What does it mean to depart from the faith? To ‘depart’ in the Greek is aphistēmi which means to revolt against, remove from, desert, depart or draw away from.
You can’t depart or leave something unless you once were in something. Now its debatable whether the one who departs was once really saved or not but they had some understanding. They were enlightened. Scriptures tell us that if one has been enlightened and tasted of heavenly things and falls away it is impossible for them to repent.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4,6
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1
This “departing” is departing from the faith or pistis. That is the conviction of reliance upon Jesus Christ for salvation. Instead those who depart give heed to demonic doctrines which do not rely on Jesus Christ for salvation.
Some departing doctrines are obvious to most Christians but others are very subtle. That devil is a wily one.
The main theme to look for is if the teacher or preacher, prophet or apostle, pastor or evangelist moves away from trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation. Even a teeny weeny bit.
There is no specific day of the week, no ritual or rite, no performance, no other way, no other man made book, no self help principle, no personal preference, no successful endeavor, no jot or tittle, no other name, no addition, no subtraction. NOTHING.
There is nothing that can give you salvation with eternal life but complete trust and reliance on Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
It is written.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:9,10
In Mark chapter 6 (after Jesus had fed the 5000) he told his disciples to get into the ship and go to to Bethsaidia, while he sent the people away.
When Jesus sent his disciples to Bethsaidia which in the Hebrew means house of grace he went into a mountain to pray.
In the evening (when the ship was in the middle of the sea) Jesus was watching his disciples from the shore. They were toiling to row the ship, because the wind was coming on really strong.
Around the fourth watch of the night Jesus came towards his disciples walking on the sea. He would have passed them by but the disciples saw him. They thought he was a ghost. They became troubled and cried out in fear.
Immediately Jesus reassures his disciples that it is him.
Then when Jesus gets into the ship with his disciples the wind calms down.
The disciples were amazed and wondered. They had forgotten about the last miracle Jesus did by multiplying the bread and fish.
It is interesting to note that on the 4th watch of the night Jesus looks out to the sea to find that his disciples are in trouble.
He had given them a word, “Go to Bethsaidia” but the enemy (who works in the darkness) tried to hinder their assignment.
Satan who is “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) caused a storm to rise up. It was so fierce that all the toiling the disciples were doing were getting them no where.
In Israel culture (as well as Roman and Greek) the night was divided into 4 watches. Each watch had a specific name and time frame.
The evening watch, was from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The midnight watch, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Cockcrowing from 12 am to 3 a.m., and the morning watch or 4th watch, was from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.
Exodus 14:24 last watch of the night Psalm 63:6 watches of the night Judges 7:19 middle watch Mark 13:35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning Luke 12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
The fourth watch is the last watch of the night. In scripture breakthrough events many times happen on the night watches.
Moses led the Israelites across the Red Sea. Exodus 14:25-46
Jacob wrestled with God. Genesis 32: 22-31 The angels appear to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Savior. Luke 2:8-14
Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Matthew 28:1
The bridegroom woos His bride in the night hours, Song of Solomon, Matthew 25:1-13
On this particular incident on the fourth watch of the night Jesus sees trouble occurring.
The prince of the power of the air is acting up. Trying to attack the Lord’s disciples.
Intercessors know that the fourth watch usually means warfare. It’s a time when the demonic powers are doing their oggie boogie through their human vessels.
Notice that Jesus sees on the forth watch of prayer that his disciples are in trouble.
This is one reason the Lord exhorts us to watch and pray. The enemy is always looking for a place to attack. If we are in prayer the Holy Spirit will show us trouble coming our way or someone else’s way.
When trouble comes and we find we are toiling in our own strength, (getting no where, when the enemy attacks) Jesus is walking on the water right there in front of us!
Water or waters in scripture many times represent people. Jesus is always in front of people. Always available. Always willing to calm the storm. However, many times we are so freaked out over the battle that when the Lord comes walking towards us we don’t recognize him. All we see is what the enemy is doing.
Notice how Jesus was going to walk right on by his disciples. Seriously? That’s what the scriptures tell us! That’s what happens when we are afraid. As long as our eyes are on the battle instead of the Lord Jesus Christ we will miss him, even though he is right there in front of us.
The good news is that if we look to Jesus he will calm the storm in our life. He will get in the boat with us! Jesus will calm our fears! He will rescue us from the attack of the enemy!
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water they mistook him for a spirit. They cried out in fear.
Fear can do strange things to the mind. Sees and hears all kinds of crazy things.
Even then the Lord can’t help but be merciful. When fear gets a hold of us by the throat Jesus will turn in our direction if we call out to him.
Hearing his disciples cry out in fear Jesus walks on the water towards them. When the disciples see that it is Jesus they are not afraid anymore.
Our struggles in life (like the disciples who rowed in their own strength against the wind) can be demonically inspired some times.
Facing great difficulty can be scary when it looks like we are going to drown but remember the Lord is watching us in our struggle. He knows what’s going on.
Jesus is right there in the midst of our trouble. All we have to do is cry out. He will not pass us by! He will get right in the boat with us and comfort us!
Jesus will always lead us to safely because his grace is sufficient. His word to us is always, “Go to Bethsaidia, “the house of grace.”
Our high priest ever lives to make intercession for us.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16
This is the admonition Jesus gave to his disciples concerning his coming again.
Let’s recollect about Lot’s wife.
Before Lot and his family left Sodom the angels gave the Lord’s command.
“Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”
Lot’s wife however disobeyed the word of the Lord and turned into a pillar of salt.
Now why do you suppose she would do that? Obviously it was more than just curiosity.
To “look back” in this scripture is the Hebrew word nâbaţ which means to look intently at, to regard with pleasure and care, to consider, to have respect for.
This means that Lot’s wife had an affinity to the place she was leaving. A sentiment for her home. An emotional attachment to the people she was leaving behind.
Jesus goes on after giving this admonition to say in Luke chapter 17,
Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall preserve it.
“Losing our life” is the key point that the Lord is telling us here.
According to scriptures our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.
“To lose” in this scripture means to die. Apollumi in the Greek. Which means to put to death or consider non operative.
Paul says that he dies daily. Death to self and the world is an every day thing.
Did you know that if we love the world or the things of the world then God’s love does not reside in us?
A sure way to tell a true Christian from a false one is if they are accepted by the world and if they love the things of the world.
What are the things of the world? Anything that the world esteems highly!
What does the world esteem highly?
John (1John 2) tells us that the things of the world are whatever your flesh or carnal nature lust after. Whatever your eyes lust after and whatever outside of God makes you feel prideful or you boast about.
So let me put this in modern terms. Whatever the world is running after, craving, pursuing, seeking for, desiring, addicted to, loving, and is their heart’s desire.
If you love those things too then you are not one of the Lord’s disciples. Sure you may believe in Jesus Christ but even the devil believes in God.
Remember that Jesus gave this warning.
Another way to tell a true Christian from a false one is how much they brag about themselves. How worthy they are. How blessed they are. How many special qualities they have. How wonderful their position in life is. How awesome their works are. How great life is treating them. Basically whatever is all about them.
Paul said that he boasted only in the Lord. He put no confidence in his own abilities. He boasted in being weak so that God could demonstrate HIS power through him.
Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Jesus told us as recorded by Luke(14) that if we desire to follow Jesus Christ and become one of his disciples then we must take up our cross. That is we must be willing to suffer like he did.
How did Jesus Christ suffer?
He was misunderstood, persecuted, judged, bullied, hated, ridiculed, beaten, and even put to death.
Yea, and all that will live godly inChrist Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12
Remember Lot’s wife? She turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to what God judged as evil. In the Hebrew pillar is netsîyb which means a post or garrison.
God made Lot’s wife into a sign post. For all with eyes to see. A reminder to “don’t look back.”
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your’s also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
Luke 17:5 tells us that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith.
This was the Lord’s response.
And the Lord said, Ifye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (vs. 6)
(Note some versions say mulberry tree but I lean towards the KJV sycamore. Mulberry in comparison to a mountain in the gospel of Mark just doesn’t fit the context of what Jesus was talking about. Check out the link below)
A sycamine or sycamore is a huge tree. In Mark this story is relayed as a mountain. The sycamore tree can grow as tall as 30 to 40 meters (or 98 to 130 ft) with a diameter of 1.5 to 2 meters (or 4.9 to 6.6 ft)
The sycamore has a very deep root structure. The root structure is so aggressive that it can even lift a side walk. While a mountain being tossed into the sea is a big obstacle the sycamore tree is a deep rooted problem. Either way it takes faith the size of a mustard seed to get rid of it.
Jesus uses the illustration of a mustard seed to describe the Kingdom of heaven or how the kingdom of heaven operates in Matthew chapter 13. That is why when the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith he referred to the mustard seed.
The kingdom of heaven is like a grain ofmustard seed that a man planted.
The mustard tree Jesus was referring to is a black mustard tree or bush that grows in Israel. A large annual plant which grows up to 9 feet (2.7 m) tall.
The black mustard seed is quite small. About 1-2 millimetres.
The mustard seed must be planted in order to grow. In God’s kingdom many times things have small beginnings.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. Zechariah 4:10
On the seventh time the servant reported, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from the sea.” And Elijah replied, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” 1 Kings 18:44
Growth of a mustard seed into a mustard tree takes time. Faith takes time to develop in the same way. Faith is having complete trust in God without doubting.
Faith comes from God’s word to our heart. Planted in our heart God’s word will grow and our faith will grow too.
Consequently, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Take for example the scripture. Butmy God shall supply all your needs according tohis riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
When we make petition in Jesus name for our need to be met and that need is met our faith grows. A sprout occurs!
After a while another petition is answered and our faith grows even more.
God proves he is our provider and our faith in him grows through having experience with his faithfulness.
Then after a time of trust and reliance on Jesus a great big need presents itself. A great big mountain or a great big sycamore tree which is rooted down deep in our heart or someone else’s heart. It needs plucking up and cast into the sea.
We now have experience with God. He met all those little needs. He has proven himself faithful. Now that grain of mustard seed has become a mustard tree where the birds can feed and take rest.
Feeding on God’s word is important for our faith to increase.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; in Your word I have put my hope. Psalm 119:147
Resting is an important factor in the development of faith. When we rest we trust that the Lord is doing his work. No matter what the circumstances look like to the contrary.
Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
By telling the apostles the parable of the mustard seed Jesus was showing them how to increase their faith. By planting the mustard seed of God’s word in the heart faith will grow.
That big sycamore in your life may look like it’s an impossible problem. That mountain standing in your way may look like a real big hindrance but the Lord tells us to plant our mustard seed. Plant the word of God in our heart! Water it every day and it will grow!
The Lord has promised in his word to come through for us. We may not know the exact process or the timing but what we do know is that the Lord is faithful to perform what he has promised.
So we can say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper!” Hebrews 13:6,
When we think of the word offend we think of it according to the English definition (To insult one’s standard or principles)
The Bible has a different definition depending on the context of the verse but ultimately have the same connotations. To offend someone does not mean to insult someone’s principles but rather to cause someone to fall.
Offend in the Hebrew language has several definitions. It can be translated as châbal which means to pervert, corrupt or spoil.
It can be translated as bâgad which means to deal deceitfully, be treacherous or unfaithful.
It can be mikshôl which is to be a stumbling block or cause to fall.
It can be âsham which means to perish, become desolate, be found guilty, to trespass.
In the Greek language the word offend can be translated as skandalizō , skandalon or ptaiō which all mean to entrap, to trip up, to entice to sin, to cause to stumble.
In effect, “to offend” according to scripture means: to cause someone to fall, be a stumbling block, to corrupt, cause to err, to pervert, to spoil,
Jesus tells us how seriously he takes this sin.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6
The epistles of the apostles reiterate this admonition.
But take care that this rightof yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Roman’s 14:13
What the Bible is telling us is to try and live our life in such a way that our conscience is clean. Even if it means giving up something that would cause others to reject Jesus Christ.
In this way we can be a witness in the world.
Now we are not going to be able to please everyone and some people will find fault with us no matter how holy we live but we must not deliberately offend or be nonchalant in our witness.
Paul said he became all things to all people that he might win them to Christ. In other words wherever he went he respected (within reason) the culture he was in. He maintained his Christian witness while not offending anyone on purpose.
To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:22
The cross in and of itself is an offense to some people. They may behave very inappropriately towards Christians if they have an offense towards the gospel. If they do that they may cause themselves to stumble away from the truth. (1 Corinthians 1:22)
However, as Christians we must in all good conscience live in the light, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and not be a stumbling block deliberately to another person.
That means not causing anyone to do anything that goes against their conscience or doing anything in front of someone that may cause them to fall even if we have liberty to do it.
Jesus gave us an example in scriptures. He paid his taxes so as not to offend, he took a lowly position in order to not be offensive to others, he fulfilled all righteousness even though he was Lord of all and he remained humble throughout his walk in this earth.
Jesus tells us that just as he laid down his life to be a benefit for others so should we lay down our lives for the benefit of others. It does not matter if it causes us discomfort, rejection, or ridicule.
What matters is that we do not offend in all conscience by putting a stumbling block before others.
A perfect example of this is Paul’s attitude in dealing with the Corinthians.
Wherefore, if meat causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.
1 Corinthians 8:13
Dear Father in Jesus name help us to not be a stumbling block to others in this world. Give us your wisdom in every situation. Let your light shine through us always. Amen
1 Peter 4:1,2 tells Christians that just as Jesus Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also have the same mind, for whoever suffers in the flesh ceases to live a life according to the desires of the carnal nature. Those living in the Spirit live according to the will of God.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Romans 8:14
What does Peter mean by suffering in the flesh?
Suffering is experiencing discomfort and even pain. Peter is referring to suffering in the body or physical pain. The body is still in an unredeemed state and if allowed to will sin like the dickens! Peter is telling Christians that the body needs to be crucified or put down so that the life of Christ in our spirit can live for God according to God’s will.
Putting the body or carnal nature down (not allowing it to rule ) is not something we can do in our own power.
Romans 8:13 tells us that if we live according to the flesh or sin nature we will die. The flesh wants all kinds of things that can kill us. Junk food, addictions, entertainment, laziness and much more! The bible says that those who live in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)
Living for self is harmful. The desires of the flesh and the carnal mind will lead to spiritual dysfunction, physical ailments, and emotional sickness.
God gives us his remedy for putting down the flesh. He tells us that if we mortify or put to death the desires of the flesh by the Spirit that dwells in us then we will live or have an abundant life as promised by Jesus in the gospels.
Let’s take a look at the suffering of Jesus Christ according to Isaiah 53.
Peter tells us to have this same mind concerning suffering.
According to this prophecy Jesus Christ was despised.
To be despised means to not be valued. To be seen as worthless. Our flesh wants to be valued and praised and adored but sometimes in order to do God’s will we my have to be despised. Not everyone will like us and in fact they may even hate us. Preaching the gospel for another’s benefit or serving someone who does not like us may actually be bringing them a benefit.
Our flesh does not like to suffer shame and humiliation but sometimes it is necessary in order to accomplish God’s will in certain situations.
Jesus Christ gave his life for his enemies. He loved those who did not love him back. Are we armed with this mindset?
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. John 15:18-20
Jesus was rejected because his values are not appreciated by some people. We may not be liked or valued or accepted ether by those who are not disciples of Jesus Christ. Are we armed with this mindset?
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Luke 6:22
Jesus was afflicted. That means he had to endure pain, abuse, bullying and scoffing. Are we armed with this mindset?
How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. Jude 1:18
Jesus bore our sorrows, he endured shame, he bore our griefs, and he carried our burdens.
Galatians 6: 2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. This means that when we are armed with the mindset of Jesus Christ, we come alongside another and help them carry their burden. Whether it’s in prayer, giving, ministering, helping, or serving. Even if it is not appreciated.
Paul tells us that we are to consider our sufferings in this world to be unworthy of the glory that will be revealed in us. Jesus suffered for us and as his children we are to have the same mindset.
Our flesh wants pleasure not suffering. We want recognition, respect and rewards for our good deeds, but Jesus tells us to love like he does, unconditionally. That means no strings.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Jesus bore sorrow, pain, and grief for our sake so that through his affliction he could bring us healing. Jesus was wounded so that through his stripes we could receive forgiveness, healing, and restoration.
Jesus endured the cross and the shame so that he could bring many out of darkness and make them his children. When we are armed with this mindset, we can endure our sufferings for the benefit of others.
Jesus Christ’s suffering brought us not only salvation but righteousness and justification. He suffered in patience and endurance because he knew what the outcome would be. Armed with Jesus Christ’s mindset we can patiently wait for a good outcome too.
No suffering in this life is pleasant scriptures tell us BUT it is working out for us a far greater work of glory.
Think about that! When we patiently endure and prayer then God will walk through our suffering with us. He will help us carry our burdens so that we can bear up under it.
The outcome of our suffering will come in God’s perfect timing. Just trust him for faithful is he who has promised.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your weakness to keep your flesh down so it doesn’t react to injustice.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:19
In Luke chapter 7 of the Bible, Jesus goes to Capernaum and finds a centurion’s servant is dying.
The centurion had sent elders of the synagogue to ask Jesus to come heal his servant.
These elders told Jesus that this man, the centurion was “worthy” to be healed because of the good deeds he had done for their people. He had even built a synagogue for them.
Jesus went with these religious leaders and when he was almost there the centurion sent a message. He said, “Don’t trouble yourself to come because I am not worthy for you to come under my roof. I know that you have authority in your kingdom to make a command just as I have authority in my kingdom and it will be done. Just say the word and I know what you command will be done. ” (My paraphrase)
Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith. Now it is true that the centurion did not have to see Jesus in person to know the command of healing would be done ( which it was ) but the faith Jesus marveled at was that the centurion recognized a greater authority than the Roman world authority.
The centurion recognized this because he considered himself to be unworthy for Jesus to enter his house. The centurion recognized that the kingdom of God is greater than the authority of Rome or the world system.
The centurion saw himself as a man of worldly authority who submitted to the greater authority of the kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The centurion recognized that even though he was put in a position of prestige having worldly authority in the land, that he was considered unworthy in the kingdom of God. His position he held in the world held no weight in the kingdom of God.
This recognition of the human sin nature (being unworthy) allowed the centurion to humble himself as an unworthy person or in other words he put himself in a subservient position to a greater authority than the authority of Rome.
In other words the centurion recognized that Jesus was other worldly or from a kingdom not of this world. Therefore being familiar with athourity he knew that Jesus just had to say a word and the healing would occur.
This is the gospel message. Recognition of one’s sinful or unworthy nature, recognizing the need to be in subjection to Jesus Christ and his authority and trusting in Jesus Christ as the head of the kingdom of God with the power to save and to heal.
Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith because he knew the steps to salvation. Recognizing one’s unworthiness and inability to save one’s self and being in submission to the authority of Jesus Christ for salvation.
What about you? Are you trusting in your “worthiness” because of all the good works you have done like those religious leaders did?
Jesus marvels at the faith of the person who recognizes their unworthiness and looks to his authority to be saved and healed.
Call on Jesus Christ to save and heal you. All the authority and prestige of the world system will never get you into heaven.
Simple recognition of your inability to save yourself is the first step to salvation. Once you recognize that then you can call on Jesus Christ the King of all kings to save you from your sin.
If you do that then you can be saved, forgiven. healed and given eternal life. You will become a member of the kingdom of God!
Whoever calls on the Lord shall be saved. Roman’s 10:13
In 2 Chronicles 20 an army of Moabites, Ammonites, Meunites and Edomites came out to make war with Jehoshaphat King of Israel. These nations were enemies of YHWY’s people. They served other gods or the demonic realm.
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. Ephesians 6:12
Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and began to seek the Lord for his help. He cried to the Lord in his distress. “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” 2 Chronicles 20:9
Then the Lord’s Holy Spirit gave a word to those seekers. “The LORD says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or worry about this large army, because the battle is not your battle. It is God’s battle!”
God gave instructions to the Israelites. Do not be afraid, go battle against them. You are not alone in this battle. Stand firm. Be still and see the Lord bring you deliverance. Then they thanked the Lord and worshipped him.
Then Jehoshaphat got up in the morning and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”
In other words, believe that the Lord is with you in the battle, don’t be afraid, believe his word, and you will have the victory!
By faith, the Israelites began to sing praise to the Lord as they went out to war. Praise is an important factor in spiritual warfare. Important to note is that they praised God because of his great mercy. When they did this the Lord set ambushments (a surprise attack by people lying in wait in a concealed position) against the enemy and they were defeated.
In Joshua 6, we see another battle take place where the Lord gives his directive.
Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. Joshua 6:17,
The walls of Jericho were designed to be a defence or an evil stronghold. The Lord told Joshua that he had given the city into his hands. Jericho means a place of concealment. A stronghold where the enemy is hiding or sets up camp. In other words, the Lord will show us where the enemy is hiding. He will expose him and lead us by his Holy Spirit in bringing down the stronghold.
Once the stronghold was revealed then the Lord said to Joshua that he would give him the victory. His directive was to march around Jericho seven times with the ark of the covenant and then shout the victory.
In military warfare an army marches because it builds confidence. In other words, it raises your level of faith. Marching is a training discipline for warfare. To march is to prepare, be ready, get positioned for battle.
On the seventh march the Israelites blew the trumpets. This was a signal of military strength. “We are coming in to take the land!”
Then Joshua told the army of Israelites to “shout for the Lord has given you the city!”
The military shout or battle cry is a direct confrontation to the enemy. We are coming to take you down! Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6
After the victory shout the walls of the city fell down. The Lord broke through and the city was taken.
In 2 Samuel 5:18,19, when the Philistines came against David in the valley of Rephaim, David sought the Lord. “Shall I go up to the Philistines? wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto David, Go up: for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into thine hand.”
Again, we see that seeking the Lord is the first principle of spiritual warfare. Fasting usually accompanies it. Then David went to war after the Lord gave him instruction. The Lord gave him the victory! The Lord broke through for him!
To breakthrough is a military strategy. To move through or beyond an obstacle.
Once there is a breakthrough then the gap can be widened to completely eradicate the enemy’s stronghold.
And David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there, and said, The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. Therefore, he called the name of that place Baalperazim. 2 Samuel 5:20
Our God is the God of the breakthrough! It is he who causes us to triumph through Jesus Christ the Lord!
Seek for the Lord’s strategy, have faith, trust, pray, declare the word of God, praise and stand and see the salvation of our God!
When someone offers a free gift automatically we ask, “What’s in it for you?”
Human nature is not so trusting. Most of us have not fallen off the turnip truck yesterday! Something free usually has a benefit for the giver in there some where.
I would like to point out that God’s free gift has no benefit for the giver at all. In fact quite the opposite. All the benefits go to the recipient!
What could one possibly give to the God who made everything and owns everything? Ever try to buy a rich friend a gift? Quite impossible actually. Even if you gave a home made card all you have given is sentiment. Nice to know they are thought about but still you can’t measure up. They can get anything they want for themselves!
God has given a gift to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Everyone who puts their trust in him for salvation will be given eternal life. They will pass from death to life.
This free gift of God’s salvation is motivated by his love and is an expression of his mercy. This free gift of salvation is God’s undeserved unmerited gift.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, but it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
The gift of God is not earned! We can’t work for it! We don’t need to do penitence or any kind of work or ritual to get it. A gift is simply received! That’s it!
The great thing about receiving God’s free gift is that not only are we saved by grace or undeserved mercy BUT a part of the gift is the empowerment to live a life that pleases God! He gives us the ability by his power to endure all trials and tribulations in this world because we have the assurance of an eternity spent with him.
He provides all our needs because he is our all in all! God gives us his free gift of salvation and he takes care of us while we are in this world as well!
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me,” 2 Corinthians 12:9
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
God’s grace saves us and also empowers us to live a life that pleases him! As we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit we are blessed with God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
Saved by grace is different than being saved by faith as some in error preach. They put the cart before the horse!
This difference is very important. If we are saved by faith we make the salvation experience about our own effort, our own ability, but God has chosen grace because it involves no effort on our part at all.
“For by graceyou have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
If we had anything at all to do with our salvation we might have reason to boast but God has made salvation a free gift to those who receive (through faith) this gift of his mercy.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16
Not only does God give us grace to be saved but he also gives us grace to stay saved!
Are you trusting in God’s grace through Jesus Christ for his salvation? All you have to do is ask! Turn to Jesus with all your heart for he is mighty to save!
Sometimes the trials of life can be so difficult we don’t know how we can possibly make it through, but the Lord never breaks a promise. He tells us that if we put our hope in him, we will never be disappointed. The God of all grace will comfort, strengthen, restore, and establish us after we have suffered for a while. In his kindness God has called us to share in his eternal glory by the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The key to endurance in a trial is prayer. Through prayer the supply of the spirit is given. God gives us strength to hold on. To be patient and trust in him.
“because I know that through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, my distress will turn out for my deliverance.”Philippians 1:19
Through prayer we cling to Jesus and he will come through for us in our affliction.
“And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will get well.” But Jesus turning and seeing her said, “Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well.” At once the woman was made well.”
Through prayer faith enters our heart. Faith is trust in God’s provision and deliverance.
“when you pray believe you receive,” Mark 11:24
Prayer will give us our miracle!
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17-18
For with God nothing shall be impossible! James 5:17-18
After having done all the Bible says, we stand. Ephesian 6:13
Stand and see the salvation of our God! He is working all things together for our good! Romans 8:28
What seems grievous now is working a far greater eternal weight of glory! 2 Corinthians 4:17
In other words, the trial will lead to an eternal benefit!
The Lord always has our eternal life in mind. He sees what we do not see. He knows what we do not know. Sorrow lasts for only a night. Only a small fraction of time on this earth but joy comes in the morning!
Joy unspeakable and full of glory!
“For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10