How can we be a church not just in name, but in holiness, and in the character of God? Is the church of Jesus Christ prepared to face her battles? Do we know who our enemy is? Are we unified against our enemy? Are we winning our battles?
A soldier for King Jesus must have complete surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We serve our Captain Jesus. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. If we want to stand in the time of testing, trials, and temptation we must put on the whole armor of God.
If we want to know how to win the battles ahead of us, we must know whose side we are on, who is on our side, and who our enemy is.
The question is not if temptations will come, the question is, “When temptations come are you prepared to stand?”
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I count it a blessing and a privilege to be gathered together in this way for this late-night service. I’m thankful tonight to be a child of the King. Amen? God has redeemed us; He has made us His children; He has called us His own. And He is coming back for a pure bride and a faithful bride. He is waiting.
Tonight the subject is “Prepare for Battle.” I don’t know what you think of when you think of a subject “Prepare for Battle.” It speaks of a warfare that’s going on. I desire your prayers tonight. I was surprised at the tremendous amount of emotional fatigue and physical fatigue even that comes along with a message on spiritual warfare. But I trust that God can take control tonight.
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.” Tonight, whether you realize it or not, there’s a battle going on, and it’s raging all around us. There’s a battle raging between God and Satan. There’s a battle raging between good and evil. There’s a battle raging against the Church of Jesus Christ. There’s a battle raging for your very soul.
This year’s theme for Kingdom Fellowship Weekend is “The Local Church – Faithful and Flourishing.” If we’re going to be a church that is faithful and flourishing, brothers and sisters, I believe we do well to learn how to prepare for the battles that lie ahead of us, do we not?
Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Oh, that God would come and rain righteousness upon us tonight. Oh, that we would break up our fallow ground. It’s time. Brothers and sisters, it’s time to seek the Lord.
Isaiah 55: 6 “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” The question tonight is: How can we be a church, not just in name, but in the holiness and in the character of God? There are plenty of people out there who call themselves “Christian,” but they’re far from being a true follower of Jesus Christ. Tonight where are you at? Where’s your heart? Oh, I trust we’re a people that have had an experience with Jesus Christ. But I know one thing, we are a needy people. We’re a people that need to sometimes take the time to come aside and rest a while, just like even Jesus Himself had to do that. So I trust that that’s what this time of fellowship can be for us here this weekend.
How can we be a people, not just a church in name, but in the holiness and in the character of Jesus Christ? If we want to know how to win the battles ahead of us, we got to know whose side we’re on – who is on our side, and who is our enemy? How do we learn what we need to know about the battle we are facing? We go to God’s Word, friends. Brothers and sisters, right here is your answer. We go to God’s Word.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
Jesus said in Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” God’s Word has stood the test of time! And it will continue to stand the test of time throughout all eternity. We learn God’s plan for our life by reading God’s Word. God’s Word is our foundation. We can build our lives on it. A.W. Tozer said, “God’s Words are not for me to edit and to tinker with, but to believe and obey.”
Right now, there’s a war going on as we speak. There’s a battle we’re facing. Jesus wants your heart. There’s a battle going on for your very soul. Jesus wants it and Satan wants it, too.
We all know that there’s evil in the world. We see it all around us. People lie, steal, cheat, murder, commit fornication and adultery, say bad words, and whatever evil thing they can think of and imagine doing. It’s like it says in Judges 21:25 “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” But where does evil come from? Has evil always existed? You know, there was a time when there was no evil. Before the entrance of evil in the world, there was peace and joy throughout the whole universe. Everything was in perfect harmony with the Creator’s will. Then Lucifer, Satan, who was one of God’s angels, wanted to be like God. He was lifted up in pride. God couldn’t stand his pride and arrogance. He had to be cast out of heaven, along with one third of the angels who chose to take his side. He said, “I will . . . I will . . . I will be like the Most High God.” Look it up in Isaiah 14:12-15. Ever since then, Satan, along with the fallen angels, the demons, have set out to destroy God’s plans. Satan came in the form of a serpent, tempting Eve to take of the forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit, ate thereof, and hence brought sin upon the entire human race.
Oh, but God in His mercy – you know, God could have condemned Adam and Eve right away. He could have just said, “Nope. You’re done.” What did He do? No, God in His mercy right after they had sinned, right after they had messed up, God in His mercy chose His love by promising a seed, His Son Jesus, Who would take away the sin of the world. Jesus would be the One Who would bruise and crush the head of the serpent Satan.
“And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).
Ever since the Fall of man in the Garden of Eden, Satan has been relentlessly trying to destroy God’s plan of love and redemption. Jesus came as our perfect example, and He died the perfect sacrifice to take away our sins. Oh, Jesus didn’t deserve to die, friends. Do you know what? Tonight, you deserve to die and go to hell because your sins are great. But oh, the love of God! Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan! As He hung there, He suffered and bled and died. Why did He do that? Because He chose to love you and me.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Our enemy is relentless. Recently, I saw this quote on someone’s what’s app status: “Ponder how valuable your soul must be for Satan to tirelessly pursue it, and the King to lay down His own life for it.” Ponder how valuable your soul is tonight, friends. How valuable a soul is! What can a man give in exchange for his soul? (See Matthew 16:26.)
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Tonight, Satan is out to get you, friends. I don’t know if you realize that or not. I think we need to wake up to that reality sometimes. But oh, we serve a great big wonderful God, don’t we? God “is able to keep you from falling” (Jude 1:24). Satan is out there to get you. He is out there to destroy you, and he doesn’t care how it’s done. If he has to roar at you, he’ll roar at you. It may come through manipulation. It might come through persuasion. It might come through strong temptations or through your lusts.
Here is a true story from a Christian brother in Haiti, whom I know personally. I will try to relate it to you the way he told it to me.
It was on a Thursday back in 2021 when we went to a Bible Study at church. My wife had to do some studies at school. We left our young boy and 6-month old girl at home in the care of my wife’s cousin who is 17 years old. While we were gone, she became demon possessed. She became possessed with an evil spirit. She tried to light the house on fire. She tried multiple times. She was trying to light a candle multiple times. Each time she lit the candle, the flame went out. She couldn’t get any of the matches to work to light the candle.
She then took a knife and thought, oh, this is going to be a good occasion for me to drink blood. Today the dad and mom of this baby aren’t at home. Today I will drink blood. She grabbed the knife and was ready to bring it down on the baby. She tried bringing the knife down a first time. The knife stopped in mid-air, as if not being able to come down on the child. Then she tried a second time. She was still not able to bring the knife down. She tried a third time. The same thing happened. She was not able to bring the knife down on the child.
The baby’s older brother watched in horror as the scene unfolded. After the cousin tried to bring the knife down the third time, he ran out of the house screaming for the neighbors to come and help. After he found people to come and help, they ran into the house and found the demon possessed girl still launching the knife, trying with all her might to bring it down on the baby. The knife was stuck in mid-air. In God’s mercy, His unseen force was holding the knife back, and keeping it from striking the baby. The neighbors took the baby out of the house. When they came back they found the cousin lying face down on the ground, her hands were behind her back and locked together as if handcuffed. The knife was still latched in her hands so tight they couldn’t remove it.
Friends, tonight, we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against spiritual wickedness. In a physical sense, it wasn’t like the girl wanted to kill the baby to drink the blood. It wasn’t like she wanted to light the house on fire. It was Satan and the demons within her that were causing her to do it.
Here’s another true story that happened to us.
Before I went to work in Haiti the second time, before the Lord called me back to Haiti, we had a man who lived with a family from church. This man was demon possessed. He had a large tattoo with flames coming up his neck. On the center of the neck was a picture of a large wolf tattooed to his neck, representing the wolf demon. On certain occasions, the eyes on the wolf would glow. The family he was living with were able to cast out some of the demons, but it soon became obvious that although the demons gave him a lot of fear and torment, he really liked the wolf demon and didn’t want that one to go away. When talking with this man, I soon found that sometimes when you talked with him the demons were responding; it wasn’t even himself responding. Then other times it was him who was talking with you, and whenever that happened, he would say, “This is me ____.” And he would use his name. He would talk in a lot more normal tone of voice. One Sunday as I was talking with him after a church service, he asked if he could come back to church with me for the evening service. I thought about it for just a bit before responding, and then said, “Sure, why not?” I just figured this is an opportunity to take him home after the church service and have a talk with him. Maybe I could speak into his life.
And so as we were driving home from church, I remembered a copy of the Jesus film that I had on my bookshelf at home, and after lunch we sat together in my room and watched the Jesus film. And it was going great. He sat there in rapt attention. At certain points, I would pause the film and just explain what was happening. I explained the scenes. And we went through the life of Christ, and we came up to the place where Jesus was hanging on the cross, and He said, “It is finished.” And the veil in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom. I paused the video and started explaining the scene.
I said, “My friend, all throughout history, sin has cost the price of blood. In the Old Testament, God’s people would bring spotless lambs year after year and they sacrificed it for their sins. The blood of those lambs never actually completely removed the sin. It acted like a band-aid. It acted like a covering on the sin problem. Jesus was God’s Son, the spotless Lamb of God. Jesus was conceived of the Holy Ghost. He was born of the virgin Mary. He lived as our perfect example, and He died on the cross for our sins. But he didn’t stay on the cross. He was buried, and on the third day, He rose again. And now today, He’s sitting on the right hand of the throne of God, interceding on our behalf.” And as I was explaining that story to him, it started making sense.
I said, “My friend, in Jesus, as far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions. He doesn’t even remember them anymore.” I referred to Hebrews 4:14-16 where it says, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
And as I was explaining the plan of salvation to him, suddenly it seemed like the light bulb was coming on. You could just see his face light up, and you know, for the first time, I believe he understood the plan of salvation. And he wept on my shoulder! I was thinking, oh surely he’s going to become a Christian. He was broken; he was weeping on my shoulder.
It wasn’t long, however, until you could see the demons at work in his life. Pretty soon, you could see him just bracing up. And suddenly, he was acting tough. You know, those demons were trying to snatch away the seeds that were being planted in his life. We talked a little more, and I don’t remember anymore exactly what I said, but I mentioned something about Satan. And at that, boy, those demons got really really angry! This man was tall. He was like at least 6 feet tall, maybe taller, and a tough guy. Boy, for a moment, I thought I was going to get attacked. I was sure he was going to attack me. He said, “Satan! I can’t believe you Christians even mention that name.” He said, “I have scars all over my body because of him.” I believe it was true. He did have scars all over his body. He was used to cutting himself because of his Satanic involvement. That’s how involved he was in Satan’s kingdom. And for a minute, I thought I was going to be attacked. I was bracing up, and I looked him straight in the eye. I said, “Yes, but Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan.” You should have seen those demons melt. Suddenly, he said, “Take me home. Take me home. Take me home. Take me home!”
Friends, brothers and sisters, at the name of Jesus Christ, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. You know, there is coming a day, a day when God is going to judge this world. Every knee is going to bow, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord.
I was determined not to take him home, because by that time my family was ready to head to church for the evening church service, and the plan was to drop him off at that service in the evening. Finally, he went so crazy, I decided, “Well, you know what? I am going to take you home.” He wouldn’t have been fit to go to the evening service anyway.
You know, another way that Satan tries to get us is through deception. He comes as an angel of light to deceive you. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” The problem is, I believe Satan has a thousand different faces. He shows himself in many different ways. I wonder what you think of. Maybe we should get some feedback. What do you think of when you think of Satan? How does he look? What do you think? Anyone? Maybe some open discussion is needed. How does Satan look? (Someone says “Powerful.”) (Someone says, “Deceptive.”) (Someone says, “Black and evil.”) (Scary.) (A monster.) Yeah, he is a monster. (Pleasure.) Yeah, he’s all of the above.
Satan shows himself in many different ways and in many different forms. He is always trying to go against what is good. That is one thing for sure. There’s nothing good about him. He is always working against God. How many of you remember the Bible story from Luke 4 of Jesus’ temptation on the mountain? Jesus went up in the Spirit in the mountain and He fasted for 40 days. And you know, Satan had to come at His weakest point, did he not?
I find it ironic how many of our Bible story books show a picture of Satan. You know, a lot of the children’s Bible story books show this picture of a monster with horns or something. I don’t know, friends, brothers and sisters, I don’t know, but I think it can be otherwise. I think it could maybe look a little more like this picture right here, as an angel of light. Satan used to be an angel, right? He was Lucifer in heaven. Do you think because of his fall, he lost all his beauty? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I believe he still can transform himself into an angel of light and make himself look really good, to deceive and to destroy and to take away.
And I believe he came to Jesus like that, like an angel of light. You know, it wasn’t fair. Jesus had just fasted for forty days. He was at His lowest point, His weakest point. And the temptations that Satan brought to Jesus appealed. Of course, they did. The Bible lets us know that Jesus was tempted in all points just like as we are, and yet without sin. And you know that “yet without sin” was actually what qualified Him to be that perfect sacrifice for sin. As He hung there, He suffered; He bled and died for you and me. Had Jesus just committed one sin, it would have completely disqualified Him to be that perfect sacrifice for our sin, to take away the sins of the world. The temptations that Satan brought to Jesus appealed to three things: it was the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. What did Jesus do when He was tempted? Anyone? (Answer from the audience: He responded with the Word of God.) Yes, He did. What should we do when we’re tempted? Respond with the Word of God! Yes, it’s precious – this Word, brothers and sisters. We have God’s Word, and we had better put it to use if we’re going to have a victorious Christian life, if we’re going to live the way that God wants us to live. We can use God’s Word, too, just like Jesus. We can hide God’s Word in our hearts and we can memorize and hold it very precious and close. 1 John 2:16-17 says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
You know, be careful what you believe. Be careful what you believe. Satan is a deceiver. He has many counterfeits, and he’s out there offering them all over the place. When someone tells you something, or when you read something, it is very important to compare it with the Word of God. You know, we’re called as Christians to try the spirits. 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
You know, during our captivity in Haiti, we did a lot of preaching to the guards around us. It was like we had this deal with the guards: you kidnap us; we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was like, we were not ready to leave that place without them hearing the precious Word of God, the plan of salvation, the Good News that can transform lives.
There was one of the gang leaders I was talking to who told me he used to be an evangelist. I remember thinking, how is this even possible? How do you go from preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ to being a leader in this gang? It just about blew my mind. And you know, I believed him. He said that he had read the whole Bible through, and he could quote Scripture better than I could. I just really challenged him. I said, “Do you know what the difference is between you and me?” He asked, “What is that?” I said, “You have read and studied God’s Word, but God’s Word has not changed your life. I too have read and studied God’s Word and God’s Word has not only changed my life; it has completely transformed my life through the power of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. When are you going to allow God’s Word to transform your life?”
And at that, he didn’t have too much to say. He went on to make some lame excuses about the situation of the country, and he said, “It’s not even possible for a person in Haiti to make an honest living without being a part of a gang.” I said, “You know what? That’s not true. If you would allow God to transform your life, God would make a way. God would open up doors for you.” I believe that with all my heart.
Tonight, I want to ask you a similar question: Has God’s Word transformed your life? Have you allowed God’s Word to transform your heart? I don’t know where you are at tonight. Tonight, if you’re not born again, if you’re still kicking against the pricks, what’s holding you back? I don’t know. What’s holding you back from experiencing that wonderful freedom that’s only available in Jesus Christ? But tonight, if you still have not chosen to accept Jesus as your Savior, you’re not prepared to fight the battles of life. Friends, brothers and sisters, that comes first. Or maybe you have started out well like the gangster chief, and maybe you need a revival. Did you know it’s possible to have a good start, to start out really well in your life, and then as times get difficult, as trials and struggles come in your life, you start to let go. You start to lose out; you start to lose the heavenly vision you once had. O Lord, revive us again.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). Friends, if you don’t have the fear of God tonight, then you’re in bad shape. You’re just in bad shape. That means you haven’t even begun to have wisdom. If you want wisdom for your journey of life, then start fearing God. Get yourself the good quality of the fear of God in your life, and then you’ll start having wisdom.
Have you forsaken all? Have you counted the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ? Let me tell you, if you haven’t forsaken all, you’re not worthy to be Jesus’ disciple. What are you living for? Is it life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Is it the American dream? Or maybe at its best, “the Mennonite dream”? I don’t know. Maybe you’re not all Mennonites here tonight. Maybe you have “the Amish dream” or the “German Baptist dream.” I don’t know what dream you’re living for. Or are you a Christian? Are you denying yourself? Are you taking up the cross daily? Are you following King Jesus? Oh, I’m glad tonight that I’m a child of the King. Jesus has purchased me. Friends, I was a sinner. I was a wretched sinner heading for hell, but Jesus in His love and mercy and grace, reached down and He took me also out of a horrible pit, and He set my feet upon a rock. Tonight, I know who I am. I know where I’m going. I don’t know how that is for you. Have you made up your mind? “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
What is your life worth? To God, you are important. You’re worth more than anything else in this whole world. You’re worth the cost of His perfect and righteous Son Jesus Christ. Not only that, but when He first began the Creation, He already had a plan of salvation for you. Then He worked His plan in the proper time. You have a birthright that you need to claim for yourself. It includes God’s plan for your life. Don’t sell that birthright for anything, friends. A lot of people are out there selling that birthright. No! No, no! Don’t sell it for fun or pleasure. There is MUCH enjoyment in following godly principles and following God’s Word and embracing it. I promise, you’re never going to regret that. You are worth more than all the money and everything else in this world. Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” There’s nothing you can give tonight, friends, that’s worth it. No! Nothing in this whole world.
During our time of captivity in Haiti, there were a lot of discouraging times. Times when we just wondered, “Oh my, how can we go on? There were times of encouragement. There were times of rejuvenation. It seemed like, praise the Lord, we didn’t all get discouraged at the same time, but when some were down then others were up. But let me tell you, it was discouraging. Day after day. Had we known the first day when we were kidnapped that we were going to stay there for a week, we would have thought we wouldn’t be able to make it. And at the end, 63 days! Two months we spent with those kidnappers. There were times we just didn’t know what was going to happen next. We thought we were going to die there.
This here is a sketch of the first and the last location where we were held. [shows picture] We were moved to a different location and then brought back to this place. So this sketch is where we escaped from. During our escape, we hiked about ten miles cross-country. And I believe God went with us every step of the way. I wouldn’t be here tonight if it wouldn’t be for your prayers and for God answering those prayers. Let me tell you, that’s the biggest thing that still stands out to me, going through that whole experience, is the power of prayer and the power of God to answer the prayers of the saints. Thank you for your prayers. Prayer works. It doesn’t always give the results maybe that we’re hoping for or wishing for, but God knows what we need. God works in various ways and in many different ways.
So we were here at this location for a week and a half. The witch doctor drove his pick-up truck in there one evening with the radio blaring, and it was on the evening news channel, and it said, “The U.S. military is coming to rescue the kidnapped missionaries.” And oh, we were getting excited. You know, I believe God could have used the military to get us out of there. The Bible lets us know that they bear not the sword in vain. They’re out to execute justice upon the evildoer. But oh, I’m so thankful tonight that in the end, it wasn’t the Haitian police; it wasn’t the U.S. military; it wasn’t the gang letting us go walk out free. It was God! It was God! God brought us out of there.
But that evening, they were really worried about the threat. I think the news just put out fake news so that it would scare the kidnappers into letting us go, (but that was not the case). They started rounding up everyone and they loaded us up in the pick-up trucks, and in the middle of the night we left that location and we had no idea where we were heading. Some of our group thought we were heading out to a ravine or to a ditch somewhere and they were going to shoot us and dispose of our bodies out there. I had no idea.
That night we arrived at this location, [shows picture] and the next morning we went outside. (And praise the Lord, we were always allowed to move around somewhat freely as long as they kept an eye on us. We were never tied hand and foot like their other captives would normally be.) The next morning we went outside, and we realized this was a much more beautiful location. (At the old place, it was especially a terrible place to be. All around this compound there was trash and garbage littered everywhere. Inside this little 10’ by 12’ room, it was probably a room the size of this corner room, if not smaller. We were all packed in there like sardines. There were blood splatters on the wall and bullet marks where the bullets had struck the walls. It was a terrible place to be.) So after being moved to this location, we were very thankful that we were at this more beautiful location. There was a row of coconut trees right here, and a row of mango trees.
But as time went on, we became very very discouraged, to the point of just not knowing what the next step is. So one morning I went outside of the house and I walked down the row of mango trees and stood there at the last mango tree and was just crying out to God. I said, “Lord, how much longer? God, how much more of this can we even take?”
And as I stood there praying, the witch doctor walks down the row of mango trees. There was a bottle – a really strange-looking bottle at the last mango tree. He reached down and put on the cork of the bottle. It was for their Satanic protection. Typically, they would put on the cork during the day and take it off at night. And as he was doing his job, he looks up at me and said, “This is the devil’s stuff. Don’t you touch it. If you touch it, it will bite you!” I hadn’t even noticed the bottle there before. I didn’t say anything. He walked away. I cried out, “Lord, what do I do? Father, I feel like You call us to get in the way of evil.” I was like, “God, what does a Christian do with this kind of information?” And as I stood there, I was pondering what to do next. And I decided, you know what, if I at least move this bottle out into the field a little bit, he’ll know I’m not afraid of it, and it’s not going to bite me. So I picked up the bottle and moved it out into the field, and then I went back to join the other group who was getting ready for the morning devotion.
We typically sang and prayed three times a day – morning, noon, and evening. So it was morning, and it was time to have our worship service. We were gathered together there, and I shared what happened with the bottle. I was like, “What should we do?” And Austin being there said, “You know what? Let’s just throw it away. Let’s get rid of it.” I was like, “Ok, do you want to have the honors?” And he said, “Yeah, sure, I’ll do it.” So we walked over there. I picked up the bottle. I said, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ.” And I was like, “Lord, cover us with Your blood. Father, protect us. Wash us.” And I handed the bottle off to Austin, and he threw that with all his might. And from my observation, the bottle hit the ground and splat open. There was a red liquid that shot out. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.
As the day went by through the morning, I was a little bit afraid what would happen next. I wasn’t sure. But as the day went on, I was feeling confident that we had done the right thing. So that evening, the witch doctor walks down the row of mango trees. He said, “What? Where’s the bottle?” He was talking in a frantic tone of voice to the other guards around him. Suddenly, “SAMUEL!” (Oh, he’s yelling my name.)
“Where’s the bottle?” I said, “Oh, it’s gone. We threw it away.” (Oh, you should have seen him become demon possessed. I mean, you could see Satan.) “What? No, no, no, no.” And he starts coming at me as if for an attack. I didn’t have much experience in that kind of spiritual warfare, brothers and sisters, but I knew one thing. I knew that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers; we wrestle against Satan, Satanic forces. And I knew it wasn’t Mackinson. I knew Satan was controlling Mackinson. I said, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ.” You should have seen him. He jerked back like I had thrown a brick at him. And again, he comes in for an attack. I said, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus Christ.” He jerks back. Again and again, just time after time after time.
Oh, we were singing, we were praying, we were crying out to God. “Lord, protect us in the name of Jesus. Be with us.” We were singing song after song after song. “There’s power in the blood, power in the blood.” He took a shotgun from the other guards and he stood there just watching us. Every time we’d get to the end of a song, he would yell insults and threats at us, and ask us where the bottle is. We just kept singing and singing and singing. I thought it was going to be an all-night event. I was sure it was going to last all night long. Time was ticking by. This was going on and on and on. It was getting late into the night.
Finally, I said, “You know what? We just have to face up. It’s time for bed. We have to go into the house.” So we started making our way to the front door there, and he got up and stood right there in front of the door. He wanted to let everyone into the house except me. Thankfully, the other brothers stood there by my side. They weren’t going to leave me. You know, friends tonight, there’s power in the Church of Jesus Christ banding together, supporting each other. Let’s do it. Let’s be a Church, tonight.
So he stood there, and he said, “Samuel, where’s the bottle? If you don’t tell me where this bottle is, we’re going to beat you; we’re going to kill you. Where’s the bottle?” The chief of the guards walked over towards me. He said, “Samuel, where’s the bottle? If you don’t tell us where this bottle is, we’re going to beat you without stopping until you tell us where it is. We’re going to kill you.” He pulls his gun. He said, “Samuel, do you know what this is? It’s called a gun. Do you know what guns can do?” I smiled at him. I said, “Chief, I’m not afraid of you.” Oh, they meant to harm us that night. But God protected us. Every time they came towards us, it was as if there was a wall that dropped between us and them. There’s power in the Name of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul talks about how a Christian should prepare for spiritual warfare.
Ephesians 6:13-17 says,
- Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
- Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
- And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
- Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
- And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Then and only then is when we are equipped for battle.
- Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Friends, brothers and sisters, we go in the Name of Jesus Christ! That’s the way that we win our battles. That’s the way that the Church of Jesus Christ wins her battles. Jesus is our Master. He’s our Head. He’s our Lord. He’s our Savior. And oh it’s precious to be a child of the King!
The Roman empire was the power horse of its day. Rome built the largest and the most powerful army the world had ever seen. The tactics of the military was one of the key reasons for Rome’s success. The Roman army was highly trained and disciplined. With their success in war, the empire was able to expand its control over three separate continents, including Asia and Africa and most of Europe. For us to stand against the wiles of the devil, we’re going to need some tactics in place as well. One tactic that the Roman army used was known as “The Turtle.” They would link shields together and literally advance on their enemies. It was a very effective way, since the enemy could rain down arrows on them, and their shields were practically impenetrable.
This is a beautiful picture tonight, brothers and sisters – a beautiful picture of how we as the Church of Jesus Christ should band together and fight the spiritual battles that our enemy Satan would want to bring our way. We need to band together, and oh, it’s sad! So sad when we see division, turmoil, and unrest in the Church. Friends, are we willing to rise up in our generation and be the Church of Jesus Christ? Are we willing to stand, and having done all, to stand? Give it all we got! Run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Are we willing to fix our eyes on Jesus and run straight for the goal?
Are we standing together as a body of Christ or do we have freelancers among us? You know, in the fire department (I used to be a firefighter) they went to great lengths to tell us about a freelancing firefighter. A freelancing firefighter was one who was out there on a limb by himself, doing his own thing. He was the one who thought he had it together. He thought he was good stuff, and he could do things the way he wanted to do things. Brothers and sisters, we need the body of Jesus Christ. We need to band together as an army. You know, for the freelancing firefighter, he’s the one that will get killed on your next fire call, because he’s out there; he’s not working together with the rest of the team. Are you willing to work together as a team? Put on the whole armor of Jesus, and win the battles that God wants you to win. Do you have a plan of action?
In closing, we’re in a battle. Today, the battle is raging. It’s raging all around us. God has made us more than conquerors through Him that loved us. You know, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. If we prepare for battle, that means we need to have a battle plan. We’ve got to know where we’re standing. We need a plan, a war plan, a plan of action. What is your plan of action? Do you even have one? Will you endure? Will you stand firm in this evil generation that we live in? Are you going to be faithful until Jesus calls you home? Ask yourself the question tonight. Jesus is coming soon, friends, and oh, I’m looking forward to that. I’m excited about that day. Are you ready? Are you waiting?
We could talk about fasting and prayer. You know, it’s something that’s very needful. In this warfare, this battle of life, we need to fast and pray. Jesus set forth an example, and it’s an example to be followed. It takes wisdom from God to know how to win the battle, and He’s willing to walk with us. We have authority in the name of Jesus Christ, and I wish tonight that the Church of Jesus would be bold in proclaiming the power that is available through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Let’s rise up and be a Church!
You know, the only way to true happiness, peace, and joy in our lives depends on if we choose to follow God’s plan or not. If you choose to take your own route, it’s sure to end in disaster. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, wants to be your invisible friend. He can give you the power to live in victory over sin and overcome your battles.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9) If we repent of our sins and live faithfully, we don’t have to spend an eternity in hell. When we die, we can spend an eternity in heaven with Jesus.
Today, I don’t know what you’re facing. I don’t know what it is – if it’s financial, if it’s heartache, if it’s the death of a friend or close one. Maybe it’s a breakup in your relationship. There are a lot of young people here tonight. I know what it’s like; I’ve been there. Whatever your struggle is, bring it to Jesus. Bring it to the foot of the cross. There’s hope; there’s help; there’s healing available; there’s forgiveness and victory available for you at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.
Lay down your life tonight in complete surrender on the altar to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:7-11 it says,
- And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
- And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
- And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
- And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
- And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Oh, praise the Lord. There’s victory. There’s power in the name of Jesus Christ. And God is going to be the Victor. In the end, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ.