Posts Tagged ‘sword of the Spirit’

Prophetic Preaching

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent Me.” (John 7:16)

Jesus consistently preached under the anointing of God, as we see in the above verse. Yet the key to being prophetic is that Jesus’ message carried the weight of supernatural creativity, breakthrough and fulfillment.  A prophetic preacher may use the gifts of teaching, exhortation and prophecy in a variety of ways; but the power of the message itself, will shift the atmosphere (Rom. 1:16-17). That is what makes it prophetic!

“And take the … sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God” (Eph 6:17)

Prophetic Preaching contains a ‘Now’ Word:

The prophetic gift is employed to make known the thoughts, purpose and intent of God. Prophetic preaching has a sense of immediacy. In the New Testament, the Greek word ‘rhema’ primarily refers to the spoken word that carries power in its ‘utterance’, whereas ‘logos’ primarily refers to the written word, the logic of God or His thought process. Prophetic teaching and preaching releases the rhema of God’s “Spirit-breathed”, current Word. It is designed to reveal the Father’s “Now Word”, making known something that if believed would come forth. It answers the question, ‘What is God’s Word to us in this season?’

Example: The Apostle Paul said, “the word is near you even in your mouth and in your heart, that is the word of faith that we preach” (Rom. 10:8). He goes on to say that if you act on it by confessing and believing, you will be saved… You will be transformed!

What happens in prophetic preaching is that we are drawn into an experience by the conviction of the Holy Spirit as well as the will to believe and step into its power. It sets a Kairos moment… the opportune time for change and transformation. Prophetic preaching opens doorways into heavenly blessing, revelation and assignments.

“This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.” (1 Cor 2:13)

Based on Spiritual Revelation:

Prophetic preaching is inspired by the Holy Spirit through the means of revelation. The word ‘revelation’ in the New Testament Greek, apokalupsis, means an ‘uncovering’ or ‘disclosure’. In other words, God is revealing something by His Spirit that is not known by natural means… its a mystery. There is often a call to action or a need to respond and activate the Word received by the hearer. This is why we place a high priority on seasons of prayer or altar times, to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts when the atmosphere has been shifted in a room or auditorium. This may be to align one’s heart or actions, to pay attention to a timely warning or submit to guidance. When we do not position ourselves for God’s present or future plans, we often miss our opportunity. The consistent results of the prophetic instructions of God are for transformation and breakthrough.

Notice these two examples:

  1. “The children of Issachar, who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel should do… and all their brethren were at their command” (1 Chron. 12:32)
  2. “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” (Mt. 7:28-29)

Prophetic Preaching Carries Authority:

This authority is not based upon the preacher’s gift, but on the basis of being entrusted with a message from God Himself. Throughout Scripture, the instruction given through a prophet brought breakthrough for God’s people. This included strategic guidance in a time of warfare (2 Chron. 20:14-17), a word of action in crisis (Gen 41:25-46) or a specific declaration of breakthrough (2 Kings 7:1-2). Prophetic preaching is of great value when a shift is needed to bring the Kingdom of God and push back against the darkness that floods our vision.

Empowering the Church:

“Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.”  (Acts 15:32)

The outcome of prophetic preaching, just as with all prophetic ministry, is that the Church and its leadership is built up, strengthened and empowered. (1 Cor 14:3-4)

The Reality of War

Christians need to recognize the reality of spiritual conflict and warfare. We are born into conflict — against the world, against our carnal desires, and against the devil. If you do not know the nature of your enemy; if you do not know who your foes are, you cannot fight… much less walk in victory. It’s only when you realize what you’re up against that you can be victorious.

Christian Soldiers are Called to War:

The Bible says we must stand against our spiritual enemies as Christian soldiers (2 Tim. 2:4). When God calls you to Kingdom responsibility, you become part of the army of God. You can truthfully sing, “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war”, because you are at war and you have a target on your back. You need to remember that if you’re living for Jesus Christ, the powers of darkness are aligned against you. You are on Satan’s hit list!

Get Equipped:

Becoming equipped is more than gaining knowledge or taking a stance. It requires a transformed mind and a well developed character. You must become a person of faith and valor… a person who is equipped in the realities of war! Jesus, Himself said that the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Mt. 11:12). I want to offer four principles to help you be victorious in spiritual warfare as a Christian Soldier.

1st) Learn to Endure Hardship.

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3)

If you want to be a soldier, you need to get in shape. You can’t go out and fight hand-to-hand combat when you are little more than a fat little baby in Christ. While you’re sitting around in your diapers, the enemy is going to have you for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You need to strengthen your spiritual muscles and gear up for spiritual realities. You need to be able to respond. If you can’t respond in physical combat, you die. It’s as simple as that. Likewise, you must learn to respond in spiritual ways, or you will become spiritually wounded.

A key to strengthening spiritual muscles and enduring hardship is finding strength in the Word of God. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Never forget this: ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of the Lord Jesus Christ. And ignorance of Christ is ignorance of your own defenses. You can’t defend yourself unless you are walking in the Light of God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

2nd) Be Self-Controlled and Alert.

You must learn to “be self-controlled and alert” for “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).

He is looking for you! There’s no such thing as a sleepy, successful soldier. Sleepy soldiers — soldiers who are not alert — have one thing in common. They’re all dead! God says if you want to succeed in spiritual war, you must be self-controlled and alert. Being self-controlled is a fruit of the Spirit and it offers you the means to know what to do and the strength to do it. Only then will you be able to spiritually discern and resist the enemy’s subtle attacks.

3rd) Build Your Faith in Christ.

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 Jn. 5:4-5).

Faith is your victory! Its absolutely critical in spiritual conflict that you walk by faith, because it is an unseen war. Our faith is in the Ultimate Conqueror – Jesus Christ – who admonishes His followers: “Take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Christ imparts the capacity to conquer every single day and all we have to do is believe in Him. You need to get up in the morning and say, “Lord Jesus, I believe You have conquered the world! Conquer today through me! I believe in you! Give me the capacity to see as You see. I am a person of faith and valor… remove my doubts and fill me with the boldness of faith that is necessary for victory today.”

4th) Put On Spiritual Armor.

“Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11)

Are you catching this? You can stand against Satan’s schemes and attacks. You can be victorious! Ephesians 6:10-20 speaks of the various pieces of spiritual armor God has provided. Nobody goes out to war in their pajamas; no, you go out with 30 or 40 pounds of equipment. Yet, I see so many immature Christians running around in their spiritual underwear, trying to do warfare against a powerful enemy. And they don’t understand why the flaming arrows of the wicked one are sticking out of their spiritual derrieres.

You must put on the whole armor of God… the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the readiness to preach the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And Pray… with all kinds of prayers! These are God’s tools for taking spiritual dominion and reigning in all that He has promised.

Note that every piece of armor in Ephesians 6 is for the front of the body. There isn’t a single piece for your backside. Do you know why? Because soldiers do not turn around in the middle of combat, they move forward. The reason many believers are weak and ineffective is that in the midst of battle, they fail to rely upon the armor God has made available in Christ. Fearing the enemy’s threats; they back away from their convictions, because they lack the faith and valor of Spiritual Soldiers.

Take this to heart, my friend… Jesus Christ is the Exalted One! Its His Name that is above every name and His authority that is established as supreme over all. He is Our King… listen to Him, listen to the Holy Spirit and walk in the love of the Father. You will be strong and do great exploits by His power at work in you! (Dan. 11:32)

A Call to Action

The Bible declares that the weapons believers use to fight their daily battles, are mighty in God and have great power to sustain their spiritual position in Christ. Our warfare is all about spiritual discernment and confidence! Fear and frustration must turn into courage and faith, because far too much spiritual ground is being left unguarded, unwisely. We seem unaware that our enemy is like a “prowling lion in the weeds”, waiting to pounce. Weapons that are ignored, go unused and inflict no damage against our foes… and they don’t win wars. So, the will to use a weapon is as important as the weapon itself. It is not enough to say we believe that spiritual warfare is going on… we must feel the called to action!

Why Hesitate?

We need to realize that passivity is simply the response of the unbelieving heart! People who are disengaged from spiritual reality often walk as practicing atheists. They might say they believe in God, but never really develop an interest in His priorities for their future.  The realm of the spirit is the most powerful dimension in the universe, but it is not the most obvious to the natural mind. We seem to wage more battles in the natural realm, than in the spirit; and our discipline (as followers of Christ) must come from God’s perspective. The truth is that our enemy is out to destroy our destiny and steal our goods! What the devil wants, is for us to feel like we can casually go about our business, as if he doesn’t exist and disregard his sneaky deceptions. Satan’s goal is to cool our passion and lull us to complacency. The passive heart never recognizes the need for the resources established in Christ!

But We Are – Enforcers of Christ’s Victory!

Waking Up to Reality:

There is no neutral ground on the spiritual battlefield. Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me” (Mt 12:30). The Word of God is against passivity and shouts to every soldier of the cross, “It’s time to advance…” to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12), endure hardness as a good soldier (2 Tim 2:3), resist the devil (James 4:7), put on the whole armor of God (Eph 6:13) and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17). “To wake up and see as God sees, means setting our gaze a bit higher than the natural horizon!”

We must blow the trumpet in Zion!

Like the Prophet Joel, we must proclaim this among the nations: “Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near, let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears… Let the weak say, ‘I am strong (Joel 3:9-10). Today one phrase resounds in my heart…

“Wake up you mighty men!”

Our Enemy is a Squatter!

The devil is taking territory, he has no right to occupy. Its’ time for the people of God to put on strength and advance in the face of their adversary. Maybe you don’t feel mighty at this moment. But you are, whether you feel like it or not. We all are… if we’ve made Jesus the Lord of our lives! There is supernatural strength in you! The time has come for us to hear a call to action and start responding like warriors!

Complacency is hindering the work of God, harming saints and holding entire nations hostage. This is a call to action, because too few believers are using their Kingdom authority to actively, aggressively resist the thief. Church has never been about entertaining services or Sunday School pot-lucks… its war and the time has come for a company of Saints to take up arms. The Apostle Paul said it like this:

  • “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:10-13)
  • “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Cor. 10:3-6)

Fighting Spiritual Battles

“Praying always with all (kinds of) prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” (Eph. 6:18)

Prayer is a major weapon in fighting the spiritual battles we face as Christ’s followers. The Apostle Paul reminds us that ultimately our struggles are not against flesh and blood, but against demonic fortresses in heavenly places (Eph. 6:10-20). The picture he paints for us is that of a war. Life as a Christian must not be seen as a playground - it’s a battlefield. We must stop being satisfied with the present condition of our casual spiritual lifestyle. We must pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) and with fervent passion for more (Jms. 5:16).

The #4 Reason to Pray: Spiritual Warfare!

We are instructed by an experienced spiritual soldier, the Apostle Paul. Like a Roman Centurion, he speaks of putting on the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness and having our loins gird about with truth. He expects the feet of every soldier under Christ’s command to be shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, to be equipped with a shield of faith and a sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. In the Apostle’s view there is no retreat, no failure and no plan “B”. Our mission is to advance the Kingdom of God on planet Earth and should we accept our assignment, we will be fighting for our spiritual lives and those of our neighbors, friends and the nations.

Prayer is the Heavy Artillery!

If I were writing this passage, I would say, “Now get out there and fight the battle!” But the Apostle Paul does not say that. In fact, he waits until all the armor is fully understood and in place to communicate the real assignment in spiritual warfare – Prayer! Its the heavy artillery of battle. Notice what he says: “With all kinds of prayer… pray, being watchful… pray, with all perseverance… pray, and for all the saints… pray”. In two verses, we are commanded to pray five different times. Do you think God is trying to make a point? He is attempting to seize our attention concerning prayer’s power to defeat the devil and his tactics. 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (2 Cor. 10:3-4)

The weapon of prayer softens and pulls down Satanic fortresses. It is the cannon, reducing the wall to rubble… so that the troops can break through, take gound and possess the promises of God. Too often, the Kingdom advancement moves slowly because the softening-up process of prayer has been neglected. When practiced, however, prayer exposes the lies and deception the enemy hides behind and destroys the works that make the Christian vulnerable to defeat. Prayer is the place where revelation, discernment and spiritual victories are achieved. When the Church prays… the battles are won!

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 Jn. 4:4)

Mighty Warrior

Archives