Monday, December 30, 2013

Who are the overcomers? - Part IV (What can help you to overcome)

In this final part, Part IV, we will look at the means or ingredients at our disposal, or simply what we are to do, to overcome. 

Again, as in Part III, I will comment on a select of verses from Scripture.

Psalm 119:105 - Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

My comment – “feet” and “path”, these have the connotation of “a walk” or “an on-going life”. 

The Word is the lamp to unto my feet; it means that the God’s words illuminate where I put my next immediate steps; that I do NOT put my feet into a pot-hole, for example; that I do NOT step on a pointed nail (pointing up!); or that I do NOT tread on a brood of vipers!  In other words, the Word can help me to avoid many immediate dangers about me; and that is part of overcoming, in life.  

The Word is a light unto my path; it means that God’s words point to where I would go, like, I, to go to the east or to the west.  For example, the Word can be telling me that the road to the east leads to where I may be attacked or ambushed or to do some important work for the Lord, or that I should stay with a particular path for the season. 

The Word covers the far ground and the near ground.  It is like we are driving a car or navigating a ship, we have to look at the far ground ahead of us, and we also need to pay attention to the near ground ahead of us; and then we can safely arrive at our destination, Heaven, in this case.

Having said this, I am NOT saying that we would be trouble-free {remember we looked at John 16:33}; also 2 Tim 3:12 - In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

The point is that with the Word, you don’t go where the Lord would NOT want you to go.  There may be trouble at the place the Lord has you go, but if it is His will, you can expect Him to be there with you, to face the trouble. 

No crashing out or shipwrecking possible?  Really?  Scripture does have a verse about shipwrecking! Shipwrecking our faith!  It is found in 1 Tim 1:18-19.

18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. (1 Tim 1:18-19)

The instruction here, in v18, to Timothy, was to oppose heresies (v3), and Timothy was told, in his good fight, to hold unto the faith and a good conscience. 

The Apostle Paul told Timothy, some have rejected the holding unto the faith and a good conscience with devastating result of them shipwrecking their faith.  Shipwreck carries the connotation of destruction, NOT just setback.  Having one’s name blotted out from the Lamb’s Book of Life, that would be destruction, that would be shipwrecking one’s faith! 

We will NOT go at greater length into this (about the importance of the Word), and it suffices to say that one needs to understand the Word well, have it abides in him, to (1) hold unto the faith, and (2) have his conscience always on the guard, so that it will always remain good. The Word is very important to us to continue to be an overcomer in life.

Acts 17:11 - Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

My commentRightly dividing the Word; this verse tells us what we should do with messages we hear; we should examine the Scripture daily to see if what were said are true. 

There are just too much heretic teachings out there; we need to be discerning, or we may end up like the two assistants of the Apostle Paul whom he referred to, who had fallen away (v20), in the 1 Tim 1 text to Timothy; the two became heretics. 

In fact, Timothy himself, we have seen above (1 Tim 1:18-19), was exhorted to be careful, lest he be ensnared by the heretic teachings, even as he was to oppose them.  Many heretic teachings are out to win you over, if you are NOT careful with the purity of your faith.

1 John 2:3-7 - 3 We know {ginosko} that we have come to know {ginosko} him if we obey his commands.4 The man who says, "I know {ginosko} him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know {ginosko} we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 

My comment – 2 things are underscored here:  One, continuing with the above, about the importance of God’s words, if we obey NOT His commands, we know NOT God, and the truth is NOT in us.  I ask us 2 simple questions:  Is God the truth?  If the truth is NOT in you, do you think you will go to Heaven to be where Truth is? 

Two, another angle to what is required: We need to be in Him, in the truth.  How do we know that – that we are in Him? V6 said it – we must walk as Jesus did. 

Is there a patterning after the Lord required, for salvation?  Yes.  What is key in the Lord’s earthly life?  He was sinless, righteous, and He lived and persevered in being sinless, being righteous; He overcame all that the world threw at Him; He overcame the world (John 16:33), and overcame death (Rom 6:9 - For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him). 

So what must we do?  What must we remember? It is we have to walk as Jesus did. What is Jesus’ pattern in regard to overcoming?  He had to live an overcoming life to the end; and so, must we.

Hosea 4:6 - my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.

My comment – Again, this is about the importance of the Word.  Though the setting was in the OT, then the law was the Word of God, and there was a focus on the priests, yet, its principle is still applicable to us, for we, NT believers, are the Lord’s royal priests. 

We can get destroyed from lack of knowledge or from our reject of knowledge; and the knowledge here is more particularly, referring to the knowledge of the Word or God (Hosea 6:6 KJV).  To overcome, one must aim NOT to be destroyed; and for that, we need to address our lack of knowledge of the Word, and we must avoid (us) rejecting the same.

It said there, if we ignore the Word (laws of God), God will even ignore our children.  When we are IN HIM, we have spiritual covering from the Lord; and we, as parents to our children, extends the covering {at least some extent of it} we have, from the Lord, to our children. Now, if we are NOT in Him, we have NOT, the covering from the Lord (that is why we can be destroyed), and if we have NOT the covering of the Lord, we cannot extend what we do NOT have, to our children; here said as “our children get ignored”.

Matthew 10:28 - Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

My comment – Who are the “those”, and who are the “One” in the verse? The “those” refers to Satan and his minions; and the “One”, God.  This is an example of knowledge talked about in Hosea 4:6, that we all must understand and receive in.  Which side do you want to be overcomer, for?

Now, this should be understood: Though Satan cannot directly destroy the soul, for He is NOT the one who would (in the last day) commit your soul to Hell, it is he, Satan, whom you can be counted with, and so, be going to Hell, just as he, Satan, has been destined to go.  It is God who can destroy both soul and body in Hell (the One there, in the verse is NOT Satan).

2 Cor 4:18 - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

My comment – Again, this is an important knowledge that we should know, so that we persevere and overcome for the right things.  The world and the things in it, they will pass away; don’t persevere and overcome for such; over and above the same, persevere and overcome for the unseen things, the eternal things.  In the Book of Revelation, especially in the messages about the 7 churches, some of the unseen and eternal things have been recorded for us; overcome for those things; these were listed in Part III (of this series).

1 Cor 3:12 - If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,

My comment – What is the foundation of your living built on?  We must know from the Word, what we are to build the foundation of our life and living, with.  Again this is knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and it is important knowledge, and we must spend time building the right foundation, for if the foundation is NOT strong and built out of the right stuff, when the waters of testing come, it will collapse (Matt 7:24-25; also Luke 6:46-49).

James 1:2-4 - 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

My comment - Our faith will be tested.  If there is no testing, there will NOT be question of perseverance, and overcoming to talk about, would there?  This text explains how God sees the trials of many kinds that come your way.  The testing of our faith is in the will of God - 1 Pet 1:6-7 said this: 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Only when you have overcome, or perseverance has finished its work, that you may be mature and complete.  Think about the end result, and we can consider it pure joy to have to face trials of all sorts.  Trials can be expected in our salvation journey.  Face each one well, don’t just run away from it, and you will grow or mature as you go along, until the work started in you is brought to completion (Phil 1:6).

James 1:5-7 - 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.  

My comment – to overcome the various troubles, and trials in life, we need godly wisdom.  The text here said we should ask God for it.  But please also pay attention to the conditions given.  One condition given here, is that, you are to believe and NOT doubt.  Another is that you got to have the fear of the Lord, which is that you must hate evil {that which God hates} (Pro 8:13); for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, said Scripture (Pro 9:10).  Without hating evil and therefore, embracing holiness, one can have no godly wisdom given him!

Phil 4:8 - Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

My commentthink no evil, and do no evil, NOT only that, let your mind be occupied with the right thinking; focus on things that were listed in Phil 4:8.  The Christian meditation is NOT focussed on emptiness, but on the right things.

Eph 6:12 - For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:11 - Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

My comment – Again, this is knowledge, we, believers, must have and NOT reject.  Don’t be like some people, believing there is God, but NOT believing there is also the Devil and his minions.  IN HIM, we can do all things (Phil 4:13), yet we are NOT to underestimate the enemy; for when NOT in Him, we are NOT more powerful than the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  

NOT in Him, you and I are NOT more powerful than Satan!  Stop kidding yourself.  Scripture said we are created a little lower than the angels.  We are stronger and more powerful than Satan and his minions when we are in Him.  Eph 6:12 explained clearly we are NOT wrestling against flesh and blood, but with evil principalities.  To fight the principalities and to overcome, we are exhorted to put on the full armour of God; Eph 6:14-18 gave us what the full armour comprised.

2 Thess 1:4-10 - 4 Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

My comment – 2 understandings here, we should embrace, in line with the need of knowledge as said in Hosea 4:6. 

One, our faith will be and is tested, and so, we have to persevere and overcome, so that we, at the end of day, are counted worthy of the Kingdom of God {so that our faith maybe proved genuine – 1 Pet 1:7}.

Two, don’t harbour the attitude that God is NOT just.  V6 said God is just.  There is no equality, but there is justice with God.  But it may NOT be now or at the time you want.  God judges, and He will judge when the Lord comes back again (2nd Coming); and punishment according to His justice and righteousness will be meted out; it is entirely up to Him if He would mete out any punishment in the meantime.

Ps 89:14a - Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Ps 97:2 - Clouds and thick darkness surround him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

Ps 33:5a - The LORD loves righteousness and justice;

My comment – The first 2 verses tells us that the Kingdom of God that we have entered into, albeit, the earthly phase of it, are founded on God’s righteousness and justice.  And so, you and I must embrace the very foundation of the Kingdom – God’s righteousness and justice.  The point is we cannot expect God to be with us in our overcoming if we subscribe NOT to His justice and righteousness – the foundation of His throne and rule.

Matt 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

My commentThis was the Lord Jesus’ exhortation – that we seek first, God’s kingdom and His righteousness; other things can then fall into place.  Now, it does not mean there will NOT be trouble (John 16:33 already said trouble can be expected), still despite all difficulties, seeking first, God’s kingdom and His righteousness must be embraced.  If everything is always swell and well, there is NOT talk of overcoming applicable, is there?! 

We have to stay the course of seeking first, His kingdom and righteousness, and then we can look to His grace flowing out to us, from the head of righteousness.  God’s eyes are on the righteous.  Ps 37:25 said this: I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.  All who are righteous can take comfort in this.

1 Cor 13:12-13 - 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

My comment – The exhortation: Now, there is no perfect clarity, but at that time to come when we come face to face before God (end time), everything would be clear; for now, always live in FAITH, holding onto the HOPE of eternal life, and practice LOVE (be in the ever cycle of being loved, and be loving).  This is one of the wise prescriptions of the Apostle Paul, for Christian living.

Ps 91:14-16 - 14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

My commentLove God always, and with all of you.  This is the secret to a believer’s well-being.  See all the promises of God in the above text for those who love Him – rescue, protection, answer from God, God’s presence in trouble, deliverance, honor, long life, and life eternal.

Matt 28:19-20 –
19Therefore go and make disciples {G3100 – mathēteuō} of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

20 and teaching {G1321 – didaskō} them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

My comment – This is the Great Commission recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. Yes, at that time, it was addressed to the 12 Apostle-disciples (11 actually {v16}), but it is taken as addressing all believers.  The commission given was to make disciples of all nations. 

Some translations use the word, “teach” (all the nations) for verse 19; no, that is incorrect, the Greek word used was G3100 – mathēteuō; and this has the meaning of making disciples, not teaching, simply. 

The Greek word, meaning teaching, simply, is the word, G1321 – didaskō; and it was used in its proper place in verse 20.  The word of Jesus quoted here, by Matthew, was clearly that disciples be made of nations.  What this means is that believers or Christians are disciples of the Lord; it is NOT some believers are disciples and some are NOT intended to be!

Can you claim the last bit of v20; you (and I) sure want to – that Jesus be with you always, to the very end of age?! (There are many other rights and provisions for the disciples, including authority and power {egs. Luke 9:1, Matt 10:1}).  Can you claim? 

Yes, if you are disciples, NOT merely believers, for the text was addressed to disciples (“to make disciples”).  When you are one of the ones made, and are a disciple, as I have explained here, you are also expected to carry out the Great Commission, and if you indeed do so, you are entitled to the “Jesus be with you always”; and when Jesus is with you always, you needn’t fear, do you?

So, if you agree that you are a disciple, live in keeping as one.  In short, how should a disciple live?  A disciple is one who is totally submitted to the teachings of the person who is disciplining him. So, as a disciple of Jesus, we are expected to obey Him, follow Him and serve Him.

Gal 5:16-17 - 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Romans 8:14 - because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

1 Cor 6:19-20 - 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

My comment - Be led by the Spirit, NOT by your carnal flesh anymore.  The will and desires of the Spirit and the carnal flesh are conflicting.  Do NOT gratify the desires of the carnal flesh.  Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in us.

What can help us to live an overcoming life?

The Word is very important; (a) we need to understand it; (b) have it abides in us; (c) through the Word, hold unto the faith; and (d) vis-à-vis the Word, guard our conscience, so that our conscience is always good.

The Lord commands that we be “IN HIM”; how? How do we know that – that we are in Him? 1 John 2:6 – we must walk as Jesus did. 

We should also fear God for He can destroy both soul and body in Hell (Matt 10:28).

You need to hate what God hates - evil.  You got to hate evil, and embrace holiness, in order to be given or be possessing of godly wisdom.  And you do need godly wisdom to overcome adversities of life.

Focus on the right things – that which are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Phil 4:8).

Take on the Kingdom (of God)’s value discernment, value the eternal things, the unseen, and NOT the worldly, the transient, the seen.

Consider the foundation of your life and living; build a right and strong foundation.

Understand that there would be trials of many kinds along our journey of life.  Face each one well, don’t just run away from it, and you will grow or mature as you go along, until the work started in you is brought to completion (Phil 1:6).  You grow in your faith, and you DON’T instantly mature upon entry into salvation. Our faith will be tested so that we can be counted worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven, and so that it (our faith) is proved genuine.

Understand that there is a warfare going on, and we have taken side with the Lord; the other side is Satan and his principalities.  So, learn and be equipped for battles.

Don’t be upset with God, there is no equality but there is justice with God.  The timing and how justice comes, we have to leave them to God.  The foundation of God’s throne and therefore His rule, is unmistakably righteousness and justice.  In fact, if we embrace NOT His righteousness and justice, we are failing ourselves and putting ourselves at risk.

There is no perfect clarity in our present earthly life, but at that time to come when we come face to face before God (end time), everything would be clear; for now, always live in faith, holding onto the hope of eternal life, and practice love (1 Cor 13:13).

Love God always, and with all of you.  The protection and much blessings and promises of God are most assuredly, assured for those who love Him (Ps 91:14-16). 

Be a disciple NOT merely a believer.  As a disciple you are expected to obey the Lord, follow Him and serve Him. Live in keeping as a disciple. He promised, when you do so, to be “with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20)

Be led by the Spirit, NOT be your carnal flesh anymore.  The will and desires of the Spirit and the carnal flesh are conflicting.  Do NOT gratify the desires of the carnal flesh. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

There we have it, what would help us in overcoming.  Of course, it has always been, and will always be, Jesus, who is the leader and helper of our lives; are you following Him?

Anthony Chia, high.expressions
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