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Sermon 96 – The BLAME Game

I was recently counselling a young Christian man who had been diagnosed with terminally ill cancer. His closest friend and Christian business partner had reacted to his illness with anger and blamed him for being sick because it meant that the responsibilities of the business were now to be his burden. Understandably, this ill man was shocked and hurt and automatically held bitterness against his partner. To this man’s thinking, he hadn’t done anything wrong; in fact, he was in a dark place. Rightly so, he expected a friend to support him in his hour of need, not to blame him or attack him.

It was some years later that the pain of this issue surfaced. Both men had put it under the carpet and pretended that everything was ok between them. The young man had survived his cancer but the hurt was starting to show in his attitude and reactions to his wife. I called both men together to resolve the silent stand-off. The Christian partner admitted that he had done abominably and apologised, and the young sick man who had been offended tried to forgive him. But, was the matter really resolved?

What’s the difference between an apology and repentance?

An apology is saying sorry because you’ve been caught out and you feel embarrassed and don’t want to look bad. The dictionary defines ‘apology’ as ‘defence’. Surreptitiously, we apologise to get out of trouble, and thus defend ourselves against looking bad and somehow excuse away our wrongness. An apology expects the party that we have offended to accept our apology, to forget about the hurt and reconcile the relationship, and gets offended if you don’t comply. Apology is saying sorry but still holding some level of blame; it’s a sorry with a ‘but’ attached. An apology is really just a cheats way to save face and avoid the punishment.

Repentance, on the other hand, is completely the opposite. You say sorry without any expectation or obligation on the other party. You say sorry without any blame apportioned against the one you have hurt. You say sorry with full expectation of the deserved punishment.

Satan’s most lethal weapon

Perhaps Satan’s most lethal weapon is ‘blame’. The temptation to react to being blamed, especially when it’s unjustified, is immense. Human nature has been infected with the automatic response of defending oneself from the attack of blame. Instead of taking full responsibility for his own actions, Adam protected himself by shifting the blame to Eve, and Eve simply shifted the blame to Satan. The consequence of shifting responsibility was separation from God. Consequently, Satan’s lethal weapon worked, and he uses it all the time to destroy man’s relationship with God.

In the case of the two Christian businessmen, the one who had said sorry was really blaming his partner for holding a grudge, and also blaming his wife for driving him to act the way he did. He was really just doing an ‘Adam’ and shifting the blame so he didn’t look bad. And, the partner who had been sick was really blaming his friend for acting so unchristian towards him in his hour of need. They were both caught in Satan’s blame game web. Unknowingly, when you’re caught in the blame game web you are inadvertently being manipulated by demonic powers just like Adam and Eve became servants of Satan to do his will.

No repentance, no salvation

If you can’t repent, you can’t get saved because salvation requires you to repent of your sin. If it’s your habit to shift responsibility with an apology, you won’t find salvation no matter how much you act like a Christian, because your sin isn’t covered with just an apology. Sorry has to be from the heart before it’s repentance and covered by His blood. You can know if you’ve repented if you want to know; if you don’t know whether you’ve repented or not then the truth is you don’t really want to repent; the truth is that you don’t really want to swallow your pride, and thus you retain a small element of justification that it’s not all your fault; your pride has caught you in the blame game!

Why is blame, sin?

When you blame, you’re just being selfish. You’re simply thinking more of your own self than you are of your neighbour; you’re really just afraid for yourself. Consequently, you are fracturing the second greatest commandment.

Blame is not a characteristic of the Holy Spirit

You won’t find Jesus holding a grievance against those who hurt His feelings. If you go to John 21, you’ll read the story of Jesus instructing the disciples to cast their net on the other side of the boat. They were in a state of dejection after the unjust murder of their Master and had decided to cope by going fishing. They had fished all night and wasted their time when someone on the shore yelled out to try the other side of the boat. For some reason they complied and the net was so full they couldn’t cope with the catch. Ultimately, the catch, the net and the boat were all sacrificed and wasted for Christ.

Jesus used this interaction to challenge Peter to face his sin of the denial of Christ. If anyone deserves to hold a grievance against their friend, Jesus did. Peter mouthed-off that he would never deny Christ, but he failed miserably. He didn’t stand up for the Master when he was in most need; he deserted Him. Jesus held no grievance, but Peter had to face his responsibility for his failure and repent, not really for the failure but for the pride of his selfish arrogance. God used the failure to save him through repentance of his pride. Without this failure Peter could not have seen his pride, would not have repented, and would never have been the man called of God to lead the church.

Where did his pride come from?

He was born with it; it’s an inherent human trait. The real question is … how did he feed on it? It’s interesting to note that Peter was the first person called to follow Christ. In his humanity he would have seen that he was first and he would have fed on this selfishness when he envied that Jesus appeared to love John the most (v.7). This is the pride in every one of us that has to be exposed and repented of if we are ever to find Christ and serve Him faithfully. Peter’s denial experience was a gift from God to save him. He’s now got the choice to desert and wallow in his moodiness or own it and repent. Repentance will save him, desertion will kill him.

This story of Peter is not just a story; it’s Spirit and it’s the common path that every genuine Christian must walk to find salvation. If you want to find salvation, your pride has to be exposed and repented of; an apology for doing something wrong won’t do it.

The young Christian with the cancer had full justification to blame his friend for his behaviour, but, through his cancer and this hurtful incident, God was actually giving him the chance to see his own pride and repent and be saved. The whole thing was a gift if he would just open his eyes and see it. He could feed on the hurt and die, or forgive, repent of his own pride reaction, and live.

If you can’t forgive someone for hurting your feelings, then the reality is that you’re blaming them, you’re proud, you don’t trust God to work all things for good, you’ll come under the influence of Satan (Matthew 18:34), and you’ll never find salvation until you repent.

May the Lord open the eyes of His remnant to their own pride and stop pointing the finger at other’s pride and blaming them.

Pastor Jerome Saunders

 
 

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Sermon 95 – I’m RIGHT, you’re WRONG

Every human being judges people for not doing it the way they think is right. Why?

The answer is in Genesis 3. Satan offered Eve the ability to discern good and evil, or in other words, the ability to know right and wrong. God had withheld man from this characteristic because he knew he wasn’t capable of handling the responsibility of using this gift with righteous discernment. It was beyond his spiritual make-up. The problem was that the gift was now contaminated with human pride because Eve took the fruit against God’s instructions and fell to the temptation to elevate her position. From that point on, humans analyse behaviour based on the belief that their emotions are the thing that tells them they are right and they’re badly done-by.

Consequently, because every human being knows what’s right and wrong to themselves, they will automatically fall to the sin of judging people for not doing it right according to their own selfish rightness. Every human being will eventually argue that they are right and the other person is wrong. It’s inbuilt and you won’t be able to stop yourself unless you’re dead.

Old nature characteristics

Once we make a judgement based on our inherent spirit of envy, James 4:5, we elevate ourselves above our neighbour and start operating in the unique characteristics of our old nature, instead of being in His new nature. We then lie to ourselves that what we’re doing is right, and then start telling everybody what’s right and wrong. Telling is the defining measurement, not rightness. The discerning factor that exposes a person’s old nature is the fact that they’re happy to tell but they won’t be told.

In their inner heart, a person who believes they’re right will label you as “stupid, or nasty and mean, or you don’t understand me” whenever you indicate your disagreement with their rightness. Satan uses this labelling to make you feel guilty or offended and if you take the bait you too will fall to your own old nature of rightness in self-defence. In our old nature we unwittingly make our judgements based on whether someone has hurt our feelings, or promoted our feelings, or manipulated our feelings; our feelings are our measurement; whereas, a saved Christian will make his judgement by in faith in Christ’s Word.

In other words, immaturity or fakeness analyses what’s right based on hurt feelings; but a saved Christian holds back his feelings and uses his senses to trust the Lord and analyse a person’s behaviour by faith in Christ; his foundation is faith in Christ, not hurt feelings.

Spirits of Fear and Lying

The problem is, if you allow your feelings to be your compass of what’s right, you will unwittingly live under the influence of a spirit of fear and a spirit of lying. Fear of what people think will drive your analysis and you will automatically lie to protect your self-value. This was the side-effect of Adam’s and Eve’s downfall and it’s automatically inherent in every human unless you’re dead to your self by faith alone in Christ’s rightness.

Jesus didn’t have to argue His point of view

He knew he was right because the Father told Him. At the inquisition before Pilate, He said nothing. At the conversation with the rich young ruler, He didn’t continue the conversation; He let the man go and allowed him to keep his own perspective. In the Garden of Eden, God didn’t argue with Adam and Eve that He was right and they were wrong. They argued their point of view with Him (they’d never done that before) but He didn’t argue with them. He already knew He was right and they were wrong.

Jesus didn’t have to try to prove He was God

All of us have to try to prove we are somebody special. It’s because we are linked with Eve and the fall to this temptation. Jesus didn’t have to try to prove He was God; He knew He was. If people didn’t believe Him, it wasn’t His job to persuade them. It was His job to obey the Father, John 6:38. He actually told people that He had helped not to tell people about Him. He was the Word of God and He simply stood up for that Word. In the same manner, because our rightness is inherently selfish, when you’re falsely accused, God’s instructions are to be silent unless He tells you what to say, Matthew 10:19, but it’s inherently not possible to achieve this instruction unless you’re dead.

When we argue our point of view, we’re simply revealing our humanity instead of God’s heart. When you’re defensive of your view, you’re arguing on the basis of fairness. When you argue from God’s point of view, you argue on the basis of God’s righteousness and authority. The temptation to explain your point of view is the evidence that Satan is manipulating your pride.

Forbidden fruit of right and wrong

In Genesis 3, Satan manoeuvred Eve to eat the forbidden fruit by making God look bad for withholding something from her that would enable her to know good and evil. Once she took and ate the fruit, she initiated the curse on all of humanity … the curse of knowing what’s right and wrong. Satan said … take the fruit because it will tell you that you are right. The problem is that our knowledge of right and wrong is contaminated with pride because Eve ate for the sole purpose of elevating her position above what God had decreed. Consequently, we all see right and wrong from our pride’s perspective and not from God’s. Thus we judge people on the basis of what we see as right and wrong. This is the very reason why God says not to judge your brother through your own eyes, because as soon as you do you actually judge yourself, Matthew 7.

Up to the forbidden fruit incident, they fellowshipped with God, but once they ate the fruit they argued with God what was right because from their perspective they now knew what was right; but their right was wrong because it was contaminated with pride, and because they refused to back-away from their right they were separated from God.

The second great commandment

The second greatest commandment is … love your neighbour as yourself. If you love yourself then you will judge your neighbour as not being as good as yourself and thus you will bring down your own judgment on yourself. In other words, the irony is that if you say you love your neighbour as yourself and you want to judge your neighbour then you must also want yourself to be judged at the same time.

If you truly want to fulfil the 2nd greatest commandment then you must fulfil the 1st commandment, first. In fact, your judgment of your neighbour will reveal your true attitude towards God. You actually can’t love your neighbour unless you first love God. Without God 1st, any apparent good you do towards your neighbour is really because you love yourself.

This is the very reason why Jesus said you have to die to yourself to love God. So. If you truly want to be a genuine disciple then you have to hate yourself, not love yourself, Luke 14:26-33, otherwise your own judgment will destroy you.

What’s the role of a judge?

When I ask people that question, they invariably say … to pass judgment. I find people say this when they’re hurting from someone’s unjust attack. They want the person punished. But passing sentence is not a judge’s main role.

The prime role of a judge is to discern whether someone has done right or wrong by the law. From a spiritual perspective, Jesus said that only He was entitled to perform that role because He alone is impartial. If you are going to stand in the position of judge then you are telling Jesus that you know what’s right more than He does, and the law of God will judge you, because that’s the law of the spirit kingdom.

The serious side-effect

The real problem is that once you decide (whether you realise it or not) to be the judge, unless you wake up to your selfishness and repent, you will end up separated from God, like Eve and Adam. Thus, the bait that Satan used to trap Eve is the same bait that he uses to trap each one of us away from God, unless we repent. You can’t make up your mind not to judge, you have to die.

The two truths of judge

There’s a time not to judge, but there’s also a time to make a judgment, John 7:24. There’s a difference between making a judgment about someone and making a judgment against someone. The difference is whether you’re judging from the false gift that Satan offered Eve, or whether you’re judging from God’s heart. The only way a human can make a righteous judgment is when they look at something through God’s eyes and not their own, and the only way that’s possible is if one is dead to their own thinking and self-defence and alive to God’s righteous heart; and the only way that’s possible is to suffer the misjudgements that Christ suffered till you are dead to your proud inherited human rightness.

You can only judge righteously through meekness, 2 Timothy 2:24-26

If you are to judge righteously, you must analyse someone through the window of your own weaknesses and mistakes and not through theirs. If you know you have your own weaknesses and are grateful for God’s mercy, then you have a better chance at judging righteously. A righteous judge will give a person the benefit of the doubt, eg. the woman in adultery; whereas, an unrighteous judge will love to punish.

A righteous judge will interpret the person’s heart by the spirit that’s influencing the person; whereas, an unrighteous judge will interpret the person’s wrongness by the way the person hurts their feelings.

A human example

Some time ago I was challenging a young ten year old girl about the attitude of her heart. She was telling everybody how they were to behave towards her. On the outside, her school work was impeccable and her helpfulness was unquestionable, but something was clearly wrong in her heart. When I challenged her she agreed but defended herself with her outer goodness. Once somebody does that you know you’re up against a demonic spirit.

The spirit in her is telling me what’s right and that I’m treating her unfairly, and the Spirit in me is telling her what’s right. It’s a silent argument of who’s right. She’s arguing she’s right and it’s not fair because that’s the contaminated gift of knowledge that Satan gave to humanity via Eve, and I’m arguing that I’m right and she’s wrong and disrespectful.

Now, if my arguing is on the basis of the contaminated gift, then even if I’m right, I’m wrong, because whatever is not of faith, is sin, Romans 14:23. The only way I can be truly right is if I’m arguing with God’s eyes and not mine; if I’m not doing it for my value but for God’s.

I suspect I’m fighting a demonic spirit, so I test the spirit by asking her to rub out her perfect work and do it again. Her negative reaction tells me I’m up against a spirit of defiance, so I hold my position on God’s Word and pray that God will intervene and loose this girl from Satan’s bind. The test verifies the spirit in the child and proves the outward appearance is fakeness. I’ve made a righteous judgment against a spirit and stood up for God’s Word. It’s the only path that has the potential to save that child’s soul.

Every spirit is born under the influence of Satan

You don’t have to teach someone to be bad or selfish; they already know what it is from birth. What you have to do is to teach them to die to their badness; not by being good, but by being dead. Everyone knows how to be good or bad; they don’t know how to be dead. In every single case, if you want to save someone’s soul, you have to win the battle against a demonic spirit by getting the person to admit, surrender and repent. That’s why God tells us we aren’t in a fight against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and wickedness. Jesus knew who would surrender, so He didn’t waste His words with those who wouldn’t. Similarly, in most cases, keeping quiet instead of arguing your point against a spirit is far more righteous that arguing with something that refuses to bend. It’s not our job to save; it’s our job to stand on God’s Word, and leave the saving to the Holy Spirit.

Every argument comes down to my right versus your right

Every argument and every negative feeling comes down to my right versus your right. That’s because every human being has inherited the contaminated gift of knowing what they think is right and wrong.

My experience is that most people think they’re good and special, so when you contradict their good they get offended and in their offence they argue their rightness and thus will never be saved.

There are only two alternatives in life … God or selfishness

If it’s not of God; it’s automatically selfish no matter how good and right it looks.

May God open the eyes of His remnant to see the satanic trick of our own rightness judging.

Pastor Michael Craige


 
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Posted by on January 30, 2016 in Judging

 

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Sermon 92 – Witch Christian are you?

The Word of God is Spirit and not just writings in a book. When we read the story of David we need to realise and appreciate that it is not just a record of historical fact but primarily a spiritual expression of the heart of all of mankind.

There’s two types of Christians

There’s two types of Christians; those who are Davids and those who are Sauls. We see this reinforced in the parable of the 10 virgins. They both start-off with Holy Spirit (the oil), but half of them lose Him. If you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, then you’re a Christian, but that doesn’t mean you’re saved. The same evidence is endorsed in the parable of the sower and the Seed. The Seed (Jesus) falls into 3 types of ground and grows, but only one type of ground produces fruit. Judas had the Holy Spirit and so did Samson; they both lost the Holy Spirit, but the outcome was different for Samson.

The camp of David

Everybody wants to be a David, but they don’t want the hassle pathway that David had to take. The point of the Word of God is that to be a David you have to walk the same path, and to be a saved Christian you have to walk the same path of suffering as Christ; the path of being misjudged for doing the right thing, the path of separation from those who oppose the truth, the path of being hated for doing good, or the path of having to give up your position. If you read the Psalms, they’re all about the worship of God and thankfulness towards Him, or they’re about enemies, both within his camp and without, who are trying to destroy him.

The cross

Jesus is of the lineage of David. This is not just a heritage thing; it’s primarily a spiritual issue. He didn’t choose his lineage just because he was a king, otherwise Jesus would not have been born in a manger. By deliberately choosing to be of the lineage of David, Jesus was signifying that the spiritual path of opposition to David is the same spiritual pathway of opposition to Christ and the same spiritual pathway of opposition for all those who want to follow Christ.

Salvation is only via the cross. The pathway of the master is the pathway of the servant. The servant is not above his master. Every Christian is in the camp of Saul until they come to the cross. You can’t just make up your mind to swap camps; it’s only at the cross; whether it’s the pain of being misjudged for doing the right thing, being blamed for having done nothing wrong, or being held in contempt for following your Christ-like conscience.

You can have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (He’s not restricted by your lack of faith or even your false faith), but you’re not saved until you come to the cross of self-death (just like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress). You’re not saved by inviting Jesus into your heart; rather you’re saved when you die to what you want and only live for what the Master wants.

Every Christian thinks they’ve done this, but the proof is in the pudding. Only when you’re faced with sacrificing what you truly do want (which generally you don’t know till God brings you face-to-face with it) can you move to the plane of salvation via your cross.

What this means is that your will has to be constantly and unconditionally surrendered to God’s will. Until you bend your will to God’s will, you’re not saved. The opposite of giving up your will is to retain the right to do it your way, and Satan will bombard you with temptations to fear God’s will.

The camp of Saul

Sauls can’t handle David being more popular.

Sauls need compliments and can’t handle contradictions, criticisms or corrections against their opinion. They have to look good in the eyes of the people. They may start off meek but they soon warm to the elevated position and surreptitiously their heart turns to themselves and away from God. They often live by rules and what’s right, even the Ten Commandments, but can’t be told they’re wrong and can’t take correction. Correction is equated as rejection. Consequently, their heart actually deceives itself and becomes stubborn and rebellious, and they come under the spirit of lying and practice subtle deception and ignorantly believe in superstition (if I do this, I will get that) and ultimately, witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).

Sauls are stubborn-minded and stubborn-willed. Sauls have to do it their own way; they don’t like to be told; they like to figure it out for themselves. They argue that they have the right to figure it out for themselves; but, really what they’re saying is, don’t tell me what to do; I’ll do it my way.

Sauls are swelled up with the importance of their own position, so when Samuel suggests that they’ve done it the wrong way, Sauls defend themselves by blaming others and by justifying that what they’ve done is right. Instead of respecting the prophet’s authority, Sauls have deduced that if you don’t agree with my thinking then you’re the fool, you’re the one who’s ignorant, you’re the one who’s blind, not me.

Sauls believe that if you hurt me, I have the right to hurt you back; and Sauls believe that if you hurt my feelings then you’re bad, and you’re wrong. Thus, Sauls have moods whenever you upset their feelings; but the real purpose of the mood is to make you feel bad so you will surrender to their demands.

Sauls act by their own judgment; they do not walk by faith, but rather by what they think is right. Even though Sauls may act generous, may appear happy and may enjoy being helpful, the truth is, Sauls are too proud to be corrected, too proud to forgive, bossy, and too stubborn to be told they’re wrong.

The camp of Saul is the camp of self-righteousness, whereas the camp of David is the camp of God’s righteousness. That is, God’s rightness, God’s ability and God’s goodness, not mine. Davids know that it’s nothing to do with me; it’s all Him.

The trigger

The trigger that stirs Saul spirits to change from meekness, is envy. Sauls can’t handle someone else being accoladed more than them.

What’s the problem with being a Saul?

Envy (1 Samuel 18:8) drives a Saul away from God and into the camp of witchcraft and then under the influence and control of a demon, then you’ll lose your right mind, and ultimately find yourself in hell. The stubbornness of Saul separates Saul from God (1 Samuel 16:14). This pattern started in the Garden of Eden, and nothing’s changed. If you allow envy into your heart and refuse to own it with repentance, you will not find heaven; it will take you to hell; and that’s the plan of Satan … self-destruction by self-rightness.

Jonathans

Jonathans agree and even support David but they prefer to stay in the camp of Saul. Saul’s camp is bigger and safer and more acceptable. David’s camp is outside the acceptable religious structure. Jonathans choose to stay with their father’s belief even though they know it’s wrong, because they need their father’s approval.

Why stay in the camp of Saul?

  1. Safety in numbers. The Orthodox churches considered the Pentecostal church, a cult, but when it increased in numbers it became an acceptable religion. Homosexuality was considered illegal, but now that it has publically increased in numbers it’s become an acceptable normal sexuality. People’s judgment is controlled by numbers and money. Where numbers and money dictate people’s decision, they have simply defaulted to the control of the spirit of the anti-christ. “He loved me, but not enough” is the catch-cry in Sense and Sensibility. Willoughby gave up his love for position and money. The comforts of his lifestyle and the temptation to look good in the eyes of others were too appealing, and thus he showed that he really loved himself . Like Willoughby, Sauls say and act loving but when it comes to the crunch they choose position over love for God.
  2. Social interaction. Humans are social beings and the church has been traditionally considered a safe place to interact with other humans; but that’s no longer the case … paedophilia and homosexuality, divorce and fornication are intertwined into the fabric of every religion and every church.
  3. More chance of being elevated to a higher position and recognised by more people.
  4. Scared to change camps. Religion controls people through their fears. People are too lazy to search the Scriptures for themselves. I believe because they don’t really want to find the hard way. They like the status quo; it suits their lifestyle, and any deviation from the status quo would make me look bad in the eyes of others.
  5. Indoctrinated by parents to believe in self-value
  6. Using the church as a hospital for all my hurts and expecting people to listen to me and be understanding of my needs.

Santa Claus

It’s no coincidence that Santa is the most valued figure at Christmas time. He’s the one with the goodies. Most Christians live in the Santa Claus syndrome believing if they’re good then God will give them nice things and remove all the hassles from their path. Most Christians believe that good gets rewarded with good. The whole focus is on what’s the deal for me and every deed is manipulated around that self-focus. They live in the belief that their goodness will save them because God is a nice God and surely He wouldn’t possibly reject ME. These are the Sauls. They’re not focussed on Christ; they’re focussed on what God can do for me. God is worshipped for the feelings, benefits and rewards. Their life is a pretence, full of envy of anyone else’s higher favouritism and anyone else’s happiness.

Can you change camps?

If you want to survive you have to leave the camp of Saul. Even Samuel had to leave Saul. You can’t stay in the camp of Saul and pretend you are a David; it’s a contradiction.

To change camps you have to give up what links you to Saul; what benefits you get by being in Sauls’ camp. They have to be put on the altar. There’s a price to change camps; it’s not for free. You can’t buy your way in with money or good deeds, but you do have to give your whole heart.

To change camps you have to forgive like a child, trust like a child, and be corrected like a child. Like the thief on the cross, you can’t swap camps by being good, but only via the bridge of repentance for your self-righteousness.

Why join the camp of David?

The people who joined themselves to David were the inferior ones … distressed, in debt, and discontent (1 Samuel 22:2). You can join yourself to David’s camp because you’re lost and lonely and David offers stability and responsibility, but if you don’t humble yourself by faith in the Lord Jesus you’re just using David for you and you will still miss out. You have to be a David, not just be in David’s camp, like Judas was in Jesus’ camp.

You can only become a David by giving up the fight to protect and promote you.

Suggestion

Stop worrying about you & think about God instead. If He is the creator of the universe with an earth that spins around the sun at exactly the right angle and speed; the creator of infinitely different-faced persons; and the manufacturer of infinitely different snowflakes, surely it makes sense to trust His plan. Stop operating your own back-up sub-plan in case God doesn’t come through, and commit your will to His; if you don’t it will be fatal.

May God help you take the plunge for your own sake,

Pastor Ray Simmonds

    

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2015 in Fake Christian, Uncategorized

 

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Sermon 87 – Occupied by a Demon

Q. What’s a demon?

Nobody likes thinking about demons and nobody likes talking about demons, but the fact remains that if there is a Holy Spirit then there are unholy spirits, and if there are angels then there are demons. God calls them unclean spirits (Revelation 16:13). Nobody understands how the Holy Spirit can indwell the body of a Christian, but if that’s possible then it’s also possible for an evil spirit to do the same.

Examples of Demons

Demons seem to have different primary functions and can be single or multiple e.g. lying spirits (1 Kings 22:23), spirits of fear (2 Timothy 1:7), King Saul, the Gadarene (Mark 5:9), spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), Mary Magdalene, boy thrown into the fire, spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11)

Church thinking

The church believes that if you are a Christian then you are occupied by the Holy Spirit and you can’t be occupied by a demon, but is that the case? Think about King Saul, Samson, Peter, Korah, and Baalim.

The church believes that if you are a non-Christian then you can’t be occupied by the Holy Spirit, but is that the case? Why should creator God be restricted to our thinking when He owns His creation, both good and bad? Both King Saul and Baalim suggest otherwise, as does Judas, Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:37), and Cyrus (king of the anti-christ kingdom of Persia, 2 Chron.36:22).

Everybody has been indoctrinated to think that we are born good and are inherently good; but the Word of God says the opposite. God flooded the whole earth because His creation had been contaminated from birth by the Evil One, Genesis 8:21. David confirms this in Psalm 51:5. The fact is, we’re all born under the power of the Evil one, and, from birth, God is fighting for you to be freed from Satan’s power over you; that’s why Jesus died. He’s just waiting for you to concede to His will.

Everybody thinks that demons are beings that inhabit people and cause them to rant and rave and froth at the mouth, but is that the case? The fact is that demons lay low until cornered. They don’t want to be cast out of the carrier. They hate exposure, but at the same time, like the spirit of divination in Acts 16, they like to promote their prowess. They come as wolves in sheep’s clothing, and angels of light. However, as society disintegrates into more sin, and the Holy Spirit backs-off His defence, demons will feel safe to come out of hiding and be more confrontational and aggressive because no one is spiritually capable of confronting them.

Characteristics of Satan (John 8:44)

In John 8:44, Jesus described the Pharisees as demons when He said that they were sons of Satan. They weren’t frothing at the mouth; they were practicing the rightness of religion and worshipping the same God as Christ. Yet, Christ could easily discern the façade. Secretively, they displayed the satanic characteristics of (1) Envy (2) Murder (3) Liar. These are the signs of a demon operating either in you or against you. The ultimate liar is someone who smiles to your face whilst plotting to stab a knife in your back.

A demon’s main objective

Demons are servants of Satan with the same characteristics but with different levels of power. The main objective of a demon is to kill you. When King Saul opened his heart to envy against David, his one and only objective in life was to kill David. That was the objective of Joseph’s brothers; that was the objective of Cain; that was the objective of the Pharisees against Christ; and whether you realise it or not, that’s the objective of any person who opens their heart to envy of their neighbour.

How does it work?

From birth, we are all under the influence of the demonic. Demons are able to speak into our minds; this is called temptation. The temptation is always to get us to elevate our position. God calls this ‘pride’, and in 2 Timothy 2:25 KJV, God calls it ‘opposing yourself‘, ie. you become your own worst enemy and thus in your blindness, your own pride starts to destroy you under the occupation of demonic spirits. Once we fall to our pride, demons have right of power over us (2 Timothy 2:26), and only repentance will resolve the problem. The opportunity for repentance will usually occur at a point of correction. If one resists this correction, then demons will take more ground and eventually the person will be possessed. King Saul became possessed because he was too proud to repent even though he said sorry, whereas David repented and was freed from his sin and the demonic influence that stirred him to commit murder and adultery.

The confusion of pride

Most people think pride is walking around with your nose in the air and acting pompous; but it’s much more subtle than that. Pride is exposed when I think I’m special; when I think you’re an idiot; when I think I’m better than you; when I murmur that I haven’t done anything wrong yet you are being mean to me; when I selfishly want something; when I can’t forgive or repent; when I wallow in rejection; when I have a mood because someone else is having a mood; when I have a mood because someone hurt my feelings; when I have a mood because I can’t get what I want; that is, basically whenever I regard myself higher or lower than my neighbour, or submit to my moodiness.

What’s the opposite to pride?

The answer is Faith; that is, trusting God’s outcome, rather than having a mood that it isn’t working out to your expected outcome. It’s this walking by faith that God calls HUMILITY.

James 4:5 “The spirit in us lusts to envy”.

When God talks about lust, He’s talking about envy. Envy then leads to all sorts of immoral behaviour. The Greek word for envy is Phthonos (*5355) = pain felt and malignity conceived at the sight of someone else’s excellence or someone else’s happiness. In other words, to us the English word ‘envy’ just means we are simply jealous. We all think of it as a ‘soft sin’. It doesn’t sound that bad, nor does envy feel bad, but in the Greek it means that I’m so unhappy with you having more happiness than me that I will kill you.

Anyone who practices envy is practicing murder from their heart whether they know it or not. Thus God clearly states in 1 John 3:15 that if you hate your brother you’re a murderer and you will not access heaven; but to even clarify it further, if you envy your brother then you don’t love him, you hate him and wish evil upon him. Thus your true hidden murderous heart is exposed by your relationship to your brother.

People think jealousy is just a normal characteristic of humanity. Everybody does it so it’s ignored as acceptable normal behaviour. What people don’t realise is that when they practice envy against their neighbour they’re actually operating under demonic power and wishing their neighbour dead. Envy is anti-Holy Spirit and the practice of demonism whether you want to know it or not. If envy is routinely practiced in your heart; if you desire the No.1 position, if you believe you are special to God, if you believe you have a special spiritual call, then know you are not saved; that’s the heart of Satan and you are under his demonic power. Like Isaiah, Peter and Moses, anyone called of God knows they’re not special or worthy.

Goodness isn’t the measurement

When you practice envy against your neighbour, you are demonstrating that you are under the influence of Satan and not Holy Spirit. Be as good as you like, e.g. the rich young ruler, it won’t save you. Envy is the sign that you are not under the Holy Spirit because it contradicts the law of ‘loving your neighbour as yourself’.

Signs of a demon

Genesis 3 spells out the side-effects that Satan has over you when you concede to his temptations, viz. envy, fear, blame, lie, bossing, sickness (in some instances). These were all exposed in Genesis 3 when Satan conned Eve, and Eve changed character as a consequence. The human spirit was made in the likeness of God. Envy was not a characteristic of Adam and Eve until they were tempted into it by Satan. From that point on, man inherited satanic characteristics.

1. Blame is the fruit of defending your envy. Blame is expressed by accusations against your neighbour e.g. if you make me feel bad, then you’re the baddie, you made me do it, it’s your fault I’m in trouble, it’s your fault I’m not getting what I want.

2. Searching for happiness is another fruit of your envy.

‘Demon’ in the Greek = daimon. ‘Happy’ in the Greek =eu-daimon. In other words, the Greeks believed that if you got lucky you were happy because the demon gods looked well on you. Seeking happiness is of the Devil; it’s not of God.                          

3. Bossing and hating to be bossed is another fruit of your envy.Demons love to boss, tell everybody what to do and tell everybody what’s right and wrong. They think they’re special and they don’t like being told what to do; they certainly don’t like being corrected or put in their place.

4. Moodiness because it won’t work out the way I want.

Demons don’t love each other; they can’t, they can only hate. They hate other demons for being higher than them. They only link together for the purpose of hate, and if you open your heart to envy they impart this hate into your heart.

Demons hate your happiness. They want the No.1 position.

Demons are happy when you’re helping them, but they’ll hate you when you’re not or when you’re higher than them. Thus if a sibling hates their brother for being more liked by a parent or friend, that sibling, in every single case, will plot to kill their brother. It may not be with a knife or gun, but it will be in their heart, even to the point of putting cancer on them. They’ll wish evil on their brother; anything that will remove him from the top position so they can replace them. Joseph is not an isolated case; his brothers are an example of the spirit of evil that lurks in the heart of every human being.

Confusion (James 3:16)

Wherever there is bitter envy there is confusion, and demonic, and every evil work.

Most Christians have split personalities. Consistently, one moment they’re really nice to you and the next time you meet them they’re sharp and bitey. This is confusing and thus it’s a sign that something else is going on in them that you can’t see. If you’re confused about someone’s inconsistent behaviour and you’re not sure whether they’ll bite you or be kind and considerate towards you, then know that you’re talking to two different spirit personalities in the one body.

Demons often tell the truth

It’s also confusing because demons often tell the truth, but it’s always selective and designed to manipulate and divert you from your course, or to hide them from exposing their course. Satan told Eve she wouldn’t die and it was the truth; well, almost. The spirit of divination in Acts 16 told the truth about Paul, and demons often worshipped Christ with the truth.

Voices

If you listen with your spirit, you can hear demons talk to you. These are the voices of temptation and they include feelings of guilt, fear, lies, intimidation and presumptions. You can diagnose these voices by comparing them to what the Holy Spirit would say to you.

The rise of demonism

Murder is on the increase; immorality is on the increase; drug abuse is on the increase; homosexuality is on the increase; the disintegration of the family is on the increase; divorce is on the increase. This is all due to the church’s de-valuing of the Ten Commandments which were written as life’s boundaries to inhibit the growth of evil. The church has lost its saltiness; it doesn’t deal with sin by separation, as instructed in 1 Corinthians 5, it accepts sin under the lie of love, and thus evil is propagating like an infection.

Death to self

Self likes the glory; death-to-self gives Him the glory. If you’re the axe and you tell the axeman what to do, know you’re under a demonic power (Isaiah 10:15).

To become a Christian, these satanic characteristics that indwell the heart of man, must be killed. You either die to your demonic character by letting God have His way with you, or you will die eternally. Man can’t do this by his own ability and will-power. Only the Holy Spirit can do it for us, and He does this when you fully surrender to His will = death-to-self. Even before you were born, God’s been fighting to free you from the power of demonic spirits we are all born under. If you could do it yourself, you could save yourself. You can’t; it’s only by His grace (Ephesians 2:8,9).

Pastor Mike Stanford

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2015 in Demons

 

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Sermon 77 – The Insanity of Vanity

Often I have the opportunity to tutor students in maths. What I’ve discovered in this exercise is that when someone holds a judgment against someone else they can’t do their maths. They make all sorts of errors of analysis and create their own system of working out the maths problems, and not only that, they’re actually fully convinced that they have done it right and the answer in the book must be wrong.

Here’s an example that happened this week … 371 – 65 = 314. When I asked the student how they got that answer they explained that 5-1 = 4, and 7-1 = 6. Instead of taking the 5 from the 1 they reversed it and then reversed it back to deduct 6 from 7. They were convinced they were right and questioned my judgement as the teacher.

I suggested to this student that they should go and write down who has offended them and why. The student came back with the message that she hadn’t got into trouble like all the other kids so she thought she was pretty good. The student had elevated herself above the other students by judging them below her and without even being aware of the spiritual side-effects couldn’t think straight but was convinced she was. Her judging had stuffed her judgement.

How does this happen?

The left side of the brain is the logic side; the right side is the creative / emotional side. You need the left side working at full capacity to do certain maths sums especially as it gets harder. If you’re hurting over something that someone’s done, the emotional side of your brain will dictate over your logic and your logic will become right-sided and be illogical without you knowing it.

I suggested that the biblical principle of repenting of your pride would be the only right alternative. She did and right there and then she could see the error of her analysis. Her correct judgment returned.

Whether you understand this or not; whether you agree with me or not, the reality is that this happens to every person who makes an elevated judgement against someone else and it’s confirmed in Matthew 7.

God’s just an idol to a Christian until you die

Everyone subconsciously lives to look good in the eyes of other people. They live for self-value. Whether we like it or not, the need for self-value is locked into our spiritual DNA. This need causes us to compete with everyone, especially siblings, for this value, and you don’t know you’re doing it. Because of this fact, anyone who says to God that they want to be a genuine Christian will have to go through the removal program of this selfishness. God will remove everything that’s of value to your selfishness and de-value you in the eyes of others to see if you really do want Him as your God, or just keep using Him as your idol and just worship Him so you get what you want from Him.

There isn’t anyone in the Bible who found God through elevated self-value. Everyone who found God had to be broken of their self-value. Everyone’s afraid to lose their self-value, but the reality is that when you give it up, God gives it back to you without the contaminants.

In the spirit kingdom, it’s God first or it’s nothing. The blockage to this being a reality is our selfishness. Therefore this process can only be achieved by the de-valuing of self in the eyes of others to find out if your spirit truly does want God first. You can only find God through the process of de-valuing of self; you’ll never find God through the process of valuing and promoting yourself.

As in the Garden of Eden, if you choose to promote yourself you’ll come under the influence of Satan, not God. Satan tried to destroy Christ because he was simply envious that Jesus was higher than him and enjoyed the Father’s favour instead of him. The truth is, he wasn’t really after the Father’s favour; he was so puffed-up with his own self-value he couldn’t think straight.

The simple evidence that I’m right

The proof that what I’m saying is the truth is the fact that everyone believes that correction is a put-down. The truth is that correction is to tell you that you’re wrong, and everybody hates being told they’re wrong. So, if correction makes you feel de-valued then you’re into value, full-stop. And, if you’re into value then you’re into envy, and if you’re into envy then you’ll be under the influence of Satan and your logic will be unstable and reversed, yet you’ll be convinced you’re right and that your answer and thinking is correct, and the correction is unjustified.

The man born blind, John 9

If you were born blind you most likely would feel de-valued and life was unfair and would blame God for the evil that’s happened to you. This man had been blind for forty years before Jesus came on the scene. It was because of his de-valuation that when Jesus healed him he saw the Saviour. Many people were healed but few saw the Saviour; they were after Jesus for the benefits (John 6:26), and nothing’s changed today. A fake Christian serves God with an expectation of benefits and rewards. This makes God your idol. A genuine Christian serves God without expectation of earthly rewards; it’s simply a love exercise, and you can’t genuinely do this from a platform of self-value; it has to be broken off you, but few want to know this, they prefer the Santa Clause God.

Selfishness changes your logic

Selfishness changes your logical patterns. You can’t think clearly; you think selfishly. Then you resist the correction of your selfishness because it doesn’t make sense to your selfish thinking. God designed it so that you don’t know whether you’re insane or vane; you need someone to tell you, and that’s the test point.

In 2 Chronicles 25 we read the story of King Amaziah. Verse 2 tells us that he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, sort of. Then in verse 14 we read that after Amaziah had returned from destroying the Edomites he worshipped their gods. God sent a prophet to correct his thinking and to bring him to his senses. The prophet argued with correct logic that it’s stupid to change gods and worship the gods of the nation that just lost the battle. But, Amaziah disregarded this Godly counsel. He had elevated himself (v.19) with his own importance and in his selfishness his spiritual logic had gone haywire. The consequence was self-destruction at the hands of an ungodly king.

It’s a fight to be a Christian. It’s not a walk in the park.

You might say to yourself that was a once-of experience and that it wouldn’t happen to me; but you’d be wrong. Uzziah, the next king, fell for the same trap, and Joash, the previous king did exactly the same illogical evil. Even Solomon, who was given the highest level of Godly wisdom, fell to the trap of elevation and consequently contradicted his own wisdom and married foreign ungodly wives who manipulated his thinking away from God to the point that he sacrificed his own children on the altars of heathen gods. You won’t find Solomon in heaven; he didn’t make it. You don’t believe me? Then read 2 Kings 23:13 and 2 Kings 3:26,27 and you will see that part of the worship of Chemosh the god of the Moabites, is the sacrifice of your own children. That’s absolute insanity and everybody is vulnerable unless they walk humbly before their God, giving Him the thanks and the credit for all things and never allowing yourself to have a mood of judgment against your fellowman and if you do, being able to take the correction and find repentance.

Selfishness is inherent in everyone’s heart. Selfish logic is stupid. How insane was it for Adam and Eve to hide from God their friend and then lie to Him and even blame Him for making Eve.  The only way anyone can gain Godly logic is by sacrificing their selfishness by allowing God to cut away everything that we value for our self-worth.

May God free His genuine remnant from themselves to serve the Living God with righteous hearts and minds.

Pastor James Tierney

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2014 in Selfishness

 

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Sermon 76 – Back to Basics

A young lady in our fellowship was clearly promoting herself and people were beginning to distance themselves from her. I spoke with her and asked her if she could see that she was being proud. She acknowledged that she knew she was. I suggested that it would be wise to stop it. She agreed. The next time I saw her she was working harder and more committed and trying as best she could to be “gooder”.

I shared with her that her strategy for removing her pride was actually cementing her pride because the motive for working harder was really to be liked again by everyone who was struggling with her pride, and also trying to avoid getting into more trouble. She wasn’t addressing her selfishness, she was reinforcing it.
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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Selfishness

 

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Sermon 74 – PIOUS

In Collins dictionary, pious is defined as ‘reverence and love for God marked by pretended or mistaken devotion’.

In modern language, the word is applied to those who Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Elevation

 

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Sermon 62 – WHO’S GETTING THE BETTER DEAL?

Often when I counsel folk I might ask … who have you got an irritation with? Sometimes they know but quite often they have no feelings at all against people.

How can you have –ve feelings against people and not even know it?

Here are my thoughts …
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Posted by on October 12, 2013 in Envy

 

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Sermon 61 – RESPONSIBILITY is a DIRTY WORD

When I was a young boy my older brother used to tease me incessantly. He’d run away from me on the way to school and leave me sitting in the gutter crying. He’d never let me play with his friends and he’d wrestle with me and pin my arms to the ground with his knees until I cried for mercy. He’d go out of his way to make sure
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Posted by on September 28, 2013 in Pride

 

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Sermon 59 – WHICH GOD?

The Humanists and atheists argue that there is no God because no decent god would allow the suffering that happens across the face of the earth. But, that’s the argument of Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2013 in god

 

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