I Choose to Live
Part 1: Liberty from
Sabbath Day Sermon, Saturday 16 October 2004
Click here for Part 5 of The Awakened Spirit
Looking at her on the outside you wouldn't have thought anything was wrong. She was a lovely woman, the kind you would expect to find on the cover of a woman's beauty magazine. She was married to a wonderful man too - a man of distinction in his profession, kind, warm, caring, considerate, tender and affectionate. Both were Christians and had met Christ - both had been born again. But for some reason this woman could feel no zest for life. She felt disconnected from her feelings. She was obeying the commandments as best she could and experienced no harassment from demons of any kind. And yet she felt dead inside. When love-making she could not connect - all she experienced were physical sensations, but no joy, and after a while it all became boring for her. She wanted to please her husband but somehow felt imprisoned. She wasn't physically ill either - indeed, she was in good health. And as I said, from the outside all looked wonderful and blessed. So what was the matter with her?
I want you, for a moment, to imagine this lady is a house. We all of us dream about houses, and in particular our homes, which is dream symbology for our souls. Come with me, for a minute, into the spiritual home of this woman. This is a true story, incidentally. You enter the house into this huge empty hall. There isn't a sign of life anywhere. I am sure you have been in a building where no one is living there and felt its emptiness. That is what this house feels like - completely uninhabited. There's nothing evil in the house - it is clean, orderly, tidy, tastefully decorated. It's a place you wouldn't mind owning for yourself. Yet there is this hollowness, this emptiness about it. Where ever you go in the house, it's the same story - every room, beautifully arranged, but uninhabited. Even the attic is tidily kept. Finally you find the door to the cellar and go downstairs. The cellar is neat and orderly too - nothing amiss there. As you look around, however, you notice a hole in the wall of the cellar - a large hole leading to a tunnel. You peer into the tunnel and it is pitch black - there are no lights in this tunnel as there are in the rooms of the rest of the house. You shine a torch (flashlight) into it but the darkness is so thick that it illuminates nothing - it's as though the darkness swallows up the light itself, like the thick darkness that descended upon Egypt during one of the 10 plagues. No natural light can be kindled in that. This darkness sucks up every particle of light there is.
You realise that you cannot proceed in your own light any further so you call upon the Light of the world, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) to accompany you. The Scripture says: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:4-5, NKJV). The life of the resurrected Christ is the light of men, and when we cannot see, we have but to call upon Him to fill us with His light and He will illuminate the way forwards.
Now as I said, this is a true story. And what I am asking you to imagine actually happened. You are in the position of the deliverance minister whom this woman asked help from. So there you are, at the entrance of the tunnel, and you ask Yah'shua (Jesus) to light your way. He appears in the entrance of the tunnel in front of you and starts walking down, down, down into the bowels of the earth. He carries no light in His hand because He is the Light. You follow Him on this long journey downwards, much as once I followed a car in the dark many years ago down a dark country lane with no streetlights or lights from nearby houses when my headlights suddenly failed. I couldn't see a thing - it was winter and pitch black. But there was a car in front of me which illuminated a tree here and a bush there as it wound around bends in the road. You follow Yah'shua (Jesus) and notice that the Light coming from Him lights up the walls on either side, something your torch (flashlight) could not do. The journey seems to last for hours until finally, at the end of the tunnel, you come to a dungeon door. No keys are taken out to unlock this door - human keys wouldn't work anyway.
As the Saviour touches the door it opens automatically, for it is written in Scripture of the Son: "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death" (Rev.1:18, NKJV). And it says a little later on: "'These things says He who is holy, He who is true, 'He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens'" (Rev.3:7, NKJV). Do we understand the kind of power and authority that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) has? He has the keys of hell and of death - they are subject to Him, just as a prison warder who has the keys of the prison has authority and control over the prisoners, and not the other way round. Whenever Christ unlocks and opens a door, no one can shut it again. And when He shuts and locks a door, no one but He can open it again. Do you remember the words Yah'shua (Jesus) said in the final commission to His disciples: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matt.28:18, NKJV). All authority. Whatever our Lord says or does is final - all our appeals must go to Him.
But He has not kept this authority and power all to Himself. You will recall that He gave this authority to Simon Peter, the leading apostle at that time. And here Peter stands as a representative of all true believers who are trusting in Yah'shua (Jesus) for their salvation. Do you recall what He said to Peter after He had confessed that Yah'shua (Jesus) was the Messiah (Christ)? This verse is vitally important, and this is what it says: "on this rock [of confessing faith in Christ] I will build My community (church), and the gates of Hades (Hell) shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matt.16:18-19, NKJV).
This passage is the key to deliverance ministry and setting the captives free - not just the victims of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) who are the most extreme examples of spiritual imprisonment that you can find on the earth today, but everybody, because everyone who is not saved is a prisoner of the enemy, and even those who are saved can yet be prisoners of unresolved spiritual issues in their lives. To all who trust and obey - to all who confess that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the Messiah (Christ) with their mouths, and who follow Him unreservedly, to these Christ gives "the keys of the kingdom of heaven". Yes, even to small children! Everyone who believes. To you here ... there isn't a person in this room who cannot exercise these keys of the kingdom.
Do you remember last week I cited a scripture about prayer and fruit? I want to remind you of that again so that you are in no doubt as to what your prayer rights are. It's from the Gospel of John: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He may give you" (John 15:16, NKJV). We have been chosen to bear spiritual fruit, but to retain that fruit, it is essential that we pray for it to be retained and not lost - indeed He promises that we can ask for whatever we want if it is for the express purpose of retaining that fruit! Most of you had probably never thought of prayer as being for that purpose. Christians are very fond of quoting another Scripture, which reads: "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matt.21:21-22, NKJV) and have bought into the lie that you can ask for whatever you want, no matter what. Elsewhere Yah'shua (Jesus) explains what He means, as in: "Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24, NKJV). Common sense alone will tell you that not everything we want brings us joy. Sin brings no joy, and even lawful things bring no joy if they are out of Yahweh's will for us. James the Apostle explains: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3, NKJV). So very clearly we are not given the right to ask for whatever we want, but only that which brings forth spiritual fruit, and the things we need in life to retain that fruit so that the enemy does not snatch it away from us. As John reminds us: "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:21-22, NKJV).
Keep His commandments - obey His Torah - and do those things which are pleasing in His sight. When we do these things, we are operating in His will, and therefore His Ruach (Spirit) - the Ruach haMashiach (Spirit of Christ), and so joy becomes ours. Such people possess the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Such people have the power to bind and loose ... not in their own will (for He never gives such power to the lawless and disobedient) but in His. These are those who have harvested the fruits of righteousness in their lives, which fruits Yahweh preserves, answering affirmatively every prayer for the preservation of those fruits, for it is His will that we possess these fruits! These, then, brethren and sisters, are the keys to answered prayer and the keys to binding and loosing.
A person who is operating in this Ruach (Spirit) - and that can just as much be a child as an adult, for God is no respect of persons, age or gender - is able not only to do deliverance ministry but deliver themselves also. That's not to say we don't sometimes need help - usually we do in one way or another - but the point is we can mostly do it ourselves.
What is "binding and loosing"? Binding is the power and authority to ask Yah'shua (Jesus) to shine and affix the Light of Truth on a soul, and loosing is the power and authority to expel demonic powers when that Truth - which is Christ - has illuminated the lies that bring a soul into bondage. The importance of prayer is in asking our Heavenly Father Yahweh to shine the Light of Truth which is Yah'shua (Jesus) on every soul in darkness and bondage so that they may be freed, and the same on the saved so that they may be strengthened in their labours in life. That is what prayer is about! It took me years to understand it, and when I did, power started flowing through those prayers ... not human, psychic power but supernatural power from Yahweh. Even now new keys are being given to me that I can open more doors to understanding, and all to preserve my own fruit, and help others do the same with theirs.
So here we are. We are at the door of the dungeon which opens at the authority of the Son of God, the same authority that every obedient believer has, small and great, young and old, new convert or mature Elder. It opens by the authority of Yah'shua (Jesus) and the gates of hell can do nothing about it. Nothing at all.
He passes through the dungeon door and walks across a dirty floor. The light shining from Him illuminates the filth, the dust, the cobwebs everywhere. The rough, black stones of the walls see the light of day for the first time. Demons who are everywhere around flee before their Conqueror for they cannot stand in His presence. And there, in a corner, huddled in a foetal position like an unborn baby, chained by the wrists and ankles to a wall, is the object of our quest: that beautiful woman. But she is not beautiful in her spirit as she is in her body. This is a being who has been in absolute darkness for a very, very long time ... for most of her life. She is has a ghostly white complexion, she is emaciated and starved, like a prisoner from Auschwitz. She is so shriveled up that she is as tiny as a child. And then, without hesitation, with a gentle smile on His lips and with warmth streaming out of His eyes, He reaches His right hand forward, touches the shackles which fall off with a clang of chains to the ground. Gently picking her up, He cradles her softly against His chest, and we remember the passage of Scripture in Isaiah which reads: "He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young" (Isa.40:11, NKJV). There in that dark place, beauty, love and peace suddenly floods our scene, and all we have yearned for is fulfilled. But this is not the end. It is only the beginning.
We see the Saviour carrying that tiny creature out of that hellhole. Something is stirring within her. This childlike woman, who has been so alone for so long, suddenly feels this indescribable joy as she is cradled in His arms. And more, she is filled with anticipation of something else happening but does not know what it is to be.
He lifts Her closer to His face, and then breathes His own breath into her. We, who are witnessing this scene, recall how Yahweh breathed the breath of life into Adam (Gen.2:7) and how Yah'shua (Jesus) breathed the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) on His disciples when He was upon the earth, saying: "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven" (John 20:23, NIV). A soul that is breathed on by the Holy Breath is forgiven of his sins! And that is what we are watching here - this disheveled woman is being forgiven of the sins that brought her to this dark place. We recall also Elisha breathing on the dead son of the Shunnamite woman and bringing her back to life (2 Ki.4:18-37).
Having breathed on her, we observe Yah'shua (Jesus) setting the woman on her feet, taking her left hand with His right, and leading her back into the tunnel. As they ascend the tunnel and emerge into the cellar of the house, she starts to grow! From the size of a little girl, she grows into a full-size mature adult woman - almost instantaneously! Then He passes His hands over her whole body, and the skin which was a deathly pale colour suddenly becomes a glowing pink. As we watch her transformation, we are astonished as the light of life pulsates through her whole body. He lets go of her hand and she, childlike, rushes out of the house. We follow her breathless, so see her dancing around outside the house in a lovely meadow, beaming with joy and pride!
Brethren and sisters, this is a true story. The name of the woman was Jo. She was a spiritual prisoner inside herself and Yah'shua (Jesus) set her free. Her personality underwent a complete transformation. All the deliverance minister did was observe a vision and relate what he saw to his client. He was actually watching Christ at work in her soul. At each stage what he described actually happened to her. He was merely a passive observer, in spiritual empathy, a messenger of something she could not see but only feel. This I have experienced myself, many times. And it is something wondrous to behold. We ourselves do not do anything - we watch Christ do it all.
Jo was never the same person again after that. Her Christian life was transformed. Even her love life changed, to the amazement of her husband who found himself as though married to her for the first time. She had been a spiritual prisoner but was now free. Jo, like so many others, did have a couple of relapses, but this time into spiritual slumber, about which I have already extensively spoken to you about. But all she had to do was pray a simple prayer: "Lord, I choose life!", the life which is in Messiah Yah'shua (Christ Jesus), to be free again. With her new found life, she started Bible and prayer groups and became a fire for Yahweh, so happy to be free and whole.
Next week I want to talk more about this topic which has been laid heavily upon my heart for I know it is needed amongst us. In spite of the pretenses and the masks, there is spiritual imprisonment amongst us. The good news is that release is painless and joyful. It isn't like going to hospital and having painful surgery. There isn't a long recuperation afterwards. The Wonder of the Great Physician is that His treatment is painless and free. And the only thing that is keeping us back from receiving it is pride - pride in wanting to fix ourselves without outside help (which I have to tell you is futile) and fear that maybe we will lose something invaluable and irreplaceable, like our imagined 'freedom' and the artificial devices we have erected in our soul to protect ourselves, as we suppose, from being emotional hurt. We may first have to deal with the guardian lies that keep us from being delivered, which, far from helping us, keep us chained up in the dark dungeon of Hades.
On Wednesday morning as I was praying for a lady who has left her husband with their child, I saw a vision of the boy represented symbolically as an empty glass. It was quite a large glass, and clean, showing that the boy had great spiritual capacity and was not corrupted, but it was entirely devoid of the Light of Life, the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). The glass was spinning so fast in an anticlockwise direction (indicating imprisonment to the past) that anything that tried to enter it would be immediately expelled. He was spiritually starving because of the dance which his life consisted of - the spinning of the glass - which was a dance of trying to please others in order to get self-worth. I saw that he was a spiritual prisoner, along with his mother, and in need of deliverance so that Yah'shua (Jesus) could still and fill the vessel of his life, and restore them to where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to be doing. It was this vision that inspired my sermon to you today.
Yes, our physical bodies may be walking upon the surface of this earth but the spirits of the vast majority are already imprisoned in Hell. This can be the case for Christians too. And when they die, casting off the body of flesh, it is in that dungeon called hell where so many will find themselves. It isn't necessary. We can cast those shackles off right now if we want to. For those who would like to join me, I invite you to pray along with me:
"Dear Father Yahweh-Elohim, I confess that I am not completely free. Parts of me aren't working the way they should. I am imprisoned and don't know how to be free. I ask You, in Yah'shua's (Jesus') Name, and by the power of His Blood, to bind the Spirit of Truth to every part of my soul this very instant. Shine the Light of Life in my mind and upon my heart so that the darkness flees before You. Deliver me from the shackles of untruth and ignorance and lead me out of Hades and into Your radiant world of love, joy and peace. I loose the spirits of fear and fleshy pride and walk away from them, asking You to nail them to the Cross. Please send your Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) into me and seal off the tunnels that lead to the Kingdom of Darkness once you have delivered me. Give me a new mind and a new heart as I now choose Life in the Son of God. May Your Name be blessed! Amen."
Click here for Part 2
John and Paula Sandford, Healing the Wounded Spirit, Ch.6 (Victory House, Tulsa, OK: 1985).
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