You Talking to Me? – Part 45

While we’re in the “gates,” we may as well talk about it.  Our victory is waiting.

________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

_______________

Again today we step into “the gates of hell” that Jesus declared would NOT prevail against His Church.  I know I have written some strong words in recent days, but nothing has changed.  I’m still writing of the words of Jesus that painted us a picture of His expectations for His Church.  I’m still convinced that much of today’s Church, if it saw this clear imagery of which I write would find itself slammed into a “You talking to me?” moment.  Let’s consider “the gates of hell” yet more.

In traveling to Israel in 2020, and while walking through some of the archaeological digs of some ancient cities of Israel, I gained a much deeper understanding of the imagery Jesus was using in Matthew 16.  It was not coincidental that Jesus chose Caesarea Philippi as His point for making His open declaration of war for His Church.  In cities of those days, when one entered into the city gates, he did not go directly up into the city.  A defended city would have walls all about the city.  But at the gates, that which would usually be one of the weaker points of entry, the defenses were made especially strong.  The defensive wall of the city would continue into the city on the right side of the gate as you entered.  Then very quickly, there would be a left turn, then a right turn, followed by another right turn, and finally a left turn into the city proper.  On both sides of all these turns, defensive walls loomed above those entering.  If you were an attacking force, you would have not room to mount a defense, you front, flanks, and back would be totally exposed to arrows, lances, and hurled stones from the defensive walls.  In effect, an attacking force would find itself in a shooting gallery in which they were the targets, like sitting ducks, or as one old adage says, “fish in a barrel.”

This is where the “You talking to me?” moment is found.  Can you see the place into which the Lord expects His Church to charge in our spiritual warfare?  Why, we’re talking about suicide!  “You talking to me?”  Indeed, I am, and so was Jesus.  He has already declared that hell’s gates would NOT prevail against you.  He has clothed you in His armor, armed you with His weaponry and shield, and assigned Holy Ghost as your “rereward,” or “rear guard.”  No weapon formed against you shall prosper.  You are more than a conqueror; you are an overcomer.  Your enemy comes before you to be smitten before you face.  He comes one way and flees seven ways.  What have you to fear?  You overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of your testimony.  I only have one more word for your today.  ATTACK!

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 44

Has the Church forgotten what a “gate” is?  In many places, it would seem so.

________________

You Talking to Me? – Part 44

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

________________

Our discussion today rests in Matthew 16:13-20.  And the imagery of Jesus’s words was from a time in history not less than 2,000 years ago.  Let’s discover what Jesus meant when He used the term “gates.”  Jesus said He would build His Church upon the Rock of revelation knowledge of Who He was.  He further stated that the “gates of hell” would not prevail against it (His Church). 

Now the understanding of the word “gate” is really quite simple.  It is a point of entry (or exit), depending upon whether you’re coming of going,  Sadly, it seems that much of the 21st century Church ahs forgotten that a gate is a point of entry.  In Jesus’s statement, He mentioned nothing about the gates of heaven, or the gates of the kingdom of God.  He spoke only of the gates of hell.  In the city of Caesarea Philippi where Jesus stood as He made His declaration of war, there were five pagan temples before Him, all in alignment side by side.  There was the temple of Caesar Augustus (head of state), a temple of Pan (Greek god of shepherds and fields), temple of Zeus (chief of Greek gods), a second temple to Pan (a place of vile sexual debauchery), and a temple of Nemesis (Greek goddess of judgment).  These all stood, side by side, at the foot of Mount Hermon, fountain head of the Jordan River, as blatant barriers to Jehovah God, the One True God.  Inside the entrance to the temple to Augustus Caesar was the mouth of a great cave the Greeks had called “the gates of Hades,” hence, Jesus’s reference to “the gates of hell.”

Now you must keep in mind that a gate is a point of entry, and Jesus said that the points of entry into hell could not prevail against His Church.  His expectance was NOT a church with barred gates into which hell could not break, but His Church, the army of the Lord, a fully commissioned army wearing the whole armor of God, an army “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” marching into the gates of hell, unstoppable, undefeatable, and fully compliant with His will, defeating hell and bringing out the spoils of war in the form of newly born sons and daughters of God.  Oh, what an amazing scene; a scene of the work of amazing grace that is so sweet a sound; a scene of hell shaking and crumbling beneath the feat of His great army of saints.  There was to be no hiding of His church, no shyness or timidity, fear or trepidation.  It was to be ablaze with the glory of God, armed with heaven’s supernatural weaponry, making the clouds the dust of His feet.  Yes, I’m talking to you!

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 43

Jesus declared war FOR His Church BEFORE there WAS a Church, and that includes you and me.

___________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

__________________

Take a few moments today and read Matthew 16:13-20.  It is an often-read passage, and probably often quoted passage in preaching, but sadly, I do not believe the imagery of that passage is often clearly established for those who hear the Word so the clarity of the message can truly come forth.  In these verses, Jesus declared war FOR His Church BEFORE there WAS a Church.  Nearly 2,000 years before this moment, Jesus stood in one of the most wicked places on the planet before the entrances to five pagan temples and told their gods and their followers that His Church was coming, and there wasn’t anything they could do about it.  Imagine the threat level that existed in hell at that moment.  And yet, here we are, His Church in the 21st century, and most believers do not know what Jesus meant when He spoke those words.  I can assure you, my friend, when you understand the imagery of Jesus’s words that day, you will have a “You talking to me?” moment.

I have written a series of Second Milers about that declaration earlier this year titled “Upon This Rock,” and it was in nine parts.  But in this series, I come back to it once again as we consider our present theme.  The entry to five pagan temples lay before Jesus that day, and Jesus’s declaration of the building of His Church, a declaration that should bring great rejoicing to His Church, provoked hell even harder in its plan to destroy Him, and I am sure, provoked a fear in Satan he has still not shaken, especially in the light that everything Jesus said would happen HAS HAPPENED, and IS YET TO HAPPEN even more so before Jesus comes for His Church. 

We will take the time we need to consider Jesus’s words, but today I want to make it absolutely clear that Jesus’s words were NOT about the church fighting a defensive battle in which Satan and his minions raise attacks and cause the Church to hide behind its closed doors.  On the contrary, Jesus’s words were completely offensive statements.  He was telling hell, I’m coming, and My Church is coming with Me.  We are coming to your gates, through your gates, and into your strongholds.  We are coming to take you down, and your gates will in no way be able to prevent the entry of My Church, the forward movement of My Church, the victory of My Church, and the taking of the spoils of war by My Church.  My friend, while the outcome of that war has already been declared by our Lord, and is fixed in eternity, the battle itself still rages, and in the closing hours of the Church age, the greatest victories we have ever seen shall come forth. And once again, YES, I’m talking to you!

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 42

If obeying commands from the Lord have levels of required diligence, this may likely be at the top.

_____________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

_____________________

Read the following verse from Matthew 6:25-34 closely.  It is a short verse.  Read it several times.  It is verse 31; “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?”  This verse, my dear friend, requires as much diligence and focus to obey as any verse in the Bible, and in many cases, a lot more.  Allow me to give you some examples, and you can decide for yourself how easy it would be to completely apply this verse to them. 

  • You have all the monthly expenses everyone else has, no savings, plus a large monthly house or rent payment, and you’ve just been told your job is ending at week’s end.
  • You are at the doctor’s office with your child when the doctor shares his diagnosis of a terminal illness for your child, for which there is no cure.
  • You file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company for devastating flood damage, and you are told you have no flood insurance.

I’ll stop there.  That’s enough depressing news to hear about, much less have to face one of those situations in reality.  Hearing news like this, how much thought would the average Christian give to it?  how much sleep would he lose?  How much worry, anxiety, and emotional stress would such events bring upon the average Christian.  No, I’m not being judgmental.  I am simply asking you to think.  How would any one of those scenarios impact you personally.  I personally believe that hearing such things could be staggering, at least for a moment. 

But what has the Lord commanded us concerning such things?  Read Matthew 6:31 once again.  “Therefore take no thought saying….”  Keep in mind that the Lord never said such things would not come against you.  However, He DID say, no weapon formed against you shall prosper.  He DID say that you should cast all your care on Him for He cares for you.  He DID say to be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto the Lord.

Think of this.  From Jesus’s early years, at least 12, onward, He knew what crucifixion was.  I’m sure He had seen its horrid image before His very eyes.  He grew up under Roman rule, and Golgotha would have already been a spot where crucifixions were held.  He also knew from the prophecies what would be done to Him at some future point  Yet, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of Father “for the joy that was set before Him.”  How can one live with joy, all the while knowing that crucifixion was in their future?  Yet, He did so without fail.  No worry, no fear, no anxiety, no fretfulness.  He lived what He preached so we can do the same.  He’s talking to you.

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 41

Are you ready for a glorious challenge to reach the world for Jesus?  Yes, I’m talking to you!

_______________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

____________________

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”   Again today, we will be examining the commanded expectations set forth by the Lord Jesus in the Great Commission of Mark 16.  Are you ready for one of the greatest faith challenges our Lord ever extended to us?  And joy of joys, not only did He extend it to us, but He fully licensed, equipped, and prepared us to carry it out to His glory.

Today we examine the final element of the commanded expectations of the passage in question.  “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”  And just so you’ll have no excuse, “They” is talking directly about you, and the “hands” that will be laid “on the sick” are your hands.  Get ready to be shaken.  When Jesus gave this Great Commission to the Church, He had already paid the full price for redemption, and was ready for His ascent to the right hand of the Father in heaven.  At that moment, the truth of 1 Peter 2:24, “by whose stripes ye WERE healed” was already in full position for your fulfillment.  In the plan of redemption of the New Covenant, it is NEVER God’s intention for His people to be sick.  Your healing and mine has already been fully purchased and given to us.  It is now our responsibility to hold to, and fight for if necessary, our health which is ours after healing was given. 

Well, brother Moorefield, if the church is healed, who are the sick on whom we are to lay our hands.  They sick on whom we are to lay our hands are the same today as it was when Jesus laid hands on the sick.  Think of this.  Not a single sick person Jesus touched, on whom He laid His hands, to whom He spoke a healing word, in whom He demonstrated the healing power of God, was born again.  Yes, they may have had covenant through the Old Covenant, but they were not born again.  They were NOT His joint heirs.  They did NOT possess New Testament authority and covenant relationship with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  None of those things were possible until after Jesus was resurrected from the dead and ascended to the right hand of Father.  Such power and authority only existed in the earth when the Church came into existence.  So, who are “the sick” of whom this passage speaks?  They are the lost.  Health belongs to the Church, and healing is made available to the world through your hands.  Yes, the Word is talking to you!

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 40


God expects obedience to His commands, and that obedience demonstrates His power.

__________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

_________________

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”   Once more we look at the command expectations given by Father that are higher than natural reasoning can grasp.  Today we examine “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”  On the surface, these words would surely evoke a “You talking to me?” moment.  Who, in their right mind, would willfully go about picking up venomous snakes, or drinking poison just to show they had power with God?   In fact, such actions would be recklessly tempting God.  So, just what did Jesus mean by these words?  To answer that Biblically and accurately, one must study to gain clear understanding. 

There are two terms that need strong attention to understand the import of the full statement.  They are “take up,” and “serpents.”  Let’s dig deeper than the surface to gain the Lord’s meaning of this commanded expectation. 

  • Take up” – from the Greek language, this means to take away, to expiate sin, put away, or remove.  It should be clear that the intended meaning for us it NOT to mere pick up or handle, and some have tried to make it appear, but rather to lay hold of something for the purpose of putting it away, not playing with it, dancing with it, or merely showing off in handling it.
  • Serpents” – from the Greek language, this is figurative speech referring to a malicious person or being, especially Satan.  Once again, it should be clear to us that it is not talking about a slithering, serpentine creature with fangs and the potential for injecting venom when it bites.  It is clearly referring to handling demonic powers and demonically controlled men who seek to please their master by destroying the works of the kingdom of God.

This is different from casting out devils.  In casting out a devil, you are dealing specifically with a demon spirit.  The command we consider today goes further in that when the devil is cast our, the results of his previous presence, his residual presence, must be handled, controlled, put away, and overcome.  This is where the authority of the believer set forth by the words of the Lord Jesus in this passage comes into play.  Jesus paid the terrible price for complete redemption of His Church, and He fully authorized His Church to use His Name with full power of attorney to prepare His Church to be the glorious Church for which He is returning, and that, I believe, sooner than many may think.  It’s time for His Church to get busy, and in that busy-ness, know this.  No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn, for that is your heritage as a son of God.  Now read Mark 16 with a clear understanding, and go get the job done.  And YES!  He’s talking to you!

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 39

Imagine being commanded to do what Jesus did.  You talking to me?

_________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

___________________

Today we continue our look at the multiple “You talking to me?” moments in Mark 16:15-19.  We have already looked at the two greatest elements of this Great Commission.  Let’s more forward now and examine the remaining elements.  “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”  Consider the first evidentiary statement.  “In my name shall they cast out devils.”  If this statement is proffered in most churches today, I am convinced the majority of those who call themselves Christian would either be shocked, or very quickly cite some excuse as to why they cannot.  Both responses would be wrong, and both would reveal to some degree the current weakness of faith and lack of knowledge of Scripture of far too many Christians.

When one considers the raw power of God that is called upon in this exercise of faith, and the far-reaching impact of this action, I can fully understand how one’s mind could almost scream, “You talking to me?”  And I can understand it even better with the evidence that seems to be in great abundance demonstrating the weakness of the current Church as a whole.  I can only place my trust in the Lord for His Word to be fulfilled, that when Jesus comes, He will come for a glorious Church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.  When that is the state of the Church, casting out devils will be part of a normal day. 

Ah, but there’s more.  We shall also “speak with new tongues.”  Now here, while we don’t have such a broad-based voice of “You talking to me?” moments, this command expectation is found in the midst of many denominational conflicts.  One denomination fully embraces this command expectation while another completely rejects it, and out of that comes debate, argument, and ultimately, strife.  It will be in those denominational, or some would call, doctrinal disagreements that the “You talking to me?” moments occur, and that from both sides of the debate.  It happens whenever one side tries to persuade, or in truth, out-argue the other, and the “You talking to me?” moment is not directed at the Lord, but at one another.  My friend, I am in no way attempting to jump start a battle over doctrine, nor am I trying to convince one side or the other of its error.  I am simply setting forth what is clearly stated in God’s Word.  Speaking is tongues as Holy Spirit gives utterance IS the initial physical evidence of being filled with Holy Ghost, and being filled with Holy Ghost is a definite work of the grace of God subsequent to the new birth.  From that truth there must be no turning.

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 38

I’m amazed at how many “You talking to me?” moments can happen so quickly.

___________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

__________________

Again today, we look at the “You talking to me?” moments in Mark 16:15-19; “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”  Let’s consider “preach the gospel to every creature.” 

Here, again, is a staggering “You talking to me?” moment.  The words spoken here by our Lord were not spoken only to the five-fold ministry, or to His apostles.  These words, this command statement, was given by the Lord Advocate General of the Church to EVERY member of His Church, His body.  What an enormous task has been set before us!  To “preach the gospel to every creature” is an enormous task.

  • Preach – publicly proclaim and herald the divine truth
  • Gospel – a good message; the good news
  • Every – as many as exist; whosoever; whatsoever
  • Creature – every created thing and that which arises from it; all mankind; any and everything God’s Word created

This work, my friend, is beyond human capacity to perform, yet our Lord commanded it.  Neither you nor I have the time, talent, or treasure to accomplish it, yet our Lord commanded it.  At this point, with 7.6 billion people on the planet, and the number increasing daily, it is an impossible task, yet our Lord commanded it. 

But because it was commanded by our Lord, it has the full backing, support, and supply of heaven.  When we see the magnitude of this command, and once we have experienced our own “You talking to me?” moment, we must come to the divine awareness of what has been given to us, made completely available to us, is expected of us.  We have been assigned this command through God’s Word that is settled forever in heaven.  We have the full support of Jehovah God of Whom we are heirs, and the Lord Jesus Christ with Whom we are joint heirs.  And we have the promise of the full supply of heaven that our God shall supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  While the enormity of this command may evoke from you a strong “You talking to me?” moment, be assured to know that your receipt of this command, and especially your full intent to keep it evokes from heaven a loud, sure, and unshakable affirmation of “Yes!  I’m talking to you, saith the Lord.”

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 37

What we have called “the Great Commission” is, without a doubt, a “You talking to me?” moment.

________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

_________________

In Mark 16, we read the words of Jesus to His disciples, and to His Church.  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”  In this passage of Scripture, there are at least six “You talking to me?” moments.  Let’s take a walk through them.

“Go ye into all the world…”  If this were only talking about traveling throughout this planet, that alone would be a “You talking to me?” moment.  I have done international travel.  Modern conveniences make it easier today than ever before.  Only legal complexities from nation to nation hinder that.  However, most people don’t have the financial means to do the kind of travel necessary to travel throughout the earth.  but in the first “You talking to me?” moment, the Lord was not speaking about traveling throughout the earth.  Instead, He was talking about the Church becoming a powerfully invested, seasoning element into every arena of human life.  The Greek word for “world” used here is “kosmos.”  That is speaking about the systems of the world.  The Lord Who purchased our complete redemption from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), was sending His Church into every system of the world to be the light, to be the leaders, to be His witness, to be the salt of His kingdom in every arena of life that impacted His children.  That, my dear friend, is truly a “You talking to me?” moment.

But something happened.  While the early Church sought to do that very thing, when the systems of men began to infiltrate the Church rather than the Church infiltrating the systems of men, the message, work, and power of the Church was corrupted, tainted, weakened, and in many ways, may ineffectual.  This should not have been.  Over time, leaders in the Church began to tell people to stay out of government; that the Church has no business involved with the government.  And it did not stop with government.  From the weakened estate to which it has fallen, the Church became afraid to invest itself, not only in government, but in business, graphic arts, performing arts, and education.  And what we see today is the result.  But it’s NOT too late.  The Great Commission is still there.  It is still doable.  Holy Ghost will still empower you for it.  It is still commanded.  And yes, I’m talking to you.

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4

You Talking to Me? – Part 36

There are some commands (“You talking to me?” moments) from Father the flesh simply cannot grasp.

____________________

Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 21, 24, 26, & 28 – And God said . . .

_____________________

Okay, so here are the scenarios.  A brother in the Lord slaps your face.  You must turn the other cheek, and forgive him, whether he asks or not.  “You talking to me?”   A fellow member of your home church falls on your property through no fault of your own, but he sues you in court.  Regardless of the outcome, you must forgive him.  “You talking to me?”  Someone deliberately lies about you, causing you great stress and anguish.  But he doesn’t stop there.  He tells the same lie to 200 other people, attempting to totally destroy your reputation and influence.  Oh, and he does all that in one day.  You must forgive him.  “You talking to me?”  The answer to all three queries is a resounding “Yes!”  You see, that’s what the Scriptures command of us.

Mark 11:22-24 is truly and attention grabber when we realize that it is a command and not a suggestion.  But the two verses that follow, Mark 11:25 & 26, are equally staggering in their own right.  Consider what they say.  If, when we are offended, we forgive, then our Father in heaven will forgive us.  But if, when we are offended, we do not forgive, neither will our heavenly Father forgive us when we trespass.  These are plain words.  These are hard sayings.  To forgive can often be one of the most difficult tasks you have ever undertaken.  We need all the help we can get.  The disciples of Jesus knew this, and knew it well.  So, when Jesus taught His disciples on the topic of forgiveness, I find their response to Him absolutely intriguing.  When Jesus told them to forgive, even when the offence is great and often repeated, their response was not, “But what about the other fellow?”  They did not say, “Lord, help us overcome our emotions.”  What did they say?  They said, “Master, increase our faith.”  They knew what is probably the greatest secret (though it should not be a secret) concerning forgiveness.  It is a matter of faith.  It is NOT a matter of feelings.  It is NOT an emotional thing.  It does NOT require that the offender repent, apologize, or ask for our forgiveness.  Forgiveness is simply commanded, for without it, love doesn’t work, faith is useless, and if you have committed any offence, it will not be forgiven until you first forgive those who have trespassed against you.  Whether the offence against you is heinous or minor, singular, or 70 x 7 (490) in one day, you must forgive.  “You talking to me?”  Whether it is one offender or an entire organization of people, you must forgive.  “You talking to me?”  Whether they are Christian or not, you must forgive.  “You talking to me?”  And again, the answer is the same.  “Yes!  God is talking to you!

Manna for Today – Genesis 1; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 4:20-23; Mark 11:22-26; Romans 3:4