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Fight the Good Fight - July 2024

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6 v12).

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By J C Metcalfe

Many of us are facing problems that seem to have no solution, situations that puzzle us, problems in our own walk and experience, individuals we long to see brought to Christ but whom we seem powerless to touch, and above all there are the great issues of apathy, sin, and ignorance overshadowing the hearts of those around us.  Let this fact sink right into the very core of your being.  In Christ and Him alone is the answer.  Make no mistake, satan will spare no effort to take us from our Lord, and to keep us constantly running after non-essentials.  But in the Lord Jesus Christ is all fullness and all power, “in Christ you have been brought to fullness” (Colossians 2 v10).  Our attitude in these days needs to be “my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62 v5).

A glance at a few passages in the Acts of the Apostles will show us how this attitude was the secret of the power of the early Church, and how they brought into practical action the victory of the name of Jesus.

Peter, faced with human weakness on the steps of the temple in the person of the lame man said, “silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3 v6).  Then, in his defence before the Sanhedrin he told of this healing in these words, “know this, you and all the people of Israel, it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4 v10).  The answer to human need is to be found in the person and name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saul of Tarsus was given the commission “to proclaim My name to the Gentiles” (Acts 9 v15), and he went on to risk his life for this calling (Acts 15 v26).  In Acts 16 v18 we see him face to face with a demonised person, and using the authority of that great name he said, “in the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her, and the demon came out the same hour”.  Acts 19 v13 shows us that this name is not a lucky charm.  Many of us sometimes get pulled into saying a set phrase.  I have often been asked “how shall I pray about such and such a situation”, and by saying this question we show a lack of true spiritual understanding.  The thing that matters is our own personal knowledge of the power of the name of Jesus, and a humble walk with Him so that we may be taught by the Holy Spirit to  proclaim His Name at the right moment, and see strongholds fall before Him.  Note carefully the wording of this verse, “some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed.  They would say, ‘in the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out’” (Acts 19 v13).  Note also the answer of the demons to the sons of Scaeva, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” (Acts 19 v15).  The Victor of Calvary is known, and feared in the kingdom of darkness, as well as those who are united with Him in His death and resurrection, because we are also seated “in heavenly places” (Ephesians 2 v6).  Apart from this life-giving union with Him, we must not involve ourselves with powers and forces that are too strong for flesh and blood to battle with.

The floods of evil are steadily rising today.  We are confronted with a subtle and devastating advance of the powers of evil against Christ and His Church.  Christians are in danger of deception, and evangelism is threatened with being silenced.  But the day of grace has not yet finally come, and His promise is, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28 v20).  If we really believe this then everything is at once simple.  The authority of His Name, the power of His throne, and His unfailing fullness are ours.  All we need to do is to remove non-essentials in doctrines and activity, and concentrate upon learning from our teacher, the Holy Spirit, how to apply this daily provision to every situation around us.  We will then either see satan give back what he has stolen or we will experience such a work of God’s grace that under extreme pressure Jesus’ fragrance will be spread around us, and the “the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand” (Isaiah 53 v10).

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Dear Friends,


The theme of this edition is "Fight the Good Fight”.  There is a battle for our souls, yet we are on the winning side.  There are many battles for the Christian to fight but the victory is sure, and it was secured for us on the Cross by our Lord Jesus Christ.  We are midway through 2024 and our world only depends on His universal grace.  He is ever merciful and waits for more souls to be saved before His return.  

Understanding how to fight the good fight of faith from a Biblical viewpoint means knowing our rights and privileges in Christ, and how to receive what already belongs to us in Him.   We trust that this issue’s selection of articles will arm you for the battles each of us faces day by day.  

Always reject what God hates and prepare well, as good soldiers of Christ, because the battle for our souls rages.

In Christ,


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By David Hamshire

Have you ever had a reason to consider the following?  

When you sit down to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.  Where can such radical advice be found?  It is in fact a quotation from the Bible (Proverbs 23 v1-2).

Today, what is our greatest danger? What threatens the people of planet Earth the most? Is it global warming or another pandemic? Is it the mass migration of people across national boundaries? Or is it hunger, economic collapse, or war? Has humanity’s greatest danger changed over the years, or is it the same as it has always been?

In this article, I would suggest our greatest danger is not any of the things I have mentioned.  In fact, I would go so far as saying it is the last thing that Jesus Christ warned His disciples to be mindful of when He was with them, shortly before He was taken from them to be crucified.  Historically, our greatest danger is the same that Adam

and Eve experienced when they were in a garden, the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden, meaning “place of pleasure”, was God’s garden of paradise which He created for Adam and his wife Eve.  Presumably, God designed and planted the Garden of Eden for human happiness. 

When Jesus was also in the garden, the Garden of Gethsemane  (Gethsemane means, “oil press”), together with His disciples, He said to them, “pray that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22 v40). And again, a little while later, Jesus said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22 v45).  

The fact that Jesus, in about the last thing He said to His disciples, warned them of the danger of temptation, suggests that temptation should not be taken casually.  Temptation, I believe, is the greatest danger we face, we who are made in the likeness of God’s Son who was Himself subjected to temptation.  In the book of Romans, Paul writes about God’s commandments.  Paul states, “you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet” (Romans 13 v9).  If such temptations did not exist, there would be no adultery, no murders, no stealing, and no covetousness.  The world would be a better place, and perhaps as innocent and perfect as the Garden of Eden.

The apostle John once wrote, “do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.  For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2 v15-17).

One of the most moving statements in the Bible which has helped me over the last sixty years is, “let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4 v16).

However, it is the verse which precedes this invitation which stands out with equal significance.  “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin” (Hebrews 4 v15).

To discover how Jesus was tempted as we are, we have to go back to the three temptations which Jesus experienced, “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”.

It is in Luke’s gospel that we can read about the time when Jesus was faced with these three temptations, and which embraces the three most important types of temptation that we, too, have to contend with. There are other less serious areas of temptation which do not fit within these three parameters, but, if with God’s help, we are able to master these three temptations, then we can begin to be overcomers and not be the victims of temptation. What I find that is comforting is that Jesus was faced with the same three temptations that Eve experienced when she was tempted by the devil in the Garden of Eden.

The First Temptation Eve faced – The Lust of the Flesh

“Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’  The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die”’” (Genesis 3 v1–3).

Having informed the devil of the consequences of going against what God had said, Eve then took note that the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was good for food.  In an instance the Lust of the Flesh took precedence over what God had said.

Let us now go from the Garden of Eden to the Wilderness beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was faced with an almost identical situation.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry.  The devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’  Jesus answered, ‘It is written,“Man shall not live on bread alone”’” (Luke 4 v1–4).

Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy, chapter eight, and verse three.  What is interesting about this command is that it was given by God after He had reminded the children of Israel that they had spent forty years in the wilderness being tested.  For Jesus it was after He had spent forty days in the Wilderness that He then faced a similar test. 

This is what God had said to the Children of Israel, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8 v3).

The first test Jesus experienced was the temptation of the Lust of the Flesh.  What would the consequences have been if His bodily desires had taken over His spiritual desires?  That would have been to disobey God.  Instead, Jesus resisted the temptation. Of course, the Lust of the Flesh is not restricted to just one temptation.  The apostle Paul writes about the Lust of the Flesh in his epistle to the Galatians.

This is what Paul has to say about this particular type of temptation, “the acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians

5 v19– 21). 

The counter position to such temptations, for those who do not walk according to the flesh, is what Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8 v1-2).

The Second Temptation Eve faced – The Lust of the Eyes

Visual temptations can be varied and extremely subtle.  What we see with our eyes can lead us into activity which we may later regret.  For King David, it was the casting of his eyes on another man’s wife which caused him to become guilty of both adultery and murder.

The Second temptation Eve faced involved what she was able to see with her eyes, her visual consciousness.  “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it” (Genesis 3 v6).

The same method was used to tempt Jesus. This time the devil took Jesus to a high mountain and in an instant of time showed Him all the kingdoms of the world.  

“And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  If you worship me, it will all be yours’” (Luke 4 v6-7).

It is almost certainly true that the exploitation of our visual senses is one which we are subjected to constantly. I heard recently of a young woman who spent an average of six hours a day on her mobile phone.  Her life was dominated entirely by the visual images which she viewed on her phone, as many peoples’ lives are. This is a reminder of the caution we read about in Isaiah, ”those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands, from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil: they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress.  Their bread will be supplied and water will not fail them” (Isaiah 33 v15-16). 

Henry W Wright in his book, ‘A More Excellent Way’ says of this passage in Isaiah and of the temptation of the eye, “Scripture is telling us there is no protection from God if you don’t hide your eyes from seeing the shedding of blood and hold your ears from what is happening in evil.  When you watch junk on your video and your television with movies about mutilation, horror and murder, there is no protection from God for you from sleeplessness and the projection of tragedy.  You have brought it upon yourself”.

The Third Temptation Eve faced – The Pride of Life

The third temptation Eve faced was that of attaining pride.  The devil said to Eve, “for God knows that when you eat from it – that is, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3 v5).

“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it”  (Genesis 3 v6-7).

The third temptation Jesus faced involved a challenge of who He was, and was one that would have had serious consequences had He succumbed to it.

“The devil led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple.  ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here.  For it is written, “He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone”’” (Luke 4 v9–11).

In this, His third temptation, Jesus was challenged into making a physical statement about His status, the implication being that He was not human.  If Jesus had agreed to what the devil had suggested, who would have been courageous enough to question His credentials?

Surely, it could have led to Him being declared the greatest achiever of all time, the only person who could cast Himself down from a great height without coming to any harm?

Pride is a temptation which many experience daily, and in many different forms. The advice of the apostle Paul is as follows, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you” (Romans 12 v3).

Proverbs 16 verse 18 is concise about the danger of pride, “pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

One of the most well-known mentions of pride and its disastrous consequences, concerns Nebuchadnezzar and what he once said about his beloved city, Babylon, “is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4 v30).

As a result of the way Nebuchadnezzar perceived himself, he was sent into a period of exile for seven years.  The sad thing about his exile, when he had to eat grass like the animals, was that Daniel had warned him a year earlier of what would happen if he failed to repent of his sin, and failed to show mercy to others (Daniels 4 v27).

R K Bamber has said in her book, ‘In Time with God’ about the danger of pride, “The Law is good and serves a purpose, but that purpose is always to lead us to God’s grace.  In our pride we would think we are able to make ourselves righteous.  But when we have humility and brokenness, we know that we need another who is more perfect than ourselves.  We need the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  His grace will change us from the inside out, but only when we come to Him in our brokenness, repentance and dependence on Him.  When pride gets in the way, we try to prove our own righteousness to God.  But God welcomes all who repent and know that without Him, they are lost sinners.”

So when it comes to temptation, did Jesus have anything to say about our greatest danger?  In fact He did.  When Jesus’ disciples asked Him how they should pray, He replied to them as follows, “this then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6 v9–13).

Of course, each stanza of this prayer is important, but Jesus’ suggestion that we should not be led into temptation, is, I believe, pivotal.  Temptation is what both Eve and Jesus experienced.  One failed the three tests, the other in saying “No”, triumphed over His three temptations.  Temptation is what we all, from time-to-time, have to deal with.  But it is what we do with temptation which makes the difference between the overcomer, and those who fail the test.

As for the apostle Paul, he was very much aware of the danger of temptation, and so he wrote, “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10 v13).

This is why the Law of God is good, it helps us to identify that which is good, and that which is bad, or sinful.  The Law of God is the best resource we possess to help us overcome temptation.  Ignore the Law of God, and we can easily become victims of temptation.  Of course, we are not saved or set free from sin by the Law of God, but we are expected to respect God’s laws and seek to obey them by saying “No” to temptation.  In conclusion, I have selected a few words from Jeremiah to sum up the contrasts that exist between those whose trust is in God, and those whose trust is in the flesh.

This is what the Lord says, “cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.  That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.  They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17 v5–8).

This is the kind of fruit for which there are no prohibitions.  Therefore, in order to avoid the greatest danger that has been experienced by men and women down through the centuries, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3 v5-6).

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By F B Meyer

Each Christian will meet the powers of hell in their life as a soldier of the Gospel of Christ.  This is what the apostle Paul is concerned about in the last chapter of Ephesians.  There is reference to the personal conflict which each believer has with the principalities and powers of evil.  The stress is on the fact that there are rulers of darkness in this world, and that there is a wider conflict which the Church, and each member of it, is called upon to fight with the unseen hosts of evil, superstition, cruelty, and pride, which oppose the Gospel.  It is good for us to recognise this supernatural aspect of the evil which confronts our work for God.  We wrestle, not simply with stupidity, or intellectual human pride, but with spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (See Daniel 10).  

We can be courageous, for in Jesus Christ’s ascension all these principalities and powers were put under the feet of our Redeemer, and as we abide in Him we share His conquest.  We are more than a match for the worst of enemies.  But Paul makes it clear that we must gain certain personal qualities before we can get the victory through the power of the Captain of our Salvation.  This is what he means by telling us to put on the whole Armour of God, “so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6 v13).  

To neglect the Armour is the cause of failure among many Christians.  They are not careful enough about their own character, and so the devil laughs at them, and because of their inconsistencies they get cut off from the only source of victory that he fears.  (See also 2 Peter 1 v5-11).

The Christian warrior must be true.  The waist is significant for strength, and the belt in Ephesians 6 verse 14 represents the opposite of self-indulgence, laziness, or carelessness.  This is why we need this belt supporting the waist, and our Lord insists on it as necessary for His servants.  “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12 v35).  We must dress ourselves with truth.  We must be moderate, never selfishly using the powers which we are given for our own ends, and never giving in to the horrible self which lives in us all.  We must be true to God who made and redeemed us, true to our best selves, true to those we live with, and who are affected by our good or evil behaviour.  There is a strong obligation that we should stand strong before the Mirror of Truth, Jesus Christ, the Light that lights our way by the Word.  There is no stronger or straighter test than this.  We will discover ourselves as we come face to face with Him whose “righteousness will be His belt and faithfulness the sash around His waist” (Isaiah 11 v5).  

There should be no confusion or inconsistency, it will be at once revealed.  No troubles in the Christian’s inner life can escape detection before the judgment seat, whose decisions are ratified by each soul’s agreement with the Lord’s justice.  We all need to be in the habit of submitting to that faithful inner witness, in both the great matters and the small details of our lives.  Then we must, by the power of the name of Jesus, remove all that is shown to be inconsistent with His character, and submit to His control.  It will cost us something, and we may have difficulty with our judgment, often injured by selfish wants.  We may have to struggle with our own will, which can be reluctant to end some habit.  We may feel completely powerless to carry out what we know is the safest and best policy.  But we will be happy if we give up selfishness, and restrain ourselves under the power of truth and purity.  

The Christian warrior must put on the breastplate of righteousness.  This Ephesians 6 verse 14 righteousness is not primarily that which is given to us as soon as we believe in Jesus, but rather that personal righteousness which is made within us by the Holy Spirit, when our character becomes like Jesus Christ.  The apostle refers to it when he reminds Titus that the grace of God instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously and Godly, in this present world (Titus 2 v12).  We should cultivate and show this character in all our contact with others.  The breastplate is worn upon the heart, the seat of our emotions, and needs to be fitted correctly.  It is necessary for us to remember this, because there is no point speaking about Jesus to others who know about an obvious inconsistency in our character.  The effect of our most beautiful words is neutralised by our actions, which speak even louder.  There is a contrast between many of us being too easy-going and the care taken by the apostle Paul.  He exercised having a conscience free of offence toward others as well as God.  He was sensitive to even the smallest appearance of self-seeking, and would cut off this desire when necessary.  He gladly went without things that in themselves were lawful, lest his ministry should be blamed.   

The Christian’s responsibility is to not allow anyone to point out that there is hypocrisy in their life or conversation, and to avoid being told, “this person contradicts their own teaching."  So if others do wrong to us then we will give out more love than they expect from us.  Loss or suffering should be met cheerfully, in order that night after night we should remain innocent, and feel that we have not put a stumbling-block in the path of anyone.  This is only possible as we abide by faith in Christ our righteousness.  And when we have done our best, we will have nothing to boast about.  The Christian warrior must follow after peace.  "Your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of Peace” (Ephesians 6 v15).  

The Gospel of Peace is undoubtedly a reference in these words to Isaiah’s vision of the messengers, who, with beautiful feet, speed across the mountains to proclaim the good news of the Gospel.  But note that those who carry the Gospel of Peace must walk gently and softly.  If the Gospel of Peace is our message, the peace of God should be on our face, the breath from our lips should be like a prayer, and then we will react like the Lord over human hatred.  We have the blessed nature of the peacemakers.  Our tread should be in the paths of peace, except when the trumpet of God clearly calls us to war against the sins and wrongs around us.  “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12 v18).  “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14 v19). “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2 v24).  

We are to always be ready to promote peace and love amongst everyone, not irritated by their wrong dealings with us, and not flaming their anger and distress.  The Christian warrior must be strong in faith.  As each fiery dart from hell comes with speed, the soldier of the Cross, deafened by the noise and blinded by the smoke of battle, must quench it on the shield of faith, so that it does not hit their head or heart (Ephesians 6 v16).  Sometimes slander will be circulated, for which there is no reason, or some horrible accusation will be thrust between the joints of the armour, or some deadly reminder of the sins of the past, which you do not want to recall.  At these times we are tempted to give in, to renounce our work, or to withdraw from the battle.  And those who do give in to the temptation are those who are not inspired by faith that can hand these things over to the compassionate and mighty Saviour, who knows everything, and who will help us in the day of battle.  But faith like this is only possible to those whose hands are clean, and hearts are pure, who lives in fellowship with Jesus, and whose soul is fed by feeding on the Word of God.  

The Christian warrior must know God's salvation in their own experience.  They must be saved from the guilt and penalty of sin before they can proclaim God’s forgiveness to the sinner, and wear the helmet of salvation (Ephesians 6 v17).  They must know the Gospel as the power of God that brings salvation from the dominion of sin in their own heart.  They must anticipate God's final purpose in the redemption of the body.  As the helmet glistens in the sunshine, so also the crown of the Christian's experience point to heaven and to glory.  They must speak about what they know, and declare what they have seen and heard.  

When we experience the power of God's salvation we can declare it to others with freedom and power.  And it is when others see the salvation of God in our own life and character, that they will be prepared to accept it as indeed the Word of God.  The Christian warrior must use the two essential tools of grace, the Word of God, and prayer.  “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6 v18).

Finally remember that continual use of the Word of God in the care of our souls, in the preparation of our message, and in dealing with the conscience of our hearers is essential.  And the continual use of the weapon of prayer means there is no enemy from hell that will be able to withstand us, despite our human weakness.   But we are strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Daily meditate on your union with the ascended Lord, know that in Him you have died to sin and present yourself as a tool of righteousness to Christ, and you will have a path of unbroken victory.

From ‘Ephesians: A Devotional Commentary’.

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By Mrs Jessie Penn-Lewis 

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3v3).

Buried with Him by baptism into His death, joined to Him in His resurrection, clothed with Him as the whole Armour of God, the soul is led into the knowledge of its union with Christ in His ascension, taught of the Holy Spirit to overcome as He overcame, it finds itself hidden with Him in the very heart of God.  The Son reveals the Father, and fulfils His word, “a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father” (John 16 v25).

“We will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14 v23).

The life of the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit, fills the sanctuary of God in human vessels, and now, joined to the Son, through the Holy Spirit, the believer is hidden with Christ in God.  “Where I am, my servant also will be” (John 12 v26).

In the Father’s presence there is quietness and assurance, deep calm and stillness, for the emotions are held under the control of Him Who dwells in the centre of the soul, keeping the whole person fixed upon Him.  There are no shocks or surprises, there are tears, sufferings and sorrows, and all the sting is gone from the troubles of this world.

What do we have to overcome?  We have to overcome the world-spirit, and all the things in the world that are contrary to our Lord, and we do it through the new life that we have from Him.  Then we have to overcome the wicked one and his hosts.  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit”.  Because ‘‘many false prophets have gone out into the world.  This is how you can recognise the Spirit of God, every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.  You, dear children, are from God and you have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4 v1-4).  Satan, the prince of this world, is to be overcome, and the power that overcomes him is a Person, He that is in you, the Spirit of God.

From ‘The Pathway to Life in God’.

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By Watchman Nee

Christian experience begins with sitting and leads to walking, but it does not end with these.  Every Christian also has to learn how to stand.  Each one of us must be prepared for the spiritual conflict.  We must know how to sit with Christ in heavenly places and we must know how to walk worthy of Him down here, and we also need to stand before the enemy.  We read about this conflict, that is before us, in the third section of Ephesians (6 v10-20).  It is what Paul calls our wrestling against evil spiritual forces (6 v12).

No Christian can hope to enter into war without learning first to rest in Christ and in what He has done, and then, by the strength of the Holy Spirit, to follow Him in a practical, holy life here on earth.  Without these we will be of no use in the war, and we may know nothing about it at all, for satan will ignore you.  But we can be made "strong in the Lord and in His mighty power” by knowing the value of His exaltation and then of His indwelling (Ephesians 6 v10).  It is with these two lessons learned well that we come to appreciate the third principle of the Christian life, summed up in the word ‘stand'.  

God has an enemy, and under his power there are countless demons seeking to overrun the world with evil and to exclude God from His own kingdom.  This is the meaning of verse 12.  It is an explanation of things taking place around us.  We see only "flesh and blood" against us, that is to say, a world system of hostile rulers, sinners and evil people.  No, Paul says, our wrestling is not against these, "but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”, this means against the devil himself. Two thrones are at war.  God is claiming the earth for His dominion, and satan is seeking to usurp the authority of God.  The Church is called to displace satan from his present realm and to make Christ Head over all.  What are we doing about this?  

I also want to deal with our warfare in general terms in relation to our personal Christian lives and then in a more special sense in relation to the work the Lord has given to us.  There are many direct assaults of satan upon God's children.  Of course, we must not attribute to the devil any troubles that are the result of our own breaking of divine laws.  Christians should know how to put this right.  But there are physical attacks upon the saints,  and attacks of the evil one upon their bodies and minds, of which we must take seriously. 

There are surely few of us who do not know something about the enemy's assaults upon our spiritual life.  These must not be unchallenged.  We have our position with the Lord in heaven, and we are learning how to walk with Him in the world, but we need to be prepared in the presence of God’s enemy.  God’s word is “stand”, and “put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (v11).  The words “stand against” in verse 11 really means “hold onto your ground”.  There is a precious truth hidden in that command by God.  It implies that the ground disputed by the enemy is really the Lord’s, and therefore ours.  If it were not, we would have to fight to gain it.  Nearly all the weapons of our warfare described in Ephesians are only defensive.  Even the sword can be used as well for defence as well as for offence.  The difference between defensive and offensive warfare is that in the former I have got the ground and only try to keep it, whereas in the latter I have not got the ground and am fighting in order to get it.  And that is exactly the difference between the warfare waged by the Lord Jesus and the warfare waged by us.  His was offensive, ours is, defensive.  

The Lord warred against satan in order to gain the victory. Through the Cross He carried that warfare to Hell itself, to lead out a crowd of captives (Ephesians 4 v8-9). Today we war against satan only to maintain the victory which Christ has already gained.  By the Resurrection God proclaimed His Son Victor over the whole realm of darkness, and the ground Christ won He has given to us.  We do not need to fight to obtain it. We only need to hold it against all challengers.  Our task is to hold, not to attack.  It is not a matter of advance but of the Kingdom of Christ.  

In the Person of Jesus Christ, God has already conquered.  He has given us His victory to hold.  Within the Kingdom of Christ the enemy's defeat is already a fact, and the Church has been put there to keep him defeated.  Satan is the one who must do the attacking in his effort to remove us from our position.  For we do not struggle to occupy ground that is already ours.  In Christ, “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8 v37), and in Him we stand.  

Today we do not fight for victory, we fight from victory.  We do not fight to win but because in Christ we have already won. Overcomers are those who rest in the victory already given to them by their God.  When you fight to get the victory, then you have lost the battle at the very beginning.  Suppose the enemy sets out to assault you in your home or in your business.  He creates a situation with which you cannot deal.  What do you do?  

Your first instinct is to prepare yourself for a big battle and then to pray to God to give you the victory in it.  But if you do so, defeat is sure, for you have given up the ground that is yours.  The starting point of your defeat as a Christian is the moment when you begin to reckon that you must win.  When you say, "I hope I might overcome,” by those words you give to the enemy the ground that is yours in Christ.  When he attacks, you should look up and praise the Lord.  And say, “Lord, I am faced with a situation that I cannot possibly cope with. Your enemy has brought this about for my downfall, but I praise you that your victory is complete.  It covers this situation too.  I praise you that I already have full victory in this matter through you.”

Only those who sit can stand.  Our power for standing, and walking, lies in us having first sat together with Christ. The Christian's walk and warfare gets strength from our sitting position.  If we are not sitting before God we cannot hope to stand before the enemy.  Satan's primary object is not to get us to sin, but to make it easy for us to do so by getting us off the ground of perfect triumph which the Lord has given us.  Either through our head or our heart, through our intellect or our feelings, he assaults our rest in Christ or our walk in the Spirit.  But for every point of his attack defensive armour is provided, the helmet and the breastplate, the belt and the shoes, while over all of it is the shield of faith to stop his fiery arrows.  Faith says, “Christ is exalted”.  Faith says, “by grace we have been saved”.  Faith says, “we may approach God with freedom and confidence”.  Faith says, “He dwells in our hearts through His Spirit” (See Ephesians 1 v20, 2 v8, 3 v12 and 17).  Because victory is His, therefore it is ours.  If we will not try to gain the victory but simply to maintain it, then we will see the enemy utterly defeated.  

We must not ask the Lord to enable us to overcome the enemy, nor even look to Him to overcome, but praise Him because He has already done so, He is Victor.  It is all a matter of faith in Him.  If we believe the Lord, we will not pray so much but instead we will praise Him more.  The simpler and clearer our faith is in Him, the less we will pray in such situations and the more we will praise.  In Christ we are already conquerors.   Is it obvious now that for us to pray for victory, unless that prayer has praise, we will invite defeat by throwing away our strong position.  If defeat has been your experience or you have found yourself hoping that you will one day be strong enough to win, then my prayer for you is that of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians.  It is that God may open your eyes again to see yourself seated with Him who is sat, "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked" (Ephesians 1 v21).  The difficulties around you may not alter, the lion may roar as loudly as ever, but you no longer need to just hope to overcome.  In Christ Jesus you are the winner in the field.

From ‘Sit, Walk, Stand’.

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By Charles Simeon

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”
(Ephesians 6 v10).


The Christian life is often represented in Scripture under the metaphor of warfare.  Jesus Christ is called “the pioneer of our salvation”, and those who are under His banner fight the good fight of faith, and happily endure all the hardships of the campaign.  They are called “a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2 v3).  Like warriors, they do not entangle themselves with the affairs of this life, so that they please Him who has chosen them to be soldiers, and they set themselves to good warfare, while looking for the rewards of victory when they have defeated all their enemies.

In Ephesians chapter 6 this subject is fully treated.  Paul, standing as it were in the middle of the army camp, lectures the soldiers, telling them what enemies they have to fight, and how they should guard properly against all their strategies, and secure the victory.  He begins by reminding them of the wonderful talents of their General, and urges them to place unlimited confidence in His skill and power.  The exhortation was written in a very short space, and conveys a lot more than there appears at first sight.  We shall think about three things implied in it.  

The first thing implied in Ephesians 6 verse 10 is that the Christian needs strength.  It is not easy to stop the sinful nature, to root out habits, and to be sensitive to invisible and eternal things.  To renew and sanctify our hearts, and to transform them into the divine image, is a work far beyond our power yet is it necessary for our salvation. 

Christians also have many enemies to contend with as soon as they go about the work given to them, not to mention all the desires of the sinful nature which can instantly rise up in rebellion against God.  The world will immediately begin to cry out against us, using ridicule and threats.  Friends will turn against us and enemies will be the members of our own household.  They previously would have let us go along the broad road year after year, but the very moment we entered onto the narrow path that leads to life, they will unite to obstruct the way, and then finally turn their back upon us.  At the same time the enemy will use his evil forces, and he will try his uttermost to destroy the newly born-again soul.  This means, those of us who are called to Christ need be strong. 

A second thing implied in the encouragement is that the Christian has no strength in themselves alone.  We cannot often imagine how extremely weak we are in ourselves.  It must be easy, to read and understand the Word of God, or to profit by a clear hearing of it preached.  But these are beyond the power of the natural human.  The Word without spiritual discernment appears foolish.  Even when it was explained by our Lord, the Apostles were not able to comprehend it until He opened their hearts to understand it.  Lydia, like thousands of others, would have been unmoved by the preaching of Paul if the Lord had not “opened her heart” to understand and embrace His word (Acts 16 v14).  

Our Lord tells us that, through the special help of His grace, we can do nothing.  “How can you who are evil say anything good” said our Lord (Matthew 12 v34) and Paul said, “no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, ‘Jesus be cursed,’ and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12 v3). “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2 v13).  Even after his conversion, Paul himself had no ability alone to think about anything good, his strength was completely from God, “not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God” (2 Corinthians 3 v5).  Until God gives us life from the dead we are as incapable of spiritual life.

The third thing implied in this encouragement is that Christ is sufficient for us, otherwise the apostle would not have urged us in this manner to be strong in Him.  The apostle emphasises Christ's “mighty power”, for He is indeed almighty, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me”, Jesus said (Matthew 28 v18).  

We can see this power by looking at what he did when He was on earth.  Diseases vanished at His touch, and devils themselves obeyed His authority, they were instantly forced to free their captives at His command, they could not even enter into the pigs without His permission (Mark 5 v12).  The winds were obedient to Him and the waves calmed.  “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59 v1).  He can heal the troubles of our souls, and supply our every want.  “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the Cross” (Colossians 2 v15).  He led them captive in His ascension, and fulfilled His promise that “sin shall no longer be your master” (Romans 6 v14).  “The Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal” and He is therefore “able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Isaiah 26 v4, Hebrews 7 v25). 

From ‘The Christian, His Conflicts and His Armour’.

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“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”
(Ephesians 6 v12).

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”
(Romans 8 v17-19).

“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world”
(John 16 v33)