And The Child Grew and Waxed Strong in Spirit – Part 2

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And the Child Grew, and Waxed Strong In Spirit – Part 2

Like Christ, We, Too, Will Be Tried, and Then We “Will Come Forth As Gold”

Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

Introduction

We are continuing our study from last week where we saw that the work God is doing in all men of all time is a work that requires time and patience to the point that we are told “in your patience possess ye your souls” (Luk 19:21). This purifying process is foreshadowed in the story of the symbolic conversion of King Nebuchadnezzar:

Dan 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

“The most high [is even now] rul[ing] in the kingdom[s] of men… giv[ing] it to whomsoever He will, and sett[ing] up over it the basest of men” before He comes and destroys those brute beasts and makes “the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ” (Rev 11:15).

These words are for us and to us (Mat 4:4):

Dan 4:16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
Dan 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Was Christ a beast? We have seen in this study, that Christ, like all of us, came into this world “made of a woman, made under the law”.

This is the meaning of being “made of a woman”:

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

And this is the meaning of being “made under the law”:

Gal 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
Gal 3:23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
Gal 3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal 3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Being “kept under the law” is to be “concluded… under sin” until the “faith [of Christ] is come”. Only then are we no longer “under sin… under a schoolmaster”. What this teaches us is that Christ, by coming as “the seed of Abraham” in a body of “corruption”, a body of flesh and blood, would have to go through the same process we endure, being tempted and tried by the struggles we endure as we fight against all the sinful pulls of our sinful flesh:

Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves [“the seed of Abraham] are beasts.

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Heb 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

The only difference between our struggles and those of Christ is that while we, of ourselves, always fail, because He was given His Father’s spirit “without measure”, Christ never succumbed to temptation so was “without sin”:

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

The example of Christ demonstrates that we, too, must expect to be “under sin… kept under the law, before faith [comes] shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed”. This is where Christ Himself remained until His baptism by John, at the beginning of His ministry when He was “about thirty years of age”:

Luk 3:23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

This is what we are told of Christ’s spiritual status until the beginning of His New Testament ministry:

Luk 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

Now let’s take note of the very next verse, the last verse of Luke 2:

Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

If Christ “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”, then he was much more in favor with God and man at the age of 30 than He was at the age of 12. Therefore verse 52 is simply a repetition of verse 40:

Luk 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Let’s read what is between verse 40 and verse 52, and see if we can discern any encouragement and admonition for each of us in these words:

Luk 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
Luk 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.
Luk 2:42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.
Luk 2:43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
Luk 2:44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
Luk 2:45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
Luk 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luk 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
Luk 2:48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
Luk 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
Luk 2:50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
Luk 2:51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
Luk 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

“The grace of God was upon [Christ]” even as He “was subject unto [the law of Moses]” and even as He “went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast”. What this reveals to us about ourselves is that the hand of God is upon us all even while we, too, are brought up in Babylon, long before we begin our own ministry in the service of our Lord.

When we see the phrase “the heavens were opened” in the New Testament, what we are being told is that our knowledge is being increased exponentially. If our sinless Savior took thirty years to be prepared to accept the revelations that were given to Him at the time of His baptism by John, then we should not be discouraged if it takes us many years to come to see the same “open heavens”:

Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

We have a study entitled What and Where Is Heaven? which you can listen to at this link:
http://www.iswasandwillbe.com/what-and-where-is-heaven-2013/

That study reveals ‘heaven’ to be the realm of the spirit where our minds are at one with the mind of our Creator, who is invisible to physical eyes and is seen only when the heavens are opened to us and we are given to see with spiritual eyes “the things of the spirit”, which the natural man cannot see (1Co 2:13-14):

Joh 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

If we see Christ and we know Christ, we are “of God [and we] have seen the Father”. If we don’t know the things of the spirit, then we do not know Christ or His Father. It is incumbent upon us to be capable of distinguishing the mind of Christ from the mind of His adversaries or we will be deceived with the rest of the world.

Joh 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Joh 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

“Know not the voice of strangers” means that they do not believe a false doctrine because they know it is not of Christ:

Joh 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
Joh 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Joh 10:26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

To see “the heavens opened” requires spiritual eyes:

Eph 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

Those who have such spiritual vision do not have it because they took a course in spiritual vision in some institution of men. Understanding the things of the spirit is a gift from God based solely on “the counsel of His own will”:

Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

This is the goal of “the mystery [the secret] of His will”, as we have already quoted:

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

But this ‘open heavens’ is not given to babes in Christ. That part of our spiritual experience where we, as a babe in Christ, begin to hear of such things before we have been granted to endure the trials that give us the ability to appreciate the things of the spirit – this ‘open heaven’ – is foreshadowed by the open ark of God which became a curse to the Philistines, who were cursed simply for having possession of that which was not theirs, and to the Israelites of Bethshemesh, who opened the ark without the ability to appreciate opened heavens.

Here is that very revealing story:

1Sa 5:1 And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod.
1Sa 5:2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.
1Sa 5:3 And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again.
1Sa 5:4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.
1Sa 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.
1Sa 5:6 But the hand of the LORD was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emerods, even Ashdod and the coasts thereof.
1Sa 5:7 And when the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us: for his hand is sore upon us, and upon Dagon our god.
1Sa 5:8 They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines unto them, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried about unto Gath. And they carried the ark of the God of Israel about thither.
1Sa 5:9 And it was so, that, after they had carried it about, the hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts.
1Sa 5:10 Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. And it came to pass, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to slay us and our people.
1Sa 5:11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
1Sa 5:12 And the men that died not were smitten with the emerods: and the cry of the city went up to heaven.

1Sa 6:19 And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the LORD, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the LORD had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter.

That Old Testament story of what the ark of God did to those who took it to themselves, while being in no position to be handling it, is the shadow of what happens to us when we first hear of the grace of God while we are in no position to handle that knowledge. We all first, as “carnal… babes in Christ” (1Co 3:1-4), turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and like the uncircumcised Philistines, who are dwelling in the promised land without the benefit of circumcision, and like the careless Israelites, who were not ordained to handle the ark, we, too, are cursed inwardly and are destroyed by that which will, in time, become a blessing when we have been given the time and experience to “grow and wax strong in spirit” to the point of being capable of handling the Truth.

Being patient with God’s pace and accepting of His plan for our lives is the purpose and the meaning of the phrase “a long time” in these two parables of our Lord:

Mat 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
Mat 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Mat 25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

We are brought to feel that God is indeed “in a far country” and has forgotten us. We are all the servant who hides his talent before we become the productive servants. It is not until the Lord “reckons with [us]” that we repent and become productive in His service.

Luk 19:11 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
Luk 19:12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country [for a long time – Luk 20:9] to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
Luk 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
Luk 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.

Luk 20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.

Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

The Lamentations of Jeremiah are our lamentations while we are “enduring to the end” (Mat 10:22):

Lam 5:20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?

We have endured many trials, and trying times are ahead, and they will try our patience as they already have. But let’s claim our place with Christ, being seated with Him on His Father’s throne in the heavens as His elect. In that capacity let these words encourage us as we “occupy till [He] comes”.

Isa 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Isa 42:2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
Isa 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
Isa 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
Isa 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
Isa 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
Isa 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Isa 42:13 The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
Isa 42:14 I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

Isa 42:18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.
Isa 42:19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD’S servant?
Isa 42:20 Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.
Isa 42:21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
Isa 42:22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.
Isa 42:23 Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?
Isa 42:24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.
Isa 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

Truly we “live by every word…” We are blind, deaf, robbed and spoiled and are completely unaware that we are living with God’s fury being poured out upon us before we are then delivered and given sight and hearing, and then made rich with the things of the spirit.

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

So we are told:

Luk 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.

Followed by these words:

Luk 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

There is so much to occupy us. There is great need in the body of Christ and few laborers to do the work. The overwhelming pull upon us all is to get tired of the labor and to give in to the love of this world. That is exactly what happened to Demas, Cresens and Titus. They simply were not granted to “endure to the end”:

2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

So whether we are babes in the body of Christ, who are just now beginning to know the mind of Christ and are learning to “be persuaded by your leaders”, [or whether we are elders who] are vigilant for the sake of your souls”, let us all beg our Creator to grant us to accept the significance of these His Words:

Luk 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
Luk 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
Luk 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out [of Babylon – Isa 1:21 and Rev 18:4]; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you.”

Those are not words our old man wants to hear, but they are part of the words of life given us by the holy spirit.

Conclusion

We will conclude with a Biblically balanced summation of what the scriptures teach us concerning how we are to deal with the subject of the end of this age. There are two admonitions in scripture that appear to some to contradict each other. Appearing contradictory is, of course, exactly what the Word of God is designed to do to those who are not being called in this age (1Co 2:13-14).

Here are those two apparently contradictory admonitions:

Luk 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Here is Christ warning us that “many shall come in [His] name” admitting that He is God’s anointed, and saying that the time draws near. His admonition for us is “go you not therefore after them”. Do not fall for the lies of those who set dates, insisting that they know Christ’s return is immminent.

Then there is this admonition in the second epistle of Peter:

2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Peter goes on to warn us:

2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

In this admonition the holy spirit is warning us against having a lackadaisical spirit that would have us to think the Lord’s rulership over the kingdoms of this world is nowhere near imminent, and “that all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation”. Here we are reminded that the Lord will come as a thief in the night, when we would least expect Him.

Is there a way to justify these two apparently contradictory admonitions? Of course there is, because they are not contradictory at all. Is it not true that they are both very real dangers which will rob the masses of Christians of their salvation in this age?

That both admonitions are needed is the Truth of this matter. Demas, Cresens and Titus would have done well to listen to Peter’s words warning us not to fall victim to a lackadaisical spirit that would have us think we have plenty of time and need no sense of urgency. Judas, on the other hand, along with so many failed false prophets with their lying false prophecies, would do well to listen to Christ’s Words of warning against the doctrines of all of these false prophets who think they can dictate to Christ the day of His appearing.

We can now appreciate the fact that it is our trials which seem to take “a long time”, and which require a God-given gift of patience, which are the very keys which will give us possession of our own souls.

When we are in the process of “enduring to the end” in our trials, they actually do seem to be taking “forever”:

Psa 80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people?

Psa 89:46 How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?

At the same time we must always remain vigilantly aware of how short our time is here in these vessels of clay, to be of service to Christ and His body of believers.

Jas 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Jas 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

The good news is that in the end “all in Adam” will be given life through God’s life-giving judgments. Though it may seem to take an eternity, when that time comes “He knows the way [we] take”, and when He has shown us what we are of ourselves, then we will all “come forth as gold”.

Job 23:8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:
Job 23:9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:
Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

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