We constantly underestimate the power of God. This happens when we forget or never really comprehend who He is, because every time we actually understand who He is we stop being afraid and get bold in prayer. So its healthy for us to marvel over passages like the one before us today. It changes the way we react to problems.
As an angel shows John the destruction of the antichrists capital city, he reveals a future event which is very surprising: God will make the most evil human in history do His bidding. No, the antichrist isnt going to repent. He and the nations in league with him will continue to hate God, but God will direct their hearts to savagely attack their own capital city and in doing so they will fulfill judgment prophesied on that evil place. In other words, God is so powerful and smart He can guide evil people, without their knowing it, until they serve His plans.
The question that faces us as we read this passage is this: Are we observing a rare event or could we today, as Jesus disciples, pray in such a way that evil is still thwarted, confused and defeated? To find our answer well look for clear statements in the Bible and then well discuss on a practical level how we might partner with such an amazing God.
A. Revelation 17:12-18
1) v 17 (literal) For God gave into their hearts to do His mind and to make one mind and to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God shall be brought to completion.
B. What will take place?
1) God will make the most evil ruler in human history serve His purposes... fulfill ancient prophecy (Isa 13, 14; Jer 51).
2) The antichrist will bring a savage justice on his own capital city (Rev 18:6-8)
C. Can God do this?
1) Pr 21:1 The kings heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord. He turns in wherever He wishes.
2) This future event reminds us of numerous examples in biblical history where God controlled the actions of evil people:
a) Hardening Pharaohs heart: giving him courage to keep saying no so the world would hear about all the miracles God did (Ex 7:8-12:36)
b) Ahab, Jehoshaphat and Micaiah (1Ki 22:12-28)
c) Also: Jdg 9:23, 24; 2Sa 17:14; Ezra 6:22
Yes, God can weaken, confuse, allow false counsel to stand, and even turn the hatred of evil people against one another.
D. Will God do such things today?
To answer this question well look for clear statements from Jesus
1) Lk 10:17-19 serpents and scorpions
2) Mt 6:10 on earth as it is in heaven (inviting, contending for Gods authority)
3) Mt 16:19; 18:18 whatever you bind... loose...
E. What role do we play?
Here are three important truths concerning our exercise of spiritual authority:
1) The Lords will: Finding and submitting to the will of God does not lead to passivity... it leads to bold confidence and a focused exercise of authority.
a) Assuming Gods will is unknowable leads to fatalism which leads to passivity (why pray, God will do whatever Hes going to do anyway)
2) The Lords authority: Our spiritual authority is delegated authority. That means God gives it to us to carry out His will, not ours (Mt 28:18, 19.)
a) It is very dangerous to step into this process standing in our own authority (Jdg 1:8; 2Pe 2:10, revile angelic majesties)
3) The Lords Way: (Eph 6:19)
a) v 12: There is a spiritual support system behind human evil (demonic) just as there is behind human good (Gods help)
b) Jesus specifically says we have authority to halt this influence, rendering the human perpetrator weak and confused. Too often we target our prayers at people while ignoring the spiritual influence acting on them.
c) Notice how Paul encourages us to pray:
v 13-17 Make sure youre spiritually healthy (this does not mean you have to be a long-time Christian)
v 18 Pray often, a lot and use discernment
v 19 Pray to loose the boldness of God
v 20 Pay for a door to be open for the gospel (Ac 14:27; 1Co 16:9, 2Co 2:12; Col 4:3, 4) bind: the god of this world who blinds minds (2Co 4:4)
1) Prayer Meeting (Thursday PM)
a) Learn by mentoring: come and listen
b) Apprenticeship in healing, deliverance, baptism with the Holy Spirit
c) What was Jesus method of operation?
Heal, deliver, preach
Preach, heal, deliver
d) How many churches do anything even remotely close? Why have we changed? It isnt because people are no longer sick or harassed by the devil anymore.
e) I believe its because we lack:
People willing to pay the price (spiritual opposition, frustration, selfless service)
Power: there is often a lack of holiness, weak worship, no expectation of miracles, no baptism with the Holy Spirit and no exercising of spiritual gifts (no theology or experience to draw on)
Knowledge gained from modeling (there are ways to pray that work and ways that dont)
2) Our trip to Israel
a) Both a pilgrimage and a mission. Together we will:
Invite the anointing (pray, worship, gather)
Exercise authority (pray, worship, gather) (hedge of protection, Job 1:10; wall of fire, Zec 2:5)
Well pray for the Lord to thwart the enemys plans, open eyes to the gospel and fill the land with His presence (Ps 122)
3) Your situation
a) Where in your world do you need to see Gods authority at work?
b) What part must you play in this process?
Review the section on application above.
1) Where did you learn how to pray? Who was your model?
2) Did you volunteer to pray for our team and Israel? How is God directing you to pray? What has He said to you about this convention?
3) Where in your world do you need to see Gods authority at work? What part must you play in this process?