The Sword Is The Spirit

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The Sword Is The Spirit

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.

 

Choose To Love

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Choose To Love

John 18:23 “Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”

God’s kind of love is not self-serving or self-seeking. Agape love will cause a person to lay down his life for another, John 15:13, because he has literally forgotten himself. Many times when heros are asked why they put themselves in jeopardy to save someone else, they reply that they didn’t even think about themselves. All they thought of was the danger to the other person. That’s God’s kind of love.

God’s type of love involves emotions many times, but it is not an emotion. It is an act of the will. We can choose to love even when we don’t feel like it and we can always conduct ourselves in a godly manner, when we feel God’s kind of love. God’s kind of love is a choice.

God’s kind of love is also the antidote to selfishness and pride. We cannot conquer self by focusing on self. The only way to win over self is to fall in love with God more than with ourself. It is in discovering God’s love that we lose self love.

Jesus didn’t feel some emotional sensation when He chose to die for us, but that was the greatest demonstration of God’s kind of love that the world has ever seen. He made a choice in spite of His emotions. Because He was consumed with God’s love, He acted properly, even when His emotions didn’t agree.

Jesus is the ultimate example of God’s kind of love.

Hide The Word In Your Heart

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Hide The Word In Your Heart

Matthew 26:75 “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

There are several Greek words used for “word.” The Greek word used here is RHEMA and it literally means, “a spoken word; an utterance, a saying, but specifically a spoken word appropriate for the situation.” It’s not the Bible lying on your coffee table that makes the enemy flee, but the Word of God hidden in your heart, activated by the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoken in the appropriate situation. It’s similar to what Jesus says in John 6:63, that “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.”

The words that we speak from the written Word of God are empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Word by itself doesn’t make us free. It is the Word we know and speak that will deliver us, John 8:32.

Why is the Word so effective? Because it is the WORD of God. It has authority, because it is indeed the WORD of God. God’s Word supersedes all authority of the church, of reason, of intellect, and even of Satan. That’s why it is so effective.

In Luke, chapter four, when Jesus was tempted of the devil for forty days, it was the Word of God that Jesus used to defeat the enemy at His temptation.

Jesus constantly met His temptation by quoting from God’s Word as He repeatedly stated the phrase, “It is written.” Likewise, the Christian soldier must avail himself of God’s Word by placing it in his heart so that the Holy Spirit may bring it forth at the appropriate time to accomplish a complete and total victory.

 

Fight The Battle In The Spirit

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Fight The Battle In The Spirit

John 18:10 “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.”

It is the apostle John who reveals Peter as the one who cut off the servant’s ear and also identifies the servant. It is very doubtful that Peter was aiming for Malchus’ ear. It is more probable that he was making a horizontal swing at the servant’s head and as the man ducked, Peter cut off his ear.

Peter was very vocal about never denying the Lord, and his actions proved that he meant what he said. There were only two swords among the disciples, yet Peter was willing to take on these six hundred soldiers. This spelled certain death or imprisonment.

Peter wanted to stand with the Lord, but he was not prepared spiritually. He was still strong in his own ability. If the battle would have been in the physical realm, Peter would have fought to the death as he proved here. But when Jesus told Peter to put up his sword and not resist with his physical power, Peter was confused.

Peter only knew how to rely on the flesh. When Jesus refused to allow Peter to fight with his sword, he was defenseless. If he would have been praying with Jesus, as instructed, Peter would have been built up spiritually and able to stand with Jesus spiritually without denying Him. As the prophet Zechariah said, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”, Zechariah 4:6.

Likewise, we may sincerely desire to never deny our Lord, but it takes more than desire; it takes preparation. We all have been taught how to rely on ourselves, but we have to learn anew how to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, Ephesians 6:10. Just as in the physical realm, where muscles have to be exercised to become strong, so we have to exercise ourselves unto godliness, 1 Timothy 4:7.

 

God’s Awesome Power

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God’s Awesome Power

John 18:6 “As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

It is evident that it was the power of God that made these six hundred men fall backwards to the ground, but why did it happen when He said, “I am he”?

In this verse, and also in verse eight, the word “he” is italicized. That means that the word “he” was not in the original text but was added by the translators to make the sentence grammatically correct. This serves a useful purpose and is very helpful in most cases. However, the translators put these additions in italics so that we could be aware of what the text literally said.

In this instance, Jesus literally said, “I am.” Since Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, His statement of “I am,” carried just as much weight as when He expressed it to Moses, Exodus 3:14. This is nothing less than the Almighty God releasing His glory through the powerful statement, “I AM.” No wonder these men were knocked to the ground.

This graphically illustrates how Jesus could have easily defended Himself against any size army that would come to take His life. As He said in John 10:18, “No man taketh it (i.e. His life) from me, but I lay it down of myself.”

There are many instances recorded in scripture where people fell to the ground as a result of being in God’s presence. The same thing still happens today. Just as some people faint when they experience fear, when they experience the awesome presence of God, they become weak, and lose strength in their physical body.

Learn The Word By Doing It

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Learn The Word By Doing It

Matthew 26:55 “In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.”

The four gospels refer to Jesus teaching 43 times, preaching 19 times, and preaching and teaching in the same verse, six times. This indicates that Jesus spent twice as much time teaching as He did preaching. Teaching is the basic building block for making disciples. Jesus was making disciples, not just converts.

The Greek word for “disciple” literally means “a learner,” and indicates “learning by endeavor” or what we would call “on-the-job training.” Jesus said in John 8:31, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Anyone who meets this criterion is Jesus’ disciple.

“Jailhouse religion,” where a person is only sorry he got caught and is trying to get out of a bad situation, will not produce true discipleship. It takes a forsaking of all to be Jesus’ disciple. Jesus wants us to “count the cost.” It is definitely a commitment.

What the Lord has started in you, He will also continue and complete. That is not to say that your success will be automatic; we have to cooperate with what God is wanting to do in our lives. Our faithfulness may always be suspect, but God’s faithfulness is never in question. It is always God’s will to continue and complete the good work He began in us.

 

Chose To Serve

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Chose To Serve

Matthew 26:51 “And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.”

In Romans chapter one, Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. Out of the six Greek words for “servant” used in the New Testament, Paul used one of the most slavish terms possible. The word used in this passage is “doulos” and comes from the root word “deo” which means “bind.” Paul literally speaks of himself as a bondman or slave of Jesus Christ – a slave by free choice; yet owned and purchased by Jesus Christ.

The idea of being a love-slave by choice comes from Old Testament passages such as Exodus 21:2-6 and Deuteronomy 15:12-17. If an Israelite bought a Hebrew slave, he must set him free in the seventh year. However, if the slave loved his master and said, “I will not go away from thee,” then a hole was to be bored through the lobe of his ear pronouncing him a bond-slave forever.

Jesus is the supreme example of selflessness – He puts others ahead of Himself.

We see clearly from Jesus’ example, that the way to exaltation in God’s kingdom comes through humility and servanthood to others. Christ’s humiliation, displayed in His coming to earth as a man, is not only a lesson in Christology but also an example to all believers of what greatness in God’s kingdom entails. Let this attitude of heart, taken from the example of Jesus Christ, continue to motivate all true believers in Jesus Christ.

The Creator became the creation; the Lord became the servant; the Highest became the lowest. All of this was done because of God’s great love for us.

 

Healing Is An Expression Of God’s Mercy

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Healing Is An Expression Of God’s Mercy

Luke 22:51 “And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.”

Jesus often healed people by touching them, and others received their healing as they touched Jesus. You can transmit the power or the anointing of God through the laying on of hands, Mark 16:18; Hebrews 6:2. The virtue of God can even be transmitted to objects and then brought to the person who needs healing or deliverance.

Jesus provided physical healing as well as forgiveness of sins. Many scriptures mention the healing of our bodies in conjunction with the forgiveness of our sins. Healing is an expression of God’s love and compassion for our physical man. Healing miracles also draw men to God to get their spiritual needs met. Physical healing acts like a bell to get man’s attention so that the Lord can minister to the inner man as well.

Healing has been purchased for us as part of the atonement of Christ. The Lord would no more refuse to heal us than He would refuse to forgive us. That does not mean that we deserve healing – we don’t. It is a gift from God, just as salvation is a gift from God, Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8. We don’t deserve to have our sins forgiven. We cannot demand salvation from the Lord, but we can expect it. Likewise, healing has been purchased for us through the atonement of Christ. Healing belongs to us, but it is still the mercy of God that provides healing. Every act of healing is an act of mercy.

Our Life Is Not Our Own

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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.