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 Re: Designs of Darkness: Advanced Tactics of Spiritual Warfare

Brother Sree isn't it likely that when Paul spoke of being trustworthy and by reason "follow my example as I Christ" Paul was not pretending to be Christ Himself. Rather he was advocating having the same mind of Christ which he (Paul) put on daily. In that Paul would have also been an example of what to do when sin does have its way with us. Similarly isn't it equally as likely that Paul didn't neglect to comprehend the things he wrote regarding all believers being given a way of escape from all besetting sin. It seems incomprehensible that Paul would not have been the first to acknowledge his own inner inclinations to those he ministered too, simply by way of encouragement and as a practise of humility for the sake of Christ it would have been necessary. Otherwise he would have caused a great many people to stumble himself by seeming to be perfect. In fact he called himself, that which he understood of himself, "I am the chief among sinners" (Aortic).

 2013/1/24 9:44
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1803


 Re:

Quote:

All I was saying is that there is not a Christian live today - if he is being honest with himself - who does not need the blood of Christ to deal with secret revelations of sin (aka falling short of the glory of God). I am repudiating bloodless perfectionism. I admit I could have worded it differently, and I will, thanks to you.



Thanks a lot brother for the clarification. This is clearly a danger when God blesses us with spiritual victory, it is a difficult task for even God to keep us humble and seeking his grace (proof is my own life). This is the reason God breaks us well before blessing us with his grace (as rightly stated in your article). We will always need the blood of Jesus no matter how much spiritually mature we become in our Christian walk. I think the above quoted lines convey your idea better than the previous one.

Jesus in Sermon on the mount taught us how to pray by saying 'Forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of others'. We always need this in our prayers even if our conscience is clear before God like how Apostle Paul lived with no Conscious sins.


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Sreeram

 2013/1/24 9:55Profile
jimp
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Joined: 2005/6/18
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 Re:

hi all i know is that the best of us would fall at His feet as if dead if we saw Him in His glory and see how needfull we are and how little we have truly advanced in holiness.jimp

 2013/1/24 10:05Profile
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1803


 Re:

Quote:

Brother Sree isn't it likely that when Paul spoke of being trustworthy and by reason "follow my example as I Christ" Paul was not pretending to be Christ Himself. Rather he was advocating having the same mind of Christ which he (Paul) put on daily. In that Paul would have also been an example of what to do when sin does have its way with us. Similarly isn't it equally as likely that Paul didn't neglect to comprehend the things he wrote regarding all believers being given a way of escape from all besetting sin.



Excellent point!!! This doubt actually came to my mind as well. What if Paul was setting an example of following Christ rather than actually living like Christ. It could be true.

But there are other verses that we need to consider as well which are in similar note like 'follow me'.
Philippians 4-9:-The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Here Paul is saying whatever you see in me practice those things. If Sin was often getting into the way of Paul then how could he say that? How could he say practice everything you see in me? What if few things that people see in him was a sinful thing?

I believe that Paul was sinless in the areas he knew (based on the victory he got in past in those areas), the Philippians were not spiritually mature, hence they were definitely of lower standard than him. So he wanted to be a witness for the Christ's life in their midst. It is like to teach in a nursery school you do not need to be a PHD in all things.

This is exactly our calling as well - Acts 1-7 says our being (life) itself will be witness of Jesus when we receive the baptism of Holy Spirit. It is a promise of Jesus. Paul received it. If he received it then you and I can as well receive it if we believe. No one in old covenant could say such thing like Aposle Paul did. Even John the Baptist himself could not say such things.

Quote:

In fact he called himself, that which he understood of himself, "I am the chief among sinners" (Aortic).


I agree but this is Paul from his own perception. Same nursery school teacher may feel she is a fool when she stands before a person who has a doctorate. So the more Apostle Paul walked in Christ the more his sins were revealed to him and he considered himself as a sinner who is only saved because of Grace of God. But this did not make him not to be a witness for the life of Christ in the midst of Churches that he established.

This is true in my life as well, when I hear about terrorists or sex offenders, I thank God that if not for his grace I will be worse man than them.

Quote:

It seems incomprehensible that Paul would not have been the first to acknowledge his own inner inclinations to those he ministered too, simply by way of encouragement and as a practise of humility for the sake of Christ it would have been necessary.



Yes that is necessary and Paul has done that in many scripture. Example Romans 7 talks about how Paul Struggled under legalism doing things that he did not want to do. Romans 8 talks about the victory that Christ gave him by making him walk in his Spirit, causing him to have no obligation for yielding to flesh. But those were from past.

For example to show my kid that touching fire can burn my hand, I do not need to put my hand in fire. I can just tell her or show her my past burnt wounds and how painful it was. Now that I have matured I do not keep repeating those mistakes.


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Sreeram

 2013/1/24 10:31Profile









 Re: Designs of Darkness: Advanced Tactics of Spiritual Warfare

Quote:
Excellent point!!! This doubt actually came to my mind as well. What if Paul was setting an example of following Christ rather than actually living like Christ. It could be true.

But there are other verses that we need to consider as well which are in similar note like 'follow me'.
Philippians 4-9:-The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Sree



Brother it occurs to me that the whole council of scripture would be a better teacher than you or I. The difference between pretending to be like something and being something is clear enough. But if this is what was intended I have become a complete fool. When I wrote those words Galatians “not I but Christ” came to mind and as always what can one do. Write everything which comes to mind or simply seek to share another more attainable truth. Even though it is frowned upon most of what I share is based on personal experience rather than theological knowledge alone. So in writing thus about Paul I was really thinking of the men who I have met who dwelt on a hill and did a good job of overseeing the flock, but would not come down and be seen as mere men. One in particular really caused me so many problems because of this position he took. Not that he was in any way an unsound brother, I just needed help to understand my own failings. Jesus was without sin, so He was able to both have compassion on sinners and at the same time forgive sin. Paul was about building the church as a wise master builder and had no authority to forgive sin. Yet he definitely had to challenge it. It may be just sentiment on my part but I imagine Paul to have been a pretty challenging man on the one hand and at the same time an example of fallen humanity learning to walk by faith on the other. Not for his sake, rather for the sake of those who he was called to serve. Hence "follow my example". It is one thing to condone sin by building a theology of excuses, but it is a far better thing to teach and reprove as well as reveal your own humanity and weaknesses, which whilst they may not be visible to others, are nevertheless known to ones self. The outward good example can be followed, but a willingness to reveal inward realities without causing others to stumble is a true gift I believe. This is what I meant. Arming yourself with such a mind looks like sound spiritual warfare to me and sticks a finger in Satan' accusatory eye!

 2013/1/24 11:11
Sree
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Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1803


 Re:

Quote:

The outward good example can be followed, but a willingness to reveal inward realities without causing others to stumble is a true gift I believe.



I am not able to exactly understand your point. But if I am not mistaken this above quote of yours summarizes your thoughts.
I am in agreement with it. This is what I am currently doing in my Church, as most of them are much more spiritually mature than me including our moderator Greg Gordon!!! The only way I can encourage them is by sharing how God rescued me from my shortcomings without sharing deep into my struggles as it might cause others to stumble. There is just a fine line of difference and we need God's grace to do it. It is a gift.

When I was new to faith some 4 years back. My Church elder whom I lookup to talked to me personally about how he was tempted in Sexual areas and how God rescued him and how these temptations now have no place for him in his Christian walk. As a 25 years old guy this experience shared by him encouraged so much, gave me hope that I can win the battle as well. My respect for him increased.


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Sreeram

 2013/1/24 12:39Profile









 Re: Designs of Darkness: Advanced Tactics of Spiritual Warfare

Quote:
When I was new to faith some 4 years back. My Church elder whom I lookup to talked to me personally about how he was tempted in Sexual areas and how God rescued him and how these temptations now have no place for him in his Christian walk. As a 25 years old guy this experience shared by him encouraged so much, gave me hope that I can win the battle as well. My respect for him increased. Sree



Yes this is it in simplicity. The elder served you well in his attitude and probably kept you as well. What a blessing.

 2013/1/24 14:02









 Re:

Brother Paul:

In reading these excellent posts by you I was reminded of Austin Sparks sermons on Spiritual Warfare and Prayer, please see a quote below:

"To put that in another way: the more spiritual we become, the more spiritual does the warfare become; and the more spiritual the warfare is in our consciousness and in our knowledge, so we may realize that we have become more spiritual. When we are carnal our warfare is carnal, and I refer to believers and not to unbelievers. The unbeliever is not spoken of as carnal. He is natural. When we are carnal as believers, our warfare and our weapons are carnal. That is, we meet men on their own level and answer back their challenge with that with which they challenge us. If they come out in argument we counter with argument; if they come out with reason we meet them with reason; if they come out with fierce temper we meet them in the heat of the flesh; and if they come out to us with criticism, well, we give them what they give us and try to go one better, meeting them always on their own level.



That is carnal warfare, using carnal weapons. When we cease to be carnal and leave all carnal ground, becoming wholly spiritual, we find ourselves in a new realm at the back of men, dealing with spiritual forces directly and not with merely carnal forces. We have come into touch with something at the back of carnal man, and the carnal man is utterly helpless in the presence of a spiritual man for the simple reason that he cannot get the spiritual man to come down to his level. Therefore he is disarmed, and sooner or later he will have to recognize that that spiritual man is his superior. But the superiority is not just in that the spiritual man is on a new level. It is that he is meeting not the man naturally, but the forces behind the man. It is spiritual warfare now. We cease to fight after the flesh; we cease to fight man; we cease to battle with flesh; our warfare is in another realm altogether. That represents spiritual advance, spiritual growth, and it represents spirituality. And when we come into real spiritual warfare a spiritual state is pre-supposed. In that realm the natural man's resources are utterly useless. They are ruled out, because for that warfare only spiritual equipment is either permissible or effective. The warfare then is with spiritual weapons, spiritual resources and spiritual equipment. So Ephesians 6 finds us in the heavenlies, battling, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, but we are equipped with a spiritual armour, the armour of God" (Austin Sparks,In Touch with the Throne by T. Austin-Sparks, Chapter 2 - Prayer as Warfare, http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/001707.html).





 2013/1/27 13:54
PaulWest
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Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas

 Re:

Incredibly powerful post, brother. Sparks had a great depth of knowledge into these things. His writings warrant repeated readings and deep meditative thought. I intend on adding to this thread very soon - as soon as I can get away from the mortuary - and comment more thoroughly on this and the sanctification issues Sree brought up. I am confident God will speak to us in a most powerful way. Lives will be changed through this study, if we approach it with humility and honesty concerning our inward condition and how the partaking of God's divine nature relates to it. An understanding of these things brings incredible knowledge and new vistas of truth that can set us free from the power of sin and the influence of Satan upon our flesh and mind.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2013/1/27 18:32Profile
PaulWest
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 Re: Chapter 3 - Growing in the Dark

3. Growing in the Dark

If God’s ways are not according to human logic, this truth is nowhere more evident than in the way He grows His children in sanctification and wisdom. Saplings sprout from the earth under direct sunlight and in optimal temperatures, but in contrast to this, God’s children grow in the darkness, at night during times of trial and testing. They are refreshed in the sunlit presence of the Lord with spiritual reprieve and rejuvenation – but they grow in holiness and sanctification in the dark. As seeds germinate beneath in the sun-deprived darkness of the soil, and as the Lord knits babies together in the darkness of their mothers' wombs, so the Lord knits our spiritual bones and substance together in dark wombs of affliction. Did not Samson's hair grow back while He was in darkness? Did not God recapture Jonah's obedience while in the dark belly of a fish? Was it not from the darkness of the wilderness that Jesus came forth with the Spirit of the Lord upon Him for ministry? Did not even Almighty God form the earth within an initial void of created darkness, before the command of light?

Look at an earthly child. He eats and plays during the day, when sunlight encompasses his world. But at night, while sleeping, the food he ate miraculously transforms into bone and muscle. It is in the darkness of sleep and in the cocoon of sunless dormancy where his actual growth takes place – and to the extent that when he awakens, he is noticeably taller and his features all the more defined and mature. All parents have observed this bittersweet metamorphosis in their children.

Beloved, God’s children grow in the dark as well. In the dark cocoon of trials and difficulties are their brilliant colors formed, and wings of faith made to bring them to God’s throne of grace. This is why we are taught not to despise the chastening and correction of the Lord, and why we are to embrace His rod in the furnace of tests and trials and temptations. It is in the fire where the precious metals of earth gain their worth in the estimation of men. The Christian, likewise, is tempered and seasoned and grown in uncomfortable atmospheres which seem unfruitful for the furtherance of value. We know our that righteous Father forever seeks the utmost good for His children, and if this means weeping in a temporal den of failure and misery like Peter, then we must endure His rod of purification and never doubt His love.

Remember this the next time you fail. The night cometh; the fire is kindled - and our voluntary suffering in the flesh is God's will for the promotion of Christ's Life in our vessels. The flesh suffers so the precious elements of the spirit can come forth with brilliancy. Yes, enter into God's appointed chamber of growth with weeping and mourning over your own unprofitable resolutions, your myriad of failures, your broken aspirations to please Him. But know that God’s plans for your life are not negated in the least within the cocoon of darkness, but rather forged upon the anvil of suffering. If you trust Him, He will see you though the furnace. He will hold you in His mighty Hand while you sleep, and when the sun finally rises, you will have grown. And your growth will be noticeable to all.

The lowly caterpillar resigns to the bonds of the cocoon only to one day fly away in the light of liberation and beauty. The worm's means of freedom grew while he slept in the darkness, and yours will as well. Allow God keep you in the lair of darkness to bring you into glorious knowledge of the liberty of grace. His plan for your life is to adorn you in the beauty of Christ; to mint you with His life, and to impart His divine nature in you to such a degree that you might fly above all the darkness of sin and bondage of the earth's pull.

Sometimes a believer will fail a test of God and enter into a season of darkness. Perhaps he was living a life of victory, walking with a clean conscience before God and enjoying the resources of Christ’s Life, when a temptation hit and suddenly took away their peace and snuffed their light. They thought they were strong; they thought they could stand up to it and resist as they had many times in the past. They had been walking in the Spirit that morning - by the evening, however, they find themselves cast down and once again in the dregs of a besetting sin. Because they loathe themselves to such a degree, there is a great reluctance to be recovered before God. This is because they feel they are fighting a hopeless cause, and that their Christianity is just not “working”, despite knowing and experiencing all the verses and truths pertaining to the divine nature. Satan is quick to invade the darkness and convince them that any continuation of walking with God is futile.

These children, in their depression, must be encouraged with the truth of all-loving, all-wise Father who allows certain things to happen for the furtherance of their good. This is not to say that God condones or causes sinful acts. We know from scripture that God will allow the tempter of souls to strike at the hearts of His children – for a specific purpose. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness specifically to be tested by Satan; Jesus foretold of Peter’s allowance to be sifted by request of Satan; Satan asked to destroy all which righteous Job held in possession, and God granted all of these. If the enemy had asked to sift someone like Peter (who was strong in the faith, but weak in the flesh), the enemy will also ask to sift someone like you and me. And God may allow it in time. When He permits the enemy to strike, a strong presentation to engage in evil will suddenly come to your mind. It will come as a rebellion against the light God has already given you on the subject of enticement. Previously, you could hold your ground against it and resist it with power – but suddenly it’s coming in like a tsunami and you’re not ready. The powers of darkness are opportunistic. They wait until your mind is weak, and until your flesh is howling for release. They wait for the light of your conscience to dim before pouncing.

When a believer fails God, he always fails against the will of his regenerated inner man. He so loathes sin, yet in those dire moments he feels himself suddenly helpless, overpowered and flesh-dominated. It is never the Lord’s will that we fail during these times of testing, but if we are going to fail, He foreknew it and yet still permitted it. It is hard for us to wrap our minds around this concept because we are accustomed to processing information in patterns of human logic. It’s difficult for us to compute God allowing an event to transpire, knowing it will cause us to sin. But didn’t He already know Peter would deny Christ - and yet, being fully able to prevent it, chose instead to allow Peter to fall? Yes. The Lord had a great lesson to teach Peter, which could only be acquired in the darkness of despair brought on by failure. The Lord is not an earthly teacher. An earthly teacher, when she gives a test, does not know her pupils’ grades until after the test is taken. But God knows all the grades beforehand, and yet still administers the tests in order to teach His children the subject matter of grace in a supremely profound way.

The reason God allows such tests is to demonstrate to us that only Christ can pass them. When we fail a test in God's school, it is because we took it ourselves and did not allow Christ to take the test for us. A failing grade always indicates an insufficiency of grace. The great end of all God’s testing in allowing the devil to sift us is to amplify the righteousness of Jesus Christ, destroy all boasting, and convince us of the necessity of Holy Spirit empowerment for living the Christian life. When we take a test and fail, our eyes are usually blind to the fact that we took the test ourselves. There is a reluctance to look up to God because of our sense of hopelessness. A defeatist mindset encompasses us and we begin to see ourselves as worthless subjects. Ah – but this is precisely the reason why our Teacher of teachers administered the test! It is to foster within us the very understanding that we are unable to master the subject matter apart from Christ. An earthly teacher introduces the subject matter to her students for them to display it comprehensibly on the test; God, in contrast, uses the test’s incomprehensibility to demonstrate the subject matter to His children. And the subject matter is always the grace which comes through Jesus Christ. These lessons of grace are often learnt in a dark classroom, with Satan as God’s appointed proctor over the test material.

If we fail a test and are in the dark, God would have us get up immediately and continue on in faith. Our Father wills that after each test-failure we would approach the blood of Christ through confession of our failure and be instantly restored. He calls us to look into His Word to see how and why we flunked. The Word of God is like a mirror which sits upon a wash-basin filled with Christ’s blood. In this mirror we are to look, confess, and wash. That is His remedial program. When you fail any test, you return to this basin. The more you come to it through humility and the will to master the test’s subject matter, the more you will be transformed with the wisdom which comes from above.

So, my dear reader, never stay down after you flunk a test in God’s school. Pick yourself up in the dark after you fall and go to the mirror of God’s Word and wash in the fountain of Christ’s blood. This is where you grow. Here is a tip for your next test: God allows the enemy to tempt the hearts and wound the souls of His children usually because of pride. If He sees you are beginning to leave your first love or have forgotten how He cleansed you from your former sins, these may also warrant a surprise exam to where you find yourself in a chamber of seasonal darkness. Do not stay down in the dark. Come up to the mirror and confess. Get cleaned up! The subject matter you were unprepared for was the employment of the grace of Jesus Christ. The test’s purpose – as with every one of God’s tests – is to teach you that you cannot pass any of them but for the grace of the life of Jesus in you.

...to be continued


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Paul Frederick West

 2013/2/1 9:25Profile





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