Wednesday May 9, 2018
Ruth 4:8-12. Final chapter - Defending our home.
Satan and the kingdom of darkness will relentlessly attack us with the objective that the word sown will not be met with faith and that we will not produce fruit by which our Father is glorified.
The word of truth about Christ and about the gifts given to every believer far supersedes the lies that seek to discredit it, the worries and concerns of the world, the persecution that comes, and the lusts that tempt.
MAR 4:13 And He said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables?
MAR 4:14 "The sower sows the word.
MAR 4:15 "And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.
MAR 4:16 "And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;
MAR 4:17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
MAR 4:18 "And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,
MAR 4:19 and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
MAR 4:20 "And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold."
Persecution, situations of worry, temptations of lust all come from the outside of us, but the victory or failure in the face of them resides within us. Will it be the flesh or the Spirit that decides?
The persecution comes upon us from the outside. The situations in our lives that prompt us to worry are from the outside. The temptations of lust come from the outside. The victory or failure in the face of these things resides inside us. Will it be the flesh or the Spirit that decides?
Persecution tempts us to change our expression of the truth when the flesh demands that we conform to everyone else and that we be admired and loved by all people.
Situations tempt us to despair of the future and worry when the flesh demands that we depend upon it alone which is powerless to deliver.
Temptations of pleasure tempts us to forget that there are good and bad pleasures and the flesh demands that we see all pleasure as good, no matter what the consequences. Pleasure that diminishes or distracts in any amount from the true goal in life, which is the glory of God, is bad pleasure and you will pay dearly for it.
Flesh - conform and be liked and admired
Spirit - God is being persecuted. Stand firm and be a light to the persecutor.
Persecution comes upon us and the Spirit within calls us blessed. We realize that the truth is being persecuted, that God is being persecuted and that the persecutor is deceived and in need of the light of truth. We respond with love, goodness, and prayer. We pray for the deliverance of the persecutor through the gospel and we rest confidently on the providence and deliverance of God.
The flesh simply wants ease of life and to be admired and accepted by all people.
Situations of worry:
Flesh - depend upon the flesh alone and hope on chance alone.
Spirit - persevere in the situation and trust God to deliver at the proper time. Rejoice in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.
Situations of danger or evil that loom over us are seen through the Spirit as opportunities of faith. The Spirit bids us to bear up under sorrows and to wait patiently upon the timing of God. The Spirit rejoices that we will fellowship with the sufferings of Christ and we rest in the assurance that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.
Lust for pleasure:
Flesh - all pleasure is good simply for pleasure’s sake.
Spirit - good pleasure does not distract at all from the glory of God.
Pleasure is indeed wonderful to the Spirit within, but only that which does not distract us from our goal in life by any amount. There is wonderful pleasure in this life, and we confidently know and discern the things which are good pleasures and which are bad by that criteria - nothing will distract us from our goal of the upward call in Christ. We are confident in this goal and noting will diminish its prominence in our lives. Think of Gideon’s men drinking water out of the river. What distinguished the three-hundred? No pleasure will jeopardize the sacred rights of others, nor will we indulge in more that is proper or healthy for our souls. The Spirit loves life and knows which pleasures cause ruin.
We are certainly in an invisible war, and I want to return to Paul’s dealings with weaknesses put upon him before we close this subject.
The messenger sent from Satan to buffet Paul was to bring persecution against him, pressure, invasion from arrogant men who would force him to deal with their nonsense. Alexander the coppersmith did him much harm.
The messenger from Satan sought to distract Paul and to make him worry and fear. The messenger’s goal was to make Paul so weak that he wouldn’t continue on to the next town or next city and enter the synagogue and preach the gospel. However, because Paul continued to seek the Lord’s will from within, this assault upon him by the messenger from Satan, only strengthened Paul to rely upon the Lord. He went from despising his attackers to glorying in them with contentment.
We must fight to remain within the walls of our new home, clothed with Christ. This fight is in the soul. Believe and believe and don’t relinquish.
The attacks from the kingdom of darkness make for weakness and if we glory in them and are content with them then the power of Christ will clothe us. We must realize that they are necessary. Evil will attack good, and we are going to walk in the good then we will be attacked, or rather, the good within us will be. There is no way around it, other than to not walk in goodness, which is not an option for us.
We must be sure to understand that the power of Christ will clothe us and not someone else. The child of God within his own heart must understand the necessity of these attacks and the reason why they glorify God and he must desire that glory above his own comfort. One child of God cannot do this for another. We can encourage, assist, and comfort one another but we cannot put desire in another.
In the midst of the weakness that we glory in, we will bear even more fruit and that will minister to others, but others may not see it as divine fruit from the Father of heaven. So often, sadly even amongst Christians, the power of God is not recognized. No matter, we must fight in order to maintain strength.
2CO 11:16 Again I say, let no one think me foolish; but if you do, receive me even as foolish, that I also may boast a little.
2CO 11:17 That which I am speaking, I am not speaking as the Lord would, but as in foolishness, in this confidence of boasting.
d2CO 11:18 Since many boast according to the flesh, I will boast also.
2CO 11:19 For you, being so wise, bear with the foolish gladly.
2CO 11:20 For you bear with anyone if he enslaves you, if he devours you, if he takes advantage of you, if he exalts himself, if he hits you in the face.
The Corinthians preferred the eloquent and polished speakers who promulgated the beginnings of Gnosticism and who claimed to be servants of Christ. They robbed the Corinthians of truth and of money. These false teachers did not suffer the attacks and persecutions of the devil as did Paul and his team. Their easy life and wealth were attractive to the Corinthians, thinking it was a sign that they were blessed by God.
On the other hand, Paul is relentlessly attacked, and to some this indicates that there is something wrong with Paul’s relationship to God.
What made Paul incredibly clothed with Christ’s strength others saw as unfortunate weakness. We mustn’t perform our righteousness to be seen by men.
Paul clearly states that he would rather not write what he is about to write, but he feels it is necessary since it might be the only thing that opens the eyes of the Corinthians.
2CO 11:21 To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison. But in whatever respect anyone else is bold (I speak in foolishness), I am just as bold myself.
2CO 11:22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I.
2CO 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.
2CO 11:24 Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.
2CO 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
2CO 11:26 I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
2CO 11:27 I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
2CO 11:28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches.
2CO 11:29 Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern?
2CO 11:30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.
2CO 11:31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, He who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
2CO 11:32 In Damascus the ethnarch under Aretas the king was guarding the city of the Damascenes in order to seize me,
2CO 11:33 and I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and so escaped his hands.
“Who is weak without my being weak?” This leads us right back to where we began in this study.
2CO 12:7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me — to keep me from exalting myself!
2CO 12:8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2CO 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2CO 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.