"… Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power…"
Key point: We must make sure our value system is based on God's true Truth! Be on guard against building on the shifting sands and lies of the culture and the world! We are to be the influencers of culture, not the receivers. This is where the church is weak and prone to attack. (Isaiah 54:17; Ephesians 6:10-18)
As the Epistle comes to a close, we are given encouragement and warning. We are to have a strong faith in our Lord, trust in His Mighty Power; we are to trust in Him, not in ourselves. We are to prepare for life's battle against the evils and hostilities, seen and unseen. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves by thinking like soldiers in battle so we can resist and stand against evil and the powers of darkness. We are to stand our ground with the Truth of God's Word, know God's Word and be ready. We are to be a people of integrity. Our shield is faith. Our confidence is that God is working and be assured of our salvation and the contentment of the peace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, we can be not only prepared, but we can endure attacks from our enemy, human and spiritual. We must, at all times, be in prayer. Prayer is the prime tactic and communication platform of our battle. We must allow the Word of God to impact us wholeheartedly!
What we exemplify and teach is to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power! We are not in this alone when we face opposition! Roman soldiers must stay in formation, rely on their training and--above all else--stand their ground and never retreat. They had various formations of interlocking shields; if one solder broke ranks, it jeopardized all the others. They also gained strength in one another. These are all direct applications for a real Christian, as our strength is in the Lord and the help of fellow believers (Eph. 1:15-23; 2:4-6; 3:16-19; 1 Thess. 5:8).
What we exemplify and teach is that we know and trust the Word of God! This means the teachings of Jesus Christ, clarified and uncompromised true Truth of His Word now found in Scripture as well as the words, character, and precepts of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How He lived and what He taught must also permeate and engage us--what He taught and modeled and how we are learning and responding to Him. We are to learn and employ what He has for us. It is not just enough to know; we must also be. Learn it, know it, be it, and do it. This is our study, for internalization that transforms, and gives application (John 14:16; 16:13; 20:31; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13; Col.1: 15-20; 3:15-19; Eph. 5:14; Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Tim. 3:16).
What we exemplify and teach is that spiritual warfare is real! It usually has more to do with the battle of the will than what we see in movies or from false teachers. God's desire is for us to be formed in Jesus Christ as LORD for our battles. Satan wants us to be centered on anything but that; he wants us to be disobedient and distorted to the things of God. God wants us surrendered and dependent with faith upon Him. This is the battle; this is where the line is drawn, where what we choose will determine whether we serve Satan or Christ. There is no in-between, no middle ground, and no other choice for us to accept.
God wants you to overcome Satan; you do not have to believe in Satan's deceptions and lies. Not only can we resist Satan, but we can actually overcome him! Revelation 12:11 says "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death." Jesus has already overcome Satan by His triumph on the Cross, and that victory has been imparted unto us! If you have confessed your sins under the shed blood of Jesus Christ, you have been cleansed and are no longer under the control of Satan. This is called the Testimony of Jesus. It refers to the testimony that Jesus bore by His work and involvement. Christ's blood and sacrifice prevails when we accept it and use it as our main artillery. Our unwavering faith in Christ, by whom and what He has done, is too much for Satan to handle; he cannot stand against the goodness of Christ. Thus, when we are in Christ, we prevail; Satan has already lost and has been defeated (Rev. 1:2, 9; 12:11; 19:10).
© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org/