Find a VCA church near you- we are in Fairview (that’s the main church), Caloocan, Bulacan, Romblon, Cabanatuan, Albay, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Aurora.
VCA PhilippinesMay 26, 2015 @ 11:11am
The key verse in the entire series is I John 2:12-14- “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
Review of last week’s message:
Babies need milk. The ONLY way to grow up is to consistently feed on God’s Word. I Peter 2:2 says – “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” Grow up!
Without a consistent devotional life, you WILL NOT grow up! That’s why I still meet Christians 10, 15, even 20 years in Christ who still act like babies. I am a hundred percent certain they have no devotional life! Or at the least not consistently.
Babies are easily offended. We read that from I Corinthians 3:1-3. They are worldly, walk in the flesh, not the Spirit.
Then there’s the toddler stage. This is where you’re learning to “FEED YOURSELF”, to clothe yourself. Babies need constant help and attention from others. That’s NORMAL! You’ll find toddlers PREFER to do it themselves! They wanna learn! They are not dependent upon others to survive.
About the elementary age, we looked at Hebrews 6:1-3 the “elementary” teachings of Christ. There are 6: Repentance, Faith, Baptisms, Laying on of hands, Resurrection of the dead, and Eternal judgment. Each of these should be understood and applied in order to grow to the next stage – High School spiritual teenagers!
Parents, don’t you just love teenagers!? In the natural, this the stage where they can and should be able to do pretty much everything on their own. This is the stage where they should actually start contributing to the well-being of the family, helping around the house, helping their younger brothers and sisters, etc. In the natural, and oftentimes in the spiritual, the problem with teenagers is this is the stage where they think they know more than their parents!!! We’ve got some of those! They’d be a great help and are truly capable of really being a help, but they are convinced that they know more than their elders!!! So it’s hard to use them!
A little knowledge without godly character and brokenness can be a dangerous thing! Let’s look at what John says – I John 2:13-14 – “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. 14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
A major part of spiritual growth is learning how to overcome the evil one! Overcoming temptation, and all traps and lies of the enemy. And you have to first recognize that you have an enemy to engage in the battle! Some don’t even want to think about it! Harapin mo!
I cannot promise you a problem-free life, but I can promise you that if you will learn to fight the good fight of faith, if you will learn to put on your spiritual armor, if you will learn how to resist the enemy, he WILL flee from you! You can be a winner! You can be an overcomer!
My experience is that most maturing Christians will at least one time or another (sometimes several times), go through a lengthy time of intense spiritual battle. It can be like hell on earth! A constant attack of the enemy. A period where it seems like he never lets up! Where everyday is a battle! Discouragement, temptation, one problem after another, etc. IF you are going through this right now, don’t be discouraged! It is, in fact, a sign that God is growing you up!! He has not left you, He has not forsaken you. He is trying, however, to teach you to use your authority in Christ and to defeat the devil.
As babies, we’re used to God doing everything for us. So when these attacks come, we may get confused! “What went wrong?! God used to answer all my prayers so easily! Now I have to fight just to make it through the day! Where are You God?!” He’s still there, but it’s time to learn how to defeat the devil! And you will have to engage him in battle!
Judges 3:1-2 – “These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2 (He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience):”
If you want to grow up in God, there will come a time when you will have to consistently engage in spiritual warfare! It’s not a pleasant time! But it’s necessary for you and I to grow up! The good news is this…it doesn’t last forever! Though it may seem like forever! Eventually you “breakthrough to victory” and you begin to learn and understand that you really do have authority over the devil.
Luke 10:19 – “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Once you learn that by consistently resisting the devil he will in fact flee from you, then eventually it becomes automatic and the battles are not nearly as long or intense. REMEMBER the greatest amount of battles are always in the mind! The mind is the battlefield! Sure, he’ll attack you in other ways – your health, your family your finances, etc. – but the battle to be won is the battle in the mind. AND the weapons of our warfare are released through our mouths!
Now I don’t mean have a conversation with the devil! NEVER have a conversation! When you talk to the devil, it’s to be a one way conversation! YOU do the talking! Command him to go! Command him to leave! Take your authority in Christ! Quote the scripture.
Whenever a demon would talk to Jesus He would always immediately command them to be silent and then command them to come out! Whenever the enemy tempted Jesus, He quoted the scripture “it is written”, “get thee behind Me satan”, “away from me”. Don’t converse with the devil just tell him to go! And once he’s convinced that you’re convinced, he will indeed have to go.
I’ll tell you a secret. Even if you’re not 100% convinced, pretend that you are! And he’ll usually go as well! Exercise your authority in Jesus’ name! “GO! NOW!”
Notice in verse 14 he says – “…I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one”. There will come a time in your Christian life if you’ve grown up enough where the devil is no longer an issue.
It doesn’t mean that he will stop looking for opportunities to attack or trip you up, he’ll always do that. But it does mean that there comes a point in your Christian life when you know your authority and you just aren’t afraid anymore of the devil’s attacks. No matter how intense, you know in whom you have believed and you are fully persuaded that God is able and will see you through to victory. There does eventually come a time in your Christian life that the devil is not much of an issue. Sure, he continues to occasionally attack you but you’ve learned how to resist. You’ve learned how to win and you’re just not impressed with his attacks anymore!
The story is told of Smith Wigglesworth, a powerful man of God in the early 1900’s who had seen over 23 people raised from the dead. One night, he heard something downstairs. He took a look and saw the devil. He said, “Oh it‘s only you”.
Many years ago, I had a similar experience while church planting. We stayed in a “haunted” house in Hermosa, Bataan. There were three of us. Two of us were attacked by demons in our sleep nearly all night long. Everytime we’d fall asleep they’d attack. Conferring in the morning, two of us hardly slept at all, the other one said ‘I had the same thing but just decided to go ahead and sleep!’
I tell you the devil is not your main concern! Now until you’ve learned how to overcome him on a consistent basis, you will be in a constant warfare. But once you’ve learned to resist him and resist him quickly, there are other things that become a whole more important than fighting the devil all the time!
Let’s grow up in God! Resist the devil and he will flee from you! Don’t resist him and you will get beat up! You’ve got to learn and exercise your spiritual authority in Christ KNOWING that even if a thousand, or even if 10,000 demons came after you, greater is He that is in you!
Speak the Name that is above every name! Demons tremble at that Name! Exercise your authority! Do not give place to the devil. Keep him out of your heart and out of your mind. Resist him immediately everytime he attacks.
VCA PhilippinesMay 25, 2015 @ 1:45pm
Acts 17:25 – “nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things”.
Nehemiah 9:6 – “You alone are the LORD, You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them, You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before You.”
1 Timothy 6:13 – “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate…”
John 1:3-4 – “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”
And of course we all know John 14:6. And again John 10:10. “Zoe”, the God kind of life! Abundant that means more than enough! Enough for you and enough to give some away!
That life in us is meant to be like a river, not a bucket. John 7:38 – “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Verse 39- “By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were later to receive.”
The Life of God is meant not only to flow to us but through us! If it flows only to us we soon become like the dead sea! Full of precious minerals and riches but lifeless! Because there’s no outflow!
How can the life of God flow through us? How can we release the life of God into the lives of others? There are three ways:
1) Life is in the seed. We talked a little bit about this last week. Turn with me to Luke 8:5 – “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When He said this, He called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”9 His disciples asked Him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,“ ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’11“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
And again from last week, I Peter 1:23 – “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”
Jesus said in John 6:63 – “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Life is in the seed! Matthew 13:31 – “He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
Everywhere at VCA, lives are being touched, tranformed, changed by the power of God! Because someone took the time to sow a seed! A word of encouragement. To open a Bible study in someone’s home. To just put their hands on someone’s shoulder and pay for them!
Little seeds that you may not see the immediate results but over time those seeds grow and produce a crop! Some 30, some 60, some 100-fold! Do not be weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap a harvest if you do not give up!
The seed is the word of God! There is a life in that seed! Maybe even an oak tree in that little seed!
I wonder if some of you might be willing to start a Bible study in your home, office or school this year? So that the seed of God’s word can be planted in the hearts of people and bring life! Change lives!
2) Proverbs 18:21 tells us that death and LIFE are in the power of the tongue! So speak life! Speak life into every negative situation! Recognize the power that’s in the words you speak, and as David said “put a guard on my lips” that you don’t speak anything that brings destruction, hurt and pain. Speak life! Proverbs 25:11 (KJV) – “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Speak life, not death!
What would happen if we all made it a habit to speak life to one another!? To our children, to our families at the work place? Either we believe Proverbs 18:21 or we don’t. Either we’re careful with our words or we’re not!
Lord, put a guard in my lips that I not speak any word that is not uplifting and encouraging. “But Ptr Rich, isn’t that extreme? Shouldn’t we sometimes rebuke and correct?” Yes we should! And when it’s done in love, our rebuke will far more likely be heeded!
What’s the motive behind your rebuke? To show them they are wrong? To make yourself look better than others? Will God bless that kind of a rebuke even if it’s true?! Rebuke in love! Faithful are the wounds of a friend. If your friend is in error, you should surely correct them if you truly care.
They’ll know if you care. If all you’ve ever done is to correct them, put them down, show them their faults, then don’t be surprised if they don’t listen to you! I wouldn’t either! Even if you are right!
A rebuke said in love, out of genuine concern, is easily accepted, but a rebuke even if correct, said in a spirit of condemnation, helps no one!
Galatians 6:1 – “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”
3) Back to the River of Life: The River of Life is the Holy Spirit. He brings Life wherever He goes! Releasing the Holy Spirit releases life!
Whether through a prophectic word, a word of knowledge, prayer for the sick, prayer under the influence of the Holy Spirit, spiritual insight, wisdom revelation. A prophetic picture. Laying hands on someone and allowing the life of God to flow through you into them. That’s why I do altar calls with leaders laying hands on those being prayed for. Now I know they could get saved without the laying on of hands! I also know that the Holy Spirit will often touch and bring deeper conviction when hands are laid upon them! That people will feel God’s presence and begin to weep!
LIFE is released through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! He is inside of you! And He wants to get out! And touch others!
One last verse – John 12:24 – “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Dying to ourselves is often the only way to release life! II Corinthians 4:10 – “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”
In order to release life, we must die to ourselves. Forget about ourselves, forget about what others will think and allow Christ in us to have the supremacy!
We have got to think of others as more important than ourselves! We have this treasure in earthen vessels and it’s just waiting to be poured out that others might experience what we have experienced!
So I ask again. Would you start a BS in your home? In your office, school? Reach out and touch someone in Jesus’ name? Bring a friend to church?
“But what will they think? What will they say?”
Oh, you’re still thinking about yourself, aren’t you?