Harvest Time Deliverance Ministries
He Who the Son Sets Free is Free Indeed
Carnal Christians--Broken Cisterns

My question, today, is do you want religion's bitter water, or God's living water? Do you know that being "religious" and being a "Christian" is not the same?

I really dislike the word religious or religion, as people of the world, and sometimes in the church, refer to it.

There are numerous kinds of religions, as in muslim, hindu, christianity, and on and on. But, notice that Christianity is only one of the types or kinds of "religions".

To hear someone say that he or she is religious, or to hear someone refer to a person as being religious does not necessarily mean that he or she is a Christian. To be a Christian is to be Christ-like----born again, and living a righteous lifestyle, ----holy, and sanctified.

When we surrender completely to God we feel an overpowering sense of God's presence flood our soul. By doing this, and asking Jesus to come into our hearts, and accepting HIM as our personal Saviour, we have an actual encounter with Jesus wherein we experience a personal relationship with HIM as our Lord and Saviour.

Some people like to say that they are religious or try to act like they are super-spiritual, when in all actuality, they have never had an actual encounter with Jesus. It is something that they only say with their mouth, and NOT mean it in their heart. Then, sometimes, they even go so far as to develop what is commonly called a religious spirit.
There are numerous ways in which to tell if this religious spirit is at work in an individual:
(1) They'll find fault with others but not themselves
(2) They always tear down, but never build up
(3) They are unable to receive correction or instruction
(4) They won't listen to men, only "to God"
(5) They believe that God has appointed them to fix you
(6) They will not tolerate weakness or failures in you
(7) They always want recognition
(8) They are suspicious of every new move of God
(9) They always glory in yesterday, but never today
(10) They won't join a group outside theirs, and will forbid
you to, also

Some people only say with their mouths that they accept Jesus, and don't mean it in their heart--there is about one cubit (approx. 17 inches) that it has to travel from the mouth to the heart. God knows our hearts and HE knows when we are sincere. Only when we mean it in our heart is our name written in the Book of Life, and that is the only way we are going to enter into heaven.

The so-called religious spirit is only skin deep, and a person puts it on, so to speak, for the eyes of the natural man, and is to
tally "carnal", and the Bible tells us that his religion is vain. CARNAL means worldly, or fleshly---Romans 8:7 says the carnal mind is enmity to God. Romans 8:6 says to be carnally minded is death and in vs. 8 it says those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

A lot of people have KNOWLEDGE, but knowledge without obedience is of no use to God. God wants us to share the knowledge that HE gives us, so that He can give us more. The Bible says freely you have received, freely give. This is one of the main principles set forth in the WORD! OBEDIENICE is the key to blessings of the Lord. In order to gain knowledge, we must read and study the Word daily, and walk as closely to God that we can and get to really KNOW HIM, and get to know His voice!! There are many voices out there, but the closer walk we have with the Lord, the better we can recognize when HE is speaking to us.

We need to learn to let HIM carry us on His Living Waters. I liken it to something like this: When we were in sin, we were drinking stale water, and that water kept coming, and getting deeper and deeper, and was getting more stagnated with each passing day until we were "up to our noses" so to speak, with it and about to drown. But, when Jesus came on the scene and I accepted HIM as my personal Saviour, I no longer was standing in stale, stagnated water, but I was being carried by HIM on His Living Waters.

There are people out there today who profess to have "religion", but their religion is "emppty and burdened with carrying, and drinking stale, bitter water.

In Jeremiah 2:13, it says "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken ME, the fountain of living waters, and hewn for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water".

When we drink from God as a "fountain of Living Water, our spirit is actually communing with His Spirit.

Some people feel that if they can go to Church and sing some songs and get a "feel good" feeling, they have been "to church", when in all actuality, they never really experience what it is like to really feel God's living presence. They don't know the difference between an anointing of the Holy Spirit, and emotions. Such people have never really felt "the joy of the Lord" or a "burden for the lost"--they have never really drank deeply of the fountains of His Living Waters. In other words, a lot of those people "go to church" instead of "going to God". Think about it!

I want to discuss a little bit about "broken cisterns" which Jeremiah spoke about:
The 1st broken cistern is SENSATIONALISM. Some Christians find their joy and peace in experiences in which the power of God is viewed as a mystic energy flowing from the sphere of their emotions. Such believers manufacture a sense of God's presence through the stirring of their emotions. Experiencing God's presence will certainly touch our emotions, but the substitution of emotionalism is idolatry. Whether such practices take place in the worship service, in the use of certain spiritual gifts or in the prayer closet, the emotions in these exercises essentially become an idol to which we are enslaved. Only a true experience with the Lord can differentiate between our emotions and God's presence....

The 2nd broken cistern is the substitution of the written letter of Scripture for God's presence. While Scripture is foundational for knowing God, its primary purpose is to point us to the reality of His presence. The believer whose joy and peace before God are anchored primarily in his ability to memorize, analyze and systematize the written revelation of God's truth has made the paper and ink of Scripture his god. Such idolatry blinds us from experiencing God's living presence. That is why Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 5:38-40)You seaarch the Scriptures because you THINK that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to ME that you may have life.

A 3rd broken cistern is closely connected with making an idol of the Bible. It is the substitution of righteousness for God's presence. That person makes an idol of the Scriptures by making his obedience to the Scriptures his final basis for his peace with God. He bases his spirituality on his good works, and is deceiving himself by thinking that by doing his good works he has assurance that God both loves and accepts him. Paul rebuked the Galations in Gal. 3:3, saying "Are you so foolish" Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh".

A 4th broken cistern used as a substitute for the living waters of God's presence is security in material possessions. This is expecially common in our country. With all the material benefits included in God's rich blessings upon us, many believers have become guilty of this sin. Material possession in themselves are not evil, but when our joy and security is rooted in them rather than in the presence of HIM who indwells in us, we in effect have forgotten God.

A 5th cistern found in the church is pleasure. A material-oriented society is a society obsessed with sensual pleasure. The Christian who clings to material riches will likewise be obsessed with pleasure. Remember Paul's statement to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1,2,4, & 5----"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God."

There are no genuine substitutes for the experience of God's presence. Sensationalism, intelligence, material things or so-called works of righteousness will not fill us with the refreshing waters of HIS presence. Neither will they get us into heaven--as Jesus said "No one comes to the Father except by Me".

Spiritual renewal for God's people cannot and will not occur until we are satisfied with nothing less than the Living Waters that come from God!!!

MAY WE SEEK HIS PRESENCE AS THE SAME INTENSITY OF MOSES IN EXODUS 33:15--------"If Thy Presence not go with me, carry us not up hence."

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