What is our greatest enemy? Is it Satan? The World? Those who say they hate Christians? While these may bring us afflictions and trials from time to time, I don’t think they are really our greatest enemy. I think our greatest enemy is ourselves separate from Christ. In order to see this, we must come back to Calvary and what Christ Jesus did on the cross. God judged the entire human race according to Adam at the cross and put it away from Him. It was infected with sin and beyond repair. Nothing in the old creation could be rescued, so God began a new race in Christ. This race would not fail because it is based on what God can do, not what man can do in himself. To enter into this new race we must be born again. In new birth we are joined with Christ and now all things are of God. To begin and continue in this new creation is God’s answer to sin, death, and the limitations of man separate from Him.
There is a battle going on today and eternal issues are at stake. It is a battle for life and within that battle is a battle for truth. On a casual look, the real issues are often not seen for what they are. We dare not be complacent in this battle lest we be deceived and brought down to death. These are the words that came to me as I rose up this last Sunday morning. I share them with the prayer that they may be of encouragement to each one of us in what we are facing today.
“We are in a battle for truth. The devil is a liar and the father of lies. He questions God and leads others to question God. If we listen to his lies, we will be brought down to the dust, defeated, and die. If we abide in Christ and listen to Him we will rise up in victory and live with Him forever.”
“The devil uses every means he can to deceive us. He appeals to logic, pride, and the desires of the flesh. His goal is that we will move separate from God and rely on our own strength. God wants us to move in union with Him and rely on His strength.”
“Each one of us today is facing a critical, life changing decision. Will we believe God and take a step of faith in truth, or will we listen to the lies of the enemy. One leads to life, the other to death. The significance of the choice is critical. It does not seem so important, but the issue is one of life and death.”
What are the manifestations of the Spirit of God? We read about divine manifestations of God in the early church. Can we expect similar manifestations today? If so, what does God expect from us for Him to reveal Himself through us for His purpose and glory? In I Corinthians chapters 12-14 we read Paul’s instruction to the Corinthian church regarding the manifestation of the Spirit for the profit of all. These manifestations are different from the fruit of the Spirit described in the letter to the Galatians. I believe the scriptures teach plainly that we need both the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit to be able to function as a spiritual person and a spiritual expression of the Body of Christ in this world as God intends to meet pressing needs.
Today we share ministry by Gordon Gentry on this subject given in 1998 in a home fellowship. He concentrates on the difference between intellectual belief and faith that is originated and completed by Jesus. His message is that we need all of the manifestations of the Spirit to be able to meet the many demands that come our way in the ordinary affairs of life. We share this ministry with the prayer that God will use it to encourage all of us to be more hungry for these manifestations leading into a greater experience of God and the riches of His grace. Jesus opened the door for us. Let us press in to all that God has provided that His purpose would be fully realized in our lives and our locality.
Prayer is one of the great mysteries in the working of God. It defies human logic, but it is at the center of our warfare against the enemy. When all else fails, prayer connects us to the throne of God and releases His power for His purpose and glory. There are many aspects to prayer. Basically, prayer is two-way communication with God. The prayer that is effective is prayer that is initiated in our hearts by the Holy Spirit as He knows the mind of God and intercedes for us according to the will of God. His intercession is not only for us (we are the object of His intercession) but He intercedes through us (we are the vehicle through which He intercedes). Thus we become an integral part of this work of God. But this is not only a personal matter; it is also the ministry of the church as a whole.
Today we share some ministry on this subject by Harry Foster taken from a small booklet entitled The Essence of all Prayer (“That I May Know Him”). Harry labored with T. Austin-Sparks, and this was published in 1947. May the Lord enlarge our vision of our responsibility before God in corporate intercession in the church for His purpose and glory.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians that we are to speak the truth one to another in love and that this is a very important key in growing up into Christ. What does this mean in practical terms? How do we do this without compromise and without breaking relationships? Right relationships are critical in the working of God, right relationship with God, and right relationships with others. To avoid conflicts, we often choose to be silent on important issues where God is not silent. Then sometimes we get stirred up on a particular issue and speak out in such a way that the main result is broken relationships which are very difficult to mend. Is there an answer to this dilemma?