GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
PO Box 2830 McDonough, Ga. 30253-1777
10452 Fitzgerald Rd., Jonesboro, Ga. 30238
TEACHING MY HANDS TO WAR
Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: 2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.
The Old Testament reveals in the physical realm that which the New Testament brings forth in the spiritual realm. Therefore David’s physical warfare is beneficial to us as we are engaged in our spiritual warfare with Satan and the spirit of this present age. The apostle clearly instructs us in this. 2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And the Apostle Paul educates Timothy as to his warfare in being in the gospel ministry as that of being a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
This same apostle even lists the armor of the believer in his letter to the church at Ephesus. For he warns that the believer’s warfare is not on an equal playing field! For he does not engage in this spiritual war with other human beings, but with the powers of spiritual wickedness! Ephesians 6:12 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. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
We are to be capable to successfully enter into “Quench Warfare!” For in verse sixteen of the above listed passage we are to be skilled in the use of our shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. However we are instructed in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit. These “fiery darts” are but part of the “fiery trials” through which we must successfully pass! For it is there where we learn much of the Person of our Lord. 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. It is in the “fellowship of his sufferings,” in which we come to “know him.” Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
And just how do we accomplish the fleeing of the devil from us? We drive him away by a submissive relationship with the Lord! For as we draw closed to the Lord, the devil cannot bear that presence. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. For it is clean hands and a pure heart which are essential to ascending closer to the Lord! Psalm 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
We are to be very serious minded concerning these matters, for the devil is very seriously seeking any opportunity to gain any control over us. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
The devil is ever seeking entrance into the human realm in order to wreck havoc among the creation made in God’s image. Therefore we must war against our fleshly tendencies, denying self and living in the self-sacrificing example of our Lord. Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. And THAT is a never ending warfare within our own soul!
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. That is, you cannot do what you want without the manifestation of this warfare within.
Although our space is limited for the writing of this lesson, it is necessary to provide the readers with this passage of our Lord’s temptation. Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
First we learn that our Lord – the Eternal Son of God – took his flesh down to its weakest point by denying it any nourishment for forty days and nights! Therefore we see that it was the Spirit who led him up into the wilderness upon whom he would totally rely. That experience is the reason He teaches us to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Now we see that Satan’s first temptation was towards the satisfaction of the flesh. For he had successfully used this temptation on the entire population in Noah’s day! He had them all to turn from the spiritual hunger and thirst for righteousness, unto solely hungering for the things of the flesh! Matthew 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
This was also a most dangerous temptation of the Israelites as they journeyed from Egypt. Numbers 11:4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
Then Satan tempted him to selfishly display himself to be the Son of God by placing himself in a dangerous position in order to force God to save him. And he did this by misapplying the scriptures to him. And here is a very deceitful temptation into which vast numbers of religionists have fallen. The scripture verse was accurate. But it is inaccurately applied! For as the Apostle Peter states, many “wrest” (“to wrench, or torture”), the scriptures in order to force them to justify their sinful desires to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
But notice how our Lord successfully wars against this ploy of Satan. He states, “It is written again.” He “righty divides the word of truth!” (2 Timothy 2:15) The lies of Satan and his followers are only properly dealt with by the truth of God, accurately applied.
Then Satan offers the Lord Jesus a short cut to obtain the glory that shall one day be His. He offers that which is not his to give, but is very tempting. He offers glory but with an opportunity of by-passing the cross! But this necessitates the lust of the flesh, and a failure to recognize that this was the devil. The Lord did not have the former and he knew who it was that tempted him! 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Therefore his response was, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Dear Reader, our warfare will not allow us to by-pass any enduring of our appointed crosses! And that is a most difficult trial. So we must always be willing to add the word, “nevertheless” to our prayers for the cup of suffering to be removed from us. Matthew 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And as to the point of the Lord’s recognition of the tempter, he could, and did recognize him in whoever was used by him. He clearly recognized the devil in the Jewish leaders. Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
And he recognized him in Peter! Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest (“to be mindful of”), not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
He also knew how to use one into whom Satan would enter in order to fulfill God’s purpose for him concerning the cross. For Peter was trying to keep him from the cross so he called him “Satan.” But when Judas would come to deny him, assuring his arrest and crucifixion, he calls him “Friend.” Matthew 26:48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.
It is essential that we develop spiritual warfare skills in order to know such matters as these. For it is not an easy thing to call an acquaintance “Satan,” nor to call an enemy, who truly means you harm, “Friend.” The grace of discernment is highly necessary for such matters. But it seems to be highly lacking in Christendom today! And even when there is a grieving of the Spirit within us when acquaintances tempt us, we will quench that spirit of conviction, dangerously identifying it as being from the devil! For that puts one on the road to apostasy, by committing the sin which will not be forgiven! Matthew 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
It has been well said, “Christianity has not been tried and found lacking. Christianity has been tried and found difficult!”
Pastor Gene Breed
March 25, 2021