Now that my transcribing output has been able to increase and speed up I thought I would use the time to start going back into the wealth of the archives of City Church International and typing them up too as well as keeping in step with the preaching output from this incredible church in Hong Kong this year. And where else or better to start than the very significant time in June 2007? I heard Rob mention this event when angels turned up at City Church International in July 2007 in Brighton and I was absolutely riveted! This was new to me.
So this is the transcript of the actual sermon that Rob preached the Sunday that the angels turned up. Fortunately the recording was left running and it is possible to get a strong sense of the anointing that was falling on the church. The sermon itself is incredible. I've heard many sermons on "unity" that seek to blackmail the church of God. This doesn't even have a hint of it. There is some amazingly humble teaching mid-way through on marriage as well. I can honestly say it is the first teaching on marriage that I have benefited from as a single person.
So here it is! Preached on Sunday 10th June 2007 - the day that two angels arrived at City Church International!
"Why don't you open your Bibles please to Psalm 133. This week while I was training in the gym I felt God gave me a very clear word for this morning. He said "I am bringing City Church International into allegiances of alignment for the anointing to increase". Psalm 133;
"How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity - it is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, down on .... even life forevermore".
See the anointing comes when there is a unity. The blessings of God are commanded when the people of God live together in unity. Turn to Romans chapter 15. I want to give four Scriptures here on how important unity is. Reading from (vv1, 5, 7);
"We who are strong ... give you a spirit of unity ... with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". (v7) is a MASSIVE verse; "Accept one another then just as Christ accepted you".
Then 1st Corinthians chapter 12;
(v12); "The body is a unit ... form one body ... we were all baptised by one Spirit into one body ...". (v25); "one part suffers then every part suffers with it".
Then Ephesians chapter 4:2-4;
" ... with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling".
Then Philippians 2:1-7;
"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ" - Notice those words "from united with Christ" - we relate to other people to the degree we realise we are united with Christ. We do not preach the brotherhood of man - we preach the Fatherhood of God. The brotherhood of man can have no unity if there is no fatherhood of God to which we are related to in Christ. "... if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men".
When there is a spirit of unity in the body then God causes the anointing to flow down and then it pervades the body and drips down our tunic and there He commands the blessing. The unlimited power of God to do the works that Jesus did and greater works is available now to the church! That anointing has been available for two thousand years since the finished work of the Cross and Resurrection. The power that Jesus operated in His human body is available to the body of Christ in the earth right now. It is not how much you pray that makes it flow or how holy you are or you meriting it or deserving it - since the Cross God turned the tap of the supernatural power of God on and it has been flowing constantly for two thousand years!
I wanted to show you a five inch hosepipe and the tap turned on full! I have had this experience before in Australia while watering my garden. The tap is on full and the water is coming out the hosepipe! It is spraying the dogs and cats and everything! Suddenly nothing happens! I check the tap and it is on full blast! But I notice in my excitement and fun that the pipe has got bends and twists and kinks in it. I didn't need to turn the tap on but get the kinks out of the hosepipe and get them straight again! I believe as a local body this is a pretty well united church! We are known in different parts of the world for the Presence of God that comes into our meeting.
The Lord says there are four areas that we need to work on getting the kinks out of our relationships so the full volume of the anointing can flow.
Winners play on teams and losers hide in crowds. Lots of people come to church but very few people BECOME the church. The tragedy is not that people are dying but that so many people are living for nothing. There is nothing more important on the earth than the church! By you building this church with Jesus you are doing the most important thing in the world because the church is the main agency of the Kingdom. If we get thousands of people saved out there but no strong mature church to add them to then they will be baby Christians for the rest of their lives. The church is the passion of Jesus! Not people coming to church but people becoming the church united with the common purpose of seeing Jesus glorified!
Four kinks in our hosepipes;
1. Our relationship with the Living God.
How do you have continual perfect peace with the living God? He is absolutely perfect and everyone is imperfect! How do you have no kinks in your relationship with God? No condemnation but perfect peace 24 hours a day? If you have a kink in your relationship with God then He can't download the fullness of His anointing in your life. How do we have no separation every split second of every second? It is very simple to have that kind of relationship with God! We have to repent! Repent of our self-righteousness! The false religious system in this world says if you will do good and try and avoid doing evil then you will get so close to God. That lie preached in all religions is from Satan himself and not God! When Satan came to Eve and tempted her to eat, he said; "You will be LIKE God". Without trying to be insulting to Mr Devil I have never heard anything so stupid in my entire life. The Bible says that Adam and Eve were already made in the image and likeness of God! They didn't need to eat to become like God - they were already like God! Eating of the knowledge of good and evil did not bring the power and Presence of God on their lives - it made them hide from God, it made them confused and scared of God!
So for thousands of years mankind lived with a big kink in their hosepipe with God. Then God introduced the law of God during the time of Moses.
The law is the knowledge of good and evil! The law is perfect, holy and good. It shows you what is good and the evil that you shouldn't do. But what does the Bible say? Why did God introduce the law? Did God introduce the law to make us more holy and righteous and to bring us closer to God? Not at all! Romans 5:20 says that God introduced the law to increase sin in mankind! Romans 7:5 says that God introduced the law to arouse sinful passion in man! The law drove people further away from God! The law made people judgemental and harsh with each other! The Bible says the law condemned and cursed men! Then when Jesus came 1700 years after the law He came with grace and truth.
But to the Pharisees who believed they could be made right through God by the law - Jesus taught the law even HIGHER than Moses taught the law! He did this to show the Pharisees that they weren’t living up to the law and the law condemned them and none of them were righteous whatsoever! To the humble and broken Jesus taught grace, mercy and favour. Because God wants the human race to know that He isn't interested in our religious attempts to impress Him with our law keeping one bit! God is only interested in His infallible righteousness that is given to us as a gift freely through His Son! Romans 5:19 says through the disobedience of the one man all were condemned but through the obedience of the one Man many were made righteous!
Your obedience and my obedience never ever produces righteousness! It is the obedience of the one Man that has given us the gift of right standing with God forever! This is a fool proof, failure proof and Satan proof righteousness! Because if it depended on the level of my performance then it wouldn't be failure proof because there is not one day where I can keep the law 100% but I live in faith that every split second of every day I am right with God because my righteousness is based on Jesus Christ obedience and never on mine!
Your obedience and my obedience is important but if you ever shift the ground of your confidence before God from Jesus obedience on your behalf to your obedience then you have just put a big kink in your hosepipe! It is called becoming self-righteous. Self-righteous people are judgemental, critical and legalistic and they do not have the power of God. On the Cross Jesus absorbed you into Himself. Colossians 2 says He absorbed the laws and codes that stood opposed to you and He CANCELLED them! He redeemed you and me from the curse of the law so the blessings can come to us freely! Everything about you that could be judged was swallowed up and absorbed into Jesus Christ! Everything you have done past, present and future was totally removed from the memory of God! Jesus who never sinned once was made your sin so that you and I who don't live obediently all the time can be seen as TOTALLY righteous ALL the time in God's eyes!
You died in the body of Jesus! That is what the Bible teaches in Romans 6 and Galatians 2. You were buried with Jesus, united with Him in His resurrection. When He came out the grave so did you. You were co-ascended to the heavenly realms with Jesus and are currently coseated with Jesus in heavenly places! You are not trying to get to heaven - you are in heaven already with Jesus! Romans 5:20 says that where sin increased grace did MUCH MORE abound! What it is saying is that the law of the Old Covenat made people sin more but the grace of the New Covenant empowers us to get strength and mastery over sinning as well!
Romans 6:14 says that sin will not have mastery over you because you are not under law but under grace! When sin increased through the law grace came in abundance to take away the mastery of sin off our lives. When people say that if you take the law off me then nothing is left to restrain me from sinning - people say but if you take the law off me then I can go out and commit adultery! They are giving a revelation of the adultery that is in their hearts. Because the law stirs up sin but grace gives us mastery over sin. Galatians 3:24 says that the law was put in charge to lead the human race to Jesus Christ. The law was to be so severe, perfect, holy, harsh and beyond the standards of man so that we would admit we have absolutely no hope but to depend on Jesus Christ.
The Bible says in Galatians 3 that now we have come to Christ we are no longer prisoners of the law and Romans 7 says we are dead to the law so that we may bear fruit to God. So we must love the law of God for the REASON that God gave the law. If you love the law because you know that the law was meant to lead you to God then you will get closer to God and more humble and more anointed. But if you love the law because you think it makes you more holy and more righteous then you will get further from God and you will get more self-righteous. The law has gone! All I have got is grace and love and mercy and blessing! Not dependant on my performance but on Jesus! What is left?! Permanent joy, happiness, signs and wonders, unity! 100% of your relational problems is based on what I am talking about today. From the Old Covenant to the New God totally changed the way that He relates to you. Under the Old Covenant God only relates to you through the law and never by grace. Under the New Covenant God NEVER relates to you through the law but ONLY through grace!
Hebrews 8:6 says we have a better covenant with better promises and a superior Mediator!
Under the law God demanded of you a perfect righteousness but under grace He provides for you His perfect righteousness.
The law says do - do - do but grace says it is done - done - done! You have perfect peace with God! At the Cross Jesus Christ identified with you and me at our very worst so that we can identify with Him at His very best. There is no height of intimacy and close communion with God that you cannot ascend to because there was no depravity that Jesus would not descend to on our behalf.
One of the most ungodly selfish sinning churches in the New Testament was the Corinthian church. They were having sex with temple prostitutes, getting drunk and were divided, they were very immature. You would have thought that Paul would have written to them, put them under the law and put rules and regulations on them. Paul does not do that because he understood as an apostle better than any other ministry that they did not understand grace but had law thinking! The clearest teaching in the entire New Testament about the superiority of grace over law is given to the most sinful churches in 2 Corinthians 3. Paul says in this chapter that those in the law - that was written on tablets of stone was a ministry of death and condemnation that drives people away from God. We are competent ministers of the New Covenant not of the letter that kills but of the Spirit that gives life. The glory of the Old Covenant was a fading glory compared to the glory of the New Covenant that gave the gift of righteousness! Paul says under law Moses had to hide his face with a veil so the people could not see the glory shining out from his face.
The glory of the Old Covenant revealed God's opinion and view of you through the law. People didn’t want to see that glory. They hid from God! The glory of the New Covenant shining in the face of Jesus is His opinion of you through grace. We are nearly finished point 1! The next 3 are going to be much quicker! This was my most exciting day in Hong Kong because the message of grace is being preached in clear Chinese today! Thousands of Chinese can hear the message of grace in their own language! Now Paul as an apostle noticed false teachers were continually seeking to blur and mix the Old and the New into confusion.
For many of God's people didn't know whether we were under the Old or the New Covenant. It was a confusing mixture! It seemed like nothing else made Paul as passionate in his anger as when people mixed the Old and New Covenant. Paul warns in Galatians 5 that if you try to get close to God through law then you have made Christ of no value and have alienated grace. Today it is the same. I really say this with pain. Today many are hearing a mixture of the Old and New confusingly blurred together. You are either under total law or total grace but you cannot be in between! It doesn't exist in the Bible! In Deuteronomy 28 God said if you will keep the law perfectly then you will be blessed but if you don't keep the law perfectly then you will be cursed!
You see the precious people of Israel cursed and cursed and cursed. It wasn't just Hitler that killed six million. It is the normal story of the people of Israel. Through the obedience of the one man many will be given the gift of righteousness! How many of you believe that the obedience of Jesus was full! Where are you positioned today? You are positioned in the one who was perfectly obedient and ALL His obedience is credited to you! In Christ Jesus all the blessings of Deut 28 belong to the church and all the curses do NOT belong to the church in Christ! If you look at the church today you cannot say they are walking in all the blessings promised!
When you hear someone say if you obey this and do this and pray a bit longer and do this and don't do that and do this and if you do that then God will love you and bless you more - then you have just heard the Old Covenant and you have NOT heard the New Covenant.
The New Covenant says that God accepts you, loves you, favours you, accepts you not because of your performance but because of Jesus obedience and performance on your behalf. That is the New Covenant! Jesus is the superior Mediator! Where the ministry of death and condemnation finishes forever and the ministry of blessing starts forever!
The entire New Covenant can be summed up in this; Jesus is ENOUGH! All Paul's writings to Romans and Galatians can be summed up in this; Jesus plus anything equals NOTHING. Jesus plus nothing equals EVERYTHING!
The church world today is being challenged by the Spirit as to how they will align their relationship to God - a mixture of law and grace which is nothing at all or a pure atmosphere of grace of New Covenant.
I hate sin and I don't encourage sin! I hate it if it come to me! I forgive it in you! As you do to me! I do not encourage sin at all! But the time you are under the most pressure to go back to the law is when you have just done something wrong! You think if I can do enough and pray enough then I may earn my way back to God! You do not earn your way back to God - Jesus already earned your way back to God! You are ALWAYS the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus! If you have just sinned don't go into gloom or condemnation then thank the Father that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and;
My disobedience does not disqualify Christ's obedience on my behalf!
I am going to talk about the other three kinks in the pipe very quickly now. Before we go to the next three points let's lift our hands and say "Father I want to transition fully into that realm of grace". Thank Him! Thank You Jesus for the New Covenant! Wonderful Jesus! We have a covenant of peace!
2. The second relationship we need to take the kinks out of is our marriage relationships.
Marriage is a wonderful picture of Christ and the church - us married people say enjoy your singleness while you can. Don't think it will complete your life because it won't! It is not for the faint hearted! Some days it doesn't feel like heaven but hell! In order to get a car license you have to study and take a test. In order to get a degree you have to study for years. But to get married all you have to do is go down the local registry office. Marriage is the most important relationship after God. It is the most sacred covenant on the planet. The covenant of marriage is left in tatters by the world and sadly the church. The divorce rate in the church in the USA is worse than the divorce rate in the world. It may be similar in other countries. Jesus showed the New Covenant by breaking bread and pouring wine and He wanted His disciples to enter into the New Covenant right there. When a married couple get married they break cake, exchange rings - that is a covenant!
The reason why God gives us a sex drive before we can express it in marriage, is that our victory in holding onto it is the victory trophy we can give to our partner. Those that have lost their trophy of sexual virginity - God can restore that trophy of virginal purity before marriage.
At the covenant meal Judas did not take part of it. He got up and walked out.
Later he betrayed Jesus with an intimate kiss. There are people who want intimacy without covenant. Then there are people that want covenant without inconvenience. But covenant means death! When you come into covenant you die to yourself to live to make that person you have entered into covenant with happy and joyful. That is why many Christians avoid water baptism because they know what water baptism means. When we are buried in that water we die to ourselves and rise to a new life living only to please God. The only way to have true life is to first have true self-death. If you do not die to self you will only smile from your face and not from your heart. People who enter a covenant of marriage with the idea that I am going into this for them to make me happy have not got the first idea of what biblical marriage is about. It is guaranteed that thing will not work unless an alignment of covenant life and God's government comes over that marriage. Unless that happens that marriage has got no hope under the sun. Married brothers and sisters - you have never given covenantal love until you have loved beyond inconvenience into sacrifice.
Love is not love until it costs you your entire life to give it away.
In 1997 Glenda and I had been married 22 years. We had a really good marriage and people saw a pretty good marriage. In 1997 God said that He would bring our marriage into covenant pattern and order. Without realising it we are absorbing the patterns from the world around us and not from the Holy Spirit. God said He would bring Kingdom order into our marriage so He could increase the anointing and authority on our lives. I want to talk about the three years of hell that we went through from 1997 to 2000. Don't think I am exaggerating. I have Glenda's permission to say this and wouldn't dare say this without it. There was no adultery or affair or third party - that had nothing to do with it. It was all about God wanting to order our marriage according to Kingdom pattern and government. There wasn't one day in three years without horror and tension and anger in our home. If you had walked past our street you would have never thought a pastor and his wife lived there. They would have heard the way Glenda shouted at me!! We shouted at each other! The anger and frustration! Every time God reminded us what we were going through this for we found temporary peace and the next day the war would start again and this went on for 3 years every day.
I didn't hurt her physically but words can hurt more sometimes. Words that she would say to me would be devastating. We would repent and cry and ask each other for forgiveness and then the war would start again. I felt the manifestation of tangible presence of demons as they tried to take advantage of the reason why we were going through this. I nearly walked out of my marriage several times during those years. Where do you go when you have been preaching marriage for all those years? Glenda knows this is the truth! I wanted to leave Australia and go and study biology and be a ranger in the wilderness of Africa. Glenda was so traumatised that she almost stopped eating very little for 3 years. The rumour went around our city that she had anorexia and that I was beating her up. The doctor was desperately trying to put her on anti-depressants. Several times she walked down to the railway line thinking strongly about throwing herself in front of the train. Every day the devil would say that I should compromise and back off or my wife would end up killing herself.
The Spirit of God said I want to realign your relationship so I can increase the anointing on your life. In the year 2000 we smelt the first permanent peace on our marriage and knew the government of God take place in our marriage and our relationship. Month after month the kingdom order of male and female government began to come into God's alignment and we felt God's peace come and stay and the trauma and pain become a thing of the past. 2003 - four years before we came to plant the church year and it was our 25th wedding anniversary. We didn't know we were coming to plant the church in Hong Kong but we decided to come to Hong Kong to celebrate it. We took a wonderful hotel overlooking the view on Central Island. On our 25th anniversary we ordered room service in our hotel. A table next to the view looking out on Hong Kong. Glenda dressed up in the most stunning dress and I put a suit and a tie on. We had three years of horror and three months of daily government of peace in our marriage. And we sat at the table and exchanged new rings and we re-stated our vows and we read our poems that we had written for each other. In the middle of that without exaggerating we both burst into tears and sob looking into each others eyes.
Because we knew the war was over and the Father was endorsing the government on our marriage. From that anniversary for the next three years we led tens of thousands of people to Christ in the crusades. None of the people knew the hell we had been through and the price we had paid for the anointing. In 2004 we came to plant the church here in July. If we didn't get this marriage right and come into kingdom government then not only would Glenda and I be divorced and our kids and grandkids be robbed, not only would people not be saved - but you wouldn't even be sitting in a church today and would be on your way to a Christ-less eternity. Not only that but a relationship that is tender and deep right now would have been lost for all time because regularly we wanted to take the easy route out.
When I look at the fruit of God getting the government right then I say to you today; "Please fight for your marriage - there is more at stake than just you being happy". It is not about your happiness - there is more about your marriage than just you being happy.
God wants to set something in order!
How did we survive the 3 years? By understanding the message of grace!
3. Our relationships with every person in this local congregation.
If your relationship is kinked in any way with anyone in this congregation then you are buckling the full flow of the anointing upon us. We all irritate each other at some point! There are people in this church that are so gracious that even when they are irritating they don't know because I am so gracious back! I am that way to some of you! But the truth is whether we are living in delusion or not - not only do people irritate you but you irritate others! That's why I believe in the church! There is no such thing as individual piety! We have love one another, accept one another! How many people have left church after church because someone offended them and now they are sitting somewhere else in some other church!?
That is fine if God has called you here - but if you left the church because someone offended you then you are sitting with a kink and left to avoid pain instead of letting the government of God sort out that relationship. And it is called being immature. There is no place for jealousy! There is no place for competing and comparing! There is no place for politics in the church! There is no place for putting on a mask or a face that is not telling the truth! Neither am I saying that you should manipulate everyone with your sulky face either! Mature people deal with their pain and ask for prayer and move on! I want to live so authentically that when I compliment a person then they know that I mean it not to just get something out of them! I want everyone to know that if I have a problem then I will come to you personally and not use the pulpit to get at you personally!
Remember Romans 15:7 says accept one another just as Christ has accepted you! How has Christ accepted you? Remember the message of grace and not law! Christ holds nothing against you at all! You are permanently forgiven! The thief on the Cross says Lord remember me when You come into Your Kingdom today! A criminal! Jesus says to this criminal TODAY you will be with Me in Paradise! Jesus went into the waiting place for three days and rose with all the people with Him! As Jesus walks back into heaven after being away for 33 years the trumpets are playing! All the angels are saying open up the gates! The King of glory is coming back! The Lion of the tribe of Judah mighty in battle! Jesus walks in His robes of majesty and glory! Arch angels singing hosanna in the highest! Right next to Jesus there is a little thief walking along! The angels say; "Jesus who's he?". "I don’t know but he asked me to accept him and I did!". "Did he speak in tongues on the Cross?". "Has he been water baptised yet?". "No there was no water!". "What's his education, his pedigree, his ancestry?". "I don't know!". "He asked me to accept him and I did! Have you got a problem with that any of the angels?!". "No Lord Jesus! If You accept him then we accept him!".
Accept one another just as Christ accepted you! Rejection and pride is because we don't understand grace and still live under the law! If you have any bitterness with anyone outside of this church - any ministry - any person, saved or not saved - if you have criticised them unjustly or gossiped about them and they don't know about it then don't go tell them! Ask the Father to forgive you and go ask those persons you gossiped to to forgive you so that kink can get right. I learnt a hard lesson here. When people come into this church and criticise other churches I should realise that sooner or later they will be criticising me! 100% it will take place. If the person knows you have gossiped about them or if you defrauded them financially by wrong business transactions or done something that is wrong to a person whether they are saved or unsaved, write to them or email them and ask them to forgive you and apologise if they know that you have done it to them.
Lets get every kink undone so that His volume of anointing can flow at full volume!
Father we thank You that Your prophesied 3 Sundays ago that a move of the Spirit is coming whether we are ready or not. That means that people that are not ready for it will not participate in it. It will come and those that are ready with their oil lamps full will go into the inner chambers of the Bridegroom but the foolish virgins who did not make themselves ready will miss the visitation of the Bridegroom. Spirit of God move! Awaken us with a holy righteous urgency! Where there is any haughtiness or high-mindedness or pride then soften it Lord before it is too late. When there is fear of submitting to You, fear of integrity and humility, fear of taking the mask off and being humble and real and honest then deliver us from stubbornness and pride in Jesus Name.
May we stand in the fullness of Your grace. Lord as we make these commitments to You to live in grace, to fight for our marriages and not give up, to be perfectly united in Christ with each other and to not gossip or be judgemental or do harm to others outside this church - we believe for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to come rushing unhindered for everyone who prepares themselves. As you order our marriages we know there is a process of pain. We will not be surprised by that pain! Deliver us from the idea of quick shallow fixes and help us to be people who persevere and endure for Your Kingdom. May the sacred honour of the covenant of marriage come upon us in joy, liberty and the genuine fear of God. I pray for every marriage here who's husband or wife is not saved or backslidden and is making it difficult then I pray that person will get saved in Jesus Name! You are the God of miracles and we believe You can do it! I pray for every single person here who is not married but wants to be married - lead them with wisdom O God to find the right person who is going on the same journey with You as they are! That the covenant of marriage would be something of Your destiny and that everyone who wants to get married in You may be married as soon as possible!
Let's stand and lift our hands. This is my desire to honour You in every area of life. Not just in one section but every part of my life. Some of you - the Holy Spirit is going to come and lovingly baptise you in death. Not the ministry of death of the Old Covenant but the revelation that you DIED and are in Christ - in covenant with your God! That your marriage covenant - you died and you are going to live for the happiness of your partner whether they appreciate it or not!"