New Wine for New Wineskins May 2005

By , May 3, 2005 3:14 pm

SevenCsWalking the Seven C’s – being a church that stays afloat!  In this new series we have been seeing that the only way to stay afloat is to walk by faith – stepping out on the Word of God in simple trust and obedience…

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SevenCs

WALKING THE SEVEN C’s
BEING A CHURCH THAT STAYS AFLOAT  

PART THREE

 

THE  CONQUEST

 
Matthew 14: 22 – 33
 
22Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." 28And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." 29So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" 31And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" 32And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." 
 
Walking the Seven C’s – being a church that stays afloat!  In this new series we have been seeing that the only way to stay afloat is to walk by faith – stepping out on the Word of God in simple trust and obedience.
 
We saw that when Peter stepped out of the boat he put Jesus’ word between him and the raging sea, and it was only as he moved his focus from Jesus to his surrounding  circumstances that faith was displaced by fear and he began to sink.
 

Any time you determine to live by faith and step out  of the boat the wind will always appear to be against you  because the world system doesn’t operate by faith but is controlled by fear. 
According to Romans 3: 23 everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  That is what happened to Peter – he fell short of becoming fully involved in the supernatural activity that Jesus was engaged in.
 
Romans 14: 23 says that whatever doesn’t originate from faith is sin.  And so whatever I think, say, or do that doesn’t line up and agree with the Word of God causes me to fall short of his glory and miss out on and become disconnected from his best – which is to be where he is, and be doing what he is doing.  Jesus said that everything he did was what he saw the Father doing, and that everything he said was what he heard the Father saying!
 
Although it appears that the wind is against you, the truth is that as you step out in faith you are against the wind!
 
Jesus said:
 
Matthew 16: 18 (Amplified)
 
I will build My church, and the gates of Hell (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it].
 
And so, you have to break through the intimidation believing that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world!  The devil might huff and puff and threaten to blow your house down – but he can’t succeed if you are building on the rock – hearing and applying the Word of God!
 
Remember – the Greek word for church is ekklesia which simply means “called out ones”.  And so, if you are born again and Jesus is your Lord and Saviour then church is not just somewhere that you go – it is something that you are a part of! The church has been called out of the world to live a brand new life in a brand new way – by faith!
 
And so if we are going to be a church that stays afloat we must learn to walk the Seven C’s!
 
We are looking at the the first few chapters of Joshua in order to identify the Seven C’s.  Paul said that these things were recorded for us as examples – so that we can learn something from them.
 
In PART ONE we looked at the first ‘C’THE COMMISSION and saw that if we are going to be a church that stays afloat then we must take time to strengthen our relationship with the Word of God because there is only one way to be a church that stays afloat and that is by faith – becoming COMMITTED to the DISCIPLINE involved in being a DISCIPLE who will be prepared and equipped to go into the world and MAKE DISCIPLES and fulfil the COMMISSION that has been given to us!
 
A church that is going to stay afloat is going to be COMMITTED to preparation for, and the fulfilment of the COMMISSION – but the only way to defeat the enemies of religion, tradition, sickness, addiction, oppression, etc. that are ahead of us is with the WORD!  And so we must prepare – information, meditation, revelation, transformation!
 
In PART TWO we looked the second ‘C’ THE CALL.

This CALL is the call to deny self, take up our cross and follow Jesus – to come up higher by laying down and surrendering our personal sovereignty – it  is the call to die to all selfish ambition and personal agendas – to surrender our lives completely to God’s will and purpose!
 
It is the CALL to submit to the Commander of the LORD’s army and to take our orders from Him – to exercise our faith in hearing and obeying his commands no matter how much our flesh screams out for another way!

It is the only way to prepare for the third ‘C’ and guarantee that we will stay afloat and stay involved in what the LORD is doing in our generation!

And so, we move on to the third ‘C’ – the CONQUEST – the act or process of conquering.

Joshua 6: 1 – 5

1 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2And the LORD said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him."

If you aren’t completely submitted to the Commanding Officer you are going to have big problems accepting and acting on his strategies – they will generally cut completely across and be contrary to everything your mind and your flesh tell you is the right way to do it!  You have to be fully persuaded that HE IS God and you’re not – that his ways are not your ways and his thoughts are not your thoughts!  When you take time to make the information your meditation then his thoughts – the mind of the Spirit – are revealed to you, and as you act upon them and make them your ways, success and victory are guaranteed!

That is why James said that we should be “quick to hear” but “slow to speak”.

There can be a real ‘gung-ho’ attitude among Christians who with all the best intentions want to run out and “do it for Jesus!” But too often there is a failure to take time to hear from God regarding his strategy for success!

John 5: 19, 30

19Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner……. 30I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

Jesus never spoke or acted until he had heard from the Commander – he was totally submitted to the will of the Father and only ever acted on his orders and instructions.

If we are going to stay afloat and reach the fullness of a Jesus ministry and be involved in what he is doing in our generation then we are going to have to do what Jesus did and only act upon what we see and hear from heaven!

Joshua shares the strategy with the people – can you imagine what they thought?  And so, Joshua gives them a vital piece of instruction that safeguarded the whole strategy!

Joshua 6: 10

10Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, "You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, "Shout!' Then you shall shout." 

In other words – for the next seven days and thirteen circuits of the city regardless of how crazy you think this is just keep your big mouth shut!  Can you imagine what they would have been saying – about Joshua – “Oh well, he’s finally lost it – he’s never been the same since Moses died, you know…”  About the strategy – “This is crazy… this can’t be God because it’s not what I would have done…” AHEM!

I am often shocked at people’s response to the good news that you bring them regarding the fullness of the salvation, healing, and deliverance that has been provided for them.  They come straight up to you at the end of the meeting – or worse start gossiping their doubt and unbelief to someone else – and they immediately begin talking themselves out of victory and God’s blessing, just because what you have said doesn’t fit their experience!  That’s why God brings us his word – so that our experience can be revealed as falling short of God’s best, and so that we can step out on the word and come into the fullness of his best!

So instead of rising up and fussing why not keep your big mouth shut, and try and walk it out for a while – you will discover that it WORKS!  FAITH WORKS!

If we are going to walk the third ‘C’ – the CONQUEST – then we are going to have to recognise that this world is not a PLAYGROUND – it is a BATTLEGROUND!  And so, if we are going to stay afloat we need to hear from the Commander of the LORD’s army – and act on what he says!  In verse one of Joshua 6 it says that Jericho was “securely shut up” – that there was no easy way to penetrate their defences and take the city.  But God had a way!  God always has a way!

I want us to look at one example from Jesus’ ministry of how he took time to hear from his Father and spoke out and acted on what he heard.  Initially I was going to use several examples, but I felt the Holy Spirit highlighting and focussing my attention on this one.

John 8: 2 – 11

2Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. 3Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" 6This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. 7So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." 8And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" 11She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

As far as the Pharisees were concerned this was an open and shut case – it was as airtight as Jericho!  “Moses in the law commanded…but what do you say?”  You can imagine the disciples – “Come on Jesus…here’s a chance to agree with them for a change…get a bit of acceptance at last…make things a bit easier on yourself and us…get some kind of working relationship going with these guys…”

If you want to be popular and accepted you will never be able to give God’s opinion or do what God says until you die to these things!  LISTEN – if you selfishly live for your own popularity / personal success then you will consider some people to be expendable! 

God spoke to me recently and said to beware of those who appeared to have a great love and zeal for God but that love doesn't manifest in a love for people!  Remember – every move of God begins when someone gets a fresh revelation of how much God loves people and ends when that revelation is exchanged for a mess of legalistic religion that is no longer motivated by love!
Jesus didn’t immediately respond to their question – he stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger!  He listened for the Father’s voice and he wrote down what he heard!  What would the Father say about adultery?  The same as he always said, and still says, “You shall not commit adultery!”  The same finger that wrote on the tablets of stone was now writing on the ground!  And then Jesus got the strategy! 

Some people think Jesus lowered the stakes on adultery here but in fact he came to raise the stakes when he said that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5: 28)

Jesus says to the accusers, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
All of a sudden the presence of God is there – this isn’t dead letter on stone anymore – and remember the letter kills – this is the living rhema that is powerful in dividing between soul and spirit and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  This is Holy Spirit quickened word that brings conviction of sin!

The law at best can do no more than contain or restrain sin – but the glory of God obliterates sin and delivers people from its power to control them! Jesus didn’t come to condemn people for their sin – he came to save and deliver people from their sin!

Jesus is into DAMAGE LIMITATION!  If there is anything that can be saved out of a situation he will save it!  Rahab and her family were saved out of Jericho because they acted on the instructions of the Commander of the LORD’s army.  A harlot and her family were the only ones who could be rescued out of that wicked city – and that harlot gained a place in the Hebrews 11 hall of faith and was the great-great-grandmother of King David which places her in the human lineage of Jesus! That deserves a "WOW!"

In this situation with the woman caught in adultery, the adulteress is the only one saved – because she is the only one who acknowledges her sin and receives the word of the Commander of the LORD’s army.  She calls Jesus, “LORD”!

In what began as an “open and shut case” – the door is opened for the accused and shut for the accusers! 

This woman didn’t try and justify herself or her sin!  I have heard many wacko attempts to justify adultery.  But there is no justification!  “It felt right!” people will say – yes, because you were seduced – just like Eve!  The righteous do what is right according to God’s standard – not what feels right!

“My husband / wife doesn’t understand me” could be translated, “I married to meet my own selfish needs, not somebody else’s”
“He only ever wants one thing” could be translated “She only never wants one thing!”
“My husband / wife never listens to me”  Why? What are you talking about?  There is a way to get their attention and KEEP IT!

This woman discovered her Saviour and her Lord that day.  Jesus released her from the penalty for her sin with the words, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."
These were the defining words for the rest of her life!  She was delivered from her history to walk out her destiny according to these words!  But there may have been days ahead when she was tempted to wish that the stoning had taken place.  You see, God might forgive you – but people might not be so quick!  God might forget – but people tend to have long memories!

This woman – who was a wife and probably a mother – had to go back to her home and face the consequences of her unfaithfulness on top of the reasons that she had been unfaithful in the first place.   She had to deal with her husband’s pain and everything that might entail – he might not want her back and threaten to keep the children from her. He might take her back but be unable to stop himself from bringing it up again and again.  She had to deal with the very public exposure of her infidelity, and the gossip and inuendo that would follow her possibly for the rest of her life! Unfortunately, the bad things you do tend to outlive the good things you do in people’s memory!
And she had to do it all without sin!  She had to walk out these words, “SIN NO  MORE” if she was going to STAY AFLOAT!  She had to access the grace of God every day for the rest of her life in order to walk out that word!

Hopefully, as she became stronger in faith and in the grace of God she would become involved in a Jesus’ ministry – extending the same mercy and grace to others that was extended to her.

As we move out in the third ‘C’ CONQUEST – we need to be able to hear the voice of our Commanding Officer – to speak his word and to do as he would have us do!

A Jesus ministry involves REACHING OUT, RESCUING, REDEEMING, and RESTORING! It is about DAMAGE LIMITATION!

As we reach out to the sinner we never do so by diminishing the awful destructiveness of sin and applying politically correct terms to what God calls SIN that will always end in DEATH if it is not repented of, and people are not delivered from it.  Adultery is not an “affair” and certainly not a “love affair” or a “fling” or an "indiscretion" – it is a horrendous act of betrayal that violently rips apart something that God designed to last for life.  That can’t happen without a lot of pain!

We need to remember that God is OMNISCIENT – he knows everything about everyone everywhere and so he sees the BIG PICTURE – he has a heavenly perspective that we don’t have.  Jesus – in his humanity – was not omniscient and so he was totally dependent upon hearing his Father’s – the Commanding Officer’s – strategy for dealing with every individual situation. 

This is where we have often failed to attain to a Jesus’ ministry and have sunk in our attempts to do the same works that he did!  We have spent time learning about Him instead of learning from him!  We look at someone’s problem and we think to ourselves – “Oh well, Jesus did such-and-such here – so I’ll do the same as he did” – but it doesn’t work!

Jesus didn’t do every sick person or demon-possessed person the same way!  He listened to His Father and did what he saw his Father doing – and it ALWAYS worked!  And it will work for us too – when we do what Jesus did!  We must never turn ministry into a ritual or a method!

Who would have believed that out of a city the size of Jericho the only people who would survive God’s judgement would be a harlot and her family?  Who would have believed that out of a gathering of the religious elite the only one to receive God’s forgiveness and mercy would be the accused – a self-confessed adulteress?

Remember – Jesus said:

John 5: 30

30I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

Who would have believed that after thirteen circuits of the stronghold of Jericho the people of God would let out a SHOUT of victory and the walls would come crashing down?

CONQUEST – it’s all about walking out what God has said and keeping your mouth shut until you get the revelation that will bring forth a SHOUT that breaks the stronghold in your mind and enables you to press into the fullness of your inheritance!

And so – if we are going to be a church that stays afloat and that stays involved in what Jesus is doing in our generation – we must be DISCIPLES who are COMMITTED to the COMMISSION of MAKING DISCIPLES who will MAKE DISCIPLES. A people who have responded to the HIGHER CALL to deny self by handing over sovereignty of our lives to the COMMANDER of the LORD’s ARMY – taking up our cross, and following Him onto the front lines and to all of the church-forsaken places. A people who know that the success of our mission is completely dependent upon hearing and obeying the orders of our COMMANDING OFFICER – who are persuaded that this world is never our PLAYGROUND but is always a BATTLEGROUND. A people who are equipped for the CONQUEST – reaching out, rescuing, redeeming, and restoring lives that have been broken by the effects of sin!

Joshua 6: 20

20So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
I want to challenge you!  If there are situations that you are facing in your personal life, or family life, or business life that appear to be as securely shut up as Jericho then please believe that God has a strategy for you.  If you will receive his strategy without argument and walk it out in faith and patience you will bring forth a SHOUT that will cause that which right now appears to be unassailable to fall down before you!  Guaranteed!

THE COMMISSION  –  THE CALL  –  THE CONQUEST

 NEXT TIME – THE COMPROMISE

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