Sunday, July 12, 2020 -
I’ve been reading the excellent book by Tony Evans about waiting victorious spiritual warfare called The Battle is The Lord’s. The first two chapters deal with the players who are part of the visible battle of principalities and powers, what their agenda is, what their authority is, and how they affect our own lives as believers. “Everything visible and physical is the result of something invisible and spiritual. Therefore only by addressing the invisible, spiritual cause can we fix what is wrong with our visible, physical lives,” Evan says.
What many believers don’t realize is that the authority we have already been given, through Jesus, over Satan and the powers of darkness. Specifically, Christ’s resurrection conquered death and its consequences once and for all. Jesus’ resurrection defeated the power of Satan, and death and sin over our lives!
In chapter 14 of this book, Tony Evans provides one of the best expositions of Matthew 16:13-20 that I have read. Here, in the first mention of the church in the scripture, raised by Christ Himself, we see that God uses the church as an agency of authority over Satan and his realm. The church was not built upon Peter. His name is Petros, a male noun, while the rock on which Jesus promises to build His church is the word Petra, a female noun. Peter’s name, Petros, does mean stone. But since Petra is feminine, it couldn’t refer to Peter, he says. “The classical Greek word “petra” meant a group of stones that had become connected to form a rocky cliff or a large slab. So this word has to do with the coming together of many stones, Jesus was saying, ‘Peter, I am going to build my church on your confession of Me as Lord.’ The church is made up of a group of individual stones who come together to form a solid rock that will roll over Hell! Peter later describes the church as ‘living stones [who] are being built up as a spiritual house’ (1 Peter 2:5)… This means if you are detached from the church, you are not in a position to keep the forces of hell from overrunning your life… The devil isn’t too afraid of one isolated believer. But he trembles when the church goes into action.”
Note that it is the church that has the authority of Jesus to assault “the gates of Hades.” Jesus gave it authority over the power of Hades and death. And Jesus is saying for every hellish gate, there is a corresponding heavenly place. For everything Satan throws at you, there is always a divine response. There is no problem in your life to which God does not have a response… The keys of the kingdom are tied to a concept that Jesus called binding and loosing – what does that mean? It has to do with the allowing in for building, with access or lack of access. There is a corresponding heavenly key.” For everything Satan throws at you, there is always a divine response.
“The church of Jesus Christ has been given the keys of the kingdom of God. It has been given access to heaven, so that whatever the church declares on earth if it agrees with the kingdom of God, has already been determined in heaven.”
Tony Evans then goes on to show how our only authority is when we take the keys of the kingdom. The keys overcome the gates of hell, but we must die to ourselves (Matthew 16:24; Galatians 2:20). But the authority to use these keys is our responsibility.
We will need each other, just as the early church needed each other. I need you uplifting me in prayer; all of us believers in prison, here and throughout the world, need you to be holding us up before the throne.
And I am so thankful that the Lord has provided a supporting group of believers within the 100 or so men in our unit among which there has developed a very strong bond and accountability. This is an amazing thing. One said last night in our meeting that in his 47 years of incarceration, the past 17 years as a believer, he’s never seen this many believers meet together as a group every single night – two or three maybe, but not 10 to 13! He feels it is the beginning of a revival that will spread throughout the entire facility. I pray this is the case. There are a few who are coming who have not yet made the commitment to deny themselves and follow Christ, but they are close.
Finally, we got word from Will this morning and he is home. Pray for him!
And one more thing, I want to thank Tony Evans for blessing me and many of the men in this prison with his daily broadcast, and with this book. Tony Evans and his wife Lois come by our exhibit booth at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention each year to tell me what a blessing my dad‘s work has been to him. I’d like to return that now by saying publicly what a blessing he’s been to me especially. I encourage you to listen to him every chance you get and read his book, The Battle Is The Lord’s. Thank you for walking the walk. I can sense that you are genuine. You, sir, are the real thing!