We pray, we sacrifice, we fight. For souls!
Nothing is more important! Many believers have abandoned the battlefield for souls because secretly, they are in defeat.
In the Scriptures, the Church is called a body. If one member suffers, all suffer with it. When you hold and cover a hidden sin, you lose something before God. As thousands of believers are silenced this way, the Church can become powerless and unrecognizable. Who you are, what you do when no one sees you, will determine your future.
The words of Abraham to the king of Sodom, the place of fire and destruction, remind us of the reality and seriousness of this implacable war of the secret place. Listen to how Abraham responded to the temptation of the king of Sodom. It can revolutionize your life. He stood before his enemy and said, “I will touch nothing that is of you, not even a thread” (see Genesis 14:23).
I want to call you to a radical, liberating and powerful Christian lifestyle, where you discern the nature of spiritual warfare. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places” (see Ephesians 6:12)
“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Many churches and believers today claim to be engaged in “spiritual warfare.” Multitudes of believers are “binding spirits,” identifying strongholds, naming or identifying demonic principalities in a bizarre and mystical mix of noise and bold proclamations of victory. Self-proclaimed “generals” are giving orders and latest “cutting edge” strategies and revelations for guaranteed revival to the throngs of new experts while everybody is rapturously singing and shouting how scared Satan is of them!
Dear reader, allow me a few questions. Where are the souls saved, their lives changed, delivered, purified and transformed? Measurable growth and increase, water baptisms, true prayer and unity? Where are the wisdom, the amazing grace and the fruit of the Spirit shining forth brilliantly in the lives of believers filled with God? Where are the works of mercy and generosity, sacrificial giving to missions, compassion in action for the poor, the Christian commitment where we don’t count our hours and we don’t seek or need any recognition? Where is the victory, the divine protection over the work of the enemy and of flesh?
Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.
Recently, our ministry received a heartbreaking letter from a prisoner. He wrote:
“Pastor Dave, I’m in prison because of my sexual addiction. I know I wasn’t born this way, but it’s what I’ve become. I have been married three times and I have four children.
“The truth is, I want to stop, yet I don’t. I quit smoking cold turkey and that was no problem but I’ve never been able to stay away from pornography. I truly believe in the healing power of God and I’ve cried and begged Him for help. But I just can’t seem to find the door to escape from my perversion problem.
“My desire to do the Lord’s will is ever with me, yet I constantly push that desire aside and fall back into my lust. I’ve lied to God, promising never to do it again, but I always go back to it.
“I hurt because I know I’ve made the Lord sick. When I go to chapel, I feel two-faced. There are men here who respect me because I’ve given them good advice, but I haven’t kept it myself. I play the piano and sing in chapel, but I don’t feel right—because I’m not right.
“I’d rather die and go to hell than ever bother another innocent person again. But I don’t want to go to hell. I want to serve God, and I want His love. I’m trapped because I hate what I do, yet somehow I love it. I don’t know what to do.”
I said to this young man: “Don't give up hope. God wants to bring healing to you.”
You must believe that nothing in your life is impossible with God. There is no clutch of the devil He cannot break.
So, dear saint, get hold of faith! Believe God to absolutely change and transform your life. If He transformed the demon-possessed man, brought healing to the woman with the issue of blood and to Jairus’ daughter (see Mark 5), He can provide for you. Our God can fix anything.
“With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
God can restore whatever has seemed dead in our lives with just a single word. Are you having financial problems, unable to pay your bills? So it was with the Lord’s disciples—and He fixed their situation supernaturally.
When tax time came around, Christ and His disciples had no money to pay the needed amount. So how did the Lord fix the situation? He sent Peter out to catch a fish. Jesus told him he would find a coin in the mouth of the first fish he caught, and that coin would cover their tax bill. “Go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish . . . and when thou has opened his mouth, thou shalt fine a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee” (Matthew 17:27).
I can only imagine what Peter must have thought; “Tax money in a fish’s mouth? This I’ve got to see. I’ve been a fisherman all my life, and I’ve seen a lot of things inside fish—worms, hooks, seaweed. But I’ve never seen a coin inside one.” Yet, when Peter reeled in the fish, he opened its mouth to find a gleaming coin. The amount was enough to pay their taxes, just as Jesus had said.
Why did the Spirit move upon the gospel writers to record this story? And why did Jesus choose to fix their situation through a miracle? Why didn’t He just take up an offering, or send the disciples out to work for a day to bring in wages for the tax?
I believe Jesus moved supernaturally here because He wanted to prove to His children that He will do the impossible for us. He can fix any financial problem, any family crisis, any overwhelming need.
He wanted us to know that He is the same God who fed Elijah with bread delivered by ravens (see 1 Kings 17). He fed a crowd of 5,000 (see Mark 6:34-44) and another crowd of 4,000 (Mark 8:1-9) with a few fishes and loaves of bread. He knows that at certain times in our lives only a miracle will do. And He wants to assure us that He can do the impossible for us, in any situation!
Mark 5 tells the story of Jairus, the desperate synagogue ruler who asked Jesus to heal his daughter. The twelve-year-old girl was dangerously near death, and Jairus pleaded with Christ to come to his house and lay hands on her.
Jesus agreed to go with him. But first He stopped along the way to minister to a woman with a blood disease. (This was the woman who was healed when she touched the hem of His garment.) Yet, while Jesus tarried, a messenger came with tragic news: Jairus’ daughter had already died. The messenger told the synagogue ruler, “Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?” (Mark 5:35).
Jairus’ heart was gripped with grief. He thought, “If only we had gotten there on time. Now it's too late. My daughter is gone.” But Jesus assured him, “Be not afraid, only believe” (verse 36).
As the group approached Jairus’ home, they heard sounds of wailing and mourning. It was Jairus’ family and neighbors, grieving over the girl. Picture the contrast in this scene: Here was God in flesh, Creator of the universe, able to perform any work imaginable—yet the people were weeping in His presence. In short, they were testifying, “God can only help as long as there is some sign of hope left. But once all life is gone, there is no need to call on Him anymore. Even He can't restore this kind of situation.”
How many Christians today no longer call upon the Lord because they think their problem is hopeless? Multitudes trust God only to the point that something in their life dies. I’m not referring to the death of a person but rather the death of a marriage, a relationship, a dream, your hope for an unsaved loved one—anything in your life you think is impossible to fix, change or restore.
Jesus rebuked such unbelief. He said to the weeping crowd at Jairus’ home, “Why make ye this ado, and weep? The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth” (verse 39). He was stating, “This situation is not what you see or think. You think all hope is gone but I say there will be restoration.” He then went to the little girl’s room and, speaking a mere word, He brought the child to life. “Straightway the damsel arose, and walked” (verse 42).
Why did the Holy Ghost include this story in Mark’s gospel? He did it to show us that nothing is too “dead” or too far gone for Him to restore to life. He is saying, “Put your trust in Me to fix your problem. It’s never too late for Me to work.”
In the days to come, you are going to hear incredible messages about loving Jesus. They will sound holy and Christlike, but they will be tainted with an error that will rob the saints of the very thing that produces steadfastness. These messages will lack an urgency for preparation or a longing for His coming! Their preachers will chop away at the glorious truth of this event and get you to look for an earthly kingdom. And if you look eagerly to His coming, you will be labeled an escapist!
There is a new gospel being preached today saying that Jesus comes only to the heart—and that His Second Coming is a special revelation to the mind! He appears only to the inner man!
New Agers advertise that their Christ will appear on TV worldwide. All the world will see His coming simultaneously. As they view this event, they will receive an inner revelation to their minds—a “knowing.”
To some Christians today, this world is not a sinking ship or a world reserved for fire. It is an international capitol building overrun with undesirables whom these believers plan to kick out. They will then take their place, renovating and governing it all themselves. Such thinking is symptomatic of a dying love for Jesus and a clinging to this world! “Beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Peter 3:17). No one can be more spiritually blind than to say, “My Lord delayeth His coming.”
Jude said, “Enoch . . . prophesied . . . Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment” (Jude 14-15). Paul said, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).
This is not an escapist message. It is a message of comfort! Jesus wants us with Him!