The Near Extinction of Honor (by Bryan Purtle)

Filed under The Kingdom of God on March 16th, 2012 by Bryan Anthony

“‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect [fear]?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, ‘O priests who despise My name.’ But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’” -Mal. 1.6

We need to be leery of any view of the Fatherhood of God that does not lead us into a holy esteem for the Lord. In the same way that our view of His Lordship ought always to be accompanied with a sense of His kindness, lest it become stoic and lifeless, our view of His Fatherhood must necessarily be attended by the quintessential reality of His holiness, lest we find that we are engaged headlong in activities supposedly performed “in His name,” but altogether devoid of His honor.

The prophet commences with an “oracle of the word of the Lord,” declaring, “I have loved you.”

How did Israel requite the Lord for His gracious love? From the love of God the prophet now turns to the ingratitude of His people. God has treated the people of Israel as a son; have they honored Him as Father? They have retained the relationship of servant to Him as Master; have they rendered Him due reverence? The rightful respect due God has been withheld, due mainly to the ungodliness of the priests against whom the charge is directed.

(Charles Feinberg, The Minor Prophets; Moody Press, 1990 ed. pp. 251-252)

It is becoming a rarity for the “rightful respect due God” to have a place in the consideration of modern saints. With the advent of smart phones, instant internet access, and a thousand other forms of entertainment and distraction, the idea of being “still” and knowing that He is God is taking on an archaic character to most minds. The common bustling believer is being (or has already been) reduced to a brand of humanity that can only respond to and receive from that which is quick, easy, and colorful, and the priestly distinctive of waiting and honoring and revering the One on the throne has reached the status of taboo, even if we would refuse to admit it.

We have learned to live with the offering up of blind, lame, and sickly sacrifices, and the robust faith of the apostles and prophets of old is near extinction, particularly in the Western Christian experience. We need daily to be reminded that:

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. -Ps. 19.8-9

Many now have been raised with an idea of God as Father that is tragically bereft of the kind of honor that the prophets and the old Levites bore before the people. There is something tinpot and cheap about our hurried ministries and perfunctory thoughts of God. They do not ring with the life-giving note of the fear of the Lord, and unless we attain that, we can be sure that however busy we might be with work, play, or some ostensible expression of ministry, we will not bear the necessary priestly distinctive, “holiness unto to the Lord.” Our witness will be reduced to humanism and our ministry to mere religion.

Our great task is not first to perform externals, but to bear the knowledge of God as He is before the people, and that knowledge cannot be obtained by a people who are not in earnest pursuit of the One Who is worthy of the totality of our honor. If we give slipshod attention to Him, however feverishly engaged in ministry we might be, He will be as a Father without our honor, and we need to be arrested by the reality that He will have nothing to do with those kinds of garbled definitions of priestliness and sonship.

Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.” -Mal. 1.10

We need to be acutely aware of the fact that it is possible to be found functioning in a distorted kind of faith that somehow stimulates our spiritual preferences, but that is not pleasing to the Lord, and it is even possible for this infringement and offense to be committed “on My altar” or under the auspices of Christian ministry.

Leon Morris wrote that Malachi gives attention to “laxity among the priests,” and this may well be the characteristic condition of believers in modern times, whether the expression is Evangelical or Charismatic. The laxity is not in activity, but in earnestness after God, and such is the case today. The Levites had deviated from the priestly covenant, and in like manner, the Church has largely deviated from “faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

‘My covenant with him [Levi] was one of life and peace, and I gave them to him as an object of reverence; so he revered Me and stood in awe of My name. True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity. For the lips of priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.
But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,’ says the Lord of hosts. So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as your are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction. -Mal. 2.5-9

We need to peer long and hard into the Levitic call, especially at its heart, for it is not unlike the call of every saint. We have the distinct privilege and responsibility to walk with God “in peace and uprightness,” and to turn “many back from iniquity.” If we fail to grow in the knowledge of God as God, and if we fail to recognize Him as holy “before the people,” we have deviated from the essence of priesthood. Let us see to the recovery of His honor in our own hearts and in His house, that Israel and the nations might see Him in all His glory and worth.



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  1. Honor of our Father then, as implied above, is to be on His terms to be so. Initial conversion by confession has to lead us somewhere into this essential relationship. As Peter, the first recorded confessor of Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God (the Father,) claims, we must next look to a maturing model to establish the kind of awe of the offered relationship with the Father that Jesus permits (John 17). Jesus being the model and advocate for the maturing relationship of the true disciple, helps disciple our intentions from the moment of confession. 2 Peter takes on the need to feed and act upon the Word of life. Like us at given junctures of the relationship with Jesus, Peter had denied Him after the initial confession. Yet the relationship was then restored by Jesus, who instructed Peter to “feed my sheep”.

    Peter, one of the named and chosen Apostles instructed by Jesus even after the resurrection, does not focus on his failure to uphold his faith in the face of endangerment, when Jesus was arrested, held, and illegally tried. Peter moves to make his election and calling more ensured. How so? Look to the passage. 2 Peter 1:14 offers all believers a maturing model for awe of our Father, and honor of His choosing of anyone as Jesus’ disciple. As one of those sent to bring the truth and grace of relationship by adoption primarily to the Jewish people in the first Century, his particular insight and guaranteed offer of equippage to mature in the faith, for a mutual effective witness with the whole people of God is assured. He was part of the inner circle, and became one pillar of the church at Jerusalem during the testy season of its establishments.

    He knew both defeat and inward rally to venture on with Jesus after doing damage to the Call we all know. He saw the Master, He loved the Master, He denied his faith. He addressed the chosen Nation with what possibility remained after they too rejected the true Messiah (in Acts 2 and 3). Peter, likely a meek man, was suddenly equipped to take on the heart of his Nation’s need for repentance, for declaration of possibility in turning in faith to risen Jesus as Messiah, and clearly gave the promise of refreshing in so turning: as receivable when turning to the Father of the chosen Nation directly from the triune God (Acts 2:38-40). He also mentioned the reality of Jesus being held in heaven until the time of restoration of the Nation as promised by the Prophets of Old (3:21). We live in exciting New Covenant completion times, when the Prophets of Old’s words are indicated in this present season of God, in the Messiah!

    So, promises for faith, for refreshing, of an assured relationship with the Father–not on a Nationally based premise, but on a 1:1 premise which Jesus ushered in are now established (Jn 13:13-17)! This is a RADICAL DIRECT RELATIONAL LIVING OFFER! Now, what to do with it, once established by initial confession of belief in Jesus as sufficient for the establishment of this key relationship?

    A maturing process is called for, to complete the chosen responsibility to HONOR the FATHER! And what does Peter then instruct or offer, as presently extending to a disciple from the Commission he immediately responded to in an emolded way in early Acts??? His first devotion to the Father’s Awe was “I will make every effort to see that…you will always be able to remember these things” about the sent Messiah, Jesus. A Maturing model to continue in the faith toward the full stature of knowledge of God is assured by pursuit then of our acceptance in the beloved relationship with CHRIST! It starts with the sent intervention of Christ in human events in the chosen Nation, and it will end up with the sent intervention of Christ again into events in the chosen Nation! The Father of the Nation is then acutely faithful to His intentions of establishments, promises, and relationship!

    And faith in the sent One for anyone takes us to new vistas of that relationship–on to the intention of knowing, responding, and walking with His full stature. Only, in our case, it is a stature not given to individuals, but to his One New Man call for equippage (Eph 4), to become One New Man, in essential relationship to our Father: now clarified continually in relationship to HIM, the sent son of the triune God. 2 Peter then early on establishes steps to become all God wants us to be, and so in community. We cannot do this as indivduals struggling for grip on the past law, past covenant, or passing away possibility of the former commands, but on the inwardly gathering momentum of the NEW and liberating COMMAND shored up by the LIfe and acceptance of the sent ONE, Messiah! He came to His own and they received Him not, so the Word of Him came into these nations, these people, this Continent, and extended into these times!

    He wrote 2 Peter when he was about to die for his faith. His time was about up on the planet. He had fought what Paul called the good fight, and remained faithful to the original charge Jesus gave His Apostles. He did not become in himself complete, but offered such a completion through the Age of the Gentiles into this present moment of time. As a remarked ‘friend’ of Christ he then left his legacy instruction so that we too might be in awe of the Father and become alike friends of Christ. It was his best effort then to admonish us to mature in our faith and relationship, in order to be effective witnesses and joined in our communion with Christ ahead in time. What a plan.

    God did his part, we are to do our part to build on the foundation laid. Peter gave us seven steps to maturity, as have each and every one of the authored Apostle’s letters. Preoccupied with dissipating attention robbers stemming from this world’s marketplace? Peter has the solution. He promises the success the eyewitnesses also knew to all who will follow his outlined plan of spiritual growth and development. Its beauty and excellence are threefold. 1) It is build on our initial relationshipof faith and confession in Jesus as the Christ, just like with Peter (then looking back to look ahead on what he had gained, and giving it to us), 2) He then describes the Father’s part in forming maturing establishments, 3) and he promises a full stature of success on our part, when we (in community and as individuals of faith) make the effort to follow his insightful seven stepped plan for growth unto the stature of our Lord. No servant is greater than his Master, so said Jesus. Every disciple to be so hears his Master, so said Jesus. Every disciple so devoting himself to a life of awe of our shared Father will receive undeserved assistance, peace, knowledge of knowing God, which offers equippage for the Call, the journey, and the work involved (which is to faithfully bear testimony of HIM). These seven steps offer clarity of relationship, establishment of knowledge and experience with our Father God, and rescue from the corruption Bryan acknowledges has made us weak and ineffective. What greater and authentic assurance can be obtained than the admonition of Peter at the end of his days for these end of days and the soon return of the Messiah!

    We look then in all the Gospels and letters and the Revelation for such maturing models to complete the work on this earth ’till the end of the Age’ of the Nations dominating Jerusalem’s holy placement for the footstool of God our Father, to trim our lamps and watch the signs, and guide our steps to His Coming to establish the Messianic Kingdom Age.

  2. corrections emolded = embolded.
    Second to last paragraph, first sentence Apostle’s should read Apostles’ Thanks for your indulgence, beloved.

  3. Fresh revelation, fresh counsel, fresh enablement is to be increasingly the gift given to all who call upon the Name above all names: only as was first revealed of the sent One in Spirit and Truth to those led by the Master to equally be in awe of our Father, called His disciples (Jn 17). He led them to venture to vistas to know and minister with direct approval of the Father! Extending the boundaries of the Kingdom occurred then through their sharing of His Word. Peter has entrusted to us, and paid ahead in his last days, these seven steps toward His Stature as words of focus, truth, knowledge, purpose, faith, endurance, and power through his and the foundation Apostles first fruits suffering already paid on deposit before the Throne. Peter’s and their words’ offer us keys of an ever maturing realization of the Kingdom!

    The Jar is cracked, the anointing drips to those now turning to Him, forming a new counsel who will know for certain the relationship as given His own with the righteous Father. His Word will become their word, and as One they will equip others by turning heavenward, and on and on.

    To add our names to the list of Hebrews 11, these seven steps achieved of interdependence must be pursued as One New Man in our communities of faith. Spiritual enablement and commission is released unto us as those already thirsty turn in faith to pursuit of Peter’s words of diligence. All his twelve as chosen and sent paid a deposit for us for their foundation of the City of God. See it becoming brighter and brighter, coming down unto us until the Full Day. That Day is approaching, where the fascination with this world dims.

  4. I see too the glaring typo of my first response to Byran’s warning. Peter’s inheritance gift to us begins with 2 Peter 1:1-4 (misscribed as 1:14). Imagine being one of the 12. Awesome. And, knowing you were soon to pass from this world, what would you most want to leave behind for others seeking to understand and come into what you knew? Trusting our Savior as the most certain of realities, he passed that assurrance to us to confidently respond to our Father in being His own (v. 1). Usually down the road from conversion to faith for anyone seeking more of Him comes a desire to know the Father, to be lead by Him in being and doing (v. 2). He promises His direct help in this charge, and a solid peace accompanying that help (v. 2). Awe of the certain Word of Jesus life (overpowering death) is given us by Peter, as carries into the equation for maturing to the stature of Him (v, 3). Past waffling Peter even had gone back to fishing Lake Kinnereth (Galillee) when someone familiar called to him from the shore, where to put down his net to gain a great harvest.

    ‘IT IS THE LORD’! was Peter’s understanding when the provision of knowledge over that unseen with the natural eye, of fish in that sea, was shared. Jesus continues to so inform his own, regarding our lives, needs, and being and doing in Him (v.3). It is part of His Glory and goodness to so provide. Verse 4 cinches the future relationship as interdependently continuing for those in relationship to God through Christ, though Peter will soon depart the earth: divine promises remain with us. These offer us tremendous provisions as worked out in our lives as become precious in application! Here is the opportunity to rise to the full stature of Christ to ‘participate in the divine nature’, and ‘escape corruption’ from the kinds of preoccupations the world presents.

    Participating in the ‘divine nature’, now that is unique indeed. This would differ then from being a consumer, or an entertainment show audience occupier. Keys to Kingdom participation come rapidly in Peter’s bequess made to those remaining after his departure. They are sevenfold keys to the Kingdom. You make effort: 1) to add to faith, goodness; 2) to add to goodness, knowledge;3) to add to knowledge, self-control; 4) to add to self-control, endurance to persevere; 5) to add to endurance, godliness; 6) to add to goodness, philio love’s kindness; 7) to add to brotherly love’s kindness, divine love.

    We know from another Kingdom partaker of the divine nature’s letter, from james (Jacob), that the love that Peter considers of the stature of Christ (#7) is the love derived from the ‘perfect law of liberty’, which comes from loving our neighbor as ourselves. James wrote ‘the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.’ This is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Here is the maturing model of our faith. Here is the reason for counsel of doing and being. Here is why we are to make the effort to be so active, as the Apostles tell, of Him.

    The charge is given as Peter’s bequest, for he is going away. He does not bequest less than the ‘divine nature’, with lesser offers and lesser loyalties. He asserts how to make it so. Endeavor to obtain these ways increasingly, so as not to be ‘ineffective’ in your faith. Verse 8 shares that these will lead to productivity in your occupation as a child of the Father. Verse 9 shares the tension of this divine nature with the present narcissistic culture in which we reside. To indulge in its indulgences makes us ‘nearsighted and blind’; How? By forgetting our confession of faith of acceptance of the cleansing from sin of Christ coming to us.

    Verses 10-15 direct us to what Peter wants for us, so that Christ can be fully formed in us. Instructed by his lifetime insight, ‘if you do these things’, we and his readers are told, we are then firmly established of the Kingdom of the Messiah. Isn’t it plain enough, this is not about whip em up, pump em up meeting based behaviors, or being zapped with special powers, it is about coming to the full stature of our Lord. Peter will ‘make every effort’ after he is gone that we regard, become, and do these divine natured things he has clalrified after a life of discipleship. Chapter 3, verse 1. He has written us to stimulate us to right thinking. Practice these ways of the divine nature, do not go after false teachers with their lustful example, be prepared for the coming Day of the Lord.

  5. Honor of the Father comes with co-submission, one to another. Just as our Nation has become insensitive to immorality, greed, and other character and life stewardship issues, various communions have become insensitive to other communions containing equally as legitimate brothers and sisters before the Throne of Christ. What makes one group more righteous than another? Only Christ can truly grant a standard for righteousness since He ushered in the New Covenant. Paul called others to give preference to the unity his Son effected (Gal.2:11-21;Ep. 4:3; Col. 3:14). When we, as believers, begin to honor one another’s linkage to Christ and ourselves something changes regarding Honor of the Father (Jn. 17 “Sanctify them by the truth, you word is truth….that all of them may be one, Father, as you are in me and I in you”.

    It remains that the state of the Body in our land lacks the heart for one another, thus the heart for the Father. Simply consider that a heart for one another invites dialogue, and does not decree emphatics about this or that supposed truth about the state of the Church without offering that dialogue in the Spirit of Mt. 18. Again, my personal concern about the VOR remains its lack of engagement, for, its exhibited rules of engagement are to post articles claiming this or that, without soiling equally writers’ sandals on a mutually side by side engaged path.

    If I am to know who are His by their fruits, it certainly will not be by their aloofness as to coming down to earth and engaging the crowds without vision which Jesus fed, engaged, healed from, and offered his Kingdom.

  6. Honor of the Father comes along in heart with co-submission, one to another. Just as our Nation has become insensitive to immorality, greed, and other character and life stewardship issues, various communions have become insensitive to other communions containing equally as legitimate brothers and sisters before the Throne of Christ. What makes one group more righteous than another? Only Christ can truly grant a standard for righteousness since He ushered in the New Covenant. Paul called others to give preference to the unity his Son effected (Gal.2:11-21;Ep. 4:3; Col. 3:14).

    When we, as believers, begin to honor one another’s linkage to Christ and ourselves something changes regarding Honor of the Father (Jn. 17 “Sanctify them by the truth, you word is truth….that all of them may be one, Father, as you are in me and I in you”).

    It remains that the state of the Body in our land lacks the heart for one another, thus the heart for the Father. This is because the Spirit of Ekklesia, outlined of Mt. 18 is not in focus regarding the Spirit of Reconciliation one to another. Simply consider that a heart for one another invites dialogue, compassion, touch, laughter and tears, and does not decree emphatics about this or that supposed truth about the state of the Church without extending its dialogue in the Spirit of Mt. 18.

    My personal concern for the VOR remains its lack of engagement with its responders, for, its exhibited rules of engagement seem to be to post articles claiming this or that as so, without soiling equally writers’ sandals on a mutually side by side engaged path. With the privelege of publication comes the responsibility of ongoing engagement. Our Lord often engaged even His critics, and certainly so those who loved Him.

    If one is to know who are His by their fruits, it certainly will not be by their aloofness as to coming down to earth and engaging the crowds without vision which Jesus fed, engaged, touched, smiled and wept before, healed from, and offered his Kingdom. Why no revival?

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