A strong military does not surrender to an opposing military who is weaker. Why would a powerful military surrender to an army that they knew they could defeat? They have taken inventory of their own strength and power and saw that they outmatched the opposition’s power, so they press on and do not surrender. Obviously, there is enough talk about war these days, so I won’t add more but I wanted to make the point that when you surrender it is to a greater power than your own. The war that does not get talked about much is the spiritual war we are in with satan. Jesus came to defeat the work of satan, and He did. Matthew 12:28 “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Mark 1:27 “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” One day satan will be gone but until then Jesus gave that same authority and power to His disciples to continue to defeat the work of satan. Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Matthew 10:7 “As you go, proclaim this message: 8 The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons.” Jesus did not just give power to the twelve, it was also given to other disciples that followed. Luke 10:1 “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Acts 5:16 “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” Then in Acts 8:6 “When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”

        There was great power that flowed from on High just as Jesus had said. Luke 24:49 “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Jesus gave power and authority to His disciples and to the ones that would follow as Peter said Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Even demons recognized this power and authority. Luke 4:33 “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, 34 “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 35 “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. 36 All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What words these are! With authority and power he gives orders to impure spirits and they come out!” 37 And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.” Mark 1:32 “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.” Luke 4:41 “Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.” Do you know who God is? The demons do!

        Our call this week is to surrender. As we talked about, a superior army will not surrender to an army of less power. Obviously, I am now not talking about the military, but God and man. Man has tried to do things on their own for so long, the above verses about power and authority seem impossible to the point they are not even expected to happen in the church. As they did with Jesus, some in the church will even think talk like this is demonic. Matthew 9:32 “While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” The church turned away from the power of God to the work of their own hands thinking they were more powerful than God. Stephen recapped what Israel had done when he said, Acts 7:41 “That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and reveled in what their own hands had made.” Isaiah 2:8 “Their land is full of idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their fingers have made.” The church for hundreds of years has been about the work of human hands and satan likes it that way as there is no power to defeat him. The church as it is now, really thinks that they do not need God. Of course, they will say they do, but their actions say differently. The church does not fear God, nor does it wait for God’s plan to unfold because they have their own plans. The plan is laid out in the New Testament, and it involves all who believe being clothed with power from on High. It does not need man’s help, only his surrender. Man’s plan is only the work of human hands, not the bared arm of God; therefore our enemies are not destroyed. Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” Man’s hands will not win that battle. Since satan has 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “oppose(d) and will exalt(ed) himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he (has set) sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming(ed) himself to be God,” the church is powerless. This powerlessness happened because the church rebelled against God thinking they were the most powerful.

        This rebellion happened because the church did not fear God and do not surrender to Him. They listened to satan tell them God did not mean what He said, and the church went their own way by adding to God’s word and subtracting from it. Again the church thought their words were more powerful than God’s even though they were warned. Revelation 22:18 “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.” These are the words of God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, yet every church has changed God’s word to line up with their own words. The church forgot what the stones meant in Joshua after crossing the Jordan. Joshua 4:20 “Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.” In the New Testament we saw the same power of God at work. John 21:25 “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 20:31 “30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

        The church does not believe God is powerful enough to surrender to. Not only do most not talk about true repentance, there is very little true repentance as God has turned His face from us. Many also think that the bible is just stories from long ago that don’t really apply to today’s church. Man thinks his arm is stronger than God’s, so why would they repent and surrender to someone less powerful than they are? The church is so accustomed to doing things on their own, operating in their own strength, and even denying the power of God. Can you imagine the audacity of someone standing before a congregation and saying God does not do that anymore? You don’t have to imagine as that happens all the time. The church seems to be content living in darkness, captive and desolate. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus offered us in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Today there is no fear of God in the land. Paul said in Romans 3:9 “For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. 10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” 14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 ruin and misery mark their ways, 17 and the way of peace they do not know.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” That is not how the church was to be. 

        Do not be like those who refuse to repent. A refusal to repent is a refusal to surrender to the Everlasting God. They do not say Psalm 106:48 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord.” They do not acknowledge God Almighty. Way back Genesis 17:1 “when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless.” Peter also said 2 Peter 3:14 “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” Nothing has changed. Malachi said Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, and a slave his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the Lord Almighty. 14 Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Most who call themselves Christians have not surrendered their lives to God and are robbing God. They do not trust God enough to honor Him as holy. Most do not know what it means to be faithful. They rob God constantly and no I am not talking about money, but most do not trust God in that area even if I were talking about money tithe. I am talking about surrendering your life (Tomorrow I will talk about what that means) to God because He is sovereign. They will not acknowledge that God the Daniel 4:25 “Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes.” 

        Many in the church stand before God as if they were gods, yet they are completely powerless. satan has so deceived them that they think the words they have replaced God’s words with will give them life. Man’s words lead to death; God’s words lead to life eternal. God has your life in His hand so do not even think for a moment you are in control. Matthew 10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” If you really believed that, you would surrender your life to God and serve Him with wholehearted devotion knowing that you are powerless against your enemies. Hosea gives us this directive. Hosea 14:1 “Return, Israel (church), to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion. 9 Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” Psalm 80:19 “Restore us, Lord God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.”