Baptized in the Sea and in the Cloud

1 Corinthians 10:1-2(NKJV)
1Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

In our studies of the Red Sea period in Israel’s history, we have been looking at many applications for the truths of that period to our lives today. As we continue to study this period, I want to look at a parallel to our own Christian experience.

As we have discussed in this space Moses and Christ are linked. Jesus was sent to the earth as a “prophet like Moses.” In some ways, Moses is a type of Christ. Likewise the experiences of the children of Israel can be compared to our experience as believers.

Moses led Israel out of bondage in Egypt. The scripture above speaks of us being “baptized in the sea.” It was Moses job to acquire Israel’s freedom. In the same way, Jesus purchases our freedom from the bondage of sin. We went through the waters of baptism just as Israel went through the sea.

The people really did nothing to purchase their freedom from Egypt. It was Moses that went to Pharaoh. It was Moses that brought forth the plagues. It was Moses who, at the Red Sea, held up the rod and parted the waters. All the people had to do was receive what Moses had done by walking through parted waters.

We did nothing to obtain our salvation from sin. Jesus bore our sins. Jesus went to the cross. Jesus paid the full penalty for every human being. All we have to do is receive what Jesus did as payment for our sin personally. We must accept Him as our savior and as our Lord. We must give him control, but that is much easier than paying the price of death for our sin.

The next thing Moses did for Israel was lead them through the Wilderness. What does this represent to us? We go through what we call “wilderness” experiences in life. They are the difficult times we must face. They are the dry times when we must pray in order to make it through to the other side. Although these times do sometimes accomplish what God did with Israel in their wilderness, that is not really what the wilderness represents to us.

The wilderness was the time where Israel went from a mass of slaves to a nation. It is where they learned to work together. It is where their government began to develop. It is where they learned to fight as an army. Most important it was where they learned to trust God.

When we are born again we are called “babes in Christ.” We know nothing of the ways of God. Our lives have been trained by the world and the flesh. Both of which are largely influenced by the devil. We have been changed inwardly, but Paul tells us we need to be “transformed”, or completely changed, by the renewing of our minds. He tells us we must learn to “put off” the old man and “put on” Christ. In other words we must grow up in God.

The difficult times we call “wilderness” certainly play a role in that. However I believe that all of our development can be likened to the wilderness Israel went through. Remember, in the wilderness God provided manna. In the wilderness they got water from a rock. In the wilderness their shoes and cloths didn’t wear out. It really wasn’t that bad a time. God was molding them into what they needed to be in order to fulfill their purpose.

In our walk we must also grow into our Christianity. We start as babes in Christ and we must learn the Word of God, we must learn to think differently. We must become adults so that we can fulfill the destiny God has for us. God will take care of us while we grow just as he did Israel. Never the less he does expect us to become adults and not remain children in the things of God.

One of the things that Israel did in the wilderness was learn to follow the pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day. They did not move unless the pillar moved. In the upper room on the day of Pentecost a pillar of fire appeared, broke apart and rested on each of them. They were filled with the Holy Ghost. This is part of the wilderness preparation in our lives just as it was in the life of Israel. They learned to follow the Holy Spirit. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and must also learn to follow him.

All of this is important. We are saved by the blood of Jesus. We come to maturity during a time of preparation. However that is not the end of the story. You see the wilderness was not the point of Israel’s deliverance. God had a purpose for them and that purpose was not to wander in a desert until they died. God’s purpose for delivering Israel was the promised land. They were supposed to go through the wilderness not stay in it.

Because of their unbelief they ended up in the wilderness 20 years longer than they had to be. In the end, the first generation that came out of Egypt never did enter into the land God delivered them to occupy. They never learned what the wilderness was designed to teach them. They simply died there.

As we begin this week, we need to understand that we have been saved for a purpose. Part of that purpose is eternal. Part of it is to be fulfilled right here on earth. You may be in wilderness preparation right now. Maybe you are in a particularly difficult part of it. Most of us are still learning in some areas but are walking as adults in others. Either way we need to let God work in us until we become what he needs us to be. Don’t let unbelief keep you from the life God has for you. (John 10:10)

More on this tomorrow.

The Soul is the Battleground

2 Corinthians 10:3-5(NKJV)
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ

In our constant battle with the forces of darkness, we must recognize that we are not just fighting for our own lives. We are in this earth to fight for the souls of people. Satan is a defeated foe. He is defeated in your personal life and he is defeated in our fight to win the lost. However he is not inactive.

This week we looked at the American Civil War and how the south was effectively defeated after the battle of Gettysburg. However the war went on for two more years. Why? Because the south in general and Robert E. Lee in particular did not recognize and would not accept that they were defeated. They still had some resources as well as skill and bravery. However the end was inevitable.

The devil is much the same. He is deceived into thinking he can still win the war he started with God. He continues to fight even though he was defeated by Jesus in the salvation process. He has no power over believers except the power of deception. He has no power to keep anyone from coming to Jesus if they want to. He does have some resources to use. He does have one arena in particular where he is very active. The arena of the soul.

Our soul consists of our mind, emotions and will. I don’t believe that the devil can read the thoughts of a human being. I certainly do not believe he has access to the thoughts of a believer. However I do know that he can put thoughts before us. He can influence both our thinking and our emotions. He can put pressure upon our will with temptations and all sorts of emotional stimuli. If he can get us to agree with him, he can defeat us.

The battleground of faith is the mind. If we are going to be successful we need to recognize that fact. In the verse above Paul makes this clear. We don’t war in the flesh. Flesh and blood is not our enemy. People are not our enemy. As we said yesterday, all people are part of God’s family and as such Jesus died for them. Our enemy is the devil.

Paul goes on to say that we have weapons to fight him with. He tells us that these are not carnal weapons. They are spiritual weapons and they are fully capable of pulling down strongholds erected by the devil. However look where Paul tells us we need to use those weapons.

5Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Paul tells us that the area we need to use these mighty weapons is in our thought life. Whatever thoughts we choose to agree with will be what we see come to pass in our lives. What do we use to combat the thoughts that the devil wants to use against us? We go to the thoughts God has recorded in the word. Look at what God told Joshua as he got ready lead to Israel into another war.

Joshua 1:8(NKJV)
8This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

We must do the same thing if we are going to win our wars. God gave us the Bible to communicate his thoughts to us. When our minds are full of the Word of God, any thoughts that do no match up with it are easy to identify. The better we know God’s thoughts the less susceptible we are to the devil’s.

Another area of the soul we must guard are our emotions. God gave us emotions so that we could relate to Him and to one another. Emotions are a good thing. However they were never meant to rule us. We are supposed to use them. The devil brings pressure on our emotions because he knows that if we allow them to get out of control, he has us. He can lead us in any direction he wants by pressuring those emotions.

What do we do to control them. The word is, once again our primary weapon. If we are controlled by the Word of God we are not controlled by emotions. We are moved, not by what we feel, but by what the word says. That does not mean we don’t feel things. Never tell someone their emotions are not true or that they don’t matter. They are and they do. They just don’t always tell the truth. The bible does.

The other factor in dealing with our emotions is fellowship with the Lord. Prayer, praise and worship are all weapons we have to take control of our emotions. David gives us an example in Psalm 103. He repeatedly makes this statement. “Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless His Holy Name.”

David has some issues with his emotions. He is under attack. He is going through troubles. His emotions are just like ours. They are pressing him in directions he knows he cannot go. What does he do? He makes his emotions bless the Lord. He worships and praises God. We can use the same weapon in our lives.

When you feel the least like praising God, that is the time to shout the loudest. It is the time to praise the strongest. It is the time to make your emotions serve the Lord and not the devil. When we do that walls of resistance can come down in our lives just like they did in Jericho.

What about our will? Well that is a large subject, but let me say this. If we use the weapons available to deal with our thoughts and emotions, we will find that our will is also strengthened. We will choose the right things to do. We will stand by faith until we see the victory God has promised.

The soul is the battleground. It is where the enemy is active. However remember, he is a defeated foe. What he does in our soul is just a delaying tactic. The less we allow it to work the quicker he will stop at least in that particular area. We can and will win. We will win for ourselves and we will win for people of the world.

Galatians 6:9(NKJV)
9And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Why We Must Fight; Why We Must Win

2 Corinthians 5:13-15(NKJV) 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

We have seen from the Word this week that both Moses and Jesus defeated an enemy of God’s people and set those who were captives free. In the Red Sea incident Moses caused Egypt to be a completely defeated foe where Israel was concerned. They had no power to bring Israel back into bondage.

Jesus did the same thing to the devil. He paid the price for the sin of man, but that was not the end of what he did. In his death, burial and resurrection he also took away from Satan the power to hold man in captivity. Christianity is not based on a racial or familial relationship as the nation of Israel was. It is a choice any person of any race or nationality can make. When they make it, however, the devil no longer has any control over them. He is a defeated foe just as Egypt was to Israel.

Just as Israel continued to allow circumstances to cause them to desire to go back to Egypt, so the Christian often allows the pressures of life to deceive them into giving the devil power over them. Satan cannot defeat a Christian unless he deceives him into defeating himself. Satan is defeated, but he is not inactive. Jesus won the ultimate victory over him and he did it for you. However Satan is a master deceiver and he will not give up the fight until the end of the age.

Before I discuss some specific battle grounds the devil uses, let me remind you why it is important to walk in the victory Jesus won. It is not just important for us. Look at Paul’s words above. He has had a powerful revelation and that revelation is driving everything he does. He knows that God really loves every human being and that love is compelling him to preach the Gospel to as many as possible.

I believe the devil is such a deceiver that he still thinks he can win the war against God. He can’t. However he can win the war against members of God’s family. Why should we continue to fight and win our personal battles with the devil? Because in winning them we put ourselves in a position to win the battle for the souls of the people around us.

It is difficult for us to understand the true stakes of this war. It is not our comfort nor having more things. All that will pass away. It is not our health, although that is important. It is about our families because the whole idea of family originated from God. But it is even about more than that.

It is also about God’s family. God sees every man, woman, boy and girl as a member of his family. That connection is just as real to the Father as any parent’s connection to his or her children. God is not an emotionless God. He invented emotion. He feels in an absolute way. Those emotions are applied to his family above all else.

As I was meditating on this once, the Lord showed me a story of a young girl who had become drug addicted. She had descended into prostitution and ultimately this sinful lifestyle took her life. We read such stories and think, “What a terrible shame.” Then we go on to the next story. The Lord asked me, “What if that story was about ______?”, and named one of my daughters.

As I thought about it I realized the devastation I would have felt if that story was about one of my children. I wouldn’t have simply thought it a shame. I wouldn’t have gone on to the next thing. My whole life would be affected. The devastation I would feel would have been unbearable.

God showed me that every one of those stories is about one of his children. He feels it the same way I would if it was about one of mine. In his case, everyone who dies without coming to know Jesus passes into eternity separated from him.

He is not angry at them. He is a just God and cannot compromise that justice. The wages of sin is death. That is an unchangeable truth, but that does not change how God feels about those children who are lost to him. He loves them. That is why he gave his “only begotten Son” to save them.

In this scripture Paul tells us that he has seen this same truth. If the One, Jesus died for all, then all are dead. He goes on to say that he no longer sees people after the flesh, but after the spirit. He sees the son or daughter of the Father who is lost to God. He is compelled by the love of God to reach out to them with the wonderful messaged that their Father has made a way home for them.

What does this have to do with us and our defeated foe. Everything. We have been sent into the world just as Jesus was sent into the world. Not just to live our lives in comfort nor to win personal victories that will make our lives better. God wants that for us. He wants to bless us with all good things. However there are other children. Children that don’t have what we have. Children that are dying and will spend eternity separated from a Father who loves them deeply.

We must win our personal battles so we can rescue those who are do not know that the Father has made a way home. They are not our enemy. No person is. The devil is our enemy and he is a defeated foe.

We can’t make them come to Jesus. We can tell them there is a way. We can live a life that will lead them to him. We can use the blessing of God to draw them to the love of God. That is why we are still here.

Practice this week seeing people as Paul did. Not according to their fleshly weaknesses. Not according to their religion or the color of their skin. Not even according to how they treat us. See them after the spirit. See them as the children of God who are going to spend an eternity separated from the Father who loves them. See them as the Father does. It might change some of the priorities of your life.

Defeated but not Inactive

2 Corinthians 2:11(NKJV) 11lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Corinthians 2:11(NLT) 11so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.

This week we have studied the comparison between Moses and Jesus. Both were considered deliverers. Both came into the earth at a pivotal time. Both found a people in bondage. Both conquered an enemy and finally both set their people free. In Moses case it was a natural people held by a natural enemy. In the case of Jesus it was all mankind held captive by a spiritual enemy.

The Red Sea incident was brought about in order to completely destroy the power of Egypt to bring Israel back into bondage. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection did the same thing to the devil. The bible is clear that Jesus not only paid the price for man’s sin, but also utterly defeated the power of the devil. There is no power that can keep us from receiving Jesus as Lord and living the abundant life he died to provide for us.

Although we fight a foe who was utterly defeated by Jesus at the resurrection, he is not inactive. In the above scripture Paul indicates that we cannot be ignorant of Satan’s “devices.” The New Living Translation puts it another way. Satan has evil schemes with which he can and does outsmart us.

Satan has no power over us, but he does have the ability to continue to wage war against us by using his greatest tool, deception. He schemes and plans ways to keep the church from being the Body of Christ and walking in Jesus’ victory. He uses everything in his power to get us to give up our victory, come into agreement with him and bring defeat upon ourselves.

In the life of Israel after the Red Sea, we see that they still complain about Moses and continually try to go back into bondage. What a powerful image for us. Egypt could not get them back. They had no army to send after them. God had won a mighty victory to set them free. However they tried to override that victory with their own will. Let me be clear, nothing could force them back into slavery, but if their flesh had its way they would have gone back anyway.

So it is with us. Jesus won a great victory. Satan has no power over the children of God. Look at what Jesus said after the resurrection.

Matthew 28:18-20(NKJV) 18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Jesus had all power and all authority. Then he sent us to win the world with that authority. In Acts he also provided the power to back up the authority in the person of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that can defeat the body of Christ corporately or individually. Nothing except the “wiles” of the enemy.

Let me illustrate this fact from American history. One of the most difficult times in our nation’s history is known as the American Civil War. There was a great battle of that war in the summer of 1863. In that battle the forces of the south under Robert E. Lee were defeated at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Lee understood that the only way the south could defeat the resources of the north was to win a victory on northern soil that would force the federal government to negotiate a peace. This would allow the southern states to remain a separate nation. He gambled that he could win that battle at Gettysburg. However he did not win. The federal troops overcame him in a rare victory.

Gettysburg effectively ended the Civil War. From that point on the south could not win. They had skill, courage and possibly the greatest general in American history in Lee, but they did not have the manpower or resources to prevail. Even though Gettysburg was really the end for the south, the war went on until April of 1865. Thousands more lost their lives fighting a defeated foe.

Why? Because the south in general and Lee in particular would not accept their defeat. They used cunning, courage and whatever else they could muster to keep the fight going in the hopes that something would happen to turn the tide. Finally Lee accepted that any more slaughter would be pointless and surrendered at Appomattox court house in April of 1865.

The devil is a defeated foe. There is no reason any believer should fall for his devices. However he will never accept his defeat until he is thrown into the lake of fire at the end of the age. Until that time he will use everything he can against us to win whatever battles he can. We don’t have to let that happen.

If we will learn the Word of God and be sensitive to the Spirit of God we can win every battle we face. There will be battles. That is unavoidable, but they are battles we can win decisively. We simply cannot give in to the devil’s devices. This scripture says we must not be ignorant. We must understand that they do exist and we must learn from the Word and by the Spirit how to defeat them.

Tomorrow and Friday we will look at some areas where and how the devil uses his devices, his wiles. Today, remember, you are fighting a defeated foe. Even if he should beat you temporarily, in the end you can and will win. Jesus made sure that you could.

Moses a Type of Jesus 2

Acts 3:19-22(NKJV) 19Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.

Yesterday we began to look at the parallel between Moses and Jesus. In these verses Peter is quoting the prophet Isaiah and pointing to Jesus as this new Prophet. As we have studied them we can see that both Moses and Jesus found a people in bondage. Where Moses was dealing with a physical bondage and a physical nation, Jesus was dealing with a spiritual and a spiritual nation.

Moses judged the gods of Egypt defeating them in a kind of combat. He left the kingdom of Egypt utterly beaten and finally the Pharaoh let the children of Israel leave captivity.

Jesus spent 3 years attacking the kingdom of Satan. He healed the sick, raised the dead, set captives free and confounded the religious voices who sought to destroy him. When Jesus was done with the kingdom of darkness there was no question that he was the clear victor over the “god of this world.”

In both cases the enemy had been defeated, but the threat of the enemy still remained. As we have studied Moses we learned that God led the children of Israel into what seemed like a trap for them. In truth God was going to bring final defeat on the Egyptians. He was going to destroy their army.

The children of Israel started along the normal route to Canaan, then God led them south to the banks of the Red Sea. This make it look to Pharaoh like Israel was lost. He decided to pursue them thinking they no longer had the help of their God. He was wrong. He watched his army march into the midst of a divided Red Sea and he saw the waters crash down on them.

In that one stroke Pharaoh became a defeated foe. Moses had promised the children of Israel that they would never see those Egyptians again. That is exactly what happened. All the power that Egypt had to bring them back into bondage was gone.

God did the exact same thing through the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. After 3 years of victory over the powers of darkness the devil found that Jesus had been delivered into his hands. A traitor had managed to hand him over to the Jewish authorities under false accusations.

Right! Jesus had walked through crowds ready to stone him. He had baffled the Pharisees with his wisdom. He had performed miracles that caused the people to love him. The week before he had entered the city to a triumphal celebration. He had won the war over the devil, and now he is delivered into the enemy’s hand by a traitor? I smell something here don’t you? Look at this scripture.

1 Corinthians 2:7-8(NKJV) 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

God was doing it again. Jesus was not trapped by the devil, the devil was trapped by God. What happened next was a nightmare to Satan. He caused the crucifixion of Jesus, but in the process Jesus took away all the power he had over mankind. He took Jesus to the depths of hell and right there in the middle of Satan’s own domain Jesus was raised up by the spirit of God.

The bible says that Jesus took the keys to death hell and the grave. It says that he cast off the powers and principalities that tried to hold him down. Finally it says that he made an open show of the Devil. He lead captivity captive and potentially set every human being free. Look at these verses.

Hebrews 2:14-15(NKJV) 14Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Jesus did to the devil exactly what Moses had done to Pharaoh. By the time Moses was done with Pharaoh he had no power to bring Israel back into captivity. By the time Jesus was done with Satan the power of sin and death, the only power that held man captive, had been destroyed. Anyone who would choose to could be free forever from the dominion of darkness.

As we study this, we see that Israel still choose to look back to Egypt. Although there was no power of the Egyptians that could make them go back to bondage, they still complained to Moses and wanted to go back.

Because of the victory Jesus won over the devil, every man woman and child is free to choose life in Christ. Many still do not. What is even worse is that we who have received this life often behave like the Israelites. Jesus said he came to give us abundant life, yet we often choose darkness. Our foe is defeated and yet we still give in to the flesh, the world and the devil.

As we go on this week I want to focus on a few of the reasons why. Our foe is defeated, but not inactive. We still have to resist him. For today, however, just meditate on the great victory won by these two giants of the faith. Your enemy, the devil is defeated and you get to enjoy the victory.

Moses is a Type of Jesus

Acts 3:19-22(NKJV) 19Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.

There is an important parallel between Moses and Jesus. Moses delivered the Israelite nation from bondage to Egypt. Next to Abraham he is perhaps the greatest figure in Jewish History. In the above verses we see that he himself pointed to someone who would come and be a “Prophet” like him. Jesus was that Prophet.

Moses was called by God to a mission to break the hold of Egyptian bondage over Israel. Israel was trapped in a situation over which they had no power or control. They had come into the nation of Israel as welcome guests. They had prospered and grown. They had become a part of the Egyptian nation, but remained distinct in their religious practice.

Finally the Pharaoh decided they were a threat to his rule and the stability of the nation. He had their possessions confiscated and the people put to work as slave labor. They remained in this condition for generations. They had no freedom. They were not able to make their own decisions. They were poorly treated. They had no life and no future.

God placed man in the Garden of Eden as his children. They were called to have “dominion” or rule over the Garden. They were to be God’s representatives on earth. However someone came into their land just as the Jews had come into Egypt. This interloper, named Satan, fully intended to disrupt God’s order. He deceived Eve and Adam fell into transgression. The end result was that God’s family ended up in another kind of slavery. Slavery to sin and to death.

Just as Israel had no power over their captors, man had no power over the devil. Just as Israel had no say in their future and no ability to decide to leave bondage, man had no say in his eternal future. He had no power to overthrow his captor and leave the bondage of sin.

Ephesians 2:1-3(NKJV) 1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

Paul here describes the condition of mankind after the fall. They were slaves to the flesh and by nature children of wrath. Children in bondage to a wrathful devil.

When the right time had come God began to move upon the people of God in Egypt. They cried out to God and God raised up a deliverer called Moses. God sent him into the desert to prepare him for the work he had to do. He sent him back to Pharaoh with nothing but a shepherd’s staff to purchase deliverance for his people.

In a confrontation that changed the course of history, Moses destroyed the power of the Pharaoh. He brought judgment on the God’s of Egypt. By the time God was finished with Pharaoh and Egypt, the nation was in tatters. The crops were gone, the animals decimated and the first born of the nation was dead. Pharaoh finally let the people of God go to worship The Lord.

Thousands of years later the people of Israel were once again crying out to God. Many knew that the time had come for another deliverer. However this time he would not come to deliver them from physical bondage. Although many of the religious leaders thought the Messiah would come to deliver Israel from bondage to Rome, this was not at all what was about to happen.

Into a world held in bondage, not by a natural Pharaoh but by a spiritual tyrant named Satan, Jesus came looking like common humanity. However there was something different about him. God led him into the wilderness just as Moses had been led into the wilderness. In a confrontation with the devil himself, Jesus proved he was ready for the battle at hand.

He came back into the presence of mankind armed with the anointing of God.

Luke 4:18-19(NKJV) 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

For the next three years a battle raged in the spirit. Jesus confronted mankind’s captor at every point of his power. Where Satan brought sickness, Jesus destroyed its power by healing everyone who came to him. Where Satan cursed man with poverty and lack, Jesus fed 5000 men plus women and children with a small boy’s lunch.

Where Satan tried to enforce his authority by placing people in the bondage of sin, Jesus forgave the sin and changed the hearts of the bound. Where Satan sent his demonic forces to enslave people, Jesus cast out those forces with a word and left the afflicted in their right mind.

Satan even tried to kill Jesus. However when Jesus seemed to be trapped by the forces of darkness he simply turned the darkness against them and walked through the crowd free of harm. He would go to the next city and once again begin his assault on the Satanic kingdom.

Perhaps Satan’s greatest weapon then as it is now was the religious establishment. He tried to assault Jesus with their “wisdom” and “knowledge”, but Jesus exposed all of it for the foolishness that it was. In the end Satan had no answer for Jesus and the people of the earth were nearly ready to be set free.

Come back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!

Nation vs. Church 2

Ephesians 4:11-13(NKJV) 11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Yesterday we looked at 1 Corinthians chapter 10. This scripture tells us that what happened to Israel in the Old Testament happened as an example for us. The principles Moses applied at the Red Sea are not only for winning Old Testament wars. They also apply to us and our wars. However there is a difference between the move of God in the Old and New Testaments.

When Jesus came into the earth he changed the emphasis from the nation of Israel to individual people. The only nation Jesus is building is the Kingdom of God. This relates to the application of the Red Sea principles in a similar way to what the first generation of Israelites faced as they were on the brink of entering the promised land. Moses could not win this battle for them. They were going to have to fight and they were going to have to apply these principles themselves. They could not do it.

This is true to an even greater degree for us. We are not a nation. Moses was, in effect, the King of Israel. The people did what they were told. They followed him. He was the focus and his faith was what mattered most. That is not the case with the Body of Christ. We have no kings in the church. We have one Lord who we follow above all others.

Does that mean we do not need leadership? Does that mean that we don’t respect leadership? The New Testament teaches us just the opposite. We are to honor leaders, we are to respond to them in a way that will not cause them grief. We are to submit to those that God has given authority over us because they give account for our souls. (Hebrews 13)

The difference is in the role that they play in our lives. They are not there to be a “Moses” to us. Leaders in the body of Christ cannot live our Christianity for us. They are there to help us grow in Christ. They are there to provide a place for us to fulfill our destiny. They are not there to fight our battles for us.

I believe God wants us to win some wars in 2011. What does that really mean? It means that we are going to win some battles in such a way that we won’t fight those battles again. We will always have battles, but I believe God wants us to resolve some issues this year. He wants us to overcome some things for the last time. He wants to set some things in order in such a way that we will not see them get out of order again. For this to happen we need to apply the Red Sea principles, fear not, stand on the promise and be ready to go forward.

There are two types of wars to be won. We all have some individual wars that need winning. We all know that there are things in our lives that have held on for far too long. There are some sins that we shouldn’t still be struggling with. We know that there are areas of our spiritual lives in which we should be teachers and instead we are still only learners. This is the year to finally get there, at least in some areas.

We also have corporate wars to win. The Kingdom of God in the earth is a very unique entity. It is not an organization so much as an organism. An organism is organized. It has the capacity to function in an orderly manner much like and organization. The difference is that an organism is alive while an organization is not.

We have a calling as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been given the great commission to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations. We are called together to win people to Jesus. As we do, we will affect the world. However we do not do it through the efforts of great leaders. There have always been great leaders, but the focus is not on them. The focus is on individuals.

As a body, in order for the church to win its wars we must all do our part individually. Just as in any organism, it takes “each joint supplying” what it was designed to supply in order for the whole to work. (Eph 4:16) If we are going to win our corporate war, we each must take our place and win our personal wars. The focus is not on leaders, but leaders have been given so you can be what God made you to be.

You must apply the Red Sea principles to your own battles and wars. If you do you will win, but more than that you will be in the place you need to be to help us win as the Church. We need you in the fight.

We do not have any Moses or even any Joshua. What we have is Jesus. We are his body in the earth. We are capable of all that he was capable of. We can win our wars as he won his. In essence we are Moses and Joshua. Our weapons are the Word of God, the Love of God and the power to impact individuals for the Lord. That is the only way the earth will really change.

That is the power of our fight and why it cannot be stopped. We are not winning wars over governments, economies or cultures. We are not trying to take ground for the Lord, we are winning hearts. No one can stand against that. It is how the Church has changed the world since it began on the day of Pentecost.

Get in the fight. Win your wars this year. Fear not, stand firm on the promises of God and we will go forward. Individually we will see a greater future and corporately we will fulfill our destiny in this generation.