The Spiritual Soul - In The Likeness of God (last
update to this study was made on 12/06/2006)
(This is an extract from a teaching recently provided at Sunshine Cathedral. It is also available in audio format via our Online Messages page)
Let me start by putting a different definition and meaning to the idea of a “meeting”. We gather together for a purpose. I did not get up this morning to 'go to a meeting'. I have come this morning to gather together with the church in anticipation of a meeting. It is not a matter of where you meet (e.g., building or house) nor how you meet (e.g., chairs or pews, rows or circles) but rather who you meet.
I will have you know that my meeting (and your meeting) is with him and him alone. How many know that you do not have to go anywhere to have a meeting with the Lord? I recently had been in one of the best meetings in a long time and I was the only one there (at least with the natural eye). I was voicing my gratitude to the Lord when out of no where I just got this sense of contentment. It immediately put this big silly smile on my face and I was at such peace with everything. My soul was at rest and it was just what the Doctor (Great Physician) ordered, if you know what I mean. It caused me to be so satisfied with his creation around me and all that he does. It was simply a realization of his presence and a sense of rest and I knew that everything was “OK”. In reminded me of a song written by a friend “everything is alright or OK.” My prayer is that we all can have a real meeting with the Lord. You can not force such a meeting. It must come by the Spirit and that excludes anything that you can do to make it happen. That is because he causes the meeting!
Before I start the teaching of my subject "The Spiritual Soul - In The Likeness of God", let me lay a foundation of some principles which I had taught sometime ago. If you recall, I called it the “Blue Ocean Gathering.” I touched on things like:
The enormous amount of love God has for his creation and his commitment of love in action! Love is not just lip service but rather active. We are to be confident, steadfast or convinced that he which begun a good work shall perform it or bring it to pass. Likewise, He is the satisfaction for our sins and not for ours only but whole world.
He is revealing things to us, teaching us his ways rather than simply observing his acts as practiced by the majority of Christianity.
How some companies have moved beyond that bloody red ocean head-to-head fight with the competition to create an uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant or a blue ocean strategy. Likewise, we are to do the same spiritually for wiser are the children of this world than the children of light.
In making the comparison, a red ocean experience will still operate in a works-oriented mentality and think it is now up to us to further advance our position in the kingdom. It will make us believe that God has done everything; he finished it; and it now all is up to us! However, a blue ocean gathering will flow out of Spirit of grace, rest and peace. It will operate out of a state of BEING rather than always running here and there and doing, doing, doing. I am reminded of "he that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city" and "it's the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom."
A red ocean experience will still learn and study the strategy of Satan as he roams in the red ocean ready for battle while a blue ocean gathering will have rendered Satan irrelevant for he has been put completely under their feet.
A red ocean experience will still measure themselves by others, always counting attendance or their finances. Even think if that were the case, we ought to join catholic church given how many people attend or given their financial success. Better yet, if numbers are important, maybe we ought to become Muslim or Hindu! In comparison, a blue ocean gathering will only measure themselves by Christ while knowing his grace is sufficient for them. It is also unwise to compare ourselves one to another.
A red ocean experience will still go looking for the anointing outside of themselves (e.g., five foolish virgins); going to those that buy and sell while those in the blue ocean gathering will drink out of own cistern having found the oiling burning within themselves (e.g., five wise virgins). Such are about their Father's business rather than what the church system as supposedly led them to think (e.g., the church system will kill their young by working them to death).
A red ocean experience will still command EVERY problem and challenge to simply go away while a blue ocean gathering will only command and speak the word as led by the Spirit. And may I add that results or works will follow for signs will follow those that believe. We do not follow signs. I am going to use an example that the Lord showed me not too long ago. After Jesus had his wilderness experience, Satan suggested to him that he should not lack in the flesh (e.g., command stone to made bread to feed your hunger); but Jesus did not! Rather he said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out mouth of God. It was not what the Father was telling him to do, to meet his physical need at that moment. Yet, isn't that what the so-called church does so often? “Come on” says the church, every single time a person wants prosperity or divine health, simply command it! No, we are only to speak what we hear the Father say! It is by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God only!
We also had seen in that teaching that we are to enter in at the strait gate and narrow way and leadeth to life. Few will find this path that leads to life. It is not a lesson on eternal life in the bye in bye, it is not in the text. It is a quality of life in the here and now, the life of the ages! Yet many are on the broad and wide that leads to destruction. So many others are on a religious, fruitless path that leads to spiritual loss or destruction.
We had also seen those who are ascending the hill of the Lord and standing in the holy place. Such have not lifted their soul to vanity; to the external realm (namely the flesh). Remember that the first Adam made subject to vanity – the external realm?
We also learned that we do not have to observe lying vanities and forsake our own mercy. We do not have to put everything off to another age or time and never enter into that which has been prepared for us! He did not prepare a place for us in vain. He said, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also". He said where I am, not where I GO. It is your place and your place alone! We are not in competition with one another. It is a present tense reality, just as with Jesus.
Last, we had shared how Jesus is building his church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The gates of hell are designed to keep people in and other out. By the Spirit, we are able to go through those gates and lead captivity captive. The true church, the invisible church has never failed.
Now lets look at our teaching "The Spiritual Soul - In The Likeness of God."
We read in II Cor 4:16 “…and though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day”
Just as much as it is true that your physical tabernacle (tent) or body is perishing day by day; “likewise your man that lives in the external world or outward man continues to perish. And he continues to be destroyed too by the brightness of the Lord’s coming. Brightness in the Greek is 'epiphaneia' and means to shine upon; to bring light; display; splendor or outraying. Coming in the Greek is 'parousia' and means to be present; at hand; presence. The presence of one who has already arrived. The coming is a life in the presence of God. So the outward man perishes and the inward man is renewed day by day.
In Gen 1:26-27 we read “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness……So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him." The word IMAGE is a reflection, portrait or picture according to the dictionary. When looking at idioms, we find it means a person is a chip off the old block, a dead ringer, or spitting image of their Father or Mother. In Strongs, it means resemblance, representative figure, figure, form or phantom. Let us make man in our IMAGE; Let us make man in our resemblance; Let us make man in our representative figure; Let us make man in our form; Let us make man in our phantom. The word LIKENESS in the Englishmans means fashion, after the manner or similitude. Strong states it is model, shape or manner. Let us make man in our IMAGE, after our likeness; Let us make man in our phantom and after our manner; Let us make man in our resemblance and after our similitude.
So God announced what he was about to do in Gen 1:26. Then it says that God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him. So God created a man in his image. What is the image of God? God is Spirit! A phantom if you will. So God created a spiritual man.
Have you ever noticed that Moses (the writer of Genesis) under inspiration did not say that man was created after his likeness in V27 (interesting observation made by an early church father, however he never expounded upon it nor have I ever read of others pursuing this further - though I am sure some have). I am reminded of I John 3:2 "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet APPEAR (manifestly declare; shew forth; manifesting through us)………but we shall be like him."
So man was created in the image of God; the essence or substance,
the very divinity of God. So we read of his image in the first chapter of creation.
Now this image, this spiritual man, this phantom of the opera takes form. It
is as if he puts on a mask to give it expression (note: in the play 'The Phantom
of the Opera', the actor put on a mask to cover his distorted image). So we
find that the physical man was formed or shaped out of the dust of the ground
in the second chapter of Genesis. There is where man is now being made in the
likeness of God.
Let me explain Gen 5:1 where it says “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him". At first glance, it appears that man was created in the likeness of God from the start. However it does not say that. You see the likeness came in the DAY but not at the moment of creation. I will grant you that in the day, man was created. I will also grant you that in the day man was made in the likeness of God. But did not God say to Adam “in the DAY that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die”? Yet Adam lived to 930 years old (e.g., day is 1,000 years and 1,000 years is a day). He did not die in that 24 hour day. So it is with Genesis chapter 5. read it again!
Let me tell you how this all works. First remember that we have to learn to rightly divide asunder of soul and spirit (Heb 4:12). God created Adam in his image. We also know that Jesus Christ is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col 1:15). And we know that Christ, who is image of God (II Corth 4:4). We also know of him that he is "the express image of God’s person (essence)" – Heb 1:3. It is for these reasons that he can say "I am in the Father and the Father in me" and "He who has seen me has also seen the Father (sees God through the Word which is image of God)."
Did you know that it also says that in Corth 11:7 that man is in the image and glory of God? What image is man made? It is the image of Jesus Christ who is the first born of every creature. Our inward man is in this image. It is not becoming this image but has been created in this image! The problem is man has put on a different image. He has put on a mask of the earthly due to his spirit being darkened (not quickened to life and things of God).
Let’s keep looking how this thing works. We see in Genesis Chapter two that God afterwards began to shape and mold Adam in his likeness. Likeness is “shaping and molding man’s character" and that can only come by or with experience. You do not get character without experience. Therefore, likeness is with progression. Likewise, so we too are drawn to that image and then transformed into his likeness. Christ is being formed in me, in you. It is not the Christ itself that is being changed, molded or formed (for he changes not); but it is the formation of Christ into your mind, your soul, you are taking on his likeness, his manner, his way, his nature, his character. The Spiritual Soul - In The Likeness of God!
Rom 8:29 For whom he foreknew, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.This means that your soul is to be conformed to the image if his Son. It states in I Cor 15:49 "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." Our soul is to bear the image of the heavenly. Our soul is to be spiritual (interior or inward man; heavenly, bear his image) rather than bodily (exterior or outward; earthy). Our soul is changed into the same image, glory to glory (former glory of old covenant and works to glory of new covenant and grace). Grace is divine influence or enablement.
God made man in his image and he placed that image inside man, inside his house, not outside of him. That image is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27). He is the inward man that is renewed day by day (in your soul). Our soul becomes a participant in the spiritual image by its progress (renewed daily in the inner man); so we can be made similar to the body of his glory.
Listen to parable of woman and lost coin. It is a story of the soul (woman) and the image (coin). A woman lost her coin, but did not look for it outside of her house (body). She lights her candle (God lights as candle as the spirit of man is candle of the Lord). He quickens our soul to come alive to the things/desire/interests of God. So she begins to sweep her house (all the earthly things; carnality) and searches for the lost coin (represents something of value; an image). God does not come into man from the outside in, spatially speaking. Paul said when it pleased God…..to reveal (unveil) his Son IN ME. God is deep in the spirit of man which needs to be quickened or made alive by God himself (he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit). Everyone gets hung up on the location of God, fighting the idea that God can’t be LOCATED inside man. I find that it is an argument that is as religious as when the Jews refused that the Gentiles could be saved. However, the fact still remains that a man still must be saved, he must be born from above or a higher realm to see and to enter into the kingdom; there still is a prerequisite. Everyone is not already saved.
The Spirit must dwell in the soul of a person; it must be in union with the soul. If it does, then - Out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water for apart from him there is no life; The word of God is living and active (quick and powerful); To be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom 8:6); Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you (Rom 8:9); dwell where? dwell in your soul. If Christ be in you (your soul); the Spirit is life because of righteousness (Rom 8:10). If the Spirit of him……dwell in you, he shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.......to mortify the deeds of the body and to live!!!!!
The soul is your mind, emotions, sensation, expression. “For as a man thinketh in his SOUL (not heart), so is he” (Prov 23:7). The heart is your core or center. We are to praise the Lord with our whole heart (Ps 111:1). "Thy law is deep within they heart" (Ps 40 - Moffatt). God assures us that we shall love him with our whole heart for we are told "THOU SHALT love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart................." (Matt 22:37).
Man created in the image and likeness of God. Let’s not create God in our image! Paul wrote in Romans "And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." – KJV. Their foolishness results in the lying vanity of thinking of an uncorruptible God in terms of corruptible man. Turning his glory into the image of the corruptible man; To compare the Creator to the creature (e.g., cart before the horse; backwards)!
Some try to mold and make God into their own idea and image
of what they think God should be to his creation. Man has always, and continues
to create in his imagination ideas that do not correspond to the reality of
God. (Tower of Babel). They deny all or much of what is said in holy script,
trying to explain it away as partial error (e.g., many claiming to be wise today
continue to fall prey to this liberal ideology).One popular and common thought
is that God only does everything that is considered good for he as Creator "saw
everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." (Gen 1:31).
The thought continues that everything that is 'not good' (e.g., negative) is
far from God and only the product of man himself. A majority of our Charismatic
brethren hold to this concept (while some contribute the latter to the devil
rather than man). Many others hold to this idea too. (Dr Wayne Dyer; few so-called
kingdom ministry, etc.) Now that is not to say that much that we see is the
result of man's evil as he reaps what he has sowed. Problem is that teaching
is not in the book! Doctrine of convenience . Albeit some have even stretched
their explanations; they say for example - Old Testament concepts like Job's
statement "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we
not receive evil?" are not reliable and are the product of man's concept
of God, etc. Yet, such ones fail to accurately explain how Satan was created
in the first place
Nor can they answer how the same Creator created an earth without form and void and with darkness as recorded in Genesis 1:2. Their doctrine proves to be incorrect in that they believe any thing that would be considered chaos or darkness (verse 2) could not come by the hand of the Creator. This reminds me of when the Syrians said that the LORD is God of the hills but he is not God of the valleys (I Kings 20:28). As such, God delivered them into the hands of Israel. Yea, God is both LORD of our high places, where all blessings comeforth (from upon high) and he is also LORD of our low valleys and times of tests and trials. For those that think otherwise, such have changed the glory of God into an image in what they believe God ought to be. Anything that replaces the glory of God for something else and attempts to make him into our image is idolatry, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." (I John 5:21).
We are to worship God our Father; and he is the Creator of heaven and earth. Man can not hide from him for he fills heaven and earth (Jer 23: 24). “If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold that are there” (Ps 139:9). He is OMNI (Around) Present. Tell me of one place where God is not!!!! Can you name one place? I am not talking about pantheism (that everything is God), but if I make my bed in the hell, even in the belly of the great fish (out of hell); he is there!!! He is in your high’s and in your low’s, in your heavens and your hells. He lives in the depth of man’s spirit and in every man’s own order and appointed time he reveals himself and comes forth. It is the coming of the Lord! Jesus told the religious, those not born again – the kingdom is within you (that word within means inside of you; search it out and see how it is used elsewhere).
He is the God of heaven and earth. Heaven on earth, first in your soul and then in the natural earth as heaven comes down (book of Revelation). This is where heaven & earth kiss; where they MEET. The Lord showed me that a few months back while in Dallas, TX. That is where you experience the heavens in your earth; when the two MEET! A meeting. A connection. A Spiritual Soul. In the Likeness of God.
While there at this conference, a sign said “you are not living unless you are connected”. They meant it to mean that you have fiber technology to your home and have all the amenities that technology can provide you. I knew it meant far more!!!
My friends, we are not living unless our soul is connected to the right source to the Spirit of the Living God, to our Father from whence we came and to whom we return, the spirit of Christ dwelling in us, our soul in union with our redeemed spirit, this is the new creation man and it is our destiny