Sunday, 15 March 2009

Taking Away the Veil

This wasn't actually the main sermon preached on Sunday 28th September! But it was probably the most helpful and shocking insight I have had (yet) into the problem with my life as a Christian and the church in general. I've been meaning to get to it for ages because I noticed that Chris Welch recommended it on his blog. Now I see why!

Here it is;

"Open your Bible to Isaiah 25. I want to share two Scriptures and then we are going to praise and worship. I feel like God has got something so special for us today and I am very excited about what He is going to do with us today. Isaiah 25.

Isaiah was one of the greatest prophets who could see the New Covenant coming. He announced in advance that the New Covenant was coming.

About five years ago while living in Australia I went for a few days away on my own to pray. While I was praying I had a open vision and I saw a terrible veil - a cloud of oppressive darkness over much of the church world. I said; "Lord what is that?". And He said; "That is the cloud of unbelief that is oppressing My people. My people do not understand the clear difference between the covenant of law and the covenant of grace so they have a veil of condemnation and curse over them and it is a spirit of witchcraft that robs Christians of happiness and joy and the miraculous". I began to say; "Lord - how do we get that veil off?". He said; "I will show you". I didn't understand then.

But when I got to Hong Kong it showed me it was by teaching the message of grace - because that is the only thing that can get the veil off as we turn to the Holy Spirit. This morning He began to speak to me suddenly and He said; "I am going to lift the veil off people's minds in this service this morning. Last week I lifted the veil off this church and then the enemy tried to come and superimpose it back again. He thinks if he keeps going then we will get confused and think we cannot get free and just have to accept living at this level of faith and freedom and joy". So He said; "This morning I am going to lift the veil off and I want you to read Isaiah 25 and 2 Corinthians 3 - briefly explain to the people and then everyone prophetically turn to the Holy Spirit and trust Him and you will see this veil be completely lifted off us as a people today! We will come into such freedom!".

So I said; "Lord I don't doing stupid things because sometimes you have to do the ridiculous in order to see the miraculous. But I would like some confirmation that you want me to do this because I want to do this with faith and not as a ritual". I am jealous for the 2 hours we have got and I hate wasting one minute on anything that is dead ground and doesn't produce supernatural momentum in the service. So I asked; "Lord would you confirm this by someone praying or prophesying in the prayer meeting". This morning Ryan began praying about a veil coming off and "I don't know why but the Lord is saying a veil is coming off" and he went into that in some detail!

So great - here we are! So Isaiah is a prophet who speaks a lot about the wrath and the anger and judgement of God coming on the nations. But then he looks through the corridors of time and begins to see a suffering Messiah on the Cross and he said God was looking for an intercessor - someone to stand in the gap so that God would not have to judge the nations. Then he goes on and says that God has found an intercessor - someone to stand in the gap and in Isaiah 53 he said that the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed. He took our iniquities and He carried away our transgressions on our behalf! Then Isaiah begins to prophesy that God will bring a covenant of peace and He will not judge the nations but will bring salvation to the nations of the earth. So now he is talking about a veil over the whole world and a mountain called Mount Zion which is a little hill in Jerusalem where David set up his tent so that they could come into the Presence of God and they didn't go down to the Tabernacle of Moses with all the sacrifices and blood of bulls and goats. Only Jewish people could go into Moses's Tabernacle and it was racialistic and exclusive and it was ALL by earning and deserving.

David came back with the glory Presence in the Ark and God said "Don't put it behind the veil in the Tent of Moses but put it on the Mountain called Mt Zion and everyone can come in - Gentiles and Jews will pour in with no hierarchy and everyone can come into the Presence of God! Just by worshipping and praising and through grace alone!". In Acts 15 when the Gospel has come out and it is the New Covenant and Gentiles are getting saved and it begins a big controversy in Jerusalem - Paul and Barnabus have to go down and speak to the apostles in Jerusalem. They say; "People are trying to put the Gentile converts under the law and some in the Jerusalem church are agreeing that we should put them under the law!". Peter gets up and says that is hypocrisy and our hearts are purified by grace and we cannot live under that bondage of the law. Our forefathers couldn't carry that yoke so don't you put that hypocrisy on the Gentiles! God set us free from the law! Paul and Barnabus get up and say; "We preached the message of grace to the Gentiles and the glory of God came on them!". Peter went to Cornelius's home and preached grace not law and the fire of God fell on the Gentiles and they all got saved and all got included into salvation freely and pouring into the Kingdom!

So James says that the end of the argument was a quote from Amos 9; "In the last days God says I will restore David's fallen tent and the Gentiles will pour in!". It is a tent not of ritual and law and qualifying yourself but it is easy, quick and immediate access into the Presence of God! That was in a tent on Mount Zion but now God wants the church to become the new temple of David restored where there is no law and grace is our access into the Presence of God!

He is talking about a mountain and this is Mount Zion! Hebrews 13 - the church of the first born! Isaiah 25:6;

"On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples". It is no longer exclusive to Israel. "A banquet of aged wine - the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain ..." - that is Mount Zion. "... He will destroy the shroud ..." - that is a veil of death from being under the law. "... that enfolds all people's". That is that vision I saw in Australia five years ago. "The sheet that covers all nations - He will swallow up death forever". The law is a ministry of death - 2 Corinthians 7 says. "He will swallow up death forever. The sovereign Lord will wipe away tears from all face and He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken - surely they will say; 'This is our God, we trusted in Him and He saved us! Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation!".

Now go to 2 Corinthians 3 and I will show you how this shroud comes off. 2 Corinthians chapter 3. Paul makes it very clear from verse 7 that the Old Covenant - the covenant of law had a fading glory; "... will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness" - that is the free gift of righteousness we spoke about last week - "for what was glorious is of no glory, now in comparison with the surpassing glory and what was fading away came with glory how much greater is the glory that lasts?". How many of you want a goodness of the glory of God on your life that lasts and doesn't fade? You have to get rid of the veil! Because if you live under the veil then you have temporary experiences of the goodness of God and then it fades because you have a law-thinking mentality trying to earn it and deserve it!=

How many want to get rid of the veil off your mind? This is how it's done! (v12);

"Therefore since we have such a hope we are very bold - we are not like Moses who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away but their minds were made dull for to this day - the same veil remains when the Old Covenant is read. It is not been removed for only in Christ is it taken away - even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts but wherever anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away!".

When he says "Lord", he is speaking about the Holy Spirit because the next verse will say; "The Spirit of freedom" or the "Spirit of liberty".

So whenever anyone turns to the Holy Spirit the veil is taken away by the power of the Holy Spirit!

(v17); "The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is ... there is FREEDOM! We all with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit". There is no fading glory in the New Covenant! It is meant to be ever-increasing and unfading glory! We have boldness to believe that we are the righteousness of God and that we are not under the law or condemnation! But much of the church is under that veil because you can see unfading glory and joy and victory and triumph and confidence before God is NOT there in most of the Church! People take 2 hours to get warmed up to feel half happy and then by next week they are dead again and unhappy again because they are living under a veil! So they wake up and think they will pray for 2 hours every morning or every afternoon - and praise God for praying 2 hours every morning if you can! I bless you for that! But friends, they pray for 2 hours and that is not what makes you happy! If you pray for 2 hours under a veil then you feel you should have prayed for 3 hours! And you will still feel you didn't do enough! If you are under a veil then this is the glory of the Old Covenant and the law! The law is God's view and opinion of you through the scrutiny and the judgment of the Law! So whenever He sees you through the law He sees all your faults and He has got to judge you and withdraw His goodness from you. His glory is His goodness!

But the New Covenant - when you are no longer under the veil and your mind is turned to the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of truth has led you into truth - because Jesus said in John 16 that there were many things He would like to tell them but they couldn't bear them now but when the Spirit comes He will "guide you into all truth" - in other words these Jewish boys had centuries of legalism and if He told them how good the New Covenant was, they would argue and wouldn't believe it! But when the Spirit of truth comes and fills you, you will be able to bear the most radical and extreme good news and you will embrace it and it won't freak you out - you will embrace it and say "That's for me!" because the veil is gone!

See we have been brainwashed - look at a guy like Peter! He is on a rooftop and we don't go the Gentiles! It is a Mosaic covenant and it is inclusive! Not David! He sees a veil come down and animals in it that Jews are not allowed to eat under the law. The living God who wrote the Law speaks to Peter and says "Eat" and Peter lectures the LORD on how irresponsible and how unrighteous He is! Three times Peter says to the Lord; "No Lord! It is unclean food!".

Something has gone seriously wrong with a person's head when they are holier than God and refusing God's liberation from law and all kinds of ceremonies!

Then God says to Peter; "Do not call unclean that which I have called clean".

Do not call YOURSELF unclean when the blood of Jesus and the righteousness of God has made you CLEAN FOREVER!

Then the door knocks and there is Cornelius - a Gentile! And he goes under the roof of a Gentile which no God-fearing Jew should do! A non-covenant man! He says; "I am not even meant to be here but revelation came to him! The Holy Spirit enabled him to bear the awesome change of the New Covenant!". The disciples couldn't bear what Jesus had to say but when they turned to the Spirit the veil is removed! There is freedom and David's fallen tent has been restored in the earth!

The missionary model has failed! We went over there and taught them to eat with knives and forks and taught them about our legalism and exported our legalistic religious systems! The Muslims don't need a new religious system! They have got one already! The Holy Spirit is moving into the Muslim world, into the gay world and He is falling on the Gentiles because David's tent is being restored in the nations again and the veil is being taken away and religion is OVER!

The veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies has split from top to bottom when Jesus said on the Cross; "It is finished!". The glory of the Old Covenant is God's view and opinion of you - looking at you through the scrutiny of the law. Fading glory! Judgment! Wrath! Curse and judgment on you! The glory of the New Covenant is God's opinion of you only through grace - that you are the righteousness of God! Therefore His glory never fades! His goodness never needs to fade! If you get up for the next 3 weeks with just enough time to go to work and you don't pray and you don't read the Bible and witness and don't do anything and just get up and say "Father I thank You that it is David's restored tent and no rituals - I am as welcome as the man that prayed 10 hours that day!". You are as welcome as Jesus is welcome because you have a co-equal righteousness with Christ for you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!

People have made the most joyful thing a law! "You have to pray!". As soon as that comes on you it is law and it is bondage! There is no life! "You had better read your Bible, better give, better witness!". No no no! You don't have to do one single thing! Jesus has done it all! He measured up for you! When you turn to the Holy Spirit the veil is taken away and the power of God comes on you and now you LOVE praying and reading the Bible and being in church but it's not because you have to! There is a whole different dynamic! How many of you want that veil taken away?! Just ripped to shreds today?! Isaiah 25 says there is coming a day on this mountain - Mount Zion - David's fallen tent being restored and the Gentiles pouring in!

THOUSANDS wanted to be around Jesus - except the Pharisees! The Pharisees wanted to be there to catch Jesus out and prove His doctrine was wrong! Thousands of the worst sinners under the sun - tax collectors, prostitutes by the thousands gathered to Him! Not to the Pharisees but to Jesus! Have you noticed in Hong Kong that thousands of sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors are NOT flocking to the church? They flocked to Jesus!

There is so much legalism in the church that we have got an inner measuring rod in our conscience that judges ourselves with condemnation and when a sinner sits with us, they feel (even if we don't judge them with our mouths) the effect of that measuring rod on the inside of us disapproving of them and looking down on them when we have got nothing to do with being made righteous, nothing to do with what qualifies us to be holy - it has ALL been by grace and we have no basis to judge and our access into the Presence of God is NOT by the Tabernacle of Moses but by the restored fallen tent of David!

How will you and I know that David's fallen tent has been restored in Hong Kong? Or anywhere on the earth? According to Acts 15 and Amos 9 - we will know that the fallen tent of David has been restored when the Gentiles and all nations come pouring in!

For when David was bringing the Ark of the Covenant back - the Presence of God - he was going to take it to Moses Tabernacle but in Chronicles God told him to take it to Mt Zion in an open tent so that everyone had access to the Presence of God! They got it wrong so the Presence stayed in Obed-Edom's home for 3 months. Who was Obed-Edom? Was he a covenant Jew? No he was a Philistine! He was a pagan and a heathen but when he got round the Presence of God then the love of God touched a Gentile and manifested blessing over his home for 3 months! David said what's going on? David wasn't a pure Jew! His great grandmother was a prostitute Gentile! And David began to understand that this racial exclusivness under law is going to cause the nations to go to hell! So God said don't put it back in Moses Tabernacle but in a tent where everyone can come! And Gentiles flocked in! And Obed-Edom brought 60 of his family to be doorkeepers to be in David's tent! Which means that these Philistines realised that the Presence of God is not something to run from or feel condemned by but the Presence of God is something to run after and run into so they all volunteered to be doorkeepers! They would have been killed if they had tried the same thing in the tent of Moses!

How will I know that the prophecy of Amos 9 is being fulfilled in the earth? When all over the earth tens of thousands of homosexuals and lesbians and Muslims and fundamentalist Hinduis and atheists and all the so-called worst of the worse - will FLOCK to where the Presence of God is! THAT is when we will know that David's fallen tent has been established in the earth and has been fully recovered again because veil has been taken away!

Peter saw a veil come down and when God spoke to them with the Spirit of truth they went to the Gentiles and when they went to the Gentiles home, the fire of God broke out and they were saved WHILE Peter was still speaking! God said "THIS is David's tent being fully restored!".

How do I know when David's fallen tent has been fully restored in City Church International? When I saw Philippino's and Chinese and Asians and Indians and Europeans pouring in here and those who don't know who God is are coming in because WE have turned to the Holy Spirit and are DONE with silly self-centred me religion and for me to have a nice service - no we want the veil off this whole church so thousands will pour in!

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