Saturday, 20 December 2014

"I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH"


Jesus said, “I will build My Church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

What does that statement mean to you? We were told that it meant that Satan would attack the Church; but he would never be victorious over it. That in itself is true and of great comfort and assurance to the Church facing ever increasing persecution; but is that the full meaning of that statement? Picture a walled city under attack by an army. Which is the Church? Are we the ones who are on the defensive or on the offensive? Do gates attack or are they attacked?

 

Our position to date has been defensive. I remember an old song which says,

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to Heaven, “By Thy grace we will.”

All very heroic! but is that the extent of what Jesus intends for the Church – to be merely holding the fort?

 

The Bible tells us that Jesus is building a Church that will rise “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Ephesians 4:13]. We are “being built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.” [Ephesians 2:22]. We are “His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” [Ephesians 1:23]. Such a Church is not to be merely on the defensive but on the offensive.

 

Against what? – The gates of Hell. Satan is the ‘god of this age’ who has blinded the minds of the people of this age. Jesus said that he is a murderer and a liar and the father lies. He holds people in bondage in darkness. If the prince of darkness is the god of this age, then Hell has invaded the earth. His minions are the principalities and powers over every nation that are dedicated to preserving extending hells grip on the earth. We see the results all around us. The strongholds of hell appear to be firmly entrenched in the earth and growing in strength day by day.

 

Jesus is building a Church that will bring down the gates of hell and set people free to receive the gospel. It will prepare the way for the Lord to come and reign. Jesus has defeated satan [the accuser of the brethren] at the Cross by removing all grounds of accusation. Satan no longer has legal authority in the earth. He operates by default. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus and He has delegated it to His Church. In His name we are commissioned to bring the nations into the kingdom. It can be done! God has shown us how in the Old Testament type of Israel’s deliverance from bondage and their possession of the Promised Land – their inheritance. Our inheritance is the earth [Romans 4:13] It is ours but we have to possess it. We need to come out of our siege mentality and get pro-active for the Kingdom. When the Church comes into the full knowledge of what the Cross accomplished, it will rise up in power and dispossess the powers of darkness that hold our world in bondage.

 

Jesus has won the victory over satan; but it is a victory which has to be enforced. The outcome is certain; but we must rise up in faith and claim what Jesus has purchased by His blood. This is a big subject and of the utmost importance. I have written about it in my books “The Other Bible Code” and “End Time Insights.” I hope you will obtain a copy and be challenged and encouraged to rise up in believing prayer for the nations.

 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

SUFFER THE CHILDREN

A local Christian lady dropped off a prayer request to the Churches last Sunday. The message read:

"A friend just got a text message from her brother asking her to shower him and his parish in prayer. He is part of a mission and ISIS has taken over the town they are in today. He said ISIS is systematically going house to house to all the Christians and asking the children to denounce Jesus. He said so far not one child has. And so far all have consequently been killed. But not the parents. The UN has withdrawn and the missionaries are on their own. They are determined to stick it out for the sake of the families - even if it means their own deaths. He is very afraid, has no idea how to even begin ministering to these families who have seen their children martyred. Yet he says he knows God has called him for some reason to be his voice and hands at this place at this time. Even so, he is begging prayers for his courage to live out his vocation in such dire circumstances. and like the children accept martyrdom if he is called to do so. ...These brave parents instilled such a fervent faith in their children that they chose martyrdom. Please surround them in their loss with your prayers for hope and perseverance."

In our prayers yesterday morning we wept for the poor little children, But -One thing we can know for sure; those children are with their Saviour and those parents will see them again. Love and faith will triumph over hate and fear and one day God shall wipe away all tears. "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." Revelation 2:10

 

"Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven"

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

THE FOURTH HORSEMAN OF THE APOCALYPSE


 

“Convert or die!” That’s the ultimatum given to Christians in northern Iraq. Most of them refuse to convert. As any one ought to know no ‘conversion’ made under threat of death is a true conversion. It has to be a matter of the heart and of faith. One can go through the whole outward form of religion without being truly converted.

Canon Andrew White, affectionately known as ‘The Vicar of Bagdad’ received a photo of a Christian family of eight slaughtered because of their refusal to deny Christ, an open Bible placed beside them.  They will be with the Lord now. As Paul says “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” and “In all these things we are more than conquerors.” Canon White said that the photo was too graphic to show anyone.

Such is the nightmare that is Iraq and Syria as the murderous hordes advance intent on establishing their Islamic Caliphate believing they are instruments of Allah’s will. An email I received this morning states:

“Tens of thousands of Christians are fleeing for their lives. ISIS now reportedly has access to weapons of mass destruction. The only thing standing between Christians and death at the hands of these barbarians are the people of Kurdistan who are offering refuge and protection. Yet, the Kurds are running out of ammunition. They are out-gunned by jihadists bent on genocide.”

[I am thankful that France and now Australia has offered to take thousands of refugees, and there are humanitarian efforts to bring relief]

“What is happening? The Satanic kingdom is on the rise.

I believe that Irvine Baxter is right in his identification of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse [Revelation 6]. The four horses are systems which operate in the Earth. It follows that the horsemen show the nature of the systems. He says, the white horse is Catholicism, the red horse Communism, the black horse Capitalism, and then there is the ‘pale’ horse.

 “And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.”

‘pale’[chloros] is elsewhere translated as ‘green.’ Who is the green horse? Well who runs around waving green flags and says ‘we love death.’ You guessed it! This is the horseman from Hell. Yes we know that not all Muslims do these things, but if they choose to they can look to their scriptures to provide the authorization. And where are the voices of ‘moderate’ Muslims condemning these atrocities? Are we seeing the real Islam? We are told that it is a religion of peace. Peace only if we submit it appears.

What do we do? It’s easy to feel anger but that’s not going to change things. As Christians, we have the greatest weapons of all.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [of the flesh] but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds….” 1 Corinthians 10:4

We have spiritual weapons to bring down spiritual strongholds which hold many captive in this deceitful and deadly system.  Through the power of His victory over Satan, Jesus has given His people “authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy…” Jesus has restored dominion to the people of God, the dominion to subdue  the earth which was lost in Eden. Through prevailing prayer in Jesus’ name we can bring the nations out from under the power of darkness into the Kingdom of God. This is the fulfilment of the Commission Jesus gave His Church before He went back to Heaven. [Matthew 28: 18-20]. As hundreds of thousands of Christians obey the call to prayer for the nations, millions of Muslims are coming to Christ very often through dreams and visions. Jesus died for all people and the love of God in Christ Jesus is the most powerful force in the world.

Meanwhile the battle in the heavenlies rages. Have you joined the Army? We do win in the end.  Ask the Lord which nation/s He would have you pray for and change our world.

Monday, 28 April 2014

CHRISTIANITY - A MAN-MADE RELIGION?



As I travel around in cyber space, I come across an atheist or two and this seems to be their mantra. “Christianity is just a man-made religion” or “The Bible is just written by man, it’s all just fiction.”

Is it?

 It suits the pride and wilfulness of Man to believe that there is no God because that raises the matter of accountability, so Man does not “like to retain God in their knowledge.” The Bible indicates that the end result of Mankind denying their Creator is that they will tend towards homosexuality.  Isn’t that what we are increasingly observing?

Was the Bible written by men? Actually, yes it was; but men who were anointed and inspired by the Spirit of God and that makes God the real Author.  God is a Spirit and He works in the world through the willing co-operation of human vessels. Scripture is God-breathed. Those who have been anointed by the Spirit at any time can understand how this works.

Anyone who has objectively and intelligently researched the subject would have to be convinced of the authenticity and inspiration of the Bible.

Fulfilled prophecy  
Many events concerning individuals, cities and nations, minutely foretold in the Bible, have been, and are being, fulfilled. Recent and current events can be understood in the light of Bible prophecy, e.g. the regathering of the Jews to their homeland and subsequent events in Israel; most particularly concerning Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The current push to divide the Land of Israel is foretold. Most remarkable is the many Old Testament prophecies concerning the central figure of the Bible – Jesus Christ – His birth, life, ministry, message, His death and resurrection. Apart from the hundreds of surface prophecies there are multiple prophecies locked into the types and shadows in the Old Testament which find their fulfilment in Jesus show the on-going plan of God for the Church and the world. Still to be fulfilled are the prophecies concerning His Second Coming and reign on Earth. The Holy Spirit continues to bring revelation out of the pages of the Bible in a way that no other book can.  The Bible explains why the world is the way it is and gives the answer  for the many and complex problems humanity faces.

The Unity of Scripture
Though written by [about] 40 people [the authorship of some books is uncertain] over a period of about 1,500 years, the Bible is one Book. The Old Testament points to and prepares the way for the coming of the Messiah [the Christ]; the Gospels record His Birth, ministry death and resurrection. The rest of the New Testament interprets the meaning of His coming into the world and looks toward His 2nd Coming and the New [renewed] Heavens and Earth – the Kingdom of God “On Earth as it is in Heaven.” The Old and New Testaments complement one another.-

The New is in the Old concealed, the Old is in the New revealed.

Though written by human writers, it is evident that God Himself superintended, directed and dictated the Bible books. Therefore the Bible is God’s Word.  That is what the Bible claims for itself and there can be no other explanation.

“knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20,21.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God..” 2 Timothy 3:16

The Witness of Archaeology
Archaeologists have uncovered the sites of many towns named only in the Bible; also inscriptions confirming many Bible events. Not all of the characters in Bible stories have been mentioned in other ancient writings, but what has been found supports and adds detail to the Bible record. New evidence continues to be unearthed that confirms the truth of the biblical narratives.

Age and Number of Ancient manuscripts
The number of ancient copies of the Scriptures far outweighs the number of copies of other ancient writings which are taken to be authentic. E.g. two factors are taken into consideration when ascertaining the reliability of manuscripts – the number of manuscript copies in existence and the time span between when the original copy was first written and the oldest existing copy

                                                Manuscript Copies                          Time Span

Caesar’s Wars                                    10                                           1,000 years

Plato                                                      7                                              1,200 years

Aristotle                                               5                                              1,400 years

Homer                                                  643                                           500 years

New Testament                                24,000                                       25 years

Given these numbers, one wonders why some people readily accept that the other writings are authentic, yet balk at the New Testament.The Gospels and other books of the New Testament were written by men who walked with Jesus and were witnesses to the events they wrote about. As the Apostle Peter states “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

Sir Frederick Kenyon former director and principal librarian of the British Museum, stated concerning the New Testament:-“…the last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down to us substantially as they were written, has now been removed”

Jewish scribes copied the Old Testament Scriptures with extreme care.  Every word, syllable, letter and paragraph was checked and counted.  If a mistake was made they started again.  The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has confirmed the accuracy of the Old Testament as we have them in our Bible today. Christianity did not come from a vacuum but is the continuation and fulfilment of all that was promised in the Old Testament Scriptures.

The Witness of History
The writings of historians confirm some of the Biblical events. e.g. Josephus a Jewish historian wrote about Jesus in AD 90, "Now there arose one Jesus, a wise man who performed surprising works, a teacher of men. He was the so-called Christ. When Pilate, acting on information supplied by the chief men condemned him to the cross, those who first believed did not cease to do so, and the tribe of Christians which had taken their name from him is not extinct today."
Roman historian Tacitus wrote in about AD 115 "They got their name from Christ, who was executed by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius."
 
The Bible Code
It has been discovered that there is a Code in the Bible, which describes historical and recent events and names of notable people. Thousands of instances of the Code have already been discovered using high-speed computers. The Code is in Equi-distant Letter Sequence [ELS] i.e. words spelt in equal distant letters, en-coded in the Hebrew test. Existence of the Code has been confirmed and acknowledged by scientific institutes. Sir Isaac Newton and others believed in the existence of the Code, but it was only with the arrival of computers that their theories were able to be confirmed. This is a truly amazing discovery and should quell any lingering doubts as to the inspiration of Scripture. However Michael Drosnyn author of “The Bible Code” and a determined atheist somehow manages to attribute it to a space man from another world, which only goes to show how wilfully blind people can be.

The Power of the Bible to Transform Lives and Influence Society for Good
A compelling case for the inspiration of the Bible is the countless lives that have been transformed by reading the Scriptures and encountering the Christ of the Bible, and the strength of societies who uphold its principles.

Notable sayings:

Abraham Lincoln: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given to man.”

W.E. Gladstone: “I have known ninety five of the world’s great men in my time, and of these eighty seven were followers of the Bible.”

George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Sir Isaac Newton: “There are more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history.”

Thomas Huxley: “The Bible has been the Magna Charta of the poor and oppressed. The human race is not in a position to dispense with it.”

 
On a personal note:  After over 40 years of studying the Bible, I am totally convinced of its inspiration. It has truly been ” a light to my feet and a lamp for my path.” In times of difficulty the Spirit brings up just the right Scripture to guide or comfort me. Its promises shine through the dark places and give faith and hope for the future and the Presence of the Christ of the Bible is ever with me. The Bible is a book like no other. As the Holy Spirit breaths on it, Truth continues to pour from its pages. In the area of Typology, one can see that the patterns which God has laid down in the nation of Israel were fulfilled in Jesus and are being fulfilled in the history of the Church. God is working in history towards a goal – the Kingdom of God on Earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide us into all truth and show us things to come, and He does - through the pages of the Bible. The Word and the Spirit are the witnesses to Truth that God has given us. The Bible has stood the test of time and is still the world’s best seller. Jesus said “Heaven and Earth may pass away, but My Word will never pass away.” 

THE ANVIL OF GOD’S WORD

Last eve I paused beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime.
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn, beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out you know.”

And so,” I thought, “The Anvil of God’s Word,
For ages sceptic blows have beat upon,
Yet though the noise of falling blows was heard,
                                                 The Anvil is unchanged, the hammers gone.”

By John Clifford