13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (Eph 6:13-14 KJV)
We need shield of righteousness to withstand the evil day. Do not let your heart be troubled, but embrace that day with confidence. Look at that terrible day not with trouble. The Lord gives you righteousness, the first things that allows you to withstand that day.
Righteousness is a quality and a state of being righteous and just, doing the right things with correct motive.
How do we get that righteousness? The answer is not to try harder.
3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Rom 10:2-3 KJV)
The best things you can do is to submit yourself to the righteousness of God. All you need to do is to believe in the lord Jesus and receive His righteousness in your life. About Abraham it says,
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Rom 4:21-22 KJV)
By faith in His righteousness He justifies us and makes us righteous.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (Gal 5:5 KJV)
Pharisees were righteous in their own eyes. Our righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Mat 7:21-23 KJV)
They were doing their own thing.
Ezekiel 33. If the righteous sins, his righteousness won’t be remembered.
The righteousness of God will deliver you in the evil day.
The passage in Ezekiel 14:12-20 started me on that topic. The good news in in verses 22-23,
22 Yet, behold, therein shall be left a remnant that shall be brought forth, both sons and daughters: behold, they shall come forth unto you, and ye shall see their way and their doings: and ye shall be comforted concerning the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, even concerning all that I have brought upon it.
23 And they shall comfort you, when ye see their ways and their doings: and ye shall know that I have not done without cause all that I have done in it, saith the Lord GOD. (Eze 14:22-1 KJV)
The idea is to bring forth the remnant, and we will see it was not in vain what God was doing.
We need to have righteousness to be a part of that remnant.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Heb 11:7 KJV)
Vernon Stoltzfoos, evangelist
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If we understand what Heavenly Father has for us, we would not have to go through the half what we go through. It is because we are ignorant in the area we have to be educated in.
“13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” (Mat 16:13-15 KJV)
It does not matter what other people think of the Lord, it is what you think of Him. A person once told, that power to bind and loose was given only to Peter. Let’s check in the Bible. “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). Who is the “ye” – Peter? People sometimes take part of the Bible and become confused.
Binding and loosing was done by words. It is not a minor, it is a major operation. It is God given. Casting all cares upon the Lord has to do with loosing. We don’t go by feeling, but by the fact of the Word of God.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
Until I made a study on Binding and Loosing, I didn’t realize how powerful this subject could be when used in connection with speaking the blood. Almost every verse in the Bible can be associated with binding and loosing. Some are more obvious than others. Jesus told the disciples to go into the city and they would find a colt tied. He said, “loose him and bring him to me” (Mark 11:2). Under the circumstances, Jesus could not use the colt until His disciples loosed him. Before Jesus raised Lazarus, He instructed those with Him: “take ye away the stone” (John 11:39). In other words, “Loose the stone.” After He raised Lazarus from the dead, He said, “Loose him [Lazarus] and let him go” (verse 44). The Lord uses us to bind and to loose. Jesus didn’t say binding and loosing is one of the keys to the Kingdom, He said they ARE the keys. This became more clear to me when I was staying in a hotel room not far from where I was on a preaching assignment. I had just unlocked the door and walked inside when the Lord spoke to me. “The keys you are holding to this hotel room give you the authority to bind and loose, to lock and unlock these doors, although you do not own this hotel. I have given the keys to the Kingdom to My children to bind and loose as needed.” Then He added, “Go, teach My faithful children that I have given them authority to use the keys to the Kingdom to bind and to loose as needed.” Without an understanding of the power of speaking the blood in connection with binding and loosing, we would not be as successful as the Lord would want us to be. We first of all have to understand what we have the authority to bind and loose. Jesus used the word “whatsoever.”
Binding Ourselves to the Word
The Lord began to teach me the importance of binding myself to the Word of God. At first, I questioned if this was scriptural because it was all new to me. I discovered in Proverbs 6:20-22 that we are instructed to bind the commandments continually upon our hearts: “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.” He said, “tie them about thy neck.“ This means to bind them to your neck. The Lord spoke of the children of Israel on a number of occasions as being stiffnecked. This symbol of tying them about your neck would eliminate the “sin-drome” of becoming stiffnecked. You will notice Proverbs 3:3 emphasizes the same teaching: “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.”Also in Proverbs 7:1-3 we read, “My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, [something to seize with]write them upon the table of thine heart.” God wanted to make sure His children would always obey His Word and do all that He commanded.
In the New Testament, Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). We can’t keep the commandments unless we are bound to them. By binding the Word upon us, we become so attached to the Word of God that we will speak the Word and do according to all that is written in the Word. When we are bound to the Word, we are bound to truth, and we are bound to God. God and His Word cannot be separated. In Deuteronomy 11:18-20, the children of Israel were instructed to bind His book of the Law upon them: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates.” They were to have God’s Word become a daily part of them.
When we bind the Word of God upon us, we are binding ourselves to the blood covenant that Jesus bought for us on Calvary. When we bind ourselves to the Word of God and the blood covenant, it has an effect on the whole family, just as it did in the Old Testament…
Loosing the Bands of Wickedness
Now, let’s turn our attention to loosing the bands of wickedness as recorded in Isaiah 58:6: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” If we could not have the power within us to loose the bands of wickedness, the Lord would never have commanded us to do so, would He? Can we completely control all the wickedness in the world by loosing the bands of wickedness? Certainly not. We cannot control the world, but we can hinder the works of wickedness when we take the time to fast and intercede and then take the keys of binding and loosing and do the job God has called us to do.
All across the world, people are being controlled by wickedness. The uncontrollable evil of this generation is ripping through our land like a mighty tornado, destroying everyone in its path. It is time for the blood-washed, blood-bought saints of God to arise and let the devil and his hosts know that through the power of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will start loosing the bands of wickedness. We will undo those heavy burdens cast upon God’s people. We will let the oppressed go free. We will break every yoke, not by our power or our might, but by the mighty spirit of the living God. We have had some astounding things happen through the power of speaking the blood. One of the ways we can break these bands off and do the work outlined in Isaiah 58 is by making statements similar to this, “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the blood of the Lamb and by the mind, body and Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ that I am a part of, I loose myself and my family from the evil influence of this nation. I loose the burdens from off the people of this nation according to the authority given to me in Isaiah 58:6.” This needs to be done in faith, knowing that you have the authority to do so because you are protected by the blood and are a part of the blood covenant. It must be understood that we cannot control the whole world, nor change nations on our authority. We can only hinder the work of evil. Although we have the responsibility and duty through the Lord Jesus Christ to bind and loose, it is the Lord that does the work. We are only instruments in the work…
Can We Bind the Devil?
For years, I have heard Christians trying to bind the devil with little or no success. Yet, for some reason, they felt they were keeping him bound. I have even heard little children say, “I bind you devil.” The more I was around the devil-binding crowd, the more I noticed they were getting deeper into trouble and often ended up calling me for counseling.
Years ago, I heard a well-known teacher teaching on the subject of binding the strong man, whom he said was the devil. He explained how to bind him in the name of Jesus. He used such Scriptures as Matthew 12:29: “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house,” and Mark 3:27: “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” His message was quite convincing and appeared to be backed by the Scriptures. The only problem was I was unable to see the necessary results that one would expect in binding the devil. He seemed to be as free in his operation as he was before he was supposed to be bound. I need to be more bold, I thought, Maybe this will help.
Soon after that, I had an unusual experience while I was endeavoring to bind the power of the devil as this teacher taught. I was speaking boldly, “I bind you devil in the name of Jesus,” when the Lord spoke to me.
“What are you binding the devil with?” He asked.
I was startled and didn’t know what to say. Finally I answered, “I am binding him in the name of Jesus.”
“No,” He answered, “You can cast out demons in the name of Jesus, but you can’t bind the devil in the name of Jesus.”
“Well then,” I said, “I guess I must bind him with the blood of Jesus.”
“You can’t bind him with the blood either,” the Lord replied. “You overcome the devil by the blood, but you can’t bind him with the blood.” Then He began to reveal something to me that changed my life. He said, “You cannot bind the devil. All you can do is hinder, restrain or resist his operation by using the Word of God like Jesus did in the wilderness. Satan cannot be bound until the angel is given the authority to bind him (as recorded in Revelation 20:1-3), because his time has not come to be bound.”
If you think about it, what would be the purpose of trying to bind a devil that Jesus has already defeated when he can be resisted? The Bible says, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). According to Hebrews 2:14 and I John 3:8, Jesus destroyed the works of the devil. Then in Colossians 2:15, we are told Jesus spoiled all the powers that come against us: “Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”If we study these two words, “destroyed”and “spoiled,”we find that Jesus abolished the works of the devil. He caused his operation to be hindered. He disarmed him. He brought his kingdom to ruin. He caused his kingdom to fail. He brought his powers to naught and made void the works of the devil. Only in the lives of those who are cleansed by the blood, redeemed by the blood and protected by the blood is the devil defeated and weakened, because he has one hundred percent power in the world. When we are engaged in slander, talebearing, strife, rebellion and division, we step out from under the blood protection and the devil is no longer a powerless force. The world does not have a defeated devil, but one who is able to kill, steal and destroy.
A moral imperative in society implies that its citizens are truthful and honest. This article focuses on universality of truth as found in the Bible. Early Christians were effective because of truth and love from above and in themselves. Developing individual integrity in agreement with the Creator is essential condition to provide the people with a moral imperative, power and prosperity.
1 The Problem: With all the disputes between church organizations, how can religions provide a moral imperative for a developing society?
2 To my knowledge current research has not attempted to analyze this issue.
3 Goal of this paper: to show religion a way to provide a moral imperative.
This subject is so broad, I will attempt to focus our minds on the real issues as I see them.
First, our biggest obstacle is reaching an understanding of “Truth”. Philosophers argue from many directions about truth. We need to identify truth outside ourselves in order to make sense of the real questions we face. Those questions are: 1) who am I? 2) where did I come from? 3) where am I headed? and 4) what can I do about it? For more on this see the book Can Man Live Without God by Ravi Zacharias .
In my study, I have found reliable, verifiable answers to those real questions of life in the Bible. I have found no other source that even comes close to answering the fundamental questions of life much less giving real guidance on what you and I should do. Without a clear reliable basis for “truth” there is no basis for developing any society or social group that will last.
The Bible makes claims of truth that are reasonable and reliable both internally and existentially. History supports the power of the Bible in the early Christians as well as in the time of kings David and Solomon. I have experienced the power of God in my own life. I have received divine healing as well as direct instruction by the Holy Spirit.
The unstable behavior of many professing “Christians” leads some to discount Jesus Christ as a viable source of truth and power to live. “What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness?” (NIV Romans 3:3).
Positive results in my life and in other believers brings courage to all who see the Bible in action. Just a short time ago we saw God of Heaven heal 4th stage cancer, deafness and an ovarian cyst in people in Ukraine.
Doubters merely show us how humans are willing to distort truth and to seek rule over others. However, truth can be demonstrated empirically and observed logically. Truth is a fact or reality outside of ourselves and above ourselves. Here is Webster’s dictionary definition of truth:
(1) the state of being the case: FACT
(2) the body of real things, events, and facts: ACTUALITY
(3) a) transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality,
b) a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true,
c) the body of true statements and propositions.
Currently our societies are being destroyed by people who believe it is to their advantage to function in a dishonest way. They do not trust others yet they expect others to trust them. Do you see a problem in such thinking?
As we seek to see our society transformed for the better, we must recognize that we need a truthful authority to follow. I grew up in a Christian denomination. It gave a sense of belonging and authority to my life. Later in life, I realized that my denomination wasn’t what it claimed any more. This led to much heart searching. I allowed my Heavenly Father to teach me by His Word and He has led me to this time.
When religious institutions follow atheistic human ways of doing things they become merely human institutions with all the weaknesses of human diversity and evil. Then they are no longer a source of moral imperatives and cannot effectively transform society to a better condition.
My proposals may sound like parts of things you have heard from many sources. The truth often seems stranger than fiction because fiction is designed to be plausible.
People are often deceived when they face very large obstacles. History is littered with semi-gods such as Hitler and Stalin. The religious leaders discovered only in retrospect that Hitler was different than they thought. Why did these people fail to see the problem? That is the focus of this paper.
Some months after the Orange Revolution my father-in-law asked, “What to you think of it?” I said I was glad the people were taking more responsibility. Then I warned him against copying the American way of government because it would not work in Ukraine. Ukraine has a different history. It needs to find solutions that acknowledge their history and look for better ways to do things.
The Bible tells that God confused the languages to keep the people from uniting for an evil purpose. Today people are trying to create a “one world government” or “new world order”. It is doomed to failure, because they do not have a common language or common understanding. The current wars between peoples of different religions demonstrate the hopelessness of man-made solutions. We need divine intervention to have effective social integration.
Would you go to a doctor for help if you knew he had only treated six patients in his life and only one of them showed signs of improvement? Obviously not. That famous doctor was Sigmund Freud. Yet millions are trying to use psychoanalysis or its derivations for a solution to their mental problems.
Jesus healed everyone who came to Him.
Modern medicine has failed miserably to heal at least one disease or to heal even one patient. Modern psychiatry is even less able to solve people’s problems because it is based on atheistic position.
I wondered much about these things before I spent years in Bible study and meditation. Today I am full of hope because I have seen and received the power of God in my own life.
The reason early Christian believers were so effective, was not their organizations or their superb intellectual skills. It was their love for others. “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (KJV Acts 4:13). The disciples’ love surpassed the worldly love because they were led by God.
Being led means submitting to the leader. This sounds radical, but it works. The most powerful and effective armies are armies that follow their leaders. When those leaders become suspect, they lose their credibility and followers.
Moral imperative is found in developing complete honesty in each individual. I use an English word integrity to describe honesty that permeates every part of a person. When honesty/integrity is missing in one area of your life you will have moral and intellectual dissonance. Dissonance, if not resolved, leads to mental disturbance.
When Greeks developed Democracy, they assumed that the citizens had integrity. Democracy works only if the majority has integrity. History shows democracy to be a failure in most cases. Other man-made ideas of government fail because of lack of honesty in people.
Integrity is more than just telling the truth. It means at your most basic level you are totally honest with yourself and others. If I conceal what I really want or mean, I am not honest.
In order to arrive to the level of honesty the Creator wants in us, we need to repent of wrongs and let Him change us. Recently a lady came to a meeting in Ukraine and asked for help. She was afraid of her grown son. He would come home drunk and beat her. She admitted her complaining to him had not brought any change in him. My associate instructed her to repent of her harshness to her son and to ask him for forgiveness. She walked home praying her confession to God. She was amazed to find her son home and totally sober. When she apologized to him he broke down crying. Their family is now restored by the power of God of Israel.
At all levels, if we want to see society develop in a healthy way, we must find ways to develop personal integrity.
The night the children of Israel left Egypt out of the land of bondage and slavery, God gave them some specific directions to follow. They were to kill a lamb, apply the blood to the doors, roast its flesh, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. God told them how, when, and where to apply the blood of the sacrificial lamb. God’s instructions were, “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat itAnd they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it”(Exodus 12:7-8).
They were also informed, “…none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning” (Exodus 12:22). If they had gone out of the house when the destroyer came through, they would not have been protected by the blood. They knew the life of a family member was in danger if they didn’t do according to ALL the Lord commanded. The blood was their protection from the destroyer that was to pass through that night and destroy the firstborn. In verse 13, the Lord said, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” Notice, when the blood was applied correctly, the people were safe from the destroyer.
The Lord called this night, “the LORD’S Passover” (Exodus 12:11), when they were to come out of the land of Egypt and from the house of bondage.
The Old Testament saints had a tangible lamb and blood. God has given us the bread and wine as a symbol of the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ when we partake of communion. In the New Testament, the Lord refers to the commemoration of communion as “Christ our Passover” (I Corinthians 5:7). As the children of Israel were given instructions concerning how to prepare the Passover, God has also given us some specific instructions to examine ourselves in preparation for this very important Passover ordinance. We are to make certain our lives are in agreement with God’s Word and that we have peace with God and man before partaking of communion (Passover): “…let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (I Corinthians 11:28). The Bible plainly tells us that it is not our responsibility to judge our fellowmen, but to judge ourselves: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (I Corinthians 11:31).
Preparing for the Passover
Now let’s look at I Corinthians 11:27: “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” This word “unworthily” means “to be irreverent” or “not worthy” to take communion under the present conditions. We may ask the question, “What makes us unworthy?” In the earlier part of I Corinthians 11, Paul informed the people that there were divisions, heresies, and, in some cases, drunkenness among them which had brought them to a dangerous position. Some sins may seem small, but they could disqualify us to take communion. Habitual strife, envy, contention, slander, talebearing, lying, division, unforgiveness, disobedience or hypocrisy could cause us to be unworthy. It is important that we judge ourselves honestly and repent of any sin and renounce it. Just to say “I was wrong” or “I’m sorry” is like trying to wash a dirt floor with a wet mop. We must renounce and forsake sin.
The Consequences of Taking Communion Unworthily
As the Israelites were aware that they were not safe from the destroyer if they disobeyed God’s instructions, it is just as important for us to partake of the communion service reverently and in godly fear, or we will not be protected from the destroyer. Perhaps many Christians do not realize what could happen to them if they take communion in a state of unworthiness. The last part of I Corinthians 11:27 says, “…[he] shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Then verses 29 and 30 read,“For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” Let’s analyze the words “damnation,” “weak,” “sickly,” and “sleep.” The word “damnation” means “being sentenced, judged, or damned.” “Weak” means “to be impotent, feeble, or weak.” “Sickly” means “to be infirmed or sick.” And the word “sleep” means “to be dead or deceased.”
Taking communion unworthily could cause a person to experience one or more of the following:
1. They will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
2. They will be condemned.
3. They may become weak.
4. They may become sickly.
5. They could die prematurely.
It is doubtful if the Corinthians who were sick, weak or dying were aware that their problem could be traced back to the communion table. Maybe they didn’t know why so many of them were sick or dying.
In my travels across nations of the world over the years preaching the Gospel, training church leaders, speaking in conferences and conventions and holding healing crusades, I often pray for people who have been suffering guilt and condemnation in their lives for no apparent reason. Some of these people are suffering guilt and condemnation because they have taken communion unworthily. They may not even be aware that they have done this. Someone asked me, “If you took communion ignorantly and were not aware of the danger involved, wouldn’t God overlook that?” The answer to that question is found in Acts 17:30: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” The word “winked” in this verse means “to overlook” or “not punish,” but the Lord said clearly that He commands all men in the New Testament dispensation to repent of any wrongdoing or to suffer chastisement (disciplinary correction) from His hand. “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Corinthians 11:32). Why would God be so harsh with people who partake of His communion service unworthily? I believe the answer is found in the fact that the body and blood of Christ are spiritual, sacred and precious. Because of this, we must partake of His body and blood reverently and in godly fear. The Lord brings chastisement upon us by means of correction that we should not be condemned with the world.
To eat unleavened bread and to drink grape juice is not dangerous in itself, when taken in the natural. Communion is not a natural ordinance, but a spiritual ordinance. When we take communion, we are commemorating the broken body and the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ who is our Passover. There is great power in the body and blood of Jesus, and I believe that we have yet to learn the true value of them.
I believe there is deliverance and pardon for those who may have taken communion in a state of unworthiness. I’m not suggesting that everyone has taken communion with the wrong motive or with sin in their life, nor am I suggesting that you, the reader, take a guilt trip if you may have taken communion unworthily. Certainly not all weakness, sickness or death comes because of misuse of communion or because of sin. If there is a question, however, I believe it would be wise to examine ourselves to see if somewhere along the way we may have taken communion unworthily. If so, thank God, there is a way to be restored.
I want you to be prepared to turn to a whole bunch of scripture. I’ve been looking at this subject of the kingdom of heaven. I want to look at a whole bunch of verses that have to do with the kingdom of heaven. The title of my message this morning is “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
In Matthew 3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
This is a very interesting verse to me because it really it is the beginning of the New Testament. And many of you know that the OT the last prophet was the prophet Malachi. He brought a message to the backslidden nation of Israel. He was calling for repentance for things that were creeping into the nation of Israel. After the Prophet Malachi spoke the windows of heaven were shut. The prophetic voice of God was silenced for a period of 400 years.
For you that don’t understand how long 400 years is, it is longer than America has been a nation. That’s how long God didn’t speak through the prophetic voice to the nation of Israel.
you get to the book of Matthew and all of a sudden a prophet rises up by the name of John the Baptist. The anointing of a prophet was upon him. The first words he had to say to the nation of Israel in verse 2:
KJV Matthew 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What did John the Baptist mean by this? What did he mean by “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”? And, what does repentance have to do with the Kingdom of Heaven?
Well, if you have your Bibles, go with me over to chapter 4. In this chapter Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil. As He comes out of that temptation victorious the Bible tells us that the power of the Spirit was upon Him (in Luke) and this was the official start of Jesus’ ministry.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What does it mean by this statement that the kingdom of heaven is at hand?
Why do we have to repent? What’s that have to do with it? Where is this kingdom of heaven?
There are also references to the kingdom of God.
KJV Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
What is He teaching? Preaching the gospel of the kingdom. What are the results of the gospel of the kingdom?
Healing of the sick, all manners of diseases being healed. They are bringing sick people to him in verse 24 that were taken with diverse diseases, that were tormented, possessed of the devil. Those who were lunatics and those that palsy and those that needed healing. And He healed them. Brothers and sisters, you need to know something this morning. Healing is a part of the New Covenant message. It’s a part of the gospel of the kingdom. If you’ve got churches claiming to proclaim the Gospel and healing is not manifesting itself there, they are preaching another gospel. It’s that simple. Part of the Gospel of the Kingdom is the healing power of God. If that’s not in your gospel, you don’t have the Gospel of the Kingdom. It’s that serious.
Now Brothers and sisters the only way into this kingdom is the way John the Baptist spoke about, the way of repentance. The only way into this Kingdom is the way Jesus spoke about. It’s the way of repentance.
Now, this kingdom of heaven manifesting itself in Jesus life is this way. Let’s see what He says about it in the next chapter. Matthew 5:3. He began to talk about the qualifications of the Kingdom and he said:
If we want God’s favor, we need to understand He wants us to be blessed. We need to know what it takes to be blessed.
1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)
Everywhere I go I hear the word “lack”. What causes these blessings to be stolen?
The first way to receive blessing is honesty, when you have nothing hid.
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2-3).
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Corinthians 4:1-5). Continue reading Honest Heart
If you are not excommunicated from the group that you used to belong to, then what are you be a part of? Who are you trying to please and bring glory to? “These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” (John 9:22)
Here is almighty God made a great miracle for their son, but they are afraid. The Lord put some pressure on them.When I had a baptism of the Holy Ghost, I lost fellowship with most of my family. We need to go outside the temple following Jesus.
Hebrews 13:12-13: 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
We don’t want to lose fellowship. Fear keeps people inside. To go outside the camp means to go outside the walls of the church. 1 Peter 4:12-14: 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial [excommunication – K.C.] which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
You know why some of you don’t have joy? You still try to get inside those walls.
1 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. (2 Corinthians 8:11).Giving is what the Lord wants us to be involved in. He said, “I want to start giving your way out of problems.” Giving has law behind it. Everything God does has a law behind it. The law is dead without the spirit until the spirit activates it. The only way you can fulfill the law of giving is with the Holy Spirit. He will give you life to do it.Pastor Kevin Campbell
There are different seeds – you give condemnation, in comes back to you, you give judgment, it comes back to you, you give forgiveness, it comes back to you. There are multitudes of people in nursing home today do not receive mercy because they never gave mercy. Good side of it – you start giving mercy today in order to reap it later.
Giving is a part of God’s kingdom. God is a giver. He wants you to succeed.
What if you give and they are dishonest? Mathew 7: 6 “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”
It’s useless to try to save somebody’s soul if your own soul is a problem.
For you to really understand Romans chapter 8 you have to understand Romans 7.
One of the favorite verses of a lot of carnal Christians is Romans 7:15“15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” Paul is not talking here about his present time, but about the time when he was not right with God. The same man he cries out, “24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”. Then he gives the answer, “25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now I am free. Romans chapter 8. “1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do (Acts 9:3-6).
He was passionate about the god he thought he served. He was given to reprobate mind. I was asking the Lord, what was so special about this man that You chose him and made him to make a U-turn? Continue reading On the Damascus Road
People gather together to worship, but they don’t know how to do that. We will learn how to do it today. We will learn it from those who are in heaven worshiping God directly, from their first hand experience.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; Continue reading Worship