Here is the second sermon in the series - "The Grace-Hating Spirit". It was again particularly powerful for me as the subject that Rob was covering was; "FREEDOM!". And he covered it incredibly powerfully. I pray the notes are of use and of awesome blessing.
I want to dedicate to my dear friends Julie and Aaron and Don who are friends I feel such closeness with as we journey out of legalism and into an ever-increasing enjoyment of the grace of God.
Galatians 2: The subject we are dealing with is 'Do not give into condemnation even for a moment'. This is a pivotal message. This message defines for me the departure point between dead religion and living New Testament Christianity.
The title of this message is; "THEY WILL NEVER TAKE AWAY OUR FREEDOM!".
A quote from Mel Gibson's film Braveheart -
"You have come to fight as free men and free men you are. What will you do with your freedom! Will you fight? Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least a while and die in your beds where you'll dream of that come back here and tell the English that they may take our lives but they'll never taken our freedom!".
This isn't personal against the English! But folks that should be the cry of the Church! To the devil! To each other! I have said that to God, I have said, "Lord if I can't live in freedom - if I allow religion to conform me and control me then Lord please take me home. I do not want to live on this planet as so many Christians controlled by the spirit of condemnation, the fear of rejection, controlled and manipulated by guilt and fitting into the religious norm instead of being a pioneer - a prophetic person that breaks out and advances the Kingdom!".
We can live and survive and not rock the boat and the establishment will think we're cute and nice and ecumenical but we will die in our beds with great regret that we did not do something that would leave footprints in the sands of human history and leave a legacy behind.
That is not dramatic talk - this is the reality that beats in our hearts. There is freedom that God creates us for. You cannot keep people down - they will rise up because we were created to live in freedom. God is wanting to raise up churches that say we will not settle for anything less than the freedom that is in the kingdom of heaven. I am 50 years old and I have lived this way all my life but there is something of a greater passionate desire to see churches live in all the fullness of what Christ died for on the Cross and brought through in the Resurrection.
(Galatians 2:4). These are our foundation verses! The Bible says God does not judge by external appearances whereas the religious world is very much obsessed with judging by external appearances. Paul makes it clear that there are people who think their portfolio is to come into churches and come amongst believers and spy on their freedom with religious disapproval in their eyes. They work in demonic anointing and can bring people back into slavery.
Paul said we did not negotiate with them. If you sit and discuss these issues with these kinds of people even for a moment they'll get inside your head. Before you know it an hour has passed, a day has passed, a week has passed and before you know it your life has been controlled by religious condemnation.
If you give in for a moment something of the Gospel is lost - the truth of the the Gospel is diluted the only expression of the power of God - the only agency for the power of God is through the Gospel. We are talking about a daily battle where spirits come into your mind and try and bring you into condemnation and bring you into guilt, trying to intimidate you and manipulate you and make you feel unworthy. Don't give in for a moment!
The reason why we can't give in for a moment is that too much is at stake (2 Corinthians 3). It's not just your personal happiness that is at stake although that will also be stolen. But it is also the destiny of millions of people.
Every revival has ended up crushed by condemnation - every move of God through church history has ended up crushed in dead religious formalism because they gave into the spirit of legalism. They formulated rules and lost their freedom through grace.
God is raising up people we have never heard of. There are no great names that will appear in these next few years. People are going to come out of obscurity who have been preserving their freedom and will be the new Joshua leadership that will take the church into the Promised Land. There are Moses leaders that took people out of bondage but sadly they didn't take them into freedom. They took them out of slavery but didn't take them into promised inheritance. There is coming a Church around the world that will not just come out of slavery but will go into promised inheritance and posess the land at this age.
We must not give into condemnation because the Spirit of liberty has the power for transformation. Say "transformation!". That's what we are going to be talking about tonight - transformation! (2 Corinthians 3:17). How do you discern whether God's Spirit is in a church? You ask is there freedom. We could say it like this. Where the Spirit of the Lord is not moving, there is no freedom, there's only slavery, guilt and conformity to religious sub-cultures. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
"With ever increasing glory". God's purpose for your life is to transform you into the very likeness of Jesus Christ, so we begin to walk like Jesus Christ, walk in the power of Jesus Christ, the Name and authority of Jesus Christ. There is a Spirit of freedom that is transforming us into the very likeness of Jesus Christ with ever increasing glory! If we submit to the spirit of slavery, condemnation there will be no transformation going on in our lives but if we stay under the Spirit of freedom then you and I will be progressively transformed into the very stature of Christ. Not just individually but corporately!
(Romans 8) Compare the word "Conform" with the word "Transform". The word "conform" means "to make like, to bring into agreement, corresponding in form". But the word "Transform" means "to change the nature, character and inner disposition of the person".
If we experience conformation without inner transformation, we will come into a culture of bondage.
The older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son had outer life conformation. So he conformed to what he thought the rules and regulations of the house were. He worked in the Father's house but received nothing of the Father's inheritance. All he knew was confirmation not supernatural transformation. But the prodigal son came home and instantly transformed into sonship in the house while the older brother living for years in confirmation receives nothing. Many in the church are full of "Older Brother Syndrome".
I am glad that the older brother didn't get to the prodigal son before the Father did.
If the older brother with his confirmation had got to the son in his brokenness he would have made him realise he had to conform before he was welcome back into the house. But the Father got to him and made him realise that he didn't have conform, just gave him supernatural grace and transformed him into a fully fledged member of that house. That robe in the Greek means "first robe". There are no 2nd class citizens in the Kingdom!
Conformation is not wrong as long as the power behind conformation is the power of transformation. If there is no transformation power then our conforming will only be performing.
Have belived these things for 25 years - believe in balance! Don't give in to the grace-hating spirit for something of the gospel will be lost! Too many people don't have the freedom to be who they are but feel pressure to fit in and be who they think they are wanted to be. That is bondage and slavery and the minute you give in, the Spirit of freedom can't take you from one degree of glory to another. That's why you see Christians stuck in patterns for decades.
Many churches don't preach rules and regulations but the worst ones are the unstated ones because they are subtly manipulative. That is demonic witchcraft- it stops the miraclous and stops signs and wonders.
There is nothing more terrible than to be a performing parrot or a duck. You cannot keep that up for long. Conformation is not wrong as long as the power behind conformation is the power of transformation. If you don't have the power of transformation then our conforming will be only performing. Have been part of church life where the people are performing because of the pressure of the fear of rejection and desire to fit on so the heart makes us do things and we don't have heart in it. No faith or joy or conviction for it but we know we have got to do it to fit into the religious sub-culture!
The Bible uses the word "conform" in Romans 8 but it is not without transformation that comes through grace. Romans 8 - the idea of you being transformed into the very likeness of Jesus in this life is a reality. God wants a church in this life in the full measure of Jesus Christ. That plan of God is not some fleeting fancy. This is a pre-meditated purpose of God - predestined.
The eternal NOW handpicked us to be at the end of the age and like Jesus Christ through the transforming power of the Spirit and we would not give in to condemnation or manipulation to see that come about.
You say - God must be disappointed in me - He can't keep up with me. (Hebrews 1) says He is upholding all things by the Word of His power. I think He can certainly uphold you! He is keeping every cell in the universe together by some mysterious force of life. (Galatians 2). "He holds all things together". Have you ever failed and heard the laughter of the enemy. The mocking gloat of darkness against you? Yet God says "I turn all things to good for those who love Me!". He wil break our enemies apart! (Romans 8:28). Attacks in the quiet lonely place is torment!
People have lost the awesome sovereignity of God's rule - the world is His! - not the devils! All God wants is to know is do you love Me? God doesn't want a few that look like Him - He wants many! When is the limit of God's justification reached? NEVER! He is the God of the constant justifying grace, mercy and love - He didn't choose you on a whim but premeditated your existance. He foreknew you! He has already glorified you in the heavenly realms!
We have churches around the world which are saying we are apostolic/prophetic but where are the Acts signs and wonders? Where are the shadows healing the sick? When you water the Gospel down you can fast for months and not have power because power is in the Gospel! When we lose the Gospel we become Galatians 3 and lose the message of the Cross.
You don't have to fast to get power - you believe the message and then the power comes and then you fast and pray IN the power!
There is nothing more miserable than fasting and praying without power! You fast and pray because you believe the power of the Cross and then awesome power is released!
(Romans 12:2) "Do not conform ... but be transformed by the renewing of your mind". What the Bible is saying is that world is trying to conform us into it's pattern without giving us transforming power but trying to conform us through guilt. The power of the world is to conform us through the fear of rejection. You will begin to think differently and your mind will be re-programmed.
Now I have heard Christians mis-quote this passage. "By the renewing of your mind by the Word of God". It does not say "by the Word of God". To add that is not right. The Word of God does help to transform your mind and renew it but primarily the way our minds are renewed is by the supernatural power of the Spirit of freedom - by the glory of God - by the Presence of God!
I know churches that preach the Word and people are simply not transformed by it and the pastor has to counsel everyone every week to cope with life and not be transformed. When people's minds are truly renewed - it's not just by preaching of the Bible. The letter kills. You can preach the Word of God without power demonstrated by God and you have got people trying to live the Word out in their own strength. They've got New Testament laws and rules and they are trying to live by and trying to conform to what the Bible says.
But they are in a new bondage worse than the Old Testament! Because they think they're free but don't feel they're free! If you are free - you will feel free!
It is the power of God that truly transforms our lives. We need the power of God back in the church. We need people on fire who are free because they are transformed by grace and not condemnation. (2 Corinthians 10). We plant churches out of a foundation of liberty and freedom and the call of God not a desire to get accepted. "Divine power to demolish". The power of God demolishes strongholds - what are strongholds? "Arguments and every pretence". Strongholds are thought patterns in the minds.
Thoughts are taken captive by the anointing. These thoughts argue against any God-feeling. God is against them. If it is God's will for people to be ill then to make them better by healing must be against His will! We must take these thoughts captive - they are untrue.
God wants people to be healed! (Deut 28) - speaks of God having to allow sickness to come.
All the preaching in the world without power will not transform people and set them free because they don't have the anointing. The anointing is the massive missing ingredient in many lives today.
(Revelation 12). We need the power of God to cast down the accuser.
Passive minds are the most dangerous minds on the planet. Satan loves them! He can land on their minds with all his pretension and convince them this is what God thinks of them. You will not survive in Hong Kong if you don't have an active aggression against that grace-hating spirit.
(Revelation 12:10) - "Salvation and power and kingdom ... accuser accuses day and night". It is a daily obsession with the devil. We must use the blood daily! If you are in fear of death then you will give into condemnation and fear of rejection (Joshua 5).
You will not possess your inheritance in this life unless you let God roll away your reproach. Prophetic word to the church today - you won't enter into your personal dream - your personal inheritance - personal promised land unless we let God come in power and anointing and roll away our reproach.
A reproach means shame and blame and feeling bad about yourself. (v9) - "I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you". The stigma of slavery. Some control by withholding approval or by over-flattery. Egypt has put a reproach on the Church! God says He will roll it off and (v12) when that happens the manna is going to stop and we will begin to eat of the promised inheritance of Canaan. Manna represents what God feeds you while you are going around in circles with the reproach on you as soon as that is off - you will start eating of your inheritance!
It is time for us to go into inheritance. The power of God can break strongholds tonight. Don't be passive any moment of your life! Don't give in even for a moment! Conformation without transformation is motivated by guilt and fear of rejection from man or God. If you can get free from fear of man - you are truly free. Transformation is because grace gives you space and time to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ - to renew your mind in a steady sphere of progress.
According to the Scriptures God wants us to live to 120. We can change our future by decisions we make about the present now. If we are passive about our future we will perpetuate our past into our future. Be so secure in grace that we don't have to react when men try and control us - we just will not allow it.