An essay donated by Walter Kirchbauer
Twelve criteria to measure
one's perfect submission:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, at the begin of the last century Brother Christian Roeckle (Germany, Leonberg) received the vision of the 12 marks of perfect submission to the Lord. In the beginning he had doubts whether it was from the Lord or not and it was just 40 years later when the Holy Spirit urged him to write down and publish these revealed truths. He experienced much opposition and contradiction from evangelical circles, because the teaching that there are two kind of born-again believers caused much offence. This truth is mainly based on Revelation three, where two end-time churches are described: Philadelphia and Laodicea. According to this teaching, the church of Philadelphia – also considered the five wise virgins from Matthew 25 – has the full approval of the Lord and is the small flock that will escape the great tribulation by rapture as a bride for the bridegroom, without wrinkle, spot or blame. In Revelation 12 these overcomers are pictured as the man-child, born out of the woman (the church in general) and caught up to God and His throne. In Revelation 14 this small flock is seen as 144000 who are firstfruits and follow the Lamb wherever He goes and they are blameless. They are called to sit with Jesus on His throne. On the other hand, there is the church of Laodicea who although once born-again, rest on this experience or any other spiritual experience and neglect to follow the gentle urging of the Holy Spirit, who wants to complete their sanctification and make them ready for the coming of the bridegroom. Therefore this devastating verdict: I am about to spit you out of my mouth, because of your lukewarmness. wretchedness and blindness and poverty. These believers are not necessarily lost for eternity but will have to go through the antichristian tribulation to become able to stand before God’s throne, as described in Revelation seven. The 12 marks of perfect submission are clear guideline – constituting the essence of the biblical gospel – and a mirror for us to find out if we are belong to Philadelphia or Laodicea. I must stress that we don’t push these truths and revelations on no-one, because God does not force anyone to accept His perfection, but just offer them to anyone who has an ear to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Here are the 12 points for your assessment:
Whether or not a perfect submission has been achieved is shown in particular on these 12 marks:
- According to Revelation 3.12 Philadelphia-Christians are overcomers and therefore have victory over sin, especially over the sin of pride or arrogance, stiff-necked obstinacy and the lust of the flesh, which doesn't mean absolute sinlessness. But it is quite a difference whether one is a slave of sin or has victory over sin.
- The perfect submission includes therefore a breach with every known sin, especially lying. A believer can't live in any sin for which His Lord and Saviour had to die on the cross.
- Furthermore, perfect submission includes restitution of stolen or misappropriated goods. In this regard there are 2 kind of Christians, namely those who sort their past lives out because the Holy Spirit urges them to do so, and those who don't think it necessary, because as foolish virgins they are not under the discipline of the Holy Spirit.
- To the total break with sin belongs also a break with disobedience of the commandments of the Lord. To those commandments belong among others Matthew 5.23,24 and Matthew 18.15-17. Luther comments: It is a commandment that is the least paid attention to. As I judge my own sin in me for sanctification before God, so will I judge somebody else's, in order that their guilt does not become my own through the neglect of this service of love.
- The perfect submission also includes the surrender of one's earthly occupation and time. Christianity and business can't be separated. If Christ rules our business, the service to our neighbour is foremost, if Satan has control, our profit comes first.
- To the perfect submission also belongs the surrender of our earthly possession to God, the rightful owner. We should consider ourselves only as stewards. I certain gauge that does not always apply is the tithe. The Lord even demanded everything from the young, rich ruler, so it is in His right to demand everything from us as well. The least He requires is a tenth. To return to the first love of the Church we must be delivered from our transgressions with money, like extravagance and greed; for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
- When the perfect submission has been carried out on this last point, then will appear as a further mark the unity in the Spirit. How torn asunder is the Church today! Although some efforts have been made to reconcile some differences and initiate more understanding, the fragmentation has been growing even more over the last decades. A rather large Alliance of churches was splitting, partly just because of the Mammon. Some believers have come to terms with the division of the Church and think, it has to be this way until the end. I was of the same opinion until the before mentioned vision taught me otherwise. But how should this be brought about? The divine answer is: Not by human effort or organisation, but only by the Holy Spirit! But the Spirit must be given room, otherwise he can't create unity; for the Holy Spirit doesn't force anybody and doesn't use means of coercion, but working quietly, He is waiting for us to make room for Him. However, because only the Philadelphia-Christians, as wise virgins, make room for him, He can only accomplish unity among them. The Laodiceans, as foolish virgins, He must leave to their fate; for there will be foolish virgins until the end; and these will only be brought together through the persecution by the Antichrist. However, the unity the Antichrist accomplishes is not authentic or created by the Spirit, but only superficial. To be content to wait for such unity is as foolish as fighting children would be, who are content to go on fighting until the father with a cane comes home in the evening to sort them out. These are foolish Laodicean-Christians. The Philadelphia-Christians, however, let themselves set apart from every known sin by the gentle drawing of the Spirit - especially from pride, all pharisaic self-righteousness and stubbornness, which they know to be the biggest impediments to unity - so that they can become not only stuck together but welded together as a union in Spirit, that is unbreakable. The Holy Spirit can this accomplish only with those who under His guidance make themselves ready by a total surrender to their Lord and Saviour. But who are these Philadelphia-Christians and how do they join together? The divine answer is: The Philadelphia-Christians are in all Churches and Fellowships. There is therefore no need to found a new Church or Fellowship; but they stay where they are and serve as salt and light in their surroundings; for the Philadephia-Church is not a human organisation, but an organism, built by the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit doesn't only work directly, however, but through human instruments, they join together inside their circles for mutual prayer and service for inner support and encouragement and don't shy away from pointing out their mutual sins and shortcomings, as the Spirit reveals them. The authenticity of the wise virgins will then become apparent by their willingness to submit to the discipline of the Spirit, correcting us and showing us our failings.
- Because the Church of God cannot made perfect, however, without the Holy Spirit, she prays for the promised "Late Rain" or spring rain.(Joel 2.23; Zech. 10.1; James 5.7) And because she accepts the whole Bible as guide line, she can't pass on verses like Ephesians 5.18, 1Cor. 14.1,39, but must strive for the gifts of the Holy Spirit according to the injunction of the Apostel Paul; only it must happen in a sober and biblical way. The older ones of my readers will know what devastation the Pentecostal Movement had caused in this area. The same must not happen again. This fanatic and demonic spirit, that at that time asserted itself, must not only be shown the door, but must be deprived of any target; and this happens when one recognises - based on the Word of God - the reasons why these demonic spirits could gain entry in such a terrible and alarming measure into the our fellowships. I can see two reasons in particular, worth our consideration:
a) In many cases the Holy Spirit was sought in an unbiblical way. The Holy Scripture teaches with unequivocal clarity that the Holy Spirit can only be received through penitent faith in Christ our Lord and Saviour. (Acts 2.38,39) The receiving of the Holy Spirit is therefore dependant on a certain condition, which is not met, however, by most Christians and therefore and therefore the spiritual poverty. Should therefore the legitimate longing for more equipping with the Spirit be fulfilled, the mentioned condition must, first of all, thoroughly met; a comprehensive repentance and total surrender is a fundamental requirement for the fullness of the Spirit. We need, therefore, not keep waiting for a new Pentecost, but the Spirit of Pentecost that is already present in the Church is waiting for us, to finally give ourselves over to Him completely, so that He can gain total control over us and use us how He wants and pleases Him. How did it happen in the so called Pentecostal Movement? There was the opinion that one had to wait for a new Pentecost and the Holy Spirit were long in coming and had to be dragged here by force with ardent prayer, and that, not to build up the Church, but to be able to boast about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This prideful desire to drag forcibly to oneself the gifts of the Spirit inevitable opens the door for demonic spirits; for the Holy Spirit doesn't allow Himself to be forced.
b) Added to that, about this gift, the speaking of tongues, Paul considered one of the lesser ones in church, they were most concerned , maybe because it was the most conspicuous one and they believed it brought them admiration. God allowed to enter the demonic spirit, however, to teach the believers a lesson, namely that God's gifts cannot dragged forcibly to oneself with an unholy and prideful heart. Instead of making a deeper surrender to the Lord, they believed, on the one hand, that they could be content with a superficial knowledge of sin, and on the other hand, they became fearful of even authentic gifts and fell back into lukewarm Christianity: I am rich and have acquired wealth and don't need a thing.(Rev.3.17) They pretended that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were not necessary anymore for the equipping of the Church and that their natural gift of teaching could do better than the Spirit of prophecy. And so the striving for the gifts and fullness of the Spirit receded completely into the background. They were almost afraid to talk about it, fearing they could be tainted as hidden Pentecostals. Only isolated voices were heard, continually calling for efforts to obtain more gifts and the fullness of the Spirit. But those voices were unheeded for fear of the Pentecostal Movement. And so most sank into a lukewarm state and believed not to need the gifts of the Spirit. The Philadelphia-Christians know, however, that the gifts of the Spirit are still present, just waiting to break through stronger, to help with the divine perfection of the Church. They ask, therefore, for more equipping with the gifts of the Spirit, not for them personally to shine, but for the Church of God, and they rejoice wherever the gifts appear, even if they themselves are left out. And even the gift of tongues they don't despise, if it should please God to give it again; for even if it is of small significance for the Church, it is still a gift from God, Paul is thankful for, because it edifies man.(1.Cor.14.4) And who is so holy to be in no need of edification? And who could despise a gift for which Paul gave thanks? Are we better than Paul? Does not particularly here, with the contempt for some gifts of the Spirit, appear the boundless arrogance of man who thinks he can do better without God and His gifts? Should we not rather be ashamed of ourselves for the lack of the Holy Spirit and ask God for salve for the eyes, so that we may at least recognise our poverty? As long as we don't even see our shortcomings, we won't have the desire for the gifts of the Spirit; and if there is no desire we won't receive anything, because God doesn't push His gifts on us. The desire, however, must be pure! We should not just want them in order to be able to stand in the spotlight, but simply, because God demands it and we must be obedient to God; for He expects us to bear fruit. And we can only bear fruit, if we are led by the Spirit; for: "Apart from me you can do nothing".(John 15.5) The Church of God can only be made perfect if she gives room in heart and life to all the promised gifts of the Spirit; for through the gifts are uncovered hidden sins. (1Cor. 14.24,25) And this "uncovering" is in turn a prerequisite of the fullness of the Spirit, which is another prerequisite of the transformation into the image of Jesus and finally of the rapture; for as Revelation 19.7 testifies: "His bride made herself ready". We always need to be reminded that just as in nature, the Kingdom of God works according to laws, like the Lord shows us through His parables.
Just as the perfect submission is not a finished proposition, so also is being filled with the Holy Spirit and the attainment of gifts of the Spirit a finished experience, but must be renewed and reinforced by daily obedience and discipline of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit searches all things, not just the depths of the Godhead, but all the more the depths of the human heart in its depravity. Therefore, the more we are being filled with the Holy Spirit, the more the Lord will be glorified in us and our trust in Him increased. On the other hand, however, we get more and more a look into the secret wickedness and hidden sins of our hearts. Things that were for a long time not recognised as sin, suddenly become sin. In such a case the Holy Spirit wants us to advance a step in our sanctification; for His goal is to sanctify us through and through in order that our spirit, soul and body may be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He demands here not too much at once, but lays the finger mostly only on one single point. And it is here of decisive significance, that we especially on this point, shown to us, give way and obey. If we are obedient, the Spirit gains more room in us; if we are disobedient, however, He is grieved and withdraws. Therefore the Apostel admonishes: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."(Eph. 5.30) In many cases, for example, a certain sin of the past is uncovered, maybe a small or larger theft, a misappropriation, a lie or some other hidden sin. The Holy Spirit also admonishes us to confess to people and make restitutions. Now the converted is at a crossroads. The path of obedience leads to Philadelphia, while the path of disobedience leads to Laodicea, where one becomes a foolish virgin. One gets stuck halfway through sanctification and does not progress. There are in this regard, therefore, also two kind of Christians: Those who already got stuck in their conversion or their sanctification, because they refused to obey the Spirit at some point in their life and then did not progress, and those who under the discipline of the Spirit stayed on the path of obedience and advanced from strength to strength and from clarity to clarity. But not only with disobedience in regard to past and present sins, but also with disobedience concerning the once recognised will of God, begins the derailment; like the case with the girl who received the conviction that she should enter a house for deaconesses, but just before entering got a marriage proposal from an unbeliever and she accepted, instead of staying faithful to the Lord. No wonder, she fell into depression, lasting for years. Therefore, the perfect submission means following the Lord in regard to our field of work and profession, wherever He wants us to be. Not we decide our profession or field of work but the Lord who saved us and redeemed us with His blood.
"He alone determines now our thinking, speaking, doing
so that no area of our life is beyond His control." (Hymn)
This is the motto of the Philadelphia-Christian.
- Perfect submission also means a fundamental willingness to martyrdom; for according to Revelation 14.4 the firstlings follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Therefore, they are ready even to lay down their life for the Lord, if it should be His will. They don't go looking for it, but don't avoid it either, if it is in God's plan. The Lord looks at our willingness to martyrdom as if it was actually carried out, like He considered the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as a done deed. So we can understand that the mentioned martyrs in Revelation will rule with Christ in the millennium.
- Furthermore, perfect submission includes that we "do business" with our entrusted talents until the Lord comes. That means to give witness to whoever the Lord shows us; for His command is: "Do business until I come back". (Luke 19.13) And "what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs." (Matthew 10.27) In this respect, there are two kind of Christians as well. The Laodicean Christian don't takes any responsibility for anybody. They are content with being saved and being the only ones to get into heaven, while calmly allowing the masses to walk the broad road that leads to destruction. They bury their entrusted talent and console themselves, that nothing depends on their insignificant gift and that they don't hurt anybody, anyway. They don't want to squander their talent, the knowledge of salvation, but want faithfully keep it for themselves in order to be able to hand over it to the Lord, when He comes. The Laodicean Christians have no understanding for sins of omission. They don't allow those to be uncovered, but are of the opinion, that despite the divine command, it is not their task to do something for the Lord and spread the entrusted knowledge of salvation. We might be astonished to hear the word out of the Lord's mouth some day: "Throw the good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25.30) The Philadelphia Christians are different. They may be have only little strength and be insignificant people and don't possess big, brilliant gifts, but they act according to the hymn verse (freely translated):
Even if you can't speak like angels or preach like Paul there,
you can give witness to Jesus, how He is the sinners refuge.
Even if you can't win the strong, and old ones stay away,
Oh so lead little children into the arms of the Lord.
And even if that is not possible, they share their knowledge of salvation by means of printing material or make it possible, by their donations, for others to do so. And despite their little strength, because they are faithful to the Lord and His Word , they are promised an open door that no one can shut.
- The perfect submission results, furthermore, in the deliverance of bondage in regard to the life of the body., especially EATING and DRINKING. This should not promote, however, a self-made asceticism, but the Lord says in Luke 21.34-36: Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be worthy to stand before the Son of Man."
Originally posted: 2014-MAR-09
Latest update: 2014-MAR-19
Author: Walter Kirchbauer