faith

And You Shall Know the Truth

I’ve been putting off my posts for a number of reasons. But this doozie right here forced me to just suck it up and hit publish. It pains me to see our nation in the state that it is in. It pains me even more to see believers fall into the trap of focusing on the wrong things. I’m saying this now and you will see it written in future posts: we are in the last days. The signs of this time are quite clear. I won’t go into that because it’s not the point of my post. But I will remind you that our focus should be on eternal things. I assure you that this world is going to pass away, sooner than you think. And the only thing that will remain is your soul and its destiny. Black versus white will not matter. The NFL and knees will not matter. Police brutality will not matter. What President Trump tweeted last night will not matter. As hurtful as these things are to many, they are temporal and we must examine them from an eternal perspective. We cannot afford to forget that although we are in this world, we are not of it. We have been born again, adopted into the sonship through the Spirit.

With that being said…. I came across a video of a sermon by a Reverend who happens to be in my area. I will refrain from revealing his name because that really isn’t my heart behind this post. My heart is simply to spread the truth. I listened to the sermon, in its entirety, with extreme concern. I was concerned because of the misinterpretation of scripture, by someone in leadership, for carnal gain. Instead of preaching the gospel, he taught his own, taking 1 Peter 5:6-11 and turning it into nothing more than a call to fight a spiritual battle through carnal means – while also instructing his congregation to focus on temporal things.

The Bible is clear on this. We wrestle NOT against flesh and blood. I can’t see how the Bible can get any clearer about the fact that our fight is NOT against one another. We, DO, however, wrestle (FIGHT) against principalities, powers, the rules of the darkness of this age (not people), against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Notice how all of the entities that we knowingly or unknowingly fight against are in the heavenlies. Pastor J.P. Timmons hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “The spirit world dominates the physical world. This is the reason the Word of God encourages us to develop ourselves spiritually and to set our mind on things above in the realm of the spirit.” (Timmons, J.P., Mysterious Secrets of The Dark Kingdom. Bigford: CCI Publishing, 2013. Print) The spirit realm is more real than this world that you operate in. EVERYTHING is birthed in the spirit realm. It is from that place that we must fight, if we must fight.

The Reverend made a lot of statements that vexed my spirit. And as he stood there preaching, I couldn’t help but hear the Truth being whispered to me in response. I have a few things that I’d like to share, in support of the Truth of God’s word.

1 Peter 5:6-11 states, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered awhile, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The Reverend correctly states that Peter, in the above scripture, was addressing those who were being unjustly persecuted by the emperor at the time. He beseeches his congregation to not, “be so spiritual that you miss the earthly reality that Peter is referring to,” saying that the roaring lion was not the devil. This sentence in itself  is contradictory of the very essence of the Word of God.  The Lord was never consumed with earthly things. If a matter was brought to Him, he dealt with it from His perspective, a spiritual perspective. The Bible even speaks against wisdom that is earthly, calling it sensual and devilish. (James 3:15)

Paul warns us in Philippians 3 of the danger of focusing on earthly things: “For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation],  whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things.”  But we (the church) are different because our conversation (citizenship) is in heaven. (Philippians 3:19-20 AMP)

Do you truly believe that Peter, who walked side by side with Jesus, would reduce the Holy Spirit inspired writings to mere earthly/carnal interpretation? Absolutely not. Peter was undoubtedly referring to Satan. He is our (the church’s) adversary. And Satan DOES walk around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The church was being persecuted because of their belief in Jesus Christ. It had ALL to do with Jesus Christ! Who, from the beginning, has been the one jealous enemy of Jesus Christ and His followers? Satan. Sure, Satan used the emperor to persecute them because of their faith. But the devil, the roaring lion, is Satan. To take away from this truth in any way waters down the gospel and ill-equips the church to properly fight their real enemy.

The Rev. goes further to refer to the “evil on the throne.” Had he been referring to the Prince of the world (John 12:31) or the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), I could’ve rocked with him. But he wasn’t. He made it painfully clear that the enemy on the throne is the President of the United States.  First of all, there is but One who sits upon the throne. To magnify any human being to such an extent reveals a lack of understanding of where you, as an heir of God, are seated (Ephesians 2:6). You are seated with God in heavenly places. You are looking down on all that is taking place to rightfully stand against our great adversary. This adversary is Satan, the same Satan that Peter directly referred to in 1 Peter 5 (not the President).

The Rev. Dr. then breaks down 1 Peter 5, in order to give his congregation a 3-part instruction as to how to fight this “enemy”.

1. Be Sober. He states that to be sober means to not be intoxicated. Yes, this is true. However he took the scripture and twisted it to tell his congregation to not become intoxicated with, “the perversion of prosperity, with the illusion of equality, with the delusion of patriotism.” He says that they shouldn’t drink these lies in because when the intoxication wears off, “The US is still a stolen nation built by slaves bathed in innocent blood and guilty of military imperialism around the world.” There was a lot more said, but for the sake of your eyes, I’ll refrain from typing it all out. The problem with this is that he is completely consumed with this natural life. Yes, people are being unjustly killed. Sure, we all know that the US wasn’t “discovered” by Christopher Columbus. But these things should not devour our thoughts to the point that we allow the truth of the gospel to be choked out.

Peter’s instruction to be sober is far from this. Sober does mean to abstain from wine. However, that is because we are to watch, be calm, and be collected in spirit. Why? Because our adversary, the devil, is the one who is looking to devour us in order to send us straight to hell. It has nothing to do with President Trump, black lives being gunned down, or the state of this nation in the sense that the Reverend is teaching. We are instructed to watch and pray because the end of all things are at hand. We are instructed to walk in the light, to stay in our Word, to be spiritually minded in order to avoid the deception that will cause many in the church to turn away, ultimately sending them to hell. Holding anger in your heart towards this nation, white people, a political party, and even the police will keep you from being watchful. You aren’t praying for change. You aren’t praying for the state of this nation. You are harboring bitterness because, again, the cares of this world are choking out the truth. The gospel tells us to, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5: 44-45)

2. Be vigilant. He says that being vigilant means to do something, as in a vigilante. He says that we ought to “fight this thing” and not just “sit by and watch TV and shake our heads.” This is incorrect. Do you know the definition of vigilante? It is “a member of a self-appointed group of citizens who undertake law enforcement in their community without legal authority, typically because the legal agencies are thought to be inadequate.” How does this, in any way, line up with the Word of God?

In 1 Peter 5, vigilant, like sober, means to keep awake, be watchful. Peter purposely used two different words (sober and vigilant) to enforce the importance of what he was saying. We are not to fight as a vigilante, but to be watchful because Satan is looking for something in YOU to trip you up. But if you are more concerned with the care of this world, working yourself up over it, and fighting in the flesh, you will miss it. You will miss the Lord.

3. Finally, he instructs his congregation to resist. He gives his church family a D.A.R.E (daily act of resistance against evil). He instructs them to ask God, “How do I resist evil today?” “How do I fight the evil that is sweeping over our land?” He then says, “What do I do to stand for my convictions? What can I do to make known what’s in my heart?” He gives them many options. He instructed them to have conversations with coworkers, wear t-shirts, boycott businesses, and campaign for candidates who stand on the platform that is best for his life, his family, his community, and his nation.None of those options considered the Lord.

Like 1 Peter 5, James 4:7 tells us to resist the devil. But this time, it says that if we do, the devil will flee. But before we resist, just as in 1 Peter 5, we are told to submit ourselves to God. The Reverend missed this very important verse.  We have to submit to God FIRST. This means putting off our own thinking. This means leaning not to our own understanding. This means seeking the Lord for His will and for wisdom that comes from Him. The way we resist is right in our Bibles. We are to be strong IN THE LORD and in the POWER of HIS might. (Ephesians 6:10). We are to put on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand (be steadfast, not waver) against THE DEVIL. Ephesians 6:13-18 does not once instruct us to fight our issues via fleshly means. We are to be girded with truth, have on the breastplate of righteousness, to bind our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, hold the shield of faith, wear the helmet of salvation, and take up the sword of the spirit  He tops all of this off by instructing us, in verse 18, to pray always and WATCHING with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

1 Peter 5, verses 6 -11 have nothing to do with acting in anger, rebellion, or taking matters into our own hands. It simply instructs us to submit ourselves to God, to stand and fight by putting our trust and faith in God, using the spiritual tools of prayer, faith, and the Word of God. That is how we fight.

The church is so watered down that we don’t even realize the power that we have. We don’t take the Lord at His word. We don’t realize that despite the injustices, the racism, the bigotry, the protests, the division, the Lord IS coming back. He is looking for a bride without spot or wrinkle. Do you realize that the very Word of God says that in the last days difficult times will come? That evil men will grow worse and worse? (2 Timothy 3). Despite this, our instruction is to continue in the things that we have learned. We are to remain in the Word of God, letting the Word consume and transform our minds. We are to have absolute confidence in the power of His might and wisdom.

We talk about the persecution of African-Americans in this country and all the other unspeakable injustices as if the Apostles (even Jesus.. hello!!!) didn’t suffer far worse. They died for this gospel. They willingly gave up their lives. They didn’t boycott. They didn’t fight back with flesh. They understood what was really going on.  They understood who the REAL ENEMY is. They understood that their reward, their eternity, is in heaven. We will gain absolutely nothing by fighting a spiritual battle with our flesh. Pick up your sword (Bible) and become consumed with the Word of God. Let Him lead you. Let Him show you the more excellent way.

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