Speaker: Ivor Van Heerden
Series: January 2015
Scripture: Colossians 2:8-10
Drawing from Wednesday’s midweek message, the Pastor emphasised again the theme of creating an atmosphere. As human beings we all have the power to create. After all, we are made in the image of God, who is a creator. However, there is a difference with a born again Christian. What they create is supernatural. A born again Christian creates a supernatural atmosphere and lives in it.
As the bride of Jesus Christ, we are God’s chosen place of worship. We are the spiritual Jerusalem and without the Bride there is no worship. That is why we have thirst for the supernatural. The natural thirst for water, which affects every human being, is only a type of the real thirst for the spiritual things, which is only quenched by the Word, which is the waters of life.
The Pastor then introduced Brother Ivor, whose lot it was to deliver the morning message on the second Sunday of the year.
Brother Ivor started off by identifying the devil when God’s children gather. Citing events in the book of Job, the minister pointed out that Satan was there when God’s children presented themselves to the Lord. He then explained that he was supposed to preach on the last Sunday of 2014, being the 28th of December. But on arriving at the church, he discovered the effects of the devil’s visitation on the church building. Sections of the building had collapsed. The sight of the damage brought tears to his eyes. As a man, he tried to restrain the emotion but he could not help it. However, he was thankful for EW Hobbs Primary school, which had become a home away from home, at least in the meantime while the insurance was assessing the damage.
Reflecting on the damage to the church building, the minister was happy there was no one in the tabernacle. That same Sunday morning, the Pastor was preaching as visiting minister in Cape Town. It well could be a vengeful fit from the devil, an attempt to hit back at the Pastor for the spiritual havoc he might have caused to the devil’s kingdom while in Cape Town. Since there were no human casualties, the faithful God we serve did not want Spoken Word Tabernacle to go down in history as another case of human sacrifices as happened with the TB Joshua building in Nigeria.
Again taking inspiration from Job, the minister noted that God might also be shaking our nest, as does the eagle when teaching its young ones to fly. The collapse of the building could be meant to shake us a little bit out of our comfort zone and make us look up a bit more earnestly. As Job said, we should be thankful for the God who gives and also takes. Let His Name be praised in all circumstances. Sometimes we grow complacent thinking we have scored much spiritual goals and become relaxed, then God comes and raises the goal posts up a little higher. That is why we must give heed to the things we have heard lest we should let them slip. That is also why the apostle Paul says we need to move from the elementary teachings up to perfection. God is not static. He is a living God.
Being thankful in calamity reminds the minister about the prison time he served in his teenage. His father refused to bail him out. When his mother wanted to, the father indicated that both wife and son can move out and stay together. How he was angry against his father for a long time! It was only after his father’s death that the minister realised how helpful his father’s strictness had been. He never went to jail again. He had stolen (for no reason since he was already working) and fled away, trusting in his athletic ability to outrun the pursuers. But we are thankful to God we have one who can bail us out, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although he had no beauty in Himself that we should desire Him, the Lord Jesus Christ still the Lord. He was so humble He could wash his own creation’s feet. The very Creator bent down towards his creation, with a towel around him, and washed the dirty feet. Oh what a thrill it must have been, when God’s very hands washed the disciples. The very God whom John the Baptist introduced as the Lamb of God, the one who even humbled Himself that He had to be baptised by John in the river Jordan to fulfil righteousness.
It is the same God who is warning us to beware vain philosophies. For man’s quest for wisdom, which is summed up in philosophy, is nothing but deception. No wonder the church world is deceived. The minister recalled seeing a woman clad in a short skirt which the wind was blowing away. She was going to church dressed like that, and used the Bible to cover up from the onlookers side, while at the same time trying to adjust the head covering. This reminded him of a minister who said he preached with eyes closed because the sisters in church were all naked and were sitting in the front pews. And at another funeral, an angry minister preached hard against immoral dressing with low cleavage and in front and also spine-exposing cleavage at the back. It was a radical message, unlike the consolatory funeral sermons. Then comes nudist churches in the United States of America, as the minister was shown from a video clip by another believer. It is a shame.
The Lord Jesus Christ says that the devil had desired Peter, but He had prayed for him. The important thing is that the Lord Himself had prayed. It is God’s own protection that saves us, like the revelation of the Christ which God personally gave to Peter. That is what does it. Only what comes from God is able to keep us. That is why the church is built on that rock, the rock of the revelation of who God is in our day.
As Christians living in a world in which babies are raped, old women are ravished by lustful men, we must testify the good news of the gospel to others. When we testify, we are actually planting a seed. It is all that we need to do. We can just say how good God is. We must do our part. Just like in raising children as parents, we need to teach them the values of hard work, not just desire for money. When we have done our part, God will do His part and keep our children off drugs and other habits of the world.
In Revelations 12: 7 – 10, the Bible says there was war in heaven. However, before war starts, a conspiracy is what usually lays the foundation for fighting. Meetings must have been held in heaven by Lucifer and his angels. Strategies must have been discussed. Plans must have been formulated, from Plan A, to B, to C to D and so on. The same spirit prevails in our day, where some might desire the same pastoral office of a church as Lucifer desired the throne of God. Alternative candidates for the pulpit might be proposed, while the pastor of the day is run down. Others may propose the more elderly, supposedly with more wisdom, relative to the young men. Over cups of coffee, military coups are organised in homes to topple the leadership of the church. And, as brothers discuss, the women play peeping Tom by listening through the keyholes at the door, and soon women are drawn into the conspiracies. Then, when women are involved, the Jezebel spirit starts to operate.
No space was found in heaven for the devil and his angels. He was kicked down and fell like lightning. It must have been a great fall indeed, and could have shaken the earth. If no space was found in heaven, let us not provide any space for the devil in our hearts and homes and churches.
We need to admit, like Legion, that we need help. That maniac from Gadara begged for mercy. The demons actually recognised Christ. They said He had come too early for them. They knew the end time message. They said Christ was too early while at Lazarus’s house the people thought Christ was late. But anywhere, God is always on time, Legion was delivered (in the present tense) and, similarly, Lazarus was resurrected.
The minister recounted how sometime in 1991/1992 when they moved house, he had come across a demonic atmosphere in the home. So intense was the evil anointing that his hair stood on end. He was even afraid to go the bathroom. And children could not sleep. But he simply prayed and the big-headed demons, short in stature like the cartoons of today, moved out of the rooms.
We need to drive out demons by being sincerely apologetic. We should stop the buck-passing syndrome which started in Eden with Adam and Eve. The Fall indeed must have unleashed a lot of demons into the garden. They could not admit to being wrong. Adam pointed to Eve who later pointed to the serpent. Even when Aaron and Miriam chided with Moses and Miriam was smitten with leprosy, she could not say sorry. But David did sincerely repent of murder and adultery. God killed the offspring from the adulterous act but the second child borne thereafter became heir to the throne (Solomon). There is deliverance in admitting wrong and fixing the life. We must forgive one another and not keep grudges.