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14 December, 2020 12:58

December 14, 2020

FORGIVEN

BORN TO BE KING

YET IN A MANGER LAY

CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE

WAS BIRTHED UPON JUST HAY

THE SON OF GOD OUR SAVIOR

WAS BORN BUT FOR TO DIE

A SACRIFICE FOR ALL MANKIND

OUR SINS TO JUSTIFY

GOD WAITED TIL THE PASSOVER

TO OFFER UP HIS LAMB

HIS ONE AND ONLY SACRIFICE

JESUS THE GREAT ‘I AM’

AMIDST HIS PAIN AND SORROW

THE CROWDS CRIED CRUCIFY

HE KNEW THAT IF HE DIDN’T FORGIVE

HIS GIFT GOD WOULD DENY

AND SO, THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON

LET GO OF BITTERNESS

FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT YOU

AND YOU’LL BE TRULY BLESSED

WE CAN’T RECIVE FORGIVENESS

UNLESS WE FIRST FORGIVE

JESUS SET THE EXAMPLE

OF HOW WE ALL SHOULD LIVE

DAVID RAVENHILL

11 November, 2020 15:28

November 11, 2020

MOVE OVER JEZEBEL, THERE’S ANOTHER SPIRIT IN TOWN FAR MORE SINISTER THAN YOU!

Those of you who are familiar with my writings know that I’m no fan of the JEZEBEL ‘spirit’ teaching. It seems in the last 25 years or so the Body of Christ has swallowed hook, line and sinker any teaching they can find regarding Jezebel.

Once a deceived and deluded woman who considered herself a teacher, Jezebel has now morphed into a major ‘spirit’ with tentacles that reach into almost every aspect of the Body of Christ. Her main attribute we are led to believe, is her manipulative power to control anyone or everyone she rubs up against, especially leaders. (Now I personally don’t believe this, but rather that she taught a distorted grace message, the fruit of which resulted in immorality among God’s people.)

A few things are worth considering about Jezebel. Jesus gave her time to repent. He didn’t suggest casting the ‘controlling spirit’ out of her through prayer and fasting. Neither did He state that He hated her. Which brings me to the NICOLAITANS.

Twice in the book of Revelation Jesus states. ‘I HATE THE DEEDS OF THE NICOLAITANS’.

It’s not very often in God’s Word that God states His hatred of something. For this reason alone, it should concern us and cause us to seek out what was so terrible about the Nicolaitans. Shouldn’t we hate what He hates? I’m assuming that if Jesus hates them, then the Devil must love them. I think that’s a fair assumption.

The name Nicolaitan comes from the Gk. “Nicholas” and means to conqueror the people. According to Warren Wiersbe: “It refers to the development of a priestly caste (clergy) in the church that throws aside common believers. While there must be pastoral leadership in the church there must not be “clergy” and “laity” in which the former, lords it over the latter…”

I’m well aware that there are conflicting views on who the Nicolaitans were. So even if Wiersbe and others are wrong it doesn’t alter the basic premise I’m about to expose.

Jesus hates any division of His beloved church body which results in the majority of members sitting idle while the clergy assume the role of babysitting or entertaining them. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in Roman Catholicism where for centuries the laity couldn’t even read their bible or partake of communion without their Pope or priest’s consent.

Little however has changed since the Reformation. Still today throughout Christendom we continue to condone the Nicolaitan’s demonic division of clergy and laity. This flies in the face of Jesus’ great high priestly prayer ‘that they may be one even as we are one.’

Jesus strictly warned His disciples that what was the common practice among the Scribes, Pharisees and Gentile of lording it over others, would not be condoned under His leadership. “IT SHALL NOT BE THIS WAY AMONG YOU”. Why then have we allowed the Nicolaitans to have their way? Why don’t we hear any teaching or warnings about the Nicolaitans? Why have we succumbed to the belief that the division of clergy and laity are perfectly acceptable and nothing to be concerned about? The vast majority of expositors give little if any warning regarding the Nicolaitans. Those who do comment about them, tend to speak of them as being a past problem not a present threat.

If there is such a thing as the ‘Jezebel spirit’ then the ‘Nicolaitan spirit’ has damaged the Body of Christ a hundred-fold more. The Jezebel spirit we are told seeks to control the leadership. The Nicolaitan spirit seeks to control the laity, by subjecting them to the rule of the superior clergy class.

A classic example of this is found in John’s Third Epistle in which John refers to Diotrephes who loved to exalt himself above the rest of the Body. The church along with the Apostle John wanted to support certain workers of the gospel but Diotrephes would have none of it, and used his position to throw out of the church, those who desired to help them.

Peter also warned the elders about abusing their sphere of authority as follows.

“The elders who are among you I exhort as a fellow elder…Feed the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight not by compulsion, but willingly, not in fondness of dishonest gain, but with an eager attitude. Not as exercising lordship over your possessions; but by being examples to the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-3)

Volumes could be written on this subject. It amazes me that this Nicolaitan ‘spirit’ has gone largely undetected and neglected for so long. In over 55 years of ministry I’ve never heard a single message or reference about the Nicolaitans. Clergy not wanting to lose their control over the people remain silent, while espousing doctrines like Coverings, Headship, Submission, etc. all of which play into the hands of the Nicolaitan ‘spirit’. There is a fine line between submission and servitude. Meanwhile the Devil delights at the idea of any doctrine or belief that paralyzes 95% of the Church from functioning as God intended them to.

The Bible makes it abundantly clear we are all Kings & Priests. The church has only one head, the Lord Jesus Christ. And our allegiance is first and foremost to Him. While I’m not suggesting we rid ourselves of all forms of spiritual leadership; I am advocating for the proper functioning of each individual member. We all have the same role to play, no matter whether we are unseemly members or apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors or teachers, and that is the role of a servant. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Phil 2:3)

After all the greatest commendation we should aim for will have nothing to do with clergy or laity but rather; ‘Well done thou good and faithful SERVANT!’

18 October, 2020 20:02

October 18, 2020

WOUNDED IN THE HOUSE OF HIS FRIENDS

I recently read the testimony of a pastor who had drifted into years of sexual sin which ended in costing him his marriage and ministry. In sharing his testimony of restoration, he stated that through it all God was not angry with him or disappointed but caring and loving throughout.

As I pondered his words, I found myself asking if what he believed was really true. Was God truly immune from any feeling of sadness or hurt by his sinful lifestyle?

This growing belief that God is not affected by our sin no matter how wretched it is, may sound plausible to many but is entirely unsubstantiated by scripture. God is not immune from feelings and especially from those of His own children; who if anything exacerbated His pain rather than diminished it.

From Genesis to Revelation we are told clearly, frequently, and specifically that God is affected by our sin. In Genesis we read that God grieved over the fact that He made man. He reminded Israel time after time that he was hurt by their adulterous ways. The notion that God cannot be hurt, wounded, grieved, or sad, is the evolutionary conclusion that ‘God is good all the time.’

As I have often stated, my dear mother believed in the ‘laying on of hands’ with my posterior being the recipient. I don’t recall ever singing ‘Mum is good all the time’ as her hand administered justice upon my behind. Her actions were both loving and painful as both of us suffered by my sin and disobedience.

While talking to my brother recently he quoted one of the church fathers who said something to this effect. ‘Sin is first felt in heaven before it is felt on earth.’ God’s love does not mean He can’t be wounded or hurt by our actions. Every time we as believers partake of communion we are reminded of the fact that Jesus was betrayed by one of His own. Not only was he betrayed but despised and rejected by men.

This false teaching that God never gets angry, hurt or even disappointed by our actions gives birth to the idea that sin is no big thing; and that by some divine power God’s love immunes Him from feelings of hurt or betrayal. Nothing could be further from the truth. I need to emphasize here that God’s anger is not some instant emotional outburst that He regrets later, but rather a righteous anger that is slow to develop. He is also patient and longsuffering and seeks to lovingly woo us back to Himself.

Imagine finding out your wife or husband have been repeatedly cheating on you. You can’t tell me that you wouldn’t be extremely disappointed and hurt by their actions. Our relationship with God is similar in the fact that He is to be our first love. When we involve ourselves in things that God hates, how can we say He is not troubled or hurt by our actions? He is! Let’s also never forget He is a God of mercy and forgiveness. His mercy and forgiveness however do not cancel out his anger or sadness as he is the embodiment of them all.