Sunday, November 18, 2012

Invisible Things


Colossians 1
13  He, (God), has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
14  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

God is invisible. In other words, God cannot be seen or known by any natural means of man. God told mankind in the Law of Moses to make no graven image of Him – but God never limited Himself to this law. In fact God the book of Genesis describes man as being originally created in the image of God. However, when Adam and Eve sinned they lost their first estate and became mere mortal human beings, no longer bearing that eternal light, life and love of God.

When God wanted to redeem mankind from sin and restore relationship He sent His only Son as the image of Himself. The invisible became visible, the unknown, known, God became man, God incarnate, Messiah, Lord, and Redeemer. John 1 says that Jesus came to show us the Father.

Once Jesus accomplished man’s redemption through His sinless sacrifice as the Passover Lamb of God, taking our place on Golgotha just as the Ram once took Isaac’s place on the altar of Mount Moriah, (the same spot), Jesus was buried, rose to life again on the third day and ultimately ascended to the Father where He sits today making intercession for each one of us.

As He once was before His incarnation, He now is again – invisible. The Holy Spirit, resident in the earth, present among us, along with the angels of God here this morning – all invisible. However, invisible does not mean non-existent. Just because we cannot now see all of the various creatures and creations of God continually present and moving around us does not mean they do not exist.

Suffice it to say that we are continually surrounded by both the visible and the invisible, encountering both angels and demons, affected by principalities and powers, both those who are friends and those who are enemies of God, the Church and every soul.

This past Wednesday evening we talked about the sound of the voice of this invisible God. After Adam and Eve sinned against and separated themselves from God, they heard the sound of His voice in the Garden in the cool of the day and hid themselves.

Today many people are still hiding themselves from the voice of this invisible God. Some hear the sound of God and know it is Him, yet they claim stubbornly deny His existence or that He has any claim on their life.

Hearing the invisible voice of God is not difficult. God made it easy … just look at the image of this invisible God, (I’m talking about Jesus), and listen to what He said. I don’t think people have a difficult time hearing the voice of the invisible God as much as they nonetheless discount that voice in favor of listening to the voice of the invisible devil.

This should not seem strange. If we believe in a God we cannot see, angels we cannot naturally detect, a Savior who took upon flesh and bore the image of the Father, it is no stretch to also accept that there is a devil who is also invisible, demons who move throughout the earth and voices of evil which attempt to control and shape the affairs of man.

We often discuss the Word and how to hear the voice of God – however today I want to help you discover, so you can discount,

The 3 voices of the all too often, invisible devil …

1.  The voice of the Subtle Serpent

Genesis 3:1  Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, ’You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’ ?"

·        That “Sneaky Snake” – cunning, crafty, tricky – the smooth tongue of one who flatters, entices and draws away by subtle well placed words
·        Undetected by the natural ear because of the spiritual nature of the voice … (Not everything spiritual is God!)
·        Prays on the needy, the alone, those following at a distance … hoping to sow seeds of deception which grow long after the voice has quieted.
·        A craft to make complicated that which is simple

2 Corinthians 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

·        What simplicity … Just obey the Word of God – what God said
·        We must beware who speaks in our ear with subtle intentions
·        Especially if it leads to perpetrating deception
·        Or creates division
·        God’s Word is spoken for all to hear, the serpent sows seeds in secret
·        Beware of sneaky snakes who counsel you in private to deceive or divide … it’s always a trick … and guess who loses???

2.  The voice of the Roaring Lion

1 Peter 5
8 ¶  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

·        Direct persecution is often and always present from this roaring lion. Often in many places but always in some place.
·        Unafraid, loud, boastful, and condemning – the voice of the roaring lion is accusatory, inflammatory, indignant, self righteous, blasphemous, unholy, unthankful, ungodly and full of pride.
·        The voice of the roaring lion was heard by the Roman Empire under Nero, Hitler during WWII and has once again raised its voice to fill the mouths of the leaders of many countries of our day, sadly to say it’s finding some measure of sympathy even in our own beloved America as some in power discuss how to quiet the Church or relegate the Word of God to hate speech.
·        The roaring lion may appear to be a direct assault by a formidable force but we are told by the Apostle Peter:

1 Peter 5
9  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

·        And resist we shall –
·        Un-intimidated and Un-able to be silenced
·        The kind, loving, forgiving, merciful and true Word of God will continue to be preached from Churches, on street corners, in houses, factories, schools and online throughout the world until Jesus comes.
·        Just like a tree planted by the waters, “We shall not be moved!”

3.  The voice of the Angel of Light

2 Corinthians 11
13  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
14  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.

·        This is most often the deception perpetrated under the name of religion or “God told me … God is leading me … God wants me …”
·        From one world religions, to cults, crusades to church splits – so much harm has been done in the name of God which the True and Living God never had a hand in.
·        These claims often evade and escape the scrutiny of the whole counsel of God’s Word and usually serve some singular or selfish purpose.
·        It is not that good cannot come from, for where sin abounds, grace does much more abound, however this is due to God’s goodness and love for His people in every circumstance and under all kinds of leadership … According to the Apostle Paul we are not always to assume gain, even divine intervention, as the will of God.
·        Not everyone is always what they appear to the naked eye …

2 Corinthians 11
15  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

·        For so did satan do to Jesus in acting as an agent even of the Word of God to aid in some way the fulfillment of scripture
·        Even those who in Paul’s time, as in every generation since, profess and proclaim connection to and direction from God without once answering a challenge from the Holy Word.
·        This is one reason why the world looks upon the church throughout history and counts those times men moved under the banner of the cross, whether in the crusades, the inquisition or some other self righteous cause, and wonders how we can call ourselves after Christ.
·        Where is the standard?

This morning it is my hope to raise our awareness of one aspect of our faith – that aspect which concerns what some might call, The Invisible World of the Spirit.

Daniel was visited by the angel Gabriel who revealed a spiritual struggle ongoing in the heavens. An evil spiritual being was exerting territorial influence over the leaders of the most powerful empire of that day.  

If we admit the reality of the influence of invisible beings, as the scriptures prove, the solution becomes comparatively easy. We must realize that we are in a spiritual battle against the invisible and evil forces of darkness.

Ephesians 6:12  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.

Luke 10:19  Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

I am telling you that we have an invisible spiritual problem facing each one of us as an individual, you and your families, our communities, the US, the nations of the world and the Church locally and throughout the earth. We cannot remedy these spiritual problems by natural means. We don’t need and can’t depend on:
·        More money
·        Greater experience
·        Deeper knowledge
·        Man’s wisdom
·        Better planning
·        Increased physical responsibility

The natural man receives not the things of the spirit for they are spiritually discerned … our answer can only be found in the invisible God and in the invisible things of God. We must learn to recognize and strengthen ourselves to cling to the Word of God above the voices of evil without respect as to whether they come:
·        Subtly; Roaring; or as an Angel of Light

What can we do? What must we do?

2 Corinthians 10
3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
5  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,
6  and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

Where do we begin? Prayer and Discipleship – and it must begin with us.

It can begin for you today, but it will definitely begin for us all on Wednesday evening, January 2, 2013, at 7:14pm with Life Shape Prayer and Discipleship – A Call to the Nations – “If My People Will …”