The Strait Gate, Part 3
Let’s see if we can wrap this up today. I know that some of what I’ve shared may have stepped on some folks’ religious understanding and/or doctrines, but this revelation is critical for this particular time. Jesus is coming for an overcoming Bride – and folks, we have a lot of overcoming in front of us. Never have we had such a nation divided! Never have we had such full-blown demonic activity on display. Never have we in America seen such efforts of the Enemy to destroy every vestige of our relationship with Jesus Christ. It is time for us to overcome all of this and to take our places of responsibility in this hour!
For most people (and I know there are exceptions to this) baptism in the Holy Spirit comes first as the Holy Spirit reveals the need and necessity of our living and operating in this realm. It becomes a reality -- a fact of life -- however, only when we yield to the Spirit in direct response. The same holds true for the "laying on of hands," which we equate with the realm of miracles, the raising of the dead, and the preparation for what has been generally referred to as "end times." All of these things begin in us by a revelation of the Spirit. They are real! They are valid! They become a dimension of absolutely stunning and exciting life when we respond to that which the Holy Spirit directs us -- either to do or to say.
The catch is that our responses are all predicated -- and the Holy Spirit knows this -- on the understanding to which He has brought us up to this point! That is to say, our understanding is predicated on having been living in either the Outer CCourt, or the Holy Place.
Each time He has called us on into a new realm, we have been required to set aside all that He has revealed to us. When we moved from Salvation, and then Baptism in Water, to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, we could no longer major on Salvation or Water Baptism. He did not invalidate what He had accomplished in us: He simply brought us on to a greater development of relationship.
When He brought us from the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues into the realm of miracles, laying on of hands, and even raising the dead, He did not invalidate our Baptism in the Holy Spirit, or speaking in tongues, or laying hands on people in order to bring us to the place of raising the dead. He simply developed more of Himself within us.
By the same understanding, we realize that the accent in certain quarters of the Body of Christ on preparing for the "end times" and all of the perceived events associated therewith, does not invalidate any of our previous realms of understanding in order to respond to whatever we hear from the Holy Spirit.
Here's the catch! (And this is apparently the stumbling block for many.)
If we stop with whatever the Lord has directed us to do in any of these areas, we are doing so because we choose to operate on the basis of that which we understand. Revelation from the Lord does not stop, so long as we continue to respond to Him. When we stop responding and busy ourselves with the activities of the realm we have been living in and enjoying, it is because we perceive it to be good! And it is -- make no mistake! We like what we are doing! It is exciting! We can easily justify the continuance of all these things because “they were revealed to us by the Lord!"
In fact, we have added to what the Lord has revealed, and this changes it from a response of obedience to the Lord to eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. How? What we have added is, "and you are to go on doing this for (the next five years), (the next ten or fifteen years), (the rest of your life)." We simply fill in whatever blank we want in order to justify our continuance in this realm.
Do you see the trap?
The Lord reveals something to us. It is wonderful! It is exciting! But He did not say to remain there for the rest of your life! To do so means you are responding on the basis of the fact that "it is good." Hence, you eat of the Tree of Knowledge. It is the "Knowledge of Good."
Hence, you reject the life which comes from a direct response to His beckoning. As a result, by saying "no" to His beckoning, you nullify Jesus' death on the Cross. His death was specifically ordained to sever the curse of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He died to set us free from the curse of having to live under the Law. He died so that we would be able to respond to His beckoning -- freely -- to His wooing, to His romancing.
And we are going to say, "NO?!" Are we going to say, "I want to stay put?!"
For that there is no repentance! For that there is no renewing to a place of intimacy and union with Him as His Bride. We have essentially chosen to grab the benefits of salvation and the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit without getting to know Him in the dimension He desires -- a dimension found only in the Holy of Holies. This is a slap in His face! It is the ultimate insult!
In verses 7 and 8 of Hebrews 6, Paul likens our coming into the Holy of Holies to being groomed and dressed in the same manner that a garden is groomed and dressed. We expect a garden which is tilled and planted to bring forth "herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiving blessing from God." When that soil, which has been tilled and groomed, brings forth briers and thorns, it is deserving of a curse, "of which the end is for burning." The implication is crystal clear. When one turns back from the Tree of Life to the Tree of Knowledge, one is deserving of a curse, and the destruction which comes at the end of that curse.
Following this same line of logic, we can see that he likens our return to dwelling with, and majoring on the doctrines of salvation, baptisms, miracles, raising of the dead, end-times, etc., after having experienced being One with Him and receiving direct life from Him, as returning to the Tree of Knowledge. The individual, therefore, who does this can never again be joined to the Lord Jesus Christ in a Bride/Bridegroom relationship since it would be paramount to adultery.
For that reason, the Lord will not allow us into this realm unless and until we come to the place of being willing to totally lay down all of our doctrines and pre-conditions so that He can do the finishing and final preparation of us as a part of His Bride.
Once again, let me make it abundantly clear that His purpose is not to invalidate that which we have done at His direction, or been involved in, but rather to lead us on the place where we live in His presence, 24 hours per day! If you remember John 17, we will recall that His objective and purpose is that we and He be One -- even as He and the Father are One. That is not a theoretical ideal, nor is it some ethereal mysticism. It is a very real and practical reality which He is (and will be) bringing to pass, now -- not at some way off future date "in the sweet by and by!"
Now, let's go back to the beginning of this discussion in Revelation 3. The promise of the Lord is, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
(Revelation 3:12 KJV)
I won't take the time to do a breakdown of this verse in the Greek other than to look at one word, "name." First, it is important to note that He says, "...and he shall go no more out.." In other words, He is saying, "Once you overcome and enter into this place, you no longer need to go out -- you no longer need to go back and forth as the Old Testament priests did: first ministering to Me, and then ministering to the people."
The reason becomes clear in the very next statement, "and I will write upon him the name (onoma) of my God." This is not name" as we think of names, but onoma: character, identity, makeup, personality, power, rank, authority, etc. It is not our old onoma, but the onoma of our God: His character, His identity, His makeup, His personality, His power, His rank, His authority, etc. This is the essence of the Bride, who is the co-equal counterpart of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Having this new onoma is the place of those who overcome thlipsis and enter the Strait Gate, "The Eye of the Needle," the Gate of Worship, dropping off or laying aside everything in order to live in His presence NOW!
Do you want His onoma to be your character and makeup? Do you want to have His new onoma?
I challenge all of you who either are at present in a place of public ministry or have been (and still desire to be) there. This is not the end of what God is doing, nor where He is leading us. Once you have come through the Strait Gate, you will discover that in laying aside everything, there is a dimension of life not available anywhere else; there is an authority and power which is inviolable; and there is an intimate relationship with the Lord which defies comparison and causes everything else to pale into insignificance. This is the place where time ceases to have relevance! This is the place where eternity in Christ Jesus takes on reality! This is the place where our onoma becomes so intertwined with His that they are inseparable!
Drop everything! Drop your ministries! Drop your priorities! Make ministry to the Lord Jesus Christ your only priority!
The eye of the needle
Prophecy given by Charlotte Baker
There was a day when I stood among the sons of men, strong and tall. My heart was full of enthusiasm, and my life was given to the purposes of God, and upon that day, I said unto the Lord, “I will do mighty exploits in the name of my God.”
And the Lord came unto me and said, “What is it, son of man, that thou wouldst have?” I said, “Lord, if I could only be among those who play sweetly upon an instrument, and who sing well in the house of the Lord, then would I do great things for my God in the house of the Lord.” Then the Lord came unto me and gave me the desire of my heart. He stood me among the sons of men, and He let me play and sing. I saw the day when the hearts of men were moved by that thing which the Lord had given unto me. And as the hearts of men were moved, I stood back and said within myself, “Now will I be content, for I have been able to move the hearts of men.”
But in my secret hour, I bowed my head before my God, and I said, “Lord, thou hast given me what I asked for, but tonight my heart is heavy, and I have a longing for something more.” And He said, “Son of man, ask me again the thing that thou wouldst have of me.” I said, “Lord, I see men bowed by burdens low. I see hearts that are broken. I see sadness and discouragement. Give me but the power of the spoken word, that I might speak a word, and hearts will be delivered.” Then the word of the Lord came to me, and He said, “Son of man, I have given thee the thing that thou didst desire of me.”
With great joy I marched before the people of God. In my youth, and in my enthusiasm, I spoke the Word and men were delivered. As I spoke the word, their hearts were made whole, and I knew what it was to bind the broken-hearted, to pour in the oil of joy for mourning. Even while men were praising Him and magnifying His name, I went back to my secret chamber and bowed my head in sorrow and said, “Oh, my God! My God! I am not satisfied, I am not satisfied, I am not satisfied…..”
He came again unto me and said, “Son of man, what is it that thou dost again desire?” I said, “Oh, my God! Give me power in my hands, as Thou didst do, so that I might lay hands on the sick; that I might see healing flow; that I might have power!” He said, “It is done as thou hast commanded. Go! Heal the sick in My Name!”
I went to the nations of the earth, and I saw the sick raised from their sick beds and saw pain and suffering go. I was rejoicing as I went to my place and said, “Now I shall be satisfied, for Thou hast given me that which I desired.” But no sooner had the words come out of my mouth until the heart within me began to ache and cry, and I said, “God! I do not understand this, for again my heart is sad.”
And I said, “Lord, I desire to go against the principalities and powers, and the powers of the wickedness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.”
He said, “Surely, I give it unto thee. Now, Go!”
I went, and the Lord allowed me to go into dens of iniquity, and holes in dives where men hide from The Light because of sin and evil that is upon them. There was a day when I saw demons cry out at the very presence of the power of God that rested upon me. Then I went back to my place, broken, and I said, “God, I have asked Thee for all that I desire, and still my heart is not satisfied; nor do I feel that I have touched the thing that Thou hast called me to do. In my youth, I have expended myself with all the things that my heart has desired.”
Then one more time a gracious and loving God visited me in the night season, and He said, “Come with me, and I will take you on a journey.” He took me past those with whom I had come into the house of the Lord, and He took me into a desolate place. He caused me to go into a place alone in the wilderness. I said, “Oh, my God!” Thou hast now cut me off from those I love. What art thou doing unto me?”
He said, “I take thee to a place that all men must come if their heart’s cry is to be fulfilled.” At a certain hour, I bowed before a gate that is called, “The Eye of the Needle.” There before the Eye of the Needle, I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Bow low.” I bowed low. He said, “No, bow lower!” And I bowed lower. And He said, “No, yet lower. Thou dost not bow low enough.” I went as low as I could go, but I had upon my back my books of learning. I had my instruments of music, and I had my gifts and abilities. He said unto me, “Thou hast too much. Thou canst not go through this gate.”
I said, “God! Thou hast given me these abilities. Thou hast given me these books.” He said, “Drop them, or thou dost not go.” I dropped them, and I went through this very small gate that is called, “The Eye of the Needle.” As I went through this gate, I heard the voice of the Lord say, “Now, rise to the other side.”
As I rose, I noticed a very strange thing that had happened to me. For lo, the gate was so small that I must lay aside everything, and yet so wide that I could not fill it. As I stood in the presence of the Lord, I said, “God, what is this thing that thou hast done unto me? For now, my soul is satisfied.”
He said, “Thou hast come through the Gate of Worship. Now, come up to the circle of the earth, and I will show thee a great mystery. I will reveal unto thee the things which I am doing among the sons of men.”
The Spirit of the Lord caught me away, and He took me to the circle of the earth — higher than the eagle flies, higher than where the clouds are gathered — beyond where the sun shines, or the moon finds her path. There at the Throne of my God, He said, “Look down upon my people.”
As I looked, I saw a very strange thing. I saw my companions wringing their hands and crying to one another complaining, saying, “God has given us these instruments of war. This sword is my sword! I will wield it, and I will bring the enemy down. I cannot go through this gate, for if I go, I must put down my sword and my instruments of war. God has called me to be a warrior; therefore, I will not do it!”
I heard another one say, “Me! Lay down my instruments of music? Lay down all that God has given me to go through that silly little gate? To be a nothing? To be a bare man who comes out on the other side stripped of everything? I cannot do this thing.”
And I saw as they stood aside in their pride, afraid to bow themselves before a very small gate; and then I saw again as the Lord brought me closer to the gate. I saw men bow low, laying down everything they had. As they came through that very wide gate, on the other side, the power was there. The Word of the Lord came unto me and said, “Go, now, and tell this people this thing. I have given unto this people extreme talent, and much ability. I have caused you who were instrumentalists to play; but I say unto you this night, if you do not come through the very small gate, which is the Gate of Worship, and bow low, and lay before me thine instruments, and thy abilities, and thy vision, and thy talents, and thy power, thou shalt always be those who will only be able to minister to the hearts of men.
But there is a gate open to my people in this hour which is a very small gate. Only those men who are worshippers will go. Though men will fall on their face before me, these men will lay their talents before their God; and these men will say, “God! We will be worshipers.” Through that wide gate, they will come.
And as they come through that wide gate, Hear the Word of the Lord!
They will arise on the other side — not to minister to men — but to minister unto their God!
I have brought this people together to give you a choice. You can minister to men with your gifts, your talents, your abilities, or you can go through a very small gate……...and in making you worshipers, you will minister unto THE KING!
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available on video using ZOOM. If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-only call, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76504
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