We spend so much time focusing on ourselves and our shortcomings and wallowing in our self-doubt that we effectively remove ourselves from the fight. That is exactly what the enemy wants. Once you realize that Christ has completely eliminated the penalty for your sin
then you are freed and empowered to help others. Those stuck in works-righteousness can never see the forest for the trees because they still don’t understand that the Gospel has decisively solved the sin problem. We are free. And now that we are free we can engage in the broader war and help our brothers and sisters in this bloody fight while we try to snatch more from the fire.
1. The world has collectively chosen to reject God and His rightful rule.
2. The world is presently controlled by the devil and his servants.
3. Those who have rejected God are suppressing the truth and bringing the whole world to annihilation.
4. Mankind is in a spiritual, zombie-like state and headed towards destruction because of sin.
5. When we were completely hopeless and powerless God made the first move by springing a trap that caused the penalty of mankind’s sin to fall on Himself (Acts 20:28) thus setting free those who were enslaved to the devil. From an individual perspective, men and women break free from the devil’s invisible spiritual prison once they accept Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and believe in Christ.
6. Mankind is closer than ever to complete physical and spiritual self-destruction and Jesus is returning very soon to put a decisive end to man’s self-rule and the devil’s tyrannical reign, yet He won’t do it until the Church is complete and the Body of Christ is joined to the Head
For this reason we have a very short intervening time to win a more decisive victory over the enemy and to rescue a few more off the battlefield.
1. Hold faithfully to the truth of the Gospel
until we are removed from the battlefield by physical death or the trumpet of God. That means rejecting all forms of heresy that are creeping into the Church, which twist the Gospel. Some heresies stem from infiltrators who push liberalized doctrines like universalism, moral deism, New Age syncretism, and the like. Equally deadly heresies come from those who purport to be the most faithful and religious – those who to their own doom claim that the Cross was not enough (Gal. 5:4). These modern Pharisees push works-righteousness, a standard that they themselves never meet. No two Pharisees ever agree on what the list of requirements is, but they demand that you meet their list. Woe to them!
2. Snatch as many from the fire as possible before the fight is over. The time we have left to fight is exceedingly short. This means finding meaningful ways to share your faith and testimony. Evangelism is often intimidating, but always easier than it seems. The intimidation is an incessant satanic illusion. Evangelism is easy. If in person, just ask a question… “do you have a faith?” People love questions and will usually open up. That gives you an instant, non-awkward “in”. There are even easier ways to evangelize: 1. Write letters to prisoners. They are a captive audience and love to receive mail. 2. Share Christian and Gospel material on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. All it takes is a click or two and you don’t even have to face anyone directly if you tend toward timidity. 3. Start a website or blog and share your faith. If God has given you more courage then be winsomely vocal. Hand out tracts. Give out Bibles. Find some way to share publicly. Give big tips to your servers and write “God loves you… John 3:16“. Strike up conversations. Let’s go!
3. Hold down your own fort. That means to do everything in your God-given power to teach your own children and family the truth of God and His Word. Make faith a normal subject of discussion. In a family that doesn’t often discuss spiritual things, talking about God can be awkward, but push through. It might take time, but the goal should be to get to a place where your spouse and children feel loved and comfortable with making God a normal part of discourse. If you want your family to live out their faith and stay faithful then you can’t relegate Christianity to Sunday at 10:00 AM. It should be a normal part of life. Endure all hardships and beatings with grace. Be kind, forgiving, and authentic with your children and spouse. Pray for them daily.
4. Fight the political battles, too. Most people perceive silence as acquiescence, and Christians have become woefully silent. Political power is often given to the most active and vocal. We have to speak out on the issues and present a biblical worldview. Don’t be silent on current events because God has given you so much to say. Just remember to be kind and winsome – you’re not trying to win an argument, you’re trying to lovingly persuade and plant seeds. Everyone is yelling, but let’s be those who stand on the side kindly saying, “look, there’s a better way.” Try to find ways to be physically active in the fight, too. Hardly a day goes by without a mass prayer, walk for life, or local mission opportunity. Search on Google or Facebook for local groups and opportunities and participate.
1. The Church appears to be overwhelmingly outnumbered on this earthly battlefield and this causes many to lose heart, give in, or give up. Yet this obstacle is only an illusion, because the truth is that more are with us than are with the enemy (2 Kings 6:16-17, Matt. 26:53, Rev. 12:7-9). When we choose to fight and engage in the battle we usually win, but we have to fight.
2. The devil has infiltrated our ranks with his own. They often claim to follow Christ, but they try to steer you away from the Gospel in one way or the other. Realize that they are usually just confused and ignorant and have simply never known Christ. They don’t understand the message of the Gospel, which proclaims Christ is the only way and simultaneously that our sin is completely, 100% atoned for. Whether the ultra-conservative Pharisees or the liberal Sadducees
, if you listen to them they will steal your faith or at the very least, cause you to become unproductive in the fight.
3. Self-doubt. We’ve been forgiven, freed, and promised eternal life, but so often we remain in our chains, fretting over our past regrets and the seemingly impossible obstacles ahead. Yet so often the obstacles are purely illusions and the ones that do exist God will trample over if you just step forward in faith. Regarding your sin and your past, just remember that the darkness is dark. If you spend all of your time focusing on the darkness then your life will be darkness. Acknowledge that you are a wretched sinner in need of the Great Savior, but then put the darkness behind you and march forward. Fix and amend what you can, but accept that Christ’s blood covers you completely and meets your every moral need and then enter the battle so you can help others.
We need not compare ourselves to those we perceive to be more successful in the spiritual fight – the Luthers, Spurgeons, and Grahams. God gave each of them the opportunities, abilities, and courage to achieve what they achieved and the truth of the matter is that it wasn’t them achieving anything, but the God who they allowed to dwell inside them. For every Luther or Graham there is a less famous Believer, unknown in the annals of history, who was faithful with what God gave them and because of their faithfulness the Luthers and Grahams came to know the Lord. They may not be famous on earth, but they are very famous in Heaven.
Some are called to be Pauls who seem to reap a great harvest on earth and others are called to be Stephens who seem unsuccessful in the world’s eyes, but in a single moment of faithfulness achieve a spiritual harvest of equal worth that isn’t revealed until the story further unfolds. Yet we are all called to fight faithfully, courageously, and with unrelenting fervor.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
Allow me the liberty to apply Winston Churchill’s most famous speech to the Church:
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend the Gospel, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of Our Lord’s Government-every man of His. That is the will of Christ and Heaven. The Church and the Host of Heaven, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their heavenly land, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of earth and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of Beelzebub and all the odious apparatus of satanic rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in our homes, we shall fight on the streets and in our schools, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength against the prince of the air, we shall defend the Gospel, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight in the culture, we shall fight in our churches, we shall fight on land and at sea, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, the Church or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our brotherhood beyond the seas, armed and guarded by divine power, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, Heaven’s armies, with all their power and might, step forth to the rescue and the liberation of us all.
Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.
His name needs no cleansing. No imputed righteousness. No redemption. No justification. No sanctification. No adoption. No separation from sin. No grace. No mercy. No sacrifice. No atonement.
Our Lord Jesus is indeed worthy of His name and at His name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
As Yeshua prayed, “He was transfigured before them” (Mark 9:2). The Greek text of Matthew and Mark uses the word metamorfoo from which we derive the English word “metamorphosis.” A metamorphosis is the process of substantially changing (or transfiguring) from one physical state to another. In what manner did Yeshua change from one state to another?
From the description in the Gospels, it appears that he became like a luminous being, clothed in light: “His face shone like the sun” (Matthew 17:2) and “His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them” (Mark 9:3). What’s the significance?
We find a clue in Matthew 16:27. Shortly before the story of the transfiguration, Yeshua told his disciples that some of them would not taste death before they had seen the Son of Man coming “in the glory of his Father” (Matthew 16:27). The Bible often depicts the glory of God as visible light. For example, Isaiah 60:1 compares God’s glory to the light of the sun: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” Likewise, when the angels announced the birth of the Messiah, “glory shone around” (Luke 2:9). The mystics called the light of God’s glory “the radiance of the Divine Presence.” (Click to Site)
Often, well-meaning, Israel-loving people will say to me, “I am Jewish now. I am grafted in.” I never, ever say anything close to, “No, you’re not Jewish.” I focus more on how grateful I am that they love God and pray for the Jewish people. However, it is interesting that the Church went from saying, “You can’t be Jewish and believe in Jesus,” to, “All believers are Jewish.”
Which is it? What does the Bible actually say? I will make six statements and then seek to back each one up with Scripture, one blog post at a time:
The early believers clearly had zero issues with the idea of being Jewish and believing in the Jewish Messiah. The question with which they wrestled was, “Can a Gentile believe in Jesus, without converting to Judaism?” The apostles, through their lives and teaching, give no hint of leaving Judaism. In fact, rumors were being spread about Paul teaching Jewish believers “to turn away from Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or live according to our customs” (Acts 21:21). Paul, upon the advice of the Jerusalem apostles, went to the Temple to make a sacrifice so that, “everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law.” (Acts 21:24)
However, the Church Fathers in the second century began to teach that once a Jew comes to faith, he is no longer a Jew. Many were vicious in their accusations against the Jewish people. Peter the Venerable wondered about the humanity of Jews: Truly I doubt whether a Jew can be really human.
Ignatius Bishop of Antioch (98-117A.D.) – Epistle to the Magnesians
For if we are still practicing Judaism, we admit that we have not received God’s favor…it is wrong to talk about Jesus Christ and live like Jews. For Christianity did not believe in Judaism, but Judaism in Christianity.
They lined up to accuse the entire Jewish nation of killing Yeshua (forgetting that He laid down his life by His own free will for them.) Another, Justin Martyr taught that Christians were the true “Israelite race” and that the Hebrew Scriptures now belonged to the church exclusively. He did not believe you could be both Christian and Jewish. He also taught that circumcision was for judgement (as opposed to being there mark of the covenant of Abraham).
The purpose of [circumcision] was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and your cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. (Click to Site)
Continuing with our series on Israel and the nations, I want to move to our second statement.
Gentile simply means a member of the nations. When a member of the nations comes to faith, he does not become Jewish. He continues to be a member of his or her nation, but has complete access to all the heavenly benefits found in Yeshua.
I have heard many believers say that now that they believe in Yeshua, they are Jewish. However, I do not think that this is what Scripture teaches. This is the beautiful mystery of the New Testament Ecclesia (often translated church). I don’t like to use the word church for two reasons:
It is important to note that when Paul uses the term ecclesia, it is not anecclesia, but the ecclesia. Ecclesia was a common word in his culture, but he ‘branded’ it for something specific. For example, in Richmond where I grew up, we have the Coliseum. In Rome, there was the ancient Colosseum. However, the word coliseum simply means “a large theatre or stadium,” from the word ‘colossal.’ Both in Rome and in Richmond, they took a common noun and made it a proper noun. If I have tickets to a concert in Richmond, I say, “I am going to the Coliseum,” not “I am going to a coliseum.”
So Paul is saying there is a new thing, called The Assembly or Gathering. And this Gathering is different in so many ways. It is unique in that it is NEW and it is a UNITED assembly of Jews and Gentiles.
In Ephesians 3, Paul uses the word mystery four times to describe God’s marvelous plan for the nations. He says that this revelation, that has now been revealed to God’s holy apostles and prophets, was a secret in times past.
“The mystery is that, through the Gospel, the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Messiah Yeshua. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Messiah, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.” (Eph. 3:6, 8-9)
First, we see that non-Jewish believers become heirs with Israel, not in place of Israel. Second, despite our unique callings, we are one body. Third, Gentiles share in the promise in Messiah—there is equal access to “the boundless riches of Messiah.” (Click to Site)
by Mark Huey
This week’s Torah portion, Balak, chronologically finds the Ancient Israelites further down the trail on their arduous and circuitous march to Canaan, the Promised Land, but without the able counsel of Aaron to co-administer with the aging Moses. Following the death of Aaron (Numbers 20:24-29), the indigenous populations of the desert areas begin an incessant military attack on the migrating Israelites. A brief engagement with the Canaanites is described in Numbers 21, as Israel must turn to the Holy One for guidance and deliverance to secure victory.
Israel’s journeys take a turn to avoid the conflict with the Edomites, who earlier had refused passage through their territory (Numbers 20:18-21). At this point, the complaints of Israel once again centered around their perceived lack of bread and water (Numbers 21:5). To chastise the Israelite grumblers, God sent snakes into the camp with a deadly venomous bite (Numbers 21:6). This judgment created an opportunity for Israel to gaze, by faith, upon the brazen serpent fashioned by Moses in order to receive physical healing (Numbers 21:7-9). The lifting up of the bronze serpent in the wilderness, is intended to parallel the lifting up of Yeshua the Messiah on the cross:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
Rather than elaborate on the significance of this to our faith, I would like to instead focus on how the Torah goes on to record the continuing sojourn of the Israelite survivors in the wilderness. The journey continues as a series of encampments are detailed from Oboth to Moab to Zared, to beyond the Aram at the border between the Moabites and the Amorites (Numbers 21:10-14). Apparently, more specific details of these different encampments and the conflicts that ensued were contained in another text called “the Book of the Wars of the LORD” (Numbers 21:14), that today is no longer extant. Some additional locations are cited as the sojourn proceeds “from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the wasteland” (Numbers 21:19-20).
Many Bible scholars have attempted to trace the exact locations of these wanderings, and Biblical archaeologists are often very interested as to where they might have been located in the Ancient Near East. Time does not permit us the luxury of researching these specific places, but most assuredly, we know that God gave His people more instruction and admonition at each stop. (Click to Article)