Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!

Month: October 2018

Reigning With Christ

(Original radio broadcast from May 22, 1998)

As history continues to unfold before our very eyes, it is becoming increasingly necessary for those who name the name of Christ to truly know their King. These are days to sit at His feet, and hear His Word! This is a time to look into His glorious Face and behold His glory! These are the days to begin to discern the Lord’s Body, and experience His Lordship TOGETHER!

The Spirit of the Lord is calling out, not just individuals, but a PEOPLE for His Name! These are those who will one day stand up in this earth to fully and openly represent His power and authority to all. In fact, they already represent His authority now — to the degree that they presently know Him as their Lord!

Hear this warning! If we are not acknowledging His Lordship now, we have no reason to expect to reign with Him tomorrow! And if we are not already coming into an intimate union with Him and His Love, we have absolutely NO HOPE of truly knowing the beauty, the majesty, the wonder, the glory, the awesomeness of our Lord Jesus Christ as He already is NOW!

Beloved, my heart is grieved at the years that I have and so many others have wasted, in the preaching of religious doctrines that divide the Body of Christ, when in fact we should have been preaching Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. Instead of proclaiming His Lordship, many of us have labored to bring others under our own influence instead! We thought that somehow WE could discourage sin and disobedience, worldliness and selfishness by our own efforts! Instead the pressure of human authority has eventually distanced many poor souls from the marvelous and liberating authority of the only true Christ!

Even though warnings, exhortations, corrections and instructions have their place in the family of God, we must never forget the proper context in which they are exercised! The context is always under the umbrella of our King and His Word!

Ephesians 6:4:  “And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

In all things and at all times, we who dwell in the kingdom of God are under the rule, the care, the security and protection of our King! Therefore, we must come to the place that we are ever conscious of Him

Are you weary of being subject to the power of circumstances and your own human weaknesses! Is there a hunger in you towards the dominion and rule in life that was originally given to Adam? Are you frustrated by the constant evidence that Satan appears to be gaining more ground in your life than Christ Himself?

Listen to me. This is not your inheritance! You are destined to rule and reign with Christ! The privilege of reigning in Life is available to you NOW! (Romans 5:17)

The people that KNOW THEIR GOD shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32), but the real key here is in KNOWING OUR GOD!

Yes, we seem to keep coming back to this place again and again, and this we will do as the Lord directs. The great need of the hour is for the people of God to return to Him! It is time to forsake our plans, programs and schemes, and return to our first love! It is time for us all to fall in love with Him over and over and over and over again!

Preachers must preach Jesus Christ — His glory, His Wisdom, His Love, His Lordship, His ultimate triumph over sin and the devil, and His endless reign over this vast universe! He is the key, the alpha and omega, the beginning and ending, the first and the last, He Who was, and is, and is to come — THE ALMIGHTY!

He is the Head of His Body — the Church! In all things He is absolutely preeminent! All things were made by Him and without Him NOTHING was made! He is before all things, and by Him all things consist!

Such a simple truth, but oh how complicated things have become for us! This complicated state of affairs is the work of the serpent, who continually strives to allure us from the simplicity that is found in our intimately knowing Christ. He apparently knows how badly this event alone will impact his kingdom!

But what of the fallen nature of man? What of the disobedience of God’s people? Do not these also prevent the knowledge of the glory of God from sweeping across the land?

Oh how little we regard the power of ONE who simply and truly becomes wholly devoted to Jesus Christ and His Lordship! And how this ONE can impact the lives of so many that remain in darkness!

Do you want to reign with Christ? Do you believe in His ability to work through anyone who surrenders completely to His Love? Can you trust in His willingness to stimulate the growth of that mustard seed of belief that you do possess, and help you to overcome all doubts?

Did He not create you? Can He not heal, restore and use you for His glory? Is He not able to transform you into His image from glory to glory — by the power of His Spirit? Is not His Word alive and at work in you at this very moment — changing and molding and working in you His perfect will?

Praise Him! Declare His goodness! Worship His Name! Behold His glory! Stand and behold the wonderful salvation of your God!

And most importantly, respond unto Him in obedient devotion. Herein is the power to reign with Him revealed.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:15-2:22)

Yes, there is hypocrisy. Yes there is corruption all around, even among those who call themselves Christians. But these are not your concern. You and I are pressing towards the mark for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Our eyes are fixed upon Him. We desire to be vessels of honor, useful to the Master for every good work.

We are fleeing youthful lusts, and following after righteousness, faith, love and peace. Our hearts are joined with those who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart! Together we have hope for the reign of Christ in this earth. And together we expect to see Him in His fullness!

Ephesians 3:14-19:  “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Heavenly Father,

Today we have considered the immensity of your power towards us who believe. We have seen how you have raised us up together, to be seated in heavenly places in Christ. We are overwhelmed at your amazing grace and your infinite Love, by which we have become a new creation.

May everyone of us commit ourselves into your trust, in order that we will walk worthy of this holy vocation, to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, giving pleasure to your great and loving Heart.

In this marvelous union with you, may our lives become living examples of your righteous reign in the earth, to become more than conquerors through your Love!

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Entering the Kingdom

(Original radio broadcast from May.22, 1998)

Today we are entering into the 8th week of teachings concerning the Kingdom of God, and no doubt this could go on almost indefinitely. The universal reign of God in Christ is a vast subject, and here we will do well to just scratch the surface.

But the encouraging thing is that your spiritual life is not solely dependent this one podcast, or any single human teacher for that matter! All things are working together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose!

Every moment of every day of our lives are filled with challenges and possibilities for participation in the Kingdom of our God! He is at work in you right now, to plant His desires in you to will and do His good pleasure! Yield to Him! Surrender to Him! Say “amen” to Him — but first of all confirm that you are giving yourself to the power of the Living Word of God, and not the lies of Satan!

Yes, there is a struggle to enter into the Kingdom of God! The Gospel is preached, and every man presses into it!

In Acts 14:22:  “Paul confirmed the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much pressure enter into the kingdom of God.”

But what of salvation? What of the free gift of God’s grace? Here is where the confusion begins, and here is where we must find clear answers.

From the time Jesus began His public ministry, people began to be set free. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him, anointing Him to preach good tidings to the poor. He was sent  to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18,19)

Jesus Himself IS the year of Jubilee! He is God’s gift of grace to mankind! Untold millions have known his salvation, and thousands more are discovering it unto this day!

But the reign of God is another matter. The slave to sin must first be set free, but what will he do with that freedom? God is looking for those who will voluntarily come under His authority, and how many even understand this fact?

The Gospel of the Kingdom is greater than the popular Gospel of salvation! This is the Good News of God’s wonderful reign of righteousness, peace and joy in the earth! This is the power of God to save us from our own ways, and bring us into a full understanding of the way, the life, the love and the service of God to mankind!

What a gracious, giving God we serve! What an awesome offer He has given us — to rule and reign with Him! What joy we have in knowing that He lives within us to accomplish His purpose through us! What a thrill it is to begin living Kingdom life — today!

Truly, the world at large has yet to see the Kingdom of God, but many of us are like His disciples, who did not taste of death until they saw the son of Man, coming in His Kingdom! (Matthew 16:18)

Those who are born from above have special, heavenly vision! By the Spirit of God, they are enabled to see the kingdom of God! (John 3:3) But entering the Kingdom of God is a process in which salvation and regeneration are just the beginning!

Jesus said we must be born of the water and the Spirit to enter into the Kingdom or reign of God. Some believe this to be a reference to water and Holy Spirit baptism, but please bear with me in this for a few minutes. Water has often been used to symbolize the Word of God.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25-27)

Water baptism is important in many ways. It is used to represent our identification with the death of our Lord, and our personal death to the old life. It is very possible that Jesus was speaking of water baptism, but also of the part that His Word plays in our cleansing, as we are brought under the wonderful reign and purposes of God!

John 15:3:  “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

Peter also wrote that we are “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Pet 1:23)

Oh to search out the miracle of our new birth, and our new life in Christ! Who can comprehend it? How does His marvelous Eternal Word begin to transform us from within? How do we then begin to walk in newness of Life by the power of the Holy Spirit?

And how do we continue in His Word, becoming His disciples indeed! Growing in the Grace and knowledge of Jesus our Lord — from faith to faith, from glory to glory — being transformed by the renewing our minds to prove His good, acceptable and perfect will, demonstrating the reality of His Kingdom to the world!

Do you feel yourself beginning to enter into this higher dimension of Life, where righteousness, peace and joy prevail, where the will of God is done as if heaven has come down? This is the power of the Gospel of the Kingdom, the cleansing of His Word, and the renewing of His Spirit! This is your entrance into His realm today!

You and I are daily learning of the Lordship of our Saviour Jesus Christ! By His Hand we are being conformed to His image, while all of creation awaits our completion! The faithful apostle Peter continues to exhort us unto this day, concerning this amazing progression!

2 Peter 1:5-11:  “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Many do not like these words, “if,” and “do.” They fear that the Gospel of His Grace can so easily be undermined. But I declare unto you that His Grace “has appeared to all men, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and Godly, IN THIS PRESENT WORLD, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:12-14)

It is time for some of us to begin to take responsibility for the gifts that God has given us, and begin to bear fruit today in the Kingdom of God!

Heavenly Father,

These great mysteries of your Kingdom are too wonderful for us to comprehend. How can we fully understand, much less describe them? But we do have the assurance that you will surely bring us forth unto maturity in your purposes.

Bring to birth that heavenly life within each of us, and then continue to manifest your majesty both to us and through us today.

In Jesus Name we ask,

Amen

Prayer in the Spirit!

The Armor of God part 8, Prayer in the Spirit

Ephesians 6:18-20:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” KJV

Prayer is a subject that we often take for granted. Many of us were taught to pray during childhood, using various model prayers. We request prayers when in need, or when someone we know is need, and often we see encouraging results. In my opinion, almost any prayer is better than no prayer. James in his letter does warn that we can ask for the wrong things, and he also warns that we can ask for the right things in a wrong way. He called for effective prayers. If there are effective prayers, than it is possible that there might also be ineffective prayers.

Jesus taught that we should pray for our personal needs to be met, and that God cares about them. At the same time, He put forth priorities in prayer. Before asking for daily material needs, He instructs us to pray that the Name of our Father God would be honored through holiness, that His Kingdom would come, and that His will would be done in earth as in heaven. These are the overarching principles for all prayer.

After asking for our daily bread, we ask for forgiveness, and offer forgiveness to others. Also important is that we ask for deliverance from evil. Of course we know from the example of Jesus, and elsewhere in the New Testament that prayer for others should not be neglected either.

In some ways prayer comes very natural. We hope for things that we cannot make happen ourselves, and cry out to God for them. Other times prayer seems like a chore. It is like talking into the air. It can even feel like a waste of time.

One thing I am grateful for today is the way I have at various times found myself in the presence of people who had intimate relationships with God. They could talk to Him as someone they knew very well. At the same time, they held a marvelous reverence for Him. When they prayed, the presence of God would fill the room they were in.

For this reason I am convinced that Biblical, New Testament Christianity still exists today. When I read of the disciples gathering for prayer until they were filled with power from heaven, I can identify with them!

In the early days of the Twentieth Century a number of believers in Christ sought for this kind of prayer and relationship with God. Across the Atlantic in Wales, and here in America, small groups determined to know Christ in this way. They did not know what and how God would respond, but respond He did! Over the course of several years, many were saved, healed, and strengthened in their Christian walk. Throughout the history of the church we have seen this kind of hunger bring about great times of revival, but this time there was something different. In the past, when the periods of revival ended, things began to settle back down to “normal.”

Things did calm down after a few years, but the memory and the lasting impression caused the beginning of a major change in the Christian world. No longer would a powerless church be seen as “normal.” We knew what the Early Church experienced is still available for us today! In spite of the fact that there was much confusion and misunderstanding, the fire has not subsided for over one hundred years! The doctrinal disagreements and errors have not annulled the fact that God has initiated something among His people that we all must face. If we are to be faithful to the Christian faith that has been delivered to us from Christ and His apostles, we must be faithful to His call for Prayer IN THE SPIRIT!

As I have already said, almost any prayer is better than no prayer. However, there is a special kind of prayer that we see in Jesus and the apostles, and even in the saints of church history. The expressions, “in the Spirit”, and “filled with the Spirit” speak in the Old and New Testaments of a special state in which extra ordinary signs, miracles and healings take place. Paul writes about the ability to “sing in the Spirit,” and “pray in the Spirit.” John in Revelations tells us that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.”

What is debatable to some, is quite clear to others. Some might be offended by what I believe, or call it emotionalism. I can only speak of the experience from God, for which by the way, I did not seek! Paul, who taught that love is the greatest gift of all, also taught that supernatural gifts from God where given by God to build up the community of believers. In several places he tells of a prayer that is basically initiated by the Holy Spirit Himself. Sometimes we do not fully understand what He is praying through us, but we know that it is the will of God for the given situation. There is also the blessing of understanding the prayer when we ask for it.

The important thing is that we receive power from the Holy Spirit in special situations. In this case, by giving ourselves over to the Holy Spirit when we pray, we build up ourselves, our spiritual family, and we advance with boldness the cause of the Gospel which brings victory over the darkness!

All I am asking is for you to read the New Testament, and especially the book of Acts with an openness to what I am saying here. You may already be satisfied with your prayer life, but if not you may be in for a pleasant surprise! Ask God for His supernatural power in prayer and be willing to let His power flow through you in the manner that pleases Him. I hope you will let me know what happens then!

The Sword of the Spirit

Eph 6:17:
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” KJV

So far Paul the apostle has been mostly telling us about using the armor of God to protect ourselves from attacks by our enemy, the devil. Now we begin to move from the defensive aspects of warfare to the offensive. As Christians we live in a world that is dominated by forces that are hostile to our faith. It can be easy to forget that Jesus sent His apostles out into that very same world with an agressive message to proclaim and teach to all nations.

Resistance to the Good News of Jesus has its source in a powerful adversary who hates all of humanity as much as God loves it. But we have even more power than him through Christ! (1 John 4:4)

2 Corinthians 10:4:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds…” AMP

These strongholds are thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, that hold their captives in chains of fear, deception, hatred, jealousy, witchcraft, and unholy desires that destroy themselves and others.

2 Corinthians 10:5:
“[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one),” AMP

The apostles of Christ placed a high value and even took great pride in their belonging to Christ. Captivity to Him is indeed true freedom! They saw the first order of business as winning the battle over their own thoughts before reaching out to others. As Jesus taught, we must remove the plank from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from our brother’s eye.

A most powerful example of using the Sword of the Spirit is found in the life of Jesus. After His baptism by John in the Jordan River, the Spirit of God descended on Him as a dove, and a Voice from heaven came saying, “You are my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” Before that time, we have no record in the Gospels of Him doing any great works. Now He is anointed to go forth with the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

But before He faced the evils in the world around Him, He had a personal battle to win. It was common for people back then to enter into a fast, that is deny themselves food, when looking for spiritual guidance and strength. Jesus committed Himself to 40 days of isolation, during which His position as The Son of God was to be challenged.

By tempting His physical body and humanity, the devil tried to prove that Jesus was not in fact the Son of God. In each case Jesus forcefully wielded the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. While the devil knew the Scriptures, and attenpted to trick Jesus by twisting their meaning, Jesus held forth the Word of God in its purity when He told him, “It is written.” It is not enough to know the Scriptures. One must know the Scriptures AND the One Who is speaking through them!

Paul writes in another place:

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)KJV

Peter put it this way:

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,   21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) NKJV

Satan had his private interpretation of the Scripture, but Jesus had the power of the Holy Spirit within and upon Him! The Spirit and the Word always agree! The scriptures as they had them back then, and as we have them today were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If I am wrong about this, then Jesus, and the apostles, and every body of believers from ancient times to this day were also wrong! But don’t take my word for it, repent and be baptised in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit! (Acts 2:38) THEN you will know for yourself what I am talking about!

When you find other Spirit-filled believers who can teach you how to use the Sword of the Spirit, you can also prove for yourself how victorious a person can live because of Jesus!

This cannot be overemphasized in today’s culture. When any believer takes the time to prayerfully read the Bible, and listen to godly teachers of the Bible, God the Holy Spirit will participate in this. He will speak to you through the Scriptures! And if you hear words in your head or have thoughts come to your mind that might be God, you can come to know by experience how to discern them. God can and does speak to His people today in dreams and various signs, but He has given us the Scriptures to test all things.

Jesus came out of the wilderness in full power of the Spirit, having proven His sonship by resisting every temptation. Likewise, God wants to empower us beyond personal defense, so we can follow Jesus has He reaches out to release others from captivity.

The Shield of Faith

The Armor of God Part 5: The Shield of Faith
Ephesians 6:16:

“.. in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” NASU

The subject of faith is certainly important when it comes to God, Jesus and all things related to Christianity.  Jesus had much to say about faith, and of course Paul, Peter, John, James and the writer to the Hebrews all emphasized its importance. Add to that all of the literature and teachings on the subject over the past two millennia, and we can see how there is no scarcity of thoughts and words concerning faith in the world.

Still the subject seems a bit vague and unclear. Sometimes people confuse faith with positive thinking or speaking. There is little doubt that thinking and speaking positively can be helpful and even necessary. Even people who do not believe in Christ or God think of having faith as being optimistic in outlook. It is my view that believers in Christ have all the more reason to look forward to the future.  However, we do not believe “in faith.” We have faith in One Who is faithful!

In both the Old and New Testaments, faith is about a relationship. People trusted in God, believed in Him because they knew enough about Him, and were persuaded by Him to trust in Him. Because they trusted in Him they listened to Him and obeyed His Voice. Their obedience would eventually produce the “evidence of things not seen”  spoken of in Hebrews 11:1. In many cases the actions inspired by their convictions brought fantastic results! There was a time in my life when I desired faith in order that I could get results like those found in the Bible. In time I learned that my relationship with Him was my greatest desire. My faith is IN HIM — not in the working of miracles!

Like many others, I observed the results my biblical heroes were getting, and looked for methods they might have used to get those results.  The closer I read, the more I realized many were like Daniel’s three friends who did not know or even care if they came out of the furnace of fire! All that mattered was their relationship with the One in Whom they believed!

This is the faith that withstands those flaming arrows, the frightening circumstances, the betrayals, the disappointments, the false accusations, the rejections, the suggestions that God has let you down! Our faith is in a Person! He has made Himself known unto us in many ways both great and small! Therefore we can take even the smallest proofs of His presence and let them grow like the tiny mustard seed!

I like to use the analogy of my marriage. Many years ago I was married to an unfaithful person. There was no peace in my heart because I could not trust her to stay with me and care for our son. Years later the Lord brought another into my life who had no desire to follow after other men. We do not always agree, but I trust she would not go with another and she knows my heart belongs to only her. If someone would spread a rumor that they saw her out with another man, I would not believe it for a second. I KNOW her. I know that she is not that kind of person. I trust her because she is faithful to me.

As our relationship with God grows, we come to trust Him more. Our faith in Him grows. He does not improve, but our knowledge in Him does. It is as simple as that. As we spend time with Him in prayer, meditation, worship, His Word, and in fellowship with others who know Him, we get to know Him more.  There are worthwhile practices and patterns of life in the Christian world, but it is sometimes easy to forget that these practices are only a means to an end. The purpose is always to know Christ and learn of Him. To develop our relationship first with Him and then with one another so we can all be united in Him for His glory.

The beauty of all this is that God Himself is more than eager for us to know Him. He has provided everything we need for our faith to become strong in Him. So when we are attacked by thoughts and words that are determined to defeat us, we can hold up our shield of Faith in the most loving and all-powerful One who is always on our side!

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