New Wine for New Wineskins September 2018

By , September 1, 2018 1:48 pm

First Things First (Part 5)

Remember, it is always important to put first things first because the main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.

I have stated previously that God is a God of order. Back in the beginning he created order out of chaos, and he still does. It is essential that we recognise, respect, and submit to his order if we want to experience and enjoy the life in all of its fullness that he has planned for us.

First things first, because the main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.

Jesus’ vision statement must be our vision statement.

Matthew 16: 18

18….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].

Jesus’ mission statement, which reveals how he plans to achieve or fulfil the vision must be our mission statement also.

Luke 4: 18 – 19

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent Me to preach deliverance [announce release] to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty [send forth as delivered] those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], 19 to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favours of God profusely abound].

Jesus is building his church – a victorious, prevailing, and overcoming church.

Last time I said we have to deal with the orphan spirit once and for all because the orphan spirit creates a vacuum in the soul and opens people up to accepting other spirits – lying spirits, deceiving spirits – that deceptively offer security and comfort and success.

1 Timothy 4: 1

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

Always remember that the Holy Spirit is the main thing. You can do church without the Holy Spirit, but you can’t be the church without the Holy Spirit. You can play at church without the Holy Spirit, but you can’t display the church without the Holy Spirit. An old pentecostal preacher I used to listen to would make the following declaration: “God the Father displaying God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit through a human vehicle called the church.”

Romans 8: 14 – 15

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”

The first thing the Holy Spirit does is heal our broken heart. There are many different procedures that modern medicine can perform on a broken heart physically speaking – stents, bypass surgery, valve replacement, etc. However, sometimes the surgeon recognises that a heart is so broken it can’t be repaired and so a heart transplant is necessary – only a new heart will suffice. What is true in the natural is also true in the spiritual. The Great Physician recognised that our hearts were so broken that only a transplant could bring healing to us.

Jeremiah 17: 9

9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

Sadly a lot of people who are born again and have had a heart transplant still think that scripture applies to them.

King David whose heart was so after God and so prophetic that it reached beyond what was possible under the old covenant and into the new covenant actually prayed a new covenant prayer.

Psalm 51: 10

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

The good news is that God promised free heart transplants under the new covenant Kingdom of Heaven Health Service, and there isn’t even a waiting list.

Ezekiel 36: 26

26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

That sounds like a heart transplant to me, but where the Holy Spirit is not given his place with his revelation of a new heart and a revived spirit a false religious spirit will fill the vacuum.

How do you know the difference?

2 Corinthians 3: 17

17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

A false religious spirit brings bondage through legalism that is harsh and judgemental, or through license that is soft and sentimental. There will be no healing, no deliverance, no real revelation of the Father’s love and the fullness of his provision.

Religious spirits can misrepresent the Father and the Son but the Holy Spirit represents himself and reveals the truth about the Father and the Son.

John 14: 15 – 21

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

The Holy Spirit is the manifest presence of God in the earth. The Holy Spirit births us into the family of God but tragedy occurs for many when they are removed from the arms of the Father – cut off from the life of the Holy Spirit – and raised in an orphanage that claims to be the church.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, and so where the Holy Spirit is freedom is. Where he is truly welcome all religious fear and control is ended because he sets the agenda and he does the business.

That is why we sing the song:

Holy Spirit you are welcome here, Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere, Your glory God is what our hearts long for, To be overcome by your presence Lord….

Jesus said he was anointed and sent to heal the brokenhearted – to restore and reconcile the broken relationship between us and our heavenly Father.

It is so important that we are established in the words of for Father, “You are the son I love, I am well pleased with you, I’m so glad you have come home.

First things first, because the main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing.

Jesus then goes on to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty the oppressed [send forth as delivered those who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], to bring healing and restoration to all sicknesses of the soul and body.

Luke 4: 18 – 19 is a process that begins with the healing of the broken heart when we receive our heart transplant and our heart is healed. Everything that Jesus goes on to speak about beyond that is addressing sicknesses of the soul that can result in sicknesses of the body. In the natural when someone has a defective heart it can affect and impact them in many other ways and significantly reduce the quality of their lives. But when they have a heart transplant all of the other associated problems also begin to be resolved.

When we are born again and receive our new heart – our new spirit – all of the other negative stuff is also positively impacted. We are no longer sinners trying to get righteous; we are no longer the sick trying to get healed; we are no longer the oppressed trying to get delivered; we are no longer the poor trying to prosper.
The Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – leads us into the truth of the freedom that is now ours as new creation sons and daughters of Almighty God. He reveals to us the free favours of God that profusely abound towards us, even to the point of extravagant excess.

The Holy Spirit comes to demonstrate the truth of God’s favour and so the greatest power encounter is a truth encounter that contains the power to set us free – that opens our eyes to the truth and releases us into the fullness of the life that Jesus came to deliver us into, a life to be enjoyed and not just endured.

A good number of years ago the Lord spoke to me and said to be a coach and not a critic because the Holy Spirit is a coach whereas the fake religious spirit of either legalism or license is a critic.

The message that the Lord has committed to us and that he has been building in us is a prophetic message, and because it is a prophetic message it attracts opposition. Because it attracts opposition it is important that we maintain a heightened awareness of the subtle ways in which the enemy seeks to prevent that message from being heard by those to whom it is designed to minister and bring freedom to.

I said last time that I was going to speak about three specific spirits that attack the church to limit its effectiveness.

The first spirit I want to address is the jezebel spirit.

As I meditated on this subject I began working on this message several times. I thought I had it together, and then later had no peace about it and had to come back to it again. This in itself is an indication of the level of warfare associated with this spirit and its subtle manoeuvres.

Revelation 2: 19 – 21

19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate [allow, permit, let] that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.

The Message

19 “I see everything you’re doing for me. Impressive! The love and the faith, the service and persistence. Yes, very impressive! You get better at it every day. 20-21 “But why do you let that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet mislead my dear servants into Cross-denying, self-indulging religion? I gave her a chance to change her ways, but she has no intention of giving up a career in the god-business.”

It would appear that this church in Thyatira was a relatively good church with many good things happening. A good church always attracts jezebel who wants to defile you inwardly or outwardly in a way that will disqualify you from true prophetic ministry. But we have been given authority over all the power of the enemy and so any inroads he makes are what we have allowed or tolerated.

This is the second time that this wicked spirit appears in the word of God under the name of Jezebel – the first time being in 1 Kings – although you can see its workings in many other places in the Biblical account.

It is interesting that the name Jezebel actually means, “chaste, free from carnal connection” which is the polar opposite of the character displayed by the two actual Jezebels and the spirit that carries the name.

The first Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal who was king of the Zidonians, and both king and priest of Baal worshipers.

According to biblegateway.com “The Zidonians (Phoenicians) were a remarkable race, and outstanding as the great maritime peoples of the ancient world, but they were idolaters who regarded Yahweh as only a local deity, “the god of the land.” Their gods were Baal and Ashtaroth or Astarte, with their innumerable number of priests, 450 of whom Ahab installed in the magnificent temple to the Sun-god he had built in Samaria. Another 400 priests were housed in a sanctuary Jezebel erected for them, and which she fed at her own table. Cruel and licentious rites were associated with the worship of Baal. Jezebel sprang from an idolatrous stock, the same source which afterward produced the greatest soldier of antiquity, Hannibal, whose temper was not more daring and unforgiving than hers. It was this heathen woman who married Ahab, king of Northern Israel, and who in so doing was guilty of a rash and impious act which resulted in evil consequences. As a Jew, Ahab sinned against his Hebrew faith in taking as his wife the daughter of a man whose very name, Ethbaal, meant, “A Man of Baal.” How or where the strong-minded idolatrous woman and the weak and spineless king met we are not told. Doubtless seeing her, Ahab was fascinated by her beauty and forcefulness of character and fell for her, and Jezebel, ambitious and proud, eagerly seized the opportunity of sharing the throne of a king.

The jezebel spirit always has control of the throne as its goal and so it particularly targets leaders, knowing that by controlling the leader it can exercise control over the people who are under the leader’s authority.

The jezebel spirit always opposes the true prophetic ministry and seeks to replace it with a false prophetic counterfeit.

Again biblegateway.com gives some background on the original Jezebel: “Baal had no more dedicated devotee than Jezebel. None could match her zeal for the worship of Ashtaroth the famous goddess of the Zidonians, as zealous and liberal maintenance of hundreds of idolatrous priests clearly proves. Not content with establishing the idol worship of her own country in her husband’s court, she sought to convert Israel to Baal worship. Two heathen sanctuaries were built, one at Samaria with its 450 priests, and the other at Jezreel with its 400 priests. In a most relentless fashion Jezebel tried to drive out the true prophets of Yahweh from the land, and thus became the first religious female persecutor in history. From her idolatrous father, a high priest of Ashtaroth, she inherited her fanatical religious enthusiasm which inspired her to exterminate the worship of the true and living God, and almost succeeded in the attempt.

The flooding of the nation with all the immoralities and cruel superstitions of such a demoralising cult as Baalism, brought upon the scene the chief of the true prophets, Elijah. He appeared suddenly before Ahab, predicted three years of drought, and at the end of the period unexpectedly appeared again and challenged the 850 prophets of Baal to a supreme test of power on the top of Mount Carmel. “In language of unparalleled audacity Elijah taunted them with the impotence of their boasted deities, and the strange contest ended in the triumphant vindication of Yahweh.” The people seized the priests of Baal and massacred them and Ahab was completely frightened.

The triumphant Elijah had yet to reckon with Jezebel, however, who, when she heard from Ahab about the slaughter of all her well-fed priests, swore a terrible oath to destroy Elijah and his partners “by tomorrow this time.” But Elijah, although he had defied the king and stood out alone against the multitude of the priests and worshipers of Baal, felt that the fury of a murderous woman was more than he could face, and fled for his life across the kingdom of Judah, leaving the haughty queen, for the time being, in undisputed possession of the stage.

The truth is that the jezebel spirit appears to be very successful in our time. In many places this spirit has effectively silenced the strong prophetic voice that speaks to the sin produced by brokenness with a clear word from the Lord that alone is able to heal the brokenness and remove the sin.

Psalm 107: 20

20 He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

The jezebel spirit has, in many places, infiltrated the church and replaced the true prophetic with a false cross-less prophetic that happily ignores or even endorses sinful lifestyles and refuses to speak the truth that sets people free as the false cross-less prophetic bows to the spirit of “political correctness” which is basically just a pseudonym for jezebel. You unleash its wrath and experience its fury whenever you cross the line into what is deemed to be “political incorrectness” by bringing the truth of God’s word.

Sometimes we forget how subtle the enemy is and the reality that the nature of deception is to keep you from the knowledge that you are deceived. Only the truth can reveal the lie, and only the entrance of God’s word can create the light that dispels the darkness.

The Cross is the demonstration of God’s love that is the only hope for broken sinners, and so if people can’t be reached with that demonstration of God’s love they are unreachable at that point.

Over the years I have said that if you can’t reach people with love then they can’t be reached and I always thought that the people listening would understand that I was referring to the love that is embodied in the greatest demonstration of love there has ever been or ever could be – the Cross where Christ died for us while we were still sinners. But recently I have begun to realise that this hasn’t always been the case.

If you tell the average unbeliever that God loves them they will simply think to themselves, “Of course he loves me. After all, why wouldn’t he? I’m a very lovable person, I’m a good person.” But if you bring the same message in the context of the Cross and God demonstrating how much he loves you by Christ dying for you to redeem you from your sin and taking the punishment you deserved it will very often get a much different response. They wonder what sin you are referring to because as far as they are concerned God loves them because they are a good person, and so how dare you imply anything different.

Jezebel removes the Cross because jezebel wants things to remain broken. Jezebel exploits and celebrates brokenness. Jezebel creates eunuchs and cuts off the hope for supernatural change and transformation.

If we never present people with the challenge of responding to God’s love for broken sinners they will never have the opportunity of choosing the potential for change and the supernatural transformation that has been made possible for them through the Cross.

John 3: 16, which basically contains the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ in twenty-five words always presents a challenge: God loved you so much that he gave his only begotten Son to take your place and punishment. This challenge offers you a choice which is whether to believe in him and all that he has accomplished on your behalf or to reject him. The choice gives the opportunity to experience real and supernatural change that is possible no other way – to be changed from someone who is missing their purpose without God and without hope in this world and is heading toward an eternity of separation from God and all that is good in a place of eternal punishment, to someone who has freely received the gift of a life to be enjoyed in all of its fullness in time and for eternity in the presence of Almighty God in unimaginable surroundings where there is joy and peace and endless manifestations and expressions and experiences of God’s goodness. That is a miraculous change. This supernatural change is offered freely to all who will simply make the right choice in response to the challenge.

The jezebel spirit opposes this change because this change always results in freedom and jezebel’s aim is to keep people under control through fear operating through witchcraft – domination, intimidation, and manipulation.

It has been said that if Christ is still on the Cross in our lives then self is on the throne, but if self is on the Cross then Christ is on the throne. Jezebel wants self to be on the throne because that leaves us vulnerable to its control, and so this wicked spirit will work through flattery to give us an over-inflated opinion of ourselves that removes us from alignment with God’s purpose and allows jezebel access to our lives. But if we will recognise and remember that our new lives are the result of being crucified with Christ and partaking in his resurrection life we can remain immune to jezebel.

Galatians 2: 20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

The Message

20 Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Jesus refused man’s efforts to put him on the throne because he knew that would make him [and us] vulnerable to jezebel.

John 6: 15

15 Therefore when Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone.

Jezebel always wants to put you and I on the throne so that it can negatively manipulate us and influence us as we manoeuvre our lives and our words and our actions in ways that protect our position to our own advantage, which will inevitably involve sacrificing and exploiting and damaging others.

The good news is that we have been given a strategy to safeguard against this tendency toward self-advancement and keeps us in alignment with God’s throne and his perfect will for our lives.

Philippians 2: 3 – 11

3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

First things first because the main thing is keeping the main thing….

More on this super-strategy that immunises us to the wicked jezebel spirit next time….

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