July 18, 2023

The Vocation of Disciple-making -- Part 2 -- Satan's Substitute

Series: Discipleship

Matthew 28:18-20: "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

The historical fact is that the Great Commission worked incredible well for the first three centuries of the church's history. It is estimated that in 100 AD there were roughly 250,000 Christians and 250 years later that estimate had climbed to around 20 million! This increase came in spite of wide spread, bitter, and often violent persecution throughout this period of time. The increase came without the aid of church buildings, Bible schools or seminaries, monies, or the imprimatur of the rich and famous.

The fruitfulness of the people of God in the face of such Satanic, demonic opposition must have frustrated the devil out of the devil! Finally, Satan realized that if you can't beat them join them. Adopting this paradigm, he transitioned very subtly and slowly the majority of the Church into employing his substitute program. It is not difficult to see that the original Commission has been tampered with. In fact it has been amended and for 1700 plus years, the Church, for the most part, has fallen for Satan's program, all the while assuming they are operating by the Savior's Strategy.

This last statement is not to be taken as a blanket criticism and condemnation of the Church and the good and godly men and women who have and are serving Jesus with all their hearts in local churches and on mission fields. A good work has and is being done in spite of the paradigm that has been in use for centuries. The challenge for every believer is to ask and answer the question, "Is the strategy I/we are operating by the one that Jesus set forth that employed all available believers in an ever-enlarging sphere of impact by multiplying disciples intent upon making disciples of all nations?  If not, then in many respects we are operating by Satan's Substitute.

In order to see this more clearly, we will briefly point out the Savior's Strategy as was considered in the first part of this teaching, and then compare it with Satan's Substitute:

The Savior's Strategy -- Authorize all Available Believers with the Right to Act as His Representatives v18 -- "all authority"

  1. All of Heaven’s authority is declared to belong to Jesus -- Jesus says in essence, “Therefore ... since I'm the Lord, in charge, you are to do this .....make disciple of all nations.”

By divine right of being and by divine reward for His successful mission, Jesus declares that ALL authority had been given Him over the two worlds in which He and we operate – heaven and earth. Because He has become the Head of a new Body, the Church, all in the Body have been delegated all the authority, out of the very being of God, that’s necessary for the fulfilling of our commission. He has given to His Body both authority – the right to act – and power – the resources to accomplish what He assigned.

Satan's Substitute -- Departmentalize Believers into Full-time Professionals and Part-time Participants

Satan's most important blow against the Commission was directed at this first point, to employ all the personnel. He achieved this by essential denying the priesthood of all believers and asserting that only those with a special calling were commissioned with a special authority to act as his ministers, everyone else was just ordinary members with no authority other than what the church leaders conferred on them.

So, early in church history, Satan orchestrated a division of the Church into two groups, and he overemphasized the distinctions. The large majority he called "the laity," and the small minority he began to call "the clergy."

There is no such thing as a higher verses a lower calling or a sacred verses a secular calling.

The harmful distinction was introduced as early as the 3rd century by Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea. Eusebius was a prolific writer and early church historian who argued that there are “two ways of life.” One is the “perfect life” and the other is the “permitted life.”

Two ways of life were given by the law of Christ to his Church.  The one is above nature, and beyond common human living… Wholly and permanently separated from the common customary life of mankind, it devotes itself to the service of God alone… Such then is the perfect form of the Christian life. And the other, more humble, more human, permits [permitted form] me to… have minds for farming, for trade, and the other more secular interests as well as for religion… And a kind of secondary grade of piety is attributed to them.”

The perfect life is contemplative, ascetical (denying yourself any pleasure), and limited to monks, nuns and priests. The permitted life is mundane, secular and is reserved for the rest of us (soldiers, farmers, businessmen, and those of who “just have jobs”). Unfortunately this line of thinking influenced some of the pillars of the Christian faith. Such a distinction can be found in the writings of Augustine and Aquinas among others.

This is a part of Satan's Substitute plan that continues to plague us today. We still hear phrases such as “full-time Christian service.”

This two-tier class system of "clergy/laity, sacred/secular, and full-time ministers, who do the work of the ministry, with all others just members, who are expected to "pray, pay and get of the way," has been in place for almost 1700 years.

The place beyond home, where most spend the majority of their time is the workplace. But is seen as little more than another forum for personal witness, telling “others what Jesus means to me.”

The words of William Diehl, a former Bethlehem Steel executive should haunt us: "In almost thirty years of my professional career, my church has never once suggested that there be any type of accounting of my on-the-job-ministry to others.  My church has never once offered to improve those skills which would make me a better minister, nor has it ever asked if I needed any kind of support in what I was doing.  There has never been an enquiry into the types of ethical decisions I must face, or whether I seek to communicate the faith to my co-workers.  I have never been in a congregation where there was any affirmation of aministry in my career.  In short, I must conclude that my church doesn’t have the least interest whether or how I minister in my daily work."

We must ask ourselves whether the teachers, doctors, dentist, union leaders, factory workers, artists, community organizers, political volunteers, and the rest of our congregation feel very much the same way.  That, in short, the church doesn’t have the least interest in whether or how they bear witness to the redemptive rule of God in the many places where He has placed them.

Every Christian must be taught that they are a minister and a missionary with a mission to see the kingdom of heaven come more fully into every dimension and discipline of life. Not just in the church house, but in the schoolhouse, the statehouse, family's house, business house, in every legitimate house.

The Savior's Strategy -- Utilize all Available Believers for World Impact "all of you"

The Bible is a missionary book, featuring a missionary God, whose will and purpose is “to call and create a missionary people.” Every Christian is some type of missionary, just as they are some type of disciple. The missionary isn’t one who travels the greatest distance from home, but the one who strategizing on how to make disciples beginning with the near, the neighbors, the neglected, and the next, and the next, unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Satan's Substitute – Minimize those Available for Ministry by Stressing a Come and Hear in a Building a Man with the Message as the Standard!

Satan has introduced a subtle substitute into the mentality of the Church. Two of the greatest of Gospel words are "come" and "go." Once we have come to Christ (Matthew 11:28-30, for example), we are to "go and tell" all men what we have found in Christ.  Satan is a master manipulator and twister of words.  He induced a slow perversion in the Church from "go and tell" to "come and hear."

The Church changed from being a Go and Tell living Body to a Come and Hear Building. The Church needs to stop trying to bring people "into the church," and start bringing the Church to the people. The Church must be seen as a living building and body; a 24/7 following of Christ in which Christians live and do everyday life. Christians are to incarnate the gospel wherever they are and to be Jesus to everyone around them!

The function of the Church is not a holy people, coming regularly to a holy place, at a holy day, at a holy hour, to participate in a holy ritual, lead by a holy man, dressed in holy clothes.

As a result of Satan’s alteration of the commission, the church has developed two massive "UNEMPLOYMENT PROBLEMS,” and these two problems constantly support each other, thus making the situation steadily worse.

There is the problem of the UNEMPLOYMENT of the PEOPLE of the local church body.

This deep level unemployment problem by the congregation as a whole has impacted men the most. It has left men in the church frustrated and intimidated. They feel paralyzed spiritually because they are not in “full-time Christian service.” They feel that the church is trying to feminize them socially. They are demoralized relationally because without embracing the discipling mandate, relationships are few at most and shallow at best. They know that they are being utilized inadequately! If they can’t preach, teach or be a deacon, then they are relegated to trivial task and used as cash-cows if they make good money!

Matt Carter,, Austin Stone Church, in Austin, Texas, asks, "Do you want to know why the American church is declining?

"Do you want to know why 18 to 30 year olds are leaving the church in record numbers?

"It's because most churches never give ordinary people the opportunity to be used by God in a powerful way. The saints have traded their helmets of salvation and shields of faith for bulletins and offering plates. The active, vibrant church from Acts has bred and morphed into one big, consumer driven performance where the majority of God’s children just sit back and watch the show as mere spectators. And most people have better things to do with their lives than go to a weekly performance carried on by religious professionals.

"The danger is that our church members sit in Sunday services their entire lives, listening to messages and singing worship songs, praising God, and one day, they die. From this world they pass straight into the next, entering heaven, but never knowing the thrill and the joy of seeing God use them on this earth in a life-changing, self-sacrificing, comfort-corrupting, disciple-making, God-glorifying, gospel-advancing, Kingdom-ushering way."

Then, there is the closely related problem of the UNDEREMPLOYMENT of the PASTORS.

The typical pastor in today's church is overworked, but underemployed! You would think I mean over-employed, but they are over-worked, yet giftedly under-employed. Why? Because they are not doing what they were given to the Body of Christ to do – "equipping the saints for the work of the ministry." (Ephesians 4:11-12)

As a result the majority of people are not playing in the game but warming the benches, and the small minority of pastors are the only players and they are running themselves to death on the field, “doing the work of the ministry.” Our churches have become a place that serves consumers instead of a place that creates mature sons to reproductive fruitfulness. The majority in our churches are “on their seats” and keep “coming to hear” rather than being “on their feet” where they can “go and tell.” We have shifted from churches on mission to churches that support missions; from a being a force in the world to a fortress from the world!

Here's a huge truth: There is no Impact without Contact!

Consider a medical analogy.  The Center for Communicable Diseases fears an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa. It is so deadly that an outbreak could wipe out millions. What are they doing to prevent its spread? Isolate those who have contracted the disease so they have no contact with the healthy.

Suppose the Department of HELL wanted to stop an epidemic of New Testament Christianity. It would surely do everything possible to isolate the "carriers," and thus stop the spread. And that is precisely what has happened in the Church at large. We have isolated ourselves in our "churches" i.e. buildings and have very little if any contact with lost persons.

The word “go” presumes that disciples cannot be made unless the potential discipler designs his going to deliberately make disciples. In fact, all Gospel activities mentioned in the New Testament have a penetration aspect to them; they are designed to “salt down” a society through the Christians who perform them.

In May of 1942, it appeared that Adolph Hitler would complete his blitzkrieg of Europe by capturing all of Western Europe with little meaningful resistance. He had entered France and was opposed only by a determined French resistance movement. English troops in France at the time numbered about 335,000, but they were seriously outmanned and outgunned by the heavily armed German invaders. The English hurriedly engineered the most massive retreat in military history, nestling that large contingency of soldiers up against the English Channel in the French seaport of Dunkirk, hoping against hope for some way to evacuate them to safety. Just as it appeared that Hitler would annihilate them, fog and bad weather stalled Hitler’s advance. Aided by this providential assistance, beginning on May 29 and extending through June 4, the English sent boats of all sizes and descriptions across the channel and ferried the entire army across the channel to the safety of home. When the fog and bad weather cleared and Hitler tried to move again, he was shocked to find that his victim had fled and he could only curse his lost opportunity.

Meanwhile, the English people were euphoric about their “success,” celebrating as if they had won the war. But the withdrawal was very deceiving. Though a great and successful military maneuver had been executed, victory had not been secured. Defeat had only been avoided, and that only temporarily.

On June 4, 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed Britain’s House of Commons and attempted to cool England’s misplaced confidence with a dose of military realism. In his speech, he made this dramatic announcement: “Wars are not won by evacuations!”

Wars are not won by evacuations! And yet, almost all Christian activities finally amount to strategic evacuations. At the bottom line, church-going is an evacuation (it removes us from the actual battle field into the security of our “faith fortress”), your personal quiet time is an evacuation, disciple-making groups and Bible-study groups are evacuations. These activities are vital and necessary (!!!), but they must be kept in proper perspective. The hostility of the world is largely forgotten and the attacks of the enemy are tempered into mild aggressions in these settings. However, boot-camp “victories,” while necessary to the entire military effort, are extremely mild compared to the victory or defeat that is secured on the battlefield itself.

Every Christian should realize that in the evening of each day, God examines the “having gone” of that day with serious scrutiny, to see whether he obeyed or disobeyed the mandate of Jesus to “turn people into disciples.”

The Savior's Strategy – Visualize and Strategize for Total World Impact – "all nations"

The third point in our Lord's Commission is to constantly ENLARGE or EXPLODE THE VISION. What is the Big Idea? What are we trying to do for whom? Vision answers "Why?" and Mission answers "How?" Vision inspires and explodes the mission hurling it ever outward, and the mission implements the vision.

The word translated nations is not referring to a geo-political state, as we know it today. The phrase all nations is “panta ta ethne,” or all ethnicities, tribes, or people groups. This is the field of activity in the Commission. Let us remind ourselves again – our Lord Jesus is not playing games with us. He fully expects us to "take on" the whole wide world!

Satan's Substitute -- Localize the Vision to Personal Christians or to One Local Church Size

Jesus' Strategy involves Explosion of His disciples to the ends of the earth. Satan's substitute is Implosion, which is a process in which objects are destroyed by collapsing in upon themselves. The opposite of explosion, implosion concentrates matter and energy. A true implosion occurs when the difference between internal (lower) and external (higher) pressure is so great that a structure collapses into itself. In contrast, building implosion techniques do not rely on the difference between internal and external pressure to collapse a structure. Instead, the technique weakens or removes critical supports so that the building can no longer withstand the force of gravity and is pulled down under its own weight.

Satan uses the tactic of reduced pressure on the inside and increasing pressure from the world system as well as cutting down some of the main supports of a church in order to get it to implode on itself. He is constantly turning our attention back to our own struggles, our own survival, the local institution in which we serve (and its success), etc. He is constantly seeking to shrink our vision to something traditional, local, institutional, or personal, and thus the overwhelming masses of the world's population never even hear of Christ and the Gospel. Jesus gave us a plan to impact the entire world, but we settle for a frustrating, disillusioning, nonproductive substitute. Which plan are you following, the Savior's strategy by which you can actually impact the world, or Satan's substitute which secures the constant reduction of the Christian community and guarantees that billions will perish uninformed?

Satan's substitute causes us to focus on a building's seating capacity rather than on the body of Christ's sending capacity; on how many we can count in attendance and not on how many count in action; on doing church instead of being church; from pervasive missions to not yet Christians to pervasive maintenance type ministries to the Christians; from external focus to internal focus; from immersion in the world for infection to extraction from the world to avoid contamination; from come to Jesus to come to church; and from making disciples to making decisions.

The Christian life requires full and undivided concentration upon its Object, Jesus, and upon its objective, His purpose. The Bible often reminds us to maintain focus upon Jesus and the assignment He has given us. The personal assignment is to cooperate with Him in our own transformation into Christ-likeness. The universal assignment is world impact by “turning people into disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Far too many Christians seem to have other focal points for their lives – self-piety, faithfulness in institutional church activities, etc. – and have apparently omitted His assignment from their lives. Christians and groups that have no vision of world-wide outreach, no strategy for multiplying themselves, are in danger of imploding, inbreeding, impotence, and too much introspection, so as to become extinct in one generation. Nature shows that inbreeding within the same family will produce deformity, and the same is true in the spiritual realm. The Christian life requires full and undivided concentration upon its Object, Jesus, and upon its objective, His personal and universal assignments for us.

The Savior's Strategy – Evangelize and Equip Persons from all People Groups to become Disciples of Jesus – "make disciples"

There are seven verb forms in the Great Commission, but the only command (the only imperative mood verb) is to "turn men into disciples." The Master’s Mandate is to make disciples and His method of fulfilling the great commission is by going, baptizing and teaching.

Satan's Substitute – Moralize the Sinner by a Self-help Type Message; Neutralize the Christian by a Self-Centered Message

What is Satan's substitute for making disciples? The first part of his plan is to moralize the sinner by a self-help type message. In other words, he exerts maximum effort to keep the non-believer in an unregenerate state.  The message today may sound like, “Smething good is going to happen to you!”  "I'm ok, you're okay.” Remember “Possibility or positive thinking will move mountains!” “Smile God loves you!” “God is in heaven and all is right with the world!” He has his servants proclaiming that if we will follow certain principles or steps, our lives will be happy, healthy, and blessed with everything that would make this life wonderful.

This portion of Satan's plan is aimed at keeping lost people lost, or to deceive them into believing they are saved because they are good moral, religious, church-going persons.

Satan convinces men that the gospel message is a self-help arrangement where God helps those who help themselves. He comforts the decent moral persons with the assurance that Christianity is about being good, and those who are moral and decent are doing something that merit's God’s favor instead being about what Christ has done.

The second part of Satan's substitute is aimed at neutralizing the Christian by a self-centered message. He attempts to eliminate the potential for believers to become world-visionary, world-impacting disciples by redefining what it means to be Christ-like: defining it primarily as inner essence of character without outer expression of conduct in respect to doing the one thing Jesus commanded, make disciples! Even if believers become disciples, Satan's purpose is to make them disciples of a pet idea, or a pet procedure; anything to keep them from being true, Christ-like, New Testament disciples who make disciples who reproduce others, others, and others, until disciples are made of all people groups.

Research shows that less than 5% of Christians will ever share their faith, and less than 1% will ever make a Jesus standard disciple! Yet these are the very marching orders that Christ gives His church, to "make disciples"!

Satan’s most successful tactic has been to have Christians settle for an addition, instead of multiplication-type ministry. He knows that the world population is multiplying and with an additions functioning church, the majority will never be reached.

In addition ministry, I help the pastor or a staff member with their ministry. In addition ministry, the pastor or a staff members can expect that 80 percent of the work will be done by 20 percent of the people. 80 percent of money received is given by 20 percent of the people.

In multiplication ministry, the pastor or staff member helps by equipping and empowering every available believer to be ministers who obey the Master’s Mandate of making, multiplying disciples. The Pastor and staff help me recruit others to disciple and equip as the going church and not to get some to come to church!

The Savior's Strategy – Baptize the New Believers in Christ -- "…baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The Savior's strategy for each believer is identification with Jesus Christ in baptism that reveals death to everything he previously lived for, and a resurrection that means that he now lives only unto Christ. By baptism, a believer in Christ acknowledges death to his past and that he now has only one real focus for living, the glorious Person and all-consuming Purpose of Jesus Christ.

Satan's Substitute -- Antagonize Believers to Fight Over the Subjects, Mode and Meaning of Baptism

Baptism is one of the most divisive theological issues in the church today. Some churches practice infant baptism while many only use “believer’s baptism.” Many will only baptize by immersion while some will sprinkle or pour as an act of baptism.

What is Satan's substitute at this point of the Commission? Satan’s substitutes involve basically three erroneous concepts:

(1) Baptismal regeneration;

(2) Baptismal rejection;

(3) Baptism as a mere ritual.

On the one hand, Satan says that baptism is a material, mechanical, ritualistic exercise, and thus it has no importance at all. So, Quakers and Salvation Army people don't baptize at all, for that reason. On the other hand, Satan says that baptism is ALL important and that sinners cannot have eternal life without it. So the Church of Christ and other denominations make baptism the great capstone of eternal salvation. In the middle, holding the extremely weak view that baptism is a "mere symbol," are Southern Baptists and other church bodies.

The Savior's Strategy -- Catechize Every Believer to become DMDs (disciples who make disciples) -- "…teaching them to observe (obey) all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

According to the dictionary the word catechize means "to teach", "to instruct, somebody in the basic principles of the Christian religion using questions and answers."

To teach them to obey is a present tense participle which indicates an ongoing, unceasing, uninterrupted, continual activity.  This means that there is never to be a moment of my life as a Christian when I am not teaching! Whether by intentional example, overt statement, specific planned curriculum, silent influence, structured or unstructured settings, I am to be an indefatigable communicator of the One Who is my Life. Every believer is to be a teacher, whether he has the gift of teaching or not.

We are to teach all that He commanded. This includes preaching and teaching the Word of God, then demonstrating the now presence of Jesus via the Holy Spirit, by healing the sick, casting out demons, and demonstrating the love of God through power evangelism. One of the great hindrance to the advancement of the Great Commission has been the denuding of the whole gospel into a partial one in which we tell people that they can miss hell and make heaven, but the power of God is reserved for another time and period.

It is God’s power wrapped in love that demonstrates that the Kingdom of God has been introduced on the earth!

We read in Matthew 12:28, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” And again in Act 10:38, “… how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”

In the ministry of Jesus, healing, miracles, signs and wonders was not a gimmick to gather crowds, nor was it a benefit He separated from the preaching of His evangelistic message. It was an essential part of His message and ministry. Compassion for people, not to prove a point or concern for projects, was His motive for ministry.

Healing, signs, wonders and miracles performed, glorify Christ and testify to His being alive and present among His people. Healing, signs, wonders and miracles clarify the heart of our heavenly Father, revealing that He is compassionate, good and great.

A major factor in the current revival in the Third World is inseparably connected to signs and wonders as expressions of the love of the Heavenly Father, the lordship of His Son over all, and the power of the Spirit to extend the kingdom of heaven.

Satan's Substitute -- Individualize the Gospel for Personal Consumption Rather than for Global Commission

As to this point in Satan's substitute strategy, he first seeks to prevent the anointed teaching of the great truths of the Bible at all. Then he seeks to make "sermon tasters" out of Christians. In this manner, they will be immunized from true Christianity by a mild inoculation of the real thing. Or he makes believers into analysts or sifters of truth, presuming that they can discern and appreciate truth apart from the Holy Spirit. Thus, they assume superiority over the truth and over the teacher of the truth.

Most Christians today are so oriented to auditing lessons in Sunday School and auditing sermons in an auditorium that they unwittingly abort the intention of Heaven for the communication of truth.  Satan desires that Christians sit in an auditorium, and listen to an audition of the truth, while they audit it as to whether they like it or not. The New Testament word for "obedience," hupokonan, means "to hear under," and it pictures a person listening to God's truth from a consistent position of humility. Satan's strategy is to cancel the possibility of humble listening to truth, and thus to turn the believer back into a self-governed, self-centered lifestyle who constantly sits over the truth.

Satan wants us to be "cafeteria line Christians," constantly appraising the truth, and picking and choosing with regard to our favorite truths, our favorite preachers, and our favorite sermons.  Thus, this point in the Great Commission is neutralized by Satan's substitute strategy.

The Savior's Strategy Sensitize every Disciple to the Presence, Purpose, and Power of the Holy Spirit  "And lo, I am with you all the days, even to the end of the age."

Please note that the "lo" follows the "go". The promise of Christ's special Presence in this verse belongs only to those who are pouring their lives into all the prescribed activities to fulfill the Great Commission. In other words, you cannot validly claim the PROMISE unless you follow the PLAN.  Yet when we do, we become incarnations of his person – re-presenting Him to the world around us! If we want to know Christ's presence we will be involved in his mission. Christ has not promised his presence to just any mission. He has promised his presence to those who seek to fulfill his mission.

Satan's Substitute – Humanize the Assignment to Predictable Outcomes by Relying on Man's Plans Instead of Holy Spirit Power

Satan tries to divert our attention to institution building and other reduced activities, and thus preclude the involvement of the Holy Spirit with us. Or he tries to convince us that we are all alone and that no one is listening when we pray. He tries to keep us ignorant of the Holy Spirit or indifferent to His Person, Presence, and power, or occupied with a self-centered counterfeit experience of Him.

One of the favorite tactics of the enemy of our souls is to get a minority group in the Church to abuse the ministry of the Holy Spirit so that the majority will refuse His work out of fear of excesses. If there is a single word for us as a local church it is, “Don’t be afraid of the Holy Spirit!” The blessed Heavenly Paraclete, the Comforter – the precious heavenly Guest, who makes our hearts His home, loves us so tenderly, cares for us so personally, works in us so patiently, and longs to work through us so powerfully – requires us to be ever so sensitive to his usually still small voice; ever so willing to obey, even when it may make us look foolish. Failure to do so results in a quenching of the Holy Spirit’s purposes and a grieving of His heart.

Pastor Jack Hayford defines the fullness of the Holy Spirit, not as spiritual superiority, nor maturity, but in terms of "stretchability." It means that we allow the Holy Spirit to renew the wineskins of our souls, to expand the vision of our understanding, to enlarge our heart for Christ, and his people, and to extend our reach to the world.

When the Holy Spirit fills our lives, the swelling within stretches us to new limits. The inner pressure expels unneeded things and fills every aspect of our lives. The comfort zones of (1) our previous experiences, (2) our present level of growth, (3) our level of learning, (4)  our cherished customs, (5)  our prejudices, and  (6) our comfort zones, i.e., those things in which we feel we can explain, contain and maintain what is happening in us and around us. Remember and note carefully, when Jesus comes to your house, you can be blessed like Mary or burdened and bothered like Martha. His presence can bring pleasure to those who sit at His feet like Mary, or more pressures to those who labor and sweat more over the many little things than the one main thing ?? HIM!

When God is moving in our midst we are to be discerning of the counterfeit, but we must also be discerning of our own conceit. It is  our  natural tendency  to analyze any fresh move of God in order that we may either  formulize it into principles and legalize it into a fixed standard of measurements for all moves of God, or to rationalize in order to categorize so that we can  criticize it and paralyze it!

The Holy Spirit wants to expand the pregnancy of our new life in Christ within us until it gives birth.  When this happens we will discover that He will excite our minds, delight our emotions, and ignite our ministry!  There will be both personal enjoyment and public deployment.

The Holy Spirit longs for our willingness to be extended and expended, to be stretched and spent, to be broken and spilled out and used up in a passionate love for Jesus. And if we continue to grieve the Holy Spirit, the wineskins of our hearts become brittle and easily cracked. The absence of the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence leaves us dry, dull, and depressed. It leaves us chewing on dried grapes, and asking where is the juice,  instead of drinking the new wine and getting juiced up to fullness and spilled out in freshness and fervency.

Another of Satan's substitute lies is to try and convince God's people that the gospel isn't what it used to be; that his lies are more powerful than God's truth; that we are losing the battle; that the best we can hope for is to witness against the wickedness of this age and pray to get off the planet as quickly as possible.

Jesus said in Luke 19:18, “…occupy, or do business, until I come.” You can’t do business if you are planning on going out of business any moment!

In conclusion let’s give heed to Spurgeon’s challenge: “Let no man's heart fail him! Christ hath died! Atonement is complete! God is satisfied! Peace is proclaimed!  Hell is trembling, Heaven adoring, earth waiting. Advance, ye saints to certain victory! You shall overcome through the blood of the Lamb!"