ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: THE PSALM 23 ADVENTURE, Part 17
October 7, 2016
Today, let’s see if we can draw a picture of the overall purposes and objectives for the Paths of Righteousness. Let me begin first of all with three illustrations from the Word:
II Corinthians 5:21:”For Father God has appointed Jesus to become sin on our behalf -- He, who had never known or experienced error, missing the mark, or failing God in any way – so that we might be caused to become the very righteousness of Father God in Him (Jesus Christ).”(RAC Translation & Amplification)
II Corinthians 8:9:“For you know and have revelation of the empowering that comes through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; knowing that, in spite of the fact that He was wealthy beyond all measure and increased with goods, He took upon Himself the indigency and poverty of the poor – taking that poverty to the Cross and death itself – so that you, through His having taken that poverty upon Himself – might instead be redeemed from the curse of poverty and become rich through Him beyond measure.”(RAC Translation & Amplification)
Revelation 4:11:For You, Oh Lord, are deserving, worth and befitting of glory and magnificence, honor and esteem, and supernatural power [of Heaven itself], because You have created, originated and founded ALL (the universe and all that is therein) life – and specifically human life –and for your determined will, proprietorship and purpose, desire and pleasure, ALL has been created, obtained and purchased.(RAC Translation & Amplification)
Do you see the objective God had from the very beginning? Do you see the purpose for Christ Jesus to become our sin, our failure, our error in order to provide a means for us to return to our created purpose? Do you see why Jesus had to take poverty upon Himself? All this was to provide a means for us to be restored to the Glory we were first created in. Folks, we were created for Him! We were created to bring joy and pleasure to Him. We were created to become His very family!
The righteousness of God was the standard by and in which we were first created! When Adam and Eve failed God by eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, bringing a curse upon the earth and upon all of their descendants, the entire human race became subject to that curse. Death, disease, sickness and poverty were some of the attributes of the curse.
That curse left the human race in dire need of restoration of righteousness and the paths of righteousness. Despite the fact that Messiah had not yet come to redeem the world and to provide a means for restoration to righteousness, history is filled with examples of those who had a revelation of righteousness and lived righteously.
Consider Enoch. His walk with God was so intimate and so filled with the intense presence of the Lord and His character that he simply transitioned from an earth-bound existence to being with God in person because God took him there.
Then there was Enoch’s great-grandson, Noah. He lived a pure and uncontaminated life and was a preacher of righteousness to a world that rejected him and everything he preached. Because of his righteousness in God, the Lord instructed him to prepare an Ark for the deliverance of him, his family and every living creature so that God could wipe out the entire earth of the wickedness which now prevailed everywhere.
Next we come to Abraham, an eleventh-generation descendant of Noah and a tenth generation descendant of Shem, who became known as Malkiy-Tsedeq (Melchizedek), “the King of Righteousness.”When God made a specific promise and covenant with Abraham – a promise that literally defied common sense and any remote possibility that it could come to pass, Genesis 15:6 tells us that:
“And he (Abraham) believed God, and He counted it to him for righteousness.”
Get it? There was nothing in the earth – nothing in modern society – that would have led any of these individuals to walk a righteous relationship with God – and yet they did in the face of it all. The beginning of righteousness is believing God and acting by faith in response to His Word and His expressed desires to us.
What I’d like to do is to lay out for you in systematic fashion, some basic understanding of the purpose and design God has for us in leading us in the Paths of Righteousness.
1. To establish our citizenship in the Kingdom and a new identity in us as residents of the Kingdom of God.
Take a look at something that Matthew writes (and this bears directly on the Paths of Righteousness, and where God is leading us.)
Matthew 4:16-17: The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
This word, “Repent,” comes from the Greek, metanoeo. This is a compound word which literally means: to actively exercise the mind and to reconsider where your past decisions, actions and behavior have led you. In other words, “think differently” about things.
Proverbs 23:7a: For as (a man) thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Understand? The beginning place of establishing our citizenship in the Kingdom of God begins with repentance: re-thinking who and what we are, re-thinking the steps we have taken. NOW we begin our walk in the Paths of Righteousness – right standing with God, thinking the way that God thinks. Brother, does that ever take some effort! To undo the thought processes and reasoning of the past is something that can only come when we surrender ourselves totally to God’s way of thinking and speaking.
That is the real substance of repentance.
2. The purpose of this walk with the Lord is to lead us away from those who have conditioned our thinking by their words.
Consider the following pictures in the Word:
Genesis 11:1-9: And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reachunto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
You see it, don’t you? “Nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” So then we are told that God said, “Let us go down, and there confound their language that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
Once folks begin to think alike, then they act in concert with one another. Their speech mirrors each other. And when that thinking, that speaking, and those actions are in opposition to the Word and the Will of the Lord, confusion and destruction follow.
Thus, the purpose of divorcing ourselves from friends and companions whose thinking and whose speech will lead us away from the righteousness of God.
This picture follows in Genesis 12:1-4:
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
If Abraham was going to experience the blessing of the Lord, if he was going to experience the profound destiny God had for him, it was absolutely essential that he leave his family and get away from them. When you understand that Terah, his father (whose name translates to: delay, hold back) was a maker of idols and a Babylonian high priest, Abraham’s family surroundings and heritage were in direct opposition to the plan and purpose of God. If he was going to experience and know the destiny God had for him, it was absolutely essential that he leave his family (whose thinking was aligned with Baal) and free himself from the speech and actions which would have perpetually delayed and eventually stopped the plan of God.
Consider this: In Acts 7, we have a picture of Stephen delivering a message to the Scribes and Elders of the people, who sat in opposition and judgment against him.
Take a look:
Acts 7:2-5: And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans, and dwelt in Haran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell. And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.
Stephen’s discourse to these people shows us what we missed seeing in the Genesis narrative. The Lord first appeared to Abraham when he was 50 years of age, and living in Ur of the Chaldees. The Word He delivered to Abraham was, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall show thee.”
Abraham DID leave Ur of the Chaldees, but he took his father and his entire family with him. Thus, he had to wait another 25 years for his father to die before the Lord would speak to him once again and say, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house.”So long as Abraham remained with his father’s house and his family surroundings, his obedience would be contaminated with compromise and the promises of God could never be fulfilled in his life.
Terah’s name meant, “delay,” and that’s exactly what happened to Abraham, so long as he listened to the advice and counsel of his father in the face of what God was saying to him. Once he left his father’s house for good, and got away from the contrary advice and communication, God was able to begin unfolding a destiny for Abraham that would literally change the world!
3. It’s one thing to stop listening to the thinking and the speaking of those around us – especially when that speech is contrary to what God has said and is saying – but now, in order to continue our walk in the Paths of Righteousness, we must NOW alter our thinking AND our speech so that what we say is in agreement with what God has said, and IS SAYING to us NOW!
We’ve already quoted from Proverbs 23:7 (As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he), but consider a couple of Kingdom principles Paul writes about in his letters to the Ekklesias. We sing this first one as an instructional song.
Philippians 4:7-8: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Then he follows it up like this:
Philippians 4:9: Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Got it? Those things which you have both learned, and received, and heard, AND seen in me, do! This is why God has given us apostles – true apostles – whose word, and whose lives demonstrate the truth of the Word.
Now, consider Romans 10:8: But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Let me leave you for this week with the following statement that Jesus makes, and we will pick this up in greater detail next week.
Matthew 12:36-37: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
THAT’s why our speech has to be Kingdom speech. That’s why the way we speak is so critically important. Our walk in the Paths of Righteousness depends on it!
See you next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call normally takes place on the first Monday of each month at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). Our call-in number is(712) 775-7035. The Access Code is: 323859#.For Canadians who have difficulty getting in to this number, you can call (559) 546-1400.If someone answers and asks what your original call-in number was, you can give them the 712 number and access code.
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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