Today many churches all over the world are involved in what is actually often just veiled competition; it becomes a struggle for “our church” getting more people to come than “your church”. What methodology did Paul use to grow a church?
In Acts 19:17-20 we find the two real keys to church growth.
God’s Word explains to us what makes Christ’s church grow. It is when Jesus is magnified and when God’s Word is unleashed.
Jesus was magnified and God’s Word grew mighty in one group of people in the New Testament …what a combination to have for the Lord in any generation. That powerful ministry was the result of the purged lives of a local church.
Think of every pressure facing us as believers from: our pleasure seeking culture, our mind-assaulting media, and our materialism-dominated way of life.
God’s Word has an answer for how to walk in the Spirit, abide in Christ, and see Christ’s church prevail in an ever-darkening world. Resisting the Devil is what we are charged with as an imperative from God’s Word.
Spiritual warfare is a theme that we find in the authors of 22 of the 27 books of our New Testaments. We can easily say that the New Testament is filled with pointed warnings to actively resist and defend against the Evil One. If we look at the main passages we can see…
The Five Key Truths of Spiritual Warfare
There are five key passages on spiritual warfare, and each of them has a very specific message for us to apply. As we turn to each one and read the verses, note the lesson and apply it, by the power of God’s Spirit, in your life.
PAUL taught that to magnify God we must divest ourselves of anything tied to Satan, demons, occultic activity, and magical black arts—RENOUNCE THE DARKNESS.
1. In Acts 19:17-20 we see the turning point. The power of darkness was broken. Satan’s house was divided. Christ triumphantly opened the door to great ministry through this church.
Acts 19:17-18 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.18 And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. 19 Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
The most remarkable facet of Paul’s ministry to this church is that when Paul taught the Ephesian believers about the strategies of Satan, they collected and burned all of the objects associated with demonic and satanic contact.
LESSON: The level of their desire to repent and follow the Lord was seen in this costly choice to rid their lives of anything that displeased Him. Their example recorded by God in His Word should stir us to ask, “Have we likewise carefully purged out of our lives anything that displeases the Lord?”
As you look back at v. 19, doesn’t that verse amaze you? What did God lead Paul to do to prompt such a huge response in public with such great sacrifice involved?
God’s Word records exactly what Paul told them that made them respond so dramatically to the evil around them. What Paul taught made them go home, search out, gather and BURN all of their expensive media.
2. PAUL said to resist Satan we must—USE GOD’S WEAPONS. In Ephesians 6.10-17 we see that our spiritual weapons are not human inventions or works, as Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
3. JAMES said that to resist Satan we must—LIVE SUBMISSIVELY in God’s sight. In James 4:7-10 we see submission to God precedes any resistance of the Devil.
James 4:7 Therefore submit to God.[is first and then, and only then can we] Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
4. PETER said to resist Satan we must—LIVE HUMBLY in God’s sight. In I Peter 5.5-9 we see that God calls us to clothe ourselves with humility before we resist the prowling Devil.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
5. JOHN said to resist Satan we must—LIVE HOLY in God’s sight. In I John 3.7-9 we see how powerful a pure life can be, and how disabling impurity can be.
1 John 3:3, 8 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Monitor Your Spiritual Immune System
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