JOHN 1:5 — “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
JOHN 3:19-20 — “And This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
When Jesus was sent to this earth over 2000 years ago, He came into a world that was called “darkness”. He had literally invaded the kingdom of darkness.
1 JOHN 3:8 — “the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL”
The mission of Jesus on this earth was to destroy the works of the devil. He spent about three and a half years plundering the kingdom of darkness, setting captives free, and training a group of people to continue on with His work when He left this planet. The devil had no power over Him.
To the Christians that Peter was writing to in 1PETER 2:9 he told those believers “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
COLOSSIANS 1:13 — “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
The primary work of the devil that Jesus came to destroy is called “the kingdom of darkness”. When Lucifer was defeated by the angelic host, he was evicted from heaven and came to the earth to establish his own kingdom. That establishing of his own kingdom was the seed in his heart that got him evicted because he thought he could be equal to or greater than God Himself.
When God paced His newly created man on this earth in the garden it was to begin the overthrow of Satan’s kingdom on this earth and restore this environment under the domain of God and rid the universe of the Satanic deception and rebellion. God gave Adam the authority to take dominion over the earth and rule it for God as His covenant partner, but we all know what happened. Satan was able to deceive Adam and Eve into relinquishing their authority for dominion and this first attempt at overthrowing the kingdom of darkness was thwarted.
From this first attempt at using Man to overthrow the kingdom of darkness, God established a plan to restore this original plan and that restoration began to occur when the Father sent His Word to this earth and wrapped it in flesh and gave Him the name of Jesus.
JOHN 1:1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
JOHN 1:14 — “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Scripture refers to Jesus as being the second Adam.
1 CORINTHIANS 15:45 — “So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam (referring to Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.”
Jesus’ ministry began three years after His birth and it began by being baptized in water, receiving the Holy Spirit, and then going into the desert to battle Satan for forty days and nights without food. He defeated the devil’s deceptive tactics by using the Word of God as His weapon.
Upon completion of this first task, He entered into the temple, the place of religion, and read from the Scriptures what He intended to do as His ministry.
LUKE 4:14 & 18-19 – “And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit;…”
“The Spirit of the Lord s upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
Vs. 21 — “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Notice what Jesus declared His ministry was going to do:
1) Proclaim the good news to the poor
* The “good news” was that the kingdom of God was at hand
2) Proclaim release of the captives
* Deliverance and slavery to sin
3) Recovery of sight to the blind
* Physical healing as well as opening their eyes to see the truth of God’s kingdom
* The new birth will open the eyes to “see” the kingdom of God
* Remove them from the darkness where they can’t see where they are going and transfer them into the light where they can see
4) To set free those who are downtrodden
* Giving people hope & vision of a better life in His kingdom
5) Proclaiming how to receive God’s favor upon their lives
After declaring His intentions He left the religious meeting and went into the market place where He began to choose men with whom He would spend the next three years with training them as His apprentices to take over His ministry when He departed from the earth. He also began to proclaim as well as demonstrate the reality that the kingdom of God was truly “at hand” and that people should repent concerning the kingdom of darkness and turn away from it in order to follow Him.
Jesus taught His disciples how to minister the true good news and gave them assignments in which they could practice the things they were learning. They were becoming “doers of His word” not just hearers who were deceiving themselves with a lot of head knowledge, but no revelation of the realities of being a part of the kingdom of God.
Jesus told His apprentices “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me the work that I do shall he do also and greater works than these shall he do because I go to the Father.” JOHN 14:12.
Jesus trained His disciples to do all the same things He was doing as listed in LUKE 4 above.
After Jesus died and had been resurrected from the dead, He gave His apprentices what we commonly refer to as the great commission. I like to refer to this as the great co-mission because it is the mission Jesus gave to those called out of the kingdom of darkness that have become His “body” on this earth. These people have been given His Holy Spirit to empower them to do everything that Jesus had done and to carry on His ministry on this earth.
HE DID NOT REDEEM US FROM THE KINGDOM OF DARKNESS JUST SO WE COULD GO TO HEAVEN WHEN WE DIE.
That great co-mission is recorded in MATTHEW 28:18-20 and in MARK 16:15-18. We, as His body on this earth, are to:
1. Go out into our cultures and societies, not invite people to come to a church meeting.
2. Make disciples just like Jesus and Paul did.
3. Baptize new believers, not just have the leader of a local congregation do it all.
4. Instruct people about living in covenant with God.
5. Cast out demons in order to set people free from bondage.
6. Heal the sick.
7. Speak in new tongues as the Spirit speaks or prayers through us.
He taught us to pray in such a way that we bring the kingdom of God to this earth and that His will be done here and now, not in heaven when we die.
He is still in the process of training us as we follow Him to fulfill His ministry on the planet. He said to us in MATTHEW 11:29 that we should be yoked ( or bound) together with Him and learn from Him. What things will we learn from Him?
Jesus has broken the power of sin in our lives by paying the debt of sin through His sacrificial death on the cross as our representative and our substitute. By doing this He has broken the power of Satan’s dominion so that people actually have a choice to reject that dominion and enter into the kingdom of God, or to stay in the darkness because they prefer to live in bondage to their sin nature. They now have the freedom to choose who will be Lord over their lives: God or Satan. Satan is the god of this world.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:3 -4 — “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
WHY ARE WE TO DO WARFARE?
I am convinced that the Church today demonstrates a great apathy concerning our ability to carry on the work of Jesus in the earth. We seem to be more focused on building larger ministries and larger congregations than actually doing the works that Jesus did and advancing His kingdom. We are more concerned about having a “good” meeting than being a “co-laborer” with Jesus and destroying the works of darkness.
As millions of unborn babies are slaughtered, as homosexuality and perversion are thrust upon our world, as addictions soar to unprecedented magnitude, as our society is being stripped of all reminders of our Christian heritage, as our children’s minds are being programmed by humanistic philosophies in public education, as the Bible’s inerrancy is challenged by many mainline denominations, as Eastern religions thrive in our society, as Satanism and witchcraft are exploding by tremendous numbers, as our government leaders are becoming more and more unrighteous in their manner of governing, as the prejudices in our world become explosive, and as we are losing our children to the ways of the world, where is this powerful army of the Almighty God that is to be at work destroying the strongholds of the devil, holding back corruption, and establishing the righteous rule of Jesus Christ on the earth? Where is it?
If we are to simply go to meetings of the Church, read our Bible and get fat with head knowledge, go through the ritual of praying to beg God to bless me more and more, and to have some benign fellowship with other believers, why did Paul tell us:
EPHESIANS 6:10-12 — Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
If we are not to be in a battle, why did Paul give us this instruction through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
Why were Peter, Paul, and all the other apostles beaten, threatened, crucified, poisoned, killed, etc. if they were not in a battle?
2 CORINTHIANS 10:3-5 — For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
There are numerous references to the warfare that the follower of Jesus has entered into. Our primary task on this earth as Christian believers is to pray that the kingdom of God comes to this earth and that God’s will is brought to pass.
As a Christian you have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and Satan is furious over this. He will do everything he can to thwart you in your life with Jesus and to keep you from growing in your spiritual life. He does not want you to learn how to become like Jesus on this earth and begin to destroy the works of darkness and set captives free from the kingdom of darkness and the dominion of Satan. But always remember this: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.”
I will continue this instruction in a few days.