Whose Life Is It Anyway 9th March
2 Co 4:6-7 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
Last week we looked at how God commanded! – God spoke and called into being, calling those things that are not as though they were – God spoke and we were created again in Christ, as it were – born again. This is miraculous – a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. Unless God Himself gives us the Grace and the Faith to believe – we remain heathens, pagan. We are, in a sense, simply the earthen vessels that contain the most precious treasure in all creation that God puts into us.
God gives us the knowledge of His glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. So this earthen vessel is really a container for the Divine Presence. Christ in us by His Spirit – and it is the most precious of all things that are ever entrusted to us by God. In fact without this treasure we cannot know Him or believe. It is God Himself in us, that enables us to call ourselves by His Name – Christian. This treasure is the power of God and it is excellent – it is not our power, it is not of us or by us – It is God’s power in us.
It never becomes our power, it is never owned by us, we cannot make it happen, this treasure is the Holy Spirit and He can never be owned or submitted to man – The Holy Spirit is God – very God of very God and He is Holy, He is the Spirit of Christ – the perfect treasure of God in us, the Hope of Glory! Not our glory, not our ministry, but the glory of God in us – for His own purpose and Names Sake. Oh that we might know this afresh in this hour, because this is the only hope we can have in this world.
Ro 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
More than ever before in my life I know this love of God stirring in my heart – there is a real and growing sense of delight – an excitement that I cannot describe – but it is deep and I just feel like I can’t wait – but I’m not sure what for! I truly love this life of being a Christian and seeking after God – I am hungry for Him- not for ministry or power or anything but for His Glory – I have an ache to love Him more and to know Christ – I am intensely hungry to worship Him – to sing in delight and dance!
Maybe not physically, but spiritually somehow. I think because of this love shed abroad in my heart I have become very sensitive in my spirit and I find this emotion welling up all of the time. I am spending half my life weeping, or nearly weeping, over all sorts of things, from the state of the nation – the murders and violence, – to the state of the church and all the reports I hear from various sources – I weep over the sick and yet --- as silly as it sounds I can even weep over an add on TV.
I actually said to Robyn I think there is something wrong with me! – But you know I think it is an expression of the heart of God through the Spirit of God – it is the Spirit of Jesus in me – and I am excited by Him, but at the same time deeply saddened even to tears. I really believe – in part at least, that the Holy Spirit is conveying the compassion and mercy of Jesus for His Bride, the Church – but also almost an anguish for the deception in the church and the constant stream of death in the world.
Mt 24:4-14 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
We are in the last days and I could preach for weeks on this passage, but lawlessness abounds, the love of many has grown cold and deception is rife within the church – 2 examples :--
Pastors meeting – denom. leader taught we can no longer use the Bible as the absolute W.O.G. because a lot of people coming to church don’t believe that anymore and it will offend them.
Stopped in shop – Ministry covered in tattoos and body piercings- nose, ears etc. – wonderful etc. – how can you deny W.O.G. blatantly on one hand and declare you speak on His behalf on the other??
I know people don’t like me saying these things – but I feel like a watchman standing on the wall sometimes – seeing, warning and shouting out. But there is a real unbelief around the church as far as deception goes – it’s as if most people really don’t think they could be deceived or that if someone is a little bit off here or there, so what, if he prophesies or prays healing or even sees miracles – let’s just embrace that! – But W.O.G. warns us over and over again – deception will abound in these last days.
2 Th 2:9-12 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
As I was praying about this whole thing of deception in the church and some of the things we hear and read – I found myself thinking how can this happen? surely things aren’t as bad as some of us think they are – (George Barna – Pagan Christianity) – God you are greater that this – then it was like the Holy Spirit reminded me – right from the birth of the church error and deception have had to be addressed – even while the apostles were still alive – Paul’s letters!!
Martin Luther – Calvin – you know there would have been no need of a reformation if the whole church around the world was not deceived! No need of Azuza Street and the various revivals if the church had been healthy – there would have been no Pentecostal or Charismatic awakening all around the world if the church all around the world had been open to the Holy Spirit in this way – No there have been many times when the world wide church has had to be corrected by God.
What makes us think we are immune, or more spiritual, or closer to God, or more worthy, or have more knowledge? Now more than ever before we are exposed to everyman’s doctrine, to revelations and opinions and extra biblical teachings. Robyn/I asked to read book – that had changed a person’s life! As I read the book that weeping and deep concern swept over me – it was a doctrine, a revelation about communion – the Bread and the Wine, that was based upon a series of supposed
spiritual journeys to heaven. It denied scripture and took away from the cross. Yet the person who gave us the book is sincere, hungry for God and seeking after Him. --- But Oh Church we have this treasure in earthen vessels we have the W.O.G. and we must begin to KNOW the Holy Spirit indwelling – we must begin to develop a sensitivity to Him – The W.O.G. and the Spirit of God – because He it is who will glorify Jesus – and it is Jesus’ glory we desperately want.
Jn 16:13-14 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
Everything is Jesus’ – all authority in heaven and earth is given to Him – all that the Father has is Mine He said –
Col 1:15-18 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Everything is about Jesus and for Jesus and to Jesus – and the Holy Spirit has come to glorify Him – there is nothing the Holy Spirit will ever do that will not glorify Jesus! – Someone mentioned what is our vision as a church – well here it is here – to see Jesus glorified by the Manifestation of the Presence of God by His Holy Spirit – it is to see revival – because that is what revival is! – But we have this treasure already in these very earthen vessels –
and you know, no matter how earthen the vessel, and we are very earthy still - the treasure within remains Holy and Precious and Glorious and He is constantly looking to glorify Jesus. I don’t want to major on what is wrong – I want us to begin to concentrate and to seek after what is right – we must begin to KNOW the Holy Spirit – to develop a sensitivity to His indwelling Presence – to develop it for, and in, ourselves – we have got to learn quickly to go beyond a leadership dependant attitude to an
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” attitude – who strengthens ME!!! It is time to become the priesthood of all believers and KNOW the Holy Spirit for ourselves – we must learn to discern – really discern for the times are dark and growing darker and we must KNOW the Light so we can walk in the light –
Eph 5:13-15 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Jesus said if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children – how much more will My Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to him who asks – we have the Holy Spirit – the Precious Treasure of God – but this vessel – this temple, is defiled and grubby and the light is not crystal clear – it is like we have lamp shades of confusion and error and even deception – layers of earthy filters diminishing the Light of the glory of Christ in us. Jesus Himself taught us this : ---
Mt 6:23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
We can think that we have light and it is really darkness! That is the greatest darkness of all because those who are in the dark actually think they are seeing clearly, seeing the brilliance of a reflected glory that is not light at all, and walking in that light are absolutely blind to the Truth and Jesus said I am the Truth!! One of the things of this DARK LIGHT – this false light is that it gives all the appearance of being true light, of illumination and even revelation – but is a lie.
But a very believable lie – able even to deceive the very elect of God --
Mt 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
We must begin to KNOW this indwelling Light – this Divine Illuminator if you like – this Precious Treasure who is the Holy Spirit freely given to us – we must begin to practice His Presence Deliberately develop a sensitivity to Him – an awareness of His guidance. Jesus promised us that when He has come He will guide us into all Truth, that He will speak to us and teach us and dwell in us – and as Jesus has emphatically stated it, then it is true and cannot be denied.
As we begin to know Him again – and it is not that we have never known Him – I think most of us have from time to time --- I think there was that initial touch of God for many of us – but then we slip into some of the current church practices – the leadership culture, the vision casting, the programmed systems (all of those things have some merit) even training and learning and studying – and we slip comfortably into our spirituality being that which we get from being followers – of men and systems.
We think if we are achieving and being successful and are gaining leadership or position or even serving in some capacity – that that is spiritual and mature and therefore we are somehow closer to God, to Jesus. But you know many of the most prolific Christian writers and theologians, Bible college teachers and even now, current seminary teachers and trainers of Pastors and church leaders deny the Holy Spirit – the gifts, the ability to Hear God in this day – for many, many Christians --
It’s much easier to listen to someone else, go to a ministry or a person than to go to the Holy Spirit – so without even realizing it, we begin to be seekers of the Holy Spirit from outside –waiting again for Him to come to us and upon us – for the laying on of hands – (place for that) – but He is in you – He indwells you, and unless we develop that sensitivity to Him in us, unless we allow Him to guide us into all truth – we are vulnerable to being exposed to darkness we think is light!!
Eph 5:8-11 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Eph 5:17-21Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Church the Holy Spirit is the most wonderful and Precious Presence of God living in us – a great and glorious mystery and Divine Honour – Oh we must know Him and trust Him and allow Him – and you Know He is God and God is Spirit and God is Love and God so loved the world – so one of the things we can know and look for, and search out, is that Love of God poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit – it is beautiful and intimate – you know it is not so much about being loved –
God has shown that love to us in that we are saved – He has shown us His love by His grace and faith no this love poured out in our hearts is more about LOVING – than being loved – it is about joy unspeakable – it is about being constantly filled wit he Spirit – like continuously aware of His Presence in us – it awakens in us psalms and hymns and spiritual songs – there is singing and melody in our hearts --- we want to love – and we weep at the unloved and unlovely – because we KNOW their lack!
So how do we do this – develop this sensitivity – we will look at this over the next little while – but today.
1 Jn 2:26-27 These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.
Light shine in your hearts now – exposing darkness – deception, false teaching – PRIDE – hurts etc.
Salvation – unforgiveness – don’t think you have ever received the Holy Spirit.