Series: Fathers & Sons
Sun am 24 June 2012 – Kobus Swart
Jer. 6:10-16 (KJV), (Jude 5); (Gen. 6); Heb. 12:4-11; Acts 16:1-4; 2 Tim. 1:1-5; 2 Tim. 3:14-15;
(2 Tim. 2:2); (Mal. 4:5-6); (Ex. 3:6)
The enemy will always try to discredit anything that God brings, or manufacture something that looks like the real thing, but it is not. There is such a thing as fathering, and nobody can get away from it. It is in the Word, in the Old Testament and New Testament. It is a fundamental principle in God’s family.
The Church of Jesus Christ is in a massive transition. This migration from the wilderness into the land of promise has been on for quite a long time but it is reaching new momentum. God wants to bring a shift in the way Church is practiced in the wilderness period. The sons of Israel could have travelled to the land of promise in eleven days. It took them forty years, because of disobedience and because they kept looking back to the fleshpots of Egypt (Jude 5). It took 40 years for a generation to die out, except for a few fathers. Fathers, even in this season, are those who have come through previous seasons and have endured the circumcisions of God and the dealings of God and so qualify as fathers to take a new generation into the land of promise. The land of promise was not only a land of milk and honey, but was also full of Canaanites; descendants of Canaan the son of Ham who was cursed. The Canaanites were squatters. The sons of Israel crossed the Jordan but before they could conquer the land, the young generation had to be circumcised. It was at a place called Gilgal, meaning the rolling away of the reproach of Egypt. It had to do with the way they thought; their thinking had to change. It was not just to remove the reproach of Egypt, but also to remove a wilderness mindset. In our thinking there has to be constant upgrade and change. We cannot forever dwell on past mindsets and use that as a platform for a new mindset, because all you will do is add on to the old.
To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it (Jer. 6:10 KJV). This explains why some churches have resorted to programs and entertainment to keep people coming. Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16). God has not changed. There are certain statutes and principles that will never change. Even in the Old Testament the prophets saw something deeper in circumcision than simply the physical act. We see the spiritual significance of circumcision and the circumcision of the ear that is required. The Church worldwide is in need of a circumcision of the ear so that the Word can have its way and its impact and the desired results.
The Lord sometimes allows even bad incidents to happen in our lives. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. … All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:4-11). The discipline and scourging of God is a sign that He loves you.
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And a disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. Now while they were passing through the cities, they were delivering the decrees which had been decided upon by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe (Acts 16:1-4). Paul did not go back to the law to circumcise Timothy for salvation. He did it with another motive. Everyone knew Timothy was a Greek and would not have received him if he had not been circumcised.
Paul… to Timothy, my beloved son: … I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well (2 Tim. 1:1-5; see also 2 Tim. 3:14-15). Timothy had no spiritual father until he met Paul. He was circumcised to become a son. Timothy was raised in a godly family; there was a lineage of God-fearing mothers, but a Greek father. Paul did not circumcise Timothy to obey the law. We are talking about circumcising the ears where the word must access your mind to bring renewal. None of that can be done by legalistic means. True spiritual fathers do not try to accomplish anything through legalism. Legalism will not produce sons. You need to have an ear to hear the word of the Lord which will circumcise you. Without circumcision the promise of our inheritance will not be passed on to the next generation. Paul wanted to make sure regarding the next generation. He said, “Whatever you have seen and heard in me; impart to faithful men who will teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). That are four generations in one verse. If we want to make sure that the promise of our inheritance passes on from fathers to sons, it will only happen where there is the sign of true circumcision amongst the sons. That covenant relationship between fathers and sons can only be made real through circumcision. Timothy was received by the brothers because of his relationship to Paul.
Why has the Church gone through two thousands of years of Church history and why is it in the mess it is in? Because of illegitimate sons trying to perpetuate the ministry or trying to build kingdoms without true sonship being manifested. The hearts of the fathers are to be reconciled to the hearts of the sons, and the hearts of the sons to the fathers, otherwise He will smite the land with a curse (Mal. 4:5-6). Jeremiah reminds us to go back to ancient paths, and the ancient path also means that God is a multi-generational God. “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Ex. 3:6) God was saying in that one sentence, “Don’t limit me to just one generation. The way that I am going to see this covenant promise go from generation to the next is through a father to a son.” He insists on having a personal relationship with everyone in this genealogy. I cannot rely on the spiritual relationship that my father had with God. These are the ancient paths God is reactivating in our midst.
Do we have ears to hear the word with faith?