This message from Paul to his disciple, Timothy, was written for us, upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come, and the instructions given to Timothy by Paul are applicable to the body of Christ today in a greater sense and application than ever before, because we have come to the time: when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires,…(denominationalism and specific popular false prophets)…and they will turn their ears away from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
The Lord’s stinging message for the Laodicean “type” of church seems to apply to much of the church today. But who will confess it? And do we really know and understand what the metaphor of “lukewarmness” means so that we can respond appropriately to it?
Paul's exhortation to his beloved disciple, Timothy, was given to him by the Lord and written for OUR instruction upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. Yet, many born again believers today are primarily responding and conforming to the expectations and traditions of their denomination, their church, or their intellectual understanding of scripture. Yet, our relationship with the Lord Himself is to be HIS disciple, HIS bondservant, hearing and understanding His rhema truth, His covenant promises, and His commands in a direct personal sense.
The answer may not be what you think, and those who qualify may not be whom you might expect to qualify... Those who are "friends of the Lord," are, in the Lord's own words, those who hear, understand, and obey His voice spoken into their hearts (spirit-mind connection) by the Spirit of truth. What this produces, then, is the correct "rhema" understanding of the truth, covenant promises, and commands of the Lord resulting in the manifestation of acts of faith. Thus, it may be helpful to be trained in Hebrew and Greek, but no amount of intellectual training apart from "hearing" and "seeing" by the Spirit of truth will produce faith in our thoughts or our actions. It is, then, those who "hear" His truth, His covenant promises, and His commands" and, in intimate obedience, do what they hear by faith, His "bondservants" and "friends."
Why was the Lord tested in the wilderness? And why does God ordain our similar testing?
Paul's explanation concerning how we are transformed from mere flesh upon receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is expanded in his description of how we are progressively transformed in this relationship as disciples and bondservants of the Lord as looking into a mirror and not seeing our own image, but the image of Christ as He begins to manifest in us and through us.
All Christian believers go through times of testing, just as our Lord also went through times of testing. This is ordained by God so that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds to become obedient men and women of faith who manifest the ministry assignments of our Lord, Jesus Christ, through our revelatory understanding of the truth, promises, and commands of our Lord. We are also tested through active faith to overcome all of the flesh instincts that hinder our relationship with the Lord, as well as various Satanic bondages, including the bondage of false, flesh-impowered understandings of the written Word, the Bible.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power…(authority)… is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore,…(in My authority)… and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe…(understand and obey)…all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world…(age)…. Amen.…Matthew 28:18-20 KJV (insert is the author’s) Are we doing all things whatsoever He has commanded us to the end of the age (i.e. the last day resurrection)?
The primary warning given to the church by the Lord, with special emphasis for the end times church, is DO NOT BE DECEIVED. This warning specifically relates to false Christs, false prophets, and “doctrines of demons” secretly introduced into the body of Christ through satanically inspired men masquerading as ministers of righteousness. It also relates to the authoritative presumptions of men who are disconnected from the revelation of the Spirit of truth in their painstaking intellectual examinations of biblical scripture. Our example from the OT are the Pharisees, the intellectual giants of Israel who knew by memory every prophetic reference to the first advent of the Messiah, but completely missed Him as He lived out every single prophetic detail in their very presence. This is not unlike the intellectual giants of the organized church today, with doctorates in biblical Hebrew and Greek, who are, in large part, missing the revelatory details concerning the second advent of the Messiah.
A very interesting passage in Matthew 11 is essential to our understanding of what the Lord expected of His immediate disciples and continues to expect from true “born again” disciples today as we are faced with escalating warfare between the beast kingdom and the kingdom of God in Christ. Strong’s identifies this “violence” as: “a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and the intensest exertion”. Seizing the Kingdom of God is also demonstrated in the "armor of God" passage in which we are told how to seize the full armor of God so that we are equipped to do battle with the beast kingdom. This armor is not automatic with the new birth. It must be pursued with great zeal as is demonstrated in the Matthew 11 passage.