Opening Reading – Psalm 139: 23
Why a lesson like this? – Everyone in the church has come out of the world, in other words, the life we lived was not governed by the word of God but by our own minds, living and doing what we pleased. This life of faith we now seek to live in Christ Jesus is a journey and we hold that it takes a good three years in the Israel of God for a person to start becoming fully grounded and straightened out by the word of God.
This is providing we be hearers and doers of the word instead of hearers only. Sometimes we see changes in the behaviour of people and need to understand that there are always spiritual forces at work against us. This lesson is to point out some of the things we must watch out for.
Jeremiah 17: 9 – 10
The heart/mind is deceitful (dishonest, falsehood, untrustworthy) above all things who can know it. The Lord searches the heart and knows our intentions and will reward everyone of us according to our deeds. If we are there thinking I know just such a person we are already being deceitful. What about our own hearts, mine and yours? Let us see how the Lord searches our hearts.
Hebrews 4: 12
The word of God is a double-edged sword which takes no prisoners, it cuts both ways and it also pierces through the mind and unclean spirit beings who attach themselves to people who don’t obey God or whose mindsets are not right with God.
Mark 1: 21 – 24
Unclean spirits/fallen angels accompany unclean vessels/people to church. If there is no authority present because the priest/minister doesn’t know God, the devils will be quite comfortable and carry on their destructive work and like leaven/yeast will corrupt the whole congregation. If there is power and authority, there however and the priest is putting the word of God on the table then the unclean spirits cannot be still and will make their presence known or just disappear from the scene.
1 Samuel 2: 12, 22 – 23, 27 – 31
Eli and his sons were priests but his two son’s Phinehas and Hophni didn’t know God and were wicked. Eli heard the wickedness they were doing but honoured his son’s above God instead of removing them from office. God pronounces judgement upon all Eli’s household and carried it out to the fullest. In a lot of congregations, we find ministers who don’t know God and so tell people they don’t have to keep the laws of God because they are under grace.
1 John 4: 1
Beloved believe not every spirit (words people speak) try the spirits, test the words to see if it is written in the scriptures because people like to come and tell you what they feel and think. Please show it to me according to the word of God.
Acts 16: 16 – 18
It took the apostle Paul a few days to discern it was an evil spirit upon this slave girl and commanded it to depart from her in the name of Jesus Christ. The source from which she was speaking was a lie even though she spoke the truth.
Hebrews 5: 13 – 14
The word of God is milk and meat. Milk is the basic teachings of the Christian doctrines/teaching for the babies in Christ, but meat belongs to the mature who have been trained up in the word of God and able to discern good and evil. In the regular churches this slave girl would have been declared a prophetess and given some high position and title.
1 Peter 2: 2
Peter tells us how to attain this maturity.
1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 4
Paul told the Corinthian congregation their mindset was carnal so he couldn’t teach them as mature people of God. He pointed out the spirits at work that they had given themselves up to, envying, strife, division.
James 3: 16
For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
1 Corinthians 14: 33
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Romans 6: 16
Whatever we yield our mind to, that will be dominant in our lives.
1 John 3: 4
If we don’t keep the laws of God, then we are servants of unrighteous.
Our fight is not against flesh and blood but against spirit beings (Satan and the fallen angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven) Let us see how these spirit beings work.
2 Timothy 2: 24 – 26
Satan and the unclean spirits work through people who have been taken captive by him even in the church. When you want to destroy an enemy too powerful for you to take on head on then you must employ different strategies and what better way than to infiltrate and destroy from within.
Matthew 16: 13 – 17, 21 – 23
One moment Peter the disciple is in the right mindset getting revelation from heaven, the next moment Satan was influencing his mind. Jesus wasn’t calling Peter the devil but discerned that he was being manipulated by Satan to get him to abort the mission for which the Father sent him.
1 Peter 5: 8
The devils are always looking to probe our mindset to destroy us or use us as a tool to do his covert destructive work.
Proverbs 6: 16 – 19
The Lord spells out six things he hates but the seventh he hates above all. He that soweth discord (stirring up disagreements between people) among brethren.
Numbers 12: 1 – 9
Let us be very aware of the spirit of criticism and especially of those who the Lord has appointed over the congregation. In this instant, it was an attack by Moses own brother and sister against his wife because they envied Moses of the office the Lord appointed him. Moses didn’t want the job. This doesn’t mean that the leaders don’t get things wrong or we are to blindly follow everything they say. Israel are a people of colour, and the Lord turned Miriam white as punishment.
Hosea 13: 11
The Lord sets people in office and if they play the fool, he takes them down. This was about King Saul who was appointed when Israel said they wanted a man to rule over them not the Lord.
Numbers 16: 1 – 6, 12, 15 – 16, 20 – 23, 29 – 35
These men consisting of priest and leading men within the congregation raised up a rebellion against Moses whom was appointed by God. The Lord brought swift judgement upon their heads.
1 Corinthians 10: 5 – 12
None of us have got the luxury of thinking I’m okay, the fault lies with everybody else. Let us look at what happened to a very Godly man who for a split moment let his guard down through lust.
King David skived off his job and Satan saw an opportunity to tempt him after he saw a naked woman called Bathsheba having a bath. Despite finding out she was married to a soldier in his army, he sent for her and committed adultery which led on to her becoming pregnant and then setting up her husband to be murdered before taking her to be his wife.
2 Samuel 11: 27
The Lord was very displeased, let us see how the Lord dealt with King David.
2 Samuel 12: 1 – 12
The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to tell David a parable about a very wicked act that a rich man did. When David heard he flew into a rage and decreed a death penalty upon the man who had done so wickedly. Nathan told David plainly, you are the man! If we are truly servants of the Most High God, then know for certain that we are going to get sent where we don’t want to go and say things we don’t want to say.
Jeremiah 1: 17 – 19
This is how a true servant of God must be or God will deal with us! The Lord God is no respecter of persons, he doesn’t care whether you are a king or road sweeper. If we are law breakers, he will judge us.
Proverbs 4: 23
Keep thy heart/mind with all diligence (careful and persistent work or effort) for out of it are the issues of life. Everything starts in the heart/mind good or evil.
1 Timothy 4: 16
Take heed unto thyself and unto doctrine (sound biblical teaching) what if we don’t?
1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27
We have to exercise self-control, beating this mind of death into submission to the word of God moment by moment lest having been a teacher to others we ourselves become disqualified from entering the kingdom of God.
Psalm 139: 23 – 24
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.