Kingdom Conquering Faith By Francis Frangipane
Often I have heard Christians presumptuously state what they were "going to do to the devil." The outcome, however, has often been a testimony of what the devil did to them. At one time or another we have all fallen into boasting of our plans or achievements only to fall headlong, tripped by our own pride. Consequently, it is vital to recognize the pitfalls of presumptuous or arrogant "faith" before we approach the idea of "taking our cities."
Nevertheless, while we want to avoid the excesses of presumption, the consequences of unbelief are worse. Jesus never rebuked anyone, saying, "Oh ye of too much faith." We have suffered because we have been too weak to believe God's promises. There is a legitimate dimension of faith that comes from the Holy Spirit. It is motivated by love and guided by wisdom; it comes from heaven empowered to turn our cities back to God. It is no less powerful than the faith of those who "turned the world upside down" in the first century.
Abraham exercised this same faith in respect to the promise of God. Not wavering in unbelief, he grew strong in faith. He knew the heart of God, and that it is the Lord's very nature to give "life to the dead" and call "into being that which does not exist" (Rom 4:17). Abraham knew if the Lord had but ten righteous men, He could deliver Sodom! God is giving us this kind of faith for our cities!
Look at the achievements of our forefathers in faith. Remember, these individuals served God in the Old Testament. God has given greater promises to us (Heb 11:39). Through faith, God's people "...conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight" (Heb 11:33-34).
Many Christians think knowing God's promises is the same as obtaining them. True faith endures through trials, gains character in the testings and literally obtains the promises of God. Faith "conquered kingdoms" in the Old Testament and faith can conquer our cities today! It can draw Christ's very righteousness into the church, enabling us to lay down our lives for our communities, just as He did for the world.
Our flesh says, "I am weak." Yes, Hebrews informs us that our forebears "from weakness were made strong" and "became mighty in war." Our sense of weakness is an improvement over all who are strong in their own strength! Though we acknowledge our weakness, yet in respect to the promises of God, we can grow strong through faith. Faith "shuts the mouths of lions"--- those voices which would otherwise devour us with discouragement or fear. Because of Christ's accomplished victory, and through the knowledge of His word, we are learning to become "mighty in war." We know that, if evil entered our cities through our negligence, evil can leave through our diligence! Indeed, it is possible to put the "foreign armies" of hell "to flight"!
We might question, "But does this fit into my eschatology?" Our "eschatologies" can be an excuse for unbelief. The fact is, we do not know when Jesus is returning. What we do know is that the devil is here now and has invaded our cities.
Where is the church? The body of Christ has been trapped in a doctrine which says: "Between now and when Jesus returns, all that will exist is the apostasy and increasing evil." Paul warned about this time saying, "...in the later times some will fall away from the faith" (I Tim 4:1).
We must incorporate into our understanding the historic fact of the Dark Ages; for over one thousand years the church was in unbelievable sin and apostasy! It is quite possible that the major part of the falling away has already occurred! We may actually be in what the Bible refers to as the "periods of restoration" (Acts 3:24).
Paul said that in later times "some" will fall away. He did not say "all," but "some." From what will they fall away? They fall away from the faith! Now, let us become personal in this matter of the apostasy. Let's not look for the apostasy anywhere else but in the areas of our own hearts. Where have you fallen from confident, expectant faith? Where are you imprisoned by unbelief? If you look at your soul and see no hope for Christ to dwell there, to that degree your faith has fallen. Again, if you gaze at the church and see it as irreparably trapped in sin, you have fallen from faith in that area. And, if you look at your city and it seems incurable, it is likely that your faith is less than what God has provided. Faith looks at life and says, "with God all things are possible!"
Apostasy is indeed here and those who only see a defeated church and darkened cities are, in their own way, living in an apostatized state of unbelief! They know what God has done, but they are dead to what He is doing. They are blind to the harvest, deaf to the outpouring of the Spirit and ignorant of the emerging, unified church! And if you are such a one, please, do not feel condemned, for the grace of God is, even now, here to rescue you from the stronghold of unbelief!
Yes, there is terrible darkness in the earth and a gross darkness upon the peoples; severe judgments are here and will get worse. However, the promise of God---no, the command of God to His people is full of both faith and power. In the midst of the most terrible of times, the greatest darkness, the Lord proclaims, "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you." He assures us, though "Darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples . . . the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isa 60:1-3).
In the midst of the deepest darkness God is sending the brightest light! The word of the Lord states, "Nations will come to your light...kings to the brightness of your rising!" Whatever your eschatology, insert "nations" coming to God's light and "kings" to the brightness of Christ’s glory.
Do you see? If we remain trapped in fear and unbelief, we are already a part of the "falling away from the faith." Those who "know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan 11:32 KJV). But, if we are cleansing our hearts from sin, if we are uniting our hearts with that holy army being raised up in this hour, God will use us to bring "nations" to the light of the Lord. "Kings" will come to the Redeemer. Yes, there is hope even for Sodom to be turned back to God!
Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we repent for our unbelief and apathy. Master, Your grace saved us; we know You can do anything. Give us faith---Your faith---for our cities. Help us to see the expanse of Your love and its capacity to turn even a Sodom back to You!
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