New Wine for New Wineskins May 2020

By , May 4, 2020 7:13 am

Jesus versus Virus (Part 2)

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!  We should always be prepared for war.  Paul said that we should put on the whole armour of God.  Why?  So that we are prepared for war.

Sometimes when you mention war or spiritual warfare among believers you get a very negative response because they insist that the war has already been won.  They are not wrong because ultimately the war has been won.  However, our adversary has never conceded defeat and so he continues to harass us in the only way that he has left.

The war that we are engaged in with our adversary is a war of words, and we are only winners in the war of words when we enforce the victory that is already ours over a defeated enemy who is so proud that he has never acknowledged that he has been defeated and stripped of his power.  The only access that he has into our lives is through deception and the only power he has is the power of persuasion, the power of words.

The armour we put on is the armour of God.  We can say, “I am strong,” because we are wearing his armour.

Almost every component of the armour described in Ephesians chapter 6 is for a defensive purpose so that we can know that we are fully protected.  But we have also been armed with an offensive weapon that is more powerful than any other – the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.  When we employ that weapon there is nothing that can stand against us. And when we combine the word of God with believing prayer we are unstoppable.

Smith Wigglesworth, who is sometimes referred to as the apostle of faith, was asked one time how long he spent in prayer.  He replied that he rarely spent more than 15 minutes in prayer, but that he rarely went 15 minutes without praying.

We have continual access into God’s presence and yet we often take so little advantage of that.

Revelation 3: 7 – 10

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; 8 I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. 12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches.

Remember, we are in a war of words. Our adversary wants to displace God’s will for our lives with his will. If you think that’s not possible then listen to Paul’s instruction to a church leader, his spiritual son Timothy.

2 Timothy 2: 24 – 26

24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Jesus said to hold fast what we have. In other words, don’t give an inch of what we’ve got, so that no man can take our crown.

I have said this before but I want to emphasise it again. I believe that the adversary crowned a virus (regardless of it’s origins which – although there is much speculation – are still largely unknown) and has been empowering it with a fear-fueled media propaganda campaign involving a constant barrage of words where virtually every sentence contains the fear-inspiring name of the virus which he has crowned.

Corona of course is the Latin word for crown.  The purpose of this assault – and I believe we really need to hear this – is to take away our crown and to remove the crown of the church.

Psalm 8

1 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained [established] strength, because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit [give attention to or care for] him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than Elohim, and You have crowned him with glory and honour.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!

The reality is that the church has not held fast to what we had, otherwise we would not be in the situation we are in right now, a situation where we have given up much of what we had.  The really intriguing thing is that we rolled over and gave it up without a fight. How could this happen? Simply because we forgot the war is a war of words – subtle, deceptive, and seductive words.

Remember when Paul was in Philippi (Acts 16) and the young servant girl with the python spirit (spirit of divination) followed him and his team around, proclaiming that they were the servants of the Most High God who announced to all the way of salvation.

After a few days of this seemingly free advertising Paul realises that he is being worn out by her words and he drives the demon out of the girl.

I’m quite sure that some – if not all – of Paul’s friends thought he had lost his mind when he addressed the demon in the girl that day, because although they too would have been under the wearying effects of the demon spirit they hadn’t discerned what Paul discerned? Why? Please hear this: because the words the girl was using sounded so right.

I remember getting what I believe was a prophetic insight into the root of this demonic assault upon the whole world on the last day we met together corporately as a church back in mid-March. I received this insight regarding the c-word during the worship on the last Sunday evening we were together in Father’s House and I shared it that night. Since then the Lord showed me that this insight was foundational to understanding our strategy against the virus and the enemy’s plans to use it to his advantage against the church.

Over the first few days of being back at work at the Harris Tweed mill two weeks ago and (since I was spending more time inside than normal) having to listen to the radio playing all day my spirit became greatly stirred as I heard the c-word over and over and over again, sometimes in almost reverent tones.

By the Thursday afternoon of the first week my spirit was so stirred that I really had to tune out the voice of the radio and tune into the voice of heaven.  The first thing I heard from Holy Spirit FM was the following:

Ain’t no lockdown.

I kind of liked the sound of that.  The way it was said really got my attention.

Then I heard:

This is a siege – and it started with a backdown.

It all started to come together for me with this:

When the enemy comes at you with with a lockdown you can’t back down or it will end up as a shakedown.

shakedown –  extortion, a criminal act of coercion or intimidation for personal gain; shakedown by force, threats and intimidation.

It sounds to me like someone is trying to swindle us out of our crown.

Like the old saying goes, if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

As I continued to meditate on what I had heard I downloaded some more insights.  Please fasten your seatbelts.

The current siege is the result of an apathetic, non-contending, candyfloss church – a church conditioned with passive acceptance rather than taking ground with active and aggressive expectancy.

If we don’t maintain our place as a truly prophetic church we will become a truly apathetic church.

apathetic – showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

When I say truly prophetic I’m not talking about cotton wool and fluffy prophetic.

It seems to me that the exhortation element of the prophetic has all but disappeared. The new prophetic tends to be all comfort, and even edification has been redefined. Do we need words of comfort and encouragement occasionally? Absolutely, but not to the exclusion of the other elements of New Testament prophecy.

exhortation – an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something; urging, encouragement, persuasion, pressure; entreaty, appeal, call, charge, injunction; admonition, warning.

Much of what Jesus said to the seven churches in Asia Minor and which is recorded in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 would be rejected by today’s church as being too negative and not affirming enough.

I hear a righteous roar in my spirit.

Remember, the devil wants what he has crowned to take your crown – to displace your crown so that you bow down to a created thing over which you have been given dominion. Listen up:

Romans 8: 35 – 39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What is this virus? It is a created thing. Faith is activated, energised, expressed, and put to work by love – the love of God so perfectly demonstrated at the Cross – the perfect love that casts out all fear.

We must take all the training and preparation we have received for war and rise up as those who have been crowned with glory and honour and hold fast what we have so that we don’t lose our crown.

We are in a siege and in a siege the party with the most resources will win. If we allow the enemy of our souls to lock us down in a siege we will discover that he has superior resources.

In the First World War the phrase “over the top” was used by the British to describe the infantry emerging from the safety of their trenches to attack the enemy across open ground.

over the top – to an excessive degree; beyond reasonable or acceptable limits.

We can easily win this battle because we have superior firepower, but our weapons are not designed for trench warfare – they are to be deployed on the open ground as we take back the territory that we have lost.

Jesus said, “Go, and I will be with you wherever you go.”

The whole world is on lockdown – bowing to the fear of death – a fear that no longer has any substance because Jesus stripped the devil of the power of death, which is fear. The devil can’t kill you, but fear can.

What is the nature of the war we are in? It is a war of words, and our adversary is a master propagandist.

The media are even taking news cameras into the intensive care units and showing us the people who are fighting for their lives and many who are tragically dying. What is that all about? One thing – to promote fear.

Why would we be afraid of something that at the very worst takes you into the presence of God for all eternity? We aren’t born again to die by fear but to live by faith.

Mark 8: 35

35 Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. 

What we are afraid of will greatly impact on the quality of our life and how we live. In fact, until we have found something worth dying for we have never found anything worth living for.

It is time to go over the top – to go beyond reasonable or acceptable limits by the world’s standards, and even by an apathetic church’s standards in our unashamed proclamation of Jesus’ victory over sin, sickness, fear, oppression, and everything else that our adversary seeks to arm against us with his fear-mongering.

Do you know that alcohol sales have risen considerably since the lockdown? And do you know that 3 million deaths are caused worldwide every year by alcohol?

In the 5 months since the beginning of this so-called global pandemic the death toll has just exceeded 245,000 (updated 3rd May 2020).

Please understand that to our Father in heaven every life is of such great value that he gave his only begotten Son so that none would have to perish.  We don’t ever diminish the value of one life, and so the death from this virus of every one of these over 245,000 precious individuals is a tragic event.   However if the current rate of deaths were to continue for the rest of the year (and it is already being reported that the death rate has peaked in most countries) it could reach around 600,000 which would still only be one fifth of the number of deaths caused by alcohol.

Do you know that the number of abortions so far this year (since January 1st to May 3rd 2020) totals over fourteen and a half million and it is impossible to keep up because the live tracker increases by more than 1 every second? This far exceeds any other cause of death and makes a mother’s womb the most dangerous place on earth. How wickedly perverse is that?  Last year (2019) there were more than 49 million deaths by abortion worldwide. These statistics truly meet the definition of a global pandemic.  Do you know that those advocating more lenient abortion laws sneaked through and passed legislation in the English, Scottish, and Welsh parliaments regarding DIY abortions under cover of this current lockdown?

All of the words applied to supposedly containing this wicked virus sound so good, sound so right, but they will wear you out.  If you have an ounce of spiritual discernment you will already have felt that.

Are you like Jeremiah and have heard the alarm of war or have you been hitting the snooze button?

It is past time to wake up church.

When the enemy comes at you with a lockdown don’t back down or you will end up with a shakedown.

We need a renewed war cry that will take us over the top – deploying our spiritual weaponry that will break the siege and take back the ground we have allowed the enemy to occupy with his fear-fuelled propaganda and lies.

Don’t give up your crown!

Jesus Christ is Lord!

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