"It is wonderful to see so many of you here this morning. We have about 50% of people away and I am amazed how God is bringing and adding people. It is very exciting - this is the year He promised us He would bring people from within Hong Kong and also from many from different nations and He will bring resources to us. How many believe we will not be meeting in this hall forever? I have just signed on an 800 seater hall for March next year where we are hosting Glory and Grace - Hong Kong and we have Patricia King coming and Josh Mills and Fini and Isi and I believe it will be an awesome time of the glory of God manifesting in Hong Kong. So we thought shall we meet here with the credit crunch, money, flights and hotels for people? But we just felt that I was standing outside that building and praying God what will we do if there is a shortfall? We have to make up the shortfall! And I don't want to waste your money! I felt God say: Son, son - go big, think big and trust Me! You will look on this in a few years time and say how pathetically small was an 800 seater in Hong Kong!?
We are going to host Glory and Grace in the next few years in the rugby stadium - I am telling you right now!
I have heard so many testimonies in the last six weeks of local Chinese, Hong Kong people have been saved in our services! A lot through the ministry of Angela and Randy who are on holiday but also Alice's testimony of what miracles God is doing and it is so thrilling! How many went on our website this week? I got a call from a pastor friend in Australia and he said Rob have you seen what's happened on the website front page? Our Muslim friends hacked in again! They love our website and really feel it is an opportunity for free advertising for Islam! We bless them for that! They had advertising for Ramadan and Muslim songs and praise God for our brothers! If I could trace their address I would send a love message and say thank you because there has been a team in CCI that have been meeting for a number of weeks and consulting with website designers and we have a website designer coming to join this church in a few months from South Africa and we have been strategising to upgrade our website and make it more user friendly as well as translating our messages into Mandarin and Cantonese. So God used the blessing of Muslim friends to give us a sign and a wonder: Yes I want you to upgrade!
God works ALL things together for good to those that love Him and are called together according to His purpose! The ministry of the Word is like a bank - the more you put into it, the more interest you get out of it. The more you set your heart - I am going to learn today from the Word of God and it will advantage me and cause me to have understanding and wisdom to deal with issues in my life much more effectively and give me prophetic wisdom to give perspective on the context I am in right now and deal with my circumstances by the wisdom of God!
How many of you have found that sometimes in life that the rhythms are different? Sometimes you go through times where everything you do is going well and succeeding and all blessing and all good? Then it comes to an abrupt end and for another season or time you go through negative and bad and then you come out of that and it becomes good for a while? I believe that right now we are NOT in that sort of a time! I believe that right NOW we are in a time where we are living in the BEST of times and the WORST of times at the SAME time! And that is because the devil is intimidated about what is going on in the earth.
There are things going on in the earth that I get regular reports on and some of you do as well where millions are being swept into the Kingdom! Across the border in China the estimates are 40,000 people are born again EVERY single DAY! This year we have seen several people come out of wheelchairs and deaf ears opened! Deaf ears! Cancers healed! At the same time we have faced all kinds of heartaches and disappointments like some of you are! There are things going on in families and friends all around the world. Yet in the middle of all that great things are happening but it's also the worst time at the same time because the devil is trying to target those who God is using and will use to the greatest degree in this time!
The least people He is using are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers! Their job is not to be the superstars who do the work! Their job is to equip every believer to be a manifester of the Kingdom of God and to have influence in their context! Ordinary people are having great effect in their time and many more will come out with greater influence! Some of you sit in relative obscurity today and you think: What do I do? I don't do anything much! I would love to ...! I go to sleep and go to work! What do I do? Get ready - something is at move and at work in the earth!
The devil will target those who God is using to the greatest degree (or is about to use) by giving them the greatest degree of distraction!
Agitated people seldom hear the voice of God! Agitated people hear the voice of deception, discouragement, confusion and condemnation! People under the government of God's peace hear His audible Voice and hear His instruction and get His leading and they know what God wants them to do. The devil couldn't care if you had a good or bad marriage - honestly! It doesn't interest him! But he will attack your marriage to rob you of peace to agitate you with distraction! The devil doesn't care if you have a visa to stay in Hong Kong or not. But he will attack you on every kind of issue he can - because those who God is going to use to the greatest degree will be distracted by the devil to the greatest degree.
The word is "Distraction" friends! In a time of opportunity, distraction is the strategy of the devil. God's agenda is FOCUS! Laser-like focus!
God is not interested in talking to you about your circumstances of distraction. A lot of people say I am crying out God! Deal with this issue - finances, money etc! Deal with this issue, Lord! God is not a magic genii that comes out when we rub the lamp and offers you three wishes! He is not coming down to reduce His kingly lordship on the issue of difficult circumstances.
Now He loves you and me and cares about us but He won't talk to you about the issue of your circumstances. God will talk to you on the issue of your DESTINY. As soon as you say God I want to talk about my destiny. These are the distractions and they are hurting me but what is my destiny? How will I move to next level of my destiny? Your destiny is not your career! Your career is a vehicle by which God can express destiny!
When Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine vat as a coward and afraid of the Midianites, and complaining and mumbling saying Where is the God of miracles of my forefathers?—he wanted God to come and use His miracles to change his economic dysfunctional situation. God would not talk to Gideon on the basis of his circumstances but on the basis of his destiny - because God is after destiny for you and me! He said to a coward hiding in a wine vat: MIGHTY warrior! When Gideon tried to talk circumstances, God said: Shut up! I am not here to talk circumstances! I am not a God who will be reduced to making men and women just feel a bit happier and sort their problems out! That is not God! God said: I am here not to give you a bit of economic empowerment - not to change your circumstances but to make you the greatest general Israel has ever seen and drive out the Midianites and:
When you obey destiny - your circumstances will improve! But if you focus on your self-pity and rejection and my problems and ask God why He's not helping - you will find He will not speak to you about your problems. He WILL talk to you about why you are on the earth and what your destiny is and what He has equipped you for!
If you do not live in the unfolding sequence of your destiny and the reason why you are on this planet then you will feel your existence on this earth is a mistake ... and it is NOT a mistake! You will feel you are living a mistake if you are not living your destiny!
If you want to have maximum impact in your life then you have to allow God Almighty to have maximum impact in your life because we grow and develop on purpose through process!
There is no microwave Christianity! I am the most impatient man on the planet! Even microwaves don't do it fast enough! Every red traffic light is a demonic conspiracy to frustrate me! I want to go and arrive and get somewhere! If you are not like that then something has been stealing your guts and making you defeatist and passive! The herd mentality is just being mesmerised and trivialised! We’ve been given destiny and we focus on trivia! The Kingdom doesn't have microwave spirituality! I have people who come to me and say Rob will you pray I'll never sin again?! I say Okay I will try. I may have to ask God to kill you and take you to heaven! That's the only place you will not have those issues!
Christianity is not microwave - it is a consistent process! People say to Glenda and me: How did you get to where you are in the world? How are you influencing so many people?! Three decades of no sulking, no backsliding, no giving up, no blaming this or that, rejection or oppression! It is not the greatest talents or the greatest gifts or the greatest anointing! It is those who understand that Christianity is not microwave - it is a process!
Today is an event - this message! How you respond to this message, how you deliberately intend to make decisions of wisdom in response to this message is a process that will bring purpose and unfolding elevation and promotion in the purposes of God. The modern church has overestimated the value of event and underestimated the value of process.
People go to conferences and fill their notes and talk about the experience they had in the event. Great! Wonderful! Do it more! But that is an event and it is the process of God’s purpose for you making decisions that I am here for DESTINY and if I do not fulfil destiny I will feel like I am living as a mistake in the earth. This will explain the majority of suicides—it is not because their circumstances went down because of economic changes in the earth or the oil price went up and they faced bankruptcy. Those are circumstances.
If they talked to God about their destiny then God would lift them up in their destiny and in the following of their destiny, their circumstances would be dealt with and they would become economically empowered again. If the nations of the earth cried out to God not for their circumstances but asked God what their destiny was: the earth is the Lord's and everything in it - God what do you want done with your nations? - then this planet is so wealthy and every human being could be a billionaire! There is enough wealth in the nations for everyone to be a billionaire!
It is because of the rebellion against the King of kings and the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Everyone - you and me - can become great if we will value process more than the trivia of events.
The pure motives for living out the process is a revelation of acceptance grace. Today I am talking in the second part of a series: Attitudes that attract empowering grace. And I said last week that I am deeply disturbed by the emphasis in the church world today on empowering grace at the expense of undervaluing the foundation of acceptance grace. I am going to quickly review that.
Grace has two components:
The way into empowering grace MUST be a revelation of acceptance grace. Even if I don't raise the dead or do any great things or don't get victory over sin or get holy enough or do enough - my Father accepts me in Christ Jesus because He has given me the gift of righteousness not based on my obedience or disobedience - the righteousness I have is the permanent, stable, eternal righteousness of Jesus Christ given to me!
Eph 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us accepted in the Beloved. Rom 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family/brothers
2 Cor 3:18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit - i.e. what the Father sees in you is the glory that radiates and reflects from the face of Jesus. I said to you last week that the secret of my prayer life is simply this: I know the Holy Spirit really likes me and loves being with me because He knows that I know that He knows that I know that the Father sees Rob Rufus in the righteousness of Christ and I am in the same standing as Jesus.
Rom 8:16-17 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him - i.e. I am a joint equal heir with Christ and an heir of God and I don't have co-equal divine-ness with God and will never be! I have a co-equal righteousness with Jesus because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Now that is a process! It is not 3 months or 1 year of hearing acceptance grace. It is a process over years of getting deeper and deeper into understanding acceptance grace.
When you understand by revelation deeply acceptance grace then this will be growing fruit and will build into your life inner security, inner stability, inner sense of safety and an inner sense of significance even if you don't do anything great. In other words you don't have to do great things to feel important - you know your value is because the Father accepts you as He sees Jesus!
The fruit of acceptance grace revelation is humility - humility is inner security, no more drivenness or franticness to impress people. Inner security produces a freedom from jealousy, comparing yourself with others, looking at others salary and what others get and you don't get, you don't feel inferior or superior to anyone else because you have got inner security because you know that you are accepted! People that have to prove something all the time is a sign that they don't understand acceptance grace and have got to do things all the time by the power of empowering grace.
Now when we believe the gospel of acceptance grace then three fruit immediately grows through a process that over time produces 3 things:
Rejection (or unbelief in) of acceptance grace in Christians produces:
2. Drivenness to prove themselves.
3. Comparisons between people.
These are all signs of rejecting acceptance grace.
Unbelief in acceptance grace produces fear, rebellion (which is like the sin of witchcraft) and pride!
Acceptance grace will produce humility whereby you will humble yourselves under God's mighty hand and you will be loving and humble towards one another and God will then lift you up by His mighty hand. When God lifts you up by His mighty hand that is empowering grace!
· If God is opposing you then you can fast, bind devils and be conscious of devils and oppression all you like but they are not going away because God is resisting you.
Though the devil comes at us and wants to attack us - that is not what I am talking about. When God is resisting you – you can build alliances with men and get every denomination on the planet to support you - you are in trouble if God is resisting you!
When you humble yourself from inner security and acceptance grace then the empowering grace of God's mighty hand lifts you up in due time by process! When He lifts you up no devil in darkness can attack you successfully! No human being can stand against you all the days of your life and you become invincible with the invincibility of God! To be lifted up by His mighty hand is to have favour and influence and jurisdiction and authority! Every Christian on the planet is either in a place of being resisted by God's mighty hand or they are in a place of God's mighty hand lifting them up and it is all dependent on a posture of pride or humility.
Those that walk in humility are not caught up in the seduction of the distraction of circumstances, what's happening or difficulties - they are caught up in what their destiny is through inner security in what acceptance grace brings. Rather they are captured by a vision and destiny to fulfil.
Let's go quickly to Php 4 and I want to show you these attitudes that attract the empowering grace.
Last week I mentioned that Paul the apostle is the pre-eminent apostle that ever walked this earth except Jesus who was the Apostle of apostles. Paul wrote two thirds of the New Testament but I think most churches would kick him out if he came to preach in their churches today! He was wild. He was loving and gracious father as well. He raised people from the dead and we have accounts of it in the New Testament. He himself I think was raised from the dead because he was stoned for preaching the gospel and God raised him up. He had revelation and was caught up into the third heaven - this guy makes all of us look tame! This preeminent apostle - which speaks so loudly to the modern church which is so gripped by this hierarchical sense of ranking and ecclesiology and titles and names and positions that are driven by a misguided theology that has emphasised empowering grace instead of acceptance grace.
Paul was the champion of acceptance grace and he understood that his Father loved him and he was accepted - so he needed no titles or things to make him look important in the eyes of men because he knew that his Father loved him. Out of that acceptance grace God lifted him up and gave him empowering grace to do mighty things. But he was not conscious of his merit or his badge or his significance in the things he DID but in the REALITY of acceptance in the Father's love.
So he relates to his fellow believers - this preeminent apostle - as my brothers who I love and long for - my joy and my crown. This is how you should stand firm in the Lord Jesus - my dear friends. So his first connection with his fellow believers is brothers/sisters too. He calls them brothers.
How many of you know that all the 3.5 years that Jesus walked with His disciples He never once called them brothers. He called them friends and servants but He never referred to them as brothers. When He was crucified and raised from the dead and Mary came to Him in John 20:17- He says Mary go tell my brothers that I go to their Father and My Father - their God and My God.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’
The first time Jesus calls His disciples brothers is AFTER the finished work of the Cross and the resurrection.
In Romans 2 - Paul lays it all out. He says that the result of law is that not one is righteous. Under the law no one was righteous. They were all under the wrath and the curse of the law. Before the law came Abraham was given righteousness as a gift because of his faith. But after the law came – after Abraham, Paul said in Rom 2 that there is not one righteous person on the entire planet through trying to keep laws to be good enough to gain acceptance with God.
So they could never have been His brothers because they were under the law. But Jesus fulfilled the Law! He didn't come to remove but fulfil the Law. The Law is now fulfilled and on the Cross (Col 2 says) He abolished the Law and cancelled the written code that stood opposed to us.
Col 2:14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
Once He had cancelled the written code He could then give us His righteousness. You cannot have a gift of righteousness and be under the Law! When you behave wrong or sin wrong the Law will say you have done something wrong. If you say but I have a gift of righteousness then the Law will say you are not righteous by a gift because I say you have done something wrong!
So God had to cancel the law
Col 2:14 erasing the record / obliterating the law. He then declared you to be the righteousness of God through Jesus taking all your sin past, present and future and giving you all His righteousness and obedience as a permanent unconditional standing before the Father.
Only after the Cross and Resurrection could He say Go call: My brothers and tell them I go to My Father and their Father, My God and their God. Co-equal heirs with Christ!
Rom 8:29b ... in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family/many brothers …
Now 1st Adam was the firstborn from spiritual life to spiritual death. Everyone born into the planet was born into 1st Adam's death. Jesus Christ was the firstborn from spiritual death (because He took our death at the Cross - spiritual, soul and physical death) and He was raised from the dead by the power of God and He is the firstborn among many brothers! I don't know who was the second and third born and it doesn't matter. You are IN the firstborn!
Heb 2:11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters
I don't know if you understand this because when this came on in my heart some time ago - it has changed my entire life. I have realised that I have a brother in heaven; one of my bone, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood; I have a brother of DNA in heaven Who is the King of heaven and Who is not ashamed to call me brother! He – Jesus - was the firstborn among many brothers and His Father is my Father and His God is my God!
That has changed me on the inside!
I am so tired of these inner healing courses that have gone on for centuries in the church to deal with the Christian’s insecurity and need of self-value and self-esteem. When you realise by revelation that you are accepted and you are a brother of Jesus Christ then there is no more inferiority left or superiority left!
The next time you feel some Christian putting a superiority onto you - look them in the eye with amusement! I don't know who you think you are! Jesus is my brother! I am co-equal with Him in righteousness as an heir! I am going to judge angels throughout all eternity with my brother Jesus - not because of any good or holiness I have done but because I am accepted in the beloved!
When you have that attitude ... you see, it is not about ministry! People run about the church saying What's my ministry!? What's my ministry?! What they mean is what makes them important in the church. Ministry means service: Where do I serve Lord? What is my service in the church?
Your service may be only a small part of your destiny and your destiny could be a lot bigger than how you serve in the church but Lord where do I serve? You know that when you believe you are a servant when people treat you like a servant! Will you do that or that? Huh! Don't you know my ministry!? I am a son first! And out of my security as a son - I can minister as a servant. I said in Cape Town that they were driving me crazy! I honestly didn't know whether I was coming or going! Can you pray for me? Can you pray for me!? Don't these people understand that I need to go for a cup of coffee?! Then I realised that they are treating me like a servant! Yes I will pray. I am here to serve. Servants - no hierarchy!
I have taken four years to appoint leaders and I know I haven't demolished under God's power hierarchical thinking that somehow means that appointments mean superiority! Position! Prestige! It gets two extremes. Oh now he is superior - he is an elder and deacon so I have got to fawn and flatter him. Rubbish! He is your brother! Or the other extreme: Who do they think they are?! I don't recognise them - bunch of nothings! Rebellion! That is insecurity and jealousy!
The New Testament atmosphere is a preeminent apostle addressing fellow believers as brothers. Why? Because the preeminent apostle of all apostles - God the Son who was God from all eternity and never was anything but God and who clothed Himself in all humanity - the Man Christ Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father who is fully man - that man dimension of Him is my brother! You and me! Todd is my brother! Our other brother is Jesus! My brother Glenda! My other brother Jesus!
The next thing here levels it all: you whom I love. That word love here is this lovely Greek word: Agape. It means my beloved. Paul says
Php 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
Rom 16:9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys/beloved in the Lord.
2 Cor11:11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
i.e. God knows I love you. 2 Cor 12:15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? i.e. I will most gladly be expended for your sake.
This preeminent Apostle says to a bunch of problem people who are misbehaving: I will most gladly be expended for your sake. Something has gone wrong when leaders or Christian fellow believers see others as a duty or a burden or a responsibility.
When the worship leaders or connect group leaders or children’s group leaders start seeing it as a burden: I don't want to expend myself then something has gone wrong. Ministry is serving! It is exhausting! He didn't say: Well I am so anointed that I never feel tired and I never can expend because I have an infinite resource. No - he said expend myself. When you have expended everything out of your bank and you try to draw money they will say No!
There are times as a Christian when you get to the place where there is nothing left in the soul tank. Nothing. You did it because of a motive of acceptance grace empowering you to serve.
I have watched leaders raise up a group of people and after a while they get so frustrated and want to hurt the people. How do you see people sitting around you? Do you see them as your brothers? Do you see them as your beloved? Paul wouldn't have known every person in every church in which he was working yet his attitude was you are my beloved because you are His beloved and you are my brothers because you are His brothers. I am not superior or inferior to you. You Corinthians are getting so arrogant that you are acting like you are superior to me. It doesn't intimidate me. You are my brothers. He didn't sabotage his own ministry because he operated from an inner security.
It is only a matter of time when everyone in this room and everyone listening to this website will not be left on the planet – not one. We will all go into eternity.
Modern technology has deceived us to think we have immortality on the earth. We each of us live in a mortal body and we will die! I don't know who's going first and I am not volunteering! One of us could be gone tomorrow! (And I’m not prophesying!) I guarantee you that within 30 years most of us will be gone and within 50 years there will be not one of us left on this planet. Then everything will be weighed up as to what we have focused on - our circumstances and our difficulties or did we focus on our destiny? I am getting to a place of rewards - that doesn't contradict grace - but I want to talk about rewards in eternity.
Then he says: You who I long for. He isn't just saying I long to see you but he is saying I long for you. He is saying I have ambitions for you! You are such wonderful people and I see greatness in you! God saw Gideon and He didn't see a coward in a vine vat but a great general. When Paul saw his fellow believers he didn't see them as they were but he saw them in their full destiny in God! I have longings for you, my brothers/sisters! I have desires for you!
I have to say that I have not seen anything else attract God's empowering grace on a man or a woman's life who has longings for fellow brothers and sisters. When you have this longing - You are my brothers and my beloved and I long to see you grow more in grace; I long to see you get out of those dysfunctional patterns and insecurities and fears of rejections! I long to see the Cross of Jesus Christ have an effect that you would embrace it and not these modern Christian therapies and the latest book on self-help and self-improvement ... but come back to the simplicity of the Power of the gospel! I have longings!
Nothing thrills me more than to see people making progress. I am going to make a statement that sounds big but God knows that I am telling the truth:
I have never been part of a church like this one. I have been part of some of the most outstanding churches on the planet - two of them are very healthy churches currently. And they planted dozens of churches out of those churches. But I have never been part of a church like this one where I have seen such amazing transformations in people's lives. In just four years I have never seen such miraculous transformations in people's lives. I still shake my head and say It can't be.
Glenda and I had lunch with Rob last Tuesday and to look into his eyes and see confidence and bright eyes and I said When you first came into that service in our church - when you walked in I thought My God what are we going to do with this guy?! He said This church has raised the dead! I was walking death. You have no idea how deep in death I was. The man I am talking to today is not the man that walked in a year and a half ago. I literally could go person to person and say Wow! I look at here. You shock me! When you first came in I thought you had escaped from an asylum and you were a secret axe murderer! He used to run out of meetings because the demons in him used to make him run out! We would run out and say You are not running away! and pull him back and they would say Rob, we heard voices telling him to run and I would say So why are you bringing him to me?! Take him to your leader and His Name is Jesus!
That is the way I lead! There has been no microwave with this brother! None! We didn't do it as a church! I look at a very sane man and it is not my ministry but the ministry of a local church. That is the truth! A very intelligent man and an integrated man! A professional man bordering on genius in his intelligence! And for a year and a half that darkness that covered him was broken off him through the process because he came into a church preaching grace. Not a series on grace! Everything we preach is acceptance grace and it produces in God's people not a drivenness of insecurity and selfish ambition but suddenly they start seeing others as my brothers, my beloved, you who I long for. We had longings for him! And he has come through.
When Barry came - we met him in a real Chinese restaurant and spoke to him for about 4 hours. He talked about how he was abused in Hong Kong as a little boy and sexually abused and every kind of abuse. Not making it up! He had the scars! I could not believe one human being could go through this pain! He represents hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people! He was so angry - barking and biting at everyone, swearing and blaspheming and I think he was trying to trigger some religious reaction in Glenda and me! And we sat there and smiled and blasphemed and swore. We didn't say Don't you use those words in my presence! Don't you know I am archbishop semi-apostle?!!? We sat there and he swore and cursed and spoke about unbelievable stuff. A year and a half later I am shocked at how well adjusted he is! He is the most transformed human being I have ever witnessed in 30 years of ministry! When he talks there is no bitterness. He was street smart and now he comes and talks about other people! Brothers who he has longing for! This CCI – the local church had everything to do with his healing!
Four weeks ago I prophesied from here that God would take his story - the longest surviving man with HIV/AIDS and openly speaks about his homosexual past and now the doctors can't find any problem with his immune system. He is off the retro-viral drugs and no problems with his immune system! He is like a normal man! I prophesied that God is going to take his story around the world! God will take his story across Hong Kong!
This isn't a church where people have a sweet meeting and pop out. This is a community with integrity that are connecting!
Gal 4:19 My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,
The believers had been under law and they went back to the law and got themselves under the deception of legalistic modern day religious Christianity and Paul didn't say: well I have prayed for you and preached to you and I have exhausted myself and that is it! I will forget about you!
Paul's longings NEVER gave up!
I came to Hong Kong and God said: You do not leave any wounded behind. You don't give up on anyone until they give up on you. You don't stop loving them or seeing them as your brothers! There are people that come and go and we don't see them for months and they come back and get into all kinds of stuff. We don't stop loving them, reaching out to them and I am not just talking about me and Glenda! I mean people in this church. They will come through!
This word longed for is the most powerful word you can use in the Greek language to describe human emotions.
Php 1:7-8 It is right for me to think/feel this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion/affection of Christ Jesus - i.e. The whole church is sharing in a common inheritance with Paul - the same grace! God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
Q: Where is this supernatural love and longings come from?
I wanted to get into how this translates into rewards where Paul says: you’re my crown; you are my victory wreath! When Jesus comes again – where you are standing and how far you got will depend upon each of us are rewarded.
The Bible says a lot about rewards and it is not meant to makes us afraid or condemned but to inspire us into faith to find inner security and stability and humility that will bring an attraction of empowering grace that will enable us to care for and equip for each other so when Jesus comes again - Paul makes it very clear that what you have done for your brothers/sisters and the partnerships you have around the world, you will share in equal rewards!
Glenda and I have been going in ministry for 30 years and when you see Glenda and I as your brothers and as your beloved and as your longed for and as your joy and your crown and you are praying that we stand firm - when that is your heart do you know that when you go to heaven and we go to heaven - then everything Glenda and I have done you will share in our rewards – absolutely every equal share! Everything each one of you have done through your entire life with the right motives to honour Him - if I see you as my beloved and my joy - then everything you have done in God and born fruit in your entire life, then I will share in the rewards! We all share! Whatever we have done! Partners we are involved in!
I feel so sorry for people who are disconnected from a local church and – who they don’t have anyone they say of: you are my victory crown - the way you are standing in God and I am connected to the rewards for your maturity and stability. Isolated Christians are missing out and all they will get on that day is what they have personally done.
But you and I will share equally our collective rewards. In the Revelation letters to the 6 churches, Jesus talks about common reward and common judgement. If you are in a church that is not a grace church – you will share the common judgement on that church (even if you are a good person!)
If you are in a church that is living in the Grace of God (the the only churches Jesus rebuked in Revelation were self-righteous churches – you think you are righteous; you think you are rich! Where there is pride there is spiritual poverty and blindness. If you are part of a church where acceptance grace is the major emphasis of the gospel then you will find shared reward on that day.
When I come before Him – I want to come with so much fruit because I’m not focused on my circumstances! I don’t try to get God to make my circumstances easier. RR is in Hong Kong by destiny (not necessarily the place where his flesh longs to be!) We don’t focus on our circumstances! God will come and talk to us about our destiny! When you respond to destiny through process - not microwave - and process is by decade then our focus on destiny will mean He talks to us every single day!
Don't miss next Sunday! If you are a visitor passing through Hong Kong then download it next Sunday! Get this message! There is a misunderstood doctrine in the church today about rewards and thus many Christians don't throw themselves into grace-filled works because they don't believe it (or know about it!) The Bible teaches about rewards that are for people who obey Him and respond to His Purposes. Huge rewards! God said: we are going to continue in momentum! Stay alert about your destiny and don't let anyone rob you of your destiny! You are in destiny on this earth from God!
Never be embarrassed that you need a demon cast out of you; never be embarrassed that you need to be set free! Some marriages have problems because the spouse is actually demonised! You can go to all the marriage courses you want – but if you don’t cast that demon out – that person will still be a ‘pain’! No Christian can be possessed by a devil – but you can have demonic oppression. When you come for ministry keep in your heart that it is not so much about circumstances as it is about destiny! Prophesy destiny over the people!"