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Sermon 112 – Obey is better than Sacrifice

Limited sacrifice

Most Christians I engage with would consider themselves willing to sacrifice. They would be willing to give up things (time, money, things) if they had to. At the same time, most of these people would also act sacrificial. They would put on sadness or heaviness as a display of penance when they had been found out for doing something wrong. Do acts of penance expose a flaw in our sacrifice? God calls us to unlimited sacrifice (Luke 14:33) but, generally speaking, most Christians have a limit to their sacrifice. Why?

Is our sacrifice genuine or reflective of something wrong in our spirit?

The Word of God in 1 Corinthians 13 declares that you can give your body to be burned but it could prosper you nothing. That’s a pretty big sacrifice to no avail. Why does God describe love in the light of sacrifice? I guess we think that sacrifice is an expression of love, but God stresses that love is firstly based on obedience before sacrifice, and without obedience our sacrifice is a wasteful exercise. If your sacrifice is for any personal benefit or reward, then you sacrifice is fake.

Christ’s disciples

Initially, the disciples followed Christ for the benefits and the popularity. It wasn’t until they willingly sacrificed everything did they see and grasp what it was all about. They gave up their job source and their popularity to gain nothing but Christ. A 70% commitment like most Christians is not discipleship. To follow Christ requires 100% sacrifice; no reliance on Egypt, career or family, but only Jesus Christ.  This doesn’t mean you can’t have a career etc.; it means there should be no reliance on any source except Christ.  Most Christians think they do this but when it comes to the crunch, they falter.

What about obedience?

All Christians would say they were obedient. I’ve met many Christians who live by rightness. From their perspective they live good and upright lives always trying to do what’s right and do what they’re told (but generally only if they think it’s right). So if you suggest that there seems to be something wrong with their attitude and thus in their spirit, there’s always a reaction of defensive offence. They can’t believe it, because their goodness in comparison to others is what they measure themselves by. It comes as a complete shock that there may be something wrong with themselves. Reaction to correction of wrong, is where the true inner spirit’s character is exposed. Anyone can fake the exterior, but sooner or later, disobedience will show as a mood.

Why does God say that obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22)?

Recently I experienced 3 separate situations where supportive members of my fellowship challenged my authority when I addressed something wrong in their behaviour. There mood was showing. Now, it’s ok to respectfully challenge the pastor’s authority when he is out of alignment with the Word of God, but it’s evil to challenge his authority when your own heart is out of spiritual alignment. In these 3 cases, the manner in which I was challenged was aggressive and disrespectful. I knew I was being challenged by a demonic spirit; Christian or no Christian. I knew they were silently telling me that I wasn’t being fair and understanding, and that I had no right to make them feel bad, or to tell them what was right or wrong. Having experienced this many times, I turned to the Lord, stood righteously and quietly but firmly re-challenged their challenge.

Fortunately, each of these persons respected me enough to stop and re-look at their behaviour and concede that I was right and that something was wrong in their heart. Once they had decided to concede to my authority, in each case they revealed a circumstance where they had secretively done something contrary to my advice and instructions. Each situation seemed minor to their thinking, but when they looked at it with open eyes they could each see that they had been disobedient, and they repented.

If you’re a Samuel, there’ll always be a Saul who questions you

Satan always questions righteous authority. He hates the righteous. He’s purpose is to destroy anyone who puts up their hand for the living God, and he usually uses family or friends to try and pull down the righteous.

A 4th person, whom I considered a friend, rose up against my authority. When I challenged him, he confessed to his pornography. I had previously helped him remove his wifi so that he wouldn’t be tempted, but he had deceptively defied my instructions. He refused to repent and his disobedience separated him from the Garden. Sadly, he opened his heart to the world through the lust of the flesh and spiritually suicided. He had no power to fight it. The spirit of God had left.

Demonic occupation of our spirits

It was the disobedience that had exposed these four to demonic occupation and under that occupation they became defiant to authority when questioned about their spirits. Subtle disobedience exposes the fact that our spirits want to do what we want to do. We don’t want to be told. God calls this want “rebellion, stubbornness and witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:23). We want to be obedient but we, like Eve, lose the power of this healthy want the moment we fall to disobedience.

Disobedience takes you out of the blood covering and only genuine repentance can correct the problem. Sacrifice is something we do usually for others or something we do to look good or make ourselves feel good, but disobedience is a choice of often unintentional defiance against authority. It exposes the “I won’t be told what to do” of our inherent selfish spirit. It carries much more spiritual consequences.

Disobedience is way different to sacrifice. You don’t come under demonic influence for sacrificing, but you do when you disobey, either wilfully or unintentionally.

Disobedience was the issue that caused Adam and Eve to bring the whole human race under the influence of Satan. Disobedience without repentance was the whole issue that caused them to be expelled from the Garden, and disobedience was the issue that eventually saw the death of Shimei, and the satanic possession of King Saul.

The strategy of Satan is the same as in the Garden

Namely, promote subtle defiance so that the church is annihilated. The children of our modern western society are deliberately being taught to have their own mind for the sole purpose of undermining parental authority so that families are fractured and Christianity is wiped off the face of the earth.

Rightness thinking, fake sacrifice

Once you justify disobedience you lose your clear thinking and start thinking evil against the righteous. Once you choose to disobey by surrendering to the subtle sweet voice of Satan, you start telling yourself that there’s nothing wrong with your decision and you shift your conscience from righteousness to rightness.  Once you do that you are automatically in opposition to the righteous, and eventually you will challenge the authority of the righteous. Satan’s got you where he wants you.

The fact is, that those who live for rightness are actually being disobedient, somewhere in the privacy of their inner heart, to the righteousness of God.

Shimei (I Kings 2)

From Shimei’s point of view it was a justifiable minor infraction to go and get back his run-away servants. Surely it was fair and right! But Solomon didn’t judge him for his actions, he judged his heart via his actions. Shimei was killed, not because he had disobeyed, but because of what was privy in his heart (1 Kings 2:44). Solomon knew that Shimei was silently telling him that he wasn’t fair and just and that he had the right to make his own decisions. When you disobey, it’s not the action that’s the problem, it’s what’s privy in your heart.

King Saul (1 Samuel 15)

From King Saul’s point of view, it was sensible not to waste good animals but to bring back the livestock to sacrifice to God. He wasn’t judged for the deed, but by the deed. The disobedience exposed what was privy in his heart. Samuel knew that the real underlying issue was the fact that Saul was questioning his authority. Unlike David who sinned far worse, Saul wouldn’t repent in his heart, but only on the surface for the benefit of looking good to the people. The consequences of this fake repentance was demonic possession.

The issue is always authority

From Satan’s perspective the issue is always, “who’s the boss”. When you disobey you come under the same thinking. Unrepentant disobedience, no matter how minor, will cause you to lose your right mind, and result in defiant resistance to righteous authority. You won’t be able to stop it because Satan will be pulling your chain whether you know it or not.

 

May God stir the hearts of the righteous to own up to disobedience before it’s too late and Satan takes your God-given authority for himself.

Pastor Gordon Maynor

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in Authority

 

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Sermon 108 – Correct me but don’t TELL me what to do

Over the years I’ve counselled many Christians who end up saying to me … I’m happy for you to correct me but don’t tell me what to do. When I dig deeper, what they’re really saying is … if you tell me what to do, then you’re not giving me the right to make my own decisions. If you tell me what to do, then you are making me feel incapable or stupid. I want to make my own decisions.

When I hit this impasse I know I’ve hit a demonic resistance. This person is happy to be a Christian as long as they retain the right to make their own decisions. The irony is, the Holy Spirit already knows He has the right to His own decisions; He doesn’t have to insist on it. When someone insists on that right they are revealing they are under the influence of an un-holy spirit.

Under a lying spirit

In truth, such a person is lying. This person doesn’t really want to be corrected at all, because there is no such thing as being correctable and yet not being willing to be told what to do to correct the error of judgment. What they are really saying is … I want your counsel, but not your authority. With your counsel I can weigh up all my options, and with my own authority I will make the choices that I think are best.

The thinking process of the anti-christ

An anti-christ spirit insists on its rights … you can tell me I’ve made a mistake, but now leave it with me to sort it out. It’s not your business. I’m capable to sort out my own issues. I have the right to make my own decisions. This spirit demands you listen to their explanations of why they did what they did, and then classifies you as rude if you don’t. Effectively, they actually hate being corrected, because correction is the state of being devalued in the eyes of others, and the state of having to give up what you want. The Word of God declares that if you are un-correctable then you are a bastard, not a son (Hebrews 12:8).

It’s the opposite process under the Holy Spirit

If someone who walks under the influence of the Holy Spirit makes an error of judgement they may not like being corrected but they open their heart to being told. They surrender to the correction and the being told. David made some serious errors of judgment but when it came to the correction there was no resistance.

Resistance to the correction is the measure of the spirit in you

Opposite to David’s response was King Saul in 1 Samuel 15. He resisted the correction, he explained and blamed, and when he saw he couldn’t get Samuel to back down, he pretended to be willing. It had nothing to do with serving God; it was all a scam.

Ultimately, any resistance to correction is the measure of your pride

A demonic spirit knows that your pride is its control point so it supports a person in preserving it; so a person has to act like they are willing to be corrected or they will expose their own pride, and pride can’t let this happen. Therefore, a resistant spirit must act willing to be corrected, but at the same time it has to retain its right to do what it wants, its own way. Whenever a Holy Spirit controlled person comes up against this resistance and demand for personal rights, he automatically knows he’s up against a spirit of anti-christ.

The sorry technique

Modern society believes that if you say sorry then the recipient has to forgive and reconcile. That’s not what happened between Jesus and Judas, nor between David and Saul. If you question a person’s sorry as genuine, a person under the influence of an anti-christ spirit will bite back with … I told you I was sorry, now stop pushing the point. I said I was wrong, now just get over it. It blames you for not accepting its apology and it tells you how to behave towards it; it won’t be told.

The diagnostic point

An anti-christ spirit will TELL you how you are to behave towards it, and that’s the diagnostic point; it actually doesn’t like being told, it only likes to TELL. That’s what pride is … TELL and not be told, but pretend to be willing to be told. So when someone in their spirit says correct me, but don’t tell me, they are declaring loud and clear what spirit it is that operates through them.

The modern thinking that exposes an anti-christ spirit

I have the right to my own thinking. Who says you know what’s right? My truth is just as valid as yours. If you’re being nasty to me then I have the right to be nasty to you. These are all the thoughts of Satan. The Holy Spirit does not think or speak that way. If you have any of these thoughts, you are of the spirit of anti-christ no matter how much you pretend to be of God.

Faith doesn’t have to see

I can’t see what you’re saying, and until I see it I can’t agree there is an issue. This is a statement of pride, not faith. The Bible declares that faith is the evidence of things not seen, Hebrews 11:1. If you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit, you know when the correction is true and you’ve done wrong. If you are under the influence of an anti-christ spirit, you will defend your right to see first.

Eventually, the Holy Spirit will leave

Like King Saul and Samson, you can be under the influence of the Holy Spirit and under the influence of an anti-christ spirit at the same time, but if you insist on retaining your pride, eventually the Holy Spirit will depart and leave you to your fate. Eventually, the character of the person changes from being helpful to being defiant, and a defiant spirit won’t be told that this is happening to them. I’ve seen this multiple times in the decay of the modern church.

How to beat a demonic spirit

The Pentecostal church teaches its flock to stand up against Satan by directly confronting him with Biblical text. This is just the pathway of pride, not faith. Michael the archangel didn’t do this technique (Jude 1:9), and neither did Jesus. You can’t win against Satan by defying him, rather it’s important to respect his position and power that the Father has delegated to him. You can only win by dying. The way Jesus defeated Satan was via the cross, fulfilling the will of His Father. If you want to be free from Satan’s power over you, it’s not by willing yourself to be good, or prophetically challenging Satan, it’s by dying to yourself by surrendering to whatever God the Father’s plan is for you. The reason the church can’t find the narrow way is because it refuses to travel via the path of death to self. It says is, but it’s lying to itself.

Salvation is really simple

The church teaches that Jesus died and did it all for us, but that’s only half the truth. The Word of God also teaches that the servant is not above the master. Jesus led the way to show His disciples the path to follow. Eternal life is via the cross, not by holding your position against someone who’s being unkind to you. He teaches this in Matthew 5:39 & Luke 14:26,27. If you don’t come to Christ via the cross, then you’re not saved. You actually can’t repent of your sin without dying to yourself and giving up your defensive position; it isn’t just sorry. The cross is a heart that says … ok God, if You have placed this spiteful person or issue in my path I’ll trust Your plan, not what I want. It doesn’t take the person on for hurting your feelings, but trusts the Lord with the outcome and without any expectation of getting the victory or vengeance. From this death position God raises you up above the opposing spirit, Philippians 2:7-11.

The reason the majority can’t find this simple way is that they are too proud to be told different to what they already believe. In simplicity, their own pride has fostered an anti-christ spirit to delude them to not be told; their pride wants to do it their own way. Too proud to cop it; too proud to lose; too proud to repent; too proud to be told; too proud to trust; too proud to be a nobody. Paul said “I count all things loss that I may win Christ.”

 

May the remnant of Christ awake!

 

Pastor Norm Wakefield

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Authority

 

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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 103 – He must increase, I must decrease

John the Baptist had to face the loss of his disciples to a man that he testified to as the Christ. To promote Jesus, cost John his position. John was older than Jesus, his cousin. He was the one that started the discipleship program. He could have easily got jealous that Jesus was more popular, but instead he testified that ‘He must increase, I must decrease’, John 3:30.

I’ve met so many Christians that say that Christ must increase, but I’ve discovered that they’re just pretending. What they really mean is … Christ must increase and I must increase with Him. That’s not what John said. When it comes to popularity and self-value, the temptation for position repetitively wins the day, and a fake Christian’s inherent envy simply will justify their decision.

So how does this teach us what love is?

We have many definitions of love, but underneath it all, it’s pretty much … ‘you be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.’

Both the church and the world are into this model of love. Both spread the same message of love because both of them are on the same path. For example, if you agree with the right to divorce and re-marry (contrary to the Word of God in Matthew 19:9), you’re the same as the world. If you are supportive of the right to be a homosexual (contrary to the Word of God in Romans 1), then you’re the same as the world. If you support the right for women to be equal with men (contrary to the Word of God in 1 Timothy 2:12), you’re the same as the world. If you say sorry and expect that person to say sorry back to you (contrary to the Word of God in Matthew 5:40), you’re the same as the world. If you practice retail shopping on God’s Sabbath (contrary to the Word of God in Nehemiah 10:31), you’re the same as the world.

If you think the Ten Commandments are now irrelevant Old Testament rules because we’re in the age of grace (contrary to the Word of God in Matthew 5:17-19), then you’ve been conned by the world in the church. [Note: ‘fulfil’ means to fully satisfy; it doesn’t mean ‘to cancel’ as verified by v.18].

But, if you’re fair dinkum for Christ, your path will diverge from the world and the church. Why? Because if you follow the same pattern as the world, you’re really an enemy of Christ (James 4:4).

Ultimately, love is a relationship with God, the Father, through the unconditional surrender of one’s will and wants to the will of Christ, and displayed by one’s attitude to the instructions of Christ through His Word, the Bible. Persecution by the world and the church simply because you stand on the Word of God, will verify your love, because the world and the church don’t want to be told they’re wrong.

The love of Christ is contrary to the world and will suffer the contempt of the world.

The measurement of love

1 Corinthians 13 clearly defines what real love is, and without it we are just a noise. Love is not measured by your good deeds, your warm attitude, your hard work or skills, or your courteous behaviour.

The real measurement of love is envy (v.4), and the real measurement of love is not vaunting itself or seeking its own. You see, love is not measured by what you do to your neighbour, it’s measured by your inner attitude towards your neighbour. You can give away all your money and even die for your neighbour, but if it isn’t love then it’s all a waste of time. You can be as nice to your neighbour as you like but if your heart envies your neighbour’s good fortune then your goodness is just a pretence for your own selfishness.

I’ve discovered that most Christians are just nice so you’ll be nice to them so they enjoy the pleasures of life without the hassles of life. Their real inner heart secretly envies their neighbour’s good fortune, believes that it’s special, and hates being below one’s neighbour. It’s not the love of God; it’s satanic.

So now we’ve mentioned Satan, let’s talk about angels for a second.

What’s the purpose of angels?

Most people seem to think angels are there to protect them, but, because people are basically selfish, what they really mean is … angels are there to keep my life happy. It’s one of the reasons why people become Christians.

Perhaps it’s better to ask what’s the purpose of demons?

Well, if everything is made by Christ for Christ (Colossians 1:16), then demons are there to save you or to destroy you. If you’re a genuine Christian, then you’ll be attacked by demons regularly and consistently, as outlined in Ephesians 6:12, just like Paul’s thorn (2 Corinthians 12:7). Under this constant barrage you’ll be forced to turn to yourself or turn to Christ. God’s taken a risk, but that’s what freedom of choice is, and once you learn to accept your weakness instead of trying to prove your greatness, then you will find His strength and His rest (2 Cor.12:10).

I think the purpose of an angel is, under God’s direction, to inhibit the power of a demon against you, and thus it is for protection, but not for your happiness, but for His glory.

So, in the light of this, let’s talk about truth.

What’s the measurement of truth?

Most people measure truth by how they feel. If you make me feel good, you’re nice, but if you make me feel bad, you’re not nice. On this basis of evaluation, my truth is my feelings. But, they’re deceiving themselves. Feelings will always deceive you when you live to protect your feelings, but, on the other hand, feelings always expose the truth when I live for His increase and my decrease.

I was counselling a young woman who, like most women, was heavy into feelings. If someone hurt her feelings or she observed someone else‘s feelings being hurt, she would immediately make a judgment against the offender, rather than turn to the Lord by faith and seek His wisdom over what she had observed. When I asked her how she felt about a certain offence she gave me a description of what the offender had done and why it was bad. She actually hadn’t answered what I asked; I asked her for a feeling, yet even though she was a feeling person, she wasn’t able to give me her feelings. Instead of feeling, I got logic.

I’ve learnt that when a person clearly misinterprets the question, you’re talking to someone under the influence of a demon.

What was happening?

This woman was circumventing her feelings because in her heart she knew her feelings were leading her to her own sin of judgment and thus would expose her selfishness. She lived in the fear of feeling stupid, so she automatically judged people for making her or others feel stupid. Because of the pain of feeling stupid, she subconsciously but also deliberately ignored her feelings, and unwittingly, she had succumbed to demonic influence. When she eventually shared with me her feeling of ‘anger’, she quickly admitted that she was in sin and the Spirit of God set her free from the demonic.

When you use logic to hide your feelings, you’re blocking the truth that’s being exposed by your feelings, and unwittingly reinforcing the demonic power over you.

John the Baptist could easily have allowed himself to be sad that Jesus was absconding with his disciples, but instead, he chose to be faithful. He used his logic to over-rule his feelings so that he would be faithful. Faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) and love is … ‘He must increase, I must decrease’. Consequently, he was attacked by demons to get him to relinquish his commitment to Christ, but yet, by faith, he was free from their power over his spirit and saved to eternity with Christ.

The goal of every genuine believer

What things were gain to me, I count loss for Christ. I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung that I might win Christ. Found in him not having my own righteousness by trying to keep the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death. Philippians 3:7-10

Everybody says they want Christ to increase, but what they really want is to protect themselves from their own decrease. Like the seed sown among thorns, these will never know the resurrection to eternal life.

 

May God strengthen your heart’s purpose to decrease for Christ by His Spirit.

 

Pastor Jim Stratton

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2016 in Love

 

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Sermon 85 – I’M SPECIAL

Recently I was counselling a woman who has fallen out with her husband and was struggling to keep a handle on controlling her teenage kids. From the outside the family appeared to be stable, well-adjusted and happy; but the truth was it was all a façade. The façade often cracks when the kids hit the teenage years and start being defiant.

In the course of our discussion she revealed that this was all a bit of a shock because she had always thought that she was someone very special to God and that God would naturally give her the life she deserved. Her childhood was strained by parental control and injustices, and it always seemed that her siblings got the better deal. From her perspective, she was the one that was good, so it wasn’t fair that she always seemed to be left out and mistreated.

I’ve heard this story many times. Certainly there are circumstances where children need to be rescued from evil parents, but why is it that where children have had a reasonable upbringing, they still want a better deal than they got?

The final price of “I’m special” is separation from God

The truth is that Eve took the fruit because she was tempted by Satan to get a better deal for herself. She wasn’t satisfied with the deal God had given her. From that point on, everybody is born with the selfish desire to get more for themselves. If we fail to recognise this temptation then we will simply fall to the same trap as Eve and, like Eve, the consequences will be to blame our husband that he didn’t protect me, blame our wife that she made me do it, live in fear, pretend we don’t know what God is talking about, act like everything is fine by being good, and lose our children to envy, just like Cain and Abel.

“I’m special” is just a mood

From the moment we’re born we demand attention. We learn that if we cry loud enough then our parents will give us what we want. We set a pattern of moodiness and we learn techniques that manipulate people to do what we want, and if we don’t get it we have a big mood and huff, and if a sibling seems to be liked more or get a better deal, we let our feelings get hurt and it fuels our envy.

We learn to allow our feelings to dictate our desires, so when we feel bad we have a mood until we get something that makes us feel good again. We live for feeling good, and we’re taught that if you’re good you get good from Santa, but if you’re bad you don’t get it, so we learn to be good so that we get it. We’re not good for God’s sake; we’re good for our sake.

The problem is, that this pattern of goodness doesn’t satisfy us. Somehow we still feel the wounds of rejection, left-out, misjudged, unfairness, cruel words, bullying, and envy. Thus, we either rebel against the authority or strive to be even gooder. But still it doesn’t satisfy, so in order to feel of value, we fantasize that we are special and live in a bubble of false belief about our superior value and purpose in society. We add education and skills to our portfolio so we can promote ourselves above our neighbour and prove we are more special than our neighbour.

We then find out about God and decide that if we follow Christ then He will prosper me, keep me from hassles, protect me and elevate me above those that have hurt me. We now incorporate God into our fantasy, believing that we are very special to Him, and because God is so sweet and kind He will give me whatever I want and do for me whatever I ask, and the Pentecostal church teaches that, so I must be right. We then begin to believe that we are pretty much always right and everyone who disagrees with us is wrong.

We become the person we hate, and dictate our selfishness over those below us

We then intimidate and control people and family with hyper-authoritarianism so that our environment is controlled to our personal liking and well-being with no hassles, and without even seeing what we’re doing, we’ve actually turned into the person we hated for hurting us in the very beginning. But, so we don’t look bad or feel bad we do enough good things to prove to ourselves and others that we are basically good.

We can’t see how arrogant we are

When our heart silently declares … I’m special, how could you correct ME? I’m special, how could you reject ME? I’m special, I deserve the best. I’m special; you can’t tell me what to do. I’m special; you can’t tell me I’m wrong. I’m special, I know more than you … then we’re blindly and arrogantly declaring that I’m the centre of attention, not Christ.

What we fail to see is that we haven’t found God at all. All that’s happened is that Satan has manoeuvred us further away from the truth by feeding us with the thoughts and feelings we want that gets us what we believe is what we deserve. The truth is we’ve fallen for the Santa Claus fantasy. You might think you’re in touch with God, but, like Adam and Eve, if you envy a better deal, you’ll be separated from God until you repent of your selfishness.

God’s into nobody’s

The belief that you’re special isn’t planted there by God; it’s planted there by Satan. Everyone’s born thinking that they are a somebody, but you won’t find the true God until you wake up to the trap and realise you’re a nobody.

God searches the heart. He’s looking for the nobody’s not the somebody’s. That’s why He’s coming back for the prostitutes and sinners, not the self-righteous. That’s why He invited the down and outs to the wedding banquet; the self-righteous were too busy fantasizing in their self-value. That’s why the thief on the cross was saved and not Pilate. They both came face to face with Christ but Pilate was too proud to stop the crucifixion for fear of what the church thought, and the second thief was too full of his own value to humble himself before the Christ.

The Word of God says in Luke 14:26, 27 & 33 that until a man considers himself of zero value before Christ he cannot be a disciple.

What’s really happened?

Our fantasy is simply the fruit of our wounds. It’s not born of God, it’s born of Satan and fed by self.

Evidence

If you really stop and think about it …

  • A person who wallows in their wounds is just being selfish.
  • A person that believes they’re the special one is just wallowing in their wounds and looking for something to make themselves feel good and to give themselves self-value.
  • A person that holds onto a prophecy to build their self-worth is a liar, not a Christian.
  • “I’m special” becomes a competition against your neighbour as to who is the most special. This proves it’s not of God.
  • The average Christian can’t handle the criticism. They want the truth but not the truth about themselves; it’s too much of a put-down and it hurts their feelings. This proves their fakeness.
  • “I’m special” is just a selfish way of blocking your hurt feelings.
  • “I’m special” is just a selfish way of saying “I’m No.1”. The bible says the first will be last, Mark 10:31. This proves it’s not of God.
  • A person who thinks that you’re the problem if you make them feel bad is living in the lie of their goodness and is under the influence of a demonic spirit, not Christ.
  • A person who thinks that you’re wrong if you have a problem with them, is obviously puffed up with their own rightness and can’t be told they’re the one that’s wrong.
  • “I’m special” eventually exposes itself by TELLING people what’s right and wrong. It doesn’t like to be told; it loves to tell.

Biblical Picture

God can use any vessel for His sovereign purpose, but if you’re going to be used of God and survive for heaven without being puffed-up in your own self-righteousness, you first of all have to be broken. This was the pathway for Moses, Noah, Abram, Joseph, David and even Jesus. There’s no other pathway. Samson learnt it the hard way, but King Saul was too stubborn to learn it.

If you truly are special to Christ, then you won’t think you are. If you truly do have a purpose for Christ then you’ll only find it via the pathway of put-downs, separation and persecution. Like Christ before us, this is the only pathway that makes you worthy.

‘All that want to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution’ 2 Timothy 3:12

Conclusion

  • If you think you are special, then you’re under the influence of a demon, not God
  • If you think you’re better than your neighbour, then you’re into satanic envy, not good
  • If you think you deserve to get the best deal; you’re selfish, not godly
  • If you believe that God will punish people that hurt your feelings then you’re under the influence of the spirit of anti-christ, not God
  • If you believe that you have the right to hurt back those that have hurt you, then you’re not a Christian; full-stop. The Word of God says ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’, Matthew 7:12.
  • If you think you’re worth more to God than your neighbour, you’re contradicting the 2nd great commandment, and therefore living in your own deception.

“I’m special” is just plain vanity and the fruit of a wounded spirit which vows justice for its pain.

Thankfully, the woman I was counselling was willing to be told that the pattern of her life was selfish. Enough had gone wrong for her to see that she had used God to feed her selfish specialness.

God uses dead people, not people who think they’re special

A true Christian doesn’t fall for the selfish trick that they’re special. It’s not relevant; they’re dead to themselves. It was the woman that put in the two mites that God valued, not the self-righteous wealthy. It was the centurion that said “I am not worthy” that impressed Jesus, not the Pharisees.

If any man desires to be first, the same must be last of all and servant of all, Mark 9:35. Any other means of thinking you’re first and special is from Satan, not God.

Pastor Jim Desmond

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Special

 

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Sermon 79 – SEPARATE or be Demonically controlled

Over the years I’ve asked my congregation what they think is the role of the pastor. The response is invariably …. to listen and understand my needs, to show me the way, help me discern the Word of God, give advice, help me, to stop me from making a mistake, to correct me but only if it’s done softly and painlessly and un-embarrassingly, and some have even said that it’s my role to confirm to them that they’re right.

The question you should ask yourself is … why do I think this?

I’ve discovered that people come to these conclusions because they have a false belief about “friends“. If I ask … “what is a friend?” I get similar answers … to listen to me and be understanding, to be able to share intimately, to be trustworthy, to support me and help me, keep secrets, make me feel good, someone who likes me, be there when I need you, and not to snitch on me.

Diagnosis of a friend

You can always diagnose when someone is a genuine friend by their reaction when they don’t get the response they expect from a friend. A false friend blames a friend for not meeting their standards of friendship. A false friend has a mood when you don’t do it the way they think it should be done. A false friend tells you that you are not doing it the way they think you should.

King Saul was friends with Samuel. Samuel was a true friend. King Saul was a false friend. King Saul was really using Samuel for his own ends, to promote himself in the eyes of the people. King Saul told Samuel how he was supposed to behave towards him. King Saul told Samuel that he hadn’t really done anything wrong. King Saul told Samuel that he was being unreasonable with his correction. Notice all the ‘told’. King Saul pretended to change his attitude, but eventually the friendship fell apart because God instructed Samuel to separate from Saul.

Why did God instruct Samuel to separate from Saul? And why did Nehemiah instruct the Jews to separate from the heathen? And why did God separate Abram from his family?

Because if you don’t you will become demonically controlled instead of Holy Spirit controlled. The issue isn’t right or wrong, it’s demons or Holy Ghost. There’s a warfare over your soul, and the heart choices you make will dictate where you end up. I remind you in Ephesians 6 … we’re not fighting flesh and blood but principalities and powers, and those powers are stronger than you, especially if you arrogantly think you’re up to it (as indoctrinated by the Pentecostal church).

Friend of the world; enemy of God … James 4:4

Modern Christians know they should be sort of separate from the world so they don’t get tripped up and fall, so they keep doing what’s right, but at the same time they still like the world. This is the fruit of soft church teaching. It’s a shallow evaluation of Christ’s principles and it completely misses the real underlying reason for separation, namely, Satanic control.

Modern Christianity thinks with its head, it doesn’t understand the heart of the reasoning

When somebody is truly walking with God they will spiritually sense something is wrong (without necessarily knowing the full story), and if they are in a position of authority (such as a parent or pastor), they will want to warn you of the impending danger and seek to guide you away from it. That’s the intersection of true friendship and genuine pastoring. Up to that point everything is palatable between friends, but this intersection will either establish the friendship or destroy it.

2 common demonic issues

Whenever I sense resistance and I challenge someone’s spirit I invariably find the person wants Jesus and the world too; and I find that they’re having a mood because someone is liked more than they are. In a woman, I call it the Peninnah syndrome ie they feel for Peninnah because Hannah was more loved, but can’t see that God knew Peninnah’s heart and chose Hannah. Like Eve, demonically controlled vision can only see what one is not getting.

Resistance to authority is a sure sign of the demonic

If you respect God you will respect authority, because that’s what God told you to do. If you disrespect the opinion of authority you confirm that your relationship with God is fake, as well as exposing that you’re under the influence of a demonic power, because you’re doing exactly the opposite to what you were told.

But how can you really tell whether you genuinely respect authority or just think you do?

Disrespect is measured by resistance. The authority doesn’t have to be right; it’s the resistance that’s the measurement. It becomes a contest between the demonic in you that won’t bend and the Holy Spirit in the authority, and it’s real and tangible when the authority steps on the demon’s toes. It’s this intersection of correction that brings out this demonic influence. No wonder no one wants to be corrected … like King Saul, it exposes something you don’t want exposed, and you don’t want to be told. Yes, like King Saul you can be influenced by Holy Spirit and demons at the same time (it’s a war), and your heart choices will determine who will ultimately win.

Sadly, underneath the façade of modern western society is the reality that it has been educated to only believe in oneself and only trust in oneself, and to think everything through by yourself, and to live for oneself, and not to be told, so when God directs someone to correct one’s mis-direction, the majority of Christians, like King Saul, get offended and read it as a put-down of their capability to figure it out for themselves.

I recall a young lady in our fellowship who was exposed as lying about a certain issue. On the surface she was very helpful, hard-working and polite; but when she got found out, her outward personality changed. She apologised, but I could sense that it was out of convenience of avoiding getting into trouble and not genuine. I challenged her that she was resisting my correction and she got the huffs, defied her father’s authority because she told him that he didn’t protect her from the correction, and left the fellowship. The question is … did she leave the fellowship by faith or by defiance, because whatever is not of faith is sin?

If you judge someone to promote your own selfishness, your character will change into the demonic and you will resist correction … Matthew 7:1

This is what happened both to King Saul and Adam, and this is what happened to this young lady, and it happens to everyone who judges others to promote themselves.

Sometime later I heard that she had started a friendship with a heathen lad, was attending worldly parties, and was clearly moving in the direction of hell. Recently she contacted her father and he asked her where she stood with Jesus. Her response was “that it was too hard” and she was no longer interested. The same words had come out of the mouth of a woman I was pastoring some 10 years previously and who had resisted my authority and refused to give up her worldly passions. This girl had never spoken those words before and I sensed that they were actually the words of this woman. When I enquired further I learnt that the young lady had gotten in touch with the woman’s granddaughter and started an internet friendship. The granddaughter had followed the path of defiance of her grandmother and was now spiritually influencing the path of this young lady.

In the course of time it became apparent that a second young lady in our fellowship was behaving like the first. She had judged the original girl for deserting their friendship and had come under the influence of the demon that was directing the soul of the first girl.

What’s the point I am trying to make?

Listening to the voice of Satan will take you further into the web of Satan, and his only plan is to kill you, change your character into his, destroy you and separate you from God, and thus mock God.

Authority and the laws of God are not set up to bind you and make it hard for you; they’re put in place to save you from getting trapped in Satan’s web and ultimately hell. A true friend doesn’t use you; they tell you the truth so you don’t go the wrong way, and a true friend doesn’t have a mood if you won’t listen to them; they serve God, not themselves. The converse is also true … if you have a mood when your friend doesn’t do it right by you, then you yourself are not a genuine friend, but a user, just like the friend who’s hurt your feelings.

Holy Spirit doesn’t have a mood; Satan does

A genuine pastor doesn’t correct you just to embarrass you; they tell you the truth about yourself so you don’t go to hell. Blocking your ears to this truth is fatal. If you have a mood because someone tells you the truth about you then you confirm that you are under the influence of a demonic spirit, and you’d better stop it pronto or it will take you to hell.

It is hard to not get what you want, but if you harden your heart and choose to disrespect the boundaries then you will unawares come under the influence of the devil’s power, and it’s no laughing matter; it’ll take you to hell.

Won’t be told what to do

Satan and his demons chose not to be told by God what to do. When you listen to the voice of Satan, his objective is to get you to be not told what to do.

In the Garden of Eden, Adam walked and talked with God. They were friends. Satan whispered in Eve’s ear that God wasn’t telling her everything and that if she ate the fruit she would get a better deal for herself. She got Adam to listen to her and consequently Adam also came under the influence of Satan’s power. Under this power he changed his character into Satan’s character, and did the exact opposite of what he has always done … he lied, he feared, he blamed, and he even blamed God for creating the woman, and he foolishly hid from his true friend. How insane! These are the characteristics of Satan, not Holy Spirit. He didn’t repent and he wouldn’t listen to God’s correction. He had elevated himself to be equal with God in his right to make his own decisions, and after all, he had only eaten a piece of fruit, so what’s the big deal.

What was the consequence?

He was separated from God

If one doesn’t find true repentance for one’s defiance and resistance to the spirit of God, then the ultimate consequence is hell. You won’t recognise defiance in your heart until you come face to face with an authority’s correction of your spirit. That’s the intersection that will determine your final destiny.

Most people won’t agree with an authority until they see what the authority is saying, and right there is the problem. Logic says … surely I need to see what you’re saying before I can agree with you (this is the deduction of pride), but faith says … I know something’s wrong so by faith in God I’ll trust your judgment of me. If you’re genuine about trusting, then you’ll see what the authority is warning you about. In other words, it’s always faith first before you’ll see, because Satan blinds.

The principle …

If, in your heart, you live by your own judgments and won’t separate from the world, eventually God will separate from you. The call of God is to come out and be separate from the world so you don’t fall fowl of demonic powers.

The insanity of non-separation

The truth is, that by de-valuing the laws of God and de-valuing authority, and indoctrinating the church into the comfortable belief that we are safe under grace without the responsibility for our sin, we’ve opened our western societies to Pandora’s box of demonic powers that’s changing the face of western society, promoting multiple demonic religions and endorsing the freedom of right to worship false gods, dissolving the family unit, tattooing our whole body and sticking pins in our faces and calling it beauty, chasing cosmetic surgery, and promoting alternative sexual preferences to do whatever you want. The church is clearly no longer the salt for society; the bacteria of Satan is flourishing everywhere.

Satan has got God’s creation in a strangle hold and demonically convinced everyone to believe in their right to not be told what to do.

Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove them … Ephesians 5:11

People no longer separate from the Christian sinner who won’t be told; they comfort and support them in their sin in the false belief that you can love them through their sin and get them to see their sin. But this philosophy is a lie of Satan, because God’s instructions are to separate the sinner from you until, like the prodigal, they may awake to their sin, 1 Corinthians 5:11. But the church has gone soft on sin and it’s not cool to be harsh. It’s afraid of what the world thinks of it, because it is the world. In its ignorance it is supporting the demonic in the sinner against God’s Spirit. The truth is, the church is disobedient and arrogant and interprets scripture to its own self-advantage. Like Laodicea, it’s under the influence of Satan, not Holy Spirit.

The rubber meets the road when this principle is challenged by a son or daughter or wife and you have to choose between what God says in Luke 14:26-33 or by what the church teaches. The demonic influence of sin is greater than your ability to resist, so ignoring the leaven will cause it to spread, not wither, and it will take you with it.

Faith or sin

Faith is the evidence of Holy Spirit. The opposite to faith, is sin (Romans 14:23). Faith is blocked by pride, and pride is generally extrapolated by judgement against someone. If you can’t get back to faith, then God’s Spirit in you is either silent or gone, and the human spirit in you is objecting to being blamed or being left-out, or thinks it’s above your neighbour. You can only get back to faith by de-elevating yourself (like David, and Ahab 1 Kings 21:29), not by doing good works or justifying your rightness (like King Saul). That’s why God uses correction; it’s His tool to put you back in your place.

The enemy’s objective is to make sure you sin by only thinking about yourself even though on the surface you act as if you care for others or act as if you are not hurting; that way he can block your faith.

The true shepherd’s goal is to expose the demonic, not to silently co-exist with it, so that your eyes will be enlightened to your true hidden motive of selfishness.

When Christ comes, will He find faith? I righteously fear the path that the Christian world has chosen.

Pastor Mike Stanford

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2015 in Separation

 

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Sermon 71 – EVERYBODY SPEAKS 2 LANGUAGES

I was recently counselling a young man who had said something to a friend that caused that friend to give-up on another personal relationship. He defended himself by arguing that all he had said was that the other relationship was ‘weird’. I pointed out to him that he had said the word with a dagger attached. Although he agreed with me that he was wrong and was being selfish and envious for the friend’s attention in preference to their other friend, he still went home and told his father that the relationship was ‘weird’.

With his mouth he was confessing that he had said the word with the wrong motive, but in his heart he showed his defiance to my authority by holding to his position with the argument that all he had said was that it was ‘weird’. He was speaking two languages. What he really was saying with his spirit was
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Voices

 

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