PREPARING OURSELVES FOR SPIRITUAL WARFARE.
Dr. Paul L Cushman.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”. Ephesians 6:10-18
PAUL DEALS WITH TWO IMPORTANT THINGS:
1- Be strong in the Lord.
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto
babes in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:1
2- In the power of HIS (God's) might.
We are in spiritual warfare.
Q: Are you prepared?
We are the winners me not the losers.
I. PAUL'S Final COMMENTS
A. Saving the best for last.
Paul said finally my brethren. It was the wrapping up of the matter. The closing statement.
I knew a man who ordered his food and always ordered his desert at the same time. He would eat it first. He was
asked why do you always eat that first? His reply was if the rapture happens I want to have saved the best for last, the
antichrist and his crowd can have the beans and rice left behind.
B. He knew what he was talking about.
Paul knew his stuff. He was educated. He had life experience. He was writing about his own relationship with Christ.
C. We would be wise to listen.
II. TO THE CHRISTIANS we need to prepare:
I was adopted into the family of God. At five years old I knelt at the side of an alter and asked Jesus to come into my heart.
A. The change of the family.
“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:1-3
When people follow satan they are in bad shape, even if the don't know it. They walk and follow the flesh. There is none righteous no not one. We were not born perfect. We have a sin nature and it shows in the way we live. BUT... The is way out. It is by becoming a child of the living God.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
B. The certain fight.
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”
Just because we are following God, does not mean the fight is over.
We need to be what we should be in Christ.
10 Things Paul said to BE in Ephesians.
1- That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. Eph 1:12
2- May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; Eph 3:18
3- And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph 3:19
4- And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Eph 4:23
5- Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Eph 4:26
6- And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Eph 4:32
7- Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; Eph 5:1
8- And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Eph 5:18
9- Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Eph 6:5
10- Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Eph 6:10
Q: How are we going to BE all that?
III. THE COMMAND to prepare with the Holy Ghost and fellow believers:
A. Our companion. The Holy Spirit.
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”. Ephesians 3:16
B. Our counsel.
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalms 119:11 KJV
C. Our comrades.
“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Stay in the Word, stay I the fellowship of believers. Don't hang around people that will pull you down. Be around people that make you feel better.
IV. THE CHRIST who will be by our side:
A. In the power of his might.
“Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
B. We are bankrupt without him.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5
I need Thee every hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford
I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior!
I come to Thee.
I need Thee every hour,
Stay Thou near by;
Temptations lose their power
When Thou art nigh.
I need Thee every hour,
In joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide,
Or life is vain.
I need Thee every hour,
Teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises
In me fulfill.
I need Thee every hour,
Most Holy One;
Oh, make me Thine indeed,
Thou blessed Son
GOD PROVIDES, PRESERVES and PROTECTS HIS CHILDREN.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalms 23:1-6 KJV
SPURGEON called the twenty-third Psalm the " nightingale of the Psalms." It is " small and of homely feather, yet it has filled the whole sky and world with melody."
GOD PROVIDES BY PREPARING A TABLE FOR YOU.
I am reminded of when I was young. One night my father asked, What's for dinner? Mom's reply was, You know what would be good? Scallops... Scallops? , we don't have any scallops. We live in Maine and had a boat, so you know what was coming next. I was about 12 years old and my dad said come on son lets go get some scallops. We did not head down to the store, but to the boat. He said, "Let's go down and get the boat and drag for them." It was 20 below out. Well we went out and dragged up a big basket of fresh scallops, and had a feast that night. Fresh from the Atlantic Ocean. God provided and gave us more then we needed. Q: Is your cup running over?
GOD PRESERVES BY ALWAYS BEING BY OUR SIDE.
If I am going through something in life THAT IS HARD, it is good to have someone by my side.
When we are going through a valley, God is with us.
Think about that...
If God can watch over David, God can watch over you too.
If God watches over a sparrow, He watches over you too.
We ARE the children of God, and as long as we ARE children of God, We need to serve him.
So often people feel like God has forsaken them.
Jesus said, " I will never leave you, or forsake to." Nobody ever cared for me like Jesus.
The rod and staff comfort me. It is there to protect and guide you.
No matter what you face, God will preserve you.
GOD PROTECTS BY HIS HAND.
Israel was delivered from Egypt, then they accused God of bringing them out to die.
Even when you don't see the hand of God remember, God never leaves us or forsakes us.
Even when you are in the valley.
Just keep walking...
David said "though I walk." He did not run.
There is a God that will protect his children.
LIFE STORY TIME: A shadow can't hurt you... but it can make you hurt yourself.
Hitchhiking late night I was walking down the street and almost home when it sounded like there were footsteps behind me. As I turned to look I saw someone's shadow. The street light made a shadow and that shadow was following me, I started to run. After I ran past the frog pond I took the short cut to get back home, and just before I got to the house one of my mothers clothes line was strung across my path. I did not see it because it was dark, It hit me right in the face across the eyebrows. It knocked me down hard and all I saw was stars. When I got in the house my mother greeted me and asked me what had happened, I told her someone was chasing me.
A shadow can not hurt you... but it can make you hurt yourself.
Ok I get it, GOD PROVIDES, PRESERVES and PROTECTS HIS CHILDREN, now what?
DO: Grow that word in your heart.
The only way to grow spiritually is to have Gods nourishment.
A dead tree cut down in a pile of other dead trees is not growing anymore, keep your roots planted in Christ.
Q: How can we grow in the Lord?
1- We need to gather together and fellowship.
2- We need to hear the Word.
3- We need to gather in the presence of God.
Is the Lord your shepherd?
If not, ask Him into your life, He is there for you and ready to take the burden of sins off your back and carry the load. That's why Jesus died on the cross, Jesus gave his life so that you might have eternal life. He is the light that is missing in your life. He is the only thing that will fill that gap in your heart. He loves you and wants YOU to come and fellowship with him. Take a moment to pray to him, he is listening.
Pay that the lord anoint your life like it has never be anointed before. Pray that God would fill your heart with His love and forgiveness.
AND THEN DO:
He will use you. Minister to people. No matter where you are, you will find people who need a word of hope.
I GOT A FEELING EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.
Pastor Lewis Cushman, St. Cloud Church of God. Florida
THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO HAVE FOR AN EFFECTIVE CHURCH.
Because who wants to be part of an un-effective church?
Pastor Lewis Cushman. St. Cloud Church of God.
I asked my wife to review my notes. She edited out all the stuff that was boring, ... so in closing.
“For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:1-5 KJV
We must be encouraged in the Lord.
We are always worried about what people think about us.
It doesn't really matter what people think.
What will he think of me, what will they think if we do this or that?
In order for us to be an effective church:
1- We must Be united in the love of Jesus Christ.
We must love one another.
How are we supposed to love?
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
~ Jesus John 13:34-35 KJV
Charity / Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
“And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 KJV
“He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.”
1 John 2:9 KJV
In order for us to be an effective church:
2- The church has to be steeped in true knowledge.
“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” - The apostle Paul.
Real wisdom is found in Jesus Christ.
The message is still the same. We still need to preach the cross, it's what brings salvation. We are here because someone preached the gospel. God works through limited people. You may feel foolish, but God can use you. Every man, every woman, can be used by God. Our world is crying and souls are dying and we have the message they need to hear. Stop sitting back in your padded pew in your air conditioned church and go out and share the good news.
Just go preach, ITS HOW PEOPLE ARE SAVED.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 KJV
The message is simple, just share what Jesus did and why He did it.
“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:25-31 KJV
Humanity's great questions:
Q: Who are you?
Q: Why are you here?
Q: what are accomplishing?
A Christian answer:
I know who I am, because of Jesus.
I am who I am, because of Jesus.
I do what I do, because of Jesus.
In order for us to be an effective church:
3- We must have a disciplined lifestyle.
We grew up in discipline. You learned how to live according to rules. We should not go around doing whatever we want without thinking how it effects others. Drive down the road and you will see how that works. Even at wall-mart you have to stand in line. Even when there is a lady in front of you with two buggies full of stuff, you still have to wait. Try jumping in line and see what that does. Don't stick a "honk if you love Jesus" sticker on your car and then go off the hook when someone behind you blows the horn. We need to have law and order in society, or we have anarchy. People in the streets causing chaos and problems for others. God expects order and decency in the church too. We can't just go off doing whatever we want, letting the World influence what is right in wrong.
WE MUST STICK TO THE WORD OF GOD.
“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5 KJV
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV
“Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” Romans 13:13 KJV
PRAYER ABOUT IT:
Q: Ask yourself, are you the person God wants you to be today?
Q: Are you following Jesus?
Q: Have you asked Jesus into your heart?
Q: If not why?
Take some time to pray and ask God to show you who He wants you to be like. God has plans for you and He knew you before you were even born. He loves you and wants you be have a fulfilling life. He wants you to have peace and spend eternity with him. No matter who you are God can use you, and God can save you, He offers forgiveness, trust him He will always see you through.
Graphic Art and Blog content by Matthew Law, inspired by Pastors and visiting speakers messages.