SCHOOL OF ISRAEL
Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
"More Than Conquerors"
Scripture Meditation: Revelation 1:1-8
"...to Him be glory and power for ever and ever!"
Every single one of us who claims to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ must face this incisive and challenging question: Does my Christian life reflect the fact that in Christ I am "more than a conqueror"? Can I stand at the beginning of each day gripped by the assurance that nothing can happen that day which Christ and I cannot handle together? This, brethren and sisters, is a tough challenge, but it must be faced, especially if you feel that your personal problems are so difficult that no-one else can possibly understand or help you.
This people -- this New Covenant Christian people -- need nothing more right now than to discover for themselves that in Christ we have the resources not only to meet our problems head on, but to win over them. What are your problems? Financial debts? Marriage difficulties? The fear to witness? Sickness? Insecurity?
One of the great problems of modern Christianity is, as one commentator observed, "non-expectancy". I hope that is not true of us because if it is, then the situation is deadly serious. When we expect nothing to happen, nothing will. Those of us who live in the West -- and that's most of us at present -- have watched what the awful power of fatalism can do to some other areas of the world when talented and capable people turn over their heads in helpless resignation. But what is worse is to see Christians settle down in a spirit of non-expectancy and live out their lives in spiritual and moral defeat.
One Christian psychiatrist, a Dr. Worcester, observed: "Most Christians do not expect their religion to do them any great or immediate good. They do not even see themselves as conquerors, let alone more than conquerors".
Well, brethren and sisters, that is not something we can afford to be in the New Covenant. One of the scriptures you were asked to read in preparation for today was from John 17 which reads: "I have given [the disciples] Your Word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world" (v.17). Now I do not want anyone to hate us but you had better start believing and accepting that when we really start doing the Lord's work in His power, there are only going to be two kinds of people we meet -- those who love us and those who hate us, just as there were when Jesus lived on earth.
Now I know that there are many of us who are afraid of that -- we don't want to "rock the boat" of shaky marriage, family or workplace relations -- we want to be for Christ and yet make peace with our neighbour, especially our families who so often turn against us. But we, who have a commission to build cities of light and holiness, where we can declare: "to Him be glory and power for ever and ever" (Rev.1:6, NIV) because His power and glory are truly amongst us, cannot afford to live with any other expectation than the black and white one we have read in the Book of Revelation today, because that is what Jesus has promised us.
The New Covenant Church of God is not just "another denomination" -- one of those many denominations which pop up all over the place. The New Covenant Church of God is the precursor to the theocratic régime that will rule in the Millennium under Christ to which all firstborn Christians will one day flow. It is, as I said earlier, the New Covenant Union of all true believers who love the whole Gospel. It is the New Israel, at least in part, and at this very moment in time, mostly in hope. Nevertheless the promises made to our forefathers in the House of Israel still apply to us.
Our theme this year is Gathering. Gathering where? [Kadesh]. That's right. But does anyone know where we are now? [the world]. Yes, but more than that. Where we -- the New Covenant Church -- are now, spiritually, corresponds exactly to a place where the children of Israel were prior to their invasion of Canaan. Does anyone, who knows their Bible well, have any idea where that might be? . Please would you turn in your Bibles to Deuteronomy 1:19 -- what was the name of the place the Israelites reached after they had passed through the vast and dreadful desert of Horeb? [KADESH-BARNEA]. Yes! Kadesh-barnea!
What does the word "Kadesh" mean? [City of Holiness]. Yes, a Holy Place, or a City of Holiness! Or so it should have been. But can anyone tell me what happened there? . It was here that 12 spies were sent into Canaan (Num.13), and what happened? Two gave a favourable report -- Joshua and Caleb -- and 10 an unfavourable one. Whom did the Israelites believe? The 10! The majority! What happened next? The people wanted to go back to Egypt! (Num.14:3). Already Aaron and Miriam had murmured against Moses (Num.12) and paid dearly for their criticism, and now the whole of Israel, save two, were against Moses and the Lord! For their unbelief, the Lord cursed them, and said they would wander in the desert for 40 years. So what did they do? They tried to enter Canaan in the their own strength and were defeated by the Amalekites (Num.14:40-45).
So what went wrong? Why didn't the people believe? If you study the scriptures carefully you will see that the people had faith to sprinkle the blood of atonement (Num.12:28) and to come out of Egypt (the world), but had not faith to enter their Canaan rest. Therefore, though redeemed, they were a forty years' grief to the Lord.
Now those of you who have the spirit of prophecy will immediately perceive that this is what happened in the old Church. The people murmured and complained against their leader, even his own "Aaron and Miriam", and all but a few gave negative reports about the future. They tried to take their Canaan but were driven back. Therefore God disorganised the Church and let it wander these past few years, so that the people could be refined and purified.
So here we are -- we have gathered out of Egypt -- the world -- and we have applied the blood of atonement of Jesus Christ to our souls, but we have not entered our "Canaan rest".
After Israel wandered for 40 years it returned to Kadesh-barnea, where Miriam was buried (Num.20:1). And then another incident occurred when Moses failed to glorify God -- he struck a rock and water flowed out, but he failed to give God the glory. The rock of revelation has been struck again, brethren and sisters, for the saints to slake their thirsts at again. May we not fail to give God the glory this time.
Well, we're back at Kadesh-barnea again, brethren and sisters, and we have another march yet -- towards the Promised Land through Edom and Moab. Then we have our spiritual "east bank" to conquer. And when we get there we're going to meet our Jericho. And knocking that down is going to require faith like we've never had before!
Meanwhile, we are in our Kadesh-Barnea, at least, most of us. There is a little time left yet for those who left us when the Church was disorganised -- those who are straggling far behind who have nowhere else to go except Egypt -- to catch up and be a part of that next great march. We desire them all home, but only they can choose. Meanwhile, new members join us, just as new sons and daughters were born to Israel, and their addition is vital and most welcome! So to those who are joining us we say: Welcome in the Name of the Lord God of Israel!
Let us pray: Father, we see how we have left the world and have applied the blood of Jesus for the remission of our sins, but we freely confess that as a people we have not entered into our Canaan rest. We desire with all our hearts to enter our promised land, our Kadesh, and pray that you will deliver it into our hands so that we can accomplish the work you have given us and find our rest. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This page was created on 16 May 1998
Updated on 16 May 1998
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