John 12: The Victorious Church

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John 12:42-43

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Through the previous 2 blogs, I’ve revealed through John 12 the revelation of Christ, and the intimidating spirit of the last days. So the key to any revelation is not just identifying the problem, but countering that problem with a solution through the word of God. The answer, I believe, is found in 1 John 4:15-19…

1 John 4:15-19

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.We love Him, because he first loved us

This is what Jesus offers to us, unconditional love! God’s love is the basis of intimacy, it’s pure and it’s perfect. Love is the avenue by which we are complete in Him. Love is what gives us boldness; and John says there is no fear in love! The answer to the spirit of fear and intimidation is the spirit of love! The opposite of love is not hate, it’s fear. Fear is the method of Hell to eliminate the love of God from being effective in this world. but notice John emphasizes that it is only through the confession of Him does His love even apply to you! 

Understand John is very meticulous in his writings, and John ties everything he does together. John uses his epistles to teach from the Gospel he wrote. And John is going back to that fateful day, when religious men refused to confess that Jesus was Lord because of fear. And John is preaching to the church at this time, unless you openly confess Him, you will continue to live in fear. But if we confess Him, John says He will dwell in us, and we will dwell in Him. Now the word confess does not infer that all we have to do is simply confess Him as our savior and we’re saved. The word confess is the Greek word homologeho; which is a compound word consisting of 2 root words. The first root word is the Greek word hom-oo’; meaning at the same time. The second Greek word used is the Greek word Logos; meaning the thought plans or ideas of God. John first introduced us to the logos in John 1. In the beginning was the word (Logos), and the word (Logos) was with God, and the word (Logos) was God… and the word (Logos) was made flesh and dwelt among us. The logos is the creative, authoritative word of God!

What John is preaching to his church is this; if you will confess that the logos, God in creation, is Jesus manifest in the flesh at the same time then God will dwell in you and you will dwell in God! The religious leaders of that dayw ould not confess Him, because they would not admit that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh! Their inability to affirm the Oneness of God left them bound by the spirit of fear and intimidation! That’s why Jesus, before those men had a chance to make up their minds, offered them this opportunity…

John 12:32

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

To lift Him up, is to recognize Him for who he is!

  • He’s the Father and the Son at the same time!
  • He’s the Shepherd and the lamb at the same time!
  • He’s Alpha and Omega at the same time!
  • He’s the root and the branch at the same time!
  • He’s the Gate and the scapegoat at the same time!

For Great is the Mystery of Godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, God was justified by the spirit, God was seen of angels, God was preached on unto the Gentiles, God was believed on in the word, and God was received up into Glory! To incorporate Jesus into a triune Godhead, to label Him a great teacher or a great prophet is to undermine His holiness! Th apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from THE LOVE OF GOD, which is IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD”! The apostle Paul was persuaded because he had a revelation of who He was! And through the recognition of Him, Paul became a recipient of His love!

In Mark 9 we see a man whose son is possessed with a devil. We find a type and shadow of the last days. The Bible says that the spirit threw the boy into the water and into the fire. 2 Symbols that long represented God (Moses and Elijah). The spirit of the last days was trying to persuade this man to turn away from truth and accept a new doctrine for his family. This man came to the disciples and asked them to deliver his son from this spirit. We know the story, they tried and failed. Jesus then shows up and the father of the child is angry and accuses Jesus. He then tells Jesus, well if you can do anything just have compassion. Notice he no longer wanted help, he wanted somebody to excuse his sin. This is how that spirit will destroy people, it will handcuff them to their problems, and instead of looking for help they will only seek compassion and permission to stay the way they are. This man is possessed with the spirit of the last days, but his son is the one suffering from it!

Notice when they bring the boy to Jesus, the spirit begins to wallow around on the ground, growling and foaming at the mouth. Causing a big scene and trying to distract the “church” from the real issue. Jesus knew what the real issue was, and so he asked the father how long the boy had been that way. The father’s response? He’s been that way since he was a child. In other words, it was the father’s fault his son was this way. But before Jesus could deliver the child of his possession he had to deliver the father of his! So he looked that father in the eye, and said if you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes! Suddenly it was as if someone turned on a light switch in his spirit. He all of a sudden had the cloud lifted from his mind, the influence of that spirit was gone and he began to understand that it wasn’t the disciples fault his son was that way, it wasn’t Jesus’ fault the boy was possesses, it was his fault! So the father cried through tears, as hope broke through his callused heart, Lord I believe, help my unbelief! What he was saying is Lord I recognize who you are, I see you high and lifted up, and i realize now that I need help, so help my unbelief!

If you want to experience the transformational power of love, it all begins with the recognition of who he is! The Oneness revelation is the greatest revelation int he world! Everything is built off of that revelation! That’s why the Syrophenician woman came to him and said in Matthew 15:21-28, Have mercy on me, O Lord… That word Lord is capitalized, meaning Jehovah. She knew who he was! So Jesus turned to his disciples as they pleaded with Him to send her away, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. He wasn’t insulting her, he was confirming her revelation. Thats why the next verse says she came and worshiped Him saying Lord (Jehovah) help me! Jesus responded by saying I can’t take the children’s bread and give it to dogs. And She actually agreed, truth Lord (Jehovah) but even the dogs eat the crumbs which fall from the masters table. She wasn’t insulted by his words, because when you can see Him high and lifted up, and realize the depths he condescended to to save your soul… Notice she wasn’t Jewish, she had no right to the supernatural power of God. But I can hear the word of Jesus say…

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me!

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John 12: The spirit of the last days

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John 12:42-43

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

In the circle of the most influential religious council in the world, they believed Jesus was the Messiah. They could no longer ignore the signs, could no longer relegate this man to a prophet. But the Bible says that because of the Pharisees, they would not confess Him, because they feared they would be excommunicated from the synagogues. Then the Bible reveals the spirit of the last days… “They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God”

The Prophet Isaiah dealt with this same spiritual condition in Isaiah chapter 5..

Isaiah 5:20

Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

Notice the prophet does not say these people are deceived! Rather he explains they have called evil good, although they know evil is not good they have chosen to make it good. They have exchanged the light for darkness, and have substituted sweet for bitter. Those religious men in John 12, although enlightened with a revelation of the deity of Christ, chose to exchange truth for acceptance through fear and intimidation. I am persuaded through scripture, the spirit of the last days is not the spirit of deception, it is the spirit of intimidation!

According to Webster’s intimidation is designed to make you timid and to fill you with fear. It will either force you into actions, or deter you from actions by inducing fear. Fear will handicap your faith, and cause you to settle for things you never thought you’d never thought you’d settle for. Fear will literally rob you of your future by handcuffing you to your past. One writer went as far as to say, “There is no greater Hell than the prison of fear.” Fear is not something we should take lightly, in fact John the beloved said “Fear hath torment”!

In the aftermath of 9-11, in the wakes of the greatest act of terrorism this country has ever see, President George W. Bush identified the purpose of these attacks. This cowardice act was more than a religious disagreement, it was deeper than a hatred for America, this attack was designed to instill fear. In fact The President labeled the War on Terror as The War between Fear and Freedom. Those enemies knew they were weaker than us, they knew they didn’t stand a chance in a fair fight; but if they could bring fear and intimidation to our homes then they would have the upper hand. And The Leader of the free world understood the only thing powerful enough to take away our freedom was fear!

In our world, fear is the catalyst for failure. Everywhere we look we see people being victimized by this mental disorder. Young men driven by the influence of their peers, exchange the peace of Godliness for the torment of sexual sins and perversion. Young woman driven by fear of rejection give themselves to the perverted young men to be used and abused. What they don’t understand is neither side walks away unharmed, both sides are severely wounded! And after these wounds have been inflicted, the spirit of homosexuality comes along offering relief from those wounds. Jesus warned the church, as it was in the days of lot so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Lord. Homosexuality was not the root of the sins of Sodom, intimidation was! That spirit was so strong, that when angels came to try and persuade Lot to leave, the men of that city nearly broke the door down to get them. This is how the spirit of the last days will operate. Listen, homosexuality is not the root of sin in this country, intimidation is! Most homosexuals are the way they are because of wounds inflicted through fear and intimidation. This is how the spirit of homosexuality works; it tries to convince you to abandon the pure relationship in exchange for one that will spare you of the pain! Notice in scripture when Lot offers his daughters to the ravaging men of the city, these poor girls are married but Lot says they’ve never known a man (Genesis 19:8). This is the primary purpose of the spirit of the last days, to convince you that the pure relationship will only hurt you and cause you more pain. And so this spirit through intimidating means is turning people away from truth! Now we live in a wounded world, that calls evil good and good evil!

So where does the church turn for relief? Where can we find the answers to overcome this spirit, and offer hope to a world in need? The answer is found in the writings of John….

To be continued in Part 3 The Victorious Church…

John 12: The Revelation

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John 12:42-43

Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; For they loved the praises of man more than the praise of God.

When reading Johns writings, I often find myself captivated by his use of symbolism; John never writes for the purpose of re-telling a story, his motives were deeper. John’s goals in writing his literature is to provide insight for believers, to exalt Jesus name and to recognize Him as God; this particular passage is no different. When studying John you start to see his perspective and identifying his patterns. After the resurrection of Lazarus, which only John records, we immediately see a feast featuring some interesting characters. Matthew and Mark identify the owner of the house as Simon the Leper, Luke, However, tells us this was the house of Simon the Pharisee. Only John even records Lazarus being there. This is significant to John because John includes a passage that seems to be thrown in at random. John tells us in verse 9-11 that many of the Jews came not just to see Jesus, but to see Lazarus also, because the testimony of his resurrection was so powerful that the Jews started believing in Jesus as the Messiah! And because of this, the religious council considered crucifying Lazarus as well!

This feast is where we find the incredible story of Mary and the alabaster box. She comes in with this box in hand, tears filling her eyes, with a mission in her heart. Mary understood who’s presence she was in, she had experienced Jesus as a deliverer as he set her free of demonic possession. She then encountered his compassion and power as he lifted her beloved brother from the grasp of death. Now as they entertain Him, she is persuaded through his love that Jesus is more than a man. She decides to humble herself in his presence and begins to wash his feet with the perfect mixture of tears and perfume, and she dries his feet with the hair of her head. She is honoring Him with her glory! And the Bible says that the entire house was filled with the odor of the perfume! When pure praise is released, the whole house is always filled with the glory of God! (See Isaiah 6:3-4)

The next day Jesus makes, what we know as, a triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The people lay out palm leaves on the floor, and they cry in revelation Hosanna! Understand John emphasizes that the people of this crowd are the lingering people who witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus, were present at the feast and saw Mary’s act of worship. Now the revelation of who Jesus is is getting too blatant to ignore. In fact so many people began to follow Him now that the Pharisees actually said, “the whole world is gone after Him”! (John 12:19)

Now I want you to grasp this, John  makes this observation in John 12:37; “But though He had done many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him”. John is talking about the Jews, they never fully comprehended his majesty, just his miracles. The religious people however, couldn’t ignore the signs. After all they were well trained in the letter of the law, they understood every precept, every command and every prophecy. They heard with their own ears the words of Jesus say, “search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life, but they are they which do testify of ME” (John 5:39)! All of a sudden these trained religious men are starting to piece together the mystery of Godliness. Through the resurrection of Lazarus, through the display of pure praise,and through the triumphal entry… they begin to look at one another. Could it be? This brings us to our opening text, and reveals to us the spirit of the last days….

To be continued in Part 2 The Spirit of the last days

The Valley of Decision

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Joel 3:14

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.

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Without question, the valley is the absolute hardest place to walk through. As an Apostolic Pentecostal, I live for the mountain top experiences; these monumental encounters with God that seem to shape our lives are really just emotional highs. No real substance. In fact, emotionalism is perhaps the greatest tragedy of our ranks. I’ve witnessed the carnage of precious people who have placed their trust, hope, and dreams in these emotional explosions. Maybe Jesus summed up the personality of man best when he told a nobleman in John 4:48...

Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe!

I believe there is a principle found within this statement that could redefine the faith of Christianity. For too long our faithfulness, our worship and our faith in general have been tied to what he does. We pray for things, then shout when it happens. That’s perfectly in order. However, what would you do if he didn’t respond when you thought he should? Or maybe he didn’t respond how you thought he should? Would your worship be altered?

You see our mentality tells us, I’ll believe it when I see it; God’s philosophy is you’ll see it, when you believe it!This is what Jesus was trying to get that man to understand; so he tested his faith and challenged him. He told him, “you go home and your son liveth”. Jesus wanted to know if the man would believe on his word alone. You see when our faith is built on the shifting sands of emotionalism, we won’t be able to endure the hardships that come. Because sooner or later you will find yourself in an isolated valley; and no matter how hard you search you can’t seem to find him, you can’t seem to hear His voice and you can’t find His will! You’ll be faced with more questions than you have answers, and if your faith isn’t grounded in the word, you will have nothing to hold on to in this valley.

In Mark 4:14-17 we find the parable of the sower and the seed. The bible gives us examples through this parable of instances where the word is ineffective in our lives. There is a particular element that stands out in my mind. The Bible says that some seed fell on stony ground, and that the ground received it with joy. That sounds a whole lot like an apostolic church. We receive a word from God, we’re shouting we’re worshiping in excitement about the word! But the scripture continued, and as soon as afflictions come, and as soon as persecutions arise, immediately they are offended because there is no root in them! This is the danger of emotionalism, the excitement always wears off in the heat of trials and tribulations, and those who are not grounded in the book will be easily offended in the valley.

This brings us back to our text. Joel is prophesying, and he is looking through prophetic lenses and seeing the last days church. After all it was Joel who prophesied that in the last days saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. What Joel sees is a startling observation of a valley full of people. In fact there are so many people in this valley Joel emphasizes it twice…Multitudes, multitudes…When the Lord opened my eyes to this revelation, he began to show me that this valley is not the result of misfortune. It is not the result of some sin or storm of life, this valley was designed by God! And Joel makes a terrifying observation, the day of the Lord is near this valley. The day of the Lord means either the judgment of God, or the return of Christ, which tells me that the decisions made in this valley will change your destiny for better or for worse! Destiny hangs in the balance in the valley of decision!

The unfortunate reality about valleys is they are never easy to endure. And more often than not we spend our energy in search of an escape. King David found himself in a valley of decision, he had began to slack off in his Kingly duties, and in his idle time finds Bathsheba bathing on the housetop. I want you to understand, David was not supposed to be on the housetop at this time, he was supposed to be in the valley engaged in war, leading Israel to victory. I will warn you that not every housetop is of God! In our zeal to find an escape from the pressures of the valley we settle for the first housetop we can find. but if that housetop does not line up with the Word of God, then you would be wise to stay in the valley!

When David made that decision in the valley, it sent shock waves throughout the destiny of his children. His baby would die as the result of judgment, one son would rape his daughter, another son would murder him, and even on his death bed Adonijah is fighting Solomon for his throne! David, life may be easier on the housetop, but God has called you to the valley! David you were anointed in the valley! You found favor in the valley! You killed Goliath in the valley! Why are you avoiding the valley now?

Isaiah 22:1

The burden of the valley of vision. What aileth thee now, that thou art wholly gone up to the housetops?

Yes David the valley is a burden, but the valley is designed to give you a vision! The prophet is warning us, do not abandon the valley of vision for the comfort of the housetops! Until you’ve received the revelation of the valley you are not equipped for the housetop!

Matthew 10:27

What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in the light: and what you hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops!

Your effectiveness on the housetop will be predicated on the revelation from the valley! Everyone seeks the glorious position of the housetop. But if we really want to be effective in this generation, we desperately need to learn the revelation of the valley. Don’t look to escape your valley too soon, God is trying to equip you with a vision for your future! And the destiny of your family, and the destiny of your ministry are hanging in the balance! I encourage you in this valley of decision, allow God to transform you during this season, allow the burden to shape you, and allow the revelation to empower you! And when you reach your housetop you will be equipped with everything you need to be successful!