Three Things We Must Conquer Through the Gospel (Acts 21:17-26) January 22, 2012
Conquest is a blessing our church will enjoy this year. We have held onto the covenant of “You will tread on their heights.” “Conquest” is a blessing that God gave men when He created them (Gen.1:26-27). The mystery to restore this blessing that men lost hold of through Adam’s fall in Genesis 3 is “salvation”. God does not want you to live like a slave. Do not be enslaved to sins fate and destiny, or to the world and Satan. Instead, live as people who conquer. That is the life of people who are saved. I hope that the life of failing, being oppressed and dragged around may end and the blessings of people who conquer may begin this year. Then what must we conquer? The subject of conquest must be clear. The subject and goal of our fight must be clear.
1. We must conquer our problems. People of God who have been saved can still face problems, conflicts, hardships, and even persecution.
1) Hold onto the conclusion first. You must come to know Christ and realize that all problems are opportunities and channels of blessings to the believers who are within the covenant.
a. The moment you accepted Christ, all curses of the Original Sin and your family, fate, destiny, and hell have been finished (Jn.19:30) and we have been liberated. Every person has the Original Sin; it is the sinful nature. That is how a child learns how to sin on his own without being taught. Curses of your family are undoubtedly there. Problems that do not exist in other families are passed down from generation to generation in your family. Even some president of one nation lamented over his problems saying it is his “destiny” and ended up killing himself. Satan was definitely behind it, and he suffered a spiritual problem. Christ died on the cross to finish this curse, and resurrected to destroy this Satan’s authority. That is salvation.
b. Furthermore, not only did He liberate us, He also changed our root. He has transformed us who are within Christ into the source of blessings, God’s children, and those who will triumph and conquer. This is my covenant and my identity.
c. When a person with this covenant and identity faces a problem, it is in fact not a problem, but an opportunity and channel of blessings. Take a look at the life of Remnants. Joseph was sold as a slave and ended up in prison, but it all turned out to be a blessing of meeting and an opportunity by which he became the governor of Egypt. Paul from today’s passage too faced an unfair trial in Jerusalem, but that was a way through which he could stand before Caesar of Rome. If you dwell in your worries, unbelief, and complaints, you will not be able to see it. That is why you must constantly listen to messages.
2) It must to the extent this Christ and my identity and conclusion within Him take root in my unconsciousness and sub-consciousness.
a. How important is it for a tree to take root? If it cannot root down deep enough, it cannot withstand wind, rain, and extremely cold or hot weathers and will not be used as a good timber. A big tree grows either in a very hot area where there is extreme heat and strong winds or in a very cold region. In order to survive in such dire environment, it has to root down very deeply and eventually grows into a big tree.
b. In a sense, what is the reason behind unceasing problems that do not seem to stop shaking you? It is a sign that tells you to take root. As you hold onto the Gospel during those difficult times and pray, you will realize one day how deeply you have rooted down in the Gospel. In that process, you fight against yourself, the world, and Satan. At that time, God said He will help you and fight Himself. When you hold onto your identity and Christ’s authority and power, God will fight for you. When you encounter real problems, do not try anything else, but hold onto the Word and enter into prayer. It is not the matter of resolving your immediate problems. It is taking root in the Gospel. Looking far in the future, it is really a time for you to prepare for real blessings that will come in the future. I hope you stand as a person who conquers over problems.
2. We must conquer your field and your region. The forces of the Darkness are conquering the area and field you are living in.
1) Look at the work that arose after Adam was deceived by the devil in Genesis 3. You see names of Cain’s descendants in Genesis 4. They created various cultures in the world (cattle, musical instruments, machinery). However, they all led to the culture of corruption. How evil were they? It says in Gen.4:24, “If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” Take a look at the Age of Nephilim in Genesis 6. People lost hold of spiritual things, and fell into physical corruption. The word “Nephilim” means “fallen”, which refers to Satan. That is why it tells you in 1Jn.2:15-16 not to love the world. We are well aware of the Babel Tower that appears in Genesis 11. It symbolizes the culture of idolatry and demons. It may seem as though this world is advancing, but this culture of corruption, physical pleasure, idolatry and demons is reigning over your field.
2) It says in Is.60:2 that this culture of the Darkness will cover the earth and all nations. This world full of hardships will continue on. “Culture of corruption,” people are getting weaker and weaker. “Culture of physical pleasure,” men’s souls and hearts have become desolate. That is why problems are depression and drug addictions are getting worse. “Culture of idolatry and demons,” Freemasons and New Age movement are eventually heading toward that direction.
3) We possess the solution to all of these problems Christ, and God has entrusted your region, school, and workplace to you.
a. That is why it says in Is.60:1, “Arise, shine,” for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Because the light of Christ and the Holy Spirit are within you, all you have to do is rise.
b. “Arise” means pray sincerely for your field and prepare to evangelize. All you have to do is really embrace that heart and pray. When doors open, you can pass on evangelism tracts, when the right time comes you can proclaim the Gospel yourself. God has positioned each and every one of us as a watchman and lighthouse of the respective region. Just like Joseph and Philip, it is okay if just one person shines the light. That is the effect of a watchman and lighthouse.
c. When you truly realize your commission and pray, one day you may meet someone with whom you can form a team.
3. We must conquer the world and the elites.
1) God will bless us to the extent we may be able to save unbelievers and religious individuals without Christ. That is the Remnant. We are not competing with unbelievers. We must become super elites who can save them. This is a commission to us. In order for you to save the elites, you must equip yourself with skills and basics. Only then can you have conversations with them and will a chance to save them come. But there is something more important. You must become someone who has something that they do not have: God’s strength. That is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, what is our prayer topic of all prayer topics? It is asking for the filling of the Holy Spirit. You can do all things through it (study, business, and relationships).
2) There are two types of elites. One is simply a nonbelieving elite group, and the other is a religious elite group. The first group only has well-educated background, skills, and specialty. But the second group, on top of all that, has a religious standard. Paul ran into a stumbling block in today’s passage: Jews’ standard. That standard was composed of the Jewish laws and “purification rites” in verse 24. It is a ceremony through which you consecrate yourself before an important work.
3) In today’s passage, Paul compromised. A man who had the Gospel did something completely unnecessary. Satan made a frantic effort even more. You will run into something like this in the field. When you look down and disrespect all religious people, it will become a channel for Satan to bring quarrel. Making too many compromises is a problem, but looking down and disdaining them is also a problem. Neither of them is the right attitude to save the world.
The moment we received salvation, we have been called as those who will conquer and save the world. I hope you conquer your problems and live the life of a true victor. I hope you conquer your field and your region and live the life of a true evangelist. I hope you conquer the elites and live the life of a true committed worker.