Resurrection & Lordship: The War the Spirit of Antichrist & the Accuser of the Brethren Wage

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament scriptural account of the spiritual body of Jesus the Christ, which is the church as it was written by the beloved physician Luke in the book of Acts. More specifically, today’s passage begins with the twenty-third verse of the twenty-fifth chapter and continues through to the fifteenth verse of the twenty-sixth chapter. HE WHICH AMONG YOU IS ABLE, GO DOWN AND ACCUSE THIS MAN! STOOD ROUND ABOUT AND LAID MANY AND GRIEVOUS COMPLAINTS AGAINST PAUL! WHICH THEY COULD NOT PROVE! IT IS NOT THE MANNER OF ROMANS TO DELIVER ONE TO DIE WHO HAS BEEN ACCUSED BEFORE THEY HAVE FACED THEIR ACCUSERS AND HAD THE CHANCE TO DEFEND THEMSELVES! WHEN THE ACCUSERS STOOD UP THEY BROUGHT NONE ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM AS I SUPPOSED! I FOUND THAT HE HAD COMMITTED NOTHING WORTHY OF DEATH! ITS UNREASONABLE TO SEND A PRISONER AND NOT SIGNIFY THE CRIMES THEY HAVE COMMITTED! AND NOW I STAND AND AM JUDGED! I AM ACCUSED OF THE JEWS! When you come to this largo shake portion of scripture you will find the apostle Paul appearing before yet another political leader while still being bound and held in the region of Judaea. By this time, however, the apostle Paul has already appealed to Caesar rather than returning unto the city of Jerusalem. The more I read and the more I study the account of the apostle Paul at this particular junction within his life the more I can’t help but be captivated by the sheer and utter attempts—not only to set snares and traps for him in order that he might be out to death, but also to accuse and condemn him before the political rulers of that day. As you read the words which are found within this account of the life of the apostle Paul you will find two distinct and two very real realities concerning the enemy and adversary within our own lives. What’s more, is that within this passage of scripture you will again find religion conspiring together with others in order that it might put to death that which is being done by the living God within the earth. If you turn and direct your attention back to the four gospels you will find religion and relationship conspiring together in the life of Jesus to have Him bound and seized by his enemies and adversaries. When you read the four gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will undoubtedly find relationship joining together with the conspiracy of religion in order that the desires, the plans and the motives of religion might put to death the Lord Jesus Christ. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable to come face to face with and see how throughout the ministry of Jesus the Christ religion desperately sought to lay hold of and put Him to death, but was unable to do so because the opportunity never afforded or provided itself. What’s more, is that within the gospel of John specifically you will find it mentioned concerning the attempts to seize and lay hold of Jesus that they did not work and did in fact fail because it wasn’t yet His time which was ordained by the Father.

As I sit here this morning and think about and consider the account of the apostle Paul at this particular juncture within his life I can’t help but see how the enemy and adversary sought to put him to death on two different fronts. On the one hand you will find the enemies and adversaries of the apostle Paul conspiring together against him that they might put him to death stealthily and secretly without anyone else being around. If you take the time to read the account of the apostle Paul at this time you will find that there was more than one occasion when those among the Jews sought to lay wait for the apostle in order that they might put him to death without those before and around them knowing or being aware of what was going on. The life and ministry of the apostle Paul at this place and point within his life is actually quite astonishing and remarkable, for what you will find here is something very much similar to that which is found in the ninth chapter of the same book. If you turn and direct your attention to the account of the apostle Paul in the ninth chapter you will find and discover that after he had been converted to Christ, and after He had received his sight and been filled with the Spirit he began teaching and preaching concerning Jesus the Christ and that He had indeed risen from the dead. It would be there in Damascus the apostle Paul would first start teaching and preaching Jesus and that this Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Christ and that He had in fact risen from the dead. Very early on in the life and ministry of the apostle Paul you will find the enemy and adversary seeking to destroy and put him to death as the Jews which were present there in Damascus laid wait for the apostle Paul in order that they might strike him down and put him to death. Of course we find and read that this plot and conspiracy became known and how the apostle Paul was let down through an opening in the wall in order that he might escape from the hands of those who would seek to destroy him. It would be after he was rescued from his adversaries and enemies there in Damascus the apostle Paul would come unto the city of Jerusalem and would immediately be met with doubt, fear and skepticism as the disciples which were there didn’t truly believe that he was in fact a disciple of Jesus the Christ. It wouldn’t be until Barnabas would come and stand alongside the apostle Paul and being him unto the apostles that he would be able to move freely among the Bergen there in the city. Eventually the apostle Paul would dispute and reason together with the Grecians and they themselves would not be able to stand against the wisdom the Spirit of Christ had given him.

If you continue reading the words which are found in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts you will find and discover that because the Grecians could not stand before the wisdom which the Spirit gave the apostle Paul they sought and conspired together to strike him down and put him to death. The Jews in Damascus sought to strike down and out to death the apostle Paul because he preached that Jesus was the Christ and that He had indeed risen from the dead. In Jerusalem, however, it would be slightly different as the Grecians which were present there within the city sought to put him to death because they were unable to stand before the wisdom which the Spirit of Jesus had given him. Both in Damascus as well as in the city of Jerusalem there were those who sought to destroy the apostle Paul and quite honestly sought to destroy him before he even stepped into that for which he had been called and ordained by the Lord Jesus the Christ. It’s incredibly telling to read and consider the life of the apostle Paul and to think how even before he actually stepped into that which would be ordained of him by the Lord Jesus the Christ the enemy and adversary sought to silence his voice and put him to death. What’s more, is that this didn’t merely happen once early on in his ministry, but it happened twice in two different cities. It would be in the city of Damascus the apostle Paul would first find his life threatened by those who vehemently opposed the truth concerning Jesus being the Christ, as well as concerning Jesus having been risen from the dead. In all reality, these are perhaps two of the single greatest fronts where much combat and struggle take place, for you either believe and affirm that Jesus is indeed and is in fact the Christ, or you deny it. What’s more, is that you either believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and are saved, or you do not. This same reality is found when thinking and speaking about Jesus having been raised from death to life on the third day, for you either believe and affirm that he has indeed risen from the dead, or you deny it from and within a hardened heart within yourself. The Jews which the apostle Paul encountered in Damascus neither believed, nor confessed, nor even affirmed that Jesus was the Christ, and that He had indeed and had in fact risen from the dead, and as a direct result of their hardness of heart and unbelief they could not handle the doctrine and teaching of the apostle Paul. The Jews there in Damascus sought to strike down and put to death the apostle Paul, for the apostle Paul at that time began teaching and preaching that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and that Jesus had in fact risen from the dead. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—how we stand and what we believe on this front and in this matter can and will dramatically alter and transform our entire lives. What we believe about Jesus being the Christ, and what we believe about Jesus coming in the flesh, and what we believe about Jesus being raised from the dead are the very core and foundation of our Christian faith and belief. We cannot truly claim we are Christ’s and that we belong to Him if we cannot, do not and will not acknowledge and confess that Jesus is indeed Christ, that Jesus is indeed Lord, and that Jesus has in fact risen from death to life.

This reality of believing with our heart and confessing with our mouth that Jesus is indeed the Christ and Jesus has in fact risen from the dead is perhaps no more beautifully expressed than in the first two epistles which the apostle John had written. With this being said and before we even delve into the words which the apostle John wrote in the first two epistles which were written unto the saints which were at Ephesus it is absolutely necessary that we first turn and direct our attention to that which the same apostle wrote in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ which he also wrote unto the saints which were in Ephesus. We should and ought not begin with that which was written in the first two epistles written by the apostle John without first recognizing and understanding that which is found in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, for it is what we find in the gospel which the apostle John wrote we encounter and come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that Jesus did in fact come in the flesh, and that Jesus did in fact walk among us. If you cannot and if you do not first affirm that Jesus did in fact come in the flesh and dwell among us then you cannot believe, nor can you confess that Jesus is indeed and is in fact the Christ. What’s more, is that if you do not and if you cannot believe with your heart and confess that Jesus is the Christ then you cannot believe and confess that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead on the third day just as He said and declared He would. In all reality, I am thoroughly convinced that these three realities are intrinsically linked and connected to each other, and what’s more—if you do not believe that Jesus came in the flesh, if you do not believe that Jesus is in fact the Christ, and if you do not believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after being crucified, then you cannot believe that Jesus is in fact coming back in like manner as He ascended into heaven forty days after He was raised from death to life. There is a natural and core progression that is found when thinking about and considering the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ and that which we believe concerning Him. I fully realize that you might be wondering what this has to do with the life of the apostle Paul and what we find and read in these final chapters of the book of Acts, however, if you carefully read and study them you will find and discover that the entire reason the Jews sought to kill him, and the entire reason he stood trial before the powerful political leaders of that day was precisely because of what he believed concerning Jesus the Christ, as well as what he preached concerning Him. You cannot and will not truly understand that which is taking place within the life of the apostle Paul at this particular juncture within his life until and unless you first recognize and understand what he believed concerning this Jesus from Nazareth. We cannot, we dare not and must not miss this incredibly important reality, for the entire premise and the entire foundation of the life and ministry of the apostle Paul after his conversion to Christ on the road to Damascus was centered upon his belief that Jesus had indeed come in the flesh, that Jesus was in fact the Christ, that Jesus was crucified and rose from death to life on the third day, and that Jesus was in fact coming back in the same manner in which those who watched Him ascend to the Father saw Him depart.

With all of this being said, I invite you to read and consider the words which the apostle John wrote in the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. I invite you to read the words which he wrote in this particular gospel, for it is that which he wrote in this gospel that stands and serves as the foundation and bedrock of everything else we either believe or deny concerning Jesus the Christ. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister and you who might be reading the words within this writing—make no mistake about it in this life, for you either believe and confess that Jesus did in fact come in the flesh, and Jesus is in fact the Christ, and that He has in fact risen from the dead and ascended unto the right hand of the Father, and is coming back just as He said He would, or you otherwise deny it. It was the apostle Paul who emphatically declared that no man can call Jesus the Christ or Lord without and apart from the Holy Spirit which is present within their heart spirit. We must recognize and come to terms with this reality, for until and unless we do so we will find ourselves being conflicted within ourselves concerning what we believe within our hearts concerning Jesus the Christ. We must recognize and understand that it is a divine work of the Holy Spirit within our hearts and lives that enables and allows us to confess and believe that Jesus is in fact the Christ, and that He came in the flesh and rose from the dead on the third day. Having said that, I invite you to read and consider the words which are written and recorded in the New Testament gospel of John concerning Jesus the Christ. Once you have read the words which the apostle John wrote within this gospel I invite you to consider the words which this same apostle wrote in the first two epistles which he also wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus. Consider if you will the following words which are pulled from the very writings of the apostle of John who walked with and followed Jesus the Christ and bore witness to everything he spoke about and testified:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John 1:1-18).

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto 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 the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:1-10).

Having read and considered both of these passages within the gospel which the apostle John wrote, as well as the first chapter of the first epistle which he wrote unto the saints which were at Ephesus we come face to face with the fact that Jesus did in fact come in the flesh, and that He was in fact God in the flesh, and came to dwell among us. What’s more, is the words which the apostle John wrote were not mere words which he heard from others, but were words he wrote having personally seen with his own eyes, heard with his own ears, and handled with his own hands concerning the Word of Life. We must come to terms with that which the apostle John wrote in the opening chapter of the gospel which he wrote concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, and must come to terms with whether or not we believe that Jesus is and was indeed the Word, and that the Word was in the beginning, and that the Word was with God, and that the Word was God. We must firmly settle and establish within our hearts and minds that Jesus is indeed God, and that Jesus did in fact come in the flesh. Once we have firmly established and settled that Jesus did in fact come in the flesh then we can come face to face with the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the tenth chapter of the epistle which coincidentally he wrote unto the church which was established when he journeyed unto Rome after having appealed unto Caesar. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Rome beginning with the eighth verse of the tenth chapter of the epistle which was written unto the saints which were at Rome:

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich. Unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of Good things!” (Romans 10:8-15).

It is with these words that we are directly confronted with the reality that it is with the mouth we confess that Jesus is indeed and is in fact Lord, and it is with our heart that we believe that He has in fact risen from the dead. We dare not, we cannot, we must not miss this incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the incredible reality, power and miracle of salvation. The apostle Paul made it perfectly and abundantly clear that salvation comes through and when we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and when we believe in and with our hearts that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead on the third day. RESURRECTION AND LORDSHIP! Oh dear brother, dear sister—please don’t ignore and dismiss this reality, for if you fail to recognize and understand the Lordship and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and if you fail to believe and confess these two realities within your heart and life—not only would I question whether or not you are indeed Christ’s, but I also question what you might profess concerning salvation. The apostle Paul made it perfectly and abundantly clear when writing unto the saints which were at Rome that salvation comes through confessing with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believing with our hearts that He did and has in fact risen from the dead. It’s worth noting that the apostle Paul didn’t declare that we must confess Jesus as Savior, or Jesus as Redeemer, but rather Jesus as Lord. Please recognize and pay attention to this truth, for one of the core realities within your life is whether or not you are ready, willing and able to confess Jesus as Lord. It’s one thing to confess Jesus as Savior, and it’s one thing to confess Jesus as Redeemer, however, it’s something else entirely to confess Jesus as Lord. To confess Jesus as Lord signifies and suggests that your life is not your own and that you have no claim or right over it, but that it does indeed and does in fact belong to Jesus. To confess with your mouth Jesus as and Jesus is Lord is to confess full and complete surrender before and unto Jesus as the Christ and unto Jesus as the Lord. Perhaps the single greatest question you must ask yourself is whether or not you have, and whether or not you are willing to truly confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and that Jesus is the Christ. Are you willing to join in the declaration which the apostle Peter proclaimed when Jesus presented the question unto the disciples asking who they said and believed that He the Son of man was. In the sixteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew you will find the following words which were spoken by the apostle Peter when Jesus asked who the disciples said that He the Son of man was. Consider if you will—first the response of the apostle Peter when asked this question, and next the response of Jesus to that which the apostle Peter had openly and emphatically declared:

“When Jesus came into the coast of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom to men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, Burt whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, ANEO upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged He his disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:13-20).

With these words and with this declaration the apostle Peter in essence took part in the first half of the salvation experience, for in the very presence of Jesus and in the company of the disciples he emphatically declared and proclaimed that Jesus was in fact the Christ. What’s more, is that not only did he declare that Jesus was indeed the Christ, but he also declared that Jesus was the Son the living God. Mark these words and mark this declaration well, for what you read and what you find in these words and in this declaration is the declaration and profession of the apostle Peter that Jesus was and is in fact the Christ and Lord. To confess that Jesus was indeed and was in fact the Christ not only signified and suggested that He was the promised Messiah which was prophesied of in the law and the prophets, but also that Jesus was indeed and was in fact Lord. The words and declaration with the apostle Peter made on this particular occasion fall in line with that which the apostle Paul wrote concerning confessing with our mouth the Lord Jesus, and how absolutely wonderful and incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that even before Jesus was raised from death to life the apostle Peter who had walked with and followed Jesus the Christ would and could in fact declare and confess Him as the Christ, as Lord, and as the Son of the living God. It is this reality of Jesus as the Christ, and Jesus as Lord that many stumble and fall upon within their hearts and lives, for there are countless men and women who have an incredibly difficult time accepting and acknowledging the fact that Jesus is indeed and Jesus is in fact the Christ and that Jesus is in fact the Lord. The reason for this is actually quite simple, for if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is in fact the Christ, and if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord then your life, your actions, your words and your behavior must line up with that reality. If you are truly going to confess with your mouth that Jesus is in fact Lord, and if you are going to confess with your mouth that Jesus is in fact the Christ then you must live your life under the weight and conviction of such a reality. You cannot truly confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and you cannot truly confess with your mouth that Jesus is the Christ and then allow your life to declare and speak something different. In all reality, it is absolutely imperative that you recognize and understand that there are two distinct messages which are going forth from your life. There is the message that is being proclaimed and confessed with your mouth, and there is the message which is being proclaimed and confessed through your life and through your actions. Please do not think or attempt to believe for a minute that this simply is not the case, and that you can confess something with your mouth that your life cannot and does not emphatically express. The question you and I must ask ourselves is whether that which we confess with our mouth lines up with that which our lives confesses and professes.

With all of this being said, I feel it absolutely necessary and imperative to transition to the words which the apostle John wrote in the first two epistles which he wrote and sent unto the saints which were at Ephesus. It is what we find and what we read in these epistles that allows us to come face to face with what we believe within our hearts, as well as that which caused the apostle Paul to be accused by the Jews, and even to stand before political leaders such as Felix, such as Porcius Festus, and such as King Agrippa. If you read the words which are found within the book of Acts you will find that the apostle Paul stood before these political rulers and leaders of that day—not necessarily and solely because he was accused by the Jews and because they sought to kill and put him to death, but because of what he believed and confessed concerning Jesus the Christ. If you are truly going to understand that which took place within the life of the apostle Paul at this juncture of his life you must understand that he faced accusation of the Jews, and he faced threats against his life to strike him down and put him to death because of what he believed concerning Jesus—namely, that He was indeed the Christ, that He was Lord, and that He had in fact risen from the dead. These realities are actually quite astounding when you consider that which the apostle John wrote in the first two epistles concerning the spirit of the antichrist which he wrote and stated was already at work in the world. In all reality, the more I read and the more I consider that which was found within the book of Acts the more I can’t help but come face to face with the tremendous and incredible reality that during these days within the life and ministry of the apostle Paul the spirit of antichrist was at work in the earth, and was actually that which was threatening the apostle Paul. The more I read the account of the apostle Paul at this place within his life the more I believe with all my heart that the struggle which he faced was not with flesh and blood, but the struggle was against a very real principality and power which was at work in the earth. I firmly believe that the struggle which the apostle Paul faced at this particular place—although it took place on the stage of political practices, and although it played out before political leaders—was not a struggle that was with flesh and blood, but was a struggle with flesh and blood. In all reality, I would dare say the struggle which the apostle Paul faced at this time was first and foremost a struggle against the the spirit of the antichrist which was at work in the earth during those times—the spirit which denied that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and which denied that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. What’s more, is that I believe the struggle which the apostle Paul faced at this time was a struggle against the accuser of the brethren, for the accusations the apostle Paul faced were not accusations specific to the physical and natural realm, but were accusations that were raised up against him by the very accuser of the brethren. Consider if you will the words which are found and written within the first two epistles which were written by the apostle John concerning the spirit of antichrist which was already at work in the earth during those days, and which was most certainly at work during the time of the apostle Paul:

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antirchrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto your because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no. lie is of the truth. Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is the antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:18-23).

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceive and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

As I sit here this morning and think about and consider everything that was taking place within the life of the apostle at this point within his life, I can’t help but consider the fact that what he was contending with was not so much with flesh and blood, but was contending against spiritual wickedness and principalities. Although we might find him standing before political rulers and leaders such as Festus, Felix and Agrippa, we must recognize and understand that on the one hand and on the one front the apostle Paul was contending and wrestling with the spirit of antichrist which was already at work within the earth during those days. I would dare say that it was the spirit of antichrist which not only sought to slay and put the apostle Paul to death, but it was also the spirit of the antichrist which took great issue and great offenses with the apostle Paul teaching, preaching and confessing that Jesus had in fact come in the flesh, that Jesus was in fact the Christ and Lord, and that Jesus had in fact risen from the dead. IT was the spirit of antichrist which sought to slay and put the apostle Paul to death, and it was the accuser of the brethren which sought to wrongly and falsely accuse the apostle Paul before political men such as Lysias, such as Felix, such as Festus, and even such as Agrippa. When and as we read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture we must recognize the true struggle which the apostle Paul faced, which was not a struggle against flesh and blood, but was indeed and in fact a struggle against spiritual wickedness and principalities in high places. Ultimately, the struggle which the apostle Paul faced and wrestled with on this particular occasion was first and foremost a struggle against the accuser of the brethren who raised up voices of accusation against him, and secondly a struggle against the spirit of antichrist which sought to discredit and deny the message which he preached, and even slay and put him to death. When we read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture concerning the apostle and his being accused by the Jews, and even as there were those who conspired against him, we must recognize and understand that what we have here is in fact a tremendous and ultimate struggle against spiritual wickedness and principalities of this present age. When we understand and recognize this, I am convinced that it can and will help us truly understand and identify the struggles and conflicts we face within our lives. With that being said, I leave you with the following words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle which was written and sent unto the saints which were at Ephesus, as well as the words which were written in the second epistle which the apostle Paul wrote unto the saints which were at Corinth:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not again ask flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and everything high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is full” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

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