Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 11:3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 11:4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
When we pray “but deliver us from evil”, what part do we play in fighting against the forces of evil, if any? Last time we saw that when the children of Israel fled from Egypt they realized that Pharaoh’s army was fast pursuing after them from the rear, and in front of them was the Red Sea. There was no possible escape route and they feared for their lives. But Moses told them to stand still and know that the Lord was going to bring about their deliverance even though the situation looked hopeless.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
When God delivered the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt He did not just miraculously remove them by fiat without any efforts of their own. Even though God did mighty miracles in Egypt to convince the Egyptians to let the Israelites go and then parted the Red Sea to deliver them from Pharaoh’s advancing army, there were things the people had to do as well, to help facilitate their deliverance from bondage.
First, while still in Egypt, the children of Israel had their part to play in the string of events that led up to their being set free from their bondage to the task masters. The night before their departure they kept the Passover as the Lord had instructed Moses. Moses told the people that they were to cover the side posts of their doors with the blood of the lamb on the night of Passover and to stay inside until morning. Because they followed Moses instructions and obeyed God the firstborn among them were spared from the last plague inflicted upon Pharaoh and his people.
Exodus 12:21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
12:22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
12:23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
Then during the day time of the Day of Passover the children of Israel packed up their things and went to their Egyptian neighbors to ask for treasures of silver and gold. That night (which by then was the Night to be Much Observed), they left their homes and walked out of Egypt and away from being slaves in Egypt.
Exodus 12:33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
12:34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
12:35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
12:36 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
12:37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
Exodus 12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
Exodus 14:5 And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
14:6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
14:7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
14:8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
14:9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.
14:10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord.
And as Pharaoh’s army marched toward the millions of defenseless men, women, and children, Moses held out his rod and the Red Sea parted.
When Moses told the people to stand still, did he mean that they were to do nothing?
The Hebrew word for “stand still” is yatsab (Strong’s 3320) and means to set or station oneself, take one’s stand, present selves, remaining, resort, set selves, be able to, can, with stand fast, forth,
A primitive root; to place (any thing so as to stay); reflexively, to station, offer, continue — present selves, remaining, resort, set (selves), (be able to, can, with-) stand (fast, forth, -ing, still, up). (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
The Israelites feared for their lives and spoke out against Moses, and in this context the words “Stand still” are better translated as: “keep silent from your complaining and stand fast in faith”!
In the next few verses, Moses tells the Israelites that God is going to fight for them and that they were to hold their peace, meaning that they were to remain silent (and stop complaining and showing a lack of faith).
Exodus 14:12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14:14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
The Hebrew word that means “hold your peace” is charash (Strong’s #2790b) to be silent, dumb, speechless, or deaf.
Next, the Lord told Moses to command the people to GO FORWARD.
Exodus 14:15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
Exodus 14:16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
In this incident Moses had his part to play,as well, for God told him to divide the sea by stretching out his rod over the waters. Of course, this was only symbolic on Moses part; it was God who did the miracle.
Moses was a man just like any other man, but God used him as His instrument in delivering the people and speaking forth the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and then the miracles in the wilderness. It was God who backed Moses whenever Moses appeared to do miracles, but they were performed by God’s might and power.
Exodus 14:21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
14:22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
14:23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
14:24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
14:25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lordfighteth for them against the Egyptians.
14:26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
14:27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
14:28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
God worked a mighty miracle for the children of Israel that day; He made a way of escape for them by creating a path through the sea and when they had all safely reached the other side, God destroyed their enemies who were pursuing hard after them.
The whole army of Egypt perished in the tumultuous waters as the walls on either side of the path collapsed… and the people were finally free from the Egyptians! It was God who orchestrated all the events; and it was He who delivered the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt!
All of this was a physical allegory that God will deliver his faithful from bondage to Satan and death and will ultimately destroy Satan and his demons forever!
From the context we know that when Moses told the people to stand still, he did not mean that they were to just stand there and do nothing. “Stand still” in this passage means that they were to station themselves, to take a stand [stand firm in faith in God’s deliverance] for the very next thing that God commanded them to do was to MOVE FORWARD toward the Red Sea and enter the path that God made way for them by parting the waters.
In this article we will continue our study into the Lord’s prayer and what it means to be delivered from evil and the part we as God’s people have in our deliverance. Just as the Israelites had their part to play in their deliverance from their enemies, so, too, we (the Ekklesia) have certain things that we must do when it comes to being delivered from evil and from our enemies.
If God is training His called out saints to be spiritual warriors, just how does He expect His warriors to fight against evil and be victorious over it? The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians.
Paul begins the chapter by giving instructions in how we are to live in our respective stations in life and then in verse 10 he concludes this section by saying, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)
Here, Paul tells us two things we are to do when it comes to fighting our battles against Satan and the demonic spirits:
- Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
- Put on the WHOLE armor of God.
And then Paul tells us why: “…that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”.
When it comes to fighting against the forces of darkness, do we fight in a defensive mode? Or should we be on the conquering offensive? The spiritual foes we have to battle with are very powerful and crafty, and one advantage they have is that they are invisible to the human eye.
In Ephesians 6:11, Paul uses the word “stand” just as Moses told the Israelites that they must stand still [to set or station oneself, take one’s stand] in the face of the approaching Egyptian army that was charging after them to take them back captive and possibly destroy them.
The Greek word for “stand” is histémi (Strong’s #2476) and means: cause to stand, establish, hold up: A prolonged form of a primary stao stah’-o (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively) — abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up). Compare tithemi. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
Paul doesn’t just say “stand” but “stand against”.
The Greek word for “against” is pros (Strong’s #4314) and means: advantageous for, at (denotes local proximity), toward (denotes motion toward a place) (Strong’s Concordance)
So we are not to just stand still and let God do all the fighting for us, but to vigorously fight against the forces of evil, not just in a defensive mode, but in a conquering offensive mode as well. When Paul tells us that we must stand, we must staunchly take our stand against all Satan’s fiery darts and against all of his schemes, including all of his deceptions and enticements. This requires that we be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power and that we use the whole armor that has God provided us with that we can have the victory over all that Satan does to try to defeat us and keep us from entering the Kingdom of God.
Whether Paul is thinking of fighting offensively or defensively, he is telling believers that they must fight against an invisible enemy with all their vigor while making use of the spiritual tools that God supplies; the people of God are in a spiritual battle against the most powerful and cunning of foes imaginable and we need to learn to use all the weapons that God has placed at our disposal.
We Do Not Wrestle Against Flesh and Blood
Paul reminds us by telling us that we must fight in God’s strength and by His might because as men in the flesh we are utterly unequal in our battle with Satan and his host; and we humanly have no strength to go against them on our own. Our strength must come from the Lord, and imbued with His strength we are to fight these spiritual forces arrayed against us in His might and in His power. We are to “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
Paul is instructing the brethren that to be overcomers in this life and reach our goal of the Kingdom of God, we must become soldiers of God. Our battle against evil is a constant, relentless, struggle against the principalities, against evil powers, and against the prince of darkness and all of his wicked demons and our struggle is life long. It is “...through much tribulation [temptations and trials] [that we] enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). In our struggle we become strong and skillful kings and priests qualified to reign under Christ when He returns.
We gain the victory over our battles against these evil unseen forces by boldly facing our enemies with God on our side and by going in His might against them. We can only gain the victory in our battles through the mighty power that is in Christ Jesus who has already won the victory over Satan when He was here on earth as a man in the flesh.
The apostle Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord and then he tells us why this is necessary in verse 12.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
What does Paul mean when he says that we are wrestling, not against flesh and blood, [humans, including ourselves, or the other people around us that are flesh and blood] but against these spiritual powers and rulers?
He is instructing the brethren that these spiritual principalities, these unseen instigators of lawlessness and wickedness are working behind the scenes invisibly, and it is really they who are controlling the minds of men and women when they oppose us and oppress us.
These spiritual rulers set themselves against us in order to try to defeat us, to derail our faith in God and His promises, to get us discouraged, and to make us look ridiculous. Also, they use whatever means to tempt God’s people into sinning so that the preaching of the Gospel and the true Christian faith is brought into disrepute and is therefore mocked and scorned by the nonbelievers.
Verse 6:12 is not to frighten us, but to inform us of the kind of power we are up against so that we will look to God as our help who alone can deliver us from such powers (and not ourselves); and being forewarned, God’s children will be motivated to diligently take up the full armor of God in order that we may have total victory over these invisible forces of evil.
And when Paul says that we do not struggle against flesh and blood he is not saying that we do not struggle with those who are on the human level; we all know what it is like to have problems dealing with human beings [flesh and blood] that oppose us, cause trouble, and with some who outright persecute us. He is forwarning us that there are unseen forces behind the physical people that oppose us and that it is really the principalities of darkness that we are wrestling against even though most of the time it appears to be people. Satan and his demonic spirits influence and then use humans to do their bidding.
Paul instructs us that when we are being attacked, it is really spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places manipulating the men and women who are allowing themselves to be influenced by these unseen forces. Humans can be used as Satan’s instruments in causing trouble because they are plugged into his mindset, therefore they take on his thoughts and attitudes and act upon them.
So even though it appears as if we are fighting against wicked men who oppose us and who are against God, there is also an unseen spiritual element that is involved, and in reality, we are fighting against the entities in the spiritual realm that are influencing physical men and spurring them on to cause trouble for those who want to live God’s way. Part of our warfare is to recognize this and be able to discern when it happens and refute Satan just as Jesus did when He was confronted by the religious leaders and others who were under Satan’s control.
When Paul says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” he is referring to the principal that he talked about in an earlier chapter.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
All people, the converted and unconverted alike, are subjected to Satan’s broadcast and even God’s people can be influenced and used to tempt others. Overcoming is a life-long process and we must always be on guard against others who want us to compromise, but also be aware that Satan can come to our own thoughts and influence us with false knowledge, preconceived ideas, prejudices, enticements, evil thoughts, thoughts of anger or envy, complaining, etc. etc. and we need to be able to recognize those things, resist and turn away from them immediately. It is very important that we keep examining, keep studying, and stay in constant prayer that God rid us of these things and that Satan not be allowed to use us to influence ourselves or others to sin.
When Peter opposed Jesus about what was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem, Jesus rebuked him for He knew that Peter was speaking on behalf of Satan in telling Jesus that what was prophesied was not going to happen. Right away Jesus discerned that it was really Satan saying this to Him, that Satan was using Peter as his mouth piece in this incident.
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Notice how the Scriptures says that Jesus said unto “Peter”, but then addresses “Satan”…. “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me“.
Those who are influenced by Satan or by a demonic spirit usually do not even know that they are being manipulated by anything other than their own mental reasoning. As the saints of God we need to be discerning but also use wisdom and discretion when dealing with those whom we have to “wrestle against”.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
We are to follow Christ’s example when we come up against those who hate us and who slander and falsely accuse us.
1 Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Jesus knew who the real culprit was which was behind the men who had condemned him and those who were crucifying Him, and that is why He could say of them: “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do….” (Luke 23:34)
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 6 and in many other places that our struggle is not just on the human level. Yes, we do have a visible physical struggle when it comes to wicked men and women who come against us, but over and above what we see humanly, there is an invisible spiritual battle going on against Satan and his forces. We are humanly at a disadvantage for we cannot see Satan or his demons; yet God wants us to see them through spiritual eyes and that is the purpose of Paul’s admonition. In this way we are forewarned for Paul says in another place that we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s “devices”.
2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
The apostle Peter also was very much aware of dangers from the principalities in high places and warns the brethren:
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
But when we have faith in God and know that He is a God of Great Power, and if we belong to Him and if we are walking in His truth, we have nothing to fear.
1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Notice that Paul uses the word “against” five times in this verse; this implies that we are to fight against enemies, not just do nothing and let God do all the fighting.
David acknowledged that it was God that was His strength and then declared that it was the Lord who teaches him and prepares him for all of his battles.
Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
But we must fight the way God teaches us and by Christ’s example shown throughout the Scriptures, and not in the carnal ways the world fights their battles.
James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 12:20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Be Strong In The Lord And In The Power Of His Might
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Paul exhorts the brethren that they are to be STRONG [but in the Lord] and in the power of His might. What exactly does this mean?
In our own strength we are nothing, and when we can recognize our own weaknesses we must acknowledge that we have no strength to fight the Christian fight in our own power and might. Not only is Satan very strong and powerful, he is also invisible; we cannot see him working (we can only see the results of his works) and we as weak human beings are no match for him.
We see from the very beginning of the Bible that man was weak in the face of the wiles of the devil. Adam and Eve were really no match for him and who’s to say that not one us would have done the very same thing in taking of the forbidden fruit and believing in Satan’s lies. “…For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The subtlety of the enemy with the insinuation that God had lied to them, that God was unfair and uncaring was too much for them and they failed the test.
When we read through the Bible we see that all of God’s servants started out weak and had weaknesses. All of them failed in their walk with God at some point in their lives and sinned because they succumbed to the wiles of Satan. This is not to put them down; we know that we all have sinned and that the life of a believer is a life of overcoming. Jesus said He came to save sinners, and He came to deliver us from the power of Satan through His sacrifice and forgiveness, and the resurrection from the dead.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
The greatest servants of God started out weak and then were given God’s strength to do whatever it was that was required of them. Think of Moses, David, and the prophets of old; and of the apostle Paul, and then all of the other apostles. They are examples for us of what it is like to have to battle against the enemy, not in their own strength, but in the power and might of God.
The Scriptures testify of the tremendous battle against Satan and sin for all those whom God calls. We must first recognize that we are truly weak and that we lack any kind of spiritual strength when it comes to going up against Satan. But when we read the Bible, we see that even though God’s servants started out weak and had their problems; they learned to trust God as their Mighty Warrior and He empowered them to do great exploits.
Hebrews 11 is meant to increase our faith by showing how it is God who makes one STRONG even though that one is weak. It gives us great hope when we as God’s people read and study the accounts of these great servants of old and learn about how they, even though they were weak, became strong through the power of God in their lives.
Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
We are not to overly fret because we are weak but rather we are to have faith in God, for we are told that God starts out with the weak and the base things and then makes them strong by His power and might, and that is what Paul is referring to when he says that we are to Be Strong in the Lord and in the Power of his might.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Generally the obviously weak people know that they are weak and this realization keeps them humble; they know that we are no match for Satan and they know that it is very easy to be fooled. Weak people know that they must rely totally on God’s strength and power. When they do become spiritually strong, they know in their hearts that it is His doing and give Him the glory.
The apostle Paul was a powerful and highly competent Pharisee before He became a believer. He said of himself:
Philippians 3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
And then he concluded by adding:
Philippians 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Later in the epistle Paul said that it was Christ who strengthen him to enable him to do the things that God had called him to do. He did not say “I can do all things by my skills, my gifts, my intelligence, and my own will power, etc”.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
After Paul was struck down and converted, he was given many gifts by God and was commissioned to be God’s apostle. Paul was intelligent and he was highly educated in all the Scriptures and in the law of God, plus he had lots of leadership training and experience. On top of all that, he was an eloquent writer and he was hardworking and sacrificing. No doubt all of these things came into play in the work he was called to do, but it was God who enhanced those skills and used them to His glory and then open doors for Paul to go in God’s strength to take the Gospel to the world.
With all these things going for Paul, it might have been very easy for him to become puffed up with pride because of his gifts and strengths. And yet it was the apostle Paul that wrote all these things about what it meant to be strong in the power of God’s might.
It is not wrong to recognize our gifts and calling and to develop skills and to have godly confidence in our ability to do what God has called us to do. In fact, God wants us to seek His spiritual gifts and use them for the benefit of the body of Christ. He wants us to have faith that He will provide us whatever it takes to do what He has called us to do in the Ekklesia. If we lack confidence, we may be too afraid to use our gifts and never offer ourselves in service to God and others.
When we see that we have certain gifts, we must have a proper recognition that everything we have and every gift we have comes from God who is the giver of His Holy Spirit and all good gifts. That is where all our power, strength, and abilities flow from. It flows from the Holy Spirit indwelling within each member of Christ’s body.
God gives to us and then expects us to use what He has given in His service and it is by so doing that He infuses us with His power. The more fruit we produce, the more He will water us and the more we are watered, the more fruit we will produce. It is this recognition that helps us to resist becoming full of pride, knowing that it is by God’s strength and power that we can do anything.
1 Corinthians 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1 Chronicles 29:14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
It was out of God’s mercy and lovingkindness toward Paul that He allowed Paul to suffer a “a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan” to keep him mindful of his dependence on his Lord and not on his own strengths.
2 Corinthians 12: 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
God did not want what He was doing through Paul to go to his head, and Paul was faithful to God and his calling, right up to the end of his physical life. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2nd Timothy 4:7)
When God’s children are truly humble they acknowledge that they are totally dependent on God and they continually run to Him and ask for His help, for His strength and His power; things that God only can supply. They also cry out on a daily basis for more of His Holy Spirit, His faith, His love, His mercy, and empowerment to overcome all their sin, i.e. deliver them from evil.
When it comes right down to it, all people are weak (the converted and unconverted alike). No matter what physical advantages we have, we are all weak human beings who are subject to frailty and eventually die. Our trials keep us mindful of that fact (just as Paul) so that we, too, do not get puffed up with pride.
When we know we are weak and that even we can be deceived, that actually empowers us, for then we are going to be more alert and on guard against Satan’s deceptions and we will be more diligent to prove all things out and then reject falsehood and false ministers when we encounter them. We realize that we could be deceived by them and this knowledge alerts us to the danger of placing ourselves under their umbrella of authority, or even to fellowship with them.
It is when we are weak and think that we are strong that we are weakest of all; when we think of ourselves as being strong we will tend to think that it is impossible for us to be deceived; and when we are deceived, our pride causes us to refuse to admit that we have been deceived. Then when we are presented with the truth it hurts too much and in our pride we refuse to let go of our delusions.
This is what it means to think that we are rich and are increased of goods and therefore have no need of further understanding and even of repentance. If we think that we have all truth and could not possibly be in error, then we will not feel a need to change those things that we have held dear all of our lives even when proven wrong; we refuse to let them go in lieu of embracing new understanding that God wants to restore to His Ekklesia in these end times.
Those who are filled with pride do experience feelings of weakness, but instead of seeking God’s help and empowerment they compensate by flaunting what they think others see as superior strengths and gifting, and seek to be lauded and held in high esteem by others for those things. Again, this is the Laodicean attitude that says, “I am fine just the way I am.”
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
But Jesus tells all those in the Ekklesia to repent and to anoint their eyes with eye salve that they may truly see.
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
When we see ourselves for what we really are and we go to God for forgiveness of our pride and self-sufficiency, that is when Christ will come in to us and give us His strength and power; He will give us more understanding and will open more doors to do exploits for His glory, and not for our own.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
We must recognize that all of us are full of pride to one extent or another, and that we need to go to God to help us to rid ourselves of pride and become humble. It is God who gives us the victory by the strength of His power and might. Most of us all want to think of ourselves as strong, not weak; and to admit weakness… is, well, weakness. This world looks up to people who seem important and powerful, and in our carnality we want to emulate them and to be considered strong, talented, infallible and able do whatever we set our minds to; but we have to face this human pride within us and admit that we ARE weak and that we do need God.
When we know we are weak then we can honestly admit that we are weak and then we will strive to learn how we can be strong in the Lord and that only God can give us the victory in our struggle against Satan and his demonic host. Paul says that it is God who gives us any kind of victory.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Knowing that we are weak, we recognize that we are inherently incapable of fighting the battle against our own flesh, sin, and Satan no matter how hard we try. We have to realize that intellectually knowing principles of morality and laws are not sufficient for us. We can read many self-improvement books on ethics and integrity and how to love others, but it is a very different thing to put them into practice. This is the world’s way of seeking to be morally strong and even if we have lots of will power and self-discipline it is impossible to measure up to the standards which God intends for us as His children. It is the righteousness of God that we must strive for and we can only attain to the high standard He sets by the power of His Holy Spirit and by the strength of His might.
In Romans 7 Paul describes his own struggle with his own human nature and with sin. He knew that it is only through God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in him that God’s law can be kept according to God’s standard. This is a perfect description of our struggle with sin, Satan, the world, and our own human nature. This passage could be considered as an adjunct to his teaching on putting on the whole armor of God and taking up the sword of the spirit in order to combat the things within himself that he struggled with as pictured here in this passage.
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul says that he knows that the Law is spiritual, but he acknowledges that he is a creature of the flesh [worldly, self-reliant-carnal and physical] sold into slavery to sin. Even if we know the laws of God by heart, we still find that, on our own, it is impossible for us to keep them perfectly for the sin nature lives in us and controls us: “but how to perform that which is good I find not”. He exclaims that he is wretched and who can deliver him and set him free from his body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?
He answers his own question in verse 25. “Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind serve the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness, my sinful capacity] I serve the law of sin.” (AMP)
Paul had come to see that human will power is not enough to deliver us from the power of sin and death, only Jesus our Lord is able to save us. Yes, willpower and self-discipline are good things and we should be developing them, but no matter how much willpower we have, it will never be enough to enable us to overcome the sin in our lives.
Paul was looking at his own weaknesses in the face and realized the extent of his own carnality. It can be very discouraging when we see ourselves for what we are. But God’s Word tells us that if we are one of God’s called out and we have God’s Holy Spirit, we can overcome all sin. Paul gives thanks to God for what He has done for His people through His son Jesus Christ who delivers us from the power of sin and from the death sentence.
1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We have to have God’s Holy Spirit in order to be victorious; and the power of His might comes from God the Father and Jesus Christ, and they only give that power to those who are the called and who are zealous, who desire to live according to all the ways of God and according to His whole Word.
To live as Christ lives is not possible by our own power; we must have faith that we can live as He lived through the power of Christ who strengthens us. Faith is very much a part of being able to keep God’s laws and live according to all of God’s Word.
The Mighty God
Throughout God’s Word we are told and are shown that God is a Mighty God. When we come to know Him, we see, and we experience that He is indeed a very STRONG and MIGHTY BEING.
Deuteronomy 3:24 O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?
Job 36:5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The Hebrew word for “God” is elohim (Strong’s #430) and means: angels, exceeding, God, very great, mighty (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God [Elohim] created the heaven and the earth.
His very name Elohim means “might” and can be interpreted as “mighty ones”. The name represents both God the Father and Jesus Christ; their character and attributes, and what they are about. The important thing is: we need to be always mindful of God’s might and the greatness of His strength. That is what Paul is trying to get across to us in Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might….“
Do we even realize the full significance of what he is saying here? What does Paul mean when he uses the phrase “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might”?
Here are the Greek definitions for “be strong”, “power” and “might’. Their meanings are similar and all having to do with the mighty POWER of God. As we meditate on these meanings we see that Paul was describing the kind of unfathomable strength that God has and that He is well able to under-gird those who are His and empower them with His incredible strength.
Be strong- endunamoó (Strong’s #1743) means:enable, increase in, strengthen. From en and dunamoo; to empower — enable, (increase in) strength(-en), be (make) strong. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
Power – kratos (Strong’s # 2904) and means: dominion, power, strength. Perhaps a primary word; vigor (“great”) (literally or figuratively) — dominion, might(-ily), power, strength. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
Might – ischus (Strong’s # 2479) ability, might, power, strength. Definition: strength (absolutely), power, might, force, ability. From a derivative of is (force; compare eschon, a form of echo); forcefulness (literally or figuratively) — ability, might(-ily), power, strength. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
The power of His might: When someone or something is mighty they are full of strength and power. “Might” means inherent power. When a man is very strong and muscular, his might is his inherent muscular strength and power.
When Paul says to be strong in the Lord, He is saying “draw your strength from God, from His might and be empowered through your oneness with Him [or through your abiding in Him] and in the power of His might and by the power of His Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the “power” that emanates from God and then resides in those who are the called and who obey Him.
Being human, we see how strong our enemy is and in comparison we see how weak we are; that we have no strength to fight him and that we are too weak to withstand him. In Ephesians 6 Paul gives us courage, he says; “Finally, Brethren, LOOK to God, be strong in His strength, for He is mighty, and do not look to your own strength”.
When we think and meditate upon God we must always see Him in this light: STRONG, MIGHTY, POWERFUL. That is why the image of the effeminate weak-looking, long-haired man that Satan tries to pawn on to the world as to what Jesus Christ looks like, is such a lie for Jesus is none of these things and neither is His Father. Satan wants in imprint on our minds that our God is weak and diminish our faith by making us believe that Jesus is not mighty at all to save us from him.
To be strong in the Lord we must always remember the power of His might and His strength. We are to remind ourselves constantly of all the reserves of strength and power that are in Him. That is what Paul is trying to convey to us when he speaks of the power that we can draw upon when we come up against all the schemes, the strategies, and the deceits of Satan who is our enemy, and have faith that God is well able to give us the victory over him and all who are under his dominion.
God commands that we do not make any image of God in physical images or in our minds, but we are to envision His attributes, such as His goodness, His lovingkindness, His mercy; but also we can think about how mighty He is and that He is the embodiment of tremendous inherent strength and power.
Read about how the Lord made Himself known to Moses and meditate on what Scripture is saying here about the Wonder and Power of God in all of His character traits and all of His attributes, proclaiming them to Moses who asked to “see Him”.
Exodus 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. 33:21 And the Lord said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: 33:22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
Exodus 34:5 And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 34:6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
This is why Bible study, meditating about God and on all of His attributes, His character, His laws and principles and how to apply them is so very important. The religions of the world teach counterfeit ways of taping into God’s power: that we just need to praise Him, (yes, we are to praise Him but praise must be accompanied with obedience) or recite some mumble jumble, or use positive thinking, or even recite certain verses over and over; and because of these things God will somehow “rebuke the enemy for us”. But that is false, we know that.
To be given the privilege of looking to God for His power and strength, we have to be wholeheartedly seeking Him and obeying Him in all things. If we are not obeying all His commandments, statutes, ordinances, then in truth, we are cut off from God and He will not hear us no matter how much we praise Him, teach messages, or how much we give to the poor, etc., etc.
Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Jesus’ Power on the Earth
When Jesus was here on earth as a man, He was a human being. He said that He had no power on His own to do the great works that He did; He told the disciples, and the crowds listening to Him, that it was really the Father who did the works that they saw Him doing.
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
So even though Jesus was a human being in the flesh and could do no miracles or great works on his own, He was so close to His Father that He could say that He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. It was by His Father that the miraculous works happened, but the Father did them through His Son who acted as a human conduit of that power. The same was with Moses and Aaron, they were common ordinary men but God could use them to be His instruments in calling upon the miracles to occur and so with all the servants of God who did great miracles.
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
One thing that was very evident in Jesus’ ministry is that He had power over evil spirits. With the power that He had through the Holy Spirit given to Him of the Father, Jesus could cast out evil spirits with one word, and with one word He could take away afflictions and disease.
Jesus exemplified for us what it means to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” as Paul commanded the people in Ephesus. When Jesus was here as a man He spoke with power and authority and the demons cringed before Him. They knew who He was and they knew that He had the backing of the most powerful and mighty One in the Universe who was also His heavenly Father.
Matthew 8:16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:
That is power! And it was because Christ was so close to His Father and obeyed Him in everything that He had this power, and He was filled with the Holy Spirit and not because He had any human power inherent in Himself at that time. He was a human being with both the Spirit of God and the spirit of man within Him (Job 32:8, Proverbs 20:27, 1st Corinthians 2:11, Luke 4:1) just as those called of God (if they are obeying Him in everything). When Jesus was here on earth in the flesh, He set the example for those called to follow Him.
Luke 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The disciples as part of their training were allowed to apply some of God’s power in their ministering to others as Christ’s helpers even before the Holy Spirit was given to them.
Matthew 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 10:19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
The disciples were empowered to have power over the works of the devil and they were excited that they, too, could do miracles; but when Jesus saw their excitement He redirected their joy in these things to the fact that the most important thing that they were to rejoice about is that we have been called by God and we have been given the opportunity to be trained to become kings and priests while we are still in this flesh. I think Jesus was warning them (and us) not to get overly excited over being able to do these kinds of miracles, but rather to keep their hearts focused on the miraculous gift of their calling and that they have been set free from bondage to Satan.
Luke 10:20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
We are to rejoice most about the miraculous work that God does for us in calling us, opening the eyes of our understanding and forgiving us of our sins through His atoning sacrifice. This kind of miracle is invisible and is between God and the individual. What a marvelous thing to happen to any individual, and then to have his eyes enlightened to the truth through the power of God’s Holy Spirit and to receive God’s power to overcome his carnal nature, to receive empowerment to keep God’s commandments, and to resist the temptations that come from the world and from Satan. This is what Christ wanted the disciples to be focused on even as they did the other miraculous things. The miracle of overcoming and following Christ is what should be our main focus as well.
Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
The Defeat of Satan
Because Jesus resisted all temptation thrown at Him including being tempted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights by Satan himself, Christ has qualified to replace Satan on earth when He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Satan has been utterly defeated by Christ and awaits his fate.
In practical terms Satan and his demons are still around doing their evil works in the world, tempting and influencing mankind, but with Christ’s first coming their fate has been decided; it is just a matter of time and they will be gone, they will have no more power over the nations for one thousand years. Then after a short release from their place of restraint, (Revelation 20:1-10) they will be tossed into the Lake of Fire and will be no more forever. Jesus is now in His glorified state and has been given total power over all principalities along with His Father.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Jesus was tested by the most powerful being in the evil spiritual realm and defeated him; He lived a completely sinless life, died for mankind’s sin on the stake and rose from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father.
Finally, Jesus Christ proves and demonstrates His power by His crucifixion and in the resurrection. On the day of His crucifixion, it appeared that He had lost His power over evil doers and the spirits that were inspiring them. The people in the crowd mocked Him and said “He saved others, why can’t you save yourself?”
Matthew 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
When Christ was died on the stake, it must have appeared to Satan that he [Satan] had won, the Christ was now dead. But in reality, Christ was exhibiting the power of God by allowing Himself to be killed by sinners and then to be raised by His Father three days later. By His death and resurrection He was victorious over Satan and all evil spirits and all their power to destroy mankind forever (because of sin and the death sentence it brings). Jesus Christ was, during those hours, very powerful, when in Satan’s mind he thought that he had defeated Him
Paul describes the events that happened when Christ became the Victor over Satan and blotted out his evil plan for humans. By these events Christ conquered the principalities and powers and rulers in high places and put them to an open shame triumphing over them in what He had completed through His death and resurrection.
Colossians 2:9-15 is about the power and authority that Christ has and what He accomplished in bringing down Satan’s power that he has over mankind. When men repent and seek Christ’s forgiveness, receive the Holy Spirit, and then live according to all the will of the Father, they then can be free forever of Satan’s power over them.
Just as the power of God made it possible for the ancient Israelites to be set free and delivered from their bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt, so mankind will finally be set free, all who turn away from Satan’s ways and turn to God and embrace all of His ways.
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
When Jesus was dying on the stake it appeared that He was weak and incapable of fighting against the evil that was happening to Him; it appeared that He had no inherent strength at all to defeat Satan’s power that day. And yet the power of God was very much in effect and Jesus conquered sin and evil through what looked like helplessness and defeat. The result of Christ’s suffering and death was that He was raised in radiant power and He has total power over all wicked spirits that set themselves against His people. He has defeated all the principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this age, and the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, and now they await their sentence which is coming at the end of the six-thousand years of man’s rule on earth under Satan.
Look at what Isaiah and David prophesied years ago about the might and strength of Jesus Christ. When He returns the second time He will come in all His glory and power and all men will see Him and will be in awe.
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Isaiah 66:15 For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
Psalm 68:17 The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
Christ is the conqueror over all evil that is set against Him and His faithful followers. This is all a part of His and the Father’s Plan that they formed before the foundation of the world.
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
To be strong in the Lord, God’s children must have faith in the Might and Power of God and that He is our Mighty Savior and that there is no other, and then strive to walk in obedience to Him every minute of our lives.
To believe in His power to deliver us and to bring us into His Kingdom will empower us to keep from failing. The apostle Paul commands us to make practical use of God’s strength by allowing ourselves to be conduits of His power which is through the Holy Spirit, which is God’s power dwelling in all of God’s faithful.
How do we receive this mighty power to overcome strongholds? It is through knowing God, who He is His, what He is all about, and knowing and having FAITH that He is all powerful; and we can only know Him if we have been forgiven and are keeping His commandments. John makes it crystal clear how to know God and he tells us how we receive the empowerment of God:
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
God says through Solomon that if we want to live, we are to set the keeping of God’s commandments as our chief joy and priority (as the apple of your eye).
Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
The Armor of God
After telling us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His Might, Paul then tells us to take up the full armor of God. Not only are we commanded to be strong in the Lord and in His power and might; but in addition we are to pick up the instruments of war that God gives to us and put on His full armor, Paul then lists what the armor of God consists of.
Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
The Greek word for “armor” is panoplia (Strong’s # 3833) and means full armor. (Strong’s Concordance)
HELPS Word-studies defines Panonplia as “a complete set of defensive and offensive armor (weapons), i.e. everything needed to wage successful warfare; (figuratively) the full resources the Lord gives to the believer so they can successfully wage spiritual warfare. In this way they do not fight for victory – but from His victory!”
1. The breastplate of righteousness.
2. The gospel of peace.
3. The shield of faith.
4. The helmet of salvation.
5. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
6. Prayer and watching.
In order to live and to be victorious in the Faith and withstand all the power of our enemy, God’s children must put on all the armor of God; and having that armor provides the believer with the necessary tools to wage war against the principalities and rulers of darkness and enables them to make use of the power of our Mighty God.
The armor of God consists of: the breastplate of righteousness; the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; and the helmet of salvation. Our mighty weapons are the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and being in constant contact with our Lord through prayer.
If we stop and meditate on each of these pieces of the Armor of God, we see that they are components of God’s Truth; as believers we must be equipped with all aspects of God’s armor (with no pieces missing), and when we are doing these things (putting them on, or taking them up) they bring us closer to God and allow us to KNOW God more fully and what He is about and what He requires of us.
We come to know and have complete faith in His Plan and Purpose that He is doing on earth and what the future holds for us and humanity. When we know the truth and abide by it we are no longer under Satan’s power and it is the truth of God that sets His people free and gives them strength. This is what makes up the armor of God, it is His truth in all aspects of it, having faith in it and abiding by it, which is the definition of the breastplate of righteousness!
As we wear our protective armor we must be diligent in learning how to master all these things (the breastplate of righteousness; the gospel of peace; the shield of faith; and the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God) and as we do, we become no match for the principalities, powers and rulers in high places. We will be able to reject and refute all of their lies and temptations and they, too, must flee from us at some point. This is all done in God’s strength and not in our own.
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Seek spiritual strength from God and God’s Spirit; to give us victory in the good fight against Satan and sin. Remember as you see the Ekklesia apostatizing, that these folks have been misled by the devil; and if any attack you, your fight is not really with them, but with Satan the great deceiver.
6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Our persecutors are not really those people who are abusing us. They are the spiritual forces that are influencing such people and inspiring them to do these things that are the true source of all our trials.
When we are being persecuted we are to stand firm on the whole Word of God throughout all our trials. Then we will stand in the resurrection before the throne of God.
God’s Word is truth and we are to gird ourselves with the whole Word of God and protect ourselves with righteousness; which is the zealous keeping of the truth, the whole Word of God!
6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Having our feet shod with the gospel of peace refers to being at peace with God; and to our walk [life] in the gospel of salvation; which is FAITH, to believe God and to believe that God can and will keep his promises to his faithful. It is salvation by sincere repentance, a baptismal commitment to sin no more and the application of the sacrifice of Christ justifying us; and then to live our lives keeping the whole Word of God and being at peace with God the Father always.
6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
The Gospel is the good news of the way to have reconciliation and peace with GOD the FATHER!
The Gospel is about sincere repentance, a commitment to sin no more and the application of the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of God reconciling us with God the Father; and it is about unity with God by continuing in that relationship, through a diligent rejection of sin [which separates us from God and a passionate uncompromising keeping of the whole Word and will of God! which is the foundation of peace and unity between man and God and true unity among men!
Because we will know and trust and believe in God and he will defend us and take care of us with His great power. And, if He allows us to suffer so that we might learn some things, he will raise us up on that day and change us to spirit and we shall never taste of death again, but shall have eternal life and have a reward, given by God.
6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, [that is, with a whole heart, with all our heart and spirit; and with intensity] and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Take the helmet of salvation and valiantly wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the whole Word of God. God’s Spirit gives us understanding of the word of God, the Holy Scriptures. And, the Holy Scriptures are the sword of truth with which we fight sin. We are to fight sin in ourselves in this world, and we fight evil with the sword of truth and not with bloodshed.
Only what is evil need fear the sharp two edged sword of the LIGHT of Truth! For the Light of truth exposes the wicked things hidden in darkness; and the sharp two edged sword of God’s Word destroys all that is evil from before him.
The workers of evil deeds try to hide them in darkness and obscurity and HATE being exposed by the light of truth!
The truly godly will welcome the Light of the truth; for they are the children of the Light: While the wicked will hate the Light of the Truth for it exposes their sin.
6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Tychicus is sent to take the letter to the Ephesians and to inform them more fully.
6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 6:22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.
The blessing of peace is first and foremost that we be at peace with God and not be separated from God by any sin, for we are promised trial and tribulation in this world and not peace.
6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 6:24 Grace [Mercy] be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen
If we have been called and we are now walking with our Lord, we belong to the Great and Almighty King of the Universe who is our Master and all the fullness of deity dwells in Him. When Paul said that we must “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” we can have full assurance that God’s mighty power is available to each and every faithful child of God who takes up the Mighty One’s whole armor. What a MIGHTY GOD we have!
And if we belong to God and have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us; then we can have faith that His invincible power and might is available whenever we find ourselves being attacked by Satan or his wicked cohorts. God’s power and might makes it possible to withstand, to be strong, to fight this spiritual battle against principalities and powers, and to bring honor and glory to God’s great and holy name.
As the days grow darker and the influence and power of Satan is ever increasing in the hearts and actions of men everywhere, we are going to need God’s power and His whole armor to stand firm against the things that are going to happen in these end times.
Yes, the devil and his demons are very powerful enemies but we can be encouraged with the fact that they have been defeated and that some day they will be eradicated from the earth. As long as we keep God’s armor on at all times, and hold tight to the sword of the Spirit which is the whole Word of God and stay in constant prayer, we will have the final victory even if we suffer and have to die in this life.
Nehemiah – An Example for the End Time Ekklesia
In building the Spiritual Temple of God, those called to the New Covenant must have construction tools in one hand and a sword in the other.
Nehemiah, and the men who were with him, knew that God would fight their battles as they built the wall in Jerusalem, but they, too, had to do their part. The building of the wall is a clear analogy of what the Ekklesia is doing in the end times. We are building God’s Spiritual Temple and doing the work of building up the Ekklesia, but also of preaching and warning the nations of the world; and at the same time Satan is hard at work trying to destroy everything we do. We, too, must fight the good fight and keep on building and warning no matter what Satan schemes against us.
Sanballat and his associates were desperately trying to prevent the walls of Jerusalem from being finished, but Nehemiah was not about to be deterred from his mission! Even in the face of blatant lies, slander, and mocking, Nehemiah kept his focus on the Lord and the Lord’s work.
The work for us in these end times is great and daunting as well, [the building of the Spiritual Temple] and we, Brethren, “are separated upon the wall, one far from another”. We in our modern times are scattered throughout the world and it seems that as a people we have little power.
And yet as this analogy indicates the work will get done if our Great God is on our side and if He WANTS it to be done. [And we know that He does, for it is prophesied that it will be finished.]
Here is the account of how Nehemiah and his people worked to build the wall and at the same time had to deal with their enemies. They persevered and got the job done, but gave God all the glory for enabling them to do it.
Nehemiah 4:7 But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,
4:8 And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.
4:9 Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.
4:10 And Judah said, The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build the wall.
4:11 And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.
4:12 And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt by them came, they said unto us ten times, From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.
4:13 Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows.
4:14 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember theLord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.
4:15 And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work.
4:16 And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.
4:17 They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
4:18 For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.
4:19 And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.
4:20 In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us.
4:21 So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.
4:22 Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day.
4:23 So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.
When the Kingdom of God is established here on earth, the work of the Ekklesia [under God’s direction and orchestrating while we were in the flesh] will finally become manifest [visible]; it will be incredibly magnificent, majestic, fabulous, and the nonbelievers around us who fought so vehemently against us will fear and they will lose all of their former confidence and all their former bravado in their quest to overthrow what God was doing in the latter days.
Nehemiah 6:15 So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days. 6:16 And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God.
At that time, in the not too distant future, all of our enemies and all the nations of the world will perceive that God’s work was done and has been accomplished in the power and the might of our Great God!
The true Christian, one who truly follows Christ in living by every Word of God and by living as Jesus lived, has many obstacles to overcome and fight against in this world. God calls us to a very new and radical way of living and He calls us to live our lives different from the way the rest of the world lives. The world and Satan hates it that we are called and that we want to live different, want to obey God rather than them, and thus they are at constant war against us.
In order to obey God, many of us have lost jobs, been demoted, kept from being chosen for the jobs we wanted, not because we were not qualified, but because we were upfront in the interview about the days we would need off. All of us have been mocked and made fun of for obeying God and for believing all of God’s Word, not only by strangers, but by our closest friends and family members.
Many have lost close relationships of ones we love with all our hearts because they could not handle our beliefs and practices that are in accordance to God’s Word.
Now that new understanding is being revealed, those whose eyes are being opened to it are being ostracized and rejected by some of those whom we thought were our friends and brothers in the Ekklesia.
In the past, many of God’s people have been severely beaten and even killed for their unwillingness to acquiesce to the demands of others to compromise in their faith. Many have been martyred in the past and many more are going to be martyred in the future, all because true Christians would rather die than to go back and live in the darkness of lawlessness under the rule of Satan like the rest of the world.
As the people of God and His called out, God wants us to cultivate an internal burning passion to become like our Him, to think as He thinks, to live as He lives, to have the kind of mercy and lovingkindness that He exhibits, and to want to be filled with His Holy Spirit and power that enables us to be like our Great and Merciful High Priest.
His message to the Laodiceans is to awake from slumber and become living stones and strong in the faith and turn to Him in passionate zeal to live wholeheartedly for Him. We were not called to please those who are in the world, including those who want to rule over us in our religious assemblies who lead us into a lukewarm milk-toast kind of life style that is more about social gatherings and fitting in than it is about being valiant warriors for the truth of God. (Revelation 3:14-22; Matthew 25:1-13)
As we fight against the darkness and suffer at the hands of wicked men, we must always remember that whatever we have to go through is only TEMPORARY; this life is fleeting, it is passing away and the six thousand years of man under Satan’s rule is just about up. And if we should have to die this physical death, the moment we die we will feel like going to sleep and then in a twinkling of an eye (it will seem, for it will be the next conscience moment) we will feel ourselves being powerfully raised back up out of that sleep; and the body we come back in will be strong, healthy and beautiful with a buoyancy like nothing we have experienced in these earthly bodies before (1st Corinthians 15).
Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
1 Corinthians 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
Our Lord is POWERFUL enough to bring us back from the dead and to give us glorious bodies like His, and He is powerful enough to deliver us from all evil and to fight our battles for us, as long as we are being faithful to Him and if we are abiding in Him always.
Brethren, when we pray “but deliver us from evil [and from the evil one]” we are actually praying for all kinds of deliverance from evil in all of its varied aspects, not only for ourselves, but also for all of humanity including our neighbors, our friends, and our beloved family members.
Someday all will come out from under Satan’s dark deception and will realize that God’s ways [that they persecuted others for] are right after all and they, too, will want to be delivered from evil and from being ruled by Satan.
Oh, we long for that day to come even for those who persecute us in this life. When we bless rather than curse those who try to harm us, discredit us, or destroy our faith, we send them a clear message that we are different, we do not wage war as the world wages war.
As followers of Christ we do not retaliate or try to get even, but we fight by putting all matters in God’s hands and by remaining faithful no matter what others may say about us or do to us. In this way, we witness to them of the mercy and lovingkindness, but also of the justice, of our Lord and Savior, the Mighty One of all creation.
What joy and what rejoicing we will have at the end of our physical lives, after we have fought the good fight and have received the reward for living a life of faithfulness and enduring to the end. We will have joy beyond anything we have ever known in this life and we will rejoice throughout all eternity.
Psalm 14:7 Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Is not all this worth fighting for?
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
And let us all be able to say when we are standing before Christ in that great day of the resurrection:
Psalm 124:1 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; 124:2 If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: 124:3 Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: 124:4 Then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul: 124:5 Then the proud waters had gone over our soul.124:6 Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. 124:7 Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. 124:8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Jesus Christ has complete sovereignty over the power of the evil one and the rulers of the darkness of this world and the spiritual wickedness in high places; and He is well able to deliver us from them and take us into the Promised Land: the Kingdom of God.
We can rejoice forevermore that if it were not for God and the provisions that He has made for our war against the evil one of this world there would be no hope for us.
Although we face a great and formidable enemy, he is not able to gain the victory over us if we are staying strong in the Lord. God already has gained the victory over Satan and now it is up to each one us to have victory over him (with God’s help and if we make use of the power that He provides) and to be able to stand in that day on the Sea of Glass when the saints sing their victory song, IF we ( just as Jesus did, and the prophets and apostles did and all the saints that have gone before us) arm ourselves with the armor of God and with the whole Word of God and then preserve to the very end.
Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.
Let us not trust in ourselves and in our own strengths, for if we do we will fail. But if we know our own weaknesses and therefore turn to God and run to Him as our strong high tower against the powers of Satan, then we will be able to stand against his arrows and fiery darts and we will keep moving forward just as the Israelites were commanded to “go forward” through the parted Red Sea in order to be delivered from Pharaoh’s army and to be on their way to the Promised Land.
At the last Passover, Jesus prayed to His Father that those (His disciples) that had been given to Him would be in the world even as He had been sent into the world and that the Father would keep [guard] them from the evil that is in the world.
John 17:13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
After Jesus was resurrected He told His disciples to go forth and preach the Gospel, and to be His witnesses throughout the earth in spite of all obstacles; he said to “Go ye therefore” and “Go ye into all the world” to do the work that He had given them to do and then in Matthew 28:20 He gives them a promise that His presence would go with them; that He will be with them right up to the end of the age.
Jesus is with us and He will divide the “Red Sea” in order for us to go up against all the floods of this world right up until He returns. He will never leave us nor forsake us and He will empower us to do His work here on earth.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Now is not the time to give up or let down; the world is getting darker in wickedness and it is only going to get worse for a while and then Christ will return in all His GLORY and POWER.
We must be continually praying that God will deliver us from evil and that He would help us in our battles against evil…He will answer that prayer if we are walking in the Spirit and seeking Him with all of our hearts, minds and souls.
Constance Belanger and James Malm