This wonderful, life-changing sermon was preached by Rob Rufus at City Church International in Hong Kong on Sunday 4th January;
"God is sequencing us all in His own supernatural stewardship and He is taking us from glory to glory, stage to stage so that we are being continually positioned to have more and more influence in this world. If you are born again then you are not a victim of circumstance - you are not living life in some hap-hazard, confusing, circular motion - you are living in a progressive lineage to a climax and a consummation of the end of the age. The end of the age doesn't mean the end of the earth. It means the end of evil operating in the earth. God will bring the reign of evil and darkness and wickedness and oppression of governments over people, sickness and disease, earthquakes, famines - all of these things that are part of the fall of man that happened in the Garden of Eden - God will bring it all to a final ending and wrap the age up.
That will be the end of the age! Which means the end of the age of Satan's rule. I tell you what - we are going to heaven but heaven is coming to earth! There will be no opportunity for the devil to enter in. This is called eschatology and I am not going to talk about that today - I am here to talk about the fact that this world is not always going to be a struggle. It's going to be restored fully back to the glory that was in the Garden of Eden - never to be stolen again! God knew it was coming - He was never taken by surprise, when Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God set the whole thing up and there is coming a restoration and a recovery and those that are in Christ are going to live on a glorious planet called earth.
But you say it will be melted up! No it won't - the Greek word there means it will be transitioned and God is not going to throw this planet away. He created this planet and He will not let the devil steal it from Him. He will recover! And the rhinos and the elephants will be there and there will be no pollution and the lion will lie down with the lamb and there will be peace among the nations!
Even when you feel surprised, God isn't surprised. God is inside of you, God loves you and God is working your life out to a prefixed victory that He decided before time began - He had a prefixed intention before time began for your life for a destiny of victory, of triumph, that through pain and suffering and difficulties all of that will work together according to the good of those that are called according to His purpose and who love Him - so we are condemned to the victory! We are victims of victory! We are victims of divine ambition where God is positioning us to succeed!
I am going to have fun today! In any culture if you are invited to sit down in someone's home and you sit down at the coffee table and they have got you in your home and look across the table and talk to you with animated gestures and with a smile and you sit across from them not moving - that is very weird and really rude in any culture!
How can church be a sad place when the church is called Zion - (in Hebrews 12) - the Bible says that Zion is the "joy of the whole earth"? It is a demonic lie to have any sadness in the church! God says "I will cause sorrow and sighing to flee away!". Not just quietly retreat reluctantly but flee away! The Bible says submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you. I want to say to you - submit to the God of all joy, resist melancholia, resist negativity, resist self-pity and it will flee from you!
Sometimes you have got to fake it until you get it! 2009! I want to talk to you about how 2009 is the year that God wants to establish us in the rest of the free gift of righteousness. He wants to have us rest in the free gift of righteousness by establishing us in that gift. If you missed last week I really encourage you to get Ryan's prophetic statements of the four things he believes God is going to do in 2009. I was hesitant to begin what I wanted to say today because there are so many people away on holiday but I felt led and heard God say it is the first Sunday in the year - go ahead!
1. I believe this - that in 2007 God took a number of churches through the periphery - there is a periphery fence of angelic protection that will stop the church going into full New Covenant glory while they live with a mixture of law and Old Teaching and New Testament grace. Those that wanted to embrace pure grace - even though you would be misunderstand and accused of preaching a false gospel and giving license for sin and even at the risk of being hated by the demonic religious anti-grace spirits (the grace-hating spirits of the religious spirits). Those that said whatever the cost and no matter how much we are understood.
"Father we want to go into fullness of grace with no law, no condemnation, no heaviness - we want only the New Covenant, only Jesus and don't want Moses or the law because you redeemed us from the curse of the law at the Cross and we only want the blessing given to Abraham 430 years before the law ever came. Christ fulfilled the Abrahamic covenant upon that Cross".
Every church that said that in 2007 - God lifted the periphery fence and they went in. In June 2007 this church went in and began to progress into the greater glory. In 2008 there were first-generation grace churches birthed in the earth. Churches were planted by leaders full of the revelation of grace.
They understood the distinction between the Old Covenant and New Covenant and refused to mix the law with grace.
They started the church like that and those churches are blossoming today. We have had the privilidge of facilitating with some of these church plants.
But for 2009 those churches that went through the periphery fence in 2007 and those that were planted in grace in 2008 - those churches are now in 2009 greatly positioned to have huge influence, extraordinary influence in the world today. It's not that they didn't have influence before but in 2009 it is going up to a level of influence that is beyond imagination!!
That's what I felt God speak to me in the country park this Friday. What will happen as these grace-filled churches - the manifest influence of God in them will increase to the level that they will affect media and politics and education - they will affect the church world and many other churches looking at them are going to come under their influence and will say;
"We want to embrace pure grace and renounce Old Covenant teaching that is redundant and obsolete".
It will not be because of the size of some of these churches although in 2009 some of them will grow quite big and large. But it has nothing to do with their numerical size.
Their influence will be totally and only through the measure of extraordinary great grace that will come upon these churches in 2009.
Ryan said something very brilliant last week - he said that when you go into a church that is mixing law with grace (as still the majority of the churches on the planet are) and preach pure grace there are two reasons why churches stay under law and don't preach the total redundancy of the law. They still preach grace but mix it with law - that's the problem. You go there and hear grace and think; "Oh no - they are preaching grace". But you stay around a little bit longer in the same sermon somewhere and you will hear; "You have to perform, you have to do something to earn the blessing". That is preaching the law. That's preaching human effort not preaching blessing coming simply by grace and grace alone.
There are only two reasons why they do that.
1. They do it innocently and sincerely because they have theological errors that they have inherited through the generations and traditions of men and sincerely preaching what they believe is the truth. When those people hear from the Bible the clear teaching on grace, they immediately repent, they search the Scriptures and they change.
2. The other reason is more sinister. The other churches are directly under the control of a religious, demonic spirit that is a controlling spirit. When they hear the message of grace - especially in 2007, 2008 - they start spitting, gnashing their teeth and become compulsive, obsessive haters.
God says in 2009 even some of those churchesa are going to get delivered by the power of God and will change in 2009. Every prophecy I gave exactly a year ago on the first Sunday of 2008 came true - every one of them. You say; "Well the $50 million didn't come in". How do you know?! That figure was never prophesied! I said I am believing God for $50 million and I tell you what - I am still believing God for $50 million. You say what will you do with it? It will go quickly! We've got buildings to buy, studios to build, orphanages to support and things to do - ministries to get out on the field. I am trusting God for $50 million Hong Kong dollars - will you trust with me?
Whole groups of leaders are going to get up in their churches with joy and repent and say; "Look I was wrong - I mixed law with grace - I didn't know what I was doing!". And the congregation will say; "Yes!" and we will see whole churches and even movements swept into the kingdom of God.
Now there will be some religious dominated spirits that will stay legalistic and antagonistic and they will get even more intense in their anger against grace preachers. They will write lots of articles and go on websites and go all over media and run them down but God said this in the country park very audibly in my spirit - He said;
"But in 2009 those religious spirits and those religious congregations and leaders - their influence will decline and they will not have the ability to put fear and confusion on people they way they have done".
So 2009 has to do with being more established in righteousness.
"Righteousness" means "right standing before God".
How do you feel when you feel absolutely connected and totally and infinately in harmony and in tune and right with God? That is what the Gospel is about! That's what righteousness is - it means that you have right standing with God! Now if it was by the law then you would never experience even for a split second any feeling of being right with God. If you are under the law - any feeling you think you have that's right with God is a total deception because under the law - all have fallen short of the glory of God. Under the law - all have sinned and fallen short! There is no hope of even having a split second even if you do a lot of religious good things for weeks and weeks and weeks - at the end of those weeks you are still never going to be right with God because the law completely seperates you from God!
How many Christians daily every second of every moment of every day feel absolutely joyfully right with God and peace with God even 5 seconds after they have sinned? How many Christians? Not one!
But in 2009 those churches that were positioned in 2007 and 2008 are going to fill congregations with people that are established - they're not just going to hear about the gift of righteousness - they are going to be established in the gift of righteousness and the enemy will never be able to distract them off that truth again!
I want to say there is good news for churches that didn't come in in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 they will humble themselves and repent and they will catch up to every church that has been going for 2 years and have come alongside us and we will move together at the same level. They will accelerate upto the same level we are. This is what I wrote for us. Here are some questions;
"Can you see the effect of grace? Remember the first time you truly saw by revelation a pure glimpse of grace? I am not talking about the time you thought you saw grace but there was so much opposing fear that contradicted what you thought you saw. Fear that said to you; 'You could be deceived. This could be something false. The devil is deceiving you - this is too good to be true!'. That it caused you to treat grace as a stranger or even an enemy to be avoided. The many voices warning against grace seemed so loud that gloom and forboding with the dark anguish of doubt settled over you like a damp suffocating hope that God could ever love you so perfectly and never judge your sin or your sinning or disapprove of you! But sees you with absolute fondness and affection and He sees you perfectly righteous in Christ.
No - what I am talking about today is what happened when you continued to push past the fera and consistently listened to the message of grace until suddenly the fresh pure winds of heaven blew the dark clouds of oppression off your mind and at that moment you saw pure, undiluted grace for the first time - the thrill, the liberty, the weightless feelings of unrestrained buyoncy in the glory of God - the feeling of safety, security, full assurance and confidence before God. The certainty - that's what I am talking about today in terms of your first glimpse of grace!".
By the way if this has not happened to you - don't worry - it will if you hang around here a little longer - week after week.
"When this first glimpse comes and the joy and peace comes and floods your soul - the devil will change his tactic. It is classical and it is the same all over the earth. The enemy realises that the fear of being deceived that he brought against you has failed. Now he knows that you have seen grace and overcome the fear so he will leave you for a little while. Then his next line of attack is in religious suggestion to your mind; 'Okay you have seen grace - you've got it! But it's time to move onto other things like sanctification and be responsible now' (which really means in Satan's terms - 'yes grace is great but the party is over!'). No! No! No! That's a con to leave grace! When you see grace for the first time, our Father's next move is to establish you in grace and make sure you never move from grace again! That you move more and more into greater grace!
He wants to establish you deeper and deeper in the revelation of the free gift of righteousness so that you can see the ever-increasing fruit and miraculous results that come from resting in established righteousness that is a free gift".
(Colossians 2:6). "Paul says just as you received Christ so walk in Him. Or the NIV says just as you received Christ, "live in Him"! How did you receive Christ? Did you have to earn or deserve or keep the law or be good enough? No - you received Him by grace through faith - He declared you righteous. So just as you received Christ - so walk in Him and live in Him. There is a major theological heresy in this earth that is a very dangerous heresy and is more serious than any other deception in the Church today.
It is this idea that there are two types of righteousness. The free gift of righteousness that God gives you and the righteousness that you have to perform after you are saved. That's not only bad theology - that is confusing because that means that God's righteousness is not good enough. And how can you be established in the gift of righteousness if you don't know where God's gift of righteousness ends and where your performance of righteousness has to begin? No! The truth of the matter is that the gift of righteousness is the only righteousness that you live by. You receive Christ by the gift of righteousness and you continue to live by grace through faith that "I am the righteousness of God". That gives you the power to change - but you are always righteous and are constantly righteous!
We reign in life by the gift of righteousness and the abundance of grace - that is the present, continuous tense in the Greek!
You are constantly righteous - there is nothing that can seperate you from the love of God - you are CONSTANTLY righteous! There is no other kind of righteousness except self-righteousness which will bring the curse of the law upon you. If you have to fast to get God to speak to you then you are coming under curse. God will speak to you because you are the righteousness of God!
If you think that whatever sacrifice you make is to get God to accept you more then you are coming under a curse because you are coming back under law and you are operating in something that is not "as you received Christ NOW live in Him". Now you are adding to Christ's righteousness your efforts to merit something from the Father.
You merit all the blessing that Jesus merits because you are a joint equal heir with Christ and an heir of God and you are 100% righteous all the time and you will be in 10 years time and 5 seconds time and in a billion, trillion years time - you will ALWAYS be the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus!
When I sit at tables with pastors and they say; "Rob what's this big thing about grace? I understand the gift of righteousness - I got saved through that but that's how I got into the kingdom! But why are you making such a big deal? That's justification! Now we have got to move onto sanctification!".
You must NEVER confuse and divorce justification and sanctification. You must ALWAYS live in the gift of righteousness and sanctification progressively happens through grace while you continue to believe that there is no other righteousness but His righteousness and you live daily in that!
That's how you pray! If you have more boldness to pray because you have been more holy that day (in your mind holy) then you are basing your boldness on something that is disgusting! It is pure arrogance that you did good enough now to approach God! Equally if you sin and you withdraw from God in guilt then you are doing something disgusting because you are insulting the grace of God that made you righteous through what Jesus did on the Cross! You are always the righteousness of God!
People say well Paul wrote the book of Galatians to deal with the issue of justification. You can excuse Martin Luther and John Calvin for teaching that 500 years ago. They were dealing with the then Roman Catholic church that was lying to millions of people and stealing their money and telling them it is based on how much they give and all the good things they do and kissing the bishop's ring and crawling across bottles and whipping themselves and they will never know if they are going to heaven or not - they have just got to hope they've got enough good points registered to decide whether they will get there or not. They were dealing with 1000 years of that darkness - the church didn't start like that - it had 300 years of believing what I am preaching! The church then went into 1000 years of Dark Ages until Martin Luther saw justification by faith - that we are saved by grace and we get the gift of righteousness.
So when Luther wrote a commentary on the book of Galatians, all he saw was justification and he preached that is what the book is about! No! I can't blame him - he had the light he had at the time and he was looking for ammunition to deal with the heresy of the Roman Catholic church today. I have got no fight with the Roman Catholic church today - I am talking about that time. Although I don't believe in worshipping Mary because she is just like you and me. Someone that needed to get born again. She's not the mother of God. God doesn't need a mother - He is self-sufficient and self-existant.
But the book of Galatians has got nothing to do with how you get saved. It has got nothing to do with justification by faith! It is written to Christians and Galatians 3:3 sums up the motive for Paul writing the book. He says; "You foolish Galatians - having BEGUN in the power of the Spirit - do you now want to come to maturity or completion through human effort?". It's not about how you get saved - this message! Then you hear that I am saved by grace through faith and now I have got righteousness - now leave that and move on to getting holy! No! Paul said you started believing the message of the Cross - as you believed I am declared righteous all the time no matter how much I have sinned - if I sin today or make a mistake today then I am still the righteousness of God.
Paul said when you believe that the power of God operates in your life. But he said now you have left that behind and now you have added law to try and improve yourself to get out of these habits. We all have problems and issues we don't want to do anymore but we have still got them. So when you leave the gift of righteousness and try to add to that your better performance you have left the moving of the Spirit and now you have gone into human effort and have gone into the elements of this corrupt age and you have come back under the law and you will not have a boldness to worship God on a Sunday because you will feel that you are not worthy enough because you sinned during the week.
When you know that you are the righteousness of God then you start worshipping God with such liberty and freedom and you approach the Father because you are one with the Father even as Jesus is one with the Father!
We are working together here as a holy battering ram today - not just for the blessing of people here but people over the website - we are breaking something over the atmosphere of Hong Kong. Can you sense that legalistic, control spirit is breaking off the city of Hong Kong?
What is being established in righteousness? How many of you know that if there was a whole load of wet concrete that had just been poured where there was construction going on and I came to it and wrote in it; "Rob loves Glenda" - then I went off, anyone can come back and smooth it off. I come back and see that and write it again and go away and then it can be smoothed off again. What I need to do is come and write in that concrete and then stand guard over this concrete and not allow anyone to come and wipe it off until the concrete sets. Then what is written is now established so that in 100 years time you can come into this city and see; "Rob loves Glenda".
People hear an occasional message that they are the righteousness of God. It writes something on the tenderness of their heart - they are so amazed that their mind is dealing with the fear that maybe this is a lie! Then people take Scriptures out of the New Covenant and quote them out of context and in this series on being established in righteousness. We will do a whole message on the so-called difficult Scriptures that people try to make you frightened about and I will show you how ridiculous and how out of context those are.
You hear the message that I am the righteousness of God and I believe it's true - I think I saw it! And then you go off and sin and do something wrong or a Christian comes along and says no - that is a false gospel. Be careful of that! The devil then wipes it off. Then you have to start all over again from the start. Where do you go to once you leave grace? What have you got left? Human effort! I love God! I want to hear His voice every day!
I think I do hear His voice every day - I love Him, I miss Him. If I don't feel His Presence on me every day then I am suicidal! I can't understand how Christians can't pine for the Presence of God!
If I had to approach Him through the law - there is no hope! Even my best efforts are like filthy rags! I am finished! It is so stupid! Paul uses the right words; "Oh you foolish Galatians - who has bewitched you?". In other words he is saying - you didn't wait for the concrete to set! You moved off the subject because of these Judaisers who came down and made you afraid and mis-quoted Old Testament Scriptures and got you confused and put you back under the law and smoothed that truth of righteousness out before it was established.
I believe the Spirit of God is lovingly rebuking in a redemptive way! The word "rebuke" there I don't mean in a condemnation way - I mean He is bringing a kind of loving rebuke;
"Oh Christians you keep hearing this message and keep letting the devil wipe it out! You need to be established! You need to let the concrete set so in 1000 years time, a million years time, you will STILL be dancing that I am the righteousness of God especially after you have sinned!".
Instead of confessing; "I am so sorry, so sorry that I have sinned" - that is an Old Testament practice! "Confess" means to agree with. That's what the Greek means; "Con" means the same as. You agree with God - what? That you are the righteousness of God. Under the Old Testament when you sinned, you went into sackcloth, ashes, morbidity, beat yourself up! You should if you are under the law because He is going to kill you! He will kill you for sinning! Blood, goats and bulls - yet still feel guilty.
So many Christians today confess their sin and still feel guilty becase you are not meant to confess your sin. You are meant to do that when you get saved! "Lord I have confessed my sin" - now He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness. That means from the beginning of time to the end of time. By one sacrifice He has made perfect FOREVER!
Read right through the New Testament and I challenge you to find one passage where the apostles teach the people to confess their sins when they sin. It doesn't exist. 1 John 1:9 - he says if you confess your sins He is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and cleanse you. I believe He is talking about Christians coming into Christ and getting saved. You can see that by the context if you are building a whole New Testament doctrine on one verse when it is silent everywhere else. It is an Old Covenant teaching! Now if you sin, you say; "Father I don't like doing that and I am sorry I did that but I want to thank You that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus".
By declaring you are righteous doesn't make you righteous - you are already perfectly righteous! But by declaring it over your life, you are establishing it, you are setting the concrete in stronger and stronger. You will wake up at 03:00; "I thank You - I thank You I am righteous! And the righteous are as bold as a lion!".
The more that concrete sets - that you know you are the righteousness of God - the more that righteousness conciousness establishes in your life - the more and more New Testament promises of blessings and benefits begin to happen in your life. God will NEVER bless you on the basis of your works. He will not even bless you on the basis of your obedience. If you think your obedience earns you the blessing then you are spitting on Romans 5:19; "Out of the obedience of the ONE man - MANY were made righteous". It's Jesus obedience by which you are made righteous and it is not your obedience!
People say something like this - yes Jesus obedience gave me righteousness but now if I don't live a life of obedience than I am no longer righteous then you are saying that your disobedience is more powerful than Jesus' obedience that gave you righteousness! Don't even think theologically - just think logically! How insane this insult against the Cross is and how for centuries Adolf Hitler said if you tell a lie often enough the multitudes will believe it! The traditions of the doctrines of the Church has gone on for hundreds and hundreds of years so you have got millions sucking in this mixture of righteousness as a gift and some other righteousness the Bible doesn't talk about - except self-righteousness - which is the Old Covenant law.
This answers the question that Christians can ask - well how come I don't live in all the blessings I see promised in the New Covenant? How come I don't always get healed? How come I don't always get my prayers answered? How come I don't in all the victory? I will tell you and it's very simple. Jesus speaks in the parable in Mark 4 (and I taught on it months ago) that the seed of God's Word is sown. Now the seed of God's Word is the very life of God. The Bible says that you are born again by incorruptable seed. God does nothing without seed. It is a super-natural seed and it says the same seed is sown into different soil conditions. Everyone sitting in this room have got a condition of your heart. You have got soil in your heart that the seed is being sown into this morning.
If you have got a condition in your heart of the years of the traditions of men being taught to you that mix law and grace up and put you under condemnation and guilt - that make you think that God is angry with you and God's not very happy with you anymore because of your sin, then your heart has very limited capacity for the seeds of the promises of the New Covenant to germinate and give fruit to.
Jesus gave four levels of the response to the sowing of the seed.
Level 1; Zero fruit at all. Hard and rocky soil - the seed though powerful had no effect in these people's hearts when it was sown on a Sunday morning.
Level 2; 30-fold fruitfulness.
Level 3; 60-fold fruitfulness.
Level 4; 100% of the promises of God's seed manifesting in your life!
How many want 100%? See some Christians today are really frustrated because they are trying to get 100% result in healing the sick with only a 30-fold revelation on the gift of righteousness. Where there is a grace church teaching on this message - I wouldn't miss a meeting except when you need a break and a holiday and a rest!
I would say to be established in righteousness I need this concrete to be established with this gift of righteousness because then EVERY promise of the New Testament will start happening for me. You won't even have to pray - the blessings will come on you and will overtake you!
Jesus was cursed with the judgement He received for our sin - He didn't have to pray for judgement or curse - it came the MOMENT that He was made your sin. The MOMENT you are made His righteousness by a free gift, the blessings come automatically from heaven but according to the degree your heart is established in the understanding of the gift of righteousness.
Have you got me? If you don't get this established in your heart then you will work harder on your marriage, harder in your career, children, health and you will see less and less results.
But when you get this established you will work less and less and less and the results will get more and more and more!
Why did Jesus say of the pagans that they run after greedy things and money and clothing and a happy life? He said - you! Don't run after that stuff! Don't even waste your time! He said I have got a secret as to how that stuff can run after you! This is all you do - seek first the Kingdom! What's the Kingdom?
The benevolent, peaceful government of God - it's not food or drink but righteousness. Whose righteousness? The gift of righteousness! Peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Seek FIRST His government and His righteousness - not your righteousness. What is His righteousness? It is a GIFT through what Jesus did on the Cross given to you. Get established in the gift of righteousness and all these things the greedy pagans are running after - they will not be distracted from but will be added to you.
There are some greedy pagans out there running after some big money. God says you don't have to do that! You just learn by revelation how you got righteous as a gift established in your heart and the things the pagans are running after and can't keep for long in their hands - THESE things will run after you and the wealth of the wicked shall be transferred into the hands of the righteous! There's a wealth transfer coming in 2009! You see Christians working so hard with diminishing returns and neglecting this very important truth - getting established!
Did you get Isaiah 54? This is a foundation message for this year. Are you ready for some really good news now? How many of you don't always see the promises working in our lives and other Christians lives?
Every promise God has made is yes and amen in Christ! So every promise - it's His absolute will for you to live in the benefits and fullness of New Covenant promises! Yet most Christians hardly live in any of them. What's the reason?
We are going to read in Isaiah 54:17 that God said to New Covenant people through Isaiah prophesying; "No weapon forged against you shall prevail". No weapon! He didn't say "most weapons". He said NO weapons! He didn't say "some"! He said "NONE!". That means anything the devil develops - any new viruses or DNA or sickness or disease or economic down-turn, any attack on your marriage - no weapon formed against you will prosper! Or prevail! How many Christians live in the fulness of that? Christians get every flu that comes through town! No weapon?
The Bible will show us that there is a condition. And there is only one condition - and it's not what we have been told by people for so many years. The condition for all the promises to work is not by you getting more holy or more obedient or fasting or coming back under the law. The way you will come into every blessing being fulfilled is that you get established in righteousness as a gift.
(v14); "In righteousness you will be established". Did you all get that? Most people think that means God is going to train us to do better and better and better and do better. Me - I want to behave better and do better. I want to be utterly holy and as much like Jesus as possible. I never want to sin again! But that is not what I am saying - and I want to prove it to you from the Bible now. Let's go to (v17); "And you will refute every tongue" (or the NASB says; "And every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn"). In 2009 if you are established in righteousness every political tongue - every accusing tongue - every arrogant tongue that comes against you - you will refute EVERY one!
"This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and this is their vindication from Me declares the Lord". Notice the vindication isn't you - you are not vindicating yourself by your good behaviour or by your good arguments. This is God becoming your lawyer - this is God taking your case up and vindicating you - not on the basis of your innocence but on the basis of Jesus' innocence on your behalf. He says when you are established in this kind of righteousness that is a gift - no weapon formed against you shall prosper. To vindicate means to remove all suspicion and establish your merits as righteousness. The Hebrew here is; "For their righteousness is of Me declares the Lord".
Many of the translations will say "For their righteousness is of Me declares the Lord". The NIV says "vindication" - the same thing. Now go to Isaiah 53 - this is a prophecy written by a prophet 700 years before the Cross. You say; "This is going on too long". Rubbish! Just listen now. Come on - you sit in front of the T.V for hours and watch rugby and cricket for hours - this is the Word of God and we are going to get into the Word of God! If you want to leave - go! But we are going to preach the Word of God! If you don't like this then please go! I mean that! I am preaching the Word of God to establish people in righteousness! I am not interested in people who want sermonettes! There are many churches - go get your sermonettes and have your 1 hour service!
We will grow to the thousands but we will not pander to people who want short sermons! We are going to build righteousness in the people of God! We are going to liberate Hong Kong! Stir up your faith man! Get some earlier nights! Christians are walking around always moaning - if you don't get established in righteousness - every weapon formed against you will not prevail! People say; "Pray for me - I just want to be happy!". I won't pray for people who won't sit under the Word! I will pray for the lost in the street and the power of God will come on them by grace - but the believers need to know that you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!
It is the seed sown in your heart that will produce promises being fulfilled. It's not people laying hands on you and praying for you. They can pray for you and you get healed and then get sick again until righteousness is established! Then no weapon formed against you will stand! And in the process we will pray for you while we are getting established!
This wimpy idea of; "I am a victim and pray for me - pray for me". No. Shut up and listen to the Word of God - get it built into your heart and get the condition of your heart right and the legalism out! "Oh you foolish people - get this legalism out!".
Stop leaving the concrete unattended - protect it until righteousness is set! Stop this nonsense of hearing righteousness and then drifting off again into condemnation and being irresponsible with this great salvation given to us.
Isaiah 53 was written 700 years before Christ ever died on the Cross - these are the prophets who saw more about the New Covenant - if you want to learn how great the New Covenant is - go read what the prophets prophesied of the New Covenant while they were under the law, struggling to keep the wrath of God at bay - and Jeremiah and Isaiah and Daniel kept saying; "There's a day coming when a New Covenant will arrive!".
(Romans 3:21) says; "The prophets and the law testify to a righteousness that is apart from the law that is by faith in Christ".
These Old Testament prophets saw into the future. We are wrestling against something here. I didn't go through hell from 03:00 till I got here because of the dark clouds that tried to stop this message breaking into Hong Kong. I didn't go through that for nothing. I can feel the pressure; "Just give it a break and end it here". I will not give it a break and end it here! 700 years before Jesus Christ went to the Cross, the Spirit of God came on Isaiah and showed Him what will happen at the Cross (Isaiah 53:4);
"Surely (not maybe!) our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted".
How many of you know that there was a big problem that when the Jewish people saw Jesus Christ smitten by God at the Cross, many of them like Paul said; "He couldn't have been a righteousness prophet - God would not have judged Him!". The whole Islamic movement - and I honour all the Muslims - but the Koran talks about Jesus being a virgin born but they reject the idea He was crucified on the Cross because they do not believe God would punish a righteousness prophet called Jesus!
There are some people that say it was Satan who put Jesus on the Cross. Rubbish! What would Satan do? It was God that struck Jesus - it was God! Look at (v10); "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering" - what did Jesus surrender to on that Cross?
When Jesus went to that Cross He surrendered to the sickness we deserve, the wrath we deserve, the curses - He surrendered to all of that willingly! For the joy set before Him - He endured the Cross knowing the joy we will experience when we believe this and are established in righteousness.
Why did God crush Jesus? Why did He pierce Jesus? Let's read it in (v5); "But He was pierced for OUR TRANSGRESSION". Mine. "He was crushed for OUR INIQUITIES - the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed - we all like sheep have gone astray - each of us have turned to his own way and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all".
(v11); "After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied" - that is the resurrection.
"By His knowledge My righteous servant will justify many and He will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great and He will divide the spoils with the strong" - that is God giving us the victory of the Cross. "Because He poured out His life unto death and He was numbered with the transgressors for He bore the sin of many and He made intercession for their transgression".
The point in these verses here is so blatently clear. I've read the whole of Isaiah 53 many times but what is the obvious clear message of what happened on the Cross?
Simply this - that Jesus was crushed so that God would never crush you. Jesus was pierced so that God will never ever pierce you with sorrows or with sickness or with poverty. Jesus was punished so it is a guarantee that God will never ever punish you! Jesus was made a guilt offering by God so you will never feel guilty.
How many of you believe that Jesus died on the Cross - His main reason - was to give Christians a power never to sin again? What was the primary reason of Jesus dying on the Cross? Was He crushed so we will never sin again? I want to submit to you reverently that if the main reason for Jesus dying on the Cross was to stop us sinning then He failed.
I haven't met a Christian yet who has stopped sinning. If the Father from eternity said, "I have got to get people to stop sinning and the main reason I will send My Son to die and I will crush Him and pierce Him and something in that crushing will cause Christians never to sin again - then the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit TOTALLY failed. Because millions of Christians until the day you die will never be 100% free from some sin in your mind, thought or attitude. But!
But if the main reason for Him dying on the Cross was so that your sins will never be imputed to you again because they have already been charged to Him - if the main reason He died was so that your sinning and sin can never again seperate you from the love of God then Jesus utterly succeeded in what He did.
Yet today the Cross is not preached that way.
Today very often the Cross is used as a lever of manipulation to use guilt to try and get Christians to stop sinning and it doesn't work.
I challenge you to read Isaiah 53 and see if what I am saying is true. Jesus did not die on the Cross to get you and me to stop sinning. He died on the Cross to lift condemnation off us 100%.
A people who have ALL condemnation lifted off them are empowered to have greater victory over sin.
The woman caught in adultery - Jesus said to her - "Woman, I do not condemn you - go your way and sin no more".
When condemnation is lifted off you, you have got greater power to overcome sinning.
But in the process of becoming more and more like Jesus and dealing with different things in our lives - we will get through these processes faster and the more condemnation is lifted off us. Isaiah 53 is followed by Isaiah 54 - the Bible must be read in sequence and must be read in context. This prophet saw the New Covenant coming and just prophesied 700 years before the Cross that Christ would redeem us and now he prophesies the New Covenant coming in a future age and we are in that age NOW! He says God is saying this to My people;
"For a moment I hid My face from you in a surge of anger". That moment was the time the law came down from Mount Sinai through to the time 1700 years later when Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law at the Cross. That whole period is the moment He had a surge of anger because He had to judge sin by the law. But He says that New Covenant will come and in this New Covenant it will be like the oath that I swore in the times of Noah. I took an oath and I swore by Myself that I will never produce a global flood on the earth again.
If a global flood hits this earth and I survive it then I am throwing away my Bible and I will reject God as a total liar because He took an oath and God cannot lie. This God who cannot lie actually took an oath - not for Himself! He doesn't need to prove He will never lie! But for our comfort - He will never swamp the earth in a global flood. But He said in the same way in the New Covenant I swear by Myself and take an oath - and when an oath is taken it can never be reversed!
Once God makes an oath - your behaviour, good or bad, whatever you do - He will not change His mind! He has taken an oath. He swore by Himself; "I will never be angry again - I will never rebuke you!". The Hebrew there is "condemn you". I will never withdraw My love from you - I will never withdraw My peace from you! Because He has taken an oath! So any time you feel like God is angry with you - that is NOT God - that is a religious demonic lie! Any time you fel God has withdrawn His love, that is NOT God that's a lying spirit! And it shows we are not yet established in righteousness because once you are established in righteousness - no more lies can settle on your head!
But you don't get established in righteousness by casual attendance! You have got to get into it and hear it and hang in with it and flow with it and when you get established lies come and go straight off your mind because you are established and nothing can be wiped out anymore.
Let's read Isaiah 54 - God cannot be angry with you anymore because He finished ALL His wrath onthe Person of Jesus at the Cross. God crushed Jesus for your peace. He can never be angry with you again! I am angry here with religious demons that have robbed God's people for so long. I am so tired of laying hands on people and trying to pray them out of bondage - if the mind is not renewed and established in truth then the enemy says; "Great I will wait one hour later and land more lies!". And they believe the lies because they are not established! You won't survive 2009 - it is all about thriving in 2009 to be established in righteousness!
Churches that reject grace this year - I tell you I don't know what's going to happen to them. God's not going to judge them but the enemy will take them out.
"For a moment" - that's the Old Covenant. A moment! "But with everlasting kindness His anger is for a moment but His kindness is everlasting. I will have compassion on you says the Lord your Redeemer".
(v9); "For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you - Nor will I rebuke you".
You may not feel a thing but my spirit is engaging something in the invisible realm that I hope none of you are aware of. I am telling you that truth that is going to get released into your spirits today and the enemy just does not want you to get this. I can feel in my spirit that I am standing for something here. He just doesn't want you to get this - he wants you to say; "I know it's there - you preached this 2 years ago". You have got to get established in this! (v9) - God swore - He took an oath! "Covenant of peace" - that is the New Covenant. God has taken an oath.
How many Christians on the planet know about the oath to Noah? God created a rainbow and made the oath that He would never destroy the earth with a global flood - almost 100% of Christians know about that one. But I guarantee that the majority of Christians don't know about this more important oath that is irreversible! If God breaks this oath He will be sucked into a vortex of oblivion because He cannot exist as the God of absolute and truth if He lives under oath. How many Christians have absolute confidence in this oath?
It is the most important oath in the entire Bible and the majority of believers don't even have a clue that it is there! And those that do know that it is there - it's so vague and has never been concrete that is set in their hearts. I tell you why the majority of Christians don't know about this oath. It is because the the devil knows that once this oath is established in your heart that you are the righteousness of God and God will never punish or be angry with you - never hide His face (because hiding His face is withdrawing favour - His favour is permently on you now and forever).
The devil knows once that is established in your heart then no weapon that he forms against you shall ever prosper again! Right now there are weapons being formed against you and me that to some degree are succeeding.
God is giving us a way to live a life whereby whatever the enemy wants to throw at you will NEVER succeed! Because you are established!
In Matthew 16 Jesus said to His disciples; "Who do you say that I am?" - the disciples said; "Elijah" etc etc. But Jesus said; "Who do YOU say that I am?". To be honest they didn't have a clue! Then Peter said; "You are the Christ the Son of the Living God!". It goes over our heads because we get the Greek and the Hebrew - but "the Christ" means; "Anointed One!". It means "Messiah!". You are the long-awaited one! You are the Christ - the Messiah! Peter knew Isaiah 53 as a Jew. He knew the suffering servant - the Messiah, the Anointed One who would be crushed and punished and pierced by the Father for us. So that the Father would take an oath never to rebuke us or withdraw His love - never to withdraw His peace but to always speak to us and relate to us with absolute recognition that we are righteous.
Peter knew that! So when He said; "You are the Christ - the Messiah". Jesus turned to Peter and said; "Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you". "You didn't get this in a Bible school or reading your Bible". "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My Father in heaven has revealed this to you and upon this rock". What rock? The rock of revelation . What is a rock? Something that is immovable - it is something that is established upon this established upon this established. Upon this established revelation I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against My Church! Look at history! The Church has not prevailed! It has backslidden and gone under pressure - it has ordained homosexual leaders and done all kinds of things - it has compromised the Gospel and fallen away. It has sold out to the convinient culture of a corrupt age.
It hasn't embraced the kingdom and moved forward under opposition and attacks. It caves in when the pressure is on! The church hasn't been built on an established rock of revelation that Christ is the Messiah, that on the Cross He made us right with the Father forever and when we are established in that the gates of hell cannot prevail against that church!
The devil didn't want you to know that! That's why I will keep preaching this Gospel and I tell you there has been hell for 4 and a half years. I've never fought so hard as I have in the 4 and a half years that I have lived in Hong Kong. Not because Hong Kong is bad but because I have never ever stood week after week, hour after hour, second after second, sometimes toe-toe facing the devil and saying;
"No I am not giving up this Gospel because of the pressure to give it up so I wouldn't lose friends who even attack me because I know my dream that I dream night and day with passion decade after decade for 3 decades to see in the earth before I go to be wtih God - a church that glorifies Him - a church that doesn't cave in under pressure - a church that doesn't give up when the pressure is on. A church where the devil has a weapon and he says; "Okay that one didn't work - I will forge a different one. Oh that didn't work either".
No weapon formed that he forged can prevail - because we are established in righteousness. Not only does his attacks not prevail but his gates of defence cannot prevail either! "Okay the weapons aren't working - let's go into defence". There are regions in Hong Kong - whole mind-sets, whole economic ways of doing, whole ideas in education and mind-sets; "I've got to stop the church getting in there!". No - even the gates can't prevail against a church established on a revelation of Jesus righteousness. Weapons can't work - gates can't work! His weapons fail! It's not that he won't stop fighting - he will carry on but it just won't work!
His weapons can't work - then he puts up gates and the gates of hell don't work. We just keep on bursting through! Now for 300 years that was the church. Go read your Book of Acts and you will be shocked at what you see on the earth! These apostles and prophets and the people of God who were in the New Testament church didn't know modern therapy in church! "I'm a victim! I am full of self-pity and need inner healing because of my past!". They didn't know that! They just saw the power of the Cross - that they are the righteousness of God and the Father loves me and if the Father loves me like that then to hell with my past - I am on my way to heaven! They are established!
The Bible says the book of Acts had the glory of God, miracles, signs and wonders. They were whipped, beaten and opposed and just kept going! They were in prison and prisons fell down! They worshipped in the prison and got whipped for preaching the gospel! Today people leave churches because you preach too long. Or because you didn't say "hello" nicely. Or because they didn't get through to pastor on the first call because he happened to be busy. These people broke through - why?! They were established! What's happening in the modern church today? The law is being put on God's people. You will never be established if you live with this confused mentality. Some people should stop going to churches and conferences because you keep getting confused. Because you see it and then you go somewhere else and they very cleverly mix a bit of law in with human effort and what you have got to do to earn the blessing and it confuses you.
Some Christians should go on a 5-year diet while that concrete is setting - stay on grace!
On John 1; "from His grace we have received blessing upon blessing". Stay on grace until it is set in your heart and then you can go to these conferences with vagabond preachers who don't belong to local churches and are not accountable in local churches and are throwing out their spiritual ideas as to the way that miracles are going to happen. "If you do this or this then you will have the break-through". No you won't! You will just have false ideas that will confuse you and delay you in being established in righteousness.
Isaiah 54:14; "In righteousness you will be established". After everything I have said you cannot believe that anything apart from what Isaiah 53 speaks about - that you were declared righteous because He carried your iniquity and He was punished for you.
Isaiah 53 speaks about the Cross and all that Jesus bore for you so Isaiah 54 can say; "Therefore God took an oath NEVER to be angry with you again!". He is talking about not your righteousness but the righteousness of God.
This is for 2009 when people are living in such fear! Running for safety - can't stay where there is too much pressure - it's all about me and my life and my family. No it is all about what God wants you to do! "In righteousness you will be established - tyranny will be far from you - you will have nothing to fear!".
And what is the condition Rob? Keeping the law? No - being established in righteousness.
"Terror will be far removed". He did not say there will be no terrorism - terrorism is increasing in the earth. He said it won't come near you. (v15); "If anyone does attack you then it will not be My doing". I hear people say; "Well you open a door and then the devil comes in - God set the devil on you to sort you out. God is using the devil to discipline you". If I let my children get disciplined by throwing them over a fence to where there were ravenous dogs next door and let the dogs bite their faces off - that will teach you! God has left no door left to be open to the devil. Jesus closed every single door at the Cross when He said; "It is finished!". ALL authority in heaven and on earth was given to Him! He took every key the devil had!
You never open doors to the devil. The only way you can open a door to the devil is not to believe this Gospel. If he lies to you and says; "You have sinned - now I have got a right to come attack you" - no he will attack you whether you are living well or when you sin!
He will attack you to lie to you that he is attacking you because you opened a door to him! No - you better close every door and become self-concious - concious of you. Just say; "Shut up devil! I know I sinned there but I tell you what - I am the righteousness of God and I will get the victory over that sin and I will find grace to get over that and I will not live in sin! But you have no doors - no gates can prevail against me! No weapons can prevail against me - not because I am holy or because of my perfection but because of a righteousness that is a free gift that I have been established in!".
Anyone coming against you is not God.
Under the Old Covenant God had to let nations around Israel attack them to destroy them. In the New Covenant He is saying if anyone attacks My people - it won't be My doing and those that attack you will surrender to you! (v17); "You will refute every tongue that accuses you - this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and this is their vindication from Me declares the Lord". Close your eyes and close your Bibles.