By Dr. Richard Ing
May 2, 2007
This is a newsletter based on a sermon given on Tuesday night, May 1, 2007, this church’s teaching session on spiritual warfare.
WHY ARE YOU HERE (OR NOT HERE)?
That’s an important question to ask yourselves. If spiritual warfare is not important, why even bother? If it is something only a few specialists might be interested in, then we can ignore Tuesday nights. In fact, that is exactly what most do.
But, if it is God’s mandate that every saint learn spiritual warfare, then most of the body of Christ and most of our own members are in deep trouble. If you are not attending Tuesday night sessions regularly, you need to read this newsletter carefully.
Deliverance and healing are difficult subjects to learn and retain. Of the 125 members of my original church, only me and one or two others is still doing or learning deliverance. Most churches don’t even teach those subjects and they seem happy and prosperous, so why bother? If everyone is going to heaven anyway and God wants to bless us in every way while we are on earth, then why stick your neck out and do spiritual warfare? After all, it only puts you in harm’s way. Everyone knows that you shouldn’t play around with the devil. You might get counter-attacked.
So, why do you need to be here on Tuesday nights?
IS THE BIBLE TRUE?
To answer our main question, we need to agree on the accuracy and truth of the Bible. If you do not trust the veracity of the Bible, you need not read further. On the other hand, if the Bible is true, then we need to know what it says about God’s plans for you, me, the church, and the world, especially in the end times. Let us assume that the end times are almost upon us without having to go through a long study on that subject.
AN INEVITABLE WAR IS COMING!
The Bible says that Satan’s beast is going to war against the saints and overcome them. Rev. 13:6,7. Daniel 7:21, 25 says that a horn on the beast is going to war against God’s people and prevail against them in the end times. So, there is trouble coming up for every Christian – big trouble! This is just the calm before the storm.
Jesus said that Satan is going to destroy all Christian churches and kill all true Christians. Mt. 24:16; Da. 8:10-12; Da. 9:26-27; Da. 12:11. He calls it the “abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.”
At one point, Michael and his angels will defeat and kick Satan and his dark angels out of the heavens and down to earth. Rev. 12:7-10. Satan will turn against the church and all saints with great wrath (extreme anger) because he knows his end is near. Rev. 12:12. He will persecute the woman (the true church) which brought forth the man child (army of God). Rev. 12:13. Satan will be wroth with the woman. When he cannot touch her, he will go after the remnant of her seed (the martyrs). Rev. 12:17.
The pressure is going to be so intense that many Christians will fall away and go into apostasy. 2 Th. 2:3. Apostasy means a turning away from ones original beliefs. Before Jesus returns, there will be a massive falling away from Christianity’s original doctrines. Most of the churches are already in apostasy. Many Christians are saying in their heart that they will never be deceived; but they already are.
For years, we have talked about a computer chip with the number 666 (Rev. 13:16) that will be so small that you can inject it under the skin with a hypodermic needle. It has now become reality. Satan will find out who is a Christian and who is not by requiring everyone to either renounce Jesus and take the mark or die. He will greatly succeed. Only a few extraordinary Christians will stand and survive.
WHAT IF THE WORLD IS NOT COMING TO AN END?
What if we are wrong and the world is not soon coming to an end? Then, why should we waste our time trying to be a soldier and make it into God’s army? The answer is: God has always required all Christians to be soldiers in His army throughout man’s history. In the Old Testament, God is called the “Lord of Hosts” over 242 times. Look it up! The word “Hosts” means “armies.” He has always had armies, one of angels and another of men on earth. The early apostles and many saints were part of God’s army that spread the gospel all over the world. During the dark ages, the army was small but alive among the Anabaptists that hid in the mountains and continued to obey God. Martin Luther was in that army in his day, so with many other champions of God. Many missionaries in the 1800’s were in His army, including Stanley Livingston, Hudson Taylor and Christians who braved disease, murder and starvation in the jungles of Africa and the Amazon and in many remote countries. D. L. Moody, Smith Wigglesworth, General Booth, Evan Roberts, William Seymour, Frank Bartleman, Charles Finney and Maria Woodworth-Etter were in God’s army in their day, to name but a few.
That is why the apostle Paul said that all Christians are called to be soldiers for Jesus Christ (2 Ti. 2:3-4) and into perfection in Jesus Christ. Ro. 8:29; 2 Co. 3:18. God’s army is not just for the end times. The generation that lives in the end times, however, is given the privilege of being in the greatest army of all time. Great sacrifices must be made in order to make it into God’s end-time army today. At the same time, great rewards will be given to those who make it.
WE ARE ALREADY IN A WAR
We are already in a war! The church, therefore, must either fight or perish. Even at this very moment, Satan’s demons are working against you and the church. You became a target the moment you became a Christian. That is why Paul said we are to fight back and defeat the enemy! Eph. 6:12-13; Ja. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:8-9. Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the devil and to teach us how to complete the job. 1 Jn. 3:8. That’s your calling and that’s my calling and that’s the calling of the church.
God planned it before He created the worlds. God is silently building His army for the final battle. Joel 2:1-11 and Rev. 19:11-21. He is going to sift the earth, searching for His true church and His true saints, looking for one person to stand in the gap. Maybe He is sifting us right now.
A battle is already raging for the souls of men. An even bigger war will culminate in the end of the world. In the days of Jeremiah, God showed the prophet that Babylon was coming to destroy God’s people. Jeremiah hesitated to say anything because no one would believe him and all the prophets and priests were preaching, “Peace! Prosperity!” Jer. 6:14; Jer. 8:1. Jeremiah cried out, “My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou has heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.” Jer. 4:19. He shouted, “There is no peace!” Jer. 6:14; Jer. 4:19. Babylon is coming! Rev. 17:5; Rev. 18:4, 10, 21; Rev. 14:8; Rev. 16:19. She is coming! All the people wanted to kill Jeremiah for saying this! Jer. 26:8, 11. But in the end, they all perished except Jeremiah and a few others.
GOD WANTS HIS CHURCH BACK
The church has lost its way. It is no longer the church of Jesus Christ. It is man’s church. It can no longer guide its members into truth. It is not prepared for the end times and will fall. It is no longer a militant church, prepared to do battle against the kingdom of darkness. It is more like a cub scout troop.
God wants His true church back. He spoke that to me in an audible voice while I was traveling up to Baguio in the Philippines in 2000. There is no church today that is God’s true church. But God is calling us to come back to His grand plans and purposes for the church and for each one of us. We need to come out of Babylon. Rev. 18:4.
There are two churches today: The counterfeit or false church, and the true church. The counterfeit church is all about man, and driven by self-ambition, self-promotion, thirst for recognition, power, riches and controlled by man and Satan. The counterfeit church promotes religion and throughout the centuries has pursued power and the favor of men. It has staged many religious wars in the name of God but out of man’s desire for conquest and power. Jesus is only a stage prop around which it can play church and Christ is not its true head. Man is. Man gives only lip service to God.
The false church interprets the Bible to favor its man-favored views and cuts God out of its activities. Instead, man’s traditions are closely followed. It is divided, weak in the Spirit, disobedient and rebellious. It has turned its back to God.
The false church is run by the flesh and keeps its members ignorant of God’s true purposes and plans for the church and each saint. The false church works for Satan whether or not they know it. Why then do some famous and rich televangelists have such power and anointing? The answer is: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Ro. 11:29. These apparently favored and “great” Christians are the modern Balaams. 2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11. They sell their gifts for money and the favor of men.
The true church, on the other hand, is controlled by God, who is the head, and desire to submit and obey only God. Its members are willing to lay down their life for the Lord. The true church promotes love for love’s sake, without ulterior motives and without trying to be recognized or rewarded. It interprets the Bible according to the original doctrines espoused by the first apostles and strives to let God lead it. The true church desires to know the heart and mind of God in order to know the will of God, and will not act without first knowing His will.
Most churches are ignorant and contain a mixture of false and true.
There may be true Christians mixed in among the false and sometimes a Christian can be both true and false at the same time. Christians are trapped in false doctrines and purposes and are mostly ignorant. In the end, the true mission of the church and of each Christian is disregarded. It’s Satan’s trap.
The true church is led by an invisible government while the false church is led by carnal and natural man. It is easier to see the hand of men than the invisible hand of God. Paul knew this. He said, “We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.” 2 Co. 4:18. When Pontius Pilate said to Jesus, “Do you not know that I have power – to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over Me unless it has been given you from above.” Jn. 19:10, 11. Pray to have your spiritual eyes open to “see” the kingdom of heaven and the true kingdom of God.
THE APOSTLE PAUL
Paul was a prisoner to Caesar, emperor of Rome, chained and kept under house arrest. Yet, he willingly submitted himself to his fate because he knew that God had a plan and if that plan required that he be a prisoner and ultimately die, then so be it. He knew that the Lord would always seek the highest good for Paul, even if it meant death.
God could have freed Paul at any time if that was God’s plan. He had sent an angel to free the apostles from prison. Ac. 5:17-18. Another time, an angel freed Paul and Silas from prison. Ac. 16:25-34. Paul knew that if it was in God’s plan, it would be easy for God to release him. Otherwise, He would not. Paul knew of God’s great love for him and he submitted his life to the Lord. “If it pleases you, Lord, I am willing and ready to die.” He totally submitted to God’s divine plan for him and the world.
In Eph. 4:1-3, Paul said, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What did Paul say? He said, “I am a prisoner by the Lord’s will, not Caesar’s! I beg you to fulfill your calling! Obey your orders! Don’t deviate from the divine plan of God! Follow your Lord! God has a magnificent plan and strategy for saving mankind and destroying the demonic kingdom. He has called you to be a soldier! Stick to it! Don’t stray from your divine calling!”
The Emperor of Rome sought to still Paul’s voice forever and squash Christianity, so he beheaded Paul. But God had a plan and it required Paul to be martyred. No one could suppress Paul’s epistles and influence against God’s will. Paul’s fame spread throughout the known world and his epistles and life have touched the hearts of countless people all over the world, down through the generations and centuries. His testimony and life, his character and faith in God, inspired millions upon millions of people, even today. His place on the throne of God was secured for eternity by his death.
It was all part of God’s bigger plan. Caesar might think that he ruled the world, but Paul knew that the true ruler of the world was God. Caesar could no nothing if God did not allow him to.
According to the Bible, many will be martyred for Christ in the end times. Each of those martyrs will have the same heart and mind as Paul. They will know that the highest calling of their life is to die for His great name’s sake. As a result, they will rule the earth for a thousand years and sit on the throne of God throughout eternity. Rev. 20:4.
Would you be willing to die for God if He offered you such a great reward? Paul accepted the offer - the original apostles too. Many Christians in the past have accepted God’s plan for their life. We don’t know what God’s plan is in total. But all we need to do is trust God, submit to Him and obey.
Paul understood the true nature, goal and function of the true Church. It is not a human institution, never was and never will be. It is not independent, relying on the strength of its members. It is a body called into special relationship with God. What is that relationship? The church is called to be under the headship of God and into perfection in Jesus Christ.
GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU AND THE CHURCH
God has always had a plan and strategy for the church and for you. He knew you before you were born. God will always seek the highest good for you and your life. All you have to do is submit and obey and it will be accomplished. Andrew Murray, in his book entitled Chrystal Christianity, explained that the closest word he could find in any dictionary to explain “love,” was the word “beneficence.” Beneficence means to desire the highest good for someone or something. God will always seek and desire the highest good for you. You may not agree with it, but sometimes the highest good in terms of reward in heaven may involved giving up your life on earth. The highest good for Paul was that he be martyred.
You have a calling. All Christians have a calling. What is it? It is to move into perfection in Christ, be a soldier for Christ and defeat Satan’s kingdom so Jesus can come back. 2 Ti. 2:3-4. God is going to restore the true church (called the woman in the wilderness) and raise up an army for the end times (the man-child). Rev. 12:5. That great army will defeat the kingdom of darkness and fulfill the church’s primary purposes. Rev. 12:5; Rev. 14:1-5; Joel 2:1-11; Is. 13:1-22; Rev. 19:11-21.
While the overall objective of the church is to reflect His holiness, reveal His glory, and be a witness unto Jesus, the ultimate goal of the church is to destroy the demonic kingdom. The church is failing on all counts right now. It is like a quadriplegic whose limbs and body refuse to obey the head.
The Church is called to be an army under the command of Jesus Christ. An army that does not obey its head is useless and easy to defeat. That is why Paul said, “Obey your orders, follow God.” Every saint is called to be a soldier for Jesus. Each member is called to give up his right to control his life. His body is the temple of God, indwelt by the Holy Ghost and to be controlled by God. Gal. 2:20.
The highest duty and calling of the church, according to Watchman Nee, is to defeat the demonic kingdom so that Jesus can come back to usher in the Millennium Age. That is the church’s ultimate calling and yours too.
God has a strategy
The Bible is clear about God’s strategy for the end times. God is going to have His true church and true saints, whether you are in it or not.
If you are not, you will likely perish. He will sift the church and separate the sheep from the goats. That is why the end time persecutions and tribulation will be so intense and extreme. The battles are going to become more fierce and severe. Right at this very moment, we are being attacked by Satan. It is going to get worse. We have not seen anything yet!
God has always used persecution and the enemy’s tactics to separate the sheep from the goats, the true from the false. The coming persecution will do exactly that. Those who are only marginal Christians will fall away. Those who have some faith will be sorely tested. Only those that have surrendered their lives to God and who know spiritual warfare will have a chance to overcome all odds. Rev. 12:11.
Do you believe what the Bible says? Do you believe that God called you to be a soldier in God’s army and fight the demonic kingdom?
Why are you here tonight?
You are here because you were called by God. You were called to be a soldier and to fight against the kingdom of darkness. Those that do not want to learn to fight will fall away. They are deceived by the counterfeit system. All soldiers have to learn how to fight, even the medics, desk clerks, computer analysts, military attorneys, warehouse workers and truck drivers.
God called you to be someone who would mature into a mighty warrior for the Lord, and to be true to his/her calling. “Fulfill your calling! Obey your orders! Don’t deviate from the divine strategy!” was Paul’s cry. Don’t be lazy, distracted or deceived. Whatever you are doing now will not be enough to allow you to stand against the devil.
The counterfeit church doesn’t want you to know your true calling. If you knew, you would leave and they would lose money. Instead, they will try their best to confuse and divert you from your true destiny. They are working for the devil unknowingly. You don’t have to be a member of a false church to swallow their deceptions, hook, line and sinker. Deception is everywhere! Your can be in this church and be deceived. “If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Mt. 24:24.
YOUR TRUE MISSION AND CALLING
God is not going to change your true mission and calling, and God is not going to change His plans and strategies for the end times. The calling and the gifts are without repentance. Ro. 11:29. He is going to have His true church and true saints in the end, whether you are in it or not. God’s great army for the end times is going to destroy the demonic kingdom and sit with Him on His throne forever.
We are fighting against great odds. The counterfeit church is the overwhelming majority. The flesh, the world and the devil are against us. It has always been that way. But if God is for us, who can be against us?
Whose side are you really on? Wake up and prove it! Sleep and perish!