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Amazing Grace Ministries

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May 99

The Gates of the City

Pastor John Doonan

The Old Gate #4

Nehemiah 3:6 "And Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Old Gate; they laid its beams and hung its doors, with its bolts and its bars."
Nehemiah 6:16, "Thus saith the Lord, ‘Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it, and ye shall find rest for you souls. But they said, We will not walk in it."

Jeremiah spoke of a people, who would look to God, he encouraged them to look for God, and he encouraged them that wisdom was to look for the old way. I was asked once what my ministry was. "Excuse me?"

"You know what I mean. Some people are holiness, some are prosperity, some healing, and others deliverance, everybody has a gimmick, a special ministry. What is yours? "

"I really don’t think I have one, I sought a way that wasn’t new, because I don’t need a new way. I don’t need a gimmick. I don’t need to find an answer in this world that was not already established by God. The old way works for me."

The Word says even before the foundation of the earth our salvation was established in Jesus Christ. There is an old way, a way that precedes man. We become part of a plan that was already working in the Lord. It’s not about us being recreated a different kind of human than we already are. We all have the same weaknesses, the same strengths. We’ve learned different things, we behave differently, but in essence, the people that God created in this earth are comparatively all the same.

Take a moment and observe a child, it is easy to see their life is simple, fresh, and evident they are on an adventure. Evil is a perversion and is not the natural way for man. Cursing, sickness, poverty, and death overwhelm us, that is perversion. It is not the natural way of things; it is not the old way. We don’t need a new message now to fit our circumstances today. We don’t need a brand new gospel that would profess to be more relevant. There is an older, perfect way. God does not have to change His plan based on what man has become. There are many churches today seeking for new ways, thinking they have to change their governments, organization, and things they do because society and people have changed. Everybody is always adapting to something new and I say, "Why?" If you had it right the first time why change it? People have not changed. If we have need of changes, then it is not the things of God that have changed us. If it is evil that created in us a need to have something different in our theology or something different in what we believe in, then I say get back to the basic, the simple old way. Let’s find what the wise man would say, "Teach me Lord the old way, show me the old paths. Show me the way that cannot fail, and those things that have existed from the day that Jesus put Himself on that cross, giving Himself to us." There is a way, an old way.

God’s Word says we need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. He didn’t say that we need to put Band-Aids on our lives to patch them up. This implies going back to a state of newness, not a brand new state, but an old pre-existing disposition. The only state of newness that we’ve experienced was when we were as a child, fresh and uncomplicated as God intended us to be.

To enter in the old way is to enter in as a child, to come before God with purity of heart. It is also coming before God without great expectations of what you shall achieve, but simply as a child knowing that you’re going to be fed, housed, and clothed. That is the simplicity of the old way. Before the Lord, we look for something that is real, quiet, and peaceful. We look for those things that establish truth; not the things based on evil, or our failure. Truth is not rewritten every time we find out we sin. We don’t have to go through a situation where sin has so distorted our temperament that we need a different kind of gospel to deal with some new incident in our lives. The truth, the old way, still forges its way to success.

Our confusion is evident when we look at all the different winds of doctrines and gimmicks presented these days. These new doctrines are nothing but paths we’ve taken, although sincerely, that just didn’t work. So we turn back to God and say, "God, didn’t we have something better before all of this? I’ve heard preachers say, "You know if we could just get back to the ways of the early church." Simplicity of faith is what is desired. They didn’t have to attend seminars to be a prophet; they were prophets. They didn’t have to acquire special training to learn how to talk in tongues; they talked in tongues. They didn’t need some kind of great and wonderful new way to believe in healing, and didn’t have to work on their healing for the next twenty years to get healed; they were just healed. What is the plain truth of it? Was their faith more pure than ours is? Is it just that our lives have become so confused that we need something more today? The need to have everything fresh—having our ears tickled with something a little more stimulating, is what distracts us from the integrity of the gospel. Evil thinking has perverted us to think we need to satisfy these desires for "more, new, and different." We continue seek things trying to satisfy our flesh. However, we need to remember that God loves us and is the only doorway that satisfies. That doorway is the old gate, the path that is simple and pure. It’s the old gate; not the new gate that is the better way. It’s not a fresh new look at things according to what we think sounds agreeable, or our flesh needs, but it is the Word of God and is over and over again the same refreshing.

There is not a special deliverance ministry door; not a single one in the whole city. Nor will you find an exclusive entrance for the prophets. On the other hand, there is the old gate. Ultimately we will once more find that entry, and humbly return seeking the Spirit of God in whom all truth is revealed. He is the only power that purifies our works in this earth. We preach an old and simple gospel; the cross of Jesus Christ and the power and eternal workings of that cross. We preach the unconditional completion of God’s Word contained in us. This is an old deep-rooted message, not a new one. It is not a particularly intellectual message, nor is it stylish in its execution, but it most definitely works. It is victorious because it is uncom-plicated and direct. All the fluff has been taken off because we don’t need it. Put your corrupted failures behind and look to the certainty of our salvation through faith alone.

What God has created in us gives us the ability, by faith, to see one another and ourselves as He sees us. The message taught here is simple, yet every time it’s preached something incredible happens because of it. I am totally amazed as I watch it work repeatedly, because the message is so simple, so pure, and so easy. Why complicate it? What makes this message refreshing, going directly into our heart, and bearing witness inside of us? What purifies and empowers the words of a man so that the spiritual becomes an open door for anybody that is pursuing the truth? Why is it that God, through this simplicity, can begin to show everybody that what works is simplicity? It’s not some new Jesus. It’s the Ancient of Days who died on the cross, went to the grave, and raised from the dead. Hallelujah! We’re born again and set free.

 

Paul said it best. "Though this gospel is many sided, it is actually very simple." This Divine message never changes. We have confidence since this revelation really works. We see it deliver people, setting them free. This unpretentious, deeply rooted message restores broken marriages and families that the world gave up on. The list of miracles it brings to us never cease. Faith in God’s promise makes this message work. We recognize that it’s not our great ability but God’s Word that builds a pure doorway. Every time we minister this gospel by faith, that doorway swings open. The things in us that are born of the Spirit are written on that doorpost and show we have been there. We are not ashamed of this gospel because others will continue to enter the kingdom of God through this simplicity of faith.

The preaching of the cross of Christ is the one and only power that can save, heal, and deliver. Faith purifies the earthly ministry of the Word of God. Have you ever been talking to someone about the Lord when all of a sudden, an incredible thing starts to happen? Your tongue becomes loose, you begin to have all these great things to say, and everything begins to flood over us like a great river flowing from the throne of God? What opened that doorway? It is the living, Spirit revealed, message that bears witness inside of us, and manifest the fruit of that Spirit when we by faith open our mouth and speak.

God didn’t put us here to become intellectual giants. We are looking to open that doorway for others to enter. Miracles happen by serving up that old message of the cross, not by offering our wonderfully intellectual wranglings. As profound and as in depth as the Word is, if you don’t understand the faith that is in that Word the intellect will never do anyone a bit of good. I can’t teach you grace, or instruct you in a vision. I can’t even teach you a truth that I see clearly in my own heart. All has to be revealed by God. I can open the doorway, and lead you to it because of the faith I have in that doorway, for Jesus is that doorway. I know the doorway exists and that it works. I know anybody that knocks on that doorway will find it opened unto them, and I know it takes faith to enter. Jesus is that door. We are the body of Christ so we are that door by faith. Not because we are as pure as He is, and not because we’ve accomplished anything in particular, or defeated any great foe, but because Jesus did. We therefore can stand at that doorway and say, "Come, enter in. Inside there is peace, power, and truth, that in this we were created." Teach me Lord of your straightforwardness in faith, and how to do the basic, simple things of life—teach me the old ways. It’s not about us becoming a great minister or prophet, but it is about who we are. It must be a message that comes by the old way. Who really has time to wait for something new when you’re in a critical situation right now? We need a message that works in our home, jobs, and relationships, and every aspect of our lives, right here and now, today. That power packed message gives believers the confidence to know that God makes absolute provision in every area of our life.

All means all, no one is left out, from the poorest to the richest, the weakest to strongest, the thief, or the demoralized. Our name is inscribed on that door by faith. How does a child become cared for? Do they have to pay off their parents? Of course not, they don’t have any money. Do we go to God and say "Hey God give me a new wardrobe and I’ll give you fifty bucks." Evil perverts us, but if my giving is to produce a reward, it must happen the old way. It must happen by faith so as we enter the gateway we believe that God is our absolute provision. He fulfills every need that we have. We know that when the things of this world want to dirty us, making us question who we are, that we can find the power in the old message that will purify our lives everyday. Following that pathway through the doorway leads us straight to the throne of God.

We want our children to be well informed, and use the gifts that God has given them, but we desire they to do it the old way. Do we want them to become adults by finding a new, better approach to life than the one we carefully preserve? In these last days, each generation has fashionably grasped at being different than our fathers before us. Has this new road produced a better world then the old well-established way? We have seen many contemporary, up to the minute ideas come storming in overnight, just to fizzle out under the trial of time. Each person that comes to Christ is made new, but only by the enduring old way. The Word of God will always work when it’s done with purity of heart by faith. The hand of God purifies those things done by faith. Life is definitely not about us but all about Jesus Christ and His provision, His ability, and His purpose for our lives.

Romans 12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of god, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

As we offer ourselves up to our Lord Jesus Christ, a miracle works a change in us. God doesn’t change, and His message doesn’t change. He is our stability, our assurance, no matter what, for God is always there upholding us. It is that, which I depend on because I know how to unlock that old gate. I know how to get into His presence, how to offer my body up as a sacrifice for others to see the faith that is given us to live and transform our lives. What advantage has my life if I think more highly of myself then I ought, and chose something simply because it suits me at that moment? If I humble myself before God offering myself as a living sacrifice in relation to service, it only matters what God can do. God will begin to use the faith that is measured in me to open up that great doorway. It doesn’t make a difference what we think we have accomplished in this life, if the things that are being done in heaven are left unattended and unfulfilled in this world. If the doorway is never opened for others to enter in through our service being offer up as a sacrifice to God, then what does it matter what we say we are?

Jesus the Word of life was before the foundation of the earth. The Word that was God, which was with God, that made all things, that Word framed this world. We depend on that Word, because it changed our lives and our attitudes. As a man thinks so is he. If evil has distorted me and has changed me from something that is not natural, literally altered from what God had fashioned me to be, then only that which was before evil can make right that which evil has broken down. We can by faith then turn to God and realize there is a better system. A way that was before the foundation of the earth where there was a pureness and holiness that knew no sin, or fault, no death, sickness, and knew no failure.

This Spiritual power still exists today. It’s just as pure and holy as it ever was. There is something greater then our desires and needs. Adam knew no sin when he was born of the Spirit of God. The world perverted and twisted us, so we turn back and say, "Jesus, we weren’t made to be this way. We were created to stand in the presence of God. We were made to be a temple of the Living Word of God." Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. The Word transforms our thoughts and recreates in us the doorway to God’s immutability. We can’t design something new and sophisticated to please man in hopes that they will understand God, but by becoming a doorway others can get the same revelation we received the old time-honored way.

We find the sheep gate, the fish gate, and the old gate all on one side of the building. The Lord mentions Harhaiah, and the sons of Hananiah who were goldsmiths and apothecaries. These individuals are not recognized for their ability to do hard labor. Goldsmiths usually, stand with little bitsy hammers and pieces of gold and make jewelry. Apothecaries (druggist) found herbs and ground them up to make medicine for cures. Neither the goldsmiths nor apothecaries were accustomed to working with mortar and brick, yet they worked faithfully on the old gate. They put aside their high mindedness, the potential prospects of prosperity, their businesses, and put their hands to work on the old gate. They humbled themselves to the work that was before them because no matter what they were in this life, what they did at that gate was going to make an eternal difference. Their status, education, and success didn’t matter because when the time came, as they were called of the Lord, they laid down their lives, returned to the entryway, and enthusiastically worked on the old gate. They did it the old way.

Remember the Gibeonites? When Joshua came in to possess the Promised Land for God’s people, the Gibeonites sent a delegation to meet him.

They said, "We come from a far away country and we want to make peace with you because we see that you’re consuming everything in your path, and we don’t want to be part of that."

Joshua said, "Fine." He didn’t realize that they lived over the hill, and that they were deceiving him. Consequently, Joshua made a covenant with them saying we will live in peace with you today. When they went over the hill though, they found their city. Joshua asked, "What have you done?" Everybody wanted to wipe out the city because of their treachery. Joshua said, no we made a covenant.

To this day, the Gibeonites became a thorn in the flesh to Israel because of a covenant of deception, because they came in another way, with another gospel instead of the old way. The way of Christ is the way we go marching in to possess the land. We are to do it by faith, through which the hand of God does deliver. It’s not by our works but is in believing and trusting in God. The Gibeonites came to the wall because the lie was over, they didn’t want to live selfishly anymore. They realized the old way was the best way.

Before we came to know the Lord we had a covenant with this world, which is, full of pretense and lies and that covenant has become a thorn in our flesh. We are summoned by God to set down all of our labors and come up to the old gate. It is never to late to make that choice and know that the workings of your faith is creating a doorway for others to enter, so they won’t be trapped in the deception and lies.

Rephaiah, a ruler of Jerusalem, with all of his wealth and position never hired anyone to work for him. To work upon this gate is not the kind of job you would think a leader would want to do, unless of course, he was touched by the power of that gate. This gentleman was ruler over half of Jerusalem with a great deal of power yet; he himself picked up the mortar and brick and began to build. Rephaiah humbled himself before God. He used neither his position, nor his power to get out of the work. He joined in side by side with all the others working on the wall.

This world has effected various changes in us, leading us in many different directions. The world’s evils have caused folks to self-adapt, for survival sake, away from the simplistic faith of our childhood. When we go back to the old way, nothing created or learned in this world can separate us from a truth that began before this world. When we go to that wall by faith it doesn’t matter who is superior or better qualified. Every man in this earth is asked by God to lay down whatever position or possessions he has to enter this gateway. The Old Gate demands faith. This message speaks of things greater, and more powerful than what we do in this world, that can only be fulfilled by God.

Jedaiah over against his house began to work. His house was next to the old gate, so he accomplished his work on the side specifically by his home. If we can’t realize the promises of God privately in our own homes than what service have we offered? We cannot be so superficial as to only display our renovation publicly. If we can’t look after the things in our home that, we do in the church, or we can’t do what we profess to everybody outside in the world, and if our home is less than in His promise, then we have not built our home the old way. If we haven’t built our home next to the old gate, the doorway of our faith, then the things we build will not be purified, sanctified, or protected by God. Jedaiah through his efforts and faith was recognized by God because of his wisdom to start right in his own house. We cannot be a different person one place, then we are someplace else.

It’s the old way, the performance of the cross. The fulfillment of the Word of God in our lives establishes us. As we begin to take on that faith God says that we’re not just building things in our lives on this earth. Our houses and lives are connected to the old gate. We can look at what we build and the things we do in this earth knowing it’s right to work. The Bible says a man that doesn’t work is worse than an infidel is. We understand that as we labor and fashion our lives all should be worked out honestly. Any labor in this life can become evil and impure, thus distracting us away from God, although we meant to do right. Everything we do in faith though is not what we’re building in this earth, it is what we’re building in heaven that matters. Our names will be written over the doorpost of the old gate right next to Hanaiah’s. All because we built by faith. Joshua put it this way, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." That is our reasonable service.

This simple faith purifies the works of our lives and our families and God gives favor to us in the things we do because it is the old way, the way of the cross. Job is probably one of oldest books in the bible, despite the hard times he experienced he still honored and served God. When it was all done God said, stand up like a man. Not like an angel or some distinguished spiritual leader, He said just stand up like a man Job. Do it the old way, do it in simplicity. As soon as Job stood up like a man, he was healed and God restored all things back to him. The old way is the way of faith and the way of knowing that God is the God of provision, and protection. God is the God of our homes and jobs, our lives, and our salvation. God is the God of everything we do so that while we inhabit this world, we are the emblem of the Old Gate. It’s about satisfaction in honoring God, and the faith that causes us to stand up!

The Bible says if we raise our children up in the Lord, they shall not depart from Him. It’s the old way. Does it mean their not going to try? It doesn’t matter, because our faith believes they will come back. The Bible also says they will rise up and call you blessed. The key word is rise up. To rise up can only come from being down. When they rise up they shall call you blessed.

How does one act upon that for their family? How do we allow God to achieve that in our own life? Genuinely simple... We become a doorway of worship to God. It’s not what we think we’ve achieved and it’s not about our high spiritual aspirations, or something we developed in ourselves that makes us more of a worshipper than others. It’s the freshness of going back to a state where we don’t have to become anything, because we already are. The old way is the gate of illumination of what we are in Christ alone and that this is sufficient for God. It’s the way of grace. Knowing Moses’ bush of grace is burning is not our concern. Knowing that our lives are in this furnace of fire, in this test continually and we’re not consumed because it’s the old way. The things of this world test us, and upon entering God’s fire, our faith remains unburned, and precious in the sight of God. All the other things burn up and it just doesn’t matter. What matters is that the faith, we establish, continues to build and grow.

"And the son of Hallohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters." I too am a father with a lot of girls. I know the Word of God is not just for men as just a gender-related vocation. Anybody that understands the old way can take the lead in picking up the mortar and the brick of this earth to construct something beautiful in heaven. Everybody that comes to that gate is welcome. We often become confused about what a woman’s role is in the church. It doesn’t matter when it’s done the old way. The old way was before gender. There wasn’t male or female when the Word was eternally evoked. When we come before God, we come in purity of faith. Now, we know men and women have different roles. We recognize women have positions they fulfill in this life but it has nothing to do with entering in worship before God. Gender has nothing to do with our capacity to become an entry that others may find God through our worshipful lives.

When we come before God we come by faith. We come because our faith is the reality of a heavenly city that really exists. Every time we reach our destination, worshipping in God’s presence, that gateway is evident. It clarifies the vision, that there is a greater work being performed. There is a work that is so profound, so complete in its makeup, and yet so basic. We don’t have to do anything except be the gate. He didn’t ask us to be a great prophet, priest, or preacher, He calls us to be a doorway. Though in this earth our simplicity seems without value, a door made only of wood. It’s faith that turns that wood into precious jewels, that reveals the true door that is Christ. This is the reality of our fellowship. It doesn’t matter what men seek. Faith can see it easily. All we have to do is believe that if we touch one another in Christ, we are touching Jesus.

What did they have the old way? They just knew that if Peter walked down the street somebody was going to be healed. Was it because Peter was a better healer than anyone else? No, it was the old way, the simple way. It’s the truth, perceiving that when we walk in the power of the spirit of God by faith, our lives change everything around us. We have something pure and holy, created by the hand of God, which works. We are learning that everything we do in our lives has a result, has meaning, and has something that connects us to God. In every aspect, it is just simply coming in as one of the sheep of His fold, and knowing His voice we enter not to be sacrificed, because the sacrifice is finished. Now, we find a Good Shepherd. Jesus went in first and found the cross. We go by faith through that doorway as His sheep, submitting ourselves to the Shepherd, putting ourselves in His care. We are the doorway and others will find the shepherd through us. They will hear the voice of God through us.When we come to the fish gate it’s not because we are gifted we just keep throwing the net out. We keep doing it automatically because that’s what we are. We are the gate. We are the ones assigned to bring people in to this great harvest.

When we come to the old gate our whole life begins to revolve around that gate. Whether a man or woman, rich or poor, strong or weak, that gate works for everybody who walks through. It doesn’t matter what our status in life is, we are that doorway, and by faith, something precious is forever set in heaven. Something precious is worked in heaven every time we put our hands to the brick and mortar. Every time we offer ourselves and submit to God, we realize that God is working in us to perfect our works. When we come before the Lord, we come in peace, in gentleness; we come in mercy, and in grace. What we have to offer is not what we made ourselves, it’s what God has created, and caused us to become. We know that when we put our hands to the labors that are before us God is changing every life and everything we touch. It takes faith to stand up in this world and begin to make a difference. It takes courage knowing that, when we go out on that wall, whatever enemies stand outside, we’re rebuilding a wall that was torn down in this earth, and that is being built afresh in heaven. The natural eye sees what seems to be broken and torn down here. The faithful eye sees we are building a city that one day the whole earth is going to see. We’re building that city and its great mansions today! We are the body of Christ—Jesus is building today! When we come before the Lord, we come refreshed in His spirit. Isn’t it time, to get back to the simplicity of what God called us to be?

We have had such a tremedous response to this series that we want to let you know it is a 12 part series and will take some time to get it all into print. However, it is available on audio cassette tape for $70.00. Call us today!


Grace At A Glance

 Pastor John Thursday Family Night Teaching "The Exodus"

God delivering His people then and now. This exciting series opens doors to allow God to save to the uttermost and completely destroy the enemy who stands in His way.

Dianne Doonan Sunday Evenings Teaching "From Just Enough to Over Flowing"

A woman so blessed by this teaching she chose to make Amazing Grace Community Church her home church. Another committed member of our church began to experience some immediate changes in her financial situation. God gave her the grace to make some important decisions and He began to reveal mistakes that, once corrected, would mean more money coming into their household expenses. She believes these changes in her financial situation were a direct result of God’s word as taught under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Special speakers: Steve Goss ministered at the March 21st, 1999 morning service. He shared a Resurrection performance, acting out the scriptures and wearing period costumes. The experience was so filled with God’s presence. A visitor commented he was amazed and perplexed because intellectually he knew Jesus died 2000 years ago, but as he sat in the service he felt as if he were actually watching Christ as He went from the cross, to the grave, to His resurrection.

Ladies fellowship meets the third Friday evening of each month at home of a hostess. We enjoyed fellowship and we began planning the church picnic to be held on July10th and an outing to a ladies seminar, Outrageous Joy, to be held on July 30 and 31st.

Grace Tasters Youth group: Dave Montei organized an outing to a DC Talk concert on Saturday, March 20th at the UIC Pavilion. Many singles joined in the event and everyone enjoyed the concert. Someone commented on how DC Talk brought the entire crowd of 8,000 thousand people into corporate praise and worship singing "Awesome God". "It was and incredible experience and I had a vision that this is how heaven will be: Seas of Souls praising God."

Cross Music, 7327 W. 87th Street, Bridgeview, Illinois, 60455: Dave shared that God has been opening doors for the store to expand to include a coffeehouse, which he has long desired.

March’s Blessings

Sunday, March 20th was say-so night when the pulpit is open for believers to share a word, song or testimony of what God has been doing in their lives. This particular say-so night was awesome and the presence of God permeated the sanctuary and filled it with His love and mercy. During ministry time God blessed His people as He ministered prophecy, word of knowledge, love, and encouragement. It was a beautiful evening.

The church experienced growth in March as we enjoyed receiving many visitors and people who have chosen Amazing Grace to be their church. We know they are drawn here to receive of God’s grace and goodness.

We praise God with April Helminiak who has been blessed with new position. We are going to miss her as the Amazing Office Manager and want to thank her for doing such and an excellent job over the years. Welcome to Barb Karcz, who will be replacing April as the Office Manager. God provides! God Bless you in your new endeavor.

Congratulations to Rob and Beth Borg who are expecting a new baby. Thanks for helping out with church growth!

Published by Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Distributed by Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Publishing, Westchester. Illinois Unless otherwise indicated all Scripture quotations are from the Authorized / King James Version (KJV)  No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission except for brief quotation in books and critical reviews. For information write Amazing Grace Ministries Evangelistic Association Inc.--198 Burnett St.--Yorkville, IL 60560--708/223-0070

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