Posts Tagged ‘Walking’

Chapter Eight

The Bride Lives … in Fellowship With Light and The Yoke of Jesus:

(The Place of Abiding, The Safeguard Against Error)


“…how can light have fellowship with darkness?” 2Cor 6:14 Amp

“Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.  But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother [in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” 1Jn2:10-11 Amp

                When we talk about walking in the Spirit, abiding in Christ, walking in the light, abiding in love – these are all expressions that speak to the same process and disposition; that is they refer to taking the yoke of Jesus upon us and living in that place of yielded-ness and Christlikeness.  For the Bride, this continually expansive submission to Christ’s life and vision is not only imperative, without it we are truly nothing of His.  As the Bride is to be the physical presence of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit here on earth – she can do nothing without Him.  Conversely, with Him she can do all things.  In between these two states the Bride must live and move and have her being in Him.  The Bride must become one with Jesus.  He is her Lord and the Most High God.  To receive Him is to receive His yoke.

 The Yoke

            Jesus’ yoke.  Think of brilliant light –         whiter than any white you have ever seen.  Like the light of Jesus at the transfiguration, where He became resplendent – washed in a glowing light.  Now think of this like a mantel around your shoulders, a sphere or ellipse that is carried aloft by its own power and properties.  It has substance and mass, light can pass through it yet it is not transparent.  It is in fact cloud-like.  Sometimes you can sense Its presence upon you.  It focuses you and leads you – yet you are free to move.  It wraps you in love as thick as honey, and your heart is buoyant with the depth of this love, yet you see people and events in clarity and truth.  You see motives, hearts, and woundings, beyond three dimension. Within the fold of this yoke there is unity, and fellowship, and oneness with Jesus and the Father.  In the parameters of this yoke all the wisdom, power, and giftings of the Godhead are operative.  This is how I think of the yoke that Jesus offers us.  And yet … we are often unaware of it.

            There is a second yoke as well.  Not the yoke Jesus offers – but one of slavery, oppression, lawlessness, darkness, sin, and eternal damnation.  Its weight is immense, pride strengthens its hold, and its grip upon lives is like shackels upon the hearts and minds of its inmates.  It is confining, and enslaving, and unforgiving, and unyielding.  Its bonds are only removed once its hold has been broken from off its captives.

            A brief study will show us that Jesus’ yoke – all that He offers us — arose from His sacrifice on the Cross. It is derived from His Messianic Kingdom and the New Covenant  which Jesus cut with the Father in Heaven.  This yoke is Jesus’ offering to us as His believers and followers.

In Matthew 11:29-30 Jesus mentions His yoke is easy, and gives rest for our soul.  One of the Strong’s renderings for this word “yoke” that brings great insight is “balance, for a pair of scales.”  The balance is the post that everything rests on.  All is held at the intersection of the balance post and the arm that holds the scales in place. On the shoulder of that balance or yoke rests the arm for the scales.  All the weight of everything on the scales rests upon that small place.  The balance shoulders every weight, steadies it, and keeps it in place. The stuff sitting on the scale doesn’t carry the weight – the balance does – or more exactly the yoke does.  He gives us His yoke, and He takes all of our weights, cares, and sin.

Now this is my opinion, but I can make a fairly good case to support some of it … but I believe there are multiple aspects to the yoke of Jesus.

For instance, in Galatians Chapters 4 and 5 we find a discussion of a yoke of slavery, and right with it – Jesus’ yoke of freedom.  By extension we also see here a yoke of the law and of grace.  From 1 John 2 and 3 we might also notice there are yokes of light and darkness, love and hatred.  Romans 6, 7, and 8 speak of similar juxtapositions between what could be seen as a yoke of the flesh and the yoke of the Spirit.  But what I hope to express is that while Jesus has one yoke – this yoke has many facets that are all reflective of Him.  They can be spoken of as Love, Grace, Freedom, Light, Spirit, Kingdom, righteousness, and Life.  Yet more than just words that simply define — they carry the characteristics of Jesus Himself.

The other yoke descriptions such as hatred, law, slavery, darkness, and flesh/world/sin/death are antithetical or opposites of Christ.  And while they coalesce as a yoke as well – this yoke stands as one that opposes all that Christ is and what His yoke offers.  These are truly two polar opposites, these yokes. They are antagonistic to each other and opposed to each other just as Galatians 5:17 clarifies that the desires of the flesh are opposed to the desires of the Holy Spirit.

 The Litmus Test for Knowing Him

Now, in Matthew, Jesus asked us to take His yoke upon us and to learn of Him.  First John Chapter 2:3-6 begins to show us a way to determine if we are knowing Him more.  You see – one might just be able to make the statement according to Scripture that without taking on Jesus’ yoke we can never get to know Him.  Thus, knowing Him in increasing measure becomes a means to validate that we have indeed taken His yoke upon us.

So 1Jn2:3 tells us that we can estimate that we are knowing Him more deeply if we are keeping and observing His commandments.  No new commandment is being given here, but rather an old commandment is being restated, and in this restatement it is made clear that it is fully realized or accomplished “in Christ.”  We are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Why is this so important?  Because we see in 1Jn 2:9, if you don’t love as stipulated – then you are deceived and in in darkness.  You see, “Love” is the greatest gift of the Lord, and it is the most defining element of Jesus’ yoke.  It stands to reason, as a litmus test, if one thinks He is knowing Jesus more and more and is being obedient to His commands (to love), but does not love – he is deceived.

In Fellowship

There is a need for simple agreement between what we believe, and what we do. It is called “congruence.” There is agreement between what we are inside, and how we are behaving on the outside.  There is even greater need for agreement or fellowship between us (The Bride) and Jesus.  This is the intention behind the discussion of Paul in 2Cor 6:14-16.  The words used to describe the desired relationship are yoked, partnership, fellowship, common, and agreement.  Over and over Paul is making a case for believers to be in full agreement with Jesus, and light, and fellowship, and harmony.  This point cannot be underestimated in importance.

If we think we are in agreement with Jesus yet we hold an opinion in conflict with Him, or His word – we do not have true fellowship with Him, for at that moment we have broken fellowship and we reside in darkness.  If we see His requirement to love – yet we retain hatred, we are in darkness.  If we exercise our own opinion on any Biblical subject and find we are out of agreement with Jesus’ word on the subject – we are in darkness, and we are operating under a spirit of error and rebellion. If we think we are progressing in Christ, yet we do not love – we are not operating under the yoke of Christ.  We have deceived ourselves and are still held in slavery by a yoke – of bondage, hatred, and darkness.

In a sense – we can almost think of Jesus, His word, His Truth, His Spirit, His Life, His Light and all other aspects of His yoke as layers of His Yoke.  Almost like spherical planes stacked one upon the other, distinct, yet comprising one Yoke – they exist in total agreement.  They are one Yoke.  The have complete fellowship, each one with the other.

Likewise, there is similar perfect agreement and unity between Jesus and the other members of the Godhead.  “… Behold, the Lord our God is One.” (Deut 6:4)  Where Jesus is, there is Light, and there is Truth.  Thus to abide with Christ means we abide in His Light and His Truth and His teachings.  Another way to think of this is: as we have His agape love for our brothers, we abide in His Light, and sin and error have no access to us.

          Jesus and His Yoke Frees us From Error

            This concept of protection from error is further addressed in 1 Jn 2:27 which says:  “But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you.  But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you to [to do].”

            And also 1John2:10:

            “Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin.”

            By abiding in Christ and His Light (read Yoke) the occasion for sin or error is removed. To abide in Christ is also to abide in His Truth and His Light, and His Love.  They are perfect overlays of each other. We cannot abide in the Love of Christ, and then fail to adhere to and embrace His Truth and Light.  To abide in one, we abide in all.  To fail to abide in one means we fail to abide in all. This is what we want to focus on more particularly.

            When each of us is saved, we are anchored in Christ, but we are not completely sold out to truth, or light or love.  These are things that get sorted out as we progress in Christ.  It is the working out of our salvation with fear and trembling.

Think of it like the devastation of Katrina within New Orleans.  Once recovery work was started, it took time and effort to overturn the damage.  We too were each damaged and devastated by lives lived in darkness and sin.  But once we were saved, consecration to Christ, obedience to Him, and the renewal of our mind by the word began to overthrow the previously despotic rule of the flesh and sin in our lives.  The moment we are saved, we are all Christ’s, positionally.  But He begins the task of becoming Lord over our lives freeing us from every yoke of bondage to darkness, slavery, and every lofty thing in us that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God.  He does this through His Word and the agency of the Holy Spirit applying the work of the atonement in us.

            Think then, of the danger in these end times for believers to ever imagine that their wisdom can contend with the truth of God.  I speak here specifically of where believers begin to parse the word of God, for any one of various reasons.  Sometimes we have trouble getting our heads around a particular doctrine or teaching.

For instance, think of the debate that rages between believers and denominations (The Bride) over topics such as eschatology (end times prophecy), the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, just to name two.  There are many others.  Matthew 24:12 speaks of the church in the end times when it states: “And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity.”

          The Greatest Need is Love

We need to stop here for a second to emphasize something.  Imagine my foot stomping on the ground here.  In three pivotal Scriptures we have looked at – Love was the front-end – the doorway so to speak.  In 2 Cor 6:14-16, where Paul discourses on fellowship and light, just prior to that he is urging them to open there hearts and affection for the people of God.  He is saying they need to love! In 1Jn2:10 we have seen that to abide in the Light and to be free from stumbling or error or sin – we must love!  And lastly, we see (Mt 24:12) that as the love of the end-times church dwindles and waxes cold, lawlessness and rebellion increase. Love keeps us in the fellowship of Light and Harmony with Christ.  Love keeps us abiding in truth.  Love keeps us free from error and sin. So as love in Christ declines in these last days, abiding in Christ also declines, and error and lawlessness increase.

I also want to say that where we lack in certainty in our understanding, agape love can provide the entrance to apprehend in the spirit what our minds cannot yet grasp.  It is also this agape love that keeps us in the right position of submission and humility before the Lord.  Thus, even where I don’t understand – I can still submit and obey (like Abraham with Isaac as an offering).  It is in this place of love that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is propagated and nurtured.  It is here that no charge that can be brought against me.  It is here, that the character and presence of Christ expands – where love is.  God is Love.

         The Warning to the Bride

            Back to the critical point here — you and I and the Bride at large, are not qualified to pick and choose from the Bible what to believe or not based on what we like, or agree with, or what makes us comfortable or happy.  We are not in such a privileged position to do so, nor do we have the wisdom to do so.  In fact, that action constitutes idolatry. As Jesus (the Word made flesh) is in perfect agreement with His Light and His Truth, we are not free to rewrite or edit them to our liking or comfort.  And yet, this is often exactly what believers attempt to do when they cannot grasp or rationalize, in their own thinking, a Biblical Truth.

            If the Word of God, Jesus, Truth and Light are indeed all in agreement, then to reject any part of the Word is in fact like rejecting part of Jesus or His Truth or Light.  It is to move outside of the Yoke of Jesus, outside love, and to welcome and indulge error and darkness into the Bride that should be a body filled with light and truth.  Listen with that in mind, again, to what 2Cor 6:14-16 says:

            “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness?  Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?  What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what  has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols?  For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

            You and I can, in ignorance, yield to a yoke of darkness and captivity when we yield to a yoke not of the Lord’s.  It is a mismated alliance.  It is a joining together of things that are of God, with things that are not.

Jesus has said to us, Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me (Mt 11:29-30).  His yoke is like His Word, His Light and His Truth.  It is not something to be parsed, edited, or tampered with.  To receive Christ is to embrace His Word and Light and Truth – without our editing them.  He is Lord and we submit to Him, and to His yoke – intact.

            In this day, the Bride faces a great challenge to yield only to Jesus, His word, and His yoke. She must submit to Him, resist the enemy, and he will flee from her.  But the greatest entrance and success for her abiding in Christ and to having fellowship with her Lord is to remain in His Love and to allow it to remain in Her. Let our fellowship with Jesus be in the fullness of Who He is – with no presumption to edit, or parse, or substitute our own creation for the Wisdom from above.  God forbid!

            The crowning accolade for the end times Philadelphia Church (Rev 3:8) is that they have kept His Word and guarded His message and not renounced His Name.  The Bride must wake up to this warning – to forsake the Lord’s yoke in any part is to forsake His word, His Love, His Truth,  His fellowship — and by forsaking His love to instead to open wide the door to error, rebellion, and lawlessness.


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