Monday, August 4, 2014

KNOW YOUR ENEMY, KNOW GOD, AND KNOW THYSELF

In short, there is an enemy of our souls, WHO is not God's evil-equivalent, but is defeated - "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work." (1 John 3:8) - and now because of Christ's frustration of The Accuser's plan, Believers in Christ have been blessed "in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3)
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Know your enemy. Know that you have an enemy of your soul. Have you ever met or known somebody whose lot in life seemed to be accusing people? All he/she did was to look for an opportunity to be difficult by pushing your buttons, blaming you for whatever, and just filling that opponent role in your life. In 1 Peter 5:8 that is exactly who Peter says the devil or Satan is - "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 

Ever read a parable that Jesus shared with His disciples? These were not just Bible School stories meant to decipher later. Parables are spiritual truths found in stories of real events. In Matthew 13 Jesus is explaining the Parable of the Weeds. In this explanation He makes clear who the enemy and his associates are - The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. (v. 38-39) If you missed who the enemy was in that one, sorry there are no Cliff Notes.

Another enemy The Lord mentions is the person who makes friends with The WorldYou adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4) The world and it's systems and objectives do not have the things of God in mind. In fact, the world looks after itself. Sound familiar? That is why Satan is, for a time, called prince/ruler of this world (John 14:30). However, once again I remind all of us Jesus said - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

The last enemy Scripture mentions is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26 states, "The last enemy to be destroyed is death." John gives us that picture of death being destroyed later in Revelation 20:14 when he says, "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:14)
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Know God. Know that you have a lover of your soul. Father God made Christ "a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:9), but this did not touch the effectiveness of His Word in flesh as Jesus told Satan "It is written..." (Matthew 4:10) during the Wilderness Trials and went on to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28).

As stated before, The Enemy, our enemy - Lucifer, the devil, Satan, the serpent, the thief (John 10:10), and Father of Murderers and Liars (John 8:44) is Not God's Evil-Equivalent! Ezekiel 28:12-19 does an excellent job portraying this non-relationship. The following is what God said He did -
  • v. 13 says - "on the day you were created..."
  • v. 14 says - "You were anointed..." 
  • v. 14 continues - "I ordained you."
  • v. 15 says - "...from the day you were created..."
  • v. 16 says - "So I drove you in disgrace from the Mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones."
  • v. 17 says - "So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings."
  • v. 18 says - "I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground."
Ezekiel 28 is God's way of telling any who are rebellious, especially Lucifer in this case, that - I brought you into existence and I can take you out. [Pritchard Paraphrase]
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Why hasn't God taken Satan out of the picture more instantly? My stab at that question is two fold - First, it is not God's will that any should perish but that all should come to the saving knowledge of God through Christ Jesus (2 Peter 3:9) and that ALL has included time up until now. Second, He is using true Believers (Followers/Disciples) of The Faith to populate Heaven and depopulate Hell through witnessing. Christ said He needed Laborers for they were few (Matthew 9:37).

The Enemy, encamped in this world (James 4:4), does not want you to know that because of Christ's sacrifice and victory over death, Hell, and the grave - true Believers are raised up with Christ and seated with him in the heavenly realms in order that in the coming ages He [Father God] might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6-7).
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Satan is a prideful, vengeful being whose only power is that which we grant him. All he has to seduce humanity and strike back at God anymore is ancient old tricks or mind games that can be caught, especially with the Spirit of Christ living on the inside of you.

God is love. God is just. God is righteous. God is The Creator. Twice in Isaiah, the prophet is inspired to use the Potter/Clay analogy to deliver The Lord's message.
  • You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"? Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing"? (Isaiah 29:16)
  • "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'? (Isaiah 45:9)
Believers in Christ are not just conquerors, we are More Than Conquerors! Romans 8:37 says, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." So, what "things" is Paul saying Believers are more than conquerors through? In verse 35 the answer is given - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Now you know that in addition to Christ saying He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), He uses Paul to specifically state trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or sword will not be able to separate you from the love of Christ! Remember we are "blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." (Ephesians 1:3) Know Your Enemy, Know God, and Know Thyself.