Phase II: Gathering to Zion
The 1994 General Conference Address
Brethren and sisters, I welcome you to the Third Annual General Conference of the New Covenant Church of God in Jesus' Name which is being held in Oslo, Norway, today.
The New Covenant Church of God was organised on 12 April 1992 in Bergen, Norway and the first outer fellowships were organised in Oslo and Bergen some weeks later. We have therefore just passed our second birthday! During this period we have established two embryo congregations in L'viv, Ukraine, and Sofia, Bulgaria and have sent missions to Finland, Sweden and England. On the publishing front, we have produced over 100 different publications in English, Norwegian, Bulgarian and Swedish, with material in Ukrainian currenly being printed.
One of the first goals of the Apostolate upon organizing the NCCFs was to ensure that the people had a solid knowledge of, and foundation in, the Bible. To this end a series of Bible study guides were produced called Foundational Teachings of the Bible which have formed the theological backbone of the NCCFs. There are currently 18 in the series to which more will be added.
We have also seen our people spiritually mature in many areas as they have settled down and firmly planted their feet into the soil of the Word. Temple ministry has expanded enormously as more and more of the saints have been called to enter into solemn and holy covenants with the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result the call has been issued to prepare to lay the foundations of Zion, the holy city of Kadesh in the northern countries, and moves are now under way to do just that.
Today will, I hope, mark the end of what I call Phase I of New Covenant Christian spiritual development and the beginning of Phase II. I therefore invite you, in the Saviour's Name, to give close attention as I explain how the NCCFs must now move forwards.
THE QUEST FOR ZION
Today I wish to introduce to you a new theological concept -- new to NCCF, that is, though not by any means new to the apostles and prophets of old.
The first goal of the Apostolate was, as I have told you, to firmly ground people in God's Word. This process will continue until every member of the New Covenant is thoroughly and completely conversant with the Bible. Our goal always has been, and always will be, a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
Knowledge of the Word on its own, however, is quite useless, just as knowing how to build a house is quite useless on its own. If you wish your family to have a roof over its head, other things must be done.
1. The Vision of Zion
The New Covenant has always had as its objective the building of Zion and the gathering of the elect. It has been the one consistent stand of theology that has permeated everything we have done. Our goal has been to teach willing, born-again, spiritually-grounded and receptive souls the meat or Firstborn Gospel, change their lives, and to create an alternative Christian culture which we call Zion -- a mini-culture within the greater world culture, which will become the seed of the Millennial Culture. We have never deviated from that goal, whether as New Covenant Christians or as members of our former religious alliance. This goal has, as it were, been the ground of our faith.
What is faith, brethren and sisters? It is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Had our goal been some vague, esoteric idea of some heavenly New Jerusalem, which appears to be the goal of most Christians, we would soon have lost touch with the One who answers our prayers. As it is, because our faith has been concrete -- faith in a tangible place in the northern countries where we can raise our children in a godly environment -- it has never died out. It is even more vibrant than it was before. Why? Because we perceive that invisible things are happening -- we perceive that God is somehow on the move within us.
However, I must say that in other areas our faith has been weak -- extraordinarily weak. As I have listened to the prayers of the saints I have mostly heard vague and general requests for spiritual well-being. The call to be specific has largely been ignored. And that is because the vision of what Zion needs NOW has been largely missing. And that is because there is a lack of faith.
Now the scriptures teach quite simply that if we place our faith in Jesus, praying in His Name, that we will receive everything. Every thing. Now I'm going to ask you, from now on, to make your requests to the Lord to be absolutely specific. I don't want you to ask Him for what you want but for what you need. And not just you as individuals but what we, as a fellowship, collectively need.
I do not want to hear any more vague prayers about gathering to Zion. No general requests for blessings. It is time to get specific. But to do that, the saints need some new spiritual keys. First, though, let's get specific.
So, what do we need? Let's look at Zion. We need a piece of land. Should we ask the Lord for a piece of land? [congregation replies "Yes"]. No, no, no, that's quite wrong. It's not specific enough. How much do we want? 1 hectare? 10 hectares? 100 hectares? How much shall we ask Him for? [silence...]. Alright, we don't know. But can we work it out? Look, how many people has the Lord told us are going to gather to us? What do the revelations say? Can anyone tell me how many? [people are not sure]. Well, good gracious me, how can we ask the Lord for a piece of land if we don't remember how many people He's told us are going to live on it!! That's a bit like going to an estate agent, saying you want a house, but aren't sure how many people there are in your family!
Well, let's do some calculations. According to the revelations, which do not give an exact number, the twelve firstborn colonies will have between 2,000 and 3,000 people in total. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that it's 2,500 people. Divide 2,500 by twelve and how many do you have? A little over 200 people. What else do we know? We know that Kadesh is to be a preparatory gathering place close to the world until we are called to totally remove ourselves up into the mountains during the last three-and-a-half years of Antichrist's reign. When we make the final move to Kadesh-Ephraim, do you think the 200 or so souls will be gathered to Kadesh in the plains? [most of them]. Yes, I think probably most of them. How many then -- give me a minimum and a maximum... [100 to 150]. So between 100 and 150 souls will be ready, the rest presumably still in the towns and cities round about. My guess is that most will be in Kadesh.
So what do we have now? A plot of land, near to urban settlements and yet reasonably remote, big enough to house up to 150 souls, maybe 200. Will it be self-sustaining? [partly]. People will still be working in the cities and towns until Antichrist makes this impossible. It will therefore be partly self-sufficient, becoming gradually more and more self-sufficient.
What kind of land will it be? We know from revelation at least seven things about it: (1) We know it will contain fruit trees (whether they are there now or will appear later is not certain -- I suspect some are already there); (2) We know that it will contain rocky areas on which we can build our homes; (3) We know it will contain some forest, (4) We know it will contain arable land; (5) We know that it will be close to a large body of water, such as a lake or fjord, to which we can have easy access; (6) We know that it will lie in a plain and not in the mountains, though it may be surrounded by mountains; and (7) We know in exactly which direction it lies relative to Oslo, which I shall not mention here in public but which some of you know.
So here we are -- we know a tremendous amount about Kadesh already! (1) It will be able to house upwards of 100 to 200 souls; (2) it will be within easy access of an urban settlement yet remote; (3) it will contain fruit trees; (4) it will contain rocky areas on which houses for 100-200 people can be built; (5) it will contain forest which will supply us with our need for wood; (6) it will contain arable land, enough to feed a fairly large portion of the colony, let us say, up to 50%; (7) it will be close to a lake or fjord which we can use and perhaps even partly own; (8) it will lie in a plain though may be surrounded in part or wholly by mountains; (9) it will lie in a certain direction relative to Oslo.
Now how many of you have prayed to the Lord for this special piece of land with these 9 features? [none]. Yet we should have known this all along! What else do we know? When are we to start gathering to Kadesh? [starting next summer]. OK, so we need this land by next summer. What other land resources do we need to make the colony viable? [sewage system, water supply, electricity]. That's possible, but could we conceivably provide these ourselves? [if we have the money]. If we have the money -- and we'll talk about that in a minute -- we can install that later.
Well, it seems to me that we have the specifications. So, do you now know what to pray about? [Yes!] Good! So please, no more vague prayers about Kadesh. Bring this list of specifications to the Lord -- try to visualize it in your mind so you have a concrete goal. Bring the Lord a mental picture. And remember, we need to find it before next summer. If we are to do anything useful next year, we must start doing things there by about next May. So, do you think May is a reasonable time to ask the Lord to have the land by? [Yes!]. Can't we be more specific? Why not ask for a day? The Lord has not given an exact day -- if He does, then we can modify our prayer, but in the meantime, what do you feel about asking to have the land by 1 May? [Yes!].
Brethren and sisters, we have now accomplished the first prayer objective. We have a clear-cut goal. We know what we want and we believe it is in harmony with Scripture and revelation. If it isn't, we can modify it. So this is the next stage -- double check against scripture. I want you to incubate this picture -- these thoughts -- in your minds. Sit on it every day like a mother hen sitting on her egg patiently waiting for her chick to be born. But remember, if mother chick lets the egg go cold, the chick will die. So, do you all agree to pray about this picture every day until it has been realised? [Yes!] This is good -- for it is absolutely essential.
2. The Desire for Zion
Now we have the picture, so what is next? How much do you really want Zion? A little bit? Quite a lot? Or with all your souls? [all our souls]. It won't be any good if you come with your mental picture and just say: "Lord, answer my prayer," and then forget about it. No good at all. That kind of attitude will never touch the Lord's heart. You must have a burning desire.
It is written in Proverbs 10:24, "The desire of the righteous will be granted." Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (AV). So now we come to motives. Why do you want Zion? Is it to escape from the world? Is it to sort out a failed economic life? Or is it for some other reason? If it's any of these, the desire is wrong. Kadesh is not a place to run away from the world. It is a place from which we are to send our people into the world. It is a base of activity for world redemption, not a last refuge -- that is the mission of the later Kadesh, not the one we are to build.
What is your burning desire, brethren and sisters? What is the greatest desire in your hearts? If you are to gather to Zion the only desire you can have burning in your souls is to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbour as yourself. And to love your neighbour, your desire must be to bring him the Gospel of Salvation. The purpose of Kadesh is therefore primarily evangelistic. Yes, we are to have a temple, yes, we are to teach our own children, yes, we are to create a mini-culture, but all of these are tools, NOT the goal. They are future, millenialistic goals, but they are not our immediate goal, and we must never forget that. Zion is not a place where we can run away from our responsibilities and wrap ourselves up in our own concerns.
Brethren and sisters, I want you to live with, sleep with, walk with, be ill with, and if necessary die with the desire to build this firstborn community. Now what if you don't have that burning desire? Then wait and ask God to impart His desire to your heart. God does not like the lukewarm, for He specializes only in the RED HOT. If you have that red-hot burning desire, then, brethren and sisters, we are going to see results.
3. The Assurance of Zion
Now desire is not enough. Sorry! But faith, we are told, is the substance of things hoped for. The Greek word for substance is also translated as ASSURANCE. This can also be translated as "the title deed" or "the legal paper".
So you have the vision, the picture. You have a burning desire. Now you need the assurance. How are you going to get it? Once you have a clear vision, and once your desire has come to boiling point, then you should kneel down and pray -- alone and in your families and together as a fellowship -- until you receive the substance, the assurance.
How long is that going to take? I can't tell you that. It may take one minute or one year. But whatever the length of time, you should pray until you have it because if you don't, the desire will never come. We must have personal revelation from heaven -- the assurance in our minds and hearts that this is the Lord's will so that we know it will come to pass -- because God's Word never returns to Him void. Give the Lord time -- don't expect Zion to come down on a silver plate out of heaven ready prepared. This is the Western mentality of expecting everything instantly prepared. So don't go to the Lord in prayer and say: "Lord, I need an answer in five minutes," and if you don't get the assurance, not pray about it again. Keep going back to the Lord until you know.
I will tell you one reason why some people get answers to their prayers in one minute whilst others may take one year. It's because they don't love the Word of God enough. They don't saturate their minds with the Bible. Don't you know that the scriptures are the stuff of revelation? They are not the only thing the Lord uses, but 95% of the time He will speak through scripture. He will bring a scripture to your mind in answer to prayer. Indeed, He will often bring the same scripture to mind to several people without them knowing it and thus confirm a matter. Would you like revelation like this in the Church? It's yours, but you must make the investment. You must give the Lord the ground material -- the words of revelation, by filling your minds day and night with the Bible. If you don't, don't expect Him to dramatically bring words that you have never heard before -- such is usually the blessing of experienced prophets only. But if you are to become revelators, you must first be trained. And the first part of your training is to give the Holy Spirit the material it can work with. That's the Scriptures.
Many of you here enjoy the blessings of the temple. One of the requirements of the temple is that every soul read the Bible a minimum of twice a day and for a minimum of five minutes a day, whether in sickness or health, whether happy or downcast, it doesn't matter. And those of you who have discovered the joy and glory of scripture will probably be investing far more time than that, and possibly reading it far more often. Such is a sign of one who desires God's presence, and actually enjoys it, on a day to day basis. In a moment I will tell you how to effectively read the Bible.
So if you want the assurance of Zion, or of anything else from God, then you must make your investment in scripture study and consistent prayer. God will do many wonderful things through you if you do this, you have my promise and assurance of that! The heavens only open up to those who are prepared to labour in this way -- and the opening of the heavens is promised to everyone of you.
4. Speak the Word of Zion
Next, brethren and sisters, you must show evidence of your faith. Faith without works is dead. And this, friends, brings us into the realm of miracles. Yes, we had to come to that sooner or later, didn't we? So now let us confront a major practical obstacle to building Zion. Who can tell me what that is? [money]. Well, now, we have a pretty clear picture of what we want. How many hectares do you think we will need? That is something that the mathematical amongst you will need to sort out, but let's say for the sake of argument, that we need 50 to 100 hectares. That's alot of land. And how much is that going to cost? Well, as soon as the Lord has led us to the land we are to build and settle on, we will know the price soon enough. We don't know the cost now, but you can be sure it will cost several million Norwegian kroner. Yes, that's alot! And how much do we have? Does anyone know? [about 100,000]. Yes, a little more than Kr.100,000. But that's not all -- there are amongst us people with large debts. All in all, then, the financial picture is gloomy.
And it is precisely here that the materially-minded person gives up. He discusses the options, sees that the goal is financially unrealisable, and then recommends at worst that the project be abandoned or at best considerably scaled down. How much land could we buy for Kr.100,000? One hectare, maybe? Can we fit 100-200 people on 1 hectare? No way.
It is at this point that real faith is called for. And it is at this juncture, brethren and sisters, that the New Covenant must enter into Phase II of its spiritual life -- not just for Kadesh, but perhaps even more importantly -- for the NCCFs themselves because they are both closely connected.
It is in Phase II that real faith is demanded. No longer the pauper's faith that we have hitherto relied upon -- the tiny everyday miracles, important though these are. The time has come where we need a spectacular miracle. Now notice that I use the word need and not want. God does not answer our wants because our wants are selfish and carnal, but He answers our needs. He does not supply signs and miracles to the curious but to the believing who have need of them.
Phase II is the Signs and Miracles Phase, but if it is to be that, then real faith is required -- faith based on the personal assurance of God. It is not that people must really decide with their whole souls whether the New Covenant is just a nice idea promoted by a nice man or whether it really is the Plan of Almighty God. If Kadesh is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, and the people respond properly, then Zion will appear -- and it will appear spectacularly, with signs and miracles accompanying -- not out of the sky on a silver dish but through faith in action -- with willing hearts and willing hands. In short, there will be much activity, much hard work. An investment of sweat and tears will absolutely be required, that the miracle may have worth and that our characters may be refined by the experience.
Well, what kind of faith should we be looking for? Let us take a Biblical example, the story of Abraham. Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90. They had a clear-cut goal -- to have a son. They had a burning desire to have a son, and they prayed for 25 years. Eventually, God gave them a promise, and when they received the assurance, God immediately changed their names: "You are no more Abram, but Abraham, the father of many nations; and you should not call your wife Sarai, but Sarah, the princess." Brethren and Sisters, when you received the promise of Zion, God changed your names too. The names you have received are your Zionic names.
Abraham protested to God: "Father, people will laugh at us. We don't even have a puppy in our home, and you mean you want us to change our names to 'father of many nations,' and 'princess'? My, all the people in town will call us crazy!"
Alright. God has called us to build a community of 200 souls. We've been saying we'll do it for seven years now, and we hardly own anything that we can call our own. We are almost as many people as we were when we first started in 1988, and alot of people have laughed at us. We've even been shown in vision that the city we build will, one day, have thousands and thousands of people living in it. Impossible? No more impossible that the promises made to Abraham. His obstacle physically-speaking was old age. Ours is our material poverty. If we added up our debts and what we owned together as a Church, we would probably owe alot! So is our situation really any different from Abraham's?
Now about a year ago I preached a sermon called Five Keys to Effective Prayer. I wonder how many of you remember it? I told the story. If you've forgotten it, I'd like you to read it again. I may recall I told the story of a little Indian boy who wanted a toy car so badly and rejoiced as though he had it once his father had promised him he would get it. Well, Abraham was like that little boy. He believed, and he spoke boldly about God's promise of a son as though it had already happened. We too must speak boldly -- not timidly -- as though Kadesh has already happened. So how will you do this?
One evening Abraham was walking far down in the valley. Sarah prepared a meal and she called to her husband, "Abraham, The Supper is ready." The words echoed through the valley and through the nearby village.
You can imagine how the people reacted. They probably stopped working and said: "Listen! She's calling her husband Abraham, 'the father of many nations'! Oh, poor Sarah! She wanted to have a child so badly in her 90th year that she's started calling her husband 'the father of many nations'! She's lost her mind! Oh, we feel sorry for her."
Then suddenly, they heard a big baritone sound from the valley. "Sarah, I'm coming!"
"What?!" they probably murmured, "Sarah, 'the princess, the mother of many children?' Oh, he's in the same boat! They're both crazy together."
"What?! Buy land for 200 people worth several million kroner when they hardly have 50 Ýre to rub together between them? They're crazy!" If people get to know of what God has called us to do, they will react in the same way. The questions is: are you going to agree with them -- the unbelievers of little faith -- or are you going to believe in God?
Well, Abraham and Sarah ignored the criticism. They talked back to each other: 'the father of many nations' and 'the princess'. And exactly as they called each other, exactly as they gave affirmation, they had a beautiful child, Isaac, meaning "smile".
Brethren and sisters, do you like to see a smile? Do you like smiles in your home? Do you like to have a smile in your place of work and in your fellowships? Use the law of faith! Then you can see the birth of Isaac again and again in your life.
Understand that miracles do not come by blind struggling. They are laws in spiritual dimensions. God is within you in the Light of Christ and so you have His infinite resources right there within your heart. God dwells in you and He is not going to do anything for you without coming through your own life. Are you waiting for things to happen outside? Through others? Don't, because they won't. If you want the fruits of faith in your life, then you must cooperate with the Lord. God cannot manifest Himself before you -- the person -- changes. Are you waiting for everything to happen through your leaders? Don't. That's what Israel did, and when Moses and Joshua died -- men of faith -- the whole nation backslid, and God stopped manifesting His power.
Watch your minds and hearts more than anything else. Don't try to find the answer of God through someone else, for God's answer -- His revelation -- always comes through the Light within you; and through your own spirit the answer comes to your circumstances.
Once you have God's assurance, claim and speak the word of assurance. Stop being beggars always. Yes, beg and plead until you have the vision, have the burning desire, and have the assurance, but thereafter -- then is the time to command. If you have God's assurance, why act as though you hadn't? By the Red Sea Moses begged God for help but God rebuked him and told him to give the command to divide the Red Sea.
So stop waiting around like sheep. Get on your knees, get stuck into your Bibles, and pray and study until you know. And once you know -- once you have God's assurance -- act. Remember, that there are three spirits and you must learn to discern between them: the Spirit of God, the spirit of man, and the spirit of the devil. It would be a tragedy, would it not, if you believed in the assurance of the devil, or of a religious leader, invested your life's energy in it, and wasted away your life in something that never came to pass. Are you willing to take that risk? So, now is the time to really find out whether the whole New Covenant enterprise is of man, of the devil, or of God, and then get into action.
Once you're sure, you're going to have to change spiritual gear. In fact, your whole thinking process has to change. You have to think as God things, not as man. That means you must renew your minds. And to do that, you must saturated your minds with the Word of God, day and night, until you think as the great men of God thought in the Bible. Too many of you still think as the world thinks.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate what I mean. The disciples of Jesus were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It was a dark and stormy night, and the waves were so high that the boat rolled heavily. They were fighting a losing battle to keep the boat afloat when suddenly they saw Jesus Christ walking on the water toward them. In those days there was a popular saying that if a seaman saw a ghost on the sea his boat would sink. So when these fishermen-disciples saw Christ they were frozen with fear, thinking their boat was going to sink and they were going to die.
But Jesus spoke: "It is I. Don't be afraid."
Peter cried out: "If you were Jesus, you would ask me to come to You."
Peter always spoke before he thought. He was a terribly emotional man; but he had the gift of boldness, so God used him.
Jesus told Peter to come. When Peter heard this command, he immediately accepted the command of Jesus in his mind, and his thinking was renewed.
Humanly speaking, Peter could never walk on the water, but when he accepted the word of Jesus Christ, he instantly renewed his mind. Peter changed his thinking from a negative to a positive attitude. Peter would never have believed that he could walk on water, but as he heard the command of Jesus and as he accepted the command, he changed his thoughts; he believed that he could walk on water. He changed his thinking, and man always acts according to his thoughts.
So as Peter renewed his thoughts, as he envisioned that he could walk on water, he acted accordingly, and he jumped out of the boat. It was a pitch dark night, and the waves were high. But he risked his life boldly, launching out by faith, and began to walk on the water.
Miracles follow a renewed mind, and as Peter renewed his mind, he began to walk on water. He walked high on the crest of the waves; he was actually walking on water!
But suddenly he looked around. He saw the dark valleys the stormy waves had created, and he began to regress to his old thinking. "Look at me," he thought. "Am I not a human being? I am walking on the water, and we are not supposed to be able to walk like this. We human beings are supposed to walk on land, not on water. I'm not a fish, but look at me. I'm walking on the water. This is wrong; it's impossible for me to do this."
He changed his thinking pattern, He thought that he could not walk on the water, and instantly he sank.
How many times has the Church sank because people reverted to their old ways of thinking? How many times has spiritual opportunity been crushed by doubt and fear? Well, God has waited patiently for us -- seven years he has waited, and now He says: "O.K, now's the time to move forward." But we can still sink if we let our human thoughts crowd our minds. How can we avoid these thoughts? Fill your minds with the Word of God! Read your Scriptures until you are walking alongside and living with holy men and women of God! That's we have the Scriptures.
Now understand this. The Scriptures are not primarily given to us to teach us theology, or give us spiritual keys, to tell us about history. They certainly give us all these things but they are given so that we can enter into this spiritual dimension of godly thinking and living.
Brethren and sisters, the time has now come for us to constantly think in terms of miracles -- not as great shows or displays but as an alternative way of life. Miracles should become the norm for us -- part of everyday life, because that is the life we should choose to live in. I don't want to live an ordinary man's life because I'm not an ordinary man -- I'm a son of God, purchased at great cost by a Saviour. You too shouldn't want an ordinary, worldly way of life, but a holy life -- a life in Christ. Otherwise, brethren and sisters, the New Covenant is no more than a house of religious entertainment, a mere social club. And I'm afraid to say that very often it has been just that.
The Obstacles to be Overcome
Phase II is the phase of miracles, but to be that it must also be the phase of self-sacrifice. Before He shows His mighty hand, the Lord is going to demand everything of you. And the first things He is going to demand you to do is to loose your hatred, your fear, your feeling of inferiority, and your feeling of guilt. These are the four mill-stones that drag the soul away from the life of miracles.
1. The Sin of Hatred
God help us if we have any degree of hatred in our souls towards anyone. If we have, our mission will be still-born. If there is any hatred or bitterness, then we must at once make reconciliation. Jesus said: "If you forgive people their reckless and wilful sins and give up your resentment -- your Heavenly Father will forgive you" (Matt.6:14, author's trans.). If anyone has any resentment of any kind, then they must go and bless the person they resent, and freely forgive them.
2. The Sin of Fear
Fear is a killer. It quenches out the Holy Spirit and poisons our thinking. We must not fear God's commands but rejoice in them. The move to Kadesh is going to require enormous changes in our personal lives and I know many people are afraid of what they may have to lose or give up. But that is wrong. What is more important is to know that God has given the call and that God is going to lead and direct His people as He always has done.
Brethren and sisters, if you look at your circumstances with your physical eyes and live by your senses, satan will destroy you with fear. But if you close your eyes and look to God, then you can believe.
There are two different kinds of knowledge -- sensual knowledge and revelational knowledge. We are, by definition, a people of revelational knowledge, and we have always lived that way. We are here today only because of revelational knowledge. But once you allow sensual knowledge to enter your thoughts and feelings -- the impossibility of meeting the financial demands of Zion, what non-members are going to think of us, and so on, you put spiritual knowledge to the sword because the two cannot live side by side. Why not? Because one is of the flesh and the other is of the spirit.
Stop being afraid of your environment and your circumstances. If you do not, your faith cannot develop and God cannot flow through you. Surrender your fears to the Lord, and put your faith in the Word of God.
3. The Sin of Inferiority
I confess freely that the sin of inferiority has been one of my greatest weaknesses throughout my life, and that these feelings have led to a sense of frustration. Often I have felt the spirit of inferiority in this work as I have wrongly compared our ministry with the successful, in numerical terms, ministry of other churches. Such feelings are destructive and often led me into dark and lonely inner corridors. A wicked man once prophesied that my life would come to nothing and I confess that I have allowed his negative and evil thinking to infiltrate my thoughts from time to time. The trouble is, I have fallen into the sin of measuring externally instead of internally. I have finally overcome that, I believe, and am now trusting the Lord to do things in His way.
Remember this. You, who ever you are, are something. You are not inferior. Once you give your heart to Jesus, the whole power of Christ and all His resources are placed at your feet. God will use you. You are not inferior, because you are God's man or woman. Stand victoriously. You have all power and resources dwelling within you, just waiting to be tapped.
I know this is true. I have seen people who had no faith in themselves be transformed instantly once they changed their thinking. This is one of the easiest sins to overcome, but is also one of the most destructive. Please remember: if you believe in Christ, and have given your life to Him, you have everything you need immediately at hand.
4. The Sin of Guilt
The fourth and last sin is the sin of guilt. This has to be overcome before a soul can work effectively for the Lord. That means you must open up your past to someone who is caring and responsible. No dark, secret cupboards. And do you know, getting rid of guilt is as simple as getting rid of an inferiority complex? It can happen instantly. You must forgive yourself of any wrongs you have done in the sure knowledge that if you have truly regretted your sin and turned permanently away from a life of sin, that Christ has forgiven you. He died on the cross to bring forgiveness about. Never, never, NEVER say that your sins are too great to be forgiven for this is a terrible lie and is rooted in pride. Do you feel that you have done something wrong that cannot be forgiven? Well, if you do, then listen to this true story that I heard from a pentecostal minister.
There was once a lady who had had an affair with her sister's husband -- her brother-in-law -- and was racked by guilt so much that she could not have a normal relationship with her husband. She never believed her sister would forgive her, and that she was beyond forgiveness.
The minister took her to a small lake and gave her a heavy rock, and took up a small pebble himself. He said: "I'm going to throw my pebble into the lake." He throws it in and there is a little 'plop' and rings of ripples. "Where is my pebble now?" he asks the lady. "At the bottom," she replies. "Right," says the pastor, "now it's your turn. Cast your rock in." She does, and there is a huge splash and huge ripples. "Did your rock make a light noise?" asks the pastor. "No," she replies, "it made a big sound, and a large ripple." "But where is your rock?" he asks. "Down at the bottom," she replies. "Well," said the pastor, "it seems that both my small pebble and your big rock went to the bottom when they were thrown. The only difference was the sound and ripple. Mine made a plop, and yours made a boom. Mine made a small ripple, yours a large ripple. People go to hell with small sins as well as big sins, for they are without Jesus Christ. And what's the difference? Sound and its influence on society. Everyone needs the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus cures all sins, big and little."
That woman came to Christ and was transformed...in an instant. Her eyes shone like stars and glory shone from her face. All her burdens were lifted....instantly. Her whole life changed -- her marriage blossomed and she became an active Christian. Such is the miracle and power of forgiveness.
Have you forgiven yourself from past wrongs? Have you forgiven others for the wrongs they have done you? If not, do so -- now. And then I promise you your lives will change...instantly.
Brethren and sisters, I am leaving you a challenge to leave the old "Phase I-type Gospel" and to enter into "Phase II" -- the Gospel of miracles. The goal for Zion is clear, and also the obstacles, but is anything impossible for God?
I challenge you to use the keys learned here today not only to bring Zion to pass but to bring a revolutionary change in your families and in the Church. It is time for the congregations to grow -- it is time to harvest the seeds planted and to see God's power in action. Let us all now pray together as we lift up our eyes into the mountains and call upon the Lord of Hosts to deliver us and to open the doors to a rich and abundant harvest of souls who will labour for Zion. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This page was created on 22 May 1998
Last updated on 22 May 1998
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