A Message to Bethany

I was born in a little village called Dalzell, SC. There were three churches - Methodist, Baptist, and a Presbyterian church. That was all. None of them seemed to do much for me. I was almost 30 years old when an Assembly of God Church started up, so I went there and that is where I had a meeting with the Lord, a meeting that has been going on ever since.

I was very ignorant of the Scriptures and very ignorant of anything as far as God was concerned. But I had an old King James Bible and tried to read it. I put it down and said, "That's not for me, all those King James' words - Thee, Thou, and all that stuff. I'm sorry, that's just not me." Well, that didn't last very long. One particular night, a Sunday evening service, I stayed home from church that night. During that service someone asked for prayer that I would start reading the Bible. That same night, as I was sitting on my bed, I picked up that King James Bible and began to read it and it lived. I could not put it down, and it has been living for me ever since. What a word! I started at the beginning: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. Right there, I met the Creator, the Creator of all things and the Creator of me. What a difference it made.

I have prayed for people a lot because I find that many Christians are not readers. Many of them never get into the Word to really know it. It must be what lives! I can read the Bible and it's almost like I am there. I remember the first Sunday School lesson we had when I was first saved. It was taken from the Gospel of John. Near the end of the book Jesus and the disciples had the last supper, sang a hymn, and then they walked down a little path through the Kidron Valley, going to the Garden of Gethsemane. I had the strangest thing that happened to me because it was like I was walking with them, felt their presence. Things like that happen sometimes that makes it so real, such a living thing.

Isaiah 26:13 O Lord our God, other lords besides Thee have had dominion over us; but by Thee only will we make mention of Thy name.

It is that way for many Christians. They have many lords, many things over them. God must be the only one. I have had a hunger for the Word ever since that first time I picked up that Bible, and my hunger for the Lord is just as great. I bless each of you that you have the same experience.

Jesus would give a parable and then say, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." He is not talking about our physical ears, but do you have the ears of the heart, that learning ability to understand what He is saying? Very often, Jesus didn't explain it.

In John 6, Jesus ministers to the multitude and fed them. "Oh man, this man can feed us! We're going to follow Him." And they did, but you read a little further and Jesus is talking to them and says, "Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life within you." Now that was a difficult saying. You know the Jews were prohibited from eating anything with blood in it. A lot of them walked away, and Jesus didn’t say, "Hey, wait a minute! Let Me explain what I'm talking about!" He didn't do that - He just let them walk away. In fact, He turned to His disciples and said, "You going, too?"

We need to have ears to hear, an understanding of the Word. We are body, soul, and spirit, and in the same way, the Scriptures are body, soul, and spirit. They have the body interpretation - the historical. They have a soulish interpretation which involves the emotions and feeling good. Then the spiritual interpretation is the Spirit of the Word. When God speaks, there is something of His life and what He is that comes through the Word. That is what we want to hear.

Now, turn to John 5.

John 5:16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus...

If they persecuted Jesus, guess what? They will persecute us, particularly if we are a little bit like Him.

John 5:16 ...and sought to slay Him...

These were the Pharisees, the religious people of that day. They were the ones who taught in the synagogue all the things that God once did in the past and that the Messiah was coming one day. There He was and they wanted to kill Him.

John 5:16 ...and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the sabbath day.

We can get very hung up on our church rules and regulations. The Pharisees believed so strongly in the sabbath that if you did anything on the sabbath, then you were breaking their laws.

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, My Father works hitherto, and I work.

Let's go to Colossians 2. This thing of the sabbath is very important.

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days;
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance) is of Christ.

I'm going to tell you in short words: What is the sabbath anyway? Some people say, "Well, it's Saturday." Some say, "No, the sabbath is Sunday." But what Paul is trying to get us to understand is the sabbath is not a day at all. The sabbath rest that is for us to come to the place where we are not doing things for God, but it is God working through us accomplishing what He wants to accomplish.

One time in a Sunday school class, a guy said, "If I knew what the will of God is, I think I could do it." The will of God is not something you do. The will of God is something you become, to become a channel through which the Lord Himself can move. Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. Isaiah 4:6b. It is not by might - all of the education and understanding and mental powers that you have won't do it. It is not by power - your strength. In other words, human abilities will not get the job done for God. It has to become a nothing so that He can come in you, and through you, and move through you to accomplish what He wants to accomplish. That makes the difference. That is what we are after - coming to that place where He fills us and Him flowing through us.

This is what Jesus is talking about in John 5:17: But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. "You can get hung up on your assignments if you want to and do nothing, but My Father is still working and so am I."

John 5:18-19 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because He not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what things soever He does, these also does the Son likewise.

You see, it gets so important to have ears that hear and eyes that can see. But if you cannot see what the Lord is doing, then you can't do or even talk about it. You must know what He is doing. If you can't hear what He is speaking, then you cannot say the same thing and speak the same thing. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. John 14:10.

Jesus said, "I can do nothing of Myself." We think of Jesus Christ as a super-human type of person. "Well, He's God." Yes, but He laid aside His divinity and came as a man. He had all the weaknesses, all the temptations that you could go through, Jesus went through that and overcame. He did it for a particular reason because He wants us to know that we can become also. We can become as He is. We tend to set Him up so spiritually - He’s God! Yes, He is God, but He wants us to become as He is and that can happen by Him coming forth in us.

John 5:19-21 The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what things soever He does, these also does the Son likewise.
20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that Himself does: and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.
21 For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them; even so the Son quickens whom He will.

"To quicken" means to come alive. The Lord raises the dead and causes them to come alive. Who are the dead? Our carnal minds think of a corpse, a dead person, and we do know that Jesus did raise the dead at times. But that is not what it's talking about here. Ephesians 2:1 says: And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. If you are outside of Christ, you are the dead. But Jesus said, "We are going to raise the dead and cause them to come alive." That is what happens in us! That day that I sat on my bed and read that Bible, it came alive and God met my heart. He quickened the deadness of my soul and began bringing forth Himself in me.

It didn't happen immediately. I have heard so many people say, "Well, I've repented of my sins, God forgave me, I'm saved, and I am ready to go to heaven." Bless your heart, I'm not, because I realize there is so much more to come into, so much more to do. Just getting your sins forgiven is not enough. After all, we tend to forget that what we are is sin. So, even after you are forgiven for all the things you did you shouldn't have done, all the things you said you shouldn't have said, after all that is forgiven, you are still sin. That is why you must be born again.

To be born again means you take on a new nature, a new life, to become as He is. Nicodemus couldn't understand that. "How can a man enter into the womb again and be born?" (John 3:4). Ah, Nicodemus, you have to understand and so do we. This born-again process that we are involved in is something that takes place step by step, one thing after another, and it continues. The greatest sin that we could commit is the sin to stop growing, stop changing.

Where is the hunger today? We go to a lot of different places and one of the things that disturbs me and concerns me more than anything is the lack of hunger among Christians today. There are a lot of spaces in here that need to be filled up, some empty pews. This area is small, but I tell you, if you get enough of God in here and they will be coming from everywhere.

I read about Azusa Street in Los Angeles. At the same time there was a tremendous revival that took place in Kansas, one down in Texas, and at the same time over in Wales. There were people who came from all over the world and went to Azusa Street. It started in a man's garage or shop of some kind. They gathered there and this thing went on and on and on with people having a meeting with God. That is how the Pentecostal movement got started.

What happened to it? Where did the hunger go? Where did the desire for more of the Lord go? Where is the desire to get rid of self in order that He can come forth in us and be glorified? When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe... II Thessalonians 1:10.

Do you want Him glorified and admired in you? I know the teachings about the second coming one day, so let's look at II Thessalonians 1:10 again: When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. The Lord cannot come forth in you as Jesus the Nazarene. He is Spirit.

When He shall come - The way the King James version words this sounds like it is future. The Greek word for "come" here is erchomai. That particular Greek word is always present and present tense continuous. It means that coming is taking place right now and will continue to take place. It is on-going. That is why every time a change takes place in you spiritually the Lord has come to you in some way. The process of Him being glorified in you has been started and will continue until the day of Jesus Christ. When He begins a work in you, He intends to finish it.

Now, let's get back to John 5.

John 5:22-24 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son:
23 That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honors not the Son honors not the Father which hath sent Him.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life.

If you hear His word. This Bible is written in our language so that we can understand it. However, there is a voice, there is a word from another world that comes to us through this English language. Now, Jesus didn't speak English. They spoke Greek in that day. Even the Bible they used was the Septuagint, a Greek Bible. There is a word coming from another world into our world, and if you only think and reason according to your own world, you will miss what is coming from God's world. That is what we need to hear. That is why Jesus says, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life.

John 5:25-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
26 For as the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself.

The hour is coming and now is. That is the erchomai we read in II Thessalonians. It is now - present tense - and it is coming. So much what the Word gives us is in this tense - it is now, and it will continue. It is now! That is the way the coming of the Lord is.

It is the will of God for you to become all that He wants you to be. And He wants you to have the fullness of God within you. He wants you to become everything that He is. But sometimes we sit here in the pew kind of dead. This message is not exactly a jump-up and down message, but if we can get this one thing: We know that God loves us, but He wants to fill us with Himself. Amen.

Copyright @ 2014 by Henry DuBose