Unveiling Emotional Healing From Matthew, Acts of the Apostles, 1Corinthians, Ephesians, 1Thessalonians, 2Timothy and Revelation

by Kayode Crown, Greatlight books

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ISBN: 9781524230517

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Deceiver

old-woman-574278_6402Timothy 3:13: But evil people and imposters will progress to the worse, deceiving and being deceived. (LEB)

If you are a deceiver, it is a strong indication that you have been deceived yourself, and not that you are smart.

There are evil people in the world, who have given themselves over to be used by the devil. Paul asked that people should pray for him so that he will be delivered from wicked and unreasonable men (2Thessalonians 3:1-2). He said he fought with beasts in Ephesus (1Corinthians 15:32).

Jesus said that he is sending us out as sheep among wolves, so we need to be as gentle as a dove and as wise as a serpent (Matthew 10:16). Not that we should be deceptive because the serpent is also a symbol of deception, but be able to catch people in their deception, by being able to follow their deceptive reasoning, being able to pinpoint their deceptive source.

In the book of proverbs, we read: do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him (that is being like a dove) and answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own eyes (that is being like a serpent) (Proverbs 26:4-5).

The deceiver cares for nothing but himself. Jesus calls the devil the father of lies (John 8:44-59). But in the focus verse, Paul directs our attention to people, who themselves are deceivers, having their behavioural source from the devil.

He calls them imposters, who will get increasingly sophisticated in their deceptive antics. That is a word of caution that whatever you allow to grow in your life will become a forest and that all that glitters is not gold. Things should not necessary be taken at face value. Paul said that even Satan measures as an angel of light, when taking about false apostles (2Corinthians 11:10-15).

Our business, therefore, is to become rooted and grounded in truth, which is the opposite of lies. And we should not be afraid to reveal the lies and liars out as Jesus did.

He confronted the Pharisees, calling them out, cutting them no slacks at all. He told his people to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1).

A hypocrite is the embodiment of deception, who puts extra care to look and act a certain way. They are far from genuine. Their number is many, their influence is pervasive. They lay claim to being followers of Moses to the hilt. They have a form of godliness.

They lay heaven burdens of right and wrong on the people, and they exempt themselves from bearing (Matthew 23:1-7). Their public persona is a cover for all manner of atrocities and murderous intent.  Jesus told the Jews your father the devil was a murderer from the beginning, and a liar. The devil Jesus said has come to steal kill and destroy (John 10:10), and his uses his instrument of falsehood to achieve them.

We need to stand firm against the forces of deception, those who have perfected their game, giving themselves over to the devil to be used in his evil works, who have mastered the art of smooth talk. There are people who have been corrupted and have become first class agents of corruption.

However, we have been equipped to resist their influence. John said that God has given us an unction from the Holy One and we know all things, hinting that no single man should deceptively claim to be a custodian of truth but the Holy Spirit is and he is available to everyone of us (1John 2:18-29). We are made sensitive, able to distinguish between good and evil.

What you sow you will reap, therefore if you sow deception you set up yourself to be deceived. You open yourself to be taken over by deception. It is the same thing with the man who loves to curse. The bible says: he loves to curse, let it not be far from him (Psalm 109:17). When you specialise in beclouding people’s vision, they you are setting yourself up to not know the truth, to not spiritually see correctly.

Being far from using deception is to be close to God’s vision. Jesus said that Nathanael was a man in whom there is no guile. And he promised him that he will see heaven opened with the angels of God climbing up on and down Jesus. That was the first and the last we will hear of him in the bible but he will be noted for his truthfulness and the promised reward of revelation from God (John 1:45-51).

A prophet laments the dearth of truth in the society (Isaiah 59). When a society is built on lies and truth and transparency are nowhere to be found, that means there is no righteousness which exalts a nation and there is sin, which is reproach (sin is shameful) (Proverbs 14:34).  When lies are elevated sin is elevated and you can expect corruption and lack of progress to mark the people.

God wants to flow through us with his truth, but he must first see your personal commitment to truth. God seeks those who will faithfully deliver his message, not those who because of one consideration or the other decide to bury the truth (Matthew 10:27).

We need to stand by truth, be committed to it since anything else is darkness and the truth is light. We are saved by believing the truth and we only progress in the Christian faith to the degree that we embrace and increase in truth (Ephesians 4:1-10).

Jude said that we need to contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints. He warned us, together with other apostles, against those who twist the truth of Christ. Paul referred to such things as the persuasion that does not emanate from God (Galatians 5:1-9). He calls some things doctrines of demons, there are conditions emanating from demonic sources that are not in alignment with the truth of Jesus.

Jesus is the truth and to not embrace and believe him is to believe in a lie. Our journey of truth starts with believing and embracing the truth which is Jesus. The truth is in him while information can be gotten in other places.

Truth is beyond information, it is a living entity. It is an animating force, it is the path that we should walk in, and it is inner compass. A man prayed to God: for your name sake, lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3). Another asked: send forth your light let it guide me (Psalm 43:3).

What prize are you willing to pay for truth? If you are not willing to pay the price for truth you will be deceived (Proverbs 23:23).

Persecution

rocky_mountain_tours.jpg2Timothy 3:12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Persecution is “suffering” which comes your way because you are a follower of Christ. And in a particular reference to the focus verse, it means that the attempt to be different from the world by way of godliness will draw its ire.
When you are not in fellowship with the world, it means that your life is in opposition to its system. And the devil, who is the god of this world, would want you to face the brunt of not submitting to his kingdom.

Persecution is promised to everyone. It is not optional. Therefore don’t go breaking apart because of it. When Peter and John were bitten with stripes because they preached the gospel of Jesus, they rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Christ (Acts 5:30-42).

They were there, when he was gruesomely killed, unjustly sentenced to death, mocked and stripped naked, hanged on the cross for all to see (the shame of it!). The experience was so intense. And the disciple even ran away from him, not wanting to be seen with Jesus.

This was the one who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the adulation of all (Matthew 21:1-9); now he is being vilified as if he was the worst thing that can happen to Israel (Matthew 27:17-25, John 19:15)! False accusers were arrayed against him. He was described in the worst possible terms.

Seeing all that Jesus, being God, went through, to save them in the hands of sinful men, they knew it was NOTHING for them to be caned for His sake.

Paul wore his persecution experiences as a barge of honour (2Corinthians 11:22-27). He was sorely persecuted. The people wished him dead, and the Roman Empire intervened, imprisoning him (Acts 21:27-22:30). He suffered from a wave of hate from his people, the Jews. Though the Jews hated him, he loved the in return. (Jesus said: love your enemy [Matthew 5:43-48].)

He did not want Timothy to live in a fool’s paradise where the assumption is that he would not be persecuted; thus the focus verse. His mind should be prepared that, though he is doing the right thing, people are going to come and speak against him, and generally want to make life difficult for him because he is a practicing Christian.

Jesus said that those who follow him need to love him above all else, and those who forsake houses, family for his sake will have a reward of 100 fold on this earth, persecution inclusive (Mark 10:28-30). That showed that persecution is a promise. But sometimes we get caught off-guard by persecution because it comes from those closest to us.

Job was persecuted by his wife (Job 2:9). She said to him in his difficult moment: curse God and die. She spoke against his trust in God. He didn’t do what his wife said, committed to trusting God no matter what.

David was persecuted by Saul because God was with him. God favoured David, and was not with Saul (1Samuel 18:11-13). Joseph was hated by his brothers because his father favoured him and in addition to that, God favoured him, showing him he was special in his dreams. On telling those dreams to his brothers they hated him the more (Genesis 37).

Daniel was persecuted by his fellow leaders in the Kingdom of Mede and Persia; they set up a trap for him, to have him eaten by lions. He was excellent and obviously better than all of them. This was a mark of the favour of God on him, and he was hated for it (Daniel 6).

Jesus was persecuted to the point of death by the Pharisees. It was obvious that God was with him. Even one of the Pharisees which came to see Jesus by night testified to this (John 3:1-2). But many of them saw Jesus as a threat, setting various traps for him (Mark 3:6, 12:12-13).

All the above people mentioned were committed to Godliness, and being so committed, God was also committed to them. And because of that, jealousy rose up in the people around them.

For the Pharisees, their fear was that Jesus was having a large group of followers and before long they might become irrelevant (John 11:48). They feared for their position becoming obsolete. They tried to save their lives, jobs, position and prestige; they sought to kill Jesus, to save themselves.

For Daniel, whose fellow leaders hated his guts, they were suffering from the bug of racism, because when they reported him to the king that he had flouted his orders not to pray to anyone except him for a period of thirty days, and though he was one of the most prominent leaders, instead of using his name they referred to him as “that Judah captive (Daniel 6:13).”

That shows another way that people will persecute you: name-calling. Jesus suffered from name-calling. He was called Beelzebub (Matthew 10:5-31). And Jesus said: if he was so called, the disciples should expect to be given worse labeling.

Israel experienced grievous persecution in Egypt. The cause was also jealousy (Exodus 1:8-22). Pharaoh was jealous of population increase in the land of the Goshen where the children of Israel were and started a regime of repression. They were sorely afflicted, and they cried out and God sent Moses to save them (Exodus 2:23-25).

James wrote that if anyone is afflicted, such should pray (James 5:13). We see prayer rising up in the time of persecution. At least twice in the book of Acts persecution led to prayer and prayer led to more manifestation of God in the situation. The one was when the Pharisees gave Peter and John warning not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:16-33), and another time was when Herod imprisoned Peter (Acts 12:1-18).

In the first instance, the church prayed, and where they prayed shook greatly and greater power was released to wrought more miracles, while on the second occasion, the church was ceaselessly praying for deliverance of Peter which eventually happened.

The goal of the persecutor(s) is to repress. And he/she/they come(s) up with a good reason they should carry out the repression, which can take place in various forms: verbal harassment, incarceration, passage of death sentence, torture.

Don’t attempt to appeal to the persecutors, or to acquiesce to them.

The only way they will stop persecuting you, is if you are dead. But be careful not to return hate with hate.

That will be against the law of love (Matthew 5:43-48), and that is actually the trap the devil wants you to fall into in the first place. Let’s take the higher way (1Corinthians 13:4-13).

 

Soldier of Jesus Christ

battle2Timothy 2:3: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

We are called to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We should be tough, be able to handle whatever situation that comes our way. Moreover, a soldier is appointed to defend territories, to expand and defend the kingdom from invasion.

Paul said that the weapons of his warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imagination and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God (1Corinthians 10:1-6).  For him the territories to be taken and protected are the minds of men, in the thoughts and ideas there.

The mind is really a battlefield. And as good spiritual soldiers we are expected to be skillful with the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Paul told Timothy to study to show himself approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2Timothy 2:15). As a soldier he has work to do on the minds of the people. That was why Paul told him; preach the word, in season and out of season. It is a work that has no break (2Timothy 4:1-4).

The battle of the Lord is the battle of truth. In a prophecy about Jesus, we were told that he will go forth in battle to establish truth (Psalm 45:1-4). The truth confronts the lies, which seem to permeate our world now.  And the more we are equipped with truth, the more the battle against falsehood is won in our lives.

There is a battle raging between truth and falsehood, between faith and doubt, and between obedience and disobedience. And as soldiers of Jesus Christ, we need to establish truth, faith and obedience, both in our lives and in the lives of those who come under our influence, or we are called to.

Truth and falsehood: the battle for right understanding

Lies come from the devil. Jesus said that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). In the Garden of Eden he sold a lie to Eve and she bought it (Genesis 3:1-11). And humanity entered into a trap from then on; the trap of sin and death. Any trap of sin we are in is because there is a lie we have believed (either consciously or unconsciously).

A life of unrighteousness feeds on untruth. That is why Paul warned against some behaviours saying you have not so learn Christ, if you have been taught by him as the truth is in Christ (Ephesians 4:20-21). The psalmist says: your words have I kept in my heart that I may not sin against you (Psalm 119:11).

The soldier of Jesus does not just fight lies in his own life, but uses the truth of the word to battle it in others, all in the Spirit of love. In the letter of Paul to the Ephesians he said that the church is built up when we speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:14-15), built in truth and cured of lies.

Truth correctly sets our thinking. Paul said we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:1-2). And our mind is renewed by truth.

Faith and doubt: the battle for right believing

Faith fights doubts and doubt fights faith. (One of the symptoms of doubt is fear). The word of God is used to build faith and to crush doubt. The bible says that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). And it is feeding on the word that builds the faith muscles, as we focus on the word of God, which is called the word of faith (Romans 10:8).

The word of God is not the word of doubt. Any word that comes to us to make us doubt the word of God is a spiritual attack. Eve was suffering from a spiritual attack, as the devil destroyed her faith in the word of God and caused her to act based on doubt (Genesis 3:1-11).

From that time the life of faith was shut down for humanity. In Christ, faith comes alive again, because connection with God is made possible again. But there is a component of the faith that has to do with the mind, which means there is need for illumination to come to us via the word of God and the Holy Spirit’s help.

It is established that faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17). We are called to have faith, but doubt is more native to human beings, it is ingrained in the spiritual DNA. But the Holy Spirit can work on the mind in connection with the Word, as we meditate on it, causing a change in us for the better (Psalm 1:1-3).

That is why in Christ we called to a higher life. John wrote that this is the victory that overcomes the world even our faith (1John 4:4, 5:4). It takes faith to live a victorious life in Christ Jesus. When we use the name of Jesus in prayer we are activating the law of faith, releasing possibilities in the realm of the spirit. In Christ we are seated with him in the heavenly places. Be belief that by faith and walk in the reality of our dominion in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, 2:5-6).

The faith life is the real life. It is the dominion life, the overcoming life. Faith brings new things to pass, because it gives an assurance of things hoped for, and is evidence that the things not yet seen will manifest. Faith brings the reality of the unseen. It is anchored in God himself.

Obedience and disobedience: the battle for right behaviour

Do you know that when you obey God, that is spiritual warfare in and of itself? Obedience causes light to be released into the situation, thereby paralysing darkness (John 1:5). Jesus came to the earth in obedience to God; therefore his coming was light to the world. He said: as long as I am on the earth, I am the light of the world (John 8:12. 9:5, 12:46). Obedience releases spiritual light into the atmosphere, which makes demons run for cover.

I know obedience is spiritual warfare because disobedience is a major victory to the devil. I know that righteousness is spiritual warfare because sin is an expression of the victory of the devil. When you live a life of obedience to God, you send the hordes of hell skittering.

I know that obedience is warfare because Jesus said that we should let our light shine before men, so that when they see our good works, they will glorify our father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16). Obedience stands for good works. And there are two things that the devil does not want: that you shine, because through that you paralyse his activities since he is darkness; and for glory to come to God. He’ll rather have glory coming to him; rather have God vilified than glorified.

When you obey God, it is to the devil’s damning rottenness. It is a blow to his “lifelong” agenda and pursuit to gain supremacy over God. Once the will of God is getting done it means the will of the devil has suffered defeat.

So before you go into serious fasting and prayer in the name of “spiritual warfare”, you need to check your alignment with God as his soldier first in your obedience or those things will not make much meaning (Isaiah 58).

Summary

Having the right understanding, leads to having faith, and that leads to the right behaviour, a change of life. The bible says that the just shall live by faith (Galatians 3:11). But the foundation is the right understanding (right understanding leads to right, right faith leads to right living).

That is why the war plan of the devil is to entrench darkness in the heart of the people, darken their understanding (Ephesians 4:17-5:17). Paul said that the devil as the God of this world is interested in having the heart of people darkened, blinding them (2Corinthians 4:4); the battle of and for truth is to about shedding light on the minds of people, and curing them of spiritual blindness.

That is the business of the soldiers of Jesus Christ. Note that in establishing understanding, faith and obedience, the sure sword is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). And individually, obedience, faith and truth (though they are intricately linked) are manifestations of the word of God; they are warfare tools in their own right.

Grace, mercy and peace

CB0177272Timothy 1:2: To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grace

Grace is the help that comes from God, which cannot come from any other source. Grace is the precursor for the acts of God’s favour to and through men.

When God calls us to do a particular work, he gives us his grace to carry it out. It doesn’t matter what it is. The resources that he makes available are from his grace.

When God wanted Moses to build a tabernacle for him in the wilderness; he mentioned certain people by name that he had endowed with intelligence, capability and skill, to turn all the gold and other raw materials that will be are needed, from the raw state to the exact things in the mind of God (Exodus 31:1-11). Those men were appointed by God to do the work to perfection, and they had the grace to execute it.

Only the hand of God can do the work of God. This is why he endows us with his grace, so that our hands become His.

His grace not only operates through us but it also operates in us. It causes attitudinal change in us; it causes long standing stubborn habit to be gone in our lives. It makes sure that we are on the path of life through Christ Jesus. His grace sees us through all negative situations and circumstances. Grace is the divine causative agent of everything good in us.

It is the means of God saving us. We were rotten in trespasses and sin and we were strangers to God. We are in bondage to Satan, kept imprisoned by inordinate passions that we cannot do anything about on our own.

But the grace of God made all the difference. The bible says that by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).

Also, our spiritual assignment is not our work; it is the work of God, not an expression of our ability but God’s. We are only called to yield to the grace working in and through us.

When the message of the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed, it is a call to receive grace (Romans 5:17). It is not a call for performance, trying to be a better person, nor a call to sadness and a joyless life. Actually the bible says that the kingdom is in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

There is the joy of salvation that trumps whatever men seek by taking cigarettes, and hard drugs like cocaine, heroine, marijuana, crystal meth, etc. There is a joy of salvation that is like an ever-springing well on our inside, which cannot be moved but is sustained by God himself.

So when we come to Jesus, we have come to grace (John 1:14-17). It leads us into a new life, causing us to swim in divine blessings, making us able to impact the lives of others. Paul wrote that we should let our words be seasoned with salt ministering grace to the hearers, so that just as we receive grace we also convey it to others (Ephesians 4:29), edifying them.

Mercy

Grace pushes you into your future; mercy removes you from your past, while peace settles you in the present.

Mercy qualifies the unqualified. The healing of the man paralysed for decades, sitting at the pool of Bethesda is a classic expression of mercy. His past was sinful as Jesus Christ later told him after healing him that he should now live holy from them on.

When Jesus came to him, lying there at the pool paralysed, He asked him a question and he didn’t answer well. However, Jesus released healing to him anyway (John 5:1-16). Years of stagnation for the man came to an end.

If the man was not picked for a miracle, he would most probably have died in his condition. His was a most pathetic situation. It was mercy that reached out to him, disregarding his history and shortcomings and blessing him.

The mercy of God extends forgiveness of sins to us. We were not forgiven because we promised to be better, neither was it because we have offered God anything to compensate him for our rebellion; it was his mercy through and through, that we are accepted in the beloved, after our sins were cleansed away.

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:8). His mercy motivated him.  While he hung on the cross, he asked that God forgive his crucifiers because they don’t know what they do (Luke 23:34).

Peace

Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). When he was leaving the disciples on earth, he said that he is leaving his peace with them, not as the world gives (John 14:27). It is a different kind of peace that flows from heaven.

Paul said we should not be anxious for anything, but with prayer, supplication and thanksgiving we should let our requests be make known to God (Philippians 4:6-7), and God will invest us with his peace. Peter also said that we should be anxious for nothing, but we should cast our care upon the Lord (1Peter 5:7).

Jesus and his disciples at a time were crossing the sea. The sea and the wave of the sea rose. The disciples were at their wit’s end but Jesus was fast asleep. They panicked. They questioned Jesus, saying, doesn’t he care if they die (Mark 4:25-31)? He was woken up. But instead of joining them to panic, he rebuked the wind and the storm, saying peace be still. He is a man of peace, bringing peace and calm to life’s raging storms. Inclusive of the one you are presently experiencing. God is about calming the agitations of the heart. The peace of God is meant to guard our hearts in Christ Jesus (Colossians 3:15). The devil will have you troubled but the peace of God counters that in us.

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23); it is the mark of a settled relationship with God. The bible says through Jesus we have peace with God (Romans 5:1-2). That peace is not given by achievement. It is the result of the Prince of peace coming into us. The presence of God is manifest in peace that crushes all the works of the devil. Paul wrote that the God of peace will soon crutch the devil under our feet (Romans 16:20).

The peace, the sense of wholeness and completeness of divinity represents the kingdom of God coming to bare on the earth, because peace is an heavenly reality.