This message was shared by Terry Virgo on November 14th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai. It was one of the Seminar Tracks. Audio link to follow shortly
1 Timothy 6:11-12
Fight the good fight of faith. We are called to fight, to have a militant attitude.
The fight is in the dimension of faith. Faith heroes of the Bible are like warriors not philosophers. They fought- they did not go with the flow.
To advance, we need a fight. The battle theme of Ephesians 6 is right through the Bible. Put on the armour and fight. There is a conflict we are involved in. Nehemiah sis not want to be a fighter. He was a builder. The walls were broken. It had lost its distinctiveness.
We fell like that with the church. We want to build and bring back its distinctiveness.
But you find that when you want to build you will face a fight. When you stand to build like Nehemiah, they wanted to kill him. He did not run away. In Psalm 8- Sons of Ephraim, fully equipped, ran away. Beware of the danger of not prevailing and breaking through. We have a very hostile and strong enemy.
Adam, the son of God and yet Satan could take him out. We mustn’t kid ourselves. This is not a game. He took out Judas who lived with Jesus for 3 years. He saw Lazarus being raised from the dead and yet he completely missed it. Peter was tripped up. Ananias and Saphira, Satan filled their hearts to lie.
That’s why Paul came for Timothy. It’s not our enemy- it’s God’s enemy. Because we identify with Christ we get attacked. He does not fight fair. He will get you at your weakest. He is subtle, cunning, an angel of light. He will creep up on you.
Jesus rebukes Peter, ‘get behind me Satan’. Satan showing compassion and telling you to take the easy way out. Parents can stop kids from giving their life to God saying we’ve paid for your degree, etc.
He distorts, he lies- he’s the father of lies. He will lie to you about yourself, he will tell you are useless. He will rob you of things you know. He will come against you and tell you to give up. You give up. You haven’t got it. And you think it’s your reflection and assessment of yourself. He will rob your joy, distract you and take you off.
He will tell you lies about God. If you trust God, you are giving away your freedom. You will be tempted like this all the time.
God does not want you to be a stoic philosopher. That’s not Christianity. It’s about trusting Jesus and moving on. It’s not about keep going, but knowing what you are here for. Jeremiah 29:11- I know the plans I have for you.
Satan will lie about his ability to help you.
Eph 4- Unity. Satan will lie to you about your brothers. Make every effort to keep the unity. In your imagination- as a pastor, you hear people’s hearts. You can imagine things and distort it in your mind. If Satan can sow this in your church you will not get anywhere. We have to take time to build love, fellowship and unity.
He can come into marriage. I don’t think he/she loves me. He puts things out of proportion.
He will tell you lies about circumstances. There is no way you can get through this. Like Jericho, Jordan has closed, the manna has stopped, and Jericho ahead.
We have to take up the fight of faith. People live with a sense of failure. David said, one day I’ll die at the hands of Saul. That’s where he got it from. He thought he won’t fulfill his call. Jonathan strengthened his heart in God. Put him on his feet again.
Satan accuses us day and night. Zechariah 3- it’s about restoration of worship. Satan is accusing us day and night and we hear the Lord rebuke you. Satan wants to get you head on “give him clean clothes…”
Rom 8- it is God who justifies. Who can condemn? We have to train our thinking not to take on negative stuff. It is lining up our thoughts with scripture. So don’t be overcome by the storm but by fighting with faith. Depression, self-pity, anxiety are all real issues.
Q. Why do we fight?
If we don’t fight, we will lose. If we fight, we will win. Surrender is not the biggest thing. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Q. How do we lay hold of what God has called us to?
2 Tim 1:9- He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.
Dean Sherman said, “the most important battle takes place in the human mind.” It is a holy calling. It’s not according to works but according to his purposes. God did not call us because we are impressive or have something- our education, money, background. God chose Peter. God chooses the foolish, not many wise. It is a call of grace. That’s how we stand our ground. We don’t say God I did all this for you, God knows us. He is not shocked by our weaknesses. You have to fight to keep this ground. You don’t just surrender. You don’t give up but fight for what God has said over your life. You rise to the call over your life in faith.
It’s a call that has eternal purpose. Jesus said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Faith rising to that. God does not give up on us. It’s a powerful call. God opened Lydia’s heart. Saul/Paul who was hostile was hand-picked. When we were saved we were dead like Lazarus. Then he calls us and we are made alive. He calls us for a purpose and we lay hold of it.
Ephesians 1-5 tells us who we are for a purpose which is in Ephesians 6. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand”. When Jesus says do it, you can do it.
Faith is an activity- something that is exercised. It does not come into operation by itself. You and I have to put it into operation. It is not automatic. You have to do something. Faith has to be exercised.
When Peter says “we are perishing” Jesus says, where is your faith? Jesus never said anything that was not motivated by love. You can think Jesus was harsh or you can think Jesus thought he could do it. ‘Why do you doubt?’ it has us thinking of looking two ways. If Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he would be able to walk on the water.
We need to run at giants and take them out like David did. The giant/ Satan is mocking us daily. We need to take him out because Jesus took it all on the cross. Therefore we can stand. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. Worthy is the kind that conquered the grave. We should not take the taunts anymore. Fight the fight of faith. See in Heb 11. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down. The Heb 12 witnesses are telling us that we can trust him.
God is calling us to be fighters. We do this daily. God will take us through. We need to win our private battles before we win public battles. David took out the lion and the bear before Goliath. Elijah had that encounter with the widow and the oil before the prophets of Baal.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.