Sonship, part 27: The goal of sonship—conclusion of series

Dec 19, 2012

In the previous entry, I concluded by saying we would look at an incident involving the “Boanerges Boys,” James and John. Jesus surnamed them Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder.”(Mark 3:17)

Let’s look at that story now in Matthew 20. The same story is in Mark 10 with one difference. In Mark, no mention is given of the mother of James and John.

Matthew 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

The way up is down. Sonship means walking the path of humility. Sonship includes servanthood! Look at the patriarch Joseph. He had to go down into the dungeon in Egypt for years and learn how not to be so cocky and arrogant before he could be raised up by the works of God and be set upon the pinnacle of power in Egypt—as a servant of the people.

Similarly, think of Moses a few generations later. He was raised and lived in the splendor of the royal court of the Pharaoh for the first forty years of his life. But God had to humble him as well, so the former prince of Egypt found himself in the land of Midian herding sheep, an occupation which he had been taught to despise all his life in Egypt. That was part of his humbling process.

Not only that, but they were not even his sheep! They belonged to his father-in-law, Jethro. And pardon me, but picturing the very educated and sophisticated prince of Egypt there herding sheep, I cannot help but think of Jethro and Jed Clampett, and Ellie Mae, and Granny, and Mr. Drysdale, the banker

…And there was Moses, having lived his entire life in the opulence of Pharaoh’s palace, now finding himself in the back side of the desert. Surely, Moses must have felt like he was living among the Beverly Hillbillies, don’t you think! But when the appointed time came, Moses was prepared to do the work for which he was called. Then we read in…

Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.).

The word meek there does not mean weak or timid or to use modern slang, being meek does not mean that one is a wimp. It means that one is humble. I remember one of my teachers back in seminary who had a saying which somehow stuck with me all these years. He said, “Don’t mistake meekness for weakness.” Moses, being a type of Christ and as Joseph before him, had to learn humility on the path to sonship. Jesus gave many instructions on how to follow His pattern.

Luke 14:25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Now, do you remember how I wrote much earlier in these essays about the meaning of the word “hate” in the Scripture? Here is another prime example how it could not mean the vicious, negative emotional energy that we almost exclusively associate with it today. Jesus obviously did not have that in mind here, otherwise He would be contradicting His own law under the fifth commandment to honor your father and mother. The context here indicates that it means that one must love less or prefer less one’s own relatives and one’s own self in comparison to our love for the Lord.

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?…

33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

The path to sonship is not strewn with rose petals or accompanied by chamber music. It is fraught with difficulties and obstacles every step of the way. We are tested and tried from beginning to end. If we are striving to be overcomers and we are having smooth sailing through life, then either praise God for giving you a break for a season, or if you almost never have any spiritual and other trials, then I would begin to wonder if you are called at this time. I say that because of what the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews says in…

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children [huios], My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

The word “bastards” there is from the Greek word no,qoj nothos {noth’-os} meaning 1) illegitimate, bastard 2) one born not in lawful wedlock, but of a concubine or female slave.

This reminds us again of Galatians 4 and the allegory of Isaac and Ishmael. Paul said that the true heirs are born of Sarah, the freewoman, and not of Hagar, the bondwoman, the female slave. If you are not undergoing some chastisement from Father from time to time, I would be concerned about whether or not I am on the road to sonship. Also, in Galatians 4, we did not cover this earlier, but it is appropriate now:

Galatians 4:19 My little children [teknion], of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Remember how Paul was gently scolding them and he was discouraged because they were slipping back into old patterns and legalism? It is appropriate then that he address them as teknion, little children. That is what they were from a spiritual maturity perspective. And in Romans 8:29 Paul also incorporates the requirement for sonship as he describes Jesus again as the firstborn.

Romans 8: 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

To be conformed to the image of Christ, that is our goal.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

If our elder brother, Jesus, could only be made perfect through sufferings, then we should expect to do no less. May I suggest to you that one of the most difficult trials that any of us will face who are striving to be an overcomer, a firstborn son, is to deal with bitterness. Jesus, the prototype of the firstborn son, was born of Mary. Mary is from the Hebrew mara which means bitter. Jesus came out of the womb of bitterness and so must we.

I heard a friend say one time that when you reach forty, you either get bitter or you get better. The subject of bitterness is one on which we could spend hours, but as I conclude our studies on biblical sonship, let me just give you the bottom line. There is only one solution for bitterness of which I am aware and that is forgiveness…complete forgiveness, the kind with no strings attached, unconditional forgiveness.

It is the jubilee principle. Overcomers are forgivers. And how can you overcome bitterness if no one has hurt you. Enemies can hurt us very badly, and it is difficult to forgive enemies, but we are capable. Oftentimes, however, I believe that the wounds inflicted by those close to us hurt much worse and are sometimes even more difficult to forgive.

But these are the tests that our Father has prepared for us from the foundation of the world. These are the crosses which Jesus said we are to bear. And just as His cross was prepared from the foundation of the world, so were ours. But there is a good end and a glorious result from all the fires of testing. We know about the trials of Job. Listen to what he said in…

Job 23:2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. …

10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

We remember from our Tabernacle in the Wilderness studies (see information below) that gold represents the divine nature. When we have finished the fiery furnace experience of this life and we have been faithful and forgivers, then we too shall come forth with the same divine nature as our elder brother, Jesus.

I am not saying we will be God. Jesus Christ will always have the preeminence, but we will be like Him in almost every other sense. That is what His word teaches. And for that reason the apostle James encourages believers to count it all joy when we suffer various trials. And Paul says:

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Which is Christ in you. Amen!


The Tabernacle in the Wilderness Series
(abbreviated: TiW)

(This is a progressive study; we recommend hearing them in order, lowest numbered album first. Each album includes charts and illustrations to assist in the understanding.)

A-105 Introduction, The Court, The Brazen Altar 6-CD set, includes charts. $24 The 6 lectures on CD are:

300 TiW, Lecture 1: Introduction;

301 TiW, Lecture 2: Survey of the Tabernacle (using overhead transparencies). The four album package contains both the audio CD, and D-101 Tabernacle Studies, Lecture 2 – A visual introduction of all the furniture in the Tabernacle by Dr. James Bruggeman. Approx 56 minutes, $10. This DVD is included in the 4-album package.

329, 330 TiW, Lectures 3 & 4: The Court of the Tabernacle

331, 332 TiW, Lectures 5 & 6: Altar of Burnt Offering

A-106 The Laver: Baptism and Circumcision 10 CD set, charts. $40 The 10 lectures on CD are:

333, 334 TiW, Lectures 7 & 8 The Laver: Washings, Cleansings and Baptisms

335, 336 TiW, Lectures 9 & 10 The Laver: Washings, Cleansings and Baptisms

337, 338 TiW, Lectures 11 & 12 Baptism and Circumcision, Parts 1 & 2.

339, 340 TiW, Lectures 13 & 14: Baptism and Circumcision, Parts 3 & 4:

341, 342 TiW, Lectures 15 & 16: The Bridegroom of Blood

A-107 The Holy Place 8 CD set, charts. $24 The 8 lectures on CD are:

343, 344 TiW, Lectures 17 & 18: “It Shall Be One Tabernacle:” The Holy Place

345, 346 TiW, Lectures 19 & 20: Bread of Life: The Table of Showbread

347, 348 TiW, Lectures 21 & 22: Light of the World: The Golden Lampstand

349, 350 TiW, Lectures 23 & 24: Sweet Incense of Prayer: The Golden Altar

A-108 The Holy of Holies 6 CD set, charts. $24 The 6 lectures on CD are:

351, 352 TiW, Lectures 25 & 26: Prelude to the Holy of Holies: The Process of Salvation

353, 354 TiW, Lectures 27 & 28: Climax and Jubilee in the Holy of Holies

355, 356 TiW, Lectures 29 & 30: Beyond Sex in the Holy of Holies Conclusion of series.

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