New Wine for New Wineskins September 2008

By , September 2, 2008 6:18 am

Let the Weak Speak 

 Part 1 – Prepare for War!


As I look around the church in our generation I believe I see what the LORD sees – tremendous potential!

However, a sad reality is that for years the church has been plagued by people who run to the places where there are appear to be exciting things going on and who chase after signs and wonders.  I want to ask you a question today.  Are you going to be one of those people who run to the places where the exciting things are going on or are you willing to become the exciting thing that is going on?  Are you going to chase signs and wonders or are you willing to become a sign and wonder?

Jesus didn’t say that we were to chase after signs and wonders – he said that they would follow those who believe!  Listen to what Isaiah says:

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.

Here is our foundation scripture for this new series – Let The Weak Speak!

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.’”

Prepare for war!  It is important that we understand that there is a WAR going on!  A lot of people don’t like to hear that we are in a war because Jesus defeated the devil at the Cross.  That is absolutely one hundred per cent true and that is why we must enforce that victory against an enemy who refuses to lie down and take his defeat gracefully.  We have an adversary that is so filled with pride that he refuses to acknowledge defeat and so he continues to blow his trumpet and muster his legions to battle.

The war we are engaged in is a war of words!  It always has been and it always will be!  It started out that way in the garden and it has continued that way ever since.  The devil had already been kicked out of heaven because of his pride.  He had somehow managed to convince a third of the angels to become involved in his rebellion and so they were booted out with him.  How could these angels who were so familiar with and so in awe of God’s glory become involved in such a crazy insurrection that was always doomed to fail?  The answer to that is simple – words!

How did satan succeed in removing our first parents from a place of perfect relationship with God in an environment of abundant provision?  Again the answer to that is simple – words!

satan – or lucifer as he was known before his departure was responsible for leading the worship in heaven.  Who knows that worshippers can have a way with words?  The reality is that words are insufficient to express God’s glory and majesty.  In fact the angels that surround God’s throne cry out the same message over and over as they seek to describe and declare all that he is – “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory!”

As long as these words of praise are directed towards the LORD and are sincere that is fine but when they are not sincere they can become nothing more than words of flattery!

flatter (verb) – lavish insincere praise and compliments upon (someone), esp. to further one's own interests

flattery (noun) – praise, adulation, compliments; fawning, sweet talk, buttering up, toadying, crawling, sucking up.

I watched an interview on one of the christian channels recently and I was shocked at the display of fawning that I was witnessing between the interviewer and interviewee.  To be honest the weakness of my flesh might have been a little envious and even a bit covetous of some of the sycophantic praise that was gushing forth towards the interviewee – a very well-known minister – from the interviewer – an equally well-known minister – but my spirit was disturbed!

Scripture is clear that we should not think too highly of ourselves.

Romans 12: 1 – 3

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

For too long in the church we have depended upon natural talents and giftedness and so there has been a promotion of those who have strong, “charismatic” personalities over those who would have to be more dependent upon the power of the Holy Spirit!  BUT IT IS TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  We must see the power of God restored to the church or we are just another option on the religious menu.

I was listening to some pastors of large churches recently speaking about how they keep themselves fresh in preparing sermons, etc.  They all said that they subscribed to lots of magazines and periodicals.  I remembered Lester Sumrall relating how he went to visit Smith Wigglesworth at his home in Bradford.  Sumrall said that when he arrived at the house he had a rolled-up newspaper under his arm.  When Smith saw the newspaper he declared, “You’re not coming in here with that!”  Was this part of the price that Smith paid in order to have the power?  The pastors I was listening to then said that they all read over one hundred books a year each.  I thought again of Smith Wigglesworth who only ever read the Bible and never read another book!  If we want to bring a message that is intellectually stimulating and entertaining and that hooks the soul and persuades people that they need to add Jesus to their lives then I suppose it makes sense that we are up to speed with every trend and all that is going on in the world.  But if we want the manifested presence of God that allows people to meet with the power and the glory of the LORD and have a personal encounter with Jesus that causes them to fall down before him and make him LORD of their whole lives then maybe there is a better way!  Listen to this!

1 Corinthians 1: 26 – 2: 5

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things
of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written,  “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”
1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

We must be re-programmed to think in our new identity in Christ.  We are no longer dependent upon our own strengths or enslaved by our own weaknesses.  It is what God says we are and what God says we can do that is important now.  God will never flatter us because he is not expecting us to do anything on our own and from our own resources.  He will always supply everything that is necessary for us to carry out what he commissions us to do.  Jesus told the disciples not to move from where they were without the power of God that would enable them to be witnesses.

The Bible is clear that God knows the weakness of our frame and that we are dust and that is why he has made his power available to us in order that we might fulfil his will and purpose for our lives!

But we have an enemy who will resort to flattery to try and divert us from our dependence upon God’s power and get us trusting in our own ability.  He knows that without the power of God we are no threat to him and his kingdom.

Flattery can be extremely subtle and very powerful. Someone who flatters you is simply seeking to gain an advantage over you!  There are few things that are more subtle or deceitful than flattery.  Problems arise when we start believing the glowing reports that people bring about us – then we are really in trouble!  Listen to this from the heart of David the worshipper!

Psalm 5

1 Give ear to my words, O LORD,
         Consider my meditation.
2 Give heed to the voice of my cry,
         My King and my God,
         For to You I will pray.
3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
         In the morning I will direct it to You,
         And I will look up.
4 For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
         Nor shall evil dwell with You.
5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
         You hate all workers of iniquity.
6 You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
         The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
7 But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
         In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
         Make Your way straight before my face.
9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
         Their inward part is destruction;
         Their throat is an open tomb;
         They flatter with their tongue.
10 Pronounce them guilty, O God!
         Let them fall by their own counsels;
         Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
         For they have rebelled against You.
11 But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
         Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
         Let those also who love Your name
         Be joyful in You.
12 For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
         With favor You will surround him as with a shield.

Psalm 12

1 Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
         For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
2 They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
         With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
         And the tongue that speaks proud things,
4 Who have said,
         “With our tongue (speaking our own words)we will prevail;
         Our lips are our own;
         Who is lord over us?” (Good question! Whose words are you speaking?)
5 “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
         Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
         “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
6 The words of the LORD are pure words,
         Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
         Purified seven times.
7 You shall keep them, O LORD,
         You shall preserve them from this generation forever.
8 The wicked prowl on every side,
         When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.

If the devil can’t get you on his side through feeding your pride with flattering words then he will attempt to take you prisoner by intimidating you in your weakness.  I believe that this is where most believers are at because most of us are aware that fundamentally we are weak people – no matter how good a front we succeed in presenting to others!  That is why we must recognise and acknowledge our dependence upon the Holy Spirit who comes to strengthen us in our weakness and to enable us to do what we could never do alone because of the weakness of our flesh!  There is no shame in confessing our own weakness because it is when we acknowledge our weakness and embrace his strength that our lives  are supernaturally empowered to change!  That is the best definition of the anointing – God’s power operating on human flesh enabling that person to do what they could never do on their own!  That was true even of Jesus’ sinless flesh – never mind ours!

John 5: 30

30 I can of Myself do nothing.

Acts 10: 38

38 …God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

We don’t need to hear a humanistic message dressed in religious phrases and spoken in christianese that says, “You’re alright and I’m alright because basically we are all good people when all is said and done!”  We don’t need a motivational message full of christianised psycho-babble that tells us that we can be blessed without being changed!

When people bring insincere praise to the LORD – singing songs that make declarations that they have little or no intention of following through on – that is nothing more than flattery!

Psalm 78: 35 – 37

35 Then they remembered that God was their rock,
         And the Most High God their Redeemer.
36 Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth,
         And they lied to Him with their tongue;
37 For their heart was not steadfast with Him,
         Nor were they faithful in His covenant.

You might gain an advantage over people with flattery but God does not respond to it – he inhabits only the sincere praise of his people!

When we are faithful in his covenant – full of faith in his ability to be everything that we ever need him to be in every circumstance and situation – then we will consistently speak words that magnify him and we will continually bring everything that we are and everything that we face to him.  We will always seek the kingdom of God first!

The word of God doesn’t come to your flesh to flatter or pamper you – it comes to engage with your spirit to exhort and encourage you to be conformed to the image of Jesus who is the very image of God!

We don’t need Jesus to be our life coach – we need him to be our LORD!  Listen to what he says!

Matthew 26: 41

41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

He says, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation!”  If he is our LORD then we will do what he says because our will is submitted to his will!  How did Adam and Eve enter into temptation? By succumbing to deception dressed up in flattering words!  Remember – the enemy only has one weapon in his arsenal and that is the power of persuasion – the power of a good argument.  it is always a war of words!  All through the New Covenant we are told to beware – to be aware – of deception!  We must renew our minds to think God’s thoughts so that his words become our words and his will is outworked in our actions!  Repentance has always been the first call of the Gospel!  Repentance does not just say, “I am sorry” – repentance says, “I have changed!”

Before you can exercise faith towards God – hearing and doing what he says – you must first of all repent from dead works.  Dead works are the fruit of dead words!  God’s word is a living word and so you must cut out all the dead words!  Many are double-minded and there is much confusion in the church because of an attempt to establish people in a life of faith who have not truly repented and given up their old thoughts, words, and actions!  True repentance has fruit – you have changed direction and so you don’t go to the same places and do the same things and say the same words that you used to – the old has gone and the new has come!  Dead works are works that did not originate in God and so they cannot manifest his life!  Jesus said that we would do the same works that he did – living works!  Works that demonstrate the supernatural life of God in us and through us – preaching and teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead!


2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 5

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

If we are going to win this war of words then it will be won in our thoughts before we ever speak a word!  In Proverbs 23 we are told that we are who we think we are!  Because we are only too aware of the weakness of our flesh it is important that we are not thinking our own thoughts of who we once were in and of ourselves but rather that our thoughts line up with who we now are in Christ!

Isaiah 55: 7 – 9

7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him;
And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
8 “ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “ For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.

If we are going to forsake our wicked ways then we have to forsake our unrighteous thoughts.  If God says we are now righteous then we need to think righteous thoughts so that we will speak righteous words and act in righteous ways.  Our old sin-consciousness with all of its thoughts of weakness and failure and lack must be abandoned and our new righteousness-consciousness that produces new thoughts that are in line with God’s thoughts and produce new words and bring us into God’s ways!

If we are going to walk on God’s high way we must think God’s high thoughts.  Thankfully, he hasn’t left us guessing as to what these thoughts are.

Jeremiah 29: 11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Remember – the war is a war of words and the battle is always for the mind!  Words will come to our minds that are designed to infiltrate and take over our thoughts and pull us away from the fullness of God’s plan and purpose for our lives.  If our life is surrendered and submitted to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the words that we are hearing or the thoughts that we are thinking are not declaring shalom – nothing missing, nothing broken – over our lives then they do not originate in God’s heart and so they are not from God’s mouth!

Colossians 2: 4 – 10

4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

The men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 were not perfect people – they all had areas of weakness in their flesh. But by hearing what God said and applying it they overcame their weakness in the strength that is made available to us as we surrender our lives to God’s purpose and submit to his Lordship!

Faith comes by hearing what God says, but faith doesn’t just hear – faith speaks!

2 Corinthians 4: 13

13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak

Look at the list of people in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith. Noah got drunk. Abraham told lies. Samson had a lust problem. Rahab was a prostitute. Moses had a temper. Gideon was filled with fear and inferiority. Samuel’s sons apparently didn’t inherit their father’s passion for God. David was an adulterer and murderer. 

Not only were these people not perfect, they weren’t even close to perfect. But by faith they made it across the finish line.  They all made it into the Great Hall of Faith!  How?  Simply, because they chose to take God’s word in their mouths and allowed God’s strength to manifest in them and overcome their weakness!

We all have areas of weakness in the flesh but we can overcome them if we recognise that we are no longer going to live as a slave to our weaknesses while we try and justify ourselves with feeble words of excuse and reasons why we are the way we are.

Romans 6: 18 – 19

18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

Jesus dealt with all of the reasons why we are the way we are at the Cross and so now we are without excuse!  We acknowledge our weakness but now his strength has been made available to us and so we can overcome our weakness in his strength!  It’s all a matter of whose words you are going to believe!  Are we going to continue believing our own excuses or are we going to trust in what his word tells us we can become in his strength?

Isaiah 53: 1

1 Who has believed our report?  And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

We can acknowledge the weakness of our own flesh but we choose to confess his strength that is now manifesting in our lives and causing us to overcome and live in victory!

Hebrews 4: 14 – 15

14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

How did Jesus overcome temptation when his flesh was weak?  He took God’s word in his mouth and spoke it out!  He spent time in prayer and fellowship with his Father – charging up his spirit!

Hebrews 5: 6 – 8

6 As He also says in another place:
“ You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”;
7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

How will we overcome temptation?  The same way!

Revelation 12: 11

11 And they overcame … by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

1 Peter 4: 1 – 3

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

Thank the LORD that we are not in this alone!  We have a covenant with Almighty God who has made the power of his Spirit available to us to supernaturally strengthen us in all of our areas of weakness!

2 Corinthians 12: 7 – 10

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We don’t even have to think up religious prayers on our own!

Romans 8: 26

26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Watch and pray – in the Spirit!  Our spirit is willing – our spirit always says, “Yes, LORD!”  Our spirit always says “AMEN – let it be to me according to your word!”

Over the next few newsletters we are going to look at some of those in the “Hebrews Hall of Faith” who overcame their weakness by changing their words and we are going to be delivered from areas of weakness in our own  lives as we apply the same principle!  The weak are going to speak!

The areas of weakness that have limited us and kept us silent are no longer excusable because power has been made available!  There is so much potential in the church that has yet to be realised!

Let the weak speak! Let the weak say, “ I AM STRONG!”

Philippians 4: 13

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

As I was meditating on this Scripture I realised how it tied in with one sense of 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – “old things have passed away, behold all things have become new”  Not only have the old things that I used to do passed away but the old things I couldn’t do have passed away and now I can do all things through the power of the anointing.

IT IS TIME for a mighty army of weak people to arise in the strength that has been made available to every one of us!  IT IS TIME for the saints of God to become involved in the work of the ministry as signs and wonders!




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