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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 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 118 – I’m Sorry

Proverbs 20:6 … most men will proclaim their own goodness, but a faithful man is hard to find.

In Australia, the deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has been exposed for adultery. He’s been challenged about promoting the woman, with whom he’s had an affair, into a higher job position. His family is struggling with being dumped and publicly embarrassed. As a consequence, the Prime Minister has publicly suggested that Mr. Joyce’s behaviour is unacceptable and included a ‘no sex with staff’ in the code of conduct agreement. Mr. Joyce says he’s sorry, but at the same time he’s challenged the Prime Minister’s reaction. As far as he’s concerned it’s his own private business and no one has the right to judge him or tell him what to do. His sorry is mixed with arrogance and blame.

Fake sorry = don’t tell me what to do

Recently, I corrected a young man in our fellowship for his selfish attitude of envy and pride. He said sorry, then went about defending himself with his good deeds and ended up blaming me for the correction. In other words, he was telling me how he should have been corrected. From his perspective I was over-the-top. The truth is, he wouldn’t be put in his place.

Responsibility vs. Blame

I always find it fascinating how when someone sins they blame the authority for correcting them instead of taking responsibility for their sin and whole-heartedly accepting the correction. As far as they’re concerned, they’re a good person so sorry should see the end of it. Like king Saul, a selfish proud spirit won’t accept they’re wrong, even though they’ll often agree they are. These people will always ultimately look for excuses to defend their selfishness.

God doesn’t accept sorry

God only accepts repentance; He doesn’t accept sorry. God didn’t accept Judas’ sorry, but He did Peter’s. One sorry was an apology because he was exposed and embarrassed & probably blamed Jesus for putting him in that position by making him the treasurer. The other sorry was an acceptance of responsibility with sincere remorse resulting in repentance. One sorry re-evaluates that it’s not as bad as was first portrayed, the other sorry knows it was wrong and humbles itself to the punishment. One is too proud to bend, the other bends and repents.

Judas sorry

Most people say sorry to get out of trouble. They don’t really mean it. Why? The pride of humanity doesn’t like being told it’s wrong. Most people believe they have the right to diagnose and surgically remove anything that’s bad, themselves. They don’t like other people telling them they’re wrong. Their pride can’t handle it.

Blame attached to sorry means you’re not sorry

You can’t say sorry and blame at the same time; it’s a contradiction. Saying sorry with an excuse, is not sorry; it’s selfish. Blame attached to sorry is the same as saying … “sorry for upsetting you but you’re wrong for correcting or punishing me the way you did. I’m willing to be told I’m wrong but I don’t like you telling me I’m wrong (which obviously doesn’t make sense); and you made me do it anyway”.

What the person is really saying is … I think I’m good. You shouldn’t tell me I’m bad! I have the right to decide whether I’ve done wrong, you don’t. In other words, they won’t be told, or they’ll pretend to be, but in their heart, they don’t like being put in their place.

Being put in your place

Being put in your place, is generally read as being put-down, when in fact, it may be a beneficial correction to your pride of position. Pride won’t interpret the difference but rather objects to the correction, in which case it clearly does need to be put in its place.

I’m right because you are wrong

Ask yourself … do you deduce you are right when someone who’s offended you is corrected?

The truth is, only pride makes the deduction … I’m right because you’re wrong, or I’m good because you are corrected. Just because someone is corrected doesn’t necessarily mean that you are right, and someone’s wrongness doesn’t prove you are good. You can’t conclude rightness based on someone else’s wrong. You may both be wrong. In fact, if this is your common deduction, then you, yourself, are full of your own pride.

Humanity makes its deductions based on its feelings

Most people believe that what they feel is the truth. Their deductions are based on how they feel. If you hurt my feelings then you’re not nice and you deserve to pay for it. This is the thinking of the anti-Christ, not Jesus. A genuine Christian makes his deductions by faith. Faith is the engine of his spirit, not feelings. If you’re running on feelings you’d better submit to correction to restore yourself to faith or you’ll eventually derail.

A faithful Christian accepts his feelings (whether it be heaviness, loneliness, failure, hurts, purposeless) as the burden of life that he shares with Christ. The feelings drive him to Christ … cast your cares on Him because he cares for you … as his strength and source.

The world is chasing happy feelings

The human spirit doesn’t like feeling bad, which is why if it gets caught, it says sorry, so it can get back to its good feelings. As far as the world is concerned, if I say sorry, that should be the end of it, and if it isn’t then you’ve got the problem. It’s a convenient way of ignoring one’s own sin and casting the blame onto someone else.

The world wants happy feelings all the time. It chases after it through … success, money, friends, marriage, travel, sex, fun, drugs, alcohol, & super challenges.  The fake church sells happiness so it can take advantage of what the world is looking for, so it can increase its numbers and money and look good to the world so it’s not persecuted.  Thus, the fake church is just like the world.

If you’re chasing happy feelings, then you’re of the world, not of Christ

Christ doesn’t offer happiness; He offers blessedness, and that’s a completely different product …  blessed are you when you are persecuted, merciful, meek, mourn & poor … Matthew 5.

Happiness is transient and temporary; it’s based on luck. It never permanently fulfils; it always has to be chased for more, and it always produces envy against those who seem to have it.

Blessedness is based on faith. It’s a commitment to Christ, based on a relationship of love. It doesn’t seek happy feelings. It simply serves Him and trusts Him whatever the feelings and outcome.

It’s never really a ‘happy’ issue

On the surface humanity says it’s chasing happiness, but that’s just a cover for the real hidden agenda of … I can do what I want; no one’s going to tell me what I can and can’t do. If you don’t want to be told, you’ll chase what you want. Thus, Barnaby Joyce is now exposed for his real agenda and Satan wins and secretly controls another lost spirit.

Freedom strategy

The whole purpose of blame and hurt is to get you to retaliate against a demonic spirit so you come under its power. Satan argues ‘feelings’ through blame and guilt to trap you in His power. It’s the tickling of your feelings that is the temptation. Sin is acting on the temptations.

Conversely, God argues sin. This puts the argument on the spirit level, rather than the feeling level.

A remnant Christian goes to God’s Word for the truth of a person’s attack against them and either repents for being wrong, or righteously refuses to accept the blame and puts the responsibility for the sin back onto the shoulders of the blamer. They still may suffer the feelings of blame but they’re free from the power of the blame; they’ve shared it with the Lord. Elijah stood up to Ahab, David stood up to King Saul, Shadrach stood up to Nebuchadnezzar, and Jesus stood up to the Pharisees.

The remnant needs to learn the righteous path to Godly aggressive humility to stand up against the sinner, rather than being sucked into the satanic trick to react to hurt feelings.

 

Pastor Nick Clarence

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2018 in Blame, Correction

 

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Sermon 106 – Gall of Bitterness

For the past decade I’ve had an intermittent dull ache under my rib cage on the right-hand side of my body. As a Natural Therapist I’m aware that such a symptom indicates liver/gall bladder dysfunction of some kind. I’ve learnt to restrict my diet and not eat fast foods, fatty foods, peanuts and dairy. They all upset my liver. I’ve been the medical examination route of ultrasound, blood tests for liver function, and x-rays with radioactive dyes, but they all showed negative results. Finally, my GP suggested surgical removal of my gall bladder.

I’ve learnt that removal of the gallbladder often doesn’t solve the problem but rather creates alternate problems. I wasn’t interested in such a radical solution. I finally decided to attempt a gallbladder cleanse using apple juice, Epsom salts and olive oil. I was very hesitant and cautious about the effectiveness of the process but I decided I had no other alternative. The symptoms were getting worse. To my utter astonishment I passed more than 100 stones. I was elated at the prospect of restored health.

Neurological connections between emotions and organs

When you get scared, your body reacts with what medicine calls the ‘fear/ flight’ syndrome. Your muscles and organs tense for running from whatever it is that causing the fear.

I know as a natural therapist that the gallbladder is neurologically affected by the mental emotion of bitterness, and the liver is affected by the emotion of anger. There’s no way that persistent bitterness and anger will not have negative effects on your biological system. You will not be aware of the side-effect of such emotions but your body has to absorb them somehow. My gallstones could either mean I was full of bitterness myself or that I was bearing the burden of others’ bitterness against me.

Simon, the sorcerer

The whole exercise reminded me of Simon, in Acts chapter 8. He used sorcery to make himself look great in the eyes of others, v.9.

By God’s grace, when Philip preached, the bewitching power over the people’s minds was broken. They switched allegiance and this stirred Simon to switch with them. Simon was looking for the trick that Philip used to cause the people to switch, so he hung around Philip to try and pick up the clues. Further analysis shows that his motive for becoming a Christian was for personal gain. He was really just looking for whatever way he could to retain his superiority and control over others.

Peter and John turned up and laid hands on those who had converted to Christ. Obviously, they responded to the Holy Spirit’s anointing by most probably speaking in foreign languages. Simon was desperate to have the equivalent power, so he tried to purchase it with money, v.20. He was immediately exposed as a fraud.

Peter challenged Simon to repent of the thought of his heart and declared that Simon was caught up in the gall of bitterness.

What does this mean to us?

  1. If you allow yourself to get caught up in the desire to be great in the eyes of others, you’ll end up with spiritual gallstones.
  2. If you envy others for having more power or position than you, you’ll end up with spiritual gallstones.
  3. Eventually, either on earth, or before the Lord, you’ll be exposed as a fraud.

Sadly, my pastoral experience has confirmed that most modern-day Christians are fraudulent, just like Simon. Most are into Christianity for their own selfish gain. The power of the demonic is becoming more and more openly exposed. Most, like Simon, are serving God under the power of demonic spirits for their own gain.

Spiritual gallstones

The liver produces bile salts which are stored in the gall bladder and automatically ejected into the duodenum whenever you eat fatty food. The bile salts help break down the fats. Bile salts are made up of cholesterol. When your liver malfunctions due to chronic stress or disease, the gallbladder gets congested with bile salts and gradually these salts harden into stones of varying sizes. Gallbladder removal in this modern generation is now extremely common. There’s a lot of bitter people out there.

Besides the stones, and besides the liver struggling to perform its blood cleansing process, the serious problem is the cholesterol. Bad cholesterol will clog arteries and consequently contribute to heart attacks and strokes. It’s dangerous to be bitter.

In the same way, if you let bitterness into your heart, you invariably won’t know, but it will be subtly killing you.

Test

You can test yourself by honestly observing your emotions when someone else gets the accolades; when someone else gets the better deal; when someone else gets greater happiness or money or relationships. Any sense of a feeling of unfairness is a sure sign of spiritual gallstones.

Example

I was counselling a young man who said he was a Christian, but his single-parent mother was struggling with his defiance and bad attitude. When I suggested that he repay the money he had sponged off her, and put his head down and work to his ability at school, he ran off in one big mood saying “it’s all too hard”. Right there and then, he had the opportunity to break free from demonic spirits, but his selfishness was too strong.

His philosophy was … if you’re bad you can’t tell me to be good; and if you’re bad, I have the right to be bad too. This is just blaming others so you can make excuses for your own evil behaviour. Why doesn’t he have the philosophy of … if you’re bad, I’m going to be good. Obviously, he prefers to be bad, and he’s looking for any excuse to achieve it.

Knowing of his background, I could see that his behaviour was simply built on the envy that his brother was more liked by his father. Instead of being grateful for what had been done for him and given to him, he had chosen the path of envy and had started practicing mind control over people in order to get his way. He had inadvertently surrendered to Satan. He was silently producing spiritual gallstones which would one day kill him.

Warning

In this modern world that is becoming more and more worldly and less and less moral and less and less respectful of authority, stay true to the Word of God, even if you’re alone, or the empowerment of demonic spirits will latch onto your bitterness and lead you on the broad way to destruction.

 

May God strengthen his remnant to stay true to His call.

 

Pastor James McNaughton

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2016 in Bitterness

 

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Sermon 101 – Born Again?

The Catholic religion believes that you become a Christian by being baptized as an infant. The Evangelical Churches teach that you become a Christian when you invite Jesus Christ into your heart to be your lord and saviour. The Catholic option is definitely not biblical, but what about the evangelical theory?

I was counselling two brothers who were constantly bickering with each other. Although nothing was being said, they vied for their father’s value and whenever one was corrected for their attitude or made a bad decision, the other promoted himself above him.

The blame exercise

I suggested an exercise. Each one was to write down “I’m blaming you for ….. ” and complete the sentence. They both came up with several justifiable blames against each other.

The purpose of this exercise was to expose them to the fact that they were Christians operating under Satan. In the Garden of Eden, Adam came under the power of Satan when he blamed Eve for causing him to fall. What he should have done was take the blame for his own sin, but because he wouldn’t he was separated from God.

The temptation to blame others for our hassles and failures, is inherent. It has been passed on as a sinful trait in the heart of every human being as a consequence of Eve’s sin. What you don’t realise when you get caught in the blame cycle is that you are making judgments against your neighbour and thus proving that you are proud and more concerned about yourself than your neighbour. You’ve unwittingly fractured the second great commandment and therefore it’s you that has sinned even though the other person started it.

Demons have power over you through the grievances you hold

As we talked they realised that they were both holding grievances against each other which was just causing division between them and they were using their energy resisting each other instead of working together. It was actually wearing them down physically. Knowing their family situation, I suggested that their sister-in-law despised them because they were more popular and more happy than her and their reactive bitterness towards her for her spitefulness unwittingly gave licence to the demonic power she was under to enter through this open door of hurt and initiate destruction against them whenever they took the bait of promoting their own self-value over each other.

There’s a difference between saying you’re wrong and faith

At this point they had the opportunity to take on guilt and feel bad for their behaviour which would just keep them bound to the power of Satan, or by faith give the issue and outcome and the fear of what people would think of them, to the Lord. They both chose the latter option.

Faith knows it is wrong and turns to the Lord. Pride can say it’s wrong when cornered, but it turns to itself and justifies its feelings. There are plenty of Christians who believe and try to do what’s right and are willing to admit they’re wrong when found out, but their selfishness holds the truth in unrighteousness. They will be exposed to God’s wrath, Romans 1:18.

Repentance

The average Christian thinks they repent but they don’t. Repentance is when you stop your blame and stop your guilt (which are just selfish ways of prolonging your mood) and by faith turn to the Lord and wait on Him. Adam could’ve said he was wrong but that would not have been good enough. He had to also give up his self-defense and turn to the Lord.

Victory

Satan’s purpose is to destroy and he can do it just as easily from within as from without. If you want to win against satanic forces, it’s not by taking them on, it’s not by shouting the Name of Jesus at them, it’s by dying to your will by faith in God’s plan. This is how Jesus won against Satan. Up till the time He died, he was vulnerable to Satan’s temptation. He withheld against it but in His humanity He was still vulnerable. The vulnerability ceased the moment He died. Once he was dead, Satan could no longer touch Christ; He’s future reign had been set in stone. It’s death to self by faith in Christ’s justice that gives you the victory and that’s the only way you can win.

What does this have to do with Born Again?

Everything. If you constantly fall to blame, it’s a sign that you’re not really born again.  You see, Satan is the one that manipulates humans to blame one another, whereas, Jesus died on the cross and copped the blame of the world on his spirit. If you are genuinely under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you will routinely cop the unfair blame and by faith, trust the Lord’s outcome.

Satan’s argument is based on fairness … “it’s not fair; I haven’t done anything wrong.” This is the argument he sold to mankind through Eve and all of mankind is vulnerable to this temptation. The only way you can defeat this temptation is by being Born Again. You won’t beat this human trait with your mind; you can’t be born again by making up your mind to follow Christ.

God’s argument is based on sin … “you did the wrong, as well as the other person.” But, humanity argues with God that they made me do it and in its pride refuses to agree with God’s view.

The disciples weren’t born again until after Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 22:32) and came back and encouraged them to walk the true walk (John 21). Up till then they were of another spirit (Luke 9:54,55) even though the Holy Spirit operated through them. They first had to give up their personal intentions of what Jesus was going to get for them and give to them because they followed Him. The death of Christ was their stimulus of salvation because it shattered their personal agendas and hopes.

So what is ‘Born Again?’

Well, if you’re born again you obviously must have died and started life again (Luke 14:26,33). You’re only born again when you have died first. You die when you see your pride and unconditionally surrender to the will of God and by His faith, trust in His atoning blood for your sin. Unconditionally means that you now stand on the principles of the Word of God (the Bible) and not the popular lie of grace, and you know when you’re dead when you do not bite back.

The measurement

You measure your surrender by the principles of the Word of God. When the Word of God says do this or don’t do that (e.g. no work on Sabbath, no retailing on Sabbath, separate from those Christians who teach that gain is godliness (1Tim.6:5), and separate from those Christians who fornicate with the world, and separate from those Christians who call homosexuality a normal phenomenon instead of sin … Romans 1:27,28) and you use your modern religious thinking to routinely compromise His Word, then know that you’re not surrendered unconditionally and therefore, not born again.

You measure your surrender by whether you routinely fall to blame and judgment. You measure your surrender by waiting on God by faith in His outcome and final plan.

The fruit of unconditional surrender is being blamed

If you’re truly born again you’ll be hated (Mark 13:13) by those who are supposed to love you, you’ll be envied by those who are supposed to love you, and you’ll be cursed by those who are supposed to love you. You see, the price of born again is to be de-valued by your fellow-man, to be misunderstood by your relatives, and to be cursed for not doing the church-way. That’s why almost all western Christians believe in the grace theory and not the death theory. It’s easier that way.

Jesus Christ made Himself of no reputation and took on Him the form of a servant and trusted His Father’s plan … Philippians 2:7,8

 

Pastor Mike Clifford

 

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Blame

 

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Sermon 99 – Stop BLAMING everybody else & REPENT

I was counselling a young woman who was brought up by God-fearing parents. Her grandmother was quite domineering and blunt and sometimes her own mother showed some of the grandmother’s characteristics. As a young girl she made choices of resistance to her grandmother’s attitude that would affect her whole future life. Instead of accepting her parent’s minor faults and appreciating that they were trying to instruct her in God’s ways and provide for her every need, she made inner choices of resistance against their love.

Freedom

Eventually, as she grew up, she became her own woman. Freedom to her was no one was going to tell her what to do. She ran away from home and entered the path of fornication and became pregnant. In love, her parents said she was welcome back, but only on the grounds of repentance, so she chose the easy path of living with her grandfather (her grandmother had now passed away). The grandfather believed he was doing the right thing by his granddaughter, but in reality, he was caring for her in defiance of his son-in-law. The grandfather pretended to be a nice Christian person because popularity was important to him, but he actually hated his son-in-law for his Godly stand.

Incorrigible

I suggested to this young woman that she had chosen to defy her parents, and that she was the one who had chosen to feel sorry for herself. I pointed out that she had chosen to blame everyone for her hurt feelings, but hadn’t considered the hurt and embarrassment she had caused to her parents. I emphasised that she was the one who had chosen the pathway of moodiness and the path of belief that everyone else were idiots if they didn’t see it her way. I made it quite clear that she was the one who had chosen the path of fornication and the path of unrepentance, but sadly she refused to listen. She refused to carry any responsibility for her sinful attitude. Her path was set. From her perspective she was doing ok by herself; why should she think otherwise, her grandfather was giving her everything she needed, but she was blind to the truth that she was sick in her spirit.

She knew enough scripture to quote “fathers provoke not your children to wrath”, but conveniently chose to ignore the verses before that which state “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honour your father and mother that it may be well with you,” Ephesians 6:1-3.

When I spoke with her parents they shared with me how the church had criticised them for their unloving attitude. I reassured them that their love was more genuine than the church. The modern church has chosen the path of least resistance; it doesn’t want a hassle or to look bad, thus it pretends to love by supporting the hurt, but pays no attention to the spirit behind the hurt. The grandfather had chosen the path of supporting his granddaughter’s evil and used it to prove that it was his son-in-law who was evil. He mocked his son-in-law’s moral ground. He had no idea that he had chosen the side of the demonic.

Other relatives could see that the parents were genuine people so they stayed neutral, but when the parents declined to attend family weddings if the young woman attended because they held to their Godly instructions, the family chose the young woman to attend in preference to the parents.

These are the two options of the false modern church; either sit in the middle when someone makes a moral Christ-like stand, or judge them for being harsh and unloving. Either position is earthly, sensual and demonic … James 3:15.

The issue is always authority

The prodigal’s father waited patiently for his son to wake up to his selfishness; he didn’t chase after him and persuade him to return to safety. He knew that one can’t live with defiance; the sinner has to repent and come under authority. The issue is always authority … like in the animal kingdom, the authority’s position is challenged by another’s position.

This woman’s grandfather had actually failed her by protecting her sin instead of letting God deal with it through failure and remorse.

The truth 

The truth is, this young woman said she was hurting and she used it to make everyone feel sad for her, but what she was really expressing was hatred towards authority, and those who have never seen their own disrespect of authority, fall for it.

Because of Adam and Eve’s defiance to God’s instruction, everyone is born with a spirit of defiance to authority. This defiance becomes our personal responsibility when we decide to be defiant to our parents. Everyone builds their life’s habits and beliefs around this defiance. We cover it with good deeds and convince ourselves we’re good, but fail to realise our inner self that God wants to save, is defiant.

Everyone I talk with has defied their parents either silently or openly. God lets this defiance run its course. A few people will wake up and see their sin and call out to God for His mercy and gain access to heaven. Most will remain defiant till they die, even if they see it, because the heart of man doesn’t like to be corrected and told it’s wrong, and it justifies and explains away any wrong by its self-assessed goodness. The truth is, the grandfather had never repented of his defiance to his own parents, and thus he carried his defiance into his relationship with his son-in-law, but it only exposed itself when his son-in-law stood up for God’s principles and it unbalanced and exposed the flaw in his own.

Adam and Eve show you what happens if you will look

What the human heart fails to understand is that standing up for your own rights with a heart of defiance puts you at the mercy of Satan’s control. You think you’re the one in control, but the truth is, like Adam and Eve, you’re ignorantly under the control of Satan. He’s pulling your chain and you just think you’re being unfairly treated. But the truth is, your heart is sick and you need a saviour.

Another example

I was also counselling a young man who had never done anything wrong, at least from his perspective. When an authority questioned him he simply and silently wrote off the authority as stupid. I asked him to recall an incident in his early childhood where he had defied his parents. He recalled being disciplined by his mother and in his heart saying “I will do what you say but you’re stupid and your rules are stupid”. The  young man agreed that correction hurt his feelings and he couldn’t understand it because he couldn’t agree with it. The truth was, he had chosen to hate authority without even knowing it because Satan had manipulated his feelings and thinking against authority. Without ever realising it, he had built his whole life on defiance and had covered it with good deeds and coolness so that he didn’t care what anyone else thought. What he didn’t realise was that he was under the influence of the demonic. He wasn’t in control like he thought he was. He was deceiving himself. In his heart of hearts though, he knew something was wrong, and when I exposed him to his defiance and his anti-Christ attitude of heart he owned his sin and repented. The demon lost its power.

Humanism

Why do you think modern education and modern society is teaching young people to stand up to authority and don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Humanism easily indoctrinates you to make up your own mind what’s right and wrong; sin likes that theory. Why is it teaching 5 year olds about sex? Why is it encouraging 7 year olds to have a sex change? Without a doubt, it’s to destroy Christ’s earth and Christ’s people. It’s to destroy the family and its Satan’s intent that if he’s going to hell then he’s going to take as many unwary people as possible with him. Satan is alive and well on planet earth and the church is letting it happen.

Until a person wakes up to their defiance they can never be saved no matter how much good they pour over it, because Jesus didn’t come to save you for being good, He came to save you for being a defiant sinner and set you free from Satan’s power that Satan initiated in the Garden over Adam and Eve and over all those that want to be their own god.

Pastor Mike Clifford


 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Authority

 

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Sermon 97 – I don’t want to be a NOBODY

I was talking with a young Christian man about his feelings when all of a sudden he spurted out of his mouth … “I’m sick of being treated like a 3 year old; I want to be a somebody”. These words or similar words are being touted more and more regularly. The humanistic teaching to the younger generation is twisting the minds of the youth to believe they are someone special and thus can achieve anything they set their mind to. Sounds ok, but it’s a satanic trap.

The syndrome of superiority vs. inferiority

Why does everyone want to be a somebody? Why can’t people be happy with their lot in life? Why is everyone comparing themselves to their neighbour as to whether they’re above them or below them? Most people might not bring it to their conscious mind, but just below the surface everyone knows within their circle of friends and family, who’s more superior and more liked and more happy, and who’s inferior.

Once Eve disobeyed God and fell to the temptation of being a somebody, every human being thereafter has inherited the same desire in their DNA. Wanting to be a somebody is a temptation that if you fall for, it will put you under the power and control of Satan. It’s a trap designed to ultimately separate you from creator God.

You can’t find God by being a somebody; you have to become a nobody

Philippians 2:7 states that Jesus made Himself of no reputation and took on Himself the form of a servant. To prove this, He was born in a stable and He died a cruel death. The Pentecostal church teaches that because He suffered you don’t have to; He did it all for you. But is that the truth? No it’s not, because v5 states let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus; which means, we are to have the same fixed mind of servanthood as Christ did. He didn’t do it so we wouldn’t have to; He did it to show us how to.

The real reason

The real reason why everyone is competing against each other to be a somebody is because we’re selfish; we want to look good in the eyes of others, we want to be better than the other person, we want to be happy, we want no hassles. This secret attitude just confirms what God already knows, and if we will look, confirms that we haven’t found God at all; we’ve just tacked Him onto our selfishness.

The church says it follows the law of God, but it’s lying. When you want to be a somebody, you’ll keep the laws of God up to a point, but when it comes to the crunch you’ll come up with your own laws and run by them.

If you judge people for not doing it the way you would have, you operate under your own law that says …” if you don’t do it my way, you’re an idiot”.

If, like the man I was counselling, you have a mood because someone bosses you and you don’t like it, you operate under your own law that states … “if you’re not nice to me, then I don’t have to be nice to you”, or “if you hurt my feelings them I have the right to have a mood”, or “if you tell me what to do you make me feel stupid.”

Everyone has hundreds of secret laws which are considered acceptable because everyone has them and they’re regarded as the norm, but the truth is, our personal self-protective laws come from the heart of Satan.

The reason we keep our own secret laws is because we don’t want to be put-down, we don’t want to be told what to do … we want to be our own boss. In other words, without us even waking up to the fact, we are actually the god of our own kingdom and if we run by our own laws we are always right and can’t be wrong and we can blame everyone else for our pain and hurt feelings.

Some of us express this blame as “you don’t understand” (which just simply means if you won’t agree with my opinion, you’re ignorant), or “I will be nice to you so you can’t tell me I’m bad”. They’re simply just techniques we’ve learnt that help us not feel inferior because we don’t want to be told we’re wrong. They have nothing to do with God; it’s just plain selfishness.

The King Saul phenomenon

We analyse and then justify why the person that’s hurt us is wrong, then explain away why they are wrong, then resist being told that we may be the one that’s wrong, and then refuse to see it. The consequence of this selective selfish blindness is demonic possession and ultimately, hell, and all the time we’re the ones who think we’re badly done by.

I felt the temptation but I dealt with it

Most Christians I come across argue that when they were tempted to blame or feel hurt that they dealt with the temptation, but they fail to see that their mood reaction confirms they’re lying to themselves. Why do we have to believe that we’ve dealt with it? Because we’re selfish and we don’t want to feel a failure, nor look bad to others, nor be counselled that we haven’t; we don’t want to be told we’re selfish. We’d rather argue that we have dealt with the temptation. Generally, the real truth is that we live under the fear of being corrected or rejected, which is just the fruit of our selfishness, and we hide behind our self-righteous laws and shift the blame to the other party so we don’t get hurt. Selfishness always surrounds itself with fear and blame so it can’t be told it’s wrong.

God’s counsel = repent first, forgive second

Instead of supporting the man’s feelings by pointing out the wrong of the person who had offended him, I said to this Christian man … did you do anything wrong? Once he admitted that his mood was just a selfish reaction, I told him that God’s law says “repent”. Once he repented, he was able to forgive.

People believe that freedom = no one telling me what to do. But that’s just the deception of my own fake selfish laws. Freedom is obeying God’s laws, because that’s the only way to disconnect yourself from Satan’s power.

If you want to be free you have to look at yourself in the light of God’s laws, not your own selfish laws. Your own laws will always support your case; God’s laws will expose your selfishness.

The grace lie

The reason the modern church says we’re under grace and people who respect God’s laws are legalistic is really so we can be free to operate under our own legal system and thus retain one’s selfishness. Why do I know this? Because His grace in only given to the humble; He resists the proud, and you’re definitely not humble if you think you’re a somebody. The evidence that we’re outside His grace is the decay of the land and the decay of the morals of society. The church is meant to be the salt but it’s lost its saltiness.

God’s grace is not there so you can be safe from the consequences of your sin; it’s in place to delay addressing your sin whilst He waits to see if you will own your sin and repent. If you fail to see your selfishness and repent, eventually He will punish your selfishness.

You have to be bitten to learn not to bite

If you want to face your selfishness, you can’t face it by everything working out to your own satisfaction. Things have to go wrong to expose your moodiness. If you open your eyes to your moodiness you will see your selfishness and if you repent you will be saved for heaven. Therefore, it’s God’s grace that you be bitten.

Motivation

If your motivation is for God, living under God’s laws is simple. If your motivation is for yourself, it’s impossible.

Pastor Jim Desmond

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2016 in Elevation, Pride

 

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