“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John” (Jn. 1:6).
Like an ambassador representing the heavenly government and the order of the kingdom, John the Baptist was a man sent by God. No man withstood him for when he stood to preach in the wilderness he had a letter of authorization to be there. The letter represented authorization from the Lord. No man could challenge his right to be there in that nation at that set time. This is so with every man’s commission.
“Separate unto Me Saul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2).
“So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 13:4)
Saul and Barnabas were separated for a specific work and sent out by the Holy Spirit. A true separation does not bring division. A separation done under the direction and authority of the Lord brings multiplied blessing to the kingdom – not harm, strife, or division except to those who oppose it. When a separation is done right it results in people stepping into a higher place of what the Lord has called them to. Even when political men bound to a system of religious beliefs oppose you, the Lord will always send a voice to confirm His leading to you.
By the leading of the Lord my wife and I have had to leave places of ministry assignment in order to move on to others. One time we left with the pain of not having been received nor properly sent forth with blessing. When we left, however, there was an obscure woman who received a dream from God and who stood in a place where the misguided elders should have been and released us in the Spirit to our next place of assignment. The Lord has always done that for us when we’ve moved in Him.
It doesn’t mean that people miss God and are in rebellion when they leave a place of assignment, a ministry or a church, for in God a separation births life. For example, one brother grew out of spiritual infancy to a greater maturity in the Lord because he left a certain church. Another began walking in power and greater fruitfulness because of leaving such a place and being separated unto God.
These two individuals kept hitting a spiritual ceiling where they were. Eventually they were compelled to leave. A true separation is not a separation from the body of Christ but a separation unto God where they begin to soar like an eagle into their calling.
There must be a sensitivity in the separation time, though. It’s easy to become critical when you are under a ceiling and criticize the place, the people, and the leaders there. The wisdom of God is to look for the door where the Holy Spirit is leading you. Love and honor are vital elements in the separation. Keeping your heart right is of paramount importance. Otherwise, fruit will be stunted and you will be hindered.
Let the Lord show you the door and the timing. Leaving with a wrong heart, with pride and haughtiness, leads to isolation and elitism, which the Lord hates. When you leave in such a way it is like saying you don’t need the body. Never despise your teachers and places you came from that laid foundations in you. Honor them.
Once again, let me say this clear and plain. For those under ceilings you must look, wait, and pray. Don’t leave with an attitude, angry and offended.
Nevertheless, people must receive you. Voices must confirm your leading. When commissioned to a calling with a God given purpose, others must bear witness with your calling and mandate. Peter had to accept Paul’s calling, for Peter represented the Church at that time. It did not matter what principalities and powers opposed Paul for he already had the backing of heaven. Still someone in authority had to help him and receive what he was carrying.
Barnabas believed in what Paul received, and he was the first to encourage him, for he recognized that Paul had yet to grow and mature. Our callings are all in the timing and purpose of God, and according to our maturity. Due to excessive zeal, there are some who leave prematurely. God will put people in our lives that will help to curb such misguided zeal.
Although you cannot bypass the places of man’s authority, if you possess heaven’s letter of authorization no man can control you. You belong to God and not man, and He’s called you to operate in the Spirit and follow His direction. There was great controversy in Jesus’ day concerning His own calling and ministry. No man could contain Him and keep Him in a box, but He still submitted Himself to John for He recognized John as one sent from God also. And therein lay the key to working in kingdom harmony. We are called to be equally yoked with others who walk in the same freedom and understanding we walk in.
Be not unequally yoked with men who do not think according to this higher way.
The kingdom of God advances through men of like precious faith who have agreement in the Spirit. Do you realize when Jesus came on the scene that John the Baptist was the only one initially who understood the plan? Jesus was not equally yoked with anyone outside of John. Although the common people heard Him gladly, the religious system of Israel did not receive Him. Jesus had to work outside that system in an underground sort of way. Due to the restrictions and limitations of man God often calls us to work this way. Wise men work underground for they understand that as soon as the system touches that pure way, it will pollute it and eventually kill it.
The nature of man’s carnal soul is to control or put asunder that which he does not accept or understand, or does not align itself with the system he belongs to. Truth unites but also divides. Often there comes a time when God separates a man from the restrictions of a system burdened by man’s policies. We are not advocating lone rangers birthed by rebellion or misguided zeal, but equally yoked hearts working with a letter of authorization in kingdom harmony.
No man can close the doors God has opened. Paul had a letter of authorization to go to Macedonia (Acts 16). He knew no one there. Where did Paul start? He started in Lydia’s home and went out from there. He didn’t have a big church asking him to come. This is where we miss it. We’re looking for crowds. Paul looked for the leading of the Lord. He saw it in some women who met by the river to pray.
Devils were cast out and there were riots in the streets of that city, all from one house of a believing woman. Paul received a letter of authorization and obeyed the Lord to go to that place God had opened. There’s a humble place waiting for all of us if we will discern it.
If you remain humble there will come a time when a meeting is called and a door of enlargement and greater capacity will open for you and your letter of authorization will get you in. Attached to any letter of authorization is a vision for souls saved and disciples made. All of God’s purposes are connected to people.
Religious systems oppose the purity of such heavenly purposes.
Equal yokes are so important to working the works of God and fulfilling His purposes. John the Baptist and Jesus were equally yoked. John stood as a friend to the Bridegroom. True friends of the Bridegroom stand with Him in preparation for the wedding and the receiving of the Bride. These are the equal yokes. Religious systems of men kill such purposes. They keep the Bridegroom from ever kissing the Bride. Their policies kill intimacy and the true equipping necessary for maturity.
Sometimes there is a plan in place, but the people don’t recognize it or discern the plan, or the man sent to them. They miss the time of their visitation because what God does usually overrides the established systems which they are familiar with (Mt. 23). Familiarity is another killer.
It is the underground working of God we must become familiar with. There is an underground body – an organic body not confined to the organization of man. Within this organic body there is provision of the Spirit and the Word that will truly meet the needs of people. Lydia belonged to that body. She received the one who carried a letter of authorization, the one commissioned and sent by God. The things Paul spoke were all new to her, but the Lord opened her heart to receive it.
Let us pray for those men who started in the Spirit but who have since moved away, bewitched and bound by systems and the restrictions of man.