Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Meat of the Word of God–The Harvest of Souls

Spiritual babes and young children of God need the milk of God’s word in order to grow spiritually into young men and women of God. They are “dull of hearing” and have need to be taught again the “first principles of the oracles of God.” They are “unskilful in the word of righteousness,” and need to be taught the “principles of the doctrine of Christ” so that they may “go on to perfection.” Yes, perfection–complete spiritual maturity–just like Christ and His apostles (Hebrews 5: 12-6: 2).

This spiritual milk that they need is the foundation of repentance from sin, faith in God, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. These concepts need to be solid in a young Christian’s life, and are taught by God’s gift to mankind–His apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.

These five offices are in His body “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” until the whole body of believers grow unto “the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Until we all grow to become just like the early apostles and just like Christ Himself! That is what it says. The Spirit of God writing through the apostle Paul makes our destiny very clear.(Eph. 4: 11-14)

So these “first principles” above are the milk of the word that will help us grow spiritually. With them working in our lives, we grow and no longer are 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.”

Ever wonder why young Christians (and those with several years attending church) jump from “one new teaching” to another, from one TV evangelist to another, from one interpretation to another? It is because they can’t spiritually tell the difference between the false and the true.

But the meat of the word “is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (v. 14 NIV).

But like any babe that sees his dad and mom eating a T-bone steak, he begins to want a more substantial meal than what the bottle is providing. They want some of that meat.

So What Is the Meat of the Word?

As we grow in Christ out of childhood, we get our strength from the meat of the word and not the milk. Milk will just not sustain us. We need solid food. Grown up, spiritually mature food is what we need for nourishment–especially in these latter days just before the King’s return to set up His kingdom. We need His strength; we need to eat what the King eats. What is it?

Yahshua, called Jesus in the English speaking world, said that there was a certain food, a certain meat, that He ate to keep Him going while here on earth. He said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4: 34).

Most Christians have read this, and most stop right there and do not read the next verse. They will surmise that the Father’s will is for Him to go to the cross and shed His blood for our sins. This is what most understand about Christ, having heard this every Sunday. And it is a very important thing, no doubt.

But we need to read the next verse to see what the Father’s will is and the unfinished work to be done. In verse 35, He reveals that the harvest of souls at the time of the end is His meat, His food. That goal and what it takes to accomplish that goal is the food that strengthens Him for the task. He goes on to say that we are fellow laborers with the prophets of old who sowed the seed for the final harvest of souls, and now we reap (v. 36-38).

Those of us who have learned and walked in the first principles of Christ’s doctrine will only be nourished by doing the Father’s will and finishing His work. And that work is the harvest of souls in these last days.

Working toward this goal and purpose is doing what He did. It is eating that bread. It is taking in our Example’s actions and doing the same thing, with the same drive and determination. Doing the harvest is what will give us strength to continue and not be “tossed to and fro” like little children.

We will be fed spiritually by making His vision for this world ours. We have got to own it. When this harvest becomes our vision, He will give us the power to accomplish it. This is the meat we are to eat: to do the Father’s will and finish His work, which is the harvest. The same power He gave to His early apostles will be given to us to prepare a harvest of people to populate His kingdom that He will establish here on earth at the end of the age.

This is the reason to be seeking the gifts of the Spirit, which include the ability to speak and write the word of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, prophecies, and discerning of spirits, among others. These are all manifestations of God working through us for one reason: to help us harvest the souls that will populate His kingdom.

But Some Will Say…

There will be some who say, I am already doing that. The moment I came to God I started telling everyone about Christ and telling them about Him and His love for us. I’ve been a Christian now for several years and preach and teach my heart out for Him. And our church is growing and we are helping the poor and needy, and…and I am already busy doing the harvest of souls…

Really? I know many mean well, but they are still grappling with the sin in their own lives, teaching others that they will be sinners till the day they die. They never teach true repentance from sin, which is complete and utter freedom from sin and sinning. That is what He and His apostles taught. They don’t teach that “our old man (self) is crucified with Christ” and how we do not continue sinning in Christ, for “in Him is no sin” (Rom. 6: 1-12). This is “repentance from dead works,” the very first of Christ’s doctrines, the first bottle of milk we are to drink and get down pat in our lives as newborn babes in Christ! And yet they ran and taught and preached about Christ and did not teach the message that He taught.

I am reminded of what Jeremiah told the people. “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD…I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied” (23: 16, 21).

Do we have a New Testament parallel of this?  Did Christ speak of devout ministers with the wrong message? Yes. He said that “not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” This is the same will of our Father, which is the harvest of souls. But wait. This person that calls on Him believes that he is doing God’s will. Christ continues: “Many will say to Me in that day [of the harvest], Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matt. 7; 19, 21-23). “Iniquity” is translated from the Greek word meaning “breaking the ten commandment law,” which is sin (I John 3: 4). This person was still breaking the law and making up excuses as to why it was impossible to keep the law, but this is not the message that He taught. This person was sinning; that’s the reason that Christ did not know him as a righteous co-laborer in the Father’s harvest.

For one is not working in His harvest of souls when he is gathering people together and teaching them the wrong message. He makes that clear, warning us over and over about false doctrines taught by false teachers. We must did deep and not believe every teaching about Christ that is out there. We must “prove all things” and not be drawn to teachers that preach things that is the smooth and comfortable way, which is the “broad way that leads to destruction.” We must seek and cry out for the truth, even if the message is not what we want to hear. We must stick with the word.

Finally, It Is Not About Us and What We Would Want for This Earth

It is so easy to get lost in the weeds and lose sight of what God is doing and what we should be doing. It is all about the harvest. Period. It is not our harvest. We did not sow the seed. It is our honor to help reap for the Father.

It is not about us. This is how a little child looks at life–mostly alive for what they can receive from the Father. Do you want to know where you are at in your Christian growth. Reread the previous sentence. Young adults in God, however, are mostly alive for what they can do for the Father. And spiritual fathers and mothers are mostly alive for what they can be for the Father. This is your 30 fold, 60 fold, and 100 fold growth levels God taught us in Matthew 13.

“One plants, one waters, and God gives the increase,” says the Spirit through Paul. And now, we reap. And we are all nothing, and God is everything. It is all Him. We are just humans that He has chosen to finish His work through. And that work is His harvest, which includes feeding them the milk and meat of the word. That is the food that will sustain us and feed us and nourish us during the rough times ahead.

Christ said for us to pray for more laborers to help in the harvest (Matt. 9; 37-38).

Getting this vision, consuming it, and making it our daily bread is eating His flesh. His flesh or His body did at all times the will of our Father and finished His work. His flesh is food indeed. When we do what He did, then we are eating His flesh. Those of us who do this will “abide in Him.”

And this abiding in Him is huge! He said that if we abide or remain in Him, then we could ask what we will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15: 7). Whatever we need in order to complete the harvest and bring in the kingdom to this earth–that request He will grant to those on the same page as He. He has our backs because we have His back.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

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Building the House of God on the Rock

The Milk of the Word

I can still hear our little voices singing now, some sixty years later. “The rains came down and the floods came up. The rains came down and the floods came up. The rains came down and the floods came down, and the house on the rock stood still.” And our Sunday school teacher, no doubt, told us that that Rock was Christ, and that He is our strong foundation.

And as I recall, that was about as deep as the teachings ever got. Just love Jesus. He’s the Rock. But  I never did find out what the foundation of God’s house is made of in that little church house.

Of course, that old children’s song is based on one of the Master’s teachings. He was saying, Whenever someone comes to Me and hears my sayings and does them, they are like a man who laid the foundation of his house…

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My Confession of Tears

I have a confession to make. I had quite an experience the other night. My heart broke, and my  body collapsed into a crumbling blubbering mass. At first I did not understand what had happened to me upon hearing that voice.

Because that voice and the power that pierced through the crevasses of the never-cry rock of my heart was beyond explaining–though now I try.

The words in the Italian were unintelligible and superfluous. It was the sadly moving melody channeled by the force of the cords of the tenor’s voice–that is what did it. That is what broke through into the realms of the core of my being–into the secret chamber where lurks the hidden desires and dreams which serve as mortar that plasters and binds our bricks of tenderness into stone.

As I sat there stunned, weeping uncontrollably in waves of joy and sorrow, at 4: 00 am in front of the television set, a blue dawn of understanding began to come over me. I remember saying to myself, “I get what they see in opera now. I get it.”

The catharsis produced in this art form is similar to the effect of Shakespeare’s tragedies, which I taught many years. I have also experienced it in the sadness and loneliness of traditional country songs by Vern Gosdin and George Jones among others. Nothing sadder than lost love as in “You don’t know lonely until it’s chiseled in stone” or “He stopped loving her today; they placed a wreathe upon his door; soon they’ll carry him away. He stopped loving her today.”

The human need for catharsis is universal. And it seems that most cultures try to meet the need  to have our hearts broken. We must need it–the humbling, the vulnerability of a man whose defensive walls break down leaving him sobbing vehemently.

We fight it at first, of course, doing our best to stop the raindrops from our eyes, knowing innately the emotional sea change that will ensue. And yet, deep down we want to be broken. If we did not, then the patently sad movies, books, plays, songs, and operas would cease to sell copies and tickets.

God evidently made us this way, with this need and desire to be purged and purified through brokenness. After all, He did say that He is near to them of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I just did not know that He would use Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” sung by Mario Lanza to do the breaking.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock

 

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