This teaching will focus on three areas that are vital to a serious believer called to a service of prayer, spiritual warfare, and the ongoing conflicts we can expect to face in this area, throughout our walk with God.
A prayer servant will quickly learn that intercessory prayer and spiritual warfare are inseparable, and inter-twined. It is also a life-long journey of learning, growing, and expanding our ability to gain ground in the spiritual realm, to get the wisdom, guidance, and spiritual level of authority to see answers come-on a personal, community, national, and world level. As you continue to go deeper into this realm, the attacks from every direction will also increase, and the warfare is brutal. Satan gives no quarter, and you will learn to use the word of God with skill, and know how and when to speak-or stay silent-or you will be defeated repeatedly, become discouraged, and quit. This is the devils strategy. He will use anybody, and anything to bring you to ruin. You'll find yourself going to your knees in prayer often-for strength, and the wisdom to battle through the attacks, and seeking God on how to pray with skill-to get the doors in the spirit realm opened, and see the answers to prayer come. I recommend the book Rees Howells Intercessor to anyone who is really serious on learning how to pray with power.
In the last ten years I've seen an increase in the demonic activity on the surface of the earth-due to so much witchcraft, Satanic ritual going on world-wide, the activity by scientists working with CERN, increasing demonic activity in schools and government, and the overpowering of governments by the Luciferians. The money-hungry mega churches have linked hands with the pagan Catholic Church-and have been duped into joining the pope of Rome, to get the NWO in place. They are so deceived and blind, they are totally apostate. Anyone who truly walks with Christ-can see this, and my warning is-come out of them, all of them, and seek Jesus Christ alone. In this day-He is the only one you can trust.
The links to articles/videos on this subject, will bring clarity to what the agenda is:
Pope Francis in the Cradle of Islam: What Might It Bring?-Christian, Muslim and Jewish clerics urge interfaith harmony. Only concrete steps will build it.
Comment: What will it bring?...A One World Religion, for the New World Order.
Pope Poses With Wealthy Televangelists
Kenneth Copeland Calls for End of the Protestant Reformation
Popes Message at Kenneth Copeland Conf- Bishop Tony Palmer speaks first
Pope meets evangelical leaders to strengthen religious freedom
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Kenneth Copeland Carries On Tony Palmer’s Crusade to End the Protestant Church
There are some true fellowships. If you can find one in your area-join it, or seek an on-line church that's truly following Jesus and the bible. This is the age of deceit, and it's only going to get worse.
The teachings below are a compilation of several I've used when teaching bible classes at home years ago, and at Teen Challenge. When going through them, I encourage you to have your bible with you, do the research-and read the scriptures that are referenced, to establish the truth of the teachings-and allow the word of God to teach you, and renew your mind. I don't ask anyone to believe me-go to your bible, read the verses and cross-reference them, do your own searching and praying-ask the Lord to reveal His truth to you. He will not fail you, if you really want to know Him.
This is how our spirits grow, become stronger, and wiser in how to appropriate the word of God in our own lives, to be able to stand strong in a world of sin, and corruption. God will strengthen you, and increase His power in your life to see mighty answers to prayer, and power over evil forces that come against us in our daily walk. But, we have to seek Him, and study to show ourselves approved unto God. If we don't we are open for deception, and failure. Jesus said it clearly and well in Joh 10:10- The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
There is a certain prayer that moves the Lord, if done by one who believes Him, and can bring changes to circumstances, and in some cases, to change His mind. This is called INTERCESSORY PRAYER. He desires it from any who will seek Him, and any whose hearts trust Him. verse: IITim. 2:15, 23-24
Intercession: The definition of Intercede is "To act as a go-between for two parties. To plead on behalf of another. A mediator, or the act of mediation." To carry this further, to mediate means to: settle a dispute, or carry out a process. A lawyer is a form of mediator, and we can see the correlation of a lawyer standing on behalf of their client before a judge. This is the picture of an intercessor. One who stands as a lawyer, or mediator for someone or on behalf of something that needs to be acted on or brought into being before the Lord, and using all the skill they have to argue the case for them.
As believer's we are all called to intercede for other's, our families, our church, those who need to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.
However, there are some in the body of Christ who have been called to a life of prayer and intercession, as a service to God.
We are given burdens in the Spirit by God for individuals, churches, cities, nations. Many times the Holy Spirit will give specific instructions on how to pray. As we grow in our walk, each experience teaches us to get better at it, and able to hear the voice of the Lord more clearly. Becoming a mighty warrior of prayer, and an adversary of the devil to be reckoned with doesn't happen over-night. We are called to go down on our faces before God on behalf of people, cities, or nations, to stand in the gap for them, repent of the sins and evil they have committed, when they won't do it themselves, to save them from the judgment they deserve. (Such as Abraham when he interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah)
In heaven, we will be surprised, and humbled to be shown those who prayed for us in silence-without our knowledge-and how we were spared many times from accidents and schemes of the devil-by answered prayer by people we never knew.
The following scriptures will help comprehend the importance and impact of this kind of prayer.
1. Isa. 55:6, 8-9
"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts."
Interpretation: Before it is too late, start asking Him.
2. "Oh the depths of riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out. For who hath known the Mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counselor?"
Interpretation: Expand deep study before getting answers. Rom. 11:33-34
3. "And the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me and said unto me: Speak....for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them." verse Ezek. 11:5
Interpretation: Expect the Lord to be ready to answer.
4. John 15:26 "But the Comforter, who is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance, whatsoever I had said unto you."
Rom. 8:26-27 "Likewise, the Spirit helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, And He (Jesus) that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (The Father).
Interpretation: Pray any way, anytime, anyway. The indwelling Spirit will correct any mistakes in our petitions or worship.
5. John 14:23 "Jesus answered and said unto him (Jude) 'If a man love me he will keep my words: and My Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him."
"I am the Vine, you are the branches: He(God) that abides in me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing." "I have called you friends, if you do whatsoever I command you. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you....that you should go and bring forth fruit.... that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in My Name He may give it to you." John 15:15b-16
Interpretation: Jesus promises fruit, If we abide In the Vine. He then guarantees God's assent, because it is in His Will Already.
Summary: The Lord asks that we seek Him diligently although no man's mind would be totally able to comprehend His immense wisdom. He states that He knows our problems in advance of our prayers, and has provided His intercession on our behalf. We are reassured of fruitfulness IF WE STICK CLOSE BY "ABIDING IN HIM". More descriptions of God's eternal nature: 1Tim. 2:5; Heb. 12:24.
Does God ever change His mind?
His eternal Nature:
6. Mal. 3:6 "And fear not Me, says the Lord of Hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not...."
Num. 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man that He should repent; has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?"
Rom. 11:29 "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance."
Ps. 110:4 "The LORD(GOD) has sworn and will not repent: Thou art a priest after the order of Melchizedec."
Interpretation: The nature of God cannot change, righteousness and omniscience are immutable.
Expanded study: A REPENTANT FATHER OF MERCY Isa. 16:5
7. Jer. 18:8 "If that nation against whom I have pronounced, turns from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to bring against them."
Jer. 18:10 "And if it do evil in my sight, that it not obey My voice, then I will repent of the good, where with I said I would benefit them."
Jer. 42:10 "If you will still abide in this land,.... I will plant you and not pluck you up; for I repent Me of the evil I have done unto you."
Josh 10:12-14 "Then spoke Joshua to the Lord...and the sun stood still in the midst of the heaven and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves...and there was no day like that before or after it, that the Lord harkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel."
20 Jonah 3:9-10 "Who can tell if God will turn and repent and turn away from His fierce anger that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that He had said He would do unto them; and He did it not."
1Sam. 10:11; 1Sam. 31:6 "Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying 'It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be King; for he is turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.' So Saul died, and his three sons..."
11Sam. 24:1,16 "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel....and when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord repented him of the evil, and said....'It is enough.' "
Interpretation: God clearly discloses in these verses that His UNCHANGING NATURE INCLUDES BOTH MERCY AND ANGER, THESE ARE THE INGREDIENTS IN HIS JUST JUDGMENTS. He alters decisions to fit the circumstances. Only His LAWS are fixed in stone, not HIS LOVE. HE ALONE IS GOD WHO CAN LOVE SINNERS. Ps. 136; 1John 3:16; John 3:16
The ancient account of the time of Noah is another illustration of when God elected to change His mind. The anguish of God's heart shows through this pain-filled decision He was forced to make. It foretells that He saw you and me "down the line" by sparing Noah; we too could experience His grace much later.
8. Gen. 6:5-7 "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created. But Noah, found grace in the eyes of the LORD."
EXPLANATION: Although God's nature can never change, His DIVINE VERDICTS CAN CHANGE. Although God is the same "yesterday, today, and forever: as regards to His person, yet His Book reveals that He can and does change His method of operation to fit the changing situations. Heb. 13:8
SUMMARY: That is where prayer comes in. Prayer changes things, God is moved by it. His hands are set free by our prayers to accomplish His Will, His Words are set free to accomplish their goals. His Spirit is directed by the Father to convey (yes, or no, or sometime), and to explain(teach) them to the petitioner. John 6:38, Isa. 55:11
That is why Jesus prayed and taught His disciples to follow His example. That is why He was upset at their failure to pray with Him at least "for an hour" before His arrest. That is why St. Paul repeated the admonition to "pray without ceasing". That was the reason Paul prayed behind prison bars all night. GOD DOES HEAR, HE DOES REACT. HE EVEN ALTERS HIS PROCEDURES WHEN HIS PRIOR APPROACH FAILED TO GET THE JOB DONE. Luke 22:44, John 5:30, Matt. 26:40, Acts 12:5, 1Thess. 5:17, Acts 16:25, Deut. 12:28, Mark 7:14
DOES INTERCESSORY PRAYER WORK?
1. Who can call on the Lord for answers? Joh 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Jesus is the open door-that no man can shut. Anyone who calls on Him in faith, He will hear, and answer-for salvation, and answer to prayer. The walk of faith, and prayer deepens each day-if we abide in Him.
2, Why would God answer? (His love)John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
3. What is the Answer? (His gifts)John 16:23-24
"Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it unto you. Hitherto you have asked nothing in My Name; ask and you shall receive, that you joy may be full."
4. How is it possible? (faith)Mark 11:22-23
"Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt that those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith."
5. When Is The Answer Received? (Now)Mark 11:24
"Therefore, I say unto you, Whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them."
6. Why Is The Answer Not Received? (asking amiss)James 4: 2-3
"You lust, and have not; you kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not because you ask not. You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. (idle pleasures)
7. What Is The Bottom Line? John 14:1
"Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me."
Luk 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Luk 18:2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
Luk 18:3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
Luk 18:4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Luk 18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Luk 18:6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
Luk 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Here, in this parable Jesus gives us the answers to all the questions above-if we can hear it. But, the most important thing to my mind is-he ends it with a question, and we should take it seriously. When He comes again-will there be any faith on the earth?
PAULS THOUGHTS ON INTERCESSORY PRAYER:
"I exhort you that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks, be given for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life; in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, Our Saviour." 1Tim. 2:1-3
"Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers." Rom. 1:9
"Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved." Rom. 10:1
"For this cause also we....do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding...being fruitful...strengthened in all might...giving thanks unto the Father." Col. 1:9-12
I thank God...that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day." 11Tim. 1:3
CHRIST OUR INTERCESSOR
The prophet foretold of one of the Messiah's ministries, which Paul would later expound upon; our intercessor.
"The Messiah made intercession for the transgressors." Isa. 53:12
Paul speaks of his unshakable reliance upon Jesus' dependable intercession for us before the Father.
"It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." Rom. 8:34-39
Hebrews speaks to us of of Jesus' Authority to be our intercessor:
"But this Man (Jesus) because He continues forever has an unchangeable priesthood." Heb. 7:24-26, 28
"Wherefore He is able save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing that He ever liveth to make intercession for them, for such a High Priest became us, Who is Holy, harmless and undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens...the son Who is consecrated forevermore."
Heb. 4:15 "We have a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we, yet without sin."
John also reaffirmed Jesus' role on our behalf:
1John 2:1-2 "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous: and He is the propitiation (reconciliation) for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
THE HELP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR INTERCESSION
Rom. 8:26-31 "Likewise, the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh INTERCESSION for us with groaning which cannot be uttered (put into words). And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the Mind of the Spirit, because He (The Spirit) maketh INTERCESSION for the saints according to the Will of God....What then shall we say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us."
James tells us "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that gives liberally...but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." James 1:5-6
Hebrews also tells us "Let us come boldly unto the throne of Grace....and find help in time of need." Heb. 4:15-16
The conclusions to our study is this:
1. Prayer can and does change God's mind
2. Prayer re-aligns our minds to conform to His
3. From our point of view He seems to change; but our prayers actually change us.
4. As we pray, we draw nearer to His Throne of Grace, bringing light and proper perspective to the perplexities of our prayers. Rom. 12:2
5. Prayer changes our needs. As we approach the Throne, the size and nature of our burden seem to lose immensity and importance. Prayer in faith-opens our eyes to who God is-and who we are. The thing being prayed for becomes small in perspective to the God who created this universe, and maintains it.
Dan 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Dan 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
When we finally allow His finger to touch our load, things change: not God's position, just His posture; not our petition, just its purpose. We see His answer unfold, which was prepared in advance for a better result, than what we had envisioned.
Question: How long does it take?...
Answer: As long as it takes.
The answer may be seen before you finish praying...., and it may take many years. We will find out as we persevere, and keep praying for the thing put in our hearts and spirits-and don't give up.
Study the promise given to Abraham- God promised him a son, it took over 20 years to see the fulfillment to that promise. Gen. 17:16-21
Another example: Gen. 18:20-33 Here we see an example of intercessory prayer when Abraham goes before God for Sodom and Gomorrah. Here we see some interesting points about this. Abraham humbled himself, referring to himself "but dust and ashes". It is good for us to go into the presence of God and get on our face before the Lord. James 4:8 tells us "draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. God is not going to make you humble, you must humble yourself.
Abraham continued to intercede on behalf of the cities, until God agreed to spare them for only ten's sake. I've often wondered, if Abraham had continued instead of stopping at ten, if the Lord would have spared those cities even for only one. This world would be in a worse mess than it is, if it wasn't for praying, believing Christians.
Summation: Intercessory prayer is a powerful weapon, and tool given to us by God in order to "occupy" (Greek for "go to work", "get busy"). It is our connection with the Father, at His Throne, where we are promised an open door, and authority to wield this weapon with assurance and power, by the leading and direction of His Spirit within us, guiding us as we pray.
Every answered prayer becomes fuel to our spirits, strengthening us, and compelling us to increase our faith, and boldness, and we become a powerful adversary against the powers of darkness around us, and effective servants of our Lord.
When we are saved, every Christian enters a battle ground, and until we reach heaven, it is ongoing warfare against the powers of darkness. Before we got saved we belonged to Satan but were ignorant of it, our eyes are blinded.
As we grow, and study the scriptures we can get out of balance, coming against demons, rebuking them in everything, and come away discouraged, and even lose faith because we don't see a change in the situation.
There are times when demons need to be addressed. But, many times it is the transforming power of the scriptures applied to our everyday life, and our conduct that gains the victory over Satan in our lives.
The enemies we combat are:
⦁ The world: James 4:1-4- "(read text) Our hearts are exposed by the things we chase after, and think are so important. The desire to consume, to be important, to be rich, is the fuel the devil uses to drive us to envy, jealousy, and an evil heart. If we refuse to repent, and allow God to help us change, it leads to greater sin such as murder, and war. 1John 2:15-17 clearly tells us "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides forever."
⦁ Flesh: 1Peter 4:1-4, Col. 3:5-11"-(Read text) Those of us who have been saved from addictions, such as drugs and alcohol see the truth of these scriptures. It is in these addictions, that all other evil is fed and grows to the point that we do not have control of ourselves. It takes the transforming power of the Lord to get us back on the right track. If we are serious about wanting to change, he will reach out to us, and has the power to set us free. I can testify to that.
⦁ The Devil: 1Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who has called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
⦁ Principalities and Powers of Darkness: Eph. 6:12 "For 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." The demonic forces that come against us in this life are very serious, and have one main objective; to destroy you, and ultimately have you join them in hell when your life here is over. They will do whatever it takes to try to steer you away from Christ, and back into darkness. It takes discernment to see the difference between sins of the flesh, and when someone is also bound by demonic activity, both originate from the devil. However, there is a difference between someone who is being sorely tempted, and one who has allowed demons to oppress them consistently and allowed them to attach themselves to the persons soul. This is an area where a lot of Christians get out of balance. But, if you sincerely go to the Lord in prayer, and study His Word, the Holy Spirit will give clear direction.
The Conduct of the Soldier of Christ
We are given clear guidance on how to wage this war; our victory hinges on our obedience to the Word of God. Walking out our faith in obedience to the scriptures is the greatest weapon against anything we face. Our warfare is directly the opposite of the devil's, we are now promoting peace, light, and righteousness in a dark world, where once we were partaker's of that darkness. It is absolutely necessary to line up our conduct with what we are saying with our mouths. Confessing the word of God is useless if we aren't walking the talk. Prov. 20:11 tells us "Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right".
These instructions are:
⦁ Avoid worldly entanglements, and endure suffering, avoid arguments: 2Tim. 2:3-14 In this text we are given clear instruction on what to avoid to live at peace with other's as much as possible. No one likes to be misunderstood, but there are times when it is best to just stay silent rather than try to force someone to agree with us, or prove we are right. There are some people we should avoid, the ones who we ran with when we lived in sin, sometimes even our relatives.
⦁ Be sober, watchful, 1Cor. 16:13 "Watch ye, and stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." 1Thess. 5:5-8 "Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, or of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation."
⦁ Put on our armor, and pray: Eph. ch.6:10-18 (read text) This is a study in itself, but we only have time to touch on it now. I highly recommend you take the time to study this chapter, and do some cross referencing. If you do, the Lord will open to you the power of these scriptures, and strengthen your spirit.
How Do We Gain the Victory
God doesn't expect us to do this warfare alone, and in our own power. We are given an arsenal to equip us and win the battles in life. We need to know what our weapons are, and how to use them:
11Cor. 10:3-5 tells us," 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 strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
⦁ God's Word-Heb. 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." If we allow it, the word of God will expose what is in our hearts to us, and will work with us to purify, and bring us out of darkness.
⦁ Faith- 1John 5:4-5 "For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? "Heb. 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
Christ's promise-John 16:33 "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." This passage tells us much more than it seems at first glance. Let's break this down; Jesus was fully man, he experienced and suffered all the tribulation and temptations we do, and overcame them. He did this by the help and power of the Holy Spirit. He showed by example that we can be victorious if we keep our eyes on Him. When he was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit, and tempted by Satan, here we are shown how to win our battles also. Jesus answer to the devil was "It is written." The word of God, rightly used will put the devil to silence. As James 4:7 tells us "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Every time we win a battle of temptation, our spirits become stronger, and more able to stand against the next one that comes at us.
Authority is delegated power; In Luke 10:19 Jesus tells us "Behold, I give unto you Power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
The value of the authority rests on the power behind our authority. The devil and his forces are obliged to recognize our authority. The believer who thoroughly understands that the power of God is backing him can exercise his authority and face the enemy fearlessly.
Example: A policeman who directs traffic during the rush hour just raises his hand and the car stops. The man doesn't have the physical power to stop the vehicle if the driver chooses not to stop. But, they don't use their own strength to stop traffic; they use the authority invested in them by the government they serve. The devil's recognize the power and authority behind the name of Jesus Christ, it is His authority that they submit to, that has been delegated to us as believer's.
In Matt. 28:18 Jesus said to the disciples "All power is given unto me in heaven and earth. This is the same as authority. When Christ ascended, he transferred His authority to the Church. Christ's authority has to be perpetuated through His Body, which is on earth. Christ is seated on the right hand of the Father, the place of authority, and we are seated with him. To sit on the right hand of a king or pope means authority. When we received Christ as savior, we died with Him, and are raised with Him.
The source of our authority is found in the resurrection and exalting of the Lord Jesus Christ by God.
Eph. 1:18-23 "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, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."
Eph. 2:5" Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ(by grace you are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
We need to realize that the authority that belongs to Christ belongs to individual members of the Body of Christ and is available to us.
The elevation of Christ's people with Him into the heavenlies clearly points to the fact we are to sit with him; sharing not only his throne, but also his authority.
Romans 5:17 tells us "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."
We are not just to reign with Christ in heaven, we are to reign in life by Jesus Christ now. Throughout history, whatever the king said was law; he was the last authority. In the same way, we partake of the authority that Christ's throne represents.
Why do we not see this authority used as it should be in the Church?
⦁ Lack of knowledge: Hosea 4:6 says "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." This verse says "my people", not unbeliever's. The authority vested to us is almost never taught today in the churches. But, if any person is hungry to learn the truth, Jesus is ready and willing to teach you, in John 8:32 he tells us "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."
⦁ Authority is abused: The misuse of this authority results in defeat. God is not obliged to honor us if we try to use this authority to promote ourselves. Authority over the devil is successful when we know how to use it, the same as well trained policeman, who knows who his boss is, and works with integrity.
Lack of Faith: In order for this to work, you have to know who you believe, and what is yours without reservation. The devil knows if we really believe what we are doing or not.
When circumstances don't change immediately, some people become discouraged and slip back into the natural; They talk unbelief and defeat themselves. They give the devil dominion over them.
Smith Wigglesworth often said, "I'm not moved by what I see. I'm not moved by what I feel. I'm moved only by what I believe." We have to stand our ground. The authority is ours whether we feel like it or not. Authority has nothing to do with feelings, but we must exercise it in order for it to work.
⦁ Pastor's and Leaders fear those who would get out of balance: Unfortunately, I've seen many Christians get very out of balance, and not able to discern when to use the authority over the devil, or when to take the matter to prayer, and faith. It takes careful observation to know when something is a problem of the flesh, or a spirit behind the problem. We need to learn the difference, and the many ways God has to deliver us or other's from bondage. God is patient with us as we learn.
For example: The spirit of a rebellious person is only set free by honest repentance. All the rebuking and casting out in the world is not going to work, until the person is truly sorry for their sin, and makes up their mind they want to change, no matter what they have to do. God can and will help this person, and reach out to them in power to help them come out of darkness, into the light. I am a testimony of this.
Nothing ever really changed for me until I became honest with myself and with God. The power of God to deliver me was there, but He would not force himself on me. I had to open my heart to Him, and take hold of him and his promises to set me free. When my heart changed, he revealed to me several demonic spirits that needed to be dealt with, and showed me how to cast them out. This did not take a long time, and I knew when they left. The compulsive desires I had were gone, and I knew the difference. I knew I as free.
⦁ We are not to pray the devil out; but speak to him and tell him what to do: It is a waste of time to pray to the Lord to deliver us or someone else. Jesus has done all He is going to do about the devil. He has won the victory when he rose from the dead. The authority has been delegated to us, and we are to speak to him, and take dominion over his attacks on us.
⦁ We have authority over the devil over our own lives and household, but not over someone else's. A believer can break the power of the devil anywhere in their own life, or their immediate family, they have authority there, but not in someone else's. Spiritual authority is like natural authority. For example: I don't have authority over someone else's money unless they give me permission to use it. I don't have authority over someone else's children.
You can make the devil desist in some of his maneuvers in somebody else's life, but you can't always cast him out, because you don't have authority in that household. Only through intercession can you exercise spiritual authority in another person, or somebody else's family."
"Important point"-When you get out beyond the written word of God, you've gone too far. Stay with what the Word says about the matter, don't add anything to it.
⦁ Unwilling to change and grow: When a person first gets saved, they rely much on the pastor or Christians over them, and this is ok. But we who are older must teach people so they can grow and use their own authority. As we grow older in Christ, we should be stronger in faith, not weaker, but many times older Christians become callous and set in unbelief because they've gotten off in the ditch in their walk, and not prayed themselves out. Some never learn to use their authority because of bad teaching. Some just become unwilling to accept what the word teaches and stay in the babyhood stage of Christian development.
It's my prayer that we may press on and allow the Holy Spirit to mold us, and grow us up in Christ, and become victorious in our walk in this life.
Spiritual Authority-And Abuses
Have you been called by God to do something for Him, but been held back, and felt inadequate because of the criticism, and evaluations of other’s? A past sin you’ve been forgiven of, but other’s won’t let you forget, and use it to continue to condemn you? Perhaps Mrs. So and So, the preacher’s wife, the women’s group or men’s group that you spend too much time with; and listen to them more than spending time with God alone, and His word.
In ministry there is a lot of competition, undermining, and manipulation. People place themselves in positions of authority over other’s when they have no right to. You have to spend a great deal of time in the Word of God, and in face-to-face prayer with the Lord to learn to discern when someone is honestly giving you Godly counsel, and when they are trying to abuse you, or use you for their own agenda. Another unfortunate aspect of abuse is money. Most large ministries are driven by the prosperity gospel they have created; it is “another gospel”. Sadly as you observe, and line up their teachings with the word of God, you find that just about every aspect of their relationship to you as a person, and as a potential “partner” in their ministry; hinges on money. I am extremely thankful for the many years of studying the scriptures myself, walking with the Lord day by day, and watching Him answer many of my prayers, guiding me in many of my most important decisions in life, and showing me His hand in my life; before I was ever aware of these charlatans. When I did start becoming aware of them, by this time my discernment was keen and alarms went off in my heart as soon as I listened to their deceitful doctrines. As Jesus says, my sheep hear my voice, and know Me. Joh 10:27
When Jesus heals someone, delivers someone, breaks bondages in their lives, there is no price tag attached to it. Whom the Son sets free, is free indeed, no strings attached.
I never tire of seeing Him do this for the everyday person, one who has no religious background, no theology. He just shows up in the persons life himself and starts opening the scriptures to them, and setting them free; right in front of the modern day Pharisee’s. His word is powerful, what Jesus did when he walked the earth, he still does today.
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
When we give to the Lord out of a thankful heart, with no ulterior motive to receive anything in return, without any desire to be seen of men, to be praised by other’s, this honors God. It is simple child-like faith and reverence. Very rare today. Mat. 6:1-4
What signs will there be in my life if I'm in rebellion?
1. Sin Ruling Your Life
The word of God will help give us direction on how to search our hearts, and our conduct, to see if we are out of the will of God. Proverbs tells us of seven things God hates:
Pro 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Pro 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Pro 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Pro 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
You could do an extensive study on these verses-and corresponding texts, that would take you a long time to cover-and when you do-ask yourself, is any of these things in me? Am I doing any of this in my life? Be honest with yourself, and God. He already knows the truth-and you need to know this. If it's there-repent, and turn away from it. It is causing you and other's great harm.
2. Unanswered Prayer
Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
See also: Job_27:8-9; Pro_15:8, Pro_15:29, Pro_21:13, Pro_28:9; Isa_1:15; Joh_9:31; Jas_4:3
A very short, and to the point verse-but one of the most important ones I refer to constantly. If I find my prayers aren't being answered, if I pray-and the heavens are as brass, and my prayers are falling back to the ground-I know something is wrong, and it's with me. I've done something/said something- that has changed my position with the Lord, and nothing will change, until I find out what is wrong with me, and I get right with God again. Confession of sin, and repentance-is the only thing God will hear at this point. If your prayers are never answered, if you aren't hearing clear guidance on any subject you pray-you need to do nothing else-but get right with God. He will not change-the change must come in you.
3. Consistent Lack of Peace-Overcome with Fear-Anger-Rage
If we are walking with Jesus daily-we will experience a peace, steadfastness, and stability in the face of any adversity, trial, or problem. These problems will all come in our life, but we will be held in check by His Holy Spirit, and we will know His peace, guidance and strength-no matter what comes. I've lived through enough at this point in my life, to know the truth of this.
Luk 8:35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
1Pe 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
1Pe 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1Pe 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
People who live unstable lives, full of rebellion, with selfish motives and hearts-exhibit instability, irrational behaviors, and emotions that go from one extreme to another, that they can't/won't control. People like this will become destructive, abusive, and violent. They must have their own way. Many adults show by their conduct-they are still school yard bullies-in adult bodies. They are spoiled, selfish, and self-centered, and were brought up being given whatever they want-and now they are in grown bodies-and feel they have the right to do and say whatever they wish to get their way.
People in this category will often antagonize, harass, and provoke other's to get them to react, and respond to them-it is a form of entertainment to them, and they will collect others in a group to do this. They're goal is to get you to do something they can accuse you of-they want you to get so upset, you'll do something they can point their fingers at. Jesus was taunted and tricked the same way-He knows what we go through by the hands of the wicked.
If you get in their path, there is no predicting what they may do. Society today, is overrun with this kind of problem now.
Pro 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Pro 20:11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
Luk 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Luk 6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
How can spiritual abuse be detected:
The proper role of a church leader, pastor, teacher, is to lead people to Jesus Christ, and teach them how to be His disciples, in submission to Him and His authority. Abusive leaders, instead, lead people to themselves, and indoctrinate them to be their followers, in total submission to them, their church, and their authority. In essence, these dominating leaders teach they are the church-members' master, and savior, rather than Christ. They indoctrinate members to believe the spiritual leaders of the church themselves are the members' "spiritual covering" (a totally false and patently unbiblical concept), and any member who ever leaves the church will be "out from under" their "covering," be without any covering or what they call, "uncovered,". They are warned that they will experience grave consequences as a result. They will accuse anyone of questioning them of being in rebellion, and without the blessings of the “group”, or approval of their “spiritual authority".
Is it biblical to submit blindly to every instruction of every church authority?
No. The Bible teaches explicitly that we should test leaders, and not just follow those who assert themselves. The apostle Paul warns the Corinthians against false apostles and rebukes them for tolerating them. They get no credit for their suffering at the hands of the abusive and deceitful leaders. 2CO 11:13 "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve..... 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.
Jesus commends the Ephesians for testing those who claimed to be apostles, but were found false. REV 2:2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
PREPARE FOR PERSECUTION- Abusive, deceitful and hypocritical Christian leaders often teach an authoritarian message to try to obtain absolute unquestioning obedience. Once obtained, they can manipulate others for their own benefit (for example in the accumulation of power or money or covering up an immoral lifestyle) rather than that of service to Christ or the flock. Disobeying or opposing the leader is considered as if it were disobedience to God.
If we have found ourselves in the middle of such abuse, the toll it can take on you can be devastating. If you have suffered from severe spiritual abuse, it can take years to recover. I pray for anyone who reads this, that God will restore them and heal them. He is the only one who can. If this abuse has caused you to lose your faith, have become so discouraged that you’ve fallen into a sin, gone back to an old pattern of addiction; God does not hate you, he does not condemn you, has not given up on you. He loves you, and can restore you; again. Just go to the Lord, and talk to him, tell him everything, allow Him to heal you. You can find Him once again, to be the friend that sticks closer than a brother. He is not to blame for the abuse you’ve received, place the blame where it belongs, on those leaders who treated you wrongfully. Forgive them, and learn from it.
You may feel like a battered ship, that's been through a war zone at sea, and landed on the rocks through a raging storm. The word of God, and prayer is what will set your anchor on solid ground, and keep you till the storm is past. Jesus is our anchor, our guide, and our authority, in this life, and the next. His word is final. If we remember this, we can sift through the opinions, false teachings, and attacks from those who seek our demise.
At the end of our life, we will not see these people on the side-lines when we stand before God. He will not be asking them their opinions of us. We will stand there alone. We will have a private audience with Him; and He will open the books. He will judge us according to our deeds. Rom 2:5,6
Reading and studying the Word of God, and prayer is the most vital thing you can do for yourself, and your greatest protection against being deceived, and abused again.
Below are links to several web-sites that deal with spiritual abuse. There is good material in them, that you can read, check out with your bible, and study for yourself. They can help you on the road to recovery.
May you find a source of sound spiritual food for your soul and
Jesus Christ is Lord
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee,
O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.
I had rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.