Praise the Lord, Grace & Peace great people of our “Great God”…JESUS!
As a pastor I carry a perpetual burden, as I observe many of Gods’ children who have been brought into the light, who leave the Lord and His standard. This seems to occur due to discouragement, rebellion, hurt, fear, selfishness, and most of all, many seem to stop walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can give them victory to overcome any sin that may dwell in the flesh! Satan has taken these failures to seize the victory over many of the Saints, because many do not take advantage of the privilege afforded them through the power of restoration, which has been provided in Christ Jesus! I looked up the definition for the words Restitution and Restoration, and they are as follows: Restitution:To recompense for injury or loss.The law of restitution is the law of gains based recovery. It is to be contrasted with the law of compensation, which is the law of loss based recovery. e.g., When a court orders restitution it orders the defendant to give up his/her gains to the claimant “he was ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution.” Restoration: is an act of restoring or the condition of being restored; such as bringing back to a former position or condition; REINSTATEMENT, e.g. the restoration of peace. Hence for this Golden Nugget I would like to provoke the thought “I Thank God That Jesus RESTITUTION Empowers RESTORATION” The following scripture will be use to establish my premise to provoke further gospel provocation…
Gen 35:1-4 “And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.”
Isa 35:4-6 “Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and thetongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.”
1Pe 1:16-19 “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
As I began to intensely study Jacobs experience, I noticed on occasion the word “EL-beth-EL.”A very precious title, which rendered God as its Alpha and its Omega! Please note my brothers and sisters that at Shechem, Jacob called his altar “El-elohe-Israel,” which means, “God, the God of Israel”; but at Bethel, Jacob called his altar “El-beth-el,” which means God; the house of God. This experience was a true restoration for Jacob, because he was brought back after experiencing a time of wandering, that caused him to deviate from where he had started. Yet, we see the mercy and grace our God concerning His servant, as He waited patiently on Jacob. We see God bears with him, He ministered to him, He cared for him, and He perpetually looked after him; until the time came when God said “Arise, go up to Bethel.”
Saints, let me ask some thought provoking questions here! Are we conscious of when we are wandering from Jesus? Have our hearts failed, grown cold, and alienated from the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit? Have we lost our zeal, freshness, and ardor which defines the state of our soul? Have we allowed the worlds ideologies to overtake us? Have we conditioned our hearts to go after idols, which causes our garments of holiness to be defiled? I challenge all of us if we have; the Lord Jesus Christ wants us to be restored back to Him! He is saying “Arise, go up to Bethel!” GOLDEN NUGGET!
My brothers and sisters, we will never experience true happiness, until we yield in full response to rise up, and lay aside every weight and every hindrance that alienates from the commonwealth of God; Hence, we must put away the idols and change our garments, and fall down at the feet of our Lord Jesus Christ; who loves us with a love that nothing can quench! It is because of this Agape love, and our surrender to His Holy Spirit, that brings back our wandering heart to the required standard in Christ Jesus. That’s why every soul that may be found in Shechem, Jesus makes an effort to visit, so that we cannot have rest, until we respond fully to “Arise, go up to Bethel.”
Wow, these words “Arise, go up to Bethel” contain a powerful illumination in truth which I would like to elaborate on. I’ve often heard and read that when God deals with us, He always keeps us accountable to the original terms. This is true; but some may not exactly understand that truth is designed to act on the heart and conscience, hence this is why God can always keep us accountable to His original terms. My brothers and sisters when God calls us to any special position or path, and we fall short of it, or wander from it, He will call us to it again, and again to fulfill His standard with devoutness! When we swerve from it, or fall below it, He makes an assertive effort to remind us to come back to it.
My brothers and sisters remember when Peter was chose at the lake of Gennesaret, he forsook all and followed Jesus, and the last words that fell on his ear from the lips of his risen Lord was, “Follow thou Me.” This was simply holding him accountable to the original terms established. The heart of Jesus could not be satisfied with anything less, and neither should our heart as His servants.
Yes, it was at the lake of Gennesaret, that Peter set out to follow Jesus. What happen? Years later; Peter had stumbled; he had denied his Lord; he went back to his boats and nets. What happen? After the Lord’s resurrection, as Peter, restored in soul,; stood by the side of his loving Lord at the sea of Tiberias, was called to listen to those powerful words of utterance, “Follow Me!” These words embraced a comprehensive detail of an active life that would entail service and patient suffering. Hence, Peter was brought back to the original terms“Follow thou Me.”
Now we see the same thing precisely in the history of the patriarch Jacob in Genesis 28:10-15 “And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, l am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed: and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.”
Please notice the blessed statement of what the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob undertook to do for Jacob and for his seed… “I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” Such are the terms by which God binds Himself to Jacob; which terms, blessed be the name of the Lord, has been and will be fulfilled to the letter; though earth and the gates of hell try to intervene to prevent. Jacob’s seed shall yet possess the whole land of Canaan as an everlasting inheritance, for who shall prevent Jehovah Elohim, the Lord God Almighty, from accomplishing His promise?
The word of God states Gen 28:16-22“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel…. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace — then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth to Thee.”
Saints, God pledged Himself to Jacob; and though Heaven and earth should pass away, that pledge must be maintained with integrity. He revealed Himself to that poor lonely one who laid sleeping on his stony pillow; and not only revealed Himself to him, but linked Himself with him in a bond which no power of earth or hell can ever dissolve.
Please understand that all this was deliberately uttered before the Lord, and solemnly recorded by Him; and then Jacob went on his journey. Jacob experienced many eventful ups and downs for over twenty years, which entailed many test and trials; but the God of Bethel watched over His poor servant, and appeared to him in the midst of his pressure, and said to him, “I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow to Me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return to the land of thy kindred.”
God had not forgotten the original terms that were established, neither would He let His servant forget them. This was an exhibition of His divine love and faithfulness. God loved Jacob, and He would not permit him to stop short of the standard. He jealously watched over the state of His servant’s heart; and, lest it should by any means remain below the Bethel mark, He gently reminded him by those touching and significant words, “I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow.” This was the sweet expression of God’s unchanging love, and He counted on the fact that of Jacob would perpetually remember the scenes at of Bethel.
My brothers and sisters Jesus Christ perpetually reminds us the original terms. He says to us, in one way or another, as He said to Jacob, “I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow.” Hence, He deals with us, in the midst of all our wandering, our stops, and our stumbling. He makes us to know, that we cannot do without His love, nor does He want to do without ours. It is truly a wonderful relationship; Hence let us strive to maintain it! For Jesus Christ often appeals to the Saints, as noted in Rev. 2:2-4 “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” also in Heb. 10:32 “Call to remembrance the former times” and in Gal.4:15 “Where is the blessedness ye spake of?”
These are all an attempt to call His people back to the restoration point from which they had left. Jesus is waiting and ready. His love is unchanging; and not only this, but He often reminds us that He cannot be satisfied without a true response from us. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, whatever has drawn you away from the measure of your former dedication to Jesus Christ, let your heart be inspired to come back to Him at once! Do not hesitate, do not linger. Cast yourself at the feet of our loving God, please tell Him all, and let your heart fully return to Him, and let it be only for Him. I am convinced that this is a main requirement in true servitude!
If Christ does not have our heart, He does not want the labor of our hands. Jesus does not say, “My child give Me your money, your time, your talents, your energies, your pen, your tongue, your head.” All these are unavailing, and unsatisfying to Him if the heart is not involved. What He says to us is, “My child, give Me your heart.” For when the heart is given to Jesus, all other things will line up respectfully. Out of the heart come all the issues of life; and only if Christ is in the heart, can the work, the ways, the walk, and the character, flow abundantly in righteousness! GOLDEN NUGGET!
As I furthers studied Jacob, I noticed in Genesis chapter 33, that Jacob settles down at Shechem, where he gets into all sorts of trouble and confusion. His house is dishonored, and his sons in avenging the dishonor endanger his life. Because of the situation Jacob feels intense, and he says to his sons Simeon and Levi, “Ye have troubled me . . . among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.”
Please understand that this may have seemed deplorable; but Jacob is not cognizant immediately that he was in a wrong place in God. The defilement and confusion from the environment of Shechem failed to open his eyes to the fact that he was not where he should of been based on the original standard. How often is this the case with us! We fall short of Gods’ divine standard in many ways; because we fail to acclimate in spiritual light, and hence our spiritual eye becomes so dim, due to the atmosphere that we choose to surround ourselves with. Therefore because our spiritual eye is dim, our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit becomes blunted; because we fail to recognize what these associations are doing to us. All of this causes us not to have the ability to discern just how low we are, and how far we have fallen from the proper standard required by Jesus Christ! GOLDEN NUGGET!
However, we see this divine principle again and again illustrated with Jacob…”And God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there; and make there an altar to God, that appeared to thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.”
I must note that in my studies that there is not one word said about Shechem, concerning its pollution or its confusion. There is not a word from God rendering reproof for having settled down there. Yet God comes in a more excellent way. Instead of God saying to Jacob, “Why have you settled down in Shechem?” He simply says, “Arise, go up to Bethel;” and this word from the Lord sent a flood of light into Jacob’s soul by which he was enabled to judge himself and his surroundings. “Then Jacob said to his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: and let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.”
This was proof that Jacob wanted to get back to the standard in God! This shows that this man’s soul was being restored, and desired to be led back into the paths of righteousness. Jacob was able to discern that he could not bring false gods and defiled garments to Bethel: such things might fit the standard for Shechem, but they could never meet the standard for Bethel. Please note; “And they gave to Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem…. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el; because there God appeared to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.”
When I study the Gospel of St John 21:1-19, it afforded me to see three distinct kinds of restoration; Restoration of conscience, Restoration of the heart, and Restoration of position. I will attempt to do a brief analysis on these.
Lets first look at the Restoration of conscience, which is very essential. It would be utterly impossible to overestimate the value of a sound, clear, condemning conscience. As children of God, we should walk before the Lord with a pure conscience, a conscience that desires to be restored to the original standard in Jesus Christ.
It is very obvious that Peter possessed it in the touching scene “at the sea of Tiberias.” And yet he had shamefully, and grievously fallen. He had denied his Lord with an oath; but he was restored. One look from Jesus had broken up the deep fountains of his heart, and brought forth floods of bitter tears. And yet it was not his tears, but the love that drew forth repentance and rendered a restoration of his conscience. This is made possible by the changeless and everlasting love of Jesus, and the divine efficacy of His blood, with the all prevailing power of His advocacy! Yes it was Jesus, that imparted to Peter’s conscience the boldness and the liberty that was needed. My beloved brothers and sisters have you fallen? Have you erred? Have you backslidden? Have you lost the sweet sense of divine favor, the happy consciousness of the acceptance with God? If so, what can you do? Simply this, “Return.” This is God’s own special word to the backslider. Return in full confession, in self-judgment, and in the full confidence of the boundless, changeless love that Jesus Christ is offering. Do not, I beseech you, do not measure the heart of Jesus by your own thoughts. Let Him tell you what is in His heart concerning you. Please know that Satan is more than obliged in suggesting to you the darkest thoughts; to keep you at distance from our precious Savior who loves you with an everlasting love! Focus on the blood, the advocacy, and the heart of Jesus Christ. Do not, therefore, go on another hour without seeking to get a thorough settlement of the enmity that is between your soul and Jesus Christ! GOLDEN NUGGET!
Now let’s look at Restoration of the Heart, which has to be restored as well as the Conscience. It often happens, when it comes to the soul, that though the conscience may be perfectly clear as to certain acts which we have done, yet the roots from where those acts have derived, have not been exposed and judged. The acts appear on the surface of our daily life, but the roots are hidden down deep in the heart. It may be unknown to ourselves and to others, but thoroughly exposed to the eye of God! For the word states in Jer. 17:9-10 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Hence, these roots must be reached, exposed, and judged, so that the heart is in a right condition in the sight of God. Look at Abraham. He started on his course with a certain root in his heart, a root of an unbelieving reserve in reference to Sarah. This thing led him astray when he went down to Egypt; and although his conscience was restored, and he got back to his altar at Bethel, yet the root was not dealt with for many years thereafter, as was observed in the incidence with Abimelech, king of Gerar.
Please remember when Simon Peter, had full confidence of a restored conscience, he fell at the feet of His risen Lord, for he was given the gracious invitation, “Come and dine” because this, the root had to be exposed, and therefore, “When they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” This was a pointed and pungent question, and it went right to the core of Peter’s heart. Please remember that three times Peter had denied his Lord, and three times his Lord had challenged the heart of Peter, why? because the roots must be reached and exposed if any permanent good is to come out of the heart.
Last, lets evaluate the Restoration of position, even though the conscience has been purged, and the heart, with its various roots, has been exposed and judged, there still is a path we must walk and stand to maintain our position.There are two words in the path of any servant in Christ Jesus, i.e., “Follow Me.” The Lord had just given Peter the sweetest pledges of His love and confidence. He had, in spite of all his past failure, entrusted him with the care of all that was dear to His loving heart in this world, even the lambs and sheep of His flock. He said to him, “If you have affection for Me, feed My lambs, shepherd My sheep”; and now, in one brief but comprehensive utterance, He opens before him his proper path “Follow Me.” This is enough to be perpetually restored back to our position.
If we want to follow Jesus, we must keep our eyes continually upon Him; we must mark His footprints and walk in them! A thousand things may arise to distract and hinder us. The devil will tempt us to look here and there, to look at this one and that one; to imagine we could do better here than there, or there than here; or to be preoccupied with imitating the work of some fellow-servant. All these things can be abrogated by Jesus’ powerful words just “Follow Me.”
There is immense danger of following in the identity of others, or doing certain things because others do them; for we are to mark the perfect man, and that was Jesus! Everything outside of Jesus has to be carefully guarded against, because it can cause us to lose our position in Christ Jesus! What we really want is to maintain a broken and contrite spirit, that will render a true spirit of servitude, which waits on Lord, to know His desire. Please know that true servitude does not consist in doing this or that, or running here and there; it is simply doing the Master’s will, whatever that may be. Please remember that “Those who serve are they who stand and wait.” while maintaining their position in Christ Jesus!
I beseech all of you to stay encouraged, and remain cognizant that these are the Last Days. Many have left and are still leaving the fold, but it does not have to be you! And If it is you, “I Thank God That JESUS RESTITUTION Empowers RESTORATION” Have a “JESUS DAY”