Thursday, January 15, 2009
Spiritual Warfare in God's Kingdom
Please read Luke 24:36-53. The kingdom of God is the most significant metaphor of spiritual conflict in the Bible. There are several facets of the kingdom as presented in the New Testament. Kingdom legitimacy: Satan's claims to lordship of the universe are illegitimate-he is the liar (John 8:44), the thief (John 10:10), and the deceiver (Rev. 20:3,8,10) whose domain is darkness (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13). His followers are like the wicked tenants (Matt. 21:33-44) whose actions show their true nature (Matt. 7:15-23). We have an assured victory: The prince of this world has been overcome (Luke 10:18; John 12:31),this is seen in the resurrection (I Cor. 15). We share in Christ's resurrection victory (Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 15:57) as over comers (Rev. 2:7). There is kingdom conflict on earth. That is because there are two kingdoms (Eph. 6:10-12), though the heavenly issue is settled (Rev. 12:7-9) with the final destruction of Satan and his hosts assured (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20; 9-15). Jesus is the stronger man who has bound Satan the strong man (Luke 11:14-22), and because of His victory, our standing against the enemy is possible. This is accomplished through prayerfully putting on spiritual armor (Eph. 6:13-19) and using divine weapons to tear down strongholds (II Cor. 10:3-5). We must learn how to fight the kingdom way, We are to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21) as Jesus did on the cross (Col. 2:15); we can return curses with blessings (I Pet. 3:9) because we are to consider those curses as blessings (Matt. 5:3-10). True freedom is not doing whatever we want, but being able to fully obey Christ (John 8:31-37). As believers we are to become kingdom people: We are new creatures having new natures (II Cor. 5:17) who are enjoined to put on new clothing (Eph. 4:22-32); Col. 3:12-17) and set our thoughts on new things (Col. 3:1-11). We have freedom in Christ (John 8:31-37) to be pure in our obedience to Him (Phil. 2:15) rather than live in slavery to sin (Rom. 6:1-14). We are also corporately a new people who are aliens in this world (I Pet. 2:9-12). We are a kingdom family: We are adopted (Rom. 8:14) children of God (John 1:12; I John 3:1, 5:19) who can call Him "Daddy" (Rom. 8:15) and who share in the inheritance of His Son (Heb. 1:2; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:26-4:7). Let's examine the growth of the kingdom. Men can reject the kingdom of God. Satan can snatch kingdom truths away from unprepared hearts (the sower; Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23) God is the one who brings kingdom growth (secret growth; Mark 4:26-29)do not despise the day of small things (the mustard seed; Matt. 13:31-33); the kingdom will permeate all (yeast; Matt. 13:34; Luke 13:20-21). The value of the kingdom. The kingdom is worth all we are (the hidden treasure; Matt. 13:44; the pearl of great price; Matt. 13:45). Kingdom purity: The world is a mixture of kingdoms; the King plants openly for good, his opponent in secret for evil (tares and wheat; Matt. 13;24-30, 38-43); in the end the pure will be sorted from the impure (the fishing net; Matt. 13:47-50); the kingdom belongs to those who walk in the will of the King (the sheep and the goats; Matt. 25:31-46). Kingdom responsibilities: We are to share with others what treasures we have concerning the kingdom of God (new and old treasures; Matt. 13:52); the one who does God's will is justified, not the one who pays lip service; (the two sons; Matt. 21:28-32); the kingdom belongs to those who produce its fruit (the tenants; Matt. 21:33-46); the kingdom belongs to those who respond to the invitation of the King the wedding banquet; Matt. 22:1-14); the kingdom belongs to those who use the resources that God gives them (the talents; Matt. 25:14-30). The heart of the King: God actively and successfully seeks out people who belong to Him; He rejoices when they are found (the lost sheep; Luke 15:3-7; the lost coin; Luke 15:8-10); God anxiously (and with the light on) awaits our return to Him-He initiates reconciliation before we admit our wrong. His grace is offered to even the most wicked person (the prodigal son or the waiting father; Luke 15:11-32). Kingdom values; kingdom priorities are not arranged on an earthly scale (the workers in the vineyard; Matt. 20:1-16); kingdom people act wisely in light of kingdom values (the shrewd manager; Luke 16:31-46). The above facts are necessary for kingdom living. As you can see spiritual warfare is an intricate part of our walk with the Lord. Paul wrote "fight the good fight." In Christ it is a good fight indeed.