THE CHURCHES BATTLE IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES (PART 4)

The Church and The Return of the King
BATTLEGROUND in the Heavenly Realm
 
“The last frontier of battle is the heavenly places, the dimension known today as the spirit realm. It is here that angels and demons wage their war for our cities. THIS dimension is currently enemy territory! Only according to the measure that our heart is like Christ’s do we have the authority in the heavenlies; only a citywide, Christ-centered church can displace the powers of darkness from the spirit realm.”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HEAVENLY PLACES (Ephesians 6:12; 3:10)
 
When the Scriptures refer to heaven, they may be speaking of any three places which the word of the reference interprets. The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven, the sky (Psalm 19:1). The third heaven is the most familiar definition of heaven; first of many levels of glory, which are crowned by the highest of heavens, the dwelling place of Father God (Matthew 6:9).
 
The heaven which is the unique object of this blog is “the spirit realm which immediately surrounds the consciousness of mankind.”  It is this realm, known frequently in the Scriptures as the heavenly places, which is the battleground of our spiritual warfare.  Within this realm, good and evil spirits clash in battle for men’s souls.
 
THE WAR OVER WHAT IS REAL
 
What is reality? How does life appear–to you? The first Christian based fiction books I read was Frank Peretti’s, “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness“. The first line on the back of the cover read:  “If you think spiritual warfare is mere fiction, think again”. If by chance you never read the two blockbuster spiritual thriller, let me give a brief glimpse.
 
“Set in unremarkable small towns perhaps like your own, both stories pit ordinary Christians against extraordinary evil at the highest levels. Their heart stopping action will keep you on the edge of your chair. These powerful novels will challenge you to open your eyes to the spiritual battle that’s raging in your world right now.”
 
My goal in this last part of the series (PART 4), is to make you fully aware of what’s going on around you; what is real. The dictionary defines reality as “that which is real; an actual thing, situation, or event.”  Although reality is objective, there is also a subjective or personal side to reality. It takes root in our live in three areas:
 
1.  FEELINGS.
 
2.  ATTITUDES.
 
3.  BELIEFS.
 
Matthew 8:13 says,  “done for [us] as [we] have believed”. 
 
What can seem real to one person can be unreal to another. An Eskimo’s view of reality: traveling by dog sled and living in an igloo, living in frigid conditions and the midnight sun. Compare that to a business man living in New York City: traveling in subways and taxis, living and working in concrete skyscrapers; with the stress of rush hour through the Lincoln tunnel and a high-pressure job. Reality in both locations, though strikingly different, is functional and subjectively real to each person.
 
AN IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE IN LEARNING FROM OTHERS
 
Whatever a society agrees upon and establishes through consent, compromise and constant use will ultimately define reality to them.”  With the principles and standards of the kingdom of God, our whole definition of society is going to change. An example of this in Scripture can be found in the book of Genesis:
 
And the Lord said, Behold, they are one people and they have “all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them”  (Gen. 11:6). The Lord Himself said to the Babylonians that what ever mankind imagined, it had the potential to accomplish. Now if a man’s mind can imagine it and he can get others to believe in it, their spirits can accomplish it.  This is exactly what warfare is centered upon in the church today:  the devil wants us to accept Christianity as it is, as though division, sin, and spiritual impotency were the ultimate reality God has provided for believers on earth. Satan wants us to agree with and reinforce this deceptive view in the church. There are many promises which are yet to be fulfilled concerning the people of God. These holy and glorious purposes shall unfold in the last days. Therefore, our agreement must be with God’s plan for a holy, undivided, powerful church, for He is calling us to establish HIS KINGDOM, NOT THE STATUS QUO! He doesn’t want to see mediocre churches in the communities.
 
WHAT WE SEE IN THE CHURCH TODAY ISN’T WHAT THE CHURCH WILL BE!
 
While we must work with the church as it is, we must realize that what we see in Christianity is not what the church will be like before Jesus returns! In fact our call is to cooperate with God in raising up the body of Christ.
 
That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless]”  (Eph. 5:27).
 
Before Jesus returns, the Father has promised His Son a bride without spot or wrinkle. She shall be powerful witness of Christ Himself in the church.
 
WAR IN HEAVEN
 
Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels went forth in battle with the dragon and his angels fought. But they were defeated and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer”  (Rev. 12:7-8).
 
Notice the phrase, “there was no room for them in heaven.”  The war against principalities involves a transference: Christ filling the spiritual territories once held by Satan. This event is difficult for us to understand. How do angels and demons, being who do not die from wounds, wage war? With what do they battle? And how do they conquer one another? Without going beyond of our knowledge, we can surmise that All spiritual warfare is waged over one essential question. Who will control reality on earth; heaven or hell?”  When it comes to angelic and demonic warfare, the battle doesn’t lay with physical weapons but in the power of agreement; between mankind and the heavenly places. We read in Ephesians 6 that “principalities and powers” occupy the “heavenly places” (v. 12).
But we read in Eph. 1:10 that it is the Father’s plan to sum up all things in Christ, “things in heaven and things on earth.”  Ephesians 3:10 reveals God’s glorious purpose, “that through the church”  God has planned to make known His wisdom to the principalities and powers “in the heavenly places!” Do you see the plan being unfolded? The church or the body of Christ on earth agreeing with its Head in heaven, the Spirit of Christ Himself displaces the powers of darkness in the heavenly places.
 
In other words, when the church on earth is aggressive in its agreement with the Word of God, then the Presence of God increases in the spiritual realm, displacing the influence of hell on earth. When that transpires in our church today, we see revivals, healings, and miracles. BUT when the church is passive, indifferent, or carnal [“that’s not my church!” or is it), the powers of hell increase their rule over the affairs of men: marriages break up, crime increases, and wantonness becomes prevalent.
 
THE DEVIL IS A LIAR
 
John 8:44 says the devil is “a liar and the father of lies and of all that is false.”  His realm of operation is in the spirit world that immediately encompasses the consciousness of man. This realm is known as the “heavenly places” in the Bible (Eph. 6:12). From this place, Satan works to corrupt and control the mind by lies through…:
 
1.  Illusions.
 
2.  Fears.
 
The illusions and fears are built from mankind’s carnal desires. But the power of the lies is not merely the speaking of falsehoods, nor is it that this world is an illusion. The lie of the enemy seems the most powerful when men believe that this world, as it is. is the only world we can live in. The truth is that God is establishing His kingdom, and ultimately every other reality will submit to and be ruled by that kingdom! (Heb. 12:26-28; Rev. 11:15)
 
THE WEAPON OFFERED FOR BATTLE
 
The weapon God has given His church to combat the lies of the enemy is the Word of God, which the Scriptures refer to as the “sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17).  Jesus said His words “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63), that is to say that the meaning in Christ’s words represents an actual reality: the living Spirit of the kingdom of God.
 
Paul taught that spiritual warfare deals specifically with the “pulling down of strongholds.”  But what are those strongholds? They are the lies of the devil has sown into our thought-lives, as we accepted and believed them, became a reality to us. We don’t fall into sin as much as we are seduced by it!
 
STANDING ON THE WORD OF GOD
 
If the church is going to be successful in battle, we must know the Word of God. If you are struggling with a need of deliverance from a particular stronghold, it would not be wise for you to engage in any kind of spiritual warfare, without knowing these Scriptures from memory. 
 
Take no part in and have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds and enterprises of darkness, but instead expose and reprove and convict them”  (Eph. 5:11).
 
“If we admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”  (I John 1:9).
 
“But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere”  (II Cor. 2:14).
 
“For God has not given us a spirit of [fear], but of power and love and [a sound mind]”  (II Tim. 1:7).
 
“Through death He might render powerless him who had power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives”  (Heb. 2:14-15).
 
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”  (Rom. 8:28).
 
“Behold. I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you”  (Luke 10:19).
 
You have been set free—not because you “feel” free, but because you have faith. Each time you speak your faith, you are establishing your freedom as a true reality.  With Jesus, you cannot fail!
 
 
 
 
 

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