New Wine for New Wineskins September 2014

By , September 7, 2014 1:48 pm

worship000001This Means War! (Part 1)

Isaiah 43: 16 – 21

16 Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters,17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power (They shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick): 18 “ Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old – forget the past! 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. 20 The beast of the field will honor Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. 21 This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.

The Message

21 …the people I made especially for myself, a people custom-made to praise me.

“A people custom-made to praise me!”  That’s what Jesus said that the Father is seeking!

John 4: 23 – 24

23…A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers – those who worship him – must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Who did Jesus give this revelation to?  A woman with a very dubious past!  A woman whose past had made her a social outcast!  Not only that but he chose to communicate this revelation to someone who his own cultural conventions and traditions would have excluded him from speaking to – she was a woman and a Samaritan.  Remember – you have to break out of the cultural mores –  the essential or characteristic customs and conventions, the ways, way of life, traditions, practices, and habits of a community – if you are going to break into the more of God and the abundance of life that Jesus came to enable us to have, enjoy, and overflow with!

Not all customs and traditions are necessarily bad but many can seriously limit our experience of the fullness of life that our heavenly Father has purposed and destined for us if we remain under their oppressive influence.

Even within the Christian community there are established traditions and customs, ways of doing things, practices, and habits that actually have no basis in the word of God and therefore hinder rather than enhance our spiritual lives.  There are also other practices and ways of doing things that although they are scripturally based they are often presented as the whole truth when in fact they are only half of the truth, and so they cause many of God’s people to fall short of the fullness of his provision.

For many years I have heard certain well-intentioned people say that we need “John the Baptist” style ministries to arise in order to address the spiritual apathy and waywardness of the church.  Over the years I even had people tell me that I had a “John the Baptist” ministry.  At first I embraced this because in my insecurity I was just glad to hear that they thought I had any kind of ministry.  Later on, however, I began to realise that I didn’t want to have a “John the Baptist” ministry – I wanted a “Jesus” ministry.

You see, John the Baptist has rightly been called the last of the OT prophets, but then he has also been called the first of the NT prophets – which is, in fact, wrong.  Jesus is actually the first of the NT prophets.  Jesus’ ministry incorporated the message of John the Baptist but then he took the message and ministry to a new level.

John the Baptist came preaching a very specific message of repentance that would prepare the way for Jesus.  His message pointed people to the One who was coming after him and who would baptise them with the Holy Spirit and fire!

When Jesus began to preach he too called people to repentance but his message was also an introduction to the kingdom of God and his ministry included healing and deliverance.  Jesus said that we would do the same works that he did – not the same works that John the Baptist did.  Jesus said that we too would preach and teach, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.  He said that our message and ministry would be a continuation, an amplification, and an extension of his message and ministry.  Works are the confirmation of the words and so if our works are to be the same as his then our words must be the same as his.

Did Jesus preach repentance?  Absolutely!  But whereas John the Baptist preached that people should believe in the One who was coming after him, Jesus preached that they should believe in the One who was now present with them!   As long as the church promotes a “John the Baptist” message and ministry then much of what Jesus accomplished at the Cross for our healing and deliverance is postponed to a later time – usually after we die!  This has been the problem with the theology formulated around the time of the Reformation and that has been propagated and perpetuated by the vast majority of evangelical Christianity ever since.  This has also been the substance of almost all “revivalist” preaching that has resulted in historical awakenings over the past few hundred years.  That is why much of what has been accomplished has been relatively short lived!  It was incomplete because it failed to lay hold of all that it means to have the presence of Almighty God right there with you in the Person of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit perpetually!

Where Jesus is – salvation is, healing is, deliverance is, prosperity is, resurrection power is!  And according to Jesus himself he is right there with us all the time.

Jesus preached repentance but he also called those who truly repented up to a new level of discipleship.  John’s disciples often questioned why Jesus and his disciples didn’t do things the way they had been taught to do them.  John the Baptist ministries always run the risk of misunderstanding and becoming offended at what they hear and see from a Jesus ministry.  When John was in prison and sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Christ (a question that he should have already known the answer to) Jesus told them to go back and tell John what they heard and saw.

Matthew 11: 2 – 4

2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who is not offended because of me, or who does not fall away on account of me.”  

A Jesus ministry should always have an audio-visual aspect.  The word is confirmed by the accompanying signs – the message is backed up by the miraculous.  That should tell us something about the message that Jesus taught and preached.  He obviously preached healing, deliverance, long life, and prosperity.

Remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well – the Father is looking for worshipers in spirit and truth.  

If we live in a half-way house between the Old and the New Covenant we will always be tempted to go back in order to try and sort things out.  In Isaiah 43 it is very clear that in order to experience the “new thing” that is a New Covenant love relationship with God the Father through God the Son and the indwelling presence and power of God the Holy Spirit we have to first of all forget everything that went before.  Everything contained in the Old Covenant must be understood as it is realised and explained in the New Covenant – in the fullness of everything that Jesus accomplished at the Cross when he cried out “IT IS FINISHED!” once and for all and for ever!

It has always intrigued me why people insist in looking back for a solution to their present dilemma when it is impossible to re-access the past and change anything?  You might find the reason in the past but you won’t find the answer because you can’t go back and change any of the the decisions and the choices you have made that have brought you to where you are now.  People who live in the shadow of their past have lost touch with their reality.  Repentance is not about trying to get back to somewhere in the past and hoping you can sort it out – repentance is about turning to God in the NOW and committing your present and your future to him!  When we repent our past is covered by God’s forgiveness and we are free to move on!

If we don’t grasp that we will never experience the glory of the New Covenant!  Paul said that what was behind him was behind him – including all of the horrendous things he had done while persecuting the church – and so he was determined to press on into the fullness of God’s call upon his life!

Part of the problem with the generation of God’s Old Covenant people who came out of Egypt was that due to their time spent as slaves they didn’t have a lot of fight in them!  They were good at crying out for deliverance from their oppression.  But when deliverance came and it was time to advance into God’s “new thing” of the promised land they turned back in their minds to Egypt and to the familiar and the supposedly “safe” (see Numbers 13 & 14).

Tragically, many of God’s people still consider it an easier option to exist in slavery rather than take responsibility to live in freedom!  When the anointing comes to set them free they retreat into their chains because freedom means getting out of control and living by faith where they hear from God and do what he says.  Scary stuff!

Isaiah 61: 1 – 3

1 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me
to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn,
3 to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”

This is God’s will for his people!  But in order to receive beauty we must be willing to come out of the ashes, to receive the oil of joy we must be willing to abandon our mourning, and to put on the garment of praise we must first of all be prepared to put off the spirit of heaviness!

Exodus 15: 1 – 3

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD :
“I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted.
The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.
2 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.

These folks had just seen and experienced God’s deliverance in the most incredible and spectacular way and so they sang this song of praise and celebration.  If only they had kept hold of the revelation contained in this song they would have been equipped to resist the temptation to look back ever again.  There is a key in this song for us also.  The LORD is a WARRIOR!  Sometimes we think the LORD is looking for WARRIORS and so we back off from every fight because we don’t see any way that we can live up to his expectation.

Is there a war on?  Yes!  Are we involved in warfare?  Yes!  Are we called to be warriors? Not in the way we might think.

Jesus didn’t say that the Father is looking for WARRIORS – he is looking for WORSHIPPERS!

2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 5 (Amplified)

3 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)

Our weapons are mighty before God !

1 Chronicles 16: 28 – 29

28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Psalm 95: 1 – 8

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. 3 For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts
It is as we come before the LORD in worship that the LORD who is a WARRIOR manifests on our behalf.  It is in the place and attitude of worship that we hear from him and as we step out in obedience and faith, the warrior anointing is released.  Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world!   Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered!

Psalm 24

3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?  Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.

The Father is seeking worshipers in spirit and truth.  Every argument and objection that rises within us in opposition to the will of God originates in our soul – in our mind, will, or emotions.  When we allow these soulish reasonings to control us they become an idol because they represent something that gets between us and our complete dedication, consecration, and separation to God’s will for our lives.  It is often at this point that people exchange the truth of God for a lie and look for ways to justify their disobedience.  It is amazing how many times God is accused of having changed his mind about something!

5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.

We experience the LORD fighting on our behalf and vindicating us when we choose to worship in spirit and truth.

6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.  Selah

If you are seeking God and he is seeking you then there is no way that you can miss each other.  Too many people are afraid of missing God but worshippers in spirit and truth will always find themselves in the centre of his good, acceptable, and perfect will for their lives.  If your heart is after God – if you live your life before him as a worshipper in spirit and truth then you can’t miss him!

7 Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.

The LORD inhabits (lives in) the praises of his people!  Praise releases the manifest presence of God – the LORD who is mighty in battle!  We were never supposed to fight our own battles!   

9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;  lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty — he is the King of glory. Selah

When we worship we access the Glory of God!  In his presence there is fullness of joy and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 100: 1 – 5

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Remember – a stronghold has been defined as “a mindset impregnated with hopelessness that causes someone to accept as unchangeable something that is clearly contrary to the will of God as revealed in his word”.  Many church traditions fit this category and so if we don’t allow these strongholds to be removed but continue to stubbornly hold on to them we are engaging in idolatry. (1 Samuel 15: 23)

Ephesians 6: 10 (Amplified)

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

We need to understand – THIS MEANS WAR!  But our role is to worship because the battle is the LORD’S!

1 Timothy 6: 12

12 Fight the good fight of faith

Our New Covenant relationship is based upon one thing only – LOVE!  Faith only works one way – and that is through LOVE!  And so, the fight of faith is about staying in LOVE!  Love is the secret place of the Most High and keeps us under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD that he is my refuge and my fortress – he is my God and in him I will trust.  That is the language of love that fuels our faith!

If I stay in love then he will vindicate me if I am wronged.  No weapon that is formed against me will prosper and every tongue that rises up against me in judgement I will condemn by responding in love.

2 Timothy 4: 7

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

How did Paul do it?  He stayed in love!  He lived in the revelation of God’s unfailing love for him that fueled his faith and caused him to live free from his past and kept him trusting in God’s commitment to keep and fulfil his word in his life!

Paul lived his life not as a John the Baptist ministry – but as a continuation of Jesus’ life, an amplification of Jesus’ message, and an extension of Jesus’ works.  

THIS MEANS WAR if we are going to resist the temptation to look back and continue into the fullness of God’s purpose and destiny for our lives!  The most basic foundation of the New Covenant life is repentance from dead works and faith towards God!  Live in his presence and let the fire of his love burn up all the dross!  Stay in love and your faith will keep working!

Be a worshiper in spirit and truth and you will never have to look back again as the LORD who is a WARRIOR fights your battles for you. As you worship he fills you with the power of his love that fuels your faith to reach out and believe for others to come into the kingdom – saved, healed, and delivered – as you go about every day preaching, teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead!


Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy