Tony Evans at Moody Founder’s Week – There is no more important place to know Christ than the struggles of life

Dr. Tony Evans begins by recounting that Moody Bible Institute was the first radio station to open it’s doors to his African American ministry. Moody also published Dr. Evans’ first book (he has published 60 books to date).

Dr. Evans: Far too many of us are addressing the wrong problem. We’re addressing the thing that the five senses grasp: What we see, and feel, and touch, and taste, the things that are the obvious. But, Paul says in Ephesians 6 that we are struggling, not against flesh and blood. That our battles, our struggles, our fight, our war is not fundamentally physical- „We do not struggle against flesh and blood, but, against the rulers and powers, against world forces … against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

He says, „Your primary problem is what you do not see”. It does not come form flesh and blood; it comes from an invisible influence in our world and in our lives, creating our struggle and our pain- a wrestling match. He says it emanates from a location he calls- heavenly places. This explanation, or use of verbage by Paul is unique to him. He says, for example, in Ephesians 1:3 „Your blessings are in heavenly places.” He says in chapter 1:20 „Jesus Christ is risen and is seated in a heavenly place.”He says in chapter 2:6 „We are seated with Him in heavenly places.” It says in chapter 3:10 that the angels operate out of heavenly places. He says in chapter 6:12 the demons operate in heavenly places.

One might get the impression ‘heavenly places’ is where all the action is. Heavenly places is a euphemism is for the spiritual realm. What he is saying is that the struggle you are dealing with in the earthly realm is emanating from the spiritual realm. It goes something like this: If all you see is what you see, you do not see all that is to be seen. And, that goes on to say that unless you and I learn to operate from that realm, we will be defeated in this realm. Because (Paul) says, your struggle, the thing causing your day to day angst and anguish does not emanate from the physical realm in which you’re feeling it throb. It emanates from a whole ‘nother sphere called heavenly places. And heavenly places has good stuff- Christ, we seated with Him, our blessing, angels, and bad stuff- he says, the demonic realm. And all that’s taking place in the unseen realm, working itself out in the realm that we see every single day.

Moody’s Founder’s Week Theme this year is „Knowing Christ”. And, there is no more important place to know Christ than the struggles of life. To know Christ in the beautiful music (that we heard tonight) and the great fellowship that we experience is wonderful. But, the reality is many have come here tonight dragging something behind them. And while they will be distracted for an hour or two, they will drag it back out that door, and they’re going to be in anguish and pain. And, the Christ I wanna know is the Christ, who not only gives me a great anticipation for heaven, but, who meets me in history. It is a Christ who has covered my eternity, but, doesn’t skip me in time.

Instructing these Christians in Ephesus, who are living in a pagan society, with a pagan goddess Diana, with a pagan orientation, they have to deal with the reality of a secular world, Paul writes his most comprehensive statement  on spiritual victory in all of the New Testament, because he introduces us to the armor of God. (From the first 12 minutes of a 48 min. message).

At Moody Bible Institute Founder’s Week February 7, 2013-

Armor of God – Truth is God’s view of any subject matter

1. Belt of Truth. Truth is reality in it’s original form, and since God is the originator of all reality- if truth is reality in it’s original form, and origination starts with God, then truth must be whatever God says on any subject you’re discussing.

Why do you need a truth belt? Because the person you’re fighting is a liar. He, not only is a liar, he is the father of lies. So truth must be used in your battle.

  • Truth transcends how you feel. Please do not misunderstand. You do not deny how you feel. If you’re happy, you’re happy. If you’re sad, you’re sad. That’s just how you feel. But, how you feel should never determine what you declare to be true. No matter what you’re battling today, you are to speak what God says about it, not speak merely how you feel about it.  If what you feel about it is not what God says about it, you have invited Satan to control the arena of your battle. You must speak the truth, you must declare what God says it is. (20:00)

armor-of-god-sword-of-spirit2. Breastplate of Righteousness – Righteousness is that standard that is acceptable to God. The reason that other world wants you in unrighteousness, in sin, is because once they have you in an unrighteous state, they can now occupy the environment. Demons are attracted to unrighteousness. The problem with sin is not just sin. The problem with sin is what sin attracts. So, you not only have the problem of the sin itself. If you’ve ever had occasion to have trash laying around your house, for any extra amount of time, you may wind up with some unwanted guests. Some ants, or some roaches, you may wind up with some folk you never formally invited. You just created an atmosphere that made them think they  were invited. So, by virtue of the trash, that is the unrighteousness, they have been allowed to come in, so that now you have a double problem. You have the problem of the trash, and the problem of the demons that have exacerbated the the trash. And, it is unfortunate today that New Testament Christians have lost the theology of demonology, to understand that the reasons why addictions exist is because the person who is addicted is not just addicted to the thing they are addicted to; they are addicted to the thing they are addicted to that has been exacerbated by demonic invitation. And, since demons have been invited to participate, because unrighteousness is a breeding ground for them, to invite themselves. The battle is deep.

So, the draw or motivation for righteousness of the heart is to make sure that we do not exacerbate the problem of sin with the unwanted guest- the demons, with whom we area actually wrestling.

3. Shoes of Peace. There is nothing that will confirm that you are in the place you ought to be, and doing what you ought to do than the practical confirming of the peace of God. But, look: Peace is number 3. Because you’ll never have peace, if you don’t have truth. And you’ll never have peace if you aren’t right with the Lord. But, if you have truth and you are right it gets confirmed with peace. Why peace, and why your feet? Because that’s what you’re moving with, and go in the direction you’re going. God confirms truth and righteousness with peace.

But, what is peace? It is not just calm, because people can have calm in any number of circumstances. The Bible refers to peace that surpasses understanding because I don’t understand why I have it in what I’m dealing with. The way God confirms that you’re right where you’re supposed to be, even though you struggle in life is He gives you calm in the midst of a storm. There is peace in the will of God, even if it’s raining. God confirms where you are based on truth and righteousness and confirmed peace.

4. Take up the shield of faith. This is a misunderstood word: Faith. How do you know that you have it? Is it a feeling called faith, and what happens if I don’t feel faith-ish? What is this thing called faith? Faith is acting like God is telling truth. Faith is acting like it is so, even when it’s not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so. You measure faith by the movement of your feet. If your feet are not moving, you don’t have faith, no matter how faith-ish you feel. Faith is the action of the feet, that activates the provision of God. People sit in their pews week after week, and say ‘I have faith’. But, their feet haven’t moved. If your feet haven’t moved, you don’t have faith. That’s why it’s called ‘walking by faith’… keep moving.

Paul says, „Take up the shield of faith, which is able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the evil one. Take up the shield of faith… what are these fiery darts? The Greek word for dart is arrow. But, he doesn’t just say arrow, he says fiery arrow. That is arrows whose tips have been set aflame. A fiery arrow is designed to create distraction, as the Indians shot arrows at wagons knowing that the cowboys could not fight fire and fight Indians at the same time. Your enemy wants to distract you from the truth of God, the righteousness of God, and the peace of God. And if he can distract you from acting on what God says, and keep you acting on what everybody else says, and even what you say to yourself, it will distract you from the provision of God. One of the main reasons we live in defeat is we don’t have faith, even when we feel full of faith is because we’re not moving on what God says. We’re just discussing it, debating it, philosiphy-ing about it. But, until there is movement, faith has not been exercised.  It is the movement that demonstrates faith.

5. Helmet of salvation. He’s talking to believers here, so he’s talking about the helmet of justification. These folks are already saved. He’s called them saints already. He’s talking about God’s ability to deliver. The word salvation means ‘to be delivered’. Justification delivers you from hell. He’s talking to people who’ve already been justified, that need to be delivered on earth. And if you’re struggling, you need to be saved, that is delivered through or around your situation, whatever it might be. The helmet covers your head, your brain. Whatever you do is because your head tells your body to do it. Paul says you must think differently.

Every time you take communion, the Bible says that you are to remember the new covenant. The New Covenant is that relationship or covering that comes to every new believer who belongs to Jesus Christ. A covenant is like an umbrella, it covers. If you have an umbrella, but it’s closed, you’re not doing what the umbrella’s been designed to do. A covenant is a covering. Then Jesus says, „I want you to proclaim My death, until I come.” The question is proclaim it to who, about what? Who am I proclaiming His death to, by taking the wafer, and taking the juice and proclaiming His death? It is to the devil. Every time you take communion, you are declaring to the spiritual world, „I am under the covenant covering of Jesus Christ, and you don’t own me anymore.” That’s why communion is the most powerful action of the church. It is more powerful than singing, it’s more powerful than preaching, because it’s your direct access to Christ, to tell hell  that it no longer has authority in your life. Jesus wants you to understand that what you have gotten yourself into with this helmet (of salvation) of what it means to be delivered.It comes from Him.

6. Finally, take the sword of the Spirit of God. The only offensive weapon, a sword. And it’s the only offensive weapon because it’s the only thing the Spirit uses. The Spirit doesn’t use what you think. He doesn’t use just stuff; He uses His word. The Greek word for word is the word rhema. You have the word ‘graphe’, and that is the Book- the Bible is the graphs- it is the record. You have the ‘logos’, the logos is the content of the record. It’s what the record says, and what the record means. Then you have the ‘rhema’. The rhema is the utterance. It is the declaring, It’s what Jesus did in the wilderness. Satan says, „You’re hungry, you need to eat.” Jesus says, „Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He takes the Old Testament word and He speaks it to the devil. Jesus used the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The greek word for sword is dagger, the short kind for an up close battle. So when the devil is all up in your face, you use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Now, there’s 6 pieces of armor, but your theme is knowing Jesus.

  1. Jesus says, „I am the truth, the way, and the life.”
  2. Jesus says, „I am your righteousness.”
  3. Jesus says, „My peace I leave with you.”
  4. Jesus says, „I am the author, and the finisher of your faith.”
  5. Jesus says, „I am the captain of your salvation.”
  6. Jesus says, „I am the living word.”

So, you see, all you need to do is put on Jesus. And, when you put on Jesus, you have on the armor. The armor does not mean you will not have battles, this context is a struggle. It means that the enemy won’t have the last word.

Al Mohler – We want a King

Mohler

At Moody Bible Institute Founder’s Week February 6, 2013 at Moody Memorial Church. Uploaded by MoodyBibleInstitute

1 Samuel 8

Israel Demands a King

8 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba.Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

Samuel’s Warning Against Kings

10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots.12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

The Lord Grants Israel’s Request

19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

The second text is from Revelation 19:11 – The Rider on a White Horse

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is calledFaithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. 20 And the beast was captured, and with itthe false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two werethrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

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