20 CHAPTERS THAT CELEBRATE YOUR SALVATION.
Do you want a cure for instability?
The cure is… don’t be double-minded.
Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
Allow me to explain my theory by using an Old Testament story.
This story is in 2 Kings chapter 13.
In this story Elisha the prophet is visited by the king of Israel.
Elisha is not feeling the best because he is suffering from an illness that proves to be terminal.
But that does not stop him from activating his prophetic gift.
This is what he tells the king to do.
Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so.
[2 Kings 13:15]
“Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it.
[2 Kings 13:17a]
“Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot.
[2 Kings 13:17b]
Up to this point the king had followed Elisha’s instructions perfectly.
It was a simple thing for the king to complete.
Because the king had followed Elisha’s command….Elisha promised him a complete victory over his enemies.
Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”
[2 Kings 13:17c]
There is no uncertainty in Elisha’s statement.
He said the king would have complete victory.
He even called the arrow, an arrow of victory.
“The Lord’s arrow of victory!” Elisha declared.
[2 Kings 13:17]
You will notice this has all happened quickly and efficiently.
No-one is doubting.
No-one is double-minded.
The victory is certain and it will be complete.
Now the problems begin.
Elisha decides to add a little extra.
Isn’t it always tempting to add a bit more to the pot?
This is his new idea.
He tells the king to take the bow and arrows.
He tells the king to shoot the ground.
But Elisha does not give the king a vital bit of information.
Elisha does not explain how many times the king needs to shoot.
Now the king is uncertain.
He would have been sweating on the results of this new test.
He has just been assured of a great victory.
He doesn’t know that victory… is about to slip away.
Here is how the story goes.
Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them.
Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.”
[2 Kings 13:18a]
So far…so good.
He struck it three times and stopped.
[2 Kings 13:18b]
But how was he to know how many times to strike the ground?
He couldn’t have known.
[Elisha had not told him how many times].
Elisha was not happy.
The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times.”
[2 Kings 13:19]
One minute the king is having a big win and the next minute he is getting told off.
When someone asks you to do something, they need to give you very clear instructions.
If you have a boss who is always changing your job description… you will know what I mean.
This king went from hero to zero in a few minutes.
His promise of victory has now shrunk.
He was promised a complete victory and now he is only promised a partial victory.
“But now you will defeat it only three times.”
[2 Kings 13:19]
The context of this story is… this was Elisha’s last recorded prophetic word.
Elisha died and was buried.
[2 Kings 13:20]
But it was not his last miracle.
Yes, he had something up his sleeve.
This old prophet didn’t pass his anointing on.
He did not have a successor.
So the anointing was still in his bones…here is his final miracle.
When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.
[2 Kings 13:21]
Not bad, raising a man from the dead while you are dead.
Here is a scripture that encourages us to be men and women of faith.
And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
To leave a good legacy…it does matter how we live our Christian life.
It is essential that we live by faith.
But what do we mean by the statement, “Live by faith”.
Most people would understand that statement to mean the faith that they have right now…in the present.
But how would you know how much faith you have right now?
Some of us would feel that our faith is small and others would feel that their faith is large.
Most people…would not know how much faith they had at this moment in time.
So here is the problem…how much faith is enough faith?
We all want mountain moving faith.
I do not want to sound ungracious, but most of the Christians I know still have their mountain where it has always been…in their backyard.
It hasn’t moved at all.
They have huffed and puffed, but the mountain has not moved an inch.
It actually looks a bit bigger; I would not say that to their face.
It is supposed to be getting smaller.
The only time that most of us have had complete faith is when we had salvation faith.
God gave us the ability to believe and we used that ability to accept God’s generous offer of salvation.
These days the temptation to shoot arrows in all directions is strong.
We want to throw everything we have at the problem.
Paul the apostle had some good advice.
So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.
[1 Corinthians 9:26]
Peter the apostle also had some good advice.
When he was at the end of his life he kept writing about his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Peter was so affected by that experience.
He was still talking about it years later.
I was there on the holy mountain when he shone out with honour given him by God his Father; I heard that glorious, majestic voice calling down from heaven, saying, “This is my much-loved Son; I am well pleased with him.”
[2 Peter 1:17,18]
Everyone had been hearing Peter tell this story time and time again.
But that did not worry Peter.
He was going to refresh their memories, whether they wanted them refreshed or not.
As long as I am still here I intend to keep sending these reminders to you, hoping to impress them so clearly upon you that you will remember them long after I have gone.
[2 Peter 1:14,15]
This was an old man focusing on the past.
He knew something special had happened to him.
He was worried that the next generation would lose their focus.
That they would not value their salvation experience.
Peter was a voice of stability speaking to a generation rocked by the uncertainty of their times.
He wanted to pass the anointing on to the young people.
He didn’t want to take it with him.
Here is the final point of my theory.
When we are blown around and being double-minded we need an anchor for the soul.
An anchor of faith that is attached to Jesus.
Instead of huffing and puffing in many different directions.
We need to fix our eyes onto Jesus.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
We can learn from Peter.
He was not writing about a recent spiritual experience.
He was writing about his mountain experience, it was a highlight for him.
Peter did not have a salvation experience like Paul did.
Peter got to know Jesus in a progressive way.
Today most of us have the best of both worlds.
We met Jesus in a salvation moment and then we get to know him over a period of time.
But when the storm comes we need to hold on to the anchor with all our strength.
We may not feel the presence of God in the storm.
So we have to go back to our salvation decision.
That is when we shot one arrow once.
That is when our faith had a perfect result.
That was when the instruction was perfectly clear.
Believe in Jesus!
Make your decision.
YES OR NO.
It could not be clearer.
And you said yes!
From that day till now you have been a single-minded person, regards that decision.
You know you said “yes”.
It cannot be denied.
You may have been double-minded about a thousand other things.
But it is completely impossible for you to doubt what happened on that day.
Did you notice the words I used?
Now that is a secure and certain place to find yourself in.
The cure for instability is to focus on the immovable fact of your salvation decision.
That is what people do in a storm.
They look for the safety and certainty that comes from standing on a rock.
When you refresh your memory about a fact:
[That you made a salvation decision], you have just given yourself a rock to hold onto.
You are also remembering your perfect score because it is the one thing you got perfectly right!
Therefore God promised you complete victory!
Everyone born of God overcomes the world.
This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our[salvation] faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world?
Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
[1 John 5:4,5]
Complete victory is promised to the person who has believed in Jesus.
That means you.
YOU SHOT AN ARROW OF VICTORY.
Because you made your salvation decision!
How do you like my theory?
How many of you are looking at an empty bank account, an empty cupboard or an empty life.
No money, no friends and no obvious help is on the way.
How do we explain this emptiness to ourselves or to our children?
Well, it is apparent that you need a miracle of provision.
Most preachers will tell you to stir up your faith.
Pray more, give more!
What if there was a different way, a better way?
Who can remember their salvation experience?
Many of us would have testimonies of God’s goodness.
We got saved and healed.
We got saved and delivered from an addiction.
We got saved and our finances improved, our relationships improved.
When we got saved we were so happy.
Was your testimony like these testimonies?
When the prodigal son returned home, his father celebrated his son’s return.
The father didn’t know whether his son was dead or alive.
When the prodigal son appeared at the family home the father couldn’t help himself.
His father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The father had an emotional response.
And then the provision came.
Clothes, shoes and a ring.
Then food and music and dancing.
Provision…that flowed from the heart of a relieved father.
Who had been put out of his misery.
When we are saved, our relieved Father in heaven celebrates.
His long lost son or daughter has come home.
Yes, when you got saved God opened his heart and provision flowed.
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
If God gave us his Son?
Then he will not withhold anything.
He has already given us everything.
God did not give us the gift of salvation and then change His mind.
No, we are saved forever, it is permanent.
Well, if He opened up His heart to also provide for us?
That must be permanent too!
Salvation is permanent and provision is permanent.
God is not generous one day and stingy the next!
He is generous every day
You may be wondering why things went so well for you when you were saved?
And after a while…why those happy days turned into unhappy days?
It is similar to a married couple who have a great wedding and honeymoon.
And then they come home and the routine of life takes over.
People stop celebrating their wedding and start moaning about how hard life is.
Sometimes they even fall out of love.
But God is not like us.
He doesn’t get bored with you or frustrated with you.
His love is a fire that never goes out.
He not only still favours you.
He still provides for you.
Maybe we moved away from God?
Maybe we think He doesn’t care as much?
Peter had a miraculous provision experience in his early days of walking with Jesus.
He had fished all night and caught nothing.
But when Jesus came along and asked for permission to use Peter’s boat.
Peter said yes!
Peter opened up his heart and Jesus came and sat in his boat.
Then Jesus opened up his heart to Peter.
Jesus caused a miracle of provision to manifest right in front of Peter’s eyes.
Peter had an emotional response.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said.
“Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Peter followed Jesus for three years.
But then he made a big mistake.
He denied Jesus!
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.
Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him:
“Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
And he went outside and wept bitterly.
We all make mistakes and sometimes we make big mistakes.
We feel so guilty and ashamed.
We need to remember that no matter what we have done wrong.
We got something right that cannot be undone.
You got your salvation decision right.
And on the basis of your good confession God has decided to never hold your sins against you.
This is what King David said after he had committed adultery and murder.
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
Let us go back to the story of Peter.
He was probably feeling the worst… he had ever felt in his life.
So he went fishing and caught nothing all night.
Nothing was going right for this man!
“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said.
“We’ll go with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Then Jesus appeared.
Peter would have remembered how Jesus had helped him all those years ago.
How Jesus provided a miracle of provision.
How Jesus filled up his empty boat.
But now Peter would have felt so undeserving.
So guilty for his sins.
No way would Peter have expected Jesus to help him out this time.
Jesus wasn’t going to hold Peter’s sins against him!
And to prove his point Jesus gave Peter another miracle.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
John said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he jumped into the water.
Yes, Peter had another emotional response!
He jumped into the water!
He was moved with emotion.
After this display of God’s provision Jesus took Peter aside and repaired their relationship.
Jesus and provision go together.
If you still have Jesus [the bible says he will never leave you].
Then you still have provision.
And if your relationship with Jesus needs repairing, God will repair it.
Please remember that nothing has changed since the day of your salvation.
God is still celebrating the day you came home.
And if He is still celebrating…He will still be providing!
Jesus and provision go together.
You have permission to have an emotional response!
Don’t focus on what you need to do.
Focus on what you have already done.
Getting saved is the most important decision you will ever make.
People get emotional over their football team winning.
They laugh, they cry, they shout.
Remember your great day of salvation.
And celebrate it with fresh faith and refresh what may have gone stale.
Now that you are refreshed, you are in a great place to receive a fresh miracle of provision!
Let God’s refreshing rain melt your heart all over again.
And may His blessing… that you received so long ago come back to you in all its fullness.
“No-one ever hated their own body,” says the Bible in Ephesians 5:29.
Some people would disagree with that statement.
There are people who hate their body and they do not feed it.
Anorexia and bulimia are eating disorders that are described by some doctors as a form of mental illness.
Other people hate the shape or form of their body.
They still feed and clothe themselves but their inner thoughts towards their bodies are very negative.
“What did I do to deserve this body?” is a quote from a teenage movie.
Our newspapers have stories in them from time to time about spurned and jealous men who throw acid on the faces of their ex-girlfriends.
Our spiritual leaders tell us not to be caught up in the “modern media’s” fascination with skin deep beauty.
They say we should focus on the inner beauty of a person.
Last Sunday we had a great speaker, very funny and very clever, but he was a little bit insensitive.
This visiting minister is well known in the Christian world of high profile speakers.
He was doing his annual trip to Australia.
These were his opening words.
“If you are good looking… raise your hands!”
We know he was doing this as a bit of light hearted banter.
Next thing he does is show us a photo of his wife and children.
“I have the best looking family don’t you agree?”
“Look at my wife, isn’t she beautiful?”
Once again we know he was doing the usual pre-sermon banter.
To relax us and relax himself.
But he went on and on about how good looking his wife was and finished up telling our pastor that his [the speakers wife] was better looking than our pastors wife!
So many of these preachers open up with comments about physical beauty.
And then they try to preach to us the importance of inner beauty.
But we know what they really think.
Because they also teach us to be careful with our words.
They tell us that what we say reveals our heart.
Another thing these preachers joke about is baldness in men.
They think it is funny to mock someone’s loss of hair.
They don’t realise that for most young men losing their hair is not funny.
It is a serious blow to their self-esteem and then they hear the preacher saying, “I was just joking.”
So many of these speakers are artificial in their manner, they do not come across as sincere.
Could it be that they have done it so many times that they are on automatic.
Not really thinking about what their words are doing to some of the people listening to them.
Let’s have a bit of compassion for those who are less fortunate.
The whole world is fashion conscious and outer beauty is the most important thing for the secular media.
We have all made mistakes and we all have different character traits.
We make poor choices and we can sometimes try to cover up.
Just like the politicians do.
Aren’t you glad that Christianity is based on one choice that you make once?
Like the prison officer said to Paul in the Book of Acts, chapter 16.
“What must I do to be saved?”
Paul answered him and said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
Did you notice that there were no character tests or other requirements?
Isn’t it a relief that salvation is easy and that the bar is so low.
Even you and I can do that. Yep…only believe.
Jesus, said to the guy hanging on the cross with him.
“Today you will be with me in paradise.”
And that guy was just a common criminal.
It is not hard to be saved.
Actually it is easy.
One of my customers is a prison guard.
He says there are two different types of people in his jail.
Those from a life of crime and those who made only one mistake.
He was referring to the unlucky men who were in jail because they killed someone by accident.
Either in a car accident or gun accident or even a workplace accident.
In other words they had been law abiding citizens up until they were involved in a fatal mistake.
They had made one wrong decision and they were going to pay for that for the rest of their lives.
The courts that convicted them did not take into account all the good decisions that they had made.
They were judged and found guilty on one thing they did once.
The opposite has happened to anyone that has become a Christian.
All your life you have made mistakes and then one day God gets a hold of you and asks you if you believe in His Son.
You say “Yes” and upon that good confession Gods declares you innocent!
The good news gets even better because no matter how many mistakes you have made after you became a Christian God still judges you as innocent.
And He does it all on the basis of one good decision that you made once.
After waiting for years, the Israelites were on their way.
The great escape was happening.
They were nearly there…freedom was just around the corner.
But there was a problem.
There was an immovable mountain standing in their way.
It was called the Red Sea.
All their hopes and dreams were about to go up in smoke.
Their enemies were catching up to them.
They were emotionally exhausted.
Their faith was faltering.
And God was sympathetic to their plight, right?
No he wasn’t sympathetic.
God told them to get on with it.
Here is what he said.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
Pretty tough words!
But God knew what he was doing.
And Moses knew what needed to be done.
Here is what Moses said.
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.
Moses declared that something good was going to happen today!
And it did.
Something good happened instead of something bad.
Wow, what a turnaround.
The Israelites were about to panic.
They were frightened by what they saw.
But Moses wasn’t worried.
He was confident.
The same thing happened when Peter and John were arrested.
They responded in a confident manner.
The leaders who had ordered their arrest were amazed.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Where did their confidence come from?
Peter wasn’t always that confident.
But now he was.
The leaders seemed to make the connection between their confidence and their association with Jesus.
“They took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
There was another reason for Peter’s confidence.
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit.
So far we have two keys for confidence.
Spend time with Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Another thing to notice is what Peter said while he was in this state of confidence.
What message did he proclaim?
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Peter had preached the gospel.
That’s right, he was in the right place at the right time saying the right thing.
After getting so many things wrong, Peter was now getting things right.
The problem we have is…we don’t always get things right.
In fact, sin came into the world because two people got something wrong.
Adam and Eve made a mistake and…their confidence was gone!
That’s what happens when you get things wrong.
Your confidence flies out the window.
The Israelites believed they should have stayed where they were.
Here is what they said.
“Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?”
The Israelites believed they were in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing.
Their confidence was gone.
But Moses knew he was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
Some of you may be wondering, “How do I know if I’m in the right place doing the right thing?”
This is a big problem because we don’t always know for certain.
And some people may actually know that they are in the wrong place doing the wrong thing.
They have made a mistake and don’t know how to reverse it.
We have to do what Peter did and preach the gospel.
When you preach the gospel you are always doing the right thing.
Preaching the gospel is never wrong.
Even if someone preaches the gospel for the wrong reason, God will turn it into a good thing.
Listen to what Paul said when some people were doing the wrong thing.
I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
Paul believed that preaching the gospel could never be wrong.
You may not have the opportunity to preach the gospel to other people at this very moment.
But I am going to suggest you remember the day you responded to the gospel.
When you remember how you responded to the gospel you are remembering the day you were in the right place at the right time.
And you did the right thing!
You accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
The reason I am suggesting this, is because it gets your eyes onto what is important.
If I can get you to look back to that day, you will stop focusing on what you have got wrong and you will start focusing on what you got right.
At this very moment you may be getting everything wrong.
Your confidence may be shot.
Your self-esteem may be low.
Humans are designed to be confident when things go right.
We can’t help the way we are made.
So we need to focus on the positive.
Being saved, being reconciled with God is the most positive thing that has ever happened to you.
God told the Israelites to always remember their deliverance at the Red Sea.
“This annual ‘Celebration with Unleavened Bread’ will cause you always to remember today as the day when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
Every time they celebrated their salvation day [Passover] they were declaring that on that special day they were in the right place at the right time doing the right thing!
All Christians can also declare the same thing.
Fellow Christians… we can declare that out eternal destiny was decided when we got one thing right.
And now our confidence can be reinflated.
Our self-esteem can be restored.
Don’t build your life on a thousand variable decisions that you sometimes get right and sometimes get wrong.
Build you confidence on the one thing, the only certain thing.
Build your life on the gospel message.
From that day till now you have in your heart the most powerful message in the universe.
Since that day you have been filled with the Holy Spirit.
And last but not least, you have spent time with Jesus.
In other words…you are qualified!
Now you can lead a life full of boldness and confidence.
Don’t forget this one thing…you got it right!
Now go out and celebrate.
It’s party time!
When Moses challenged Pharaoh to let God’s people go, what did Pharaoh do?
He accused them of being lazy.
Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy!
This is a great strategy for distracting attention.
Just accuse the person of being lazy.
But we know that Pharaoh and the Egyptians were the lazy ones.
Because they wanted to keep their slaves so they would not have to do the work.
I know that non-Christian bosses sometimes accuse their Christian employees of laziness because the Christian employee refuses to work on Sunday.
Being accused of laziness is not nice.
It may be true in some instances.
Or like Pharaoh the person accusing you may actually be the lazy one!
Your boss may be too lazy to pay you a proper wage.
Too lazy… to provide you with a safe and happy workplace.
We could argue about who is lazy and who isn’t.
People can be lazy at home and diligent at work.
Or the reverse could be true.
I am not really concerned about your workplace attitude or your boss’s attitude.
I started this discussion to make one point and here it is.
Non-Christians are lazy!
That’s right non-Christians are lazy!
Now let me qualify that outrageous statement.
I mean they are “spiritually lazy”.
They hear the gospel preached and they are too lazy to respond, yet they mock Christians for believing “fairy tales”.
Non-Christians are too lazy to read the Bible and find out what it really says.
They are happy to have their opinions formed by watching some celebrity on the television.
Non-Christians are too lazy to go to church and investigate Christianity.
They are happy to just meekly and without question accept what their family have believed, even if their family believe in nothing.
But Christians are not lazy in the area of spiritual truth.
When they heard the gospel preached they got off their behind and walked to the front of the church.
They didn’t care what their ignorant non-believing friends thought.
They didn’t care what society thought of their decision.
Christians weren’t too lazy to think about issues like eternity and the forgiveness of sins.
Christians put some effort in, they actively pursued God.
Whenever anyone attacks you…with the accusation of laziness.
Don’t worry about proving them wrong.
Take your case to a higher authority.
Appeal to God himself.
He will vindicate you.
Because what matters most to the heart of God is a person’s attitude to the Gospel message.
He always asks one question.
Does this person value the sacrifice of my Son?
Christians can always answer “Yes”.
They are able to declare,” I was diligent in my response to the message of salvation, I took it seriously.”
But non-Christians have to admit, “My response was a lazy response”.
Yes Mr non-Christian, you are the lazy one!
The good news is…it’s not too late to change your attitude.
Change your attitude from lazy to diligent.
Start reading the Bible.
Go to a Christian friend and apologise, he will forgive your mockery.
Your Christian friend will be totally happy…to talk to you about Jesus.
Congratulations to all the Christians.
You made the effort in the area that matters to God the most.
God knows about and appreciates your salvation choice.
You were diligent in the one thing.
You got it right.
And God said, “That’s good enough”.
Yes, accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour is good enough!
Any accuser who takes you to court will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.”
Jesus started his ministry by teaching with authority.
He then proved that authority by healing the sick and casting out demons.
The man who understood where Jesus was coming from was a military man.
For I myself am a man under authority.
When Jesus heard this statement he declared this was a man with:
Understanding how authority works…gives you an advantage.
The key to authority, real authority is never saying something more than once.
We have all watched movies about soldiers and war.
You would have noticed that when a General told a Sergeant what to do.
The Sergeant did it.
If the Sergeant started to question the General, the General would reply.
“That is an order!”
The General would not repeat the order; he would just confirm it was an order and not a suggestion.
Because Christians are family.
God is our Father and Jesus is our Brother.
We think that when God says something… it is a suggestion!
Something that we should thing about.
Non-Christians are even more relaxed.
They think the Gospel is optional.
But it is not optional.
It is a command from God himself.
The General of the Universe has commanded all people to repent and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
God commands the most powerful army in the Universe.
And when you became a Christian you joined God’s army.
Like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
Now you can understand why… when the centurion [soldier] spoke to Jesus in military terms…Jesus responded so favourably.
It was one military person speaking to another military person.
His name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him.
Jesus is the General in charge of heavens army.
No wonder he has authority.
One of the first things the people said about him was.
“His teaching comes with real authority, not like our normal preachers.”
You can see that the centurion was talking to a General.
Jesus and the centurion got along like a house on fire.
Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
Recognising authority brings you into a place of “Great Faith”.
Here is some really good news for all Christians.
When you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.
You recognised His authority.
You may not have known that you were doing that at the time of your salvation.
But now looking back, you realise the importance of your decision.
You not only became a son or daughter of God himself.
You not only became the brother or sister of Jesus.
You joined God’s army, you became a soldier.
You became someone who could agree with the centurion.
“I ALSO AM A PERSON UNDER AUTHORITY.”
That statement opens a door into healing and health.
When you acknowledge the authority of Jesus.
When you understand the difference between an order and a suggestion.
Then you are standing where the centurion was standing.
On the threshold of your miracle.
Because Jesus will say to you the same words he said to the centurion.
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
Remember…it’s an order.
The sickness has to obey the General.
The demon has to obey the General.
Jesus has commanded you to be healed.
He is not asking the sickness to go.
He is telling it to go!
When Moses got the call-up at the burning bush, he was commissioned by the highest authority…God himself.
The great “I AM” had spoken.
God not only told Moses to go in authority, God also gave him some powerful signs to perform in front of Pharaoh.
The problem was…Pharaoh didn’t recognise the authority that God had given Moses.
Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him and let Israel go?
I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
Pharaoh was a king on earth and he didn’t realise there was a king in heaven.
A king that Pharaoh needed to obey!
So God [the king in heaven] began to teach the king on earth a few lessons about recognising authority.
Eventually Pharaoh got the message.
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Get Up!
Leave my people, you and the Israelites!
Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.
Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go.
And also bless me.”
Pharaoh was now fully convinced that God was real and was manifesting his authority.
Notice the words, “And also bless me.”
Pharaoh asked Moses to bless him.
The book of Hebrews chapter 7 and verse 7 tells us that, “ The lesser is blessed by the greater.”
When Pharaoh bowed down to God’s authority he also acknowledged Moses’s authority.
Like Moses we have also had a burning bush experience [our salvation].
We have also been given authority [the name of Jesus].
And we have been given power [the Holy Spirit].
Remember that when Pharaoh did not recognise the authority on Moses.
Things actually got worse.
The people wanted Moses to stop doing what he was doing.
Moses went back to God and said, “My Master, why are you treating this people so badly? And why did you ever send me?
From the moment I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, things have only gotten worse for this people.
And rescue? Does this look like rescue to you?”
As soon as Moses started to use his new authority from God, things went backwards.
But God will not be mocked.
He will back up his authority with power.
The condition is…don’t draw back.
If at this point Moses had focused on what was going wrong he may have quit.
But God had done him a big favour.
He had given Moses a spiritual experience [the burning bush] as a reference point.
In the back of his mind Moses knew that he knew!
This man was called and equipped.
No doubt about it!
In the book of Acts, Paul’s salvation story is written 3 times.
Acts chapters 9,22,26.
Paul was happy to tell his salvation testimony to anyone that would listen.
When you refresh your memory by looking back to the day you were saved.
By default you are remembering the day God backed you up with his authority.
He gave you permission to use the name of Jesus.
Not as a lucky charm or positive confession.
But as a real handing over of kingly authority for you to use.
And when you use it, don’t be afraid when the enemy tries to ignore you.
The devil knows that you know…that he knows…that you know…the authority is real and must be obeyed.
If things get worse, just remember what happened to Moses.
Don’t believe what your circumstances are telling you.
The authority of your situation is a lesser authority than God’s authority.
The higher authority will always rule over the lower authority.
Your circumstances are like Pharaoh.
He was real…but he still bowed the knee.
He acknowledged that God was real.
Visible things have less authority than invisible things.
We think that because it is visible it carries more weight and can’t be argued with.
Germs are invisible and people still take them very seriously.
Let us look at how Moses balanced the visible and invisible realm.
By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger.
Moses persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
Moses saw him who is invisible.
He gave the invisible reality as much or more respect than the visible facts.
The invisible king has given you authority and his authority is greater than the authority of any visible thing or any visible person that is opposing you.
Anyone who has had a salvation experience has been given spiritual authority to rule in life.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
The invisible realm has the authority to change the visible facts.
There are four main characters in the Old Testament Book of Esther.
The king, who seems to have a softer side.
The new queen, her name is Esther.
Mordecai, who is Esther’s father by adoption.
Haman, who is the kings favourite…but he is also a dark prince.
Esther marries the king.
The king promotes Haman and commands everyone to bow down to him.
Mordecai refuses to bow when Haman passes by.
Now Haman hates Mordecai and plans to destroy him.
In the meantime Mordecai finds out about a plot to kill the king.
He tells Esther and she warns the king and gives Mordecai the credit.
The king’s life is saved, but Mordecai is not rewarded at that time.
Meanwhile behind the scene, Haman is preparing to ask the king for permission to kill Mordecai by hanging.
One night the king could not sleep so he called for the royal books.
While the books were being read to him, the story of Mordecai warning the king about the assassination attempt was read.
Then the king remembered that Mordecai saved his life.
And the king asked, “What honour and recognition have been given to Mordecai?”
“Nothing has been done for him, “said the officials.
Just at that moment Haman came into the room to ask the king for permission to kill Mordecai.
But before he could speak, the king told Haman to get a horse and a royal robe.
Then Haman had to parade Mordecai around the city with Mordecai sitting on the horse wearing a royal robe.
Haman went home with his head covered in shame.
Now that we have the story before us, let us make a few observations.
Please notice that Mordecai at one stage was walking around in credit with the king [for helping to save his life] and at the same time he was in debt to Haman [for refusing to bow down to him].
This shows that you can be in trouble with one person while at the very same moment you can be making another person happy.
Your boss may be unhappy with you while your wife is happy with you.
Your parents may be happy with you at the same time that your friend is unhappy with you.
The government may be unhappy with you while your neighbour is happy with you.
Mordecai was walking around in debt [with Haman] and in credit [with the king] at the same time.
The most important point I want to make is this.
If the person who is happy with you has a higher authority than the person who is unhappy with you…then you are going to be alright.
But if the person who is unhappy with you has a higher authority than the person who is happy with you then… you are in trouble.
In most legal systems the higher court has the ability to overturn the ruling of the lower court.
If you are proclaimed guilty in the lower court and then found not guilty by the higher court…then you are not guilty.
Because the higher authority… always rules over the lower authority.
When we read nice things about ourselves in the Bible, we sometimes forget that the person who is speaking to us is a king.
And not any king, Jesus is the King above all kings.
He said in Matthew 28:15,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
I am not going to quote all the scripture references.
But I am going to remind you of some very well-known biblical statements.
The Bible says you are:
If the Bible says it, then the authority is the highest.
Here are some actual situations that you may be in at the moment.
Your circumstances may be saying you are:
If your circumstances are saying these things, then they are being spoken by a lower authority.
Remember the king and Haman were in the same room discussing the same person [Mordecai].
The lower authority [Haman] wanted to kill Mordecai.
The higher authority [the king] wanted to honour Mordecai.
Mordecai was in debt and credit with two different people at the same time.
Now, whose authority won that discussion?
The higher authority of course!
So Mordecai was elevated instead of killed.
If God is saying that you are in credit with him.
Then His authority will over rule the authority of anyone and anything that is saying you are in debt.
If the King of all kings wants to honour you then every shame and disgrace will go from you to your enemies.
Like Haman… they will go home with their heads covered in grief.
The Bible says that you have been given a robe of righteousness.
You have been raised up and seated in heavenly places.
You look to him and are radiant; your face is never covered in shame.
The courts of Heaven have over ruled the court of public opinion!
You have been declared innocent by the Highest Court and therefore the highest authority in the universe.
The opinions of men have been cast down and you have been elevated.
All because you believed in Jesus.
You believed in a King…who happens to be the King above all kings.
Can God love you and be unhappy with you at the same time?
The answer is Yes!
How can this be you may ask?
First of all let us take the average un-saved person as an example.
God loves them and He showed His love by sending His Son to die for them.
Most of us would agree so far.
Now, imagine if this un-saved person hears the Gospel preached and then decides to reject God’s offer of salvation.
God still loves this person.
But God would not be happy with this person, because He would not be happy with their decision.
Do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation?
The Bible tells us not to ignore the salvation message.
How can God be happy when one of His lost children doesn’t respond to His salvation?
The good news is…when someone hears the Gospel preached and they choose to respond.
Now God is very happy with their decision!
‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God not only loves you, but He is also happy with you?
So many Christians feel that they have let God down.
They feel that they have not prayed enough.
Not given enough.
Not gone to church often enough.
They worry about bad habits and other forms of failure.
The solution to their problem is not to try harder.
They need to find a way out.
A different approach.
They need to change God’s attitude.
Hold on a minute, “How do you change God’s attitude?”
By changing your attitude!
“You may be wondering… what attitude?”
Don’t get mad with me, I’m just having a normal conversation with you!
Anyway…here is my humble opinion.
You need to get out of self-effort and cross over into His effort.
The story is not about you, it is about Him.
He became a man.
He died on a Cross.
He shed his blood.
He was punished in your place.
He became a curse so you could be blessed.
He became poor so that you might become rich.
He was raised from the dead.
He did a lot of things and in return He only asked you to do one thing.
“Believe in Jesus and accept Him as your Lord and Saviour.”
Now get ready for some very good news.
Most of you who are reading this are already Christians.
You are already saved; you didn’t ignore the message of the Cross.
You responded to God’s offer of salvation.
You have already stopped trusting in your own efforts.
You have crossed over into all the benefits of His effort.
You probably forgot that you already made this fantastic choice.
Silly you, fancy forgetting about something as important as your salvation decision.
It’s a nice feeling to know that God not only loves you.
But He is also happy with you.
So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have.
I think it is right to refresh your memory.
[2 Peter 1:12,13]
We struggle when people don’t believe in us.
We need emotional support.
And it needs to be unconditional…no strings attached.
Can you survive on your own?
So let us look at God’s design.
How has God designed His support system?
The foundation of a Christian’s relationship with God depends on the removal of all guilt and shame.
How are we going to deal with that guilt and shame?
First of all… by understanding what the end result of every negative thought is.
The end result of all [people projected] negativity is the feeling that you are a not good enough.
Let me say that again, “You are not good enough!”
People who are opposing you always use this argument.
They may not use the same words.
But behind their words and attitude lurks this dark statement.
“You are not good enough and you haven’t done enough.”
In fact Jesus used this statement himself to deal with the men who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery.
Here are the actual words he spoke.
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The men walked away after Jesus said these words.
These must have been powerful words.
These words caused an angry group of men to drop their stones and their anger.
Why didn’t these men argue back?
For one simple reason.
Jesus had just told them that,” They were not good enough.”
It is a powerful argument.
How can imperfect people argue that they are perfect?
Jesus didn’t use the exact words, but the meaning behind what he said was clear.
People who are opposing you, won’t tell you to your face that you are not good enough.
They won’t use the exact words but the meaning is still the same.
Here is how God comes in to rescue you from these paralysing words.
He has provided you with a statement of your own that you can use to refute all negativity and accusation.
When you are accused… just say the following.
“Yes, I am not good enough and I haven’t done enough.
But Jesus is good enough and He has done enough.
And when I believed in him my decision was good enough.
And because of that decision I have done enough!”
There you are a statement that you can always use to refute your accusers.
Watch them walk away and drop their stones as they go.
Happy hunting, now you have the power to drive out all accusation and condemnation.
God is able to speak to you and through you!
He is always looking for an upright person who values the sacrifice of his Son.
When we use that statement about Jesus being good enough we are honouring God himself.
We cannot make people believe in us, but we can stop them accusing us!
When we stop them accusing us…we find that our self-belief pops back up to the surface.
We are in faith again.
We in believing mode.
We are once again the strong Christian that we always wanted to be.
We are free…..!
Here is your statement of freedom, don’t forget to use it.
“Yes, I am not good enough and I haven’t done enough.
But Jesus is good enough and He has done enough.
And when I believed in Him my decision was good enough.
And because of that decision I have done enough!”
Is it just my imagination?
Or is the Gospel being preached by some famous preachers… a watered-down version?
Is it a Cross-less, Blood-less, Name-less version of the real Gospel?
The Gospel I read about in the New Testament mentions the Cross, the Blood and the name of Jesus.
It seems like a major portion of the famous and popular preachers are preaching a Gospel that depends on your speech patterns.
“If your speech is positive God will bless you,” they preach this every second Sunday!
Yes, I agree that our speech should be positive and uplifting, where possible.
But God blessing me does not depend on my everyday speech.
God blessed me because I made one speech once.
My salvation confession.
I know you are going to quote Luke 6:45.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
Yes, I agree with you, Jesus did tell us to watch our words.
But he is talking to people who are under the law.
He is talking to people who are under the Old Agreement.
A system that demanded you change your behaviour to get God’s blessing.
We live under the New Agreement.
Under the New Agreement we get blessed because of one thing we say once.
Romans chapter 10:9 tells us; If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Please take note of another instruction Jesus gave the people who were listening to him.
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
I know some people who live under constant guilt and condemnation because they have trouble controlling their tongue.
These people feel judged and condemned.
When they make a mistake with their speech they find it hard to forgive themselves.
They hear these preachers telling them that the secret to success is through the words we speak.
But this is something that the non-Christian motivational speakers have been telling us for years.
It is supposedly a scientific fact.
That doesn’t make it the most important thing in your life.
There are more important things than our speech.
The Blood of Jesus is more important than your speech pattern because only the Blood can cleanse your conscience.
The Name of Jesus is more important than your speech pattern, because it is the only name by which we can be saved.
The Cross is more important also, and what was said on the Cross is more important than your everyday speech.
On the Cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
A lifetime of good speech will not get you saved and a lifetime of bad speech will not get you unsaved.
It is one speech once.
Your salvation speech.
And it goes like this.
“I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour!”
At that moment you are, “Blessed with every spiritual blessing.”
And now you are going to tell me, “That it does matter how you behave after you are saved.”
My reply to that statement is, “Yes it matters, but not as much as getting saved matters!”
When you say those words of your salvation confession, you are transacting with God in a way that is more important than anything else that you will ever do in your life.
At that moment God blesses you in so many ways.
It was the day your eternal destiny was changed.
It was the day that your words were heard in Heaven and your name was written in the Book of Life.
Don’t you think the preachers should preach and teach a little more on these topics?
Or have we become a little too sensitive?
Are we worried that the world won’t come to church because the Cross, the Name and the Blood are mentioned?
Hey Christian preachers… where is your backbone?
As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
[Acts 22:25 ]
It was good that Paul knew what his legal rights were.
And it was good that he spoke up and defended himself.
From chapter 22 onwards until chapter 28 in the book of Acts Paul finds himself constantly being accused by the Jewish religious leaders.
He was imprisoned for over two years while his court case was in process.
In the end the secular Roman officials decided he had done nothing that deserved death or imprisonment.
“This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
King Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”
[Acts 26: 31,32]
The power of accusation is enormous.
Even if you are not convicted, your reputation can be damaged.
Your family can be put under stress.
Especially if you have children who are at school.
You may win your court case but your energy and finances may be depleted.
Your relationships can suffer as a result of the stress.
This is why we need to focus on the legal benefits of our salvation.
One of the legal things that changed when you were saved was your citizenship.
“But our citizenship is in heaven.”
I am reading a book about a man who is developing electric cars in America.
Elon Musk was born in South Africa, the son a Canadian-born mother and a South African father.
He moved to Canada after obtaining Canadian citizenship through his Canadian-born mother.
This man wanted to get to America because that was where the technology boom was happening in Silicon Valley, California.
His first step in his journey was to get Canadian citizenship and he was able to do this because he had a legal right.
His mother was Canadian born.
You and I became citizens of Heaven when we were born again.
This citizenship gives you some benefits that a non-Christian doesn’t have.
When a non-Christian is accused by their own inner thoughts, they don’t have any way to declare they are innocent.
There is a war going on in a non-Christians mind.
They can try and drown out those self-condemning thoughts by drugs or alcohol or some other addictive behaviour.
They can try to silence those negative thoughts by ambition and success.
By the intense activity that comes about when busy people get busy.
But we as Christians don’t have to resort to excessive behaviour.
Because we have peace with God and we have peace within our own minds.
When self-condemning thoughts come upon us we have the legal right to take advantage of being a heavenly citizen.
Only heavenly citizens have access to the benefits of the blood of Jesus.
Only heavenly citizens can get their conscience cleaned.
This means that you don’t have to walk around feeling guilty.
The blood of Jesus is available to you; it is your legal right.
Here is a scripture that explains why all the religious activity in the Old Testament did not clean their conscience from guilt.
The sacrifices under the old system were repeated again and again, but they could never save those who lived under their rules.
If they could have, the people would have been cleansed once for all and their feeling of guilt would be gone.
But just the opposite happened: those yearly sacrifices reminded them of their disobedience and guilt instead of relieving their minds.
For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
So much activity for so little result.
Only citizens of heaven have access to the substance of the blood of Jesus.
Only citizens of heaven can silence every guilty thought.
Hebrews chapter 10 and verses 19 to 22 invite us to come into God’s presence with boldness and confidence.
Here is the key statement that applies to every citizen of heaven.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience.”
Even your own negative thoughts are going to be silenced by the blood of Jesus.
Only a person with a clean conscience can enter God’s presence with confidence.
And that is your legal right.
All the trouble started when Satan convinced Eve with his tricky words.
To do something that was not logical but sounded like a good idea at the time.
Like a clever lawyer he argued his case until her defences were lowered and resistance evaporated.
Somehow Adam became involved and the rest is history.
Adam and Eve did not or could not refute Satan’s well-constructed argument.
Satan won the argument and the human race lost their place in the garden of Eden.
When you go to court and your lawyer loses the argument, you lose the case.
The judge will rule against you.
Our whole justice system is based on our lawyers winning or losing the argument in front of a judge and jury.
Job lost his family and his wealth and health because Satan argued that Job only served God because God had blessed him.
Today we have our own arguments.
We as Christians have to win the argument against doubt.
But we have advantages that Adam and Eve and Job did not have.
Their case rested on their behaviour but our case rests on the behaviour of Jesus.
So we are quite happy to agree with Satan when he says, “You are not good enough and you haven’t done enough!”
Yes, we can agree with that negative statement and then comeback with a winning statement of our own.
“We are not good enough and we haven’t done enough but Jesus is good enough and He has done more than enough.”
Then we go on to say; “When we believed in Him our decision was good enough. And when we believed in him we did all that was needed.”
In the end we shout!
“Our decision to believe in Him as our Lord and Saviour was good enough for God”
So… stop condemning yourself. Don’t do the devils work.
Start defending yourself against every accusation no matter where it is coming from.
Your decision to believe in Jesus fulfilled every requirement that God had for you to do.
As soon as you believed… God gloriously saved you.
He welcomed you into His family.
He washed you in the blood of Jesus.
He gave you the Holy Spirit who now lives in you.
He wrote your name in the Book of Life.
He delivered you from hell and welcomed you into heaven.
Sounds good enough to me!
Hey everyone, let’s look back to the day of our salvation instead of focusing on our faults and failures.
You got it right then and you are still right with God now.
And if you are right with God then things should go right for you.
“All things should be working together for your good.”
Don’t live in the realm where you expect Satan to attack you.
Expect him to flee from you because he has lost the argument.
Remember I am not arguing that you are good enough.
I am arguing that your salvation decision was good enough.
It doesn’t matter what you have done since then.
The blood of Jesus washes away the guilt from your conscience.
Deciding to believe in Jesus was the best decision you will ever make.
And it can’t be undone and no-one can deny that you did it.
Most of you will have heard the Old Testament story about snakes.
Moses was having a hard time leading a big crowd of whingers.
Boy, were they negative.
Nothing was ever good enough.
They had been in the desert too long and were worn out.
Like normal human beings they were having a moaning and groaning session.
They were complaining.
So God…being a loving father who doesn’t mind a bit of discipline now and then.
Decided to send some snakes.
To bite all the people that were complaining.
The snakes were poisonous and the people were dying.
So they cried out for help.
Moses went to God to ask for an answer.
God told him to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole so all the people could see it.
When the people were bitten by the snakes all they had to do was look at the bronze serpent and they were healed.
Pretty easy…just look and your problem was solved.
Just by looking…nothing else.
Preachers usually suggest that we look back to the Cross of Christ.
So that we also can be healed and forgiven.
If you are already saved you may a have a bit of difficulty with that suggestion.
First of all, we may not understand what the preacher really means by the term, “Looking back to the Cross.”
Secondly the Cross happened over 2000 years ago and Jesus is not on the Cross.
He is in Heaven.
My suggestion is to look back to the actual day that you encountered Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
That was the day of your salvation, that is when the benefits of the Cross manifested in your life.
It is easy to remember that day because it only happened in your lifetime, not 2000 years ago.
For some people they may not remember a day of salvation but they may remember being water baptised.
Moses got the people healed by getting their attention onto something in the distance.
He helped them to stop thinking about all the bad things that were happening to them.
And he did this by getting them to focus on the one thing and it was a good thing.
Like Jesus did when He told Martha that, “She was worried about many things, while Mary had chosen to focus on the one thing.”
God has designed salvation to happen in a moment of time.
At one point and only one point in your life did you get saved.
Look back and focus on that.
It will break the hold that your present problems have over your thinking, speaking and believing.
Change it all by changing your focus.
Look back to the day you met “the person” who died on the Cross for you.
Because on the day you met “Him” your life changed forever.
And it changed for the better whether it looks like it or not!
This truth is an anchor for your soul, firm and secure.
This hope that you have is safe, certain and fixed.
It is immovable!
Oh…safety at last.
“He delivered you from the slippery clay and put your feet on a rock.”
The logic behind the decision to put someone in prison or release a person from prison is universal.
If they are guilty they go to prison.
If they are innocent they are released from prison.
In the Book of Acts, Paul the apostle is put in prison on different occasions.
This happened because the local authorities were fairly convinced that he had broken the law of the land.
But when they realised he had not done anything illegal, he was released.
Today we have the science of D.N.A. evidence.
This is having a big influence in court cases around the world.
If scientific evidence can prove you guilty, you are going to prison.
For some lucky prisoners around the world, scientific evidence is proving them innocent.
These men or women were wrongly convicted and now they are being set free.
They have been treated badly by the legal system.
And now justice is being done in their situation.
Some of these people have been compensated financially for the time they have spent behind bars.
There was a documentary on television last night about a Chicago gangster from the 1920’s called Al Capone.
Everyone knew he was involved in criminal activity but the police could not get enough evidence to convict him.
In the end they called in the Federal authorities who charged him with tax evasion.
Apparently the court case was won on the basis of his spending habits.
He had not declared any income and had not filed any tax returns.
Yet, he had unexplained wealth.
We have laws here in Australia that can be used against people if they have spent large amounts of money with no explanation of how they got that money.
In modern day life guilty people are sent to prison and innocent people are set free.
Just like it was for Joseph in the Old Testament.
His boss’s wife accused him of trying to molest her.
His boss believed he was guilty and he was imprisoned for a crime he never committed.
All through the Book of Acts Paul declares his innocence.
Sometimes the authorities listened and other times they made excuses.
Most of us are not in trouble with the courts or the police.
We don’t have the public prosecutor accusing us.
We have a different problem.
Our own thoughts accuse us.
Yes, we condemn ourselves when we make a mistake.
And if that happens often enough we may even come to believe that our situation is God’s way of punishing us.
But that is not true!
God has declared us innocent.
Jesus has come to get us out of prison.
On the day of your salvation you were asked a question.
“Is Jesus Lord and has he been raised from the dead?”
And you got the answer right.
You said, “He is my Lord and Saviour.”
If you had rejected Him on that day!
Then you would have been guilty of making the biggest mistake of your life.
But you didn’t get the answer wrong, you got it right.
You made the best decision you will ever make.
It determined your eternal destiny.
You gave the perfect answer.
You weren’t punished you were rewarded.
You were set free from the prison of your sin.
Why are you acting like a prisoner?
You are saved.
You are free.
You are innocent.
Remember…innocent people get out of prison.
Any negative circumstances in your life are not from God.
The truth sets you free.
Start celebrating the day you were released from the prison of sin, guilt and shame.
You got the decision 100% right.
You are rewarded not condemned.
Don’t worry about all your mistakes…focus on the one thing you got right.
Not the many things you may have got wrong.
One thing right.
On the day it mattered the most.
You made the opposite of a mistake.
You chose well.
One of my old pastors said to us, “If God is backing your project it will succeed, but if not it will fail”
The church we were in was doing its yearly evaluation on “home groups”.
Which ones to keep going and which ones to close down?
The leadership decided to close the “home groups” that were not growing.
You can’t argue against that logic.
Of course something will succeed if God is in it.
But the question no-one could answer was, “How long do you wait before deciding whether God is behind your project or not?”
Some of the leaders of the home groups that were closed down became a little bit hesitant when they were offered new opportunities after seeing their previous home group fail.
They kept asking themselves, “Was God with their new idea or not?”
A new rule came into their thinking, “I must hear from God before I do anything new.”
That sounds like good advice if God does speak to you, but what about the times when He doesn’t?
If you think that success is the sign that you are in God’s will and failure is a sign of being out of God’s will, you will find it hard to believe for any project that is failing.
All the enemy has to do is cause enough problems and delays so that you come to the conclusion that God is not supporting your idea.
In the end you stop believing and your enthusiasm wanes.
You have handed the enemy a key that he should not have.
You have subcontracted out “who determines” what project or idea is going to succeed.
If you start thinking you are out of God’s will…you will begin to sink.
How to fix the problem?
First of all you have to realise that things grow when there is life around.
You have to remember that on the day of your salvation you were connected to the source of all life.
To God himself!
So you now have His life flowing through you.
Like a re-charged battery, but even better.
Because of your connection to the source of all life, anything that you do will work.
Like solar power…you are hooked up to the Sun of Righteousness!
God’s electricity is flowing to you and through you.
In fact it is flowing from within you by the Holy Spirit.
This is the question that you have been asking.
“Is God in the project, does He approve of the project?”
The better question to ask is.
“Was God involved in my salvation?”
“Does He approve of me?”
Now you have the basis to declare!
“God is behind the person, who is behind the project!”
“God approves of the person who approves of the project!”
It doesn’t matter whether God is in your project.
What matters is…God is in you!
The source of all life lives in you.
So everything you do should prosper and succeed.
Blessing that causes growth is your birthright.
When you water your garden, you will know without a doubt that the water causes good things [plants and flowers] to grow and at the same time the same water causes bad things [weeds] to grow.
Growth or non-growth by themselves are not proof of God’s approval.
They may indicate God is in what you are doing, but growth by itself is not 100% proof.
You can’t stop believing in something because it goes through a period of apparent failure.
The only thing that you know for certain in this life… is the fact that you are connected to God himself.
Therefore even the things that are not of God but just good idea’s will probably flourish initially.
And so they should… because the person who is initiating them is full of supernatural life and energy.
And that person is you.
Don’t worry about believing in the project.
Believe in the person who conceived the idea.
Believe in yourself!
Because you are his project.
We all have a special day we call “our birthday”.
If you make the day special, you make the person special.
Some people go to extra-ordinary effort to make the day unique.
Other days in our life are special for the wrong reasons.
Like the day some fathers find out that their un-married daughter is pregnant.
Or the day you got a bad report from the doctor.
The rest of your life can be affected by the events of one single day.
Australia has elections for our national government every three years.
Whatever side wins the election wins government.
The election result cannot be changed except in rare and unusual situations.
It doesn’t matter how low the popularity of the government goes, they are going to be in power for three years.
No-one can change that and the opposition party will accept the rules because when they win the election they don’t want to be kicked out early either.
In the book of Hebrews it says that God called another day, “Today”.
Designating it a day of rest.
In the book of John chapter 8 there is a story about a certain lady who was having a good day until she was caught in the act of adultery.
When she was dragged to the temple, she knew this was the day she was going to die by stoning.
A group of angry men wanted to kill her.
Their law demanded death by stoning.
These men were quoting what Moses had written down.
This law was immovable!
So what was Jesus going to do to rescue this woman?
He was only one man; he obviously wasn’t going to call on the angels.
He wasn’t going to strike these men with his “Godly” power.
Jesus rescued this woman by constructing a simple but clever argument.
He decided to raise the standards instead of lowering them.
He permitted the men to kill her except he added one small qualification.
They needed to be sin free, they needed to be perfect.
And none of them were.
Then they did the only thing left open to them, they walked away.
This lady had been saved from certain death by Jesus [the only perfect man].
This day was now a special day for this woman.
It was the day she met Jesus and it was the day that she stopped being condemned.
We also have a special day, it was the day we met Jesus.
It was the day we were saved from certain death.
It was the day we stopped being condemned.
What a special day!
No-one has God’s permission to accuse you, just tell your accusers, “the only people who can accuse me are perfect people.”
“So get on your way, you have no access into my life.”
That’s right; you stick up for yourself and argue your case just like Jesus did!
Remember he was the only person qualified to condemn you and he chose not to.
Look back to your special day of salvation because that is when the courts of heaven pronounced you guilt free.
Jesus stopped those men from throwing stones by a simple but clever argument.
Whatever is being thrown at you should stop right now because no-one qualifies.
And that includes your spiritual enemy.
Resist the devil with this simple argument and he will flee.
The devil tries to stone us by using sickness or other similar things to batter us.
Such as mental, financial and emotional problems.
He wants to bury us under a pile of trouble.
But just like those men, he is disqualified.
The main reason he is disqualified is because he helped organise the murder of the only sinless man that ever lived.
You can’t get more disqualified than that.
So goodbye Mr devil, start walking away now.
And take your problems with you!
He did one thing right and a lot of things wrong.
The thing he did right was a life and death decision.
That means it was the most important decision he would ever make.
His older brother argued about his behaviour.
His father argued about something more important.
“That he was dead as far as they were concerned and now he has turned up at the family home alive.”
His father put the emphasis on one thing [that the young son of his was alive] while the older brother wanted to put the spotlight on the terrible behaviour of his younger brother.
The younger son’s family could not celebrate his behaviour but they could celebrate him coming home.
His father told everyone to assist the younger son and he defended him against the accusations of the older brother.
Provision and protection were released upon the younger son because he got one thing right.
The stronger argument wins over the weaker argument.
And higher authority wins over lower authority.
The father’s decision carried more weight than the opinion of the older brother.
Before we were saved we were dead in our sins, but God gave us an opportunity to decide one way or the other.
We had to decide whether we would remain in our sin or leave it all behind and become alive to God.
GOD DOES NOT DECIDE FOR US!
He gives us the honor of making the right choice.
He gives us the responsibility.
We are the ones who will be rewarded or punished for our right or wrong choice.
Only after we decide does God swing into action.
Sometimes our thoughts act like the older brother.
Our own thoughts accuse us.
But they should now defend us because a higher authority than our thoughts has declared that we did the right thing.
And by doing that right thing we have been forgiven by the highest Judge in the universe.
Our own thoughts don’t have the authority to condemn us.
If God is defending us, who can condemn or accuse us?
Once the highest court decides a matter, it cannot be appealed.
If God has declared you are right in His eyes why would you be wrong in your own eyes?
God has allowed Jesus to be punished on your behalf, so that you don’t get punished for what you deserve.
You are never going to be punished for your mistakes by God.
If God is not going to punish you, why are your own thoughts arguing that you should be punished?
Even the mistakes that you make after you are saved will not be punished.
Because what God decided on the day of your salvation cannot be changed.
He decided to allow Jesus to be punished instead of you.
He cannot undo what He has done.
The prodigal son’s father commanded his servants to start helping his son by clothing him and feeding him.
The father blessed his son by telling the servants to do these practical things.
The younger son was blessed by the servants because they started to assist him.
When we are saved God blesses us with every spiritual blessing and at the same time He removes the curse.
How does the blessing work?
It works by influencing people and circumstances to co-operate together for our good!
Like the Bible says in Romans chapter 8.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Everyone that supported the younger brother would have been at the welcoming home party.
When the older brother did not support his younger brother, he stayed outside.
And that is what will happen to everyone who doesn’t support you and assist you.
They are the ones who will be left outside.
By blessing you God has commanded everyone to start helping you.
People cannot curse what God has blessed!
When they resist and oppose you they are behaving as a curse and not as a blessing.
The basis on which they are commanded to help you is because God has decided to help you.
Like the prodigal son’s father, God has richly blessed you for one reason only.
Like the prodigal son, you also were dead in your sins.
But now you are alive to God.
God blessed you because you made a great decision.
YOU DECIDED TO COME HOME!
“Dear friend, you are so upset over all these details!
There is really only one thing worth being concerned about.
Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!”
Are you a “many things” person or a “one thing” person?
The advantage of being a “one thing” person is.
Jesus will stick up for you.
The book of Romans chapter 8 verse 33 asks us a question.
It says, “Who will bring any charge against you?”
The answer in verse 34 is, “No-one!”
Chapter 8 goes on to explain why that is.
It says that if God says you are okay with Him…then what human, friend or foe can disagree with God’s decision to justify you and declare you clean and forgiven.
Anyone who is trying to condemn you is fighting against God.
In the book of Luke chapter 10 we see the story of Martha and Mary.
Martha is complaining to Jesus about Mary.
And the logic that Jesus uses is still applicable in our situation today.
Jesus said to Martha that if Mary has chosen to listen to him talk instead of doing the dishes…she has made a good choice.
All the hard workers who are reading this will probably be pulling their hair out because it looks and sounds like Jesus is encouraging laziness.
There are always two sides to every story.
Martha thought Jesus was encouraging Mary to be lazy.
Mary thought Jesus was rebuking Martha for being anxious.
Which is worse, laziness or anxiety?
The better question is.
Who should I serve?
Jesus or a worried and harassed bossy sister?
If you accept that Jesus is trying to make a point that goes far beyond household duties.
You will hear clearly that he has defended Mary!
Ladies and gentlemen, please allow the point Jesus is making to penetrate through the worries and pressures of life.
You may not be able to stop everything you are doing and sit down on the floor with your bible.
But you can take a moment and remember the first day you sat at the feet of your Lord and Saviour.
Sometimes it is a good idea to break the hypnotising effect of the thousand and one voices.
By excluding the thousand voices.
Then we are left with the one voice.
You remember the day you first heard his voice.
Yes, it was a special time for you.
And it was a very special time for him.
There is one thing that no-one can accuse you of!
They cannot accuse you of being an unsaved non-believer.
You know without a doubt that you are born-again.
Because the Holy Spirit witnesses with your spirit.
That you are a son or daughter of the living God.
Read Romans chapter 8, there is a lot of good news in that chapter.
When you read it, allow that still small voice to tell you.
“That everything will be okay.”
Still moving from church to church?
Can’t find what you are looking for?
You finally get settled and then your favourite pastor moves.
Are these situations similar to yours?
Most of my family have spent their formative years in the same church.
But things change and then the search is on!
Stability is good for you and good for your church.
So we all recommend stability where possible.
I have heard some speakers claim that in a country like Australia, less than 50% of “born-again” Christians attend church.
All I know is that my pastor and his wife tell us on a regular basis that God is pleased with us for supporting their church.
We are also told that we are blessed and will prosper because of our church attendance.
Now, I can’t prove them right or wrong and I am happy to accept their approval.
But I feel for the people who don’t go to church on a regular basis.
I know they feel bad about not attending church consistently.
Evangelists and pastors are funny to watch because their priorities are so different.
The evangelist comes to our church and all he cares about are salvations.
He counts the numbers and gets so excited when a lot of people get saved.
And so he should.
But poor old pastor is left to look after these people for years to come.
Yes, our pastor does celebrate, but his celebration is more subdued than the evangelists.
The whole life of the evangelist is about people getting saved.
He jumps about the stage and then catches a plane to the next meeting in another church.
He is interested in decisions and the pastor is interested in disciples.
Most Christians want to be good disciples of Christ.
Being saved… is over in a moment and then the real work begins.
Wait a minute, let’s think about this.
Why didn’t God make going to church a condition of your salvation?
Why didn’t He raise the standard and require at least… 5 years of church attendance?
And then make it even tougher by demanding you do “car park duty”.
And then make it even tougher and eliminate anyone who didn’t do all their duties with a good “attitude”.
And then penalise anyone who was late for Sunday service.
God didn’t make salvation conditional on your good behaviour because He had already tried that way of doing things in the Old Testament.
Here is what Peter said to the other leaders when they were discussing this same question.
“So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too?”
Evangelists are happy people because they only have one rule and this is it!
“Believe in Jesus.”
When someone believes, the evangelist celebrates; he doesn’t care about anything else.
Such a simple faith isn’t it?
It is wonderful when people faithfully serve their church in flawless dedication and we need them to do that so that the church grows and prospers.
But if I had to make a choice between someone getting saved and someone serving the church for their whole life I would choose someone getting saved.
Serving the church is important, but getting saved is more important.
What do you think?
Why does your church service determine the amount of blessing and prosperity in your life?
Aren’t we blessed because we are saved?
Shouldn’t we prosper because we are God’s children?
I thought the New Agreement was based on our decision to believe in Jesus.
I thought the Old Agreement was based on our behaviour.
Aren’t we blessed because we believed once?
I am not blessed because I serve the church.
By serving the church I am a blessing.
Because I was blessed on the day of my salvation I was then able to be a blessing to the church.
If you get that the right way round you will be as happy as an evangelist.
Let’s celebrate our salvation experience.
Because that special day enabled you to do all the special things you have done since then.
We your fellow church members appreciate your faithful service.
But we appreciate even more the decision you made on that special day when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour!
Please enjoy extra 2 chapters.
Do you want to rely on your own ability?
It was beyond your ability to be saved.
God came down and provided everything you needed to be saved.
He provided a perfect sacrifice.
He organised the legal framework for the Cross to work.
A legal way out of your sins.
He sent the Holy Spirit to live in you.
He moved men to write the Holy Scriptures.
And He did a thousand other things that prepared you for the day of your salvation.
He made sure you were in the right place at the right time with the right people.
It was a day that was beyond your ability and therefore depended on God’s unlimited ability.
Why do we start our Christian life so well and then over time drop back into the old habit of depending on our own ability.
Some people will answer with the famous expression.
“God helps those who help themselves!”
Well why didn’t these people get themselves saved?
Why do we start out so helpless and then go back to relying on our abilities.
I am not saying we should not use our abilities, I am saying that we should not rely on them.
There is a big difference.
We trust in God we don’t trust in ourselves.
In the second book of Corinthians chapter 8 we read about a church that was performing…”Beyond their ability.”
This means they were operating in a spiritual realm that was God-enabled.
Yes, they were naturally good at what they were doing, but they didn’t stop there.
They used their natural gifts as a floor and then reached for a higher level of achievement.
Something that was beyond their normal talent.
This happened because God was helping them.
I agree that God does help people [who help themselves] who do the right thing.
But my big difference is…I believe God helps you because you got one thing right not many things right.
You can choose to live your Christian life by your own good choices [plural].
Or you can choose to live your Christian life by your one good choice [single].
Paul the apostle argues in Galatians chapter 3 that the law is a way of life that you have to constantly keep by self-effort.
He goes on to tell his readers about the time they believed in Jesus.
He said, “Did God give you His Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you believed or because you kept the law?”
These people that Paul was writing to were being told by other teachers that they had to believe in Jesus and keep the law to be really saved.
And Paul absolutely disagreed!
He said in Galatians chapter 5 that if you relied on your own efforts you would experience a loss of grace.
In other words he was saying that their Christian walk was going to get harder and harder because everything they achieved was now going to be by self-effort.
Paul said again and again, “Why start out in the Spirit and then end up trying in your own strength?”
If you started your Christian life relying on God’s ability why would you then change over into the philosophy of the world?
“God helps those who help themselves,” is not a Christian way of thinking.
It is the heathen’s way of thinking.
It just sounds like something a Christian would say.
Non-Christians love self-effort.
So they can boast in what they have and what they do.
But we boast in God.
By the way, please give yourself a pat on the back for saying “YES” to God on the day of your salvation.
That is when you really did help yourself.
On the basis of that good decision God is going to help you for the rest of your life.
You crossed over into His unlimited Grace.
I wanted to leave you with these words fresh in your mind.
To help activate your faith for something exciting to happen Today.
To help you cross over into a real expectation for a change in your life to take place!
And for that change to happen Today!
What if I told you the wait was over.
Would you believe me?
The village of Nazareth had been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds of years.
Like all the other towns in Israel.
The difference between this town and all the other towns.
Was that the Messiah had been living in their town for nearly thirty years.
Who would have guessed?
Let us look at what happened when Jesus fully revealed himself to his hometown.
When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on Saturday, and stood up to read the Scriptures.
The book of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him.
He opened the Scriptures to Isaiah chapter 61.
He read a few verses.
Then he closed the book and handed it back to the attendant.
Then he sat down.
So far everything had gone well.
His visit was a success.
The verses he had read from the book of Isaiah were everyone’s favourite passage.
These verses had been read by lots of different people for hundreds of years.
But then Jesus decides to say one more sentence.
Then he added, “These Scriptures came true today!”
Why did he have to say that?
Couldn’t he have left them wondering who he really was?
Now they were in no doubt about who… he was claiming to be.
“How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Jesus didn’t leave it there.
Oh no, he was going to speak his mind.
Then he said, “Probably you will quote me that proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself’—meaning, ‘Why don’t you do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum?
Jesus kept talking until these people couldn’t stand it any longer!
He got them so angry…they tried to kill him.
These remarks stung them to fury; and jumping up, they mobbed him and took him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built, to push him over the cliff.
Then Jesus just walked away.
What a cool character.
Did you notice what happens when you say?
“These Scriptures came true today!”
It caused a whole heap of trouble.
Sometimes people get so used to waiting.
They wait and wait and wait.
Other people see them waiting and decide to make them comfortable in their waiting.
We design “waiting prayers”.
We design “waiting explanations”.
We tell them a testimony about a close friend or relative who had to wait for years for the answer to their prayers.
It’s nice to know that you are not the only one waiting.
If you see two bus stops and only one of them has people waiting, you would line up behind everyone else at the busy bus stop.
You wouldn’t line up at the empty bus stop.
You would presume that the bus isn’t going to stop there.
You would presume that the bus will stop where the people are.
But what if the other bus stop is empty because the buses are coming and going?
What if the people are all lined up at this bus stop because their bus hasn’t turned up?
It’s the same when you turn up at the airport.
You don’t want to join the longest queue.
You look around for the shortest queue.
Because it indicates that this airline’s planes are flying on time.
Jesus left Nazareth and went back to Capernaum.
Then he returned to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and preached there in the synagogue every Saturday.
Jesus made a choice.
He chose to minister at Capernaum instead of his hometown.
He told his hometown that the promises in the scriptures he read were for now and not for later.
It can be a shock to find out that the thing or person you were waiting for had been in town for thirty years.
Hiding right under your nose.
The people of Nazareth were offended.
A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city.
They felt insulted.
They believed Jesus had spoken to them with disrespect.
He was a young man who had a big opinion of himself.
Surely the town leaders knew more about the scriptures than this young man did.
These people could not get their heads around the fact that God had hidden the Messiah among them.
The sad thing is…that God had actually treated them with respect by choosing their village over all the other towns and villages in Israel.
Nazareth had been given an honour and privilege beyond its economic or historical importance.
We have to choose which town we want to belong to.
Are we like Capernaum or are we like Nazareth?
Do we believe for God to answer our prayer today [present]?
Or tomorrow [future]?
Maybe we have been in the waiting room long enough!
Here are the verses Jesus read from Luke 4:18,19
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Maybe God is saying to someone….“These Scriptures came true today!”
This story is about Jesus.
About his visit to the people he loved.
When Jesus first came to visit us, we welcomed him with open arms.
We asked him to come into our lives.
We asked him to live in us by the Holy Spirit.
Think about this.
Is it possible that Jesus gave you all that you needed for then and for now… on the day of your salvation?
Is it possible that the needs you have in this present time were provided way back at the time of your salvation?
The people of Nazareth had no idea that their Messiah was already living among them.
So they didn’t like being told that this was correct.
They didn’t like being told that they were a bit slow to catch on!
I am going to use just one scripture to illustrate my point.
Here is the scripture.
Since he did not spare even his own Son for us but gave him up for us all, won’t he also surely give us everything else?
This verse tells us that when you get Jesus you get everything.
And dear folks…if we have already received Jesus doesn’t that indicate that we may have already been given everything?
The problem could be that it is hidden right under our nose.
If we dig around a little bit we may find more than we expected!
Just because we can’t see something does not prove it isn’t there.
It may be in a form that is invisible to our natural senses.
Like fishing…the fish are there whether you can see them or not.
Germs are there whether you can see them or not.
Our healing or financial miracle may be invisible at the moment.
But that does not mean it doesn’t exist.
The Messiah was hidden from the people of Nazareth, because he was in a form that they weren’t expecting.
He didn’t look like a Messiah when he was growing up.
Only when he was fully grown did he fully manifest.
Believe your miracle is planted within you.
Believe for your miracle to manifest from the invisible realm to the visible realm.
Expect to see it!
Written by Tony Egar.