This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
Part of series, “What Is Holiness? – Volume 2”
Now our proclamation tonight is very brief but very powerful. Proverbs 19:23.
The fear of the Lordleads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil.
Now how can you turn down something as good as that? And yet so many Christians are afraid of the fear of the Lord. We’d like to invite you to say it after us.
The fear of the LORD leads to life, [Congregation Repeats]
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; [Rep]
He will not be visited with evil. [Rep]
All right, now we’ll all say it together this time.
The fear of the LORD leads to life,
And he who has it will abide in satisfaction;
He will not be visited with evil.
Amen. So I want to speak briefly about what happened this morning which I found refreshing, stimulating. I’m not much interested in meetings that go according to human plans. But I want to say a few things because I don’t want to seem proud or arrogant, but I have been in the ministry of delivering people from demons publicly for thirty-five years and I’ve learned a few things. Why should you make all the same mistakes that I made when I’m willing to tell you how not to do it? So on the basis of what I’ve experienced I would say in ministering deliverance I will focus eighty percent of my effort on getting people to meet the conditions. Twenty percent on getting the demons out. Because if people haven’t met the conditions either you won’t get the demons out, or they’ll come out, go out and come back. So – and the conditions are simple. On pages 1, 204 and 205 of this excellent book I list nine conditions, and basically I have to say wherever people apply them it works. There’s no mystery. It’s not something remote and hard to discern. It’s very simple. In fact, I’ve often said if I don’t understand it, if I don’t say it’s simply, it’s because I haven’t understood it clearly. And I work on saying it simply. I think of my dear first wife who sat in the front row and clasped her hands and prayed for me. When she prayed most earnestly I thought, “What have I done now.” But she was patient. I worked at it. I tried, I refined it, I purified it, and I’ve come out with something that is basically simply and practical and it works. So why beat about the bush when you can go straight to the target?
So there are nine conditions that I find people have to make in order to be delivered.
No. 1:Personally affirm your faith in Christ. Christ is the High Priest of our confession. No confession, no High Priest.
No. 2:Humble yourself. And that’s the absolute condition for going any further. People who are not willing to humble themselves will not get delivered.
No. 3:Confess any known sin.
No. 4:Repent of all sins.
No. 5:Forgive all other people.
No. 6:Break with the occult and all false religion.
No. 7:Prepare to be released from every curse over your life.
No. 8:Take your stand with God.
Do you know what expel is? It’s to breathe it out. You’ve inhaled something you don’t want in your life, you breathe it out. It’s that simple.
Deliverance does not come to those who sit passively, nor does it come to those who quote Scriptures. It comes to those who expel. That’s what Jesus said, “In My name they shall expel demons.” I mean a lot of time and energy can be wasted, a lot of long elaborate wordy prayers are unnecessary. Get down to action. Expel! And then don’t be too refined about how it comes out, because there are a lot of different and rather ugly ways in which they may come out. We are not here to make demons behave properly. We’re here to get rid of them.
Then I have a prayer for deliverance which goes through the nine steps and you certainly don’t have to follow this word by word, but basically it works. As a matter of fact, Ruth and I were discussing something a little while ago about something that was troubling me and I don’t even remember what it was, and Ruth said, “Why don’t we pray our prayer.” Well I got about half way through the prayer and I was delivered. So you know, don’t lets mess around. So this is the prayer that I suggest.
No. 1:Lord Jesus Christ, I believe You are the Son of God and the only way to God – that You died on the cross for my sins and rose again so that I might be forgiven and receive eternal life.
No. 2:I renounce all pride and religious self-righteousness and any dignity that does not come from You. I have no claim on Your mercy except that You died in my place.
No. 3:I confess all my sins before You and hold nothing back. Especially I confess ________________ and you put in your own list.
No. 4:I repent of all my sins. I turn away from them and I turn to You, Lord for mercy and forgiveness.
No. 5:By a decision of my will, I freely forgive all who have ever harmed or wronged me. I lay down all bitterness, all resentment and all hatred. Specifically, I forgive ____________ and you list the people. [And I would have to say normally that’s the biggest hindrance to deliverance, the failure to forgive.]
No. 6:I sever all contact I have ever had with the occult or with all false religion – particularly ___________________ and you name it. I commit myself to get rid of all objects associated with the occult or false religion. You cannot keep them in your house and stay free.
No. 7:Lord Jesus, I thank You that on the cross You were made a curse, that I might be redeemed from every curse and inherit God’s blessing. On that basis I ask You to release me and set me free to receive the deliverance I need. [And one sister here was delivered on that basis this morning.]
No. 8:Take your stand with God: I take my stand with You, Lord, against all Satan’s demons. I submit to You, Lord, and I resist the devil. Amen!
No. 9:Expel! Now I speak to any demons that have control over me [Speak directly to them.] I command you to go form me now. In the name of Jesus, I expel you!”
And you can save hours of noise and activity.
So my theme this evening is “The Purpose Of God’s Discipline.” And I would like to read some verses from Hebrews chapter 12 by way of introduction. Hebrews 12, we can start at verse 5 and read through verse 14. Hebrews 12 beginning at verse 5.
Now consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the LORD loves he chastens,
And scourges every son whom he receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you, as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons,
Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in submission to the Father of spirits and live?
And let me pause there and say that’s the key to life - it’s being in subjection to the Father of spirits. And if you’re not in subjection to Him, you really cannot know life as God intends you to know it. I’m going to read that again.
Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
And notice the end purpose of all chastening, correction, is that we may be partakers of His holiness. And I have met many Christians who have been Christians for fifteen or twenty years, and their attitude is, “Well, God doesn’t need to correct me any longer.” God needs to correct you and me until we have become partakers of His holiness. That’s the end. That’s the purpose. And as long as that purpose is not fulfilled, we are subject to chastening and correction. And I have really wept inwardly over many dear brothers and sisters who have been chastened by God and have not acknowledged it, because their theology teaches them it won’t happen. It’s a tragedy. I mean, I am really deeply concerned. If I were to speak out I could name some dear brothers who are going through terrible things, because they have not submitted to the chastening of the Lord. Let’s go on reading.
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous or painful; [I’d rather say.] nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The Greek word there means gymnastically trained.You’re being put through a gymnastic process, and that means discipline. It means going against your body. It means enduring hardship. But the purpose is that you may be partakers of God’s holiness, which has nothing to do with human, legalistic holiness. As I pointed out, God is not holy because He has a set of rules that He follows. And following a set of rules does not make you holy, even it they’re good rules. You may need to follow them, but that doesn’t make you holy. Going on. Verse 12.
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
And I want to pause there. I said originally that I preached in many, many congregations in many countries to people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and I do not recall – I mean it may be a failure in my memory – but I do not recall ever being in a congregation where I had the impression that they were pursuing holiness. I mean, my experience is limited. I’m not speaking by ______?_____ but I just do not recall ever being in a group of people who were pursuing holiness.
As I said earlier, but I think it bears saying again, I don’t read a great deal of Christian literature. I read some people like Andrew Murray and so on, but my impression is about the time of World War I, holiness dropped out of the Christian vocabulary. And then came the Pentecostal movement which I have been a part of ever since I’ve been a Christian. But one problem with the Pentecostal movement is people got so excited with gifts they no longer paid attention for the need of fruit and for discipline. And gifts are no substitute for fruit. Jesus said, “By their fruits you will know them.” Not by their gifts. In fact He rebuked people who were practicing lawlessness and yet exercising spiritual gifts. And there are such people in the world today. They practice lawlessness, they make their own rules, they set their own standards, they are submitted to nobody, and they’re exercising spiritual gifts. It is possible.
I’m in the process of writing a series of teaching letters about this subject, and in one of them I mentioned a man that I knew about because I have a long-standing contact with Scandinavia, in a Scandinavian country who had such a powerful ministry of speaking on the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit that when he preached the people in the congregation actually felt the Holy Spirit dropping on them like rain. And he went straight out from those meetings and committed adultery. And when he was charged with it nobody believed that a man who preached like that could act like that, until he acknowledged it himself. You see, when God gives a gift He never withdraws it. They’re not conditional loans. They’re outright gifts and we are responsible for the use we make of them. We can do three things. We can use them, we can fail to use them and lose them, or we can misuse them. But they are still ours and we are accountable to God for what we do with them.
Now let me just come back to this question of why God disciplines us. The writer says in verse five.
You have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
There’s two different errors. Some people despise the chastening of the Lord. They say, “I don’t believe God would treat me like that. God doesn’t treat His children like that. That’s not from God. I don’t believe it. I don’t accept it.” They despise the chastening of the Lord.
There are others who are discouraged. “Well if that’s how God treats me I don’t, I just don’t have any hope. I mean... I don’t believe God would ever treat His children like that. Did I have to go through something like that? You mean God is behind it? I can’t take that. It’s too much. I’ll just give up. I’ll lie down and let the devil walk right over me.”
But we need to bear in mind that being chastened, or corrected, or disciplined – the best word is disciplined – is evidence that we are true sons and daughters of God. If we are not disciplined, woe to us. God is not treating us as His children.
Let’s go on a little. The writer says we had human fathers who disciplined us, and we gave them respect. That’s unfortunately often not true today. There are lots of fathers who don’t discipline their children. I have observed, and I am, under God, the head of a large family. And I've seen all sorts of children grow up in all sorts of ways. And I would have to say if you want your child to have a difficult way through life just spoil him or her. You can be sure he’ll be a misfit, or she’ll be a misfit for most of her life. Because they will go through life believing that life will treat them like their parents treat them. And life doesn’t play that game. Life goes by different rules. The first thing that all children need is love, the second is discipline. Either without the other is ineffective. Really, I mean, I cry when I see how some parents are just setting their children up for a difficult life.
Then another thing that the writer says here is if you’re chastened or disciplined, verses 12 and 13,
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
So don’t indulge in self-pity. The first time I got involved in demons being cast out of a woman that named themselves, I think the third one that named itself was Self-pity, and it was like a book was opened to me. I thought now I understand why so many people never get free because they are tied down in self-pity. “Poor me. I shouldn’t have to go through that. God is too good to let His children suffer like that. I’ve got to rebuke the devil.” Well, a lot of people waste time rebuking the devil when they should be submitting to God. I mean the devil laughs at you if you rebuke him and you haven’t met God’s conditions.
Let’s ask ourselves... I feel this is a time for letting God examine us. Rather than self-examination, let’s submit to divine examination. I am totally British. My whole background is British and I really was overcome with grief here this evening at the condition of this nation. And praise God I endorse the prayer. Let’s get missionaries form Africa. Let’s get missionaries form India. We need them. And I know there are at least Nigerians that say, “Well we owe the gospel to the British. Now we’ll pay them back and take it back.” Thank God for them. Thank God. But we need to humble ourselves before Almighty God. David said, “I humble my soul with fasting.” I don’t believe we would have had the breakthrough that we had here this morning if we hadn’t taken yesterday, most of us, for fasting. And I don’t believe that any revival of any significance will come until God’s people humble their souls with fasting. That’s a wonderful tool, because pride is something endemic in the human heart of every one of us. We are by nature proud. We’re by nature arrogant. We’re by nature self-assertive. We’re by nature self-seeking. We’re by nature self-centered. And we have to change. And one of the ways of dealing with our self-assertive ego is humbling it by fasting.
I always think of that lawyer in Washington, D.C. and he heard me teach on fasting. And having a legal mind... You know the best mind to receive the word of God is the legal mind, because there’s so much that’s legal in the word of God. And he decided, “Well, I’ll fast today.” And so he did and he had a miserable day. Every time he went near a restaurant or any kind of place that sold food something was urging him to go inside. And so at the end of the day he gave his stomach a talking to. And he said, “Stomach, you’ve made a lot of trouble for me today, and to punish you for that I’m going to fast tomorrow.” That’s the way to deal with an unruly stomach.
There was a brother here this morning who I believe I couldn’t even identify him now. But I believe he was delivered from gluttony. And you see, this is an example, you can’t just attack the spirit of gluttony because something let gluttony in. And you have to find out what let gluttony in before you can get gluttony out. And one of the strongest, most powerful entrance that the devil has is low self-esteem. You don’t value yourself, you don’t appreciate yourself. And consequently the devil just walks in and tramples over you.
So I said to this brother, I said, “Was there anything in your background that made you feel unwanted?” He said, “Well, I was an orphan when I was young.” And so I said, “Why don’t you ask God to show you the name of the demon and just let God put the name in your mind.” And out he came with the word, “orphan.” So I said, “We’ll get rid of that orphan spirit.” And we got rid of it. And then I had my hand on his belly and I could feel that demon of gluttony struggling. But once basis for being there had been taken away, he could be evicted.
We have another precious brother, one of the most effective workers we have in our ministry who had a very unhappy childhood. In fact he deliberately – I won’t say deliberately – he blotted out the memory of about five years of his childhood. And then he was with us in meetings a little while back. He obviously had something that was not what it should be. And I said, “Why don’t you ask God to show you the name of the demon.” Now you can’t make a game out of this, but it’s very profitable if you do it the right way. “So just ask God to show you. What word do you get?” He said, “Homeless.” And I said, “Then renounce that homeless spirit.” And just think how many millions of people there must be in this nation today who have a homeless spirit. And it came out. He was delivered. Then he told us later, “For the first time in my life I’ve been able to sit down and relax with my family.” He has a wonderful family. He’s an excellent father. “But,” he said, “whenever we were together I would get so restless I would have to get up and make coffee or do something. Now,” he said, “my children say to me, ‘Dad, you can sit with us.’” Amen. So we’re not going to have a deliverance service. If you want to get delivered we won’t stop you, but...
Now I just deal with one other very important subject in connection with discipline. I really, I know a good many Christian ministers, and I would say most of them have the attitude, “I’ve served the Lord so long, I’ve had so many results, I couldn’t possibly need discipline.” If you think you couldn’t possibly need discipline, you need it. So I’m going to go to Paul’s instructions about the Lord’s Supper which is as you would all agree a focal point of the whole Christian gospel. I’m turning to 1 Corinthians chapter 11 beginning at verse 23.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
[Now listen to these words.] For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
What a wonderful privilege to proclaim the Lord’s death. I definitely don’t want to set a pattern for anybody, but because of our very mobile and unsettled life, Ruth and I take the Lord’s Supper together as a couple every morning, and we have the privilege of proclaiming the Lord’s death. Not forever. Only until He comes. Amen. But this is a continual reminder to us each day, he’s coming. And we go on doing this until He takes us, until He comes. But it’s, there’s a stability. We have a very unsettled mobile life and we have to achieve stability, not by situation, but by the way we conduct ourselves, the things, the practices that we hold onto.
Now listen to what Paul says about the Lord’s Supper beginning in verse 27 of 1 Corinthians 11.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
That’s a very, very serious statement. I would say you could alternatively translate that, “...rather they would be guilty of, would be answerable for...” In other words, once you’ve taken the Lord’s Supper you have declared that you know that Jesus died and shed His blood for our redemption. So after that we are accountable for what we know. Then Paul says in verse 28,
But let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.
Now this used to be a practice with Presbyterian congregation. It was sometimes made very legalistic, but its basis was Scriptural. I think every person who partakes of communion normally should take at least a few moments just to check on his or her spiritual condition. It’s very healthy because it brings you back to the place where you have to check. We can’t just go on from day to day casually assuming that everything is right between God and us, or between us and our fellow Christians. So a good time to check is whenever you take the Lord’s Supper. So Paul says,
Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.
For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
So if you partake in an unworthy manner of the communion you are bringing judgment on yourself. No matter who you are, how many years you’re been a Christian, there's no time limit. I’ve been a Christian, how many years, fifty-seven, and I want to tell you God still disciplines me. I haven’t reached the stage of maturity where I’m immune to discipline. And then Paul goes on to say and here is a verse that’s dropped out of the Pentecostal theology.
For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
That means die untimely. What is the reason? Failing to examine ourselves, failing to judge ourselves. So what is the result? We become weak, we become sickly, and some of us die prematurely. And there are those Christians who have died prematurely for that very reason. They’ve had a wrong attitude to the Lord or to their fellow Christians. And it’s expensive. It’s dangerous. So what is the remedy? Well Paul goes on to say,
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. [We would not fall under weakness, sickness or untimely death.]
But when we are judged, we are chastened [or disciplined] by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
My logical mind says we have three options. Number 1, we judge ourselves and repent. Number 2, we are chastened by the Lord and repent. Number 3, we fail to repent and we are judged with the world.
I don’t believe there are any other options. And that confronts us every time we take the Lord’s Supper, every time we take communion. So let no one say God never makes people sick. It’s specifically stated we will be sick and some will die untimely. I, in my lengthy experience without giving any indication of whom I have in mind, I believe I know brothers whom the Lord took away by death rather than let him go into some rebellious course. That’s the mercy of God. But it’s not His highest mercy. His highest mercy is if we respond. If we judge ourselves God doesn’t have to do it.
We should view the Lord’s Supper or communion as a wonderful opportunity for self-judgment and never partake casually or carelessly. And if we are convicted the best thing to do is repent. Then we don’t come under the Lord’s judgment. But if we don’t repent we do come under the Lord’s judgment. And if we don’t repent then, God treats us as he treats the world. That’s perfectly logically.
Now I believe repentance is one of the key words that are needed in what is confronting the church. And I want to give you my own definition or picture of repentance. And this came to me through a very vivid personal experience. Repentance is you’re traveling along a road in the wrong direction and you’re getting very near to a cliff. Repentance is you put on the brakes, and stop, but that’s not enough. You turn around into the opposite lane and you start driving in the opposite direction. That’s repentance. It’s not enough to stop. You have to turn and go in the opposite direction.
Let me... I didn’t intend to share this. I was probably going to share it later, but it’s very vivid to me and I feel God wants me to share it now. In 1991 through foolishness on my part, through neglecting medical instruction, I became sick with what was called SBE. Those of you who are medically experienced will know what SBE is. I had no idea of what it was when they told me it was SBE. It’s called subacute bacterial endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the heart, and is normally fatal. In fact until antibiotics were discovered there was no treatment for it. Fortunately I was under the care of a rather clever doctor who diagnosed it soon enough, and I was no how many weeks, six weeks of intravenous antibiotics. And here I am today by the grace of God, alive and pretty well.
But when this came about, actually the night before I was admitted to hospital, and I didn’t know I was going to be admitted to hospital, I was seeking the Lord. I said, “Lord, I’ve preached healing, I believe in healing, I’ve been healed, I’ve seen others healed. Why am I not being healed?” Now it took me a long while, not a long while but quite a while to understand the Lord’s answer, because He didn’t give me a verbal answer. He just gave me a series of pictures of my past life and most of the pictures were in restaurants. And He showed... I want to say at that time I was a respectable Pentecostal or Charismatic preacher, and I was in fellowship with very respectable Charismatic brothers. And nobody told me what I was doing wrong except the Lord. And he showed me that I was very self-indulgent. And he showed me that self-indulgence is the opposite of self-control. You cannot have both at the same time. But he didn’t bludgeon me with this. He just gave me these little pictures. And as I thought about them I began to see “I understand, Lord, what you are telling me.”
And I made a U-turn. I stopped, turned around and since then I’ve been driving in the opposite direction. I think I have further to go, but I’m going in the right direction. But I believe I was about five yards away from a crash. I could have gone over the cliff and died. And if I had died I wouldn’t have been a lost soul, but I would have been a disqualified preacher.
So, where are we tonight? Do we perhaps need, some of us, to confess to God the sin of carnality, self-indulgence. Paul says, “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” So you cannot do the things you want. Some of you are striving to do the things you want, but you’ve got the flesh striving against the Spirit. Which is going to prevail? It’s a very important personal decision.
We need to come to a point of acknowledgement. I would like you to consider for a moment what controls you, what controls your life. Is it the desires of the flesh? Is it your appetite? Is it a desire to impress people? Because if so you need to make a U-turn, and you might as well make it here tonight as any time. All we can do is encourage you to make the right decision, and we can pray for you, but you have to make the decision. That’s the nature of the soul. The soul makes his own decisions. No one can make a decision for another person’s soul.
So here tonight if you are saying in the light of what I’ve said, “I’m judging myself and I realize I’m very carnal. I’m in many ways motivated and controlled by the desires of my flesh. And I see I need to make a U-turn, to stop, turn around, and proceed in the opposite direction.” And you would like us to pray for you, just consider if for a moment. And then if that’s your condition and your decision here tonight, I would invite you just to stand to your feet wherever you are just as an acknowledgment.
Now the best thing you can do is tell the Lord your need. So I want to suggest that you pray this prayer after me.
“Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I have been controlled by fleshly, carnal desires. I am sorry, Lord. I realize I have grieved You. I have grieved Your Spirit and quenched Your Spirit. I repent. I come to the place where I make a U-turn. I stop right now and by Your grace, Lord, and with Your help I turn around. And from this night forward I proceed in the opposite direction. I will not any longer be ruled by my stomach. I take dominion over my stomach in the name of Jesus, and I bring it into subjection to the Spirit of God. In Jesus’ name.”
Now begin to thank Him and worship Him. Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord Jesus. Thank you Lord Jesus. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Amen. Amen. Thank you Lord, thank you Jesus.
You need to decide that you’ll to find comfort in eating. You’re entitled to eat and enjoy it, but don’t let it be your comfort. Thank you Lord. Amen. “All things are lawful,” Paul says, but I will not be brought under the power of anything. Food for the stomach, and the stomach for food, but God is going to destroy both of them.