CHAPTER ONE CHRIST – THE HEAD OF THE ORDER
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
The Psalmist admonishes us to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Gates are the places of entering in. In the Old Testament, the gate was where the elders sat. Like in this time we have the Guards. The business was conducted there. Many times the king held court there. It was an honour to be chosen to sit in the gate.
The Psalmist reveals that His gates are the places where we enter into His presence, (His courts) and we are to enter in with thanksgiving. The word thanksgiving means more than just the “giving of thanks”. It means “to make a confession, to give praise, to make the sacrifice of thanksgiving”. When we begin to confess and to praise, our lives become a sacrifice of thanksgiving before our God. It is by these and these alone, that we can enter into His gates.
When we enter into His gates we enter into a special place in Him. We enter a place of protection, communion and provision, where no one can pluck us out of His hand, John 10:28. When we enter into His gates, we come into His courts; we enter into His presence; and are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Ephesians 2:6. The heavenly place is the Spiritual Realm of God. Those who dwell in this place have risen above their earthly existence and have ceased from their own labours. These have sought the things which are above and no longer do the things that please the flesh. Only those who have left the old, Adamic nature behind can enter into this special place that God has prepared for the man from the creation. This is not a place to fight a war or to see who looks better.
If we are to come into His courts, we must have an order in our lives. We can be assured of one thing, there will be order in His court, even the Mystical Court. Paul admonished the church in Corinth to come into proper order, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” I Corinthians 14:40
Our God is a God of order, and no disorder is going to enter into His presence. We are coming to the end of the church age. It has been two days or approximately two thousand years since Jesus walked this earth. Jesus declared these two days when the Pharisees tried to bring fear into His life. The Pharisees stated,
“Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.” Luke 13:31
And Jesus replied,
“Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cure today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Luke 13:32
Peter informs us that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. II Peter 3:8
The “today and tomorrow” that Jesus spoke of are the two 1000 year days since He dwelt in His flesh. These two days is the church age. The church’s job for two thousand years has been to do cures (heal the sick both physically and spiritually) and to cast out devils (set the captives free). Jesus also related the third day, the third 1000 year day. He said, “On the third day I shall be perfected.” Jesus is going to be perfected in us, His saints, on the third day. II Thessalonians 1:10
Jesus related the raising up of His body on the third day again when the Jews desired a sign from Jesus of the works He performed. Jesus answered,
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
But He spake of the temple of His body.” John 2:19-21
The Body of Christ is His temple whom He will raise up on the third day. This is the day of our entering into His presence. This will be the time of our entering into His courts with praise. The time is coming when the gates of The Mystical Court will be opened and guarded. For the time has come and now is it for all to enter.
As long as we are in this flesh, we are a tabernacle. But when the change in our body occurs that Paul spoke of in, I Corinthians 15:52-53, this corruptible will put on incorruption, this mortal will put on immortality and we shall be changed. This will happen at the beginning of the kingdom age when our reign with Christ, here on this earth, begins. This will be the third 1000 year day that John revealed in Revelation 20:6.
As we sense the coming of the kingdom age, we are reminded of the words of Jesus, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Behold the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21
God is placing His kingdom in the earth (His anointed ones) before He brings His kingdom age upon this physical terra firma (earth). But before God can turn His kingdom over to His kingdom people, they must learn His kingdom order and His kingdom principles. We must come into His order in everything we do.
We need to understand the difference between order and legalism. Today, many are legalistic in their worship of God, but there is no order in their lives. Legalism is when a man tries to please God by keeping some law; generally the laws of man, the do’s and don’t’s, attempting to please a Spiritual God by their fleshly activities. Most often this includes wearing the hair a certain length, both men and women; women are to have their dresses a certain length, no slacks, sleeves so long, necklines so high; men with black suits, white shirts and black ties, shoes shined, etc. Legalism dictates the day to worship God. Some refrain from certain foods on certain days. These observances are kept religiously and legalistically believing that the observance of such things affords those who keep them a right standing before God. We will not enter into God’s courts by any of these observances. We can enter in only by a changed heart. It is not by what we do, it is by what we have become. We will only enter into His presence when we become a praise in the earth unto our God.
The other extreme of legalism is that, if they can find no law against it, then it must be alright in the sight of God to do it. They overlook the words of Paul,
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” I Corinthians 10:23
The word expedient means “profitable”. Paul was free to do all things. But all things were not profitable to God, nor did they edify the Body of Christ. Though they were legal, Paul refrained from becoming part of such activities.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans he declared,
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves.” Romans 2:14
Paul was speaking of those who have God’s law written upon their hearts (minds); not the law of Moses, but the whole law of God, which is His Word, the Bible. When the Gentiles do the law of God, they have become a law unto themselves. These do not need a man to tell them right from wrong because they have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to direct their paths. When the fruits of the Spirit are working in our lives; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance,” Galatians 5:22-23, there is no law against the things that God brings forth in our lives. The fruits are evident because we have the Spirit of God directing our lives. He is leading us in His Word and His voice. No law can supersede the direction of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we have Spiritual direction in our lives, then we will have God’s established order and we can enter into His courts with praise.
Many who are not legalistic in their worship follow the thinking of “No Order” at all in their lives or their worship to God. Whatever happens, happens. Therefore, it must be God’s will in their lives. This leads to confusion. Paul informs us,
“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” I Corinthians 14:33
The author is in italics and does not appear in the original. It should read, “God is not of confusion, but of peace…” James states,
“For, where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” James 3:16
The word confusion is AKATASTASIA and means “instability, or a state of disorder”. God can accomplish nothing in our lives through confusion. It can only detract from what God’s purpose is for His creation, man. Between legalism and confusion, there is order. One of the best analogies to explain legalism and confusion versus order is the working of gears. When all is in order, the gears go together smoothly, and everything operates the way it was designed to operate. Legalism is when we continue to force the gears to go together when they are not aligned. This causes grinding and scraping, and sometimes the gears are broken and destroyed because they were forced together.
Confusion is when the gears go together by happenstance. They may not fit together at all. When these unaligned gears run together, we have no idea how fast they will move, or if they will move in the right direction. There is absolutely no order in what these gears produce.
Order causes the gears to run smoothly, humming in complete accord with each other and producing the best quality of workmanship. Everything God has shown us in His Word establishes His perfect order. His whole creation speaks of His order. All the universe moves in perfect order, establishing His times and seasons. The sun rises and sets with such precision that it can be logged years in advance. Paul wrote to the Romans, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
One of the invisible things from the beginning was His order. When we read God’s Word, we have no excuse to misunderstand God’s intended order. We can be assured that His order never changes. He proclaimed through the prophet Malachi,
“For I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6
When God gave Moses the design for the tabernacle and the worship service, everything was done in perfect order. God had already chosen and anointed the men who would perform the work. The materials used to build the tabernacle were specific in supply, as well as design. When the table of shewbread was made, it was to hold exactly twelve loaves of bread. And there was order as to how the bread was to be placed upon the table.
“And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses.” Exodus 40:23
When the fire was laid on the brazen altar to receive the sacrifice, the wood was not just piled on the altar. There was an established order as to how to lay the wood in place.
“And the sons of Aaron the priest shall put fire upon the altar, and lay the wood in order upon the fire.” Leviticus 1:7
When the sacrifice was burnt before the Lord, specific orders were given as to how the sacrifice was to be placed upon the wood.
“And he shall cut it into his pieces, with his head and his fat: and the priest shall lay them in order on the wood that is on the fire which is upon the altar.” Leviticus 1:12
The question may be asked, “Why is this so important that we know this?” If God’s order was not followed, the sacrifice was not acceptable before God and Israel would have continued in their sin. Our God is a God of order, and no disorder is acceptable in His sight.
When God’s order was not followed, His punishment came. Israel was to burn incense before the Lord. The incense was the outward expression of worship and praise before our God. They could only take the fire from the altar to burn the incense in their censer.
When Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu burned incense with strange fire, or fire that was of their own making, they were struck dead instantly. Their worship and praise before God were not acceptable because it was of their own making, and was not as God had ordained it. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us,
“By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15
We are to offer a sacrifice of praise continually before our God. We need to ask ourselves, “Is our sacrifice of praise offered with strange fire; or, is our sacrifice of praise according to the order God has ordained in His Word?”
Paul informs us that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, Romans 12:1. Is our sacrifice laid in order before the Lord or is it presented to the Lord in a haphazard way, with the attitude of “take it as it is, or leave it?” Well, He may decide to leave it if it is not presented in the order that is acceptable to Him. Every area of our lives must come into God’s order. The head of the home must be in proper order with Christ, his head. The wife must be in proper order with her head, her husband. The children must be in proper order with the parents. The home, itself, must be in proper order with the Word of God. The church must be in proper order if our worship before God is to be acceptable. Our diet, finances, job and every facet of our lives must be in God’s order. This is called kingdom living. We must come into a kingdom order now if we are to rule and reign with Him in His kingdom age. Luke wrote, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Luke 12:42-43
If we are not operating in kingdom principles at His coming, we will not be counted as faithful and wise stewards of what He has given us. Now is the time that we need to learn God’s kingdom order. Now is the time in order to begin operating in every area of our lives so when the Lord comes, He will find us so doing; operating in His established order. We need to learn God’s order and follow it if we are to be among those who will sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the saints when the Marriage Supper of the Lamb has come.
The kingdom of God is coming and if we are to be a part of that kingdom that is coming on the earth, we must allow it first to come within our earth and change this vile body and fashion it like unto His glorious body, Philippians 3:21. This is God’s desire in every life; that we become like Jesus in our walk before Him so when His appearing comes, He will find us doing the things of the kingdom as our everyday way of life.
Too many are worried about what the world will think or do, without any consideration of what God thinks, or what He will do if we do not come into His perfect order. The Psalmist relates we are to be thankful unto Him and bless His name, Psalm 100:4. His name is Christ, and we are “Christ” ones or Christians. We are to be a blessing unto that name in every area of our lives and in all that we do. We cannot become this blessing unless we adhere to His “Order in His Court”. He is the righteous judge, and we, who will stand before Him, must learn the order of His court if we desire to come fully into His presence and perfection.
Each chapter includes a set of questions for your further application of these principles. Review the questions often allowing the Holy Spirit to ingrain them in your heart, helping you apply them in your life.
1. What “keys” are necessary to enter God’s presence?
2. Who are qualified to enter into “this special place”?
3. Our God is a God of __________ and no __________ is going to enter into His presence.
4. What New Testament scripture confirms the teaching of a “1000 year day”?
5. The __________ ____ ____________ is His temple whom He will raise up on the third day.
6. Where is the Kingdom of God?
7. a. What is the difference between God’s order and legalism?
Give characteristics of each.
b. What examples of God’s judgment occurred in the Bible when His order was not followed?
8. What sacrifice are we still encouraged to offer to God?
9. What is “kingdom living”?
10. What is God’s desire in every life?