THE KEYS OF REVELATION
A New Covenant Perspective
Hearing the Voice of God
If you know the Lord, then you have already heard His Voice, because it was the Voice of God that led you to Him in the first place. So let us dismiss any doubts that may be in some of your minds which may be saying, "I wonder if I have actually heard God's voice?" The answer is that you have, otherwise you would not be here. Perhaps, more importantly, we should be asking ourselves the question: "When did I last hear the Voice of God?"
Let us begin by following Jesus' example whose whole ministry was one of obedience to divine instructions from His and our Heavenly Father. He said in John's Gospel: "'I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent Me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world'. They did not understand that He was telling them about His Father. So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me. The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him'" (John 8:26-29, NIV).
The Saviour always checked with His Father before He said or did anything and so also should we. Hearing the Voice of God is a basic right of every child of God because He has commanded us to hear and obey Him. Having understood that it is your right as His son or daughter to hear Him, you must next want to hear Him personally and not want others to get your personal guidance for you. If this is your desire then listen closely while I outline 12 important steps to daily hearing the Lord in your life.
1. First of all, don't make revelation complicated. Actually, it's hard not to hear the Lord if you really want to please and obey Him. Here is where you begin, then -- desire to please and obey Him. If you stay humble and teachable, He promises to guide you. In the Book of Proverbs we read: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps" (Prov.16:9).
In my experience there are three simple steps that will help you hear God's Voice and they are these:
(a) SUBMIT TO HIS LORDSHIP. Ask Him to help you silence your own thoughts, desires, and the opinions of others, which may be filling your mind. Paul said: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (1 Cor.10:5). You may have a fantsastic mind, and you may even have been advised by others with fantastic minds, but if you are to hear the Voice of God, you are going to have to silence all of them. Your one desire must be to hear the thoughts of the Lord who has the best Mind. Solomon said: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths strait. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and shun evil" (Prov.3:5-7).
(b) RESIST THE ENEMY, in case he is trying to deceive you at this moment. Don't expect to have a smooth passage all the way. Satan doesn't want you to hear the Lord. Remember to use the authority which Jesus Christ has given you to silence the voice of the enemy. The apostle James said: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Jas.4:7). Paul, in his famous discourse to the Ephesians, said: "...be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and gainst the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you mauy be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckeled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should" (Eph.6:10-20).
(c) EXPECT AN ANSWER. After asking the question that is on your mind, wait for Him to answer. Expect your loving Heavenly Father to speak to you. He will. For He has said: "My sheep listen to My Voice; I know them, and they follow Me" (John 10:27). King David prayed: "I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of Your favour, in Your great love, O God, answer me with Your sure salvation" (Psa.69:13). And of Moses we remember: "The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend" (Ex.33:11).
These, friends, are the first three steps, and they are the most important ones. You must want to hear the Lord and believe you will hear Him. You must be humble and contrite, submitting totally to His Lordship, putting all your desires and thoughts to one side. You must be still within. You must be prepared to engage the enemy and resist him with the authority of Christ. Always protect yourself by invoking the Christ's Name to bind up the devil -- never forget that, for you might be deceived. Finally, expect an answer. Don't say: "Maybe He won't speak to Me." Don't do that, for you contradict the Word of God if you say that. You have the right to hear Him if you love Him and desire to be obedient to Him. This, then, is the first of the 12 steps.
2. Now we come to the second step: allow God to speak to you in the way He chooses. Don't try to dictate to Him concerning the methods of revelation you prefer. Remember, He is Lord -- you are His servant. Remember the example of the boy Samuel and the advice of Eli the High Priest who said: "Go and lie down, and if He calls you, say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening'" (1 Sam.3:9). So listen with a yielded heart. There is a direct link between yieldedness and hearing. There are many ways He may choose to speak to you such as:
3. Now the third step: Confess any unforgiven sin. A clean heart is necessary if you want to hear the Lord. David reminds us saying: "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened" (Psa.66:18).
- Through the written Word, the Scriptures; this could come in your daily reading or He may guide you to a specific verse. David said: "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psa.119:105);
- Through an audible voice. Remember how God spoke to Moses through the burning bush (Ex.3:4);
- Through dreams. Remember how the Lord guided the three wise men who came to see the baby Jesus (Matt.2);
- Through visions, of which there are numerous examples in the Scriptures (e.g. Isa.6:1; Rev.1:12-17).
- And finally, probably the most common medium of revelation is through the quiet inner voice. Remember what the Lord said to Isaiah: "Whether you turn to the right of the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it'" (Isa.30:21).
4. Use the "Axehead Principle". In the days of the Old Testament School of the Prophets or Holy Order, a group of prophets was travelling with Elisha. They had decided to build a home for themselves by the River Jordan and so began cutting down trees. While they were doing this, one of the prophets lost the head off his axe which went flying with a splash into the depths of the Jordan. He was very upset at his clumsiness and asked Elisha for help. The scripture reads:
"The man of God asked, "Where did it fall?" When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. "Lift it out," he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it"" (2 Ki.6:1-7).
This is an astonishing miracle showing how the Spirit of God can defy the law of gravity, but what has it to do with personal revelation? It actually teaches a very important principle which I learned recently when I was praying to the Lord for guidance. I struggled with prayer for a long time and got nowhere. Finally, I heard the Voice of God say to me: "Go back to the beginning" and I understood that He was telling me to return to the moment in time when I last heard Him direct me. I did, and found the answer to my question.
So what does the "Axhead Principle" teach us? It teaches us that if we are struggling to receive personal guidance or revelation having seemed to have lost it, we should go back to the last time we knew the sharp, cutting edge of God's voice. The Holy Spirit will bring that back to your remembrance, as Jesus promised when He said: "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My Name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26).
Once you are back in the Spirit of the last time you know for certain that He talked to you, then you will be back in the right Spirit to receive revelation. Once you hear Him again, then obey. You may find yourself asking the question: "Have I obeyed the last thing the Lord told me to do?" If you haven't, then don't expect further guidance or revelation. Disobedience always closes the door to heaven. You may find yourself having to go even further back to remember what the Lord told you to do. Keeping a personal journal is very important especially if you have a good memory. I find myself constantly going back to previous instructions He has given me.
To give one last example, I have been suffering rather bad health this last year. I have been quite desparate recently because I find my output for the Kingdom has literally been halved. First I found a revelation I had in a dream telling me to slow down or expect to be invalided. Second, I found a vision I had seen in which I saw written before my eyes the commandment to breathe properly. I have now, with great difficulty I admit, forced myself to work less. I also focus on doing breathing exercises. Though I am still not well, my health has improved. I have found the "axhead principle" to be true.
5. The fifth step is one that many people in a prophetic environment find difficult, and that is to get your OWN revelation. This people has for too long relied on prophetic guidance from its leaders and as a result sorely neglected the more important commandment to get personal guidance. The Lord will use others to confirm your revelation but you should also hear from Him directly. There are times when absolute obedience to a prophetic word is essential but for 99% of the rest of the time the decisions you make you should get answers from the Lord Himself.
There are tremendous dangers when people stop seeking for personal guidance and start seeking it from others. The first danger is that the person from whom revelation is being sought may bring forth false revelation and then lead the soul seeking it into hell. There are so many false prophets about these days and so many people who want to be led by men rather than by God Himself that this great sin is multiplying at a frighteningly alarming rate around the world. We remember in recent times the terrible events at Wacco, Texas, and Jonestown, Guyana, where people surrendered their free agency to charismatic leaders and ended up committing mass suicide.
The second danger is almost as terrible as the first. Unfortunately, many people who were of this Covenant but who are no longer, learned this lesson too late, or never learned it at all. To illustrate it to you I am going to read you a story from Chapter 13 of the First Book of Kings:
"By the word of the Lord a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering. He cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord: "O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says: 'A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.'"
"That same day the man of God gave a sign: "This is the sign the Lord has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out." When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, "Seize him!" But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back. Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the Lord.
Then the king said to the man of God, "Intercede with the Lord your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored." So the man of God interceded with the Lord, and the king's hand was restored and became as it was before. The king said to the man of God, "Come home with me and have something to eat, and I will givwe you a gift." But the man of God answered the king, "Even if you were to give me half of your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would eat bread or drink water here. For I was commanded by the word of the Lord: 'You must not eat bread or drink any water or return by the way you came.'"
"So he took another road and did not return by the way that he had cometo Bethel. Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king. Their father asked them, "Which way did he go?" And his sons showed him which road the man from God from Judah had taken.
"So he said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me." And when thay had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it and rode off after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, "Are you the man of God who came from Judah?" "I am," he replied.
"So the prophet said to him, "Come home with me and eat." The man of God said, "I cannot turn back to go with you, nor can I eat bread and drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the Lord: 'You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.'"
"The old prophet answered, "I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: 'Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.'" (But he was lying to him). So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the old prophet who had brought him back.
"He cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, "This is what the Lord says, 'You have defied the word of the Lord and have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where He told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your fathers.'"
"When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was thrown down on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it.
"Some people who passed by saw the body thrown down there, with the lion standing beside the body, and they went and reported it in the city where the old prophet lived. When the prophet who had brought him back from his journey heard of it, he said, "It is the man of God who defied the word of the Lord. The Lord has given him over to the lion, which has mauled him and killed him, as the word of the Lord had warned him."
"The prophet said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me," and they did so. Then he went out and found the body thrown down on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had neither eaten the body nor mauled the donkey. So the prophet picked up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own city to mourn for himand bury him.
"Then he laid the body in his own tomb, and they mourned over him and said, "Oh, my brother!" After burying him, he said to his sons, "When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones. For the message he declared by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true."" (1 Ki.13:1-32)
Brethren and sisters, I hope you will note the lesson of this story well. If God has spoken to you personally and someone who is a prophet comes a long and tells you to do the opposite, do what God tells you to do! Remember the story of the Rechabites which is a similar illustration but this time with a happy ending. God used the prophet Jeremiah to test their faithfulness. You will remember they were forbidden by covenant from drinking alcohol -- Jeremiah tried to make them do so. They disobeyed the prophet to obey the word of God and were blessed (Jer.35:1-10).
I hope these illustration will have made an impression upon you. Be careful. Get your own revelation -- you have the right as a Spirit-born son or daughter of God. Test all things against the word of God -- whether in the Scriptures or personal revelation. Prophets are good and necessary but they are not to come between you and the Lord.
6. Now we come to the sixth point. There are many for whom the channel of heaven seems to open naturally and easily. The moment the Lord has spoken to them they cannot wait to tell everyone. This is the next rule: don't talk about your personal revelation unless the Lord gives you permission to do so. He may give you immediate permission or He may make you delay. Sometimes that delay is very important in getting confirmation of a revelation, especially for those who are inexperienced at hearing the Word of the Lord.
Now there are sound reasons for waiting because there are four pitfalls people who get revelation often fall into:
(a) First, there is the pitfall of pride. People can become proud when God speaks to them. They are so proud, they want to brag to others. They just can't wait to tell everyone how God has blessed them with a supernatural manifestation;
(b) Second, there is the pitfall of presumption -- people often speak before they have full understanding. Remember, that when God wants a message shared with others, then the prophet or prophetess He speaks to has as his or her first responsibility to lead people to the truth. Misunderstood revelations can do the opposite;
(c) Third, there is the pitfall of missing God's timing and method. Certain revelations may be personal and not for others. Making them public could cause great damage. You must understand what God's purpose is in speaking to you. Thus you must know how to control your tongue;
(d) And Fourth, there is the pitfall of bringing confusion to others. Other people also need prepared hearts. Don't cast the Lord's pearls. If you have prepared hard to receive His Word and you blabber what God has told you to those who have not invested the effort, they will usually not receive the Word and thus bring themselves under condemnation. So a revelator must be responsible.
Consider these as good examples. In Luke's Gospel we read: "When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen" (Luke9:36). As the writer of Ecclesiastes said, there is"a time to be silent and a time to speak" (Eccl.3:7)
Brethren and sisters, this is a hard discipline, and you will not be liked for it because people will think that you "keeping something from them." Well you are, and you must do so because the Lord wills it. No one has the "right" to the Word of the Lord. God speaks to whom He pleases. And if He pleases to entrust His word to prophets and prophetesses, and they have been told to be silent, then it is a great sin to try to extract that message from them.
I have had many such experiences in my ministry. I remember one lady who insisted that I give her a blessing from the Lord so that certain questions in her life could be answered. I refused many times but she persisted so often that I eventually relented. The word of the Lord to her was hard -- very hard -- and she left the Church because of it. She got her wish and paid dearly for that wish.
On another occasion I remember being told to withhold certain things from the Church. Later, when I obtained permission to talk about them, many people were deeply upset because they felt that they had a right to the knowledge God had given me but which I had been silent about. One left the Church because of it. Those who remained saw the wisdom of withholding the knowledge at that time. Again, brethren and sisters, obedience to the Lord is the key word here.
How many times did Jesus tell those who had been healed to keep the experience to themselves? And how many disobeyed? Oh, they may have had good enough motives -- maybe even to glorify God. But what if God didn't want these things known at that time? Disobedience dishonours God even if we think we are honouring Him.
But if God gives permission, then speak! To a demon-possessed man whom He had healed, Jesus said: "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how He has had mercy on you" (Mark 5:19).
I hope this will be yet another lesson to you in not allowing yourselves to be steered by feelings. How many people have disobeyed the word of God because their feelings "told" them to do something else! Stand firm in your obedience to the Word!
7. The seventh point is what I call the Wise Men Principle, a principle that has been sorely neglected in this Church because people are in such a hurry to act on their own. Just as the Three Wise Men individually followed the star and in so doing were all led to the same Christ, so the Lord will often use two or more spiritually sensitive people to confirm what He is telling you.
Paul affirmed this principle which was taught in the Law of Moses when he said: "Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2 Cor.13:1). A people living on the Aaronic level of the Gospel will not do this -- they will instead rely on a middle man, as the Israelites relied on Moses, to obtain the Word of the Lord. Not so in our Christian-Melchizedek dispensation -- God will speak to His leaders but at least one or two others should be getting confirmation so that they can be led by the same Spirit and confirm the revelation to the saints. You will find, moreover, that to live as a Body in this way is enormously upbuilding and will increase the faith of the saints dramatically. This seventh principle must be seen at work in this fellowship alot more if it is to grow.
8. The eighth point is to beware of counterfeits. Have you ever heard of a counterfeit £1 ($10 /NKr.100 /etc) bank note? Yes, of course you have. In fact, I saw a man in the post office a few days ago holding up note a to the light to see if it was a fake. People check the things they value. But have you ever heard of a counterfeit paper bag? No, of course not! The reason is that only things of value are worth counterfeiting, like works of art.
Satan has a counterfeit for everything of God that is possible for him to copy. I am sure you will remember the story of Simon the sorcerer who performed many miracles. Luke records: "He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power"" (Acts 8:9-10). There are plenty Simon the Sorcerers today who show off their powers and often they claim to be gods or divine. Luke continues: "They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic" (Ibid., v.11).
You will recall that Egyptian magicians duplicated the miracles that Moses performed before Pharaoh (Ex.7:22). Counterfit guidance and revelation comes through ouija boards, seances, fortunetelling, and astrolgy, all of which are condemned in the Scriptures (Lev.20:6; 19:26; 2 Ki.21:6). The guidance of the Holy Spirit leads you closer to Jesus and into true freedom. Satan's guidance leads you away from God into bondage.
One key test for true guidance and revelation is this: does your leading follow the principles of the Bible? The Holy Spirit never contradicts the Word of God.
9. The Nineth principle is quite a hard one to fathom sometimes and it is this: the opposition of man is sometimes guidance from God. There is a good illustration of this in the Book of Acts. Luke writes: "After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'" When we haerd this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the Name of the Lord Jesus." When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done"" (Acts 21:10-14).
Brethren and sisters, if the Lord seems to be blocking the way in your life it may be that He has a broader plan which you can't see. This applies to us individually as well as a Church. Have we been frustrated in our ministry -- in evangelism, for example? Might it be that the Lord has another plan, or one that is bigger than that which our finite minds would lead us to suppose? Sometimes, when things don't work, we withdraw -- maybe even give up. But sometimes our vision may simply not have been big enough. Paul knew that. Agabus may have spoken the truth but that wasn't going to stop him.
The important thing here is your yieldedness to the Lord. Remember the story of Daniel and how King Darius' royal administrators tricked the king into signing a proclamation making it obligatory to pray to a giant gold stature of him. Did Daniel hide away? Did he start praying in secret? No, he carried on. He had no idea that the Lord was working out a much bigger purpose. He was thrown to the lions and rescued. What was the result? Daniel's enemies were all executed and the king issued an edict in the empire testifying to the God of Israel making respect for Daniel's God mandatory (Daniel 6:6-23).
On another occasion the apostles Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin and ordered to stop preaching about Jesus and to stop healing the sick. They threatened them but didn't know what to do because the people were all praising God for the marvels they had seen (Acts 4:18-21). Opposition had an important purpose.
Remember that rebellion is never of God, but sometimes He may ask you to step away from the elders in your local congregation that is not rebellion but part of His plan. It is important, however, that you trust Him to show your heart the difference. If he does ask you to step away then it will always be to bless the saints, not to divide them. There is an important difference. Sometimes those who are not leaders may get guidance or revelation which the elders cannot get confirmation of because perhaps they are not receptive enough. Here the other principles are important, such as getting confirmation from others. But again, be very, very careful, and make sure it is the Lord who is speaking to you and not someone else.
10. The tenth point is that every member of the Body of Christ has a unique ministry (1 Cor.12; 1 Pet.4:10-11; Rom.12; Eph.4). The more you seek to hear God's Voice in detail, the more effective you will be in your own calling. Revelation is not a game -- it is serious business where we learn what God wants us to do in ministry and how He wants us to do it. The will of God is doing and saying the right thing in the right place, with the right people, at the right time and in the right sequence, under the right leadership, using the right method and with the right attitude of heart. That's alot of "rights"!
There are many people who mistakenly sit back and do nothing waiting for the Church to give them a calling. That's not the way the Church of God works. You should seek for personal revelation and then seek council from the pastor and elders in your congregation. Make known to them how you believe the Lord is calling you. Confirming that call should be a group experience with the pastor taking the final decision after much careful councelling and prayer.
The New Covenant Church of God has leadership structures -- it has pastors, elders, priests, teachers and deacons, as the scriptures teach. Their offices are defined to some extent but not always in great detail. Sometimes further definition is required through revelation also, and this will come through those who have that responsibility. But there are other callings too. The calling should come inwardly first. All ordinations in the New Covenant should really be outward confirmations of what God has already personally revealed to the one receiving ordination and those called to preside over that ordination.
11. The eleventh point is practice. The more you practice hearing God's Voice the easier it becomes. It's like picking up the telephone and recognising the voice of your best friend -- you know his voice because you have heard it so much. It is interesting to compare the young Samuel with the older prophet Samuel in the Old Testament. At first the boy Samuel didn't recognise the Lord's Voice and had to get guidance from the High Priest, Eli (1 Sam.3:4-7). The next stage of his spiritual growth is discernable when we see him distressed over his people who insisted on a king and not a judge. He doubted what to do and the Lord had to assure him that it wasn't him, Samuel, the people were rejecting, but the Lord (1 Sam.8:7-10). And then we read of the mature Samuel who knew the voice of the Lord so well that no doubt ever remained -- when God said it would rain, he announced it unquestioningly, and it rained (1 Sam.12:11-18).
So time and experience are needed. But you won't get experience if you don't seek the Voice of God yourself. If you just sit around waiting for others to lead you, you will never grow up spiritually. Get on your knees and start searching. You may have to fast and give the Lord alot of time. Be prepared to invest time. Not 10 minutes, not an hour, but maybe several hours. I know of people who like to set aside a whole week during the year in which they do nothing but pray. You may have to deal with unconfessed sins, or sins for which inadequate repentance has been given. If you invest the time then the Lord will guide you. But be prepared for some surprises. Don't go to prayer expecting to dictate to the Lord.
12. Last, the Twelfth Point, which is relationship. Relationship is the most important reason for hearing the voice of God. The Lord is not only infinite but personal. And note this well -- if you don't have communication, you don't have a personal relationship with Him. True revelation is getting closer to the Revelator. We grow to know the Lord better as He speaks to us and, as we listen to Him and obey, we make His heart glad. Jesus said:
Brethren and sisters, I am giving you this message as a direct instruction from the Lord. He wants us to move on. The old command system that characterised the old Church has got to give way to co-operative, Body-type ministry. This is what the New Covenant Christian Fellowships were given for. Those of you who are here have walked through the fire and have at last begun to learn discipline, which is an essential step to coming to know the Lord's Voice.
""Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." (Matt.7:24-27)
Our immediate task is knowing how to take this ministry out of the chrysalis. The catterpillar is gone. Now the butterfly awaits to make its first flight into the sunlight of spiritual opportunity. Now we must expand. Many questions will arise that will need discussing, in group- as well as private prayer. Where do we now go with our evangelism? Does the Lord want us to make our base elsewhere? Whom should we contact? Are there other projects He wants us to be involved with in addition to India, such as helping the Bosnians in our midst? Does He want us to build a Christian school here? One of our families already feels it is being guided towards building a retreat for city children. Should more of us be involved? How are we to develop our missionary work in the Ukraine and Bulgaria? Should we begin in America? There are many questions but they will not be answered so long as we see them as isolated projects and not part of the larger mission of the whole of the New Covenant.
My invitation to you today is to come to know the Lord Jesus more personally and, perhaps more importantly for our future mission, as one Body or Family, by considering the 12 points I have talked about today and putting them into action. The mission of the New Covenant Church of God has, like a pregnant mother, been waiting for the birth of her child, for its main mission. The gathering of keys and the restoration of the Holy Order was only the first stage -- tools shaped for the greater work to come. Now we must go on, and we must go on here -- in the outer fellowship where the action must be.
May the Lord bless us all as we discern His will by going back to those time when He clearly spoke to us as a Body so that we may know and enter His Spirit as one. This is my prayer today in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Sermon given in Oslo on Sunday 3 October 1993
This page was created on 16 October 1997
Last updated on 20 February 1998
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