What Overcomers Must Know
V. Three offices of the overcomer
The greatest peril in a person's life is no other than ‘not knowing oneself’! From Adam's eviction from the garden of Eden, Abraham's repeated lying, Moses being denied entry into Canaan, the suicide Judas Iscariot and even the end of the country of Israel are all none other than “not knowing oneself’.
In 642 AD or the 16th year of Tsang Kwon, Tang dynasty emperor Sze-Ming Lee reigned. The emperor told his counselor Wei, “In recent generations, when kings pass the throne to his descendants, some last only one or two generations. Some kings even lost the empire during their own reign! I am very concerned if I am kind or cruel to my people. What I do myself is not easy for me to understand. So, I hope that you will not hesitate to advise me.” That time period has been termed as the ‘Reign of Tsang Kwon’ by historians, one of the most peaceful and prosperous time period in China.
A. People need to know themselves.
The reason that Emperor Lee was able to establish the Tang dynasty for three hundred years is no other than his understanding of himself. The Scriptures tell us that Gideon defeated the mighty Midian army and Samson was imprisoned by the Philistines as a grinder (Judg. 8: 10 and 16:21) are no other than one knowing and the other not knowing himself. The reason Paul was chosen as the great apostle has a lot to do with his own self-understanding. (I Tim. 1:12-16) As we look at the western or eastern society today, there is such confusion on values that it is beyond imagination. Today, we see all kinds of problems in life; dangers in living; the erosion of human nature and rampant brutal behavior like animals. Instead of working hard to get ahead, people are unwilling to pay their dues and be content with their work. Their only thoughts are in how to take short cuts and put in as little effort and time as possible to make the greatest gain. Consequently, husbands and wives have serious disagreements and siblings fight each other. The parents are non-loving and the children are disobedient. There is no moral compass! Not only the world is like this, God’s holy church is also following a close second. There is an unwillingness to pay the price and steadily growth spiritually in the Lord. All day long, the preoccupation is with is with what all I can enjoy myself. Emotional titillation is regarded as the moving of the Holy Spirit. Constantly daydreaming that the impossible and improbable as reality. Believing that an emotional upsurge at one instant will revive the church! These are all the result of not knowing oneself! They do not understand the purpose why the gracious Lord saved us. They do not know the correct pursuit and rightful growth of Christians. So, they became those “who must drink milk and unable to eat solid food!” They think that to believe in the Jesus is to yell “Hallelujah” today while one is alive and go to heaven after one dies. Other than these, there is nothing else! If that is so, then the Bible is not only ‘nonsense’ but also ‘making busy work for nothing’. No wonder people say that, “Since the Bible is written by men through the moving of the Holy Spirit and now the Spirit speaks to us directly, why should we go through the intermediate step in reading the Bible?” Can you see how vicious Satan is? He would use this type of deceptive methods so that believers are separated from the Lord!
Now, the ‘one person with three offices’ of overcomers will be individually explained below. It is the author's desire that it would be helpful to those who have been chosen by the Lord and Christians who also have a desire to know oneself better. Then, one would not be lied to by the flesh and consequently fall into trap of Satan. This is what the author has fragrantly prayed for!
B. Christ has three offices.
Before we can understand the ‘three offices of the overcomer’, we must understand the true meaning of the word 'Christ'. The word ‘Christ’ in the New Testament is an originally a Greek word translated from the Hebrew word 'Messiah". (John 1:42) Although the word ‘Christ’ is from the word “Messiah’, the latter cannot be found in the Old Testament because it was translated as ‘the Anointed’. (Ps. 2:2; 20:6) This title is found 38 times in the Old Testament. It is a passive masculine adjective. It is from the verb ‘anoint (oil)’. The original meaning should be ‘being anointed’ but it can be used as a noun.
The above meaning is from the entomology of the word ‘Messiah’. Other than that, when we interpret the Bible, we should also pay attention to the meaning of the word as it is used in the Bible. Otherwise its meaning would be slanted inevitably. For example, the name ‘Jesus’, according to its entomology, ‘Je’ is an abbreviation of the word Jehovah. ‘Sus’ means ‘save’ or ‘savior’. Since it occurs together in a name, we can't tell if ‘Je’ is a verb or noun. So, Jesus can be translated as ‘Jehovah is the Savior’ or ‘Jehovah saves’. Both are acceptable. In this manner, ‘messiah’, according to its usage in the Old Testament can mean ‘prophet’ (Ps. 105:15 and I King 19:16). It can mean ‘king’ (Ps. 2:2 and 18:50). It can also mean ‘priest’ (Lev. 4:3-4 and Ps. 133:2). In particular, Psalm 133 not only tells us who is being anointed, it also tells us clearly how to anoint! That is, by pouring precious scented oil on the head of the priest and allowing the oil to flow down upon the beard (speaking the word must be anointed), and the oil flows down to the edge of his robe (living out the word must also be anointed). In this way, the meaning of ‘Christ’ should be ‘Anointed prophet, king and priest’. He teaches us, He prays for us and He rules over us. Surely He is our Prophet, Priest and King. Hallelujah!
C. Christians have received three offices.
The word Christian is a diminutive of the word Christ. So, it is equivalent to Christ Junior. Since Christ is Prophet, Priest and King, then a ‘Christian’ is a junior prophet, junior priest and a junior king! May the Lord open our eyes so that we can see the honor He has given us. So, let us not waste our lives away! Who else on earth would have these three positions? Only the Christian! Certainly, we should not toot our horn through this. But we must not look down on ourselves either. There is nothing inappropriate for a Christian if he decides to put 'junior prophet, junior priest and junior king' under his name in his business card. They are our heavenly titles! Which father on earth is unwilling for his son to enjoy his honor and glory? Especially the Heavenly Father who loves us just as He loves the dear Lord Jesus! ((John 17:23) How much more shall our Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt. 7:11) Unfortunately, so many children of God do not see the hope of His calling or the riches of the glory of His inheritance! Not knowing these, they muddle through life. They either think they are such hot shots or they themselves fall into the pit. They cause so much heartache to the Father!
D. God assigns the offices.
Bible researchers all know that God uses different methods in different time periods in order for people to come to know Him and draw near to Him. In the Patriarch Period (from Adam to the time when Israel entered into Egypt), God appointed the head of the households or the chief of a clans to be the prophet, priest and king. For example, before the flood, Noah proclaimed to those who were disobedient when the patience of God kept waiting during the construction of the ark through the Spirit of Christ (II Peter 2:5 and I Peter 3:19-20). After the flood, the moment Noah and his family emerged from the ark, he built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean animal and every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Later on, since he is the chief of the clan, God made a covenant with mankind through him.
During the Law Period (from Exodus to the coming of Christ), God gave the three positions (prophet, priest and king) to three different people as their special profession. Priesthood came upon the family of Aaron and his descendants. So they are called to be the intermediary between God and man. Kingship was given to the family of David to prepare for the birth of Christ. Prophets were called according to the need of the age so that they might rise early to warn the Israelites (Jer. 11:7).
After the Law came the Period of Grace and it is this present time (from the birth of Christ to His coming again). God again places these three positions on one person - Lord Jesus so that He is the prophet, priest and king. After Christ ascended into heaven, He delegated these three position to the Christians (the original meaning is Christ Jr.). They became the junior prophets (I Cor. 14: 1), junior priests (I Peter 2:5, 9) and junior kings (Rom. 5:17). Hallelujah! These are not only highly precious identities, moreover they are heavenly offices!
1. Junior Prophet.
In the Bible, the prophet is not a person that is specialized in only telling the future. Telling the future is only a part of his work. The word prophet in the New Testament is a combination of two words. The prefix ‘pro’ has three meanings: ‘to come out of, ahead of and in place of’. The second part ‘phet’ means ‘speak’. So, whoever speaks forth God’s words, speaks on behalf of God or speaks ahead of time what God wants him to say are prophets (Deut. 18:18). God called us so that we can declare the One who called us out of darkness into the light. So, we should desire earnestly to prophesy or in other words desire especially to prophesy (I Cor. 14:1. 39). Moreover, we should have a clear understanding of God Himself, a thorough understanding of God's revelation and a thorough understanding of God's will. Then we can speak forth God's desire towards man and be a prophet of substance.
a. Question of knowing.
As the church follows the Heavenly Father's will, it should function as the leader on earth. It should be the ‘head and not the tail’ and ‘shall be above and not be underneath’ in society (for reference, see Deut. 18:13). But as one examines the present situation, the church on earth is just the opposite! Not only she cannot lead society, she has become its tail! It is following society because it looks fashionable. This is truly a ‘disgrace to the family’! So, what is the bottom line reason? I am afraid it is the question of knowing!
Among the millions on earth, most of them either ‘know by learning’ or ‘know through tough life experience’. Very few ‘know when born’. So, for those who desire earnestly prophecy, they have to spend much effort to ‘know God's word’! The prophet Ezekiel tells us that the God's scrolls are written on the inside and outside. Attention must be paid to the meaning of the words. The enlightenment by Holy Spirit is even more necessary for the spiritual meaning. Otherwise, our ‘prophecy’ is just boxing air! Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers this way: The Father may grant them spiritual wisdom by revelation so that they might truly know Him. (Eph. 1:17) We should also pray that the Heavenly Father would treat us graciously in the same way towards ‘His word so that we can have a true understanding of the inner content and outward extension. Then we can do what the Scriptures require of in ‘prophecy’.
As to God's will for His children to be prophets, it is clearly recorded in the Bible. But for some reason, the church has not seen this truth. Consequently, this message was not preached in the pulpit and the children of God do not have this hope! Overcomes need to pay attention: God's goal in saving us is present and eternal. The present goal is for us to carry out the three positions and prophecy in particular. This is because the Scriptures recorded "...yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy" (I Cor. 14: 1).
b. Office and function.
Some may ask, “How is it possible that all of us can become full time preachers?” Don't worry! God did not want all His overcomers to be full-time preachers here. What is spoken of here is the question of spiritual function and not office. In the Scriptures, there is a difference between doing the function and the office of a prophet. He wants every one of us to have the function of a prophet but it did not say that everyone should come out and accept the office. We must not be full time prophets unless God gives us a clear calling. For example, Daniel functioned as a prophet but he did not have the office. So the book of Daniel in the Hebrew Scriptures is not included in the book of Prophets but in volume three (The Writings). It is with the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Abraham also functioned as a prophet (Gen. 20:7) but did not have the office of a prophet.
c. Must hear well.
No matter what subject we are to learn, first of all, we must be able to hear or listen well. The gospel of Mark, chapter 4 speaks especially on the importance of ‘hearing’. The Scripture is quite humorous. This chapter mentioned twice: “he who has ears to hear, let him hear”. But at the end of the chapter, it tells us that even the wind and sea heard (obeyed) Him. Do you understand the humor in the Scriptures? People have two ears but they are unwilling to hear. The wind and sea have no ears, but they know how to hear. Man is so pitiful in God's sight! So, how are we to ‘hear’? Verse 24 tells us: “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure it shall be measured to you and more shall be given you besides”. What does it mean to ‘take care’ in hearing? It is to being a good utensil (measure) to hear because God will measure (give) to us according to the standard of our measure we bring. This requirement is extremely important! Why is it so many believers hear but get nothing? It is because they did not being with them a utensil (measure) to God. God wants to give them grace but they do not have a utensil (measure) to receive the abundance. What a pity!
Frequently after my sermon, people would come up to thank me and tell me that they were helped. I often tell them, “It is not necessary that my preaching is good but you hear well.” May God have mercy on us! Israel was conquered because they were unwilling to hear. (Jer. 25:3-9) I wish that all overcomers would bring a huge, empty and clean vessel every time when they come to God. The loving God is also a faithful God. He will certainly let us fill it full with His abundance and go home.
Even so, this verse has a gracious phrase: “more will be given to you.” Whenever I come to read this verse, I always bow my head and worship God. Overcomers, it is the promise of this verse! Without it, we might not be saved today! Sometimes, people did not bring any vessel to God and it can be said that he is not prepared to believe in Jesus. Somehow he gets into the church, sat down and listened. After he heard, he received Jesus. He was not prepared to believe but end up believing in Jesus. This can be said that he received extra grace! Sometimes, we have enjoyed a similar type of special grace. Thank God! All in all, we have to hear, learn, hold fast and observe God’s word (Deut. 5: 1) in order to be overcomers; speak on His behalf, be His prophets and accomplish His hope in us. Thank God!
2. Junior Prophet.
The priest is originally the intermediary between God and man. His duty is to serve God and people. On behalf of the people, he offers sacrifices to God, he prays for them and brings people to God. In other words, an overcomer should be one who prays for others. When our Lord was on earth, He spoke these sad words, “When the son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) The word ‘faith’ in the Bible has many meanings. So, what does it mean here? According to the principle of Bible Interpretation, since the term 'faith' is used between two parables on prayer, there is no doubt that it refers to the faith in prayer. Here the Lord tells us clearly that there is a sign at the eve of Hiscoming: the church will loose its faith in prayer! There are many churches today that may have thousands on their membership roll but less than one per cent would attend the prayer meetings! In some extreme cases, due to the poor attendance in prayer meetings, they got canceled! So, the children of God do not have the opportunity to exercise the authority of praying for others. This is such a waste and it is also so frightening!
There are two types of tempting forces that can make us loose faith in prayer. The first one is from our enemy. The devil knows that his time is short so he tries his best to prevent the coming of the Lord's Kingdom. He knows that the Lord's Kingdom cannot come before the personnel of the Kingdom is all ready. It is just like the groom, he cannot appear before the bride is ready (referring to Rev. 19:7). So, he schemes his best to make believers stop praying, not to pray for others and do not fulfill the duty of the junior priest. Then the overcomers are not ready and Gods Kingdom cannot come quickly. Then he can prolong his days! So, as the days draw closer to the return of the Lord, prayer, and especially prayer for others will experience greater pressure because “men will be lovers of self, ... lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (II Tim. 3:2,4) May God gives us power so that we overcomers can be always on the alert to pray and pray for others so that the evil one cannot take advantage of us!
The other enemy preventing us from fulfilling the responsibility of the junior priest is our own flesh. The Scriptures tells us that our flesh is ‘hostile toward God.’ (Rom. 8:7) The laziness of people comes from birth and in particular, on serving the Lord Christ. Sometime back, an elderly sister in Hong Kong heard my sermon on ‘prayers on behalf of other’. She came to apologize and said, “Mr. Lin, I am willing to spend two three days to prepare a sumptuous feast for my friends to enjoy. But I am not willing to take three minutes to pray for them!” We can say that this admission is universal. Everyone who hears this knows his own score.
God knows this very well. So He has a great promise and a huge blessing for those who are willing to fulfill the responsibility of the junior priest in ‘praying for others’. Please read I Timothy 2:1-2 and we see the word “First”. The ‘first’ thing is not visiting the sick, it is not giving alms to the poor and it is not even in leading people to Christ. Rather, it is to make entreaties, prayers, petitions and thanksgiving for all men. If this is done, God will grant a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity to us. All Christians have the desire to be godly; live a dignified life; and have tranquillity and quietness in daily living. The Scriptures tell us that to receive such blessings from Heaven, we must fulfill the priestly responsibility. In the ministry of praying for others, we must have the attitude of ‘If not I, who would?’ The importance of praying for others can be further seen in the person of the Triune God Himself. The Scriptures tell us in Is. 59:16 that the Father was astonished that there was no one to intercede (pray for others)! God even describes such a person as one who stands at the breach. (Psalm 106:23) Not only the Blessed Son spent His entire life on earth in intercessory prayer, He even prayed for the Jews who nailed Him to the cross (Luke 23:34). In particular, after His ascension, “He always live to make intercession for us.” (Heb. 7:25) The Holy Spirit Himself also prays for us and intercedes for the saints (Romans 8:26). The importance of intercessory prayer in God’s eyes is second to none! In short, when we pray for others, both parties will receive blessings. So, how come we are not doing it? The following points may be helpful to overcomers in learning how to pray for others:
a. Intercessory prayer must be fine.
Frequently, people say, “God knows everything. Before we pray for other, He already knows everything. So, why should we nag Him with all the details?” Such comments reflect spiritual ignorance! The atmosphere is filled with air. But how much air we get depends on how much we inhale. In order to enjoy God's riches, it all depends on how much we apply. In the tabernacle in the Old Testament, the incense (this is a foreshadow of intercessory prayer) used must have the specified ingredients but also be grounded extremely fine in order to qualify as a holy incense (Ex. 30:36). This term ‘fine’ is equivalent to the New Testament ‘all’ (Eph. 6:18). Every intercessory prayer item always has several aspects. We must bring them complete to God enjoy His abundance, skip nothing and shortchange our duty.
b. Intercessory prayer must be weighty.
Some have described intercessory prayer as a set of balance scale. A certified scale is one when both sides carry the weight, it is in balance. It is possible that subject matter for intercessory prayer is heavy as an iron anvil and it is placed in the left pan. Our intercessory prayer is like thin sheets of tissue paper and they are placed in the right pan. Unless we add pieces of tissue paper continuously until they equalize the weight of the iron anvil, the scale will not be balanced. Genuine fasting and prayer; prayer in tears; all night prayer meetings; prayer chain and corporate prayer in the church are no other than adding weights to the right side so that the problem on the left side gets resolved early.
When Daniel understood the prophecy from the prophet Jeremiah regarding the completion of desolation of Jerusalem, namely it is seventy years; he fasted, put on sack cloth and ashes; and prayed to God in steadfast. (Dan. 9:2-3) His supplications were heard. (23) When the gracious Lord prayed in the garden of Gethsamene, the Scriptures tell us, “He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death and who was heard because of His piety.” (Heb. 5:7) No wonder the Scriptures tell us that the result of fasting and prayer is: “You will call and the Lord will answer. You will cry and He will say, “Here I am.”” (Is. 58:9) Praise the Lord, He lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness until all generations!
c. Intercessory prayer must be persistent.
The Scriptures say: “You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves and give Him no rest until He establishes and make Jerusalem.” (Is. 62:6-7) Sometimes, the Lord might answer the intercessory prayer immediately. Sometimes persistent patience is required and then the Lord will begin to work. The gracious Lord spoke of a parable of the non-righteous judge to show that at all times people ought to pray and not to lose heart. Then He continued and said, “Now shall not God bring about justice for His elect, who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7) Moody prayed for his unbelieving friends. Some he prayed for over ten years before they believed in the Lord. One of them came to the Lord even after Moody left this world. So, in intercessory prayer, one needs to learn to be detail and thorough, weighty but also being persistent. In His time, it will be answered. Praise the Lord!
d. Intercessory prayer requires faith.
Faith or in other words, taking hold of God is an absolute requirement for intercessory prayers to be heard. One of the reasons why Judah was destroyed was there was no one who called upon the name of the Lord and no one aroused himself to take hold of the Lord. (Is. 64:7) Heroes of the faith in the Bible knew how to take hold of God. Abraham took hold of God's righteousness and interceded for Sodom six times. (Gen. 18:23-32) Unfortunately, the city of Sodom did not even have ten righteousness people! Moses took hold of God's faithfulness and prayed for the Israelites and they were not destroyed. (Ex. 32:13) The Cannanite woman took hold of the word ‘dog’ Jesus used and her daughter was healed. (Matt. 25:26-27) In the Scriptures, God has given us many heavenly promises. So, when we intercede, we must try our best to take hold of them. For as many as may be the promises of God, in Christ they are yes, wherefore also by Him is our amen. (II Cor. 1:20) For example, when we intercede for family members who do not know the Lord, we should take hold of the promise in Acts 16:3 1. To be filled with the Holy Spirit, we should take hold of the promise in Luke 11:13. All in all, as long as we take hold with all our might His promises, words, commands, et cetera, there is only yes in the faithful God. He is never yes and no. (II Cor. 1:19) In His time, He will fulfill His promises. Amen!
3. Junior King.
The overcomers should have three offices and consequently three responsibilities. The prophet’s responsibility is to bring God to people. The priest’s responsibility is to bring people to God. The king’s responsibility is to bring oneself to God and other people. Today, one reigns over one's own life and in the future, the reign is with Christ. (Rom. 5:17, Rev. 3:21) So, Christians are born to be kings. This is no exaggeration. In fact, everyone in the world should be born to be kings. The reason being that God made man with the intent that man should rule over His creation. (Gen. 1:26) Unfortunately, Adam flunked the test and caused the entire world to fall into the hands of the evil one! (I John 5:19) So other than redeeming mankind, Christ also has a mission to defeat the evil one who has the power of death so that He can restore all that was lost to mankind. For this reason, He not only died but also resurrected and ascended into heaven in order that today we are resurrected with Him and also seated with Him in the heavenly places. (Eph. 2:6) Because of Him, we are already the kings of own lives. Praise the Lord!
There is a difference between learning how to be a king, a prophet and a priest. The importance of the former is in the world to come. The latter two are important in today's world. So, learning to be a king is more important than learning to be a prophet or priest. For it is the epitome of God’s entire salvation. The king’s reign and doing battle will be discussed briefly (refer to I Sam, 8:20):
a. Learning how to reign.
The Lord said, “Well done, good and faithful slave, you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.” ‘Good’ and ‘faithful’ appears to be two types of virtues. But in the Greek language, the word ‘good’ is used to declare the content of ‘faithful’. The original meaning of the word ‘good’ is best. So, being ‘faithful’ means: with all I can I do what I should, I do my best! (as mentioned above) Only with such faithfulness can one be qualified to be entrusted with many things. (Matt. 25:21)
Thank God, He did not ask us to be as faithful as Peter and Paul in order that we can rule over what He has created. He only wants us to do our best and that is sufficient as being faithful. No wonder the master gave the same commendation to the one who earned two talents and five talents. This is because they have done their best. Even so, being faithful alone is insufficient. So, the Lord also said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge...”. (Matt. 24:45) Besides being faithful, one also has to add on sensibility or wisdom in order to be qualified to reign. Otherwise, just being faithful is inadequate to complete the task but more than sufficient to mess things up. So, we need to pray for wisdom.
As to wisdom, thank God, the Lord promised that He would grant us. Please read James 1:4. Other than that, if one desires to have the best reign, the most important thing is to have God's presence. Just like Joseph in Egypt, he has God's presence. He was able to rule over himself well. He can also rule Egypt well. No wonder the Lord said, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
b. Learning how to do battle.
The famous Chinese military strategist Sun Tze said, “When we know ourselves and our enemies, then we will win every battle.” To be victorious in battle, one must first know oneself. The greatest problem with mankind is the problem of not knowing oneself (as previously mentioned). Many people do not know why they are living on this earth! Many Christians do not know that they were born to be kings! It was said that when Elizabeth I of England was young, she was very self centered and did whatever she pleased. One day, her tutor told her that she is the future queen of Great Britain. Her mind changed and made an one hundred eighty degree turn in her life. May the Lord also enlighten our spiritual eyes so that we may know what is the hope of His calling! (Eph. 1:18) Then, we can in dignity and honor accomplish what the gracious Lord desired upon us. Do not let us waste away our lives and disappoint the Lord. Let us consider the two sides in doing battle:
i. Internal aspects.
Generally speaking, the internal dealings of a king are administration and the external is to do battle or fight. However, the Christian’s fight has more to do with the internal than the external. The internal battle is to buffet the body and make it our slave. (I Cor. 9:25-27) If we want the body to be our slave, we need to ‘compete’. The word ‘compete’ in the original means ‘fight’. (It is the same word as ‘fighting’ in John 18:36; ‘fight’ in I Tim. 6:12 and ‘fight’ in II Tim. 4:7.) How does one fight oneself? The Scriptures tell us: “exercises self control in all things.” (not turning aside to the left or right) Since the fall of Adam, people's behavior and action are either excessive or insufficient. In other words, if they do not turn to left, then they veer to the right. To be a balanced person without turning to either side is no easy matter! For this reason, the very pinnacle of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. (Gal. 5:23) This is also the required of for kingdom personnel. The Scriptures tell us that all the righteous kings of Judah did not turn aside to the right or to the left. (II King 22:2) In this evil and immoral generation, we must not only exercise self control in our emotions, but even in our work, living, money, hobby, entertainment, meetings, meals, etc., we should also have self control. Even in attending meetings we must not be excessive. (Eccl. 7:16) Otherwise, it would be very easy for the evil one to take advantage of. So, where do we go to learn self-control? Certainly it is from God's word. The Scriptures tell us that to be kings, he shall read God's word all the days of his life. By doing so, he may learn the fear of the Lord his God, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or to the left. (Deut. 17:19-20) Then, we can enjoy the blessing from God for those who do not turn to the right or left: be the head and not the tail; and be above and not underneath. (Deut. 28:13)
In order to be victorious in the fight against oneself, there must be self control; not turning to the right or left, but one must also have aim (I Cor. 9:26). We all know that all activities without aim and arrows shot aimlessly will never see the day of success. To be a junior king, once must be even more careful. What do the Scriptures tell us that the aim of the king? It is “to do what is right in the sight of the Lord.”(II Chr. 14:2 and 24:2) It is the fundamental touchstone of a good or evil king. If we use the New Testament technical language, it would be “to do the will of the Father”. This is because the gracious Lord said he who does the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21). To know God's will, one must first know how to prove God's will. To prove Gods will, one's mind must be transformed and renewed. To have one's mind renewed, one must first offer oneself as a living sacrifice presented to God. In short, dedicate! (Rom. 12:1-2)
Dedication is often misunderstood in churches. People thought that dedication is a special privilege of seminary students, missionaries and pastors. It is not an enjoyment that all Christians ought to have. They fail to notice what the Scriptures say, “I urge you therefore, brethren”, it did not say “missionaries”. God has spent so much blood and sweat over us and now He has one request. The request is for us to dedicate ourselves to Him. He is willing to let us to add to His busy schedule. To allow Him to work in our lives without any constrain. In order words, it is for Him to freely bless us. So, what then is dedication? Dedication is not accomplished in one time by going down to the altar at a revival meeting and allow the speaker to pray for you. Dedication is to live daily for Christ and to work for other. Frequently using principle: ‘If the Lord is me, what would He do?’ to release the fragrance of Christ. So, this is the greatest authority and blessing God has bestowed on us. He loves us and allows us to entrust our tiny lives into His hand of great power. Then we will be the inheritance His abundant glory. Let Him be responsible for everything in our lives. Brothers and sisters, it is certainly far better for Him to be responsible than we ourselves!
ii. External aspects.
In order to be a king, one not only has to buffet the body but also to defend against external assaults. The defense is against this temporary leader who has the power of the air. (Eph. 2:2) Even though he is full of schemes and tricks, the Scriptures tell us that we ought to know him “so that no advantage be taken of us.” (II Cor. 2:11) In II Cor. 7:2 and 12:17-18, it is translated as ‘take advantage’. In I Thes. 4:6, it is translated as ‘defraud’. Overcomers, in order not to allow Satan to defraud us or in other words to allow him to take advantage of us, we should know him to a certain extent. The Scriptures tells us that he has his kingdoms (Luke 4:5-60), he is a king (John 14:30), he has subordinates, (Eph. 6:11-12) and he has troops. (Rev. 12:7) He frequently blind the minds of people (II Cor. 4:4), he attacks people (Luke 13:11), he causes people to disobedience, et cetera. Thank God, even though he commits all sort of evil, the Lord has through death rendered him powerless. (Heb. 2:14) So, in this fight, we need not attack the evil one because the Lord is victorious over all. All we need to is to put on the full armor He has given us and hold on to the position of overcomer. The victory is already ours. Therefore, the original word for ‘fight’ is ‘struggle’ or ‘wrestle’. (Eph 6:12) The Holy Spirit wants us to know that as long as we stand firm and not get thrown down, that is our victory. In fact, if we carefully examine this full set of armor, we will discover that it is specialty intended for self-protection. It is not for the purpose of charging to assault. (Eph 6:14-16) For those who want to be kings, they ought to know how to put on this armor. (in fact, this armor is the Lord Himself) Then in the days of trouble, they can enjoy the three blessings of resisting the enemy, accomplishing everything and standing firm. To receive these three blessings, one must obey the three following commands: 1. Stand firm in the truth, righteousness and peace. 2. Take up faith, salvation and the word of God. 3. Pray in the spirit with all and be on the alert. The armor will be securely bound together so that we can stand firm and be constantly in Him. (Refer to John 14:30) In this way, the victory is always ours.
Overcomers, only the highlights were touched upon in all the discussions. God's word is truly broad and deep without boundaries. There is no end to learning God’s word. I hope that by giving you a taste, you would follow through. Then the personnel of the kingdom will be readied early and the kingdom of heaven will come down soon. Amen!