Five Fold Ministry Offices and Growth of the Elect

There is a growth in the Christian walk. As the Spirit in us brings us to more mature attitudes and capabilities, we, of course, with His help grow in grace and in His Spirit.

“First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear,” the Master Christ said (Mark 4: 26-28). This is like how the kingdom of God grows here on earth at present. The seed, the word of God, is sown into some hearts and it grows. For “the kingdom of God is within you.” Like the growth of any seed, a progression of growth develops in His governance in us.

We start out as babes in Christ, then we grow into youth, and then into fatherhood (I John 2: 13-14). And we are “under tutors and governors” as children of God (Gal. 4: 2).

And God has set some members in His body to shepherd and teach and inspire the others until we all grow spiritually to the place the Father has purposed. These are the “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.”

And these are gifted (from God) to do some specific things for Him. The first thing they will do is help us to be “perfectly joined together in the same mind” (I Cor. 1: 10). Which mind? The mind of Christ. For they will have received the “word of wisdom” and the “word of knowledge,” the first two gifts of the Spirit, from the Father. And with those gifts, they will “mend” that which is broken in our lives spiritually [1]. They will show us “the way” to spiritual completeness “till we all come in the unity of the faith, unto a perfect man.”

And what does this phrase “perfect man” mean? It is the goal of Christ and his five-fold ministry offices that we all come “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…” In short that we could “grow up into Him…even Christ” (Eph. 4: 11-15).

There are teachers many and evangelists many, and pastors many. Who can say which ones are true and which ones are false? One thing is certain. All two thousand denominations and organizations can’t be in perfect harmony with God’s plan and purpose. Why? Because of the disharmony amongst them. Divisions abound; schisms prevail in the Christian congregation leading the sheep of His pasture each to his own way. As in “and they all did what was right in their own eyes,” which is what happens when the King’s truth is not present (Judges 17: 6).

In a word, the Holy Spirit will be ministering to the church through these five offices. For it will not be man teaching us how to become like Christ, but Christ’s Spirit teaching us through those very teachers. They will teach us the deeper things, the “strong meat” that is fit for the princes and princesses of God, that they may grow (Hebrews 5: 14).

Being a Child of God Is Not the Goal

We are not to remain children of God! A child is mostly alive to see what they can get from the Father. You hear it in prayers every day. God does not want us to remain children because that kind of self-centeredness produces instability in the spiritual walk. Children of God are lukewarm spiritually–neither all in nor all out.

God warns the little children in Rev. 3: 14-22. These immature Christians are very prevalent in this last church age of Laodecia. If they remain lukewarm, God will reject them and will “spue them” out of His mouth.

And why are these lukewarm? Because they think they are rich both materially and spiritually and “have need of nothing.” They think that they really know all they need to know about God. They are unteachable; pride always is that way. And they do not know that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.”

A Cure for the Poor, Blind, and Naked

God prescribes a remedy for the little children who are lukewarm and poor and blind and naked. He counsels them to buy from Him “gold tried in the fire that you may be rich” and “white raiment, that you may be clothed and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear” and “anoint your eyes with eye salve that you may see” (Rev. 3: 18). Then He commands them to repent, so there are things to stop doing in order to correct this tepidity.

Purified gold is faith tried in the furnace of afflictions and sufferings. White raiment is God’s righteousness in us and thriving. Eye salve is that anointing that can only come from Him in His sovereignty. And with these things bought from Him and added, the doer will have overcome and will have grown out of spiritual childhood.

But how is the young Christian to obtain the knowledge of these things? They must be taught by the Spirit through one of God’s teachers. But how does one discern which are the true teachings that will lead us to become a manifested son and daughter of God and which are the false teachings?

First, they will teach the “eternal purpose” of God and how He is “bringing many sons unto glory.” And that does not mean “going to heaven.” It means the granting and growth unto immortality–right here on earth! Some will be “conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 28-30).

This eternal purpose will be taught by His five fold offices–this eternal purpose of bringing a cadre of believers with Christ fully formed in them to full glory–to be exactly like Jesus Christ!  There. I said it, and I will keep on saying it until we all come into same vision that God has for us. And His vision for us is this: He wants to share His throne with us! (Rev. 3: 21). We must remember that we are “more than conquerors through Christ.”

The Elect

We are speaking now about God’s elect, the ones He has chosen for this “high calling” of becoming fully like Him. For they will share God’s vision of our perfection beginning with the conquering of sin in our lives here on earth.  They will not try to keep you a sinner; they will not limit God and His power.

They will not keep on laying the foundation of God over and over again. For the  scene’s the same as it was 50-100 years ago in denominationland. Small congregation. Everyone knows everyone. They’ve all been saved years ago. And what does the pastor preach on? Christ died for you. Be saved. Same hymns, same format. No change. No growth. And that is it. I appreciate your sincerity, pastor, but the sheep need to be fed so that they can grow! We have got to shake our selves out of the slumber that the shepherds have lulled us into.

As I’ve said before. If you are not being led into greater and more profound truths out of His word, one of two things is happening. Either you already have all the truth and there is no more to be learned, or the Spirit of God is not working with you. For He said, “When the Spirit of truth is come, He will lead you into all truth.” He will take us from one truth that, in turn, opens another door into more truth.

Let us pray that He continues to lead us into all truth. He will use His five offices to do just that.      Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[1] All words and phrases in bold letters are from this same Greek word found here:   http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2675&t=KJV

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Having the Mind of Christ–Key to Staying Focused

We know as Christians that we should have our thoughts on the things of God. For “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee,” the Spirit of Christ in Isaiah tells us (26: 3). But, let’s face it, our minds wander to things of this earth, trivial things, things that do not matter in God’s big picture.

How then do we get our minds to think on the things of God? How do we prevent them from wandering? Is there a focal point that will help us?

He admonished us to “let this mind be in you.” And that is the mind of Christ. But what was in His mind? What does He think about? Paul tells us to think on the things that are lovely, just and of a good report (Phil. 4: 8).

Of course, it all starts with grateful thoughts toward our Savior for delivering us from our decadent old lives. What love our God has for us! Beyond our finite thoughts to comprehend such care for us!

Things That Are Just

But does His mind stop with His interaction with us in His love for us in saving us, as wonderful as that is? Or is there more in His mind? Do His thoughts transcend the personal and enter into the geo-political–even into galactic concerns?

We know that He is a just God, a righteous Judge. Justice is His hallmark; fairness is His eternal standard.

As the righteous King, could Christ be thinking about His soon coming return when He will “rule all nations with a rod of iron”? Do not most every earthly king in exile prepare his heart and mind for his return to the throne, his seat of justice for his people?

Of course, they do. Christ tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” The very first thing that we Christians should be seeking is God’s kingdom. First, we should be studying His word to see just what the kingdom of God is–to see if what we have been taught by the churches about the kingdom is correct. For Christ has much to say about His kingdom.

But we Americans and most people of the world have been too long removed from being a king’s subject. We are individualistic, self-willed, and self-centered. A monarchy is foreign to us after 225 years with our present government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Of course, our republic is a definite improvement on the despotic king George. However, our experiment in governing ourselves is not the kingdom/government of God that the scriptures speak of.

Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, is returning to earth and will rule and reign right here on earth for 1,000 years, according to the scriptures. That is the kingdom/government that we are admonished by Him to seek after.

We must simply stop thinking about God’s kingdom as some mystical ethereal heavenly realm that we are going to escape to. No. Christ is coming back to earth for 1,000 years, and sitting on the throne with Him will be God’s royal offspring, the over-comers. He promised, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne (Rev. 3: 21).  Somebody will fulfill this His promise, for He does not speak idle words.

Help us, God, to let this vision of rulership with Christ permeate our hard hearts. Help us believe and cleave to your promises, for they are your thoughts; they are the creative seeds that emanate from Your mind to us.

We simply must begin thinking in terms of Christ as this regal sovereign Monarch and how He will completely change the geo-political dynamic.

His kingdom is the good news. Personal salvation provided us by Him, though precious, is but a first step that enable us to first “see” and then “enter into the kingdom of God (John 3: 3-5).

Personal salvation enables us to become a “babe in Christ,” but like an earthly baby, a young Christian needs to grow up spiritually into full maturity. Some of His followers will mature into kingship and will sit with Him on His throne.

This is what our exiled King is thinking about. He is all about preparing and then sharing His throne with His elect. Read His words now with all this in mind, and you will see into His wondrous thinking. We should be filling our minds with these thoughts about His return and rule. These are the things that are true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of a good report. And we are to think on these things, as Christ does at this very moment, and “the God of peace shall be with you.” For He is the living Word. And His words to us are the very Essence that comprises His thoughts. And these thoughts of His will keep us focused.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

 

 

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18th Surgical Hospital, Lai Khe 1967–Prelude to TET

It had not been thirty days since we moved the hospital down out of the highlands near Pleiku.  Ah, Pleiku. We did not want to leave the land of the cool night air and the Mountainyards whose cherry wood pipes yielded intoxicating aromas. We landed in the pressure cooker called Long Bien–Lai Khe, to be exact. That is where we set up the 18th Surgical Hospital–mobile now–right in the middle of a rubber tree plantation.

It is the home of the Big Red One, and knowing that there are thousands of infantry and armor close by gives us this fuzzy feeling that they are definitely going to protect us medical guys. We are here a month setting up this inflatable, expandable, jet fuel guzzling medical marvel called MUST, when Alan Trinkle comes up with this wacked out story.

A few of us are standing in line at the mess tent at shift change at 7:00, and he says, “Guys, I’ve got to talk to you.” He looks as pale as the oatmeal the cooks are dishing up, and he is fumbling with his fatigues and looking around in all directions. His upper lip is a mushy platform for lazy drops of sweat to roll off of. And then he drops it on us. “I saw two gooks in our tent last night.”

MacDonald and I look at each other, our incredulity concurring. Mack says, “What are you talking about, man? Don’t joke about things like that.”

“I’m not joking.” He grabs our arms and leads us out of the line and around the corner of the tent. “Two gooks were in our tent last night. I saw them with my own two eyes.”

“But, Tinkle, that’s crazy talk,” I say. Tinkle was what everyone called him.

“Groovy, listen to me, please. I couldn’t sleep, and I was laying there, and I, and I heard one of them step on some leaves. So I froze, and I just laid there and eased my eyes open a little to catch them in my peripheral vision. I was facing straight up, but I could see them to my left side near the opening of our tent.”

I looked past Tinkle over toward where our GP Mediums are pitched in between rows of forty foot tall rubber trees. Their leaves are a rumpled carpet of crunchy brown patches that would sometimes move and come alive at night after our evening toke break. “Gooks in our tent, huh?” I say.

“Yeah, and they were armed. They had rifles and held them with both hands in front of their chests, and they moved slowly into the tent. But it was like they weren’t taking normal steps. They were gliding sideways. And then they’d look around, and when they looked at me, I’d  close my eyes. And then I’d take a peak again after a few seconds.”

“Stop it, Tinkle. You are as full of crap as a Christmas duck. Pull yourself together. There was no gooks in our tent last night.” I look at MacDonald, and he is shaking his head, smiling.

“Yes, there was!” Tinkle yells, dropping his head a bit when he sees the two captains walking by.

“No, you listen up. If there’d been gooks in there, they would have killed us. Plain and simple. That’s what they do. They kill dumbasses like us.”

“No, I saw them.”

“So why didn’t you try to kill them?” MacDonald asks. “Your rifle’s right by your bed, loaded and ready to go. Hell, you owe it to us to kill them if you have the chance.”

“I was afraid to,” he says. “Groove, you’ve got to believe me. They were there.”

He’s gone off the deep end; it is getting to him, I am thinking. And I’m suppose to train him to cross match blood so he can take the other twelve hour shift. “Hey, we are all wigging out with all the blood and guts, but you got to hang in there. Tinkle, I know that we are on a steady diet of insanity for breakfast, fear for lunch, and loneliness for supper, but we got to stay in there.”

“You been hitting the bottle too hard, Tinkle,” says MacDonald. “How much you drink last night?”

“I drank some last night, but I  wasn’t that drunk!” Tinkle’s face is glowing red, and he turns and goes back toward our tent.

And I’m thinking there’s no way they could have been in our tent. How did they get there? There are guards posted everywhere. And the perimeter, though only a click away has got hundreds of troops on the alert there. Did they float in from above the trees in parachutes? Did they just materialize out of another dimension? Yeah, the dimension of Tinkle’s alcohol soaked brain.

Later I see him in the tent and he says to me, “We gotta do something. They could have killed us all last night.”

So I start playing along and say, “Why didn’t you wait till they left the tent, then open fire on them?”

“There could have been others around, and all they would have had to do is throw grenades into all the tents, and we’d all have been wiped out.”

“So where did they go after they left our tent?” I ask.

“I don’t know exactly. I was afraid to move my head to the side. They just slipped out and vanished.”

“I don’t know, Tinkle. I think you’re just imagining things. You’re tripping out.”

“No, I saw them. We are in danger. All of us. What if they come back tonight?”

“Listen,” I tell him. “Come on. Let’s walk behind the latrine.” We slide out of the tent, and I am already feeling like a joint, so I make sure I got one so I can blow it when we get behind the bunker near the latrine and shower. I look and nobody’s around. Either they’re sleeping or eating, but the coast is clear. So I lean on the sandbags facing the endless rows of rubber trees and light up.

Tinkle don’t smoke weed. He’s a dyed in the wool alkie. Jack Daniels. That’s the way it is around here. There’s about 100 guys in our unit and it seems like 80% are grassheads, and 20% are alcoholics.

So I’m taking a hit, savoring those fun-giving fumes, and I’m looking at Tinkle. His round face looks at me intensely, his eyes all watery and red and bulging out like they are about to pop out of their sockets. His mouth is just a slit, his lips closed up tight like a kid’s mouth when you’re trying to shovel some cough syrup down him. I say to him, “So what are you saying?”

“I’ve got to tell the C.O.”

“Wait. Wait now. You don’t want to do that.”

“Why not? I’ve got to.”

“Think it through, Tinkle.” I’m trying to reason with him. He’s got this one imagination that he’s holding on to. “You don’t think that if the gooks were walking around inside our compound last night that the grunts and tank dudes out there wouldn’t know about it?” I point out to where the rubber trees end. “You can see our tanks firing at night eight or ten football fields from where the trees stop.”

“Maybe the grunts haven’t seen the gooks yet.”

“You mean that you are the very first G.I.–a medic at that–who has been privileged enough to see Charlie in our midst–when no one else has?” I take another hit. I need more smoke because Tinkle’s such a hard head.

“I know what I saw.” He looks me in the eye. “Groove, if I don’t tell the old man about it, they may come back and kill us all tonight.”

“You go tell the Colonel and your ass will be out of here on the next chopper. They’ll send you to some psych ward in Saigon. The Colonel’s no dummy. We talk when I cut his hair. He may look like a dummy, but he’s not stupid. He’s a doctor, and he’s gonna know your brains are boiled in bourbon. Hell, he may put some heat on all of us.”

Tinkle doesn’t say another word. He turns around and stumbles on down toward headquarters.

I take another hit, and I’m feeling no pain now and laugh a little at what the colonel’s going to say to Tinkle. Son, everything’s going to be all right. We’ll get you fixed up in no time. First Sergeant, see that his straight jacket doesn’t fit too tight because he’s a damn good soldier and he needs to be treated right.

So I go on to the lab to relieve my night man, and I don’t see Tinkle the rest of the day. After my shift, I go back to our tent, and he is sitting on his cot, head in hands, and he’s moaning, “Oh, no. Oh, no.”

“You just get off?” I ask. He just rocks a little, back and forth.

“They didn’t believe me. They said it was delirium tremens. Gave me two days off to dry out and take it easy.” He reaches under his cot and grabs the fifth of Jack Daniels. He’s past pouring it into a glass and turns it up and takes a couple of swallows. “To hell with it,” he says, screwing the cap back on and tossing it onto his cot. “If they don’t give a damn, then why should I?”

I’m perfectly fine with his resignation and say, “Just get some rest. I’ll train you in a couple of days.”

Two days later we were overrun by the Vietcong. The TET Offensive had started all over Vietnam, as we found out later. The officer quarters were blown up with many dead at the 1st Infantry Division headquarters right near where we saw Bob Hope and Raquel Welch joking and dancing not two weeks prior. We immediately packed the hospital up and loaded it into C-130′s and, just like that, we roared off into the steaming black night to God knows where.

If the levels of hell are measured in the depth of the rivers of blood that oozes out of young men’s bodies, then we had arrived at one of the inferno’s lower pits. Our destination that dark night was Quang Tri, fifteen miles from the DMZ, where we set up shop on a sandbar.

I did train Tinkle to take the other shift, and we never talked about the gooks in the tent again.

Eight months later I’m a single-digit-midget with a week to go before I derosed to go back to the world. Tinkle was in Hawaii on R and R, no doubt sipping a drink with his wife on Waikiki. That’s when we got word that they had found tunnels honey-combed all through the rubber tree plantation.  I remember saying, “Ain’t that a bitch,” and then that was that because I was going home, and that was all that really mattered to me at the time.   Kenneth Wayne Hancock

[I tell my Vietnam stories, for the Vietnam experience helped prepare my heart to be touched later by God. Everything that happens to us--good and bad--is a prerequisite for that which is ahead. Some details of this story I remember; some I don't. I lost a few brain cells there, I am sure.  I've used some poetic license to fill in the gaps. I have the upmost respect for all those I served with and for all the patients we helped patch up. If any of you read this, please share your recollections with me. For more stories go here:   http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/?s=18th+surgical+hospital ]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doctrine of Baptisms–Baptized into His Death Frees Us from Sin

The early apostles taught their third doctrine–the “doctrine of baptisms–with an “s.”  For there are several baptisms in the Christian walk–not just the one with water.

The first baptism mentioned was John the Baptist’s “baptism unto repentance.”  He encouraged the people to repent of their sins, be baptized in water, thus pointing them to the Lamb of God, who would soon become the Sacrifice for all men’s sins.  “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I…he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Mt. 3:11).  Here we have three baptisms in one verse.

The baptism in water is symbolic of the death of our old sinful heart (see post on this at http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/baptismempty-ritual-or-symbol-of-death-of-self/ ).  Paul taught that it was symbolic of being immersed into Christ’s death.  “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6: 3).

Just How Are We Immersed into Christ’s Death?

     Just before Christ died, this perfectly sinless man took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future.  Sin was transferred onto this sin offering, and He died with all our sins upon Him.  Consequently, when He died, my old self died.  When He died that day, our old selfish egos died.

When He was literally buried in the tomb, our old lives were buried.  Gone.  Over with.  And when He rose from the dead, we rose from the deadness of our sinful existence, into a brand new wonderful life, energized with God’s Spirit now within (for more on this, see “Introduction” of my book The Unveiling of the Sons of God  found at the top of this page).  All this has already been done for us by God.  We have to only believe it when we read it in Romans 6: 3-7 :

“Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  Because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”

We are now free from sin–if we really believe it.  Free!  We are no longer slaves to the pulls, urges, and demands of that old spiritual nature that held us in bondage to do sinful acts!  I’m talking about revolutionary freedom here!  We were dead to sin, but now we live unto God by faith in the Spirit that He has given us.

Water baptism is just the symbol of this immersion into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  Believing and walking in this truth is the reality.  But God has promised his sons and daughters more and greater baptisms–the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the baptism of fire, which takes us into the very presence of God’s transformative power.     Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Self-Sacrifice Versus Self-Improvement in Christian Growth

Life is all about love.  It is about living to love. Life is our time to love.

But it is about great love, selfless love, agape love. For that is what touches the human heart–love. But this the highest love is the giving-up-one’s-life-for-another kind of love. It is that rare selfless love. And that is the part of the Christian story that reaches into the inner recesses of the heart and gently breaks it. It touches us. That’s the kind of love that is great–laying down one’s life for a friend.

And that is where the Christian’s Savior reigns supreme in touching hearts. Hearing of His undeniable love in taking our sins upon Himself and providing Himself as an offering for our sins–for the selfish likes of us–that is what touches us.

The cool untouchable reflection of Buddha does not touch us like Christ does. It is, after all, an exercise in helping one’s self gain peace. The busy petty pantheons of India, Rome, and Greece do not move us like Christ does.

Nor do nebulous new age imaginations touch us, for they all are mere means of self-improvement, not self-denial to help others.

And we humans know too well deep down in the core of our beings that self-improvement of the self is, well, self-centered and self-important and has little to do with worshipping the Creator who needs no improvement. For His ways are perfect; His thoughts are law.

This then should give us Christians pause. For we are warned repeatedly in almost every book in the New Testament that there will be false teachers. And even though well-meaning, they “will bring in damnable heresies.”

And the heretical teaching most damning, that condemns that vulnerable babe in Christ to a stunted spiritual growth is the doctrine of “self-improvement.” In an old tract it was call “The Modern Smooth Cross,” as opposed to the austerity of the “old rugged cross.”

The smooth modern cross does not demand the death of the old self on the cross with Christ, our sin Sacrifice, the Passover Lamb of God. This doctrine merely re-directs ambitions, improves little idiosyncrasies. It never gets down to the real problem–the sin nature that is brought to the church house.

In this modern doctrine of self-improvement, the self is still there. It is never demanded to die with Christ. Therefore, the sinful self is hibernating there under the initial rush and excitement of fellowship, hiding like a cornered wild animal waiting to strike out and wound whoever would pressure it out of its comfortable lair. Some feel quite at home and feel no threats to their current status in Christendom and carry on walking through the wide gate.

The Self-Sacrifice of Spiritual Circumcision

However, we now must remember that we Christians have undergone an invisible spiritual circumcision, “made without hands, in putting off the body of sins of the flesh (Col. 2: 11-13).  For we were already “dead in our sins (v. 13). And now God has provided a way to let that sinful nature die now and avoid the rush. And we have been “buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised Him from the dead” (v. 12). That is how God sees it and judges it regardless of whether we see it or even feel it. The “we,” the self is dead. He said it; now we believe it.

He died on the cross; our sinful nature died with Him. He was buried; we were buried spiritually, our old sinful nature entombed forever. He was raised from the dead; we are raised with Him and “walk in newness of life (Rom. 6: 4). And we must know this one thing: “That our old man is crucified with  Him [it is already done and over with], that the body of sin might be destroyed [that means dead, caput, no more, totally annihilated], that henceforth we should not serve sin”  (Rom. 6: 6).

So how to do this in a reality? We must reckon it so. We must account that it is done like God has already done. “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God” (6: 11). Let the invisible chains of sin’s slavery fall off of you. Just walk off of the plantation. You are already dead, so just let the old sinful life go. Be alive unto God. Walk in a new life through Him and through belief in His resurrection. It is already done. God’s Emancipation Proclamation has gone forth. Just believe it, and walk off of the plantation. You are free. You don’t have to sin anymore. Whether you have been going to church three months, three years, or thirty or more years–you are free now. Just believe it; it is already accomplished. I am proclaiming liberty to the captives. Walk on in the light of His love. Give up your life for others. Sacrifice your self to help save mankind. In a word, be like Christ. That is what He is asking us to do. After he told His disciples of these things, He asked them, Are you sure you want to do this? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

The Effect?

“He that is dead is freed from sin” (6: 7). Very few preachers tell their congregations that they are freed from sin. To the contrary, they tell them how sinful they are, but never tell them how to be free from that bondage to sinning. They proudly proclaim that they are a “sinner saved by grace” and will always be a sinner. Where does the Bible say that? Just read  1 John 3: 9. They will proclaim that they “sin every day.”

But why won’t they tell them that they are freed from the clutches of sin? Because they have not taught them that they must let their sinful old nature die with Christ on the cross. No death of sinful heart=no freedom from its bondage. For “whoever commits sin is the servant [slave] of sin,” Christ said (John 8: 34). He also said that “no man can serve two masters.” You cannot serve God and serve sin. Sharp cutting words, but needful.

But tired old churchianity slogs on, “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” Their leaders “cause them to err,” and they will give an account to the Judge who will weigh all their justifications and give His verdict, as they are led from the room muttering, “But did we not prophesy in Your name?”

The message written here will bless the hearts of some, but some will scurry out of its light, back to the friendly confines of modern Christendom’s “Today’s Tips for Self-Improvement. ”   Kenneth Wayne Hancock    {If you haven’t visited my website Immortality Road, please do. There you will find over 300 articles and books exploring the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” all written for you, the elect sons and daughters of God, the future rulers with Christ in His soon coming kingdom
http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com }

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“Today, If You Will Hear His Voice”–The Time Portal to His Presence

An opening in time–a portal to enter into God’s presence, to be near Him, enough to hear His voice.

So, we ask again, What if God, earnestly desiring to commune with us, has provided a way for us to get into a spiritual place where He would speak audibly to us? What if we could get all of our spiritual ducks in a row and thereby position ourselves to enter His time portal so that we could literally have a conversation with the Creator? He did say that all things are possible to him that believes.

What if, among His many promises to us, there is the possibility that we could get very close to Him, that we could hear His voice and even share a meal together, as we see in Rev. 3.  What if He has already created a window of time that opens on a regular basis, a timeframe where, if we can believe it, He will meet us there, after we have met certain criteria that He has set for our holiness?

God has provided this time portal, and it swings open every seven days. It is called the Sabbath.  And we are commanded to “keep it holy.” But the true Sabbath is like an island surrounded by the treacherous waters of man’s traditions. Every sect in the earth has their own take as to which day is the Sabbath and how to “keep it holy.”

Keeping It Holy

First, there is nothing we can do that makes the Sabbath holy. We cannot sanctify it through anything that we do or don’t do. We must realize that the Sabbath already is holy. God has already set it apart and hallowed it (Ex. 20: 11).

God created it and sanctified it for man, as Christ said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” The seventh day is not something to be served as if it were this holy thing that needs to be reverently observed–or else. The Sabbath is instead a 24 hour space in time that occurs every seven days in which the Great Spirit Creator makes His presence known with more power and clarity to those who walk with Him in truth.

God has set aside a 24 hour period each week for His people to seek Him. “Seek the LORD while He may be found” takes on more meaning in light of this. “May be found…” God gives permission to find Him during this weekly 24 hour period.

The Pharisees “kept” the Sabbath, but they did not keep it holy, for they injected ruinous teachings, traditions, and concepts about it. The actual Sabbath day of God, on which they assembled and concocted various restrictions as to what can and cannot be done, cannot be sanctified by us and our actions.

It is already made holy by its Creator. And He has set it apart from the other days of the week that we humans, “the apple of His eye,” could have a lifeline to help us get back into His presence. He made it as a space/time connector, a bridge joining us in our bodies to the spiritual dimension that He dwells in. It is His gift to us–a time to peer into spiritual truths, a time for His Spirit to come down and try out His house, which is us–a time for God and us to rest in each other, after we have ceased from working for our self and rest from the sensation of it being us that is still in the picture.

For it is belief in the death of self, our dying with Christ on the cross (Rom. 6: 1-6), and the belief that He now lives within us in a new heart, that enables us to finally “enter into His rest.” “For he that is entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” Our own works were the acts of sinning, breaking God’s law. When we die with Christ, be buried with Him, and then through faith in the operation of God that raised Him from the dead, we too cease from our old works done by our old selves. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts,” (Gal. 5: 24, the “flesh” here being the old sinful carnal nature of man we are born into).

The final crucifixion, the once and for all putting to death of our old sinful nature–that is what we must believe. That is the first step in getting right, in getting our spiritual ducks in a row, that we may enter into His rest, having stopped the insanity of the sin we were bound with.”

For God limits a certain day for special things to happen between Him and His people. That space in time, that portal still is there for some to enter into (Heb. 4: 1-11).  “To day if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” That day is the Sabbath. And if we will soften our hearts with belief in the crucifixion of sin and faith that He has given us a new heart and spirit, then we will enter into His rest, ceasing from our old sins.

For it was the sin of His people that He was grieved with in the wilderness. And they could not enter into His rest because of it. But now, if we do not harden our hearts toward Him and just believe Him that the sin is gone, gone, gone–then we can enter into His rest. For “here remains a rest (a sabbatismos–a keeping of the Sabbath in the Greek) to the people of God” (Heb 4: 9).

So Which Day Is It?

Many traditions of men abound as to when is the Sabbath. Hundreds of millions of Moslems believe that the Sabbath takes place from sundown  Thursday to sundown Friday. The followers of Judaism and several Christian denominations believe that it starts at sundown Friday and ends on sundown Saturday. Then you have billions of Christians who believe that the Sabbath has been changed, replacing it with Sunday as the holy day of God.

Studying the scriptures will give you the answer as to which day is the true Sabbath. Finding this treasure of knowledge is left up to us all. Seek and you shall find; knock and the door shall be opened; ask, and it shall be given, says our Master Christ. We all must prove it out, taking His word and the common sense that He has given us, being prepared to receive the answer, having no pre-conceived imaginations.

To benefit from this communion with God on His Sabbath, we must have erroneous concepts about Him and His plan straightened out and corrected. To be counted as a vessel for Him to pour Himself into, especially on His Sabbath, we must be holy. We must “purge out the old leaven that the lump may be holy.”

But that opens up another can of worms.  What is the old leaven, and how do we purge it out?    Kenneth Wayne Hancock      {If you haven’t visited my website Immortality Road, please do. There you will find over 300 articles and books exploring the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” all written for you, the elect sons and daughters of God, the future rulers with Christ in His soon coming kingdom
http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com }

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Hearing Audibly God’s Voice–He Has Provided the Way

What if God in His infinite love has already provided us a portal that opens up onto a bridge over which we peer into the eternal, and over which after listening with pure hearts, we actually hear the voice of the Eternal One?

What if God has already built into His plan an avenue over which we leave the cacophonous confusion that surrounds us and we traverse it into His pasture where we can see Him and cry out to Him and He sees us and waves and says in an audible voice, “Yes, I do love you so much. Just keep believing”?

What if this doorway is not material, not spatial, not three-dimensional like most doors, but rather an opening in time? What if God, who is infinite and is not bound by temporary earthly limitations—what if He has set aside a slot of time through which we may hear His voice?

Already Touched by Him

Those reading this have already had His spiritual hand tap you on the shoulder, calling you to walk with Him. We have all had wonderful experiences of His love and forgiveness of our sins and shortcomings. Of this we all are grateful.

And yet, we sense that there must be more—more of His presence, more of His Spirit, more of His love flowing through us. We feel the lack in our spiritual lives. It is difficult as we Christians walk around in these fragile shells, as we walk  among those of the world who do not really know who we are and what we think in silence away from their presence.

We long to have a closer relationship with God—not just the long distance spiritual arrangement that we now find ourselves in. But rather, we yearn to walk with Him as Abraham and Moses and Samuel and Isaiah and Daniel did. These prophets, along with many others, not only were led by God, but they also had literal conversations with Him.

These are the ones that literally heard His voice and saw his shape. These were and are God’s friends. That is why they are famous today, their stories still ringing down through halls of history. They did not have a long distance relationship with God like some of us; they heard His voice up close and personal. Even Paul of Tarsus was visited by the risen Savior during New Testament times. And are we not living in New Testament times?

What if we could hear the great Creator’s voice? There—I broached the question. What if we could hear, not just the “still small voice,” but His real, audible voice? Our hearts are small and have been trampled upon, but can we get them to enlarge with enough faith to believe that we could experience this as the prophets did?

Right now I am excited like my barely two year old grandson Matty, who dancing up and down, looking up so longingly into our faces as we did “Knock Knock” jokes with his four year old sister, so earnestly desiring to be like us, exclaimed, “Nah, Nah! Nah, Nah!” And I began to laugh uncontrollably, totally enthralled by his belief that he could get in on the fun, that he could be like us. Oh, let the little children lead us, who in their childlike faith believe that all things are possible.

And yet, some Christians will balk right here, their hearts seeping doubts about this radical concept. Us, in the 21st century? Would? Could God do that for us?

What does He say about it in His word? Is it possible? The demon possessed boy’s father asks the Savior, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

“If you can?” What do you mean, If you can? “Everything is possible for him who believes,” He said (Mark 9: 22-23 NIV). It was possible for His disciples, too, for they had already driven “out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mark 6: 13 NIV). In fact, “All things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive” (Matt. 21: 22).

We, therefore, in Him are only limited by our unbelief.

So, we ask again, What if God, earnestly desiring to commune with us, has provided a way for us to get into a spiritual place where He would speak audibly to us? What if we could get all of our spiritual ducks in a row and thereby position ourselves to enter His time portal so that we could literally hear His audible voice?  [To be continued…]

Kenneth Wayne Hancock           {If you haven’t visited my website Immortality Road, please do. There you will find over 300 articles and books exploring the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” all written for you, the elect sons and daughters of God, the future rulers with Christ in His soon coming kingdom
http://immortalityroad.wordpress.com }

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Filed under agape, belief, elect, eternal life, eternal purpose, immortality, Spirit of God