Monday, November 28 2016
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
We will continue today in the Spiritual Warfare Series as we discuss and deliberate on another interesting and intriguing question – “Do Christians Wrestle with Demons?” During our discussions last week, we learnt, with appropriate scriptural references that some of what is being taught in the area of spiritual warfare and demonology is scripturally in error. We discovered that most, if not all of the scriptures where war and warfare were mentioned has nothing to do with the Devil but more to do with putting the flesh under and controlling our thought life. We also learnt that we are not a Warring Army but an Occupying Army. Today’s lesson will shed more lights on these truths.
1. Do Christians Wrestle With Demons?
We have been able to see in the epistles, following from last week’s lesson, that the words “war” and “warfare” are used to describe conflicts between the flesh and the mind and between the flesh and the recreated spirit. So what does the Bible have to say about "wrestling"? Does the New Testament teach that believers need to wrestle with demons?
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Let’s consider this scripture in the context of other scriptural references.
• “Wrestling” denotes strenuous effort, doesn't it? According to these scriptures, we do "wrestle" against the devil; we do have the devil to deal with in life. But read that verse of Scripture in context with the whole counsel of God's Word—that Jesus defeated Satan for us and redeemed us from Satan's dominion.
• Well, does the scriptural word for "wrestling" mean war? No, certainly not. There is a vast difference between wrestling and warring. If you've ever seen a wrestling match, you know there is a vast difference between wrestling and fighting a war.
• One of the meanings of the word "wrestle" in W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words is to sway. If we will let him, the enemy will come against us and try to sway us and get us out of faith and into doubt and unbelief about the Word so he can defeat us. But if we stand our ground in faith, he cannot sway us from the Word. Therefore, the "wrestling" we do is not fighting the devil, but it is a "fight" sometimes to hold fast to our faith in God's Word. ["a wrestling" (akin to pallo, "to sway, vibrate"), is used figuratively in Eph. 6:12, of the spiritual conflict engaged in by believers, RV, "(our) wrestling," AV, "(we) wrestle."]
• You see, the term "wrestling" in Ephesians 6:12 is used figuratively, just as the word "run" is used figuratively in Hebrews 12:1: "... let us RUN with patience the race that is set before us." The Bible doesn't use the word "wrestle" to tell believers to get into heavy spiritual combat to wrestle against the devil in prayer. No, the Bible is trying to show believers that our opposition in this life comes from the spiritual realm and that we are not to fight against flesh and blood, but we are to take our stand on the Word of God and enforce our victory against a defeated foe.
• So if you don't read the entire context of this passage in Ephesians chapter 6, but only focus on verse 12, you can become confused and defeated because you'll think, I'm in for it! I've got to wrestle against all those principalities, powers, and forces of darkness in order to try to defeat them.
• By overemphasizing just that one verse alone rather than the whole counsel of God, people place the emphasis not on what Christ has already done for believers, but rather on what the Christian must yet do in order to get victory over the devil. That is unscriptural because every believer already participates in Jesus' victory over Satan.
• For example, read Ephesians 6:12, "We wrestle against principalities and power," and read that scripture with Colossians 2:15: “... having SPOILED principalities and powers, he [Jesus] made a shew of them openly, TRIUMPHING OVER THEM in it [the Cross].” And then look at Luke 10:19: “Behold, I give unto you [the Body of Christ] power to tread on serpents and scorpions [the devil and his evil forces], and over all the power of the enemy: and NOTHING SHALL BY ANY MEANS HURT YOU.”
• Yes, we are in a battle all right, but it's against principalities and powers that Jesus already defeated in his death, burial, and resurrection! Notice also in Luke 10:20 that Jesus admonished the disciples not to rejoice in their authority over the devil but to rejoice in their relationship with God and in the fact that their names are written in the Book of Life. So our focus is not to be on a battle with a defeated enemy, but it is to be on a relationship with a mighty and loving God.
2 Timothy 2: 3-6
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits."
• In these verses, Paul uses military, athletic, and agricultural terms to illustrate various aspects of the ministry.
• He uses the word "soldier" in verses 3 and 4 to depict the hardiness, discipline, and dedication it sometimes takes to fulfill the call of God.
• The expression, "striving for masteries" in verse 5 refers to winning first place in an athletic event. And the word "husbandman" refers to a farmer reaping a crop.
• So based on these scriptures taken out of context, if we're supposed to be a "militant" Church so we can fight the devil—then based on Second Timothy 2:3-6, we should also be an "athletic" Church and all come to church in sweatsuits, or we should be an "agricultural" Church and come dressed like farmers!
2. Wrestling In the Spiritual Realm
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ just needs to learn to stay balanced. Overemphasizing just one scripture to the exclusion of others or exalting something other than God's Word, including unbiblical practices, can get believers off on doctrinal tangents. A person can take any Bible subject and overemphasize it and make the Bible say something it really doesn't say. That's what some Christians have done with this issue of "wrestling" the devil. They have resorted to using fleshly tactics such as yelling and screaming at the devil to try to "defeat" him. But the wrestling the believer does against the forces of evil is not done in the natural realm with fleshly tactics. It's done in the spiritual realm by faith in the Word.
Some believers are even taking the scripture about wicked spirits in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12) out of context and advocating that we have to get up higher physically in order to do battle with the wicked spirits in the heavenlies in prayer! What they really need to do is get down where the real battle is—in the mind and flesh! Not only that, but the Bible says, “... Whatsoever ye shall bind ON EARTH shall be bound in heaven ….” (Matt. 18:18), and “... if two of you shall agree ON EARTH as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18:19). The Bible says we are to do these things on earth; it never mentions that we have to get up into the spiritual atmosphere to try to deal with the devil! All that Jesus and the disciples accomplished, they accomplished on the earth, not up in heavenlies above the earth. We are already far above principalities and powers in our position in Christ.
“which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” [Ephesians 1:20-21]
“ even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” [Ephesians 2:5-6]
A scriptural reference can be found in Acts 16 where the story is told of Paul and Silas.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” [Acts 6:25-26]
Right here on earth, at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God, and God heard and delivered them (Acts 16:25). You see, praying and singing praises is a type of scriptural "wrestling" in the spiritual realm because you have to stay in faith to do it! And because God responds to faith (Heb. 11:6), He reached down and shook that old jail and delivered Paul and Silas.
We are not at war against the Devil. He is already a defeated foe! Thank God for the victory that Christ has won for us. Remember, we are NOT a “Warring Army” but an “Occupying” One. All that is required of us is to stand our grounds and refuse to be “swayed” out of faith into unbelief by the Devil’s antics. Also, we don't need to get up into the heavenlies to deal with evil spirits! We ought to be interested in tapping into the power of God that's already available to us as believers right here on earth! Yes, the word "wrestling" shows us that there is a spiritual conflict between the believer and the devil. But the wrestling is done in the arena of faith—in the spiritual realm—not in the natural realm. It is a fight based on standing firmly on the promises in God's Word and on the finished work of our redemption.
Thursday, November 17 2016
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week we looked at the topic “The Triumphant Church- Not the Militant or Defeated Church” we learnt that Body of Christ shouldn’t yield in cowardice to the forces of darkness or submit to satanic domination but arise boldly in the name of Jesus and take our place in our inheritance as sons and daughters of the Most High God as the triumphant Church. In today’s study, we will find out if we are or should be Wrestling or Resting.
Spiritual warfare is a subject some Christians are overemphasizing today in a way that is not in line with the Word of God. Actually, some of what is being taught in the Body of Christ in this area of spiritual warfare and demonology is scripturally in error. That's why it would benefit us to study the Word to see how to deal scripturally with Satan and his strategies. Many believers become fearful if you talk about the devil, demons, and evil spirits and their activities. Many people seem to think it would be better not to ever mention the devil or evil spirits. But if you don't teach believers scripturally from the Word of God how to deal with the devil, the enemy will just run rampant and hold high carnival in their lives because they won't know their scriptural authority.
2 Corinthians 2:11 says: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
We need to know our enemy. The Bible says we are not to be ignorant of Satan's devices. Satan has not changed the least bit in the world. The devil is the same old devil he has always been, and he uses the same tactics he has always used. He is the same devil Paul had to deal with when he penned these words that we aren't to be ignorant of his devices. And one of Satan's devices is to get people off into the extreme, even in the area of spiritual warfare, so they become unfruitful in the Kingdom of God. There is legitimate spiritual warfare, of course. Spiritual warfare is a Bible subject and one that we should be interested in because every one of us must take our stand in spiritual warfare at one time or another in our Christian life. But we see in the world today a number of challenges that seem to negate this
It seems on any Bible subject; it is most difficult for the Body of Christ to stay in the middle of the road. Many believers either get in the ditch on one side of the road or on the other side of the road. In either ditch, they become ineffective because extremes and excesses never produce any fruit to the glory to God.
2. Wrong thinking
Actually, the greatest enemy that has robbed the Church, even in this area of demonology and spiritual warfare, is wrong thinking and wrong believing. That's what initially opens a door to the devil.
There are those who are thinking wrong and believing wrong about the subject of spiritual warfare, and it is going to get the Body of Christ off track unless we get back on the Word of God. Wrong thinking and wrong believing eventually lead to wrong actions. For example, one error wrong thinking and wrong believing has produced in some believers is that they are trying to fight the devil. We need to look at that practice in the light of God's Word to see if it's scriptural. We need to know what the Word of God says on any subject and think and believe and act in line with God's Word. Then we will get Bible results.
3. Lack of Understanding
The truth remains that there is an adversary arrayed against us and that we are in the army of the Lord. However, people often take those truths and run off with them into extremes and error. Their thinking seems to be, "Well, an army fights the enemy to defeat him, so let's fight the devil so we can defeat him." But Jesus already "fought" the devil and won. That's why Jesus said to us, "Occupy, till I come" (Luke 19:13).
We're to take our stand on the Word against a defeated foe. Therefore, we are in the army of the Lord, all right, but it's the occupying army. The occupying army is not in battle. The occupying army is just enforcing the victory that's already been won by our Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ. That's why believers shouldn't magnify the battle, they should magnify the triumph!
'WAR' AND 'WARFARE' IN THE EPISTLES
Some people emphasize spiritual warfare to the point that you would think it is the only subject taught in the Bible. But you'll find that real spiritual warfare is entirely different from what many people think it is. For example, as you study the New Testament, particularly the epistles, it is amazing how seldom the words "war" and "warfare" are mentioned. It is also amazing to note that when the words "war" or "warfare" are used in the epistles, never once are the words "devil" or "Satan" used in connection with them. Let's look at the words "war" and "warfare" as they are used in the epistles, which were written to us, the Body of Christ.
In First Corinthians 9:7 for instance, Paul asks the question,
"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?"
Here, Paul isn't referring to combating the devil. He's simply making the point that ministers should be adequately paid.
2Corinthians 10:3-5 is another place in the epistles where the words "war" and "warfare" are used.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
If you take these verses out of their context you can make them say anything you want them to say. 2Corinthians 10:3-5 has been widely used to apply to battling demons over cities and countries. But it's clear by the context that Paul is talking about something different. Paul isn't referring to battling demonic forces over geographical areas. He is admonishing believers to take control of their own thoughts and imaginations so they can prevent the devil's lies from getting a stronghold in their minds.
What else do the epistles say about "war" and "warfare?"
Read 1 Timothy 1:18,19
How did Paul tell Timothy to war a good warfare? By holding faith and a good conscience. In other words, Paul is simply telling Timothy, "Stay in the fight of faith. Fulfil the call of God on your life. That is how you are going to war a good warfare in this life." The devil isn't even mentioned in these scriptures. The statement is simply a challenge to Timothy as a young minister to fulfil his ministry and not be deterred by any opposition he would face. Paul gives another admonition to Timothy in 2Timothy chapter 2 about warring. Read 2 Timothy 2:3-4
When we read the entire context of this passage, we find it has nothing again to do with the devil. Paul is simply saying, "Stay committed to the call of God on your life, regardless of the cost." Paul is telling believers that there's a price to pay to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ; it takes discipline and dedication. Paul is giving Timothy an illustration to remind and encourage him to keep himself free from the cares of this world and from any hindrances that would distract him from serving God and ministering effectively.
Then in James 4:1,2 we see the terms "war" and "wars" used in reference to fights, controversies, and strife which occurred because of believers' uncontrolled flesh problems. Finally, Peter refers to warfare in 1Peter 2:11 when he says,
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
Again there is absolutely no reference whatsoever to the devil. Just as James did, Peter uses the word "war" to vividly describe the battle between the lusts of the flesh and the soul—the mind, will, and emotions.
We have looked at scriptures in the epistles where the words "war" and "warfare" are used. The devil isn't mentioned one single time in any of these scriptures. Yet to hear some people talk, you would think spiritual warfare is the only subject in the Bible! Doctrinally speaking, some people have made a mountain out of a molehill. I suppose that's because some Christians want to blame everything on the devil. But in the epistles, the words "war" and "warfare" primarily have to do with putting the flesh under and controlling one's thought life. He can only do that by the Word of God and with the help of the Spirit of God.
Many believers are trying to get victory in life some other way. But what they need to realize is that genuine spiritual warfare has to do mostly with the mind and the flesh and fighting the good fight of faith (1 Tim. 6:12). Those who wage a good warfare keep their mind renewed and their flesh in check and know how to stand in faith on the promises in God's Word. We need to keep our bodies under subjection and control our thought life instead of allowing the lusts of the flesh run rampant and uncontrolled. No doubt there is a battle; Ephesians 6:12 says
“we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
But we are fighting from the winning side because of the victory Jesus won on our behalf! We are not a “warring” army but an “Occupying” one! So let us magnify the triumph of Jesus instead of magnifying the battle!
This study was culled from The Triumphant Church by Kenneth E. Hagin
Friday, November 11 2016
Contributor: Nosa Osagie
Our study last week titled “Reigning in Life” is a clear picture of our position of authority as believers in Christ. The church to me does not look like one being ruled over and dominated by Satan, demons and their evil schemes. In today`s study we will be seeing the Church as The Triumphant Church Not the Militant or Defeated Church.
The foundation to knowing that we are triumphant in Christ, in this world and in the realm of the spirit is the revelation we have, or know in the word of God in Ephesians. 1:18.
To be triumphant in Rome those days was similar to that of a magnificent procession in honour of a victorious general, and the highest military distinction which he could obtain. While to be defeated means to be subdued in a battle or contest.
There are some people today who are talking about the militant Church. Among them are those who say that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ needs to fight devils in order to be successful. But I'd rather talk about the triumphant Church because that's scriptural. Jesus' triumph over Satan is every believer's triumph. And every believer can enjoy that triumph and victory if he will walk in the light of His inheritance in Christ. Those who continually talk about the militant Church are those who are always trying to fight the devil, they say "we're waging war on the devil. It's going to be tough! we are in for a battle!"
People who talk like that all the time need the eyes of their understanding enlightened to see that the battle has already been won by Jesus Christ. Now they just need to stand in that victory.
FOUNDATION FOR TRIUMPH
Ephesians. 1:17-23 says:
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all”.
The message Apostle Paul gave here is clear, that for us to operate and overcome like Christ, is to have these scriptures settled in our hearts as revelation for ruling and reigning in life. Paul was the Only Apostle that had the full revelation and knowledge of the authority we have and what we stand to enjoy in Christ as believers. Others are:
• Moses: In Exodus 33:12-23 overcame insecurity by revelation.
• Gehazi: In 2 Kings 6:14-17 also overcame fear by revelation.
When the eyes of our understanding have been enlightened to see our rightful position in Christ, that it is a position of victory, then when we do encounter the forces of the devil, we'll know what to do about them. Because of our authority over evil spirits in Christ, we will stand against them with the Word of God and put them in their place. The Body of Christ is triumphant. Thank God we can triumph over sin, sickness, disease, poverty, bareness, depression, ancestral powers and bad habits etc. because of our inheritance in Christ. And we can triumph over the devil, evil spirits, and anything else the enemy would try to bind us with because Jesus has already defeated them for us.
Carnal strength will always fail us if we ever try to apply it to spiritual matters. Believers struggle in battle so many times to get out of sin etc. as Paul did in Romans 7: 14-25. Thank God he cried out for help because his strength had failed him.
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF US
What is ours in Christ requires nothing else but the taking or appropriating by faith the word of God. We don't have to struggle to believe for something that already belongs to us. But we do need to know it's ours or we won't take our rightful position in Christ and take advantage of what is already ours. What Jesus did, He did for us, and Jesus' defeat over Satan belongs to us. So when Satan comes suggesting sin, tell him “sin shall not have dominion over me”, if he suggest poverty, tell him “He became poor that I be rich”, if he suggests sadness, say “The Joy of the Lord is my strength”, if the devil comes suggesting bareness, say “There shall be non barren in our land” and it goes on and on until we live a life of triumph.
The Body of Christ never needs to yield in cowardice to the forces of darkness or submit to satanic domination. No, we must arise boldly in the Name of Jesus and take our place in our inheritance as sons and daughters of the Most High God as the triumphant Church!
In 2 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says:
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
Colossians 2:14 – 15 also says:
“having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
Romans 8: 31-37 says:
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
I would like to ask us the question we were asked last week, with these three scriptures, does this sound like a defeated Church?
Friday, November 04 2016
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Last week’s study titled “Only The Truth Acted Upon Sets You Free” was a challenge not to be hearers and “knowers” of the truth alone; but doers of the truth. Because knowing the truth and not acting on it does not guarantee our freedom. Today’s study will reveal to us vital truth about our reigning in life. Because of Jesus' victory over Satan at the Cross, instead of being defeated, conquered, and ruled over, now in Christ we reign as kings in this life here in this world. Because we are in Christ, Satan is under our feet. Before we served as slaves to Satan and spiritual death, but now we reign in life through Jesus Christ. This is part of the riches of our inheritance in Christ.
“For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall REIGN IN LIFE BY ONE, JESUS CHRIST.”
Having read this wonderful verse of scripture, let’s ask ourselves two questions:
1. Does this sound like a Church that is being ruled over and dominated by demons and evil spirits? The obvious answer is - No!
2. When does the Bible say we will reign over Satan and his evil schemes against us? In the sweet by and by? When we all get to Heaven? Again, although not as obvious, the answer remains, No.
Believers reign as kings in the realm of life now. We who are born again have become new creatures in Christ Jesus, and we are now the victorious ones, not the defeated ones. We are the triumphant church, not the defeated Church.
We reign as kings in life through Jesus Christ now.
This is part of the wisdom the Holy Spirit is trying to get over to the Body of Christ in these Spirit-inspired prayers in the Book of Ephesians.
In times past, we served as slaves of Satan, but now we walk in the newness of life (Rom. 6:4). Now because of our joint-seating with Christ in heavenly places, we reign as kings through the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s Desire for Us
Ephesians 1:15-18 says:
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”
The message the Holy Ghost through Paul is endeavouring to get across to the Body of Christ is that
1. God wants the eyes of our understanding enlightened so we can understand that we reign with Christ in this life.
2. God wants us to know we have victory over Satan in every contest and circumstance, even as Jesus had victory over Satan when He was on the earth. We don't have to struggle to be victorious; we just need to stand our ground with the Word against a defeated foe according to what we already possess in Christ.
It doesn't take all day to stand against evil spirits if you know your authority in Christ. Just speak the Word to them in the Name of Jesus, and they have to go. You don't have to fight with them because they've been defeated and dethroned. By standing on the Word against them, you are standing in Jesus' victory.
Luke 10:19 says:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you”
We should not give heed to the devil’s suggestions and even to preachers that teach people to fear the devil: You hear them say things like: "You'd better be careful! The devil might hear you." Or "You'd better be careful. The devil might try to lay sickness and disease on you."
We have authority over ourselves and our households. So if the devil ever comes knocking at your door with sickness, poverty, lack, or oppression, tell him, "Don't come to my house. You'll have to go peddle that junk somewhere else because I won't receive it!"
Ultimately every one of us will have to learn to stand against the devil for ourselves because God expects you to take authority over the devil for yourself.
It is also possible to give someone else permission, to pray for you in faith, but, really, you need to do something about taking authority over the devil for yourself. That's one way you grow in who you are in Christ. Take authority over Satan, sickness, disease, or whatever the enemy is trying to get you to receive. Stand against it for yourself in the Name of Jesus. Believers make a mistake by accepting what the devil brings to them.
The Place of Knowledge
Verse 18 says:
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”
Knowledge is vital to exercising one’s authority because you will be defeated if you don't recognize who is in you and the authority you have in Christ. By failing to recognize that the Greater One dwells in you, you will allow the devil to take advantage of you.
It's one thing for Satan to dominate unsaved people who are in the kingdom of darkness; they're under his authority. But Satan and his cohorts are dominating too many Christians who don't know their authority or don't exercise their authority.
That's why the believer needs to come to prayer understanding that all those spiritual forces have been defeated by Jesus. When the believer prays, he needs to pray from a position of victory because he is seated with Christ in heavenly places, looking down on a defeated foe.
When you come to prayer, pray from a seated position in Christ far above principalities and powers where you have joint-seating with Christ. Jesus' victory is your victory. Because of what Jesus did, you are free from Satan's dominion.
Too often Christians just hang on and try to do the best they can, not realizing what their inheritance in Christ really entitles them to. Instead of taking their rightful place in Christ as victors, they magnify the devil, and that gives him access in their lives.
Your Thoughts and Words
Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”
Proverbs 23:7a “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”
You can dwell on the negative side of things and you will become what you dwell on. What you are thinking about and dwelling on is what you are believing. What you are believing is what you are talking about. And eventually what you are believing and talking about is what you will become.
This applies in this area of demons and demonic activity too. If you think the devil's thoughts, you will become depressed, oppressed, and you can go into error. Or you can think on the Word, and your thinking can become enlightened, illuminated, and flooded with light.
You can go around preaching how powerful the devil is, or you can get on the positive side where the eyes of your understanding have been enlightened to see the wisdom of God. Then you will be on the scriptural side and the victory side where you belong as a believer because of your triumph in Christ.
Because I know Jesus defeated the devil, that's what I think on and talk about. And the Greater One puts me over in life and causes me to succeed because I'm giving place to God and the power of His Word, not to the devil.
Some Christians suffer defeat because they believe "greater is he that is in the world than He that is in them." They have it backwards in their thinking. Then they go to confessing that.
Many are defeated in life because they have a negative confession; they're always talking on the negative side of things, and that opens a door to the devil in their life.
They're always telling what they're not and what they don't have and about their weaknesses, failures, and lack. Invariably they go down to the level of their confession.
If you believe and confess that the devil's power is greater than God's power, Satan will defeat you. But if you stand your ground in your blood-bought rights in Christ and confess that, you will rise to the level of your confession and inheritance.
What a change would take place in your life if you stood your ground on the Word of God against every attack of the enemy in every test or trial! What a change would take place if you maintained a positive confession in Christ so you give no ground to the devil in your life!
Then you would rise to the level of your confession—you would take your rightful place in Christ and you would be able to possess what Christ has already wrought for you. You would take your rightful place as the triumphant Church of the Lord Jesus Christ over all the power of the devil.
Wednesday, November 02 2016
Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Another gracious opportunity to learn at the feet of the Father. Thanking God, the Father of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ for the non-scarcity of His word in our midst (Amos 8:11-12). At the last teaching, we considered eight (8) Spiritual Blessings that we as believers in Jesus Christ have received in heavenly places through Christ Jesus. It is very important for us to walk in this consciousness in order to effectively appropriate our authority in establishing and enforcing God’s Kingdom here on earth.
As great as this truth sounds, it is also important to know that we can only derive the benefits of this blessings only if they are acted upon. This is the core of our discussion as we consider the importance of acting on the truths of God’s words in enforcing the freedom that Jesus Christ has already paid for on the cross of Calvary.
1. Knowledge Is Important
Wise people store up knowledge, But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. [Prov.10:14]
A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; [Prov.24:5]
Consciously or unconsciously, our daily decisions are based on what we do or do not know. This is one of the reasons why the bible says that:
Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, And he sins who hastens with his feet. [Prov.19:2]
This simply means making a decision without appropriate and godly knowledge (where applicable) is sin. God, the creator of Heavens and Earth laments about the people without knowledge. He gives ignorance as a basis of rejection. Need we say more about the importance of knowledge? Success in life is premised on the acquisition of knowledge.
2. Acting On The Knowledge (of the truth) You Know Is Even More Important
Any blessing, right, privilege, or authority can belong to you, but if you don't know about it, you won't act on it. Or if you don't act on what you know and exercise and appropriate what has been given to you, it won't benefit you. It won't become a reality to you even though it's your legal possession. That's why you need to have a knowledge of what belongs to you in Christ. But just knowledge of what belongs to you isn't enough. It's knowledge acted upon that brings results. The devil doesn't want the people of God to find out the authority that actually belongs to them in Christ. This is one way Satan tries to defeat the child of God. He knows when the child of God finds out ( and acts on) his legal, lawful authority in Christ, he will enjoy victory over him That's why Satan tries to obscure this knowledge and blind people's eyes and understanding and keep this vital knowledge from them. But when the child of God knows the truth and acts on that knowledge, he can no longer be dominated by the devil.
“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”[John 8:32]
You have to know the truth before the truth can make you free. That's what this verse is saying. Then once you know the truth of God's Word about who you are in Christ, it's acting on the truth you know that makes you free.
“But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].
But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].” [James 1:22, 25 AMP]
Take note of the phrase “actively and continually obeying God’s precepts”. The words actively and continually can be summarised with the term diligently. It is good to note that results are only obtained through diligent and consistent efforts. This simply means that it is only a relentless, unfailing and unwavering acting on God’s words, despite opposing situations, circumstances, tests and trials that result in total freedom. Not an epileptic form of action. The Word you know that you act on makes you free. When you act on the Word you know, you will enjoy victory over satanic forces in every circumstance of life.
3. Some of the Truths Required To Be Acted Upon
Let us consider some vital spiritual truths that we need to consciously act on and live by as victorious believers.
a. Satan Shall Not Have Dominion Over Believers
The passion with which some so-called believers attribute control and power to Satan when faced with challenges is unbelievable. The Bible says we have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God's dear Son (Col. 1:13). Therefore, our inheritance includes the fact that the works of darkness have no legal authority or dominion over us. Paul wrote to the believers at Rome, saying, "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). In a sense, sin and Satan are synonymous terms. Therefore, we could read this verse, "Satan shall not have dominion over you." Another translation reads, "Sin shall not lord it over you." You could read it: "Satan shall not lord it over you." Why can't Satan lord it over believers? Because he's not our lord, and he's been put under our feet! Jesus is our Lord and the Head of the Church, not Satan. So when next you’re in the company of a believer who still attributes their situations to the “power” of the Devil, be prompt to correct such person (in love) with this truth.
b. The Shadow of the Valley of Death [Psalm 23:4]
Once we understand that we have been delivered out of Satan's control and we are no longer under the dominion of Satan or spiritual death, we can understand more clearly what Psalm 23 is saying to us. There is a truth in Psalm 23 that the Body of Christ has failed to receive and appropriate for their lives. You understand, of course, that many of the psalms are prophetic or Messianic. But we are living in Psalm 23 right now. Psalm 23:4 is quoted all the time at funerals, but actually this is referring to Satan's domain here on earth, and it is referring to spiritual death, not physical death. You and I are walking through the valley of the shadow of death in this life because Satan is the god of this world. Spiritual death and its effects are on every side. Sin, sickness, disease, poverty, and everything else that Satan brings surround us in this life. But Jesus declared that we are in the world, but not of the world (John 17:16,18). That correlates with a valuable truth we find in Psalm 23:5: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies....". Who are our enemies? The devil himself is certainly our enemy; the Bible calls him our adversary (1 Peter 5:8). Evil spirits, demons, sickness, disease, and poverty are all our enemies. Anything that would bind or hinder us is our enemy.
c. The Table of Provision [Psalm 23:5]
In Psalm 23:5, God is telling us that right in the midst of Satan's domain where the devil is ruling over those in darkness as the god of this world and where the effects of spiritual death are all around us—God prepares a table for us in the very presence of those enemies! Yes, demons, devils, and evil spirits are here and we sometimes feel their presence and their effect. But even so, God prepares a table for us right in the midst of them! Why does God prepare a table for us in the presence of our enemies? Why don't we just get rid of our enemies? The scripture is very clear about the “tenancy” of the Devil and his demons in Jude 6,7. They are reserved in everlasting chains of darkness for the judgement of the great day. That's why it is so important for believers to stand in their victory and partake of the table of the Lord's provision, because those evil spirits will be here to try to hinder us, tempt us, and keep us from receiving God's best in life.
The reason many Christians are defeated in life is that even though they are seated with Christ in heavenly places at the table of the Lord's provision, they aren't appropriating what belongs to them at that table. All the riches of being in Christ are included at the table of the Lord's provision. Many believers are not even looking at the provisions God has made for them in the Word. Instead of looking at their rights and privileges in Christ, including their authority over the devil, they are looking at the enemy. Their focus in life is on the devil and his works, not on Jesus and His finished work of redemption. They are always talking about devils, demons, and demonic activity instead of the riches of God's abundant grace and the "all spiritual blessings" that belong to them in Christ. They're not standing in the finished work of the Cross as the triumphant Church, reigning in life through Jesus Christ.
We must be relentless in our pursuit of the knowledge of the truth as it relates to every area of our lives. We must also go further in appropriating and acting on these known truths to actualise and activate our already won victory in our spiritual, marital, emotional, financial, physical e.t.c lives in establishing the Kingdom of God in every sphere of lives here on the earth. We need to focus on God and what He has provided, instead of on the devil and what he's doing. We need to focus on the riches of our inheritance in Christ and the rights and privileges that legally belong to us as a result of being in Him. Appropriate for yourself the riches of being in Him. Focus on your heavenly position in Christ where we are seated far above all powers and principalities and all the evil works of the enemy.