To Walk In The Spirit: Conclusion

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Epilogue & Bibliography

 
This is the last installment of A. Ward Brandenstein’s “To Walk In The Spirit”. With this last post the editors of CMC wish to thank Mr. and Mrs. Brandenstein for granting CMC permission to bring to the Christian reader a wealth of instruction, as to how to live the Christian life as a disciple of Christ, in the way and power of the Spirit of God. Many Thanks!

..

EPILOGUE

When God created man, man was created as a tri-partite being: spirit, soul, and body.  Man’s spirit enabled him to have fellowship with God.  As a spirit being, man was dependent on God to meet his spiritual needs which included moral discernment.  This dependency on God to meet the spiritual needs of man continued until man disobeyed God’s command.  When man disobeyed, he became independent from God and lost the fellowship he originally enjoyed with God.  He then came under the rule of sin and death, and was separated from God so that he was spiritually dead.
Every human being who has ever lived since that first transgression has been born with a spirit that is dead to God (with the exception of Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God), and lives under the totalitarian rule of sin and death.  From the spiritual death of man has come all of the psychological and physical maladies man has experienced.
When Christ came from heaven to earth in the incarnation, it was to make provision for God’s justice to be met through the sacrifice of His own life and to redeem all who trust Him for deliverance from the guilt and power of sin, and ultimately from sin’s presence.  But more than redeeming sinners, Christ also provided for those who receive Him to be given His righteousness.  When He returned to the Father in heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent from the Father and the Son to enable all believers who willingly submit themselves to the Spirit’s filling and control to experience righteousness in their living, which, in turn, produces holy living, which then provides the believer with the practical reality of eternal life (Rom. 6:19,22,23; Gal. 6:8).  As the child of God lives under the control of the Holy Spirit, he begins to see the benefits in his psychological and physical being as well as in his spiritual being (Rom. 8:11; III John 2).
As the child of God steadfastly pursues the walk in the Spirit, life will be a continual learning and growing experience, and each day becomes an adventure of seeing God’s working His will through the believer to God’s glory and the believer’s abundant joy!
 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chafer, Lewis Sperry.  Systematic Theology.  8 vols.  Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993.
Dean, William Allan.  Classroom lectures on Hebrews.  Langhorne Manor, PA: Philadelphia Bible Institute, now Cairn University, 1955.
MacArthur, Jack.  Revelation (Alpha and Omega, An Exposition of the Book of Revelation).  Eugene, OR, 1973:  Out of print.
Nicoll, W. Robertson, editor.  The Expositor’s Greek New Testament.  5 vols: Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956.
Scofield, C. I. and Editorial Committee of the New Edition.  The New Scofield Reference Bible, KJV.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.
Thayer, Joseph Henry.  Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament.  Grand Rapids, MI, 1963: currently in public domain.
Wuest, Kenneth S.  Hebrews in the Greek New Testament.  Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956.
Wuest, Kenneth S.  Romans in the Greek New Testament.  Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1955.
 
FOR FURTHER STUDY: (On The Indwelling Life of Christ For Believers)
Austin-Sparks, T.  What Is Man?  London: Witness and Testimony Publishers, 1963.
Murray, Andrew.  Absolute Surrender.  Chicago, IL: Moody Press, n.d.
Thomas, Major W. Ian.  The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988.
 
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week seventeen)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

.

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

The Christian Life is a Life of Prayer. (Part Three)

PATTERNS FOR PRAYING

The following prayers are suggestions of types of prayers for the unbeliever or new Christian to pray which he may build upon and change as he learns to pray in his own words.  The important point is to be sure that the prayer is from the heart.  It is helpful to think of prayer as a child’s speaking with his father.

FOR ONE WHO NEEDS TO RECEIVE CHRIST AS SAVIOUR

Prayer:  Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and that I need a Saviour.  I accept Jesus Christ as my Saviour, as my Lord, and my Life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and for giving me the gift of eternal life.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and lead me in the paths You would have me to go.  I ask this of You through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen.

God’s Answer:  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, Romans 10:9.

For additional verses and studies concerning salvation, please see How Life In Christ Is Received, Chapter 2.

FOR A BELIEVER WHO REALIZES HIS IDENTIFICATION WITH CHRIST

Prayer:  Dear Father in heaven, I thank You for sending your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to earth, to be made sin in my place and to suffer death for sin, so that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him. I believe that when He was on the cross, I was co-crucified; when He was buried, I was co-buried; when He was resurrected, I was raised with Him to walk in newness of life; and when He ascended to the heavenlies, I was made to be seated in the heavenlies in Him.  I now consider these truths to be constantly a part of who I am, and I submit myself to the Holy Spirit to teach me every day the way these truths are to be a reality in my daily walk.  I thank You for Christ’s life within me and for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

God’s Assurance: Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism (of the Holy Spirit) into death, that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin,Romans 6:4,6.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath made us alive together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,Ephesians 2:4‑6.

For additional verses and studies concerning identification, please see Fact Number 50, United with Christ in Death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension (Identification).

FOR CHRISTIANS TO CONFESS ACTS OF SIN TO RESTORE BROKEN FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

Prayer:  Dear Father in heaven, I thank You that Jesus took my sins and bore them on the cross.  Thank You for Your Holy Spirit who lets me know of those acts which I have done that are sins.  Father, I now confess that the (anger, lustful thoughts, jealousy, lying, stealing, or the deed committed) is sin in your sight and was borne by Christ on the cross.  By your mercy and grace, I thank You for your forgiveness.  I pray that You will fill me anew with your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

God’s Assurance: Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness…I Peter 2:24.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive (at the cross) us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.(I John 1:7,9)

Note:  Confess means “say the same thing” as God says.  What He says issin, we are willing to say is sin when we are made to see it by the Holy Spirit’s conviction.  This is God’s provision when we are burdened with “guilt feelings”.

As the believer is willing to confess sins when they are committed, there is assurance in knowing that Jesus Christ is doing His work as the believer’s Advocate in the heavenlies. (See I John 2:1 in No. 14, Accuser of the Brethren, under “Who Satan Is.”

FOR THE BELIEVER’S DELIVERANCE FROM OPPRESSION

(First, all known sin should be confessed. See prayer to confess sin above.)

Prayer:  Dear Father in heaven, thank you for victory over Satan through Christ’s redeeming work on the cross and through His resurrection. I pray that you will bind Satan and protect me, my family, and my home from his attacks.  You have said, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” James 4:7.  I resist the devil, in Jesus’ name, and I pray for your Spirit to be in control of me now and to fill my life.  I pray for your will to be accomplished in my life.  I claim the victory I already have in Christ Jesus, and claim your promise in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Thank you for Your deliverance. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

(There are times when it is necessary to pray audibly a prayer such as this, as there are some instances in which the oppression does not stop until an audible prayer is spoken.)

One may also claim in the prayer the promises of God from His Word, such as John 14:13,14; I Thessalonians 5:24; I John 4:4; Psalm 91; Ephesians 6:10-18; Psalm 1, 23.

FOR THE BELIEVER TO WALK IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

Prayer:  Dear Father in heaven, I thank You for Your Presence and Life dwelling in me.  I thank You that I am dead to sin through Christ, and I present my members to Your Holy Spirit to be used as instruments of righteousness unto You.  May Your Spirit fill me and control me, through Jesus Christ, the Lord, and may Christ’s resurrected life be lived in me.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

God’s Assurance: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal. 5:16)

For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law but under grace.  Being, then, made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Rom. 6:14,18)

FOUR ELEMENTS OF PRAYER FOR BELIEVERS

Praise, Confession, Petition, and Thanksgiving are essential components for effective praying for a believer to follow.  These elements or components of prayer are found in The Lord’s Prayer, Luke 11:2-4; Matthew 6:9-13.

 

Next Week: Epilogue & Bibliography

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week sixteen)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

The Christian Life is a Life of Prayer. (Part Two)

WHY ARE WE TO PRAY?

Philippians 4:6,7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It is quite common for people to react to life’s pressures and concerns with anxiety.  But God has provided the means whereby the believer who is walking in the Spirit is able to replace the tendency towards being anxious, with experiencing God’s peace.  The change comes as the believer comes to God in prayer with supplications (strong pleadings) and presents whatever requests he chooses to make.  The degree of our strong pleadings is usually proportionate to the amount of anxiety we may be experiencing.  Another dimension which is included with our prayers and supplications is the fact that it is to be accompanied with thanksgiving.  We usually do well in presenting our needs to God, but we usually forget to thank God as we make the requests.  Thanksgiving is to include thanks for the situation God has placed us in by His providence, thanks for the relationship we have with Him as our heavenly Father, and thanks for the answer and the way and the time in which He will bring the answer.  As we walk in the Spirit we are able more readily to be thankful while making our requests than we would tend to be if we were not walking in the Spirit.  If we will pray as described in Philippians 4:6, then the peace of God will be a reality, and it will keep (our)hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  By praying as prescribed here, the believer avoids being overcome by anxiety and the stress that leads to disease and nervous disorders and replaces the anxiety with God’s peace. When our hearts and minds are kept (or, preserved) through the peace God gives, we are able to see the provisions God sets in our pathway which, under anxiety, we would not recognize.

TO WHOM ARE WE TO PRAY?

Jesus gave instruction to the disciples, in what is commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer, to begin their praying by saying, Our Father.  But is such privilege given to believer and unbeliever alike?  In view of Jesus’ further teaching in John 14:13,14, and John 16:24,26, it is certain that only believers are given the privilege of praying in the manner that Jesus taught.

It is a contradiction for unbelievers to call God their Father until they have recognized their need of having Christ as Saviour and Lord (Rom. 10:9,10).  Once a person has accepted Christ as Saviour and Lord, he is granted the right of access to God as Father through Christ alone (John 14:6).  The question, which then must be answered, is, “On what basis can an unbeliever pray, and to whom does he address his prayer?”  To answer this concern, it is helpful to see the various ways people prayed as recorded in the New Testament.

In Luke 18, Jesus taught those who were self-righteous the kind of prayer God will not hear.  In verse 11, it says, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are…’”  In verse 13, Jesus says that a tax-collector who was praying nearby said, God be merciful to me a sinner.  In each of these examples, those who were praying addressed their prayer to God, but they did not call Him Father.

On only one other occasion, as recorded in the New Testament, is a prayer addressed to God, and that was the prayer Jesus uttered on the cross,My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? (Matt. 27:46; Mk. 15:34).  It is most likely that it was at that moment Jesus was experiencing the reality of being made sin for us (II Cor. 5:21).

From the Scriptural examples just given, it would seem that the only way in which an unbeliever can direct a prayer to God is to call Him God.

For the believer, and only the believer, Jesus instructs that he can call God, Father.  Father was the appellation Jesus used on at least sixteen occasions when He prayed during His years of ministry as found in Scripture.

Most other prayers recorded in the New Testament and offered by people other than Jesus, address either God, the Father, or Jesus, as Lord.  In Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21, Jesus used a combined appellation to the Father, when He prayed, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…  There are at least twenty-three times when the Scriptures contain prayers offered either to God, the Father, or to Jesus, as Lord.

In summary then, it appears that it would be appropriate for an individual to address his or her prayer to God as God when praying a prayer to receive Christ as Saviour.  After receiving Christ as Saviour, the person is able to call God, Father, because the indwelling Holy Spirit causes him to cry, Abba, Father (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).  Jesus gave added importance to the truth of a child of God praying to God as Father, when He said, in John 16:23,

And in that day (after the Spirit comes to indwell believers, that is, after the day of Pentecost) ye shall ask Me nothing.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you.

John 16:26,27, At that day ye shall ask in My name, and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; For the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.

Jesus instructs us to pray directly to the Father, rather than ask Jesus to make our requests to the Father.

Jesus used the phrase, in my name, several times in His instructions as to how we are to pray.  The phrase, in my name, grants to the child of God the same prayer privilege and position which Jesus maintained during His earthly ministry.  It is as if He had granted us the same use of prayer in His stead, which could be likened to a person’s giving another person the right to sign his name on a check.

In His name carries with it also a responsibility.  Since a person’s name in Bible times carried with it the sense of the person’s character and honor, prayer in His name would be offered in keeping with Christ’s character and in keeping with that which would bring honor to Him.

In the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11:2, the phrase, Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth, is an important part of praying in a way that is consistent with Christ’s character.  In Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane, after saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me, He then said, nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt (Matt. 26:39).  Praying so that Christ will be honored will always be in the attitude that God’s will be done in preference to our finite concerns.

Prayer, then, is to be an essential part of the walk in the Spirit for the child of God and becomes a normal part of one’s daily manner of life the more it is practised.  It was normal for Jesus to talk to His Heavenly Father regarding anything of concern to Him in His earthly sojourn and the same thing will be true as the believer grows in his spiritual life.

HOW ARE WE TO PRAY?

As already indicated, Jesus instructed us, as He instructed the disciples, how we are to pray in the prayer commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer” in Luke 11:2‑4 and Matthew 6:9‑13.  This prayer was given to teach us to address prayer to the Heavenly Father, to hold His Name sacred, to desire that His will be accomplished on the earth, to recognize His daily provision, to know His forgiveness to us and, in turn, our need to forgive others, and to recognize His divine protection and provision to keep us from doing evil or from evil experiences.

Immediately before giving this model prayer in Matthew 6, Jesus warns against using vain repetitions in praying.  This warning would serve as a caution against using The Lord’s Prayer as a routine practice, unless we are genuinely desiring the Heavenly Father to accomplish what the prayer expresses.

Believers often feel that their prayers are not stated in terms acceptable to God, causing a person to feel self-conscious and reluctant to pray.  In Romans 8:26, it says,

Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

There are times in a believer’s experience when the weight of some concern makes it impossible to express in words what we need to ask for. We can be assured that the indwelling Holy Spirit is able to transport the concern into the Father’s presence and lay it out fully to the Father, who acts in response to the prayer in the way that is best for the person who is burdened.  The answer will be the right one in view of what God is wanting to accomplish to conform the person to the image of Christ when he and all believers will stand in His presence in glory (Romans 8:17,23,29).

 

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is a Life of Prayer (Patterns of Prayer)

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week fifthteen)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

The Christian Life is a Life of Prayer. (Part One)

Prayer could be regarded in the life of the Christian as the way by which the child of God has an immediate audience with his heavenly Father. Because God is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent (everywhere present), Psalm 139, He is great enough to order the course of the stars in the universe, Psalm 8:3, and at the same time heed the smallest needs of any one of His children, Psalm 34:15,17; Romans 8:15c,d-17.  Each believer has God’s attention individually at all times concerning anything he wants to share in prayer with Him.

There is a matter of obedience in regard to praying that the believer who is walking in the Spirit needs to know.  There are definite commands for believers in Jesus to pray that will be vital to walking in the Spirit.  We will cite only the Scriptures which are a stated command or have the intent of a command.

WHEN ARE WE TO PRAY?

I Thess. 5:17, Pray without ceasing.

Romans 12:12, …continuing diligently in prayer.

Ephesians 6:18, Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Colossians 4:2, Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

I Peter 4:7, But the end of all things is at hand; be ye, therefore, soberminded, and watch unto prayer.

Prayer for the Spirit-led believer is spiritual breathing.  It is an ongoing activity that becomes a state of mind.  In that state of mind the individual becomes aware that he is living and functioning in union with God and will want to communicate with God always about everything, whether consciously or sub-consciously.  The individual believer learns he is never to do anything independently from God and that he must go to the Father in prayer about everything.  This constant communication is the true essence of fellowship.

Jesus modeled this continuous communication with the Father when He would converse with the Father as He went about His everyday ministry. (See John 6:57; 11:41; 12:27,28; 17:1,5,21.)  It was as natural for Him to turn to God, the Father, in prayer as it is for us to talk to one another in our earthly family relationships.  This openness of communication is to characterize the manner of prayer as one walks in the Spirit.

FOR WHOM DO WE PRAY?

James 5:16, Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I Thessalonians 5:25, Brethren, pray for us.

Ephesians 6:18,19, Praying always…for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me…

I Timothy 2:1,2, I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men, For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Hebrews 13:18, Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

When we consider the Scriptural commands as for whom we are to pray, four classes of people are given:

1.     Those who ask us to pray for them.  I Thess. 5:25; Eph. 6:18,19; Heb. 13:18.

2.     Those with whom we are closely associated, and for fellow believers. Jas. 5:16; Eph. 6:18.

3.     For kings and authorities (government officials).  I Tim. 2:1,2.

4.     For all men.  I Tim. 2:1.

Although the individual believer is not able to know all men or all leaders of government in the world, it is possible to pray as we are made aware of special needs at particular times and in difficult events in the lives of people we don’t know.

There is also the need to remind ourselves, as we pray, of God’s sovereign rule as it relates to all of mankind.  We need to pray for God’s will to be accomplished by His drawing sinners to Himself for salvation and for His providential care for leaders in the exercise of their offices.

As the believer walks in the Spirit, prayer becomes a meaningful part of his experience.

WHERE ARE WE TO PRAY?

I Timothy 2:8, I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Wherever a believer is can be a place of prayer.  Although Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy room, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, who is in secret… He apparently did not mean to say that is the only place to pray.  Rather, He was teaching that making it obvious to others that we are praying, as did the hypocrites, would be wrong and would better be done in a personal, intimate manner. Jesus demonstrated that prayer could be offered in the normal course of His activities (John 11:41,42; 12:27‑30).

In I Timothy 2:8, in addition to saying that men ought to pray everywhere, we are told the manner in which we should pray.  The lifting up holy hands would point back to the practice of the priests who served in the temple by washing their hands and feet at the laver in order that their service be undefiled.  In the practical sense, it would mean that the one praying should be as a cleansed vessel presenting himself to God for God to use in answering the prayer being offered.  The phrase, without wrath and doubting, indicates that wrath and any other offenses need to be put away (Matt. 5:22‑24), and the believer should come in full confidence to God (Heb. 4:16).

WHY ARE WE TO PRAY?

Philippians 4:6,7, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It is quite common for people to react to life’s pressures and concerns with anxiety.  But God has provided the means whereby the believer who is walking in the Spirit is able to replace the tendency towards being anxious, with experiencing God’s peace.  The change comes as the believer comes to God in prayer with supplications (strong pleadings) and presents whatever requests he chooses to make.  The degree of our strong pleadings is usually proportionate to the amount of anxiety we may be experiencing.  Another dimension which is included with our prayers and supplications is the fact that it is to be accompanied with thanksgiving.  We usually do well in presenting our needs to God, but we usually forget to thank God as we make the requests.  Thanksgiving is to include thanks for the situation God has placed us in by His providence, thanks for the relationship we have with Him as our heavenly Father, and thanks for the answer and the way and the time in which He will bring the answer.  As we walk in the Spirit we are able more readily to be thankful while making our requests than we would tend to be if we were not walking in the Spirit.  If we will pray as described in Philippians 4:6, then the peace of God will be a reality, and it will keep (our)hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  By praying as prescribed here, the believer avoids being overcome by anxiety and the stress that leads to disease and nervous disorders and replaces the anxiety with God’s peace. When our hearts and minds are kept (or, preserved) through the peace God gives, we are able to see the provisions God sets in our pathway which, under anxiety, we would not recognize.

 

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is a Life of Prayer (Why Are We To Pray?)

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week fourteen)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

The Christian Life is a Life of Rest.

Israel experienced deliverance from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  Forty years later Israel experienced deliverance into Canaan under the leadership of Joshua.  The significance of this deliverance of Israel as it relates to the child of God is presented in two passages in the New Testament.
In I Corinthians 10:1-4 are listed God’s provisions for Israel for leaving Egypt and for their journey in the wilderness.  But in verse 5 we read,

But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

The application is made to Christians in verse 6, which says,

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

Following a description in verses 7-10 concerning the various ways the children of Israel were disobedient in the wilderness, verse 11 explains,

Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages are come.

In a similar way, the Epistle to the Hebrews contrasts Israel’s wilderness experiences to a problem faced by Christians throughout the New Testament period, the problem of failing to live by faith after salvation has been received by faith.
Israel was a redeemed nation because each family had to kill a lamb, apply the blood to the doorposts and lintel, and pass through the Red Sea.  All of this was a picture of a person’s coming to Christ initially for salvation because of what Christ did on the cross for our redemption.
Israel was delivered out of Egypt.  The Christian is delivered out of sin and death and out of the world (Rom. 6:7-10; Gal. 6:14).  Israel’s problem was that in their hearts (they) turned back into Egypt(Acts 7:39) while they were in the wilderness.  Likewise, Christians have difficulty as long as the world is still in their hearts (I Jn. 2:15‑17).  God promised deliverance to Israel from slavery and promised their return to Canaan (Exodus 6:1‑8).  But because of Israel’s persistent unbelief, they were doomed to perish in the wilderness throughout the forty years of wandering (Num. 14:20‑38; Psa. 95:10,11; Heb. 3:10,11).
In view of God’s judgment on Israel, believers are warned about unbelief in their Christian walk (Heb. 3:12; 4:1) and are encouraged to enter into the rest which is still being offered by God (Heb. 4:11).
In order to understand the meaning of rest in Hebrews 3 and 4, it is important to first look at the meaning of the words in the Greek which are translated rest, and then to see the various ways the word,rest, is used.
In Hebrews 3:11,18, the Greek word translated rest has the meaning of “a permanent cessation of activity…  It refers to the permanent and tranquil abode promised Israel in Canaan.  It would be in contrast to the abject slavery of Israel in Egypt.  This permanent and tranquil rest will be Israel’s in the Millennium under its covenanted King, the Lord Jesus.”
In Hebrews 4:1, it says

Let us, therefore, fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

The his rest in the verse refers to the spiritual rest in Messiah offered to first century Hebrews rather than their relying upon Jewish traditions.
In Hebrews 4:3 it says, For we who have believed do enter into rest…  This rest is the rest of knowing salvation is a reality for one who has believed the gospel.  Any strife within the believer’s heart or mind as to his relationship to Christ is contradictory because rest is promised to him.  (See Matthew 11:28,29.)  It is God’s purpose that the believer should be able to rest in what God has promised.
In verse four there is a quotation from Genesis 2:2 that God did rest the seventh day from all His works.  The character of the rest the believer is afforded is likened to the rest God experienced on the seventh day of creation, the rest of completed work.  Likewise, the believer needs to understand that the reason he can rest is that the message in the gospel declares the work of salvation has been completed by Christ, and the believer gets the benefit of rest.  This thought is emphasized again in Hebrews 4:9,10,

There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.  For he (the believer) that is entered into His (God’s) rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.

The Greek word for rest in verse nine is different from the one used in all of the other places in chapter four of Hebrews.  In verse nine, it has the meaning of “keeping of a sabbath” (Scofield Bible margin).  This implies that the seventh day rest in the Old Covenant now is surpassed with a rest that is constant and daily, the rest based on the completed work of redemption through Christ.  Therefore, instead of living a life of struggling and striving, the believer has been provided with rest.
Hebrews 4:11 follows,

Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The rest for the believer to enjoy is possible because of the truth of the believer’s being in Christ, and Christ’s being in the believer, the principle of identification.  (See Fact 50, United with Christ.) This kind of rest affords the believer quietness and assurance in the inner man even though there may be storms and upheaval outwardly.  Rather than reacting to outward circumstances that would produce inward turmoil, the one who rests in Christ will weather the storm in quietness.

In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength… Isaiah 30:15c,d.

God offered Israel His ultimate deliverance in this promise from Isaiah, but the verse ends with four words which completely turn the verse around.  The words are, and ye would not.  But the remaining Isaiah verses following this one give God’s ultimate blessing which He will accomplish when the Messiah comes.  We need to understand that God’s desire to bless Israel when they receive their Messiah is also made available to believers today who have placed their faith in Christ.  God intends for rest to be an essential part of salvation, but the believer must enter into that rest, as mentioned in Hebrews 4:11.
As the believer appropriates the rest offered by God, he will also be able to experience contentment.  Hebrews 13:5,6 says,

Let your manner of life be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

I Timothy 6:6-8 says,

But godliness with contentment is great gain; For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

Contentment is resting in the sufficiency of God to supply our needs whether by means of employment, ministry, or miracles.  It is godly protection against coveteousness, worry and fear. Contentment is only possible as we walk by faith, which is also walking after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1,4,5).  True enduring contentment is possible only as we walk in the Spirit.
A word of caution is in order regarding rest and contentment.  There is danger in thinking that being passive or casual in one’s approach to life is the same as rest or being content.  Hebrews 4:11 says,Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest…  The word, labor, has the meaning of “be diligent”, which would be the exact opposite of passivity.  Also, to walk in the spirit, one must be actively engaged in walking, which is impossible if a person is casual or passive.
The rest and contentment available to the child of God who is walking in the Spirit enables a person to experience the rest and contentment on a continuous basis regardless of outward circumstances. It will not be continuous if the person reacts to situations according to fleshly responses.  Fleshly reactions need to be confessed as sin (I Jn. 1:9), and forgiveness is immediate so the person can resume living in the Spirit.
In summary, we note that as believers walking in the Spirit, we will experience the rest of a completed salvation of God’s perfect provisions, or “the rest of conscience and soul”, Hebrews 4:1,3.  It is the sabbath rest every day of the believer’s life, not only the Lord’s day.  It is the rest that frees the believer from anxious care and provides true contentment.

 

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is a Life of Prayer

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week thirteen)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

The Christian Life is a Life of Peace.

Peace is mentioned more than 450 times throughout the Bible.  Peace frequently is seen in the New Testament as a greeting or a farewell, as in I Peter 1:3 and 5:14. Peace was given as Christ’s bequest to His followers in John 14:27 and as His greeting in His post-resurrection appearances (Luke 24:36; John 20:19,21,26).

Peace is seen as the spiritual responsibility of the child of God frequently in Scripture, not only given as a greeting.  In giving the beatitudes, Jesus said in Matthew 5:9,

Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.

As we recognize the teaching in the Beatitudes as expressions of living in the Holy Spirit, then we can understand that Jesus is putting forth the truth that those who are the sons of God by believing in and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour and Life (John 1:12; I John 5:12), are the ones who are the true peacemakers. The truest sense of being a peacemaker is the result of bringing people to Christ where they are given peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and are able to experience the peace of God (Phil. 4:7; Col. 3:15).

The peacemakers to whom Jesus is referring are certainly not those whom the world would consider as peacemakers, those who are trying to bring in world peace.  In I Thessalonians 5:3, the Word of God declares,

For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them…

Also the phrase used twice in Jeremiah and once in Ezekiel certainly describes the feeble attempts of those who try to bring world peace, when it says, Peace, peace, when there is no peace… (Jer. 6:14b; 8:11b; and similarly in Ezekiel 13:10b).

We will see as we consider the New Testament Scriptures that those who are truly peacemakers are those who take to heart the admonitions to make peace and tokeep peace.

James 3:18, which was cited under “fruit-bearing” makes an interesting connection between fruit and peace, when it says,

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace.

The person who is walking in the Spirit learns quickly that the Spirit of God brings into a unified operation all of the godly traits that the believer is expected to manifest as he obeys the commands of the Word of God.  In the passage in James 3:18, the privilege granted the believer tomake peace results in the fruit of righteousness. Therefore, the child of God, through making peace, will experience practical righteousness.

Whereas to make peace was an admonition, the next two verses are in the imperative mood and are commands. There are three verses which come from the same Greek word, used only in these three Scriptures, which Greek word is , and is translated,

…be at peace, in I Thessalonians 5:13;

…live in peace, in II Corinthians 13:11; and,

If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men, Romans 12:18.

We as believers need to endeavor under the control of the Spirit of the Lord to fulfill these commands and admonition.

In I Corinthians 7:15, the statement is made that God hath called us to peace, having the implied meaning in the context of living peaceably when an unbelieving spouse in the marriage has departed from a believer.

In Romans 8:6, life and peace is that which characterizes being spiritually minded, whereas to be carnally minded is death.

In Romans 14:19, believers are exhorted,

Let us, therefore, follow after the things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.

Our life needs to be characterized by those things that lead to peace.  The writer uses the hortatory subjunctive mood, which encourages others to participate with the writer or speaker.  The writer is saying in this mood, “I’m going to do this, follow after the things which make for peace, and I want you to do this with me; let’s do it together!”

Peace becomes a bond for believers as they endeavorto keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace(Eph. 4:3).

In I Peter 3:11, the child of God is commanded to:

…eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it.

The word, pursue, as used here, is from the same Greek word which is translated follow in Romans 14:19 (follow after the things that make for peace).  Pursuing or following peace is to be a major task for the believer to accomplish as he walks in the Spirit.

In II Peter 3:14, after describing the events surrounding the coming of the Lord, the destruction of the heavens and the earth, and the promise of new heavens and a new earth, Peter says,

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

This command concerning peace solves the problem caused by the human tendency to be fearful when one contemplates the momentous events to come at the end of the age.  As the believer walks in the Spirit, his human tendency toward fear will be supplanted with peace that will be constant and consistent even until the coming of the Lord.

In Hebrews 12:14, after the writer teaches concerning the importance of God’s chastening of those whom He loves, the believer is commanded to:

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

Again, the importance of following or pursuing peace combined with holiness is commanded in view of our being in the presence of God in glory.

This peace, therefore, is only going to be a reality as the believer in Christ walks in the Spirit and gives evidence of the peace in his earthly relationships as well as in his relationship to God.

This section has not been an exhaustive study on the subject of peace, but has been centered on verses which emphasize the responsibility believers have to provide for peace in daily living.  The ability for the believer to provide for peace is based on God’s provision of peace for the believer.

 

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is a Life of Rest

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Twelve)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

The Christian Life is Fruitful.

On the evening before Jesus went to the cross, He taught the disciples that they would be bearing fruit as His disciples (John 15:8).  Jesus used the figure of a vine in His teaching.  Although Jesus never explained what the fruit was which was to be borne, He presented the basis of fruitbearing in the relationship the disciples were to have with Him after His ascension.  Jesus said, in John 15:1,2,5,8:

I Am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

I Am the vine, ye are the branches.  He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing.

In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Christ is the vine; Christ and the believers are the branches that are to bring forth fruit, which relationship is the essence and evidence of our identification with Christ; the fruit that Christ bears is through the believers.

First, there is a progression from non-fruit-bearing to bearing fruit, to more fruit, and to much fruit.  The bearing of much fruit results from abiding in Christ and His abiding in the believer.

In John 15, Jesus is talking to believers, not to unbelievers.  He is not talking about salvation, but about fruit-bearing.  In verse two, where He states, Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit he taketh away, the one taken away was in Him first.  The reason for not bearing fruit is not stated.  The condition of being unfruitful is mentioned in Titus 3:14, as the result of failing to maintain good works.  Good works are the result God expects from the person who is created in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10).  In II Peter 1:8, it states,

For if these things (the godly characteristics of verses 5‑7) be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In a practical sense, the reason a person who is in Christ would be unfruitful would be the result of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19‑21).  In a literal sense, a vine that had been fruit-bearing ceases to be so, either through blight or becoming old.  Therefore, it could be understood that a person could be in the vine, but not bearing fruit, and that person would be removed from the privilege of bearing fruit because the Father takes him away either by sickness or by death (See I Cor. 11:30; I John 5:16).  It must also be considered that the words, taketh away, have the meaning in the Greek of “lifteth up”, possibly referring to a branch that has been beaten to the ground by rain or by blight.  Then after being lifted up, it can be cleansed as spoken of in John 15:2c‑e,

Every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth (better translated, “cleanseth”) it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Then Jesus further states in verse 3,

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

The word, purgeth, in verse 2, and the word, clean, in verse 3, are from the same root word in the Greek.  This Greek word is used, as well, in James 1:27, where it is translated pure in the phrase, Pure religion and undefiled before God the Father…

Thus we see that the better way to consider the word,purgeth, in John 15:2 is in the sense of cleansing or purifying.  In John 15:3, Jesus states that it is through His word that the cleansing is accomplished.  When this cleansing has taken place, more fruit is the result.

As stated earlier, the ultimate stage of fruit-bearing ismuch fruit, which occurs as the believer abides in Christ and Christ abides in the believer.  The word, abide, means “continue” or “remain” (See ABIDE) and carries the sense of steadfast, continuous relationship in the practical life of the believer.  In John 15:8, Jesus explains that the one who is bearing much fruit is the one who is truly His disciple. The person who is bearing much fruit will realize that Jesus’ words in verse 5 are very true, that without Me ye can do nothing.  Seven of Jesus’ original twelve disciples learned this lesson, that they could do nothing without Christ, when they sought to go fishing after His resurrection, as recorded in John 21:1-11.  After fishing all night and catching nothing, Jesus met them by the seaside and commanded them to cast their nets on the other side of the ship, and they caught a net full of fish when they obeyed His command.  So the believer’s life will bring forth much fruit as he lives in continued fellowship and obedience to Christ’s indwelling presence.

Several places in Scripture will help us to see what is meant by fruit.  Undoubtedly, the primary passage for understanding what the fruit is, will be seen in Galatians 5:22,23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.

These verses demonstrate what the life of the Spirit will produce in and through the person who is living and walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25).  These characteristics are not those qualities which the believer produces in and of himself, but what will be the outflow of what is produced when the Holy Spirit has freedom to produce them through the believer’s life as he is filled with the Spirit, Eph. 5:18.

It is also important to note that as the vine is not nurtured through the fruit that it bears, so the believer as abranch in the true vine is not the beneficiary of the fruit of the Spirit born in his life.  God’s purpose is that those who feed on the fruit will be the ones who will benefit from it. So God’s purpose is to allow those who hunger, those who are spiritually in need, to benefit from the fruit of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

The qualities listed as the fruit of the Spirit can also be seen as the attributes of Christ.  Therefore, when the fruit of the Spirit comes out from one’s life, it is truly the life of Christ that is producing the fruit by the Spirit.

Other Scriptures which speak of the fruit are likewise describing qualities or attributes of Christ:

James 3:17,18, But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace.

Rom. 6:22, But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Rom. 7:4,5, Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

For when we were in the flesh, the sinful impulses, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Ephesians 5:9, For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.

Philippians 1:11, Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Hebrews 12:11, Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it.

There is only one Scripture which speaks of fruit in the sense of “soul-winning”, people being saved, although the verse could refer, as well, to the fruit of the Spirit.  In Romans 1:13, the Apostle Paul says,

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was prevented thus far,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Another Scripture which may have a different intent of meaning for fruit is given in Philippians 4:17,

Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

Fruit, as it is used in this passage, seems to have dividends or benefits as its meaning.  Paul desires for the Philippians to enjoy these benefits because of the Philippians’s loving concern for Paul’s well-being as they shared their goods to care for his needs.  The meaning is not the same as the fruit of the Spirit.

Fruit is usually described in the Scriptures as the fruit of the Spirit, the divine attributes.  Christ taught the disciples, and consequently, believers of all time, that we should bear much fruit, i.e., the fruit of the Spirit.  By abiding in Christ in a steadfast continuous relationship and by Christ’s abiding in the believer, the believer is filled with the Spirit in order to minister to others physically, spiritually, and materially.

 

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is a Life of Peace

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Eleven)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

How The Believer Is To Overcome The Devil

In order to have a clear understanding of the Scriptural principles for being victorious over the devil, there are three primary passages that will be considered (in chronological order).
First, in James 4:7,8, we read,

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.

Note that the command to resist the devil is placed between two commands regarding the believer’s relationship to God.  The point is that the child of God must first, Submit to God, then he is able toresist the devil.  Although James does not explain how a believer submits, the word in the Greek translated, submit, has the primary meaning of “to be under obedience”, and is used in Ephesians 5:21 in describing one of the characteristics of being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), which characteristic is, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Eph 5:21).  The place of greatest protection from the devil is for the child of God to be filled with the Spirit constantly, putting himself under obedience to God.  Conversely, when a believer is not being filled with the Spirit, he is most vulnerable and will not be effective in resisting the devil.
The phrase, Resist the devil, could be paraphrased, “Oppose the opposer”.  Since Satan is the one who opposes God and everyone who belongs to God, James gives the command, Resist (or, oppose) the devil.  The most literal translation of the original Greek word is “to stand against” or “withstand” (as used in Eph 6:13).  The Scripture does not instruct the believer to command Satan to flee or to have to say anything to him, but to hold one’s own position in submission to God and to not allow Satan to dissuade the believer by any deceitful actions the devil might attempt to use.
As the believer resists the devil by submitting to God in obedience and standing fast against the devil, the Scripture then states that …he (Satan) will flee from you.  Rather than Satan’s setting the believer to flight, the believer stands in the place of authority and security, and the devil is set to flight.  The believer can claim the victory he already has in Jesus through Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross, death and resurrection.  This is only effective when all sin has been confessed, saying the same thing about it that God says, that it is sin, as in I John 1:9.
As a proper follow-through, James admonishes the believer to Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  The word for draw near is also translated “approach” in other passages (e.g., Heb. 10:25).  Therefore, after confronting and resisting the devil, the believer is admonished to approach God.  It is possible to say then, “Approach God and He will approach you”.  Just as Jesus resisted Satan’s temptations in the wilderness and was ministered to by angels, so the believer, after resisting Satan’s temptations, is ministered to by his approach to God in fellowship.
By (1) Submitting to God in obedience, (2) Resisting the devil, and (3) Drawing near to God – the believer transforms each confrontation by the devil into an occasion for fellowship with God.
The second passage to instruct the believer in how to have victory over the devil is found in I Peter 5:9, which states,

Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Again, the word, resist, is given as in the passage in James 4:7,8.  In this present reference, the one who resists the devil is exhorted to be steadfast in the faith.  There are eight different Greek words that are translated steadfast. The word used in I Peter 5:9 occurs in only two other passages and has a distinctive sense.  It is the Greek word, “stereos,” and has the meaning of “strong, firm, unmoveable,” as used in II Timothy 2:19, where it states, Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure.  In Hebrews 5:12,14, stereos is translated as “solid” or “strong” (K.J.V.) in reference to thesolid food (strong meat) of the word of righteousness (v.13), which is for those who have grown beyond the milk of the word.
The emphasis of I Peter 5:9 is, therefore, that the devil can be resisted as the believer continues to be strong and unmoveable in his life and walk of faith centered in God and Christ.
The believer is not expected to resist Satan apart from God’s provision.  In Ephesians 6:10,11, the believer is instructed,

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.

The Apostle Paul knew the importance of the admonition, Be strong in the Lord, Eph. 6:10.  The statement is introduced by the word, finally.  This has the meaning of henceforth.  After everything else had been written earlier in the epistle concerning the believer’s position and walk, the Apostle puts this command as his last word to them because they will always need to heed what he says here. There is always the need for the child of God to be strengthened.  The strengthening comes only from his position in the Lord.  The strengthening is not within the person himself.  (See II Cor. 12:9,10.)
Then, there is the additional word given that the strengthening is in the power of His (God’s) might.  Paul had prayed for the believers in Ephesians 1:19, that they might know …what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.  Now in Ephesians 6:10, the Apostle is saying that what he prayed for them in his earlier prayer is the strength which they are to appropriate in order to be strong.  This strength needs to be experienced before Satan attacks, not only when he attacks.

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

This truth of putting on the armor parallels Romans 13:14,

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Rom. 13:14)

Because the believer is united with Christ, the strength with which he is able to stand against the wiles of the devil is Christ’s strength.  The believer does not stand in his own strength alone, but relies upon Christ to strengthen him to resist Satan’s attacks as the believer “yields” to Christ in obedience.  (See Reckon and Yield.)
Verse 12 gives the reason that the believer needs to be strong in the Lord (v.10), and to put on the whole armor of God (v.11).  The opposition confronting the believer is neither physical nor visible, but is in the spiritual realm.  The opposition is very real, although it is invisible.  There are four ways in which the spiritual opposition is described.
First, there are “principalities or rulers applied here to the powers of evil”.
Second, are powers, “here designating demonic authorities”.
Third, are the rulers of the darkness of this world, which is translated, that we are wrestling “against the world rulers…of this darkness”.  “It means…powers dominating the world as such and working everywhere.”  The word, darkness, “limits their dominion…to the world as it now is in the darkness of its ignorance and evil, and suggests the destined termination of their operation”.
Fourth, is spiritual wickedness in high places.  This can be more clearly understood as being “the spirit forces whose essential character is wickedness”. These forces are seen to be operating in high places, which means in the Greek, in the heavenlies.  “Their haunts are those superterrestrial regions, not the highest heavens which are the abode of God, Christ, and angels, but those lower heavens which are at once subcelestial and superterrestrial.”  In view of this fourfold description of the forces opposing the Christian in his spiritual life, the believer can see the importance of being protected by the armor, as described in verses 14-17 of Ephesians 6, which armor is stronger than the wicked forces opposing him.
In Ephesians 6:14-17, the believer is commanded to stand, followed by a description of the armor pieces he is to wear for his protection.  Each piece of his equipment is described by qualities that are spiritual.  These qualities of the armor are: truthrighteousnesspeacefaithsalvationthe word of God.  When seen in their entirety, they speak of Christ’s characteristics.  The believer’s protection is centered in his position in Christ.  Therefore, he is able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:13) because of who he is in Christ.
Whereas the believer runs a race and he is to walk in the Spirit, when confronted by Satan and his demons, the believer is to stand fast.  The believer is provided with righteousness, faith, peace, and the other qualities that characterize the armor, through Christ, so that the believer does not have to respond to circumstances caused by Satan.  By the believer’s standing fast, Satan cannot gain ground which rightly belongs to Christ since the believer belongs where he is, under Christ’s control.  As believers stand firm when Satan seeks to devour them, it serves as a testimony that The earth is the Lord’s…(Psa. 24:1), since the believer is the one indwelt by the Lord.  It also serves to assure the believer that Satan is only here as a usurper and does not have right to the earth ultimately.  It is Christ’s!
The final passage to be considered is I John 2:13c,d;14c-f, which states,

I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one.

I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

Instead of giving a command to resist or to overcome, the present passage makes a simple statement, perhaps as a commendation, that the young men to whom John writes have overcome the wicked one (the devil). In verse 14, a further statement is added that the young men…are strong, and the word of God abideth in you.
The term, young men, would include all individuals, female or male, who are children of God by faith in Christ who have grown beyond the childhood level by knowing God through knowing Scriptures and applying them in their daily living.  As a person internalizes the Word of God in his life and knowledge, he matures past childhood to spiritual strength as a young man.  As he comes to be ayoung man spiritually through the knowledge of the Scriptures, he has learned who Satan is, and he has learned that victory over Satan has already been accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection.  So the young man overcomes the devil by standing in the truth of God’s Word.
The child of God needs to know Christ and his own position in Christ and Satan’s true nature and conduct as revealed in Scripture.  With such knowledge of Christ and the Scriptures, in obedience to Christ, the believer is able to stand firm in faith and in continuing fellowship with God and Christ, and thereby be an overcomer.
Just as Jesus used the Scriptures to answer Satan’s temptations in the wilderness, it is most effective to recite aloud Scriptures which affirm the believer’s confidence in God’s provision when Satan attacks.  Some appropriate Scriptures are listed here:

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7b.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world, I John 4:4.

Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ, Philippians 1:6.

He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; in Him will I trust, Psalm 91:1,2.
The entire 23rd Psalm may be recited aloud, as well as other Psalms of praise and our affirmations of praise.  After prayer and praise to God, we have personally also found that listening to, or participating in, sacred music that exalts Christ, to be an effective means to dispel Satan’s presence, as songs of praise are an extension of our praise to God and Christ in the Spirit.
Notice the statement that concludes Satan’s temptation of Jesus, Matt. 4:11:

Then the devil leaveth Him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him.

Satan will not continue in the presence of one who is delighting in the Lord and who relies upon the Word of God.  The above Scriptures may be used in our prayers to God to claim His promises and to claim the victory that we, as born-again believers, already have in Christ Jesus.  (Please see the last part of this chapter, For The Believer’s Deliverance From Oppression, for specific prayer for victory when oppressed.)
 

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Christian Life is Fruitful

Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Ten)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

THE DEVIL

The third area of conflict for the believer is in how to deal with the devil.

The believer has a formidable foe in Satan, but God makes provision for the believer to be an overcomer (I John 2:13,14) and to withstand him (Eph. 6:13).

To gain an understanding of who this foe is according to Scripture, much can be learned concerning his character by the names used of him and what his deeds are as indicated in his names.

WHO SATAN IS

1. Lucifer

The earliest description of the devil is believed to be given in Isaiah 14:12-14.  As Lucifer, he had been created by God as a “light-bearer” or “day-star” (the meaning of the name, Lucifer).  But by acting in pride to be like the Most High, sin was introduced into the universe and the entire system of evil had its beginning.  By this act Lucifer relinquished the high position for which he was created, and he began his work as destroyer, and opposer of God’s will and way.

2. Serpent

In Genesis 3:1, the Scripture speaks of the serpent as the creature through which Satan tempted Eve and introduced sin into the human family.  In Genesis 3:15, the curse is applied to the serpent which is a prediction of Christ’s victory secured over Satan through Christ’s work on the cross.

In Revelation 12:9 and 20:2, the final references to the serpent are made in Scripture, as that old serpent. Old in the Greek is the same as our English word, archaic.  It carries the meaning of original or primeval.  Then, in the next phrase, in Revelation 12:9, he is also identified as the Devil and Satan.

3. Dragon

There are thirteen references to Satan as seen as a dragon in Revelation, chapters 12,13,16,20.  As a dragon, he is described in his fall from heaven, having taken one-third of the angels with him in chapter 12:3,4.  His attempt to destroy Jesus at His birth was also envisioned by John.

The dragon and his angels are described as being at war with Michael and his angels in Revelation 12:7-9.  The result of the war was God’s casting the dragon and his angels out of heaven.

The dragon is then described in Revelation 12:13-17 as attempting to destroy the remnant of Israel in the last days of the Tribulation Period yet to come.

The dragon is described in Revelation 13:1,2,4 as empowering the person described as the beast…out of the sea who rules the nations during the Tribulation.  Both the dragon and the beast will receive worship from unbelievers during this time, as well.

Demon forces are pictured as coming forth from the mouth of the dragon in Revelation 16:13.  The demon forces will influence the kings of the earth to assemble their military forces for Armageddon where God will destroy them completely.

The final reference to the Devil as a Dragon is in Revelation 20:2, where we are told that he is to be bound for 1,000 years, which is the same time of Christ’s righteous rule over the earth.

4. Devil

There are 35 times in the New Testament that the term, Devil, is used concerning our enemy.  The primary meaning of the word in the Greek is “accuser”.  From his first accusation against God in Eden (Gen. 3:4,5), to the final description of him as the accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10), he indulges in making slandering accusations against God and his people, but he is able to be overcome…by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…(Rev. 12:11).  This statement, of how the saints from the Tribulation Period will overcome him, is true of believers of the present time as well.  The phrase, by the word of their testimony, refers to the faithful witness of believers that Jesus Christ is Saviour and Lord, even if it will cost the person his life (as during the Tribulation Period).

5. Satan

The name, Satan, used nineteen times in the Old Testament and thirty-five times in the New Testament means opposer or adversary. Not only does he oppose the child of God, but he opposes God and everything that is good and just.

6. Beelzebub (Baalzebub – O.T.)

The name, Beelzebub, is taken from a name for a heathen god, as mentioned in the Old Testament, in II Kings 1:2,3,6,16, and means “lord of the flies”.  The name as used in the Old Testament does not necessarily refer to Satan, but the name is used by the accusers of Jesus in the New Testament to refer to the devil as the prince of the demons.  It was used in a blasphemous way against Christ on several occasions when He cast out demons.  (See Matt. 12:24; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15).

7. Father of lies, liar

Jesus used strong words in John 8:44 to describe the devil where He says, …he is a liar, and the father of it.  Jesus says also before this statement that the devil was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.

8. The evil one, the wicked one

In Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17:15, He states, I pray…that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil (margin, the evil one).

The same Greek word translated evil in the passage in John 17:15 is translated the wicked one in Matthew 13:19,38; Ephesians 6:16; and in I John 2:13,14; 3:12; and 5:18.

The meaning of the word translated evil or wicked has the idea of mischief, tragedy, and perverseness, and has in view the works produced by the devil.

In Matthew 13:38, the wicked one is the one who mixes the ungodly (the tares) amongst the righteous (the wheat) in God’s kingdom.

In Ephesians 6:16, the evil one (margin) is seen attacking with fiery darts, but the child of God is instructed to take the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts.

In I John 2:13,14, believers who are described as young men are able to overcome the wicked one.

In I John 3:12, Cain is identified as being of that wicked one in the murder of Cain’s brother, Abel.

In I John 5:18, everyone who is born of God is protected from the wicked one, who is not permitted to touch the believer, who is to “keep himself”.

9. Prince of this world.

There are three Scriptures that record Christ’s naming of Satan as prince of this world.

In John 12:31, Jesus states, …now shall the prince of this world be cast out.  This probably refers to the truth that Christ’s impending death on the cross is the basis for Satan’s final defeat, prophesied in Genesis 3:15, and fully accomplished in Revelation 20:10.

In John 14:30, referring to the phrase, the prince of this world, Jesus is informing the disciples that Satan can find no point of weakness in Jesus to attempt to overcome Him during His passion and death, when Jesus stated that …the prince of this world…hath nothing in me (has nothing to get me).  Jesus also indicates there is an alliance between the world system and the devil.

In John 16:11, Jesus again mentions the prince of this world, and then states that he (Satan) is already judged.

Jesus explains in John 16:8 that there will be the coming ministry of the Holy Spirit in reproving the world of judgment.  In verse 11, Jesus explains that the reproving of judgment will be because the prince of this world is judged.  His judgment has been secured through Christ’s death and resurrection.

A different description of Satan as prince is given in Ephesians 2:2,which says,

…in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience.

This reference suggests that Satan administers the affairs of the world and its dominions from his position above the earth, in close proximity to it.  In Ephesians 6:12, the spiritual wickedness in high places (margin, in the heavenlies) would carry a similar connotation as to the sphere of Satan’s rule.  In contrast to an unbeliever’s walk according to the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), the believer, on the other hand, is placed …in heavenly places in Christ Jesus… (Eph. 2:6), a position superior to that of Satan’s dominion!

10. The god of this age (world).

In II Corinthians 4:4, the term, “god,” is used in regard to Satan, a term found only in this one passage.  The term, “god,” is qualified, however, by the additional words of this age (world).  The word for age or world is a different one from the one used in the Greek in the phrase, “the prince of this world” (See “Prince,” name #9 above).  In the previous use, “world” has the primary sense of the material world, including persons living in the world system.  In this passage in II Corinthians 4:4, the better translation is god of this age.  The significance of the phrase is that Satan is in a position of controlling the present order of things, but only for the present time, not forever.  For the person who is living as if the present time is one’s only interest, Satan is in the place of God in his life and in his concerns.

The Scripture then explains in II Corinthians 4:4, that the god of this age (world) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  The total context of the verse then changes the meaning of the word, “god,” as applied here to Satan, from assigning to him any true sense of deity, to the idea of considering him “god” from man’s viewpoint only.

Satan is shown to resist what God truly desires for unbelieving man, that is, to hear the gospel and be able to come to the light.  As long as the unbeliever is deprived of knowing the gospel, Satan is in the place of God in that person’s life.

11. Angel of light.

In II Corinthians 11:14, it states,

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

The statement serves to explain the fact that Satan’s chief tactic is to deceive people in appearance as an angel of light, while he creates darkness and rules in a kingdom of darkness in regard to spiritual things.

12. Adversary

In I Peter 5:8, the child of God is admonished,

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour;

Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

The word, adversary, is the translation of a Greek word which has the thought of an opponent in a lawsuit.  But in the passage of I Peter 5:8, it is combined with the phrase, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.  We are presented with the purpose of Satan which is to destroy the child of God.  The picture of a roaring lion (that) walketh about speaks of his stalking behaviour, waiting for a moment of weakness to enable him to attack and destroy the individual.  But the believer is able to resist Satan as the believer is steadfast in the faith.  This will be explained in the section to follow, How The Believer Is To Overcome The Devil.

13. Accuser of the Brethren

Revelation 12:10 previews the final end of Satan with rejoicing by the redeemed in heaven because …the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them before our God day and night.  The concept in the term, accuser, is a complainant-at-law.  Evidently Satan is bringing accusations against any believer when sins are committed in an attempt to mock God and redemption through Christ.  His accusations are dealt with by Christ as our Advocate with the Father (I John 2:1).

Having seen “Who Satan Is”, as described by his names, the believer needs to understand that Satan seeks to interfere with the work God wants to accomplish in the life of the believer.  The believer will want to be on guard against the devil’s devices, learn what he, the believer, can do to avoid Satan’s tactics, and continue to make progress in spiritual growth, in righteousness, and in godliness.

Next Week: Part Five continued: How The Believer Is To Overcome The Devil
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Nine)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

THE FLESH

The second area in which the believer faces conflict is the flesh.  In Galatians 5:16,17, it says,

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

The opposition between the flesh and the Spirit is described in this passage.  Flesh, as used here, refers to the principle of life that operates in a person who is not controlled by the Holy Spirit.

God’s design is for the believer to yield to the Holy Spirit to be filled with the Spirit and to be controlled by Him in life and actions.  If the believer chooses to act independently of the Spirit, the believer operates only from his human abilities (his soul and body).  Such a way of operating will be controlled by the lust of the flesh.  The word, lust, can also be translated desire.  But when the person follows the lust of the flesh, it will result in the works of the flesh, as listed in Galatians 5:19-21.

When it says in Gal. 5:17, …ye cannot do the things that ye would, the thought is that the person who is operating in the Spirit cannot also be following what his own self-will would choose.  Thus, we learn that operating in self-will is operating from an egocentric basis, with self trying to be in control, instead of operating from a Christ-centered basis, with Christ in control of the life.

The flesh can produce nothing better from God’s viewpoint than the works mentioned in Gal. 5:19-21.  If the child of God is to avoid such results in his own life, he must choose to walk in or submit to the Spirit.  His focus, therefore, cannot be on keeping from doing the works of the flesh, but rather on walking in the Spirit.

We see that the only remedy for the child of God to have victory over the flesh is by walking in the Spirit.  This is the obedience to the command of verse 16, Walk in the Spirit, which walking, alone, can bring victory.

A further description of the flesh is in I Corinthians 3, as the Apostle Paul confronts the Corinthian believers along with the believers of all time with the condition of carnality.  In I Corinthians 3:1, he says,

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I Corinthians 3:1 gives us further understanding about the flesh in the word, carnalCarnal and flesh both come from the same word-stem, sarx, in the New Testament Greek.  In Greek word derivatives, carnal is to flesh as spiritual is to spirit.

The child of God can operate either as being spiritual or carnal, as is presented in I Corinthians 3:1.  In addition, the passage equates being carnal to being babes in Christ.  If these carnal people referred to in this passage had recently come to Christ, Paul would not have described them as carnal.  He is evidently rebuking them for their immaturity since they have had time to grow spiritually, but they have not done so.  In verse 2 of I Corinthians 3, Paul explains,

I have fed you with milk, and not with solid food; for to this time ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

This rebuke is similar to that found in Hebrews 5:12-14, which says,

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye…are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.

For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe.

But solid food belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The term, milk, is described in this passage as being unskillful in the word of righteousness, indicating that an understanding to know how to recognize righteousness through the knowledge of God’s Word has not been developed in one who is a babe spiritually.  Those Christians who are of full age have their senses exercised (by using the word of righteousness) to discern both good and evil.  These Christians are the ones that Paul calls spiritual in I Corinthians 3:1.

In I Corinthians 3:3,4, the Apostle Paul further described those that are carnal (or, fleshly):

For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

A further description here of carnality includes envying, strife, and divisions.  The characteristics of envying, strife, and divisions are then illustrated by the tendency to have preferential regard for one leader in opposition to any other leaders.  There is a very human tendency to regard one spiritual leader as being perfect in one’s own viewpoint, and to be critical or judgmental in regard to all other spiritual leaders.  Carnality is evidenced by this attitude which leads to factions in the body of believers.

Similarly today, believers need to walk in the Spirit, which will enable them to avoid envy, strife and divisions and the preferential regard for one Christian over another.  Comparative passages are in Genesis 6:4, where we see the origin of an aristocracy (See p. 12) which God judged at the time of the flood, and in James 2:1-3, where believers are warned against showing respect of persons.

Believers are exhorted in II Corinthians 7:1,

…Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The way to accomplish the cleansing of the filthiness is stated in II Corinthians 6:17,

Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

As the child of God is led by the Holy Spirit, he will know what is regarded by God as being unclean, as revealed in God’s Word.  As the believer heeds the Spirit’s cautions, he will refuse to indulge in anything thus declared unclean.  By following the Spirit’s leading in this way, the believer will realize the cleansing of his body and spirit.

The flesh was a problem for the Apostle Paul, as he testified in Romans 7:14,18,

For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not.

The flesh, as used by Paul in these passages, seems to relate to a part of one’s being other than merely the physical body.  The flesh relates to the wrongful control factor of the outer man over the inner man, which is the reversed order of God’s design.  Flesh (or, being carnal) suggests that there is a manner in which an individual can live his life that is antagonistic to the law which is spiritual.

We can understand why Paul can say the law is spiritual when we consider the law (of Moses) as a revelation of God’s righteousness.  When a person receives Christ as Saviour, his soul is redeemed (saved) and his spirit is regenerated (born again), but the law (or, principle) of sin is still working in his members (Romans 7:25).  The law of sin working in the body is always a possibility until the body experiences redemption at the resurrection (Romans 8:23).

The believer is given the choice as to whether he will yield to the Holy Spirit, having his spirit under the control of the Holy Spirit (the inward man…renewed day by day, II Corinthians 4:16), or to choose to live according to the lusts of the flesh, with self in control, resulting in corruption (Galatians 6:8).  Yielding to the Holy Spirit will occur by walking in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16, and yielding his members as instruments of righteousness, Romans 6:13.  (See the three sections on walking in the Spirit from the chapter, Living the Christian Life.)

The Apostle Paul then seems to refer to the constant pull of the flesh as that which is sold under sin (Rom. 7:14).  Thus, as the believer operates with the flesh in control, he realizes the law (or, principle) of sin and death (Romans 8:2) is the controlling principle.  The solution to such a dilemma is given in Romans 7:24,25,

Oh, wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  So, then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.

The explanation of how victory over the flesh is accomplished is given in Romans 8:2,

For the law (principle) of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

The child of God can then say, “Thank God, I have been delivered from the body of death through Jesus Christ our Lord,” as Paul said in Romans 7:25!

In order to understand the ways in which the flesh can prevent believers in Christ from receiving the blessings of the spiritual life, we need to be aware of the following passage in Romans 8:5,7,8:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither, indeed, can be.

So, then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

The ultimate condition and necessary choice for the believer to make is stated in Romans 8:13,

For if ye live (continually) after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify (put to death, continually) the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Deeds a person might do if he follows the body’s demands (living after the flesh) can be put to death only by choosing the Holy Spirit to be in control of the person’s life and actions (Rom. 6:13,16,18).  When a person neglects or fails to so yield himself he finds that he readily lives after the flesh.

In Ephesians 2:3, the Scripture indicates every human being has come from the same background, as a sinner, of living according to the flesh,

Among whom (the world, v.2) also we all had our manner of life in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Although our ruling disposition as sinners was to fulfill the lusts of our flesh, once we come to Christ and receive Him, we are made alive with Christ, are seated in the heavenlies in Christ (Eph. 2:4-6), and are freed from any obligation to do the bidding of the flesh.  (Please see Fact 50, United with Christ [Identification].)

In Colossians 2:11, the provision concerning the believer’s relationship to the flesh is given,

In whom (Christ) also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.

This Scripture indicates that God has made full provision for the believer through Christ’s work in His death and resurrection.  God sees the believer as distinct from the person’s deeds of the flesh, and as being joined with Christ.  As these truths are accepted by faith, and the believer reckons and yields (See Reckon and Yield near the beginning of Chapter 5), he will experience victory concerning his former sinful practices.

The person who presumes to be a believer, but is not, will be under the terrible grasp the flesh can have on a person who pretends to be a believer, but whom God knows is still ungodly, as is seen in II Peter 2:9,10,18,

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished;

But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.  Presumptuous are they; self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that are just escaping from them who live in error.

The passage in II Peter 2:9,10,18 is referring to the unsaved, but because the flesh can be such a strong foe, the child of God must flee to the refuge of his life in the Spirit continually if he is to have victory over the flesh.

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Devil
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Eight)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

THE WORLD IS UNDER GOD’S JUDGMENT NOW

The world system is not able to succeed when viewed from God’s standpoint.

In I Corinthians 1:20,21, it states,

Hath not God made 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.

The wisdom by which the world operates scoffs at God or the need for God.  God saves people through the means of preaching, which the world considers as foolishness.  So the world system is doomed to failure because it regards God and His means of saving people as foolishness.

The Scriptures continue the same principle of God’s attitude towards the world’s wisdom in I Corinthians 3:19,20, where it says:

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.  And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

The word, foolish(ness) comes from the Greek word which means “moron, stupid, heedless”.  It also carries the idea of “put to silence”.  In the Scripture quoted above, it states that the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  The picture presented is that the world’s propoganda is regarded by God as meaningless and is not worth hearing.  The word, vain, has the meaning of “empty, to no purpose”.

In view of the verses just quoted, God has given His judgment that the world’s wisdom is empty and purposeless.  Therefore, the believer can only find eternal blessing for both time and eternity by heeding what God says and by separating himself from the world.

The permanent, eternal benefit of godliness in contrast to the limited, temporal nature of the world is stated in I John 2:17:

And the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

The believer is exhorted, by means of the contrast given, to choose doing the will of God which is eternal, rather than allowing himself to be deceived by the allurements of the world and spending his time in that which will not endure.  As the believer understands that God regards the world system and its wisdom as foolishness, it should cause the believer to want to separate himself from the world’s influence and attitudes.

One final truth needs to be considered concerning the world: the world’s regard for God is enmity.

THE WORLD’S REGARD FOR GOD IS ENMITY

The impossibility of persons ever coming to God on the basis of the wisdom of the world is stated in I Cor. 1:21,

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.

The phrase, the world by wisdom knew not God, indicates that it was absolutely impossible for the world to ever know God experientially.  The word, to know, used here is the same word used by Jesus in John 17:3, when He says,

This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.

It is impossible on the basis of the world’s wisdom for the world to experience the kind of knowledge of God that is eternal life.

Another Scripture which shows the world’s enmity against God is James 4:4,

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 is very strong in His warning to believers that there cannot be any allowance for the believer to have an attitude of cooperation or participation in the world without becoming an enemy of God.  This warning should certainly help the believer to see that he must be separate from the world.

The characteristics which define the world are stated in I John 2:16,

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Not only is the world characterized by these characteristics of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, but they aptly describe “soulishness” or carnality in the life of the believer.  In addition, they were included in Satan’s temptation of Eve in the garden of Eden (See Gen. 3:6) and in Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11).

In I John 2:15, the believer is commanded to love not the world (See Believers Are to Separate From The World As To Their Walk.)  In view of the present consideration of verse 16 above, the believer is given the reason why he should not love the world.  It might be well to note also that the world’s business is usually aimed at satisfying these three characteristics.  To the degree that the believer is controlled by the world to endeavor to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, he will not be able to love God as he would be able to do if he obeyed the command of verse 15 to not love the world.

In I John 3:1, the verse concludes with the statement, …the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.  In view of this, the child of God should not consider it to be an unusual thing when the world doesn’t seem interested in him or show kindness or consideration, because the world holds in regard those who belong in the world system.  Therefore, the world’s attitude against God and against those who believe in Him should be reason enough for the believer to want to be an overcomer (I John 5:4,5).  He is able to overcome the world because of his being in Christ and Christ’s being in him.  I John 4:4 states,

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is He that is in you, than He that is in the world.

Next Week: Part Five continued: The Flesh
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Seven)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

BELIEVERS ARE TO SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD AS TO THEIR WALK

Once again, consider Jesus’ prayer in John 17:16, which states,

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

The believer’s position in Christ and the character which is to be developed in the believer because of that position will determine the manner in which the believer will relate to the world; it will be in agreement with Christ’s manner of relating to the world.

In Romans 12:2, the believer in Christ is admonished…be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…

The fashion of the world is not to be the pattern for the believer’s conduct from outside, but there is to be that work by the Holy Spirit which produces a change from within the believer which transforms the believer’s mind to be able to understand things in light of his heavenly position.  (See Col. 3:1-3.)  As such a transformation takes place from within, the child of God will prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God, Romans 12:2.

The world system operates under spiritual power, but that spirit is in opposition to the Spirit of God, as stated:

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, I Cor. 2:12.

God’s solution (to the opposition the world has to the believer) is centered in the cross and all that was accomplished there concerning the world.

In Galatians 6:14, it says,

But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

In Christ’s death on the cross, the child of God is identified with the crucifixion in God’s sight to the same extent as Christ experienced the crucifixion because of His death on the cross.  In other words, in God’s eyes the believer was crucified with Christ.  Judicially, Christ fulfilled all that the world could do to Him, and the world system cannot demand anything of Christ to do the will of the world.  So the believer in Christ has been afforded protection from having to fulfill what the world demands when it is in opposition to God’s will.  The world has no claims on a “dead” man.  As the believer reckons that he is identified with the crucifixion of Christ, he is now free from having to do the world’s bidding and is free to walk in newness of life through the power of the resurrection.  (See #50, UNITED WITH CHRIST, under 50 MARVELOUS FACTS OF SALVATION.)

As mentioned previously, the world system operates under a spiritual power.  That power is described more fully in Ephesians:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (literally, the heavenlies).

The world operates under rulers of darkness who are antagonistic to the believer and all to which the believer is committed as he is allowing Christ to be his life.  The protection for the believer against the world’s onslaughts is to be found in the spiritual armor, that will be considered at the conclusion of this study of spiritual warfare.

The believer will come to realize that the world system makes its greatest appeal to the individual in the realm of his or her desires.  Therefore, the Apostle Paul admonishes us in Titus 2:12,13, that the grace of God is –

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present age,

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Oftentimes a believer may think that he is incapable of resisting the strong appeal which the world system makes on his own desires.  But in his admonition to Titus, Paul states that the way the believer is to resist is by denying ungodliness and worldly lusts.  This doesn’t mean the believer is to regard ungodliness and worldly lusts as being non-existent, but rather, the believer is to not allow ungodliness and worldly lusts to be a part of his life-style.  Therefore, it is simply a matter of choice for the Christian to not yield to the world’s appeal.

If no other choice replaces such a decision to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, it is most likely that the Christian would ultimately succumb to such appeals of the world.  Note that in the verse that follows in Titus 2:13, the believer is encouraged by the promise, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  So the actual choice is not to simply deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, but to direct one’s attention to Christ’s glorious return and the quality of life which is presently consistent with His return.  By fixing our intentions on Jesus and His appearing, the appeal of things in the present world will be seen for what they really are – vain and self-destructive – in contrast to the purifying hope of Christ’s return that affects this life and all of eternity.

Keeping oneself unspotted from the world is a phrase used in James 1:27 as one of the elements of pure religion.

The believer is given the command in I John 2:15-17,

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust of it; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.

That which was in the original temptation in the garden and which was the very essence of the temptation of Jesus has now become the basis of how the world system operates, that is, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  So the believer cannot have love for the world and the lust it promotes and also love God.  These are mutually exclusive.  Only as the believer chooses against love for the world can he do the will of God and continue to be godly.

The word for love used in I John 2:15 in the Greek is , a very strong word for love which is usually limited to God’s love – love as the fruit of the Spirit, or the love the believer is to have to God and to his brother.  It is a striking contrast to see the same strong word used as the Lord, through John, commands the believer to love not the world.  The significance of using the same word in this way indicates that the believer needs to guard against the world’s attempts to subvert the believer’s love for God and to fix it on the world.  If the believer were to think that he can love the world with this strong love and were to attempt to yield, he would experience disappointment, frustration, and discouragement.  When the believer directs God’s love back to God and to others whom God loves, he will experience the reality of all that God’s love provides (I John 4:17,19).

In I John 4:17, the believer is reminded,

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world.

The believer’s identity with Christ is to be evident in that he conducts himself in the world in keeping with the way Christ conducted Himself in the world.  The believer can have an influence on the world, but he does not need to allow the world to have control over him.  The believer operates from a heavenly perspective and does not need to surrender that high and holy privilege to get along in the world.  As the believer is steadfast to the Lord in his walk in the world, the result will be that he will have boldness in the day of judgment (I Jn. 4:17).

The real key to understanding the way the believer is to be separate from the world in his walk is given in I John 5:4,5:

For whatever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

The phrase, whatever is born of God, in verse 4 of I John 5, refers back to verse one, which says, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.  The spirit of the believer is that which is born of God and affords the believer to be victorious over the world.  At the time of the new birth, the Spirit of God takes up His abode within the believer and His presence provides the believer with all that he needs to overcome the world.

In the phrase, this is the victory that overcometh the world, the verb is in the present tense which carries the idea of continuing action, meaning:  “This is the victory that is continually overcoming the world.”

The word, faith, in verse 4, is included in the thought of verse 5, which states, he that believeth (or, continually is believing) that Jesus is the Son of Godis he that overcometh the world.

To summarize the total significance of victory over the world for the child of God, John is saying that the one who is born of God because he has placed his faith in Christ is overcoming the world as he is continually believing in Christ.  The continuance in faith is essential for the believer to walk in the Spirit, which is also the reason he can overcome.

Next Week: Part Five continued: The World Is Under God’s Judgment Now
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Six)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience (continued)

 

BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

A principle that is parallel to walk in the Spirit of Galatians 5:16, is the command given in Ephesians 5:18, to be filled with the Spirit.

Let us consider Ephesians 5:18-21,

And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit,

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

A vivid contrast is drawn between a person’s being drunk with wine (a fleshly behavior in which the person is controlled by the effects of the wine), and the more fulfilling privilege afforded to the believer of being filled with the Spirit.  Literally, the Greek states,…be filled in Spirit.  The grammatical construction is similar to that used in Matthew 3:11, when the preposition, in, is used in John’s baptizing in water and Jesus’ baptizing in the Holy Spirit and fire.  In the present usage in Ephesians 5:18, the meaning seems to be to allow the Holy Spirit to fill the believer’s spirit, implying total identification and union of the believer’s spirit with the Holy Spirit.

In contrast, being filled with the Spirit could leave the impression that the believer is a container, and as a glass would be filled with water, so the believer is a container for the Spirit.  Being filled “in” Spirit is more personal and intimate.

The filling “in” the Spirit is a continuous present action (in accordance with the Greek verb tense), and is dependant on the individual believer’s willingly inviting the Spirit to control and administer the events, actions, and circumstances constantly throughout each moment of each day.  This is accomplished as the believer prays, first confessing all known acts of sin (I Jn. 1:7), accepting God’s forgiveness with thanksgiving, and then inviting the Spirit to be in control of his or her life.  This is repeated as often as the person is aware that he has assumed the controlling position by having acted in self-will instead of continually submitting to the Spirit.

As the believer allows the Holy Spirit to fill his spirit, there will be at least four ways to give evidence to the filling.  The filling is described by these four descriptions:

  • Speaking to yourselves…
  • Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
  • Giving thanks always for all things unto God…
  • Submitting yourselves one to another…

The phrase, speaking to yourselves, has the thought of speaking one to another as in the similar verse in Colossians 3:16, and can be translated that way in this passage.  It means that the Spirit-filled person will converse concerning spiritual matters to others who are also Spirit-filled, having spiritual fellowship.

The words, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, are connected by position to the previous phrase in our English translations, but they seem to be modifying the phrase that follows, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

The third evidence which is mentioned of a person’s being Spirit-filled is in verse 20, Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The fourth evidence is given in verse 21, Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  This could be restated as a willing subjection of one’s self to help another to be benefited.  This fourth evidence is then described in the context of the family and home in Ephesians 5:226:9.

Rather than seeing the Spirit-filled life as an experience of great ecstasy and excitement as first evidenced on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 (although it is certainly one of joy) that which Paul describes here in Ephesians 5 and 6 teaches the practical sense of the Spirit’s filling.  When the Spirit is truly filling a person’s life, the person will be used of the Spirit with a proper alignment of the soul and the body under his spirit. The believer’s spirit is controlled by the Holy Spirit, Who through the believer’s spirit will control the believer’s soul and body.

The soul’s needs are best met when we allow the Holy Spirit (the Lord) to fill our total being – spirit, soul, and body.  The soul’s needs would include all parts – mental, emotional, and volitional.  In conquering anger, for example, we have found it to be most helpful, after confessing the anger and asking God to take it away, to ask the Lord to fill our soul.

The Spirit does not seek one’s attention to be focused on Himself, but on the Father and the Son.  Likewise, the Spirit-filled believer will not seek attention for himself, but will seek to glorify God and Jesus Christ.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A RACE TO BE RUN

There are several places in Scripture where the Christian is admonished to “run the race”.  The Greek word for race has the meaning of striving, struggling, facing contention.  It is the word from which we get the word, “agony” in English.  This picture of the Christian life’s being like a race certainly refutes the notion of passivity.  Note the Scriptures that speak of the race to be run:

I Corinthians 9:24-27, Know ye not that they who run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?  So run, that ye may obtain.

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we, an incorruptible.

I, therefore, so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air;

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

II Timothy 4:7, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

Hebrews 12:1,2, Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Running a race requires a program of training and discipline.  The Apostle Paul stated that the discipline he followed included control of the outer man (body), so as to be able to accomplish what Christ wanted Him to do.  Believers are able to keep their bodies in subjection as they submit to the Holy Spirit.  Since the fruit of the Spirit includes self-control (Gal. 5:23), the believer who submits to the Spirit is able to exercise the self-control needed in running the race.  Failure to keep the body subject to the Spirit can result in being disqualified from running the race, that is, from being able to complete one’s service for Christ.

Successful fulfillment of one’s service for Christ is possible as Paul gave witness concerning his own course of ministry.

The key to maintaining a steadfast course is in looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and by realizing that as He endured the cross and entered into glory, so we must be steadfastly obedient to the Holy Spirit through every experience God designs for us in life because triumph is waiting for us ultimately.  The believer learns what he can endure by being faithful in maintaining the course he is to run under God’s enablement.

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS A WARFARE

There are three areas in which the believer faces conflict: THE WORLD, THE FLESH, and THE DEVIL.  God has made adequate provision for the believer to be victorious in all three areas.

THE WORLD

The first area to be considered under the Christian warfare is the worldThe world as used in Scripture refers to the system and philosophy by which the world operates its governing, its economy, and its social structures.

THE WORLD IS NOT A FRIEND OF GOD’S PEOPLE

In John 15:19, Jesus gave His perspective on the world in order for His disciples to gain understanding that they should not expect the people of the world system to receive them or approve of their service for Christ.  The Scripture states,

If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

To continue the same instruction in John 16:33, Jesus says,

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

After the warning to the disciples to expect tribulation in the world, Jesus encourages them because He has overcome the world.

In His prayer for believers in John 17:14,15, Jesus says,

I have given them Thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil (or, the evil oneMargin).

The intent of Jesus’ prayer seems to indicate the principle that believers are to be in the world, but they are not to be under the world’s control nor under Satan’s control.

A similar idea is presented by John, the Beloved Apostle, in I John 3:13, when he says, Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

As the believer walks in the Spirit, he should expect to have opposition from all that is in keeping with the world system.

Next Week: Part Five continued: Believers Are To Be Separate From The World As To Their Walk
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.
 

What Are We To Do? (Week Five)

[Series Index]

A. Ward Brandenstein's To Walk In The Spirit

Part 4 – What are we to do?

CHAPTER 5 – Living The Christian Life continued…

Our Conduct Or Behavior As Believers

 

In Ward Brandenstein’s introduction to chapter five he writes: “The Christian life is intended by God to be far more than simply a religious experience or the practicing of religion.  It is the living of life that is in balance, that is fulfilling, and that is free of regrets.  It is literally Christ living out His life through the individual.  That does not mean that the individual becomes passive and uninvolved.  Rather, it is an active participation of the person in a submissive dependency to Christ’s headship over himself.  To the extent that each believer willingly submits himself to Christ’s will and way, Christ’s righteousness will be a practical result and a benefit to that person.  This is not something that God demands of the Christian, but is something God has provided and leaves up to the individual to choose and follow willingly. In order to understand this principle of being willingly submissive to Christ, it would be well to consider several commands and admonitions that will clarify the part the believer will need to play to realize fulfilled life as a Christian.”

..

The Christian life is
A WALK, A RACE, A WARFARE, FRUITFUL,
A LIFE OF PEACE, A REST, A LIFE OF PRAYER.

 

The Walk is One of Obedience

 

In John 14:15, Jesus said, If ye love Me, keep My commandments.

Again in John 14:21, Jesus said,

He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.

In view of these verses a principle can be seen that will help the child of God in learning what life in the Spirit will mean as he studies God’s Word.  The key is in the word, commandment.  By seeing throughout God’s word commands in the imperative mood, the believer will soon realize there is a vast difference between a legalistic performance of rules and regulations which results in frustration and defeat, and allowing the Holy Spirit to accomplish what He wills to do as we submit to Him.  WILLING SUBMISSIVENESS is the only way in which a child of God can keep the commandments.  As he keeps the commandments, the love of God will be a reality in his walk.

There are so many of these commands in the New Testament, that only three key commands will be considered here by way of illustration, ABIDE, BE STEADFAST, and STAND FAST.

ABIDE (REMAIN)

The first command to be considered is in John 15.  Notice the emphasis Jesus gives to the importance of abiding.  John 15:4, says,

Abide in me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Jesus’ desire for his disciples (See v. 8.) is that they bear much fruit (v. 5).  The disciple must abide (remain, continue) in Christ, i.e., continue in union with Christ, so that the fruit which Christ produces (Gal. 5:22,23 – the fruit of the Spirit) will come forth from the life of the disciple to feed those who are hungry for it, primarily the unsaved.  The person who is abiding and in whom Christ’s Word abides, may ask what he wills and it will be done unto him (v. 7).  That person will ask for that which is consistent with his abiding in Christ.  To ask for anything that is not in keeping with the union the believer has in Christ would interfere with the abiding relationship.

In John 15:9, Jesus’ command to continue ye in my love is combining another aspect to the privilege of abiding, that of Christ’s love.  The word, continue, is the same word in the Greek as the word, abide, in verses 4 through 10.  So it would be correct to translate the word, continue, as abide.  John 15:9,10 would then read,

As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you; “abide” ye in my love.  If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love. (John 15:9,10)

Jesus proceeds to the next point that relates to one’s abiding in God’s love in verse 12, when He states,

This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Again in verse 17 Jesus says, These things I command you, that ye love one another.  In I John 2:10 an additional thought extends the sequence when it states,

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in him.

Loving one’s brother in godly love will be the evidence of the believer’s abiding in Christ, which is the same as abiding in the light.  Abiding in the light will be a protection against stumbling, i.e., from being a snare or a stumbling block.

In I John 2:28, an additional benefit that the believer will experience by abiding in Christ is the confidence in His presence at His coming:

And now, little children, abide in Him, that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

This sequence of the relationship of love for our brother and confidence at Christ’s appearance is the emphasis given in the passage in I John 4:16,17,

…God is love, and he that dwelleth (abides) in love dwelleth (abides) in God, and God in him.

Herein is our love made perfect (brought to completion), that we may have boldness (confidence) in the day of judgment, because as He is, so are we in this world.

Several other words in the New Testament which are helpful to consider in addition to abiding are the words, be steadfast, and stand fast, which help to emphasize the importance of a continued, on-going behavior which is consistent and synonymous with walking in the Spirit.

BE STEADFAST

In I Corinthians 15:58, it says,

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

The Apostle Paul concludes his great treatise on the theme of resurrection with this three-fold admonition to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…

The word, steadfast, is derived from a word meaning to be seated and carries the idea of having a set purpose.  It is used in Colossians 1:23, where it is translated settled:

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature that is under heaven…

In this passage Paul emphasizes the importance of faith as a foundation which is the basis of enduring confidence since it is centered in the gospel.  Receiving Christ as Saviour is a point of beginning of life in Christ that will be nurtured and will move toward maturity in proportion to one’s steadfastness.

In the previous passage in I Corinthians 15:58, steadfastness is seen by Paul as the practical means of putting into use the resurrection life for believers and is the supreme answer to the problems of carnality described in I Corinthians, chapters 3 through 11.  Coupled with steadfastness, Paul includes the words, unmoveable and always abounding.  These words likewise emphasize that because of the resurrection, believers are to have a confident stability that allows the individual to move forward in growth in a consistent manner, as one is involved in the work of the Lord.

The importance of steadfastness as the believer walks in the Spirit is further emphasized in the following passages which are considered in chronological order:

Romans 12:12, …continuing diligently in prayer.

Colossians 2:5, I am…joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.

Colossians 4:2, Continue (be steadfast) in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.

II Peter 1:10, Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

II Peter 1:19, We have also a more sure (steadfast) word of prophecy, unto which ye do well that ye take heed…

Hebrews 3:6, But Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm (steadfast) unto the end.

Hebrews 3:14, For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.

Hebrews 6:11,12, And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end; That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 6:19, Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…

The responsibility to be steadfast is placed on the believer in his conduct in all of the above Scriptures just cited, with the exception of II Peter 1:19 and Hebrews 6:19.  These two passages speak of the steadfast word of prophecy and the steadfast hope, both of which are essential in order for the believer to walk steadfastly.  As the believer walks in the Spirit, through his submitting to the Holy Spirit’s leading and through the great power of the resurrection of Christ, he is able to have this confident stability of growth in steadfast obedience to Christ’s commands.

STAND FAST

The third command under THE WALK IS ONE OF OBEDIENCE to STAND FAST or persevere.

Galatians 5:1, Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty with which Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

I Thessalonians 3:7,8, Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith;  For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.

II Thessalonians 2:15, Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle.

I Corinthians 16:13, Watch, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Philippians 1:27, Only let your conduct be as it becometh the gospel of Christ, that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

Philippians 4:1, Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

In each of the passages cited above, the words, stand fast, are the translation of the original Greek word, , which has the significance of perseverance or persistence.

In Galatians 5:1, the thought of stand fast is for believers to continue to hold firmly to the freedom afforded them in Christ rather than for them to submit again to being in bondage to a system of legalistic requirements such as had been imposed by the Judaizers in Asia Minor.

In I Thessalonians 3:8, stand fast has the intent of persevering “in one’s fellowship with the Lord”(1).  In II Thessalonians 2:15, believers are encouraged “to persevere in godliness and rectitude”(2), while in I Corinthians 16:13, perseverance is to be “in the faith”(3).

In Philippians 1:27, believers are to persist in unity of spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.  In Philippians 4:1, they are encouraged to persevere in their “fellowship with the Lord”(4).  Perseverance is needed in the believer’s walk because he faces the obstacles of the world, the flesh, and the devil throughout life’s journey.

__________________
1 Thayer, op, cit, 588.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.

Next Week: Part Five continued: Be Filled With The Spirit 
Copyright © 1996 A. Ward Brandenstein

Used with permission.
[Series Index
 
A. Ward Brandenstein
Pastor Ward earned an M.A. in Guidance and Counselling from Eastern Michigan University after taking special courses in psychology at Wayne State University, and earned a Bachelor of Theology (Th.B.) from Baptist Bible College and Seminary with Greek and Hebrew studies, and earned a diploma from Philadelphia Bible Institute (now Cairn U.), including New Testament Greek studies. His knowledge of the Bible and close walk with God are appreciated by all who know him and have sat under his teaching. Pastor Brandenstein and his wife Rose Ann reside in California, teaching college level singles and married couples, young professionals, and retired pastors and missionaries.