PERSPECTIVE: That You Might Not Stumble
These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling.
John 16:1 NASB
It should be of no surprise that the world hates true believers. The systems of the world are against everything that God has established. The three major systems of the world that resist God’s plans and purposes are:
Government, which is driven by ego and pride to control people.
Economic, which is driven by greed and separates classes of people.
Religion, which seeks to oppress the masses through fear and domination.
God the Father has His plan called The Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is ruled by a benevolent Father through both His Son who is full of grace and truth, and the Holy Spirit from whom flows righteousness, peace, and joy: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NKJV) and “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17 NKJV).
What a contrast between the Kingdom of God, full of grace and truth, and the world’s systems dominated by the kingdom of darkness controlled by the devil (also called Satan, Lucifer, and the enemy). Jesus defeated those systems through His overcoming life. He sent His Holy Spirit to overcome those systems through us as “Spirit-filled” and “Spirit-led” believers. The world will persecute us just as they persecuted Jesus and the early church. Jesus warned His disciples about persecution concerning the times in which they lived. The disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, squared off against the powers of hell manifested through the systems of men and overcame even unto death. His Word of truth rings true in our day as well: “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18 NKJV).
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17–18 NKJV).
Christ Jesus told Peter about the authority he would receive: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18–19 NKJV).
The Rock which Jesus Christ spoke of was Himself. He is the “the Chief Cornerstone” of the house which God had promised David that He would build for him. The apostles that the Father had given to Jesus and everything that the prophets spoke in the Old Testament concerning the Christ would become part of the foundation of that house. The foundation is made up of the apostles and prophets: “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,” (Ephesians 2:20 NKJV).
Many times, pesky weeds or thorny vines grow in the midst of a bush or plant and choke out the life of an otherwise healthy plant. If you ignore or just clip away at the weed or thorny vine, it will continue to rob healthy life from the bush or plant. You must get down on your knees and confront the root system of the weed or vine in order to free the bush or plant so that it can live and bring forth its full beauty.
In a similar fashion, evil is located at the root of sin. When it comes to evil, too often we only deal with the symptoms and not the real problems. The seeds of evil need not be planted, because they are already in the soil; pre-existent in the spiritual realm and in the human heart:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJV
What needs to be planted is what is contained in the good seed of the Gospel; that is, the goodness of God. Good must be planted, cultivated, and tended.
This book will help you, the believer, understand the basic issues you face as followers of Christ Jesus. Our repentance and exercise of faith toward God by receiving Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross of shedding His blood to wash away our sins and conquer the kingdom of darkness, allows us to live a victorious life over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit and now lives in resurrected life and power above all principalities and powers.
The essence of the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is found in the Holy Spirit. He is the promise of the Father given to the Son:
“And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Luke 24:49 NASB
The Holy Spirit seals our redemption and guarantees our victory:
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13–14 NASB
Through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us as believers we are fit for engagement. It is possible, therefore, to overcome evil in our personal lives and help others overcome evil as well. As believers, we are to live by the power of the Holy Spirit in victorious lives that demonstrate the victory He has accomplished and the transformation He has given to us. Only through God’s Holy Spirit is it possible to conquer the three enemies we face: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
My hope is that this book will provide the foundation stones for you to build a truly victorious life under God’s direction. God has done that for hundreds of believers who have experienced this teaching and embraced the truths which have been established in the Bible.
SOON TO BE RELEASED
FIT FOR ENGAGEMENT – A Spiritual Warfare Manual for the Twenty First Century
Foreword ……………………………………………………………… xiii
Introduction …………………………………………………………. xvii
1. Principles of Truth ………………………………………………… 1
2. The Life of Christ in You …………………………………….. 13
3. First Principles of the Doctrine of Christ ……………….. 25
4. Our Three-fold Salvation ……………………………………… 49
5. We Are to War Together and Not Alone ……………….. 63
6. Evil …………………………………………………………………… 73
7. The Garden of Eden ……………………………………………. 85
8. The Baptism of Christ Leads to an Encounter with the Devil 95
9. The Agony of Gethsemane …………………………………. 101
10. Declaration of Judgment…………………………………… 111
11. The Three-fold Mandate …………………………………… 123
12. Put On the Whole Armor of God ………………………. 129
13. Are Demons Real? …………………………………………… 147
14. Onward, Christian Soldier ………………………………… 173
APPENDIX ………………………………………………………. 191
About the Author ………………………………………………….. 197
1 Corinthians 13:13 – “Now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Normally you do not think of spiritual warfare when reciting 1 Corinthians 13:13. These three pillars of the Christian walk are essential to our battle against the enemy. These three weapons have power to destroy the enemy’s entrenchment in the mind of believers and will pull down strongholds of arguments against Christ.
We begin with faith, not only because it is mentioned first, but because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus would often declare that one’s faith had made the individual whole. The biblical definition of faith is that “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith operates out of assurance. Assurance comes by the promises of God’s word. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The context of Romans 10 begins with Christ as the end of the law for righteousness. Righteousness has its root in Christ alone.
Romans 10:6 quotes Deuteronomy 30:14, stating that “the righteousness based on faith speaks of the word of God being near us, that is in our mouth and in our heart.” Faith operates by the word of God taking root in our heart and then being formed in our mouth. Both our mouth and our heart are connected with righteousness. In Christ, we think in righteous terms and we speak with righteous words.
When we were in the flesh, our heart and mouth produced works of the flesh. Jesus said, “The things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and slanders” (Matthew 15:18-19). In Christ, our heart and mouth are to be used as instruments of righteousness producing life.
In his letter, James connects “faith and works.” James asks the question, “If someone says he has faith but he has no works, can that faith save him? Faith is spoken, but the kind of faith that brings about results is the faith of Christ which always produces works of righteousness. Christ-like faith will reach out into the community and set the captives free from sin, sickness, demonic oppression, and to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith is the first pillar of three. Today, why not believe God for an infilling of His Holy Spirit in the realm of faith? Let the Holy Spirit search your heart and cleanse any areas needing to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. Trust the Holy Spirit to put “the word of faith” into your mouth. Saints, be established in a lifestyle of faith! Hope is the substance of faith.
Father, search my heart and see if there be any wicked thing in me. I ask to be made wholly consecrated Lord, to Thee. I pray to be established in faith and be used of the Holy Spirit to set others free from every stronghold of the enemy binding up their life.
This is our second devotional regarding the five graces all believes called my have. The first was “our priesthood” in Christ. The last three will be “faith, hope and love.” Love being the greatest
Numbers 11:29 – I would will that all of the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!
God took of His Spirit which rested upon Moses and placed Him upon the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. Two of the seventy remained in the camp and were not present, but they too received the Spirit and prophesied. Joshua did not think this was right because those men were not present with the others. Moses thought that Joshua was jealous for Moses’ sake, but Moses revealed the heart of God with his response in verse 29.
God desires for His people to have such a relationship with Him that He can reveal His will to them so that they can voice God’s will to others. “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). He reveals His desire that all of His people would “prophesy.” In 1 Corinthians 14:31 Paul wrote, “. . . for you can all prophesy one by one.” Paul went on to reveal that prophecy has purpose; that it is “. . . for learning and the exhorting of God’s people.” Prophecy is not the attempt of the natural man trying to figure out God’s will, but the Spirit making known God’s will to the spirit of a person. What one believes the Spirit of God has revealed to them is subject to others who are hearing God as well. No spirit of prophecy is “private,” but is to be confirmed by what others are hearing God say. “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but peace as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33).
Confusion and the lack of peace are produced by a person holding onto a private interpretation of God’s Word. The man or woman that possesses the true spirit of prophecy is the one who spends time with God listening carefully for what the Spirit desires to speak. They freely submit what they are hearing to others for discernment of accuracy. The Spirit never contradicts the Word of God, nor does He limit what He is saying to one individual. The Spirit of God does not bring new “revelation” that is outside of God’s revealed Word, but helps us to apply God’s Word in our present world and culture. Wisdom is necessary to work with revelation. That is why Paul prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17).
Ask God every day for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Not only read God’s Word and pray, but become a listener for what the Spirit would say to you. Be prepared to speak, so others may learn and be exhorted.
Paul in his instruction to the church at Corinth said: “But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort” (1 Corinthians 14:3). Also, “you can all prophecy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged” (14:31). God answered Moses desire when the Holy Spirit was given as a down payment of our in heritance. The same Spirit that rested on Christ, rest on believers to accomplish God’s will. Ask the Father for prophetic gifting to know how to pray and to know how to encourage others in this season.
The next three devotions will focus on the pillars of our character in Christ: Faith, Hope and Love.
Faith, Hope and Love (the greatest is love), Prophetic and your Priesthood
In this first devotional I am reminded of an important change made by the Lord Jesus Christ as He established the New Covenant in His body and blood. Jesus gave to Israel a New Covenant replacing the Old that had become obsolete (see Hebrews 8:13). Every Israelite that received this New Covenant by believing that God had raised their Messiah from the dead received all that is contained in the New Covenant. Every believer in Israel became a part of the new priesthood.
As the Gentiles were added, they were grafted into the same Vine that the believing Jews had become a part. Every believer in Christ is a priest called to pray for the nations. You and I am a kingdom of priests. This is what Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10-12 “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth” (NKJV). Instead of a tribe of priests as Israel knew in the Old Covenant that represented the people before God daily through sacrifices and feast days. Now each redeemed saint has become a priest under our High Priest and King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Intercession is a responsibility of every believer!
Peter, in his first epistle develops the understanding of who we are in Christ when he writes: you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter2:5). Peter is bringing understanding from Isaiah 61 – But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. Isaiah was prophetically picturing the results of the New Covenant which is what was promised in Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. Jesus spoke of those rivers in John 7:38-39 as He pictured what Pentecost was truly about: He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
What an opportunity we have together as members of this holy priesthood by praying and interceding for California, our local regions and the unsaved all around us.
Our next devotional will consider God’s people as prophets (Numbers 11:29)