28. Present a Living Sacrifice (1)

Rom 12 1 wordleMike Parsons

Paul writes to the Romans, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Rom 12:1).

A living sacrifice is a prepared sacrifice. It will help us if we understand what was involved in offering a sacrifice in the Old Testament. When they sacrificed a lamb they prepared it in a certain way so that it was able to be received as an offering. It was the High Priest who prepared and arranged the sacrifice on the altar, and we know that Jesus is our Great High Priest (Heb 4:14). So now we come into the holy place within the heavenly tabernacle and present ourselves on the altar of incense to be a sweet-smelling aroma to God; we invite Jesus to prepare us as a sacrifice: we know what He is going to do, and we deliberately allow Him to do it.

This is how the High Priest prepared the sacrifice:

  1. He slit its throat and drained its blood. If we are going to be prepared as a living sacrifice, we have to be willing to have our throat slit and our blood drained so that our life in the flesh is exchanged for His life in the spirit. Not literally, not physically having our throat slit, I hasten to add. But Jesus said, “You need to deny yourself, take up the cross daily, and follow me”. Lose our life, to gain His life. We are going to need to totally die to doing it our way, as a choice where we say, “I die to myself,  I deny myself”, daily.
  2. The head was chopped off. We cannot be in charge, with our head. We have to be saying, like Jesus, “Not my will, but Yours be done”. He is the perfect sacrifice. He did this every day. He presented Himself morning by morning as a disciple (Is 50:4). I renounce the right to my free will. Every time, my flesh would get in the way and I would choose to do what suits me rather than what suits God. Therefore, not my will, but Yours be done: I am not going to let my head decide what I am going to do.
  3. The skin was removed. We cannot have defence mechanisms, protection mechanisms and our own self-righteousness as a barrier: we have to be vulnerable and transparent before God, and before others. We cannot protect ourselves: we must live in His protection. We have the armour of light, the armour of righteousness, and the armour of God to protect us. We do not have any of them if we try to protect ourselves with inferior armour of our own making. It is time to let it go.
  4. He split the body completely open, and washed all the inner parts. God wants our heart purified, refined and washed in the living water of His Word and His Presence. We have to be willing to open up our heart, open up our life. That’s what a living sacrifice is, it is saying “Everything belongs to You. I am not hiding anything from You. You have it all”.
  5. Finally, He chopped the legs off. We cannot walk our own way, we have to surrender daily and walk according to how the Spirit leads. “I am going to do nothing other than what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19). That is how Jesus did His miracles: He saw the Father doing it. He is calling us to do the same: miracles, signs and wonders, being led by the Spirit daily, following Him, not doing our own thing and going off in our own direction, but every day surrendering that day to God and saying, “God, this day belongs to You. This is Your day, I am just here as a servant. You lead me, You use me, empower me, envision me, show me what You are doing”.

When we go to heaven and He gives us revelation there, when we spend time in our spirit, in communion and fellowship with Him; if we present ourselves as a living sacrifice, He will reveal Himself.  He will use us if we give Him the opportunity. But we have to surrender and allow Jesus to prepare us to be the sacrifice, and we cannot offer it half-heartedly; because if we do, He knows.

Available in other languages
Related articles from Freedom ARC

Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.

Post navigation

27. Surrender, Crucifixion and Sacrifice

Mike Parsons –

I surrender

We are continuing to look at the Prophetic Timetable that God showed me, the plan of what He intends  to do in our days, until Jesus returns. As I have said, there are no specific dates here, but periods of time in which God will be working in particular ways.

In the coming days, God is going to equip people in supernatural ministry. There will be cities of refuge (we read about cities of refuge in the Old Testament: they were places where people could go and be safe). God is speaking to us here at Freedom about being one of those cities of refuge. And there will be others because in the times that are going to come, people will need places of safety that only the kingdom of God can provide.

Surrender

All the creative gifts are going to be released, whether in music or the arts or media – all sorts of areas. God is going to release that, but He has first to remove the stumbling blocks: and the gathering angels are waiting. We do not have to wait for that time, do not have to wait till He comes and pins us to the ground. We can be proactive: we can surrender and allow God to do it right now; we can get on our face before Him and allow Him to do anything He chooses in our lives: get rid of the flesh, pride, rebellion, impurity, unbelief – anything. And if we surrender, He will do it.

He wants us to surrender, He wants us to say ‘Yes’ to Him, so that we can shine like the sun, shine with His glory: the light has come, and that light needs to be released, manifested through us as true sons of God, manifested in power. The whole of creation is groaning, waiting for the manifestation of God’s sons (Rom 8), those who are actually reflecting the glory of Jesus, who are truly living as Christians – ‘little Christs’. You know, ‘Christ’ is not Jesus’ surname: it means ‘Anointed One’ and it puts the focus on His anointing. So when we are Christians, we are anointed ones; and we carry His anointing and His power. All those ancient anointings, together with new ones, are going to be released in these days. So please, let’s not miss out, any of us.

Crucifixion

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).

That is a key scripture in surrendering to God. This is what Jesus has already done for us on the cross: are we going to embrace it? Are we going to count ourselves crucified with Him? We are going to have to surrender ourselves to that crucifixion of the flesh. Everything that could hinder, and cause us to be a stumbling block, or cause us to miss out; everything that has happened to us; all the pain and the hurt, the disappointment, the people who have let us down, and the abuse that we have suffered – are we going to allow any of that to stop us? Or are we going to use it as a springboard to surrender to God, to be healed, restored, and made whole?

Let me make it personal: will you ask yourself, “Am I going to allow God to change my life, so that I can get on and do the things that He has called me to do?”

He wants to live through us. The New Age movement has robbed us of so much, because they have counterfeited what is real. When you talk about being a channel of the Holy Spirit or being a channel of God’s power, there is a sharp intake of breath as people say, ‘Oooh, you can’t do that”. And that is because the New Age people talk about channelling spirits. But we are actually supposed to be a channel of the Holy Spirit; rivers of living water are supposed to flow through us; we are supposed to be those who God breathes through, who God lives in, so that people see Him in our lives.

Sacrifice

This is how we do it:

I urge you, brethren (and ‘urge’ is a very strong word), by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:1-2).

That is what worship is. Worship is not singing songs, though singing songs may be a way we express our worship. Worship is bowing down in obedience and saying, “You are God, and I submit and surrender to You. I present my life as a living sacrifice: You use it how You want to use it. I am not going to get in the way, I am not going to determine what I am going to do in my life, I am going to surrender it to You. I will allow You to lead me”.

Those who are children of God are led by the Spirit. We are not conformed to this world, we don’t have to come under the rules and regulations of the world. I am not talking about the laws of the land, we need to respect and honour those in authority over us; but I am talking about the things of the world that seek to keep us down, things that say to us, “You’re not good enough, you’ll never be anything”.

God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. He is not looking for people of great intellect, He is looking for people who are available, people who are willing. It is not about how much head-knowledge we have of the Bible: what counts is knowing Jesus. It is actually having a personal relationship with Him. No-one reading this is excluded from that, no-one at all. You might have university degrees, that is great. I had an education like that, but did it help me in knowing God? Not a bit. Most of the time it got in the way, because I rationalised, analysed and thought about Him rather than feeling Him, experiencing Him and knowing Him.

And now that I am feeling, experiencing and knowing Him, it is a total revelation! To meet with God and know Him, to meet with the Holy Spirit and know what God is saying; to receive visions and direction and dreams from God: that is what He wants for us, and that is how He wants to speak to us. We cannot know God except by experience. It is not about gaining knowledge, it is about being transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will know what God’s will is for our lives, and we will be able to outwork it.

That is why God wants us to sacrifice ourselves to Him, to surrender and to submit to Him as Lord of our lives: to allow Him to determine what our lives are like – who we are, where we go, what we do, what we say.

How do we surrender and submit to Him? We come as a living sacrifice, a prepared sacrifice; and in the next post we will see exactly what that involves.

Available in other languages
Related articles from FreedomARC
Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.

26. The Spirit and the Word in Unity

crossMike Parsons  –

Now is the time

God is looking for hearts that are truly His. Every one of us has a destiny prepared by God, and we must make sure we don’t miss it for the sake of our own stubbornness, our strongholds, or our own way of thinking. It is time to give it all to God: He wants it all. This is a time of preparation, a time when He is inviting us to abandon ourselves fully to Him. So let’s give Him everything, let’s hold nothing back. Let’s not allow our pride or our past to get in the way of what God wants to do in our lives. Let’s not miss this opportunity: because for some, if you miss it now, you will have missed it completely – that is how serious it could be. Now is the time.

God is pouring out fresh revelation in these days because He is preparing for Jesus to return, preparing for the harvest that is coming. It is time for the church to rise up: He is calling us to ever deeper levels of commitment, and He is releasing ever deeper levels of power and authority. We have entitled this blog ‘Sons of Issachar’ (see 1 Chron 12:32), because God is calling us to be like them in recognising the signs of the times and knowing what to do. God wants us to know what to do, that is why He always reveals to His prophets what He is about to do.

The coming revival

There have been revivals in the past, but they are nothing in comparison to what is going to happen as we approach the return of Jesus. It is good to read about what God has done (and I would encourage everyone to read Roberts Liardon’s books, ‘God’s Generals’) so that we do not lose sight of our heritage and so that we don’t repeat the mistakes people have made before. As you read, you can’t help but get excited about what God is going to do, because all those things He has done in the past are going to come together in the end times. Every mantle of authority that has ever been given is going to be released again over us. It will be an outpouring of the Spirit such as has never been seen before. Smith Wigglesworth prophesied that the Spirit and the Word would come together, that churches of the Spirit and churches of the Word would come together in unity, and that the result would be to release a revival that would impact the whole world. We are in the beginning of those days, and we need to grasp hold of that right now.

We are starting to see the manifold wisdom of God being released. The light that is in us is starting to come through: the fruit of the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, releasing ministries, increasing revelation of the Spirit of God, offices being raised up. The kingdom is coming in more and more fullness.

Anointing

It is we who are the gifts, all of us: we are the ministries, we are the ones who are going to get revelation. This is not just for one or two people. Some are going to have ministries that are going to go around the world. Some will stay right where they are and build the foundations of the Kingdom of God. But everyone can have a part in this and it needs to be manifested through us. God wants to reveal Himself in the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit and in ministries being raised up because they are expressions of what He is like. The fruit of the Spirit: that is His character. The gifts of the Spirit: that is the anointing of the Sovereign Lord which was upon Him, and it is also upon us (Isaiah 61). Those ministries are the ministries that He raises up to administer the church.

Freedom Apostolic Resource Centre

God is wanting to move. He is establishing us here at Freedom as a revival centre, an apostolic resource centre for this region and beyond. He is calling us to be a habitation of God to equip others, to bless others, to give away everything that God has given us. I know people can take this the wrong way, thinking we are saying that we have it all. That is not what is in our hearts: yes, we want to give to others what we have, but also we would like to receive from them what they have.

I had a picture, a vision, of waterfalls being poured out over churches across Barnstaple and across the south-west of England. As I watched, all the rivers and all the colours came together as one river, releasing an explosion of life. That will happen (and not only here) if we are willing to give to each other, to receive from each other, and to live in unity with one another; honouring and respecting one another’s churches and traditions and so on, but all bringing what we have received and pressing in together into what God is doing.

Available in other languages
Related articles from Freedom ARC
Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.

Soundtrack: I Surrender – Hillsong Live

25. Who Can Live With Consuming Fire?

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott – 

rootoutidolsAre we willing to root out of our life the idols that would otherwise keep us blind, deaf and dumb in the things of God? We saw what some of them were last time. The reason they would keep us blind, deaf and dumb is that they themselves are blind, deaf and dumb. A carved image has no life, it has no voice, it has no vision. So we will be aimless, powerless and ineffective if we do not deal with our soul. This is what God is saying to us right now.

Consuming fire

There is a verse which asks, “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” (Isaiah 33:14b). It is a good question: can we live with consuming fire? The answer is, we can’t, not without being continually burned. If we are to live with the fire then we will be continually changed and purified. “Who among us can live with the consuming fire?…He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity, he who rejects unjust gain and shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe; he who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking upon evil…” (Isaiah 33:14-15). We will need to not only be righteous but to walk in righteousness; there are things we will have to stop looking at, things we will have to stop our ears from hearing, because we must be found willing and ready.

Fix our attention

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12: 1-2, The Message).

We are to fix our attention on God. His eyes are fixed upon us, and those eyes of fire can see right through us. When we have God in our spirit, and the glory of God coming through our spirit, it will restore our soul. We will be changed from the inside out, as it says in this passage.

I have said before that the gathering angels are here among us. There is a time very soon, in fact it is about to come upon us, when the true church is going to be separated: there are things which are going to be taken out of the church, but the world also needs to come out of our lives. Then we will be able to shine like the sun, transfigured with glory; able to be true sons of God, revealed to the world in which we are living.

Ancient anointings

And I believe that all the ancient anointings and mantles that God has released in history are going to be released in these days, and restored to the church. The mantles of authority and power of every revival there has ever been are going to be conferred upon the church in the last days.

We can be eager for that, but if you have listened to and read the stories of revival, you know that virtually every one of the people who were involved in leading those revivals eventually fell into sin in some way. They ended up either dying early, or their ministries fell; and this happened to them because they were not pure and holy. God is not going to trust people who are not pure and holy with the mantles and the anointing that he is going to release in these last days. This is the reason He is wanting us to prepare our lives: if we are to carry this anointing and these mantles – and not fall – then we have to do now what is necessary in order to be ready.

Be hungry and thirsty for more. There is more to come, therefore be changed. God is wanting to  prepare us,  to equip us, to empower us; He wants us to truly be sons of God, to be superheroes of the faith. That is what God is looking for in these days, and we cannot afford to hold on to anything that will keep Him from finding us prepared and ready.

If He says to let it go, we let it go.

Available in other languages
Related articles from Freedom ARC
Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.

24. For Such A Time As This

Mike Parsons 

We are in the middle of looking at some serious issues which require a response from us. We saw last time that Jesus is saying to the church, ‘Repent, or else!’. There are things which God wants removed from His church in these days and if we are wise we will remove them ourselves – because if not, the ‘or else’ is that He will come and remove them.

Jude picks up the same theme: Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah (Jude v11).

Cain was a murderer, overcome by anger and  jealousy; we need to watch out for unforgiveness in our relationships with each other – these things have no place and can no longer be tolerated in the church. Balaam, as we said last time, indulged in licence, immorality and idolatry; and he encouraged others to do the same. Ministry for personal gain was what that started with, being paid to prophesy against God’s people. Korah rebelled against Godly authority; he wanted to do it his own way. But the days of loose cannons in the body of Christ is over. There is no room for ‘lone rangers’. We work together, in unity and harmony; side by side, not on our own.

We need to keep in mind that all these things were written for our benefit: ‘Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.  Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come’ (1 Cor 10:6-11).

We need to be really careful about polluting our bodies. If 23,000 fell in one day under the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant brings greater responsibilities, then we had really better not try God’s patience. Grumbling? It doesn’t sound like much, but it was fatal, it brought destruction on them. God is not going to tolerate such things much longer; He is coming to clean His house, and if we carry on behaving this way then we are putting ourselves seriously at risk.

We are called for such a time as this. That is what was said of Esther; she was the queen and the bride, representing the bride of Christ in the New Covenant. She lived in a time of extreme danger, as do we, and she was able to go in to the king and rescue the nation. But she had to go through a time of preparation, of anointing with fragrant oil and perfume, she had the very best lavished upon her, and she made herself ready for the king.

We need to make ourselves ready because this is our time. We need to deal with all the idols that take priority over God. Those might be family, work, church, sport, relationships, ministry, money, success. Sickness can be an idol, as can addictions, problems, issues. Images you have seen, words you have heard and said, memories of past hurt and trauma, unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, disappointment… the list goes on. Mindsets and strongholds, things you strongly believe and hold on to, doctrines and traditions in the church (Mark 7:8) – anything that is bigger than God in our thinking. Smoking is a big one: using tobacco to cope with stress and trouble, to relax. Some people use food the same way.

Looking at the problem rather than the solution will magnify the problem, and then it gets in the way of our looking at Jesus. Maybe we can still see Him a bit, but it prevents us looking into His eyes; it prevents us looking into His heart. It can appear so big to us that it gets to the point where we can’t see past it. Or if we can see through it at all, it still acts as a filter; so that everything we see of Jesus is coloured by our issues. But Jesus is way bigger than any problem we might have. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, the problems become diminished and He is magnified. Nothing is impossible for God.

Let’s remove the stumbling blocks from our hearts. Let’s not see everything through the filter of our idols. God doesn’t want us seeing Him that way; he doesn’t want us living like that. That sword is coming. That living, active, sharp word will come and judge the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. It will reveal our motives; it will expose selfishness and self-centredness.

When I was on the fast I spent time going through my life year by year, repenting and being cleansed. It was really valuable, but I know I only scratched the surface. God wants to take us deeper. He wants to cleanse and purify our conscience, the ears of our hearts; He wants to cleanse and purify our imagination, the eyes of our hearts; He wants to cleanse and purify our reason, the voice of our hearts. The deaf cannot hear the voice of God, the blind cannot see Him, and the dumb cannot speak with His voice. But we can do all these things if we choose to be cleansed and purified.

I have said it before: our choice empowers God or it empowers the enemy. God wants us undistracted; He wants our choice.

Available in other languages
Related articles from Freedom ARC

Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.

Support Freedom ARC

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

Main image attribution: Photo of the Astronomical Clock, Prague by Jay8085 [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

23. A Bride Bejewelled with Splendour

Mike Parsons 

William and KateIt is, and always was from time and eternity past, God’s intention to have a bride for His Son. And that bride is going to be arrayed in finery, perfumed with fragrant oils, and adorned with precious jewels: she will not be dirty and dressed in filthy rags.

Royal Wedding

We had a royal wedding here in Britain a while ago when Prince William married Kate Middleton. Do you remember what that was like? The bride wore a beautiful lace dress – it must have cost thousands, maybe tens or hundreds of thousands – and she went through weeks and months of preparation to be ready for that day. God wants a bride like that for His Son.

He wants her meticulously prepared. The angels are going to be looking on in wonder and amazement. She will be adorned with the character of Christ – that is what the beauty is, the fruit of the Spirit – and bejewelled with gifts of splendour. Jesus is coming back for a bride like that. And who is that bride? It is the church, and we have the opportunity to be a part of that bride, or to be an obstacle that gets in the way.

Discipline

The Message version of Heb 12:6 says:

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects. God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training.

And verse 11:

But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

So God is doing His best for us, because He wants His best for us. He is looking for a people who are well-trained, people who are mature in relationship with Him. We need to risk letting Him see inside our hearts, and we need to surrender.

Eyes on Jesus

We also have a part to play if we want His best:

London_MarathonLet us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).

You do not run a marathon carrying heavy weights. You don’t wear a heavy costume – well, some people do, but not the winners! You are not going to win the London marathon dressed in a gorilla suit.  The winner will wear a lightweight vest and proper running shoes, and their focus will be on the finishing line, the goal, and on the prize. We need to have our eyes fixed on Jesus.

It is so easy to get distracted, to take your eyes off Him and start looking around at something else that catches your attention. Not everything that distracts us is bad in itself. But we can’t afford to lose sight of Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. We will need to be radical. We will need to be ruthless. We need to ask ourselves the questions: What is it that holds me back? Entangles me? Distracts me and draws me off track? People do get drawn off track, sometimes for years. Whatever it is, you need to turn away from it, and run the race with your eyes fixed on Jesus. Such things are idols, idols in our hearts, they become bigger than God to us.

Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity” (Ezek 14:4). God hates idolatry; he has the right to first place in our lives, and that is what he demands. What idols are we bowing down to? God wants them thrown down.

You can put the name of this church, or any other church in the world, into this scripture, because Jesus is saying this to His church everywhere:

And to the angel of the Church at ……… write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this… I have a few things against you… The teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality… Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth (Rev 2:12, 14, 16).

The sin of Balaam was idolatry and immorality. God is going to clean house. Anything that we fail to deal with ourselves, He is going to come and deal with it. Jesus says ‘Repent or else!’ That is a strong word, and we had better sit up and take notice. The ‘or else’ is that He will ‘come with a sharp sword and make war against them with the sword of His mouth. I don’t want that; I’m sure you don’t want it; we don’t want it for ourselves, and we don’t want it for anyone else, come to that. God is giving us one last opportunity to repent and turn away from these things.

If we are smart, we will take that opportunity.

Available in other languages
  • Cet article existe également en français
    Related articles from FreedomARC
Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.

22. He Disciplines Those He Loves

Mike Parsons 

good-seed-enGod is making us ready for the conflict that is inevitable if we are to bring in the harvest He is looking for. In the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew chapter 13, you will see that tares have been deliberately sown by the enemy to cause confusion and dismay. We are sons of the kingdom, but the sons of the evil one are out there and they are determined to oppose and obstruct us all the way.

Sons of the evil one

I am not just meaning worldly people. Jesus explained about these ‘sons of the evil one’ in Matthew 13:36-43: ‘”Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”  And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear’.

We are the good seed: we are the sons of the kingdom, so we need to manifest the kingdom. We cannot afford any longer to live like worldly people. The sons of the evil one have been planted on purpose to come into direct conflict with us as we seek to carry out God’s purposes. Some of them are sitting there on the tectonic plates even as you read this. They are operating in the atmosphere of the earth, with power and authority that is rightfully ours, and there will be conflict as we confront them and take it back.

Stumbling blocks

Jesus says that the harvest is at the end of the age, and that angels are involved in reaping it with us. And He says that ‘The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom’ – not ‘out of the world’, you notice – ‘all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness’. The stumbling blocks are right there, in His kingdom, in His church, among God’s people.

This is serious. We could be a stumbling block. We could be opposing Him by doing it our own way. If so we risk Him saying, ‘Away from me, I never knew you’. There are people who have died and found themselves in a fiery place, which the Bible properly calls Hades (Greek) or Sheol (Hebrew), who thought they were going to heaven; I have seen them.. They were stumbling blocks. Stumbling blocks can be people; they can also be things in our lives that will cause us to trip up and fall. The dictionary defines a stumbling block as a ‘hindrance, offence, snare or trap’. The Greek word in the New Testament is ‘skandalon’, which gives us the word ‘scandal’ but actually means ‘the bait in a trap’. A ‘skandalon’ is something that leads us into a trap, it can be false faith, something that draws us into sin or error.

God wants to remove stumbling blocks from His kingdom; He wants to remove them from us personally. During this period we will see ministries that will fall if they are not working according to His Kingdom; churches too, however big or successful they appear to be. Jesus is looking for a church that is holy and pure in the Kingdom of His Father.

‘He who has ears, let him hear’. That is a phrase Jesus uses when He wants us to pay particular attention to what He is saying. It means He is saying something especially serious that we need to get hold of properly. God is issuing a challenge to us. He wants to remove the stumbling blocks, so He is sending His angels, and for now they are watching and waiting for us to say, ‘Yes, God, do it. We submit, we agree to you removing those things that hinder us’. But they are not going to watch and wait much longer. This is our window of opportunity to say, ‘I do not want to be a stumbling block that gets in the way of God. I can see there is a rock fall coming, one way or another (Matt 21:44). So deal with me, change me’.

Judgment begins

It is time for judgment to begin with the house of God (1 Pet 4:17). The sword comes to bring judgment, to divide right from wrong. God will tell us what is right and what is wrong today, if we will listen. He is looking for those whose hearts are willing. That is why He wants us to know Him intimately, because He loves us so much that He wants to make us ready for what is coming. He doesn’t want us ensnared or entrapped. He doesn’t want us to stay as we are because the way we are just will not do on the next level.

He disciplines those He loves – disciplines, not punishes – and that speaks of both correction and direction. Ours is not the best way: He wants to show us a better way. Hebrews 12:11 tells us that ‘no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness – in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living]’ (Amplified Bible). We need to display that righteousness, so that it is not just that He calls us righteous but that we outwork it and that it produces righteousness in us.

He wants us to be conformed to His will, conformed to the image of His Son; He wants us to be revealed as His sons. And as we will see next time, He wants a bride for His Son, radiant in beauty; for that to happen we have to face up to the fact that some preparation is needed.

This article is also available in French /
Cet article est aussi disponible en français
Engage with God like never before!

Engaging God on the Heavenly Pathways of Relationship and Responsibility
Equipping a Joshua Generation of supernatural sons of God to live according to the order of Melchizedek

Get started today!*

To find out more about the Engaging God programme, click here…

*Technology permitting: automated process on receipt of payment and completion of online registration form. Terms and conditions apply.