DAILY DISCIPLINE #197
By Colleen Donahue
We have been looking at our life with Christ in the three words that the Apostle Paul used in Ephesians: SIT, WALK, AND STAND. I have derived this study from the truths which a Chinese brother named Watchman Nee taught and preached in China during the mid-twentieth century. His followers, using their notes, preserved these important truths in a book later published as “Sit, Walk, Stand” by Watchman Nee. I hope you can get a copy for yourself to read.
In the first study we saw that Christianity does not begin with walking but with sitting down. We don’t start our Christian walk by doing anything. We start with recognizing what has already been DONE in Jesus.
Then in the last study we looked at the second word: WALK. Once we are seated with Christ then we are in the place where we can walk with Him. God’s intention is that we walk our entire life in partnership with Christ.
Now, in our final study we look at the word: STAND. Christ came to get back our Kingdom which we lost to Satan through sin. He has defeated Satan already by his death and resurrection. We don’t need to fight to get our ground but we do need to “take our stand” in order to keep it.
SIT, WALK, STAND – Our Life with Christ in Three Words – Part 3
- Every Christians starts by sitting down in the finished work of Christ. This enables us to walk in holiness towards God’s goal for us here on earth. But we also must know how to stand before our enemy. In these verses notice that three times Paul mentions our need to stand.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (especially vs 11,13,14)
The order in Ephesians – SIT, WALK, STAND – is important. If we haven’t first rested in Christ’s finished work, if we aren’t walking in holiness, then in the realm of spiritual warfare, all will be talk. For we won’t know the reality of standing unless we have sat first and then walked in a manner worthy of the Lord.
- Satan is God’s archenemy. He has myriads of demons and fallen angels in his forces who are at his command to overrun the world with evil and exclude God from his own kingdom.
Reread: Ephesians 6:12
What we “see” is flesh and blood, but behind the people Satan uses for his evil purposes, is a whole world system orchestrated by the powers of darkness. God as the Creator of Heaven and earth has dominion over it through man. Satan usurped dominion over the earth when man chose to sin and walk independent from God. These two forces – God vs Satan-- are always at work. The church is the body of Christ to take back dominion of this earth.
- All Christians must come to the place where they can use the authority God has given to us. But there is a big difference in physical warfare and spiritual warfare. God’s principle for us is found in…
In Greek, to “stand against” really means to “hold your ground”. The ground disputed by the enemy is really God’s and therefore is ours. We aren’t called to advance into foreign territory to take it as a physical enemy would do. The ground is already ours and so God calls us “to stand”.
- Here is the difference in defensive warfare vs. offensive warfare. In defensive warfare we already have the ground and only need to “stand our ground” in order to keep it. In offensive warfare we don’t have the ground and need to fight in order to take it. God gave the earth to men to manage. It is already ours. Our warfare is defensive and that is why nearly all the weapons mentioned in Ephesians are defensive weapons. The sword (as the one offensive weapon) is also used on defense.
Reread: Ephesians 6:14-17
- It was Christ who fought an offensive war with Satan to take back our kingdom given to us by God to have rulership and dominion over.
- Jesus did the difficult offensive warfare so that we could then hold the ground He got back for us. By the resurrection, God proclaimed His Son victor over the whole realm of darkness. Today we are called to maintain the victory that Christ gained for us and we can be more than conquerors because Jesus was.
- We don’t fight for victory; we fight from victory. Therefore, what we display is our triumph in Christ’s victory.
2 Corinthians 2:14
- But what if defeat seems to be our experience? Could it be that we are fighting to get victory? If that is so then we have lost the battle at the outset and have relinquished our ground to the enemy. Victory is still ahead of us instead of behind us. What is wrong? Overcomers rest in the victory already given to them by God. Our power comes because Jesus has finished his work of overcoming God’s archenemy and therefore has sat down at the right hand of God.
- Because we are “in Jesus”, we too are seated at the right hand of God.
- It’s by our position in Christ seated with God, that we too overcome in our day-to-day trials and troubles. It’s only because we are first seated that we can stand. Even if the difficulties around you don’t seem to change, and the lion is roaring loudly, you are a victor in Jesus on the field and should give thanks.
THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST’S NAME
If we are honest, we have to admit that although Jesus has won the victory, we don’t see all the hosts of wickedness submitted to Him. Dark and evil powers still seem to be occupying territory that is rightfully Christ’s. So, how are we justified in occupying territory that is outwardly the enemy’s, but holding it in the name of Jesus?
- None of us can be effective in standing our ground unless we know the authority we have in Christ’s name. How much authority does Jesus have?
- What does Christ’s authority extend over?
Matthew 8:27 / Ephesians 1:10, 21-22 / 1 Peter 3:22
- Christ’s name is not just the name he was called on earth. It was the name invested with the title and authority given by God after he had become obedient unto death.
In America, every president had a name from his parents. But when he was elected president, that name suddenly became a powerful tool used by diplomats all around the world. Why? Because it was backed by the power and authority of the U.S. Government. Similarly, the name of Jesus now represents the power and dominion given to Him by God.
- Jesus has placed the authority of His name in our hands to use in our role as ambassadors of the Kingdom of God. What is the repeating phrase used in these verses?
John 14:13-14 / 15:16 / 16:23-24, 26
Six times in these few verses Jesus tells us directly that He wants us to approach the Father in His name because all authority in Heaven and earth is His and He is giving that to us! Notice in John 16:26 that Jesus tells us plainly He won’t be making requests to the Father on our behalf anymore. Why? Because He has given the authority of His name for us to use. If we don’t use it, then we will not be able to stand in the evil day.
- Now reread these amazing verses and this time notice WHO will be fulfilling what we ask for in Jesus’ name?
John 14:13-14 / John 15:16 / John 16:23
Did you notice that twice Jesus says, “I will do it” and then twice He says, “He (the Father) will give you”? So, when we use the authority of Christ’s name, all of Heaven flies into action to fulfill what we ask for.
- Watchman Nee shares that the power of Christ’s name operates in three directions. Let’s look at the same verses in John.
First it is to be used in all of our asking towards God. For twice we are told, “whatsoever you shall ask…” and then again two times He says, “If you shall ask anything….”
John 14:13-14 / John 15:16 / John 16:23
- Second, it is to affect the salvation of men through our preaching, teaching, or writing.
Luke 24:47 / Acts 4:10-12 / Acts 10:43
- Third, it is to be used in warfare against Satan.
Mark 16:17 / Luke 10:17-19 / Acts 16:18
Do you see that God has committed Himself to act through men as they use the authority of His Son’s name? Our part as ambassadors here on earth, is to act to extend the Kingdom of God. We see a need, or we see evil at work, and so we go to the Father and ask in Jesus’ name for whatever is needed. And when we go to ask, the Father sees a son or a daughter seated with Christ in the heavenly places and He knows that Christ’s name has been entrusted to us. On that basis, He then acts. God has allowed Himself no other way to complete what He wants to do except through us.
The question to ask ourselves is, “Can God commit Himself to you and I?” For when Jesus gives His name to us to use, then he takes responsibility for what we use it for. Are we in such communion with Jesus that God will commit to back us up?
WHAT WORK CAN GOD COMMIT HIMSELF TO?
- First, God can commit Himself to requests that are in line with His big plan and eternal purposes. We have a relationship with God much like an architect and a builder. The builder can’t be asking to put door in where the blueprint says windows are supposed to be. The end game is that God’s Son will be preeminent as the King of kings, and Lord of lords in the Kingdom of God. What we know of organized Christianity will eventually make way for the Sovereign rule of Christ with many brothers and sisters ruling and reigning with Him.
Evangelism for example is only a tool to return as many as possible to the original plan of God. It’s not the end in itself. So, in our asking God in Jesus’ name, our asking must be directly related to God’s big plan and He has revealed that to us by the Holy Spirit. Seek to know that plan and questions of daily guidance will fall into place.
- Second, God can commit Himself to work that He alone initiates. Jesus did only the work God gave Him to do as our example.
- Today there is much work being done that is initiated by us and then we ask God to “rubber stamp” it by blessing us. It may even be classified as “good work”. But if God doesn’t initiate or authorize it, then it will not be legitimate work in the Kingdom of God. Paul tells us that our role in this world is that of an ambassador.
2 Corinthians 5:20
Do you know that an ambassador only speaks and acts in line with the government that he serves under? His personal opinions and actions are of no account. Only what he says and does in line of duty to his government is of any account.
- This means that often our work for God will mean saying, “No” to all the good and interesting things that are presenting themselves to us. We see this in the Book of Acts. Paul and Silas were anxious to tell everyone about Jesus. But twice in these verses the Holy Spirit prevented them from going where they had originally planned. We aren’t told the reason, but ambassadors don’t need to know everything. They just need to be obedient to their government.
We must have a knowledge of God’s will in my sphere of work so as to pray and act in accordance. The key element of all true Christian work is… “in the beginning God…” If God doesn’t initiate, we dare not move apart from Him. He has no obligation to bless the plan we organize and act upon.
- Third, the work that God can commit Himself to is that work which depends upon His power alone. He may initiate a work, but if we try and do it in our own natural strength it will fail. What is “natural strength” is anything that we can do apart from God’s help. What is Christ’s verdict in all work done with and without Him?
At the time of judgment there may be some of us who will be saved, but all the “work” that we labored so hard in “for the Lord” will account for nothing.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15
- It is our “self” that will always be the biggest obstructor to God’s work. For all who want to be used by God must first experience a crippling touch to weaken our natural strength. We see this over and over in scripture. When God dislodged Jacob’s thigh, he limped the rest of his life. But after the struggle, there walked a man who was now dependent upon God.
“God never asks us to do anything we can do. He asks us to live a life which we can never live and to do a work which we can never do.” (Watchman Nee; Sit, Walk, Stand; p. 58)
- Finally, God can only commit Himself to work where He gets the glory for it. We have to settle that in work where God gets all the glory, it means that we get none of it. It’s true that we will have a joy in doing what God has asked of us, but the reason for our joy is that God will receive all the glory.
Ephesians 1:6, 12-14
When a work is wholly God’s and for His glory alone, then all hell has to recognize that when we use the name of Jesus, God will be free to work in wonderful ways. He longs that we be partners with Him and He will do for us far beyond what we could even ask or think to pray for.
Notice in verse 20 all true Christian work is “according to the power that works within us”.
God has given all who come to His Son for salvation -- His Holy Spirit – the same Spirit that Jesus had. We now have God in us as the engine powering our work for Him. Jesus gave us two important commands. First, He bids us “come” to Him. Then, he commands us to “abide” – stay, remain, or live – in Him. It’s only as we abide in Him that this promise can be fulfilled.
And if he fulfills this promise to us who will get much glory?
Let’s end this important study with this summary:
- We begin our spiritual life by sitting down and resting in the finished work of Christ.
- This deep knowing of our acceptance by God, because of what Christ has done on our behalf, enables us to walk with the integrity of God among men.
- But while we live on this fallen earth, we will be opposed by God’s archenemy, Satan.
- If we belong to Christ, we walk in this world as citizens in his kingdom. The place He puts us belongs to Him. We don’t need to advance to take the ground, we need to only stand our ground.
- When we align our work with God’s big plan, then using the authority of Christ’s name is our tool to mobilize all the powers of Heaven and earth to accomplish God’s purposes and to see that He receives all the glory.
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