New Wine for New Wineskins October 2014

By , October 2, 2014 11:28 am

whodareswinsThis Means War! (Part 2)

Who Dares Wins


Do you know that there is a war on?  Do you know that in a time of war many people are called up to active service?  Do you remember what Jesus said?

Matthew 22: 14

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The first thing that happens after you are called up is you receive a physical examination to see if you are fit for active service.  Some folks who are found to be below standard are designated for roles away from the action and others are rejected altogether. Then, those who make it past the first hurdle are put through intensive initial training – “boot camp” – which will usually weed out a few others.  

In this day of intense spiritual warfare many are being called up!  You see, in times of peace some folks are enticed by a false picture of a glamorous lifestyle where you dress up in a smart uniform and get to see the world. Then, when many of those folks find themselves on the front line they desert and go AWOL!  What did Jesus say about that?

Luke 9: 62

62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

The Message

62 Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

Recently I have been asking the LORD to correct me if I have strayed from the original vision that he gave me.  I believe the LORD has been speaking about taking us to a new dimension.  I believe the LORD is saying that it is time to grow up and to finally come to the place of maturity where we are no longer tossed about by every wind of doctrine that blows through the church but where we are established in the unity of the faith!

Twenty three years ago the LORD told me to begin enlisting people for the SAS.  The SAS in natural terms is a crack regiment made up of the very best of those serving in the armed forces of the United Kingdom.  You must have served for at least three years with a regular unit before you can even apply to join the SAS.  You must also be declared fit by your own regiment’s doctor and be able to complete the Battle Fitness Test.  Then the real selection process begins.  Statistics show that only between five to ten percent of those who apply – who are already the cream of the crop of actively serving soldiers – actually make it through into the ranks of the SAS.  They experience a training program that tests their endurance to the extreme and are subjected to interrogation techniques that humiliate, intimidate, and ridicule them.  One instructor said concerning this training process,  “We don’t want to fail you – we want to kill you!”  The motto of the SAS is, “Who Dares Wins”.

And so, from a spiritual perspective, when the LORD told me that he wanted me to enlist people for the SAS he said he wanted the SAVED AND SANCTIFIED!

You can be SAVED (rescued from destruction and your sins forgiven) and be serving God to some extent in a regular and traditional kind of way and yet not know that you have also been SANCTIFIED (set apart, dedicated, consecrated, separated completely unto God).  But what the LORD told me to do was to enlist those whose hearts were completely sold out to obey him in everything and to see his standard raised!

Isaiah 59: 19

19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will raise up a standard against him.


Only the Spirit of the LORD is sufficient for defeating the enemy and only those who are completely dedicated, consecrated, and separated unto the LORD have enough awareness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives to really make a difference!

2 Chronicles 16

1 In the thirty-sixth year of Asa’s reign Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering the territory of Asa king of Judah.
2 Asa then took the silver and gold out of the treasuries of the LORD’s temple and of his own palace and sent it to Ben-Hadad king of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus. 3 “Let there be a treaty between me and you,” he said, “as there was between my father and your father. See, I am sending you silver and gold. Now break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so he will withdraw from me.”


Scripture is clear that you can’t make peace treaties with the world system!  Friendship with the spirit of the world makes you the enemy of God!

4 Ben-Hadad agreed with King Asa and sent the commanders of his forces against the towns of Israel. They conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel Maim  and all the store cities of Naphtali…
…7 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him: “Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand. 8 Were not the Cushites  and Libyans a mighty army with great numbers of chariots and horsemen? Yet when you relied on the LORD, he delivered them into your hand. 9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are fully committed to him. You have done a foolish thing, and from now on you will be at war.” 10 Asa was angry with the seer because of this; he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally oppressed some of the people.


People can get stirred up when the prophetic word exposes them and they sometimes get spitting mad!  It is not always popular to be a true prophet of the LORD!

11 The events of Asa’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. 12 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.


He hadn’t learned!  How many of God’s people never learn?  They hear the prophetic word that calls them up but they choose to reject it!

Psalm 25: 14

14 The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.

WOW!  When Duncan Campbell – a man greatly used of God in the Lewis Revival of the 1940’s and 50’s – first arrived in Stornoway he was asked by one of the elders from the church in Barvas who had come to meet him if he was walking with God.  He replied by saying, “I can tell you this – I fear God!

Proverbs 8: 13

13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil

People who know they have been sanctified hate sin!  Sadly, it would appear that not all saved people are in the same category!  If you listen to Duncan Campbell’s testimony you will hear that prior to his being used of God to ignite a major spiritual awakening, that even though he was soundly saved and involved in ministry he was being influenced by much of the liberal theology of his day and so the fire was burning dim in his life.  One night in his study he cried out to God for a fresh touch of the reality of the presence and power of God and was rewarded with a baptism of fire that radically transformed him.  Basically, he joined the SAS – the SAVED and the SANCTIFIED!

If you study the lives of any of the men and women of God who have been mightily used to break through in the heavenly realm and bring heaven down to earth you will discover that they have all had a similar experience!

The early Pentecostals who had their roots in the Holiness Movement (and I think some Pentecostal denominations may still have this as part of their doctrinal statement) referred to sanctification as a separate experience from salvation.  You would hear reports from revival meetings that so many got saved, so many were sanctified, and so many were baptised in the Holy Spirit.  They obviously had a handle on something.

Twenty three years ago, when the LORD first asked me to enlist people for the SAS and some folks began to respond we entered a period of intense testing where basically all hell broke loose around us as the kingdom of heaven began to invade our meetings.  We started an early morning prayer meeting and within a few days some of the people attending began manifesting demons and two actually attacked one another during the prayer meeting.  Every time we began to pray or worship the demons got stirred and so before long some of the folks who had thought they wanted to be in the SAS began to feel their stuff stirring and took flight!

When we get serious about going after God with all of our hearts then anything in our lives that is a hindrance to that is obviously going to raise its ugly head!  Remember what the SAS instructor said “We don’t want to fail you – we want to kill you!”  Well, our Commander-in-Chief is the same!  He doesn’t want to fail us – he wants to kill us!  Remember Moses!  He eventually said “yes” to God’s call and set out to be God’s special forces stormtrooper who would break God’s people out from under the bondage of Egypt.  But on the way God sought to kill him!  Why?  Because there was something that he should have done that he had left undone!  He had forgotten what it means to be sanctified!  His had neglected to have his son dedicated, consecrated, and separated unto God!

The rigorous and intensive training undergone by the SAS is designed to keep them alive in situations where they are face to face and nose to nose with the enemy – often in the depths of enemy territory!

Listen to this!

1 Kings 20: 11

11 The king of Israel sent back this answer: “A warrior putting on his sword for battle should not boast like a warrior who has already won.”

The Message

11 The king of Israel countered, “Think about it—it’s easier to start a fight than end one.”

This is no time for idle boasting – it is a time to be diligent and militant!  It is not a time to simply put on our Christian uniform and stick a Bible under our arm on a Sunday and march into church on parade so that we can put on a show of how spiritual we are!

Faith people are people of action and not just of words!  Faith is response – it is action!  Belief and mental assent may be for the study, but faith is for the road!  The faith you have is the faith you show!  Faith is not merely head belief.  Faith is life lived in a new way – in response to God’s revealed will.  Faith is practical – faith is not fantasy!  Faith means risk – who dares wins!  Faith accepts God’s Word.  Faith steps out in trust and obedience.  The faith you have is the faith you show!  You live what you believe and everything else is just religious talk!

Smith Wigglesworth said, “Once is faith – twice is unbelief!”  He got results!  He was in the SAS!

The SAS is also known as the “Counter-Revolutionary Warfare Squadron”.  The devil is a terrorist – he is a subversive and a rebel who is continually seeking to overthrow God’s government and so you need to be equipped to resist and defeat him!

Remember the SAS motto – “Who Dares Wins”!  I believe that the reason we don’t appear to be winning a lot of the time in many of the situations that we face is because although we are saved we have not always dared to pursue God to the place where our experience is aligned with our position – to the place where we are completely set apart, dedicated, consecrated, and separated to his will and where we are completely trusting in him alone!  We are saved – but we sometimes fall short of living out the sanctification that Jesus became for us.  

And so, the call is going out again to those who would enlist in the SAS!  There are situations in  our communities and nations, and throughout the world that require the intervention of special forces.  When Jesus said that many are called but few are chosen the word chosen infers having been chosen after trial.  

I want to throw down a challenge – I want to dare you to sign up for the SAS!  You won’t be automatically accepted because whenever God hears someone say that they want to be deployed by him he first of all puts them through the fire!  He is with them in it but they are in it all the same!  

When someone is going through the selection process for the SAS they are given many opportunities to quit and their instructors are continually monitoring their physical and mental condition. So the instructors are in it with them but it is still dependent upon the choice of the individual whether or not they continue with sheer grit, blood, guts, determination, and a stubborn unwillingness to quit.  And that is only to qualify for admittance!

It is only when you determine to go after God with all of your heart and to be all that he created and destined you to be that you discover what is really in you – both negatively and positively.

Have you wondered why there appears to be so many high profile leaders falling these days?

It is not because they are necessarily worse than anyone else.  But they have said that they want to do great things for God and have set out to do them, and so they walk straight into kingdom boot camp and their commitment to follow through on their statement is tested to the limit.  Sadly, some fail the test.  Their failure doesn’t have to be the end but it reveals that their strength of character was insufficient for the task they were undertaking.

I watched a really sad video just a few days ago of a pastor giving his resignation statement to his church congregation.  He had been caught driving while under the influence and confessed that he had been using alcohol immoderately for some time in an attempt to self-medicate his emotional pain.  It was incredibly sad because you could tell that this was a man who loved God and genuinely cared for the people he was leading.  Thankfully, he has a team of leaders around him who are committed to helping him through a year-long restoration process and so there is a way back from his place of failure.

As I am writing this I am remembering something that I read in connection with this man’s situation.  Apparently he was known as the pastor of America’s ‘manliest’ church.  That could be a warning indicator highlighting a root of the problem.  The rest of us should take note and if we have any ambition to be known as anything let it be that we are a part of “_________’s godliest church”.

We need to look at someone in Scripture whose ministry was radically transformed by an encounter with God that shook him to the very core of his being.

Isaiah 6: 1 – 8

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away,  And your sin purged.” 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

Isaiah was already serving God in the office of a prophet.  In Chapter 5 he actually pronounced six woes on the people.  And so, in Chapter 6  Isaiah is called up and experiences the presence of God in such a way that he pronounces woe upon himself before he pronounces woe on anyone else!  It is too easy to be aware of what is wrong with everyone else and yet be blind to any inconsistencies in our own lives!  The presence and glory of God is the great equaliser.  There is no room for seeing ourselves any better or any worse than anyone else.

In the fire of God’s presence our character is exposed to the light and anything that is wrong in us becomes more pronounced!  But God doesn’t bring us into the fire of his presence just so that we will feel worse about ourselves.  That would be counter-productive.  There are already plenty of people in the church who feel bad about themselves and yet do nothing of any value in the kingdom.  God brings us into the fire of his presence to experience who he is and who we are in relation to him in order that we can better hear and respond to his commission as those who understand that we are completely set apart by God for God and that his grace and glory are sufficient for every situation.  He isn’t intent on exposing our badness but rather on revealing his goodness.  He doesn’t wants our focus locked onto our own weakness but onto his greatness.

If we choose to enlist in the SAS we will have a similar experience to Isaiah, whose audience in the Throne Room qualified him to be a prophet who brought the message of the New Covenant several hundred years before it was actually established.  He brought a message that prepared the way for Jesus to come and fulfill all of the awesome prophetic promises that are now the glorious experience of all who will simply believe and receive!

We too have had committed to us a message of the Lord’s return that should be backed up with the supernatural signs of his kingdom that point to what will become the everyday experience of everyone who remains when he returns to establish his kingdom rule upon the earth.

Sanctification is never supposed to be a long-drawn out process.  Scripture declares that Jesus has already become sanctification for us and so he has thrown open the Throne Room for us to come in like Isaiah and have our experience matched to our position.  

The tragedy is that many of God’s people shy away from his presence because they become uncomfortable as the light of his presence and the light of his word expose any areas of darkness within them.  We are told that when we walk in the light as he is in the light that we have true fellowship with one another and that the blood of Jesus Christ – the blood of the covenant – cleanses us from all unrighteousness!

I would like to dare you to come into the Throne Room and become equipped and qualified as a member of the SAS – one of God’s special forces and an agent of breakthrough and transformation in the nations.  

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

Seraphim are literally “burning ones”.  These angelic beings exemplify heaven’s attitude of worship towards the God who sits on the throne!  With two wings they cover their faces out of respect for God’s glory, with two wings they cover their feet or body in modesty, and with two wings they fly.  They cry to one another, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts…”  The word translated “holy” here means “separated” or “unapproachable”.  There is a continual and perpetual acknowledgment of God’s holiness and of his awesome majesty!  There is no blasé attitude towards his presence in heaven as there often is on the earth – even though we are told here that the whole earth is filled with his glory!   

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

If the doorposts and thresholds shook what do you think it did to Isaiah?  It shook him to the very core of his being!  He felt his whole life falling apart!  He had thought he was so righteous and so good-living but here in the presence of HOLINESS he felt shredded!  That is what the presence of God will do to you!  Read the history of revivals!  See how men responded to the presence and manifestation of God‘s holiness!  Unless everything within you has already been shaken to the extent that only what can’t be shaken remains then you can not stand unmoved in his presence!

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined and undone! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

NLT
 
5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.”

The Message

“Doom! It’s Doomsday!  I’m as good as dead! Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted—blasphemous even!  And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate. And here I’ve looked God in the face!”

God is not as interested in our outward appearance as he is with our heart!  He is not as concerned with our charisma as he is with our character.

character = the seat of a person’s moral and ethical being; it is the sum total of positive and negative qualities in a person’s life; it includes your thoughts, your values, your motives, and your attitudes.  It is the peculiar quality, or the sum of qualities, by which a person is distinguished from others; the stamp impressed by nature, education, or habit; that which a person really is.

It is not charisma that qualifies you for the SAS.  It is the character that is formed and tested in the fire of adversity that equips us to carry the power and the glory of God in a responsible way into the most difficult of situations and under the most awkward of circumstances and still remain focused on our purpose.

If we choose to enlist in the SAS we will discover as Isaiah discovered that it is only in the fire of God’s presence that all unclean is burned away!  Even what we thought was clean or that which we justified in our own lives is exposed for what it really is in the light of God’s holiness!

There are three main components of character, all of which must be exposed to the fire of God if we are to qualify for the SAS!

1.    IDENTITY

The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which someone is definitively recognisable or known; the set of behavioural or personal characteristics by which an individual is recognisable as a member of a group;  the quality or condition of being the same as someone else

The first thing that happened to Isaiah is that he realised that he was a man just like all other men, and that he had no goodness in and of himself.  In this day and generation when we are bombarded in the church with psycho-babble that would seek to convince us of the inherent goodness of mankind and that we need to be more in love with ourselves we need to get into the fire of God’s presence for a while!

You don’t measure a person’s goodness only by how they treat another person but by how they relate to God and how they react to his claims upon their life.  Are we self-righteous rebels while apparently reaching out in acts of kindness and generosity to some of our fellow men and women?

Jesus said that we should love God first with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and then love our neighbour!

Paul said, “O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”  He realised that as a mere man he was a stinking corpse that spread infection everywhere he went and that he would eventually die from the disease himself.  But then he went on to thank God for the deliverance that comes through the Lord Jesus Christ and the freedom that he gives us over the law of sin and death!  There is now no condemnation to those who pursue a life in the Spirit – the Holy Spirit who sets us apart as dedicated, consecrated, and separated members of the SAS.  Jesus became a man but he remained continually dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the Father’s will for his life.

Our identity must become established as new creations who are completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit’s power and direction – who are separated to do the will of our Father in heaven and whose lives are holy because he is holy and he dwells in us!

2.    INTEGRITY

The state or quality of being entire or complete;  wholeness;  entireness;  unbroken state;  an unreduced or unbroken completeness or totality.

We are not told what manner of “stuff” was being exposed in Isaiah’s life but there was apparently a lack of INTEGRITY in some area or areas because he cried out that he was “undone”!  Judging by his reaction there was possibly something of the nature of the sins that he had previously exposed in others still present in his own life and it was only when he came into the fire of God’s presence that he became fully aware of it.

INTEGRITY is when what you think, what you say, and what you do all match up!  It is practicing what you preach!  It is time for us to come afresh into the Throne Room to be cleansed by the fire of God’s presence and restored to holy living as not just the saved – but the saved and the sanctified!

It was through Isaiah that God reminded us that his thoughts are way higher than our thoughts and his ways than our ways.  That is why we must respond to the call to come up and have our minds renewed so that we no longer conform to the world’s standard but so that we are transformed into active members of the SAS!  More definitions of integrity are:

Moral soundness; honesty; freedom from corrupting influence or motive; used especially with reference to the fulfilment of contracts, the discharge of agencies, trusts, and the like.

We expect God to keep his word and fulfil his covenant but we are sloppy with our words and covenants.  We speak out of both sides of our mouths depending on who we are talking to.

I dare you to come into the Throne Room and let the fire of his presence burn up the dross!  Are you content just to be saved or do you want to be in the SAS!  Do you really want to be someone who truly makes a difference in this world?

3.    MORALITY

The relation of conformity or nonconformity to the written standard or rule; quality of an intention, a character, an action, a principle, or a sentiment, when tried by the standard of right.

INTEGRITY is being RIGHT – MORALITY is doing RIGHT.  We DO out of who we BE!  If there is a lack of INTEGRITY there will be a low standard of MORALITY and it can all be traced back to an IDENTITY problem.

Isaiah recognised that uncleanness was a plague in the society of which he was a part.  Is this not still true of society in our generation?  It is easy to point a finger at what is out there in the world but again statistics reveal that what is out there in the world is often just as present in the church.  How can this be?  Because we have the saved who are not sanctified!

What causes this?  Only one thing!  We have encouraged people to get saved but not called them up into the Throne Room for an encounter with the purging fire of God’s holiness so that they can qualify for the SAS!  Jesus threw open the Throne Room of heaven and gave us free access but how many of us avail ourselves of that incredible privilege?  We can’t spend a lot of time there and not be radically transformed.

Isaiah also reveals to us that only the Spirit of the LORD can raise the standard!  We need a clear prophetic word that cuts through and divides between the soul and the spirit and exposes the thoughts, intentions, and motivations of our hearts.  But the prophetic word must come from lips that have been purged and from a life that has been freshly sanctified by spending time in the fire
of God’s presence.  Only the SAS can raise the standard!  Church as usual is losing ground fast as the world takes delight in mocking our lame hypocrisy!

It is when we have experienced God’s fire that we are equipped to go into the world and break the grip of demonic strongholds and set the captives free!

DL Moody heard a man preach that the world was waiting to experience what God could do through someone who yielded their life completely to him.  Moody determined to be that man and went on to radically impact his generation!

Isaiah said that he heard the voice of the LORD say, “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?”  The SAS don’t question their orders – they simply act on them!  It doesn’t matter that their work is often unseen or unheard or unreported – they are trained and equipped to do what they do and they do it with all that is within them!  The services of the SAS are often enlisted to enter difficult situations – many times in a covert way – and bring  them to an end!

There is a war on but the LORD is not just looking for warriors!  He is the Warrior and he is looking for worshippers in spirit and in truth!  Worshipping warriors!  He fights for us when we express our worship by stepping out in obedience to his word!  That is the fight of faith!  We are never supposed to fight our own battles or make treaties with the world – we are to worship and see the salvation of our mighty God – the LORD of heaven’s armies!  Right now, he is scanning the whole earth searching for worshippers on whose behalf he can show himself strong!  Will you come up to the Throne Room and allow him to qualify and equip you for the SAS?  

WHO DARES WINS!

 

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