A DIVINE COMMISSION
The Holy Spirit often communicates with me in the wee hours of the night, around the third Hebrew watch (from midnight until 3:00 a.m.). Several months ago, I woke up from one of those dreams to hear very specific words from the Lord coming through my own mouth.
God's people must be delivered from the double-mindedness of sin-conscious speaking and living. We must learn who we already are in Christ on the basis of what He has already accomplished.
God's people must be delivered from the double-mindedness of sin-conscious speaking and living. We must learn who we already are in Christ on the basis of what He has already accomplished. My goal is to help everyone grasp what Jesus' finished work has already done with who they used to be, to herald the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom. For that reason, I originally hesitated when the Lord commissioned me to write a book that addresses sin. His exact words that night to me were, "Tell My people about these twelve deadly sins that have aborted the Seed of their destiny."
This writing does not come to you with the heated ardor of an Old Testament prophet coming off the back sides of the desert sternly preaching judgment and denouncing everybody's heathen ways. Nor am I perched on my "soap-box," condescendingly harping on my favorite subjects or unloading my spiritual pet peeves. I am not trying to straighten everybody out. Too many weaknesses remain in my own life, areas that have yet to come under the full jurisdiction of the King of glory. But I am sincerely weeping for all of us….
Ezekiel 3:15, KJV Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat….
Jesus was called "the son of man" throughout the four Gospels (34 times in Matthew alone) because He has totally identified with the human situation. Ezekiel was the only prophet known as well by that name (over 90 times). In that spirit, I am pointing my finger at no one, for I have "sat" where you sit. Like Nehemiah and Daniel, I am not ashamed to identify myself with the people or our problem. Admittedly, "We have sinned…"
Following His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, King Jesus "wept over it" because His people failed to discern the time of their "visitation" (Lk. 19:41-44). The grandest hour of Church history is upon us. Yet many Christians are not aware of this critical, appointed season.
Lamentations 1:16, KJV For these things I weep…
THE TITLE OF THIS BOOK
The Lord originally whispered this title, Pressing Into Destiny: Twelve Obstacles in the Race of Faith. Jesus gave me a positive way to communicate a message that could be perceived by some as mostly negative. Specifically, He quickened three key Scriptures wherein Paul describes the Christian journey in terms of the athlete in the games who runs the race, reaches the goal, and wins the prize.
The Lord further emphasized that the finish line or destination of this race-our destiny-is contained in the Seed of the Word of the Kingdom (the theme of the next chapter).
1 Corinthians 9:24, KJV Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one received the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
Philippians 3:13-14, KJV Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Heb 12:1-2, KJV Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about (amphitheatre) about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
To run this race effectively and to finish strong, we must put off every "weight." This word ogkos means, "a mass (as bending or bulging by its load), burden (hindrance); whatever is prominent, a protuberance, a bulk, a mass; hence, a burden, a weight, an encumbrance."
More than that, we must watch out for the obstacles and impediments strewn along our course, and hurdle them in Jesus' name! Every runner is to beware the sin that "does so easily beset" us. This Greek word, used only here in Hebrews 12:1, is euperistatos, and it means, "well standing around, a competitor thwarting a racer in every direction; skillfully surrounding." It is a compound of eu (good or well) and peri (around or all about) and histemi (to stand), and thus describes sin as having advantage in favor of its prevailing.
The essence of every besetting sin is a mistaken identity.
SIN IS A MISTAKEN IDENTITY
Hamartiology, the Doctrine of Sin, is taken from hamartia, which means, "to miss the mark." One of the Greek words for "mark" is charagma, transliterated to the English, "character." Hence, to sin is to fall short of the character of Christ! Sin is a mistaken identity. Do we know who we are in Christ as the Seed of Abraham and the Seed of David (Matt. 1:1 with 1 Jn. 4:17)? Furthermore, the Bible declares that Christ "is the image of God" (2 Cor. 4:4). In view of that, the spirit of antichrist is any other image! Said another way, there are but two kinds of men on the planet: Christ and Adam, the "new man" and the "old man"-beauty and the beast!
Paul's apostolic anticipation was for Christ to be fully formed in a people (Gal. 4:19). "Christ in you" (a plural pronoun) reveals a corporate Man with a corporate anointing, a vast company of sons, male and female (Col. 1:27 with Rom. 8:19).
Romans 11:29, KJV For the gifts and (the) calling of God are without repentance (compare Eph. 4:4).
There is but one calling-the calling (the definite article is used here). The "high (upward) calling" of Philippians 3:14, the "heavenly calling" of Hebrews 3:1, is that each believer has been summoned to be like Jesus, to be conformed to His image and likeness! There is no nobler aspiration in this life or the life to come. The individual goal and destination, the finish line of this race of faith, is for each of us to be like Christ! Having been called into His presence to be transformed by His grace, we are sent from thence to our particular assignments. But our singular calling and our "blessed hope" is to become like Him (Tit. 2:13 with 1 Jn. 3:1-3).
John 17:21, KJV That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us….
Ephesians 4:13, KJV Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Our corporate goal, destination, and finish line is "the unity of the faith" for which Jesus prayed-one corporate Man! So the third dimension of Moses' Tabernacle, the Most Holy Place, is marked by maturity: the full stature of love and unity (Psa. 133).
Isaiah 66:1-2, KJV Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? 2 For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.
The "House" of the Lord, the Body of Christ, a people in whom God can stretch out and find a resting place, is the bigger picture. Like Joseph of Arimathaea who "begged (craved, desired) the body of Jesus" (Matt. 27:58; Lk. 23:52), we long to see a contrite Corporate Man in the earth who fears (reverences) the Lord!
For each of us to be like Jesus, and for an anointed people to become one in Him-this is the prize, the purpose for our running!