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Letter to a Sister in the Lord

Dear Sister,

You have some concerns about the father/son relationship in the word that I’ve been sharing with you about. Let me set down some thoughts for your consideration. And because I was willing to listen to the marketing presentation the other night because it was you that was asking, please favor me by reading through what I have to say here.

The default status of mankind today is that of an orphan. He doesn’t have a right relationship by and large with his natural father, let alone with his heavenly Father.  This status has been developing and deepening in the psyche of man over the past 6000 years, and has come to be seen as quite normal.

Adam was the original orphan, becoming such when he separated himself from God by disobeying Him. (Luke 3:38 says that Adam was the son of God)

Prior to his fall, his status was that of a son. His destiny was to be the first among many sons through whom and with whom God wanted (wants) to rule and reign in the earth (Genesis 1:26)

He wanted for nothing. He wasn’t to be a businessman, a laborer, etc. He was to rule and reign as God’s representative, seeing to it that His kingdom came, and that His will was being done, in the earth, as it was in heaven. So is it really our purpose as well.

After his fall, his purpose slid radically from ruling to surviving. In clothing himself and hiding from God, the eyes of his soul were opened, and from that point forward he, and we with him (because he is/was our father in the natural) have had instilled into our DNA that we must provide for ourselves and protect ourselves. These are hallmarks of the orphan. Sons of God, however, are joint heirs with Christ, and are stewards over all that He has during their sojourn here, and everything they need for life and godliness is theirs for the asking. Orphans hoard. They trust no one but themselves. They are all they have. If you ask them ‘’how much is enough?’’ their answer at bottom, has to always be, ‘’just a little bit more.”They didn’t have a father who provided for them. They won’t be providing anything for their progency either. They have no concept for planning trans-generationally.

 

Sons come forth from fathers. Without fathers, there are no sons. The primary curse we face in the world today is fatherlessness. Biological fathers, perverted, abusive, negligent, absent, have brought this crisis to its apogee in our day. We have a nation and a world filled with orphans. Including our President, who was abandoned by his father and his stepfather, raised by his grandmother.

In the last two verses in the Old Testament, God promises that He will be bringing forth spiritual fathers to take the place of natural fathers in order to remedy this. (See Malachi 4:5-6). He says that He will send the spirit of Elijah to accomplish it. Why the spirit of Elijah? Because the father/son relationship between Elijah/Elisha was exactly what God wants to accomplish. When Elijah was taken up, Elisha cried out “My father, my father.”  And because that relationship was emblematic of many others in the Word, including those of Moses and Joshua, and Paul and Timothy and Titus. The father/son relationship is at the heart of everything God has been doing.

Jesus and an angel identified John the Baptist as the one who came in the spirit of Elijah (Luke 1:17ff and Matthew 11:14). This makes Jesus’ ministry the one that is/was to so reconcile fathers and sons. Please think about this. How has this been accomplished over the ages past? And most importantly, how is it being accomplished by Jesus today?

All four gospels show Jesus, having emptied Himself out of every divine advantage, (see Philippians 2:5-8) relating to His heavenly father as a normal man — yet — not doing nor saying anything that the Father wasn’t showing/giving Him to do or say,  (John 5:29,30; 8:28, 38; 9:4; 14:10) it took Jesus 3 years with just the few to instill this training and revelation into them that they would need to walk that way: He was their father. They were His sons. (Isaiah 9:6:–Jesus is the Everlasting Father)

(He spoke to the crowds only 17 times in the 4 gospels, [and then only in parables] and worked over 80 times with the few) and then they would need the power of the Holy Spirit to actually “walk that way.”

Walk which way? As sons that were reconciled to their father!! A true son represents his father. This is why a son in Jewish culture entered his father’s shop at 13, and when at age 30, after careful discipline and training, his father took him around to all the customers and vendors he dealt with and said, ‘’This is my son. Whatever he says and does, it’s as though it had come directly from me,’’ and then he joined the elders in the gates of the city to consider the needs of the various households that made up the city.

 

The disciples, upon their empowerment by the Spirit, did not go forth to make converts or church members!! Jesus gave the power to those who would receive Him the right to become God’s sons. (John 1:12) Mature sons. And the disciples brought sons to maturity! In the same way Jesus did. And the community relationships that flowed out of their work were extraordinary. In households. Not congregations. Husbands loved their wives as Christ loved the church, and wives respected their husbands. Children were brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And fathers loved sons, and sons loved their fathers. And they continued from house to house daily in the apostles doctrine, the breaking of bread, fellowship, and prayers. (Acts 2:42)

Add to this, their relationship enabled John to write such things as ’’Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world,’’ and, ‘’As He is, so are we in this world,’’ and, ‘’Be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.’’ Add to this that the writer to the Hebrews said that Christ was ‘’the radiance of His Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His being,’’ and you begin to get some grasp on what our destiny and inheritance are supposed to include.

 

Beyond this, they healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons, and cleansed the lepers, extended the kingdom of God throughout the known world, destroying the works of the enemy as they went. They saw the miraculous in ways we have yet to see. From Peter being sprung from jail by an Angel in response to prayer, to the ground shaking when they prayed, to Paul’s reaching four entire people groups within the space of 10 years.

All the works that Jesus did we are to be doing and even greater works than He did. (John 14:12). We will be doing these corporately as His body, with Him being the Head, and I mean truly the Head, in direct communication with each one of us, that is those who have totally surrendered their lives to Him to walk that way (becoming mature sons), as He works to put everything in creation under His feet, (which is us) (See Ephesians 1). This is the meaning of the word “apostolic.” To be sent. The entire church is to become ‘apostolic,’ — sent.

There’s much more to this sonship thing. As we grow in our faith (and there are five Greek words for the word ‘son’ in English, beginning with infant, then toddler, then teenager, then young man, and finally father). (By the way this is elementary ‘stuff,’ — it’s the second Elementary Doctrine), we grow past believing Him for the rent money and groceries and the car payment. When you’ve gotten some maturity, He expects us to trust Him for the basics, and He is as serious as a heart attack about this (See Matthew 6:19-33). Bob Mumford used to say about some things, that ” the Lord makes us to lie down in green pastures, even if He has to break your leg.” The Lord expects us to be concentrating on the assignments He increasingly wants to extend to us in the kingdom, which include establishing long term relationships with others, in which our central purpose is to bring them through to an intimate, personal, passionate relationship with Him.

He promises us that He will add everything else that we need to accomplish these things,  including the stuff that the Gentiles run after, food, clothing, shelter, etc., if we will just ‘seek His kingdom and a right relationship with Him,’ (Matthew 6:19-33) Jesus said that ‘’His sheep hear His voice’’ (John 10:27) and that ‘’Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every (rhema) word that proceeds forth from the mouth of God’’ (Matt 4:4) So His will in these matters is not to be some sort of arcane mystery! The short definition of the kingdom is ‘’the government of God, ruling and reigning through His people.’’ (again, those who have learned how to hear His voice, –i.e,, these are mature sons) This is not to say that we shouldn’t be in the work place. But that our purpose for being there is not to provide for ourselves and protect ourselves, but to reach others. (How can we be laboring anyway for what is already ours by inheritance???)

 

With Luther (1500s) we saw the restoration of the teacher to the church. With the Baptists in the 1600s, the pastor, and with the Wesleys, (1700s) we saw the restoration of the evangelist to the church. With the restoration of the power of the Holy Spirit at Azuza Street in the early 1900s, and the Charismatic renewal in the late 60s and 70s, we’ve also seen the restoration of the gifts, and the office of prophet.

In the new season, (we’re no longer living in ‘normal times’) we’re seeing the restoration of the office and ministry of the apostle ( and I’m not talking about the ones who have crossed off “Senior Pastor” on their business cards and written in “Apostle.”) I’m talking about men like Sam Soleyn (www.soleyn.com), Michael Barrett (www.citychurchla.com) and John Alley (www.peace.org.au).

Wade Taylor, a precious 86 year old teacher, prophet and writer (www.wadetaylor.org) writes in his 3rd book “Unlocking the Mysteries of the Kingdom), that the apostolic office (“with consequence”) is being restored to the church today.

These three are among those whom God is revealing the mysteries of the Kingdom to in this hour, and moving in power ‘with consequence.’ They, along with the awesome revelation God releases to them, have brought to maturity sons, who in turn have brought sons to maturity, who in turn have brought sons to maturity. (Take a look at one of Michael’s sons, Richard Hamm — website: www.rolm.org). This thing is not being done in a corner somewhere. Sam, in fact, will be going to the underground church in China some time in the not-to-distant future by direct invitation of one of its 4 main leaders.

Where are we going with all of this?

God is going to release a greater anointing than we’ve ever known into this remnant, this overcoming group, these sons of God, the Bride of Christ. Wade refers to it as the ‘’Baptism of Fire,’’ saying that the tongues of fire that rested above the heads of the original participants in the first Pentecost, didn’t descend upon them then, but are to descend upon us now in the release of this power, purging us of all remaining iniquity and besetting sin.  John Alley refers to it as the Spirit of Understanding, one of the seven spirits of God we find in Isaiah 11 and in 2-3 places in Revelation. Both agree that with what we’ve experienced with Pentecost to date, we’ve entered into a much greater intimacy with our Father in heaven, but that there is a much greater additional anointing awaiting us which is critical for enabling us to love one another, (which John Alley’s church in Australia is already experiencing) and to become the mountain that Isaiah 2 and Micah 4 show is to ascend above all the other mountains, so that all the world can see, as the nations continue to lose control of their people and resources (and they will) , and disintegrate, that in their despair, will cry out ‘’Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to inquire concerning his ways….etc. And that we will see and participate in the discipling of nations that we are called to reach in the Great Commission.

With all of this, we’re moving into the 1000 year Millennial Kingdom. We’ve had 6000 years of Satan’s attempt to prove that He could rule better than God, and God is obliged to rule for 1000 years, prior to the creation of the new heaven and new earth to demonstrate that His rule is far superior. We are to play a part in this in direct proportion to the maturity we’ve been able to reach as sons in the present.  I could develop this further, but time and space will not permit.

We find still further confirmation here for the necessity of father/son relationships: when Paul agrees with Jesus and the writer Hebrews, that the whole of creation groans for the coming forth of the sons of (God – Romans 8:19), and that we have been given a ministry of reconciliation (2nd Corinthians 5) – he wasn’t talking about getting people saved – he was talking about sons being restored to a ‘previous state of being,’ that which Adam had before his fall. And when, as with all the other churches he founded, he told the Corinthians that he was the father of their faith, and that he was sending his SON, Timothy, to see that they repented of their misdeeds, and that they had a choice — when he finally did come, for him either to come in a spirit of gentleness or with a whip, (See 1st Corinthians 4, beginning with verse 14) he was being their father.

Now I recognize that his message in that chapter wouldn’t preach well in a denominational church today. This is very significant.

Because if you can’t discipline a child, whether in the natural or spiritual, you cannot bring them to maturity. There are times when a father must discipline his children. My father didn’t spank me every day. But when I had it coming, he did. And very importantly, only a father can discipline a son. No one else has the authority or right to do that. And in Hebrews 12, (please read it for yourself,) the writer says sons absolutely must be disciplined.  Even Jesus was disciplined by the things that He suffered. Do we not suppose that He was disciplined by his parents in the natural?  And wasn’t He trained in His father’s shop, shown and expected to conform to what Joseph would have to have shown Him? What makes us think that Jesus just ‘’happened on the scene?’’

Jesus goes on to declare in John 17 that the promise of this kind of relationship wasn’t just for the 12, but for all of us as well who believe (see verse 20)

Terry, the institutional/denominational church today, organized in our country on the same basis as GM and Microsoft, has attempted to bring believers to what they have considered and reconsidered and re-reconsidered to be maturity, but by committee and program for generations and has failed miserably. Instead, they have perpetuated the childhood of the believer in perpetuity. When you have an orphan in the pulpit, how could we ever expect him to accomplish otherwise? Given the nature of the congregational model, even if he was has an intimimate passionate relationship with his heavenly Father, he doesn’t know his people well enough, and is typically stressed out to maintain the numbers and cash flow of his operation to keep the thing afloat to ever get to know them.

Directly related to this is the fact that the church doesn’t see this as its primary assignment – that it’s to be bringing sons to maturity.  It doesn’t know what it believes! Except that it should be influencing the very culture that itself is steeped in. (And somehow, “doing good things for God”–absolutely no substitute for hearing His voice on matters.) It will change. But when it does it won’t be to conform to scripture. Example: The Anglicans recognizing homosexual bishops. The church today isn’t even in the top 100 most powerful influences upon society today. But PC World Magazine is!

I listened the other night for quite some time to the marketing presentation on the phone. I was surprised to hear that Huntington, WV has more obese people percentage-wise in it than any other. And I concur that it would be “good” to see something done about it. But the plumb line that needs to be held up to everything we’re doing is ‘’is Father telling me this is something that I, individually, should be doing? Not whether the company has grown 300% in the past XX months. Or that someone else is making beaucou bucks. Of that orphans and widows are being fed and clothed. Jesus didn’t come to teach us to do good, or to obey the rules and laws in the Old and/or the New Testament, but to obey God.  I’m guessing at this, but I think Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have done more good with their big bucks in the last couple of decades than the church has done in its entire history.

With all of this, I’m asking you to see the importance of this father/son relationship in the word. We can’t slough off so great a salvation while it is called To-day. It has always been there. We need to enter into the rest of God on this matter. He says we’re not to turn away from Him while He’s speaking to us regarding it as the Israelites did (Hebrews 12:25) (Exodus 19) And we need help from fathers who will spend time with us, who will come to know us, everything about us, and love us anyway, who will lay down their lives to help get us set from the stuff from Egypt that we came into the kingdom with, and to help us learn how to walk with Jesus as mature sons. This can only be done in close personal, loving, one-on-one relationships. Ruling in the kingdom by the way, is never for the benefit of the father in the relationship. Only for those looking to him. This is not a repeat of the discipleship movement in the 80s, where disciples were to commit to making their upline look good. True fathers in this work are finally promoted to bond-slave, according to Graham Cooke.

We must also recognize this: the purposes of God in bringing His kingdom to earth, and seeing His will being done here, as it is in heaven, were never to be brought about all at once, but gradually over multi-generations. He has always put shadows and types of things in the scripture to prepare man for the ultimate acceptance of their reality, so that when the time came to release their reality of into the earth, mankind would be prepared for them. We shouldn’t be surprised that the time for the reality of the father/son relationship has come. .  .

The Church age is closing. The age of the Kingdom is upon us. Consider who you really are in God. You are a joint heir with Him. Here to advance the kingdom. We all need resources to accomplish His purposes in our walk with Him. He knows that. As He steps into our life in time and space, to accomplish that which He foreordained from before the foundation of the world, (See Ephesians 2:10) He wants to come with all the power and resources into our lives we could possibly ask for. Just learn by persistently seeking Him, what those things are that you should be doing and saying, and where the resources He promises are to come from, and enter into your destiny. And ask Him also to reveal who your spiritual father really is, and He will be faithful to do that.

Much affection,

Bob Highland

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