Volume 20 Issue 1
A question persists — how do we develop evangelism and growth strategy as it pertains to the Church in this age without considering the reality of principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12)? Facing principalities and powers is the reality of all Christian work. It is foolish, I would argue, to imagine that we could effectively develop a strategy that does not take into account the force and influence of external powers on the Church, its people and its purpose.
We are watching an unfolding drama play out before our very eyes, in which something is attacking and taking out established ministers and ministries. Perhaps it could be labeled sudden spiritual death syndrome. It is devastating to our movement and involves an abrupt departure from Truth, doctrine and disciplines. It seems as if one minute these are with us, on the team, yet in an instant they are gone: unreachable, changed, resentful and caught as it were by some force or power. Either we have been participating in a great fundamentalist ignorance or there really is a spirit of disobedience working to overcome the saints.
I contend that it is no coincidence that preachers are talking more and more about the spirit of the age. It seems we are finally acknowledging that there are indeed forces and powers and demonic spirits that are at play in our private lives, congregations, relationships and our Godly intentions. In short, those who are rising in defense of the faith in this hour are facing the reality that we have an enemy, a roaring lion that seeks to devour. This awakening is a good thing but represents merely the beginning of our engagement in a great battle, and there is no time for procrastination.
Jesus used His own death as a substitutionary sacrifice for sin and an example of Satans intentions. The powers of this world appeared to take Jesus out. Through violence and death they intended to destroy the work of Christ, His anointing and His grace. But death is all they had. Death was their final solution. But death was defeated by life. That is the lesson – life triumphs death. When we die out to this world become crucified with Christ fearlessly and completely we only then discover the way to triumph over principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15).
When a minister and the people of God walk into a city to do the work of evangelism they will meet the powers and principalities of this worlds dominating forces that hold men in darkness, fear, unbelief, doubt, corruption, greed, adultery, fornication, drunkenness, violence and lies, all of which work through lust. We may approach these powers in pureness of heart and bold intentions, thinking that we can play loosely with our strategies, but no born-again child of God can afford to live one minute in ignorance about the dangers and pitfalls of this battle. While we may hope to influence and convert those who are bound by the powers of darkness that work in the spiritual, political, financial and social realms of this world, we must keep in mind that these spirits are also attacking us. They are at work to destroy and often succeed. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10). One compromise with the world alters everything. Every Christian must remember that however spiritual one imagines himself to be, he still has an ego and is subject to temptation and must deny lust and live in holiness.
We are watching, not only in Oneness Pentecostal circles, but also in a broader context, the whole of Christianity, a collapse of courage in the fight against immorality and worldliness. Too many lack the anointing needed to overcome the dominating antichrist system of this world. Christians say they hate sin and yet support sin by buying the worlds filthy movies. They say they hate abortion but vote for party rather than values. They say they find homosexuality an abomination, yet seldom question the effeminacy of even those who openly flaunt it. They say they hate the world but seldom call for people to come out of the world and be separated from its philosophies. Every day Christians need to keep in mind that while living in the world they may become subject to the same spirits that hold millions of non-Christians in chains.
Where is the preacher headed when he fills his refrigerator with wine? What signal does he or she broadcast when the Super Bowl preempts church? What message is sent when Facebook postings are obviously sensuous and/or designed to show cool rather than conversion (such an ugly word today)? What is the motive of the preacher whose preaching intentionally avoids any mention of the Cross, or the proclamation of the New Birth and Spirit baptism?
We need to find a quick solution to the compromised lifestyles that are becoming increasingly more common among those who were once set apart by the Holy Spirit to give hope to a dying generation that is bound up in the dark, killing influences of sin. While some may hope to lead this generation out of the world, many I fear are deceived into believing that they can change the world by being like the world. Is all the acting, dressing and stylizing truly an effort to relate the Gospel more effectively, or is it possible that is merely an attempt to emulate the ones they themselves relate to? Perhaps looking like the world or developing the swagger of the world reveals a secret desire to be accepted by the world. Ultimately, this attitude will lead to failure because the desire for the worlds admiration destroys ones ability to influence the world.
The pervasiveness of false religion and false church is sweeping across nations. The darkness is conducted under the influence of doctrines of devils. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1). And, we must understand that these dark powers and influences prosper through concealment. They work invisibly. And they work to attack the true believer. It is our duty in this dark hour to pray for the gift of discernment to reveal the evil that works among us, lest we be deceived and fall into sudden spiritual death.