Be Very Alert! No 204

Be Very Alert!- By Val Hollard (NZ)

On Watch at the Door.                                                                                 No 204, September 29, 2015

HONOURING GOD IN PRAYER

Not long after I became a Christian I was hearing people binding and loosing the devil, rebuking him, pleading the blood of Jesus over all sorts of things including hotel rooms and food, all activities which I later discovered were not sanctioned in the Bible. The way binding and loosing is used by many evangelicals is actually a wrong understanding of Matthew 16:19.

“Pleading the blood” in the way many evangelicals use it is a wrong use of the blood of Christ. Jesus is our high priest who has already applied the blood to our lives when we believe in faith the atoning work He did for us on the cross of Calvary. (Eph 1:7) It has to do with cleansing us of sin and a guilty conscience. We cannot use it to fight demons and we never see it used in Scriptures for such a purpose. It is now being used like a magical formula to try and coerce God into doing what you want. It has absolutely no effect on Satan.

Thousands are now watching the movie War Room. I have not seen it but I believe it strongly promotes a biblical view of marriage and faithfulness and other good Christian values. A number of people have told me how they have been motivated to pray more as a result of seeing the film. This is a wonderful outcome. But after seeing and hearing reviews of the film, I am somewhat concerned about the sort of prayer that is being promoted in the film. I feel that our prayers should honour God and we have His Word for guidance here.

In his review of War Room, Justin Peters says that biblical parameters dealing with spiritual warfare are exceeded throughout the movie. He says the entire film is saturated with Word-Faith/NAR (New Apostolic Reformation) spiritual warfare lingo. There seemed to be as much time and effort expended in binding, rebuking and casting out Satan by Mrs Clara and Elizabeth in their respective war rooms as there was praying to God. The devil is told to go back to hell where he belongs although no one has yet been to hell, including the devil. The apostle Peter says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8-9) The devil is very much on the loose and we can’t stop him. He cannot be bound or sent to hell. It is God who has him on a tether.

The devil will not be bound until the 1000 year reign of Christ begins and this is done by an obviously powerful angel with a great chain and a key to the Abyss. We obviously do not have this ability! At the end of the 1000 years he will be set free for a short time and then thrown into the lake of burning sulphur – for ever and ever. (Rev 20)

Some Christians believe that they have the authority to rebuke the devil and do so frequently. However, even Michael, one of the most powerful of the angels, did not dare to accuse Satan when he was disputing with him about the body of Moses. (Jude 9) Instead he said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude says that people who rebuke the devil in this way speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.   Surely that should be a warning to us to us to leave any rebuking of the devil up to our Lord. We can always ask the Lord to protect someone from evil influences.

Peter Wagner of the New Apostolic Reformation believes that Satan and his principalities and powers must be bound if we are to spread the Gospel and win the lost for Christ. In order to launch a spiritual takeover of a city, confronting, binding and casting down the spiritual powers of the region must first take place. Binding is even used to claim whole cities and regions for Christ. He believes that if we bind and loose here on earth, God will respond and the same will be done in heaven. The action must begin on earth and it is considered part of the Great Commission. Some call it “power evangelism,” a term coined by the late “signs and wonders” deliverance minister John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard Movement and a close friend and colleague of Wagner. The people involved in this type of unscriptural spiritual warfare are generally Dominionists who believe that the role of the Church is to gain dominion over the whole earth before the return of Jesus.

Scripture does not leave us in ignorance on how to deal with the devil if you feel he is bothering you. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (Jam 4:7-8)

Our armour against the devil and other principalities and powers is found in Ephesians 6. We are instructed to put on the full armour of God so that we can stand against the devil’s schemes. The first piece of armour is the belt of truth. If we don’t have truth, the rest of the armour is useless. Jesus is the truth, He is the Logos, the Word, and we find the truth in the Word alone. Jesus, when tempted by Satan in the desert, answered him with Scripture. (Matt 4:1-11) So if you really feel like striking out, use the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, not words and mantras which come from human wisdom.   And if you have concerns for someone, you can pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayers and request – to God, not to the devil!

Instead of focusing on the devil, we should focus on following Christ and be obedient to His Word, then trust that He will defeat the forces of evil for us.

To gain victory in spiritual matters, we need a clear conscience and have control over our thoughts. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor 10:3-5)

UNITY

There is increasing pressure on Christians to join together with other churches and denominations in spiritual ventures, especially large prayer rallies, no matter what their teachings are. There is also tremendous pressure now to unite with Catholics and come back under “Mother Rome.”

As a result of the Reformation, people came to realise that there was an invisible body of believers and a visible church that were two different things. In John 16-17, Jesus speaks of unity amongst the invisible body. True believers are united by the presence of the Holy Spirit in them. It is not a unity that comes from our efforts. We will only know for sure who are truly His when we reach heaven. God puts His people into the invisible church through the preaching of the Gospel. If we want the invisible church to grow, we preach the Gospel.

The visible church is a totally different thing from the invisible one of which the Bible speaks in such glorious terms. Just look at the visible churches in Asia Minor in Revelation chapters 2 and 3! Jesus points out the good and bad things in each church. Philadelphia is the church we would all like to be in. Laodicea made Jesus want to vomit and He couldn’t find anything good to say about it. He was knocking on the door trying to gain access. I find it hard to believe that Jesus would have wanted the people in Philadelphia to be involved in spiritual ventures such as prayer meetings with the people in Laodicea. Jesus more than likely wouldn’t even be listening to the prayers of the Laodiceans!

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Paul tells us not to be yoked with unbelievers. What fellowship can light have with darkness? He continues by telling people to separate from them. Laodicea was certainly a dark church. We have many dark churches today. We see ones where people are rolling around the floor laughing and barking like dogs, some encourage people to lie on graves so that they can get an anointing from the dead person, others encourage people to get closer to God by using eastern meditation techniques which leads them into kundalini and believing that they are God and one with the universe. Others are of the Word/Faith breed and claim you can get what you want – healing, money, a new house, etc. – if you sow seed money into their ministry and if you don’t get what you want, then you don’t have enough faith.

Today, I would also not want to join up with churches which are actively boycotting Israel, or supporting same-sex marriage and even appointing church leaders who are active homosexuals. Neither would I want to have anything to do with a church which promotes Chrislam and places the Qur’an in the church alongside the Bible. The list is long. These churches are, of course, involved in many good works such as missions and caring for the poor and needy. But the most important thing is getting our relationship with Jesus right, honouring Him and His Word, and getting as many people as we can into the invisible church.

OTHER NEWS

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ): Some chief rabbis have issued a strongly worded attack against ICEJ, accusing it of seeking to convert Jews to Christianity and warning Israelis not to attend ICEJ’s annual Feast of Tabernacles. ICEJ insists that it does not engage in any missionary activity. The rabbis say the event expresses a spiritual danger that undermines Israel’s Jewish character. They do, however, recognize that ICEJ is pro-Israel.

Jews for Jesus, which does bring the good news of the Jewish Messiah to the people of Israel, has recently concluded a big campaign there and are now following up the new believers and contacts they have made.

The University of California Santa Barbara has published a “Homosexuality and Religion” guide, detailing how to reconcile one’s faith with homosexual behaviour. Christianity is, according to the guide, responsible for many of society’s “limitations and stigmas” regarding sexuality.

In the UK, Jeremy Corbyn has been elected to be the leader of the Labour Party. He is described as an anti-Semitic socialist and associates with terrorists and calls them his friends (Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.). He is a full supporter of the Palestinian cause and a patron for the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. Corbyn has already declared that if he were elected PM, he would impose an arms embargo on Israel, promote the Palestinian right to return to the full measure of their desires, and will boycott Israeli products, among other steps. The Jews in the UK are very worried.

Christians from Muslim-dominated countries are wondering if there are any safe places left for them. In refugee camps they are accosted by Muslims and women and girls raped. Pakistani Christians who have escaped to Thailand to avoid persecution are not receiving the protection they desperately need as they face poverty, arrest and possible deportation. Even in Western countries such as Sweden, they are finding hostility against them from the increasing numbers of Muslims entering the country. And now Obama is set to deport 12 Iraqi Christian refugees while allowing thousands of Muslims into the US. Christians are up in arms against what they perceive to be a radical and sudden transformation of the American public school system where Christianity is being eased out of children’s education and replaced with Islamic “indoctrination.”

The Netherlands will have its first ever “Blood Rave,” a dance party where dancers are sprayed with 5 thousand litres of blood on Halloween night. One of the organizers, who want to remain anonymous due to the nature of the event, said that this is will be the first blood party in the world and the demand for it is high.

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