You shouldn’t argue with baby killing demons, no matter how brilliant your defense may be.
4 For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal–something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind. 6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. Jeremiah 19:4-6 (NIV)There is a battle to be waged against the murderous spirit of abortion in our nation, but many in the church are fighting the wrong fight in this valley of slaughter—and they are losing. My wife and I have lost seven babies, not to the intentional act of abortion, but to the heartbreaking shock of miscarriage and stillbirth. I’ll never forget my wife convincing her doctor to induce labor on what would be the earliest, smallest baby he’s ever delivered naturally. I’ll also never forget the moment that tiny baby was delivered into our waiting hands. She was little. She was perfect. All babies are perfect. All seven of ours most certainly were. In the middle of our losses, Amy and I were in the delivery room praying, contending and crying out that our baby boy would be delivered, alive and healthy. Less than a minute before Jet Samuel Burton would enter the world, the doctor, who was with us through our previous losses, asked me if I’d like to deliver my new baby boy. We switched positions and he took me to medical school—a thirty-second lesson on how to deliver a baby. I was unprepared, but more ready than I can explain. Jet’s head emerged, I carefully grasped it and helped guide him into the world. Emotions were overwhelming. Tears were flowing. Jet was alive. In fact, my miracle baby is sitting next to me right now in Starbucks as I’m writing this. I asked him to smile for a pic as he hangs out with me, watching videos on his phone. Children are precious. All of them. Another picture is of me delivering Jet twelve years ago. I’ll never forget that moment. So, yes, children are worth fighting for. But, are we fighting the right battle?
FLESH, BLOOD AND MOLOCHThe Bible makes it clear that we don’t war against flesh and blood. As gruesome as it is, this symbolic picture becomes very real when we deal with the spirit of abortion. Literal flesh and blood are ripped and spilled every hour. Worldwide, there is an unborn baby violently destroyed every second. Eight-six children are sacrificed to the murderous principality Moloch every minute. The worship is Satanic at a level none of us can truly understand. Moses warned the Israelites about sacrificing to this god. In their rebellion, they rejected the mandate of God. Read this sobering passage of Scripture:
36 They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. 39 They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. 40 Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. 41 He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. Psalm 106:36-42 (NIV)America is at this point. The land is desecrated by the blood of millions of children sacrificed to a deadly demonic entity. The church is fighting the wrong battle. To be clear, I do see some value in presenting a godly defense and in electing righteous politicians who can promote righteous laws. However, I don’t believe the battle should be waged there as it cannot be won there. It’s easy to rise up in a spirit of debate, attempting to use logic to sway people from one position to another. There are some out there who can cause true introspection using this method. I think of someone like Ben Shapiro, a non-Christian who is extremely effective at using secular logic and debate to make a case. Ray Comfort is a Believer who can be quite effective at causing individuals to reconsider their stance on abortion. However, we need to understand that memes, Facebook posts and righteous indignation directed at those who support taking the life of babies are poor weapons in this war. Why? The battle is spiritual.
Zachary King, a former high wizard in a satanic church says abortion is a spiritual battle that must be fought with spiritual weapons. “I know abortion is a satanic sacrifice,” King said at a conference on spiritual warfare organized by Toronto-based Serviam Ministries. “Why is the devil intent on killing the unborn?” he said. “Satan does fear certain things. Innocence is one. You can’t get more innocent than the baby in the womb.” “Every hex, we used an abortion,” he told the conference. “The bigger thing you request from the devil, the more you have to do for the devil to get it. … A hex requires an aborted baby.” Indeed, if everyone on Earth marched against abortion, the next day, the abortion centers would still be open, King said. He knew it was a spiritual battle. “It’s spiritual warfare, (but) we fight it physically,” he said. “You cannot defeat a spiritual enemy” with physical weapons. (https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/former-satanist-and-high-wizard-fight-abortion-with-spiritual-weapons)
HAS VOTING REPLACED INTERCESSION?While he’s not anywhere near the perfect President, I’m thrilled that President Trump was voted into office and that he’s promoting godly agendas. He addressed hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates during the March for Life. But, I’m concerned. It seems millions of Christians have traded in the call to intercede and govern in the Kingdom for a vote. For many, it’s now President Trump’s job to deal with abortion. The Supreme Court is looked to as a force against abortion as well. But, what about the intercessors? Where are those who are waging war in the spirit? Understand, the people we are debating are mostly ungodly and even demonized. Using logic against their Moloch anointed mission is futile. President Trump and the Supreme Court are absolutely helpless against such a powerful principality. The church is the nation’s only hope.
MOLOCH MUST BE DEFEATEDYou’d be shocked at how many professing Christians, including pastors, are unapologetic advocates for abortion. While this is nearly impossible to believe, it’s true that much of the church is actually in covenant with Moloch. Others in the church are doing little to confront this spirit other than voicing their irritation on Facebook. Governmental intercession is nearly nonexistent in today’s church. Manesseh, the king of Judah, instituted pure evil in the temple. Included was a sacrifice to Molech.
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3 He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4 He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever.” 5 In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6 He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 2 Chronicles 33:1-6 (NIV)He sacrificed his sons to Molech. God was provoked to anger. America is in this place right now. I’m hoping you can see memes, marches and debates will never defeat a principality as powerful as Moloch. It’s laughable. Again, please hear me. I’m not opposed to voicing truth, to confronting the spirit of the age and addressing evil arguments. There is value in that. There is value in voting righteous people into position. There is value in using logic. But, the value is limited. Alone it’s futile beyond measure. We must see the church lead the nation in repentance, prophetic decrees, governmental intercession and high level spiritual warfare. It’s time for the church to govern again.
IT’S TIME TO WRESTLEIt shouldn’t shock us that most of the people who are aggressively promoting murder are those who simply don’t know God. Listen closely to me please. THEY HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED LOVE. They don’t know what it’s like for a Heavenly Father to flood their souls with immeasurable, indescribable, supernatural love. They don’t understand. They are completely limited to their logic, emotions and human wisdom.
8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8 (NIV)They cannot love unborn babies because they don’t know God. The only way we can love unborn babies is because of a revelation of God’s love. It’s as simple as that. We must not wrestle against these people. There is a spirit they are aligned with that has defiled them, confused them and desecrated them. It’s that spirit that demands our warfare.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)Too many Christians are wasting time and energy struggling against people while fully ignoring the necessary battle against rulers, authorities, powers and spiritual forces. We know the spiritual armor necessary to fight. A helmet, a belt, shoes, a sword. We also need to pray. Prayer is the forgotten weapon, and without it we cannot win.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers… Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)The flesh and blood of millions of babies cries out. But, it’s not flesh and blood that killed them. It’s a wicked and powerful spirit that has been worshiped in our nation for years. It’s time to:
- War against spiritual forces with spiritual weapons.
In the name of Jesus, I declare we are covered in his precious blood as we wage this war. We reject the spirit of the age that is attempting to seduce us into a state of mindless inaction. We call the church to rise up and lead the nation in repentance, in war and in intercession. Holy Spirit I pray you would anoint your people to pray like they never have before. Forgive us for any and all partnership with wickedness, compromise and apathy. I speak life over our church and over our nation! Church rise up! Amen.
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail… Isaiah 54:17 (NIV)
The blood of Jesus doesn’t grant us immunity. It grants us authority.
The rise of the unbiblical false-grace message has had predictable results: Christians are increasingly dabbling in darkness in the name of freedom. Those in that camp wrongly presume their casual response to sin has no consequences and that God’s love will cover every iniquity.
My recent Charisma News article on the dangers of engaging in cultural wickedness resulted in some Christians reacting in disagreement. Many vehemently resisted the idea that we should have any measure of concern about participating in Halloween due to our position in Christ—a position they believe cannot be compromised no matter how we behave. However, this emerging false principle reaches far beyond whether we should go trick or treating or not. Our entire lives are at risk the moment we dismiss caution regarding the unholy.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
This unbiblical, permissive principle that laughs at concern over evil in our culture gives license to careless playing with darkness. As a result, the aggressive defense against calls to separation and consecration very often comes in the form of an accusation. They presume to be standing for liberty and against religion as they boldly accuse messengers of holiness of legalism.
I actually believe it’s a severe offense to the cross when we reject calls of consecration in the name of freedom. This liberal position of casual unrighteousness is gaining wide acceptance in the Charismatic world. Instead of exposing the darkness, the evil in the land is resulting in a collective yawn.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 5:6-10 (ESV)
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Ephesians 5:11-12 (ESV)
The argument is that we as Christians should never be afraid of repercussions from entertaining worldly elements in our culture. After all, perfect love casts out all fear, right?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 (ESV)
Perfect love doesn’t automatically manifest simply because we are saved and that we have a connection with Jesus. Not even close. Perfect love produces evidences and one of those evidences is a repulsion of anything that is unholy.
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O LORD, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. Psalm 101:1-3 (ESV)
Perfect and steadfast love, as declared in the above passage, results in worship of God AND living a blameless life. We won’t put anything worthless, or anything wicked as the Kings James Version puts it, before our eyes. We will have a hatred of anything unholy and will do all we can to ensure it doesn’t cling to us.Sadly, instead of hating the wickedness in our culture, many are working hard to validate their “innocent” participation as proof of their freedom. The result? Wickedness is clinging to them as they bring dishonor to the God they say they love. Deception is running rampant.
WHAT ABOUT THE BLOOD?
Many presume the mere act of repeating a prayer and inviting Jesus into their life makes them bulletproof. The idea is that a revelation of the power of the blood will result in a confidence that we are untouchable by the enemy. Thus, we can have no concern regarding our behaviors, what we are entertained by or the growing darkness in the land. We can participate without fear. Friend, that is a gross misunderstanding of liberty, love and fear.
Others have accused preachers of righteousness of inciting fear in people when they talk about the consequences of participating in worldly entertainment such as Halloween, immoral movies and television and music. The truth is that ungodly fear of the enemy is an expected result if we are aligning ourselves with him. The warning is to resist the devil, not to ignore him. If we resist, we can walk free from fear. However, if we ignore the enemy or dismiss worldly attractions as benign, we open ourselves up to a very real nightmare. We can’t embrace evil and avoid fear. It’s not possible.
If we are entertaining demons and the evil that demanded the slaughter of Jesus, we can be sure our love has not been made perfect. Further, we can have confidence that access to our lives has been granted to very evil beings.
The blood of Jesus absolutely does not grant Christians immunity from attack or from the influences of evil that we open our lives to. The blood of Jesus grants us authority to pierce the darkness as we live consecrated, blameless lives of perfect love.
Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die. Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD, but those of blameless ways are his delight. Proverbs 11:19-20 (ESV)
Our connections, or alliances, or permissions can make us extremely vulnerable. They result in open doors for the enemy to access our lives.
A very important question comes from the Bible: Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:2-3 (KJV)
The moment we roll our eyes at those who are making calls for holiness is the moment we become aligned with evil. Further, our agreement with the enemy and his plans of destruction result in a hand-in-hand walk with him. We become partners. We further his cause while we shout freedom from the rooftops and mock those who are exposing the darkness.
No, the blood of Jesus doesn’t grant us immunity. But, if we walk in authority the power of the blood is beyond our ability to imagine! Sin is eradicated in a moment. Disease is healed, demons are cast out and people are transformed for eternity!
HOUSE CLEANING AND DELIVERANCE
I’ve been involved in some incredible deliverances and house cleanings over my 25 years of ministry. I absolutely love it when I can participate in ministering freedom and deliverance to people who are bound up by the enemy.
Some amazing Christian people have been unable to break free until they went through deliverance or until they invited people to pray through their house. One person actually removed twelve large trash bags full of items from their home after such a ministry session with my wife and me. The items were acting as curses upon them simply because they brought them into their homes.
Others eliminated movies and other media from their DVR or devices that were resulting in oppression and demonic activity.
In fact, over twenty years ago I sat down to watch a very popular movie at the time, Silence of the Lambs. Common spiritual sense should have made it clear that I shouldn’t watch such a movie. Nevertheless, I did, and in the middle of it the Holy Spirit spoke very directly to me: John, you have to turn this off.
Some time went by and my new wife and I were vacationing in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. One night in the hotel I was exhausted and decided to go to bed early. As I was drifting to sleep I noticed my wife decided to watch Silence of the Lambs. I saw that it was on network television, so it was the “sanctified” version. I wasn’t too concerned and I fell asleep quite quickly.
I suddenly started dreaming, if you can call it that. It was real and it was pure evil. I couldn’t breathe as the demonic atmosphere overwhelmed me. In the dream I was in the same bed, in the same hotel room as I was in reality. I looked over and saw my wife next to me. She was watching Silence of the Lambs.
I then started levitating above the bed and was maneuvered above my wife. Somehow I had a very large knife in my right hand. As I was convulsing due to the inability to breathe, I took the knife and violently advanced against my wife with the intent to murder her.
Then I woke up.
My wife was extremely disturbed as she was shaking me awake. She told me I was convulsing and aggressive. Nothing like that had ever happened to me and it was disturbing.
As I came to, Silence of the Lambs was still on the television. I told her to turn it off immediately.
The room was filled with the thickness of demonic activity. Now awake, I could still barely breathe. The evil we somewhat unwittingly invited into the room had taken up residence.
Now, remember, my wife and I were blood-bought, Spirit-filled Christians. We were not immune to the attack of the enemy that we invited into our lives by watching that video. We opened the door and gave Satan authority to move in.
After turning off the television, we didn’t rely on immunity and ignore the myriad of demons in the room. That immunity wasn’t there. What we did, however, was move in our authority.
We repented for our sin and commanded every demon to leave, in the name of Jesus. Instantly they obeyed and left. The room was clean again and I could breathe.
Why am I sharing this? I want to point out how vulnerable we are to the enemy if we participate in unrighteousness. The evils of Halloween, most media and other forms of entertainment are saturated with demonic intent, and all it takes is an open door. Our participation is that open door. You can’t innocently, harmlessly go trick or treating, dress up the kids and eat candy. You can’t determine that certain types of movies don’t offend you if they contain forbidden content. We must not put anything wicked before our eyes. We must not adopt the evil in our culture.
“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. Deuteronomy 18:9 (ESV)
Depression, fear, anger, sickness and even death can come if we don’t aggressively resist the devil and his schemes while proclaiming to follow Jesus. It’s that serious.
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 1 Corinthians 11:28-30 (ESV)
It’s critical that we examine ourselves, live blamelessly and resist the devil. If we are careless in the name of freedom, we can only expect open doors to allow those who are bent on destroying us free access.
On the contrary, if we sound the alarm, reject wickedness and call people to righteousness, if we live in love and are zealous servants of the most high God, we can walk in extreme authority and annihilate the kingdom of darkness!
Without one key element, movements that emphasize signs, wonders and glory meetings are extremely dangerous.
I’m encouraged that we are witnessing a sense of awakening in parts of the church today. It thrills my heart that we are starting to move beyond the tired, predictable wine skins of yesterday and are yearning for a much deeper dive into the river of the Holy Spirit. There are meetings and movements that are enjoying a supercharged atmosphere. Some of these are extremely good, necessary and forerunners for the coming church.
The hunger is so overwhelming for some, however, that this current season is producing people who will run to any meeting that presents the hope of experiencing a supernaturally activated moment.
Of course, a deep desire to encounter the wonder of the Holy Spirit is not an indicator of impure motives. Quite the opposite, those who hunger for more of Jesus can be counted among the remnant—as long as their hunger is pure and their approach is stable.
Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. Acts 8:18-22 (ESV)
IMPURE SPIRITUAL HUNGER AND THE CALL FOR REPENTANCE
Simon was more than intrigued by the invisible force he was experiencing. He was so zealous to function in that power that he actually wanted to pay for it! I know that seems absurd, but that spirit is at play very commonly today. The rush of the super power he was experiencing was so remarkable that he couldn’t help but to go after more of it. His sin was not his hunger for God. His sin was his motive. He had no option but to repent—or die in his sin of impure spiritual hunger. This sin that Simon the Sorcerer was overcome by, the sin of of impure spiritual hunger, is rampant in the church today.
To deal with this temptation, a key element that must exist within movements that are marked by supernatural power is repentance. Of course, repentance and the cross must be the primary driver of any church, movement or ministry. Sadly, today that is not always the case.
I was stunned when I heard about a pastor that no longer preaches the blood and the cross because, as he stated, they are pre-resurrection. His focus is now the benefits and the bonuses we can experience on this side of Calvary. While this may shock many of you, the truth is that many are abandoning a keen focus on repentance, the blood and the cross, though they may never be so bold as to announce it.
The last two places I ministered, in Dayton, Ohio and Greenville, South Carolina, I received strikingly similar comments from people as I was connecting at the end of the service. In both places I had preached a straight forward message on holiness, repentance, surrender, sin, the cross and eternity. It was nothing original, but the anointing was strong.
In one of the events someone said, “I haven’t heard preaching like that in 30 years.” In the next event I was told, “I haven’t heard preaching like that in 27 years.”
That almost brought tears to my eyes. It did bring righteous indignation to my spirit.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 (ESV)
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 3:1-2 (ESV)
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, Acts 17:30 (ESV)
HOLY GHOST PARTIES
I love to dance in the river, jump in the river, swim in the river, soak in the river. If the river is rushing, I’m there. I’ve been transformed in glory meetings and I can’t wait for the next one!
I’m also extremely careful to discern the motive of my heart. The glory of God is not meant to be used as a high inducing narcotic. God is holy and we must approach and enjoy him from that reality.
When God moves, it’s not a playground, though there are times for wild celebration. We need to experience great fear just like in the days of old. Holy Spirit comfort and fear of the Lord must go hand in hand.
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied. Acts 9:31 (ESV)
I’ve had the privilege of being in the midst of some extremely powerful and unusual river events where manifestations of oil, gold dust, gold teeth and a mist of God’s presence filled the auditorium. People were dancing, trembling and rejoicing throughout. It was impossible to deny that joy was in the place and that humanly impossible wonders were occurring. I was giving leadership in that church but was continually awestruck at the very real, very powerful things God was doing. I was laid out many times during that season, including in the parking lot at 2am one late night as God spilled out after a powerful prayer meeting. I was undone. Many others were as well.
We enjoyed a Holy Ghost party atmosphere that was wonderful and legitimate. The celebration was joyous!
However, what grieves me to this day is that among the dancers were a few who were living very dark lives—and they were convinced that God affirmed those lifestyles. This is why they could dance and rejoice with such “freedom.” None of this came to the surface until God hit me hard one day. He told me it was time to shift the message from rejoicing to repenting, from dancing on our feet to crying out on our knees, and to let the Holy Spirit move in a very different way. God had set us up and it was time to marry true freedom with brokenness and surrender. This was the only way faux freedom could be exposed.
While the revelation of unapologetic sinful lifestyles was troubling enough, the point I need to make here brings something else into the equation: the plumb line of the cross.
Holy Ghost parties, glory meetings and river experiences are not enough to rightly deal with our hearts and to draw us into freedom. They are insufficient. As overwhelming it can be, experiencing God’s presence and his love are not enough to deal with darkness and rebellion.
God instructed me to preach with great unction and urgency on what was: the cross, Hell, holiness and the blood of Jesus. This ended the Holy Ghost parties and opened the door to Holy Ghost conviction.
This led to many rushing to the altars to allow God to break them, heal them and set them free.
Sadly, and disturbingly, there were previous Holy Ghost, glory meeting dancers who soundly rejected that message. One supported lesbianism and was convinced that God would never send homosexuals to Hell. Another was involved in sexual New Age practices and rejected the theology of eternal separation from God entirely. Others told me they didn’t affirm a definition of God that included judgment or anything negative. One of the most passionate young people in the church said that she doesn’t know the God associated with that message!
That was like an arrow piercing through my heart! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!
In the midst of a true move of God, people were embracing deviant theologies and living in radical rebellion to the one they were dancing before!
As a leader, my heart was crushed. How could this have happened?
REJECTING THE MESSAGE
When I hit the messages of repentance and the cross with fervor, some people fled. Honestly, this shouldn’t have surprised me. In fact, I preach often that a true move of God will result in many being exposed and turning from God as deception and rebellion overtakes them. This is such a crushing truth that is hard to bear.
…they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (ESV)
In Acts chapter two we see two responses to God moving. Some marveled. Some mocked.
The cross, when preached, will bring clarity.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34 (ESV)
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)
The truth of the cross of Jesus will always have that type of impact. It divides. It reveals the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Holy Ghost parties must be founded on the truth of the cross, and that message must be shouted continually if we want to avoid deception at party central.
It’s easy to dance and rejoice when the benefits and blessings are preached, but when the call for repentance is in the mix, suddenly the party may shift into a season of mourning.
“Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. Joel 2:12-13 (ESV)
Then, the mourning and freedom that comes from true, deep repentance, can lead to another season of dancing!
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever! Psalm 30:11-12 (ESV)
Today we have meetings that are focused intently on the glory, God’s presence and the river. Healings, signs and wonders are primary. They can no longer be primary if we want to avoid allowing darkness and deception to thrive in such an environment.
Calls to repentance must be sounded. A revelation of Hell must be had. The blood of Jesus must be foremost as the cross of Jesus is preached with unction.
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret… 2 Corinthians 7:10 (ESV)
Only then can we truly celebrate and dance in the river.
Failure or victory? Yes.
“The big idea is this: I don't know if you are aware of it, but Christendom is dead,” he says during a recently released video promoting the book's theme. “The bus is no longer carrying us, it's running over us. Christianity is no longer popular and there are no social benefits to waving the Jesus flag. All you are going to get is persecution, opposition, and criticism. That's the day in which we live. The question is what will we do?” ~Mark Driscoll
“We have the victory!”
This is something we hear shouted in churches all the time, and, as stated, it is true. What we need to discuss is the actual reach of that victory. True Christians (who are much fewer in number than we’d realize) absolutely have had victory availed to them through the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are two specific issues, however, that we must consider.
- First, we as Christians can shout “Victory!” all day long, and live in depression, deception, defeat, fear and turmoil if we don’t actively live according to that victory. We have a part to play (a big part).
- Second, the true scope of the victory is limited. We can get excited about our own victory while failing to see how rare it is—as the high majority of people on the Earth are not victorious at all. They are lost.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4
Victory and faith are one in the same. This reveals quite clearly that we must be active in faith in order to experience victory. And, of course, as was stated above, that victory is tragically limited. It’s truly few on the Earth who are living in faith and victory even though the cross and resurrection of Jesus provided victory to everyone in the world—everyone who would respond, that is.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
As we, through faith, abound in the work of the Lord, we will live in victory—yet more importantly, our labor will result in victory for others. That’s the true purpose of our lives.
A Rescue Mission
Prior to the cross and resurrection, humanity was flooding into Hell. The rescue mission of the cross was necessary, and the power it released was immeasurable, but its impact was minor when you take into account how few have responded to it.
It’s no surprise that the idea of Christianity experiencing failure feels both ridiculous and offensive. It’s ridiculous to those who are so inwardly focused on their own personal experience that they don’t see reality around them. It’s offensive because it presumes the sacrifice of Christ was insufficient.
The emergence of Christian Universalism and its various sects has resulted in a faux spirituality for innumerable people—people who presume that the cross of Christ resulted in one hundred percent of humanity being redeemed. Any thought of a lesser success rate is immediately resisted with mocking and even rage. After all, their comfortable, eternal utopia is threatened, and any theology that puts it at risk is soundly rejected.
Most play the good vs. bad card just as the lost do. Have you ever seen the interview on the street segments where people are asked, “Why should you be allowed into Heaven?” The answer is always, “Because I’m a good person.”
The thought is that Jesus would certainly allow entrance into Heaven anybody who lived a good live and who voiced even the slightest affirmation of the Gospel. Only the hateful, evil people of the world would be cast into Hell. This thought is rampant in Spirit-filled churches today.
…as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18
We have underestimated the power of the blood of Jesus while overstating the role of the blood of Jesus. The shed blood of one Man long ago was powerful enough to eradicate the multiplied trillions of sins that had been committed, and those that would be committed in the future. Further, one drop of that ancient blood was sufficient to heal every disease. We have barely tapped into its power.
However, people wrongly presume upon the blood to apply itself simply because we have voiced a commitment to the one who shed it. The blood doesn’t grant us immunity, it grants us authority. We must apply it. We must live a life empowered by it. Though the blood paid the price for sickness, it is still required that we heal the sick. Though the blood paid for salvation, we must walk that salvation out with fear and trembling.
The church in the Western culture barely has a heartbeat, and this is due largely to a casual, entitled people who presume wrongly upon the blood of Jesus instead of taking up their cross, laying down their lives and operating in the bold authority that such a great sacrifice by a great God demands. We have a part to play.
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Luke 10:19
If we tread, then we won’t be hurt. Why? Because we applied the blood of Jesus. We advanced in the authority that it provided. If we don’t tread, we will be stung.
It’s not a prayer alone that saves us. It’s a lifestyle of enduring surrender. Salvation isn’t a status, it’s a lifestyle. We work it out, we endure, we repent. Salvation is not a dime store item on the shelf that anybody with a little curiosity and a minimal investment can receive. Salvation is immersive, dynamic and all consuming, and can’t be simply analyzed with a logical mind. It’s not a switch that’s flipped. It’s a relationship. Anybody who’s been in relationship knows it has up and downs, and it grows, ebbs and flows.
A relationship with Jesus is otherworldly and it is discerned spiritually. This is why so many are so terribly deceived into thinking they are saved simply because they believe in Jesus and live a good life (which isn’t actually possible without living in the power of Jesus). The majority of church attenders presume it’s easy to get saved. This deception is growing deeper and deeper as is evidenced in faulty theologies such as Christian Universalism, false-grace and Antinomianism. (Antinomianism in Christianity is the belief that under the gospel dispensation of grace, moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation.)
For example, an increasing number of professing Christians have subscribed to an expression of Christian Universalism that believes that Hell is a temporary holding place for those who rejected Jesus, and will be released from torment at the end of the Millennium. This is a result of a misunderstanding of the role of the blood. Its reach is only as far as we affirm and apply it.
The cross of Christ, the blood of Jesus, possesses such unimaginable power. However, it didn’t result in salvation for all. This means that the glorious cross and miraculous resurrection set many captives free, but not all. Not most. Not even close.
The question is, is this failure Christ’s or the church’s? Of course it is on us.
Victory’s Limited Reach
The fall of Adam and Even was more cataclysmic than any of us could imagine. The general thought is that they fell and God then sent Jesus who would resolve everything. That’s the incorrect belief that this article is addressing.
After the fall, God moved into the world’s most dramatic and comprehensive rescue mission—a mission that by most any standard would be categorized as a massive failure. Contrary to Universalists, this rescue mission will not result in every human being being saved, redeemed. In fact, we should be haunted and grieved by the reality. Statistically, the numbers are horrifying.
It’s been recently reported by Barna Research that only 4% of Americans fit within the category of professing, active Born Again Christians.
Without any true ability to know the exact numbers of people who have or will be cast into Hell, we can at least entertain an estimate.
The official estimate of people who have ever lived on the Earth is approximately 108 billion people. Others who subscribe to a 6,000 year history put the number closer to 50 billion. Let’s use the 50 billion estimate.
How many of the 50 billion people experienced victory and how many did the mission of Jesus fail to save?
At 4%, which may even be a little high (some suggest one in one thousand on the earth today are truly saved), that would mean 2 billion through all of history were successfully saved through the cross of Christ. That would mean 48 billion are currently in Hell (or on their way there).
So, you might wonder just what the point I’m trying to make is.
Here it is: When declaring victory, shout it with boldness and humility and great thanks, but absolutely do not stop there. Cry out to God and volunteer to move outside of your comfortable safe place, focusing on your own victory, and volunteer for the ongoing rescue mission.
To shout about victory without understanding how rare and precious it is, and without brokenness about the condition of the world, is narcissistic, selfish and evidence of a radical lack of revelation of God’s heart for the lost.
Who’s Number One?
Today the church is looking out for number one, and, unfortunately, all too often, number one isn’t Jesus. It’s self.
Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. 1 Colossians 1:18
While others are convulsing, burning, roasting in the fires of Hell for eternity, Christians today are lining up for events that promise health, prosperity and happiness for themselves in their few short years on the Earth. They are already convinced of their own eternal security (often wrongly), so the next obvious step would be to have their life on Earth enhanced.
Every day countless people are entering eternity without Jesus, while never being prayed for, never having a Christian stand in the gap for them, never having the opportunity to know the love of Jesus.
Where are those Christians who should be weeping and hurting over the condition of the lost? Too many are self absorbed, entertained and working on living a more fulfilling life. They are looking out for the wrong number one. They are asking, “What’s in it for me?”
I see a lot of Bible Promise books out there. Where are all of the Bible Command books? What if we asked, “What is required of me?”
A wrong understanding of victory will result in presumption that Jesus did it all, we have no part to play and now all we should do is go about our personal lives.
A right understanding of the status of the mission will result in lives of Believers laid down as willing martyrs for the sake of slowing the flow to Hell.
Simply said, the cross of Christ resulted in glorious victory for those who have received him. However, those people are very few and very far between. Salvation is rare indeed.
Hell is expanding to hold those who are descending into it, and this is a tragedy that we can’t ignore. It’s not about us. It’s about them and it’s about Him.
Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. Isaiah 5:14
We must be realists. We must not reject truth, even when that truth is fearful, traumatic and heavy.
Certainly, in the end, Jesus will win the victory over Satan and the kingdom of darkness. We understand the great battles that are coming will be won by Jesus and his army.
That is a mighty victory for sure!
The redeemed will experience such phenomenal, glorious victory and their eternities will shine forever!
This absolutely is news worth rejoicing over!
But, we cannot stop there. Not now. Not when people will die in their sins tonight. Not when it’s so unbelievably rare to make Heaven. It’s time to pray. It’s time to fight. It’s time to lay down our lives—for real this time.
Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. Revelation 6:9
The concept of compliance to prophetic voices and even to God himself is diminishing in our culture—and the consequences will be disastrous.
…A Greek word for proclaim…is kerusso… It means “to be a herald.” A herald was a public crier who was a speaker of divine truth. The message delivered by the crier was a public and authoritative announcement that demanded compliance. When you kerusso, you are like a town crier making an announcement that requires the hearers to comply. How powerful! ~Barbara Wentroble
Today, prophetic voices are neutered by a culture that is extremely independent, and, as a result, are declaring the sharp word of the Lord less and less. Instead, those with prophetic ministries have abandoned the call for compliance to a correction or redirection of God for words that tickle ears and communicate positive destinies even for those who are in direct rebellion to truth.
I was at the Detroit Prayer Furnace recently, and, prior to seeing this message by Barbara Wentroble, God dropped a very clear, weighty word into my spirit: COMPLIANCE.
I immediately knew that we as a nation were moving into a very troubling and dangerous time where prophetic voices must unapologetically call the church into compliance with God’s very costly, inconvenient calibration. No longer can we act as salesmen, forming our words in such a way that people will buy what we are saying! Prophetic messengers will be shunned, assaulted, resisted and accused due to the calls out of a theology of comfort and independence.
It is beyond critical that these prophetic messengers are living holy and are sensitive to the leading of God.
MINOR IS MAJOR: TWO PERSONAL LESSONS
Minor is major with God. Two recent minor sins had a major impact on my life. I’m about to confess those sins to you.
Additionally, there’s a decrease of the fear of the Lord and any concern at all over eternal destinies.
Read this disturbing account of a young Christian at a homosexual parade as told by Dr. Michael Brown:
When asked why they were at the gay pride event, the young women stated with enthusiasm that they were there to support people they love. (To watch the entire, extraordinary video interaction, click here.)
The same girl reiterated that gay s-ex was sinful but that supporting the gay pride event didn’t mean she agreed with it since, again, being gay was a “lifestyle.”
When asked once more if she believed gay s-ex was sin, she replied, “It’s a sin, but I’m not against it. I think you’re forgiven no matter what.”
She was then asked, “If you’re a Christian, you’re forgiven of the sin?” She replied, “Yeah, absolutely. You’re forgiven of everything except not believing.”
When asked, “So, you support people having gay s-ex?” she answered, “Yeah, I think that you can’t help your heart sometimes.”
Did you notice that the false-grace believe that she held to? Christians can sin without any fear of judgment. This belief is sending so many to Hell.
As I said above, minor is major with God. So often we hear the argument regarding the “big sins” of homosexuality, murder, etc., that “all sin is the same.” The argument is that God can forgive a murderer just as quickly and completely as he can forgive one who gossips, lies or lusts. I do agree with that. (For the record, I don’t believe all sin is the same, and you can read more about that here. But, for the sake of this point, let’s agree that God can forgive all sin equally.)
What if we turned the argument around? If all sin is the same, then the sin of gossip is as detestable and eternally destructive as the sin of murder. Lying can send one to Hell just as quickly as premarital sex. Minor is major. And, no, we aren’t exempt from eternal threat simply because we consider ourselves to be Christians. That is one of the greatest, most devastating fallacies in the church today. Christians who sin absolutely are at risk of eternal separation from God.
Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
LESSON NUMBER ONE
I know a key assignment for me is to call the church back into radical holiness and consecration, and my authority to do so comes via the blood of Jesus. When I sinned in what I would consider a minor way, my assignment was compromised.
I temporarily lost my authority to prophetically call the church to corporate holiness when I didn’t respond to God’s call to personal holiness. I no longer could impact the major because of my failure in the minor.
A couple of weeks ago I was writing a post just as I’m writing this one now. Many people presume that I haphazardly write and say anything that comes to mind in a cavalier way. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Every word that comes out of my mouth is measured and ordered via the fear of the Lord. It’s a daily, weighty matter for me to ensure I’m not withholding anything due to the fear of man and that I’m not saying what I should not due to the fear of God. To be a prophetic messenger requires this wrestling match.
As I was writing the message, I boldly said what I felt the Lord would want me to, and I was making some sharp points.
I was also listening to a teaching about how certain sins can manifest in our bodies as sickness. For example, if we gossip and don’t repent, it’s not uncommon to have tooth pain or even to need expensive dental work such as a root canal. Gossip out of our mouth affects our mouth. As I continued writing, I was thinking to myself, “We need prophetic people who don’t wash their mouths out with soap, but with the blood of Jesus!” I kept seeing pure mouths of bold messengers filled with the blood of Jesus as they declared truth.
I came to a point in the article where I relayed an extremely minor, common issue that can come up in a messenger’s life. I wrote in an extremely generic, careful manner about a personal situation that happened in my life recently. The content wasn’t the problem, but the attitude of my heart was. Again, it was so minor. You’d laugh if you knew just how minor it was! But, as I wrote it, God gave me a gentle check in my spirit. I considered the check, wondering if it was just my own emotions—then I ignored the check. After all, there was nothing that I wrote that would raise alarms whatsoever.
I finished the article and prepared to send it out. I always post it to the web first, and then immediately send it to my email list.
Then, I got up from my office chair and I felt something in my mouth. I went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Directly under my tongue, right in the center, I saw a blood blister! It was not there five seconds prior! God immediately reminded me that his prophetic voices must have their mouths filled with the blood of Jesus, and I was instantly convicted. I ignored Jesus. I immediately repented from a deep place of my heart. I was wrecked!
I went back to my office, troubled that the tainted message was now all over the world. But, then, I noticed something. I had actually forgotten to send the message to my email list, which would have been a point of no return! I quickly removed the questionable sentence, reposted it to the web and then sent it to my list. Less than three hours later, the blood blister in my mouth completely disappeared! God is so kind as he is training us in righteousness! I learned, as a seasoned minister of 22+ years, that promotion to new assignments requires trust of God that we will respond immediately and exactly to him. I learned that lesson…or so I thought.
LESSON NUMBER TWO
About a week later I had a great meeting with two state prayer leaders in Dearborn, Michigan. I can’t explain it, but God was REALLY getting my attention that day. It was as if there were an open heaven over me and God was calling me to engage with him. After I left the meeting, I felt compelled to stop by the Detroit Prayer Furnace on my way home and get along with the Lord. I craved him, and I could tell he craved time with me.
I had also wanted to go to Best Buy at some point that day to buy something I had really wanted, so that was definitely in the back of my mind.
I spent about 45 minutes getting into the zone at DPF and trying to hear what the Lord had for me that day. I was still extremely stirred.
A friend then showed up and we talked for just a little bit. He decided to leave, and, with the desire to head to Best Buy increasing, I did too.
I felt a minor check in my spirit that I needed to stay put and keep seeking after God. Instead, I responded casually and thought that I could pray in the car and possibly reconnect with God later that night or tomorrow.
Well, I couldn’t connect in the car, and my spirit was increasingly grieved, but I excused it away. I got to Best Buy, and almost left without buying what I wanted, and I felt that’s what God wanted. Keep in mind, this is all low level stuff. I didn’t see an angel with instructions from Heaven. I was discerning something that felt more like the story of the Princess and the Pea. That small irritating pea wouldn’t go away.
Before I left Best Buy, I checked one more aisle, and there it was—it was exactly what I wanted! And, they price matched Amazon.com, so I saved $20! I bought it, and my grief increased.
For one week my life was a swirl of God, Satan and flesh—all assaulting me. A very minor decision to casually respond to God and ignore his gentle prompts resulted in sleepless nights and non-stop feelings of demonization. Trust me, I am not exaggerating.
I was in rebellion. My minor sin was major. My rejection of God was real. He had called me up to the mountain to meet with me and I chose to remain at the bottom with a spirit of Egypt compelling me to worship a golden calf. I actually had a picture of my rebellion resulting in an eternity in Hell—just me, demons and that stupid item I bought at Best Buy! I was tormented!
You might try to encourage me by saying that there’s no condemnation in Christ Jesus. That’s true. But, I’m sober enough to admit that, in that moment of rebellion I really wasn’t in Christ Jesus—and that’s why the shouts of condemnation by the enemy were piercing me so effectively. Now, I believe God knew this trial would hit me, and he knows my heart is so deeply in love with his, so I wouldn’t be dying in that state of rebellion. It was a Peter denying Christ type of moment. However, I’m also convinced that continued rebellion by me, someone who leads ministries, has written books, teaches on holiness, goes to church, pays my tithe, prays continually—would absolutely put me at risk of Hell.
Yesterday, I was exhausted as I keep trying to connect with Jesus who I love so much, and who loves me so much. I prayed, I worshiped, I listened to anointed music. Nothing worked. I had my intercessors praying for me. I was in darkness and I was wiped out. I cried out to God, “Please talk to me! Give me something that will reveal what I am to do! I can’t go on feeling alone and separated from you!”
Within moments, my good friend Julia Palermo posted this on Facebook:
Any place in our lives and heart where we are exerting our will and ways over God's will and ways will inevitably drain us of energy and resources. Exertion=Exhaustion. On the other hand, death to self requires only that we lay down at the foot of the cross and give up the right to run our lives. We say with Christ, “Not my will but Yours be done Father.” The Crucified life is the entrance into true rest. #ComeAndDie
Jesus! I immediately packaged up what I bought at Best Buy to take it back. I crucified my flesh and returned my idol. Peace flooded my soul. The life and love of Jesus IMMEDIATELY returned. I felt him instantly! The anointing spiked.
It’s absolutely stunning how simple, minor sins can have such a profound impact on those called to serve the Lord!
Minor is major! The sins of apathy, gossip, independence, selfishness, materialism, idol worship, homosexuality, murder, rape and all of the others, major or minor, required the same death of Jesus.
Sins that are repented of, that have the blood of Jesus applied to them, are eradicated! But, if we refuse to repent and confess and allow Jesus to have Lordship again, we cannot presume to be in a safe place.
God is going to hold ministers to a much higher standard. This is why we must pursue holiness and refuse to participate in the sins of culture through media, rebellion, materialism and independence.
It’s time to embrace a spirit of repentance. God is extremely kind. He was in my two back-to-back sins. But, he’s equally serious. He will discipline those he loves. I am so thankful that he loves me.
This brings us back to compliance.
God is raising up voices that will walk in true consecration and holiness. Not perfect people, but responsive people. People who will quickly repent and who will walk in true authority—authority to call the church into compliance to the Word of God.
When this generation’s true prophetic messengers sound an alarm, it won’t be open for discussion. We won’t have the option to consider whether we want to obey or not. We will have to comply. Are you one who will awaken the church and call it to holiness, to prayer and to consecration? Are you walking in holiness? Are you listening to God, or are you casual, as I was in the two above stories? Pray for your discernment to increase, and get ready to gather the ready, responsive remnant that will offer no excuse as they respond to the alarms of the Lord as they are shouted through your blood filled mouth!
Blow the trumpet in Zion;
consecrate a fast;
call a solemn assembly;
gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation;
assemble the elders;
gather the children,
even nursing infants.
Let the bridegroom leave his room,
and the bride her chamber.
Between the vestibule and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep
and say, “Spare your people, O Lord,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’” (Joel 2:15-17, ESV)
Five Shifts at Revival Church: You’ll want to know what our fresh focuses and key changes are!
FIRST: Listen to a key message on core doctrine and the risk of deception in the church from this past Sunday. I deal with the law, homosexuality, tithe, shellfish and more! I’ll include my notes at the bottom of this message. Listen here:
As many of you know, God has hit me hard regarding the crisis of the cross-less church this year.
There has been an awakening at Revival Church as I’ve refocused our attention to the foundations of scripture, including the call to the cross, to surrender and to repentance. The Bible tells us to judge ourselves now so we are not judged later. It’s time to take a microscope to our hearts and allow God to reveal every hidden thing for the sake of love and healing.
Orthodox Christianity has been compromised by a desire for something new—and this is a serious threat to the mission of Kingdom advance on the Earth. If the new thing ever minimizes the old thing—the eternal thing—the gospel, you can be sure that there is error in the message. We do want the new wine, but the new will always emphasize the ancient and non-negotiable truths of the Bible. The blood, the cross and our call to die daily must be in front of us night and day.
I have received remarkable reports from people who have been deeply convicted, troubled and awakened by these messages. Especially provoking and liberating for many was my XPmedia teaching on the False Grace movement. I want to STRONGLY recommend you block out one hour and watch this video that deals with the sober reality of our eternity. Watch it here: http://www.xpmedia.com/JK9d86jAPOyr
- SHIFT ONE: Revival Church will be more intent then ever on solid and deep foundational teaching of the Word. I believe a true prophetic ministry is one that is rooted in scripture and allows the truth to explode out of us with power. Prophetic ministries are also to be alarms and warning systems that alert the world to eternal danger, and I am more devoted than ever to slow the flow to Hell.
- SHIFT TWO: theLab Prayer Events have shifted on Friday nights! We are developing teams that will be hitting the streets most Friday nights through the summer on strategic prayer assignments. This is a GREAT way to connect in what I consider the most vital ministry of the church. At 10pm at Port Detroit (most Friday’s, see the schedule at www.revivallab.com) we start in violent and fervent corporate prayer as we overlook Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, Canada, and then we break up into our teams, led by some amazing captains, and hit the streets! We are collecting spiritual intelligence so we can pray and act in a much more focused fashion.
- SHIFT THREE: Social Networking! Not Facebook or Twitter… old school, face to face relationships! (What a brilliant idea!) We value friendships and want to make it EASY for you to thrive at Revival Church! The third Sunday of every month is our Meet, Greet and Eat social event right after service. We also are having a blast with our new softball teams and I’m very excited about our Culture Groups which are a great way to grow deeper in the Lord with other men and women of God!
- SHIFT FOUR: theLab School of Fire is being reworked as a six month school (and ultimately a nine month school). This year I am investing in training a team of about 20 leaders every Thursday and Friday night. This infusion of Revival Church DNA and vision into this phenomenal team of leaders will be carried and released into our next class of students in January, 2013!
- SHIFT FIVE: Our prophetic mandate is, with love and tears, to trouble people into freedom. I’m humbly embracing the call of God to awaken the church and sound the alarm regarding anything that keeps people away from God. Over the last couple of years, every single prophetic dream I’ve had has been quite sobering, severe and troubling. God is preparing the church to react when crisis comes to our nation and the world, and this demands we live as prophetic alarmists. This is driven by a deep love and passion for people—many of who think they are safe yet are in extreme danger. We must see them saved.
So, I want to INVITE and ENCOURAGE you to run this fun and important race with us! We will do everything we can to help connect you and enjoy your church family! You are valuable!
Revival Church meets at CENTRAL CHURCH, 1529 E. 12 Mile Rd, Madison Heights, MI 48071.
Here’s my personal notes that I used to teach from this past Sunday. Again, you can listen to the teaching here: media.johnburton.net/2588973
i. The word Bible simply means ‘book’. (biblos)
1. It’s also called scripture and the Word of God.
2. 66 books, 55 of which it’s clear who the authors are.
a. 39 OT books
b. 27 NT books
c. Over 40 different authors
d. Moses authored the most OT books. (first five, the Pentateuch)
e. Paul wrote the most NT books (14, over half of the NT).
f. The NT was canonized in 375 AD.
g. It became the collection of books or writings accepted by the apostles and leadership of the early Christian church as a basis for Christian belief.
h. The KJV isn’t the original Bible!
i. The first English version was translated in 1382 A.D., by John Wycliffe.
j. The Holy Bible has been translated into 2,018 languages.
k. The Bible was printed in 1454 A.D. by Johannes Gutenberg who invented the "type mold" for the printing press. It was the first book ever printed.
3. Jesus wrote it all.
4. 2 Tim. 3:16—"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." (God breathed)
5. "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth" (Ps. 33:6)
6. 2 Pet. 1:21—"For not by the will of man was prophecy brought at any time, but being borne by the Holy Spirit, the holy men of God spoke."
7. The Holy Ghost was especially and miraculously present with and in the writers of the Scriptures.
8. FofPT: God is a God who desires to reveal Himself. He does not remain silent like the gods of the heathen, both ancient and modern. The Lord takes pleasure in making Himself known to His creatures. He is pictured as a God of love; love must always communicate itself, and that revelation must come from God Himself.
ii. The word testament means covenant.
iii. By the end of the 2nd century, the terms OC and NC were established.
iv. The Old Testament deals with the record of the calling and history of the Jewish nation, and as such it is the Old Covenant. The New Testament deals with the history and application of the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ, and as such it is the New Covenant.
1. Now, it’s a serious mistake when we presume the OT is no longer valid.
a. We’ve discussed that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
b. He didn’t change OT to NT.
c. He has always loved, has always been just, has emotions of anger, has always wanted us to know him intimately.
2. When considering what was fulfilled and is no longer applicable, ask whether it’s part of the Mosaic ceremonial, moral or civil laws or not. Ceremonial and civil laws no longer apply. There are moral laws in the OT that absolutely do still apply.
a. This is critical!
i. The call to morality doesn’t cease in the NT—it increases!
ii. Remember, in the OT you couldn’t commit adultery. In the NT you can’t WANT to commit adultery!
b. The Mosaic law came 430 years after the Abrahamic covenant. This is the law that was fulfilled.
3. Some people try to interpret biblical laws with this rule: "Old Testament laws are valid unless the New Testament specifically says they are not." But this rule is not true. It’s opposite. It is proven false by Hebrews 8:13.
a. Hebrews 8:13 (ESV) 13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
b. "If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!" (Gal. 2:21)
4. Michael Morrison The laws we keep today may be in the old covenant, but if so, we keep them not because they are in the old covenant, but because they are also in the new.
a. For example, both homosexuality and the eating of shellfish were prohibited in the OT.
i. Leviticus 18:22 (ESV) 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
ii. Shellfish: Leviticus 11:11 (ESV) 11 You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses.
iii. In the NT Jesus ended the prohibition of shellfish, but reaffirmed sexual morality.
iv. Mark 7:14-23 (ESV) 14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 16 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” ( Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
v. Also: Acts 10:9-16 (ESV) 9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”
vi. God wanted him to eat snakes and lizards! (Alligator is great!)
vii. So, the OT law on sexual purity remains.
viii. 9 of the 10 commandments remain. (some people get tripped up about the Sabbath.)
5. The OT is critical for us to understand holiness.
6. In fact, in the NT we see that all scripture… which includes fulfilled laws… is profitable for instruction in righteousness:
a. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
b. Hebrews 13:20-21 (ESV) 20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
c. The Bible cover to cover reveals how to live, while the NT reveals that we are empowered in Christ to actually fulfill the mandate.
d. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown: The Law elicits the consciousness of sin and the need of redemption; it only typifies the reality. The Gospel, on the contrary, actually communicates reality and power from above
7. The law of Moses included laws of ritual purification, prophecies about the Messiah, rules about treating livestock, and civil laws about penalties for religious crimes.
8. The Abrahamic covenant was characterized by God’s promise while the Mosaic was characterized by God’s law.
a. The law was temporarily necessary to deal with sin… it revealed how common sin is…
b. Romans 7:7 (ESV) 7 What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
i. This is powerful! The OT helps us with analyzing our lives, being aware of sin.
ii. There’s a skewed teaching out there that says we must not have sin consciousness, but this is in opposition to what we see in the Word of God.
iii. It’s the law that is good, and sin that is bad, not the other way around.
iv. Today we hear that the law is bad and that sin is not an issue!
v. Just because the law cannot sanctify does not make it sinful or unnecessary.
vi. The law reveals sin, then the applied blood of Jesus heals us of it.
1. The law is the xray or the MRI and then the blood of Great Physician deals with that issue.
c. Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV) 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
i. Here’s an example of how sin can be dormant instead of eradicated… and how the OT brings revelation to that issue:
ii. Romans 7:8-9 (ESV) 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.
iii. Sin lies dead means that sin was latent rather than nonexistent.
iv. Revelation of God’s commands are critical! Is there any dormant sin in us that would surface if we let the Word of God deal with us?
1. Life Application Notes: Where there is no law, there is no sin, because people cannot know that their actions are sinful unless a law forbids those actions. God's law makes people realize that they are sinners doomed to die, yet it offers no help.
2. Dake: I do not blame the law, for it is just and good in its demands.
b. Now see how the fulfillment of the law is addressed by Jesus in Matthew…this is a long passage, but Jesus felt it was important to explain this clearly:
a. Matthew 5:21-48 (ESV) 21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. 31 “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. 33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
d. The part of the OT that was addressed in the NT is quite limited. The law of Moses, with its worship rituals, civil laws and other customs, was temporary. In the NT, the ceremonial law was dealt with by Jesus.
e. The clearest way to understand what still applies is by studying to see what is re-emphasized in the NT. What OT law was reaffirmed in the NT?
f. Example: Tithing was both pre-law and affirmed in the NT:
i. Matthew 23:23 (NIV) 23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
g. Nine of the Ten Commandments were reaffirmed in the NT (all except to keep the Sabbath).
i. For example, in the OT, stoning was the penalty for those caught in adultery (based on the Mosaic covenant)…
1. Leviticus 20:10 (ESV) 10 “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
ii. …but in the NT Jesus affirmed that the sin of adultery was not acceptable, but he would be the one to take their punishment… if they repented.
1. In the OT, physical death was often the most obvious penalty… in the NT, spiritual death is.
iii. In the OT, wrath of God was on that person. In the NT, Jesus took the wrath on himself… UNLESS the individual is unrepentant!
1. John 3:36 (ESV) 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
2. Living without Christ in the NT is very similar to living pre-Christ in the OT.
h. The OT is an excellent resource to learn how God feels about certain activities, sins, behaviors.
i. God never changes. He still hates sin. He hates murder. He hates adultery. He hates sexual sin.
ii. However, his wrath was placed on Jesus instead of us, which should compel us to make Jesus our Lord and Master with expedience!
i. In the OT if you see regulations and ordinances that are a part of the law, you can be sure they no longer apply—unless they are either reaffirmed in the NT or are covered by the Great Commandment—to love God and others.
A crisis is coming to the church…in fact, it’s the church who must initiate it.
The cock is about to crow—where will you be when the crisis of the cross is reintroduced to the church?
Matthew 26:73-75 (ESV) 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
He invoked a curse on himself
From the Life Application Commentary: While Peter may have hoped to seem a natural part of the group by joining in the conversation, instead he revealed, by his speech, that he did not belong there. This was too much for Peter, so he decided to make the strongest denial he could think of by denying with an oath, “I don’t know the man.” Peter was swearing that he did not know Jesus and was invoking a curse on himself if his words were untrue. He was saying, in effect, “May God strike me dead if I am lying.”
Peter was running for his life. In the church today the prevailing focus is on our experience and the affirmation and protection of our lives and lifestyles. People go to church to enhance their lives. When their lives, or even their lifestyles, are threatened, people will begin to run for their lives. They will run to safety.
This clear and extreme denial of Christ will invoke a curse!
Jesus was so indignant about this type of reaction that he dealt with Peter in fierce fashion before this event even unfolded:
Matthew 16:21-23 (ESV) 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
Peter denied the cross, and Jesus rebuked Satan who was working through Peter (who Jesus had just identified as the rock, the CHURCH!). He made the point clear: Peter was mindful of thing things of man and not the things of God. Jesus than said:
Matthew 16:24-25 (ESV) 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
A crisis of the cross
Apostles and prophets must step into their positions of authority and release a great crisis to the church!
This is a necessary crisis as it will result in the true, abundant life of multiplied millions. The offensive, bloody cross must return to the church—and now!
When Jesus was hailed as King at the Triumphal Entry, the masses converged. The focus was self. They wanted Jesus to save them, make their lives better. They were crying out, “Hosanna!” which means, “save us now!”
So, Jesus complied. The only way to save the ones he loved was to face death on the cross. Yet, the rooster crowed and the crowds scattered and turned on Jesus. His closest friends ran for their lives. One cursed himself in his denial. Another betrayed Jesus and hung himself.
Yes, it’s time not to snack on some bread and grape juice, but to eat his flesh and drink his blood.
When the cross is introduced in its full, bloody force again in the church, we will watch this drama unfold another time. People will flee from the church when focus changes from personal freedom to personal cost. Betrayal will skyrocket. Fear will grip those who haven’t surrendered all.
Where will you be when the cock crows?
The generations must come to the cross
Everybody ran for their lives but mom and son, Mary and John (along with Mary Magdalene) remained. The generations converged.
John 19:26-27 (ESV) 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
Luke 1:17 (NIV) 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
The elder generation must refuse to run. The younger generation must refuse to run. We must converge around the threatening, offensive cross of love. When we do, the harvest will come. The world is watching. The thief was watching and surrendered to the love that could only be revealed at the cross as the two generations deeply loved Jesus together:
Luke 23:43 (ESV) 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Any movement that doesn’t take place at the cross is a false movement.
This is one reason I’m so troubled by some events, certain unity movements in a city, pastors meetings, etc. If a pastor isn’t fully ready to resign his mission, to lose his salary, to surrender his sheep, to shut his church down, I have little interest in meeting. The cross demands everything. When pastors of a city gather around the cross and don’t focus on personal gain, revival will be at hand. Yes, many will be offended, but the Harvest will flood in!
False Love and False Grace
These beliefs are centered around self. The focus is our benefits instead of cross of Christ and instead of the harvest.
I’ve heard it said that we as Christians no longer have to confess our sins. False grace.
Tolerance does not equal love.
Mark 8:34 (NKJV) 34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Many in the church will be shocked to find themselves in Hell one day.
This is what God spoke to me after my life transforming encounter with the forces of Hell 21 years ago.
The false grace/false love messages are resulting in entire church congregations unwittingly buying a ticket to Hell, all while they lift their hands and worship Jesus and read their Bibles and pay their tithes. They have an imaginary salvation.
Jesus told five out of seven churches of believers in Revelation that they were lost, on the way to destruction. 5 out of 7 professing Christians were Hell bound! It’s horrific yet easy to believe that this ratio may be accurate in our churches today!
Leaders will most certainly be held accountable for this silent slaughter of God’s children.
It’s time to speak plainly about the truths of scripture, the severity of the hour and the mandate of obedience. Heaven and Hell lie in the balance.
Ephesians 5:4-6 (ESV) 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
The passage goes on to say…
Ephesians 5:10-11 (ESV) 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
We must discern, and then expose darkness. We must not become so focused on pleasure and enjoyment, especially as Christians. In fact, we can’t be primarily focused on being entertained in the name of God. We must take up our crosses, discern what is pleasing to God (not to us) and expose darkness!
Check out this verse regarding focus on self:
Romans 2:8-9 (ESV) 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,
This is the risk the false grace/false love movement presents. This is the fruit.
Watch what happens when true grace is in the equation:
Acts 4:32-35 (ESV) 32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
So, we see those in the church had great grace! Does that mean God’s judgment and holiness is no more? No way. Check out a couple of people who also had great grace on their lives:
Acts 5:1-11 (ESV) 1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. 6 The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. 7 After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” 9 But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.
Their disobedience in a season of great grace resulted in great judgment. And, then, fear hit the church.
We need this fear of the Lord again!
If we are to avoid a repeat of this, we must renounce the false grace/false love messages and sound the alarm of holiness and death to self!
When the cock crows, will you be running for your life as you curse yourself or will you be at the foot of the cross as the blood of Jesus pours out over you?
Will you be using God for personal gain and experience his judgment or will you embrace the fear of the Lord?
A crisis of the cross is coming to the church again.