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Brethren, we are living at a time when it seems that God is saying to the body of Christ that we must rise up. We must become that many-membered body. This Word and this ministry and this message cannot be carried by just a few. I believe that we are aware of the word in Hebrews 2:10 that His plan is to bring many sons into glory.
I was quite strongly motivated early this morning. I got out of bed very weary and very tired, so weary I could hardly stand on my feet, such that I could hardly see where I was going. I have come to the conclusion that there was a devil that came to me in the night in what I will call a dream. In this dream I was on a street in a dark part of town, you know the sleazy part of town. On the street there was a man that somehow got my attention and he was a man that belonged in that part of town. He was a shady kind of a character of a man. He called to my attention that he had some kind of little contest, that if I would like to be a part of it I could win great amounts of money. All I had to do was to push this little car about 30 or 40 yards. The street looked quite level and it didn’t look like there was any problem and it was a little car, it wasn’t a big one.
So I said, “Sure. I should be able to do this.”
He said, “Well you are going to have to pay $850.00.”
What baffled me was that I can’t find much of a spiritual significance for the number 850. I can find that 85 was Caleb’s age when they went across the Jordan into the promised land. So it was just an amount of money. It was substantial and yet it wasn’t your life savings, but it was enough that if you lose it you know you have suffered a loss.
So I gave him the money and I said, “Okay, I am ready to go.”
He said, “Oh, no, no. Not now. You have to come back at a certain time later.”
I said, “Well I am ready to go now.”
He said, “No, no, I have other people that are involved in this contest too, so you are not the only one.”
Well I came back later and guess what? He was gone. The car was gone. There was nobody around and I was rather upset at this. I spent the rest of the night hunting this man down. I learned that his name was “Artie”, short for Arthur or Artful Dodger or something. He was a small-time crook. He had been in prison and the police knew who he was, but they didn’t know where he was either. I was in the process of trying to buy a gun and I was going to get it out of him one way or another. So I did not have a restful night.
Well I shared this with several of the brethren. The initial response was that nobody seemed to know what kind of a dream this was. But I have been doing a lot of thinking about this today and I have come to several conclusions. I know that we are not supposed to interpret our own dreams, but it seems to involve things in my own soul, so perhaps I can speak about my own soul.
First of all I was taken. I was deceived. I was tricked. Jacob (or Laban) got the better of me. Secondly I was asking myself why I was deceived like this. Was it a love for a reward of some kind of money that I was really after? You see I sincerely believe that in real life I would never have taken such a situation. I am one to look for a bargain, but I don’t think I would be that stupid. But the thing that came to me quite strongly is that there must have been something that appealed to me to depend on and to manifest the arm of the flesh. So I want to ask the question again and forgive me brethren because I think I asked this question before.
“What will it take to deceive you?”
You see this was not a situation where somebody was performing signs and wonders and I somehow misperceived that this must be of God. That wasn’t what was going on here. This would have said that there must have been something within my own being that needed to be corrected before God.
So brethren I suppose that the next thought that came to me was that: “When we come to worship the Lord, can we be led to believe that we have the presence of the Lord sometimes when we don’t have the presence of the Lord?”
So I have to ask myself another question: “How much of what I manifest and believe to be of God is really the depending on something of my own flesh?”
So when we think of church, we sometimes think of religion. Another thought that came to me about this was: Well we take a certain amount of confidence saying that I am not in the church system and they are deceived and therefore I will not be deceived, because I am not in that system. Also if they are deceived (and I believe many of them are), how did they get that way? You see most of these moves started off as a genuine thing of God. The presence of the Lord was in their midst at one time. Somehow there must have been a change that came so gradual that they did not perceive what was happening.
You know brethren I think that less than one generation is all that it takes to fall away from truth. The dying out of spiritual gifts can happen so quickly. One of the first gifts that will have to die out will have to be the gift of discerning of spirits. I have observed people who seem to be very joyful and having a good time and dancing and singing but they are totally deceived. It is not of God at all that is going on. The thing that grieves me so much is that there are people that I know who are following after these things.
Again I want to ask for myself, “Lord, how will I not be deceived in these last days?” So go back to the question, “What will it take to deceive me?” I used to say, “Well it will have to be something that will look like the real thing;” and I still believe that is true. But somehow this dream seems to have added another dimension to that. There are probably some other ingredients that are involved in my deception. One of them has to be the belief that I can carry the thing on in my own ability. Now I wouldn’t come right out and say it like that, but there must be something within me that would believe it like that.
You see we will always say, “I will depend upon the Lord. I will call upon His name.” But in the deep down place within me, I would probably be saying, “Hey, no problem. I can probably do this.” So I want to look at some things in the Word of God tonight, some examples of (shall we say) deception. Perhaps “deceptive ministries”.
Maybe I ought to start of with the thing that got me going back in the summer and it just shook me right to the core of my being. Just before we came to the Czech Republic we were in Ireland and then Germany. When we were in Ireland, some of the brethren (good brethren I might add, good God loving Spirit filled brethren) said to us, “What do you think about this fellow that is on the God channel?”
Well I don’t know anything about God channel. We don’t have television, so I don’t know what is going on the God channel.
I said, “I don’t know. Good or bad I can’t tell you.”
They said, “Well come on over. We will turn the television on and we will get it for you.”
Well they got it for me and I was quite shocked at what I had seen.
They said, “Well, this fellow is really doing something good it seems.”
Well I kind of held my hand over my mouth and I promised that I would look into it before I make a judgment. I suppose that God could use a man that looked like he climbed off a dirty old motorcycle with tattoos all over his body and things hanging from his ears and such things.
I thought, “Well bless the Lord. I guess God can use anybody.”
Then when I got home I found out that there were people that I knew that were really going for this thing in a big way. I mean pastors were going down there to partake of that spirit. Now these are pastors that have once been open to the Word that we preach. We have had some of our brethren in their meetings and now I am wondering what is going on?
They are saying, “This is the move of God that has been promised to the world for these end times. This man is going to bring it in.”
I’m thinking that isn’t quite the way that I had expected it. Nevertheless I thought that I needed to look into this thing. So I got on the internet and brethren, I have a very slow internet service. It takes me a long time for one picture to download, but I spent the better part of a day researching this thing and I found out that things were not as they appear.
I found out that these tattoos did not come from a man when he was in the world living in sin. He got them five years after he was in ministry. He had occult symbols in these tattoos and Japanese symbols that mean “guardian of the gate of hell” or something like that. He had the head of Jesus with the crown of thorns bottom side up on one arm with a subliminal demon in the beard. When you see just one little glimpse on the television you didn’t know all of this. I found out that he had an angel named Emma who was his spirit guide. No, that wasn’t on the tattoo. This angel had been introduced to him by one of these Kansas City prophets. Then I read in his own words on the internet, how he met this angel Emma. Then it became unpopular to have a female angel so Emma had a sex change, on his website Emma went through a sex change. She became a he angel.
I printed all this material that I got on the internet and I began to pass it out to people that I knew. They were very shocked.
Then one of the brethren came up and said, “Can you give me more copies of this?”
I said, “Gladly, I will give you more copies.”
So the thing was exposed, but that doesn’t end the problem. The problem is that thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people were taken by this thing. The bigger problem is that people I know, that I thought were listening to the sonship message, were also deceived by this thing. I tell you brethren, that grieves me to the very core of my being. It caused me to think that in the last days when they say that brother will deceive brother, that if these people that I know were deceived by this thing that seemed so obvious to me, will they someday betray me and believe that they are helping God’s cause? It was so obvious, yet they couldn’t even examine this thing before they bought it. So then what is going to happen when the grand deception comes, the one that is coming of Satan that is even far more cunning than this simple thing? Are these people that I know going to try to turn me in? Will they buy the thing that is coming on the whole world and say it is God, then will they say of their brother (me), “He is a devil.”
Brethren if you are not convinced now of the necessity to come into the fullness of sonship, you will not be saved any other way. You will not have the power to overcome or to resist this kind of thing.
Well let me get to the Word on some of these “deceiving ministries” from the Bible. I am thinking of Acts 13:6. This was Paul (Saul) and Barnabas. “And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:” Look at the words in that verse. The first description of him was that he was a sorcerer. Luke said that and I believe he arranged these words in the proper order. First of all the man was a sorcerer. Frankly I believe this is what was going on with this television fellow. He was a sorcerer. He was knocking people down and Christians have come to believe that knocking people down is a sign of God. Find it in here for me! Yes, I know that Jesus knocked people down when they came to arrest Him, but that was not a Christian worship service.
You know the first time Janet and I and Roman and Martina went into Poland we met with a small group of believers. I remember the question that the brother asked us.
He said, “Tell us something about what is going on in America.”
Apparently they had television back then.
He said, “When we see these people on television we see these people fall over backwards. But when we read the Bible we find that when people were encountered by the presence of the Lord that they fell on their face.”
I said, “I am sorry brother. I don’t have any explanation for that. It is not of God and we are in that sense sorry that we have anything to do with that to represent America, if that is your impression of America.”
So first of all this man that Paul encountered was a sorcerer. Secondly he is called a false prophet. Notice that the word prophet is used here. Thirdly he is called a Jew. So here is a man who has grown up with a certain amount of training and information about the things of God and he is practicing sorcery. His name is very interesting. Barjesus, it means son of Jesus. So even this name is quite interesting; he had a false name as far as what was going on in his life. What he was doing was that he was withstanding the message that Paul was bringing. It says in verse 8, he “withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.” You see this kind of ministry is going to resist the kingdom, the sonship message. The two of them are not compatible.
How did Paul deal with it? Verse 9, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,” You know I like it that Paul was not depending on the arm of his flesh. He did not depend on his natural aspects of his own gifting and calling. He waited for the presence of the Holy Ghost, just like the way he dealt with that girl that followed them.
She cried after them, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.”
What the girl was saying was correct. Some would say (about this man I am talking about), “Well we need to judge his doctrine. We didn’t find much wrong with what he was preaching.”
Well there wasn’t much wrong with what Balaam was preaching either in his prophesy. He was prophesying the coming of Jesus. Remember he said, “the shout of a king is among them.” Nevertheless he was a false prophet. He had a perverse heart. So Paul in verse 10, “And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil…” Basically the “child of the devil” should read “son of the devil”. You know brethren there are two kinds of sonship going on in this day and in this hour. There are sons of God that are coming forth and Satan has his sons that are coming forth. “…thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” In other words he said, “You are making crooked the straight ways of God.” You know brethren when we take the Word of God and give it even a small twist, we are perverting it. The Word of God must remain in its absolute total purity. Anytime that we take it and twist it just a little bit, water it down a little bit or dilute it we are corrupting the Word of God. So this man was considered an enemy of righteousness.
Let me go back to Acts 8 where there was a fellow that Peter met. This is in Samaria. Philip has been in Samaria. He had been preaching the gospel in Samaria, but they didn’t have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Look at what was going on in Samaria. Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit they were casting out devils and miracles. Come let’s read it. It is in Acts 8:6-7, “And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them:and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.” Verse 8, “And there was great joy in that city.” My goodness we have got the Holy Spirit, we have got the gifts of the Spirit and we are rarely even seeing these things happen. It must be that God was present.
So Peter and the brethren came to Samaria and they met Simon. Verse 9, “But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:” Verse 10, “To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.” Verse 11, “And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.” So the whole city, the whole region is deceived by this man.
Philip came in; preached the gospel; great things happened, but Philip never dealt with Simon. Now the apostles Peter and John come into town, and now they have begun to receive the Holy Ghost. Verse 17, “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” It just says that something happened and I wonder what it was that happened. I suspect that they got some spiritual gifts; they were speaking in tongues and they were prophesying. In other words, getting the Holy Ghost didn’t just give them healing and miracles and those kinds of signs. Somehow Simon believed that these speaking gifts were even greater than the signs that had been going on. He didn’t try to buy the power to heal the paralytics, but he wanted to buy this gift and he was a sorcerer. Verse 19, “Saying, Give me also this power….” Peter’s response in verse 20, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee,…” Direct literal translation: “Your money and you will both go to hell.” That is what that “perish” meant.
You say, “Well Peter weren’t you being a little harsh with this man?”
Wasn’t Paul being a little harsh with this Barjesus fellow in the manner and the things he said to him?
“But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” Verse 21, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” By the way we skipped verse 13, which said that this man was a believer and had been baptized and I have to believe that Peter was fairly careful about who they baptized. This was the same Peter that wasn’t even going to baptize Cornelius. In other words they were rather exclusive as to who was going to be recognized as a believer.
Now one of the other questions that was floating through my mind today after this troubling dream was the question: “Okay Lord, what is there in the heart of people that will receive all of this deception?” I’m going to say something that I can’t really prove, but I am going to say it. It is just an observation that I am making. I think that there are two kinds of thinking that (shall we say) “Christians” have about who belongs in the kingdom. We have “exclusive” and “inclusive” people; those who want to include everybody and those who say there are few. I think to some extent, in some manner we have to think in both terms. On the one hand we have to believe that whosoever will believe will be received into the kingdom. Yet when the disciples ask the Lord, “are there few can be saved”. He talked to them about the straight and narrow gate. He began to tell them to, “Strive to enter in” for few there will be that will make it in. So here we come to be rather exclusive as some are being excluded.
I have observed that it seems that the people that are the most deceived by these kinds of things (the ministries that I was describing above), are people who have an overbalance of the inclusive “let’s include everybody” way of thinking. They have a great deal in their doctrine about the mercy and the love of God and by the way, He is a merciful and loving God. But you see we need a balance to our soul; we need to know all of the other aspects of God. We need to know also that He is a God of judgment. We also need to see that He is the same God that reacted with great anger at times and by fire. I mean He is a consuming fire God. Yes He will receive anyone who comes on His terms. But He also is not afraid to say that some have not come in on His terms.
You see brethren this kind of thinking in the soul is going to open you up to all kinds of deceptions. Some day I am going to talk about this “ultimate reconciliation” deception. (Let me define it a little better.) It is a teaching, it is a false teaching that says that ultimately God is going to reconcile everybody and eventually they will all get into heaven, for some even the devil. It is a false teaching. Again I have asked myself, why would people believe this? I have read their doctrines. I have read their literature. One of the biggest arguments that they like to make is: “Well He is such a loving God; He just wouldn’t put anybody in hell forever and ever.” Now remember that we do not believe that. I want to make that clear. Again they twist the Word of God to believe that. Well I won’t go into all of that. I am just saying that here is an example of where you can go off with this imbalance of what you believe in your soul, your mind your thinking and your emotions. So this is why it is so important brethren that you lay hold of the Word of truth.
I can remember the first time I came face to face with this “inclusion” thinking in the church. “Inclusive”; “let’s all get everybody in.” You know. It was one of the last years that I went to work as an administrator and I had gone to a good sized hospital. I didn’t work there long but I was kind of finishing up and God was going to be bringing me out of that as an administrator. They were big enough that they had a chaplin. He was there most of the time and he was a Protestant from a denominational church.
He said to me one day, “I would like to get to know you. Can we have lunch?”
I thought, “Oh that sounds good. Maybe this fellow is open.” I always like to think the best of somebody until they prove otherwise. So with great anticipation I met him for lunch in the hospital cafeteria.
It didn’t take long and he said, “Tell me some of the things that you believe.”
So I said, “You would probably like to know some of the things that we believe that would be unique from the ways that you believe?”
I don’t know how it happened but I seemed to start off in Matthew 25, with the parable of the virgins. I said, “You will notice that there were five that were included in and there were five that didn’t make it in.” I expounded on that a little bit.
He looked at me and he said, “Well isn’t this doctrine rather exclusive?”
I’m thinking to myself, “Well what in the world do you people believe?” My only answer was, “Well here it is in the Bible, why don’t you tell me your interpretation of this?” I said, “I didn’t write it. God did.”
Well he didn’t have an answer. He would have to look into that.
So in the course of time I have been getting an education.
Let me look at a couple of verses from Matthew 7:15, which by the way is part of the “Sermon on the Mount. This is supposed to be considered a pretty safe common ground for just about any Christian, isn’t it? It is not supposed to be very controversial. Let’s start in verse 13, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” Very inclusive, isn’t it. It includes many, many people going the wrong way. Verse 14, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” “Few” means exclusive, not many going the right way. By the way, you and I are not going to decide who is included and who is not, but you see God is going to include some and He is going to exclude some. Then He tells us how to avoid this snare in the next verse. Verse 15, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Who are these who come in sheep’s clothing? He is describing a type of a ministry, is He not? What is the purpose of putting on sheep’s clothing if it isn’t to try to identify with sheep? You don’t put on sheep’s clothing to go out with a pack of wolves. You want to look like the other sheep and be trusted by sheep. So this is the first warning that the Lord is giving.
Let’s look at Matthew 24. In verse 11 it says, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Notice the word many. By the way, who are the people in the world who are apt to listen to prophets? Who are the people in this universe that are interested in the prophet ministry; are the atheists, Hindus, Moslems or unbelievers? No they don’t care about prophetic ministry. Jesus is talking to the church. When He is talking to the church He is saying that many in the church will be deceived by the false prophet ministry. Now brethren I actually believe that the term prophet ministry includes many types of ministry, not just what we call the prophet ministry itself. So the term “false prophet” isn’t just limited to what we call the prophet of the five-fold ministry. In fact the city of religion probably calls them “evangelists”. In other words it includes any kind of public ministry proclaiming some kind of word or action that they are ministering.
Of what little bit I was able to watch of this thing on the TV, I didn’t see any preaching at all for that matter. What I saw was this fellow would go “BAM” and he would knock people down and “BAM” and he would knock more people down. What I read on the internet is this:
Somebody asked him, “What is this ‘BAM’ thing that you do when people get knocked down?”
He said, “Well that is my tongue of the Holy Ghost.”
Now I have never heard anybody speaking in tongues go “BAM, BAM, BAM.”
Here is another thing that grieves me. I don’t know if these things are happening where you live or if it is only where I live, but people are coming into meetings with these spirits or whatever you call it. They come in and when we start praising the Lord, they start speaking with tongues not of the Holy Ghost.
I remember one woman coming in and she would go, “SHEKAH, SHEKAH, SHEKAH!” “SHEKAH, SHEKAH, SHEKAH!” “SHEKAH, SHEKAH, SHEKAH!”
At the time I was rather naïve. This was quite a while ago. I thought, “Lord, I don’t think I have ever heard a tongue like that.” One time I heard a brother come in and he sounded like he was speaking Chinese, but it was a beautiful peaceful spirit and it didn’t bother me at all. I just thought, “He has got some oriental tongue and that is all right with me.” The thing that is happening brethren is that we are getting tested more and more in our fellowships by these spirits coming in with people and they are not all coming from New York City. I am saying brethren that the gift of discerning of (the spirits of) tongues really needs to be stirred up in our fellowships. I am not saying that it is totally absent, but I think it has kind of been not used for a while. You know it is nice to see new people come in, but after a while we begin to get the impression that some of these people have really been around. They have been drinking at many waters; getting a spirit here, getting a doctrine there, getting something from somewhere and they come with such a tangled mess of spirits and doctrines that they have brought with them. I feel sorry for some of the people, because some of them say:
“I really want to be a son of God.”
“I really want to go into the holy of holies.”
But these experiences from out there (I don’t even want to call it the outer court but from somewhere out there) have brought such confusion into these peoples souls that we hardly know how to deal with them any more. Not only do they come with those spirits, but some come with an attitude hostility if there is the slightest hint that you are not accepting what they are doing and you might even suggest a correction. I’m thinking, “My goodness, they react so quickly. How would they deal with Peter and Paul?” So the next question I am asking is: “Lord, do we need to be more like Peter and Paul?” Strike right at the core of the thing right away, or have we been a little too timid? We go home with this feeling on us, that we have been contaminated by something.
Are some of you understanding what I am talking about? You know in a time of prayer we should have liberty for all of the brethren in the fellowship to pray. Should we not? Yet when there is open ministry to pray these visiting spirits start coming out with their agendas, hidden and covered over by religion. See this kind of Pentecostal expression is going on out there in some of those churches apparently, because it seems to be acceptable. Now brethren I am describing what I think we have to face in this day and in this hour in our fellowships. You know it seemed to be more obvious when we first went into the Ukraine. We had some pretty big meetings when Brother duCille went with us.
Some of the brethren would say to us on the side, “That man sitting in the back, he is a KGB agent and we think that woman over there is a KGB agent too.” Well the nice thing about KGB agents is that they are quiet. They don’t try to make like they are Pentecostal or something and so you know who they are.
Well let me go on with the word here. Matthew 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs,…” “False Christs”, we went over this thing already, didn’t we? But I am still moved by these things. Why are people following a false Christ? Why would they spend money to buy airplane tickets to go see a false Christ spirit? “…and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Verse 26, “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.”
Let’s read that in Luke. You know I like Luke. So many places Luke adds just a little something that Matthew didn’t have. Luke 17:20, “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come,…” You see here this question of the coming of the kingdom is part of what is deceiving the people that we love that are not following the Word that we are preaching. They are not following this Word. In other words it seems to me that they have some other kind of doctrine about the coming of the kingdom of God; something that is appealing to the flesh of man about the coming of Christ and coming of His kingdom. “…he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:” So one of the things that I have learned that appears to be the doctrine of these churches, is that they are expecting a great mighty revival end time move of God in the way that they expect to see and observe it. From my talking to people that were receiving this man that I began to talk about, this doctrine also includes the belief that a great man of God will come and that he will come with great power and great signs and great wonders.
Well this one failed. His handlers eventually pulled him in and I believe he went off into sin. Yes, he had handlers. There were guys that were overseeing this whole thing and it failed. This man and this television ministry failed. But I believe that that same expectation is still in the minds and hearts of church people. There is a longing somehow in men to find and follow a great spiritual leader and that in my belief is the spirit of anti-christ. This one was a little too obvious and yet it amazed me how many Christians followed him. So Jesus is making it clear here that His kingdom will not come with observation. It will not be things that you will see with your eyes. It will not be a big television personality on God channel. CNN will not be interested, neither will the BBC or the other news networks. If they say anything about it, they will say that it is bad. They will try to destroy it if anything. It is not something that you can measure or examine in any natural way of our thinking. You see when Jesus came with the kingdom (when first He came) the religious people all missed it and I think He is saying the same thing here. That this last generation of religious people are going to miss it again.
Now listen to this! Verse 21, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Or “Lo it is in Toronto!”
“Lo it is in Florida!”
“Lo it is in Texas!”
“Lo it is in Budapest!” Or who knows, “It might be in Hungary!”
“Lo it is someplace in Germany!”
“Lo there is a man in Africa!”
“No.” He says, “Don’t say here or there. The kingdom of God is within you!”
I meet you on the street. I am a total stranger. Can you see the kingdom of God in me? Well I would hope that you could see Christ in me, but just with a quick observation, you will miss it, because it is hidden within us. Amen. Verse 22, “And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.” Verse 23, “And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.” Now it doesn’t matter who the “them” is. If the “them” includes me, don’t follow me. I can agree with any man who says, “I make mistakes”. And what is he saying? Don’t follow me. But who can we follow? We can follow the Christ of the kingdom (who dwells within us). That is the safe one to follow. Now brethren don’t get me wrong, we too are expecting something mighty and powerful to rise up in the great and terrible day of the Lord. We are expecting a mighty manifestation of power of Christ in His sons. We are expecting authority to be manifest. But I don’t expect a great manifestation of “Look at me!”
I was sharing with Roman when we arrived in town. I had gotten an e-mail and it turned out to be a very lengthy e-mail so I printed it. I’m not sure it even came from what I would call a Christian group. It came from some kind of patriotic group; some kind of home-made militia group that are seeking to preserve the identity of our nation. What caught my eye was that they believe that the time will come when these “New World Order” authorities will begin to round up Christians. But they also expect that because of their political positions, that they too will be included with these Christians that will be rounded up as enemies of the state. They began to describe how they believe that there are lists that are being made now. They said that they believe that there are people that are “Code Red”, “Code Blue” and “Code Yellow”. Of course the red ones are probably preachers like us that are the most dangerous. They told how a (now retired) FBI agent somehow got hold of that list and he found out that his name is on the red list. Then somebody else wrote in and said they noticed these little round tags that were put on their mailbox or the post near their house that had these three colors on them.
Then they described a scenario which I’m sure is a very old scenario; of coming and breaking your door down at 4:00 o’clock in the morning with some kind of SWAT team and hauling you off to some camp somewhere. Now if you are a lukewarm Christian you probably don’t have to worry about that. They wouldn’t be interested in you as being among the first ones to be gathered.
I laid the thing down and I began to think, “Lord, if we are going to walk as sons of God, someday we are going to be faced with something like this.”
You see this is not new. This happened in Germany in the late ‘30’s and ‘40’s. This is how Stalin carried out his brutal business. This is not a new tactic, but it caused me to think to myself, “Lord, am I in the place where you can put within me the power and the authority of the kingdom of God that we can resist (not on an outward flesh basis), but in an in my house, personal basis; that I can speak against these devils and bind their powers and command that they will not take or prevail against the kingdom of God?” Now I am not interested in self-preservation. That is not the point. I look forward to the day when we can lay our lives down for the Lord Jesus Christ, but I am not interested in letting the Devil have this earth for destruction. If we are going to be among the sons of God I am interested in saving this earth from the kingdom of Satan. So that means that sometime fairly soon we are going to be personally faced with this issue. Do we have and will we have the authority of Jesus Christ or will we not?
When the men came to arrest Jesus all He said was, “I Am he” and they fell over. He could just as well have said, “I bind you Satan.” He was the name. You see He said, “I Am;” and in the power of “I AM”, they couldn’t touch Him until He allowed them to touch Him. Is this not where we are going?
You know at first I was thinking, “When they are going to be throwing bombs around I am going to have to rise up and say ‘In the name of Jesus I bind this destructive power’.” I believe that. But what if that power that we expect to have “out there” isn’t here in me in my bedroom at 4:00 o’clock in the morning? If only we could hear some of the testimonies of those that have gone on before us. This power has already been manifest to God’s people. I may be wrong but I remember hearing one time from our brethren in Hungary that the power of God held back those that were coming to do mischief to their fellowship.
Well the bottom line is this; I want to be in the fulness of Christ. I want all that He has for me. I want to follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth. I am very interested in seeing Satan defeated and sent out bound into the abyss.
Well blessed be the name of the Lord. Amen.