Bible Faith Fellowship: Substance Over Form

Revolution for the Souls of Men

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Barry Johnson

Revolution for the Souls of Men Revolution for the Souls of Men

Date 2012-02-05
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Document (PDF) BFF-20120205-RevolutionForTheSoulsOfMen.pdf

Call to Worship

Psalm 128: 1-6, Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel. Let us thank, worship and praise our Lord today for His Peace upon Israel, and upon we Gentiles grafted therein, and thank Him that we fear Him and seek to walk in His ways, and thank Him and praise Him for His blessings.

Message

In the Scriptures we find the seemingly-ageless struggle between light and dark, good and evil, heaven and hell. In Scripture, this conflict spans the time frame from God’s angry rejection of Lucifer (“Satan”) and his followers and God’s ejection of them from heaven to Earth, all the way in the course and march of history until the subjugation of Satan in the end times described with the conquering Jesus in Revelation. The struggle between Jesus and Lucifer is a war, and it is a description of the spiritual struggle, the warfare, the Revolution in which we fight, for the soul and life of every man who has ever lived, who ever will live. Today, we will learn from these two struggles, the one purely supernatural, the other so natural that it is a war in and of the flesh itself, and of the nature of flesh itself. Our goal today is to improve our ability to live our lives in the flesh, and eternally, all in faithful and expectant obedience to, and of, the expectations of our God.

In the first chapter of Job, the 8th verse, we find that Satan is already quite at work in the earth by the lifetime of Job – of course, Satan was already quite at work in the earth during the lifetimes of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). But we draw from God’s discussion of Day 6 of creation, Genesis 1:21, that all the way through the creation of mankind, God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good, so God had not yet cast Lucifer and his followers to Earth; otherwise, God would have not described all that He had made as very good.

God explained this history, past and future, the biography if you will, of Lucifer, to Isaiah, as recorded in Isaiah 14:12-15, How you have fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you were cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.

The scope of Satan’s sinful reach in the heavenlies, and earth, is further articulated and recorded in the Revelation to John at Patmos, in Revelation 12:4, 9: (The dragon’s) tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child (Christ) as soon as it was born. . . . So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. One-third of the angels followed Lucifer, and all were expelled together by God.

Paul explains to us in II Corinthians 4:4, about that Satan, the one who had deceived the whole world, that Satan had become the god of this age; in other words, that Satan had become the god of this earth.

In Ezekiel 28: 12-17, the prophet records the word of God, the instruction of God, as a lamentation, a funeral dirge, for the King of Tyre, as God equates the evil embraced and lived by that King with the evil embraced and lived by Satan: Son of man, take up a lamentation for the King of Tyre, and say to him, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in all your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned. Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, o covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground; I laid you before kings that they might gaze at you. You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities . . . .

God was saying that the King of Tyre was about as good as it gets on earth for a man, just like it had been in heaven for Lucifer/Satan, the anointed cherub who covers. Who covers indicates authority, a covering with authority. There was for that king a divine preparation for his life, as it was, verse 13, for Lucifer, in the things prepared for you on the day you were created. And both were rich and beautiful. But, alas, verse 17, out of arrogance and pride, as to both that king and Lucifer, as God explained to Ezekiel, you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. And, as the result, God says, I cast you to the ground. Therein lies also the story of mankind, of how our own, personal, arrogance and pride and lusts lead us to embrace temptation and reject God, and of how God equates the evil in us and chosen by us with the evil chosen by Satan.

In the 38th chapter of Job, God asked Job, and God there asks all mankind, generally, something important: (Verses 3-7): Now prepare yourself like a man: I will question you and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations tethered? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

God asked Job, and God asks us today, where were we when He intelligently designed the universe and then actually created it by that blueprint? God asked Job, and He asks us today, where were we before evil had come to earth? God continued through the rest of Job 38, Job 39 to ask that same general question of Job through a set of questions which were more and more details of the sheer complexity and majesty and power of God’s intelligent design for the universe and its moving parts, animals, and vegetation, and rains and seasons of nature and patterns of day and night. All Job could do, all we can do, to answer the onslaught of God’s numerous questions in these chapters is to utter these meek works of humility – not arrogance – before God: Job 40:3-4, Then Job answered the Lord and said: “Behold I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. Job said to God, in the simple reality of our posture before Him: we are too evil and too ignorant to bring any correction to God or to rebuke Him with our superior knowledge.

Out of the midst of this satanic evil rises, from the manger, a baby called Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Child whom the dragon sought to devour as it was being birthed by its mother, Revelation 12:4. But the dragon failed, and is destined to eternal failure.

In Jude 6, the brother of James wrote, And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day . . . . Revelation 20 explains in more detail the final, and eternal, punishment awaiting Satan and his followers.

Peter understood, II Peter 2:4-9, For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment, and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness . . . then the Lord God knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.

Peter has thus brought us to the question of, “How do we live our lives, in the flesh, and eternally, all in faithful and expectant obedience to, and of, the expectations of our God?” We cannot do it, we cannot get there without Jesus Christ and abiding in Him.

This question is answered, in terms of God’s provision, in Revelation 20:10, just following the description of the final, and eternal, judgment reserved by God for Satan and his followers, both angels and people, and that provision is this: Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

Next, the question is answered, in terms of God’s requirements for our manly answer, our manly response, as mankind, in Revelation 20:11, this way: And they (mankind who believed and obeyed) overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and did not love their lives to the death.

But, ah, even when we have the formula, in life we have to work out the details; in fact, that is what life is, the working out of the details of our faith, our choices, and our salvation in Christ. That is how we obtain the word of our testimony, and it is only by choice that we do not love our lives more than we fear death. The answer to the eternal question of the meaning of life comes down to the meaning of death. The answer to the eternal question of how to live life comes down to the eternal question of the meaning of death. We have choices to make.

Promise Keepers has encouraged and enlightened us to seek and to fight a war of Revolution in and for the Souls of Men. It takes a revolution to break away from the fleshly and sinful hold that Satan seizes upon each person, seeking to devour each person even at and from birth (No wonder, Satan must be so enamored by abortion!), just as he sought, Revelation 12:4, to devour the Christ-Child. It takes a revolution to win the war not just “for the souls of men” but for your own soul, yes, you, individually, your soul. Why do I say a revolution? Because you must revolt against your own nature, your own sin nature. That is why that war is a revolution! And this is a life, and a life-style, that God in Christ calls you to live and wage, as real war, every day of the rest of your life, once you have chosen to believe that Jesus is who He says He is, and have chosen to repent and to accept Jesus as Savior of your life.

The complication is that the war is not simple and it is not external and physical, although the results are also there, outside, and physical, in the outer man. That revolution takes place in your “inner man” as it wars against your “outer man”, against your flesh and nature. In II Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul brought us encouragement, a lifting up of hope, in these words, Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, Ephesians 3: 14-17a, that he humbled himself before God for a singular purpose: For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith . . . .

Our inner man needs strength, which is only sufficient when it comes from the Holy Spirit, because of the intensity and the deeply-personal character of this war, this revolution, against our flesh and earthly natures. So pray earnestly and fervently for the Holy Spirit to bring you the very core of strength that He brought to Paul. Paul explained, in Romans 7: 22-25, why he found so much divine strength and power to be necessary for him, because his nature and flesh were strong in their war against his own inner man. Paul wrote, For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of 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. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not; whether you want to join in the war or not, be aware – you are on notice – that the war of your flesh, of your outer man, against your inner man is going on all the time. The real question is whether you are going to fight back, whether you are going to revolt against your outer man, that your inner man may prevail and bring you into the fullness of God’s plan, purpose and expectation of you and for you.

And Paul continued in Romans 8:8, 10-11, making clear that we have choices to make in this war of revolution, and what power we need in us to prevail in this war of revolution; indeed that it is those choices that are the acts of warfare: So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God . . . . And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

You know, there is no righteousness apart from God. He alone is righteous. He is righteous, Ezra 9:15. And, Psalm 4:1, He is the God of my righteousness. You see, Christianity is unique in that it is not a religion dreamed up, or made, by man. Christianity, Christ, righteousness are gifts from God and our entire religion is by revelation of God, not by the fantasies of man.

In Romans 10:3, Paul explains the pain in his heart for his Israelite brethren, but it is really a universal pain for mankind, when he writes, For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness for everyone who believes. And thus Paul posits, in Romans 3: 21-24, that principle of our faith that many regard as the most pivotal in our religion, after Genesis 1 and John 3:16 and Ephesians 2:8, that principle of the revelation of righteousness: But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus . . . .

We hope that it will be said of us that we fought the good fight, that we waged the good war of revolution for our souls, and for the souls of others. Every day is a fight, with its stressors, with its failures, and sometimes with its backsliding. Perfection in ourselves is impossible, and therefore self-righteousness is impossible. Our self-perfection is not, and never is, the issue. The issue is our willingness to receive and retain the Blood of the Lamb, and from our grateful hearts, to obtain the Christly word of testimony in our lives that we, like Him, would choose – against temptations and threats – to humble ourselves and believe in God, in Christ, even unto and in death. As Job has reminded us, Job 13:15, Though He slay me, yet shall I trust Him.

We have this hope for our lives lived here, and eternally, as Paul wrote in I Cor. 15:50-54: Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written (see, Hosea 13:14): “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Lucifer (Satan) is often described in Scripture as one of the stars, sometimes referred to as a “morning star”. But, Revelation 22:16 , here is the reality – Jesus is the brightest; He is THE “bright and morning star” overcoming, in His brilliance and perfect light, Lucifer, that imposter, that deceiver, the father of all lies.

Join the Revolution for you soul, if you have not already done so. Actually, don’t join the Revolution for your own soul, but lead it; lead that Revolution for your own soul. Don’t occupy Wall Street, but invite the Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ, to occupy your inner man, and in His strength, occupy your own inner man; refuse your nature and flesh, and overcome Lucifer and his followers – all for the glory, not of yourself, but for and of the Name of the Lord.

God bless you and Amen+