In and through Christ we must be willing to be delivered from the noxious terrestrially and worldly minded view(s) of life
This new chapter deals with the fatal, worldly influence(s) in the life of Christians; an influence which is experienced by the body (verses 1-6), the spirit (verses 7-11), and the soul (verses 12-24). It is the influence which is exercised on each worldly minded person (and thus also on each worldly minded Christian) by the spirit of this world; by the (demonic) forces in the air, whereby, in our human nature, from birth, there is rebellion against God and His will. And because of this influence by the tempting and deceiving forces going forth from satan, many Christians are reduced to spiritual death, to a life without God and without rules, because the power coming from satan fills them.
But God wants to cleanse us from every sinful lust in our natural spirit, soul and body, which this demonic worldly spirit seeks to manipulate by means of its temptations and deceits. That is also the reason why He says to us: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters…” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18; compare also Isaiah 52:11 and Revelation 18:4). And, if we really do what He asks of us, He will fill us with His nature and Spirit, so that we will be (or become) truly children of the almighty God.
At the end of this chapter (verses 25-35) He advises us to, carefully and with discreetly, accept the purifying and sanctifying working of His power of grace, because it is solely this way of the cross – namely the way we, in and through Christ, must go in order to (completely) die to (the powers of) sin within ourselves – which will lead us to the blessed presence of the fullness of His Spirit in us.
The spiritual death brings sickness in the body
LUKE 14 verse 1-6: “And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched him (closely). And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy (or oedema). And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; and answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? And they could (or rather would) not answer him again to these things.”
The spiritual death reveals itself here in the dropsy (oedema; this is a sickly [abnormal] accumulation of fluid in the body) of that person, who was also invited into the house of the chief of the Pharisees. The same way the spiritual death can reveal itself in all kinds of sickness in our body, and weaken it, sometimes unto death. But Jesus came to deliver us (completely) from this spiritual death and from all its effects in our body, soul and spirit. And He will heal us, if we surrender to Him (completely), so that we will experience that wonderful rest (of the soul) which is in Him (see Matthew 11:28-29). But, in order to be (completely) healed by Him we must have completely mended our ways and turned away from all the old and sinful things in our heart and life. Also there must be, besides faith in Him, the desire to be (completely) delivered from all influence(s) of the spiritual death, which also causes sickness.
The spiritual death brings pride and the desire for honor and/or fame in our spirit
LUKE 14 verse 7-11: “And he put forth a parable to those which were (also) bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
The Lord here tells us a parable of someone, who was invited to a wedding feast. So are we all invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb of God (Revelation 19:6-10). Every worship service or (public) expression of our faith must be seen in the light of this spiritual feast.
Man finds himself, by nature, and thus under the influence of the spiritual death, very important and, at any occasion, loves to assign himself an important place. This, unfortunately, is also the case at all religious occasions, where one loves to be seen, and heard. Positions in the Church, which were taken this way, whereby one was driven by pride and the desire for honor and/or fame, unfortunately disturbed and/or ruined many gatherings already; sometimes to the extent that congregations were torn apart thereby… When do we learn to subject to that mighty guidance of God’s Spirit? When will the sincere plea live in our heart which only asks: “Lord, what would You have me do?” On the other hand many spiritual leaders are also guilty of stubbornness (self-will); of the (often strong) tendency to rule and of short-sightedness, whereby they, and not the Spirit of God, have the say-so.
All those, who by their willfulness, and thus driven by pride or the desire for honor and/or fame, have taken in (or even won [by fighting for it]) positions in the Church of God, or who were called by people or by themselves (and so not by God!) to hold certain positions in the Church, and thus act in their own will, always oppose the Spirit of God, and by doing so harm the Body of Christ! Is it not Christ alone Who is the only Builder of the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:10; Psalm 127:1-2)? Therefore we all are to be called by Him alone, in order to be used as living instruments in and by His building Hand (1 Corinthians 3:10)! Is not Christ alone the only Good Shepherd (John 10)? Therefore all, who are called by Him to the pastoral function, should only be living extensions of His shepherd heart!
The satan, who is the cause of the spiritual death within us, always holds out the false hope to us of a great ministry in the Church and in the world. Let us therefore learn to recognize the voice of satan, and rebuke him, in order to (be able to) take in a lowly place at His feet, giving Him all the glory; to (be able to) hear His loving commands there concerning our ministry in Him, that we perform those in His strength (Romans 12:3). This way we shall learn to honor each other; namely the anointing which (also) works through our brother and/or sister. We shall also learn to esteem others more than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). If we have the sincere desire in our heart to serve Him, and if He has also called us personally thereto, then He shall lead us also personally to that position (appointed by Him) in Him. He will personally prepare us to (be able to) do good works (see Ephesians 2:10). As Christians we should not use our elbows; but God will remove all obstacles personally! In this way He also put David on the throne of Israel. The Word of God is applicable here: “He that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16)!
Should we, however, fill a position in the Church of God while we have not been called to it, and led by the Spirit of God, then we could, if we have a winning human personality, draw many to us and captivate them, but because of us these will, during their earthly life, not become “citizens of heaven” (by which is meant a life of complete subjection and devotion to God). For this is something only the Spirit of God can do. And if we are not called, we miss the so needed anointing of God, because only His anointing can work strongly and with power in the hearts of the audience, whereby they, should they really want this, could be (completely) delivered and renewed by His power. “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
By E. van den Worm
If you want, see also the ‘verse by verse’ study of: