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This message will look at a battle that has already been won, but in order to do it justice I need to lay a foundation because many believers have a wrong concept about their status or position in God. If we do not know who we are and what Jesus really did, we can become trapped into all kinds of problems, fears, phobias and negativities.
Regardless of where we live, every one of us has to face the same problems in life. We all have the same basic needs, particularly when it comes down to everyday living. Just getting enough food can be a real problem in itself and we can look into those things in different ways but the solution is the same for all.
Many good folk consider themselves to be mere servants of God... fitting into things as best they can, hanging in there, hoping for Jesus to come and rescue them and often come out with the saying that the devil is attacking them. That last statement is far from the truth. In fact it really offends the Lord, because it is in essence saying that His victory at Calvary is not complete. When Jesus was on the cross, He cried out triumphantly, Teleō (It is finished) John 19:30. If it’s finished—it’s finished!
I will not go into all that happened here as it would be a massive topic in itself that would take a whole library to fully explain. What I will state however is that Jesus destroyed the works of the devil and we shall look at this later, but for now, let us see where we stand before God.
He has done far more than forgiving our sins and wiping the slate clean. They’re gone—washed away by the precious blood of Jesus, never to return!
What God has done for us is a total makeover.
He has taken us out of one system and placed us in a totally new system—His Kingdom. Paul said-
In this Kingdom we are royalty. We are a royal priesthood. We are a holy nation and a peculiar people. That word peculiar does not mean strange or weird in any way but special, set apart to God and set apart for God.
Royalty has its privileges and benefits, but there are also certain duties and responsibilities that must be fulfilled and of course, there is that royal protocol...
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us every blessing of the Spirit in the heavens in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
You might not think so, but God chose us all before the foundation of the world for something great and wonderful. Verse six says that we are (already) accepted in the beloved. That’s good news indeed, but there’s more.
God has also revealed the mystery of His will to us! We do not have to struggle and strive to survive (I like that rhyme) in ignorance.
God wants us to know who we are and where we stand before Him. Verse eleven says that we have obtained an inheritance and here comes the good part.
When the Queen retires or passes away, either Charles or William becomes King and inherits the throne.
The throne is inherited by birthright.
All we have to do is to be born into the Kingdom! We have inherited a throne by birthright! It sure surpasses the throne of England that is temporal.
God’s Kingdom will last forever and if that does not light your fire, your wood is wet.
Paul then elaborated on that, telling us that he prayed for us to have our eyes opened to see what has already been done. This is necessary, because many Christians simply do not know who they are and what they have. Let us see what Paul said-
You and I are living here on the earth at present—in the physical or natural realm and are thus exposed to the realities of life in every form, both good and otherwise. If it is raining and you are outside without an umbrella, you are going to get wet. If a storm knocks out the power supply at night, you will most likely be in the dark. Illness may strike and we do not deny the symptoms, but know that we do not have to accept them. We deny their right to remain. Sometimes life sucks. Let’s be honest folks. It is not always fair and we are all in the same boat here, but God says that we are seated in heavenly places. Is this a contradiction? Of course not.
We live on the world, but we are not in the world. There is a world system that the devil controls, because he is, legally speaking, the god (lower case) of this world. See 2 Corinthians 4:4.
The devil specializes in blinding people’s eyes to the truth and he uses every means including religion to entrap people. Jesus said in John 8:32 that we can know the truth that will make us free. This “knowing” depends on us.
God has done all that is necessary for us to be set free through Jesus, but it is up to you and me to embrace it.
We and we alone are to develop and maintain a deep, close and personal relationship with the Lord.
...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32
Like many other matters, it is all conditional. God’s gifts are free and they are lavish, but they do cost us something, which devolves down to the way we approach everything. It depends on how much time and effort we put in to see what God really says about things and to open up a bible from time to time, which we can all do.
Anyone can know all about scriptures doctrinally, but never see the treasures hidden for those who are born again. There is a big difference. He was saying—If— you abide (menō meaning to stay, dwell, remain, continue, act as if it [the word of God] is your very life’s source and so on) then you are My disciples—and—then you shall be made free. It is the application of the truth that does this. In other words, we have to put it to work, or it is merely another series of beliefs and like quoting a catechism or a poem we have memorized that does not contain life-bringing power and authority.
The devil does not want that to happen, because we will become precisely what God wants us to become.
God would like us to become “little Jesus’ on the earth”. That means we shall act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, do what He did and live as He lived. The devil therefore tries to hide the truth by presenting everything else but the truth under the guise of religion. This is one reason why we are so fragmented. We argue and debate over all kinds of “Christian” stuff, but never really become what God wants and it is one body; one church; one Lord and one goal and purpose.
Before Paul taught about the five ascension gift ministries that Jesus gave to His Church (and they are still valid today), he prayed for us in Ephesians 4:1-6, saying-
You and I know that this is not necessarily the case at present. We are divided indeed. All one needs to do is look at baptism. Is it infant christening, or is it immersion? Is it single immersion or multiple immersion? We vary in our approach to the Lord’s table. In some circles it is a sacrament, ceremony or a rite, requiring those who partake to be confirmed. Believers partake simply because they remember Calvary.
Then there is the issue of the gifts of the Spirit and talking in tongues. Some people get hostile when they hear mention of tongues whilst others like myself welcome and speak like the bible says. Why are we so divided? It is a real minefield out there and I put it to you that the devil has been working overtime to keep us divided. It need not be so!
I recently met with “retired” pastors from different denominations who all had one commonality. Every one of them was wondering why their churches are dwindling and becoming ineffective. My reply was that we have drifted away from the original pattern and one pastor said that we all seemed to be powerless, helpless, ineffective and irrelevant in a modern society. He said that we needed help, asking if we should start allowing the Holy Spirit to do His thing.
Of course we should. That is the problem. The very agent Jesus sent to us to help us do the job is not always welcomed. In fact many “Pentecostal” churches are also drifting away from this area and they too, despite the hype, are experiencing problems.
He emotionally said that they sacked him and he had served faithfully for 20 years in that position!
The problem was that the pastor who had a real need had been left high and dry without getting any help and I had to insist that we should minister to a fellow brother who was hurting. I’m glad that responded favorably, but the point is that they should not have needed any prompting!
When I ministered to Him, he broke down and cried, because I laid hands on him and spoke in words of knowledge and prophecy with the exact words from the Lord that he needed.
This is not uncommon and it hurts me to see how wimpy and powerless the church has become. They knew all about God, but did not know God. They knew all about scriptures, but did not know truth. People all around the world who are dying of malnutrition and starvation come to a church seeking help and often leave worse off than before. It is sad to witness a person dying of thirst and wanting water come to an empty well full of sand, but it happens regularly.
Why is it so? Well, I might seem harsh and critical, but it is the truth and I believe it is because the devil has been working overtime to hide the truth from people.
We are indeed in the middle of a minefield. We are in a battle for sure and the warfare of which I speak is over the hearts and minds of believers, or, our very belief structure. When Abraham rescued Lot in Genesis 14, the king of Sodom wanted the people. He was not interested in the goods. The battle was for the souls of men.
The devil is engaged in all kinds of tactics designed to render us ineffective and fearful. One way is to confuse us and he does that by getting us off track and doubting God’s word. He did that to Eve in the garden and He tried to do that to Jesus and he will do that to us as well. Jesus did not succumb because He knew what the Father had said! Do you? Do I? If we do not know what God said, what chance do we have? The devil does not care if you read a bible or not. What he is concerned about is someone reading the word properly— getting truth and revelation from it and then putting it to work.
We all have our pet ideas and beliefs and I sincerely hope we are believing right. I for one, constantly keep a check on myself to ensure I am hearing right, believing right and living right and in so doing keep inviting the Lord to help me and show me truth. If I hear something, I check what scriptures say about it. I often tell folk to see Acts 17:11 and weigh up what anyone tells you, no matter who they are. Don’t even believe me. Check out what I say. Truth will always come out.
Jesus destroyed the devil’s works:
When Jesus died and rose again, He defeated the devil for all time. There is no debate on that fact. John said-
This is what Jesus did to the devil’s works, or activities, or putting it another way, his legal right to operate.
The devil is still around,because His destiny is in a future time, but the sentence has been passed as if in a court of law. He is “out on remand” pending execution of sentence. In the process, he wanders around, constantly searching for an opportunity to do his thing, which is to steal, kill and destroy. Peter explained it this way-
The devil is a great con man. He wanders from place to place, like a roaring lion. He is not a roaring lion. He is wandering around looking for a weakness someone may have because they do not know the truth or are willfully sinning and it is like grabbing hold of a doorknob to turn it and see if the door is unlocked. If he finds one, he can open the door and come in. The remedy is simple. Keep the door locked! We do that. We can create the environment by developing a relationship with the Lord by association. It is a well known fact that we become like the company we keep, so we do not need to be a rocket scientist to realize that if we hang out with Jesus, we become like him.
The reverse is equally true. Water finds its own level.
The works that Jesus destroyed are the things that the devil does. We are never to underestimate him, but neither are we to give him more credit than he is due. I’ll sum this up by saying that Jesus destroyed the devil’s legal status to keep doing what he does. Once we know that, we have every right and the ability to tell him to get lost and take his junk elsewhere. It is all a matter of legal precedence with God as the righteous Judge presiding.
The battle is in the mind:
For most people, the real minefield is between the ears, or in the mind. Before we become born again, I guess we could liken our minds to a computer program. From birth, we have been programmed to believe certain ways and we do so because of the world system in which we live. It is owned by the devil. He controls the media if the media moguls are not saved. He controls what they tell us. He motivates men to do certain things, or to stop doing certain things so that he can achieve his objectives, all summed up in Jesus’ words that he steals, kills and destroys.
Everything he says is a lie, because he is a liar and is the father of lies
It has been said that the ice at the poles is melting and that massive chunks are falling off and the levels in our oceans are rising so much that major floods will come. Who is telling the truth?
We are being programed indeed and the major battleground is in our ways of thinking. Ive heard many good Christians quote Paul, saying-
They forget the following verse-
We do that casting! We have to bring our thought captive. We are to renew our minds according to Romans 12:1-2. We are to “let this mind be in us” according to Philippians 2:5. We are to deliberately think on these things as seen in Philippians 4:4:4-9, but we cannot do these things if we do not know... The solution therefore is to learn and we learn by the washing of water by the word, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.
If we do not know the truth, we will fall for anything:
Some of the most prevalent “failures” are to be found in the belief structures of those who do not know truth. They may love the Lord and we do not doubt their sincerity. We can be sincere, but sincerely wrong, so we need to see with the eye of the spirit, or “see the light”. Those religious leaders Jesus spoke with as I mentioned a few pages back, just hadn’t “seen the light” so to speak, so where do we stand with certain Christian beliefs, such as “suffering” as an example and I’ve already touched on this.
The bible does say that we are to be partakers of Christ’s suffering, but it does not mean what some people think.
In Romans 8:17-18, Paul speaks about being led by the Holy Spirit, about Christ being in us, that we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear but the Spirit of Adoption so that we can call God our “Daddy”.
He adds that we are joint heirs with Christ, but Christ is now seated in the heavenly realms far above all principalities and powers and all spiritual wickedness.
What Jesus went through was for our sake.
It’s all about an exchange, so our suffering became His suffering. He took it on Himself.
Jesus is no longer suffering. He is now seated in heavenly places at the right hand of the throne of God, made to be Lord of all and far above all principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness. He is no longer on the cross and the tomb is empty. He’s beyond all the things religious folk tell us we are supposed to be in and quote verse 18 where Paul speaks about suffering. Let us look at it all here-
There is much to look at here, but I will concentrate only on our relationship and our positional status with God.
The Spirit Himself (not itself) works within us to reveal everything that needs to be revealed. He tells us that we are the children of God and thus joint heirs with Christ. That means we inherit everything He inherited.
He did not inherit pain and suffering, privations and poverty, rejection and whatever you care to name.
He inherited a Kingdom and we inherited what He inherited!
He overcame and triumphed in everything imaginable.
...And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,
I could add to that last verse not to let anyone judge you or put anything on you anything that is not true.
Jesus told us not to judge yet we are also told to judge, test or weigh up all things, especially in spiritual matters. The former relates to making a mental or judicial decision on someone, to try, condemn, punish, avenge, to sue someone in a law suit and even as far as thinking improperly. Jesus spoke about the attitude of the heart, comparing such judgment and eventual hatred with murder The latter however relates to making sure we are not deceived and conned.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
False prophets in the Old Testament were not tolerated and in fact, they could be stoned to death, but New Testament prophets are a little different however and their ministries are vital. We need them!
You can see examples in Acts 11:27, 131:1, 15:32; 1 Corinthians 12:28-29, 14:29-32, Ephesians 4:11. Philip’s seven daughters prophesied in Acts 21:9. Agabus and an unknown number of prophets are seen in Acts 11.
I mentioned antichrist. Please do not go shadow boxing looking for evil spirits lurking under every shadow and in particular trying to ascertain “who is the antichrist.” It will waste your time and you could become confused. John said that there were many already here!
The real battle that most of you will encounter as I have already said is in your thought processes, particularly in your belief structures. The devil does not always come out openly, but sneakily drops a subtle thought into your head.
What is interesting is that such thoughts can often give the appearance of being spiritually sound. Take the word suffering as an example. Many folk believe that we should “suffer for Jesus” because the word says we are to be partakers of Christ’s suffering. Whole doctrines and denominations have been formed on “suffering”, but the word only appears 5 times in the New Testament in Acts 27:27; Hebrews 2:9; James 5:10; 1 Peter 2:9 and Jude 1:7 and they really do not speak about how we must suffer at all.
The word “suffer” appears many more times, most of which do not mean “suffer” in this context. In 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul says-
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
He is saying that every one of us has the same trials and testing in life and that God will not “suffer” us more than we can handle, that word is eaō and it talks about not letting us handle it alone. Other meanings for the word suffer are epitrepō, paschō, hypomenō, anechō and more. Clearly, we are not to “suffer” in the way some religious mindsets try to put on us. When 1 Peter 4:13 for example tells us that we are to be partakers of Christ’s suffering, it means that we are to enter into the victory that Jesus bore for us on the cross and when He rose from the dead.
We were with Jesus when He suffered on the cross. We were with Jesus in the tomb and we were with Him when He rose from the dead. We were also with Jesus when He was glorified. The bible also tells us that we are seated with him. It sure does not seem like that at times, but that is the truth. If the work of Jesus is complete, then He is not suffering any longer, so our “sufferings” are totally different to the lies the devil has put on us.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless... Galatians 2:20-21
The reference to baptism is extremely important. It is not a formula or a ceremony. It is not infant “christening” because it is a believers’ way of identifying with Jesus.
We are saying that when He died, so did we and when He was buried, we were buried also, but He rose from the dead in victory.
This means that we also rose from the dead in victory.
If He suffered once, we also suffered once. This is the legal or positional status we have, but getting it to work is the issue. To do that, we need to really believe that we are glorified with Him and that we have a royal inheritance. That really gets up the devils nose and this is one reason why he has successfully infiltrated the church with His version of truth. Thank God however that we are coming into a new dispensation when truth is being restored!
Jesus is not suffering physically or in any other way any more. He is seated at the right hand of God the Father, expecting His enemies to be made His footstool as per Hebrews 10:12-13.
As His Body in this earth, we are to stand against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places as we see in Ephesians 6:12).
God’s glory is revealed in us when we resist Satan. God receives glory when we are delivered and reign victorious in this life.
If you are in the midst of a trial and I know many are, do not consider it the end of the world, but look on it as a test or a means to prove it works. The son of a friend of ours is studying to be a doctor. He will have to pass tests along the way to prove both to himself and to his peers that he knows his stuff. Our trials should thus be likened to sitting for an end of term examination so that we know what to do. God already knows!
God wants you to use the spiritual weapons He has provided to give you the victory. See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:11-17. Satan will try to keep you from enjoying your victory, but as you receive revelation knowledge, you will be lord over him and his tactics to put you under the law of sin and death will not work (see Romans 8:2). That’s why James says-
It is written:
A prevalent belief is that there is a battle between good and evil or light against darkness. I will not say that there are no struggles. That would be foolish, but the battle that really counts is already over and Jesus won. Light always overcomes or dispel darkness. You can be at the bottom of a coal mine at midnight on a moonless night and light one little match and that little flickering flame can be seen from a long way off. The flare of that one match may be small, but one match can start a forest fire!
You could be that one small spark to usher in a revival!
When people say that there is a struggle, they are actually likening it to a wrestling between the Lord Jesus and the devil as if nothing ever happened at Calvary. That is a lie! In fact, not only did Jesus conquer, He is sitting down in rest mode and has made it possible for us to also enter His rest as victors. If you are going through some “stuff” then look at what Paul said-
It might not seem to be so at present, but that is truth, but it depends on how we handle things. Even before Calvary, the devil tried his best or I should say worst to prevent God’s plan from happening. When Jesus was baptized, He was in the wilderness for 40 days for a specific purpose. The devil did all he could to prevent Jesus from starting His ministry, appealing to the core ingredients of all of our lives that affect our physical being, our emotional senses and our spiritual life (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life). Take food as an example. Jesus was hungry and the devil knew it. He tried to get Jesus to step into the supernatural side of His life (which we also have if we but realize it) and get food.
We are all realists here. People need the commodities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing and always will need them. The issue here is how to deal with it. We can hit the panic button as many do and I do not blame them, or we can “tap into the source” as I often say. Jesus’ need was just as real as those folk, but He did not revert to the natural and said, “It is written...” every time the devil came at Him, the response was the same and the devil could not do a thing.
The issues of life and the trials and testings of life we have are all the same, or common to all of us (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). I am not suggesting you walk around all the time quoting your favorite bible verse. That’s unreal, but I am saying that when a situation arises...any situation...make sure that you say what God has to say on the matter. It is how He works on your behalf. Moses cried out for water and God told him to speak to a rock!
In the middle of a famine when people were dropping like flies the word of the Lord came to Elijah and God took care of him.
In real bad times, surrounded by the enemy and starving, without hope or rescue, the man of God gave the word of the Lord to the people in 2 Kings 7:1 saying that they would have more food than they knew what to do with and it happened. 4 lepers no one wanted were the instruments of God’s deliverance.
What I am trying to say is that in each and every situation in life, no matter who you are, where you are, or what is happening around you, God has an answer. It is up to each of us to find out what it is and then apply it.
Do what Jesus did and keep saying, “It is written”, but you must have a specific word for yourself to be able to do that.
What God tells me could be totally different to what He tells you, so you and you alone need to get with the Lord and find out what He wants to do—and then do that. It might not be easy and in fact could be downright difficult at times. It might take a little time, but you will reap in due season...if you faint not. Above all, do not say a word unless it is positive and in line with what God says. When you do that, the devil has to leave, just as he had to leave when Jesus kept saying, “It is written.”
Well, I’ve said much already but could share much more, especially to those who live in places of real hardship, where even getting food on the family table is an issue. God has a way for every one of us to get the breakthrough we need. If He could do what I just shared...if He fed a whole nation in the wilderness for 40 years and if Jesus could feed a multitude with a boy’s basket lunch, God can show us all what to do and look after us who He considers to be royalty.
The key is finding out what God wants each of us to do in our own personal situation and then go ahead and do that.
I am not living in fantasy land here. This stuff is real and God’s ways work, even in a war torn, drought affected, poverty riddled third world nation, so be encouraged.
I must now bring this to a close and before I do, I’d like you to look again at the top banner.
I have shown one angel in the midst of an army.
Jesus stated that He could call on more than 12 legions of angels, who were standing by for one small gesture, nod or spoken word from Him and they were ready to rescue Him, but He did not. I’m glad for our sakes, but think of the implications. It is not always clear how many men comprised a legion. In Jesus’ day it may have been 5000 men with support cavalry and miscellaneous support personnel.
Jesus had a minimum of 12,000 angels standing by.
In 1 Kings 19:35, one angel of the Lord slew 185,000 of the enemy.
By my calculations, if Jesus had called those angels standing by, at least 133,220,000,000,000 people would have been wiped out and that is well in excess of the current world population of around 7.6 billion (7,600,000,000) people.
In Hebrews 12:12 we are told to remain steadfast, being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and that an innumerable company of angels surrounds us. There are many more of them than the devil’s lot.
In 2 Kings 6, a whole army tried to capture Elisha and failed. They were blinded and the whole mountain around him was surrounded by an angelic company of horses and chariots of fire.
So my friend, you are not alone. You are not struggling to survive although it might look as if it is hopeless in the natural.
You do not have to depend on your own natural abilities and resources. You have direct access, as a soldier in the Army of the Lord, surrounded by at least one of His angels, to the same resources Elisha had, Jesus had and the cloud of witnesses had.
Whose report do you believe?