When you, by repentance and faith, give your life to Christ, you become a member of the family of God. You also become a soldier in God’s army as you are exposed to spiritual warfare. We have an enemy who will do anything to prevent us from continuing to follow Jesus. In fact, Jesus himself told us that the enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy.”
However, God has equipped us with weapons that we are to use in this spiritual warfare. I want us to look at “four weapons.” These weapons that the Lord has given us are not the only weapons, but they are important ones. Let’s look at them one by one.
Here we are referring to the blood Christ shed for us on Calvary’s cross; the blood of the lamb. Revelation 12 deals with our enemy Satan and in verse 11, we are told that “they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death.” It all began with Calvary when Christ won the victory over Satan, and it was all based on “the blood of the lamb.” i.e., Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.
When I was a young minister, I preached a message that spoke of the blood of the lamb. Consequently, my older senior pastor advised me not to preach on the blood because the concept of the blood was linked to the Old Testament sacrifices where they killed animals. I never accepted his advice because I believed in the centrality of the cross and the blood that was shed for us at Calvary.
In the first world war, an enemy soldier was captured by the Allied Forces. Badly wounded in the fighting, he was taken to a field hospital where the doctors examined him and told him he desperately needed a blood transfusion. The enemy soldier asked a startling question, “Is it British blood?” to which the doctor replied, “Yes, it is. It is the only kind of blood that we have.” The soldier answered, “Then I do not want it. I refuse to have British blood in my veins.” They tried to talk him into receiving the blood transfusion but to no avail. Consequently, he did not receive the blood that could have saved him.
God has made available to us the opportunity to receive the gift of salvation and eternal life, but it requires us to avail ourselves of the gift of Calvary, where Christ’s blood was shed for us. Refuse the blood, refuse the gift of Jesus, and there is no promise of life.
Remember the old hymn “There is Power in the Blood.” Power not only for salvation but was a weapon to use against the enemy. In times of spiritual warfare, we can claim the protection of the blood of Christ; in it, we have victory.
In Paul’s list of the armor of God, we are pointed to the “sword of the spirit which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17). In Hebrews 4:12, the word of God is also described as a two-edged sword. As such, it is available for both offense and defense.
Jesus, of course, knew the value of the word of God in dealing with temptation in the wilderness. Each time the devil tried to tempt Him, He drew upon the word of God and was able to use scripture in the spiritual battle. He was able to say three times, “It is written.” We can do that too.
I learned the importance of the word as a weapon in 1971 when I was living in Australia. I was traveling on my first overseas trip to Teen Challenge in New York. It turned into a round-the-world trip and was the first time I had flown on a plane. On the first leg of the journey, I quickly realized I had a problem. I experienced claustrophobia – a fear that, by the grace of God, I learned to overcome. However, before that happened, I was in London with a friend who was traveling with me. We were going to Spurgeon’s Temple to hear David DuPlessis speak. Traveling by underground railway, we were packed like sardines in a can. Then, while under the Thames River, the train suddenly stopped, and the lights went out. Fear rose within me as I could not move. I was surrounded by people in pitch darkness. To my mind came the verse, “No temptation (testing) has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted (tested) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (testing) will make a way of escape that you will be able to bear it.” Now the way of escape that night was for me to lay hold of the sword of the Spirit and repeat it to myself over and over again until the lights came on and we started moving again.
The word of God is not just a book; it is a weapon to the used in times of need and spiritual warfare. The word is powerful, “sharper than any two-edged sword.
THE NAME OF JESUS
In Acts 2, Peter and John meet a lame beggar at the gate of the temple. This is the first recorded miracle in the church. In the midst of it all, Peter says to the man, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have, I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” As a result of Peter’s declaration, the man was healed. There is power in the name of Jesus, and it carries authority.
Dorothy and I had an experience involving the name of Jesus. Here is is, as told by Dorothy in her book “Called Together.”
We were driving our daughter Joy to St. Catherine’s Girls School on the first day of the new school year. As we were coming up the hill toward the school gate, we were flagged down by the mother of one of Joy’s friends. Waving frantically, she cried out, “There is a man over there assaulting a woman!”
We were horrified to see that across the street, in the entryway to a block of apartments, a man with his back toward us had his hands around the throat of a woman. At the same time, he was beginning to bash her head against the brick wall. She was holding a baby in her arms, unable to protect herself. Something had to be done to stop him before he murdered her.
We both quickly realized the man was bigger and stronger than Alan. I knew he had to help, but knew he would be in danger also if he did. I flashed a prayer to the Lord. “What can we do?”
Alan was opening the van door. The Lord’s answer came back strong and clear. “Tell him to use the name of Jesus!”
Everything seemed to be in slow motion as I saw Alan step down from the van. “Use the name of Jesus!” I called out after him.
Alan ran across the road to the sidewalk, then raised his hand and shouted out, “In the name of Jesus, stop!”
Instantly it was as if the man was struck with a bolt of lightning from heaven. He let go of the woman’s throat, staggered back five or six paces, fell over an iron balustrade, and landed prostrate on the ground, motionless.
The police soon arrived and, after interrogating the man, arrested him. He did not want to be taken away, and it took all the strength of those two policemen to put him in what Australians call a “paddy wagon.” Still clutching her baby, the woman was rushed off to receive medical help, and we never saw her again.
We found out later that she was the man’s wife. About a year earlier, he had bought an Ouija board and had opened himself up to demonic influence. He was practicing what is called automatic writing and was writing a new Bible. That morning an evil spirit told him, “You are to kill your wife because she has Jewish blood in her veins.” After he was released from custody, we tried to help him. Other people tried as well, but he never could make a breakthrough and eventually committed suicide.
Besides saving the life of the woman, this experience taught us that there is amazing power and authority in the name of Jesus.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
People generally listen carefully to the last words a person says, whether it is when they are dying or leaving to go somewhere. Consequently, we should listen to the last words of Jesus before he ascended to heaven. Acts 1:8 records them, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses . . . .” In verse 5, Jesus indicates that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the source of this power. We need the Holy Spirit as a continual source of that power. Soon after, in the book of Acts, we have the story of the Day of Pentecost “when suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind. . . .”
I had an unusual experience that, in a small way, reminded me of Pentecost. Some twenty or more years ago, I was ministering in Brisbane, Australia, at a church pastored by a good friend of mine, Pastor Doug Stanton. Usually, I would preach the word, and then Doug would join in the time of ministry. I had finished the message and was just about to join with Pastor Doug in ministry when a mighty rushing wind blew across the room. It bypassed me but not the congregation. One man told me afterward that he had been blown back two rows of seats. Doug, himself, ended up on the floor. Now, bear in mind the room was an interior room with no windows. The Spirit moved as only the Holy Spirit can move. It was a night to remember. It was also a reminder that God has promised each of us the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is one of the ways God empowers His people.
A PERSONAL WORD
I have come to appreciate these weapons that God has given us – the Blood, the Word, the Name of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Consequently, I include these weapons and gifts in my morning devotions. Remember that these weapons are given to us that, together with all the rest that God has promised us, enable us to live victoriously, overcoming the enemy and all the attacks that would come upon us. I encourage you to lay hold of these four weapons, use them, and be victorious.
YES,YES, andYES! Oh how I love this Pastor Alan!