Chapter 4, Part 2 (continued)
The Church Follows the Steps of the
"Congregation" of the Old Testament
On January 8, 1986, at a church pastored by a CES (Chinese Evangelical Seminary) graduate, a sister was on her way to the church's prayer room. Suddenly she fell down and screamed for help. She said. "No! No! I don't want to go! Pastor, save me! It wants to drag me away...It looks so scary..." Her finger pointed up to the left side of the ceiling and struggled with all her might, screaming without ceasing. The pastor prayed for her and also invited the young people in the church to pray together to cast out the evil spirit. She calmed down in about half an hour and looked like she was asleep. In a little while, she woke up. When she saw all the people around her; she had a puzzled look on her face and asked the pastor, 'Why are they staring at me? What are they doing here?" That was only the beginning of the spiritual battle. Soon, another demon came and possessed another sister and claimed that it was the Lord Jesus Christ. The pastor asked it to recite the Lord's Prayer and it did so. But it changed the last sentence to "For 'mine' is the Kingdom, the power and the glory!" Finally, it made her stare viciously with her eyes and said, "I will delude you with my eyes and find those whom I can devour!" The pastor commanded it to close her eyes in the lord's name but it said, "You all have sinned and cannot cast me out!" The pastor responded with Romans 8:1, 33 and 34 and sang the chorus of ''On the Cross''. It spoke again, "Your faith is too little, you can't cast me out!" The pastor said, "Whether I have little or much faith is none of your business; I have the authority to cast you out in Jesus' name." It then said, "The other day you bound my brother (referring to a previously cast out demon). Today I bring with me many more to avenge. I want to steal God's glory! "Finally, thank God, they cast it out in the Lord's name. When it was all over; that sister admitted and regretted much. Because she saw others speaking in tongues, she also desired the gift of distinguishing spirits. She even thought whether or not Satan could speak through her! So, she gave Satan an opportunity!
We often have the wrong notion that the evil one cannot touch a believer, regardless of how unholy and sinful he is. This is probably the main reason for the downfall of some evangelists and church leaders these days. What they do not realize is that if a believer leaves room for Satan, even if he is Peter, Satan can still touch him. Is it not recorded in the Scriptures that, when Jesus told his disciples that He had to go to Jerusalem to suffer and be killed. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." (Matt. 16:21-23) Under normal circumstances, Jesus would have commended Peter! Who would have known that these sweet and caring words originated from Satan? Please be careful, for even if you are the Apostle Peter and stood next to Jesus, if you leave room for Satan, he can use spiritually prim and proper words to delude the sincere.
At this point. some may ask. "Didn't Jesus say that 'no one shall snatch them out of My hand' (John 10:28), for those who believe in Him?" Yes, that is true. The gracious Lord did make such a promise and His promises are forever dependable! But please do not forget that all His promises other than the gift of salvation have qualifying conditions. (In fact. even salvation has a condition: believe, i.e., to receive.) God does not want His children to be lazy. He encourages them by His promises and He also trains them through His conditions so that they might become personnel of the Kingdom of Inheritance. Thus, His promises generally have conditions. So, if we are willing to fulfill the conditions, His promises can be fully cashed in. If not, it is not the Lord being unfaithful, it is our laziness or we can say our rebellion! It is not the conditions in the sermons. Consequently, the believers possess only sand castles and experience big let downs. What a pity! What a waste! The questions asked in the beginning of this paragraph are also in the same vein. The promise in verse 28 is preceded by verse 27, which is the condition. First, there must be "My sheep hear [continually without ceasing) My voice..., they follow [continually without ceasing) Me". (Both "hear" and "follow" are continuous actions, grammatically.) Then, they can enjoy the promise of "eternal security".
Why does Satan make the Kingdom of Preparation so rebellious in the last days? There seems to be only one answer. He does not want the "Kingdom of Inheritance" to descend soon! Because he knows that the moment the Kingdom of Inheritance descends, he will be at that moment locked up in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). Satan uses a two-prong attack: to prevent the Kingdom of Inheritance from descending. First, he does not want people to believe in Jesus. When people want to accept Jesus, he would try his best to give them all sorts of excuses so that they would refuse to be saved! Thank God, there are those who by His grace have accepted Jesus. Satan then would use his second approach. It would be to make those believers hear but not hear, to make them lose interest in praying so that they would not grow spiritually, or they would not become a worthy vessel qualified to be a member of the Kingdom personnel, thus postponing the descent of the Lord! He knows well that as long as the Kingdom personnel are not ready (this is the same as the bride is not ready and the groom cannot get married), the Kingdom of the Lord cannot descend and he can prolong his life! So, he is doing all he can to extend his life just as what he said when he accused of Job: "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life!" (Job 2:4)