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October 30, 2014

Social status and order are important as it applies to the world and the way things are categorized and held together, it's very important. But when it comes to His church, the Lord abhors social status and things being done the same way that they're being done in the world. We've grown up from childhood being taught the world's ways of measuring man. I mean, these things go deep. From the earliest age we're taught; this is proper, this is improper; this is a person to look up to, this is a person not to look up to. Most of the time the standards are worldly and are not spiritual.

So, let's take a look at the differences that are there. Well, we all have heard that expression that man's ways are not God's ways Isaiah 55:8 so we know right away that God has one yardstick; man has another yardstick. So, usually on man's marker it has to do with being beautiful or ugly, rich or poor, intelligent or slow, talented or lackluster, high-born low-born. On earth, the most powerful and talented people are often the most ruthless in defending their title. That's not necessarily what the Lord wants us to be like but what are the markers on God's yardstick?

Well, let's go ahead and read from Matthew 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?" He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. Well, that's pretty interesting.

What are the characteristics of a child versus the characteristics of an adult? Well, for instance, children tend to be innocent. Adults tend to size up situations, be calculating and deliberate. Children are accepting. They don't ask a lot of questions versus adults are more judgmental and discriminating. Children are without guile where man is more cautious and subtle in how he deals with other people in sizing them up. Children are transparent, men and women are guarded and sometimes evasive. Loving and accepting is another thing that children tend to be, loving and accepting when they're young unless they've been taught something different. People tend to be looking more at ulterior motives and opportunistic. We size situations up and we decide if this is something that is going to benefit us, for instance. Children tend to be candid. Sometimes they say the rudest things. Things that you wish they had never said! But they say them completely out of candor and simplicity of heart.

I'm reminded of a story that my husband told once of a preacher man in the South being invited to dinner. At the dinner table, of course there's this big chicken that's been cooked and everyone's had a piece of it but there's a little bit left over. Well, the woman putting on the dinner says, "Preacher, we're always so glad when you come over and eat dinner with us, we're so happy when you do that" and the little child pops up and says, "No you ain't Momma, you told me all he's gonna do is come over here and eat all our chicken." So, anyway, that's just so typical of a child, they're just so innocent and without guile, candid. Saying the silliest things sometimes, really embarrassing their parents. You've got to be careful what you say around your children because it's very likely to be repeated. But, even more important than that you should be careful what you say and think period because the Lord and His angels are always listening in.

Okay, well, I want to tell you another story about Rick Joyner's trip to Heaven. Now, Rick had an experience where he was taken to Heaven and there was a man in Heaven that he recognized, he was sitting on a throne and Rick looked at him and said, "I know you from somewhere." And the man said - I may not have these details exactly right but the man replied, "Yes you do, you mean you remember me?" and Rick said, "Yeah, I know you from somewhere" and he said, "Well, I'm the ragged street preacher that was on the street, homeless that you passed by in the bus station once." And he was terribly, terribly embarrassed because when he had passed by that street preacher he said to his companion something on the order of, "There's another one. You know we're going to turn people off because they're on the street corners preaching. Another one of those" and kept on going.

Well, I think Rick had had a vision about this person and when he saw that person he kind of recognized him but brushed it aside as we often do with visions, we don't always take them seriously. So, now he's in Heaven and the angels are waiting on this man. He's sitting on a throne and the angels are busy coming and going, doing all kinds of things for him that he's directing them to do. Rick is amazed by this because well, you know, he had judged him by society's standards and now the Lord was showing him the Lord's standards. So, he asked the Lord, "Why is this man so important in Heaven?" and the Lord told him, "Well, this man, I only gave him one Grace but he used that Grace to the maximum and this man saved the life of another man. He died. He gave his life to keep a man who was drunk on the street alive. To keep him warm. He laid on top of this man, kept him warm through the night but in the process of doing that, he himself died."

So, we're going to take a deep look at the Lord's standards because, you know, right now we're in the world and it's easy to get by with the worlds standards in the world but pretty soon that's going to be stripped away. For some of you it may be today. For some of us it might be today or tomorrow or it may not be for another 20 years. But the point is, we're going to have to confront the social standards of Heaven and the Lord and we're going to be comparing how we acted and the Holy Spirit wanted us to act. This could be a very distressing moment in our lives, a very, very distressing moment so this is something we want to look at now, before we get to that point where we're confronted with it and we can't do anything about it because we can't change.

Okay, so, let's look at the choices that God the Father made in bringing Jesus into the world. You know, the Lord came as an example of what Holiness and what God was like because before they had envisioned that, you know, God the Father in Heaven on a throne and the strength and the mighty power and everything else of the Lord - of God, Yahweh. But, here we go. He had a deep need, not only to save mankind and to die on the cross but He had a deep need to communicate His personality to the people on earth. So, Jesus comes and He incarnates and sets an example of holiness for all men.

Now, this gets really interesting. I think this is something we should really meditate on. For parents, he chose the working class. He wasn't guarded in a royal nursery, rather He was a fugitive, on the run from a very early age, from when He was a baby. His crib was a trough for cattle feed. I don't know if you've ever looked at one of those carefully but we raised horses and when you look at that, there's slobber and everything else. It's not exactly tidy and neat and sanitary. It's pretty lowly as far as furniture goes. His bedding was rough straw and I don't know if you've ever laid on straw but it's very scratchy and rough and pokes you in different places. It's not comfortable at all. His education; He was homeschooled. Here's where reality really takes a dive as far as out of reality.

For the Lord's P.R. team he chose an uncultured, long-haired, nonconformist crying out in the wilderness, "Repent!" and living on a raw-food diet. You know, I can think of some people that that kind of resembles right now. Someone like that is totally without credibility to the rest of the world. So, he was on a raw-food diet, living out in the wilderness and crying out, "Repent!"

Okay, no Rolls Royce, no armed guards, no formal parade with floats and dancers. Rather, His entrance was meek and submissive. The ritual washing of baptism for repentance which He had no need of except by example to set an example for us. For his companions he had men with calloused hands from drawing in nets. Their clothing reeked of fish entrails. Their faces were wind burned and rough. A motley crew. An eminently unqualified to govern God's Church. They were not college educated except for the one who betrayed Him. They were not influential princes from royal families or fabulously wealthy merchants. They were basically blue-collar workers. Just regular guys.

So looking at this, here we're looking at the example that the Lord set. His clothing was rough and poor, not priestly. So often people choose clothing as an impression of how they want to be seen. Thinking about it, Jesus was singularly, singularly unimpressive in every single thing He did except for the miracles and healings. He was very unimpressive in His presentation to the world.

Now, for us who are called by His name, living by His example, how do we get mansions, Rolls Royces, chauffeurs, private jets, Neiman Marcus, I don't know. How do we get that out of this example? I mean, this is a real contrast. This kind of contrast is something we're going to be looking at in Heaven when we stand before the Lord.

Isaiah even told the religious leaders what to be looking for. He said, He grew like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by mankind rejected like one from whom people hide their faces

He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem. Isaiah 53:2-3 Now, the Pharisees were forewarned by Isaiah what the Messiah would look like and He fit every one of those descriptions so beautifully when He stood in front of Pilate and the high priest and only very few like Nicodemus and a few others really, really recognized who He was and how perfectly He conformed to Isaiah's prophecy about Him.

So, here's a bit question. Usually when we have an important mission we think we're going to start it off with a big bang. So, why in the world would He choose to look like a common man who most would consider a loser? Certainly not any person of note or any person that's important. Why? Why would He choose to look that way?

Okay, so let's look at some of the possible reasonings. Could it be that He was setting an example of holiness that anyone, the most common man, could easily attain to. Is that possible? Okay, could it be that the class system the Pharisees operated under was an empty pretense that consistently mislead the people and quenched the Spirit of God? Well, that's a possibility too. Or could it be that He was presenting the only necessary thing. Let's take a look at Luke 10:40-42. They were getting ready for dinner and Mary was immersed in every word the Lord spoke while Martha was a whirlwind in the kitchen so, she came up to Him and said, "Lord, why do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Tell her to help me!" But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you're worried about so many things but only one thing is necessary. For Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her."

Could it be that the Pharisees were wholly taken up with so many things that they didn't have the discernment to recognize the Messiah? Obviously they were very busy and obviously there was a strong political undercurrent in the Temple. Well, they lived and judged according to the flesh so they couldn't recognize it by the Spirit is a possibility. I believe it's all of the above. That Jesus set an example of holiness that anyone could follow, anyone could attain to. That he rejected a class system that reeked of the world and was at enmity with the Spirit.

You know, religious professionals busy weighing their mint and cumin. They didn't have time for God. They were strangers to Him but later on in the Scriptures the Lord says, John 8:42-44 "You are not of my Father. Your father is the devil." Well, the devil is the prince of this world, isn't he? So, it all fits together. It all makes a great deal of sense.

Okay, so the Lord spelled out every mark on His yardstick for status. In other words, the qualities in Heaven that would qualify a person for high standing. Let's look at Matthew 5:3-11 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Not the proud and the haughty but those who honor others better than they honor themselves. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Not those who are continually celebrating their worldly victories and sensual luxury but those who ache for the needy and poor and the ones who are treated unjustly. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Not the greedy, the aggressive, but those who look out for others. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Not hungry for prosperity and power but hungry for righteous standing with God. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Not the ruthless who strip the poor in court. But those who forgive debts. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Not those who live a continually compromised lifestyle but those whose eyes are on the hand of the Lord and eager to promote His agenda. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Not those who gossip and stir up strife and division but those who stop the lips of slanderers and defend the innocent. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Not those who compromise to please men but those who suffer loss because they love the Lord and they choose what's right for Him and they suffer a lot of loss because of that. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in Heaven.

This is the yardstick of Jesus. This is how He measures the status of a man. He didn't come to fulfill corrupted political agendas. He came to seek out His own; the poor and the outcast, to heal, to teach, to deliver from bondage and open the gates of Heaven to them. He descended from perfection, absolute perfection, into this dark morass of a world. He descended into this darkness and he lived the perfect life that all could easily embrace. This ran against the religious community that was taught by the law. Those who are pleasing to God, He prospers with many possessions: cattle, sheep, land, children, slaves, gold, silver, prosperity, prosperity, prosperity. Those are the ones who have God's favor. This was the teaching that was prevalent at that time. That sound familiar?

What were the martyrs thinking when they were dragged out of their houses which were taken by the State and pillaged. Were they thinking about prosperity and enjoying their retirement? I don't think so. What were the onlookers saying? Well, I've heard this before, you know, in contemporary churches it's really sad. God's not pleased with you. That's why you have nothing now. If He were pleased with this Jesus you're following, well, He'd be blessing you and you'd be prosperous. What a condemnation! What an unnecessary condemnation of innocent people who live a simple life. This is a travesty, folks. This is an offence to the Lord. It's an offence to the example that He set Himself, with His own life. He set an example and there are people who follow that example and they're ridiculed by Christian communities because they're not wealthy and prosperous; driving nice cars, savings accounts, nice houses, sending their kids to college and everything else. They're looked down on. That's the world's system of determining a man's worth.

So, we really do need to take a look at where our hearts are at on this issue and we need to take a stand because too many people are into this way of thinking that is insulting to the Lord's incarnation and insulting to the pure little ones that follow Him in a very simple way and are not constantly taken up with making money.

Well, Jesus was not afraid to confront the status quo and call their pretentious lifestyles a sin so He could bring a righteous standard back to Godliness and I believe we should stand up for Him. We should stand up for the example that He set. We should defend people who don't partake in a luxurious expensive lifestyle either because they're too simple or maybe they've made the decision, the quality decision in their life they don't want to do that with their time. That's not important to them. They'd rather spend it reading the Scriptures, serving at a food bank, being with their children, teaching their children, spending time with - they don't have time for the world and business. I mean, that's the way it is with a lot of people.

So, in Mark 10:23-25, Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus said it again, "Children, how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." Well, now I've heard it said that there is a gate called the Eye of the Needle that the camels have to get down on their knees to scoot through but either way, the eye of the needle, what that brings to mind is that to be pleasing to God, we need to be stripped of family, security, possessions, recognition, status and if we don't go through that eye, we cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven. Now, I'm not saying that we have to throw our families away, what I'm saying is that if our families are interfering with our walk, they have to be moved to the side so that the Lord can have all of our attention. We can't live for our families. We have to live for God. He'll take care of our families if we're living for Him.

If security and possessions are holding us back from answering the call to the Lord, well, those things have to go because if the Lord is calling us, that's one of the greatest honors that we can have. So we have to be stripped down of that as well. And, you know, there's no U-Haul trailers behind a hearse. They're not going to go to Heaven with that stuff. So, these are things we need to consider when we start holding up the wealthy and wealthy lifestyle as the ideal model of a blessed Christian walk. That's just not accurate. It has no resemblance whatsoever to the example that Jesus set with His life. Sorry. Don't mean to step on anybody's toes but it doesn't. Look at it. Look at the hard facts and the Scriptures.

Okay, so really what is the Lord saying here? I believe He's saying; if you love playing the stock market and making a killing in the business world, if you love the rush of success when you appear on the cover of Newsweek, if you love anything on this earth, you're tied to it and you won't pass through that needle - I mean, these are things I've had to confront over and over again in my life. I'm certainly not innocent. I think one of the reasons why the Lord is having me share this with you is because He has dealt so mercifully with me and so patiently with me teaching me how to wean myself off of these props in the world that have really no value whatsoever and to give my full attention to Him and I'm not perfect at it yet but I'm in a better place now than I was 20 years ago, a year ago. If you listen to the other teaching on money and the world, I share some of the things the Lord did in my life to help me wean myself off of those things so that he could have more of me and there was more room in me for Him; more time.

Now, just to clarify, I'm not talking about those who rejoice over earnings because they've been chosen to finance the spread of the gospel. That's a whole different thing. They have something in mind and they're rejoicing over the Lord's agenda not over, 'Oh good, now I can build more barns.' Well, you know, you might die that night. They aren't thinking about the gospel or the poor. They're thinking about their own security but there are people of high integrity chosen by the Lord to finance the Kingdom of God on earth and those people are very honorable and beautiful people. So, we're not talking about that. We're talking about people that feather their own nest rather exclusively and they live for these things.

Okay, now, God is jealous, really. He doesn't want to see us rejoicing or worrying for that matter, over the goods of the earth. Didn't He say that's what the heathens do? Well, He doesn't want anything of this earth to mean anything to us beyond a necessity to maintaining life or a tool to build His kingdom.

Paul said in Philippians 3:17-20 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. Did he say, keep your eyes on Herod and the Pharisees and live as they do with influence, power and wealth? Even Jesus warned against that. Paul knew full well the corruption of that lifestyle. After all, he lived it. He called himself the Pharisee of Pharisees. So he knew what he was talking about here. Going on, he said, For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame.  How sad. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in Heaven. We are new creations. We are born-again, new creations.

Now this brings to mind - you know, because sometimes we need a little example as to how this manifests regularly in a church, well, I've seen it happen before where someone who is well-to-do and well known, maybe even a minister comes into a church service and another person who is kind of unknown and lackluster and maybe a blue-collar worker is also in the church service but he happens to be a prophet and the Lord sent him in with a message for that congregation. Not a bad message. Not an ugly message but He sent him in with an important message.

Well, the pastor says, "There's someone here who has a message for us" and of course his eyes go back and forth through the congregation and he notices the man who he knows who has somewhat of a prophetic calling and he points him out. He says, "Brother, you have a message for us." Well, immediately the man is put on the spot and he thinks okay, I've got to give them a message or he may have enough integrity to say, "It's not me" and in the meantime, the prophet in the back is raising his hand modestly to indicate that he has a message. The pastor recognizes this other man and the man comes up and says best what he could say for an encouragement or exhortation but the prophecy that was meant for that congregation doesn't get heard.

Now, I know this sounds extreme but I have seen it happen before. I've seen people shut down who had a legitimate message but because they weren't well-heeled in religious circles with all kinds of alphabet soup after their names and well-known they were not given a hearing much to the sad result of the people they were sent to. I mean really, much to regret there.

Okay, so, if we surround ourselves with comfort-zone people, the ones who agree with us and we avoid the new and the different because they might disagree with us or challenge us in some way, that's no replacement for discernment. We can't judge who's fit to speak by social status. We need to have real authentic discernment which is not an easy thing to gain. It takes tremendous time and tremendous effort and failure and success and trials. Discernment is a quality that's absolutely necessary but most of us discern the way the world discerns. We don't discern the way God discerns and that's where the problem lies. That's something we need to look at now, before it's too late.

Now, when we surround ourselves with comfort-zone people and people that area accredited, so to speak, and replace that for discernment rather than having a real spiritual sense of who has the right message. The Lord has something to say about that. In John 5:43-44 He says, I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. Why is our faith so weak? How can you believe this is what the Lord goes on to say or what comes up next is, How can you believe when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?

How do we receive glory from one another? What are some concrete examples of that? Well, when we make others feel secure even when the Holy Spirit is convicting us that something's not quite right. When we do that, make them feel secure and don't address what isn't quite right, well, then we're receiving glory from one another. When we chose to placate and satisfy instead of giving a timely instruction that addresses the sticky issues like pride, selfish ambition, dominance, quenching the spirit; then we're receiving glory from one another.

There was a church that we attended for a short while and the Lord revealed that it had a situation which was causing it to gain grace only to immediately lose the grace and slide back again into stagnation. I call these wounded waters. Which is where the title for this teaching comes from. Not the fresh living waters that cause an abundance of new growth but wounded waters. They're wounded because the Spirit is quenched and those who serve the Spirit are capped off just like a well is capped off.

Now, there was a prosperous and dynamic prophet who often visited this church and I thought to myself, surely this prophet knows what the problem is here and why the prophecies that this prophet is making just aren't coming to pass. Their potentialities are like what Joyce Meyers says about it, they're potentialities but you have to go with the Spirit in order for them to become eventualities and something's missing there in that connection. Those eventualities are not happening.

So, I asked the Lord, why doesn't this prophet address that situation because it's obvious that this is stagnating the church something awful and it's rotting the foundation out from underneath the church. I had a dream about the church where the water was falling from Heaven but it wasn't being captured into the right containers and disbursed to the people the way it should have been. As a result, it was going underneath the building and washing away the foundation and the foundation was already half washed away and the bedding in the house was mildewed, there were three beds and the bedding was wet and it was mildewed and the waters weren't being captured and disbursed properly and there's more to say about that vision but I'll leave it there.

So, the living waters turned into stagnant waters. Wounded waters. I'm sorry if this steps on someone's toes but the Body of Christ is a worldly mess. I asked the Lord, why doesn't that prophet address this and all I heard was, prophets like to get paid too, you know and I thought, oh my God, you can't be serious. But then, look at the Old Testament. How many times the king's prophets told the king what he wanted to hear and it was a bunch of malarkey and then the real prophet would step forward who had the integrity and the strength and didn't care about his life because, you know, make prophesies the king doesn't like and you lose your head - he came forward and he'd tell it like it is.

So, the Body of Christ is a worldly mess because prophets and pastors are afraid to lose ties. That's part of the problem. Because why? Because there's this prosperous lifestyle approved by the Lord, flowing in faith, pleasing to God and the Holy Spirit and if you're not living that prosperous lifestyle then you're just not having enough faith. Something's wrong with you. So, this puts the pressure on pastors and leaders to show that they are living a credible, prosperous lifestyle and this is such a false standard; this is not the Lord's standard and it's ruining the Church.

Really, I don't know what we're thinking, why we want to convince the world to become Christians so that they can be prospered by God too. Why are we trying to tell the world that? Is this a business deal or what? Did everyone in Constantine's court become a Christian because they were head over heels in love with Jesus? I don't think so. They wanted to be - along with the status quo - they wanted to be received and accepted and continue to stay in Constantine's court. When he made Christianity the State religion, well, they had to bow to that. Was it sincere? Maybe in some cases it was but I'm sure there was posturing going on and it wasn't. Okay, so, things haven't changed much have they? They really haven't.

Well, my husband had a dream one night that I would have to say is foundational to our mission and why we struck out in this direction for the Bride and getting the spots, the wrinkles and the blemishes out of the Bride because we're working on that in ourselves and the Lord is showing us these things so we want to share them with you. So, in this dream he was in John Hagee's church, sitting in the very last row during the service and John Hagee was preaching. Abruptly he came down from the podium and began walking down the aisle, prophesying over people. He came to the last row where he was sitting and he looked down at him at the other end, looked at him and he walked over behind the pew and put his hands on his shoulders, on my husband's shoulders praying three different prayers. Each time he prayed, a mantle fell over my shoulders and I felt heavily burdened.

He returned to the podium and began to preach again. In mid-sentence he stopped, slammed his hands down and came down from the front and made a bee-line for him. My husband knew that something important was happening but really he had no idea just what all of this was about. As he moved toward my husband, he felt the need to get out of his seat and into the aisle but the burden on his shoulders was so great he could not stand. He crawled on hands and knees into the aisle. Suddenly the floor of the church opened up revealing a great chasm that was belching smoke and flames. Looking down into it he saw many different jagged rock ledges and tiers layered randomly, descending down into this dark cavern with a multitude of fires burning on each one. Their flames were shooting up towards the sanctuary, up through the sanctuary.

He was then on his hands and knees at the edge of the abyss and began praying hard against it to close. John came up behind him and again put his hands on his shoulders and he began saying in a loud voice, "Push! Push! push!" We both stayed there praying and pushing against the smoke and flames that leapt out of this horrible opening. Then John spoke and said, "The smoke and fires of hell have opened up in the Church. The world has come into the Church and the Church is courting the world. You have to go. You have to go and tell people that. You have to tell them that the world has entered the Church." And this is very much our ministry. Many in the sanctuary were horrified at the sight and began praying against it. Several went into the prayer rooms off to the side to enter in warfare and pray against what was being revealed. At that point the dream ended.

This is, it is the state of the Church today and as a whole, she's not ready for the Lord. Not ready at all. Folks, we need to fall on our knees and seek out our involvement with this scourge before it's too late for us. Right now the Lord is allowing circumstances in this country, in the United States, that will flush to the surface the real contents of our hearts and the real agendas, the things that really matter to us, to help us recognize it and deal with a final blow. We are being tested in our faith and our purity as never before and this is the mercy of God and His preparation for His Bride.

Well, let's look at another way we compromise. Let's say that a worship leader is needed and first of all we think of skill. Who are the skilled musicians? Now we think of, well, who has the anointing? Okay now, how do they work under authority? And how will they appeal to this faction? How will they appeal to that faction? This family? That family? Will they approve? And when someone meets all those conditions, they're considered. But if there are those who oppose the person that the Holy Spirit would like to choose for the job, rather than honoring the Holy Spirit, who do we choose?

Worship leading is not a political position. Worship leading is purely spiritual. Purity of light, purity of heart, purity of devotion, along with skill, yes. But worship leaders should not be picked for their political standing in the church, who will approve and who will not approve. I mean, that's honoring man over God. So, the repercussions; choose by anointing and enter into the Shekinah glory and see miracles happen. Choose by social status and keep it lukewarm. It's our choice. It's our choice. These are the ways that the world has inserted its way of controlling things in the Church, controlling the Holy Spirit and who is the god of this world but Satan? This is his way of controlling the Church, using worldly standards of social status to call to question; to make the decisions.

You know, what we have to realize is very often people who are anointed are just a little bit different. There's just something about them that's just a little bit different. But if you have spiritual discernment, you're going to understand that that's just something that's a little bit different about them but they still have the Spirit. When we choose Jesus over the world, you know, at my conversion, my husband's conversion, we lost families. You can lose wives and husbands, children, mothers, fathers, employers, influential friends. We lose a lot. We're no longer of the world. We're born again. And after giving all that up, are we going to go back to honoring man above God? I mean, that's a lot to give up just to turn back to the same old system. We have quite a stake in this because of what we've left behind so we don't want it in our churches.

John said - Jesus said - in John 3:5 Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit. What does new birth mean? It means, judge as God judges. Order as God orders. Think as God thinks. And make the crooked ways of men shallow reasoning to be straight, an unobstructed path to Heaven. No men standing in the way.

In Romans 6:3-4 We were buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. Now, if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him and we are not under the law but under grace. Okay, what does that mean, under grace? If we live with Him, we are coheirs with Christ, descendants of Abraham. We are neither slaves nor free men. No longer do we make choices by social standing, by the way the world makes choices, the way the world thinks because there are no slaves. There are only disciples and children of God. Neither slaves nor free men and we're all equal. Our citizenship is not on this earth. It's in Heaven. So, if our citizenship is in Heaven then we must be thinking the way people think in Heaven. That's the goal, to think as the Lord thinks. To have a mind of Christ. To put on the mind of Christ.

So, our net worth is not stocks and bonds. Our net worth is His blood. His blood is our net worth. The Lord declared, Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. That was not a hopeful sentiment. That just wasn't a hopeful sentiment. He was real serious about that. It was a statement of our purpose: Bring Heaven to earth. That's what we're here for as Christians, to bring Heaven to earth. In Galatians 3:28 it says, There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Now, if that isn't a blanket statement abolishing the class system, I don't know what is.

And one last thought, you know, just a thought about this. When I was of the world, I spoke like the world, I thought like the world, I reasoned with worldly reason, but when I was born again, into the Kingdom of God, I gave up all the earth's ways. All the world's ways. Gave it all up. Because, now I'm a citizen of Heaven. A citizen of Heaven with the mind of Christ. That's our goal. We have to stand up for that. We have to stand up for that in our churches, we have to repent and turn around and live by God's values, by spiritual values and not worldly values. It's killing the Church, it's killing the anointing, it's stifling and grieving the Spirit and we have to change it. We have to. We can't go on letting this happen.

So, in conclusion, Paul exhorts us in Philippians 2:1-2 Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in Spirit, intent on one purpose. The glory of God. Not your own glory as you pull into a parking lot in your new Mercedes. Uh-uh. That's not what it's about. Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit but with humility of mind, regard one another as more important than yourselves. That's a mighty work of grace and if you're not in that place and I'm not in that place, we pray, "Lord, by your indwelling, make us to be in that place where we honor everyone above ourselves, where we see the reality of how little we really are."

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others. Worship leaders, don't turn the mic down on the other person. I mean, unless it's a song they're really not supposed to be singing on. Now, a person who thinks this way has the maturity to lead. They aren't protecting their turf. No, they're protecting the Lord's honor and interests. And sometimes that puts you in the position of being the underdog or being quiet because the other person needs to come forth. It's the person that has the anointing for that specific job and you need to honor that.

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped at. But He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant. Again, here's the example. From His birth to His death and burial, He took the example of a bondservant and not prospered Himself, taking the form of a rich young ruler, but He emptied Himself. Emptied Himself as an example to us.

In the end, Matthew 19:30 Many who are first will be last. The ones who use status to get positions and Many who were last will be first. Those too childlike and simple to use tactics like that. You know, we may not want to admit or face the controls social status has over us in our churches but when we stand before the Lord, we're going to see it plainly and then it's going to be too late to fix. So, I think we better get on it. I think it's important to look at this and make a change, repent and turn around.

No one is worthy of our motives except God. No one's motives are going to survive the burning fire of purification unless they are pure, done for the love of God and neighbor. Pure motives. In order for Him to recognize us, we must first recognize Him, His anointing, His choices, am I putting Him first? Throw the preferences of men to the wind where they belong. For looking at men, we're blind. We can't possibly see because if we did see, we would no longer look at men.

I believe all of us were attracted to the teachings of Christ by his purity, detachment from the world, His refusal to modify His mission for the Pharisees, for the rulers. I mean, He had something huge in mind that was going to spread over the whole world. He didn't compromise one iota for the rulers. It spread on its own virtue in spite of the fact that He flew in the face of the modern religious leaders. That's where the anointing is. That's how you know it's a God thing.

These were the rich waters for the first few centuries of Christianity. Waters of purity, holiness, devotion, selfless service. A people willing to die for what they believed. Die and lose all of their possessions. Prosperity meant nothing to them. How many stories have we heard of an emperor's wife giving her life because she believed in Jesus? She didn't care about all the status that she had. She gave it up for the Lord.

But now we all swim in the wounded waters of a church that is taken up with social status and worldly ways of operating. Ways that actually wound the innocent and the pure. Those seeking healing from the world's turbulent and fickle standards, they don't find healing all the time. They find more turbulence in the wounded waters. But unfortunately, the world and all it applauds entered center stage into the churches and the waters have become polluted, a place not safe from predatory influences, agendas, shadows of influence, preferential treatment, conflicting teachings. Let's begin today by asking the Lord to reveal to us how we have grieved Him through compromise. Please, let's go before Him with contrite hearts and ask Him, Lord please, reveal to us how we have compromised.

I want to pray this simple prayer, Lord, save us from compromise. We are not strong enough, we are not strong enough to come against the standards of the world to stand up for you. Many times we're too little, we're too cowardly, we're just not strong enough but you live in us Lord and you can do it through us. You can help us make that resolution to live strictly for you. We ask Lord that you will accompany understanding with grace and we'll change, that we'll have the will to change, that we may grieve you no more and your Church can grow into the body, the holy sanctuary you've ordained it to be for all ages, against every influence of man. The triumph of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thanks for staying with us. Come back and visit again. God bless you.