Life and Peace

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Life and Peace

Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White

Sunday 16th May, 2021

As we were worshipping on Wednesday night, I felt like I was being taken into another place. 

I thought I could hear an orchestra at one stage.  Maybe it was just the Holy Spirit doing something supernatural with Cheryl’s violin.

And then I thought I could hear bag pipes, of all things.

But it wasn’t just about the sounds.  It was the presence God.

What I really sensed was being lifted out of the natural realm into the spiritual.  

I know we often feel that on a Sunday morning as well.

I realised right at that moment what I had to talk about this morning.

I need to be reminded – so maybe many of you do as well – that we are always meant to dwell in that place of the spirit – not just in a worship service – but in every day life and every day circumstances. 

Galatians 5:25

New King James Version

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

When we live in the spirit and walk in the spirit, we’re talking about living a supernatural life.  

That’s what we are called to. 

That’s why we call ourselves a Pentecostal Church, because we celebrate living as people who are filled with the Spirit of God, just as the disciples were  filled with the Spirit at Pentecost.

Just like them, we are also filled with resurrection life – we are a people who carry the fullness of God on the inside.

And there are a number of scriptures that declare that truth and reality.

For example:

Ephesians 3:19-21

New King James Version

“to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

I never get sick of hearing those few verses. It washes me with the truth of who we truly are together as the church of Jesus Christ.

As we were worshipping the the other night, I thought – this is where we are headed.  We’re moving towards a fuller experience and expression of the supernatural life – and a much fuller expression of the presence of God within us.

We are going see the presence and power of God going before us.

Isn’t that what we are believing for? To be revived spiritually? To see the church rise up and be empowered to really make a difference in our world?  To break through into the realm of miracles and healing and most importantly of all – salvations!

In the end it’s all about souls being saved.  More and more people entering into eternal life.

Jesus promised us in:

John 14:12

New King James Version

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

What He is implying here about going to His Father – is that He knew that it would be for our benefit because then the Holy Spirit would come upon us.

This promise of greater works is still to fully unfold.  And I think it’s going to align with a greater and progressive revelation of the Holy Spirit on our part.

I was reminded of the time when Israel entered into another great promise from God.  He promised them a brand new land – a land flowing with milk and honey.

As that promise begins to unfold, we find Joshua and the people of Israel standing before Jericho – preparing themselves to take the city – Joshua has this vision.

Right at the end of Joshua chapter 5.

Joshua 5:13-15

New King James Version

The Commander of the Army of the Lord

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?”

14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?”

15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.”

That’s all it says for that moment. That’s the end of the chapter.   There is more to come – but that supernatural moment closes the chapter.

I know that the original manuscripts didn’t have chapters and verses, but whoever placed a break there, I think they knew this was a moment in its own right – and needed a decent pause.

Joshua was a man who sought the presence of God for his life.  He knew that the presence of God around his life and the life of Israel was vital. In fact it was imperative.  

And because he was open to the spirit realm, his eyes were open to see this vision of an angel – the commander of the Lord’s army.  Or perhaps it was the Lord Himself.  We don’t know.

But Joshua’s response was to worship.  And when Joshua asked him, what are you saying to me right now – what is your word for this moment – the commander of the Lord’s army simply says – this is holy ground – take off your shoes.  

It’s similar to what happened to Moses when He encountered God at the burning bush.

There is more to come in the next chapter of the story.  

But I felt the Holy Spirit saying to us through this – before and above anything else, we just need to surrender ourselves in worship – as God reveals Himself – His presence – His Anointing – just position yourself on the Holy ground where you stand.

Stop and remember that God is with you.  His Holy presence is everything.

And that vision of a Man standing there with a sword drawn in his hand….  How good would that make you feel, when you knew he was on your side?

Especially as you’re about to face a huge battle.

If that was me – and an angel said – as the Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come – I’d be like – every weight and anxiety would be lifted from my shoulders right there.

Maybe that is you this morning.  Maybe you’re facing something pretty big in your life and your family right now.  Well get a vision of the Commander of the Lords army standing before you with his sword drawn.  Let him fight for you.  Let God’s army go before you. 

I reckon that verse about whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven…  well, we can bind the devils plans here and loose the armies of heaven on our behalf.  

We can command mountains to be cast into the sea.

A big part of it is seeing it first of all in our own mind and heart.

Chapter 6 then tells the story that we all know well.  The Lord tells Joshua to send out the priests with their ram’s horn trumpets.  The priests head up what is a supernatural strategy to a miracle that happens before their eyes.

They lead the march around the city, blowing the trumpets – once a day for six days.  

They are stepping out in the natural first – taking authority over that city by marching around it.  But there’s so much more going on spiritually.

Then on the seventh day they march around seven times and the people give up a tremendous shout – and the walls of the city fall to the ground – supernaturally – making a way for the men of war to have victory over the enemy.

What a great example of the people of God living and walking out a supernatural life!

As we gather together to worship –  whether it’s in a dedicated worship gathering, or together as the body on Sundays – as we declare the word of God – and share communion together – dedicate our children to the Lord – and all of that – and meet in small groups to pray and intercede – and seek the Holy Spirit for how we can impact the community we live in…

We are walking in a supernatural strategy – we are standing on holy ground – and we will see walls breaking down and our spiritual enemy being defeated. 

Are we all in agreement for that?

I’ve always believed we are called to be a territorial church.  But the territory we are taking is spiritual.

So the New Testament scripture that jumps out at me for this morning is:

Romans 8:5-6

New King James Version

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

The flesh is talking about our human nature – the earthly, natural part of our makeup.  Of course it talks about our physical flesh too – but it includes all of our natural being, apart from God.

Those without Christ live according to their natural man.  That’s all they know to do.  And they set their minds on their natural life – their natural circumstances – all the things that are going to make their natural self more satisfied, more happy, more content…

And the terrible tragedy is that even as they face traumatic circumstances in life, all they have as resources to deal with it are natural answers – only what they can find within themselves.

We’re all living in a natural world – we all have natural needs and desires.  And being a Christian doesn’t mean you are shielded from tragedy and grief.  

But I think the key here for us this morning, is what are we setting our minds on?

Are we setting our minds on all the chaos in the world?  Are we setting our minds on all those issues that rise up because very small minority groups are offended? 

Are we setting our minds on the ever changing political landscape?  The endless fall from grace of men and women in high places?

We need to not be ignorant – but the world has gone mad.  

Are we going to set our minds on a mad and crazy world – or are we going set our minds on the most loving Father we could ever wish for?  And a Saviour who was willing to sacrifice His own life to pay the price for our sin – and to reconcile us to our Father?

Are we going to set our minds on the Holy Spirit’s indwelling comfort, power and Anointing – and realise that the best place we could ever position ourselves is bowed down in worship with our shoes removed as we stand on Holy ground!

Our minds are not just our thought processes.  The mind here refers to not only what we think about, but what we feel, what drives us, what cries out from the depth of our being. 

I feel that the Holy Spirit is saying to us this morning, treasure what you have in the spirit.  Live according to the spirit.  Set your mind always on the things of the spirit.

Philippians 4:8

New King James Version

Meditate on These Things

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

I for one know I spend too much time meditating on news reports, political situations, worldwide events – and there is absolutely no virtue and nothing at all praiseworthy in it.

We need to medicate and think on things that bring life and healing and hope – especially when they are things that are connected with the goodness of God and His presence in our life.

Why?

Because to be naturally minded is death.

Proverbs 14:12

New King James Version

“There is a way that seems right to a man,

But its end is the way of death.

 We can find ourselves thinking thought processes that seem right to us – but it’s just the flesh – the old carnal, natural habits of our previous life.  It’s not who we really are – but it can rob us of our joy and peace when we get caught in that place.

The great news is we don’t have to get caught out.  We don’t have to be robbed.  We have the Holy Spirit with us always – to help us in every aspect of living an abundant life.

And I don’t mean an abundance of money or things.  I mean an abundance of love, deep joy, peace, contentment, true meaning…

So then, to live and walk in the spirit means that you can walk in truth.

John 16:13

New King James Version

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

It’s not about what seems right to us. It’s about the truth!

One of the tragic signs of a naturally minded man is his vulnerability to deception.  

Everything will be alright…. There’s nothing after death…. All religions lead to the same place….  

And the worst thing about deception is that those who are deceived have no idea that they are.

Even as Christians, we need to walk so closely with the Holy Spirit, because only He is the source of Truth.  He will even reveal things that are to come.

Secondly, the Holy Spirit reveals your true identity.

Romans 8:16

New King James Version

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”

When you know who and whose you are – it brings the greatest peace and a solid sense of identity.  

And the other part of that journey is then knowing what you are here for.

The first few chapters of Ephesians speak powerfully about both our identity and our destiny.

Ephesians 1:11

The Passion Translation

“Through our union with Christ we too have been claimed by God as his own inheritance.[a] Before we were even born, he gave us our destiny; that we would fulfill the plan of God who always accomplishes every purpose and plan in his heart.”

Ephesians 2:10

The Passion Translation

“We have become his poetry,[a] a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!”

Ephesians 3:20 – which I read before, but now in the  Passion Translation:

The Passion Translation

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.”

So God gave us our destiny before we were born.

And I love how that ties in to those three words that accompany our name as a church – Born For More!

There’s a plan – God’s plan and purpose for our loves.  Our lives are like a poem that’s written by God, but still being revealed to us.

What He has planned will exceed our wildest imagination.  And if we want to pray the Word of God over our lives, as we should – then we can pray for His miraculous power to constantly energise us.  

We need that. There are too many things that want to drain us.  We need to. Be energised with the truth.

We’re going through these aspects the Holy Spirit’s influence on our lives really quickly…. But the word says He is our Teacher, our Comforter, our Counsellor, our Guide.

He will empower you to share Jesus.  To share the gospel with others.

But he promises to empower us with more than words.

1 Corinthians 2:4

New King James Version

“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,”

1 Corinthians 4:20

New King James Version

“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.”

We can see how living and demonstrating this supernatural life is just what is expected of us.  It’s not meant to be something unusual.

The  supernatural life is meant to be our regular and usual life.

I could go on for the rest of the day about what the Holy Sprit and His Anointing upon our lives means.

Maybe we’ll flow on with more next week.

But to close this morning, I think we could do no better than to pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon us afresh – to cause us to live and walk in the spirit – to be filled with all the fullness of God….  

I’m not telling you to take off your shoes – you can if you like – but I feel as though we are standing on Holy ground.

We have God’s angel army all around us – with swords drawn.

Why don’t we all stand as I pray.


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