Tag Archives: Victory in Jesus

Fight the Good Fight

I Timothy 6:12

12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

I think this is one of the most important things we can do today given the deteriorating moral fabric of our society. Fight the good fight of faith. Be persistent and steadfast, always showing forth those things that let others see Christ. This is not a stroll in the park! It is a war against all the powers of hell that are stacked up against us and, even more so, against those who do not know Him. Our job is never done and should never be forgotten. Save the lost. Rescue the perishing. Set the captives free. If we do not do it, they will be eternally lost, never to find their way to heaven. If we do not fight this good fight, we may find ourselves approaching the wide gate, having given up on our own salvation. Don’t let that happen!

So how do we fight this fight? After all, wasn’t the battle won at Calvary? Yes, it was. He won the ultimate battle and we are free from sin when we acknowledge the price, He paid for us by asking His forgiveness and accepting Him as Lord of our lives. It is then we gain victory over sin and can walk in His grace and mercy. We do not need to fight the enemy to defeat all sin. Christ did that. However, Paul is very explicit when he says that we must work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12). He tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). He tells us we must put off the old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22-24). He tells us we must walk in the spirit so we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Why do we need to do all these things if the victory is already ours?

The answer is pretty simple. We are still in our flesh and this flesh is the habitat of sin in the natural man. We have been raised in sin all our lives up to the point of our salvation, and we still walk in a sinful world where the enemy has his way. Old habits take time to get rid of and new ones even longer to work into our lifestyle. We still have to fight. The battle has been won and, in the end, Christ will stand as conqueror. We are caught on this earth and must battle all those things that come against us because the enemy still wants to defeat us and take us down to the pit with him. He can’t stand the fact that he was defeated on the cross so he will do everything in his power to take you and me down. Everything. He will use our minds against us so that we become boastful, prideful, grumbling, complaining, never satisfied and never happy. He will cause our bodies to lust after things just out of our reach and also those things that he had us trapped in before we were saved. He is evil and full of guile and if we are not engaged in the battle, we will fall captive to his ways.

So how do I fight this good fight? What does it take to continue fighting when it seems to me I have already lost? First, we must recognize who the enemy is. Ephesians 6:12 tells us “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.” We must recognize that our battle is in the spirit realm, not in the fleshly realm. Yes, it seems it is our flesh that we are fighting all the time, putting down strongholds that have been there for decades, ridding ourselves of bad thoughts and trying ways. But it is the enemy who keeps coming against us, reminding us of our past and telling us we are trapped there. Remember that he is a lair and the father of lies (John 8:44). Since our battle is against powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to aid us in fighting the battle for our souls. We cannot do it on our own, but we still must stay engaged with Him in order to win.

Then second weapon is found in Romans 12:1-2. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

First, our bodies are not our own. We have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). We must present them before God while we are alive, ready to give them up to Him as a sacrifice before He can come in and help us. If we want to hold onto our own flesh as something worthwhile, we will have a difficult time getting through the battle. Our flesh on its own is week. But when we give it to God, He can strengthen our flesh to overcome the while if our enemy (1 John 4:4). After all, that’s the least we can do since Jesus, God’s only Son, gave His body as a living sacrifice upon the cross. He showed us the way. When we give up our bodies as a sacrifice, He will raise us up victorious, just as He rose victorious from the grave.
Second, it is the renewing of our mind that brings us to the place where we can walk in the place that is acceptable to God. If we are not being changed into His image, we have not been saved. If we stay stuck in the same mindset as we were before conversion, we will never walk into the perfect will of God. We will stay stagnant, and that leads to backsliding eventually. Our love for God will wane just like it had for the Ephesian church in Revelation 3. They lost their first love because they did not continue to renew their minds. That was the one thing n that God had against them and He urged them to return to their first love. The way we do that is to return to prayer, return to praise, return to the word of God. To be transformed by the renewing of our mind is to keep our mind stayed on God.
Another way to keep that transformation alive in our lives is to read and meditate on Philippians 4. There is so much wisdom in this chapter I can’t begin to write it all out in this post. But I will summarize for you and then let you take it in on your own, over and over again, which is what I do. Staring in verse 4, we will always rejoice in the Lord, no matter what the circumstance or trial you are facing. Paul’s double emphasis on rejoicing implores us never to get down, or to grumble and complain, but to always look to the heavens, even when things are at their worst. Verse 5 says let your moderation be known to all men. This word moderation means gentleness and kindness. We should always show a gentle and kind nature to those around us. This includes our manner and speech. I think of Ephesians 4:29 when I look at this verse. Always speak with grace! Verse 6 tells us not to worry but instead take everything to God in prayer, always being thankful. Verse 7 says that doing verse 6 says will bring us a peace that passes all understanding. Verse 8 says that we should think on things that are honest, true, lovely, just, pure, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy. When we think about these things, negativity will be removed from our thought process. Verse 11 tells us that Paul was content in whatever state he was in. Paul was in a lot of very difficult situations, but he remained content because he always knew he was in Christ. Verse 13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. In the midst of the battle, he gives us the strength to continue to victory. Verse 19 says God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Jesus Christ. Needs, not wants. He will bring those things into our lives that will help us go through whatever comes our way. It doesn’t matter what those things are. When we are deeply in need, he will supply. When we don’t see a way out, He will make a roadway in the wilderness (Isaiah 43:19). When our finances are running too low to pay our bills, He will make rivers in that desert (same verse). There is nothing too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17).
The third part of winning the battle is putting on our armor (Ephesians 6:13-18). We must have the belt of truth the Truth of God’s word wrapped around us, holding up things that might hinder us, that we might run with patience that race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Wearing the breastplate of righteousness, Christ’s righteousness, which protects our hearts and vital organs from being wounded in the battle. We must walk prepared to share the gospel, prepared to give account for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15). Having on the helmet of salvation provided only by Jesus Christ, which protects our minds and thoughts from the enemy’s attack. The sword of the Spirit must always be by our side and on our tongues. This is the Word of God that we should have embedded ion our brain. It is the only weapon of offense the soldier has in the battle, so you better know it well. Your faith must be strong enough to quench the devil’s attacks. We must not whither or fade at his evil snares. Above all we must tray, pray and pray again. Once we have put all this armor on, we can stand firm and see His salvation being worked out in us (Philippians 2:12). Then we can be still and know that He is God (Psalms 46:10).

I could continue on and on about ways we should fight the good fight but part of fighting that good fight is for you to be in the scripture studying on your own how to be prepared for the battles you will face. This is a crash course, or maybe the Cliff’s notes, to victory. Doing these things will help us lay hold on eternal life and give us a good profession before all men. This is our witness! Fighting through the difficulties in life will make us stronger and in turn give us a better witness. I pray that you will forever fight that good fight that is our faith. Never grow weary in doing well (Galatians 6:9)!

Be a Good Minister

1 Timothy 4:6

6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

We have an awesome responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ. That responsibility is reminding them what God has said. We cannot take for granted that they know what God has said. Paul has asked us here to put the brethren in remembrance of these things. God knows we are flawed human beings and that our flesh wants to gravitate toward the things and ways of this world. Because of this, He has commissioned us to be ministers of the Gospel and the ministers of His doctrine. Not the doctrine of this world, but His doctrine.

What things do we have to remind our brothers about? I would go back to chapter three and everything from there on is what we need constant reminding about. Chapter three deals with the qualifications of our church leadership. I would dare say that some churches and denominations have lost sight of many of these qualifications. The first and foremost is choosing bishops and deacons who are seasoned in the word. These men and women have the daunting task of keeping the church on course in their pursuit of Christ. If they are not seeking out the truth in scripture and applying it on a day to day basis, they can easily slip away from that truth. When that happens, they can erode the fabric of a church if false doctrine should creep in. You may remember our discussion on seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Just as in Paul’s day, these are rampant in the church today. Our leaders must be aware of what the Word says and where these false teaching miss the mark.

Then there is the mystery of the gospel, spoken of in 1 Timothy 3:16. It is imperative that we continually remind ourselves of the birth, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the foundation of the church and of our lives. The great salvation He purchased for us must be renewed in us on a continual basis. This is the reason we have set aside holidays to celebrate these events – so we will never forget. That Christ came down from heaven to be born of a virgin is nothing short of miraculous mercy and grace. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords gave up His throne in heaven to come and die for me. He did not come with much fanfare, but in a lowly stable to a couple who were poor. No royalty met Him when He arrived, but shepherds that had heard of Him while watching their flocks at night. God chose them, the meek and lowly, to first witness His Son. He grew up unknown and wise, at one time questioning the temple leaders as if He had the wisdom of God. Until He was in His early 30’s, no one followed Him.

But then John the Baptist recognized who He was. Many heard the voice from heaven speak and say “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Many saw the dove fly down from heaven and land on His shoulder. Many heard John say “I must decrease and He must increase.” It was a changing of the guard and the people started following Jesus. His teaching angered the religious leaders but brought comfort and joy to the common folk. He healed everyone who came to Him, cast out devils, fed the masses and raised the dead. More and more people followed Him through the next three years. He chose 12 disciples to become His closest friends and He taught about the Kingdom of God. He talked in parables which confounded the wise but spoke to the simple. Thousands followed Him wherever He went.

Then He came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey just before the Passover. The crowd spread palm branches before Him and cried “Hosanna, hosanna. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” The Pharisees were outraged, but He told them if the people did not praise Him, the very rocks would cry out. The next day He walked into the marketplace and overturned the tables of the crooked moneychangers. Over the next two days He taught in more parables, spoke of the end times and cried out woes to the Pharisees and Scribes, calling them hypocrites and whitewashed sepulchers. They were furious and started plotting His death. They convinced a disciple named Judas to betray Him. His disciples found a place to have the Passover meal by following what Jesus had told them. Their fourth day in town they sat down to share the meal.

But this was no ordinary meal. At the beginning, Jesus got up and washed all of their feet, much to the protests of Peter. He told them if they wanted to be great, they must become servants to all. Then He told them one would betray Him, knowing what was to come. He broke the bread and passed the cup, saying this was His body and His blood. They did as He said, but did not understand what was happening. He told Peter that he would deny Him three times before morning light. As they walked to the Garden to pray that night, He told them He was going away to prepare mansions for them and they could not come with Him, but they would see Him later. He told them He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. He told them He was the vine and they were the branches, and that they must abide in Him. He told them He would send the comforter to help them to remember the words He had spoken and He left His peace with them. He told them so many things that they did not understand at the time. Then He prayed for them that the Father would keep them safe.

Once at the Garden, He asked Peter, James and John to pray with Him for an hour. He knew His death was soon. He knew the one who betrayed Him would be coming. He knew he would be beaten, scourged, spit upon, crowned with thorns and crucified. He knew the pain He would have to endure. He knew the disciples would not be able to bear the test that was about to come, and wanted them to pray not only for Him, but for themselves. Then He bowed to the Fathers will. Two times He went back to find the three disciples, His closest friends, asleep while He was praying. The third time, Judas came and betrayed Him with a kiss. Peter tried to fend off the soldiers, but Jesus told them if He wanted to be freed He could call ten thousand angels to come right now.

The guards took Him into the judgment hall where they slapped Him, jeered at Him, spit on Him and called false witnesses against Him. They took Him to Pilate who said He found no fault in Him but had Him scourged anyway. A wicked whipping with a bone laced whip that dug deep into His back. Pilate sent Him back to Herod, but soon He was right back before Pilate, this time with a crown of thorns the soldiers had placed on His head. Pilate still found no fault in Him but decided to give the people a choice between Him and a zealot named Barabbas. They chose Barabbas and cried crucify Jesus. Pilate found himself in a no win situation, so He told them to take Him and crucify Him and washed His hands of Jesus, saying His blood was on the Jews. He had to carry His own cross, falling under the weight of it and requiring help to finish the long walk. Once at the top of Golgotha, they nailed His feet and hands to that cross and dropped it in the ground. The gambled for His robe, gave Him vinegar to drink, and challenged Him to come down off the cross. But He was there willingly. He was there for you and me. He was there to set us free. Isaiah 53:5 puts it so beautifully “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. Surely the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” He spoke “It is finished” signifying the completion of the plan of our redemption from sin. Then He gave up the ghost. They pierced His side to make sure He was dead.

They took Him down from the cross and placed Him in a borrowed tomb. The Pharisees had heard that He said He would rise on the third day so they asked Pilate to put a guard on the tomb and seal it tight. He did so, and all thought it was over. There was no more hope for a new kingdom to be set up. Roman rule would continue. But on the third day, the women came to anoint the body with spices and they saw the stone rolled away. They saw an angel sitting where Jesus body should have been. They saw His grave clothes neatly folded. The angel told them He was alive! The women ran back to the disciples with Mary lagging behind. Jesus appeared to her and told her He was alive. He is still alive today, to be our friend and our provider, to walk with us and talk with us, to heal us and to comfort us. The cross made a way for our redemption. We cannot stay on the front side of the cross. We must go through the cross to the back of the cross because:

On the front of the cross is agony on the back of the cross is peace
On the front of the cross is sorrow on the back of the cross is joy
On the front of the cross is pain on the back of the cross is healing
On the front of the cross is bondage on the back of the cross is freedom
On the front of the cross is sin on the back of the cross is forgiveness
On the front of the cross we are stained with sin
on the back of the cross we are white as snow
On the front of the cross is defeat on the back of the cross is victory
On the front of the cross is death on the back of the cross is eternal life
If we stay on the front of the cross, hell will be our destination
When we go through the cross, and come to the back, our destination is heaven

All is only achieved if we go through the cross. Where are you standing? Are you still seeing Jesus from the front of the cross, or have you accepted that sacrifice as your own. Have you identified with His death and come to the other side of yourself? Is Christ alive in you today?

This Easter season, let us put everyone in remembrance of these things. Let us make sure we tell all those around us of the saving power of Jesus Christ. When, we do, we are sure to be called good ministers of Jesus Christ.