Greetings Beloved! May peace and grace be multiplied to you in the name of our Lord and Messiah (Christ) Jesus. (Acts 2:3) It is important to recognize Him as both so that we too may be ‘pricked’ in our hearts and say “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter did not say, ‘Repeat a sinner’s prayer” or “Just believe in Jesus and you will be saved.” NO! Peter had no intention of failing the Lord again, and was very precise in what he told the Jews on the Day of Pentecost when they suddenly realized who they had crucified. There was eternal authority in the voice of Peter when he boldly spoke “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38. This Apostle’s Doctrine is not to be argued or analyzed. It is to be obeyed. “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord (supreme in authority).” (Acts 10:48). To love God is to obey Him and as the mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, once said, “Whatever he says do it!”
But we are living in a time of such wickedness and rebellion on every side. “Suppose ye that I am come to bring peace on earth, Nay, but rather division. For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father, the mother against the daughter and the daughter against the mother, the mother–in-law against the daughter-in-law and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53)
Now we are talking here about the closest of all relationships – family. These seem to be hard words coming from the Master and no wonder that many of those who followed Him could go no further because they loved their flesh and blood more than they loved the Lord of all Creation. What caused such division?
“For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
Nothing is sharper than the Word of God. When our soul, human personality, is in perfect submission to the Spirit then there will be no need for this dividing process, but until then there will be a constant clash of will between the will of the soulish man (where the flesh resides) and the will of God.
Jesus gives us a good example of this division in the book of Matthew (ch. 16:21). He tried to prepare His disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the “religious leaders” and be killed, but on the third day He would be raised again. It is noteworthy that these passages of scripture were directly after Jesus gave Peter the “keys to the Kingdom” and told him that he would build His church on the rock of revelation that Peter had declared “Thou art the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
I’m sure Peter was feeling pretty good about himself at this point, and may have even been a little lifted up in his soul. Peter had a really hard time hearing that the Lord he loved was going to suffer such things.
“Then Peter took him and began to rebuke Him, saying Be it far from thee Lord, this shall not be unto thee.” (v.22) Can you imagine? Peter felt so confident in human compassion that he rebuked the Lord. But what was Jesus’ response to Peter?
“But he turned and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offense unto me: for thou savorest not the things of God, but those that be of men.” (v.23)
As Jesus spoke, it was the Word of God coming forth as a piercing sword dividing asunder between soul and spirit. It was not that Peter was possessed by Satan, but at that moment the enemy had influenced his mind to speak out of his flesh. This can happen to any of us at any time, and especially when we lean on our own understanding and do not yield to the Holy Ghost which knows the mind of the Lord in any given situation.
Our Lord is full of compassion and mercy, but we must pray for wisdom to know the difference between human love and the love of God. The enemy of our souls knows this only too well and has studied the human soul since the Garden of Eden. That is one of the reasons that we are living in a sex-saturated society that defines love in carnal terms. But the love of God is eternal and not temporal. Everything we see with our eyes and cling to in our hearts (idols) will be dissolved one day, but the Word of God abides forever.
If we are establishing our earthly relationships around the Word of God, and submission to His will, then those relationships will last forever. Hallelujah!
Some further thoughts on this topic of division. We are all keenly aware of all the divisions that exist – races divide against races, different religious groups or belief systems war against one another, etc.
During the Civil War brother fought against brother. How heartbreaking that war must have been. And yet we are living in a time when a second internal revolution is actually fomenting in our country today. People feel perfectly justified in taking up a particular political or doctrinal position and warring against anyone that cares to differ. And yet what did Jesus say in regards to how we should treat one another?
“Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than himself.” Philippians 2:3.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. That ye may be the children of your father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans (tax collectors, worldly people) the same? And if ye salute your brethren only what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye even therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mt. 5:43-48)
Beloved, we are living in the time of the final test. The time of the most intense persecution against true Christians is upon us. How will we respond? Though others may war against us our weapons are not carnal and through prayer we can pull down strongholds. We can never compromise truth, but we must hold the truth of the Apostle’s Doctrine as if we were holding a priceless jewel, and always speak the truth in love. (Eph.4:15) We must handle the “Word of Truth” very carefully and skillfully in a way that will draw people to the Lord and not cause them to stumble.
“Put on therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” Col.3:12
Let us continue to pray for one another. I know that many prisoners pray daily for Jesus Wept Ministries. I want you to know that I feel the strength of those prayers. Let us pray for those who may read this newsletter to have the eyes of their understanding opened and repent and be converted so they also can enjoy times of refreshing in the Holy Ghost.
“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bands were loosed.” (Acts 16:25-26)
When we read this sometimes we think that these things just don’t happen anymore, but I believe in the days ahead we should be prepared to walk in the miraculous and expect even greater things than we have ever dared to imagine. -Sister Vicki