Opening Verse. 2 Cor 2: 3 Are we beginning to seek attention for ourselves again? or do we need, as some do, letters of praise, recommendation) that we need to give to you or do we need to get letters of praise recommendation from you?) 2(Answer No!!!) ?You are our letters, written in our hearts, known and read of all men; 3?being that you are an letter of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in tables that are hearts of flesh.
American Standard Version. 1995 (2 Co 3:1). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
We studied last time elements of the New Covenant. We mentioned last time that the Covenant of the Law “The ministry of death” Revealed mankind as a sinner in need of a savior. Which is the author of Hebrews says is “Glorious” We must reflect on what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 3:23 “That all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And in 1 John 1:8 That if we say we are without sin, we are (lying to ourselves) Just as it is critical for the Unbeliever to recognize that he is a sinner in need of a savior. It is also critical for the Believer in Jesus Christ to recognize that he is a sinner. And just because he is now born into the family of God. He does not miraculously quit sinning. There are some Christians that believe this. And if you point out moments of weakness that they are doing. They won't call it sin, but “Backsliding”
So we need to recognize that we sin and when we do what tool do we have available to recover
from that sin? 1 John 1:9. Lets take a few moments of silent prayer.
So as we will notice studying the Book of Acts, Jewish leaders who were engaged in a religious system of “Do's and Dont's which on the surface isn't bad. Morality is apart of divine establishment given by God to all mankind. However when you teach this “Morality” as the system where one can obtain God's favor, as basis on which one can be good enough to go to heaven. Then you become a minister of legalism.
This is exactly what Peter and his followers are dealing with, when they come in contact with these Jewish leaders. They are prideful, believing that they should be the only ones teaching the people. They are Jealous, of the attention Peter and his companions are getting (by the miracles that are occurring starting with the healing of the lame man, and then continuing. So much so that the Jewish people were hauling the sick to the street curb. In hopes that Peter's shadow would touch their sick and they would be healed
We noticed an increase of persecution against the Apostles. Not just throwing them in jail overnight (which happened in Acts 4) but in the next chapter they were thrown into jail, and whipped. And remember what happened next. They rejoiced.
Acts 5:41 Then they went out from the presence of the •Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the name.
• The supreme council of Judaism with 70 members, patterned after Moses’ 70 elders
The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (Ac 5:40-41). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
The casual reader of Acts Chapters one through five would come to the following conclusion.
1.After the cross Jesus's followers started witnessing and the Christian religion began to grow and naturally it started facing opposition. First from Judaism and then from the polytheistic religion of Rome
2.While all that is true looking at these events through historical glasses. If this is your view of the events that have occurred from chapters 1 through 5, you have sold yourself short. The story begins with the resurrected Jesus, our commander and Chief, (and our savior,) giving orders for the Apostles to be messengers to Jerusalem, Judea, and Samara, then to the utter most parts of the earth.
3.Why did I just use a military term? “Commander and Chief” These terms aren't foreign to the scriptures. Turn to Eph 6.
Eph 6:10-13 is scripture directly relating to Spiritual Warfare. Paul under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, is issuing a command to all Believers.
Lets start with Eph 6:11. STAND.
Paul a high ranking officer in God's army. ( And incidentally his mission brought the gospel to the gentile world) The Apostle Paul is issuing a series of commands. First put on the full armor of God, and then STAND.
1.STAND- Not hideaway at the first sign of trouble. Not gripe and complain when things get tough. Definitely not revolt against fellow believers in Jesus Christ, who are on the same side as you. None of that. He says STAND.
STAND, That's interesting Paul mentions this word for the fourth time. In verse 11 he mentions it once and 13 twice. STAND with what? With TRUTH like a belt around your waist.
This statement is so true. In Satan's World system there is so much information coming at us. From all sides. So much false doctrines, half truths. Attacks on all Divine Institutions.
Freedom.- We already have witnessed this nation losing its freedom daily. It's sovereignty is decaying as it has no national boundaries. We millions of people who are little children dependent on the government for what to think, how to live, how much money they will get free each month. People with a sense of entitlement.
Marriage,and Family- we see the attacks there. How many people do you know that have Parents who aren't divorced. Then, how many of those Parents who aren't divorced, have their husbands who treat their wives with respect. Verbally, Washing them with the word of God. (Eph 5:26) How many Wives submit to their husbands? Not because it's a command from God, but because the love and respect their husbands leadership? How many husbands are worthy of that respect? Can you now see that this is a war?
Nation. As a nation we have lost our sense of destiny. We were once used as a client nation to God. With freedom so that the Gospel could be spread throughout it's boarders. We had founders many of whom were Theologians themselves. And now God is not mentioned in schools. We have leaders who don't even believe in the same Jesus that is in the Bible.
We have Christian churches, whose leaders are more interested in Church growth, then the word of God. And the are more interested in Church Growth because they truly believe that the more cool they make Christianity, the more converts they will have to do “Good deeds” and their eventual goal is that one day they will have enough “Christians” (if they are even that) to do good deeds, that they will be able to “Clean up” this crooked world. So that Jesus will feel it is good enough for him to return.
And the sad thing is, the average church goer at these churches has no idea what their leaders believe. Why? Because their leaders are not open with their beliefs. And how do they get away with this? Because Christian “Beliefs” or “Doctrine” Is not what's important to the average church attendee.
It's socializing, music, good deeds, in hopes that they are pleasing God.
So you see, we have all these things coming at us. And most of the people you encounter are in one of these catagories.
1.The Lost Christian in the Mega church (interested in music, socializing, and doing good deeds to impress God, they have little doctrine so they are not stable, their faith is shaky)
2.The Lost Christian who isn't in Church (who may claim that their spirituality comes from praying, or reading their Bible, or they are the fire escape Christian. “The gospel is the only thing that matters.” They have little to no doctrine, and if they had been exposed to doctrine, it by now spoiled,and rotten. So many years have passed they probably cant even remember what they learned
3.The lukewarm Christian They may attend church every time the door is open. They may have a lot of doctrine, however no application.
Most of of these categories if not all, are controlled by the World system. The World (Details of life, the Flesh, and the Devil)
The sad thing is that the Christian doesn't need to be. He can recover. 1 John 1:9 But to be stabilized enough to make a stand against the enemy, it takes more than just confession of sin. The goal is to stay under the control of God the Holy Spirit long enough to make a difference. So that you can STAND.
So the first command is for us to “Put on the full armor of God” so that we can STAND the attacks of the Devil..
So as Christians we must ask ourselves have we taken a STAND for anything in our lives? And do we have enough doctrine to do so? Look at your friends around you. You have Unbeliever's as friends. Is your friendship with them a testimony for Jesus Christ.
How about your Christian friends? From both sides. You may have some with enough doctrine to know that they are not constrained by a list of do's and don't for salvation. So they take that libery and act worst than the unsaved. (An example of this is the Believers in Corinth)
Are you able to STAND with truth when they say things like. Why are you so worried about doctrine, we are all going to Heaven anyways?
Or the legalistic Christian who may be examining your life. Or the Ignorant Christian who just wants to know why you don't like “Worship” God with emotionalism.
Or maybe it's the unsaved who believes truth is not an absolute.
Can you STAND these attacks? There is also the minimizing of your personal sins. Can STAND up against the flesh?
If you can, then you've become a danger to the enemy. You may then receive attacks directly from the enemy. Why? Because you have achieved real Spritual Growth.
If your not getting attacks from the enemy you may just want to examine why not? It is probaly because you are not a threat to them.
The Christian who never goes to Church, he is no threat to the enemy. The Church Grow Christian he is no threat. He probaly doesn't even no how to recover when he has sinned.
The Lukewarm christian is busy going in and out of fellowship he is little threat to the enemy.
If you are in one of these categorizes, or if you are positive to Doctrine and maturing in the word, either way pay close attention. Paul reveals the Battle plan for personal victory over the Devil when he attacks. (I say personal victory because ultimate victory has already been achieved on the cross)
The blueprint for victory goes as follows. Eph 6:11
1.Put on the full armor of God.
So before we can STAND, we must put on our Armor. What is the full Armor of God.
Peter and the other Apostles had reach a point in their lives where the were applying John15:9. Please turn there.