Sunday, 29 March 2009
So I decided to transcribe and publish the last conference that Rob spoke at here in the United Kingdom! I was fortunate enough to be there - it was called "Empower" at Kings Church in Eastbourne. It feels really "right" to do so! There is so much encouragement and reminders that God has not forgotten His planet!
Here is Session 1 preached on the Friday night;
Graham Marsh (Kings Church lead elder): What would church be like if the fire of Pentecost came upon us and then I asked another question - what would community be like if the deluge of His Spirit came down? In recent weeks and in the last month we have been catching a glimpse of that if you have been tuning into satillite T.V around the world and seeing what would happen if suddenly the power of God was to break in upon us. Two years ago I started to ask that question and it was at that time that I went along to a conference and heard extrodinary communication of faith to prepare us for that day. 2 years ago ago nearly I sent out an email offering lots of things - holidays, fine wine and cheese - in the hope that Rob and Glenda would get on a plane and travel 13 hours and come and be with us. As we started this evening and I was welcoming people, a lady came in who had been to the conference we held last year from another church around this region and she said "Something happened on that day that has changed my life. I have been suffering with depression for years" - and fourteen months later she is now beginning to testify that her life has never been the same since the day she was released from that depression. What would church be like? What would community like if we were in a place where the power of God came on us like a deluge? That is our prayer for this weekend that we will be changed, our churches changed and as a result the community will be transformed. So I want to welcome you to "Empower" - the desire as we read through the Book of Acts was that people's breath was taken away and that is also our desire;
That we will catch such an awesome glimpse of the manifest Presence of God that our breath is taken away.
So it is my real privilidge and pleasure to introduce all the way from Hong Kong - Rob and Glenda Rufus!
Rob: Good evening everyone! It is such an absolute delight to be here. Eastbourne at last! We believe this is a divine setup. When Graham invited us 2 years ago - there was no Florida outpouring and no idea of those things. We feel that God has ambushed us this weekend in a wonderful way and we are so excited to be here. We have already had a lot of fun with Graham and Belinda and they have been so good to us. Everything they promised us when they tried to seduce us to come, they have gone exceedingly abundantly above we could have ever imagined. I preach from living free from guilt but I am almost guilty and embarressed since coming into Eastbourne - but I can handle a bit of that kind of guilt! God is so good. It is so strange having lived all of our lives in the southern hemisphere and everytime we come back to the UK it is the most strange sense of coming back to your roots and legacy and we feel so at home here - as though we were born here.
Three years ago I was in Richmond Park praying for a series of meetings we were going to do in a place called Reading just outside of London. God spoke to me literally audibly. Not with my physical ears but down here. That is for every believer to hear the inward audible voice of God. I don't think it is normal to go without hearing God's voice! Jesus said; "My sheep hear My voice" and that inner voice of God that is audible and clear and speaks in English (because God is English - you realise that?!). He speaks in English to the English and there is an inward witness and an inward testimony of the Spirit and sometimes your own spirit speaks and you can hear it. The Holy Spirit lives in your spirit so your spirit gives you good counsel. It goes upto your mind like a kite in the wind. But often God will speak in an audible voice. We are listening with the wrong ears because He speaks down here and not to your head. He said;
"Son I am going to visit the British Isles with waves and waves of glory" - this was three years ago - "And I am going to call you to come into the UK from time to time for a season - for only a period of time - and I will open platforms that are strategic and significant platforms where you will facilitate the release of the glory. Then after a season you will not need to come back anymore for your assignment will be over".
So I didn't tell Glenda that and a few nights later God said; "Terry Virgo will be the first one to invite you to the Brighton Conference". Glenda turned to me the same day and said; "You know what God has just told me? Terry is going to invite you to the Brighton Conference!". I said; "I know that - He has already told me!". Like a smart alec! A few months ago up in Hong Kong we have a rooftop where we often have BBQ's and God just came and visited me in the most extraordinary way. I love it when God visits you and you haven't been fasting and praying. I have got a bad confession to make. I have very few encounters with God when I fast and go on extended prayer times.
God just seems to come upon me unexpectedly and unsummoned when I feeling most unspiritual!
I had my BBQ all lined up. Suddenly God came and visited me - it sounds Biblical and I went into a kind of semi-trance and I heard God's voice. And He said;
"Son I want you to please tell My people to stop trying to impress Me". I said; "What!?". He said; "Including you! Stop trying to impress Me. Stop trying to impress one another. Ask My people to let Me impress them because I can really do that well! Nothing actually impresses Me except faith and I wasn't shocked or impressed when man landed on the moon. I created the galaxies! I want to impress My people! You are the Bride and I am the Bridegroom! There is something wrong about a Bride that is meant to be all feminine and beautiful trying to flex her muscles and impress the Bridegroom! I want to impress you with how powerful I am! My church doesn't have to impress Me! I have clothed you with the garments of salvation and you are beautiful to Me and I am already in love with you! Would you let Me impress the church?". So I said; "Yes go ahead Lord! Anytime!". We saw an increase of God's Presence from then on!
So anyway we got back to Hong Kong and within a week Terry's email arrived asking us to come to Brighton and he said; "Won't you pray about it?". We wrote back immediately within minutes and said; "We don't need to pray about it - have been waiting for your email! What took you so long?". He also graciously invited us back last year as well to be there. There has been such a sense of everytime we come back to the UK there has been such an increase here of anticipation! We have seen people get out of wheelchairs here - did you know that? God is doing miracles in the UK! I get so angry when I go to Third World nations and I hear people say; "God has finished with Europe and the UK". I say;
"The greatest move of God is coming out of the UK and out of Europe - He isn't finished with the UK and Europe! This is going to be mighty what is coming out of this area of the world!".
I am finding it easier to see miracles in Europe and in the UK than in some Third World countries! We have just been in the Northern Europe Conference - the Newfrontiers Leaders Conference. We had at least forty to forty five healings and extraordinary miracles that Jesus did! From the Latvians to the Dutch! An incredible colourful gathering of people! There was a Dutch lady there that we saw being wheeled around the conference everyday and she had M.S. She had been diagnosed a few years ago and slowly she started losing the use of her limbs and her arms and eventually she has now been reduced to being in a wheelchair. Her unsaved husband was at the conference pushing her around. I was speaking at the conference about a miracle that God did in Reading with a lady with chronic MS came out of a wheelchair and couldn't lift her legs before we prayed for her. She began to walk and then semi-trot and then jog around this auditorium. People were shouting and going crazy and her husband was crying. So I said to her; "Put your husband in the wheelchair and push him around!". Which she did! So while I am giving this testimony - this woman comes out of her wheelchair just a few days in Holland in the conference and pushed her husband up and down and Dave Holden was there so can verify this! She ran around the building showing off! How many of you believe that it won't be long before her husband is saved? He was reduced to tears! God is doing these things in Europe!
How many of you find that you struggle with a cynical mind? I do! I am still cynical! When I see these miracles I am the most shocked out of everyone! You did it again! I am analytical and cynical and embarressed about the movings of God! Our background didn't help us or prepare us or educate us to do signs and wonders. Whether you were secular or religious - both work against the supernatural. We have been taught by cessationist theologians or by secular atheists that we are living in a closed material world of cause and effect and everything we see is the product of impersonal time plus impersonal chance plus impersonal matter organising itself in an impersonal way developing impersonal complexities thus contradicting the second law of thermodynamics - do you believe that? And we said yes! That there is no supernatural, invisible realm. We brought into this lie and were brainwashed over and over again. So we stand here in a time when God is beginning to do unprecidented things in our earth. I mean unprecidented! We had a visitation of God in 1981 and many came out of wheelchairs - some blind eyes open and deaf ears in South Africa. We have seen some signs and wonders but I promise you what is happening on the earth now is unprecidented! It is unique!
We must be careful that in our openness to supernatural signs and wonders of God and His manifest glory Presence that we don't start putting categories on God as to what He can and cannot do. We will be locked into this! Some have already done this and only see Him as a healer - those who have gone further in signs and wonders - they see Him as a Healer but forgot He was first a Creator before He became a Healer! The only reason He had to start healing was because creation was subject to the fall of man. God is a Healer! But the reason why we don't see more creative miracles is because we only see Him as a Healer and have locked and restricted and limited God.
The Bible says "Let God arise" - let Him arise and be a creator! Because He can do awesome things! Like this lady from the Reading church in Southern California where a number of people have seen into the spare department room in Heaven! Now when I first heard that I thought; "That is a bit silly!". Then Bill Johnson said; "Well you live without parts you need then!". My first reaction is "I must verify that and make sure that is the case". I am longing for the day when I hear a testimony of the miraculous and just say; "Yes I believe that!" - until it is proved
In the early church when the lady came and said; "It is Peter knocking at the door! The guy you have been praying for to come out of prison!". They said; "It can't be him! It must be an angel!". They found it easier to expect angelic visitations than an answer to their prayers!
Today if someone gets bitten by a poisonous snake and they don't die then we say "It must have been an old snake or bitten someone else and had no poison left". We are still primed wrongly and the main thing that we need to deal with is our minds! We must deal with how our minds think!
There are coming miracles that if our minds are not open then we will become Pharisees and Sadducees and couldnt-sees and wouldn't-sees! The Pharisees loved the Scriptures! You couldn't fault them - they were Word people.
I believe in the Word of God! I believe from Generations to Revolutions! I believe in the Bible! But we need to have the Spirit of revelation in way we read and contextualise the Word of God! When Jesus spat into sand and made mud and put it on someone's eyes, I cannot find any biblical precident for that. If I was a Pharisee I would have said; "Where in the Word of God do You have authority to do that?". I don't know in the Word of God where there was a precident for a whole herd of swine to go screaming with a kamikaze spirit and jump over a cliff!
Revival is wild! Revival is tearing a hole in the roof in desperation to get into the Presence of God! Revival is not for the comfortable! For those who want to understand everything with their heads! How do we deal with the fact that God is downloading gems and gold and unusual things and people are taking them and getting them verified as something unique!?
Millie here who is originally from the UK and is in our church in Hong Kong was at our "Glory and Grace Conference" and we saw unusual signs and wonders! We discovered a new platinum tooth filled up by God! My cynical mind said "Go check" and a dental technician who was there said it was new and flawless. The more we open our hearts to the fact that God is not just a Healer but a Creator then we will see things! More than ever we need to hold onto the Word of God in these days but we have got to watch how we interpret what God is doing! If it is God doing it then I don't care what He does! I have heard all about these feathers falling and I think; "What's the point?". But if it is God then let Him do it! I don't know why He does it but if He is doing it then let Him do it! Let God have His way! People say; "I don't know if it is God or the devil" and I almost want to say "You need to get born again" for you have an anointing on the inside of you so that instantly you can discern the difference between absolute manifest evil and absolute holy God. In Hong Kong the majority of Christians seem to have a theology of a very big devil and a very small God. Anything supernatural that happens must be the devil. We need to be saying; "God if You are doing it then I am embracing it!". As long as I know it's You! If I don't know it's You and I am a bit suspicious then I am going to wait! But if I know it's You then I will do it.
Just before we left Australia to relocate and go and go and live in Hong Kong - about a week before I was praying and was frightened and thinking; "God what is going to happen there!? I don't know the language or the culture and nobody knows us in the city. We have got five people to start and I am not a young man anymore!". I was just praying and then suddenly the power of God fell on me and I am talking FELL on me! My arms starting windmilling around and I thought God was going to take my arms out and then put them back on to demonstrate what He could do! And I am not exaggerating! It was that violent! He was waiting for me to say; "I am glad this isn't a public place!". Suddenly the manifestation changed like a Jew at the Western Wall and then suddenly the inward audible voice of God came and it said;
"Rob are you willing to be unashamed of My manifestations no matter what I do as long as it is Me? For many of My people are ashamed of Me and have pushed Me out of the church because I am not popular in many churches anymore. When I turn up and do manifestations then people are ashamed and think it will drive the unsaved away. In the Book of Acts I had many manifestations and I added to their number those that were being saved and Peter's shadow healed the sick and there were great signs and wonders and all were healed and demons came out with shrieks and it didn't drive people away but MANY were added! Are you willing to be unashamed?". I said "Lord I am willing to be unashamed!". Then He said; "Go in My power!".
I dropped to my knees and sat there for about an hour in the tranquility of God's Presence. I think that around the world if people don't understand that there is a revolution - not a revival - going on. There is something coming on the planet that we cannot look into our past and say "This is going to be a duplication of that". It is not! It is going to be of such a scale! We have got to be so careful that we don't call it the devil when it goes outside our cultural box! When I made a decision not to be ashamed - I said if I shake, rattle, roll then do it Lord! But do it in a dignified way! I am a proud man! No - do whatever You want! Then we began to preach and teach these things and it goes on our website! Last month in April we put a series of 12 teachings on "Glory and Grace" onto our website and we had over 348,000 downloads! There is a hunger out there! It is easier to get miracles in the street and in the marketplace than it is in the church. The New Agers have been doing Phd's in the supernatural while the church has been sitting analytically wondering if it is God or the devil with cautiousness and formalism that has dwarfed and diminished many believers from their inheritance to do the works that Jesus did and greater works.
There is legalism in the church so people don't feel worthy enough to get healed but you go out into the world and people out there are open!
Friends of ours - Fini and Isi - where we have just done our "Glory and Grace Conference" there - they were sneaked into a New Age Festival. All tarot card readings and fortune telling and they spent 3 days there. 17 of them from their church in Sydney that is in a great move of the Spirit and they have powerful revelation. They often go up into the heavenlies - this friend of ours - Isi de Gersigny. She is a true prophet but very down to earth and real. But she goes up into the heavens regularly and sees angels often which is normal New Testament! They set up a "Prophetic Booth" and said they could tell your future. And didn't tell them they were Christians and just started praying for people. A lady came who was totally unsaved and she had an accident and had a large piece of glass in her foot that the doctors couldn't remove because it was right next to a nerve. So they bandaged it up. These friends of ours began to pray in a New Age festival context. The lady said "Oh it feels better!". So the girl looked down and saw a big piece of glass on the floor. Remember the lady still had the bandage on! So she picked it up and said "Is this your piece of glass?". The lady said; "I saw it on the X-ray - that IS my piece of glass! How did it get there?". So they undid the bandages and there was no scar or mark! So she gets up and runs around the booth and they told her that they were Christians and they had prayed for her! So she goes running to other booths saying "There are Christians here! They prayed for me! My glass came out through the cloth! I am going to be a Christian!". And she came to Christ!
We have got teachers in our church in Hong Kong and one is an Australian and she teaches in a private school with young Chinese children whom Cantonese is theif first language. And she is trying to explain about the Gospel and they weren't understanding! So eventually they said; "Well Who is the Holy Spirit?". She said "I will do something better than tell you. I am going to invite Him because He is My Friend and He is Almighty God into this room and you can all meet Him!". So we teach everyone in our church to move in signs and wonders and how to release the anointing. So she said "Oh Holy Spirit won't You come?". And He did! Which He always does! He came in and instantly children were saying "I have got electric feelings on my hands!" and others laughed drunkenly and others had demons coming out! There are a lot of demonised people in Hong Kong. This is what I have lived for! God moving there where the precious ones that Jesus died for are! The lost ones! Those that some of the Church judges - the New Agers! That is where God is going!
And if the legalistic church in it's fundementalistic pride but abscence of the supernatural does not want to live up to the season or time we are in - then the greatest church of the future will be those that are not yet born again but are birthed into first generation grace churches with no baggages of the traditions of men.
Open your Bibles to 2 Corinthians chapter 3. Jesus seemed to talk and didn't say "Turn to this or that" but everything He was saying was the life and the Word of God. How many of you are here desperate to have a divine encounter to carry away? It is not about my speaking. God can wrap the words I am saying in His Presence and there comes impartation and divine administration and tomorrow afternoon I will probably talk about positioning yourself for this wave of glory and then the second session - sustaining the supernatural.
The manifestation of God's glory is merely the appearance in the seen world of the unseen world of God. It is when the invisible realm of God becomes seen in the visible realm of men. If the world does not see regular signs and wonders and miracles then it will not see the true nature of God for the true nature of God is to restore, to replenish and to give back what has been stolen and lost. The true nature of God is to remove human suffering, pain - He is a God of redemption.
I don't believe that heaven is clashing with the earth rather I believe that heaven is merging with the earth in order to topple the control of evil and manifest the goodness of God.
Anything that does not exist in heaven God does not want it to exist on earth.
The glory light - the light of God's glory - when it comes and shines - there is no opposition that can stand against it from darkness. God's glory light is so superior to the darkness in this world that there is no contest! As soon as light shines, darkness immediately goes for the light is superior! The fact that there is still so much darkness in the nations is not because or explained by the power of darkness. The reason that there is so much darkness is that darkness has not yet been fully challenged by the light. As soon as there is a challenge by the light there will be no contest and darkness must flee.
I do not have a theology that we will shrink into a world where the Christians will be some remnant group hiding away. I believe we will see the Kingdom of heaven advance and we will see the Spirit of God poured out on all flesh and God will reveal the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the sea!
The greatest sign of the end of the age of evil - Matthew 24:14 - the Gospel will be preached as a sign to all ethnos and then the end will come! The greatest sign is not a church hiding away but a church preaching the good news of the government of God's Kingdom in the earth and mighty signs and wonders to all nations in the earth! China will wake up any moment now and 1 billion - 300 million people will experience the glory of God manifesting and shining across China! It will cover the earth! It is not a contest between light and darkness! That is yin and yang. Darkness must just go. Jesus would just walk into a place and demons would start screaming. People have got such exaggerated ideas of pulling down principalities and powers and binding them. Colossians 2:14 - Jesus cancelled the written code that stood opposed to us and disarmed the powers and authorities, triumphing over them openly! The Cross has already defeated the powers and authorities! We don't have to battle them to neutralise them to get them out of the third heaven! We are living under an open heaven in Christ Jesus! It is not a closed heaven - it is closed heads! Cynical closed heads that sit in pews on Sunday morning - the Sunday morning conservative traditional mentality! Jesus went to His own home town and could not do there any mighty works except heal a few of minor ailments and He marvelled at their UNBELIEF!
We are getting out of the Nazareth syndrome - the syndrome of minor miracles and we are moving in a wave of glory to major miracles! The contest is not between light and darkness but in the hearts of believers.
The war that is raging is this - am I worthy enough to carry the glory that raises the dead? Am I worthy enough to carry an anointing that causes a piece of glass to drop through a bandage and onto a floor? Am I worthy enough to carry a glory that causes cripples to get out of wheelchairs so that unsaved husbands can see an invisible world made manifest and see how good the nature of God is? Well if we have an Old Covenant mentality then we will never feel qualified and worthy to carry such glory.
Most Christians don't have an absolute Old Covenant mentality. Most Christians that I have met on this planet have a mixture of Old Covenant and New Covenant. Many believers have come into a revelation of grace and are enjoying a level of freedom in the grace of God yet still have performance pressures and things they feel they must do in order to see miracles. I believe in fasting and I believe in praying and some days I will pray hours a day. But it is not my fasting or my praying that will produce miracles. It is the revelation of the New Covenant! And it is abandoning any trace or vestige or remant of Old Covenant thinking and performance pressures!
It is through the obedience of the ONE Man that we have been made righteous! So we have a fool-proof, a failure-proof and a devil proof righteousness! It is not based on yours or mine obedience but on the one Man on our behalf! It is faith that we are the righteousness of God permamently and eternally and irreversibly in Christ Jesus - that by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever all of those that are being made holy! THAT is where the miracle power flows out of on a regular basis and on a daily basis!
How can we tell multitudes of churchgoers who work hours a day and have children to pick up and drop off and have all kinds of demands that in order to produce the miraculous you have got to fast and spend hours a day praying - it is not like that!
The New Covenant is not about what we DO - it is about what He has DONE at the Cross! The generator is ON! I don't pray to get the power - I pray IN the power!
Instantly it is accessible! "Holy Spirit come!". And He comes! I didn't have to fast! Come! We are in a New Covenant of unfading glory! We need to condemn condemnation! We need to accuse accusation! We need to grab guilt around the throat! We need to get out of the religious boat and realise that we can float! And wear our Father's glory coat! Most Christians who have a fear of stepping out in the supernatural and a fear of standing in front of someone in a wheelchair - a fear of praying for the blind or a fear of letting the manifestation of the Spirit show - you will find behind all that fear there is a root of condemnation. Even people that have sat and listened to grace for years! God is coming with a greater understanding of grace!
I am so glad that in Europe Dave Holden endorsed me and said "Rob - run with this message - we need this - you have opened more light to us - go for it!".
There is a deeper realm of glory! To the degree you deal with guilt and condemnation - to that degree the glory of God in proportion to that will manifest in your life. I want to say something - I am an intense person. I am an introvert posing as an extrovert. I like the mountains and the desert! I like being alone with God! I am exposing my insecurities and vulnerabilies! I like a response! I am not asking you to kiss your brains goodbye but when you sense that sounds true - be like the noble Bereans! Sometimes we have got to give ourselves permission to be happy! I can feel there is a responding culture here! How we miss the revelation of what that great outpouring of joy was. We thought it was all about joy - if that was all it was about then it would have been worth it, because that was a party! The first manifestation in the Gospels was when He turned the water into wine!
I believe that where it says; "a joy of unspeakable glory" - I am convinced of this theologically and experientially that the joy takes you into the glory.
It was the revelation that our God is good and His mercy endures forever that took them into the glory! It is the revelation of joy in the wonder of the good news of the gospel - a holy laughter! Joy is a fruit of the Spirit! Zion is the joy of the whole earth! Psalm 126 - the Lord filled our mouths with laughter! God sits on His throne and laughs at the devil who thinks he can advance against the Lord's anointed! A merry heart does good like medicine! People fought that joy and the devil was behind it because the joy of God is the doorway that takes you into the glory. Some of the greatest miracles I have seen are when the Holy Spirit has fallen and the people don't sit there analysing whether it is genuine - we are in days of extreme grace! If the church doesn't open up then like Paul tried in Ephesus to preach this radical extreme gospel! Where Paul says "I am not ashamed of the gospel" - we think he was saying he was not ashamed to preach it. He lived in a Jewish culture extremely committed to righteousness by human effort and performance and by what you gain and the very idea of being declared permamently righteous all the time was called a scandal and was almost blasphemous! He said "I am not ashamed of this gospel!". It is the power of God unto life, healing, preservation and in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed that is by faith from first to last.
It is not something you get by faith and then you must work later on to keep - it is faith from FIRST to last! This is such good news! We have said "yes it is good news but ..." that we do a Galatians 3. The Galatians had signs and wonders and miracles and then went back under law. It is so radical and extreme and sounds frighteningly irresponsible! Jesus plus anything equals nothing! Jesus plus lots of prayer and fasting ... Jesus plus any good deed will bring a declining fading glory. Jesus plus NOTHING will bring an unfading glory. The fact that the church even has need of revival is a sad testimony of Galatians 3 syndrome where the church gets a revelation of grace and then slowly drifts into a mixture of law and grace. The gospel is not preaching right living. I believe in right living and have been married 33 years to the same wife. I have six grandchildren and go to bed every night with a granny. I haven't split churches or run off with the church secretary although my wife was the secretary for a while and I ran off with her! So I believe in right living.
But the gospel is not right living. Many people for centuries in Europe have been under such condemnation. Preach right living for centuries has produced such dysfunctional church goers. I have had the pain of hearing a number of psychiatrists say that their biggest clients have been Christians living with obsessive compulsive behaviours because of the fear of losing their salvation or the fear of God getting upset with them. The fear of divine disapproval. Most psychiatrists link the root of all stress, anxiety and anger to a root of fear. From the Word of God I say they are wrong and it is not rooted in fear but a root of condemnation.
That was in the Garden of Eden. As soon as he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - what's that? The law! The knowledge of GOOD and evil. He didn't cut good out of the fruit! Good was as much part of the fall of man as evil was.
When he entered into that conciousness he hid from God because he said he was afraid. Condemnation caused a withdrawal and a loss of the glory of God. God then had to set up a cherubim and not let Adam and Eve have access to the glory realm.
When you are under a conciousness of good and evil or law-keeping then you have no right to have access permament and unconditionally to unfading glory. The law demands a fading glory. Moses said "Show me Your glory!". God said "I can only show you My hindparts". Under the Old Covenant glory is God walking away from you. Under the New Covenant it is God walking towards you open-handed! An unfaded glory!
The first Pentecost was on the day when law was given on Mount Sinai and the focus was on man's works and efforts to keep the law and 3000 died. The first Pentecost of the New Testament was when the Holy Spirit came in like a mighty rushing wind and 3000 were saved.
Ezekiel had a vision of the temple and he saw the glory of God come off the Holy of Holies and begin to reluctantly withdraw slowly and then went to the Mount of Olives and then hover there and then reluctantly go back to heaven. Then for a long time Israel had no manifest glory. It faded completely off the earth. When the first Pentecost of the New Covenant came, the Holy Spirit did not come back slowly like the way He left but He rushed in!
Somewhere in this time He will come and shock and surprise us and come like a mighty rushing wind - the moment Old Covenant strongholds in our thinking are broken! When it says "There is now therefore NO condemnation" - it means NO! It didn't say "No condemnation to those who don't sin" - because what would be the point?! Who is that who accuses?! It is God who justifies! But how many Christians who believe the grace message still live with accusation and low grade guilt all the time! It is rampant in the Body of Christ and that is the number one hindrance to great signs and wonders and miracles. It makes people dysfunction, shy and frightened of the supernatural and scared of manifestations!
This is what I wrote down the other day and I believe that this is the best way I can describe what the glory of God is;
"It is the realm of effortless miracles, signs and wonders".
When this lady came out the wheelchair a few days ago - it was effortless. It was the easiest thing! We should restore dignity to the ministry of Jesus - we don't see Him huffing and puffing! Just; "Go your way". Up to now the Church has mainly seen the operation of the anointing. The anointing and the glory are different. The anointing of God is the power for man to minster and man to pray. It is an empowering of God but the glory is WHO God is. You can get people healing in the anointing but you get very tired. You need the anointing to preach. I never preach without desperately relying on the anointing. It is the most dangerous thing to speak accurate Bible truth without an anointing. Very dangerous! There needs to be always a demonstration of the anointing while we are speaking Bible words otherwise we bring death to God's people. I am speaking under the anointing right now because I want to demolish Old Covenant thinking patterns because I know to get a move of God is not to neutralise principalities up there but to demolish ways of thinking in here in people's heads and then open them to the realm of the glory and the more you do your job in the anointing successfully the more man can backpedal and then His glory comes and man can fade into the background.
God takes place and then does things effortlessly. It is not difficult for God to heal cancer! But under the anointing I can get cancer healed but it is such hard work! The crowds will be so big! How does your shadow heal the sick? It has to be because the glory is over you! If we are going to live under the glory then we can't fluctuate with guilt and condemnation and the paralysis of analysis. When God's people come to a place where there is no condemnation even when they mess up and say "Lord that is not consistent with my new nature and I shouldn't have but I thank You that where the blood of bulls and goats couldn't take away guilt for thoe who draw near and their sin offerings were in fact an annual reminder and made them even MORE guilt concious - I thank You Father than by one sacrifice I have been made perfect forever!".
Colossians chapter 2 says "Having forgiven ALL our sins" - past tense. 2 Corinthians 5 says; "In Christ reconciling the world ... NOT counting mens sins against them!". Romans chapter 4:8 - David looked down the corridors of time and saw the New Covenant and said; "Blessed is the man whom the Lord will NEVER count their sins against them!". We are living in the time that David longed for and yet still living a confusing cocktail of good news and bad news! Christians are becoming spiritual schizophrenics and we are mis-reading contexts and we are wired to read rejection and disapproval into things but if we see the context as love letters that are securing us in grace!
The Old Covenant was written to show the power of sin and strip us of all self righteousness! When Jesus said to the Pharisees; "You should not commit adultery - it is a death sentence but I say you should not even look with lust in your heart" - people say that Jesus was preaching the New Covenant and it is a higher standard! He wasn't preaching the New Covenant! He was preaching the true spirituality of the law of Moses to strip the Pharisees of self-righteousess and prepare them for the wonder of the grace of God! If He was preaching New Covenant truth there then you that look with your hearts at someone you shouldn't be looking at, then you should pluck your eyes out or cut your hands off and be consistent if you are saying Jesus was preaching the New Covenant there! He followed that up with self-mutiliation! And because we live in a modern world we don't do that anymore although I have met Christians who have plucked their eyes out in Australia and Zimbawe because of that perverse interpretation. We don't self-mutilate physically but we self-mutiliate psychologically with this root of condemnation and the devil loves it. He is the accuser of the brethren!
You say "Talk about the anointing - don't talk about grace - we are the people of grace!". I know you are and I have learnt from you! But this will open up the manifest glory of God! The glory realm is the realm of effortless signs and wonders and miracles. The glory realm is God's realm, the realm of the supernatural, of healing, of prosperity, of life, of fruitfulness, it is the realm of His riches shared generously. It is the realm of multitudes being saved. Don't tell me the glory has come to church and people aren't being saved. When the glory comes people get saved. It is the realm of liberty, joy, confidence and peace. The glory is the realm of awe and wonder and power over the devil, where we get purified and grow in holiness, where we become more like Jesus and grow in God. It is the realm where we see into the invisible. It isn't just apostles and prophets that should see into the invisible - every New Covenant believer should see into the realm of the invisible! It is the realm of rest and revelation. It is the realm of hearing His wonderful voice. It is the realm of heaven! It is the eternal realm, the realm of heaven, the realm of absolute goodness.
I just want to read these few verses and make a few comments and then close. The Old Covenant was designed by God to strip us of all self-confidence. If you meet Christians who don't have confidence to pray for the sick or to prophesy or to come close to God then that is a sign they are living under Old Covenant mentality because the Old Covenant will take away your confidence in God. I know Christians who go to church and outside of church they are confident in their careers and in the sports field but before God they are wimps! Why? They have condemnation conciousness. I believe there is enough in the New Testament - Hebrews 10:14; "By one sacrifice He has made us perfect forever" and the next verse; "The Holy Spirit testifies to this!". I am so tired of people accusing the Friend of all Friends that I have in the earth of being someeone that condemns or convicts of sin. "I know that Scripture Rob - John 16 - when the Holy Spirit comes He will convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgement. You see the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and tells us how righteous we should be and that if we dont then what judgement will fall upon us". That is bad exegesis!
Jesus elaborates what He means! "Sin because they do not believe on me". So the only sin is unbelief on Jesus. That is the only sin He couldn't die for and the only sin that will send people to hell. "And righteousness because I go to the Father". When Jesus went to the Father what was He doing for us? Our high priest mediating and interceding for us and declaring that we are the righteousness of God. Then He said; "And judgement because the prince of this world is now condemned". So the Holy Spirit comes to the believer comes to the believer to help you overcome areas of unbelief in your life or comes to the unsaved and convinces them of their sin of not believing on Jesus. Once you are saved He comes to convince you that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (Hebrews 10:15) and that we are perfect forever and then He convinces you that it is the devil who is judged at the Cross! I know why some people don't have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit! They think He is the one convicting them of every sin they did! How many of you could have a close friend who followed you around and was always pointing your faults out!?
That is the practice of the LAW - to make you concious of sin! The Holy Spirit does not come to make you concious of sin, He comes and convinces you when you most need it that Jesus has gone to the Father everliving to intercede and mediate for you as a superior Mediator of a better covenant that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and the devil who is accusing you - he is the one who is guilty and is the one triumnphed over at the Cross!
He has come to be just like Jesus! Sinners were so comfortable with Jesus and how will the Holy Spirit be any different? The only people that Jesus was hard on - and He was the most courageous man ever dealing with arrogant bigots - the Pharisees - and He never backed down or was intimidated and didn't fear man. He only feared His Father and was only hard on the self-righteous! To the people He was kind and loving and despite the sin the crowd had was that He healed them ALL! Grace was flowing from Him! The Syro-Phonecian woman persisted and said "Even the dogs will eat the crumbs" and Jesus said "I have never seen such great faith!". She didn't need to get offended by Jesus! Grace came! Which other person did He say that to? The centurion! What was the common link between himself and the housemaker woman? They were both non-Jews, not living under the law. Romans 4 says that the law neutralises and diminishes faith. It is not just about having a theology for not being under law. It has got to go far deeper than that! It is more than a notebook! It has to be a demolishing of a thinking that we have a standard we must live upto! I have heard some say that the only difference between the Old and New Covenants is that we now have a power to live upto the standards of the law. I do not believe that is the radical message Paul preached. Because we are still focused on ME trying to attain a certain standard.
Colossians says we are COMPLETE in Christ! We have received fullness in Christ! We are no longer under the law! Christ is the end of the law to ALL who believe! And the Holy Spirit is now really a comforter! The devil is the one judged! You are the righteousness of God! It gets difficult to sin regularly when you are in the glory! Do you know it is difficult to sin in the glory presence? It is condemnation that drives people to sin but glory transforms the Church! 2 Corinthians chapter 3! The worst thing you can have in a place like this is people who come to observe. No we want people who come to find the power source and want to crawl right up the plug to the power station! Smith Wiggleworth said if the Holy Spirit is not moving then we move the Holy Spirit!
I get angry when people say of me or other ministries; "Ah its their gifts that produce the miracles". How come for years I didn't see any miracles? I have a gift as an Ephesian 4 Ministry to equip and train people but I have no advantage over any other believer! This move of the Spirit is not following a ministry but a message - the message of the New Covenant!
Take Florida or any other move of the Spirit - if legalism comes in then you will see the glory fade very quickly! It is not an issue about law and grace but an issue of "Who is in control of the church?". We are not going to have chaos! We believe we tithe under grace not Malachi 3! Abraham didn't tithe to get the windows of heaven opened! He tithed because the windows were already open and we are partners with God! The majority of our people come every Sunday and give! They are committed and share their faith! This message doesn't make rebels! It is an empowerment of the New Covenant! Elders are not managers of the church but empowers! We will celebrate even your failures!
A grace church is a safe place to sin if you are going to! People sin under law and under grace! If you swim with sharks don't them know you are bleeding!
2 Corinthians 3:4; "competent as ministers of the New Covenant ... the letter KILLS". The devil can retire in many churches because preachers are killing people! He said it was a ministry that brought death. (v8); "How much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness ... being transformed into His likeness". Let's give Jesus an applause for this wonderful New Covenant!
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
This sermon was preached by Rob Rufus on Sunday 7th December 2008 and just before Rob came up to preach, Wayne Duncan brought a significant prophecy to City Church. Wayne is based in South Africa and leads a church there that is enjoying an amazing move of God. He and his wife were visiting City Church that week.Wayne Duncan: I just wanted to share something that during worship I felt God drop into my heart and it wasn't planned. This church - as small as it is - has an internation effect. You guys touch countries and people all over the world. As we were worshipping I was so caught up with the profoundness of what I believe God has called this church to be. God kept on showing me even from early this morning - the tip of a spear. I saw it stabbing a soft ceiling the whole time and during worship I felt God gave me the fullness of it. I felt God was saying
"Do you see it - have you seen it and do you know? Don't underestimate the power of the divine strategies of God and don't underestimate the significance of your role in His divine strategy". I felt God say that He has positioned this church to be part of the most significant move that Hong Kong has ever seen. A revival that will touch the city and will be spoken of by every citizen. The Name of Jesus will be on the lips of everyone! I felt that in heaven there was a trumpet that was sounded a while ago and the call of that trumpet resonated in many people's hearts and that's why many of you are here even now. You heard the call of God and it is significant in and through that thing God wants to release in Hong Kong - He has called you here.
Then I saw the rest of the pole for the first time reaching down in the vision. In that pole I saw those who were worshipping and I saw those of you praying at home and getting caught up into the glory and every time someone prayed and everytime someone worshipped and everytime someone was laying down a part of their lives I saw that as something that was going into the very pole that was driving the spear tip. And that added weight and momentum and support behind the thrust. I felt there was an army of people that were called to serve. I saw finances being released and I saw a huge army of people bringing energy into it.
Then I saw the most awesome thing in the third part of the vision - I saw Jesus Himself grabbing the spear and thrusting it through and I believe there is a time coming of incredible breakthrough. Don't underestimate your significance. God has significantly and strategically placed you and placed you in this church and in Hong Kong for this time. It is now! Hong Kong is going to see something unprecidented and never seen before in terms of the power of God. Even as we were worshipping and saying "Jesus come build Your throne" and we were declaring the glory of what is to come. We were declaring the glory of the breakthrough and there will be multitudes and thousands of people saved as that spear shoots through into new places. So bless you guys - go for it - we love you".
Thanks Wayne. I appreciate you guys - they came to "Glory and Grace" last year and their lives were turned upside down and their church came instantly into a move of God. One of the phenomena that happens regularly (so it is not a hit and miss thing) in their church and where they travel, when they lay hands on people - people get gold dust. Even when they don't lay hands on people's hands! And it's not 1 out of 10 - it is a high percentage of times. No pressure guys! But afterwards we will line everyone up! I am inspired to live every day with the belief or conviction that my Father really wants to pour out grace and mercy on me every single day!
Grace means the absolute goodness of God and only His goodness coming my way! Never judgements, never divine frustrations, never divine disapproval.
The Old Covenant has finished! The Law has gone and Jesus has redeemed us from the curse of the law that the blessing of Abraham may come on us and that we have a God whose nature is to do us good all the time! He is not impatient, He doesn't get frustrated, He is not disapproving of us - if that is what you think He is, then you are wrong for you are reading the Old Covenant. I suggest go after the Cross! Don't even go after the four Gospels if you want to start! People say "Start at John" - no don't start before the Cross! Start in Acts chapter 1 after the Cross in the New Testament and see the power of God being poured out from a Father who is smiling! And there is a happy sky over your head! Then go back and read the Old Covenant and see how grateful you should be that you are living in the New Covenant and it is good to read the Old Covenant so you can understand how wonderful it is for God to have positioned us to be in the New Covenant. I am inspired to live every day with goodness and mercy following my life.
David - that great king - had God say of him; "THIS is a man who is after My heart". David in Psalm 23 said; "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me ... some of the days?". "ALL of the days!". Bad hairday, good hairday, bad Monday - all my days, every single day! If you had a bad week it just means that you weren't sensitive to the desire of God to dump goodness and mercy on you! He was trying to and He just couldn't because you didn't expect it or believe it. But once you do - then He can! Now hell might have been breaking out with all kinds of friction and frustration and anger relationally but God was wanting to dump goodness and mercy on you every single day of your life! If you will start looking for it and expecting it and believing for it!
What is the difference between grace and mercy? I thought they were the same! No - big difference! If you were breaking the speed limit by a long way in Hong Kong and policeman pulls you over to give you a fine and he comes up and looks through the window and he is overcome with mercy and he says; "I am not going to give you a speeding fine" - that is mercy! You kiss his hand, his glove, his cheek, his head and you receive mercy! Then you see him take out his book and say "Oh no! I knew it was too good to be true!" but he gives you a cheque for $10,000 and says; "I just want to give you that - I just feel in a good mood!". THAT is grace!
Mercy stops God giving you what you do deserve - judgement and grace inspires God to give you what you don't deserve but to give you what Jesus deserves - because He died on your behalf!
I am convinced that no one can believe what I just said - that every day God's desire is to dump abundant goodness on you. You can try and study and confess a million times; "I am the righteousness of God" but you will still live with a conciousness of doubt and resident cynicism about the fact that God wants to dump every day grace and mercy on your life!
The only way we are ever going to believe this is to have a community that believes the voice of God! When you hear His voice -not my voice or some preachers voice - but God's voice tell you that you are the object of His affection and you are the objection of His sonship and you are an inheritor of the wealth of heaven and a joint equal heir with Christ - when you hear Him say THAT to you then forever you believe that our God wants goodness and mercy to follow you all the days of your life!
Today I want to speak on "Hearing the Voice of God" and there are many many people around the world that want to hear the voice of God! They long to hear it! But the good news is this - many of you in this room have already heard His voice. If I called out in the worship and said; "Who hear has heard God say something to you in this worship?" - many of you will have heard God. Those who didn't hear - it wasn't because He didn't speak. He did speak but you didn't hear because you didn't expect to! This is the good news - the One who cannot lie said; "My sheep know My voice and the voice of a stranger they will not follow". I am so glad that He didn't say; "Sensative, New-ager, loose wrist, artistic, intituative, sensitive types hear My voice!". No - He just said MY sheep hear My voice! If you have truly met Jesus Christ as a resurrected Lord and discovered His Lordship - if He came into your life then I promise you that you are a sheep and you know His voice!
To know His voice is to hear His voice!
It doesn't matter what your temperament is or your personality - some people are prophetic people and they are artistic, poets with a sensitive soul. They can walk into a room and feel what people are thinking in that room! Before anyone tells them! Others God has not designed them like that. He has designed them to think strategically and to think pragmatically and to think like that because if they didn't then they couldn't do the job that God called them to do. So thank God everyone is not an artist! Or pragmatic! It would be a chaotic world if everyone was artistic but it would be a bland boring world if everyone was pragmatic and strategic, task-orientated thinkers! Some are feelers and some are thinkers! But God didn't say a certain temperament or personality - He said, "My sheep know My voice!". So certain types of personalities will hear the voice of God in a more artistic way. They will see pictures whereas the task-orientated people will have a thought or a flash of an inspired idea.
It is responding to those promptings and being more sensitive to the intutative. 9 out 10 times when I meet a stranger I know things about them immediately! My head tries to talk me out of it but my first impression is always right. I know when people are pregnant! We all hear the voice of God and I don't mean psychics. Psychics hear a false voice - because any voice you hear that takes you away from Jesus or from the Word of God or from thinking your life with eternity in mind that I will give an account for this life - any voice that distracts you from that is never the voice of God! It is the voice of a psychic, the voice of witchcraft, the voice of the demonic. My sheep know My voice! Jesus says in Revelation eight times; "He that has ears let him hear what the Spirit says!". The good news is that He didn't say "He that fasts and prays and gets good enough willl eventually grow ears and be able to hear Me". He said; "He that HAS ears let him HEAR!".
The grace on the prophetic ministry is that we are not speaking to the deaf society when we talk to the born again Christian. The grace on prophets is to announce to believers in Christ that you already have ears and now under the power of the Spirit I say to your ears; "Let them hear!".
Too many people are trying to grow ears to God whereas the prophets are saying "He that HAS ears" - who has ears? My sheep know My voice! Everyone in Christ has spiritual ears to hear the voice of God and the prophets say; "I activate you and release you into revelation supernaturally to recognise that you have ears! Now ears - HEAR what the Spirit is saying to the church!". So I say to City Church International and everyone listening on the website; "You have ears and can hear so HEAR what the Spirit is saying - let your ears hear!". And when you hear this grace and mercy following you all your days! A hearing community are positioned to believe that grace and mercy at a high level follow you!
In 1st Corinthians 14:1 the Bible says very clearly; "Eagerly desire the best gifts especially the gift of prophecy". We have got working of miracles, the gift of faith, word of knowledge - to know facts and events about someone where that information was not fed to you by natural information and you just knew, word of wisdom - you know things about their future, discerning of spirits - you know what angels are doing around you and you recognise if it is a demonic presence and prophecy and tongues with interpretation.
And it says "desire those gifts". Every believer can operate in all nine of those gifts like every believer can have all nine fruit of the Spirit. That is why Paul says; "Eagerly desire" - which is the word; "Lust after" or "Hunt after". In those days when they went hunting it wasn't for sport but for survival to eat.
So "hunt after the gifts" because your very life depends on it!
My son is alive today because of the gifts of the Spirit. When I was in L.A the Spirit spoke to me and said "Pray for Ryan right now and apply the blood over his life" and it stopped him being killed because he went into a car accident and he walked out of a smashed car and stepped out unharmed when many had been killed in that spot in recent years. I didn't know it - I was in L.A getting ready and was showering and walking to go to a meeting and stopped and said; "Oh Glenda! I have got to pray for Ryan" and put my Bible down and saved his life! Hunt after these gifts! Eagerly desire these gifts because it can save lives! It's saved Glenda and my life too - we have been going somewhere and the Spirit says; "Don't go" and the people who did got killed. People heard God on 9/11 not to go into the Twin Towers and they are alive today!
What we are talking today is very important! "Eagerly desire the best gifts" - hunt them down, lust after them and ESPECIALLY the gift of prophecy! Why?
Because prophecy is hearing God and saying what He is saying.
Reading the Bible and preaching or teaching is not prophesying. It is reading what God said a long time ago. Prophesying is saying what God is NOW saying. "Eagerly desire" - to hear what God is saying and the anointing to say what God is saying across a coffee table or in the middle of a sports match, work or a commercial meeting - listen to what God is saying and desire above anything eles to hear what God is saying and be able to say it. Why? Because that revelation of the voice of God will open up all the other gifts and will manifest gifts of healing, working of miracles and all those other things - as a community start hearing God! I believe and say again - you CCI have ears and you are hearing! Let your ears hear! People say why doesn't God just speak audibly and loudly to my physical ears? Well that would be great wouldn't it? Easy! "Rob! Don't work today! I will provide!". "Yes Lord! Your servant hears!". God has spoken like that in the Bible and I know people personally who have heard that audible physical voice. I personally as far as I know have never heard His audible voice with my physical ears. One time it was so audible in here that I did jump around thinking someone was talking to me but that doesn't happen a lot - that loud inner audible voice but it has happened a few dozen times.
He often speaks so quietly and so whispered that you have got to develop a history of listening to actually get the tones of that voice. With art of practice you begin to hear that voice every day. I would say over the last 20 years there hasn't been a day gone by when I haven't heard thati inward voice. It is an inheritance because everyone who is a son and has received Jesus as their Lord knows His voice and the voice of a stranger they will not follow. A strangers voice takes them away form Jesus! In John 12:28-30 says Jesus was standing there and there was a large crowd and God the Father spoke and said "This is my Son" and some said "It thundered" while others said "It was an angel". So no one in that crowd recognised God's voice when He spoke physically and audibly! We live in a world today and think that if God would just speak physically and audibly then all the world would believe and all believers would hear His voice! It doesn't work that way. John 12 shows us that. 1 Kings 18:12-13 says that Elijah was standing on the mountain top and there was a fire and an earthquake and God was not in the earthquake or the fire or the dramatic things.
God was in the still quiet voice. God told Elijah things to do in the still quiet voice that saved the whole nation of Israel. The instructions God gave to Elijah and which he put into practice brought Jezebel down! Jezebel was a witchcraft spirit that hates the apostolic and hates the prophetic.
There are so few prophets operating in the church world today because the pastors and the teachers in denominations have allowed prophets and apostles to be kicked out and silenced and no one wants to listen to them because they are too wild and too passionate and too full on for the average person who wants a religious club!
The church world by and large have gone into total irrelevancy because the prophets have been silenced. Elijah ran from Jezebel in panic and fear after being a mighty prophet and on that mountain he heard the still quiet voice of God not in the earthquake or thunder or fire but in the small voice and he went and anointed Elijah and Jehu and successors that brought Jezebel down and liberated Israel back into revival and a return back to God! That's what the quiet voice is! Too many Christians are saying they want big, technicolour angels talking to them - I want to hear the audible voice with these ears! No - sensitise your spirit and that can change nations and can save your marriage, your family, your finances, stop you getting engaged to the wrong person, taking a wrong job or going or staying somewhere. You need to hear God! So many Christians have got a speech impediment and can't seem to talk with confidence and boldness and authority with prophetic, apostolic authority! Instead they speak like the Pharisees of the law! But when Jesus arrived they said; "With what authority does this man speak?". Why? Because when you hear God you speak with authority!
I am talking about the nature of a loving God - not some god that says go fly into buildings and blow them up. That is NOT God. That is something else. People can't speak because they are not hearing. And ear, nose and throat specialists say if someone has got a speech impedient, the first thing they look at is a hearing capacity. Because if you are not hearing then you can't speak properly! Let me give you two things about hearing the voice of God. Not technique but how to steward this gift. God will give this gift in greater capacity to those who know how to steward it rightly.
1. This gift is not to make you rank as a super saint.
God spoke through and to Balaam's donkey! Therefore do not think that hearing God makes you the voice of God! That is why there are idiots out there who were once great prophets but they are idiots now because they think "I am the voice of God! When people don't obey me they have rejected God!". No - you are not concerned with them rejecting God. You are insecure and you feel rejected so you hate the church and you withdraw because the church didn't change fast enough or get in the process of seeing the promise fulfilled. Sometimes that process can take decades! Prophets don't have a sense of time sometimes and come in with a sense of immediacy! "God says revival is on the way!". Next week God! This is three months of teaching on how to hear God, how to be a community that hears God! Some people are just coming around to the idea of there being a God and Him being interested in speaking! You must prepare people with grace and what He may say and how you interpret what He says and how He says it.
In Christ EVERYONE is a super saint!
If you hear God a lot He will encourage you and talk to you and confirm you and you will hear His tender voice. But you hear God for other people as well! So use the gift of hearing God to bless other people! I learnt these things the hard way. My first trip to Australia and I stand up in front of the congregation I have never met in my life and I am going to be given the leadership of this church but I am kind of on probation that day. I know it and they know it. They are Aussies and I am a fresh South African and I have my best behaviour and I am going to preach my best sermon and bring out the real me later! So I am in the worship and worshipping God and God says; "Joan!". My mum's name is Joan! "Is my mum okay?". I heard; "Yes she is alright". So why are you saying Joan? Am I Jonah?! "No you are not a Jonah - there is a lady here in the service called Joan and she has never met you - call her out by name as soon as you get upto preach". So I said "Okay God!". Praise God this is going to get me into this church! When they see they have a prophet in their midst! That knows people by name! If I get the name I will get amazing details about her life that will prove to her I am a prophet!
I get upto preach and everyone is looking at me and I say; "The Lord has shown me that there is a woman here by the name of Joan". A middle aged lady at the back jumps up and comes running forward all excited. So immediately I lay my hands on her and say; "Joan - the Lord would say to thee that your name is Joan ... and He would say that He knows you by name and He would say to you - Joan - that your name is Joan and that He knows you by name!". And I am inwardly praying "More! Please God! Give me the downloads!". So I had to say; "And Joan that is all the Father would say. Go back". There are numbers of times I have walked home depressed after the service thinking I preached terribly and the devil agree and a few people ally with that! Public speaking is the biggest fear on the planet apart from dying. So my preaching is a flop! I am thinking they all think I am stupid! At the end of the service Joan comes running up to me all excited and says; "I am a widower and live on my own and am so lonely and was saying to God when driving to church that I don't want to test you but I feel like You don't even care and don't even know my name but this guy coming today - if he doesn't call me out by name - then I am not going back to church. Wasn't that amazing?!".
I wanted to slap her! Why didn't you tell the people!?!? For my credibility?!?! God said "Because to hear His voice is not to promote you but to love people - to love them and show them God knows about them". But if we think it is to promote us then that is why we have got frustrated weird prophets in the world today and the church didn't appreciate me! Many times they haven't! But some of us prophets are around and not cynical or hating the church! Lastly;
2. Prophesy and speak the Word of God in humility.
We are all prophetic by the way - there are prophets and there are sons that prophesy - every Christian can hear the Word of God and speak on behalf of God to people. Not what the Bible wrote 2000 years ago but what He is saying now to this person. If I have got seven doors to go through and choose from then I can't open my Bible because the Bible doesn't talk about doors - I have got to hear God tell me which door to go through. I need to hear God today! And if I have a problem speaking with boldness and authority then I need to check that I recognise that I do have ears to hear.
We need to prophesy in humility because no prophetic person prophesies perfectly. The Bible says we prophesy "in part". We don't see everything 100%. That's why we need other prophets and we need local church. I prophesy through my temperament but I need to hear someone else who hears God differently. They each have a bit of the puzzle. So this thing about someone who doesn't prophesy accurately - they aren't a prophet. Not true! The only Person who was accurate 100% was Jesus! The highest level prophets still get it wrong occasionaly and the psychics get it wrong 99% of the time but have vague clever ways of hiding it and clearing it up. This is what determines a false prophet - Deuteronomy 13:1-5; "Someone who hears God accurately and with that incredibly accurate gift they use it to draw the people away from God and to wow the people and make it all about personal power". That is Satan! He didn't want to see God worshipped. Lucifer did not want to worship God but be equal with God - that is why he was cast out of heaven.
Everyone under the deception of Lucifer - the voice that is not the voice of Jesus wants personal power. To use what they have got to draw people to be impressed with them! Deuteronomy says a false prophet is someone hearing God accurately because the gift is genuine. The Bible says in Romans 14 that God won't withdraw the gift or shut it down. But they are using the genuine to draw other people to themselves or other gods. Not Jesus! That is a false prophet! People who come and don't prophesy accurately but don't try and draw people away from God - have no fear of those people! They are just speaking out of their imaginations. A false prophet is someone who hears God but uses it to draw people away from God. A true prophet use the gift to make a Joan know she is loved and even if it doesn't draw people to you it will draw people to Him which it did to Joan!
Always see if prophetic people are drawing to Jesus or whether they are drawing a following after themselves and where they making people dependent on them and people want to use them like a crystal ball gazer so they become dependent on them.
A true prophet is God bringing liberty through them and then they equip and train you to hear God for yourself!
I was leading a church in South Africa and a couple were our closest friends. They had been trying to have a baby for 16 years with no hint of conception and were totally discouraged. I was in the bush praying and just enjoying God.
If you try to hear God then you won't.
The Father is not like a wife! So I was just enjoying Him as a son and I hear the inward audible voice; "I want you to call this couple out publicly and prophesy over them that within 3 months she will fall pregnant". God! No! Go privately! "No I want you to go public!". God! If I am wrong I won't look good! It is all about fear of man! So I called them out and prophesied. "You shall fall pregnant within 3 months" and everyone claps or is stunned. Within 24 hours she fell pregnant. Everyone was shouting and excited. 3 months she walked with that baby but then instant miscarriage. Gone. I can't tell you how depressed I was. I was about 28 with no mentors in the supernatural. Kenneth Hagin sort of from a distance. Noone fathered me. I had to learn it on the mountaintops alone. So I had to learn what I learnt by the mistakes I made. The whole congregation is stunned and I am stunned and struggling with my own depression! They are questioning God and me!
I was tempted to get up and say "You saw a prophet in your midst call out a woman who had not been pregnant and announce she would be pregnant within 3 months. My prophecy came true! She was pregnant! But the Lord shows me there was sin in their life and they did not believe and therefore God judged them!". But God didn't say that and wouldn't say that because He wasn't judging them. I just knew as a 26 or 27 year old that I didn't understand what happened and that He had to speak to me or I had to get up and apologise to this entire congregation that I didn't have enough information and that I didn't understand or know enough but apologise to all for my inexperience. I am learning and I told them that!
And I found out that people are incredibly forgiving if you are honest. They know a cover up and a con from a mile away.
The entire congregation received it and relaxed and within a year she fell pregnant and has got 3 daughters. This is the thing I learnt - I believe I did hear God and she did fall pregnant. God called me to do it publicly not to show me off but because He wanted that baby to live to full term and be born. He wanted to lift us in 1985 into a high level of corporate hearing from God. He wanted a baby to be born to show forth His glory and His honour. I didn't know enough about the devil and the devil's hatred of the womb or fertility. If I had known what I know now then we would have guarded her around with a sentinel of intercessors till that baby was born. When that baby was born it would have taken that church into a much higher level of breakthrough in the supernatural. We don't realise how many aborted, still born manifestations of cancer, healings are getting aborted before they come to full term because he is not stronger than God but God has given us partnership with Him by learning how to operate and how to hear clearly as to how to do these things better.
About seven or eight years later I had learnt now and understood a bit about this. So we got a prophet from the USA writing to us in Australia when I was leading Coastlands. And he said "In this month of this year your church will be rocketed to national profile in Australia and will go on national TV in a positive way". We didn't have a clue what this prophet was saying or what it meant. His name is Liam from L.A church. About a month later I was closing a service down with about 1000 people there and as I am closing ...
And I know this frustrates practical people - that prophets frustrate practical people and vice versa and God says balance each other. We don't want practical people pulling out or prophets pulling out - we need everyone to come together because both need both. The feelers need the thinkers and the devil is trying to alienate each but the Holy Spirit is pulling both together!
As I was giving the benediction the Holy Spirit gave me a 20 minute prophetic word that said; "I am the God of great love and great power and I want to demonstrate myself in the nation of Australia and I want to show forth signs and wonders but I show off My power for a purpose and if those that are crippled can't walk in your midst and if the deaf aren't here and if the Satanists aren't here - then why should I manifest My power? Because My power comes for a purpose! If you will bring the cripples and bring the broken and take the effort and drive with your cars and bring them then I will do great miracles".
Now you can't put that on every congregation. I am not even putting it on you! He was saying that then to them! They knew it was the voice of God and ran out and got everyone! So next week I came in and there was everyone! I saw wheelchairs everywhere. When you are prophesying you can see five sentance ahead! So I preach on the two Adams and have a salvation call and a lady in a wheelchair is there. I didn't know but she had been on national televison and doctors had said it was impossible for her to walk again and she was dying and every joint went out of joint. She was beyond medical science! It is not about us looking good! I will keep apologising if I make a mistake!
So I said "Father are You doing this miracle?" and He was! A leg shot forward and she spoke in a deep voice; "I am not coming out!" and I said; "I am from Africa and you ARE coming out!". We cast demons out in Africa! Australian demons can't hide when the power of God comes! So it came out and she came out the wheelchair and walked around the building and walked for five days! She got her children back and was about to get her job back. She slipped in the shower and fear came on her and all her joints went out. So they rang me and I was so depressed again - "What are you doing God!?". I am mad and discouraged and depressed! There's always people - cynics are always waiting! I am still human enough to want to kill when people don't give you love! Because they never try any of this stuff! So I think I am never going to step out in prophecy ever again! I am going to be a nice guy! And give life skills and 20 minute pep talks! No - I was born for the glory, born to contend!
Suddenly the inward audible voice came; "When you land in Melbourne, phone this man and go to Michelle and say the demon has gone back worse and then she will walk again and it will go on national television". They prayed and demons came out and she came on national television. Prime time to millions of Australians! If you can't dance and praise God then maybe you need to go in a wheelchair and have God heal you! How many of you know why now it is so important that Jesus said My sheep know My voice and they will not follow a stranger? There is nothing greater than hearing the voice of the good Shepherd. I go out on the hills of Hong Kong and I want to hear the voice of the good Shepherd!
Don't try and get Him to talk! Mainly praise and worship Him! By the time I get back, I know it will be okay! That word "hearing" is the rhema word. We need to read what God said then so we know what God is like but need to hear what He is saying "NOW".
Monday, 23 March 2009
This conference was my first encounter with Rob Rufus - a life-changing encounter although I have yet to meet the man! But I had such an incredible touch from God and was so moved by his teaching that I wrote to Terry Virgo to thank him for inviting Rob and enthusing about what I had heard. Terry was gracious enough to write back and made particular mention as to how Rob's teaching on the "Laying on of Hands" was really useful and revelational to him. I listened again to that session while I was driving back from my parents last night and agreed - and felt it had to be transcribed.
I want talk about the laying on of hands today and raising the significance of this incredible truth to a higher level of expectation. The doctrine of laying on of hands needs to be raised up to a higher level. I believe currently it is operating in the church at a very low level. I don't believe we are seeing the level of apostolic understanding as to what it means to lay hands on people. It has become almost too cheap and done too quickly and carelessly and casually and we need to encourage and train and equip people. Never come up and ask people to lay hands on you lightly. Never ask hands to be laid on you without expecting to receive something. It is a foundation doctrine of Christ. Hebrews chapter 6. The laying on of hands is equal to baptism, baptism in the Spirit, judgements, resurrection from the dead, repentance and faith towards God. Alongside that is laying on of hands and you can't go on to maturity without a clear revelation of the importance of the doctrine of the laying on of hands.
We look here in Habbakkuk chapter 3 and let's read from verse 2. "Lord I have heard of Your fame - I stand in awe of Your deeds oh Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known. In wrath remember mercy ... His glory covered the heavens and His praise filled the earth, His splendour was like the sunrise. Rays flashed from His hands where His power was hidden".
I am not trying to make out that God is reduced to human shape but it does say that "rays flashed from His hands" so there is this divine image that the power of God is flashing from the hands of God. I believe that when God's immortal hands come on our mortal hands then there is a divine flash - there is a discharge of heavenly voltage that needs to be restored back to the Church in dimension that was there in the Book of Acts and we have got to recapture today!
Go to Acts chapter 8 please. There are many passages on this. Dave Holden quoted it yesterday - Romans 1:11 and Paul says; "I have come to you so that I may impart a gift to you - a gift that makes you strong". Then in 2nd Timothy chapter 1:6-7 Paul says; "Stir up the gift that is within you through the laying on of my hands ... a spirit of power, love and a sound mind".
In other words Timothy was a timid man but he got something that made him amazingly strong when Paul laid his hands on him and got something amazingly powerful that Paul put into him through the apostolic laying on of hands so that Timothy was standing up and starting to lead well but people didn't like that so intimidation was coming back on him and Paul was saying; "Stir up what you received through the laying on of my hands".
Here Philip goes down to Samaria and has the most amazing signs and wonders and miracles - the whole city filled with joy. The cripples and the paralysed were walking - demons coming out - people getting saved! Then the apostles come down and they don't start off with line upon line teaching.
They add MORE to the supernatural by the laying on of hands for the impartation of the Holy Spirit!
Here is Simon the sorcerer who had just got saved through seeing some amazing supernatural phenomeon and he had moved in psychic counterfeit demonic power and in counterfeit miracles and had impressed the village. But when Philip came down he was amazed at the power of God at work and then he sees the apostles come down and apostles lay their hands on the new converts and here is what it says; (v18); "When Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of hands, he offered them money and said 'Give me also this ability'". There are many witchdoctors in Africa and some of them are cons but I have met many that are really moving in dark demonic power. I have heard from pretty good witnesss of some who could reverse the flow of a river. Their curses on people would have power. I never knew of any of those witchdoctors that came to us Christians and offered us money so they could have the power that when I lay my hands on people something happens that is so powerful!
Peter said "Your money perish with you - you will die and even if you repent" and he gets heavy on him.
A witchdoctor or a sorcerer is not going to be impressed with hands being laid on people and nothing happening! He MUST have seen SOMETHING. He must have seen the miracles that Philip did but now he is willing to offer money to get the power to lay hands on people and something is given to them!
Today you see people lay their hands on people and pray for the sick and nothing. We must recover what it means to lay hands on people. John G Lake came to South Africa in 1905 and in five years, 500 churches were planted. It is the biggest denomination in South Africa today and sadly some of it has gone into terrible heresy because unfortunately John G Lake didn't build a proper biblical wineskin and that is the sad legacy of the power without a proper wineskin. But in terms of the power - phenomenal power! Signs and wonders and miracles! When he got back to America they hooked him upto machinery and put all kinds of gadgets on him and saw electrical powers on him. He said; "Gentlemen the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is quickening my mortal body with life!".
One day he laid hands on someone who had a massive festering sore and they had to scrape the maggots of it. So he came in and laid hands on that person in one of their healing schools and he prayed these kinds of prayers; "You foul devil of infirmity - I curse you by the authority of heaven - let the lightning flashes of heaven break through and manifest the power of healing in this body!".
The person went off and two days later they got a telegram back from this person from another city. The open wound was completely healed miraculously! But there is a clear imprint burn-mark about 1mm deep and the full imprint of that hand over where that open wound was!
We don't understand! That was someone who knew how to impart something! That may not be what God wants as the norm but we have to raise the level of the miraculous impartation with the laying on of hands. I know that if I can get people to lower their resistance to the anointing and get it right down low then I know that; "Such as I have - I can give". I know that! The great One lives inside of us and in the Kingdom of heaven;
Wealth is not measured so much by what you have but how much you give away.
So in a sense I believe that when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, we ALL have the Spirit without measure! But that doesn't measure our wealth. What measures our wealth is how much we can give away. I love what Peter says; "Such as we HAVE - we GIVE to you". So if we can help lower people's resistance then when we help lay our hands on them - there comes an impartation that is so powerful it can heal any disease. What about unforgiveness and bitterness in their lives? I think we have gone too hard on that and said "People with unforgivness can't get healed". I know of people that got miraclously healed and they still were bitter! It is like God healed them and delivered them of their sins. Some need to confess their sins of bitterness but there is no formula or checklist! "Any unforgivenss or any bitterness in your life?". Then you don't get healed!
The 1st thing I am going for is to lower their resistance on their faith fuse. Because when the power of God comes into people, He can heal them of bitterness as much as He can drive cancer out their body! Some people don't have the power to get free from their bitterness! But when the power of God comes on them it destroys that root of bitterness that is defiling them and heals their body. I know sometimes that bitterness can block the power of God sometimes and be a resistance but I am not wanting to make a type category here. If we can lower their resistance and lay hands on them then great healings can take place.
I learnt this at what we called in Durban a, "New Africa Celebration". We did a protest against apartheid, sang songs about a new South Africa but we also wanted to see a demonstration of God's power. So I preached a message in this big hall with a whole load of unsaved people there and I preached on God's will to heal and God's desire to heal and called people forward. There was such a corporate anointing that I literally ran down this row just slapping people on the head! About 98% of people got flung back like a baseball bat had hit them on the head and it knocked them and the catchers over! I didn't ask them what their sickness was because you see - I don't have faith to open blind eyes or deaf ears or miracles of healing cripples. I HAVE faith to GIVE the power of God! And it makes it so much simpler! That took 30 seconds to run down this row and then an elder came to me with a woman screaming "I can see! I can see" and a totally blind eye had been opened! How long have you been blind? She said "I was born blind in that eye". I said "I am so glad that you didn't tell me that before I prayed for you".
What I am saying is that I had faith to IMPART the power and she had faith to RECEIVE it. The power of God is like a heat seeking missile and it went and did the job.
Another guy came up and said "I can hear! I can hear!". How long have you been deaf? "I was born without an ear drum!". I am so thankful I didn't know that either! Because if I had known about this ear or eye then I would have gone back to my secular university days and literally tried to work out how God was going to put an ear drum in there and how that would happen.
But I developed my faith in "Such as I have" and I laid my hands upon people and I expect power to go into them! And I had prepared them to receive power.
I have found in the last 20 years that if we don't prepare people with faith to receive then we get about 5-10% healed but if we teach the Word of God clearly then they can be raised up to about 80% and higher. Let me give you several things here and then we can close. Here is some of the things that happen when we lay hands on people and we need to raise expectations. I have watched in services and no one is prepared to EXPECT something to happen when hands are laid on. So you see begging and pleading but I don't see Jesus ever (and I could be wrong) begging the Father to heal people or even asking the Father to heal people. What I do see is Him commanding sickness to go and demons of infirmity to go and healing to come. He just commands it! When I see hands laid on and there is begging and pleading I just don't think it looks like the New Testament! Jesus said to His disicples; "Go to a village and tell them that the Kingdom of heaven is touchable and it is reachable and it is at hand and you can change the way you think - then lay hands on the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons". THAT simple! He is training them to prepare people to receive.
I think once we raise this doctrine of the laying on of hands we are going to see manifestations of God! Now I think laying on of hands is one of the lowest levels of the impartation of the supernatural. But I think if we don't get the lowest foundational Hebrews 6 doctrine right then we can't go on to the greater manifestations. We look at Peter laying hands on the cripple at the Gate Beautiful and him walking to 2 chapters later and his shadows heal the sick. I have watched when we have laid hands on a few in a meeting and suddenly the glory of God covers a whole meeting and suddenly you go into a higher level and people are getting healed in their chairs and we can go onto spitting on people's eyes! Waving clothes around! We can just speak and heal them with our words wrapped in the anointing and people get healed 200 meters back in the hall. But if we don't get the laying on of hands then we are not going to get very far.
The more we lay hands on people to impart the power of God the more we will see the corporate manifestation getting stronger.
Kathryn Kuhlman would go and stay in a hotel prior to a meeting and the people on the floor above and below her would get healed spontaneously even though they didn't know that she was in the hotel! I know of one very well documented case of her speaking at a Full Gospel Businessmen's meeting in a great forum and at the end the anointing was so strong on her and they took her out through the kitchen area so she wouldn't have to work her way out through the crowds and so as they escorted her through the kitchen area and these chefs and unsaved people in the kitchen area were falling under the power! Unsaved people just falling under the power! I think we have got to grow in the laying on of hands and then we can grow to higher levels of the greater manifestations.
Nine or ten things that happen with the laying on of hands:
1. There is an impartation of Supernatural Life.
We become supercharged with the life and vitality of almighty God. For some people it is like the divine defibrillators at work bringing them back to life! That is a heartbeat! Why can't we use a 10v battery? No some people need 10 000 volts to bring a revival into another level of the glory of God!
2. There is an impartation of a gift that makes us strong (Romans 11).
3. Vision can come.
There are five levels of vision and the highest is open vision in front of your very eyes and you can see things happening! I have had a few of those and mostly to do with my children. They used to get so angry! Both my sons got saved properly in their late teens! They were upto all kinds of nonsense although they are all serving God now. My son is a leader with us in Hong Kong and my daughter is a worship leader and my oldest son is serving God in Australia. They would try and get upto all kinds of naughty things. I would be at home worshipping and I would see a vision of my son Ryan and he is meant to be at school. And I would see him standing under a post smoking a cigaratte. So I would come home and Ryan would be there and I would say; "Ryan where were you this morning?" and he said; "Oh Dad I was at school". "No you weren't - you were standing up that post with a cigarette!". He said; "That's not fair - why does God tell on us! Why can't we get away with it!?". I said "Because He loves you and so do I!".
When you lay hands on some people they have instant vision. Revelations of God's plans and purposes for your life! An inward quiet impression is just as powerful as an open vision. Some of the most dramatic breakthroughs I have had, have not been with open vision but with quiet vision! Vision comes through the laying on of hands! People get caught up into the heavenly realm. I don't understand that - that has never happened to me but I have laid hands on people and mainly teenagers have seen the throne room! This is an amazing thing that ten to fifteen years later their lives are still changed. They saw something! I loved what Dave Holden said yesterday - don't try to catch the youth up with a whole load of entertainment to get them related to the church! They are so ready for the supernatural, the young people! When I first went to Australia, all the young people sat at the back cutting up the benches and talking to the girls. These were the youth! Within several months of releasing the power of God they were all near the front and all on the front rows turned unto God. They got under the defibrillator and said "God is real".
Trances are not just New Age - trances are also biblical. The devil is not a creator but a counterfeiter. We have so overreacted to the counterfeit that we withdraw from the genuine. I think it is Acts chapter 10 verse 10 and Peter fell into a trance! He saw things and it opened up the gospel in a wonderful way into Cornelius's home. How many of you have heard of Maria Woodworth-Etter? Amazing ministry. She was standing preaching in the United States and made a point and fell into a trance and was like that for 3 days. It was like her bodily functions were suspended. She stepped over into the realm of the glory. For 3 days! And after that she carried on with the end of her sentance and wondered why the crowd had grown! They reckoned that tens of thousands had come in those 3 days to come and see this lady frozen - a sign and a wonder and they felt the Presence of God was so sacred that they fell to their knees and repented and they reckoned that for a 100 mile radius the glory of God radiated around that whole region.
Many religious traditions would say; "That's demonic". We are so quick to label everything as demonic. It is easy to pick up when it is demonic! When it is demonic it draws attention to the fact that it is the flesh, it is irritating. When it is the glory of God it edifies you and makes you wonder. When God comes in signs and wonders - it is a wonder! What is the point? People realise God is real and it is sacred!
4. Healing both physical and emotions.
5. Darkness is removed.
Demonic presence is driven out and great peace and clarity comes. Because there were extremes in the deliverance ministry many years ago we kind of backed off casting out demons. I don't believe that any individual has a deliverance ministry. I would never categorise myself as that - I believe that ALL believers are to cast out demons. Soon as you classify yourself as having a deliverance ministry the devil says "Great I will send thousands of demonised people that don't want to be delivered to your house and destroy you and burn you out!". Your identity is not in casting demons out but in God's grace. We just cast demons out as a normal way of life! It is just the Kingdom of heaven breaking in!
6. Visitations of Jesus - intimacy, closeness with Jesus.
He becomes so real and His love becomes so real and it carries over into daily living. Many people live for the rest of their life carried by the wonder of that encounter of how real Jesus was.
7. Callings and Commissionings.
God first calls you and then He prepares you over days and weeks and months or even years and then He suddenly commissions you and activates the calling and from that moment we walk in the authority and anointing of that calling through the laying on of hands.
I don't believe someone can actually function properly as an elder unless apostles lay hands upon them - there is a missing ingredient.
8. Conferring Blessings.
"The rod of instruction drives out foolishness from the child". We never want to smack our children with our hands. I know that is a bit controversial issue today biut it says spare the rod and spoil the child. So we would never use our hands to smack our children but a rod.
Hands are not to punish - hands are to bless with. Hands are for conferring blessing, success, favour, promotion, prosperity and peace - all transferred by the laying on of hands.
9. Ordaining Leaders.
10. You bring relief and an impartation of rest.
It brings a relief from striving that can build up internally over days and even years. Often this pressure does not come out until the anointing accesses those areas like a safety valve being opened.
11. The Personality of the Holy Spirit rubs off on you.
The laying on of hands is not an immunisation. It doesn't guarantee you against challenges. But it sure is a powerful doctrine of the Bible that God wants to elevate to a whole new level of faith.