New Wine for New Wineskins April 2005

By , April 18, 2005 4:41 pm

Walking the Seven C’s – being a church that stays afloat!  The only way to stay afloat is to walk by faith – stepping out on the Word of God in simple trust and obedience. In Part 2 we are going to look at THE CALL…


Walking the Seven C’s
Being a Church that Stays Afloat
by Donnie Stewart


Matthew 14: 20 – 23
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!  The only way to stay afloat is to walk by faith – stepping out on the Word of God in simple trust and obedience.
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.
When 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.  Fear tells you what you can’t do – faith tells you what you can do!  This new life of faith is not merely a list “You shall not’s” – it is also a list of “You shall’s”!
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 doing.
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 to 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!
The Greek word for church is ekklesia which simply means “called out ones”.  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 going to be 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 are going to look at the second ‘C’ – THE CALL.
Joshua 5: 13 – 15
13And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man (this wasn’t an angel – it was Jesus!) stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, "Are You for us or for our adversaries?" 14So He said, "No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" 15Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, "Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy." And Joshua did so.
Joshua – a leader of God’s people – has a meeting with THE leader of God’s people!  The COMMANDER of heaven’s armies!  In response to Joshua’s question He doesn’t say, “I am here for you” – He basically says, “I am come as the Commander of the army of the LORD! I haven’t come to support your decisions and strategies – I have come to give you the strategy!”
You might become a leader – but you are never the leader!  Some folks think I can be a bit of a sergeant-major but I am simply seeking to prepare people to take orders from the COMMANDING OFFICER!  The primary qualification for a disciple (and more especially a leader of God’s people) is an ability to HEAR and OBEY the Lord’s (the commander’s) voice without argument!  Sometimes what he says can appear ridiculous to the natural mind (contrary) – that is why we must be spiritually minded!
Disciples don’t make decisions according to what will only feather their own little nest – they make decisions in obedience to what God has said because he knows what is BEST for ALL his people! That was one of the problems with Jesus’ disciples pre-Pentecost – they argued and debated about which one of them would be the greatest!
God is continually looking for potential leaders who consistently hear and act on what he says – who put the good of others before themselves – and who are motivated by heavenly vision as opposed to personal ambition.
Leaders make decisions based upon what is BEST for ALL – not just what is BEST for THEM!  Often – if not always – that will involve personal sacrifice!
This CALL we are looking at is not the initial call to come and follow Jesus – this is a higher call – to surrender everything to his control! 
God’s CALL is an upward call – a call to maturity – away from a place where every situation is a “Lord, save me!” moment!  Too many people just ride along in the boat of life and when the wind is against them they try and step out in faith – but their faith is immature through a lack of preparation and so they take their eyes off Jesus and back onto their circumstances and experience that sinking feeling! 
A lot of folks have died prematurely and gone to heaven because they didn’t have a grip on what the Word of God says about healing!  We are already SAVED – and so now we press on – resisting the contrary wind – into the fullness of our inheritance as the righteous resisting sin; the healed resisting sickness; and the delivered resisting oppression.  Some of you may have felt the symptoms of a cold or ‘flu’ coming on this winter and you let it get on you.  Don’t get mad at me – I’m trying to save your life!  I’m the sergeant-major preparing you to hear the voice of the Commanding Officer who says, “I AM the LORD who heals you!”
Joshua had told the people to prepare to cross over the Jordan into the land of promise.  The Lord had reminded him of the process of preparation – information, meditation, revelation, transformation.
Not everyone who starts out to follow Jesus reaches this point of complete surrender of personal sovereignty.  In John 6 we see a large number of those who had begun to follow Jesus turning back because they were unable to swallow the information he was sharing with them.  Peter – who has received revelation – responds to Jesus’ question, “Will you also go away?” with the bold statement, “Where else can we go?  You have the words of eternal life!”
And so, here in Joshua 5 God’s people had just supernaturally crossed the River Jordan.  Everything that God does in your life will be supernatural!  If you could do it then you wouldn’t need God!  They had crossed over into the place where God planned for them to enjoy the fullness of their inheritance.  The fullness of our inheritance is to lay hold upon all the promises of God and move into the fullness of a Jesus ministry – to be like Him and to be involved in what he is doing! 
They were baptised in the Red Sea – coming out of bondage into liberty!  If you’ve never been baptised as a believer then it is time!  Now, they were baptised in the Jordan – a second baptism that enabled them to pass into the fullness of their inheritance.  This is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit! 
We have sometimes reduced this to an experience where someone says a few words in a language they have never learned – but it is so much more!  It is the gateway into a whole new realm of supernatural experience.  An interesting thing to note is that after they crossed over the Jordan the manna ceased (Joshua 5: 12)!  It was time to take personal responsibility!  When we pray in tongues it builds us up and makes our spirits strong!  Jesus told the disciples that it was better for them that he went – because then the Holy Spirit was coming!  The daily manna for Jesus’ disciples was about to cease – because they never had to wonder where the next meal was coming from when Jesus was around!  Now they would have to take responsibility to BE FILLED with the Holy Spirit and the same wisdom and provision that was available to them when Jesus was there in person would be there – AND MORE!
The CALL we are looking at today is the CALL to maturity!  It is the CALL to come up higher – it is the CALL out of religious respectability and conformity!  Paul referred to it in his letter to the church at Philippi as a high calling – an upward call – that involved abandoning the old respectability and pedigree of being a hebrew of the hebrews and a pharisee of the pharisees – a leaving of everything that was behind – and pressing on and identifying with Jesus in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings!
Water-walking disciples who respond to this CALL are going to experience loneliness sometimes – because the rest of the disciples are still in the boat!  But water-walkers get to be where Jesus is – doing what Jesus is doing!
Remember – this is not the original CALL of “Follow me!”  Jesus later raised the stakes when he said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me”.
When Jesus said, “Come to me all you that labour and are heavy laden…” he didn’t invite us to LEAN on him, but to LEARN from him!  Too many Christians have tried leaning instead of learning!
James 1: 19 – 21
19So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
This CALL is the one that separates us completely from dependence upon our own wisdom and ability and causes us to step out in total trust and obedience – walking on the Word!  It is only a positive response to this CALL that can equip us for the third ‘C’ that we will look at next time.  It will soon become pretty obvious why the CALL to abandon sovereignty of our own lives must precede the third ‘C’!
Peter had to abandon everything he knew about travelling on water in order to get out of the boat – but he had a testimony that none of the other disciples had!  He could say that as long as he kept looking to Jesus and standing on the word he could walk on water!  He now knew that the way to do the impossible is to keep looking to Jesus and standing on the word!
This revelation equips you for the second ‘C’ – the higher calling – leaving what is behind behind and pressing onward and upward!  Disciples learn from their history and press on into their destiny!
This revelation deals with all our tendency to argue against the instruction and leading of the Holy Spirit!  Joshua had been appointed and anointed as a leader of God’s people – but now the COMMANDING OFFICER has shown up and declared that he is in charge!  If we are going to succeed and operate in the supernatural power of God we are going to have to surrender our sovereignty and start taking our orders from him!
The Commander told Joshua to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.  This CALL is a holy call – it is a call to consecration that separates you completely to God and his will.  Removing his sandals was a sign of humility – you can’t respond to this CALL without humbling yourself!
The secret to staying afloat and being where Jesus is, and being involved in what he is doing, is in responding to this CALL!  This is an upward call – but as always in the kingdom, the way UP is DOWN!  Every time that God calls you UP it will mean you laying something DOWN!  This is how the kingdom works – so opposite to the world – and this is why the wind will seem to be against you when really you are going against the wind!
If you want to understand this CALL you just have to look at Jesus.  For thirty years the Son of God – God the Son – lived in obscurity in a town known only for its failure to produce anything of significance.  Then his ministry begins and starts to grow and attract great crowds of people.  Suddenly his name is becoming known in high places and although he receives opposition from the religious leaders his popularity with the people continues to grow and spread!  At one point the people want to crown him as king – a big moment – but he takes off!  Why?  Because the success of a continued Jesus ministry that stays afloat is determined by how much you are willing to lay down!  The degree of victory you experience will always be related to how much you have surrendered!
For forty years Joshua had held fast to the vision – walking it out while the rest of his generation apart from Caleb fell around him through unbelief.  He had faithfully served Moses, and now he had succeeded him.  But just as he is about to embark on the task of driving out the enemy and possessing the land, he has an encounter with the Commander of the LORD’s army who basically informs him that the only way to succeed and to stay afloat is to surrender all of his military ideas and strategies and to take orders from him!
At the height of Jesus’ ministry, his Father begins to point him towards the Cross.  If Jesus ministry is going to develop beyond a one man show, then he is going to have lay it all down – because what doesn’t go into the ground and die remains alone. 
John 12: 23 – 26
23But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
Jesus knew that the only path to God’s glory was via the cross.  The Father is glorified when we bear much fruit and the only way to produce that fruit is to fall into the ground and die.  Remember, disciples are those who are committed to the commission of reproducing disciples.  That can never happen when we use all our resources for maintenance rather than mission!
I believe this is where the church often fails to complete the journey to a full-blown Jesus ministry that stays afloat.
There are those who get out of the boat and begin to operate in faith.  They are determined to get to Jesus and be involved in what he is doing.  But sometimes people can become the victims of their own success.  Their attention is distracted by the applause and attention of men.  The contrary wind that is the motivation of this world has them holding on in fear to their “lives” and ministries!  It takes FAITH to lay something down believing that God’s purposes can only be fulfilled when you are willing to LET GO!
Recently the Lord showed me that the crowds shouting "Hosanna" couldn’t distract Jesus because he had already set his course to the Cross!
How many organisations exist today that are still promoting the perpetuation of the ministries of DEAD MEN!  The first thing that the Lord said to Joshua was, “Moses my servant is dead.  Now, therefore, arise…”  God is the God of the living – not the dead!  We can honour and build on the faithful ministry of those who have gone before, but we need to be involved inh what Jesus is doing in our generation!
According to Deuteronomy 34: 8 the children of Israel mourned the death of Moses for thirty days and then it was time to MOVE ON!  How many folks have hung around the graves of dead men for hundreds of years – never going any further than they went – and often not even as far!
When the time came for Jesus to go to the Cross it was preceded by a “long dark night of the soul”.  The CALL that is the second step of the Seven ‘C’s will always involve a “long dark night of the soul” because if Jesus’ sinless flesh cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane for some other way, then how much more will our flesh cry out!  Jesus did not go to the Cross as the Son of God but as the Son of Man – he had resisted the temptation to sin on every front and went to the Cross as a sinless man who had succeeded where Adam failed!  The Son of Man went down and the Son of God came up!
In fact, this CALL usually comes at a time when you have begun to gain some measure of victory over the flesh, and you are operating in faith to where you are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel and can see breakthrough and success approaching!  This CALL comes because God wants to protect his generational plan to reach the whole world with the message of salvation, healing, and deliverance – not through one man or woman but through many men and women.  Every time someone in ministry’s popularity begins to increase to the point that vast resources are required to support the ministry of this one person, there is a limit placed upon the distance they can cover in reaching the fullness of a Jesus ministry and identify with and become involved in what he is doing! 
Our focus must always be on the eternal and not on the temporal!  What is BEST for eternity – not what is best for me right now!  The contrary wind will always throw stuff up that could distract us and cause us to fall short of the fullness of a Jesus’ ministry.  As soon as the world gets a fresh grip on us – and it can be very subtle – we are going down!  Hey, we’re out of the boat – we’re on our way to Jesus – ain’t nothing gonna stop us now – and then we get that sinking feeling!
You see, faith is not for us to get everything we want – it is to enable us to step out in obedience to whatever orders come from our COMMANDING OFFICER!  Faith has it’s rewards – but the rewards are never the focus of our faith!
I got a fresh level of revelation on Hebrews 11: 6 recently – Those who come to God must believe that HE IS…”  It really struck me that those who come to God must believe that HE IS GOD and they are NOT!
If we are going to be a church that stays afloat – that reaches the fullness of a Jesus’ ministry and continues to be involved in what he is doing in our generation, then we are going to have to walk out this second ‘C’ and respond to this CALL!

One Response to “New Wine for New Wineskins April 2005”

  1. Rusty says:

    6C5WGL That’s way the bestest answer so far!

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