Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Spiritual Warfare: Jesus Authority & Armor of God – lessons from Job & Peter

How do we overcome spiritual warfare?

What happens in spiritual warfare ?
Are there boundaries ?
Where is the Lord ?
Rules of engagement ?

What is the armor of God?
What does it mean to put it on?


To begin, what happened when we believe and follow Jesus?

12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of
his holy people in the kingdom of light.
13 For he (God) has rescued us

from the dominion of darkness  (devil)

and brought us into the kingdom of the Son  (Jesus)
he loves,
 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13,14 (NIV)

We now belong to God’s kingdom, the kingdom of light which overcomes the darkness of the devil.

You are from God,

little children,
and have overcome them;  
because

greater is He who is in you
than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 (NASB)


While reading the events leading to Peter’s denial of Jesus, found something interesting.
Before Peter’s denial, Jesus spoke to Peter,

Luke 22:31-32 (NASB)
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 

but I have prayed for you,

that your faith may not fail;

and you, when once you have turned again,
strengthen your brothers.”

Years later, Peter wrote in his epistle,

1 Peter 5:8-11 (NASB)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Let’s examine what Jesus said:

Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;

Satan has to ask permission from the Lord first,
before launching a spiritual attack.
God has full authority over everything, and controls what he allows in our lives.  Spiritual attacks are not random acts.

I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail

Jesus has prayed and is praying for us to overcome Satan’s attack.  We are not alone.  We are not helpless.

when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers

We are strengthened through each spiritual attack, so that we can strengthen others.   Peter wrote in his epistle: will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Luke 4:1,2,14 (NIV)
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and
was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.

After Jesus was tempted,

…  14Jesus returned to Galilee
in the power of the Spirit,

the devil departed from Him
until an opportune time.

 … full of the Holy Spirit, … led by the Spirit …tempted by the devil,
…. returned …  in the power of the Spirit
… the devil departed from Him until an opportune time.
Jesus overcame the devil in his 40 day fast, before he ministered to the multitudes.

Like Jesus, we need the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives in this spiritual battle.

Mark 3:27
 But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property
unless
he first binds the strong man,

and then he will plunder his house.

Peter’s exhortation for all of us:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.
But resist him,   
(the devil)
firm in your faith

James’ exhortation:

James 4:7 (NASB)
7 Submit therefore to God.
Resist the devil
and he will flee from you.

First, submit to God and His purposes,
… then resist the devil
… and he will flee from you.
The power and authority is in our submission to God,
i.e. we win through surrendering our rights to God,
like Jesus when He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil for 40 days.

A surrendered person is dangerous to the devil … a ‘dead’ person feels no more pain & has no more fears.

The devil knows those who have God’s authority to resist him, and those who don’t.

Acts 19:15 (NKJV)
And the evil spirit answered and said,
“Jesus I know, and Paul I know;

but who are you?”

The Message translation of James 4:7,8 says it so well,

So let God work his will in you.
Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.
Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.

Quit dabbling in sin.
Purify your inner life.

Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 6:

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NASB)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,

Isaiah 52:12 (NASB)
…  For the Lord  will   go before you,

And the God of Israel  will   be your rear guard.

God leads us forward to face the attack from the enemy,
… he also guards our rear.

Jesus said,
 But if I cast out demons
by the Spirit of God,
then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
 

Matthew 12:28 (NASB)

Overcoming spiritual warfare,  through the power of  the Holy Spirit and God’s word.

So then faith comes by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

So that we can raise our shield of faith to
Resist
, … stand firm in the faith, … he will flee from you.

Paul mentions 3 times “stand firm” … “stand firm” … “stand firm
in the Lord’s authority,
be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might

Paul’s words on standing firm,
echoes the word of the God given by prophet Jahaziel to King Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel in a time of crisis,
before the Lord gave them the victory.

15 and Jahaziel said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you,
Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude,
for the battle is not yours but God’s.

16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel.

17 You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves,
stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’
Do not fear or be dismayed;
tomorrow go out to face them,
for the Lord is with you.

and the faith declaration that David spoke to Goliath before David’s victory,

45 Then David said to the Philistine,
“You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin,

but   I come to you
in the name of the Lord of hosts,

the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.

47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord
does not deliver by sword or by spear;
for the battle is the Lord’s
and He will give you into our hands.”

1 Samuel 17:45, 47 (NASB)

In Isaiah’s prophecy, we read the Lord arise in battle,

17 For He (the Lord) put on righteousness as a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing,
And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
18 According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay,
Fury to His adversaries,
Recompense to His enemies;
The coastlands He will fully repay.
19 So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;

When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.
Isaiah 59:17,18 (NASB)

The spirit realm is real.  The spiritual world influences the physical world.
The battle is spiritual.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, (i.e. people, the physical world)
but,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places
against the schemes of the devil

For though we live in the world,
we do not wage war as the world does.
 

The weapons we fight with
are not the weapons of the world.

On the contrary, they have divine power
to demolish strongholds.
 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up
against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)

The battle begins in the mind, … using God’s weapons with
divine power to demolish strongholds,
take captive every thought
to make it obedient to Christ

which Paul adds in Ephesians 6
take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit

Victory is sustained by God’s word and the Holy Spirit,
therefore, we need to build our faith on the solid rock of Christ and His Word.
If not, … our armor easily crumble
in future relentless waves of attack from the enemy.

From Paul’s description of the parts of the armor,
by faith in Jesus,
by faith in God’s Word & God’s promises in His Word,
Jesus is our Truth, our Righteousness, our Salvation, our Peace,  the Word of God;
(John 14:6, 1 Corinthians 1:30, John 1:1, Matthew 1:21, Ephesians 2:14, Luke 4:18-21)

the Lord is with you
… the battle is the Lord’s

Therfore, Paul exhorts us,

Romans 13:12-14 (NIV)
12 The night is nearly over;
the day is almost here.

So let us put aside the deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light.

13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime,
not in carousing and drunkenness,
not in sexual immorality and debauchery,
not in dissension and jealousy.

 14Rather,
clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ
,
and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Romans 13:14 (NLT)
14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

put on the armor of light
clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,
with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ
because,
You are from God, …

greater is He who is in you
than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 

by putting aside the deeds of darkness
by not gratifying the desires of the flesh, indulging in our evil desires,
we live in His Truth and Righteousness
according to His Word.
Living out His Word,
we stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ
wherever we go

The belt of Truth holds the armor together,
anchored on God’s unchanging Truth, His Word.
Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:17 (NASB)

Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk
in Your truth; …

Psalm 86:11 (NASB)

Therefore, when Truth is compromised in a believer or ministry,
or the Word of God is diminished,
its a sign of trouble ahead, … gaps appear in the armor, when the belt is loose.

1 John 2:4, 1:6,7 (NASB)
2:4 The one who says, “I have come to know Him,”
and does not keep His commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him
and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not practice the truth;

1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Thank God, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin;
restores our hearts, and our relationship with the Lord
— and we arise to walk in the Light again.

Therefore, put on the armor of God, .. the armor of light,
clothing ourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ,

by living in Truth and Righteousness
according to His Word, knowing His Word,

loving and humbly serving others,
and trusting in His faithfulness & His promises by Faith,
praying at all times in the Spirit

… i.e. a daily lifestyle.

Consider the example of David in overcoming spiritual warfare,
empowered by the Holy Spirit, and walking in God’s word,

 Your servant David  …
… he walked before You in truth
and righteousness and uprightness of heart
toward You;
and You have reserved for him this great lovingkindness, …
1 Kings 3:5 (NASB)

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers,
and from that day on
the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. …

1 Samuel 16:13 (NIV)

… David would take up his lyre and play.
Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better,
and the evil spirit would leave Saul.
1 Samuel 16:23 (NIV)

Jesus said,
“.. you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you ..”
Acts 1:8 (NIV)

and Paul’s exhortation to the church in Thessalonica

But since we are of the day, let us be sober,
having put on the breastplate of faith and love,
and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 (NASB)

righteousness and uprightness of heart,
breastplate of faith and love, breastplate of righteousness
walking in faith, love, righteousness protects our hearts

the hope of salvation  keeps our faith alive, … unwavering,
inspires us to keep persevering in the midst of challenges,
patiently wait in hope for God.



Why believers can stand and resist the devil ?

Matthew 28:18 (NIV)
Then Jesus came to them and said,
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Luke 10:17-19 (NIV)
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 

19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy,
and nothing will injure you.

Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth.

Jesus has given us His authority over all the power of the enemy
The Lord has delegated his authority to His people.

Before Paul shares on overcoming spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6,  he explains the authority in Christ in Ephesians 1 & 2,

Ephesians 1:19-23;   2:6,7 (NIV)
That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when

he raised Christ from the dead
and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

And God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with him

in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

As Christ was raised by God’s power,
we also are raised up with Christ,
& seated with Him in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion

Mark 16:17,20 (NIV)
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons … 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Jesus has full and all authority over heaven, earth and the devil.

Jesus has delegated His authority to believers to overcome the enemy.

Jesus death and resurrection achieved once and for all the ultimate ‘finished’ victory for us, Amen, Hallelujah!

The following scriptures describe the absolute victory gained by Christ for us on the cross and His resurrection.

John 12:31,32 (NIV)
Now is the time for judgment on this world;
now the prince of this world will be driven out.
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

Hebrews 2:14 (NIV, NKJV)
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death
He might render powerless
him who had the power of death, that is, the devil
,

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood,
He Himself likewise shared in the same,
that through death
He might destroy him
who had the power of death, that is, the devil
,
 

Colossians 2:15 (NIV, MSG)
And having disarmed the powers and authorities,
he made a public spectacle of them,
triumphing over them by the cross.

He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked through the streets.  (MSG)

1 John 3:8 (NIV, NLT)
the one who practices sin is of the devil;
for the devil has sinned from the beginning.

The Son of God appeared for this purpose,
to destroy the works of the devil.

But when people keep on sinning,
it shows that they belong to the devil,
who has been sinning since the beginning.
But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. (NLT)

1 John 5:18 (NASB)
18 We know that no one who is born of God sins;
but He who was born of God keeps him,
and the evil one does not touch him.

In the 1 John 3:8, sin  or disobedience to God, opens the door for the devil to attack us, and spiral us into bondage.
Thankfully, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NIV),
restores our belt of truth and breastplate of righteousness.


Thank God, by God’s mercy and grace, we are restored  in our relationship with God,
by God forgiving our sins through Christ’s blood shed for us on the cross.

In the Lord’s prayer,

12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:13-15 (NKJV)

By observing the literary structure of this portion, (i.e. verse 12 is repeated in verse 14 & 15),
hence, in order for the Lord to  deliver us from the evil one,
(the temptations and deception of the evil one)
forgiving others
is key for us to experience victory,

as we forgive our debtors,
our heavenly Father will also forgive us

Hence, its no surprise that just before Paul talks about the armor of God in Ephesians 6,
he talks about our relationships with others,

25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood,
speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander
be put away from you, along with all malice.

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted,
forgiving each other,
just as God in Christ also has forgiven you
.

Ephesians 4:25-27, 31, 32 (NASB)

Sin, dishonesty, and unforgiveness gives the devil an opportunity.

21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:21 (NKJV),
i.e.  having right loving relationships in the family and workplace (Ephesians 5:22 – 6:9)
(see also 1 Peter 3:5-7)
as we live out our submission before the Lord.

Submit therefore to God.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (NASB)


While thinking of Peter’s experience at Jesus trial,
was reminded of Job’s experience.  Job 1 describes the first attempt by Satan.

Job 1:6-12 (NASB)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the L ord , and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the L ord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The L ord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Then Satan answered the L ord , “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Then the L ord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord .

Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?

Satan sees God’s hedge of protection around believers.
…  a hedge
an all-encompassing comprehensive hedge cover,
the presence of God
about him
and his house
and all that he has,
on every side,
such was the realm and extent of God’s protection – him, his house, all he has, every side,
as Job dwelled in the shelter of the Most High,  resting in the shadow of the Almighty,
in the presence of God.

Zechariah 2:5 (NASB)
For I,’ declares the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”

David wrote,

Psalms 3:3 (NASB)
But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

We have to maintain this hedge, wall, shield, and not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4:27 (NIV)
 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Sin in our life, gives the devil a foothold,
and hinders us from living in truth and righteousness.

By the way, the Lord’s  hedge is a dynamic hedge.  Besides protection from the enemy, … thankfully, … the Lord also actively hedges us from straying from Him and His ways.

Hosea 2:6,7 (NKJV)
“Therefore, behold,
I will hedge up your way with thorns,
And wall her in,
So that she cannot find her paths.
She will chase her lovers,
But not overtake them;
Yes, she will seek them, but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go and return to my first husband,
For then it was better for me than now.’

In the priestly blessing upon the people of God,

Numbers 6:22-27 (NASB)
22 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:

24 The Lord bless you, and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’
27 So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”

The word keep you (shamar) in the Hebrew means …
… to keep, to guard, to watch … to keep safe, to preserve  (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon)
(see also Psalm 121)

Have You not made a hedge about him
 
Satan knew about Job,
The devil also knows about Paul,
… and in Acts 19, the consequences of living without God’s hedge & God’s presence is clear.

Acts 19:13-16 (NKJV)
13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.”

 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Back to Job,  … Satan acknowledged the fact that God blessed Job.

You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Satan has to ask God for permission to attack Job, and cannot do so until God gives the permission.

But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; …  

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power

God sets boundaries for each spiritual attack.  In this case, Satan cannot touch Job’s body.

only do not put forth your hand on him.

Therefore, God has all authority in heaven and earth.

Job’s faithful response after the devil’s attack:

Job 1:20 (NASB)
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped.

Job worshiped.
He worshiped the Truth of who God is, as revealed to him by God’s word.
He took up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(i.e. the Truth of God, John 14:6)

Job reverently submitted to the Lord in worship.
he fell to the ground and worshiped

Praise and worship is powerful.  God is enthroned and dwells in our praise and worship.  The devil has to flee.  The devil’s accusations into our thoughts, discouraging and fearful thoughts are all silenced by God’s Truth.

1 Samuel 16:23 (NASB)
23 So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul,
David would take the harp and play it with his hand;
and Saul would be refreshed and be well,
and the evil spirit would depart from him.

Psalm 22:3 (NASB, AMP)
3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
But You are holy, O You Who dwell in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered].

Psalm 8:2 (ERV)
From the mouths of children and babies come songs of praise to you.
They sing of your power to silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.

Job was God focused, he placed his faith in the faithful God he knew.  In spite of the circumstances around him, in the heat of the fire, He took up the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation to guard his heart and mind.
Job acknowledged the revealed truth of God’s sovereignty, awesome power and grace.

Job did not focus on the enemy or the attack.

Job did not blame God for his suffering,
instead he worshiped God in spirit and truth.
Praise and worship is powerful,
just like David’s worship drove away the evil spirit attacking Saul. 

Later in the book, Job proclaimed boldly his faith in his faithful God,

 Job 13:15 (NKJV)
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

Job submitted to God.

Some years ago, met a brother with terminal cancer.  However, he was peaceful, joyful and was still going to work and carrying on with his normal routine.  When asked … if the Lord  takes him home, instead of healing him, what would happen to his wife and young child ….. he calmly replied,
“God has been faithful to our family all this while, …
if the Lord should decide to take me home
… that does not change this fact.”
Amazing grace, … am inspired and touched by his faith, standing in the Lord.


Let’s also remember, as believers we have been marked by the seal of  the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13,14 (NIV)
…. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal,
the promised Holy Spirit,

14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:13 (NASB)
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Focus on the seal of the Holy Spirit upon each one of us.
His stamp/seal of authority upon each one of us who put our faith in Him.

Furthermore,  The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God,
i.e.       the sword of the Spirit = Word of God.

Jesus overcame the devil by the sword of the Spirit, .. the Word of God.

Matthew 4:4-9
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said,
“If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’

Jesus said to him, It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan!
For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

The devil knows God’s word, and whenever he can he will twist the meaning of God’s word deceptively,
… just as Eve was deceived in the garden of Eden.

Each time, when Jesus was tempted, He overcame the devil by speaking the sword of the Spirit, the Truth of God’s word.
Just one sentence from the Word of God sentenced the devil to silence.
Truth overcomes deception and falsehood, and sets us free.

John 8:31,32
31 To the Jews who had believed him,
Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

32 Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you   free.

We need to know & live out the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

The devil also knows this.
Hence, when Jesus shared about the sower and the seed,
notice what is the first thing that happens …

Mark 4:14, 20 (NKJV)
14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown.
When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sworn in their hearts.

The control of our hearts is in our hands.
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit that protects our hearts.

Psalm 119:11 (NKJV)
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.

Whenever the devil sow the flaming arrows of
lies, doubts, discouragement and fears, temptation, hurt, etc
… the helmet of salvation and shield of faith protects us
to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
strengthened by the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,
as we persevere in faith, and trust the Lord.

So then faith comes by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

I long for Your salvation;
I put my hope in Your word.
Psalm 119:81 (HCSB)


Job 2 describes the second attempt.

Job 2:1-6 (NASB)
Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the L ord , and Satan also came among them to present himself before the L ord .

The L ord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”

Then Satan answered the L ord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

The L ord said to Satan,
“Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”
Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.”

So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”

Again, Satan had to ask permission from God before he touched Job’s body.
This time God set the boundary that Satan cannot take his life.

Job’s exquisitely precious response:

 Job 1:22 (NASB)
Through all this Job did not sin
nor did he blame God.

Job did not sin,
and did not blame God with his mouth,

did not give the devil a foothold;
he walked in truth and righteousness.

Job’s attitude is in sharp contrast to the children of Israel in the wilderness, who murmured and complained.

Why was there a hedge around Job and everything that he had ?

Listen to God’s testimony of Job’s life

 a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil.
And he still holds fast his integrity,
although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.

Even in trial/tribulation, Job acknowledged God’s sovereignty, power and grace.

How Job lived —  his life of integrity, uprightness, turning away from evil,
was his belt of  truth, and breastplate of righteousness,
his hedge, shield, armor.

The armor of God is about walking with Jesus in truth and righteousness daily.
A lifestyle.
Abiding in Jesus, our Truth and Righteousness.

Romans 13:14 (NIV, NLT)
 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,
and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

desires of the flesh,  evil desires, i.e. sin, sinful acts

Psalm 15:1,2 (NASB)
O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?

He who walks with integrity,
and works righteousness,

And speaks truth in his heart.

By walking in integrity, righteousness and speaking the truth,
we dwell in God’s presence;
and He blesses us:

Psalm 91:1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14-16 (NASB)
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;

For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10 No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11 For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.

13 You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 “With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

(pls read the full Psalm 91 at the end of this post)

Some verses in Psalm 91 are echoed in the New Testament,

His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night,  Or of the arrow that flies by day;  Psalm 91:4,5 NASB)

taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 5:16 (NASB)

You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.  Psalm 91:13 (NASB)

Jesus:
“Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions,
and over all the power of the enemy,
and nothing will injure you.”  Luke 10:19 (NASB)

Regarding truth, Jesus said,

Luke 8:44,45 (NIV)
… He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth,
for there is no truth in him.
When he lies,
he speaks his native language,
for he is a liar and the father of lies.

45 Yet because I tell the truth,
you do not believe me!

Jesus is the truth, … the devil is the father of lies.
listen to Jesus word.

Mark 12:24(NKJV, NET)
Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken,
because you do not know the Scriptures
nor the power of God?

 Jesus said to them, “Aren’t you deceived for this reason,
because you don’t know the scriptures or the power of God?

The antidote for the devil’s deception,
is for us to personally know the Truth, Jesus,
the word of God and God’s power.

John 8:32 (NIV)
Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.

Reiterating, … before describing the armor of God in Ephesians 6, Paul shared about walking in truth and righteousness, and nurturing right relationships with others (family, workplace, etc) in Ephesians 3 to 6.

One other note (in both biblical accounts) – God did not afflict Job.  Satan did it.

Jesus said,
The thief does not come except to
steal, and to kill, and to destroy
.

I have come that they may have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 (NKJV)

 Lamentations 3:31-33 (NIV)
31 For no one is cast off
    by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
    so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
    or grief to anyone.


Hence, the preceding sharing, reinforces 1 Corinthians 10:13

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful;

he will not let you be tempted
beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted,
he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

and

James 1:13-17 (NASB)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good thing given
and every perfect gift
is from above,

coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)
 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted,
he is able to help those who are being tempted.

(the greek word for ‘tempted’ in the preceding 3 verses is the same word – peirazō, and temptation in 1 Cor 10:13 – peirasmos)

1 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT)
And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.
These trials will show that your faith is genuine.
It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold
—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

So when your faith remains strong through many trials,
it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Psalm 66:9,10(NLT)
Our lives are in his hands,
    and he keeps our feet from stumbling.
10 You have tested us, O God;
 you have purified us like silver.

Trials and tests purifies us and distills our faith, as we overcome them with His help.
Trials and tests strengthens our faith and glorifies God.
Whatever happens, through your faith, God is protecting you by his power 

Furthermore, God is at work  in our hearts, as we trust Him through such seasons.
Here’s Paul’s sharing:

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (NASB)
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason,

to keep me from exalting myself,
there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me
—to keep me from exalting myself!

Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
And He has said to me,

My grace is sufficient for you,
for power is perfected in weakness.”

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.


The preceding sharing also sheds light on what happened when David counted the fighting men in Israel, …. why there are two angles to what was happening in real life.

1 Chronicles 21:1-2 (NIV)
Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, “Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are.”

 2 Samuel 24:1-2 (NIV)
Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”   So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.”


Where is the Lord ?

The Lord has full authority.  He approves or disapproves Satan’s works for a season, and He ultimately sets the boundaries.
Jesus has prayed and is praying for us to overcome Satan’s attack.

When Stephen was stoned,

Acts 8:54-56 (NIV)
54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.
55 But
Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit,
looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God,
and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Stephen was full of the Holy Sprit,
Stephen saw the glory of God,
Stephen saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God

Stephen was not alone.
In his darkest hour,
God in his fullness was present, giving him strength,
he was surrounded by the light of life (Jn 1:4, 8:12).
Stephen received a fresh revelation of God, and saw God even clearer as never before,
Stephen saw Him exalted on high.

1 Peter 4:4 (NIV)
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ,
you are blessed,
for

the Spirit of glory
and of God
rests on you
.

Through Job’s experience, Job also had a fresh revelation of God,
… encountering and experiencing God

Job 42:5,6 (NKJV)
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,

But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”

Are we ready for a fresh revelation of God, a fresh encounter, experience with Him ?

Just a final thought on Stephen.  Although God was present in all his glory,
….  in God’s wisdom and His sovereign will … He did not intervene or deliver him
… instead, He gave him strength to go through the persecution.

We can only say as Job said,

Job 42:2,3 (NASB)
I know that you can do anything,
and no one can stop you.

You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’
It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
things far too wonderful for me.

… Luke adds a note,

Acts 7:57 (NASB)
the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Saul who later became Paul, saw in Stephen, … the faith worth dying for.

 John 12:24-26
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains only a single seed.
But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it,
while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me;
and where I am, my servant also will be.

My Father will honor the one who serves me.


Back to Job,

Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”

in some ways this echoes, Peter’s sharing

Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

God’s response to Satan is interesting,

The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job?
For there is no one like him on the earth,
a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil.

Its sounds as though … God was taunting, challenging Satan.

God is confident that Job, a mere man, cannot be beaten by Satan,
even when literally all hell breaks loose on him.
Jesus also has the same confidence in His disciples
when he sent the small group  forth to bring the salvation message to the whole earth, overcoming the odds and the enemy.

Just as the devil prowls the earth to find someone to devour,
our Lord scans the earth to show Himself strong and strengthen anyone who is committed to Him.

2 Chronicles 16:9 (NKJV)
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
to show Himself strong
on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

What was at stake when Satan was testing Job and Peter ?

Whether Job or Peter will give up on God, when the stakes were stacked against them, … when both of them were shoved & intimidated into a corner.

Does Job fear God for nothing?
… But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.
… However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face

Job 2:9,10 (NIV)
his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” …..
In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

 Job 1:22 (NASB)
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Job’s exquisite attitude is truly an inspiration – steadfast, resolute, firmly standing on the faithfulness of God to him, no matter what was thrown at him … truly an inspiration for all of us.

Does Job fear God for nothing?

Job answered Satan’s question, with a resounding YES !!

Job was faithful to the Lord who is forever faithful,
… when he had everything … and when he had nothing,

… when things did not make sense to him,
… when his body was suffering in severe pain, to such an extent that  his friends had difficulty recognizing him
… when giving up was an easier option

Indeed Job is a great example of,

Revelations 12:9 (NKJV)
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much

as to shrink from death.

Job’s  example also helps us understand,

Matthew 5:5 (NKJV)
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

From the Strong’s dictionary – meek, praÿs – Meekness toward God is that disposition of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting. In the OT, the meek are those wholly relying on God rather than their own strength to defend against injustice. Thus, meekness toward evil people means knowing God is permitting the injuries they inflict, that He is using them to purify His elect, and that He will deliver His elect in His time (Isa 41:17, Luk 18:1-8). Gentleness or meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all. This is a work of the Holy Spirit, not of the human will (Gal 5:23). 

However,  meekness is not believing in helpless fate or fatalism,
but a relationship with our faithful God who loves us, to whom we can pray for help and strength,
who listens to our prayers, and has all power to actively change things in our world.

For Peter his test was also about being faithful to the Lord,
when it may cost him his life.


The spirit world influences the natural world.

Paul informed the Thessalonians,

1 Thessalonians 2:18 (NIV)
For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once
—and yet Satan hindered us.

towards the end of his life, he triumphantly encourages us all

2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV)
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack
and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen

God also sets seasons and times.  After the season of warfare, ….

Ecclesiastes 3:1,8
To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
…. A time of war,

And a time of peace.

for Job …. God restored and blessed him even more,

Job 42:10-17 (NIV)
10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. 16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

1 Peter5:6 (NIV) (see also James 4:10)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

and for Peter,
… in Jesus darkest hour, he denied Him,

… but in Jesus finest hour,  His resurrection,
Jesus restored Peter,
and when the Holy Spirit was poured out
Peter spoke powerfully and boldly (Acts 2:14-18), and three thousand responded to his message.

And when Peter was arrested in Acts 4, …. he boldly shared the message of Jesus to the same group that crucified Jesus.  The same group he was afraid of just some days ago.  Praise the Lord, our God is the God of the second chance.

What a transformation in Peter by the power of the Holy Spirit !
This time, when his life was threatened by the same group,  he overcame with flying colors 🙂
In the line of fire, God is confident that Peter would win !

Acts 4:19 (NKJV)
But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 

Mark 13:10,11 (NIV)
10 And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, … Paul’s wrote it so well,

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Amen !

And John as well,

1 John 4:8,18 (NKJV)
… God is love.
… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear

1 John 4:4 (KJV)
… greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Amen !

Whatever happens, keep God conscious & His purpose,
stand with confidence in Him.

Romans 8:28-30 (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.

29 For those whom He foreknew,
He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son,
so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

30 and these whom He predestined,
He also called; and these whom He called,
He also justified; and these whom He justified,
He also glorified.

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer
through Him
who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth,
nor any other created thing,

will be able to separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Amen!

Joseph summarised his life’s challenges,

Genesis 50:20 (NIV)
You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done,

the saving of many lives.


 Psalm 91  (NASB)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

 


 Serving Quietly | Daily Rice

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
October 14 2014
laymanointing.wordpress.com

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License


 

 

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