The bible tells us that obedience is a very measurable commodity ….
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.
So, how do you measure obedience.?....
Obedience to the Lord must be measured on a quantum scale….. because it gets over into quantum physics…..
Quantum measurements are the attempt to measure things that have no limits, which are immeasurably or inconceivably great, and which are endless, inexhaustible and infinite. (repeat that and let it sink in)
When God’s glory comes and touches the physical realm….it can only be understood on a quantum level….
We are given some incredible examples of Obedience measured on a quantum scale in the word of God…..
In John chapter two, we see Jesus, turning the water into wine….all they had was water, but the obedience of the disciples, released the quantum level of God’s glory into what normally would be impossible, and water became wine…
In 1 Kings 17:12-14, The woman with just a little oil and meal in the midst of great famine… (little is very measurable) She had something that was measurable and it was at its end, but by her obedience to the voice of God through the prophet, it was propelled into the quantum dimension.
In Luke 5:4-6 we see another example, was the miracle catch of fish…. the measure of what they had caught in the nets was nothing, (nothing is very measurable) but when they obeyed the Master’s voice, the quantum value of their catch through their obedience, began to sink the boats….
And my last example, in John 6:9-13, there is the multiplication of the bread and fish… when through the obedience of a little boy in giving his lunch, ( a little lunch is measurable) and those fish and chips, became enough to feed a multitude which probably numbered around 15 to 20 thousand people when you consider women and children….and there were 12 basketfuls left over, one for each unbelieving disciple!
Matthew 17:20 “And Jesus said unto them, verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, be remove to yonder place, it shall be moved and nothing shall be impossible unto you”.
God is measuring our lives, not by the measures and standards of our culture or our physical limitations. He is measuring them by the measure of His power and glory…..We won't be limping into heaven -- beaten down, depressed, whimpering, defeated, discouraged. No -- our Lord is going to bring greater power to his church. Yet this power won't be manifested merely in signs and wonders. Rather, it will be revealed in his people -- in the glorious transformation of obedient hearts and lives that are touched by God's quantum Glory.
If we are living in the last days, we should rise each day, excited that He has promised in the last days to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh….with quantum signs and wonders. The Lord is preparing us by bringing us through His school of obedience, which is unique for each one of us..— so we may see things we've never seen, heard or imagined. And I want to have a part in that. I want a greater measure of his glory in my life than I've ever had. And I want to see God's glory fill his church with such intensity it can't be measured with normal measurements.
Jesus states plainly that he measures out different amounts of his glory to us, according to how we measure out our hearts in obedience to him. Our part is simply to move ever closer to him -- in our worship, obedience and diligence.
Jesus assures us, in Matthew 6:33, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." He's saying, "Keep giving more of yourself to me -- and I'll keep pouring out more of my glory on you.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, v21 Unto Him be (exceeding) glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen”. I want to say that again "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think". (that’s a great description of quantum physics) or measuring the infinite….
The Greek word for aboundant means exceeding, excelling, super-abounding -- to have enough and to spare, over and above, excessive, exceeding abundantly above, beyond measure…..
Paul is saying, "God's glory in your life through your obedience is going to exceed all the moments and all the things you've gotten, up until now.
The Lord wants to supply you in all things, so you can serve him and make Him known at a quantum measure.
2 Corinthians 9:8 "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work"
Our Obedience to God is a measurement of our love, Our Obedience to God is a measurement of our forgiveness, Our obedience to God is a measurement of our liberty….and Our Obedience to God is a measurement of our values.
All of the great principles in the kingdom of God are brought down to the real life situations where believers live in this finite world. God leaves no room anywhere for mere nominal Christianity, which is just another word for a life of compromise and disobedience.
Jesus' reserved His most scathing words for the self-righteous and self-deceived religious folks of His day, whose lives did not match their claims to holiness, their love, or their relationship and obedience to God.
Jesus called such people fools (that’s someone who refuses sound advice), He said they were hypocrites, (those who say one thing and do another), He used the term, blind guides, (those whose eyes are willfully closed to what they don’t want to see, but are trying to lead others) He said they were snakes,(because they would bite the ones who were trying to help them) and He said that they were whitewashed tombs, (that which had a form of Godliness without the power of God in their lives). Seven times He referred to them as blind and three times He called them vipers. He said He had come to destroy the “works” (the bondages, limitations, and manipulations) of the evil one.
The message of God is plain—we can measure our spiritual life by how much we obey--not by how much you know, how much you read or hear, or by how much you claim to have fellowship with God. Measure your life by what you actually do in obedience to God--not by what you intend to do or wish it was or know it should be.
Joyful, full and humble obedience to God, is the key to all that is vital in the Christian life. It is the obedient Christian who enjoys the constant and undimmed blessings and favor of God.
Obedience is the key to cleansing and wholeness. There is no other way to maintain an effective, holy life except to operate in God's instructions for wholeness…
Romans 11:16 “For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root is holy, so are the branches”.
The word Holy which is used here is, (hag-ee-ad'-zo…..which means reserved for, separated unto, set apart for)
By giving and honoring God’s portion, through first-fruits obedience, it releases His quantum measure…….first-fruits is the first part or the best part…. Our time, our talents, our increase, our energy, OUR LIVES, AND OURSELVES….He deserves the first-fruits, the best we can bring Him first, before anything or anyone else!
We ask for healing, but He desires for us to have wholeness, which is the alignment of body, soul and Spirit. This is what first-fruits does, it brings alignment of body, soul and Spirit….because it places the Lord in His rightful place in our lives…..
Obedience is the key to communion and intimate fellowship with God. It is as we walk in the light that we have fellowship with God and with God's children.
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin”.
Many people experience a "feeling of worship, and sense the nearness of His presence," as they sing choruses and worship anthems in the church meeting. Yet they continue in willful disobedience of God. All such "feeling" and "sensual experience" propagates a deception which is spiritual self-gratification instead of worship. Their sense of God's presence is emotional, not a deep longing for holy fellowship with God.
John 4:24 God must be worshiped in spirit and in truth. To claim to have fellowship with Him, while deliberately disobeying Him, is to willfully yield to the pull of darkness. To claim fellowship with God while walking in darkness is to move from the inner circle of fellowship to the outer circle fellowship and like so many, fellowship with Him begins to happen from a greater and greater distance.
Obedience is the key to spiritual understanding. We must choose to do God's will if we would know and walk in God's truth….
John 7:17 “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the truth, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. v18 He that speaks from himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks the glory of God who sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness (false motives or agenda) is in him”.
We only understand the quantum realm of God as we spiritually discern the practical application of the will of God, and that requires the help of the Holy Spirit who is allowed to operate freely through our obedience. God has so much He longs to tell us, but the Spirit can teach us only as we surrender to His control, and as we please Him in yielded obedience.
Obedience is the key to confidence as we go to God in prayer. How do we know that He hears and that He will answer…
Acts 5:32 “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to them that obey him”.
1 John 3:21 "Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him". Oh yes, failing to walk in the light as He is the light, cripples our prayers! Oh, how many are the unanswered prayers, because the praying person is not living in obedience to what they know of God's light!
Scripture tells us that after speaking to the women of the church, Peter turns to the men in 1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, you husbands, dwell with your wives according to a correct knowledge of truth, giving honor unto the wife, as those who are heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers be not hindered”. God says when we are not operating our homes in obedience to Him, by putting Him first, it can hinder our prayers…
Obedience is the key to blessing. Do you want to be blessed in your soul and blessed in all you do? Live in daily joyful obedience to God. Seek and walk in God's light. James speaks of those who live in God's Word and who walk in the light of its quantum glory.
James 1:25 "He will be blessed in all that he does". God pours out His blessings on those who are eager and active in obedience, those who welcome new light, new guidance, new opportunities to bring glory to God. Many are dry in their soul and unfruitful in their lives because they are so disobedient in practical matters like tithing, or in disciplining their lives to find time for prayer and meaningful, life transforming time in God’s word.
Malachi 3:10"'Test me and prove me in this' says the Lord Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it”. That sounds like “Quantum Glory” to me!!!!
Obedience is the secret key to all miracles. The opening of the Red Sea, the feeding of the five thousand, the raising of Lazarus, the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost--all were conditional on obedience. No promise is automatically fulfilled. Obey and you will receive. It’s how God measures everything in your life….Obedience is the key to advancing God’s kingdom in the earth. To a great measure, God's kingdom advances on the feet, the words, the prayers, and all the obedience of God's children. A Christian poet has written:
God has no hands but our hands to do His work today. He has no feet but our feet to lead men in His way. He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died. He has no help but our help to lead them to His side. Of course all these things are only true as the Holy Spirit operates in and through us. Both are indispensable. The Holy Spirit guides, anoints, empowers, protects, and uses us. But our obedience is a cooperating all-essential part of God's kingdom strategy. He has ordained for the Spirit to work through us that we may achieve a quantum outcome.
Judges 15:14 “And when he (Samson) came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, (there’s another Quantum measure word) and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. v15 And he found the jawbone of a mule, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith”.
Measure your effectiveness by your obedience in allowing the Holy Spirit to use you and flow through you for the purposes of God.
You can Measure your love for Christ by your obedience to Christ. You are His friends if you do whatever He commands you… It’s not just “I respect, admire and appreciate God, it’s “I truly love Him”….
Listen to what He says: Luke 10:27 “And he (Jesus) answering said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself”. v28 And he said unto them, this do, and you shall live (the abundant life)”. Let me paraphrase this….”This do and you shall see God’s Quantum Glory”!!!! Hallelujah! This tells me that I can Measure how much of His Quantum Glory I will know in my life by how much I show forth my love for the Lord, by my obedience to Him!
You can Measure your faith by your obedience.
James 2:20 “Faith without corresponding action is useless”. To hesitate to give our obedience, as the voice of God through the Holy Spirit, leads and directs us, is prove of the condition of our faith. Obedience is the just another name for faith. No obedience - no faith. You will not live in obedience without faith, and neither will you live in faith without obedience. Jesus instructed His disciples, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.”
Abraham was given a “Quantum measure” promise that was out of this world. It would seem way too good to be true. A promise that would seem impossible to really happen; some voice out of the sky saying, “From you, I will make a great nation”; I will bless all the families of the earth”. How would you feel to know that the entire earth was going to be blessed, through you? (Man, that’s a lot of pressure on anyone)….
You just don’t go out and live a “whatever” kind of life after hearing God tell you that! Abraham did not question. He demanded No Conditions when he heard it…He didn’t bargain with God, and he didn’t require any special benefits before he agreed to follow.
You can Measure The lordship of Christ in your life by your obedience. Obedience is a measure of the extent of Christ's rule and reign over the kingdom of your life.
Luke 6:46 "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not what I say?". What a searching question from Jesus. If Jesus were to speak to you in person today, would He break down your obedience, to the lowest common denominator? Would you leave your home, your family, and the land you loved and where you feel secure, for a place somewhere in the wild blue yonder? Abraham did. The destination was to be God’s choice. Perhaps every day, Abraham would ask God, “Is this it”? Or, “Are we almost there yet?” God would reply, “No, keep on going.” Abraham would give the command to break camp, and then turn around to the camel train, and say, “Camels, Ho!”…..(song) (off we go into the wild blue yonder, off we go into the sun….)
The reality is, that we are responsible for Two Forms Of Obedience… Obedience To the Logos and obedience the Rhema of God…. There is Logos Obedience to God's general commands, and Rhema obedience to God's individual and personalized commands. God's requirements, as taught in His Logos Word, are for every person. We are all responsible to obey them. You need to go no further for guidance than God's Word. That settles it, we believe it, we do it. And whether we believe it or not, that still settles it…
It’s what we will have to give an answer to, in the final balancing of the books and the final accounting of our lives…..Forgiveness of others, restitution as much as it is possible, speaking no evil of others, children's obedience of their parents, tithing, moral purity—and many other things which pertain to life issues are part of the Logos. These are matters of obedience, according to God's General Word, for every believer.
On the other hand Some of God's requirements, are by the Rhema word, and they are very personal. In these matters, one size does not fit all, but Rhema does not exempt us from the Logos of general obedience. God may give you personal convictions about things. And It is the obedience that He requires of you, specifically, that He may not require of everyone. He may call you to missionary service, to special sacrificial giving to His kingdom, to a specific amount of time in prayer, or to move in a certain direction with your life. He may not require these things of other folks in your circle of friendship. They are God's personal guidance to you.
In Genesis 22, Abraham's obedience was tested in an intensely personal manner by the demand that he offer Isaac to God on an altar.
In Acts 8:26-40, When God sent Philip on the road to Gaza to meet the Ethiopian eunuch, it was a personal obedience which God required.
In Acts 9:10-19, It was the obedience of Ananias that sent him to Saul of Tarsus after he was struck blind and was praying to God for understanding of all that was happening to him. Some of the prophets were given highly personal commands. Clear personal guidance becomes God's personal Rhema to you, and God will reward you for your obedience in quantum measures of His Glory.
You can Measure your obedience by how quickly you obey. It is always pleasing to God that you prayerfully double-check whatever you understand to be God's will. However, once we know God's will, our obedience should be glad and instant. God may guide us to a new act of obedience at any particular point in the future that is outside the box.
You can Measure your obedience by how gladly you obey. God values our willing obedience more than our grudging obedience. Obligation will give you what the natural realm can provide, but genuine, joyful obedience will usher you into His quantum glory!!!.
2 Corinthians 9:7 But this I say, He which gives sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which gives bountifully shall reap also bountifully. v7 Every man according as he purposes (Hahee-reh'-om-ahee….regards, esteems, gives value, has revelation) in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. v8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound (there’s that quantum word) to every good work”. Just as God loves a cheerful giver, so He loves our cheerful obedience.
You can Measure your obedience by how faithfully you obey. When God assigns you a person to pray for or a form of service or blessing to others, be faithful until God answers, blesses, or changes your assignment. Measure your obedience by your faithfulness in perseverance, by your unwillingness to give up even when discouragement comes, by your ability to not look at the circumstances, but to continue to look to the author and finisher of your faith, for by him a good reward shall come.
Mrs. Dorothy Clapp was an older Christian lady in one of the eastern American states. God led her to take as her prayer assignment a public high school down the street. Day after day, month after month, year after year she faithfully obeyed her prayer task. She prayed for God to save young people in that school. Then she began to pray that God would not only save them but send them to the ends of the earth.
After twelve years of faithful praying she began to pray for a mischievous, trouble making young male student. She sent him a Gospel of John. For three more years she prayed, and at last God saved George Verwer. Before long George had led two hundred other students to Jesus Christ. Some of them went to college and began to meet daily for prayer and went out together in evangelism. Later, three of them went to Mexico to evangelize during their summer vacation. Before long, they were taking Christian youth to Spain. A few years later, they had their first multi-national European campaign.
Now, every year several thousand Christian young people from many nations join forces to evangelize, distribute literature, and reach the nations for Christ. Operation Mobilization is reaching costal ports by two gospel ships, training hundreds of youth each summer, and enlisting others in one and two-year short-term service assignments. And Its many "graduates" are strengthening the ranks of many Christian churches and organizations around the world. We can’t imagine the quantum glory that will be manifested as a result of our faithful obedience!
And It can all be traced back to one Christian lady who prayed for fifteen years for students at a high school. Only God has the total results recorded of her faithful obedience in prayer. In heaven, she is already rejoicing. But the full record will be tallied and her full reward will be given only at the judgment throne of Christ. There, before His assembled millions of saints, Jesus will call her forward, praise her for her faithfulness, and announce her quantum reward.
You can Measure your obedience by how humbly you obey. It is a privilege to obey God and be focused on the good of others. It is an honor to obey Him, to be given the privilege of being used by God. Be careful, however, to keep giving God all the glory. Keep low at Jesus' feet. Keep hidden behind His cross so that it is not you but Christ that is seen.
You can Measure your obedience by your motives. Beware of mixed motives. Do you obey because God demands it? Or do you obey because you rejoice and are eager to please God. If God wanted mindless robots, He could have made robots….He wants us to obey because we desire and love to obey Him. We can obey out of some sense of obligation or out of a feeling that we must perform good works, and lose our reward. Have we ever obeyed so people would be impressed with us, or to be seen by people and receive recognition from them?
Matthew 6:1 “Take heed that you do not give your offering before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven”. So, the moment we are doing the things of God to be seen of men, we lose our quantum measure reward. We also Do not seek to obey God as a performance to earn His favor, or to give Him a kind of spiritual bribe in order that He may do what we want Him to do for us. We also don’t obey God out of fear that He will punish us if we don’t…..We Obey Him and serve Him out of love, and out of an eager desire to please Him and give Him joy.
Measure your obedience by your motives.
Matthew 7:9 “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? v10 Or if he ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent? v11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him”?
You can Measure your obedience by how total it is. We are not truly obedient when we choose what we will obey and what we will ignore because we want our own way. Measure your yieldedness, your consecration, your commitment to God by how totally you obey and how faithfully you continue your obedience until God's goal is achieved.
When God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle and the furniture, scripture tells us that he did not depart from anything the Lord gave him, and did all that God commanded concerning the tabernacle….
Exodus 39:32 “Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they. v33 And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, His tent, and all His furniture, His taches, His boards, His bars, His pillars, and His sockets, v34 And the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers' skins, and the vail of the covering.”
Moses knew that their obedience was bringing God’s manifest presence into the earth, so he wanted his obedience to be total! When they were finished, the quantum glory of God, came and rested upon the tabernacle for all the world to see!!!
If you have never made that total surrender of your all, your life, your ambitions, your plans, your present and your future, then this very moment determine that in your place of prayer, you will make a total surrender to Jesus of everything for all time and eternity. If you once made a total surrender but have since by self-will allowed compromise to enter into your consecration, if you are less yielded than you once were, run to Him and renew your total commitment. Surrender today, in that place where you’ve struggled with obedience. It’s about bringing heaven into the earth, and that kind of glory deserves our total commitment, our total obedience.
Matthew 7:21-23 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. v25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock”.
We can measure our spiritual experience and our ministry by the immediacy, the joyfulness, and the totality of our obedience to the direction of God’s Logos and Rhema words in every detail of our daily life. Measure your life by your obedience, and know that God will bring what cannot be measured, and that which is waiting to come full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over into your life….
With the annual occurrence of Fantasy Fest, and Halloween, it is indeed the season for Trojan Horses. A Trojan Horse is something that looks good on the outside, but is something else on the inside.. it is full of deception, manipulation, compromise and hidden agendas…
At Halloween, what if we Christians put a sign out in front of our homes that said…. “The only Ghost around this house is the Holy Ghost”!!!
2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. v.2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, v.3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, v.4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—v.5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. v.6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control...v. 8 these teachers oppose the truth.
In 1871, an American named Heinrich Schliemann began excavating an ancient city in Turkey. To the amazement of many, this retired businessman had discovered the lost city of Troy. Today, you can still see the ruins of its towers and its walls, which were 16 feet thick.
According to Homer's Illiad, the Greeks besieged Troy for ten years without any success. After the death of the warrior Achilles, many wanted to give up the fight. But the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, came up with a plan to get the Greek army into the city of Troy.
Odysseus built an immense wooden horse. He and his warriors hid inside it. After leaving the horse at the gates of Troy, the Greek army sailed away as though they had given up. The Priest of Troy spoke accurately with these words of impending disaster …"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" (I fear Greeks even those bearing gifts), but he was murdered by Poseidon.... The Trojans, seeing the Greek ships sail off, brought the horse inside the city gates. That night, while the Trojans were sleeping, the Greek ships quietly returned. The soldiers hidden in secret compartment of the horse slipped out and opened the gates for the enemy to enter the city.
The Greek army quietly entered Troy and set it on fire. The Trojans awoke to find their city in flames. As they tried to flee, they were killed by the waiting Greeks.
The story of the Trojan Horse and the fall of Troy have come to represent the subversion and conquest of anything from within. It's the break in, the robbery, the kidnapping that's an inside job. It is a gift that isn't really a gift... Something that looks one way, but is actually another.... It's just like the old saying goes... if it's too good to be true, then it's too
good to be true.
It was 5:00 and everyone was racing home after work. A woman and a man are involved in a terrible car accident. It's a really bad one - both the cars are totally demolished, but amazingly neither of them is hurt. As they crawl out of their cars, the woman says, Wow, just look at our cars! There's nothing left of them, but fortunately we're unhurt. This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and who knows, perhaps live together for the rest of our days". Flattered, the man replies: "Oh yes, I agree with you completely. This must be a sign from God". The woman continues: "And, look at this - another miracle! My car is completely destroyed, but this bottle of scotch didn't break. Surely God wants us to use this and celebrate our good fortune in surviving the crash and meeting one another".
She hands the bottle to the man. He nods his head in agreement, opens the bottle, drinks half of it, and then hands it back to the woman. The woman takes the bottle, immediately puts the cap back on, and hands it back to the man. The man asks: "Aren't you having any?" The woman replies: "No, I can hear the police coming now, you can keep it…”
In our opening scripture text, Paul sends a warning with his greeting to Timothy at Ephesus... He is telling Timothy that he needs to be aware that if Satan can't crush and destroy the church from the outside with persecution he will attempt to ruin it and cause it to lose it's testimony and it's witness by corruption and lethargy from within. That's how Satan has always operated. He either tries to crush us with hardship, persecution, intimidation and hostility or corrupts us with compromise from within. And we need to take notice of the fact that what ten years of outward assault on the city of Troy was unable to accomplish was done in one night when the enemy was allowed to come within the city using a Trojan Horse.
Satan's Trojan Horse is leading the church to believe that they can talk like, act like and be like those who have no desire for the things of God and still maintain their standing before God, and have the favor of God…
Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit (yoo'-thet-os…positioned or well placed to (benefit or receive the benefits of) the kingdom of God.
God's people are to be a peculiar people. God's people are to be a unique people not just weird or nut cases. And we are peculiar and unique, not because we use funny Bible language and have separated ourselves from the world around us, or we usually don’t fit in, because of our value system, and we want to share our faith with everyone we can….
But we're a peculiar, (per-ee-poy'-ay-sis…purchased or redeemed people) because we have been redeemed for special purpose and *….calling....
1Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should shew forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.
As a peculiar people, we see beyond the gratification of the moment, we are a people who know the real score on eternity's scoreboard... we know who wins and who loses in the final analysis...and we live our lives knowing how this thing is going to turn out….We know that we cannot treat as cheap, what heaven has paid such an incredible price for…Why should we auction off our birthright as Esau did to Jacob, and then he spent his entire life regretting it.
Some decisions are like getting a tattoo, it’s hard to undo the effects of what has been done. God forgives, but sometimes we like Jacob, make it to heaven with a limp, because of the choices he made.
You see, we have come to understand that Satan wants to turn Kings into slaves and rulers into beggars, and we’re here to stop him at every chance we get!!!!
The newspaper headline read....."Student sells her virginity for $45,000.00"... The 19-year-old University student, Natalie Dylan, offered her virginity to the highest bidder in an online auction and said there had been more than 1,200 bids. She said, "I have accepted an offer in excess of $45,000, which is way beyond what I dreamed," Calling herself "uni-girl", the young New Zealand woman had described herself as attractive, fit and healthy and said she had never been in a sexual relationship……Bruce Pilbrow of the organization, “Parents Inc”.... told the newspaper, they were "horrifically sad" that a woman would sell herself in this manner, in order to meet her tuition costs....
The truth is that folks are auctioning off their faith, and abandoning their convictions and values every day as they receive a Trojan Horse which comes with a lot of stuff they never bargained for.
Sometimes the price tag is acceptance, belonging, attention, popularity, rebellion, escapism, self-preservation and getting ahead of competition.
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? v.15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? v.16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." v.17 "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." v.18 "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
In Numbers 22. The Israelites, in their wilderness wanderings, had come to the borders of Moab. They had just conquered the Amorites, and it looked like Moab was their next target for conquest.
In NUMBERS 25:1-3, We see, that the Trojan Horse that Moab sent into the camp of Israel, was the beautiful, desirable, Moabite daughters. They came into the camp of the Israelites and caught the eyes of the Israelite men, who were vulnerable from a lack of female companionship…The men far outnumbered the available women in the city . The Moabites invited them to their sacrificial feasts full of immorality and idolatry. Soon, the men were eating and drinking at the tables of false gods, sleeping in the beds of pagan women, and bowing themselves down to worthless idols….How did it happen? (this is the account we are given, when the king of Moab hired Balaam to prophecy against the Jews, so they could be defeated)
In NUMBERS 31:13-16.... even though Balaam the prophet held fast to Jehovah, after the encounter with the angel of the Lord... He counseled the King (Balaak) that if he wanted to stop the Israelites from destroying them as they had the Amorites.... he was to send his women to seduce the men of Israel to make marriages with them and blend with them.
It's the Trojan Horse that Satan is still using successfully today. (send in the desires of the flesh)... It's the mix of fad, fashion, the forbidden and the fun of the sinner in an attempt to blend it all together with bible truths and principals. (the unholy compromise of sin, while claiming righteousness)
It is the perversion of our values and standards and the pollution of the mind, spirit and body.
It brings confusion to your spirit and bondage to your soul! And eventually your body has to pay the price with a pound of flesh!
We find ourselves, constantly standing between two extremes…. Gnosticism… which says that no matter what you do, your Spirit will go to heaven…. And Armenianisim, which says you live with one foot on a slippery, icy patch and the other dangling over hell…..We can justify and deny what we want, but we cannot deny what the Word of God makes so very clear...
1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. v.16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”.
So many are being pulled in and swallowing the bait of the world's Trojan horses!
Friends, the time is too short to take the chance of waking up too late to realize that compromise and selling out your convictions and core beliefs have caused you to miss the rapture and then to know that now you will have to face the terrible tribulation which is coming upon the earth.
This is not the time to throw away your faith and convictions!
If you know scripture even a little bit…..you have to know that we are near the end of the age! As we see Russia working with Syria, without any response or outcry from the U.S. or other nations except for Great Brittan which has already been overrun! HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE, in that knowledge?!!!
It’s only common sense that you don’t put your hand in the fire, you don’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, you don’t put your hand in a biting dogs mouth, and you don’t play Russian Roulette with the Devil!
Speaking of common sense...some time ago I came across “a Cowboy's Common Sense Guide to Life” It says….
Never kick a fresh cow chip on a hot day.
Never slap a man who's chewin' tobacco.
Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.
Always drink upstream from the herd, or you may live to regret it.
Don't worry about biting off more than you can chew. Your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger 'n you think.
Don't get mad at somebody who knows more 'n you do. It ain't their fault, that they’re smarter than you.
Trust everybody in the game, but always cut the cards yourself.
The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.
Don't kneel down with yer spurs on! But I like his last one…. And get ready for the rapture, it is the final round up!
1 Kings 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. EXCEPT IN THE MATTER OF URIAH THE HITTITE! (The media must have been in a frenzy)….
David accomplished a lot of great things, but this scar would remain and be a blemish on His testimony for the rest of his life. There have always been plenty of Trojan Horses for every generation, no generation has a corner on the market. Things always have a way of coming out and coming around.
A purse snatcher was arrested and was on trial, pleading not guilty. The victim was giving an account of what happened, and then says, "Yes, that is him. I saw him clear as day. I'd remember his face anywhere." At which point, the defendant bursts out, "There is no way you could see my face, lady, I was wearing a mask……!" ooooops!
Sin is like a hungry baby, it’s hard to keep it quite for very long ….
Winston Churchill said "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on".
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually fighting in the arena… who, at best, knows in the end, the triumph of great achievement and who, knows that if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place, in the final analysis, will never be with those cold timid souls who because of their hesitation, compromise, or distractions, know not the satisfaction of victory or defeat”.
As I was preparing this presentation, I realized that Sin in it's acrostic form is….S-ome….I-nsanity N-ecessary
Sin will carry you down a path you wouldn't otherwise take, it will keep you there longer than you planned to stay, it will cost you more than you ever wanted to pay, it will destroy whatever plans you made, you will make your bed where you never planned to lay, and makes it hard to find a way to return where you started,.
When we silence and kill the voice of conviction
Sincerity is squeezed out by ulterior motives.
Love is traded for suspicion.
Loyalty is replaced by self-interest.
Sacrifice is changed to self-love.
Innocence dies out to compromise.
Humility is destroyed by hard-heartedness.
Kindness takes a back seat to covetousness.
Inner peace will give way to guilt, regret and condemnation.
Just as he did in the garden of Eden, Satan loves to twist, manipulate, and distort the word of God…His specialty is to get us to question by carnal logic, everything that God has breathed forth by the Spirit….
But, for anyone to make it to Hell, they're going to have to really be determined to go there...They're going to have to push past the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Press beyond the work of God's angels who are daily busy, in bringing them to good decisions and choices. They must force their way past every witness of every Christian, at home, at work and play, in the neighborhood and on TV. , as well as the inner voice of conviction and plain, good old common sense... and Ignore the bible and every end time sign all around them. But amazingly, millions will succeed in making it to hell in spite of all that!
There will be as many very surprised individuals in Hell, as there will be some shock and awe in heaven I'm sure!
Thomas Buxton.... Sin sneaks up on people; it begins like cobwebs on
the concience and ends up as iron chains upon the soul".
Leo Tolstoy..... To sin is a human propensity, to justify sin is the
devil's main business".
Ignatius.....It is impossible for a man to be freed from the habits
of sin, until he hates it badly enough".
We not only need to kick out the sin, (KICK, KICK, KICK IT) but we need to replace it with something better!
Paul gives us a formula to help us avoid being the victim of Satan's Trojan Horses.
Romans 13:14 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no
Provision and no place for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof”.
Paul tells us here that to win in the long run, we must deal with many embedded life patterns... and that the patterns of the sinful nature must be replaced with the fruit of the Spirit...
It's like losing weight, the problem is not the weight, the problem is between our two ears….it’s about our nutrition intake and our level of activity. We can take away the weight and not replace it with good nutrition and exercise, and we become caught in an endless cycle of failure and discouraging outcomes with little or no lasting results.
Jesus taught the people this principal of cleansing and replacing negative life patterns…..
Matthew 12:43 "What happens when an evil spirit comes out of a man? It goes through barren areas looking for a place to rest. But it doesn't find it. v.44 Then it says, 'I will return to the place I left.' When it arrives there, it finds the place empty. It has been swept clean and put in order. v.45 Then the evil spirit goes and takes with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and live there. That man is worse off than before".
SO, Get real, don't set goals that are unreasonable or not in your area of passion or ability….(a frog will never be able to sing in the church choir) but he might be a hop, a leap and a jump ahead in other things.....
Have your priorities clear, (you should finish high school before you can get to college, you need to finish your bachelor's before you can earn a master's degree, in other words it’s about putting first things first) You can’t add 1 and 3 and get 5! (or your math is messed up as well as your priorities)
Get connected, and get disconnected (there are folks that will pull you down and folks that will pick you up, it doesn't make them good or bad.. they just aren't going where you're going, and they’ll take you where you never planned to go) Keep God first and let everything and everyone else fit around that!
I want us to look quickly at The Danger of Compartmentalizing
What made the Trojan Horse so effective was it's secret compartment. It was there that the Greek soldiers hid undetected, so at the right moment they could come out and destroy the entire city. It's agenda is to bring you down, cause you to settle for less than God planned and make you miss your destiny!
Daniel 2:22 “He reveals the deep and secret things: He knows what is hidden in the darkness, for the light dwells in and with Him”.
But what's important today is to know with confidence that God still desires to use us greatly and powerfully! God's word puts it this way also....
Galatians 5:4 “You who are trying to justify the works of the flesh, have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. v.7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
V.9 A little yeast will work it's way through the whole batch of dough". If we could ask David….”Hey, David, if you could redo the Bathsheba, Uriah thing... what would you do?" (I'm sure he would answer "run the other way as fast as I could and find my wife")
If you could ask Jacob, the usurper and deceiver... “Jacob, if you could have do overs.. what would you do?”...(I'm sure he would answer "I'd run the other way and mind my own business")
How about it Samson... if you could have a replay.... what would you do?....(I'm sure he would answer "I would run the other way, take a cold shower and use some anti Delilah body spray ")
How often is it true that the thing we think we're controlling has actually began to control us!
The soccer team coach, called a young soccer player over, and said to him, do you understand that you are part of a team, and should do what makes the team the best that it can be? Do you understand?…Yes, replied the boy… Do you understand that when you don’t like a decision, or the call the referees make, you don’t cuss out the Ref, give the manager the finger, yell at your teammates and hit the opposing player with your fist? Do you understand that? Yes, I do, replied the boy… Well if you understand all that, would you go over there and explain it to your out of control father!!!
The Thessalonian formula for victorious Christian living, is found here in...1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always.
v.17 Pray without ceasing.
v.18 In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
v.19 Do not Quench the Spirit.
v.20 Do not Despise prophesyings.
v.21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
v.22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. (there it is)
After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept roaring, loud and long, until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral of the story……When you're full of bull, keep your mouth shut. Because you know something doesn’t mean you have to say it!
When you get over into the grey area of sin, you must do what Joseph did when Potiphar’s wife seduced him….Get a case of the Fleeees, Flee brother flee…nip it in the bud!
Kill the root and you destroy the fruit! Crush the eggs and you destroy the serpent, while it is still just the appearance of evil…. Cause you don’t want to have to deal with a full grown, angry viper, that wants to get a piece of you and eat your lunch!!!!
We and only we, have been put in charge of the fruit that's growing on our tree. How often is it that we attack the symptoms and never touch the source, and that's the roots…White wash doesn’t affect what’s systemic!
These control spirits can control churches and stifle praise and worship. It can intimidate the people and bring a heavy oppressiveness over the entire congregation…..Don’t let Jezebel in! Praise God even louder!!!
The real target of Satan's Trojan Horse.... IS THE CALL OF GOD ON YOUR LIFE and destiny...He wants to stop what God has begun…
He's actually afraid of what will happen if you decide you will honor that call from heaven that is on you. That you will realize the power and authority you can have over him! That you will realize that you don't have to put up with his works and lies and manipulation and destruction! He fears the you that God created you to be!
I want to share a prophecy that I came across by Pastor Shane Wall, that is for you in this place in your journey.
" There are fresh things that will be coming into your lives, into your relationships, into your families, into your homes. Even fresh anointings will come. Fresh impartations will occur. There are some things that were, wonderful blessed things, that were in your lives, that were once alive, and vibrant, but they kind of, went to sleep.
They're not gone, just sleeping, and God’s going to wake them up. It’s going to be renewed in you in this time. Some of you have wonderful, greatness in your lives, but the devils aren’t afraid. They don't take notice because the giant is asleep. The giant is no threat, because it's dormant. The giant is hibernating, but God is going to wake up the giant that’s within you, wake up, get up, and rise up!"
When the prodigal returned to the Father. He was back in the Father's care and provision. He was safe, he was now where he was meant to be.
He was given authority, a place with the father, a renewed sense of purpose and vision. The weight of his actions began to heal and allow restoration to take place... Today, The Father is calling…let Him restore you, heal you, bring back to His first love in your life!
All heaven is waiting for you to be all that God created you to be!
Everything God created longs for and looks forward to the time when his children will appear in their full and final glory.
We must understand that in God’s garden, it is the pruned trees that bear the most fruit… for they have found their true source of strength, and inspiration, and life, in Him through submission and obedience….He is their well spring and the fountain of their joy!!!
Would you join me in a Prayer and confession of agreement, today?.....
Bless the Lord, O my soul, with all that is within me. I Bless Your holy name! I bind my soul to Your higher call and design, as I surrender to Your Kingdom purposes. I bind myself to the destiny that You have made possible for me through covenant relationship in Christ, a new spiritual family heritage, and a new bloodline.
I loose (smash, destroy, and rip apart) the wrong beliefs, wrong attitudes, and wrong patterns of thinking that have come to try to control my life. I loose all denial, deception, and discouragement from me. I loose the influences and effects of any deception that I have perceived as "truth". I loose the influences and effects of agreements and ungodly imaginations that I have given power.
I have been created by God to translate His revelation and understanding to the hurting and needy of this world. I delight in what God has in store for me. Through a renewed mind, healed emotions, and the courage of a surrendered will, I release and bring forth new motivation, new direction and new understanding. I cooperate with my regenerated, redeemed spirit.
I speak to my mind, that it receive divine intervention on a constant basis in the problems I could never solve --but now God is working out and arranging them, even while I am asleep. I speak to my emotions, You will no longer rule me with feelings of rejection, betrayal, and loneliness. You will now receive divine peace, embrace joy and hope, and respond to the Holy Spirit's renewing power when old, negative feelings try to rule me.
I speak to my will.... you will no longer be rigid and unrelenting in your stubbornness, for you have been unrepentant, unbending, unyielding, and uncooperative. You caused much grief with your stubbornness and rebellion to God's ways. But you will open up and learn how to be strong, yet flexible; to be right, yet approachable; to be bold, yet gentle; to be courageous, yet concerned for others. I allow the Holy Spirit to perfectly balance these strengths in me. I speak to my Soul, that you surrender the barricades and obstacles you have erected over the deepest, darkest compartments within me.
I loose the self-denial, the self protectiveness, the self-defense, and the self-centeredness protecting my vulnerabilities that are in need of God's grace. I loose the lies and all guilt you have tormented me with over things that were not my fault. I loose the deceptions you have hammered me with and have used to cause me to come under your control.
Lord, may your truth always be the plumb line to balance my thoughts, feelings, and choices. I want your truth to be the standard of my spirit, the guiding light of my life, and the backbone of my soul. Bless the Lord, O my soul, with all that is within you. Forget not His benefits. With rejoicing and thanksgiving, I will hold fast to what the Lord has and is doing in me in Jesus' Name …..Amen
One of the tools that Satan uses so effectively against us is the tool of isolation. There are many times when we isolate ourselves from those who are in a position to help us because we do not know how to receive comfort or even worse, ask for help.
There can be a fear factor of being vulnerable (and or weak). We also isolate ourselves when we do not want other people to know our business. We may not want to admit we’re doing it wrong, or thinking incorrectly, so we just go forth with wrong thinking and then our children carry the wrong thinking into the next generation.
When we place ourselves in isolation, Satan wins and we perpetuate the error. God always has someone out there to share His word, His wisdom and His comfort with us just as we are to be sharing that same comfort with others.
Paul the apostle shared words of comfort with the church concerning death, because there were many who were trying to bring believers under the bondage of the law, which always promotes fear, or error which produces insecurity and uncertainty.
First Thessalonians 4:15-18 “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. (the appearance of Christ) And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words”.
What a comfort it is that scripture lets us know that those who believe in Christ now, will not go through the tribulation period of judgment which is coming upon the earth. 1Thesselonians 5:9 “For God has not appointed us to wrath (judgment), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, v11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do” .
Since Jesus took our judgment when He died a substitutionary death, and His atonement was accepted of the Father, we do not have to fear judgment, but rejoice and look forward toward favor and blessing through the salvation we are provided as we believe upon and accept Him as our Savior.
There is great comfort in the truth, for the truth shall set us free from all the areas where we have uncertainty concerning what is beyond this life and the grave.
Paul also tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:7 “(We walk by faith, not by sight:) v8 We are confident, I say, and willing, for to be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord”.
This indicates that when we leave this body, we are transported in our glorified body, into the presence of the Lord. There is no mention of purgatory, a place somewhere in between, for those who have received Christ. Scripture is clear that Jesus relocated what once was “purgatory” and moved it to heaven, or paradise.
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore He has said, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. v9 (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth (pergatory)? v10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Another exciting scripture about this is found in Matthew 27:50 “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. v51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in half, from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks split. v52 And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, v53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many”.
These Old Testament saints, were residing in what was referred to by Christ as “Abraham’s Bosom”, which the Catholic church named purgatory. But Christ went into purgatory and presented His victory so those who were waiting for the fulfillment of their salvation, could be released.
Jesus shut down purgatory and moved it to heaven which Jesus referred to as Paradise. Luke 23:42 “And the thief said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into Your kingdom. v43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, today you shall be with me in paradise”.
So it is clear in this, that purgatory, where the righteous resided, before Jesus died and resurrected, is now in heaven, where all those in Christ will also be.
Luke 16:19 “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: v20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, v21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. v22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried v23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. v24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. v25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented. v26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great void fixed: so that they which would pass from here to you cannot; neither can they that are there pass to us”. Jesus Himself let’s us know that those who have gone into heaven, are not able to cross the great void to visit those on earth in any form. Anyone who claims to communicate with the dead, is calling Jesus a liar!
Some other words that are of great comfort to the believer are those scriptures that tell us what will be going on in heaven, while the 7 years of tribulation are going on in the earth, following the rapture of the believers. The first thing which is mentioned is the Judgment seat of Christ, where believers receive their rewards for their faithfulness while in this life.
Crowns will be given and all believers will be given positions in the coming kingdom. 2Timothy 2:11 “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him v12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him”.
Scripture indicates that we will be given rulership and that we will reign with Christ, first during the thousand year millennium, and after that, into eternity.
Romans 14:10 “But why do you judge your brother? or why do you put down your brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. v11 For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. v12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God”.
We must understand that this is not the Great White Throne of judgment, where those who never accepted Christ will appear to be judged, but this is where only believers will appear.
We also see the judgment seat referred to in 2Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing”.
Crowns speak of positions of authority and ruler-ship. 1Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that they which run in a race run all, but only one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. v25 And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we strive for an incorruptible crown”.
It is indicated that much of what we do here will not pass through with us to the other side, and it is compared to “passing through the fire” in 1 Corinthians 3:12 “Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or stubble v13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. v14 If any man's work abide which he has built upon, he shall receive a reward. v15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved, even as by fire”.
Having said all that, scripture also reveals another event which will be experienced by those in heaven, during the tribulation on earth. It is called the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”….The believers will attend a banquet prepared by Jesus and served by angels. Revelation 19:7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife (believers) has made herself ready. v8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. v9 And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God”.
We are told that at the end of the tribulation, the believers will return with Christ as He sets up his rule upon the earth, for a thousand years. I believe that we can get insight about how the rewards we receive will determine our status in the millennium, by reading Luke 19:17.
“And he said unto him, Well done good servant, because you have been faithful in a what you have been given, you shall have authority over ten cities. v18 And the second came, saying, Lord, I have doubled what you gave me. v19 And the Lord said unto him, You shall have authority over five cities”.
During the Millennial reign, every person who is in a position of authority on planet earth will be a person who has received a resurrected, glorified body and we'll be reigning over those who passed through the tribulation and still have fleshly bodies. So, every mayor, every governor, every president, king, and all those in positions of authority, will be those of us in glorified bodies.
Then you also must add to that from Matthew 6:20, where Jesus talked about laying up our treasures in Heaven. So that means we will have different degrees of treasure. Then, In 1 Timothy 6, Paul is exhorting those who are rich in this world to be generous and to be rich in good works so that they may lay up treasures in Heaven which is a firm foundation for the coming age.
So, we've got those in Heaven, who are going to have different crowns. They've got perhaps different ways that the glory of God is revealed through them. They've got different authority that's been given to them, which has been delegated to them by the Lord Jesus Christ, based on their faithfulness in this world in serving Him. So, not everyone is going to be the same in Heaven. There's going to be distinctions in position, authority and wealth among us.
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. v12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. v13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. v14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean…..v19 And I saw the beast (anti-Christ), and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. v20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone”.
Another scripture which describes this Millennial period of peace, where Satan is bound and unable to interfere in the affairs of earth for 1000 years is found in Revelation 20:1 “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. v2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, v3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. v4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years”.
This battle at the end of the 7 years of tribulation is referred to as the battle of Armageddon. After this period of 1000 years of peace, when Satan is loosed for a short period, he is ultimately defeated at the battle of Gog and Magog. We are then allowed to view something else which will take place at this time. It is referred to as the second resurrection, when those who died before and during the tribulation without accepting Christ as their savior now are summoned before Jesus, who is now their judge.
Revelation 20:5 “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. v6 Blessed and holy is he that is part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power”…
Revelation 20:11 “And I saw a great white throne, and He that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. v12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. v13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. v14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. v15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.
It is at this point in Bible history, that the earth and heavens are renovated by fire….2 Peter 3:11.. “And the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. v11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, v12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? v13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness”.
We can also see further in Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. v2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride (believers) adorned for her husband. v3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God".
The “New Jerusalem” will hover over the earth above the location of present day Jerusalem….Revelation 21:16 Gives us the measurements of the New Jerusalem….The city is laid out as a square. Its length is as great as its breadth. “And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal”.
In modern english, the city is 1363 miles in length, and in width and in hight. If there was one floor per mile, there would 1,363 floors, with each floor having 1.8 million square miles of space, the total space would be 2.5 billion square miles. If there were 20 billion souls in the city, each person would have about 10 acres of space with one mile of vertical space above, not including room for parks and streets.
Again, the division of space in this city is based on the numbers given by John. Revelation 22: 5 tells us that there shall be no night there, and they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.
Isaiah 35:8 “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness….v10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away”.
At this point the thing that came into the earth as a result of the curse, which has stalked mankind for thousands of years and been a constant reminder of the moment when sin entered the earth is finally dealt with. The thing that has pressured our lives, set up dead lines for us to meet, made us late for all those appointments, bound us to a clock and measured the span of our existence, shall be done away with and God who created it, shall simply eliminate it, since it will no longer be needed.
Revelation 10:6 “And he swore by Him that lives for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that are therein, and the earth, and the things that are therein, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer”.
Eternity will officially now begin, since there will no longer be the measuring of time as well as the measure of space. God will take the limits off of our existence as the universe welcomes us.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him”.
1 Corinthians 6:2 says “Do you not know that the saints will judge the world system, and if the world system is being judged by you, are you unworthy to judge lesser matters”?
The word “world” which is used here, is “cosmos” and means “the orderly system” or universe. There is an indication that in the new heaven and earth, more than this planet is being referred to as part of the “orderly system”….
Romans 8:32: "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
Hebrews 1:3: "He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power."
In conclusion, we as believers in Christ, can look forward to an inheritance from the creator of all things, and that extends out to all that the creator has created. Given that Paul is the only biblical author to use the phrase, “New Creation” and the phrase occurs in two climactic texts of his letters (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), let’s first consider the scope of Paul’s vision for the new creation.
Specifically, what was “old” and what has now become “new”? Also, what does Paul imply with the phrase “new creation”? This will provide a framework to elaborate on Paul’s vision for us today, who live as new creations in the twenty-first century. Does Paul limit the scope of new creation to individual persons, or is Paul’s use of the phrase “new creation” primarily about something more going on here?
2 Corinthians 5:16–17 reads: “So if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” - In a sense, a person who comes to faith in Christ is now experientially and fully participating in Isaiah’s grand vision for a renewal of cosmic proportions. –
Paul is describing the community of believers who live within the dawn of a new reality. New creation people must know what time it is. In Christ, we literally live in a new time zone. New creation means living as a new inclusive community of God. New creation means living in the freedom of the Spirit rather than being entrapped by legalism; and New creation means being recreated and transformed into the image of Christ. –
Paul’s writing about the church is his conviction that Christ had inaugurated an entirely new age within the old. This shift is directly linked to his understanding that the people of God were to radically transform all of history as God’s purposes are now manifest in a new age on the earth.
A self -fulfilling prophecy is a prediction declared as truth when it is actually false and may sufficiently influence people, either through fear or confusion of the facts, so that their reactions ultimately fulfill the once-false prediction, causing it to come to pass. In other words it is a belief in something, so much that we cause an impression that is not true, to come true by our expectations, beliefs and attitude. Someone has said that our past has formed us, but it does not determine us. What determines us, is what we think of ourselves. I used to think that people whine and complain because they have so many problems… now I realize that people have so many problems because they whine and complain!
A man was sleeping soundly when his wife shook him and said, “Wake up, someone is breaking in the house!” The man had gone through this same scenario many nights of his marriage, and he knew that the only way he would get any rest was to get up and go check it out. This time, however, he found that there really was a man with a gun who entered to rob the house! As the thief was about to flee the man said, “Stop! Please don’t go yet….Would You please come with me and meet my wife. Surprised, the thief turned around abruptly and said, “Why would you want me to meet your wife?” The man replied, “You might as well meet her, She’s been keeping me up, expecting you for 20 years.” If our expectations are messed up, they eventually will show up!
Great comfort comes to us as we enter God’s new creation thinking and let go of all the religious bondage and obligation. Here are 10 errors that when corrected, bring a great sense of peace, comfort and joy into our lives.
(1) I’M JUST A SINNER SAVED BY GRACE….Some of us grew up hearing frequently in church that we are sinners saved by grace. In one sense this is true… but the problem is we still identify with the past rather than the logical conclusion. A sinner saved by grace is by definition no longer a sinner. We are saints. We have been made righteous. We must identify with the new nature, not keep dragging around the old.
(2) GOD CREATED US TO WORSHIP HIM…We are often told that we were created to worship God. But that’s not all that accurate really. Believing that creates a very warped image of God. Is God so insecure that He needed to create us to worship Him. God did not create man to have more beings worshiping Him… He is all sufficient in and of Himself. In fact, even if we didn’t worship Him the rocks would cry out. Rather, God created us to enjoy relationship with Him! It is in that place we will worship Him. We were made to be in relationship with God. Worship is a byproduct of that.
(3) I HAVE TO TRY HARD TO LOVE GOD…Have you ever read the “greatest commandment” and felt good about yourself? Reading “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” rarely makes you feel encouraged about the degree to which you love God! The truth of course is that Jesus was not giving us a rule to follow. No, He was summing up the law and showing us that we couldn’t love God in our own strength. It is God’s love that allows us to love Him. Our job is not to love God more but to receive His love more. As we focus on God’s love for us our love for Him will grow as a result.
(4) I HAVE TO BECOME MORE HOLY… What a funny notion it is to “become more holy”. Holiness by very definition is an either/or thing. You are either holy or you are unholy. So where do we get the idea that we can become more holy, if only God can make us holy? Of course, as we study the scriptures we discover that we are holy! God has made us holy in Christ. Sure there is an outworking of that in our lives, as we discover it. But we don’t become more holy rather we continue to discover our holiness, produced because of God’s Spirit within! In that place God will transform our lives and bring forth more good fruit.
(5) IT’S MY JOB TO CHANGE PEOPLE’S ACTIONS…..This might really be some disappointing news to you… but we can’t change people. God changes people. Not only that but it’s not our job to change people. Discipling people is not a process of getting them to clean up their act and stop sinning. Discipling is the process of helping people connect with God and allow His spirit to get on the inside and renew their minds to the truth about who God is and who they are in Him. In that place, sure, they’ll stop sinning, but it is God who does the work… not you. Let Him be the Messiah.
(6) THE WORLD IS GOING TO GET WORSE AND WORSE BEFORE JESUS RETURNS… This would be funny, if it wasn’t so prevalent and damaging to the body of Christ and the world around us! The church today seems to be hell bent (no pun intended) on seeing the world “go to hell”. The stats are in and no matter what folks might say the world is unanimous… things are getting better in every area of life. There has never been a better time to be alive on the Earth than today. People often complain about “the world these days” and if we asked them… when exactly would you prefer to live? The question speaks for itself… the past really sucked in comparison to today and few people would be signing up for a one-way ticket to 1600AD :) For a Christian, His kingdom has no end, and we are part of an eternal kingdom which is not subject to the conditions of the world. Sin is sin, and still needs a Savior, as it always has.
(7) THINKING EVERYONE SHOULD AGREE WITH YOU….If you are the type of person that can’t be around people who disagree you are going to have a bad time. In fact, you are probably already having a bad time. There isn’t a person on the planet you will agree with 100%. If you know of such a person you just haven’t gotten to know them well enough yet! Doing life with those who disagree with us is inevitable, we can’t avoid it so we should learn to do it! Also, you need to embrace differing opinions as a good thing. It is in relationship with different people that we are sharpened, we learn new things, discover our blind-spots and help others discover theirs.
(8) THINKING YOU NEED TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS…I don’t know about you but I still have my moments. Learning to be humble, teachable and say “I don’t know” is a huge life skill to learn. It helps us grow, connects us with people on a more meaningful level (nobody likes a know-it-all) A huge amount of bad theology was born because someone wasn’t willing to say “I don’t know”. This causes us to have to come up with the best thing we can think of at the time. Learning to say – “I don’t know about that. What do you think?” is one of the biggest steps towards maturity you can take. As Socrates said – “When I was young, I knew everything but now the longer I live, the less I realize I know.” Learn to be humble and admit we don’t have all the answers. Peace comes from leaning on His understanding, not ours and listening to others.
(9) BELIEVING THAT YOUR SIN SOMEHOW CAUSES GOD TO SEPARATE FROM YOU….Few things are more stupid than believing God can’t handle your sin. I mean, that would make God a very little God! If Jesus taught us anything it was that God has no problem being around sinners. He chooses to love them where they are, amidst all their faults and failures. We most certainly don’t want to have sin in our lives. We have been made righteous, and our nature in Christ is to produce righteous fruit. So don’t think I’m saying that it’s good to sin, or that we should turn a blind eye to it. However, in our lives, if and when it occurs we need to know that it in no way separates us from God. We have to learn to trust that God is bigger than sin and fully dealt with it on the cross. Our task is to love Him, remain sensitive to His presence and have a humble, open spirit to Him and His love for us.
(10) THINKING GOD WILL PUNISH YOU IF YOU DON’T TITHE AND GIVE….The amount of people who think that they will come under a curse if they don’t give 10% to their local church every week scares me! Christ became a curse so that we could be delivered from the curse completely! We are blessed in Him and as it says in Numbers – “What God has blessed no man can curse”. Here’s the deal, we are Christians, we are in God’s image and likeness… of course we want to give. But God does not want us to give under compulsion, or simply out of obligation! And we certainly should not give because we might be cursed if we don’t! He wants us to give freely and generously because we are givers by nature and He enjoys blessing us.
Let’s be careful that giving is not an area where we allow Satan to bring us back into bondage. If someone puts you in bondage about giving, you should probably question their motives. “God loves a cheerful giver”, because He loves to see us blessed. It is as we give out of our love for Him, that the rewards and blessings that are promised in God’s word, come to us. And yet, all over the world, church leaders are telling their beaten up congregations that they will be cursed if they don’t conduct their finances in a certain way.
What are some things you have thought in your Christian life which have turned out to be toxic in the long run, and have taken away your peace and robbed you of your joy? Are there any of the ones above you need to rethink? Are there some that may not have been mentioned here, but they have put a question mark where your confidence in Christ should have been? God’s word should bring comfort, confidence and spiritual stability!
Negative attitudes and life patterns, may start small, but can quickly take over and strangle the life out of everything. It reaches the place that it seems futile and useless to make the change! But, the Holy Spirit within us is an awesome revealer, motivator, and agent of change. He guarantees that we will be well reward for every effort in breaking the destructive patterns of our lives, that have been set in motion.
Romans 12:1 “I encourage you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your total being, as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. v2 And do not be shaped and formed by this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.
He invites all people to set their watches and their thinking according to His kingdom time zone and the influence of His kingdom upon and within the kingdoms of this world.
Paul expresses this in 2 Corinthians 6:2 “See, now is the acceptable time, see, now is the day of salvation!”
Paul tells us that God’s new world overcomes the old creation by a new creation life style….which he calls the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” He refers to these characteristics as the image of the invisible God who was not just present at creation but is active everywhere in it even now.
He is the firstborn in it, and the head of it, this corporate worldwide body which is the physical expression of Himself. To all believers everywhere, we now live within the “already” and “not yet” of the new creation. In the midst of this present reality, in and through Christ, God has established the church as those who are new creations, for a new day, who have been, and are continually being transformed, by the image of Christ.
The Spirit of Christ molds us and compels us to live as witnesses to the hope of the present and yet, a more fully to be revealed new day. The church is called to be the transforming light of Christ to a world that desperately needs good news, and a message of comfort, hope and joy!
This is certainly what the wives, mothers and family members of Peter, Andrew, James and John must have heard, at the end of their day on the water! Fish stories abound in the bible, even Jesus had a couple of good fish stories!. Some of the major players in the Gospel story, were fishermen.
Today’s scripture, started out as just another day of fishing, since these men made their living by fishing, or more accurately, by catching! Peter and his friends were using a fishing net, not a rod, reel, and line …. But what happened on their day of fishing, went far beyond making a living on the waters of Galilee. I’m right with these guys, I enjoy catching trips, far more than fishing trips!
Today we will focus our attention on Luke 5:1 “And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, (or Galilee) v:2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. v3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
v4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. v5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. v6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes, so that their net broke.v7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink".
Let’s begin with Simon’s answer to the Lord, when He interrupted their net cleaning and mending session, as they probably wondered how the bills would get paid, and the payroll would be met, since they had caught nothing at all…He said "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything”.... I had someone say to me the other day… “I think I’ve lost my get up and go. It got up, looked around, said “seriously?” and laid back down”!
Oh blessed perseverance! They had fished all night without anything to show for their time, effort, investment and preparations. They were calling it quits till another day. But Jesus interrupted their discouragement, feelings of failure and questioning if they should just find something else to do to make a living….and He encouraged them to make one more cast of the nets.
I think of Moses, who had resigned himself to being a wilderness shepherd of someone else’s sheep after leaving the pomp and luxury of Egypt. His shepherd’s staff was beginning to define him, and he was settling into a roll that he was never intended to become except on a temporary basis. Just as Moses was interrupted in his state of frustrated resignation by the voice of God, so likewise, the fishermen were interrupted by the living word made flesh, that would change their lives forever!
God always has a lot more in mind for us, than we could possibly see, know or understand, when He interrupts our lives….but so often what gets us to that place is good old fashioned perseverance.
My adopted mom, prayed for 48 years, that her atheist husband Bill, would be saved, before cancer finally brought him to a place where he realized he was not ready to go into eternity without Christ. It was like banging on a wall, until Jesus tore down the wall…
There are times, when you’re pushing against a wall, that the amount of force you use to push, is never greater than the amount of force from the wall that is pushing back against you. In order for that wall to fall down, Jesus steps up beside you, to push so hard that the structure of the wall can no longer resist the force against it and IT MUST GIVE WAY!
We all love the suddenlies but when they don’t happen, we have to often be willing to persevere over a lifetime in “walking the walk” and “talking the talk” in a Christ-like way, before we see some of our family and friends come into the kingdom. But isn’t it worth it, to be with them in heaven for all eternity, instead of being eternally separated!
Perseverance is needed when we see no results at all, because we are often chumming the waters so that others may be part of bringing in the harvest. One sows another waters and we all rejoice in the harvest. Don’t give up. God gets the glory.
In Luke 5:5 They said "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But nevertheless, because you say so, we will let down the nets."
The benefits of some things are only truly seen once the transformation has occurred. The benefits of change are often only obvious after the change has occurred. An alcoholic only truly understands the benefits of sobriety when he becomes sober. In fact, as my golf game painfully reveals, usually things get worse before they get better. Only hindsight is 20/20, and that is why we so often hear someone exclaim, “If I knew then what I know now I would’ve changed years ago.”
We have all heard the definition of insanity….. It is to do the same thing over and over and expect the results to be different. It’s referring to those who ignore the options and insist on doing the same old, same old.
The control tower at the Honolulu airport, received the following message…Pilot to tower . . . pilot to tower . . . I am 300 miles from land . . 600 feet over the water approaching the Island. . . and running out of fuel . . .please instruct! After doing some map checking and traffic flow evaluations, the Controller responded….Tower to pilot . . . tower to pilot . . .please repeat after me…. "Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name . . ."
We shouldn’t have to wait till every other option has failed, before we turn to the Lord and ask for direction…..
Jesus is waiting to bring new direction and a better outcome, but He lets us come to the place where we have run out of options before we’re willing to say “Nevertheless”….
John C. Maxwell gives us this list in order to avoid coming to that place where we have run out of options….
(1) Make a commitment to keep growing daily.
(2) Value the process of change more than events of change.
(3) Don't wait for inspiration in order to try something different.
(4) Be willing to sacrifice pleasure in order to seize opportunity.
(5) Have a dream that is bigger than where you are.
(6) Don’t neglect your current priorities as you follow your dream.
(7) There will come a time where you must give up so you can go further.”
You can always tell the depth of a Christian by what it takes to frustrate them and you can tell the level of commitment for any Christian by what it takes to stop them!!
If we wait till the risk is gone and all the conditions are just right, we will never try anything… Peter’s response to Jesus is a “Nevertheless”….
“Nevertheless” is a powerful transitional statement….and can release new direction, new ideas, and new opportunities into a situation. The power of “Nevertheless” is the dynamic of surrender. Not my will but thine be done, Oh Lord!
God uses people that fail because there really aren’t any other kind to use!
“Nevertheless” puts a bridle on fear, doubt and double mindedness and gives momentum to faith and hope by giving it the muscle and the true grit to put the peddle to the metal and move forward with new commitment.
When you hear the call to follow Jesus, as you get ready to start out, believe me friend, out of the blue, a family situation will come up, distractions will happen, your body and mind will suddenly become your enemy, pressure will always come to for you to do something else, and every roadblock that you can imagine will show up! Well, that should tell you something…..The devil doesn’t like it when we The time for a deeper level of commitment and involvement had now come.
Luke 5: 11 “Jesus said unto Simon, "Fear not, follow Me and from this time forth, you shall catch men”. God’s timing in your life is perfect, regardless of how it may seem…the place He chooses is the right place although it may not look like the right place to you. He has already anticipated your fears, and all the things that would keep you from obedience, before you begin to list them to Him. He begins His conversation with "Fear Not"..... even before He says "Follow Me"....
Martin Luther, the agent God used in the "Great Reformation" was on his way to becoming a lawyer, when in July 1505, he had a Divine interruption which resulted in a life changing experience that set him on a new course. In this timely God encounter, the ship Luther was on, was caught in a horrific storm at sea that caused him to fear for his very life. Luther cried out to God and made a vow..."Save me, and I'll become a monk!" The rest is history.
We can choose to let things and circumstances, define us, destroy us, or deliver us!
In Jesus’ intervention there comes a claim upon our lives, and in that claim, is incorporated all we will have need of. The emphasis was and still is on “Follow Me” and not what we might do as a result. His claim on us is about what we can become as we follow Him and deepen our relationship with Him. Within every claim He makes on our lives, there are Spiritual principals which contain provisions and Divinely ordained outcomes!
1 Corinthians 7:23 “All of you, were once held hostage by sin. Then Christ paid a huge sum for your ransom. So don't, out of old habits, slip back into being or doing the way others influence you. v24 Friends, stay in your calling. Hold the high ground with Him at your side”.
In this miraculous catch of fish our Lord also graciously provided a psychological release from the occupation of fishing which they were dependent upon. And Peter and his partners were given an infusion of faith to overcome their nagging fears about commencing an entirely new career. They left the greatest catch of fish, they had seen in all their lives. But the size of the catch was not as important as what it showed them about Jesus and themselves.
Someone recently was talking with me about how they accepted the scriptural doctrine of being filled with the Spirit, but they had trouble with a lot of the folks who claimed to be filled with the Spirit. They just didn’t measure up. (now I’m not saying we’ll sprout wings, but we don’t have to get a lobotomy to be filled with the Spirit either)! I told them that being filled with the Spirit, was not just about our getting more of the Spirit, but the Spirit having more of us!
Jesus was letting the disciples know that you can be with the Lord and still not be with the Lord…. I find it interesting that Peter, James and John, of the ones named as fishermen here, are the inner three of the circle of disciples, those three were privileged to witness events which the other disciples were not present or privileged to see.
nThis to a large measure, was about choosing to be in the inner or the outer circles of relationship. We can be inner circle friends or outer circle friends. Someone asked me why some Christians are more used in visions, revelation, prophecy and dreams than other Christians. And my response is the difference in those who are wanting an inner circle relationship and those who are satisfied with an outer circle relationship. Jesus had the 70, then there were the 12, and then there were the 3….
It doesn’t mean that God expects us all to operate in a certain way, like everyone else, but to be faithful wherever He calls us to be. It’s about the degree we are willing to follow Him and make ourselves available to Him. It’s about being conscious of what He’s doing and how
He’s moving in all that we are doing. In this corporate effort called “Body ministry”, each one who is called is called to their specific task.
Some cast the net; some row the boat. All are needed! And all contribute to “the catch.” We are asked to be willing to be open and flexible to the Lord as He leads us in different ways from the way we may have done it before. They worked as a team and even called on others to assist in bringing in the nets that were full. Everyone took part and everyone pulled together.
Jesus said “launch out into the deep”. Stop looking at what has happened and look at where the Lord is, in what is happening. Stop looking at the circumstances and follow Jesus in the circumstances. “Follow me”…. “Launch out into the deep”.
Peter tells us that (they had caught nothing) and Jesus was asking these fishermen to not let past failure stand in the way of present obedience and commitment.
By Peter’s answer, we see that he desires a deeper commitment, but he is struggling to sift and sort through his physical weariness and mental reasoning….. He is trying to find a balance between what has always been and what he knows deep inside the Lord is showing him how it can be….But they like ourselves, needed to learn that obedience to Jesus, cannot be based upon favorable or unfavorable circumstances, or allow circumstances to dictate their obedience.
We are tempted to be guided by our fears instead of what God has promised. The greatest obstacle that we face in life is our own fear. The fear of being inadequate, the fear of failure, the fear of looking foolish.
Ultimately it will probably mean very little if you do not overcome your fear of sky-diving, or feeding sharks or jumping motorcycles, but it is a tremendous loss if you do not overcome the fear of following Christ. What is fear keeping us from doing for God? “With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible”….. And out of Peter’s mouth comes both physical reality, the sum of all his fears, as well as his spiritual desire and longing for a far greater commitment to the Lord.
Peter says “we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” By his reply he communicates that he and his partners are longing to go deeper, but there are things that are pulling and holding them back and they need something that will let them know it’s OK to let go, and go deeper than they have ever gone before! WELL, THEY ARE AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME!
Launching out into the deeper water is scary and it is less familiar but it’s where God’s deeper water blessings are to be found. If doing things your own way has left your nets empty, the Lord is speaking through your emptiness that it’s time to give God’s way a try, even if you don’t understand where, why or how it’s all going to work out.
The scriptures tell us that when the nets are brought in as Jesus commanded, they were so full that they had to call other boats to help because the catch was so large. Upon seeing this, Peter can’t fight the deeper call any longer, and he falls at Jesus feet. Listen to his words as he falls on his face before the Lord……
Luke 5:8 “When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. v9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him…”
We will find that the closer we get to the Lord, the worse we will look. We might look pretty good when compared to the world around us, we may even look good compared to our friends and family, or others in the church…. But when we begin to truly see Christ and come close to His Holiness, His Glory and His power, we like Peter can only fall at His feet in humble contrition and surrender. Prepare to look your worse, in order to become your best.
It is said that either sin will keep you from God, or God will keep you from sin. When we lift Him up, he will lift us up…. When we give due honor and reverence to Him, He will bring honor to us. The Lord says to those who honor Him..
Psalm 91:14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high, because he has known My name. v15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. v16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him My salvation”.
Peter knelt before Jesus, with the inner revelation that in knowing Jesus he had finally found himself, accepted the call that was on his life, and realized that his life would never be the same again! We are told that everyone’s response was one of astonishment!
They were effected so deeply, that when they brought the boats to shore, they turned everything over to those who had worked with them, and followed Jesus. The important element is that the call to walk with Jesus takes priority, so that we are prepared to be whatever or wherever or whoever God calls us to be no matter what we are doing or where we are doing it. Whether our base for reaching and transforming lives is our home, our job, our neighborhood, the beach or city park, it is the same call….to be fishers of men, transforming lives with the net of the gospel message and the reality of God’s power.
I am reminded of the farmer who told his pastor that he had a vision, and in the vision he saw a huge billboard flashing, with the letters, “P.C.” He said that it meant “Preach Christ” and he was going to sell the farm and buy a tent and be a traveling evangelist. The pastor tried to reason with him, but he was determined. After dismal failure, he returned to the pastor, unable to understand how he could have been so wrong. The pastor said, I tried to tell you, the “P.C.” you saw, meant, “Plant Corn”…
Decisions which are good ones, which are lasting ones, are those made slowly, prayerfully, and deliberately. May each of us thoughtfully consider what it means for us to be followers of Jesus Christ. There are many voices…. the flesh, the world and the devil also speak and try to get us discouraged, doubtful and defeated. But we must try the spirits, so that we can be assured that it is the Lord who is speaking to us. By two or three witnesses everything shall be established. Don’t just listen to those who will say what you want to hear, but seek those who are proven and have wisdom and maturity in the things of God.
God loves overflow….He loves those who passionately and energetically seek after Him, who aren’t satisfied until they have an overflowing experience. Just enough won’t do for them, just barely full won’t do for them.
I was at the gas station one day. A man beside me was also getting gas for his car. His pump clicked off as I was just starting to fill mine. He put in another little bit until it clicked off again. I stood there filling my tank and the whole time he was over at his car trying to get in one more drop with each click. I didn’t ask if his name was Peter. But it probably was because he definitely was going for overflow!!!!
We’ve all known Peter-type people. They are never content to just be spectators, they have to get in the middle of the action…Jesus likes those type of folks. Like Peter, they get all they can out of life. They put their all into everything they do.
So, don’t be wishing instead of fishing….And as a church we are not running a catch and release operation. We are a catch and transform operation. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Jesus wasn’t on the shores of Galilee to catch fish, He was there to catch fishermen who would catch and transform the lives of men and women. He knew that He would actually bring in more fish if He could just enlist enough fishermen that were all about catching instead of getting a sun tan.
My appeal to all of us together today, is Launch out into the deep for Jesus. Open your bible with a friend, bring someone with you to bible study and church service, serve, care, give, pray….launch out into an area you haven’t tried dropping the net yet.
The boat is the vision and will of God…”Not my will but thine be done” The wind which fills the sails and moves us forward is the Holy Spirit… The net is the word of God, we are to “Preach the WORD...” and cast the net….Let us be Listening, that we may obey the Lord’s leading, as we cast the net. We are to remain flexible and willing to cast the net “on the other side” as the Lord directs.
Today, as surely as He called the fishermen centuries ago, He is calling us again, to renew our first calling, to life that will be greater than we have ever known, to our larger destiny. He is inviting us once again to join Him in a powerful mission to a lost world and to transform our world, one life at a time!
In closing, let’s conclude with our personal confession in agreement..
Lord, we receive the power from above to fulfill our divine assignment this year, in the name of Jesus. Lord, let Your healing, creative, restoring power, flow into every area that has to do with growth, increase, wholeness and reproduction. Let great deliverance and clear direction begin to take place in our lives now, as we take back everything the enemy has stolen in Jesus’ name. Anything programed into our lives to block, hinder and stop increase, growth and reproduction, be dismantled and expire today in Jesus name.
We break every curse of failure, and release the spirit of illumination and revelation to show forth and release the favor which grace brings and Your love provides. We tear down and dismantle every roadblock to our breakthrough, as the arm of the Lord, arises in our behalf. We claim unexpected income, sickness healed, deliverance realized, and the joy and freedom of the Lord, enjoyed and embraced.
Lord, correct any disorder and any dysfunction, so that every cycle of lack, debt, insufficiency, and failure in our lives, be broken away from us in the name of Jesus. Our labor shall not be profitless and every evil force working against our abilities, talents, skills, and gifts, be paralyzed and rendered powerless. We bring down and destroy every stronghold that is keeping back and hindering our blessings from coming to us and keeping back our properties and resources in Jesus name.
We take possession and claim ownership to every God given promise, and declare that every satanic instrument, connection, transaction or contract used against us be completely disorganized, canceled and destroyed, in Jesus name. We declare breakthrough concerning growth, increase and success, today in the name of Jesus. We declare that there shall be breakthrough concerning freedom and deliverance in the name of Jesus. We declare that we shall be equipped, enabled, and prepared, in Jesus name.
We dismiss and cancel out every thought, image, picture and thought of failure. We declare that there shall be no barrenness in our lives and that we are productive, and increased, in Jesus name. We cast out, evict and terminate every spirit of death, that the life of Christ may rule and reign supreme.
Let every good thing devoured by the enemy be returned 40, 60 and 100 fold, now, in the name of Jesus. Let that which hinders us from the greatness You have planned for us, begin to give way now, in the mighty name of Jesus. Let all imprisoned, misguided and misused potential begin to blossom, and come forth now, in the name of Jesus. We dismantle every assignment against our homes and rip out every board and nail that Satan has tried to insert, that our children and their children to ten generations shall be free from the curse.
We declare that the garments of reproach are removed, so that favor and honor may come. We declare that we shall no longer sow but not reap the harvest in the name of Jesus. We declare that we shall no longer reap but not enjoy the fruits of our labor, in the name of Jesus.
We declare that we shall not be subject to the power of the emptier, in the mighty name of Jesus. We declare that we shall not be prey to the wasters and robbers of the harvest, in the name of Jesus.
We release ourselves from the bondage of leaky pockets, that allow the blessing to be lost, in the name of Jesus. We release ourselves from the power of slippery blessings, in the name of Jesus. Lord, grant unto us the power to retain, maintain and safely deliver the harvest, in Jesus name.
We declare that we are no longer the tail, but the head, no longer beneath, but above, for we take our rightful place as power changes hands in every area of our lives, and signs, wonders and miracles begin to abound. We receive your mandate to break the power of every curse and we thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving us the victory for your glory and honor. Amen!