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Sermon 127 – Silence is Golden

In Daniel chapter 6 we read the story of the lion’s den. Perhaps the two keys lessons for the remnant are … ‘position’ and ‘silence’.

Daniel was not into position; he was into serving God’s will. Whereas, the princes and presidents were, as was Darius. Pride always envies someone else’s position, or promotes its own position.

Pride is Satan’s gift

Darius was trapped by his pride and the princes were trapped by theirs. Pride always traps you. Pride is Satan’s gift; humility is Christ’s. Pride puts you under the control of Satan. Humility is God’s gift to stand against Satan. But, how do you learn humility when you’re born in pride? Like Nebuchadnezzar, your pride has to be broken off you.

Pride likes to defend itself. Pride likes to stand up for itself. Pride likes to promote and protect its reputation. Pride likes to retaliate. Pride likes to win. Pride doesn’t like being told what to do. Pride says … if you’re going to be nasty to me, then I have the right to be nasty to you.

If this is pride, then humility is the opposite. Humility is death to pride. But, to be humble requires you to see your pride and give it to God. Therefore, things have to go wrong on a regular basis so we begin to open our eyes to our own selfishness, instead of judging everyone else’s.

Fear is Satan’s tool to protect your pride. Faith is God’s tool to suppress your pride

A prince is a person in power. Princes envy anyone who threatens their power. Princes use fear to weaken your faith. If you submit to the fear, you will activate your pride. Pride protects itself from looking bad. But, faith is activated in the face of fear. If there is no fear then you don’t need faith. So, we learn to trust God through our fears.

Bad things don’t happen to good people

The story of Daniel in the lions’ den refutes the lie that good gets good, and bad gets bad. This story, like the story of David vs King Saul, the burning of Ziglag, Paul being bitten by a viper, and the three Jews thrown into the fiery furnace, proves this thinking is from the heart of Satan. Any inner voice that questions your relationship with God because something wrong or bad has occurred is the voice of evil and is designed to squash your faith.

And, any voice you agree with that forms a judgment against someone because something has gone bad for them, is a sign that the same satanic spirit operates through you as did the Pharisees hating Jesus, and the princes hating Daniel.  A voice you latch on to and run with, like … you deserved it, is not the voice of the Holy Spirit, but the voice of Satan, and confirmation that you are in the wrong camp.

Voices

We all hear voices. That’s temptation. But, pride gels with the voice, and if it gets caught, blames the voice, whereas, humility recognises the temptation and turns to the Lord for His truth. And, repentance is simply giving up our position of pride-protection after falling to the voice, to consent to the truth that we sinned by agreeing with the voice.

Darius did not consent to the truth of his pride, nor did any of the princes. The consequence of this pride-resistance is hell, whether you worship God or not.

Repentance

Repentance is giving up your position. Pride can say sorry but it’s not repentance because it won’t give up its position. Pride says sorry to get out of trouble so it doesn’t lose its position, and then it expects you to have to forgive them. Repentance is the humility of saying sorry by giving up its pride-of-position, facing the fears of looking bad, and accepting the consequences of having been tempted by the voice.

If you don’t start it, you don’t have to stop it

It takes a special spirit to have position without being proud. Daniel and Moses and Jesus were in this category, but Daniel and Moses would have had to learn to die to their pride before they were able to handle position, whereas, Jesus never ignited it. If you want to walk in the footsteps of Daniel, you have to die to your pride.

Silence is death to pride

Daniel knew about the plot against him. He knew the law had been signed and he knew the consequences, yet he kept to his routine of prayer. He didn’t let their pride put him in fear. Our pride is manipulated by spirits of fear, 2 Timothy 1:7. Fear stirs up our pride; pride stirs up our moodiness, and then we blame others for our hassles. Faith puts a holt to this old nature pattern, and, faith is stirred-up when we recognise the worst scenario of our fears, and give it all up to God. This breaks the power of Satan’s manipulation of our pride.

Daniel could have intervened; he was Number 2 in the kingdom. Why didn’t he say something to Darius? Why didn’t he try and defend his cause?

The answer is … pride & demons

Behind pride is always a demonic spirit. When someone’s pride rises up against you, your natural response is to defend yourself. This is our own pride rising up to our self-defence.  Our pride wants to put them in their place. Our pride wants to point out the injustice. Our pride wants them to be shown wrong and us right.

The problem is, we’re not arguing against them, we’re arguing against a demon. We’re not fighting flesh and blood, but evil principalities and evil powers. Pride can never win against these evil forces; even Jesus didn’t tackle them. So, when you defend yourself against their unjust attack you actually inflame your own pride and ignite your old nature, and Satan has authority over your old nature, so you just give him licence to manoeuvre you away from Christ.

Soldier for Christ or defender of your pride

The walk of the Spirit is to cease this self-defence and put the consequences in the hands of the Creator. It takes death to achieve it, and without this death there is no salvation, because salvation is through death … take up your cross daily and follow Me, & you cannot be a disciple unless you count the cost and forsake everything (Luke 9:26-33). None of us really knows what this cost is; you can only prepare for it by learning to be silent before your enemy by faith in Jesus Christ, which means, you have to face the fear of the cost and rest in God’s plan.

As Jesus was silent before his accusers, so was Daniel. There must be a serious lesson here.

But I say unto you, resist not evil, but whosoever will smite you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  Matthew 5:39. Why did Jesus give us this instruction? It all comes down to humility vs demons.

Humility isn’t just silence before your accusers (the world can do that), rather, it’s silence by faith in our God’s plan. You don’t defeat demons with words, you defeat them with silence … the silence of humility, and any words must only come from this silence.

When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what you shall speak: for it will be given you in that same hour what you shall speak. For it is not you that speaks, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.  Matthew 10:19,20

There’s a time to defend righteousness with action, and there’s a time to defend righteousness with silence. If you haven’t learnt the silence-defence then you won’t have the Spirit to defend with action.

The real motive

The question is … are you defending righteousness or just defending your position? King Saul fought the Philistines to prove his position; David fought Goliath to defend God’s name.

Daniel was fully committed to the will of God, yet he didn’t try and convert the kings or the princes to his God; nor did he try and free his people from their captivity. Rather, he waited on God for His will to be done. No one waits any more, they’re too active proving what they can do, or they’re silent to protect their position.

Silent for Christ or silent for pride

In the whole book of Daniel, we only read about four Jewish men who were silent for God and faithfully served the anti-Christ kings. Where’s the rest of the Jewish men? Staying silent to protect their position. This silence is pride and fear; it’s not golden; it’s clay; it’s a mood of silence.

Everyone wants to be a Daniel so they can impress the people and promote their personal value; but, that’s not Daniel, that’s King Saul. To be a Daniel requires silence and faith in the living God when you stand before those who oppose God’s Truth.

The Anti-Christ

The lesson of Daniel is to encourage His followers to prepare themselves for the final week of history (chapter 9:7) before Christ returns. The anti-Christ’s regime will last for 7 years. His intention will be the satanic destruction of God’s remnant who are honouring the Ten Commandments (Revelation 12:17). He will therefore, come into power in Europe in spiritual league with Roman Catholicism, peaceably with flatteries, but, just like the princes of Persia, his agenda will be to change times and laws to trap God’s remnant.

If you haven’t prepared your heart to face fear by faith, you will succumb to the anti-Christ’s power and you will betray the remnant (Daniel 11:30). This is no joke; it’s serious. Set your course, face your fears by faith and stop activating your pride.

May God stir up His people to stop having moods of silence and start exercising God-silence when they stand for Him against those that oppose His faith.

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 

 

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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in position

 

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Sermon 126 – Daniel in the Lion’s Den

In Daniel chapter 6, we read the well-known story of Daniel and his confrontation with lions. Although this is an historical event we need to see this story in the light of the Living Word of God and therefore, relevant to each of our spirits.

Everything in the Word of God is active, and alive, and personally relevant

The Word of God is Spirit. Always read God’s Word by asking the question … what is God trying to teach me? Let’s see how this event is recorded for our own personal relevance.

Firstly, perhaps the key issue in this chapter is … position

Darius was the king of the Medes and Persians. He held the No.1 position. What he says goes. Everyone wishes they had this power, or at least suck up to this power to get a better position above others.

Where there’s position, there’s always envy. The Bible says in James 4:5, that the spirit in us lusts to envy. We inherently envy anyone who is more successful, more important, more popular, more skilful, and more capable. If you want to know what spirit dwells within you, you can measure it by “envy”, and you can measure your envy by what you wish was yours. You won’t find the envy characteristic in the Holy Spirit, and you won’t find that characteristic in Daniel. Anyone who practices envy is definitely under the influence of a demonic spirit.

Sure enough, the princes of Persia hated Daniel because he was given position. They wanted it and they believed they deserved it. It should never have been given to a foreign slave (v.13). They looked for a way to destroy his integrity, but they couldn’t find one. Why? Because, Daniel wasn’t chasing position, so he wasn’t proud that he was in a more important position. Somehow, they realised they could only trap him by manipulating him against the laws of his God.

Flattery is just a manipulation of people to get preference and an advantage in their eyes ahead of others

They hatched a plan of flattery and manipulated Darius to sign into law a 30-day ruling against worshipping all gods except Darius.

Why did Darius fall for this con?

Because Darius was full of his own importance. That’s what self-righteous position does to you. When he found out that his law had trapped his friend and head-president, he realised he had been a fool. So we ask the question… why didn’t Darius just reverse the law? I suggest because he didn’t want to look inferior to his princes. He was more worried about how he looked, than whether Daniel was saved; besides he could hear the voice … if his God is that great then surely, He will save him. Position is there to look good above others, so position will always hear voices that support your position to justify why you shouldn’t give it up. But, those voices are from Satan.

The irony

The irony is, Darius did eventually reverse the law, and penalised, with the same lion penalty, those who had tried to destroy Daniel. So, he did have the power to reverse it. So, why did he wait till he saw how Daniel went? I suggest because he no longer would look bad. It was pretty obvious that Daniel’s God was the most powerful; no one could argue the point, so it made political sense to change sides and stand with Daniel. It’s all about looks and position.

The other irony is, using our envy to chase position will always eventually bring us down, whether it’s on earth or in the after-life. When you strive for position you’ll eventually fall from position.

Daniel didn’t obey the country’s law

I’ve watched Christians argue that’s it’s wrong to take bibles into China because it’s against the country’s laws. It’s easy to pick a verse of Scripture and use it to support our guilts and fears. Here’s a very clear example where God stood with a man who wouldn’t do what the law of the land commanded. Wherever, the law of the land challenges the law of God and the sovereignty of God, a Christian has no alternative but to stand with God and cop the lions. I’ve met plenty of Christians who say they will stand with God, but I’ve met very few who will face the lions. The modern church systems are simply trying to accumulate numbers and money. They’re not training soldiers to die for what they believe.

Daniel doesn’t say anything

It’s important to note that Daniel doesn’t say anything to change the course of the ruling or to object to the injustice. He was the head-president; surely, he could have intervened and pointed out to Darius what was being done against him; but he kept silent. Was this folly or faith? Position will always intervene to protect itself; faith chooses God’s often irrational way.

Daniel didn’t change his course of action

Daniel knew that it was his God they were challenging. He held his course and maintained his pattern. He could have easily argued in his head that it’s ok to pray in your closet for 30 days, but in his heart, he knew that would be fear and compromise and surrender to evil. God honoured his faith.

Daniel’s faith changed the course of history

Darius life was confronted by the eternal God of Daniel, and that confrontation changed the god of the whole known world. You’re not going to change the spirit of a nation through politics, protests, or philanthropy; it requires a Daniel.

The story of Daniel is the story of Jesus

Like Daniel, Jesus was tempted to change His course and take the easy way out. He chose to hold His position and trust His Father. He remained silent before his enemies, copping the evil against Him without any self-defence, trusting the outcome to His Father, dying unjustly, and finally being elevated above His enemies. Jesus’ faith changed the course of history. When you die to position, the Lord will honour your position … Philippians 2:7-11.

The disciple’s path

This is the path of every surrendered disciple. Maybe not physically dying, but certainly dying to all self-wants because you love the Father. This love is implanted in you by His Spirit. If you don’t love the Father, then you haven’t got His Spirit.

If you want to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit, like Daniel, then the envy in you of others’ position and the inherent want to be important in the eyes of others, has to be sacrificed, and the only way to achieve this is to give-up and sacrifice all self-valued position.

In the last days

In the last days (Revelations 12:17), under the power of the antichrist, the laws of God will be a measuring stick to try and destroy the disciples of Christ. Last-day-Daniels will be measured by their commitment to the law of God unto death. This confirms that the modern church systems are wrong when they devalue the ten commandments under the guise of grace.

 

May God raise up men of character and courage like Daniel and Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, so that the Spirit of God might return to His previous place of honour in our current hedonistic western societies, as we prepare for the onslaught of the final anti-Christ.

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2018 in position

 

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Sermon 125 – The NEB Syndrome

In Daniel chapter 2, 3 and 4 we read the story of Nebuchadnezzar and his interactions with Daniel and Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. The Neb Syndrome is based on the behaviour pattern of King Nebuchadnezzar. Everybody has this syndrome inherent in their sinful nature. Everyone’s born a Neb at some level depending on one’s social position, family position, wealth and education. You can pretend to hide it but sooner or later it will be exposed when you don’t get what you want. If you truly want salvation, the Neb in you has to be killed.

Nebs put you up and then pull you down.

In Chapter 2:49, Nebuchadnezzar promoted Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, but when they wouldn’t comply with his demands, he tore them down; no discussion, no enquiry, just intimidation. The inherent Neb in us hates people who won’t do it our way. Nebs will promote you if it’s to their own advantage, like making you a special friend, or puffing you up to create envy against a more popular opponent, but they’re always ready to pull you down when you offend or challenge their self-worth.

Nebs have a golden image of themselves

In Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar built a huge golden image to himself and demanded everyone bow when he played the music. Similarly, in their deceived mind, Nebs think they’re special, or important, or gifted, or educated. They appear to worship God, but they love themselves and expect others to treat them with the respect they believe they deserve whenever they play their music. They think they are good, making themselves equal with God, and thinking themselves blessed if things work out to their advantage, and look for others to blame if they don’t. Nebs believe that if they’re in trouble, it’s everyone else’s fault.

They live by their feelings. Their selfish belief is … I’m good and special, so if you hurt my feelings, you’re bad, so I’ll wait till you change your mind and you realise I’m right and you’re wrong.

Nebs blame you for upsetting them, or not listening to them, or not respecting their opinion. Everything’s based on how they feel and how someone makes them feel. It’s MY feelings first, God second.

Nebs think they should have the No.1 position

Nebs want the limelight. If you seem to be above them, Nebs try to pull you down, and if you seem to be below them, Nebs try to keep you down there. Nebs envy anyone who threatens their position. Nebs hate people who are positioned above them. They live for their own happiness and despise anyone who’s more happy, or more popular, or more successful than themselves, or more intimate with God.

Nebs love power and control

Neb’s are so self-important they can’t believe you won’t agree with their point of view. Nebs hate you if you won’t comply with their thinking. If they had the ultimate power like Nebuchadnezzar himself, they would kill you for not complying, and throw you into their furnace. They eventually object to any rules that put controls on them … as far as they’re concerned, they’re the one who should be in control; they’re the one who has the right to control what they want and how others should behave towards them.

Nebs are bi-polar

One minute they’re nice, and the next they’re unexpectantly intimidating. One minute everything seems to be ok and co-operative, and the next they’re demanding you dance to their music and bow to their thinking. You never know where you stand with a Neb. Nebs have one foot in the world and one foot in God. Thus, as in James 1:8, Nebs are double-minded and unstable in their heart.

Nebs can’t afford to be wrong, so they believe everything they do is somehow always right. So, when they’re corrected, they are flabbergasted at the suggestion that you would think them bad; besides, they think they’re always good, so you must be wrong.

Nebs think that they’re so good, God will obviously save them, bless them and protect them. Their ingenuine goodness is just a manipulation to get God to be good back to them. Their pride puts them in fear of being thought of as bad, or a failure.

Nebs often use obedience or generosity to obligate you to conform to their wishes or ignore their short-comings, when all the time, in their heart, they’re resistant and defiant of your authority.

Nebs can act religious, even think they keep the commandments by not practicing adultery or murder or steal, but they always fail the God first test, the bear false witness test, and the covet test.

Nebs are anti-Christ’s

They may agree they’re wrong so you can’t argue their defiance, but they won’t change their position. They can appear to be in sheep’s clothing, but ultimately, they’re wolves, controlled by Satan, and anti- the Holy Spirit.

Nebs think they’re good, but … Ezekiel 33:31

They come unto you and sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their covetousness.

It’s important to note, that Nebuchadnezzar was not good. He didn’t find God based on his goodness, but rather, when he killed his own self-image and replaced it with God’s Spirit.

The bottom line

Nebs won’t be told; rather, they tell others what’s right and wrong.

On the other hand …

SMA’s = full of the Spirit that inhabited Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego

SMA’s are not full of their own importance. They don’t chase position, or value, or human recognition, but leave position to God. Any position is attributed to God, not self. Self-position has been shattered. They serve God because they love Him; not for a deal.

They don’t think they’re good. They know that only God is good and they’re thankful for God’s grace towards their bad.

Like Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, in Daniel 3:17 & 18, SMA’s don’t demand or expect God to fix their problems. Rather, they trust God’s outcome and rest in His plan.

Probably the most defining factor about SMA’s is that they are envied by Nebs, and sooner or later are confronted by Nebs so their faith is tested.

SMA’s are called and chosen.

SMA’s don’t bow to intimidation when challenged to change gods.

Neb to SMA

Everyone has an image of themselves to worship themselves. If you want to be an SMA your image has to be shattered, broken and destroyed. You can’t serve God and worship your own image at the same time; it’s contradictory and satanic.

If you’re not an SMA then somewhere in the crevices of your heart lies a Neb. SMA’s are few and far between. Most of the so-called Christians I’ve met in my life are really just Nebs in some form of nice disguise. The good news is, Saul became a Paul, so anyone can be changed. You can change if you want to, but you can’t because you won’t. To a Neb, ‘ME’ is too important, and what people think is more real than what an imaginary God thinks; besides, a Neb doesn’t really think it needs to change because it’s already basically good.

If you want to be an SMA it requires God to put you on a cross and embarrass your self-image and shatter all your self-plans. No wonder there’s hardly any SMA’s. God is looking for an empty vessel; not one that’s already full of its own importance.

The salvation test

I’ve lost count how many Nebs I’ve encountered who believe they are a good Christian. They’re deceived. Salvation is not just being a Christian, but also sacrificing your Neb position and having it tested by fire. In fact, where there’s no fire test, there’s no salvation … all that live Godly in Christ will suffer persecution … 2 Timothy 3:12. Also, your reaction to a Neb will reveal what god you really serve.  SMA’s don’t compromise to keep the majority happy; they stand on God’s Word, for God, and cop the defaming consequences. The modern church systems are not training soldiers to die for Christ, they’re collecting numbers for money.

Demons use Nebs

As confirmed in Ephesians 6, we’re not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. It’s important for an SMA to know how demonic spirits operate against them. A Neb is under the influence of demonic spirits and ultimately their design is to attack and discredit, or discourage, or kill SMA’s. SMA’s should be encouraged that a demonic attack is a positive process to strengthen their faith in Almighty God.

Thankyou God, that even though heavily outnumbered, You live through your called and chosen humble SMA’s, and that Your plan is higher than Satan’s.

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2018 in arrogance

 

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Sermon 124 – Dance to my Tune

In Daniel chapter 4, we read the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about a huge tree cut down to the stump. Daniel warned the king that he was that tree and that he was about to be removed from his throne because he was puffed-up with his own pride. Even this warning did not soften his stubbornness. His pride could only see his pride and to him it looked like greatness and importance. The moment he declared that his kingdom was established by his own might, he lost his sanity and became an animal. By God’s grace he came to his right mind but only after seven years had passed and then he made this final statement in v.37 … now I, Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride, He is able to abase.

The lie of our good gets good

This all happened whilst Nebuchadnezzar was compiling a list of the things that God had done for him (v.2). The problem was, the emphasis was on him, not God. So many of us believe the lie that the good things that happen to us are signs of how good we are and therefore, how much God loves and favours us. Our pride thinks that the good things are because of our goodness. Our pride might thank God but underneath we praise ourselves.

His pride could only see his pride, but to pride it looks like good

On a number of occasions, God had already revealed Himself to Nebuchadnezzar. The problem was, that every time God did something for Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar interpreted it as his own personal importance. Back further in chapter 2, Daniel not only interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream but he also recalled the dream he had forgotten. Nebuchadnezzar makes this declaration in v.47 … of a truth, your God is the God of gods, and a Lord of Kings, and a revealer of secrets. Yet, despite his proclamation, his heart remained full of his own importance. In fact, if God was giving him this information then surely he must be important (his pride would have suggested to him).

God reveals Himself to us and many times He resolves our issues, but we conveniently interpret it as our own personal value because we still like our pride. We can worship Him and honour Him, but we’re not saved until our pride is broken. Until it’s broken, our pride is silently proud of itself.

Who is on your throne?

You may praise God but you’re not saved until your pride is broken. Our pride is our god until we let God smash our pride and replace it with the faith of the true God.

Anyone who thinks they’re important or special will never know God until their pride is broken. Pride can only see pride, but to pride it looks like ‘special’, or ‘important’, or ‘gifted’, or ‘greatness’, so it looks good, not bad. Everyone thinks they’re something special; it’s inherent in our sin, but there isn’t any access to heaven until this self-importance is smashed. The thing Jesus came to save us from is our pride.  Our pride is the expression of our sinful nature and it’s our inherent link to Satan. An eternal relationship with Jesus will not occur until our pride is removed from our throne.

Pride blocks what God has done

In Daniel chapter 3, Nebuchadnezzar built a golden statue of himself and demanded everyone bow and worship it whenever the music played. Three Jews refused, so in his anger, Nebuchadnezzar threw them into a fiery furnace, then in his amazement, watched as Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego simply walked through the furnace. Even his own soldiers had been killed by the radiating heat, but these three Jews were unscathed. In v.28, Nebuchadnezzar blesses the God of Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego and decrees that everybody must only worship their God. Yet, despite his own proclamation, he honoured God but with his pride still in place. If pride isn’t broken then your worship is in vain.

Dance to my tune

Pride is building a golden statue of ourselves and demanding that everyone bow down and worship it every time they hear the music. What’s the music we play? It’s the music of moodiness, or false humility, or intimidation to get people to recognise our value and do things we want them to do for us. It’s getting people to bow to our wants and wishes and reacting with anger, fear or sadness when they don’t. Our reactions prove which god we really serve … if you won’t dance to my tune then I’ll throw you into my furnace of spite, envy and hate, until you do what I want.

None of us think we do that because we cover it with our lies and fake niceness; but when the opportunity arises, we do play our music and expect others to dance to our tune, and if they won’t, then we treat them as enemies and justify our hatred as them being the ones who are unloving. It’s not Holy Spirit; it’s satanic, and until we’re cut down to size, there is no salvation. In fact, if God isn’t cutting you down to size then He knows you’re beyond breaking.

Pride twists your mind

In Daniel 2:49, at Daniel’s request, Nebuchadnezzar had elevated Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego over the affairs of Babylon, yet when Nebuchadnezzar demanded everyone bend and bow to his golden statue, he didn’t have any regard for his valued servants. It was as though he didn’t recognise them. The same mind lapse occurred with King Saul in 1 Samuel 17:55. David used to play the harp to settle his spirit as well as be Saul’s armour-bearer, but when David killed Goliath he couldn’t recall who he was.

When the mind is full of its own importance there’s no room for the value of others; everything centres around our own value. You can camouflage it with niceness, helps and generosity but when the opportunity arises we demand everyone to bow to our music and dance to our tune. It’s the music that reveals our true selves, not the generosity or kindness.

The higher you are the further you fall

Why Nebuchadnezzar and not King Saul? Only God knows the heart of man. You’ll see Nebuchadnezzar in heaven but you won’t see King Saul. Most of us refuse to be broken no matter what the burdens against us, preferring to blame others, or God, or mother nature, too proud to see our own pride in the picture, always justifying our own rightness.

How stubborn is our human pride!

God uses evil to break our pride

God allows evil circumstances to bring down our stubbornness, so to wish for no hassles or no problems is just selfish foolishness. It’s the hassles of life that breaks our pride. The good things of life promote our pride. In fact, God said that those that live Godly in Christ will suffer persecution. The hatred of others towards you because you love God is a healthy sign (though not necessarily full proof) that your pride is in the right place.

Don’t think you’re not a Nebuchadnezzar

Don’t think that the story of evil Nebuchadnezzar is not relevant to you. If it wasn’t personally relevant to you, it would just be an historical fact. It wouldn’t be in the Word of God unless it was universally relevant. Everyone has a flavour of Nebuchadnezzar. Most feed that flavour, the chosen confront it by God’s faith through the hardships of life. The good news is, it’s not your goodness that saves you, it’s your brokenness.

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2018 in Pride

 

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Sermon 123 – It’s Simple

If you’re into position, you’re NOT saved. It’s that simple.

Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took on Himself the form of a servant … Philippians 2

Jesus said … if any man will come after Me, let him DENY himself daily, carry his cross and follow Me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it.

Jesus said … no man is above His Master. If they called the Master of the house Beelzebub, don’t be surprised what they will call you.

‘Special’ is opposite Jesus

If you think you are special, if you think you have an important job to do for God or the country or the political system, if you think that God is blessing you because you’re special, if you think that God has given you special skills because you’re special, you’re NOT saved, you’re simply listening to satanic voices appealing to your pride.

 “I think I’m important” is the voice of Satan, not the Holy Spirit

Satan is the spirit that’s into position. Satan hates Jesus because he has a higher position. His whole objective is to take Jesus’ position and ultimately get the Father’s position. Satan’s into destroying your relationship position with Christ because he hates you having it when he can’t … we’re not fighting flesh and blood but principalities and powers (Ephesians 6).

Jesus pursues the exact opposite desire. If Jesus said … deny yourself daily, carry your cross and follow Him, but you believe you’re something special, don’t kid yourself; your thoughts are opposite to Christ. They are therefore thoughts from ANTI-Christ. They’re thoughts of PRIDE, not humility, and you’re faking your relationship with God.

Holy Spirit is not into position. A fully surrendered spirit to the Holy Spirit has no thoughts about position. He will be tempted with them, but he will not live in them.

Delusions of Grandeur

If you think you’re important or have an important job to do somewhere down the track, then you’ve been deluded by your own pride of grandeur. You won’t find Daniel employing this lie, nor Moses, nor Elijah, nor Jesus, nor Paul (once he gave up Saul). You will find King Saul deluded by his own grandeur, as well as Samson, Miriam, Peter, and Judas. The one’s who were saved for eternity, had to give up their position.

Position hates position

If you compare yourself to others, then you’re into position and if you’re into position, you’re into hate. You’ll hate people for being above you; you’ll hate it that you can’t do what others do, or can’t get what others have. Position hates; it can’t love, even though it pretends to love so it gets position.

The “I’m not special” lie

If you think you’re special, then you won’t want to be found out that you think that, because your spirit already knows that it is wrong, so most people will deny that they are special. Consequently, most people won’t admit that they think they’re special, but it’s a lie to cover-up your pride so you look like you’re humble. Generally speaking, everyone thinks they’re special, even the ones who are down and out and hurting and use their moodiness to manipulate you to make them feel sad for them.

However, the moment you compare yourself to someone in rank or skill or knowledge (2 Corinthians 10:12), or the moment you judge someone, or the moment you mock someone, or the moment you use moodiness to manipulate people to do what you want, then you’re automatically saying that you are more special than them. That’s position and you can’t have position without thinking you are special. That’s why God said the second great commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself. Competing for position is ant-Christ to God’s instructions.

Stop kidding yourself that you’re a Christian and get real with Christ

You won’t be saved until you get real and stop pretending. The Word of God declares that a genuine Christian lives content in whatever situation … good or bad (Philippians 4:11,12).  On the contrary, the modern Christian lives for good to get the benefits of good because they think they are special to God. It’s fake and it’s a lie.

Stop listening to the lies of the religious systems

If God gives you position, serve Him with gratitude. If He gives you poverty, serve Him with gratitude. You signed on for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or health, so learn to trust Him, whatever.

I’ve lost count how many Christians I’ve observed who are in it for position. When the crunch comes, they walk away and either give up or try another religious technique, always looking for the next level of spiritual experience, or else believing in the validity of their current feelings, pretending to be respectful, but all the time living in their own agenda and beliefs, conveniently turning a blind eye to the truth of their wounded resistance. These Christians are called, but not chosen.

It’s PRIDE that makes you susceptible to Satanic voices

It’s easy to blame someone else for our situation and hassles, but the fact is, it’s pride that blames and it’s our pride that makes us susceptible to judging others for our hassles. Pride think it’s everyone else’s fault. It’s our pride that wants position. It’s our pride that makes excuses for our hate … you like him more than me, or, those Christians are hypocrites so I’m not going to be a Christian.

Pride holds others in our debt

Our pride stores up credits against people. It accumulates debts that people owe you … if I help you then you have to help me, or, if I feel sorry for you then you have to feel sorry for me, or, if I apologise then I expect you to apologise too. God calls this holding people in debt, which is why the Lord’s prayer is … forgive us our debts as we forgive those who are indebted to us; but pride holds onto the debts, it can’t forgive and it can’t repent, and it won’t be forgiven by God.

Jesus said … He’s drawn to the humble and contrite in spirit; He resists the proud … James 4:6.

Pride hates correction

Pride is not quickly open to correction. Like King Saul in 1 Samuel 15, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, and like Cain vs Abel, pride defends itself from looking bad. Pride measures correction as rejection pain. It only concedes to the correction when it’s cornered and has to admit its error.

Pride uses moodiness to manipulate others to do what it wants, and the demonic spirits behind your pride stirs others to react inappropriately so that it can control you with guilt. Our pride is demonic. It needs to die.

Once you are susceptible to voices, it’s proof that you have upped your position and got proud about yourself

One of the ladies in our fellowship was hurting, emotionally. Everyone started to feel sorry for her; but what was really happening? The woman was hurting because she was envious of someone else’s position. She submitted to satanic voices of unfairness, and then in her pain, manipulated others to support her position. The other Christians thought it was a good thing to empathise with her, but they couldn’t see that they were inadvertently supporting a demonic spirit. Why couldn’t they see this? Because each one had fallen already to some previous pride that had elevated their own position.

It’s your own pride that deceives you. The hurts from other people are just doorways for Satan to trap you in your pride and focus on your rights, instead of trusting Christ in the hurt.

Christian Maturity

Everyone is susceptible to their pride, but a genuine Christian moves on to maturity in Christ and learns to sacrifice one’s selfish demand for position. God calls it ‘eating meat’ instead of ‘drinking milk’ (1 Corinthians 3). He calls it ‘growing up’ instead of staying a ‘baby’.

The solution

Give up your position.  Every Christian has a choice between being a Peter or a Judas. You may be a Christian like King Saul, but you won’t be saved until you give up your position-pride. God calls it … dying to yourself, and if you won’t listen, like King Saul and like Judas, time will run out for you.

 

Pastor Michael  Kasanzgi

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2018 in position, Pride

 

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Sermon 122 – Obedient Defiance

One young woman in our fellowship was struggling with her emotions because another young woman was more popular. The popular one was new to the fellowship, so from the first woman’s perspective, it wasn’t fair that she had been usurped.

This scenario happens time and time again amongst all groups of people. The point is, how is a Christian to address these feelings?

Separation is Biblical, 2 Thessalonians 3: 6,14

The problem was, the first woman’s jealousy was disturbing the whole fellowship. Something inside her was reacting to the unfairness and everyone could feel it. If you let envy fester it will turn to hatred. It may be hidden by obedience, but it’s really hatred and defiance under the guise of obedience. Therefore, according to Scripture, I instructed this woman to separate herself from the fellowship until she stopped her attitude, and at the same time, I asked her to answer several questions in the hope it would help her see her inappropriate attitude.

Questions

Do you think you’re special? Is she jealous that the other woman has taken her position? Is she having a mood? Is her attitude Holy Spirit or demonic? Is she doing what’s she’s told by me, without any defiance in her heart? She answered ‘yes’ to every question and even agreed that she was being manipulated by a demon.

The response that got my attention was the lie that she was being obedient to my instructions without any defiance. Now, if you are being demonically manipulated, and then to think you are being obedient, actually confirms that you are under the influence of a demon and lying to yourself. It’s a contradiction to know you are under a demon and to think you are obedient without any defiance.

Non-genuine obedience

All the people that I’ve pastored over the years considered themselves to be obedient to my pastoral instructions. Very few however, served the Lord without some expectation of benefit, meaning that their obedience is not true obedience. Obedience that’s not true always carries with it some form of defiance, and sooner or later, that defiance will expose itself in contradicting the authority.

The bottom line

The bottom line in every person’s heart is the belief that they have the right to their own opinion and no one is ultimately going to tell them what to do. This is the heart of Satan, not God. To them, their obedience is the evidence of their willingness to be told what to do, so no one can say that they are not a good person. Their argument is … ‘surely, I have the right to my own opinion and the right to figure it out myself.’ However, from God’s perspective, it’s not one’s right that’s the issue, it’s the bite of defiance that protects that right.

Example

During a discussion with one Christian young man, I suggested that he may have missed my point about him having a grievance with another man because his inappropriate behaviour resembled that of the man. He retorted … I didn’t miss your point. Now, it’s fine to have a difference of opinion. It’s not the difference of opinion that’s the issue; it’s the bite behind the opinion. It doesn’t matter how obedient you think you are to the authority’s instructions, a bite confirms that your heart is not obedient; on the contrary, it’s defiant.

Defiance is inherent. It has to be broken.

Every person on the planet is born defiant. It’s inherent in our spirit because of our link with Satan through our sin. When one truly surrenders to the will of God, a slow up-hill process begins whereby God changes our inherent defiant character into His self-less character. If you’re truly open to the correction of Christ, you will begin to see your inherent stubbornness and begin to sacrifice it to Him. The problem arises when one refuses to see it and ultimately turns their back on the process.

Every person is a King Saul, until they give up and become a David

In 1 Samuel 15 we read the story of the stubbornness of King Saul. From his perspective, he was doing what he was told, but from God’s perspective, he wasn’t. From God’s perspective, his behaviour was witchcraft and idolatry (v.23). That clearly means his heart was under the control of Satan at the same time as he was worshipping God (v.31) and thought he was being obedient (v.20). Whether you like this point or not, the truth is, everybody acts this way and believes this lie, until they unconditionally surrender to the will of God. Everyone is born under the control of Satan, no matter how obedient they may appear, and this control deepens until they sacrifice their pride to the will of God.

What was missing in King Saul’s obedience?

King Saul had let his humility turn to pride of position. He loved being No.1. From his pride’s perspective, he was doing what he was told, his way. When you’re ready to blame others for your misdeeds, you clearly show you’re being deceptive about your obedience. When your prime concern is what others think of you (v.30), you clearly show that your obedience is a camouflage for your defiance. What you don’t realise is that you are reinforcing Satan’s grip on your spirit. You can act obedient as much as you like, but if the Spirit of God is missing, you’re lying to yourself and others, and you’re under the power of a demon. In 2 Timothy 2: 25,26 God describes this as “opposing yourself” and under the snare of the devil and controlled at the devil’s will.

Which camp?

Now, if Samuel is standing with God and Saul conflicts with his opinion of what’s right and wrong, then clearly Saul is not standing with God. You’re either in God’s camp or you’re in the camp of Satan, and any middle ground is the same as not standing with God. If, by the Spirit of God, you declare that a person is not being obedient, but they contradict and demand they are, then immediately they have exposed their defiance and exposed what spirit they are really of. Defiance is simply contradicting the Spirit of God. Arguing the point against God’s representative, is defiance, and thus, demonic.

The bottom line

What was the underlying problem that stirred Saul to defy Samuel’s opinion? The answer is, he fed his heart with the pride of his position and defended that position when challenged he was wrong. Later on, he reinforced that pride by envying David’s threat to that position. Once he decided to solidify this defence of his pride, he was on his way to hell. There was nothing more Samuel could do to save him from his pride. Once you harden your heart and turn your back at the intersection of the challenge of your pride, it’s virtually impossible to find your way to God.

The real issue is Holy Spirit vs Satan

Beneath all the appearance of goodness, there’s a spiritual war going on (Ephesians 6). You either stand on God’s side or Satan’s. Pretending with niceness or obedience in middle ground is the same as neither hot nor cold, and therefore satanic. Obedience with defiance is actually hatred and demonic. It’s not God’s responsibility to fix this problem, it’s yours. If you refuse to address your pride when it’s exposed and humble yourself to the mind of Christ, don’t blame God when you miss heaven.

May God stir the hearts of his remnant to oppose their pride, not themselves, so that Satan is bound, not them.

 

Pastor Jonathan Wright

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2018 in defiance

 

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Sermon 121 – Consequences

This week Steve Smith was dismissed from the captaincy of the Australian Cricket team. He confessed to condoning the tampering of the ball by one of the other players during the third test against South Africa. The whole of Australia couldn’t believe we would cheat to win a sporting game. At his first interview, Steve admitted his mistake but expected to retain his position. He had not weighed up the consequences of his actions. He hadn’t considered that all Australians would be appalled and disheartened. That his young fans would be offended and disapprove in unbelief. That he would go from hero to villain. That the South Africans would boo him onto the field. That the media companies would withdraw their financial support. That the fans would boycott the future matches. That he would forever be remembered for his error of judgment. That he would lose his captaincy and be banned from playing for 12 months.

Pride blocks

Pride blocks you seeing the consequences. It can’t appreciate what it’s got, it can only see what it wants and what it isn’t getting. Pride doesn’t think it’s doing anything that bad. It questions any correction by an authority. It blames and TELLS you how to behave for its own benefit. It won’t really accept that it’s done anything that bad. It hates anyone higher or more successful than itself. It thinks it’s right. It refuses to lower its position.

Pride thinks there’ll be no consequences; only good thigs will happen to me. Pride thinks God loves me, so He’ll look after me and never let anything bad to happen to me. It doesn’t serve Christ for Christ’s sake, it expects Christ to serve them.

The old demonic trick of make them look bad so we don’t

Pride is designed to trap you into reacting against its stubborn resistance so that it spiritually controls you. Once you play ball with someone’s pride you are trapped in your own pride. I suspect the demonic spirit behind South Africa goaded the Australian vice-captain to retaliate to mocking taunts, so that he tempted the captain to coerce with his plan of ball-tampering so that the team would get caught in its own pride. I’ve seen and experienced many times where a demonic power working through someone, goads the person to react against it’s unfair injustice and once the person has reacted to the bait it then has the power to point the finger at your weakness and divert the attention off themselves. Demons take control over you by tempting you to fall to your pride.

The Pastor and the Painter

Journalist, Cindy Wockner, has written a book titled, the Pastor and the Painter. It tells the biography of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran from the moment they were arrested for drug smuggling in Indonesia, to the moment they were executed for the crime some 10 years later. In a television interview, Cindy describes the initial character of the two offenders as arrogant and insolent and disrespectful, without any remorse for their behaviour and offence, and without any agreement that they’d done wrong. She then goes on to say that after being in jail for over 6 years they both came to accept they that had done wrong. It was that decision that changed them from within to become responsible and remorseful for what they had done. They both changed and became genuinely Christ-like in their behaviour.

The key was accepting that they were wrong instead of being flippant about their deeds. Even so, they paid the ultimate consequence for their insolence.

2 thieves on the cross

In Luke 23:39 we read the reactions of the malefactors on the crosses next to Christ. One thief was only concerned about getting out of his problem and TOLD Jesus how to behave and fix it for him. He objected to the consequences. Demonic spirits always TELL you and blame you for their problem even though it’s obvious they, themselves, created the problem. Notice that Jesus didn’t play ball with this thief. He wouldn’t let His Spirit get trapped into His pride by demonic temptation. The enemy was still working his temptations right up to the end.

The other thief stood up for Jesus and rebuked the arrogant thief. He lowered his pride, accepted that he deserved the punishment, opened his heart to Christ, and was immediately saved for eternity. Most people lie or say sorry to avoid the consequences. They’ll never find Christ. It’s lowering your pride that saves you; you’re not saved by being good.

How do you know whether your pride has been put in its place?

You’ll have your pride in its place when you take full responsibility for it as evidenced by not blaming someone else or defending your position. When you’re willing to take the consequences and punishment. Steve Smith humbled himself. The consequences opened up his eyes to his sin and caused him to lower his position and give up his pride. On the other hand, Barnaby Joyce (Australia’s ex-deputy Prime minister) refuses to accept the consequences. Mr. Joyce doesn’t think his private life is anyone else’s business. He’s wrong. When you’re in public office, everything is the public’s business. Let me ask … did Mr. Joyce deceive his wife by having an adulterous affair behind her back? The answer is obviously, yes. That means that Mr. Joyce is a deceiver. Now, if you are going to deceive your wife, then you are going to be deceptive in your parliamentary position and to the public in general. If you treat your marriage vows with deceit, then that’s how you’ll treat your parliamentary vows.

What you practice is who you are

Why are most people afraid to kill someone? I suggest, because they are afraid of the consequences. If God considers that envy and hatred is murder (1 John 3:15), then why are Christians casual about practicing it? I suggest, because they are not afraid of the consequences. They don’t think it can been seen so they deduce they can get away with it; besides everyone else is doing it. If you have little concern of God’s punishment, then you’ll be flippant about your pride.

Casual about the consequences, casual about Christ.

Modern society has banished corporal punishment. The problem with this philosophy is that when you remove discipline you teach the child that there are no serious consequences for doing wrong. Eventually, you breed defiance, rebellion and anarchy. Young people today won’t be told, and laws are changed to suit the casual wants.

One of the fruits of our modern society is casual divorce. The law gives you the legal right to disrespect your vows. These vows are made before God, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death us do part. There’s only two grounds for righteous divorce, and that’s adultery or death. Now if the country gives you the right to divorce because you don’t like your spouse anymore, then that country is defying the Word of God and encouraging you to be a vow-breaker. Therefore, that parliament itself, is a vow-breaker. No wonder no one trusts a politician; they just don’t realise that you vote into power what you are yourself.

Christians make a vow to God

You show what character of person you really are by how much you honour your marriage vows to Christ. If you’re casual about your marriage vows you’ll walk away from your relationship based on your moodiness and pride, and Satan wins. If you’re prepared to walk away from your marriage and defy your vows to God, then you’ll do the same with your vow to God to serve him as a Christian. A Christian makes a vow to God, his husband, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part; but fake Christians object when things are worse or poor or sick. They’re not really committed to the vows; they’re truce-breakers; they’re liars, easily deceived by the enemy and deserters of the army, and unfortunately, our modern churches breed them in multiple numbers, by pretence and the prosperity lies.

The Ten Commandments stand behind your marriage vows to Christ

The fake modern church is casual about the ten commandments. They casually practice envy, hate and coveting; they lie to protect themselves; they shop, restaurant and sport on God’s sabbath; they merchandise their music; they practice immoral sex; they practice divorce; they practice adultery; they disrespect authority; they think themselves, special; they worship God and love the things of the world at the same time.

If you’re casual about His commandments, you’re casual about your vows and casual about your love for Christ. You can act committed like Mr. Joyce, but it’s all a lie. What you fail to realise is that the consequence of this casualness is hell, not heaven. If you’re casual about your vows then you’re not married to Christ. The relationship was never consummated.

I keep His commandments because I love Him, not because I fear Him; but I fear Him because I love Him.

 

Pastor Nick Clarence

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2018 in Pride

 

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