THE SEED LIFE OF JESUS IN YOU
By Dan Luehrs
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1 NASB).
"What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life and the life was manifested (revealed), and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested (revealed) to us" (1 John 1:1-2 NASB).
As Christians we cannot wait to see the face and image of Jesus Christ in person. Yet the Bible teaches us that the living Word of God is the image and likeness of Jesus which has been revealed in us. If we want to know and see Him as He really is we do not have to go any farther than receiving the Life of His Spirit; for He is the Eternal Life, the exact image and representation of the Father. When the disciples wanted to see the Father, "Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'" (John 14:9 NIV)? Jesus, the Word, is the exact image and likeness of the Father who we so desire to see and know more clearly; no longer seeing Him through a glass darkly. As we dimly see Him now, this gives spiritual Life unto us. But when we see Him face to face, it will give Life unto our mortal bodies and we will be changed! "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know (Him) in part, but then I shall know (Him) fully just as I also have been fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12 NASB).
There is a spiritual "high-way" to "Life" in God that we are called to walk on and it will lead us through a "narrow gate" unto the transformation of our bodies. "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide (broad) and the road is easy that leads to destruction (loss), and there are many who take it. Because narrow (suffering) is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV). If we walk with the multitudes in this new day we will find ourselves going through "the wide gate" or "broad way" that leads to "destruction." The word "destruction" in the Greek means, "ruin or loss." To walk the broad way of this world is to have the ruin or loss of the precious Life of Christ that would transform us into His glorious image and likeness. I find it interesting that one of the most famous roads in the entire world is called "Broadway!" It is a main thoroughfare of New York State and is the longest street in the world. It begins at the southern tip of Manhattan and extends about 150 miles north to Albany, NY. It running through Times Square in New York City; this is the principle theater and worldly amusement district of the city. As the Broadway of New York City is representative of the world system, so is the broad way or the "easy-life" of sin that leads to "ruin or loss" for all those who would travel on it in this life! The narrow gate of suffering and judgment is difficult for us now, but is nothing compared to the suffering of those who walk on the broad way of life now, and what they will suffer later in the lake of fire judgment! Do not envy the apparent prosperity of the wicked, for it is only temporary and not true reality. It will all crumble to the ground one day just as the World Trade Towers did in New York City. But we who live for spiritual realities (truth) will have them throughout eternity! David said in Psalms 73:3-6, 12-19:
"For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment." -- "Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children. When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors."
Our heavenly Father is leading His elect to go through the narrow gate of judgment now in this lifetime. This narrow way leads to the fullness of the Life of Christ, which is the transformation of the spirit, soul, and body. Jesus said, "… Narrow is the gate (doorway) and difficult (suffering) is the way (the roadway) which leads to (the fullness of) life, and there are few who find (obtain life) it." The word "narrow" means, "to be hemmed in a tight pass or doorway between the rocks." In other words, as we are climbing spiritual Mount Zion, we find ourselves in difficult places that seem to make it almost impossible for us to travel upward into His fullness of Life. Jesus said it would be difficult for us to follow His way to the fullness of Life. The word "difficult" means, "to suffer tribulations and hardship." I believe what Jesus is saying by this is, "People are willing to pay the high price of suffering for many things in this natural life, like being rich, having a college education, or to obtain fame. But few will pay the high price of traveling upward this spiritual Mount Zion to obtain the fullness of His Life that He has promised to all those who would trust Him for it."
If we will seek Him on the highway to Life that He has promised to give us, He will then help us travel on it with the help of His presence. "You have made known to me the paths (roadway) of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence"(Acts 2:28 NIV). Our job is to stay on the path of Life and stay out of the ditch that is on either side of this path. If our desire is to go to the top of Mount Zion and be swallowed up by His Life, then this is a must! Sin, depression, doubt, fear, and unbelief will put us in the ditch and keep us there until we call out to our Shepherd to pull us out by His grace. If we are spending time in the ditch we are not traveling upward to our high calling of the renewed mind in the likeness of Jesus and we will delay our transformation into His likeness at the top of Mount Zion. This is not just a given because we have received Jesus into our hearts, but must be obtained through our enduring unto the end. "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God (the kingdom of His Life!)" (Acts 14:22 NASB). Through our suffering and great tribulations we find the way to enter in; there is just no other way into the fullness of His of Life. Paul said we are, "Always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:210-11 NASB). If the dying of Jesus is not in our self-life, there cannot be the Life of Jesus manifested through us to others either!
We, as the church of Jesus Christ, must move forward in and through this dying process if we are going to obtain His Life. We must stop loving the world and its Babylon religious system of our day and not go back to its ways. Why is it that the church of Jesus Christ as a "movement" has not progressed forward, but has gradually regressed backward to her religious ways? The whole church has not grown spiritually in truth and into the likeness of Jesus, nor has it progressed in all fields as much as the world system did over the last century, especially in the area of knowledge and technology. This last century the world has gone forward in almost every field, but truth! But soon great advances are in order for the church of Jesus Christ! We are promised in Romans 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life (God's Life eternally) to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you." These earthly bodies must be changed! Think about it. Everything that naturally comes out of the physical body stinks; they stink inside and out because they are bodies of the sin nature! We must take baths to keep from stinking and then put deodorant on (which means, to kill the stink); then on top of that we put on perfume! We brush our teeth and suck on mints to keep from offending others and I will not write much about the smell that comes out from our stomachs and after we have eaten! But oh, how we will enjoy our glorified bodies made after the likeness of Jesus! They will no longer need any physical makeup to make them look or smell better, for they will have the fragrance and beauty of God Himself! Wow! "He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself" (Philippians 3:21 NRSV). And that's what our physical bodies are, "humiliation" compared to our spiritual bodies in heaven.
God told Daniel about the future end times, that there would be great advances in the earth and in the revealed word of God, depending on what translation you read it in.
"But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase" (Daniel 12:4 NASB).
The amplified Bible reads this way, which I believe is correct.
"But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of end. [Then] many shall run to and fro and search anxiously [through the book], and knowledge [of God's purposes as revealed by His prophets] shall be increase and become great" (Daniel 12:4).
Great knowledge has increased in the earth, both in the revelation of God's word and in the world system to advance their causes in all fields. Yet few Christians have taken advantage of these historic times that we live in to seek God for greater revelations of Himself. Most believers have run towards the world system to become wealthy in earthly riches, having become spiritual adulteresses with the world system of man. "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4 NASB). Somehow, many Christians have been deceived to think that receiving the riches of the world was God's real blessing on them was more important than receiving the true riches of the kingdom that were to be implanted within their heart. Its no wonder that John the revelator calls the church system "the great whore" that controls the minds of many people on the earth (see Rev. 17:1,15). Many preachers within the church system teach foolishness while the truths of God go unclaimed and undesired by most believers. Some of the Greeks of Jesus' day had enough sense to seek Him instead of the things of the world. "Now there were certain Greeks (these were intellectuals) among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these therefore came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came, and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying (listen to Jesus' answer as He tells them how to see Jesus), "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified (through His death they would see Him in His full grown body of sons). "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies (Jesus), it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit (Christ the seed was buried in us to bare fruit in His likeness through us). "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be (and where is that? On the throne); if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him (to sit on my throne)" (John 12:20-26 NASB).
Jesus said in Matthew 13:30, 37-38. "Allow both to grow together (the wicked and good seed) until the harvest (of the full grown sons); and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat (the seed of Jesus that was sown in us) into my barn (the precious produce is the sons of God that have grown into His fullness)." -- "And He answered and said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed (the full grown harvested seed), these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one (the full grown harvested weed seed that is burned in the fire)."
"Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming (presence) of the Lord (for He comes in and through His sons, His first fruits). Behold, the farmer (God, John 15:1) waits for the precious produce of the soil (which is His character and fruit in the sons), being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains" (James 5:7 NASB).
"And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, "Put in your sickle and reap, because the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe (the full grown seed, the sons of God). And He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth; and the earth was reaped" (Revelation 14:15-16 NASB).
Simply put, when God's fruit or character is full-grown in and through our lives, we must be harvested! We must not allow our trials and tribulations to hinder our spiritual growth any longer, but allow them to cause us to grow into His likeness quicker. God does not lightly allow these troubles to come upon us without a purpose and plan. Paul said in Romans 5:2-5, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
It is easy for us to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God; this is only natural for us to rejoice in that which is exciting and expectant. Yet we are told to rejoice in our tribulations. Now that's supernatural! Unless we have a revelation of what tribulation can do for us we will not make it through the severe tests and trials that will open for us the greater revelations of the Lord, which is His full revealing in and through us. Paul said, "Tribulation worketh patience." In other words, pressures, trials, and afflictions work in us the willingness to suffer the will of God so that we will be matured like Jesus. Patience means just that, "the willingness to suffer the will of God." We must let tribulations finish their work in us and not try to escape from them if we expect to grow spiritually into His likeness. "Perseverance (patience) must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4 NIV).
Our willingness to stay under these trials is what is testing our obedience to our heavenly Father through our most trying of circumstances. "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8 NAS). Our goal should be to be like our heavenly Father. "Therefore you are to be perfect (mature), as your heavenly Father is perfect (mature)" (Matthew 5:48 NAS). My goal as an earthly father is to bring my children up and mature them in heart and mind. Should God have anything less than a goal for us to be like Him?
But Paul does not stop there. He goes on to say in Romans 5:4, "Patience (works) experience." We could say, "Patience, or staying under the trial, brings forth tested character in us." This tested character is "Christ likeness" in our heart and mind. When we have gone through our trials and have learned what God wants us to learn from them, we now have His tested character. We have learned experience from them just as a hardened war veteran would have learned to stay cool under fire! "Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11 NRSV). When the Lord has trained us through our tribulations, we will have peace in our heart and mind through any circumstances and nothing will shake us! Our maturity in God is proven when we are in peace under fire.
"Experience or tested character (works) hope: and hope maketh not ashamed." How can tested character bring hope? When we see God's faithfulness to keep and deliver us through all of our circumstances as He has promised us in His word, great hope and peace in our inner man. Once we have learned that we can trust God through anything, we will have a greater hope that He will keep His word to us in our present tribulation. As a Christian, we should have one hope and goal. Paul speaks of this hope often in his writings. This hope is not the rapture, nor is it a mansion in heaven; it is to know Jesus and be like Him, which is the hope of glory! These tribulations that we are going through are preparing us to be revealed as the sons of God! "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19 NASB). But this will only take place after we have been tried and tested by God.
RESISTANCE IS GOOD
"Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7 NASB).
"But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world" (1 Peter 5:9 NASB).
The word "resist" means, "to stand or endure against." Resistance works for our good. The things that hinder us only work to make us stronger, just like a weight lifter pushing against his heavy weights. God allows the devil to work against us to only make us stronger spiritually. Some years ago I went down to the altar of a church and raised my hands to the Lord in worship for His wonderful presence. Out of nowhere I felt someone's hands on mine pushing against me, not to the point of pushing me over, but firm and steady. I opened my eyes to see who was there and to my amazement there was no one! I thought that was strange! Little did I know that God was trying to speak to me about what was coming in my life: "RESISTANCE" from the enemy. This was only to prepare me and make me stronger for His work in the future.
One day I was seeking the Lord on why I didn't have any desire to do some of my past sins and but still had other sinful desires. For instance, I used to smoke and drink, but I have no desire to do those things anymore. But when it comes to wasting my time on the Internet or TV and other things that pull at the carnal man, I still must fight against them. The Lord showed me James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." Notice that temptation is not evil in itself; but it must be endured or suffered long against to make us stronger so that we can pass the test that the Lord has allowed in our life. In fact, the Lord has allowed Satan to test us as He did Job and Peter to see if we have built up any resistance against evil. Do you see that when we resist temptation it only works to make us stronger as if we were a weight lifter in our spirit? As we resist temptation we become stronger and stronger against it, but as we yield to our sin we only become weaker and weaker, yielding to it the next time we eventually tempted, and are overcome by it. Some people say, "I just could not help myself!" Why is this? Because they have not built up any resistance against that certain temptation. "… By what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved." (2 Peter 2:19 NASB). When I first quit smoking it was very difficult for me because all my old friends smoked and they tempted me with starting back up again. But after awhile I built up a resistance against it so much that I ended up think that smoking was the dumbest thing that I ever did for my health. We definitely suffer against many temptations everyday; some we give into more easily than others because we have not gained any resistance against it, and because we still may love our sin to much too part with it. We must ask the Lord to give us a perfect hatred towards all sin before we are overcome by it. "I hate them (sin) with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies" (Psalms 139:22 KJV).
We must drink the cup of testing. This includes suffering against temptation if we are going to be an overcomer with Jesus. Do you not know that Jesus also suffered temptation in the garden of Gethsemane, the sin of wanting to quit on His way to the cross? He said to Peter, "… Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it" (John 18:11 NASB). Yes, we too will suffer through our times of temptation, but He has given us many great promises to deliver us. One of these is found in John 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
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