Fighting On with the Lord of Hosts

INTRODUCTION

Christ is calling us to the spiritual warfare of prayer, fasting and suffering for his sake (Acts 5:41). Such militant action will only happen however as we are convinced that Jesus is truly the Warrior God (Ex 15:3; Jer 20:11). 

The Lord has recently been helping me overcome a personal resistance to talking about the Church as an army. 

First there has been the “defeat” of mainstream Christianity in the same sex marriage vote. On a natural level this seals the opinion of those in power that the leaders of God’s people are “yesterday’s men” and Bible-believing Christians are “on the wrong side of history”. 

The political resources available in an open democracy are clearly futile in halting the advance of godlessness amongst us.

We must discern from the ongoing retreat of the influence of Christianity in the public sphere that as the LORD of Hosts handed Israel over to heathen nations for defeat and exile so he has handed our nation over to dark powers.

To function as “soldiers” of Christ (Phil 2:25; 2 Tim 2:3; Ph 2) it is crucial we understand that the conduct of the army in which we fight is totally determined by character of the Commander whom we serve.

LORD OF HOSTS

279 times in OT

Lord of Hosts” is a fairly literal translation of Hebrew Yahweh Sabaoth; a title used for God 279 x in the Old Testament with the connotation to go forth or carry on war.

The NIV unfortunately loses this meaning with the translation, “LORD Almighty”.

Much closer is the sense, “Lord of Heaven’s Armies!” (NLT) or, “God of the angel armies” (The Message).  

The true God is Lord of all powers, seen and unseen (Gen 32:2; Josh 5:14; Isa 40:26; Pss 103:21; 148:2) and he demonstrates this repeatedly by giving victory in earthly battles (Deut 20:4); sometimes even against Israel (Am 3:13).

This Old Testament teaching is not the expression of a primitive spirituality Christians have outgrown. God’s own declaration in Isaiah makes this abundantly clear, “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name(Isa 54:5).

The Warrior actions of the Lord are an expression spousal intimacy! Whilst the language of Lord of Hosts is rare the New Testament (cf. Rom 9:29; James 5:4) the conviction of divine almightiness to fight for his people remains (2 Cor 6:18; Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:15; 21:22).

However the way God wars goes through a radical transformation in the person of Jesus.

JESUS IS THE LORD OF HOSTS

Lord of
HEAVEN and EARTH!

Christ recognised his Father as “Lord of heaven and earth” (Matt 11:25) and the Great Commission teaches “all authority” has now been given to Jesus (Matt 28:18). Has Christ’s disowning of political and militaristic conflict, “turn the other cheek”, consigned the notion of the warfare of the Lord of hosts to the dustbin of religious history (Isa 50:6; Matt 5:39; 10:35-45; John 18:36)? No!

For when John identifies the glory of Jesus with the God who appeared to Isaiah in the temple he identifies Jesus as “the LORD of hosts” himself (Isa 6:3; John 12:41).

Only when Jesus returns will it be manifest to the world that a human being is the divine Lord of Hosts waging the ultimate warfare to destroy all wickedness.

As part of the armies accompanying the Lamb his Bride combat is an essential part of her bridal character (Rev 19:8, 11-20). But I have so far omitted the crucial dimension that totally transfigures our perception and commitment to the wars of the Lord, the cross.

If Jesus is the Lord of Hosts then it is as the Lamb of God he wages the conclusive battle against evil.

He overcomes the enemies of sin, Satan and death by himself experiencing what it meant to be the enemy of God (Luke 10:19; Rom 5:10; 1 Cor 15:26; 1 Tim 5:14).

Christ conquers by suffering as God’s enemy cut off from his covenantal privileges as Son and Messiah and under a decree of utter destruction (Mark 15:34; Rom 3:25; Gal 3:13 cf. Deut 7:2; Isa 34:2).

Through his death and resurrection Jesus has won a total military triumph; ““When he ascended on high he took a host of captives…. he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” (Eph 4:8; Col 2:15).

As the infinitely jealous Bridegroom who has borne in himself “the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” (Rev 19:15) Jesus continues to wage the war of God on earth, through his saints (1 Tim 6:12).

WAR BRIDE

That under the Lordship of Jesus our warfare is spiritual rather than material only makes it more intense (Eph 6:12ff.). As the angel armies served the LORD of Hosts under the old covenant so the Church, raised up in union with them to the heavenly places, fights with a wisdom and passion which is divine (Eph 2:6; 3:10, 15 James 3:13, 17).

The massive cosmic shift in the character of this war is solely determined by the character of cross, because the context of this warfare is persecution.

Throughout the book of Revelation Satan and the beast are “allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them” (Rev 11:7; 12:17; 13:7). God’s majestic purpose in the outwardly successful advance of wickedness is that by blessing and not cursing his enemies we become increasingly worthy of being married forever to the all conquering Lamb (Luke 6:27-29; 23:34; 1 Pet 2:23; 3:9; Rev 19:7-8).

CONCLUSION

As Jesus himself was perfected only through the conflict of the cross (Heb 2:10; 5:9; 7:28) so the wisdom the Church needs to successfully advance Christ’s kingdom against evil powers comes only through sharing in the Lamb’s War (Eph 3:10).

New Testament Christians only ever make with divine power (2 Cor 10:3-5). Who wouldn’t agree with that?

But once we understand the prohibition against fleshly force this excludes not only the Crusades of yesteryear but every form of soft selling of the gospel that denies the crucified Lord.

Tragically however most of the Church is stuck in a Sunday School level of spirituality.

Instead of enlisting in the total War of the Lamb hordes of passive believers present indisputable evidence that we don’t understand what we are fighting for (Rev 19:11)!

On this matter however the prophetic testimony of both testaments is crystal clear.

Overwhelmed by his vision of the LORD of hosts in the Temple Isaiah knew the purpose of his conscription into divine service was to witness “the earth full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa 6:1ff; 11:9).

In like manner the apostle John, seeing the same glory centuries later (Isa 6:3=John 12:41), now understand this majestic glory was the manifestation of a personal name, the name of Jesus (John 1:14).

Whoever has a revelation of the name of Jesus as the crucified Lord of Hosts will fight on…to the very End (1 Cor 2:8).

However personally uncomfortable we may be with conflict, to share the cosmic revelation of the glory of the crucified Saviour is absolutely worth fighting for! Let’s fight on, whatever the cost.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”” (Rev 2:7). 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 31st January, 2018 |

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE YouTube or PODCAST: N/A |       |


Related Link: Nil

 

Saving Australia’s Day

INTRODUCTION

As a fun time to celebrate national achievements Australia Day is a beloved occasion for most of us. However an increasingly vocal and growing minority, including thoughtful Christians, say the Day needs to be shifted, scrapped or renamed. Aboriginal activists label the 26th January, when the first British settlers landed in 1788, as “Invasion Day”, the beginning of a land grab, massacres, rapes, genocide and so on.

These things really did happen and a “get over it” response hurts rather than heals multi-generational wounds. On the other hand I have no tolerance for the do-gooders who trumpet loudly an anti-racist position designed to impress us with their self-righteousness.

Every time I hear a mention of Yagan Square, celebrated as “Perth’s new beating heart” in the CBD, the tokenism makes me squirm. Yagan was a local Noongar tribal leader executed in 1833. After being killed his head was hacked from his body, smoked, preserved and sent to a museum in England as an “anthropological curiosity”.

Deliberately defacing the image of God cannot be atoned for by renaming a piece of land! There is something deeper in all this than politics and human emotion.  We need “the mind of Christ” about Australia’s Day (1 Cor 2:16).

ATTITUDE

Expounding Christlike thinking Paul exhorts us all, “in humility count others better than yourselves…. Have this mind among you, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:3, 5). Returning to Australia from overseas late in 2017 what I found most confronting was the loud, abusive and aggressive street language of the local Indigenous women. With their young males openly going through nearby letterboxes early in the morning it would be easy to be racist, without Jesus.

But racism can be very subtle. The pious attitude, “they can’t help it because they’re victims/we need to help them because we’re more privileged” is just a nice way of putting forward our sense of superiority. This penetrates deeply into the life of the Church; how many Indigenous pastors are leading white congregations?

It’s hard for Westerners not to think we’re better than others, for we brought civilisation and the gospel to this continent. There is however a spiritual path out of the superior/inferior dilemma.

Imagine life today if Japan had won WWII colonised Australia and made everyone use Japanese as a first language! This didn’t happen, but Jesus expected his followers to be dispossessed of family, friends and nationhood in a way which would enable us to empathise with those who have forcibly lost language, land and culture (Mark 10:29).

Dispossession is part of our identity in Christ (1 Pet 2:11). Only through such rejection can we discern our Father’s intentions for Indigenous Australians in his great plan for us all. To possess vision into how our Indigenous brethren are “better” than us (Phil 2:3) all our native myths must die.

MYTH AND MAKE-BELIEVE

Every nation needs a sustaining myth and here are some politically popular ones. The conservative celebration of our “Judeo-Christian heritage” and the progressive chant, “we are one of the most successful multi-cultural nations in world” are equally secular because neither of them dares to publically lift up the name of JESUS. But the dominant myth amongst our fun worshipping population is the myth of a “happy prosperous Australia”. Anything that get’s in the way of this myth, be it race, religion or ideology, better get out of the way. So much for Westernised myths, what about Indigenous mythology?

Aboriginal people love to remind us they are “the world’s oldest living culture (50,000 years).”  This is significant, not because the Indigenous had the smarts to live harmoniously with the land, but because God taught them how to survive in a harsh continent for so long, awaiting the coming of the gospel (Acts 17:26-28).

Leaving God’s grace out of the picture is just humanistic boasting. Nevertheless, something significant in Indigenous culture has survived centuries of Western indoctrination. When Yagan’s head was returned from the UK Noongar elder Richard Wilkes stated: ‘It is very important because …spiritually, once we rebury Yagan’s kaat (head) into the ground…the spirit of Yagan will rise up in and amongst us.’  The Indigenous people have faith that the fighting spirit and stance against injustice of their tribal hero will empower them once again. This is not a novel conviction.

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien agreed that the death and resurrection myths of the ancient world and tribal Europe prepared their peoples for the “true myth” of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Aboriginal mythic forms, like the death and return of Yagan’s spirit, are quite capable of conversion by the gospel.  As such our Indigenous people, much like folk in the Third World, remain a spiritually sensitive people.

But as long as mainstream Western culture sustains the myth that we can explain everything by natural-scientific causes our peoples can never comprehend the supernatural gospel.  As long as Australia believes, “‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’” (Deut 8:17) we are in spiritually blinded. Having said all this there must be Indigenous Christians who can lead the Church in our land into deeper things in God.

Surely seeing so many of their people excluded from the myth of a “prosperous happy Australia” gives them a prophetic edge over us. Our call is to recognise those with a double portion as more important than our own for the fulfilment of God’s plan for Australia (Isa 61:7). What is holding us all back?

DE-MYTHOLOGISING THE CHURCH

All attempts to sustain the memory of a Christian Australia are a heap of dead men’s bones that will not receive the Spirit of God.

To the contrary, let’s thank the sovereign Lord for progressively dispossessing us of our Christian heritage, for the myth of Christendom must die that the name of Jesus might live.

The power of the cross puts to death all historical reminisces, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, because on the cross God the Son was dispossessed of everything. In “becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13)

Jesus was stripped of his covenantal identity as an Israelite, Messiah, Son of God and of all human dignity (Ps 22:6). As Indigenous and non-Indigenous Christians meet in the One who was utterly dispossessed of everything for all of us a wonderful unity will emerge in Christ.  Once freed from the myths which “cling so closely” God can raise up a unified people, not so much for the re-evangelisation of Australia, but for the true evangelisation of our land (Heb 12:1)

CONCLUSION

Money, ideology and politics can never reconcile the enmity which only the blood of the cross has already atoned for (Col 1:20).

Once a “Christian nation” that embraced the historically inevitable extinction of its original peoples, Australia is now a nation where many are plotting the termination of the Church. Only if the diverse people of God see these older and more recent catastrophes through the lens of the cross is there any hope that the Australia Day written in heaven can come to pass.

God’s wonderful plan for all Aussies, ancient tribes and new (Eph 1:10; Rev 5:9), his plan which we might call “Australia’s Day” of salvation, awaits the emerging of a mature Church that can appreciate others are better than ourselves (Phil 2:3). May the Lord of all mercy grant us this gift. 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 26th January, 2018 |

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE YouTube or PODCAST: N/A |       |


Related Link: Nil

Fighting to the Very End

AND HONOURED TO FIGHT.

Readings: • Neh 4:10-20 | • Ps 35:1-10 | • 1 Tim 6:11-16 | • John 18:33-38 

INTRODUCTION

Australia Day next Friday will be full of fun and fireworks, but the day which most weighs on our national conscience does so because it honours those who fought for us in war (ANZAC Day).

If this is totally obvious to our natural senses why are so many Aussie Christians disconnected from the honour of joining in the fight of God?

We seem to be like Israel in Isaiah’s day; “There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to lay hold of you….” (Isa 64:7).

Jacob famously wrestled with the angel of the Lord and would not let go of him until he received a blessing (Gen 32:26 cf. Phil 3:12) but few today understand what it means to struggle with God to get a blessing.

Several decades ago a bishop asked me what some Pentecostals meant by an “aggressive faith”, no one would ask that question today because virtually all branches of the Church have been pacified by cultural correctness. On the one side dark forces have cowed believers into conforming to the ethics of the age. On the other side many are tired or dispirited in the fight against a seemingly irresistible tide of godlessness (cf. Rev 13:4).

We need a fresh revelation of the honour it is to contend with Jesus for the kingdom of God

(Matt 11:12; Luke 16:16; Phil 1:27; Jude 3).

CONFLICT AND CONTROVERSY

struggle agony & prayers

The New Testament takes it for granted that the Church is militant and on the offensive. Paul’s calls his co-workers “fellow soldiers” (Phil 2:25; Phm 2) and describes himself as “struggling with all Christ’s energy that he powerfully works within me” (Col 1:29). The word behind “struggle” here is the one from which we get our English “agony”. The prayers of the early Christians involved painful pleas for others (Col 4:12). In the Roman arenas those facing beasts or gladiators prayed anguished prayers, not for their own already forfeited lives, but for the salvation of their persecutors and the greater glory of God. Such a fighting spirit is still working today.

Alison: While she was still in full time secular work our previous pastor Alison fasted from dawn to dusk every day for a year for the salvation of her husband Robert. In her own words she did this because she was desperate and didn’t know what else she could do.

A friend of mine prayed all night in hospital for her husband whilst litre after litre of blood was transfused into his body. He survived and went on to an artificial heart then to an organic heart transplant and is still going years after his normal life expectancy has passed.

Spirit filled fighting women is the only reason these men are alive in the Lord.

We all have plenty of things worth fighting for: marriages, children, grand-children, friends, neighbours, workmates, health, finances……And the motivation for such our warfare is that the victory of Christ be visibly manifested in people’s lives.

The strength for this fight can only come from Jesus.

TESTIMONY OF JESUS

GOOD WARFARE, FIGHT & CONFESSION

Everyone who has a rich revelation of the utter goodness of the Lord’s fight readily enlists in his war against the demonic powers that destroy human life (1 Cor 9:7; 2 Cor 10:3; Phil 2:25; 2 Tim 2:3f.). Paul says, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare…. Fight the good fight of the faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Tim 1:18; 6:12).  The source of the dignity of the fight for God’s kingdom comes from the testimony of Jesus himself, as Paul goes on to make clear in his exhortation; “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession…” (1 Tim 6:13 cf. 5:21; 2 Tim 4:1).

When Pilate said to Jesus, ““So you are a king?””, Jesus answered, ““You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. (John 18:36-37 cf. Mark 15:2).

Jesus knew his testimony would mean being condemned to death, a death not for his own sake but for us and for the glory of God. At the moment of his supreme earthly weakness and vulnerability Jesus made the good confession to the ultimate truth that he was sent by God and in so doing gave honour to his Father. And in time the Father honoured Jesus by raising him from the dead (Heb 2:9).

We are called to share in the good confession and honouring of Jesus.

Everyone who owns the baptismal confession “Jesus is Lord” has the Spirit of Christ in them to fight the good fight and to lay hold of eternal life (cf. Rom 10:9-10; 1 Cor 12:3).

General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, really understood and lived these things. Here are his recorded words from his last public address (1912)

(first 55 seconds)


“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight

While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight
While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight
While there is a drunkard left,
While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets,
While there remains one dark soul without the light of God,
I’ll fight-I’ll fight to the very end!”

TODAY

Booth fought the social ills of his day in the power of God to the very end of his life; what is Christ calling us to fight against in our day. Drug abuse, the sexualisation of children, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking, marriage breakdown, the state of our Indigenous people, the needs of refugees, the cause of persecuted Christians, the lost state of all those who do not know Christ….

I want to illustrate the need for spiritual warfare by highlighting just one contemporary issue, cyber-bullying.

Newspaper headlines cried out for action when 14 year old “Akubra Dolly” Everett committed suicide after being mercifully harassed online. There were calls for social media companies to police their sites, the need for education in empathy and resilience in families and schools and so on.

These are worthwhile things but anything that leaves out Jesus cannot penetrate to the heart of social evils and bring healing.

Bullies are hooked on the evil pleasure they get in hurting others and the power they possess to incite depression and suicide is the power to sow shame.

Satan is the father of the degrading accusations that create shame, and the internet has become an agency for his evil demonic  hordes to spread vile filthy attacks against the tender confused consciences of a generation that knows nothing of the power of the name and blood of Jesus.

see (Gen 3:1ff; Zech 3:1ff; John 8:44; Eph 4:29; Rev 12:9-11).

The only way to overcome the sheer wickedness of this ultimate bully, the devil, is with the spiritual weapons of God’s Word and prayer.

We all instinctively know how evil it is for the strong to attack the weak.

A friend told me this story the other day.

When he was about 13 he went down the beach and came across a boy a couple of years older than him who was terrorising a girl by pushing her underwater. Straightaway something rose up in him and he punched the bully to the ground. We intuitively know that it’s a good thing for righteousness to fight unrighteousness, for justice to combat injustice, for holiness to tackle depravity (Phil 4:8).

How then is Satan strangling the Church keeping us from being a fortress of prayer and the Word bringing down the evil spiritual strongholds which surround us (2 Cor 10:3-5)?

The Bible’s greatest exhorter for us to fight the good fight puts the matter positively; “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Paul found that becoming a servant of the gospel imparts an incredible sense of honour that leaves no room for dwelling on the shames of the past (Eph 3:7; Col 1:23 cf. 1 Sam 2:30; John 12:26; 1 Pet 3:15).

The spiritual paralysis of the Church is a certain sign we are suffering from the same underlying condition that caused little Dolly Everett to kill herself.

By our failure to pray and give testimony to Jesus we show we are paralysed by shame; and the reason for this paralysis is that we have forgotten the power of the honourable name of Jesus (James 2:9).

Our prayers are heard only through the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14; 16:23ff; 2 Cor 1:19-21), and only in the name of Jesus can people be delivered from evil powers (Acts 4:7-12; 16:18).

It is only in the name = reputation of Jesus that the good fight can be fought. We must urgently turn to Christ!

Let me be personal.

It would be easy for Satan to accuse me by saying, “Who do you think you are to preach/pray/write/speak into the lives of others? Look at these things in your family, look at the multiple disasters in your ministry!

If I listened to these voices, and there’s been quite a few over the years, I would be completely paralysed.

But this is not a fight for my good name; it’s a fight about the name, authority and reputation of Jesus.

CONCLUSION

RELY ONLY ON THE NAME “JESUS”. & FIGHT IN THE STRENGTH OF GOD ALONE.

To fight the good fight we must understand the “signs of the times” (Matt 16:3), we must see that in his all wise purposes our heavenly Father has painfully allowed the names “Church”, “Catholic”, “Anglican”, “Evangelical” and so on to be dragged through the mud over issues to do with child abuse, domestic violence and gay marriage so that we might rely only on the name “Jesus”.

Our Father has allowed us to put on trial by media to bring us to a place of earthly weakness and vulnerability so we, like Jesus in his time of trial, might fight in the strength of God alone.

As Christ on the cross could depend only on the promises of his Father to overthrow the seemingly conclusive victory of the powers of evil, so we too must depend solely on God’s Word and prayer (cf. Ps 22:1= Mark 15:34; Luke 23:46 = Ps 31:5). 2018 is to be a year when we take up the good fight like never before.

A stark choice is set before us.

The New Testament holds up sober warnings to those who under the heat of battle abandon “the good warfare…. the good fight” and “the good confession” (1 Tim 1:18; 6:12).

The lukewarm (Rev 3:16), deserters from the faith (Gal 1:6; 2 Tim 4:16) and cowards to the cause of Christ (Rev 21:8) are in dreadful danger of being eternally dishonoured before the Father on the Day of Judgement (Matt 10:33).

But to fight for Jesus is an honour that infinitely exceeds that given to those who fight the wars of this world.

Jesus longs to share with us the honour of his death and resurrection (Phil 3:10)

When Jesus in great agony cried out to God in Gethsemane and from the cross (Mark 15:34; Heb 5:7-8) he was crying out for strength to fight to the very end, and he was heard by the Father.

This can be our prayer too (cf. 2 Tim 4:7-8).

If we ask for the strength to fight the good fight to the very end God will not disappoint us (Rom 5:5) 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 21st January, 2018 | St Marks

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE YouTube or PODCAST: 21st January. 2018 |       |


Related Link: Nil

Eastern Lightning: aka Church of Almighty God aka Church of the Gospel’s Kingdom aka The Gospel of the Descent of Kingdom


aka Church of Almighty God


aka Church of the Gospel’s Kingdom


aka The Gospel of the Descent of Kingdom


Cult publishes under these site:


www.holyspiritspeaks.org


www.hearthymn.com


@godfootstepsen


@churchAlmighty


channel: godfootstepsen


THIS MOVEMENT ARE ACTIVELY PROMOTING VIA FACEBOOK.

A Close Friend on mine was contacted via Facebook to connect with a women appearing on the surface as a believer Immediately upon accepting a connection the postings of this movement started coming my wife a a check in her spirit and asked me to look into these posts.

Ive research a couple of her posts and find shes pushing a cult movement pseudo christian Eastern Lightning (Chinese: 东方闪电; pinyin: Dōngfāng Shǎndiàn) 

About this movement: 

Eastern Lightning (Chinese: 东方闪电; pinyin: Dōngfāng Shǎndiàn) is a heterodox new Chinese Christian movement. Its official name is the Church of Almighty God (Chinese: 全能神教会; pinyin: Quánnéng Shén Jiàohuì), but it is identified by several other names, such as Church of the Gospel’s Kingdom (国度福音教会; Guódù fúyīn jiàohuì) and “The Gospel of the Descent of Kingdom”.

The group has been described as a cult and a terrorist organization.

The name “Eastern Lightning” is drawn from the New Testament, Gospel of Matthew 24:27: “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” 1)source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Lightning

APOLOGETIC REVIEW 

What is Eastern Lightning? | Article Link: carm.org

Beware of ‘Eastern Lightning’ | Article Link: christianapologeticsalliance.com

What Does the Almighty God Cult (Eastern Lightning) Believe? | Article Link: omf.org

Articles on this organisation

Inside China’s most radical cult | Article Link: telegraph.co.uk

Church of Almighty God or Eastern Lightning in Australia: Fears the terrifying Chinese cult is gaining ground | Article Link: news.com.au

Police arrest members of murderous cult who believe Jesus was reincarnated as a Chinese woman | Article Link: shanghaiist.com

China’s Deadly Lightning: Cult violence prompts pastors to ramp up doctrine—and work with state officials | Article Link: christianitytoday.com

A Field Study of “The Church of Almighty God” Cult | Article Link: chinasource.org

Inside China’s Jesus cult | Article Link: channel4.com

Chinese Police Arrest 18 Members of Banned ‘Female Jesus Cult’ | Article Link: breitbart.com

Church of Almighty God’ cult members sentenced in China | Article Link: ucanews.com

Videos and propaganda images of the Chinese Doomsday cult ‘Church of Almighty God’ | Article Link: china-underground.com

References   [ + ]

1. source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Lightning

A Song of Protest: a call for prophetic music

INTRODUCTION

I was deeply moved recently by reading a book about early Christian devotion to Jesus. In his letter to the emperor Trajan the Roman official Pliny (c.112 A.D.) records torturing and executing Christians who confessed that they “meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god”. Such devotion under pressure is common in scripture.

reformation in Christian music

David authors psalms whilst being pursued by enemies (ps 7, ps 27, ps 31, ps 34, ps 35, ps 52), Jesus and his disciples sung a praise hymn on the way to Gethsemane (Mark 14:26), beaten and placed in a dungeon “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25).

The climactic musical book in scripture runs with the blood of the saints; Revelation is punctuated with hymnic material  (Rev 1:5-6, Rev 4:11, Rev 5:9-10, Rev 7:11-12, Rev 11:17-18, Rev 15:3-4, Rev 19:6-8).

Such worship is deeply inspirational in a way grossly lacking in our churches.

I will never forget coming out of a Pentecostal Church as a new Christian and commenting, “We say ‘Hallelujah, Praise the Lord’ but our lives are not changed.”

I had recognised a disturbing disconnect between my public spiritual performance and holiness of life. Something weird often happens when people sing. During an internship placement whilst at theological college I was amazed to hear the congregation happily sing from a hymn I knew they would never consent to doctrinally. All this points to a need for a reformation in Christian music.

THE PROTEST OF PRAISE

The note I find to be almost completely absent from popular contemporary Christian music is one of protest. My thinking about praise as a protest was first triggered by reading an account of student revival in Ethiopia in the 70’s when that nation was under an anti-Christian Marxist dictatorship.

The believers started to write their own songs, some of which were designed to help them overcome the evils of materialism and secularism.

Such an ethical intent is usually absent from our normal congregational experience. Why aren’t our contemporary song writers exhorting us to beware the temptations of consumerism and immorality?

The answer is found in the exhortations of Paul about corporate praise; Eph.vs.15walk, not as unwise but as wise….be filled with the Spirit, vs.19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…. Col 3.vs.16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Eph 5:15, 18-19: Col 3:16-17).

The vertical dimension of thankfulness to the Lord is practiced in our churches, but the horizontal dimension of exhorting one another to godliness through song is absent because we lack godly wisdom.

Imbibing a culture which teaches happiness is to be desired and unhappiness avoided our song writers and “worship leaders” cannot impart a godly wisdom grounded in holy fear (Prov 9:10).

They lack the faith to teach us how we are to overcome the world (1 John 5:4).

Despite popular convictions of a renewal in Church worship the steep decline in holiness of life in Western Christianity testifies otherwise. In our spiritual infancy we must return to the teachings of scripture (1 Cor 3:1-3).

LAMENT AS THE PATHWAY TO PRAISE

Sixty seven psalms are defined as songs of lament1)Themelios-42-1.pdf pp.89ff..  

These are significant for us because they prophetically anticipate the sufferings, and subsequent glory, of Jesus (1 Pet 1:10-11). The psalms of lament must ultimately be understood as the words of him who “offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Heb 5:7).

However, Jesus’ songs of sorrow are a pathway to his song of praise. This is very clear from his use of Psalm 22. Christ’s ultimate lament, ““My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”” (Mark 15:34) is a quote from Psalm 22:1.

His joy in presently praising God in the Church, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you” (Heb 2:12) is a quote from Psalm 22:22.  The brothers of Jesus are intimately bound to his way of suffering and glory (Luke 24:26).

The only way to experience the riches of Christ’s glory is to walk the way of his suffering (Phil 3:10).

This great gospel truth must be expressed in songs of lament-praise in the Church. Christians under pressure have always understood this.

SHARE IN THE PROTEST OF THE CROSS

By exhorting, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name”, Hebrews 13:15 advocates a difficult and glorious way of life that denies the final authority of evil to impede the purposes of God.

Believing this is why I always begin my day with a song, however I’m personally feeling (cf. Eph 5:20; 1 Thess 5:18).

This lifts me up to share the perspective of heaven.

Revelation’s “new song/song of Moses and the Lamb” is sung by those who have “conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name” (Rev 14:3; 15:2-3).

The original beast was the Pharaoh of the exodus deliverance (Ex 15:1) and many beasts still roam the earth. 

Secularism, post-modernism, capitalist materialism, hedonism, sexual libertinism seek to devour God’s people.

So the Church today urgently needs a release of prophetic song that is a refutation and denunciation of the powers of evil in their cruel rule over human souls.

We need to have inspired words resonating with biblical truth to sing as an edification and protest against the spiritual harlotry that has so deeply infiltrated Western Christianity (cf. James 4:4; Rev 2:22; Rev 17:1-6). I desperately need this, and so do you!

CONCLUSION

Missionaries have long diagnosed Australians culturally conditioned apathy to ultimate issues as our most resistant stronghold to the gospel.

To be free from deep and painful concerns about eternity is deemed a positive attribute in our society.

Listen to the music and you will see that this spirit is running riot in our churches

Something encouraging however is stirring in the spirits of God’s. I recently received an email that read, “I struggle with how willing people are to be lukewarm.” Let me finish where I begun.

Pliny tortured and killed Christians not as criminals but as members of a “depraved, excessive superstition” uncompromising of the tolerant religious pluralism of his day.

The “Only Jesus is Lord.” people were politically incorrect in the worse possible way.

They were protesters against a worldview and form of civilisation whose agitations threatened to undermine everything of value to the Empire.

Time would prove Pliny’s verdict on uncompromising early Christianity to be correct.

I long for a time when the boundaries between world and Church will be so starkly visible once again (Mal 3:18).

But to facilitate my protest, and yours, we must ask the Lord to raise up gifted musicians who will give us songs of suffering-and-deliverance filled with genuine spiritual power, baptising the Church in the lament of the cross and the ecstasy of the resurrection. This will herald the dawn of a great revival. 

MESSAGE DELIVERED: 11th Jan, 2018 |

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE YouTube or PODCAST: N/A |       |


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References   [ + ]

1. Themelios-42-1.pdf pp.89ff.

How one pastor is responding to Australia’s redefinition of marriage

Campbell Markham, in Hobart, Tasmania
A Presbyterian pastor explains why he is relinquishing his status as a marriage celebrant

Dear Senator Brandis,

Today, with profound sadness, as the Governor General signs into law the redefinition of the institution of marriage in the Commonwealth Marriage Act, I resign my status as a Minister of Religion registered under the Act, and relinquish my Celebrant’s Number, T2816.

I thereby revoke my right to conduct weddings as a recognised agent of the Act, and sever any other official connection to it.

I RESIGN FOR THREE REASONS:

1) The “Commonwealth Marriage Act” is from today no longer concerned with marriage: with the exclusive, lifelong union of one man and one woman, freely entered into. Although the novel Act retains the word “marriage,” it now uses this word to refer to something very different to marriage, to something in fact repugnant to the nature and purposes of marriage.

Marriage brings together the two different and complementary sexes of humanity, and the two incomplete parts of the human reproductive system. The novel Act no longer recognises the unique importance of this union, but instead obfuscates and undermines it by applying the word “marriage” to the union of any two adults.

And marriage binds together and protects a man and a woman in sexual relationship, and the children that are very often born out of such a relationship.  The novel Act does not do this. On the contrary, it legitimises the removal of children from their natural parents.

2) The Sacred Scriptures clearly delineate what sexual activity God has determined to be right and wrong. Sexual intercourse was given by the Creator to one man and one woman joined in marriage. Fornication, adultery, prostitution, incest, and homosexual practice is forbidden as a misuse of our reproductive organs and sexual desires.

The novel Act, by contrast, places homosexual acts, forbidden by God, on a moral level with male-female married sexual intercourse.

3) The novel Act will be a root and tool of injustice.

It is not just for adults to unnecessarily give up their responsibility to love and raise the children that they conceive. In fact it is manifestly cruel to abandon one’s offspring in this way. The novel “Marriage Act” legitimises and institutionalises this injustice.

Nor is it just to unnecessarily sever a child from their biological heritage: from their natural family tree of parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The novel Act legitimises this injustice.

And it is not just to unnecessarily remove a child from the protection, love, and daily care of the mother and father who conceived and bore them. In better days our nation stood united against this kind of injustice, inflicted upon the children of the Stolen Generation, and the children of forced adoptions. The novel Act, rather than protecting children against this, actually institutionalises the destruction of this sacred parent-child bond.

For these reasons my conscience cannot permit me to remain an authorised celebrant of the novel “Marriage Act.” I cannot give any semblance of legitimacy to something so manifestly immoral and unjust.

My position is now this: I am sworn as a citizen and a Christian to obey the governing authorities of Australia. My highest allegiance, however, belongs to Jesus Christ, whom God has made King of kings and Lord of lords by virtue of his public resurrection from the dead, attested by scores of eye-witnesses. Where the laws of Australia contradict the laws of King Jesus then I must choose to obey Him.

THESE THEREFORE ARE MY INTENTIONS:

I WILL ONLY RECOGNISE MALE-FEMALE UNIONS.

1) Though same-sex couples will now “marry” under the novel Act, I will only recognise male-female unions.

2) For two thousand years it has been the privilege and duty of Christian pastors to marry those under their care. My calling and ordination to the pastorate compels me to go on with this duty. I will continue therefore to marry couples who can be rightly married, whether they are Christian or not, and will submit to whatever civil penalty may be attached to such action.

3) I will support those male-female couples who, for whatever reason, do not want to register their marriage under the novel “Marriage Act.” I will be ready to marry them in the sight of God and according to his laws, and will submit to whatever civil penalty may be attached to such action.

4) Love for my nation compels me to fight for the recovery of marriage: for the recovery of our understanding of what marriage is, for the sacred exclusivity of the marriage bond, for the permanency of marriage, and for the recovery of our responsibilities as husbands and wives for each other and the children that we may bear. This recovery work will likely take many centuries, there is no time to waste.

5) And love for my nation compels me to help ameliorate the damage that the novel Act must cause. Men and women who have forsaken their children will need to be called to repentance and healing, and will need to recover, if at all possible, their responsibilities to know, love, protect, and provide for their children. Children who have been unnecessarily removed from their natural parents experience a deep sense of pain, rejection, and loss, and will need to find healing and, wherever possible, reconciliation to their parents. Those who have given themselves to sexual acts that God has forbidden will also need to find his forgiveness and healing.

I will point all people to Christ. He can heal those who have been hurt and broken by the dissolution of marriage. He loves us, and died to set us free from all the painful and destructive effects of sin.

Today the bright star of marriage sets behind the dank horizon of blind and selfish populism. It is a day to weep. But it is not a day to despair. For marriage is obscured, not destroyed.

In time we will see again what today we despise. In time God’s gift of marriage will once again arise in the collective heart of our nation, to be respected and enjoyed for the incalculable treasure that it is.

For this bright distant dawn all Christians will work and pray.

Campbell Markham is a Presbyterian pastor in Hobart, Tasmania. 

Date-stamped: Dec 4 2017 | By: Campbell Markham | Article Title: How one pastor is responding to Australia’s redefinition of marriage | Article Link: mercatornet.com

Married for War

INTRODUCTION

I have long taught that the key to finding understanding, strength and growth in a Christian marriage comes from a revelation of the marital relationship between Christ and the Church, this is clearest in Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:31-32; “vs.31Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.vs.32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” The problem is that very few Christian marriages seem to be in living contact with this reality; Christians fail to see in the Spirit (cf. Rev 1:10; Rev 4:2; Rev 17:3; Rev 21:10) that as husbands and wives they are a part of something MUCH bigger than their own marriage. Few seem to enter into the vision of the glory and beauty of marriage the scripture presents.

There are a number of reasons for this disconnection. One is poor teaching in the churches, this may reflect the lack of a strong biblical-theological grounding amongst pastors and/or their own marriages do not powerfully share in and reflect the communion between Christ and his Bride the Church. This is especially true if and when there is conflict in marriage, the sharpness and intensity of painful relationships, which so often leads husbands and wives to distance themselves from one another makes it extremely difficult to discern spiritual realities within a marriage.

For example, whilst the scriptures plainly counsel us, vs.26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, vs.27 and give no opportunity to the devil…. vs.30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:26, 27, 30), many couples let hurt, resentment, anger, bitterness and so on stay in their hearts beyond the day on which conflict took place. This is very unwise, it is closer to the wisdom that is earthly and demonic than the wisdom which comes from heaven and pleases God (James 3:13-18).

Remembering that our marriages and meant to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church Paul makes this bold statement, vs.7Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. vs.8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, vs.9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, vs.10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph 3:7-10). What needs to happen if Christian marriages are to share in and radiate this glorious eternal wisdom?

REIGNING IN THE BATTLE

A battle has been raging on earth between the devil and God since the temptation of Adam and Eve in Eden (Gen 3). The Lord allowed Satan to enter Eden because God’s plan from the beginning was that he share his reign on earth with his people; with his Church, and so in Christian marriages.

There is an old saying, what God intended from the beginning is carried out at the very end of history. This is what we see revealed near the conclusion of the book of Revelation; vs.1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb vs.2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. vs.3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. vs.4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. vs.5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” (Rev 22:1-5). God’s sovereign reign over the universe will be shared with the followers of Jesus. This however is not simply something that will miraculously happen; it is something we are constantly being prepared for.

Whilst Genesis provides us only with an earthly perspective of this struggle the book of Revelation pictures God’s arch enemy, “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan” (Gen 12:9), as conducting a war from the heavenly places. Whilst the climax of this battle is not yet clear from a worldly point of view, the centre point was the struggle of Jesus with the powers of darkness recorded in the Gospels. Jesus prophesied of his victory at the cross, vs.31Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. vs.32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.vs.33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” (John 12:31-33).

The Old Testament text most quoted in the New Testament says this; vs.1The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” vs.2 The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty sceptre. Rule in the midst of your enemies!” (Ps 110:1-2). The Messiah, who we know is Jesus, will not simply reign over his enemies he will reign in the middle of his enemies. In God’s wise and glorious purposes sin, Satan and death are allowed to continue to operate in this time before Jesus returns so that the victory over evil achieved in the death and resurrection of Jesus might be revealed through his Church.

This is especially clear in the structure of the story of Revelation. 

When we come to read in Revelation 6 that it is Christ the Lamb who releases war and famine and disease on the earth our hearts have already been prepared for this vision of ongoing conflict because we know from earlier in the book that Jesus “has conquered” (Rev 3:21; Rev 5:5).

The Church is called to share in the victory of Christ in a battle that rages against God’s people until Christ comes again (Ps 2; Rev 2:27; Rev 11:7; Rev 12:5, 7, 17; Rev 13:7; Rev 16:14; Rev 17:4; Rev 19:11, 15, 19; Rev 20:8).

This makes Christians “overcomers/conquerors” (Rev 12:11; Rev 15:2;).

THE CONSUMMATING CONFLICT

FAITHFUL AND TRUE

The nature of the final great battle between Christ and the forces of evil is portrayed in an amazing and surprising way in Revelation 19. In the first part of the chapter there is a great celebration in heaven over the Great Wedding between Christ and the Church; vs.1After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,“ Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, vs.2 for his judgements are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.vs.3 Once more they cried out,Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.vs.4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, Amen. Hallelujah!vs.5 And from the throne came a voice saying,Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great.vs.6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. vs.7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; vs.8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. vs.9 And the angel said to me,Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the supper of the Lamb.And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.vs.10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19:1-10). This marvellous union is however for a majestic purpose, that the Church be joined with Christ as a Bride to fight and reign with him over all his enemies. This only becomes clear in the second part of Revelation 19.

vs.12Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. vs.12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. vs.13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. vs.14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. vs.15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. vs.16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. vs.17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, vs.18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.vs.19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. vs.20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. vs.21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and mall the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Rev 19:11-21).

The parallels between the nuptial scene in the first part of Revelation 19 and this section makes it clear that the Bride of the Lamb fights with Word as part of his army. In Revelation 19:8 “it was granted her (the Bride) to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” whilst in 19:11 “the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure” follow the rider on the white horse, who is Jesus. Also, the deeds of the saints are “righteous”, so they can share in the warfare of Christ who “in righteousness he judges and makes war” (11).

He is called “Faithful and True” (v.11; 3:14, “faithful and true witness”) and throughout Revelation the saints as the witnesses of/to Christ are qualified by their testimony (1:2, 9; 2:13; 6:9; 11:3, 7; 12:11, 17; 20:4).

All this means that the Church most clearly knows herself as the Bride in the midst of spiritual conflict. These realities are known in marriages in the same sort of way.

WAR ZONE

As the Church exists on a continuous war zone so does every Christian marriage.

This is a spiritual war, it is not what people call the “battle of the sexes”, a fleshly struggle over whether a man or a woman is the boss of a marriage.  

Things are much more spiritual than this; as Paul says, vs.3For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. vs.4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:3-4).

Marriage is always a war zone because things like sickness, financial stress, family pressures, sexual issues… are places where spiritual warfare happens as the devil tempts us into conflict, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness and so on.

God however has a deep purpose in allowing painful situations in Christian marriages, as the story of the unfolding war between the Lamb and the dragon/Satan/ beast in the book Revelation brought clarity and perspective to the churches about the goal of God in their suffering, a call to covenant faithfulness (1:9; 2:2-3, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12), this is God’s higher purpose through marital conflict today.

This involves sharing in the way of the cross through humble submission to one another and prayer together;  cf. the introduction to Paul’s section on marriage in Ephesians 5, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (v.21).

What does this look like in practice?

EXPOSURE

PROUD OR HUMBLE.

We are naturally proud but most of us are not in a hurry to be humble.

If however the first experiences of shame were accompanied by cover up (Gen 3:7) the Lord has ways of stripping off our protective devices to expose the things we are ashamed of. His most effective way of doing this in a marriage is conflict.  

If you want to know what you’re really like in your heart have a look at yourself when you are having an argument with your husband or wife.

A friend of ours didn’t quite know what she was saying when she remarked that all the sickness that was around in our wider family, including with Donna, was a part of spiritual warfare and a sign that God was going to do something powerful in Myanmar through our teaching.

Sickness is one thing, and all you can do about it is to trust God, but conflict in marriage involves a third party, your spouse.

We should have hardly been surprised then when Donna had a serious falling out; the issue at hand was trivial, but I became angry and Donna started to feel useless and was crying.

Situations like this expose our immaturity, and there are two possible ways to deal with them.

We can either stay convinced the other person is wrong and I am right, or we can treat them as a God  given opportunity (kairos) to confess weakness, that we are in great spiritual need and humbly ask Christ for help through prayer. The promise is clear, “vs.6God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.vs.7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:6-7).  

When we take this path we receive spiritual insight into something much bigger than ourselves.

Earlier in this chapter James says, “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions/evil desires are at war within you?” (James 4:1)

It is only when we have passions and desires that are greater than our selfishness and insecurities can we through love and sacrifice share in the victory of the Lamb of God over every evil power.

Our passions and desires for Christ’s presence in the world through our marriage must be greater than anything; “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24)

Decades ago I remember going to a wedding that had this part of scripture on the order of service; Eph 4 vs.32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 5: vs.1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. vs.2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Eph 4:32 -5:2).

The revelation of “the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.” (Eph 3:10) happens in a Christian marriage when husband and wife settle their conflicts in a way that is informed by and reveals the gospel. Such a beautiful and glorious wisdom reflected from a marriage to the evil powers in the heavenly places makes known to them in the here and now that the time of their final defeat is near. This is a statement of great spiritual authority. No wonder marriages are under constant attack by the evil powers.

FIGHTING TOGETHER IN CHURCH AND MARRIAGE

Christ’s Word to the Church as his Bride will always be his word to a Christian marriage.

As the Church must listen to, “the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of prophecy.” (Rev 19:10), so there must be a prophetic dimension to every Christian marriage.

The climax of prophecy in scripture is the book of Revelation, where we are repeatedly that John the seer was “in the Spirit” (Rev 1:10; Rev 4:2; Rev 17:3; Rev 21:10) and received insight from God about what was happening in the spiritual conflict between the powers of darkness and the Bride of Christ.

When we follow the example and inspiration of the prophets who call the Church to pray in the Spirit in this way the reality of the End-time conflict in which we are all engaged becomes increasingly real.

Because I am a difficult person to live with over the years Donna has had to say to me from time to time, “I’m not your enemy”.

Some years ago Donna and I went on a trip together to visit the sites of the 7 churches of the book of Revelation, and then to go across to the island of Patmos where the apostle John had been imprisoned and where revelation had been written.

I remember being in bed with Donna early one morning on the Turkish coast. Even though she was asleep, she was radiating her usual extremely attractive personal presence.

In the midst of this awareness of my mortal wife the Lord began to speak to me as so he often does of eternal things.

It became crystal clear to me that Donna is not a corrupting influence in my life but a sign and symbol of the eternal incorruptibility of the Bride of Christ.

The great Christian writer C.S. Lewis once described marriage as two friends standing shoulder to shoulder and staring at a common horizon.

The common horizon is the future glory of the marriage of Christ to the Church. In truth however all the glory belongs to Jesus, who as the Lamb of God laid down his life to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Nothing can add to or take away from the sacrifice and power of the blood of the cross, but the Lamb of God calls us to join with him, as his Bride the Church, and in our marriages, with him in his great war against all the powers of evil.

To see such things in the Spirit is to enter into the vision of the glory and beauty of marriage the scripture presents; which is indescribably wonderful.

MESSAGE DELIVERED:  2017 | Myanmar

Author: Dr. John Yates


MESSAGE PODCAST: N/A |   


Related Link: Nil