This blog was almost completed and would have been sent out at 10 am but was completely lost through a computer glitch today. Please listen to me as I tell you that God is awakening his people and the warfare against this awakening is real.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Ephesians 6:12
*** As I share another hard word this week, please hear me when I say that I too am positioning myself in repentance and the fear of the Lord. We are all called to rebuke, exhort and warn each other while we can- Amen?
UNSANCTIFIED GRACE AND MERCY PERVERTS THE GOSPEL
We live in a time that holiness has lost it's luster to the glitz and glam of the culture and the political spirit of the day.
Pastor Bill Johnson said in a recent message:
A political spirit places a value on what people thinks and feels, but it cannot replace what God thinks and feels. Our desire to keep people comfortable and from experiencing pain, keeps us from being honest and bold in our faith; and the political spirit in the church has given place to an unsanctified mercy. Grace that doesn't lead to holiness is not grace at all.
This should give us all great pause.
Grace and mercy that is not sanctified is not true grace and mercy. The political spirit of today, presents a grace that feels good- but this message of grace perverts the ways of God and patterns it after the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Biblical grace is meant to empower us, not to ensnare us!
Grace: unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification. b : a virtue coming from God. c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:26-29
What is necessary to deal with in our lives is not always fun to deal with. God is here to uproot everything in us that He did not plant-not leave us in our current condition. He loves us too much to leave us like we are. He is presenting each of us, with the opportunity for pruning, uprooting and repentance so we can look more like him. The Apostle Paul made several statements about dying to the desires of the flesh and even the need to beat his flesh into submission.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Cor. 9:24-27
As we fight this good fight of faith, it is vital that we recognize all the ways the spirit of this age is out to influence and shape us after it's image and not the image of Christ. We do this by identifying the spirits at work where we live. Every region has territorial spirits that rule that region through prevailing mindsets and patterns of living that are ungodly. When there is a prevailing territorial spirit at work in a region, city, nation etc...we as the people of God must violently oppose it's influences, traits and tendencies or will unwittingly come under the influence and spell of that spirit. Jesus said:
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. Matthew 11:12
The word violence in this passage is a metaphor for the fight and struggle that must take place to live out the kingdom of God that is within us. We must daily overthrow the wickedness that our flesh so desires to entertain, as we live in a world that is still under the mind bending influences of hell and it's forces. The territory that must first be gained, is the territory of our own souls and bodies. This is what the Apostle Paul was stating as he emphasizes the need to beat our flesh into submission and die daily. It is what Jesus was declaring as he commanded us to pick up our cross and follow him down the road of suffering. This is the full gospel message-and if we are to be disciples, we must too drink the FULL CUP that Jesus and his disciples drank.
We must come in the opposite spirit of the prevailing territorial spirit at work around us and in the world. As I have searched this our with the Lord, one of the prevailing spirits I'd like to focus on at work in the world, is the Perverse spirit.
This spirit seeks to pervert the ways and nature of God in a Christian's life. One of the ways it does this is through a false theology of grace. Grace that does not lead people to holiness and purity is a false, defiled grace. Grace should enable us to live and look like Jesus- who knew no sin because he stayed in the purity of his identity as the Son of God. Purity is the answer to this spirit. We too must stay in the purity found in living a life set apart to God, as the Holy Spirit empowers us. As disciples of Jesus, praying scriptures like Psalm 51:10-12, is no longer a suggestion but a necessary strategy in this struggle against this spirit.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Soft words and interpretations of scriptures aren't going to cut the hell out of the hearts of people anymore. People need hell's ways of thinking and doing life, cut out and uprooted in their souls. The political spirit has much of the church more worried about offending someones personal beliefs, instead of being faithful to God, and this must be opposed at all cost. People need power to overcome in this life and purity and power go hand in hand. We must give them the Word of God and allow the Word to work.
See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 CJB
People are dying and going to hell and are having a hard time living victoriously in this life because of a watered down impure, gospel of grace that is being presented. The gospel of grace should empower us to live holy, pure, sanctified lives that brings glory to God and power to the believer. A spirit of religion will cause you to have a "form of godliness" but deny the true power that Christ died to give and transform you from the inside out.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith. Romans 1:16-17
That's why God sent John the Baptist ahead of the arrival of Jesus.
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’ Matthew 1:7-10
John means-Yahweh is gracious, and Jesus means salvation. Grace always precedes salvation, but I would point out to you, that the message John presented was not the one being presented in much of the western world today. It was not an easy one to digest and the lifestyle John lived was one that would challenge most Christian's today. However, this message needed to be pure and powerful to break off the traditions that were so rooted in the hearts and minds of the people. He didn't just preach the message, he lived the message of purity and holiness. He was sent to prepare a people for the Lord's appearing. He was called to preach a kingdom message opposite to the prevailing culture of their day. He was sent to make every crooked path straight in the hearts of people. It was a pure, undefiled and uncompromising message, that led them to repent and change their wicked ways, and I believe this is the same message we need today.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Philippians 2:12-15
This message will not be an easy one to herald in a culture where the gospel message has been perverted, but we can't worry about that. We must forget about offending people's theologies and save them from defiled and powerless religion. If we are to judge angels in the age to come, as the bible tells us, how much more should we be judging matters in this life too- not condemning people but warning them while we have opportunity.
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:12-13
So come forth all you Evangelists, come forth all you Prophets of God, come forth all you Pastors and Teachers, come forth all ministers-mother's and father's and leaders in the community! Come forth with an undefiled, uncompromising message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God! Come forth preaching in boldness and in power to stir and awaken the people of God out of complacency and error. And Lord Jesus, awaken us all to truth, holiness and righteousness, so we may display the fullness of your character and nature in all purity and sincerity.