“Love Covers” 13/8/17
A Message by Pastor Bill Page, Living Light Gospel Church, Cairns.
1 Peter 4:8 “Love will cover a multitude of sins.”
True love will not “seek its own”; it does not highlight the failures or the wrongs of others. It does not expose others to shame; it refuses to become offended. (1 Corinthians 13) As we go through our lives in this modern world there are plenty of challenges and ample opportunity for misunderstandings and offences. We must resist the temptation to react according to the flesh, but respond according to the Spirit.
Genesis 9:18-27 After all of the challenges that Noah faced during the building of the ark, the triumph over wickedness through the flood, and their eventual arrival at a place of “rest” on Mt Ararat (Genesis 8:4) God made a covenant with Noah, promising that “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” confirming it with the “rainbow”.
So in this new place of God’s choosing, “Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard.” Noah and his family tended the animals, established gardens and planted grapes to make wine. But Noah is only human, and he drank too much wine and collapsed naked in his tent. His middle son Ham saw his father in this sorry state and told his two brothers. Ham had the wrong attitude to his father and exposed him to shame.
But Shem and Japheth “took a garment”, stretched it between them and “went backward and covered the nakedness of their father.” They didn’t laugh at him; they didn’t expose him to shame. They turned their faces away so that “they did not see their father’s nakedness.” Love and respect. Yes, Noah had done something foolish. One of his sons exposed him to shame and received a curse. Two covered him and received blessing.
How do you and I respond to the failure of another? Do we run to spread the story or do we lovingly cover them, not even looking at, or judging their situation?
Galatians 6:1-2 If anyone is “overtaken” by sin, if we are truly “spiritual” we will “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” because it can happen to any of us! How would we want to be treated in such a situation?
Jesus, by His blood and by His death on the cross has covered all of our sin, just like Shem and Japheth covered Noah. He knows that we have sinned but by His grace He laid down His own life to cover all of our wrong-doings.
Psalm 85:2 “You have forgiven the iniquity of your people; you have covered all of their sin.”
When God was preparing to release His people from slavery in Egypt, Pharaoh refused to let them go. Ten terrible plagues of judgment fell upon the Egyptians, the last one being the worst of all; the death of all first-born: of the people and their animals. In order to separate God’s people from the idol-worshiping Egyptians, they were to take a lamb “without blemish” (Exodus 12:5) kill it and spread its blood on the two doorposts and the lintel above the door as a “covering”. When “the angel of death” came to execute God’s judgment, it would “pass over” the houses with the blood. Whoever was inside; slaves from other countries, Egyptians seeking sanctuary; anybody who was in the house with the blood was saved from judgment and death.
This is a powerful picture of what Jesus has done for us. His blood covers us, and saves us from death and separation from God. Just as Shem and Japheth covered Noah’s nakedness, Jesus, by His blood and His death covers us. “Love will cover a multitude of sins.”
God considered the original Passover so significant as the beginning of Israel’s new life as a nation, that He recalibrated the calendar! From now on, Passover would represent a new start and a new life in every way!
Exodus 12:2 “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.”
Today God is calling us all to a new beginning. Let the blood of Jesus cover all of your sin. Allow Him to wash you and cleanse you, washing away all of the guilt and shame of your past. Let today be “the first month of the year” for you!
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
“Let there be Light” 16/7/17
A Message by Pastor Bill Page, Living Light Gospel Church, Cairns.
God is a God of light; beautiful powerful, radiant light.
Genesis 1:1-3 “Darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” ready to make the words of God become a physical reality.
He created the universe and this special planet, where He was to place man, the “image and likeness” of God Himself, was ready for His touch.
Darkness is nothing in itself; it is simply the absence of light. In the same way, cold is nothing in itself; it is the absence of heat.
So the earth was “without form, and void.”
NLT: “The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness.”
And then, in that darkness and emptiness “God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.” The darkness vanished and the earth was flooded with brilliant, amazing “light”. And in that “light” everything else was created. God created man and woman to be just like Him and to represent Him in the world; to be “the light of the world.”
Biblically, “darkness” is a picture of sin and separation from God.
After Satan deceived Adam & Eve and sin and death entered, the world was in darkness again. Oh, the Sun still shone and light was all around, but this “darkness” was in the heart of man, and because God had created man to represent Himself in the world, man’s “darkness” affected all of creation.
John 3:19-20 Jesus called it as it is: “Man loved darkness rather than light… because their deeds were evil.”
What will happen? Will the world become “a formless mass cloaked in darkness” again? No: God had a plan.
Isaiah 9:2 “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” This verse is quoted again in Matthew 4:16, so that we would be in no doubt that this “light” is Jesus. And just as at creation, it was “the Word” of God that brought the “light”. (John 1:1) Even at His birth in that dirty stable “by night” God filled the sky with “the heavenly host”: a light and sound extravaganza!
John 1:3-5 “The life (that Jesus brought) was the light of man.”
Darkness is everywhere. The most destructive force of darkness is in the heart of man. We see the results of this every day in the news. To dispel darkness all you have to do is introduce light! Jesus has already overcome the devil and his kingdom of darkness. He lived without sin, He died for our redemption, He rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven and He poured out the Holy Spirit so that you and I would be so filled with His presence and His light that we (yes, you!) would fulfil God’s ultimate plan for His sons and daughters and take that light wherever there is darkness!
John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” How had that light just been revealed? In overcoming the darkness of dead religion in men’s hearts and in forgiving and offering life to a woman who had just been caught sinning. The “light” is revealed in the love and the grace of God poured out through us!
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world.” His “light” has come upon us. We don’t put that “light… under a basket” out of fear or the devil’s lies of our unworthiness, but we put it “on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” When our “light” shines, God is glorified! It is not your light; it is His light. We are simply His vessels. And He will illuminate and set on fire whoever He chooses: no matter what!
Isaiah 60:1-3 Here is the destiny of all of God’s people. This is the Scripture Jesus quoted at the beginning of His ministry. It is time for us to “Arise, shine”.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 Just as God “commanded light to shine out of darkness” at creation, now He has put His “light… in our hearts” so that wherever we go, we “give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” to all people in all places, no matter how deep is the darkness. And where is that “light” revealed? “in the face of Jesus Christ.” And where will the people see “the face of Jesus Christ”? In “saucepans” like you and me! This is His heart’s desire. This is your destiny. Take His light and drive out the darkness!
1 Peter 2:9 Jesus Christ has “called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.”
Victorious Christian Living 7 The Fullness of the Spirit 9/7/17
A Message by Pastor Bill Page, Living Light Gospel Church, Cairns.
As we study the Bible, we see that the “Third Person of the Trinity”, the Holy Spirit, has been vitally involved in the entire history of mankind from the beginning. At creation “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2) waiting for the Father to speak so that He could make God’s words become a reality. He is still “hovering”; waiting for us to speak words of faith so that He can make our God-given visions become a reality!
The Holy Spirit guided and empowered every hero of the Bible, both male and female, and He continues to do that today, for “heroes” like you and me. Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit is with us, He is in us and He comes upon us.
With us: Of course He was with the men and women of God throughout history and He is with us today. This speaks of His presence with us, surrounding, protecting and guiding us.
John 14:16-17 Earlier in this chapter, Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving them, then added that the Father will send “another helper”: the Holy Spirit. “Another” = Greek: “allos”, meaning “another of the same kind.” The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus to us! And the Holy Spirit “will abide with you forever”. Then Jesus said, “He dwells with you and will be in you.”
Up to now, the Holy Spirit had been “with” them but now He would move into another dimension: to be “in” them.
Verse 20: “At that day (the day we receive the Holy Spirit) you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and Me in you.”
In Us: Jesus needed His disciples to move much deeper into the things of God, especially after His mission on Earth was completed.
John 20:19-22 Jesus lived without sin, died to pay the price for ours and then rose triumphantly from the dead. Now, His mission was almost completed. His urgent priority was to prepare His disciples for life without His physical presence, to continue His work and take the Gospel “to the uttermost parts of the earth.”
“As the father has sent Me, I also send you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
In Genesis 2:7 God created Adam and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” and now Jesus is breathing Spirit-filled life to a whole new group of people who will be ready to “go”… but wait, there’s more!
Upon Us: The power and anointing to serve and to represent Jesus in the world comes as the Holy Spirit comes “upon” us.
Matthew 3:16 The Holy Spirit was already “with” Jesus, and “in” Him, but now, before He began His ministry the Holy Spirit came “upon Him.” From this moment on everything would change. No longer the carpenter from Nazareth, but now the power of “the Christ”, the anointed one, moving through the earth bringing healing, redemption and life to all.
Luke 4:18-19 Immediately after this, Jesus rose in the synagogue and said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” And it is the same for us.
Acts 1:4-5 This is very powerful. He “commanded them not to depart” until they had been “baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Verse 8: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”
Acts 2:1-4 And this motley group of fishermen, tax collectors and others waited just as He had told them and when the Holy Spirit came “upon” them, they went out and changed the world.
Acts 4:32-33 “Great power” was manifested in “great grace”. When the Holy Spirit comes “upon” us it puts us way ahead of the tricks and strategies of the devil.
God’s plan is that His Spirit is “with” us, “in” us and “upon” us. Jesus never anticipated that His followers would serve Him, build His Church and establish His Kingdom in the earth without these three levels of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He is here for you. Like the early Church, we can be filled with the joy of the Spirit; no gossiping; no disunity. A powerful result of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit was unity; shared purpose and “bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) If we serve without the power of the Holy Spirit, when things go wrong (as they do!) we will run dry or blame others and eventually give up.
When the Holy Spirit is “with” us, it means that He surrounds us with His love and protection, guiding us in the way that we should go.
When He is “in” us, He brings healing, deliverance and personal break-through.
When He comes “upon” us, our vision moves out to this broken and dying world. It is the anointing to minister in power. Receive Him today.
Victorious Christian Living 6: The Burning Bush 2/7/17
What a life Moses had! Saved from death at his birth, set adrift in a basket on the Nile (how God’s hand must have directed that basket!), rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, spent 40 years as the son of Pharaoh then 40 years as a refugee shepherd in the deserts of Midian, looking after the flock of another man. Then, in God’s perfect timing, He appeared to him.
Nothing in Moses’ life experiences was wasted. Everything he went through equipped him for his ultimate calling from God.
Exodus 5:1 “Horeb” is another name for Mount Sinai. God led Moses out of Egypt (a Biblical picture of the world) and through the wilderness to the place of his calling, where his destiny would begin to unfold; to “holy ground”.
When Elijah fled from Jezebel (1 Kings 19:8-9) the angel led him to “Horeb… into a cave” where God spoke to Elijah and changed his destiny, and the course of whole nations. And it was at Sinai, with great thunder and lightning, smoke and the sound of a trumpet that God gave Moses the tablets of His law.
Verse 2: As Moses walked with the sheep, as he had done for 40 years, suddenly he saw something he had never seen before: “a flame of fire” was burning “from the midst of a bush.” Just a scrubby, unnamed bush, but suddenly filled with the fire and the glory of God. It was not unusual for bushes to catch fire in the desert, but what was unusual was that this one “was not consumed.”
Verse 3: It wasn’t directly in Moses’ path; it was off to the side, so he said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight.” You and I need to “turn aside” from our everyday walk to catch the vision that God is giving us.
Verse 4: After Moses had “turned aside to look” God called him by name, and Moses said, “Here I am.”
Now, nothing would ever be the same for Moses and for the world that surrounded him. Egypt would be brought low by the judgment of God; God’s people would be set free from slavery and they would ultimately enter the Promised Land, establishing the nation of God’s people.
God knows all about you. He loves you and has a marvellous plan for your life. God spoke out of that bush and He wants to speak through you. Are we qualified? Not in the eyes of the world, but just as God took possession of that nameless, scrubby bush and filled it with the fire and glory of His presence, He wants to get hold of you.
Fire in the Bible is a picture of the glory of God and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). In the process, we burn brightly for Him, speak His words but we are “not consumed”; we keep going!
Jeremiah 20:9 “His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
Luke 12:49 Jesus said, “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” Jesus is the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11). It is His power, His anointing, His fire that He pours out on us. This is a reference to His death to redeem us all and His resurrection and His ascension into Heaven, to release the power and the fire of the Holy Spirit upon us so we will take His glory and Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Verse 5: When Moses gazed into the fire, hearing the voice of God, ready to listen and obey, God said, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” The presence of God transforms any place into “holy ground”! You don’t need to chase it: it is where you are!
In the culture of that time, removing your shoes was a sign of respect, but as he removed his sandals Moses was also releasing himself from his time of preparation; from the life that he was leading and from all the pressures and cares of his world as he knew it. The sandals came off, and with them came everything of the world, his past and his failures. He stood barefoot in the presence of the Lord, ready to be equipped by God for the mighty destiny that lay ahead of him. And the world would never be the same.
You and I stand today at a pivot point in history. You may be like that nameless, scrubby bush. Maybe you have failed and have no earthly reason why God would choose you but you are a perfect candidate for His fire and His glory and to speak His word. The power is not in the mouth; the power is in the word.
And as we take off our sandals, hear God’s voice and be ready to obey, families, communities, cities and whole nations will be brought into the purposes of God. Shake off your past! Look to Him and move forward into the destiny and the future that He has for you!
Victorious Christian Living 5. Seeing & Believing 18/6/17
A Message by Pastor Bill Page, Living Light Gospel Church, Cairns.
Ephesians 1:15-19 For most of his 30 years of ministry, when he wasn’t in prison, Apostle Paul was traveling. However, he spent three years pastoring the Church at Ephesus.
What God did through Paul’s time there eventually shook the entire city, propelling the Gospel through all of Asia Minor (now Turkey). The Gospel spread because Ephesus was a trading centre where many people were coming & going. The Ephesian believers moved by faith to reach the people. Paul was strategic. Corinth was also a major trading port, and the same thing happened there.
Paul wrote this letter to a congregation that already knew what it meant to pray and to see God do great things, but his encouragement to them was, “I’m praying for a greater level of God’s vision for you. That the eyes of your heart would see God’s hopes for you.” God’s “hopes” are what He can already see and is ready to be released in His people. All we need to do is line ourselves up with what He is ready to do. Paul is saying to them, “I am praying that you would see God’s hopes, not the hopelessness that is around you”.
God has great things ready for us, but so often we only see the problems, in our family, community or nation. We sometimes feel it’s hard to break through to a deeper level.
Despite the reality of the many things coming against our Christian way of life, our faith must not to be affected, and our ability to hear from God must not be dulled by what’s going on around us. God gives us hope.
The key is that we must be people of faith & prayer. We have two choices: pray with despair over circumstances OR catch God’s dream for the impossible and begin believing for that to happen.
The Lord wants to give His dreams and visions to His people. He wants us to see the reality of what He’s ready to do. When you go through a tough time, it’s hard to see beyond the pain. But be assured; it will pass. Keep believing! God is the Creator of time. The only person who’s running out of time is the devil.
Revelation 12:12 “The devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows he has a short time.” Not just a short time until the Lord Jesus returns, but the devil’s got a short time in any situation once God’s people start agreeing in prayer. The devil’s time is specifically measured, and it’s being reduced all the time by people who pray.
2 Kings 6:14-17, Elisha and his servant were surrounded. His servant said to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” Elisha said, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Then Elisha prayed for the Lord to open his servant’s eyes that he might see, and “Behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
Elisha didn’t pray for his servant to see another miracle, but that his eyes would be opened to see into God’s dimension. Once that happens, we will never be the same!
To believe for the impossible, first we must see the invisible. Hebrews 11:27
They’re still there. The army of heaven is still fully functional and ready to move when YOU pray! The enemy is still there, too, but he is completely surrounded and outnumbered by the host of Heaven!
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” That means it is within your reach. You can touch the throne. God will put His sceptre of power in YOUR hand. (Ref Esther) You can pray with authority, “Your kingdom come.”
When it looks like Satan has won, he has not. Ephesians 6 says we are not wrestling against “flesh and blood” but against “principalities and powers”, and every one of them has been defeated. The victory has already been won for us by Jesus Christ, but we move by faith. It does not happen automatically.
Matthew 18:19-20 Jesus said that if He can find people who will agree together, breakthrough will come.
Why is it so powerful when just two agree? Because, there is no agreement in the kingdom of darkness. Satan and his hordes may work against the Body of Christ, but it never is in agreement. Therefore, even if just two of the Lord’s weakest saints agree, they tap into the power and authority of God, and Satan must flee.
First, through agreement in prayer we begin to see the invisible; God’s plans and dreams for humanity, then we begin to believe for the impossible. This is the realm in which God lives! He wants us to join Him there!
God is moving today like never before. We will not let doubt or despair overwhelm us. We will not be intimidated by the sin that surrounds us. We know that the breakthrough is inevitable, if only we agree in prayer and move by faith. Let us come to the Lord in agreement for His will to be done; for His dreams to become a reality in the earth, and for our eyes to be opened to see what He sees.
Session 9: “One Heart & Soul”
What did the early Christian Church look like?
1. “One heart and soul: (mind or spirit).” Ref: Psalm 133.
This is the secret. The Church that can maintain unity among its members will be an unstoppable force in the world. The power of unity is rarely seen, because the nature of man means that it is rarely accomplished. Division within a Church, or competition between the believers almost guarantees that the Church will not grow, and will not be filled with the awesome power of God.
James 3:16 “Envy and self-seeking” open a spiritual door for “confusion and every evil thing”. When people are envious and selfish it is very difficult to maintain a clear focus on the vision that God has given us, and that leads to “confusion.”
2. Unselfish sharing: to alleviate suffering and need. This was very unusual (and still is!) and it was very attractive to the people around them: “thousands were added”.
3. “Great power” Powerless Christianity is just another form of dead religion. 2 Timothy 3:5
1Corinthians 2:1-5 Apostle Paul was uniquely qualified and prepared by the Lord to carry the Gospel to so many nations, but he understood that the ministry of the word of God is not just in “excellence of speech or of wisdom… persuasive words of human wisdom” but is to be accompanied by “demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” When we minister in the love and grace of God, sharing with those around us and maintaining true unity, the Lord will pour out His power upon us!
Ezekiel 37:9-10 Power of the spoken Word of God. “And stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
4. “Great grace”. No matter who they are, or what they have done,
they must come face to face with the unconditional love of God through us.
John 1:14-17, Romans 5:20
People are heartily sick of powerless, condemning religion. They need a revelation of Jesus, in how He ministered with unconditional love and grace to the most disadvantaged and marginalized people.
Many people in Churches have been brought out of brokenness and hopelessness, and loved into wholeness. It is a delicate process, that requires patience, grace, and unconditional love.
Ch 5:14 And the result of the Church functioning like this? “Believers were increasingly added...multitudes.”
We don’t want just full buildings; we want full people!
Full of the love of God. Full of the grace of Jesus Christ. Full of the power of the Holy Spirit. Full of the vision of God for the future of our Churches, our communities and this nation. Satan has no answer to a Church like that!
Victorious Christian Living 4: Faith.
Faith: It’s the starting point for everything. All of the promises of God for us are accessed by faith. Faith is the currency of Heaven.
John 3:16 The point is “whoever believes in Him”. The life and teaching of Jesus was all so that you and I would “believe.” It all begins here.
Jesus came and taught and modelled faith. His mission was to live without sin; to die to take away all of our sin, to rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven, leaving behind a group of people who “believe.”
John 5:24 Jesus said that whoever “believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life” and that they “shall not come into judgment.” NLT: “They will never be condemned for their sins.” Why? Because for all who “believe”, Christ has shed His blood and died. He was “condemned” and took away all of our sin.
Jesus went on to say that those who believe in Him have already “passed from death to life.” Naturally, we think that we will live and then die. But without Christ, even though we may be breathing and functioning, we are already dead! (Ephesians 2:5) So our faith in Christ reverses this process: instead of going from life to death we go “from death to life”! Forever!
When we “believe” our faith opens the door to all of the power and the blessings of God:
Matthew 9:27-29 Faith brings healing.
Matthew 21:22 Faith brings answered prayer.
Ephesians 2:8-9 We are saved by faith.
Acts 4:4, 32 Faith was how the early Church grew.
Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”
For His chosen 12; just ordinary, grass roots people, the stronger their relationship with Him became, the more their faith grew. We can see the gradual transformation right up to the Last Supper. They all gathered at the Passover meal as Jesus put all other covenants aside and gave us the one covenant that guarantees our salvation and our victory over the world, the flesh and the devil.
As He broke the bread and drank the cup with them all, at the end of a life completely without sin, Jesus was undoing all of the sin and the failure of mankind since Adam & Eve. Now it all comes down to this: faith in Christ.
But now the faith of His disciples was going to face its biggest test: the Garden of Gethsemane. Man’s relationship with God and our representation of Him in the earth and with all creation was lost in a garden: the Garden of Eden, through rebellion and disobedience. Now all of that and much more would be won for us in another garden; Gethsemane, through the submission and obedience of “the Son of Man.”
At the Last Supper He took the cup: “This is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28) and they “all” drank it. In the Garden of Gethsemane He drank another cup, but this one He drank alone, “in agony” to open the way for us all to have our sins and our past wiped away; to receive salvation. It was the cup of the sin and failure of all people.
The disciples all grew in their faith as they spent time with Jesus. Nobody had ever done the things that He did. No religious leader, or any kind of leader, consistently demonstrated such mercy and grace to every kind of person. They were captivated by it and loved being with Him: until Gethsemane.
They went from the warmth and the fellowship of the Last Supper to the horror of Gethsemane. There, everything changed. Suddenly it was all about soldiers and torches and weapons. They came for Jesus. Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest, but Jesus healed Him.
John 18:4-9 Jesus showed them all that He had absolute mastery of the situation and His concern, as always, was for His disciples. They had just cut a “new covenant” together. He said to the mob, “If you seek Me, let these go their way.” He released His disciples. He knew what would happen; that He would be tortured and crucified, but on the third day He would rise again. He would gather them again and show them just how He had won the victory for them, as well as for us all. Then He told them to stay together, to wait and to pray until He poured out the Holy Spirit. Then they would spread out all over the world, bringing the Good News of this covenant and of this Saviour to all people. Forgiveness of sin, salvation and a life of faith. Victorious Christian living. It wasn’t without trials and tests, but as they continued faithfully, praying and trusting, “believing”, their faith changed the world forever. As Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:36)