All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
June 21, 2013
HANDS FOR JESUS
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HANDS FOR JESUS
P.O. BOX 250494
MILWAUKEE, WI 53225-0494
2003 by Merle E. Koepke
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A WILLING HEART
In Exodus 35:5, Moses announced to the children of Israel that which the LORD had instructed him, saying, "Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD..." In 1 Chronicles 28:9, King David, being a prophet as well as king, said to Solomon in the sight of all that were assembled before him; "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever."
It is important that Christians understand how God works among those whom He has chosen to be His very own. God searches the hearts of all His children. David prophesied, saying, "...for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts..." God knows the secrets and the intentions of everyone's heart. We cannot hide anything from God.
In 2 Chronicles 16:9, Hanani, a prophet, came to King Asa and said, "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him..."
The LORD is looking for those who have made their heart perfect before Him. Man has a free will to choose whom he will serve, the LORD or the world? God is always looking for those who have made their heart willing.
Even in the last chapter of the Bible it says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). Let whosoever is willing, Come!
Even among Spirit-filled Christians, the Holy Spirit searches the hearts before He makes intercession for them. Romans 8:27 says, "And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
Christians need a much better understanding of how God chooses those He uses. God searches the hearts of those He chooses. God does not choose those whose heart is not right. God chooses individuals based upon two things.
(1) His foreknowledge of all things, knowing the end from the beginning.
(2) The individuals present condition of the heart, not the past condition and not the future condition.
God has a foreknowledge of every individual born into this world. As an example, the LORD knew Esau and Jacob before they were born. Therefore, the LORD chose Jacob as the father of His children, Israel, and not Esau (Gen. 25:23, Rom. 10:12).
Even after God does choose someone whose heart is right, that does not mean their heart will always remain perfect before God. An example is that of King Saul. The LORD chose Saul (1 Sam. 9:15,16). God even changed Saul's heart to serve Him (1 Sam. 10:9). But Saul disobeyed the LORD more than once, and Samuel the prophet spoke to Saul, saying, "...Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams...For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (1 Sam. 15:22,23).
King Saul's heart was right when the LORD called him to become king. Saul's heart changed later and the LORD rejected Saul as King and found David to take his place. "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7).
It is important that Christians "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). There are those who have made mistakes and followed another spirit. If they will return unto the LORD and set their heart to follow after Him, He will abundantly pardon and receive them back (See Luke 15:11-32).
King David made a mistake and Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah became pregnant (2 Sam. 11:2-5). Then David arranged for Uriah to be killed in battle so he could marry Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11:14-17). The LORD sent Nathan, a prophet, to King David and exposed his sin (2 Sam. 12:1-14). David confessed his sin and the LORD forgave him, and continued to use him until his death.
There are many examples throughout the Bible of those who, at one time had a willing heart and then turned away from the LORD. There are a few examples in the Bible of those who at one time turned away from the LORD and returned again and He abundantly pardoned them. The voice of the LORD can still be heard echoing from the spirits of Christians "Return unto the LORD and He will forgive and cleanse you from all sin."
The LORD is searching for those whose heart is perfect before Him. He is looking for those who will set their hearts to obey Him. Many have gone astray in these last days. The Bible speaks of a great falling away (2 Thess. 2:3).
Some have mixed error with truth and caused many to fail in the call of God on their lives. Do not get caught up in this great error. Some have prophesied, saying, "God is going to do great things in your life, God is going to promote you to some great position." God does not promote those who are not of a humble heart. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).
In Matthew 24:11, Jesus said, "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." Be aware, in the last days there will be many false prophets. There will be many false prophecies, and many will be deceived. Do not get caught up in these false operations. God is not going to go beyond His Word and do anything great in your life that does not agree with His Word.
Many of us have received false prophecies, many times. Do not give place for deception. Galatians 6:7,8 says,
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
These verses were written to Spirit-filled Christians in Galatia (Gal. 3:1-3). That means, it is also written to Spirit-filled Christians everywhere.
The flesh includes the things of this world (1 John 2:15,16). It includes mammon (Matt. 6:24). It includes, using your faith to obtain worldly riches (Rev. 3:17). When prophecies come your way, prophesying worldly pleasures and worldly riches, and the like; beware, they could lead you into deception.
God first looks at the hearts of people; then God acts according to the intentions of their heart. As the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "...whosoever is of a willing heart..." (Ex. 35:5). Yet, David prophesied, saying, "...if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever" (1 Chron. 28:9).
The LORD promotes those whose heart is perfect before Him. The beautiful thing about God is that, if we set our heart to do that which is right in the sight of God, the Holy Spirit will change our ways, and make us perfect before God. We cannot make ourselves perfect, but if we set our hearts to do good, and to seek after the LORD, the Holy Spirit will do great wonders in our lives for us. Yet, we must continue in seeking the heart of God, doing that which is right in His sight, or we could be rejected by the LORD also (Rom. 1:18,21,28; 2 Thess. 2:11,12; Heb. 6:4-6; 2 Peter 2:20,21).
If we are willing, God will change our hearts to do His will, His way. Take an example from Exodus. The first time it is mentioned that the LORD was looking for those with a willing heart to give, is in Exodus 35:5, where it says, "Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD..." Now, look at the response of the people following Exodus 35:5. It says in Exodus 35:21, "And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD'S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments."
Notice; it was no longer just a willing heart, but it says, "...every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing..." It was those whose spirit made them willing.
The spirit of man is a very special part of man. Man is a living soul and has a body and a spirit given to him of the LORD God. God works through man's spirit to communicate with man. Job 32:8, says, "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding." Therefore, we see in Exodus 35:21, that the spirit of man stirred up his heart to give willingly.
Now let us go a little further in Exodus, where it says, "The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the LORD had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses" (Ex 35:29).
Notice the process of God working in man's spirit to bring about His desire. After man's spirit made himself willing (Ex. 35:5,21,29), their heart was made willing, by their spirit.
This then, is no longer man's operation; it is an operation of God in man's spirit.
It is the will of God that everyone should receive all that God has promised them. But, there is a difference between what is of God and what is of man.
Man has authority on this earth. It was first given to man in the form of dominion (Gen. 1:26-28). This dominion was given to both, male and female. Then it was made a spiritual law, the law of a free will (Gen. 2:16).
Along with authority goes responsibility. You cannot have authority without responsibility. They go together.
Adam had authority in the beginning. He also had responsibility, not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Look at Genesis 2:16, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat." That is authority! Adam could choose for himself which trees he would eat the fruit thereof. He could have eaten of the tree of life also. The choice was his, of his own free will. God would not stop him from eating of the tree of life, and neither did God stop him from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Now look at Genesis 2:17, it says, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Adam had responsibility, to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. These verses run parallel to Galatians 6:7,8. Christians have authority. Christians can sow to the flesh or they can sow to the Spirit. Christians also have responsibility; they "should not" sow to the flesh.
Going back to the willing heart. We decide if we will have a willing heart, then God responds according to our decisions; the desires of our heart. In Philippians 2:13 it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." What is God's good pleasure? It is that we do His will.
All throughout the Old Testament God was working with people who were not born again. They were in the flesh of Adam, but not in the spirit of Christ Jesus.
If our heart is willing, God will draw us to Jesus. When we come to Jesus, and receive Jesus as LORD in our lives, God will give us a new heart and a new spirit. In Ezekiel 36:26, it says, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."
This is what happens when a person is truly born again. They receive a new heart and a new spirit. There is a major change in the life of a person who is truly born again. Their thoughts change, and their attitude changes.
A truly born again person's attitude is no longer, what I want, but what does God want? God's desires are in our heart when a person is truly born again.
Within a very short time, truly born again Christians have a desire to receive the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This is what is prophesied in Ezekiel 36:27, saying, "And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."
Spirit-filled Christians must set their hearts to do the will of God, and not their own will of the flesh. When they do, God will cause them to walk in His statues and keep His judgments.
Like the process of the willing heart in Exodus, Chapter Thirty-five. God will work in the lives of His chosen people to do His Will.
Look at the process God takes in preparing a person to receive the best God has to offer in Joshua, Chapter One.
"Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying...Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel...Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses" (Joshua 1:1-3).
This could be called a great and precious promise that the LORD gave to Joshua and the children of Israel. A promise to possess the land the LORD had given them. But, they did not receive it "on a silver platter." There are conditions to the promises of God.
Then the LORD made a statement, saying, "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" (Joshua 1:5).
How wonderful! Joshua was given a wonderful prophecy by the LORD, Right? He was given authority to lead the children of Israel into the promised land, a land that the LORD promised them a long time ago. Actually, the LORD made the promise first to Abraham, "the father of all who live by faith" (Gal. 3:7,16,29).
But Joshua was also given responsibility along with the authority. "Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them...Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest...This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success...Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:6-10).
There is a lot of responsibility given to those who want to receive the promises of the LORD. Those responsibilities include speaking the Word of God day and night and observing to do according to all that is written therein. That is responsibility; a responsibility that many who say they are Christians do not desire.
God is faithful, and will do everything according to His Word. If we will be diligent and seek to do His will, and not our will of the flesh, God will change our heart (1 Sam. 10:9), and He will give us "power" to do all that He has asked us to do (Acts 1:8). But, we must do our part, before the promises of God can be fulfilled in our lives. In Isaiah 1:19, the LORD said, "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land." If we desire to eat the good of the land, we must be willing and obedient.
We must be willing to do all that is written of us in the Bible, especially in the New Covenant (New Testament). There are conditions to the promises of God in the New Testament. We must purpose in our heart to do the will of God the Father (Matt. 7:21). We must purpose in our heart to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33). We must be willing to "take up our cross and follow Jesus" (Matt. 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; 14:27).
If it was not for Jesus, Who made it possible for us to have eternal life, and spend eternity with Him in heaven, where would we be? If it were not for the great and precious promises that God has made to everyone, where would we be? If it were not for all the authority we have been given by the LORD, where would we be?
Yet, if we do not take the responsibility of guarding our heart with all diligence, where will we end up? Learn how to "guard your heart, for out of it, flows all the issues of life." Learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything. Learn to know the difference between the false and the true.
Learn how to walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh, for our eternal life is dependent upon our walk in this life.
When we do not have peace in our spirit, stop and find out why? The Holy Spirit is called, "the Spirit of Peace." The Kingdom of God is "...righteous-ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17). Therefore, with all your heart, "...seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). And be doers of the Word and not just hearers only (James 1:22).
Remember, if you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption (Gal. 6:7,8). Therefore, sow to the Spirit and reap life everlasting.
Let the world go. You can not take it with you. Follow Jesus! If you follow Jesus all the days of your life, the Holy Spirit will empower you to overcome every circumstance that comes against you. God is for you, not against you (Rom. 8:31). Set your heart to seek the will of God in your life and the Holy Spirit will help, guide, comfort, teach, and lead you in the way God wants you to go.
Learn to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit by the anointing within you. In 1 John 2:27, it says, "...the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
It is the anointing in you that will teach you all things. It is not men that will teach you, it is the Holy Spirit that will teach you. Jesus said in John 6:45, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God..." Jesus cannot lie.
Believe what Jesus said, and do what Jesus said to do. Receive the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Then study the written Word of God, pray in the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit will teach you all things.
Do not forsake the assembling together with others in the body of Christ Hebrews 10:25 says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
The Body of Christ must work together, not separately. We need the anointing of others in the body of Christ to know and do the will of God in our lives.
Why is God looking for a willing heart? A willing heart is the beginning of a perfect heart. For God to perfect our heart, He needs a willing heart to start with. In 2 Chronicles 16:9, Hanani, a prophet, came to King Asa and said, "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him..."
It is our part to have a willing heart, so that God can work within us to perfect that which He desires. In Philippians 2:13, it says, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." What is God's good pleasure? God's good pleasure is that we live as He lives. That we walk as He walks.
The LORD God created man in His image and likeness. God is looking for those who will live and walk in the image and likeness of Jesus, who is the express image of God (Heb. 1:3).
A willing heart is a heart that walks in the image of God, which is love (agape). God is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, to do the will of God Christians must walk in love (agape).
When Christians walk in love (agape), God can perfect within them a heart like that of Jesus Christ. A perfect heart is one that prefers others before themselves. A Christian with a perfect heart walks like Jesus walked, in the image and likeness of Jesus.
When we see those who call themselves Christians, not walking in the image and likeness of Jesus, it is questionable. Are they truly born again or only saved? A person can be saved, and not truly born again. In the Old Testament times many were saved, but none of them were born again.
Saved means, "deliver, and/or protect." Which includes "to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to heal or make whole." This Jesus was doing all throughout the Gospels. Jesus was healing, delivering, and making whole those who came to Jesus. None of these that Jesus healed, delivered, or made whole were born again. No one could become born again until after Jesus became the first born from the dead.
Born again is a new creature in Christ Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:23 it says, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." The new birth starts with the Seed of the new birth, which is the Word of God. In John 1:12, it says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (NKJV). To become truly born again a person must personally receive Jesus Christ, Himself. There is a difference between Saved and Born again.
When a person receives Jesus Christ, Himself, it says, "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). That is truly a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the flesh nor of the will of man. That is what Jesus was talking about in John 3:6,7, when He said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit...Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."
It is when a person is truly born again that they receive a new heart and a new spirit. Born again Christians should do the same things Jesus did while He was walking in the flesh on this earth.
What did Jesus do in His life here on earth? In Acts 10:38 it says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."
There are two major things mentioned about what Jesus did. First, Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power (from God, not from man). Secondly, Jesus "...went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil..." Jesus was doing the perfect will of God in His life here on earth.
Jesus did not do the perfect will of God without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, which He received by obedience to God the Father. Jesus did the perfect will of God, to set an example for Christians to follow in His footsteps.
Jesus did for others what they could not do for themselves. That is a perfect heart, a heart that is perfected by God, after God finds those who have a willing heart.
It all begins with a willing heart. Once God finds a willing heart, God will perfect that heart, by the anointing of the Holy Spirit working in and through those who have a willing heart.
When Christians learn to do what Jesus did, they will learn how to walk in the anointing and the power of the Holy Spirit, going about doing the perfect will of God.
Exodus 35:5, "Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart..." Exodus 35:21, "And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing..." Exodus 35:29, "The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the LORD, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing..."
Christians must have a willing heart, before God can use them to do His perfect will here on earth. Christians must walk in the same love (agape) that Jesus walked in. Christians must be led by the Holy Spirit the same as Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit. Christians must do the will of God, just as Jesus did the will of God the Father. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).
This is impossible for those who say they are Christians and have not been truly born again. God cannot do in a persons life what He desires, until they are truly born again, and not just saved.
In Acts 2:47, it says, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Following the New Birth, Christians must still be saved.