I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
Song of Solomon 2:1-2
In the garden of the Lord, blooms a fragrance. And it’s fragrance spreads abroad in the walls of our heart. Flowers of the Lord burst forth, and His delight and wonder spread abroad in the pathways of our lives.
Fragrance mixed with fragrance seeps up, like a whirlwind of opportunities, colliding to make one beautiful residue. The planting of the Lord springs forth, as a bloom among the thorns, to the most beautiful of ends.
If Jesus, in three and a half years of being anointed with the Spirit, produced such fruit, shouldn’t we, in a generation or two in the Lord, be able, as a body, to produce similar results, that is, if we are truly living after His Spirit?
The Spiritual Man, Christ, must live with us individually, as well as corporately. We must be the feet upon the Earth, whose head is in the highest heavens, namely Christ, where also we are seated. It is His call, the same as it was in the beginning, for His Word has not returned void.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
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Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.
1 Corinthians 6:13 (portion)
Our bodies were made for the Lord. Consider the parable of the yeast in Matthew 13:33. The kingdom is likened to measure of yeast which a woman hid in a large quantity dough until the whole lump was leavened. That little bit of something worked its way through the entire lump, changed it, and transformed it into something better. What happens when the Holy Spirit comes into us? Let us look a moment at some examples.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:12-14 KJV
This passage was written to the brothers by Paul, meaning to believing Christians. In verse 14, he indicates a most profound phrase, to believing believers. If we live according to the flesh, we will die. It is not enough simply to have a prayed a prayer once. It is those who are led by the Spirit that are the Sons of God, and only those that do the will of the Father shall inherit the Kingdom.
Bear this in mind, the Father’s house is very large, and the one who has been given much is required of much, and those given little required of little. If all our capacity is to give a cup of cold water to one of His disciples, we shall not lose our reward. But, for those who do not live by the Spirit, and mortify the deeds of the body, where then is life?
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
All of my desire is in this one thing, to see His Face (Psalm 27:4). If we truly have this hope in ourselves, we will purify ourselves (1 John 3:3).
The New Testament is replete with examples that underscore the fact that the God of the Old Testament hasn’t changed His desire for purity and holiness as a lifestyle for those who are of His house.
Hebrews 12:14 says without holiness no one will see Him. 2 Corinthians 7:1 indicates that we should do it out of reverence. It was because of His reverence that Jesus was heard of His Father when He prayed (Hebrews 5:7). Ephesians 5:6 indicates strongly, lest we give way to being deceived with empty words, that God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient. Even Jesus Himself, in Matthew 5:48, commanded us to be perfect, even as the Father is perfect.
Superlative: [O]f the highest kind, quality, or order; surpassing all else or others; supreme; extreme: superlative wisdom.
It is almost a wrong label to call the Kingdom superlative. It is Beyond that. John the Baptist was the superlative of human attainment. A life of solitude, of extreme separateness and consecration to the Lord was his. Jesus gave the man this testimony, and the comparison to the Kingdom.
Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
John was a man, a prophet, of the Old Covenant, under the law and order of Moses. He signified the demarcation point between Old an New Covenants. As the Law came through Moses, and Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ, the exchange between the two marked the transition from the age of the Old Testament and the coming of the Messianic Age.
The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
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Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
Abraham believed, and God called it righteousness in him. This is the basis of our justification in the cross of Christ, for it is by faith that we have access to this Grace called Calvary (Romans 5:2). Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), for one must first believe that God is, and that He rewards those that diligently pursue Him.
This is the picture of faith. When Abraham, then Abram, heard God speak, and God showed Him the stars in the sky and that his descendants would be like unto them in number (Genesis 15:6), he took God at His word. Later, when Abraham was told to sacrifice his one and only true heir, Abraham believed that God could raise him back from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Faith saw the promise of God’s word, and grabbed a hold.
When we look at the Gospel, we see good news.
Despite the cost, despite the hardships, despite the pain. Despite anything.
When we look at the life of absolute surrender, the life of absolute submission, and absolute loss of this life, it is only a most extraordinary gospel that can still be good news in the wake of this.
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