Mercy supersedes the Law
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read I Peter 2:9. The phrase "show forth" means to demonstrate publicly. We are to demonstrate because we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, and a peculiar people. We demonstrate in church for these very reasons. Participation in a church worship service gives the Bride an opportunity to demonstrate her unique status as a holy nation, a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, and a chosen generation. Why do we demonstrate in church? Because we are these four things.
Please read John 6:31-33 and 51. Speaking to the people that followed Him, Jesus declared Himself to be the Bread of Heaven. He compares Himself to the bread (corn) that the Father provided in the wilderness during Israel's exodus from Egypt. You will remember that a jar of this bread (manna) was put inside the Ark of the Covenant. He was saying that He is the Manna, the Corn, the Provider that satisfies the hunger of Israel. Just as He was in the wilderness to give food for Israel, He had come in flesh to do the same thing. In verse 58, He goes on further to say that He didn't appear on earth to satisfy the natural hunger of Israel, but to provide spiritual, eternal bread for the soul and spirit of Israel.
Please read Matthew 12:1-8. We read that Jesus was in a corn field on the sabbath day. Why was He in a corn field? The Father led Him there because He desired to demonstrate a spiritual principle. Jesus is the Corn of Heaven and wanted the Pharisees to see this. Where did the Pharisees come from? They were following Him for one reason: to accuse Him of violating the law and belittling His declaration that He was (is) the Son of God! When the diciples began to eat of the corn, the Pharisees pounced on Jesus, pointing with their accusatory fingers, charging Him with violating the law. The law says, "thou shalt and thou shalt not". The law is for the purpose of exposing sin; showing what is right and wrong. In verse 6 He proclaims that He is greater than the law. Verse 7 tells us why---because He came to have mercy and show forth love, light, and life so that life could be preserved. Put another way, mercy and grace supersede the law to preserve life. He descended from off the Mercy Seat (the Father's Headship) to provide a greater alternative to the law in the form of mercy and grace. The Old Testament was a dispensation of the Law which had no mercy. Jesus came to usher in a new dispensation (New Testament) where the emphasis was (is) mercy and love for the purpose of preserving life. You will remember the woman caught in the act of adultery. The crowd brought her to Jesus and demanded that she be stoned---according to the law. Jesus wanted to preserve her life through Mercy and Grace and forgave her sin. Mercy and Grace always supersede the Law. He was the Corn that came from Heaven to show Mercy. In verse 3 and 4, He explains that it was unlawful for David to eat of the shewbread while fleeing from Saul. To preserve his life, he ate and was not judged according to the law. A greater "law" was demonstrated---Mercy and Grace!
The Old Testament (Mosaic) Tabernacle was a picture and shadow of the more perfect Tabernacle, Jesus Christ. If you were to superimpose Jesus on the Mosaic Tabernacle, His Head would be at the Holy of Holies. Jesus' Head consists of two pieces of furniture: the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. The manna (corn) was in a jar inside the Ark along with the tables of stone (the law). The Ark is a representation of the Aaronic Law. The Mercy Seat rested on top of the Ark and is a picture of the Melchisedec Priesthood. Below is the law, above is mercy. Mercy "crowns" the Law or Mercy supersedes the Law. In the corn field, Jesus was demonstrating that He was the Melchisedec Priest that descended from off the Mercy Seat---that He was greater than the Law! So powerful!!! Jesus IS the Melchisedec Priest! The Bible states that "love covereth a multitude of sins". Mercy, Grace, Love, Light and Life from the Melchisedec Priest has the power to forgive sin and preserve life!
Please read Hebrews 7:1-3. The Son of God met Abraham when returning from the slaughter of the kings. He was given two names in these verses: King of Salem (Peace) and the King of Righteousness. To be continued in subsequent lessons. . . . .
Why is Jesus asleep?
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Matthew 8:23-27. We learned about giving in lesson #137. All aspects of creation are a stream of revelation meant to increase the comprehension of fallen man about his Creator. Taking the individual revelation of one member of creation and focusing on its message is the origin of idolatry. The sun provides rivers of revelation to the earth, enlightening some to the point where they concentrate on its message about God and make an idol of the sun. ALL creation has a common motive, when combined, that paints a beautiful tapestry of the One True God---the Unbegotten Father and His Begotten Son! We are not left to wonder Who God is---ALL creation shout His Name loud and clear every day! By giving to us knowledge about the ineffable Creator, we learn that His Nature is to give. He intends for us to receive of His Nature that we may, in turn, give it away. By giving His Nature to those in our sphere of influence, we "create" a capacity to receive more.
In our scripture reference, we see that there was a storm. The waves were crashing, the wind was tempestuous to the point where the diciples were convinced they were all going to perish. They did not reason that the winds and the waves still know His Name. Their focus was what the creation was going to do to them rather than believing His Name and Nature; that He was the Head of the storm. Jesus was asleep in the boat. Was He tired? Did He need physical rest? He was not tired and did not need rest. He was totally unimpressed with natural circumstances; He didn't even recognize there was a storm. Jesus was asleep because He was resting in the Father's Headship which had everything under control. We think Jesus should some how be involved in our storm, but He's asleep. "Why doesn't He do something?" "Doesn't He know I'm about to perish?" We don't like the reclined, horizontal position of rest and we especially get angry when Jesus is resting in OUR storm. We like control, order, arrangement. We suppose that He should do something, but, He is at peace, knowing the Father is controlling everything. The storm, wind and waves are streams of revelation to teach us that Jesus is at peace. Notice that He rebuked the winds and the sea. Did the natural creation need rebuking? He rebuked the devils in the natural creation that use it to stir us up and get our minds leaning on our own understanding. The wind and the sea were praising God but He rebuked the devils that were causing the diciples to frantically find some solution.
This portion of scripture teaches us to not concentrate and become fixated on the storm but to rest in His perfect Headship of Peace. In another gospel He said, "Peace, be still" Peace is only one word away. If He wants peace, He will speak, "Peace". We are to be grateful for everything just the way that it is. Every "thing" is a stream of revelation that, if handled correctly, will deepen our understanding and allow us to comprehend more about our awesome Creator! We are not left ignorant regarding the Nature of God---He continually speaks to us about Himself by using His creation!
Strife and Bossiness inhabit our hearts!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
(This lesson is taken from Judges chapter 6. Please read to familiarize yourself with the story of Gideon and the Midianites.)
Geographically, Israel is the hub of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. They were surrounded by heathen nations. The Light of the Torah and the personal presence of God Almighty was to shine outward from Jerusalem and influence the nations around her. One of Israel's purposes was to touch the hearts of the people (through sharing the nature of the Name) and cause them to relinguish their idols. They were to influence and be an example to those around them. Israel consisted of 12 tribes; each tribe portrayed one of the 12 governmental names. By observing Israel, her neighbors would see the Great and Wonderful Name of LORD. She was to share the glory, light, love and mercy of the God of Abraham, thereby, causing a change in them. By giving, the LORD would continue to pour blessing into her. By giving, she would receive more of the LORD. Look at Judges 6:13. Gideon's main complaint to the angel was that the LORD had forsaken Israel. He certainly had not forsaken them---He was waiting for Israel to give to the nations around her what she had thus far received so He could give her more! By giving the substance of mercy, love, forgiveness, longsuffering, etc. the giver receives more! You can't get more until you give what you've got! Soon, by not giving, Israel picked up the idols of the surrounding nations and brought them within her borders. When a believer stops giving the nature of the Name to those around him or her, the Message becomes old and an idol is embraced. Israel became a land of idols. They opened themselves up to invasion because they stole the idols of the nations. Unfortunately, they became captives and slaves to idols. We can see this progression in the case of Lot. At first, when he separated from Abraham, he chose the plains of Sodom. Then he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Finally, we see him as a resident of Sodom, dwelling within its gates.
In Judges 6, Midian means "strife". As believers of Christ, we strive with the LORD in many ways. Since it is His Headship that determines we don't have something, we strive with the LORD that He give us what we want. We swim to the shore of God's Will, erect a dwelling of ingratitude, and present our striving arguments against His Headship. Notice too, in Judges 6, that the idol was Baal, which means "bossy". With bossy striving we hang out on the bank of God's will, making our carnal case for something God has chosen not to give us. In Judges 6: 25-26, the LORD directs Gideon to first destroy the altar of Baal, then build an altar for Him. The LORD is telling us to get rid of the bossy Baal within us (our own bossy headship) and offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. Stop our bossy striving and get back into the Will of God by thanking Him for things just the way they are! We argue and strive with God because we still have "Bossy Baal" set up in our hearts. We want to determine the "will" and the "do" but these are only found being captured by the current of God's Will. "For it is GOD which worketh in you both to will and to do. . . " This means we must be caught up in the current of His river, being swept ever closer toward our destination, with praises and thanksgiving continually in our mouth for His Powerful and Sovereign Headship! Tear down the altar of Baal and replace it with a sacrifice of thanks toward His Perfect Headship! Goodbye, "Bossy Baal"!
You give so you may receive more!
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read Isaiah 26:3. The nature of the LORD includes being a blessing by giving. With regard to humanity, He expects us to represent Him through His Name or Nature. As we studied in #136, Gideon's complaint to the angel was that God had forsaken Israel. He was not guilty of this; the LORD was waiting for Israel to share His Nature to the nations around her and be an influence for good. Stated differently, it was time for Israel to give before she could receive more of the Name (nature). As Christians, we may think the LORD has forsaken and forgot about us individually, but, how much of His Nature have we been giving? We give by loving, forgiving, being merciful, longsuffering and kind. He expects us to hear His Heartbeat for humanity and respond by sharing the Truth of Salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin. He expects us to "tune-in" to the despair and hopelessness of those around us so we can offer another option---Jesus!
The LORD, as our Master Example, continually gives through natural creation so we can constantly receive more of His Nature (please read Romans 1:20). The equation is this: we give to then receive. The earth, the heavenly bodies, forests, oceans, wind, rain, mountains, etc. give to us His Nature. All things natural, including humans, are for the purpose of Him giving us His Nature. Every portion of creation has the spiritual ministry of portraying His Name. Every situation has been created by Him to give us more of His Nature. Presently, we are in the season of giving. What can I give away? Give away His nature.
It is His Nature to give away peace. Notice in Isaiah 26:3, only one entity has the capacity to give away peace: "Thou" or the LORD! The word "perfect" is also peace. We can receive "peace-peace". Peace within from the Son and peace without from the Father. Unfortunately, under the carnal headship of the old man, we think we know better than God how to achieve "peace". The old man can conjer up all kinds of devious plans and manufacture odious schemes in an attempt to produce "peace". "If only this would happen, if only they would shut up, if I could just have that, if I could just escape this painful situation---then I could have peace". The LORD recorded in Isaiah that HE is the only One Who gives peace! In the story of Jacob and Esau, when Jacob returned to Canaan after working for Uncle Laban, he knew that he must confront his murderous brother Esau. Jacob wrestled with an Angel, as the story goes, until his name (nature) was changed. Said differently, Jacob received peace within to continue his journey and meet his brother. Jacob also received peace without. They had a tearful reconciliation when they met. The Son produced inward peace and the Father gave outward peace with Esau. Whenever Esau was in the presence of Jacob his nature changed from a murderous vagabond to a peaceful, friendly brother. There was so much peace radiating from Jacob's heart that it influenced the nature of Esau. Inner peace is given to have outward peace with your brother or sister.
The word "stayed" is the same word used when the priest's would lean on the sacrifices in the Tabernacle. They pushed, leaned, forced their weight on the sacrifice. The LORD desires us to do the same on His Nature. We are not to "lean" on our own understanding but on the attributes of His Name. In every situation we have the choice of life or death. We can lean on the Tree of Life or bypass life and lean on the Tree of Knowledge (death). It is our nature to skirt life and go straight to death. When we lean on our own understanding we bypass life and lose our peace. In the garden, sin caused a separation which resulted in the pair being cast out of God's Presence. Leaning on our own understanding has the same ending. God has made our choice for us at Calvary's Cross. By becoming poor in our own ability and understanding, and making a proper choice, we can go to Him and receive "peace-peace".
Let us be mindful during this season of giving to freely give away the nature of Christ to a hopeless and dying world who crave to be treated with the precious attributes of the Heaven Father and His Unspeakable Gift, the LORD Jesus Christ!
How do I stay in God's Will?
(Source of material: Rev. B.R. Hicks)
Please read I Thessalonians 5:18. This very familiar verse ends with "you". The Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, is conveying a personal message to every believer. At the beginning of the verse, we read, "every thing". These words have the connotation of things not understood. Every event is an opportunity to thank Him; there are no exceptions. What are we to give thanks for? Uppermost, that He is the controlling force behind all people, places, and things. His Ruling Headship is to be thanked for administrating all events!! What is the will of God? It is high and low, successive mountains and valleys, as an undulating wave moving across the ocean. The Bible typifies His Will as a river. There is one characteristic common to all rivers: there is movement, a current. Oftentimes, we fight to stay in the current of God's Will. Why is it difficult sometimes to flow along with the current? Murmuring, complaining, blaming and accusing divert us to the bank of His Will where we take a siesta from doing what we were created to do: give thanks! While we point the finger and accuse others of being the cause and the head, the current of His Will passes us by. We have been known to set up permanent quarters along the bank of His Will, all the while rivers of waters pass us by.
How do we get back into the river? Gratitude for His Headship will pull up the stakes of the dwelling constructed along the bank (a dwelling of ingratitude) and cannonball us back into the moving waters of His Will. Ingratitude is the origin of imperfection, gratitude is the origin of perfection. Where is the river of God's Will flowing? The river terminates at the New City. Standing on the banks of His Will, dwelling in a house of ingratitude, stalls my forward movement toward the New City. In His Will the New City becomes ever more a reality as the believer is pushed along by the current of gratitude. Thanks gets us back into His Will. The Spirit moves in the current as thanks are given for every thing (what is and is not understood). Give Him thanks for the things we cannot do; give Him thanks for failures; thank Him for being such a stinker! All He wants me to be is just ME---with all the faults and deficiencies included. Be grateful for just the way you are and just the way things are! This will plunge the believer back into the current of His Will.
Please read Philippians 2:13. We get the will by thanking God for things just the way they are. Sinful human beings try to "do" without getting the "will". Gratitude comes first; "will" comes when we thank and the "do" follows easily after. This word "worketh" means to show forth self, to be mighty in works. He will show forth His mighty Name and Works over our flesh as we thank Him for all things.
The Will of God is a wave of highs and lows that moves in a straight path toward the New City. The Bible talks about tears be shed in heaven. Why are some redeemed souls crying? When they see the New City, the joy of escaping death and hell will be diminished. They will understand what they forfeited because of unbelief and ingratitude. Ingratitude will keep us from entering into the gates of the New City. With thanksgiving, we will flow through the gates of the New City swimming in the river of God's Will!
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