This is a word given by our Elder Emeritus, John, last Sunday – it was at the end of an Open Meeting and a spontaneous word:
The Lord’s been laying something on my heart for the last few days, which I’ll just share fairly briefly with you. Let’s turn to John 5. It’s a story you all know very well, of the fellow at the Sheep Gate, the Pool of Bethesda. v. 3 ‘in these lay a multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralysed, waiting for the moment of the water.’ It’s interesting – we forget that angels were active in that time. They’re still active today. It’s easy to think – not much was happening before Jesus, but there was angelic activity.
Whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was made well. When Jesus saw him lying there, he said to him ‘Do you want to be made well?’ It’s a very interesting and perceptive question. The sick man answered him, ‘Sir I have no man to put me into the water but while I’m coming another steps down.’ Perhaps he thought, maybe this fellow will get me down into the water. He was looking at Jesus as a man, in his humanity. Jesus said to him, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walked’. Immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. When did the healing take place? Just after the comma. ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk.’ You can’t take up your bed until you’ve been healed. Rise.
That’s the word that has been on my spirit for several days now. Rise. I believe God is speaking to his church and saying in these days we must rise. We must stand in the authority, in the grace and in the calling that is ours.
And we need to respond to that in faith. We’re a heavenly people. Philippians 3:20, I’m sure you’re all familiar with this, but in case you don’t remember the reference, you’ll be familiar with the verse: ‘Our citizenship is in heaven.’ We’re a heavenly people, not an earthly people.
We don’t draw our sustenance primarily from the earth. We draw our ideas from the earth.
We don’t draw our strength from the earth. We don’t draw our validity from the earth. We don’t draw our authority from the earth, we don’t draw our being form the earth, or our identity from the earth. We don’t get anything from the world. All we get from the earth is that which sustains our physical bodies, that that is not who we are.
We draw from heaven. We mustn’t forget that. The only people on earth who have power and authority over the enemy is us. There’s a job we can do in these days that nobody else can do. We alone have that authority, as Jesus says I give to you authority over the devil. It’s ours. You remember Colossians 3, ‘if then you were raised with Christ,’ you are all raised people. We’re not self-raising. God has raised us. ‘If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.’
I believe God is saying to his people “I want you to rise in these days.”
How we do that is a more difficult question to answer. We’re obeying the government. But we must find a place in the Spirit where we rise up. That’s a key methodology, if you like, in the church, is knowing how to rise in Jesus. Knowing how to rise up above our circumstances and above what’s going on. I’m not talking about denying our circumstances, being in denial about what’s going on, but to rise above them.
Some people, when they’re infirm, are under their infirmity. Some people rise above their infirmity. You can be people not healed but still rising under your infirmity. Where do you see your identity? What do you think your authority is, and rising up above it. I know a number of people in the church who have daily problems physically. But they rise above them. They ascend. You can either view yourself as defeated, crushed, locked down – or free. It’s about how you think. It’s the thinking that transforms us. It’s our mind – be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
So we need to set our mind on heaven. If you’re in Christ, by definition you’re an overcomer. I’ve preached this many times. By definition you’re the victor. No matter what’s coming against you, you have overcome. I’m not saying some of the things that come against us aren’t painful, aren’t grievous – but somehow we have to find that hidden place.
Our life is hid with Christ in God. It’s the hidden life we’ve got to seek out an draw from. We’re not functioning as it should be, so we have to dig deep, we have to dig the well. We have to sing to the well, saying Rise Up within me. Digging into the Word of God, as we’ve heard already this morning. Finding a place to praise the Lord on our own, even if we are tone-deaf.
What we mustn’t do is just lie down under Covid19. We have to be active in the Spirit. What did Jesus say: Rise. And what did the man do? He got active. Faith was ministered to him, and he stood up. Stand up, beloved, in faith.
‘Lord I want to lift my hands up in prayer. You said, pray ‘Our Father who is in heaven.’ We lift our hands to heaven this morning. You reign. You haven’t been moved by this. You foresaw this from the beginning of the world and you have made provision for your body. You have not left us and your Holy Spirit is with us now. I want to pray that we as a church, that we as individuals, will look at you, and see the Lord in his glory, and feel filled with the Holy spirit. Our Father, my Father. I’m your son today, God. As a son I have rights. I come before your presence, and lift up my hands in prayer. I pray, Your Kingdom come. We ask that your kingdom will come in Jesus’ name. We pray for a manifestation of the kingdom of God within us. We pray for a breaking out of the Kingdom of God within us. I don’t know how we do it God but I pray that you will show us in Jesus’ name. Let your will be done, on earth even as it is in heaven. I don’t know whether your will’s being done, I strongly suspect it’s not, but I pray that it will be. We have the authority to call down the will of God onto the earth. We call down your will, o God, and we say, Let your will be done. We reject the will of man, we reject the will of scientists, and we call for your will to be done on earth even as it is in heaven. This is what we look for God. I pray you will stir up your church in prayer as never before. Lead us to be seeking you and praying to you. We don’t accept this disease. We don’t accept the rulership of void19. We don’t accept the bondage of covid19. Not to be stupid or revel, but in our spirits to rebel. Let healing come to your body. Let us walk free. None of these diseases, the scripture says, so I pray in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. I pray for our government, give them wisdom, and we pray your grace on them, that the will of God might be done. I pray people will stop turning to scientists, stop turning to the politicians, and start turning to you. From the Lord our God comes deliverance. We put our faith and trust in you. Those who are feeling lonely, suffering, depressed, who can’t get hospital appointments – we pray for all these people. Under the surface there’s a whole bunch of suffering going on – deliver us from this, and we stand in the gap, and ask for your deliverance. We put our trust in you. And all the people of God said – Amen.’