Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Foundational Teaching in Hong Kong

While I am always eager to hear the "fresh bread" that Rob is teaching at City Church, it's very interesting and stirring to add the more foundational material he preached in 2004 when the church first got set up. This sermon was quite short by Rob Rufus's standards (only 40 minutes!) but it incredibly underlined once again the similarities I see between Ern Baxter and Rob in their kingdom vision and dynamic they both taught so powerfully. The subject of this messages is "Restoring the Glory" - a vital topic!

"One of the recurring themes that has occurred from the thousands of people across the world who have been praying for this church plant and have prophesied – USA and Singapore LTT and the UK – is that God will raise up highways and level mountains and fill valleys and will gather people from north, east, west and south. One of the things we will do on Wednesday nights is share prophetic words that God is saying about this church to encourage us so that as the Bible says we can fight the good fight by the prophetic words. It won’t be our might, our power but the power of the Spirit of God. We don’t work for God – we work with God. There is such rest in God but the accuser of the brethren comes and tries to drive us.

Want to talk about God restoring His glory and the role each of us play in seeing the glory of God restored. The theme I have carried with me since leaving Australia is heavenly churches/earthly churches. There are just a few things I want to share with you to help as this church. 1. We really want to help people to feel welcome.

The anointing is the most important thing to have in a meeting but the second most important thing is that people feel welcome. It is hard to believe but the anointing will stop flowing if people feel uncomfortable in meetings.

2. Be sensitive but be yourselves. Don’t copy other people. I love your enthusiasm but be yourselves! “I worship God according to my culture and my temperament” – that is almost blasphemous! 3. We worship according to the culture of the Kingdom.

Demons manifest in the religious when one years wages of worship is poured out. We are not here to make the church user-friendly to man but one where God is so welcome.

We are to model a culture of the Kingdom. We must embrace every culture but connect with Kingdom culture and when culture contradicts Kingdom culture we are to break it!

There are people that say “Well I am conservative in my religion”. I want to take those people outside to my car and put their hand in and slam it and see how conservative they are then! They will get expression very extrovertly! Because the degree of stimulation will determine the degree of expression! People say they are conservative – all they mean is that they have had a low degree encounter with God. When God touches your life you will not be conservative. When He touched a cripple, the cripple went walking and leaping and praising God!

Let’s talk about the lost glory – it is God’s will for the fullness of His glory to be seen in the church. Haggai chapter 2:6+ and remember that this is a prophecy with a New Testament fulfilment in Hebrews chapter 12. “This is what the Lord Almighty says, ‘In a little while once more I will shake the heavens and the earth. The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this latter house will be greater than the former house’ declares the Lord Almighty and in this place I will declare peace”. So there is the shalom of God which means there is nothing missing and nothing broken – there is the completeness people are looking for. There is supply in the glory (Phil 3:4). (2 Corinthians 2) “For the letter kills but the Spirit gives life … will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? … the surpassing glory … how much greater is the glory of that which lasts? … Even to this day when Moses is read a veil covers their hearts … with ever increasing glory”.

Now Rick Warren in his book “The Purpose-Driven Life” (which is a great book to read if you ever get the chance) says something like this; “The glory of God is the very nature of God – it is the weight of God’s importance, the radiance of His splendour, it is the demonstration of His power, the atmosphere of His Presence and the expression of all His attributes of goodness”. Think about that! “The WEIGHT of His importance”. That for me is one of the most important things about the glory – the glory brings the weight of His importance.

We have all been in a time when God is fitted into our schedules where anything else is more important than God. The Bible speaks about the end times when there will be a “form of godliness which denies the power” – the Bible says have nothing to do with it! It is a fraudulent religion which doesn’t put God first. But you watch when the glory comes into a meeting and most Christians have never experienced the Presence of God and they suddenly realise that they have never truly loved God. It is the glory cloud! Without the glory cloud you will have no revival. The glory must come back to the church. The church has lost the glory – it has got “Ichabod” written all over it stooped in rituals and programmes. The lack of the glory of God is evident by the immorality in the church, by the adultery in the church, by the marriage break ups in the church. In the glory realm that would not happen – there would be a wonder, a love and fear of God – the kingdom would be put first. But the lack of the glory means there has been much backsliding in the church. This is the good news – that repentance that comes not of morbid condemnation but rather a sense of wonder and of “nice terror” and “lovely fear” that is the beginning of wisdom comes because God turns up not because a pastor preached condemnation or someone manipulated it!

The atmosphere of His Presence and the demonstration of His power means that His eternal qualities break into the time/space world – the powers of the age to come break into this time/space world and we are delivered from earthly thinking and elevated to heavenly thinking.

Where did we lose the glory? Romans 3:3 – ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory. Earth was not created the way it is today. God did not create cancer or chromosome deficiencies. God created a world flooded with His glory. The prophetic world is that there will be a restoration of the glory realm. God said He created it and it was “good”. In Exodus 33 Moses said “Show me Your glory” and God said “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you”. His goodness is His glory. All of creation worshipped God and there is a frustration in the earth because sin has come in and cursed sin. Cancer, sickness, disease, wars and famine have come in. The Hebrew says that God formed man out of “glory particles” and He squeezed man together and breathed into him.

Where did the glory come back? (1 Corinthians 2:6) – I want to lay this foundation and show you how we can bring the glory in. “The wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began … none of the rulers understood it for if they had they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. At the Cross where we were justified, the glory came back and covered us again. (Romans 4-5:1) says Jesus was raised from the dead for our justification therefore we have peace with God. I just want to say this;

Justification happened outside of ourselves and had nothing to do with us. It took place by God’s own initiative and planning at the Cross. So even the means to be justified which is faith is not the grounds of justification because then we could say at least we added something.

To be justified means simply this – not only all my sins blotted out past, present and future and God looks at us as if we had never sinned but much more than that – ALL the righteous obedience of Jesus is transferred into our credit account. The wealth of Jesus perfect obedience and holy living is transferred to your account.

Now every Christian needs revelation of that – that is the key to the glory coming into your life. If you don’t understand justification then the enemy will keep condemning you and reminding you of your sins and short-comings but you and I stand justified by a holy God so that heaven’s justice is 100% satisfied and the integrity of God’s holiness is satisfied and He will answer your prayers as if you are Jesus Himself.

(2 Chronicles chapter 5:11) God’s will was to have a nation of priests and God’s will today is that every Christian is a priest. If you study the priests under the Old Covenant then you will know that they had to consecrate themselves by the blood of sacrifice and anointing oil. That is a type and shadow – we apply the blood of the Lamb and the supernatural heavenly anointing oil. We need lubrication, we need divine enablement and the anointing always follows the Blood! Flesh that consecrates flesh will not go into the glory. (v13) – “The trumpeters and the singers joined in unison … The priests could not continue ministering for the glory of the Lord filled the temple”.

Now can you see the difference between the anointing and the glory? The anointing consecrates us to go into the glory. The anointing is wonderful! But sadly the flesh can still exult itself under the anointing. When the power of the anointing is on you, you can self-promote yourself. But when you go into the glory no flesh will exalt itself. In the glory realm we don’t need anointed priests and ministers for they cannot minister in the glory. God wants to take the church into the cloud of the glory where God’s weight of His importance is there.

People are not saying “By faith God is here” but they are on their faces because God IS there in manifestation!

The glory comes in and look at chapter 7.

Solomon’s temple was twice the size of Moses temple. They took rough stones and fit them together but because the stones were so imperfect they would take cedar wood to smooth the edges off and cedar wood throughout the Old Testament is a type or shadow of the Cross. And over the wood they would pour gold and gold is ALWAYS symbolic of the glory.

So here we are – City Church International with all of our flaws and imperfections and we will have conflict but the anointing will lubricate us and reduce the friction. But the Cross is over our relationships so that the gold can be smeared on. (2 Chronicles 7:1) – when Solomon finished praying the fire came down. Heavenly churches or earthly churches! I’ve been to far too many earthly churches. “The glory of the Lord filled the temple”. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and knelt and worshipped and gave thanks to God. Can you imagine half way through a message, the glory falls and the whole congregation shutting up because Theology Himself will speak to our hearts – divine encounters?!

“You know the George Barnea Research went to thousands of non-Christians in America and said, “What would make you go to church?”. They said, “If we could experience God!”. Then they said to pastors that this is the number one thing people are asking for. The pastors got all indignant and said, “We talk about God every Sunday!”. But we are not talking about academic information about God but God Himself coming!

Applying the blood is not a ritual – it must be done with faith! “Lord I just apply the freshness of Your blood, cleanse my conscious from dead works that I may serve the living God” according to Hebrews 10 and many other passages. “Thank You for the blood that doesn’t speak judgement – it speaks forgiveness, it speaks pardon, promotion, prosperity, power, the blood!”.

Fresh anointing oil – we need fresh anointing oil to come upon me! I can’t use yesterdays anointing oil – it is already stale!

When Israel lost the glory that they had and the Ark of the Covenant was under a corrupt priesthood so the Philistines were allowed to steal the ark. David wanted the ark back because he didn’t care about rituals – he loved God. So many pastors are frightened of the bucket-mouth members and the guy that gives the biggest tithes who if they speak truth will leave. Here the glory is lost and Israel is losing their battles. David comes to the throne and wants the glory back – gets a Philistine cart and puts the Ark on it and off they go. Churches want the glory back and oxen pull it – and Uzzah means “man of influence”. He is walking next to the cart, the oxen stumble and Uzzah reaches out to steady the glory and he drops dead. David enquires of the Lord and the Ark stayed at the house of Obed-Edom and his house prospered.

Where the glory is – the house will prosper.

David reads the Scripture and finds that there is a prescribed pattern of bringing the glory back. The glory can’t be brought back on that which is pragmatic with big shots handling the glory. It must be brought back on the shoulders (which speaks of government) of the priests.

It is not biblical to say “I am going to come into church on Sunday and Uzzah will be there with the glory for me”. That is not biblical!

God will kill! And He is! Men are falling in immorality or burning out because they are trying to steady the glory as an individual personality rather than all the entire believers carrying the glory on their shoulders. A lazy majority is looking to minority to carry the glory. The Old Testament says after they walked six steps (the number of man) they worshipped. Man was made on the sixth day – the crowning climax of God’s creativity.

Without connection to the glory of God, man is nothing.

We are never meant to live in self-sufficiency, we are meant to live in the Presence of God 24 hours a day every single day. That’s why the Cross split the veil split from top to bottom so that the Presence of God could come out and be on us 24 hours a day – 7 days a week.

The number 666 is the mark of the beast and it means the number of completeness. It means that religion will exalt man in his completeness and the beast or the Anti-Christ will form a belief of self-completeness.

For us to bring the glory back every believer must have a life of worship. It is justification – that’s how you stand in the glory. Step in through the blood and the anointing.

(John 17:20) – “My prayer is not for them alone … I pray for those who believe through their message … just as You are in Me and I am in You may they also be in us, may City Church International be within the Trinity … I HAVE GIVEN THEM THE GLORY THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME THAT THEY MAY BE ONE AS YOU AND I ARE ONE … may they be brought to complete unity”. When I read that my brain just exploded! City Church International enter into the secrecy of Trinitarian fellowship that comes alone from heaven. Unbelievers visit us and know that something sacred and very special that it is clear proof that the Father sent the Son to this earth. That we are ushered into the very celestial, eternal oneness of Trinitarian life. We are privileged to enjoy the same level of closeness as Jesus the Son does. The outflow of that is life that is outstanding – He gives us the glory.

Most Christians have never been in a service where the cloud of the glory comes on a meeting. I have been in a few where there has been sustained glory.

Without His glory we are earthly, fleshly carnal religious people – but in His glory miracles, healing, provision and joy is easy. In His glory His burden is light and His yoke easy."

1 comment:

lydia joy said...

Well would you look at this!!!! I had no idea you already wrote on this message.....same as "The Presence of God"......aah well....