Daniel-Wayne Barber/Part 24
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2006|
|Now I want us to see the third aspect of Daniel’s prayer that really has spoken to my own personal heart. And that’s this: the spectacular is rare and isolated when God deals with us in answer to prayer.|
- 1 Three Insights to Prayer – Part 2 (Daniel 10:1-21)
Three Insights to Prayer – Part 2 (Daniel 10:1-21)
Well Daniel, his prayer was initiated by God. He wasn’t a self-initiated man; he was a God-initiated man. That’s why he was not judgmental. As we made the statement last time, and I still think it’s right, people that are judgmental normally are the originators of their own spirituality. They begin their prayer life, they are the ones who witness, they are the ones who go and they look down their nose on anybody else who doesn’t do it their way.
Second thing we saw was that he didn’t hear what he would have liked to have heard. Now to catch you up if you’re visiting and weren’t in the last service, this is in chapter 10. Let’s just read down where these verses are. “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar; and the message was true and one of great conflict,” that’s an answer he did not want to hear. This is something he would not have wanted to listen to, but he understood the message and had an understanding of the vision.
“In those days I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all, until the entire three weeks were completed. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.”
Oh, what an answer he got back. How God ministered to Daniel. You know, in chapters 11-12 you really see what was given to him and in chapters 5-6 you begin to see how God interprets this to him. The message that he got, the one of great conflict is chapters 11-12.
The spectacular is rare and isolated when God deals with us in answered prayer
Now I want us to look at this heavenly visitor and I want us to see the third aspect of Daniel’s prayer that really has spoken to my own personal heart. And that’s this: the spectacular—this is a principle from Daniel’s life—the spectacular is rare and isolated when God deals with us in answer to prayer. Did you hear that? I don’t know if I worded it correctly. I always have difficulty with points. How do you put them? And sermon titles, I don’t know. You put them the way you want to. But the way it came to me was: the spectacular is rare and isolated when God deals with us in answered prayer. Even with His prophets it’s rare and it’s isolated.
Now let’s look again in verse 4, “And on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold,” now, who in the world was this? “there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, he eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.”
Now there are four different speculations as to who this was, and you’re just going to have to make up your own mind. It doesn’t tell us who it was. Some say it’s Gabriel. If you look back in 8:16, you find Gabriel being mentioned. It says, “And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, ‘Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.’” And so Gabriel comes to Daniel and gives him an understanding. In chapter 9 we also find Gabriel in verse 21. It says, “while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.”
But the problem we have with that particular view, that it’s Gabriel in chapter 10, is first of all, why does it take such lengths to describe who he is? And secondly, when Gabriel came to him in the two previous times, he came to reveal something to him alone. And it appears that the angel in chapter 10 is a warring angel and his special role is not simply in revealing what God has to his men, even though this man came. Well, so it could be Gabriel. Who knows if it was Gabriel or not; I don’t.
Then secondly, some say it was Jesus. And I’ll tell you where they come from in a second. But if you’ll look over in verse 13 there is a problem to this. If the same person is in verses 5-6 that is on down in verse 10 and on, then we have a problem. Verse 13 says, “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” Friend, listen: in any spiritual war, regardless of what it is, Jesus does not need the help of any angel. Friend, He’s God and if it’s the same person in verses 5-6 that is found on down later on, we have a problem.
But there is a view that I came across that makes a lot of sense. There are some people who say in verses 5-6 that was Jesus, but in verse 10 it simply says, “a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me,” and it doesn’t say who he is and it could be that an angel picks up in verse 10, but the first vision that he gets is of the Lord Jesus Himself. You know that picture of Him with the flaming bronze and this thing is a beautiful picture just like it is in the book of Revelation. So it very clearly could have been Him, like it was with Joshua when the captain of host came and just stood there. And Joshua said, “Whose side are you on?” He said, “Wrong question. It’s not my problem whose side am I on. Whose side are you on? Get your shoes off, son. You’re on holy ground.” I love it!
It could have been very similar to that situation. As a matter of fact, if I had to make a decision right now as to where I was, I really lean that way. I think the Lord Jesus came and just stood in front of him. I mean, not in all of His splendor, we couldn’t handle that, but He just stood there in that glory in His presence and, boy, it just wiped old Daniel out. Well, that’s the second thought about who this person was.
Thirdly, some say it’s Michael the archangel. But that’s a little interesting, because we just read he has to send help for Michael. It’s interesting how Michael could be there and also helping himself. That just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Plus Michael is assigned to Israel and this angel seems to be fighting over the Gentile nations, the battle over the Gentile nations.
And fourthly the final view is basically is that it is some other high angel that we don’t know anything about that was specifically assigned for this task to come to Daniel just at this time. Well, you’ll have to make up your own mind because it just doesn’t tell us who it was. But it was certainly an angel from verse 10 on. We know that for a fact. From verse 10 on that was an angel dealing, I believe, with Daniel. Now, whoever it was in verses 5-6 literally blows Daniel away. Folks, in his presence it just wiped him out.
Look at verse 7, “Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, while the men who were with me did not see the vision; nevertheless, a great dread fell on them, and they ran away to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision; yet no strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor, and I retained no strength. But I heard the sound of his words; and as soon as I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.”
Literally, if you want to take the right out of the text and understand the meaning there, he fainted; fainted dead away. Friend, you don’t sleep with your face in the ground. You try it: go home tonight and lie down on the floor and put your face down on it. Say, “Ah, that’s what he did; he just lay down and went to sleep.” No, he fainted, just fell flat out. I mean, it just wiped him out. Whoever this person was and again we don’t know, but whoever this person was, there was such a glorious aura around him that just put old Daniel right down and just wiped him completely out.
You know, the question that we have to come to as we look at Daniel’s life—and it’s been quite spectacular so far—why is it that God was so spectacular in sending who He sent to Daniel? Why is it that God had to do this is such a glamorous way to Daniel? And, here’s the second question that comes: do we have the right to expect God to do those spectacular things in our lives?
Now here’s where the caution flag begins to go up. Boy, there are many people—and I periodically will turn the television on and listen when I go home at night. Do you ever do that? And just see what’s floating around and my wife really doesn’t like for me to do that anymore. Sometimes I get angry and we’re going to ruin our television set one night. But I just enjoy hearing things that are going around—and I notice there are certain people in television that enjoy passages like Daniel 10. Oh, they love it. And they’ll pick passages like in Ezekiel 8 or Isaiah 6 and they’ll go through Scripture, they don’t preach the whole counsel, they’ll just simply single out those types. “This is super natural, this is mystical. I like that.” And they’ll begin to preach on that, almost as if they’re telling the viewer, “This can happen to you if you’ll just believe God, if you’ll just walk with Him. God will do that to you. A 700 foot angel will stand in your front yard. Man, you can have a real experience with God.”
I like what John McArthur said one morning. He said a member of his church came into him one day and said, “Brother John, Jesus came in my bathroom this morning and spoke to me.” You know, if you don’t know anything about John McArthur, he’s got a wonderful wit about him. And he looked at him and said, “Well, what was it like? Did you talk to Him?” “Oh, yes, we had a wonderful conversation this morning.” John said, “What were you doing when He came?” “I was shaving.” John said, “Did you keep on shaving?” He said, “Oh, yeah, He’s my friend. He just came to talk to me.” And John said, “You didn’t get in the presence of Jesus, friend. Jesus walked into your bathroom, friend, you’d have crawled through the tiles to get into His presence. You couldn’t have stood it if He’d come that way.”
But you see, a lot of people think, “Boy, my life is boring. I want to be like Daniel. God, will You do something in the morning? Tell You what, God; I’ll even get up at 4:00 if You’ll do something like that. I want You to move in my life. I want to be thrilled. I want to have goose bumps.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Lord would just come into my room and speak to me? I wonder how many of us could handle it.
Daniel’s experience was an isolated, individual experience of a prophet of God in the Old Testament
There are two things that I want to share about this that I think will help us as we go through it. And help us to bring it off the page and somehow apply truths in our own life. First of all is this, and we need to nail this down; this was an isolated, individual experience of a prophet of God in the Old Testament. Now, friend, when you start making application, if you’re a prophet of God out of the Old Testament, I’d like to talk with you after the service isover today. It’s interesting: I’d like to know what’s coming up. And if you’re wrong, friend, you’ve just disqualified yourself. There are no more prophets like we saw in the Old Testament. It’s a brand new day, brand new covenant. And we need to remember that this was an isolated, individual experience of a prophet of God in the Old Testament.
Verse 7 even tells it: “Now I, Daniel, alone saw the vision.” Not that he was alone, he had men with him. Why didn’t God let them see it? I don’t know. God just let Daniel see it, and such a dread or fear fell around him that the other ones ran away. Kind of reminds us of Isaiah 6 when it says, “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord.” Now, what in the world would that be like? I don’t know. I don’t know, but he saw something of the Lord’s presence and glory and he said, “Oh, woe is me: I am a man of unclean lips.” And, you see, that was Isaiah.
But in Ezekiel, if you want to read Ezekiel, I picked it up this afternoon and was just reading through it. Good night! I mean, that thing starts off with a thriller. I mean, those four men coming towards him and the faces like the face of a man and a bull and I’ve forgotten the other one, and an eagle, and how they come and the wheels beside them and as they came the Spirit would move and wherever the Spirit would move, they would move and when he stopped, they stopped. It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever read in my life. Then you get over in chapter 8 and it says, “God reached down to me and just pulled me up by the hair and took me behind the scenes to show me the degradation of the priesthood of that day.”
Now, folks, that’s not bad; that’s thrilling and exciting, but it happened to Ezekiel, it happened to Isaiah, it happened to Daniel, but for a specific purpose. You see, these kinds of spectacular things that God does, and we find them in Scripture, appear to be isolated, individual experiences for some purpose that God has in their life. I think a principle that might help us as we try to walk in this Christian walk and understand that the mundane does not mean that God has checked out, and when nothing thrilling is going on does not mean that God has gone anywhere. Hebrews 13:5 says, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” He’s always there, He’s always in control, He always knows exactly what’s happening.
But I think one of the things that would help us, listen, is you don’t build your theological expectations on isolated individual experience. Can I say that again? You don’t build your theological expectations on isolated individual experiences.
I remember when I was just beginning to discover a lot of what God can do and what He has done, I was working in a Baptist assembly in Virginia. And one night I had just been talking with some guys during the day and they told me, “God did this in my life.” And to this day I don’t know which God. They convinced me, but, man, they had this great experience with the Lord. They saw Him do something and the conversation amongst all of us got to be miraculous type stuff and God does miracles every day, friend.
I want to show you something, what God showed me that night. I went out in the back and I got down on my knees. It was late and everybody had gone to bed. And I said, “Oh, what a perfect time.” I mean, it was beautiful. It was up in the mountains and I could see the city of Lynchburg sitting down there in the valley and it was just gorgeous. Full, clear sky, the stars were out. And I got out there and I thought, “I’m going to see God do something.” And I said, “Oh God, just do something. I know You’re out there. I know You flung the stars into space and I know You spoke the world into existence, but oh God, just do something to let me know You’re there.”
Isn’t that about the dumbest thing you could possibly say? You’re looking at a universe that scientists, it blows their minds every day. You take a science book off the shelf some place; it’s already out of date. They can’t figure it out. And here you are looking into the vast universe, and they say that our universe is just a part of another universe and a part of another one and part of another one. And I’m saying, “God, show me something. If You’re really out there, show me, God.” I don’t know what I expected. Maybe a plane would crash. I saw one fly by. I didn’t want to hurt the people, but “Do something. Let it catch on fire and land and let everybody live, but just let me see You do something. Lord, drop a star out of the sky, just throw that thing across all the way and I’ll just take that as a sign.” Man, I stayed there for about a solid hour working myself up trying to get Him to do something. I was in a lather. And God hasn’t done anything yet. Maybe He doesn’t love me like He does my friend. How come they had an experience and I didn’t have one.
About that time, I know that it had to have been the Lord. He made me conscious of something that I had overlooked. A breeze was blowing, and for some reason or other that breeze just sort of caught me right in the face and just went on. And I thought, “Wait a minute. The wind. That’s a miracle. Jesus said nobody knows where it comes from; nobody knows where it’s going. You know what we have done? We have forgotten, friends, the very fact that your heart is beating right now is a miracle of God. We have forgotten about the fact that the sun rising in the morning is a miracle of God. He set this into existence. We have somehow projected ourselves beyond the mundane. We have projected ourselves into the twilight zone. God, You have to do something big or I don’t believe You’re out there.
That’s crazy, folks. You want to see the greatest miracle God’s ever done on this earth? It’s not somebody speaking in tongues, it’s not somebody seeing the Red Sea parting, it’s not somebody seeing these other things that we’ve seen in Ezekiel and Daniel and Isaiah. You know what the greatest miracle on this earth, and I really, honestly believe that’s what Jesus was talking about in the greater world, we’ll never do anything greater than Jesus. You find any miracle on this earth that is greater than what the Son of Man did on this earth. Well, friend, the greatest miracle is salvation and the transformation of the human heart. You know what a miracle is? A miracle is when I’m at home and my wife and I have a “religious disagreement,” a “holy argument.” The greatest miracle is Wayne dying to Wayne and asking my wife to forgive me because the presence of the Holy God lives in my life. That’s miraculous, folks.
It’s miraculous when you get fired on a job and you don’t hold bitterness to the people that fired you, but you trust a sovereign God to somehow work it out in the end. You know God has a purpose. That’s a miracle. God has invaded the human heart. What are we doing by thinking God has to do something big or great to impress us? So for whatever it’s worth to you, I think that we need to remember that we don’t build our theological expectations on isolated, individual experiences.
Friend, we’re all going to have experiences. I could share some with you and you’d think, Wow. You could share some with me and I’d go, Wow. But I guarantee you some of yours are better than mine. Some of mine might be better than yours. Does that mean I’m any different than you are? Do you realize, folks, Jesus is supposed to be our experience. That’s it. That’s it. Man, we’re chasing after what He can do, rather than just simply seeking after who He is.
You know, I heard a story and I think it sort of brings the point. There’s a story of a man who survived the Johnstown Flood and he died later on, not because of the flood, and he finally got to heaven. And all the saints were in heaven and St. Peter called a testimony meeting one night. “Okay, we’re all going to share. We’ve got about a million here.” This is all in heaven now. “Let’s just share a little bit.” And so everybody came together and he runs up and says, “Now if you’ve got a really good experience that you had on this earth, you come up here and get your name on this list.”
This guy runs up and he grabs the guy that’s taking all the names and he said, “Man, put me in the front of the list. Put me somewhere on top.” He said, “Why?” He said, “Man, I survived the Johnstown Flood. You won’t believe how we survived that thing. Man, it was something else. You put me at the top of the list.” And the guy got excited. “Whew, that’s good. Let’s see. Okay, I’ll put you right behind Noah.”
“Oh, Brother Wayne, I have had an experience.” Well, brother, I hope you have hundreds and hundreds more, but quit building your theological expectations off of isolated, individual experience. Stand on the Rock of a person and quit thinking you’re more spiritual than somebody else because something has happened to you and when you talk to them it seems pretty boring in their life.
I’ve often thought of the poor housewife that hears messages on what God is supposed to be doing in their life. You know, I didn’t realize what they did until I’ve had to do a few of those things. I didn’t realize that. Man, I got a lather worked up just vacuuming upstairs the other day. I’m thinking, “I’m sweating like a hog and I hadn’t even got to downstairs yet.” You think of a young mother sitting in a congregation like this, hearing someone standing up and saying, “You can have these marvelous experiences, spectacular things. God will come in and clean your house.” You think of her with small children. You know, I’m trying to be humorous about this but I’m really serious with my point.
Listen, folks, there’s a lot of people under such condemnation because they haven’t “had those kinds of experiences.” So? Listen, when you just love Jesus, that’s enough. You can even get joy out of changing a baby’s diaper, but that is a miracle in itself if you do. What I’m trying to say is we live in America, man, and if you’re not having something with the bells going off and the sirens going off, it seems like something is wrong with your life. There’s nothing wrong with you. Probably a whole lot more right than the ones that they are going off. They had pizza before they went to bed.
Daniel experience was to give God’s prophet a special message from God
Alright, secondly. This was an isolated, individual experience to a prophet of God. Secondly, I think this will help as we view this experience. This was to give God’s prophet a special message from God. Understand what I’m saying: God’s prophet, a special message from God. It was not to take chapter 10 and jump to the New Testament and begin to build theology out of it. If you’re studying Daniel, why did he do it in Daniel’s life? Quit thinking that this has anything to do with the New Testament. It has to do with Daniel, it has to do with Israel, and God had a specific message to Daniel in the midst of it.
You know, in verses 10-11, let’s notice what he says. “Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.” Something else that has impressed me is every time Daniel would get weak, he would just have a touch and he would be strong. Isn’t that incredible how God does that in our life? But anyway, “And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man of high esteem, understand the words that I am about to tell you and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’” Folks, I want to tell you something: this miraculous, spectacular event that took place in Daniel’s life was a calculated move by a sovereign God. You don’t understand it; you just accept it and you believe it.
He was sent from God to Daniel. God has something specific in using the spectacular to communicate to Daniel. You know, God wanted Daniel to know something and because He wanted him to know something, He wanted us to know something. So we have it in print right here and we can understand it from God’s Word. And you know what I think it is? And again, understand what I’m saying. But I believe it and nobody’s convinced me differently yet. You know what I believe He’s doing? Following the whole of Daniel, the context of Daniel, that even though the message that he got about his people has been very, very difficult, God wanted somehow to assure Daniel. “Daniel, it’s going to be tough for your people. Four hundred and ninety years and it’s going to be a major conflict and war and pain and suffering and strife. But, Daniel, I want you to know something: God still loves Israel. And, Daniel, when you go to bed at night, don’t you ever worry about that because God is sovereignly in control of His covenant people. And He will not let them all go. He will bring them back to Himself.”
Two things: first of all he pulls the curtain back. Now, something is going on in the heavenlies that we’re not even aware of. There’s a spiritual war in the heavenlies, very clear from Scripture. And he pulls the curtain back and says, “Daniel, I want you to see something. I want you to see something. Look behind these curtains.” And he shows him first of all that God is winning the battle in the spiritual battle over the Gentile nations. The Gentile kingdoms that we saw in chapters 1-7. Notice what he says in verse 12, “Then he said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this,’” how long had he prayed? Twenty one days, right, three weeks? Alright, “from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.” God already had the answer. That’s why He had you pray. He wanted to tell you something. But somehow He uses the vehicle of prayer. There’s just a strange mystery to me about that.
Verse 13, “But the prince of the kingdom of Persia,” now, who is the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Now we’re talking about angels speaking to him so we’ve got to be talking in spiritual terms, so the prince here has got to be a demonic prince, one of Satan’s own, who evidently wanted the nation of Persia. He says, “the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days.” How long was he praying: 21 days, “then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.” Isn’t it interesting that he mentions the Gentile nations first?
And he goes on to say a little later on, he says, “But the prince of Greece is on its way.” What was the next king that followed Medo-Persia? It was Greece. And evidently Satan began to understand that God is doing something with the Gentile nation. Satan would much rather use them for his own purposes, but the problem with Satan is that he’s a creation, he is not the creator. It is not a co-equal power and God wanted Daniel to know, I believe, that “I’m winning the war in the heavenlies. Daniel, something is going on beyond your comprehension and it’s a battle in the spiritual heavenlies.” And I don’t understand all that friend, but I’m winning it and I believe what this angel is saying to Daniel is, “Listen, we’re carrying out his orders and we’re seeing to it that he does exactly what He has decreed in His Word that would happen to the princes of Persia.”
Not only Persia, but Greece and all of them: God is in control, folks. I’m telling you, the way people would have you think today, Satan is in control. And friend, it’s like Josef Tson said just not long ago. A man walked up to him and said, “Josef, what do you think Satan’s next move is in Romania?” He said, “Friend, that’s not the problem. The problem is what’s God’s next move in Romania?” We’re so hung up on what Satan is doing in the heavenlies. Friend, he wanted to see what God’s doing in the heavenlies and He’s winning the war over the Gentile nations, bringing about the decreed Word of God of what will take place on this earth. There’s a heavenly battle going on, friend, and God’s winning it.
But the second thing I think he does is he pulls it back just a little bit further. “I want to show you something else, Daniel.” Look at verse 20, “Then he said, ‘Do you understand why I came to you?’” I love that phrase. “But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come.” And we’re going to whip them, too. Because God is going to see to it that His will is carried forth. But look in verse 21, “However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. (Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your prince.)”
Now what in the world is he talking about? I believe that what’s happening here is that he’s telling Daniel, “Daniel, this is tough on you, I know. And you love your people; you’ve grieved over your people. And it’s going to be tough; it’s going to be hard, it’s going to take a long time before your people can be broken. But not only is God winning the war in the heavenlies and manipulating what He’s doing in history, but, Daniel, He’s assigned Michael the archangel to Israel. Daniel, do you know who is the one fighting for Israel? Do you know who the one is in chapter 12 that takes his stand to defend Israel? It’s Michael. You can’t touch Michael, friend. Michael is the one who has been assigned to your people.”
You know, I want to remind you of something. This angelic conflict in Daniel had nothing to do with Daniel. Can I say that again? This angelic conflict had nothing to do with Daniel. He was simply let in on some information. Daniel was not fighting those forces; God was fighting those forces in the heavenlies. And I want to suggest something to you and you can throw it right back at me if you want to. That’s alright. Friend, to interject ourselves in to that arena of warfare is to misunderstand what Ephesians 6:12 is talking about. I don’t, through my prayer, crawl into the heavenlies and do anything. But listen, it’s going on: yes. And there is an adversary: yes. And he has a demonic force: yes. But what am I supposed to do with that demonic force? I supposed to do one thing and you’ll not find anything else. I’m to stand, just stand and don’t budge.
Well, then, how do I stand? Look at 1 Peter 5:8. You know a lot of people talking so much about the devil anymore, that I think we’ve lost complete sight of the fact who God is and what He is doing. I saw this the other day and it just dawned on me. It just jumped out at me. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith.” Not in “your” faith; the literal there is “the” faith.
Let me show you something what Peter tells these persecuted believers of Asia Minor. You know what’s behind your whole persecution? You know where it’s all coming from? It’s Satan working through the lives of disobedient and lost people. Yes, that’s where it’s coming from. But you can stand and you can resist and I’ll tell you how. It’s so clear to me. First of all he says, remember, you stand firm in the faith. What does that point to? Not just the gospel of salvation but, friend, the whole counsel of the Word of God. Your stand, first of all, has got to be within the sphere of the Word of God.
How am I going to stand against Satan? Friend, I’m not going to chase him around. I’m just going to stand. If he wants me, he’s going to have to come find me. I’m going to chase Jesus around. He never told me to pursue evil, He told me to pursue righteousness. Is that not correct? What in the world are we doing running around trying to find him? Don’t you worry, you find Jesus and he’ll find you.
How do you stand? Within the sphere of your faith. Now watch this: “Be of sober spirit,” the word nepho. There are two contrasting words in Scripture that have just thrilled me as I begin to understand it, as we run it through the New Testament. Nepho is the word that is used there for being of sober spirit. Sometimes the word sophron is also translated “sober,” and you get confused as to what he’s saying. Why do the translators get so mixed up? Well, sophron, which is not the word used here, is for Christians to use sound judgment. In other words, it talks about a saved mindset, but it’s referring to things that are legal for us. I can eat, can you eat. It’s alright for me to drink or whatever, but to moderation. Now, if you want a term that has anything to do with moderation, that’s the word sophron. In other words, you exercise your senses and your self-control in the spirit and make sure that when you eat, you eat to a certain moderation, or when you whatever you do.
Isn’t it interesting that that is not the word used when it comes to wine in the Scripture? The word nepho is used. And the word nepho as I can understand it in the New Testament refers not to use in moderation but to totally abstain from. Stay away from it. Stay away, don’t you even touch it. Friend, there’s a whole closed area to the Christian life. Do you know that? There’s not only “do” in the Christian life, there are “don’ts” in the Christian life whether we like it or not. And those “don’ts” have anything to do with the flesh and we are not to touch it, not even touch it: stay away from it. And that’s the word he uses here. In other words, what I see is when I’m in the counsel of God in the faith, there are certain things, if I’m going to walk in victory, I’d better not touch. And that would take me about six years to finish applying that. I think it applies to the devil.
The second thing is, in the faith, I’m to be on the alert, like a sentry. Friend, I’m to be in the faith to the point that I know what God says, because I understand from my personal feeling about the Scripture is, the battlefield is between my two ears. And Satan would love for me to begin to grab a humanistic message in this world. But if I know the Word of God, a red flag will go up and friend, I can stand firm in the faith, not touching anything that Satan could ever use to work against me in my life, and being on the watch for anything that does not conform to the Word of God.
Friend, I’ve said it before and I’ll stand on my own two feet and say it again. I may be knocked down with it. Our resistance to Satan is, in effect, our submission to Jesus. You know what I’m discovering? I see it everywhere. There are churches all over this country preaching Jesus. Yes, they know who He is, they know what He did, and they’ve got their doctrine so straight that if they turned one way they’d break. They’ve got it. But they’re leaving something out: the life of Jesus becoming our life. That’s what is missing. And, friend, if you are dying to yourself daily to the flesh—and by that it means you’re in the Word of God. You can’t die to the flesh and not be in the Word of God. There’s no possible way. Because when you die to what you want, you’re going to have to find out what He wants and to do that you’re going to have to come to the Word of God.
I said this for years over and over again like it’s a broken record: until you and I get into the Word for ourselves, quit building what you think off of what I think, because I change my mind too much. Build it off of what God’s Word says. But when you study it have some kind of hermeneutic. Don’t grab a verse here and a verse there and put them together and build a doctrine off of it. Take the Book as it is and study it as it is and let that build you and make you strong to stand there. And when we start doing that friend, it is no longer Wayne’s way and Wayne’s will, but now it’s God’s way and God’s will. Satan can’t touch the believer.
There’s a teaching going on about being demonized, passive voice. And the conclusion is that since you can be demonized in its passive voice, and since the demon evidently is in control of you, you have to be delivered in order to walk differently. The only problem I have with that, from Scripture—not from experience, do you understand what I’m saying? Friend, experience will blow us out of the water right now—I’m saying from Scripture. I find in the Christian life in Colossians 1, that when I walk worthy, and please Him in all things, there are three present, passive participles that move in. In other words, God takes over me. He does it, I don’t do it. I’m just walking worthy of Him and He’s in control of me. So the passive voice is used there to show me that He now is interjecting His life through me. And listen, if the passive voice is true on the positive side, as a result of my obedience, then on the negative side it must be true of my disobedience. My deliverance, friend, is at the cross on my face before Jesus as I begin to now walk in the reality of what His Word says. I have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the precious kingdom of His dear Son.
Now is that to say I don’t believe in demons? Are you crazy? I know good and well that they’re around. Does that mean I don’t believe in Satan? You crazy? I’m not dumb or stupid. I know he’s around. But, folks, I also know that I don’t live in the same covenant that Daniel lived in and, friend, there’s no way in the world a demon is going to stop the prayer to almighty God that I pray. Do you know why? Because I don’t approach Him as if He’s there and I’m here. He’s in me. And the only thing that ever delays any answer to my prayer is either my own disobedience or the fact that God just decides to wait a little while.
Folks, that’s where I am, and in these days there are a lot of different sounds. Let’s remember this: when we disagree it’s not that we don’t love one another, but if we love the Word we’re going to have to come somewhere towards an understanding. Second Peter says that the Scripture is of no private interpretation. Either I’m so flat wrong I’m in left field, and if I am would you pray for me. Don’t cast me out of your fellowship; pray for me that God would enlighten my mind. But, friend, I want you to know that I’m not going to fight with you if you disagree. I’m going to pray for you the same way. Somewhere we’ve got to strike some common ground. Does the Christian life work or doesn’t it? Do I have to depend on you to deliver me or do I depend on the Deliverer who lives in me? Do I come to His cross and do I depend on His shed blood? And it says, and I want to remind you in Revelation, they overcame him. How? By the word of their testimony, by the blood of the Lamb and they didn’t even love their lives: even unto death.
Why is it any different in a Christian life? You might be here and you think you’re under some oppressive thing. Usually, from what I discern in Scripture, if I’m under anything that is holding me down passively, it’s the result of my own choice. And if it was the result of my own choice for me to be in that dilemma to begin with, I’ve got the power of the Holy Spirit to make a new choice. And I can choose to do what God’s told me to do. I think a lot of times what we’re seeing in deliverance is nothing more than a person you thought was a Christian. As best I can understand it, deliverance in Scripture and this is where I am too, might as well put it all on top of the table, I believe deliverance is salvation, friend. The absence of the demon has never meant anything in Scripture. It’s not the absence of the demon; it’s the presence of the King. Jesus said, “If I cast out Beelzebub, by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, My kingdom has come upon you.” You dare Satan to enter that kingdom. I’m just property, friend.
I’ll try to illustrate it a different way. Don’t you bother my kids; I’m going to fight for them. You know, when you come into my yard to get my family, forget this thing about having peace towards all men. I may have to blow your brains out if you’re going to hurt my family. How people take that thing the wrong way. I want to tell you something: if I’m that way about my kids, what do you think God thinks about us? Folks, we have been saved to the uttermost. Quit worrying about what Satan is doing. Be aware, be alert, but also be sober. Start looking and seeing what God is up to. And whip Satan right where he belongs. Jesus, Jesus, what can wash away my sin? Nothing, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Victory in Jesus, my Savior. The word means rescuer, deliverer, for what? Forever? That’s right. I sometimes could just shout. I don’t come towards victory, friend, I come from it. I just have to learn to appropriate it at the cross and under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, be careful when you look through Daniel 10. Don’t build your theology on an isolated individual experience that God gave to a prophet for a specific, calculated reason. Don’t for some reason think that you’re that way and don’t be bored with the mundane. God is in mowing the grass just like He is in preaching the Word because He’s in the one doing both. That’s the key.