Five-Fold Today - A Father's Decision - Oh Taste and See That the Lord is Good - Confident Yet Humble - The Purpose of God

June 17, 2000

A Father's Decision

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not.

The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw the line to his son's friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man's mouth. "The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us." With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it?" "But I'm standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me. You see....I was the son's friend."

Being passed around and forwarded. Origin unknown.


June 15 evening, 00

19. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21. that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Rom 8

19. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. 20. "Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. 21. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. 23. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Isaiah 65

The Lord began speaking this to me Thursday evening:

"The time is coming for the Son of Man to be made known unto all flesh. I want to make myself known to the many who do not know Me. Many have heard about Me, and many have heard stories about Me; but I long in my heart for ALL to come to know Me. "

"This generation will come to know Me in a different way than any have ever known Me before. Those who know Me intimately will help others to know Me in this way. All day long I hear the cries of a lonely people. They seek to find life's answers in things other than myself. Why must they seek these things other than Me? Why do they look for their answers elsewhere? Because many of them have not been told about the riches that I can give them. For there are riches that far exceed the riches of this world. To be sure, I have come to give life and that more abundantly--and I intend to give my abundance to all who would come unto Me. To pour out my blessings, and to extend my lovingkindness, is what I desire. I long to give my love to this world. I long to manifest my glory in my sons and daughters. I long to create a heavenly temple in each of you. I long to see a kingdom of priests; where the earth will reign with Me and I will with them. "

"Surely it is time for the sons of glory to be manifested upon the earth. All creation has been groaning and waiting for that hour. For the chains will be broken. The lame will walk again. The deaf will hear. The blind will see. Surely I will manifest myself upon my sons and daughters. In times past, men would come to see the wisdom of Solomon. But surely, I would tell you that a much greater thing is here at hand. For my glory will be extended from all corners of the earth. A child will live out his days. Old men and women will enjoy the fruit of their hands and their labor. Surely, that day will dawn. But even now there is a mighty wind of my glory to come. It will come like the torrents of the rain. It will burst upon the scene. Surely, the rivers will flow with my glory. It will flow from the young unto the old. Grab a hold of my garments and you will come with Me into glory. Surely I will cause a royal feast in my name. I have spread out a banqueting table. I offer the choicest meats and foods. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!"

Stephen Hanson



June 17, 2000: Tell My people that no more shall they enter My house with uncircumcised hearts to defile and profane that which is Holy. Sanctify thyself, cleanse your hands and your hearts for they have the blood of your brothers on them. Those that you have slain with the words of your mouth and murdered in your hearts. These are not the ways of the Lord and I will remove My name from the temple which your body is. Be done with these works and all your works. Enter into My rest, there is absolutely nothing you can do apart from Me. Stop this foolishness. I have called you to be priests of the House of the Lord of the order of Zadok. To minister unto Me to worship in truth and in Spirit. I would reveal unto you the manifold wisdom of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. I would have you speak the words of prophecy that I give you and call forth those things which are not as though they are and they shall become. Rise up. You have asked to come up higher now I say come up hither, come up and speak the word of the Lord and I will bless it and uphold it. Fear not for I have not stopped speaking to you nor will I.


I understand now, more than ever, the importance of character over gifting. An un-developed or under-developed character minimizes the power of a sharp an accurate ministry gift. A character under progressive development through the inward working of the Holy Ghost, coupled with mentoring helps us to minister a word with more of Him and less of us.

To minister powerfully, we must realize who we are in Him. Knowing that He chose us serves as a great beginning!

You whom I [the Lord] have taken from the ends of the earth and have called from the corners of it, and said to you, You are My servant-I have chosen you and not cast you off [even though you are exiled].

For those of us who undergo prophetic rejection, grab ahold of the fact that God chose you! God's approval overrides your background, your culture, where you live, your finances, your woundedness, or any such thing! As we grab ahold of that fact, we boldly approach the throne of His grace to carry out our purpose in the earth. The Father, in eternity past prophesied your approval and acceptance, and through the witness of Jesus Christ and his resurrection, and the witness of the Holy Ghost, the Word is further established. Face it saints: It's a done deal!

You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that your bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]. He may give it to you. John 15:16

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.] John 16:33

In this, we establish and walk out our confidence, with God-given assurance in whom He established us to be. He serves as the source of our confidence. As we walk in confidence, we walk with certainty. We know, through relationship and equipping, that we, as a child of God, hear His voice.The key here, is through a right relationship with the Person, in whom we represent. Do you know Him?

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him and he will direct and make straight and plain your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil. For the Lord shall be your confidence, firm and strong, and shall keep your foot from being caught [in a trap or some hidden danger].Proverbs 3:3-5; 26

A right relationship establishes us on a foundation of faith, trust, assurance, expectation and hope. Those qualities enable us to minister prophetically according to His purpose and through His power.


Jesus exhibited confidence when he declared, after quoting Isaiah 61:

And he began to speak to them:Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing. Luke 4:21

Some of the folk, the Pharisees, did not like Jesus' confident expression of His destiny and purpose! What Jesus said was "tight" and it was "right"! He told the truth, the WHOLE, truth, and nothing but the truth! The Apostle Paul helps us to understand how Jesus' revelation of His Deity demonstrated His ultimate act of humility:

Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another that you do of yourselves]. Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did no think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained but stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born of a human being. And after had appeared in human form. He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme death, even death of the cross! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, that in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phillipians 2: 3-11

Do we understand that our gift operates out of obedience, motivated by love in order to serve the Body? Jesus understood that, and as a result, God resurrected Him and he sits at the right hand of the Father. As we embrace both our obedience to God, and our love of the Church as our motives, and as we incline make our purpose God's divine purpose, our walk of humility becomes second nature. Furthermore, we:

. . . work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidity shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). Phillipians 2: 12b

Salvation implies wholeness. In order to walk whole and complete we need to be about our Father's business. The Apostle Paul said:

And I am convinced of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return}, developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Phil 1:6

Fulfilling our purpose on earth, and serving as an agent of change within our spheres of influence to facilitate His Kingdom here on earth. That requires confidence and humility through our relationship with Him.

Father we thank you for who You created us to be. We desire to free ourselves from pride and arrogance, and we waive all rights in the natural to serve you in the Spirit. We take a lower place that what may be our due and walk in deferential respect to Your will AND your way. We express our love to the Church by esteeming our brothers and sisters higher than ourselves. We willingly take a back seat to your intent and purposed through one another. Help us to fulfill our ministries with integrity, empower us to move mightily in your power and with your wisdom. We love you Lord. Amen

Confidently YET Humbly submitted,

M. Adrienne Hawthorne

By T. Austin Sparks

It is of immense help, in contemplating the manifold activities and energies of God, to be able to gather everything into one inclusive, comprehensive, and concrete issue. The Bible, from Genesis to the Revelation, covers a wide range and includes a vast amount of matter, but it has one all-governing and conclusive objective. The purpose of God is one, and only one. It is always referred to in the singular; ''Called according to His purpose'' (Rom. viii. 28). ''According to the purpose...." (Eph. i.11). ''According to the eternal purpose'' (Eph. iii. 11). ''According to His purpose and grace" (2 Tim. i. 9). It is not a variety or number of things; it is just one.

And what is the one, single, comprehensive purpose? The answer is Christ! ''His Son, Jesus Christ." And when we ask further, What about His Son? The answer is, to have Him fill all things and to have all things in Him. That this is so is made clear in the definite statements of Scripture; ''In Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible...all things have been created through Him, and unto Him.'' ''For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwell" (Col. i. 16, 19). ''Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds (ages)'' (Heb. i. 2).

So, then, in the counsels of God, all things must head up in Christ. God's occupation is with bringing Christ in, and bringing into Christ. If we would be "God's fellow-workers," this must be our single-eyed aim and business. This defines precisely the purpose of the Church.

The presence of the Church in this world is, firstly, to be a corporate expression of Christ here. The very designation ''The Body of Christ'' means Christ corporately present. The Church is not an institution, organization, society, or religious fraternity. It is, -in God's intention, the embodiment of His Son in a continuation of His life and work on this earth. In the next place, after the being of the Church, is its work. This is just one thing, and by the one result alone its work stands or falls. This work is to make for an increase of Christ in this world, and this is to be accomplished along two lines; namely, by evangelism and building up.

Evangelism is the bringing of Christ initially into lives. Every new instance of Christ coming into a life is an additional measure of Christ in the creation, making a new creation. It is of the utmost importance that there should be no stopping short at mere mental agreement, or emotional expression, or just an outward act of acceptance, but that Christ by His Spirit should really have taken up residence within. But our object is not to deal with evangelism, but to point out its object, which is to bring in Christ and to bring into Christ.

The other purpose of the Church is building up. In the most familiar versions of the New Testament the word in this connection is ''edification.'' But "building up'' is much better. The Church is to ''build itself up.'' We are to "build one another up." Spiritual gifts and ministries are all meant for ''building up.'' What is this ''building up"? It is the increase of Christ. The New Testament repeatedly refers to ''babes in Christ'' and ''full-grown men'' in Christ; and there is a constant urge to ''go on to full growth.'' Thus, by extensification and intensification, by increase outwardly and inwardly, it is Christ gaining an ever-increasing place. We repeat, by numerous ways and means God is governed by this one all-dominating objective--His Son.

But there is a point which needs very much to be emphasized and kept in view. These two things,evangelism and building up, are not two separate things; they must be kept together. If they are separated, or if either is given a greater place than the other an unbalanced condition will arise, and this will defeat God's full end. If evangelism is given a place greater than building up, or to the exclusion of the other, the result will be a great number of spiritual babes who remain such, no matter how long they live. There will then exist a preponderating number of Christians who are like those referred to by the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews--''When by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles...and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food" (Heb. v. 12). By this and what immediately follows, the Apostle makes it quite clear that God can never be satisfied with just having so many, however many, "converts,'' born-anew babes, but His end demands that these shall come to the spiritual position where they can take all that He has to give of spiritual strong meat, and have spiritual senses exercised, being ''experienced in the word'' and of spiritual intelligence. All this means what Paul called ''the measure of Christ,'' and the end in view--''unto the measure...of the fullness of Christ.''

If, on the other hand, building up is given a place out of all proportion to evangelism, we shall have another malformation. There will arise an ultra- spirituality that is divorced from what is practical. Truth will, sooner or later, take the place of Life. The mental will rule out the truly spiritual. The worst outcome will be that those involved will be found to have got into a false position which will not stand up to the tests of real life, the expression of Christ, among the people and conditions of this world. For the real proof of spiritual life is in its ability to express Christ in love, forbearance, patience, meekness, and self-forgetfulness, in an unsympathetic, ununderstanding, and unappreciative world. This does not mean that there should be a limiting of either evangelism or building up, but it does mean that there must be a close relationship between the two.

This is very strikingly manifested in the fact that the Apostles of the New Testament combined these two ministries in such fullness. They evangelized mightily; but what an immense building up ministry they fulfilled also! They brought Christ in almost everywhere they went, but they brought Him in in ever-increasing fullness wherever they had been. The point is the combination of the two. In the matter of ministry gifts to the Church, the Evangelist and the Pastor and Teacher are complementary ministries.

All this is surely very patent. But where are we now? We do not hesitate to say that the relationship between these two things has not by any means been preserved in equal proportions. The fact is that there is a preponderance of Christians who are, after many years, spiritual babes, sadly immature; without understanding in spiritual things; without capacity (and without appetite) for ''strong meat.'' The result is that the impact and effect of Christ in this world is not at all commensurate with either the time that Christianity has been here, or the number of Christians on the earth. A few strong, healthy, and ''experienced'' people of God will count for a very great deal more than a vast number of Christians whose maturity is unduly delayed. There is therefore much to be done by way of removing this ill-balanced state and bringing the Lord's children to the state and position which should be theirs ''by reason of the time.''

This means that there is a real need and demand for a ministry of ''the fullness of Christ'' to the Christians of our time. The world's need is preeminently Christ in greater fullness, and this can only be in and by the Church, His chosen vehicle. But, we repeat, all such ministry must not stop with itself. It must result in stronger, richer, fuller evangelism. That is to say, the Christians must come through it to the position of having more of Christ to show and impart. This then is what is our sense of calling-"for the perfecting of the saints unto (that they may do) the work of ministering"; the word "perfecting" meaning making complete or full.

To sum up, God's end is the bringing in of His Son to fullness. This is the object and nature of the Church's being and work. The method is twofold: evangelism and building up. These two must be kept in close relationship as complementary, and the balance must be preserved in equality. This balance has not been preserved, and there are very many Christians whose spiritual maturity and capacity is very unduly delayed. There is therefore an altogether inadequate registration, impact, and effectiveness as to Christ, considering how long Christianity has been here and how many Christians there are. The need then is for a ministry by which Christians can be helped to the position that is God's desire and intention for them. Such a ministry must not end in people becoming interested in and taken up with teaching as something in itself, but rather in a richer and fuller representation of Christ to and among the peoples of this world. It is a misapprehension of truth if it results in less concern for the increase of Christ by the salvation of sinners and the mutual spiritual helpfulness of the saved. Truth should never turn us in on ourselves, but should make us conscious of being under a great debt to others.

Then we must realize that there are certain things which are basic to full spiritual development. One of these is the essential organic oneness of all who are ''in Christ.'' No individual, or number of individuals, as such, can attain unto the full stature of Christ; that is only possible for "the whole Body." Any kind of division amongst Christians is a violation of Christ (''Is Christ divided?''--1 Cor. i. 13), and that must be contrary to the Holy Spirit, by whose work alone can we attain unto full growth. Therefore believers must abandon schismatic and divisive ground and occupy only the ground of Christ. In the beginning the Church was constituted by the acceptance of the absolute Lordship and Headship of Christ, and not just His Saviourhood. "We preach Christ Jesus as Lord.'' The Saviourhood was largely for men's good, but the Lordship was mainly for His place. This issue was the occasion of all the trouble.

This then is the ministry to which we feel the Lord has called us. Through deep and drastic ways He has formed it. We have not assumed it, and we can only give what He has given. We have sought much and always to be saved from mere theory, and we feel that in this the Lord has been faithful; but it has been costly.

And now, brethren, how can we gather up what we feel as our burden? Perhaps in no better way than in the Apostle's words: ''Teaching every man, and admonishing every man, that we may present every man perfect (full grown) in Christ. "

T. Austin Sparks
March, 1943
Submitted by Doug Fortune

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