THE EYES AND
EARS OF THE KINGDOM
PART 2 -- CONCLUSION
Last week, in Part 1 of
our teaching entitled The Eyes and Ears of the Kingdom we discovered that God
wants to reveal hidden mysteries kept since the foundation of the world. We took
a look at why believers, and more specifically why many prophets and seers, are
hindered from receiving revelation from God. As well we examined several
strategic keys that God has provided so that we can stir up the spirit of wisdom
and revelation. This week in Part 2 we'll examine what it takes to walk in
maturity concerning obedience, knowing God's ways, faith, repentance and good
stewardship. Before closing in prayer, we'll discuss the importance of praying
in tongues and how this vital communication is activated.
We finished last week's teaching by discussing some of the reasons why believers, and specifically the prophets and seers, are blocked from receiving revelation concerning the mysteries and secrets that God wants to release. We looked at the fact that in order to see and hear in the spiritual realm we must choose to do so. But if we decide that we don't want to see or hear, God will often cover our heads with a veil or hood that hinders our ability to receive revelation (Is. 29:9-10). This week we'll discuss several godly principles that will put us in the right position to have the veil and hood removed.
REVERSING THE PROCESS THAT DULLS REVELATION
Were you ever like a prophetic machine gun? But now it's like the heavens are brass and you've become dull. No dreams, no visions or revelations are happening and you're wondering if God is angry with you. Last week in Part 1 we discussed several reasons why we lose our prophetic edge, and this week I want to examine how we can reverse this process. So let's take a look at Hebrews Chapters 3 and 5 where we'll discover five vital keys that will help us get on the right track and sharpen our prophetic gift.
God's hidden mysteries and secrets are waiting for us every morning! How often do we expect to hear the voice of God? The apostle Paul said, "Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness'" (Heb. 3:7). Every day is today. How many of us know that revelation? We need to lift our expectation a whole lot higher!
"Today do not harden your heart..." How do we harden our hearts? The answer is found in this Scripture verse: "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?" (Heb. 3:18). Why should God give us a prophetic word if we haven't obeyed Him or acted upon the last prophetic word He gave us? If we don't obey every unction of the Holy Ghost we become dull of hearing. In every area of our life where we're not obedient to the dreams, visions and the prophetic leadings that He does gives us, when we harden our hearts, then our sharp edge in the prophetic realm becomes duller and duller. The Holy Spirit says to us that we must not harden our hearts. This also means that we must not make our hearts callused.
When we choose to keep our hearts softened, allowing God's will to come to pass in our lives, then we're on the right tract. We can reverse the dulling process! We need to act on the prophetic word when it comes. When revelation comes it's precious; it's like finding hidden treasure. How do we treat our treasure? We need to be careful with it; treasure it; cherish it. It will cost us everything.
On the one hand, we sharpen our hearing when we know God's ways; we're sensitive to Him. But on the other hand, if we only know the acts of God and we do not actually know Him, then we become hard of hearing and almost blind. It's vital to God that we know Him and His ways! "Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways'" (v. 10). Let me show you a dangerous truth. The Bible says:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Mt. 7:21-23).
Do you know what "I never knew you" means? It means that we ceased to be known because we no longer make ourselves available to God in intimacy. There was a time when God knew us, but now He doesn't know us because we ceased to be known. It's our part. We stopped coming to God in intimacy and we no longer let ourselves be known. The further that we wander from God in our heart concerning intimacy, the deafer we become. And the closer we draw to God, wanting to know Him and be known by Him, we will hear His voice; it won't be muffled.
When we believe what God tells us, our faith comes alive and our spiritual sensitivity comes into order. But if we have an unbelieving heart; which the Bible calls an evil heart, then we've actually fallen away from the living God and we aren't in a position to receive true revelation from God (Heb. 3:12).
When we confess our sin and repent and we make every attempt to walk in a way that's pleasing to God, then our body, soul and spirit is cleansed and prepared to receive true revelation from God. But if we are entrenched in the deceitfulness of sin, then we become deaf! Some believers might think that they're actually getting away with sin, but the deceitfulness of sin is taking away their spiritual ears and their spiritual eyes.
When we act upon the revelation that God releases to us, practicing what we preach, then we increase in spiritual maturity. The apostle Paul said that solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Heb. 5:14). Practicing will sharpen our prophetic edge.
REMEMBER THE WORKS OF GOD
Acting upon the revelation that God reveals to us takes us beyond the place of simply hearing, to the place of doing. When we take action concerning a command from God then a memory is made. And we can stir up our faith and trust when we remember the ways that God has performed different feats in our lives. We honor the Lord when we remember His goodness in our lives.
Jesus gave a word of rebuke to his disciples when they freaked out after they realized they cast off from shore with only one loaf of bread on board (Mk. 8:14). After all, Jesus had just performed a few great miracles by multiplying a several loaves of bread to feed thousands of people. But they forgot all about that! So Jesus said to them:
"'Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?' They said to Him, 'Twelve.' 'Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?' And they said, 'Seven.' So He said to them, 'How is it you do not understand?'" (Mk. 8:17-21).
He was explaining that they were hung up on having no bread because they weren't remembering what they had just seen and heard Him do. Their hearts were still hardened because they didn't remember his goodness. He asked them, "Do you not remember?" Then He takes them back to the time when He fed the 5,000 and when he fed the 4,000. It's like Jesus was asking His disciples: Do you not remember the feeding of the 5,000? Did you miss the message? I am the Lord of the universe and I create something out of nothing. Do you not know who I am yet? Despite seeing many miracles, it looks like they didn't learn much! Their hearts were hardened; they forgot what God did the last time. And so have we! I'll tell you why we're deaf and blind in the church today. We forget!
But God really wants us to learn a valuable lesson here. It's like Jesus is saying to us: I will bring difficulties into your lives for a purpose. I intend to bring them again and again until you learn how to overcome based on what I did the last time. The Lord wants us to have a revelation of His consistent goodness. Also He wants us to know who we are in Christ and the authority we carry so that we can take our place of authority and dominion.
One of the greatest keys to spiritual revelation for me is when I take a few minutes to remember a number of revelations God has given to me. Then I start talking about them and I stir myself up. Listen. We need to dream some old dreams and visions, prophetic words and prophetic promises, that God said to us. Many of us have faced the same storm several times. Could it be that God is allowing certain situations to repeat themselves in our lives because He wants us to believe and remember that He will come through?
KEYS TO MATURITY
WAIT FOR GOD'S COUNSEL
Do we realize that God will put leanness in our soul if we don't remember His works or wait for His counsel (Ps. 106:13)? Listen. Some of us are so spiritually thin. We're not receiving wisdom and revelation because we're not waiting for His counsel; we're not waiting on the Lord. Jesus would wait all night to see what the Father was doing and we can't wait five minutes! I made a practice several years ago of waiting on the Lord for one to three hours. Having the eyes and ears of the kingdom is going to cost us something. It's going to cost us everything! Waiting for God's counsel is crucial to receiving and hearing the hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God.
WISDOM IS FOR THE MATURE
God is opening up to us the realm of prophetic revelation so that we can speak out the hidden mysteries of God. The apostle Paul gives us a big key concerning what it takes in order to speak about the hidden mysteries:
"However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory" (1 Cor. 2:6-7).
In this Scripture (above) we can see that we need to be mature, or we might as well forget about wisdom and revelation. The wisdom that God has hidden before the ages is ordained for the mature.
Paul goes on to describe the kind of behavior that immature believers produce:
"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" ( 1 Cor. 3:1-3).
We want to have a mature church today without division, strife and sexual sin. When there are all kinds of things going on in the church today we can't expect to receive the wisdom of God. Listen. This hidden wisdom is for the mature believer, not the carnal man.
REVELATION IS FOR THE SPIRIT MAN
You know why we don't have the wisdom of God in our lives? It's because we have too much of the spirit of the world and too much of the natural mind. The natural man has his mind set on the things that his flesh wants. The spiritual man has his mind set on the things that the Spirit wants (Rm. 8:5). Ask yourself an honest question. How much time does your mind think about what the Spirit wants and how much time does your mind think about what your flesh wants? Where do you live more?
Revelation is for the spirit man, not the natural man who has been consumed with the spirit of the world. Not that we can't be in the world and enjoy the world. But we need to keep a check and balance on how much our mind is on what the Spirit wants and how much our mind is consumed with what the flesh wants because that is the key to revelation. Paul preaches that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit: "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14).
The Spirit of God knows the deep things of God, and guess Who we have received? The Spirit of God!
"But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God." (v. 10-12).
We have the Spirit of God so that we might know hidden mysteries and secrets that have been hidden since the foundation of the world.
MATURITY INVOLVES CHOOSING WELL
We don't want to be immature in the church today and miss receiving the mysteries of the kingdom. The Bible says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Rev. 2:7). Do you know what that means? It's our choice to hear. (We discussed this last week in Part 1.) Let him who has ears hear what the Spirit is saying. We need to have a teachable hearing heart. Every time we hear the same Scripture that we've read a thousand times, there is a potential for faith if we don't shut it off and say, "Know it; heard it; boring." Or, "Preached it; heard it; boring." Too many times I've said, "Open your Bibles" and before I even get a word out of my mouth someone is quoting the scripture. "Open your Bibles to John 3," and automatically people are thinking, Ah, he's going to preach on being born again. Or, Ah, he's preaching that message we heard five times. Faith comes by repeatedly hearing the same word. We have a choice to hear. And it's about hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing! Remember, faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of God (Rm. 10:17).
Just as we consciously make the choice to hear, we also need to decide if we'll earnestly seek after the hidden mysteries of God. If we want the hidden treasure it's going to cost us everything. The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field (Mt. 13:44). The man who found the hidden treasure sold all that he had in order to purchase the field. And remember last week we discussed how Daniel received a visitation from the angel who opened up the Book of Truth. But there was a sacrifice on Daniel's partóa 21 day fast before he received revelation of the message from the angel (Dan. 10). It cost him something!
As well, we need to appreciate that we're not seeking the treasures; we're seeking Christ. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2a-3). Think about that. What a friend we have in Jesus. Wow! You know, our eyes haven't seen and our ears haven't heard, nor has it entered in our hearts completely, the things which God has prepared for us, who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). The key to accessing the unsearchable riches of Christ isólove Him.
As we seek God and receive the hidden mysteries [that are kept secret from the foundation of the world (Mt. 13:35b)] we need to be good stewards of this revelation. I heard this from the Holy Ghost on the Day of Atonement: "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God (1 Cor. 4:1). I'm supposed to handle the hidden secrets of heaven. I'm supposed to be a steward in sharing with the world hidden truths that have been hidden since the foundation of the world. He wants me to be a steward of the mysteries of God. Have you ever thought about being a steward of revelation? "Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful" (v. 2).
A steward is not the owner, he is the operator. A steward is the one who exercises the power, the resources and responsibilities given to him. He has the interest of the owner at heart. Do you know why we aren't qualified to receive revelation? It's because we so often have our own interests, our own kingdom, our own name, our own ministry at heart. It's amazing the motives that we have, but we don't have the owner's interest at heart. Listen. We're not owners, we're operators who are entrusted to exercise the power, resources and responsibilities given to us with the interests of the owners at heart.
Stewards are known by their obedience. In the Old Testament, we discover the "Joseph model" concerning stewardship. Joseph was consistently faithful in little. His track record proved that he could be entrusted with much. He was just as faithful with less important matters as he was with the governmental administration of Pharaoh's great wealth. So my question is this. Will we be faithful with the revelation of heaven? God wants to entrust us, like a bank is entrusted. He wants to make a deposit of revelation in us so that we can make a withdrawal and share it with the world. The hidden mysteries of the kingdom are entrusted to mature believers who know how to be faithful stewards.
PRAYING IN TONGUES
NOTE FROM DANIEL BLACK: "I personally can understand where Todd is coming from here. But for those of you who have a hard time comprehending this, it is ok. Ask God to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that you may comprehend what is the height, the length, the breadth, and the depth of the Love of Christ. Jesus is revealing His secrets and all His mysteries to those who have fallen COMPLETELY in love with Him. How many of you are willing to take a chance and ascend to the Holy Mountain of the Lord? How many of you will speak to the wind? Declare the truths and mysteries of God? I know that I am going to pursue my God to this extent! -DB
Before we complete this teaching series I want to discuss one more important factor that marks a mature believer. This concerns the hidden power of praying in tongues. We don't preach much on the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues much in church anymore, but we need to. Probably most of us don't pray in tongues for more than an hour a week and most of the time it's in a corporate setting. My observation is that we've lost the purpose of tongues.
So I want to discuss one of the main purposes concerning tongues that I've never seen before. This will excite us! Let's take a look at what the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians. "For He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries" (1 Cor. 14:2). The word "mysteries" means secrets which have been divinely revealed. Every time we speak in tongues to God, we're telling God His own mysteries. When we speak in tongues we're speaking divine truths revealed and we're telling God revelation that's been hidden since the foundation of the world. We're not just edifying ourselves and building up our most holy faith. The Holy Ghost isn't just helping us to intercede. We're actually uttering mysteries. Listen. If we want to speak mysteries and hidden truths, then we need to pray in tongues.
But having said that, how do we connect tongues (which functions in the realm of the spirit) to the mind? Here's what Paul says: "Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret" (1 Cor. 14:13). Could it be possible that I can interpret my own tongue? Then my understanding is engaged. Keep in mind that Paul is talking about the personal tongue between each of us and God. Not the public tongue. Paul means that when we pray in our personal, private tongue we're actually allowing the Spirit to speak back to God the mysteries the Holy Ghost has revealed. Then the Bible gives us an invitation to let him who prays in an unknown tongue pray that he would interpret. That is why Paul goes on to say:
"For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding" (I Cor. 14:14-15).
There is something powerful concerning the spirit of revelation when we pray in tongues. The Lord has been saying to me, Todd you can birth things when you pray in tongues, but it will take more than ten minutes. I've been challenged by the Lord about what could happen if I prayed in tongues for eight hours. I've never been able to go longer than three hours straight.
I've noticed that after about ten minutes of praying in tongues most people will feel like they're getting stronger and closer to God. But what happens most of the time is that our mind gets so busy and distracted because don't usually have any understanding of what our tongue is saying. So we usually can't focus for more than about ten minutes. A practice that helps us stay focused is when we pray in tongues for about five minutes; then worship for a few minutes; then go back to reading the Bible and then back to tongues.
As we close this week's teaching, I want us to pray in our private tongue out loud to God. As we pray in tongues right now, we're speaking mysteries. You might wonder what you're speaking, but keep praying. Break through the membrane! We'll pray for an interpretation from God.
Father, we repent for wanting to call the shots concerning having spiritual eyes and ears. We want to honor You by choosing to see and hear what You want to reveal to us so that we can properly serve You and advance Your kingdom in the earth. We want to have the eyes and ears of the kingdom.
We want to ask you to empower us to push back the veil and the hood so that we can see and hear clearly in the supernatural realm of heaven. We want to pull back the veil and remove the hood off our eyes and ears.
We ask God that we would interpret your mysteries accurately and that we would be able to interpret our own personal tongues when we pray that way. Let the spirit of understanding come. Please release revelation and knowledge to us O God.
Please saturate us in the spirit of wisdom and revelation. We say that we want to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ and the Word of God; marked by maturity. Thank you Father. In Jesus' name. Amen.