Back to Basics, Pt 2: Devoted to the Eternal Words of God
These notes from Paul Tothill are an extended version of his message preached at Gateway Church on 1/7/18.
Last week we considered our water baptism in Christ, what it meant to the early church and what it means to us in the context of the life we now lead in Christ as the expression of our salvation as the Gospel, and our life as a community joined together in Christ to fulfil God’s Kingdom purposes on earth. You can catch up on that message here.
I also spoke of the foundations of the church built on the revelation of Jesus in our hearts as our cornerstone and capstone, our plumb line and vision, and how the apostles and prophets taught into that revelation to establish the church and God’s purposes as freedom fighters to set people and nations free from dark spiritual powers and establishing the spiritual rule and reign of Jesus on earth.
What is essential to the foundations of the church that Jesus is building is a people that live crucified to their old self life in Christ as they live fully alive in Him, completely surrendered and obedient to the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of them. In short living in God’s rest and a faith confidence.
This morning I would like to add to that foundation by speaking of the power and importance of being devoted to God’s eternal words spoken through Jesus to our hearts and received and acted upon by faith. The key phrase that I want to develop is found in Acts 2:42 that “they were devoted to the apostles teaching.”
A HEAVENLY ENCOUNTER AND TESTIMONY
In 1992, when Kevin Zadai died during a medical procedure to remove impacted wisdom teeth he went to heaven and encountered Jesus. However, he did not want to come back to his life on earth. He experienced something so real he could say, “The spirit realm is actually more real than the earthly one. The earth is in fact a recreation of the heavenly realm. However, heaven does not have hindrances we encounter on earth.”
He also revealed from his time with Jesus in this heavenly encounter that, as the word of God reveals, the spiritual Kingdom realm has various spiritual protocols that we need to understand. To my mind, many of these Kingdom protocols have been revealed to us in the teaching of Jesus and the apostles. That is they are already revealed in the Scriptures. Mostly they are hidden in plain sight for anyone who wants to learn the mysteries of heaven through revelation of the Holy Spirit and walking in intimacy with Jesus.
Last week I reminded you that Jesus is building a church on the revelation of who He is as God’s anointed One, a people who based on the developing revelation of Christ will be His legislative assembly on earth. That means God’s words in our mouth and demonstrated through our life carry spiritual Kingdom authority to build up and pull down. In other words, to spiritually legislate by our words and life (proclamation and demonstration) the power of the Gospel and the authority and power of God’s Kingdom realm. In this sense, we should expect for the evidence of the spiritual authority of the Kingdom realm to be breaking in around our lives.
Jesus declared we would have the keys- or authority of heaven to bind and loose. The spiritual power to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and release on earth that which is released in heaven.
This spiritual legislating assembly of believers is fundamental to the Kingdom steadily advancing, people being delivered from darkness in all forms, and set free in Christ. This is so even if we do not presently see all of its effects in the spiritual realm and as yet manifested on earth.
We must live by the faith expectation and confidence that as we walk by the Spirit and continue to do what Jesus has told us to do, with humility of heart, He is indeed establishing His Kingdom on earth in us and through us. This means we hold to the power of the words of Jesus revealed to our hearts even if we do not immediately see a present manifested result.
WHY WE NEED TO SEE WORDS AS SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY
Kevin Zadai did not want to come back to his life because he saw how the spiritual realm of demonic powers influenced and attempted to harm and destroy the lives of humanity and also readily worked to influence or tempt believers into continuing to live their self-life, the life of the flesh, and not their new life in Christ fully yielded to the Holy Spirit.
In fact, this seems to be what King David is revealing in Psalm 82- a court room scene in which God is rebuking the Elohim for their corruption and evil. The parallel answer on earth to this heavenly rebellion is Isaiah 61, the very work that Jesus commenced upon Him being baptised.
What Zadai saw according to his testimony is what Paul reveals in the New Testament. We are saved into a spiritual battle to bring forward the Kingdom of heaven and to liberate people and nations. And it is against that backdrop Jesus gave Kevin Zadai Kingdom insight. In this sense, God’s words as our words are of utmost importance to establishing Christ’s Kingdom reign on earth as it is in heaven and functioning as a legislative assembly.
WHAT JESUS DECLARED WAS A KEY TO THE KINGDOM ADVANCING
In his book that shares his testimony Zadai describes what Jesus revealed to him to emphasise to believers. He said, “Jesus wants every person on the earth to confess Him as Lord because only through that heartfelt declaration can humanity access the divine covenant with all its benefits and authority."
In particular Jesus spoke to him about our words and employing idle words that would ultimately be judged by Him.
Idle words are empty words that are not employed for the purposes of establishing God’s Kingdom on earth, meaning the words that are to come out of our mouth are to be the same in heart and intention as the words that come out of Christ’s mouth. Idle words are forbidden in heaven.
As Zadai explains, “Idle words are words that have the wrong intention or the wrong destination….If we knew that every word we said would come true immediately after we spoke it, we would not say a lot of things we say. The intent of your words has to match their destination or God considers them idle or illegal. This is the way things work in the spirit realm. This is what Jesus told me in this vision, and it is what He wants all His children to understand."
If we pause for a moment, the revelation of Paul and what Jesus taught us is of course very helpful in understanding Kingdom spiritual protocols of the kind Jesus revealed and emphasised to Zadai in this encounter. Sound doctrine cannot be established by an experience alone. It must clearly find its support in Scripture and the teaching of Jesus. Sound doctrine is developed upon the teaching and life of Jesus. These protocols that are being emphasised to Zadai by Jesus are everywhere in Scripture.
For example, Jesus teaches us to forgive. There is a spiritual law and Kingdom protocol attached to forgiveness as an expression of divine love that liberates people from bondage including ourselves. Scripture informs us “For God so loved the world He gave His unique son” and forgave it. We advance the Kingdom of heaven through forgiveness. God is a generous giver. It’s His nature. He is also rich in mercy and forgiveness especially towards humanity. Therefore, un-forgiveness hinders us in advancing the Kingdom and the faith authority of our words as Jesus taught the disciples when telling them to have God’s faith to move mountains.
Judgment, for it to be righteous on earth as it is in heaven cannot be entertained with the “log” of self-emotion and ourselves as the foundation of that judgment. That is it has to be impartial, based fairly on proper evidence of two or more witnesses and the ability for the accused to respond or give a response before a judgment is made. God is slow to judge but always judges impartially based on evidence. That impartiality is stated by Jesus as a metaphor- remove the log from your own eye to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. When we ignore this instruction, we do not advance the Kingdom, in fact we hinder its advancement and our development in it.
Similarly, when we are told to love God with all our heart, mind and strength and to love others as ourselves, we are actually revealing how the Triune God relates to himself in heaven. He literally loves the other members of the Godhead as He loves Himself. And He loves us with the same love He loves himself. So, that is clearly a Kingdom protocol that helps advance the Kingdom realm. Indeed, is the foundational relational wineskin of the Kingdom realm on earth.
The revelation by Paul the apostle of submitting to one another in love in reverence to Christ is also a feature of the Triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit who mutually submit to one another in love. These are all spiritual attributes of realities of the Kingdom at work and when we practice them we advance the Kingdom. When we don’t we hinder the advancement of the Kingdom and our own advancement in the Kingdom.
What is important in the creation narrative is that things were spoken into order through the Son. God’s words released through the Son carried authority and power to both create and bring order. This is the peace of God. The Father’s intent of His heart was spoken through the Son and executed immediately by the Holy Spirit. This is the power of God’s words through the Son revealing God’s intention towards their destination.
So, when this is revealed by the testimony of Kevin Zadai as a key revelation to the body, we can see that Jesus is saying that the words we employ can either establish the Kingdom or delay and even hinder the Kingdom advancing on earth depending on the heart and intention and destination of our words which we speak.
Let’s look at an example of the power of God’s word spoken forward that has both God’s intent and destination in mind. This is an example of the power of words: a testimony of a man who was healed of MS. Watch now.
OUR HEARTS AND OUR WORDS
Jesus said in the Gospels that we speak out of the overflow of our heart. In other words, our words carry our intentions towards someone or something, from what is in our heart.
Then Jesus also says that you will know a prophet by their fruit. He was referring to the fruit of their heart that is expressed in their life. The intentions of our heart are sometimes hidden from us, but they are never hidden from God. And what is in our heart creates the spiritual platform and authority for what we speak. Idle words cannot establish anything of the Kingdom. They cannot be employed by God to establish His Kingdom realm. God’s words with God’s heart never return to him void. They always accomplish what God intends for them to accomplish. This may help us understand why we are not seeing some things we have faith for.
This revelation becomes even more obvious with the show- down between Satan and Jesus when Jesus was filled with the Spirit and led into the desert as described in Luke 4. When confronting Jesus, Satan tried to impermissibly use the words of God for his own purposes to undermine Jesus’s identity and God’s purposes. This is how dark spiritual powers speaks to everyone, in particular who has identified their life with Jesus and given their loyalty to Him. The spiritual forces, not least of which are familiar spirits, will tempt you to abandon the words of God towards you to take up the thinking and unbelief of the old crucified self-life and demonic words towards you.
The words of the accuser are always circling around us trying to find a place to influence our thoughts and our words. His goal is to undermine your authority and the power of God’s words in your mouth and in your heart.
The word of God released from a wrong heart foundation does not announce truth that establishes the Kingdom but attempts to hinder it or delay it or work against it. A wrong heart is a self-at the centre heart, fuelled by the flesh as Paul would call it. The desires of the flesh or the self-life stand in contradiction to the things of the Spirit and the Christ life. Sometimes in the church and beyond our conversations are doing more harm than good, even my own, and more of a hindrance to God’s purposes than establishing and advancing God’s Kingdom.
In short, as spiritual beings and people we live from our heart and we speak from our heart, just like God did in creation. We are either advancing the Kingdom through our words and actions of the heart or hindering the advancement of the Kingdom.
The condition of the heart as Jesus taught in the Parable of the Sower will hinder the word of God producing its supernatural harvest in our life. Yes, we have a new heart when we are born again. It is able to receive God’s truths as life. But old patterns of thinking are keeping us out of new patterns of living and the word of God doing its supernatural work in and through our lives. I repeat the revealed word of God to our heart and declared into any situation carries spiritual authority and power to establish the Kingdom realm on earth. God legislates His decrees and announcements through His words.
Remember this is why we must live a crucified life in Christ and surrendered to the Holy Spirit. It is one thing to enter the Kingdom, which we all have in Christ, it is quite another to possess it on earth that it may be established. Our heart, the Holy Spirit and God’s words work together.
Therefore, our will must cooperate and work with the Holy Spirit to control or govern, or rule over those thoughts, those intentions of the heart that do not flow with the words of Christ to establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, or the ability to govern our soul, our thoughts (our heart) and our actions empowered by the Holy Spirit. Even when we are weak, we simply acknowledge our weakness and submit to the present grace of God which is made perfect in our inability.
To emphasise what we are revealing, Kevin Zadai in his testimony, said Jesus was concerned to impart understanding to him about the power of God’s word and the power of our words. Jesus referred to Matthew 12:36 and his warning to his disciples about every idle word that came out of their mouths. And then he said Jesus gave him a key: “either our words are passwords to access God’s power to build His Kingdom on earth and the purpose He created us for, or they create roadblocks to His purposes.
God’s words are powerful. As the writer of Hebrews teaches:
Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. - Hebrews 4:9-13 NKJV
The word of God is commonly referred to as the sword of the Spirit. It is very important for believers to live understanding the power and authority of the word of the God as revealed by the Holy Spirit as a double-edged sword, that can deeply penetrate and divide the soul and spirit. Furthermore, we can actually speak to our mountain to both move it and establish it. Let me explain.
We speak to the mountain to move the mountains of illegal spiritual authority and circumstances that we come against that oppose us and we speak to our own mountain to establish the Kingdom mountain we are to establish consistent with the Book of Destiny God has already written concerning each of us and as a people. In other words, God’s words in our mouth both dismantle and establish things in the spirit realm that then manifest in the natural realm.
The power of His words in our mouth, when we are living crucified in Christ, fully yielded to the Holy Spirit, by faith, can establish God’s Kingdom realm. As the revealed words of Jesus Christ as the King over all things both seen and unseen they can pull down and destroy lesser powers. They can also establish things that are not yet on earth but presently released in heaven. Every demon power is subject to the word of God provided however it is not an idle word.
Jeremiah was told of the power of God’s words in his mouth.
Behold I have put My words in your mouth. See I have this day set you over nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant. - Jeremiah 1:9-10
Then again he told Jeremiah:
Is not my Word like a fire? Says that Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? - Jeremiah 23:29
And we can say, 'but we are not prophets'. But Jesus says he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than all of the prophets including John the Baptiser because they were born of woman, ie fallen Adam, not born again in resurrected Christ!
Think about it, the New Testament church living from Jesus as born again, self-crucified people in Christ, living fully alive in Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit that Jesus lived by, is greater in its capacity and potential than any of the Old Testament prophets! The issue is the condition of our heart and learning how to be devoted to the eternal words of Jesus. This is what Paul and the other apostles taught, that the words of Jesus come with a demonstration of power. They liberate and they establish the Kingdom realm.
Paul told the church at Corinth:
Now I plead with you that when I come, don’t force me to take a hard line with you (which I am willing to do) by daring to confront those who mistakenly believe that we are living by standards of the world, not by the Spirit’s wisdom and power.
For although we live in a natural realm, we don’t wage a military campaign employing human weapons, using manipulation to achieve our aims. Instead our spiritual weapons are energised with divine power to effectively dismantle the defences behind which people hide. We can demolish every deceptive fantasy (vain imagination) that opposes God and break through every arrogant attitude that is raised up in defiance of the true knowledge of God. We capture, like prisoners of war, every thought and insist it bow in obedience to the Anointed One. Since we are armed with such a dynamic weaponry, we stand ready to punish any trace of rebellion, as soon as you choose complete obedience. - 2 Corinthians 10 TPT
Friends, God’s word in our life, in our hearts and in our mouth is designed to be powerful. We are anointed by God to live by every word that proceeds from His mouth so that we can use His words to establish the Kingdom of heaven in and through our lives and towards others and to destroy the works of darkness over our lives and the lives of others.
We have been given the keys of the Kingdom, spiritual authority in Christ to speak things out that the Holy Spirit reveals to us with an expectation that what is released in heaven will be released on earth, and that which is prohibited in heaven will be prohibited on earth. We live by every present word of God that carries Kingdom authority and power.
To carry God’s words with His intent towards its goal we need to carry His heart and His mind towards our situation. This is what the Holy Spirit empowers us in.
The underlying premise in all of Scripture of decreeing a matter and speaking to the mountain means to do so not just with God’s faith but also with God’s heart- His intent and His purposes. This, more than ever is why the words of Jesus need to be established in our hearts and in our lives by actions of faith surrendered to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Hearing the words and even meditating on the words of Jesus as the foundation of all that He is building in us and through us is necessary but by itself it is not enough to advance the Kingdom through us. It is valuable and important. However, we must put those words of life into action by the faith and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
The evidence of this reality of a community being baptised into Christ and living a crucified life in Christ whilst living fully alive to Christ in some measure by the Holy Spirit is the early church described in the Book of Acts.
They were the seed bed that the Holy Spirit was working into. The point I want to pick up, as I touched upon last week is that they were devoted to the Apostles teaching. The idea of being devoted in not that we have devotionals with God alone. To be “devoted” to can also mean to be loyal to. And that means to give expression to those words in our life. Not just to hear them, or meditate on them, but to carry them in our hearts into our life situations. To declare them and to demonstrate them. This picks up my point that our revelation of Christ and His present words must be lived out and spoken out if they are to be power to us and to set people free and establish the Kingdom.
THINGS HAVE CHANGED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT - THE CHURCH IS GOD’S MOUNTAIN
We can have an amazing time with God in His presence, not unlike Moses with Joshua in the tent of meeting even while the world around us is chaotic. It may be spiritually dry and even barren- like a desert. There you are strengthening yourself in the Lord, you have devoted yourself to prayer and the Scriptures entering into God’s presence. That place of His rest. You may be even getting a new revelation and God is speaking to you face to face through the person of the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart! The moment of Kingdom reality is not found in the Presence alone. What is revealed and established there is to be established in you and through you towards others. Not where things are peaceful and ordered and loving. How we could stay there, just as Peter suggested to Jesus when they were on the Mountain during the transfiguration of Jesus.
But like Peter we know we have to come down from the mountain and face the world. Like Moses we need to leave the tent of meeting and face the rebellious mob who were more interested in their own interests than God’s promises and purposes at times and not seeing things as they should.
We have all been there I am sure. Right? And this is where faith and the revelation of Jesus is outworked. But there is a distinction that Jesus demonstrated from the Old Testament and what the New Testament gives to us by the promise of the indwelling Spirit of God and entering His rest.
Jesus always carried God’s presence and His words in His heart into every context. He did not have to leave the mountain He was the mountain!
We don’t come down the mountain, we carry the mountain of the Lord into the world. This is the prophesy of Daniel 2:44. This is what Jesus said to the woman at the Well. The physical mountain would be replaced by a spiritual mountain- a people who would worship God, live as loyal to him alone, in spirit and in truth. God dwells on a new mountain on earth- the hearts of men as his legislative assembly. We who are born again, who carry the word of God and the indwelling presence of God in our hearts are now the mountain of the Lord on earth. We are to be the manifestation of the heavenly Zion!
Our obedience as a devotion to the teaching of God’s words revealed in the person and teaching of Jesus becomes powerful in us and through us when we let it do its work in us and through us.
Hebrews tells us that:
But to us living in these last days, God now speaks to us openly in the language of a Son (by His Son) the appointed Heir of everything, for through him God created the panorama of all things and all time. The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendour, the exact expression of God’s true nature- his mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken word. - Hebrews 1:2-3
Everything is held together and under the authority of God’s word - even Satan and the corrupted gods. The words of Christ in us and brought into action by us by faith establish not only Christ in us but reveal Christ’s authority through us.
To go back to what I said at the outset, our words are not to be idle words. We are God’s legislative assembly on earth. Living the crucified self-life fully alive in Jesus and fully yielded to the Holy Spirit- meaning completely dependent upon Him and trusting completely in the words of Jesus, we are to legislate that which is in heaven on earth.
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