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Victory for The Church
Jesus Christ died as a substitute for our sins and their consequential punishment. When this full payment was made God raised him from the dead – our redemption was accomplished. With his final words on the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished.” Just forty days later, as he ascended up to heaven, he said, “If I go not unto Him I cannot send the gift of holy spirit unto you.” (John 16:7). And our Lord Jesus Christ HAS sent this gift of all gifts as promised (see Acts 1:4-8 and Acts 2:1-20).
When the Adversary, the enemy of God and man, saw the potential in each believer he cried, “What have I done?” (1Corinthians 2:8) Not only had he assisted in the master-stroke of God’s plan, but in orchestrating the death of his problem, Jesus Christ, he actually multiplied his problem. Jesus Christ’s oneness/partnership with the Father could now be replicated many times over (John 17:20-23). The death and burial of the Lord Jesus Christ was like the planting of a seed of grain. By the dying of one many would sprout up after the same kind. Jesus prophetically said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24). He was, of course, referring to himself as the seed who would die to bring forth much fruit after his kind. He is the beginning, the firstborn of those raised to new life (Colossians 1:15 1:18, Romans 8:29). All who believe on him are baptized into him (unified and identified with him). (Acts 2:38, Romans 6:4, Galatians 3:27) We now bear his image (Romans 8:29). Jesus Christ was master over Satan and the whole realm of darkness. We now live in the authority of Christ over the entire realm of darkness. Satan had been master over mankind with very few exceptions until the Lord Jesus Christ began to destroy his works. Now, because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, Satan’s problem began to propagate. Now in every believer is the full potential of the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, for we are governmentally seated with him (Ephesians 1:19-21 and Ephesians 2:6).
Our Adversary now knows that he is defeated. He knows that the word of the gospel, that word which enlightens the Church about our victory in Christ, brings more and more of the called of God into our family and develops each according to Jesus Christ’s kind. The Adversary quickly realized, I must eliminate this gospel. It reveals my defeat. It makes known that my authority has been stripped away, leaving the Church in victory. I can’t let the Church know that I’ve lost my grip of authority. I must get rid of this gospel! He fears this powerful word of life living in the saints more than anything else.
The First Century Church began with great power. Thousands were saved and continued maturing in Christ. (See the beginning chapters of the Book of Acts.) “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.” (Acts 16:5) The Adversary responded, To destroy this word of the source of their growth would stop this increase. So, he chipped away at the message of life wherever he was allowed entrance. Wherever he could he maligned those who ministered the message, damaging their reputation so that others would not listen to them. Almost exclusively he used the religionists for his purposes, those committed to THEIR cause instead of the affairs of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through them he systematically attacked the message and those committed to the message. This is seen throughout the book of Acts. Paul, as the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, warned those appointed as overseers in the Church as in Ephesus, a major city in the region of Asia. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30)
Eventually, the Adversary’s commitment to his cause prevailed. Not many years later, at the end of Paul’s life, this whole region, which he so emphatically warned against the erosion of the gospel, had turned away from him and from the message of life which he spoke (2Timothy 1:15). The Adversary’s effective subtleness is why the apostle warned Timothy, his beloved child in the faith (1Timothy 1:2) to “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (2Timothy 1:13-14)
History tells us that this message of life was stripped away by political and religious control toward the end of, and shortly following the apostles’ lives. This powerful message which once governed the Church can scarcely be found through archeological excavation related to the third century and following. As a result, we slipped into the dark ages when doctrines of men and church traditions, instead of the gospel of Christ, were established to govern those seeking God.
Centuries later men such as Martin Luther, John Huss, and William Tyndale began to rediscover the hidden treasure of the Word of life in the scriptures. This period is called The Reformation, the re-forming of the Church. They realized that the Church lived in such defeat because it was kept from the Word which would produce its victory. Men such as these were committed, to the point of death, to bring this powerful message of life back to common man. Translations in the language of the people began to surface. As the people read, were taught, and believed the Word of Life they were awakened to truth and by it found the strength and power to stand against the onslaughts of darkness. As they accepted the message of truth as their own they were liberated from the shackles of the Adversary. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32) became increasingly realized. The enemy lost his grip wherever the truth was received and stood upon. The believers grew in experiencing that the Word of God “effectually works in you who believe.” (1Thessalonians 2:13b) The Adversary’s counter attack was again against the Word of Life and against those who stood for it. These men were persecuted, some to the point of death. Their works in the scriptures were sought for destruction. Satan’s attacks are essentially the same – eliminate their food for growth and victory: eliminate the Word. No Word, no power. No Word, no victory. “If I can weaken them in the Word and I can easily assume authority over them.” If only he can keep this truth hidden.
Pentecost had begun a new day. It began a new time: a day and time when anyone can be filled with the gift of holy spirit, filled with all the potential, all the ability of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ himself said, “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.” (John 14:12) The one who believes on Jesus Christ shall do the works he did and greater works because he did ascend to the Father, and he did send back the gift of holy spirit, the ability to do these works. Jesus prayed to his Father, God, that we who believe on him would be one with the Father even as he was one with the Father. He said, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:” (John 17:21) The potential of our oneness with the Father is shown by the standard of Jesus’ oneness with the Father. WOW! When one is born again of God’s gift of holy spirit God begins their development of being conformed to the very image/likeness of His son, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29 and 2Corinthians 3:18).
This new kind of people, Christ filled men and women, speaks a new language. Statements of fear, anxiety, lack, and defeat are replaced with words true to Christ’s redemptive work (Ephesians 4:25, 4:29). We speak according to truth, confronting adversarial attacks with all the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, for we represent him. Where the authority of darkness was enthroned over us due to sin, we now actively declare victory over those lies by the truth. Jesus Christ defeated the powers of darkness. In him darkness has no authority. As a result of being convinced of reality in Christ, we declare the things that are not as though they are, and they become a reality. We also declare the things that are as though they’re not, and they cease to be. We speak in behalf of our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are his presence here upon earth. We refuse to speak in submission to the realm of darkness where fears, anxieties, sickness, disease, death, and demons deceptively assume authority. Our love for our Lord Jesus Christ urges us to “stand against the devil,” to speak the words of victory in Christ. We are a new kind of people, a people who are according to reality in Christ.
This new kind of people, kings in this new realm of life, seeks to please its Lord, not itself. This is why selfishness cannot thrive in us. It is melted away as the heat of the love of Christ increasingly burns in their souls. We know that living for our Lord requires dying to ourselves. We joyfully submit to truth in Christ, remembering with thankfulness the agonizing work he endured to bless us so immeasurably. We refuse to receive the abundant grace of God in vain, for our appreciation for our lord encourages our soul.
Almost unconsciously, hatred is replaced with love. Judgment is replaced with mercy and grace. Vengeance is replaced with loving-kindness. Grudges are loosed by forgiveness. To what mighty power could a transition to such lofty degrees be owed? Quickly comes the Lord’s reply, By the power of the gospel, the words of your new life in Me. By it you adapt to your new nature. Allow my redemptive work to steep into your minds so that your lives will be transformed into spiritual maturity, all the way to the measure of the stature of my fullness.
The gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16). We are the church of Jesus Christ, the authority of heaven in the realm of the earth. Has the gospel lost any of its power today? Isn’t it the same message? It is the same message, and therefore, the same potential power, able to produce the same powerful effects today as ever before. Throughout history those who have fed on it have had the authority and confidence of Christ built into their soul. The Adversary’s focused attack is obvious. He functions to diminish the value of the message in the eyes of the Church.
Do you desire to know and live in the confidence and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ? How do you value the message? Is it able to produce these affects in you as it has in those before us? Stand against the subtle thoughts of the wicked one of devaluing the gospel. Satan is a master at manipulating our reasoning to be contrary to Christ’s finished work of the cross. All the potential of the Christ is latent within you. You ARE Christ’s presence, his representative.
Jesus Christ died in our behalf as a complete substitution for our sins and their just punishment (2Corinthians 5:21). His work destroyed the works of the Devil (1John 3:8). His work stripped all authority away from the Devil (Colossians 2:15). His work made us masters over the powers of darkness. Jesus Christ made us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). He made us to reign in life through him (Romans 5:17). As Paul the Apostle declared, “We triumph in Christ.” (2Corinthians 2:14) You ARE as he is – RIGHT NOW!
Understandingly then, that God’s aim for us is to intimately know our new life in Christ, that through the Church all things are to be brought into subjection to Christ (Ephesians 3:10). We stand firm on truth in Christ no matter what the attack or what the facts are that are contrary to truth. This is where the Church lives in authority over all the powers of the enemy. The Adversary is a defeated foe.
The Devil seeks to assume authority wherever the Church doesn’t stand in Christ’s authority. God gave all authority in heaven and upon earth to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18). Jesus Christ bestowed his authority upon his disciples (Luke 10:19). Now we are governmentally seated with Christ, where all things are in subjection to him (Ephesians 2:6 and Ephesians 1:22). As our Lord was anointed “with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him,” (Acts 10:38), so are we (2Corinthians 1:21, 1John 2:27). He became the full payment for sin and its consequences liberating us from the authority of darkness (Colossians 1:13-14, 2:15) and delegating to us his authority to bring the wholeness which is in Christ to any and all who will receive it. God wants the Church to be enlightened as to the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:17-23).
Father, we, the Church, need you to wake us up to the reality of Jesus Christ’s victory over the authority of darkness, that we would not accept Satan’s facade of superior strength to our detriment, that we would further reign in life through one, Jesus Christ, working with you, Father, to bring the wholeness of your Kingdom into realization. Much of the authority of the truth is still not realized, Father. We need your help. We ask that you open our eyes so that we might see from your perspective. Teach us how to be workers together with you, Father. AMEN!