Understanding The Bible
The Eagle Christian
Dr. Glen Clifton
By Dr. Glen Clifton 1.
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints, nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable (no man can fathom). He gives power to the weak (strength to the weary), and to those who have not might, He increases strength. Even youth grow tired and weary, and the young men stumble and fall. But those who hope (wait on) the Lord, will renew their strength; They will soar (mount up) on wings of EAGLES; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
LOOK AT THE EAGLE: What is God trying to show us in the metaphoric language? God ransacks nature to describe in earthly terms, the divine.
In this passage God uses the EAGLE in all its majesty, kingship and sovereignty of the air to describe the CHRISTIAN, who is of the highest and strongest ideal. The EAGLE is the King of all the foul of the air, symbolic of Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Christian should live as children of the King!
Unfortunately, many of us (Christians) would have to be categorized with a sparrow, the crow, the turkey or the buzzard ... NOT AS EAGLES. It is interesting to note, that the EAGLE is on the endangered species list. History is replete with men who stood on mountains, who dared to give themselves completely and totally to God. My question to you today is: Where are all the SPIRITUAL HEROES today? Where are the CHRISTIAN EAGLES?
Do you know why the Lord’s inner circle consisted of Peter, James and John? It is because they chose to be. You can be just as close to God as you want to be. It is YOUR CHOICE! Jesus said, “You come unto me. I don’t refuse anybody.” John 6:37
I. THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF
1ST: there is the IMPERIAL EAGLE.
The imperial EAGLE (the Bald or American) speaks of sovereignty and kingship. Revelation 1:6 says that Jesus Christ has made us “kings and priests.” Romans 5:17 says, “We reign in life through one Christ Jesus.” Through Christ’s redemption, every believer is to be raised from the squalor of sin and from the pit of depravity to a brand new relationship in Christ.
In II Corinthians 2:14, Paul declares that we have power to always triumph in Jesus Christ. Philippians 4:13 lets us know that we can do all things through Christ’s kingship. Jesus Christ, our King, said in Matthew 28:18ff, “All authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth, and as King, I bid you go in my name.” Jesus has total and absolute authority. He is King, and He is Sovereign. WE CHRISTIANS, as part of His Royal Family, should walk accordingly.
2ND: the other EAGLE is the
Gold in the Bible speaks of DEITY, of God. Every Christian who has been bought with the blood of Jesus has a NEW GOD NATURE. “Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17 Our new nature ... because of Jesus ... is as PURE GOLD. Cleansed! Purified!
II Peter 1:4 says we are ‘partakers of His divine nature.’ He imparted His nature in your spirit. So now, all that He is, you and I can be. God intends for us to be as EAGLES!
Deuteronomy 32:11 says, “As an EAGLE stirs up its nest hovering over its young, spreading its wings to catch them and bearing them on its pinions,” so God leads His covenant people. God teaches us to enter into maturity of character.
II. HOW DOES AN EAGLE LEARN TO
For the little EAGLET that is newborn in the nest, life couldn’t be better. All it has to do is open its little beak and the mother feeds him the choice tidbits of the kill. Life in the nest is filled with joy, and every need is supplied.
Every Christian who comes to
Christ has the same ecstasy. He is immediately filled with joy. God answers
prayer and our lives are changed. But, at the same time, God begins to kill the
old nature in each one of us. God is trying to make us to know our capacity. God
begins to teach us to use the new life within us. He Who loves us will not allow
us to stay in that nest and cripple us by constantly being dependent on His
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20, “For He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.” We have to learn how to use God’s power and release it in our lives. He doesn’t want us to stay hedged up under His care in the nursery school.
One day the MOTHER EAGLE DOESN’T BRING A KILL. She hovers and soars over and around the nest. Then she tears it apart and begins to push the EAGLET towards the cliff. The EAGLET cries, “Oh God, she’s going to kill me,” as she tumbles over the cliff, helplessly through the air, as it tumbles from the nest. It hears the whir of great wings and mom soars right under it and catches it to bear it back to the cliff. Just as the LITTLE EAGLET catches its breath, the MOTHER knocks it off the cliff again and down it goes, starting the whole process again. Are you beginning to see the picture here…of our own life.
Sometimes, as Christians, we pretend that nothing bad is going to happen to us, that life is going to be all ease from the fellowship of His suffering. NOTHING could be farther from the truth. We get into another error in failing to realize what God is doing.
After several falls, the EAGLET asks the question, “I wonder what mom is trying to teach me? Surely she loves me. I don’t know why she would want to destroy me.” Again, mother comes. This time it is different as the EAGLET sticks out its wings and finds out it can maneuver. It is rather awkward, and it is certainly not pretty. The EAGLET has never done this before, but it is learning the MYSTERY of the air currents to soar just like its mother.
You may say, “I rebuke you Devil,” when trials and troubles come. CAREFUL! You may be talking to the wrong person. It may be Jesus working in you. Oh, I know the Devil comes after you, but everything that befalls you isn’t of the Devil, though he may be God’s tool. Job said, “He knows the way I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (23:10). God, as the mother EAGLE, may be orchestrating certain events in our lives out of love…in order to teach us the mysteries of the air currents of the Spirit of God.
The CHURCH in America today is filled with perpetual cripples who copped out on their flying lessons before they finished the race. They didn’t endure to the end. They bailed out early when God asked them for maturity. LISTEN: God is in the business of asking His men and women to grow up ... SPIRITUALLY! Stop crying! Stop complaining and whining! Learn to endure hardness as a good soldier. QUIT BLAMING others for your failures. Quit blaming some ‘ole hypocrite in the church…as the reason you refuse to serve the Lord.
LISTEN: God is more interested in the PRODUCTION of CHARACTER than He is in the PROVISION of our COMFORT. He may strip you of everything you have. REMEMBER: JOB lost everything ... wife, family, business, animals ... EVERYTHING! If your heart is pure toward Jesus, then I suggest to you that God is producing character in your life.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” II Corinthians 5:17. When you become a Christian, you then, are a partaker of the divine nature of God. We become the children of God. John wrote, “As many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become the children of God…” (John l:12). A Christian now has the right, the privilege, and the obligation to live as a totally new species.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:6 “God has raised us up and made us to sit together in heavenly places.” Are you a Child of the King? Then you are a Prince or a Princess ... LIVE LIKE ONE!
III. WHAT ARE THE FLIGHT HABITS
OF AN EAGLE?
The Word of God says in Proverbs 30:18-19, “There are FOUR THINGS too hard for me: the way of the EAGLE in the air, the way of the SERPENT on the rock, the way of the SHIP in the midst of the sea, and the way of a MAN with his maid.
THE MYSTERY of the SERPENT on the rock is the mystery of inequity in the relationship between the Devil and Jesus. The MYSTERY of the MAN and the maid is the mystery of the relationship of Jesus and His bride - You and I. The MYSTERY of the SHIP is a mystery of the church on its way through this world to its heavenly destiny. And the MYSTERY OF THE EAGLE IN THE AIR is the mystery of the completely VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN.
This SPIRITUAL MYSTERY IS: You cannot SOAR until you DIE ... TO SELF! One must die to ambition, pride, titles, programs, etc. You cannot live until you die to the fleshly ambitions of self. Your focus is not “me” or “mine”, but your focus is on the Lord. Paul said it this way, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:13,14). It’s Lord, what do you want me do? What do you want me to say? Where do You want me to go?
IV. EAGLES DON’T JUST FLY ...
THEY MOUNT-UP ... THEY SOAR!!!
If doesn’t say in our passage that EAGLES fly ... they MOUNT UP ... they SOAR! The EAGLE has an innate, intuitive understanding by God about currents and their ministries. He knows how to use them. CHRISTIAN LISTEN: When God places his Spirit within us, He begins to teach us NEW SPIRITUAL TRUTHS ... about the MYSTERIES OF SPIRITUAL LIFE.
WATCH the giant EAGLE perched on a rocky mountains in the top of a tall tree. He looks so majestic. There is something exciting about him as he stands poised. He looks right into the face of that monstrous adversary, the STORM. For: “The wind blows wherever it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit,” John 3:8 tells us. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus.
As the EAGLE looks into the midst of the gale, the wind and storm, thunder and lightening, he raises his wings as if to say, “Hallelujah, here comes another storm, another chance to ride higher than I did the last time.” He grabs a gust of wind and rides it up ... and SOARS!
Paul glorified in tribulation, for it produces patience and character. (Rom. 5:3,4). The EAGLE loves the storm, for it is in our EXTREMITY that brings God OPPORTUNITY to lift us up beyond ourselves and our circumstances that He may be glorified in the world that watches us. They then, can marvel and take note, that we have been with Jesus, and want a Savior like that. The Bible says, “I bare you on EAGLE'S WINGS, and brought you unto myself,” Exodus 19:4. The EAGLE soars aloft above the storms, hurricanes and the tornado. The EAGLE is the only bird that soars above all storms and gazes directly into the sun. Likewise, man, with wings of faith and trust can rise above the storms of our own life and look to God for freedom and peace of mind.
TURKEYS live in the dark woods because they are scared. They are birds of fear. Fear brings bondage. They never soar. ILLUSTRATION: When I was a boy in South Texas, my daddy and I would go into the woods to hunt for turkey. When our shotguns went off, they never flew, they just ran through the mesquite trees and brush. TURKEYS are bound to the ground, and the lower, baser things of life. The CHRISTIAN should never be chained to the things of the world. He is freed to fly ... soar ... spiritually.
BUZZARDS are big birds…mean and ugly. They also can fly for hours. But did you know that if you CAGE a BUZZARD in a pen that this 6 feet by 8 feet, with the top entirely open, that bird is a prisoner. The reason: he requires 10 to 12 feet to run to take off. Without a space to run, he makes no attempt to fly, and will remain a prisoner in his small jail.
The EAGLE likes the high open spaces, the mountains, the tall trees and the bright sunshine, and the freedom to soar. He can FLY straight up, or DIVE straight down to catch a prey. The EAGLE CHRISTIAN is one who wants to soar, and is not consumed with fear because of the things of the world. The CHRISTIAN bound to the ground is missing the liberty of higher things and the finer things that the Father wants to provide for His children.
V. MORE PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES OF
The EAGLE has two sets of EYELIDS. One set is for down on the earth, and the other is for looking into the sky and the sun. It refers to BALANCE. Although the Christian lives IN the world, he is not to be OF the world, or not to be possessed BY the world and its gods.
The ENEMY of the EAGLE is the SERPENT. The snake climbs his way up the rocky crags, gets into the nest and tries to get at the EAGLE’S EGGS. The EAGLE deals with the snake in two ways. FIRST, she uses her great strong beak to peck it to death. REMEMBER when Jesus addressed the serpent in Luke 4? He used the Word of God to peck the Devil out of the wilderness. SECOND, she uses those great talons of strength and carries the critter way up in the heavens and drops the snake on the rocky crags and crushes it.
PERSONALLY, I like dropping the Devil on the Rock of Jesus. That’s what it means, “In the name of Jesus.” You can render the Devil harmless, when you drop him on the solid Rock of Jesus. QUESTION: Does the Devil control your life, or do you have dominion over Satan?
The EAGLE is a clean bird when he is free, but terribly dirty when caged. ILLUSTRATION: I was so upset when I saw a captured GOLDEN EAGLE in a cage in the DENVER ZOO. The cage, though large, was too small for him. It was also full of the nasty leavings of all the birds. The EAGLE just hopped around like a small caged animal with no hope.
Christians are like that when they become caged in a box ... the box becomes fouled. It gets dirty. The Apostle Paul declared in Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made you free.” As a Christian, God has made you to be free. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is peace, joy, no confusion, and disorder, but liberty.” II Corinthians 3:17Bondage (slavery) is when some head gobbler (perhaps some pastor or deacon) says, “You are too free, come over and stay in my box.” That is what much of our pharisaical religious systems have done. They have kept us within the four walls of our pretty buildings ... chained to our belief-systems, and we find ourselves doing nothing spiritually. Some get bound in bitterness, deceit, jealousy and pride. When we are contained in the four walls of our church WE ARE NOT EXPERIENCING GOD ... and we NEVER SHARE CHRIST!
God gave the EAGLE cylindrical BONES. EAGLE life is in its bones. Any man who wants to know God, must have it in his bones. He will have a passion for the things of God. LIFE is in our innermost being! Paul said, “My hearts desire and prayer for Israel is that they may be saved. Rom. 10:1 He said, “for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31), It was in his bones…in his being! Sometimes we sing, “Oh, How I Love Jesus.” But, is it really in our innermost being? Do we really love Him?
The EAGLE has the power of SELF-RENEWAL. Psalms 103:5 says, “…Thy youth is renewed like the EAGLE.” When the EAGLE gets sick, he molts. His feathers begin to fall out, but he knows what to do. He finds a rock in the sun and he sits on the rock letting the sun do its healing work until the feathers grow back.
Here, do you see the DOUBLE-SYMBOL of Jesus? The Christian sits on the Rock (of Jesus), and he lets the SON of Righteousness shine on him until he’s healed. That is exactly what we are to do. We are to let Jesus shine on us as we sit on the Rock until we are healed, whether it is spiritual, physical or emotional.
VI. EAGLES DO NOT LIVE FOREVER
The EAGLE does not live forever and neither will you ... not in this earthly form. When it comes time to DIE the EAGLE turns his face into the sun. What better way to go out ... to face death ... than looking unto Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2). He has loved you all your life. When you have the Holy Spirit living within you, you can face any situation even death - with victory!
I John 3 says, “Now, we are the sons of God.” Romans 5:17 says, “Much more shall those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life in Christ Jesus.” The problem is: You have to learn to fly. You must catch the wind of the Spirit or be a spiritual cripple for the rest of your life.
When God carried Israel out of Egypt, Moses declared, “He carried them on the wings of an EAGLE.” (Exodus 19:4) They took the land of Canaan and enjoyed the manna, the honey and the abundance of an overcoming life, which is exactly what God wants every Christian to do.
NOW, THE CHOICE IS YOURS! Will you continue to be chained by sin, OR receive the freedom that only Jesus Christ can give? JOSHUA said it this way, “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…..but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (24:15).
Are you a TURKEY, a BUZZARD or an EAGLE CHRISTIAN? Remember: SORROW looks back, WORRY looks around, BUT, FAITH LOOKS UP ... LIKE THE EAGLE!
Copyright 2006, Dr. Glen
Used by permission
by Dr. Glen E. Clifton
1. Dr. Clifton preached this sermon at King's Baptist church in Vero Beach, Florida in July, 2006 where he as been serving as Interim Preacher for about 6 months. Dr. Clifton and his wife Dee, have been retired to Florida for 4 years. He has been kept busy preaching up and down the Treasure coast since he moved here. He can be contacted for speaking engagements at (772) 336-3992.
Clifton, Dr. Glen E., Brief Biography