SCHOOL OF ISRAEL
Mini-Study Guides, 1994-5
"More Than Conquerors"
6. NATURALISED IN DEFEAT
Scriptural Meditation: Romans 15:1-13
"...that you may overflow with hope and power of the Holy Spirit" (v.13)
Although it is unrealistic to imagine we will spend our entire Christian lives on the mountain tops and never enter into the valley of doubt or disillusionment, it is not unrealistic to expect that by far the largest part of our lives should be characterised by radiance and joy. I mentioned a little while ago the doctor who said that "most Christians do not expect their religion to do them any great or immediate good." He went on to say: "When I tell them that this condition of moral and spiritual defeat need not last, that they can find victory and adequacy and buoyancy in living, they look at me as one who announces a strange doctrine. They have become naturalised in defeat."
Another doctor tells the story of a little girl suffering from lopsidedness who was brought to him for treatment. After treating her for a while he managed to get her to stand quite straight and said: "Now walk to your mother." She walked perfectly straight for the first time in years and then, bursting into tears, threw herself into her mother's arms and cried: "Oh Mummy, I'm all crooked."
Why is it that so many of us think that being spiritually straight and upstanding is something strange and unnatural? Why can't people believe that Jesus has forgiven them and that they can be empowered here and now to live the victorious life! So many Christians do not expect anything beyond repeated forgiveness for constantly repeated sins. They certainly do not expect victory over them. This attitude of non-expectancy is something that we as a people must confront, and now. We cannot afford to allow ourselves to become naturalised in defeat.
For so many years it has seemed to us as though our Church has stagnated. "Where are all the new members?" has been constantly asked. Well, first of all, let's be brutally honest with ourselves -- we have been defeated! Yes, and many times! Paul said: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Cor.4:8-9, NIV). We have lost many battles, but we have by no means lost the war. And we're not going to loose, are we? [No!]
Well, the Israelites were defeated when they went up against Amalek on their own initiative -- they were badly defeated. They acknowledged their sins but refused to heed Moses' prophetic warning telling them that their generation had to die off in the desert. So they attacked, and were defeated.
The same happened with us. Many refused to believe that the old Church was cast off -- rejected, and disorganised. They continued, and what has happened to them? They have become defeated. They are spiritually homeless and won't admit their folly. But they will, in time, because they will remain defeated and unproductive, and their lives will waste away if they don't wake up and repent. Most of them have tried other churches and been disillusioned. And that's because they weren't called to those churches. They were called here. And really, brethren and sisters, that's all we need to know in order to believe and act -- that God has called us together. And if he has called us, we had better get on with the job, or we'll fall way and return to Egypt because there's no other place for us to go!
For those of us who remained behind and joined NPKF [1992-96], most have experienced the "old" self die -- if not totally then at least in part. That "dying" must continue while we are still in Kadesh-barnea. Next month I am going to talk about the next stage -- the need for spiritual rebirth for we cannot go further -- we cannot leave Kadesh-barnea -- until we have again been refilled with the Holy Spirit! I would like you to think about that over the next month and find all the scriptures you can on spiritual baptism.
Let us pray: Dear Father in Heaven, You are, right now, putting Your finger on our need. Help us to press against the gates of abundant living and enter into Your victory. Whatever happens, save us from becoming naturalised in defeat, burn out the carnal man, so that we can fully -- 100% -- belong to You. In Christ's Name we pray. Amen.
If anyone has been pricked in their hearts by the Holy Spirit today and desires to change their lives by following Christ, or has already received Christ and desires to be a part of this work, then I invite you to come and stand up in the front of the altar while some beautiful music is played for a few minutes, and then make your request known. We will then invite you to follow the pattern given in the New Testament which reads:
"And when they had heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:27-29, AV).
For those of you who have been baptised into Christ you need not, of course, be baptised into Him again, though you will need to be baptised into the Covenant. I will now receive the requests of those who wish to be baptised....
May the Lord bless you and lead you to an abundant life, through faith in His Name, is my prayer, in Jesus' Name. Amen.
This page was created on 16 May 1998
Updated on 16 May 1998
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