Who Are You? - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 6 - PENETRATING THE HEAVENLIES
Often the people of God who desire to walk in truth are accused of neglecting the simple message of the gospel, encumbering it with needless deeper truths, and forgetting about the needs of the world about us. But this is not so. How we long for the release of the gospel of Christ into the hearts of men. But we just know and recognize that the light of the gospel cannot shine forth into the hearts of men until the people of God begin to penetrate the very heavens, and walk in the wisdom of the Cross. If it were just a case of raising more money, for more books, or more tracts, or more radio, or more television, or more missionaries... then we could just concentrate on that; because there is still a lot of money around, a lot of zeal in people, and a lot of good preachers. But if the word of the gospel must penetrate the heavens before it can truly penetrate the hearts of men, then we must earnestly begin to seek the Lord for help and direction... and learn His way for lifting the veil that lies heavily upon all nations. Let us notice the threefold ministration of the gospel, as outlined by the apostle Paul. (See Eph. 3:8-10).
(1) To preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.
(2) To make all men SEE what is involved in the fellowship of the gospel.
(3) To make known in heavenly places the wisdom of God
Let us consider this threefold aspect of the full gospel:
(1) "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ". Unsearchable riches! Why do we persuade ourselves that we have the ultimate gospel, or the full gospel, just because we have certain blessings and gifts, and know how to declare the gospel message from the Bible? The riches that God has for us in Christ Jesus are "unsearchable riches" ...and it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reach into the heart of God, and take the things of Christ, and make them known unto us. "For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10). Did you notice why God gave us His Holy Spirit? That He might search out the deep things of God! And now we are told to forget all those deep things, and get on with preaching the simple gospel. The gospel is that ministration by the Spirit which searches out the depths of God. For what purpose? "That we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (vs. 12).
(2) "And to make all men SEE what is the fellowship of the mystery..." The gospel is not just a message declared... IT IS A SECRET REVEALED. For the word "mystery" means "secret" ...a secret that is made known to those who are initiated into it.
In vain are we going to simplify the gospel by portraying it vividly with musical talent, or by drama, or by puppeteering, or with the art of rhetoric, or eloquence of speech. Scales have to be removed from blinded eyes before men are able to "SEE what is the fellowship of the mystery". It is not just a case of persuading men to turn from one religion to another. "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Cor. 4:4). The hearts of men have got to be pierced by the sword of the Spirit before they are able to SEE.
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory... as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit" (1 Cor. 2:7-10).
No one can come to know God, except blinded eyes are opened, and deaf ears unstopped. The gospel is a "mystery", a "secret" that men can only know as the Spirit of God reveals Christ to their hearts.
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast REVEALED them unto babes: even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him" (Luke 10:21, 22).
Jesus came to reveal the Father, to make known and unveil the Jehovah-God of the Old Testament. He did this as He walked in total union with Him, saying only what the Father gave Him to speak, doing only what the Father gave Him to do. No one else knows the Father unless the Son reveals Him. And this is what the gospel is all about... to take away the blindness from eyes that men might come to see and know God. Paul so preached Christ in Galatia as he walked in the infirmity and weakness of his flesh, that the Spirit of God flowed forth from his life and message, and the people SAW the Christ, crucified in their very midst (Gal. 3:11). And in seeing the Christ the scales of darkness dropped from their eyes.
God help us to understand that we do not proclaim the gospel merely with books and words and song. There must be a revelation, and unveiling of the Christ, by a ministration of the Spirit of God.
(3) "To the intent that NOW unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by (or THROUGH) the Church the manifold wisdom of God".
What Paul said before about preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ, and having fellowship in the secret of Christ, was all leading up to something else: "TO THE INTENT THAT NOW..." God's purpose in all this is that there might be a penetration of the wisdom of God into the heavenly realm. It is not just an earthly ministration: traveling far and wide with a message. There must be a heavenly penetration of the wisdom of God.
People continue to say, "now let's not get so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good". The Devil started that saying. For he knows that we are of no earthly good because we are not heavenly minded. We have not been able to penetrate the heavens with "the manifold wisdom of God", and therefore the powers of darkness are left undisturbed, and the powers of the heavenly Kingdom are not alerted to what we are saying, or what we are doing. TO THE INTENT THAT NOW! The intention of the gospel is not there, in most of our preaching. The intention of the gospel is to BIND in Heaven those forces that are loose in the earth, and must be bound before men can see and hear. The intention of the gospel is to LOOSE in Heaven those forces of the Kingdom that need to be loosed in the earth. Like the sons of Sceva, we might have the right formula: "I bind this evil spirit in the Name of Jesus" ...but rarely is there any real work accomplished because we are not known and recognized in heavenly places, and our words are not heard or obeyed. The apostle tells us that the intention of the gospel is that the wisdom of God might be revealed NOW in heavenly places, through the Church. Let us ponder this statement. Here we are on earth, in the midst of all earth's distress and bondage. Why should I care about revealing the wisdom of God to principalities and powers in the heavens? Let us leave those far-out things alone, and get on with our task of preaching the gospel in all the world!
Then suddenly we are brought face to face with the realization that the wisdom of God is the wisdom of the Cross; and that if we are not walking in the pathway of total obedience to the will of God, and identifying with the Cross of Christ--we are not making any inroads into the world of darkness, because we are not known and recognized in heavenly places. Suddenly we come to realize that IF WE ARE NOT KNOWN AND RECOGNIZED UP THERE, WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE OF ANY EARTHLY GOOD DOWN HERE.
If we could only believe this, what a difference it would make in our whole approach to the ministry of the gospel! Our whole way of life would be utterly changed. Our prayer life would be utterly changed. For as we begin to walk in the obedience of the Cross we would find the very atmosphere of prayer would be impregnated with the will of God, and the desire to do only those things that are pleasing in His sight. Our only desire would be to become a vessel approved of God, and to care nothing about the approval of men. And then would we discover what Jesus talked about when He said, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you" (Jn. 15:7). We would know how to give ourselves to the Spirit of God, that He might through us make "intercession for the saints according to the will of God". We would learn how to "pray in the Holy Spirit": "fervent" prayers, "hot" prayers, that are baptized with the fire of Heaven... prayers that reach the throne of God.
Beloved, we are going to have to get better acquainted in Heaven if we are going to be of any earthly good down here. We have got to begin penetrating the heavens with the wisdom of God, if we are going to see the scales removed from the eyes of men, and the captive souls of men set free.
We are talking about the Wisdom of the Cross. Lord, teach us how to walk in the wisdom of the Cross!
Chapter 7 - The Wisdom of the Cross
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