POWER OVER THE DEVIL!WHY WORLD STILL NOT EVANGELIZED
Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Jesus promised: “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and Greater Works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
WE MUST CONTINUE HIS WORK!
Jesus promised to give His Church power to continue the work He had started. We would be given even greater power, since He was going to His Father. His followers were promised power to witness in His name, because they would be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire!
Five hundred brethren (1 Cor. 15:6) heard the command to tarry in Jerusalem until they would be endued with power from on high. There were, however, only 120 in that upper room when God poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. The other 380 were not present when the Holy Ghost descended on that glorious day! (Could that be a picture of Churches today which reject the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?) They missed the most glorious time in the history of the Church: The Birth of the Church and the Baptism of The Holy Spirit!
The Bible says: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they all were with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2: 1-4)
REVIVAL BROKE OUT IN JERUSALEM!
The Holy Fire of God possessed their souls, and the multitudes came together wondering, because of the supernatural phenomenon of glossolalia. Revival broke out in Jerusalem. Thousands were converted through faith in the risen Christ after witnessing supernatural wonders, and hearing God’s Word preached. Outstanding miracles happened and they filled Jerusalem with the doctrine of Jesus Christ!
The authorities charged, “Did we not straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered, We ought to obey God rather than men.
“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” (Acts 5: 28-32)
St. Paul was accused by pagans: “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received: and these do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.” (Acts 17: 6-7)
For many years this great power was in the church but then came the gradual overthrow of the leadership of the blessed Holy Ghost and the setting up of man-made forms, rituals, and dogma. Jude was aware of this and wrote that we must contend for the faith (not let it slip) once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)
When we read of the great power that was demonstrated in the early church and the tremendous impact that was made on the heathen, what caused the church to lose their great power and authority? Where did the church fall, leaving the world in a state of sinfulness, error, and atheism? I have concluded that there were three reasons why the church has failed to evangelize the world.
The church has become carnal and selfish; the church is fearful; and the church is ashamed. I am convinced these are the reasons why the church has lost her power and has failed to evangelize the world!
NO. 1: CHURCH HAS BECOME CARNAL & SELFISH!
General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army took for his slogan the word, ‘OTHERS’. He had it placed on the front of his pulpit! God greatly blessed his efforts as he reached out to the lost and dying, the sinful and wretched outcasts of society and brought to them the glorious gospel of hope, joy, and peace. That great man of God said, “Go for the lost and go for the worst!”
In his final message William Booth stated: “While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl on the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end.”
William Booth stated: "I fear that in the next century there will be Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, Salvation without Redemption, Forgiveness without Repentance, Politics without God and Heaven without Hell." That is exactly what we are seeing today in many churches in the Western world! How tragic, indeed! Leonard Ravenhill wrote: "The greatest tragedy is a Sick Church in a Dying World."
The Church has been content to sit within its four walls and enjoy the blessings of God and let the rest of the world go by. Many Christians have lost the burden and concern for the ones less fortunate than themselves and have discontinued interceding to God for them. Many Christians today seek the face of the television more than the FACE of God!
The Supper Room has been given priority over the upper room. Many are now feasting instead of fasting. (Joel 2:15-17). The church has become a society instead of a soul saving station. The church has lost its power and impact because the church has become comfortably settled in a rut and has lostx the vision of Winning Souls. The Bible says in Prov. 29:18: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Not only do sinners perish because there is no one to tell them about the Saviour’s never-dying love, but also the church deteriorates and loses out with God. The church has gone on the defensive instead of on the offensive.
Believers must Stand United in the Gospel! Many churches are only concerned about their group or denomination. Jesus admonished: “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect.” (Matt.5: 46-48)
“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not, for he that is not against us is for us.” (Luke 9: 49, 50). This teaches us that we should not hinder or oppose anyone declaring the true gospel of Christ. The Bible says: “And these Signs shall follow them that believe. In My name shall they cast out devils…” (Mark 16: 17)
Many Christian families, when having prayer in their daily devotions, pray only for their loved ones. It is wonderful to pray for our loved ones and we should continually do so but let us not forget to pray for OTHERS - for those who are weak, feeble, sick, and suffering. Let us continually pray for a mighty awakening to come to our land. God’s Word declares: “If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chron.7:14)
During World War 11, a very devout Roman Catholic visited the Vatican during a special religious ceremony in which the pope was to bless the multitudes, waiting in the area below. This man waited in anticipation to see the pope. When he finally appeared, the pope’s aides brought out a chair overlaid with gold for him to sit on, while there were thousands of ragged, hungry orphans roaming the streets of Rome. What he saw turned that man against the Roman Catholic Church and against God. How Sad!
The church has spent her money in building the most beautiful structures and has forgotten that the matter of real importance is to spread the message of the “glorious hope” and to help those who stand in need. We are reminded in the Holy Bible that God does not live in temples built with hands, but in the human heart. (Acts 7:48; 1 Cor. 3:16). I am not against churches - No never! We need churches, but not the fancy, rich, expensive cathedrals we have today. Much sooner have a large, plain inexpensive building and use the rest of the money to evangelize, for missions, and to help the poor!
It is a sin to put our tithes and offerings into a wealthy church that has no burden for lost souls who are perishing, without an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Christ. Our Agenda must be to love God and our fellowman and do whatever we can to bring precious souls into His glorious Kingdom! Let us invest our money, talents, and time, wisely in God’s Kingdom where it will pay spiritual dividends. Put your money into that which is glorifying Jesus Christ and building His Kingdom!
May we have compassion by sharing the bread of life to others. In Eccl. 5:13 the Bible says, “There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt”. In 1 John 3:17 the Bible says, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him”?
God’s Word admonishes us in Ezekiel 3:17-18, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israe: therefore, hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand”.
What a warning this is from God to us all, not to be selfish but to share the message of hope to a lost and dying world. Is there blood upon your hands, my Christian friend? Are you doing something to help bring the gospel message to the heathen?
Fear is a terrible thing which has wrecked the lives of thousands of individuals, spoiled the testimony of the church, and hindered the spreading of the Gospel in many parts of the world and especially here in Canada. Fear is an enemy of the Christian church and has ruined, paralyzed, and reduced to a mere nothing many a child of God. Many born again Christians have done very little for God and have lost out spiritually because they have been afraid to witness for Jesus Christ.
AFRAID TO TESTIFY FOR JESUS CHRIST! What a tragedy, that fear has tied the hands of Christianity and has held back the progress of spirituality down through the ages. But my fearful friend, you can be free, you can be delivered - and instead of fear you can experience peace, joy, and victorious boldness! There are three kinds of fear - the fear of man which bringeth a snare, the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom and the fear of the devil which is foolish and unnecessary.
The Bible states in Proverbs 29:25, “THE FEAR OF MAN BRINGETH A SNARE: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe”. The fear of man brings a snare, and a snare chokes you and renders you useless. Many are afraid of what people will think or say. Many are fearful of the opinions of others, but the Bible says, “Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe”.
Do not be intimidated by the spirit of fear! Do not let the fear of man ruin your life. Stand up against all evil power, evil suggestions, and imaginations in the name of Jesus Christ. Put your total trust in God. Stand on your feet with confidence in God who dwells within you. Face life’s tests, trials and problems with a faith that cannot be shaken, and you will rejoice continually as these problems turn into victories. Hallelujah!
Many years ago, I worked as a Commercial Traveller. I had an experience which I believe will be helpful to someone reading this message. I was very zealous for the Lord and was constantly working to win precious souls to our Lord. One day as I was having my supper in a cafe in Quesnel, BC I noticed that in the same dining room were a large group people. I learned from their conversation that they were a troupe of musicians from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. When I was through eating, the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me to give each of these people a gospel tract.
Suddenly, a great fear came upon me such as I had never had before, and I became very timid and fearful. After a short while I determined this was the work of Satan to defeat me in my duty to witness to these professional artists. After a few moments of silent prayer and commanding those thoughts of fear and timidity to leave me, I arose and walked up to their table. I said, “Excuse me Ladies, I have something I would like to share with you, if I may - a gospel tract which will tell you how you may be saved.”
“THE FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM.” (Prov. 9:10) “And to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28) The fear of the Lord is the right kind of fear - the only fear we should have. To fear the Lord means to respect, honour, love, and esteem Him and hold Him higher than anyone or anything else for He is God and there is NONE like Him. (Isaiah 45:22)
The Bible says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. In other words, people who do not believe in God or fear God have not even begun to acquire wisdom. They have no Wisdom. Even well-educated people (by this world’s standards) are IGNORANT (by God’s standard), if they do not Fear (Reverence) God! The Bible says in Psalm 14:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God”. God labels the atheist a fool. No one likes to be called a fool, but God calls the unbeliever and atheist an IGNORAMUS, or in plain language, a dummkopf.
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made the foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe...
“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence”. (1 Cor. 1:18-29
The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” - there’s where you begin to acquire God’s wisdom and then as you continue in His way, you increase your learning by “departing from evil” - which is understanding. People who are still living in sin have NO understanding but to depart from evil IS understanding.
THE FEAR OF THE DEVIL is foolish and unnecessary. Many Christians are afraid of Satan. They are afraid that they will lose out in this spiritual battle, and that the evil one will win out in their lives. How ridiculous! When we think of how great a God we serve - when we think of the great victory Jesus won on the Cross of Calvary - and especially when He arose again from the dead, defeating the hosts of Hell, rendering Satan helpless and useless, giving to every born-again believer power over the devil. (Luke 10:19)
HE IS A DEFEATED DEVIL: Jesus conquered the devil about 1900 years ago and he is still defeated today. Instead of us being afraid of Satan, he is afraid of us because he is defeated and Jesus Christ said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth”. (Matt. 28:18) And also, Jesus gave power and authority to His followers to heal the sick in His Name and to cast out devils:
“Then He called His twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to Cure all diseases. And He sent them to Preach the Kingdom of God, and to HEAL the sick.” (Luke 9:1,2). “And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: And heal the Sick that are therein, and say unto them, The Kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Luke 10: 9)
The Bible says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”. (James 4:7). God’s Word instructs us here how to get rid of the devil: Submit yourselves to God. Give yourself over to God completely; lay your all on the altar of sacrifice, (Rom. 12:1) and when you have done this you have every right in Jesus’ Name to command his power to be broken and his works destroyed out of your life, and it will be done according to God’s Word!
When you have followed God’s instructions as found in this Scripture, then the devil will not want to stay but will flee - will run, will leave you as fast as he can! The last picture I have in my mind is of the devil heading down the highway as fast as he can, with his tail between his legs, scared to death to look back.
However, if there is sin in your life that you want to hold on to, then you are in no position to command the devil to leave because by your actions you are inviting the devil to stay, rather than to leave. The Bible says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”. (James 4:4). Many say, “I have problems and I can’t overcome them; evil thoughts fill my mind; I can’t get rid of them”.
Every Christian is in a battle against the evil one, sin and unrighteousness. (Eph. 6:12) Therefore, God has provided an armour to wear and use in this battle. (Eph. 6:10-20). These weapons are not carnal, ordinary or natural, but mighty through God. These weapons are supernatural and mighty through God and can be used to fight a supernatural enemy (the devil). With these weapons we can pull down the strong holds the devil has in our lives and make them tumble down in the Name of Jesus.
Every evil imagination which the devil has spawned in your heart or mind can and must be cast down, using your “Mighty Weapons of God”. The weapons operate only by using the Imperial, Royal and Mighty name of the exalted Son of God, Jesus Christ. (Phil. 2:5-11; Mark 16:17; Acts 3:16). Every high thing which exalteth itself against the knowledge of God must also be cast down (greed, lust, pride, malice, stubborn will, temper). And here is the most important weapon perhaps, “and bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ”.
The Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Prov. 23:7) If you can keep your mind clean and wholesome, you can keep your life clean, and be a real testimony of the saving and cleansing power of Jesus Christ. It is God's will for us all to be an overcoming, conquering and victorious Christians.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. (2 Tim.1:7). Fear is not a gift from God, it comes from the devil, and fear is “a spirit” (verse 7). There is only ONE Holy Spirit so “the Spirit of Fear” must be an evil spirit, because God says He has not given us the spirit of fear - but God has given us the spirit of power, love and a sound mind.
We can have POWER from God to overcome all the powers of the evil one - power over all fear! Praise God. Power to live a holy, godly and righteous life in this present evil world. God has given us His love and “perfect love casteth out all fear”. (1 John 4:18) God has always loved us with an everlasting love but a love affair is not complete until both parties concerned love each other.
When we reached up and accepted His love and loved Him, our love affair with God became perfect and every fear had to go. Hallelujah! He has given us sound mind. No nervous collapses, nervous breakdowns, nervous stomachs, or mental conditions need to exist for Christians if we appropriate this promise of God. Believe His Word and be free! The Bible says in John 8:32: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.
No. 3: THE CHURCH IS ASHAMED!
The Bible says: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels”. (Mark 8:38)
The Word of God states that if they hated Him, Jesus said they will hate us (John 15:18-20), and if they despised Jesus, they will despise His followers. (1 Cor. 4:13). If they called Him evil names and said He was “from the devil”, they will do even more to us. (Matt. 10:25). We must be willing to “go without the camp” and suffer gladly for His Name’s sake. (Heb. 13:13)
It is hard to believe that Christians are ashamed of Jesus Christ our Blessed Lord and Redeemer when He bought us with His blood (1 Peter 1:18-19) and redeemed us, given us life (1 John 5:11) and who is our Creator and gives us His life! (John 1:3; Col. 1:16) How ridiculous for human beings to be ashamed of deity - for mortals to be ashamed of the Immortal God and for Christians to be ashamed of Christ!
Many years ago, a young man graduated from a university in the USA. His mother and father had given everything they had and had gone without many luxuries to make their boy’s education possible. These people were God-fearing, hard-working people and had sacrificed much for their son so that he could enjoy the education which they had not been able to receive. The day for their son’s graduation was drawing nigh.
However, because his parents were poor they were not planning to come to his graduation. One day the parents of this young man, after much discussion, decided to sell two of their choice cows and buy some new clothes and two train tickets. They would surprise their son and come anyway. When they arrived in the big city, (the father bought a brand-new pair of overalls and a straw hat) they sat in wonder at the great doings at the graduation services. They saw their son as he received his degree. They were so happy and proud. After the exercises were over, they waited anxiously to see their boy. He was with many other young people laughing gaily - being congratulated by professors and dignitaries.
What a reception they had received! Their son was ashamed of them. They had given all they had to educate him, give him a position of influence, they had even sold their two best cows to see him graduate and now he was angry because they had come and had been ashamed of his own dear parents. You say, “Shame on that young man”. Yes, but how about you who are ashamed of Jesus. Are you not just as bad or worse”?
Jesus said: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed; when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels”. (Mark 8:38)
If you are guilty of one or more of these three sins, you must repent at once and call out to God for mercy and strength and then go on to do the works of God. Amen. (Mark 16:15-20)