Acts chapter one reveals that Jesus spent time with His kingdom leaders before ascending to heaven in order to give them fresh orders (verse 2) and explain the kingdom of God to these emerging leaders.
On the heels of His ascension, Peter stood up to discuss the empty place left by Judas’ betrayal. He explained that the Judas scenario fulfilled Scripture: it was expected; it happened; it is over! And now they needed to fill the empty place.
Now, people who have a strong desire to make Paul the twelfth apostle because they think there are only twelve, for some aBiblical reason, attempt to make this whole process a misguided attempt on Peter’s part. Not so.
Peter’s point here is that Judas had a part, a place, a share, by assignment and calling. His actions disqualified him. His “place is empty” and his share needs to be assigned to someone else so that it can be fulfilled.
God called Judas because His strategy included the “part” or “share” that Judas should have fulfilled. The strategy remains even when the participant fails.
Sifting and Restoration
Remember the words of Jesus to Peter: “satan has asked permission to sift you [plural to mean all the disciples] but I have prayed for you [singular to mean Peter] that you would restore after the sifting.” Peter is working that assignment.
Sifting is necessary periodically. “Judgment begins at God’s house.” [1Peter 4:17] The sifting discloses weed-seeds among the harvest, and God separates these weed-seeds so the next planting will be purely wheat without tares. Without this sifting, the next generation wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between wheat and weeds, would lose their understanding between the holy and the profane.
When sifting is over, the empty places must be filled. When the Judas spirit is revealed and removed, the empty place must be filled. When the sifting clarifies the weed-seeds from the wheat, it is time to plant again!
Restoring the disciples means returning them to the original strategy, keeping the foundations intact, and filling the places left empty. Not everyone will make it, but human failure doesn’t destroy God’s purpose or strategy. God has a strategy to restore, reset, and keep on going!
Of course, the sifting and restoration makes the whole more pure, more powerful, and more successful! That is why we rejoice at the fiery test, the test of fire, that reveals our previous construction flaws, inspects the integrity of our foundational layers for expansion.
Manifold Grace and Wisdom
“Each has received a gift. Use it to serve. Reveal God’s manifold grace of which you are stewards.” [1 Peter 4:10] “Through the ecclesia God reveals His manifold wisdom to the heavenly rulers.” [Ephesians 3:10]
There are nearly infinite facets to God’s wisdom or strategy and His grace or empowering and enabling capacities to accomplish His strategy. The called together assemblies of the kingdom bring together the gifts needed to accomplish the unique assignments of God’s strategy that each assembly. Jesus calls together who He needs, gifts them for their assignments, and provides leaders who can equip and position them to function in fulfilling each person’s part or share of the strategy of the kingdom.
Although God’s strategy and enabling is nearly infinitely faceted, each person has a part of the strategy that is vital to its full success, and God likes fullness and fulfillment! He likes what He wants to happen, to happen! “Will of God, happen, on earth as it is in heaven,” Jesus charged us to pray. The kingdom exists to get the King what He wants.
Of course, no man could ever coordinate this nearly infinitely faceted wisdom and grace. Holy Spirit in each person and in the ecclesia efficiently and effectively leads the ministries, gifting, and operations of the kingdom. [1 Corinthians 14] He recognized empty places and provides revelation of who and when to fill them.
The Revelation of Your Part
Strategy is “how to” and “when to” wrapped up with “who to” in a way that progressively produces the desired each result, the reality of the blueprinted purpose. Most people do not see the blueprints. No one sees the whole of the manifold wisdom of God but God. But there are master builders.
Paul says that “His holy apostles and prophets” revealed the hidden, unknown mystery of God’s strategic wisdom to men so that from men Jesus could call together His assemblies to reveal that strategy to the heavenlies. [Ephesians 3:5] So that all men might see the fellowship of this mystery: “fellowship” meaning “shared parts,” not getting together for pizza after Sunday service. Recall the response of the early ecclesia: “they gave themselves to the apostles’ didache and fellowship.” They committed themselves to the strategy of master builders instructed by Jesus in how to build kingdom.
In any case, none of us can know our part of the plan of God by research, reason, or ”’rithmatic.” We can only know our part by revelation. We cannot choose the “part” we like, the one our momma’s says fits us best, the right or left of the Throne, or the last trendy fad we saw at the last conferences we attended: “last week I saw one at a conference, now I are one.”
God is never random. This world order is random, depends upon the fallacy of randomness to sell its falsehoods, but the kingdom is always strategic and the strategy is always revealed strategically. It is powerful to have the revelation of your part!
Because we live in a strategic kingdom, we must live a strategic lifestyle. Since God is never random, we must purge ourselves of random behavior. The basic tenet of randomness is wastefulness. In a vast universe of unfathomed size, one tiny planet randomly produced an atmospheric conditions in which randomly combined slimy stuff produce randomly surviving species through which man randomly discovered how to use tools, light fires, and randomly combine random genes to get the species into modern civilizations. The rest of the universe, history, life, and stuff were wasted!
God is a God of order. That is cause for rejoicing! This does not translate into restriction and control. This means God has a strategy that produces the highest and best with what He has created.
So, we can know our part and live a lifestyle consistent with our part. Ephesians5:15-17 tells us to live “wisely” or strategically. Not as fools with haphazard randomness, the flighty flim-flam of hormonal impulses and whatever feels good or right in the context of my demanding desires of flesh.
Paul says to live a circumspect lifestyle that redeems the time in evil days. Strategic lifestyles eliminate destructive waste and God’s order restores things to their created purposes. In other words, the saints redeem time and space with strategic lifestyles consistent with their revelation “parts” or shares in the strategies of God! This is kingdom come!
Let me speak to kingdom leaders in this context.
Imparting or Instructing?
The spirit and power of Elijah joins generations by “turning the hearts.” Not the minds. If all you are doing as a leader is instructing, you are failing. Turning the minds will not join the generations. Turning the hearts releases spiritual inheritance.
Convincing or Considering?
Much of our approach to God’s mandates has a sense of us considering God’s ideas more than us being so convinced of His strategies that we are bold to take action even at the threat of losing everything. The work of Holy Spirit is to convince: “when He arrives, He will convince…” The work of Kingdom Gospel preaching is to convince through demonstrations of power. Much of what the modern American church does has a “let consider this together” element that is foreign to God being God, God being Boss, God being perfect, holy, and just.
Establishing or Edifying?
Let me say first that edifying is a good thing! Edifying is a function of every gift of the Spirit and ministry of the Body. Yet, edifying absent establishing is a malfunction. Of course, everyone will build, but building materials must be consistent with the foundation and the architecture is set by the Chief Cornerstone and foundations. You cannot reset the walls as you build to any other plumb line than that which is already laid, Jesus Christ, and you cannot build out, across, and up without building to the strategy of apostolic and prophetic foundations. Then, the materials with which you build must be the same as the Chief Cornerstone and the foundations. Just building bigger and stronger without the establishing of this work upon the foundations will result in destruction when the work is tested by fire.