Jesus has commissioned His church & if you are part of it do not be unaware of the enemy’s schemes and be the Church of Jesus Christ!
Let me start by reminding you of the Spirit-empowered mission of the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus assures us of His constant presence as we go on our divinely commanded mission.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Mt 28:18-20 NKJV) I encourage you to also read Mk 16:15-20.
I have been reading the book of Ezra and have been reminded of some of the enemy’s schemes to try to stop the work that the Lord has called His church to do. All those who had come out of the captivity from Babylon to Jerusalem, began the work of restoring the temple of the Lord (read Ezra 3:8 NKJV). When their enemies heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the Lord, they tried to distract them by trying to align with them (read Ezra 4:2 NKJV). However, this did not work (read Ezra 4:3 NKJV).
Enemy scheme #1-distraction:
The enemy lies and deceives. He uses people (often those closest to us) to try to get us off track from our mission. He tries to get us to partner with those in the world who have no intention of accomplishing the mission of the church. Let’s not blame everything on the enemy. The word of God is clear. Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? (Ja 4:4 NKJV)
When distraction didn’t work, the people of the land tried to discourage those who were building the temple of the Lord (read Ezra 4:4 NLT).
Enemy scheme #2-discouragement:
Discouragement is one of the greatest obstacles to completing God’s work. Discouragement affects our motivation to do what God has called us to do. It comes when we compare then despair or when we lose heart.
The people of the land also tried to frighten those who were rebuilding the temple of the Lord (read Ezra 4:4 NLT). They bribed agents to work against them and to frustrate their plans (read Ezra 4:5 NLT).
Enemy scheme #3-fear:
Fear is another one of the greatest obstacles to completing God’s work. I would say that it is the greatest. Fear threatens our promised future. If allowed, it will stop the work the Lord has commissioned His church to do.
When distraction, discouragement and fear did not work to stop the building of the temple of God the enemies wrote an accusation against those who were building the temple of the Lord (read Ezra 4:1 NKJV). This resulted in the king of the land at that time to give the command to make the men cease work and the work of the house of God ceased (read Ezra 4:21-24). Sound familiar?
Enemy scheme #4-false accusations:
Remember that the enemy is the accuser of the brethren. False accusations (lies) come from satan. According to Rev 12:10 he is relentless in his accusations. He accuses God’s children continually.
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (Rev 12:10 NKJV)
Continuing in the book of Ezra, two prophets came with a word from the Lord and the building of the house of God resumed (read Ezra 5:1-2 NKJV). The prophecy was fulfilled. The building of the house of God was completed (read Ezra 5:14 NKJV). God is faithful to His Word!
1 Peter 5:8-9 says, ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.’ We need not be unaware of the enemy’s schemes and stop the work of the church!
Here are some scriptures that came to mind to receive, believe and live as a way of resisting the devil and not allowing his schemes (distraction, discouragement, fear and false accusations) to stop the church from persevering in what Jesus has commanded us to do:
· Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 Jn 2:15-17 NKJV)
· And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Gal 6:9 NKJV)
· I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (Jn 16:33 NKJV))
· For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Ti 1:7 NKJV)
· And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Rev 12:11 NKJV)
We need to be prepared for opposition from the enemy when we are accomplishing the Lord’s work. Let’s agree to continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving (Col 4:2 NKJV). Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2). Be vigilant, and watch so that the enemy cannot block God’s work through distraction, discouragement, fear or false accusation. We need to keep moving forward. We need to persevere. Hundreds of times in the Word, God tells us not to fear and that He is with us and has given us everything we need to overcome fear. Church! Let us decide to not embrace fear and trust God’s faithfulness and strength. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. Believe the truth. Spend time with God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, read and study the word of God, believe it and live it!
One more thing and I’m going to be really blunt about it. It doesn’t take a prophet to come along to tell the church what to do. It is already written in the Word! Jesus said it. What more do we need? We have been given our commission from Jesus and He has given us everything we need to accomplish His mission. Let’s decide that we are not going to allow the enemy’s schemes to stop the work of the church of Jesus Christ. Let’s decide that we are going to be the church of Jesus Christ and be obedient to what Jesus commanded us to do in Mt 28 and Mk 16!
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches...” Rev 2:7