ASSOCIATING WITH THE BRETHREN, ACCOMPLISHING THE WILL OF THE FATHER

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto Titus—a spiritual son in the faith and joint laborer in the work of the kingdom of God. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the second chapter of the epistle. When we come to the second chapter of the epistle which was written unto Titus we find the apostle Paul writing in a similar manner and fashion as he had done when writing unto Timothy. You will recall when writing his first epistle unto Timothy the apostle Paul instructed him not to rebuke an elder, but to entreat him as a father. The apostle wouldn’t simply stop there, for the apostle Paul would go on to instruct Timothy to entreat and to treat the elder women as mothers in the church—perhaps even as mothers in the faith. The apostle Paul went on to instruct young Timothy to be respectful toward younger women in the church and to treat them as sisters. What’s more, is the apostle Paul would also instruct Timothy to regard and treat the younger men as brothers in Christ. This is actually quite powerful, for this language suggests and points to the reality that the body of Christ, which is the church of Jesus Christ is more than just a body made up of members, but is actually a family. As I am standing here right now I can’t help but be absolutely captivated and gripped with the tremendous reality and concept that the church is not only the body of Christ, but the church is also the family of God. We dare not miss and lose sight of this all-important reality, for ever since the beginning of time one of the greatest realities and concepts concerning the creation and formation of man has been the formation of a family of God within and upon the earth. This can be seen through the institution of marriage in the garden of Eden when the Lord presented eve unto Adam. This can be seen in the account of the flood in the sixth and seventh chapters of the same Old Testament book, for it was a family of eight that entered the ark and was saved from the devastation of the flood. This was seen through the generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for through these three patriarchs the concept of family was powerfully demonstrated and evidenced in the earth.

While in the epistle which was written unto Titus we do not find the apostle Paul using the exact same manage as that which he used when writing unto Timothy, we can thus deduce and conclude that the underlying principle does in fact remain the same. Perhaps one of the most incredible realities concerning the body of Christ is how it is again more than a body comprised of many members. The body of Christ is more than just a living organism that grows within and upon the earth, but is actually a family of God within and upon the earth. What’s more, is that the body of Christ is made up of and comprised of mothers and fathers as well as, and as much as brothers and sisters. It would be very easy to enter into the doors of the house of God and to quickly dismiss—or perhaps even to ignore the reality and concept that the body of Christ is in fact a family made of those who are present among us mothers and fathers. What’s more, is that when we enter into the house of the Lord each and every time we gather together, we do so with brothers and sisters of like previous faith. Furthermore, we must recognize and understand that before we are brothers and sisters, before we are mothers and fathers, we are sons and daughters. At the very heart and helm of the body of Christ is a microcosm of sons and daughters who have been given power to become sons and daughters of the living God. We dare not forget the words which the apostle John wrote in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, for he wrote that to and as many as believed—to them gave He the power to become sons and daughters of God. What’s more, is that when we come to the New Testament epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the church and saints in Rome, we find the apostle Paul emphatically writing and declaring that we have not been given the spirit of bondage, but have been given the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry “Abba” Father. In addition to this the apostle Paul goes on to write that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are in fact, and we are indeed sons and daughters of the living God. The apostle Paul would go on to write that even all creation groans for the revelation, the manifestation and the appearing of the sons of God within and upon the earth.

If there is one thing we must carefully understand when considering the church and body of Christ, it’s that it is a family of sons and daughters which have been given the power to become sons and daughters of God. Do not think for one moment that that one to your left in the pew, or that one to your right in the pew has not been given the same power to become a son or daughter of the living God. Do not think for one moment that that individual you interact with has somehow been given any less of the same measure of power you yourself have been given to become sons and daughters of the living God. The Lord has not somehow bestowed upon you a greater measure of power to become a son or a daughter of God that your brother or sister within the house of the Lord. Those present among, and those present with you in the house of the Lord have just as much of a right to have relationship with the living God just like you do. That individual to your right, and that individual to your left has been given just as much power to become a son or daughter of the living God as you have, and there is not one person who somehow has been given a greater measure of power than others. We dare not become so self-inflated and so arrogant in our own thinking to believe that we somehow have a handle on being a son or daughter of the living God. We dare not, we cannot, we must not make any attempt to draw or come to the conclusion that those to the right and those to the left aren’t just as much a joint heir with Jesus Christ as we ourselves are. One of the greatest dangers that is found to be present within the house of the Lord is this pervasive self-inflation of ego and arrogance where we somehow consider ourselves to be greater and better than others. There are a number of men and women among us within the house of the Lord who consider themselves to be of some greater pedigree or stature than those around and those among them, and this simply is not the case. When we consider the body of Christ, we must consider in light of all men and women being equal sons and daughters of the living God, and being joint heirs together—not only together with each other, but also together with Jesus Christ Himself.

In order to set the foundation for all of this, it is absolutely critical and necessary that we turn our attention to the eighth chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto the church in Rome. It is within this particular epistle where we find the apostle Paul first and foremost writing concerning the contrast between the flesh and the Spirit, and how the two are at enmity with each other. The apostle Paul makes it perfectly and abundantly clear that there is a tremendous struggle and conflict that exists within the earth, as well as within ourselves between the flesh and the Spirit. The apostle Paul goes on to write and to declare that there has always been, and there will always be this conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, and that we should sow to the Spirit and fight with everything inside of us to put to death the flesh, and to war against the flesh and its members of sin within our body. As the eighth chapter of the epistle written unto the church in Rome continues we find the apostle Paul transitioning to what this reality looks like within the lives of the people of God—namely, the tremendous relationship which exists between the Father Himself and those who are His sons and daughters. Consider if you will the words and language which is found in the eighth chapter of the epistle written unto the church in Rome, beginning with the twelfth verse:

“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. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs: heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption in the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaned and travailest in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth ye yet hope for. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:12-27).

Please don’t miss or lose sight of the language that is found and contained within this passage of Scripture, for within this passage of Scripture we find the apostle Paul writing unto the church in Rome concerning our adoption as sons and daughters of the living God. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand that first and foremost—before anything else—we are and we have been adopted into the family of God as His sons and daughters. With that being said, we have been given power—we have been given the right and the privilege—to become sons of the living God. If we are indeed, and if we are in fact sons of the living God, then we are also heirs of God. If we are heirs of God, then it also holds true that we are joint-heirs with Christ. Oh please pay close attention to this, for by being joint-heirs with Christ we are emphatically declaring that everything which was promised unto Him—not only can be made available unto us, but also belongs unto us. There is a wonderful and powerful concept that surrounds the reality and concept of our being sons and daughters of the living God, for as certainly as we are sons and daughters of the King, we are also the brethren of Christ. When we speak of ourselves as the body of Christ, we must understand ourselves to be joint-heirs together in Christ, and joint-heirs with Christ within the earth. What an absolutely incredible concept and reality this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it. How absolutely amazing and wonderful it is to consider ourselves to be joint heirs together with each other, and joint heirs with Christ, thus suggesting and implying that everything which has been made available unto Christ, and everything that has been made available in Christ is and can be made available unto us. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the psalmist David wrote in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms. Consider if you will the words and language which is found in this particular psalm beginning with the first verse:

“O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visistest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:1-9).

The reality of what we find in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms must also be considered in light of, and as the foundation for that which we find and read in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written unto Hebrews. In this particular New Testament epistle you will find the author emphatically declaring and proclaiming the supremacy of Christ—not only over angels in the heavens, but also over man himself. The author of the epistle unto the Hebrews wrote and expressed the supremacy of Christ over all of creation, and that what we find in the Old Testament was but a shadow and a type of the reality which we find present within Jesus Christ Himself. I absolutely love the words which we find and read in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews, for within this particular passage of Scripture we catch a powerful glimpse—not only of how Jesus Christ identified Himself with and as one of us, but also as Jesus Christ made Himself like as unto us. It is precisely because of what we find and read in this passage of Scripture that we are able to truly understand the tremendous reality and concept of our being heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Consider if you will the words which the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews writes in the second chapter beginning with the fifth verse:

“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and desist set him over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).

Within this passage of Scripture the author of the epistle unto the Hebrews emphatically writes and makes a tremendous declaration—namely, that Jesus Christ is not ashamed to call us His brethren. Pause for a moment and consider that reality—the reality that not only are we, and not only can we be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, but also that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brethren. Jesus who is both Christ and Lord is perfectly willing to consider Himself among us, and to associate Himself with us—a reality which is manifested in the fact that He took on Himself the form of the seed of Abraham. We dare not forget the words which the apostle John wrote in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus, for within that gospel account he emphatically declared that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Not only did the Word become flesh and dwell among us, but the Word gave us power to become sons and daughters of the living God. The Word took on the form of human flesh and made Himself lower than even the angels in order that He might associate Himself with us, and accomplish the work and will of the Father. ASSOCIATING WITH THE BRETHREN, ACCOMPLISHING THE WILL OF THE FATHER! When Jesus Christ came to the earth He came that He might associate Himself with the brethren, and in order that He might accomplish and fulfill the will of the Father who is in heaven. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this absolutely incredible and powerful reality, for it can radically alter and transform our lives. In order to understand what this role and relationship of sons and daughters before and unto the Father truly looks like, we must read and consider the words which Jesus Himself spoke, which are recorded for us in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John. Consider if you will the words which we find in this particular chapter beginning with the nineteenth verse of the chapter:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will shew Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true” (John 5:19-32).

The words which the Son speaks and declares within this passage of Scripture are absolutely fantastic and wonderful, for within them the Son expresses His complete and utter reliance and dependence on the Father. With these words the Son emphatically declares unto those listening to Him that He can in fact do nothing in and of Himself, but is intrinsically linked and connected to the Father. Thus, that which the eternal Son is declaring is that the work and the life which He has within and upon the earth is one that is the expression and manifestation of that which the Father Himself seeks to do, and is doing within the earth. The Son does not speak anything of Himself, but only speaks what He hears of and from the Father. The Son does not do anything of Himself, but only does that which He sees the Father Himself doing. This particular passage of Scripture brings us face to face with the incredible reality that the same relationship which the eternal Son had with the Father we ourselves have the privilege to experience and enjoy. We dare not and must not read these words and consider for one moment that we are somehow excluded from this reality. In fact, when our Lord taught His disciples how to pray, He did so using words and language which up until that time were altogether out of reach and not even considered. It was one thing for Jesus Christ Himself to declare that He was the Son of God, but it was something else altogether for Him to bring us into the same reality of that relationship. It would be one thing for Jesus Christ to speak of and declare the Lord to be His Father, but it was something else altogether for Him to bring us into that same picture. In other words, not only does the relationship exist between the Son and the Father, but we can also partake of and enjoy that very same relationship. This reality is perfectly and powerfully demonstrated and manifested in the prayer which our Lord taught us to pray in the midst of His Sermon on the Mount. In fact, what we find in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew is a powerful expression of our relationship to God as a Heavenly Father, and not just simply as the Lord. When speaking of giving alms unto the poor, Jesus refers to our Father who seeks in secret, and rewards us openly. When speaking of praying, Jesus speaks of the reality of us entering into our closet, closing the door behind us, and praying unto our Father who is in secret. When speaking of fasting, Jesus Christ Himself declares that when we fast we must not appear unto men as fasting, but unto our Father who is in secret. As if this weren’t enough, when teaching us how to pray, Jesus taught us to pray unto the Lord our God—not as some distant and far removed being and reality, but as we would speak unto our own Father. Consider the words which Jesus Christ Himself spoke when teaching us to pray:

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:9-13).

It is clear from all the language and words which I have just presented you with that we bear a unique relationship with God as our Heavenly Father, but also with Christ as His brethren and joint-heirs of all that was given unto Him. If we are to understand the foundation of all of our relationships, we must understand it in light of the fact that we are sons and daughters of the Father, and are the brethren of and joint-heirs with Jesus the Christ. If we are to understand our relationship within the body of Christ we must understand it to be first and foremost one of sons and daughters of the Father, and not only sons and daughters of the Father, but sons and daughters together with the eternal Son. Within the body of Christ we are heirs of God, and are joint-heirs of Christ, which means that everything that was made available unto Him is also made available unto us. It is upon that foundation of being sons and daughters of the Father that the reality and concept of being brothers and sisters finds its place. It is from the reality of our being sons and daughters of the Father that we find our place and our relationship within the body of Christ as individual members. The body of Christ is a living organism and microcosm of individual members which all work together in order that this one body might know how to fully and completely operate under and in direct connection to the Head. Consider the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the Corinthian congregation beginning with the twelfth verse of the twelfth chapter:

“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: and those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

When we come to the second chapter of Titus we find the apostle Paul continuing to build upon the relationships which exist within the body—beyond merely that of sons and daughters, and beyond that of mothers and fathers. As you come to the second chapter of the epistle written unto Titus you find at its foundation the words which begin with the eleventh verse. In all reality, I am convinced that if we are to truly understand what is found and recorded in the second chapter of this epistle, we must begin with the eleventh verse and continue reading through the fifteenth verse, and then begin with verse one. I am convinced that we cannot understand the role of aged men, the role of aged women, the role of young women, the role of young men, and the role of servants within the body of Christ without first understanding the foundation upon which that was built. Consider if you will the words which are found and recorded in the second chapter beginning with the eleventh verse—words which serve as the foundation for that which preceded and came before it: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying underlines and worldly lusts, we should liver soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:11-15). We dare not speak of aged men being sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity and in patience without first understanding that the grace of God teaches us that denying undogliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. We cannot speak of aged women being in their behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things without understand the denunciation and denying of ungodliness and worldly lusts. What’s more is that we must have at the very forefront of our lives an active looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ—a reality which the apostle Paul also wrote unto Timothy in the epistles and letters which were written unto him. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are actively looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith, and whether we are looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. How we live our lives in direct relationship to the sudden and imminent appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ can and will dramatically and radically alter and transform the entire course of our lives, and we must recognize and understand this within the very depths of our heart, for it must throughly influence how we conduct ourselves here upon this earth in these last days.

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