This is the concluding part of the message we started last week. As a quick recap we have looked at the sword as a weapon the use of the sword in the Bible, why we need to use the sword and the powers we should use the sword against. Then we went into reasons we should really fight against our oppressors and we looked at all those areas where the enemies of our souls become so stubborn. This week, we shall continue with the qualifications needed to handle the sword of deliverance and conclude the message.
QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED TO HANDLE THE SWORD OF DELIVERANCE
1.New birth: The first major qualification needed is a new birth. You must be born again and this is not negotiable. It is here that most people miss it. The MFM by the grace of God, is a do-it-yourself ministry. We do not teach people to be servants to prophets and priests. We teach them to be spiritually independent. Anybody who is not born-again as far as the Bible is concerned is not a Christian. He may be going to church but he is not a Christian. Standing at the abattoir does not make you a cow. You may be a priest, pastor, general overseer, general superintendent, general secretary of whatever, if you are not born again, you are not a Christian. This is the stance of the Bible.
John 3:3-5: “Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, l say unto thee; except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered, verily, verily, l say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”
This is a clear statement that needs no argument at all. Become born again and have the ticket to heaven or perish. It does not matter whether you are the chairman of any committee of any church or if you are the one that helped them built the greatest cathedral in this country, you may do all that and still not be born-again. You may have degrees in Bible studies and still be a sinner .Put on the crudest form, it means being born from above; begotten from above, the Bible says you cannot commit sin. If you do, it must be accidental. But how many people today can say that their sins are mistakes? Are there not some people who pre-meditate on sins and carry them out?
The stance of the Bible is that the Lord winks at the time of ignorance but the one that you know and you do it, the Bible says, though they joined hand in hand, no sinner will go unpunished. So if you are born-again, sin will not become your habit. That is why this terminology has to be well defined for you to know and understand it. If you say you are born-again, how did it happen? How did you meet the Lord? Was it during a message or prayer or you just completed the back of an American tract? Or you shook the hand of an American Bishop and you said, Well, l am born-again” Being born again is a transformation. In the olden days, in Pentecostal churches, those who wanted to get born again, came to the altar to pray. They prayed themselves through into salvation because this is very important. Once you are saved, your name is written in the book of life, that is when you can say you are born again.
The greatest headache in the church today is that those who are not born-again and speaking in tongues are not doing the business of God. That is why in the Bible arrangement of spiritual gifts, the first one mentioned is, “before they shall speak with new tongues” But today people have turned it upside down. When somebody who is not delivered and born again is speaking in tongues, problem happens.
Why is this new birth important in handling the sword of deliverance? According to 1 Corinthians 12:13, every born-again believer is a member of the body of Christ and that body is not polluted. Every born again is a member of the family of God in heaven and on earth. According to Ephesians 3:15, every born again Christian is a son or daughter of God.
John1:12: “But as many as receive him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
Every born again Christian belongs to the Lord by adoption. According to Ephessian1:5, every born again Christian has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.
John1:7 makes us to understand that every born-again Christian has been forgiven, redeemed or brought back from the slave-market of sin and set free through the precious blood of Jesus. Born again Christians have been reconciled and regenerated. They have been accepted and are citizens of heaven. There is a level you get to with God and your problems will not be temptation harassing you because you would be immune to temptation. If temptation is still your problem as a child of God, check your salvation.
All born-again Christians have been elected and called to be holy persons. They are already seated in heavenly places with Christ. Jesus calls them the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He said, they have everlasting life. He calls them his sheep. The bible calls them saints, the temple of God and the temple of the Holy Ghost. They are free from condemnation. They are partakers of God’s grace and are called unto he fellowship of the son of God.
It is not a right thing to say, “l am born again” The bible calls it a new creation or an ambassador of Christ. Born again Christians are the children of light. They have been delivered from the powers of darkness unto the kingdom of the dear son of God and the bible then calls them kings.
The fact that somebody is ignorant of something does not mean that thing cannot affect him. For example, if you are ignorant about the eye disease called conjunctivitis (Apollo) and you use your hand to rub the eyes of somebody who is infected and use the same hand to run your own eyes, you will become infected too. Ignorance is no immunity; you must be born again before you can enjoy the benefits of salvation.
2. You must be free from bondage
You cannot use the sword successfully when your hands are tied. Right from the womb, a lot of people have been in bondage because of who they are. A lot of people are in bondage because of certain things they have done which they have not supposed to have done.. Many people are in bondage due to the places they have visited that they ought not to have gone. Many people too are in bondage because of what people have done to them. Beloved, when these kinds of things are in place in a person’s life effective use of the sword would be impossible.
3.You must win the battle of the mind
Sometimes ago, I read two news items that got me thinking. The first one was titled, Girl set herself on fire” When l read the details, l discovered that the girl set herself ablaze because she was jilted by a man who was supposed to marry her. The second day, I read yet another story titled Man drank acid” Immediately after reading the news items, a lot of things went through my mind and l started asking myself what was going on in the minds of these two people that made them to do these terrible things to themselves because for somebody to decide to do such things, the mind must have been bombarded by some forces. What was that force that was ruling the minds of these people to the extent that they took decisions to take their lives. The bible says that the human mind is very delicate and that there are so many things that can render the mind of a man unsound. Otherwise, the Bible will not say” for God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, of love and of a sound mind”
If the bible is talking about sound mind, it means here are many people with unsound minds. Many things can render a man’s mind unsound. I will tell you some of them so that you can know how to win the battle of the mind.
4. Bad health
This can set a man thinking horrible things, and the devil has a way of magnifying things for people. A minor ailment could be so expanded as to put the person in trouble. Before you finish telling person that the ailment is not as serious as it looks, the devil would have given the person lectures on the number of people the disease had killed thereby causing the person to start evil meditation. In his evil subtle way, the devil will not mention thousands and thousands of people that have received healing by prayer, but will mention one or two that died after they were prayed for.
One day, a boy came from his village to school in Lagos. At that time, he did not know much about Lagos, he fell down from a bus and the bus climbed his leg, he was rushed to the hospital and while awaiting to be attended to by the doctor, another patient there who was suffering from a pile died. The boy and other patients with more serious disease became afraid and started entertainining doubts about their own survival. They opined that if ordinary pile could kill, then they had no hope. Evil thoughts can render the mind unsound. For some people, the bad thought get to such a level that it will suffocate the word of God in their hearts. Such people cannot use the sword of the spirit.
B. Some character inherited from parents:
A common case is the spirit of worry. It is possible for both daddy and mummy to be worry bags and eventually transfer the spirit to their offspring. A statement such as Like father like son then becomes apt.
C. Lack of use; A mind kept busy with reading the scriptures and memorizing things will function adequately. But when a mind is kept out of use, it will be rendered unsound.
That popular 11Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind”
So, the first question l would like to ask you, “Is your mind sound? The member one vagabond is the mind. It can wander all over the place. It is possible that as you are reading this message your mind has traveled to a far place. It is possible for you to be thinking about your wares or what you will cook tonight.
The mind likes to wander if it not controlled. But as a Christian, you must deal with the gatecrashers and intruders coming into your mind. If you let them in, then there will be problem. This is a serious issue and it is a major area of defeat for many. When God wants to start working in a person’s life. He starts from the mind. When the devil too wants to manipulate a person, he starts from the same place. You must win that battle. It does not make any sense if you teach a soldier how to shoot a gun, give him a gun and send him to the war front, and by the time he gets there, he is busy thinking about his wife at home instead of concentrating on the war. Certainly he will fail. Although he has the weapon, his state of mind will render the weapon useless.
HOW DO WE GET OVER THIS PROBLEM OF UNSOUND MIND?
1. Embrace the fact that a sound mind is your birthright as a Christian. It I s part of your inheritance and you must claim it. Do not start saying “Well, l am just being human, God knows that you are neither a goat nor a stick before he says a sound mind belongs to you. So, embrace that fact that a sound mind is your lot.
2. Submit your mind to God’s word and to the Holy spirit, it is important for you to do that. Renew your mind with the word of God always. Do not read the Bible like a storybook. Read it to feed your spirit and regularly too.
3. Refuse to let your thoughts go on rampage like undisciplined children. Understand this beloved, you have the right to decide what to think about. You have the right to throw out any useless thought from your heart. You have the right to be the immigration officer at the door of your heart, and decide what enters. So, bring the discipline of God into your thinking. Decide that your thoughts must act only under your jurisdiction. Many people’s thoughts are wayward out of control, immoral and doubtful. This makes it impossible for them to handle the sword of deliverance. When you handle the sword and your mind is undisciplined the enemy can see it.
I remember a student crusade we had a long time ago. On the last day of the crusade, we were ready to go to the villages for evangelism. But shortly before he left, we reminded the students that there would be confrontations by the villagers who might bring out their talking idols and ask them to make their Jesus do the same thing. And that anyone who was afraid could stay behind to intercede for those that would go. As expected, out of the initial 2000 people that signified their intention to go, only 57 went. The mind, that is where defeat comes. If your mind tells you that you are a poor man, you remain poor. If your mind tells you that you will be healed, it shall be so. But immediately you allow it to be wandering aimlessly, trouble then comes.
The mind is where the picture of evil things are taken. It is where the evil negative is developed. Once it is cancelled at that evil, things begin to work. Decide to be the immigration officer at the gateway of your mind.
THERE ARE SEVERAL GATEWAYS TO THE MIND.
A. The eye gate: Make a covenant with your eyes not to be looking at what you should not look at. If you are a television addict, your eyes need deliverance.
Somebody did a simple research, he had about fifty families in Europe and offered thirty of them money if they would refuse to watch television for one month. Then he allowed the remaining twenty to watch television. He later found out that the 30 families that were not allowed to watch television fell ill. It was as if a powerful drug they were used to had been withdrawn from them. Television is a modern-day witchcraft because it is everywhere and takes most prayer time away from people. I do not say go and throw away your TV set or break it. We are praying for the day when Christians will have their own TV stations, where you listen to the word of God day and night. But what l am saying is this, it is easier for you to become an idol of something you bought and it is easy for you to be in bondage of something you purchased. That is what we call “purchased bondage”
B. Ear gate: The mind has another gate we call the “ear gate” What do you listen to? Have you heard? Do you know? Gossip, collecting it into your ears. The reason we have gossips is because we have listening ears too. If your ears have received deliverance, when somebody says, “Did you hear what so, so and so person said about you? You say, Ok, can you repeat what you just said before this person? If he says no, then he needs deliverance. The ear gate pollutes the mind.
C. MEMORY GATE: A lot of people just sit down and daydream. They also bring back to their memories all things done in the past which the Lord had removed from their memories. It is rather tragic for a born again child of God to lie down on his bed and start recollecting all the girl friends he has had right from his primary school days.
D. The habit gate: It is possible for someone to continuously do something even when he knows it is bad. So beloved, make up your mind that only those thoughts carrying divine passports will be allowed to move into your mind. It is a personal decision.
IV. Strongholds: Pull down the stronghold, which the enemy might have established in your mind. A lot of minds have strongholds already built in them, which must be brought down no matter how hard.
V. Old nature: Refuse to allow your mind to go back into the old nature. When it wants to go back to what you used to think of as an unbeliever, aggressively address it to go back to its resting place, in the way of the psalmist.
VI. Open a bank Account quality thoughts: Philllipians 4:8: “Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things” Those are the kinds of thoughts the Bible asks us to fill our minds with. Let there be an endless supply of wholesome and nourishing material into y6our heart. I am staying long on this because this is where the defeat comes. Some people get defeated right from their beds in the morning. Do not forget, the devil is an early riser.
VII. Feed your mind on the word of God: Otherwise, the devil will feed it with his thoughts. An average Christian who has been born again for two years should know a minimum of fifty-two memory verses. It is therefore profitable to begin a programme of regular Bible study. Meditate on scriptures. Learn scripture by heart. This is how to keep your mind on the word of God and ward off Satan. 1. Refuse to give way to anxiety, worry or depression. You must win the battle of the mind to correctly handle the sword of deliverance.
4. Prepare for war: The next qualification for handling the sword of deliverance is to prepare for war. In warfare, the first thing to do is to be trained.
How do you prepare as a Christian solder? The Bible tells us how to prepare in Ephesians 6: 10-11: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”
How do you prepare then?
1. Put on your spiritual Armour: To successfully destroy the works of Satan, you must first of all be able to stand against his attacks. All your defensive Armour has to be in place before you seize the sword and go out. We are not to allow the devil any place in our lives.
2. Know your response: Ephesians 6:12-18 “ 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all , to stand. Stand therefore, having your lions girt about with truth and having on the breast plate 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 which is word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.“
Each piece of the Armour represents a specific truth. So, put that truth on by walking in the truth. So, if as a Christian, the attack of the enemy prospers in your life, the first question you should ask yourself is this, Is my Armour on? The Bible says, “Touch not my anointed, do my prophets no harm” But if an anointed is being touched or prophet is being harmed, then a thorough self-examination is necessary.
3. Train for battle: The Bible says we should take the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. This implies that you must know your Bible by regular reading and thorough digestion of the word. Let it become part and parcel of your life. When you have done all, then you cannot afford to look back, for the arrows of the enemy will hit you at the back. You must know how to apply the blood of the Lamb as part of your training. Revelation 12:11: “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony….” You must know about the power of the Holy spirit. Acts1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you….”
You must know the ministry of prayer. You must also know the ministry of praise and thanksgiving. You must know the ministry of the word of our testimony. When somebody testify to what God has done he defeats the enemy. When you run away from the testimony, you strengthen the enemy more to fight you. You must know the fire of God. Hebrews12:29: “For our God is a consuming fire” You must know about the angels of the living God, who are ready to fight for you. These are our weapons.
4. Know your adversary: We are fighting the devil who has a very wicked intelligence. This must be borne in mind.
5. Overcome the flesh: This is where the greatest problem comes from. You must learn to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit in all its ramifications. This is a sure way of destroying the flesh. It is only then that reading of the Bible is done with ease. Your life as a Christian will not be productive until you die. It is very sad that many times, we fail to recognize our battleground. You cannot cast out the flesh. Many abound, instead of disciplining themselves and praying to be crucified, they believe all they need is deliverance. You cannot deliver the flesh, it has to be crucified. If it is a demon, the demon can be cast out.
Beloved, you must learn these principles to be able to use the sword of deliverance. Many believers are carrying the sword but cannot effectively use it for they lack the knowledge of these principles. It is an offence to be an ineffective soldier. It is an offence too to doubt God. If you are not putting on your whole Armour, you cannot handle the sword of deliverance. That is why the song writer says, “Christian seek not yet repose, hear what your guardian angel is saying you are in the midst of foes, watch and pray.” It says, “Put your whole Armour on; put it on day and night and ambush lies the evil one, watch and pray”
We therefore need to pray.
Haven’t you noticed how many people are being defeated in their dreams? Countless numbers of Christians are being suffocated on their beds. Haven’t you seen many Christians sisters being sexually harassed in the dream? Haven’t you heard of people being pursued by masquerades and other agents of the devil in their dreams? Why are they not able to resist them? Why are they not able to turn the table around in those dreams? It is all because they cannot handle the sword of deliverance for they have not met with the conditions. You need to cry out to the Lord for His assistance to enable you meet all these conditions and become an effective soldier, a soldier who is battle-ready always and sure of victory, and you will be victorious in Jesus name.
- Let every attack against my spiritual life be frustrated in the name of Jesus.
- I command the spirit of harassment to leave now, in the name of Jesus.
- I command the spirit of judgement to depart now, in the name of Jesus.
- O Lord, speak soundness into my mind and body, in Jesus name.
- Every witch delegated against me, receive the sword of fire, in the name of Jesus.
- I reverse every witchcraft curse issued against me, in the name of Jesus.
- I condemn all the spirit condemning me, in the name of Jesus.