The Prize of the High Calling in Christ

Dallas Willard Part 8 of 8

Rolling Hills Covenant Church had listened to Dallas for over ten years. For this Sunday school class, they asked him to speak less about the spiritual life and more about God and the kingdom of God, about sin and our redemption from it.


Dallas: Now, we’ve been trying to bring before you as forcibly as possible the idea of living a life in this world that is drawn from what the book of Hebrews calls the world behind the veil where Jesus has gone and the name that we use for this world behind the veil is Heaven. Heaven.

And Heaven is not some future time; it is now. It is present here and it is something that we can draw upon. And to live in the Kingdom of Heaven is to live under the governance of the world, which is behind the veil. The world, which is behind the veil is not somewhere else. It is here.  It is here and it is now, and the invitation of Jesus was “turn and walk into it. Step right into it.” And in Jesus’ life and His teachings were designed to show how that took place but it is an experience. It’s an individual experience and every person has to do that turning and that walking into the Kingdom of Heaven and that learning how the Kingdom of Heaven works in their lives and there is always an indefinite amount of growth that every person can live through and it will continue in eternity. See?  And that’s what our life here is supposed to be; we are not just waiting for the Heavenly bus, sitting on the bench. We are growing in Heaven here and now. [2:15]

Now, when you, once you get that fixed in your mind and you start reading the Bible from the beginning to the end, it will all make sense to you in a way that it has never made sense before. And all of the events that look so strange, you will see are merely expressions of the reality of Heaven here on earth and I hope that one of the things that will come out of the series of lessons that we’ve had together is an increased joy in reading the scriptures—an increased sense that, “say, this is not about them; this is about me. This is my life we are talking about here. It isn’t just Abraham and David and Moses and Paul and Peter; this is me!” See? [3:23]

If you go back to what we were talking about last time and we must do that because I didn’t finish with that. You remember that we were covering the last three points of entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, Ministering the Kingdom of Heaven and Growth in the Kingdom of Heaven and the last one is for today—Growing in the Kingdom of Heaven.

And one of the things that we need to emphasize and on the sheet, we had the occasion to emphasize it last time but really didn’t get around to it was this—in the talk—was this emphasis that those who are rich in ministering and living in the Kingdom of Heaven are just people like you and like me.   They are just people like you and like me.

Do you remember how at the end of the little book of James, we are told about Elijah in verse 17 of James 5—“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are . . .” Now, what do you think that meant? Well, let me tell you what it meant. That meant that Elijah felt just like you do. And you want to know one of the main reasons why people don’t step into the fullness of the Kingdom of God is because of their feelings; and they think because they feel tired; they think because they feel oppressed; they think because they feel attacked; they feel unworthy, worthless and so on that they cannot minister the Kingdom of God. [5:25]

Now, remember this.  Very simply, and we must move rapidly or we will miss the lesson for today in order to finish the one from last time and I am intent on not doing that.

But now remember this, when you minister the Kingdom of God, you do not minster your feelings. You minister as we said last time under authority and the authority is not a matter of how you feel, it’s a matter of how the person whose authority you are ministering feels about the situation. You ought to remember that. [6:05]

Jane and I went down to the wild animal park down in San Diego some time ago and we saw there all these wonderful creatures and among them was a little baby rhinoceros and the guide who took us around had great fun in telling how that little rhinoceros, as long as it’s three ton mother was near didn’t hesitate to run into anything that was around, to challenge any animal, or do anything as long as that almost immobile huge monstrous thing that was it’s mother was standing there. See, the sense of security that that little animal had is instructive to us about how we work and live under authority.

It is under His wing that we are safely abiding; not by our feelings but most people are overwhelmed by their feelings. They are men of like passions. One way of translating that is to say, “we suffer from the same things that other people do.” Elijah suffered from the same things that other people did and the story of his life abundantly shows that, doesn’t it? We don’t have time to go through it this morning but I think you are all familiar with it. He suffered from being scared. He got depressed. Elijah suffered from the same things that we do and yet he acted under the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven. [8:02]

Now then, in John, the first chapter, there is a verse here that we want to look at—verse 12—on this matter of authority. This is talking about how Jesus came into the world and how those who were His own people didn’t even receive Him but in verse 12, it says, “ . . . as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God . . .” Now, that word power is translated in some of your versions, how?

Comment:  The right.

Dallas:  The right—the authority; that is the word that I introduced to you last time –exousia—not the word dunamis, but the word exousia—it refers to having a right or having the authority to do something. Where’s the power in such a case?  The power is in the one under whose authority you are acting. Power is given to us also but in a limited measure. The power of the authority under whose hand we act is unlimited.

When Jesus got ready to leave in the last chapter of Matthew, what was it He said? He prefaced His commission with what? That’s a declarative statement—“all power is give unto me in Heaven and earth. Go ye . . .” (Matthew 28:18 Paraphrased) Why? “Therefore, unto every place, every group and make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19 Paraphrased) That right?

You see, you have to understand that the therefore is there for a reason, right? [10:13]

Now, here is someone who goes out to do the work but is not in touch with the power. What will happen? They will fail. They will fail. So, it is so important to understand and by the way, one of those cultural groups or nations lives down here in Palos Verdes, right? We are one of them. These people out here that live in these lovely homes; they are just one more cultural group and when we go to them, we have to go in that same power, you see?

So, we are people of like passions but we stand under an authority, which is unlimited and some measure of the power of God is actually given to us and is resident in our bodies because of the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus has given to us. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. It’s in your body.  It’s in the name. [11:19]

So, here we are now, folks; there are two places the power is as far as we are concerned. One is “in the name of Jesus,” and the other is “in our bodies.” What do we do when we exercise the power of God? We use our bodies and we use the name.

Now, I have to just head everything off here and say, look, we are not talking about some empty, ritualistic use. You can shout the name of Jesus or lay your hands on people until they wear out. There is nothing in that action in itself. It’s when the body is throbbing with the power of the Kingdom of God and when the name is spoken in the presence of the power of the King that the action takes place. [12:20]

Now, with that background, I want to just go back and read that verse that we were on when we had to quit last time in Mark 11. This is the case of the fig tree. I’ll move quickly because this is just review now.  Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had leaves but no food upon it and the next day it was withered. You have to remember that the physical universe is totally dependent upon the world behind the veil—totally dependent upon the world behind the veil. There is not anything exists except in so far as it is based in that. He upholds all things by the Word of His Power as we are told in the opening verses of Hebrews—“ . . . upholds all things by the Word of His Power.” (Hebrews 1:3 Paraphrased)

And so, Jesus puts the word of that power on the fig tree. The fig tree does what He says and now He goes on to say, “ . . . verily I say unto you, . . .”—verse 23—“ . . . whosoever shall say unto this mountain, . . .”—and He is using the position of authority in its fullest form. He didn’t say, “whoever should pray about it.” This is the mode of speaking that we talked about last time. “ . . . say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe, he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11:23 Paraphrased) [13:51]

Why such a stress on saying? I can’t speak at this at great length but I’ll tell you that the main reason for this is because in the act of saying, you express your faith; and the reason—I’ll put it in the other term—the reason why people won’t say it is because they don’t believe it.

I want to say once again. There is no magic in the word. There’s been a bunch of false teaching about this that if you just say it, it just works like a trip hammer and it’s gone just because you say the word. See that reduces this back to superstition and what we are talking here is not superstition. We are talking about a Kingdom. We are talking about the fact that a Kingdom works by words and even in the political realm that you live in here and now, this Kingdom of the political realm works by words. It works by what judges say. It works by what policemen say. It works by what citizens say. It works by what legislators say. We spent last time talking about that and illustrating it with the Roman centurion and we must move on from it. [15:11]

“Therefore, I say.” Now, He allows us to move back in to the domain of prayer and I want to reiterate what I said before that the domain of speaking and the domain of praying are in the same domain. They are two expressions of the same authority. You pray only on the basis of your authority and that’s why you pray “in Jesus’ Name.” You act “in Jesus’ Name.” “Whatsoever you pray, believe that you receive them and ye shall have them. And when you stand praying, forgive . . .” (Mark 11:24-25 Paraphrased) because if you don’t forgive, your plug will be pulled. Right?

The unforgiving person switches off, cuts the line to the Kingdom of Heaven because it is a Kingdom of forgiveness. Let me tell you; you cannot work in this domain unless you love mercy. Love mercy! Have you meditated on that? Loving mercy?  You remember that Micah the great prophet tells us, “What does the Lord thy God require of thee, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with the Lord thy God.” (Micah 6:8 Paraphrased) That’s it! [16:34]

Love mercy! Not when you are getting it—when you are giving it and when you see other people give it. Love it! Love mercy! And when you love mercy, you are going to walk into that Kingdom. And Jesus said, “I would rather . . .”—He quoted the prophets expressing the heart of God—“I would have mercy and not sacrifice . . .” (Hosea 6:6 Paraphrased) Mercy! And if you are scared of mercy, you need to go stand at the cross and look at mercy. Mercy is the only thing that saves us and we need to love it and if we love it, we are ready to step into that Kingdom and live there fully and grow in that Kingdom.  [17:21]

How does that name work? I go back again to the story in Acts 3 that we were working from last time just to read—verse 16. Peter, after he and John had lifted the lame man up and the lame man was walking around and climbing the ceiling and shouting and hollering and everyone came and they were filled with amazement at this thing that had been done and Peter, in verse 12 says—he said to the people—“ . . . you men of Israel, why are you wondering at this? Or why are you looking at us?”

What deep, deep teaching. Many of us have not come to the place where we can exercise the power of God because we would not be able to say in sincerity with Peter, “Why are you looking at us?” You understand what I am saying? God will not share His glory with another. And the limitation under which the church lives and many people who need the kind of healing and blessing and salvation that should come to them because the church—many of these people go unblessed because people have not grown to the place to where if they exercise the power of God, they would be easily able to say, “Don’t look at us!” Or, “Why do you look so earnestly on us as though by our own power and holiness we have made this man to walk.” (Acts 3:12 Paraphrased) Hmmm? [19:16]

Sixteen—“you kill the Prince of life” (Acts 3:15 Paraphrased)—verse 16—“And his name through faith in his name has made this man strong, whom ye see and know; yea, the faith which is by Jesus has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” (Acts 3:16 Paraphrased) Presence of you all—he didn’t have to go off in a corner to do it or didn’t have to have a special setting. It was simply something that he walked into in the presence of them all. Didn’t have to ring a bell and say we are going to have a healing service. He moved with the faith that came upon him and in that faith, acted how? In the name of Jesus!

Now, remember, if you have problems with speaking and acting in the name of Jesus, you need to ask God to help you get over that. Now, that may be because, for example—it may be that you have seen many people do it in a foolish way. I want to re-state one of the lessons I have tried to teach over and over and over.  Remember this—everything good, everything important, everything that is right—Satan’s main strategy is to make it look foolish, so you won’t do it. [20:40]

You have to work your way into this by experience—your own experiments, your own efforts of faith, your own failures—that’s the way you learn, you know? You learn by failing. Have you ever seen anyone learn anything not by failing? Did you ever learn anything without failing at it? Anyone here ever learn anything without failing at it? You fail, you see.

Now, if you are not prepared to fail and look foolish, you are too impressed with what other people are going to say about you.  That might be called being ashamed of Jesus. And it’s strange to me as I look around in my own work setting and the circles that I go in how people are not ashamed of some of the most foolish and stupid things in this world but you bring up something like Jesus and suddenly everyone runs for cover. We work in Jesus’ Name. So now the challenge is to each one of us to grow into that. [22:03]

Now, I want to talk a little bit about why we don’t see as much of this as we should. There are various reasons and I’ll just quickly go over the first couple of them and I want to use the third one to move into a final discussion about growth in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Of course, the most obvious reason why we don’t see the exercise of the power of the Kingdom—the life of authority—is that people don’t believe it. People don’t believe it. Now, don’t just slough that off as, “Well, yes, so what else is new?” Because you see, each of us has to come to grips with our own unbelief. We have to deal honestly with what we do believe and what we don’t believe. And many folks have no idea of what it means to their faith or in terms of faith to live as a child of God. [23:08]

“Unto as many as believed Him, to them gave he authority to be the children of God.” (John 1:12 Paraphrased) Now, what do you suppose that means; to have the authority to be a child of God? Suppose you had a prince or princess who didn’t know they were a prince or a princess? As a prince or princess, they exercise the power of their household but if they don’t believe it, will they do it? No, they won’t do it. You have to think about what it means to you that you have been given the right to be a child of God.

Now see, one of the things that hurts us here is we try to believe one of the biggest explosive things. We try to believe a mountain will move. We try to believe for some great thing—someone is sick, and we are trying to believe that they will be healed. I have seen churches just tied in knots over things like that and people set back and given spiritual indigestion, which they hardly ever got over. You are not to try to believe these things. You are so to live in the presence of the Kingdom of God that that belief, when it is appropriate, will be a natural outflow of your relation to Christ. Probably it will feel as much like love as it does anything else, you see.  [25:00]

You don’t try to believe for the big explosive things and this is one of the things that hinders people who are of good heart about this is because they keep trying to believe at the big moment and it doesn’t come.  And so, maybe they force themselves to do something ridiculous; and then when it’s all over, they look back and they say, “Well see, that just doesn’t work.”

We are not to try to believe. You didn’t get to believing that that chair will hold you up by trying to believe it, did you? How did you get to believing that? You sat down and you’ve lived a whole lifetime around chairs, haven’t you? You’ve used them in many, many ways. That’s how you’ve come to believe in the chair. That’s how you got that faith in that chair. [26:02]

Now remember, let’s don’t the faith of Christ too far away from these simple things. You want to remember that it was with simple explanation of the Centurion, “Oh I believe. I know how this works.” You remember from last time? It was the simple explanation of the Centurion as to how he came to believe that Jesus could do what He said, that made Jesus turn and say what? “I have not seen such faith, no not in the church house.” (Luke 7:9 Paraphrased)

You have faith in that chair because of your life around chairs and things and you will have faith of the sort that we are talking about here because of your life. And that life is not just doing big spiritual stunts when the occasion calls for it. In fact, it is not primarily that. It is primarily a life of holiness, which consists of an inward life in relationship to the Kingdom.

Remember, Paul tells us in Romans 14 that “ . . . the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” That’s where it really is and it’s out of that that we act. [27:36]

A lot of folks, I think also don’t enter into this because they really don’t want it. They do not seek it and every one of us should ask ourselves the question, “Do we really want to act with the authority of the Kingdom of Heaven?” Do we really? Now, I don’t want you to volunteer any answers but I want to set questions which I hope you will then search and meditate on and ask yourself, How much have your really sought this?

Now, again, I wish we had a longer time but there is so much—I know the mind processes that go on here—if you ask most people who are Christians, have they sought it, the immediate response in many folks heart is, “Well, that’s not for me.” Now, I remind you then, do you believe on Him? “To many as believe on Him, He gave the authority to be children of God.” (John 1:12 Paraphrased) You don’t think that’s just the Heavenly fire insurance policy, I hope. To be a child of God is to be children of the Father, here and now. To be a child of God is to live in the Kingdom. [29:06]

So now, I return to the question, ”Have you really sought it?” Many folks have never even once asked. Have you sought it earnestly, diligently? Many folks have thought one day, it would be nice if I had that but they have never earnestly sought to live and minster under the authority of the Kingdom of God. It does not extend to their work day life. It does not extend to their home. They continue to think about their life as a Christian, as consisting in certain special religious acts that have primarily to do with their relationship to their church. [30:05]

Now I know that the teaching of this church and many, many churches like it does not suggest that but that’s the way it comes down in practice for many folk, see. And the idea that whatsoever they do in word or deed should be all done to the glory of God.  See, that hasn’t made contact with their lives. They have not sought that.

And finally, one of the reasons why we see so little of this is because we have not grown in the Kingdom of Heaven. We need now to talk about growing. The verses that you will see at the top of the page that I have handed out, talk about growing. They talk about becoming holy. [I think I can make it from here.] They talk about becoming holy, growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. [31:12]

Now, we need to focus very carefully and we need to keep this question very firmly in our minds—what does it mean to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? What does that mean? We need to ask that individually of each one of us. We need to ask, “Am I growing?” To grow means to have more of it, doesn’t it? There is a certain increase—a certain more; and the simplest way that we can describe “in the more” is what is in the more, the simplest way you can describe it is to say simply that we are going to become more and more like Christ.

You remember Romans 8 tells us that we are “ . . . predestined to be conformed to his likeness, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren . . .” (Romans 8:29 Paraphrased) and many sister-n as well. [32:22]

Now, how do you grow in Christlikeness? You grow in His character and you grow in His power. You become more like Him inside and you become more able to do the things that He did.  Hmmmm? That’s it! So, now that’s what growth in Christ and grace, the knowledge of Jesus Christ means.

Grace, by the way is not just a—grace is not something that happens away from you. When Paul, in the standard benedictions and others in the New Testament say, “Grace and peace be unto you” they are talking about you having something you didn’t have before. Grace! Grace is gift. Grace is an impartation of something real that is left in you. To grow in grace is to grow in the degree to which you are divinely assisted to be like Jesus. That’s what growth in grace is. To grow in grace is to grow in the degree in which you are divinely assisted to be like Him. [33:51]

Would you think Jesus loved mercy? What would you think? He loved mercy, didn’t He? He loved seeing mercy exercised. He told stories about it, didn’t He? He told stories about a man that owed a little money to a wealthy person and the wealthy person, when the fellow couldn’t pay, he just forgave, didn’t he? The wealthy person just forgave the debt. Do you remember that story? And then the other fellow who was forgiven went out and got some person who owed not nearly as much to him and took him by the throat and said, “Pay me,” and threw him in debtors prison and mistreated him. [34:38]

Jesus loved mercy. He hated mercilessness, you see. So, we grow in love of mercy. We grow in love of our giving mercy to others. Mercy isn’t something we just do in the past. It is something we do in the present as well.

The other day coming back from Portland, I was on the bus and I was tired and this I often do, I find myself going through the Lord’s Prayer and just praying the Lord’s Prayer. And you know sometimes on the buses you have people that are talking at the top of their voice about things they oughn’t to be talking about anyway and I was sitting there being irritated with that. [Laughter] And I got to the part about “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” and the Lord said to me, “Well, what about that?” How about you forgiving them right now? Well, I had to have a little grace to do that. See? [Laughter] That grace had to be given. We grow in grace as we open up our lives to receive more of God’s assistance to do those things, which will make us like Christ. [36:04]

Of course, when we come to the moment of moving the mountain of speaking the name, you must understand that God will give you faith when it is right for you to act in the name of Jesus. You don’t have to create the faith. Don’t try to work up faith.  Grow in grace and in the knowledge and the faith will come. We grow in grace as we open more and more of our lives to the power of God and acknowledge that we can’t do it and cry out for help to do what needs to be done.

And we just have to say over and over again that these aren’t all specially religious acts. Most of us aren’t engaged in specially religious acts as we go through the day. We are talking about here all of the things we do—all of the things we do. These are the things that we are more and more filled with grace in. We surrender them to God. [37:19]

See, we are so used to functioning on three cylinders out of eight and we think we are getting by in pretty good shape just because other people are running on two, but you ought to try eight some day. See? And you do that by opening yourself to the grace of God in everything you are doing—everything you are doing. When you allow yourself to think the one thought, “Well, I don’t need God in this moment.” You see, the whole lynch pin that pulls your life towards what is behind the veil has been slipped and pulled and now you are on your own. Now you are on your own. Don’t do that. Hold your life open to God in everything—in everything—no matter how trivial. No matter how small and you will grow in grow and then as you grow in grace, you will grow in knowledge, because you see, when you open your life to grace, something really happens and when something really happens, then your knowledge grows. OK? Your knowledge grows. [38:35]

So, now, just hold on to that verse in Peter about growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and keep it—this is 2 Peter 3:18; it’s in your sheet, but “ . . . grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. You see, that’s our charter for growth and as we grow, we ought to become richer and richer and richer in holiness and in the power that comes from it.

One of the verses I put at the top of your sheet is the verse from the Proverbs about how the life of the righteous grows. Could someone read that to me? The path of the just?

Comment: “But the path of the righteous is like the first light of dawn shining ever brighter to the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18 Paraphrased)

Dallas: “Shining every brighter to the full light of day.” Now, do you have the sense that that is what is happening to you? Be honest now! Don’t—no one is going to sue you for whatever you say, so just be honest in your own heart. Do you have a feeling that that’s what’s happening to you? Is the light of grace growing more and more and more now? Do you have the feeling that you are approaching noonday?  See, that’s what ought to be happening as you approach old age and death. [40:15]

You ought to have the feeling that the sun is just about to reach the brightness, which it’s supposed to have. See, our whole culture is just the other way. The sun is at its brightest in our world when you are sixteen, I guess, huh? Eighteen—something like that. Then you hear people talking about—ohhhh—the big 3 0 and then the big 4 0; then they don’t talk any more. [Laughter]

See, every one of those should be a milestone with Jesus. Every one should be a greater brightness of the Kingdom—a greater reality of the Kingdom and death is nothing but the portal of life in its fullness. Through death, we enter through the veil where we’ve been living from all of this time. See? [41:20]

Now, we can know the power and the reality of that world. We can. That’s what I am telling you about. If you want that, you can have that and you can be so sure about all of this that all of the things that Jesus said about “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live and he that liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” (John 11:25 Paraphrased) You believe that? Or is that just something you whistle at the funeral? “He that liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” You planning on dying?

Listen to these words from 2 Timothy 1: “Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purposes and grace, which was given us in Jesus Christ before the world began. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ . . . ” Get these words—“ . . . who hath abolished death.” You better be careful what you say. He has abolished death and “ . . . brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10 Paraphrased) [42:58]

You see, what I have been talking to you about in these weeks is I’ve been trying to help you make sense of that. See? There is a reality of the Kingdom of God. It is available to you here and now. You can turn in to it and live there. You can fill your life with it. That can grow to the point to where what is called death in the human way is nothing—abolished. [43:34]

Now, sometimes there are really wonderful experiences when death visits the church-the believers. I think many of you have perhaps experienced that. If you haven’t, I hope you will. I hope you will. It should be one of the most glorious moments—one of the most glorious moments because you see at that point, the veil just parts a little bit and the full light of the Kingdom shines through. “The path of the just is as a dawning light that glows and brightens more and more until the perfect day.” {Proverbs 4: 18 Paraphrased)

Now, you see, you need to pay attention to the Kingdom then, don’t you? You need to live in this. One of the reasons why it is so difficult for so many people is they haven’t been living by it. They haven’t been thinking a bout it. They’ve had their head stuck down in all sorts of things. They are too busy to deal with this sort of thing. They have something better to do and consequently, they never comes to terms with the meaning of the gospel. They never have any honest experience of the reality of the Kingdom in their lives and they don’t look for it. But we are called to grow in grace and in knowledge and remember, that grace means power that comes into our life in response to faith so that we can be and act as Christ and then as that power comes in, our knowledge of Jesus Christ grows. [45:18]

So, you see, it isn’t just when we go to the funeral home that we say, “he is the resurrection and the life.” It’s when we are dealing with something difficult at work when we have a problem with another individual we are dealing with and we ask for the mercy of God to come into that situation and melt our hearts and theirs as well. Then we say, “He’s the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) [Laughter] That’s when we say it! Right? Because we are put in touch with something that is beyond us and that something is the eternal theme of God—a Kingdom which cannot be moved—a Kingdom which cannot be moved.

How do you grow? You’ve gotta have a plan for growth. At the basis of that plan must be the expectation that God wishes to be your partner in all of your life. That’s what He sought from the people of Israel. That’s what He seeks from you today. That’s what will be realized in Heaven after this earth. [46:36]

Listen to these words from the book of Exodus. Exodus 29—I wish you would find time to go back and read these passages from Exodus. I hope that if you have time to meditate on what we’ve said, I do know that it will totally revise your sense of what is happening in these books. After God gave the law to Moses, of what it’s supposed to be like now. This is Exodus 29: verse 42 and following—“There shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto you.” It wasn’t just Moses. “There I will meet with the children of Israel and the Tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory.” (Exodus 29:43 Paraphrased)

See that’s the way our lives are supposed to be. That’s what the church is supposed to be like. When Moses and the elders went up on the mountain, the children of Israel at the bottom of the mountain it looked like the mountain was being devoured by fire. It wasn’t but it looked that way. “I will meet with the children of Israel and the Tabernacle shall be sanctified by my Glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar and I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons to minster to me in the priest office” (verse 44 Paraphrased) and note this verse—verse 45—and I will dwell among the children of Israel.”  I will be their God.”  [48:30]

That’s what God wants you see. God wants to dwell among us. He wants to live at your house. He wants to to be at your work. And you remember the description from John the first chapter is “the word became flesh and pitched its tent or dwelt or tabernacle among us.”

And in Revelation 21:3—the fulfillment is simply a statement that God will dwell among his people. That’s what it’s about—claiming our lives.

Are we are supposed to quit earlier? All right, I am getting the signal. I have five minutes. [49:26]

The first chapter of 2 Peter gives you a kind of an agenda of filling your life. Now, you need to expect God to move into your life. You need to call out to Him in all of its parts. Your life is to be filled with God but then you have something more to do. You have to have an agenda or a plan. This should be something that the church as a group as well as the individual Christian here is working from. This is a plan to realize Christlikeness—to attain Christ. That phrase “to attain Christ” means just to “be like Him.”

Look at the outline of this plan and we won’t have time to say much about it but perhaps you can fill in the blanks a bit by your own study. [50:28]

Verse 4 says, “Whereby we are given exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through desire.” (2 Peter 1:4 Paraphrased) Now, “ . . . beside this, add giving all diligence,” all diligence. How much diligence does that leave out? None!

Remember, God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Add to your faith, virtue or excellency. The things that are good, do them. Be them. And to virtue, add understanding. Many times people do the good and right thing but they don’t understand it and therefore it’s not stable and it’s not as good and it doesn’t realize what is should realizes. They need knowledge. Add to your knowledge, self-control or temperance. One of the problems with people who know is that it doesn’t reach their will. They have no self-control. They have no temperance. Temperance is the ability to stand stead, to be firm, to carry through. Add to temperance, patience and to patience, Godliness and to Godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, Divine love. [51:57]

A lot of folks want to go right directly to Divine love but you don’t go that route. You go from the reception of love, in faith, through the degrees of realization of excellence, of virtue, knowledge, self-control, patience, Godliness, brotherly love and then as Romans 5 says, “the love of God is shred abroad in our hearts by the Holy spirit that He has given unto us.”

Well, work with a plan.  Develop something in conversation with your friends and your pastors that will bring you to the place to where holiness fills your lives. Remember that life behind the veil; from behind the veil is something that is real. You can know it by experience if you set out to seek it with all of your hearts. And the Lord just bless that to you now. [53:07]

“God, lead and guide and direct the hearts and minds of every person here that the word might quicken them into that holiness which you came to impart to us as we follow you. Bless this church and all of its offices and ministries to that end that you might be glorified in this part of the world and people might know your goodness and love you for it with all their hearts. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Listen to all parts in this The Soul’s Eternal Anchor series