Scripture Reference: Joel 2:28 (NKJV); Genesis 1:26-31 (NKJV); Genesis 2:16-17 (NKJV); Genesis 3:1, 3-4 (NKJV); Romans 5:12 (NKJV); 1 Corinthians 15:3, 7-11 (NKJV); Acts 9:4-6 (NKJV); Acts 22:10 (NKJV); Acts 26:15-18 (NKJV)
Praise the Lord. Don’t get a skrik, we’re switching. Eskom’s back. Hallelujah. So that means those people that get cold from the air conditioning placed in certain parts of the auditorium; you’re spared today because the air conditioner will come, but it’s warm in here – we normally pre-cool – the auditorium before you get here. But today it’s a bit warmer because we just got the fans going, we don’t have the air conditioning going. Hallelujah.
So how are you all doing? Eskom has granted me this rare moment where I can just eyeball you and chat to you and find out how you’re doing. You know, I want us to be aware of it, I was thinking about it when I was on the front row here. I want us all to be aware of the fact that as God is moving amongst us and continues to change what we do and how we do it, more than anything, that we have to guard against anything that might affect our willingness to participate with the Holy Spirit to go in any direction that He wants to go. What’s going to happen is more and more people are going to be coming to the church. As more and more people come to the church, they’re going to be unfamiliar with the ways that we have established in this church. There might be a tendency, because new people are coming, to want to be a little more cautious about them, because you want them to come and enjoy the life of God here. So you could want to be more careful with them, and therefore be more withdrawn in yourself. I want to encourage you that actually the reason you want them here and the reason they’re coming here is because we have life here. We don’t have formalities here. We have life here. Hallelujah. And so we just continue to flow and grow. Amen.
So while we’re in the switchover mode, I think we’re pretty much there. But it was in my plan to share it with you anyway. Pastor Sharon and I prayed about it this weekend. I decided prayerfully together with Pastor Sharon that I would address this, this morning because of social media information, this is all over the world very quickly. Some of you might already be aware and hence my addressing it today. You might be aware that there is a revival happening in colleges and universities in America. It’s happening amongst young people. It’s happening on slash college, slash university campuses in America. It started in a college called Asbury College, which is a predominantly Christian Theological College, it started there, and it started with a chapel service; a normal, regular morning chapel service.
Suddenly there was an anointing of the presence of God and the Holy Spirit showed up and the young people just started to come to the front of the church and started to repent and repent and just repent and continue to repent. So the service never ended. They never went to college. They never went to classes. They stayed in the church and they kept staying in the church. Essentially what happened is that the university virtually closed down, and they continued to go to church. The news began to spread after a couple of days of this happening, the news began to spread across America, and young people across America began to come to the college. Some people drove six hours, some people drove 24 hours across America to come to the college because they wanted to experience God. I am not keeping up to date with it, but my understanding of it from the middle of this week is that it’s spread to other campuses. Apparently it’s now spread across to other international campuses. So, clearly God is doing something. Amen.
Well, I want to remind you that anything that happens significantly with God has got to start with repentance. Anything. That has to start with repentance because the act of repenting is purely and simply this; I recognise that I don’t have the answers, I recognise God has the answers. I repent from wanting to try to do all the things that I thought I had answers for and I’m going to trust God. So whether you’re not saved, and you make that decision, whether you are saved, and you make that decision, either way, it’s a simple decision. I’m going to move from trusting myself to trusting God. That requires a repentance. Amen.
So, God spoke to us as a church some years ago now, and said, “I will take the children.” When He said, “I will take the children,” there was a requirement. The requirement was that the children needed to want to be taken, in our church. This was not a message that spread to other churches. This was a message in our church, for our children, so our children needed to respond and say, “We want to be taken by God.” That process of saying, “I want to be taken by God,” is the act of repentance. Once you’ve made the act, or you’ve gone through the act of repentance, and say, “I want to be taken by God,” you have to now move from having a decision – which is a one time decision – to living the decision. Because if you don’t live the decision, then you are only making a verbal choice, you might be making a heart choice but like everything with God, if you don’t abide in Him, if you don’t live in Him, if you don’t choose to live for Him, then the repentance is not true repentance. It might be regret, it might be remorse, it might be a combination of those things, might have some repentance in it. But an emotional repentance is not a repentance. Repentance is somebody that says, “I recognise I’m not going to trust myself, I’m going to trust God.” Amen.
So, our children had to agree to that. At the same time, the children’s parents had to agree to that. The children’s parents had to agree to it. Because a lot of the children were at 17, 18, 19 years old, and they were contemplating university, they were contemplating career choices and many different things. And so they had to make a choice to want to live for God rather than to live for themselves. So the parents had to be on board with it. God specifically addressed the parents, and the parents committed to say, “We will let God do what God has to do with our children.” We are now three years into that process. Amen. So, what has happened in the three years? The three years that has happened is that we continue in a repenting process – so bearing in mind what I say about repentance, I don’t trust myself, I trust God. So, we are continuing in the process of not trusting ourselves but trusting God. That is an ongoing daily choice. Amen. I am going to force you to respond to me this morning.
Now, that process is also called discipleship. It is also called living for God. I want you to understand that I think – you can take this any way you like, and there are many people that will have many thoughts about it. But we, because of what God is doing now in universities and campuses, we are three years ahead of the curve, this church. Because we are strongly already in the act of discipleship. Young people everywhere are coming to our church because they are experiencing not just an emotional repentance. They are coming because they see young people living their lives committed to Jesus. In the end, what is going to happen and what has to happen in America and wherever this goes, is that they are going to have to transition from emotional repentance to a life-long repentance, meaning they have to transition to discipleship, not just repenting.
So, we are really doing well. Is it possible that God needed our obedience, down here in this little church in Witbank, in South Africa, compared to the whole global scheme. Did He not need someone to say, “If I can do it first here, then I can do it somewhere else.” Because God is not saying it has to all happen in America. He needs a seed. If we are three years ahead of the curve, then where did God’s seed come from? We are definitely part of that. There may be others, but we are definitely part of that. And if any of you out there were doubting what God was doing, just look at what …. because this is the way He works sometimes. Unless it is happening big time then is this the real thing, because it is not happening with big names and big time?
It is a very unfortunate thing that has crept into us as a modern-day culture that unless the big guys are involved, then it is not really happening. But that is not the way God thinks. He started with Gideon in a little place, in a little something, in a little where and He changed a whole system. He started with Jesus born in a manger. He started with a virgin woman to plant a seed in.
He doesn’t have to have everybody that’s got a big name, or a big ministry or a big thing agree with it or start it. He’ll choose a seed anywhere He likes. Hallelujah. So I wanted you to know that we are not following their pattern, neither are we following what is happening to them because they should be following us. And maybe, God will have something to do with that. Maybe we will send some of our young people to go show them how it is done. This is how we live. This is how life is done. Huh huh, huh, huh, huh.
When Brother Jerry was here, He ministered on the 5th of February – he had this to say. He used a couple of scriptures and he said this; When I kind of settled down a little bit, when he came here, just beginning to listen to the Lord, He led me to the book of Joel and He said something to me. “In every generation God desires to raise up an army of young people that are passionate about God. And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions (Joel 2:28 NKJV).” This is all Brother Jerry’s words, standing in this pulpit talking to us two weeks ago. That would have been maybe days perhaps after the revival started in America, which wasn’t yet a public thing. Notice it mentions young people twice in that verse, they will have visions, they will prophesy. I like to say it like this; This is where the Holy Spirit said to me,”I desire to have influence in young people’s lives by inspiring them to prophesy, to speak on My behalf and giving them visions of things to come.” I want all of you to lift your hands and say this was me; In the name of Jesus, I submit myself to God.”Come, let’s do it all again this morning, shall we? Just raise your hands with me. [Congregation repeats after Pastor John] In the name of Jesus I submit myself to God. To be used by Him in any way that He desires. I desire to be everything He wants me to be. I want to be His vessel to affect my generation. And according to the book of Joel, I fit in the category of young men and women. And I receive what the Prophet Joel said, by the utterance of the Holy Spirit, that I will prophesy, I will have visions, that I will be influenced by God. And in the name of Jesus, today, when hands are laid on me, I believe something significant is going to take place in my life, and that I will never be the same. And I give God praise for it now.
So here’s what I want you to do today. Take your hand and put it on yourself. You are now laying hands on yourself. Now praise Him, just praise Him. Thank You, Lord. Thank You, Jesus. Praise You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. Praise You, Lord, praise You, Lord, praise You, Lord, thank You, Father. I will be an influence in my generation. I will affect the generation that you have called me to. Hallelujah. Praise the name of Jesus. Now, if there was any doubt in anybody’s minds about what God has been doing in this ministry for the last three years, you should have no more doubt. Not that you needed to find out that we were on track but it has been the way that God has used Pastor Sharon and I, is that we have been proclaimers of things to come. When it comes to faith, and the way we live faith; when it comes to authority; and having an accountability and an honour system in the body of Christ. We have been forerunners of this message and we continue to be forerunners. To be planted.
Many, many people, if you ask them the question today, “Who’s your pastor?” They can’t tell you. They will tell you about ministers that affect their lives, but they won’t necessarily commit to who’s their pastor? Why? Because they might change their thinking about who their pastor is. But that’s not what God teaches. And if you see what the Apostle Paul said about it, he said, “I’m not messing in what the Apostle Apollos or Cephas did, what they’ve planted and where they’re doing the work of God, I don’t mess with the people that God’s raised up in their lives. God has called me to a people,” Apostle Paul speaking. That means he clearly identified and he’s not the only one in the Bible, I’m giving you one reference right now. He clearly identified that God has called men to people and people to men and you shouldn’t be jumping around and hopping around and deciding where you think the next person will be. It should be a divine calling. It should be a divine assignment because that’s where your blessing is, that’s where your prosperity is, that’s also where you’re going to be the most challenged.
Come on, where am I most challenged to live my life for Jesus? In my home, not in the church. In the church, the anointing of God is here, we’re all here to praise. It’s easy to show yourself to be a good Christian here for a couple of hours. Where I am most challenged to be a disciple for Jesus, is the way I love my wife. It’s the way I love my kids. It’s the way I do things in my home. That’s why there are many people that are called to ministry that have discounted themselves from stepping into their assignment because they don’t live for Jesus in their home. It is a prerequisite according to the Word of God that someone who runs in the office of a pastor or a shepherd needs to be doing so first in their own home. Amen.
That’s not what I want to preach on today. [Brynn responds that it’s still good preaching] Thank you, my son. It is good preaching. This is good preaching. Hallelujah. But I have something very important to teach on today and it jumps straight off what I’ve been telling you about the revival, and the title of my message is going to surprise you and it’s called The Abortion. The Abortion.
Genesis chapter one, verse 26. I’m going to just read portions of the scripture for you, you can go and read it for yourself. 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion. Did God make us in His image? Did He call us to have dominion? [Congregation answers; yes] Verse 27, 27 So God created man in His own image; God created him. Verse 28, 28Then God blessed them, So He said, “Let’s make him,” so He made him, then He blessed him. So, 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:26-28 NKJV).
Now, Brother Jerry, when he was here, he preached on three things. If he has a chance one day, he can listen to my message about Genesis and he will find out that I have eight eternal principles. He talked about three but my eight fits into his three, so it’s all good. So he talked about the principle of blessing, the principle of dominion and the principle of seed, that God gave man three things. Now you can’t have dominion unless you are under dominion. Okay, anyway, 28 … God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Verse 29, 29 And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed. Later on in the verse, … to you it shall be for food. Verse 30, at the end of that verse, 30, it says, 30 … and it was so. So then when God said it, He created it, He blessed them, it was so. Can you see it at the end of the verse there? 30 … and it was so (Genesis 1:28-30 NKJV).
So everything starts with words. 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good (Genesis 1:31 NKJV). If you have any doubt about what God makes, if you have any intellectual, philosophical suggestion that God is not a good God, and that God causes all manner of bad things to happen on the earth, this scripture should tell you once and for all, He never designed anything bad. Everything He did was very good.
Chapter two, verse 16, 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 NKJV). What did God say to man? If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall surely die. I’ve preached on this many times, I’m not going to preach on it today. But the problem we have in society today is that we are so well adapted to our culture, that we eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from our culture, and not of the tree of life. The more you eat of your tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the more you die.
What kind of death is that? Remember what I said earlier on, repentance is saying, “I don’t trust in me, I trust in God.” So what is the death that you die? When you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you trust in yourself, you don’t trust in God. As you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you see how knowledge can help you; so you trust it. Where you eat of the tree of life, you see how God can help you; you trust Him. Amen.
So then He says, chapter three, verse one, 1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1 NKJV). So this is the first thing that the enemy will do to you right now while I’m preaching and when you leave. The suggestion that you would not trust God’s word is the suggestion that he will bring to every person. You are never, you are never immune to this. You will always face a suggestion – all the time – to trust in the knowledge of life, rather than trust in the life of God. To trust in the knowledge of life, rather than to trust in the knowledge of God, the life of God. Amen.
Every time when I stand here, as a messenger of God, and I teach, you will be challenged to say, “The messenger is flawed, therefore the message is flawed.” So then you become the evaluator of how much of the message you want to hear because you’ve chosen to consider the messenger flawed. I want to point you to the fact that God was not flawed. The devil doesn’t need to show a flaw to challenge the message. He just uses the flaws in men to undermine the message. But he doesn’t need a man to be flawed to undermine the message of God because God wasn’t flawed, and the enemy challenged His word anyway. I’m still teaching good. So what was he doing? What was he doing? He was suggesting an abortion.
Verse three, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ This is the woman speaking. 4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. (Genesis 3:3-4 NKJV). Now he’s giving a contradictory alternative to the Word of God. What are you and I always going to face? A contradictory message to the Word of God. And let me tell you, you and I don’t need a lot of persuading. The system around us persuades us every day, with your senses, with your thinking, with the behaviour patterns of the way the world is already running. You are already halfway being persuaded by the nature of where we live, in the culture we live in, in the environment we live in. You’re already halfway persuaded because of the life choices you already make because of the worldview you already have. You are already more than halfway persuaded that the Word of God is not all that you have to live. You’re already halfway there. I want to refer you to Romans chapter five, verse 12. It says, 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, that’s Adam, and death, through sin (Romans 5:12 NKJV). What’s death? Separation from life. So when you die, if you die in your body, your body is separated from the real you, which is your soul, and your spirit – your spirit man that has a soul – your spirit is separated from your body. The real you goes into an eternal existence. That’s what death is. You don’t actually stop living in your spirit and your soul. Just your body stops living, which is why you and I never have to fear death, if you’re born again. Because you will forever live in the presence of life, which is God. If God is not in you, then you don’t have the presence of God to go to. So you will be separated from the presence of God and live away from the presence of God which means away from life. Separated from life in an existence without life. It’s an abortion. It’s a persuasion for an abortion, the abortion of your eternal future.
So, 12 … as one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12 NKJV). Therefore, what Jesus did for us is an amazing thing. Because we didn’t have any option because we were born into sin. Therefore, we were born to have an eternal death. But Jesus, but Jesus. Now do you recognise the fact that in the world today, there is a very common swear word that many people use? It’s a swear word that’s in the form of a name. It’s Jesus Christ. How is it that out of all of the words that man has created on the earth that that is such a common curse word? Jesus Christ. Because it’s the only word that has life. I’ve preached this many times before, you don’t hear people swearing, “Oh, Muhammad. Oh Buddha.” You don’t hear people using swear words like that to express themselves. When they want to express themselves, they say, “Oh, Jesus Christ”. Why? Because what the enemy wants to do is supplant your thinking with a thought process that there’s no power in that Name. Because after all, it’s just a name anybody uses whenever they want to. So he wants to diminish the power of the Name. So you can be diminished in the power of what the Name brings you; life eternal. He wants you to use a curse word to abort your future. Okay.
If the world is rejecting Jesus as a pure Messenger, then they will reject you. That’s what the book of John says. The Book of John says, and Jesus says to His disciples, “If they persecuted Me, and they reject Me, they will persecute you and reject you. Because you can’t say that because you’re not with Me that you’re not going to have persecution.” You will have persecution because you trust in the Name that means something, the Name that gives you life.
So, I’m under no illusion of this fact, that as a human messenger, people will look at this human and say, “You’re a human that’s bringing a human message. It can’t all be God, it’s got to have some human in it. Therefore, we will choose the level of acceptance, we will evaluate the level of acceptance that we will have on your message.” I have one thing to say to you; wherever the message comes to you by the Holy Spirit, you must hear what the Holy Spirit says to you. He will use what words come from this vessel to speak to you by the Holy Spirit. Then it’s no longer about the messenger, it’s about what the Holy Spirit carries to you from this messenger [Pastor John points his fingers towards himself].
Now, that puts the ball in your court. Because if you reject what the Holy Spirit’s saying, because it doesn’t line up with your thinking, line up with a way of living that you want to live, then you are rejecting the Holy Spirit, not me. And that’s normal. People reject the Holy Spirit all the time. It shouldn’t be happening with Christians. But you get so adapted to the culture and the way you live in the culture that you don’t even know half the time you’re rejecting what the Holy Spirit says. Because He wants to draw you into a whole new life. Don’t look at me like that. We’ve all done it. At some point in our lives, we’ve all done it. We’ve known when the Holy Spirit is speaking and we kind of said, “No, that doesn’t fit what I want to do right now. It doesn’t suit my timing. It’s out of my comfort zone. I don’t think I’ll do that right now. Maybe next week. Maybe next month.” You can say, “You’re preaching good, Pastor John.”
So, I want to show you as quickly as I can. This morning I want to show you how this process happens in your life and in my life. Talking about how the enemy has designed the system and is working in the system to create the abortion in your life and my life. In first Corinthians chapter 15, verse 13, the Apostle Paul writes this, 3For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV). He says, “I delivered to you, first of all, that which I also received.” So, I have to receive something to deliver something. Right? I have to receive something, to deliver something. You are all here today, and those that are watching via live stream, you are all watching and listening to this message, not because I’m the most eloquent, greatest storyteller and overall just, best person ever. This is your cue to say, “But you are, Pastor John.” [Congregation laughs] I was fishing for a compliment and you didn’t bite.
No, I’m not here because I’m the best and most eloquent person, I’m here because God called me to be here. He placed me here. He put His mantle of His gifting and His calling upon my life, and He said, “John, I need you to do something for Me; I need you to receive My words, live My words, and then be a messenger of My words, and I want you to represent who I am.” Now, I will admit to you that I am not the most perfect human, I’m close, but I’m not perfect. You all could say, “Yes, you’re close, Pastor John.” I’m on a big fishing expedition today. So, you can look at me and say, “I can fault what you received. I can fault it, so therefore, I’m not going to let you deliver it.” But I have to give to you what I’ve received, I can’t give you something I haven’t received. Hallelujah.
So, many years ago when I went into the five-fold ministry of a pastor in a full time capacity, which was the birth of Heritage of Faith Church, which was some 23 years ago, I began to preach a message of faith that sounded like this, Faith is not a formula for success and then I would say, but faith is God’s pattern for victory. But it’s not a formula for success. And I spent many months explaining myself, why the Lord had me preach that message because I found many Christians, at that time, were quoting Bible verses, Quote, quote, quote, declare, declare, declare. The more I quote, the more I declare, the more I speak, the results must follow. And many, many people were falling away from the message of faith because they didn’t see the results. So as a shepherd would do, I went before the Lord and I asked the Lord, “Why are people not seeing the results if they are obviously quoting the scriptures?” And that’s when the Lord revealed to me, “It’s because their approach to scripture is like a formula; Word in, Word out, results given. Word in, Word out, results given.” Formula. And so, the Lord began to speak to me and He said, “John, people are missing the whole basis and foundation of faith. It’s not about a process, it’s about a relationship. It’s about a Person.” It’s about being intimate with the Lord Jesus Christ. So that’s why I said you can’t make faith a formula because it’s not push scriptures, results come. Cause you’ve got to have a dynamic living relationship with Jesus.
Do you know what happened in our church? People got upset with the way I was preaching, they said, “The way you’re preaching faith is not the way we’ve heard faith preached.” So for some time, I would have conversations with people and say, “Well, tell me where my scripture is different.” And they couldn’t. What they didn’t like was that I was calling them into an intimate relationship with God, not an achievement process. And so people that liked this message are achievers because they want to achieve what faith brings. But the way, if you really want achievement, you’ve got to get into a relationship, not a process.
And so, you know, over the years, I’ve kind of tried to help people say, “It’s interesting to me that achievers want to measure everything. They want to measure how much they go to the gym, how much money they have, how much progress they’re making, how many years they’ve got left to get to this level, and to that level. Achievers want to measure their results. They want to measure their achievement. They want to do that.” And then when I asked them; so have you ever thought about measuring your achievements in Jesus? Have you thought about measuring your relationships? Particularly the one that matters the most? How do you measure that relationship? If you’re an achiever that wants to measure everything, measure that for me. So then they don’t really want to answer me on that, but what they will say is, “Well, I can measure my relationship by what I’m committed to.” “So what’s that?” “Well, I will pray every day and I will speak a word every day.” So that’s how you measure every relationship? I’ve got this allocation of time, I’ll give it to you for that much. I’ll do this, I’ll do that for you. So everything about your relationship is measured in what you do? Okay, now, I understand why your relationships fail. Because now you’re measuring a relationship by what you do, not what you are. You think Jesus measures His relationship with you by what He does for you? No, He measures His relationship, what He is to you. So, what does He want from you? He wants you to have a relationship with Him. That means, “I want to know what His heartbeat is. I want to know what He desires for me. I want to know what plans He’s got for me. I want to know what He wants me to do for Him.” So people that are achievers that want to have the faith results, they will measure everything, but not their relationship with Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Anyway, there’s a lot I can say about this. But I’m going to refer you to the Apostle Paul because he’s the best way that I can demonstrate this to you today.
Are you all with me? I mean, by now the air conditioning is kicking in and cooling down the auditorium. And so you’re probably a little more comfortable. I want you to know that I know that there are cold spots in the auditorium and we are going to be working on trying to fix that at some point in time. We will see in the order of priorities how we can make that work. Just by the way.
First Corinthians chapter 15, verse seven, 7 After that, Jesus was seen by all the disciples. And I’m not going to read all of First Corinthians 15, you can go and read it for yourself. … then by all the apostles. 8 Then, this is the apostle Paul writing, Then last of all He was seen by me also, I want you to hear what He’s saying, as by one born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:7-8 NKJV). As one born out of due time. So, the Apostle Paul is writing, and he says, all of the other apostles saw Jesus in living flesh. I didn’t. I saw Jesus in a different way but in no less visible way, as in out of time. Come on, bear with me, stick with me here. Verse nine, 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, that word apostle is a special messenger, a sent one. So, you are only a special messenger, a sent one, if you’ve got a message that you’ve received, and a message that you can give. So, he needs to have received something from Jesus so that he can give something from Jesus. That’s why he’s called an apostle and a sent one.
So, “I am an apostle, just like the other apostles, but I didn’t see Him physically. But I saw Him in another way and I received something from Him.” 9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all (1 Corinthians 15: 9-10 NKJV). This is quite a statement that Paul’s making. He’s saying, “All of the other apostles that saw Jesus face to face, I’ve laboured more than all of them together for you.” Wow Paul, say what? You are talking about Peter, James and John. These guys saw Moses and Elijah. You know, these guys have done quite some things and you say you’ve laboured more than all of them?
Well, I mean, maybe he’s being subjective. Maybe it’s because wherever he went, and you will see this about the book of Corinthians, when he talks to them about the fact, well, they accuse him of being very bold with his words, but not so bold and not very impressive in the physical body. I mean, they had all kinds of things to say about this special messenger that God raised up. But it is possible that one of the reasons why they didn’t think that Paul was very impressive was because every time, every time that he would show up in his body, they would see a huge amount of disfigurement in his body. He was beaten a number of times in his body with whips to death, to the point of death. Jesus was beaten once, the Apostle Paul was beaten at least three times, almost to the point of death. What do you think that kind of beating leaves as scars on your body? Huh? What about the fact that he was stoned to death and then God raised Him from the dead? What do you think marks are left on a person’s body from that? What about the amount of time he spent in prison with inadequate and poor food to eat? What do you think that would leave your body looking like? So they were measuring his effectiveness and his achievement as an apostle by the impressiveness, or the lack thereof of his stature. But his words were so powerful that when he wrote words and spoke words to them by way of letter, he carried the weightiness of God that he says, “I don’t come to you with just words, I come to you with words that have power. So don’t measure me by the impressiveness of my physical stature and the eloquence of my words, measure it by the power of the words in your life.” Huh. This apostle is making quite a statement here.
9 … I laboured more abundantly than they all … 10 … but by the grace of God which was with me. It’s the only way he could survive all those things. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed (1 Corinthians 15:9-11, NKJV). Why? Because I’ve got to receive something to be able to preach something, and then it is up to you to receive that something. I can’t make you receive something unless you want to receive it. Come on, this is basic.
I can’t make you receive something unless you want to receive it. I’ve had many, many people come into my life and they will sit here week after week, month after month, year after year and they will sit and hear what we are saying, but when you go into their lives and say, “What’s happening in your life?” They have not received it. How can you tell? Listen to what is coming out of their mouth. Absence of the Word is the absence of the life of the Word. Hallelujah.
Okay. I’m going to just head down the finishing straight here, it’s a long straight There are three references to what Paul is writing in Corinthians here; there are three references in the Book of Acts. How many of you recognise that there is a teaching authority happening in my words today? Yah? [Pastor Sharon: Yes, I recognise it]. Amen. [Pastor Sharon: I believe]. Pastor Sharon’s got it [Pastor Sharon: I’ve got it]. If you say, “I recognise it…” [Pastor Sharon: In my heart and in my life]. If you recognise it and you say, “I recognise it, therefore I receive it,” then you can have what words are coming to you. If you don’t recognise it, then you’re just sitting there saying, “I think I’ll just wait till he’s finished before I evaluate. Because then I’ve got to hear the whole message, then I can put it all together and I got to see where he’s going first.” So, then your heart is not open yet. It’s closed to a point of, “Ah, sjoe, I see where he was going. Now I’ll think about receiving it.” That’s the process that the devil was using against Adan and Eve, “Did God say it?” Make you think about it.
So, you might say, “Well, Pastor John, the Bible says that we must be careful about what kind of stuff we hear and we’ve got to be watchful and weary, you know. Not just allow any level of doctrine into our lives.” Well, that’s true, but I’m not anybody in your life. I’ve lived with you and lived among you, and I’ve walked with you for twenty-three years. I’m not just anybody in your life. You don’t have to sit here evaluating everything I have to say anymore because you know me. I am an example of the ways of Jesus Christ in your life. I am an example of the way that the Holy Spirit lives in the vessel. We are. [Pastor John pointing to Pastor Sharon]. Our church is built on this, that we don’t just speak words, we live life. Amen. Hallelujah.
And so I know, I am aware of this, that you might have lived amongst me for all these years and you might have seen some humanity. I know that Grobbies has, because one day we were riding on a cycle tour and it was, you know, 36 degrees, and we did a 140 kilometres that day on the bicycles, and it was five or six hours later. We were climbing up this mountain pass and Grobbies rides up next to me, and we’ve got one km left to go and it a mountain like that [Pastor John indicating a steep climb] and I’m spitting and sputtering and breathing hard, and I just got to get to the top of this hill. Were you there also, Empie? I think you were there that time? And Grobbies rides and he says, “Pastor John, dit is a maklike sport.” [It is an easy sport] I said, “Shut up, Grobbies.” He saw my humanity but I’m not ashamed of my humanity. You know, because if you’ve done 140 km in 36 degrees heat, 40 on earlier in the day, then come talk to me if someone rides up next to you and says, “Dit is ‘n maklike sport”, you won’t have something to say about it too. But he knows there was no malice or anger in it, it was just, “Grobbies, I don’t need to hear that now. I’m on my last of my last. Don’t tell me it’s a maklike sport,” you know. Because it makes him like, “Oh, this is so easy.” You know, dit is ‘n maklike sport. He did it with me too, I was running a half marathon with Dr Nico and Amanda and a couple of other people, and it’s my first half marathon I’ve run, I don’t know, ever, since the army. And he, on our first five kilometres he comes and he says, “Pastor John, we can’t just run, we’re going to do a few push-ups and we’re going to do star jumps.” We’re in kilometre five or something like that, you know, and he’s doing push-ups and star jumps. And I said, “Grobbies.” [Pastor John pointing his finger at Grobbies] So we’re coming back, we’ve got three km’s to go and we’re 18 kilometres or whatever, and we’re at the last water point, and Grobbies says, “Hey, Pastor John,” and he starts doing push-ups. I said, “Ja nê.” So I went down with him and I did push-ups and I did star jumps. But then I cursed him later because in the last kilometre, those star jumps and those push-ups, they came back to haunt me. This is my first half marathon, nê. Hallelujah.
Anyway, there’s a difference between being a natural man and being a carnal man. And in my natural man, I’m free to admit that I’m not perfect in everything, but it doesn’t mean to say I behave carnally because even in the words that I spoke, the things that I did, I wasn’t being aggressive. I wasn’t trying to demean, I wasn’t trying to do any… I was being natural, not carnal. I wasn’t being angry, I wasn’t taking out my frustration on him. He understood it was all in good humour. Even when I told him to shut-up, it was still in good humour. Right, Empie? I have many witnesses that have witnessed my natural man in the living. But this should be wonderful for all of us because we’ve got to live life and we can’t allow our natural things to stop us from pressing into God. Hallelujah.
The Apostle Paul – I got distracted, you all distracted me. It’s all your fault. The Apostle Paul has three, in this book of Corinthians he’s talking about, and he refers to it three times. The Apostle Luke writes about it because if you don’t know this, the Apostle Luke was the one that wrote the book of Acts. The Apostle Luke writes about it but Paul himself gives accounts of it himself. He refers to it in other places in the Bible, like he refers to it in the book of Corinthians and in other places. So I can read to you all of these examples; Acts chapter 9, verse 1 to 8, Acts chapter 22, verse 6 to 9 and Acts 26, verse 12 to 18. They all refer to the same encounter. And it’s about Jesus talking about Saul, persecuting the Church, on the road to Damascus, and he has an encounter with Jesus. 3 … and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Here is a direct connection between the Church and Jesus. 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:4-6 NKJV). This should be our response always when we have an encounter with Jesus, and the words of Jesus, “What do You want me to do?”
If you say, “I’ll think about what You want me to do,” you’re already on the wrong foot. But like Saul, if you say, “What do you want me to do?” He changes your name and your identity, from Saul to Paul. It’s not just about a name. It’s about everything that your name represents. 6…..Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and here’s what happens, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:6 NKJV) How many of you want to be told what you must do? Because you want the Holy Spirit to tell you what you must do, don’t you? So then you’ve got to say, “What do You want me to do, Lord?” You mustn’t say, “I’m going to tell You what I’m going to do, and ask You to bless it.” Most Christians live in that zone. I’ll tell you what I’m doing. Bless it. The most powerful thing that you can do is to say, “What do You want me to do, Lord?” and then let Him tell you.
I’m heading down the end straight here. The abortion is this, the abortion starts with you telling the Lord how He must bless you, rather than Jesus saying, “This is what I want you to do.” The minute you have an approach, “This is what I want to do, You bless it,” you’re already aborting the plan of God for your life because you don’t know what the plan is. You’re telling Jesus what you think the plan is. “Pastor John, that’s not the way that the modern day culture lives life.” Say that again. “That’s not the way modern day culture lives life.” Say that again. “That’s not the way we live life in the modern day world.” Ja, exactly. How’re you going to live life? “I’ll tell You what I want to do because this is the way I want to serve You, God, this is my comfort zone. I’ll tell You how I do this,” as opposed to, “Tell me what You want me to do, and I’ll do that.” There is a safety net, Jesus did give us a safety net. His safety net is, “I won’t tell you to do something beyond which you have the capability to do it. Because wherever you think you’re weak, then I’m strong. And when you think you’re incapable, that’s when I’ll make you capable. When you’re weak, I’ve got the power.” He’s never going to tell you to do something you can’t do.
When people come to me, and they say to me, “I’m coming to tell you what I’m going to do, Pastor John,” I just listen. And then they say, “Will you bless it for me?” I’ll say, “I’ll do what I can.” Most of the time, when that happens, I pray a conditional prayer. Now I’m telling you, you can watch this, if you ever come to me, you can watch this. If you come to me with your plans, and you ask me to agree with it, or to pray with you so that it can come to pass, you will find out that I will pray a conditional prayer. And it will always go like this, “Father, as far as it’s possible I asked you that you will bless them.” It will go like this, “Father, I pray that you will give them vision and sight to see what they must see. Lead them and direct them into blessing and prosperity.” If you think I’m just being political about this, you’re wrong. I’m being very spiritual because I can’t get into agreement with a plan that you’ve made, and now I’ve got to ask God as a representative to bless your plan. How can I do that with any authenticity before God when you’ve made the plan, and now you want God to bless it?
“Now, but Pastor John, many of the plans that I make are good plans, they work out.” Well, so do a lot of people that are not saved. That’s not a recognition that you’re actually in the plan of God. Huh. “Eish, Pastor John, you‘re speaking heavy things today.” Well, yes. That’s what I do. I come and stand on your toes – and then I ask God to heal them later, and then you can walk around on sore toes so that while you’ve got the pain in those toes, you know that God is speaking to you.
Acts 22, verse 10. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ It’s the same thing happening, just a different reference. 10…‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 10…There you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do. Say, what? Can you see it there? Put that scripture up again, please? 10…There you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do (Acts 22:10, NKJV). If God had an appointment for the Apostle Paul for things to do, how much more do you think He’s got an appointment for you? Why can I say that? Because that which He received, He also gave. So if He received this, then He’s going to give it to you. You think God’s got an appointment for your life? Your life is not designed to just be all the plans that you can make. Your life is an appointment with God.
So why am I talking about the abortion? Well, the abortion is that the spirit of the Antichrist, the anti god-one, is so that you will abort the appointed plans that God has for your life through making your own plans. Come on now. Just work with me for a minute. What is one of the biggest atrocities of the modern world that is happening in the world today? It is abortion. People say a foetus is not a child. Well, I’m happy to use Matt and Kate from this pulpit, because they’ve made a declaration to the MiXchange people, and to other people that I think they are now, five months pregnant. I think – it’s somewhere roundabout there. Four or five months. Anyway, they’ve had a scan and that scan shows the heartbeat, and the form of the foetus. A beating heart. What? You look at that little thing, and you tell me that thing’s not alive, and that that little creature is not made in the image of God, already. And then you tell me that abortion is a holy thing. That abortion is a God thing. And yet, there are many, many people that are aborting foetuses. And now it’s become a thing in America where they have full-term abortion, that baby can literally be delivered out of a woman’s body and before they cut the umbilical cord, they can terminate the life of that child. It’s law in New York and in California. To my knowledge, there could be others, as well. But I know at least in those two places, it’s already law. You think that’s not genocide? Why is the spirit of abortion so rampant on the earth today? I’ll tell you why. I’ve said this about marriage. So, some of my statements, you can consider them to be controversial if you choose. I don’t think they’re controversial, I think they’re based in the Word of God. Because what the church permits the world will take to the end degree. What the church permits. So if the church permits divorce in marriages in the church, then the world is going to be all about division and the spirit of division is going to be rampant in the church because the church doesn’t know how to hold the most sacred relationship together, which is a marriage. Hey?
So if the church is permitting abortion everywhere else, if the world is passing laws about abortion, it’s because the church is permitting abortion. How is the church permitting abortion? We permit ourselves to be run by the system of the world and say, “We will make all of our own plans and we abort the plans of God for our lives.” Where do you think the devil gets the permission to create such atrocities and such genocide in the world today? Because he can’t do anything unless the church permits it. So, we think, “Oh, well, you know, we’ll just follow our own plans for our lives and there’s no real consequence to that.” You think? The consequence, if we abort God’s plans for our lives and we live however we choose to live that actually abortion is not going to enter into the world and be a devastating force? I can tell you that for everything that’s happening in the world, I can link it directly back to the church. That what the church’s permitting in the church is what’s happening in the world.
It’s not that the world is showing the way that the church should go, it’s that the church is ineffective of power because it’s doing things that are not putting God first. Brother Jerry started off this year’s message saying about the maximum and he said, “You got to put first things first.” We have to put first things first and we as a church have got to make a decision that we are going to follow God’s plan for our life and not abort His plan. Did I read you a scripture that you see that God had a plan for Paul’s life? Do you think He had a plan for Adam and Eve’s life? So do you think that He has a plan for your life? You think that you just can go ahead and make any plans you like and so that’s the way you got to live?
I’m going to just read Acts chapter 26 verse 15. You see how much time I’ve got left? I got two minutes left. Acts chapter 26 verse 15, 15 So I said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister, and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles to whom I now send you,18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:15-18 NKJV). Can you see that God is telling Paul what his future looks like? This is the plan God had for Paul. Yes? At what point did God have this plan for Paul? From before he was born. So what was Saul doing until that time? He was doing his own plan. How did Jesus describe that to him? Personally. He said, “Paul, it’s hard for you to kick against the goads.” In other words, you have been kicking… You know what a goad is, it’s a prod. It’s like a cattle prod. “You are kicking against the prods. I’ve been prodding you, Paul, Saul. I’ve been prodding you to go and fulfil the call of God on your life and you have been kicking against it, and you’ve come against Me, My church. So you’re going to carry on with this, Paul? This is not going to go well for you.” He said that. “It’s not going to go well for you.”
Now, I’m going to just share something with you quickly. Are you getting something out of this today? I want to show you how the Apostle Paul writes, and I’m going to go back to first Corinthians chapter 15, verse seven, 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:7-8 NKJV). Are you all with me still? Now I’m beginning the bowtie, you can see the whole gift given to you today. That word as one, is from the Greek word hosperei, which is just like. So, if you say as one, you could also say, just like one that is born out of due time. And born out of due time comes from a single word in the Greek, and it’s called ektromati, which is to say, a sudden or unexpected birth. In fact, the Greeks would use that word to refer to abortion. It’s the only word that they have that they can refer to anything that sounds like abortion. So you could read it like this, and you could say that, “I also saw Jesus and I was also called as an apostle, like one that was aborted or had a violent experience into the Kingdom of God.” So, because someone that is born out of time, if the time is not yet, the experience is going to be because there is a sudden thing that is happening. So it will be like a violent experience that is out of time that you’re having. So you could read it like that. But there is another way that you can read it, which is the way that I prefer to read it. And so that word that he’s using in Corinthians, apprehended is from the Greek word katalambano. That’s the way I think it’s spelled. I don’t know exactly, but the word kata is down, or to pull down. And lambano is to seize, or to grab hold of or to hold down under power. So, if you can read this and say, “I’m an apostle, then least of all, he was seen by me also as one that was born out of due time – I would say – like one that was seized upon because the devil had a plan to abort my purpose and God came into my life and held me down with His power, seized upon me, and grabbed me and said, ‘Now listen, boy, you have a plan, go, and let Me tell you about it because if you continue like this, you will die because the devil has a plan for abortion for your life.’”
His plan is to abort your purpose. So when the Apostle Paul says, “I’m like one that was born out of time,” why? Because I had this plan. You know, remember this, that Saul was an elite amongst the Jewish people. He was in the council of the most senior intellectuals and zealots in Jerusalem. For them to give him the right, the letters, to say, “Go and persecute the church and wipe them out,” they had to trust him. Yes? He wasn’t just there because they liked him. He was there because they thought he could finish the job. He could destroy the church.
So when Jesus met with him on the road to Damascus, He was saying, “Saul, the devil has seized upon your purpose, and he has come to you to try and abort your purpose by giving you an alternative purpose. Now I’m coming with My power and My presence, and I’m going to hold you down, and I’m going to show you who has got the real power. And now it’s up to you to decide what you want for your future.” And the Apostle Paul, who was Saul then says, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” He says, “Now go, and let Me tell you what you need to do.”
Come on people, this is no time for abortion. This is no time for us to think that we can’t engage in the spirit of abortion. Because if the devil has his way, he will have you abort the plan of God for your life. That is what his plan is. The devil’s plan is not for your goodness. If he gives you all of the trappings of success in life, do you think he is going not make you pay a price for it? You won’t even know what the price is until you are in the throes of abortion. Then only God can encounter you, and hold you, and seize you, and show you His power, and say, “Now, I’m giving you one last chance. I’m giving you one last opportunity. This is the time you have to choose; My plan or the abortion plan.”
Pastor John, you have got a serious message today? Yeah, it’s a serious moment in our lives. You see, because if we’re going to go to the highest level attainable, and we are going to go for the maximum, we have to understand. You know, the Lord had me minister for weeks and weeks about tearing down idols and burning altars in our lives. You know what the Lord said to me this week? He said to me, “John, this is the final one. This is the final one. This is the final message.” Because last week, the Lord had me preach The Invitation. This week, He is having me preach The Abortion because He is inviting you. He’s inviting you to make a decision that you are not going to have the spirit of abortion in your life. He’s inviting you to make a decision that you are going to go full term with God, that you are going to give birth to the wonders and the plans and the goodness and all the things that God has pre planned for you, predestined for you, preordained for you to walk in. Those good things which He predestined for you to walk in, you will walk in those things. You will walk in those things! You will not abort the plan of God for your life. You will not let the devil come and steal your future. Don’t let him! Don’t let him! Make a quality decision. It doesn’t matter who else has done it around you – don’t you do it. And don’t look at anybody else’s life and say, “Well, look how good they’ve got it.” No! Don’t look at what they’re doing because they don’t know!
God allowed you to be in this service today so that you could hear this messenger and hear this message today so that you can make a quality decision and say; I won’t abort. I’m not going to let the devil come and take this thing away from me. I’m going to follow the plans and purposes of God for my life.
And so, I have to say to the young people that are in this meeting today, I have to say to you; the enemy will come and lie to the parents. I know that we are far past this, already, but I know that this is what the devil will do. The devil will come and lie to parents, he’ll come and lie to you and he will say, “You’re marking time. You’re treading water. What are you doing with your life?” If you’re not hearing it from your parents, your parents are hearing it from other people because they think that there is something that you have to do that is what everybody else does. They don’t know that the spirit of abortion is on everybody’s life to abort the plan of God. Because as many people as the devil can get into the spirit of abortion – that’s what he’s got planned for their lives. It’s devastating. It’s destructive. It’s to steal, kill and to destroy. I’m telling you today, by the Spirit of God, make a choice for Jesus. And say, “But, Pastor John, I’ve made this decision before and I don’t seem to have the energy and the strength and the commitment to follow through with it.” Now you have. The energy, the power, the grace of God is available now because that’s what the Apostle Paul said, “Because of the overwhelming grace of God that is on me, I could do this.” And so we have to count on His grace. Not on our ability, but on His grace. Hallelujah.
And so, young people, don’t, don’t, don’t let the system out there tell you what’s good for you. What’s happening in America with all those young people that are experiencing the move of God right now is that they’re all quitting college to go to the move of God. They’re not going to college class anymore. They’re going to church every day. In fact, the college doesn’t know what to do because all of the deans of all of the schools, of all of the campuses are saying, “How do we get the kids back into class?” They’re saying, “We don’t care about class. We’re encountering God.” There is no substitute for having the plan of God for your life! There is no substitute. There is no substitute. There is no substitute for the plan of God for your life. There is no alternative. There is no second plan. There is no alternative. There is no substitute. God’s plan for your life is the plan. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Stand to your feet, please, everybody. Glory to Jesus.
“Well, Pastor John, you were really passionate about this.” I am because I don’t want to see anybody aborting the plan of God for their life. If you want to know, my whole life is dedicated to this. My whole life is dedicated; come, let’s follow the plan of God, let’s speak words of life, let’s take the Word of God and eat it and consume it and live it and speak it to each other and encourage each other and live together as a body of Christ so that we can all go into the Promised Land together. It’s what Pastor Sharon and I, everything that God has called us to – this is it. This is it. That we don’t abort our plans and purposes that God has called us to. We live for it. We live for it. We live for it. Yes, we live for it. This is our meat and our drink, that we will live the will of the Father. This is what we live for. Hallelujah.
Put your hand on your chest and say; this is what I live for. I live for the will of God. I live to do His will. I will follow Him. I will pursue Him. I will make a choice for Him. I will be committed to Him. In the name of Jesus, He is my Lord. He is my Saviour. I will worship Him. I will live for Him. All the days of my life, In Jesus’ name. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Praise You, Jesus. Praise Jesus. Glory to God. Glory to Jesus. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Yes, yes. I’ll tell you what I feel like happened here today, is, by the Holy Spirit, I’ll tell you what I feel like. We got a hold of that devil spirit of abortion and we wrestled it to the ground, and we put our neck on it and we said, “You’re under our feet. You’re under our feet. We are not in the abortion mode anymore. We are not aborting God’s plans and purposes for our lives.” Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
I sense the pleasure of the Father on this message today, don’t you? I sense that God has done something really powerful and significant today. He’s broken through, He has said some things, He’s made some things happen today because of the power of God that is in the Word of God. Hallelujah. Glory to Jesus. Glory to Jesus. Hallelujah. The world has been hungry for people that will show how they’ll be sold out to Jesus. The world is not looking for a ‘wishy-washy’ people that look like the world, but they speak words like God. No, the world is looking for people that have words and lifestyles that come together. Hallelujah.
I pray that the peace of God will be upon you. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Do you agree with this? That the blood of Jesus rests upon you. His Word surrounds you. He gives His angels charge over you. He will not cause your foot to be caught on a hidden stone, but He will give a light to your path and a lamp unto your feet, and you will know where to go. You will not be insecure or unsure. You will follow the voice of the Shepherd and His voice alone will you follow, and you will be blessed in your going out, and you will be blessed in your coming in. Whatever you put your hands will prosper. And your feet will go by the way of God, and you will stand amongst the godly people, and you will hear the good counsel of God, and you will live it all the days of your life, and in Him you will prosper, and you will not perish in Jesus’ name. Hallelujah. Glory to God.
How’s that for a prophetic prayer? Glory to Jesus. He wanted to have the last say today. Hallelujah.
Well, if you can, you should tune in at five or be here at five, and we’ll see you at five. High five somebody and say; God bless you. See you at five. Thanks for coming to church everybody.