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Enforcing Christ’s Victory
I’ve been seeking to focus on the cross. That is, the final, all sufficient sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. And I’ve tried to show you that the cross is the only basis for God’s total provision for all our needs: spiritual, physical, material, temporal, eternal. Paul said, “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory.” Which means that after He’s supplied all our need He’s no less rich than he was before. But the only basis on which you can come to God for the supply of your need is the cross. If you come on any other basis, you have no claim. But on the basis of the cross, you can claim the total provision of God. Romans 8:32 says:
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?”
That’s a tremendous statement. With him on the basis of the cross, God freely gives us all things.
Then this morning I sought to show you that the cross also was the place where Jesus administered a total, eternal, irreversible defeat to Satan and his kingdom. He completely defeated him once and for all.
I think we probably should go back to those scriptures briefly—if it’s possible for me to do anything briefly! As a matter of fact, my radio messages prove I can because every one of them is twelve minutes and ten seconds. It was very good for me to have to do it. In fact, I think in a way, a lot of preachers, it would be a good discipline to have them have to preach that way. I’ll tell you another good discipline for preachers and I think Don would agree with me. It’s having to preach through an interpreter. I think before any preacher is turned loose, he should have to preach through an interpreter for six months. Because, you can’t get away with jokes. You can use all sorts of long words and phrases—they mean nothing. All you can transmit is the real meat of the message.
Colossians 1:12, this is the statement that I’ve already made but we’ll look at it.
“God has delivered us from the domain of darkness [that’s Satan’s kingdom] and translated us [or transferred us or carried us] over to the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
So here are the two kingdoms and I picture them like two nations with a river in between. To get out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s Son, you need a bridge to cross the river. There’s only one bridge, the bridge is the cross. But that bridge is so strong that it doesn’t matter if millions of people cross over, it can hold them all up.
However, and this is very important, the bridge is not your destination. It’s your way to your destination, but the destination is the kingdom of God. We are called, the Scripture says very clearly, to reign as kings and priests with Jesus Christ now in this age. I think it will be relatively easy to reign in the next age but that’s not where it’s at. The issue is reigning right now. Revelation 1:5–6 says:
“God has made us kings and priests through him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
Then in Colossians 2 we dealt with the basis of Satan’s defeat. And I want to say incidentally for those of you that are going to be here tomorrow, in fact, the three remaining messages that I have, I’m going to try to deal with Satan’s counter attack, how he seeks to undo the victory that Jesus won. I won’t deal with that tonight but that will be my theme in the following messages.
“And you being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God has made alive together with Him [Jesus], having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us which was contrary to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it [which is the cross]. Therefore let no one judge you in food and drink or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbath...”
I pointed out the destination to which God is seeking to bring us as the basis for victory is “let no one judge you.” Stated in Romans 8:1:
“There is therefore now no condemnation...”
As long as you are living under condemnation, you are no threat to Satan and that’s why he wants to keep you there. The only people who can successfully deal with Satan are those who have through the cross escaped out of condemnation. I pointed out here I was a professor of logic and one of the things that particularly appeals to me in the scripture is its flawless logic. Let me say you never need apologize or feel intellectually inferior for saying you believe the Bible. It is the most logical book that’s ever been made available to the human race.
And here in this passage Paul states the two ways in which God has made provision for us to be delivered from condemnation. First of all, all our past sinful acts can be forgiven because Jesus has paid the penalty for them all. That takes care of the past, which is wonderful because there’s no other religion in the world that can deal with the past. You can check on them all, there’s not a single other religion that can deal with your past. The gospel is the only message that can do that.
Secondly, by the death of Jesus on the cross, God terminated the requirements of the law of Moses as a means of achieving righteousness with God. He removed those written ordinances which were against us. Because, every time we wanted to come to God, Satan our accuser would be there and he’d point to commandment number such and such and statute number such and such and ordinance number such and such and say, “They have no right to come to you, they’ve broken these.” And because none of us is capable of perfectly observing the law, that was a barrier that we could never get past. But through the death of Jesus, God removed that barrier and it says He nailed it to the cross. So, when you come to the cross, that’s where the requirements of the law end. They don’t extend beyond the cross.
Just to take one vivid way to express this, when Jesus died on the cross, our old man—our rebellious, carnal nature—was crucified with him. Romans 6:6. Now, that’s true whether you know it or whether you believe it—it makes no difference. As far as its truth is concerned, it’s a historical fact. But unless you know it and believe it, it won’t do you any good. So Paul says in Romans 6:6, “knowing this.” And in verse 11, “reckoning yourselves.” So we reckon our condition to be based on the death of the old man, his execution in Christ on the cross.
Now the good news is this, that the execution took place 19 centuries ago in Jesus. And secondly, when a person has paid the penalty for one crime, he can never be tried again for the same crime. And once the law has put you to death, it has no more claims on you. Death is the only way out of the claims of the law. But we get out of the claims of the law not through our own death but through being identified with the death of Jesus on the cross. So we are not required to observe the law, either wholly or in part, in order to achieve righteousness with God. This is perhaps, in a way, the most crucial statement of the gospel and it is stated over and over again in the New Testament. It must be stated at least 12 times in the epistle to the Romans alone. The amazing thing is that most Christians—and in particular those who call themselves evangelical and Pentecostal—have really never for the most part absorbed this truth. What has happened, generally speaking, is we say we’re not under the law [the law of Moses] and then we make our own silly little laws and put ourselves under them.
Now, I’m not saying that you should be lawless or disobedient. What I’m saying is you will never achieve righteousness with God by keeping any set of rules. To try to do that—maybe without your realizing it—is to insult God because you’re telling him Jesus didn’t need to die. I could have made it without him. That’s a terrible thing to say to God the Father and God the Son: the death of Jesus wasn’t necessary. But if we could do it by ourselves just by keeping rules, then Jesus didn’t need to die.
So, on the basis of these two facts, first of all, that our past sins can be totally forgiven—all of them; and secondly, that we’re not required to observe a law to achieve righteousness with God. We are set free from condemnation. That’s why Paul says therefore let no one judge you in respect to various things which are part of the law of Moses.
That’s just by way of introduction. But you’ll notice that in the next verse, verse 15, Paul says that through the sacrifice of Jesus, God has disarmed principalities and powers. I pointed out to you that those are the principalities and powers spoken of in Ephesians 6:12.
“Our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies, but against principalities and powers, authorities and rulers of a spiritual realm of darkness in the heavenlies.”
So, on the basis of what was accomplished by the death of Jesus on the cross, God has removed Satan’s weapons from him. Now this is tremendously important. And Satan’s main weapon is summed up in one word. I think some of you have understood this. What’s the one crucial issue? Guilt, that’s right. Isaiah 53:10 says concerning Jesus:
“When God shall make his soul the guilt offering for humanity, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days...”
The sacrifice was not complete, the prophet could not promise the resurrection and all the other blessings to follow until Jesus had made his soul the guilt offering for humanity. On the cross God visited upon Jesus the total guilt of all humanity and He paid the final penalty. Therefore, we are now—the technical, Biblical word is—justified, which is one of the most beautiful words in the English language. Unfortunately, most people don’t really understand it. This is my translation of justified. Acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned. That’s justified. Why? Because we’ve been made righteous with the righteousness of God. Not with our own righteousness, not with our best efforts, not with our religious profession; but with the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. A righteousness which has never known sin, has no guilt, has no past to repent of. That’s what’s made available to us through the exchange of the cross, because Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness—come on, you that can remember it—that we might be made righteous with his righteousness.
Okay. Now what I want to deal with this evening, but it has to be done on this basis, is the nature of the warfare against the kingdom of darkness. Let me put it this way. Christ has won the victory but He leaves it to us to enforce the victory. Okay, do you see? It’s very important. If we had to win the victory, we could never do it. We don’t have to win the victory, Jesus said, “I’ve won the victory.” But we have to enforce the victory that He has won. For instance, just one example in Matthew 28:18 and following, after the resurrection He appeared to His disciples and He said:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [Then He said:] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...”
What’s the therefore there for? It’s there because He has obtained the authority, we have to exercise the authority. You understand? And His authority is completely ineffective until we exercise it. So the only way the world can ever know what Jesus has accomplished for us is when we exercise His authority on His behalf, making disciples of all nations. So that’s the principle. Jesus has done it, we have to apply it.
There’s two mistakes you can make. The one is thinking that you’ve got to win the victory. You don’t have to, Jesus has won the victory. The opposite mistake is thinking there’s nothing left for you to do. That’s not true. You have to apply the victory that Jesus has won.
Now I want to talk about some of the weapons. Let’s look, first of all, in 2Corinthians 10:3–5. This is spoken about all Christians. It’s not about apostles or pastors, it’s just about all Christians.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh...”
Paul says we live in physical bodies and we’re involved in a war but the war is not in the physical realm. Can you understand that? So, what realm is it in? Spiritual, exactly. Go to the top of the class, all of you at one time. Verse 4:
“...for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [if they’re not carnal, what are they? Spiritual.], but mighty in God [and only on God. We must never come to the place where we’re not dependent on God because at that point we are defeated. They are mighty. The old version said:] through God to the pulling down of strongholds or fortresses. [Whose fortresses? Satan’s, that’s right. We’ll come back to that in a moment.] Casting down arguments and ever high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Now where this one says “arguments,” another version says “reasonings,” and another says “speculations.” A little further on you’ll find the words “knowledge” and “thought.” Take those five words: arguments, reasonings, speculations, knowledge and thought; they all belong to the same realm which is the mind. Here’s a vital fact. The battlefield is the mind. That’s where the battle is fought out. Most of you who have tried to live the Christian life have discovered this. You may not have seen it as a theological fact but the truth of the matter is most of our battles are in our mind. Right? That’s not out of order, that’s the way it is.
Now let’s consider a little bit more about this warfare. Remembering we’re all in it, you understand? Our kingdom is at war with Satan’s kingdom. We are citizens of this kingdom, therefore we are at war. Okay? You don’t have to declare war individually, it’s been done by your government.
All right. Now then, going back to the end of verse 4, the weapons God has given us are mighty for pulling down strongholds or fortresses. Whose fortresses? Satan’s. In what realm? The realm of the mind, that’s right. What are the fortresses that Satan builds in peoples’ minds? You could think of many different answers but if I were to choose one generic word, it would be the word “prejudice.” Prejudice means having your mind made up before you know the facts. The typical statement of the prejudiced person is, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!” I think prejudice, in many different forms, is one of the most powerful strongholds of Satan. Why does he build these fortresses in peoples’ minds? To prevent the truth of the gospel entering and doing its work. And so, you can deal with all sorts of people. I don’t want in any way to be offensive or derogatory of any people but, to take a group that most of us have encountered, the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If you talk to Jehovah’s Witnesses, you can quote anything you like from the Bible, they can’t hear you because their minds are totally preprogrammed. They’ve got a certain specific way that they answer. What is that? It’s a fortress. It prevents the truth of God’s word entering.
You talk to Moslems and they’ll believe many things about Jesus. They will even admit that He was the Messiah. They could agree that He was born of a virgin. But there’s two things they will not admit. Most of you are not aware of this. They do not admit that He died on the cross and Mohammed taught that an angel spirited Him away before He died. And the thing that they will passionately oppose is that He’s the Son of God. You see? So those are the strongholds in the Moslem mind. And they’re very, very powerful strongholds. You can get a Moslem so far and get him very interested in Jesus but when He’s asked to acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, this wall comes up.
Take another group of people that are close to us, the Jewish people. If you haven’t dealt with Jewish people you may not be aware but there is a fortress in the minds of the Jews when it comes to acknowledging Jesus as Messiah and it is “if I believe in Jesus I’ll no longer be Jewish.” You would be hard put to it to realize what a tremendous barrier that is. Of course, it’s a ridiculous statement. Jesus was the best Jew that ever lived. All the apostles were Jewish, the New Testament was written by Jews. I mean, it’s just absurd. We could say as Gentiles, “If I believe in Jesus, I’ll become a Jew.” That would be a much more logical statement. See, there’s no logic in these fortresses, they’re just prejudices that Satan has built up in peoples’ minds.
And he knows different kinds of people. He uses a different prejudice for different persons. Like, other people who are not far from us, “Well, I was baptized and confirmed; so I’m a Christian.” It’s not such a strong prejudice but it’s right there, isn’t it? Is that right? Maybe you don’t agree but I’ve been through it so I know. In my own experience, let me not talk about anybody else.
What I’m pointing out to you is we have a tremendous assignment from God once we’ve become part of the kingdom of God: to take hold of our spiritual weapons and use them in God’s war against the kingdom of Satan on behalf of humanity. And if you look at these verses, our assignment is to break down the strongholds in peoples’ minds that prevent them from receiving the gospel and then to release their minds from the captivity of Satan and to bring their minds into captivity and obedience to Jesus Christ. That’s a tremendous assignment. I ask you to ponder on it in your own time. It’s tremendous but that’s our assignment. And I would have to say in a sense, the universe is waiting for us to do the job. Paul said in Romans 8, the whole creation is groaning and travailing in pain together until now, waiting for us to get the job done. It’s embarrassing to think that creation has had to wait 19 centuries for the church to do its job.
Now let’s consider some of the weapons briefly. I could preach on this all night, honestly. I won’t, I promise you I won’t. It is such a tremendous subject and so important. See? I know some of you have got to get somewhere before midnight so we’ll release you. I’m only teasing you. I mean really, in a way, I feel so sorry for people in Britain and America—Christians. Because they sit three hours in a meeting and they say that was a long meeting. You go to Third World nations, you preach for five hours and they say why are you stopping, you’ve only just started! I hear that in Communist China when an evangelist arrives in an area, the people take his luggage and hide it so he can’t go on. See, oh, what a blessed hunger that is. May God grant to us in these privileged, self-satisfied, materially abundant nations to recognize our spiritual poverty. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Not prosperity, not healing, not power; but righteousness. God grant a hunger for righteousness throughout the British Isles. The kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Never leave out the righteousness. I meet most Christians who are pursuing peace and joy but they’re not much concerned with righteousness. You won’t get there if righteousness is the primary requirements. Not the righteousness of works but the righteousness which is by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Let’s turn to Ephesians 6:12. I’m going to give you the Prince version. People sometimes ask me if it’s in print. It may be in that little book I hold up. I wouldn’t guarantee it but I think I probably did give the Amplified Version over the radio.
“Our wrestling match...
Let me point out it’s a wrestling match. Of all the forms of conflict between two persons, wrestling is the most intense, isn’t that right? It’s more intense than boxing. It’s no accident that Paul used the metaphor of a wrestling match. This is all in conflict. Your total personality: spirit, soul and body, is pitted against tremendously powerful forces of evil that would destroy you if they could.
“Our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies...”
I owe that to the Living Bible. I’m glad to acknowledge my debt. I think it’s very vivid. We’re not fighting persons with bodies.
“...but against rulers with various areas and descending orders of authority.”
All right. A very highly organized, spiritual kingdom. Satan gets no credit for the organization, as far as I understand it. He had the organization when he was one of the angels in charge of other angels. I personally believe there were probably three main archangels: Lucifer, Michael and Gabriel. That’s a personal opinion. And as I understand scripture, and you can read in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, Lucifer turned in rebellion against God because he thought he deserved a position of equality with God. My personal guess is it wasn’t God the Father he claimed to be equal with, it was God the Son. And when he made that claim, first of all, he persuaded the angels under his authority to join him. I think he did something like this, because in Ezekiel 28 it uses a word that is used elsewhere in the Bible for a talebearer. So, this is just my guess and you don’t have to attach too much importance to it, but I picture Lucifer, the glorious, beautiful cherub who overshadowed the throne of God and was responsible for heaven’s worship. He was so beautiful and so wise that he became what? What’s the first sin in the history of the universe? Pride. That’s right, and it’s still the worst. We get so excited about adultery and drunkenness, we wouldn’t tolerate them in the church and the church is full of pride. Yes or no? All right. So anyhow, this beautiful archangel—this is just my picture—he went around the other angels and said, “You know, fellas, you’ve got a lot of potential and a lot of ability that really is depreciating. God doesn’t realize all you could be. But if you’d come under my leadership, I’d see to it that you’d get really recognized.” So apparently he persuaded the angels under his authority to turn with him in rebellion against God. It says in the book of Revelation “that a third part of the stars of heaven were swept by his tail,” which many commentators believe the angels.
And so he set up a rival kingdom. He was thrown out of heaven, the third heaven, the heaven of God’s presence and being which you’ll find described in 2Corinthians 12. He set up a rival spiritual kingdom in the heavenlies somewhere. Bearing in mind as I said this morning, heaven is plural from the first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens [plural] and the earth [singular].” That first verse of the Bible is such a masterpiece of revelation because the word for God in Hebrew is a plural form, Elohim. Imis the plural. But the verb “create” is singular. So, in the first words of the Bible you get the mystery of the Godhead. One and yet more than one. And then he created the heavens, ?sha-ma-eem?, plural and the earth, singular. And as you trace all the rest of the Bible through, you’ll find these two themes are unfolded continually up to the book of Revelation, which is the consummation of both.
So, going back to Ephesians 6:12 and the Prince version:
“Our wrestling match is not against persons with bodies but against rulers with various areas and descending orders of authority, against the world dominators of this present darkness...”
And remember that Satan’s aim is to dominate the entire human race and get the whole human race to worship him. And he has a plan which I think is far advanced. I think it’s pretty near its consummation, to raise up a ruler who will be known as the antichrist who will, for a brief period, gain control over all humanity on earth—except who? Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. And he will get all humanity to worship him. And in worshipping him they’ll be worshipping the devil who gave him the power and authority. That’s Satan’s goal. He works toward it unceasingly. And a great deal of what you see in our contemporary world situation represents Satan’s moves towards achieving that goal.
Then we go back to Ephesians 6:12—you can see this is a verse full of all sorts of exciting revelation.
“...against spiritual hosts [or forces] of wickedness in the heavenlies.”
And I know this is new to some of you but that’s not important whether it’s new. What matters is whether it’s true. Satan’s headquarters is still in the heavenlies. It’s from there that he runs his highly organized kingdom, seeking to gain control of all nations. This is very, very important for us in Britain because if Britain is ever going to experience the kind of revival Britain needs, the church in Britain is going to have to learn how to deal with the Satanic principalities and powers over this nation. See, the ultimate factor in the destiny of nations is spiritual. It’s not primarily political or economic, it’s spiritual. And the only group on earth who are equipped to intervene in the spiritual realm are the church, that’s right. That’s why we are the most significant people on earth. The trouble is we’re not acting like it. But we are. We have the weapons. Politicians don’t have the weapons, military commanders don’t have the weapons, scientists don’t have the weapons. We have the weapons. I could say the whole universe is just shouting at us, “Wake up, church, and do something.” Thank God there are those who are awakened but they’re a very small proportion of the total body of Christ at this time.
Now, what are our spiritual weapons? If you read the next verses you’ll find the “therefore.” Remember what I’ve been saying about therefore? Verse 13:
“Therefore, take up the whole armor of God...”
Why? Because we’re in a battle. And then Paul lists six items of equipment. We might glance at them. Beginning in verse 14:
“...the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness...”
What area of the body does the breastplate protect? The heart, that’s right. 1Thessalonians 5:8 says the righteousness of faith and love. It’s not the righteousness of legalism, it’s the righteousness of a faith which produces love in the heart.
“...the shoes of the gospel of the preparation of the gospel of peace; [verse 16:] the shield of faith; [and verse 17:] the helmet of salvation.”
What area of the person does the helmet protect? The mind, that’s right. And see, I’ve lived through this because of my problem with depression that I told you yesterday. And God told me that I had to learn to protect my mind. When I asked him how, the answer came from the word of God “the helmet of salvation.” Then I said to myself, “I know I’m saved. Does that mean I have the helmet of salvation?” I saw that Paul was talking to people here who were saved and baptized in the Spirit and he told them to take the helmet of salvation. So we don’t automatically have it because we’re saved. So I discovered a cross reference which is very useful, 1Thessalonians 5:8:
“For an helmet, the hope of salvation...”
And I discovered the nature of the helmet. What is it in one word? Hope, that’s right. You see, hope protects your mind against depression, discouragement. Just as faith protects your heart, hope protects your mind. Biblical faith is in the realm of the heart. With the heart man believeth. But hope is in the realm of the mind. The writer of Hebrews says faith is the substance of things hoped for. So, on the basis of faith in the heart we may have hope in the mind. And hope protects our mind.
Listen, I hope I won’t offend you, but there’s nothing that’s more needed by British believers than the helmet of hope. Because, basically I think we are a nation of professional pessimists. People from other nations smile because they’ve observed it. I’m not saying they are, I’m saying we are. If ever anybody had a battle, I had a three year battle against pessimism. When I was fighting the battle I saw it was a dark river that ran through this nation and affects in many ways the attitudes, the reactions and the achievements of the British people. I just want to commend this helmet to you. Don’t go to bed at night without your helmet. When you wake up in the morning, check that you have your helmet on. Be an optimist. You say, “What is the scriptural basis for being an optimist?” Romans 8:28:
“We know that all things work together for good to those that love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
If you love God and you’re walking in His purpose for you—now those are conditions—then anything that happens in your life is for your good. So there is no logical reason for being a pessimist. Okay?
You can say yes and nod your head but it’s going to take mental discipline to transfer that to your daily living pattern. Wives, check on your husbands in a nice, discreet way. But don’t let them go out in the morning to work without their helmet on. Okay? I say wives because women are much more perceptive in this area than men. And I think by nature are more disposed to be optimists than men. I may be wrong about that but that’s my impression.
There’s one more item of equipment which is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Now you’ve all heard the very, what shall I say, erudite distinctions between logos and rhema, I’m sure. Logosbeing the eternal counsel of God, rhemabeing the Word of God spoken. What it says here is the sword of the Spirit is the rhemaof God. In other words, it’s not the Bible on your bedside table, it’s the Word of God when you speak it with your mouth. That’s a sword, that’s how Jesus used it when He was confronted by Satan. Three times He said, “It is written.” That’s making the written word, logos, your rhema. And that’s what drives Satan back.
However, when you analyze those six items of equipment, essentially they are all for defense except the sword. And even the sword can only operate as far as your arm can reach. We cannot cast down Satan’s kingdom without further weapons. Whenever you find six of a good thing in the Bible—this is not scripture, this is just my observation—you need to look for the seventh. When we’ve got these six items, we need to look for the seventh and it’s there in verse 18:
“...praying always with all prayer and supplication.”
And that’s where we break out of the restrictions of only being able to reach as far as our hand and arm will reach. Prayer is limitless. It’s our intercontinental ballistic missile. We can launch it from anywhere and make it reach anywhere. And that, in a sense, is our main weapon to cast down the strongholds of Satan.
Now I’ll very briefly just suggest to you the three main weapons that will do the job. I need to make this clear because I realize I could confuse you, but let me try. I think the three primary weapons we have are the Word of God, the logos; the name of Jesus; and the blood of Jesus. Okay? I’ll say that again. The Word of God, the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus.
Now, when you have a really powerful weapon, even in the old days but more so now, you need something to launch it with. For instance, if you have a missile, you have to have something to launch it. If you have a bomb, you have to have something to drop it. If you have a bullet, you have to have something to fire it. And even in the old days when you had an arrow, you had to have a bow to shoot it. I want to suggest to you the four main ways of launching our weapons against Satan’s kingdom. You get the picture? We’ve got the Word of God, we’ve got the name of Jesus, we’ve got the blood of Jesus. How do we get them operative against the kingdom of Satan? My answer is there are four main ways. By no means are these the only ways. I say prayer, praise, preaching and testimony.
Prayer and praise and preaching and testimony are only effective insofar as they are loaded with the Word of God, the name of Jesus and the blood of Jesus. It’s not possible here tonight, and I don’t even intend to try, to deal with all of those but I just want to point out to you one glorious statement about the power of praise. It may be familiar to some of you, it’s in Psalm 8:2. See, when we stand for hours and praise God, we’re not going through some meaningless ritual; we are administering Christ’s victory in the heavenlies. But it works better when we know what we’re doing. You may think we’ve done a lot of praising God at these meetings, and I thank God for those who have lead us in praise. But I’ll tell you, before we get Satan’s kingdom really dealt with, we’re going to have to do a lot more praising. That’s just a trial run, what we’ve been doing here.
All right. Psalm 8:2 says:
“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings You [that is God] have ordained strength, because of your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger.”
Who’s the enemy and the avenger? Satan. Who are the other enemies? Satan’s kingdom, that’s right, Satan’s principalities and powers in the heavenlies. Now it says here “you have ordained strength.” But if you turn to Matthew 21, you get the authoritative comment of Jesus on that verse. Matthew 21:15:
“But the chief priests and Pharisees saw the wonderful things that He did and the children crying out in the temple, and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ and they were indignant. [They didn’t like the noise. And they thought children shouldn’t get so excited.] But They said to Him, ‘Do you know what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes. Have you never read...”
And incidentally, Jesus was a real Jew because if you deal with Jewish people, if you ask them a question they almost invariably answer with a question. And if you read the words of Jesus, I would say 8 times out of 10 He answers a question with a question. Here he says:
“Have you never read ‘Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings [and he’s quoting Psalm 8:2] You have perfected praise’?”
The psalmist said “You have ordained strength.” Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, said, “You have perfected praise.” What does that tell us? The ordained strength of God’s people is perfected praise.
Now, go back to Psalm 8:2, what does perfected praise do? It silences the enemy and the avenger. Who’s that? Satan. Why is it important to silence Satan? What is he doing? Accusing us, that’s right. We’ll come to that in a moment. I just want to say I was preaching in Switzerland in Luzon some years ago. I had a French interpreter. So I was listening to the French as well as when I was speaking English. And the French for Psalm 8:2 says this: “You have imposed silence on the enemy and the avenger.” What a wonderful revelation that we can impose silence on Satan. By what? By praise, by perfected praise. Okay?
Now, we’re going to come to the climax of this war. It hasn’t happened yet but I’m going to read you a prophetic scripture from the book of Revelation, chapter 12. Now, there’s more than one way of understanding Revelation. I’ve never been a real student of it but I’ve discovered there’s, for instance, there’s what they call the historicist interpretation and the futurist interpretation. The historicist interpretation says that the prophecies given in the book of Revelation have been fulfilled in subsequent centuries in things that have happened, basically in Europe. It depends what your particular denomination is how you apply this. If you’re a Roman Catholic, you say the fulfillments of the prophecies of Revelation was the overthrow of the pagan Roman Empire. But if you’re a Protestant, you say the fulfillment of the prophecies of Revelation was the overthrow of the papal Roman Empire. And you can find scores of books that present that interpretation.
I have one problem with both those interpretations. It’s this: As far as I understand, and I’m subject to correction if something comes up, they do not agree either with the facts of history or with the statements of scripture. You have to twist both to make them agree. I cannot accept either. So, I’m left to conclude that most of the prophecies of the book of Revelation are yet to be fulfilled. Okay? Now, not everybody agrees with me. I’m aware of that. But as my friend Bob Mumford says, “How can I help it if I’m right?” I always quote Bob Mumford on that, it makes me sound humble, you see?
Okay. Suppose for a moment you go along with my thesis. John received many of these prophetic revelations in the form of visions which he saw. And I suppose the visions were unfolded before his eyes. He described what he saw as he saw it. So, he would say, “I saw a white horse ride out. And after the white horse, a red horse. And after the red horse, a black horse.” And so on. So he put it in the past tense because he was describing a vision which he had seen. But, if my thesis is correct, the fulfillment is not in the past, it’s still in the future. So much of what we read in Revelation in the past tense is still future in fulfillment. Does that make sense to you, have I communicated that? All right.
So now, supposing that I’m right, let’s go to Revelation 12 and start at verse 7.
“And war broke out in heaven.”
There must be somebody other than God and His angels in heaven if there’s going to be a war there. They aren’t going to fight themselves. So you see, if this is correct, it substantiates my thesis that Satan’s kingdom is in the heavenlies. Okay? So that’s why there’s going to be war in the heavenlies. It’s in the past tense here but it’s future. War will break out in heaven. I believe very shortly.
“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon.”
Michael is one of the chief archangels and he has a special assignment. How many of you know what it is? Tell me. The guardian of Israel, that’s right. The twelfth chapter of Daniel says, “Michael, the great prince that stands for your people.” And he’s addressing Daniel, a Jew. So, it’s interesting that when Michael is in the center of the stage, who is in the center on earth? Israel. I imagine Michael is having a pretty busy time at the moment. But I wouldn’t want to be ranged against Michael.
“Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, not was a place found for the in heaven any longer.”
So if there’s going to be a time when there will be no place for them in heaven, what does that tell us now? That at the present time their place still is in heaven. See? Now this is all contingent upon the presupposition that I made. I don’t want to lead you into something other than you understand what I’m saying.
“So the great dragon was cast out...”
Here we get the most complete description of Satan in one verse.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that old snake [that’s the Prince version] called the devil and Satan...”
Now the word “devil,” diabolosin Greek, means a slanderer, a false accuser. Satan means an enemy or an opposer. So, he’s the slanderer who opposes God and the people of God and the purposes of God. And what does he do?
“...who deceives the whole world...”
That’s a very important statement because it tells us something about the whole world. What does it tell us? The whole world is under the deception of Satan. At the end of 1John, John says we know that the Son of God has come and that He has given us an understanding, and that we are in His truth, and the whole world is in the wicked one. Who is the wicked one? Satan. You see, it’s very important for us to remember this as Christians, because if we get involved in the world in the wrong way, we come under the deception of Satan.
The word church, ekklesia, is best translated “assembly.” And it is so translated three times in the 19th chapter of Acts and used of the assembly of the city of Ephesus. Ekklesiais directly related to the Greek word for “to call” and it means a company of people called out. Called out from what? I didn’t hear you. That’s right. So you understand, we have two options. We can be in the church or in the world. But we can’t be in both. So where are you? I don’t know whether you’ve ever heard this saying: A ship in the sea is all right; the sea in a ship is all wrong. The church in the world is all right; the world in the church is all wrong. And if the sea gets into the ship, what happens to the ship? That’s right. If the world gets into the church, what happens to the church? You see? There’s no extra charge for that.
The great dragon at this point is cast out of his kingdom in the heavenlies. It’s very important, this is the climax of the war. How many of you believe that God and his people are going to win? Well, this is the description of us winning, that’s why it’s important. I’ll show you.
“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, ‘Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, [Where? In heaven.] for the accuser of our brethren who accused them before God day and night has been cast down. [To where? Earth.]’”
Now, if this is still in the future, when it says that Satan is the accuser of our brethren, what does it tell us he’s doing right now? He’s accusing who? You see, the angels are talking so when they say “our brethren,” who are they talking about? Us, that’s right. So what is Satan doing right now? Accusing us. Where? Before the throne of God. That’s an amazing fact, isn’t it? How long is he doing it? Day and night.
Why is he accusing us? Listen, don’t hasten with an answer. What does he want to prove us in one word? Guilty. You see? What is his main weapon? Say it. Guilt, that’s right. And we cannot defeat him until we know how to deal with the weapon of guilt.
And here in the next verse is how to deal with it. I’m sharing with you what I consider to be the most powerful secret of scripture that God has ever revealed to me. If you were to pay me for it, you don’t have enough money. It’s worth more than all of you can put together. But I’m not asking for money. Freely I receive, freely I give. But I want you to know, I esteem this as extremely valuable.
“They overcame him...”
Who’s they? They is us. Who is him? Satan. And you notice it’s direct. They overcame him. Direct conflict between the church and Satan.
“They overcame him [now here are the spiritual weapons] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives to the death.”
Let’s leave the weapons to one side first and ask what kind of people are qualified to use the weapons? It says the people who didn’t what? Love their lives to the death. Let me say that again. The people who did not love their lives to the death. What does that mean? I’ll tell you what I understand. It means that for such people, to do the will of God is more important than to stay alive. Okay? And if there’s a choice, we’ll do the will of God even if it costs us our lives. I don’t believe Satan is the least bit afraid of uncommitted Christians. He laughs at them. But committed Christians frighten him. What does it mean to be committed? It means simply this: It’s more important for us to do the will of God than to stay alive.
I was called up into the British Army in 1940 and I spent five and a half years. I’d like to tell you this, when I joined the British Army, they never gave me a guarantee that I wouldn’t be killed. It makes me smile when I hear Christians talk about being soldiers. I don’t think they have the faintest idea of what’s involved in being soldiers. Soldiers are eligible to die. Is that right? It’s part of the job. No soldier joins up on the condition that he won’t be killed. And no Christian solider can say, “I will not give my life for Jesus.” So, we better make up our minds where we stand. I believe I can say to the best of my ability, I know where I stand. For me, it is more important to do the will of God than to stay alive. I may well be tested on this statement, I’m not making it rashly, I’ve turned it over in my mind and I’ve settled it so far as I can. I think it’s important that you settle it before the situation arises. Get your ticket before you get on the train!
Now, supposing that we have such people, what are the weapons that we use? It says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Remember I said testimony was one of the four ways of launching the weapons? So, what does that mean? I’ll tell you how I understand it. “We overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us.” I’ll say that again. “We overcome Satan when we testify personally to what the Word of God says the blood of Jesus does for us.” Okay? Our testimony makes it personal. It takes the general truth of the scripture and applies it to me.
In order to do that we have to know what the Word of God says about the blood of Jesus, otherwise we can’t do it. Okay? Now I’m going to share with you in a few moments some of the main statements of scripture about the blood of Jesus. And after that, God helping us, we’re going to close if we can. It may not be possible.
The first statement about the blood of Jesus is Ephesians 1:7:
“In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood.”
All right? Redemption means we have been bought back. We were in the kingdom of Satan, we’ve been bought back out of the kingdom of Satan. The price of our redemption, Peter tells us, was not silver or gold but the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Psalm 107:2 says:
“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed out of the hand of the enemy.”
My personal testimony is this: “Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil.” Okay?
1John 1:7 says:
“If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us [and it’s a continuing present tense, cleanses us continually] from all sin.”
They’re all continuing present. If we continually walk, we continually have fellowship, and the blood continually cleanses us. Bear in mind it’s conditional. If you’re not walking in the light, the blood doesn’t cleanse you. The blood does not cleanse in the dark. And if you are walking in the light, you will have fellowship with your fellow believers. If you’re out of fellowship, you’re out of the light. If you’re out of the light, the blood doesn’t cleanse you. That’s important.
But supposing that we have met the condition, then my testimony is:
“While I walk in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses me now and continually...” [I say that because it brings out the full meaning of the verb.] “...from all sin.” Let me say that again. “While I am walking in the light, the blood of Jesus is cleansing me now and continually, from all sin.”
?Who sufficia capesa? Do you know what that means? You don’t know Swahili. Well, it’s the Swahili translation of that and it is such a powerful word. Never mind, let’s not get involved in that. I can never say that verse without thinking of the Swahili words for it. But let’s not get involved in that.
Romans 5:9 says we have been justified by His blood. Justified, I’ve told you what it means. It means acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned. All right? So, my personal testimony is: “Through the blood of Jesus, I am justified, acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned.” Okay?
And we’ll take one more, we could go on but time is running out. Hebrews 13:12:
“...Jesus, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”
So, we are sanctified by the blood of Jesus. Sanctified has both a negative and a positive meaning. It means negatively to be separated and set apart from sin. And positively it means to be made partaker of God’s holiness. All right? So, my testimony is: “Through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, separated from sin and the kingdom of Satan, and made partaker of God’s own holiness.” I’ve never said it that way before but it sounds good to me. Okay? I’ll say that once more. “Through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, separated from sin and Satan’s kingdom, and made partaker of God’s holiness.”
See, holiness is not just negative, it’s not just not doing this and not doing that. That’s part of it but the goal is positive. Hebrews 12 says, “God chastens His children for our good, that we may be made partakers of His holiness.” That’s tremendous. We could dwell on that all night but we won’t.
Let me say some simple statements that may help you. As I understand it, we thank God for His goodness; we praise God for His greatness; but we worship Him for His holiness.
Now, I’ll go through this once more very quickly and then I’m going to give you the tremendous privilege of going through it with me. Okay? Why should I get all the blessings? I’m going to give you the opportunity to make your personal testimony. I’ll do it quickly if I can. “Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil. I was in his hand but I’m no longer there. While I’m walking in the light, the blood of Jesus is cleansing me now and continually from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned.” Okay? And then the other one which is a new version for me, “Through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, set apart from sin and Satan’s kingdom, and made partaker of God’s holiness.”
I just want you to think for a moment, through the blood of Jesus you’re separated. See? Satan and his kingdom are in a different realm from you. You’re living in a realm that’s different.
Now, it would be very unfair for me just to get all the blessing and say all the confessions and leave you just listening. So, if you believe what I’ve said, which means if you believe the Bible, I want to give you the opportunity to close this service tonight by using some of your spiritual weapons. You see, the glorious fact is we’re going to be part of the force that casts down Satan’s kingdom from the heavenlies. That’s exciting. See, heaven is our Canaan, but Canaan was full of giants and walled cities. So in order to possess their inheritance, Israel had to deal with the giants and the walled cities. In order to possess our heavenly inheritance, we have to deal with the kingdom of Satan in the heavenlies. Understand? It’s very logical.
Let’s stand to our feet if we want to do this. Now, when we do this, I want you to be ready to open up to the Holy Spirit and I would like our wonderful worship leaders, if you’d come and be behind me. We won’t stop you from doing it, you can do it on the platform. Because I think the only appropriate way to close is to thank God, praise Him. I can’t see there’s anything else you can do if you really believe all that. I just want to say again I do appreciate these people that have led us in worship. I really am grateful for them.
Okay, are you with me? Don’t try to say it with me, say it after me. We’ll do, first of all, redeemed, then cleansed, then justified, then sanctified. God willing, if we live and meet together another time, I’ll give you three more but I just can’t fit them in tonight.
Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil. While I’m walking in the light, the blood of Jesus is cleansing me now and continually from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned. Through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, made holy, set apart from sin and from Satan’s kingdom, and made partaker of God’s holiness.
All right. Now we’ll do it once more. That was just a trial run. But I think you better still do it after me because you haven’t had time to learn it. And after that, forget about me and just take a little while to thank God. And remember what we do when we praise him, what do we do? We impose silence on the enemy and on the avenger. See, Satan is not going to be able to operate against us after this. While we’re in this atmosphere and in this place, his mouth is stopped. That won’t last forever, you’ll have to keep praising Him. All right? So now, are you with me?
Through the blood of Jesus I am redeemed out of the hand of the devil. While I’m walking in the light, the blood of Jesus is cleansing me now and continually from all sin. Through the blood of Jesus I am justified, acquitted, not guilty, reckoned righteous, made righteous, just as if I’d never sinned. Through the blood of Jesus I am sanctified, made holy, set apart from sin and from Satan’s kingdom, and made partaker of God’s holiness.
Now, start to thank him.
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