Do you have a stronghold?

 

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Cor. 10:4-5)

 

A stronghold is an imagination or thought.  It is a belief system that is so ingrained in the heart and mind of a person that it colors their perception of themselves, others and the circumstances of life.  A stronghold can be a cultural norm, a religious tradition, a political ideology or the latest social movement.  It can include how we were raised and what we were taught by our parents and teachers.  Strongholds can be impacted by music, movies and the latest political news.

 

In every case, a stronghold represents a belief that is against the nature of God and His purposes for man.  The one who is holding to the stronghold may not wish to be against God in their thinking, but the stronghold is so deeply rooted that they aren’t even aware that they are filtering God’s Truth through the lens of the stronghold.

 

Strongholds allow deception.  The fundamental characteristic about deception is that the one who is deceived doesn’t know it.  The stronghold has become a part of their approach to life and their approach to Truth.  Even Truth must be shaped and filtered to fit the mold of the stronghold.

 

Within the body of Christ there are many strongholds.  Perhaps the strongest is the belief that God is controlling all things.  The misunderstanding of sovereignty has paralyzed much of the body of Christ and left many living lives of passive resignation.  This is hardly what God had in mind for His children.

 

The results of the sovereignty stronghold change faith from a proactive potential to destroy the works of the enemy into an inactive acceptance of loss and suffering as part of His celestial plan.  Prayer becomes “wishful hoping.”  The most popular Bible stories that support this stronghold are Job, Paul’s thorn, and chastisement (Heb. 12).  While all these stories have powerful lessons for us, the person trapped in the stronghold cannot or will not see the truth.  The Bible becomes a mysterious manual to explain human suffering rather than a divine revelation of redemption and the restoration of man’s authority and purpose.

 

Only truth can set the captive free.  But truth must be desired and sought.  This means that the stronghold must be allowed to be challenged.  Rather than adjusting to strongholds, let’s move out of the darkness and allow His truth to tear down everything that holds us captive.  If your belief system allows you to be a victim of fate, you have a stronghold.

 

Barry Bennett

Did Jesus take away our sins in the baptism of John?

Category: Sin and the Cross
Description: A current unusual teaching making the rounds is that Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself in the baptism of John.

​A current unusual teaching making the rounds is that Jesus took the sins of the world upon Himself in the baptism of John. He was able to freely heal and minister to the multitudes because He had already taken their sins. The teaching comes from the following:

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (Jn. 1:29)

The teacher of this doctrine supposes that John’s statement became reality when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan. This is quite a leap, and a very wrong conclusion. The idea is based upon the Old Testament story of the scape goat. The priests would lay their hands on the scape goat and send their sins off into the wilderness. (Lev. 16:21-22) It is supposed that this was a type and shadow of Jesus being led by the Spirit into the wilderness with the sins of the whole world. However, there are several major flaws with this teaching.

First of all, the story in Leviticus begins with two goats being chosen. (see Lev. 16:7-19) The first goat is sacrificed as a sin offering. “Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail…” (v. 15) After the sin offering is complete, hands are laid on the scape goat and it is sent into the wilderness. Notice the order of events: first the sacrificial goat and second, the scape goat.

Before Jesus could fulfill the ‘type’ of the scape goat and carry our sins into the lowest parts of the earth, He must first be the sacrificial goat. “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa. 53:5) “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” (1 Pet. 2:24)

Jesus did not take our sins in the waters of baptism. He took them on the cross. How, then, did He minister to a fallen world if sin was still in the way? “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” (Mk 2:10-11)

Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins. His righteousness overcame the obstacle of sin. His authority was a function of His righteousness. Jesus was not carrying the sins of the world as He ministered, and He didn’t leave them somewhere in the wilderness. He became the sacrificial lamb on the cross, and then descended into the lowest parts of the earth, thus fulfilling both types in the proper order.

Barry Bennett

Are all men ‘born again?’

​There is a new doctrine infiltrating the body of Christ that declares that all humans who have been born after the resurrection of Jesus have been born without the fallen Adamic nature. They have been ‘born again’ in Christ by virtue of simply being born after redemption was complete. It is said that the epistles of the New Testament were directed to the ‘transitional man,’ and not to those born after the cross. This transitional generation included those born before the cross and who still had the Adamic nature. They and they alone had to believe in Christ in order to be born again. All who were born into this world after the cross are by default born again and have the very nature of God within according to this teaching.

Several observations:

1.Why is this never stated in the New Testament, either by Jesus or any other New Testament writer? Would not this have been incredibly important information to have revealed to future generations?

2. Why did Jesus say that repentance was to be preached among all nations beginning in Jerusalem? (Luke 24:47) If repentance was only necessary for the transitional man, why didn’t Jesus make this clear? He knew that the disciples would not reach the whole world in their lifetimes.

3. Why did Peter indicate that repentance for the remission of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit was for ‘their children and to all that are afar off,’ if Jesus knew that all who would be born after His resurrection would need no repentance in order to receive the promise of the Spirit?

4. All men are included in Christ’s redemptive work, but not all men are in Christ. That is why Jesus commanded that the gospel be preached in all the world, and Paul declared that all men should repent. (Acts 17:30)

We are born again by the Word of God which we ‘hear,’ believe and confess unto salvation.

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Ro 10:8-10)

This is the born again experience. We hear the Word, believe the Word, confess the Word and are born again by the Word.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Pet. 1:23)

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (1 John 5:1)

All men were in Adam by natural birth. Men can only be in Christ by spiritual re-birth. This is a result of faith.​

Barry Bennett

RECEIVING HEALING

Health is a need for everybody. People go to different institutions like hospitals to name but one, to receive healing from different conditions. Treatment is provided by medical professions trained in different specialities. Thank God for these professionals.

There is another way that people receive their healing direct from God. That is why the hospital ministry is being done. Jesus Christ who used to heal, is still healing today. The Bible says He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same power that operated through Him is the same power that operate in believers today.

The recipient of this type of healing needs to understand that the healer is Jesus Christ through the believer, to the sick person. The faith of the recipient needs to be developed first for her or him to receive healing. Some people received their healing instantly, some received their healing gradually. We thank God for healing people through hospital ministry. The number of inpatients have reduced remarkably as compared to the number of inpatients when we started at the beginning of February 2018. We minister to the sick in hospital once a week.

We give God the glory and praise.

Sinah Baloyi