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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 105 – Demons love a Sugar Fix

Humans love sugar … chocolate, ice cream, coca cola, cakes, biscuits etc.

Sugar makes you feel good.

The problem is that when you eat too much sugar, the sugar is converted by your liver into fats. It’s the sugar that causing the western world’s obesity epidemic.

Demons love sugar too. They crave it. They manoeuvre wherever they can to get it. They fight over each other for it.

I’m not talking about the natural carbohydrate; I’m talking about “pride”. Pride is the sugar fix that demons get off on. Without pride, demons are lost. They might kill you like they did Jesus, but they can’t win. They can only have power over you through the door of your pride. This is the very reason why Jesus said in Luke 14 that a true disciple must die to themselves. Spiritual death really means that you have surrendered everything to the will of the Father, like Christ, and thus when you’re tempted to think you are special, or capable, or intelligent, or better or envious of your fellow-man, the Holy Spirit gives you the power to resist the selfish temptation to fall to your pride so that demons don’t have the upper hand in the battle against the kingdom of God.

Satanic currency

Satan hated the fact that Jesus was more favoured by the Father; thus he instigated the currency of pride. He sold this currency to humankind when he tempted Eve to reach for pride. She took it and it tasted like sugar, but it actually turned to fat. Once man fell to pride he inherently practiced fear, lying, blame and murder. Adam and Eve attacked each other with their words and Cain killed Abel. We’re all born under this satanic infection of sin and it’s a fight for our salvation to escape this disease of pride.

Jesus only

There’s only one escape from this disease and it’s only through the door of the blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus said … I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by Me (John 14:6); not Mary, not Mohammed, not Allah, only Jesus Christ. And that door can only be opened when you fully surrender to the will of the Father, not by words but by actions.

Jezebel

In 1 Kings 21 we read the story of King Ahab envying the vineyard of Naboth. Instead of being grateful for the garden he had, he wanted better. He inherited this disease from Eve who obviously did the same thing. He then went and had a big mood which was designed to manipulate others to feel sorry for him and to give him what he wanted. Sound familiar?

Jezebel, his wife, came to the rescue, and plotted a plan of perjury that resulted in Naboth being unjustly stoned. Ahab got what he wanted. But it backfired. Eventually God raised up Jehu who killed the sons of the king and finally Jezebel despite her attempts to woo him with her cosmetic face paint. Then Jehu also lost his way because he let his pride fill him with his own importance. Behind all this, demons were actively destroying God’s special human creation by simply activating their pride.

Satan hates God’s authority

Like Eve in the Garden and Jezebel in Jezreel, once a woman chooses pride she will be used by Satan to envy other women and destroy males. Generally, they’re not doing this deliberately or knowingly, they unwittingly become instruments of Satan even though they’re outwardly covered in goodness. Satan hates authority, so deep in the inherent spirit of a woman is the hatred of man’s position over them. The only way this hatred is retained in its proper box is if the man stands for righteousness on the principles of God’s commandments. If he falters to his pride he will also falter to the woman’s wishes instead of God’s will, and the woman will take the man to hell, just like Adam who was separated from God and the Garden.

It was the spirit behind Jezebel that stirred up Ahab (1Kings 21:25). Consequently, because Ahab chose pride he was subject to Jezebelic demons even though from his perspective nothing could touch him because he was the king. But that’s what pride does; it tricks you into your own deception of being your own king.

You only have to look at society, tattoos, nose rings and earrings, sex change operations, lesbianism, and sport to see that men are becoming woman and woman are becoming men. The Word of God declares that if men compromise the principles of the Word, then woman and children will rule over them (Isaiah 3:4,12). All Satan’s interested in is opposing God’s creative plan, reversing it and ultimately destroying it. Satan is winning, and he’s winning because the church is sick.

Faith levels

Obviously, God grants us different levels of faith, so some of us are able to address our pride better than others, but from my years of observation of people, most don’t even try; they don’t even know that they’re vulnerable to demons; they’re too busy coping with trying to look good in the eyes of others. Like Saul, they worship the true God but their real heart’s interest is in their own well-being and their position on the totem pole of the society they move amongst.

When you devalue the Ten Commandments you prosper pride and the demonic

You can’t stop the progression of pride without God’s Ten Commandments retaining the top shelf of respect. Respect for the Ten Commandments is the first bulwark against the enemy’s manoeuvring. Sadly, the modern church has fallen for the lie that the God of the Old Testament was hard and cruel, but the God of the New Testament is meek and gentle. Consequently, modern Christians have been duped into believing the grace lie that they can interpret God’s commandments according to how they feel at the time because the Commandments are implanted in their hearts when you become a Christian. The Word of God states that God is the same yesterday, today and forever; He never changes (Hebrews 12:8). So this teaching is just a lie designed to make the church look more acceptable to the world, and if you believe this lie then you are not a Christian; you’re a tare.

When it comes to the crunch, by far the majority of Christians practice family first at the cost of compromising the principles of God. If you say you love God, then obviously His principles over-rule all else, but the modern church displays its hypocrisy by being openly submitted to divorce and re-marriage, openly retailing with the world and sporting like the world on God’s holy day, openly endorsing women in the pulpit, not separating from wilful Christian sinners but rather falsely loving them in their sin (1 Corinthians 5:11-13), and turning a blind eye to the sin of homosexuality (Romans 1). The church is sick and dying.

Once you mix your Christian principles with the world

People have been so duped by their self-evaluated goodness they don’t even know what pride is. To most it’s a feeling of superiority which they believe they don’t experience. The truth is, pride is believing I’m special; pride is being jealous of what your neighbour has; pride is believing it’s not fair when you hurt my feelings; pride is taking on someone when they’ve said or done something unfairly offensive; pride is wanting a better deal and failing to see the garden God’s placed you in. It’s pride because it’s all about me and my feelings. It’s not faith in God’s will and plan. Pride is simply turning to myself instead of stopping the mood reaction and instead turning to the Father for His will in the matter.

Never take on a demon in your own strength

If you take on someone for hurting your feelings, or if you envy someone for having a better deal, you’ll unwittingly take on demons and you’ll end up with the same consequences of decay as that person (Matthew 7:1,2). We’re not fighting flesh and blood but principalities and powers, and the rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). We’re up against gorilla warfare demons, not people. The demons use people to trick you into their snare. It’s pride to take on a demon in your own strength especially by using the Name of Jesus with your own self-elevated self-worthiness. Like Christ, who let Satan kill Him, demons are only submissive to the will of the Father. You’re wiser to wait on God and leave the outcome to God.

 

May God grant the strength of character for some men and women to stand against the swell.

 

Dr. Samuel Gourdone

 

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2016 in Pride

 

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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 102 – The SEE-SAW Christian

 

[A see-saw is an English term for a plank with a central fulcrum with a person on either end who each extends their legs alternately to make the plank go up and down.]

I’ve met so many people who say they are Christian because they think they are good, yet are actually not; it’s overwhelming.

I was counselling a young Christian woman who had rejected the approaches of a Christian man. They had been courting for some months so I asked her why she had rejected him and her response was ‘he wanted to kiss me’. Now, in our modern society, one would generally misinterpret her information as the male doing the wrong thing, but knowing the man and her own family history, I dug deeper. The truth was she didn’t like the man telling her what to do so she made it sound like he was abusing her. She was lying so she could get her own way.

What was really happening?

The young woman had decided that she was ‘good’, not because she put Christ first, but, on the basis that her sister had run away from a committed Christian man who was challenging her willingness to be a help-mate rather than a potential wife who wouldn’t be told. The young woman had watched and criticised her sister for not being submissive like she herself would have been.

Her deduction was … I’m good because I would not have done what you did.

So many Christian people judge their goodness on the basis of someone else’s errors of judgment. It’s the see-saw principle …. When you’re down, I’m up. If you judge your goodness on the basis of comparing yourself to someone else’s error, the Bible says your good is bad (2 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 6:4). It is never the love of God to ever think you are better than someone because they are in error themselves. The Pharisee judged himself as good because he compared himself to the publican, but Jesus rejected his deduction (Luke 18:9).

The see-saw Christian

The see-saw Christian loves being up, hates being down, and envies those who are up. These people are not genuine Christians, they’re fake wheat (tares). They look like they’re Christian and act like they’re Christian, but they routinely elevate themselves above others when others are down. They hide it well and won’t let you see it, but if you are spiritual you will eventually sense its pattern. Tares draw nigh unto God with their mouth and honour God with their lips, but their heart is far from Him (Matthew 15:8).

Demons win when you’re self-centred

What the young woman was ignorant of was the spiritual fact that putting yourself up above your neighbour actually results in your spirit being dictated over by a demon. Once you are under the power of a demon you’re blinded to the truth and can only see your own truth. To this woman, her sister was wrong so that made her superior to her sister. The real truth was that she wasn’t good at all, she was simply bloated with her own fake goodness, and having an inflated mood. People hate deflated feelings so they selfishly strive for inflated feelings at the cost of others.

Why do we automatically think we’re good or better, when others are corrected or proved wrong?

The real truth behind it all is that the human spirit doesn’t want others to tell it what to do. It loves to tell others what to do because it thinks it knows what’s right; it hates being told. That’s because we inherited this evil trait from Adam and Eve. The corrupted gift that Satan sold to Eve was simply … ‘you will know what’s right, so don’t let others tell you what to do.’ That’s what Satan believes and that’s what he wants you to believe.

The human spirit can’t handle being down; it absolutely envies anyone else that is up and secretly wants for their position, and when it is up it boasts of it upness over you.

The real issue is ‘control’

I’m good, actually equals … ‘you can’t tell me what to do because you have your own errors.’ The Lord said there is none good but God, so the moment you deduce you’re good, you made yourself god, and that’s exactly what Satan wants you to think.

You succumb to the same error as the one you judge

The moment the young woman judged her sister’s error, she came under the influence of the demonic and eventually ended up doing the same thing as her sister. The satanic kingdom was laughing.

More bad deductions follow bloated upness

In her bloated upness, this woman deduced from my counsel that she had taken on the bad character of her sister and that it wasn’t really her that had the problem and therefore all she had to do was repent and everything would be back to normal; but, she was wrong again. Everyone’s own old nature is evil; it’s stubborn, it’s selfish, it’s arrogant, it’s envious, and it loves to see others down so it is up.

When she acted like her sister, it wasn’t because she had become her sister, but rather that she had opened up her old nature and Satan’s common characteristics were exposed. Our old nature is under the control of Satan; our new nature is under the control of the Holy Spirit. It’s not our nature that’s new, it’s His in us, and the only way you can operate in new nature is through the death of your old. It’s simply your choice … you first or God first.

How to break the power of the demonic

If the Holy Spirit indwells you, your envy of others will not routinely over-power you, and the temptation to be up will not routinely over-power you. You will be willing to be a nobody for the sake of Jesus Christ, and once you’re willing to be a nobody and don’t have to be special or prove your goodness over others, the demonic will lose its power over you. That’s why Jesus advised us to love our neighbour as ourselves and why Christ died on the cross, not only to offer us salvation for our sin, but also to show us the pattern of freedom from the power of the demonic.

Down wins

See-saws only work when the two people help each other and work together. The fact of the matter is that the person on the down side has power over the person on the up side.  The person on the down side can stop the see-saw; the person on the up side, can’t. The up person is really at the mercy of the down person. Once you choose to be a nobody by unconditional surrender to the will of God, you actually gain the power and that’s the only way Satan can’t touch you (1 John 5:18).

The up woman

The will of God declares that the man is to rule over the woman (Genesis 3:16). Modern Christianity rejects this law because it believes what the world believes. The church is the world parading as fake goodness. The demonic is setting the course for the church and the world and the church is not fighting back because it’s lost its saltiness. The church is just being adaptable to the world’s standards and calling it love and understanding, because we are all under grace. No woman will ever be free from the demonic while ever her heart tells her husband he is not the boss of her, and if the man doesn’t righteously stand against women’s resistance to man, the woman will take him to hell, just like Eve opened the door for Adam to be separated from God.

 

We’re not fighting flesh and blood but principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places … Ephesians 6:12, and the fight starts within before its ever external. You can only ever beat the demonic when your spirit is first dead to your selfishness by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

 

Pastor Raymond Whitney

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2016 in Elevation, Pride

 

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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 100 – Satan gives men GIFTS

I was counselling 3 young men who each said they wanted to follow Christ but they couldn’t seem to get there. I asked them what the barrier was. They replied they didn’t know. So, I suggested that if your desire to know Christ couldn’t be fulfilled then there was something you didn’t want to give up. After a lengthy discussion, each one began to admit their secret belief. One said, he believed God had given him a ‘superior brain’ so he could think everything out. Another said, God had given him the gift of ‘coolness’ so he didn’t have to worry about anything, and the third said that God had given him the gift of ‘charisma’ so that everyone thought he was a great bloke.

Genesis 3

I opened my Bible to Genesis chapter 3 and showed them that right back in the beginning Satan said to Eve that God hadn’t done the right thing by them because He had withheld a special gift, and if they were to eat the fruit they could compete with Him as a god and also know what was good and evil like God, Himself (v.5). That sounded logical to her so she took the gift. The fact was, it wasn’t Satan’s gift at all, Satan simply gave her God’s gift, and used it to take power over her and power over all of future mankind. He contaminated the gift. In other words he used God’s gift to destroy them and separate them from God. That’s Satan’s secondary objective. His prime objective is to take over Jesus’ position. The secret gift he gave Eve was, envy. He wants the favour of the Father and moodily objects to the fact that Jesus has it. Any time you envy someone else’s higher position or better position, you prove you’re under the influence of Satan.

I pointed out that the gift they thought was from God was obviously from Satan. The evidence was loud and clear. If God gives you a gift it’s for the kingdom, not for you. It’s to help your fellowman find Christ or walk more faithfully with Christ, not to promote you above your fellowman.

The real reason they thought they had a God-gift was so they could believe they had the right to elevate themselves above their fellowman. It made them superior to their fellowman. This actually proved they were lying to themselves and deceiving themselves. Philippians 2:3 says … Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than yourself. They each actually believed they were someone of importance because they had special powers that no one else had. I couldn’t believe the arrogance of what I was hearing!

The test

When I suggested their thinking and attitude was evil, they were shocked. They couldn’t believe it and each started resisting my observations and politely objecting to such suggestions about them. To their mind it didn’t make any sense.

So, I asked them what does ‘correction‘ mean to them. They agreed that it meant … failure, bad, stupid, incapable and other such words of negativity. I suggested that at a very early age they had defied their parents when they were corrected and thus had contravened God’s instructions of respecting authority. They all agreed. So, I pointed out to them that although all correction is uncomfortable (it has to be if it’s God’s medicine), ‘correction’ just means you’re doing something wrong, or there’s something wrong with your thinking or your attitude and you need to stop it and go in a different direction. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid, and if you interpret it that way, you’re just making an excuse to defy the authority and give yourself the right to have a selfish mood because you’re not getting want you want, just like you did when you were a defiant kid. In other words, you’re just acting like a 2 year old and hiding it in an adult’s body. You’ve never grown up, spiritually.

I also asked them if they had ever called anyone an ‘idiot’ because they didn’t think the way they thought or do it the way they thought it should be done. They all agreed they had done that routinely. I showed them that the Word of God says in Matthew 5:22 that they’re on their way to hell unless they address this evil in their hearts and strongly declared to them that these two pieces of fruit (inner defying of correction and ‘idiot’) were all the evidence they needed to see they were in Satan’s camp, and if they wanted to truly walk with Christ they needed to stop listing all their so-called good points, see their pride, accept the Word of God delivered by the messenger, and repent. Thankfully, one did and the other two wanted to but wouldn’t.

The sad consistent reality

Over my life I’ve met many so-called Christians who appear to be ok on the outside, but when you make a corrective suggestion regarding their character, their demure changes and polite satanism exposes itself. I call it polite because they know that if they show anger it would expose them as the fake they are. The reality is they’ve never been told to stop their moodiness. As children they’ve been given free ‘reign’ to make up their own mind, and when a parent does that you’re just letting your child live for their own selfishness. Humanity always lives for its own selfishness. It’s an automatic reflex. Satan caused it and Jesus came to save us from it. Then as adults we cover this selfishness with niceness so we’re socially acceptable, but still live in the proud and selfish imaginations of our evil heart and are so blinded by the superiority belief of our Satanic giftings that our mind can’t compute there’s anything wrong with us. They’ve actually lost their right mind and don’t know it.

The truth

They couldn’t find Christ because they didn’t want to give up the gift, because giving up the gift meant giving up their position over others.

The one who thought he had a superior brain was really declaring that everyone else was an idiot if they didn’t think the way he thought. He was so bound, he would go away and have to think about everything and make up his own conclusions and always come to a harmonious deduction, because harmony was his favourite characteristic that he was so proud of. The real truth behind all this sham was, he didn’t want to be told. Thus it always comes down to an authority issue; the authority says one thing and your brain says another, and it’s that voice inside you that gives you away. That’s the voice of an anti-Christ spirit that’s dictating your mind.

The one who said he had the gift of ‘cool’ was really saying that he didn’t give ‘a stuff’ about anything. ‘Cool’ meant … my feelings are frozen so I don’t feel any pain, so you can’t touch me. ‘Cool’ was actually a characteristic that stirred his fellowman to envy him and although he hated their envy he gloated on it. It clearly was satanic because you couldn’t tell him otherwise.

The third man used his charisma to win popularity and status. Everything seemed to fall into his lap, so to him it proved his theory that God was his santa because he was such a great guy, and besides, everyone told him so. However, if anyone crossed his thinking he would use his specific knowledge to challenge them and put them in their place below him, and if anyone was positioned above him, he would silently hate them and at the same time pretend to respect them, but it was all a sham. God was on his case though, and when things began to crumble around him he was forced to face the reality of his pride. He admitted he had never seen it. He always thought he was so fantastic. His mind was under a lying spirit.

The measurement

The Word of God declares in James 3:17 that God’s wisdom is easy to be entreated, without partiality and without hypocrisy, and neither of these lads displayed these characteristics when confronted with the truth. The real truth was they lived for envy. Therefore, I knew I was talking to demon spirits because v.14 &15 declare that where envy operates then this sort of wisdom is earthly, sensual and demonic.

The measurement of the true character of a person’s spirit is the Word of God, not what a person thinks they are.

Know this ….

Jesus did the opposite. He was under God’s authority and thus He knew his enemy’s evil trickery. 

Philippians 2:7 … He made Himself of no reputation and took on Him the form of a servant and humbled Himself even to the death of the cross.

If you think you’re a person of some worth because you believe you have a special something then you are the one who is the real ‘fool’ and you are the one who has been duped by Satan to personally and ignorantly be an opponent to the kingdom of God and a means of destruction to your fellow-man.

 

Pastor Craig McWilliam

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in Correction, Pride, Special

 

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Sermon 98 – Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom

I was counselling a woman about her selfishness when she declared two things … (1) I’m waiting till I feel repentant before I can repent, and (2) I thought I was permitted to do anything I wanted because I was a Christian.

You won’t find either of these statements in the Word of God; they’ve been made up by her own selfishness. Statement 1 is really a declaration that I won’t repent because I don’t think I’ve really done anything that bad, and Statement 2 is a declaration that ultimately no one’s going to tell her what she can and can’t do, and Christianity is just a tool or insurance policy for that purpose. Both statements actually confirm that she is not a Christian at all. The Bible calls these people ‘tares’.

When I pointed out to her the Word of God declares that you are wrong, she shrugged it off. What she wanted, was more important than facing the responsibility for her sin. She pitched her tent towards Sodom.

Lot

In Genesis 13 we read the story of Lot. Instead of showing his gratitude for being rescued by Abram from his kidnappers and offering Abram the best, his eyes fell for what was best for him. He’s selfish. He couldn’t see the wicked heart of the people of the plain because his heart lusted after what he wanted. Lot was wealthy; I believe he thought he was important, and I reckon he thought he could handle whatever, and he talked himself into the best deal for himself.

It’s this inherent selfishness that exposes who we really are. It’s this selfishness that has to be offered to the Lord; it’s this selfishness that has to be sacrificed to Him because it’s our real person inside. We can hide it with generosity, helps, niceness, popularity, money, churchiosity etc. but it’s still there.

Prosperity at any cost

Lot saw what he could get and turned a blind eye to the people’s immorality. Modern Christian society votes for the political party that will give them the best prosperity. In all modern elections, the economy is the most important issue. It’s money before morality. All political persuasions have softened their resistance to homosexuality, condoned abortions and opened free trade agreements with China, conveniently ignoring their abuse of human rights, just to sustain fake prosperity for the benefit of more votes for the purpose of power and control.

It won’t work. History shows that any nation that chooses money over morality, eventually collapses.

Abraham’s faith saved Lot, Genesis 19:29

Lot is not Abraham; they have different spirits and different levels of faith. Lot will never be Abraham, but he obviously envied Abraham’s heart, because when you pitch your tent towards Sodom, that’s what happens. I suggest the reason the men of their camps were fighting was because Lot was envious in his heart of Abraham’s relationship with his people and with God. Lot knew in his heart that Abraham had a special relationship with God, and humanity always envies when it pitches its tent towards Sodom, and once you choose that path you’re headed for destruction.

Abram’s heart was set on the Rock of Ages. Although he fell to fear and compromised the prophecy of a son, his heart was toward God. It didn’t matter if he ended up in the desert, he never allowed his heart to envy his nephew’s lush-green environment; he trusted God.

Lot was fortunate, not because of himself, but because of Abraham. There are some people with a little faith who will get to heaven in the slipstream of the faithful. Aaron and Miriam are two other examples. Thankfully by God’s grace, Lot retained enough faith to get caught in the slipstream of Abraham’s faith, but he lost everything else in the process. It was Abraham’s faith that God honoured, not Lot’s. Lot couldn’t even do what was instructed in the midst of a potential disaster; he still wanted his own way (Genesis 19:18). Lot needed Abraham in order to reach heaven but Abraham didn’t need Lot; he served God. Lot served himself.

Coolness looks back?

Was it so bad for Lot’s wife to look back? Coolness is a casual respect of authority; it’s doing enough to keep the authority happy but all the time really just doing what one wants their own way. It looks calm and collected and the quality is envied by most people, but it’s a camouflage for secretly doing it my way, and not yours unless it suits me. It interacts with God the same way.

It wasn’t the looking back that was so wrong; it was because of the coolness of her heart to the instructions of the angels that she wasn’t able to resist the temptation of a small peak. She was her own person and she had followed with Lot, so what was the problem … surely, one peak couldn’t hurt. She had turned her heart toward Sodom and couldn’t see the compromise that had vexed her spirit.

Coolness argues its rightness against authority and still pretends to respect it. Coolness is just another expression of selfishness.

Example

I was giving some instruction to a Christian young man who was envied by his peers because of his coolness of character. Nothing seemed to ruffle him. He looked like a model Christian. However, to him, the instruction was a correction, and before my eyes his character shifted into shock. He couldn’t believe that he had a character fault and his feelings were hurt that I would suggest so. His response was to have a silent mood of heaviness and to do penance by sacrificing something of value. From that point on, it didn’t matter what my argument was, everything I said was explained away as incorrect.

I asked him to do an exercise … “I’m wrong, but

He wrote …

I’m wrong, but …. your rules are stupid

I’m wrong, but …. it doesn’t matter because I don’t care and you’re an idiot

I’m wrong, but …. your knowledge is useless and I don’t need it anyway

I’m wrong, but …. it’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be

I’m wrong, but …. I don’t understand what you’re talking about so I’ll just ignore it

I’m wrong, but …. I’m too lazy to do anything about it

What he’s really saying is, “I’m not wrong, you are, I’ll just let you think you’re right”.

Like David when corrected by Nathan, Holy Spirit would not add these buts to “I’m wrong”. To repent, you have to take full responsibility for your selfishness, and not add a ‘but’. A ‘but’ just means you’re shifting a percentage of the responsibility from yourself to someone or something else, and you can’t repent unless you own you’re wrong without adding their wrong in your picture of defence.

Clearly, this exercise revealed the hidden depth of his selfishness, but his conscious mind did not want to know it; from previous experiences it hurt too much.

‘but’

Whenever you qualify your statement with a ‘but’, you’re declaring you don’t really agree with the corrector, and proving your resistance to authority, and verifying your own selfishness. This selfishness mocks when you’re proven wrong, because it proves to itself that it was right all along.

What the young man didn’t realise was that his heart was under the control of Satan and he was actually in torment because he only pretended to forgive someone who had hurt him and had told himself he had forgiven them (Matthew 18). His coolness had deceived his own self. He’d pitched his tent towards Sodom. It was more important to look good and get your way and blame others than to be a loser for Christ, and the envy he felt from his peers was actually driven by his own ‘nose in the air’ manner.

His answers didn’t surprise me. I’ve discovered that this is the secret heart of most Christians. Modern Christianity isn’t training people to die to themselves for the sake of Christ (Luke 14:26,33), it’s training them to live for themselves and pretend it’s for the sake of Christ. It’s really just the world parading as the church.

When the young man finally owned up to his deceitfulness, it came out that the reason he acted cool was because of fear of what people think. He’s character was driven by fear, not faith. It was all a sham. I encouraged him to repent of his selfishness and forgive the person that had hurt him, if he was ever to find the true Christ.

May the Lord open the eyes of His remnant to see their own selfish deception and escape the shadow of the spirit of fear, and turn to the living God for His grace for salvation, instead of turning to oneself in order to explain away why I’m right and they’re wrong.

For by grace you are saved through faith; not of yourself it’s the gift of God, not by works lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2: 8,9

Pastor Jim Desmond

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in Authority, Correction, Selfishness

 

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