These notes from Paul Tothill are based a version of his message preached at Gateway Church on 25/8/19. Listen to the message on Apple Podcasts or any other podcast player (available the Wednesday after the sermon).
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Part 2 - THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME AND RE-ESTABLISHING GOD'S AUTHORITY
Last week I spoke to you prophetically from Luke 5:1-10. The prophetic word can be understood as a prophetic parable. There are a few things we need to take note of:
1 - There is a difference between being part of the crowd being entertained by the teaching of Jesus by being a part of the gathering and those who press in to hear the life changing words of Jesus. When the crowd were no longer entertained by Jesus’s supernatural words they left him.
2 - There is a difference between those who hear and those who respond. As I said last week God wants our availability. This is the most important thing in this season. It always is. It comes at a cost in our time and decision-making. He wants us to let Him use who we are and the platform and resources he has given us for His purposes, (the metaphor of the boat) so that we, like Peter, may respond to God’s present word in our life even when we have been doing a similar thing without success. This is because He wants to bring us into increase!
3 - The increase came to Peter when he went out into the deeper water and allowed his life to be used by Jesus and who responded to his present word even when there had been a night of fishing or working in his sphere of influence and business without success. The increase comes to the ones who go out into deeper waters at the sound of God’s word and do the things Jesus asks him to do even if they have previously been doing it skilfully in their own effort without success.
4 - This is being an overcomer. We overcome the flesh our own ability and habitual living and step into God’s ability in obedience to His present word. This actually destroys the work of the enemy and establishes God’s government over your life and your circumstances.
5 - Fishing was normally done under the cover of night, but Jesus was asking Peter to set out into the deeper water by the cover of day, when fishing was not normally done. This is the wisdom of God into our present context.
God wants to bring us out of working under the cover of night (spiritual blindness and dullness) into working from His present word, fully yielded to Him under the cover of day- a metaphor for his light, the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom and the Spirit of revelation and understanding.
YOU HAVE AN ENEMY WHO DOES NOT WANT YOUR INCREASE TO BE ESTABLISHED
Every time God speaks a present word, the Prince of the Air through demonic spiritual influence tries to either snatch it away or oppose it being established. God’s words towards us are both intentional and designed to be fulfilled. Every prophetic word is invitational, which means we have to give agreement with it and sometimes do warfare with it.
We must remember God is without limitation. He speaks into a fallen world to lift us up out of limitations and into His intentions and promises towards us.
So we need to gain understanding of the fallen spiritual atmosphere that is working around us and know the schemes of the devil to oppose you and to try to attempt you to agree with his lies rather than God’s truth, to keep you in fear and doubt, even believing you are a victim not a conqueror. What God speaks for your good Satan through his schemes opposes. This is the constant story of Scripture, until someone chooses to stand up in faith and be more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. That is my encouragement to us all today!
THE NEED FOR UNDERSTANDING
As I said to you last week, when I go into regions I ask the Holy Spirit to give me eyes to see and ears to hear. I want to know what is spiritually going on in a region that underpins the things going on in the natural. I told you last week whilst I will never glorify Satan and his counterfeit dark Kingdom, like Paul told the churches, we must become aware of how things actually work from a Biblical world view and understand the mechanics of the spiritual war we are now in. If we are to continue what Jesus started in destroying the works of the enemy and come into our increase we are going to need to get understanding.
Getting understanding is not glorifying Satan. It is exposing his schemes so we may be powerful and effective and come into the intended future that God is leading us into in our personal and geographical context. Sometimes we need to know what and who we are actually wrestling with to know who and what we need to overcome. It is not enough to have spiritual authority in only a notional or conceptual sense. We need to know how to exercise spiritual authority and from a place of personal freedom ensure we drive back and drive out the demonic forces that oppose us and hinder us. Too many Christians think God is opposing them and limiting them when in fact it is the Prince of the Air, the god of the world and his dark powers, that God has given you the authority and power to overcome. Living in deep union with Christ you have power over the enemy and do warfare with God’s words towards you.
Paul tells us two things amongst others that are very important to understand. He makes this very clear in his letter to the Ephesians.
And his fullness fills you, even though you were once like corpses dead in your sins and offenses. It wasn’t that long ago that you lived in the religion, customs and values of this world, obeying the dark ruler of the earthly realm who fills the atmosphere with his authority and works diligently in the hearts of those who are disobedient to the truth of God. The corruption that was in us from birth was expressed through the deeds and desires of our self-life.
As Paul says elsewhere the self-life opposes the things of God. The self-life is the old corrupted life with its fallen worldly pattern of thinking. It cannot understand and respond to spiritual realities God is showing us. It is used to responding as its “normal” to the influences of the corrupted spiritual world around us. That is what the devil tries to influence. That means the spirit of this age underpins our contemporary culture. If you look closely there are common manifestations of lust, fear, discouragement and depression like no other generation as many people have observed. Many preachers are now starting to preach on these things led by the Holy Spirit to do so and identifying the spiritual power seducing the world and working as it has always done against the church. That means believers. This is not new but has intensified.
Then we need to look again at what the bible teaches us about the times and seasons we are living in and how things move from generation to generation. Because we live in 2019, it does not mean that spiritual powers and the things Paul describes have somehow disappeared. They are hidden under a veil of darkness that God is exposing through the spirit of revelation and prophesy so we can be the church we need to be in this hour and take ground and advance the dominion rule and reign of heaven on earth. The spirit of Elijah is being released into the church for that very reason.
BEING INTENTIONAL AS A BELIEVER
As believers, his fullness now fills us. This fullness is our true God-power and divine nature that we draw upon. This is not automatic. We must exercise our free will and be very intentional about it. If Satan is intentional we cannot be passive. We cannot slumber, or be deceived. In fact being passive is exactly Satan’s plan as we will discover. And many in the church have fallen asleep, and have lost their passion and fire for Jesus. I hope to change that today for anyone who hears this message!
The key words in this verse is that Satan continues to have authority in this world because the world is not yet living free under God’s Kingdom authority. We are meant to be establishing that as co-labourers with Christ from His fullness that fills us. Satan, or the fiery serpent, who is the god of this world and the Prince of the Air, (all positions of illegitimate spiritual authority), works diligently and intentionally in the hearts of those who are disobedient to the truth of God.
I emphasise: We cannot be passive when Satan is intentional. The Apostle Peter who knew the failure of temptation and the desire to please men and preserve his reputation more than please God, instructs us “Be well balanced and always alert, because your enemy, the devil roams around like a roaring lion looking for its prey to devour. Take a decisive stand against him and resist his every attack with strong, vigorous faith.
A decisive stand requires us being intentional. Like Jesus we need to be militant and vigorous in our faith against the enemies schemes in our lives.
Satan, the devil is our enemy. His lies can never bring freedom or life. But he will tempt your flesh- your thinking and emotions he words can. They bring bondage, destruction and ultimately spiritual death. He is the father of lies and a deceiver from beginning to the end. He and his forces want to take believers out of their effectiveness, wreck our faith, steal our inheritance and ruin our destiny so he can hang on to his illegitimate rule and reign over the world. But he is a defeated foe and we need to remind ourselves and him and every one of his demons that every day. We are not defeated. He is! So we need to enforce his defeat with everything we do.
Therefore whenever we are in the perfect pleasing will of God we can expect some turbulence from the devil and his demons until they become more scared to approach you because of the authority you exercise against them through being intentional than you are of them. Smith Wigglesworth is such an example. So don’t worry about a bit of opposition. God is developing your spiritual authority against all the works of the enemy. For you are more than a conqueror in union with Christ Jesus.
Paul does not imagine in his teaching that any believer would intentionally want to be disobedient to God’s truth. He anticipates a crucified life that is completely surrendered to the fullness, life and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling and working within them. A crucified life and a Christ life are inseparable. Apostle Peter writes to the church telling them”…he has given you magnificent promises that are beyond all price, so that through the power of these tremendous promises you can experience partnership with the divine nature by which you have escaped the corrupt desires that are of the world.”
Real freedom and spiritual authority over the enemy is found in a life completely surrendered and yielded to Christ meaning the authority and power of the Holy Spirit and God’s words towards us established through spiritual disciplines in our life. Not because of what we don’t have but because what we do have that Satan or the devils want to steal from us so they can destroy our future and if possible ship wreck our faith. This is actually happening because many believers have either not established spiritual disciplines in their life or relegated those disciplines as unnecessary in their life. The next verse in Ephesians is Chapter Six.
Now my loved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of his explosive power flowing in and through you.
Put on God’s complete set of armour provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against evil strategies of the accuser ( the devil)! Your hand to hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage.
Because of this, you must wear all the armour that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer for you are destined for all things and will rise victorious.
Now Paul then lists the things we are to do, spiritual disciplines we are to practice so we come into our destiny and rise victorious against our spiritual enemy. What Paul through revelation of God and experience wants us to put on, and carry are effective. They form part of our spiritual armoury. The weapons of our warfare. Satan will try to get us to take these off or be too lazy and ignorant or busy or distracted to put them on or carry them intentionally and vigilantly so that we are vulnerable to his schemes. Deception and ignorance are his main weapons. 7 spiritual disciplines:
Put on truth (God’s truth)
Put on holiness (You are God’s holy space and dwelling place)
Be alert and ready to serve in bringing forward the Gospel in action- keep your God assignments in focus always knowing the devil will try to oppose you if he can. Let the bigness of your assignment diminish the opposition you face. You are doing from God’s authority and power not yours.
Use faith as your wrap around shield- trust God at His word concerning His promises and His intentions towards you and that He is more than faithful to see it established.
Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies.
Take hold of and use the sword of the Spirit which is the spoken word of God.
Passionate prayer in the Spirit, and all kinds of prayer constantly.
I don’t want to unpack these today, but rather to make a simple observation. All of these seven strategic disciplines and armoury and weapons of our warfare have systematically been slowly eroded in the contemporary by the spirit of this world in the church and incorrect doctrine. In particular, the deceptive Jezebel spirit has been silently operating unrecognised in the contemporary church. The spirit of Jezebel will entice us, that is, seduce us, to think that we don’t need any of these spiritual disciplines anymore. In turn, our spiritual vulnerability gives the spirit of Jezebel and Satan power against us by taking our spiritual authority and weaponry as God’s people. This limits our ability to come into our destiny. In doing so, he attempts to prevent us bringing forward the Kingdom of heaven on earth. This is our daily assignment. Somehow entertainment Christianity– those on the shore as I spoke about in the prophetic parable has replaced the necessity of spiritual disciplines- those who row out into the deeper waters and arm themselves against the enemy for their God increase. Those who move beyond how they feel and follow God’s present word. Disciplines move us daily beyond how we feel into who we really are and what we can accomplish in union with Christ.
Because Jezebel is the high priestess of Baal who is the fertility (meaning also prosperity) god, the counterfeit to El Shaddai ( the multi-breasted one feeding and nurturing his children, the all-powerful one) and Adonai Jireh, (the Lord will provide), there is also an attraction to the world’s systems of finances and provision instead of faith in God’s promises and provision.
So the spirit of Jezebel can be quite influential if we are not aware of what is happening in the darkness that is covering a region and underpinning the culture and the spirit of this age. But God always has a strategy to liberate and empower His people against the works of the enemy!
As I said last week when we were in Durban we were confronted by the spirit of Jezebel and the main influential spirit in the region that was working trying to influence the heart and mind of both believers, church leaders and most certainly the world culture in the nation. In Johannesburg we came against the religious spirit and the spirit of poverty which are both characteristics of the Jezebel spirit. I told you that Adam had a confrontation with Jezebel and I had other spirits associated with Jezebel try to influence my thoughts and emotions. God immediately gave us his word through the Holy Spirit as the sword of the Spirit to push back darkness and we exercised spiritual authority.
That is not to suggest that the same spirit is not at work in Adelaide or Australia. It is and we have had more than one encounter with Jezebel over the years. God gives me dreams and lets me know what is happening and trying to influence people. That is where prayer from a place of protecting governing authority becomes the primary weapon as does obedience to God’s word.
But more than that it seems the spirit of Jezebel is influencing the post-modern age and contemporary culture in the west. Jezebel is a significant end time spirit as we will see, that works through the ages and through the generations that produces lust, fear, discouragement and depression in the world and even the vulnerable through passivity and ignorance in the church. Even Elijah when vulnerable through tiredness and working alone came under this spirit of fear and depression from Jezebel. As I said last week, fear in particular is predominantly the biggest faith killer and relationship destroyer that the devil is ramping up in this hour.
The Jezebel spirit is a very influential spirit and is basically used by Satan to destroy the church and to infiltrate the heart and minds (emotions and beliefs) of believers to influence them into a counterfeit priesthood and religion and to pursue the lusts of the flesh. The lusts of the flesh include sexual immorality, an independent spirit that works against both God’s authority and covenant relationship with God and in marriage, a counterfeit prophetic culture through zealous hyper-religiosity producing emotional and false prophecy and the desire for self-promotion. In particular the spirit of Jezebel usurps and tries to manipulate and illegally use and destroy Godly authority over His people so as to control them.
In the end it creates conflict, confusion, division, and self-promoting agendas that benefits the person at the expense of everyone else and creates all kinds of spiritual and material poverty working against the promises of God. It blinds people through deception, creates doctrinal confusion and error, influences people not to pray, not to read the word of God as truth in their life and promotes the individual to reject God’s authority by His word, His Spirit and Godly leadership that are all given for our protection, benefit, advancement and increase.
This spirit works to kill the passion and fire of believers and leaders, and delivers us into a spirit of slumber and complacency under its control. Now it might make sense why God through Dave, Ana and I as three witnesses has spoken to us through Psalm 24:
So wake up, you living gateways! Lift up your heads, you ageless doors of destiny! Welcome the King of glory for he is about to come through you. You ask, “Who is this Glory-King?” The Lord, armed and ready for battle, the Mighty One, invincible in every way.
The Lord revealed to me recently that Satan will do all he can to destroy our ability to praise and worship, meet together and pray, and understand the authority and power of the word of God and the Holy Spirit as God’s truth in our lives.
THE MOST POWERFUL PLACE TO LIVE
The most free, empowered and protected place we can live is fully immersed in God’s word in obedience, fully immersed in the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth and reveals things to us and things that are to come, fully immersed in God’s unconditional love and acceptance as sons of God and honouring the God appointed authority over our life that is for our benefit not theirs!
One of the principles that Jesus models and Paul is at pains to explain whether male or female is that dominating leadership that suppresses others and does not empower them is not part of Godly government. By dominating I mean to rule over people harshly as the bible teaches it. By empowering people I mean not encouraging disempowering victim and learnt helplessness behaviour in believers. But rather keeping them free in Christ by His Spirit and word, self-governing and responsible, as we together live a Christ-centred life and spiritual disciplines that leads us into God’s intended plans and purposes for our lives.
The spirit of Jezebel works to undermine, manipulate and destroy all God intended for your life, protection and increase including your marriage and your calling and will seduce you and influence you to put yourself and your self- life (flesh) at the centre in your life, not Christ, to get you to pursue anything else but what you are called to become and establish in your life. The spirit is very destructive.
Now you might understand some of the intentional and militant ways God had to raise up certain prophets, deliverers and anointed Kings to deal with that spirit throughout the Bible. Jesus never once was anything but intentional and militant with demonic powers that worked against Gods purposes and His intentions towards humanity, who He loves.
Yet he was loving to those who he saw in bondage to darkness. Hence we need to remind ourselves: our wrestle is not against flesh and blood. We love people. But we do not entertain the devil manifesting as evil in any way shape or form in our lives so that he can ultimately lie to us and destroy all God has for us and use us to destroy the destiny of others around us.
WHAT YOU GET USED TO IS NOT GOD’S NORMAL
You are God’s kings and priests designed to establish God’s Kingdom reign – his dominion government on earth as it is in heaven. When we do that we drive out darkness and set others free. We are therefore designed to live from God’s light to expose darkness not come under it. But like anyone who has been in a dark room long enough you begin to get your eyes to adjust and you simply get used to the darkness. I will speak about that more in a moment.
God has prepared a destiny for you and Satan works with all kinds of spiritual forces including and often the spirits of Jezebel and sometimes Absalom in the church and amongst God’s people to work against the fulfilment of that destiny for your life. Both spirits love to usurp God’s appointed authority and misuse it for their own demonic purposes.
What I have seen as a modern trend, and want to explain in some part today, is the rejection of Godly authority or it being watered down and undermined to the point that people positively resist it in their lives. Even church leaders are scared to exercise Godly authority for the claim of being too controlling so they don’t lead at all or people rejecting their authority given for the person’s benefit and spiritual development generally in their lives. Leaders around the world tell me the pressure they feel to become people pleasers instead of God pleasers in the exercise of the authority He has given to them for the protection and spiritual development of God’s people in their care. All in the hope people may stay in their church. They have now realised they have been seduced by the spirit of Jezebel. That is a massive problem for the protection and spiritual development of the church and coming into our increase we need to recognise and correct.
Whilst there has been abuses of authority in the church, often through insecurity in the heart of leaders we must see the same spirit of Jezebel is at work both to control and abuse and to undermine and remove. Jezebel so seduced Ahab that he lost his authority and his ability to stand against her teaching, her false priesthood and its practices and her dishonest schemes. So if Satan through Jezebel can usurp authority, he can gain authority and destroy the church. Jezebel seduces to destroy, no matter how attractive things at first might seem.
This rejection of authority is not only for leaders it is also for God’s word as truth and the authority of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is for every believer too. Their seems to be something of a parallel between the spirit of this age, postmodernism and the spirit of Jezebel that is deeply at work yet hidden in plain sight.
THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
The Lord revealed to me that the contemporary church in the western world has been suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. This relates to the infamous bank robbers who took people hostage in Stockholm. During captivity the hostages came to form a relationship with their captors so they could survive and further, as the Helsinki syndrome reveals identifies with the captor to the point that they started to feel sympathy and affection for them and to even act against the authorities who tried to rescue them. They became comfortable and over a short time captivity became their new normal!
We are so used to the normality of the dark spiritual and natural world around us we think this fallen world, although getting worse by some standards, is normal and for a concerning portion of the church we have become complacent and complicit in it. We have confused spiritual freedom with bondage. We are used to it. We have become comfortable in it yet few are flourishing in it according to God’s intentions towards us. Like the false prophets of the Old Testament we want peace in our bondage. That is why Elijah called the people out from under the dark spiritual authority of Jezebel and called down fire and executed judgement against the prophets of Baal.
Every time we feel we are just surviving we are not responding to the fullness of the Spirit and divine nature of God within us. God does not want us to survive, He intends for us to thrive! This psychological syndrome is not new unfortunately.
In Judges 13 God sent Israel a deliverer in Samson to free them from the authority and bondage of the Philistines ( their time of discipline was over). Yet they preferred to keep peace with the Philistines who were over them that they would be comfortable in their bondage! Samson as an anointed deliverer was causing a commotion in what he was doing. He was disrupting the status quo. He was picking a few fights. He was certainly rocking the boat for the Israelites to bring them out of bondage. He was certainly not being conventional in doing it either. All part of God’s plan to set them free! However, the men of Judah agreed with the Philistines (Judges 15) to seize Samson and bind his hands so that he would not continue to come against the authority of the Philistines. Ultimately it was the deceptive love whims and faux embarrassment and dishonour of a deceptive Delilah that handed Samson over to the Philistines.
To me we see the spirit of Jezebel working through Delilah in much the same way that it worked with Queen Herodias and her daughter manifesting in an erotic dance ( the dance of the seven veils) with King Herod II, and Queen Herodias’ contempt towards and instructions concerning John the Baptist because he challenged her marriage. Indeed, if we think carefully of what Jesus says of the person Jezebel in the Book of Revelation 2:20 in the church at Thyatira we see Jesus’ rebuke for forgiving that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess and is seducing my loving servants. She is teaching that it is permissible to indulge in sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols.” She was also teaching “initiations into deep satanic secrets.” I will come to this next week.
So we must be discerning. We simply don’t forgive everything. Our battle is not against flesh and blood. But we must be willing to deal with the spirit of Jezebel, the demon spirit that operates through people often without them even being aware! We must be alert for our own sake! The place to be aware is first our self rather than finger pointing at others. It is often exposed by the spirit of prophesy or in a dream or vision. It can be realised by its symptoms. What, for example is coming against you in your developing the seven spiritual disciplines of your armour of God? I can tell you seduction means its subtle. Have you lost your passion for Christ and the plans for your life? Are you tempted towards pornography and sexual immorality? Do you prefer to be independent from God’s loving authority in your life, thinking you are the only one doing what is right? Are you unteachable and do you refuse to give yourself to God’s authority. Are you fearful of not being good enough? Has your passion for prayer or the word and even worship of God been hindered? You need to see what is really going on.
Such is the seductive power of Jezebel and why that spirit must be dealt with vigilantly by every believer living fully immersed in their union with Christ.
The demonic powers only have authority because we don’t recognise our authority over them and the power of God’s Spirit and word to drive them out. Every act of our willing obedience to God’s word is God’s weapon for us to have power over the enemy (including the spirit of Jezebel) and destroy him or drive him out of our life and the lives of others. Praise is a weapon of our warfare and deliverance just like obedience is. Forgiveness is a weapon, unity is a weapon, your generosity is a weapon, your love towards one another is a weapon, your discernment and holiness and humility are weapons and above all your surrendered life to Christ leading to obedience is the most powerful weapon of your warfare to advance the Kingdom and drive these demons out and away from your life.
Everything Jesus practiced was designed to displace darkness and drive it out and bring forward the Kingdom realm of God for the benefit of a region. We are meant to be doing the same by the power of God’s grace. As God is saying
“Welcome the King of Glory for he is about to come through you. You ask, “Who is the this Glory-King?” The Lord, armed ready for battle, the Mighty One invincible in every way!
Next week I will speak for about the spirit of Elijah and how it works to expose the spirit of Jezebel and how kingly governmental authority works along-side the spirit of Elijah to destroy the works of Jezebel and establish us in God’s promises and our destiny. God’s intentions towards us are good.
 1 Peter 5:8-9
 2 Peter 1:3-4 at verse 4
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Part 3 (next)
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