THE LIVING WORD
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14 NIV)
Jesus and the Armour of God
We have pointed out that every time you use the Armour, you also use the Sword of the Spirit, which is the written Word of God. Have you noticed that Jesus, the Living Word, is also present in each of the pieces of Armour?
The Belt of Truth
Jesus is my way, my truth and my life. Knowing His truth has set me free. (Jn 14:6; 8:32)
The Breastplate of Righteousness:
In Jesus I am the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)
The Shoes of Readiness that come with the Gospel of Peace
The peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, guards my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
The Shield of Faith
The life I live in the body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
The Helmet of Salvation
There is absolutely nothing in all creation that can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:38-39)
There are two other ways in which Jesus, the Living Word, strengthens and protects us: by His blood and by His name.
The power of His blood
We have victory over the Evil One by the blood of Jesus.
They overcame him (the Accuser, Satan) by the blood of the Lamb… (Rev 12:11a NIV)
In what ways do we overcome?
- We have been freed from Satan’s grip, by the blood.
When man gave in to the temptation of Lucifer in the Garden of Eden, he gave himself into bondage. (Romans 6:16) But Jesus the Redeemer came and freed us from Satan’s bondage by purchasing us with His blood. In modern terms, this works in exactly the same way as redeeming a coupon, or an article that has been pawned.
...you were redeemed… with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Pt 1:18,19 NIV)
- We have been fully reconciled with God, by the blood.
Because of our sinfulness, we are born at odds with God - at war, so to speak. But, as we have seen when discussing the Gospel of Peace, God Himself made peace with us and signed the peace treaty in the blood of Jesus.
For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him and through him to reconcile to himself all things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross. (Col 1:20 NIV)
- We are permanently forgiven, by the blood.
As we have seen, when discussing the Breastplate and the Shoes of Readiness, Jesus paid the price of all our sins, those of the past and those of the future. When Satan tries to point out our guilt, we have an Advocate (1 Jn 2:1-2) who points out that the penalty for our sins has already been paid.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins… (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)
- We are permanently cleansed by the blood.
Also, as noted before, our spirits have been made perfect, but, unfortunately, the default position of our souls (will, mind, emotions) remains sinful. However, when we do sin, the blood of Jesus provides the continuous cleansing of our souls, as well as the cleansing of the conscience by confession. Thus we are fully cleansed and made acceptable before God so that the Slanderer’s accusations bounce off the Breastplate.
...and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn 1:7c-9 NIV)
- We are one in Christ.
But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ… Consequently, you are… fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household. (Ephesians 2:13, 19 NIV)
The value of Christian fellowship should never be underestimated. You only have to consider how a telephone call or a visit from a good friend or loved one can lift your spirits, to know the value of fellowship. The reason for this is, of course, the release of the happy hormones in your brain by the cheery input. (Having your mind taken off and out of yourself helps too!)
If you are part of a loving Christian community, there is always someone there to lift you up and strengthen you when you are weak, just as you can strengthen them when they are weak and you are strong. As Christians we can both provide and receive wise counsel and prayer.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV)
In fact, God takes fellowship very seriously.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV)
If circumstances (demographics or health) make it difficult to attend church, it is a simple matter to find good teaching on visual media. However, the monitor of a viewing device - whether computer, TV or anything else - simply cannot provide Christian fellowship. If you do not belong to a church which has home fellowship groups, you would have to look around. Many churches have home groups which non-members can join.
The power of His Name
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8-11 NIV)
For us, the power of the Name above all names lies in the authority which he delegated to us.
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons. (Luke 9:1 NIV)
The Twelve then travelled about Galilee preaching the Gospel and healing the sick. It was so successful that, a while later, Jesus sent out seventy-two of his disciples on a similar mission. This is what they said when they returned: The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17 NIV)
Take note of Jesus’ reply: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Lk 10:18-19 NIV)
Take note: Jesus promised that no demon can harm you if you use the authority He has given you!
Later, just before He ascended into heaven, and Jesus was giving the Eleven (Judas Iscariot was no longer there) their marching orders - known to us as the Great Commission - He also said, amongst other things: “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons… (Mk 16:17)
- It was not just the inner circle who were given authority and power.
- As a believer and a disciple of Jesus, you (as one of ‘those who believe’) have the same delegated authority and power.
We have a perfect example of how the Apostles used the name of Jesus when Peter and John went to the Temple to pray. At the Temple gate was a beggar who had been crippled from birth. He asked them for money. Peter and John stopped in their tracks and Peter commanded the beggar to look at them. Then Peter said: “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. (Acts 3:6-7 NIV)
Later, during one of Paul’s missionary journeys, we see a perfect example of how NOT to use the Name of Jesus!
The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were obviously most impressed with Paul’s ability to deliver people of demons. When trying to perform a deliverance on a demonised man they addressed the demon as follows: “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” The demon responded: “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” (Acts 19:13-16 NIV)
From this we can deduce the following:
- Paul delivered demons exactly as Peter had healed the beggar: In the name of Jesus.
- Only those who believe in Jesus have His delegated authority.
I had been a born-again Christian for about five or six years when I stumbled on the power that lies in the Name of Jesus. I already had experience with being harassed by demonic presences even before I became Christian, but remained woefully ignorant as to how to deal with them. We had been for a weekend to the Kruger Park, it was hot, and during the journey home I drank three Appletisers. Now, processed fruit juice is very acidic, so it was not that surprising that my IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which I had been coping with for a good ten years at the time, flared up. That same night, not long after our arrival home, I had violent colonic cramps. I also became intensely nauseous and I truly didn’t know which end would be best on the toilet! I placed the plastic, bathroom waste basket at my feet in case I threw up, while I dealt with wave after wave of excruciatingly painful cramps. I became unbearably hot and tore off my clothes till I was stark naked. Then I had to lie on the bathroom tiles to try and cool down, while the sweat literally poured off me. The cramps continued. I realised that I was going to die, and I felt that Barry should be informed of this. I crawled to the bathroom door (some distance away as it was a very big bathroom) and tried to reach the door handle. The cramping prevented me from stretching up far enough and in an agony of desperation, pain and fear, I cried out, “Oh, Jesus!” Immediately the intensity of the cramps diminished! I lay on the floor moaning “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” over and over again until the cramps were completely gone. It literally took only a minute, two at the most. I then returned to the toilet to get dressed again, and there, showing exactly where I had been lying on the floor, was a pool of perspiration!
I do not for one moment imagine that a demon caused those cramps. I know it was too much acid. But that demon definitely got in on the act, because the instant I said the Name, it took its fingers off my colon, and by using the Name over and over again, I drove it away.
Not long afterwards, because it takes a while for IBS to go into remission, so to speak, I had the starts of a repeat performance. As the cramping gripped me, I yelled out, “No! In the Name of Jesus!” The cramps stopped, just like that! A few days later, it happened again. This time I just looked down at my abdomen and said, “Don’t you dare!” It didn’t!
For the believer, the Name is a very powerful weapon. When wielding your Sword, you add terrific punch if do it in the Name of Jesus.