On The Wings Of Freedom – Birds Flying And Broken Chains
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, Philippians 2:12 (ESV)

The word salvation here is the Greek word sōtēría; meaning “a savior, deliverer. Safety, deliverance, preservation from danger or destruction.”[1] A better translation would be “work out your own deliverance.” We know that salvation is a gift from God according to Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (NIV) However, deliverance requires work. The idea that a prayer will fix you is not biblical. The bigger picture is how to maintain freedom. John 8:32 tells us “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (KJV)

The word “Free” here is the Greek word eleutheróō; meaning “To make free, liberate from the power and punishment of sin, the result of redemption (John 8:32, 36; Rom. 6:18, 22); from a state of calamity and death (Rom. 8:2, 21); from the power of condemnation by the Mosaic Law (Gal. 5:1).”[2] Deliverance is one aspect of freedom, but it is not all. To maintain freedom, we need to keep in mind four responsibilities that every believer has,

  • Deliverance

This is the act of casting out demons out of folks. We are dealing with demonic possession applicable only to unbelievers and, demonic oppression, this also include believers. Counseling cannot be effective if a person is not delivered. Without deliverance counseling is reduced to learning coping skills; that is, learning how to live with the issue. Deliverance is designed by God to make us free. However, for that freedom to remain, there is more work to be done. Jesus tells us, 

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45 (ESV)

Jesus tells us that “…the last state of that person is worse than the first.” This is when people blame God, doubt his power, etc. We fail to understand that this battle is not going to go away! We are in it until Jesus returned. The Bible tells us that after the devil tempted Jesus “…he departed from him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:13 (ESV) 

Opportune Time in the Greek is the word kairós meaning “A season, opportune time. It is not merely as a succession of minutes, which is chrónos (5550), but a period of opportunity…”[3] This is the right time, the right season, an opening, etc. 

Think about this, if the devil did not stop tempting and harassing Jesus after Jesus gave him that beatdown in the desert, do you think that he and his demons will stop tempting and harassing us? Now think about this: for those that insist on teaching that we give the demons legal right to attack us and that somehow when we close those doors the attacks are over; did Jesus, who lived a sinless life here on earth, gave the devil the legal right to attack Him? Absolutely not! 

From Genesis 3, with the rebellion of Adam and Eve to Genesis 6 with the iniquity of the fallen angels; they needed no legal authority to mess up humanity, they just did and still doing it today.  So, we need to learn how to effectively fight this battle and be successful. God has given us tools to be successful. Jesus tells us that when these 7 other demons come, they find the house empty (Matthew 12:43-45). That emptiness is the problem and that is the reason why we need to work on other aspects of our freedom in addition to deliverance.

  • Pastoral guidance or Counseling

We as pastors are called to watch over the souls of the sheep God has given us (Hebrews 11:17). If, as a pastor, you are not looking over the mind-set, the decision-making, and the emotions of your folks, you are not doing your job. The work of a pastor does not end with a sermon or a Bible Study; that is a crucial part; but folks do not maintain their freedom with Bible studies and sermons only. There is a lot of work the pastor is called to do one-on-one. This is where you really get to see what the person is going through and the pastor can guide you through your specific struggle.

  • Be devoted to the Apostles teaching:

Acts 2:42 gives us the modus operandi of the church, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (ESV) Our doctrine must be right if we want to effectively help people. We do not help people doing our own thing; we must preach and teach the orthodoxy of the original apostles. 

Acts 2:42 also gives us the atmosphere in which we are called to exercise such devotion. We should have fellowship; we should eat together and, pray together. In the book of Acts we see that they met in houses and that there was participation. In this environment we maintain our freedom. How many times have you felt like not going to a Bible Study, a men’s group etc. but after you went you were glad you did? Did you feel a weight lifted out of your back? There is a cleansing that takes place when we exercise our devotion to God’s Word. Jesus told the disciples, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” John 15:3 (ESV) The word provides us with the spiritual hygiene that we need daily.

  • The edification of the gifts of the Spirit:
Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolationOne who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. First Corinthians 14:1-5 (NASB1995)

Much can be said about the gifts of the Spirit, but I want to focus on what Paul focused. He told us that these gifts are for the edification of the church. The word for edification here is the Greek word oikodomḗ; meaning “To building up.”[4] In order to build each other up we must allow the gifts of the spirit to flow.

To be devoted to the apostles’ teachings will cover all those ways and more because this represents a devotion to God’s Word. If you are faithful in applying these four components in your life you will enjoy freedom, you will enjoy peace and you will enjoy great joy. Salvation is free; no works necessary, but to maintain our freedom requires that we work at it, be faithful, deny the flesh, submit ourselves to God in obedience and, resist the devil. It is a struggle, but God gave us the victory through Christ while the Holy Ghost does the work in us and through us. 

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[4] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: