Learning to Live Out of the Heavenlies
The Salvation Series 2003Part 9
I was teaching in Africa when I became caught in the midst of a border war. Scheduled to cross the border to meet some Pastors, I was denied crossing when the war broke out. So I remained in the remote area where I had been, and continued to minister. We spent days in intercession and spiritual warfare. During that time the Lord spoke me to. He said, "I want you to learn to live out of the resources of My Kingdom. All you need for your life will flow from My Throne if you walk in union with Me. Teach these people the same is true for them."
He showed me how He would supply wisdom, knowledge, and righteousness. He would add strength and supply all needs for shelter, food, clothing, and transportation.
For weeks I walked in this. I traveled, ate, slept, and lived with the Africans. I walked miles with them, or rode in their public transportation--beyond description to the Western mind. Continually I was aware of being "in Christ." I never grew weary and found an unusual anointing to minister. No inconveniences were there, only opportunities for His grace and His love. We were experiencing what Jesus told about in Matt 6:33. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The day before I was again scheduled to cross the border for a seminar, the conflict was settled. By previous arrangement I was to meet a Pastor at a crossing about 25 miles from where I had tried to enter earlier. The situation remained tense. The men with me could not enter, but we did pray together. We dealt with the spiritual forces that ruled and told them they could not interfere with my mission. I was entering their country under the orders and covering of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I later found I was the first civilian to cross the border after it reopened. There was a stench from dead bodies. The kiosks and shops were deserted. This was a no-man's land between the two countries. As I crossed over, the pastor who met me said, "This is a miracle!"
Shortly before I arrived, two other missionaries were refused admittance, but I would be allowed through! However, there was a regulation for which I was not prepared. I must deposit $1 50-US at the border; I did not have even one U.S. dollar, and only enough local currency to get me back to a city to take a plane back home.
While I waited at the gate, the pastor who met me returned to the customs officials to tell them my situation. As he walked away from me, I spoke again to the principality reminding him he could not interfere with God's purposes. Again I told him I was entering his country under the covering of the Lord Jesus Christ. Shortly the pastor returned and said, "This is a double miracle! They have waived the restriction for you. You may enter."
THERE WAS NO VEHICLE at the border, but after a mile walk, we found one to make the sixty mile ride to the seminar site. After a stop at a bar for the driver to pick up his beer, we proceeded. He pressed on the gas to gain speed, then cut off the ignition to conserve gas. I learned new things about praying and the ministry of angels.
Late in the afternoon we arrived where about a hundred pastors and workers had gathered for the week of teaching. The year before, Jesse Grey and I had taught them The Secrets of God's Kingdom Revealed in Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. How open they were to that Word! Many came telling that what we had taught was now working in them.
This time I felt free to teach what I was learning about living out of the heavenlies. Wonderfully enough, they seemed to perceive what I was saying, even though some of it was technical, as in this article. Maybe they understood better than I did the actual application of it. They had been so deprived of life's resources they had little else in which to trust other than the resources of God's Kingdom. Their poverty had prepared them to receive.
I think I was learning something about what Jesus meant when He said, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven--Matt 5:3. They were poor in every way imaginable, therefore they were ready to receive the Kingdom into every dimension of their lives.
We held the seminar in a mud building with a grass roof. Meetings went
on till midnight with only the light from two kerosene lanterns. The Holy
Spirit met with us. Truth flowed. There was no difficulty getting points
across. But, after three days, I faced one of the most severe trials of
my life. What I was teaching came under test. I'll tell of that later.
First let me share a little of what we taught in those meetings. Those
were precious days.
I had been meditating from Romans and Ephesians. I saw that Eph 1 takes up where Rom 8 leaves off. In them I found the Apostle Paul made use of what I began to call the "with words." They tell what we share together with the Lord Jesus, and what He shares together with us. These words may not come to light in every translation, but they appear clearly in the Greek New Testament. They all begin with the letters su-, from the Greek Preposition sun which means "with." Placed as a prefix on the words, it adds its meaning. Paul used nearly a dozen of these "with words" to point to our union with the Lord Jesus.
Before we look at them here, it will help if we better understand the meaning of sun. For this, we compare it with three other Greek Prepositions having similar meaning--para, pros, and meta. Let us suppose we have before us a piece of paper and a pencil. • To illustrate para, we draw a single line. Right next to it and parallel with it, we draw another line. This shows how the second line is with the first one. It is right by it, parallel with it. • To illustrate pros, we draw a line with a bump on it, like the letter "P." Next to it, but with the bump facing the opposite direction, we draw another line. There they are facing one another. The second line is with the first one, face to face with it. • Now to illustrate meta, we draw one line. Then we wrap a second line around it, like a vine around a pole. The second line is intertwined with the first one, wrapped around it.
These are all marvelous words, but the Holy Spirit led Paul to another one when speaking of our union with the Lord. In each of the above illustrations we see two distinct lines. This will not be the case with sun. First we draw one line. Then, in exactly the same place, we draw a second line, right on top of the first one. The second one is with the first one, but if we had not placed it there ourselves we would not have known it. This is because one is with the other in the same place. The second one has become identified with the first one. Seeing one, we see the other. Paul used this word to build the words that speak of our identification with Christ Jesus.
When we look at the Scriptures where these words occur, we find how the
Lord Jesus came into the earth to identify with us in our need. Then we
find He has taken us into the heavens to identify with Him in His triumph.
• Our FIRST POINT of identification with the Lord Jesus is in His death. The most basic statement of this is in Rom 6:6a--Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him... In the Original this Verb is in the Greek Aorist Tense. Thus, it speaks of something accomplished in the past, never to be repeated. There was one crucifixion, His. When we receive it, it becomes ours also. That we were crucified with Christ is a statement of fact that Paul makes no effort to explain. He expects us to know it.
For me, knowing this fact began with this verse. I became willing to know it simply because I found it written here. On the basis of knowing it, I was able to reckon that it is so. I learned this from Rom 6:11. Reckon means "put it down to your account that it is so."
• Our SECOND POINT of identification with the Lord Jesus comes in the waters of baptism. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death.. --Rom 6:4a. Paul makes a further statement in Col 2:12a. Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God... In both, buried with is from sunthápto. It simply means "buried with."
Generally, a burial is without expectation of anything happening except decay in the ground. But Christ's burial was different. In it, the grave lost its power. He received authority over death. So, it is into a grave stripped of power that we enter with Him. For us, it takes place in water which has no power to hold us down. It is the representation of a reality. It is a picture of our identification with the Lord Jesus in His burial and resurrection. The instant our burial takes place with Him we are raised up to a new life.
Baptize is from the Greek baptízo. It means "to dip, or immerse in water." It is clear and simple in its meaning. In Matt 28:19 the Lord Jesus commanded that we follow it as a practice. In all, there are about two dozen references in the New Testament to the baptism of believers. In the Book of Acts we find how the early ministers of the New Testament Church practiced it. Paul considered it a foregone conclusion that believers would receive baptism. He made reference to it in these two verses. Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death... Rom. 6:4a. Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him.. --Col. 2:12a.
Baptism is symbolic and points to a reality beyond our immersion in water, but we should be careful not to move away from its practice just because we think we are ready to move away from symbolism and into reality. Personally, I only feel comfortable with baptizing--by immersion in water--every new believer. With its practice should come the teaching as to what it means. When a baptized person understands it is a public confession renouncing the old life and receiving a new life in Christ, then a far greater release of that new life can come forth--far greater than to those who refuse to be baptized.
• Our THIRD POINT of identification with the Lord Jesus is also in baptism, but with a different emphasis. Rom 6:5 brings this to us with the word súmphutos. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. A burial is the putting away forever of something useless. There is no natural hope in it. But because we have the germ of His life in us, we have hope that, when we are planted together with Him, a new life will spring forth.
The preceding verse is from the King James Version. Some of it is not exactly as it appears in the original Greek. I've underlined some added words. Consider what it can mean without these words. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. The Greek more clearly says, "If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we also shall be of the resurrection." Here there is no more symbolism. Nothing more is needed to represent a past event, nor a future hope. The reality of our life together with Christ now comes upon us and we are of the resurrection. We actually share it with Him.
• Our FOURTH POINT of identification with the Lord brings the release of a new kind of life that will not be weakened by our own mortality. Nothing can be clearer. When God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He raised us with Him. Are we becoming ready to believe this? See Rom 6:8--Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. This is from suzáo. It clearly means "to co-exist in life with another."
Throughout his Epistles Paul says it over and over. Eph 2:5,--(God)... hath quickened us together with Christ... This is from suzopoiéo, a combination of three Greek words: poiéo--"to make, to form, or to construct"; zóe, "life, a living existence"; and sun, "together with." We have been made alive together with Him. Believe it!
Paul used this same word again in Col 2:13a--And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him...
Becoming alive together with Him depends on the condition that we died with Him, were buried with Him, and were planted with Him--and that we believe.
On the human level, death comes after life. This makes life temporary and subject to abrupt ending. But on Christ's level, death comes first. It no longer stands to threaten us for it loses its power in the face of the resurrection.
• Our FIFTH POINT of identification with the Lord Jesus is that God hath raised us up together with Him. Eph 2:6 makes this clear. The meaning of this word, sunegeíro, is so simple and apparent that we can't miss it. When He was raised, we were raised. His resurrection was ours.
The fact that we have been raised is indication that death need hold no more dread for us. Once the strongest force of the universe, it has lost its sting. The grave has lost its victory (I Cor 15:55). Does this mean we will not eventually put off this old body to rot in the grave? Not necessarily. Some of us will live to the time of Christ's appearing, but even if others of us die before He comes, death still holds no threat to us. It has been so stripped of authority that even entering its portals, for a believer, only means the entrance into an exceedingly high form of life with Christ.
Now, because we are raised up with Him, we are ready for the next point of identification.
• Our SIXTH POINT of identification brings us into what we call "positional truth." Eph 2:6b brings us this word, so closely connected with our previous point.... and made us sit together (sugkathízo) in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This defines our true location, or "position." In Christ, we are seated in the heavenlies. We are enthroned, if you please, with Him--far above all principality, and power and might, and dominion, and every name that is named... (Eph 1:21). If He is there, we are there. There is no position, authority, power, or name in heaven or earth higher than that of the Lord Jesus. In His grace He shares this all with us.
• Our SEVENTH POINT of identification carries with it a previous requirement. If we share with Him in suffering, we can share with Him in His inheritance and in His glory. We go back to Rom 8:17 to see this. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with (sugkleronómos), Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him (sumpáscho), that we may be also glorified together (sundoxázomai). Each of these Greek words is well translated in this verse.
The Holy Spirit is now ready to work new and divine substance into our life with Christ. We become heirs together with Him. Everything He has gained from His Father He shares with us. However, only those who share His suffering can ever know the value of this shared inheritance. His suffering was that of rejection by the world--His Own world, the one He made. If we love the world that rejects Him, we will find it impossible to love His inheritance. But, if we share the rejection, we become ready to share the glory of the inheritance.
I think those Africans who had so little in this world were more ready
to enter this than any people I had ever seen. What hope this can give
to us who stand to lose all our worldly goods in the perilous time of
Days of sickness came, along with the searching in my own heart as to what had happened. Where was the abiding strength and protection I had known for weeks? To say the least, it was difficult to figure out what had happened. On the day I was testifying about the strength coming from our identification with Christ, I fell prey to disease. On the second day while I was laid up sick with fever, pain, and nausea, a woman attending the seminar came to where I was staying. She was a Pastor in a small town where God had begun to move. She said, "Brother Corley, thank God for what you have told us. We know it is so! And we know that the Lord Jesus is right there in that bed with you."
That was my turning point. Even though I had fallen into illness, it did not alter where I was with Christ. Nor did it alter where He was with me. I was still in the heavens with Him; He was in that bed with me! That became enough. From that point, I knew I could come through. The fever and headache and nausea continued, but I received strength enough for some of the men to take me back to the same border I had previously crossed. It was late in the day when we arrived and the town was deserted--except for one bus waiting for me. Yes! Of course!
Late at night, I found my way to a little African lodging house, over two bars, one on either side. In that room, with nothing to overcome the fever and pain, I wept with sickness. I wasn't afraid of dying, but I didn't think I wanted to die there. The noise from the bars below increased. It had been New Year's Day, and the revelry was loud. Every beat of the African music was like a hammer on my head. About midnight I could take it no longer. I cried to the Lord, "Father, I don't appreciate this! You are a God of mercy--but I'm not seeing Your mercy and I need it right now! Please help me!" Suddenly, with the noise below blaring away, I went to sleep--merciful sleep. Some hours later I awoke. The sickness was gone. It was quiet.
I remained there four days, gaining strength and reading the Bible hours
on end. By the time Jesse Grey reached me, I had learned some more lessons.
I learned that sometimes, even in doing God's will, we may be stricken.
I didn't find it necessary to search for some deep reason as to why it
happened. As a fact, it happened. I could have been kept from it, but
that was not the case. What I did learn was that the Lord Jesus was with
me in it, just like that sister said. And He brought me through--wonderfully--in
the train of His Own triumph. See II Cor 2:14.
© Berean Ministries
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