Sunday, 18 October 2009

Attitudes that Attract the Empowering Grace of God - Part 2

This sermon was preached by Rob Rufus on 27th July 2008 at City Church International in Hong Kong. I am so grateful to a new friend from Australia - Meredith - who has kindly transcribed the whole of Rob's "Attitudes that Attract the Empowering Grace of God" series!

"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!

The devil is not interested in your money. I promise you he doesn't need it and he can't spend it or want it. But he will attack your finances and he will attack your economy because he doesn't want your money - he wants to rob you of your peace.

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!

I was born for this reason - I was raised for this time and I didn't go through hell and back and difficulties, rejections and betrayals for three decades to come to this awesome town to go down in flames of bitterness and cynicism and rejection complex! This is the time to stand strong! This is your time of opportunity!

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:

(i) Acceptance Grace:

(ii) Empowering Grace - enables you to raise the dead, do miracles, signs, wonders and enables you to say no to sin. Empowering grace enables you to work hard! I worked harder than anyone else but not I but the grace of God - that is empowering grace. Wonderful! I want every part of empowering grace on my life!

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:

1. Boldness.
2. Obedience.
3. Humility.

Rejection (or unbelief in) of acceptance grace in Christians produces:
1. Fear of rejection.
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!
1 Peter 5:5b-6; "Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

· You have just seen the working of acceptance grace and empowering grace right there.

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 you are proud and insecure and jealous and driven then God has to oppose you because of self-righteousness.

· 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.
Php 4:1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

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.

Q: Why could Jesus not call them brothers before the Cross?

A: They were not born again! They were under the Law and judgement and the wrath of God!
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.

Q: Why?

A: My brothers whom I love! My beloved!

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!
Four weeks ago I prophesied that! In November this year he is going on television and meeting with the Hong Kong television with his two doctors to talk about how he is the longest survivor with HIV/AIDS in Hong Kong and what he went through and how it is Jesus who has healed him! But the greatest healing in him - that he will talk about is not the physical AIDS but the healing and liberation of his soul! That is what he is going to talk about! He will talk about it with integrity because people in this church had longings for him!

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?

A: A revelation of acceptance grace that brings you into the Father's love and He gives you affections for your brothers around you and you can say My brothers - you - my beloved! I long for you! You are my joy and my crown!

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!"

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Rob Rufus - Session 3 - Glory and Grace Conference Holland

Here is Session 3- Rob Rufus at the "Glory and Grace Conference" in Holland preached on the 4th September 2009:

“Open your Bibles please to Romans chapter 4. Isi’s ministry just makes you hungry for more of God doesn’t it? I want to talk just briefly on the gift of righteousness. Romans chapter 4 – there is so much I would love to read here, but I will just keep it brief and am going to go straight to verse 8. “Blessed is the man who’s sin the Lord will never count against him”. That was David saying that. David saw the New Covenant coming far into the future and he knew there was a covenant coming with such blessing that no one would walk around crippled by condemnation, that they would have a confidence that their sins would never be counted against them! David did not live in the fullness of that. His sins were counted against him and it was devastating even for Israel. He saw the day coming when a people would live where God would never count their sins against them. That doesn’t mean we want to run out and sin. When you are born again you have a new creation nature. How many of you want to run out and just commit adultery? It is not in your heart! I have been married nearly 34 years and my wife and I have never had physical intimacy with another human being. So we are not preaching this message of grace because we want to run around and do stupid things. If you go out of here and say “Rob is teaching that we can just go out and do whatever we like because the Lord won’t count it against us” – if you say that, then may the fleas of 10,000 camels infect your armpits.

The truth is that none of us are living a sin-free life. Anything that is not of faith is sin. So if the Lord was counting our sins against us, then we would not have the blessing of face-face intimacy. How many of you have a revelation that God is not counting your sins against you because He fully counted them against Jesus? God is not soft on sin!

The full wrath of His intense anger against sin has been FULLY satisfied at the Cross! The integrity of the High Court of heaven is satisfied – justice has been done. The desire of the Father is that we walk around with consciousness that

my Father is NOT counting my sins against me! If you break the laws of the land, then it will be held against you. If I do something stupid like go and commit adultery then my wife will count it against me! If I don’t pay my taxes then I will be in jail. But my Father in heaven will not count it against me – that constantly He simply sees me as righteous.

The Gospel is not a message of right living but a message of right believing. What do we believe? We are the righteousness of God. Right believing leads to right living. There is the obedience of faith and when we are confident He is not counting our sins against us then we want to be led by the Spirit and obey the prompting and leading of the Spirit.

You and I have died to the law. We don’t belong to the law at all but we have died to the law so we can belong to someone else – the Lord Jesus.

The idea that this grace message turns us into lazy irresponsible and self-centred Christians is a TOTAL lie.

If I wanted to live for what I want to do then I would not live in Hong Kong but in Amsterdam. Or in Australia or South Africa! Hong Kong is not my choice! There is not a day when my flesh longs to be in a country where I know the culture and the language. It is because of the leading of the Holy Spirit that we lay our lives down for the purposes of God. Following Christ is not always convenient to our flesh but when I know He is not counting my sins against me then it gives me the confidence to come in close to the Father’s hugs and my Father’s love and to not live for this life or the convenience of this temporary world but to be arrested by eternity. Though we make our mistakes and sometimes do something that aren’t consistent with the character of Christ – but we are where He is not counting our sins against us because He counted them against Jesus. We can obey Him.

Let’s look at 2 Corinthians chapter 5. A well known passage but let’s read verse 19. “That God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ – not counting men’s sins against them”. Religion is obsessed with this idea that God is always counting our sins against us. When people flew into the Twin Tower buildings or the tsunamis in Asia that killed people by the thousands – they said that is God judging because of men’s sins against them.

If there was no Cross and God was counting our sins against us – according to the perfect justice of God’s holiness and His law there would not just be a few isolated tsunamis. This entire planet would be sucked up into oblivion and into hell. When Jesus was born the angels appeared to the shepherds and said; “Goodwill to ALL men – peace on earth!”. We have come into a different time. We are not under the Old Covenant and God is not judging or counting their sins against them! God was “in Christ reconciling the world” – not just Christians!

If someone dies outside of Christ then they will be judged to the full extent of the law and be lost forever. In this time frame God is not holding men’s sins against them. You find in the Old Testament talk of “days and days” or “years” of judgement. It talks about a “day of judgement” but speaks of God pouring out His Spirit on ALL flesh in the last days. God will prove He is not holding men’s sins against them by pouring the Holy Spirit out on every human being.

The word “pour out” is a secular word in the Greek and speaks of a man saying to his girlfriend; “I love you and I want to pour out my love on you. God is not counting men’s sins against them and wants to pour out the Holy Spirit on all men.

He is going to fill the red-light district with His love and His glory. The prostitutes standing in that place will suddenly feel the love of God and KNOW that He is “not counting my sins against me”. The goodness of God will lead people to repentance.

There is only one sin that the Holy Spirit convicts us of. In John 16 Jesus said when the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. Is that true? It’s there – John 16:8, 10. In the very next verse Jesus said; “Of sin – because they do not believe on me”. There is only one sin Jesus could not die for – that is the sin of unbelief in grace. Grace is not a doctrine. It is a Person. His Name is Jesus. It is unbelief in Jesus that is the only sin He cannot die for. The second thing He said He would convict the world of is; “righteousness – because I go to the Father where you see Me no more”. What is He doing at the right hand of the Father? He is the great merciful High Priest of the New Covenant. He is mediating for us – what is He mediating? A covenant that brought the gift of righteousness.

Then He said; “Judgement – because the prince of this world has now been defeated at the Cross where He disarmed them by taking away the law”.

He is wanting to pour out His love by pouring out the Holy Spirit so on this planet sooner or later, all flesh and all peoples – all 1 billion 300 million Chinese – will have the Holy Spirit poured out on them. And that prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled yet!

What will He show them? They are not believing in grace but in religion and their own self-righteousness. He will convict them of their unbelief in grace. Some will fall to the ground in shock and awe at the arrogance of unbelief and the sin of self-righteousness. Then he will convict them that there is a righteousness not their own and the devil has been judged! Let’s look at (v21). We have heard this before but it is good to hear it over and over again. It is like climbing a spiral staircase and you keep coming to the same view over and over again but always from a higher place. Let’s read (v21); “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God”. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us.

He did not carry our sin – He BECAME our sin – so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus with a complete co-equal righteousness to Christ.

Let me ask you a simple question. How did Jesus become our sin? By sinning? No blasphemy – of course not. He became sin because He was given the free gift of first Adam’s sin and the spiritual death of first Adam that passed on to all generations. Past, present and future. He became our sin not by committing any sin. How did we become the righteousness of God? By committing righteous acts? No not by doing righteous things but by God GIVING us the free gift of the righteousness of God that is ours in Christ Jesus.

As soon as Jesus was given the free gift of our sin on the Cross – did He have to cry out and pray to God; “Curse Me with judgement, bring the curse of the law, wrath, sickness and disease on Me, disfigure My body so I will not even look like a Man anymore because the laser-like focus of Your wrath will be focused on Me”? Did He have to ask that? No He didn’t have to ask God to do that. As soon as He was made our sin, it was the automatic response of a holy God to pour that out on Jesus.

Then He went to the grave saturated in our sin. When Heaven’s high court was satisfied that justice was done He was raised from the dead with all sin obliterated and terminated and gone out of existence – He was raised for our justification! On the Day of Pentecost we were given the free gift of His righteousness.

It is based on HIS righteousness – not on your performance. It is not based on your obedience or disobedience for the next 100 years or as long as you live. It is the eternal permanent position that you have in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews chapter 10:14; “By one sacrifice you have been made perfect FOREVER”. This is not a temporary salvation. The book of Hebrews calls it “eternal” salvation. The moment you believe you are the righteousness of God in Christ – do you have to pray for the Father to bless you? Did Jesus have to pray for the Father to curse Him when He was made our sin? You don’t see in the New Testament the apostles praying for blessing. The law was given through Moses but grace and truth came through Jesus. From the fullness of His grace we have received one blessing after another.

Deuteronomy 28 says if you will fully keep and obey all the law then all these blessings will come on you. But if you do not keep the law then all these curses will overtake you. Galatians 3:13-14 shows that Christ on the Cross redeemed us from the curse of the law that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through faith.

The moment you believe that you are the righteousness of God in Christ; you do NOT need to pray for blessings to come on you. They come on you and they overtake you! What do you see the apostles praying for in the New Testament? Not bless me – bless me. Blessings come on you when you believe. They pray for revelation to come to the truth! They pray for the eyes of the church’s understanding to be opened so they can see the hope of our calling and how good the gospel is! As soon as the lights come on and you believe then the blessings of God start coming automatically over our lives. When you go back under the law, then faith begins to crush. “I am not going back under the law – the law is a yoke of bondage” – (Galatians 5:14).

Galatians 5:4; Paul says if you go back under the law to gain righteousness then you have made Christ of nothing and have fallen from grace. How do you fall from grace? By breaking the law? No – by trying to keep the law to earn favour with God. In the modern church, they say you fall from grace – you have fallen into sin. But Paul the apostle said you fall from grace when you go back under law.

It’s very different! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3 that carnal, worldly Christians are those who believe they gain righteousness through the law. The gospel isn’t good advice – it’s good news! If you are in serious debt and go to your bank manager and ask him to help you and he says “No – we are going to re-possess your house but maybe if you get three jobs and sell all your furniture and everything you have got and send your wife and children out to work and have no fun and just work 15 hours a day, 7 days a week THEN you can save your house”. That may be good advice, but it certainly isn’t good news. Imagine if you go to your bank manager and as you walk into his office, he comes running around from his desk and gives you a big hug and pops a big bottle of champagne and he says; “You know just before you came in here, someone you don’t even know came and says that he loves you totally and that he wanted to pay all your mortgage off and you don’t owe him a thing! And he did it to make you free! And then he put £10 trillion into your bank account for you to spend as you want!”. That is not good advice! That is good news!

The gospel of grace that the church has got is infinitely better than that! What breaks my heart is that most of the church don’t have a clue how GOOD it is! When they convert someone they convert them into death and misery. Let’s read one more Scripture just for the heaven of it. Colossians chapter 1. There are Scriptures in the New Testament that people say; “What about that one?! What about that?!”. I say; “Shut up!”. They are asking questions inside a question! It’s like those who went to Jesus and said; “Jesus what happens if this woman is married to a man and he dies and then she marries another and he dies and then she marries another one and they die and another and they die” … if I was Jesus (and thank God I am not) but I would have said; “Any woman who marries him is stupid!”. “So when they all get to heaven who are they married to?”. His answer? “You are wrong because you don’t know the power of God or the Scriptures. There wont be any giving or taking of marriage in heaven. Next!”. There are questions we need to ask about grace – but not questions within questions but because we want to know the truth of this freedom that we have in Christ.

My son Ryan and myself have gone through all the so-called difficult passages in the New Testament that appear to contradict grace and we have found they are very easy to answer! They actually strengthen the message of grace if we will just read them in context! We are going to put them up on our website soon – all the difficult questions answered! So the New Testament becomes a beautiful love letter to the children of God and the devil can’t take any more verses out of context and confuse.

The Reformation began just down the road in Germany and it has not finished yet. There are still traditions of men in the church and as we recover truth we are going to put those traditions to death. We are not trying to change the Bible – the Bible changes us. Remember there are people who have been reading the New Testament with the wrong lenses. These are New Covenant lenses with Old Covenant scratches on them. When I read the New Testament I will see judgement and confusion and condemnation everywhere. When God opens our heart with revelation and takes the scratches off, you can de-code the New Covenant and see how glorious it is and consistent with the finished work of the Cross. You are in Christ – when the Father said “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well please” – at that point Jesus hadn’t done any preaching or any healing. He hadn’t achieved anything but the Father was still well-pleased with Him. Now you are in Christ! The Father isn’t saying “Yes you are My beloved son or daughter but if you would just stop that and stop that and do that and do that then I will be well pleased with you”. There is only one thing that pleases the Father in the New Covenant (Hebrews 11:6) – “without faith it is impossible to please God”. What is the one sin that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of? Unbelief in grace. Unbelief in Jesus.

What does Galatians 3:12 say? The law is not based on faith. How does the Father see you and me all the time?

Let’s look at Colossians 1:22; “But now He has reconciled you through Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight without blemish and free from accusation”. So the Bible is saying here that in God’s sight (and may not be in other people’s sight – the Bible says that we should not look after each other in the flesh anymore but in the spirit) He sees you as holy, without blemish and free from accusation because of what Jesus did on the Cross! Chapter 2:6; “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him”. How did you receive Him? Grace through faith – so how do you continue to live in Him? Grace through faith!

People say “Well you got saved by grace through faith but now you need to be sanctified by coming back under the law!”. No – it says just as you received Christ so continue to walk in Him. Right believing – not trying to be right living! The sanctification is a fruit of a changed life that believes this message and gets into the Presence and glory of God and God begins to change him. He changes our heart first. Some Christian behaviour embarrasses some people but the Father isn’t trying to say “Stop that! Stop that!”. He wants them to believe this message so He can change their hearts and as they believe this message then the weird behaviour will get less and less until it falls away. I know you know this – but God wants it really in our hearts and He says “Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty philosophy”. “For in Christ all the fullness of the deity live”. Then let’s read from verse 13. “When you were dead … He forgave us all our sins”. He circumcised our old nature – where did we get that old nature from? First Adam! What was Adam’s sin? Was it pornography or adultery? No – it was unbelief in the goodness of God because God said “I have made you in My image and likeness” and Satan said if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then you can become “like God”.

He was already in the image and likeness of God – so he had unbelief in the truth of God’s goodness and tried to develop self-righteousness apart from God! When you were born again it was because the Holy Spirit convicted you of that unbelief in grace and He circumcised your heart. We don’t have a sinful nature and a righteousness nature! That old nature has been cut away! Under the Old Covenant you had physical circumcision. I am not trying to be crude – but it was a snip on the tip and then they threw the tip away. They didn’t try to stick it back on again with Bos-Stick or glue! So when your old nature is cut away it is thrown away!

So you do not have a sinning nature on the inside of you! You have a new creation nature that wants to believe in the goodness of God! It doesn’t want to run out and do terrible things! Yes you still have appetites in your physical body and memories in your mind. Some of our appetites want to do wrong things and it is not coming from the old nature but memories of the flesh.

But as Isi preached – our bodies were made for pleasure! The word “Eden” in Hebrew means “pleasure” – the “place of pleasure”! God wanted Adam and Eve to enjoy the most amazing pleasure with God and each other there! So as we walk in the goodness of God, little by little some of the old appetites and memories will start changing if we stay in the flow of grace. The religious world tries to force artificial change on people. It is behaviour modification principles so we all look good on the outside but there is still frustration and desires to do wrong. God wants us to live in joy!

In a grace church, some of our mistakes and failures and short-comings will come out in the open. We are no longer ashamed and hiding in the dark! The religious world says “Look what grace did!”. But go and look in law churches – there is a LOT of sinning going on! But it is all done in secret. The Bible says that the law stirs up sin. In a grace church people feel safe when they make mistakes. They are not attacked and jumped on. People can help them and support them and walk them through their moral failures and restore them.

This is good news! It says that He forgave us all our sins. ALL. There are no sins left over that aren’t forgiven. When did He forgive your sins? 2000 years ago on the Cross.

Before you had even sinned, they were all already forgiven. Before you had faith for forgiveness – you were forgiven!

So that day that you confessed and said “Jesus I am a sinner and I confess that You are my Lord and I believe in grace and I turn to You Jesus and turn away from self-righteousness and turn to You Lord” – on THAT day you received the BENEFIT of all your sins forgiven. You don’t get your forgiveness in instalments. I make a mistake and sin as a Christian and you say “I’m sorry! I’m really, really sorry!”. “Okay it’s forgiven!”. No! It says ALL were forgiven here at the Cross 2,000 years ago! Should a Christian say “I’m sorry Lord” if you sin? I think you should. BUT! It’s not to get your fellowship back or your intimacy back – it is just honesty! You are still the righteousness of God by a free gift. Just as Jesus never became our sin by sinning but by the free gift of our sin.

Let’s read this last verse here and then I will close. (v14); “He took it away nailing it to the Cross, having disarmed … triumphing over them by the Cross”. Who wrote the 10 Commandments? God with His finger! 2 Corinthians 3:7 said that the ministry of death that was written on tablets of stone that brought condemnation came with glory – fading though it was. The ministry that brings righteousness brings unfading glory. There is a ministry of death that the Bible says stood opposed to us and was against us and was killing us. Through the Law I died to the law! The law killed us! It has no more claim over us! At the Cross He cancelled the law! He is the One who wrote it! He doesn’t want you under it! The whole point of the blood and guts of the Cross was to cancel the law and by cancelling the law God triumphed over the powers and authorities and disarmed them! So to preach the Law to the Church is to re-arm powers and authorities!

Let me ask you this question – if God cancelled the Law and we preach to the Church something God has cancelled then the Holy Spirit will not empower you to preach something that God has cancelled! So what spirit comes on ministries who preach the law to the church? It is not the Holy Spirit! What spirit? Galatians 3:1 – it is the spirit of witchcraft.

“Who has bewitched you?”. It is a bewitching spirit. This law/religious thing is not a small issue. It is a big issue! We should make it a big issue! The religious world doesn’t want us to make it a big issue because they have the leverage of the law to beat people up and control people. Jesus said “My yoke is easy and My burden is light – come unto Me all ye who are heavy laden with law and legalism”. As we walk and live in the Holy Spirit we will become more like Jesus, love one another like never under the law! The 10 Commandments say “Love the Lord your God!”. The New Covenant says “We love Him because He first loved us!”. If you try to love God then you will just come under the Law again! The religious spirit says you don’t love God very much! You wouldn’t do that if you really loved God! Let Him love you! The disciple “whom Jesus loved” at the Last Supper leant on the chest of Jesus! Why was he so close? “I am the one He loves!”. Peter was about five men down the table and he was saying; “What’s He saying?!”. When you know you are the one He loves then people will come and say “What’s He saying?”. “He is saying – He is not counting your sins against you!”. John was the last disciple with Him at the Cross. Peter was like many modern Christians and will prove how much he loved Christ. “You will be sifted like wheat and be taken out”.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Rob Rufus - Session 1 - Glory and Grace Holland

It is to my everlasting regret that the closest Rob and Glenda Rufus came to the United Kingdom this year was Holland. Thanks to swine flu and the resulting demands on my job - I simply wasn't able to get the time off to fly the short distance to experience the Glory and Grace Conference. I will have to live in hope that happens next year! I need a Glory and Grace conference very soon! I am so grateful to Mp3s - the second best thing.

Here's the transcript!

"Well Holland Glory and Grace! It is such a joy and a privilege to be here! We have had two or three days in Amsterdam which was a great delight. I don’t like shopping much – but an anointing to shop came on me in Amsterdam! This is one of the manifestations! My wife brought nothing! That is one of the biggest signs and wonders I have ever seen! I want to thank you for hosting this conference. You have a reputation of doing everything well with excellence. Thank you for having us. The whole of the church too. It is our joy to speak to people from different countries as well.

I do want to say to the people of Holland that as we were praying last night, we really sensed that God wants to increase His Presence and power in this land. We felt right across to Eastern Europe including Russia; a move of the Spirit established in the Netherlands will go right through to Eastern Europe. We are trusting this time will light even more fires and that we will be partners together in this move of the Spirit across the land.

I want to honour and welcome my daughter Bonnie who I am very proud of. This has been a great and very challenging year. We have seen cripples walk; we have seen teams moving into China, seeing many people saved in the towns and rural areas of China. We have a team of 11 people from our church preaching the gospel in China. They have seen communist government officials saved when they see the miracles.

We had a lady wheeled into our church 2months ago in a wheelchair and I thought “I hope I get a chance to pray for her!” because our people believe that they are in Christ and can do the works that Jesus did. I am getting out of practice! They just get in before me! They are very rude and pray for the people before I can get the chance! At the end of the service I was heading for the back of the church, before I got there this lady was up and walking! Some of the church had prayed for her.

The next week this lady – a Chinese lady – came walking into the service next week. She had been in a wheelchair crippled for 20 years. God is doing some wonderful things in our days! We have had two Glory and Grace conferences this year already – one in Hong Kong and one in South Africa. We have seen amazing hunger in God’s people. So what I have come to realise is that God uses anybody! He really likes using those who know they are weak. Paul the apostle said we can boast in two things – our weakness and God’s strength! God doesn’t need our strength! He is incredibly strong! All our strength is flesh! This flesh can’t make people come out of wheelchairs or change people’s lives.

When we are weak – then the Holy Spirit moves in power and does great miracles, transforms lives!

I think we will be laying hands on people in some of the meetings but don’t wait for human hands! The greatest miracle can happen in your chair as God does what He wants! How many believe that God has more power to reveal in His church today?

There are four things that will establish a move of the Spirit at a deeper level in our churches:

1. We need to preach the gospel of grace that Paul preached – it liberates God’s people.

2. We must have a desperate hunger for more of God’s glory Presence.

3. We mustn’t be afraid of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

4. We must not be afraid of what man says – especially religious men! We must not be afraid of the rejection!

They rejected Jesus and hated Him, they hated Paul! This message of grace is the thing that the devil fears the most. Religious people fear this message the most! I don’t fully understand it! When religious people hear that the gospel means that you are free from the law of Moses, completely free and only under grace – it frightens them! But Paul the apostle said when he was under the law, he said he was a violent man!

People under law are violent – they have murderous attitudes. All religion that is legalistic, performance-based makes very unhappy, angry, violent people. Paul said according to the law – he had legalistic righteousness. He said it was faultless! But he said he considered that legalistic faultless righteousness as rubbish. The Greek is a stronger word – “dung”. Something that stinks! When someone is legalistic, they like to tick off boxes as to what they did not or did do. “You must be pleased with me God”. He says; “It stinks”. Paul said “I want to be found in Christ having a righteousness that is by faith in Christ and is apart from the law – that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and share in the fellowship of His suffering”.

I don’t understand how people can mix law and grace together! Under the law – the law curses you. The Bible says it is a “ministry of death”. It kills you. Under grace – we are redeemed from the curse of the law! The blessing given to Abraham is given to us freely! The law makes you conscious of your sin, grace makes you conscious that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! Under law God says “I will by no means forget your sins”.

Under the law God forgives your sins through the blood of bulls and of goats – but He doesn’t forget them. Under grace God says “I will by no means remember your sins and your lawless deeds”. Under law God demands a perfect righteousness by our performance. Under grace God provides His perfect gift of righteousness through His Son. The law says “Do – do – do!”. Grace says “It’s done!”. The law is a revelation of how wrong you are with God. Grace is a revelation of how right you are through Christ.

I know this is very simple! But the Church has made it very complicated. You are either under law or under grace. You can’t mix these two together. They are impossible to mix together! The law is so radical – if you fail in one area then the Bible says you are guilty of failing in every area. You must pluck your eyes out, cut your hands off, stone your children even! That is extreme! Under law people stand outside abortion clinics and shoot the doctors. They feel they are right in doing that! I do not believe in abortion – I know it is killing children! I don’t like it! But under law they say you must kill those who break the law and stone them. Under grace, it says you must love your enemies. The grace of God is so extreme! Right across the church world there is no argument about the definition of grace. There is no conflict! Almost every Christian will agree that grace is “God’s unmerited favour to you, that grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense, that grace is God doing good things for us when we don’t deserve it, that grace is God’s empowerment on our lives”. Most of the church world agrees with that. The real problem comes trying to convince Christians that if you are in Christ the only way God relates to you is always and totally through grace and grace alone! That is where the fight comes!

There are two glories – there is an Old Covenant fading glory and a New Covenant ever-increasing glory! The Old Covenant glory is God’s view and opinion of you through the law. When God sees you through the law, all He sees is sin and man coming short. He must bring judgement and walk away. Under the New Covenant God sees you only through grace and grace alone. When He sees you through grace He sees you continually and permanently in Christ’s righteousness and can keep blessing you and causing His glory to come on you. Romans 5:21 says “grace reigns through the GIFT of righteousness”. Isn’t this good news?! It is so good! We have mixed law and grace together for centuries. There is a generation of believers rising in the earth – NO more mixture, NO more condemning cocktail that has confused and crippled us with condemnation, NO more fading glory! We are a generation of the EVER-INCREASING glory!

Some of the greatest insights into the New Covenant are seen when you read the Old Testament prophets. They see a day when the New Testament is coming. In Isaiah 61 he is announcing the New Covenant coming! Under law there is only mourning and sack cloth and ashes – because it is only gloom and doom and judgement. Under grace there is joy and freedom and that is why Isaiah says “The Spirit of the Lord is on me to preach freedom to the prisoners – to bring the oil of joy instead of mourning – beauty for ashes!”.

When I was a university student, I worked as a volunteer in insane asylums. I thought I was going insane! Many of the people in insane asylums have got a religious background and they are so depressed and so confused because there is a condemnation from the law that destroys the human being psychologically! God never wanted to bring the law! He came to Abraham and said; “Abraham – I will bless you! I will make your name great! I will make you a blessing in the earth! All nations will be blessed through you!”. Abraham didn’t have the law of Moses! The law was coming 430 years in the future! Abraham was an Iraqi sinner! He had done nothing good – he had no faith in God! He wasn’t behaving morally! God said “I will bless you! I will make you a blessing in all nations”. And Abraham said … “Okay!”. He hadn’t been to church or been taught the law – that you have to earn and deserve! He just believed that God wanted to bless him – and God credited that to him as righteousness. But God didn’t offer him righteousness! He offered to BLESS Abraham and Abraham believed it! God said “That faith in My goodness declares you righteous”.

Who are the seed of Abraham? The people of faith? The people that believe God wants to bless you out of His own goodness – THEY are declared righteous!

God brought 400 years after Abraham – because of Abraham’s covenant and they went through the Red Sea and were blessed and blessed, yet they complained and complained – but still God didn’t kill or judge them! Finally God said; “Because of your unbelief in My goodness – I will give you something that is NOT based on faith in My goodness. I will give you the Law”.

(Galatians 3:12) says the Law is not based on faith. (Hebrews 11:6) says without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. The Law is based on something that is IMPOSSIBLE to please God – the Law is based on a faith on me being good enough to earn the blessing.

Hebrews chapter 10 said God did not want to bring sin offerings or the Temple system – but the Law required it. On the day that the law came on Mount Sinai – what was the name of the religious day? The Day of Pentecost. 50 days after the Passover meal in Egypt. That was the day the law was introduced. On that day 3000 people were put to death by the wrath of God. The law had no power to make them holy and they were already worshipping a golden calf. When the Law arrived they were committing adultery and 3000 were put to death by the wrath of God. The law is based on man’s human effort, self-righteousness, human arrogance, the Law is there to show you and me that we can never get the blessings through us earning it. 1500 years later there was another day of Pentecost. 50 days after the Passover lamb had died on the Cross. At the Cross He cancelled the law and took it away. 50 days after that Passover lamb died, there was another Pentecost. The people in that city had done something worse than a golden calf – they had crucified the Lord of Glory! But on that day 3000 were saved!

Why would anyone want to live under law? On that day they walked out completely drunk! People were amazed! They said these men were drunk with new wine! Psalm 2 says God laughs at those who thinks they can advance against His anointed! Hebrews 1:8 says that Jesus is anointed with the oil of joy above anyone else in heaven. The Bible says the Holy Spirit is called the new wine. So – we have a trinity. A Father sitting on a throne laughing from His belly at the devil thinking he can destroy the church. Jesus at His right hand is full of more joy than any other creature in heaven! He is the uncreated eternal God by the way! The Father laughing, Jesus anointed with the oil of joy above His fellows and the Holy Spirit – powerful, intoxicating new wine and then you have the church in the earth. Conservative. Formal. “Have you prayed 5 hours today?! How much have you read your Bible?! Have you confessed your sins?!”. Depressed with an epidemic of melchnolia. Some people think the Trinity says “This isn’t right – look at the Church and how sad they are!”. We should become like them. The Trinity says “Let’s stop all this joy in heaven and laughter and angels from being happy. Stop all the joy when a sinner gets saved. When anyone gets saved we want depressed angels”. Because one day all these depressed Christians and grumpy brothers and sisters will come to heaven and if they see all this joy then they will be in hell, uncomfortable and not at home! Does the Trinity say that?! The Trinity says “NO! Let’s make as in heaven – on earth!”. Let Your Kingdom come to earth! Let Your will be done on earth as in heaven! Let’s let them know that Our joy is their strength! Let the fruit of the Holy Spirit be love, joy and peace!

The Kingdom of heaven is not food and drink but a matter of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Let them see that a merry heart does good, like medicine! Let sorrow and sighing flee away! Let God arise – let Zion be the joy of the whole earth! When we get there Jesus will say “Well good and faithful servant – enter into the JOY!”. He will not say “Enter into the depression of the Lord!”.

There is another thing God is doing in the earth – not only is He pouring out joy but ecstasy! Blessing!

You say “But Jesus was a Man of Sorrows”. What is the Man of Sorrows? That is Isaiah 53 – when He was on the Cross, carrying our sorrows and our pain and our suffering and our punishment so we can carry His joy, His freedom, His happiness! He is no longer a Man of Sorrows but the happiest Man on earth and heaven!

The other thing the Holy Spirit is doing is He is pouring out FIRE on the church. It is the fire of His jealous love. This fire is burning out of us – everything that loves something else more than Jesus. The Law says “Stop that – stop that”. It doesn’t help because Christians just carry on! When the fire of God’s love burns in us, it fills us with an awareness of how much He loves us and how glorious He is – it is supernatural!

It just burns out that which will steal our love away from Jesus. And the revelation of grace and the revelation of joy and freedom – there is a fire that is capturing our hearts with a passionate love for Jesus and a love for Him above everything else. In that is coming signs, wonders and miracles and healing filling us with drunkenness – bliss – ecstasy (not the drug but the same effect!).

Why do all these young people want to take ecstasy? I don’t blame them! So much of the Church is depressed so they have got to take something! But imagine when they see us in the supernatural joy!

Not Mount Sinai Pentecost where God is killing people because of the law but Pentecost in Mount Zion where God is saving sinners and the Church is drunk with ecstasy from heaven!

People will give up their ecstasy drugs for something much better! In this conference the wind of God is going to blow. He is blowing here tonight already! He will blow with the winds of the Spirit over all of our lives. In the winds of God we are going to smell the perfumes of heaven and the spices of the anointing among us! We are literally going to smell vanilla! Myrrh! These are the spices!

Exodus 30 is the ingredient of the anointing. It is literally going to drip from us!

Our cups are going to overflow and when it overflows it will splash on people around you! They may be sitting here like this saying “I am not going to get drunk – don’t give me that ecstasy or happiness! My grandfather was depressed, my father was depressed and I am going to keep the tradition of the family!”. Even though God is laughing His head off! Jesus is anointed with joy in heaven! The Holy Spirit is called the new wine. “It’s disgusting this happiness! I am going to keep the family tradition! I wouldn’t do that ‘joy’ stuff even if you paid me!”. Listen – when the Holy Spirit touches you, you will do it without being paid! As you come into overflow you are going to splash on people around you. You are going to splash on people in the streets, in your homes, hotels!

Fini and Isi were walking in Australia some time ago and had been in a meeting where the joy of heaven had broken loose. They were walking through the streets of Adelaide a few weeks later and walked past a young Australian woman. As they came in shadow contact, these unsaved, non-Christian, un-churched women fell under the power of the Holy Spirit totally drunk! There are coming signs and wonders that will break out in the streets! On the Day of Pentecost it was their drunkenness and the sound of heaven breaking into the earth that attracted the crowd and the people said “What is this?”. Peter’s sermon was “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel”.

Evangelism is not going to be knocking on doors and saying “Can I preach to you?”. No! Shut and close the door! Evangelism is going to be because the unsaved people SEE the joy and the Presence of God and the fire of God in US!

I was also walking through a place in Australia and there was a street cafĂ© and someone called me over. I leant over the table and looked at the people. I was under such a heavy anointing. They were normal and then suddenly they were all covered in gold, oil dripping off them. They fell off the coffee table drunk in the street! People walking by saw them drunk in the street and I was able to say, “Don’t worry they are not drunk as ye suppose” and then was able to share the Gospel with them. Signs and wonders! Religion has been a people thinking “It is so hard to get a goat from our Father!”. In the parable of the prodigal son, the man had been with prostitutes and spent all his father’s inheritance! He came home and his father ran to him and kissed him on the neck and gave him a ring, shoes, a robe, party, a fatted calf. There was singing and dancing and happiness because there had been grace! The older brother had been working very hard doing everything right and said “I come into this place with singing and dancing and you give him a fatted calf and he has been with prostitutes and I have worked so hard for you and you didn’t even give me a goat!”. The father said “Son - everything I have is yours”. You are a son!

The New Covenant says this in Ephesians 2 and Romans 6; “If you are in Christ then you were co-crucified and co-buried”. God does not live within time. God doesn’t live limited to time. God created time and God lives in the glory. He lives in the eternal now. So you are already crucified with Christ! It has happened already! You have been buried with Christ, ascended, glorified and co-seated with Christ in the heavenly realms.

You are a co-equal heir with Christ and an heir of God! This has already happened! You start the Christian race at the finishing line as a WINNER!

This has all happened already. If you were going to play cricket for Holland and you knew you were guaranteed to win. How would you play? If you knew it was impossible to lose, that in the mind of God you have already won! Every ball that came your way – you would go for it! You would play! How would you play football? You would play with reckless confidence! People that think God is judging them and God is putting condemnation on them – Jesus said they take their talents and they bury it. They are so cautious – they think God is a hard taskmaster. Those that know God is good and we are guaranteed to win, they take their talents and take risks and multiply!

The New Covenant is superior to the Old Covenant! It has a superior mediator – Jesus. God took an oath in Isaiah to NEVER be angry with you or me again! He said “I take an oath, as surely as I took an oath with Noah’s flood – that the world will never be destroyed with a global flood – so I declare I will never be angry with you again, I will never withdraw My covenant of peace with you. I will establish you in My righteousness and you will have nothing to fear! Terror will be far from you! No weapon formed against you will succeed for your righteousness is from Me!”.

Your Father is the umpire of the game of life. The referee! The devil is bowling! Every ball you want to hit right out of the ground. You miss! The wicket breaks. The Holy Spirit puts the wicket back up! Jesus said “Not out!”. The Father says to the devil “Bowl again” and you swing and swing until you hit the ball out of the ground. Father is not umpiring the game by religious rules and regulations. He is umpiring the game by the finished work of the Cross. We just step out and swing the bat and we take risks over and over again until we win because we are guaranteed to win.

This is what righteousness means as a gift. You are as righteous in the Father’s eyes as Jesus because you have been given His gift of righteousness, completely apart from the Law! And there is no possibility that the Law can come back over your life because Colossians 2:14 God CANCELLED the Law and disarmed the powers and authorities at the Cross! So the devil can no longer accuse you because the law has gone. Now you are under grace and you are as close to the Father as Jesus is. In John 17 Jesus prayed, regarding all of us, “Father – may they be one just as We are one”. The Bible says in 1 John 4:17 “As He is, so are we in this world”. When I want to know what my relationship with the Father is like, I don’t look at me; I am finished with that inward looking stuff – if you spend all your time looking inwards, then you will get very depressed!

Corrie Ten Boom in Amsterdam said “If I look at myself I am depressed, if I look at the world I am unimpressed but if I look at Jesus I am so impressed!”. Even David under the Old Covenant said; “Search me O Lord and lead me in the paths of righteousness”. You don’t search yourself. In the New Covenant when the Holy Spirit is searching you, He is telling you as the Comforter; “Grace – grace – you are righteous! The Law has gone!”. If I want to know my relationship with the Father, I look at Jesus relationship with the Father because I am in Christ. Under the Law God made a covenant with man and said “If you do the law then I will bless you, but if you don’t do the law I will curse you. If you break one part of the law then you are guilty of breaking it all”.

Under the New Covenant God said; “I love you so much – I am not going to make a covenant with you. I will cut a covenant with My Son – outside of you – I will cut it with My Son at the Cross and then I will include you in Him”. So His standing before Me will be your standing before Me. It is within the infallibility of the Trinity. For you to fall from favour with the Father, Jesus would have to sin. Because you are in Him. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus ALL the time.

Rob, what happens when I make a mistake or sin? You are STILL the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus not under the law. I don’t want to sin and I know you don’t want to sin but the Law will not help you get victory over sin! Living in the victory of grace will bring you into true victory!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Box FULL of Glory!!

It was a thrill to come home from work today and find the postman had delivered a box full of Rob Rufus's latest book; "Invading the Impossible!" - direct from Hong Kong!

As with Ryan's two books - if you live in the United Kingdom and would like to get hold of one of these three awesome books then please do drop me an email and I would be thrilled to ship one or any of them to you.

The "Invading the Impossible" series was a particularly significant and life-changing series for me. Rob preached it in the early part of 2008 at City Church International and it was put into book format. Rob Rufus deals with these issues in this book:

1. Enjoying the Benefits of the Resurrection Power of Jesus.

2. The Designer's Original.

3. The Revolution has Begun - Overthrowing the Spirit of Control!

4. Lifting the Limitations - a Mirror Mentality vs a Window View.

5. No Regrets!

6. Dealing with Disappointment.

7. Authority to Invade.

8. Invading by Reigning.

9. Let God Impress You - (a powerful prophecy to Rob).

I can't urge you enough! Read this book! Listen to the sermon series! It is dangerous!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Attitudes that Attract the Empowering Grace of God - Part 1

This sermon was preached by Rob Rufus on Sunday 20th July 2008 at City Church International in Hong Kong. I am so grateful to a new friend from Australia - Meredith - who has kindly transcribed the whole of Rob's "Attitudes that Attract the Empowering Grace of God" series! I am thrilled to be able to use this monumental series to kick-start the transcribing on this blog again. Enjoy!

"I have a sheer joy of being together with you today in Your Presence, God – in Your Covenant Keeping faithfulness. If You are with us – who can be against us! Nothing can separate us from Your Love! Through us gathered here – Your AMEN is spoken for ALL Your Yeses are Yes and Amen – O God!"

Recap of Word and Spirit Conference (WSC) in South Africa: testimony re Johnny praying a blessing in Cantonese

Something was birthed in South Africa with leaders from different denominations coming together as one.

The teaching of Michael Eaton has moved us into something new. Word and Spirit Conference was a time of breaking through legalistic churches. It is not the revolutionary’s fault but the leaders of 30 years ago who had the political power to change the church but chose not to use it according to God’s leading. They held onto political and leadership positions and oppressed the people of God.

When Jesus came there had been 300-400 years of religious oppression – there was no other option but for Him to be a Revolutionary and break people out of bondages and religious oppression.

Now there is a Grace Revolution taking place on the earth and you can’t make it a sweet tame little renewal. This one is wild, passionate and not for the faint-hearted. It is not for the insecure – it is for those who love Jesus with all their hearts; who love the lost and who love the church and who want to see a new generation come through in a revival culture.

Introduction to the Series - Attitudes that Attract the Empowering Grace of God.

If you have the empowering grace of God operating in your life – you’ve got IT happening for you! God is urging us to not just settle for something that’s god – He wants us to go for the BEST because the good can become the enemy of the best! God’s got far more for the church.

When you are regularly raising the dead and seeing blind eyes open - when this is happening and the whole of Hong Kong is aware that City Church International is a Book of Acts church then HK will see that traditional denominational churches have not been making people aware of the authority and authenticity of the Kingdom of God.

But when a Book of Acts church appears – CCI hopes to be amongst the many because we love God’s church. The Book of Acts church is one where people are healed because our very shadows are healing people and then all 7 million people in HK will know that there is a Kingdom of Heaven that is not an optional extra – it is the ONLY Government of God’s Peace and the Kingdom of God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ – Amen!

So we must not settle for the good when we know there is MORE. When we have all the empowering grace operating in our lives – those things will begin to take place. Right now we have empowering grace and we’re grateful – we’re excited about the healings we’ve witnessed however, we believe there is more – much, much more! Our desire is not for less to be healed but for MORE ... We want to see each member of this church seeing people set free and saved.

We look at that awesome church in Acts 5 – but the key we have to see is in Acts 4:33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Rob Rufus does not know of one church in the world where each single person in the congregation is carrying GREAT GRACE on them! May the blessing of GREAT GRACE be upon you ALL in CCI! (Some of you would be even louder than me and more assertive than I am!!) GREAT GRACE to preach the gospel with liberty and joy!

Exploring the attitudes that attract empowering grace does not mean working or earning or deserving GREAT GRACE! That would be a contradiction in terms – you can never earn or deserve of work for the empowering grace of God!

These attitudes are not something you work on – they are fruit OR the result of you gaining revelation of you gaining acceptance grace. The more you understand you are accepted IN the Beloved: IN Christ Jesus – the more you understand you are made perfect forever ...
Heb 10: 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us accepted us in the Beloved.

God accepts us in the same love, honour and respect as He does Jesus – for we are co-heirs with Christ and an heir of God ... that’s acceptance grace! We are not co-equal with Jesus but we have a co-equal righteousness with Him which makes us a co-heir with Christ Jesus and an heir of God!

When you have more understanding of acceptance grace – that there is NO disapproval from the Father: no possibility of rejection from Father: that the foundation of your acceptance is NOT your fluctuating performance or obedience – bit it is ALWAYS the perfect obedience of Jesus on my behalf: that is where I stand in the Father’s Eyes.

When that acceptance grace builds into your inner life a strong healthy sense of security and an inner sense of safety is it from that place of humility and safety – you can build attitudes that attract the empowering grace: for you to have more victory over circumstances, life’s attacks and difficulties and to operate as a partner with God—doing the works that Jesus did and greater miracles even!

Comment on the South African experience:
In all the meetings with leaders this was the most commonly asked question ...
Q: Rob - tell us how your prayer-life works!

People want to know that what you produce in the public has something to do with your private life. Artificial religion is form a people who are so embarrassed in public ministry because they know they have NO substance in their private prayer life and interaction with God. Such leaders are caught out as fraudulent when they are asked to pray or do something ... listeners can hear that there is no connection between them and God.

A: The Holy Spirit and I have a very simple and uncomplicated relationship: this is how it goes ... He really likes me!

He really, really loves being with me (and me with Him!) – therefore, all I have to do is get up in the morning and invite Holy Spirit to Come! And there is an immediate manifestation of His Presence – therefore I don’t pray to get the Presence – I pray IN the Presence.

Folks! It is very hard talking to Someone Who is not Present! They don’t have to answer you back because they are not present! You can’t hear God unless He comes in manifested Presence! As soon as Holy Spirit manifests His Presence – you have access to the Father in a tangible way – and now you are talking with the Trinity – as a Reality! This is Authentic! You may then move on to do other things in your day – and all day there is an awareness that He really likes me and really wants to be with me!

Q: Do you know why this works?
A: The Holy Spirit knows that I know, that I know the Holy Spirit know that I know, that He know that I know that the Father accepts me the way He accepts Jesus – because He’s placed me INTO Jesus: that’s why Holy Spirit like me and He loves being with me!

When you believe that acceptance grace, that’s when empowering grace comes upon you!

I am concerned about the emphasis in churches on empowering grace to the exclusion of acceptance grace. If you don’t build empowering grace on the foundation of acceptance grace: when you over-emphasise empowering grace to do mighty things and to overcome sin all the time – that emphasis allows the devil to bring the law up and disguise the bondage of the law in the appearance of grace that takes them into self-righteousness and makes them very insecure on the inside.

When they don’t feel safe on the inside they then begin to live in jealous insecurity comparing themselves with others and feeling inferior – rather than knowing God’s acceptance grace. When you believe the gospel of grace – the first thing you understand and should understand and should be made clear to you – is not the empowerment—it should be the acceptance!

When you believe the gospel of grace – that faith in the gospel of grace will produce 3 spontaneous fruit that will come out of your life: when you truly, truly believe – the gospel of grace is acceptance on your life – these 3 fruit immediately and spontaneously grow and develop:

(i) boldness;

(ii) obedience;

(iii) humility.

Re obedience: obedience of faith – Holy Spirit tells you to do something – you do it! Either you do it because it is a good thing to do OR you stop doing something that is not a good thing to do. When you have obedience you have grace ... Please note: no-one is obeying perfectly yet! But the fruit is there ...

Q: What is humility?

A: It is not gained through apology and self-deprecation. Humility is the revelation of grace that fills your inner life with security: with such a sense of significance: validated by God’s Love for me ... therefore I am significant, secure and valuable—I don’t have to prove anything! I don’t have to boast or compete with people or be jealous because I feel so significant and safe and secure because I am accepted in the Beloved.

The 3 fruit (i) boldness; (ii) obedience; (iii) humility simply flow out of simply believing the message of grace.

Now for those Christians who are in unbelief (and there are many unbelieving Christians!) The majority of Christians in the church-world today are unbelieving believers. They do not walk around with boldness, obedience and/or humility ... and with empowering grace on them. They walk around with condemnation, insecurities, jealousies, fear and they can’t worship God extravagantly.

The fruit of unbelief is fear, rebellion and pride. When you don’t believe you are accepted in the Beloved – you fear rejection from God and man and so you will try to do everything to get people to like you – even if it includes NOT obeying God!

Thus you will go the way of secular religious humanism; you’ll do what man wants because you are so insecure; you don’t believe the gospel ... you want man to love you so you become a man-pleaser and you are easily manipulated off your destiny!

Jesus did only what He saw His Father do – because He knew His Father loved Him and He was secure in His Father’s Love.

The fruit of not believing the acceptance grace gospel is fear, rebellion and pride.

1 Peter 5:5b-7 ... all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.

Here we have a God with a Mighty Hand: when you humble yourself under that Mighty Hand – He lifts you up ... now when a Mighty Hand lifts you up you will have influence over nations – your home – your marriage ... ! Children will come into order and security – you will have freedom and influence in your jurisdiction ... When God lifts you up – that’s empowering grace!

But when God resists/opposes you – it doesn’t matter if you have an army backing you or you have the wealthiest people on your side – if God is opposing you ... you are in trouble!

But if God is lifting you up by His Mighty Hand – it doesn’t matter how many human beings are against you – you are going to succeed in your destiny. You are going to leave footprints in the sand of human history. You are going to change nations – you will have an effect on the way history is going to unfold. You will be the ambassadors of God: ambassadors of the highest Government in the universe—authorised to activate the Power of the Kingdom in the earth and have influence.

But we need to remember that we don’t have the luxury of letting our grumpy moods go where they want to! We don’t have the luxury of having a little tantrum now and then ... instead of ‘deserving a depression’ ‘deserve yourself’ the blessing of grace to refresh you! When you go down the depression track for a few days it takes a whole lot longer to get out!

I know there are some Christians who are so into this warfare stuff! ... Somewhere in all their activities of fighting devils they have lost the Gospel – they’ve lost the gospel of grace; they’ve lost sight of the fact that God is ruling the earth with a Sovereign Authority! They’ve focused on devils etc and yet it was at the Cross that they were disarmed! Jesus disarmed all powers and authorities!

The Christians who worldwide live under this thing of focus on spiritual warfare rather than focus on the completed works of the Cross are those who (i) do not believe the acceptance gospel of Grace; (ii) who do not find their inner security and safety and confidence that produces the three fruit from believing acceptance grace; (iii) who do not find it from acceptance grace but what they will find is fear of rejection; performance pressure to look like you are obedient and holy; rebellion against the Truth of the Word of God and there will come pride in trying to perform and then God resists and opposes you!

When such people feel a spiritual force opposing them and resisting them they think it is the devil! Then they fast and prayer and end up with more pride, self-effort and self-righteousness. AND the devil says This is fantastic! They think I’m resisting them but actually God is resisting them because they’ve not believed in the Gospel of acceptance grace! Now they’ve gone into pride ... and I don’t have to do anything! But I will do what I can to make things worse for them!

I have watched people get into this spiritual warfare stuff and eventually they just look like they’ve been pulled backwards through the exhaust pipe of a car. They are not happy people because they are focusing on the defeated foe.

When you spend hours praying with God you should come out ecstatic with joy because your focus has not been on demons and devils – but on Jesus; the gospel; Holy Spirit; the Beloved.

I used to do that stuff in Adelaide – then he heard God say ‘Son – if you’ll just believe how much I love you; how much you are accepted in My Kindness in Christ Jesus; and just find release to humble yourself before Me – you’ll see empowering grace come on you!

Rob: Father – have I been wrong?
God: Son – I have to oppose the proud: for what you are doing is contrary to My Nature ... I have to oppose self-righteousness.

Rob: Father – do you mean I have proud, arrogant and self-righteousness?
God: Son – I tell you with redemptive kindness – YES!

Rob: God You are so good to me ... I repent of my pride; performance pressure and self-righteousness – I repent!

AT this point these demons seem to go out of existence ... and empowering grace comes upon me and I just walk in the Peace of God – casting ALL my care on Him because He care for me!

The devil wants to lure you into fights everyday – don’t get into them!

Humility is the greatest weapon against demonic oppression: humility = keep reminding yourself of acceptance grace!

The church has truly robbed Christians around the world of dignity through religious systems and we have degraded them by judging them on their performance rather than helping them to understand who they are in Christ and that they are accepted in the Beloved. When they develop that inner security and inner sense of safety that the Mighty Hand of God will lift them up and God will give them the stewardship of empowering grace to do mighty signs, wonders and miracles – then they won’t fall into the trap of pride!

There are many Christians who try to find a formula to ‘get into the Power’: without relationship with God we cannot ‘get into the Power’. When we use formulae to get into the Power we will find we can do a few miracles but then it is over – you can’t sustain it because pride comes in. Because you didn’t access the supernatural empowerment through humility but you accessed it through formulae – you only get temporary anointing for temporary release – but you can’t sustain it.

What I am talking about will bring such inner-security into the People of God SO THAT you can steward mighty empowering grace year after year – decade after decade and not be worn out; not mess up marriages; stay normal and not go weird!

One of the most attractive features of the Bethel Church in Redding is that all the leaders RR has met are normal – they still love hunting and fishing and hiking! They are normal people who don’t get all religious and weird!

I wants to see generations birthed who can sustain high level of supernatural power without becoming weird!

If you live under the performance pressure of the law you have to do religious things to maintain your performance power. This environment produces an artificial life wherein people burn out. Under the empowering grace of God you wake up in the morning; invite Holy Spirit to Come! and the power to do miracles is there through grace! Holy Spirit likes being with you! He wants to be with you! You are able to go to work every day, raise children and walk in the empowering grace for signs, wonders and miracles.

We do not have to feel God before we DO anything! You do not need to feel God before you do anything! You start in faith – you step out and Power comes!

In South Africa when I started praying for 2000 people – there was very little corporate anointing in that room. There was no Glory Presence – however, I started praying and eventually I was walking down the aisles and 10m in front of him people were falling under the Power of Holy Spirit ... You start out in faith and God just comes!

We are great ones for putting performance pressure on ourselves and others and even giving a star-rating for our performances! All based on pride! >>> pushing people to make things happen instead of making them secure in Christ and allowing 5 star things to happen through Holy Spirit! When this latter happens we’re at the stage of not being aware we’re doing it – we’re not boasting in it—we JDI! (Just did it.) We boast in our weakness and boast in the goodness of God and we move in signs, wonders and miracles.

A 5 star Christian leaps tall buildings with a single jump
is faster than a speeding bullet
is stronger than a locomotive
walks on water
talks with kings.

A 4 star Christian leaps tall building with a running start
is as fast as a speeding bullet
is as strong as a bull elephant
keeps his head above water under stress
talks with governors.

A 3 star Christian can leap short buildings if prodded
can keep up with a slow bullet
is almost as strong as a bull
washes with water
talks with himself.

A 2 star Christian bumps into buildings
misfires frequently
shoots the bull
drinks water
argues with himself.
A 1 star Christian cannot recognise a building
wounds himself when handling a gun
smells like a bull (!!)
passes water in an emergency (!!)
loses arguments with himself.

The 5 star performance-Christian is like a shooting star – coming down tragically ... OR they can learn the attitudes of humility and when God lifts them up they will forget about acceptance grace and go back into the cycle of performance more ... the devil loves to say do more! Do more! Do more!

We are here to stay! Emphasising acceptance grace so that as God raises us up to 5 star Christianity we are not even aware we are doing these things- as we are just so in love with Him.

Apostle Paul had such a revelation of acceptance grace like no other apostle did. On the basis of that foundation of acceptance grace God poured empowering grace out upon him (See p5 session 2).

Not once did Jesus call his Disciples brothers: He called them foolish and ye of little faith ... servants and friends by not brothers until ... after the Cross! Before the Cross they did not have righteousness in Christ Jesus: after the Cross they now share a common righteousness – WITH THE SON OF God! That is profound! The King of Heaven is my Brother; the King of Heaven is your Brother ...

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/many brothers.
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.

Q: Why is he not ashamed to call us brothers?
A: Because we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! He ACCEPTS us as brothers!

Apostle Paul does not put the title APOSTLE before his name: people do not call him Ps Paul: He says: By the grace of God I am Paul called to be an Apostle – Apostle is my function NOT my title ... The legalistic church has become too enamoured with titles in front of minister’s names.

When Jesus calls us brothers ... and Paul addressed fellow-believers as brothers – we do not need titles! Some Bible Colleges even train ministers to keep their distance between themselves and the people: that’s not brothers! (Ladies you can be brothers because we men have to be the Bride of Christ!)

We are bonded together firstly as brothers and with brothers we relax: in a healthy home brothers don’t have titles – they can joke and reals and have fun and friendship and be transparent. Everyone of you who are born again are brothers and you are brother to the King of Heaven! Jesus is NOT ashamed to call you brothers!

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.

In the 30 years of my ministry – whenever we come to the time to appoint deacons and elders – there is always tragedy that takes place: that is why I have not yet made such appointments in CCI. I have been waiting to kill this demonic hierarchical mentality that is in the church-world. It is rampant across the globe. As soon as people are designated leader there are two extremes that happen in the church ...

(i) people look at them and say now they are superior to me! Now I have to keep my distance ...

(ii) people are disdainful and say who do they think they are? I’m more spiritual than them! I’m not going to listen to them!

There is a rebellious, jealous lack of acceptance grace.

There are people operating as elders in CCI already and they’re not seen as superior to anyone else – because we’re brothers! Because I stand up here and speak – it is not because I am superior: it’s just what God has called RR to do. God hasn’t called all of us to be a mouth (thank God!): He’s called us to do all different things.

An aside on leadership ...

Q: What’s my ministry = the WRONG question!

Q: Where should I serve? That’s what ministry is ... serving. It does not take long to see who has a servant attitude!

All roles in the church are that of servant – i.e. to love the flock and to make sure everyone is growing in freedom in Christ. A shepherd is not someone who is a boss. Initiative has been crushed by hierarchical regimentation in church and culture: it has produced a bureaucracy and high level control-management that has dwarfed, diminished and robbed the people of God of initiative, creativity and of growing and developing in the ministry.

I will always encourage you to pray and seek Holy Spirit’s guidance: He will talk and counsel you – but he will not say Yes do that or NO don’t do that – he wants you to learn how to walk with God: he wants you to be liberated to walk with God.

That’s what liberators are: liberating leaders who liberate the people of God – they don’t manage the people of God. One day at CCI we will appoint leaders and he hopes no one will be shocked! All I am looking for is people who regularly turn up on time and who are a basic good example – people who give you a model of life to follow. I need people whom U know where they are at ... not people who engage in highs and lows – because such people can’t lead. I need consistency of behaviour.

When you have the idea of brothers and inner-security and safety – there can be no jealousy, no comparison ... whether you are appointed or not appointed – Father loves you fully! I want to build CCI into and lead CCI as a church like I have never led before. In every other church I done my best to break the hierarchy and insecurity and jealousy ... AND WE DID NOT SUCCEED. I pray we will succeed this time!

Some Christians, when they are not appointed cry out Why not me? And they leave the church AND that proves why they shouldn’t have been a leader! Leaders have to take enormous abuse and rejection and they can’t react back like some people do – they must stay stale, loving, gracious and consistent ... year after year after year ... Leaders must always be part of the answer: never part of the problem.

I want to get onto the attitudes ... you whom I love ... the kinds of attitudes that come out of acceptance grace that will produce in us humility, boldness and an obedience to God that will attract the empowering grace of God.

Prayer ...
I want to lift my heart to You and I want never to drift from acceptance grace; I don’t look for empowering grace – I believe if I live in the revelation of acceptance grace – God’s empowering grace will come looking for you! If you live with the attitude Paul had toward his fellow believers and it doesn’t matter how much empowering grace he is walking in as an Apostle – Paul sees his fellow believers as brothers ... beloved ... I long for you ... (This is the strongest Gk word to express human emotion ...)

I long for you – with all the affections of Christ – my joy; my crown ... when that atmosphere begins to permeate the church world – we will see such empowering grace.

We want to live as 5 star Christians: we want to demonstrate the Power of our Lord Jesus Christ in signs, wonders and miracles but that’s not what we want to focus on ...we don’t want it as a badge of merit that grades our spirituality: we don’t want to fall into that deception ... Our hearts want to grow in revelation, understanding and richness of the gospel of grace – of acceptance, of true humility, true inner security – having nothing to prove; not comparing ourselves with others; no jealousy, no gossiping, no devouring one another ... We want to be those kinds of people who walk in a humility that attracts Your Mighty Hand, O God! To lift us up – in due time that we may see Your Manifest Power – as 5 star Christians.

Release any attitude of negativity towards any Christian in the world – wherever, whoever ... we repent and seek a pure heart: we want to love everyone (when you love everyone that doesn’t mean you have to trust everyone – particularly if you have been betrayed ... you don’t have to trust them until they have earned your trust!) ... but you can love them – because you are already loved perfectly by our Father; you can forgive them – because you are already forgiven perfectly by our Father; you can accept them – because you are already accepted perfectly in Christ by our Father.

Father – we’ll make every effort to keep the bonds of peace: we preach a strong gospel message here and we thank you for every brother and sister IN Christ in this city and the world ... we want it be a blessing as far as we can go with your people around the world. We want no attitudes of arrogance or pride or superiority or self-righteousness. We choose to be humble ourselves – we’d rather humble ourselves than be humiliated. O Father! I’ve been humiliated and I know that humbling oneself is a lot better! We choose to humble ourselves because of Your Grace ... in Jesus’ Name.