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Spiritual Authority In The Midst of Spiritual Battle

 

pastor michael

 

 

 

 

By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

Foundation Scripture: Romans 5:17, Ephesians 6:10-13 

Sunday 30th October 2016

 

 

As we round up the first part of this series ‘The Believer’s Authority’ today, here is the message titled ‘Spiritual Authority In the Midst of Spiritual Battle’.

 

Let’s read our foundation scriptures in Romans 5:17; ‘For if because of one man’s trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God’s] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)’ (AMP).

 

Today, as we consider and study what Spiritual battle is all about, let’s read from Ephesians 6:10-13: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 

As believers, this scripture reveals to us that we are in a battle, and the battle lines have been drawn! This warfare however has already been won and concluded by Christ. In the book of Ephesians 1 and 2 which we studied closely last week, Apostle Paul reminded us that we are seated with Christ in Heavenly places.

 

Here is Ephesians 2:5-6; ‘even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. By inference, it means that the spiritual forces that we are wrestling against are under Christ’s authority. Since we are seated with Christ, it implies that we also have Christ’s power and authority over every negative spiritual force against us. The enemy and all he may throw at us, is beneath us. 

 

We must also realise that the power and authority that we have over the enemy is ultimately Christ’s. Our strength, victory and success is not in our performance but in the Lord. St. Paul also warned us about the schemes, wiles and deceitfulness of the devil. These are all strategies that the evil one employs to distract us, and we ought to be fully aware of this. 

 

There are three fundamental truths that St. Paul conveys to the Church. Firstly, the battle we are drawn into is a form of wrestle – a spiritual wrestle. Secondly, we must discern who we are not fighting – This is important so that we do not confuse the real enemy with people. It is easy to think that the enemy is a physical being that we can see, whereas he is an evil spirit that we cannot see with our physical sight. Thirdly, we must recognise who we are fighting – These are demonic forces: principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness.  Let’s spend some time dissecting these three truths: 

 

(1) Wrestling : St. Paul used the word, ‘wrestle’ to convey the type of battle we are in. The word ‘wrestle’ comes from the Greek word, ‘Palee’ and it connotes conflict or warfare. The warfare that St Paul is referring to is between two opponents – a contest in which each endeavours to throw the other to the ground. The contest is decided when the victor is able to hold his hand upon the neck of the opponent. St. Paul used this illustration to explain to us that our combat against the enemy is a personal and individual fight. Each of us will have to face and win our battles (with God’s help) on our own. The nature of our spiritual victory is determined by how each of us responds to the battles of life in the privacy of our minds and lives. There are places no one else can go with each of us. We all have to fight our personal battles on our own. 

 

(2) Our Spiritual Warfare Opponents are not People: It is easy to assume that our spiritual warfare opponents are people who we’ve had a misunderstanding with in the past or presently. Our battles are not against our spouses or members of our families, church members or ministers. People around our circles may us some trouble but they are not the object of our warfare. We need to be able to view such situations from a different perspective. Usually, the devil uses various vessels, including people to express his agenda. There is always a wind behind every storm. Mark 4:37-40 clarifies this: ‘And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it  was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” The storm was as a result of the wind. No storm exists by itself. In the same way, every issues we are dealing with has spiritual wind behind it, which we need to confront and overcome (Also see Luke 11:14-16).

 

(3) Our Spiritual Warfare Opponents are demonic: The forces that we are called to wage war against are demonic in nature. They are principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual hosts of wickedness. These are referred to as the kingdom of darkness in battle array – hierarchical in order or the four expressions of the devil. Our warfare is against these forces. These are the unseen forces being every challenge or problem facing us, including marital problems, financial issues, hardness of heart to the gospel and much more. The main reason why people struggle through life is because they do not know who the real enemy is. St Paul was writing to address this issue in his epistle to the Ephesians. 

 

So how do we overcome these forces? Here are four things you can do:

 

(a) Meditate on the truth of your victory in Christ Jesus: We took a close look at the two passages in Ephesians last week – Ephesians 1:20-21, Ephesian 2:5-7. These passages remind us of the position we occupy with Christ Jesus, in relation to our enemy. We are seated with and victorious in Christ over the enemy. We already have the positional victory in Christ; it is now time to have an experiential victory.  It is important that we meditate on this truth until it becomes our daily experience. 

 

(b) Stand on the word of God by faith: In winning our battles, our faith in God’s word must remain unshaken. Even if it seems that the circumstances are not changing, it is important that we hold our ground and continue trusting in Christ and in what He has done for us on the cross. Hebrews 10:23 put it this way: ‘Let us hold tightly  without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise’.

 

(c) Guard your mind against the wiles of the devil: The devil is always scheming to confuse us with his schemes and tricks, but as God’s children we must be discerning and vigilant at all times. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 explains further: ‘For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before  God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),’ (AMPC).

 

(d) Resist the devil by exercising your authority: We already have the authority and the victory in Christ. It’s time to begin to exercise it. Here is James 4:7-8 reads: ‘Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded’.

 

We already have the authority and the victory in Christ. It’s time to begin to exercise our authority. Our battles have already been won by Christ; it’s now time to begin to experience the fullness of what He has already finished for us.                

 

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As we continue the on-going series ‘Experiencing the Power of Multiplication’ today, here is a brief summary of the message: ‘Empowering the Next Generation’ from a fortnight ago. We agreed that God is generational in His thinking and deals with us from that standpoint. All God gives to us is meant to be passed on to upcoming generation. Our lives are a channel, a means by which God reaches out to our young ones.

God’s word, the bible is full of accounts of people who lived, thinking of the young and the unborn. Abraham in Genesis 17 aptly fits this description, with God reminding him of this truth. Bearing this in mind, Abraham was able to prepare adequately for Isaac’s future as we discovered from these seven points, namely: (1) He dedication Isaac to God, by circumcision (2) He celebrated Isaac (3) The bond woman and her child were sent away (4) He taught Isaac to obey God (5) He set the stage for Isaac’s future (6) He empowered Isaac (7) He sent away the children of His concubines.

Today as we examine this message, titled ‘Make Your Life Count for a Divine Purpose’, it is the crux of this series. Let me start by reminding us that it is vital that life flows from us to the next generation, and I intend to encourage us in this message to embrace a purpose beyond our personal life’s goals and aspirations. Within the timeframe that we have been given by God, it is important that we use it wisely and intentionally, serving His purpose on earth.

I have often wondered if coming to church, and engaging in the various forms of spiritual exercises – giving, praying, studying the scriptures and so forth, and having our needs met are an end in themselves? All these are good but they are simply a means to an end – and not an end in themselves. We’ve been created for a purpose bigger than the meeting of our needs. We experience healing, empowerment, and blessings for a purpose beyond us. Hence, life ought not to end with us. Ephesians 1:1 reads, ‘This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus’. Being chosen is not an end, but the choices made after the calling of God is more important. Unfortunately, the present day church has made the means, an end and disregarded the real end. Our personal victories, blessings and successes are meant to encourage us towards that end.

The essence of our faith is wrapped up in the first statement made by God to mankind in Genesis, and the last words of Jesus to his disciples before His ascension. Here they are, Genesis 1:28 reads thus: Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  Matthew 28:18-19 reads: ‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’. Here is the reason why God has created us to live on earth; to make disciples of all nations. Our desires for comfort and pleasures are delightful, but they must not impede us from fulfilling God’s mandate for our lives.