THE GOSPEL CAN BREAK THE SATANIC BLOCKADE

gospel_unleashed“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thess 2:18).

In this verse you see the apostle Paul himself was hindered from being able to minister to the the saints for a period of time. He literally says that Satan cut in front of him impeding the ministry of the gospel. Satan will stop at nothing when it comes to hindering the message of the gospel. Satan blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:3-4) and he takes them captive at his will (2 Tim. 2:26).  Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can break open the prison cells of those captive to sin and remove the darkness of their hearts by its all-powerful light. The gospel has power in and of itself; Paul calls it, “the power of God unto salvation.” (Romans 1: 16).

Satan is an enemy of Jesus Christ and anyone who serves him and many Christians today are being hindered by the devil especially those in ministry. The obstacles for unbelievers is one thing but hindrance of believers in Jesus is a much longer list. Today, divisions in churches, distractions of this world and depression of the emotions block the furtherance of the gospel. I also believe the gospel is being hindered because people are getting “spiritual” feeding from false ministers who have distorted the gospel rather than the personal study of the Bible under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (Gal 1). The gospel is an awesome power against the forces of darkness. Many people look at the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 as something for personal protection but they forget that the armor has shoes that are called “the gospel of peace.” (Eph. 6:15). So what we stand upon; what we move in, what we walk in, what we run in-is the gospel.  This understanding gives great clarity to our mission. Everything we live for is Christ and his gospel. As I’ve said before to others it’s time for us to use the weaponized version of the Bible (Heb. 4:12). This means to unleash the gospel in all its force and full strength by speaking clearly and forcefully the truths of the gospel and letting the Holy Spirit have his way.

I believe that The Lord whispered in my heart a few weeks back something to the effect that if we are going to stop the tide of evil that is sweeping across this land we are going to have to have the attitude “All for the gospel. All for Christ.” Only those that have surrendered to the gospel can call for the surrender of others to the gospel. And no doubt the gospel is an unconditional surrender of the sinner to the demands of the gospel.

Our strength, our fortunes, our very lives must be offered as a sweet smelling savor in sacrifice in order for the gospel to take its full affect. There is no other way. You don’t have to read the Bible for long to see that the men and women of the first century church were deeply and radically committed to Christ. The apostle Paul had a motto, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  (Phil 1:21).  And I say, it is impossible for the gospel to be spread without a complete and total willingness to give everything for the gospel by every individual who calls himself a Christian.

The gospel is not just an idea but it is the idea of God. It is the genius of God that seems like foolishness to the world (1 Cor.  1:18, 25). There is nothing that can be compared to the gospel. The reason for the rise of Islam in the world today is because of the reasons that I’ve stated above. If the plain gospel is not preached it is giving Satan liberty and license by both spiritual and natural enemies to terrorize the world.  Satan is a master at religion.

The Bible says he has his own ministers he even has his own churches. They appear to be Christian but they are not (2 Cor. 11:13-14). One man said years ago the one thing that’s worse than a world without the knowledge of God is a world with a perverted knowledge of God. We cannot defeat the foes of the gospel through the methodologies of man. It is ridiculous at best and satanic at worst! When Peter thought like men think he was called Satan (Mt 16:23). Jesus would say no less of those who garble and mangle the preaching of scripture and the gospel. This world system dominated by sin and Satan are much too powerful and only the Son of God could defeat them when he died on the cross and rose from the grave.  We cannot lay claim to his promise, “I have overcome the world.” if we do not preach the gospel (John 16:33).  We will be hindered and miserably defeated. May God help us today.

YOUNG CREATION AND THE NEW YOU

a-new-earth-and-heaven“The Creator of Heaven and Earth”

Before I move on in this series on the Apostles Creed, I want to point out that a true understanding of creation will give a clear focus on biblical salvation.  Salvation is by grace. It is not a process it is a miracle.  It happens as an event by grace not a progressive evolution of works. Scripture also uses Earth’s birthday as an analogy for salvation and calls it “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17).  I do not think that is a coincidence. It is the new creation of the world of our hearts, souls and minds in which old things pass away and all things become new. This is only a work God can do by grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ.

It is uncanny how the New Testament alludes to the old Creation in teaching a New Creation theology. Matthew 1:1 speaks of what is translated “the genealogy of Jesus Christ” or the record of his human ancestors.  That is the context of that passage. But the KJV uses “the generation of Jesus Christ” and the word used in Greek for generation is “genesis.”  The Holy Spirit is showing us that new thing promised in the scriptures (Isa. 42:9; 43:19) was  happening in the confusion and emptiness of human hearts (Gen 1:2; Eph. 2:1-3) by the coming of grace and truth in Jesus  We also see the comparison of Adam with Christ (Rom 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15: 45-49).

John starts out his gospel referencing God’s speaking the world into existence saying, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1) and then ends it with, “It is finished” (John 19:30) looking back on how God completed the Creation (Gen 2:1).  It is not a stretch, that there are seven signs in John’s Gospel looking at the days of creation and when God “rested” and the eighth day or miracle is the resurrection of Christ which number signifies newness or the new creation. Many a preacher has spoken on how Jesus breathed on the disciples, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22) which sounds exactly like when God breathed into Adam, “the breath of life” in Genesis 2:7. I thought it profound when I read in one place how that when Adam and Eve fell, “their eyes were opened” (Gen 3:7) to the knowledge of good and evil and that was paralleled with the story of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and how “their eyes were opened” to the wonderful revelation of Jesus (Luke 24:31) .

As Creation was entirely the work of God, solely by the power of God-so is salvation. He is the one who creates a new heart and a new spirit by gospel preaching. Paul declares the very first words of God used in narrative, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3). God spoke with sublime power and authority and it happened.  He says, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6NLT).  God acts in power. He speaks his Word. In the beginning God. In the beginning was the Word with God. The Word was God. He called into existence something that did not exist before-not something that developed on its own. The universe owes its existence to the Word of God.

This Word that is spoken to-day is THE GOSPEL.

“It is the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:3NIV).

It brings light where there is only darkness.

The gospel says, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:14NIV).

Let there be LIGHT. Christ is that light that dispels heavy darkness (Isa. 60:1-2).

You do not earn salvation, it is not something that will happen in the future. You will not evolve into a Christian. “I tell you, NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2NIV).

In closing, Matthew Henry says, “Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding. Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord.”

© 2013 Soul Heath Care Ministries

2012

It is my belief that the disease that has infected the churches of the United States of America is NOT fatal and can be cured.

That cure is still found in the remedy of God and his Gospel, flowing from the bloodstained hill called Calvary and administered by those who will DARE to preach it amid the disgust and revulsion of the religious empire disguised as the church.

Any soul that has been treated by the power of the Cross can attest, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now I am found twas blind but now I see!”

Jesus Christ the great Intercessor can save to the uttermost! He can still raise up the worst profligates and prodigals among men and women out of the miry pits of sin and abject lostness and bring the precious news of peace with God through Christ.

They may even today be lying in a gutter, homeless, living under a bridge and God can save and fill them with his power and raise up an Luther, Spurgeon, Whitfield among them.

There are in the worlds eyes among the exploited and abused, no- names who have already been recorded in heaven’s annals as among God’s own choice in the book of life, whose names cannot be blotted out.

They will sing and preach better than anything you may have ever heard. They will have an iron will in politics, unyielding to compromise. They will revolutionize the medical filed and discover cures for disease that were considered incurable. They will rebuildl the broken down walls of the family.

They will solve social ills that have plagued our country and will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless.  They will be missionaries they will break down the fortresses of gospel hardened nations and reach those who have never heard the name of Jesus.

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Those of you who know this gospel MUST GO out and reach them. Those who know their God will do exploits! Don’t waste your precious time, money and energy in religious slavery with those who love their agendas, programs, buildings and entertainment more than Christ.

Make this year a year that Calvary and the Gospel are lifted up higher than before! Immerse your minds and hearts in the scriptures and feast everyday and then serve the bread of Life so needed by those God is calling to himself.

 

The Mud and Water of the Gospel

healing_of_the_blind_man_jekelNotice that beautiful phrase: “And Jesus passed by.” Did you see it? Oh how I long for you to see him passing by you right now. Jesus the Messiah, God in the flesh, the same one Moses saw when, “the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” (Ex 34:6). Jesus passed by this man, stopped what he was doing and stooped down to help him. 

 

There were many beggars, many blind people but he did not stop for them. But he stopped for this man! Why? Grace! The Sovereign grace of God! He says, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.” (Rom 9: 15-16ESV). Will Jesus pass by you? Will he see you  and where you are at and help you with his presence and power? There are those in the church who wonder why they do not experience more of the presence of God.  Like Jeremiah we feel like God is a visiting guest staying only for a night (Jer. 14:8). I think we need the mud and water of the gospel!

 

Oh, I would like to pray like Elisha, “O LORD, please open the eyes of these people that they may see the son of Man, Jesus Christ walking in the midst of his church” (see 2 Kings 6:15-17; Rev. 1: 12, 13). There are people that do not realize that Jesus is passing your way! Throughout your life he lifted you to his cheek. Like a doting parent he taught you how to walk, leading you gently by the hand but you did not know or even care he led you through life with gentle cords of kindness and love (Hosea 11:1-4). Ah we are truly God chosen frozen! We need a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit! In our services have we forgotten that Jesus is walking down the aisle moving through every seat, touching people at the altar who are praying!  He says he desires the works of God to be seen in our lives! All it takes is some gospel mud and water!

 

Ah, but we want Jesus Christ to come to us on our terms! We want something that will blow us up, shake us up, and fire us up! At one time God told Elijah, “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12).  The Lord was not in the show! He was in a whisper, a gentle sound of quiet stillness! Ah, that is where we miss it! The man in our story was not deaf! He could hear the words of the still, small calming voice of the Savior! This man was not blown up, shaken up, or fired up! But after some spittle, a little mud, and washing his face in a pool he could see!  But the voice of Jesus is so powerful a whisper can make all the difference. Do you hear his whispers?  By God’s grace you may not see everything that is being told you tonight but you can hear it. All it takes is some mud and water of the gospel!

 

“He saw a man blind from birth.” Jesus saw this man and he sees those who are lost in darkness. The blind man did not once ask Jesus for sight! This shows again salvation is not finding God or knowing God but God finding us and knowing us (Gal 4:9)! You have not been looking for him because you have no eyes to see! How helpless people are without Christ! The Bible says they are “without strength” (Rom 5:6) to repent (Prov. 5:22), have faith (Mt. 13:58) and pray (Isa. 64:7),  it is like they are curled up in a fetal position unable even to help themselves! They cannot even purse their lips to whisper a prayer for what they really need! But Jesus saw him!  He sees you are the very person he has been looking for to put his forgiving love on display. Dr. Jesus only comes for the sick, not the healthy!  But just one look from Jesus, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.” (Isa. 35:5).

 

We are clear that the context of the story is that this man or his family’s sin did not bring this blindness upon him, but this scripture is a case and point for those who are spiritually blind. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Eph 4:18). This man was born into a world of darkness and those who do not know Christ are living in complete spiritual blindness.  Many of you have taken the life God has given you and live a life of blindly sinning against him. You cannot even find him because you have no eyes. But the Alpha and Omega, The beginning and the End, the First and the Last, he who is “Everything” has passed your way tonight, and he is looking for you. He has eyes that penetrate the thickest darkness and can restore sight in this simple place of prayer by the simple mud and water of the gospel.

 

The most brilliant light cannot be seen by a corpse. You cannot see the beautiful shadow of the Son of God if you are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). The Bible says that there is a darkness that is so dark it can be felt (Ex 10:21-23).  It is a gloomy thick darkness that chokes the atmosphere of your life. “A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.” (Job 10:22). Do you have a spiritual pulse? Oh it is the work of God to pass by you in this dead condition and he will say, “Live!” (Ezek 16:6). Even now if in your heart you are saying, “Let me live!” there is already a spiritual pulse in your life. Even now you are coming to life by the presence of Christ and the simple mud and water of the gospel!

 

Then it is amazing grace that God has shown you to hear Jesus whisper your name.  To hear the sweet voice of Jesus whisper in your ears as He says, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world! I must work the works of him that sent me, night cometh when no man can work.”  Christ’s life and ministry were like the sunrise that blossoms into a noon time sun on the whole world and his death would be like the sunset and then night. The Father set a time for Jesus to come who arose like “the Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2).

 

Oh that is the mercy of God if you can hear his voice even now! I pray he will speak the word to your heart. You cannot run from his smiling face, His face full of pity and compassion for you. He can find you wherever you are at this very moment. The word of God, the Bible, is living and powerful and that is why God is talking this way to you at this moment. He can speak the word “Let there be light!” and that light can penetrate into the darkest life in less time than it takes to say those words! 

 

He whispers to you “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph 5:14). The word that he speaks is like, “a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts!” (2 Peter 1:19).  That dark place means, “A parched, squalid, dirty, dark, neglected murky” place (Vincent)! Oh like the first star in the morning he will rise into the darkest night of your life- that is the beginning of what we call illumination (Heb 10:32). It is a special work of God that imbues (soaks and make a soul rich) in the light of salvation (Thayer). In a moment that midnight darkness will see at first the glimmer of the bright and morning star Jesus Christ and as he comes closer your soul will be turn into a noonday of mercy and grace. Only then can you really say, “I was blind but now I see!” It is all because of the Mud and Water of the Gospel! 

 

The text goes on to say, “When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”  There are many interpretations about the clay and spittle. He created eyes in him like when God created Adam from the dust of the ground (Gen 2:7). I especially like what ancient Christian father taught, “For he spat in a human fashion, yet his spittle was charged with deity, for therewith he caused the eyes of the man born blind…to receive sight” (Athanasius). 

I think if Jesus used some kind of medicine the religious people would have started selling it on their cable networks! But the simplicity of the spittle, clay and pool are found in the preaching of the gospel!  The gospel offers life from the dead and sight for those who will respond to his voice! All the motivational speaking, relevant preaching cannot give life like the ancient message of the Bible. It is never out of date.  Sometimes gospel spittle, smearing some gospel mud, and telling people to get to the gospel pool is what it takes! Because it shows that the power is not in the mud and the water but in Christ! God is the Savior not us! 

 

Jesus ordered that blind man to wash in the pool of Siloam, Shiloam or Shiloh. It was a mikvah or a ritual bath designed for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism. Isaiah reproaches the men of his time, that they despise the softly flowing waters of Siloam and preferred the rapid and impetuous streams of the world (Isaiah 8:6). They want loud entertaining religious shows not quiet cleansing pools. What is the sense of being religious if you are stained or defiled with sin! Christ wants to cleanse you from sin!

 

The mikvah also points to the bridal bath.  Paul refers to the bride of Christ the church and that Christ died for he “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Eph 5:26). This is a type of going to that pool and washing yourself in the Word of God, you hear it and read it and it washes and cleanses you from sin (John 17:17). When Christ commanded him to go and wash when he washed he found out that, “The commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes!” (Ps 19:8). 

 

The meaning of Siloam is Sent. It refers not to a pool but the Sent One of which the Bible says, “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Gen 49:10).  It is not where you are sent but who is sent to you. True Christian faith is not just being sent to something or somewhere but it is God sending Christ to us-it’s the theme of the entire Bible. At this moment, we pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would come and make your life a new creation. He is simply coming to you using the mud and water of the gospel to open your eyes!