In the previous chapters we saw how the priest of God was formed; namely out of sinners, lost in sin and guilt. For Jesus was willing to cleanse us, who were sinners, in His blood, and to renew us in and by His Spirit. In Chapter 7 we saw, that in Christ we may be resurrected into NEW LIFE. In this Chapter we shall have a close look at the different kinds of priestly labor we may perform in and by Him after having been anointed for it by Him. We will discover that we have been saved by Him in order to save others! We will also discover that this labor, in its totality, makes God’s light to shine as by a sevenfold, gold candlestick which was also to be seen by those who, deliberately coming out of the Forecourt, entered that Holy Place.
This candlestick consisted of a shaft (one arm with a foot on which the whole candlestick rests) in the middle, and of six branches, which come out of the shaft by twos. That shaft and those branches together give a sevenfold light. The same way the spiritual candlestick of God (namely our testimony in and by the Holy Spirit) today gives its sevenfold light in this dark world for the glorification of the wonderful Name of God. So a child of God, cleansed in the precious blood of Jesus, and renewed in and by the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit, must walk in priestly service in this world; in order to proclaim to that same world the sevenfold light of God’s glory, and to reveal it. Let us have a closer look at this sevenfold Light, in sequence.
We must deny ourselves things and be prepared to bring sacrifices in honor of Jesus.
LUKE 8 verse 1-3: “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him. And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.”
We see here, as the first light of God’s candlestick, the willingness to bring a sacrifice for the use of the Gospel of God… We see here women willingly going with Jesus, Who is the Word of God, Who proclaimed His Father’s Word, namely the Gospel, the Good News. They took care of all the material and financial things He needed for this. The life of each servant of God should be like this. Everything he possesses materially, should be dedicated to the increase of God’s Kingdom.
There is a clear characteristic in the life of a servant of God: he is not stingy for the work of Jesus! His purse is always open for the work of his Lord. He even put all his belongings in Jesus’ hands. When you see someone who is stingy with regard to Jesus’ work (think of the biblical “tithe”), then you know such a person is not yet born again. Which is not to say, that a servant of God is wasteful with his money, but the Lord has full control over it. Jesus knows that His children still need money in this world for all their activities.
We must dedicate our life to Jesus, and labor in honor of Him alone.
A servant of God is a revealer of the Word, a proclaimer to the world of the Gospel. God’s Word must be heard from his mouth. He must be a sounding board of God, that is always ready (and thus pure); an open and not a clogged channel.
LUKE 8 verse 4-15: “And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be (mean)? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the (explanation of the) parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with (daily) cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth (spiritual) fruit with patience.”
Here we see a sower sowing seed. The Lord explained that the seed is the Word of God that is proclaimed to the world. The Word of God comes forth from the heart of the Father. And it is God’s servant, who in prayer must be open to this and having received it must sow this Seed into the hearts of the people.
Elsewhere in Scripture we read again, that the Word is the Sword of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is the Holy Spirit, Who must wield this Sword, and neither you nor me… Again: we should not wield the Word; it is the Holy Spirit within us, Who through us must wield the Word. Then it will be a Sword. To what purpose? For the destruction of bonds of sin and powers of sin. The Word must cause the souls of the people to want to die to bonds of sin, and must deliver them from the powers of sin. But if we are not willing to be delivered, then this Sword will be judgment to us! But when we are prepared to see the evil within ourselves – by the Word revealed to us; and when we are prepared to lay our (old and sinful) life in the hands of Jesus Christ, our Lord, then this Sword of the Spirit will kill all sin in us and… deliver us from all works of satanic powers in our life (Romans 8:2).
Seen in this light, who do you think the Sower is? It is God’s Holy Spirit, Who works in and by His servants… He builds the Kingdom of God! He alone is the Builder of the Kingdom of God and of the temple of our heart (Matthew 16:18; John 15;:5; Psalm 127:1-2). We are merely channels; human channels in His hand, through which the Word may flow which must come directly from the heart of the Father; and for which we pleaded, wrestling in prayer before His throne. It is His bread, the Bread of life, which we must pass on in His Name. And this Word, this Seed, is mighty Seed, which must be sowed by Him Himself working through His servants. In this parable are mentioned four cases of reception of this Seed (namely the Word) in the heart, and only in one case this event has eternal value!
In the first case we see the seed fall by the roadside. In this case the Gospel message is heard – maybe with great attention, whereby the listener saw himself, in God’s mirror, as a great sinner whom Jesus in His mercy wants to save – but one does not come to actual surrender to the Savior; the seed is not planted IN the heart, even if it lies temporarily “on the table” of that heart.
You might know how powerful the germination strength of natural seed is. I was told that even stones can split apart when such a stone is in the way of the germination. So is the Word of God, but it must be planted in the heart of man. The human heart must embrace and love the salvation of the Lord Jesus; it must gratefully grasp His promises, and praise Him for that; it must familiarize itself with the Word of God as it is given to him in His mercy. Then the Word will work! But in this case one does not surrender to the Savior, and… the evil one rushes in, and takes that Word away from his heart.
In the second case we see the seed fall in stony ground, it landed on a rock! There might have been a thin layer of soil on that rock, otherwise the seed would never have sprouted. But when the seed wants to take root, it is stopped in this activity by that rock of stubbornness, and self-centeredness.
The seed at first was received with great joy… Why? The person who received the seed noticed in his spirit an open gate to God’s heaven he also wanted to enter. He saw that God’s gifts of grace contain power, namely (the power) to become a son (or daughter) of God, and to receive power in Christ; and he longed to have this, or be it. He only sought glorification of self, for in his heart was a rock of self-centeredness, and he sought to have found this glorification in religion. God’s seed cannot take root here; the Person of Christ cannot grow in them, because this heart seeks itself, and only wants to clothe itself in the glory of Christ! This person’s own spirit here is the great handicap to grow and to come to maturity in the (LIVING) Word in his life. Such people do not seek to magnify Christ in their life (something which can only happen by crucifying self), but they want to be important themselves amongst their fellow-believers. The Word of God is bound to be doomed in such a heart.
Beloved, if you ever wanted to receive God’s Word in your heart in order to gain honor and glory in your life with it, in order to shine like a star in the religious sky, then stop now! Then there will be a true turning unto the Lord. Do you know, satan loves to see this kind of “believers”, for he knows that such “Christians” (and the works in their own strength) are doomed. If you find this “rock” in your own heart, then come to Jesus with it, that He completely pulverize it. All self-will and self-centeredness in us must completely disappear, and this is only possible if we surrender to the works (of grace) of the Lord.
This is why Paul is opposed against leadership of novices, of newly converted (people) in the Church: “An overseer (bishop)… not a novice lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (1 Timothy 3:6) For, in a novice, a newly converted, self is not yet completely crucified, and it will therefore be the honor, which (unfortunately) often is the result of this leadership, which is not killed… but rather fed… with conceit as a consequence. Something, which will bring to the fall himself and many of the Church.
The self-centeredness of the believer and servant of God must be pulverized by the Holy Spirit just like grains of incense are. And when these “grains of incense” are burned, they will only serve for the glorification of the great God, Who transformed a lost sinner into a child of God!
By E. van den Worm
If you want, see also the ‘verse by verse’ study of:
- LUKE Chapter 1
- LUKE Chapter 2
- LUKE Chapter 3
- LUKE Chapter 4
- LUKE Chapter 5
- LUKE Chapter 6
- LUKE Chapter 7