New Wine for New Wineskins September 2011

By , September 3, 2011 12:29 am


The Kingdom of Heaven in 2011 (Part 7)

2 There remained among the children of Israel seven tribes which had not yet received their inheritance.
3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?

(Joshua 18: 2 – 3)

Remember – we have already been given the land and so all that remains is for us to take it!

Last month we saw that:





17 Now the city shall be doomed by the LORD to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18 And you, by all means abstain from the accursed things, lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19 But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the LORD; they shall come into the treasury of the LORD.” 20 So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. 21 And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.


We all know how people have misquoted the Scripture in 1 Timothy 6: 10 and said that money is the root of all evil whereas it actually says that the love of money is the root of all evil.   However, Jesus said “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  Like everything else in this fallen world money will master you if you don’t master it!  If your goal is to get rich then you will serve that goal, whereas Jesus went on to say that if we seek God’s kingdom first then all of our needs will be abundantly met!

Because God’s people were entering a land that was demon-possessed, everything in that land had to be redeemed before it could be useful and beneficial to them.  The only way to redeem the material wealth of the land was to bring the firstfruits into the treasury of the LORD.  In the same way with us, the money in the world system is tainted by sin and so the only way to redeem it is to bring the firstfruits into the treasury of the LORD!  That cancels out the curse – the root of all kinds of evil – and releases the blessing of the LORD that makes rich and adds no sorrow with it!  It was God who invented money-laundering!  Some people think that obedience in bringing our tithe then releases us to do what we want with the remaining ninety percent – but the truth is that it simply proves our willingness to bring the hundred percent under the authority of the King and make it all available for the purposes of the kingdom!  If the Holy Spirit prompts us to bless someone we don’t complain just because we have already brought our tithe.  If you haven’t brought your all you will never bring your tithe and if you can’t bring your tithe you will never give your all!

Bringing the first-fruits of our increase into the treasury of the LORD cuts off the spirit of mammon at the root and releases us from the curse of serving mammon.  Mammon is a hard taskmaster because people who are under its control can never have enough!  But serving God delivers us into a place where we always have more than enough!  It doesn’t matter whether we ever make it onto the ‘rich list’ or not but we will always have more than enough to accomplish everything that the LORD calls and commissions us to do!

2 Corinthians 9: 10 – 11

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

When we are first born again and enter into relationship with the LORD we bring everything that we are and have and place it at his disposal, and so when we bring our tithes we are declaring to the LORD that we are following through on our decision to make everything – the full hundred percent – available to him!  Remember when Jesus was watching what the people were putting into the treasury.  He pointed out to those who were putting in a portion of their abundance that the widow who only gave a couple of pennies had actually brought her whole livelihood!  It is not the diligence of our tithing that gets God’s attention as much as the attitude of our hearts!

Our victory in relation to the first-fruits will determine our future success or failure in the kingdom of God!

When the people heard the trumpet they let out a great shout and the walls fell flat just like the LORD said they would!  They then went up into the city and destroyed everything with the edge of the sword!  We need to grasp here that everything in our lives that doesn’t have the edge of the sword applied to it and that doesn’t come into submission to God’s word will always be a stumbling block to us and to others!  Sometimes we have to be quite merciless with our own emotions when it comes to cutting loose from our attachment to certain things that are harmful and when that involves relationships there can be times when human sympathy can get in the way of our obedience to the word.  Our only hope and the only hope of those whom we are dealing with is in submitting to the word of God and allowing it to put our flesh to death!

The word of God says that we should not be filled with wine but with the Holy Spirit.  Does that mean that we should never drink alcohol?  Well, it does seem to point out that we can’t be filled with both at the same time and that they are mutually exclusive.  So therefore I must decide which I want to be filled with!  Which one represents a stronghold in our culture, and which one represents the power of God to demolish strongholds?  Which one could be a stumbling block that prevents either myself or others experiencing the fullness of God’s plan and provision for our lives?  Although the Word of God doesn’t categorically forbid the consumption of alcohol the vast majority of the wisdom contained in the Word in regards to alcohol certainly points to abstention as the best and most advisable choice.

Personally, when someone asks me why I no longer drink alcohol I tell them that all the reasons why I used to drink have been removed from my life and more than sufficiently replaced by all the good and positive things that accompany the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 11 clearly states that it was by faith – taking God at his word – that the walls of Jericho came down!  How much of his word do we want to take?

22 But Joshua had said to the two men who had spied out the country, “Go into the harlot’s house, and from there bring out the woman and all that she has, as you swore to her.” 23 And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them outside the camp of Israel. 24 But they burned the city and all that was in it with fire. Only the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. 25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.


Rahab had chosen to die to Jericho when she sheltered the spies and so she didn’t die in Jericho when everyone else around her perished!  Rahab had heard what God had done previously for his people and while it caused fear in the hearts of the other inhabitants of Jericho it stirred faith in her heart!

There are people right now whose hearts are failing them because of fear of what is happening in the world but for those of God’s people who have already died to the world there is only faith to see what God has promised coming to pass as the world system collapses and the church of Jesus Christ goes up!  The kingdom of heaven in 2011!

Rahab and her family were saved the only way you can be saved – by grace through faith!  She overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of her testimony!

26 Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the LORD who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.”


There are those who are fighting to have the church bless what God has cursed and to sanction that which God has labeled as sin. Always allow the word of the Lord – the sword of the Spirit – to cut through and divide between soul and spirit – and determine what is right and what is wrong!  When we step out of the word we step into trouble!  That’s the way it was in the beginning and that is the way it is now.  When God told man not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he wasn’t trying to keep something from him – he was trying to keep him from something!  He was trying to stop him dying!

A recent book by a best-selling Christian author and influential leader asserts that there is no Hell, and that God will eventually allow everyone into Heaven, and that any views to the contrary are “venomous and destructive.”

You have to apply the sword of God’s word to that kind of stuff because it can play very powerfully on your emotions.  A message that tells you that you can live any way you want because ultimately it won’t matter – you will not surely die – may sound very appealing but it simply proves that the enemy of our souls has not lost any of his subtlety and still seeks to enter our place of security and engage the church in dangerous and destructive dialogue.

There are many ongoing debates in the church today that are pointless because God’s word is more than clear on the subjects being debated.  But we must wield the sword without fear!

Don’t ever be afraid of being labeled “judgmental” – that is just a method the enemy uses to intimidate us.  We are to judge ourselves and we are to judge the church – always in that order!  We have to cut the bad stuff out of our own lives first so that we can see (judge) clearly in order to help others cut the bad stuff out of their lives!  That is the principle that Jesus taught when he spoke about the speck and the plank.  He wasn’t saying to hang onto the bad stuff and don’t mention anyone else’s bad stuff either in case you upset them!

27 So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.


All of us stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.  That is why we honour our fathers and mothers – both natural and spiritual.  But Joshua’s success was not determined primarily by the fact that Moses had been his mentor, even though that relationship had been a great influence in his life.  Joshua was successful because the LORD – the God of covenant – was with him!

When the LORD is with you – when it is time for him to exalt you – nothing can stop it!  It is his presence with you that causes you to become famous by association.  We would do well never to forget that!  It is just not worth neglecting our association with him or sacrificing it for any other association or relationship!

The LORD has given us the land and he has shown us how to take it!  The strongholds are coming down!  Have you heard the trumpet of God’s word sounding?

1 Corinthians 14: 8

8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?

Are you getting ready to shout?  Have you made your decision?  Have you died to the world and all that is in it?  Have you made all that you are and all that you have available to the LORD and his kingdom?  Then get ready to shout!

The Kingdom of Heaven in 2011!

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