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                                          Kingdom Life Topics

SKILLS FOR LIVING IN COMMUNITY AS THE BODY OF CHRIST

 

We need community to survive, for our hearts to prosper, for our calling to advance, for God's plan for our lives to come to fruition.  The call for community, for unity in the Body is not an optional call because unity is what causes the lost to know that Jesus came from the Father and that the Father loves us (John 17: 20-23).  This implies that disunity discredits Jesus' claim to be the son of God because it produces the wrong fruit.  It also discredits His claim that Father loves us since having received the Father's love should cause family members to love each other.  Loving one another is proof of friendship with God and is part of what causes God to give you whatever you ask in His name (John 15: 9-17). Ultimately, love for one another is what defines us in the eyes of the world as children of God. (John 13: 34-35)

Generally speaking, we refrain from murder or robbing banks without too much difficulty, but find it amazingly hard to follow the highest of God's commands:  Love God, love people. (Matt. 22: 36-40) 

The rest of this teaching will focus on the attitudes and skills required to maintain relationships and build community within the Body.  These include letting love dictate our behavior, dealing with conflict and offense, and offering forgiveness.

 

The law of love:  what love is and what love requires
 

Love one another as I have loved you (John 13: 34)


To live in community within the Body requires a commitment to the law of love.  Love, in all its forms, comes from God and is, at its heart, the desire for the well-being of the Beloved.  
 

1.  Love gives itself/pours itself out for the sake of the Beloved. 

E.g., Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend.  (John 15: 13)

The problem is this:  Laying down your life isn't just about dying for someone else.  Dying is easy (relatively speaking) and rarely required.  Living for one another is much harder.    While we focus on Jesus' crucifixion, we tend not to notice that His death only had power because of the way He lived His life up until that point.  Only a sinless life, a life poured out in love for humankind, could qualify Jesus to redeem us.

We must expect love to be costly and full of sacrifice.  It's like becoming a parent - your life is not about you anymore and many of the things you want take a back seat to the things your kids want.

Laying down your life for people requires sacrificing time, energy, hobbies, etc.  It means watching each others backs and reputations.  It involves applying all the principles of love - both the supportive and the confrontive. 

Laying down your life means helping when you don't feel like it; giving up something you want so someone else can have what they want or need; doing it their way rather than your way; giving or doing something that isn't deserved; doing what's right for someone even when it costs you; risking making someone mad by speaking truth in love; caring about what the other person cares about even if it wouldn't normally interest you; making an effort to remember important details; offering without waiting to be asked.

Laying down your life is expressed in the specific traits associated with love in I Cor. 13

  • patient (makrothumeo: not to lose heart, to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes, troubles and the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging, slow to anger, slow to punish)
     
  • bears all things  (stego:  to protect or keep by covering, to preserve; to keep secret the errors and faults of others; to bear up against, and so endure).  Eph. 4: 2
     
  • believes all things  (pisteo:  to place confidence in; to entrust a thing to someone; to be entrusted with a thing.  Includes not losing your affection for the person who offended or injured you - still believing in them)
     
  • hopes (expects; anticipates with pleasure)
     
  • perseveres  (hupomeno: to remain, abide, not recede or flee; to endure, bear bravely and calmly ill treatments.)  For relationship to exist, there must be commitment to working thru conflict rather than running from it
     
  • not easily angered (irritated or provoked).  What's worth allowing anger/irritation over?  The measure that you use for others is the measure that will be used for you.
     
  • giving honor and preference to others above yourself and looking out for each other's interests (Rom. 12: 10;  Phil 2: 4)
     

2.  love makes provision for needs (Deut. 10: 18); 1 John 3: 16-18 love is practical and active (Prov. 27: 5)

3.  1 John 4: 10-11 love acts first (makes the first move) - seeks out the beloved and it makes the last move John 13: 1(NAS) "to the end"

4.  love blesses (Deut. 7: 13) bless (barach)= to bestow good (literally, or prophetically speaking heaven's intention to bestow).  The opposite of blessing is envy/jealousy:  wanting the good thing that someone else possesses; viewing someone else as a threat to the good thing you possess.  

5.  love redeems (Is. 63: 9)

  • 1 Pet. 4: 8 love covers a multitude of sins.  It chooses what to focus on, e.g., love sees sin but chooses to cover over it with grace  
     
  • keeps no record of wrongs (forgives)  
     
  • 2 Cor. 5: 16-17 views people from divine point of view - new creations (see them for what they are and will be)
     

6.  love circumcises (Deut. 30: 6), corrects (Prov. 3: 12) and sharpens (Prov. 27: 17); Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend (aheb=one who loves you); but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. 
 

 
Dealing with Conflict


"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those who will believe in me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.  The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as we are one: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected 1in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me."  (John 17:20-23)

Why has this not been answered?  Largely because of our inability to handle conflict, because we have the wrong priorities, the small perspective.  (e.g. leaving churches over trivialities, or wanting to be right more than wanting to honor the desires of God regarding community)

 

Understanding the value of conflict
 

"As much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men" (Rom. 12: 18).  Notice that peacemaking and peacekeeping are different.  Peacemaking is an active process that may require conflict along the way.  Peacekeeping often involves an avoidance of conflict so that it is really more about placating.  Peacemakers are called sons of God (Matt. 5: 9)

In the Body, we have often embraced the myth that all conflict is wrong, - that to be in community means not to fight.  But there is no iron sharpening iron without some level of conflict.  This means no personal/spiritual growth, no deepening of relationships, no strengthening of the church body. 

Love requires appropriate conflict.  "My son do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His rebuke.  Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father [disciplines] the son he delights in." (Prov 3:11-12)  A fight is the not worst thing that can happen.  Sometimes lack of conflict is even worse.  For example, when Adam chose passivity and conflict avoidance as Eve was being tempted by Satan in the Garden, he sentenced Eve (and ultimately himself and the rest of the human race) to death.  We are obligated to teach and correct one another in love.  

So the problem is not so much that we have conflict with one another, but that we don't resolve the conflict.  Unresolved conflict is deadly.  It creates walls between two parts that should be functioning smoothly together.

Not all conflict is appropriate or useful, so how do you know what is worth conflict?  The basic rule of thumb is whether the conflict will ultimately advance the kingdom.

 

  How to engage in healthy conflict
 

There are a million ways to get it wrong, but only a few ways to get it right.  Over and above all else, conflict must be governed by the laws of love.


1.  We have to be committed to each other, to put community before ourselves, our own wants.  Do not be quick to break the unity of the Body.  This is a last resort, only to be used when there are issues of sin for which people are habitually unrepentant. 

2.  Communication 101

  • verify that what you heard is actually what the other person intended to say. 
     
  • understand that silence tends to indicate agreement among men, but conveys disagreement among women
     
  • explain yourself from a position of humility rather than out of hostility or defensiveness
     

3.  Beware of 'My way is better' arguments.  So what if it is?  To insist on getting my way (even if it really is better) is a form of pride and selfishness.

4.  It is better to be wronged/suffer injustice, than to break community (I Cor 6: 1-8).  So if you have a problem with a brother, approach him first in humility and love.  If not resolved ask a wise brother to help mediate.  If unwilling to abide by that, take it to several elders.  If it is still not resolved take it to pastor.  But do not take one another to court.

5.  Guard your tongue. Before speaking always assess whether your words will advance the kingdom, whether they reflect the truth as God sees it.  Satan is the accuser of the brethren.  Do you want to speak for him?  Speaking evil (lies, slander, gossip) of a brother desecrates the temple worse than showing up drunk and naked.

6.  Don't say anything bad about another person without speaking to that person first.  If you must get advice first about how to approach the person, then do that wisely and quietly.  

7.  At the end of the day we have this:  "as those who have been chosen by God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you [forgive].  Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. " (Col 3:12-14)


Dealing with Offense

 

offense:  (scandalizo) - to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall

 

Offense is different than simply not liking something.  It makes the thing personal, and it passes judgment & draws conclusion.  You can put a stumbling block in someone else's way by giving offense or put one in your own way by taking offense.  
 

Sources of offense
 

1.  Religious spirits

Rom. 9: 33 refers to Is. 8: 12-15  Jesus was, and continues to be, a  rock of offense, a snare, and a stumbling block to religious spirits who follow the traditions of men rather than the heart of God.  

There were two issues for the Pharisees: Jesus walked in a liberty that frustrated their control, (e.g., healing people on Sabbath; consorting with tax collectors, allowing a formerly sinful woman to wash his feet with her hair) and He walked in a righteousness that made them look dirty by comparison.

Truth is often offensive 
- to the status quo whose power base is threatened by it; 
- to Satan who operates in lies and misdirection; 
- to flesh and pride which doesn't see it's own failings

Religious spirits can operate within Christianity by setting up false standards.  E.g., the belief that going to church on Wednesday nite makes you more holy than those who don't.  Or religious spirits can be from outside Christianity, e .g., those who are offended that Christianity claims to be the only way to God/heaven.


Religious spirits partner with pride because they include a sense of being better than others who do not measure up to the religious standard.  (Col. 2:18)Pride becomes a matter of offense because it is a divisive snare that alienates the person from others.
 

2.  spirit of offense
 

There is a demonic spirit whose function is to perceive and create offense.  It seeks to misinterpret behavior and words so that they have the worst possible connotation.    The spirit of offense causes the person to operate insensitively towards others so that they are either unaware of how their words and actions impact others or they simply don't care.


3.  Differences in belief/practice
 

There are differences of belief and practice throughout the Body of Christ.  E.g., what language is acceptable, what style of worship is acceptable, what manner of dress, whether to drink alcohol or coffee.  The issue is what to do with those differences.

a.    Rom. 14:  1-13  we have different beliefs based on maturity of faith.  These cannot be basis for judgment or condemnation on the part of either party.

b.  choosing to restrain liberty to keep a weaker brother from falling (Rom. 14: 13 - 15: 2) vs. refusing to live by "religious" standards which appear to be wise but actually have no value (Col. 2: 13 - 23).  Both options can be seen as acts of love.  Which one you do depends on the particular person and particular situation.

c.  This is why we have to believe the best of each other - including trusting each person to get with God over issues and to wrestle out their faith (salvation).  This will lead us to interpret their behavior as being born of what they have faith for - see their behavior as an act of trying to live in accordance with their understanding (even if their understanding is immature or wrong)

 

How to stay in fellowship when there are disagreements


1.  priorities and perspective: 
 

The day is here and increasingly coming when Christians will be persecuted, put to death, hated by all the nations, ostracized and called evil (John 15: 20; Matt. 24: 9; Luke 6: 22; John 16: 33).  When real persecution arises, trivial things fall away.  All of the sudden, it doesn't matter whether we baptize by immersion or sprinkling, whether you drink, dance, play cards, wear pants or makeup, listen to secular music, wear head coverings, or shave your head and get tattoos .  The time will be over for disagreements over whether clergy should wear robes and what style of worship to use.  The only thing that will matter is your willingness to stand with Jesus - to confess His name above all names.  We have to keep that perspective.

If an issue will not matter in the end, maybe it shouldn't matter so much now.  It isn't that God doesn't care about behavior - the standards of holiness were established by Him after all - but God's priority is always on the heart.  Ours should be as well (see for example, the story of Hezekiah in II Chron. 29-30)

2.  look for common ground - keep your focus on what's important (e.g., that Jesus is the only way to God) rather than the trivial.

3.  adopt the view that there is only one bride of Christ, one wife.  This is not a Rachel and Leah moment.  You have to love the Body in its entirety rather than loving parts of it and hating other parts.  In Matt. 25:  31-46, giving food and drink and clothing and ministry had nothing to do with whether they agreed on everything.  It was based on their need and the fact that they were brothers.

4.  maintain relationship (fellowship) even if you're not part of that particular local Body.  Befriend a Baptist, a charismatic, a Presbyterian.  Build relationships across the Body, get to know their hearts, find the common ground and emphasize it.  Churches need to work cooperatively and not territorially.  

5.  let disagreements be amicable - without hostility, judgment, accusation, or fracture.  I may choose not to be in a particular local church because my understanding of issues is different than theirs, but I still need to bless them, build them up and not down, pray for the fullness of God for them, want their prosperity and health, not be threatened by or envious of their success.
 

Forgiveness
 

There are two platforms from which we can operate: Justice and grace.  Justice is based on the righteousness of God, a very good thing.  It protects society by using "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" strategy to curb bad behavior.  But this approach is ultimately flawed, because we all end up missing eyes and teeth.  And even that doesn't reverse or undo the wrong that was done.  It simply exacts a price.  There is no redemption in this platform. 

Grace acknowledges that a wrong has been done and that a price has to be paid. But it chooses to allow someone else to pay the price.  In doing that, the offender's debt is cancelled.  So I'm standing on the platform of righteousness and justice, and I'm condemned.  Then God comes and says, "I'll pay the price for you."  On this platform, I walk away with my eyes and teeth intact and no stain against my character or conscience.

The punchline:  you can stand on one platform or the other but not both.  If you want justice for others then you deserve justice for yourself.  As you judge others so will you be judged.  The common mistake we make is to judge others by comparing ourselves to them.  The problem is that on the justice platform we're not judged against other people or graded on a curve.  We're judged against the perfection of God's righteouness, and there we all fail, resulting in death and damnation.

If I want grace for myself, I must offer grace to others.  "Stop judging others and you will not be judged, stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be  forgiven." (Luke 6:37) "Forgive our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us. … For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions." (Matt 6:12, 14-15)

 

Forgiveness: definition and process
 

Forgiveness is not forgetting (only God can do that).  It is not downplaying what has been done (e.g., saying 'it's alright').  It is not an emotional act.  The pain of betrayal will remain for at time. Forgiveness doesn't mean that you don't feel the pain but rather that you release the debt despite the pain.  It is not the same thing as trusting that person again (forgiveness is an unearned gift but trust is earned.  The restoration of trust can only happen when others have repented.) 

Forgiveness is an act of will 
- consciously releasing the person from the debt they owe you.
There are several steps involved in forgiveness.


1. admit to being hurt, acknowledge the depth of the pain/betrayal

2. admit since they wronged you, they owe you a debt.  

3.  As an act of will, release them from what they owe you (money, an apology etc).  E.g., "Father today I choose your grace, I choose to forgive _____, for _____.  I cancel their debt and declare that they owe me nothing."  

4. as an act of will, let go of your expectation that they should repay you (e.g., you can't say, "I forgive him but he still owes me")

5.  When Satan brings up thoughts about past hurts, don't entertain them (2 Cor 10:5 take thoughts captive).  When you think of the person who hurt you, choose to set aside (i.e., don't focus on) what they did.  You may have to do this repeatedly before Satan stops bringing their offense to your mind.

 

Consequences of unforgiveness
 

Unforgiveness is basically staying in the place of justice (by not extending grace), therefore it gives satan a legal right to visit the fruits of your actions against you.

1.  When you don't dwell in grace, when you remain in anger and judgment.  No healing or growing can occur, and bitterness sets in.  "Do not judge or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be used against you." (Matt 7:1-2 )  "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." (Heb 12:15)

You will reap what you sow.  Sow bitterness, get bitterness, sow love and forgiveness, get love and forgiveness.  

2.  "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:23)  If you don't release someone, there's a spiritual anchor on him/her.

 

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WARFARE 101

 

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, 
who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.  
Ps. 144: 1

 

 

Reality


1.  There is more than one realm of existence, more than just this tangible, physical world.  Scripture repeatedly speaks of spiritual realms and the forces and beings that inhabit them.  For example, Eph. 6: 12  says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but principalities (a military ranking applied to certain levels of demons).  

This leads to an important questions: what constitutes reality?  Is it defined by our five senses or determined in spiritual realms.  The movie, The Matrix, presents this issue well.  Most people live believing only in a temporal, physical reality.  They mistake it for the truth, they mistake bondage for freedom. References:  2 Cor. 4: 18; 2 Cor. 4: 4; 1 Cor. 2: 14 

2.  Truth begins in the realm of the Spirit.  Truth originates in the person of God.  Nothing on earth has a higher authority than that - not logic or science or experience or what we perceive by our senses. 

3.  Spiritual realms and this earthly realm interact and intersect. For example, consider Daniel 10 - warfare in a spiritual plane produced a 21-day wait for Daniel.  Also there is the example of Job 1: 6-11 where Satan issues a challenge before God that results in events on the earth.  

What happens in one realm affects the other.  This works in both directions.  Things in the spiritual realms affect the earth and things on earth affect the spiritual realms.  E.g., Eph. 3: 10 says that the church bears witness to the inhabitants of spiritual realms about the wisdom of God.  

3.  Whether on earth or in the spiritual realms, every person, thing, situation, etc. belongs to either the Kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan, whether or not they know it or intend it.  There is no such thing as neutrality (Matt. 12: 30).  There is no power vacuum in heaven or on earth.  All territory, all people, all resources are claimed by and under the control of one Kingdom or another.

4.  The reality of the world is that it is a battle zone where the 2 kingdoms clash.  Re
v. 12: 11-17; John 10: 10.  In Waking the Dead, Eldredge write, "Until we come to terms with war as the context of our days we will not understand life.  We will misinterpret 90 percent of what is happening around us and to us.  You won't understand your life, you won't see clearly what has happened to you or how to live forward form here, unless you see it as battle."

Being a child of God - actually knowing what that means and operating out of that relationship -  means that the battle will be brought to your door.  Warfare occurs because of who you are.    You cannot stop that.

 

The players
 

1.  God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit)
God is ALWAYS good (Job 34: 10,12; Ps. 5: 4; James 1: 13; 3 John 1: 11), satan is ALWAYS evil.  This distinction is important - God doesn't author evil.  Instead, God redeems what has been meant for evil, turning it to our good Rom. 8: 28

2.  angels

A.  heavenly hosts who serve the Kingdom of God.  They are described as ministering spirits Heb. 1: 14, e.g., Michael guards Israel (Dan. 12: 1; 10: 21).  They are organized militarily (e.g., Jude 9 "archangel") with different ranks and positions    

B.  fallen angels, aka, demons.  In Mere Christianity, CS Lewis writes, " One of the things that surprised me when I first read the New Testament seriously was that it talked so much about a dark power in the universe - a mighty evil spirit who was held to be the power behind death and disease and sin."

  • Satan is chief among the fallen angels.  He is a created being, and is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent. 
     
  • Some of what we know about Satan's life before his rebellion is found in Ezek. 28: 1-19 which distinguishes between the prince of Tyre (a man) and the king of Tyre (Satan, v. 11-17).  Also Is. 14: 12-14
     
  • Satan is the original orphan spirit (no inheritance, no name, out for own interests, dependent on self)
     
  • He led a civil war in heaven  Rev. 12: 7-9
     
  • Satan organized fallen angels long the lines of authority God established in heaven.  E.g., in  Eph. 6: 12, "principalities" may mean archangels
     
  • Satan's mission statement:  Rev. 12: 12, 17;  1 Peter 5: 8-9a; John 10: 10
     

3.  people:  We are either aligned with God or with His enemy.  There is no middle ground.  The words we say and things we do will either promote life or  death; they will reflect truth or lies.

 

Authority
 

1.  emanates from God Matt. 28: 18;  1 Sam. 17: 47 Eph 1: 21 Rom 13: 1

2.  because it's part of His identity Exod. 15: 3

3.  is a point of law (legal right) and power delegated to us by God (Genesis mandate 1: 26-28; Matt. 10: 1; Mark 3: 15;  Luke 9: 1; 10: 19; Matt. 10: 1; 9: 35;  Mark 6: 7;  Luke 10: 19;  1 John 3: 8

4.  you can only walk in authority if you're under authority and can only use authority in a manner consistent with the One who delegated it (you rule in His name, on His behalf) Matt. 8: 8-9.  Matt 16: 19 NAS, AB

5.  we can also give it away (e.g., Eden; Esau and the birthright - Gen. 25)  Luke 4:6 

6.  The blood of Jesus redeems back every piece of authority that we have forfeited.  It translates us from one kingdom to another, from a position of injustice to the kingdom where Justice reigns. Nullifies every curse and penalty; arrests false inheritance and demonic assignment; removes every accusation and source of condemnation.  Jesus' blood brings life and has power over death  Lev. 17: 11, 14; John 6: 53; Heb. 2: 14  
 

  • Jesus' blood took away Satan's power because it purchased us back from him Heb. 2: 14; Acts. 20: 28blood brings forgiveness Matt. 26: 28
     
  • Jesus' blood justifies us (declares us righteous and free) Rom. 5: 9
     
  • Jesus' blood redeems (purchases release via a ransom) Eph. 1: 7
     
  • Jesus' blood gives us inheritance  Heb. 9: 12-17
     
  • Jesus' blood gives us entrance into the Holy of Holies where we find the presence,  authority and provision of God (Heb. 10: 19)
  • Jesus' blood sanctifies (sets apart, makes holy) Heb. 13: 12
     
  • the blood of the Lamb overcomes the accuser Rev. 12: 10-11
     
  • cross is the power of God 1 Cor. 1: 18
     
  • cross reconciled redeemed Jews and redeemed Gentiles, making them one house Eph. 2: 16
     
  • cross cancels the certificate of debt against us Col. 2: 14
     


Christ paid the price in full for everything (salvation, freedom, healing, deliverance).  So, healing, deliverance and salvation are not an issue of our own strength, discipline, or feeling of anointing.  Thru His death and resurrection- thereby redeeming the Fall of Adam- Christ gave us all power in heaven and earth, we have regained the legal authority Adam lost.

 

7 ways Jesus shed blood and what each redeems
 

1.  Gethsemane:  not my will, but Yours.  Redeems will power (ability to make and enforce choices rather than being at the mercy of sin or flesh desires; self-control = a sound mind)
2.  stripes:  produce healing Is. 53: 5
3.  crown of thorns:  overturns curse on land/prosperity that was issued in Gen. 3: 17-19
4.  pierced hands:  dominion over what we touch
5.  pierced feet:  dominion over places we walk Deut 11: 24; 
    Gen. 1: 28  Mark 16: 15
6.  pierced side:  redeems relationship between men and women (Jesus was pierced in the same place from which a rib was removed from Adam to create Eve)
7.  bruised (inner bleeding):  redeems inner hurts

 

The role of Identity in warfare
 

We've been talking about the authority that originates in God, was delegated to humankind, lost by sin, and restored by the blood of Jesus.  The question is:  who gets to wield that authority now?

Genesis mandate/ Rom. 8: 13-16 
1.  Understanding one's own Identity/position (adopted son of God)

  • John 14: 1-10 -> John 14: 20 all of Jesus' power and authority came from being "in" the Father - emanated from Father.  In the same way, we are "in" Jesus, and therefore "in" Father

  • John 14: 11 (& 10: 36b - 38) miracles testify that Jesus is in Father (i.e., doing what Father does) and Father is in Jesus.
     

  • John 14: 20 (v. 17) after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit will be in you.  I am in Father, you are in me, and I an in you.
     

  • John 15: 4  abide in me as a branch abides in the vine

  1. branch has same nature as the vine (is of the same kind)
  2. relies on the vine for life, nutrients, ability to bear fruit, connected to the vine in a vital way
  3. in unbroken, unhindered contact with the vine branch extends the vine

Matt. 7: 21-23  records an important conversation about the use of authority.  In v. 22, men say to Jesus, "did we not prophesy/drive out demons/perform miracles in yourname" (Meaning:  used for everything which the name covers, everything which comes to mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one's rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.)

Jesus replies, "I never knew you." (Meaning:  to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of; to understand; Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman indicating intimate knowledge). 

And then says, "Away from me you evildoers." (lit. you who are "without name", without authority; the condition of lawlessness, contempt and violation of law, iniquity, and wickedness)

These people had used authority without having the right to it - they were not intimate with God.  Were not in God.  The same issue comes up with sons of Sceva in Acts 19: 14-15

Being in Christ or in Father appears to be a matter of relationship as much as it is obedience.  It is critical to see the difference between claiming the position of son and acting in relationship as son.  Walking in relationship increases authority.

Many times we attempt to take on the position of sons without engaging in the relationship behavior of sons.  This results in impaired sonship.  It is rather like the predicament of the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son.  He is unable to rejoice over the return of his brother; in fact, he actively resents his father's joy.    Remember the exchange when he confronts his father:  (Luke 15: 29-31) 

The older brother's resentment is born of not living as a son.  He had acted dutifully toward his father but had never availed himself of the pleasures and rewards of sonship, even though the father would gladly have given them.  

(Note:  for more information about sonship, see the topic God as Father, Us as Sons)

 

Diagnosis & Identification of the enemy/issues.
 

Warfare is more than casting out demons.  It includes things like  resisting temptation, standing against the lies and oppression of the enemy; and the advancement of the kingdom o f God against the resisting force of the enemy;.

1.  Anything that contradicts the Truth of Scripture (about you , about the Body, about your calling, about  relationships) is of satan.  

There has to be a plumbline to measure things by.  The plumbline is the character of God.  Basically anything that causes you to be or live in a way that is not the full measure of God's desire/plan/character for your life, is the enemy.  

2.  To differentiate the source of something (God vs satan) look at its fruit.  If it drives you away from God or other people, its source is evil.  E.g., shame vs. discipline.  Matt. 7: 15-20

3.  look for destructive patterns (within the life of a person or across generations of their family).  These may reveal generational curses.  Pay especial attention to things that defy treatment, e.g., illnesses that don't respond to medication.
 

4.  Identify the root or source of the issue.  This could include sin, unhealthy spiritual ties, false vows (e.g., "I'll never say I'm sorry", I'll never make myself vulnerable to another person again"), false prophecy (e.g., "you'll never amount to anything"), victimization, trauma, etc.

5.  When dealing with demonic oppression, pay attention to the effect the demon has on the person's life.  This will need to be arrested.  The effect of the demon is its identity.  A word of caution:  While it is important to see the effect the demonic influence has on the person, too much emphasis has been placed on knowing a demon's name.  This strategy sprang from a single incident in Jesus' ministry (when He dealt with the Gerasene demoniac who was possessed by Legion).  And even in that incident, knowledge of the demon's name was not part of Jesus' strategy for casting it out.


Weaponry/strategies
 

1.  By looking at Jesus' ministry we can see that there is not one stategy or methodology for warfare.  We tend to make Moses' error.  He mistook method for truth (struck the rock rather than speaking to it as God told him to, because striking it had worked before).

2.  Jesus commanded demons and disease (didn't plead with it, didn't treat it nicely, didn't ask Father to do it, didn't pray for the person, and especially, didn't pray "if it be your will")

3.  Warfare is mostly a matter of understanding and declaring Truth.  

4.  the battle is always the Lord's (1 Sam. 17: 47):  e.g.,  Joshua and Jericho;  David against the Philistines

5.  importance of discernment over the plans of God and the activity of evil spirits.  There are 2 sources of discernment.  One is a gift of the Holy Spirit (just as there are gifts of healing or prophecy or wisdom; 1 Cor. 12: 10).  The other comes from simply having the Holy Spirit within you.  Discernment is a critical part of warfare because satan is a master illusionist.

6.  authority is in the name of the Lord, Ps. 91: 14 (AB); 1 Sam. 17: 45

7.  authority is in the word of the Lord, e.g., Jesus in the wilderness with Satan.  Replace error with Truth (substitute scripture for lie)

8.  submission to God will determine the tide of battle.  E.g., Israel's defeat at Ai was due to sin in the camp  (Ps. 91: 1-2; James 4: 7;  Matt. 8: 5-11)  God's instructions really are for our benefit.  Violation of them has negative consequences.  We submit to God by:

  • taking thoughts captive 2 Cor. 10: 3-5, e.g., Matt. 16: 23  Jesus says to Peter, "get behind me Satan" based on Peter's thought pattern
     
  • refusing to agree with God's accuser, e.g., Gen. 3: 4-5;  Ps. 73: 13-15; Deut. 1: 27, 29-33
     
  • getting priorities straight (Matt. 6: 33)
     
  • letting truth be determined by what God says and nothing else.
     
  • Remove legal ground that belongs to satan.  Retract, break, cancel vows.  Also renounce any occult activity & cleanse occult objects.  Don't give the devil a foothold (Eph. 4: 26- 27) 


9.  clothe yourself in the armor of God  Eph. 6: 10-13

10.  understand the power of the tongue (linked to our own position and authority) to declare life or death.  What we say and how we say it matters.  Prov. 4: 24;  18: 21;  Ps. 39: 1

11.  Binding and loosing in accordance with the truth of the Kingdom (Matt. 16: 19).  This also includes blessing and cursing.

12.  Forgiveness is a weapon (removes legal debt of others, frees us from bondage to bitterness, places us under grace rather than justice).  It is also important to address forgiveness of self.  2 Cor. 2: 5-11;  Matt. 6: 14-15

13.  role of love in warfare:  love is a weapon 1 Peter 4: 8

  • believing the best 1 Cor. 13: 6-7
     
  • refusing gossip shuts door to the enemy
     
  • refusing divisiveness shuts door to enemy
     

14.  role of praise/worship in warfare:  e.g., Battle at Rephidim against Amalekites - Israel won as long as Moses' hands were held high (role of praise and prayer); Is. 61: 3;  Ps. 8 

15.  Mark 9: 14-29 Jesus and boy with deaf/dumb spirit whose father operated in unbelief:  role of prayer and fasting in dealing with "this kind" (i.e., unbelief). 

16.  Luke 11: 21-22 taking away what the strong man has trusted in.  Satan has trusted in our participation/cooperation.  Has trusted in the wounding/lies he placed over us.  Has trusted in his own worth and power.

17.  Assemble your warriors, do NOT fight alone.  Unity in the Body is crucial.  Pursue and support it with all your might.

 

Principles of Legality
 

1.  scope of authority:  you have the same authority as Jesus (performed deliverance and healing for unsaved people who were willing to come to Him).  Can minister to the same people and in the same places.  

2.  The only time scripture records a limitation to Jesus' ministry was Nazareth Mark 6: 1-6 (Matt. 13: 53-58).  This same limitation was evident in Jesus' encounters with the religious leaders - did not attempt to heal or deliver them as it was evident that they operated in unbelief and wanted nothing from Him.

3.  Deut.11: 22-25  ability to claim where you set your foot is linked to love for God and obedience to Him.  Although this promise was given to Israel over a specific geographic territory, Ps. 115: 16 and Gen. 1: 28 suggest that whole earth belongs to us

 

Generational Curses:  What they are
 

1.  recurring patterns that manifest in multiple generations

2.  the result of iniquity.  Could be something a person did or something that was done to them (e.g., victimization of some kind)

3.  manifestations may be 
 

  •   physical (illnesses), especially those that defy treatment/meds
     
  • psychological/emotional manifestation (e.g., depression, addictions)
     
  • relational manifestation, (e.g., divorce, adultery, abuse, rejection)
     
Generational Curses:  How to break them
 

1.  understand that the cross broke all curses (Gal. 3: 13  Jesus became a curse for us so that we would be free from the curses due us by our sin).  Jesus' blood doesn't just forgive our sins; it frees us from the curses that our sin would have produced.

2.  understand that you have to assert your right through the cross for those curses to be appropriated (may have money in the bank, but you have to write a check or go and withdraw it for you to actually be able to use the money)


3.  substitutional repentance for the sin of past generations. This brings the cursed act under the blood.  This appropriates forgiveness and cleansing.

4.  repenting of any way in which you've participated (may have been through ignorance - simply agreeing with a lie or making room for that same behavior in your life).  Includes making a declaration that you break any agreement with the demonic.

5  revoking the enemy's claim to you and rejecting the generational assignments against you and the generations that proceed from you.  E.g. declaring to the curse that "you (generational curse) are not my inheritance and I am not your inheritance."

6  walking in righteousness.  To remain in the blessing rather than in the curses requires that we walk in obedience. We must choose life (blessing) by choosing righteousness (Deut. 30: 15-20).

 

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HEALING 101
 

This teaching outlines what we know concerning the Father's position on healing from the written Word and Jesus, the Living Word.

 

  • The Bible records that sickness entered the world as a result of the sin of humanity. It was not present in Eden, nor does it exist in heaven.
  • Scripture differentiates between sickness and a more general suffering or trouble by using different words for the two concepts. And so, while God states that trials and sufferings may come as a means to develop faith and character, He does not say that about sickness.  Instead, sickness and death are treated by God as enemies to be conquered. 
  • Hebrews 1: 3 says that Jesus is the radiance of His Father's glory and the exact representation of His Father's nature.  Jesus only did what He saw His Father do and only said what He heard His Father say. (John 5: 19; 14: 10).  So, if we want to know the will and heart of God on any matter, we need only look at the life and behavior of Jesus.  As John 1: 18 puts it, "No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, who is in the bosom and intimate presence of the Father - He has declared Him, He has revealed Him, and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known (Amplified Bible).
  • Concerning the issue of healing, Jesus healed every single person who approached Him - that is, who came to Him in faith believing that He could and would heal them.  There are 3 issues represented here:
  1. the kind of faith in Jesus as a Healer that causes us to approach Him, to seek healing from Him.  Although Jesus occasionally sought out people to heal, the vast majority of healings involved people coming to Him.
     
  2. faith that Jesus can heal.  That is to say, faith that Jesus has both the power and authority to heal.  Nothing is impossible with God.
     
  3. faith that Jesus would heal.  The people whom Jesus healed believed that He was willing to apply His power to them.  They were convinced by His heart of compassion.  They believed that Jesus was good.
     
  • He never told a sick person that their sickness had a usefulness (such as to teach them a lesson or refine their character).  Jesus never treated sickness like a good thing.  
     
  • Jesus never put off their healing until a later time. 
     
  • Jesus never made a distinction between kinds of illnesses. This tells us that the Father intends to heal every disease of every person who comes to Him in faith.  
     

Following are passages that describe how Jesus dealt with issues of illness and death.  You will see that His strategy and methodology varied greatly from situation to situation.  This teaches us not to confuse methodology with power and anointing.  In each circumstance, Jesus had to hear from Father how to proceed.  Power came from walking in tune with the Holy Spirit, not from a predetermined 3-step program.

You will also notice that when He healed these people, He did not pray a prayer asking for their healing.  Rather, Jesus commanded healing to occur out of the authority that had been given to Him.  Neither did Jesus use the "if it be your will" approach.  Jesus came to these situations knowing that it was Father's will to heal - all the sick who were willing, any time they asked.

Finally, many of these passages illustrate the importance that God places on our faith.  This is no different than the role of faith in receiving forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation.  It is the same faith, in the same God.  Healing is no more difficult for God than forgiveness.  We never question whether God wants to save people.  Why would we question whether He wants to heal them?
 

  • Jairus' dead daughter: Matt. 9: 18-26; Mark 5: 22-43; Luke 8: 41-56
     
  • a sick woman is healed: Matt. 9: 20-22; Mark 5: 25-34; Luke 8: 43-48
     
  • a leper is healed: Matt. 8: 1-4; Mark 1: 40-45; Luke 5: 12-15
     
  • a paralytic is healed: Matt. 9: 1-8; Mark 2: 1-12; Luke 5: 17-26
     
  • Peter's mother-in-law:  Matt. 8: 14-17; Mark 1: 29-31; Luke 4: 38-39
     
  • shriveled hand: Matt. 12: 9-13; Mark 3: 1-5; Luke 6: 6-11
     
  • blind Bartimaeus: Matt. 20: 29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18: 35-43
     
  • centurion's servant: Matt. 8: 5-13; Luke 7: 1-10
     
  • muteness: Matt. 12: 22; Luke 11: 14
     
  • two blind men: Matt. 9: 27-31
     
  • muteness: Matt. 9: 32-33
     
  • deaf and mute: Mark 7: 31-37
     
  • blindness: Mark 8: 22-26
     
  • widow's dead son: Luke 7: 11-16
     
  • crippled woman: Luke 13: 10-17
     
  • ten lepers: Luke 17: 11-19
     
  • severed ear: Luke 22: 49-51
     
  • lameness: John 5: 1-16
     
  • dead Lazarus: John 11: 1-45
     
  • official's son: John 4: 46-54
     
  • sending out disciples to minister:  Matt. 10: 1-16; Mark 6: 7-13; Luke 9: 1-6; Luke 10: 1-12; Mark 16: 15-17
     

Listed below are resources that may be useful to you as you seek to walk in the ministry that Jesus commissioned for you.  They include books, CDs, ministries and training programs.  Books and CDs are listed under the ministries that author or sponsor them.
 


Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship -  see in particular their page on Healing and deliverance as well as the link to their School of Ministry  

Global Awakening -  This ministry also hosts the Randy Clark School of Healing & Impartation 

Bethel Church -  Check out their School of Ministry and  the link to Sozo training.  Bill Johnson is Bethel's senior pastor. Two of his books are listed below.

The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind: Access to a life of miracles, by Bill Johnson (Destiny Image Publishers)

Healing: Our neglected birthright (a 6 CD series), by Bill Johnson ( www.ibethel.org or 530-246-6000)


Iris Ministries  Iris Ministries also sponsors the Holy Given International School of Missions.  Heidi & Rolland Baker, who head Iris Ministries have written the following book.

There is Always Enough by Heidi & Roland Baker 
 

Fresh Fire Ministries  sponsors the Supernatural Training Center .  Todd Bentley, Fresh Fire's founder has written the following:


Christ's Healing Touch: Understanding how to take God's healing power to the world, by Todd Bentley (published by Fresh Fire Ministries)


All Nations Ministries  Roger Sapp heads this ministry and has written several helpful books, among them:
 

Performing Miracles and Healing:  A biblical guide to developing a Christ-like supernatural ministry, by Roger Sapp (Morris Publishing)

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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ISRAEL AND THE GENTILE CHURCH

 

 

What is the relationship of gentile Christians to the nation of Israel, the land of Israel, and the scriptures of Israel (i.e., what we know as the Old Testament)?

The short answer is that gentile Christians are actually counted as Jews, having been grafted into Israel by their salvation. (Rom. 11: 17-24)  The entirety of Romans 11 is a crucial passage for understanding this relationship.

Scripture is very clear that God chose to put His grace on Israel, giving them His presence and His Word.  His full intention in this was that through the seed of Abraham, all the nations of the world would be blessed.  (Gen. 12: 1- 3; 18: 17-19; 22: 15-18) 

This blessing occurs in many ways. 
 

1.  God was introduced to the world through His relationship with Israel.  He was revealed to them and through them to be fundamentally different than the "gods" that other nations worshipped.  Foreigners came to fear the power of Yahweh and also wanted to be part of His provision and protection. (Is. 61: 1-9; 62: 1-12)

2.  The Scriptures, which were entrusted to Israel, were not just for their benefit, but also for the benefit of any person who wanted to be joined to them. (Rom.3: 1-2)  Throughout the Old Testament, God made allowance for foreigners to be counted among the people of Israel.  

It is important to note that whenever the New Testament makes a reference to the scriptures, it is referring to the Old Testament. (e.g., 2 Tim. 3: 16)

3.  Ultimately, the Messiah would be born of the tribe of Judah.  Jesus is the fulfillment 
- the end goal - of all that God began when He first called Abraham to be His own.

4.  God revealed through Abraham the conditions through which people would be saved and brought into a relationship with Him.  That is, that salvation has always been and will always be the result of faith, rather than of good works. (Gen. 15: 1- 6; Rom. 4: 16-25).  This was true in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.  Nothing we do will accomplish our salvation - not good behavior or the circumcision of our flesh or going to church.  These are things that result from our salvation but they do not grant salvation. (Rom. 3: 28-30; 4: 4-13).

Ultimately then, Jewishness or citizenship in Israel, is not accomplished through genealogy or culture or tradition.  Rather it is defined by the condition of the heart. (John 8: 37-42; Col. 2: 11-12; Rom. 2: 26-29).  This is why we have passages such as Eph. 2: 11-19

"Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household …"

5.  Being grafted into the people of Israel through our adoption in Jesus makes gentile believers joint heirs to the physical land of Israel and to all of the promises and charges given to them as a nation (e.g., Ezek. 47: 21-23; Gen. 12: 1-3).  

6.  It also makes them joint keepers/guardians of the Word of God entrusted to Israel.
 

 

Benefits of understanding the Hebraic roots of Christian faith
 

By viewing Christianity as the fulfillment of Judaism rather than its replacement, we reap several benefits.

1.  It helps us to better understand the meaning of scripture.  The Bible was not originally written in English but in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic.  The only way to really understand scripture is to ask what the phrases would have meant to the people to which they were originally spoken.  This takes into account the culture in which it was spoken/written as well as the customs of that day.

All language is a reflection of that language's culture. When you translate a Hebrew word into another language, you lose subtle shadings that are dependent on Hebrew culture and history. For example, the Hebrew word torah means instruction.  It implies an honor and privilege given to us, a responsibility that we undertake as part of the covenant we made with God, a good deed that we are eager to perform because it please the God who saved us and because we recognize that it is given for our own good.  When it is translated into English, torah is usually rendered as the word commandment or law.  "Commandment" has a much different implication - a law or order imposed upon us by a stern and punishing God.

2.  It help us to see the continuity of Scripture.  We have mistakenly believed that the Old and New Testaments were two separate entities, two separate covenants, two disconnected stories.  But the truth of scripture is that it is a single story which spans the Old and New Testaments.  It is the story of the birth, death, and redemption (resurrection) of the children of God, the sons and daughters of Adam.  This is the story of God's desire to have children for Himself and a bride for His son.  It is about the lengths He has gone to in order to accomplish those things.  Ultimately, the Bible tells the story of God's heart poured out on us, the objects of His great affection.

 

By way of example ...
 

As an example of the continuity of scripture, in Lev. 23 God instituted what He called the feasts or festivals of the Lord (notice that these were not called the festivals of Israel, but rather festivals of the Lord).  These seven events were prophetic rehearsals of the birth, death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus.  They were designed to point the way to Messiah, as their fulfillment would be found in Him.  Consequently, many of Jesus' statements which are recorded in the New Testament are references to elements of the festivals (something we cannot understand if we fail to view Jesus in the context of His Jewish culture and faith).  For example, Jesus' statement in John 7: 37-38 is a reference to a symbol used in the Feast of Tabernacles.  Therefore, some of its significance is lost if we don't understand that Feast.

All people who belong to the Lord were instructed to participate in these festivals until the end of the Age (that is, until the second coming of Christ).  

In Lev. 23: 2, the word for feast is the Hebrew word mo'ed, which means "an appointment, a fixed time or season, a cycle or year, an assembly, an appointed time, a set time or exact time.  God is saying here that He has ordained specific times (or exact time or an appointed time) when He will meet with humanity to fulfill certain events in the redemption.  E.g., Jesus came to earth at the exact time ordained by God (Gal 4:2,4), and God has an exact time or set appointment when, in the future, He will judge the world (Acts 17:31).

Mo'ed is also translated as the tent of meeting that was to be part of the tabernacle of Moses.  The tent of meeting contained a table on which was the bread of the Presence and a lampstand that burned oil continually before God.  (The book of Revelation uses lampstand to represent the church).  The ark of the Covenant was in an area of the tent of meeting called the Most Holy Place.  (Exod. 25: 8-22)  Here, God would meet intimately with Moses at the mercy seat.  It was also the place that contained the word/instruction of God, the staff of authority, and the manna/provision.

In the appointed time (during the festivals), in the tent of meeting (which now includes the human heart and not just a physical structure), we come face to face with the presence of God.  We also receive the word/instruction of God, the staff of authority (which allows us to minister in His name), and the manna (provision of God for our lives).

Eddie Chumney has written a very useful book about the relationship of the seven festivals to Jesus (and therefore to Christianity).  Below is an excerpt from his book, The Seven Festivals of the Messiah.  I encourage you to visit his website.  There, you may either order the book or download it for free.

 

Reasons for studying the feasts   
 

Although God gave us the festivals to observe, God never gave the festivals so we would obtain salvation from Him by observing them because salvation only comes by faith. However, God did give the festivals for the purpose of teaching and instructing His people concerning His plan of redemption and our personal relationship to Him.

The Bible provides several powerful reasons for studying and understanding the seven festivals of the Messiah: 
1.  The feasts are in the Bible, and all the Bible is inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16-17). 
2.  The feasts are a shadow of things to come that teach us about the Messiah (Col. 2:16-17; Heb. 10:1). 
3.  The feasts are prophetic types and examples foreshadowing significant events in God's plan of redemption (1 Cor. 10:1-6,11; Rom. 15:4). 
4.  The feasts, as part of the Torah (which means "instruction"), are as a schoolmaster or tutor that leads us to the Messiah (Gal. 3:24). 
5.  The feasts will point to the Messiah and God's plan for the world through the Messiah (Ps. 40:6-8; Heb. 10:7).
6.  The feasts set forth the pattern of heavenly things on earth(Heb. 8:1-2,5; 9:8-9,23; Exod.25:8-9,40; 26:30; Num.8:4; Ezek.43:1-6,10-12). 
7.  God gives the natural to explain the spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46-47;  2:9-13; 2 Cor.4:18).

 

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