By Eric Wheeler – 5-12-09 (re-posted 11-8-2013)
eric@sharingtheway.com

Dearest Saints and those beloved of the Father,
I am writing to you in the mind of the Spirit.  The God of our fathers, together with our great Lord the Savior Jesus Christ, have called us into the fellowship of the Spirit to impart to us the mind of God and His beloved true nature.  We are not of this world, neither do we care for the things of the world, having passed from death to life, to inherit the eternal things of God and the glorious kingdom of His Christ.

It is true that the world hates us.  But it hated Him first.  And we are not greater than our Master.  If it hated Him, it will hate us also.  Neither did it know Him; therefore it does not know us either.  It is written: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” (Col. 3:2-4).  Brothers and sisters, listen to me.  God loves us, and He has prepared a way for us.  Don’t become discouraged in your thoughts and in your hearts.  He has not forgotten us.  He has prepared a Way.  And that Way is Jesus.  He not only is the Way, but He also has shown us the Way.  That Way is the way of death; but it leads to eternal life.  Jesus said, “I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me ” (John 14:6).  He also said, “If anyone wants to serve Me, let him take up his cross and follow Me. For he who loves his life will lose it; but he who hates his life in this world, and loses it for My sake, will find it and keep it unto life eternal. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Matt. 16:24-25; John 12:24-26).  I think that most people – Christians in particular, fail to realize where Jesus was actually going when He said, “Follow Me!”  He was going to Golgotha – to die!  That is what He meant when He told each of us – His followers – to “take up our cross” and follow Him to the place of crucifixion.  It is to die!

Men do not understand death.  They are afraid of it.  But it is the passing from things physical to spiritual.  Paul explains this: “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as He has determined, and to each kind of seed He gives its own body… The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.… The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” (I Cor. 15:36-50).

Did we get that?  The Scriptures say that the “physical” cannot inherit the kingdom of God.  If our lives are wrapped-up in the things of this world and we are pre-occupied with attaining this world’s perishable desires and goods, then we are not living in Christ!  The word of God continually reminds us that even though at this present time we are still residing in these “fleshly temporal tabernacles and tents”, we nonetheless are not to be living according to the flesh, but rather we are to be living in the Spirit, and daily putting to death the things of the flesh.  In this way, we have become a type of the holy ark of God – the movable tabernacle of Moses which wandered through the Sinai desert looking for a permanent home and residence whose builder and maker is God – that is, a Temple made without human hands which is not of human origin, wisdom and ingenuity.  In this way, we too, still being in our temporal physical bodies, but all the while carry within us the Spirit and Presence of Almighty God, meander through this godless barren desert looking for the “land” which God promised us and our spiritual descendants.  Having left Egypt behind, with all of its futile cares and fruitless riches, we press on towards His Kingdom, not looking back, nor anymore desiring Egypt’s temporal “onions and leeks” (Num.11:5).  To us, Egypt has become a barren waste land, where the kings of this earth vainly and futilely enslave people to help them build their perishable monuments and cities as memorials unto themselves, in their never-ending quest to find immortality, happiness, and meaning to life.  Like the ancient pharaohs’ long-abandoned pyramids and cities, this world too will soon become a forgotten desolation covered by the innumerable sands of time.  The glories of this world will soon be buried by the sandstorms of God and forgotten just as the once glorious temples and palaces of Egypt were.  God has promised that everything physical will soon be burnt-up and will come to nothing, and that jackals and scorpions will roam where vain kings once tread (Isa. 13:9-22).

Brothers, sisters, and all that have ears to hear, listen to what I am saying.  If you love this world, and the things which are of this world, you will surely die.  You will perish just as those who physically “came out of Egypt” perished; because in their hearts – that is, spiritually, they never left that place of bondage.  I tell you the truth, everyone who desires Egypt, and the things of this world will die without mercy, just as they all perished who rejected God, and desired to return back to Pharaoh (a type of Satan) and to be brought back into bondage again.  Do we not understand?  God specifically led the Israelites into the wilderness for a reason!  He made their canteens (their wineskins) run dry.  He emptied their coolers (their storage jars and bread baskets).  He did not allow them to take extra clothes or purses.  He purposely made them a little hungry and thirsty, and a little uncomfortable, to see what was in their hearts (Deut. 8:2-5).  At any time, He could have opened the storehouses of heaven and rained down food, silver and gold, new clothes, and horses and cars, upon them; but He didn’t.  Why?  Because “flesh and blood” – that is, physical things cannot inherit the kingdom of God (the Promised Land)!

If our minds are pre-occupied and concerned with physical things, then we have not left Egypt!  If we worry about “what we are going to eat and drink, or whether or not we are going to have clothes to wear” we have not left Egypt!  If we spend all of our days, and energies, working in order to make money so that we can provide for ourselves – clothes, food, nice houses, nice cars, etc. then we have not left Egypt in our hearts!  As it is written: “He who has entered His Rest has himself also ceased from his own works as God did from His” (Heb. 4:10).  And again, it says: “You cannot serve God and riches. Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns [work]; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin [work]; yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, oh you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ [In other words, ‘How am I going to pay for and provide for all of these things?’]  For after all these things the Gentiles [the unbelievers] seek [are worried about]. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek [be concerned about] first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own troubles [concerns].” (Matt. 6:24-34).

I have often wondered about the Scriptures that say that the disciples got together daily in the Temple, growing and learning, and fellowshipping together, and breaking bread from house to house with one another (Acts 2:46);  and how Scripture says that they “were continually in the Temple praising and blessing God.” (Luke 24:53); and that they would often meet together in the Temple at Solomon’s Porch “being of one heart and one mind, having all things in common, with no one saying that any of the things which he or she possessed was his or her own” (Acts 4:32; 5:12); and how “no one lacked for anything” (Acts 4:34; Luke 22:35).  Didn’t these early believers have jobs?  Didn’t they have mortgages and bills to pay and kids’ mouths to feed?  Didn’t they have employers to satisfy, and families to raise?  Scripture makes it clear that because of their excitement and inviting love for God and for each other, and because of their true faith in Him to provide for all of their collective and individual needs, God gave them favor with all the people, and blessed them with abundant resources and provisions so that none of them had need of anything (Acts 2:42-47).  They were of singleness of heart and purpose – that is, collectively they were “seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness”, and this sincere goal permeated everything that they did!

Therefore, just as Jesus had promised them, God took care of and provided for every necessity and need that they had (Matt. 6:33).  I tell you the truth, the same God that created them created us; and the same God that called them called us; the same God that made their physical bodies made ours as well; and the One who gave us families and children to feed and to take care of gave them all children and families to take care of as well; and He faithfully and abundantly provided for them so that “none of them lacked for anything” (Acts 4:34).  Don’t we believe that God will be faithful to us as well, and provide for us and our children?  Jesus said that our heavenly Father who created us already knows what we need in order to live and to survive (Matt. 6:32).  Isn’t this the reason that Jesus miraculously feed the five-thousand?  Wasn’t it to demonstrate the fact – that God can and will miraculously provide for His own?  Scripture says that Jesus personally fed over five-thousand men, not even counting the women and children among them (Matt. 14:21).  And He did this without even the use of a single kitchen, grocery store, restaurant, money, refrigerator or cooler!  There were even twelve basketfuls of “left-overs” to eat afterwards (Matt. 14:20)!  Brothers and sisters, why do we worry?  Why are we so concerned with what we are going to eat or drink?  These things are either true or they’re not.  In your heart and mind, make a decision!  Which is it?  Is God’s Word true or not?

Wasn’t God angered by the first-generation of Israelites that came out of Egypt for their lack of faith in Him, and for their lack of understanding and belief that God could and would provide for them and their children?  Notice what the Bible says: “Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness saying, ‘Oh that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full!  For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.’” (Exod. 16:2-3). And in another place, again, they complained: “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” (Exod. 17:3).  And again, it is written: “Then all the congregation of Israel lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, ‘If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?’” (Num. 14:1-3).  But God then answered them all, and said, “Surely not one of you of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord. … Moreover, your little ones and your children, whom you said would be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go into the land; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it.  And they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness!” (Num. 14:26-32; Deut. 1:35-39).

Moses wrote that the Lord God went before the people, and that He personally prepared their way, and that He “carried them as a man carries his son”.  He described how God supernaturally feed them with manna from heaven, and made water come out of a rock for them; and how God did not let their clothes nor their shoes wear out; and how He supernaturally delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh, and did many miraculous signs among them; and “yet for all that,” Moses wrote, they “still did not believe the Lord their God” (Deut. 1:30-32).  Therefore, God destroyed them because they did not believe Him nor put their trust in Him.  We can’t be the same way brethren!  Instead, we must be like the early New Testament Christians.  They knew God would provide for them and their families!  They believed this so much that they all went and sold what they had and took the money and proceeds of what was sold and equally distributed it and shared it among themselves – so that “no one lacked for anything” (Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35).  And notice that it says that “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).  Did you get that?  God “added to their number” daily!  This was a direct result of these early believers’ faith and trust in God to provide for them and for their families, and for their demonstration of love for their fellow brethren in sharing what they had with one another (Acts 2:44-47).

We need to get back to this!  This is pure and undefiled religion.  This is real faith in God!  This is truly realizing what Paul and Silas commanded when they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved!” (Acts 16:31).  The Amplified version of the Bible appropriately translates this verse this way: “Believe in and on the Lord Jesus Christ – that is, give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping, and you will be saved; and this applies both to you and your household as well.” (Acts 16:31, Amplified version).

Brothers and sisters, the apostle Paul wrote that “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. Having food and clothing, let us be therewith content!  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (I Tim. 6:6-9).  We are not called to be rich in this world’s goods; but rather, rich in godliness and in good works and in faith.  Let Pharaoh’s riches and concerns die with Pharaoh!

As some of you already have, and continue to, lose houses, jobs, and/or spouses, don’t be concerned.  Follow God with all of your heart!  God is testing you, and He is seeing whether or not you will completely trust Him and follow Him.  Remember Jesus lost it all before He gained it all.  Be willing to go the distance with God and to cross this barren desert wilderness which is spiritually called Sinai (which means “uncertainty”), and which is also referred to as the “wilderness of Sin” (Exod. 16:1), and to enter into the promises of God which has been prepared for us from the foundation of the world.  Let us fully leave Egypt and cross this Sinai desert in confidence and assurance knowing that God is with us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Be willing to give it all.

May the grace and love of God cover us all, always.
In love, and in His name,
A fellow-laborer, sufferer, believer, and brother,
Eric Wheeler
eric@sharingtheway.com

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