There are good angels. That is where I want to start this series. There are good angels. It seems that charismatics know so much about demons but not much about angels, but two-thirds of the angels stayed good and stayed on God’s side and those angels can freely move from earth to heaven.
Did you know though that even the best angel is nothing compared to Jesus? Hebrews 1.4 says that Jesus is so much better than the angels. So, do not start worshipping angels, do not let them take the place of Jesus in your life. But I do think the church does need to be aware of these angels.
They are spirits (Hebrews 1.7) and they are ministering spirits (Hebrews 1.14) – that makes them servants. They are spiritual beings, invisible, intangible, but they are in the room with us right now to serve us, to help us, to minister to us!
The ministry of angels did not end in Bible days, there are still angels around today. They still serve today.
Now yes there are bad angels, they fell with satan (Revelation 12.9) and were booted out of heaven. But let’s focus on the angels that didn’t right now:
They are created beings. They are not eternal like God. They were created by God. They are not people. The media likes to suggest that when we die we become angels, no – you are not angels now and you will not become one when you die. That’s not a Bible thing.
Angels are servants, and they are there to serve us, that means they have to do what they are told. Servants do not have the right to make their own choices, and nor do angels. Satan messed up by making his own choice – he wanted to decide where he would put his throne. He forgot he was a servant, he had no choice where his throne was, he should have just been grateful to get a throne.
Angels that didn’t fall, they kept obeying orders – they only speak the Word, they only do the Word, they only stand for the Word. They stand around you waiting for you to speak the Word then they help it come to pass! Those angels didn’t rebel against God and His grace!
Next time – we will discuss the Adam-angel connection in the garden. Look forward to it!
One of the things that we see whenever we look at the life of Jesus is that he loved others. He loved people different from himself, he loved people not like him, he loved people who hated him.
Anyone can love their wife, their children, their husband, their parents. Some people love their gran and grandad, and aunty. Some people love their tribe, their extended family, their people. But Jesus Christ loved everyone. Jesus Christ loved those trying to please Him and He loved those who hated Him, He loved the most wicked man on the planet, and He loved people who betrayed Him, He loved the people who looked like Him and the people who didn’t. This love for others is what makes Jesus absolutely unique, it is what makes Him different from selfish humans and their limited love.
The Church has sadly not flourished in areas where it has not loved others. And this is something we need to do – we need to stop being selfish, stop just loving our church tribe, and love everyone. We need to stop being self-centred, self-obsessed and just plan selfish. Other religions make headway ahead of us in some places because we do not love others!
We need to be like Jesus and love others. We need to get beyond the end of our own noses and start loving other people. We need to grow the church by loving others. We need to be like God – He loved the whole world so much He gave up Jesus to die for them. God was thinking about others. God loves others, and God has won many sons and daughters to Himself.
God loved the world and that love manifested when He sent His son to serve the world. One of the key ways we can show love to others is to serve them. Jesus served, He did not come to be waited upon hand and foot, He came to serve others. He came to minister to others. He came to help others. He came to serve others. He came to take God’s love and power and share it with others. Serving others is the way we love others. Serving others is the key to greatness. It is difficult for us to realize how important this is, but serving others opens the door to solve all your personal issues, it takes your mind off your issues, it opens the door to the real world in which people have big problems and you can serve them and love them.
Opening your heart to serve others helps you put your tiny problems in context. Most people in the West magnify their own problems, because they do not serve others. But you start loving others and serving others, it stops you being so spoiled. It stops you thinking about yourself, it stops you thinking about little things and helps you start thinking about the greatest things of all – helping others, loving others and serving others.
Jesus never once came to be served, He came to serve. He lived for others. He said that we should not live for ourselves, but live for others (2 Cor. 5.14-15) – how did Jesus live for others – through love and through serving.
Can you see the pattern? Jesus loved others, he served others, he lived for others. We need to model the same pattern. we need that love – and it cannot be constrained according to Paul – we need that attitude too – an attitude of love that cannot be constrained that leads to us serving others and living for others. We cannot be fighting for our rights, we need to be fighting for a place to serve others! That is how Jesus did it, and that is how we should do it.
We can get so obsessed with the benefits of the gospel – we travel far and pay a lot of money to preachers to tell us we are blessed, healed, righteous – and we are all those things, but the church must exist for the lost. Pastors need to lead the way in this – are you standing week after week in front of overfed sheep and not doing anything to equip and prepare and plan and structure church to be reaching the lost? When was the last time you handed your pulpit over to an evangelist?
Sadly one of the reasons that so many pastors cannot do this is the rise of spoiled sheep – they want the whole service to be about them! They don’t want to praise Jesus, they want to sing about their identity (nothing wrong with either of those, but if all you do is the latter, there’s a problem!), they don’t want to hear a sermon on praying for the lost or sharing their faith – don’t you know that’s legalism and they are under grace?! We need to as churches exist for the lost! Some Christians are so far from thinking of the lost and so self-obsessed they do not even go to church! That’s the most selfish a Christian can be – not going to a church. How can you help a lost person on your own? How can you bring them into an experience of corporate worship and being equipped if you are not? That’s not grace you not going to church, it’s doubt and unbelief.
We have to realize that lost lives matter! They do not know Jesus, and are not heading for eternity in heaven with Jesus. They need to be reached with the good news. Jesus came for them and we should be like Jesus.
I had an email a short while ago from a pastor, he was upset that I was running a network of six churches, for some reason, maybe envy, I don’t know. I said that his church had more assets and more people than mine, and he could easily plant more churches. He said “I just don’t have the drive that you do, and I don’t want to go to small places like you do”. Now maybe he is just staying in his lane and maybe he isn’t called to plant more churches, but on the other hand, maybe he is waiting for a “call” that will never come. You do not need a call to go into all the world and make disciples, and you do not need a brain to know the best way to make disciples is plant churches.
We want to be like Jesus we need to come that people might have life! That is what Jesus did, isn’t it (John 10.10)?! Jesus came to bring life to people – and as His ambassadors that is what we should do! Think of ways you can share the good news with others. Think of how you can bring people to church, think about how you can welcome new people in church, think about how you can bring life to people – the gospel, the grace of God, the grace of healing to people! We need to be like Jesus – and bring life to others, especially the lost. Let’s not feed the well-fed all the time, but also feed the hungry.
One of the main reasons Jesus did not go immediately to the cross when he came to earth was to hang around and train and teach us how to treat other people. The basic default of humanity is to love yourself. But we need to love our neighbour too, and one of the best way to learn to love our neighbours is to look at the way Jesus loved people.
Your neighbours are the others that William Booth was talking about – you have to learn how to love them! God has called you to care for more than just yourself – He has called you to care for others too.
And Jesus said to love others the way you love yourself. That’s a great way to help you think through how to think about others. Most people want to improve themselves, and so think about the ways you are thinking of improving yourself, and think about putting some time and effort into making those things happen to yourself.
Jesus thought about other people – He thought about blind people, deaf people, lost people, hurting people. He thought about people from other nations, He thought about sick people. Jesus was not consumed with self-pity and self-this and self-that, he was consumed with the thoughts of others. You know in today’s day and age, it is hard to find people who are thinking of others. Most people are thinking about themselves – what will people think of me, what will this do to my reputation, my future, my income? And base all their actions based on that.
This week I got a few people tell me I was very bold to address certain issues going on in our nation. It’s not boldness, and I am not trying to blow my own trumpet, but I love the people who are deceived and who are going astray from living a life of victory far more than I love myself. I will do what is right because I want to help others and what happens to me is not so big in my mind. Dave Duell really taught that to me, that’s how he lived and he inspired me to do the same.
Sadly, I have also met ministers not like Dave, and they only do good to furnish their pockets or get a better tax break, or make a show. A lot of people do good for show. We need to not just do things for others but genuinely love them.
It is no wonder that things are happened that are destructive, as people do not really care for others. But we have the spirit of Jesus inside us and four books about Jesus that should lead us to a better place. Look what Paul says in Philippians 2:
4Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
We need to have the attitude Christ had – take an interest in others. Right now, think about something you want, and try to think about how to get it to someone else. Think about something in your life you are grateful for and try and get it to someone else! Think about others, take an interest in others. Deliberately plan how to be a blessing to others.
The next time you go to church, don’t think about you and what you want and what song you want and what you want the pastor to say, but think about others. What would they need? A nice welcome? Someone to take them out to lunch? Someone might need a baby sitter in the week, someone might need someone to come round and mow their lawn, your pastor might need to hear your testimony, the usher might need a big thank you from you. Have a think about it, show some interest in others.
Jesus told us that to follow Him we would have to deny ourselves. It amazes me how much selfish ambition that still exists in Christians, how much they want to promote themselves above the message, above the Word, above their precious brothers and sisters in Christ. They live on roller-coaster bouncing from envy to strife and back to envy again. One of the major roots of this is self-promotion.
The greatest key to a joyous life is this – learn to promote and exalt and lift up others. You do that and you will open the doors to blessings greater than you can ever imagine.
At the end of the day you have decisions on a regular basis – shall I promote me, or promote others, shall I do what is good for me, or do what is good for others. If you listen to William Booth’s one word sermon “OTHERS!” you will realize that the greatest life is the one where you live for others.
But so many Christians live for their own interests, live for their own loves, their own enhancement, their own promotion. Today, I want to encourage you to become a promoter of others. Promoting others will produce a richer life than you could ever achieve by self-promotion.
Do you realize that satan lost all of heaven because he promoted himself? This is not a little issue I am blogging about today, this is life or death stuff! Satan should have been at the throne of God exalting Jesus and exalting the Father and exalting the Spirit, but he went and exalted himself. The Scripture says satan said “I will exalt myself” (Isa. 14.13) and “I will exalt my throne” and “I will ascend”. That is not a good place to be.
Adam fell because he wanted to promote himself to the level of God. Adam wanted a promotion so he disobeyed God to get it. He should have been promoting God, and exalting God and thanking God, but he promoted himself, exalted himself and thanked himself, then he helped himself to the forbidden fruit and walked himself out of paradise.
Self promotion cost satan heaven and Adam paradise, so this is important. And satan loves tempting Christians to self-promote because he knows that if you promote yourself into positions, places and with people that God never promoted you into, and you get things that God never offered you, you will be in a mess. Satan knows how badly self-promotion can cost you, so he loves tempting Christians into self-promotion.
Every Christian at some point will be tempted to self-promote. Jesus at the same time gives us opportunities to promote someone else. When you hit that crossroads, satan will be saying promote yourself, and get all that stuff. Jesus is saying “Promote God, promote righteousness, promote the others, promote the kingdom, and I will add these things to you”. Become someone who gets things added to them, rather than a self-promoter. If you seek for things yourself rather than seek the kingdom, and promote yourself rather than promote others you will never enjoy the fullness of life God has for you.
I have seen many men promote themselves in business, and now they are in a dark place financially and in difficulty. Just like Adam they wanted to be something outside of God’s Word and God’s instruction and it never ends well and never leads to paradise. I have seen self promoters in ministry and they can get to a certain level but their workload in maintaining what God did not give them burns them out every time.
Do not waste your time and energy on promoting yourself, that’s my advice to all of you today. Self promotion does not work. Self promotion is building the tower of Babel all over again. Let God promote you and you work on promoting and helping others.
What does the Psalmist say:
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. (Psalm 75.6-7, KJV)
General Booth once sent a telegram to every captain in the Salvation Army. He insisted everyone come together in the churches to hear this telegram, and be there when it is read. Salvation Armies across the UK and further afield gathered to read this powerful telegram, sitting in their church halls with expectation for this powerful message from the General. When everyone was ready, the various captains all opened the telegram to tell their people and everyone was shocked. The telegram was not long, it was short. It was actually just one word, in capitals with an exclaimation mark: OTHERS!
The Salvation Army people in all the churches sat there and took it in: OTHERS! God started speaking to people across the Salvation Army and they started to realize afresh that the Christian life is not about you! It’s not all about you, it is about others.
There are other people on the planet than you. It’s not all about you, you should not be living your life for you. You should not be spending all your money on you. You should not just be serving you. You should not just be laying down your life for you. Paul said “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2.4, ESV). All the blessings and grace you have in your life – that should be used not just for you and is not all about you.
You need to know today that:
CHRIST IS NOT JUST FOR YOU. Other people need Jesus. Right now there are millions of people across planet earth not even close enough to a church to go to church. There are others that the church does not help because the churches around them think just about themselves. Jesus is not just for you! It’s great you love Jesus, it’s great you love worship, it’s great you love singing praises and you love His presence, but please please please realize that Christ is not just for you and so many people do not know Him! They have never heard the gospel! They have never seen the love and power of Christ. Think about and pray about and dream about how you can get Christ to others.
CHURCH IS NOT JUST FOR YOU. I know if you go to Tree of Life you go to a great church, with lots of love and care, and you probably help make that happen too. But church is not just for you – others need to be in the Tree of Life, others need to be cared for by us. All Christians need a church and all Christians need a pastor. It is great to be a Christian, but a Christian in a good church with a good pastor – that is whole different level. So, how can we help other people find church? Tell them about it, recommend it, maybe even pray about being an elder or helping us pioneer a new Tree of Life. I know the church is feeding you well, but how can you help others get fed, because it is not all about you! It’s great you are coming, great you are enjoying the great food we are feeding, the great messages that right now are coming almost daily to you, but do not forget about the others. Take heed of General Booth’s one word telegram: OTHERS! Others need shepherds, help us plant churches in more towns, more cities, more villages, more nations! Others need church, others need shepherds, others need to be discipled!
THE GOSPEL IS NOT JUST FOR YOU! The good news of Jesus Christ is for everyone. How can you take it to others? How can you help others get it? My passion is to go deep with the Tree of Life Family and really build us on the Word of God, but at the same time my passion is to go as far as possible and share the good news with as many people as possible. Others matter, and others need the gospel!
A GREAT SERMON IS NOT JUST FOR YOU! If you heard a great message, share it with people. Let them know about it.
YOUR MONEY IS NOT JUST FOR YOU! You should be tithing, giving offerings and using your money to help take care not just of your things but the things of others!
MIRACLES ARE NOT JUST FOR YOU. Since going on TV, I have found everybody wants their miracle, their healing, their breakthrough, but very few are actively helping others get their miracle. God wants you to be a worker of miracles, not just a recipient of miracles.
BEING FREE TO BE YOU IS NOT JUST FOR YOU. Paul became all things to all men to win them. He didn’t whine about his rights or his freedom, he adapted to the situation as not to offend people or upset them, without compromising the gospel Sometimes people want things so much their way because they have never considered the interest of others.
HAVING PROBLEMS IS NOT JUST FOR YOU. So many Christians are just thinking of themselves and their problems and their issues all the time. But other people have problems too. Some people have bigger problems than you, some people have more complicated problems than you. But most of us are so obsessed with our problems, we do not realize other people are having problems too, and we do not help others with their burdens.
I want to remind you all today we all have problems. We all need some compassion, we all need gentleness. Stop thinking about yourself all the time, and think about others – as you do the love of God will flow through you and start giving you wise ideas on how to help others. It’s going to change everything.