By Dr. Steven Lambert
In a day of ubiquitous uncertainty, one thing the Body of Christ can know without any doubt or equivocation is that Christ is coming back to claim as His Eternal Bride the true ekklesia that Jesus has been building now for more than 2,000 years (Mat. 16:18)! That is the great hope of the Christian faith that distinguishes it from all other so-called “faiths” or “religions.” Christ WILL soon return, and events and circumstances around the world are telling us, per Bible eschatology, that His return is imminent! And, when He does return, we have the glorious promise (and God cannot lie) that: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with [the dead in Christ] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thes. 4:17) Indeed, the succeeding verse commands us to “comfort one another with these words.”
As comforting as those words are to the righteous redeemed, to nominal claimants of the Christian faith it generates discomfort and even distress to know that the Church that Jesus is coming back to claim as His Eternal Bride is not just any “church” or amalgamation of people claiming to be “Christians,” but rather “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but…holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). Any believer with a scintilla of the Spirit and not being blinded to the truth by the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), can clearly see that the present state of the Church at-large is far from being a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but…holy and without blemish. In fact, what is actually transpiring at this very hour with the Church at-large is the End-times Great Apostasy that Jesus and the Apostle Paul both predicted:
“At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.” (Mat. 24:10)
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (2 Thes. 2:3)
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, (1 Tim. 4:1-2)
This last passage references the overall main cause of the mass defection from Christ and His Word that is occurring right now in this last hour, i.e., people, including those claiming to be believers, will be “paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” That is happening en masse, as people are giving heed to a hoard of false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, and false messiahs that have been unleashed upon the world and churches. Myriads across the globe are being deceived by spiritual pied-pipers who are human agents of deceitful, deceiving evil spirits and the false doctrines those spirits have authored and are successfully proliferating.
Indeed, I fear for those people, who have allowed themselves to become so deceived, though the warnings against such have been right there in the Bible where they are this very day, yet people have turned a deaf ear to them, and have ceased reading their Bibles, and ceased from being like the Bereans who examined the Scriptures daily to prove if what the Apostles were teaching was Scripturally correct (Ac. 17:11). They gather together to themselves hireling teachers, preachers, and pastors who will but tickle their ears with pious-sounding ear-candy, telling them what they want to hear, spiritual myths, and inspirational messages that appeal to and stroke their flesh but damn their souls to eternal separation from God, just as the Apostle Paul prophesied:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
Indeed, we are in an hour when there are more myths being presented in pulpits, real and ethernet, around the world as spiritual truth than at any time in human history. Truth is fallen in the street (Is. 59:14), and (a la the TV commercial) can’t get up! False doctrine is rampant! Deception is pervasive! The time has indeed come when they—”they” meaning purporting believers—WILL NOT ENDURE SOUND DOCTRINE! They just don’t want to hear it! They refuse to hear it! They shut up there ears to it! When a preacher preaches anything about divine judgment and retribution, eternal damnation in the never-ending fires of an everlasting hell, they run screaming out of the church building or immediately exit the website and unsubscribe to the mailing list. They turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to religious myths of apostate soothsayers! Didn’t you get the memo, preacher? Hell and eternal damnation has been cancelled for lack of interest!
Thus, in order for there to even be “a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but…holy and without blemish” there must come a cleansing, a purification, of the Spirit, by the Spirit, unto the Spirit. There must come a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy:
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. (Mal. 3:1-3)
Purification must come, and it must begin with the leadership! Leaders must be purified!
I’ve been prophetically revealing and declaring that God is about to bring purification to the Church that Jesus shed His sinless blood and endured unfathomable disgrace and degradation for. Let us never forget that He said it was HIS Church! The Church doesn’t belong to any of the existing or deceased denominations littering the roadways to Heaven. It doesn’t belong to the myriads of old age or New Age heretics and Jezebelic harlots who down through the ages have come along believing and announcing that the version of heresy, false doctrines, and divinational activities they were purveying for their own self-exalting and self-aggrandizing aims was “THE way” to God and heavenly bliss in an afterlife. It doesn’t belong to the Pentecostals, the Bapticostals, the New Order of the Latter Day Rainers, the Charismatics, the Neo-Charismatics, the Third-Wavers, the New Mystics, the NAR-ers, the Seeker-Friendly-ers, the Emergent-ers, the Neo-Universalists, and certainly not the profane, debauched, and blasphemous Christian-LGBT-ers!
He said, “I will build MY Church!” It belongs to HIM! And none other! Now and forever!
And, understand this, and understand it well: HE’S GOING TO HAVE A GLORIOUS CHURCH, A PURIFIED CHURCH, A CHURCH WITHOUT SPOT OR WRINKLE! ONLY THAT KIND OF CHURCH QUALIFIES TO BE HIS ETERNAL AND CO-SOVEREIGN BRIDE! He’s not going to marry a promiscuous, unfaithful, untrustworthy, unproved, untried, unpurified, unholy HARLOT! He did that once before, but had to DIVORCE HER (Jer. 3:8)! He will not do that again, and certainly for the eternal marriage!
How then will He do it—purify the Church? The complete answer to that is well beyond the scope of this article, but I will say two things about it. One, there of necessity is going to be some major compacting taking place in the ecclesiastical realm! Personally, I’ve always believed in, not a “universal church,” but a Remnant Church—a Purified One-third Remnant Church to be more specific, that shall comport with the prophecy of Zechariah:
“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. “It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'” (Zec. 13:7-9)
This is the Church that will survive the cleaving that I believe has already taken place in the Spirit. The only way anyone can be a part of this One-Third Remnant Church is by remaining FAITHFUL when God brings them through the refining and purifying fire to “REFINE them as silver is refined, And TEST (PURIFY) them as gold is tested!”
Two, as I mentioned previously, there must and will come a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy (see above), in which the Lord will come to His Temple, which now in its corporate form is the Church, in the form of Judgment Prophets “to sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” The sons of Levi are the Levites, and the Levites are the Old Testament counterpart to the New Testament Fivefold Ministers, who comprise the leadership of the Church Jesus is building. Judgment begins with the Household of God,” and because the anointing flows down upon the head or leadership “like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments” (Psa 133:2), judgment must begin with the leadership of the House of God. As goes the head, or leadership, so goes the body. And, the “offering in righteousness” that the New Testament Levites will offer unto the Lord is the righteous saints who have endured all and remained faithful “to the end” (Mk. 13:13).
Every local Church reflects its leadership, and no local church can grow past its leaders. Leaders are either the gateway through which spiritual beneficence flows or it is a bottleneck blocking it. God must purge, refine, and purify the leaders of the Church He is building. There is no other way, and no way around it. It is coming! For those who have volunteered to go first and to cooperate with the dealings of the Spirit, no matter what the personal cost, many of them have already gone through it. They will be the people the Lord, the Head of the Church, will elevate to lead, shepherd, and minister to the other leaders who have yet to go through the Refiner’s Fire. Others will abandon their post and resign their commission when the fiery trials come—and they will indeed come (1 Cor. 3:13-15)—and thereby purge themselves from the ranks of the New Testament Levites.
God spoke a prophetic word to me in 2006 that commencing that year purification was a byword for the Church and would continue to be a byword until He returns! In 2006, though in typical fashion the vast majority of believers knew nothing about it, God began to bring forth a new emphasis in the Spirit realm on purification of the Body of Christ, individually and corporately. And, purification entails deliverance.
2006 was an important year for the Pentecostal/Neo-Pentecostal Church in the Spirit realm. It marked the 100th Anniversary of the so-called Azusa Street Revival, and the Pentecostal Awakening that God brought forth at the turn of the 20th Century. The Winds of the Spirit blew repeatedly during that one-hundred-year period bringing forth the Pentecostal, Healing, Charismatic, Prophetic, and Apostolic Movements. But, what the Church has failed to recognize is that none of these refreshings, renewals, or revivals, whatever you want to call them, were an end in themselves, but rather just a part of the continuum of restoration God has been bringing forth in the Church Jesus is building since October 31st, 1517, when an obscure Augustinian priest by the name of Martin Luther nailed 95 Thesis of Protest against the Roman Catholic Church to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, thereby sparking the Protestant Reformation (Ac. 3:19-21).
Each of the aforementioned emphases that transpired since 1906 were vital elements in the restoration that God has been taking the Lamb’s Wife through in order to prepare her for the return of Christ to claim her as His Eternal Bride. The Pentecostal movement initiated a renewed awareness regarding the imperativeness of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Yet, that Truth was not and is not an end in itself, nor a panacea by any means. Rather, it was one piece of the spiritual puzzle, so to speak.
The Pentecostal Movement spawned the Charismatic Movement, which brought a renewed emphasis and revelation concerning the Gifts of the Spirit, which inure from the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. But, the Gifts of the Spirit are likewise no end or cure-all in themselves.
Out of the Charismatic Movement came the Prophetic Movement of the 1980s, restoring the function of the prophet and bringing attention to the prophetic gifts whose preeminent role is to edify the Church and speak edification, exhortation, and comfort into believers’ lives (1 Cor. 14:3,4). Yet, the raising up and establishing of prophets and prophetic gifts was not the ultimate purpose and goal of the Prophetic Movement.
The company of prophets God raised up during the last two decades of the previous millennium disclose, declared, and decreed things in the Spirit required for the most recent movement, wherein the Apostolic Dimension is arising in the Spirit realm, to be birthed. The apostolic function has been reestablished in the Spirit realm, and a new Apostolic Ambience is gradually manifesting. But the pertinences of the apostolic emphasis likewise are neither an end in themselves or self-completing.
Rather, all these emphases, and the “special effects,” so to speak, that have arisen from them, are vital elements of the Master Plan of purification of the Bride of Christ God has been effecting from before the foundations of the Earth. From the beginning of time God has been doing one thing overall — preparing for Himself a people, redeemed humanity. From before the foundations of the Earth, the Christ was slain, in order to redeem and purify a people who were “qualified” by grace through faith to live in eternal communion or relationship with God.
Not all professing to be Christians will have a part in the final chapter of that Master Plan. There will be a separating — the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares — before Jesus returns to claim the Church He is building as His Eternal Bride. In the end, the Bride of Christ will be comprised of a remnant of individual believers. The Church Jesus claims as His Bride will be a remnant Church comprised of only on-third of all those claiming to be a Christian Church or group of churches. The Prophet Zechariah saw it in the Spirit:
“And it will come about in all the land,” declares the Lord, “that two parts in it will be cut off and perish; and I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon My Name, and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'” (Zech. 13:8,9)
Refining, purification is the essence of God’s Master Plan of the Ages. God has been carrying on the process of purification of a people for 6,000 years since He breathed the Breath of Life into Adam. The Church that Jesus said He was building is the entity He shall return to claim as His Eternal Bride. It is not those who profess to be a part of that Church who actually are, but rather only those who bear the fruit of the Kingdom of God, and thus of whom God says, “They are My People — the people whom God is preparing through purification for Himself.
A vital and indispensable element in this purification God is and has been bringing forth since 2006 in the collective Remnant Church Jesus is building as well as in individual believers is deliverance.
Until now, the relatively few churches and ministries who claim to recognize the validity of genuine deliverance ministry, wherein demons are actually cast out of people, relegate this absolutely vital aspect of the ongoing ministry of Jesus to a backroom down the hall next to the restrooms and broom closet, metaphorically (but sometimes, literally) speaking.
Even those acknowledging the occasional and (to them) aberrational need for deliverance of some poor soul — usually the extreme cases — keep it at arm’s distance and as a hush-hush matter not to be discussed openly among the congregants, and regard those individuals who deal in this verboten activity of casting out demons as being somewhat “a bit off-center” and weird. This is how the vast majority of even Pentecostal and Neo-Pentecostal churches regard the matter of deliverance, despite the fact that casting out demons was the preeminent aspect of Jesus’ fleshly ministry, the first thing He commissioned the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb to do when He first sent them forth, and it was the first priority of His five-faceted “Great Commission.”
In 2006, God began a new emphasis in the Spirit realm, mostly in the spirits of individuals, that will eventually result in bringing deliverance out of the back room and into the front room; out of the darkroom and into the Son-room; out of bathrooms and into our living rooms; out of the hallway broom closets into our prayer closets and meeting halls; out of the out-house and into His house and your house!
Deliverance is the missing element that badly needs to be rediscovered in this hour when crazed madmen and madwomen are running around everywhere performing incomprehensible acts of murder and mayhem in our schools, church buildings, movie-houses, parks, and every form of public square. It’s not stricter gun-control that is needed, that only reduces the citizenry’s ability to defend themselves against such reprehensible acts of crazed violence, but rather it is “DEMON-CONTROL” that is needed more than anything and more than ever! Sociologists, psychologist, and psychiatrists prescribing psychotropic drugs, are not and don’t have the answer! The Church, comprised of those who believe in His Name, are and have the answer! It is the CHURCH, who holds the only source of “demon-control,” who has failed to carry out the very first tenet of what is known as “The Great Commission” but which by lack of practice has become “The Great Omission,” and thereby has failed our nation and the nations of the world. “CAST OUT DEMONS!” is a COMMAND Jesus issued to the Church, not to the world of unbelieving or agnostic, and it was not merely a suggestion or recommendation, but a COMMAND! When the Church fails to obey the commands of the Head of the Church, we fail, and there are always adverse consequences and a price to pay for our failures!
The world run amok we are living in today, to a great degree, is an INDICTMENT on the Church! The American Church, in particular, has failed America! We are the culprit! We are the Jonah running from our calling that produced the storm at sea who had to be jettisoned overboard to make the storm cease! We are the Jonahs who have had a major part in the whale of a mess America is now in, not only in the aforereferenced events, but also in every nascent political and societal malady now manifest in the nation. The Church in the 20th and 21st Centuries has failed in its calling to be salt and light to a lost, dying, and wayward world. We deserved to be thrown overboard and cast aside, because God sent us, like He sent Jonah, to speak His prophetic word of warning to Ninevah, and we boarded a cruiseship in an attempt to run from God, run from our calling, drown out His voice, distract our minds from the utter annihilation Ninevah would experience if they did not repent from their sin and debauchery, and simply run away to Shangri-la to party down to appease our guilt-stricken conscience and self-absorption!
The next move (emphasis) of the Spirit in the Church Jesus is building, is an emphasis on deliverance — casting out devils.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). The season for purification of the Church has come. The time for wide scale deliverance of God’s people, as an initial step in effecting that purification, has come. God’s faithful servants who have, in the face of contempt, scorn, and derision, maintained their heart for deliverance and continued to diligently labor to set the captives free — their TIME HAS COME!
“And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name, they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will cast down (lit.) serpents (principalities)!” (Mk. 16:17,18)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he hath anointed Me to…preach deliverance to the captives…to set at liberty them that are bruised (abused, oppressed, downtrodden, despairing).” (Lk. 4:18)
The Son of God appeared for THIS PURPOSE, that He might destroy the works of the devil (that are manifest in people’s lives). (1 Jn. 3:8)
And when evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demonized (lit.); and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill in order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, “He Himself took our infirmities, and removed (marg.) our diseases.” (Mat. 8:16,17)
A call of the Spirit for true deliverance is what God is declaring and decreeing, so true, God-called, -anointed, and -appointed intercessors must begin to get in line and agreement with the Spirit and pray this move into existence by praying for believers, leaders and laymen alike, to receive what God is doing. Jesus, in His earthly ministry, operated by receptivity, going only to those who were willing to receive Him, and taught the apostles to so operate as well. So also is it by receptivity that the Holy Spirit operates in our individual lives as well as churches. He will not force Himself upon anyone, but it is up to us to invite Him in and receive what He is saying and doing.
So also must the intercessors begin to specifically petition that the churches who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is speaking allow God to remove the veil that has been covering their eyes and blinding them to the truth and realities regarding the absolute REQUIREMENT of deliverance of every believer in order that the kingdom of Satan be purged from them, thereby enabling them to inherit the Kingdom of God into their hearts and incorporate it into their everyday lives, for Jesus said, “But if I CAST OUT DEMONS by the finger of God, then the KINGDOM OF GOD has come upon you” (Luk. 11:20).
This emphasis of the Spirit must come! NOW, is the time! For the Church and individual believers to have the Kingdom of God come upon it/them in full measure, DEMONS MUST BE CAST OUT, and deliverance must be placed as a centerpiece in the Church Jesus is building, for Jesus is the Great Deliverer! Substantive progress by churches, even lampstand churches, will be impossible without a full and complete yielding to what the Spirit is speaking in this regard!
The Head of the Church — the true Deliverer who Moses typified and prefigured — is now standing before the true pharaoh, our adversary, the devil (1 Pet. 5:8), and shouting the Divine Demand, “Let My people go!” And a mass-release of Moses-type deliverers, deputized as spiritual law enforcement officers to enforce the Law that has come forth from His mouth, is about to transpire, in numbers that will absolutely terrorize the devil and his cohorts! God is turning the tables on the devil and his demons behind the terrorism he has been perpetrating around the world, and is raising up Holy Ghost Terrorists — men and women filled with the dunamis-power of God who have forsaken all to become fierce freedom fighters of the Spirit determined to set God’s people free from every demonic bondage and assault.
God is about to send before Him a company of End-time John-the-Baptist-type prophetic messengers who will clear the way before His return to His temple, the Church:
“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.
God’s people must be delivered from all satanic bondages in order to come into the purification required to be able to possess the Kingdom! Deliverance is the pathway to purification. THE ERA OF DELIVERANCE HAS COME!###
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Dr. Steven Lambert was ordained in 1977 and holds several earned graduate/post-graduate degrees. Over more than four decades in ministry, he has served as a pastor, radio/TV host, adjunct-professor, Board Certified Doctoral Diplomate Christian Therapist/Counselor, and a speaker/commentator on a range of social, political, and theological issues, particularly as a recognized authority on the matter of ecclesiastical authoritarian abuse. He is the founder/Overseer of Ephesians Four Network (ephesiansfour.net) and its subsidiary, Ephesians Four Network of Deliverance Counselors (efndc.ephesiansfour.net). Dr. Lambert authored several books (catalog at realtruthpublications.com), many published articles, and is the founder/editor of Spirit Life Magazine (spiritlifemag.com). His bio, extensive blog, and scheduling information are available on his ministry website at: http://www.slm.org. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
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