Power for Today Prophetic Ministries

"Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with

Me by sacrifice" (Psalm 50:5)

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"Sanctify them by Thy truth; Thy word is truth" (John 17:17)

The Power of Satan

"To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me. Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:18-20).

"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily" (Colossians 1:28,29).

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:11-14).

Paul received his calling directly from the lips of Jesus when he met Him on the road to Damascus. We can gain a lot of understanding of the Gospel from Paul's commission from the Lord and how he carried out that commission. The thing that stands out in these verses is that the Gospel is a lot more than ‘easy believism' or ‘spectator Christianity.' The Lord Himself calls us to a repentance and faith that results in works of righteousness. It is more than a Gospel of mere conversion. It is a Gospel of purity, perfection, and zealousness.

Paul's calling begins with the opening of people's eyes. This makes everything dependent on faith that works by revelation. Unless the word is received with understanding, it cannot produce anything. The Holy Spirit must open the word of God to the understanding of man in order for its power to be released within. Notice what Paul said in Ephesians:

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe" (Ephesians 1:17-19).

Some people are ever hearing the word of God but never coming to a knowledge or revelation of the truth that brings about a transformation in their lives. Why? Because they are not receiving the word with understanding through the power of the Holy Spirit. The parable of the seed and the sower will give you some insight into that (See Matthew 13:18-23). The word must be received into a heart of humility and faith with a willingness to obey. "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21).

The purpose of opening the eyes is two-fold:

  1. To turn from darkness to light.
  2. To turn from the power of Satan to God.

It is important to recognize that Paul is laying out a Gospel of more than mere reconciliation here. He was called to bring us into a place of spiritual perfection. Turning from darkness to light speaks of justification. Turning from the power of Satan to God speaks of sanctification. As he says in Colossians, Paul preached Christ in order to present us to Christ, not just reconciled souls, but every man perfect in Christ Jesus. There is a big difference! Yet this is the very basic purpose of the Gospel, "till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Paul relates the turning from darkness to light to receiving forgiveness of sins. It is the result of repentance (or turning to God). It is a change of direction in our lives. This is pictured in God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt. The Israelites had to leave Egypt and follow God into a new land by faith. Paul then relates the turning from the power of Satan to God to the receiving of an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ. God must not only get us out of sin, but He must also get sin out of us. Through repentance we receive forgiveness for our acts of sin but through sanctification we are delivered from the sinful nature within us. The result is the ability to now do works befitting repentance or works of righteousness.

The power of Satan is sin. As long as we have a nature of sin within us, Satan has power over us. Satan had no power over the Lord because there was no sin in Him. "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me" (John 14:30). When Satan tempted the Lord in the wilderness, he tested Him for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life which are the roots of all sin. When he could find nothing in Him he had to leave. The same holds true for us. When the nature of sin is removed through sanctification by faith, Satan no longer has power over us. "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him" (1 John 5:18 NIV). Why is there so much demonic activity in the church? Because there are so many unsanctified Christians still under the power of Satan.

Paul explains this principle in his letter to the Ephesians. "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Ephesians 2:1-3). Satan is the prince of the power of the air or of this present world system. As John says, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one" (1 John 5:19). Jude tells us that Satan and his angels have been confined to darkness until the judgment. "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day" (Jude 1:6). So, Satan has liberty to work wherever there is darkness or sin. The power of Satan is sin. If we have no sin then Satan has no power over us. Through sanctification, the Lord removes our nature of sin and brings us into fellowship with Himself where we are cherished and kept safe by Him. This is what John was talking about in his first epistle. "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:5-7). In order to have fellowship with the Lord we must walk in the light free from all darkness or sin because as Paul said, "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). There is no darkness or sin in God and therefore He cannot have communion with darkness. We must walk in the light as he is in the light and Jesus Christ protects us by keeping us clean from all sin. To walk in the light as He is in the light is to be perfect even as He is perfect.

Jesus tells us that rather than us being under the power of Satan, Satan should be under our power. "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). We must understand that this scripture is based on our relationship with God and most especially our sanctification. The scepter of God's kingdom is righteousness. In other words, our power and authority over Satan is based on the righteousness of Christ imparted to us through His distinct sanctifying work. As long as we are still under the power of sin, we have no power over Satan. As Paul said in Ephesians above, Satan works in the children of disobedience (unrighteousness), those walking in the lusts of the flesh. Only as we are set free from the lust of the flesh are we empowered with authority over Satan. Sin gives place to the devil and allows him to take us captive to do his will. "That they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will" (2 Timothy 2:26). This is why we see so much gossip, backbiting, jealousy, envy, greed, division, etc. in the church today. Carnal Christians have been taken captive by the devil to do his will. And what is the greatest weapon of Satan? Division. And how does he bring division? By using carnal Christians against each other.

Finally, lets go back to Titus and see how Paul ties all of this together:

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works" (Titus 2:11-14).

The purpose of God's grace is to deliver us from the lust of the world that we should live in righteousness right now in this present age as we wait for the appearing of the Lord. Notice what Paul then says: the purpose of the cross was that He might redeem us from all sin, inward and outward, in order that we might be purified as His own special people who are zealous for good works. This is the same thing we saw in Acts 26. Repentance alone is not enough. We must be purified from the sin within because our purpose is to do the works of righteousness that come through our fellowship and communion with Christ Jesus. We are to be zealous for good works. As long as we are still enslaved to the old nature of sin, our passion is for ourselves and not for God. Our desire is for our own comfort and entertainment and pleasure rather than being willing to sacrifice all for His will and purpose. Why do you think that the number one complaint of pastors is that of a lack of passion for the things of God within the body of Christ? Why do you think so few Christians are zealous for prayer and the word and the ministry? Why do you think it is so hard to get Christians to worship God, to give freely, to share their faith, or to do almost anything with a pure devotion for God? It is because their hearts have not been set free from the power of Satan and turned wholly unto God through His work of sanctification. And yet this has been the purpose of God from the beginning. It is the very essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and yet we have largely missed it altogether and instead have embraced a small-minded Gospel of self. And this is the very reason that much of the church is still in captivity yet without even knowing it. Notice what the Lord told the Israelites:

"Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you" (Deuteronomy 28:45-48).

We love to talk about the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, but rarely does anyone talk about this section of the same chapter. Look at the reason for the curse: "Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart." You cannot separate love of God from service to God. You cannot separate the blessing of God from the obedience to God. The whole purpose of the cross and the grace given because of the cross was to purify us from all sin and disobedience so that we might be zealous for good works, delighting to do the will of God, serving the Lord with joy and gladness of heart. This is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.