Are you ashamed of Jesus? Do you realize how hard it was to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in biblical times? Paul wrote letters that he had to hand deliver the various churches, one of which was the Roman church. In his letter to the Romans he wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel”. Rome was the capitol of the world, where Caesar lived. Caesar was considered their god, so they did not take kindly to someone who was saying that our God is greater than all other gods. It is not nearly as hard to spread the gospel in this day and age, but it seems that many of us are ashamed of the gospel. We can’t be in the world and of the world. Just like Paul, we have to be bold and unashamed. We have to be the light that shares the gospel! The Gospel is all about the lamb of God who was slain and the savor who loved us so much that he did not want to see us ruined and destroyed because of sin.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about spiritual warfare. We talked about who we should be fighting and how the battlefield is not physical but it is in the mind. This week we are going to talk about how to fight the adversary. It’s all about being victorious over the enemy and knowing who the enemy is. God tells us the tricks of the devil in our Bibles including the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. If you know the spirit and you realize that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world, you know you have power over the devil and all of his tricks. When we come against things, God already knows about it. He has equipped us with everything that we need to fight. Our battles make us stronger in the Lord. Our tools are the armor of God. They are not carnal weapons. We have to put on the whole armor of God every day. Don’t forget your armor because you never know when the enemy is going to attack. The first thing God tells us to put on is the belt of truth. Truth holds it all together.
A couple of weeks ago we talked about the peculiarity and power of the blood and how significant it was to Passover. In the last supper Jesus told his disciples to drink His blood and eat His flesh. The scripture it says “This do in remembrance of me.” When many Christians hear that today, they think He wanted us to remember the life He lived, but Jesus wanted us to remember his death. The victory was won when his blood was shed! Back in biblical times, when Jesus said this they got confused. But Jesus was speaking from a spiritual standpoint. There is a difference between our physical senses and our spiritual senses. There is a scripture that says “taste and see.” The remarkable thing about the sense of taste is it is the one sense that takes in every other sense. Jesus wants us to remember how he shed his blood as complete payment for our sins so that we can live with no guilt of what we have done. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation.
Let’s talk about spiritual warfare. When God pours down his blessings, the devil attacks. The one we are against is not flesh and blood, we are up against spiritual beings! The devil has a strategy but so does God and God’s strategy beats the devil’s strategy every time. The devil’s strategy includes levels. The first level is principalities. There are rankings of spirit beings. The devils ranks his demons. Often, we spend too much time fighting mini demons, the ones that are low in rank and don’t really matter. There are three major principalities: the lust of the flesh which is moral impurity , the pride of life which is bitterness and jealousy, and the lust of the eye or temporal values. The second level is powers which include supernatural things like witch craft. The bible says that the principalities and the powers cannot separate us from the love of God. Third is the rulers of the darkness of this world. The fourth one is spiritual wickedness in high places. The devil wants our worship and we give it to him when we talk about the things that he does instead of the things God does. When the devil attacked Jesus, everything he said to the devil was Word. We have to have God’s word in us so that when the devil comes, we are ready to fight. Instead of fighting the small demons and focusing on physical beings, we need to turn to God and fight spirit with spirit.
Blood is a peculiar substance, the site of which can overtake you. The Bible says that the life of the flesh is in the blood. That must be where the spirit lives. The blood is the only thing in your body that touches every single organ in your body. Back in biblical days, people would sacrifice animals and use their blood to atone for their sins. All of the blood that was shed for sacrifice before Calvary did not pay for our sins, they simply covered them like a loan with steep interest. The blood of Christ is that powerful! Many of your know about my daughter’s fight with Leukemia. The only way to cure the blood cancer she had was through a bone marrow transplant, but they couldn’t find a match for her. One day, a nurse came into her room and told us they had found a match through an umbilical cord. My daughter looked up at me and sad “Daddy, God allowed a baby to be born so that I can live!” God did the same thing for us. He allowed a baby to be born whose blood would save us all.
Praise means to laud, to applause and to give accolades. The opposite of praise is to criticize which means to find fault and condemn. Unfortunately, an attitude of criticism comes natural to us instead of and attitude of praise. You cannot condemn and praise as the same time. The bible gives three aspects of praise for this Palm Sunday. The first is the sacrifice of praise. Praise is a way of life that is not our human nature which is why praise is a sacrifice. The second is continually. When you praise Him continually, you praise Him all the time. Meaning, when you feel like it and when you don’t. The third aspect is the fruit if our lips giving praise to his name. Until you express it, you have not praised. Praise is expressive and most of the time it is verbal but you can praise in other ways like shouting, dancing, or even playing an instrument. People should be able to see or hear your praise. If you are alive, you should be praising because the bible says “Let everything that have breath praise ye the Lord!” Since there is no struggle for an apple to grow on an apple tree, it should be as simple for a praise to pour from our lips.
All dreams are not meaningless. Some of our dreams show our purpose. Our dreams have to be worthy because anything that we dwell on and dream about has the possibility of coming true. People die when they no longer have a purpose. God has placed a purpose in all of us that only he may be able to see. What has God put in you that other people don’t have? We have to transform our minds. When you use the power and energy that you normally use on negative things on positive things, it can change your whole life! There are two problems we face when we dare to dream. First, everybody is not going to be happy about your dreams because your dreams could take them out from where they are. Second, when we have a dream, we expect it to come to fruition right away. Sometime they don’t happen right away but they will come to past. We have to see our dreams through the eyes of faith, meaning we can’t go by what we see, we have to go by what God said. God’s word mixed with your faith will cause miracles to happen.
Chapters 5 through 7 of the book of Matthew are also known as the sermon on the mount. Most of this sermon is about our relationships with each other and not about our relationship with God. One of the laws back in those days was an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. This was not a law for revenge but a law to limit the damage we did to each other. Jesus said instead of doing this, when someone takes your eye, you give them the other one too. There are three basic thoughts behind this. The first is the hellish thought which says you give evil for good. The second is the worldly thought which says you give evil for evil and good for good. The final thought is the heavenly thought which says to give good for evil. Revenge will make you do stuff you will regret for the rest of your life. There is a big difference between a two miler and a one miller A two miler gives good for evil. A one miler is someone who just does what is required of them. A two miler goes above and beyond and most of the time they are the ones who end up successful. Now, two milers aren’t very popular because they make the one milers look bad.
In this game called life, we get to decide which team we want to be on. There is God’s team, Team Spirit, and there is the Devil’s team, Team Flesh. Now, we are the quarterbacks of our own teams. We call the shots on the field. The coach is there to influence us but the ultimate plays are our decisions. Not only do we get to pick our team, pick our coach, and make our own plays, but we also get to pick who plays on our teams with us, angels or demons. The purpose of the game is to score, to be successful. To do this you can’t let your dream be intercepted. In the game of football, an interception is when the reception of the ball gets interrupted by someone from the other team. An interception can seal your fate. There are going to be times when you fail, but hopefully it is not because you blatantly disrespect God. There are three things you can do to keep from getting intercepted. First, keep your focus on your goal and purpose and continually see yourself being successful. Second, have a good friend or mentor who is also on the spirit team, someone who is maybe even more spiritual than you are. Third realize that losing a play is not losing the game. Our coach, God, loves us so much they he brought his son, Jesus, into the game to show us how to play on the spirit team.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” When bad things happen in our lives, we tend to blame it on someone else. Often, we blame it on the devil. Sometimes while we are blaming it on the devil, it is actually God trying to grow you up. Our strength is made better through our weakness, We need to learn to embrace the things that are going on in our lives instead of looking at them as a curse. The ultimate purpose God has given us is to glorify the kingdom of God. Now, this Word is not for everybody. The first qualification is that you have to love the Lord. The second is that you have to be called. Once you meet this qualifications, there is no need to have fear because your problems are working together for your good!