DARKNESS AND LIGHT: AN END TIME VISION

The following is an end time vision given to an established, seasoned minister of the gospel and told in his own words. My heart was quickened when I read it and I thought: “This vision needs to be circulated to the body of Christ worldwide for we are seeing the increasing effects of it being unfolded in this hour, although it was given more than 25 years ago.”

If you are skeptical of these things I would encourage you to listen to your heart as you read it and allow the Holy Spirit to bear witness with you.

“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him” (1 John 2:20, 27).

Here then is the vision told in the minister’s own words:

“In 1987, I was a speaker at a campmeeting in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I spoke during the Thursday evening service. Dr. Kenneth E. Hagin spoke during the Friday evening service. I remember that I had just flown in from meetings in Paris, France. I mentioned to my wife how much I would like to stay and hear Dr. Hagin speak. She agreed.

As Dr. Hagin entered the pulpit, he began to pray in tongues. When he started, I started. A moment later, I was caught up in a vision (I was told later that it was probably more like a trance). As I went into this vision, I remember how Dr. Hagin’s voice was getting quieter and quieter, until I could hear him no more. It was so quiet all around me I felt like I could hear my own heartbeat.

All of a sudden I felt evil, as if it were surrounding me. Anger rose up in me, and fear tried to get a grip on me. Suddenly, something caught my attention out of my left eye. I turned hard to the left to see what it was. I saw the circumference of the earth, from one edge to the other, and this horrible black, dark cloud was rising up over the horizon. Somehow I knew it would eventually fill the entire earth.

An alarm went off in me, screaming to me to run away from it as fast as I could. I felt like I should scream at it, to stop it in its tracks by using the name of Jesus.

I began to rebuke it and started to say, “In the name of Jesus. . .” I didn’t quite get it out, and the Lord said, “That will do you no good.”

“What?” I said.

The Lord said, “Son, you cannot use My name to stop what I prophesied. I am not causing this dark cloud, but I did prophesy it would happen in the last days.”

I remember in the vision that I asked the Lord “What is this? What is this evil, tempestuous dark cloud?”

The Lord said, “This is what I showed My prophet, Isaiah (Isa. 61:1-2). This is every evil thing you can name. It is every demon, it is every disease, it is sickness and bacterial attacks that haven’t even been discovered yet. It will cause humans to do things to humans that aren’t even human. It is filled with insanity, and many people will lose their mind and their faculties. It is murder, terror, rape, abuse, terrorism, torture, and much worse. It is filled with deceptions, heresies, perversions, and filth.”

Some things the Lord showed me I have not had permission to speak.

I also saw people – many, many people. Some were running into the dark cloud, and some were being sucked into it. It reminded me of this very powerful Shop-vac I have. It will not only suck up the dirt but also my tools, if I don’t pay attention.

I saw may people screaming with terror and actually being dragged into this cloud. Though they were refusing it and resisting it with all their strength, they still did not possess the power to stop it.

I was so disturbed when I saw a cross on someone’s pocket or jewelry. I remember saying to the Lord, “Who are those people being drawn into this filth and terror, wearing the Christian symbol of the cross? Who are these people, not even resisting? And who are these people, resisting with all their might but it does them no good? They just keep disappearing into this horrible, evil cloud of gross darkness.”

The Lord answered me and said, “Oh, these are those who do not have clean hands and a pure heart. They have been warned but ignored the warnings. Some even wanted this filth as their lifestyle.”

I asked, “Well, who are these wearing the cross?”

“Oh,” the Lord said, “These are the people who claim Me as Savior. Many of them have desired this filth and even fought for it. They make excuses but are not excused. The ones who are resisting, thought My prophets were exaggerating and from the old school, and they denied the warnings. Now that this evil has come, they possess little to no power, and certainly not enough to resist and overcome this horrible onslaught of enemy power. Only those with clean hands and a pure heart will be able to totally resist this. It will cover the earth.”

There was much more to this, but I began to come out of the vision and once again heard Brother Hagin speaking in tongues from the pulpit.

I asked my wife what had happened, and she said, “Nothing, he hasn’t done anything but pray in the spirit.”

I began to realize that nobody seemed to see this vision or get caught up into this trance but me. I held my wife’s hand a little tighter and began to pray fervently in the spirit. As I did, I got caught up in the spirit again.

Just like before, Brother Hagin’s voice got quieter and quieter until it was gone. I found myself alone again. It was so quiet I could hear my own heartbeat. Suddenly, a piercing light hit the corner of my right eye. It was so bright that I instantly shrouded my head with my hands and arms. It reminded me of the intense light that my optometrist uses to examine the back of my eyes. Actually, it was much brighter than that.

Everything within me said, “Turn, and look into it. Turn now, and run into it.” Yet there was this hesitation because it was so bright it seemed to shine through me. Finally I gave in to it and looked directly at it. With both eyes I saw the depth of this bright cloud. Just like the dark cloud I had seen before, it was coming up over the horizon of the earth. I could tell that it was going to cover the planet. I just knew that I knew that nothing could stop it.

I remembered asking the Lord, “What is this? What is this massive, earth-consuming bright cloud?”

The Lord answered me and said, “Oh, this is My glory. This is the glory cloud that I showed My prophet Isaiah (Isa. 61:1-2). This is what I promised, that My glory will fill the whole earth.”

“Well,” I asked, “what is inside the cloud?”

“It is filled with the greatest miracles humans have ever seen. It is filled with healing for every disease, and a cure for every sickness. It is power to overcome sin and filth – to receive the truth and reject error, heresy, and doctrines of demons. It is a full manifestation of My Spirit. It is the full anointing of Jesus Christ and more, much more.”

He showed me other things that I have no permission to speak at this time.

I saw people in this vision, just like before with the cloud of darkness. Many, many people were running into it and almost frolicking in it. It was like my first response – too bright to behold, and then I wanted to run into it. There were those who seemed to want to pull away from this glory cloud.

“Lord, who will enter into this great glory of God and enjoy this awesome power?” I asked.

“Those who have a pure heart and clean hands,” the Lord answered. “They are the ones who will escape the horrible vacuum of the evil, dark cloud and be consumed with my glory. I will require you to tell these things to My people at an appointed time.”

Now is that time! As I travel the world over, I see both of these manifestations happening. In fact, I see them beginning to intensify. Sometimes I say that both God and Satan are having a revival among men. We will now see more and more people running to each cloud, causing a great gulf or divide. Could this be the separation of sheep and goats, or the separation of wheat and tares?

I am not a conspiracy-theory person. I am not a fear-based preacher. I am not a prophet of doom. So what I am about to say is none of these. But, I am actually witnessing the spirits of the antichrist, prepping the people of the earth (including many church goers) for the arrival of the antichrist himself. I see demons (spirits of the antichrist) going throughout all the earth. They are slowly re-programming the minds of men (doctrines of demons) to systematically disassemble the work of Christ and disengage the army of God.

You can avoid this, if you choose. If you choose not to, you will suffer the consequences. Please don’t do that!” Dr. Mark Barclay (Marktbarclay.com)

THIS IS THE WAY – WALK YE IN IT

“It is a law of God that as you seek Him with all your heart heaven broods over you and breeds in you the very blueprints of its plans for you and your life. Down in your spirit they begin to form and take shape, and like flashes of light, they flare upon the eyes of your inner man, and you see it: First God, then yourself; then His plans, and then God again. Your life is hid in Christ and only God can reveal it by His Spirit. This is why you must seek Him with all your heart.” (Prophetic utterance)

One day as I was worshiping the Lord in a quiet, wooded area I heard a voice that seemed to come from behind me say, “This is the way. Walk ye in it.” I almost looked around to see who said this when I realized those words had come out of my own mouth.

This phrase exploded in me when God spoke it. I recognized this statement as a verse of scripture from the Bible (Isa 30:21), but the Holy Spirit spoke it to me. It came as a real revelation to me because of the setting it was spoken in. You see, I was crying out to God for some guidance and direction in some areas of my life, and this phrase was what the Spirit of God encouraged me with.

When our fellowship with the Lord is in its rightful place in our lives, then there is divine order. God told me what I needed to know. He was encouraging me in the way of the Lord and speaking to me of the order He wanted in my life. Worship before all things, and you’ll be assured direction.

God’s way is worship and communing with Him. God’s way is loving Him with all our hearts. Seek God’s face and fellowship continually. Follow hard after Him. Make it the business of your life and strength. Let everything else be subservient and in order from that place of love and worship.

WORSHIP

“The walk of the Spirit comes easy only when you wait on Him. Worship Him. Sing to Him. Bless Him. Prophetic songs will come from the Spirit of the Lord, and your soul shall be as a watered garden because of the rain of the Spirit, and you shall have gladness of heart.

“It is here in this place that you will hear the glory of His voice. This spirit of glory and gladness will rest upon you and be your victory in times of battle and warfare. The breath of the Lord is the song in your heart which kindles the fire of His love. It is here in this place where the pleasant praises and songs of the Lord are sung that your wilderness becomes a fruitful field where righteousness dwells. This is your sure dwelling and your quiet resting place, where faith, confidence, and assurance are strong and where the voice of the Lord is heard.” (Prophetic utterance)

Walking with God is not about formulas; it’s about friendship. Friends love the Lord with all their hearts. When we fulfill the great commandment we will fulfill the great commission also. Even prayer without love is dry, a work, and an obligation. True prayer is simply friendship and communion with God. Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry, sometimes you talk, sometimes you listen, sometimes you sing, dance, and rejoice, and other times you weep, groan, and travail.

Prayer was never meant to be a mere intermittent religious exercise. It is life and love. It is meeting with your best friend who knows everything about everything. Consider the privilege of dining with such a One. Consider the honor of having access and freedom into the very secrets of His great heart.

Open the gates of your heart and life, and let the King of glory in.

PILLOW TALK

This is not what you think it is so back up (LOL). Or rather, move forward (smile).

I think if you were to ask any sincere Christian if they desired a greater level of intimacy with the Lord they would respond affirmatively. What earnest believer doesn’t want to be closer to the Lord and know His heart and ways? But if we desire this depth of fellowship with Him we must know one of the secrets of God’s ways.

You can’t just blurt out and freely share everything the Lord shares with you. If you do, He won’t confide in you any more, at least for a season, until you learn to value intimacy with Him on a higher level.

Sometimes the Lord will share something with us in confidence that is meant only for us – in the same way a couple would share intimate things in the privacy of their own bedroom that is not meant for anyone else. I think any spouse would be gravely disappointed and upset if intimate secrets between both of you were shared with others. If you share what the Lord meant to be intimate just between the two of you, you demonstrate that you are not worthy of that level of fellowship.

Well, naturally you might ask: “How do I know what to share and what not to share?”  One simple way to tell is by tuning in to your spirit. Even though you might know what you shared was indeed from the Lord, were you grieved when you shared it? And what was your motive in sharing it? Honestly.

This is one of the reasons the Lord sometimes stops sharing intimate things with a believer.  If a believer does not value intimacy with the Lord but cheapens it by blabbing it to others he is devaluing it or calling common that which is uncommon. You are devaluing that intimate place and time with Him. The value you place on it is how it is measured back to you.

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”

You will attract whatever you honor. Conversely, you will detract or repel whatever you dishonor.

The same thing happens when you talk negatively about other fellow Christians or ministers. There is so much of this that goes on across social networks and in public arenas. How can the Lord trust any believer who speaks ill-will of his brother or sister?

The Lord will often hide secrets from the insincere or fickle believer so he can search out his own motives. Why haven’t you heard from the Lord? Often we don’t receive more light from Him because we are not walking in the light we’ve already been given. This is also the reason Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes so he could bring forth the prejudices and pretenses that were in their hearts.

If we don’t deal with our own hearts we will not grow in Him. If we don’t learn our lessons we won’t learn His secrets. This is one of the primary reasons for stunted spiritual growth in the body of Christ today.

It hurts the Lord deeply when we treat intimacy with Him so cheaply. He is jealous of our time with Him and of the secrets He may share with us.

Now you can back up. What’s the last intimate thing the Lord shared with you? Did you go out and immediately blab it? What’s the last direction He gave you? Have you done it? What keeps coming up in your spirit that He is dealing with you about? Have you heeded it? 

THE MEAT OF OBEDIENCE: A WORD FROM HEAVEN

It is required of My servant-sons that they be obedient above all else. The desire for obedience must be the delight of all who would follow the Lamb. This is the mind of Christ. The desire for obedience is preferred above the desire to hear My voice and receive My counsel. For what profit is there in hearing My counsel and not obeying it?

The meat of obedience was the Lamb’s food. The meat of obedience was the core value of His entire life. Even when He was seen in the temple at 12 years of age, he was surprised to find that His parents did not know that He was about His Father’s business.

The great delight of the Lamb was to do the Father’s will. He had no desire to initiate any action or assignment outside of the will of His Father. The Lamb’s love for the Father manifested even to the obedience of the death of the cross.

Behold the Lamb in Gethsemane! Behold Him in the garden of His greatest trial as He sweat great drops of blood! Behold Him at the scourging post! Behold His desire to drink the cup when His flesh and natural man cried out against it! With the horrors of His separation from the Father facing Him, behold how He prayed that the Father’s will would be done!

I search the hearts of men for this perfect heart. I search the hearts of men and test them with small acts of obedience. I search the hearts of men to see if they are willing to do what I say. I will not say what I know they will not do. Where there is not this willing heart of obedience there is not love strong enough to receive even a portion of the mind of Christ.

Where is the love of the Lamb among My people? Why should I give My counsel to the disobedient? In my mercy I have chosen not to give many My counsel lest their insufficient character brings an accusation against them and causes a curse to come. Many have not even developed sufficient character to even obey My written counsel. So why should I reveal My hidden counsel to those who are not even obedient to My written (revealed) counsel?

I would have you understand the depths of the meaning of the words of My Son, “I delight to do thy will, oh God; yes, Thy law is within My heart.” This is the work I desire to do in those who are willing to follow the Lamb. When this purging work is done so that this more perfect heart is developed in them then I will grant them a greater and greater capacity to hear instructions fit for mature sons. I will open their ears.

My love must mature in My children so that they will obey Me. He who loves me keeps My commandments. Then will I manifest my glory in him and My Father and I will make our home in him and share our counsel.

My commandments are not grievous because they come with grace and truth. Grievous commandments would be those meant for the mature that are given to the immature. I am a good Father and I do not put a yoke on any of My children that will gender bondage. Satan is the one who will use the flesh and the carnal mind of man to put requirements on My children that I have not even placed on them Myself.

Personal comments: The meat of obedience was the core value of the Son’s life (John 4:34) (2 Cor. 10:3-5).

Obedience is not only a manifestation of the love of God but of the fear of the Lord.

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HOLY BONDAGE

It has been said that liberty to your spirit is a bondage to your flesh, while liberty to your flesh is a bondage to your spirit. This is true, but let us uncover a deeper truth. There is a holy bondage.

“And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself…” (Acts 20:22-24).

Notice how this same verse reads in the Amplified.

And now, you see, I am going to Jerusalem, bound by the (Holy) Spirit, and obligated and compelled by the [convictions of my own] spirit, not knowing what will befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit clearly and emphatically affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me. But none of these things move me; neither do I esteem my life dear to myself, if only I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have obtained [entrusted to me by] the Lord Jesus…(Acts 20:22-24 AMP)

Many professing Christians today are walking in a false liberty – living in ease and doing as they please. A liberty that does not produce a holy bondage, however, is a false liberty.

How can you say that you’re more than a conqueror (Rom 8:37) when you won’t even deny yourself? How can you declare that Christ is your righteousness (1 Cor 1:30) when you don’t even walk in righteousness? How can you say you love God when you don’t even love your neighbor? Who can boast of dying for Jesus when they’re not even living for Him?

With all the teaching we have on grace today, some good and some bad, the grace of God has been greatly hindered for lack of the fear of God.

Without the fear of God the grace of God will be received in vain (2 Cor. 6:1; 2 Cor. 7:1). The fear of God is birthed and nurtured through the knowledge of eternal judgment and the eternal consequences of living in sin and as we please, independently of God.

There are certain often-repeated phrases in the church world today that create soft loose attitudes in believers if not tempered with a fuller truth. One is this: “God loves you the way you are.” That is a true statement, but it often produces a false liberty void of the fear of the Lord. Of course God loves you unconditionally the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way you are. God’s will is for each of us to be more and more transformed into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.

Here’s another one: “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” That is absolutely true. But again, we must ask ourselves, what is a wonderful plan? Is it the American dream of wealth and happiness? Is it the safe and secure life within the comforts of our luxurious homes?

The apostle Paul was told early on from the time of his conversion that he would suffer greatly for the cause of Christ (Acts 9:15-16). Peter was told that he would die a martyr’s death (John 21:18). Jesus promised persecution to His other followers as well (Mat 10:17-22). Was this God’s wonderful plan for their lives?

Today when some believers don’t get the provision or blessing they want from God they are so quick to doubt His love for them. With all the trials and opposition they had, I often wonder how in the world these early martyrs even knew that God loved them. For them, the cross of Jesus Christ was enough. God had already proven His love there. The cross was a symbol of liberty for them, but also a symbol of the debt they owed. True liberty for them meant a holy bondage.

The above statements are true, but they often create a liberty in the flesh instead of a holy bondage to God’s complete will.

Joseph was sold into Egypt as a slave thousands of years ago. Today there are still some places where slaves are bought and sold, and used for cheap hard labor, or now, for sex. But a holy slave cannot be bought or sold. He belongs to His Supreme Master. A holy slave is not hired but is a willing volunteer. He does not do cheap labor, but it is the costly kind that he embraces–the kind that sometimes costs much toil, blood, and tears, the kind that comes with great service and noble sacrifice.

Holy slaves are the only ones who are truly free. Nothing in this world binds them. No man owns them. Holy slaves are wholly bound to one certain sound. They live each day to hear their Master say, “You are my son (or daughter) in whom I am well pleased.” They live with eternity in full view. They’re running in a race. They’re picking up the pace. They’re pressing for the prize. They know the end is near when they will look into His eyes. This hope keeps them pure (1 John 3:2-3), and so their entrance is sure.

Are you a holy slave?

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ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD AND THE FLOW OF THE SPIRIT IN YOUR DAILY LIFE

Here’s an inspired utterance I received in prayer concerning life in the Spirit.

Do all you can to keep yourself in this flow. Cut off every hindrance that would stop you from staying in this flow. Cut off anything that would offend this flow. Work out your salvation in the natural things so that you may remain in the Spirit. Do not let the natural pull you down.

“Work to remain in this flow full time so that you can receive My full time benefits. In the work of the kingdom many of My children only receive part time benefits because they’re only in My flow part time. And yet there are others of My children who receive little to no benefits because they are never in the flow.

“And yet it is My plan for man to be blessed fully and without measure joy unspeakable and full of glory. Learn to abide in Me and My rest. Labor to enter and stay in that rest, and then you shall surely have My very best.

“Do not bear burdens or weights that I’ve not called you to bear. Those of this world and of the lower nature are not for thee. Do not let them attach themselves to your tender spirit. Do not…do not become heavy with care and concern. Do not feed your mind nor your mouth with things not fit for thee. Let your sanctification be in Me. I will bear those burdens not made for thee.” (Prophetic utterance)

What a word of edification!

One time a minister friend of mine was having some problems with a particular woman. She had made some cutting comments to him attempting to annoy him. One day as my friend and I were out for a walk, he turned to me and said, “I refuse to let that touch my spirit.” “How do you do that?” I asked. “By refusing to think about it,” my friend responded. That was a real life lesson to me of how to stay in the flow of the Spirit.

The natural realm is earthly and pulls you down toward the earth. The supernatural realm is heavenly and keeps you up. If you let things bother you, it will pull you down and keep you operating strictly in the natural realm. However, if you want to live and walk in the supernatural realm where God speaks to you and leads you, you’re going to have to learn to release your cares and concerns to the Lord. “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith. The beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” (George Mueller)

There are three very basic things the Lord showed me which will aid every believer in getting into the flow of the Spirit, and into that precious place of rest. Here they are in the manner and in the order the Lord gave them to me:

1) Shut up (be quiet)

2) Be not hasty (slow down)

3) Fellowship with Me (wait on the Lord)

1) Shut up – Time and space will not permit me to list all the scriptures which refer to the mouth, the tongue, and the importance of our words. Reading Proverbs alone will help you find many. Deep rivers are like deep people; they flow with majestic silence. Shallow rivers, like shallow people, are noisy. If Jesus is Lord of your life, He is Lord of your words. Knowing that we’ll be judged for every idle word spoken (Mat 12:36) ought to be enough to keep Jesus on the throne of our hearts, and thus on the end of our tongues. Brevity and levity don’t mix. One nullifies the other. If you’re going to grow in wisdom, you’re going to have to grow in silence.

One time in the middle of a fast the Spirit of God spoke up in me and made an unusual statement. He said, “Instead of fasting food, why don’t you try fasting your thoughts and your words?” I had never heard anyone say that before in all my life. Immediately I began to think about all the scriptures that instruct us concerning our thoughts and our words. It was amazing how many the Lord brought to my attention. What a difference it made when I obeyed this type of fast! It pulled me into a much deeper place of rest.

2) Be not hasty – Ants in your pants aborts your advance. When you’re still, you hear His will. A calm spirit waits for the way of the Lord. How many times have you missed God because of hastiness? Think about it.

One day I was returning from a preaching engagement and got caught in bumper to bumper rush hour traffic on the interstate. In my haste to get home I attempted to see how many car lengths I could advance. As I gazed behind me to try to create an opening to shift lanes, I momentarily lost sight of the car directly in front of me. Well, you can finish the rest of the story. Much to my chagrin, I rammed into the car and had to spend time exchanging information with the driver for insurance purposes. Hastiness did not save me any time, but lost me time, money, and peace of mind. My attempt to advance only a few car lengths in major rush hour traffic wasn’t worth it. Instead, I should‘ve used the time wisely and turned my own vehicle into a prayer sanctuary. That would’ve benefited me much more.

This is just one of many examples where hastiness cost me. On a weekly and maybe even on a daily basis you could probably come up with many instances where haste actually made waste. Slow down! God can do more in one minute than you can in a lifetime.

This next word the Lord gave me is appropriate for every pure hearted believer, “You have the tendencies of Peter, but the heart of John.” Peter was quick to speak and quick to act in wrath, but slow to hear. Slowing down in the natural realm will often speed you up in the spiritual realm. God is not in a hurry and He’s never late. Sometimes Jesus had to move quickly and urgently, but He was always patient.

3) Fellowship with Jesus – Maintain a living fellowship and communication with the Lord. Like in a good marriage, intimacy must be worked at and sought after.

Here is a typical setting of God’s response to a seeking believer. I came to recognize this one time while praying and worshiping the Lord. Have you ever noticed the Lord’s nearness when you forget about yourself and your own concerns and concentrate on Him alone? You block out everything from your mind and begin pouring out your heart to Him. When you focus on the Lord, His presence increases. Conversely, when you focus on other things, His presence decreases.

Have you ever been in a room listening to someone talk and they were making eye contact with everyone in the room except you? Maybe they were telling a great story, or some kind of experience they had, or they were just explaining something. How did you feel when you realized that you were the only one they were not making eye contact with? It’s somewhat rude and disrespectful, isn’t it? I’ve been in that type of situation, and sometimes I opted to excuse myself and bow out of the conversation.

The presence of the Lord seems to allude me when my mind wanders and begins to dwell on the concerns and pressures of life and ministry. It ushers in a hastiness. However, on the other hand, when my entire being is attending to Him alone, oh what love, joy, and peace settles on me. His presence always produces rest.

Follow these three simple steps, and the flow of the Spirit will be yours to enjoy. You will avoid human delays and accelerate in your Christian race and calling. But most all, you will enjoy the presence of the Lord!

JESUS NEVER TOLD US TO GET PEOPLE BORN AGAIN

What??? Heresy!!! I can hear the cries already.

Stay with me.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mat. 28:19-20)

Jesus told us to make disciples. Being born again is the first step, but discipleship is a process. If you read those verses carefully Jesus commands us to go to all nations, which means the lost/the sinners and make disciples of them. He did not say, “go to the lost and get them born again”.

Notice the command of Jesus in Mark’s gospel.

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mk 16:15-16)

Here Jesus told us to preach the gospel. Then those who believe should be baptized. Then signs would follow those who believe (vs 17-18). The true believers are identified by these signs. True believers are disciples. Signs follow disciples. How would they learn to exercise their authority in these signs unless they had already become disciples – being with other disciples and watching and learning from them.

If you compare the great commission in both gospels above, the only similarity is in water baptism. Water baptism is the beginning of discipleship and being a follower of Jesus Christ. This Christian practice has been underestimated in the Church today.

I was baptized in water the day I got saved. It made a huge difference for me. It stuck to me. It was real. I was alive from the dead. The old man died when I was immersed in the water (symbolic I know, but there’s a reason Jesus commanded it) and the new man reigned when I came up out of the water.

Water baptism is similar to the laying on of hands. It is a doctrine of Christ (Heb. 6:1-2). It helps our faith. There is a reason why more people were healed under the ministry of Jesus through the laying on of hands than anything else. They had faith in it. It was easier to believe. The physical touch and relating with something people can feel and see helps them grasp it and apply their faith to it.

Water baptism is the same way. It is to be a bridge between the new birth and discipleship – a first step of observing the commands of Jesus.

Jesus commanded us to make disciples – baptizing them first and then teaching them to observe His commandments. He never told us to get people born again. He told us to preach the gospel and then baptize those who believe, making disciples of them.

Sinners are saved and called by the preaching of the gospel. The foolishness of preaching is what God has chosen to save those who believe (1 Cor. 1:21). But the proof of true believing is in observing and obeying the commandments of Jesus (Mat. 28:19).

In the West we have focused on getting a confession or a prayer out of sinners, and then chalking it up as a new birth. A few years ago I did an outreach at a church where 200 names were amassed of people who prayed the sinner’s prayer. Weeks later none could be found. None were a part of any of their lives and gatherings.

There was never any relationship between the church members and those who prayed the sinners’ prayer. Microwave salvation failed miserably again.

It takes time and relationship to make disciples. It takes patience and a laying down of our lives. But what joy when you see them grow!

I have been mentoring a new believer in my home town for the last four years. He is a married man and father of two teenagers. Because of his night job he has not been able to attend any church services on a regular basis. Nonetheless, he is growing.

He reads his Bible, prays in tongues, heals the sick, casts out devils, and bears witness of the gospel every chance he gets. Yet he has not attended church very much. I am discipling him, but once he got filled with the Holy Spirit his learning capacity multiplied manifold as the Spirit truly became His teacher.

Once someone is water baptized he should be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Remember, this is another doctrine of Christ called baptisms (Heb. 6:1-2). “And these signs shall follow those who believe…in My Name they shall speak with new tongues” (Mk 16:17b).

In the West we are taught to turn new believers over to the church system instead of personally discipling them ourselves. If you lead them to the Lord you are responsible for them. If you invite them to a church service and they receive Christ you are responsible for them. Jesus commanded you to make a disciple out of them.

The Ephesians 4:11 equipping ministry gifts in no way excuse us from our personal responsibility of making disciples. This is the work of every church member. There has to be a greater responsibility shift in the process of discipleship from the ministry gifts to the believer.

Until that transfer happens we will have more converts than disciples, more fans than followers, more false converts than true.

Jesus never told us to get people born again. He commanded us to make disciples. Being born again and baptized in water is the first step in the process. Teaching them to observe the commandments of Jesus including walking in power and having accompanying signs should immediately follow. Having a relationship with them is the bridge to seeing that happen.

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