“And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God”.
Several had come to Jesus filled with good intentions desiring to follow Him wherever He went. Today this would be considered a successful evangelical outreach program but the Lord did not regard it as such. He answered the first young zealot of a scribe, who was more interested in venerated places and holy relics than the truth, by saying that the Son of man had no place here in this world to call His own. The animals in the wild had a more sure abode than the Creator of the universe in this world because His Kingdom is not of this world. There is no building that can hold Him, no people that can properly serve Him and no land that is suitable for Him to find rest. His building is His body, His people are born from above of the incorruptible seed and, having finished His work, He is seated at the right hand of the Father having entered into His rest. He knew the intention of the heart of the would-be follower and His answer dissuaded him from his quest. His intentions were earthly and his affections were not set on the things from above.
The second individual is contacted by Jesus with a command to “follow me” but he answered the Lord that he had other pressing engagements that precluded him from following. It was not that he did not want to follow Jesus or that he was offended by the work, it was that the love of family, society and inheritance was more important to him that the abandonment of the things of this world. His heart was drawn out after the prestige and comforts of life rather than the simplicity and privation of following the Master. Jesus answered him with a stern rebuke for his intentions, his family and the business of man are for and must be attended to by those who have not the life from above. He commanded this unknown person to preach (be a messenger for) the foolishness of the gospel of the kingdom of God and leave those things of this present evil generation to the children of the world. Those who are dead, having no knowledge of the truth, no part in the inheritance of light and no memorial of the finished work, need attend to the matters of the dead as the “children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light” (Luke 16:8). The children of the kingdom of this world are the subjects of the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, and they have been assigned the tasks of this world, wherein they find sustenance and contentment.
Those who walk by the faith of the Son of God are strangers and sojourners in a weary land wherein they find no peace, nothing to satiate their souls and no resting place. Despite all carnal logic and tangible reasoning, they find a hope in things unseen that is manifested to them by faith. Even when the allurement of this world and the needs of the flesh ensnare them and they are drawn away after the lusts of the flesh, they yet know that they are not of the indigenous people of the land for their affections have been set on things from above. This young man was commanded of the Lord to leave what he desired and do what seemed simplistic, foolish and unpopular. If this be true, then why are today's religious endeavours so popular, so convoluted and profitable?
The third individual had a desire to follow Christ and, although he was not interested in his earthly inheritance, he did place great importance on going to his own house, renouncing the things of his life and removing himself from his family and friends. This is comparable to Jehu calling out to others to 'come see my zeal for the Lord'. It is a public statement of identification of piety and commitment. His desire was to go and let everyone know that he was abandoning them, their ways and unbelief and that he was following Jesus. How righteous this is, to announce that, 'I am holier than you and I have put off the former ways of life and have decided to follow Jesus'. But rather than embracing this wonderfully enthusiastically worker, Jesus rebukes him and condemns his manner.
If the time of year were upon us in the days gone by and we observed a farmer in the field, readying to plow the ground and plant his crops but he had no horse, oxen or mule before him to draw the plow, we would shake our heads in disbelief as to the success of his endeavours. If he had no plow we would think him unprepared as he wasted the time walking behind his animal without the proper tools. These things may be quickly rectified and the project engaged. But if we observed the horse, the plow and the farmer, ready to plow, we should be able to assume that the job shall be at least undertaken and have good cause to anticipate the results. But what if the farmer was facing the wrong way? What a sight it would be if the farmer was walking and pulling with all of his might, in opposition to the direction of the plow and in conflict to the power of the animal before him. This foolish individual would be scorned and laughed at being unfit for the job. He does not know what he is doing, he knows nothing of the mechanics of the job at hand and he is well convinced that his way is the correct way of performing the task before him. He anticipates success and is completely at ease with his work ethics. And thus Jesus says to this person who desires to follow him, if you take hold of the plow and are facing the wrong way, fighting against the power and ignorant to the job, you are not suited for the job.
Is this a completely hypothetical statement by Jesus or is this a very real and ever present condition? Jesus was instructing His disciples as they journeyed toward Jerusalem for His crucifixion, that when they see such a thing they will recognize the person and the work being attempted. If one is in any way, shape or form, going or attempting to go contrary to the simplicity of the gospel, wherein they introduce their own power, their own ways and their own zeal for the Lord, the conclusion must be that they have not been appointed thereunto. If any man preach another gospel than that which was once delivered to the saints, if he has a new and better idea about how to facilitate the will of God or if he scoffs at the old landmarks of the immutability of a sovereign God then he is unfit for the kingdom. It is not that he is unfit for that job and another position must be found for him, for this one is not been outfitted for the kingdom of God. He has not been afore prepared unto the glory of the kingdom, he has not the Spirit of God within him, causing him to walk according to the statutes of God, therefore he is none of His.
Only a child of the King has the regal rights of the kingdom. The fist born of the King stands as the heir of the throne and the next ruler of the kingdom. He is trained in the art of politics, diplomacy and is well schooled in the policies of his father, the King. No one may usurp this position and no one is entitled to the throne but the legal heir. So the Son of God is the heir of God and of His Kingdom. He is the firstborn of many brethren who stand as heirs of God and joint heirs with Him being of the house of the first born. These only have the Spirit of God within whereby they know the mind of God, understand His will and walk according to His statutes. They are the only proper ambassadors of the good tidings of great joy of the Kingdom of God.
Now does this mean that when one has taken the plow in hand and is looking forward he is to be considered 'worthy' of the kingdom? Not at all. It means that when one, who has been ordained of old, has been given to take the plow in hand and is made willing in the day of His power to be committed to the work before him, it is because he has been accounted worthy (well placed) of the kingdom. The work does not endear one as being worthy, God has afore prepared, outfitted, assigned and engaged only those who are worthy of His kingdom in the work of the kingdom. Only those who have been joined unto Him from before the foundation of the world, set apart for the work that He has assigned, consecrated to the work of the sanctuary, adorned with the garments of salvation and anointed with the Holy Spirit, having been made acceptable in the Beloved are worthy of the kingdom of God. These have been assigned a path to walk and a race to run by Jehovah our God and the steps of that path are ordered of old and the race is run with patience. God has designed an earthen vessel that is suitable for the course to be traveled, He has properly equipped this tabernacle of clay with all necessary components, revealed at the appropriate time to accommodate the tasks to be performed and He has, in the appointed time, empowered this vessel to act commensurate to His will for the good of the seed born from above.
He has filled His children with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding that they might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:9f). He has properly assigned each of His children a time of habitation and has lovingly placed limitations about them, hedging in their way with hewn stones. This is not for men to see or for the admiration of the people of the land or the inhabitants of this world. To them the preaching of an Almighty Sovereign God who does whatsoever His heart desires, manifesting His eternal love for His chosen people and His just hatred for the wicked, is complete an utter foolishness and those engaged in such things are equally as foolish. Some have openly despised the good news and have discarded it as inappropriate for their cause while others feel that it needs just a little help from the logic and intuition of Adam to make it work. One may look at the plow and the field and walk on by seeking more prestigious employment while another may take to the plow, facing to the rear, thinking himself profitable to the work of God.
Every child of grace while in the tabernacle of this dwelling, looks forward to the time when, with untrammeled eyes, they behold the glory of God. They hope to hear Him say “well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the rest prepared for you” but thoughts, desires and actions betray them here and now. When the lust of the flesh is empowered to conceive and bring forth the sin that dwells in the members, there can be no other conclusion but that this one is not born from above. When the allurement of this world is made so enticing that they are drawn to it like a dog unto the vomit, they groan in the agony of failure and embarrassment anxiously hoping that their fellow travelers never learn of their true nature. But this is the way of all who have the warfare within. These have been accounted worthy of the Father to suffer not only the hatred of the world but the vanity of the flesh unto the day of His coming. They are worthy of the hire that He has assigned unto them and walk worthy of this vocation in all meekness and long-suffering because He has so ordained that they be conformed to the image of His Son.. The manifest token of their being worthy is that they suffer for His name sake, not after the nature of Adam, but because they are strangers and sojourners in a foreign land and dwell in the midst of an evil generation.
When John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, he saw in heaven that the books were brought forth and NO MAN was worthy to open, read or to look upon them. As he wept, the messenger of Jehovah told him that there was ONE who was worthy, not because of what He had done but because of who He was. The Lamb was worthy and therefore He not only opened the books and read them but He stood as He had been slain from before the foundation of the world. Since He was worthy of more glory that His servant Moses and since He is the Federal head of His people, they also stand worthy being sons of God. They have the same glory that He has with the Father as they stand as joint heirs with the Son of the kingdom of God.
Brethren rest assured that the Church of Jesus Christ, His body, His temple, His Bride has been built upon Himself, that Rock of all ages and all His people, shall come from afar and build in the temple (Zech. 6:12-15). There shall never be one building in the temple of Jehovah who is not properly placed there and perfectly performing the station assigned unto them and there shall never remain a work undone. Each one of His people has a certain and specific place in the body, that Holy habitation of Jehovah being fitly framed together wherein the walls are salvation and built of living stones. Each one has been given all things necessary during the time of this habitation to complete each and every good work they have been afore ordained to and created in Christ Jesus unto. None shall fail to perfectly finish the works that have been finished from the foundation of the world and none shall have the praise of man for Adam cannot see the things of the Kingdom. There shall never be any flesh and blood in the Kingdom for this is not the inheritance of Adam and this Kingdom is not of this world (and never shall be).
Therefore, weary brethren, run with patience the race that is set before you, looking unto Jesus the author and FINISHER of our faith. The labourer is worthy of his hire for it is God that works in His elect both to will and do His good pleasure and He, that has begun this good work, shall perform it unto the day of our Lord.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
October 14, 2012