Freedom Conference (2 of 4)

Mike Connell

The Bible says the disciples preached the word; God, confirming the word with signs and wonders following, so the Holy Spirit works in a confirmation, in a partnership with the word of God and what can happen is if you just become a word church - brother, we're just a word church ... [Laughter] ... what happens is you preach the word and you teach the word. People receive the word. They respond to the word and then what ends up happening is that they try to live the word, they try - just they're going to pump themselves up, they're going to motivate themselves, they're going to focus this year - this is my year - and what ends up happening, they end up living - the first thing that happens is we keep failing. We keep failing and so we feel like well, you know, we start living in condemnation and then guilt, then we think I don't want to live here so we just put on masks and then we become - you know, we wear these religious masks; how you doin' buddy? Oh, blessed and highly favoured! ... [Laughter] ... The truth is everything's falling apart but we can't kind of let down the mask and that's why it's so important to actually have a church where the Holy Spirit can move, where He is free to move, where He is free to minister - because what He will do is everything that the word teaches, everything the word instructs, He comes and confirms and He delivers.

One touch from the Holy Spirit, you know, just the moving of His hand, just His presence falling on your life sets you free, breaks things. I can remember - gosh, I think I was a Christian about a year. I got saved when I was 18, on a beach through Christian surfers and about a year later I remember being in church and it was kind of towards the end of the service. The church that I was going to had a really powerful communion. In fact they would finish with communion, so they had communion. One of the ministers was sharing communion and I remember taking the little cup with the grape juice and the little kind of biscuit thing, the little bread thing and I had it in my hand. Then the minister said I just want you to close your eyes. I want you to just picture Jesus hanging on the cross - and when I closed my eyes for this incredibly sacred holy moment - I had the cup, I had the bread in my hand, the blood and body - I closed my eyes to see Jesus hanging on the cross, but instead of seeing Jesus hanging on the cross I saw the most disgusting pornographic images.

I remember just kind of opening my eyes thinking oh man, what is that! So I said oh God, not here, this is a holy place. What is wrong with me? And so I went to close my eyes again and there it was again. It was just this thing - it had been with me all through my childhood. I didn't realise that it was something that dad passed down - probably passed down from his dad. You know, the Bible says that I will visit the inequities of the third and fourth generations, so you can be living with stuff that great-granddaddy opened himself up to and it's a little gift just kind of passed down. It's one of those things - I don't want this, but it's too late. It's an unfair inheritance.

I remember just being in church thinking man, what is wrong with me? What is wrong with me? About a year after that I got baptised with the Holy Spirit. When I got filled with the Holy Spirit what was so amazing was when they were praying for me nothing seemed to be happening, no tongues, no other languages were coming out, but I felt a knot in my stomach and then I felt it rise through here and then I felt like my face contort, my fists clenched and then I felt a freedom and from that moment on never again was I tormented by it. I just thought it was normal. I just thought oh everybody just lives with these constant graphic images that I couldn't control but all of a sudden I was free. All of a sudden I was free.

At that point I'd been a Christian for two and a half years. Jesus sets you free. Jesus sets you free on the day you're saved, but that freedom is outworked. The Bible teaches this. See you and I are trapped in time. The Bible teaches that God is outside of time, God is a trinity, the whole universe is built in trinities and what I mean by that is you are saved, you are being saved and one day you will be saved. The Bible says when He comes back we will be saved. The Bible says those of you who are being saved, the Bible says that we are safe so there's this triune outworking so you are delivered, you are being delivered and you will be delivered. You are free, you are being freed and you will be free. ... [Applause] ... It's an outworking. Jesus already accomplished it on the cross. It's already accomplished on the cross, but now you and I are outworking and the Holy Spirit, He is so gentle. He's so gentle. He's not going to come and just rip everything out at once. He may have to come and do a series of little operations, but week by week, month by month, year by year you'll enjoy new levels of freedom as you walk with God.