Jack Oliver - Port Dickson, Malaysia Convention - December 2005

Hymn 271

When we have vision, we have revelation. We heard this morning the danger of losing our vision. The devil would like to change our thinking that this is not really our life but our religion. If he can do that, he is going a long way to overcoming us. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." He did not say, "I am the religion to come to the Father." He was the good shepherd, not the religion. The devil wants to change our king, the truth of God, which we value so highly.


This is not a religion, this is a life. Religious people do not have life. The Truth, from day one when God said to Adam and Eve, "Thou shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," but the devil brought a little change, new thinking, teaching, "It is all not so important after all - religion is just that something we can do along with many other things."

"I am the way, the truth and the life." The only way, the only truth, the only life we can have and we cannot bring religion alongside.


Mark's gospel starts with, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God." Galatians - a few years afterwards, Paul said, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel." Other doctrine, thinking, corrupting the minds of God's people. It happened just a few years, so quickly after Jesus was taken from this world. Up to this day, the devil is still bringing new teachings and doctrines to capture people's minds.


Parable of the tares - when Jesus came to this earth, the field is the world. In our life, we do not want good seed and tares that are in this world. The devil wants to change our thinking, our ideas.


There are a few things different between us and the religious people. The Malagasi people are very religious and they can preach but the way they live, talk, do - they are just like tares, life is not in it! This is what happens when we get too religious. In Acts 17, Paul saw the inscription, "To the unknown God," from a religious people to a God they do not know.


John 4 - Jesus was talking to the woman at the well, "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Worship the Father - that is one very big difference - religious people pray to God but not the Father. The Scribes and Pharisees do not do that. Praying to the Father was made possible when Jesus came. God didn't populate the world with a religion but a family - the family was the beginning of this world. God wants to populate heaven with a family, people who can come to their Father, not a Father they know not nor a God they don't know.


Sometimes it is so easy for us to say a few prayers to God but we need to pray sincerely to a Father we do know. "Father" is never referred to in the Old Testament where there are many references like Almighty, Jehovah, Rock etc but never "Father." When Jesus gave His life on the cross, Jesus came and died so that we can have a Father in heaven, one we can pray to.


Our Father is our God and our God is our Father. Jesus did not tell us to pray to Him but to His Father. His first prayer to His disciples, "Our Father who art in heaven." Pray to His Father through Jesus' name, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one cometh to the Father but by Me."


Religious people pray when people are looking. God's people pray when no one sees them. Don't do as the Scribes and Pharisees, stand at corners of streets and pray that people can see you. God does not want us to pray only in meetings - if there is no secret praying, we are just religious and the devil is happy, he is bringing religion into our life instead of making religion our life. The Malagasi language for "going to church" is the same as "going to pray" - the only time they pray is when they go to church, there is no life.


Religious people think they are right but God's people know they themselves are sinners. We know the Lord Jesus is right. When the two people went up to the temple to pray, one said, "I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week." That is a religious man. The other smote his chest and say, "God be merciful to me a sinner." A man in Madagascar saw everything, everybody was wrong. He also saw the Truth but he never admitted he was wrong.


Paul was extremely religious but when he wrote to Timothy, he spoke of himself as the chiefest of sinners. It is a very beautiful thing to have religious people come into God's family. An old couple, very religious, found it difficult to go to their church which is a long distance away. They prayed at home in sincerity to God and it wasn't long when God's servants came.


Religious people can talk about things that are wrong in their church and never a thing wrong in themselves. God's people never see anything wrong in the way but in themselves. Paul said that if we begin to be religious, we will see the faults of another, in the church and fail to see the wrong in ourselves.


The centre of a religion is the church. Religious people go to church believing that is their salvation. The center of our faith is not the church but the home where we practice manifesting we are God's people daily. God's people are safe, they go to meetings to nourish the Christ life within.


The power of false gods is a tremendous power. The number of churchgoers make up the power of religious churches. The power of God does not change no matter how many or few we are. In Madagascar, witch doctors have power over the people - the fear in people, because people were afraid of them that is where they have power over those people. Their only power is only in those who follow and accept them. Jesus told the woman at the well, "True worshippers pray to the Father in spirit and in truth." We depend on what God can do to us, in our spirit, not in our mind and it is our spirit that is returning to God.


People's minds are going to end at the grave. We don't want to be religious but true worshipers in spirit and in truth.