Summary: Message 17 from Philippians expanding on Paul's admonition to stand firm. Here we continue our discussion of standing firm against the devil using principles from Nehemiah's resistance.
“Stand Firm against the schemes of the Devil Together”
Paul’s letter to the Philippians offers some key elements to “Maintaining the Joy of the Lord No Matter What”.
1. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – Passion to praise exalt Christ
2. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – Passion to please Christ
3. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – Passion to pursue Christ
4. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – Passion to live well
A. Stand firm in the Lord 4:1
Therefore, my brothers, dearly loved and longed for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, dearly loved.
APPLICATION OF STAND FIRM IN THE LORD
Stand firm against persecution and false teaching
Stand firm in the storms of life.
Stand firm against the schemes of the Devil
STAND / RESIST , WRESTLE, QUENCH / EXTINGUISH, WAR, DESTROY, TAKE CAPTIVE
For our wrestling is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies. Ephesians 6:12
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet 5
Be empowered with God’s power.
Be armored and armed with God’s provisions.
Adopt the proper perception regarding spiritual warfare.
Everyone battles the devil.
Resisting the devil involves suffering.
Don’t give the devil any place through unresolved anger. Eph 4
Don’t give the devil any advantage through unforgiveness.
Just as in any war there are many facets. You need training, armament, strategy, soldiers, supply lines, support personnel, medical personnel. It requires a group of people to wage an effective war. God required all the tribes of Israel to battle together to take out the major enemy strongholds. Nehemiah kept a journal of how God used him to restore the walls and worship when the exiled Jews began to return to the promised land from a 70-year captivity. His thirteen-chapter journal breaks down into two major divisions.
Chapters 1-6 recounts the rebuilding of the broken-down wall.
Chapters 7-13 recounts the restoration of the broken-down worship.
Within the protection of the wall they could safely engage in genuine worship. Nehemiah lived as a cupbearer for the Persian King. Much could be learned from how God used this gifted administrator. When he received a visit from his brother from Jerusalem, he made some inquiry.
Nehemiah first researched the need through inquiry; asking questions.
I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.” 1:2-3
Do we have a desire to seek out the needs of people?
Nehemiah then responded to the need with compassion and prayer.
As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 1:4
No specific planning until a season of passionate praying. Satan has more concern when we talk to God about people than talking to people about God. In answer to Nehemiah’s powerful prayer, God moved the heart of the pagan king to not only allow Nehemiah to make the 800-mile journey back to Jerusalem but also to supply him with all he would need to tackle the massive rebuilding project.
Once on sight, Nehemiah resolved the need through specific planning. More prayer, humble introspection, stirring inspiration.
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. Nehemiah 2:17-18
Whenever the Lord stirs action the devil attempts atrophy. Satan tries to thwart spiritual progress in any way possible. An unholy trinity sprang into action to prevent the rebuilding of the wall.
I want to take some time to focus on the kinds of opposition employed to stop the project.
Resist devaluing of our authority and heritage.
But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:19-20