God has always prepared a way for us and the plan is that we obey and follow it. Jesus said He was the way and in order to follow him we must follow his word without turning from it. So when we decide to leave a legacy rich towards God, we choose to believe that God is in charge even though satan has been given the rule of this earth. As we have seen, this is where many Christians are confused thinking that just because Jesus came, satan’s rule was over and all they had to do was sit back and wait for the end. But as we have seen, Jesus came and defeats Him by taking away his power from him and in doing so gives us the authority to do the same. Colossians 2:13 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” We still have to repent just as we still need the authority to defeat satan. Remember he knows his time is short. Jesus defeated satan so that we could also. That is what making disciples is all about. You cannot do it by your own authority but only in the name of Jesus, which means he has granted you authority to use his name thus also meaning the power of the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon you. Acts 19:13 “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” So not having the Holy Spirit poured out means saying “in the name of Jesus” are just empty words and very dangerous. This answers why so many words and prayers remain empty. Tragically this is the empty way that has been handed down to us from our fathers. People pray in Jesus name but don’t know who he is nor do they know of his power. Isaiah 1:2 “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me. 3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.” 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! 15 When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.”
Instead of changing and repenting, each generation continues to perpetuate a legacy of empty words and continues down a path of desolation, totally void of any power except that they talk about it, 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power. Paul said, 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” He also said “18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have.” You cannot stand up to the kind of power Paul had. So to defeat satan, we must be part of that same kingdom Paul was part of. This present kingdom available to us is the only way satan can be defeated.
1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” There can be no salvation without the kingdom. The gospel is victory over our enemies including death itself. This is the Promised Land. Even still in this land of promise are giants, enemies, walls and strongholds that need to be defeated, but his kingdom reigns so the gospel is victorious. If you are not part of that kingdom, you will be defeated. What a deceitful gospel it is that says the kingdom is not yet. Instead of victory and peace we have defeat and desolation. We have generation after generation of defeated Christians and they don’t even know it, hence the word deceit. Remember it only took one generation to completely fall away. Joshua 2:10 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel.” Look at today’s church where most Christians do not even realize that basically the complete gospel message is missing. We cannot survive on just part of it.
So because this message is missing, we repent and turn away from our wicked ways. It really is not that complicated. Then God promised to return to us. We then get our legacies on track. Most will need a new one. Getting back to the word of God takes courage and fearlessness no matter what comes our way. A.W. Tozer said, "Anyone who takes the commands of Christ seriously, will be considered dangerous by those who don’t." He also said, "Our walk by faith, if it is true biblical faith, will get us in trouble." Getting back to the word of God should be our soul purpose no matter what the resistance is. It is guaranteed that there will be opposition to this; one by satan and two by those who do not want to change, that is those who are offended. Jesus warned us. John 15:20 “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” But do not fear. 1 Peter 3:2 “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.”
When they first went to take the land the people did not fear the Lord but feared the enemy in the land. They did not believe God would provide a way. Even though God had said many times Exodus 3:8 “So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Leviticus 20:24 “But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.” Deuteronomy 11:22 “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. 24 Every place where you set your foot will be yours: Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea. 25 No one will be able to stand against you. The Lord your God, as he promised you, will put the terror and fear of you on the whole land, wherever you go. 26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.
When they first were to take the land opposition comes even though God gave them a promise hence the name Promised Land. Numbers 14:27 “They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” Numbers 16:13 Isn’t it enough that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness? And now you also want to lord it over us! 14 Moreover, you haven’t brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards.” They were told what to do to take the land and they were told they would take the land and be victorious. Yet they feared and turned away and died in the desert.
God has given us a promise that he would go before us and make a way. Deuteronomy 11:22 “If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow—to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him and to hold fast to him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.” Exodus 23:20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. 22 If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out.” Joshua 24:13 “So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.”
Why would we think it is any different today? We have been told to obey his commands so we must obey. We must believe Jesus is the way the truth and the life. Jesus Matthew 28:18 “then came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Obedience means his presence in power. Being with us means the same thing as it did in the Old Testament; power and victory over our enemies! Without the power means defeat. It is interesting that there is a lack of faith in both these passages but Mark tells us what is supposed to happen when we go out. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” The gospel is about going out according to his plan not ours, knowing that God is with us but not going until we know he is. That is why we are told to wait. Luke 24 commands us to wait until we are clothed with power. “48 You are witnesses of these things. 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.” Acts 1:8 continues, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This is how it should be as Christians ought to be powerful and victorious against the evil one but for that to happen we must have power. Our task is Acts 26:18 “to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. ” This can only take place in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The land as described in the gospels and as seen in the book of Acts is the Promised Land. We are supposed to be a people of Pentecost. Yes many say they are filled with the Holy Spirit but yet they only talk of power and there are few results. The promise of the seal of the Holy Spirit only comes with the true gospel and true repentance. Paul said in Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
Then follows this great prayer of appeal that Paul prayed. He said “17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Remember David made the same appeal to Solomon, yet we saw what happened to Solomon as he turned away from the truth to follow his own way. We also see this in letter to the churches from John when he was told write what you see. Not only was this a warning for these churches but a warning to us also. We just read this great passage to the Ephesians. Paul started the letter; “To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now listen to Revelation 2:2 ““To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Remember the lampstand represented the church itself. Revelation 1:20 “The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” This would also be a good time to remind us of the power of satan. He said to Jesus that Luke 4:5 “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” The church is at war. As we see here if we are not careful we will get off track. Sadly there are many in the church that have built kingdoms under this power and they do not even know it. Basically they have sold their souls to satan to be successful. You cannot be part of the gospel and worship under doctrines of demons.
Another church that was warned was Laodicea. When Paul was writing to Colossians he said 1:2 God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:” he was also communicating with the church of Laodicea. Colossians 2:1 “I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.” Colossians 4:12 “Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.” Obviously Laodicea ignored Paul’s teaching as Revelations 3:14 states, “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
We will do well to listen and stay on the course God has planned for us. We know from Judges 2 it only takes a generation to fall away and forget basically everything. We on the other hand have been over two thousands years of those going before not doing what we have been called to do. We can say this because there must be power. If there is no power, then the Spirit has turned from us just like Samson had happen to him and he became weak. Saying a little prayer, getting baptized, attending church Sunday after Sunday yet still not knowing the voice of the shepherd usually will send you on the wrong path because most do not know their bibles outside of the indoctrination they have received. Indoctrination simply means teaching someone to accept a set of beliefs without questioning them. By living this way we are disobeying. We cannot be blessed presently or eternally in our disobedience. This is why Jesus said “Repent for the Kingdom is near.” Not only is the kingdom now available to us where we live throughout the world but also the one we will spend eternity with Jesus is coming.
Yes there is the one kingdom here on earth prepared for us in the power of the Holy Spirit, the church and Jesus is the head. Just like the Promised Land was prepared for Israel to take so to is this land that we can take in the power of the Holy Spirit. They were told Exodus 23:20 “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.” Now we are not talking about that land of Old or the one being prepared for us as we speak as described in John. John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
We are talking about the present power of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Matthew 4:23 [ Jesus Heals the Sick ] “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” That is the complete gospel. Matthew 10:1 [ Jesus Sends Out the Twelve ] “Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” and so on and so on….. Because we too are his disciples, we have great hope not only for this Promised Land and the power available to all who believe but the one being prepared for us for eternity but we must believe Jesus is the way. John 14:5 “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
How awesome is that? Jude 24 “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” We do not have to fear. If we will trust and obey His word, he will prepare a way for us and we have nothing to fear. We will take this land just as Joshua took the land but as he warned we are warned, we must not turn to the right or to the left.
Next week we will look at how God makes possible a way back to the Promised Land from our disobedience.