New Wine for New Wineskins September 2007

By , August 30, 2007 9:20 am

Choose Life! (Part Two)

 

Blessing or curse? The choice is YOURS… 

 

From Part One…

John 10: 10 (Amplified)

10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

If what you are experiencing personally or seeing happen in someone else’s life has stealing, killing, or destroying attached to it then it is the work of the thief!  If it has abundance of life as it’s fruit then it is the work of Jesus….

…We have an adversary – the thief who only ever comes to steal and kill and destroy!  Let’s look at how he sought to do the only thing he knows how to do in the life of Jesus.

STEAL

Luke 1: 26 – 38

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

One of the biggest enemies we face is our human reason because it has been programmed to think way below God’s thoughts.  That is why we must learn to pull down mental strongholds, cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10: 4 – 5).  Mary reasoned initially that it couldn’t happen because it was contrary to natural law.  But if everything we need can happen naturally why do we need God? 

God operates in the realm of the supernatural and although we were designed to live in this natural world there was an extra dimension of our lives that was always supposed to function supernaturally.  We were designed to live supernaturally naturally.  Faith activated by hearing the word of God is the gateway into the supernatural. It was disobedience to the word of God that caused man to fall from the realm of the spirit back into the realm of the soul – to a place where he was subject to his mind, will, and emotions. You can only truly have dominion in the natural world if you live in the realm of the supernatural.  Otherwise every attempt to exercise dominion will result in the soulish counterfeit of domination (intimidation and manipulation) that can lead to hooking up with witchcraft spirits in order to  have your will done!  When we are living according to God’s design and are led and empowered by the Holy Spirit we only seek God’s will to be done and so we exercise true dominion which is always subject to His Lordship. 

When God found Mary he found someone who would be willing to submit to his word regardless of how ridiculous or impossible it sounded, and so the word that was Jesus could not be stolen and instead was connected with faith – allowing conception to take place and find an environment where the Word made flesh could grow and develop.

Mary was a young woman – her whole life was ahead of her.  She was making a lifetime commitment.  This is how we must see it every time we say, “Let it be to me according to your word!”  We need to see it as a lifetime commitment so that we cannot be moved from our decision by anything that comes against it…

Part Two…

What will you say when the Holy Spirit speaks a word to you that will take over your life for ever, turn it upside down, subject you to reproach and misunderstanding, and make you a prime target for persecution? 

If the Holy Spirit cannot find someone who is willing to step outside of “religion as usual” by giving entrance to his supernatural word that will birth his eternal purposes then the supernatural life of Jesus will never manifest through his body.

Mark 4: 14- 15

14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Later on in her life Mary’s counsel was instrumental in Jesus performing his first miracle at a wedding.  She said, “Whatever he says to you do it!”  Now, just like then, the best wine has been saved for last for all those who will simply do what he says!

Jesus was shocked at the people who called him “Lord, Lord” and yet failed to do what he said (Luke 6: 46).

KILL

If the word can’t be stolen then the devil will try to kill the word.  When King Herod heard about the birth of Jesus he was stirred to jealousy and satan filled his heart with murder in an attempt to kill the word before it could come to maturity and threaten his kingdom.

Again, it took faith to protect the word – the wise men had to act on the word they heard regarding not returning to Herod’s palace, and Joseph had to act on the word that he heard concerning taking Jesus into Egypt.

There is a time to be high profile and there is a time to lay low.  The word must have time to grow on the inside of you and you must be faithful in applying the word in the small and seemingly insignificant things as you protect the the word from the pressures that come against you to kill the word.  The enemy is jealous of your destiny and he will stir people up to come against you in an attempt to kill the word in your life before it comes to a place of maturity.

Mark 4: 16 – 17

16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble (are offended and give up or quit). 

DESTROY

The word that was Jesus could not be stolen or killed so when he came to maturity and appeared out of obscurity he was subjected to the full force of personal temptation at every level – the lust of the flesh (the desire to indulge), the lust of the eyes (the desire to acquire), and the pride of life (the desire to impress). 

Luke 4: 1 – 12

1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
(IDENTITY)

This is the lust of the flesh – the desire to indulge – and it will always seek to pull you away from the revelation of your IDENTITY in Christ!  When you truly believe that you are the righteousness of God – that you are a new creation – then you will have power to resist the temptation to indulge your flesh!  God loves you – he made you and he knows your needs –  and so he has made available an abundant supply to satisfy your needs legitimately.  How did Jesus counter this temptation?  “It is written…”

4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
(INTEGRITY)

This is the lust of the eyes – the desire to acquire – and will always seek to compromise your INTEGRITY.  You have integrity when what you say and what you do – what you claim to believe and how you live – are one and the same.  The devil is after world domination – control and power over others – but God has a plan to bless everyone who loves him with the fullness of his provision until they fill up and overflow and become a blessing to others.  We don’t need to compromise our integrity to try and get anything – it’s already been made abundantly available to worshippers in spirit and truth (integrity)!  How did Jesus deflect this attempt to compromise him?  “It is written…”

8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
‘ He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’
11 and, ‘ In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
(IMMATURITY / INSECURITY)

This is the pride of life – the desire to impress – and will always seek to exploit any areas of IMMATURITY or INSECURITY in your life.  It is important to understand fully what Jesus said in response to the first temptation to indulge his flesh.  When he said that man lives by every word that God speaks he was referring to the rhema word that God speaks from the logos word – that he empowers and applies to the real-time situation or circumstance that we are experiencing or encountering.  We need to hear from God before we act. Faith acts on what it hears!  In this third area of temptation the devil brings the logos word to Jesus in an attempt to discover and exploit any area of immaturity or insecurity – to try and get him to act on the written word under controlling pressure to prove something rather than waiting as a mature and secure son of God for the leading of the Spirit and the spoken word that contains the power to save, heal, and deliver – every time and in every situation and circumstance!  How did Jesus defeat this subtle attempt to search out and exploit any areas of immaturity or insecurity in his life?  He didn’t just say, “It is written…” this time.  He refers specifically to an instance of the rhema form of the written – logos – word, “It has been said…”     

12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Jesus was hit with what I call the 3 P’s of temptation – the temptation to pre-empt God’s will (preemption), the temptation to pretend to worship God while your heart is really after something else (pretence), and the temptation to presume that God will follow you when you have been called to follow him (presumption).

Mark 4: 18 – 19

18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

It is our responsibility to maintain our hearts as good ground – otherwise the cares of this world (the lust of the flesh – the desire to indulge – the temptation to preempt), the deceitfulness of riches (the lust of the eyes – the desire to acquire – the temptation to pretend that we are serving God when we are really serving mammon), and the desire for other things (the pride of life – the desire to impress – the temptation to presume that God will finish something he didn’t start) will enter in and choke the word so that the fruit is destroyed!

How many people came through without the word being stolen because they said, “Let it be to me according to your word”, then came through the persecution stage without yielding to offence and giving up under pressure, but when they came to a place of fruitfulness the enemy somehow succeeded in diverting them and the fruit was destroyed!

Mark 4: 20

20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirty fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.

We are engaged in a battle that is raging all around us – but we can stay in victory just like Jesus if we stay on the word and the word stays in us!  We must live out of our born again spirits and never fall back into our souls!  Our soul will always be seeking to pull us back down.

Ephesians 6: 10 – 13 (Amplified)

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].
11 Put on God's whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.
12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
13 Therefore put on God's complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].

1 Peter 5: 8 – 9(a) (Amplified)

8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[f]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
9 Withstand (resist) him; be firm (steadfast) in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined].

 
James 4: 7 (Amplified)

 7 Submit (be subject) to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.

You cannot successfully resist the devil unless you first of all submit to God.  Your attitude must be, “Let it be to me according to your word!”  We must humble ourselves under his mighty hand and act on his instructions and follow his leading.  We must resist every temptation by declaring, “It is written!” or even more effective – “God says…He has said…”  Every time we speak out words of faith we access the supernatural grace of God that keeps us strong and able to overcome!

We must choose life and good and resist death and evil!  We must choose blessing over the curse!

It was the LIFE that was in Jesus and the supernatural GOOD that he did that was the light of men, and so if our light is to shine in the darkness around us we must choose to manifest his supernatural LIFE and do the same supernatural GOOD works that he did.

Will you help to restore God’s reputation (If you think that sounds wacko then remember what Nathan the prophet said to King David after his adultery with Bathsheba when he told him that he had given the enemies of God opportunity to blaspheme)?  How can you help restore God’s reputation? Simply by choosing LIFE and GOOD and resisting DEATH and EVIL?

IT IS TIME!

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