The Divine Eagle: Part 5
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 22 November 2003
Click here for Part 4
"I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:9-10, NKJV).
We have spent the last few weeks looking at adversity and how Yahweh intends us to use this positively. Today I want to leave that subject behind and consider a very different form of adversity which does not appear to be adversity at all. For one of the nests that Yahweh seeks to overturn in our lives is the nest of spiritual complacency.
Many believers, once they have met the resurrected Christ and received the new birth, are simply content to snuggle down in their spiritual nest and live out their Christian lives at a level far below the best. It might be warm and comfortable in the nest, but it is better by far to expand ones wings, launch out into the clear, blue sky and live life to its fullest potential. Never believe the lie that Yahweh intended you to live a life of spiritual complacency and idleness. Salvation is not just a protective suit of armour - it is a tool with which to make a difference in this world.
There are many Bible-believing Christians who have accepted Yah'shua (Jesus) as their Saviour and who are committed to the Kingdom but who have never experienced the fullness of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Yes, it is true that the moment we start trusting in Christ the Ruach (Spirit) enters us; and though every born-again believer has the Ruach (Spirit), the Ruach (Spirit) does not have every believer. So very, very many believers live their faith out as though the Ruach (Spirit) were one-fold - as though there was only one birth. They believe that alpha is omega too. When the Syrian leper Naaman dipped himself seven times in the River Jordan, he was healed of his leprosy ... but not until he had been dipped the seventh time. The Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), we are told, is sevenfold (Rev.1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6). There are seven different functions of the Ruach (Spirit) and seven different results.
In our opening passage we read that Yah'shua (Jesus) came not only to give life itself, but to give it abundantly. There is a difference between someone coming out of a coma and a person who is bubbling with life and energy again. There are stages to recovery. Unless Yahweh has intervened in a dramatic way and given you an instant sevenfold restoration and regeneration, the chances are you will have seven overcomings to go through which take place in distinct steps. The birth of the eaglet is wonderful, but it is only the first stage of its life: it does not gain its real freedom until it has been tipped out of the nest to experience a second birth - its birth as a flying bird.
At conversion, Yah'shua (Jesus) gives us life - spiritual life, but when we experience the fullness of the Ruach (Spirit), we encounter not merely life, but life that is abundant and overflowing. "My cup runs over," said King David who knew what this abundance was (Ps.23:5).
Unfortunately there are many doctrines and theories about the 'abundant life' in Christendom. For some, abundant life consists in speaking gibberish. It involves no overcoming, no sevenfold birth, and is regarded as something that requires no action on our part. This is without doubt one of the most dangerous doctrines there is because it leads to another kind of complacency, but this time one born out of delusion: it confuses alpha with omega, birth with overcoming, and fantasy with reality.
I am sure you all know the words that Paul spoke to the Ephesians when he said: "be filled with the Ruach (Spirit)" (Eph.5:18-19, NKJV) as though this is something one simply decides to do and then it 'happens'. The apostle goes on to say: "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to Yahweh, giving thanks always for all things to Eloah (God) the Father in the Name of our Lord Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), submitting to one another in the fear of Eloah (God)" (Eph.5:19-21, NKJV). When a person is filled with the Ruach (Spirit), the fruits are praise and submission. What follows here is that famous discourse on marriage in which wives are reminded that their duty is submission to their husbands, and that husbands should be in full submission to Yahweh, loving their wives as the weaker vessel. Being filled with the Ruach (Spirit) is conditional upon community (church) life, because the only way to be filled is by being in submission to the Body as wives are to their husbands. In other words, it is not possible to be filled until you have found your place in the Body and are serving joyfully in it. A heart has no function or life unless it is connected to the rest of the human body, and neither has the brain, the legs, or the arms.
It is not Yahweh's purpose that we should muddle through this life - we are supposed to be living lives of spiritual power. Far too many of us are living too close to our margins. We are like the little girl who, when asked how she came to fall out of bed, replied: "I slept too close to the place where I got in." Is our encounter with the Ruach (Spirit) merely one of belief or is it actual experience? We talked about this some months ago, you may remember, when we looked at the gift of friendship. There are many who believe in the Ruach (Spirit) but who have never surrendered to the Ruach (Spirit) because they don't know what the Ruach (Spirit) is. They are still in the nest when they ought to be up in the air. It is not enough to repeat the Apostles' Creed and say, "I believe in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit)". It's like saying you believe in marriage but remain single. The Ruach (Spirit), like marriage, must be experienced.
I am sure most of you will remember the way in which you came to Christ. For most of us it was a time of crisis and of great upheaval. It challenged us with a whole new perception of reality and a whole new lifestyle. There may even have been trauma and inner rebellion. I want to suggest to you that the process that leads to a full birth in the Ruach (Spirit) leads to crisis too - and not just one. It is not enough to believe in the elementary things of the Gospel (Heb.6:1) but to go on to perfection too. It is not enough to receive the new birth, for we have to complete the sevenfold birthing process of the Ruach (Spirit) until we are totally free of demons and of the carnal man. It is not enough for the eaglet to be born by its mother: it has to break out of the nest, it has to grow, and then finally it must be turfed out of the nest into the sky. Rebirth in Christ is not a single event but many, and being filled with the Ruach (Spirit) can only take place as we empty the vessel of our lives of the filth that forces the wine of divine life out of the cup instead of into it. Spiritual rebirth is absolute and it is complete, but it can only be this if we absolutely and completely get rid of all the impediments to that rebirth. This means overcoming.
There is a time in every man and woman's life when we come to the end of our own strength. At that point we can either sink back and become a mediocre Christian or give ourselves in total abandonment to the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The Christian life is, beyond question, a religion of the Ruach (Spirit). Has Yah'shua (Jesus) baptised you "with the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and fire?" (Mt.3:11). How was Yah'shua (Jesus) conceived in the Virgin Mary? It was by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). What happened to Him at His baptism? The Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) descended upon Him in the form of a dove. How was He led into the wilderness to be tempted? By the Ruach (Spirit). And what did He, as an overcomer, come out of that wilderness temptation with? The power of the Ruach (Spirit). With what words did He begin His ministry? "The Ruach Elohim (Spirit of the Elohim) is upon me." How did He cast out demons? By the Ruach (Spirit). What was it that led Him to be offered as a sacrifice on our behalf? It was the Ruach (Spirit). What was it that raised Him from the dead? It was the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). By what did He issue commandments? By the Ruach (Spirit). And what did He baptise in? The Ruach (Spirit)! As His followers, we are led by the Ruach (Spirit), made into Christ's image by the Ruach (Spirit), we are given power to the inner man through the Ruach (Spirit), we bring forth the fruit of the Ruach (Spirit), our mortal bodies are quickened by the Ruach (Spirit), and "the Torah (Law) of the ruach (spirit) of life that is in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)" delivers us "from the 'law of sin' and of death" (Rom.8:2, HRV).
So from the first to the last, the Christian faith is a religion of the Ruach (Spirit). It is not mere theory or doctrine. It is not founded on the intellect or on the emotions. But it is not just any old 'spirit' - it is a religion of the Ruach (Spirit) conditioned by the content Yah'shua (Jesus) puts within it by His life and teaching. Just as Yah'shua (Jesus) reveals the nature of the Father so He reveals the nature of the Ruach (Spirit). If Yahweh is a Christlike God then the Ruach (Spirit) is a Christlike Spirit, because they are all echad or one.
Huge numbers of modern Christians have 'redefined' the Ruach (Spirit) so that instead of dealing with the personality of Christ they are dealing, instead, with something strange and bizarre. The Ruach (Spirit) does not lead men to do things contrary to what Yah'shua (Jesus) taught. There is not one 'law' for Christ and one 'law' for the Ruach (Spirit). There is only one Torah (Law), and that is the Torah of Yahweh-Elohim. The Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) will never do anything to contradict the character of Yah'shua (Jesus). If we are truly controlled by the Ruach (Spirit) we will become more and more like Yah'shua (Jesus); and as we become more and more like Yah'shua (Jesus), so we will become more and more like the Father, Yahweh. If the 'spirit' that leads you does not do this - if it leads you away from the Biblical Christ, or away from the biblical Yahweh, or away from the Torah, then it is another spirit - it is a false spirit.
Which leads me to an important question: is the Ruach (Spirit) of the Old Testament different from the New? No, the Ruach (Spirit) is the same in all dispensations, and brings forth the same fruits. The difference between the Old and New Covenants is in degree, not in quality. The New Covenant is best described as the "renewed" Covenant, because Yah'shua (Jesus) came to bring it to completion - He did not come to discard the old and start an entirely new covenant. He did not come to destroy the Old Covenant, but to fulfil it (Mt.5:17). To say that He did implies that there were two entirely different Ruachs (Spirits). There weren't.
Yah'shua (Jesus) was the full and complete revelation of Yahweh-Elohim. He did not 'change' the Ruach (Spirit), were that even possible. Whereas it may be justly said that the Ruach (Spirit) was used more sparingly before Yah'shua (Jesus) came, in no sense was the Ruach (Spirit) 'different'. What the life and teaching of Yah'shua (Jesus) revealed of the Ruach (Spirit) was always 'there' but not fully perceived or understood; and what the Messiah did was to more clearly focus for us the character and content of the Ruach (Spirit) which are power and purity.
When Yah'shua (Jesus) was about to return to Heaven, He promised His disciples that if they would wait in Jerusalem for the "promise of the Father" (Ac.1:14), they would receive supernatural power that would transform them from being weak, timid, vacillating disciples into men ablaze and invincible. Did this happen? We know it did. In the Upper Room the disciples received such an invasion of power that it completely revolutionised their personalities. They were not the same human-beings. Such was the impact it made upon them that someone described the change like this: "Before Pentecost, they were like rabbits. After Pentecost, they were like ferrets." This is precisely what the Ruach (Spirit) can do for you - it can turn you from a rabbit into a ferret. Instead of bolting down every hole like a rabbit because of fear, we can be completely transformed - fearless and unafraid - and become the chasers instead of the chased.
People like to talk about power, but when you remind them that another fruit of the Ruach (Spirit) is purity, it tends to unbalance them. You cannot separate divine power from divine purity in the Ruach (Spirit). Any power that lacks purity is counterfeit power and it comes from hell. Power without purity is demonic. When Christians go on about obtaining spiritual power and other supernatural gifts like prophecy, knowledge, miracles, and the like, but neglect purity, they are opening themselves up to major deception. But that is only one side of the coin of error. When Christians talk about holiness and purity, but reject the power of Yahweh as something that belonged to another age, they are effectively castrating the spiritual life. It is a common temptation of Christians to emphasise one truth at the expense of the other. Such is a recipe for defeat. This is the way the denominations began, and it is what will destroy them and is leading them into the enemy's camp. Like it or not, the Ruach (Spirit) brought both purity and power into the hearts of those early Christians. The timid, frightened disciples became as bold as lions when once the Ruach (Spirit) came upon them.
Speaking of the Gentiles, Peter said: "So Yahweh, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), just as He did to us, and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts 15:7-9, NKJV). Purification of the heart is therefore a fruit of the soul baptised in the Ruach (Spirit). If, then, your heart is not pure, it is because you are yet to be cleansed out by the Ruach (Spirit) - it means that you have not yet obtained the fullness. If that is the case, what is required is a striving that leads to repentance. And I would suggest that this is very likely the typical need of most modern Christians. Hence the later admonition by Paul to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil.2:12, NKJV). There's work to be done!
If your early victories as a Christian have subsequently turned to defeat, it is because Yahweh is precipitating a crisis in you that will lead you to identify hidden, or maybe not-so-hidden sin issues, that will lead you to repentance and a fresh endowment of the Ruach (Spirit). The Divine Eagle is trying to push you out of the nest. Only when you have reached the point where you are desperately crying out for purity and power will there be a clear enough perception and sufficient horror at sin that the refining fire can do a complete job on you. The point of crisis is Yahweh's merciful act of turfing you out of your old life and into a new one of victory, power and purity. Unless there is a full and complete death blow to the carnal lusts and desires, there can never be empowerment.
The spiritual life is an adventurous life. When a soul is dead, dying or imprisoned, it settles for that what is customary and humdrum, and does not venture out onto new terrain. Spiritual adventure is not just for those with more education, more giftedness, or more potential: spiritual adventure is for everyone.
Two years ago my ministry was almost entirely dedicated to teaching. Yahweh set me the task of creating a website which has since probably become the largest Christian website on the net, and it's still far from finished. I became so settled in my ways that writing became as natural as breathing. I could sit down and simply write on almost anything with, I think, at least a modicum of authority. I never plan my articles or sermons. I simply sit at the computer and ask the Ruach (Spirit) to guide me, and then I am directed what to write.
Then, about three years ago - at around the Millennium shift - I began to get very, very tired of writing, and my zeal and satisfaction for this kind of ministry began to dry up. My giftedness was still there, and still remains, but my love of the ministry began to wane. The fact of the matter was, Yahweh wanted me to branch out into a new ministry which I did not want: deliverance. I had no desire whatsoever to get my hands dirty in the demonic realm which is the very opposite of purity, where the worst sin and vice is to be found. My whole soul rebelled. So what did He do? He upturned my comfortable writing and preaching nest and gave me highly demonised people to help, one after the other. Instead of people coming to me with a hunger and thirst for truth, He sent me those who did not always want to be healed, and who very often became adversaries. This was altogether an entirely new experience for me and forced me onto my knees for supernatural help, because on my own I was helpless to help.
I have been in deliverance ministry now for a little two years now and it has completely transformed my walk with Yah'shua (Jesus). It was, after a long quest for purity, my first tangible encounter with real and instantly available power - the power to defeat Satan and heal battered souls. And I am still learning. I have experienced anointings of the Ruach (Spirit) which I never knew existed. And I have also made more enemies in the last two years than at any other time of my life as a minister! However, I have also made eternal friends.
Whilst I, of course, continue to write and preach, I am now exploring a creativity within me that I never before dreamed existed. Contrary to what I at first believed, deliverance ministry is the most creative ministry there is. You cannot operate in it in impurity, and you cannot operate in it without power. It forces the soul to reach, as it were, for the skies of full spiritual liberation. Though deliverance ministry is undoubtedly the hardest and most punishing ministry there is, it has given me the opportunity to grow as never before. In retrospect, I see now that it was my carnal nature that was in rebellion over this change in ministry, because it knew that if I entered into deliverance, that I would be forced to deal with it once and for all.
Creativity and adventure in Yahweh start when we are willing to cast our whole lives into His hands and walk down road that the carnal nature considers suicide. Pushing eaglets out of a nest does, at first sight, seem insane ... to the one with limited vision. But that is where faith makes it mark - the faith to trust in Yahweh at all times. Amen.
Click here for Part 6
This page was created on 2 November 2003
Last updated on 5 November 2003
Copyright © 1987-2007 NCCG - All Rights Reserved