The BATTLEGROUNDS of the Church—(Part 3)

THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT STAND AGAINST THE CHURCH---Matt. 16:18

 ** [Credit given to The Ancient Paths by Craig Hill.]

“In the last moments of this age, to prepare us for the raging of Satan as his time shortens (Rev. 12:12), the Lord Jesus will raise an army to whom He will be revealed in a manner unfamiliar to most Christians.”

Isaiah 42:13 says,  “The Lord will go forth like a mighty man. He will rouse up His zealous indignation and vengeance like a warrior; He will cry, yes, He will shout aloud, He will do mightily against His enemies.”

We have known the Lord as our Savior and our Shepard.  This new dimension is so startling different from how we have known Him, it still doesn’t change what He has revealed before, the same Blessed Savior who died on the cross for our sins. Buck-up my friends, this frightening Warrior King with His sword drawn, with the shout of war on His lips will come to lead His people, the Church into war.

This new unveiling of the Lord is holy. Do not criticize what you may not fully understand! We are at the beginning, to perceive the Lord as He truly is and as He will be revealed in the days ahead.

Within the ranks of the advancing church, there is a new authority being raised up, a new generation whose voice shouts out in prophetic prayer.  NOW IS THE TIME!  The hour has now come for His church to grow in all aspects into Him, who is our head, even Christ, the Warrior King! (Eph. 4:15). THE TIME IS NOW!

THE STRONGHOLD OF COLD LOVE

“Is your love growing and becoming softer, brighter, more daring, and more visible? Or is it becoming more discriminating, more calculating, less vulnerable, and less available.”

I personally have confessed my weakness of the stronghold of “cold love” with Jesus. The Holy Spirit reminds me daily of this stronghold in my life; being around other people and being “discriminating” in who they really are. God’s Spirit keeps telling me that, who they really are isn’t the issue. It’s who I am that is the issue. Jesus through me is in the process of tearing down that stronghold of cold love.

GUARD AGAINST UNFORGIVENESS

“And the LOVE of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity” (Matt. 24:12).  A major area of spiritual warfare that has come against the church is in the area of church relationships. Satan knows that a church divided against itself cannot stand. I have seen this displayed in a church when I was a new Christian. A church who was divided over the issue of “doctrine” that had been presented by the Pastor. It destroyed the church; one half going in one direction and, the other half going elsewhere. It was devastating in the church community. Even non-believers were gossiping, “Did you here what happened at ….”? Certainly a poor witness.

We may enjoy temporary blessings and seasonal breakthroughs in our church, but to win a citywide war, Jesus is raising up a united, citywide church.

There is no spiritual unity, and no lasting victory, without LOVE.  Love is a passion for oneness. Bitterness, on the other hand, is characterized by a noticeable LACK of LOVE.  Where there is persistent and hardened unforgiveness in a person or church, the demonic world (known as “torturers,” Matt. 18:34) has unprotected access.  Bitterness defined is “unfulfilled revenge“.

“Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look, to see that no one fails to secure God’s grace, in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and many become contaminated and defiled by it—” (Heb. 12:15).

If you fail to react with love and forgiveness, if you retain in your spirit the debt the offender owes you, that offense will rob your heart of its capacity to love. Someone has said, “It’s called FOR GIVE NESS, not FOR SALE NESS”. If your heart has grown cold over time, you will become a member of the majority of end-time Christians whose love is “growing cold”.

God gives you a way out if you find yourself in a state or stronghold of bitterness; from someone who has hurt you. The way out is: Love!  As you begin to walk in God’s love and begin to walk in forgiveness, you are pulling down the stronghold of bitterness and its manifestation of cold love in your life. Eventually, you will have more love than you ever did.

WITHOUT COMMITMENT THERE IS NOT LOVE

And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away…  And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error.  And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of multiplied lawlessness..” (Matt. 24:10-12).

I want to stress something here: there is no such thing as love without commitment. “The measure of your love is found in your commitment”.  I have heard Christian friends of mine say, “I loved once, but I was hurt,” Or, “I was committed to Christian service, but they used me.”  People withdraw from being committed, never realizing that their love is growing cold! It may not seem like they have become cold–they still go to church, read the Bible, tithe, sing and look like Christians–but inside they have become distant from other people. They have withdrawn from the love of God.  Jesus said that “It is necessary that temptation or stumbling blocks come…” (Matt. 18:7). People do not stumble over boulders but over stones–little things.  To stumble is to stop walking and fall. Have you stumbled over someone’s weakness or sin lately? To preserve the quality of love in your heart, you must forgive those who have caused you to stumble. You cannot form a negative opinion of someone (even though they may deserve it!) and allow that opinion to turn into an attitude.  Every time that you do, a part of your heart will cool toward God. You may still think you are open to God, but the Scriptures are quite plain:  “If anyone says, I love God, and hates his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen” (I John 4:20).  You may not like what someone or a group of someones has done, but you do not have an option to stop loving them. LOVE is your only option!  What do I mean by LOVE?  By “love” I mean compassion that is empowered by faith and prayer to see God’s best come forth in the one I love. When I have love for someone, I have predetermined that Mel is going to stand with them, regardless of what they are going through.

RELATIONSHIPS

The kingdom of God is not based on church doctrines, it is founded upon relationships—relationships with God and, because of God, with one another.  We are not “anti-doctrine,” but we are against empty doctrines which seem like virtues but are simply excuses that justify cold love.

To those of you whose attitude is “just Jesus and me” I say, it is wonderful you found Jesus. BUT you cannot truly have Jesus and at the same time don’t do what He says.  The outgrowth of love and faith in Christ is love and faith like Christ’s, which means we are committed, even as He is, to His people. The kingdom of God is best revealed in our relationships with one another. We are being perfected into a unit (John 17). “The people of God in its reality are people who overcome the obstacles of each other’s faults”.

Remember, the goal of pulling down the stronghold of cold love is to see the oneness of Christ’s body (the Church) revealed.

The next blog will be PART 4, and the last in the series.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s