Advance His Kingdom – Fighting the War
Bro. Paul Jake Tolentino (UPC-Tondo Church)
“No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” Mark 3:27
The English word advance in the Merriam-Webster dictionary means the following:
verb / ad-vance / \əd-ˈvan(t)s\
: to move forward
: to move (someone or something) forward
But if you have background on war histories, battle strategies, and even the board game chess – you know that the word advance is also a common military term. In a military perspective, the word advance means the forward movement of a unit toward the enemy. So when we declare we are advancing His Kingdom, we just don’t mean we are progressing the cause of the Kingdom, or we are just moving forward for the kingdom. When we are advancing the kingdom, or furthering the kingdom, that actually involves marching against enemy lines, subduing enemy strongholds, pushing against enemy boundaries and seizing enemy lands. It is simply a declaration of an all-out-war.
So the truth is, advancing His kingdom is not just about spreading the cause, nor just moving forward and telling everybody it’s a joy to be a Christian. Advancing the kingdom means preparing, positioning and engaging yourself in a war of conquering territories.
I. Be aware that you are engaged in a war
Why? Are you serious? Are we Christians not supposed to be peaceful people?
Most of our young men today do not know the spiritual war, or should we say, most are losing the spiritual battle they are not even aware they are engaged in. That was the same problem with the new generation of Israelites that arose after Joshua:
A. They knew not the Lord nor His great and mighty works
“And also that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:10
B. They knew not the wars of Canaan
“Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan. Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;” Judges 3:1-2
The generation after Joshua, knew not the Lord personally, and his mighty works they have only heard as stories and myths. Also, since Joshua accomplished his task of subduing the promise land through the wars and battles he led and won, the next generation of Israelites need not to know how to fight, and so became complacent and comfortable. They fell into idol worship so the Lord got mad at them. So in Judges 3, it says that the Lord left nations around Israel to prove them. The Lord used these nations to chastise them and to teach them war, for they knew nothing about it.
The same challenge goes to the new generation of Pentecostals. The times when our pioneering pastors fought hard to conquer the land are finished. Before, one would literally suffer persecutions when he becomes converted to the “cult of Pentecostalism”. Some became at war against their friends and family. To evangelize the then pure-blooded-Roman-Catholic-Filipinos would require great a sacrifice and sufferings. While some of these are still somehow true today, it is no longer on the same scale and level as of before. Today almost the whole world profess to be “Christians”. Many would congratulate you to be born again. Some of us “no longer knew war”.
The Apostle Paul considers himself to be a soldier of Christ. So he also charged the young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:3-4; “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
To advance his kingdom, you must first know you are engaged in a war. You just declared to the devil, “I’m fixing to mess your kingdom!” Don’t expect it to be an easy one.
II. Know who you are battling against, and who you are battling against not
Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Now you know you are in a battle for advancing His kingdom, the next question is who are we battling against? But this scripture told us first who we are NOT wrestling against. We are not fighting flesh and blood. We do not fight people. Do not fight against your persecutors, nor your friends, and family members, not even those girls in the school making fun of your long hair and your not wearing of jeans. We do not fight people, we fight the spirit behind. They are just pawns of the enemy trying to discourage you, intimidate you and neutralize you. We fight against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places. These are ranks among the evil spirits that control the behaviors of those people against us. They are the real enemies. James 5:8 described our adversary, the devil is as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Be reminded the next time it seems like the enemy is putting all the pressure on you, discouraging and intimidating you, just as Rev. Lee Stone-King once said, “ the devil is fighting the hardest what he fears the most.” You’re a big threat to him. He’s afraid of the potential, what God can do through you, so he belittles you so you won’t realize what you can do for the Lord. He’s like that big, rude kid, bullying children around but is secretly afraid of worms.
There’s also another spirit we all need to fight against today. We will quote this as referred from a preaching by Rev. Wayne Huntley in Because of the Times 2014 entitled, “The Last Giant Before Canaan”. Deuteronomy 3:11 says, “For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnants of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? Nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.”
Og was the remaining giant to be defeated of the Israelites on their way to the promise land. The last giant before Canaan was Og, and his bed, approximately 18 feet long and 9 feet wide. That’s the same spirit we also need to defeat today, the spirit of Og and his “king-sized bed”, -- the spirit of slumberness and laziness. Young men, be sure to kill that giant.
III. Know what you are fighting for about
Mark 3:27 says, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” (We will tackle about the first part of this passage and then the next part later.)
This is exactly the scenario. This is the picture of Advancing His Kingdom. It will be like entering into the strong man’s house and spoiling his goods. That’s what it is all about. The strong man here is the enemy. In advancing the kingdom, we are advancing it to a foreign territory owned by some strong guy. We are moving forward and conquering the enemy’s territories. Advancing the kingdom is like entering into the enemy’s house and fighting for the “goods”. That’s what it is all about – the goods. That is what we are fighting the devil over. By the way, those goods seemed too important. What are those goods really?
Those goods are not properties, nor blessings. It is souls. In advancing the kingdom, be aware that we are fighting the devil over souls. Souls of people the Lord Jesus died at the cross for. Souls that the devil won’t give up too easily. It is his priced goods. It is his precious possessions. Don’t expect the devil to just give those souls to us, we need to fight for them. Can you blame the devil if he won’t give up souls easily? He’s worked for souls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (a better soul winner than most of us Christians). That’s all he has been working for. The devil is not trying to defeat or overpower God. He tried once and he failed, so he knows he is no match! His business here on Earth is to claim people’s souls, to bring them with him to hell someday. So it’s not like we will just show up in his territory, and he will give the souls, his precious goods to us. Expect that he’s gonna put up a fight. Advancing His Kingdom is a war for souls.
There are two aspects where you need to fight for souls. First, is you have to fight for your own soul. It’s a constant battle. The Apostle said in Philippians 2:12 to, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. Be not too occupied by winning others to Christ and you yourself is already a backslider in heart. It is a constant battle within you. Spirit against flesh. Godliness vs. lust. A constant battle of Holiness. A constant battle for your devotion and prayer life. We must first make sure that we win our own battles first.
Then we fight for others. Jude 23 says we need to “save others with fear, pulling them out of the fire”. We need to pull them out from the fire of hell. One version of that verse says, we need to snatch them out of the fire. Sadly, most of the people we know are heading toward the fire of hell. So we must fight for these souls. Advance the kingdom. Snatch them out of the house of the strong man.
IV. Know the weapons of this warfare
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
Of course we need weapons for battling. These spiritual weapons according to Apostle Paul are able to pull down enemy strongholds, able to subdue high thinking and self-exaltations, and captivate minds into obeying the Lord. Interested? Just what are these weapons?
These are the weapons that we can use to bind the strong man so that we can spoil his goods. There’s no way we can get the goods without first binding the strong man with these weapons.
A. The Word of God. The devil tempted the Lord in the wilderness. It just took three rounds to knock him out. What did the Lord himself used against him? The Word of God. Claim God’s promises in His Word. Heaven and earth shall pass away but His Word shall not pass away (Matthew 24:35). He upholds all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). The worlds were framed by His Word (Hebrews 11:3). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation of those who believe (Romans 1:16). Nothing else is firmer and surer than the Word.
B. The name of Jesus – it is the only name given under heaven whereby which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). It is the name which is above every name, to which all knees would bow, of things in heaven, and on earth and underneath (Philippians 2:10). It is a strong tower where righteous can run to, to be saved (Proverbs 18:10). It was the same weapon David used to stand against Goliath (1 Samuel 17:45). By this name we shall cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpent, and lay hands on the sick (Mark 16:17-18). Devils are subject to this name (Luke 10:17).
C. The Holy Ghost – it is the power from above to witness (Acts 1:8) It is our comforter and will teach us all things (John 14:26) It will give us boldness and will teach us what to say (Luke 12:11-12)
D. Prayer and Fasting – There is power in prayer and fasting. This is mainly how we will bind the strong man. Some demons can’t be casted out without prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21). The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16).
E. The Whole armour of God – this is our protection against the weapons of the enemy. The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the preparation to share the gospel, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17).
Wow. The Lord won’t let you fight unprepared. We are well protected and well-armored!
How about the weapons of the enemy? Well, the Bible says something like fiery darts of the wicked, wiles of the devil, snares of the devil, Satan’s devices, and the like, but there’s also one scripture that summarizes all about the weapons of the enemy. Isaiah 54:17.
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall arise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”
The weapons of the enemy may hurt us at times. It may make us stumble, discouraged and weakened. But whatever that is, in the end, it will not be able to defeat us. It’s not gonna make him win the war. No weapon of the enemy shall prosper against thee. That’s the Lord who promised. He’s no liar.
V. Most Importantly, Know Who You Are Fighting With!
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
“, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” – Matthew 28:20
A challenge to the young Pentecostals – Let’s advance the Kingdom. Fight for souls. Jeremiah 1:7-8, “ But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.”
The Lord set thee over the nations and kingdoms to, “root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)
It’s time for the young generation to actively participate in advancing the kingdom. Engage in the war. We are God’s infantry battalion.
We might be battling against the “strong man”, but we know greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.