Before Christ came into my life six years ago, I was clothed in the garments of lust, greed, and pride. I made most of my decisions based on my emotions—based on what I felt; and I lived to avoid pain and gain pleasure. My heart was a fountain of wickedness—idolizing and chasing after the things I coveted with no regard for offense against my Creator.
I didn’t know covenant love, nor did I know truth. As a result, I was always trying to get love; I recklessly pursued belief-systems, and co-opted paradigms, that would enable and advance my sinful, selfish desires. The many false beliefs I had adopted about God, others, and myself, allowed lies to operate in my life, creating widespread destruction and division in the lives of others.
Because of my sin, wounds, and false beliefs, I was bound in shame. As a result, I was always trying to cover, hide, escape, and control my shame.
I did not know I had a need for repentance. I did not know I had a need for salvation. I believed there was a God/Creator, but I believed He wasn’t for me because He wasn’t fulfilling my selfish demands.
When I was born-again by the Spirit of God in the Maricopa County Jail, I experienced complete acceptance and love in the presence of Christ Jesus; a wave of supernatural peace washed over my soul and the Lord spoke these words to me: “Glorify God.” At that time I had no idea what those words meant, but my eternal King had revealed Himself as the Lover of my soul, and I was granted faith by the grace of God.
Brothers and sisters, there are primarily two belief systems, one is man-centered, the other is God-centered; one is evil, the other is holy and righteous; one says that truth is not absolute, the other reveals that truth is eternal and altogether perfect.
The Son of God
The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God (1 John 3:8-9).
The Son of God, prophesied in Isaiah 61 and revealed in Luke 4, was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord God to:
- to bring the good news to the poor
- to heal the brokenhearted
- to set the captives free
- to release those who are bound and oppressed
- to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
- to proclaim the the day of vengeance of our God
- to comfort all who mourn
- to grant to those who mourn in Zion a beautiful headdress instead of ashes
- to grant to those who mourn in Zion the oil of gladness instead of mourning
- to grant to those who mourn in Zion the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit
- that they may be called oaks of righteousness
I am going to expand upon the first four of these life-giving provisions from God in this message. Love is not something we get; love is something we receive, and we receive it from God. Surrendering your will to God is the exact same thing as receiving His love. Behold; in all your getting, get understanding (Proverbs 1:2).
To Bring Good News To The Poor
Key Verse – Romans 1:16-18 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”
The “Good News” is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!
The “poor” refers to the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), those who have laid down their pride to receive from the Lord our God. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17). But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word (Isaiah 66:2). For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11). I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).
Brothers and sisters, we were never meant to live apart from God. Join me in confessing our utter helplessness before God, knowing we are solely dependent upon God to meet our needs. We acknowledge our inability to overcome apart from the grace of God, and we recognize that real love, peace, and joy can only come from right-relationship with the LORD.
To Heal The Broken Hearted
Key Verse – 1 Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.”
Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are broken people living in a fallen world. Our hearts are broken by:
- Unmet Needs
- False Beliefs
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed (Psalm 34:4-5). The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). I have loved you with an everlasting love; with unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself (Jeremiah 31:3). I will never, never fail you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39). Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction (Psalm 107:17-20). Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).
While physical healing is amazing and greatly desired, the healing of our hearts and our spiritual condition in relationship with God is what we desperately need. Soon you will have a glorified body! For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come (Hebrews 13:14). God has set eternity in the hearts of man (Ecclesiastes 3:11)—no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has planned for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
To Set The Captives Free
Key Verse – John 8:31-32 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
How are we to be delivered from the bondage of sin and death? Our God has spoken—He has given us truth and we must believe the truth! Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin (Romans 6:22) and from the yoke of false beliefs that allow lies to operate in our lives. We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:34-36). For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17). I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned (John 15:5-6).
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). The truth of Christ is life-transforming; setting us free from:
- Fear and death
- Unforgiveness and bitterness
- Broken cisterns that hold no water (idols that do not deliver, nor provide, nor cover our shame)
- Lusts of the flesh and eyes (greed)
- Pride of life
- Prejudice and hate
- Division and destruction
- Emptiness, isolation and loneliness
- Crime and injustice
- Enslavements and abuses
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2). It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be encumbered once more by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1). Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (1 John 2:15-17). For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot (Romans 8:7).
To Release Those Who Are Bound And Oppressed
Key Verse – Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Satan’s primary weapons against believers are trials and temptation, accusation, and condemnation.
- Trials – Demonic spirits can shape or manipulate our circumstances and fan the flames of persecution.
- Temptation – Demonic spirits can entice us to make ungodly decisions.
- Accusation – Demonic spirits can oppress us with accusations that cause us to question our salvation, beliefs, and decisions.
- Condemnation – Demonic spirits can oppress us with fear of judgment, leading to shame, bitterness, and unbelief, separating us from relationship with God.
How do we overcome spiritual oppression? Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
- Belt of truth
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
- Shield of faith
- Helmet of salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
- Praying at all times
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). Do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith (1 Peter 5:6-9). The tempter came to Him and said, “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” But Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:3-4).’”
Why do James, Peter, and Paul exhort us to rejoice in the midst of trial? Because the righteous shall live by faith; trials test and exercise our faith to overcome through dependence upon God. What the enemy has intended for evil, God will use for good (Genesis 50:20).
- The testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:3-5).
- Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4:13).
- We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5).
What about demonic oppression and possession? It is my belief and experience that born-again believers cannot be possessed by demonic spirits.
Both the old and new testaments describe several incidents of individuals afflicted, accused, and harassed by Satan and demons. Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man like a burning stick being snatched from the fire (Zechariah 3:1-2)?” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand (Job 1:12).” And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth (Mark 1:23-24)?” Here a Canaanite woman of the district came out and persistently cried out, “Sir, Son of David, pity me; my daughter is cruelly harassed by a demon (Matthew 15:22).”
But God! But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him (Mark 1:25-27).” And whenever the unclean spirits saw Jesus, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God (Mark 3:11).” God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come (Ephesians 1:20-21). Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).
God has granted believers victory, power, and authority over demonic and unclean spirits. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Christ, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him (Colossians 2:13-15). Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour (Acts 16:18). But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded (Acts 19:15-16). The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” Jesus gave the disciples authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:17-19). And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death (Revelation 12:10-11).
Every Knee Will Bow, Every Tongue Will Confess Christ Is Lord
Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross (Colossians 1:15-20).