New Wine for New Wineskins June 2009

By , May 30, 2009 9:00 am

Let the Weak Speak

Part 10 – Abraham – The Whole Truth (1)


Remember – the purpose of this series is to release the potential that is within us to build successful ministries, kingdom businesses, to be world changers and to really make a difference in this world.  For that to happen we recognise that there must be change – but we thank God that all of the change he requires is by way of exchange.  We simply come to the place of exchange – the cross of Jesus Christ which is the gateway to the very Throne Room of God – and trade our weakness for his strength!

We are not chasing signs and wonders – we are designed to be signs and wonders and to be the most exciting thing that is going on wherever we are!

Isaiah 8: 18

18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the LORD of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

Joel 3: 9 – 10

9 Proclaim this among the nations:
“Prepare for war!
Wake up the mighty men,
Let all the men of war draw near,
Let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

We have been looking at some of the people listed in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” and have seen that although none of them were perfect – and some were far from perfect – they all overcame their weaknesses by allowing God’s strength to manifest in and through them! In fact, in Hebrews 11 it actually states that…

Hebrews 11: 34

34…out of weakness they were made strong

The LORD told Paul:

2 Corinthians 12: 9

9 …My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  

Paul then went on to say concerning himself:

10 …when I am weak, then I am strong.

Last time we looked at Noah and saw how important it is to not only live our lives saying, “Yes, LORD!” but also knowing when to say, “No, FLESH!” so that we don’t ever become drunk on the fruit of our success – the success that will inevitably result from a lifetime of saying, “Yes, LORD!”

IT IS TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

This time we are going to be looking at Abraham who among the men and women mentioned here in the “Hall of Faith” stands out as the “superman” of faith!  In fact, he doesn’t just get one mention – he gets two!  Abraham is also known as “the father of all who believe”.  
Romans 4: 16

16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

Hebrews 11: 8 – 10, 17 – 19

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. 9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10 For he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God………
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall your seed be called: 19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Abraham left a place of advanced civilisation to live in a tent.  

Abraham’s home town was Ur of the Chaldees.  Extensive archaeological excavations were carried out there in the 1920’s and 30’s.  The house of an average middle-class person had from ten to twenty rooms.  The lower floor was for servants and the upper floor for the family.  There was also a guest chamber with en-suite toilet, and a private chapel.  A school was found there and clay tablets revealed what the students had studied there.  They did the three R’s of reading, writing and arithmetic just like today, learned the multiplication and division tables and even worked at square and cube root.

Down through history men and women of faith have been willing to respond to the call of God to leave behind everything that is comfortable and familiar to go out by faith into the future that has been planned for them by God.  Every time we respond to God’s call and follow his leading and direction it is an adventure of faith!

It is interesting to note that although Abraham originally left Ur of the Chaldees along with his father he only made it half-way to his destination while his father was alive.  Many people have their progress hindered by family loyalties and can only get so far until they are willing to abandon all tradition and allegiance to what has been the traditional way of doing things and give themselves over completely to what the LORD has for them in their generation.  It is not a case of dishonouring what is behind – it is simply acknowledging as Paul did that what is behind is behind and that there is a future to be pressed on into!

IT IS TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Abraham had to leave Haran and continue his journey by faith!  He was looking for a city with foundations whose builder and maker is God!  He had a vision for the church thousands of years before the New Covenant was established!   

As you study Abraham’s life it is incredible how God consistently spoke and reaffirmed his desire to bless him.  All that God required from Abraham was his faith and obedience – that he simply believed and acted on the word.

Genesis 12: 1 – 3; 13: 2; 15: 1 – 6; 17: 1 – 7; 22: 14 – 18

1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  2 I will make you a great nation;  I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.  3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”…….2 Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold……. 1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  2 But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”  4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness……. 1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: 4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you…….14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”  15 Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, 16 and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son – 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

It is hard for us sometimes to believe that God would want to bless us – particularly when we know that we are not perfect or even come close to being what we wrongly assume we need to be in order to be blessed by God.

2 Corinthians 5: 21

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

That is some exchange!  The truth is that all God requires from us is the same as he required from Abraham – that we simply take him at his word and believe and accept that he wants to bless us.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of God’s people insist upon arguing themselves out of the blessings of healing and prosperity.

Galatians 3: 13 – 14

13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written,  “Cursed is  everyone who hangs on a tree”), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

God’s heart is always to bless us!  He wants to bless us so that we can be a blessing!  God designed the church to be blessed so that it can be a blessing!  We are to be blessed with the same blessing as Abraham and more!  Our blessing is not only the earthly blessing of Abraham but also the spiritual blessings of Jesus!  It is time to wake up and realise that we cannot be a blessing until we are blessed!

IT IS TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Ephesians 1: 3

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ

He wants us to experience the fullness of the blessing he has already blessed us with!  If you don’t believe that then listen to this:

Mark 10: 29 – 30

29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

Abraham had no problem believing that God could bless him – he believed God and so it was counted to him as righteousness.  Simply believing God positioned him for blessing!  Our righteousness is never from our own ability to be good and upright and live a holy life – it is simply based upon our willingness to believe that what Jesus accomplished on the Cross was accepted by God on our behalf and that we are made righteous and positioned for blessing as soon as we believe.

Remember – we are engaged in a war of words!  All of us have been programmed with negative religious hogwash that is designed by the enemy of our souls to stop us walking in the fullness of the blessing and to limit our potential to do him and his kingdom damage by overflowing that blessing into the world around us!  The last thing he wants is for us to become signs and wonders and to be the most exciting thing that is going on!  When church becomes the most exciting thing that is going on he is really in trouble!

The blessing includes financial prosperity.  It is essential that we prosper financially if we are going to fund the projects that God is calling us to be involved in.  This world operates on finance and so in order to have influence and leverage it is necessary for us to believe that we have more than sufficient resources at our disposal to meet every need and eventuality.

Tragically, the truth that God wants us to prosper financially has been very successfully displaced in the majority of God’s people by a ridiculous notion that poverty is somehow synonymous with holiness.  Our souls have become polluted by religion and so it is essential that we are restored to the pure and simple message of God’s word that contains the power to bless us when we receive it by faith!

3 John 1: 2 – 4

 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. 3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, even as you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.   

Our souls need to prosper and our lives need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds to God’s word so that we can walk in the fullness of the blessing!  The blessing contains financial prosperity and healing for our bodies!

Proverbs 10: 22

22 The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

Luke 13: 10 – 17

10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, you are loosed from yours infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, You hypocrite, does not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Jesus healing that woman just became the most exciting thing that was going on!

IT IS TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Abraham walked in the fullness of the blessing by faith but there were a couple of areas of weakness that he had to overcome that are still very relevant in the church today!  Although the two areas appear to be different they are actually related because they are both fruit from the same root.

John said that it was as we walk in the truth that our soul prospers and as a result we are prospered and healed.  The opposite of truth is a lie.  

liean intentionally false statement

I have discovered over the years in ministry and involvement with the church that there is one thing that can be even more dangerous than a lie and that is a half-truth.

half-truth a statement that conveys only part of the truth, esp. one used deliberately in order to deceive someone.

On two occasions Abraham – through the fear of man – resorted to lying regarding his relationship with Sarah in an attempt to protect his own skin.  He had the Egyptian pharaoh and then Abimelech the king of Gerar believe that she was his sister rather than his wife.   Then later – he let Sarah persuade him to have a child with her servant Hagar, and so he allowed faithless words to cause him to preempt God’s plan and try and make things happen!

Both of these actions were motivated by fear and both involved not an outright bare-faced lie but the more dangerous variety – a half-truth!  Sarah was actually his half-sister as they had the same father but different mothers.  Hagar was Sarah’s servant and so technically any child that she bore
belonged to Sarah also. But the reality is that a half-truth is nothing more than a lie when we know the whole truth!  We have a very subtle and persuasive enemy who is intent on drawing us away with his deception into a place where our weakness can be exploited.  Abraham had tremendous faith in God but he still had to overcome the fear of man!

Proverbs 29: 25

25 The fear of man brings a snare: but whoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

The fear of man brings a snare.  

snarea thing likely to lure or tempt someone into harm or error  

When you get caught in a snare you are going nowhere until you are released from it or die!  The fear of man has caused many in the church to deal in half-truths.  We wouldn’t need to use the term “full gospel” if there wasn’t a half-gospel out there!  Some might find this offensive but the reality is that if someone is preaching a half-truth because of the fear of man when they know the whole truth then they are preaching a lie.  Some preachers think that if they avoid certain scriptural issues then more people will listen and they will get more people into their church.  But if the whole truth is not preached then you will not have whole people.

All fear is the result of the enemy applying pressure to our weakness and so when we are governed more by fear of man than faith in God we are deceived into thinking we have created a place of safety when we are actually trusting in a lie!

Isaiah 28:  9 – 18

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith all of you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. 14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, all of you scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15 Because all of you have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: 16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believes shall not make haste. 17 Judgment also will I apply to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. 18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand

Lies or half-truths are never sufficient covering for us and will always leave us exposed to the enemy!

Isaiah 28: 20

20 For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

That says it all!  Jesus invites us to come to him and find rest for our souls but a half-gospel will always leave you restlessly and wearily tossing and turning as you try to find peace.  When we are stuck in a half-gospel that doesn’t include the fullness of salvation, healing, deliverance, and prosperity we are seriously limited in our potential to be the signs and wonders that we are designed and destined to be!  

If you have heard that God doesn’t want to save everybody then that is a half-truth – a half-gospel that can never be effective in reaching the whole world with God’s will that none perish!

If you have heard in regards to healing that “some he does and some he doesn’t” then that is a half-truth – a half-gospel that breeds confusion and limits our potential to stick out like the healed thumb that we are supposed to be.  

If we have been told that prosperity is only about spiritual blessings then that is a half-truth – a half-gospel that will seriously limit our potential to be blessed financially and become the blessing that prosperity equips and enables us to be!

If you have been taught that God is sovereign but have not been told that God in his sovereignty has given you personal responsibility then you are caught in a half-truth – a half-gospel that will definitely hinder you from appropriating all that can be yours by exercising personal faith!

You will often find that half-truths and half-gospels are generally although not exclusively peddled by those who have not accepted the fullness of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.   The Holy Spirit has been given to us to lead us into the fullness of God’s provision and to manifest the abundant life that Jesus came to give us.

John 16: 13

13 Nevertheless when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth

The Holy Spirit comes to lead us into all truth – not half-truth!

Ephesians 4: 20 – 25

20 But all of you have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that all of you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That all of you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that all of you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

There are three very important steps here but sadly there is one that many people miss.  What happens when you miss a step?  You are liable to stumble and fall.  Jesus said that we should watch and pray in order to avoid falling into temptation.  The step that many people miss as they seek to live a life of faith is the renewing of their minds.  They put off the old and try to put on the new but they still have old mindsets and traditional strongholds in place. It is like a five stone anorexic looking in the mirror and seeing a fat person looking back at them.  

Either Jesus did it all or he didn’t!  If there is still something required from us apart from our simple faith and obedience then we are still in trouble!  Because we are weak!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

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