You may recall that I recently spoke of God releasing me from the claws of a relationship which was totally detrimental to my spiritual development both as a Christian, and even more importantly, as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
As a result of this experience, a new fire has been ignited in me, a fire that had been extinguished for quite some time. Often, when you feel a burden has been placed in your spirit to put a word out, there is incredible spiritual turmoil within, a spiritual battle raging inside. As the enemy gets a glimpse of the damage that a follower of Christ is about to do with a message, the internal battle intensifies and you will be made to feel guilty and unsure as to whether the word you are about to put out is indeed the truth or simply the rantings of the flesh. In these last couple of days, I have experienced that very turmoil. When you are fighting against powers and principalities such as the things I described in my previous post, things like vain-glory, pride, controlling spirit, greed and many more maladies amongst evangelists and church leadership in general today, Satan and all his recruits will come against you all the more stronger and viciously. You will wrestle with your own conscience and go back and forth in your resolve to see this message through.
Despite all those feelings and the turmoil I have experienced, I decided to put out that message in my last post. It is not so much the repercussions it may have on those who read it that unleashes the wrath of the enemy, but much more so, the effect it has on my own spirit, as once it is down in writing, that knowledge and revelation is consolidated in my spirit and the gates of hell can no longer prevail against it. If anyone at this point is thinking that I have lost it, and that I have entered in a world on self delusion, please hang on for a bit longer. I think you will be surprised by what you will find out by the time you are finished with this post and the link I will provide in it.
I said some very harsh things in my last post. I know that. I know that the fruits of the spirit are peace, joy, love, goodness, patience, self control, kindness, faithfulness and gentleness, but I also know that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM.
Isaiah 58, 1 – 7 says:
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion, and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right, and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions, and seem eager for God to come near them. Why have we fasted, they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed? Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends up in quarrelling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to lose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry, and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
I regularly download sermons from 2 or 3 websites which I then listen to throughout the week when I know I will have a bit more time to ponder and reflect on them. It had been a while since I had heard a sermon which had gripped me within the first two sentences of its beginning, and as I pressed the play button on my iPod this morning, I remained cynical that this one may not stir the fire of the Lord within me either. Please note that this sermon was given on the 28.12.2009 and that only yesterday I wrote the post where I raise the various issues which I believe have become a cancer within the leadership of the Body of Christ today, the very same issues brought to the forefront by this preacher.
The sermon is called: “Making whole-hearted disciples” and it is by Zac Poonen. You can download it for free on the following link by clicking on the sermon’s title at the top of the page that will appear: http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/singlefile.php?lid=19181&commentView=itemComments
I realise many of you do not have the time to sit through a whole sermon, so here are a few nuggets I dug out earlier whilst listening to it, which should wet the appetite of those who are really seeking the voice of the Lord, and also give you an idea of why it is that I have experienced such turmoil in these last few days whilst the message which I wrote in the two previous posts was brewing and taking shape in my spirit. Here are a few bullet points based on that sermon, which will quickly help you get the picture:
- Evangelists are called to go out there and make disciples and not just share the good news. By the way, not all Christians are called to be Evangelists. No matter how much Evangelists try to raise their calling above everyone else’s within the Body of Christ, the Bible clearly tells us that we are all called to different roles within the Body, not one more important than the other (Ephesians 4:11)
- God is after “burning bush” Christians and not “dead bushes”. Evangelists and church leaders in general have become obsessed with collecting twigs or bushes, whether they are on fire or not doesn’t really matter. This is the problem with many churches around the world. Pastors and Elders fill them with bushes that have some branches on fire and half way through the process of sanctification, they abandon them so that they can go and collect more twigs.
- It is not enough to preach the Word to the nations. If you do not go and make someone a disciple, the job is not complete. How many of us would throw our babies into the street as soon as they are born? Would we not want to educate them and guide them until they are fit to fend for themselves in the world, until they have grown to the point of maturity?
- These leaders are not fit to call themselves followers of the Lord, because God is a Father. He is not the Director of Orphanages, He is into building families, and in families people care for each other, forgive many, many times along the way, and always sacrifice all for the sake of unity . In families, the older members not in age, but perhaps in experience, look after the younger until a time when they are ready to fly off the nest and form their own families.
- Only have as many babies are you are able to take care of into maturity. Why greed for more twigs, when the ones you have are not yet in full blaze for the Lord, in many cases, not even alight?
- The Great Commission (Matthew 28, 19) was not only to go and make disciples, but also to teach them all the things the Lord has taught us in the first place; how to combat lust, greed, envy, etc,, how to overcome the love of money, how to grow in discipline and self-control, how to enter into a habitual life of prayer and meditation on the word of the Lord, how to do these things in secret and not ensuring that all those who know us know how devout we are.
- The Apostle Paul was the greatest evangelist but he did not stop at making converts.
Galatians 4, 19
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU.
Note how Paul talks about two births. Not only he has dedicated all his ministry to “give birth” to new converts, but once they are born, Paul experiences new childbirth pains, and it is not until the child becomes a TRUE MAN/WOMAN OF GOD, that Paul can rest and consider His mission as an ambassador of the Lord on this earth accomplished.
- And just as Christ met a lonely end, so those who give their life to make disciples, will most likely meet a lonely end too. They will be rejected by those who once were their friend, and even insulted, slandered, and hurt terribly. If you think your life is all about fulfilling the Great Commission, and you have not yet experienced the arrows of loneliness and rejection, stop fooling yourself, whatever you are investing all your time and energy in within and outside the Body of Christ, is surely not it.
2 Timothy 1, 15
You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes
Philippians 3, 7-11
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
- Christians, many of them in leadership roles within The Church, will go to other preachers/Christians, who do not hold them to such high standards. I was recently banned from commenting in this person’s blog whom I have spoken about in my last posts, because they did not want to have to run everything they wrote through the filter (and I quote): “I wonder whether “Myself” will have a go at this one” . I have often left comments in this person’s blog and also emailed them to give them warning that their ministry was veering dangerously towards the “collecting twigs” trend as opposed to that one of “making disciples and not just converts”; I have pointed them to the fact that in order to bring more people into a relationship with Christ, sanctification must come before multiplication. I am no longer allowed to comment on that person’s blog. Work it out for yourself. I think no more needs to be said.
It is my prayer today that all those who have wasted their life, ministry and gifts given from above in collecting twigs and not setting them on fire for the Lord, would take heed from the warnings that they are receiving from many different directions. There are many voices shouting this same warning in the Body of Christ today. The trumpet is indeed being blown loud and clear. The question is not whether the watchmen are warning the people of the impending dangers, but whether those granted the authority and privilege to change the course The Church is currently following, will have the courage to go back on their tracks and take the ROAD LESS TRAVELLED.