Arranging the Wood, Arranging the Offering

Today’s selected reading continues in the first New Testament epistle of the apostle Paul which was written unto the saints at Thessalonica. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses twenty-three through twenty-eight of the fifth chapter. When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find the apostle Paul bringing to a close the first epistle he wrote unto the saints which were at Thessalonica. I previously wrote concerning the final verse of this passage of Scripture which concludes with the following words: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (1 Thessalonians 5:28). I wrote how I absolutely love the words which are contained within this passage of Scripture, for the apostle Paul concludes the apostle with the very same language he opened the epistle with. If you turn back to the opening verse of this particular epistle you will find the apostle Paul writing the following words: “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians, which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:1). This reality and concept of beginning each of the epistles speaking of grace and peace was in all reality customary for the apostle Paul, and if you consider each of the epistles which the apostle Paul wrote, you will quickly discover this reality to be true.

Consider if you will the words which are found in the seventh verse of the first chapter of the epistle to the Romans: “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7). IN the third verse of the first epistle which was written unto the Corinthian congregation the apostle Paul writes the following words” Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and form the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:3). In the second verse of the second epistle written unto the Corinthian saints we find the following words: “Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:2). In the third verse of the epistle which was written unto the churches which were in Galatia the apostle Paul writes these words: “Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:3). In the second verse of the epistle written unto the Ephesian congregation the apostle Paul writes: “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:2). In the second verse of the epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Philippi the apostle Paul writes: “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:2). IN the second verse of the epistle written unto the Colossians we find the following words: “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Colossians 1:2). IN the second verse of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica the apostle Paul writes: “Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:2). When writing unto his spiritual son and co labourer in the faith, Timothy, the apostle Paul writes the following words in his first letter: “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2). In the second epistle which was written unto Timothy the apostle Paul writes the same words: “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord” (2 Timothy 1:2). When writing unto Titus, the apostle Paul writes the very same words: “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 1:2). Finally, when writing unto Philemon the apostle Paul writes: “Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Titus 1:3).

When writing unto saints and labourers alike, when writing unto churches and congregations alike, the apostle Paul began each of his epistle by speaking of the grace of God our Father, as well as the peace of God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul begins each of his epistles—regardless of whether they were written unto churches or labourers alike—the apostle not only brings them face to face with the reality of the grace and peace of God, but the apostle Paul also brings them face to face with God the Father, as well as with our Lord Jesus Christ. This is actually quite remarkable and astounding when you truly consider it, for not only does the apostle Paul bring his audience face to face with the grace and peace of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, but the apostle Paul also brings his readers and audience face to face with an encounter with both God the Father, as well as with Jesus Christ. Oh, please don’t miss the tremendous significance and importance of this reality, for if we are being honest with ourselves, we will admit that everything begins with the grace of God, for it is the grace of God which enables us to live the way we have been called to live according to that which is written in the Scriptures. If we are willing to be honest with ourselves we must admit that not only does everything begin with the grace of God, but everything begins with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. If we attempt to. Live our lives without, apart from, and absent this tremendous reality we might very well find ourselves in for a rude awakening. Oh, how many men and women are attempting to live their lives without, apart from, and absent the reality and manifestation of the grace of God within their lives? How many men and women are attempting to live their lives and walk through each day they have been given without the presence and manifestation of the grace of God, as well as the peace of God? How many lives of those around us would be considerably and drastically transformed and altered if they engaged each day with the grace and peace of God? How many men and women are walking through each day without and apart from the presence and manifestation of God the Father, and His Son, Jesus who is both Christ and Lord? For the apostle Paul, absolutely everything began with the grace and peace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. For the apostle Paul, absolutely everything within his life began with the reality and manifestation of the persons of God the Father, as well as Jesus who is both Christ and Lord.

If you begin to examine the conclusion of each of the epistles which the apostle Paul wrote, you will find that not only does he open and begin each of his epistles with the declaration of the grace and peace of God, but you will also notice that he concludes each epistle in a similar manner. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul writes in the twentieth verse of the sixteenth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints at Rome: “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (Romans 16:20). IN the twenty-third chapter of the sixteenth chapter of the first epistle written unto the saints of Corinth we find the following words” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Corinthians 16:23). When concluding the second epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Corinth the apostle Paul does so with these words: “…and the God of love and peace shall be with you…The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13:11-14). In the eighteenth verse of the sixth chapter of the epistle written unto the churches in Galatian the apostle Paul writes: “Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your sprit. Amen” (Galatians 6:18). Unto the Ephesian congregation the apostle Paul writes: “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen” (Ephesians 6:23-24). In the twenty-third and final verse of the epistle written unto the saints in Philippi the apostle Paul writes: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Philippians 4:23). IN the final verse of the epistle written unto the Colossians the apostle Paul writes: “Grace be with you. Amen” (Colossians 4:18). At the end of the first epistle written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul writes: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen” (1 Thessalonians 5:28). In the final verse of the second epistle unto the same congregation the apostle Paul writes: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (2 Thessalonians 3:18). At the end of his first epistle to Timothy, the apostle Paul writes: “Grace be with thee. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:21). At the end of the second epistle which Paul wrote unto Timothy, he writes the following words: “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen” (2 Timothy 4:22). At the conclusion of the epistle written unto Titus the apostle Paul writes: “Grace be with you all. Amen” (Titus 3:15). Finally, at the conclusion of the epistle written unto Philemon the apostle Paul writes: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen” (Philemon 25).

When speaking of this grace of God—this grace which the apostle Paul both opened and concluded his epistles speaking about—it is absolutely imperative that we recognize that this grace is something that is given unto and bestowed upon us by the living God. What’s. More, is that it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize that while grace is truly free and available to everyone who walks the face of the earth, the grace of God is not something to treat causally or lightly. What’s more, is that when speaking of the grace of God, it is absolutely necessary and imperative to recognize and consider the fact that this grace is made available and is given unto a very specific group of people within and upon the earth. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Peter wrote in his first epistle, as well as the words which James the brother of Jesus wrote concerning the grace of God. It is true the apostle Paul opened up each and every one of his epistles writing and speaking of the grace of God, and it is true that he concluded each of his epistles writing and speaking of the grace of God, however, what we find in the epistles of Peter and James present us with a reality concerning grace which we must carefully consider and pay close attention to. Consider if you will the words and language that is first found in the fourth chapter of the epistle which James the half brother of Jesus wrote beginning with the first verse: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God” Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is enemy of God. Do ye think that the Scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwellth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw night to God, and He will draw night to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:1-10).

The words which James the half brother of Jesus wrote must be carefully considered and examined—particularly and especially in light of that which the apostle Peter writes in his first epistle. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the fifth chapter of his first epistle you will find the following words: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him; for He carets for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him by glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:1-11). The words which both the apostle Peter, as well as James the half brother of Jesus wrote are directly connected to the words which Solomon son of David wrote unto his own son(s) in the third chapter of the Old Testament book of Proverbs. Consider if you will the fact that when writing unto his son(s) Solomon son of David, king of Israel wrote the following words: “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but He giveth grace unto the lowly” (Proverbs 3:340. What we find and what we read in the New Testament epistles of James and the apostle Peter was first written and first mentioned in the Old Testament book of Proverbs, for it was there where Solomon declared unto his son(s) that the Lord gives grace unto the lowly. When writing unto the churches of their generation—both the apostle Peter, as well as James the half brother of Jesus wrote concerning the grace of God, and not only that God gives grace to the humble, but also that God resists the proud. It is true that grace are available from the very throne of God, but it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that from the same throne of grace that flows mercy and help in time of need also flows resistance to the proud, and to the arrogant and the boastful. In all reality, I would dare say and proclaim that the grace of God is best demonstrated, best manifested, and best presented in the hearts and lives of those who have humbled themselves in the sight of the Lord—and not even necessarily that they might be exalted in due time by the Lord.

GRACE WORKS BEST IN THOSE WHO ARE HUMBLE! GRACE WORKS BEST IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO HAVE HUMBLED THEMSELVES IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD! If we are honest we will admit that we absolutely love reading about the grace of the Lord our God, and of Jesus who is both Christ and Lord, however, what we don’t enjoy talking about as much is the tremendous humility that is necessary and required to experience the fulness of the manifestation of the grace of God within our lives. It is not by accident, nor is it by coincidence that both James and the apostle Peter first declare that God resists the proud, and then immediately declares that God gives grace to the humble. It is not coincidence that directly connected to the giving of grace, both James and the apostle Peter instruct and encourage their readers and audience to humble themselves in the sight of, and under the mighty hand of God. What’s more, is that it almost seems that the giving of the grace of God is not only directly connected to our willingness and ability to humble ourselves in the sight of God, but also to one who resists and opposes us. If you read both the first epistle of the apostle Peter, as well as the epistle which James wrote, you will find that almost intrinsically linked to God resisting the proud, almost intrinsically linked to God giving grace to the humble, and directly linked to the need to humble ourselves in the sight of God is the resistance and opposition of the devil who is our adversary. In the fourth chapter of the epistle which James wrote we find that if we submit ourselves therefore to God, we can resist the devil and he will flee from us. I have to admit that I absolutely love the words which James wrote, for not only does he emphatically declare that God gives grace to the humble, but he also goes on to instruct us to submit ourselves therefore to God. In other words—how do we respond when the Lord our God resists the pride that is within our hearts and lives, and responds by giving grace in response to humility? We respond the only way that is appropriate—namely, submitting ourselves to God, resisting the devil, and drawing night to God. I absolutely love the two-fold promise that James writes in this particular epistle, for while he writes and declares that if we resist the devil he will flee from us, he also writes that if we draw night to God, He will draw night to us. With this being said, it is imperative that we recognize and understand that everything begins and starts with humility, and with our willingness to submit ourselves to God. I am convinced that until and unless we are first willing to humble ourselves before the true and living God, and until and unless we are willing to submit ourselves, we cannot and will not resist the devil, and we cannot and will not draw night unto the living God.

I feel compelled to once more emphatically declare unto you that grace works the best within the hearts and lives of those who walk in humility before the living God. It is not by accident or coincidence that James wore that God not only gives more grace, but also that he resists the proud. It is not by accident or confidence that James writes that while God resists the proud, He gives grace unto the humble, for he recognized and understood that grace does in fact work the best in the life of that man or woman who has consciously and deliberately humbled themselves in the sight of God. James understood that the grace of God could not operate in the life of that soul which has not humbled itself which is not humble in the sight of God, for God resists the proud and arrogant soul. We who are reading the words of the apostles and New Testament epistles must understand that the grace of God cannot truly have its perfect work within our hearts and lives if we continue to walk in our pride and arrogance, and refuse to humble ourselves in the sight of the living God. It is necessary that we recognize and understand that that soul which has not first humbled itself in the sight of the living God cannot and will not submit itself unto the living God, and as a result, cannot and will not resist the devil. In fact, I am convinced that one of the greatest demonstrations and manifestations of the grace of God within our lives is not only the resistance of the devil, but also in our submission and drawing nigh unto the living God. Grace works well in the hearts and lives of those who have humbled themselves in the sight of the living God, for not only does God give grace to the humble, but he also gives more grace. If I am being honest with you who are reading the words of this writing I would have to admit that without and apart from the grace of God within my heart and live, I cannot truly submit myself unto the living God, nor can I truly resist the devil. The apostle Peter firmly believed this very same reality, for the apostle Peter declared that God resists the proud, yet gives grace to the humble. Immediately following the declaration that God gives grace to the humble, the apostle Peter then goes on to instruct his audience and readers to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, while they cast all their cares upon Him, because He cares for them. What’s more, is the apostle Peter would also directly connect this reality with the presence of the adversary who as a roaring lion walks about seeking whom he may devour. The apostle Peter—just as James the half brother of Jesus did—instructed his audience and readers to resist the devil being steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions we face and experience are accomplished in our brethren which are in the world.

When reading the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the final chapter of the first epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Thessalonica we find him declaring of the Lord that the God of peace sanctify you wholly. We dare not miss or lose sight of this reality, for one of the demonstrations and manifestations of the grace of God within our lives is the sanctification of our entire beings. We dare not miss or lose sight of the word “wholly” in this passage of Scripture, for it brings us face to face with the reality that when writing and speaking of our sanctification we must understand that it is not a partial sanctification, but one that is full and complete—one that touches absolutely every area of our being. There are two passages within the sacred Scripture which I am convinced directly applies to this reality and concept of our sanctification and the tremendous need to be sanctified completely and wholly. The first passage is found in the Old Testament book of First Samuel, and references a specific command and instruction given unto Saul king of Israel. The second passage is found in the fNew Testament book of Acts and concerns a couple by the name of Ananias and Sapphira. Before getting into these two passages which I am convinced have a direct impact and implication on our sanctification, it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we continue reading in this passage of Scripture, for the apostle Paul goes on to write concerning the whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss or lose sight of what is being written in this passage of Scripture, for when the apostle Paul writes and speaks of our sanctification being whole and complete, we must understand that in terms of our whole spirit, our whole soul, and our whole body. If there is one thing we must recognize concerning our being, it’s that when we were created in the image of the living God, we were created as a tri-part being just as the triune Godhead is three beings in one. Just as the triune Godhead is made up of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, so also are we made and comprised of three distinct parts, yet each make up our one single person. When we were created in the image and likeness of the living God we were created as tri-part beings which consist of body, soul and spirit. I am convinced that this is precisely why the apostle Paul regards no man according to the flesh, for the apostle Paul recognized that man was made up of and comprised three distinct realities—the body which is the exterior tent which is visible to those around us, the soul which is the seat of our emotions, our will, and our thoughts, and our spirit which is that part of us that can come in direct contact and communication and communion with the living God.

When Jesus wrote concerning the day and time that would come when men and women would neither worship on the mountain in Jerusalem, nor the mountain in Jerusalem, but would worship the Father in spirit and in truth, He was referencing that part within ourselves which is able to communicate and commune and fellowship with the living God. The apostle Paul declared that flesh and blood cannot inherit and enter into the kingdom of God, however, the spirit that is within a man can experience the manifestation of the kingdom of God—not only in the here and the now, but also in that moment when we are ushered into the very presence of God. It is with our physical body—that exterior shell of our being—which we interact with those around us within the physical and natural realm, however, it is with our spirit that we commune and fellowship with the true and living God. When the apostle Paul writes and speaks our whole spirit, our whole soul, and our whole body being preserved as blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and when he writes of the God of peace sanctifying us wholly, that which he is writing about is not only that part of our being which interacts with flesh and blood being sanctified, but he is also writing of that part of our being which interacts with the living God being sanctified. If I am being honest with you who would read the words contained in this passage of Scripture, I would emphatically and boldly declared that not only does that part of our being which we use to communicate and interact with flesh and blood need to be sanctified, but also that part of our being which we use to communicate and interact with the living God needs to be sanctified. What’s more is that that part that exists between these two realities—the soul which exists between the physical and natural body and the eternal spirit—also needs to be sanctified completely, throughly and wholly. Our soul, which is the seat of our emotions, the seat of our human will, the seat of our thoughts, and the like needs to be completely and totally sanctified by the living God, and must needs be preserved as blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely imperative that those parts of our being which interact with flesh and blood and which interacts with the living God be sanctified completely and throughly, thus indicating that how we interact with both must be sanctified completely and throughly.

If we are willing to be honest with ourselves, as well as with the Lord we must admit that not only does that part of us that communicates and interacts with the living God need to be sanctified, but so also does our fellowship and communion with the living God. I absolutely love the words which the apostle Paul wrote in this passage of Scripture, for what is contained therein is not only a powerful declaration concerning the sanctification of that part of our being which communicates, fellowships with, and interacts with the living God need to be sanctified, but so also does our communication and fellowship with the living God need to be sanctified. What’s more, is that that part of our being which is visible to the physical and natural world—that part of our being which is used to interact with flesh and blood all around us—must also be sanctified. Not only this, but each and every one of our relationships with flesh and blood must also be sanctified wholly, throughly and completely by the God of peace. Tell me—when was the last time you went before the living God in prayer in the secret closet and not only asked Him to sanctify your physical body, but also to sanctify each and every one of your relationships? When was the last time you placed your relationships before the living God and asked Him to sanctify them throughly and wholly, thus making them pleasing and acceptable in His sight? Tell me—do the relationships you presently have in your life need sanctifying by the true and living God? Does the way you interact with those around you need to be sanctified wholly, fully and completely? Does the way you interact with the living God need to be sanctified wholly, fully and implement? I am convinced that we must needs position ourselves before the living God—our whole selves and not only part of ourselves—in order that He might sanctify us throughly and completely. There are far too many men and women among us today who are only experiencing partial sanctification rather than full and complete sanctification. We might very well desire sanctification by the true and living God, and yet we aren’t willing to allow Him to sanctify absolutely every part of our being. This includes that part of our being which communicates with flesh and blood, that part our being which houses our emotions, our will, our thoughts, and the like, as well as that part of our being which interacts with the true and living God. If we are truly going to be sanctified by the true and living God we must needs present absolutely everything upon the altar. In the Old Testament under the Old Covenant there was not to be a single part of the sacrifice and offering that was left off the altar, for all the parts were arranged upon the altar and offered unto the true and living God as a sacrifice which was pleasing and acceptable in His sight. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the Lord spoke unto Moses in the Old Testament when speaking to Him concerning the presentation of the sacrifice upon the altar. Consider if you will the words which the Lord spoke unto His servant Moses beginning with the second verse of the first chapter of the book of Leviticus:

“Speak unto the children of israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own vulnerable will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. And he shall kill the bullock before the Lord: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall bring the blood, and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar that is by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall flay the burnt offering, and cut it into his pieces. And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire: and the priests, Aaron’s sons, shall lay the parts, the head, and the fat, in order upon the word that is on the fire which is upon the altar: but his inwards and his legs shall he wash in water: and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord” (Leviticus 1:1-9).

ARRANGING THE WOOD, ARRANGING THE SACRIFICE! It is necessary that when we read this particular passage of Scripture that we not only pay close attention to the order of the wood upon the altar, but we also pay attention to the order of the sacrifice itself. When we read this passage of Scripture we not only notice that there was a specific order in which the word had to be arranged upon the altar in order that the fire might burn upon the altar, but there was also a specific order in which the parts of the offering and sacrifice had to be arranged upon the altar. The priests could not arrange the wood according to their own pattern and order, nor could they arrange the parts of the sacrifice according to their own pattern, order and design. What’s more, is that absolutely everything from the offering needed to be placed upon the altar, and there was not to be anything left out or left behind. Not only were all parts of the offering supposed to be included in the one single sacrifice, but each part needed to be arranged according to the prescribed order of the Lord. It is necessary that we recognize and pay close attention to this reality, for when it comes to our lives, not only must we ensure that the wood for the fire be carefully arranged upon the altars in our lives, but we must also ensure that all parts of the offering are presented upon the altar in order that they might be consumed by the fire which burns upon the altar. There are not to be any parts of the offering which are to be left behind, and left off the altar. One of the most dangerous things we can attempt to do is withhold and choose to leave off from the altar those portions of the offering which we aren’t willing to sacrifice, or those parts which we seek to keep for ourselves and hold on to. Much foolishness and many games have been played in the house and presence of the Lord by men and women who not only carefully arrange the wood which is to be present upon the altar, but also by men and women who aren’t placing the whole offering upon the altar as a sacrifice unto the Lord. Remember the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome, for he instructed them to present their bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto the Lord, which was their reasonable service. There is not a doubt in my mind that the apostle Paul believed that our whole body be presented unto the Lord and offered as a living sacrifice which is holy and acceptable unto the Lord. The danger lies when we aren’t willing to utterly destroy that which the Lord has instructed us to destroy, and when we think we can hold a portion of the offering back for ourselves and thereby lying to the Holy Spirit. If we are going to be sanctified by the fire of God and of the Holy Spirit within and upon the altar, we must ensure that we offer every part of our beings upon the altar—our body, our soul and our spirit.

With all of this being said, I leave you with the words which are found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts, as well as the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel. IN the fifth chapter of the New Testament book of Acts we find and read the following words:”But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphire his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to k eep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these thingss. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things” (Acts 5:1-11). IN the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel we find the following words: “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? And Saul said unto Samuel< yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utter destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:13-23).

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