Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
by Erik Momsen
Are you happy with a few hip songs, some powerless prayers and a thought provoking talk, or would you like your life to be like those believers in the New Testament? The reality is that too many would really like only a few outward trappings of religion and not get into the spiritual stuff. The reason for this is that Christianity is dangerous and could demand your life. The problem is, outward religious practise without any power soon leaves people bored and looking for something else. The 'something else' could be spiritism (John Edwards "Crossing Over"), sensuality or materialism.
John Wimber illustrates the Christian life with his story about believers who accept the invitation of Jesus to go on a voyage. They grab their sun tan oil, sun glasses and beach towels and head off for the keys. To their great surprise and anguish they do not find a cruise ship but a large grey vessel with white numbers painted on the side. The closest thing to a cruise they will see is the missiles hidden below decks. The Christian life is a battle against the enemy who seeks to destroy every human on the face of the planet. Our task is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do the things He did.
WE'RE IN A BATTLE
As humans we were born into a battle of life and death with the prince of darkness. As Christians we are born into God's army with authority to engage and defeat the enemy. Being an active part of this army is our only hope for a meaningful life and an everlasting life in the next age.
Satan's aims are clear. He comes to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10). Jesus on the other hand came to destroy the works of the evil one. The works of the evil one are clear. Mass world starvation, wars, family violence and lawlessness. The evil one attacks each individual through the flesh, the world and direct attack.
The attack on the flesh is his use of our human natures which have been weakened by generational sin. He manipulates our 'sinful passions' through temptation that live in us. Paul says, "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature" (Romans 7:18). We however have spiritual weapons to stand against temptation and it is not inevitable that we are defeated by these attacks. The Spirit gives us power to overcome temptation. Faith, knowledge of the Word, and powerful prayer do set us free. If the occultists effectively believe in the power of their incantations and spells, then how much more should we believe and have power through Biblical prayers said and understood?
The evil one attacks through the world. Psalm 137 says "How can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?". We must see ourselves as the army of God which is ordered, discipline and under authority. When we have worldly ways and habits we will be ineffective and weak. Paul says, "No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs - he wants to please his commanding officer." (2 Timothy 2:4)
"The kingdom of darkness is organised to distract us, to prevent us from doing God's bidding. Through the glitter of materialism and power, sexual immorality and seeking after self-fulfillment, Satan diverts our attention from the kingdom of God" (Wimber 1985:23). We however have authority and power to overcome the evil one and the world - if it is used. Christian Fellowship is a primary defence against the world. So is scripture, prayer and fasting.
Direct assaults from the devil are not often recognised in our society, but are real. We know that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, ... authorities, ... powers, ... spiritual forces of evil". (Ephesians 6:12) Wimber notes, "All we should know in this world is war."
WHERE'S THE POWER?
When Jesus called the 12, "he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, he sent them out to preach the kingdom and heal the sick". (Luke 9:1,2) The power was the ability and the authority was the right to use it. The centurion (Matthew 8:5) understood authority. He knew how to receive and give orders. We wrongly think authority is based on goodness. We will never be good enough. Authority is based on listening and doing. A soldier does not receive orders based on how good he is but upon the fact that he is a soldier, is told to go, and he goes.
"Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? ... Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law or because you believe what you heard." (Galatians 3:2,5)
Sin brings guilt and withdrawal from God. Listening to the Spirit, Life in the Spirit, brings us closer and acting on the command brings power. (Galatians 3 & 5)
Date Added: 2010-06-22
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