The Kingdom of God
The Government of God – Your Destiny: Christ in You
Studio Session 56
Christ lives in you and Christ desires to live through you. Now the heart of this conflict—that comes because Christ lives in us and desires to work through us but we want to live, ourselves—is because we have very different agendas—Christ, and ourselves. Our agenda is always self-preserving; Christ’s agenda is always self-sacrificing because the love of God compels Him to be this way. It is His nature to show His love, even to the least deserving, even to people we normally would think He wouldn’t love. God loves people. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Inserted – John 3:16 KJV) Sacrificing—self-sacrificing—is God’s nature. When God lives in you, if He is at all going to be who He is, He’s going to want to show His love, His nature, His character through you. And if you are at all human, you are going to want to preserve your own life and not be self-sacrificing, but be self-preserving.
The fact that He lives in you, “to will and to do his own pleasure”—to do what he desires to do—is abundantly apparent in the Scriptures. (Inserted – actual verse—“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” – Philippians 2:13) Many Scriptures but I’ll just read one, in fact I’ve read this one before—verse 1, chapter 3 of Colossians says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Inserted – Colossians 3:1-4) In Colossians it says this, but also in Galatians, Paul has said—and has said the same thing in I Corinthians—that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. (Inserted – actual verse—“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” – I Corinthians 3:16) “For Christ dwells in you richly, by his Spirit.” (Inserted – actual verse—“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” – Colossians 3:16)
As I’ve said, if He dwells in you and is living through you, His character is going to be seen in you, and His character is one of self-sacrificing because it is His nature. God is not afraid of sacrifice; God is not afraid of death—meaning “giving up” of your own life—because God’s answer to death is always the resurrection of the dead. For He is eternal life and in Him is eternal life, therefore death is no threat to God, nor does He see death as a threat to anyone who is in Christ. So there will always be a conflict between humans, in whom Christ dwells, and Christ because whereas the nature of Christ is self-sacrificing, the nature of man is self-preserving. So, to that end, God has to equip us if He is going to live in us richly and fully and operate through us. The vessels have to be prepared—He has to prepare His own abode; He has to prepare His own habitation so that He could work in us, so that He could work through us.
So, it’s not just that God gives us power, it is that the power that’s meant to operate through us can only operate to produce the results that God wants if we ourselves have been trained and disciplined to walk in the similitude, the facsimile of His character. If that is not so then I assure you that what we will do with His power is to preserve our lives and to do so in two ways: one is to defend ourselves from others, using His power, and the other is to elevate ourselves in the presence of each other so that we will preserve our lives by seeming to be untouchable—above it all, and “removed”. These are the facts. So God spares us the difficulty of this complexity by two things: one, He doesn’t give us very much power until He has prepared our character to be like He is. Now when our character is like He is, for us to have His power is normal because that power will not be used for self-preservation or self-promotion—self-preservation in the form of self-promotion—that power will be used for self-sacrifice, in the full assurance that God raises us from the dead. So the character of Christ is to be seen in us as we are shaped and modeled in His image. Then when we have His power it is normal to have His power when you have His character. It is abnormal to have His power, lacking His character. So the gifts of His government are given to create an environment of peace and good order so we may grow up to be like He is and the gifts of His government are also given to maintain and to hold before us the evidence of who He is.
The apostolic gift—being one of the five: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers—the apostolic gift is given to change our character with respect to the order of God, the revelation of the mysteries of His kingdom, the unseen eternal kingdom being known to us and the demonstrations of His power. We have come to a kingdom that is not a matter of talk, but of demonstrations of the Spirit’s power. Now how is that likely to change our character? Well in that understanding, we will see the nexus—the connection—between the use of power and the fulfillment of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. And we will see the rule, or the order of God, which is: if you have authority in the kingdom, you rule for the benefit of those subject to your rule and not for your own benefit. That’s His order. Anytime you are out of order it is because you have elected to take His power, take His authority—His ability to accomplish things and the legitimacy of accomplishing those things—and make them work to serve your interests. The apostolic sets that foundation right in you so that you understand that if you have power, if you’ve been given anointing and you’ve been given rule in the kingdom and you’ve been given to understand the mysteries, then all of it flows together.
Your vision is set by the mysteries of the kingdom because you have understanding, the order that is employed is for the benefit of maturing people and the demonstration of power is to secure the well-being of those subject to your rule, while authenticating the vision of the heavenly kingdom. That’s what the apostolic does and that cleans up your thinking, it straightens you up, it moves you further away from the view that you have power for your own benefit. It moves you further away from a self-preserving use of authority and position. In fact, it causes you to die a little bit more to your securing yourself through the incidences of power and authority and vision. You become more like Christ. The order that follows you, leaves a trail of people finding their places, even at the expense of you having to give up things—privileges and prerogatives—to promote somebody else. So you not only speak the message of order but you demonstrate it by your own willingness to give up your own life. That, in the life of a believer, is a foundational shift, from self-preserving, self-sustaining, self-promoting to self-sacrificing, promoting others, advancing the kingdom. God can give you more power, the more of that concept of rule being for the well being of others that takes place and vests in your understanding.
Similarly, the prophetic gift confirms in you that it is normal for you to hear God because it confirms the truth that you have a spirit that has been animated and made alive to God and is able to hear God and is able to respond to God. And once you are hearing God, responding and seeing the authentication of your response by the results that come when you follow God, how difficult then is it to see the unseen kingdom? It’s not difficult—you are living in it, you are seeing it, you are receiving instructions from it, you are hearing it. So operating in more power is possible because your character is disciplined by a heavenly vision. You are not free to move about in the earth in the manner that promotes your interests and “saves your own hide”. Instead, you move about in the earth in pursuit of the business and the interests of heaven, even if it costs you your life. The prophetic then, empowers you to have the clarity that you do hear God, not just that you can hear God, but to know the substance of what you are hearing and to shift and change your direction to accommodate to that.
Perhaps no other gift more clearly demonstrates that you have a heavenly nature than the evangelistic gift because the evangelistic gift is about the demonstration of the love of God to those who don’t know God. Not your brothers and sisters in Christ—but those who don’t know God, in their conditions of not knowing God. Sometimes those conditions may be pleasant, for some pagans are pleasant, but they commonly are very unpleasant—very strife ridden, very conflict-filled and so on. But when you demonstrate the love of God to others, planting a seed perhaps, at times; at times watering a seed that has been planted, and at times being there when God is gathering in that person. When you demonstrate the love of God to them, that truly is a life that takes you beyond the preoccupation with your own life, your own primacy, your own ascendancy, your own sense of the dominant value of your being, by comparison to the value of others. You are being changed—your house, your insides, your mind and soul, your spirit—are becoming much more compatible with the presence of Christ who lives in you. So your destiny has a much greater chance of being brought forth without interruption and of course that destiny is: the way that the Living God intends to live, in time and space and interact with people all around you—through you. It’s “He” in you who is your destiny. But His impediment is “you” in you, and we explain that by saying that you have a spirit and you have a soul. Your soul desires to maintain its primacy and to resist God in the process because God’s encroachment is always to demand the forsaking of your life. Of course He will resurrect you, but you have to believe that, in order to walk peacefully in the ways of God. You must have faith in God—faith in His goodness—if you are going to walk in the things of God.
So the apostle brings what he brings, the prophet does, but the evangelist does that, that he does and we’ve summarized those. Now the pastor, the shepherd brings God’s caring to lead to maturity, to direct, to bring up, to raise up under the tutelage and care of someone who actually knows you and who is accountable to God for imparting the things of God to you that God designed to be given to you, to cause you to identify your destiny, to identify your purpose, to identify the gifts by which He moves and operates in you and helps you, by leading you into these paths. The pastoral gift brings care, attention, direction that is person-specific—meaning it is specific to the individual—it is not a generalized “feeding at a trough” as it were… get what you get by jostling somebody else. It is specific to you—“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they know me.” (Inserted – actual verse—“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27) The pastoral gift, then, creates the environment of personalized care so that you might grow up to be and to become who God made you to be, and not somebody else—and not something else. The core of that is the discipline and care—discipline and care; not just discipline, not just care, but both—correction and instruction that everyone needs to be able to pursue the particular destiny that you are called to.
And finally, the gift of the teacher, which is the bringing forth in confidence the word, the direction, the wisdom, the knowledge, the counsel of God on any subject to anyone who will ask you. Whether it be governors and kings—you are not to think about what you are going to say because He will give you what to say in the moment—or peasants and vagabonds. (Inserted – actual verse—“But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matthew 10:19,20) One extreme to another. If you are walking in the gift of teaching, if the Holy Spirit has imparted to you, by the gift of the teacher, this understanding then you are equipped to represent the interest of the Lord wherever you are called to do so. Now, your character having been changed in this way, you understand: order, government, revelation—you can hear God, you can present the love of God competently, you can take care of those under your rule in a manner that is self-sacrificing, and finally, you can authentically present the unseen kingdom’s view that you and other humans are confronted with, I would submit to you that the functioning of these five gifts result, overwhelmingly, in you being like God in your character—just and upright on the one hand, merciful and self-sacrificing on the other. Full of wisdom and compassion on one hand and yet being not naïve but being judicious and careful on the other.
These are the attributes of God—of His person—these are the ways that you describe righteousness, according to the Scriptures. You are meant to be a righteous person and God gave you five gifts to equip you. (Inserted – actual verse—“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:11-13) Now when your character is very compatible to His, you will not resist His pull, or His call upon your life. You will not resist His destiny to be lived out through you. In fact, you will be eager to submit to His destiny, knowing that the things that you cannot understand and the things that you cannot fathom or shape or direct ahead of time—that He has those things well in hand.
So you move forward in life, equipped by His power and therefore you are capable of doing what He is doing and you move forward in your destiny because you have His character, so what you do resembles Him. So you both “act” and “are” like Him. Well when you do, what do people see? If you “act” like Christ and you “are” like Christ, what do people see? They see Christ. Simple…simple enough, isn’t it. That’s why Jesus said, when He was on the earth, He said, “Philip,” this is John the 14th chapter, “Don’t you know me after I’ve been with you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. It’s the Father, living in me, who is doing His work. I do nothing of myself.” (Inserted – actual verse—“Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.’” – John 14:9,10)
The Scriptures put it differently in another place, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hidden and men do not light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick and it gives light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven because it’s His works being done through you.” (Inserted – actual verse—“ ‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16) He has the power to do it but He is hindered and inhibited by your character so He works to change your character.
Let it be understood, as plainly as I’m able to make it that, “before you were, in your mother’s womb”—like the prophet Jeremiah—“God knew you.” (Inserted – actual verse—“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” – Jeremiah 1:4,5) Before you were born, there was a destiny for you to fulfill and that destiny was, and is: how the Living God specifically intends to interact with other human beings through your life. He wanted to show His love for other human beings in a particular way and that is what He had in mind when He made you. You are equipped by these five gifts for that ministry… “equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry.” (Inserted – Ephesians 4:12) Now it’s God who lives in you to will and to do His pleasure. He wants to do what it is His nature to do, but He gave you “being” in this world, and is training you and developing you so that you are available to be exactly what He wants to be, when He wants to be it, to whom He wants to be it—in this world.
Your life is hidden with God in Christ. You died—the old way is gone. (Inserted – actual verse—“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians 3:3) He wants to live in you and you’ve given Him permission. Now let Him shape and change you so that what He wants to be in you is fully what you are. The thought that you may be like God in this world is foreign to religious people because religion has a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” that supplant this truth that you are the light of the world because He lives in you; you are the salt of the earth because He is in you. He has called you, given you gifts and a calling—the calling is the destiny, it’s how He wants to live through you—and the gifts are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, operating through you. The Holy Spirit got these gifts from Jesus and represents Jesus’ interest in the world. Jesus got these gifts of power from the Father, who had it to give and gave it to Him. The kingdom operates to present the glory of God, the Father, and of the Lord Jesus Christ in the earth, through you. It’s a very, very complex and elaborate process that God has undertaken to show the goodness of God to humanity. We’ve had the opportunity to discuss these things and I pray that God will give them life in your life. I’m Sam Soleyn, God bless you and I’ll see you again.
I Corinthians 3:16