Saturday, August 26, 2017

You Got To Hate It, To Crucify It

Gibeon was a great city, but now Gibeon was a threat to the kings of the Amorites because it had chosen the Lords side. The leaders of the city of Gibeon recognized that God was with Joshua and the children of Israel and they had come into covenant with Joshua and the children of Israel. Now all hell rose up against them, but the good news is that by choosing Gods side, all heaven came to their aid.

Joshua 10:1-6
Now it came to pass, when Adonizedec king of Jerusalem had heard how Joshua had taken Ai, and had utterly destroyed it; as he had done to Jericho and her king, so he had done to Ai and her king; and how the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel, and were among them; 2 That they feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, as one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all the men thereof were mighty. 3 Wherefore Adonizedec king of Jerusalem, sent unto Hoham king of Hebron, and unto Piram king of Jarmuth, and unto Japhia king of Lachish, and unto Debir king of Eglon, saying, 4 Come up unto me, and help me, that we may smite Gibeon: for it hath made peace with Joshua and with the children of Israel. 5 Therefore the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, the king of Eglon, gathered themselves together, and went up, they and all their hosts, and encamped before Gibeon, and made war against it. 6 And the men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp to Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us: for all the kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us.

Just a word to someone who feels like you’re going through hell, that the devil is throwing everything imaginable at you. I want you to know that you are not alone, God knows what the enemy is trying to do, and he will not forsake you. The devil is not going to win. He may have won a round or two, but you’re going to win the war.

Joshua 10:15-26
15 And Joshua returned, and all Israel with him, unto the camp to Gilgal. 16 But these five kings fled, and hid themselves in a cave at Makkedah. 17 And it was told Joshua, saying, the five kings are found hid in a cave at Makkedah. 18 And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: 19 And stay ye not, but pursue after your enemies, and smite the hindmost of them; suffer them not to enter into their cities: for the LORD your God hath delivered them into your hand. 20 And it came to pass, when Joshua and the children of Israel had made an end of slaying them with a very great slaughter, till they were consumed, that the rest which remained of them entered into fenced cities.    21 And all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace: none moved his tongue against any of the children of Israel. 22 Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. 23 And they did so, and brought forth those five kings unto him out of the cave, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. 24 And it came to pass, when they brought out those kings unto Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said unto the captains of the men of war which went with him, (Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings. And they came near, and put their feet upon the necks of them.) 25 And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight. 26 And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.

I have word for somebody today: The Lord told me to tell you to put your foot on it! You’re getting ready to change positions!

Someone who has been feeling down, someone who has been feeling distressed, disappointed, and confused is getting ready to change positions. You have felt as though something has had its foot on your neck, like it’s been trying to choke the life out of you, it’s not killing you but it’s cutting off your breath, making it hard to breathe, and taking the joy out of your life. The Lord told me to tell you that today the tables are turning, today your changing positions, you’re going from being under your circumstances, to being on top of your circumstances, and from being under pressure to being the one applying the pressure. God said, “You’re going to put your foot on it!”

Putting your foot on it means that you are in charge! It means that you’re on top of it, that you are in control. It means that whatever it is, has lost it’s power to affect you, it means that you have won.
I don’t know what “it” is for you tonight: These five kings could represent anything. They could represent financial problems, marital problems, physical problems, or spiritual problems. You’re problem may be labeled debt, sickness, or addiction, but no matter what it is called, it’s time to put your foot on it!

Romans 16:20
And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

From a God perspective, the devil has already been defeated, Jesus has stripped him of his authority and his power. He has no power over our will, he has no power over our mind, he has no power over our spirit. It doesn’t matter what he does, he cannot take us out of God’s hand.

But to believe that the devil has no power, or that he is weak and helpless, is to make a tragic mistake. The devil is defeated from a God perspective, but he is not dead. While he cannot affect our standing with God, he can mess with our circumstances and our emotions, and he can manipulate people and things. The devil attacks us through people, through sickness, through financial problems, and he attacks us by attacking the people we love.

In this scripture Paul is Prophesying that there’s a turn-around coming! Paul is saying that what Jesus accomplished in the Spirit is getting ready to be manifested in your world, and in your daily existence. It’s one thing to know that Jesus defeated the devil, but it is another thing entirely, to see that victory manifested in our own personal experience. I don’t know about you, but I want more than just a revelation of how Jesus defeated the devil, I want to experience the reality of the devil under my feet!

Joshua said to his captains: Come near and put your foot on their necks. This was to demonstrate that the victory was real and it was personal. The enemy was under their feet, and they could feel it for themselves. The victory wasn't conceptual, it was real!

Joshua said essence, “Today is your day! Instead of running from it, crying about it, or even praying about it: Today you’re going to put your foot on it, and when you do your going to choke the life out of it!”

We are often waiting for God to move in some great supernatural way and with one swipe, wipe out all our enemies, but the truth is, to a large degree God has done everything he is going to do until we do something. He has given us His Word, His name, His blood, His Spirit, the power of praise, and the armor of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Notice that Joshua himself did not put his foot upon the necks of the enemy kings, but rather let his captains do it, this was to represent the fact that this victory belonged to every single Israelite, and that every single one of them were subduing their enemies that day.

In Mark chapter fourteen we read the story of the disciples out on the sea, and a great storm arose and they feared for their lives, then Peter looked through the storm and saw the sea walker, he saw Jesus walking on top of the thing that was on top of them. Then Peter said Lord, “I want to be on top of it too.”

Then Jesus said, “Well then, put your foot on it.”

Then Peter Jumped out of the boat and stood on top of the thing that was trying to kill them. He walked on top of the water, on the top of the storm, and if he hadn't taken his eyes off of Jesus, and let the thing that sought to destroy him, cause fear and doubt, it would have stayed under his feet!

They brought these five kings out of their cave, out of their hiding place, and they identified them by name. Before you get the victory over that which has plagued you and robbed you, and oppressed you. You have got to bring it out of hiding, you have to admit it, and you have to identify it. You have to stop pretending that it doesn’t exist, or that it’s not a big deal, and that you can handle it yourself. Before you can put your foot on it, you have got to bring it out of the cave. Whatever you keep in the dark, grows, and intensifies and multiplies and will eventually bring you into bondage, and if not dealt with it will destroy your life.

Before you can put your foot on it, you have to identify it. Recognize it for what it is, expose it, get honest with God about it, and hate it! You will never quit drinking if you love it! You will never quit quarreling and arguing if you love it! You will never quit looking at pornography if you love it! You will never quit holding grudges if you love it! You will never quit gossiping if you love it! You Have to hate it to crucify it!

"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:24 KJV)

Your evil desires will keep dragging you into sin as long as your flesh loves what your doing. That is why you have to die daily. You have to hate it, put your foot on it, and crucify it!

Your love for God must move you to hate the things that adversely affect your relationship with Him. My flesh may want to lean toward sin, but if it is harmful to my relationship with God, then my spirit should hate it. Before you can put your foot on it you have got to hate it.

You can’t tolerate sin and conquer it! You can’t pet sin and conquer it! You can’t cover it up and conquer it! You can’t deny it and conquer it! You have got to hate it with a holy hatred and when you do, you will go after it to destroy it, and you will put your foot on it's neck!

I don’t know what it is in your life today that is on top of you. I don’t know how big or small it is, but I know the Lord told me to tell you, “it’s time for you to put your foot on it!”

And when you do, something supernatural is going to take place: God almighty is going to fight with you.

Just like Joshua told those men: If you will just turn and fight your enemies, then God is going to fight with you and not one single one of your enemies will stand!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What Meaneth This?

Acts 2 :1-12
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

We Should live every day in the expectation that God will move ‘suddenly.’ We should preach every sermon, teach every lesson, sing every song, sow every seed, pray every prayer; with the expectation that, ‘suddenly,’ someone will fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and be saved, ‘suddenly’ someone will be healed, ‘suddenly’ the chains of alcoholism and drug addiction will be broken, ‘suddenly’ a marriage will be restored, suddenly hope and joy will be restored to someone who suffers from depression, ‘suddenly’ fear will be destroyed, ‘suddenly’ someone will be filled with the Holy Ghost!

The two identifying marks of Pentecost were and still are:

1.     “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

2.     “And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

The truth is we need some ‘what meaneth this’ moves of the Spirit in our midst today. Something that has no other explanation other than God. These men are full of new wine. This was spoken critically, but it was spoken truthfully, they recognized that they were full. The sad truth is today, most of us are not full like that. Most people in churches today are satisfied with just enough Holy Ghost to get them to heaven.

The prophet Elisha said to the little widow women who borrowed the empty vessels, to set aside that which was full. Full meant ready for service, we’re not truly ready for service until we’re full. That’s why Lu 24:49 Jesus told his disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with Power from on High.

When the upper room got filled, the occupants of the upper room got filled. When the occupants of the upper room got filled, it overflowed out into the streets. And when we get full, we will overflow. When we are truly filled with the Holy Ghost, it will not be limited to church services. Jesus said out of your belly shall flow rivers of living waters.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

The first evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost was, they spoke with other tongues. There are many other responses to the Spirit; shouting, dancing, running, jumping, crying, laughing, or all the above, but when we get full there will be an outward manifestation. Many of the Issues we struggle with could be solved forever by this powerful Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

One of the reasons so many continue to struggle with the sinful habits of their past, is that they are not filled with the Holy Ghost. It is not enough to just believe, you must be baptized of the water, and of the Spirit. (Acts 19 shows that you can believe and not yet have the Holy Ghost).

You may be asking yourself or saying to yourself, “why do you Pentecostals always harp on being filled with the Holy Ghost?” because, you cannot be full of the Holy Ghost and be full of lust, full of anger, full of hate, full of unforgiveness, or jealousy, and strife at the same time. The infilling of the Holy Spirit, is the indwelling presence of God in the believer, and God cannot coexist with sin.

This condition of being full must be maintained, it’s not a little dab will do you experience. You must keep in contact with the source. The Apostle Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess but be ye filled with the Spirit.”

That means, keep being filled. Paul is speaking of being full of the Spirit in contrast to being drunk with wine. He is saying that when a person becomes full of the Spirit his or her life will show that they are under the influence. When you are under the influence of the Holy Spirit you live holy, you think holy, you talk holy. You sing different, preach different, you testify different, walk different, talk different, everything about you demonstrates that you are under the influence of the Holy Ghost. You are drunk on the New Wine!

They said on that day: What meaneth this? Somebody said: They’re drunk that means they are full, intoxicated, inebriated, under the influence of.

The crowd asked the question: What Meaneth This? What meaneth this, when a drug addict is suddenly free from the need and the desire for drugs? What meaneth this, when the alcoholic suddenly has no more desire for alcohol? What meaneth this, when a husband and wife are on the verge of divorce, but they walk out of church hand in hand, like high school sweethearts, head over heels in love? What meaneth this, when someone who has given up on life and given up on themselves and is ready to commit suicide, but suddenly hope springs up and joy fills his or her heart and they walk around singing and praising God and thanking him for the privilege of being alive?

What meaneth this?! How can these things be?!

My friends there are some things that have only one answer, it’s not technical and it’s not confusing, it’s simple: Jesus breaks every fetter!

When the church is truly full of the Holy Ghost, it will still provoke the same question today: What meaneth this?

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Two Patterns, Jesus' or the World's: One Choice

 Romans 12:1-2 (King James Version)
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Conform: to take on the pattern, through pressure (to be pressed into the mold)
·       behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards. "the pressure to conform" synonyms: follow convention, be conventional, fit in, adapt, adjust, follow the crowd;

This morning, in the light of the fact that school is starting all over America for many young people, and no matter how many years removed I am from youth ministry my heart will always lean toward the youth of our churches; so, I felt compelled to share.

Just like the three Hebrew children in the book of Daniel, we live in a foreign land, a hostile environment, we are strangers and aliens to this place. God never intended that we would fit in or blend in. But that we would stand up and stand out. As Christians, not just those that profess the things of God with their mouth, but actual Christians seeking to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord; we are supposed to be exhibiting an entirely different nature than the world. The worlds nature is darkness, The Christians nature is light.

Ephesians 5:8-13

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Darkness cannot over power the light; the only way darkness can prevail is for the light to refuse to shine. The devil’s strategy is to convince you to put out your light. How does he do this? Through peer pressure. He tries to make you feel like what you are standing for is foolish, and that you are all alone.

They separated Daniel and the 3 Hebrew children from their own land, houses and families, and then they changed their names. Why? Because their names tied them to their spiritual heritage, and defined their destiny in God:

Hananiah = God has favored (changed to- (Shadrach)
Mishaal = Who is what God is (changed to- (Meshach)
Azariah = Jehovah has helped (changed to- (Abednego)

Satan hates our spiritual heritage, he hates the Holy Ghost, and there is nothing that grieves the devil more than to see our young people, filled with the Holy Ghost shouting and dancing and speaking in other tongues. 

Last Sunday our pastor baptized one of our teenagers who had decided to follow Jesus. I stood there and wept, why? Because all too often, as I spent 18 years in youth ministry, I’ve seen one young person after another destroyed by sin and I couldn’t stop thinking, “In your face devil, this is another one for Jesus; another child that you don’t get.”

For these four Hebrew young men there was pressure from their enemies., but Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the kings’ meat. This is the easiest battle to win, because it’s natural to fight against our enemies.

There was pressure from their friends. This is where our commitment is really tested, there were many of those who were carried into captivity who were of Daniels brethren, yet they were content and happy to surrender their names and their identities to fit in and be accepted.

There is the pressure from within - this is the most dangerous and destructive of all. All the other pressure was external, but there is internal pressure to conform. This is when like Nebuchadnezzar we set ourselves up an image, and we create in our minds the kind of god we choose.

Worshipers of the image can be identified by phrases like these:

·       Everybody’s doing it.
·       I don’t see anything wrong with it.
·       It’s nobody’s business but mine.
·       I don’t feel any conviction over it.
·       It’s not hurting anybody

What is happening in the hearts and minds of these people, is that they are bowing down and worshiping a false image. They are bowing to a god of our own making.

But when the trumpet sounded, when the world’s music began to play, the young men who had committed not conform, refused to bow down and worship an image created by man. They chose to offer themselves as living sacrifices. The king’s wrath was kindled. Friends this is important to note: For anyone who dares to stand for God, there will be criticism.

The music today is playing, it’s seductive and destructive, it leads to self-will, rebellion, perversity, and violence. Be careful what you allow to entertain you, because once sin fascinates your mind, it will assassinate your soul.

When you turn down that cigarette, that beer, that joint; when you turn down that invitation to a party, and purpose in your heart that you will keep yourself pure, and maintain your virginity; when you refuse to listen to and laugh at dirty jokes, there will be criticism. But you never go through the furnace alone.
Young people you are not alone, Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

If you will stand up for Jesus, he will stand up for you. But it is also true that Jesus said:

Mark 8:38
“If you are ashamed of me and my words, in this wicked and adulterous generation then I will also be ashamed of you when I stand before my father and all the holy angels.”