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GOSPEL ECHOES

BY: RAY PRINZING

SPIRITUAL WARFARE
No. 363 "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Romans 8:37. SPIRITUAL WARFARE The lines of the battle are now drawn clear, The challenge is echoed to all far and near, The flesh with its lustings must be overcome, With righteousness only to fill up the sum. The realm of the soul is a battle-front too, Until it is transformed- is made fully new; While deep in our spirit the purgings are made Placed in the balance and carefully weighed. Cycles of pressure to daily pass through, Process of birthing a creation new. Discerning the spirits, each after its kind, To purge of all evil, renewing the mind From carnal conceptions to reasonings true, Wisdom's pure waters that richly imbue. Ah, yes, tis a battle, the truth in contest With dark cosmic forces that seek to molest By whisp'ring suspicions that lurk in the mind, And influence thinking until we are blind. Blind to the knowledge of that which is right, Blind to the shadows that claim to be light. May God, by His Spirit, help us to discern The secret in workings which cause us to turn To paths which are crooked, beguiling the soul Which the bestial system would seek to control. Our weapons of warfare are mighty through God, Who orders the battle, and paths we have trod, To mark every skirmish, and error impale, Pierced by the truth which His grace did unveil. Praise God for the conflict and victory sure, His glory remaineth- His peace shall endure. R.P. SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN THREE DIMENSIONS

"Through God we shall do valiantly: for He shall tread down our enemies." Psalm 60:12
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Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, WAXED VALIANT IN FIGHT, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." [Hebrews 11:33-34] The path of spiritual advancement, while rich with the blessing of God, and the inflow of His grace, is nevertheless one of constant conflict against the forces of evil. The challenge is still for OVERCOMERS! "To him that overcometh..." [Revelation 2:7] if there were no obstacles, there could be no overcoming. The laurels given to the conqueror returning from battle can only be enjoyed by those who first went to battle. "Am I a soldier of the Cross, A foll'wer of the Lamb, And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name? Sure I must fight if I would reign, Increase my courage, Lord. I'll bear the toil, endure the pain, Supported by Thy Word." The militant passages of scripture are many, but we need only give a few to preface this message: "And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me." [Philippians 1:28-30] "But thou, 0 man of God... fight the good fight of faith..." [1Timothy 6:11-12] "Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and ray finger, to fight:" [Psalm 144:1] While another song writer beautifully expresses it this way: "Have your eyes caught the vision? has your heart felt the thrill? To the call of the Master do you answer, "I will"'? For the conflict of the ages, taught by prophets and by sages, In its fury is upon us, is upon us today!" It is evident that the dimensions and intensity of the battles are related to our development in our spiritual life. The more we live and walk in the Spirit, the more our battle will be "in the spirit realm against the negative forces of the dark world. Or, the more carnal our wall, the more we find ourselves engaged against fighting the flesh. And then again- there are times when it seems that the battle is a composite of all three dimensions, body, soul, and spirit, with the real issue being "THE SPIRIT OF THE THING" even though the outward manifestation is in the physical, material realm of this present world. Yet. let it be clear, when we speak of warfare, we are not referring to natural wars which are now in progress around our globe. Nor are we thinking in terms if fighting the enemies of our nation, such as communism, and its infiltration in our land, etc. This is a subject all its own, a condition allowed by God for the discipline, correction, punishment of a people who have turned away from God, to follow their own selfish desires. True, there is an evil spirit force behind this adversary, but used as a part of that divine interplay of good and evil, and ultimately God shall bring an end to this whole present arrangement. While we can appreciate the call which God has given to certain men to wage a warfare against the inroads of communism, and to point out to the people the consequences of allowing sin to have dominion over them, it is only as the Holy Spirit relates this to our own personal development and processing, that lie fin, ourselves truly involved in this particular realm. But Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight... [John 18:36] The focal point of the battle cannot be of this world-since the kingdom we are to possess is not of this world. The real issues lie far beyond this natural sphere. BUT we are in this world, and Jesus
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prayed, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." [John 17:15] So we remain IN, but not of- while God uses the situations and conditions around us in the process of purifying and preparing us to become possessors of that Kingdom which is from above. Thus we find that the battle is not outward, but inward. Far too often people have meddled in natural things, engaged themselves in material conflicts simply as a way of avoiding facing up to the "internal conditions" of their own life. Now we would turn our attention to the real battle before the child of God. An interesting parallel is found in the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, and the three dimensions are clearly seen. We begin with Israel in Egypt- a type of the Christian still in bondage to the flesh. Paul clarifies this carnal realm, when he writes, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" [l Corinthians 3:1-3] Perhaps little needs to be said regarding fleshly warfare in this aspect, how much energy was wasted as we pitted our own strength against another, fought to gain our own will, bickering, envying, jealously guarding our own interests. Such carnality has to go- it has no place in the Christian life. Moses found such a conflict going on in Egypt, "he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren [Exodus 2:11], and he rose to the occasion, following the way of the natural man, and slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. This was body contact against flesh and blood, battle it out, and hide it in the sand. But the results wasn't what he had hoped for, since the next day he found two of his brethren striving together, and trying to settle this quarrel, he was reminded of the action of the previous day, and found it came as a testimony against him. So the next step was obvious, GOD MUST GET MOSBS OUT OF EGYPT, and He caused Moses to flee into the wilderness, and he ended up at the back side of the desert, where "God dealt with him until this "fleshly way of action" was purged out, and Moses became meek before the Lord. We readily agree, there is a battle against the flesh, but we cannot fight flesh with flesh, there is a higher way to gain the victory over the flesh. Yet we do recognize that one of our battle-fronts is the realm of the flesh, and we need to overcome it. Many a Christian profession has been nullified and made of none effect unto others because of the "flesh" that was still visible in the life of the professing Christian. Outbursts of carnality, eruptions of the old nature can dim the light of our testimony. The two striving Hebrews had little confidence in the ability of Moses to settle their dispute after he murdered an Egyptian the day before. We cannot qualify to lead others from Egypt until we first have been delivered from the flesh. So Paul declared, "So fight I, not - as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should - be a castaway." [1 Corinthians 9:26-27] The Lord has many ways of getting us out of Egypt, that is, to draw us out of walking in the flesh, and bring an end to our fleshly pride and prominence. For some it was the proverbial "church squabble", and after a few character assassinations, and uprooting experiences, they are forced to leave that realm Sad to say, often times they leave with a bitter spirit which later must be dealt with by God, but still we see how God has used many of these disagreeable situations to shake people loose, and cause them to open their eyes and see how very fleshly some of these things actually are. Others simply become sick of all the parading of flesh across the platforms, with the ego-projection of some leader, and they too seek a quiet wilderness away from it all. Certainly the Lord has His own way of dealing with us as individuals, but how thankful we are that HE is drawing us away from the flesh, with its striving, weary tension. First Moses was taken out into the wilderness and later all Israel was led out of Egypt into the wilderness. Here we find the second dimension of warfare - for once we have been delivered from Egypt, Egypt needs to be taken out of us, and this deals with the realm of the soul, i.e. the mind. The battle of the mind is one of the most crucial of our day!
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If it required some real shaking experiences, and fierce battles to bring us out of Egypt, it takes even more for the subduing of the natural mind. But the same Lord who was able to deliver us from the FLESHLY RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS, FROM FLESHLY POLITICAL SYSTEMS, FROM FLESHLY FINANCIAL SYSTEMS, and anything else that speaks of bondage to this world, this same Lord, we say, is able to give us the victory in the battle of the mind. "The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God's warfare for the destruction of the enemy's strongholds. Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, Phillips translation] It is amazing to discover how often our reasoning conforms to this world, when we really need the mind of Christ. Nor is our mind renewed in just a single skirmish, but the battle reaches into every avenue of the intellect, while we "cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of Christ." This, however, is only one part of the battle-front of the soul. Another facet is the mental power to choose, i.e. THE WILL. There is a place for the exercise of our will in every battle, it is that point where we will to have God's will in every matter. It is helpful to take a position of intelligent choice at every point, to freely confess, "WE CHOOSE GODS WILL IN THIS MATTER," and then to simply TRUST Him to work out His will in all things. How the enemy tortures us when we think we night have missed the will of God. But when we by an act of choice (on our part), put our will with God's will, then we must trust to lead us into the path of His will, even when we cannot see outwardly the way that He is leading. There is a principle given in the Word that is quite applicable to many situations, namely, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made into salvation." [Romans 10:10] One can earnestly desire the will of God in their heart, but it is most helpful betimes to simply confess with the mouth, "I WILL To HAVE HIS WILL." Thus we become "committed" to Him, and thereafter need to crust that He is fulfilling His will, whether it appears so to us, or not. While it is self-evident that we are not always in a position to carry out our own will, we are in a position where we can choose- "choose you this day whom ye will serve... [Joshua 24:15], and choosing Him certainly brings HIS LIFE. One writer expresses it clearly, "Always recognize that God has His will for you, and the devil has a "will" for you, and you have your own will. When in doubt about any course, you can say, 'I choose the will of God in this,' and the Holy Spirit will work along the line of your choice. You are the one to say 'I will not' to Satan, just as you are the one to say 'I will' to God-and "God is faithful, He will bring you through, not somehow, but triumphantly." Another part of this second dimensional battle-front of the SOUL, is our realm of emotions and impulses. It becomes a strange walk indeed, to the world, where no longer are you controlled by the influences of the world, so that you no longer react in accordance to their emotions. Self-pity, soulish sentiment and temperament, giddy emotions and rash impulses need to be conquered I and when the Spirit gains control, we find a people that are of "a sound mind. [2 Tim. 1:7] Without a doubt, this is a real battle today - pressures and tensions are such that mankind is on the verge of total collapse. Yet out of this maze of chaos and confusion will emerge a people who are calm, cool, and collected-who walk in the midst of strife, and yet remain serene and untroubled. For "the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." [Isaiah 32:17] Yes, the battles waged in our wilderness experiences have been most profitable, for God would purge all of Egypt out of us, removing all the stain of its perverted, carnal thinking, its warped emotions, its self-centered will. Fret not at the circumstances which God brings across your path, HE knows exactly what we need to face, in order that the soul might be purified and joined into one with His Spirit.
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No doubt volumes could be written, if one were to follow all the journeys of Israel through the wilderness, the problems they faced, the battles waged, etc., but eventually they came to Canaan. Strange enough, many feel that when they come to Canaan that they have at least come to the end of their warfare, now it is all milk and honey, heaven at last. But not so! Canaan is not a type of final bliss. Israel never found it to be her place of rest. Even under the able leadership of Joshua, who lead Israel into their promised land, they did not find their rest. "For if JOSHUA had given them rest, then would He (God) not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." [Hebrews 4:8-9] CANAAN ONLY BRINGS US TO THE THIRD DIMENSION OF OUR WARFARE, that of the spirit realm. What is viewed in the account of Israel battling against all the wicked inhabitants of the land, is but a parable of the intense spiritual war are that is before us. Once the outward FLESHLY REALM has been dealt with, and then the inner, invisible soulish realm has been battled through, we come to the realm of "spirits". I do not say that we will not be troubled any more by the first two dimensions, for until we have our vile body changed, fashioned like unto His glorious body, surely there is need to remain vigilant, lest the enemy entice us to fulfill the lust of the flesh. But we are finding that now Christ is going beyond the surface of these things, beyond, the outward appearances, to deal with "THE SPIRIT OF THE THING." Here is where the real battle lies. Not in just placing our hand over our mouth so that we do not utter a criticism, but to deliver us from a critical spirit", etc. The outward can only portray that which is inward. In striking at the core of the matter, Jesus once said, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." [Luke 9:55] "For our contest is not with human foes alone, but with the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers of this dark world; that is, with the spirit-forces of evil challenging us in the heavenly contest." [Ephesians 6:12, Williams translation] It is a real encouragement to our own heart to see how many the Lord is leading out of the fleshly fighting, through the wilderness battles, and into this deeper dimension of warfare, so that THROUGH GOD they are doing valiantly, taking dominion over the spirit forces, and gaining a victory that shall endure. If there be no spirit of bitterness" within, the trials and testings of this present life cannot make us bitter. It is the defilement of spirit which must be cleansed. After the ringing challenge to "come out from among them, and be ye separate" that the Lord might receive us unto Himself, to be our Father, and we become His sons and daughters, Paul goes right on to write, "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh AND SPIRIT, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." [2 Cor. 7:1] Those who are still fighting - Flesh with flesh, physically engaged in all sorts of activities outwardly, will question why you do not fight "evil" with them. Those who still give free expression to their soulish emotions, etc. will also question why you do not likewise, as they shout and demand, pray and command, according to their practice. But little do they realize the depth of spiritual conflict endured by those who have entered into the battle of the third dimension, to fight against the very "spirit of the 'world" that troubles them. Often times there will be little outward evidence of a struggle going on, but in the "spirit world" the battle is hot and furious, as the usurpers are dethroned, an the sons rise to take their place in the heavenlies. Egypt had its taskmasters, and the wilderness has its terrors, but Canaan has giants, spirit-forces, authorities and powers. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels (MESSENGERS) fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels (messengers) - and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." [Revelation 12:7-8, 11] It will require a "pure spirit" to engage in this warfare, that there be no inside traitors to weaken us in the day of battle. Jesus said, "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me." [John 14:30] Therefore He "spoiled, principalities and powers, He made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." [Colossians 2:15] TRIUMPHING OVER THEM IN IT - for these words "in it" we find that the marginal reference gives, IN HIMSELF. This is correct from the Greek text. HIS TRIUMPH WAS COMPLETE WITHIN, for at no time could the prince of this world find anything, in Him to which he could lay claim.
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This is essential, lest we inject our own personal internal conflict into other and only increase their tension and distress. A doctor laden with infective disease germs is in no condition to try and minister to one already sick with other ailments, lest he only add to the seriousness of the condition, and complicate the whole with a new set of diseases. When we can truly say, "Bless the Lord, 0 my soul: -and all that is within me, bless His holy name." [Psalm 103:1]. When all of our soul, yea, and our whole spirit within, is able to bless the Lord, is a praise unto the Lord- reveals the purity of the Lord ' then shall we be able to minister unto Him, and in His stead, "beseech others, be ye reconciled to God." [2 Cor. 5:20] Surely those who have an ear opened to hear, can detect a mighty rumbling in the deep, and sense the build up for the conflict of the ages. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but God shall bring forth a people all-triumphant. "For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout (Literally, with a WAR CRY)... [1 Thess. 4:16], "And the Lord shall utter His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for He is strong that executeth His word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it." [Joel 2:11] They fought from heaven; the stars (SONS) in their courses fought against Sisera (type of the kingdom of this world)." [Judges 5:20] And so shall the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His anointed ones. Fear not the battle, whatever the dimension, the victory is secure in Christ.

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