The scripture likens each of us to a cup in a house in 2 Timothy 2:20. It lists four types of cups; gold, silver, wood and clay. It says some of the cups (silver and gold) are for honor and some are for dishonor (wood and clay). Verse 21 says "Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work."
The Purpose of the Furnace
Heat causes impurities to rise to the surface in metals like gold and silver. Fire purifies certian things while it destroys others. For example, fire consumes and destroys a wood cup but it would harden a clay cup. That's good. That is useful. But, if you drop the clay cup it will shatter. It will be destroyed. But if you drop a gold or silver cup, it may or may not bend or it may be marred but it certainly won't be destroyed.
God is looking for vessels of honor. Vessels that will last. Gold and silver are shiny while wood and clay are not. He's looking for those who can reflect His glory. The fire is used to purify God's vessels for an eternal purpose that also has to do with the here and now. For example Malachi 3:1-3 says:
God sends His messenger with a word. Jeremiah 23:29 says, "“Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?" God's word is like a fire. It tests, it refines, and it purifies.
Why does God want His ministers purified? By the way, I believe everyone is called to be like Jesus therefore everyone is called to minister. God wants His ministers purified so that... Malachi 3:5 can be manifested. It says:
"And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers,
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien— Because they do not fear Me,” Says the Lord of hosts."
Do you realize that God's judgment on sorcerers, adulterers, perjurers.... are people who oppress others? They hurt other people and God's decision against those who commit those acts are actually an expression of God's love, mercy and deliverance to those who are oppressed?
God is looking for a people He can call "My messenger." He's looking for people who are qualified to be messengers of His covenant. These will be vessels of honor. That means they've been tested in the furnace of affliction so as to remove impurities.
Consider Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego
King Nebuchadnezzar made an idol and required all to bow down and worship it. They defied civil government's law that violated a higher law. It was a law resident in their conscience. They were willing to suffer the consequences of the civl law too. These children of Israel refused to worship or bow down to an idol in Daniel 3. Therefore the king was enraged and heated up the furnace seven times hotter than normal and threw them in. What happened?
What did the king see? He saw, Daniel 3:25 where it says, “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
The Son of God joined them in the midst of the firey trial. The only thing burned were the bonds that held them captive. They came through the fire. God was glorified and the civil law changed to. Their testimony in a Babylonian system impacted civil laws that were based around doctrines (teachings) of demons. That's what idolatry is all about.
I submit to you that their testimony which impacted a civil law was an expression of doing something Jesus commanded the Church to do. That is to do Matthew 28:19 and "make disciples of all nations." I'm not suggesting that the "Church" rise to rule over nations. I am saying we want to equip kingdom minded men and women with a vision, tools and worldview that positions them to rise to the top of society and institute just laws and policies based upon the truth of God's word that will invite blessing instead of encouraging actions that enacts a spiritual law that brings desctruction.
A nation that is discipled will have laws and policies that reflect and understanding of eternal spiritual laws like that of sowing and reaping. For example, if your nation sows murder, sheds innocent blood, which by the way, is used in idolatrous worship, then your nation will reap death and destruction. If you need an example of what that looks like all you have to do is go to Deuterony 28, Leviticus 26, 18, 20 and Romans 1 for a few examples of the consequences.
You recognize the root by looking at the fruit. I'll go into that at another time.
The Coronavirus, Testing and the Big Picture
I do not believe God created the virus that has become a plague. I do know that Jesus warned us that one of the signs that would precede His return (ie. Matthew 24). Revelation 9:20-21 gives great insight. Now remember, we are talking about God purifying vessels of gold, silver, wood and clay. The scripture says, "But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
The purpose of the plague was to call people to repent from their idolatry. That idolatry was marked by murder, sorceries, sexual immorality and thefts.
This plague is the result of Satan's handiwork. Never the less I understand through Romans 8:28 that God has an amazing way of making "all things work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." God is using this situation to:
- Reveal what is in our hearts. Heat causes leaven to rise. The question is, what is rising out of you? Is it the leaven of heaven? Is it the leaven of this world? Is it the leaven of the Pharisees or the leaven of Herod?
- Reveal our maturity. Hebrews 5:12 -6:2 reveals that maturity in Christ is accomplished through having our senses exercised to discern both good and evil. 1 Corithians 13:11 teaches us that love matures beyond the thinking of a child. Childishness is being revealed in the body of Christ and an opportunity is being given for us to mature by exercising God's word to discern. Here's the foundation the Bible says every mature believer should have. Click here to get the Hebrews 6 Foundation workbook.
- Reveal the kind of cup you have. A wood cup will be burned up and nothing will be left. A clay cup will find their life shattered. It's possible the cup may be able to be repaired and put back together. The silver or gold cup won't be destroyed or broken but will merely be refined. Impurities in their faith will rise to the surface to be dealt with. Even in the midst of this challenge they will continue to reflect God's glory.
What are you afraid of? Remember 1 John 4:18 teaches us that perfect love casts out all fear. Galatians 5:6 teaches us that faith works by love. Love and fear reveal where we are really at. Are you afraid of:
- Getting sick or laying hands on and praying for the sick? Mark `6:15-17
- Dying? John 3:16
- What other people think? Proverbs 29:25
- What God thinks? Probverbs 9:10
- Confronting and destroying evil? 1 John 3:8
- Doing Psalm 97:10 which says you who love the Lord hate evil?
Hebrews 5:14 reveals that one of the tests has to do with using our senses to discern good and evil.
- Jesus taught us how to recognize, discern or judge a false prophet by examining their character. Mathew 7:15-20
- Paul challenged us to judge prophet's words in 1 Corinthians 14:29
Our understanding of eternal spiritual laws and how they interact with and are reflected in natural laws are being tested to. Do you recognize doctrines of demons and their impact delivered through a law or manifested in a society? Can you discern the root that produces the fruit?
How do you respond to:
- The prophets who revealed a plague was coming and China would seek to implement a strategy to become the number one economic power?
- Prophets who saw the making of this virus in a lab?
- Prophets who saw/see prosperity while others see destruction?
- Let me help you a little with this one. God made a decision to deliver Israel out of slavery from Pharoh and the Egyptians. If you were with Pharoh you perceived the plagues as bad, destructive and judgment. If you were in Goshen you experienced the opposite. God made one decision. One judgment. What you experienced depended upon where you were. Were you with God's people or not? Did you choose to favor God and His people or did you choose to ignore God and oppress people?
- Rodney Howard Brown was arrested Click here for Christian Post article.
- The editor of the Christian Post offers their opinion critical of Rodney's decision. Click here.
- Click here for Rodney's response, the rest of the story in Charisma Magazine.
- Scripture that applies - Proverbs 18:17 The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
- The truth is, the civil laws implemented by many governors have violated the First Amendment. Some pastors I work with took the same stance as Rodney and was contacted by their police chief. Their reasons, far greater than standing up for their rights in this nation but rather serving the flock to which Christ gave them responsibility for. The one pastor I spoke with yesterday stood on their conviction, and responded to the mayor and police chief with great wisdom and in doing so God began doing a marvelous work positioning the Church in that community to serve their community and it's government officials in a more effective way. The fire came and what rose out of that pastor was the wisdom of God founded on His love.
There is far more to write but I've run out of time. I hope this helps you and I pray you embrace God's word and His process and use this time to grow closer to Him. Spend time in His word and in His presence. Spend time with your family. Learn to view the world and its events through His word. Seek to mature and not be a child. Seek to acquire Biblical knowledge as Hosea 4:6 reveals that lack of knowldge destroys God's people.
Shalom my friends. I pray God fill you with His spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.