Lately we have seen some leaders of large churches fall down.
They honestly had what it takes to build those large churches.
Even so they were lacking in the prime ingredient that God highly regards in all of us.
It is not how much we are anointed, it is not how well we can teach, it is not our personalities,and it certainly is not the greatness of the gifts that we walk in in the Lord.
So then what is this prime ingredient that is in us that so pleases the Lord?
Today's lesson will address these things; so read on if you want to know the answer...
Several things happen when you move into a new realm in the spirit.
On the new level the battles will be much more bitter and more disrupting to principalities and powers.
The churches enter into a greater burden for prayer and intercession, and the intercession is more effective.
Another thing takes place with the coming of a new level; you find that your old level of dedication is inadequate.
A new level demands a new level of love in order for the Body to function.
If you have greater revelation, you must have greater love.
If I do not know much about an individual and his needs, I am not being tested to judge him; but if I know a great deal about him, I have to be moved by greater love, or I will find myself becoming critical of him and judging him.
God does not give you revelation over a man in order for you to judge him.
The Spirit of the Lord shows you his need for a positive reason; you are to help the brother and have a greater love for him.
The same thing is true of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
For some time we have been able to prophesy and sing psalms, but suddenly the prophecies are not adequate for the level we are on.
The gifts are not moving as efficiently as we need them to move on a new level.
So the question is often raised, "How do I go about getting a greater ministry? How can I see my ministry function in the level upon which I am walking now?"
We are always trying to catch up to the new open doors that the Lord lays before us.
I find this is true in my own case.
I have never appropriated so much from the Lord as I have recently.
I understand something now that I have not previously seen.
When a new level of utterance begins to come, I find that I am assaulted harder than ever before.
Lately, I find that I am depending completely on the Lord for strength, for the ability to speak and to be able to function on the level that God sets before me.
You will have to do the same thing.
Pastors will find that they need a greater anointing.
Brothers will find that to prophesy and minister will require a greater meeting with the Lord.
Therefore it is essential that the Lord remind us of the basic truths.
How does a man come into a greater gift?
By the extreme faithfulness of his heart to walk in each level.
There is no short cut.
God will not give you a greater ministry or gift until you are faithful with what He has given you.
Four times in the New Testament a man named Tychicus is mentioned.
Tychicus was part of the early apostolic company.
Twice Paul referred to him as the beloved brother and faithful minister- in Ephesians 6:21 and Colossians 4:7.
In the Old Testament also, we can trace the theme of faithfulness to God ( Daniel 6:10 ) .
Moses was a man faithful in all of his His house ( Hebrews 3:2 ) .
The prophecies about Samuel show how faithful he was.
Abraham was faithful before God.
In the New Testament, Epaphras, Onesimus, Paul, Sylvanus, Gaius, and Timothy are mentioned.
The principal quality that is mentioned is their faithfulness.
It does not say that they were great prophets.
Instead , when the Word of God wants to commend a man, the only reference we find about him states, "This man was faithful."
If the man was not reputed to be faithful, then they speak about his ministry.
After John Mark caused the separation of Barnabas and Saul on the second missionary journey, Paul sent for him saying, "He is profitable to me for the ministry" ( II Timothy 4:11 ) .
He could use him to minister.
As far as I can recall or discern, not very many men had any qualification mentioned except that they were faithful to it.
Paul wrote to Titus: "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order what remains..." ( Titus 1:5 ) .
He was implying that because Titus was a faithful man, he would faithfully do what God set before him to do.
It is not the greatness of the gift you are walking in that matters.
God is looking to see if you are faithful.
After speaking about Apollos, Peter, and himself, Paul wrote in I Corinthians 4:1,2: Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
(King James reads "faithful," which is a synonym.)
A steward of the mysteries of God should be found faithful to the Lord.
This is required.
I am giving my whole life to the word that God has given me, and I am very much in awe at the vast extent of it.
The revelation keeps coming on an ever-increasing depth.
In my own estimation, the ministry of the word that is coming now is the most important thing that God has committed since the days of the early Church.
And I say that very humbly.
Other ministries may move in many things, but the foundation word of the Kingdom that has been coming for years is very important.
I feel that I am a steward of the mysteries of God.
God has made the word alive.
When people hear it or read it, they recognize that truths are being revealed to them that they have never seen before, God is bringing a new depth of revelation.
I suppose there may be people who could surpass me when it comes to actual knowledge of the Scriptures, but I have been faithful.
I have been a faithful steward of the mysteries which God has committed to me.
This is what God requires.
He does not look for superior intelligence or superior gifts.
If you are faithful, God will bless you and bring you into what He has for you.
It will be exceedingly precious.
The gifts of God in their greatness and magnitude are not lavished upon those who have the greatest human ability.
There is the constant pressure of the enemy to bring discouragement.
Does he try to tell you that you do not have a ministry?
Does he try to tell you that you cannot prophesy and worship?
Does he tell you that the walk with God is false?
Once in awhile he does, but usually the people do not accept that sort of thing.
He tries to put pressure on you for one reason: he wants you to become discouraged so you will be unfaithful to the Lord.
He knows that he can at least contain you, if not utterly defeat you, if you are not faithful to the Lord.
We have heard much about the judgment seat of Christ ( and frankly, it is not just applicable to the time of Christ's coming; I think we are constantly before His judgment seat ) .
What does He judge us for?
Will we be judged for our sin?
On that final day, you will already have applied the blood of Jesus Christ to your heart for your sins.
The judgment for sin has been transferred to the cross of Jesus Christ.
He died in your stead and took care of all the past sins and even of the sin condition in your heart as you endeavor to walk by faith with the Lord.
His death also made possible an instant deliverance and forgiveness for every sin that you would commit in the process of seeking for His righteousness and perfection.
What then remains that you can be judged for?
If all your sins are transferred to the Lord and there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, then what will you be judged for?
You must understand that your present existence is the occasion of testing and of judgment to determine your position in the Kingdom that is to come.
If you have been faithful, then He will make you a ruler over many cities ( Luke 19:17 ) .
It is the faithfulness of your heart that He looks upon.
In this hour, the ministry of authority can only be committed to faithful men.
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others.
Timothy was to commit the things he had learned to faithful men, because a faithful man will take what is committed to him and enlarge upon it.
God will increase it and that man will be able to teach others also.
Paul goes on to speak about the by-products of a faithful heart.
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,
9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him...
Whatever suffering comes, whatever God lays before you, you are going to endure it faithfully.
I can look back upon years in which we had nothing at all, yet we were faithful even during some hard times.
I can remember , as a young evangelist in the middle of the depression, becoming very discouraged; we were barely able to keep body and soul together.
We always seemed to be poor and the objects of charity.
It was very difficult.
About the time things got a little better, the Lord would lead us to start a new church.
God prolonged the hardship and sacrifice year after year.
Now a life of sacrifice means nothing to us, and God blesses in an outstanding way.
I believe God allowed these testings for a purpose.
Today He sees that I am a faithful steward.
Has He committed to me a lot of riches?
No- yet in a sense He has.
He has committed to me the administration and faithful stewardship of a great deal of money and property and equipment.
Much of what we have today in the way of facilities was given to us because God counted a lot of us faithful.
God gave us the faithfulness and wisdom to see that every dollar was administered with a faithful stewardship.
We have completely outgrown the Living Word Building; every inch is being used as efficiently as anyone could devise.
What are we doing there?
We are actually moving a world.
Before long, The First Principles will be printed in Japanese and in a second Philippine dialect.
The Word is going out with anointing.
Yet we constantly feel the pressure to withdraw from the intensity of the battle.
To get the pressure off, all you have to do is walk away from a walk with God.
The pressure will lift and you will feel fine for a while, until it dawns on you how defeated you really are.
You are a soldier on the front line.
You are to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, not entangled with the affairs of this life.
You want to please Him.
You want to be faithful.
There will be a time to build palaces and a time to sit under your fig tree.
There will be a time to beat your sword into a plowshare and your spear into a pruning hook, but right now is not the time.
Now is the time to get the sword and go out as a good soldier of Jesus Christ until this battle is ended.
Do not collect extra baggage and possessions that will not be important.
What do we do next?
We are going to be faithful to the Lord.
We will walk in what God sets before us without murmuring or complaining.
We are going to do His will.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service ( he means "ministry" ) , I Timothy 1:12.
The apostle Paul was not chosen by the Lord for his excellence of ability.
At no time did he ever lean upon what he had known or learned before.
He was able to forget those things which were behind ( Philippians 3:13 ) .
When he stood before a congregation such as the Corinthians, he said, "I was with you in much weakness and trembling.
I did not want your faith to stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" ( I Corinthians 2:3,4 ) .
He wanted to be faithful in ministering the anointing of the Lord.
He wanted to speak with the anointing of the Spirit in order to bring forth spiritual results that would stand.
He was very careful not to use the wisdom of man because the cunning of man could also bring deception to them.
He said, "The Lord strengthened me" ( II Timothy 4:17 ) .
Paul was able to endure hardships and he encouraged young Timothy to do likewise.
As a soldier, Paul endured shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonments, hunger, nakedness, and great peril.
Men tried to assassinate him.
He was beaten unmercifully.
Where did Paul get the strength to endure all of that?
An ordinary man would have perished.
He said, "The Lord has strengthened me because He counted me faithful" ( I Timothy 1:12 ) .
A man is only required to be faithful to the Lord.
If you are faithful, you will never face anything that God will not give you grace to meet.
However, you will become the source of your own defeat if you are an unfaithful man.
When you draw back from the thing God sets before you, you cut off the life line of divine virtue and strength.
But if you are faithful and do not turn aside, God will bless you and strengthen you.
Your position in the Kingdom that is to come will be based upon your faithfulness in this transition period now.
God is the One who is called Faithful and True, and as you set your heart to be faithful, you will appropriate His faithfulness.
Are you now aware of your own vacillation and wavering?
As the word comes, telling us to be faithful, are you thinking of the ups and downs in your walk before the Lord?
Ask the Lord to cleanse you and minister that precious fruit of the Holy Spirit which is faithfulness.
Turn your heart away from the thing that would cause you to waver when the pressure is on.
If you would weary with the foot soldier, how will you contend with the horsemen ( Jeremiah 12:5 )?
If we stumble now in these days, what will we do when the pressures are increased a hundredfold?
Let us be faithful now so that we will have the strength to endure when that day comes.