Beloved Family… In the first segment of this message, we saw that awesome bond of love, trust and devotion that humans and dogs develop with each other. This is very similar to what becomes possible when we finally realize how much our Messiah loves and values us, and to what lengths He has gone, to save us from ourselves, and from Sin and Eternal Death. He did all of that so He would be able to have us all to Himself… and unite Himself to us, so that He might give all that He is and has, to us… FOREVER… and receive and enjoy, our wholehearted response to Him in return!
The Love of God for us is the foundation, the granite-solid, unshakable base upon which everything else that concerns us and our ongoing interactive relationship with Him can now develop. His Perfect Everlasting Love for us is the Ground from which can flow our absolute, airtight trust, hope and obedient faith in response to Him. So first, we must come to know our Lord as He truly is. And THEN, we’re able to interact with Him out from that unshakable faith, hope and trust His Perfection allows us to have in Him, as He abides with us and lives, and operates through us, at all times.
And, just the way a human master and a beloved canine pet can learn to work together as one, under difficult and trying and challenging circumstances, so too can the Lord and His disciples learn to give the testimonies to the world that will pierce, penetrate, break and finally impregnate stone-hard, wicked human hearts… with the Life-giving Love of our Messiah.
As you consider the way this young lady must have trained and worked with her little dog, realize that it is very similar to how the Holy Spirit must train, and work with, the Lord’s disciples. As we noted before, Stephen (Acts 7) is a great example. That young man gradually came to know his Lord Yeshua so profoundly that he was able to demonstrate the bond He enjoyed with His risen Lord in the sight of Saul of Tarsus, and also before the rest of the murderous mob, that eventually took his life. By then, the risen Lord was so real and so vibrantly alive and present to Stephen, in the Heavenly Place where He was abiding with His Father, that Stephen could only remain totally focused on His Lord, and only faintly aware of the chaos and tumult that were going on around his body here on Earth!
And what an enormously profound impression Stephen made on Saul. Stephen’s testimony was so deeply burned into Saul’s soul and brain that he never forgot the profoundly supernatural, Heavenly testimony he saw and heard coming from that young man on that fateful day. Can there be any doubt that Paul was remembering how totally absorbed with His Lord Stephen remained throughout the entire ordeal, even to the moment of his death? Is that not what was flooding Paul’s mind, while the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to write the following words to the disciples at Colossae:
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our Life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in Glory!” (Colossians 3:1-4, Emphasis added.)
The indwelling Holy Spirit was continually revealing more and more of Yeshua to Stephen. And so, by God’s Mercy and Grace, that young disciple remained totally captivated and entranced with the Beauty, Majesty and Wonder of His beloved Lord. And so, even despite all the demon-driven activity and malice and rage that was being spewed upon him by the surrounding mob, Stephen’s focus of attention remained riveted upon the risen Lord, resplendent in all of His ascended Glory. And so, his mature level of love and trust in his Master never faltered or dimmed or waned, regardless of what was going on around his mortal body and earth-bound soul! The trust level that had been built up within Stephen for His Master, was, by that time, utterly unbreakable and absolutely ‘airtight.’ Nothing could shake or break it. And so Stephen was empowered to such a supernatural degree, that he passed the ultimate testing trial of his entire life… in a most remarkable and world-changing way… filled with God’s own utterly supernatural Joy, Peace, and REST!
It was the personal tender loving care and attention that the Holy Spirit had been able to give to Stephen that had prepared and trained him for that critical climax to his earthly life… when the time came for him to be called to the ‘witness stand’… so that he could give the ultimate testimony of his life… and give total consummate honor and glory to His beloved Lord, the Living Word of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Israel.
So yes… our Commander, the risen Lord Yeshua, the one who loves us so much that He gladly and willingly poured Himself out to the last drop of His blood for us… is the same Commander who, at times, will require His own to go out into the field of combat to die for Him, just as He was so willing to die for each one of us! And Stephen was trained so well, and equipped in his innermost being so superbly by the Holy Spirit… that when the time came for him to be called to testify, he passed the ultimate test of the obedience of his faith, with flying colors!
And now… he enjoys the Eternal Triumph of His Lord, with His Lord, in the highest place in Heaven. And Saul, who later was known as Paul, continued to teach the awesome lesson he learned from Stephen’s example… to other disciples, so they too could learn to abide with our awesome Commander… and He could impart His mysterious, Life-imparting ways to them, as well.
When trained dogs are ready to perform in the arena, the spectators can see that the master and the dog have practiced this routine, over and over… with massive amounts of repetition. This must be done… to give the dog time to learn and incorporate and absorb the master’s mind, heart and will into his makeup. And notice also that, even while they are in the arena performing before a multitude…as far as they are concerned… they are really still alone with each other. Neither the master nor the dog notices or pays attention to the spectators in attendance. The master only has eyes for the dog and the dog only has eyes for the master. Their eyes and hearts remain woven together, from start to finish. As the music begins, the master gives a signal command to the dog…and the dog obeys. It is a fluid series of one command and obedience, another command and obedience, another command and obedience, and so on. And so that is how the Holy Spirit will have to train the risen Lord’s Last Days disciples to be with their risen Lord!
And beloved… this is also how we must be drilled and taught, during our time of boot camp training and preparation… to remain crucified to our original earthly self-adoring soul-life… and remain deeply rooted in the Life of our Messiah that abides within our spirits. As long as we abide and interact with Him in our spirit, as He abides in us… the ‘Living Water’ that signifies and represent His Life-giving, World-changing Presence and Activity can continue to flow into us and gush forth out from us… into our circumstances and situations:
“Now on the last day, the great day of the feast (of Tabernacles), Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:37-39, Emphasis added.)
Without The Obedience Of Faith, It Is Impossible To Please God
I ask you to take some time to ponder these texts: Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 28-29; Psalm 119; Romans 1:5; 16:26 and Hebrews 11:6. The quality level of the obedience that flows out of one of those trained dogs, will depend on the quality level of how well they know and understand their master and his or her ways. In the examples you saw in the video clips we supplied for you in Parts I and II of this article, it’s obvious that, in the minds and hearts of the dogs, they were convinced that their masters were deserving of their total, absolute and wholehearted love, trust and obedience.
And so too will it be with the faith in God that you will be able to demonstrate in the Arena of Testimony. The quality level at which you know God… the degree to which you are convinced that He is utterly Perfect in His Nature, and in His Love for you, and in the way He cares, provides and protects you, will determine the quality of your response to Him and the performance you will be able to render to His credit and praise in the Arena. If you know Him as He really is… then even when it may require you to offer the ultimate sacrifice and give up your life for His sake, you will know that He is well worth whatever it may cost you to glorify Him to that total extent, before the eyes of friends and foes alike.
And this is how it was with Yeshua, when while living purely as one of us, He rendered perfect obedience to His Father, because He knew His Father, just as He really is. Yeshua knew Father so well and so accurately, that it was not possible for even one speck of doubt, or hesitation to be found in His mind, heart and soul. He was filled with the Perfect Presence of His Father… to such a degree, that not even a speck of the radically independent self-life, that is so common to the rest of us, could be found in Him! And thus, the way He was able to respond to His Father, and live and act as one with Him, made them to live and to appear, as one working unit.
“Then He said to them,“My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38-39, Emphasis added.)
“Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, Emphasis added.)
And, when our risen Lord is interacting with us, and taking us through each step of our Exodus Journey here on Earth, even then He will still be thinking, acting, reacting and interacting as one with His Father… even as He is teaching us to think, act, react and interact as one with Him!
“And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
“Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My Name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My Name, I will do it!” (John 14:4-14, Emphasis added.)
The Lord will be embodying His Father… even as He abides and operates from within us and we embody Him! When we embody our risen Lord, we are by that very fact operating as one with our Heavenly Father as well. Yeshua is our Connection with Almighty God. And connecting us to His Father is what He was sent here to do, as He is abiding and operating as one with each one of His disciples in the Arena of Testimony. The two will think, act, react and interact as one. And together, they will render Perfect Obedience to the Father. And this awesome level of obedience is the fruit… the living proof and culmination of the Covenant love of God that Yeshua demonstrates as He lives and works from within each disciple. This will be the result of all the practice and drill and preparation time we spent with the Holy Spirit over the years… when no one else was watching.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their (My original apostles’) word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
“The Glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My Glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your Name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:20‑26, Emphasis added.)
And this is how it was with Stephen. During his last moments on Earth, Stephen demonstrated how the Holy Spirit had trained and drilled and taught him how to think, live, act, react and interact AS ONE with his risen Lord! All of that training and preparation time bore its awesome Fruit in the Arena, when it really counted. The Lord and His disciple went out there in front of the demonic powers of Darkness, and the deluded humans that were under their influence and who were being manipulated to do the malevolent death-dealing will of their satanic masters. And together, the risen Lord and His faithful disciple Stephen, worked together… to give a Testimony to Saul, and the rest of that mob, and then later through Paul the apostle… to the rest of the world. It was a testimony to the Perfect Trustworthiness of our Heavenly Father, and of His Living Word… and that testimony continues to bear its awesome fruit and impact the lives of countless numbers of other disciples, to this very day!
So, thanks to the awesome New Covenant Gift of the Holy Spirit, and the training He is here to impart to each one of us, a true disciple can give a most beautiful and compelling ‘testimony’ to the love and devotion he or she has developed for our Lord. God fills them with His own Perfect Presence… and once they are set aflame by His Perfect Fullness…God is able to shine brightly amid the Darkness… from within the disciple’s love for Him. Thus the disciple can love and submit in his heart, and render supreme honor and service to his beloved Lord. And the disciple will do this with unmistakable and undeniable Truth and Integrity, and give the most Compelling Evidence of God-revealing Authenticity imaginable. And it is God’s Presence, Beloved, coming through the yielded flesh of the disciples… that will pierce and penetrate the unbelieving hearts of other people who may be observing them. (See James 2:14-26).
Consider Again The Video Revealing The Disciple Dog’s Testimony
It is obvious from the dog disciple’s ‘body language’ that he is blissfully happy interacting with his master. The love he has for his master is written all over him, is it not? The dog loves to be with that person and to have his or her full attention. He loves the opportunity to please and gratify his beloved master. That person is all that matters to this dog. And the dog’s obedience is what makes the entire performance possible. Without that obedience, there is no way to prove to the world that this human is a master trainer, and that he or she is actually the master of this dog. It’s only by the way the dog behaves and interacts with the human that testimony is given. This proves who and what that human really and truly is, in relation to that dog! And so this dog’s entire being and activity are the ‘living proof’… his willing, wholehearted cooperation and partnership with this master… gives unmistakable testimony and proof that this human is truly the supreme lord and life of the dog. And beloved, so was it with Stephen and the risen Messiah… and so can it be with you, and me, and the beloved Lover of our souls.
Our Master Yeshua is proven to be our Lord and King… by the way we do what He says! And, if we do what He says, we prove that we are actually a living part of His Kingdom
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46).
If we do not obey His commands, how can we claim to be His servants and how can we call Him, ‘Lord’ in Spirit and in Truth?
“… After calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His Name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:40-42, Emphasis added.)
If We Obey The Lord Who Defeated Satan, Satan Is Proven To Be A Liar
Satan is forever claiming that God is not really God, and that He cannot be trusted. And this is why disciples must be trained and prepared to stand against his outrageous lies and be willing to give convincing testimony to the contrary when the times of their cross-examinations in The Arena of Testimony are at hand. When it’s time to undergo satanic cross-examinations that will include excruciating temptations and tribulations, we do not show off or perform before the other people that may be watching. Nor do we perform for the angelic beings that are always watching.
We are there to confront our demonic enemies and expose them and discredit their lies, by demonstrating our airtight faith, hope and trust in our God… not because He ‘bribes’ us to do it, but simply because our Lord is worthy of all trust and obedience! And we glory in the opportunity to prove that He is one with us, and we are one with Him. And as long as we are one with Him, and do everything together with Him as one unit, there is nothing Satan can do or say to disprove our testimony! Thus he is exposed and shown to be the lying fraud that he is.
Our testimonies in the Arena are meant to prove whether or not our Master has our full attention and whether or not He lives in us and whether or not it is in Him, from Him, and for Him that we live and move and have our being. (Acts17:28) Our lives must be the proof that we glory in the awareness of being in His Perfect Presence and that we delight in drawing everything we need from Him and that He can actually be trusted without reservation or hesitation.
Thus, like Stephen, we are ultimately ‘performing’ for an audience of One. Ultimately… it is to our God that we render our Testimony. It is for Him that we dance with His Word. Regardless of cost or consequence, we pour ourselves out before Him, as our act of ultimate Love and Devotion. This is how we respond to the awesome Ever-Faithful God who has proven that He has given all of Himself to us, and for us.
Yeshua is our endless ‘Daily Bread’ and ‘Living Water.’ We soak ourselves in His eternal Perfection and Closeness and in the Loving concern He always bestows upon us. We rejoice in pleasing and testifying to our beloved Shepherd, as He vindicates His Father’s Holy Name and validates His Father’s claims by the power of the Holy Spirit…with us and through us. And in the midst of this, Satan is silenced and rendered to be powerless and desolate.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so PROVE to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:7-11, Emphasis added.)
By obeying our Master we testify that He is Lord of all Creation. Our obedient attitude and willingness to follow Him regardless of the cost, reflect back to Him the love that first came to us from Him. We are the image and likeness of God’s Word. We are His property and possession; He is our Life and Agenda and Motive and Destiny, and our obedience makes it obvious that He holds absolute authority over us (Matthew 28:18). Nothing else matters but that we acknowledge, exalt and respond to Him like this. We perform for Him, in the presence of His enemies, because He deserves our full attention, devotion, love and obedience at all times.
Loving Obedience Is How We Can Persevere To The End
This close interaction with our Lord and Master in The Arena is the secret of the martyrs. It is how Stephen proved to be worthy of the title, ‘disciple.’
“…Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into Heaven and saw the Glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them!’ Having said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:54-60)
Notice where Stephen’s attention remained permanently fixed…even as the people around him were killing him! His mind, heart and soul were fixed at that critical moment, where they had always been fixed during the years leading up to this critical moment…on the overwhelming Glory and Presence and Perfection of Yeshua, His Master who lived within him. Not even the fury of Hell and the venomous hatred of his human enemies could pry his attention away from His Lord. By that time, the habit had become far too strong. No outside interference was able to break it. And because Stephen was one with His risen Master in the Arena…His risen Lord who holds the highest place in Heaven allowed Stephen to join Him there, even while his dying body remained on Earth. This is the proof that lets us know how very, very well Stephen had learned his boot camp training lessons.
The Lord was everything that Stephen needed, and he knew it. And this knowledge of His Lord is what empowered Stephen to display the very same faith, obedience, love and devotion that Yeshua Himself had rendered to His Father on the Cross. Yeshua’s Love was Stephen’s secret Power and Ability that empowered him to remain faithful to the end. Yeshua took His Covenant friend all the way across the ‘finish line,’ as Stephen was allowing His Covenant Lord to live in him and obey His Father from within his flesh. Even though his flesh was being pelted, bruised, lacerated and smashed by the stones, not even that could deprive him of the joy that filled his soul. This is what becomes possible when we abide in our Lord’s Perfect Presence! Abiding in Yeshua is what enabled Stephen to complete the race and enter at last, into His Master’s eternal Triumph.
“And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
Stephen was not intimidated or deterred. Even though the demonic spirits were furiously manipulating the strings of his enemies as if they were puppets, Stephen was too busy to notice. He was totally free… dancing with his beloved Master in the Arena of Testimony. And just as Yeshua once interceded for His enemies from the Cross (Luke 23:33-34), so did He also intercede for them through Stephen’s obedient lips (Acts 7:60). And there was nothing that the Prince of Darkness or his forces could do to deny, question, or stop Stephen’s loving obedience to the Perfect Presence and absolute Authority… and the endless, wholehearted Love that His beloved risen Lord was continually cascading upon him.
God’s enemies were exposed, confounded, stripped naked, and silenced. No one remembers the names of Stephen’s accusers and murderers, except for Saul, who later became the apostle Paul… one of Yeshua’s other outstanding disciples. And, because of such disciples who willingly pour themselves out as living sacrifices before God… the world will never be allowed to forget the risen Lord and Master on whose behalf, and for whose sake, such faithful disciples willingly testify, even to their very last breath!
“He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” (Revelation 3:21-22)
Such Testimony Pierces And Penetrates Hearts Like Nothing Else Can
That witnesses for the opposition, Saul of Tarsus, saw and heard Stephen’s testimony. And the Truth of it gored him to the quick. It affected him so deeply that in a very short time, he too came to know the risen Lord, and became what Stephen was – a true, wholehearted, single-minded disciple. And, at the end of his time on Earth, Paul followed Stephen’s example. The Cross had cut the demonic strings off of him and so when it was Paul’s turn to enter The Arena of Testimony, he too was free to give the ultimate testimony to the Presence and Glory of His beloved Master who was also with him, just as much as He had been with Stephen. And, a after Saul saw Stephen ‘dance’ with his Master, he was never the same. What he saw taking place between Stephen and Almighty God compelled him to learn and perform the very same supernatural dance with his risen Lord… to perfection.
Disciple-level testimony must be airtight and true. It must not leave openings for the powers of Darkness. Such a testimony comes as a result of the disciples’ continuous loving interaction and obedient cooperation with the risen Lord, regardless of what may or may not be happening around them. We must realize that we are never alone. Yeshua is always with us and we must be trained by the Holy Spirit to always be with Him. This is why we practice, over and over and over, learning to interact with and respond to our indwelling Lord… in private, all the time, whether anyone else is around or not. We learn to ‘dance’ with Him perpetually, whether we’re alone, or in the midst of a big crowd. It doesn’t matter where we are, or what may, or may not, be happening… we must learn to allow Him to obey Father through us, at all times. And after that becomes our habit, it won’t matter whether we’re comfortable and at peace, or whether we are being summoned into excruciating circumstances in The Ultimate Arena of Testimony. Regardless of the situation, we will be ready…because we obediently follow His leading… unceasingly. And when that happens, the powers of Darkness are given no opportunity to re-attach their deadly strings to us and recapture us for their purposes.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-20)
This is the kind of testimony God always desired to receive from Adam and Eve…and from Cain and Abel, and from the patriarchs, and from all of His Chosen People, the Children of Israel. He desired it when He led them out of Egypt, through the parted waters of the sea, and during all their time in the wilderness. And it is the testimony He wanted Israel to teach to all the other families of the earth. And it is for the sake of this testimony that He wants all men and women to be ‘grafted into’ Israel and her God-given spiritual, New (Restored Abrahamic) Covenant Commonwealth. Father wants us all to learn to dance with His beloved Son, our Messiah and Master, the Living Word of God, who can now become flesh once again, in us and through us!
“But you are a chosen Race, a royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a People for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light; for you once were not a people, but now you are The People of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
The majority of people in the world ignore God’s call to this level of loving, obedient priestly service. But there are always a few – that Remnant of God’s servants – that believe and wholeheartedly trust and allow the Lord to live and work from within their hearts at this Spirit-empowered level of love and trust. The disciple lifestyle to which our Heavenly Father calls us all, is expressed perfectly with these words:
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might! These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Emphasis added.)
Obedience to God’s Precious Authoritative Word is the acid test of whether or not we have a disciple’s heart. It is also our demon-proof protective Armor and invincible Fortress. Yeshua’s Righteousness covers us as we give our testimony to God. We could never do this in our own strength. In ourselves, we have no strength! Our poor fallen, Sin-corrupted flesh can do nothing pure and righteous unless our Master supplies it! God will accept nothing from Sin-contaminated sources! But what we receive from His own Word, and offer back to Him, will always be accepted and rewarded!
If we fall into the trap of trying to act as independent agents, we prove that we are still puppets with strings that are being manipulated by invisible Powers of Darkness. That is why Yeshua’s Cross must be applied to us, just as it was applied to Him. The Cross cuts the living death and bondage of those demonic strings away from us. And it sets us free to love and obey God and willingly submit ourselves to His Precious Word and Holy Spirit. But if we are not Word-obedient and Spirit-empowered, it won’t matter how religious or spiritual we may try to appear before men. We will be exposed as frauds.
“But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, ‘I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’
“And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the Word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.” (Acts 19:13-20)
Scripture is filled with examples of such human ignorance and carelessness in relation to the Powers of Darkness that always wait for us to let our guard down and provide an opening of disobedience that they quickly exploit. For example, read the story of Achan in Joshua 7, and of Samson in Judges 14-16, and of David in 2 Samuel 11. Look at the religious leaders of all kinds in our time who leave their guard down and are quickly destroyed by the Serpent and disgraced in public. It was the disobedience to God’s Word in their hearts that caused them to falter and lapse and fail their tests in the Arena of Testimony.
It is the Cross of obedience that will cut the strings away from us that the Powers of Darkness once used to manipulate and dominate us in the past. The testimony God will then be able to give, is that we are free of Satan, and no longer belong to his army of deceived, enslaved puppets (Galatians 3:23-29; 4:1-7; 5:13-26). Now the Holy Spirit can empower us to embody Yeshua, our Master. And His Presence can be perceived and recognized by anyone who is able to see us ‘dance’ with Him in The Arena of Testimony.
Humans Are Not The Real Enemy
Scripture warns us that demon-controlled humans are not our real enemies. They are deceived victims of the Powers of Darkness! We must not make the mistake of obsessing over people and what they do, or fail to do. Rather, we should see them as a visible army of victimized ‘puppets.’ Your natural eyes can see the puppets…but only spiritual eyes can see the spiritual ‘strings’ by which the puppets are being manipulated and controlled. And only spiritual eyes can see the demonic beings that continually pull those strings and manipulate this ‘army of slaves’ to do whatever they want.
“…be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10‑12, Emphasis added.)
If you are deceived into assuming that the puppets you see are the enemy, but remain unaware of the invisible strings and demonic manipulators that are pulling their strings, you will be easily outmaneuvered. You will miss the point and be at a tremendous disadvantage until you realize that the puppets are merely victims and dupes of those invisible controlling demonic manipulators. Don’t fear the people that come against us; pity them and intercede for them (Luke 6:27-49). They are where you and I also used to be! Ask the Lord to set them free just as He has freed us! And resist their demonic manipulators, no matter what they may try to say or do through their entranced puppets.
We must be utterly convinced that everything about our Heavenly Father is perfect and all-sufficient and that He is present to us through His Spirit. He is always with us… and in us… to lead us safely through any and all demonic traps, mine fields and deceptions we encounter. Even when our body is dying, God is with us to be our total, absolute and Eternal Victorious Life! (Cf. Psalm 91)
“Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices (habitual) sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot (habitually) sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:7-9)
“But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:6-8, Emphasis added.)
“For the one who has entered His Rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that Rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” (Hebrew 4:10-11)
God’s living Word became flesh to serve as our perfect, impeccable, unassailable Blood Covenant Representative and utterly Sin-less Sacrificial Offering and eternal High Priest. Everything God promised for our Salvation and Sanctification and eternal Inheritance is already in place, completely paid for and freely given to us by the living Word of God…forever! Pay close attention to what His Word reveals to us:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.
“In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His Glory.” (Ephesians 1:3-14, Emphasis added.)
If you are a disciple, God has made you to be one with His Son, the risen King and Messiah of Israel. Therefore, you can expect to enjoy, and experience, and benefit from everything Yeshua is, and all that He has. As long as you abide in Him, Satan can’t touch you or reattach his demonic strings to your spirit, soul and body.
“Therefore if (since) you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our Life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.” (Colossians 3:1‑4, Amplification added)
Is God really your one and only Source? Is He really Perfect? Is He really your All-Sufficient Father and Lord? Have you really been created to enjoy Him, and His Blessing, and Provision, and inherit the fullness of His Finished Work? Did His living Word really and truly create and provide everything you will ever need…and pay for it with His infinitely precious Life-Blood? If your answer is ‘yes,’ then that must be your testimony at all times…whether anyone is watching you, or not. God is always watching… and so is the Serpent.
“A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “IT IS FINISHED!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:29-30, Emphasis added.)
Is the living Word of God enough? Do God’s Scriptures tell the Truth? Are you really saved and filled with the Holy Spirit who is here to empower you to obey God’s commandments? Are you really free from the demonic strings by which Satan and his forces used to manipulate you for their purposes? These are the basic issues being fought over during the ongoing court room drama that is at the heart of human life. And this is why God’s Word serves every human being He has created, with a summons to appear in court as a witness.
You can choose to serve as a witness for the satanic prosecution, or you can testify as a witness for God’s defense. There is no other choice. We will either be disciples of God’s living and written Word, or we will remain ‘offspring of the Serpent.’ So choose for yourself, whom you will serve. It is impossible for any of us to remain neutral.
“Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
“Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35)
“And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the Power of God!
“Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s Wisdom in a mystery, the hidden Wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the Wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory; but just as it is written, “‘Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’” (1 Corinthians 2:1-9)
“But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the Power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the Life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11, Emphasis added.)