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The Real Game of Thrones

"Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete." 

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship!
We're so glad you're here. 

C.S. Lewis once said: "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."

A.W. Tozer once said that a vast majority of Christians believe that the world is a playground instead of a battleground.

Is it any wonder then, why many Christians are losing spiritual battles? The reality is, we are in a spiritual battle. A war of the worlds. It is a battle against lust, envy, idolatry, pride, self-centeredness, selfishness, temptation, anger, hatred, discord, jealousy, immorality, and false doctrine.
And unfortunately, many have become tainted by their worldly aspirations.
When looking at spiritual warfare, we can fall under strong temptation to obsess upon it. Obsessing on the spiritual battle and ignoring it are equally dangerous. Our obsession with spiritual warfare can come from pride, fear and unbelief, just as any sin can.

In pride, we seek the muscle to defeat demons with our spiritual power. This is what Jesus warned the disciples when He said, Luke 10:20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

However, sometimes, our obsession can come from fear or lack of knowledge and will create evil around us we cannot defeat. Nothing good comes from earthly and carnal fear. Only the fear of God is profitable.
Only the fear of God is profitable. Our obsession can come from unbelief, a lack of complete trust in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place." 

Let's bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for the clarity of Your Word of for us today, help us to make application to our lives. Thank You for those who have gathered with us, responding to Your prompting. Thank You this glorious day that You have created, we thank You for the ability to see all the beauty that surrounds us. Thank You for the opportunity to worship You.

Lord, thank You for Your amazing grace, help us to balance it with truth, compassion, patience with dealing with those who reject Your teaching. Help us to patiently endure the challenges of the age, the disobedience to Your Word, hatred of the Truth, to endure false accusation, and the hostility against our faith without responding in anger, or bitterness.

Let us be in constant prayer for our enemies, pleading and begging those that who unjustly accuse us, that they would repent and be saved. Lord, when all our patience has been exhausted, help us to be willing to arm ourselves with Your Word, with the courage and boldness of our convictions.

Help us to fearlessly engage in the spiritual battle for the dignity of Your great name, for the preservation of Your Word, and for Your truth and the sanctification of Your church. All for Your glory!
In Christ's name

Today's Message: The Real Game of Thrones

In our ongoing study of the II book of Corinthians, it is my honor and great privilege to share with you the marvelous truths of the tenth chapter. It is so powerful, so rich. I am certain that we will all be blessed by it.

I invite you to open with me, your Bibles the II Corinthians chapter 10. Follow along with me, if you would, as I read to you from this marvelous epistle, to get it settled in our minds. II Corinthians 10:1-6

"Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete." 

So, in verse 1, the apostle Paul says, "Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!"

Paul says, "I, Paul, myself.." Why did he say that? Because what had been questioned was his authority. This is of great importance! Why? Paul was being questioned as to his right to speak for God. He was being question on his credentials, his apostleship, his message, and his gospel. Paul's authority was under attack.
Then, Paul is urging, or parakalō in the Greek, meaning to beg, to call for, "by the meekness and gentleness of Christ" What Paul is essentially saying here is "I am begging you to end this rebellion. I am begging you to be reconciled. I’m begging you for real peace." Why does he say that? Because he is representing Christ, a true follower of Christ is not filled with venom, hate, he is to be filled with truth, love and compassion.

The word "meakness, or "prautētos" in the Greek, refers to the humble and gentle attitude, free from revenge, bitterness and anger, which is expressed in patient endurance of offenses. Beloved, this means even in the midst of unfair treatment. I know a great many Christians, who profess the love of Christ, until they find themselves under attck, rather than to respond in the love in which they claim, they readily spew words that demonstrate anything but! As representatives of Christ, in the world, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and pray for our enemies, not engage in the "worldly behavior," which we so often condemn.

In fact, Jesus Himself, teaches in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter through the narrow gate, for the gate is broad that leads to destruction." As I look around, my heart is deeply burdened with concern, that the modern church is filled with these who are not only not on the narrow path, but are deceived that is does not apply to them, or that the wide gate of the world is the narrow gate. In this current culture of "tolerance," many have seemingly adapted the "wide gate is the way to go," attitude. 

As believers, we are engaged in a fierce spiritual battle, in a spiritual battle. The principal battlefield where this fierce conflict is being waged is in the minds of mankind. The greatest battles are not fought with automatic weapons and nuclear bombs or by combat soldiers on the battlefields of this world; they are fought in the minds of people.

In fact, the mind is the oldest, most common battlefield ever known to the human race. Ever since God provided Adam and Eve clear instructions on how to live joyful, successful lives, a fierce battle has been raging over who will control man's thinking, God or Satan.

The primary objective of the spiritual warrior is to capture his mind for God. 
It is my prayer, that I am able to help you do that today. I want to help you capture your mind for God.

God wants us to fully know Him, tearing down strongholds, anything that holds us and others back from fully knowing Him. Old patterns of thinking, past behaviors, all keep us from right thinking and from right doing, so that we are not actively involved in the ministry of God.

Do you have beliefs, thoughts or actions that lessen or weaken your service to God? Do things, people, or situations cause you anxiety or frustration? Are you hindered in your prayer life and in the coherency of your Bible reading?

If you answered yes, then you need to listen intently to the Bible’s instruction of how to obtain victory through spiritual battle. Here God teaches us how to tear down debilitating old habits and thought patterns that assail and thwart us when we attempt to move closer to God. May we learn what the weapons of our warfare can accomplish and put them into obedient service, all for the eternal glory of God, the Father.

There is a distinction is drawn between our existence in this world and living for this world. People were judging Paul as though all his actions and abilities were focused on himself and his place in this life. However, that was not the case, his energies and interests were focused on Christ, not on himself. 

In this world, people are often focused on waging a fleshly fight, however, Paul informs in verse 3, that it is impossible to win a spiritual battle with fleshly ability or weapons. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,"

The Corinthians were being lead by fleshly thinking and were judging Paul’s ministry by outward appearances. They lived and evaluated things according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, so they were completely missing the power of the Spirit that was available to them.

Paul, however, followed a different direction in life. Though he may live in a fleshy body, like every other person on this earth, subject to its laws and limitation that are common to all human flesh, Paul would not let his old way of living before he came to know Christ direct his life. Although Paul lived in a body of flesh, he would not walk after the pattern of the flesh or according to the natural man, but he walked in the Spirit depending on God.

Beloved, a follower of Jesus Christ, must not allow his conduct to be controlled by the considerations of expediency and self seeking, which are characteristic of his lost condition when he walked according to the flesh, in the ways of this world. Paul’s strength was not found in the flesh, he refused to develop and use the fleshly weapons on which the natural man depends. Paul chose his arsonal, which consisted of weapon’s of the spirit.

Paul knew how to wage spiritual war. The word war, or στρατος, in the Greek, literally means to be "lead an army." The Apostle Paul states that though he does not fight according to the flesh, he does fight, he even admits that he leads a spiritual army to war. This war was not against flesh and blood though.

Ephesians 6:10 says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."

And II Corinthians 6:7 teaches us, "in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left,"

Paul's foes were the devil and his demonic agents. He warred against the power of darkness. Therefore, he used spiritual weapons, because you cannot win spiritual battles with fleshly weapons. We too must put on the full armor of God and fight spiritual battles with spiritual weapons. Our Christian life is not merely a walk but also a warfare

The thought of spiritual war is more fully developed in verse 4, when Paul says, "for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses."

Any one can use fleshly weapons but few in Christian circles can use spiritual weapons. A Christian who engages in warfare or a campaign must have the weapons with which to fight. The armor of the Christian warrior is given in Ephesians 6:11-18. It is spiritual armor. The armor of King Saul, though splendid in the eyes of men, cannot overcome the spiritual giants who come against us. These are not flesh and blood foes and attempting to withstand them with fleshly weapons makes them laugh at our great folly.

We need divinely powerful weapons. We need weapons that are made mighty by God. Paul’s attitude of humility is one weapon, since pride places us in the control of Satan. Spiritual weapons like the Word of God, prayer, love, peace, the Cross, the sinless life of Christ, the shed blood of the cross, obedience, surrender to His Lordship, the power of resurrection and the ascension are the weapons that defeat the enemy. As Jesus said in John 8:32, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."

Only spiritual weapons are divinely empowered for over throwing the fortresses of evil. There is a temptation to meet a challenge of one who is in the flesh, who is under the sway of the evil one, with fleshly weapons of human wisdom and strength but that is not where true victory lies.

A "stronghold" is an entrenched pattern of though, ideology, value or behavior. It is a mind-set that causes us to accept as unchangeable situations that we know are contrary to the will of God.

Fortress, meaning stronghold, ὀχύρωμα in the Geek,  Something we have fortified or built up in our lives and we now think we cannot remove it. Some strongholds are good, however, those built up by the Word of God are good, those against the word are harmful.

If you stop and think about it, developing a stronghold is kind of like planting a tree. While it is still small it is easy to manipulate, however, when that tree gets to be 25-30 or more years old, it can’t be moved so easily, the roots are deep and it becomes a quite a project to move.

One of the most basic of principles in the Bible, is taught in Galatians 6:7-8, which is that of sowing and reaping. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."

It goes something like this: sow an action, reap a habit and it has been shown to take about 21 days to tear down one and start another, better one.

We start with one drink, one swear word, and then it leads to another, and another. Eventually we have a full blown stronghold, and with all the repercussion that come with them! Like cancer, heart disease, sorosis of the liver, diabetes etc. However, we have done this to ourselves, therefore we cannot, dare not blame the devil for it. He didn't cause it, we did!

This verse promises that those who find and learn how to use God’s spiritual weapons in the power of God’s Holy Spirit are empowered by God Himself for the destruction of strongholds, in their life, in the life of their loved ones, in their church and in their community in which they battle. When engaging the enemy with these weapons the church is assured of victory. The world scorns these weapons, trying to provoke you to use fleshly weapons, and sadly, we occasionally turn to those human methods and are then overcome by demonic forces.

When Joshua and his army marched around Jericho for a week, in Joshua 6:1-20, the spectators thought them to be completely mad! But the weapon of obedience to God’s Word brought down the high walls and the enemy was conquered. These spiritually powerful weapons are the ones the powers of darkness most vehemently fight against and keep us from knowing, remembering and using because they are the only weapons by which they and their work can be torn down!

Beloved, when we have some negative strongholds in our lives and we need to get rid of them! We must not allow them to take hold, however, it won’t be easy. You will likely have some pretty difficult work in front of you. Tearing down bastion in your life must often be done the way they were erected, one at a time, brick by brick, or in this thought by thought.

Can God deliver you? Absolutely! But you did this to yourself over time and it will usually takes time for us to get to the point of deliverance, so we must go through a continuous process in order to get to that point.

In verse five, Paul demonstrates the destructive and constructive capacity of God’s divinely empowered weapons. "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"

The mind of man is here compared to an enemy's stronghold or fortress. Many evil and negative thoughts are housed in this fortress and need to be taken captive to the obedience of Christ. These reasonings are walls of resistance build up by worldly, fleshly and demonic influences in our minds and in the minds of others, and like the walls of Jericho must be pulled down from the proud hold over our way or pattern of thinking.

God’s spiritual weapons can destroy reasonings and things that stand against the knowledge of God. The indication is that there are reckonings, reasonings, speculations or thoughts that invade and lay siege to the mind. The Bible treats them as fortresses or strongholds that need to be destroyed. These strong mental attitudes or patterns rise like a fortress filled with enemy soldiers in our minds.

What are those mental bastions? The strongholds are more precisely defined as belonging to the will and intellect of man. They are reasonings within man that are opposed to the truth of God’s Word. The exalted proud mind, both conscious and subconscious, and the stone harden selfish will are the fountain of human actions as they determine our conduct. Attitudes patterns and thought patterns can be strongholds that effect our presuppositions and philosophies of all we do or don’t do. The proud human mind which sees the Cross of Christ as foolishness is an example, I Corinthians 1:18, and obedience to Christ as a waste of time are strongholds but there are many more deceived reasonings within each of our minds where satan has built up his fortress within our way of thinking. By building these strongholds over our way of thinking, he controls our mind and if he controls our mind, he controls us.

The relationship between a thought and an act is expressed in this little poem I once heard:
Sow a thought, reap a word; Sow a word, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a destiny.

As we see, it all begins with a single thought. Since our thoughts are subject to sin, they too should be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit. How are you doing in your thought life?? Is it fully in line with the Word of God?

Christian warfare is aimed at pulling down these proud reasonings, these rationalizations of self-centered man. These proud bulwarks within each of us that stand against our knowledge of God. These strongholds have been repeatedly fortified by the lies of satan that we have believed and professing to be wise we have exchanged the truth of God for a lie.

Romans 1:18-25, teaches "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."

In order for us to break free from sinful thoughts, God must have first place in our life and in our manner of thinking. Fellowship with God is the best deterrent for wrong and deceived thinking, and impure thoughts. We must fill our minds with truth, instead of the vain or eternally empty thinking of the way of the flesh or of way the world. The acceptance of the way of the world has caused billions to base their life on the thinking that their own way for themselves, for life, is better than God's way. We must firmly reject these lies and transform our way of thinking by receiving and meditating on the truth, on the Word of God. If the devil can get control of our minds, he has the control room of our lives.

Where does backsliding fit in? Backsliding begins with a single thought in our mind, backsliding begins in the mind. Satan wants to destroy Christians by infecting their minds. Scripture urges believers, in II Corinthians 10:5, to bring "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ"

Much in the same we allow a virus to get into our computers, we also let darkness into our lives when we open ourselves, often unknowingly, to the godless messages that permeate our culture. We let down our guard, ever so slightly, and barely notice the sin that has infects our minds.

But by admitting our sinfulness, reading God's Word, and praying, we can build a firewall, or barrier, to safeguard our minds. With the help of the Spirit, we'll keep our minds from becoming unwitting hosts for unwanted. You need to guard your thoughts as you would your wallet. We are often careless with what we allow to enter our mind, social media, television, movies, the list goes on and on.

God’s spiritual weapons cast down imaginations, or carnal reasonings of the minds of natural men against God, His Providences, and purposes and the methods of salvation and every truth of the Gospel. These are all disproved, silenced, and confounded, by the preaching of the Word, which though supposed foolishness and weakness, becomes wiser and stronger than men by God; and with which the wisdom of the wise is destroyed, and the understanding of the intelligent is brought to nothing. Every high opinion that exalts itself against the knowledge of God; every proud thought of the heart, every great swelling word of conceit, every arrogant look, and all the haughtiness of men, that have become a high towering of fortified reasonings and arguments advanced against the Gospel of Christ, or the knowledge of God, and into a better knowledge of Him, can be torn down. 

Beloved, not only can we pull down these centers of opposition against divine truth by the spiritually powerful weapons, we can also use them to capture or subdue every thought to the obedience of Christ! After storming and pulling down and destroying these lofty high towers we can take possession of their prisoners. These rebellious thoughts, preconceptions, and intentions are made captives and brought into obedience to Christ. The obedience of Christ is the only stronghold that the enemy can not enter into and conquer, therefore we so desperately need the fortress of obedience to Christ in our life.

Oh that rebellion in our heart and mind might be quelled and God’s divine and sovereign will might reign in its place! The apostle Paul recognized that we have to live in the world, with its trouble and "in the flesh" with its frailties and temptations. The spiritual battle is real, Satan's stronghold is our minds. He is ever seeking to capture our every thought. Thanks be to God, that He has not left us to the whims of the flesh or to Satan. We have been given the weapons we need to take "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." Obedience is possible, because of what Christ has already done. Because the victory was won on the cross, we have the right to evict thoughts that come to our minds from the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Strongholds are self-inflicted bonds we've placed upon ourselves and they need to be removed one by one. Just as it takes time to build strongholds, they need time to come down. It takes 21 days to make a habit, but in 21 days we can replace it with a new, God glorifying lifestyle, but we need to remember that we have to want to change; God will not go against our will.

In Closing...

So, how do you know if you have torn down Satan’s strongholds in your life and are fortifying your life in obedience to Christ? Verse six explains the action of complete obedience. "And we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete."

Once you have torn down know strongholds in your life, taken your will and thoughts captive for Christ and no longer running from God’s discipline, you become ready to punish all that is not of Christ in your life. There are always places in our life, that as we grow in God’s truth, we discover are still not in line with His Word. And, when these raise their ugly head, we relentlessly jump on them! Because we realize what would happen if they again gained a hold in our life.

Bringing into captivity, every thought to the obedience of Christ; or taking captive our whole understanding; means our mind is so saturated with the Word, and divine light, that it clearly sees Christ alone as our One True Savior, and so become obedient to Him as Lord.

Complete obedience means we look to Him alone for life and salvation, and rely upon Him. We become athirst and willing to be saved by Him, in His own way, so we receive and embrace all His truths and doctrines with faith and love, and obey them from the heart. It means we cheerfully and willingly submit to all His commands, and directions so that we, by the grace of God, are demolishing all the enemies strong holds and reasonings. Our heart and mind have captivated by Him and His love for us so that we want not other master of our soul than Him alone. Complete obedience means that we will not tolerate disobedience in our life.

May it be so...

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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