Listen to the message
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Series: Kingdom Congress
Sun am 12 October 2014 – Alan Scotland
(Jer. 29:12-14); (Matt. 10:16); (Mark 9:1-13); (Mark 8:34); (1 Peter 2:9); (John 8:31-32); Mark 3:1-6;
(2 Tim. 3:5-7); (Eph. 1:18); Josh. 24:15; Matt. 6:33; Rom. 1:16; (Phil. 1:6); (Matt. 16:18)
God is still on the throne there is absolutely no doubt about it. He has not winded us like robots or clockwork machines. He has given us a free will but He sought to work with us in the most powerful way to transform our thinking and change our direction for the better. He never ever promised that it will be easy. That is why one of the trophies of grace that we have is we are overcomers not victims. A victim-mentality does not belong in the Kingdom. We may have become a victim but then the Lord has turned us into victors. This is the reality of the Kingdom. We are being trained and schooled how to rule whatever the circumstances.
Church is wonderful, meetings are glorious. The reality is that He put us in the world like lambs amongst wolves (Matt. 10:16). You think that is unfair? It is not about fairness. Jesus came into the world with the one intention to go through suffering and death, and show you that this really does work. Love is stronger than death (Mark 9:1-13; Mark 8:34). God is greater in His goodness than the devil in his evil. We are of a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9). God really means business. There are more with us than there are with evil. If the truth has set you free you are free indeed. That is why we are overcomers because we are of the Christ of the resurrection. You cannot be of the resurrection unless you understand that death has to serve the purpose. Suffering has to add to us – not subtract from us. If we are going to be pure gold and not tinsel, we ought to say “Even against all odds, I believe God is for me, God is with me, God is in me, and that whatever might come I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”.
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there…..Then Jesus said, “stretch out your hand!” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. (Mark 3:1-6). What a wonderful story! You come to the meeting and God turns up, a miracle is taking place and people are captivated by the demonstration of God’s love. Yet others go out deepening in their darkness and plotting to destroy Him. Do not be naïve. Do not allow your religiosity to get in the way of your spirituality. Religiosity has a form of godliness but denies the power of thereof (2 Tim. 3:5-7). Religion that looks right and talks right and shows itself to be right when it’s very positioning is wrong. This story is a demonstration in the physical of what is happening in the spiritual. There is more going on than your natural eyes can see. That is why when we come to Christ God opens the eyes of your understanding because He wants us to be mature (Eph. 1:18). One of the key characteristics of maturity is that you can see clearly and differentiate between what is right and what is wrong, what is spiritual and what is religious. You have to be very careful. There are so many manufactured copies of the real thing. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world is walking physically on terra firma, is coming into the house that ought to belong to Him, the synagogue. Jesus comes into the synagogue knowing full well all is not right. He is determined to fulfill the will of the Father. In His heart is a heart of compassion even in His anger even against those who have become religious nutters, respectable but so religious that they cannot see the real thing when it comes. He loves them and He is angry with them because they stand in the door and will not let anybody through in the Kingdom. They are the biggest turn-offs to the things of God.
I want to talk about a human encounter with a divine command. It is neither about “churchianity” nor your belief systems; it is about God’s interest, God’s agenda, God’s heart for your life, for your generation and for your nation; God’s heart for the world. A divine command is going to be issued and the human response is important. When men and women get their hands on religion one of the first things they often do is to turn it into an instrument for controlling others. There is so much manipulation of people taking place in the name of Christianity and God does not like it. This man is in the synagogue with a withered hand, his usefulness is diminished, and he is not working to full potential. He is in the house of God. It is a hot-house; it has its own diseases. It prohibits full potential and replaces reality with fiction. They are making out that God is with them but they want to destroy the gift of God in Jesus Christ.
We are confronted in the Synagogue, in the House of God with contesting of God’s agenda and the greatest inhibiter of progress is not the devil, it is ourselves. We are shocked out of complacency; control freakism. We do not want to come near this because we want it to be tidy. We do not want to believe there could be weaknesses in my life, in your life. Of course there are! We are who we are by the grace of God but we must not frustrate the grace of God. We must work with the grace of God. We must allow God to keep us in His hands so our heart is supple, so we can flow with Him, turn with Him, change with Him. It is easy to become rigid and just go through the motions. God has given us the antidote to everything that will diminish us, everything that will shrivel us, everything that will hold us back. This is what the Lord requires of you, that your meat and drink become the truth of His word, the reality of His kingdom. We do not realize who we really are. We represent the greatest power in the universe. If you do not know it, the devil does. You are never too young and you are never too old to serve the purposes of God. Flexibility is what the Lord is looking for in this church, the ability to be able to turn and to move at the command of the Lord to a whole new phase. It is not going to be an option, it is a command. Repentance is not a thing of the past; it is the most well worn tool of the Spirit to help us to stay on the cutting edge. It is ok to use the name “father” as long as the children do not remain immature. Be a father in your own right. Let the younger generation come forward. Do not you use the word “father” wrongly. This is where the command comes. The Lord wants to deal with that which has sought to wither the church’s progress. It is a divine command to liberate a man from a diminished existence. He asks the man to rise and come forward. It is a command. What if the Lord is commanding you to stand up and be counted? Whatever the hostility, whatever the challenging circumstances? What if the Lord is asking you to do something about your destiny? Now is the day of your breakthrough. Now is the time of your salvation, now is the time that is acceptable.
There is no question that the Lord has plans for us and I know it is so that we will not be diminished. We can be the most powerful where we are the most challenged. What does the Lord require of you? It is time for change. God is going to do something radical amongst you and it is going to be for the good, not the bad. Change does not mean you despise the past; you enhance an echo into today’s world, the voice of God that came to establish you in the first place. The command that initiated your beginnings in God was a command to repent, to change the way you are thinking.
We must not remain passive; we are a people of the living active voice of God. It is time to be more radical and upfront with the change God wants to bring. He is calling for a response. It is a living active voice and we must not remain passive. This generation has become more passive because it has become more visual in its technology. You are more a spectator that a participator. The Church has become much more passive. When it comes to the message of the kingdom it is not an option, you have to obey. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt.6:33). God demands that in the very area you are contested in, to give it back to Him so that He can release you to your full potential. True faith is a commitment to the highest authority is your life.
Reach out! Break out! Rise, come forward; stretch out! God is the God of the impossible. Lord, make me prisoner of Your purpose and then I will be free. Religion is addictive. We have to stop reacting to the stern voice of God to change us and we have to start co-operating. Stop the pride. It is the main characteristic of the prince of this darkness. Pride is not eternal, humility is eternal. There’s the Lamb and there’s the Lion.
When the Lord spoke to this man no matter his past circumstances, his disappointments; boldness came over him and he stretched his hand. I am asking you to deal with that which withers you and robs you of your full potential. I am asking this church, one by one, hand by hand, shoulder by shoulder, heart by heart, to stand before the Lord and deal with the issue that robs you of the fulfillment of what He has for you. What He has started He will complete (Phil. 1:6). “I will build my house and it will not be in defensive mode but it will aggressively take forward the message of the Kingdom” (Matt. 16:18).