Archive for the ‘Deception in the Church’ Category

GOVERNMENT OF GOD – His Government

May 2, 2009

Continuing in Isaiah 9:2 –

For you shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian.

Have we not discovered that the rod of this lesser realm is oppressive? We cannot accumulate enough of her goods to remove her oppression. God’s people in America are so oppressed, and trying to imitate a life that on the whole we have not possessed. And they are not convinced or impressed, that is, our neighbors and the world around us.

For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, and cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.

 Everything that has reigned over the children of God, everything, all of her garments and all of her shodding, will be burned. So why do we want to dress in their garments and wear their boots? It is His work, it is in His coming to set us free from this lesser realm.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders…

This child, this son, this meek lamb that’s coming, it’s with government, because the very thing that Adam and Eve lost and were in desperate need of is the reign of God in their heart, because they were made for the reign as the bird is made for the currents of the air and the fish for the flow of the stream. Man is made for God. We can’t even be normal. Man without God is a freak, a stumbling, babbling freak. And to the heavenlies, the principalities and powers, we are like a zoo or a sick circus side attraction trying to be what we can only be with the indwelling of the life for which we were created. I just encourage you to reach out and grasp, take hold of this offer of life, this other life for which we’ve been created.

And the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace.

These two things go together, by the way: removing of oppression and the establishment of peace. It’s His government.

Most of my Christian life I’ve been without peace. I’ve been the most vexed person. I know that that’s not right. I know that those of you who have had their heart on God, it’s not been with peace, has it? The church is not at peace. I get too many phone calls; I do too much counseling, and most of it I do not enjoy because there’s no heart for His reign. They just want to be free from the consequences of this oppression. They still like the world’s garments.

It’s like the children of Israel in the wilderness. You know, it was the Holy Spirit that led the children of Israel right into the wilderness instead of left into the plushness of the abundance of the Promised Land. But, you see, in the wilderness there was daily manna from God. They didn’t have to go out and work for food. It was laying there on the ground. Their shoes didn’t wear out. There was no sickness for forty years But they didn’t like God’s green. It was the world’s green that their heart was upon. It was the flesh pots of Egypt that their heart was upon. They weren’t satisfied with shoes that didn’t wear out, they were tired of patent leather, they were wanting what the Philistines were wearing. “Do you see what those Philistines are wearing? Boy, that’s cool!” They weren’t satisfied with God’s provision. They weren’t content. Is that too much?

We’ve got to see that God’s green is real green. You know, you can get so accustomed to a counterfeit that you can’t take the authentic. I would dare say most of you were raised on margarine and butter is not too palatable. Get the point?

Margarine is the counterfeit. It’s like butter, but they’ve come to the place where they don’t have to copy the taste of butter any more. I really like butter but I discovered that my children got used to margarine. You can get so use to a counterfeit green that you don’t want the real thing. But the real thing’s good. There’s peace with it and rest. Wouldn’t you like some rest from all of this hectic, striving?

It’s amazing what we will do with the truth.

END

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GOVERNMENT OF GOD – No Insignificant Land

April 24, 2009

Isaiah chapter 9. Here we have the birth and reign of the Prince of Peace again prophesied. Begin in verse 2.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; they will be glad in Your presence as with the gladness of harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 

They are happy because the King has come, the reign has come. And we read that, “You shall multiply the nation.” And I just want to say that we are the nation of God. Our land is the realm. Our land is no insignificant land; our kingdom, our nation is no insignificant nation. We have been called to be a people not of this lesser realm. We’ve been called out of this land of darkness, not removed. Jesus prayed in John 17, “Father, I pray that You do not take them out of but from the midst of it.” If we do not get this issue of the significance of the realm, the nation, the government to which we are called, we’re going to find our hands burned from holding on too tight to a lesser nation.

I’m speaking to you from the depth of my heart. If the church does not let go of, and I don’t mean by that to not pray for, not witness to, not go after to save, these lesser kingdoms, but if we do not let go of our ownership of that which is less, they have no hope, and we’re going to be severely burned when she’s judged. Because she shall be judged, this lesser kingdom and I believe it has begun. And by that I do not mean economic downturn. It is going to begin with us.

Judgment first begins with the household of God, the children of this exalted realm. They must first have removed from their life that which is not from God. That’s what judgment is all about. Only God judges and He only judges that which is not of Him. It is the world that persecutes. It is Satan and the world of darkness that comes against the children of God. And their persecution is always aimed at that which is of God. And because of our immaturity and our ignorance we’re going to be calling persecution what is really judgment, what is really intended to remove from us, to break from us, to tear out of our hands. And if we do not let go early, we will be injured in its removal. It’s necessary what is coming. It’s necessary.

And I encourage you to let go and take hold of the realm that can bring hope to the children of this lesser realm. Their only hope is in a people being raised up who know the reign of God in their heart. A people who are manifesting a life like Paul and Silas in that inner prison representing a life in the midst of what looks like physical bondage that’s free and above and reigns over all the circumstances of life. And they will not want to leave us once they see it. But if we’re holding on to that which God is judging we offer no hope to them. We’ve deceived them by our own selfish self-reigning ambitions.

THE OFFER OF THE KINGDOM – Provision for the Church

March 19, 2009

It is God’s provision. Faith is God’s provision. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s provision that delivers us from our own will that enables us to surrender our will to His will. And it is this surrender of both our reign and will that enables us to receive the offer of His reign in our heart.

And I’m convinced that many in the modern church have never made that transaction. I’m convinced that for many in what we know as the church there has never been that surrender because He’s not reigning. And His will is not coming forth in their lives. I believe the most fruitful mission field in the world is in the American church because I believe there are untold multitudes within the church that are hungry for reality and they’ve never heard about how to surrender their reign and their will and to receive His reign and His will into their heart. That’s why the Lord has led me to write this book, so that you can take this teaching back into the church and into your Sunday school classes and in your small groups and in your relationships. You can share the good news that God is offering us His reign and His will to our hearts. And it is not a demand – he has made provision by way of repentance and faith.

THE KEY PARABLE – Seed Sown Among Thorns

February 28, 2009

“Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up with it and choked them out, and it yielded no crop.”

This parable is not really talking about four soils; we’re talking about four different hearts, that’s the soil, we’ve seen that already. Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit is sowing the word of the reign of God on hearts. The heart that is too near the world is not going to receive or understand the word and it’s going to be immediately plucked away. You’ve brought people to church, haven’t you? And you were just hoping that the word would just connect and it didn’t. Their hearts were still too close to the world and the enemy immediately plucked it away.

And then there is this rocky ground. You know you’ve seen those who have received… I’ve seen family members receive it and now it is no where in their life now. It’s gone. Difficult times come. And difficult times are coming. If there is no depth of soil and no moisture to sustain a root system, if the word isn’t working within, the moisture of the word, the water of the word, and no depth of soil that will enable a root to go deep, that one will be lost.

Here we see the seed sown among the thorns, on thorny soil.

“Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up with it and choked them out, and it yielded no crop.”

The thorns came up with it. They were not there apparently when the seed was sown. If it were apparent when the seed was sown, many hearts would not have received it.

There are many who see the cost and just have no heart to pay the cost. They do not want to give up their drugs, their alcohol, their lifestyle, their wanting the best the world has to offer, their vocation, their future in the world. They see the cost and are not interested. They don’t receive the seed. They’re back beside the road. We are talking about lives that do not see the thorns when the seed is sown. The seed is received, but there are thorns that come up with it. That’s what it says; “the thorns came up with it…” They were not there to be seen at the beginning, but “the thorns came up with it and choked them out, and it yielded no crop.”

“And those on whom the seed was sown among the thorns are the ones who hear the word of the reign of God in the heart of man, and they go on their way and they are choked.”

It’s interesting that in these three texts you probably stumbled over this, this is difficult. You find two phrases, “they are choked,” and later, “and the word was choked,” the seed was choked; both are choked, and strangled is an accurate translation of the word “choked.”

And those on whom seed was sown among thorns are the ones who hear the word (of the Reign of God), and as they go on their way they are choked with the worries of the world, and the desires for other things.”

If that is not the American church, I don’t know what is. There is a reason the church in America is dying. There is a reason there are fewer churches this year, in the hundreds, than there were last year. And on the whole, almost without exception, the mega churches are seeing exponential growth, but this huge church growth boom is at the expense of hundreds and thousands of smaller churches. What’s happening is, we’re just moving around, finding that which appeals to us the most. There is some growth by conversion but it is very small. It does not keep up with those that leave the church every year. And that’s why the church in America is declining.

“They are choked with the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desire for other things.”

I wonder what “deceitfulness of riches” means? You hear some of the Gospel that has been preached over the last twenty years, a Gospel that would make a Hugh Hefner or Bill Gates a saint. If the riches of the world is the promise of God, billionaire Bill Gates is a saint. The prosperity that is promised in the Scriptures is everything we need, but it is not going to include the deceitfulness of riches, because riches are a deception. That’s why not many rich enter the kingdom. It is extremely hard for the rich to enter the kingdom because it has a deceit in it.

We think that somehow there is some security in having enough. That’s a lie. All we need is God. His checking account is more than adequate. It’s a deceit to think that we can manage it better; that’s what we are saying. It isn’t that God is looking for those in whom He can entrust great riches. I’ve known very few men who are able to give the bulk away.

When I was making it, and had a very substantial income back in the ‘60s and early ‘70s, I had four companies. I was an elder in the church, speaking and preaching several times a week, giving well over a tithe; but I wasted most of it. I wasted most of it. It is lost to the kingdom of God.

He is not looking for the tithe. He wants to reign over it all. And if you can’t hear that, you need to set some time aside to deal with this, because the enemy will use that against you. And you’ll have a hard time finding the reign of life. You’ll have a miserable Christian experience. You will always be short of reigning in life. Sin will plague you and the battle will just be non-stop. You might daily have victory over it but it will be a miserable victory. And most of you here know exactly what I am talking about, a miserable victory.

I know – reigning in life requires the reign of God. Those who receive an abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life (that word is basileia) in Christ Jesus. Well, it might not mean what I just said it meant, but it means something. You deal with it.

It reads just quite simply,

“and as they go on their way they are choked with the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things.”

The pleasures of this life enter in and choke the Word (of the reign of God), and they bring no fruit to maturity and yield no crop.

I’ll have to confess, in much of my earlier walk in Christ in leadership I did things differently. Somehow if two families came in and one family was struggling financially and was always in need and another family was financially secure and could really help out the cause, which family do you suppose I catered to more? No, John Brown wouldn’t do that.

Two men considered for the church board. Two men considered for the treasurer of the board. One is an accountant, the other is a farmer. Now, which one do you suppose we would choose? And, then I ask you, which one would spend more time praying over the management of the church funds?

This is the hour for the Gospel of the Kingdom to be preached in all the nations. It is not just happening in your heart, it is happening all over the earth. Everywhere I go now, I am hearing it, and I think that if you are listening, you are hearing it too. This Gospel of His Reign is going to raise up an army here in the states that love not their own lives, that love not their own lives even unto death, because they found the King and the realm of His reign within and it’s all that matters; nothing else matters. There isn’t a second in the picture.

“…and they bring no fruit to maturity and yield no crop.”

We have just looked at three kinds of soil. We’ve looked at three kinds of hearts that cannot understand the things of the kingdom, cannot receive it, will not find fruit in their lives. And all three you’ll find in the church.

THE KEY PARABLE – Seed Sown Beside the Road

February 19, 2009

Here is my commentary on the harmony of the Soil Beside the Road.

“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow his seed and as he sowed, some seed fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air came and ate it up.”

Now, here we are looking for those who have received a particular word, and you can’t read this particular segment without recognizing that in one of the texts it refers to the ‘word.’ In one of the Gospels the seed is the word, and in one of the other Gospels, it is the word of God, and in the third, it is the word of the kingdom. The mystery is, the seed that this sower is sowing is the word of God regarding the reign of God. It is the word about the kingdom. This word about the kingdom is a very broad word. It is referred to in the Gospels as the gospel of the kingdom, and good news about the reign of God. It is not just any word. It’s not just any word of God. It is the word concerning the reign. The parables have to do with Jesus sharing words concerning the reign of God in the lives of His disciples.

And you will not understand the power of this word of God, this word of the kingdom, this word of the reign; you will not understand how it is the power of God unto salvation unless you understand the mysteries. These things will only be understood by those who seek them out, those who search them out. “It is the glory of God to hide a matter; it is the glory of kings to search out a matter.”

We need to recognize we are a realm, a nation of priests and kings, referring to the text in 1 Peter and in Revelation. We are a kingdom, a realm of kings and priests, that’s who we are. We’ve been called to rule and reign with Christ, to share the reign. And, you will not understand how to enter into the fullness of that reign, you will not understand how that reign is going to work in your heart and in your life and you’ll not understand how to exercise the reign in sharing the reign with Christ and how to relate to Him as the head unless you understand these mysteries.

So, it is not just any word. A harmony of this particular seed thrown by the road makes it very clear it is a particular word; it is the word concerning the kingdom.

“Hear the parable of the sower. Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of the kingdom (the reign, realm, and people of the realm) of God.”

The word, the seed, is the word of the kingdom of God.

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom (reign of God)…”

Not just any word. But when anyone hears the word that the Spirit of God is putting out concerning the reign of God, “and does not understand it, immediately the evil one, Satan, the devil…” Now how is he referred to in the first part of the parable, this evil one, this Satan, this devil? It’s the bird!

There is a bird that is watching over what is coming into our life, and if Christ is trying to speak to us by His Spirit concerning the things of the kingdom, if it is not taken in, if it is not understood, there is a bird that will rob you and I of that word, quickly, immediately. So it is clear that you cannot understand the mysteries of God if you are not able to understand the word that He is sharing. If you are not in a place where you can receive the word, hear the word, understand the word, it is not going to lie around for a later date. We would like to believe that it is back here in the background and some day we’ll get a hold of it, but it will be taken from you and me if it is not planted where it can bear fruit.

Now where is this place where the seed is sown where it is not planted and can be stolen by the bird? It’s by the road! The Luke text adds this little phrase, “and it was trampled under foot.”

Do you know the person who can not receive and understand the word concerning the reign? I just told you! They are out on the road where the world is traveling. If your heart is too close to where the world lives, the seed of the word will not find any ground to be planted in. It’s on soil that cannot receive it and it will be trampled under foot and immediately stolen by the devil. What does that mean?

You can’t watch much of what is going on on TV; you cannot find your pleasure in the humor of the world; you cannot live vicariously where the world lives; you cannot spend your life where the world is walking and expect to receive and understand this word concerning His reign in your heart. The seed that is on the ground that cannot be buried and is trampled is the heart that is living near to where the word is walking.

I was raised on a farm and I have done everything relating to seeding from manual broadcast to machine casting. And as you make your rows and come along to the end of the row, particularly the side that is next to the road, and if there is no fence there is no growth there by a fence, some seed will get out there by the berm of the road. And it will be eaten by the birds; run over; walked over; it’ll not even spring up; it’ll not even come forth; because it is out there where the world travels.

“When anyone hears the word of the kingdom (the reign of God) and does not understand it, immediately the evil one, Satan, the devil comes and snatches it away, takes away the word (of the reign of God) that has been sown in his heart, so that they will not believe and be saved.”

Only one of the texts adds, “so that they will not believe and be saved.” It is this word of the kingdom that is the word that is the power of God unto salvation. That’s what it says. The word of God that the sower is casting is the word concerning the reign of God in the heart of man. It is that word that, if it is not believed and received, and planted, then it is the absence of that word that keeps one from salvation.

The issue is, if you don’t understand that, if your heart is too near the road where the world is traveling, and you don’t understand that, you’ll not get your heart out of the world. A lot of Christians are suffering and miserable in their walk because they are living too close to the world. Their hearts are just too close. Does that communicate with you? You know what I am talking about, don’t you?

THE KEY PARABLE – The Way of the Cross

February 10, 2009

Have you ever read any of the Voice of the Martyr’s publications? I’ve been involved with the Voice of the Martyrs since the ‘60’s and have been to China, and have worked with the church there. There are some powerful testimonies coming out of China, and have been coming for some time. There have been more martyred in my lifetime of 60 plus years than in all previous lifetimes back to the day of Christ. But you read those testimonies and you see the grace and the lovingkindness of God coming forth because there is no running from death, there is no trying to save their lives. It’s a marvelous testimony.

Another book by Voice of the Martyrs is “Extreme Devotion.” I try to read one or two of the devotions very morning. It’s to help me relate to the parts of our body that is suffering. And it is a good discipline. You will find in books like “Jesus Freaks” and “Extreme Devotion” jewels and precious stones that will encourage and enable you to face what is coming.

And, if I were a prophet, I would prophesy because the scene is being set. The church in the West is about to be humbled. And in our immaturity we will call it persecution, but it is not. It will be first judgment. And then, after that, when that which is not of Christ has been dealt with, then it will be persecution because only God judges and He only judges that which is not from Him. And, He does not persecute. The ruler of this world and this age persecutes that which is from God.

There is a reason why there is still persecution in America. Now there are Christians who are suffering in a number of ways. I have a number of friends who have suffered for the cause of Christ. I have one friend who has been in prison since 1982, a dear woman. She was first in prison as a child under Hitler for being a Jew. And then she was imprisoned by the Russians as a teenager and young lady for being a German. And she has spent most of her years since 1981, when I was in prison with her, for praying at abortion clinics to save babies. When she is out she’ll be out for maybe a month or two months and then she’ll go back across the street from a clinic, not even on the property, and will set to praying.

She’s really praying for two things: she’s praying for the babies that are being slaughtered there, but she’s also praying for that which is being aborted in the church. And, because she has a restraining order, she can’t be within 1500 feet of any abortion clinic anywhere, they just come and arrest her. She spends a year or 18 months in jail, winning inmates to Christ. That’s her ministry. Praying in front of abortion clinics is not violent and it saves babies. She’s a dear lady from Akin, South Carolina.

There are others here in the states doing what she is doing but there are many around the world that are choosing the way of the cross too.

Mysteries –

The third thing you will find in the parables is that He does not intend for everyone to understand the mysteries of the kingdom. He hides a matter. He has hidden them from the wise and intelligent, and reveals them to infants and babes. Something about our intellect gets in the way. Boy, that’s hard to accept. That won’t fly in a lot of seminaries. But our intellect can get in the way. But it will not get in the way once you have the key. The intellect then becomes a servant of God who has given it to us. I am not in any way suggesting you turn your head off. I’m just suggesting you bring it under the reign. You let the Spirit rule. And then He leads the intellect. And then He gives you understanding.

I know that if you have read the paper or watched the news you have said to yourself, “How can men be in such high places and be so foolish?” You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Can men be in high places and be foolish? Can they be blind to obvious truth that most of the world can see but they, somehow, can’t see? It’s because their intellect got in the way. Sometimes it gets in the way of common sense. But God speaks in mysteries because He intends to hide it from some. And we have seen that.

“To you have been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables.”(Mark 4:11)

There’s a text in Mark 4:34, and in Matthew 13:34 that are the same situation, the same time, the same place. Jesus did not teach except by parables. I hope you are getting this. Whenever Jesus taught in public, He only taught by parables. Look in Matthew 13 to see this. Verse 34 says,

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables…

You will find teaching in the Gospels that are not in parables. You will find Jesus teaching without parables but it was at a particular time. Can you think of a time when He did not teach in parables? It was when He was only with those who were on the inside. Whenever there were those who were on the outside, He would always teach in parables. Whenever He taught and there were those there who were uninitiated into the mysteries, He would teach in parables.

He always taught in parables whenever there were those who were on the outside present because He wanted to hide it from them. He did not want them to understand.

Many stumble over this Intermission in this particular parable. He makes it very clear in Luke 8:10 the specific reasons for His teaching in parables.

And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”

That is as concise a quote of Isaiah 6:9 as there is:

He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking but do not understand.’ ”

That’s why Jesus taught in parables. It was because He was in the presence of those He did not want to perceive and He did not want them to understand.

Who would these uninitiated be? Do you think it may have been you before you were ready? He does not want you to reject it or accept it for the wrong reason or on the wrong basis. We have tried so hard to make the Gospel so simple that anybody can say, “Yes!” We have even tried to put it into such a context that it would be very hard, once it is heard, to turn it down. Who wants to go to hell? Think about it. If we can convince them that they are going to go to hell, who is not going to accept the forgiveness of their sins?

It’s out on the water. It’s the one who has gotten into the boat, he’s understood the parable, he’s come under the reign, he’s living in intimacy, he’s being made by Christ Himself. And the day comes when we are in the boat and the storm is raging and we are struggling just to get on with life. He comes walking on the water, and says, “Come out here. You’re there because I put you there but come on out here, out of the boat and onto the water with Me.”

That comes out of intimacy. That’s the life. And we see that in this little intermission here. We see all four of these issues dealt with in this intermission.

THE KEY PARABLE – Introduction

January 24, 2009

Here is “The Key Parable for Understanding the Mysteries of the Kingdom” and all other parables. I can’t over emphasize enough how important is the learning of this parable. This is a familiar parable but you need to understand this parable and the role of this parable in interpreting all of the other parables and everything that Jesus taught by way of parables. Actually everything He taught by parables, though it appears to us to be many different subjects, all of them relate to just one subject. And until you see that disclosed through the teaching of this parable, you will handle them as if they do not relate. But all of them relate to the reign of God. All of them relate to the gospel of the kingdom. And once you see that you will understand many of the parables a bit differently than you have understood them in the past. And, you’ll also discover the key for understanding the mysteries. As we have touched on before, God has not intended for everyone to understand this teaching. He purposefully hid it. So it’s important for you to grasp this parable. This parable is a key parable because it unlocks many doors once you understand the fundamentals of this parable. And Jesus makes that point. That’s were we are going here.

Blind But Seeing & Seeing But Blind –

But first we are going to begin with a little spiritual exercise that deals with how we perceive something and how we see things. We find it in the Gospel of John chapter 9. And we’re going to read verses 39 – 41.

And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”

And Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

And this exercise has to do with seeing, and of course, seeing the things of God.

“For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

The things that get in the way of our seeing, oftentimes, are what we have seen in the past, what we are holding to be a correct view, what we’ve determined is the right perspective.

It’s like trying to give someone something whose hands are full. Have you ever talked with someone and there was just no room to get into the conversation? Or it would seem that there was room but after you’ve said your little bit you soon realize they didn’t hear a thing you said. All the while you were talking they were preparing their next statement. Their hands were so full that they could not receive anything. And that little symbolism, that little analogy there, that little parable is true in many areas we will look at, in terms of seeing, in the text in this chapter. True ‘seeing’ is being able to see the things that God wants to show us. And Jesus is making it very clear; He’s not suggesting that these Pharisees referred to in John 9 do not see. He’s not suggesting that they have no truth. But being blinded by what they have seen keeps them from going on with God.

Many in the church could be 30 or 40 years in the Lord but they are really still infants and babes in the Spirit. What they originally saw they took as the whole picture and everything they needed. What they now see is keeping them from the fullness for which they were first introduced to the Gospel. Some of the reasons churches stagnate, is that they have a teaching on baptism, or they have a teaching on the Lord’s Supper, or they have a teaching on salvation, and it is not the whole picture; it is a narrow, little picture. And because they have accepted it as the whole picture, they cannot see anything else.

It’s like we’ve accepted that our grandmother and grandfather are saved because they did such and so. And our view of salvation is such that what our grandparents did proved to us was that everything was alright. But it might have been that everything was not alright with grandmother and grandfather, or Aunt Hilda, or Uncle Joe, or even Momma or Papa. But because we have seen them as alright we cannot see anything else that might suggest that possibly that view of salvation which included them may be an inadequate view of salvation. And because we’ve seen it that way and we’ve identified that view as the truth, and it includes Momma and Papa, we can’t afford to see anything that might exclude them. I’m coming through, aren’t I? You all have dealt with some of these things before.

Well, Jesus is making it very clear to those to whom He is teaching what His teaching is about. He says, “I did not come to judge” (see John 3:17). And yet in John 9:39 He says “it’s for judgment that I came.” And in that text that says, “I did not come to judge,” He ends up saying, “the words I have spoken, they will judge you” (see John 5:30 & 8:26, 31-32). It’s the truth here. “That which I am speaking to you,” Jesus is saying, “will judge you.”

We have got to always present ourselves to the Lord choosing blindness, becoming blind. That’s how the phrase in verse 39 says it: “and that those who see may become blind.” We have to choose the position of saying to the Lord, “Lord, we’re closing our eyes. Although we’re not erasing things from our memories, and we’re not denying what we’ve already seen, but we are putting it back; we’re putting everything we hold dear back.”

And I can say to you, I don’t know how the Lord did it in me, but I am almost 180 degrees on almost everything I believed after I left Bible College. I mean, I was preaching then, and yet, had the Lord not struck me blind, really putting me into situations where He dealt with me so that I could not see, I would have been in trouble. I had to become blind in order to see. And Jesus is saying here that that is the place for seeing. “In that you say that you see, you’re blind. What you have seen already, blinds you so that you cannot see anymore.”

Being Blinded By Light –

It’s like at night the lights of a car that’s coming blinds us from seeing everything else that’s out there. And if you have poor night vision, (and as you grow older some have real problems with night vision) you will have a hard time seeing anything other than the light that’s out there in front of you. The key to driving at night with the oncoming car’s lights is to not look at the lights. It’s to look at the lines in the road that will take your focus off the oncoming lights both mentally and visually. And sometimes when you’re caught off guard with a car coming around a curve and all of a sudden you’re blinded by that, and it appears that you cannot see anything, but if you can concentrate and focus and look for the lines, all of a sudden not only do the lines appear, but much more appears and the lights that are coming at you fade out of your range of vision. The lights will seem to dim and you will be able to see clearly again.

Jesus is saying here that to really see the things of God you will need to become “blind” to everything else. You need to lay aside the distractions of the world, not deny them. I need to make it very clear that I am not suggesting that what you see is not true. I’m just suggesting you need to set your seeing aside and let what He is showing you speak for itself. And maybe what then appears does not connect with what you already believe because what He is showing you may seem contradictory. And you cannot read the Scriptures without recognizing that there are many places in the Gospels that it appears that what He is saying is contradictory to other truths, but they are not. But just embrace, “it’s true,” because your inability to connect it does not make it untrue. And as you are going to learn in this chapter, there is a secret for learning how to connect the truths of Scripture.

God wants to connect it for you. But you cannot connect it if you are judging it solely on the basis of the light that you have already received. The light that you already have seen may blind you to what else God is trying to show you. Jesus isn’t suggesting that the scribes and Pharisees were absolutely devoid of all truth. He’s not suggesting that they were ignorant of everything. He’s just saying, “It’s because of your view of the prophets, and especially because of your view of the prophesies concerning the Messiah that you cannot see Me.”

They did have the prophecies. But something else they were seeing kept them from interpreting what they were seeing as being valid which was right before them in Jesus Christ. There were even those who, upon discovering who Jesus was, still opposed Him. For example, when He raised Lazarus from the dead it was from that day that the Jewish leaders plotted to kill Jesus and Lazarus as well. That takes a bit of something, you know, brass, to stand before God and try to explain why you tried to kill the evidence, the supernatural evidence. But there is that kind of self pride and self preservation of the old man. In trying to save their life they kept losing it.

In Seeing Your Sin Remains

It is in setting aside what we’ve already seen that enables us to see what Jesus is trying to show us. Once again in John 9, verse 41:

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

You can have the truth and end up in sin because you will not look at more truth. Your half truth, your inadequate truth, can end up keeping you from walking in the light. So it’s important that whenever we come through the things of God, reading the Scriptures, hearing a teaching, reading a book, listening to a tape or CD, or just being quiet before Him, to understand the truth of what the Holy Spirit is speaking to us we must believe it regardless of how it may contradict what we already know. Not only have we already talked about knowing, “he that is willing to do, he shall know,” we’ve talked about entering in, and now we’re talking about seeing, and we’re going to talk about several other issues that are like these that require our coming to a place of insufficiency so we will know the truth.

Was It A Waste Place?

December 19, 2008

Let’s go back to Genesis chapter 1. In Genesis 1, down around verse 26 it says:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Has He made man yet? No, He has not! He’s just saying, “Let’s create man.”

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and rule…”

This word for “subdue” in both the earliest texts, Aramaic and Hebrew, what do you suppose the difference between “subdue” and “rule” is? This is before the weeds and things after the fall. This is before the need to work by the sweat of man’s brow. Come on! What’s the difference between subdue and rule?

Subdue means that you have to bring under rule. Subdue means there is that which is unruly. That’s the literal meaning. Subdue is to take that which is unruly and bring it under rule. At the creation of man, God said, “You are to subdue and rule.” Isn’t that interesting? Is this dawning on anyone where this is going? You have a problem getting Lucifer, Satan, as the angelic being, being created, being raised to being the anointed cherub and doing all the things the Scripture talks about him doing before he is cast down. He trades. He is the head of all music in heaven in one of the texts. He’s very busy dong heavenly things. And then, seeing his splendor and deciding to “I will,” he’s cast down. Before Adam and Eve encounter him in the serpent, God says to his newly created man, “You are to subdue and rule.” It means something. It may not mean what you think I’m implying, but it means something. You can’t just say it means nothing. It means something!

Let’s go to Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

The earth was formless and void…

If you have the New American Standard Bible there is a foot note that further defines “formless and void” as a waste and emptiness. Could the text read, “The earth was a waste place,” or literally, “and uninhabited or empty?”

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was a waste place and formless and void.”

You are pondering this, aren’t you? Then go to Isaiah 45:18. Here we have another one of the paradoxes of Scripture. Isaiah, under the Spirit of God is prophesying, and right in the middle of the prophesy, there is this little group of words in parentheses that has nothing what so ever to do with the prophesy. But they are there for a reason. Let’s read verse 18 of Isaiah 45.

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the Lord, and there is none else.”

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and the earth was a waste place.” But He did not create it a waste place. When Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan was cast down to the earth, in Isaiah 14:12 and following, he was cast down in shame. Jesus says that he was a liar from the beginning. And yet, we know from the very beginning, he was perfect and a covering cherub. But from a particular beginning he was a liar. And he goes around like a lion seeking who he may devour. He does nothing but stealing, destroying and killing. It does not take much of an imagination for the sons of men to recognize that when ever Satan enters a life he steals, robs, destroys and kills.

I know many thirty and forty year old men and women who look fifty and sixty – absolutely ragged out with sin. You let a person spend much time with Satan and he destroys them. There’s nothing beautiful left in them. They are absolutely a waste. And, the point I intended to make is that when Satan was cast down to the earth, he did what was his nature to do – make waste. And I believe that it is because he was cast down here that it became a waste place. It wasn’t created a waste place. The Holy Spirit makes a point of letting us know that in Isaiah 45:18 it was not created a waste place. And yet it was a waste place but it wasn’t created a waste place.

I think it is the coming of Satan, the casting down of Satan to the earth that caused it be become a waste place. And that will be so in your life and mine. That’s all I wanted to add. We could have spent more time on it but I’ve made the point.

How Satan Got There

December 16, 2008

There’s someone else in the Garden. He’s already crafty. He’s already an enemy of God. Whatever happened in the realm of the heavenlies, it has already taken place because the serpent is already there.

Let’s go to Isaiah, chapter 14. How did this other personality get there? In Isaiah chapter 14, we have one of those prophecies where God sneaks in another prophecy. This happens often in many of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. For example, in the 22nd chapter of Psalms we have the clearest picture of the crucifixion of Christ. This prophecy is woven into the midst of a Psalm with a totally different context.

By the way, God hides. Have I said that to you before? “It’s the glory of God to hide a matter; it’s the glory of kings to search out a matter” (see Proverbs 25:2). And we are a kingdom of kings and priests. He hides a matter. So some things can only be understood by those who are on the inside – to those whom he is going to show the mysteries of the kingdom. We’ll talk more about that later.

But here in verse 12, is a prophesy concerning the king of Babylon. Verse 3:

And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!”

And so we have this taunt against the king of Babylon. We get down to verse 12 and something happens.

How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!

This is not the king of Babylon.

You have been cut down to the earth.

He comes from some place other than the earth.You who have weakened the nations!

But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven;

I will raise my throne above the stars of God,

And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

Who are we talking about? Satan! Most scholars, from early days of Israel, following this prophecy, they have held that this is referring to Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the devil. Why was he cast down to the earth? Well, the scripture tells us:

But you said in your heart, “I will…”

You will notice that five times in this Scripture he says, “I will…”

“I will ascend to heaven.”

“I will raise my throne above the stars of God…”

“I will sit on the mount of assembly…”

“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;”

“I will make myself like the Most High.”

This is the principle of Satan, the “I will.”

It is the principle of Christ; it is the precept of Christ: Not my will.”

The “I will” is what has brought Satan down. And Satan is not in your just voting for his will. He’s quite happy to encourage you to make your own will. He did not ask Adam and Eve to vote for him. He just asked Adam and Eve to vote for Adam and Eve, just like he’s been encouraging you to vote for yourself. You have not been called for your life or for your ambitions, for your desires. You’ve not been called for that. You’ve not been created for that. You have been created like I have been created – for the King.

We are like an automobile. Automobiles are made for gas. They can not run without the gas. You can push it along; you might even find a hill and push it up to the top and give it a little kick and it’ll be over the edge. You can run and jump in and ride it down but it is still powerless to be what it was created to be. Like a light bulb – a light bulb without electricity can be a very pretty light bulb in a very beautiful lamp and a beautiful lamp shade but without that for which it was created, it is worthless. It is the same for a lamp and oil or man and God. We might think this is life but this is not life. This is death. And the day that you eat of that tree, you will die. And on that day, spiritual man died. And, it wasn’t until Christ Jesus that the new birth, or regeneration, that man was finally able to be where God could plant His Spirit within them.

Not only has He created us, regenerated us, given us a new Spirit – I’m referring to Ezekiel 36, where God says, “I will put my Spirit within you.” We now have this capacity in Christ Jesus for the Spirit. It is the “I will” that is the principle of Satan. Some time before Adam and Eve encountering the serpent, the enemy has been cast down. This is important.

The Most Beautiful Evil –

Let’s go to Ezekiel chapter 28 where we have another one of those prophecies. We’ll begin in verse 11:

           Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him…”

Now, even though it starts out talking about the king of Tyre, it is evident almost from the beginning that He’s not talking about the king of Tyre for much of this prophecy.

        ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and  perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God;”

Listen to that. Where was this person?

“You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering;

The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets was in you.

On the day that you were created they were prepared.”

He’s a created being. We read that from Colossians 1:16. He was created for Christ; by Christ; for Christ.

“You were the anointed cherub who covers…”

That’s not the king of Tyre. And just so you will know, at one time there were three anointed cherubs. If you look on the Ark of the Covenant, how many are there? Two! But there was one, perhaps there was just one at the beginning, I don’t really know, but it’s clear that,

“You were the anointed cherub who covers,

And I placed you there.

You were in the holy mountain of God;

You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created

Until unrighteousness was found in you.

By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence and you sinned;

Therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,

From the midst of the stones of fire.

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty,

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;

I put you before kings,

That they may see you.”

And that is going on now. But, you’ve got to ask a question: When did this all take place, because Adam and Eve are young at this time? All you have to do is go through the chronology, genealogy, to the number of years to the first son to see that we’re down to just a handful, a couple of handfuls of years at most, that they encounter the serpent in the Garden. So, when was this one created who held this mighty place, who walked in God’s Garden of Eden? We’ve got a problem, don’t we?

Did God Say?

December 12, 2008

 It is so in your life and mine. The battle is not won here. When you understand that, you’ll understand why the weapons of our warfare are not insignificant, but they are powerful for the bringing down of strongholds, and powers. All heaven is waiting on is for us to lift the staff. All heaven is waiting for is for us to finally speak out of what Christ is speaking. But not in presumption; He does not speak to the presumptuous. He’s waiting on those who will allow Him to reign in their heart. He’s waiting on those who will draw near Him that Christ might make him instruments and her instruments of His life. He is teaching us the ways of the eternal kingdom. And if we will learn the lesson we will share the reign of eternity with Him. That’s the promise. This is the classroom. It really does not begin until He returns. And when that captures us, we will give all that we are and all that we’ve been entrusted with to the King and His kingdom that we might have our part in this wonderful thing that He is doing, raising up sons and daughters after His own Son. It’s a marvelous thing.

Well, anyway; I get excited about this. That’s what is going on. That is what is taking place. But, where did it begin? When did it start? Well, I believe the Holy Spirit wants to give us some understanding. Let’s go all the way back to Genesis chapter 3.

The entire Gospel is preached in Genesis 1, 2 and 3. The entire Gospel is fulfilled in Revelation 20, 21 and 22, if you can hear it.

In Genesis chapter 3, we are going to read the first few verses.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!”

You might make a mental note of this key question: Did God say?

You are lost if you have got to take what God said and say, “Did God say?” An illustration of this is that almost every one of you has little areas, little discipline areas, where in the strength of your quiet time you hear Him and you are sure of what you should do. But as soon as temptation comes, I’ll tell you what the first argument is: “Did He really want me to do this? Is this really significant to God? This surely has nothing to do with my walk.”

Now, come on – fess up. Isn’t it true? There is no place, once God has spoken, for us to question God saying – once He has spoken. The enemy knew, however, that Adam and Eve would succumb. He had already read the signs. God was not occupying that place of honor in their heart as God. And, when God is not honored as God in our heart, we need a lie, and the enemy is quick to bring us one. Next time you go to the refrigerator, or give up your quiet time for TV or whatever, you’ll be reminded of that. I put that on you by the Holy Spirit. I like this. I now see that I’m getting through. Well, that’s not the point of my reading this.

Look at verse 5:

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

And that’s the truth. God verifies that in verse 22:

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil.”

They did not become like God, knowing good and evil like God knew good and evil. They knew good and evil by knowing evil, having practiced it, having participated in it. God’s knowing evil is not because He has tried it. There is that difference. Someone pointed it out to me one day. It’s important.

But God said the very same thing Satan said. Satan does not come at us with three dollar bills, thirty dollar bills, three hundred dollar bills; it looks like the real thing except it does not honor God as God. But, here’s the point, here’s the question that the Lord has snuck in on us: How did he get there, this serpent?