THE SEED THAT SUCCEEDS, PT.4

By Stephen Powell

A few weeks ago I started a series based on an angelic visitation I had, which I called “The Seed that Succeeds.” In this revelation, the Lord spoke to me and said that the only seed that’s sown into the Kingdom, that is worth anything to God, is the seed that He receives (indicating that not every seed is received, and that, yes, some seeds are rejected). I believe the Lord revealed two primary characteristics which are essential when offering unto the Lord, which cause our offerings to be received: faith, and purity of heart and motive. When one offers in faith, it means they believe God’s Word, and they actually believe in the process revealed through Scripture that God receives offerings and subsequently, blesses those individuals who offer them. Purity of heart and motive is essential, because without it the offerings being presented are not fully offered to God. The Lord revealed to me that we have to search our hearts to make sure that we’re not giving to man in the church, based on man’s performance or based on how man makes us feel. We’re called to give unto the Lord what is due His name, in faith and with purity of heart, out of our love and honor for Him. In part four of this teaching, we will continue on this subject to bring forth more revelation which the Lord has released about “The Seed That Succeeds!”

 

THE NATURE OF GOD’S FIRE WHICH TESTS AND TRIES

 

(1 Cor.3:11-15)

11 “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

 

The clear exegesis of this Scripture is referring to the work of the gospel, the foundation which Christ Himself began, He Himself being the chief cornerstone. This Scripture refers to the foundation, Jesus Christ, in Apollos’ and Paul’s day, used for the work they were building. So we concede the immediate, direct interpretation of the work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to build the church, taking place in the early church of that day, but we can also see greater spiritual truths if we look closely.

 

Notice how the work of fire is involved here in both “revealing” and “testing” the work of God. This same principle applies to anything offered to God, done in His name, or built for His glory. All things are revealed, exposing their true nature, and tested by the fire of God. This is the nature of being in His presence. The fire of His glory presence does this necessary work. Paul specifically refers to this work, even its acceleration, as we draw nearer and nearer to the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is a day which is referred to, through the Old Testament and New Testament, as God’s cosmic endgame day, revealing His awesome glory in full unveiled splendor. At the same time, that Day brings judgment, fire, cleansing, and the ultimate dealings of God with all sin and its effects. As believers, we long for this Day because this Day marks the return of our Lord and King. It marks the second coming of Christ! But this is the nature of life eternal: the exposing and trying by God’s glory fire.  This is the reality every person, every organization, and every work shall face: the reality of God’s trying, cleansing fire which grows hotter and hotter, the nearer we get to His return!

 

Paul mentioned in the above Scripture building with gold, silver, and precious stones versus building with wood, hay, and straw on the foundation, which is Christ, specifically His direct work done in the Church in the flesh while in human form. The gold, silver, and precious stones are types and symbols of works built on the foundation, according to God’s desire, with a pure heart, having been built in faith. The wood, hay, and straw refer to works of man, done according to man’s desire, rather than God’s. The true nature of these different works in the earth will ultimately be revealed by fire and testing (which often refer to great shaking and persecution of the church). As Jesus said in the parable of the sower, the seed which is scorched by the sun on stony ground, is seed lost when persecution comes (Matt.13:5-6,21). Fire is a biblical type of persecution, and is the fire which separates His bride from people who are just religiously inclined. The bride (representing those who have really allowed the seed of life to mature within, developing deep transformational roots) is people willing to suffer for their lover, not denouncing Him when faced with oppression. The persecution actually turns their fiery love and passion hotter for the Lord. The ones who have just been playing church, quickly lose their faith and turn from the Lord because they did not have a mature seed within them from the beginning. In this example, the bride is carrying precious stones, gold, and silver. The spiritual riches they carry are revealed and God is pleased with their treasure. Religion is the house built of wood, hay, and straw; it is not a house which pleases the Lord.  When it has its ultimate test by fire, it will not be left standing, not one stone upon another.

 

THE HOUSE WHICH ENDURES

 

(Lk.21:5-8)

5 “Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

6 “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”

7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them.

 

In Part 3 of “The Seed that Succeeds,” we discussed the truth contained in the account of the widow’s mite, talked about in Lk.21:1-4, but now I wish to go deeper into the same passage. Interestingly, as you see here, some people standing by specifically pointed to “the precious stones and donations” which adorned the temple (vs.5). Then, immediately following this verse, Jesus begins his Olivet Discourse, with Luke’s rendition of Matt.24. It is very interesting that a judgment about giving and finances came just before the pronouncement of judgement on Israel and prophetic declarations to the end-time Church concerning the last days. The stones being torn down here refer to Israel’s offering unto the Lord.

 

Remember, God does not see the way we see. In the story of the widow’s mite, the rich gave much, measured from man’s perspective, and from man’s viewpoint, the widow gave virtually nothing. But in God’s eyes the widow gave a huge amount, and the rich men gave hardly anything. Why? Because one of the chief currencies in heaven is sacrifice, and the widow’s offering cost her everything, while the wealthy men’s offerings didn’t affect them at all. They gave out of their abundance, therefore it wasn’t much in God’s sight. The Israelites in this story looked on the temple, seeing these precious stones and extravagant donations, and they must have thought what great givers they were. They must have given themselves real pats on the back saying, “Look how zealous we are in our faith, look how good of Israelites we are, serving God, making sure the temple is beautifully adorned for God.” All the while God is looking at this saying, “Because your hearts are far from Me and as a nation, for the most part, you’ve rejected your Messiah, these precious stones are worth nothing in My sight. I do not receive your offering, and this temple, which represents your dead religion, is going to be torn down.” It’s interesting that most people, when they think of Jesus’ words of promise to see the temple torn down, not one last stone being left upon another, don’t usually think that the precious stones adorning it were donations. They usually think of the stones of the structure itself, that it was built of. But if you read the text carefully, Jesus is saying, “Your offering as a nation has been rejected, therefore I will judge you and tear down what you’ve built.”

 

As we talked about earlier, fire came in the form of persecution when the preliminary part of this prophecy was partially fulfilled in 70 A.D. This fire was in the form of judgment as Rome moved in, crushed Jerusalem, tore down the temple, and dispersed the Jews to the nations. God’s rejection and judgment of Israel was connected to their offering, and as it was with them, so will it be in the end-time Church. The judgment will come with great tribulation and persecution and truly try the faith of the Church by fire: those who are precious stones in the Spirit will withstand the testing, emerging in bridal glory. The faith of the true Church, the bride of Christ, will emerge in bridal glory, terrifying to behold, pure, spotless, and without wrinkle, ready to walk down the aisle with her King and consummate the union! But remember the warnings of Jesus in His Olivet Discourse. Do not be deceived, for if it were possible, even the elect shall be deceived by false christs and false prophets, who Jesus prophesied would arise at the time of the end (Matt.24:24). Be not deceived, no matter how often Pharaoh’s magicians duplicate Moses’ miracles. You will know them by their fruit, in word and in deed. The love of many will grow cold and these false prophets and christs will not call people to be zealous and repent; they will only further solidify a church’s false security in their lukewarm christianity. But let us not be among those who are foolish and sleeping: not awakening to the dawn. Let us be among those who are zealous, repent, and awake to righteousness preparing ourselves for our coming King!

 

In His Service,

Stephen Powell

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