The Believer's Authority Part 12
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G.o.d was mad at these people. He was going to destroy them and start over with Moses, making a brand-new nation out of him. Notice how G.o.d said this: Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them.
The Lord was saying, "Moses, don't try to hinder Me. Don't try to talk Me out of this. Don't plead for mercy because I want to give total vent to My wrath and destroy these people." By saying it this way, G.o.d meant, "Moses, you have so much power and influence with Me that if you plead with Me, you'll keep Me from venting my anger on these people."
It's amazing that Almighty G.o.d would be moved by any physical human being. It's not that we are greater in power or authority; it's due to His great love for us. Moses wasn't perfect. He had killed a man thinking he was bringing G.o.d's will to pa.s.s. He had failed. However, G.o.d loves us so much that when He finds someone who has a heart for Him, He respects that person. By doing so, that gives the individual power and authority in His life. That's awesome!
Moses besought the LORD his G.o.d, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
"THEY'RE YOUR PEOPLE".
Moses put it back on G.o.d, saying, "Lord, these are Your people. They aren't my people. Remember, You're the One who redeemed them. They're Your people."
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
Moses was reasoning with G.o.d, saying, "LORD, the Egyptians are going to hear about this. They'll say they were destroyed because You were too weak to bring these people into the Promised Land." We saw earlier that Moses had the audacity to say: Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.
It's amazing that a man would tell G.o.d to repent. Yet, what's even more amazing is: The LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
A CLa.s.sIC EXAMPLE.
This is a cla.s.sic example of Old Testament intercession.
Moses confronted G.o.d, told Him to turn from His fierce wrath, and He did. Moses stood in between the people who were about to be destroyed and pled with an angry G.o.d to repent.
People take this example and use it to teach "spiritual warfare" and "intercession." Thinking this is how we need to pray to G.o.d today, they say, "Oh, Lord. Don't destroy our country.
Have mercy on our city. Repent, and turn from Your fierce wrath!" That was appropriate for Moses to pray because Christ hadn't come yet and suffered the punishment for our sin. Now under the New Covenant, everything has changed. Jesus became the Intercessor to end all of that kind of intercession.
There is one G.o.d, and one mediator between G.o.d and men, the man Christ Jesus.
1 TIMOTHY 2:5 2:5.
In the New Testament, Jesus became the Mediator that stood between us and G.o.d.
G.o.d was holy, and man was not. We deserved the wrath of G.o.d. There needed to be mediation between G.o.d and man.
So before Jesus came, Moses was a mediator. Speaking of Moses, Galatians 3 says that the Old Testament law: Was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
Moses served as a mediator between G.o.d and man. A mediator is someone who stands in between two parties who are in conflict with each other and tries to bring them into harmony and agreement. G.o.d was opposed to man because of our sin, so under the Old Covenant, Moses served as a mediator. He said, "G.o.d, repent. Turn from Your fierce wrath," and G.o.d did. However, if Moses were to pray that way today on this side of the cross, he'd be antichrist.
Antichrist means against or instead of Christ. If Moses were to plead with G.o.d to turn from His fierce wrath today, he'd be acting against Jesus' mediation. By thinking, What Christ did is not enough; I need to add to it, he'd be trying to take Jesus' place. It was appropriate for Moses to pray the way he did under the Old Covenant because Jesus hadn't come yet. But now that Jesus has come and we're under the New Covenant, there's only one mediator between G.o.d and man-the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Tim. 2:5.) That's why you're wrong to "intercede," begging and pleading with G.o.d for His mercy today. G.o.d's mercy has already been poured out to us through the Lord Jesus Christ. He's no longer angry with us over sin.
For additional study on this topic, I refer you to my teaching ent.i.tled, The War Is Over. The War Is Over. The New Testament is clear. Jesus bore the wrath of G.o.d for our sin. That's why G.o.d's not mad at you-He isn't even in a bad mood! The New Testament is clear. Jesus bore the wrath of G.o.d for our sin. That's why G.o.d's not mad at you-He isn't even in a bad mood!
A MAJOR DIFFERENCE.
I understand that the truths I'm sharing are contrary to what's been popularly accepted, but I encourage you to go to the Word and see for yourself. Many people think that G.o.d is angry at a certain country and that He's about to bring judgment upon a specific city so they pray, "Oh Lord, have mercy and don't destroy them." If you're praying that way, you're trying to take the place of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has already satisfied G.o.d's anger and secured His mercy for these people and places.
Since G.o.d's wrath toward sin has been appeased through the sacrifice of Christ, does that mean we don't have any problems? Of course not! Through sin and unbelief, we're in the process of destroying ourselves. We've opened up doors to the devil and he's taking full advantage of them. It's very appropriate to pray, "Father, I thank You that Jesus has already secured Your mercy and grace on our behalf. Thank You that You aren't out to destroy our city and country. However, we're giving place to the devil. We're about to destroy ourselves. So Father, please give me wisdom and boldness to share Your Word and demonstrate Your power to others."
That's the reason I'm on radio, television, and the Internet. That's why I'm putting out so many books, tapes, and CDs. I'm not just praying and asking, "Oh G.o.d, do something. Change these places and have mercy on us." G.o.d has already had mercy on us. We just don't know what He's done. We've been lied to. Most people are more moved by television, news programs, and movies than they are by the Word of G.o.d. They don't know the truth, so I'm using every medium I can to come across people's paths and share the Word with them. These truths are changing people's lives and facilitating revival. Revival comes through people as the Gospel is preached, the Word is taught, and the Holy Spirit confirms it.
There is a major difference between the Old and New Covenants. In the Old Testament, people like Moses pled with G.o.d, saying, "Lord, turn from Your fierce wrath." But in the New Testament, there's only one mediator between G.o.d and man, Christ Jesus. He has forever satisfied the demands and wrath of G.o.d. If we don't seek G.o.d, there will be plenty of problems. But that's because we're yielding ourselves to Satan, and he's going to steal, kill, and destroy whomever, whenever, and wherever he can. (John 10:10.) Yes, our city needs to change. Yes, our country needs to repent and turn to G.o.d. But it's not so we won't be judged. Since G.o.d has already placed upon His Son the judgment our sins deserved, we don't have to be judged.
APOLOGIZE TO WHOM?.
I didn't understand these truths when I first started out in ministry. I liked to say, "If G.o.d doesn't judge our country, He's going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah." From my perspective, America deserved judgment because of our sin as much or more than these two Old Testament cities that went up in smoke. Since then, however, G.o.d has revealed Himself and His Word to me in such a way that I now say, "If G.o.d were to judge our country, He'd have to apologize to Jesus." Why? The reason is that Christ bore our punishment, judgment, and separation so that we wouldn't have to. G.o.d has already placed His wrath upon His own Son at the cross, so He's not about to judge us.
Our country is perilously close to being destroyed-not because of G.o.d's judgment, but because of Satan's inroads. When you yield yourself to the devil through sin, you become his defenseless servant. Remember, he comes for no other purpose but to steal, kill, and destroy. It's stupid to yield to Satan. We need to submit ourselves to G.o.d.
"WILL YOU SPARE THE CITY?".
Let's take a closer look at when G.o.d judged the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. First, the Lord appeared to Abraham and told him He was sending two angels down to Sodom and Gomorrah to check the cities out. G.o.d wanted to see if they were as bad as He had heard because He planned to judge them. As soon as Abraham heard about this, he: Drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
Here's Abraham pleading with G.o.d and saying, "LORD, You aren't going to destroy the righteous people that live in this city too, are You? That's not the way a righteous G.o.d would act. If there's fifty righteous people there, will You spare the city?"
And G.o.d answered, "If there's fifty righteous people, I'll spare the city."
Then Abraham said, "What if there's forty-five righteous people? Will You spare the city?"
"If there's forty-five, I'll spare the city."
Abraham negotiated with G.o.d all the way down to ten. If there were ten righteous people, G.o.d would spare the city. Abraham could have gone all the way down to one righteous person, and that would have been Lot. (2 Peter 2:7-8.) Without even factoring Jesus' atonement into the equation and forgetting about the New Covenant-which most Christians tend to do anyway-this pa.s.sage shows us that G.o.d won't destroy a city or country if there are righteous people therein.
It doesn't matter what your country is, there are things in it that are completely contrary to the kingdom of G.o.d. n.o.body's country is living totally the way G.o.d wants us to. Yet, despite all this, there are righteous people now in every country of the world. That alone ought to debunk much of this "G.o.d's going to judge this country" teaching that's floating around the body of Christ today. In America alone, there are hundreds of thousands of righteous, born-again people who love G.o.d and are seeking Him. We may not be dominating in every area of society yet, but we're here. So G.o.d will not destroy us.
NEW TESTAMENT REALITY.
We also need to factor into this equation the truth of 1 Timothy 2:5. Jesus is now the one and only mediator between G.o.d and man. He forever satisfied G.o.d's wrath. In light of these truths, this whole pattern of Old Covenant intercession-begging G.o.d not to pour out His wrath and pleading with Him for mercy- doesn't fit the New Testament reality.
Most of the "spiritual warfare" and "intercession" ideas that people are promoting come from the Old Covenant. They're taking Old Testament scriptures and teaching them just as if Jesus Christ had never come. Basically, they're saying, "You be a mediator. You stand between G.o.d and man. You plead with Him to turn from His wrath. Don't allow Him to judge this land." Well, the truth is that Jesus Christ has already done all those things. He is the only New Testament mediator.
If you're trying to pray the same as Abraham in Genesis 18, you're standing against what Jesus has already done. If you're praying the same as Moses in Exodus 32, then you're trying to take Christ's place. You are acting as if Jesus hasn't come and His atonement wasn't enough. You're believing that His intercession wasn't enough, and you have to add to it. That's antichrist.
The Battle Is In Your Mind Concerning the believer's authority, we need to recognize that Satan has already been dealt with by G.o.d. Since Jesus endured G.o.d's wrath at the cross, He isn't pouring it out upon us today. Our job is to stand in faith and enforce what the Lord has already done through His death, burial, and resurrection. One way we do this is by telling people the truth.
The battle is in your mind. Satan isn't controlling people through some demonic power. He's controlling them through lies and deceptions. By telling the truth, lies are exposed and people are set free. So much of this "spiritual warfare" and "intercession" teaching denies the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's not smart.
Jesus is the New Testament Intercessor who ended all Old Covenant intercession. There's now no need to beg for mercy or to tell G.o.d to repent. New Testament believers praise G.o.d for what He's already done and offer themselves as a vessel for the Lord to work through.
The real focus needs to be on the way we think. Don't just pray for someone and wait on G.o.d to touch that person without human intervention. G.o.d flows through people. He uses us. We must preach the Gospel.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?...So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of G.o.d.
You can't just pray and get a person saved, healed, or anything. You must speak G.o.d's Word. Faith for salvation, healing, and everything else comes by hearing the Word of G.o.d.
"STOP THE PLAGUE!".
Numbers 16 is another Old Testament example that is often used to teach "spiritual warfare" and "intercession." People say, "You must stand in the gap, begging and pleading with G.o.d for your loved ones to be saved, healed, or whatever." This pa.s.sage of scripture details what happens right after Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against Moses. The earth opened up and swallowed all three of these men and all that they possessed. (Num. 16:32-33.) Of course, the people just screamed and ran for fear.
But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD. And it came to pa.s.s, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.
G.o.d was upset because the people had come against Moses and Aaron.
Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the LORD; the plague is begun. And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
This is another example of where G.o.d became angry with the children of Israel. Moses recognized it, and told Aaron to take a censer and put coals from off of the altar on it (symbolic of prayer). He took this censer-prayer-and stood-interceded -between those who had already died of the plague and those who hadn't. Once the plague reached where he stood offering prayers and intercession, it stopped. However, 14,700 people died before Aaron could run in there with this censer and stop the plague.
I've literally heard people teaching on "intercession" say, "This is the way it is. G.o.d is holy and man isn't. He's so angry at people that He's about to destroy them. G.o.d is sending hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, AIDS, and all kinds of tragedies. G.o.d's wrath has begun, and we as intercessors need to pray and stand between G.o.d and these people who are deserving of His wrath. We need to plead for mercy, calm Him down, and beg Him to sit back down on the throne so He won't destroy the human race." People are preaching such nonsense.
A MUCH BETTER JOB.
Jesus is the only mediator now between G.o.d and man. (1 Tim. 2:5.) There's no other mediator and no other mediation that needs to be done. When Jesus died, He forever satisfied the wrath of G.o.d. The Lord isn't ready to destroy this nation or any other. I'm not saying we don't deserve it. I'm saying G.o.d placed the punishment for our rebellion and sins upon Jesus. He's not giving us what we deserve. It's not G.o.d who is about to destroy this nation or city.
As an individual, you may feel like you deserve the wrath of G.o.d. You don't doubt that G.o.d exists. You just don't think He'll do anything for you because you know you aren't living life the way you should. G.o.d is speaking to you right now, saying, "Jesus has already borne your punishment. He's already suffered your pain. I'm not the one bringing tragedy into your life." You might be thinking, But I have all kinds of problems. Surely, G.o.d is judging me. No, you yielded yourself to Satan and he comes to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10.) So yes, your life may be a mess-but it's not because G.o.d's wrath is upon you and He's judging you.
G.o.d placed His wrath over your sins upon Jesus, and all you must do is humble yourself and receive the forgiveness He offers as a free gift. You don't have to beg and plead with the Lord to save you. He's already done it. He's already dealt with your sin through the atoning sacrifice of His Son.
You don't need to beg and plead on an individual basis or on a collective basis (for a city or country). G.o.d's wrath has been satisfied. If you're trying to tell G.o.d to repent and have mercy, then you're trying to improve upon the work that the Lord Jesus Christ has already done. I guarantee that Jesus did a much better job at it than what you could ever do.
You don't need to plead with G.o.d to turn His heart toward us. His heart is already toward us because He loves us. This country is in the process of being destroyed because of our own wickedness and yielding to Satan. However, G.o.d wants to redeem this country and see us wholeheartedly turn back to Him. He needs Christians to come out of their prayer closets and stop begging Him for what Jesus has already provided.
He needs believers to stand up in faith and start taking this good news to others: "G.o.d isn't mad. He's not even in a bad mood. G.o.d isn't ticked off. He loves you and wants you to be free." Tell people the truth because it's the truth that will set them free. (John 8:32.) It's not up to G.o.d whether the lost get saved or not. He's already made the atonement and paid for their sins. He's extended forgiveness and abundant life, but they aren't receiving. He's sent the Holy Spirit to deal with people and convict them, but they're resisting Him. One of the biggest reasons people aren't making the right choice is because they aren't hearing the good news of the Gospel. They're being lied to by the devil.
Although Satan is inspiring it, people are the ones who are saying, "There are no absolutes. s.e.xual immorality isn't wrong. There are many roads to heaven," and such. Through these lies, people have dropped their guard and stopped resisting evil. They've embraced sin, and because of it have welcomed Satan right into their life. He's blinded their hearts from the light of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4), but the antidote isn't doing "spiritual warfare," binding demons, and begging G.o.d. It's us standing up, preaching the Gospel, and telling people the truth.
G.o.d always backs up His truth with power. (Mark 16:20.) We need to believe the Word and trust the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that power. Jesus had to have miracles to validate what He was saying. He told the religious Jews that if they couldn't believe because of His words, then to believe because of His miracles. (John 10:38.) If Jesus needed to have proof for people to believe that He was sent from G.o.d and speaking the truth, then we do too. We need to start sharing G.o.d's Word and demonstrating His supernatural power. Then people will turn to the Lord.
SHARE THE TRUTH.
One time I met a woman before a meeting in Birmingham who had just been in the hospital. She'd been laying flat on her back watching me say these things on television. The doctors had given her up to die. Just a year before, her mother had pa.s.sed away from the same exact thing-cancer. This woman wasn't only sick in her body, but also sick in her heart and mind. She was hopeless and fearful because she'd seen other people die of the same disease and the doctors had told her there was nothing they could do. As she lay there on the hospital bed, she saw that I was going to be in Birmingham, so she pulled the tubes out of her body, checked herself out of the hospital, and came to my meeting to receive prayer.
I prayed with her and she was instantly healed. Every bit of pain and all the cancer's symptoms were gone. At the end of the service, I gave an invitation for people to be born again. Since she'd never received the Lord, she came forward, gave her life to Jesus, and was born again. She got healed, delivered of cancer, born again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues all in one night. She checked into a nearby hotel and stayed for the next three days' worth of meetings, getting built up in her faith. All this came to pa.s.s because she heard the truth and saw the power of G.o.d in demonstration.
Some of the doctrines that are held most dear in the body of Christ today have been established by the devil. (1 Tim. 4:1.) These lies have been rendering us ineffective. This woman in Birmingham didn't get healed through somebody interceding for her in some closet. She heard a believer speaking the truth and giving testimonies of what G.o.d had done. The Holy Spirit used these things to quicken her faith. A woman-who wasn't even born again yet- pulled the tubes out of her body, walked out of the hospital, and came to where the believers were meeting.
Faith came to her by hearing, and hearing by the Word of G.o.d. (Rom. 10:17.) When the truth comes to people, it begins to tear down the lies, deceptions, and strongholds of the devil. Faith can't rise in someone's heart unless you share the truth with them.
G.o.d told Jeremiah: Behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them...Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
JEREMIAH 5:14; 23:29.
This is the reason we must speak the Word. Somehow or another, we've gotten away from this. We've been diverted and distracted, putting so much of our energy into begging G.o.d to do what He's already done. That's ineffective. We've been in prayer closets binding Satan and commanding him to let people go, thinking that if we pray hard enough people will get born again. That's not true. The Word says that people must be born again by the incorruptible seed of G.o.d's Word.
(1 Pet. 1:23.)
Fight To Win!
I've received many benefits through understanding the believer's authority. I've realized that Satan doesn't have the power to make me do anything. This old saying, "The devil made me do it" is absolutely wrong. Satan can't make you do anything. All he can do is lie to you. Then, if you believe his lie, you empower him to accomplish his will. But he can't do anything to you without your consent and cooperation. This is the reason the battle isn't against demonic powers directly. Satan has been stripped. His only power is deception.
That's how he came against Adam and Eve. Satan didn't come in some intimidating animal like a tiger, bear, or mammoth. He chose the most subtle, cunning, crafty animal and came against them with words-deception. Satan chose the snake because he knew he had no power to force Eve into doing anything. He used words to deceive her.
If Eve would have evaluated those words and refused to allow those unG.o.dly thoughts to influence her, she wouldn't have been tempted. If she would have refused to listen to or think anything that countered what G.o.d had said, she wouldn't have committed that sin and plunged the whole human race under the authority and dominion of the devil. This all happened through words, and it's still happening today. Satan is fighting us with words and thoughts.
The battle is right between your ears. It's not out there somewhere in the heavenly places. It's in your head. Every word you hear either releases life or death. Words that are based on and are in line with the Word of G.o.d release life. Words that are inconsistent with what G.o.d says minister death.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
The Believer's Authority Part 12
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The Believer's Authority Part 12 summary
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