"Blessed To Bless - Sanctified Selfishness"
by David Legge | Copyright © 2015 | All Rights Reserved | www.preachtheword.com
I want you to turn with me in your Bibles to Psalm 67. Let's just pray together before we read Scripture. Now, you have come here tonight, perhaps with tangible needs that you are aware of. We've all got needs, but maybe you are aware of your need tonight and maybe you're not. The thing is: we really only want to focus on the things that the Lord pinpoints, and so I want to encourage you right now - even if there are very, very pertinent needs that are obvious to you - that you would lay those aside just now before the Lordship of Jesus Christ, if He is your Saviour. Just ask Him to come and speak to you about what He wants to. You see, you could be so absorbed with a particular issue, that He can't talk to you about what He wants to talk to you about tonight. So it's very important that we - as Scripture says - submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from us. So submit to the Lordship of Jesus, and resist anything that would encroach upon our consciousness that is not from God at this moment. Alright? So I'm not belittling or minimising some things that might be big issues in your life right now, but in the presence of God there can be nothing bigger than Him, alright? So let's receive what He wants to say to us tonight as we come to Him. I want you to, from your own heart, implore Him to speak to you this evening - would you do that? So let's pray together, let's unite our hearts together - don't just let me do the praying up here, you pray where you're sitting now; in your heart, you rise up to the Lord and lay hold upon Him for this gathering, and for His word that we are about to hear; that we would have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Father, we want to again just reiterate what we've been singing: that You are great, and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, the holy place. You are the joy of the whole earth! Lord, that has been one of the greatest lies that the enemy has sold this world of ours: that God is a killjoy and that happiness and fulfilment can only be found in sin and pleasure - but we thank You, Lord, that at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore, and that You are the One who gives fullness of joy. Yet we know that that joy cannot be realised without Your will, Lord, we've got to be willing to surrender to Your call upon our lives, and the destiny that You have ordained for us. We've got to bring our lives into line with the plumbline of Your truth, and so, Lord, we've come tonight to hear the word of God. We don't want a Bible study, Lord, alone; we don't want to hear a sermon; we don't want to hear the thoughts of a man - we want to hear the rhema living word of God, what You're speaking from heaven right now, Lord, for us in this moment, for me in my life, for us as a people in this nation - we want to hear Your word, Your voice, we want to know Your mind. Lord, we want to feel Your heart, so come, we pray - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come and minister to us now. Would You open our ears? Anyone, Lord, whose ears are closed right now to what You would say - I do pray that You would give them the grace to lay aside what they feel You need to do right now for them, or in their ministry, or in the nation. Lord, that we would all lay aside our preconceived ideas, and our personal agendas, and we would just be open to hear what You want to say right now for this evening. So we wait upon You, Lord, and we ask You to come and minister to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the blessed name and for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ alone we pray, Amen.
Amen? OK, Psalm 67 - and I think this Psalm could be called 'an awakening Psalm'. You could call it a revival Psalm, but revival actually is more specific to the church. Sometimes we talk about revival, and we really confuse it with awakening. Revival is when the church gets alive again, is resuscitated if you like. To revive someone, they've got to have life in the first instance - and the church has the life of Christ inherent within it (at times it's hard to find, but it is there!), and we are promised that, but sometimes we have become deadened - for various reasons we will not go into tonight, we could spend a whole series on that. We need revived as a church, but one of the overflowing effects of the reviving of the church, or the renewal of the church, is awakening within the community - and that is an initial, virgin awakening, do you understand? It has never ever happened before. So we're talking about people becoming believers, people being transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light - the salvation, the new birth experience, but happening not just in ones and twos, but in hundreds and even thousands and hundreds of thousands! That is awakening, where people who hitherto have not believed, and who don't see into the kingdom of God, are born anew.
This is what this Psalm is about - so will you read it with me? Verse 1 then of Psalm 67: "God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him". Amen? What a wonderful Psalm!
Now, I've taken, if you want a heading tonight, 'Blessed To Bless', and I have an alternative heading called 'Sanctified Selfishness'. The reason why it's an alternative heading, is because I've used it about two other times before on two different sermons - but it's such a wonderful phrase, I like it anyway, I thought of it you see! It just epitomises, I believe, what is in this Psalm: sanctified selfishness - a bit of a clue is 'Blessed To Bless'. Whenever Christians seek blessing, and they run around maybe particular meetings, or whatever, trying to get blessings from God - sometimes they are disparaged and decried as the 'Bless Me Club', 'I just want a touch from God', or 'I want a new thrill', or 'I want a new experience'. Sometimes people really can negatively look at those who are pursuing the blessing of God. There can be a suspicion among some that this is selfish, you know, they're just wanting to consume God's blessings upon themselves, they are wanting some spiritual fix, and it is selfish in its motivation, in its nature. But I do believe that whilst that's a possibility, there is no doubt about that, there is 'sanctified selfishness' in the spiritual dimension. Now hang in there with me, because some of you could not conceive that selfishness could ever be sanctified. I know 'sanctified selfishness' is an oxymoron - if you know what an oxymoron is, it's not a foolish cow or something like that! It's a paradox, an apparent contradiction, something that doesn't seem to make sense like 'a jumbo shrimp', you know you think of a shrimp as small, and a jumbo as elephant large. We have a lot of paradoxes and oxymorons in Ireland, you know, where you tell somebody to go straight round the corner - that just doesn't make sense! It makes sense to us of course! Even today in our modern generation, you could say liberal tolerance is an oxymoron and a paradox - you know, those who are liberal and espouse tolerance, yet they won't tolerate us as Christians and our views and our particular philosophy of life.
So you understand what an oxymoron, a paradox is - an apparent contradiction - and that's what sanctified selfishness looks like. 'Sanctified' means 'holy', and how can selfishness at all be holy? I don't know if you remember a number of years ago, whether you were a Christian then, when 'The Prayer of Jabez' became very popular - do you remember that? There was a book out, was it Bruce Wilkinson or someone? Then there were a lot of spin-offs from that, but there were those who criticised - as people criticise everything of course, even me, believe it or not - and they criticised that concept of taking this prayer out of the Old Testament and using it as a means and an instrument to seek God's blessing. Do you remember what Jabez did pray? Jabez 'called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!'. So God granted him what he requested'. Some of the critics of the work that espoused praying that prayer today for you, I believe a lot of their motivation was - and they may talk about contextualisation and theology and all the rest - really their motivation was that they had a problem with this idea, 'Bless me and enlarge my coasts'. I really feel that it comes from a false humility, from an erroneous concept - it's probably, to be quite honest, derived from a religious spirit - that really sets up high as a pinnacle, and a spiritual virtue, want, lack, and I would go as far as to say spiritual poverty. Glorifying emptiness, as opposed to spiritual fullness and overflowing.
Sometimes you see this with a persecution complex. I know that there is persecution in the present day and age in our nation. Now it's not like what it is in the Middle East, or anything like it, but it's a different type of persecution - by stealth, trying to get us all to keep quiet and all the rest, and succumb to the politically correct, liberal, secularist agenda. I know it's here, but some people and some groups have got a persecution mentality, that everything is against them - and they actually take pride in suffering, or the perception that we are in spiritual warfare. I know about spiritual warfare, yes of course, but I've even found myself saying this - and this is false logic - when something terrible happens to someone who is a Christian, or their ministry is interrupted in some way, I've heard myself saying: 'Well, at least you know you're doing something right'. In other words, you're annoying the devil now and he's getting at you, so you must be doing something right. That is nonsense - I have said it, but it's nonsense! Now the devil does come at you when you're doing things right, but just because bad things are happening to you, it doesn't mean it's because you doing things right - far from it - and neither does it mean it's the devil actually.
What I'm really wanting to pinpoint here tonight is: we ought not to feel guilty about desiring the blessing of God. I need you to get to that point before I go on any further, because you will not be positioned personally, or corporately as a group, if you don't know that there are blessings innumerable ready to be dumped out upon you right now, if you could only get into that place of receiving. You ought not to feel guilty about desiring the blessing of God, and so I want you to banish away from you any false humility, any concept that glorifies lack or want or poverty, anything that prides itself in suffering or in the concept of 'the whole world is against me'. God is for us, who can be against us?
So my first point tonight is very simple: God wants to bless us. Do you believe that? Let me start from an unusual place maybe for some, and yet it's elementary - my dear Watson - God has blessed us. So often, those of us who are hungering and thirsting after God are so preoccupied with what we don't have and what we need to get - and we're not doubting that, there's a lot that we don't have and we do need to get - but we actually miss, and we are blindsided by the enemy as to what we actually do possess. We are robbed of the enjoyment and pleasure of those things that God says we now have.
I want you to turn with me quickly - put a marker there in the Psalm 67, and then come with me to Ephesians chapter 1. I just love the book of Ephesians, don't you? Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 3, now let this sink in, OK, as we read it. Some of you are very familiar with these verses, but don't miss, just read them as if you were reading them for the first time: 'Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has', past tense, 'who has blessed us with' - some? - 'every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ'. Isn't that just wonderful? It's done, it's already done! I don't know what blessing you're seeking, but you have to know here tonight that you're only seeking the realisation of that blessing, you've already got it! You have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. What is the spiritual blessing that you're looking for? You've got it in Christ! You might have to work it out, and you might have to encounter it in real terms, but you have got it because you've got Christ if you are in Him. Look at verse 4: 'Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love'.
Now, I've got an announcement for you. If you're struggling with sin here tonight, maybe a professing Christian but you're struggling with sin and temptation, you need to hear this word: you are holy. You may not be practically holy in how you're living at this moment in your behaviour, but unless you realise what you have got when you trusted in Christ, that you are made holy, you will never be practically holy. A lot of people are working backside foremost, if you'll excuse the expression, and they're trying to work themselves into holiness when you can't do that - that is utterly impossible. It is when you know you have been made holy, past tense, by what Jesus did on the cross, that you can then live out of that identity that you have been given. He chose you for that identity, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Verse 5: 'Having predestined us to adoption as sons', and that includes daughters, 'by Jesus Christ to Himself'. Predestined, the destiny that God has for you is to be made into the likeness of Jesus, and to be adopted by God the Father. Do you know what being adopted means? You have all the privileges of a blood-son or daughter. In fact, in Bible terms, you have more privileges in the sense that you could never be disowned. A son could be disowned, but an adopted child could never be disowned. The wonderful thing is that the Bible tells us that we are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Do you know what that results in? We are in the will of God the Father, and whatever the Son gets, we get the same. Do you feel blessed? Amen.
It goes on: 'according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved'. Now I'm not going to speak on this tonight, although I would love to in a sense, and we will be talking about this probably in subsequent meetings: you are accepted. So many people are striving for acceptance, young people in pop culture among their peers, and you're not so young tonight and you're still striving to be accepted. Some of us, religiously, are striving to belong to some kind of group or affiliation or ethic. You are accepted in the Beloved of God, in Christ Jesus. Because God the Father accepts Him, He accepts you! Are you out there? Is that that incredible? This is what you have already.
Now, if you'll allow me to backtrack a wee bit to our studies in Jacob, and I want to use Jacob a little bit as an illustration here. One thing we learned about Jacob was that he didn't realise what he already had. Do you remember in chapter 25 of Genesis, as he was being born along with his twin Esau, there was a prophetic destiny that was over his life, Jacob - the elder will serve the younger, that's what God said, and his mother received that. Yet, though that was God's promise to him, he was striving all of his life to get the blessing of God. Do you remember we saw that he bought Esau's birthright? In other words, he sought something he already had, and Esau was selling something that he didn't have. I know it got confusing, but God has said over and over again to Jacob - I would encourage you to read it all again, in between those chapters 25 through to 32 or thereabouts - God kept saying: 'I am with you, I am with you, I will be with you, wherever you go I am there'. Yet Jacob, as his name says, was always grasping after the blessing as the opportunist that he was - he was going about it in the way of the flesh. You remember that he had to come to that revelation at Bethel, which means 'The House of God' - you remember he puts his head on that stone as a pillow, and he has a dream, and he sees a ladder from earth to heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending. God reveals Himself to him, and he wakens up and he says: 'Surely God is in this place, and I didn't know it. This is nothing but the House of God', Bethel, 'and the gateway of heaven'. Now, tell me, what had changed? What had changed? Had the weather changed? Had the atmosphere changed? Probably nothing in the whole environment, physically, had changed; but what changed was Jacob's perception. He was starting to see, in the spirit, things that he had not seen before. That's what needs to happen to you: Jacob started to see that God was with him. How many times had God promised and said He would be with him? But now Jacob was seeing the blessings that he already had, even though he was striving for so many. That's what you need to happen to you tonight.
Look at Ephesians 1 again, look at verse 17, Paul prays for these Ephesians, he says: 'That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places'. Paul is saying: 'I am praying that you Ephesians will get your eyes opened to what you already have, how blessed you really are!'. Some of us are sitting here as spiritual paupers, and we are eking out what we think is salvation experience, and it's pitiful! We are eating the crumbs from the floor under the table, and we think this is all there is. We are crying out: 'Surely there is more to it than I have experienced?' - but it's not just that you haven't got into what you need to get into, it's not like that as such, it's that you haven't even realise what you have: that there is an open heaven above you. I'm not saying there aren't things for you to experience further, there are - but there already is an open heaven above you. Jesus Christ is your heavenly Bethel, He has gone before you, He has died for your sins, He has risen again, and so He has opened the heavenly way. Don't get focused on all the demons that are in between, and all these different battles and all that nonsense, you just understand Christ and what He has done, and you believe in Him and get your focus on Him, and you will be in the heavenly realm before you realise it! You will be enjoying those blessings.
He has already blessed us, and the further good news is: He wants us to receive more blessing. If you come to chapter 3 of Ephesians, another prayer - there is too much to deal with in these: 'For this reason', verse 14 of chapter 3, 'I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory', I mean, I know I'm reading this too fast, but I have to, but just think about that: 'He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory'. How rich is God's glory? And He wants to grant you according to that richness: 'To be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man', that's what God wants for you tonight, that's God's will. Does God want me healed? Look at the verse! He wants you 'To be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height'. Now we live in a three-dimensional space, this is four dimensional love that only the Holy Spirit can communicate to our hearts - and God wants us to know that love, 'to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God'.
Eh? What about that? What? 'Filled with all the fullness of God'. How big is God? Yet I can be, like a thimble in the ocean, I can be full to overflowing with all the fullness of God. Look at verse 20, and I know most of you know it: 'Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us'. God wants you to receive more blessing! So who wants to be blessed? You see, this is the nature of the kingdom of God: to receive more. You need to have your glasses on to look for phrases such as 'grace upon grace', that's what God wants to pour over us, more and more and more grace. He wants to give 'strength to strength', Psalm 84. He wants to add 'faith to faith', Romans chapter 1. He wants us to transfigure from 'glory to glory', Proverbs 4 says we are meant to grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Whether you take Ezekiel 47 literally or prophetically, it doesn't really matter, what the prophet is experiencing is a great mighty river, a torrent coming from the throne of God, which surely signifies - if nothing else - the Holy Spirit. He is ankle-deep, then he is knee-deep, then he is waist-deep, and then he is in over his head! That's what God wants for us! The 'Bless Me Club', eh? Bless me indeed! Is that your prayer tonight? God wants to bless us. Look at our Psalm: 'God be merciful to us and bless us', is that where you are tonight? Are you positioned, yearning and crying for the blessing of God upon your life? You ought to be.
Then I want you to see secondly: God wants us to encounter Him, because the second part of verse 1 says, 'God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us. Selah' - which is a musical interlude probably, and that signifies 'Think about this, meditate upon this for a while', that's what we think it means. Now this would remind the Hebrew right away of the Aaronic blessing. The Aaronic blessing is found in Numbers chapter 6, and this was instructed of the priests to bless the people of Israel. This is how it goes: 'The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance', or lift up His face, 'upon you, and give you peace'. Now let me remind you of Jacob again, if you were with us you will know that he didn't really get the full ramifications of the revelation at Bethel - do you remember? Oh yes, he understood what he now had, and God was with him, and he had encountered God in a prophetic way - but you remember that he started dealing with God? 'Well, if You do this, and if You do that, and if You do that, You will be my God' - he still hadn't got it! So God had to bring this encounter into his life, you remember at Jabbok, and he named the place 'Peniel', you remember where he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord - probably Jesus in a pre-incarnate form - and he exclaimed after that event, where he was broken before God; he still tried to wrestle first of all, and then he was broken; and he exclaimed: 'I have seen the face of God, and yet I have lived'. Now 'Peniel' means 'the face of God'. I taught you that night that, to see the face of God does not literally mean to actually see His face. It's synonymous with a God-encounter. We talked that particular evening - and I don't want to go into it in any depth, or repeat myself - but you remember that Moses was told, he said 'Show me Your glory', to God, 'Show me Your glory, that's what I want'. The Lord says: 'Now, no one can see My face and live', yet then later God calls Moses 'The man who I spoke to you as a friend, face-to-face'. So God said 'You can see My face and live', and then God Himself says that He saw Moses' face and talked to him as a friend'. We see this pattern that there were those who, it says, saw God's face - so how can this be? We thought that this is a test, God wants to know those who are willing to pay the price, even if it means death - and, theoretically, everyone who does see the face of God falls down as a dead man. I don't find that anybody actually did die, but this was the test: are you willing to die out before the face of God in order to encounter Him in a deeper way? We all need this, we all need this. God wants us to encounter Him in this deep way, He wants us to be crying out: 'God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause Your face to shine upon us'.
So, is God's face shining on you right now? Is His countenance shining upon you? I want you to turn quickly to John 14 for me - again, keep the place where you were in Psalm 67, but come to John 14. One of the most unfortunate things about John 14 - well, it's not unfortunate about John 14, it's unfortunate about us - is that we tend to focus on the early verses, probably because we go to a lot of funerals and this is recited about heaven and so on, and we have neglected the middle to the latter part of the chapter. Now, I know you probably shouldn't have favourite verses in the Bible, but this is my favourite, I imagine, out of them all. John 14 verse 23, verse 22 to get the run in: 'Judas (not Iscariot) said to Jesus, 'Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?''. Now, just pause there for a moment. Who wants blessed? Who wants to encounter God? Who wants Jesus to manifest His presence to them? Any takers? I would be having that alright! This is Bible, OK? Judas (not Iscariot) is saying, 'How is this going to be?', because Jesus has been saying, you remember from your funeral, 'I'm going away to prepare a place' - not your funeral, from the funeral you were at! - He's going away to prepare a place, and He's going to come again and receive you unto Himself. So they are getting all the logistics, 'How is this all going to happen? We thought He was staying with us and bringing the kingdom, and then He says 'I'm going away, but I'm going to manifest, I'm going to reveal Myself'' - and they're thinking, 'How is this going to happen?'. Judas is saying: 'How is it that You will manifest Yourself to us and not to the world?' - and that's a distinction we need to understand. You remember when Jesus did appear during those 40 days before His ascension, He only appeared to believers. Here's the answer that Jesus gives, my favourite verse: 'Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him''.
If that was the only verse in the whole Bible for me, that would do me - if I lived in the experience of it. I know that's wrong, but that's the way I feel about this verse. You see, Jesus, at the beginning of the chapter, is saying 'I'm going to prepare a place for you, I'm going to prepare a heavenly dwelling place, a heavenly home for you', yet at the same time He's going and doing that, He's saying 'But I and the Father are going to make a dwelling place out of you!'. Now, there are some requirements: 'If anyone loves Me', and 'If you love Me, keep My commandments'. It says here: 'If anyone loves me, he will keep My word', My teaching. But if we do that, if we have a heart of love for Jesus, and if we seek to walk in His ways, the Father and the Son will manifest themselves to us and make their home with us! Now I'm not a Greek scholar by any estimation, but I want you to understand something - and I think I do understand this much - look at verse 23, 'If any man love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him', the word for 'to', the preposition there is the word 'pros' in Greek, and it literally means 'face-to-face'. In fact, you will know perhaps John 1 verse 1, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God', the word for 'with' there is 'pros'. It's 'pros-ton-theon', 'the Word was with God', it literally means the Word - that's Jesus - was face-to-face with God, and the Word was God. Do you understand? This is not just our English word 'to', 'come to', it's saying that 'whoever loves Me and keeps My teaching, We will come face-to-face with that person' - that's the Aaronic blessing! That's 'Bless me, and let Your face shine upon me' - this is the New Testament experience of coming face-to-face with God, it is typifying the closest fellowship that anybody could have with the Father and with the Son. Do you remember John 1? This is the fellowship the Word had with God, face-to-face! We are invited to join in this tri-unity of relationship, where we can come face-to-face with the Living God and His countenance shine upon us.
It gets better, because not only does He say 'We will come to him', it says 'We will make Our home' or 'Our dwelling' or 'Our abode with him'. The word there is 'para', which means 'side-by-side of him' - wow! So the Father and the Son will come face-to-face with us, and side-by-side with us - that's Christianity! Jesus promise is very clear: that if we are His disciples, we will love Him, and we will obey Him, and we will know Him in a depth where we can truly say we are experiencing God. Now listen carefully: we are warned off - and I hinted at this the last time - so often from experiences, or seeking experiences with God, and I know that we have to be very careful that we don't just, in a sensual manner, seek after thrills - but we ought to be seeking experiences with God true, biblical experiences. All relationship is an experience, and Christianity, the Christian was meant to experience God and more and more of God. Now, how we experience Him, that's a whole different subject - but He wants to shine His face upon us. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 4 verse 6, keeping that type of theme of the face of the Lord: 'For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ'.
You see, here's the distinction between the flesh and other spirits that are motivating people to seek after blessing: any spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is Lord is not the Spirit of God. If you want more blessing, and it's really true blessing from God, you will want more of Jesus - you will want more of Jesus. Jesus will be your focus, not phenomena, Jesus; not thrills, Jesus. Not only will you want to get to know Him more, you will want to be more conformed to His image from glory to glory. Listen: if you want more of God, you want more blessing, you want more experience, you need to gaze into the face of Jesus and you will be changed from glory into glory by the same image. Second Corinthians 3:18: 'But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord'.
So, what do we need? Well, we need to get blessed, and God wants to bless us. God wants us to encounter Him, alright? He wants to shine His face - what's that synonymous with? A God-encounter, and where do we get that? The face of Jesus. I'm not talking about 'Oh, what did Jesus' face look like', you know, 'Is it the Turin Shroud, or is it the stained-glass window? Is it my children's Bible?' - that doesn't matter, that's not the face of Jesus that He's talking about. Just the way we cannot see the face of the Living God in that sense, face-to-face isn't saying 'Oh, I know what His nose is like and His eyes' - it's an encounter with God, it's a deep intimacy with God, that's what it's talking about. Anyway, if you want to know what His face is like go to Revelation 1:14, His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire. I bet you don't think of Him like that too often! That's the way John saw Him, and John - what happens? Everyone is falling down as dead, he falls as a dead man because he is overwhelmed, overcome by the glory.
Can I ask you: how often do you gaze at the glory of Jesus? So often we look back, don't we, and He's on the cross - and we need to think about the cross, and we do that in remembering Him - but even in our meditations, we are worshipping a Jesus that is caught in a time capsule, when we need to actually worship and acknowledge Jesus as He is now, the way He is now, how He is now: exalted to the highest place that heaven affords, with all principalities and powers put beneath His feet. Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon the throne! We need a transfiguration of our concept of Jesus, so that His face might shine upon us.
So let me ask you again: do you think God wants to bless us? That's a bit stronger than it was the beginning! Are you sure now? Are you sure? I know what puts us off, I know: prosperity. You know what that means, and we hear some folk teaching on prosperity, and it does turn some of us off - especially we Irish and the Scots, because we don't like people looking for money, and we don't even like people talking about money. So there is no doubt about it, there has become an obsession in certain circles, and an erroneous teaching about prosperity. I know this is a massive oversimplification, but the teaching basically is that God wants everybody rich, and He wants you rich, and He wants everybody to live like millionaires. So those who are reasonably biblically literate, red lights will start flashing and they will think that there is something wrong here, and they back off - they back off, knowing that you can't serve God and mammon, anything to do with prosperity. But I want to say here tonight - and I'm disregarding any fear of misunderstanding - God wants you to prosper, He wants you prosperous. Now please do not translate that into David Legge saying this, he's away with it, he's lost it now, he's into health and wealth and he's preaching prosperity gospel, and he wants everybody to be millionaires - I didn't say that! I didn't say God wants everybody to be millionaires, but God does want you prosperous. God wants certain people financially prosperous - He does. That doesn't sit well with some of us, but you've got the problem, you've got the problem, and some of the false teachers might have the problem, but God does want some people financially prosperous. He wants other people prosperous in other ways, but He wants all of us to prosper. In fact, didn't the apostle say - wasn't it 3 John or somewhere - about a fellow who was sick, that he wanted his body to prosper even as his soul did. We've all got a right in the blood of Jesus to be prosperous in our spirit and soul, and I believe to be blessed in body as well.
What God's will is for you in business, or whatever, and your bank balance, that's a whole other story - but we are very reactionary, particularly in evangelical and conservative evangelical circles. We are so afraid of going in the wrong direction, that we pendulum swing in the opposite direction and end up making the mistake that the enemy wants us to, of living in this false humility of poverty and 'Woe is me', and God wants us prosperous, God wants us blessed. Am I going too far for some of you? I remember as a child, I grew up in a church - and I thank God for it, and I bless them and I love them - but it wouldn't have been a church that would ever have even remotely come near the danger of the prosperity gospel, so-called - OK? So don't think that this is where what I'm going to share is coming from. We used to sing a chorus, and I wonder would it be a problem singing it in certain circles today. It was based on Psalm 50 verse 10:
'He owns the cattle on a thousand hills,
The wealth in every mine;
He owns the rivers and the rocks and rills,
The sun and stars that shine.
Wonderful riches, more than tongue can tell -
He is my Father so they're mine as well;
He owns the cattle on a thousand hills -
I know that He will care for me'.
Do you believe that? So let's not go down any erroneous road, but let's understand that God wants to bless us, God wants us to encounter Him, He wants to shine His face upon us, and He wants us to prosper. Now, the nub of the issue is actually found in verse 2. Let's read verse 1 again: 'God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations'. Now here is the difference between sanctified selfishness and sinful selfishness. Really the difference is both the motivation and the outcome. What is the motivation for you to be blessed, for you to encounter God, for you to prosper? The why - and what is the outcome, what outflows from God's blessing in your life? Basically it's simple: you are blessed to bless. Your, what appears to be a selfish desire after God's blessing, is in fact in order to bless others - it's a sanctified selfishness.
Do you know that the Dead Sea is the Dead Sea because it has an inlet, but no outlet - you didn't know that, did you? It doesn't have an outlet, it doesn't flow out - so all the water comes in and stays, and that's why it's so rich in minerals and so on. You will become a dead Christian if you don't have an outlet. So many Christians, this is their problem, and this is maybe the blockage that they have - not being blessed by the Lord the way they would desire - they do want to, in a sinfully selfish way, consume those blessings upon their own lusts. 'You have not because you ask not, and some of you ask amiss that you may consume the archers upon your own desires'. It is sinfully selfish, whereas the sanctified selfish prayer 'Bless me' is in order to bless others. God wants us to encounter Him so that we can bring God-encounters to other people. You see, blessing was never meant to be squandered, it was always meant to be shared. In fact, that's why Israel were chosen. A lot of people don't understand this in Old Testament history, that Israel was chosen not because God just wanted to pick one nation and forget about everybody else, let them all go to hell - no! Israel was actually chosen to be a vehicle to bless the nations, they were meant to be a light to the Gentiles. Now they did fail in many respects, miserably on occasions, but they were meant to be an example to show the Living God of creation to all the nations of the world. If you doubt that, read Isaiah 49 and verse 6.
Now, the New Testament church in this present age, what did Jesus say? 'I am the light of the world', but then He says, 'You are the light of the world'. So we are meant to be in this darkness - and everybody is panicking, 'Oh, it's getting so dark, there is so much happening and everything is falling around our ears', do you know what that means? The darker it gets, the brighter the light shines. We are the light of the world, Jesus says 'You are a city set on a hill' - that really goes against a lot of church teaching that there is, even in our land. A lot of the church are over in a wee holy huddle in a corner, and they don't want anybody coming near to them, and they're afraid to go out in case they get contaminated. That is not what Jesus said, is it? They're waiting on the Lord's return, aren't they? They're all sitting there waiting, battened down the hatches, hold the line, there is such a falling away - and all three of them are in the corner, and they're singing to one another, assuring one another - when really, what are we meant to be? You're going home, God forbid that this should happen, you're going home and the car breaks down out on one of those country roads, what is the first thing that you will look for? What will you look for? What? A torch? Dear help us all! A light! You look for a light, you'll look for somewhere to get help, won't you? We are meant to be the church, we are meant to be that light set on a hill, so that people in deep darkness look to us and say: 'There is where I can get help, there is where I can get healing'.
We are meant to be the salt of the earth. There are so many ways that that can be read in relation to preservation, you know the way they use salt to preserve food and all - but actually Jesus said, 'If the salt loses its savour', it's flavour, we are meant to have a bit of taste to us. I'm not talking about fashion or anything like that, or etiquette, I'm saying that we are meant to make people thirsty for God. Have we lost our flavour? We are blessed in order to bless others. You remember Jesus said in John chapter 7: 'He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'. Now He did talk, didn't He, about inside there would be 'a spring of life', speaking about the Holy Spirit actually coming into us and filling us - but for so many Christians that has become the be all and end all, and indeed an end in itself, when Jesus is actually saying: 'Do you know why this spring of water is coming up and welling within you? It's so that it might outflow!'. That was said in the day when the priests, they were celebrating a Jewish feast, and they were dumping out gallons upon gallons of water from the doors of the Temple over the steps - that meant the streets would have been flowing through with water - and Jesus stands and it says He shouts with a loud voice: 'If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink'.
You see, Acts chapter 1 verse 8 - and remember this is the fulfilment of a lot of what John 14, 15, 16 was about Jesus saying 'I will come to you, the Father will come to you, We will send another of the same kind', talking about the Comforter, the Strengthener, the Holy Spirit. In Acts chapter 1 verse 8, the previous verses talk about them tarrying in Jerusalem and waiting for the promise of the Father that they had heard from Jesus, and He said: 'When the Holy Spirit is come upon you, you shall be' - spiritual gypsies? Spiritual couch potatoes? Spiritual thrill-seekers? What does it say? 'When the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world'. Who wants a touch? Who wants blessed? Who wants to encounter God? Who wants the Holy Spirit? We all do - but how many of us are prepared for God's will? There is a principle that I'm learning more and more: we only get to keep what we give away. Did you hear that? We only get to keep what we give away. One of the reasons why the church is at a low ebb in our land - I know God is doing stuff, and the new thing is happening, I believe, in quarters - but the reason why we need it is because we have been keeping so much to squander it selfishly on ourselves, and so we have lost it. We have lost a great degree of the power of the kingdom. We owe it to people to have a God-encounter, we owe it to people - we are blessed to bless. If we are not sinfully selfish, but if we are truly sanctified in our selfishness, we will be seeking God so that - as the Psalm says - 'Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation to all nations'. That means you owe the world a Spirit-filled life; you owe the world being selfish to get God's blessing in order to pour it out on other people; you owe it to the world to have God-encounters, to have face-to-face encounters with the Lord.
We are blessed to bless. Look at verse 3: 'Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You'. Just think about that for a moment. We read this, and you may be know these verses, and this is a problem for us if we have been Christians for many years - we are so familiar with these words, so we don't feel the impact of them: 'Let the nations praise You'. This is a Jewish Psalm, a Jewish Psalm: 'Let the nations praise You'. Let all! None are excluded! Let all the peoples praise You! What is that? It's a prophetic statement assuring us into Revelation where John sees people out of every tribe, tongue, people group, and nation praising the Lamb that was slain, to receive glory, wisdom, and blessing, for He was slain and has redeemed us to God by His blood out of every tribe, tongue, people and nation - it's Psalm 100. What is Psalm 100? What's the Psalter? I've forgotten it! 'All people that on earth do dwell' - thanks very much! You were very helpful there! 'All people that on earth do dwell' - all people! The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof - what is our concept as the church, what has our concept been? The whole earth is going to hell, and the world is going to burn up one day, and so there is this wee group of people that have just been called out, and they've been extracted out of the world - just a wee handful, few there be that find it, fewer saved - the elect, they are getting taken out, and everything else is going to pot. Now don't misunderstand me, I believe in hell, I believe in the elect, I believe in all these biblical concepts - but we have had our view skewed to a very negative, pessimistic outlook. We need to understand that our God is God, our God is on the throne, the earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, and He wants all, all the peoples of the earth to bless Him. We can know that that is His will, because He has shown us a vision of the future when every nation, every tribe, every people, every colour, every culture will be singing praise unto Jesus. We are in between, we are meant to be the vehicle to bring that realisation.
Do you know what? We live in a very individualistic world, particularly in the West, and we tend to think of individuals, and winning souls for Christ - and I'm not decrying that at all. But when we're thinking of individuals, God is thinking of nations. Each of us here tonight has their own peculiar - is that the wrong word? - their own personal character, but do you know that every nation has its own character. Are you aware that the character of a nation can never be reflected in an individual, only a nation can display the character of the nation. There are individuals in that nation that will have certain characteristics like the nation, but the characteristics of the nation are unique to that people group - and God wants to receive praise from nations. He wants to receive praise from every expression of life that there is, including people groups. When you think about it, we live in Ireland, and Ireland is going to outlive every single one of us here. Ireland will be here when all of you are gone, the United Kingdom will be here when all of you are gone. Now that's a whole study in itself, but God the Father desires that praise should be brought to His Son from every culture on the face of the globe.
Now, I want you to think about something here. Some of you in this room would include yourself in Irish culture, and some of you would include yourself in British culture - if you're not sure, look at your passport when you get home, I'm sure you are sure! We're usually quite sure here in our country, aren't we? Some of you might have both passports, and you're cheating, but some of you aren't from Irish or British culture at all. Now, I want to ask you a question, particularly with the Irish and British culture: we have learned over the years to see those as conflicting, yes? Because of our historic inheritance - I'm not a history buff, but I know enough to know that there are problems here, OK? But I want to ask you: why can't both of those cultures praise Him? Why can't they? In fact, I believe it's God's desire that they should. You see, we have got a problem - we've got several, but here's a few of them: the Irish want the British culture to die, and the British want the Irish culture to die. That's a big generalisation, but in a lot of circles that's the way it is. Then there are the purists, or the idealists, and often they are Christians - and I probably was one of them - and I just wanted both of them to die, OK? Just both of them die, they're both evil, and both die and then we can have a kingdom culture and we can worship the Lord - that's not what God wants, that's not what God wants. He does want certain evil things in both cultures to die, but He wants both of those cultures to express praise to His Son Jesus, because His Son died for both of those people groups.
I have a vision, I don't mean an actual vision, but an aspiration and a desire - because you've got such polarised groups, haven't you, in our nation? How could they ever come together? How could they ever lay down their cultural allegiances? They don't have to! All they need to do is use the cultural allegiances to praise Jesus in the expression of their people group, and they could both march together, they could both march together if it was the banner of Jesus. They could keep their flags, they could, as long as their flags were subjugated to Jesus. I do believe there is revelation in that - but let me ask you another question, and I want you to do this now. I want you to sit where you are, I want you to close your eyes - if you want, you don't have to do anything, but if you want to close your eyes - I want you to envisage what would that actually look like here? Would you use your imaginative faculties just for a moment with what you know about the part of Ireland that you come from, or the community that you come from, or work in, or minister to - what would that look like? I'm being serious here, I'm not being funny: what would that look like on the twelfth of July, in the marching season, what would that look like? What would that look like on St Patrick's Day or Easter? What would it look like? Does everybody just have to deny their heritage, and all the rest, and their history? What could look like? I think some of you need to go home and pray about that, and maybe the Lord will reveal certain things to you prophetically - but let's look at the converse of that, you can open your eyes if you want.
How have we affected our culture as Christians, as the church, how have we affected it? That's a whole can of worms, that if we opened it tonight we would begin to see that actually many of us, even Bible believing Christians, have affected our culture negatively, negatively, in how we have manifested supposed truth and the Gospel. I know I've touched on that many times before, but often we have co-operated with the spirit of the age, rather than with the Holy Spirit who is redeeming culture. He is not eradicating cultures, He is redeeming them - and I think that's something anybody, whoever they vote for, could say 'Amen' to.
Look at verse 6, and I'm almost finished you'll be glad to know, verse 6 - and this is amazing: 'Then the earth shall yield her increase'. Now I know some people make a distinction and say that the Old Testament blessings are for the land, and the New Testament blessings are spiritual - I don't think you can make those distinctions as clearly as that. I know there are certain aspects where that is relevant to an extent, but does God not want to bless the land? We can defile the land, that's a whole other subject - we can defile the land by bloodshed, by idolatry, by immorality, by broken covenants - we've got all four! The land can be healed, and again that's a vast issue to look into tonight - but ultimately it's through repentance, and through coming in the opposite spirit; repenting of what our forefathers have done, coming in the opposite spirit, aligning ourselves to the truth. But Romans 8 says that the whole earth groans - have you ever taken pity on the earth? The earth is groaning tonight, earth! And God wants to bless the earth through you, God wants to bless Ireland, not just the people group - whether it's British or Irish - He wants to bless the actual land, He wants to see a change. Now we can't bring heaven to earth before Jesus comes, but there is so much more that we can realise through the promises and the blessings that He has given us, to the extent that even the earth yielding an increase that has never been seen before. Now we don't have to spiritualise this, God actually is doing this in parts of the world at this moment of time. He is increasing the yield of produce and crops. You don't believe me? Well, I've got a little video clip, courtesy of 'Transformations', some of you may know 'The Sentinel Group', George Otis Jr. These are reasonably old documentaries where he went around different places in the world where there was community transformation, not just a renewal in the church, but transformation that actually affected the community in the vicinity around. This is just a three-minute video, we might have one at the end as well, but to show you - I want you to concentrate now on the increase in the land, the produce, how God blessed. It's in a place in South America called Almolonga.
[Begin video transcript]
"A walk-through of Almolonga's bustling commercial district reveals the impact of the revival's social transformation. Streets and buildings are named after biblical places. If foreigners find this public display of faith extraordinary, Mariano sees it as perfectly natural. 'How can you say that you love God if you don't show it? Didn’t Paul say, 'I am not ashamed of the gospel'?'. Where once Almolonga was peppered with bars or cantinas, 36 in all, now there are only three. As the drinking stopped, so did the violence. For 20 years the town's crime rate has declined steadily, in 1994 the last of Almolonga's four jails closed. The remodelled building is now called 'The Hall of Honour', for police chief Santiago these are the good times. 'You don't have any jails in town now?'. 'Not right now, nothing'. 'Because you don't need them?'. 'No, no, because there's no people that do trouble, not like before'. Even the town's agricultural base has come to life. For years crop yields around Almolonga suffered from a combination of arid land and poor work habits. But as the people have turned to God they have seen a remarkable transformation of their land. 'Almolonga became a fertile valley. It is so fertile that the land is so, so good they produce the best vegetables. They get as many as three harvests per year, they sell their vegetables to Guatemala, south of Mexico and El Salvador'. Before the spiritual turnaround growers were exporting four truckloads of produce a month now they leave town 40 times a week. Nicknamed 'America’s Vegetable Garden', Almolonga's produce is of biblical proportions. 'You have to see it to believe it, beets are four and a half pounds, a carrot is [the size of your arm], it is just unbelievable'. Intrigued by the dimensions of these vegetables, and the town's 1000% increase in agricultural productivity, researchers from the US and other foreign countries have come to Almolonga to learn their secret - but the answer is not what they expected. 'The wisdom that God gave the farmers in Almolonga produced better crops than the scientific methods yielded, and the farmers constantly gave the glory to the Lord for producing the bountiful harvest'. 'Before when we harvested the radishes it would take up to 60 days, but when God came into town it only took 40, and now quite often it only takes 25 days to harvest. You can see a parallel between the people's faith and the improving soil - at the same time people started believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, the vegetables started growing. Once people were set free, they started working, once they began to work they gained financially, they started working the land better, and the land started producing better''.
[End video transcript]
What do you think of that, eh? Now we're not doing it, we're not seeking God to get bigger spuds, sure we're not? But this is typical of our God, who wants to bless us. Some of us have such a skewed view, even of Father God, that we don't even think God wants to bless us, or has blessed us.
Now look at verse 6b: 'Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him' - now that's confident faith, isn't it? God, our God - our God is what, what is He like? He wants to bless us, He has blessed us, He wants us to receive more blessing, He wants us to encounter Him, He wants us to cause other people to be blessed and to encounter Him - even the land to be blessed. Can it happen in Ireland? God, our God, shall bless us. I hope you've got that confident faith, that all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. I hope that you have - you need to read Isaiah, about changing of names. We have a reputation across the world for the wrong reasons. We were once known as 'the land of saints and scholars', we were once an island that sent missionaries to the four corners of the world, and I believe that is still the mantle that is on this nation - but we need to seek God to bless us, and that our people might be blessed, that our name would be changed; that we will be known not for the wrong reasons, but for the right reasons. I live in Portadown, have you heard of Portadown? Portadown, you may not be aware of this, but Portadown was central to the Irish problem - not just Drumcree, if you've heard of Drumcree, that's recent - Portadown was central to the problem. We were learning just recently that Cromwell, when he came into Ireland, used Portadown as an excuse for avenging the drowning of Protestants in the River Bann in Portadown. There was a tit-for-tat conflict at that time, but that's where I am - I'm there, I believe I'm called by God, and we're involved in ministry, because I believe that it's going to be part of the answer, and it's going to be a name that is no longer a byword for trouble and sectarianism, but it's going to become an example for how God can turn things around and bless. Enniskillen is the same, Ireland - wouldn't it be wonderful, and I believe this is God's heart, God wants to use Ireland not as a blueprint for peace and reconciliation across the world when it's only shallow, millimetres deep. He wants to use it as an example of what He can do in His kingdom when there is true reconciliation and true peace.
Now, to get you going, and really thirsting and hungering after that, I'm going to show another clip. It's only three minutes long, before we pray, and this time it's Fiji. There have been amazing things that have happened, I'm not saying everything is continuing to go on or whatever - I can't comment on that - but certainly, it's from the same Transformation Group. What I want you to do this time is not look at the vegetables and all the rest, but I want you to consider the parallels, both in the community and the conflicts that there were in the Fijian community, and also the problems there were in the church in Fiji - and how, when those were remedied, God came. Will you watch this prayerfully?
[Begin video transcript]
'The civil disorders had disrupted our lives like never before. There was violence in the streets'.
Interviewee: 'It's a disaster, absolutely shocking!'.
News report: 'At the moment the focus will be on the army, and which side it decides to support'.
'Even our soldiers cannot be trusted when they have guns in their hands'.
'It was going backwards to the dark ages. It is to do with a rebellious spirit in us, that spirit of sedition, the spirit of jealousy and anger and division that has been in us, ingrained in our culture'.
'It was through the political upheaval that there was a lot of soul-searching in the heart of a lot of leaders: 'Why does this happen in our generation?''.
'The churches and the congregations in Fiji were so divided - but now, something happened, it has brought us together to bring our cry together to the Lord - and this is the cry, the genuine cry of the people from their hearts to put to their God. So everywhere people were praying, they knew that if there was to be any solution to Fiji's problem, it had to come from God and God alone'.
'When the events of May 2000 happened, there were pastors who got together in their churches and just prayed and prayed, and submitted to God, asked for God's forgiveness and for God to help them. I think they too believed that it was the last call from God for not just the pastors, but for our people and our leaders just to humble themselves and turn to God'.
'It was on the basis of the prayers of the country through the various denominations, that has pulled this country back from the brink of disaster'.
'We were caught by surprise by the programme of God'.
'It was the prayers that broke through, it was the power of prayer. The community has totally been transformed within a year, less than a year'.
'You go down the streets and people are smiling - that didn't happen twelve months ago'.
'The Lord is really blessing, He has begun to take charge, He is healing the land'.
'Trees that used to not bear fruit, started bearing fruit'.
'How many fish did you count? Total, 3,957!'.
'The power of the transformation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought all this!'.
'People are coming in thousands'.
'I believe there is a wave of God that is coming over this nation. God is moving in a different way altogether, like He has never before'.
'I just know that it was really born of God, because the people that are working together now - we were like a cat and a mouse before. So when a cat and a mouse can work together, you know it's of God!'.
'I believe that God is raising up Fiji in this hour as a model of His grace to be broadcast to the entire world'
'Say among the nations, 'The LORD reigns'. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; Let the sea resound'.
'You cannot really explain it without God'.
[End video transcript]
Let's pray. I don't know what version of the Bible you have, but we're not doing this for effect - so would you read it with me if you have a Bible in front of you? I want us to read this Psalm together, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't all match in the same way - we're not going to shout it out, we're just going to quietly mutter the word of God back to God. We don't want to miss what God is saying in the big picture now, so let's pray this together. Will you pray it with me, whatever the version is, just say it out to God from your heart.
'God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us. Selah. That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy! For You shall judge the people righteously, and govern the nations on earth. Selah. Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him'.
O Father, we just return Your word back to You. We want to say: 'This is Your word, this is not our word, this is not the word of a mere man from history, this is Your word, this is the Holy Spirit-breathed word of God'. Lord, we look for the day when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. O Lord, let it come, may in our day and generation we see the people of Ireland, with all the expressions of culture, sin apart, bringing praise, adoration and glory to the name above all names. Lord, I repent of sectarianism, I repent of the sins of my fathers, I repent of cooperating with the spirit of the age - whether spiritually or immorally - I repent. I ask You, Lord, for us all in the individual lineage that we stand in - whatever that is - that we would repent and, Lord, that we would, with those who the Spirit is evident in, be able to reach out our hand and call them brother and sister, and unite for the cause of the kingdom - that Your kingdom might come, and Your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, that we would be a kingdom known by our love. Lord, we're not talking about fudging truth, we're talking about the only One who is the Truth, Jesus Christ, and uniting in Him. So we say, come Lord Jesus, come Lord Jesus and have Your way in our midst. Linger over us tonight, and just as we pray this for the nation, we pray for individuals that You will set them free tonight from bondages that they're experiencing. We thank You for everything that we have received this year and this evening, and let nothing snatch away the seed or the sense of Your presence here tonight. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at The Stables in Enniskillen, N. Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "Blessed To Bless - Sanctified Selfishness" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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