Rob Rufus returned from Australia and preached yesterday a much anticipated sermon; "Invading the Impossible - Part 12" called "The Power of Testimony". I can't WAIT to hear it and even more transcribe it to share it! But while Rob was away I have listened to a couple of sermons and there was one sermon that must be transcribed and shared. After Rob returned from Brighton last July in 2007 - he preached one called; "Do Our Diaries Reflect the Priorities of Heaven" - on Sunday 22nd July.
Here it is:
"How many of you find life easy? How many of you find that life has got a few challenges? Everyone finds life easy do they?! Some of you will not put up your hands for anything because you think it is a trick question? Have I been so hard on you that you are frightened to put up your hand?
Why did God hide some of the best promises and riches and blessing in the Promised Land among some of the biggest giants? There were blessings and riches in the Promised Land that it was God's will for His people to go in and inherit. God did it - God arranged it! Because He did not want the casual pursuer of God, the coward, the self-pitying person, the self-concious person, the self-centred person, the person of unbelief to have access to His greatest blessing.
So He hides His greatest blessings amongst His greatest challenges so that the people who are going to receive the blessings of God have to repent of all self-righteousness, all delusions of self-sufficiency, to throw themselves completely onto God and to come into the Presence of God every single day and make a choice that no matter demanding life is and no matter how many pressures come, I will make my calendar a priority that I am going to engage God on a daily basis.
If we don't engage God on a daily basis and get into His Presence then we are going to have to find our lives are being lived out of the barren or insufficient resources of grace - in other words we are living our life on an empty, emotional soul tank. Amen? God wants us to have our cups overflowing. "The Lord anoints my head with oil - my cup overflows".
How does it come? Through grace - but I have to position myself in a place of receptivity to receive grace.
I want to say to you that over the summer break we are not going to allow ourselves to go passive like many other churches do. "Just close down - so many people are away - lose momentum and let the devil take back ground he lost from us". I say no - we are not giving the devil any ground. He doesn't even deserve one millimeter and we have fought blood and nails and guts for 3 years - I don't know about you but Glenda and I have war stories that some of you wouldn't believe. You would think I was exaggerating! You would feel so sorry for me that you would pray and fast for days for Glenda and me! Unbelievable stuff!
I was on the phone for hours and hours dealing with international stuff (not with the UK - that was such a mighty time and I told you last week about the miracles that happened. It was mind-blowing stuff). But I was dealing with issues and there just came a point where I was sweating under my armpits with the adrenaline sweat - focused for hours and hours dealing with horrific issues and somewhere I had to stop and say; "As important as this is - I have to pull the phone out and go into my bedroom and spend 3 hours alone with God". Because if you do not do that devil will keep you on the run and if your outgoing of emotion, energy exceeds your income then that is how we define nervous breakdowns!
The reason Glenda and I have not had a nervous breakdown in 28 years of ministry is not because we are strong. I learnt that secret many years ago that this world is relentless in it's pursuit of your time. It will eat your time and invade your world with things that seem so urgent that if you do not give into them now, then you will have big problems. But if you really go back in your thinking and ask yourself those things that seemed so urgent - were they that urgent?! I will tell you why they weren't urgent but seemed urgent. It was the fear of man. It was "If I don't pander to man's demands and if I don't fit into man's requests of me then they won't like me" and it is the fear of rejection and fear of not being understood that makes us go beyond the grace of God to try and fit in with man's new role and once we are delivered from the fear of man and man-made rejection - they may reject us and misunderstand us;
But we will come to a place when the most important thing in our lives is that we have got heaven's approval, heaven's endorsement and heaven's endorsement is the supernatural on your life. Heaven's endorsement is divine authority!
The political spirit - the fear of man, the placating of man, the wanting man to like you - that is what drives people in every kind of career and workplace into overload and into nervous breakdown. You cannot hear God when you are exhausted! You can like Elijah in the wilderness hear the still quiet voice. But it wasn't the Elijah calling down fire from heaven and taking on Jezebel. No he was exhausted and running.
I am determined that I cannot afford to let the devil to catch me on a day that I am so exhausted I have no divine resources to resist him.
When you run out of resources to resist the devil then you become prone to deception and make very bad decisions. You make very bad decisions that take you off your highway of destiny and onto a road of disaster. Never take the easy way out of pressure! Get before God and let Him fill you with His Presence and His joy and get up on a mountainside! You have to shut the noise of Hong Kong down sometimes! I promise you by the integrity of God's Word - if Jesus was here in Hong Kong, like He was in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, then I promise you that He would get out of the noisy city and get out to the mountaintops. Over and over in the Gospels it says "Jesus withdrew to a solitary place!".
He understood that He was operating - though He was fully God - His divinity was restrained within His humanity so He had to operate from His humanity 100% of the time - never out of His divinity. As a man He would have burnt out and had a nervous breakdown unless ...
Some of you walked into this place so exhausted and I want to tell you exhaustion comes to all of us but when it comes over a prolonged period we need a loving correction to say we are making wrong choices. We either left the TV on too long or went to a party (and by the way I am not against parties - Jesus went to parties!) or we had one more late night that we couldn't afford to have but we are afraid of offending people. So we chose man and man's programmes rest in being with God.
So we give Sunday morning our leftovers and I am not prepared as the host of the service with you to host Him who is all-glorious and to allow the potential God had for this meeting to be robbed or diluted because of human exhaustion. God has an agenda for every week and every Sunday He opens prophetic windos for us to get through and if we don't go through these windows we may have to wait for 10 or 7 years or even 40 years for those same windows to open again.
God is unfolding eternal agendas sequentially by supernatural purpose. God is not a human that He should lie and is not a man that He should live in haphazard purpose. God is moving by sovereign intention to the climax of the ages and He is moving history to a purpose. People are either moving in partnership with Him or they are moving as survivors trying to look for a way out of pressure.
There is no way out of pressure at all.
Pressure is going to be here and intensify till the end of the age. The way to handle pressure is to get into the Presence of God and then God capacitates you to handle peace in the midst of pressure.
Some of you are underestimating your value - you are underestimating how important you are to God. You are underestimating your preciousness, you are underestimating the call of God on your life. Some people say; "Rob is a superstar". No Rob is a pathetic little man! If I went one week without spending time alone with God, the very next week I got into the pulpit you would be embarrassed for me! Because I would stand here full of self-pity and weariness and confusion and demonised but you see me week after week standing in this pulpit because week after week I have made decisions sometimes to stop working 12 hours a day, turn the phone off and get alone with God and it is a deliberate decision that could be misunderstood! Not only by people in this community but by people in the international community.
I make a decision sometimes that I am going to spend romantic time with my wife. And I am going to take my daughter out for a meal and I am going to shut work out and focus on you! In a way I am speaking seriously but don't be so sober! I am not a superstar but under the anointing of God we are called to be superstars! I am so tired of people saying; "We don't want superstars in the Church!". Are you crazy?! I want superstars! I want superstars leading our children! I don't want just anyone leading our children! I want superstars leading the worship and greeting at the door! I don't want someone; "I'm so unworthy ... I am doing this because no one else will!". Do it as a superstar! Do it under the anointing! Do it under authority!
You know in the past people have said; "Oh well you know Rob - you are a superstar and so everyone depends on you". And I am left thinking; "Well what must I do? Must I glow less?! Must I stand looking depressed in the worship like others? Must I come down to the level of unbelief and conservatism and formalism? If I glow less - will others glow more?!". Because I would glow less that others would glow more then I would GLADLY glow less! But I find if I glow less the people glow less! But if I glow more and get on fire then people come to watch me BURN!
I can't handle passivity! I can't handle in the pulpit people who have got no passion - no volcano - what is that?! It's blasphemy! When you meet with the living God and He fills your being with the glory of His Presence, the God who created the heavens and earth and He expands your being with His living conciousness and when you speaks, you must speak from that authority. I can't handle mealy-mouthed little words and little apologies! Oh I am so sorry - I am breathing the air in the place! Jesus is called the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and knows when to use the rod and when to use the staff! He is not always using the staff as a Mr Nice-Guy. Sometimes He will use the rod in discipline and correction because He disciplines those that He loves and then He uses the staff.
Some people always use the rod always correcting and rebuking everyone. Some people just use the staff - always Mr Nice-Guy - don't want to upset. If we volunteer let's do it as superstars shining for Jesus and we are doing it for eternal purposes.
When we greet people at the door, we are impact nations by just being faithful!
If it takes being a superstar and shining and getting more bold to lift the church then I am going to go up another level! You put me leading the junior church and after 3 weeks look in and there will be no superstars.
Because we are only superstars when we are operating in our place, in our gifting and in our calling.
But we have got some superstars in that junior church! You put me in a mechanics shop, drive your car in and see - in fact in some areas I am actually retarded. I am not joking. I don't even rate on the scale of capability. But in my place I can shine. But I want to tell you that I would not shine if I don't know my place and get alone with God and recharge my batteries. If you find your place in this church (and everyone has a place in this church - God has placed you where your best gifts and anointings can operate) and when you find your place and realise that you are breaking out of religious tradition that has sat in pews and listened to "superstars" speak -
Church is a place where every believer - every member - has a contribution, a function and a purpose to make that church shine like a superstar church.
I don't know how people can come to church and not know their purpose! "Oh yere I've got to go and sit in that chair in church". But if you know - I am coming to be a greeter at the door, I'm coming to be an usher or to work in junior church or to work on the computers or in music. I'm coming to make sure during tea that no one is left out and everyone has had some contact with someone - some love! I am coming to prophesy - I am going to get up early Sunday morning and wait on God and come full of God and I am going to go beyond Rob and be a greeter superstar and dance and praise the glory of our great King! I am going to show off my love for God in front of everyone else! I am not going to just stand there in the worship!
"Rob you don't know what kind of week I had!". You don't know what kind of week I had. I want to talk about the glory of God - the Presence of God. I am so desperate for God's glory!
I want to be among a people that love God and His glory more than they love anything else! They want God - they want to know His voice and hear His voice! We live in a generation of people who don't know God and if He walked in they wouldn't know what His Presence is. They never heard His voice once audibly on the inside of them! They don't know the character of God - the nature of God - they are not even friends with God! God is just a concept to them.
"The Big Man upstairs - some being up there runs the universe by remote control like a robotic kind of technocrat".
Every believer under the New Covenant is meant to hear the voice of God - know God - walk with God - have His Presence in their lives.
I want to give you a 10 minute showing of when I was in Brighton in the last main session and I want to show you what it takes if you walk with God - how foolish you can look sometimes and I know some of you do not enter into the Presence of God because of a false sense of dignity or a fear of man and a conservative culture that contradicts the liberty of the kingdom of heaven.
I want you to know that when you walk in the Presence of God there is a price! When you know His Presence, His Presence may come on you and manifest on you in ways that may make you look stupid in the eyes of man. So you can shut that down because God is a gentleman and if you say; "Oh Lord I don't want Your Presence on me to make me do things that make you look stupid". Then you grieve the Holy Spirit and He will leave you alone.
But years ago I said; "Lord You come upon me and You do anything You want - if it's You, I will take it!". I am not afraid of the devil or false miracles and counterfeit signs and wonders because I am a Christian! I am anointed! I have God in me and I can discern the moment a devil does something that is a miracle! I KNOW it is not the Presence of God! I know it and can feel it. I don't live in fear and neither should any of you if you are born again. You should discern and detect the presence of false miracles INSTANTLY when they happen.
Let me say this: All genuine miracles from God come out of His Presence - then His power manifests from His Presence. If there is no Presence of God there and a miracle happens - then be careful. It is a devil miracle. You have got to know the Presence of God and when you know it then you will know whether a miracle is from God because the Presence will first manifest and then the power will come out of the Presence and do the miracle. If a miracle happens and no Presence is there - watch out! Counterfeit! It is EASY to detect!
So in these days you need to know two things:
1. You and I need to get to know the New Testament at least - slowly and gradually - fairly well.
2. But more important than that we need to get to know the Presence of God. THAT is how you will know the false!
Hong Kong get ready! The most bizarre miracles and signs and wonders are about to hit this planet!
The most awesome angelic visitations the planet has ever had - the Bible predicts this! If falling and shaking confuses people and they think; "Can God do this?!" - what are they going to do when awesome things start happening?! That we walk on water and raise the dead!? When angels suddenly appear and we all see them with our own eyes and the angel speaks with the voice of the Ancient of Days! He says; "I am Gabriel - sent from the Third Heaven!". Those who have been walking in the Presence for for years will hear and simply lift their heands and worship the God of glory. Those who don't know the Presence and God and are just being religious will run out the room and not be ready for what is going to hit this planet!
I was speaking in front of 4, 500 people and there were another couple of hundred in the overflow room (at Brighton) and the minister of Westminster Chapel - one of the most prestigious known-to-be-conservative churches where R T Kendall and Martyn Lloyd-Jones came out of - the man that took over from R T Kendall, was in the overflow room! And the power of God hit him and others so they fell off their chairs. The minister of Westminster Chapel fell over and hit his head on the concrete and he has got a bald patch at the back of his head. He grazed it and he came up afterwards and gave me a big hug and said; "I needed that!".
Stop thinking because you have got a professional career that you work for a company that you work for a company and I work for God. Someone in this church told me this week - "Rob I am so glad you told me that you've had problems with your children when they were younger teenagers in the past - it makes me feel like there is hope for me because you work for God and I don't!". I wanted to scream with despair and say; "Have I been here so long - 3 years - to tell you that everyone of us are full time priests of God!".
You are full time servants of God as much as I am - whatever your career is! I want to PUKE on this distinction between clergy and laity! I hate that - it is unbiblical - it flies in the face and blasphemes the Cross! On the Cross, Jesus said; "It is finished" and He destroyed the Levitical priesthood and brought God's eternal plan into being that He tried to bring into Israel and Israel rejected being a nation of priests so God had to raise up a professional priesthood! But He wanted all of Israel to be priests. When He died on the Cross He destroyed the Levitical priests and the apostle Peter says; "We are a nation of priests!". The Christian church are ALL priests under God!
I believe when you come into a Sunday morning service, I believe you should come into this place with as much concern for the welfare and success of this meeting as I do - oh fellow priest! Did you do that this morning? Did you come into this meeting thinking;
"Oh God as a priest, I have the privilidge of standing before You to pull Your Presence and bring You into the meeting!".
Or did you think; "Rob will do that. He's the superstar!". No - you are all superstars! Your job may be not to preach. That's my job. But your job is to do a whole lot of other things as superstars. This Church is an incredible powerful Church for how young it is. This Church is one of the best churches I have been personally a part of and I mean that from my heart with integrity. This Church is operating through - at about 10% of it's potential. But we will see 90% release of talents and gifts and power in this church when every priest stands up and says; "I hate the distinction between clergy and laity! It came in about 400 A.D and was part of the demonic Dark Ages and was never there in the New Testament! I reject it - I am a priest!
Even though I work in education, the medical world, in mechanical world - you are a priest of God and you can hear God and walk with God and know His voice! And you carry His Presence!
And somewhere you have to repent and say; "Father I repent of a cynical skeptical mind - I repent of fear and I say, Father would You come on me with Your Presence and would You come on me with Your glory? Would You manifest Your glory to me in such a mighty way and whatever it means - if I get drunk in the Spirit, if I shake or if I fall - I don't care God! I want that more than anything else in my life!".
Here I was standing in front of 4, 500+ people and I am wanting to make a good impression and I go up to the room before I went into the meeting and I am praying to myself and the Lord's Presence comes into that room in such a glorious way and I started laughing and crying. Eventually I tried to pray and got up to walk but could hardly walk because the Presence of God was on me and I was walking all funny and bowed over. Glenda came in and said; "Have you been crying?" and I said; "Yes but because I am so happy". I said; "I am coming to the meeting - 4, 500 waiting!". And you know what? I didn't care about the 4, 500! I don't mean that in an unkind way. I didn't want to leave the room because His Presence was so beautiful and so attractive that I just wanted to stay with Him. He eventually had to tell me - "Go down Rob and speak to them". When I went down there, I spoke for about 10 minutes and suddenly the Presence of God came over me in such a way that I just lost it and started laughing in front of 4, 500 British people and other nations! I made a complete fool of myself but if I have to make a fool of myself to release foolishness in you then I am happy to do so!
I would normally hide this but I am going to let you see it. Don't think you are insulting if you laugh. 4, 500 were laughing - I wish the camera had panned over the congregation because dignified people were laughing. Leaders of high influence internationally were falling off their chairs under the power of God - some unconcious! God hit that place and all I did was stand there and get drunk in the Holy Spirit! I promise you I had touched no alcohol. Thanks Ryan - can we try and get that on there?
(DVD recording begins):
"If you have your Bibles please turn to Acts chapter 9 but please don't try and take notes again. Most of you will have worked that out by now. Well I have so enjoyed my time here and I feel a bit sad that this is my last one because I think I have been enjoying myself more than most people. So we are with the Mobilise wild ones tomorrow morning and we really are looking forward to that! Just in the room out there preparing for this meeting, I was just sitting on the couch relaxing and the Presence of God so came into the little room I was in relaxing - the manifest Presence of God came - and I just began to weep. Glenda came in a bit later and said; "Are you okay? You look like you have been crying". I said; "Yes I have but because I am so happy!". The Presence of God came in and began to remind me of things in the past. He began to remind me that I grew up in a home where my dad was an atheist - a total atheist - and got saved many years later. My mum was an agnostic - she didn't know if God existed or not. Our house had no faith in God at all.
It was a happy home - a great mother and dad but no faith in God at all. No legacy in our generations. No legacy in any of our ancestral lineage. We only had legacy of spiritists and witchcraft, alcoholics - no one! As I said last year we go back to William Rufus of southern England who was King and we do trace ourselves directly back to him which is the truth! I know people laugh but we have traced our lineage back to him! So like I said last year, not many noble, not many wise but a few are of noble descent. William Rufus assassinated in the forest by William Torrell. Anyway! There was no legacy of Christianity in our home at all.
I remember as a 5 year old boy walking around in my parents garden without any expectation. I hadn't read the Bible and hadn't been to Sunday school at that point and had not heard anything about Christianity at all. The Presence of God came on me and instantly I knew as a little boy that this was God! I could feel His Presence and I have to tell you - the way I describe it was the way I felt when I was up in the room. I suddenly as a little 5 year old felt so special and so precious!
Because when God's glory comes over you He brings His favour and all His manifest goodness shines on you and the divine attention is appreciating you and loving you not for what you have done or can but just as your intrinsic value as part of His creation and I remember just being amazed in the Presence of God!
I never felt the Presence of God again for 18 years! I lived a life of total "Thou shalt not deny thyself" - that was my command. The body is a push button pleasure machine and I became a total hedonist but I always in my heart while doing wilder and wilder things and was nearly killed a number of times in initiatives I was doing.
Something in me wanted to experience that Presence again. I went to churches and never experienced it. I went to places of religion and never felt it.
Then finally I joined the Hare Krishna movement and became a strict Hindui keeping laws and rules and became an asethic sleeping on the concrete - keeping the law. Celibate within marriage. Vegetarian. During that time I started to experience the Presence of God again and knew it was God's Presence. He had come into the temple but it wasn't that Presence I had felt as a little boy. It was a Presence that terrified my heart and it was so frightening. It wasn't like He was mean or harsh or horrible - I felt so different to God and felt something of the awe and nature and character of God. It wasn't like I was afraid of going to hell because I didn't really know about hell.
I just felt deeply convicted for 3 months every day that Presence would come upon me and I felt nauseous at times and got hysterical with fear of the Presence coming upon me. And after 3 months in a Hindu temple on my own wearing a monk's clothing and with my head shaved with clay from the Ganges River and standing in the temple - I knew Who was chasing me down and I just said;
"Jesus I give up running from You and I surrender my life to You" and as I did that (in 1977) the whole room in this temple that I was alone in filled up with the Presence and glory of God! But this time it wasn't terrifying - it was a Presence I remembered as a little boy and I felt so precious and special and favoured again.
From that moment I was born again and left the movement immediately and began to seek God and found a church where they loved the Presence. From then on the pursuit of my life became - I want the Presence of God. Because you see if you seek the power of God - and I have just done a seminar on the "Workings of His Mighty Power" and I advertise it not to promote the ministry but because it complements the teaching on faith I have been giving. And just a degree of that power that is at work within us and how to be strengthened in your innermost being so you can operate in that power.
You see I will never promote seeking the power of God because that will lead to utter unfulfillment. You need to seek the Presence of God and the glory of God because God hides His power in His glory. He hides His power in His Presence. But His power is what He DOES. His glory is Who He IS. You will never be satisfied with His power but you will find Your heart's satisfaction in Who He is. His Presence and in His glory.
So when you come into the glory of God - the Presence of God - not seeking His power ... many of the healing evangelists in the 1950's Healing Revival burned out and I do not judge them but they died in immorality and collapse. They would go on 40 day fasts seeking the power of God and have six week crusades with mighty miracles but then not know how to live a normal life because;
They didn't realise that you don't have fast 40 days under the New Covenant to get the power flowing. There is revelation of the New Covenant that will bring the dimensions of power that are awesome! I know Jesus fasted 40 days but you are not Jesus and I am not Jesus and there was a whole reason why He had to do that!
I don't mind fasting and I do fast but when we pursue the power instead of the Person of God, we do not experience much power and often we wreck our marriages because if you regularly have to fast and do strict aesthetic things to get the power then you don't have time for a good marriage or children or to live a normal sane life! Eventually you become irrelevant, weird and insane!
God wants us to live in the supernatural with a texture of sanity in our lives that attracts people. I always had this problem that the key guys who seem to move in the highest level of power were the guys I least wanted to be with because they were so legalistic and religious!
Yet Jesus was fun to be with and people wanted to be with Him and when He went to a wedding, He didn't stand in a corner teaching the latest en-vogue teaching about the Kingdom and sipping orange juice! He was in the centre of the party turning water into wine and having fellowship with everyone and being part of the festivities! In the middle of having fun with everyone, suddenly He turns 120 gallons of water into wine! It is amazing;
And evangelicals have been trying to turn the wine back into water ever since!
John G Lake (one of the mightiest men of faith and power that has walked on this planet outside of the book of Acts) came to South Africa - and I don't think South Africa knows how much him. He came to South Africa in 1905 and planted 500 churches in 5 years and in signs and wonders planted them. He overtook many of the witchdoctors and took them out of business by the living power that flowed through him. During the bubonic plague he worked with burying the dead - the contageous disease - and he would say; "Come put your microscopes on me" and they would put bubonic plague on his hands and they would see that bacteria dying on his hands. He would say;
"That same power that raised Jesus from the dead quickens my mortal body with life!". This incredible man said in the 1920's that we "missed the best of God because we became more captured by the phenomena of God that the Person of God".
As we are about to go into an unprecidented season of the greatest move of God that the planet has ever seen and the latter house will be greater than the former house - the book of Acts! We are not even living in the full manifestation of the book of Acts church but let us think of this - that is the baby/infant church that was born 2, 000 years ago. 300 years after it was born, it went into the dark ages but 500 years ago God began to restore the church and now we are poised and positioned as a church to go into the fullness of the book of Acts but then I believe we will go beyond the manifestations of the book of Acts.
Not because we are more holy than them or more moral than them but because we are privilidged to be placed as a people at the end of the age - we are the 11th hour workers and we will see the grace of God manifest over the earth. Let's believe God for this thing!
When you are in the glory of God then what happens is out of the riches of His glory, He strengthens you with might in your innermost being by the power that comes out of His glory or out of His Presence. His power comes out of His glory cloud - His glory cloud is His Presence and strengthens you with power so that you can comprehend the height - the length - the breadth of the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge so that you can be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God and then God is able to do exceedingly above all that we could ask or think or imagine according to the power that is at work within us.
It is in the glory that His hidden power comes out so that as we seek to be with Him, to worship Him, to enjoy His Presence - not seeking His power but His Presence then His power comes and strengthens us out of the riches of His glory. I want to talk about the "Timelessness of the Glory" - of learning to live in the glory in our homes, our meetings, our careers, to live as much as we know how in the manifest glory of God.
The glory of God is God's tangible substance and weighty essence in self manifestation. It is the very nature - it is the inner goodness of God. It is the naked Presence of Almighty God in all His loveliness tangibly and in weighty substance, encountering you. And in the glory you change.
The Old Covenant glory was a fading glory - 2 Corinthians chapter 3 says that we are ministers of the New Covenant - not of the letter that kills - but of the ministry of life. He says that the Old Covenant that came on tablets of stone was a ministry of death, of condemnation, and a fading glory. But the ministry that brought righteousness as a gift is a ministry that fills us with boldness and hope and a ministry that shines in the face of the glory of Jesus and in the midst of the glory - which is the powerful Presence of His Spirit of freedom and liberty we are transformed in the middle of the glory!
So the Old Covenant glory was God's view and opinion of us through the law. When God saw us through the law, Moses face shone with a fading glory and he had to hide his face from the glory of the Old Covenant because the glory of the Old Covenant was God's view and opinion of you and me through the perfection and the judgment of the exact measures of the Law of God that cursed and judged us completely. So the people didn't even want to see that glory because it brought judgment and condemnation and death. But the glory of the New Covenant is a covenant that comes in a spirit of liberty and freedom and is a spirit of grace and we are declared righteous forever and the Father sees us as perfect forever and ever. (Hebrews 10:14).
In this manifest glory of the New Covenant we shine in His glory and we carry the substance and the essence of God's power that comes out of that glory.
We have to learn by the mistakes of the past - God does not want us to repeat history. We are about to go into manifestations of signs, wonders and miracles but we have got to know and see that it is not seeking the power but seeking the Person of God. It is seeking His glory and His Presence and out of His Presence will come the glory! I find it a privilidge to stand on this platform and almost feel like a fraud - what am I doing here?! I know I don't deserve to be here. I wouldn't go across the street to hear Rob Rufus and I am sure that none of you would! So I always surprised when people turn up. But then I realise it is not me - people want the Presence of God.
Though it is a privilidge for me to stand up here, I don't live for this. This will not satisfy me. I go back to Hong Kong in a few days time and this fades away. Not you - not the privilidge and love of you. But you can't live for the crowds and you can't live for high points and success and miracles happening through you.
You will never be satisfied with the power - you will only be satisfied with knowing His Person.
That is why many have left the Presence and gone after the power and have learnt the techniques of how to fast and what to do to get the power going but they lose touch with the glory and the Presence of Who God is and they get involved more with what God does and often their character becomes defiled, polluted and then greed starts coming in and insecurity and insecurity and self-promotion and then God has to lift the cloud of the glory off like He did in the 1940's and 50's Healing Revivals and we don't want that to happen again! We want to be in love with who He is and out of Who He is - His glory - He strengthens us with might in our innermost being - with power!
I don't want to hear someone say; "If you want the power - you have to go and pray 3 hours a day". I don't want to hear that stuff! I have been there and done that! I have prayed for 4 hours in tongues before a meeting and it was the worst, flattest, deadest meeting! Then I just go and seek His Presence for just 10 or 15 minutes and be in His Presence - when I was in the room up there, I was weeping and got up to try and pray and I couldn't walk. The weight of the glory was on me and I was thinking; "I hope no one comes through the door!". That Presence satisfies me! When I go back to my hotel room - the Presence will be there! Along with Glenda which is great!
Some people live for conference to conference. They live for the experience - the high voltage of a conference! But then they are bored and tired in between and cynical and feel unfulfilled. But if you live in the Presence and just enjoy His Presence ... I have made it my pursuit to become a friend of God. I want to be His closest friend. I want to be closer to Him than anyone else on the planet! I want to be in competition in that area. I just want to be His friend and know Him. I read lots of books about the attributes of God but I am not talking about that. I am talking about having God encounters. Experiencing God! Knowing God! Hearing His voice! Knowing His Presence! Who He is!
Let's read Acts chapter 9 and if you haven't found it - please don't try anymore!".
Okay ... watch now! Watch the Presence come! It hits me and watch what happens now!
"When I get tired I get really naughty so I have got to be careful! (*laughter*). I lose all preacher protocol! (*laughter*) and become just normal and it's dangerous! Let's read Acts chapter 9 ... or shall we just carry on having fun?! (*laughter*). In His Presence there is fullness of joy! (*laughter*). In His right hand pleasures for ever more! (*laughter*). Somewhere we just have to give ourselves permission to believe that in His Presence there is always fulness of joy and pleasures forever more! (*laughter*). Kat Stevens wrote a great song; "Oh I can't keep it in - I've got to let it out!". And he wasn't even a Christian!".
This is a serious conference - I am meant to be reading the Bible now and being religious! This is going on God channel to 100 million people!
"(*laughter*). It is a very strange thing when you come under the anointing and then you read passages from the Bible and the more serious they are, the more funny they look! (*laughter*). And it is not rational at all - it is just ...".
This is not sober at all now! This is drunk! Actually drunk!
"I am honestly trying to start reading - I really am! And I promise you this has never happen to me before! Glenda will tell you that is the truth! I am always a little skeptical of people who say this - but I am really disciplining myself with my will to try and read - and I can't read! (*laughter*). Acts chapter 9:1 and we are going to try and read all the way to verse 20! (*laughter*). More Lord! Do it to them and not just to me! (*laughter*)".
4 and a half thousand people were drunk in the Holy Spirit!
"You got Acts chapter 9? Okay verse 1. "Meanwhile ...". (*laughter and applause*). "Saul was still breathing out murderous threats". (*laughter*). "against the Lord's disciples". Anyone following me? (*laughter*). "He went to the high priest and asked them for letters from the synagogue in Damascus so that if he found any there that belonged to the way, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven ...". That is the glory. "Flashed around him and he fell to the ground ...". (*laughter*). "He fell to the ground". (*laughter*). "And heard a voice say to him". See God always speaks in the glory". (*laughter*). "Saul, Saul why do you persecute Me?". Paul asked a question and then answered it in the same verse. "Who are You, Lord?". (*laughter*). "I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting".
"Many suicide bombers are going to be strategically targetted from heaven with glory nuclear bombs in our day and will be turned from haters into lovers".
"I am Jesus Whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do". The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless. (*laughter*). Imagine if you were there! "They saw the light but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing". (*laughter*). "So they let him into Damascus. For three days he was blind. In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called him in a vision; "Ananias!". "Yes" he answered. "Go to the house of Judas". Ooh I feel the anointing of God on me! "On Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight".
"Lord" answered Ananias. (*laughter*). "I've got a problem with this request. I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem and he has come with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your Name". But the Lord said to Ananias; "Go this is My chosen instrument to carry My Name before the Gentiles and their kinds and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name". (*laughter*). A lovely prophecy that! "Then Ananias went to the house and entered in - he said "Brother Saul". You see Saul is born again in that instant encounter in the glory. "The Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road while you were coming here has sent Me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately ...".
It is very important even when we have an encounter with the glory and get saved - we still need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
(v18); "Immediately". That is the word of the glory. The word is used a lot in the glory! "Immediately something like scales". There are people having a mini-revival over there! (*laughter*). "And he could see again. He got up and was baptised". And I wouldn't carry on trying to read this if I didn't really feel that God wanted me to read this! (*laughter*). "After taking some food he regained his strength, Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus ...". (v20); "At once he began to preach in the synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God". (*applause*).
How many of you believe that is your pastor in an international conference?! I just lost it there! Proud? Thank you! I could not have pre-empted that or cued that. It has never happened to me before! I mean I have got drunk before but I have been sitting in the audience. I have never been on a platform and trying to read - that is a conference where they paid my airfare and a lot of money to put us up in a good hotel. They paid both Glenda and my airfare and blessed us over and above that. They paid us to be there! And you want to deliver your best - I mean there are some serious theologians there! Some very clever men and women but I wish the cameras had panned across the congregation because people were falling out of their chairs and laughing uncontrollably.
I will tell you what happened - there is nothing religious there. That is the Kingdom of Heaven! What does Romans say? "Righteousness, peace and JOY in the Holy Spirit!". Peace makes you quiet and still and tranquil but joy makes you noisy!
You cannot be full of the joy of God and behave religiously!
That is why many people in Hong Kong don't go to church because they want the Presence of God and are depressed with their troubles and trials on their own. They don't need to meet with 120 depressed people every Sunday morning! That's why I say when we come to worship God, out of respect for God I will smile at you and engage your faces while I am praising because I want to break a culture of counterfeit - the religious spirit!
I was talking to Glenda yesterday - why is it that every free move of God starts off blessing and freeing people up and within years becomes manipulative, guilt and condemnation and control. What is behind that? The Bible is so clear. I can't believe people can't see it. It is called a Jezebel spirit and Galatians 3:4 calls it a spirit of witchcraft that bewitches God's people, takes them away from grace and freedom and puts them back under law.
We have been preaching this for 3 years into Hong Kong. We paid a price to preach this message - the religious spirit reacts against it. I am determined in God's grace that we are going to be a people - even if it costs me the humiliation of standing on a platform and loosing my dignity and looking like a fool - but the goodness of God was that He got them all drunk too! You could not hear - but the crowd was roaring with laughter. Then after that a man got out of a wheelchair, deaf ears popped open and lumps disappeared and 110 people came up to testify that they had got healed. We couldn't get them all up!
You say; "That laughter is disrespectful". No the Bible says in Psalm 2 that He who sits on the throne laughs. God laughs! Psalm 126 says God filled our mouths with laughter. Proverbs says a merry heart is good medicine. Medical science has now found out that people who laugh a lot more and who are joyful a lot more are a lot more healthy. It boosts your immune system! God did not create us to live unhappy and to be a people of self-pity. The Bible says that a broken spirit dries up the bones. A depressed person - something happens with their bones. Proverbs says so! Maybe it has something to do with red blood cell disorders and leukaemia. But the Bible predicted that years ago! A broken spirit dries up the spirit but a merry heart is good medicine.
The Church has not been known down the centuries as being a place of joy. Yet the Bible says; "Zion is the joy of the whole earth". Jesus says; "You have not asked Me anything up until now - ask Me now that your joy may be full!". At the end of our lives God will say; "Enter into the joy of the Lord". Nehemiah 8 says; "The joy of the Lord is our strength".
So what happens Rob? What happens when I am tempted to feel depressed? In this world you will suffer tribulation! But be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. What's He saying? You cannot overcome the world as a casual Christian and float into the church as a part-time believer! This is pursuing the Presence of God! In Psalm 16:11 - "In His Presence there is fulness of joy". By my temperament I am a melancholic. It is from Greek philosophy - by my natural temperament I am melancholic.
A melancholic is a person most prone to depression but once I became a Christian and found the Presence of God I have never been depressed ONCE for 30 years! I am not lying! In an 8 month period, 12 of our closest friends (including fathers) died from tragic circumstances. In the middle of that my best dog who I loved also died. I had to bury my dad and then go and give my dog an injection to put him down. In that same month we flew out from South Africa - the nation we loved - and relocated to Australia. You know how emotionally hard it is to re-locate to a nation where you don't know anyone. The stress of moving and settling in the middle of 12 people's deaths! We should have become semi-suicidal! Do you know that we found God's joy and God's grace in all of that!?
We have got to show the world that not everything is going well necessarily but they will find Christians living a supernatural life because we do not rely on a superstar pastor - we rely on Jesus Christ every day and our calendars and our diaries reflect the kingdom of God every day.
How was your diary last week? No condemnation - we are a grace church! Look back in your diary and were there times that you scheduled for you to meet with your Beloved? The One that loves you more than any other being on this world ever can? The Lord Jesus Christ - the Presence of God?! Did your diary reflect the kingdom of God or earth conciousness? Did you give priority to human beings? Or in the responsibility of doing your career while looking after your family? Or did your diary reflect time alone with God?
I asked this question a year ago, 2 and 3 years ago and I don't want to be asking this question in another year to you as the congregation.
This week that you are going into - put Him and His Kingdom first and I promise you, next Sunday will feel very different to the way you felt this Sunday. I was going to talk on the glory of God and how you experience His glory. The timeless zone! The eternal now! And what God does in the eternal now. He allows you to go back in time to before that car accident and be healed as you go back in time in the timeless zone - and how to pull the future into the now in the glory realm. I will teach that next Sunday in this place to whoever wants to be here. You know my heart!
The joy set before Him was you and me coming into the joy and freedom of the fact that we are free. He knew He would be stripped naked and hung. Naked - not with a little loin cloth that the religious world puts upon Him. The Roman authorities crucified people naked. That is pretty undignified! The Son of the Most High God - the celebrity of heaven - a common criminal on Calvary. Hanging between heaven and earth but He went there because of the joy set before Him. That you and I would come into His grace and out of the law. I can't get this into some Christian's heads! They go; "I know ... but!". I say;
"Listen the issue of judgement for Christians is no longer an issue. Your sin has already been judged! Past, present and future! There is no issue of judgement anymore! Will God never judge me again? How can God judge you again when He has already judged your sins on Jesus!? That is the law of double jepordy! You can never trial a person twice for the same crime! Your trial has taken place in the high courts of heaven. Heaven's integrity was satisfied on the Cross! God will never judge you again!".
There is discipline He may bring - but discipline is to bring maturity and make you successful. To correct you when you are wrong but it is redemptive! Punishment and judgement is to punish you for a crime done - never will God punish you or rebuke you. Never will He withdraw His love from you. Never again! Why? Because of the joy set before Him, Jesus Christ endured the scorn of the Cross and it is almost blasphemous that we live so unhappily and so depressed and so full of self-pity, self-conciousness and never happy.
I think it is wrong! Praising God is a happy thing! It is not religious! I want you to be free not just for your sake but for millions of Hong Kong people. I want you to be free because God is not going to elevate this church to impact nations. The nations are coming to us in October for our conference here! We will never be just a nice little church where the pastor will let you be depressed! Jesus never let the Pharisees and Sadducees get the upper hand or undermine Him! He called them "vipers"! That is what He called the religious leaders of His day! He said; "My Father's house is to be a house of prayer for all nations".
Jesus Christ quoted the Scriptures as the authority for the way the Church should be patterned. I don't say these things as my opinion - I quote the Scriptures and I quote the Bible and I know what religion does to people. Jesus never came to bring religion but life! And "life more abundantly!". Where are the Christians living in abundance of life? They are waiting for some Utopia where everything will be right. Marriage, housing, pollution and then they will be happy! No the Kingdom and the glory! Happiness is now! Joy is now! Despite afflictions and persecution and hardship!
I don't fear people leaving this Church - I fear God leaving this Church!
When He comes into fullness, thousands and thousands of Hong Kong people will come sit in our meetings and while they are sitting there, cancer will leave their body.
The laughter opens the door to the glory because people are saying "Whatever you want to do Lord - I am not being religious, I am being free! I am not fearing man by being self-concious or fearful if people reject me. I want Your Presence Lord!".
This is about regimentation. This is about knowing God and letting Him prioritise your calendar. Turn the phone and the TV off. Go into your bedroom and spend one hour alone with Jesus. If you fail - God bless you for trying! You only know the value of something by how much someone is prepared to pay.
God is prepared to pay His Son for you to be set free. You have infinite value. That is self-esteem! Get one revelation in God's Presence that you have infinite value because of what God was prepared to pay for YOU!