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Lowell Brueckner

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Seeking the Spirit of the Kingdom... Introduction



“Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit”
Zechariah 4:6



You are reading the introduction to
this book, "Seeking the Spirit of the
Mathematical answers are the results of rigid and precise deductions. Working with this subject, we soon discover that one can arrive at countless answers to any problem, but only one is correct. This science is intolerant and requires exact solutions. It does not respect personal opinion or many points of view. Its laws and rules cannot be altered in the least, so the best way to work with it is by learning and applying the correct formulas. If we do not, all efforts will result in failure and, in some cases, disaster.

NASA understands the exactitude that this science demands. Every time that a shuttle returns from space it must make contact with earth’s atmosphere at an exact geometrical angle. If the angle is less than required, the apparatus cannot enter and will simply bounce back into space. If an attempt is made at a more direct angle, the craft will enter all right, but it will be the end of it and its cargo, whether that cargo is people or material. The intense heat caused by friction will incinerate and annihilate it. You see, the laws that rule Mathematics cannot be ignored, because they allow no place for carelessness.

These demanding laws that regulate the universe were established by the Creator of heaven and earth and we must respect them. We must live in agreement with them, because they are unchangeable. The same is true concerning the spiritual world that He has created. In the same way, the laws that govern it are so strict and unbending that, if we do not want to fail spiritually, we must learn, respect and apply them appropriately. God expresses one of the basic spiritual principles, quoted by Zechariah in our biblical text: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zech. 4:6). It was an answer that God gave to a question posed by Zechariah, concerning a vision that he had seen, in which a lamp stand with seven lamps received oil for burning directly from two olive trees. (Zechariah was like the disciples, as we learned in the second volume, with a yearning to understand the significance of the parabolic figures that were shown to him. In the first six chapters, I count ten questions that he asked.)

The vision carried an encouraging message to Zerubbabel. His name is found in the royal line of David and in the genealogy of Matthew, chapter one, as an ancestor of the Son of Man. He was a king without a throne or an army, captive to a nation much stronger than his own. God gave a ministry for both Zerubbabel and the high priest, Joshua, to carry out, so that their people, Israel, could once again shine as the lamp stand for His glory. They were to reconstruct the temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed 70 years earlier. The task would serve as a testimony to the nations of God’s faithfulness, to show that He never abandons His eternal plan nor the people involved in that plan. However, the great question was, how could it become a reality?

The olive oil, used as fuel for the lamps, is a symbol of the Holy Spirit and it flowed continually and directly from the two olive trees to a receptacle for the lamp stand. There was no process of picking the olives, crushing them to extract the oil, or any kind of refining for fuel. The message guaranteed that Zerrubbabel would place the foundational stone of the house and the work would follow through until he would also lay the final stone. God would look with favor upon this work and provide everything necessary to complete it. Therefore we have the words, “Grace, grace to it!” (verse 7). “The eyes of the Lord which range to and fro throughout the earth” were upon this project and an ancient prophet of Judah, by the name of Hanani, gave the meaning to this term. It demonstrated the willingness of God to “strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chr. 16:9). The Lord even anointed and moved the hearts of two powerful kings of Persia, Cyrus and Darius, to back the construction of the temple. A great mountain of opposition, raised against it, would not be able to stop the building (verse 7).

In our text, we first see the Lord negating two possible answers that man could consider valid. He declared that it would not be “by might nor by power.” God says that the way to bring success to heavenly, eternal purposes is neither by means of military might nor my human strength. No national leader can move any spiritual element with the force of an army, regardless of how great and powerful it may be, nor can it be done by physical or mental capabilities that man possesses, individually or corporately. It will not be carried out by human initiative or invention.

Zerubbabel had no army or political force available to him. To consider these means as an alternative, in order to produce something for the Kingdom of God, is a wrong conclusion and, in practice, can never provide the least spiritual benefit. To express it in more detail, to confide in things, such as various ideologies, human talent, or technology, will only lead to failure. We must completely eliminate all other options apart from the Holy Spirit. The immutable law is the following: The only One, who can put into action eternal powers by His omnipotence, develop infinite plans by His omniscience and work out divine purposes to completion with an unbreakable will, is uniquely the Holy Spirit of God. He is the right answer to all the questions regarding how to further the Kingdom of God and how to function in it.

The work of the Holy Spirit is directly related to a spiritual element called faith. The Spirit and faith are so essential in spiritual realms that we ought to see them in every promise, commandment and instruction given in the Bible. We should have them so in mind, when we study the Scriptures, so that as we read about some duty that we need to perform in serving the Lord, automatically we remember that it must be done by faith and by means of the Spirit of God. We immediately understand that its execution has nothing to do with any natural work, human effort, or physical or mental capability.

The Holy Spirit and faith are so closely united that we could say that they are spiritual synonyms. What someone does in the Spirit, he does by faith, and what he does by faith, he must do in the Spirit. Therefore, since we spoke in previous books of seeking the King of the Kingdom, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever, and of seeking the truth of the Kingdom, which comes through the revelation of mysteries given in Scripture, now we will seek the way of service in the Kingdom through the Holy Spirit. This study has to do with walking in the Spirit by faith.

Jesus said, “When they bring you before the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say” (Lk.12:11-12). Only as the Spirit works in us are we able to fulfill the eternal will of the Father and live to the glory of God without self-serving motivation. We also must recognize that the Spirit of God can only have liberty to function through someone, who has been to the cross and died to his own will and abilities. Consider and meditate on the following paragraphs, taken from a message by Paris Reidhead, called “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”:

Why should a person come to the cross? Why should a person embrace death with Christ? Why should a person be willing to go, in identification, down to the cross and into the tomb and up again? I’ll tell you why – because it’s the only way that God can get glory out of a human being! If you say it’s because he’ll get joy or peace or blessing or success or fame then it’s nothing but a Levite serving for ten shekels and a shirt (note: To understand this statement and to have an idea as to what Reidhead is referring, you might want to read Judges 17 and 18.) There is only one reason for you to go to the Cross, dear young person – and that’s because until you come to the place of union with Christ in death, you are defrauding the Son of God of the glory that He could get out of your life. For no flesh shall glory in His sight. And until you’ve understood the sanctifying work of God by the Holy Ghost taking you into union with Christ in death and burial and resurrection, you have to serve in what you have and all you have is under the sentence of death: human personality, and human nature, and human strength, and human energy. And God will get no glory out of that! So the reason for you to go to the cross isn’t that you’re going to get victory – you will get victory. It isn’t that you’re going to have joy – you will have joy. But the reason for you to embrace the cross and press through until you know that you can testify with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ...” (Galatians 2:20 ) - It isn’t what you’re going to get out of it, but what He’ll get out of it, for the glory of God. By the same token, why do you press through to know the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Why are you to press through to know the fullness of Christ? I’ll tell you why – Because the only possible way that Jesus Christ will get glory out of a life that He’s redeemed with His precious blood is when He can fill that life with His presence and live through it his own life.

The genius of our faith wasn’t that we were going to go through the motions like a Levite that was hired to serve God. No, No! The genius of our faith was that we’d come to a place where we knew we could do nothing, and all we could do would be to present the vessel and say, “Lord Jesus, you’ll have to fill it. And everything that’s done will have to be done by You and for You.” But oh, I know so many people that are trying to know the fullness of God, so that they can use God.

A young preacher came to me down in Huntington, West Virginia. He said, “Brother Reidhead, I’ve got a great church. I’ve got a wonderful Sunday School program, got a radio ministry – growing. But I feel a personal need and a personal lack, I need to be baptized with the Holy Ghost, I need to be filled with the Spirit. And someone told me God had done something for you and I wonder if you could help me.” I looked at the fellow, and you know what he looked like? ME. Just looked like me. I just saw in him everything that was in me. You thought I was going to say “me before”. No. Listen dear heart; if you’ve ever seen yourself you’ll know you’re never going to be anything else than you were. For in me and my flesh there’s no good thing. (Romans 7:18) He looked like me.

He was like a fellow driving up in a big Cadillac, you know, to someone standing at the filling station, saying “Fill her up, bub, with the highest octane you’ve got!” Well, that’s the way it looked. He wanted power for his program. God is not going to be a means to anyone’s end. I said, “I’m awfully sorry, I don’t think that I can help you.” He said, “Why?” I said, “I don’t think you’re ready.” I said, “Well, suppose you consider yourself coming up with a Cadillac. You’ve talked about your program, you’ve talked about your radio, you’ve talked about your Sunday School and church. It’s very good. You’ve done wonderfully well without the power of the Holy Spirit.” That’s what the Chinese Christian said, you know, when he got back to China. “What impressed you most about America?” He said, “The great things Americans can accomplish without God.” And he, (the young preacher) accomplished a great deal, admittedly without God. Now he wanted something of power to accomplish his ends even further. I said, “No….no…you’re sitting behind the wheel and you’re saying to God, “Give me power so I can go.” That won’t work. You’ve got to slide over.” But I knew the rascal, because I knew me. I said, “No, it will never do. You’ve got to get in the back seat.” And I could see him leaning over and grabbing the wheel. “No,” I said, “it will never do in the back seat.” I said. “Before God will do anything for you, you know what you’ve got to do?” So he said, “What?” I said, “You’ve got to get out of the car, take the keys around, open up the trunk lid, hand the keys to the Lord Jesus, get inside the trunk, slam the lid down, whisper through the keyhole, “Lord – look. Fill her up with anything you want and you drive, it’s up to you from now on.” That’s why so many people, you know, do not enter into the fullness of Christ. Because they want to become a Levite with ten shekels and a shirt. They’ve been serving Micah, but they think if they had the power of the Holy Ghost they could serve the tribe of Dan.

It will never work. Never work. There’s only one reason for God needing you and that’s to bring you to the place where, in repentance, you’ve been pardoned for His glory. And in victory you’ve been brought to the place of death that He might reign. And in the fullness, Jesus Christ is able to live and walk in you. Your attitude is the attitude of the Lord Himself, who said, “I can do nothing of Myself” (John 8:28) I can’t speak of myself. I don’t make plans for myself. My only reason for being is for the glory of God in Jesus Christ. If I were to say to you, “Come to be saved so you can go to Heaven, come to the Cross so that you can have joy and victory, come for the fullness of the Spirit so that you can be satisfied,” I would be falling into the trap of humanism. I say to you Christian friend, you come to the cross and join Him in union, in death, and enter into all the meaning of death to self in order that He can have glory. I say to you dear Christian, if you do not know the fullness of the Holy Ghost, come and present your body a living sacrifice, and let Him fill you, so that He can have the purpose for His coming fulfilled in you and get glory through your life. It’s not what you’re going to get out of God, it’s what He is going to get out of you.

In these studies, we are going to have to face some of the disturbances that do not permit God’s Spirit to do as He would please. The first that we will consider will be the will of men, which always opposes and takes a direction 180 degrees away from the will of God. The man, who causes me the most trouble, is the one that I see, when I look in the mirror. The will of natural man is against God’s will. To illustrate what I am saying, let us look at two examples in the Bible, very much alike, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New.

God wanted Jonah to serve Him to the east, in Nineveh, but Jonah fled in a ship in the opposite direction to the west, to Tarshish, far from the presence of God. Since he was not seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, God would not take care of the other needs of his life. He had to pay his own passage. Out in the sea, the Lord sent a storm to detain him and the sailors had to toss him into the ocean, where a great fish took him in the right direction. For three days, he prayed in the belly of the fish, repentant and willing to go anywhere. According to the plan of God, he arrived in Nineveh.

Many times I ask young Christians about their lives and they tell me of many plans and preparations that they would like to do in order to serve God. They are not very different from Saul of Tarsus, who, from his youth apparently, had a great desire to serve God as a leader of his people. He wanted to be a rabbi and, to fulfill that purpose, he went to Jerusalem to study in the school of a very well-known professor of that day, named Gamaliel. However, just as Jonah, he was headed in a direction completely contrary to God’s will and God had to interfere with his plans. He did it on the road to Damascus. As Jonah was carried by a fish, Saul had to be led by others, because he became blind. Saul also prayed for three days, willing now to submit to God’s plan and leave his own behind. The new plan took him in a completely different direction from what he was thinking. He was not going to be a leader of his people, but as God told him, “I will send you far away to the Gentiles”. I ask, how many young Christians think that they are serving God, but all that they are doing is serving their own will and way? Since they have not gone to the cross (as Reidhead said), they have not died to their own ideas, nor are they able to be led by the Holy Spirit.

Nevertheless, not only can we sway ourselves away from the will of the Lord, but many other people, some of them Christians, can sway us from the will of the Lord. All my life, I have seen people persuaded and convinced by others to abandon what God has shown them to do, so I know what I’m talking about. Those strongly influential in their lives, whom they respect (and should respect), such as parents, leaders, professors, and others, have been used to take them far from the plan of God. All this has caused me great sadness always.

In these efforts to frustrate heaven’s purposes, three enemies of God and humanity join together. It is a wicked alliance, committed and determined to battle against the Lord. This evil trinity is the world, the flesh and the devil. We need to face the facts, recognize their tricks and come against their intents to detour our lives.

Because we are living in days, in which there is much abuse by those who pretend to do the work of the Spirit, as is seen on television and in other media and which penetrates into all Christian circles, I want to dedicate the first part of this book to exposing and unmasking this deceit. After that, we will continue to study that which Jesus taught in the Gospel of John, in order to recognize the work and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We will also go briefly to the book of Acts to see the examples that God has left with us, as to how the Spirit worked among the early Christians and how He related to them.

     Now, we will begin in the epistle of Paul to the Galatians, where the apostle, full of zeal, deals with the spiritual enemies that a Christian must face, which are completely opposed to the work of the Spirit.


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