It's An Upward Call 18th May
It’s An Upward Call 18th May
Php 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Saints it is an upward call we have received – it was not finished when we came to Christ it was only just beginning! The longer we walk this walk of the Spirit the higher we must ascend – You know the scripture says we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and He has come to glorify Jesus. Jesus has returned to the glory He had with God before He came down to earth – He is seated on the right hand of God!
Eph 2:4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
When Jesus redeemed us – became the substitute for our sins, took our place and we received that grace by faith and were born again – He became one with us – He entered into our hearts and dwells there by His Spirit – the apostle said it is no longer I but Christ who lives in me – we are changed, we are born of the Spirit, and here is a most wonderful mystery but as He is in us, so we are in Him – and He has ascended – He has returned to the place of absolute glory!
What limitations we place on the Spirit of God – the same Spirit that brooded over creation, the same Spirit that clothed Himself with Gideon and routed armies, the same Spirit that came upon Samson and that Jesus declared had anointed Him. The all seeing, everywhere present, all knowing Holy Spirit of God is in us – always, though we might grieve Him and ignore Him He remains faithful for He is God and cannot deny Himself – as King David said :--
Ps 139:7-12 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
God is unchangeable! He is the same yesterday today and forever – so His Spirit is always, constantly looking to glorify Jesus and Jesus is seated at the right Hand of God – ascended, glorious, and so our call is upward it must be upward it is Spiritual and glorious this call of ours into God through Jesus Christ! Oh saints it is an upward call!! How we must learn to ascend and allow ourselves to know the seated Christ! Because this is the place of true victory and overcoming.
The Apostle Paul prayed this prayer for us – and think about this, but he prayed for what he knew was the reality – He prayed for what he KNEW himself – this was not something afar off this was the life he lived – and he said this -- and it is a prayer and a statement and a glory : --
Eph 1:15-21 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Jesus seated on the right hand of God – having all authority and all power – this is the place of His ascension – this is the place that is over – it is above – it is the seat of glory and victory! We live in a fallen demonized world – the devils playground – the prince of the power of the air rules here –
But we don’t have to live under this rule – by faith we are seated with Him in heavenly places far ABOVE all principality and power – every demonic agency and satanic influence – now and forever! We are above and over -- this call is an upward call! But we have not yet attained – that is the truth we have not yet attained – we have not apprehended, caught hold of and pressed into this truth. We settle for so much less than this, it seems too spiritual, too difficult for most of us to consider
We have not learned to think on these things and lay hold of them – so we live beneath the possibilities. If Jesus is seated in heavenly places and we have His Spirit then that is the place His Spirit wants to reveal to us, the place where Jesus is – but like we have been seeing it begins with how we think, what we allow to be built up in our minds – strongholds that become strangleholds! We have an upward call but we are earthbound!! – But there is a way up – yes there is! Jesus said :-
Mt 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Is 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
So see this, the way of ascension, if you like – the way up is to forget the things that lie behind, it is to stop looking back – plowing a crooked furrow of bitterness, unforgiveness and partially grasped scripture – holding on to the past testimonies of grace and mercy – and it is taking forcefully the very truth of the W.O.G. and beginning to apply it as we never have before in determined, controlled aggression – twisting ourselves with twining around the Spirit of God –
There is a time to be passive and time to be forceful and take! Take hold of what we have been given – you know we might not ever fully get our hands on it until we get to heaven permanently – but it is in the reaching forward – it is in the pressing ahead, it is in seeking the prize that we build other strongholds in our minds – pressing in to lay hold of that for which we have been laid hold of forces us to look upward – it makes us turn our eyes and hearts heavenward!
Col 3:2-3 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Mt 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Can you see this? We are living beneath in the place of the devils reign in many ways – we live the defeat instead of the victory – we have an upward call – a glorious, holy, upward call in God through Jesus Christ – but we are so earthbound, in our thinking, in our beliefs and therefore in our practice. Being earthbound when we think in terms of the Holy Spirit we think only from this position – the earthbound position of our fallen carnal humanity.
What we have done is to bring God down and make Him like us – to make Him a comfortable God for us to worship. So much of our theology has been shaped by this deviation from His holy glory. You know we have preached so much about the Father Heart of God – so many of us live under that – the hearts of our earthly fathers turned away and broken and so we have been taught to look to God as the Father we never had, and we have shaped Him to fit our lack of human parenting –
We have preached an intimacy and an acceptance of us, as though we were the very center of God’s every purpose and thought. We have brought Him down to earth instead of grasping the truth that He has called us upward – but we have brought Him down! So when we are trying to KNOW the Holy Spirit – trying to build a sensitivity we are fighting against a stronghold. So much of what we do and attribute to the Holy Spirit is really a declaration of just how earthbound we are –
When we are seeking Him for gifts and power most often we are actually thinking about ourselves
The here and now, the recognition, acceptance, ministry – even in seeking for physical healing as a major emphasis is not about the upward call it is more to do with our earthly situation --- now please don’t hear me say I am against these things – I am not – Oh that God would pour out the healing power – but not for my ministry, (Khulman/Spirit)-- rather for His glory and so that we turn our eyes heavenward again – upward! Looking to Him the author and finisher of our faith!
See so much of what we are seeking the Holy Spirit for, so much of the focus on manifestations and signs and now angels is not the Holy Spirits heart – it is not about glorifying Jesus it is about us, it is about now it is about this temporal fleeting life that is passing away and where our treasure is there our heart will be also – and so we have hearts full of what can God do to meet my needs, my desires, my dreams – Of that God might bless me indeed –
But we equate that blessing with prosperity and wealth and success – Oh I don’t want my reward now! I want it waiting for me when I get there! I don’t want a reward that will perish when I am taken home – I want a reward that will see me though all of eternity, life everlasting without end! We have an upward call! We must set our sights on the city above that already has foundations – but whose builder and maker is God.
Mt 6:2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
Oh how I long to KNOW the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of God and Christ! Not for some personal gain not for some temporal glory – but to KNOW Christ and Him crucified. To know Him ascended and seated! Oh Church the Holy Spirit really is Holy, as God is Holy, and we have brought Him down to make Him the distributor of gifts and manifestations – we have brought Him down and made Him the end of our own means – our self interest and personal gain whatever that might be.
We have brought Him down and attributed to Him things that cannot possibly be God – gold dust and feathers and bloody hands – Oh the only blood hands I ever want to see manifest are those of my Lord – why should my hands be bloodied and put on show as though His were not enough! How carnal we are when we take the most precious things of Christ and make then into a sideshow and call it the Holy Spirit – that is blasphemy!
But much more than that, all of these things take us away from the upward call and they anchor us firmly into the spirit of this age the god of this world – they anchor us earthbound.! And our literal position of being seated with Christ ABOVE, OVER all principalities and powers is thrust out of reach! Beyond us, and we live a life of struggle and turmoil and constantly seeking victory – and we don’t even ask the Holy Spirit about such things – we don’t even try to rise up, to ascend –
Because our treasure is on earth and so is our heart – so much of the church of this age is earthbound and doesn’t care – performance, success, recognition, fame, wealth and comfort in this short temporal existence --- I don’t want an earthbound heart I want to mount up with wings as eagles – I want to take the K.O.H. with violence if necessary – I want to twist myself with twining around the Spirit of God – so that I don’t faint down here!
So what does it mean to twist and twine, what does it mean to be forceful and aggressive for the upward call --- I want to show you – but I want to tell you the truth – this is not easy, this is not without effort and hard work and self denial – this Christian life really is about taking up your cross daily and dying to yourself. – See when we are earthbound we don’t want anything too hard, we want blessing and comfort and every good thing --- But Jesus said if anyone will come after Me
Let him deny himself – the gospel hasn’t changed, the message has not become post modern!
Mt 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
You know Jesus never said one word that has passed away – these are everlasting words, eternal words – life giving words – God has not changed His mind! Jesus didn’t say this to cause one single soul to stumble – He said you can walk the earthbound path of self interest and all the carnal things you like – they may be religious and churchy and make you famous – and it is a very attractive and seductive highway because there are just so many “good” people on it – so many just like you!
The way of the upward call – the way of the Spirit – the HOLY Spirit is a narrow path to those who look at it from an earthbound perspective – it looks so difficult and lonely – not another soul for km’s but for those who choose to walk it – once you get your feet firmly planted on it – once you get your heart seeking after the treasure that awaits you at the end of it – it changes and instead of looking at it afar off you see it as it really is – like so many things of mystery –
You only ever know what they are truly like once you have made the choice and chosen life! Then after a few tentative steps and a few hesitations – placing one foot forward you begin to see ahead – funny but the broad highway is flat and unchallenging but the narrow gate is difficult, it is upward it requires determination and endurance and courage to stand against all opposition – the enemy still attacks for a little while – but then in the Holy Ghost – in the Spirit we begin to see clearly –
Is 35:1-10 The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, And make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, There shall be grass with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Can you see this is the Highway of the upward call – the highway of the Spirit – it must be Holy for God is Holy and the Spirit is Holy and there is nothing unclean that can cross over it – no counterfeit on this Highway, no self, no ambition or Pride – it leads to the very throne of the Seated Christ! – The walk of the Spirit is an upward call and we must not settle for anything less – that’s why we are here – but can you see it is on this Highway – a spiritual and glorious pathway –
That healing is released – blind eyes are opened, the deaf hear, the lame shall leap and dance and cry out the Name of the Lord – the dumb will sing!
Can you hear that sound – the joy of the dumb exalting Christ Jesus our Lord!
OH church it is an upward call and we must turn our eyes that way!