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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE LAW OF FAITH
The scriptures contain much teaching concerning the Word of God. In previous studies we have noted that there are five primary progressive steps in the revelation of God through His Word. They are:
1. The Creative Word
2. The Spoken/Written Word
3. The Manifested Word
4. The Living Word
5. The Corporate Word
The truth I will try to unfold in this message is exceedingly glorious in that it brings us to the revelation of God through His Word in a realm beyond something that touches us from without, that we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, or touch with our hands. The powerful, quickening, and transforming work of the Word of God becomes an internal operation of God in the spirit. As the glory light of His revelation shines into our hearts, things that belong to the old creation begin to pass away like the falling of a leaf, and, behold, an entirely new creation is raised up in the power of Christ’s resurrection. This marvelous change is wrought in us by the quickening energy of the Living Word of God.
THE LIVING WORD
The first chapter of the Gospel of John opens with
these significant words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God. The same was
in the beginning with God…in Him was life, and the life was the light
of men. And the light shines on in the darkness, for the
No words could be more solemn or arresting than the statement of Jesus wherein He said, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me…as the Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me” (Jn. 6:56-57). As the natural man must have sustenance from his physical environment to live, so the spiritual man must have sustenance from his spiritual environment to live. After he has gotten Life you must give him food. What food shall you give him? Shall you feed him with knowledge, or with beauty, or with prosperity, or with blessings, or with religious exercises, or with creeds, or with commandments, or with gifts, or with power, or with programs, or with experiences? No! There is a rarer fare than all these — so rare, in fact, that few have ever more than tasted it; so rich that they who have will never live on any other fare again. It is this: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mat. 4:4).
Nothing can satisfy
the appetite of a son of God but this — he hungers for the
The church world is hungry, too. Starving, in fact. Oh, it has many meats and many drinks, but there is no nourishment for the spirit in them. It has impressive rituals, and stirring programs, and moving ceremonies, and splendid ordinances, and pomp, and show, and candles, and statues, and incense, and temples, and cathedrals, and priests, and preachers, and creeds, and organization, and out-reaches, and abundance of activity. Its people get all involved “in the work,” and committed “to the work,” and are faithful in “giving to the work.” They do and do but in all this something other than Christ has become the center. The center becomes the movement, or the message, or the organization, or the program, or the ministry, or the works, or the experience, or the method, or the personality, or some other thing. But I declare to you that all these religious things and activities merely intoxicate and millions of Christians are drunk with them and in their inebriated hilarity think they know the Living Christ.
There is no substance in them! The divine ingredients of the celestial
atmosphere of the kingdom of heaven are missing. Sons of God cannot live on that depleted
food. So our spirit turns its eye from
them all with unutterable loathing.
“Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for
they shall be filled.” “Man shall not
Is it not dreadfully
true that the vast majority of Christians are living on words that have proceeded out of the mouth of
God? They live on a by-gone revelation,
a word sent to another people at another time, a historical creed, that which
God spoke through
The words came to me
some time ago — the startling and remarkable words Jesus spoke when He stood in
the earth and declared, “I am the
spirit began to articulate within me the wonder of this mystery! It came to me so clearly and powerfully as a
parable. Come with me for a moment and
let us think of a number of astronauts who are soaring away from earth to a
strange planet in some distant galaxy.
Along their journey through the universe a problem develops with their
spaceship. Eventually they are forced to
land on an unknown planet in a different solar system. They make a successful landing, but are
stranded there on the planet Timur. They
know nothing of this world into which they have descended. As they step from their ship and begin
exploration of the planet, it is discovered to have a very hostile
environment. In fact, everything there is hostile to them in
one way or another. All the vegetation
on Timur is toxic to the human body.
They cannot eat or drink anything there!
The supplies they
have from earth are finite, and will in
time be depleted. So they contact earth,
and immediately a rescue expedition is dispatched. As they are staring death in the face, the
second spacecraft from earth arrives and lands on Timur. The second group of astronauts exit from
their craft and say to those who are stranded there, “We are the men who
have come from earth. We have the
Now you see, the
From the things which
we have said we must conclude that our condition on earth is not unlike the
state of the astronauts on the planet Timur in our parable. The difference is that man’s sojourn on earth
began so long ago, so many millenniums
in the past, and so many generations have come and gone, that we have forgotten
where we came from and why we were sent here.
We think we are like we are because we were born that way when we
entered this world. We see only the
physical, weak, carnal, human aspects of our existence. We say, “I was born in sin. I was born alienated from God. I was born dead. I was born Irish, and I do have a
When you look from
the heavenlies, however, you see something else! You see the great truth that Jesus came into
the world to reveal unto the sons of men.
You came into this world out of the bosom of the Father! Before
the Creator formed you, He knew you.
He didn’t know you in your present physical form as Joe Smith or Sally
Brown, but He knew you as spirit. That wonderful prayer Jesus taught His
disciples, which we call The Lord’s Prayer, begins with the words, “Our Father which art in heaven…” Until men
recognize by the illumination that the Spirit brings who their Father is and where
their Father is, that is, the realm
where He begat us — they remain lost and dying in the dense darkness of the
carnal mind. Spiritually, they are no
different than the adopted child who has
God spoke to you
about His plan for your life, my beloved, before ever you were formed as an
embryo in the womb of your mother.
of us was born into a mortal, physical body and
into a world of darkness, sin, and death. But this was according to God’s plan!
Christ Himself is the
Living Word of God! Once, two thousand
years ago, He was the Manifested Word, the
Word made flesh, the man Christ
Jesus, born of a virgin, raised in the
Even now at this very
moment the divine life of the ever living Word of God is at work within us,
changing, transforming, lifting us up into the
The Christ of God is
no longer far away; He is no longer without; He is here. No longer need saints ask, “Who shall ascend
into heaven to bring Christ down from above, or who shall descend into the deep
to bring Christ up again from the dead?
The Word (Christ, the Living Word) is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart.” How exceedingly wonderful are the words
of scripture, “Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you?” (II Cor. 7:5). “At that day ye shall know that I am in the
Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (Jn.
14:10). “I am crucified with Christ,
I would say to you
again that the life of Christ, the life of sonship, is not something outside
ourselves. The idea is not that Christ
is in heaven and that we can stretch out some mysterious faculty and touch Him
there, or that He can by some mysterious means draw nigh to us and touch us as
He passes by. That is the vague form in
which many babes in Christ conceive of the truth, but it is contrary both to
Christ’s teaching and to the analogy of nature.
Life is not a visit from a force, but a resident tenant of the spirit of
man. The life of a tree, or of an animal
is not bottled up somewhere in the skies and administered by doses from time to
time into the tree or the animal by some external agent. The life is IN every plant and tree, every
animal and fish and fowl, inside its own tissue and substance, and works there
in mighty power to form even that which is contained in the life. Life is definite and resident. The life of sonship is not derived from the
occasional touch of Jesus as He “passes by,” nor from the weekly refreshing or
reviving that comes to our weary souls as we gather together in our church
meetings. Oh, yes, the rain and the sun
fall upon living things and make a contribution, but they do not give them life. They only nurture the life that is within
so that it is strengthened to rise up in the fullness of its powers. Thank God for the fellowship and encouragement
of those of like precious faith, but I
declare to you that the life of sonship can only be known, and only grow and
mature as we become sensitive to the glorious and eternal reality of
“You have been born again, not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal, by the ever living Word of God” (I Pet. 1:23). The closer we come to the kingdom, the more do those destined sons of God know what it is to be lifted beyond the pale of natural things to behold the glory of the realm where Christ the Living Word dwells in the Spirit. The mixture is even now being removed from the hearts of a firstfruit company and many are being enabled to see Him in a new and living way! It is no longer beholding Jesus of Nazareth by the sea or in the mountain — it is by beholding the resurrected, ascended, glorified, universalized CHRIST THE LIVING WORD OF GOD that changes us from glory to glory, from earthly to heavenly, from corruption to incorruption. The new spirit and the new heart are born of the incorruptible seed of this Living Word, for they are naught but Christ raised up within. Oh, the mystery of it! It is the glory of His presence and the power of His life that transforms the ragged garments of our mortality to raiment which is white and glistering.
Fantastic changes lie
ahead for all who separate themselves unto God.
Tremendous changes will transpire as soul and body come under the
dominion of Christ in our spirit, for mortality shall be swallowed up of life. This corruptible shall put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall put on immortality.
Oh glorious victory! The sons of
God shall arise into that blessed realm beyond time, and space, and matter, and
the carnal mind, not to be as He was, but
to become as He is — to realize and walk in the fullness of God’s glory for
evermore. Oh glorious and wonderful
realm! It is the realm beyond the veil
where we may enter and tread the highways and fields of our celestial
citizenship. It is the realm of the Son of God, the realm of the
Living Word! It is the inheritance of
the sons of God! The sons of God are the “Living Word” kind of men, and
these are they who shall become healing for the nations, a government of
FAITH BY THE LIVING WORD
Many years ago the
Lord raised up within me an intense desire to search out the mysteries of faith
and the Word of God whereby we may grow up into Christ and lay hold upon the
fullness of our sonship to God. In my
search I discovered the various aspects of the Word of God by which faith is
ministered to the called and chosen
elect of the Lord. The first and most
elementary revelation of God comes via the Creative Word. The vast and glorious creation of God testifies to the majesty and power of
the great Creator, inspiring faith within us to be assured that the mighty God
truly exists. The second step in our
knowledge of God came to each of us through the Spoken/Written Word of God —
through the words of God’s prophets and the writings of holy scripture. These are able to make us
For the past two
thousand years the vast majority of the Lord’s people have known God primarily
through these first three dimensions of God’s Word. The thing we must surely have noticed about
these first three expressions of the Word of God is that they are all without
— outside of ourselves. The
Creative Word is proclaimed by the unmeasurable expanses of trillions upon
trillions of galaxies, as well as the mystifying marvels of earth itself, but every atom of it
is above us and around us and beyond us.
When we come to the Spoken/Written Word, it is clear that the voices of
the prophets and the blessing of the printed page are likewise items outside of
ourselves that we hear with the ear, touch with the hand, and see with the
eye. The Lord Jesus, the Manifested Word
of God, likewise was a man who trod the paths of the
We have already
stated that faith comes by the Word of
God — by the revelation of God unto us.
When we see Him as He is, faith is evoked in our hearts to embrace His
goodness and purpose in our lives. The
Word of God involves the revelation of the will of God. Is not this why the beloved apostle
How many of us were
saved before we understood that we were lost and that Jesus died and rose again for
us? Was it not when we came to understand the simple gospel of
salvation through Jesus that faith was evoked in our hearts to trust Him and
receive Him as our Saviour and Redeemer?
This came by an operation of the Holy Spirit in and by the Word. Show me a man who doesn’t understand that he
is lost and I will show you a man who has
My father was raised
up in the Mennonite denomination. As a
Mennonite he did not understand that people today could
be filled with the Holy Spirit and manifest the supernatural gifts of the
Spirit. When some Spirit-filled brethren
came into his barber shop and commenced
to witness to him about the Holy Spirit baptism, he argued with them that this
had all passed away with the apostles.
For some time these brethren continued to witness to my father and for
five years he was unable to understand the truth they were declaring. Finally though, the Spirit began to work
within and my father became so stirred and challenged by this thought of the Holy
Spirit that he decided he had to have an answer as to who was really right — himself, what he had always been
taught, or these brethren and their testimony.
One day he closed his shop, went into a room, and placed his Bible on a
chair. He knelt before the open Bible
and told the Lord that he was laying aside all that he had ever been taught and
that he was also laying aside all the testimony of these brethren who professed
to have a further experience in
God. He said, “Lord, I want to know the truth from your Word, I want You to answer me!” He purposed to read the New Testament through
as though he had
Based on his knowledge that the beloved physician, Luke, wrote both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, he chose the Gospel of Luke as the only one of the four Gospels he would read. He began there making a notation of every statement of Jesus concerning the coming of the Spirit…the promise of the Father. He then began in Acts and read of the promise: “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” He read of the mighty manifestations of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Then came chapter two, verses thirty-eight and thirty nine: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And suddenly — he UNDERSTOOD! The Spirit Himself came to my father in that blessed moment and put these questions to him: “Son, are you afar off?” “Yes, Lord,” he answered, “I am afar off from that day, that place, and that generation.” “Have I called you?” “Yes, Lord.” He remembered the time when as a ten year old boy the Spirit had gripped his heart and he had walked down the isle of a Mennonite church building and Christ had changed his life from that day. Then the Spirit thundered to him, “Then — THE PROMISE IS UNTO YOU!” In that remarkable instant it became so crystal clear to him that it was the same promise that was for him — not something different, not something less, not the Holy Spirit minus the glorious manifestations of Pentecost! Right there on that momentous occasion faith was evoked in my father’s heart, and God filled him and subsequently my mother with the Spirit and later all of us children as we grew in the Lord. The point I want you to see is this: None of us ever received the Holy Spirit baptism UNTIL FIRST GOD HAD MINISTERED AN UNDERSTANDING OF HIS WILL BY HIS WORD! And although the truth was verbally expressed (the Spoken Word) by the dear brethren who testified to my father, and though it lay concealed within the pages of the Written Word, it was the Spirit Himself, THE LIVING WORD OF GOD, the WITNESS WITHIN which unveiled the truth within himself and raised up the faith to apprehend the promise. What revealing light of revelation teaches us the beautiful truth that it is not the Creative Word, or the Spoken Word, or the Written Word, nor yet the Manifested Word which brings us life, and light, and truth, and reality — it is the Living Word within which is the source of all spiritual understanding, truth, and experiential reality. That is the mystery!
In every case it is understanding which evokes faith to appropriate the promise and
purpose of God — the will of God. I write these things because I know that
in every dimension of your forward walk in God you must not seek for faith. Faith
does not come by asking, nor can it be obtained by seeking. Faith comes only and always by the Word of God. Seek rather to understand the Father’s
will. Seek to hear the Voice of the
Living Word of God within yourself. Only
the Voice of God can reveal the will of God.
The will of God can
Those who are apprehended in this hour to walk in sonship to God are being brought into harmony with the will of God. The firstborn Son of God spoke the great truth, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me” (Jn. 4:34). The ones sent by the Father are sons. The words of the little chorus say it so powerfully:
He that is with me, is He that hath sent me,
And He that hath sent is One —
This One is the Father, and there is no other,
For I and the Father are One.
No man knows the Father save he who is brother
To those in the order of sons;
This sonship reveals Him, the One who has sent them,
For they and the Father are One.
Notice here what the
true basis of sonship prayer is. The
prayer that is answered is the prayer after God’s will. And the reason for this is plain. What is God’s will is God’s
Asking anything, getting everything, willing with God, praying with God, decreeing with God, praising with God! Surely it is too much, this great promise. How can God trust us with a power so deep and awesome? Ah, He can trust His sons with anything! Not His babes, but His sons, the mature ones. He is teaching us. Patiently. We are learning. Are you still asking for all the petty, selfish, carnal things you used to demand from God? If not, you are learning sonship. “If we ask ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL.” That takes revelation! Well, if we do, we will ask nothing amiss. If we do, we will ask nothing to consume it upon our own lusts. It will be God’s will if it is asked. It will be God’s will if it is done. For they are come, these sons, TO DO GOD’S WILL! May God grant that you and I may learn to live this great and holy life, considering the solemn words of Him who lived it first, who lived it all: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL OF MY FATHER which is in heaven.”
The Lord has
graciously led my wife and I for many years.
Various times we have been called upon to step out into new directions
in God, burning all bridges behind, bridges of fellowship, bridges of doctrine,
bridges of means and methods, as well as bridges of sustenance. Many times we could not see by the natural
eye any way to fulfill the walk set before us.
Early in our journey the Lord
sent us to the mission fields three times without any guaranteed support from
any quarter. Later we spent several
years under-shepherding local assemblies of the Lord’s body accepting no salary
so as not to become a hireling. At times
we travelled cross-country with and without the family, simply at the word of
the Lord, with no pre-arranged itinerary. We took the only few dollars we had
and published the first
Christians equate faith with something ecstatic, some religious experience, or
a “spiritual feeling” we must work ourselves into, some feverish emotional height
we must attain to in order to possess it.
We have tried to work faith
up, tried to pray ourselves into
it. We work at it, endeavoring to talk ourselves and God into it.
“Now Lord, you know that you said in your Word…” as though God needs to
be reminded of His own faithfulness and love.
What we are really trying to do in such exercises is to convince ourselves of God’s promise and
ability, to CONJURE UP A FAITH THAT
WE KNOW WE DON’T HAVE! It is distasteful
to admit it, but the plain truth is that in many cases we are trying to put God in a corner, using His words
against Him, in an effort to force His
hand. NONE OF THAT IS FAITH NOR DOES
IT LEAD TO FAITH. So let me say to you
again, dear reader of these lines, DON’T SEEK FAITH! Don’t work
at it. Cease struggling to believe. Let
us rather seek the Lord Himself, seek
intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him, seek the revelation of His will, and in the glory of His
presence and the wonder of His Word raised up within our hearts
Instead of seeking
faith seek to know the Father’s will in your life. Relax! Rest in the Lord, feed the inner man, grow in
the spirit. I have no hesitation in
telling you that the problem with many of God’s people is that they are trying
to have faith to do things that God has
This is how the great
heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 accomplished their mighty feats. They received a revelation of what God
required of them and became thoroughly convinced of it — so convinced that they
were able to walk it out regardless of the odds. They were convinced! And that is precisely what faith is! The many verbs used by the writer in Hebrews
11 are most instructive. By faith Abel offered sacrifice. By faith Enoch pleased God. By faith Noah prepared an ark. By faith Abraham went out…by faith Abraham offered
up Isaac. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob. By faith Joseph made mention of the departing of the children of
In this new kingdom
day God is forming a vast company of sons upon the earth in whom the Word of
Christ is coming to dwell richly in all
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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