The intent of God for the body of Christ is for us to be fully engaged in the warfare of the Kingdom of God against the Beast Kingdom as we bring the lost to faith and teach them to obey everything that He has commanded us. We are also COMMANDED in Ephesians 6:18 to engage in spiritual warfare with Satan and his beast kingdom as we bring the lost to faith and as we protect our fellow believers against the continual assaults of the beast kingdom against our fellow members of the body of Christ.
Ephesians 6:18 is like a CODE RED message from Paul as he defines prayer in militaristic terms after telling us in verses 1-17 that we are engaged in continuous warfare with spiritual forces of evil intent on killing, stealing, and destroying as revealed to us by the Lord (John 10:10).He doesn’t see this warfare as an occasional raid by terrorists. He sees it more like constant trench warfare. Kill or be killed. But it seems like many in the church are scarcely aware that this warfare is taking place, though it is evident all around us, and many are already suffering as POWs with subsequent consequences for themselves, their families, their friends, and their church fellowships.
The Lord’s stinging message for the Laodicean “type” of church seems to apply to much of the church today. But who will confess it? And do we really know and understand what the metaphor of “lukewarmness” means so that we can respond appropriately to it?
Paul's exhortation to his beloved disciple, Timothy, was given to him by the Lord and written for OUR instruction upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. Yet, many born again believers today are primarily responding and conforming to the expectations and traditions of their denomination, their church, or their intellectual understanding of scripture. Yet, our relationship with the Lord Himself is to be HIS disciple, HIS bondservant, hearing and understanding His rhema truth, His covenant promises, and His commands in a direct personal sense.
The answer may not be what you think, and those who qualify may not be whom you might expect to qualify... Those who are "friends of the Lord," are, in the Lord's own words, those who hear, understand, and obey His voice spoken into their hearts (spirit-mind connection) by the Spirit of truth. What this produces, then, is the correct "rhema" understanding of the truth, covenant promises, and commands of the Lord resulting in the manifestation of acts of faith. Thus, it may be helpful to be trained in Hebrew and Greek, but no amount of intellectual training apart from "hearing" and "seeing" by the Spirit of truth will produce faith in our thoughts or our actions. It is, then, those who "hear" His truth, His covenant promises, and His commands" and, in intimate obedience, do what they hear by faith, His "bondservants" and "friends."
Why was the Lord tested in the wilderness? And why does God ordain our similar testing?
Paul's explanation concerning how we are transformed from mere flesh upon receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is expanded in his description of how we are progressively transformed in this relationship as disciples and bondservants of the Lord as looking into a mirror and not seeing our own image, but the image of Christ as He begins to manifest in us and through us.
The primary warning given to the church by the Lord, with special emphasis for the end times church, is DO NOT BE DECEIVED. This warning specifically relates to false Christs, false prophets, and “doctrines of demons” secretly introduced into the body of Christ through satanically inspired men masquerading as ministers of righteousness. It also relates to the authoritative presumptions of men who are disconnected from the revelation of the Spirit of truth in their painstaking intellectual examinations of biblical scripture. Our example from the OT are the Pharisees, the intellectual giants of Israel who knew by memory every prophetic reference to the first advent of the Messiah, but completely missed Him as He lived out every single prophetic detail in their very presence. This is not unlike the intellectual giants of the organized church today, with doctorates in biblical Hebrew and Greek, who are, in large part, missing the revelatory details concerning the second advent of the Messiah.
A very interesting passage in Matthew 11 is essential to our understanding of what the Lord expected of His immediate disciples and continues to expect from true “born again” disciples today as we are faced with escalating warfare between the beast kingdom and the kingdom of God in Christ. Strong’s identifies this “violence” as: “a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought for with the most ardent zeal and the intensest exertion”. Seizing the Kingdom of God is also demonstrated in the "armor of God" passage in which we are told how to seize the full armor of God so that we are equipped to do battle with the beast kingdom. This armor is not automatic with the new birth. It must be pursued with great zeal as is demonstrated in the Matthew 11 passage.
The primary modern concept of worship in the majority of organized churches is the "worship service" where we sing corporate praises to our Lord. This is not altogether wrong. It is right for us to praise the Lord for what He has done, is currently doing, and will do for the body of Christ. And it is an opportunity for us to experience a deep emotive gratitude toward our Lord for what He has done and what He will do in the future. But there is a more important understanding of PRAISE that we desperately need to be aware of.