Scripture based prayer points
· Every high and proud thing in our lives be casted down by the word of God.
· Every thought and imagination be brought in submission and obedience to the word of God.
· That we be kept strong till the end, so that we will be blameless on the day of Lord Jesus Christ.
· Praise God for He has blessed us with every spiritual blessings in the heavenly realm.
· That we will be able to comprehend the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ.
· That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father will give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that we may know Him better.
· That the eyes of our heart be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
· That he that has began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
· That our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ filled with the fruits of righteousness that comes through Christ Jesus – to the glory and praise of God.
· That God fill us with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
· That we may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
· That we being strengthened with power according to his glory might so that we may have great endurance and patience and joyfully giving thanks to the Father.
· That our work be produced by faith, our labour prompted by love and our endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
· We pray that our God would count us worthy of his calling and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of ours and every act prompted by our faith.
· That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in us and us in him , according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
· That the Lord directs our hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
· That we may be active in sharing our faith, so that we will have a full understanding of every good thing in Christ.
· That the God of peace who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will.
· That our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
· That the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will.
· That he may work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever amen.
· That we may enjoy good health and that all may go well with us, even as our souls are getting along well.
· Sanctify us by your word; for your word is truth.
· As Jesus has given us the glory of the Father, let the glory be revealed in our lives as we come to know him more and more.
BIBLE STUDY PASSAGES FOR COUNSELEES PERTAINING TO THE WEEK’S STAGE
1 John 1
1 John 2 – 3
1 Corithians 1
1 John 4 – 5
1 Corithians 10:14-22
2 Corithians 6:14-7:1
Numbers 13 -14
Mark 4, Luke 8
1 Samuel 17
1 Peter 1, 2 Peter 1
2 Chronicles 20
John 3, 1 John 5
1 Corithians 12:8-10
The wise Builder
Romans 6 – 8
Recommended Bible Translations: New Living Translation and The Amplified Bible.
BIBLE STUDY OUTLINE
STAGE 1:- FAITH AND THE WORD
Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11:1, it is the proof of the reality of what the word of God has created in our spirit.
What faith isn’t
a. It is not mental assent: meaning it is not just by mere approval of the mind or reasoning.
b. It is not wishful thinking: Expecting something or an occurrence to take place whereas it seems not likely to be or can’t happen.
c. It is not hope: Hope on seeming physical evidence and not on God’s word is not of faith.
d. It is not believing in the mind: you could believe in your mind and not believe in your heart, but faith is of the Heart.
What Defines Faith
a. Word-based: Faith as used in this system is the Christian Faith and not any other type of faith because faith has other descriptions that don’t agree with the word. Faith has it’s root in God’s word.
So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Rom.10:17
b. Of the Heart(Spirit): As you grow deep in the word of God, you will come to know that the Heart and Spirit are often used interchangeably. Faith is not of the soul/mind or even your reasoning, it is of your heart or of your spirit.
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is the word of faith, which we preach; That if thous shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thous shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom.10:8-10
Faith is of your heart, your spirit, it can’t be substantiated by the philosophy of mental resoning and logic nor does it has a physical form or representation. It is also not in your feelings and emotions. It is of the heart, of the Spirit.
c. With the Mouth:- The faith of the word of God in your heart should be the base on which your words are said, otherwise it wouldn’t be faith saying what is contrary to what you believe. For example you believe that by His stripes, you were healed while you still confess those symptoms that accompany that illness instead of boldly saying what you believe, saying anything contrary to what you believe in the word of God defeats your faith. Your words shouldn’t contradict what you believe rather confession is made unto salvation according to Rom.10:8-10,13
d. Action: Having confessed with the mouth based on the faith of the word of God in your heart, your actions must align to what you believe and say irrespective of what your mind(reasoning) your senses (sight, sound/vision, feel e.t.c) and people (family, friends e.t.c) are telling or signaling to you.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without work (action/confession) is dead. James 2:26
For Example, you were sick needing divine healing, you opened and read 1 Peter 2:24 … by whose stripes ye were healed. You meditated and believed it and confessed that you are healed. You then ought to act that you are healed irrespective of what your senses tell or signal to you.
Faith id the foundation of the Christian life, the importance of faith to the Christian is as importance as a foundation to a building. All that we are ever going to have and experience in Chrsit will and must have it’s root or foundation in the faith of God’s word or the word of faith thus faith is very essential to our lives in Christ.
A. Righteousness: The righteousness we refer to here is having a right standing with God, being justified (just as if) sinless which is not a merit of our acts or works. Before our salvation, our righteousness is as a filthy rag Isa.64:6.
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe for there is no difference: Rom.3:21-22
We have right standing with God through faith not by works.
B. Salvation: Rom.10:8-10, we used the fore mentioned scriptures to determine what faith is defined with.
For we are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph.2:8-9
Salvation which is redemption form sin, darkness, death and eternal judgment is obtained through faith in Christ Jesus.
C. Please God by faith: Our life in Christ is a life that ought to please God and this is only possible through faith.
For without faith; it is impossible to please him . . . Rom.10:17
D. Salvation II: Salvation primarily means our total redemption from sin and it’s consequences, the consequences of sin is not only eternal judgment and damnation but also include, sickness/disease, poverty and every evil that exist in this world. This redemption have been made possible because Christ paid for them in His death on the cross and brought justification. The same way we received Jesus into our hearts by hearing, believing, confessing and doing. Faith also is the necessity to experiencing our redemption from sickness/disease, poverty and every evil.
E. The Just shall live by faith:
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the Just shall live by faith. Rom.1:17
Jesus Christ’s resurrection brought us justification thus we are just and the just shall live by faith. As a believer you are to live by faith (Acting/Confessing/Believing in the word of God). We are to live a live of faith.
Whatever is not of the word of God in the heart isn’t faith. Faith is the proof of reality of what the word of God has created in your spirit. Ti comes from the word into/in the heart, confessed with the mouth and expressed/confirmed through our actions. It is the foundation of our walk in Christ because the just shall live by faith.
HOW FAITH COMETH
Faith is a spirit 2 Cor.4:13, we know that the force or life of body is from the spirit, so faith is a force and it’s life.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken, we believe and therefore speak. 2 Cor.4:13
It is a force that cometh by the word of God (written or spoken). Rom.10:17
Revelation The word in your Spirit
A. Sensory Perception:- This refers to your hearing and seeing the spoken and the written word through your physical ears and eyes respectively. Rom.10:14
B. Meditation:- Thoughtful consideration and pondering on the word of God. You visualize, imagine, reflect, appropriate and accept the word of God irrespective of how foolish it may seem to the natural reasoning. God’s wisdom is foolishness to the world 1 Cor.1:25 so also His word and what comes from it which is faith.
C. The Holy Spirit:- The Holy Spirit can inspire faith in your heart through revelation from the word of God that has already being in your spirit.
Faith is a spirit i.e a force, a life that cometh when the word is heard.
THE GROWING FAITH
The growing faith is an increasing faith in Good, His Power and in His willingness to do. Growth is the process of increase in size, stature and in value of the properties and potentials of a thing.
We all received the same measure of faith when we got saved. 2 Pet. 2:1, Rom. 12:3 so anyone who is born-again has faith. Apostle Peter referred to it as “like precious faith”. This was the faith that necessitated our salvation. It is the born-again faith, it is born, it has life and thus ought to grow. Jesus likened it as a mustard seed Matt.17:20. A seed ought to be planted before it can grow, every seed has the potential to grow, so your faith thus grow.
Importance of the Growing Faith
1. For Strength and Action:- The Bible notes that whatever is not of faith is sin Rom.14:23b, whatever you do for God that is not of faith doesn’t please God. The more your faith the more your strength and ability to walk in and with God.
2. For Maturity and Responsibility:- Maturity in faith and not necessarily age gives the true sense of spiritual maturity because responsibilities are given by level of maturity.
The Heart (The Soil of Faith)
Faith is a seed of God’s word as said in the introduction of this topic. Our hearts are on the soil of that seed. The conditions which we receive the word of God, and the environment of our heart where it is received, determines how it is going to grow.
Different Environments/Conditions with which the word is received and how it affects the growth of faith Matthew 13
1. The Wayside Environment/Condition
· Receives the word without understanding it
· Satan steals the word away immediately
2. The Stony Condition
· Receives the word with joy
· The word has no root, but endures for a while
· Tribulation and persecution prevent the word from taking root
3. The Thorny Environment
· Receives the word
· Possibly was planted
· Possibly had roots
· But was unfruitful
· Because the word was choked up with the care of this world and the deceitfulness of riches
4. The Good Soil
· Receives the word
· Understood the word
· Was planted
· Was rooted
· Was fruitful
Factors that affects the Growth of Faith
1. How the Word is received:- Is it received carelessly without attention just the way things are done on the roadside? Or it is received in deep meditation and pondering? Is it mixed up with consideration of riches and the things of the world? Or it is received with joy and steadfastly held to? These things and many more on how the word is received affect the growth of faith.
2. Where is the Word received:- Is it received in an atmosphere of people filled with doubt, fear, worry and unbelief? Or a place full of bitterness, unforgiveness and malice? If it is received in an atmosphere of love, worship and of the Spirit definitely it is bound to be effective.
3. Is the word Understood:- For you to be fruitful in the word, it ought to be understood through meditation as explained in the faith process, if not understood, Satan will swiftly steal it away.
Conditions Necessary for the growth of Faith
1. The Right Environment: Just as every natural seed must be planted in the right environment for it to grow to yield fruit, so is the seed of faith. Environment that enhances, stirs and encourage your faith such as the fellowship of brethren, company of right-living believers e.t.c
2. Meditation: As we saw in the case of one who received the word on the road side, he lacked understanding of it and lost it to Satan. Meditation of the word entails understanding it to the heart.
3. Obedience: Disobedience hinders faith, obedience increases faith because as you prove God’s word through obedience you even have greater faith to do more than you did for God.
Hindrances to the Growth of Faith
1. Fear: Fear is to accept and believe that the negative which is provable by physical and mental logic is true and possible. As faith is a spirit, fear is a spirit that is opposite and inhibits faith. Jesus said “fear not, believe only . . .” Luke8:50.
2. Doubt: it is a state of uncertainty about a thing mostly inclined towards the pessimistic, it is a form of unbelief, it is likened to the wavering sea James1:6, Matt. 19:27-31, 21:21. Doubt is caused by fear.
3. Unbelief: This is simply to refuse to believe i.e accepting that a thing is not true. Matt.17:20
4. Not Understanding the word
5. Worldliness: Living a life that is devoted to gratifying flesh destroys faith.
6. The deceitfulness of riches: This could refer to the love of money.
7. Considering or giving thought to tribulation and persecution that rises due to the word.
8. Sin and Disobedience
9. The wrong environment
Faith is primarily personal and an individual possession, but the word of God is universal, we receive the same measure of faith at salvation. How we relate with God is only based on our level of faith. The growth of faith is thus necessary to be able to relate more with God in strength and action unto maturity and responsibility. Every seed has it’s conditions that enhances or hinders its growth, so does faith.
THE GREAT HEROES OF FAITH AND HOW THEY DEMONSTRATED THEIR FAITH
Heb.11:1-40 This Chapter of the Bible could be called the Faith Hall of Fame. We will look more closely on Father Abraham who is reckoned as the Father of Faith. Rom.4:11
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, so shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed on him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed of we believe on him that raised up Jesus our LORD from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Rom.4:17-25
To begin with, what is hope? It is to base confidence that an occurrence will take place on some evidences.
· God told Abraham that he had been made a father of many nations yet he had no child more or less a son. How could he be the father of many nations when he had to have a son? Apart from that, he could not be productive considering his age and the deadness of his wife’s womb. He could have had a base for his hope if he was still productive and his wife’s womb still active
§ He believed even though there was nothing to hold unto except the word of promise
§ God quickeneth the dead
§ God calleth those things that a not as though they were &
§ God is able to do what He had promised
· He held only to the promise and God’s power(ability) not to physical or natural evidence.
· He staggered not at the promise of God.
· He gave glory to God.
· He was fully persuaded.
· He obtained the promise Gen.21:1-3
a. Believe, not based on reasoning or sensory perception but hold tight onto God’s word and power only.
b. Be strong in faith i.e stagger not at the word of God.
c. Give God the Glory for you have received.
d. Be fully persuaded on God’s word
Though this wasn’t the only aspect where Father Abraham demonstrated faith but it emphasizes on the FAITH TO RECEIVE.
Secondly we will study the account of David (The great warrior of God) and Goliath. During this incidence the whole Israel were afraid because of the challenge of an Infidel, only young David of seventeen years old stood on the came at the God of Israel and won victoriously.
… And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after hi, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and smote him and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be one of them seeing he hath defied the armies of the Living God. … Then said David to the Philistine, Thou come with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of Host, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistine this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s and he will give you into our hands. 1Sam. 17
§ Israel as a nation was faced with a battle. Goliath the giant of Gath stood out challenging and defying the whole army of Israel.
§ Israel as a nation was afraid of this giant
§ But there came David the young shepherd boy.
§ He was persuaded by the King to forfeit confronting the giant but prevailed with his testimony of deliverance and victory.
§ He was offered an armour for the fight but couldn’t go out on them but went out with five smooth stones and a sling.
§ The Philistine cursed David by Dagon his god
§ But David came in the name of the LORD and also declared his victory over the giant.
§ So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. 1Sam.17:50
The Faith, David (The Shepherd Boy) demonstrated against the giant is the kind of faith we need to overcome, he
1. Didn’t look at his military capability
2. He didn’t consider his military experience
3. He wasn’t dissuaded even by the King
4. He stood on the name of the LORD
5. He declared his deliverance and victory
6. He took action and go what he declared.
1. Be strong in the testimony of the word.
2. Don’t lose faith because of the giant(the challenge, difficulty, sickness e.t.c) i.e don’t look at the situation
3. Look and compare your God and that giant
4. Declare/confess the word of testimony of victory and deliverance in the name of the LORD
5. Take action and receive the victory.
PROTECT YOUR FAITH IN GOD’S WORD
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly Jn.10:10
Satan is a thief, he comes to steal the word of God from our heart when it is not understood, or fights its growth in an effort to weaken, hinder or even destroy our faith. How do we prevent this from happening?
A. Guarding your heart:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Prov.4:23
You guard your heart by being careful about
i. What you see and hear
ii. Testing all spirit to know if they are of God.
iii. Screening every thought and imagination by God’s word (It’s standards and principles)
B. Being Alert:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1Pet.5:8
C. Overcome doubt and unbelief: Stand firm in faith in continual confession of the word of faith irrespective of reasons to give into doubt and unbelief. Recall on testimonies of God’s greatness in times past. Look on God’s ability and not the problems ability like David the Shepherd Boy.
D. Rely on the Holy Ghost: He is our Helper, our Teacher and our Guide John 16:13, 1Jn.2:27, whenever you are under the opposition of Satan and are helpless, ask for the Help of the Holy Spirit.
THE TEST AND EXERCISE OF FAITH 1 Tim.4:7-8, Job1-2, 1Pet.1:6-7, 5:8-9, James1:2-4
Exercise is a set of movements or activity that one does to stay healthy or becomes stronger. The purpose of exercise is to build up, stay healthy and become stronger. The exercise of faith is/are things we do in other for our faith to be built up & become stronger.
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come. 1Tim.4:7-8
The difference between growth and exercise is that grow is only and increase in size while exercise necessitates and increase in strength and maturity. We look at the analogy of an obese, weak person and a slender strong person. One is large in size but the other is great in strength, we are not only to grow in the size of our faith but to get stronger in the strength of our faith. God does allow certain things that will simultaneously induce our exercising of faith like oppositions, trials, difficult situations and tough circumstances (these things are the test of our faith).
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 1Pet.1:6-7
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing that this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience perfect her work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4.
The trial of faith provides the gym for the exercise of faith. Remember Jesus said that because of the word shall arise tribulation and persecution (Matt.13:20-21), as a child of God, you cannot avoid the test of faith because you are born of the incorruptible word of God.
§ Your faith is refined by the fire of afflictions
§ Patience is produced unto maturity
§ You are mature and perfected in completeness.
HOW TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH
1. Consistency of the confession of the word of God:
Despite all that Job said, it was recorded “in all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” Job1:22. … in all this did not job sin with his lips. Job2:10. Irrespective of the varying or constant intensity of our test, the words of our mouth should be consistent with the word of God i.e. integrity of our words.
2. Give glory to God: Rom. 4:20, Job 1:21 Just as we have described in the demonstration of the Father of faith in the previous topic and also Job who gave thanks and glory to God for giving and taking from him. Part of giving glory to God is to be full of thanksgiving even in the mist of that situation however terrible it is looking at Paul and Silas in the cell (Acts16:23-26) They praised and sang hymns and songs to God in the innermost cell of the prison being bound with chains and heavily guarded, we have the testimony that the power of God came down and they were set free.
3. Remain fully persuaded about the infallibility and power of God’s word Rom.4:21
4. Against all hope believe in the Hope that comes from faith. Rom.4:18
5. Praying in the Holy Ghost:-
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost Jude 1:20
Faith is of the Spirit, as you pray in the Holy Ghost, your faith is edified (1Cor.14:4), it takes faith to actually speak in tongues because you do not know the next words or syllables that we come out of your mouth but as you speak you are acting on your faith believing that the Holy Spirit will give you utterance even as you open your mouth to pray from your spirit.
6. Consistency in Appropriate Action: James 2:14-26. Taking the right step and doing/acting in accordance to the word regardless of the opposing factors, this help to strength your faith. Until Moses stretched his rod, the red sea did not part Ex. 14:10-16, When the priests stepped into the River Jordan, then did it divide Joshua 3:1-17
The trial of faith is also likened to the Good Fight of Faith.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1Tim.6:12
A fight is a movement or action taken to defend or promote a course or creed. The good fight of fight is the movement and action taken to defend and promote the course and creed of our faith. Paul the Apostle unto many Churches and one who wrote more than half of the New Testament fought the good fight of fight; let us listen to what he said
I have fought the good fight of faith, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Tim. 4:7
Paul called the good fight of faith a race that had a course to be run through. Our Christian life is a life of the good fight of faith, a call to the race that has a prize 1Cor.9:24-27, Heb.12:1-3. Paul finished his own race, now, how did he fight the good fight of faith?
We consider the race, a race is the movement along a specified path/way or course to test and judge ones qualities, the successful completion of which has a prize. In a race, there is a target, each participant has its own track; any deviation from this path disqualifies the participant likewise any breach of the rules regarding the race. So is also the good fight of fight.
In winning the Fight we;
1. Look unto Jesus:
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. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Heb.12:2-3
§ Jesus our perfect example, endured the cross because of the joy set before Him, the cross encapsulated his suffering ultimately leading to his crucifixion on the cross.
§ Jesus was the one who set up this race which He himself had run and won when he lived the earth
2. Throw of Every weight and sin: You could imagine the effect of a load carried by a racerunner into a race; just the same way his swiftness and strength is affected retrogressively so is it in running the race of the good fight of fight. Weight are not necessarily sin, it could be an addiction to games, watching sports or movies, e.t.c. that strives or contest for the resources of your time and attention with God’s word in your heart (The word of God in your heart needs time and attention for it to be fruitful). Throwing of this weights and sin is possible when we submit to the leading and discipline of the Holy Spirit. Heb.12:5-11
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Heb.12:1
3. Run with patience: Heb.12:1 you don’t give up on your faith, God’s word or God irrespective of how magnificent the opposing factors may be. The more the oppositions that confronts you the more the faith that God wants you to attain and exercise. For
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1Cor.10:13
4. Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness, these things will keep us focused cause there are ahead to the finishing line, they help us to focus on Jesus(they are the character of CHRIST) not turning to the right or left because there are many distractions to running this race so that we don’t miss the mark.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.1Tim.6:10-11
The Reward of winning the fight of faith is the crown of righteousness. 2Tim.4:7-8
Faith is the proof of what the word of God has created in our spirit. It proceeds from God’s word. It is necessary in our Christ-like work for without it, it is impossible to please God. The word which produces faith is authentic and eternal. Faith through the word of God comes through meditation, confirmed through our confession and established in what we do. How we relate with God is dependent on our level of faith. Faith as a seed from the word ought to grow to necessitate strength for action and maturity for responsibility. Being so precious and important, Satan tries to steal it’s producer; the word of God from our heart, thus it is necessary to protect it’s existence in our heart by relying on the Holy Spirit to guide and lead against the evil.
THE WORD OF GOD
The Holy Scriptures which is the Bible is the written word of God which:
1. Are given for inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2Tim.3:16
2. Contains words of the Holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2Pet.1:20-21
3. Eternal and must be fulfilled. Matt.21:33,Mark14:44
4. Were written for our learning. Rom.15:4
5. It forms the bases and origin of all teachings and doctrine in the Christian Faith, anything contrary to its standards and principles are only falsehood and error.
The word of God is very important in the life of a Christian. We are born of the incorruptible seed of the word of God.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever. 1Pet.1:23
1. We are to grow through the sincere milk of the word.
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 1Pet.2:2
2. We become wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2Tim.3:15
STUDY PLAN OF THE WORD 1Pet.2:2, Heb.5:13-14, 2Tim.2:15
Having understood the word, its essence and its necessity for faith, knowing also that we fellowship with God in the word and in prayer, we ought to have a study plan. It is necessary to have a plan or a goal written down to help your focus to achieve
HOW TO PLAN
A. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and help because He knows you and He is the Best Teacher. 1Jn.2:27, John14:26
B. Write down the plan in a specific book for the study of the word. Hab.2:2
C. Design a timetable allocating real time and not only when you do not have something at hand. Eccl.3:1
D. Set up a means to always remember to work out the plan like an alarm, reminder, To-Do’s or telling a person.
E. Evaluate yourself periodically to ascertain your progress.
Target >>>>->>>>>->>>>>>->>> Study the New Testament within a month.
Time to Achieve Target >>>>->>>->>> 4weeks or 30days
Week 1 - The Four Gospels
Week 2 - Acts and The Pauline Epistles
Week 3 - The Pauline Epistles
Week 4 - James – Revelation
Monday - 8:00pm – 10pm
Tuesday - 7:00pm – 9pm
Wednesday - 8:00pm – 9:30pm
Thursday - 8:00pm – 10pm
Friday - 9:00pm – 10pm
Saturday - 5:00am – 7:00am
Sunday - 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Materials to achieve the plan
Pen and Ruler
A Bible Concordance or Reference Bible
When you study the word.
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. NIV
1 John 2:27-28 *27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. KJV
o The Holy Spirit (The Spirit of Truth, The Anointing) being the Best Teacher is in and with you.
o He is a person, ask that He teach you the word.
Example: You pray like this “Dear Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of the Word and the Anointing, I ask that you teach me your word, speak to me through your word, grant me understanding and revelation in your word in Jesus Name. Amen.”
o With your Bible and other materials, open your Bible in faith that the Holy Spirit is ready and is teaching you the word.
o Write whatever He tells or shows you in the word, this is very real.
o Do these in faith and you will truly be taught by the Holy Spirit.
Remember also that
The Just shall live by faith.
You can be taught by the Holy Spirit as real as any teacher would teach you and even better because He will teach you from within your heart and He is the Best Teacher of the word because He is the Spirit of Truth and the word is truth(John17:17).
FELLOWSHIP AND THE HOLY GHOST
FELLOWSHIP: Definition and Importance
Fellowship is the coming together of two or more persons of a common interest or aim who share and partake in a thing and could involve being in the presence of each other.
WHAT DEFINES FELLOWSHIP:
a. The persons involved
b. The interest or aim or fellowship
c. The thing(s) shard or partake
In Christ there are basically two categories of fellowship defined by the persons involved.
i. Fellowship with God 2Cor. 1:9, I John 1:3, 2Cor. 13:14
ii. Fellowship with the saints Acts 2:42-47.
There are also various forms of fellowship defined by the interest and things shared or partake.
i. Fellowship in the gospel Phil 1:5
ii. Fellowship in the spirit Phil. 2:1
iii. Fellowship of his suffering Phil. 3:10
iv. Fellowship of the breaking of bread Acts 2:42, Luk 23:16-20
v. Fellowship to prayers Acts 2:42
vi. Fellowship of the ministering to saints 2Cor. 8:4
IMPORTANCE OF FELLOWSHIP
(Fellowship with the saints)
1. It is a command not to forsake Heb 10:25
2. To encourage ourselves in the LORD Heb. 10:25
3. To minister to the saints 2Cor. 8:4
4. To grow in the word of faith.
(Fellowship with God)
1. To minister to God Acts 13:1-2
2. To enjoy the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit 2Cor. 13:14
3. To grow in grace and faith.
CATERGORIES OF FELLOWSHIP. (1 JOHN 1:3-7)
As earlier said, in Christ there are basically two categories of fellowship defined by the persons involved which are:
1. Fellowship with God and
2. Fellowship with the saints.
1. FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD: This is to walk in the light is to walk according to God’s word. Ps. 119:105. That is we share in the light of God, if we do not walk in the light of God we do not have fellowship with the father and with his son Jesus Christ.
2. FELLOWSHIP WITH THE SAINTS: This involves the gathering of saint(s) to share in the word, prayer and to minister to the Lord and to one another in various aspects (Spiritually, Physically, Financially e.t.c). Note also that the fellowship of the saints is with God also,
FORMS OF FELLOWSHIP.
Fellowship could take different forms or the combination of some or all of the various forms underlisted:
1. FELLOWSHIP OF THE WORD: This type of fellowship either individually with God or with the saints, it involes majorly the study and sharing of the word of God, Examples of such fellowship Matt.13:10-23, we see that at various times in the four gospels, Jesus had a fellowship of the word with His disciples. Nowadays examples are Bible Studies, Sunday School and Sunday sermons e.t.c
2. FELLOWSHIP OF PRAYER AND FASTING: This form of fellowship involves prayer on a higher note, either individually with God or in the congregation of the brethren. Jesus Christ had such form of fellowship with his disciples (Luke 22:39-46), The disciples after Jesus’ ascension always meet to pray together (Acts 4:24, 13:1-3).
3. FELLOWSHIP OF THE BREAKING OF BREAD: This is in other to fulfill the Lord’s command to remember of his body that was given for us and the drinking of the cup, the blood of the new covenant. We are admonished to do this often. Luke 22:7-20, 24:35, Acts 2:42,46 1 Cor. 10:14-22
4. FELLOWSHIP IN GIVING: It was recorded that the disciples of Christ after the Pentecost had and shared things such that none of them lacked anything, some even sold their lands and brought the money to be shared with the other brethren. Acts 4:34-37
DIMENSIONS OF FELLOWSHIP
THE WRONG FELLOWSHIP
Fellowship is the coming together of persons with an interest to share and partake in a thing at the sawme time and could involve their being in the presence of each other. Just as having fellowship with God and the Saints has immense benefits so also having the wrong fellowship with the world and sinners has grave consequences. The wrong fellowship for Christian(s) is the sharing and partaking of a thing that are inconsistent with the word of God, this could even be between believers.
WHAT DEFINES WRONG FELLOWSHIP
A. The persons involved 2 Cor. 6:14 – 7:1
B. The things shared Eph. 5:6 – 15 even between two believers, the wrong thing could be shared which will end up defiling one another
EXAMPLES OF WRONG FELLOWSHIP
1. Seeking counsel from the wrong person e.g. Amnon and Jonadab 2 Sam.13 : 1 – 7.
2. Sexual Immorality 1 Cor.6:13-20
3. Being a participant with demons i.e. partaking of things sacrificed to demons. 1 Cor.10:14-22
4. A companion of fools Prov. 13:20
5. Fellowship of the deeds of darkness Eph. 5:6-15
6. Joining resources with an evil person e.g King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat
EFFECTS OF WRONG FELLOWSHIP
2. Harmful outcomes Prov.13:20
4. Backsliding/Retrogression in the faith
HOW TO AVOID THE WRONG FELLOWSHIP
A. Make evidence your testimony of Jesus; this will keep the wrong company from you. Rom.1:16
B. Express your displeasure, if the wrong things are said.
C. Do not compromise your stand in the word of God in any conversation. Eph.4:29, Col.4:6
D. Let what you share have the characteristics of Phil.4:8
E. Delibrately dissociate from the wrong company. Prov.13:20
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on this things. Phil 4:8
We are not going to elaborate or discuss on the doctrine or concept of trinity rather we will look at some striking, distinctive features.
Trinity is coined from the word three and unity representing the unity of three persons, distinct and unique, i.e. the One God is made known as Father, Son and Holy Spirit; each of them is God, but each is a distinct person.
The reality of this truth is mysterious, it is best understood through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to you personaly. You should know that God’s ways are not the ways of men.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:8-9.
THE TRIUNE GOD
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matt.28:19
Four striking features of the trinity would be considered.
A. Distinctiveness in Personality:- God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are different persons that have their personal attributes including the mind, will and emotions.
Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am pleased. Luke 3:21-22
In this place, we see Jesus on earth in River Jordan, the Holy Ghost coming from heaven upon Jesus who was on earth and the Father commending His Son from heaven.
B. Similiarity in attributes:- God has many attributes but these three attributes: omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotency is exhibited by the three Persons of the Unity.
C. Equality (Power and Glory):- God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are equal in Authority, power and glory.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: Phil.2:5-6
Jesus is LORD, the Father is LORD, The Spirit is LORD. Jesus is the image of the God Head. Col.1:15,19
D. Unity:- God is one in three Persons, it is mysterious truth, The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Christ, the three Persons work in perfect harmony.
The grace of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen 2 Cor.13:14
All things come from the Father through the Son and by the Holy Ghost.
Everything are of the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit. The Father sent the Son and the Holy Ghost in the name of His Son. The Holy Ghost is the power of the Father and the Son.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is God, with a distinct personality is different from the Father & the Son and He is a member of the Blessed Trinity Matt.28:19, 1John 5:7. Just as Jesus was sent by the Father John 3:16, the Holy Spirit was sent or given by the Father in the name of Jesus Christ John14:26 to those who believe. Understanding His person and His work in our life is very vital in the Christ walk as Jesus is now at the right hand side of the throne of the Father in heaven.
Jesus told His disciples, … lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. This is only possible because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ(Rom.8:9, 1Pet.1:11) and He came in the name of Jesus Christ
THE NATURE AND PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
A. Distinct from the Father and Son Matt.3:16 Jesus was on earth being baptized, the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven while the Father Spoke from heaven.
B. He is omnipresent Ps.139:7-10
· Omniscent Isa.40:13-14
· Omnipotent Luke 1:35,37, Matt.19:26
· Eternal Heb.9:14
· Holy Rom.1:4
C. He speaks John 16:13, Acts 13:2
· Hears John 16:13,
· Feels Eph.4:30
D. He can be grieved Eph.4:30
· Quenched 1 Thes.5:19
· Resisted Heb.3:7-10
· Vexed Isa.63:10
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit operates in a believer in two dimensions.
1. When he/she is born-again
2. When he/she receives the baptism of the Spirit.
1. When a believer is born-again
A. In relation to Salvation and the new birth
· He enables us to be the children of God John1:12
· He bears witness i.e He testifies in our hearts that we are saved; God’s children. Rom.8:16
· He is the seal of our redemption. Eph.4:30
· He dwells in our spirits. Rom.8:9,11
B. In relation to the Christian (Christ Like) walk
· He teaches us all things 1 John2:27, John14:26
· He comforts us as the comforter John 14:26
· He gives testimony of Jesus John14:26
· He shall show you things to come John16:13
· He reveals Christ John16:14-15,15:26-27
2. When a believer receives the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit:- it is to receive the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit giveth utterance. Acts 2:1-4
· He empowers us to bear witness of Jesus Acts1:8
· He helps our weakness Rom.8:26
· He helps us to pray in accordance to God’s will when we pray in tongues Rom.8:26-27
· He gives us utterance, we speak Acts2:4
THE SWEET FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary defines communion as the state of sharing and exchanging thoughts and feelings. The sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit is referred to as the communion of the Holy Ghost in 2 Cor.13:14
The grace of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2Cor.13:14
If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies 1 Phil.2:1
The sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit makes the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ and the love of God available to a believer. The Holy Spirit is referred to as the SPIRIT OF GRACE Heb.10:29 and He sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts Rom.5:5.
The Person and Ministry (Work) of the Holy Spirit can only be experienced when we fellowship with the Spirit. The verbs used to describe the work of the Holy Spirit such as comfort, guide, reveal, empower, help, testify and teach connotes communion (sharing and exchange).
HOW TO ENJOY THE SWEET FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. Learn to acknowledge and recognize the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit in you and with you in and also in all that you do.
2. Always ask him to teach you the word when you do read or study the word.
3. Always ask him to lead and guide you in the truth of God’s word in the light of his perfect will.
4. Seek his help in the place of prayer to help you to pray in line with God’s will.
5. Pray in the Holy Ghost often i.e. pray in tongues often
6. Learn to minister to God.
THINGS THAT HINDERS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY GHOST
1. Unforgiveness: Refusing to pardon men’s offences or keeping grudges for wrongs done to you hinders the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, in fact these grieves Him and makes Him to withdraw in communion.
2. Bitterness: Unforgiveness is the root of bitterness; this to a greater extent quenched the Gentle Spirit of God from operating in our lives in fellowship.
3. Unwholesome words: when we let corrupt communication to come out of our lips we make our hearts to be focused on evil and thus hinder the Holy Spirit because He acts when we are focused on the Word.
4. Living to please your flesh: Gal.5:16-17 We cannot please the flesh and please the Spirit at the same time because both a directly opposite to each other.
5. Disobedience to the leadings of the Holy Spirit: because of the gentle nature of the Spirit, when we consistently are stubborn and disobedient to his leadings, our communion with Him is weakened if not destroyed, though He is still in us.
MINISTERING TO THE LORD
It is easy for us to understand what it means for the Lord to minister to us, it is also very important to know how to minister to the Lord. Having understood the Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit in believers as resulting from our fellowship with the Spirit, our ministering to the Lord is our own part of this great communion. Ministering to the Lord is part of the fellowship of the Spirit, when we constantly minister to the Lord we will see and experience more effectively the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit in our life.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO MINISTER TO THE LORD
To minister to the Lord means to bless, praise and worship the LORD for his word and his deeds. It involves praising, worshipping and extolling the Lord, His name and His deeds.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the LORD; Giving thanks always for all things unto the God and Father in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ. Eph.5:19-20
HOW DO WE MINISTER TO THE LORD
A. Speaking to your-selves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. It could mean you speaking to yourselves or to one another.
B. Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord
C. Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ.
D. Lifting holy hands when worshipping God.
E. Praising and worshipping God.
SIGNIFICANCE OF MINISTERING TO THE LORD
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Rev.1:6
It is part of our priesthood because we have being made priests and Kings to the glory of the Father through Jesus Christ. In the Leviticus order, certain priest where reserved for singing praise and worshipping God. We as priest are to minister to God in singing and worshipping.
THE ESSENCE OF MINISTERING TO THE LORD
1. It engenders direction from the Lord
As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where unto I have called them. Acts 13:2
2. It brings down the hand of the Lord (the power of the Lord)
But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, thus saith the LORD, make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that vally shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, & your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. 2Kings 3:15-18
3. It gives victory when faced with insurmountable situations
Jehoshaphat hath victory over three nations by appointing Levites and Priests who sang praises to the LORD at the battle front 2 Chro.20:1-24
4. It brings the glory and the presence of the LORD in our lives and over places.
It came to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, Saying, For he is good; for His mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord.
5. We are filled with the Spirit when we minister to the LORD. Eph. 5:19-20
6. We stir the gifts of God in us when we minister to the LORD. 2 Tim.1:6
THE FELLOWSHIP OF CHRIST’S SUFFERING [TAKE YOUR CROSS]Phil.3:3-10, Matt.10:38-39.
The fellowship of Christ’s suffering is to share and partake in the sufferings of Christ, taking your cross just as Christ took His.
The cross represents what you will lose on account of following Jesus and also what you have to endure, the pains, shame, persecutions and trials that accompany following Jesus Christ. To gain Christ, you have to lose so many things, this loss vary in degrees, but they is always the presence of a lose.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth His life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Matt.10:38-39
That I may know Him, and the power of his ressurection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Phil.3:10-11
How much of Christ you gain is dependent on how much you are ready to lose, to gain you into God, Christ had to lose his life.
What is it to take your cross?
· Putting your flesh/will into subjection to the word of God. 1Cor.9:27
· Patience/Perseverance under trial.
· Maintaining your integrity despite great pressure.
· Forfeiting pleasure and other gains for the sake of Christ.Phil.3:7-8
· Obeying God even though it is not convinient
· Living by the Spirit. Gal.5:16-26
How to take your cross. Heb.12:1-3
· Look at the eternal joy and gain of suffering in Christ’s suffering
· Endure the pains.
· Despise the shame: The cross has shame and is very foolish, Jesus took his cross on the way to calvary.
· Lay aside every weight and sin:- The cross along side with a weight and sin, you will be frustrated, knocked down and give-up before the race mark is reached.
o Weights are those acts, habits, addictions and character that contend with the word of God for the resources of our time, attention and focus.
o Sin is sin
§ How to lay aside every weight and sin
· Make a conscious decision to lay it aside Job31:1
· Believe you can overcome it. 1Jn.5:4
· Rely on the Holy Spirit (The Spirit of Grace) by obeying his voice and leadings on overcoming it.
· Don’t give up if you fail, get back to God.
Apostle Paul calls the taking of the cross to be a fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, many cherish other forms of fellowship, infact to an extent this fellowship require that you lose something but when it comes to discipline and bringing your body to subjection to the word of God, they are foundd wanting. The glory of the Kingdom is experience on the path of the cross. No crown without a crross, the cross gives you a crown of thorns then at the end a crown of glory.
Paul so took his cross that it was recorded that
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ which liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Gal.2:20
The fellowship of Christ’s suffering is to take your cross and follow Jesus: His Steps.
THE PRACTICE OF YOUR DEVOTION (Your Personal Fellowship with God)
The sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit is not restricted to a specific time but the intensity of the fellowship will vary depending on how sensitive and focus we are on the Word and the Spirit. To enjoy deeply the sweet fellowship of the Holy Spirit, ministering to the Lord and being lead by the Spirit is possible with a devotional lifestyle, a lifestyle that has God and His word into its time.
WHAT IS YOUR DEVOTION?
Your devotion is this context refers to the resources of your time and attention that is reserved, devoted and committed to fellowshipping with God in The word, prayer and in the things of the Spirit including worshipping, praising and thanking God i.e. ministering to the LORD.
A lifestyle is a way of life which is cultivated from habits, habits are built from repeated acts and acts are a product of our thought and decision.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A DEVOTIONAL LIFESTYLE
1. The believer enjoys and ever-increasing fellowship of the Spirit of Christ; the Spirit of Grace inclusive of all the benefits of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as earlier studied.
2. Your soul is restored because the Shepherd ship of the Lord is much experienced in a devotional lifestyle of fellowship. Ps. 23
3. It necessitates spiritual growth and maturity.
4. It engenders consistency and discipline not only in spiritual matters but all aspects of life.
5. It gives deliverance in times of trouble Dan.6:5-10,19-23
HOW TO DEVELOP A DEVOTIONAL LIFESTYLE
Your Devotion Requires
a. A definite aim/goal: This is very important, you can ask the Spirit of God to help you with a goal for your devotion, a more matured believer or set the goal yourself, having considered the relevant factors of your attention, commitment, time e.t.c goals like praying for at least an hour daily, study the New Testament in two months and many more.
b. The guidance of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is God and all-knowing, He created you are knows you better than yourselves, ask him to guide and lead you to having the best fellowship or devotion
c. The Right Environment Mark1:65
We are to locate a solitary place or a place where distraction is minimal and our focus can be directed fully on the LORD.
d. The Best Time: To get the best out of your devotion you ought to give the LORD your best time and not your least time like when you are tired and exhausted or when your mind is already pre-occupied with other things. Mark 1:65, Prov.8:17
Benefits of fellowshipping with GOD early in the morning
a. It signifies your respect and recognition for the LORD in your life and that day because you have sought Him first. Matt.6:63
b. Early in the morning you are refreshed, stronger and least distracted and thus are able to maximize this great time of fellowship thereby immensely from it.
e. Discipline and consistency
f. Attention and focus
KEYPOINTS ON DEVELOPING YOUR DEVOTIONAL LIFESTYLE
EXAMPLE OF A DEVOTIONAL LIFESYLE
… Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime … Dan.6:10
We know Daniel as a very outstanding man in the scriptures and one full of wisdom, knowledge and great understanding with integrity and moderateness. An insight into his private life reveals that he was one who had a devotional lifestyle, praying upon his knees three times every day.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and he prayed. Mark1:35
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into which he entered, and his disciples. And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus oftentimes resorted thither with his disciples. John 18:1-2
It is remarked that Jesus our greatest example had a devotional lifestyle with God and taught the disciples same by example.
The benefits of a devotional lifestyle cannot be over-emphasized, faith and our salvation are personal and a devotional lifestyle sets the platform for spiritual growth and development where you become strong in the word and in the Spirit and cant be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, seduction/deception and the deceitfulness of crafty and cunning men.
WHAT HINDERS A DEVOTIONAL LIFESTYLE
· Inconsistency due to indiscipline
· Lack/loss of focus and attention
AN EXEMPLARY DESIGN OF A DEVIOTIONAL LIFESTYLE
v AIM: TO GROW IN THE WORD, IN THE SPIRIT AND IN PRAYER
o Sub-aim: Study the word for at least one hour daily
o Pray in the Spirit for a minimum of 30 minutes daily
o Minister to the Lord in Singing, praising and worship for 2 hours every Tuesday of each week
o Fast at least a day, every week
v BEST TIME:
o For the Bible Study and Prayer 5am every day when there is much strength, least disturbance and higher concentration
o For ministering to the Lord every Tuesday, 6pm – 8pm. Least occupied and can forfeit other things, prioritizing this important time of fellowship
o Fast on Tuesdays
o Preach to sinners after Sunday service
v RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
o Prayer Street,
o Quiet classrooms,
o Church venue,
o A quiet and safe bush,
o A hill or serene mountain
o The Bedroom
v FOCUS AND ATTENTION
o Pray for the help of the Holy Spirit.
o Use an alarm, a To-Do, a Calendar Reminder or tell a Relevant and concerned friend.
o Prioritize neglecting every form of distraction like friends e.t.c
o Minimize activities that may consume your interest and make you forget your devotion like watching movies, online chatting, playing games et al.
v CONSISTENCY, COMMITMENT AND DISCIPLINE
Consistency, commitment and discipline can be achieved through obedience to the Guidance of the Holy Spirit as you repeatedly do what you are instructed to do.
Prayer is the act of communing with God in words and in spirit.
TYPES OF PRAYER
A. Praying in the Spirit:- This is to pray in tongues that is to speak to God in a tongue that is unknown to you as the Spirit gives you utterance. 1Cor.14:14-18
B. Petition: this is a prayer of request Matt.7:7 E.g. The Prayer of Hannah 1 Sam. 1:1-18, Phil 4:6
C. Thanksgiving:- As the name implies it is a prayer of appreciation, of thankfulness to God for who He is, His word, Name and what He has done. 2Thes.5:18. Paul always gave thanks in His prayer for the Churches 1 Thes.1:2, 2Thes.1:3, Col.1:3, Phil.1:3, Eph. 1:16, 1Cor.1:4, Rom.1:8
D. Intercession: This is to pray on behalf of a person, people, place or a thing to God. It is also to stand in the stead of another. Moses always interceded for the Israelites prevailing on God’s Judgment upon their rebellious ways. Num.11:1-2
There are still other types of prayer but for this program we consider only these.
IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
A. Fellowship: we defined fellowship as a coming together of two or more persons of a common interest or aim who share, give, receive or partake in a thing and could involve being in the presence of each other. Prayer being communion with God is a form of fellowship. Acts 13:1-3, Luke 22:39-46
B. Spiritual Growth: knowing that until we fellowship with God in Prayer (for emphasis it is placed first) and in the word, growth will be retarded or hindered. Prayer is necessarily a demonstration of our faith in the personality and power of God who we cannot see or feel from a physical perspective. Our faith is strengthened when we pray and thus our spirit. The scriptures says that praying in the Spirit builds us up.
C. Power and Strength Luke 22:42-45, Acts4:31 The angel of God strengthened Jesus while in the garden of Olives towards his death to be able to drink the cup of the Father’s will; His death on the Cross of Calvary. The disciples when empowered of the Holy Ghost after they prayed with boldness and great signs accompanying.
D. Peace: Phil.4:6-7 When we pray in total dependence on God without worry or anxiety, God’s peace which is above all understanding will keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT 1 Cor.14, Rom.8:26-27
Praying in the Spirit is to pray in an unknown tongue as the Spirit gives utterance. We are able to pray in the Spirit when we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Features of Praying in the Spirit
· Your spirit prayeth 1Cor.14:14
· Your understanding is unfruitful 1Cor.14:14
· Your spirit is edified 1Cor.14:4
· You speak mysteries to God 1Cor.14:2
· Your faith is built up Jude 20
· The Spirit helps your weakness Rom.8:26
· You definitely pray in line with God’s will Rom.8:26 because the Holy Spirit knows God’s heart (1Cor.2:11, Rom.8:27)
· It is a sign for unbelievers 1 Cor.14:22
And Paul speaking to the Ephesians about spiritual warfare added “And pray in the Spirit in all occasions …” Eph.6:18 NIV, praying in the Spirit was the first evidence that the disciples had received the power of the Holy Ghost; it is of great importance that we pray in the Spirit often having noted this striking features. The devil cannot stop your prayers when you pray in tongues because they are words generated by the power of the Holy Ghost, which neither you, anyone or the Devil understands unless an interpretation is given by the Spirit.
Things to note to pray efficiently in the Spirit.
Ø Ministering to the Lord in songs, hymns, praises and worship before setting to pray in tongues always helps us to be focused on the Lord and also it opens up our spirit to the Lord.
Ø Always pray with your mind focused on God; His Word, His Name, His Act or the emphasis for that prayer
Ø Desist from thinking on other irrelevant subject while praying in tongues because they reduce or hinder the efficiency of your prayer.
Ø Beginning to pray in tongues immediately after deep meditation on the word of God has deep and immense benefits on our lives, you will at times note that there is a change in the vocabulary of your tongues.
HOW TO PRAY
o We are to pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, not to a Saint or anything else. John 15:16
o We are to pray, believing in accordance to the word not in accordance to our reasoning or understanding. Mark 11:24, Dan.9:2-3
o We are not to babble in vain repetition when we pray Matt.6:7
o We are to pray with thanksgiving not being anxious and full of worry. Phil.4:6-7
THE FORMAT OF PRAYER, JESUS GAVE TO HIS DISCIPLES Matt.6:9-13
1st. Praise and thank God.
2nd. Pray concerning God’s Kingdom and His will.
3rd. Make your request known to God.
4th. Ask for the forgiveness of your sins.
5th. Forgive others of their offences against you.
6th. Glorify God, His Kingdom, Power and Glory
WHAT HINDERS PRAYER
§ Doubt Mark 11:23-24, Jas.1:6-8
§ Covetousness James 4:3
§ Unforgiveness Mark 11:25, Matt.6:15
§ Asking amiss
§ Wrong Motives James 4:3
A. YOUR IDENTITY AND POSTION
B. THE CONFLICT (WITHIN)
C. THE CONFLICT WITHOUT (SPIRITUAL WARFARE)
D. OVERCOMING TEMPTATION
YOUR IDENTITY AND POSITION [1Pet.2:9-10, Col.3:1-4, Eph.1:20-21, Luk.10:19]
A proper enlightenment through the word of God on our identity and position in Christ is crucial to standing firm in this last day battle against the enemy, who tries to hinder the word of God in our lives.
What is your identity? : Your identity is a definition of who you are. Who are you?
You are a new creature in Christ 1Cor. 5:17, born of the indestructible and incorruptible word of God that overcomes the word. 1Pet. 1:23
We have Christ as our identity
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness on the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 1John4:17
What is your position? : Your position refers to your authoritative status, hierarchy, and authority to carry-out a thing.
Since Christ is our Identity and we are given the authority of His name Col.3:1-4, Mark 16:16-18, Phil. 2:9-11, then we have to look at Christ’s Identity relative to authority, power and position cause His Identity is our true identity.
CHRIST’S IDENTITY IN RELATION TO AUTHORITY, POWER AND POSITION.
· All power belongs to Jesus
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
· Christ is seated far above all power and authority
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
· Christ has triumph over all principalities and power
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
· His name is superior to every other name
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
· Christ is seated at the right hand of God
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
· He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. 1Tim.6:15, Eph.1:20-21
Having studied on Christ’s Identity we proceed to
WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE TO US/FOR US IN RELATION TO AUTHORITY, POWER AND POSITION.
· Made us Kings and Priest to the glory of the Father. Rev. 1:6
· He has given us power and authority. Luk.10:19, Matt.28:18-20
· He has given us the authority of His name. Mark16:17, Phil.2:8-10
· We are seated with Christ Eph. 1:20-22, Col.3:1-4
· Satan is placed under your feet cause the Church is the body of Christ so therefore the least person in the Kingdom of Christ has authority and power over Satan. Eph. 1:20-22, Col.3:1-4
· We are Jesus’ Brethren Heb.1:5-16
INITIAL ORIGIN OF MAN’S AUTHORITY Genesis 1:26-27
God created man and made him king of the earth vested with dominion to rule and subdue but at the fall, man lost the dominion to Satan through disobedience (Gen.3:8-24) and Satan is now referred as the god of this world 2Cor.4:1-4 having received the delivery of this world from Adam.
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
But Christ came, defeated Satan and gave us the authority and power of His name. Mark16:17
[Phil.2:8 calling the name of Jesus goes beyond the pronunciation of the characters (alphabets forming words) of that name but is more of our faith in calling it.]
THE SPHERE OF AUTHORITY
The sphere of authority refers to our region or field of authority and power.
1. Over nature Matt.8:23-26, Matt.21:21
Do no forget, as Jesus is so we are in this world and greater works shall we do because we believe(John14:12), so we shall exercise a greater amount of authority like over nature(the stormy sea) just as Jesus did.
2. Over the Kingdom of Darkness Luke 10:19, Ps.91:13
The kingdom of darkness refers to all the demonic hosts as ranked in Eph.6:12 [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]. As a believer you are in a position higher than every evil spirit or demonic personality and you can exercise authority and command on them in the name of Jesus Christ. So therefore as a believer, you are not under the devil. Satan is inferior to you, you are superior to Satan. Exercise your authority now!
3. Over our life (sickness, poverty, death and all evil).
EXERCISING YOUR AUTHORITY Luke 10:19
Knowledge without use or application is equivalent to ignorance. Knowing that you have authority without exercising it is worse than not knowing that you have authority, in order to live the victorious life as those born of God, we ought to exercise our authority because though we are in the world, we are not of this world, the god of this world; Satan will fight us as long as we are in the world be we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus (Rom.3:37). Exercising our authority enforces and maintains our victory in Christ.
Necessities to Exercising our Authority
· Knowledge of our authority
· Faith in the word of God. 1John5:4
· Submission to God. James4:7, 1Cor.10:4-6
Things that inhibits our authority
· Disobedience and stubbornness to God and Spiritual Authority (spiritual authority refers to those who are higher in terms of spiritual responsibility or leadership to you). 2 Cor.10:6
How to exercise our authority
· In faith Mark16:17-18
· In the name of Jesus Mark16:17-18
· Confession of faith in the name of Jesus
· In prayer
· In righteousness
THE CONFLICT (WITHIN AND WITHOUT) [Gal.5:17-26, 1Pet.5:8]
17 For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures. 18 When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you need no longer force yourself to obey Jewish laws.
19 But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group-and there will be wrong doctrine, 21 envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. 24 Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there. 25 If we are living now by the Holy Spirit's power, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26 Then we won't need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings. TLB
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be careful-watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart. 9 Stand firm when he attacks. Trust the Lord; and remember that other Christians all around the world are going through these sufferings too.
We are in the world, but not of this world. Man is a spirit, that has a soul and lives in a body.
1 Thess 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. KJV.
James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. KJV
The real you is your spirit living a body having a soul. God is a spirit, He made us in His own image(kind and likeness) and glory so He made us spirits.
Gen 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. KJV
At salvation our spirit which was in death (separation from the life of God) was regenerated, recreated(2Cor.5:17) and united with God. But our soul (consisting of our mind, will and emotions) and our body are not saved. This is where the conflict within arises from and it is indeed the greatest conflict because Satan would always try to influence us through this.
Some Christians wonder why after being born-again they are still inclined to their former way of life before they got born-again. Within them still arises those evil/sinful thoughts and desires they hand before they were born again and Satan immediately fires condemnation and accusation at them when they fall making them feel lost which isn’t true. Apostle Paul in his letter to the Roman Church (Born-again, Regenerated and Recreated Christians) wrote
I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. AMP
Your mind ought to be transformed and entirely renewed not conformable to the world.
In writing to the Galatian Church (Born-again, Regenerated and Recreated Christians), Apostle Paul wrote
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. New Living Translation
16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). 17 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do. 18 But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law. 19 Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), 21 Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. 25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] 26 Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another. AMP
Your body where your spirit lives has the sinful nature inherent in it, we got this nature from Adam through physical birth and since the body is not do away with, this nature is not totally done away with. By constantly obeying the Spirit (Taking our Cross) we crucify the flesh and be more like Christ in life and in spirit.
HOW DO WE WIN THIS CONFLICT WITHIN US
1. Renew your mind through God’s word: Rom.12:2, as we have earlier highlighted in this section, we are to change the way we think by the word of God, how do we do this?
a. Consistently meditating on the word of God: This can be done through memorizing scriptures, giving thought and attention to the word of God, having the mental character of purity and holiness which are part of the characters of God’s word. Ps.1:1-3
8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. AMP
b. Give priority to godly things 1Tim.4:8,15
c. Speaking and confessing in line with the word of God. Josh.1:8
d. Always be in the company of those who honour and respect the word of God in their conversation(manner of life).
By doing this four things mentioned above, gradually the way you think will gradually be changed.
2 Tim 1:7 7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. AMP
2. Be not conformed to this world:- The world has a way of doing things, the word of God also has it’s own pattern of doing things refuse to do, say and think as the world (social system) does rather in line with God’s word and to be able to do this is with renewed mind. Rom.12:1-3
3. Love no the world:- The world which is the social system and Satan as its god comprises of main things.
a. The lust of the flesh:- desire for worldly pleasures, wild parties, sex, alcoholism etc.
b. The lust of the eyes:- covetousness.
c. The pride of life:- Boasting about what one has and does
You ought not to love or desire these things for there that do this are at enmity with God.
4. Be after the Spirit:- Do what the Holy Spirit says you should do, don’t procrastinate or shift things as you consistently do you will mind the things of the Spirit and the world’s mindset will gradually be removed. Rom.8:5-8
You are to subject your body and bring it under in submission to the word of God.
Rom 6:10-19 *10 For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him]. 11 Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions. 13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy]. 15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? 17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed. 18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action). 19 I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification. AMP
Gal 5:16 *16 But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). AMP
· Reckon yourselves as dead to sin Rom.6:11
· Let not sin reign in your mortal body. Rom.6:12
· Yield your members servants of righteousness and holiness. Rom.6:19
· Walk in the Spirit. Gal.5:16
The scriptures did not admonish us to pray to God so that sin will not reign in it nor to ask God to make us yield our members to righteousness but it is our responsibility to do this often, for as long as we live in this earthen vessels (our body), we will have to continually keep it in a state of submission to God and subject to your spirit. In so doing, you present your bodies as a living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God which is your reasonable act of worship. Rom.12:1
CONFLICT WITHOUT (SPIRITUAL WARFARE) Eph.6:10-18, 1 Pet.5:8-9
This area deals with our conflict with the kingdom of the god of this world which is the kingdom of darkness. From our topic on Identity and Position we know that we are above Satan and have victory over him in Christ but that doesn’t mean we are not going to have trouble with him anymore, we will have no trouble only when we get to him.
Eph 6:10-18 *10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 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. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; KJV
1 Peter 5:8-10 *8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. 9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset — rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. AMP
· Not flesh and blood i.e not human beings
· But against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places.
· Their weapons: wiles(strategies and schemes) and fiery darts.
Fiery Darts includes
a. Doubt and unbelief
b. Unclean thoughts
e. Evil suggestion
f. Sickness and disease
YOUR WEAPONS (The whole armour of God)
The weapons of God represent different truths in the word of God.
I. The belt of truth: the truth of the word of God concerning a particular area
II. The breastplate of righteousness: God’s word of righteousness in our thoughts, motives, actions and words.
III. The feet boot of the Gospel of peace: guiding our steps in the word of God’s peace.
IV. The shield of faith: maintaining your confession, belief and stand in the word of God.
V. The helmet of Salvation: The consciousness that you are saved through faith from sin, sickness, Satan and eternal death.
VI. The sword of the Spirit: Faith-filled declaration of the word of God.
HOW TO USE THE ARMOUR OF GOD
o The whole armour of God is fabricated from the word of God.
o When the evil day comes as used in Eph.6:13 refers to that time or period that Satan seeks to tempt, attack, oppress and afflict you.
o Go to the word of God concerning that area or matter.
o Meditate on it and act in line with it
o Speak and pray along with it
o Pray and seek the help of the Holy Spirit if you seem overpowered by it.
IF YOU FALL
If you fall or are overcome in sin or temptation, you should know that
o Prov 24:16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. NIV
o 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. KJV
· No matter the gravity of your sin or fall, the blood of Jesus worth it being forgiven, can you estimate the worth of the Blood of God (The Son)?
· Refuse the condemnation that Satan will bring by declaring your forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ
o The difference between condemnation and conviction is that, while condemnation emphasis on your fault in such a way that remedy is impossible, the conviction of the Holy Spirit brings a leading to repentance.
o If you still feel condemned, seek the Help of the Holy Spirit or meet with a more matured Christian or your Pastor.
o Make sure you forgive yourself
o If it needs confessing to another person, do so without delay. James 5:16
· After you have repented, take note of what caused the fall and seek the Help of the Holy Spirit on overcoming it next time you are attacked.
James 4:7-8 *7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. KJV
FOR AN EXAMPLE
You are seated quietly and alone in a place and an evil thought springs up into your imagination; this thought seems to intrude into your mind (at times Satan would want to condemn you for thinking it, as if you were the one that created the thought).
You are to rebuke or resist the devil in the name of Jesus and he will flee from you.
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
Going to the word may not necessarily mean opening a Bible but it could also mean recalling what God’s word has to say concerning it.
The Holy Spirit is always with you to guide you and to let you know when there is temptation, you have to always be sensitive and obedient to Him to overcome.
TEMPTATION (Luke4:1-13, Gen.3:1-7, James 1:12-17, Matt.4:1-11)
What is temptation? It is the act of luring or making one to do what is against their perceived sense of judgment or it is stirring of a desire to do what is wrong.
1. The Devil/ Satan Luke 4:2
2. Your own lust/desires James 1:13-14
3. Satan through people Matt. 12:38-39, 16:20-23
God does not tempt anyone James 1:13
How are we tempted?
Everyone on this earth can and will be tempted, no matter your height in faith, even Jesus Christ, the Son of God was tempted by Satan while He was on earth. So it is not a sin to be tempted, it becomes a sin when we give in to it.
Let us study the two most outstanding temptations we have in the Bible.
THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM & EVE IN THE GARDEN Gen.3:1-7
Gen 3:1-7 NOW THE serpent was more subtle and crafty than any living creature of the field which the Lord God had made. And he [Satan] said to the woman, Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? [Rev 12:9-11.] 2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 Except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle of the garden. God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. 4 But the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, [2 Cor 11:3.] 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves apronlike girdles. AMP
§ Satan strives to get our desires to do or want the wrong thing. The wrong thing in this place was the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which God commanded Adam & Eve not to eat.
How did he get Eve’s desire?
Subtlety: quietly, gently and slowly
o The tempter knew what God has said and questioned Eve; starting a dialogue.
§ Don’t argue with the devil or explain things with him rather stand firm in faith and resist him immediately.
o He cunningly challenged and countered the word of God’s command concerning the forbidden fruit; he made the word of God seems as not true only a means that God was using to prevent them from becoming like Him knowing good and evil. Gen.3:4-5
§ It is true that they would know good and evil Gen.3:22 but that was half-truth which is deception, note the tempter was silent about the consequences of their disobeying which was death.
§ The tempter can say something that is true but that of deception.
o He successfully made Eve curious and thus ignited a desire (having successfully countered the word that was standing as a barrier for such a desire). All the while Eve has only seen this fruit as a death fruit but after the dialogue with the Deceiver, she saw that it was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a thing to be desired to make one wise.
§ That is why it is dangerous to go into a dialogue with Satan (you may not see Satan literally in the form of a serpent like Eve, but you could hear a voice luring you to do evil or through a person just as Satan spoke through a serpent) or persons who are trying to make you to do wrong.
§ Actually the descriptions of being good, pleasant and a thing to be desired, is how evil or the wrong thing seems when the word of God (concerning the consequences of the act) has been ignored or countered.
§ Satan magnifies the little advantages of evil/sin/wrong while it diminishes or reduces the effect of the knowledge of the grievous consequences of doing it.
§ Eve considered what the Serpent told her and saw differently and did eat the fruit, giving her husband Adam also to eat;
§ Sure enough their eyes were opened, they got the benefits they discovered that they were naked.
§ But God’s word remained true, they died
§ No access to the tree of life. Gen.3:22-24
§ Separated from God
For the wages of sin is death. Rom.6:23
THE PROCESS OF TEMPTATION
THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS (Matt.4:1-11, Luke4:1-13)
Matt 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. KJV
§ The tempter came to Jesus, knowing that Jesus was hungry (note that Jesus had finished his fast at this time) and thus had a desire for food.
§ … if thou be the Son of God … Matt.4:3
o He challenged the word of God; that voice that spoken from heaven.
Matt 3:16-17 *16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. KJV
o The tempter made it in a way that if Jesus did not turn the stones to bread, then He wasn’t the Son of God and if He was truly the Son of God then He should prove it by satisfying his hunger(desire); turning the stones into bread.
o The tempter tried to make Jesus more conscious of His personality and thus use His powers to satisfy His hunger/desire
o Jesus overcame Satan with the word.
§ Again the tempter challenged … if thou be the Son of God … Matt.4:6
o This time he even backed up the challenge with the very word of God, quoting
Ps 91:11-12 *For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. KJV
o The devil can tempt with the truth of God’s word but note “in deception” unto death.
2 Cor 11:14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. NLT
o And again Jesus overcame Satan with the word.
§ Matt. 4:8-10
o Remember, the temptation in the Garden, the woman saw the fruit that it was good, pleasant and a thing to be desired. Here the tempter showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world and the glory in them.
o He tried to induce a desire through what he showed Jesus
o Secondly, he offered an easier way to get back the world (the kingdoms and the glory therein) by-cutting the cross [not that Satan is the Deceiver, do you think he would have really given it to Jesus, even if he did, had Jesus failed, don’t you know what trouble it would have been].
o Jesus over came Satan with the word.
§ Some would say that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and was not like us; meaning that He was of a higher advantage to us but let was look closely at what the world said about the nature of Jesus while He lived the earth.
Phil 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. KJV
o Jesus Christ was made in the likeness of a man (Gen.5:1-3) and not in the likeness of God, He took upon Himself the form of a servant, He was stripped of His power and glory as God.
Heb 2:14-18 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. KJV
o Jesus Christ took the nature of man taking the nature of the seed of Abraham not the Angelic of Divine nature, He was made like us.
Having studied the two classical temptations in the Bible; at the Garden, and at the Wilderness, we see that we are primarily tempted through our desires. In trying to entice, initiate or induce a desire or an evil means to gratify a justifiable desire he might
a. Challenge the word. Gen.3:1, Matt.4:3,6
b. Counter the word. Gen.3:4, Matt.4:3,6
c. Use the word deceptively. Matt.4:6
d. Tell truth in deception. Matt.4:6, Gen.3:5
Remember, the word is truth. John17:17
Satan does the above four things when there is the presence of the word in your heart, he could also try to shift your attention from what your conscience(your conscience is the voice of your spirit) is telling you