The Sword Is The Word
John 18:36 “Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”
Christ’s kingdom is spiritual, in the hearts of men – not physical; therefore, our fight as Christians must not be with carnal weapons but with spiritual weapons… 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Spiritual forces cannot be defeated with human weapons.
When we are being attacked for being a part of Christ’s kingdom, we must fight with spiritual weapons. Our warfare is not against people, but against the spiritual powers that operate behind the scenes through people. We must realize who the real enemy is and fight with the spiritual weapons the Lord has given us.
We often think that anger will put a person in his place. But “the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God”… James 1:20. Anger displayed against people puts us right into the hand of the devil. The way to overcome the spiritual powers that come against us through people is to turn the other cheek… Matthew 5:39. That makes the demons flee in terror.
One of the main weapons the Apostle Paul speaks of is the Gospel, which is the Sword of the Spirit, (the Word of God). It’s the Word backed by God’s Spirit that can pull down and crush the strongholds of Satan.
Every Christian is at war. There is a perpetual struggle against Satan and his kingdom from which there are no “leaves” or “discharges.” Our enemy goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour… 1 Peter 5:8. Those who resist the devil will see him flee… James 4:7. The only ones whom he devours are those who don’t actively fight against him.
The Silence Of The Son
Luke 22:63-64 “And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?”
Here is the account of God’s own creation mocking and insulting His Son without Him intervening. The pain that this must have caused the Father defies description.
Those who struck Jesus and told Him to prophesy who it was that struck Him, must have taken Jesus’ silence as proof that He was not who He claimed to be.
The natural mind could not conceive that Almighty God would take this kind of abuse from His creation. But this was the plan of God.
Isaiah prophesied that, as a lamb before its shearers is dumb… Isaiah 53:7, so Jesus would not open His mouth. Isaiah also mentioned that Jesus “was taken from prison and from judgment” referring to the fact that He was not given a fair trial… Isaiah 53:8. Isaiah went on to prophesy in Isaiah 53:9 that Jesus would make “his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death;” This was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified between two thieves and buried in a rich man’s tomb.
Our Life Is Not Our Own
Luke 22:49 “When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?”
The Lordship of Jesus is one of the central themes of scripture. It is clear that many times the word “Lord,” when referring to Jesus, is equivalent to the divine name “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” To acknowledge Jesus as Lord is to acknowledge His deity…John 20:28.
What it means to give Jesus Lordship in our lives, is to recognize His right to rule in our lives, by right of creation… John 1:3, and right of redemption.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”… 1 Corinthians 6:20.
One of the most damaging attitudes of our time is the exaltation of self over others. Personal rights have been promoted at the expense of others. This is not good for society and it is certainly not the way God expects His body to operate.
As Christians, we need to develop a continual awareness that our lives are not our own. We do not have the liberty to do as we please. We should present our body as a living sacrifice unto God, recognizing that this is just our reasonable duty to the one who gave His life for us… Romans 12:1.
The Lordship of Jesus should be the determining factor in every action of a Christian… Romans 14:7-10. Every thought and action should pass the test, “Is this what my Lord Jesus wants me to do or think?” If the answer is not a definite “yes,” then it shouldn’t be done. “… whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”… Romans 14:23.
The “Old Man” Is Dead
Mark 14:41 “And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
It is not our individual acts of sin that make us a sinner. It is our sin nature that makes us commit individual acts of sin. Adam’s one sin produced a sin nature in all men that in turn, caused each person to commit individual acts of sin. Jesus not only dealt with the original sin that contaminated the human race, but He also dealt with each individual act of sin.
Anyone who is trying to obtain righteousness through their actions is totally missing the point. Believers are made righteous through faith in Christ, independent of their actions. It’s the same way that everyone was made a sinner: through Adam’s one sin, not through our individual sins.
At salvation, our old man… Romans 6:6, or sin nature died, but the tendency to sin remains in the thoughts and emotions that the old man left behind. No longer does the Christian have a sin nature that compels him to sin, but he must simply deal with renewing his mind.
Sin ruled like a king through condemnation to bring death upon everyone.
Condemnation is like the general of sin that enforces its power. Likewise, God’s grace now rules like a king through righteousness to bring all who are in Christ into eternal life. Righteousness is the general of grace who defends us against all the wiles of the devil.
Remove guilt or condemnation and sin loses its strength to rule…1 Corinthians 15:56. Remove the knowledge of righteousness by faith, and grace loses its power to release eternal life into our daily lives.
Seek The Will Of God
Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
Jesus knew it was the Father’s will for Him to be made an offering for the sins of the world. This is true because He prophesied His death and resurrection many times before. However, because of His unique relationship with God, Jesus was asking God to accomplish His will some other way, but at the same time affirming His commitment to do His Father’s will and not His own.
He was not at a loss to know God’s will and therefore, left this time of prayer trusting that whatever the Father deemed best for Him would happen.
He knew, when He began praying what the Father’s will was and He knew at the close of His prayer, that God’s will could not be accomplished any other way.
For us to pray, “Lord, if it be thy will” in response to a promise that God has given us is nothing but unbelief and is not even remotely related to what Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of the foundational principles of answered prayer is that we must believe that we receive when we pray… Mark 11:24. There is no way that we can fulfill that condition if we don’t know God’s will in that situation. Praying, “if it be thy will” takes us out of the active position of believing and puts us in the passive position of waiting and letting circumstances rule our lives. If we are seeking direction in an area where God’s will is not already expressed through His Word, then we should pray James 1:5, and ask for wisdom. Then we can believe that we receive when we pray, and with that knowledge continue our prayer in faith.
We should not be ignorant but understand what the will of the Lord is… Ephesians 5:17.
The only appropriate time to pray, “If it be thy will” is when we are dedicating ourselves to the service of God, regardless of where or what that may be.
Chosen Before Creation
John 17:24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”
God the Father had the plan of salvation worked out before He even created the world. Most of us would not have created the world and man if we knew the heartache and terrible sacrifice it would cost. But God is not man. In His judgment (which is the correct judgment) the prize was worth the cost.
We were chosen in Christ before the world began. The Lord did not choose us by our merit, but solely by our acceptance of Christ which His foreknowledge allowed Him to do before the foundation of the world. In the strictest sense, we were not personally chosen, but Christ was chosen and all those who are “in Christ” partake of His being chosen by His Father. Just as we are the beneficiaries of the covenant between God the Father and His Son Jesus, so we are chosen because we chose God’s chosen, i.e. Christ. The Father would no more reject us than He would reject Jesus because we are accepted by the Father through Christ.
None of us can claim that we are without blame in the sight of men because man looks on the outward appearance… 1 Samuel 16:7, and all of us have sinned… Romans 3:23. But, the Lord looks on our born-again spirit which has been regenerated in Christ and He sees us holy and without blame.
If you look at any color through a red glass, that color becomes red. The same thing would happen if you looked through a green glass. Everything would become green. In a similar way, God looks at us through Christ and everything in our life becomes covered by the blood of Jesus. We are holy and without blame before Him because of His love expressed through His Son
Exercise Your Soul
Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Our spirit is not our problem. The born-again Christian receives a new spirit at conversion, that is just like Jesus’… 1 John 4:17, because it is the Spirit of Jesus. Our born-again spirit is always willing to do God’s will. It’s our flesh that is the problem.
The flesh, as Jesus describes it here, not only includes our physical body but also describes our soul. God has given every believer everything it takes to walk in victory, but “… we have this treasure in earthen vessels,”… 2 Corinthians 4:7. That is saying that our spirit, where God has deposited all of His power and glory, is locked inside our flesh.
That does not mean that we cannot tap into this divine source. As much as we will renew our minds and act on the Word of God, we can experience this divine flow through our physical bodies. However, just as we must use our muscles to increase in strength, we must exercise ourselves (soul, mind and body) unto godliness… 1 Timothy 4:7-8.
Prayer is one important way of exercising ourselves unto godliness, and is why Jesus admonished His disciples to watch and pray with Him.
Fill Up With God
John 17:23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
God loves us the same as He loves Jesus. A true revelation of this will quicken our faith and allow us to walk in the fullness of God. God’s love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. “God is love”… 1 John 4:8.
God’s love is not one dimensional. There is width, length, depth and height to it, which can only be comprehended through the revelation and knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Those who only have a superficial knowledge of God’s love are like a person who looks at a one dimensional picture of the real thing.
In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to know the love of God which passes knowledge. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. The Greek word that is translated “know” in this verse is GINOSKO, which is a verb expressing experiential knowledge. The Greek word that is translated “knowledge” is GNOSIS, which is a noun denoting the act of knowledge. Simply, Paul is praying that we will experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge of it.
Since a true revelation of God’s love makes us full with the fullness of God, then a lack of being full of God must mean that we lack understanding and experience of God’s love. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God’s love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God.
God Desires Faith
Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”What an amazing account! God Almighty was born of a virgin and placed in a feeding trough in a stable. Who would ever expect the Creator of the universe to make His entrance into the world in such a humble fashion?
Men always seek to proclaim their glory as far and wide as possible. Yet here is the only one who really has any glory to proclaim, and He comes humbly. It wasn’t because He didn’t have the power to do things otherwise.
He could have chosen to be born in a fashion that would have brought all creation to their knees in worship. He could have announced His birth to the most powerful and famous men of the day instead of lowly shepherds. He could have had the most luxurious accommodations instead of a stable. But that is not the way of our God. It would not have taken any faith on the part of men if Jesus came in such a manner that His deity was obvious.
Likewise with us, the Lord could manifest Himself to us in such a way that we couldn’t miss Him, but that wouldn’t please Him. God desires faith and, “without faith it is impossible to please Him”… Hebrews 11:6.
Today, let’s please our Heavenly Father and acknowledge His presence in faith just because of His promise… Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5.