I'm sure you all know that Satan hates the family - do you know that? God has ordained, and He is the Architect, the Engineer of the family unit - but [Satan] particularly hates the children. There is a reason for that, this might surprise you. The reason why Satan particularly hates the children is because he fears what the emerging generation might do. Now, think about that for a moment. He fears the emerging threat of a fresh group of human beings. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Satan actually believes in the power of Almighty God to redeem humanity more than most of the church does. He knows what God is capable to do and - as already has been alluded (and I think all that has gone before has been very Spirit-led in keeping with my message tonight that He has laid upon my heart) - and that is that many of us, when we hear what's going on in government and society, we feel terrified, we feel afraid, under threat. It's as if the kingdom of darkness appears to be increasing at a ferocious rate, and almost can't be stopped.
But are we actually aware of the real situation? That is: Satan is afraid, in fact he is insanely intimidated by the mighty power of God and what God can do with the next generation. Now, we know this from the Bible, Satan's paranoia was exhibited through Pharaoh when he was moved to slaughter the Hebrew children. Of course, what was his reason for doing it? Fear. He feared that the Hebrew people would grow, and they were growing, and eventually overwhelm his kingdom of darkness. He feared the new generation, so he got them slaughtered. Of course, we know that God had already pre-empted this with the birth of a deliverer, Moses, who was preserved himself from the great massacre. It's interesting to me, if you read Exodus chapter 1, the narrative tells us that it was the Hebrew midwives that actually took their stand. I believe there is something prophetic in this, and I want to state this: I believe if this law does come into being - I hope it's not - but it will be healthcare and medical professionals that actually will take their stand against it - they are already doing that in the Republic of Ireland. If you're one of them, I call upon you to take your stand, whatever the cost might be.
But this same murderous spirit that was in Pharaoh worked in Herod to slaughter the innocents, when he received a report of a rival King who had been born in Bethlehem. You remember the prophecy, Jeremiah 31 quoted in Matthew 2: 'A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more'. However, God's rescue plan for humanity again prevailed. The Christ child survived to become the Saviour of the world through death on a cross at God's appointed time - but it was the same spirit. But I want you to understand what the reason behind this was: Satan has a fear issue - Satan has. Satan is afraid, very afraid. He fears what he knows God can do - and I would go as far as to say that he fears what he knows God is going to do, especially with a new generation. Because he knows God's power, but he also knows God's promises, and he knows this book. He knows that prophecy predicts that there will be a great harvest right across the world, and a number that no one can number will be gathered into the kingdom of God. That makes him terrified. He is the most fearful person ever.
This is a bit of an aside, but I think it would be helpful - especially for some of you folk who indicated that you have fear issues - Satan's modus operandi is that to distract him from his own fear, he vomits fear over everybody else in order to get you completely terrified, in order that he would be distracted from his own fear. If you want to actually see that in Scripture, you can find that in Philippians 1 verse 28, I haven't got time to go into it tonight. But here's the good news: do you see when you don't fear? When you understand that the true message of what God has said is true, then your fearlessness causes satanic fear to bounce off you and back to him - and Philippians 1:28 talks about how it actually tolls the bell of doom for Satan when you don't fear.
So, we need new lenses to see things the way they really are. I want you to turn to Revelation chapter 12 for us to read some Scriptures together. I want you to turn there if you can, and we're going to read verses 1 through to 6 and then pause for a moment. This is putting the new glasses on, OK, Revelation 12 verse 1, this is a prophetic book: "Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars" - probably representing the twelve tribes of Israel. "Then being with child", this woman is pregnant, "she cried out in labour and in pain to give birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days".
Now, scholars debate over whether this references something in the past, whether it's relevant to the present, and whether it's speaking maybe to something that is yet to be - I happen to think that is relevant all of those spheres. But what I want you to see is that this is heaven's perspective, and it is that Satan, out of fear of what a newborn Child is going to do - and we know it's Jesus here - he's just waiting on this pregnant woman giving birth, to devour the Child; that same spirit that we see working through Pharaoh and then Herod.
The Saviour of the world is born, and here comes the heavenly perspective - look at verse 7: "War broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time'".
There it is: he's terrified! He is wanting to devour the Child, is wanting to devour the next generation because he is scared of what God is going to do. The NIV translates it: 'He is filled with fury because he knows that his time is short'. Satan is intensely threatened, and indeed terrified by the knowledge of what God is about to do that is awesome and bringing a mighty harvest of souls in our world. The big question is: if everything is going on as we see around us, and if this is what God's word actually says are the facts, how can we as the church actually step into the reality of God's vision, God's kingdom to see His will done on earth as in heaven, as we've been singing?
Turn with me to Luke chapter 10 for this, Luke 10 verse 1: 'After these things the Lord appointed seventy' (some versions say seventy-two) 'others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, 'The harvest'' - there it is - ''The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest''. That interesting, because He's encouraging them to pray for labourers in the harvest, but they actually become the answers to their own prayers - be careful on that one. Then down, please, to verse 9; this is the message He sent them out to preach: 'Heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you'.
So He sends them out, another gospel tells us that He sent them out to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Now here's what happens in verse 17, look, they go out with that message and commission: 'Then the seventy', or seventy-two, 'returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name'. And He said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven''. Now that could be a reference to what happened in Ezekiel 28, that people think happened way, way back when Satan fell out of heaven - being cast out because of rebellion, and a third of the angels were swept away with him. But I want you to see the context of this, these disciples have now been commissioned with the authority of the Lord Jesus to go out and heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, and cast out demons - and Jesus is saying, I think, 'At this very moment - whatever happened in the past and whatever probably is still going to happen in the future - at this moment I see Satan falling from his high position of authority because of what you're doing'.
He talks about authority in verse 19: 'Behold, 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'. Here's how we can make a difference, this is really simple: by preaching the gospel of the kingdom. There are heavenly powers that are ruling and reigning in our society, and they are growing stronger and stronger. Sometimes Christians who can be a little bit foolhardy and enthusiastic decide: 'We're going to try and engage these powers directly, and try and take them on in some kind of battle'. Now we do have weapons of warfare, but we have to be very careful that we stay within the remit that God gives us. But do you know the best way of disempowering and disarming those forces? It's to see people set free by the power of the gospel of the kingdom: to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cleanse the leper, to cast out demons, to see people's lives transformed from the bondage of sin and wickedness by the good news of Jesus Christ.
But it's not just a message of 'You can have your sins forgiven if you 'ask Jesus into your heart'' - it's more than that. It's a message of power, a message of victory, a message of triumph. When people get free from sin and bondage, these powers start to lose their influence - and so we've got to go out and preach this gospel, yes? A gospel of power and effectiveness. Another thing we need to do is to actually come to people in the opposite spirit that is exhibited in society, that's another way of exhibiting the gospel of the kingdom. So, if it is hatred, if it is bigotry, whatever it might be, we've to come in the opposite spirit, and that disarms the powers that are there. So, if we love not only our neighbour, but we love our enemy in Ireland - and that's a whole series on its own, isn't it? - if we love our enemy in Ireland, guess what happens? Those strongholds of political sectarianism and legalistic religious spirits, they start to lose their grip - and that's what Satan is terrified of, because that's what is going to do it, that's what's going to bring the kingdom of God here in Ireland.
A second thing we need to do is not only bring the gospel of the kingdom, we need to live a life of repentance - this is a big one. Jesus said: 'Take up your cross daily and follow Me'. It's not just something that happens when you are born-again, or converted, or make a decision for Jesus; but something that needs to happen every day, where we take up the cross and we die to ourselves, we die to sin. It's a life of no compromise - and I know this word up on the screen is kind of outdated in many circles, but it's a biblical word, and if we need to redefine it we do. It's not about rules and regulations of some kind of tawdry religion, it's about actually having the very life of Jesus living in us so that we can live a holy life, a life of repentance, a life of no compromise.
Here's the reason why we need to do this, listen carefully now: those powers that be in the heavenly realms are also empowered when we cooperate with their type of sin - are you getting this? Let me put it this way: the strongholds in the heavenlies that are bringing abortion, same-sex marriage, and all sorts of things into our society as normative, these same spiritual strongholds are emboldened by you and I when we commit sexual immorality, when we commit adultery, when we look at pornography - did you know that? There is a myth and a lie that we just sin to ourselves - you know, obviously some sin does hurt other people, but there are some other sins that we feel: 'Well, I'm just keeping that to myself, and it's doing no one any harm'. No, no, that's a lie if ever there was one. You are empowering forces in the heavenlies, and here's the problem in the spiritual dimension - if you could only see this - on the one hand the church is saying: 'We object to this, this is wrong!', but yet with the other hand they are feeding those same empowering spirits by their compromise.
Now, please don't misunderstand me tonight: I'm not wanting to heap guilt or shame on anyone. Praise God, this gospel of the kingdom is that there is grace, and you can be forgiven, and whatever your stronghold is, you can be set free! The enemy is the one who wants to accuse you, and destroy you, and crush you - but we've got to be real here. The problem is that the church is compromised, we have what I would call an 'authority-integrity deficit'. Take marriage, for instance - and again, I know there are situations, nightmares, divorce situations, and all the rest, and I'm not getting into that minefield; but what I am saying is: the church is the gatekeeper of marriage. Alright? Agreed? What have we done to marriage as the church? Could I suggest to you that, at times, it's no different than it was in Jesus' day: divorce for any cause. I know it's a huge subject, and I'm not getting into it, but what I am saying is: what have we done as gatekeepers? We can object to all these aberrant forms of marriage, we might call them, but what have we done? What about sexual purity? I remember when I was growing up, and I know that seems like a century ago to some of you folk, but when I was going around church and in youth groups and so on, there were a lot of talks about keeping yourself pure until marriage - maybe that still goes on, I don't know. But, you know, if we are compromised - this is not about shame, OK? The Lord, I think, does call us to 100% holiness - but if it's not that, and if we can't get there, and none of us is there, right - 100% holiness - it has to 100% repentance.
Can I tell you that in the Old Testament, there were gods called Baal and Ashtoreth - have you heard of them? They were fertility gods. What that simply means is: Baal was the male, and Ashteroth was his female consort - and these were the Canaanite gods. Israel had the one true and living God, Yahweh, Jehovah, OK? They come into the land and they start to get influenced by the gods of the nations around them, the indigenous people. These gods, the idea was that they copulated in sexual relationship, and from it came the harvest. So you had to get the gods reproducing, and the way that happened - it's classic all throughout pagan religion - was through ritual prostitution and sexual immorality. Israel was forever falling off the wagon into this kind of stuff. In fact, one of the gods that was related to Baal and Ashtoreth was Molech - and both Molech and Baal were worshipped, not only in sexual immorality and ritual prostitution, but by feeding the children to the fire, sacrificing the children.
Now, these powers in the heavenlies haven't changed, they're the same! They might change their name and their PR, but they're the same. Israel had this problem of compromise, and this was the reason why God drove the Canaanites out of the land - because of what they did to the children. Now, can I say to you tonight: it's not about condemnation, it's not about accusation or shame, but if you find yourself in the bondage of sexual immorality or you've been affected by abortion or anything like that; please, there is forgiveness, there is grace, there is healing - but there needs to be repentance. Repentance is about a change of mind, it cannot be circumvented, you cannot avoid repentance, you can't get round it or bypass it - it has to be done. Listen to me tonight: if you want to see the story of Ireland rewritten, the church has to repent, judgement must begin at the house of God. 'If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land'. We do need to repent of how we have related to the LGBTQ+ community as well. We have not represented ourselves well to them, in love as well as truth. No compromise, but we've got to show love. That's the greatest spiritual weapon, you know, we have: is love.
But can I bring this together for a moment, because it is quite profound: 'Eire' - that's the Gaelic name for the Republic of Ireland - 'Eire' actually is a mythological goddess. This mythological goddess (I'll not go into all the details, I probably couldn't anyway), but the story is that she demanded the blood of her sons. Irish nationalism and so on is very much wrapped up in this kind of Celtic mythology. I'm cutting out a lot of stuff here, but in 1912 there was the signing of an Ulster Covenant by the Unionist, Loyalist side of the community here against Home Rule - I'm not going into all the history of it, but I don't believe it was of God. There's actually a monument to it in the centre of Portadown, it was only erected at the centenary of the covenant, there was a re-signing of the covenant at the centenary in 2012. It was interesting that the flag protests at the City Hall and all that kind of stuff spilled over just after the re-signing of the covenant. If you look at your ancestry, and you can actually look up a website online and find out if your ancestors signed the Ulster Covenant - mine did - some of them actually signed it in their blood, a covenant of blood in resistance against government. That's wrong.
In 1916 there was a Sinn Fein Covenant - and I'm not getting into politics, I'm just telling you this is what happened - after the Easter Rising, or during it, that period, there was a Sinn Fein Covenant. Again a covenant of resistance, a covenant setting yourself at enmity. So we have a mythology that many people look to in our land about a goddess that demands the blood of her sons, and we have these two opposing covenants that many believe have locked our two communities in ferocious warfare for living memory. Of course, it goes hundreds of years past that, but so does this. Why am I telling you that? Well, it gives you a little bit of insight, maybe, into what's going on in our land - about the many things that we need to repent of, that we need to renounce, that we need to get free from in our families and in our communities. But what I am saying to you is: a trumpet call, because the same blood-thirsty spirits are craving more blood. It's interesting to me that we have had relative peace since 1998, yes, Good Friday Agreement and all that - some stuff has gone on, some bloodshed, but nothing in comparison with what had happened - isn't it instructive, at least, that all of a sudden there is a push to make this little corner of Europe the most blood-soaked place. Is that a coincidence?
I believe it is gods demanding an oblation, a sacrifice. If you know anything about this in the spiritual, you will know that abortion clinics are used by witches and covens to derive spiritual power, and they treat them as sacrifices - this is witchcraft. The good news is, as we read in Revelation chapter 12, we the church are not to have these lenses on that everybody else might have, but we can overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, which I think is what the Bible says the blood of the Lamb does for us. We have the victory in Jesus, through His blood, through a new covenant, through a covenant that supersedes every other covenant - and this is the answer, this is the answer for Ireland! This is the gospel of the kingdom that we need to preach.
Gerry and Maureen shared a picture that they had a number of months ago, they shared it with me, and it was a picture of the cross. I hope I get this right. But really on one bar of the cross, the left bar of the cross was Protestantism, and the other bar of the cross was Roman Catholicism - these two monoliths of religious tradition etc in Europe and here in Ireland. Some might say 'Never the twain shall meet', but I suppose the issue that they felt God was saying is: there's not a need for that, in fact Jesus, the upper part of the cross, the upper bar of the cross, is the way to God. In fact, He is the only way to God - so, it has never been about your way or my way, it's about the way, John 14:6: 'I am the way', Jesus said, 'the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me'.
This has always been the gospel, it's not a rediscovery or anything, it has always been - the trouble is: we have wrapped it up in a flag, or a political persuasion. We have married idolatry with the gospel of Jesus Christ in our land, and we need to repent of that, and we need to get shot of it, and we need to get back to what Jesus wants to do in the gospel of the Kingdom. We talked about it in Tobar as 'the third way', and I think that's going to be the secret, the third way, the Jesus way.
So what we need to do is look up. What we need to do in all the darkness is - sign our petitions etc, go to the prayer gatherings - but we need to look up and not despair, because that is Satan's rightful disposition: to despair, to fear, to be intimidated because of our God, because of what He's going to do. Five years ago in April - I'm nearly finished - I was sitting out in the back garden on one of those rare days when the sun shining. I had just read an article by a guy called Mark Virkler - I don't know whether any of you have heard of him, but he does a lot about hearing the voice of God. He was talking about Abraham, he was talking about Abraham and how God spoke to him from the stars of the sky and the sand of the seashore. He was telling us and teaching us about how God can speak in various ways as well as His word. It was a lovely day, as I said, and I just lay back in the recliner, I was talking to the Lord, and I said to the Lord: 'Lord, You could even speak to me through the sky if You wanted to'. Now I have to set a bit of context: we had been having incredible meetings in The Stables in Enniskillen, where we were seeing many people delivered of the power of the enemy through the gospel of the Kingdom - to such an extent that we were finishing meetings, one meeting in particular, at a quarter to ten in the evening, and we were still praying with folk and seeing deliverances at half five in the morning. Incredible! It wasn't like that always, but it was into the wee small hours most of the time at that particular period. So I was feeling this desire to see God move - right across the spectrum of the community, by the way, the people in those meetings - and just a hunger for revival. I said to the Lord: 'You could speak to me through the sky', and that's all I was thinking about. I lay back, and you know the way the sun is in your face, just enjoying it; and all of a sudden I felt rather cool for a moment or two. You're sort of waiting on the sun coming back, and it didn't come back. I started to get a little bit frustrated and then I opened my eyes, and when I opened my eyes I saw a huge cloud of Ireland, and the sun was right behind (as you see) up sort of kind of North, but as the cloud moved it was like a fire - the photograph doesn't do it justice - but it was like a fire that just moved the whole way down the island.
The whole book of Revelation is about people who were persecuted in darkness, going through all sorts of difficulties, but the message of Revelation is: 'Look up!'. This is what we need to do tonight, this is what we need to do every day, is pray and declare, believing that the victory belongs to Jesus. Let's not give in, let's not capitulate, let's not give up, let's not keep silent, but let's overcome in the name of Jesus.
Let's pray. So, Lord, we thank You for Ireland, we thank You for the heritage that it has, we thank You for what is written in Your book as the will of God for Ireland. We repent of how we have got far away from it, but, Lord, we believe that something is in the pipeline, and we believe the devil knows it, and we believe he is scared witless, and we believe, Lord, that we don't have to fear, but we stand with You in the authority that You have given us, and we look to You to say: 'Greater things are yet to come for this nation, for this land'. In Jesus' mighty name we pray, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Emmanuel Church in Lurgan, N. Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "Rewriting The Story Of Ireland" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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