 17:5-10.

"And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?

And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not.

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do." (Lk.17:5-10).

Again in Galatians chapter 2:20, we learn to consider not ourselves as anything but Christ as the life in us. Die to self!

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Gal.2:20).

Also in the second Corinthians 5, we read: "For the love of Christ constraineth us: because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (2Cor.5:14-15).

Self-less living. A song we sing states: "Let us forget about ourselves, and concentrate on him, and worship Christ".

Again in Jude verse 9, we learn this principle that it is by mere grace of God that we possess the rights and privileges that gave us power over the enemy. Consider how Michael the archangel rebuked Satan, not putting himself forward but putting God forward when he said "The Lord rebuke thee", to Satan. Yea let us forget about ourselves in selfless service and bring Christ to the forefront in all things. This is the state we ought to portray when we die to self.

May the Lord teach us more and help us to be like him, "who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil.2:5-11).

 

The Life which is Above Sense

Dialogues between a disciple and his Master

-- the world may hate you ---

(Continuation of the exert from Jacob Boeme: 1600's)

 
Disciple:
But how would a Man's Body be maintained in the World; or how would he be able to maintain those that are his, if he should by such a Conversation incur the Displeasure of all the World?
Master:
Such a Man gets greater Favors than the World is able to bestow upon him. He hath God for his Friend; he hath all His Angels for his Friends: In all Dangers and Necessities these protect and relieve him; so that he need fear no Manner of Evil; no Creature can hurt him. God is his Helper; and that is sufficient. Also God is his Blessing in every Thing; and though sometimes it may seem as if God would not bless him, yet is this but for a Trial to him, and for the Attraction of the Divine Love; to the End he may more fervently pray to God, and commit all his Ways unto Him.
Disciple:
He loses however by this all his good Friends;
and there will be none to help him in his Necessity.
Master:
Nay, but he gets the Hearts of all his true Friends into his Possession, and loses none but his Enemies, who before loved his Vanity and Wickedness.
Disciple:
How it is that he can get his true Friends into his Possession?
Master:
He gets the very Hearts and Souls of all those that belong to our Lord Jesus to be his Brethren, and the Members of his own very Life. For all the Children of God are but One in Christ, which One is Christ in All; and therefore he gets them all to be his Fellow Members in the Body of Christ, whence they have all the same Heavenly Goods in common; and all live in one and the same Love of God, as the Branches of a Tree in one and the same Root, and spring all from one and the same Source of Life in them. So that he can have no Want of spiritual Friends and Relations, who are all rooted with him together in the Love which is from above; who are all of the same Blood and Kindred in Christ Jesus; and who are all nourished by the same quickening Sap and Spirit diffusing Itself through them universally from the one True Vine, which is the Tree of Life and Love. These are Friends worth having; and though Here they may be unknown to him, will abide his Friends beyond Death, to all Eternity. But neither can he want even outward natural Friends, as our Lord Christ when on Earth did not want such also.
For though indeed the High-Priests and Potentates of the World could not have a Love for Him because they belonged not to Him, neither stood in any Kind of Relation to Him, since He was not of this World; yet those loved Him who were capable of His Love, and receptive of His Words. So in like Manner, those who love Truth and Righteousness will love that Man, and will associate themselves unto him, yea, though they may perhaps be outwardly at some Distance or seeming Disagreement, from the Situation of their worldly Affairs, or out of some certain Respects; yet in their Hearts they cannot but cleave to him. For though they be not yet actually incorporated into one Body with him, yet they cannot resist being of one Mind with him, and being united in Affection, for the great Regard they bear to the Truth, which shines forth in his Words and in his Life. By which they are made either his declared or his secret Friends; and he doth so get their Hearts, as they will be delighted above all Things in his Company, for the Sake thereof, and will court his Friendship, and will come unto him by Stealth, if openly they dare not, for the Benefit of his Conversation and Advice; even as Nicodemus did unto Christ, who came to Him by Night, and in his Heart loved Jesus for the Truth's Sake, though outwardly he feared the World. And thus thou shalt have many Friends that are not known to thee; and some known to thee, who may not appear so before the World.
Disciple:
Nevertheless it is very grievous to be generally despised of the World, and to be trampled upon by Men as the very Offscouring thereof.
Master:
That which now seems so hard and heavy to thee, thou wilt yet hereafter be most of all in Love with.
Disciple:
How can it be that I should ever love that which hates me?
Master:
Though thou lovest the earthly Wisdom now, yet when thou shalt be clothed upon with the Heavenly Wisdom, then thou wilt see that all the Wisdom of the World is Folly; and wilt see also that the World hates not so much thee, as it does thine Enemy, which is the Mortal Life. And when thou thyself shalt come to hate the Will thereof, by Means of a habitual Separation of thy Mind from the World, then thou also wilt begin to love that despising of the Mortal Life, and the Reproach of the World for Christ's Sake . And so shalt thou be able to stand under every Temptation, and to hold out to the End by the Means hereof in the Course of Life above the World, and above Sense. In this Course thou wilt hate thyself; and thou wilt also love thyself; I say love thyself, and that even more than ever thou didst yet.
Disciple:

But how can these two subsist together, that a Person should both love and hate himself?

Master:

In loving thyself, thou lovest not thySELF as thine OWN; but as given thee from the Love of God thou lovest the Divine Ground in thee; by which and in which thou lovest the Divine Wisdom, the Divine Goodness, the Divine Beauty; thou lovest also by it God's Works of Wonders; and in this Ground thou lovest likewise thy Brethren. But in hating thySELF, thou hatest only that which is thine OWN, and wherein the Evil sticks close to thee.

And this thou dost, that so thou mayest wholly destroy that which thou callest thine; as when thou sayest I or MYSELF do this, or do that. All which is wrong, and a downright Mistake in thee; for nothing canst thou properly call thine but the Evil SELF, neither canst thou do any Thing of thyself that is to be accounted of. This SELF therefore thou must labor wholly to destroy IN THEE, that so thou mayest become a Ground wholly Divine. There is, there can be no SELFishness in Love; they are opposite to each other. Love, that is, Divine Love (of which only we are now discoursing) hates all Egoity, hates all that which we call I, or IHOOD; hates all such Restrictions and Confinements, yea even all that springs from a contracted Spirit, or this evil SELF-hood, because it is a hateful and deadly Thing. And it is impossible that these two should stand together, or subsist in one Person; the one driving out the other by a Necessity of Nature. For Love possesses Heaven, and dwells in Itself, which is dwelling in Heaven; but that which is called I, this vile SELF-hood possesses the World and worldly Things; and dwells also in itself, which is dwelling in Hell, because this is the very Root of Hell itself. And therefore as Heaven rules above the World and as Eternity rules above Time, even so ought Love to rule above the natural temporal Life; for no other Method is there, neither can there be of attaining to that Life which is Supernatural and Eternal, and which thou so much desirest to be led into.


(end-quote).

Lo, we must Die to Self, sold-out for Jesus, for the life of Christ to radiate properly through us.

Bro. Julius Adewumi

Gospel Distribution Ministry

Box 30387, Phoenix, AZ 85046, USA.

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