Know Who You Trust

Who do you trust, really trust?

Do you trust man more than you trust God?

Do you trust God, really trust God?

Jesus did not trust man because He knew what was in man!

Do you believe Jesus lived His life on earth that way because He was both fully God and fully man, or because as man who was tempted in every way you and I are tempted yet without surrendering to the temptations and commiting any sin, He knew by His experiences as a man what man was capable of doing that would not be acceptible to God the Father?

Jesus as God never lived as God while He lived on earth as a man!

Paul said Jesus did not think being equal to God was something to be grasped and that He emptied Himself and humbled Himself! Jesus became totally vunerable and in His vunerability relied on God’s trustworthiness to help Him navigate the life God sent Him to live.

Do you trust God like that?

If not why not?

Who have you placed your trust in that is more reliable and trustworthy than the God you say you believe [trust] in?

John 2

“23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.

1 Peter 2

“13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

21 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

So many church leaders fall into the trap of thinking they are leading God’s people correctly when they themselves have stopped following the Chief Shephered! Following the Shepherd creates suffering and too many leaders stop following Christ the moment the price of suffering becomes too high for them to pay.

These ‘church” leaders are not really leaders because they have compromised their leadership by entrusting themselves to the people God supposedly called them to lead, for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining their position, paycheck and potential promotion.

Never knowing or possibly forgetting it is God who promotes those in His kingdom who remain trustworthy through continuously proving they genuinely trust God at all costs, they demote themselves in His eyes in order to appear promoted to the people who are in truth leading them where they want to go, not where God calls them to go.

“6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” Psalms 76 KJV

Did you notice the psalmist did not include “north” in his assestment of where promotion never comes from? Or did he reveal real promotion comes from the north?

God sits enthroned in the “north!”

Isaiah 14:13

But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.”

The pride of lucifer was that he would ascend above the heights of God and His position in the north. There are many functioning in the spirit of lucifer standing before God’s people leading them, some unknowingly, in rebellion against the God they say they love and serve.

How?

By not surrendering to the Lordship and Leadership of Jesus the Sent Son!

Self promotion may look good to some but in the halls of heaven and in the heart of God it is a stench that has eternally disastrous results. Are you willing to risk the eternity God placed in your heart?

The prophet Jeremiah said this of these carnal, corrupt, and compromised “shepherds.”

Jeremiah 50

“6 My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill and have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who came upon them have devoured them; And their adversaries have said, ‘We are not guilty, inasmuch as they have sinned against the Lord who is the habitation of righteousness, even the Lord, the hope of their fathers.'”

What was their sin?

It was following leaders into what they perceived was a place of stability, security and safety – “From mountain [harder place to live] to a hill [apparent easier place to live].”

Jesus Himself warned about these politically minded shepherds in Matthew 9 – “35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. 36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. 38 Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'”

His next statement to them was, “5 ‘Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.'” [Matthew 10]

In other words, “My compassion compels true kingdom shephereds [leaders] to intervene with My compassion, ministry and message, not with the ministry and message of the compromised religious [church] leaders who do not carry My compassion.”

Jesus revealed His kingdom leaders do not stay and pray. Rather they pray as they go intervene!

Dear leader, if your message and ministry is not what Jesus sent His original messengers to say and do your ministry is yours, not His!

Paul spoke of these compromised shepherds in Acts 20 – “ 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church [ekklesia] of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”

These “savage wolves” are self-promoters and their goal is to dethrone God the Chief Shepherd from His position and power to promote those He qualifies as ready for the promotion!

They would never “advertise” their goal to you but that is their goal nonetheless!

Jesus Himself warned of these demonically inspired “servants” when He said, “Beware of [Be aware of not afraid of] false prophets who come to you [leaders] in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Do not trust anyone – leader or otherwise – who is drawing you to them and away from the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word, rule, will and ways. The moment they become more important in their own mind than Jesus is – RUN!

They speak “pervese things” which means they:

  • abandon the proper path of holiness
  • pervert purity for their own pleasures
  • plot against God’s purposes
  • reverse course against what and who they once said they valued
  • serve their own selfish needs
  • twist [distort] truth by misinterpreting it

Who do you really trust?

Receive and steward God’s passion, power, presence, priority, process, promises, protection, provision, pruning, purging, purity and purpose!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin

A Radical Revolutionary

#TRM

 

 

Devilish Distractions

The devil is not someone that should be feared or taken lightly. He roams around seeking those he “may” devour.

This means that he cannot devour anyone who does not give him access, permission, or substance to devour.

In the Garden God sent the serpent on his belly to feed his belly with dust. Dust can be a metaphor for our carnal, non Christlike behavior. If we do not provide him food he cannot feast on us. Remember, God formed man from the dust of the ground!

In the Garden man, who had been given responsibility by God to guard and tend it, lost focus on who and why they were. When they took their eyes off who God said they were and what God told them to do they sucked the serpent into their Paradise instead of confronting him outside the Garden.

What have you lost sight of that invited the serpent into your world?

There will always be “good reasons” to disengage, even for a moment, from what you are trying to accomplish in life. Look at what Paul says,

2 Corinthians 2:11

“. . . so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”

  • The context of this verse is love, forgiveness and restoration!
  • But we should always be aware of the strategies our enemy will employ to distract and detour us with the ultimate goal of destroying us, or what God has called us to do for Him.
  • ‘Schemes’ speaks to a language that I understand well. That language is the language of sports. Schemes can speak of a certain strategy and or plans that are used by a competitor to exploit any weakness that has been discovered through the various scouting procedures used.
    • The Greek word used means: The processing power of the mind that develops perceptions that are foundational in decision making. It has to do with the way we think, not just what we are thinking about.

Ephesians 6:11

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”

Notice that once we put this armor on we are never to take it off!

  • The armor of God is God Himself
    • Truth – “I am the truth”
      • “Your word is truth”
      • “The word became flesh”
    • Rightousness – “Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness”
    • Gospel of peace – “For He Himself is our peace”
    • Shield of faith – “Author and Perfector of faith”
    • Helmet of salvation – “He put on . . . a helmet of salvation on His head.”
    • Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God – “and the word became flesh”
  • Stand firm – Established, remain in place, remain in the place God places you, unwavering and not hesitant
  • Schemes – Deceptive tricks [using what looks like truth but isn’t, using what looks good but is really not good or beneficial], using circumstances to manipulate [maneuver] us off of our path to our purpose
    • The Greek word used in this verse is different than the one used in 2 Corinthians 2:11. This word means: The methods used in manipulation, the path travelled to accomplish an agenda that is at variance with what is considered correct, or right[eous], that which includes that which is false, absurd, or a distorted representation of someone or something
  • Devil – To slander, falsely accuse, mislead with untruths

The devil himself, “appears as an angel of light” to create chaos and confusion within the community of Light. He is the master at manipulating people and events to impugn God so that people will disconnect from, or never connect to, God.

Two ways the devil maneuvers people is through weariness and busyness [business]. Once he knows your weakness [where you will cave] he begins maneuvering to make and keep you tired and busy with business that is not productive to who you are and what you are called to do.

This can be in relation to your ultimate purpose in life or just a part of your life you are pursuing because God is breathing on it in this season.

I am too tired! I am too busy! I can’t! It won’t!

Where do you think these come from?

This must be one of our core values: “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me [who gives me His strength and ability].”

Paul, the apostle, is my hero on several levels. One very important level is the way he did not allow all of the adversity and opposition to his identity and mission mess with his staying on message in his ministry.

2 Corinthians 4

“17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Paul is saying he stays on course because he keeps his focus on what is eternal, not temporal. Once the devil knows he can trick us into taking our eyes off the eternal he continually offers that which is temporary.

I know way too many people who got sidetracked when they got stuck in something that was momentary believing it was an ongoing issue. Even a season of sin can be manipulated to convince you that is who you are. This lie can convince you there is no need for you to repent and return to the Lord.

Let’s take a look at some of the momentary and light afflictions that he pressed through.

2 Corinthians 4

“8 we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

2 Corinthians 6

“3 giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, 4 but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5 in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6 in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7 in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8 by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; 9 as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, 10 as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet  possessing all things.”

2 Corinthians 11

“23 Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far  more labors, in far  more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. 24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. 26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; 27 I have been in labor and hardship, through  many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 Apart from such external  things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without  my intense concern?”

All of these Paul called, “light and momentary afflictions.”

What excuses are you allowing the devil to feed you so that he can feed on you and eventually feed off of you?

What distractions have commandeered your call and or your career?

What weakness is the devil exploiting because you tipped your hand when you compromised out of what you believed to be convenient?

What inconvenience did you not press through and now you are finding it more difficult to overcome circumstances that you used to not even realize were there?

I tell couples who come to me for pre-marriage counseling who have been engaging in pre-marital sinful sex, “If you cannot say no to sex with each other now, knowing it is sinful, what guarantee do you have that when the opportunity to have sex with someone other than you spouse comes, you will be able to say no?” You should see some of the expressions I see!

If you cannot say no today you have nothing stable to stand on to say no tomorrow!

If you compromise today you have given place for the one who compromised in heaven to control you and your decisions today and in the future.

My advice to them and to you is this – Make a decision right now to stop doing what you know is wrong, and a compromise to Godly core values, so that you will have confidence that when confronted with options to compromise in the future, you won’t give it one thought because you have already decided how you are going to live.

Jesus said this, “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;”

The devil is always “coming” to see where he can exploit us. Jesus said, “he has NOTHING in Me.” He has nothing in Me or on Me that he can use to manipulate Me to compromise who and why I AM!

Can you say, “He [the devil] has nothing in me?”

If you can’t then maybe you should evaluate the level of commitment to Christ you claim to have.

Stop providing the devil food to feed on you or to you!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin

A Hisstorymaker

It’s Time To Act Up! Part 1The Primitive Church

It’s Time To Act Up!

This is the first blog [message] of several in the new series I am teaching at Bethel Church in beautiful Brunswick and the glorious Golden Isles of Georgia.

Too many believers live below their God-given purpose in life. They “act down” and it is time for ebb tide to turn to flood tide for these children of the God of glory!

In fact, Donna and I no longer call our descendants “descendants”. We are not heading down and neither are they.

We are passing our history with God up to our ascendants!

Our ceiling is their floor so they don’t have to start where we started.

BY THE WAY, we have not yet reached our ceiling so what an advantage our ascendants already have in life.

Today, in our “modern”, or “post-modern”, or “contemporary” and “relevant” Christianity we use words to describe the first Church that can be demoting and demeaning. One word I hate to hear to describe those first followers of Jesus the Christ is “primitive”.

Modern, post modern, contemporary and relevant are all terms used today by people who may be modern, post modern, contemporary and relevant by today’s standards but today’s standards are not the standard that God uses to assay our lives and lifestyles.

Jesus the Christ is God’s standard!

Those primitive passionate lovers of Christ Jesus advanced the Kingdom of God to all the known world and turned their world upside down. All of this without our “modern” modes of travel and communication.

In Acts Chapter 2 we read about the day of Pentecost. Peter in the very first Pentecostal sermon connected the events of his [that] day to the prophetic vision and vocabulary of the prophet Joel’s day. Joel had a vision and did his best to describe what he saw. What actually happened and what Peter said is what God was saying through Joel.

Whenever an Old Testament text is brought into the New Testament its intended meaning from the beginning is how it is used in the New Testament. The New explains the Old. The Old is the type and a shadow. The New is the reality!

  • There was spiritual drunkenness
    • Yes there was so we must deal with it
    • “These men are not  drunk AS YOU suppose”
      • “These men are drunk but not in the way you think”
    • The impact of that outpouring was staggering
      • We should desire to be so intoxicated with God and His glory that it radically changes the way we walk
      • When we walk in the Spirit it may look like we are staggering to a mind that has not been transformed
  • There was a manifestation of the miraculous
    • There was a mighty sound from heaven that created a heavenly language on earth
    • One message [“the wonderful works of God”] was spoken and all the people heard different languages
  • There was mass confusion, mass conviction and mass confessions of faith in the Christ
    • People say, “This cannot be God because He is not the author of confusion”
      • It is true that God is not confused or the author of confusion
      • God was not, is not nor ever will be confused
      • It was the people who were confused

True moves of God usually have all of the above and more!

At the end of that day we find the following description of normal and natural life in the primitive community of believers.

Acts 2:41-47

41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

This day began with an explosion from heaven!

It ended with a description of what heaven on earth was to look like!

These “primitive” believers advanced the Kingdom of God into all the known world and turned their world upside down.

The Day of Pentecost is not a 24 hour period! It is heaven’s answer to all of earth’s problems!” The Day of Pentecost is a lifestyle ordered by God to empower His people to be overcomer’s in this life.

Let’s take a closer look at what life looked liked for these “primitive” believers!

  1. The Word of God was “gladly received”
    1. Received here is in the Greek middle voice which means the hearers experienced the Word, took a vested interest in the Word, and they participated in receiving the Word, and they took personal possession of the Word
    2. In other words, they were not passive, or disinterested toward the speaker or what was spoken
  2. Those who received the Word were baptized in water [the 3000]
    1. This was an enormous event because of the severe ramifications that accompanied the commitment to Christ
    2. Most if not all were now outcasts to their family and to the greater Jewish community
    3. These primitive saints knew what would befall them. Disowning, disinheriting and excommunication from family, friends, co-workers and the place and people where they worshiped
    4. This decision was life altering in more ways than one
  3. These primitive believers continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine [teaching, revelation]
    1. Continued steadfastly seems like a contradiction of terms
      1. These hearers began by gladly receiving God’s Word and those who spoke it, now they were purposefully pointing themselves at God’s Word and those who spoke it
      2. These hearers took advantage of their opportunity to hear God’s Word from those who spoke it
      3. These hearers were firmly fixed in their direction, place or position. They postured themselves for optimum success
      4. These hearers were firmly fixed in their purpose and faith
      5. These hearers were resolute and unwavering
        1. These primitive believers anchored themselves in the flow of revelation released by the apostles instead of what they had been raised to believe about God and His purpose for their lives
  4. These primitive believers continued steadfastly in fellowship [with the Holy Spirit and each other]
    1. They continued their connection to God
    2. They continued their connection to each other
    3. In others words they worked on their vertical and horizontal relationships
  5. These primitive believers continued in breaking of bread [holy communion which kept their memory fresh concerning the Cross]
  6. These primitive believers continued steadfastly in prayers [personal devotion of worship which kept them connected to God]
  7. These primitive believers commitment caused fear to come upon every soul
  8. These primitive believers witnessed and participated in many signs and wonders [miraculous manifestations of God’s intervention in the normal affairs of man]
  9. These primitive believers were together   [Connected, unified]
  10. These primitive believers had all things in common [community = common unity]
    1. They were different but the same
    2. Unity is the celebration of diversity
    3. Unity is not uniformity. A lot of teaching on unity is really about uniformity
      1. Romans 12:3-8 – “3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
      2. 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 – “12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free–and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole werehearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeedthere are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that partwhich lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.”
  11. These primitive believers sold their possessions and goods
    1. They possessed their possessions  – their possessions did not posses them
    2. They held God’s people in higher regard than their personal possessions
    3. Today God’s people build their lives around their lives
    4. They spend on themselves to the point where they cannot finance God’s work
    5. They take advantage of what the community has to offer without contributing financially to the community
  12. These primitive believers were radically generous making sure people’s needs were met
  13. These primitive believers continued daily with one accord
    1. Acts 1:14 – “These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
    2. Luke 24:52,53 – “52 And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising God.”
    3. Acts 2:1 – “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.”
  14. These primitive believers continued daily in the temple
    1. They understood the importance of public corporate worship
    2. They had a high value for public corporate worship
    3. They did not forsake their assembling with the saints
    4. They had busy lives just like you and I do
  15. These primitive believers continued daily breaking bread from house to house
    1. This was not what we call a “progressive meal” where the same people start a meal in one home then move to successive homes to partake of different food groups
    2. “House to house” was the means by which the people were pastored
    3. This enabled more intimate worship, conversation and instruction
    4. This enabled the people to build personal relationships with a smaller group
    5. This enabled them to not feel lost or get lost in the crowd of over 3000
  16. These primitive believers continued to eat with gladness of heart which means they were grateful for what they did have and were not worried about what they did not have [see #10-12 above]
  17. These primitive believers continued the lifestyle of personal worship
  18. These primitive believers experienced the favor of men
  19. These primitive believers continually experienced new believers coming to church [which kept them from growing stale, complacent and comfortable]

Please notice people were getting saved and then were added to the church. The church is not where these primitive people came to get saved.

How and where did these “primitive”people get saved? They got saved in the market place. How did God save them? I believe through witnessing and experiencing the signs and wonders being done through the apostles.

The market place is your mission field!

The Hebrew word for signs and wonders [the miraculous] is mo’-pheth. That is right! It is pronounced “more faith”. I totally believe signs and wonders produce more faith and more faith produces more signs and wonders.

Does this make you wonder?

In the primitive church the church was kept pure. Unbelievers, or seekers were not considered members of the community of believers!

The primitive church was accused of cannibalism because in their meetings they “ate the body and drank the blood” of Jesus.

Cannibalism as defined by Dictionary.com is,

“The ceremonial eating of human flesh or parts of the human body for magical or religious purposes, as to acquire the power or skill of a person recently killed.”

The primitive church was a closed community!

The only entrance to the church was THE CROSS!

The Cross of Christ qualified a person for membership in the “primitive” church! Today, in our modern, post modern, contemporary and relevant church – business contacts, social significance, the ability to play an instrument or sing, or a multitude of other reasons grant entry into the place that in the “primitive” church was reserved for the blood bought, sanctified, passionate, on fire lovers of the Lord of glory!

Why don’t we get back to the simplicity of the “primitive” church!

For those who are interested you can find this sermon on YouTube [Bethel By The Sea].

Keep THE faith! Keep THE passion!

Our hunger and thirst for God escorts us into deep satisfaction in God!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin
A Hisstorymaker

What Were They Thinking?

Ananias and Sapphira found out the hard way what it is like to walk into the glory of God with corruption in their heart.

Acts 5:1-16

1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. 13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. 14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”

All those who have been praying for a return to a 1st century church better understand what you are actually praying for because God is not returning to, or for, a 1st century church. God is developing a 21st century church, and maybe even a 22nd century church where the “glory of the latter house will be greater than the glory of the former house.”

It is God’s mercy that has kept our prayers for the glory of God to increase from being fully realized. When it comes in its fullness [the 1st century was a down payment] there very well may be more than a “couple” fall down dead in His presence.

This IS the New Testament friends!

God has never tolerated sin – NEVER!

The sons of Aaron found out what it was like to enter God’s presence incorrectly. Fire from the altar killed them. Why? They offered “strange [unauthorized, unacceptable and unwelcome] fire”.

Isaiah 4 tells us “before the glory” there is a “spirit of burning and judgment” to “purify the daughters of Jerusalem [the Church].”

I don’t know about you but I want to continually step into the spirit of burning and judgment so I will be purified in order to handle the glory.

The Bible says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” [1 Peter 4:17]

Many see this as God punishing people. I see this as God redeeming people. God will judge His people so His people will be able to represent Him [Holy] to the world.

“What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” They will repent or die! At least they will get the opportunity to repent. Ananias and Sapphira did not get that opportunity. They should have lived repentant lives.

God did not kill Ananias nor Sapphira. Their sin killed them. “The wages of sin IS death.”

What “hidden sin” do you carry in your heart that you carry into your church services?

What guarantee do you have that God will not withdraw His hand of restraint and unload His glory in your church service Wednesday night, or Sunday morning, or some other time when you walk into your “sanctuary”?

Instead of offering some strange fire why don’t you locate His fire and step into it until it purifies you to the point that when He pours His glory out you can not only stand it, or stand up under it, but you can transfer it to other people.

Re-read the story of Ananias and Sapphira again. You will find some interesting information.

1. There was no memorial or funeral service
2. There was no eulogy
3. There was a removal of the dead bodies and a burial – period
4. There was a holy respect for the Christian community
5. There were no “seekers” “checking” “church” out
6. There were real Christians added to the church
7. Then there was an increase in God’s power being released through the apostles
8. Peter, the one who delivered the judgment of God to Ananias and Sapphira, especially operated in increased power. The glory was so strong on him that as far as his shadow extended people were healed and delivered
9. Surrounding cities and their citizens were impacted as well by those who demonstrated a healthy respect [honor, awe] of the Holy God that allowed 2 church member’s membership to expire.

Friends, God is not just interested in you, your church, or your city.

God is interested in you impacting cities around you!

The church my wife Donna and I pastor in beautiful Brunswick and the glorious Golden Isles of Georgia, USA [Bethel Church] have always had people from a minimum of 6 counties, and at times as many as 9 counties, attend our services.

Currently there are people attending who drive between 1 – 1 1/2 hours one way to be in the Presence of God. Some are members,  and even leaders, and some are here because they see us a “city” of refuge.

Wise men [people] still travel to find and get it on what God is doing in the earth! There will also always be people who are not interested or aware of what God is doing in their city or region. And then there will always be those who will criticize or attempt to kill what God is doing.

What are you doing with what God is doing?

What Were They Thinking?

Wouldn’t you like to ask Ananias & Sapphira, “What were you thinking?” We don’t really know what they were thinking because the text in Acts 5 does not tell us.

Peter asked them both some questions but Luke, who wrote Acts, does not say what they said, if they said anything at all in defense of their defenseless deception.

V5 says this about Ananias, “As he heard these words [questions] He fell down and breathed his last.”

I believe before Ananias fell down dead, he fell down. He chose deception and in that choice he chose death.

Verse 8 says, “Peter responded to her” which indicates Sapphira may have asked him, “”Where is Ananias?”

Sapphira did answer the first question Peter asked her. Then she fell down dead as well. Luke uses the word “immediately” to describe how swift she lost her life.

This word ‘immediately’ is the same word used in the Gospels to describe how quickly the disciples Jesus chose, chose to follow him and dropped everything to follow Him.

There is a false perception [which is a deception] that under grace Christians can get away with sin. Grace is not a get out of jail free card folks. Read carefully 1 John 2:1-6 and notice John writes to “little children”.

“1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

“Little children” is “paidion” and is the 3rd level of maturity in the first level of 4 levels of maturity. Little children can understand they do not have permission to [may not] sin.

John goes on to say, “If” not “when” we sin. Sin should not be an issue if we are growing up in Christ Jesus.  I can hear those saying, “Kevin, you are crazy. No one will ever live a sinless life.”

Jesus did!

Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are but He did not send. This means He chose right over wrong! It means He chose eternity over the temporary! It means He chose to be faithful to who He was and what He came to accomplish over what others wanted Him to be and to do!

So did Joseph and Mary! At least they were sexually sinless.

There are so called “believers” today that think it is archaic to remain sexually pure. It is only impossible to those who believe it is impossible, or to those who really do not care to remain pure because they believe “God will understand.”

Anything we see as impossible, is!  If we believe we can’t, we won’t!  If we believe it will not work, it won’t!  Deal with it!  “According to your faith will it be done.”

Your faith is not showing!

Those who know [have an intimate relationship with] the Father through Jesus the Christ, will keep His commandments. If you read chapter 2 you see the commandments have to do with love, not LAW.

Love supersedes LAW because it is based on the person’s heart that we love, not their rules! In fact, Paul says in Galatians 5 that those who live according to the Spirit are above the LAW.

If we do not keep His commandments we are liars and the truth is not IN us.

“We ought to walk as Jesus the Christ walked”. Jesus is our role model for all life and ministry.

Grace is God’s ability that lifts us up, not lets us down.

Grace is God’s enablement that causes our commitment to live godly in this perverse generation to grow more concrete.

Titus 2:11-14

“11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Grace has appeared to ~

1. Bring salvation to all men – does not mean all men are saved or will be saved
2. Instruct us to DENY ungodliness [this means to say “no” to it not deny that it exists]
3. Instruct us to deny worldly desires [carnality, immaturity]
4. Instruct us to live sensibly, righteously and godly [be like God [Jesus]]

~~~ The result of us being taught to live like God is ~~~

We will look for the appearing of the blessed hope and glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ [in us not for us]. In other words, Jesus becomes more prominent in our lives [lifestyle].

Some of us are praying faithfully and with great fervor for God’s glory to invade our lives and areas of responsibility. As I wrote above if we are serious about God increasing His glory we best be serious about being prepared to host and handle it.

Jesus [the glory of God in earth in a man [John 1:14]] lived His life as an example of giving Himself to God’s purposes in order to redeem us from –

EVERY lawless deed [including using His name without having a real relationship with Him [Luke 13:23-28]]

And to ~

Purify for Himself, for His own possession, a people who will be zealous for GOOD deeds.

Or, a people who are possessed by God!

So, I believe it is possible that Ananias & Sapphira thought that they could get away with sin. After all, they most probably had said a prayer, possibly even were baptized in water, and therefore, thought because “in Christ God had reconciled the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them” – they were good to go!

Whatever they were thinking did not work out the way they thought, or they would have not approached God [His delegated authority – Peter], trying to get away with lying.

We see how “that worked out for them.”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” [Proverbs 14:12; 16:25].

1 Timothy 1:5-11

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

The law was never intended for the righteous person! It was for those who violate God’s heart!

Galatians 3:19-25

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

” 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were [past tense] some of you. But you were [past tense] washed, but you were [past tense] sanctified, but you were [past tense] justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

God has a standard! God’s standard is very high! God does not have a bell curve where he rounds everybody’s  “score” up. God calls every body up to His standard!

Jesus the Christ IS God’s standard!

Keep the faith! Keep the passion!

Our hunger and thirst for God is our escort into our deep satisfaction in God!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury
A Hisstoymaker