Monday, 17 November 2008

The Struggle For The Authentic Part 3 - "Qualifications For The Blessings - Faith or Works?"

Rob preached this sermon on Sunday 21st September and it can be found here. I must warn you that it is a whopping 1 hour and 45 minutes long! I think it may be one of his longest yet ... but I plead with you - it's worth every minute of it. It truly is an incredible foundational message and must be read again and again!

"A prophetic people are able to see beyond the eternals and see into the heart of the matter - what are the real issues motivating and energising things we are encountering in the natural world? There is a supernatural world that has an effect on the natural word when we are not aware of this and just naturally minded and move only by natural human instincts rather than the power of the Holy Spirit and revelation and divine wisdom then we are often taken captive by the ignorance of what is going on behind the scenes. A prophetic people live aware - not perfectly.

All of us make mistakes, we get it wrong - we interpret inaccurately at times but I do believe over the last two weeks it has been like an oppressive kind of cloud - an oppressive veil that has tried to come over us as a church and tried to crush us and oppress us. The entire agenda of that oppressive force was not only distraction but also to really dilute the message of grace and dilute our faith in that message and begin to wonder what is the value of the message and how does it really help? Does it really change anything? Just complete lies! Some of us behind the scenes have been really praying - God lift it, God break that demonic oppression off, that force of distraction - in prophetic intercession.

Thursday night we did it again and when I woke up this morning I just felt that the air was clear again and the pollution of darkness and oppression had evaporated and lifted off us. I don't want to be weirdly spiritual but the very natural atmosphere has had the pollution blown off it. Then every traffic light driving here was green and God was saying; "It's a green light! It's a go-ahead!". Then I realised that I was wearing a green shirt! Sometimes in God things aren't a coincidence - there's a prophetic significance.

Let's join hands and agree with one another that the heaviness has lifted and agree with one another that a new day of free, lovely, pure, heavenly atmosphere fills our lives again. The joy of knowing the face of the Father and His love for us. God commanded Moses to speak a blessing over the people and one of the the declaration of that blessing is; "May Your countenance shine upon us". The Hebrew word for "countenance" is the word that means "God's face".

In His face is all the fullness of His love and His grace and His goodness. God says; "My hand is not shortened" and in His hand is the power that split the Red Sea and in His hand is mighty power to do awesome miracles. In His face is His favour and His kindness and His peace and His stillness and His assurance and His encouragement.

Faith is a supernatural ability to connect with a living God in confidence. Faith is the substance of your heart of the things that you are hoping for and it is the evidence of what you cannot see. Faith has evidence - faith is not a blind leap into the dark. Faith is a leap into the light based on supernatural substance and evidence inside your spirit given to you by the Spirit of faith - the Holy Spirit. When faith rises up in your spirit, you have the substance to manifest your hope and what you are hoping for starts happening and the goodness of God starts happening around you but you need faith for that.

Today we will pray that the spirit of faith will rise in everyone of our hearts to believe the good news of the message of grace and that what the enemy intended for evil over the last 2 weeks is going to be turned around so powerfully for our good that we will come into a more delighting place of confidence in the grace of God than ever before.

Our focus is not on numbers - our focus is on the Presence of God. You can have lots of people but if you don't have God then it is just going to be a whole lot of very depressed people! We are positioning ourselves for growth - He is giving us growth and it is coming from Him. We are not doing anything extra - we are not trying any harder. It's God so we just want to stand together and function together as a priesthood of believers.

Let me just clarify something about our call for baptism (made earlier). God didn't call for sprinkling on the head - that was something that was started in the Dark Ages hundreds of years after the Church had begun and was really based on superstition. If you have had that done - don't worry about it. I am not criticising it - I am just saying it was cute and I am sure you looked really nice in that fairy dress when they did it to you but the Bible teaches you baptised people that get saved.

Baptism is a supernatural sign to the heavens that you have died to the old life of living for yourself and have been born again and raised up to a new life that is in Christ Jesus.

So you baptise believers. You don't baptise people to kill them - you baptise people that have already died. You don't bury someone to kill them. That's illegal. Hebrews 6 says that the foundation doctrines of Christ is faith, repentance and the laying on of hands and understanding eternal judgement and grace. One of the things in there says "and baptisms". There are 3 baptisms. You are baptised into Christ when you are born again, you are also baptised into the body of Christ which you can see around you - His body on the earth - so you are not a loner independently going to a service on Sunday. To be born again truly is to be born again into Christ - then you are baptised (submerged = baptism) and that means to go under water.

It doesn't mean sprinkling on top of the water - it means under = submerge. You are submerged into Christ, into His body on the earth and you are baptised with water. Hebrews 6 says you can't go onto maturity and God won't give you permission to go onto maturity if you don't have those foundation doctrines of Hebrews 6 firmly established in your life. I know believers that have been born again - in the body but have never been baptised because no one taught them the incredible significance of the power that happens when you go through the waters of baptism. Water baptism does not save you. The Bible makes that clear but Christ saves you and after you are saved - you go get baptised. I know people that have been saved but have never been baptised in baptismal submergance under water and for years are immature and don't go onto maturity and wisdom in Christ because they have not been water baptised.

It is a very significant thing. The Bible compares it to when Israel came out of Egypt - they were under slavery to Pharoh and under oppression and God brought them out of Egypt through the blood of the lamb - that is salvation. He baptised them into the cloud (that's the body) and then He split the Red Sea open and they went through and the Bible calls that in 1 Corinthians 11 - their baptism. As their Egyptian enemies were chasing Israel - when the waters of the Red Sea closed behind Israel, they closed on the Egyptian army and destroyed the army. Something about going through water baptism that closes something from your past. So if you have never been baptised or baptised without any faith - it didn't mean anything to you - you weren't doing it with faith or intelligence - then I encourage you. We will baptise you and it is a great celebration.

God has shut the door to your past through that water baptism. There are only two institutions in the New Testament - the breaking of bread and the drinking of wine celebrating and remembering the glory of the New Covenant and water baptism. There are no other rituals in the New Covenant. Both of those are really underestimated and just done religiously without faith and it is meaningless. Do it with faith and it is supernatural and very powerful. Healing comes into your body when you are breaking bread and drinking wine. As a pastor before God it is my urgent responsibility to urge you to obey the waters of baptism.

I felt God call me to preach a very defining word last Sunday and it was the message of your appointment with destiny. It is probably the most powerful message I have ever preached in my entire ministry.

As a result I don't want to assume in your busy schedule that you will have the time to hear the copy. I have an urgency that you must hear it so I have got copies already made for you.

Please open your Bibles to Romans chapter 9. On the next Sunday I am going to talk about how the seeds of God's word works and how it brings transformation in your life that you can't change yourself. Because we are not into behaviour modification principles. You can change yourself on the external and you can force yourself to change by an act of your will but it doesn't change your heart. The New Testament is about changing your heart. We have so focused on where the Bible says in James 1; "Be doers of the Word" and we have so focused on the doing part that we have missed the New Testament heart. We are not "human do-ings" but "human be-ings" and we need to focus on the "be" part. "BE do-ers of the Word" and I will show you next week how the Word of God sows seed and the condition of the soul of your heart will determine what that seed will generate and germinate in your heart.

So I will teach about the power of the Word to germinate victory in your life, success in your life, prosperity in your life, healing in your life, functioning effectively, healing in your marriage, healing - and I want to talk about how the seed has the power to do that. I am going to talk about how the Holy Spirit can prepare the condition of the soul of your heart to give maximum fruitfulness to the seed in your heart. So that's important. Then I am going to talk some time after that on the power of being a son or a daughter of God. People are so nervous and say; "Rob if you preach just grace - grace - grace and take the law off people" (by the way the Bible says the law is taken off New Covenant people and we are dead to the law") - people are afraid! They think if you take the law off people then they will live sinfully and lazy and won't be disciplined and will live irresponsibily.

They say that because they don't understand the New Covenant. The Bible says we are dead to the law that we may belong to another who was raised from the dead because we have a life-giving spirit that we may bear fruit to God. So we didn't just die to the law - we came into Christ, came into the power of the Holy Spirit. You see when people say this message of grace causes people to sin and sin and sin, they don't understand the true message of grace. Let me say this to you - if you think I am saying or hear anyone saying that I say that this message of grace is a license to sin and do whatever you want and get into all kinds of addictions and problems then I want to say this - may the fleas of 10, 000 camels affect your arm pits! Because I am NOT saying that!

This message of grace gives you victory over sin. This message of grace breaks things that control you and addictions - that's what this message of grace does. The message of the law holds you in a prison of fear, condemnation and confusion. You hide your sins inside you and they get deeper and deeper inside and one day they errupt in the most perverted way. People who live under law and religion get into hypocrisy and sin in secret. But they live double lives. We don't preach the law - we preach faith in the grace of God so that opens the door to the prison of the law. People come out to an ever-increasing world of ever-expanding horizons of blessings because they come out not under law that accuses and condemns and commands you change - but they come out under the power of the Holy Spirit.

If people say that this message doesn't empower people to live victoriously then they don't know the Holy Spirit is!

So I want you to help me today to release faith in the atmosphere. To help people around you.

The Bible says in Hebrews 5 that there are people who are dull of hearing and don't have a grid to receive grace because they have just received law and legalism and condemnation and put down and disapproval all their life. So when they hear grace - it sounds too good to be true! That they can be loved and accepted like this by God.

So I want you to work with me in faith all the way through. I want you to be like highly hysterical Pentecostals! Just for today! We are not hysterical Pentecostals but let's for today go over the top! "Preach it Rob! Amen!".

I will show you that "Amen" is not a religious thing to do if you do it with faith because you are agreeing with the promises of God and a promise comes to you under the anointing and you agree with it, then power comes to you to fulfill that promise in your life.

The message is simple today - we are going back to things we've discussed before and we are going to do it quickly and reinforce and go deeper than we have ever done before. I want to make the devil pay for the last 2 weeks. I have felt your pain in my prayer closet and your discouragement and your feeling of oppression and condemnation and what's this grace message all about - not for all of you but some of you! I am going to get sanctified, redemptive revenge on the devil! God-sanctified power to vindicate this message of grace that faith will rise up in your heart! I have got a bag of supernatural divine seed today to scatter in this place and the soil of your heart will either be hard, shallow, stony or rocky. The word will come and you will hold onto it for a while but when persecution comes you may throw the word away.

Not to you anymore! I declare you all have good soil in this place! Good soil! So let's pray together - and let me tell you that you are allowed to be happy while the word is being preached! You are allowed to be very joyful! The noble Bereans received the word with joy - the Bible said! Let's pray;

"Father we ask in Jesus Name for a spirit of wisdom and revelation as we hear truth and revelations that we have heard before - we pray you will take it to a deeper level in our hearts and into a dimension of height, length, breadth - that we will come to know by revelation the very love of Christ and that we would be filled to the full measure of God - that we would be able to do all that we can ask, think or imagine according to the power of the seed that is going to be sown into our hearts today and we declare 30, 60, 100-fold into our lives and we declare faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God and faith in the message of grace will rise up supernaturally and change our lives".

When you see someone who has lived under the grace message after a lifestyle of addiction and control by substances or controlled by desires that are not freedom and joy and holy and pure then you know that you are seeing someone who is either in the process of growing in grace or if they are utterly out of control year after year and there is no change after years of sitting under grace - don't blame the grace message. What is happening is that you have got someone sitting under grace but they are not believing the message of grace. It is not hearing the message of grace - it is believing the message of grace that gives you the victory in life.

Don't judge a Christian that is failing and sinning and falling and say "Look at you - who do you think you are?! You are under the grace message!". Don't judge them! They are struggling to believe! They are struggling to believe the message because they have a grid of parent abuse or a father that molested them or they grew up in a religious church where a man dressed up like a mother and we called him "Father" and he said; "I can play dominoes better than you can!". Then they found out that he was a paedophile and they are so confused now! They just feel like condemnation. So when you share that this is the love of the Father and the message of the good news - they don't have a grid to receive it. This morning there is open heaven! You have a grid to receive it this morning and it will go in and God will change all of our lives!

How many of you want to be blessed by God? How many of you want to be overwhelmingly blessed by God that there is not enough room? I have been cursed and I have been blessed and blessed is better! Blessing is the empowering to succeed in life. Christianity is not just to pray and succeed in life - Christianity is for all of life. For everything you do - to be empowered to succeed. So the question is - what qualifies us for the blessing? Our good works? Our sweat, our morality, our human endaevour, our holiness, our obedience? In the New Covenant - works do not qualify you for the blessing! Simply believing the message of grace is what qualifies you to be declared righteous. Righteousness is right standing before a holy God.

That is what righteousness is - and the righteousness of God is God's self-absorption in the glory and the value of His nature and being. God is not a being who is just silly and insecure - He is self-sufficient, He is self-existant and He is perfection, omniscient, omnipresent, He is before time! He does not live in eternity, eternity lives within Him! He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He is an awesome God! He is a God in which there dwells no darkness at all! He is perfect holiness and perfect light and He has pleasure in the glory of His being and He is always honouring the glory of His being - that is the righteousness of God. And that is the standard by which He will judge every human being on the planet on the great day of judgement. And not one will be able to stand and declare themselves righteous. It is not doing a few holy things and being a good boy or girl.

It's about righteousness - God's righteousness is the standard by which He will judge every human being! So unless we get a gift of righteousness that is by grace through faith then we are all lost and on our way to hell.

There is this idea that God is a God of love (and He is love) and the idea is that He will let everyone into heaven. God wants everyone to go to heaven and He wants everyone to be saved! But not only is He a God of love but He is a God of light and He is perfect holiness and a loving Judge of the court system. But if a paedophile or a murderer is destroying society and they come and stand before this loving Judge and they say to this loving Judge; "I know that You are such a loving Person - You are going to let me into freedom and You won't do anything about what I have done or all the crimes I have done because I know You are love and I know that You would never punish anybody!".

That Judge will say to you; "I am a loving Judge and because I am a loving Judge I am going to sentence you to the full justice of the law and penalise you with the full punishment of the law to protect the innocent in this society. For if I were to let the paedophiles and the criminals go free into the streets to rape your daughters and your children and to murder - a loving Judge does not do that. That's not a loving Judge! A loving God will send people to a penitentary of darkness and He will not have a heaven where there are people running around as rebels hating God and doing what they want".

Yet the same God who is so loving and perfect in holiness and justice said; "I am going to provide a way to give righteousness as a gift to all who believe". That's why we preach this message. To preach a message that says you can earn your way into heaven by being moral and good enough is to preach a lie and to banish people to hell. This message is the only message that can justify and save Hong Kong from the judgement that is coming at the end of this age. This is a tragedy - that if a Muslim came to an average church-going believer and said to them; "These are the standards in the Koran that are the requirements for righteous living and for righteousness" - and showed you the Koran and then said; "What are the standards that the Bible requires for righteousness?". The average Christian in the church today would take them to the 10 Commandments.

That is a tragedy because the Bible teaches that the 10 Commandments do not make anyone holy. The 10 Commandments do not make anyone righteous. In fact the 10 Commandments (Romans 5:20) were introduced into the earth to increase sinnning - to increase the transgressions. The 10 Commandments - the law of God - was never introduced into the earth to fix man's behaviour problems. It was never introduced into the earth to make man righteous. The 10 Commandments were introduced by God into the earth to reveal and expose a condition that mankind was in. The condition that every human being was in was the sin of first Adam and they were cut off from God and dead to God and were under first Adam's death. They didn't know it! And thought they were okay with God!

So God said He would introduce the law and when the law comes - it will be a standard that reveals sin and exposes sinfulness and increases the sinning in man so it will lead man to a revelation that they will be never right with God through their own self-righteousness but only through the gift of God's righteousness freely given by grace - if you receive that by faith and it comes into your life then your spirit is born again and you get a new nature.

When you sin or make mistakes in the New Covenant then you are still righteous before the Father - if you sinned 50, 000 times today but you are in Christ then your righteousness was never diminished - you are still absolutely the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! The truth is that the more you believe this - the less you will sin! And you will not use it to indulge the flesh and do lazy spiritual life.

Let's read here from Romans 9 and let's read from verse 30;

"What then shall we say? That the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have obtained it? A righteousness that is by faith but Israel who pursued the law of righteousness did not obtain it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone because it is written; "See I lay in Zion, a stone that causes them to stumble and a rock that causes them to fall and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame".

Notice that the Bible says that the message of righteousness that is obtained through faith and not the works of the law. That message was a stumbling block to Israel. So though they sought to obtain righteousness through the law - they never obtained it. But us Gentiles - pagans and heathens - the revelation of righteousness as a gift was revealed to us and we believed on it by faith that God has given us righteousness so that we will never be put to shame. Now people in the modern church are still stumbling over the stumbling stone of this message because the grid again is self-righteousness, self-promotion, pulling themselves up by their boot-straps - "I am good enough, I must take charge of my life, I am moral enough, don't you accuse me of being a sinner!".

I am not accusing anyone of being a sinner who is not in Christ! I am just saying here is the standard of God's righteousness - do you live upto that? No you don't. So there is a judgement that will come. So there is a grace that gives you righteousness by believing in this message of grace - you get the declaration of righteousness and you will never be put to shame. I have been praying all week that those of you who have stumbled all your life in the hearing of this message because it just seems so good to be true, will be able to say; "To hell with the devil - and for the heaven of it, I am going to give my mind permission to believe 100% through faith". You hold onto that seed in your heart and it will grow.

When is the best time to attack an acorn? When it's 100 years old? No - you can't get it out of the ground but you get it when it's a seedling sown into the soil. Stay in faith that you are the righteousness of God no matter how many times you fail and this seed will keep growing in your heart and produce conviction of faith that you are the righteousness of God - no condemnation is allowed to come against me! I rebuke it - it's demonic and it never came from the Father! The Father doesn't justify you and condemn you at the same time! He is not schizophrenic! It is the devil who condemns! It is God that justifies and declares you to be righteous!

Look at Romans 10:1-4;

"Brothers, my hearts desire and prayer for the Israelites is that they may be saved".

I believe that every Christian should have a desire for the people of Israel - the native Jews - the people of the Old Covenant lineage that brought the Messiah. The Jewish people - the Messanic race that brought the Messiah into the earth and I believe that we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem and stand in faith for Israel while loving Arabs and hoping and praying for reconciliation. There are many hundreds of thousands of Jewish people coming from the ex-Soviet Union and coming into Israel in these last few years and many of them are coming to Christ - they didn't grow up in the land of Israel - but many of them are coming to Christ and we do believe that the people of Israel - their eyes are going to be opened and they will see their Jewish Messiah Jesus Christ and be born again and gain righteousness by faith and not by works of the law.

"For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God - but their zeal is not based on knowledge since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own".

What is that? It is self-righteousness. It is seeking to establish it by the law - it's self-righteous.

"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes".

What is the basis for the blessing of God? When I get a Christian come upto me and say; "I need healing - I have served in the church all my life, I've been good, I've done this and that" - I know that person is not going to get healed. Because they are hoping to get healed on the basis of their self-righteousness instead of being healed on the basis of the gift of God's righteousness. They are not submitting to God's righteousness - they are promoting their works of righteousness. Then none of the blessings will come their way and Galatians 3 says the curses come on those who are self-righteous.

Romans chapter 1 - forgive me I am not preaching my opinion or the Reader's Digest but actually from the New Testament! I think God's opinion is a lot more important than yours or mine. I am interested in God's idea - that's what brought my marriage through in a love affair of romance without any adultery. That's what this message will do - it's powerful! It changes lives! It is wonderful! You save yourselves a lot of pain, suffering and a lot of stupid wrong decisions if you live by faith that I am the righteousness of God as a gift!

Let's look at Romans 1:16.

How can we boast if the foundation of success in our lives is by grace? Through faith! You say; "Well if all we have to do to qualify for the blessing is believe then what else should we do? That sounds too easy!". Well what do you want - me to give you something hard? Just believe for the blessing! What else? Just praise Him! Worship Him! Thank Him! Adore Him! Enjoy Him! Then what you put your hands to is blessed! You get the promotion - you start inventing new technology! You write the book! You solve the problem! You start that company and it works!

Romans 1:16; "I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation of everyone who believes - first for the Jew and then for the Gentile".

Now people have got this wrong - they say that Paul was saying; "I am not ashamed of the gospel" and by that they say that he meant he was willing to go out in the street and tell people about the gospel because he was not ashamed of it. Well that's good to tell people about the gospel in the street - but that's not the context of what Paul was saying. Paul was speaking in the context of a society that was dominated by a Judaic moralism with the very idea of someone claiming to be righteous apart from their behaviour or their morality - it was almost blasphemy and sentenced to death!

Even though you fall and make mistakes yet you still claim you are righteous - despite my shortcomings and my failures and the things I am still struggling with - because Paul had not arrived - he said "I still press on ... not that I have attained yet" - so even this great apostle was not totally holy in all his behaviour and attitudes! He was a work in progress! Before he was saved - he said that under law he was a murderer, a violent man and a blasphemer. That's what the law did to him - it stirred up sin in him. Then he meets Christ on the Damascus Road, delivered, set free and saved and he believes he is righteous by faith and faith alone! Even when he can't see that his behaviour is always righteous, faith is the evidence of things not seen - so in his spirit he is saying; "I know that I am righteous" and in a society dominated by hypocrisy, Pharisees, bigots, moralists - in a society where it's practically blasphemous to claim you are righteous apart from your works and behaviour - he says; "I am not afraid or ashamed" in that society to say; "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation".

That word "salvation" is "soterio" - "sozo" - it means; "Peace, prosperity, protection, preservation". Now he gives us the revelation where the power for this gospel comes from. Where does the power for miracles - the power for life-transformation - the power of "soterio" - he tells us in the next verse. Let's read it: (v17);

"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed".

I want to say to you again - this is a righteousness from God. FROM God. It is not a righteousness from man or from the law or from your obedience or from your holy morality and good efforts. It is a righteousness from God that is revealed in the gospel! Revealed means that it was previously hidden and then revealed. Revelation is an invitation to a supernatural encounter with God's glory. The Holy Spirit has to come to our hearts and supernaturally bypass the head and to your inner spirit reveal to you that you have in Christ a righteousness not from your holiness, your amount of praying, your fasting, your good things - it is not based on how much you sin or don't sin - it has got NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! It is a righteousness FROM God and that has to be revealed supernaturally until you believe it. Until it's revealed you don't believe it because the grid of your head won't allow it - most education systems, most parenting, most society bases everything on your life on your performance - on what you have earnt and what you deserve.

So when it comes to this - it has to be revealed to you that God's righteousness is what the power of God for salvation comes to you. The more you believe this that is revealed to you, the more God's power comes on you to live this life.

I find when my faith in this goes down, I start striving harder, I start fretting more - pressure comes on my marriage - every time my faith in this gospel goes down then pressure comes on my marriage and on my relationships and on my finances - everything starts coming under pressure because this gospel I am NOT ashamed of because it IS the power of God unto prosperity, peace, preservation and protection - in this gospel a righteousness from God is revealed that is by faith from first to last!

The Old Covenant - which many Christians are still living under a bit of it and a bit of the New. I call it religious schizophrenia. The Old Covenant under law teaches this - that if you keep all the law 100% of it then you are righteous. The Bible makes it clear that no one kept it 100% except Jesus Christ. He fulfilled the law and the law is fulfilled and you are in the One who fulfilled the law on your behalf and He measured up on your behalf! This Old Covenant teaching that you hear around the world from pulpits - it breaks my heart. You have got to sow more, you must pray more, you must be more holy, you must resist sin more, you must do more and then God will bless you. No! That is the Old Covenant teaching. The New Covenant teaching is that it is not what you have sown, how much sin you have resisted and how obedient and holy you are. It is all based on what Jesus has sown, what the Father has sown in Jesus, Jesus resisting sin, Jesus obeying the Father, Jesus fulfilling the law and Jesus dying and giving you the righteousness from God! That's where the blessing comes!

God will not take people into the manifest glory of the ultimate fulness of signs, wonders and miracles - of the raising of the dead, of the opening of the blind eyes on a regular basis, of mighty signs and wonders - to a people who do not have this clear because we will boast in self-righteousness and say "God is doing these miracles because of my fasting and my praying and my holy life". God will not allow anyone to boast and Paul says "I boast in nothing but my weakness and in the power of God".

But in this message you find your heart becoming more obedient and you want to pray and you want to follow God and do things for God - but it's not to earn or deserve but because of the power of the Gospel and that you love Him and the power in this gospel delivers you more and more from those things. Let's read the rest of this - (v17);

"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed - a righteousness that is by faith from first to last - just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith".

Now this is where we have a problem.

This righteousness we stand in is by faith from first to last. So everything in between is also by faith. I don't need to learn how to have faith for healing, faith for my marriage, faith for prosperity, for success, for business, for the church. All I need to grow in is faith that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus because that faith in that gift of righteousness pulls the power of "soterio" or salvation into my life!

When I was in Holland a few months ago - in the meetings a lady came out of a wheelchair who was completely crippled without any hope of walking. We saw 50 people healed of incurable diseases. Now just before those meetings I was in the forest waiting on God. I felt so tired and so jet-lagged and I didn't feel very good. I was so glad that I know this message. I hadn't done anything particularly wrong but I know that I had been a bit irritable and sure if someone had saw me then they would have thought I needed to get saved and lead to the Lord. I am in the forest and of course the devil was piling in on me. I am speaking and training 600 European pastors and the Spirit of God rose up within me and said;

"Rob if you will strongly believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ - I will bring angels to whisper healing words into your ears and you will call out words of healing and you will see signs and wonders in that place".

I said; "Yes Lord!". Ended my prayer - went home - showered, got dressed and went to the meeting and the power of God broke out and I called one person by name and gave the detail of how many lumps.

God will not entrust this power to people who think they have earned it by their zeal. Paul said Israel was zealous - but without knowledge! What's that knowledge? It is revealed knowledge - its not academic, cerebral, Bible information in the head - it is knowledge revealed to your spirit that you are the righteousness of God from faith from first to last.

The trouble is that many theologians are educated beyond their intelligence. This is about faith from first to last. What does Colossians 2:6 says; "Just as you received Christ, so walk in Him". So live in Him (NIV) - walk in Christ. How did you receive Him? By faith through grace! The preacher tells you at conversion that it's all by faith and then you have to start doing things. No - Paul says just as you received Christ, so continue in Him! Walk in Christ! The very next verse says; "Do not be deceived by hollow philosphies and traditions of men that have to do with the corrupt wisdom of this age but that are not in Christ".

This is a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. Go to 1 Corinthians 2.

As a Christian my desire is that nothing controls me. Nothing controls me - I don't want the world to see anything that is controlling my life - I want to live self-controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I want to be part of a church where the issue of whether you smoke or not or whether you have a glass of wine are not even an issue! I am so tired of the hypocrisy! You have to go and get your wine with a balaclava on your head and hope that noone sees you. At the same time I have seen two extremes and I don't want to be part of them again! I have seen churches that have said if you don't smoke and you don't drink then you are so holy! I HATE that! I have met Christians who do smoke and do drink who are wonderful people. And who do drink who are wonderful people. The other extreme that I also hate - I am showing how free I am! No you are showing how addicted and controlled you are by something that is not the Holy Spirit. When this thing gets into the culture of the church then we have serious problems.

The principle of love must govern all. My conscience and my freedoms - and I don't mean freedom to sin - are exercised under a principle of love. If I am in the presence of a Christian that is weak in faith and maybe has been an alcoholic and are struggling with their addiction, then I won't touch a drop of alcohol in front of them. If they are just getting over smoking addiction and have their nicotene patches on - then I won't touch a cigarette! If you get a whole bunch of people who have been under the law for so long and suddenly bring them out - then there is nothing left to restrain them - which is good! I like that! So for a while they go; "Wow - nothing less to restrain me!".

As a pastor I have realised that you have got to let people go through that process because while they are going through that process the devil comes and says; "Slap them with the law to stop that!". No because then it all goes back into law, suppression, hypocrisy and double standards again. Preach the message of grace - you are not under law but you are united with the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life in grace!

One of my greatest preachers - Charles Haddon Spurgeon - the greatest preacher I have known outside of Jesus lived 120 years ago and preached to 5, 000 people before they had microphones. I read his sermons today and the modern world wouldn't understand his words - they are so eloquent and so rich. They understood the richness of the English language and I read his language. Spurgeon loved cigars and he eventually gave up. He was so famous throughout London that the cigar company came to him and said they wanted to put his face on the cigar packages. He was like a celebrity! He wanted to be remembered for the face of Jesus not for cigars and he never smoked a cigar from that day.

Something has to come into our spirits and ask; "Am I addicted to alcohol? Am I addicted to smoking? Am I being over-sensative to people that could be struggling in their faith? Could my smoking in their presence cause them problems? You are not free if you do drink but neither are you free if you don't drink. You can be holy smoking and drinking and you can be unholy and smoking and drinking because your smoking and drinking is a sign of insecurity trying to prove your freedom! Until eventually other insecure, immature people think that this is a culture of freedom! We don't want that in the church! Please hear that Rob did not get up and forbid drinking and smoking!

Go to Romans chapter 3:21; "But now a righteousness from God apart from the law has been made known to which the law and the prophets testify - this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus".

The principle here is that you can discern a Christian who is living in the wonder of freely by grace. When you understand that you are justified freely by grace and you are declared righteous every second of your life freely by grace - even if you have smoked thousands of cigars that day and drank litres of beer that day - I declare to you by the authority of God's Word that you are justified freely by grace and not because you are trying to keep a law and don't smoke or do smoke. Don't let what I said earlier on dilute the fact that you are righteous ALL the time.

While you are battling with addictions - you are the righteousness of God. If you think that addiction will disqualify you for righteousness then you will never get free from that addiction. The only hope to get free from that addiction is while you are in it - you know 'I am the righteousness of God'! That's the only way you are going to get free!

The only way you are going to get free from a drug addiction or a pornographic addiction is that you are in Christ and are the righteousness of God in Christ! That's why we get emails from people who have been addicted to pornography for years and years and couldn't get free by going to church for years and years. They heard the series on grace off this website of this church and they are free from the addiction to pornography because while they were doing it - they said; "Rob your words kept ringing in my ears by the power of the Spirit that I am righteous and then thought - I am righteous! What do I want to do with this?". Finished! Broke off their lives! It is condemnation that drives people to the dysfunctional patterns over and over again - while they were under condemnation, they go to things that will make them feel good in substance abuse or in sexual abuse.

I believe that every man and woman who is not married - just wait until you are married. That is a covenant! The marriage covenant is so sacred! Sexual intimacy is a glorious gift from God but it is a dangerous thing outside the covenant of marriage. It will break my heart if I ever find out that people are saying in this church (and it has not been said and there's no evidence of that) - "Praise God - we are under grace - let's sleep around outside of marriage". That will be insane. That is just what the legalists are waiting to happen in this church to disregard this message. I know this temptations! I was married at 20 and Glenda was 17 - we weren't saved and Glenda was pregnant when she got married. The first time I had intimacy with a woman so I don't know what it's like with anyone else. But I am telling you right now that those of us in Christ must live in this message.

Having said that - if any person has fallen and they do fall and they do commit sexual immorality and they are in Christ - you are the righteousness of God in Christ while you are doing the act! Because that is the radicalness! "That's too radical Rob!". Have you seen how radical the law is?! It is extreme! If your kids are rebellious then take them outside the camp and stone them. The law says if you look at someone with lust then cut your eye out and throw it away! Hack your hand off! You want to take about radical? Understand the law - its very extreme! And grace is equally extreme! You are righteous all the time if you are in Christ Jesus!

"Freely justified by grace". I can discern someone who is living under this freedom - even if they are struggling with some addiction or some problem but they understand; "Praise God I am righteous! I have received righteousness freely by grace!". When you believe this message - the power of God comes on you freely! When you go to prayer, power comes on you!

I do not have a prayer time when the power of God doesn't come on me because I understand that I am the righteousness of God freely by grace!

Power on me can pass through me freely by grace to others. In Matthew 10 Jesus said; "Freely you have received - freely give". He wasn't making it a command - what He was declaring was the more you understand the free grace flowing into your life, the more it can flow through your life. People say - well I lay hands on people and nothing comes out of my hands. Well understand that you have been justified freely by grace and walk freely by grace - I am the righteousness of God and I have all these problems, dysfunctions and addictions but I am still the righteousness of God!

The more grace comes on your life - the more it can flow out - grace flowing through you to others. Roman 8:31, 32; "how will He not also freely give us all things?". They come freely! Romans 4:1-8 - we are talking about does the grace of God and the works of the law - what you earn or deserve - or believing you are the righteousness of God in Christ. Romans 4:1;

"What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boastabout, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness". Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favour but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works; "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered, blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account".

Imagine every believer on the planet living with confidence that God is not counting ANY of my sins against me - all He sees is me - the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

Notice he says; "The GIFT of righteousness". Freely given by grace! How many of you know that it is not the "loans" of the Spirit but the gifts of the Spirit! When something is freely given, it takes the pressure off you to think you have got to pay something back. I want to say something very important - please hear this.

In the church world, there is what I call a "Debtors Ethic". People say that if Jesus did so much for you - then you owe Him so much. No my friends - that is a total, demonic lie. You do not owe Him a thing! Before you were saved, you owed Him everything. You owed Him on the ledgers of your sin - the wages of your sin - had built up a huge debt before God. At the Cross Christ wiped that side of the ledger totally clean of all your debts and obligations, and sin and judgement was wiped clean! On the other side of the ledger, He wrote; "The righteousness of God in Christ Jesus freely given by grace!". It takes the obligation and the pressure off you to say I have got to do things for God - I owe, I owe, I owe, it's off to work I go! No! The "Debtor's Ethic" will suck you back into dead works that are not in faith!

There are missionaries in all kinds of parts of the world because of guilt because they are trying to pay Jesus back. They are not there with faith and they are dying and no-one is getting saved. Because they are just there - zealous without revelation knowledge. It won't get any blessing in heaven because my friends when you know it is freely given that I am the righteousness of God in Christ and I am not paying Him back. I am living by the Spirit and lead by the Spirit and He will never lead me into sinful things. He is leading me into predestined things co-ordinated before the beginning of time - I am being led by the Spirit as a son or daughter of God. The Spirit is leading me to come to church, He leads me to read the Bible, He leads me to pray, to love God, to forgive your enemies, to live in joy, to prosperity, to success - as you walk by faith that I am the righteousness of God!

People say "I am free and led by the Spirit" but never read the Bible, never pray, never come to church, never give tithes or offerings. Folks, that's not being led by the Spirit - that's being led by the flesh! The Holy Spirit leads you to live a life of victory! Go to two more Scriptures and then we close. Galatians 3. I want to read you a direct question that Paul says.

Galatians 3:5; "Does God give you His Spirit and work miracles among you because you do the works of the law or because you believe what you heard?". Paul asks a very direct question there. What qualifies you for a life of the supernatural of the Spirit and for the working of miracles? The Greek language there is the present, continuous tense - the on-going giving of His Spirit and the on-going working of miracles. He says is it by the observing and doing of the law - your performance, your holiness, what you have earned or deserved or because you have simply believed the message? The message he has preached is that you are righteous in Christ apart from the law. He said is the Spirit of God moving among you because you believed the message or because you are doing the works of the law?

He is writing to a church that once had great miracles but now the miracles had dried up and the supernatural diminished radically. And now they had fallen into all kinds of terrible works of the flesh and all kinds of sin because they had gone back into the law and the law was bringing destruction on them. He is saying that you once had joy, you once had the moving of the Spirit, does God do these miracles because of your works of the law and your performance or because you believed the message of grace? That is a very direct question and deserves a very direct answer! Paul gives such a direct answer that it should shut the mouthes of the Pharisees and the critics of this grace message once and for all eternity through all the earth!

This direct question deserves direct answers. Paul gives it very direct. The very next verse in (v6);

"Consider Abraham. He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Understand then that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announce the gospel in advance to Abraham. All nations will be blessed through you so those who have faith are blessed".

Those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham - the man of faith! (v10); "All who rely on observing the law are cursed - for it is written; 'Cursed is everyone who does not do everything that is written in the book of the law". If you want to be under the Law - you must keep it perfectly - every second - or you will come under a curse. Now he tells you why - (v12); "The law is not based on faith - on the contrary the man who does these things will live by them. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us - for it is written; 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles who come to Christ Jesus so that by faith we may receive the promise of the Spirit".

The relying on the law will bring a curse because the works of the law are not of faith - but those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham the man of faith. Why is faith so important? Because faith connects you with the blessing. Faith gives you confidence that you are the righteousness of God. Faith - when you stand to pray and this gets into your spirit and into your heart and the seed gets in there and you lift your hands to pray and say; "Father, I thank you that I am a man or woman of faith and I am the righteousness of God and I praise you - yes I did some mistakes yesterday but I praise you that I am the righteousness of God". Immediately the grace and the power will come upon you.

His Presence will always come because I know that I am the righteousness of God!

One last Scripture - and we can't leave it out. 2 Corinthians 5:16, 19, 21. (v16) is the most profound insight on this subject. "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view though we once regarded Christ in this way - we do so no longer". Paul is saying something so profound and I am asking You Holy Spirit to help get this out. He is saying from now on we regard no one - and he is talking about brothers and sisters in Christ (that is the context). The no one doesn't include everyone in the world. It includes brothers and sisters in Christ and he is saying; "From now one we regard no one from a worldly point of view". He said we at one point used to regard even Christ from a worldly point of view. But no longer do that.

The King James says; "We don't regard anyone after the flesh for we even once regarded Christ after the flesh". He says we now don't regard any Christian from a worldly point of view. What is he saying? What is he saying? I don't regard Glenda after a worldly point of view. I don't regard her after the flesh. The way you regard yourself is the way you can regard fellow Christians. You and me from now on should never regard yourself as after the flesh and from worldly points of view. But should regard yourself in the Spirit from a heavenly point of view that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

This is regarding yourself in a worldly point of view or after the flesh - you wake up in the mornign and think; "Oh I messed up yesterday - oh I failed - oh I sinned - there's no hope for me in God - I'm a mess - I am a failure going no where - I feel so condemned". That is regarding yourself after a worldly point of view. From a flesh point of view - not a heavenly point of view. This is regarding yourself from a heavenly point of view - waking up in the morning and thinking; "I am not happy with what I did yesterday morning but Father thank You so much that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!". You don't regard yourself according to the worldly point of view or the law or religious standards or according to your performance - you don't regard yourself by religion or by your history of failure in the path or by someone elses performance.

You regard yourself in the light that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

When Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine vat because he was terrified and was a coward because he was frightened of the Mideanites because his whole being was scared. He was living with a survival, small mentality. The angel of God came to Gideon and spoke to Gideon in his worldly point of view and said to him; "Gideon - you mighty man of valour! You man of courage!". Gideon was completely confused because he was indoctrinated and conditioned by religion to regard himself from a worldly point of view. So he could not respond to this awesome call of God. But slowly as he began to believe what God was saying - he began to regard himself after a heavenly point of view and when faith rose in his heart; "I am a mighty man of God! I am a mighty warrior - I am a mighty conqueror appointed with destiny to lead Israel out of oppression and into prophetic power and economic victory" - when he believed what God said about him, the power came on him and he did a mighty work because he got delivered from regarding himself after a worldly point of view.

Isn't that awesome? 1st John 4:17 says this; "We can have boldness on the Day of Judgement because as He is so are we in this earth". What is Jesus in heaven? Glorified, exalted to the highest place, seated at the right hand of the Father in glory. Ephesians 2 says that we have been raised up together in Christ and seated in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus - do not regard yourself or your brothers and sisters after worldly points of view but after the Spirit, what is revealed in the gospel that you are the righteousness of God and you are standing in Christ Jesus and seated with Him in the heavenly places and that fixed, permament position never changes though your marriage may fall and struggles may come - that is always fixed!

If you regard yourself after a worldly view like most Christians do and have been lied to by the devil with all their circumstances pressing on them with disappointments and frustrations, they limit their beings to a worldly point of view that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Like Gideon when you believe you are the righteousness of God and have destiny and am empowered and God believes in you that you are righteous, you rise up out of your wine vat and see the power of God come on you and God begins to break through.

When you see your brother or sister messing up and going into sin, you don't regard them after a worldly point of view and come and lecture them in arrogance. You see them in a heavenly point of view and say; "Don't you know that you are light? Don't you know that as He is - so you are?". You don't regard them after the flesh! Announce to them who they are in Christ Jesus. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ". These glorious things are only for those who are in Christ - not for just anyone out there in the streets who are not saved. They are under God's righteous judgement but all they have to hear is the message and believe and then they step into this. "The old has gone - the new has come".

(v19); "Not counting men's sins against them". Those people who go out and say; "God is counting your sins against you!". No! God has already redeemed the whole world at the Cross! The one thing - the one sin that Jesus could not die for is unbelief in Him. Unbelief and neglect and no faith in Jesus - that is what keeps people outside of this covenant of grace.

Our message to the cities - God is not judging you! God is not holding your sins against you! He is not bringing these economic collapse and the credit crunch to judge you and be mean to the earth! These are decisions that human beings are making as based on greed. These are financial institutions breaking down. God is not killing you and doing these things. There is a God who loves you - believe on the Lord Jesus and you will come into the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! I get so tired of hearing people saying that Los Angeles will fall into the sea to show the wrath of God! The wages of sin is death! Not a building falling down or your car breaking down! If God were to give us the wages we deserved then we would all be dead!

He is for Hong Kong and wants to see everyone in Hong Kong saved. (v21). It's amazing for me that people can go and watch TV for hours and watch trivia but the Word of God that will bring you into a place of joy and victory and abundance - they just want a 20 minute sermonette. We are world-changers! We are history-makers and we are being equipped at the end of the age and this is our time to shine with the Gospel! If this doesn't change then you will see more people jumping out of buildings in Hong Kong. We are not praying for Hong Kong to collapse economically - we are praying for the prosperity of our city. Every Christian - we don't live by the economy of this world but the economy of the Kingdom.

When people are being laid off work in your job - you should be getting a financial fat salary increase because you are the righteousness of God! And I can show you how the righteous are blessed and prosper by God. We are not living by world economics but by kingdom economics. When that tsunami hit in 2004 - a pastor was on the shores of India, the Holy Spirit came on him and said you must pray and plead the blood over your town and your village. He did so - as a man who is righteous in Christ. His whole village wasn't touched at all - the tsunami went right around them. There is a shelter from economic pressures!

(5:21); "God made Him who had no sin - to be sin for us so that we might be made the righteousness of God". My spirit feels someone is a bit angry so let's read it again! "God made Him who had no sin - to be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God". The question I have asked is how was Jesus made sin? By sinning? He was given a free gift! Our sin was freely given to Jesus Christ! What a blessing we are? We didn't do it - the heavenly Father made Him sin for us. God gave Jesus the free gift of righteousness and imputed it to Christ on our behalf so that we can be counted the righteousness of God in Him. By sinning? No - by a free gift. How are you made righteous - by acts? No - by a free gift.

God judged your sin and punished your sin. If God were to punish your past and future sin then God would be guilty of a crime of the law of double jepordy. You cannot punish the same crime twice! The integrity of the justice of the high court of heaven has been infinately satisfied by divine holy justice when your sins were given as a free gift to Jesus and He was punished in your place - so that you and I by pure administration can be declared the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus had faith that once He was declared our sin, He would be judged and the wrath of God would come on Him. He had faith for that. That's why in the garden of Gethsemane - He said; "Father if it be possible - let this cup pass from Me". He had faith that the moment He became our sin, wrath would fall on Him. But forever finished!

One thing Jesus did not have to do on that Cross when He was made our sin - and His blood had dripped out of His body - He never had to say; "Pour out wrath on Me". It came the moment He was made our sin. Now Church if you could regard yourself no longer from a worldly point of view and faith could rise up that you are truly in the gospel in Christ - the righteousness of God in Christ. If your faith would rise up in authentic reality, then you would not need to ask the Father to bless you. He didn't ask for the wrath. Just so we don't need to ask for the blessing! The manifest power of the gospel will come on a daily basis!

My prayers are not asking God for power or to ask God to bless me. My prayers are asking God to open the eyes of your understanding by the spirit of wisdom and revelation so you would know the hope of your calling and you would know God better and experience God and live in the reality of God. The blessing will come automatically and overtake you when you believe you are the righteousness of God!

Almost all of Paul's prayers are for believers to see the gospel - because once they see it the blessing comes automatically and don't even need to be asked for! They will come and dump on you and God will back up a big tow-truck and dump blessing on you! The blessings of God!

Now when you can get a church established in the grace message and not seeing each other or Jesus after worldly points of view - but Christ on that Cross conquering principalities and cancelling the law and believe the message of the gospel and believe that as He is - so are you - then the next minute we are in a building that costs millions! We are opening hospices to care for the dying and seeing them healed before they die! We are opening orphanages to care for the lost, hurting and the broken! We are opening up schools of the prophetic and supernatural! We are taking on pastors to release Glenda and I - because money is powerful! And the blessing of heaven makes rich and adds no sorrow!

God is not going to entrust wealth into the hands of self-righteous people who will say; "I did this - and I didn't do this and was holy enough". No you are wealthy by the sweat of your brow and it will bring sorrow in your life. But the wealth and blessing of Abraham will come on those who believe they are the righteousness of God. And money says to buildings - I can buy you! Money says to missionaries - I can pay for you! Money says to the naked - I can clothe you! Money says to the hungry - I can feed you! Money says to pastors - I can keep you so you don't have to go into other business. Jesus spoke a lot about giving and releasing the blessing of God so the storehouse of God is overflowing! We tithe like Abraham did in Genesis 15 - not Malachi 3!

Abraham was blessed before he tithed! We are the people of generosity! We are the people of destiny - changing nations! There are 600, 000 people below the bread-line. This is the time when God shows that those who have lived by hard work alone - by greed after the god called money - God wants to make a wealth transfer into the hands of the just and who will administrate to bring in the justice of God. We must break the spirit of distraction and seek first His kingdom and serve the purposes of God and not get caught up in silliness or distraction! I want to see the kingdom of heaven break in and religion break down! I want to see the shroud of oppression that came over us for 2 weeks ripped off the church and God's people liberated from their wine press.

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