I am carrying on my wonderful exploring of the City Church International archives and suddenly realised that I haven't transcribed a sermon from 2005 yet. So here is the first!
Preached on Sunday 6th March 2005.
"The prophetic is really important isn't it? Someone said "Would it happen if someone didn't prophesy?". Well - I don't think so! I think the prophetic releases that creative word that brings it into reality. So we need to prophesy over one another! The Bible says that we can all prophesy. There is not some with the gift of prophecy and others don't have the gift. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 14 that we can all prophesy! We are not all prophets! But we are all priests of God and all priests of God can prophesy. The gift of prophecy is different to the office of the prophet. Prophecy encourages and exhorts and comforts and builds up so prophecy is really powerful.
Please open your Bibles to Genesis chapter 1. How many of you are going to make a date with God this week and spend some time alone with the Lord and refresh yourselves? It is so important you know! The Bible says that those who wait on the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles! They renew their strength if they wait upon God. We all need to break free from the gravitational pull of this earth. Some people say that you are so spiritually minded that you are no earthly good.
Some people are so earthly minded that they don't know how to touch heaven. We need to rise up with wings like eagles and move into the heights in God. I had some issues this week and they looked so burdensome and so impossible and so difficult that I didn't know how I was going to cope! So I ran up into the mountains to pray and when you get up there you are so tired that you cannot pray anymore! But in that time with God He began to address my heart and refresh me and release me from things and as I waited on Him mounting up with wings like eagles and it is amazing on the heights with God how your problems DIMINISH the HIGHER you get with God!
And God is magnified! God is so big that He cannot go anywhere because He is everywhere! God doesn't increase but we magnify the Lord. In other words He becomes increasingly bigger in our understanding as we go up to those heights. I remember that wonderful message that Ern Baxter preached one day on the eagles. And he came out with this little song on the eagles and I tell you what it is so corny and cheesy but there is an anointing on it! It goes something like this;
"Rise into the sunlight rays - using both your wings of prayer and praise, rise like eagles higher in the sky. Things will look so different when you fly!".
Maybe I should have done the junior church today! I want to talk about "God's Covenant of Increased Blessing for our Lives". This is not a prosperity cult - we don't focus on prosperity but we focus on Jesus! We don't focus on healing - we focus on the Healer! We don't focus on anything but Jesus. So we are going to look at the covenant that God cut with His Son Jesus Christ to increase the blessing on our lives. Satan is a poverty spirit. The Bible says in Deuteronomy 28 that God will bless our coming in and our going out. Our barns and livestock and credit accounts. Be the head and not the tail. Those who rise against us will flee in seven different directions. He goes on and on and on! You will lend to many but borrow from none! The opening verse says that if you will obey Me and do all My commands then these blessings will come on you and OVERTAKE you! You can't even run away from them! Then He goes on and says if you don't keep these commands and laws then all these curses will come upon you and it is sickness and disease and poverty. And He said because you did not serve Me with joy in the times of prosperity then so you will wear a yoke of poverty.
So part of the curse of the law is poverty but Christians today take oaths of poverty and think that is holy and not knowing it is part of the curse of the law! People think it is acceptable to live in defeat - no it is part of the curse! The blessing is victory and our enemies fleeing in seven different directions!
The one stumbling block for many Christians is; "If you keep all My commands and laws". So they think they must earn it and if they keep all the laws then they will earn the blessings. But Galatians 3:15 says; "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by being cursed in our place that the blessings of Abraham can come on the Gentiles by faith". This is not earning it - this is by faith! This is a better covenant with superior Mediator based on better promises! The covenant of grace says you receive the promises by faith in the finished work of the Cross and not by you trying to keep the law. If you try and keep the law then you will come under curse because if you don't keep it perfectly then you will come under curse! You break it in one area and you come under curse! But if you step out of law keeping and into faith and the finished work of the Cross then the blessings will come on you and overtake you!
Faith is based primarily not on a knowledge of God's ABILITY but on a knowledge of God's WILL. Even the devil knows God is able! It doesn't take great faith to know that the One who created the heavens and the earth is able to do awesome things! Faith is based on a revelation of God's willingness.
If I was a multi-billionaire and I said to everyone of you that I am able to give each of you one hundred million pounds British! There is no basis of faith for you - just because I am able doesn't mean I am willing! The question Christians are asking is - is He willing to do this for me? If I said I am a multi-billionaire and I am able to give each one of you a hundred million pounds but today I am only willing to give three of you it - you couldn't have any great faith! You could only hope that you are one of the lucky ones! Hope will never get your prayers answered! So many Christians say "I am hoping so!" - well forget it, nothing is going to happen in your life!
Hebrews 11:1 says "Faith is the substance of things hoped for". Without faith your hope has got no substance to it! It is just empty wishful thinking and weak human optimism! But with faith that comes by revelation of the will of God that faith will add substance to your hope and your hope will be made manifest with the substance of your faith! So if I told you I was a multi-billionaire and I was able to give each of you a hundred million pounds but I am also WILLING and here is an attorney and here is a document and I am able and willing! Then you would jump up with substance in your hope because you know that my will is to give you one hundred million pounds!
It is guaranteed! Now your hope has got substance to it which is the basis of your faith! Without a knowledge of God's will there is no basis for faith - there is just empty hope. Now we will look at the Word of God because the Bible says in Romans 10:17 that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God". So when you know what God's will is for you then you know that you can put your faith in God's covenant of increase and blessing and you know that He will bless you! Why do we want to be blessed? Because we are selfish and greedy? No we want to be blessed because the qualification for being a blessor is that you first have to be blessed! It is from the innermost parts of our being to the outer most parts of the earth - that is the call of God. The nations are our inheritance! But the innermost parts of our being ought to be blessed and overflowing with love otherwise we will export bondage to the outermost parts of the earth. We need to be free on the outside then the sufficiency and supply of God Almighty will flow to the nations!
Genesis chapter 1. Let's pray;
"Father we ask for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to open the eyes of our understanding and our hearts as to the hope of our calling and what is your exceeding power towards us that same power that worked in Christ when You raised Him from the dead. So You have worked that same power in us and we are the very glorious inheritance of You Father. Open our understanding to see that we are very joint heirs with Christ and heirs of God! Thank You that through the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness we are ruling and reigning in life through the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray today Lord that I would not preach a euphoric triumphalism - a false hope or a false pretence or a pretended victory. Our victory today is a genuine one because it is not based on our performance or our ability but it is in Him. Open our eyes! May the grace of God come on everyone's employment that the blessing may come on us all. Thank You that our businesses are not the source - You are the source and You can supply way more than our businesses can! In Jesus Mighty Name".
Now we will teach today so hang in a bit and stay open to God's Word and lets receive this impartation. Here at the very beginning of creation God announces out of the generosity of His heart great blessing on man and woman. The theological principle of "first mention" is a very powerful theological principle. The first mention of something shows that it is God's intention to go on and on and on. Let's read this. Genesis 1:27. He has just created man and woman and this is the first thing that comes out of His mouth. This is the heart of God for His people! (v27); "In the image of God ... that moves on the ground".
Now folks I want you to do warfare with me today in the Spirit. I don't believe we attack principalities and pull them down into the basement of the church and lock them up in plasma bottles - no we pull down strongholds that are in the mind! That are in opposition to the Word of God!
Do you know that's what 2 Corinthians 4:10 says? Our weapons are mighty through God to the demolishing of strongholds ... bring it into the captivity of Christ! The enemy has fought me all week to stop me preaching this message! There is excesses in this message and people have backed off from this thing and the devil doesn't want the church blessed - he doesn't mind if we just have enough and a survival mentality! But God has cut a covenant of increased blessing that should keep on increasing daily, monthly in our lives! So you are going to need to fight with me okay! The devil tried to take me out before I preached this message! Take the Word of God and suck it out of me! Let's all be Americans today!
The Bible says that EVERY promise God has made (no matter how many promises there are) they are all YES in Christ Jesus and through us the AMEN is spoken to the glory of God!
There is a biblical purpose for saying "Amen" because as you say "Amen" then you seal that truth to your heart with a golden nail that seals it to your heart! God's desire was to bless Adam and Even and give them increase! And for a while they walked with authority and anointing and dominion. There is a first Adam anointing. The last Adam being Jesus. Here is the federal headship of the human race in first Adam and first Adam walked with such power and authority under freedom in God and then he is seduced by satanic lies that tell him in deception (starting with Eve and then him because he made Eve his goddess instead of God his God and he let Eve manipulate him and deceive him as well because he chose Eve instead of God and that is a pressure that comes on anyone) - Adam rebelled and received the deception that he can be "like God" which is the teaching of the New Age! Satan wanted to exalt his throne above the throne of God - he was jealous and envious and wanted to be God but he cannot be God because there is only one immutable transcendant God.
So he was seduced into believing that he didn't need God and that he could become God and as he did that he committed high treason and died spiritually. He was cut off from the blessing and increase and he had to labour by the sweat of his brow. He entered into a "works ethic" mentality that was cursed. The ground and his life was cursed! And he was cut off from the covenant of increased blessing! The world today and many Christians still labour under the curse instead of the covenant of increased blessings! The world outside of Christ is labouring and working hard for the blessing and as much as they accumulate and they get through the sweat of their labour they find a vacuum of emptiness and they lose it in bankruptcy over and over again. But we are in last Adam and a covenant of increased blessing! So God looks on mankind in sweat and labour and confusion and curse and He has mercy and grace and so He decides that He is going to get back into the earth realm through a man called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans. He is an Iraqui man actually who then becomes the founder of the people of Israel.
So go to Genesis chapter 12. I love the people of Israel and the Jewish nation but I also love the Arabs! Look at Genesis 12:1 - this is the first encounter that Abraham has with God. "The Lord said to Abram ... so Abram left as the Lord told him".
You know that word "blessed" in the Hebrew there is the word "Hasad" and it literally means this; "favour - the dispensing of goods and favours in abundance - good will - special liking, special kindness - in hot pursuit of you - coming on you - blessings coming on you". That is God's promise to Abraham! One condition - leave your father's house and leave the old ways. Now I do not believe that necessarily means we all have to geographically leave our families and children. I believe more of a cardiological change than a geographical change. There has to be something where we come out from the conditioning of the influence of our past - the conditionings and limitations of people's ideologies that we grew up under. I believe we have got to connect with a covenant of increase and to do that we have got to leave the influences of our past that leave limitation on our lives. I do not believe that all of us have to leave our families and friends and children. We have had to do that by coming to Hong Kong. Some are called to relocate to nations in the purposes of God because God wants all nations to be saved and touched with the gospel!
But not all are called geographically and permaemently. All are called sometime to go for the gospel's sake but we are called to leave the mentality that conditioned us when we were growing up. We are to honour our parents but we do not need to take things from our lives if what they gave to us made us cynical and skeptical about the gospel. The very idea that the gospel is only relevant for heaven but on earth it is irrelevant and Christians are a joke and they walk around begging for everything with pastor's discounts and they are as poor as church mice and this mentality where the world patronises and condescends to the church because the church is always begging and poor and needs more and more! But when we have a covenant of increase! You have relatives in this room who think you are crazy when you come to church and they think you are wasting your time and they think Christianity is something one day when you get to heaven. Instead of understanding that this is a covenant that God has cut of increased blessings in our lives.
Go to Mark chapter 10. We are warring well here! We must leave the influences and leave the things behind that have put limitations on your life. (10:29); "I tell you the truth no one who has left home or ... will fail to receive a hundred times as much in THIS PRESENT AGE". I don't know what that means! Is that a hundred homes? "Homes, brothers". Glenda and I have got hundreds of thousands of friends and I am not talking about they are just vague - we know hundreds of thousands of people! 20, 000 churches that we are working with! We just can't remember their names! "with them persecutions". You get blessed like that you will be persecuted! It won't be the world attacking you, it will be some church people! The Pharisees and Sadducees and wouldn't sees and couldn't sees! This is blessings in this present age! This is leaving behind the poverty thinking and limitation thinking and have no power or authority but one day when you get to heaven it will all be worthwhile.
That is NOT what this Bible teaches!
(Genesis 13:1) Abraham had become very wealthy in livestock and silver and gold! When did Abraham become very wealthy? When he had LEFT his family, his home, his country where they worshipped idols! He followed El-Shaddi - the God who is more than enough! God's promise was true! It didn't just say he was rich - it said he was VERY rich in silver and gold! I don't have silver and gold! But I have always turned salaries down in the church because that is too much! It is not about driving around in Rolls and smoking cuban cigars! It is that God's people get blessed!
Because the more we have the more we can do! In Hong Kong money is their god and it is a devilish god! The love of money is the root of ALL evil! People think that if I have got enough money then I don't need God! I want to tell you that money is a great servant but a terrible God! You can't do a thing without money! Money says you can buy that land, buy that building, send five thousand pastors out on the field and plant 20, 000 churches in China! That's what money says in the right hands of the right stewards! Money takes on the character of the hands that it is in! Under Hugh Hefner and Playboy it buys more and more pornography and destruction! Under righteous hands that money takes on a righteous purpose and our money represents our hours and our time!
You can be as anointed as you want but if you don't have money then that anointing can't get to where it needs to go!
No one says to me when I get on a plane; "Oh you are a pastor? Don't worry about it! This air fare is free!". You can't take the gospel anywhere without money! This idiotic thing that money is not important is insane! Jesus said if you are not faithful with worldly wealth then you cannot be faithful with true riches.
If you are stingy and small-minded with money then you will be the same way with the anointing! But when you are free with money and releasing money then you are free in releasing power and the grace of God into the nations!
So Abraham became very rich after he met El Shaddi! Some people in Hong Kong need to understand this that when you walk with Him leaving the old influences behind and walk with God you can become very rich! We may not all become multi-millionaires but we call all LIVE like multi-millionaires! I don't have millions in the bank but I live like one by the blessing of God! Everything we want it seems God does it! Genesis 15 - now this is a long reading but stick with this! Every verse here is a whole series but we will only make a comment on the main one. (Genesis 15:1); "I am your shield and your great reward". Now I want you to see that is covenant language. The enemy cannot destroy you! (v2); "A son coming from your own body will be your heir ... so shall your offspring be". A covenant of increase! Abraham believed the Lord and He credited to him as righteousness! "I brought you ... to give you this land so you can take possession of it ... oh sovereign Lord how can I know?".
Faith is based on knowing the will of God not just His ability.
"How can I know I will take possession of it .. birds of prey came down but Abraham drove them away". You have got to keep the demonic off your inheritance! "As the sun was setting Abraham fell into a deep sleep". That is the Hebrew word again "Radam" and it means to fall under the power or be under the influence of the Spirit. You can hear things going on around you but you are caught up in the Presence of God. "I will punish the nation they serve ... you will go to your father's in peace and live to a ripe age ... a smoking fire with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces ..". This would have blown Abraham's mind and we cannot understand it if we don't live in Africa or North America. "Covenant". Many people in the sophisticated Western world don't understand what covenant is. "Covenant" was well know throughout the world. Dr Livingstone was able to penetrate into Africa because he made covenants with powerful chiefs and the sign of the covenant was a cut on the wrist or the palm of the hand. He walked through dangerous areas and held up his hand and they would see he had a covenant - there is more to him than we see with our eyes.
We touch him and are touching a whole backing of many tribes that are powerful and stand with him. A covenant was an alliance where they cut an ox in half or would exchange coats and belts and would walk through these slain split oxen and as they were doing it they would recite the terms of the covenant; "Everything I have is yours - everything you have is mine". Anyone attacks you and they attack me - if we break this covenant these are the things that will happen. That was known throughout that world. What would have blown Abraham's mind was when God said "I am going to make a covenant with a human". All My resources are yours! Anyone who fights against you fights against Me! How many know who got the better side of this bargain!?
Here is the revelation of the New Testament. When God cut this covenant with Abraham, He said; "I don't want man's abilities in this. It is not by your righteousness or by your human effort. Man's performance is too fluctuating! So we need a covenant that is so secure that it is above and beyond reproach! That even when we fail and mess up this covenant stands constant" and sure and God said; "You won't walk through the cut halves of the ox with Me. I will put you to sleep under anaesthetic. You can see what's going on but you will sleep. The preincarnation Christ - the Angel of the Lord - walks through the calf and God the Father cuts a covenant with His Son on Abraham's behalf. So for this covenant to be broken Jesus would have to backslide. John 8 - Jesus said before Abraham was - I AM. He said "Abraham saw Me and He rejoiced!". Abraham saw the Son of God walk through and God the Father cut a covenant with His Son. That's why God required Abraham to be willing to give up his son so God the Father could get His Son into the earth to die and that was the ultimate cutting of the Abrahamic covenant and sealing it and finalising it here on earth.
So for you to constantly be taking your spiritual temperature and be worrying am I hot enough? Am I righteous enough? He wants us hot but to get the blessing is NOT based on your efforts or your righteousness or your strength! This covenant is as perfect as the Father is perfect, the Son is perfect! They cut the covenant with each other on our behalf! We are in Christ! And if I put a piece of paper in this book, even if that piece of paper has got a few little blotches in it then whereveer the book goes so does the piece of paper even with it's imperfections! And the Holy Spirit is the administrator of the power of the blessings of the finished work of the Cross!
We are just condemned to victory! We are victims of victory! Truth sets free!
God cuts His covenant and now Abraham knows that he has got it now! God can't back out! Imagery of stars - increase! Genesis 17 - now Abraham has got substance for his faith! Now his faith lept into another dimension! Let us see how long the Abrahamic covenant is for! (v1); "When Abraham was 99 years old ... walk before Me and be blameless". He didn't say be PERFECT. He said be BLAMELESS. A very big difference between the two words! Blameless is that you have got no big problems in your life! We are perfectly righteous in Christ as a gift and we are becoming more and more blameless, sinning less and less and less. It doesn't feel like that some days Rob! I know - we all have days like that apart from Glenda! (v2); "My covenant between Me and you and will GREATLY increase your numbers!". I don't understand people who say they just want a small church of 20 people and just want inner healing and to hell with the world! We are on a covenant of increase and there are 7 million people in Hong Kong who don't know their right from their left and are on their way to hell! It is wrong to have a concept of smallness! Is it wrong to have a relational drive? Not at all! We must have relationship before we function! We must have such good relationships that we can speak the truth in love! It is grace and truth! You don't speak one without the other! First with God and then each other!
But we must understand that we can grow as a New Testament church into thousands and still have intimacy with each other and with God! There is just a wineskin the Bible gives! (v3); "Abraham fell face down ... father of many nations ... name will be Abraham ... I will make you VERY FRUITFUL". (v7);
"I will establish My covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come to be your God and the God of your descendants after you!".
This is not a temporary covenant! 430 years after this covenant was made the Mosaic covenant was inaugurated where God's finger wrote the Tablets of stone. This Bible says that this covenant is an eternal one! The law covenant was a temporary covenant! It lasted for 1,700 years and the book of Hebrews says that the Old Covenant is now obsolete! It is now redundant and we do not have to take bulls and goats into temples and we are not under law but under grace. It is not how many hours a day that earns you the blessing! It is FAITH in the finished work of the Cross!
In that kind of faith you want to pray, you want to be a blessing! This is an eternal covenant - not temporary like the law! You say; "Rob is the law of God still relevant in the earth?". Yes - to every unbeliever and to every unsaved person is under the law (Romans 3, 7) - the law was not there to SAVE you but to LEAD you to Christ! The law is to show you can't save yourself! The law was brought in because of sin! So we can come to Christ with faith that we are not under the law, not under the supervision of the law and we are dead to the law, redeemed from the curse of the law that the blessing of Abraham may come on us!
Go to Genesis 24:1; "Abraham was now old and well advanced in years and the Lord blessed him in everyway". He was increasing in blessing! To be blessed iean every way meant there was no area in your life where you are not blessed! You are blessed in every way! Abraham got what God said He would do! Go to Genesis 24:34; "So he said ... the Lord has blessed my master abundantly". Go to Psalm 105. Remember God told Abraham that his descendants would be in slavery and come out laiden with many possessions. (v37). This is the prophetic word God gave Abraham happening. "He brought out Israel laiden". How many Christians do you see today laiden with the good stuff? "laiden with silver and gold. No one was feeble". After years of slavery! The power of God came down on that place and I believe healed the whole 3 million! This is the Bible!
We must NEVER get to the place where we say "I am going to lower the Word of God down to my current experience". Say; "I want to have the faith to raise myc current experience to the Word of God!".
Look what he says in (v38); "A cloud of covering and fire at night ... He opened the rock and water gushed out .. He remembered His promise to His servant Abraham .... He gave them the lands of the nations ... ".
Go to Psalm 115 and read from (v9); "Trust in the Lord ... He is their help and shield ... He is their help and shield. The Lord remembers us". The Hebrew word there means; "You are on the forefront of His thinking". God is plotting and planning and scheming ways that He can bless you!
"Small and great alike". It doesn't matter what your station is! "May the Lord make you increase!". Go to Isaiah chapter 60. You are always going to have in every church someone saying; "Yere but Rob ... !". It is a goat religion! Sheep follow! But Rob! But Rob! You don't know how small I am! We are so narrow minded we can look through a keyhole at the same time! We have poverty over our generations! Someone sinned back there and we are going to be punished! I know God is great but look at me! Look at the promises of God and know you have NO excuse! You have substance for your faith!
(60:21): "Then will ALL". Hebrew means it includes EVERYTHING and excludes NOTHING! It means that in the Greek too. ALL means ALL!
"Then will ALL your people be righteous". It is announcing the New Covenant! "The least of you will become a thousand - the smallest a mighty nation!". God cannot lie! He cannot exaggerate and get carried away! Is this possible?! There are 7 billion people on the planet of which 6 billion are not born again! That is enough to go around! I believe this church can grow to 20 000 and it is still too small!
When we stay in unity that we are in a covenant of increase then God can add to our number daily those being saved!
"But that was for Abraham and the Jews". I am just a Gentile! All I have got is the Gospel that saved us from going to hell! Abraham got the blessing and he didn't have the gospel! The Jews didn't have the gospel - we get the gospel! That's what maybe 98% of Christians in the world believe! They wouldn't tell you but that is exactly what they believe! Go to Galatians chapter 3. This is foundational for next week! Let's read! "I am just a Gentile with the gospel not the blessing!". (v6); "Consider Abraham!". Well we have been doing that for an hour! "He believed God ... those who BELIEVE are children of ABRAHAM ... the gospel in advance to Abraham". This is not the law covenant which was temporary! This is still the law covenant! (v8); "Those who have faith are blessed along with ....". Not hope! Faith is based on a knowledge of the willingness of God to do it for you. "Those who have faith are blessed along with ...". Why are believers so afraid to be blessed? The main thing is justification by faith - sure! "But all who rely on observing the law are under a curse". Too many Christians are under law. "Do this and get blessed". "ALL who rely on observing the law are under CURSE". Crippled with condemnation and negativity and can't even think of God wanting to bless them!
God is NOT pleased when we crawl into the throne room! If my children came to me like that then I would slap them! "Oh Dad I am not worthy to have a chocolate - can I just have the paper?!!". I would say; "What's wrong with you!?!? Have the entire fridge!". "No I am not worthy I did not take the garbage out!". I would say; "Have the entire fridge and then take the garbage out!".
(v10); "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to EVERYTHING written ... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us ... He redeemed us" - in order that we would go to heaven? No. "In order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit!". (v24); "Now that faith has come we are no longer under the supervision of the law ... Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise". Covenant of increase! Let's quickly look at 2 Scriptures. Acts chapter 2.
Let's see the church that began 2000 years ago and lets ask ourselves is that the way that the church is today? This was the baby church and we have had 2000 years to grow into the full stature of Christ! But we went into the Dark Ages 500 years after this and for 1000 years the church was in religious superstition and hierarchial control, demons and doctrines of demons. You can trace the last 500 years in waves of restoration as the church comes out of religious tradition! The church is coming back to her apostolic and prophetic calling! God is raising up the Ephesians 4 Ministries again! It won't just be an evangelist running a crusade! Evangelists will preach the gospel and then apostles will come and establish foundations and raise up elders and biblical pattern and we will go further than the book of Acts!
I have been to fraternals for 20 years and will continue with God's leading to associate with all the pastors in the city I can - I believe in the spirit of unity! But the Bible says we have the five fold ministry to move us from spiritual unity to a unity of faith and come to the full measure of the stature of Christ Jesus!
That is why we must NEVER meet on the lowest common denominator not wanting to offend each other! You can't read that passage - we don't believe that here! No the covenants must be taught clearly and your traditions nullify the the Word of God! I have worked and led fraternals for 20 years! But I know that is not where it is going! Get into unity and we will have revival!? We have been in "unity" for centuries! We have got to move towards the full stature of Christ by apostles and prophets getting up and SAYING it like it is! With love! There are too many politicians in pulpits today being politically correct! That will never take us to the rugged, authoritative church that paralyses principalities and powers and administrates the power of the Cross into the nations and plants churches!
This church is where we are going! Ride the bus Gus! Some want to get to what I have just described but they are on the wrong bus! You can sit on the wrong bus and pray and fast until you have got no flesh left and pray in tongues but you won't get to the right destination! You can sit in religious traditions of men and say I am being faithful! But the Bible says you must be faithful to your leaders and submit to their authority and if they are preaching stuff that you don't believe in the Word of God then you must believe that too!
There is an apostolic bus that took off in the earth and it is gathering momentum! It is local church based! Apostles circulating and relating to elders! They don't fire elders or own buildings! The local church owns the building! Apostles don't come in as executives or superintendants but as friends with affection and love and build foundation into that church! That is biblical!
(Acts 2:42). Do they have a covenant of increase? Everyone was involved! "All the believers were together and had everything in common ... every day they continued to meet together ... and the Lord added to their number daily those who are being saved!". INCREASE is the will of God!
Notice they didn't add to their number by their religious evangelistic programmes! The LORD added to their number DAILY those who are being saved!
(Acts 4:32) "All the believers were in mind ...much grace was upon them ALL ... no needy person among them ... distributed to everyone as they had need". Acts 6:7; "So the Word of God spread ... increased RAPIDLY ...". Now let me close with a practical application. This covenant is based on faith. But something that can short-circuit your faith is a lack of thankfulness for what you have currently got. I don't understand why God has blessed some of you in areas He hasn't blessed me in! I don't understand why He hasn't blessed you in ways He has blessed Glenda and me.
But all I know is that it is His will to bless me in EVERY WAY!
I have got to be thankful for what I have got right now! If God is blessing you and I start getting jealous and angry and bitter then people will start manipulating and turning Christianity into communism. Christianity is not communism but anointing sacred holy righteous capitalism! Those who invest their talents get more! Those who take risks get more! Those who bury their talents lose it! That is capitalism! The Church is not socialist! They act lazy and are there to beg! As God blesses the church and we give to the poor, the Bible says we are lending to the Lord and we will get repaid! There is no needy in our midst! People in Coastlands gave their cars! There is NO manipulation here! You don't have to give one thing! People gave cars to those who didn't! People paid for others to go on holiday! We were seeing dozens saved and added! If I get bitter and twisted and beat myself up - I have had pastors all over the world tell me about buildings that can seat thousands! I felt a funny feeling and God said I should celebrate what they have got! If you don't thank God daily for what you have got then that jealousy will cut off your faith!
God CANNOT bless you if you are jealous because Galatians 5:6 says that faith operates through love and if you don't have love flowing in your life then your faith won't work.
If God wants to give you something then you don't have to hint! "Faith-hints". God can put it on someone's heart to provide! But don't be too proud to ask for help! We will try and find a way to provide! Walk around your small apartment and thank Him that the rain doesn't fall on your head! Thank Him for the bed and the toilet! And then tell Him about the covenant of increase and ask Him for a bigger one! We need to be increase minded! If your salary is such and such then thank Him!
But God doesn't want us to SURVIVE - He wants us to THRIVE!
He wants us to thrive with an increase mentality! You may be just making ends meet but thank Him that the ends are meeting! Now ask Him for a salary you believe in! "Just have faith". We thanked God that we had two months of savings when we went to Australia! But then we asked for the figure we wanted and that was the salary I was getting! Then in a short while it was doubled!
Your company is too small to give you all that God wants to give you! He can provide through your company but through plenty of other sources too!
He can kill some of your rich relatives! Joking! When we brought our first house it was so small that even the cockroaches had claustrophobia! But don't despise the day of small things! Glenda could tickle me in the ear from the kitchen while I was in the bedroom! But I praised Him for the little house and reminded Him of the covenant of increase! I don't want to live off the church or the state! But in a covenant of increase I can own several houses and live in one and sell the rest and live when we have to retire! I believe we should be so blessed that we can have more than what we need so we can resource others!
The local church should be the most powerful Kingdom resource on the planet. God's agency is local church!
There must be affect through local church and for it to function it will take finances! Giving to local church is investing! This church is very generous for it's size! The Christians in South Africa and Australia resourced us here in Hong Kong! But last month I told them to cut it by a third because you guys are coming through here and soon I want to tell them to cut it by 100% because we are increase minded! I thank God for the six or seven people saved here! But now we want 30 or 40 and then to a thousand!