God's ways seem like paradoxes to the human mind. He says, To live, you must die. To find your life, you must lose it. To become strong, you must first become weak.
One of the greatest paradoxes of all is this — to be truly free you must become bound. To gain the greatest liberty in God one must give up all rights and become a lifelong bondservant to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a glorious love–slavery that leads to the highest form of freedom and liberty. It is a voluntary surrender born out of love and affection, causing one to consider servitude even greater than sonship.
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a placed for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.
I want to show you the most tragic man in history. He is not Judas; he is not Herod; he is not even a hater of God. He was a son of David, a king in Jerusalem, and in type the saddest, most pathetic man on earth.
Please hear me out when I tell you that an Old Testament king, years before Bethlehem and Calvary, missed Christ. How can a man miss Christ, centuries before He was born?
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. "Why are you here? Just what is God's intention for you in this crisis hour? Do you know what God expects of His church in these times? What is God's one great purpose?"
"…glorify thou me with thine own self…" (John 17:5).
No man can rightly define glory, any more than he can define God. Glory is the fullness of God, and that is a subject too high for our finite minds. Yet, we do know in part.
When God gives His glory, He gives Himself. He cannot parcel Himself out in pieces — no man receives a portion, but all. The one who receives His love also gets His mercy, His holiness, and His strength. The one who receives His mercy also gets His love and all else that is the fullness of God.
God can't use a man until He gets him on holy ground. A holy God must have a holy man on holy ground.
Holy ground is not a physical place, but a spiritual one. When God commanded Moses to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, He was not referring to a two–by–four piece of real estate. He was talking about a spiritual state.
God called Moses from the burning bush, commanding him: "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground…" (Exodus 3:5).
I want to speak with you about a unique experience that is shared primarily by those who yearn to go deeper in Christ. It has to do with a tremendous spiritual letdown that usually follows periods of fresh anointing and divine revelation. Only those men and women of God who have had a unique touch from Him can understand the deadlock and dark plunges that follow spiritual highs.
It is the testimony of spiritual giants in all ages, that the most severe temptations, the most oppressive battles — follow soon after the greatest spiritual experiences.
How many churches do you know that are flooded with the awesome presence of Jesus Christ? Where believers are so awed and reverent, they gather in holy silence. Where no one dares be flippant or silly. Where the singing is so filled with Christ's presence, sinners weep. Where the backslider and the wicked sinner become so miserable they either run to the altar, or out the door. Where the preacher is so anointed his face seems to shine with supernatural glory, and his words have convicting power.
"That I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable to his death" (Philippians 3:10).
Fellowship is the union of friends sharing similar interests or problems. To suffer is to feel pain or distress.
Paul yearned to share the pain and distress that Christ experienced. Did he not have enough suffering in his own life? Did he not have the hurts and cares of all the churches heavy upon his heart? Yet still he prays — "Oh, that I might know how to share Christ's pain and hurt."