This sermon was preached by Rob Rufus at City Church International in Hong Kong on 27th July 2008
"Why don't you turn in your Bibles to Philippians chapter 4. It is wonderful to see so many of you here this morning. We have about 50% of people away and I am amazed how God is bringing and adding people. It is very exciting - this is the year He promised us He would bring people from within Hong Kong and also from many from different nations and He will bring resources to us. How many believe we will not be meeting in this hall forever? I have just signed on an 800 seater hall for March next year where we are hosting "Glory and Grace - Hong Kong" and we have Patricia King coming and Josh Mills and Fini and Isi and I believe it will be an awesome time of the glory of God manifesting in Hong Kong. So we thought shall we meet here with the credit crunch and flights and hotels for people? But we just felt that I was standing outside that building and praying "God what will we do if there is a shortfall? We have to make up the shortfall! And I don't want to waste your money!". I felt God say;
"Son, son - go big, think big and trust Me! You will look on this in a few years time and say "How pathetically small was an 800 seater in Hong Kong!?".
We are going to host "Glory and Grace" in the next few years in the rugby stadium - I am telling you right now!
I have heard so many testimonies in the last six weeks of local Chinese, Hong Kong people have been saved in our services! A lot through the ministry of Angela and Randy who are on holiday but also Alice's testimony of what miracles God is doing and it is so thrilling! How many went on our website this week? I got a call from a pastor friend in Australia and he said "Rob have you seen what's happened on the website front page?". Our Muslim friends hacked in again! They love our website and really feel it is an opportunity for free advertising for Islam! We bless them for that! They had advertising for Ramadam and Muslim songs and praise God for our brothers! If I could trace their address I would send a love message and say thank you because there has been a team in City Church International that have been meeting for a number of weeks and consulting with website designers and we have a website designer coming to join this church in a few months from South Africa and we have been strategising to upgrade our website and make it more user friendly as well as translating our messages into Mandarin and Cantonese. So God used the blessing of Muslim friends to give us a sign and a wonder; "Yes I want you to upgrade!".
God works ALL things together for good to those that love Him and are called together according to His purpose! The ministry of the Word is like a bank - the more you put into it, the more interest you get out of it. The more you set your heart - "I am going to learn today from the Word of God and it will advantage me and cause me to have understanding and wisdom to deal with issues in my life much more effectively and give me prophetic wisdom to deal with the context I am in right now and deal with my circumstances by the wisdom of God!".
"Thank You that we are as secure in this covenant as Jesus is because we are in Him ... give us revelation that you have put all things under the feet of Jesus ... open our understanding to see that we are Your glorious inheritance that You take pleasure in as a delighting Father!"
How many of you have found in life that the rhythms are different? Sometimes you go through times where everything you do is going well and succeeding and all blessing and all good? Then it comes to an abrupt end and for another season or time you go through negative and bad and then you come out of that and it becomes good for a while? I believe that right now we are NOT in that sort of a time!
I believe that right NOW we are in a time where we are living in the BEST of times and the WORST of times at the SAME time! And that is because the devil is intimidated about what is going on in the earth.
There are things going on in the earth that I get regular reports on and some of you do as well where millions are being swept into the Kingdom! Across the border in China the estimates are 40,000 people are born again EVERY single DAY! This year we have seen several people come out of wheelchairs and blind eyes open and deaf ears opened! Deaf ears! Cancers healed! At the same time we have faced all kinds of heartaches and disappointments like some of you are! There are things going on in families and friends all around the world. So great things are happening but it's also the worst time at the same time because the devil is trying to target those who God is using and will use to the greatest degree in this time!
The least people He is using are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers! Their job is not to be the superstars who do the work! Their job is to equip every believer to be a manifestor of the Kingdom of God and to have influence in their context!
Ordinary people are having great effect in their time and many more will come out with greater influence! Some of you sit in relative obscurity today and you think; "What do I do? I don't do anything much! I would love to! I go to sleep and go to work! What do I do?". Something is at move and at work in the earth!
The devil will target those who God is using to the greatest degree (or is about to use) by giving them the greatest degree of distraction! The devil is not interested in your money. I promise you he doesn't need it and He can't spend it or want it. But he will attack your finances and he will attack your economy because he doesn't want your money. He wants to rob you of your peace. Agitated people seldom hear the voice of God! Agitated people hear the voice of deception, discouragement, confusion and condemnation! People under the government of God's peace hear His audible voice and hear His instruction and get His leading and they know what God wants them to do. The devil couldn't care if you had a good or bad marriage - honestly! It doesn't interest him! But he will attack your marriage to rob you of peace to agitate you with distraction! The devil doesn't care if you have a visa to stay in Hong Kong or not. But he will attack you on every kind of issue he can - because those who God is going to use to the greatest degree will be distracted by the devil to the greatest degree.
The word is "Distraction" friends! In a time of opportunity, distraction is the strategy of the devil and God's agenda is FOCUS! Laser-like focus! "I was born for this reason - I was raised for this time and I didn't go through hell and back and difficulties and betrayals for three decades to come to this awesome town to go down in flames of bitterness and cynicism and rejection complex! This is the time to stand strong! God is not interested in talking to you about your circumstances of distraction. A lot of people say "I am crying out God! Deal with this issue - finances, money etc!". God is not a magic genii that comes out and offers you three wishes! He is not coming down to reduce His kingly lordship on the issue of difficult circumstances.
Now He loves you and me and cares about us but He won't talk to you about the issue of your circumstances. God will talk to you on the issue of your DESTINY.
As soon as you say "God I want to talk about my destiny. These are the distractions and they are hurting me but what is my destiny? How will I move to next level of my destiny?".
Your destiny is not your career! Your career is a vehicle by which God can express destiny!
When Gideon was threshing wheat in a winevat as a coward and afraid, and complaining and mumbling saying "Where is the God of my forefathers?" and he wanted God to come and use His miracles to change his economic dysfunctional situation. God would not talk to Gideon on the basis of his circumstances but on the basis of his destiny - because God is after destiny for you and me! He said to a coward hiding in a winevat; "MIGHTY warrior!". When Gideon tried to talk circumstances, God said; "Shut up! I am not here to talk circumstances! I am not a God who will be reduced to making men and women just feel a bit happier and sort their problems out!". That is not God! God said; "I am here not to give you a bit of economic empowerment - not to change your circumstances but to make you the greatest general Israel has ever seen and drive out the Mideanites and;
When you obey destiny - your circumstances will improve! But if you focus on your self-pity and rejection and my problems and ask God why He's not helping - you will find He will not speak to you about your problems. He WILL talk to you about why you are on the earth and what your destiny is and what He has equipped you for!
If you do not live in the unfolding sequence of your destiny and the reason why you are on this planet then you will feel your existance on this earth is a mistake and it is NOT a mistake! You will feel you are living a mistake if you are not living your destiny! If you want to have maximum impact in your life then you have to allow God Almighty to have maximum impact in your life because we grow and develop on purpose through process!
There is no microwave Christianity! I am the most impatient man on the planet! Even microwaves don't do it fast enough! Every red traffic light is a demonic conspiracy to frustrate me! I want to go and arrive and get somewhere! If you are not like that then something has been stealing your guts and making you defeatest and passive! The herd mentality is just being mesmerised and trivialised! The Kingdom doesn't have microwave spirituality! I have people who come to me and say "Rob will you pray I'll never sin again?!". I say "Okay I will try. I may have to ask God to kill you and take you to heaven! That's the only place you will not have those issues!". Christianity is not microwave - it is a consistant process! People say to Glenda and me; "How did you get to where you are in the world? How are you influencing so many people?!". Three decades of no sulking, no backsliding, no giving up, no blaming this or that, rejection or oppression! It is not the greatest talents or the greatest gifts or the greatest anointing! It is those who understand that Christanity is not microwave - it is a process!
Today is an event - this message! How you respond to this message, how you deliberately decide to make decisions of wisdom in response to this message is a process that will bring purpose and unfolding evelation and promotion in the purposes of God.
The modern church has overestimated the value of event and underestimated the value of process.
People go to conferences and fill their notes and talk about the experience they had in the event. Great! Wonderful! Do it more! But that is an event and it is the purpose of you making decisions that I am here for DESTINY and if I do not fulfill destiny I will feel like I am living as a mistake in the earth. Which will explain the majority of suicides. It is not because their circumstances went down because of changes in the earth or the oil price went up and they faced bankruptcy. Those are circumstances. If they talked to God about their destiny then God would lift them up in their destiny and in the following of their destiny, their circumstances would be dealt with and they would become economically empowered again. If the nations of the earth cried out to God not for their circumstances but asked God what their destiny was; "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it - God what do you want done with your nations?" - then this planet is so wealthy and every human being could be a billionaire! There is enough wealth in the nations for everyone to be a billionaire!
It is because of the rebellion against the King of Kings and the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Everyone - you and me - can become great if we will value process more than the trivia of events. You say "Do you always preach like this?". No sometimes I am a bit worse!
The motives for living out the process is a revelation of acceptance grace. I am talking in the second part of a series; "Attitudes that attract empowering grace". And I said last week that I am deeply disturbed by the emphasis in the church world today on empowering grace at the expense of undervaluing the foundation of acceptance grace. I am going to quickly review that. Grace has two components.
1. Acceptance Grace.
2. Empowering Grace - enables you to raise the dead, do miracles, signs, wonders and enables you to say no to sin. Enables you to work hard! "I worked harder than anyone else but not I but the grace of God" - that is empowering grace.
I want every part of empowering grace on my life! The way into empowering grace MUST be a revelation of acceptance grace. Even if I don't raise the dead or do any great things or don't get victory over sin or get holy enough or do enough - my Father accepts me in Christ Jesus because He has given me the gift of righteousness not based on my obedience or disobedience. The righteousness I have is the permament, stable, eternal righteousness of Jesus Christ given to me! Ephesians 1:3 - "I am accepted in the Beloved". Romans 15:7; "We are accepted in Christ Jesus". 2 Corinthians 3 says that what the Father sees in you is the glory that radiates and reflects from the face of Jesus.
I said to you last week that the secret of my prayer life is simply this. I know the Holy Spirit really likes me and loves being with me because He knows that I know that He knows that I know that the Father sees Rob Rufus in the righteousness of Christ and I am in the same standing as Jesus. Romans 8:16 - I am a joint equal heir with Christ and an heir of God and I don't have co-equal divine-ness with God and will never be! But I have a co-equal righteousness with Jesus because I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!
Now that is a process! It is not 3 months or 1 year of hearing acceptance grace. It is a process over years of getting deeper and deeper into understanding acceptance grace. When you understand by revelation deeply acceptance grace then this will be growing fruit and will build into your life inner security, inner stability, inner sense of safety and an inner sense of significance even if you don't do anything great. In other words you don't have to do great things to feel important - you know your value is because the Father accepts you as He sees Jesus! The fruit of acceptance grace revelation is humility - humility is inner security, no more drivenness or franticness to impress people. Inner security produces a freedom from jealousy, comparing yourself with others, looking at others salary and what others get and you don't get, you don't feel inferior or superior to anyone else because you have got inner security because you know that you are accepted! People that have to prove something all the time is a sign that they don't understand acceptance grace and have got to "do things" all the time by the power of acceptance grace.
Now when we believe the gospel of acceptance grace then three fruit immediately grows through a process;
Rejection of acceptance grace in Christians produces;
1. Fear of rejection.
2. Drivenness to prove themselves.
3. Comparisons between people.
That is a sign of rejecting acceptance grace. Unbelief in acceptance grace produces fear, rebellion (which is like the sin of witchcraft) and pride! 1 Peter 5; "Therefore clothe yourself in humility all of you to one another for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under God's mighty hand and He will lift you up in due time casting all your cares on Him for He cares for you". You have just seen the working of acceptance grace and empowering grace right there. Acceptance grace will produce humility whereby you will humble yourselves under God's mighty hand and you will be loving and humble towards one another and God will then lift you up by His mighty hand. When God lifts you up by His mighty hand that is empowering grace! If you are proud and insecure and jealous and driven then God has to oppose you because of self-righteousness. If God is opposing you then you can fast, bind devils and be concious of devils and oppression all you like but they are not going away because God is resisting you.
Though the devil comes and wants to attack us - that is not what I am talking about. You can build alliances with men and get every denomination on the planet to support you - you are in trouble if God is resisting you! When you humble yourself from inner security and acceptance grace then the empowering grace of God's mighty hand lifts you up in due time by process! When He lifts you up no devil in darkness can attack you successfully! No human being can stand against you all the days of your life and you become invincible with the invincibility of God! To be lifted up by His mighty hand is to have favour and influence and jurisdiction and authority! Every Christian on the planet is either in a place of being resisted by God's mighty hand or they are in a place of God's mighty hand lifting them up and it is all dependent on a posture of pride or humility.
Those that walk in humility are not caught up in the seduction of the distraction of circumstances, what's happening or difficulties - they are caught up in what their destiny is through inner security in what acceptance grace brings. Rather they are captured by a vision and destiny to fulfill. Let's go quickly to Philippians 4 and I want to show you these attitudes that attract the empowering grace. Attitudes that attract the empowering grace! Philippians 4:1. I am not under pressure to rush the message and I have been rebuked by the majority of people in this church who say "You rob us! Why are you always rushing? We need this stuff!". Anyone can leave anytime they like but don't pressure me into rushing by your body language! I will finish when God says "Finish!".
"Therefore my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord - dear friends".
There are four attitudes there that attract the empowering grace of God. Last week I mentioned that Paul the apostle is the preeminant apostle that ever walked this earth except Jesus who was the apostle of apostles. He wrote two thirds of the New Testament but I think most churches would kick him out if he came to preach in their churches today. He was wild. He was loving and gracious father as well. He raised people from the dead and we have accounts of it in the New Testament. He himself I think was raised from the dead because he was stoned for preaching the gospel and God raised him up. He had revelation and was caught up into the third heaven. This guy makes all of us look tame! He was a preeminant apostle! Yet when he comes to talk to his fellow believers, he does not say; "I apostle ding-a-ling, prophet, bishop, reverend!". No he doesn't say "my sermon fodder, my followers that are there to make me look great!". This preeminant apostle - which speaks so loudly to the modern church which is so gripped by this hierarchial sense of ranking and ecclesiology and titles and names and positions that are driven by a misguided theology that has emphasised empowering grace instead of acceptance grace.
Paul was the champion of acceptance grace and he understood that his father loved him and he was accepted - so he needed no titles or things to make him look important in the eyes of men because he knew that his Father loved him. Out of that acceptance grace God lifted him up and gave him empowering grace to do mighty things. But he was not not concious of his merit or his badge or his significance in the things he DID but in the REALITY of acceptance in the Father's love.
So he relates to his fellow believers - this preeminent apostle - as "my brothers who I love and long for - my joy and my crown. This is how you should stand firm in the Lord Jesus - my dear friends". So his first connection with his fellow believers is "brothers". That means "sisters" too. Sisters as well! He calls them "brothers". How many of you know that all the three and a half years that Jesus walked with His disciples He never once called them "brothers". He called them "friends" and "servants" but He never referred to them as "brothers". When He was crucified and raised from the dead and Mary came to Him in John 20:17- He says "Mary go tell my brothers that I go to their Father and My Father - their God and My God".
The first time Jesus calls His disciples brothers is AFTER the finished work of the Cross and the resurrection.
Why could Jesus not call them brothers before the Cross? They were not born again! They were under the Law and judgement and the wrath of God! Romans 2 - Paul lays it all out. He says that the result of law is that not one is righteous. Under the law no one was righteous. They were all under the wrath and the curse of the law. Before the law came Abraham was given righteousness as a gift because of his faith. But after the law came, Paul said in Romans 2 that there is not one righteous person on the entire planet through trying to keep laws to be good enough to gain acceptance with God. So they could never have been His brothers because they were under the law. He fulfilled the Law! He didn't come to remove but fulfill the Law. The Law is now fulfilled and on the Cross (Colossians 2 says) He abolished the Law and cancelled the written code that stood opposed to us. Once He had cancelled the written code He could then give us His righteousness. You cannot have a gift of righteousness and be under the Law! When you behave wrong or sin wrong the Law will say "You have done something wrong". If you say "But I have a gift of righteousness" then the Law will say "You are not righteous by a gift because I say you have done something wrong!".
So God had to cancel the law in Colossians 2 and obliterate the Law and then declare you to be the righteousness of God through Jesus taking all your sin past, present and future and giving you all His righteousness as a permament unconditional standing before the Father. Only after the Cross and Resurrection could He say "Go call My brothers and tell them I go to My Father and their Father, My God and their God". Co-equal heirs with Christ! Romans 8:29 says "Jesus was the first-born among many brothers". Now first Adam was the firstborn from spiritual life to spiritual death. Everyone born into the planet was born into first Adam's death. Jesus Christ was the first born from spiritual death because He took our death at the Cross - spirit, soul and physical death and He was raised from the dead by the power of God and He is the firstborn among many brothers! I don't know who was the second and third born and it doesn't matter. You are IN the first born! Hebrews 2:11 says Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers.
I don't know if you understand this because when this came on in my heart some time ago - it has changed my entire life. I have realised that I have a brother in heaven. Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. I have a brother of DNA in heaven who is the King of heaven and is not ashamed to call me brother! He was the firstborn among many brothers and His Father is my Father and His God is my God! That has changed me on the inside! I am so tired of these inner healing courses that have gone on for centuries in the church to deal with Christian insecurity and need of self-value and self-esteem. When you realise by revelation that you are accepted and you are a brother of Jesus Christ then there is no more inferiority left or superiority left! The next time you feel some Christian putting a superiority onto you - look them in the eye with amusement! "I don't know who you think you are! Jesus is my brother! And I am co-equal with Him in righteousness as an heir! And I am going to judge angels throughout all eternity with my brother Jesus! Not because of any good or holiness I have done but I am accepted in the beloved!".
It is not about ministry! People run about the church saying "What's my ministry!? What's my ministry?!". What they mean is what makes them important in the church. Ministry means service. Where do I serve Lord? What is my service in the church? Your service may be only a small part of your destiny and your destiny could be a lot bigger than how you serve in the church but Lord where do I serve? You know you believe you are a servant when people treat you like a servant! Will you do that or that? Huh! Don't you know my ministry!? I am a son first! And out of my security as a son - I can minister as a servant. I said in Cape Town that they were driving me crazy! I honestly didn't know whether I was coming or going! "Can you pray for me? Can you pray for me!?". Don't these people understand that I need to go for a cup of coffee?! Then I realised that they are treating me like a servant! Yes I will pray. I am here to serve.
Servants - no hierarchy! I have taken four years to appoint leaders and I know I haven't demolished under God's power hierarchial thinking that somehow means that appointments mean superiority! Position! Prestige! It gets two extremes. "Oh now he is superior - he is an elder and deacon so I have got to fawn and flatter him". Rubbish! He is your brother! Or the other extreme; "Who do they think they are?! I don't recognise them - bunch of nothings!". Rebellion! That is insecurity and jealousy!
The New Testament atmosphere is a preeminant apostle addressing fellow believers as "brothers". Why? Because the preeminant apostle of all apostles - God the Son who was God from all eternity and never was anything but God and who clothed Himself in all humanity - the Man Christ Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father who is fully man - that man dimension of Him is my brother! You and me! Todd is my brother! Our other brother is Jesus! My brother Glenda! My other brother Jesus! The next thing here levels it all. "You whom I love". That word love here is this lovely Greek word; "Agape". It means "my beloved". Paul says in Philippians 2:12; "So then my beloved". Romans 16:9; "Greet my beloved in the Lord". 2 Corinthians 11:11; "God knows I love you". 12:15; "I will most gladly be expended for your sake". This preeminent apostle says to a bunch of problem people who are misbehaving; "I will most gladly be expended for your sake".
Something has gone wrong when leaders or Christian fellow believers see others as a "duty" or a burden or a responsibility.
When the worship leaders or connect group leaders or childrens group leaders start seeing it as a burden; "I don't want to expend myself" then something has gone wrong. Ministry is serving! It is exhausting! He didn't say; "Well I am so anointed that I never feel tired and I never can expend because I have an infinite resource". No - he said "expend myself". When you have expended everything out of your bank and you try to draw money they will say "No". There are times as a Christian when you get to the place where there is nothing left in the soul tank. Nothing. You did it because of a motive of acceptance grace empowering you to serve. Why? Because it's my duty? No! My brothers whom I love! My beloved! I have watched leaders raise up a group of people and after a while they get so frustrated and want to hurt the people. How do you see people sitting around you? Do you see them as your brothers? Do you see them as your beloved? Paul wouldn't have known every Christian in every church in which he was working yet his attitude was "You are my beloved because you are His beloved and you are my brothers because you are His brothers. I am not superior or inferior to you. You Corinthians are getting so arrogant that you are acting like you are superior to me. It doesn't intimidate me. You are my brothers". He didn't sabotage his own ministry because he operated from an inner security.
It is only a matter of time when everyone in this room and everyone listening to this website will not be left on the planet. We will all go into eternity. Modern technology has deceived us to think we have immortality. I don't know who's going first and I am not volunteering! One of us could be gone tomorrow! I guarantee you that within 30 years most of us will be gone and within 50 years there will be not one of us left on this planet. Then everything will be weighed up as to what we have focused on - our circumstances and our difficulties or did we focus on our destiny? I am getting to a place of rewards - that doesn't contradict grace - but I want to talk about rewards in eternity.
Then he says "You who I long for". He isn't just saying "I long to see you" but he is saying "I long to see you". He is saying "I have ambitions for you! I see greatness in you!". God saw Gideon and He didn't see a coward in a vinevat but a great general. When Paul saw his fellow believers he didn't see them as they were but he saw them in their full destiny in God! "I long for you! I have desires for you!". I have to say that I have not seen anything else attract God's empowering grace on a man or a woman's life who has longings for fellow brothers and sisters. When you have this longing - "You are my brothers and my beloved and I long to see you grow more in grace and get out of those dysfucntional patterns and insecurities and fears of rejections! I long to see the Cross of Jesus Christ have an effect that you would embrace it and not modern Christian therapy and the latest book but come back to the simplicity of the Cross and the gospel! I have longings!
Nothing thrills me more than to see people making progress.
I am going to make a statement that sounds big but God knows that I am telling the truth;
I have never been part of a church like this one. I have been part of some of the most outstanding churches on the planet - two of them are very healthy churches currently. And they planted dozens of churches out of those churches. But I have never been part of a church like this one where I have seen such amazing transformations in people's lives. In just four years I have never seen such miraculous transformations in people's lives. I still shake my head and say "It can't be".
Glenda and I had lunch with Rob Gordon last Tuesday and to look into his eyes and see confidence and bright eyes and I said "When you first came into that service in our church - when you walked in I thought "My God what are we going to do with this guy?!". He said "This church has raised the dead! I was walking death. You have no idea how deep in death I was". The man I am talking to today is not the man that walked in a year and a half ago. I literally could go person to person and say "Wow!". I look at Todd here. Todd you shock me! When you first came in I thought you had escaped from an asylum and you were an axe murderer! He used to run out of meetings because the demons in him used to make him run out! We would run out and say "You are not running away!" and pull him back and they would say "Rob, Todd heard voices telling him to run" and I would say "So why are you bringing him to me?! Take him to your leader and His Name is Jesus!". That is the way I lead! There has been no microwave with Todd! None! We didn't do it as a church! I look at a very sane man and it is not my ministry but the ministry of a local church. That is the truth! A very intelligent man and an integrated man! A man bordering on genius in his intelligence! And for a year and a half that darkness was broken off him because he came into a church preaching grace. Not a series on grace! Everything we preach is acceptance grace and it produces in God's people not a drivenness of insecurity and selfish ambition but suddenly they start seeing others as "my beloved, you who I long for". We had longings for Todd! And he has come through.
Barry! Who is not well today. When Barry came - we met him in a real Chinese resturant and spoke to him for about 4 hours. He talked about how he was abused in Hong Kong as a little boy and sexually abused and every kind of abuse. Not making it up! He had the scars! I could not believe one human being could go through this pain! He represents hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people! He was so angry - barking and biting at everyone, swearing and blaspheming and I think he was trying to trigger some religious reaction in Glenda and me! And we sat there and smiled and blasphemed and swore. We didn't say "Don't you use those words in my presence! Don't you know I am archbishop semi-apostle?!!?". We sat there and he swore and cursed and spoke about unbelievable stuff. A year and a half later I am shocked at how well adjusted Barry is! Barry is the most transformed human being I have ever witnessed in 30 years of ministry! When he talks there is no bitterness. He was street smart and now he comes and talks about other people! Brothers who he has longing for!
Four weeks ago I prophesied from here that God would take his story - the longest surviving man with HIV/AIDS and openly speaks about his homosexual past and now the doctors can't find any problem with his immune system. He is off the retro-viral drugs and no problems with his immune system! He is like a normal man! I prophesied that God is going to take his story around the world! God will take his story across Hong Kong! Four weeks ago I prophesied that! In November this year he is going on television and meeting with the Hong Kong television with his two doctors to talk about how he is the longest survivor with HIV/AIDS in Hong Kong and what he went through and how it is Jesus who has healed him! But the greatest healing in Barry that he will talk about is not the physical AIDS but the healing and liberation of his soul! That is what he is going to talk about! He will talk about it with integrity because people in this church had longings!
This isn't a church where people have a sweet meeting and pop out. This is a community with integrity that are connecting! In Galatians 4:19 the believers had been under law and they went back to the law and got themselves under the deception of legalistic modern day religious Christianity and Paul didn't say "Well I have prayed for you and preached to you and I have exhausted myself and that is it! I will forget about you!". In Galatians 4:19 he said; "My dear children I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ be formed in you!". Paul's longings NEVER gave up!
I came to Hong Kong and God said; "You do not leave any wounded behind. You don't give up on anyone until they give up on you. You don't stop loving them or seeing them as your brothers!". There are people that come and go and we don't see them for months and they come back and get into all kinds of stuff. We don't stop loving them, reaching out to them and I am not just talking about me and Glenda! I mean people in this church. They will come through! This word "longed for" is the most powerful word you can use in the Greek language to describe human emotions.
Philippians 1:7, 8. Love is a decision! An act of the will! But love is an act of the will! If you never feel anything then something is wrong! I have feelings! I feel for people! I have longings! "It is right for me to feel this way about all of you. Since I have you in my heart for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me". The whole church is sharing in a common inheritance with Paul - the same grace! "God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus". Where is this supernatural love and longings come from? A revelation of acceptance grace that brings you into the Father's love and He gives you affections for your brothers around you and you can say "My brothers - you - my beloved! I long for you! You are my joy and my crown!".
I wanted to get into how this translates into rewards where Paul says "You are my victory wreath!". The Bible says a lot about rewards and it is not meant to inspire fear in us but to inspire faith to find inner security and stability and humility that will enable us to care and equip for each other so when Jesus comes again - Paul makes it clear that what you have done for your brothers around the world, you will share in equal rewards! Glenda and I have been going in ministry for 30 years and when you see Glenda and I as your brothers and as your beloved and as your longed for and you are praying that you stand firm - when you go to heaven then everything Glenda and I have done you will share in our rewards. Everything each of you have done with the right motives to honour him - if I see you as my beloved and not my joy - then everything you have done in God and born fruit, then I will share in the rewards! We all share! Whatever we have done! Partners we are involved in!
I feel so sorry for anyone who isn't part of a local church and can say "You are my victory wreath - the way you are standing in God and I am connected to the rewards of your maturity". All those believers will get is what they have personally done. But you and I will share collective rewards. Jesus will talk about common reward and common judgement. If you are in a church living in grace - then the only churches Jesus rebuked in Revelation were self-righteous. "Poor and blind". If you are part of a church where acceptance grace is part of the gospel then you will find shared reward on that day. I am here in Hong Kong by destiny! We don't focus on our circumstances! God will come and talk to us about our destiny! When you respond to destiny through process - not microwave - and process is by decade then our focus on destiny will mean He talks to us every single day!
Don't miss next Sunday! If you are a visitor passing through Hong Kong then download it next Sunday! Get this message! It is a misunderstood doctrine in the church today! Many Christians don't throw themselves into grace-filled works because they don't believe it! God said we are going to continue in momentum! Stay alert about your destiny and don't let anyone rob you of your destiny!