Sanctified for Service

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).

We are a temple for the presence of God to dwell and for the Holy Spirit to inhabit. We are created for the establishment of the kingdom of God. We are not perfect, but we allow the Holy Spirit to live through us and we remain connected to God, for his purpose to be fulfilled in us.

Paul encouraged a daily sanctification and asking God to forgive and cleanse us from our sins. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Yet we are not sinners but we are the righteousness of God. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

So we are no longer slaves to sin, because through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we live in him and our bodies are under the blood of Jesus. His grace covers us and keeps us from falling into sin. We are not able to keep ourselves pure and sinless, but when we remain close to God and submit our spirits to him, then the Holy Spirit does the work to keep us pure.

Daily prayer, worship and reading the word keeps us in the presence of God, so that he can continue to refine us. We need fasting to help us to overcome some strongholds and the habitual sins that we struggle to get rid of. God is coming back for a Holy church without spot or wrinkle so we are holy because God is holy. “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple”
‭‭(1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:16-17‬).


Take it by Force

Our assignment on earth is to advance the kingdom of God, to walk in authority and dominion and to take possession of everything that God has promised us. The enemy wants us to live broke down, depressed, oppressed and well below our potential. When we come into the fullness and complete understanding of who we are in Christ Jesus and the power available to us, we will no longer live with what the enemy is serving up.

Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead, to give us power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over every power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm us (Luke 10:19). If you are sick, we recognise that healing is a promise to the children of God. “You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water, and I will take sickness away from among you” (Exodus 23:25). Daily tap into what the word says about healing, in order to build your faith in that area and then claim your healing in Jesus Name.

The bible provides prescriptions for healing from mental, emotional and physical infirmity. It offers hope and insight for lack and debt and hope and strength for the weary. Time is never an excuse for not studying the bible, when we find time for so many other distractions. Besides, when we come to the understanding of how we can use the word to win our battles, we won’t miss out on learning the word in order to claim from its promises.

God made us in his image to rule and reign as Kings and seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). God’s promise is that he has made us the head and not the tail, above and not beneath (Exodus 28:13). We take our rightful seat of authority on this earth and refuse to settle for being restricted, held back and treated like second class citizens.

The enemy will not surrender territory willingly, so we progress violently through prayer and claim our rightly possession. We use the word of God as our weapon, which is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword. Piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).


Unflinching Convicting

I recently heard the word unflinching, used to describe the kind of support that I had provided for someone. Although I didn’t quite know the meaning of the word, the phrase that came to mind was Isaiah’s reference regarding ‘fixing his face like a flint.’ I believe in chapter 50 Isaiah spoke about waking daily to hear the word of God in order to speak a word to the weary (Isaiah 50:4).

Most prophets in bible days were not very popular people, because their message was often one of repentance and judgement. Yet Isaiah was convinced that he was not afraid of shame or persecution, but he would continue to stand firm in his conviction. This is because Isaiah knew that God was with him to protect and defend him.

I looked up the word unflinching and it means, ‘not showing fear or hesitation in the face of danger or difficulty.’ I imagine that this word may have come, from having one‘s face set hard like a flint or a stone. A flint is a hard rock which has been used for centuries to make weapons. I suppose this stone is powerful and hard, so Isaiah’s reference was to having a determined perseverance in the face of difficulty and danger.

We need unflinching determination to do the will of God, to accomplish our life’s mission and purpose and to not be deterred by opposition or trials. We have to have our faces fixed like a flint, because we know that God is with us so we will not be ashamed. We have confidence in what God says in spite of what our circumstances look like. We speak light into the darkness and command things that be not as though they were (Romans 4:7).


Maintain Your Position

“And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you”” (Nehemiah 6:3)?

Let us take a brief snapshot from the story regarding Nehemiah. He rebuilt the walls in Jerusalem following the exile of the Jews. Nehemiah learned that there was a remnant of Jews, who escaped the exile but were in trouble and distress, because the walls were torn down (Nehemiah 1). He gained the favour of the King who he served as a cupbearer. The King allowed Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem, to rebuild the wall and also provided the equipment, which he needed to do this work.

Nehemiah gathered the people and the work progresses successfully, until he encountered opposition. In chapter 4, Sanballat and Tobiah were angry, that the work progressed and hurled insults at Nehemiah and the Jews. Nehemiah’s response was to pray and carry on building and the work progressed.

Again in chapter 6, when Sanballat and Tobiah heard that Nehemiah had completed the wall, they continue to conspire. This time they sent messengers 4 times to call Nehemiah to meet, but their intention was to harm him. Nehemiah saw through their conspiracy and his response was, “I cannot come down because I am doing a great work.”

When the first plot didn’t work, they wrote letters spreading lies and gossip about Nehemiah, saying that he wanted to be King. They even sent a false prophet to convince Nehemiah, to run to the house of God to hide because they wanted to kill him. On every occasion, Nehemiah saw through the conspiracies and recognised them as schemes, to distract him from the work. He maintained his focus and completed the work of rebuilding the wall, restoring the gates and the doors (Nehemiah 6).

We can learn a lot from this story about Nehemiah. (1) Stay focused on what God has assigned you to do and complete the assignment. (2) Do not entertain every argument or engage in every fight. (3) Not every “Prophet” or “prophetic word” is sent by God. (4) When God has asked you to do something great, expect opposition and persecution to come. (5) Stay in prayer, remain steadfast in your conviction and God will give you the strength to complete what you have started. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”
‭‭(Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬).


Strategic Discipleship

“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today”” (Luke 19:5).

Zacchaeus was a tax collector who was unpopular among the people. When Jesus decided to go to his home, the people did not approve. “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7). But Jesus’s decision to go with Zacchaeus produced a positive outcome. “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold” (Luke 19:8). Not only did Zacchaeus surrender his life to God and receive salvation, he also redistributed his wealth to those in need.

Jesus once stopped in the city of Samaria to minister to a woman who was an adulteress. His disciples were puzzled about why he was talking to the woman, as the Jews traditionally had no dealings with the Samaritans. After Jesus concluded his ministry to the woman, she ran to spread his message to the people in her town. Because of this woman’s testimony, many Samaritans met Jesus and believed and received salvation. ““Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to him”” (John 4:29-30).

We see a similar narrative, when Jesus travelled to the country of the Gerasenes and healed the man possessed with legions. The man begged Jesus to allow him to travel with him. Jesus declined his offer and directed him towards another assignment. ““Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him”” (Luke 8:39).

Throughout his ministry, Jesus reached out to disciple those who people considered, among the worst of sinners. These were people who others had given up on, as being beyond redemption. What was amazing, was how powerful their testimony was in bringing others to Christ. Zacchaeus was an outcast among his people, because he collected taxes for the Romans. The Samaritan woman was won over by the realisation, that Jesus felt that she was worthy to be ministered to despite her failures. The man of Gerasenes had probably given up on being set free. His freedom first made him want to follow Jesus and then his testimony was powerful enough to transform a city.

Despite the history of these people mentioned above, Jesus considered them worthy of salvation. Nobody is perfect and no one is more worthy or salvation than another person. God takes no delight in the death of sinners, but desires that everyone would repent and have eternal life (Ezekiel 18:23). God created us all in his image and he loves us. Sin distorts the image of God in us and we have an assignment as Christians, to win as many souls to God as possible. “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared”
‭‭(Psalm‬ ‭130:3-4‬).


Being Unmovable

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Paul taught the Corinthians on the subject of death and resurrection from the dead. He expounds on Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection and explained that our mortal bodies shall put on an incorruptible body in order to inherit the kingdom of God. “I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable”(1 Corinthians 15:50). In essence, Paul was saying that as believers, we do not have a reason to fear death. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting””(1 Corinthians 15:54-55)?

Paul and the other disciples lived with the certainty of imprisonment and death, given how dangerous their careers as apostles were during that time. Paul also spoke in Acts 20 that the Holy Spirit continued to witness that he was likely to experience imprisonment and affliction. Paul does not seem deterred by the threats, but is ever more determined to carry on doing the work of spreading the gospel. “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God”(Acts 20:24).

Over in Acts 21, Paul starts his journey to Jerusalem and the disciples prayed and begged him not to go. One prophet even demonstrated to Paul how he would be in chains if he journeyed to Jerusalem (Acts 21:11). “Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus””(Acts 21:13).

In the end, Paul journeyed to Jerusalem and was indeed arrested. His conviction was that he had to do the will of God no matter the consequence. Paul was not afraid of death but was determined to complete his God given assignment. Paul was not moved by the threats because he was persuaded that whether he was alive or dead, that his life belonged to God. “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”(Philippians 1:20-21).


Deliverance (5)

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).

Throughout this week, we explored the subject of deliverance and looked at what the bible prescribes for gaining freedom. I would like to say that this a broad topic, which cannot be completely covered in a week. I believe that deliverance can seem like a lifelong journey for the believer. When we become born again, we are set free from sin. As we live in a fallen world, we are daily affected and impacted by what happens around us. Maintaining our freedom in Christ and living in peace requires ongoing consecration. We have to also remember that this is not a works based programme.

“not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). As the Holy Spirit lives in us, he continues to renew us as we daily die to the works of the flesh. Paul cautioned the Ephesians against bitterness, wrath, anger, harsh words, slander and malice. These attitudes give place to the devil and gives him legal grounds on which to accuse us. Let us examine whether or not we are harbouring ill feelings towards anyone. Remember that our prayers won’t be answered, if we hold any bitterness in our hearts towards anyone.

Forgive the people who have hurt you, pray for them and bless them. This is a biblical prescription and holding unto resentment is harmful and toxic. It is not sinful to have negative emotions towards others. It becomes sin when we hold unto these emotions and act on them. It is difficult to let go of past hurt and pain. It is even more difficult for us to hold unto these emotions, as they can harm us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You are not doing anyone a favour by praying for, blessing and releasing the anger towards others. You are setting yourself free to live.

Many people are still angry towards a dead parent or relative. We sometimes need support, prayer and help to release some hurts. Some conditions may require counselling or therapy. Avoiding the pain and ignoring it, will not cause it to go away. Cry out to God for help and give him all of your difficult emotions. God will heal your mind and emotions. My final caution is to steer clear of worldly occult practices and do not entertain darkness. Witchcraft, freemasonry, tarot readings, psychic readings and horoscopes are an open door for bondage. If you have been led into any of these practices through ignorance or disobedience, confess, repent, renounce the works of darkness and seek the support of a minister.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).


Deliverance (4)

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:13-14).

James taught the church about the prayer of faith. His advice to those who were suffering is to pray. For those who were cheerful, to sing praises and those who were sick, to ask for prayer from the elders. The elders were instructed to anoint the sick person with oil in the name of Jesus. The prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise them up. If the person had committed a sin, the Lord would forgive them of their sins. James went on to say, that we should confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that we may be healed. The earnest and sincere prayer of a righteous person, produces great results.

James was referring to accountability and the need to submit to spiritual authority. Elders are set over the church to lead, support and to equip the body of Christ. Christianity is not a ‘solo faith,’ where we do it all alone. We need each other in order to grow, develop and to mature in God. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Paul also said that those who are strong, are to help to bear the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1). Paul also taught about the need to gently restore someone who is caught in a sin. This was described as, bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

The above scripture means that, even born against Christians can at times struggle, with besetting sins. In these instances, it helps when we have people around us who we can confide in and who can hold us accountable. Church elders and those who are mature in the faith, are best placed to support people who are struggling. Sometimes people need spiritual counselling, which supports their deliverance from spiritual strongholds. We all have blind spots that may not be obvious to us. Having people around us who can provide guidance and gentle correction, will help us to grow.

Some sinful conditions can also open a door for sickness and infirmity. For example, someone may struggle with anger, which Paul warns, gives a foothold to the devil. Notice that James stated that the sick person, may at times need to repent of sin. This is not to say that every person who is ill is sinful, neither is every sinful person ill. However, some situations may open a door for affliction. Someone who abuses drugs and alcohol for example, cannot be surprised if they experience ill health. Do not be afraid to ask mature Christians and elders for help, support, guidance and counselling. There are conditions that we will not be set free from, without the help of others. Find someone who you can be honest with about your struggles and don’t be afraid to ask for help.


Deliverance (3)

“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’”” (Matthew 4:4).

We are familiar with this bible story, when Jesus was led up into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. This was after Jesus completed a forty day fast before commencing his ministry. Satan took the opportunity to tempt Jesus, because he knew that he was tired and hungry. The antidote for the devil’s temptation was the written word of God. John taught us that in the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the word was God (John 1:1). Fasting is a strategy to undo the heavy burdens of sin, to break yokes of bondage and to set the oppressed free (Isaiah 58:6).

Fasting helps to destroy the works of the flesh and is a good strategy to help with breaking sinful habits. The discipline of fasting helps to put the works of the flesh under subjection. Jesus also taught his disciples about the boy who needed deliverance, that some types of deliverance required fasting and prayer (Matthew 17:21). Jesus also scolded them about their unbelief and said that they needed faith. In addition to fasting and prayer, we need to develop a sound understanding of the word, which increases faith. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Many people have been involved in marathon fasting and prayer sessions for weeks at a time, without seeing results. This can be due to an approach which views this as a spiritual exercise, rather than to develop intimacy with God. A lack of understanding of the scripture, can cause our prayers to go amiss (James 4:3). We have to remember that is not in our own strength that we gain victory, but by the spirit of the Lord. I am not against fasting and prayer by any means. What I am trying to convey, is the importance of fasting that is based on firm understanding.

Many people want to pray hot, spirit filled prayers without the knowledge of the word. An effective prayer strategy is praying the word of God. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). In essence, teaching people the word of God can set them free from the chains of bondage. Although Jesus fasted for forty days, he used the word to resist the devil’s temptations. Knowing the word will teach you how to resist the devil and to stand firm against his schemes. We need a biblical understanding to support effective fasting, prayer and deliverance.


Deliverance (2)

“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 2:14-15).

For the purpose of this series, we will define deliverance as being rescued or set free. With this definition, we can agree that we all have been delivered from sin and set free from condemnation. One of the main things that the devil uses to keep people in bondage is sin consciousness. As such, he tries to keep people bound by guilt, shame and condemnation. It is liberating to know that if we confess our sins, that God is faithful to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). A part of satan’s deception is to convince people, that some sins are too big for God to forgive.

We have to remember that Christ Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted. As such, there is no temptation that we have experienced that is not common to everyone (1 Corinthians 10:13). Furthermore, absolutely nothing that we have ever done can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus. “For I am sure that 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 8:38-39). Let us take a look at bible characters who walked with God, yet committed grievous sins.

Moses murdered a man and then ran away to escape punishment (Exodus 2). Despite these failings, God used Moses to deliver his people from Egypt. God referred to Moses as the prophet who he communicated with face to face. David committed adultery, impregnated a man’s wife and then killed the man to cover up his sin (2 Samuel 11). God described David as ‘a man after his own heart,’ and promised that David’s seed would never be forgotten. It is not that God condoned the sins of these and other great men in the bible. Moses spent forty years in isolation in the wilderness as a consequence of his sin. David lost the son that he bore from that sinful relationship.

One thing that was noteworthy about David, was his willingness to repent, once he had been confronted. “David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die” (2 Samuel 12:13). The book of Psalms also outlined extensive prayers of repentance from David. This is the crux of the matter. Start with acknowledging your sins and then repent and be set free. Once you repent, the devil has no legal grounds upon which to condemn you.

Confess your sins, repent of your sins and receive the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. If you haven’t done so already, you also need to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and saviour so that he will live inside of you. Once you accept Jesus Christ, you will walk in freedom and you won’t be held in the bondage of sin. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).