Stepping Stones on Our Journey into God’s Kingdom

Most Christians would identify with Paul’s dilemma in Romans 7. He realised that there was the power of sin within him that prevented him from doing the good that he wanted to do. Even worse than that he found himself doing those things that he did not want to do.It is a sad conclusion that so many Christians accept this `no progress’ dilemma as a way of life even until the grave. Some even enjoy their sin and ask forgiveness each day and believe that this is their destiny until `Jesus returns’.

A NEW MINDSET

Paul very clearly teaches that we can reach our fulfilment right now in God’s plan and have total victory over sin, sickness and death.  Paul said, `Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus’. Our journey into God’s Kingdom means the absolute death of self.

GOD USES SIN, SICKNESS AND DEATH

Jesus has already forgiven all our sins, past, present and future. He uses sin to train His followers and bring them to perfection. He even uses sickness to draw us to surrender and the death bed to win souls at `knock off time’ (parable of the hired servant).

JESUS THE ONLY WAY

Jesus said `I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me’. Who the Son sets free is free indeed’. Jesus is the only way.Coming unto the Father means coming into an everlasting constant agape’ love relationship with Him. God’s Kingdom is all about that agape’ love relationship with Him which is total security in this life and life to come. If you want to get free indeed in this life just get more and more involved with Jesus every day. These are God’s stepping stones in our life. Each step requires a miracle by the grace of God. None of our striving can get us there.

STEP 1: TOTAL FORSAKING SURRENDER

The main problem with Christian churches, including Pentecostal, charismatic and evangelicals, is that very few have   experienced their `Pentecost’. The baptism of fire is missing and that includes total forsaking surrender which invites the full power of the Holy Spirit and agape’ love which casts out all fear. It is fear which holds people captive to sin and also blinds them to the fact that they are captive. Only agape’ love can cast down fear and a quick conversion follows.Today because of the lack of agape’ love we have long draggedout conversions and often accept sin as an ongoing daily battle.

The old hymn `Rock of Ages’ says `Nothing in my hands I bring’. Every soul who breaths on this earth will have to realise on their death beds that all the securities of this world mean nothing. Total surrender is easier on your death bed.I believe our Father God wins many souls that way and they all get the same pay. God’s perfect will is that we surrender now and enter His Kingdom now and be part of His glorious Bride which will make disciples of every nation.

THE SECRET OF SUCCESS

The secret of surrender is to first meditate upon the cost. Charles Finney probably understood this secret best of anyone.  After the great revivals in the USA in the 1840’s ten years later 85% of converts were still full of the zeal of God. We use the old prophetic hymn (or chorus) to teach about surrender.

`Turn your eyes upon Jesus      Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of this world will grow strangely dim   In the light of His glory and grace’.

WORDS FROM THE HEART

As we look into His face with eye to eye contact we become totally transparent. He sees right down into our heart. An impartation of agape’ love takes place. Fear is cast away and we can say to Him `Whatever the cost;whatever the persecution and suffering for Your sake; wherever you send me even if it costs me my life;  Lord I surrender all knowing that I will be stripped to nothing to enter Your Kingdom.

Meditate on this cost until you know that you have the revelation. Do not reason and consult your fleshly nature. Ask Jesus to help you overcome all fear. Don’t wait until your death bed. God needs workers now to gather in the harvest. He plans to use you to make disciples of every nation.

WITHOUT RESERVE

A great evangelist of the past, Lionel Fletcher, who preached to the troops as they left from England in World War 1, made this beautiful assurance:- `As you give your life to God, without reserve, He will pour out His Holy  Spirit through you, without reserve’.

STEP 2:   BORN OF GOD

Following your total surrender, if you have not already received the miracle of the transformation of Romans 12:2 you have a right to ask for that instant blessing. Wesley called it the holiness blessing. Finney called it `entering into the spirit of prayer’. It is an instantaneous blessing where by the grace of God, the bloodline of fallen Adam (the power of sin) is cut off once and for all and forever. It is when you complete your born again process. As God cuts off the power of sin He simultaneously connects you into His blood line and you bear His nature and character. Your mind is no longer a battlefield. The enemy and the flesh no longer have access. The spirit man is now totally in charge. It is the mind of Christ that Paul says is for all believers. It is for everyone who chooses to be a disciple of Jesus. Fear, doubts, unbelief, unreality worry etc. are shut out forever. It is God’s normal plan for all believers. It is the promise of God. It is all part of the full armour. An unshakable belief in the promises of God is the immediate response without the interference of doubts and unbelief.

STEP 3:  MOPPING UP THE RESIDUE LEFT BY SIN

Now that the spirit man (or woman) is in charge the next part of the journey is to clean up the residue of that old nature. The old hymn says `and the things of this world will go strangely dim’. When you pull out the plug on you lap top computer the power supply is cut off but you have a backup that lasts for a short time of some hours. There are other ways besides the conscious mind where the enemy will try to hold us captive.

1. Temptation through that which we see, hear, smell, feel and taste. These are overcome as promised in the Lord’s Prayer. One translation says `Shield me from temptation’.

2. Old fantasies and dreams and memories. 1 Cor. 10:5 says to cast down imaginations and every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

3. Hatred of sin.  Those who had a real battering from sin (e.g.crime) will naturally find it easier to hate their sin. Jesus said the sinners and prostitutes and tax collectors will enter the Kingdom first. Many sins such as pride and mammon worship that are accepted in our cultures can be difficult to hate. I heard of one pastor who said he had pastored a congregation for nine years. He operated in the gifts but claimed he wasnot yet born again. He and two others fasted and agonised before Godfor three days until He gave the blessing. We must hate our sin to enter God’s Kingdom.

All these three blessings are works of grace that we must ask God for. We may have to agonise and wrestle before God as Jacob did at Jabbok. There is no way of bypassing total forsaking surrender. There are no armchair rides or easy roads into God’s Kingdom. Paul warns in Galatians 5 that if we practice any of the sins of the flesh  that we will not inherit the Kingdom He says we must walk in the spirit at all times and pray without ceasing.

IF PAUL CAN SO CAN WE

If Paul can reach that walk then so can we.  Hundreds of thousands of our forefathers reached that walk in the great revivals only 150- 200 years ago. We have their testimonies to encourage us. The church must return to our first love if we are to rescue our nations from the terrible darkness around.

JESUS CAME TO OPEN THE PRISON DOORS AND BRING LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES

Jesus has already conquered sin, sickness and death yet Christians can sit in the pews of the easy gospel  churches for a lifetime without realising that we are still captives to each of those bondages.

PETER’S TESTIMONY

Peter was still captive to sin when the rooster crowed three times. The prison doors were opened when he repented.  Paul was still captive to sin as he described the `no win’ dilemma of Romans 7 (`the things that I want to do I do not do’ etc. He found the victory  in Galatians 2:20 when he said `It is no longer I who liveth but Christ who liveth in me! Ephesians 6 talks of total victory over the evil one.

A MISERABLE SINNER

I have heard some people say `I will be a miserable sinner until Jesus returns. We often accept captivity to sin without knowing it. 1 John 3:9 says that whoever is born of God does not sin and he cannot sin because His seed remaineth in Him. In the past revivals victory over sin was both taught and experienced.

If we accept sickness it certainly does not help in our recovery. Too often we accept a diagnosis from a doctor and are then captive to that sickness. We are captive to Babylon’s drug lords plus the chemical food chain.

REBUKE THE ENEMY

We have proven time and again how the enemy tries to get us to accept old sickness symptoms of many years ago. We rebuke him in Jesus’ name. Eventually he stops trying his old tricks. God can also use sickness to draw us on our journey to His Kingdom. He definitely used 4 ½ years of dementia to win my sister’s soul. The healing can be delayed according to God’s timing. In themeantime His grace is sufficient.

ABUNDANT LIVING

Jesus came to bring life abundant. Satan brings death abundant. The degradation that our society is falling into speaks of a spirit of death gone rampant. Abortion is so easily arranged, which is murder in the womb. God speaks of severe judgement for child sacrifice in the Bible. Gay marriage cannot populate a nation – preventing life. Euthanasia takes life at the precious mature years. We are in the midst of an escalating attack of death on our nation.

DEATH HAS BEEN CONQUERED

Those in Christ or in the Kingdom pass from this body on earth into life eternal and have overcome death. They are just as alive as they were down here except without a body for a season. Jesus assured Peter, who had already forsaken all his worldly security; that he will be rewarded a hundred fold in this life and the life to come. The spirit man (or woman) does not cease in prayer and intercession when they have left their bodies.

JESUS IS ALIVE

We sing that Jesus is alive. He is our example in every aspect of His life. We should sing and rejoice that we have also overcome death and our spirit being is already eternally alive. Death has no dominion over us. God desires that we have a long life in the body. We should aim at 120 years if we ate, drank and exercised as did Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo.

OPEN THE EYES OF THE BLIND

Jesus wants us to walk out of all those prison doors and into His Kingdom and on to His throne room. We are His kings and priests being changed into His exact likeness. May God open our eyes to His calling.