As some of you will know, who have been here on previous nights, the Lord has brought a series out of what I've been speaking. I didn't envisage that, but the Holy Spirit obviously did. So we're turning to Exodus again tonight, because we have unfinished business from last night. We started looking at the Red Sea crossing last night, and we didn't quite get across! But we're going to get across tonight! We're going to cross over tonight, the Red Sea that is. Chapter 14 of Exodus. Now this series I've entitled, or the Lord has entitled: 'Let My People Go', that they may serve Me. We've been looking at how Pharaoh is a picture of Satan, and there is a spirit of Pharaoh still alive and well in the earth. Of course, the Bible says that Satan is the god - small 'g' - of this world, that the world lies in the lap of the wicked one.
Now, if you're a theologian - we in east Belfast, sorry to bring this up again, but it's hard not to - we have the shipyard, and we have Shortts (just about), and years ago they used to have Bible classes in the shipyard in particular. My grandfather was a shipyard man, and they used to go and have their lunch, and very instructive times - but sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. There were some men, not all of them, but there were some men and they thought they had a knowledge of the Bible - we called them 'shipyard theologians'. If they had heard that song 'You're the God of this city', or 'the God of this island', they would have quickly come in and said: 'Oh no, the god of this world is Satan'. But I was praying today with the Lord Psalm 24, 'The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, and the people that dwell therein'. Yes, Satan has his little season for this time, it's his innings, and God is allowing him to do certain things - but this world belongs to God. God is in charge, God is on the throne.
I believe God wants a new Exodus for individual Christians in their lives. God wants them to be delivered. If you're not converted tonight, God wants you to be released and emancipated from the slave market of sin. But I believe - and I'll just be honest with you (terrible for a man in a pulpit to be honest, but I'm going to be honest!) - I believe the reason why I'm here this week (I was asked to do a mission, and I try and respect what I'm asked to do), but I believe the reason why I'm here is because this church needs an exodus. I'm not talking about people going out the door, I'm talking about being delivered from bondage. I'm not telling you what that bondage is, I'm not sure even what it is - but I believe the word of the Lord over this place this week is: 'Let My people go', to the enemy, 'Let My people go that they may serve Me'.
Now, last night we began looking at 'The Red Sea Route', and that was how to break through obstacles and escape the enemy effectively. We saw, just to remind you if you weren't here, if you look at verse 8, you will see that the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he pursued the children of Israel. Verse 9 of chapter 14: 'So the Egyptians pursued them', and then by the time we come to verse 10 it says, 'Pharaoh drew near'. We talked about how the enemy is out to get us, he is the enemy of our souls, he seeks to devour us, and he would seek to engender fear within our hearts and intimidate us. That's one of the biggest weapons the enemy has: fear, intimidation. We see here that the saints of God, Israel, got their eyes on - look at it in verse 10: 'the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and beheld the Egyptians'. If we get our eyes on the devil, we will become just like the Israelites here at the end of verse 10: 'they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD'. They began to renege on this journey, verse 12: 'Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone?''. That's the way a lot of Christians are today. They want to stay in their comfort zone, want the status quo to continue - that's the way churches are. You know, 'We've been doing this for years, and it's been like this for years, and we'll just keep it going the way it's going' - and it's going into the grave! But they are happy to toe the line, hold the line, 'Hold the fort, for I am coming', batten down the hatches, 'Us four and no more, and we'll just keep going the way it's always been going' - and God is not in it. I'm not saying that's what you're doing here, but that's what's happening in a lot of places: 'Let us alone! Don't rock the boat!'. Well, I'm here to rock the boat.
Verse 13: 'And Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever''. This was the remedy: ''The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace'. And the LORD said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward''. Here was 'The Red Sea Route', the points that we found last night. First of all there has got to be faith, not fear. We've got to move from fear into faith, and start believing God - stop listening to the devil, stop listening to society, stop listening to even what the church is saying, popular evangelical culture or whatever. We start listening to the truth of God. Then we need to fight and not flight, we saw that also. We need to get our fight back, our zeal for the Lord, and stop running away, stop being scared of him, and start practising the word of God that: greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Now, we have to be careful, the Archangel Michael dared not bring a railing accusation against Satan over the bones of Moses - read the book of Jude. So we're not to step out of our remit, and start to think we are some big fellow or - I better not say 'big girl', but 'big lady' - well, we'll just forget about that! Big person, alright? We have got nothing of ourselves to face the enemy, we've got to understand that. We need to stand in Christ, that's what it says in Peter: 'He is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, whom resist, steadfast in the faith' - standing in Christ and in His claims. But when we're doing that, do you know when we're doing that, where we are? We are up there in heavenly places, where Christ is seated, far above all principality, power, might, and dominion, every name that is named - that means everything is beneath us, but only when we're dwelling in heavenly realms.
So we need to start fighting and stop fleeing away. Then the third thing we learned last night was: we need a faith that functions. God told Moses in verse 15: 'Why do you cry to Me? Stop your crying out to Me and start doing something!'. Put your prayers into action. Faith without works is dead, and we need more prayer, but we need prayer with action. The word of the Lord in verse 15 at the end was: 'Tell the children of Israel to go forward'. Then in a moment or two the Lord tells Moses to 'Take that rod', verse 16, 'Lift up your rod' - to use what God has given.
Now, tonight we're going to continue - it's 'The Red Sea Route Continued'. The first principle I want you to see from this same chapter is: if we're going to break through the obstacles that are before us, if we're going to escape the enemy into a new Exodus, a new day, a new beginning for the church or in your life - becoming a Christian - you need heavenly help. You need heavenly help. So we're looking at verses 19 and 20: "And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night". Now that is profound, that is profound. There is this pillar, this cloud, that goes before them; and now it is coming to their rear-guard. This Angel of God is actually the Lord Himself. Now here's how we know that, if you look back at chapter 13 verse 21: 'The LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night'. It says 'The LORD went before them'. We believe, from the totality of Scripture, that often, if not always, when the Angel of the Lord is mentioned that it is what we call a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus Christ, or the Word of God, the second Person of the Trinity. Yet there are times when the Angel of the Lord is mentioned where there seems to be a distinguishing from the Lord Himself. It's the same with Jesus, isn't it? Sometimes He is distinguished from God, 'The Word was with God', and yet 'The Word was God'. Yet other times the Angel of the Lord is identified as God, or speaking as God, or being spoken to as God.
Now whatever is the case here, I believe it's the Lord Himself, but He is in verse 19 designated an 'Angel'. Do you know what the word 'Angel' just means? 'Messenger'. Now we know from the book of Hebrews that Jesus is - though He is called 'the Angel of the Lord' before He came in flesh - He is greater than the angels. We've got to beware, because there is in the New Age fraternal an obsession with angels. I have ministered - the power of God, of course - but people I have been ministering to have been delivered of demons that they thought were angels that were coming to guide them and guard them in their life. They were demons masquerading - Satan comes as an angel of light of course, and his demons can do the same. Of course, even in the occult, there can be demonisation from fallen angels, and even in false religion, and even in parts of Christendom, people are worshipping angels. The New Testament is very clear, that you ought not to worship angels - and even when men fell down and were awestruck in the presence of angels, and it would seem gave a semblance of worship, the angel told them: 'Get up on your feet!', we are not to worship angels. But wait till I tell you something: if we're going to break through, if we're really going to break through the obstacles and escape the enemy, we're going to have to be open to angelic assistance.
You see, what happens - and it has happened for years, particularly in conservative evangelicalism - they see an error over here, and they are so terrified of it that out of fear (they are motivated by fear) there is a pendulum swing to the opposite extreme, and they begin to deny the reality that is the kernel biblical truth. It might be over there in extreme, but it is still maybe there. If we're going to see an exodus in our modern day and generation, we've got to be open to angelic assistance - for, after all, one of the compound names of God, remember I started with those on Sunday night? God revealed Himself to Moses as the 'I Am', He had never been revealed like that before, 'Yahweh', we call it 'Jehovah' sometimes. One of His compound names is 'Jehovah-Sabaoth', which means 'The Lord of Hosts', or 'The Lord of Heaven's Armies' - that's our God! You can't say: 'Well, I'll have You, but I'll not have Your army'. I mean, who would do that anyway? If He's got an army, I'll have the army too. Jesus is the King of angels, and we ignore at our peril the whole angelic realm. We need to keep in balance, yes, but wait till I tell you: you'll not be long reading your Bible until you realise that when God shows up, there are usually angels about. It's a bit like 'Shekinah Glory' - if you know anything about that. Study it from Genesis right to Revelation. When God shows up there are often certain phenomena that appear, there can be light, there can be smoke, there can be thunder, there can be all sorts - even darkness can come. There's a whole list of things, but one of the personality types that turn up is an angel. There are Cherubim and Seraphim that attend the very throne of Almighty God.
I try to read the Bible through in a year, and my Bible is all scribbled over, and colours, and colour codes, and nobody could make head nor tail out of it. But I've now started symbols - I've run out of space for colours, and now I'm doing symbols of things. I have a wee symbol of an angel, now it doesn't look like an angel, but it's just like a head with two wings - OK? But I'm astounded, having started reading through the Bible again, the amount of times I have to do that symbol over and over again and again. Here's the reason why, turn with me to Hebrews chapter 1 - keep a marker in there at Exodus, we're going back there - Hebrews chapter 1 verse 14, speaking of angels, and telling us that Jesus is greater than them all, it says here: 'Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?'. Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister, to serve, those who will inherit salvation? I've heard it said that we've got nothing to do with angels, that's God's realm, and He's sovereign, and He dispenses them as He likes. They can't look into the issues of our redemption - and the Bible does say that, but it doesn't mean they have nothing to do with it. This Scripture says the contrary, that actually they are for us, to be dispensed for our disposal and for our help in various types of administrations. In fact, if you read through the book of Revelation, the last book that has an awful lot to say on end times, I tell you, my head with the wings is going dotty as we go through Revelation, because it seems that everything that God is doing He sends angels to do - almost everything, even in the churches there are angels mentioned. But when there are judgements being poured out, when there is even the Gospel of the Kingdom being proclaimed, there are angels going about doing all sorts of wonderful things.
When God does something He often does it through an angel - are you ready for that? Are you open for heavenly help? Are you open for the Lord of Hosts to send His heavenly armies to your assistance? Because if you aren't, I don't think you will really know breakthrough the way you could, and an escape from the enemy. Here is a verse for you to memorise, Psalm 34 and verse 7, what does it say: 'The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them' - what a verse! 'The angel of the LORD encamps', surrounds , 'those who fear Him, and delivers them'. Now, that's what's happening here as the Israelites are coming about to cross the Red Sea. God is before them as a pillar, and He has come now to the rear-guard behind them - this is the Angel of the Lord defending those who fear God. Now, did they understand it? I'm not sure they did. Did they know what was going on? How often is it the case that there has been angelic intervention in our own lives, and it has been unknown to us, we've been ignorant of it? In fact, Hebrew says as much, Hebrews 13 and verse 2 tells us that at times we can entertain angels unawares. In other words, somebody has come across our path - and this was the case often in the Old and New Testament, that angels could appear as humanoid, in human form - and you just think you're talking to a person, when you're not. Maybe it dawns on you afterwards, 'That was a bit weird, there was something strange about that', and you think perhaps an angel has visited you.
I want to ask you tonight: do you ask for angels? Now this is a bit controversial, and people say: 'No, no, you shouldn't do that, God is sovereign and He dispenses angels'. Well, ask God for angels. I'm not saying we should be walking around like sergeant majors ordering angels about, but God says that these are ministering spirits to minister to those who inherit salvation - that's you, if you're born again! When was the last time you asked for angelic help? I've found myself asking for it quite a lot these days. I haven't seen an angel in a manifest form, but I've seen what angels can do, I've seen it with my actual eyes in deliverance situations. I've seen the fear in the eyes of a spirit when they see the shining holy warrior angels of God coming for them - it's great. I've seen people being bound by angels, people who were going to take my head off. We need our eyes opened, don't we, to the heavenly help that is at our disposal? We need to believe it! We need to have faith!
Turn with me to 2 Kings chapter 6, I love this story, I'm sure many of you know it. Elisha's servant, he's got fear again - this is a bit like the Israelites, who were very afraid when they saw Pharaoh's army. Do you remember, was at last night or the night before, I can't remember, they're all mixed into one now for me! Do you remember Jehoshaphat, and it says there was a great multitude coming against him, and he was afraid. Now we can pat him on the back, at least he went to prayer and he fasted. But here is Elisha's servant, and we find here 2 Kings chapter 6 and verse 15, the servant of Elisha says: 'Alas, my master!', at the end of the verse, 'What shall we do?' - because the Syrian army was surrounding Elisha and his servant and their house. Look at what Elisha says: 'So he answered', verse 16 , ''Do not fear''. How many times have we read that over this week? 'Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them'. Now, is that the way you assess things right now in your life, in this land, in this world and the universe? Do you believe it? Now, if you were looking with the naked eye at the way things are in our society, you would think the government is against us, the law is going against us, what else? Popular culture is going against us, the devil worshippers are rising up, occult, New Age, alternative mystic Eastern philosophies - everything is against us. The church is going down, attendance is going down, doors are closing, they're turning into mosques, they're turning into restaurants - open your eyes, your spiritual eyes, and understand what the truth is! There is more with us than be with them.
We have to get our eyes opened. Verse 17: 'And Elisha prayed', this is what we need, 'and said, 'LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see'. Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, 'Strike this people, I pray, with blindness'. And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha'. What a wonderful story! One of the best prayers that you could pray is a New Testament prayer in Ephesians, and that is: 'Lord, open the eyes of my understanding, open the eyes of my heart'.
Look at verse 20, back to Exodus 14 verse 20: 'So it came', this presence of God, this Angel of the Lord, God Himself, 'came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night'. It came between them and the enemy. Now, I want you to see now, secondly tonight but fifth in the whole order of this Red Sea route, not just that we need heavenly help - and this follows through from that - we need a perimeter of protection, a perimeter of protection. You see, God's children here in verse 20 needed enlightenment - that's why it was a cloudy pillar probably filled with light, but it was also at night a pillar of fire to guide them and lead them, to enlighten them. Yet the devil's servants needed to be confused, they needed to be confounded, and that's exactly what happened here. What was light to the children of God was darkness to the children of the evil one.
Now, I have to say that the tables are turned the wrong way today in the church. Hosea says: 'My people are destroyed through lack of knowledge'. There is a lack of enlightenment, and some of you will be appalled at what I'm about to say, but there is no doubt in my mind that some occult practitioners are more in the grip of spiritual realities than many a Christian is. Now, yes, they are deceived, but at least they believe in spiritual realities. The book of James says that even the demons believe and tremble. Sure, the Satanists fast, I think they still fast, regularly, once a week for the destruction of Christian marriages. They believe in fasting, because they know there is power in it. Do Christians? You see, we need to walk as children of light, and we need to start praying this prayer: 'Lord, open the eyes of my heart, that I might see You'. I'm not talking about just spiritual conceptions, I'm talking about where the spiritual dimension and realm becomes more real to you than the material. Can that be? Yes, it can be, if you believe the Bible.
Now, you can be one of these fellows who says: 'Oh, that doesn't happen any more'. God bless you, if that's you, but I'm leaving you - sorry. I can't stay with you on that one. God must be the God of the Bible, or He is not God at all. He is God who changes not, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. If Elisha could pray a prayer and say: 'Open this young fellow's eyes and let him see', and it happened, I believe that can happen today. I believe it needs to happen with me, and it needs to happen with all of us. But we also need to be praying the prayer, which is often neglected, of verse 18 of 2 Kings 6, which is: 'Blind the eyes of the enemy', so that the wall of light that you have to guide you is a wall of darkness to the enemy to thwart him, because we need a perimeter of protection around us. Do you believe this?
We need to walk as children of light. I love John 1 and verse 5: 'The light shone into the darkness, and the darkness', the Authorised says, 'comprehended it not', which means the darkness could not overcome it. The light shines on the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it. We need a turning of the tables that have been turned. We need them to be re-turned into the right place, where God will be light to us but He will be a darkness to our enemies, He will blind our enemies, He will confuse and confound them - because we need protection from the enemy. We need protection from the enemy.
Now, I'm going to share my heart, I didn't prepare to say this as such - but I believe what's happening in many churches across our land, maybe our world, but I can only speak for here, is that the protection has been broken down. There is a teaching in the Bible which is a teaching about spiritual covering, I'm not going to go into it tonight, but it is reflected: God is our ultimate covering, but it's reflected throughout society with institutional coverings that God has ordained. One is a husband over a wife, another is a parent over a child, another is a government over a people - but the one I want to address tonight is headship in the local assembly, and leadership over the body. Do you know, if you think of covering - just like an umbrella - whether it's a parent over a child, or a husband over a wife, or leaders over congregations; if you think of a covering as an umbrella, there are a lot of holes in the umbrella, and the holes are created by certain things that are lacking, certain things that are lacking. But when there are holes in the covering, the sheep get hurt, they get damaged, and brokenness comes in. This is why, if we're really going to see a breakthrough in this day and generation, we need to avail of heavenly help, the hosts of heaven, but we need a perimeter of protection around us. Zechariah chapter 2 and verse 5 says the LORD says: 'I will be a wall of fire all around you, and I will be the glory in the midst'. We need the wall of fire back, because I think it's broken down. The enemy is riding roughshod over God's people, they are overcome.
Do you know what a firewall is? Well, if you're a builder - I'm just realising I'm not a builder, so I don't really know what I'm talking about - but a firewall, I think, is a wall where the fire can't go through, yes? Any builders in our midst? Is that right? Who is a builder? Yes, firewall, fire can't get through. But I'm more familiar with a computer firewall, which you will maybe not know about, eh? A computer firewall, it's the same principle, it's a security network, a software security network that monitors and actually controls - this is literally what it says - incoming and outgoing traffic. It monitors and controls what is coming into your system, and what is going out of the system, and it can block or allow certain things if they are benign, but it can block viruses, people who are wanting to hack into your system - and you know why they are doing that, they want to thieve from you, they want to take your identity, and take all the money in your bank account or something along those lines. That's what a firewall is, and we saw the other evening in John 10:10 that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I want to tell you tonight, and I know I'm ministering mainly to Christians, but listen, you'll get the word of God and the light and the Gospel of truth in all of this: Satan is stealing from you. You think you're maybe enjoying yourself in sin - he's thieving from you, he's killing your life, he's destroying any semblance of existence and satisfaction there is! The only one who can give you life is Jesus. But the reason why it's happening is because you've given him a free for all by your will, the choices you have made, the sins you have engaged in, he's riding roughshod over your life and he's wrecking it.
It's the same with many Christians, it's the same in the church - and it's not the way it's meant to be. God is meant to be round about us for protection. Psalm 125 verse 2 says: 'As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever'. God wants to be our perimeter of protection. There's a good study in the word of God you should do some time, and it's about the hedge. Do you know God puts a hedge around His people, or He wants to? In Job chapter 1 - and I know Job suffered an awful awful lot - but Satan was fit to tell God that Job had a hedge around him, Job 1:10: 'Have You not made a hedge around him', Satan says to God, 'around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land'. That's instructive, isn't it? In fact, in Matthew 21, Jesus talks about the parable that says: 'There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard', and the vineyard is a picture of Israel. But then He goes on to say, and we often miss this: 'And he set a hedge around it'. There is a hedge of protection around Israel, the nation of Israel, do you know that? That's why she has survived, that's why she survived the Holocaust, that's why she has survived all her enemies round about her, and that's why she will survive until the end, until Jesus comes - because God has put a hedge round about her.
But listen to this, you might want to look at this verse, and it applies to everybody here, whatever your situation. Proverbs 25, turn with me to it, Proverbs 25:28 - you can mark this one, because I'm sure if this penetrates your mind and your heart, you will meditate on this in days that are ahead. Proverbs 25:28: 'Whoever has no rule over his own spirit', OK, if there is a free for all - you know that firewall, if it is down, and there is traffic going in and out, all sorts of rubbish, sin, defilement - 'Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls'. There it is. The book of Nehemiah tells us that one day he visited Jerusalem that had been destroyed, and the walls were all broken down, and he wept. He fasted and he cried to God because of the state of the place. He was commissioned by God to rebuild the walls, and do you know how he rebuilt the walls? You look at the book, there's a lot of instruction there, but one of the things that really is enlightening is: he began building from the gates outward. Now you know what a gate is: it's the weak point, it's the entry point, it's where all that traffic comes in and out. He started at the areas of weakness and built out from there.
I want to ask you tonight: what is your area of weakness? If you're not a Christian tonight, what are the sins that have dragged you down and destroyed your life? They might be secret, or they might be wide open to everybody, and it's wrecking your life. They will take you to hell if you don't get Christ's help tonight. But believer, you're letting the enemy in too. We are all susceptible to this, and we have many gateways in our life. Sure we talk about 'eye-gate', what are you looking at? Porn? Some of you men are, some of you men are addicted to it - that's not prophetic, that's statistical. What are you looking at with your eyes? Are you looking at other people? Are you coveting other people with your eyes? It's not just the lust of the flesh that means sexual immorality, but wanting material things - the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life. Then there is 'ear-gate', what are you listening to? Some of the things we listen to defile us. I'm not just talking about heavy metal rock music or something like that, and that's not good for you - but I'm talking about slander, and gossip, and backbiting, that will defile you. What are we letting into our ears, or even our nose? What are we savouring? What are we smelling? What are we tasting with our mouths? What are we saying with our mouths? What are we touching with our hands? What are we pondering with our minds? These are the gates - even our imagination in our heart - what are we doing with our emotions? Are we exercising our emotions in answer to what the enemy is telling us, rather than what God's word tells us? Are we gripped with fear? What are we doing with our volition? What are we doing with our choice, our behaviours?
Wait till I tell you something: if we are really going to get through the Sea that is before us, and we're going to have an exodus in the church, and we're going to have a new day, we're going to have to get serious with sin. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I'm far from it, and me and the Lord have a running conversation about the weaknesses that I have, and the gates, the areas that I need to deal with - alright? So I'm not all that, but I know this, 2 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 1: 'Therefore, having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God'. Now you can't get round that, and there is a message going around today of grace that is a false grace, a counterfeit grace, and it says this: 'You can be forgiven, you can know Jesus as your Saviour, and you can live how you like, and there is no consequence' - and that's a lie of the devil. It's a lie of the devil. I believe in grace, I believe grace is greater than all your sins; I believe we're not to look at our own performance, but we're to look to the cross - but it is a false salvation that says you can live in sin wilfully, habitually, and celebrate it almost, without consequence. God's word says the opposite.
So will you - did you know you can cleanse yourself? Will you? If that wasn't in the Bible, people wouldn't believe me saying that now: you can cleanse yourself. In the book of Revelation it talks about people who are in white robes, and they have washed themselves - they have washed themselves, made themselves ready for the coming of Jesus. Did you know you can cleanse yourself? You can cleanse your flesh, see those works of the flesh - look at Galatians 5 some time when you've time and you'll see the works of the flesh there. Those are the things that we often associate with sin, but do you know what we often don't associate with sin - we associate adultery, and murder, and drunkenness, and all those other things - but we very seldom associate the defilement of the spirit, and that's a whole ream of things. Jealousy, slander, idolatry - and that comes right after 2 Corinthians 6, where Christians were actually sitting at the table of idols as well as the table of the Lord. Their spirit was defiled, Paul had to say to them in Corinthians: 'I'm afraid that you're going to go astray, as Eve was deceived in the Garden by the subtlety of the serpent, that you will be deceived from the simplicity of devotion that is in Christ; that you will accept another Gospel, believe in another Christ, and receive another spirit'.
Christians tell me today: 'Oh no, a Christian couldn't receive another spirit, a Christian couldn't have a demonic spirit on them or whatever'. Do you want to talk to Paul about it? 'I'm afraid, lest you receive another spirit'. What's he talking about? A Christian can believe another gospel, follow another Christ, they can receive another spirit - and if you have a defiled spirit tonight, the enemy may well have got in because of the broken down walls, and the gateways that he is coming in by. That's the answer for your lostness, friend, if you're without Christ tonight - this goes right across the board. What's the answer? Do you know what the answer is? Ephesians chapter 6 verse 16, there is the whole armour of God. Now I'm not going to touch on any other point except Ephesians 6:16, which says: 'Above all, take the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one'. Now, I looked up the Greek, and 'all', do you know what it means? 'All'. That's what it means, all the fiery darts of the evil one. And it says 'above all', and that means 'all' as well, all what? All the other pieces of armour. Now it's all important: the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the girdle of truth, the shield of faith, the sword of the Spirit, feet shod in the preparation of the Gospel of peace, and all-prayer - it's all important, but where does that big door shield, it's about 6x3 feet, where does it go logistically? It goes in front of them all. If you don't have a shield, you can have all the armour you like, but you'll not have that perimeter of protection. So God's word says that it is the shield of faith that will protect you against all the fiery darts of the enemy. It's a bit like the Angel of the Lord, Abraham said: 'You are my shield, and my exceeding great reward'. So when you have faith in God, effectively what you're doing is, you're putting God round you: 'God is round about me, then shall I be afraid?'.
Do you take up the shield of faith? That's what God's word says: 'Above all, taking the shield of faith'. Christians often have this laissez-faire attitude: 'Oh, I'm saved, I'm under the blood, I'm in Christ, and I'm protected - the devil cannot touch me'. Bully for you! But that's not what this Scripture teaches, the Scripture teaches that we have to work out our salvation, we are to avail by faith of the things that God has given to us. It says here: 'Above all, taking the shield of faith'. So I want to ask you: do you take up the shield of faith? Do you take it up on a regular basis? Do you take it up daily? You really need to take it up daily! How do you take it up? Well, you believe God.
But there is this aspect that I want to look at quickly, and it's this perimeter of protection. I must have started later tonight, did I? Did I? Tell me I did! A perimeter of protection, the shield of faith. Now, you understand this, please understand this. I was talking to a pastor at the beginning of the week, and you can take this or leave it - and I can't prove this, but I believe the man. He said he knew for years the truth of the armour of God, but he didn't know how to actually appropriate, in real terms, the efficacy of the armour - and particularly this shield of faith. Then it came to him, this revelation, 'Above all, taking' - that faith is the most important thing. Do you know what he was perturbed about? There seemed to be something broken down in his fellowship, and there was cancer. OK, now I know cancer happens, but he was in prayer interceding, and saying 'Lord, there must be an answer for this, there must be something we can do, there must be some fight we can take to the enemy'. Do you know what he decided? He said: 'I'm going to take the shield of faith', and one day in prayer - now the Spirit of God was on him, I'm not saying everybody can just do this and it will work - but he drew a line in the sand, and he looked at the enemy and said: 'I'm going to tell you now, I'm taking up the shield of faith, and I'm commanding you - enemy - you will not step over this. I declare that there will be no more cancer in this fellowship'. He told me, believe him if you like, that for the last 15 years there has been nobody, there has been nobody, and I think they have 120 in membership. You say: 'That's a coincidence', I will choose to believe God.
But here's where I'm going: have you got a perimeter of protection around you, or is the devil having a free for all? Have you got a perimeter of protection around your family? Job prayed regularly and made sacrifices for his children who were ungodly, and I believe it was for a perimeter of protection. Do you have a perimeter of protection around your marriage? Around your children? Is there a perimeter of protection around this fellowship or is it broken down?
Look at verse 22 of Exodus chapter 14: 'So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left'. Now this is amazing, because the tables are being turned here, aren't they? The sea, what was it? It was their barrier, and now it becomes their blessing. The sea's wall of protection - it was a hindrance, now it's their help. It was going to drown them, and now it's defending them. It would kill them, now it's keeping them. God can do that - sure, we believe in the God who can turn death into life! Jesus died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, was buried, rose again according to the Scriptures. Listen, friend, if you're not saved tonight, He can turn everything around for you, everything around for you! He can give you new life.
Genesis 50 verse 20: what the enemy means for evil, God can work for good. Romans 8 verse 28: God works all things together for good to them that love God, to those that are called according to His purpose. Even the wrath of man, God can cause to praise Him. Sure, in the book of Revelation chapter 3 verse 9 we read, God says to a church there: 'I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie; indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you' - that's what the Lord is able to do! He is able to turn everything.
Look at verse 24: 'Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians'. That's just wonderful! You picture this in your mind's eye, OK? This big pillar of cloud, I don't know whether they saw it, and it was darkness to the Egyptians - and there are these two big eyes, the Almighty God looking down on them. I'll tell you something, the enemy might be watching you, but God is watching the enemy; God's eye is on the enemy. It says here: God troubled them. God is troubling the enemy. I believe a lot of the disturbance that is going on in this place this week, and in my own life too - and you don't know all about that - but it's because the enemy is troubled. God is troubling the enemy, and it says that He troubled the army of the Egyptians, and more than that: it says He took their wheels off! That's what He did, look at verse 25: 'He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, 'Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians''. Lord God Almighty, that You would take the wheels off the chariot run of the devil on the church, on our nation, and on our lives! Take the wheels off, Lord, and let the enemy know that You love us!
Look at verse 26: 'Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand''. Now here's the third thing I'm sharing with you tonight, and this is the sixth point of 'The Red Sea Route': be prepared to share in the miracle. Be prepared to share in the miracle. Look at verse 26: 'Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen'. I think it's peculiar - it's right across the church - but I think it's peculiar to Ulster, and maybe Ireland, and maybe the British Isles, I'm not sure but particularly our land: it's a false idea of humility. Do you see if anybody gets bold, anybody gets confident in God? People start saying: 'Oh, he thinks he is somebody. Who does he think he is?'. We have this sheepish idea that we have to say, and we are always saying 'Oh, I give praise to God for that, I glorify God for that' - listen, God wants you to be a part of the miracle. Yes, it's all of God, yes, God gets the glory - but He uses means. We saw that He uses angels, but He also uses human messengers, He uses men and women and children. You need to be prepared to share in the miracle.
Look at the feeding of the 5000, Jesus prayed and He blessed the loaves and fishes, but He distributed it to the disciples, and the disciples distributed the loaves and fishes to everybody else. They actually became part of the miracle, that's what God wants to happen! Do you know what true humility is? It's taking your true place in the will of God, your true place. Do you know what that is? It's being who He says you are, it's knowing what He has given you. It's amazing how He allows us to share in the victory and the breakthrough. Let me turn you quickly - and I'm nearly finished - to Luke chapter 10, how He allows us to share in the victory. Verse 17 - He sent out the twelve, and He give them authority over disease, death, demons, sickness - in verse 17 He sends out the 70, or the 72 some versions say: 'They returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name''. Do you know that that's the case? 'And He said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven''. Now some people think that refers to Satan falling out of heaven at the original rebellion we read about in Revelation 20, that's probably the case - but there is another stream of thought, that Jesus actually saw Satan fall that moment from his high point in heaven, he was being overcome by what these disciples were doing in the will of God. He was toppling.
Then in verse 19: 'Behold', Jesus says, 'I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven'. Look at verse 28 of chapter 14 of Exodus, this is wonderful: 'Then the waters returned' - the waters have parted, they are crossing over, they have got to the other side - 'Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them'. Look at this: 'Not so much as one of them remained'. Not one remained! That's absolute victory. Verse 29: 'But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left'. Verse 30: 'So the LORD saved Israel that day' - can I ask you tonight: are you saved? Are you saved? That's a Bible word, saved from your sin, saved from your selfish ways, saved from hell? That's what lost people need.
Verse 31, this is what the church needs: 'Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses'. The church needs to see the power of God again, they need to fear the Lord, and they need to believe. I want to challenge you tonight - I don't have time to take you through this - but you go to the Acts of the Apostles and read it, and note that the fear of the Lord comes upon every soul, and many wonders and signs are done through the apostles and the early disciples over and over again. Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira are slain because they lied to the Holy Spirit, and great fear comes upon all. Acts chapter 19, the Ephesian people who had believed and were still dabbling in darkness, feared when they saw what demons were doing to people, and so they got a big bonfire and burned all the things. It says: 'The word of God grew mightily, and fear came upon all the vicinity'. We need to get the fear of God back.
Let me recap the Red Sea route: faith not fear, fight not flight, faith that functions, heavenly help from the Lord of Hosts, a perimeter of protection around us all, and be prepared to share in the miracle. Can you say tonight: 'I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind - the God of the Angel armies is always by my side'. Let us pray. Let me just take a moment or two - is there anyone here and you're not saved, you're not a true child of God, you've never been born again, you've never been forgiven, you've never repented, changed your mind and your heart about your sin and turned to Jesus for salvation, trusted in His cross alone for forgiveness - but you want to tonight. You know that your sin is destroying you, and you have let it in in various ways - but now it's got a grip on you, and you're a slave to sin, and you want to be free tonight. Where you're sitting, as heads are bowed and eyes are closed, I would ask if you would be willing, as a declaration of your need tonight, that you would just raise your hand where you're seated to say: 'I need Christ, I need to be saved, I need to be right with God'? Just quickly raise your hand, we will see it, and you can put it down. Is there anyone?
Are there any backsliders in the gathering, people who have once professed faith in the Lord, but you have let the enemy in and he's got a foothold in your life? You need to come home, you're a prodigal - will you raise your hand and say: 'I want to come home'? Is there anyone? Now I want all heads bowed, please, and eyes closed, just to respect people's privacy - it's between them and the Lord. Can I ask: are there any fathers, husbands, leaders, and you know that you've allowed a breach in the covering, and the walls are down? While just the eye of God is on you tonight, would you be willing to say: 'Yes, that's me'? I'm not going to ask you to put your hand up for that one, OK? But would you be willing to say: 'Yes, that's me'? Would you be willing, even as a church, to set in order the things that are lacking - whatever that is? Would you be willing, as an individual, to start at the weak points, those gates of entry, and strengthen those? You might need help with that, you might need to get a whole lot of beasts out from your heart before you put the wall up - but would you be willing to start building tonight?
This is a word from the Lord, a true word from God. I don't want to heap it on heavy, but we are all responsible for how we respond to this word from God, we're all responsible. If it makes you feel better, I'll probably answer more for it than any of you - and that doesn't thrill me, I can tell you, because I know what I'm like.
Father, I pray that You will have mercy - we know You have. We thank You for Your grace, we just pray, Lord, that we will set our navigators to this route of exodus, to cross over those obstacles and to escape the enemy, so that You may have the glory - and so that Your fear might be known, that many will see it and fear, and many will trust in the Lord. Come on, Lord, now we pray, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Brookeborough Elim Church in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the fifth recording in his 'Let My People Go' series, entitled "The Red Sea Route Continued" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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