Numbers 24-25 / Proverbs 17 / Ephesians 5-6
A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
It's good to ask why, because when we understand the reason God wants His sons to act and be a certain way, the reason He instituted so many specific things, the reason certain commands were issued; then we can start to get a feel for the actual purpose and motivation of God, the general philosophy behind why He wants things to be a certain way. We also get an idea of who and what we're fighting against so we're not flailing against the wind, like most who have no conception of the truth, and so fight an imaginary foe.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Why does God transform His sons so that they are able to love? First we have to ask another question, who are we supposed to love, then we can ask why is it so important to the Father. Are we commanded to love everyone, as the religious community believes? That's like saying that God loves everyone, and wants everyone to be His sons. It's ridiculous because it doesn't make sense unless you have a retarded view of God, that He in fact wasn't the model the humans were created after, that He's actually like a machine with unlimited powers of loving and attention. In that case nothing would matter, and He wouldn't need anything like a family.
That only tends to produce milk-toast mamby pamby mush mouth wannabe "disciples" who have no idea who Jesus was or what he actually said. They try to imitate God by their own human efforts, with animal nature fully intact, which is like saying a raccoon turd can just become a beautiful flower if it wants to be. Their intentions may be okay, but their idea that they can become "godly" by putting on some kind of act, or adapting a certain demeanor is totally misguided. It reflects the presumption that the humans can get to God on the outside, by being a certain way before men and thinking that's important to God. What it shows most is an ignorance about what the sinful nature is, what is commonly thought and taught in churches and ecclesias.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
The sons are commanded to love those whom they know have been chosen by God to actually be sons. That means there is no direction to God in the world of men, no matter how official looking they are, how polished their public speaking skills, or how many followers they have in their "flock." The way of the son is a narrow path, much more so than one would ever imagine until one knows the actual truth about it. The humans who claim to know the truth (because other humans taught them) aren't going to tell you the truth about it because they don't know the truth. Only those who are chosen to know will know, which means that the truth doesn't get watered down with a bunch of man's emotional sentimentality about whom they would choose to be given salvation. Without a hitch, the list would begin with the members of their own flesh and blood family; that's the human way.
"Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, the Son of God said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Because the humans are evil (mere men, common animals as per Luke 11:13), they modify the word and pretend Jesus didn't say things he actually said, or just ignore them so that their man-made systems hold form. That's why the Christadelphians, who are closer to the truth about some fundamental things, will actually have a harder time with the real truth, because they equate their natural families with God's family, which contradicts what Jesus actually taught. It reflects the fact that even though they have some correct understanding about certain very important things, nevertheless they put their faith in their man-made system to save them, not God. The reason why the family is so important to the Christadelphians is because their institution would quickly peter out if not for their recruitment process, driven 98% from within their own natural families. That's why each of them try to pump out as many children as possible, because they think they're doing God some kind of favor, populating His kingdom with their progeny. It's silly, but true. It's the only thing they can actually do, because they are merely animals with the animal nature, who think they are something they're not—those whom God is more happy with because they more of the correct facts than the other groups who claim to know the way to God. In all cases, they're just packs of animals who come together in agreement and are bound by that social agreement. They keep propping up the illusion that they're special to God by the agreement they maintain, just like any group of animals does.
Their arrogance is somewhat disconcerting, however these writings aren't about trying to prove who's right or wrong—it's about recognizing the truth of the animal nature as the sinful nature, the thing that keeps us from knowing the Father, seeing how the humans are totally driven and defined by it, and preaching repentance from it to those who will have eyes to see. Our message to them is only that God is not in their institution, which is nothing more than a modified brand of any "christian," church. From the hymns, to the collection plates, to the preaching—it's all the same group with a different human label stuck on it. The truth is secret and hidden, and if you think that other men will protect you or lead you to God, then you're wrong and fooled.
The blind can only lead the blind into a ditch, and the only way to the real God is through the real Jesus, not the one who has been modified to fit into the mold of who you want him to be, so he meets your needs and allows you to believe your own special brand of lies. The sons will have to come out of all the man-made systems, because they all deny the truth. God gives them over to the lie because they love the lie more than the truth. Converting more people to believe their lie over a different one is what they all attempt to do. The way of the human is to surround himself with others who provide him with agreement; the way of the son is lonely and desperate, sad and tormented because his only agreement is with the Father and the Son, and hopefully with another one of the sons—if they aren't tearing each other to pieces because of the animal's manipulations in their interactions.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
And the child (John) grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
Real love looks like the Son of God for his true Father, who said what was true even though it was hard to accept and impossible for most to believe, because they weren't given eyes to see or ears to hear. It looks like John, who was willing to deny his animal nature to serve the Father, and help the Lord gather up the sons by pointing them away from himself and toward him. It looks like someone who has sacrificed what the humans run after (their right to have a family, career, identity, houses, money, earthly comforts, safety, security, honor, respect, character, integrity, etc.) because they know that those things are only temporary, and what's important is the Father, His desires and purpose instead of their own—finding the treasure of His love.
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Responding to God is the primary act of love; the choice is the most important part of the relationship. First is recognizing who the enemy actually is amongst all the lies (our very nature), who we are at our core and where that nature came from. Then learning obedience to the new way by the suffering of learning to not follow and listen even to our own voice, that which was created by the animal consciousness within us (satan), shaped by our interactions with the world of God-haters. It's being willing to see and believe the hardest things, which are revealed by the spirit, the voice of the Son who was the first to go through this process.
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
Listening and being obedient to that voice allows us to understand who our brother is, because he will be the one who also has the same voice speaking to him. The spirit recognizes itself in the other one. The Lord only commanded the 11 disciples (after Judas had gone) to love each other, because the Father told him they were the ones He had chosen to become sons. The Lord's life, work and purpose were to save these men, who weren't even flesh and blood relatives of his. He called them friends because it designates that fact, and he did for them what he wasn't willing to do for his own flesh and blood brothers.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Finally, why does God want us to love? Because it cuts against what is naturally in us, what we would naturally choose to do, which is only to love ourselves, as any animal does. It shows that we truly understand what and who our enemy actually is, and want to be free from that bondage not for our sakes but for God's. How does that serve God?
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
If we can only always love ourselves and our DNA carriers, which is actually still just us—the natural state of all animals—then we can never actually, honestly love God in the deepest place of our heart where only He can see. That is 100% required in order to be a son of God. We could only theoretically do it, which is the plight of everyone who is trying to get to God on the outside, by doing things, or being a member of a certain religious group which claims to know the way to God, even though they remain unaware animals. No human with the animal nature can be a son, any more than a rat or donkey can be. The sons have to be consecrated by having that nature purged out of them, as Jesus did; so that they're actually, not theoretically, made into a new creature.
A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub (the liars calling the truth a lie), how much more the members of his household!
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
What are the devil's schemes? Here is a recorded account of the devil's scheming so we can know what the devil is, and what its aims are. What does it try to get us to do?
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' "
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
The Christadelphians have a partially correct view of the devil, that it's not some fallen angel who goes around tempting people from the outside. However, because they know what it isn't doesn't mean doesn't mean they know what it does. They certainly seem unaware that it is alive as truly as the serpent was given the ability to be alive and cunning (the choice had to be real). Their error is that don't understand the animal nature—the flesh, the old man, the devil—is them, the nature that rules them and the rest of the humans to remain mere animals. Because they feel they have some truth, they also feel they have some god-given immunity from the devil's control over them, and are thereby disillusioned to its power and grasp over them, and so it keeps them from finding then knowing the real Jesus and the real Father. In the end they're no different or better of than any of the rest of the world filled with institutions of men who smugly claim to know the way to God, which gives them immunity to actually having to obey the words of the Son of God.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
That is the way the Father wants it to be, because the devil is His creation (as in Job and the garden) so that the sons will have an actual choice and it will be real. In that sense the only ones who will be able to recognize this will be those whom the Father wants to have that choice—His way or the way of the humans. The devil's schemes are to make us think that we are what we aren't, and we aren't what we are. The devil want us to follow it instead of God. It wants us to continue to live for ourselves and pretend we are loving our brother and right in God's eyes; to continue to believe that we can have and be what gratifies our animal nature by satisfying our cravings and appeasing our fears and also be pleasing to God. It wants us to believe that we can be unclean and come near to Him, and that we can get to Him via the natural, and don't have to become a new creation or that we already are because some human "expert" assured us we were. It wants us to believe that the natural family has any bearing whatsoever on who God is choosing to become a member of His family. It wants us to believe that men can teach us about the things of God. It wants us to believe that our brothers are those who look, act and talk like us and who don't pose a threat to our earthly selves, families, or institutions.
You are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
When the Son of God said this, the holy roman church had not been formed, and he wasn't talking about referring to their priests as "fathers." He was talking about human fathers, cutting at the throat of the law of Moses which said that honoring father and mother was near the top of the list, and any one who didn't should be put to death. Saying this because they truly believed it wasn't a matter of insubordination or a lack of respect for the gray haired, but that these particular men would truly know their identity, not as human sons of human fathers, but as those humans who had been chosen to become sons of the living God, and that nothing is as important as being chosen to be in the true family of God's own sons, as they had been. That is a true identity which requires a true choice from the one who is chosen and a real life commitment based on real actions, not just a theory based on anticipation hidden in lies. That is the human way, of the serpent, opposite of the way of the son of God.
The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Everything the sons are taught has its power in being the thing that cuts against the animal nature, our very selves. That is our enemy, and what must be purged out of us if we are to become clean. Separating ourselves from the world and the influences of the mere humans can only help the Lord fulfill his work in us. He has begun gathering up the rest of God's sons, so that the Father's will truly can be done. Then we can all rest together.
The sons were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.