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Sermon 147 – IMAGE

I was counselling two Christian men who were struggling with each other’s attitudes. I asked them if they thought they had an ‘image’ problem. They each declared that they didn’t think they had. I was flabbergasted at their blindness.

Truth

The truth is, everyone is born with an image problem. Satan has an image problem. He is full of his own importance. He hates Jesus Christ being the Son instead of him. When Satan manipulated man to sin, he implanted the lust for ‘image’ into our spiritual DNA.

When Adam and Eve hid from God, they were protecting their ‘image’. They didn’t have the problem before Satan sucked them into it. When they lied, they were simply protecting their ‘image’. When they blamed each other, they were protecting their ‘image’. When Cain killed Abel, he was simply envious that God liked Abel’s sacrifice and not his. Cain’s image was hurt.

Questions?

  1. Do you get offended if your opinion is challenged, mocked, or misunderstood? If so, you have an image problem.
  2. Does your inner self react with self-defense when you are intimidated, or made to feel stupid? If so, you have an image problem.
  3. Do you have a mood if you don’t get what you want or it doesn’t work out the way you want? If so, you have an image problem.
  4. Do you think you are stupid, or someone else is stupid, and do you crave to be someone special? If so, you have an image problem.
  5. Are you envious if someone is more intelligent, comes up with an idea you wish you had’ve thought of, is more popular than you, or more suave, or has more money than you? If so, you have an image problem.
  6. Do you think you are more intelligent, more creative, more capable, or more skilled than someone else? If so, you have an image problem.
  7. Do you believe you should figure it out yourself and asking for help is a show of weakness? If so, you have an image problem.
  8. Do you get offended if you’re corrected or told you didn’t do it right? Do you say … how come I’m getting corrected? They’re just as bad as me! If so, you have an image problem.
  9. Are you willing to share your knowledge and expertise and money, or would that threaten your ego? If not, you have an image problem.

Deceived

Image is really just ego. If you believe, like these two men, that you don’t have an image problem, then, the truth is, you have a serious image problem. To deny that you have an image problem, is the height of arrogance. This means your spirit is blind to God even though you think you serve Him to the best of your ability.

Fake

No one believes that God would reject them if they’ve tried their best. But, the truth is, that’s an image problem. That’s telling God how He has to do it. The Word of God says the opposite … by grace you are saved through faith. Not of yourself; it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

What’s this got to do with salvation?

The answer is … everything. The Word of God declares that you cannot be His disciple until you give up your image. Salvation lies on the other side of killing your image. That’s what God means when He says ‘hate your own life’ in Luke 14:26, and ‘die to yourself, daily’ in Luke 9:23.

How?

You have to make a choice but you can’t do it with just a choice. First, you need God to open your eyes to your lust of yourself, and see that you DO have an image problem. Then you have to repent of your selfish lust. Then you have to commit your will and life to His plan. The only way you can beat the image problem, is death. It’s only through death that your image is annulled.

Repentance

Sadly, most people say sorry for hurting someone’s feelings or for getting caught for doing something wrong, but they never repent of promoting or protecting their image. Consequently, they have never truly repented. They’re just practicing image defence, like Adam and Eve.

King Saul vs. David

Image is always the fruit of making yourself great in your own eyes (1 Samuel 15:17). Image is always more concerned with what people think of me (v.30), than what God thinks. King Saul was only interested in preserving his image in the eyes of others, whereas, David, by God’s grace, saw the evil of his image and repented. It wasn’t good deeds that saved David, because what he did was completely evil. It was the sacrifice of his image … the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart (Psalm 51:17).

False teaching

Image is really the love of yourself. The modern church thinking teaches that you must love yourself first, before you can love your neighbour. That’s a lie. The Word of God teaches you must hate yourself first (not the hate of spite, but the hate of your evil image), before you can love God and your fellow-man. You can’t love God and love yourself at the same time; that’s a contradiction. Jesus came to save you from the love of yourself.

10 Commandments

Most people defend their image … I don’t lie, I don’t steal, I don’t kill, I don’t commit adultery, so I must be a good person. The problem is, image can’t see that it worships itself. It can only see that you are hurting my feelings or you are being unjustly nasty to me.

But, worshiping your image, blindly or not, is a fracture of the 2nd commandment. It may not be graven in stone or wood, but nevertheless, it is image worship. From that foundation, it’s impossible to worship God 1st, and whether you accept it or not, you are lying to yourself, you are killing your neighbour with hate and envy, and you are committing adultery in your heart. You are literally living in the deception of your image. It’s all a lie.

Consequence of your choice

If you choose to die to your image, Satan will hate you and throw everything at you … family, friends, employers, work colleagues, the church, the world … and you’ll have to rely on God to sustain you. It’s persecution that strengthens your will to His will (Mark 13:13; 2 Timothy 3:12). Stand up silently against homosexuality, divorce and re-marriage, abortion, and fornication and you’ll soon find out how unpopular is that position. If you’re not being persecuted, in some form or other, for your love of Christ, then know that as much as you say you love Him, the real truth is you love yourself more.

No persecution, no salvation.

If we be dead with Him, we shall live with Him. If we suffer (for Him) we shall reign with Him. If we deny Him, He will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:11,12

The modern church is doing its best to escape persecution by tolerating sin and calling it grace and love. Thus, it will never find my God, only the refection of its own image, and it will walk in the imagination of that image.

 

I suggest you get on your knees and cry out to God for Him to expose you to you.

 

Pastor Jonathan Samuels

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2020 in image

 

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Sermon 142 – BLOOD for BLOOD

It’s not nice news, but it’s true

The Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood touches blood. Therefore, shall the land mourn, and everyone that dwells therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea shall also be taken away …. Hosea 4:1-3

Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget your children v.6

As they were increased, so they sinned against Me: therefore, will I change their glory into shame v.7

They shall eat and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the Lord v.10

Climate Change

The land is defiled, for blood defiles the land; and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed, but by the blood of him that shed it (Numbers 35:33). Therefore, it will spew you out … Leviticus 20:22

Adultery, incest, divorce, remarriage to your ex-spouse, prostitution, abortions, murder, homosexuality, beastiality, the worship of foreign gods, tattoos, sabbath abuse, disrespect of authority, domestic violence, deliberate shaving of the head, body pins, sex-change operations, and clairvoyances … these are all blood crimes … Leviticus 18,19,20

When you legalise these evils, you call evil good and defy and mock the living God and defile His blood. The consequences are the shedding of more blood to counteract the spillage.

For the sake of planet earth, the principle of the kingdom of God is that blood has to be shed to counteract the spilling of blood. It’s man sin that causes wars, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and murders, and it’s also man’s way of forcing God to save the planet in payment for its sin.

Climate change is due to sin. If you want to stop the decay of the planet, stop your sin. If you want to save the animals, stop your sin.

The salt has lost its saltiness

The church is supposed to be the salt against the bacterial infection of the world’s sin. But, the church is full of sexual perversion, adultery, divorce, lies and pretence, disrespect and deception, and merchandising its wares for the purpose of wealth and lustful gain, all covered in goodness. The world rules the church, not the Spirit of God.

If my people who are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed

You can argue that it’s all Old Testament, but that’s a convenient lie. Have a look at the decay around you. My God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is immutable, and so is His law (Matthew 5:18). The church is responsible to address its sin and change its ways, first, before it can expect the world to do it.

The life of the body is in the blood

The blood is the pathway for nutrients, the mechanism for fighting disease, the mechanism for clotting and repair, the mechanism for our heart to pump, the mechanism for our breathing. No blood, no life.

It’s the same in the spirit kingdom. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. No blood, no life. It’s only through repentance and being washed by the blood of Christ shall we ever be able to enter heaven. Both Peter, Paul and John the Baptist preached the gospel of repentance for the remission of one’s sin. Salvation is not by my goodness, but His mercy.

The purpose of calvary was the blood of Christ to cover our sin. Circumcision, communion (Matthew 26:28) and menstruation are blood symbols. By society’s mocking and devaluing the sacrifice of Christ and by silently allowing our parliaments and society to legalise evil, we are promoting the decay of the planet, and casting dispersion on the blood of Christ. There’s a price to pay.

As in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:38)

The purpose of the flood was to save the planet by the removal of its sin. The purpose of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Pompeii, was to remove sin to save the planet with blood. Sadly, God predicts that we are returning to the days of Noah, and few if any will listen. Eventually, this planet will disintegrate under the weight of its sin. Only faith in the living God will save you.

Bad Coagulation

If you mix the wrong blood types, they’ll react against each other and kill you. If you mix the blood of Christ with the world you’ll die, spiritually. Sadly, the church has contaminated itself with the world’s blood. It’s lost its power and strength and is decaying with compromise before our eyes. Congregationalists, Methodists and some Presbyterians have disappeared into a humanistic religion of the Uniting Church which condones the evils of divorce, homosexuality and female priests (1 Timothy 2:11-14).

I’m think I’m good, or at least, not that bad

Everybody wants good news for themselves; they don’t want to feel bad. They expect that if you’re good you get good. Our motive for good is really so we don’t get into trouble, and so we get good back. Most people, including Christians, believe they’re good, so God will be favourable to me. Most believe that God is a good God and only punishes the bad. They blame mother nature for the planet’s disasters, and consider their own personal safety is the consequences of their own goodness. Everything’s fine until things go wrong, and then they blame God for not giving them good for their goodness. This is the religion of Santa Clause.

The truth is, only God is good, so if you think you are good, then you can’t be saved. The truth is, God rules by law, and breakage of his laws requires judgment. His mercy is initiated by your repentance, not by your goodness.

No one thinks envy, judgment or covetousness is bad. Besides, everyone practices it. Jesus is coming back for those who know they’re bad and are willing to repent of their sin. Esau was good, Jacob was bad. Daniel was good, but Samson was bad; they both were saved. The thief on the cross was bad. Rahab was bad. The Pharisees were good, but the blood of the prophets was their curse (Matthew 23:35). Peter wasn’t good, Nebuchadnezzar was bad. It’s not good or bad, it’s the blood of Christ; that’s the issue.

Authority Respect

Most Christians and the world argue that they’re good, but that’s not the argument.  You can cover your coveting, lying, judgmental and adulterous secret thoughts with good, but if you pretend you’re good, instead of owning your sin, you are calling sin good, and that’s evil.

The real argument is … are you resistant to authority? Are you correctable? Everything comes down to authority. You can be as good as you like but if your heart believes … “you won’t tell me what to do”, “you won’t tell me I’m wrong”, then you’re resistant, incorrectable, and thus under the influence of Satan, and thus bad.

The real measurement of good, is … do you resist authority to defend your selfishness?

Bad = the spirit of Satan influences you

Good = the Spirit of God influences you

The problem is, you can be bad and be influenced to do good e.g. King Saul. Ultimately, like King Saul, the good will fade when its measured against resistance to righteous authority. Be as good as you like, but that doesn’t mean you’re covered by the blood of Christ.

Consequences for resisting the will of God

Eventually, any nation that willing turns its back on the living God and pollutes its land with blood, will be given into the hands of the heathen; and they that hated them will rule over them (Psalm 106:38,41). China is coming.

Like Israel in Egypt, if a nation won’t bow the knee to God’s authority, then it forces God to put it under ungodly authority until it will bow to the true God. If you’re spirit resists Godly authority, then don’t lie to yourself that you’re under authority and good.

Don’t wait for the world to change its way; you change your ways to the will of God.

 

May we live our lives in gratitude for the shed blood of Jesus Christ, letting Him be the potter, and not in our goodness expecting God’s blessings and telling Him how He should mould us.

 

Pastor Frank Staener

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2019 in blood

 

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Sermon 128 – Comply or Die

When I was a young boy on a family camping trip, my brother stole my best friend to be his friend. I heard the voice … he’s mine not yours. It’s not fair. You already have friends. I don’t. I decided to pay him back by sticking chewing gum in his sleeping bag. Be sure your sin will find you out. My parents made me spend 2 hours cleaning the bag. I learnt a very important lesson … vengeance doesn’t pay.

You like him more than me

Everyone on the planet has heard the voice … you like him more than me. Obviously, this voice is not from the Holy Spirit, so it must be from Satan. It’s the voice of position and not humility. It’s the voice of envy (James 4:5). It therefore is the voice of Satan. Underneath every demonic voice you hear, lies the satanic voice … you like him more than me. Some people even speak it out. If you’ve spoken it out it should tell you what camp you’re snared in. If you’re snared in the camp of Satan then you’ll be plotting the demise of others so you can take their position. Hatred is the automatic side-effect of envy.

Why does everyone hear this voice?

Obviously, because there’s something outside our visual realm that can interact with us. Secondly, it’s interesting to note that it’s easier to hear evil than good, and it’s easier to act evil than good. You have to work at good; evil comes natural. That’s because Satan has our ear, and it takes a decision of death to hear the Lord’s voice above the din of evil. Thirdly, and most importantly, Satan hates Jesus because He’s more liked by the Father. So, when you choose to listen to the voice of … you like him more than me, you’ve linked yourself directly to the spirit of Satan, and speaking his words.

We’re better tuned to the voice of Satan than the voice of God. Voices are evidence of an unseen spirit world interacting with our spirits. No one’s seen Satan but everyone’s heard his voice. Similarly, you can’t see Jesus Christ but you can hear His voice if you want to.

Temptation is a voice

A genuine Christian is responsible to diagnose what voice is speaking and choose death to that temptation. It’s not God’s responsibility to keep you safe from temptation, it’s your responsibility to die so God can raise you up. If you haven’t trained yourself to stop and check whether the voice is God’s or Satan’s, you’ll automatically comply with the voice of evil. It won’t sound evil; it’ll sound fair and just and nice to your emotions, but it’s a lie in sheep’s clothing. It’s a trap to snare you against Christ. It’s a trap to trick you into plotting the demise of others. To God’s eyes, plotting is hatred, & hatred is murder (1 John 3:15), and that’s what Satan wants; to see you out of alignment with God.

The serious lesson from Christ

In Luke 4 we read Satan’s temptation to Jesus. Satan was trying to get Jesus to change his position from standing with the Father to get Him to stand with him instead. He effectively was bribing him to comply with his wishes by using food, position power, and the pride of proving your power. Jesus wouldn’t comply. Satan then simply changed into his true character and threatened Jesus with … comply or I’ll kill you. Jesus chose the path to die rather than the comply.

Fear of dying

Why is everyone afraid of dying? Aren’t we going to be with the Father in heaven? So, why the fear? Simply, because Satan doesn’t want us to die he wants us to comply, so he threatens death to put you in fear so you’ll comply. He intimidates you with a spirit of fear.

Jesus, Himself had to face this fear and then He had to choose the way of the cross and trust the outcome to His Father. Daniel had to face this fear and then choose the way of death instead of complying with the voices of temptation followed by the voices of threatening for not complying. No one said anything to Daniel. He knew what Satan was saying, and enticing to go the easy way, and then threatening if he didn’t bend to his comply. Satan was tempting Daniel to comply in the exact same way he was tempting Jesus. Through facing death, God raised him up above his enemies.

David was threatened by his father-in-law to comply or be killed. David fought the tempting voices of the easy way out and chose the path of die rather than comply. He chose to face death and in so doing God raised him up above his enemies.

Victory is only through death

Jesus didn’t die on the cross just to save us from our sins. His death was the example to His followers of how we must pass through death to earn eternal life with Christ, and also how to be lifted up above our spiritual enemies. You don’t buy your way to heaven but you have to pay the price of death to earn salvation (Luke 9:23,24) and position. He complied with His Father’s wishes and chose death to Satan’s temptations to comply. The consequence was life and position above His enemies (Philippians 2).

There’s no other pathway to victory, than through death. Any other pathway is a satanic deception to eternal death. Position should only be attained through death instead of complying with the satanic temptations or the threats to comply; any other pathway is a temptation to satanic life which ends in death.

Satan comes with sweetness and enticements and if you won’t take the bait and comply, he then threatens death. Joseph was enticed with the sweetness of adultery and when he wouldn’t comply he was threatened with the death of imprisonment. He chose to silently cop the evil and in due course, God raised him up above his enemies.

The irony

If you comply you’ll seem to save your life but you’ll die; whereas, if you choose death, you’ll live above the voices. In fact, the only way you can live above temptations is through death. You can’t beat temptation by complying and then making a decision to address your feelings and decide not to sin; that won’t work. Rather, you have to die first. Just like a seed has to die before it germinates, so our spirit has to die to the temptation to comply, before you can have real life. In fact, if you won’t die, you won’t fly.

Repentance

Repentance is complying and then realising you’ve sinned and then reversing your decision to not comply but rather die, by admitting that you complied and then giving up your position and having no position except trusting the Lord’s position. In the case of my brother, I had to die to my wants by giving up my friend and trusting God. Interestingly, my friend fell out with my brother and came back to me. However, I soon lost my friend because he chose to comply whereas, I chose to die, so we went our separate ways.

The lesson of death

Later in life, I learnt this important lesson in a deeper way. A member of my wife’s family hated me for no reason except the spirit in them conflicted with the Spirit in me. I initially tried to defend my position, but over the years learnt you couldn’t win. I turned to the Lord and chose to lose. Instead of living in fear of their insults, I chose to die and cop it. Before long, I found myself no longer entrapped by their fear and living above their satanic attacks. They had the money and they had the power, but I chose to die instead of comply with keeping them happy so I wouldn’t get emotionally injured. I chose to withdraw in love, like David, in order to survive. They hated me more, but God freed me even more, through death.

Every Christian who truly wants to walk with Christ, somewhere in their life has to choose the path of death or else submit to the threats and fears of losing if you don’t comply. You can’t be a disciple unless you forsake everything, take up your cross daily and follow Him. If you choose the wrong path, like Peter, there’s only one way back, and that’s die to your pride and repent. But, if you choose the easy evil path, like Judas, you’ll actually be a traitor against Christ and die anyway.

 

May God encourage His remnant to live above the temptation to have position, and live above the fear of death, so we learn not to comply and can trust Him with death.

 

Pastor Craig Kristianson

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2018 in Death, Voices

 

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Sermon 127 – Silence is Golden

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

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

Pride is Satan’s gift

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

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

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

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

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

Bad things don’t happen to good people

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

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

Voices

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

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

Repentance

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

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

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

Silence is death to pride

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

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

The answer is … pride & demons

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

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

Soldier for Christ or defender of your pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

The real motive

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

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

Silent for Christ or silent for pride

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

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

The Anti-Christ

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

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

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

 

Pastor Jonathan Faranze

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2018 in position

 

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Sermon 101 – Born Again?

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

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

The blame exercise

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

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

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

Demons have power over you through the grievances you hold

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

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

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

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

Repentance

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

Victory

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

What does this have to do with Born Again?

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

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

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

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

So what is ‘Born Again?’

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

The measurement

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

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

The fruit of unconditional surrender is being blamed

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

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

 

Pastor Mike Clifford

 

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Blame

 

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Sermon 99 – Stop BLAMING everybody else & REPENT

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

Freedom

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

Incorrigible

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

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

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

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

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

The issue is always authority

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

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

The truth 

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

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

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

Adam and Eve show you what happens if you will look

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

Another example

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

Humanism

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

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

Pastor Mike Clifford


 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Authority

 

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Sermon 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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