You have to run to God when you're in the midst of the evil day, because you're now engaged in spiritual warfare. And when that happens, Dr. Tony Evans says earthly help is no help at all. And if it's hell out to get you, you don't need more people, you need more heaven. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative.
Some of the situations we face in life seem insurmountable, and for good reason, they are without God. Today, we'll explore how petitioning the Lord is the only way we can overcome the evil one once He set His sights on us. Let's look at Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10 through 18, as Dr. Evans begins.
Paul is writing, and he concludes his treaties to the church at Ephesus to talk to them about the battleground of life. We call it spiritual warfare. But he's not just talking about any kind of battle. He describes this one specifically by calling it the evil day. The evil day. The evil day is when all hell breaks loose on you. The evil day is when you are overwhelmed.
Yes, life has its normal ups and downs, but that's not what he's talking about here. He's talking about when you are under major attack, when your world is being shattered, your dreams are being destroyed, your hopes are being dimmed, and where you look out and all you see is the light of an oncoming train. He calls that the evil day.
The day when hell is after you and your name has come up. He says when that day comes, when that period of time when you're under major assault comes, he says, I want you to understand how to approach this. Because he says on that day, you're going to need the strength of the Lord, verse 10.
Normal stuff is not going to work. And playing church, sure enough, won't work. He says on that day, you're going to need the supernatural. And so he goes into these verses leading up to the subject of prayer to tell us how to approach this time in your life, in my life. Now I want to make sure that I'm not wasting my time on this sermon. So does anybody here know what I'm talking about when I talk about an evil day? An evil day when you're under massive spiritual assault. So Paul wants you to know if you want to address in the time of your attack the visible and physical, you need to do it from the perspective of the invisible and spiritual.
He gives you the term that he uses throughout the book of Ephesians of heavenly places. He says the first thing I want you to understand is that you wrestle not against flesh and blood. In other words, people aren't the source of your problem. They may be the conduit for your problem, but they're not the source of your problem. For we, Christians, wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers and world forces that are located in heavenly places or the spiritual realm.
So if you address the resource without addressing the source, all you've done is created a delay for it to come back up again because you've not gotten to the root of the problem. We're just addressing the fruit of the problem. He first of all wants to set the stage by saying, on the evil day when you're in this season of attack, I want you to stand firm, which means to hold your ground in the Lord. He says be strong in the Lord, to hold your spiritual ground. It is easy to be swayed and moved off of center when you're suffering.
It is easy to be swayed and moved off of the source of your hope when you're going through it and you see no exit sign. It is easy to be moved, but he says during those times, when you are under assault and your world is being stripped from right underneath you, he calls it the evil day. He says during that time, I want you to grab more tightly your faith.
Don't loosen it up. Stand firm. Now let me explain why this is so important. The evil day is principalities, powers, and world forces. This means you are under attack. This means that this attack is coming from the devil and demons. It is unfortunate that far too many Christians have lost sight of demons. Demons are angels that went rogue.
Demons are the spiritual mafia that attacks us in the spiritual that brings about our pain in the physical. And the Bible has an answer to demons. The answer to demons are angels.
So here's how this works. The Bible declares every Christian has been assigned an angel. And the job of the angel is to look after the well-being of the believer. So every Christian has an angel that is assigned to you by God. One of the jobs of your angel is to throw wort the demonic attack that is coming against you because angels know how to fight angels. And so when the demonic angel comes to bring pain and anguish and defeat in your world and in your life, you have an angel. The Bible says when we pray, we engage God, the Holy Spirit, who activates the angel assigned to you to deal with the demonic oppression that is coming against you.
But he tells you something else and it's the key. He says pray in the Spirit. Verse 18. Don't just pray, meaning don't just have conversation, but he says I want you to pray in the Spirit.
Questions, what does that mean? The Bible talks about the role of the Spirit is to deliver the mind of God. First Corinthians chapter 2, verse 9 and 10, but just as it is written, things which I have not seen and eareth not heard and which has not been entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him. For to us God revealed them.
He's not talking about heaven, he's talking about earth. God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. The reason why you must pray in the Spirit is because the Spirit will do a Google search for you. He says the Spirit searches, searches the depths of God. The Spirit searches, the Spirit Googles the mind of God. And because the Spirit has all information available to him, he can give you things I have not seen. He can deliver things ere have not heard. He can show you stuff that's never even entered into the heart or the imagination of man. See, when you're in the evil day, that means folk can't help you. When you're in the evil day, they have limitations that they can do for you. And you need something that I have not seen, eareth not heard, and the imagination is not conceived of.
You need the supernatural to enter into the natural. And guess what the Holy Spirit does? He Googles, because God knows more than anybody you know. He Googles, God, we have this problem. Evans has this problem. Brenda has this problem. Butch has this problem. Jane has this problem. They don't know anybody who can help them.
No long-term help. God, what's in our system that man does not have that you can make available to them? You better be able to pray in the Spirit. Now, being in the Spirit is opposed in Scripture to being in the flesh. To be in the Spirit, let me start with the participle in. He wants you to be in the Spirit. He doesn't want you visiting the Spirit.
To be in is an environmental term. That means it's how you're rolling. You're not just, see, you are in church. Right now, you're in the building called church. But you're going to leave church, so you will no longer be in church. So you're in church right now because you're in this environment. But at the benediction, you're going to leave church so you're no longer going to be in it. You will leave it, the physical location of church.
So this is a temporary experience. So you're actually visiting church and you're in it for a limited period of time. But verse 18 says all, all, all, all, all. So he does not want you visiting and exiting. He wants you operating in the realm of the Spirit. What is the realm of the Spirit? The realm of the Spirit is a spiritual mindset. In Romans chapter 8 verses 1 to 13, read it when you get home, he gives this extended discussion about the Spirit and he says, when you have the Spirit, you have the mind of the Spirit. This has to do with how you're thinking.
The mind is your thought. He wants you to think spiritually, not secularly. He wants you to think biblically, not worldly.
He wants you to think the mind of Christ, not the mind of man. What far too many Christians do is they switch from AM to FM. All of us in our cars have AM and FM and those are two totally different frequencies. You push AM, you're going to hear one frequency.
You push FM, you're going to hear another frequency. Far too many of us as believers switch frequencies. In church, we're Holy Ghost frequent.
After church, we're world frequent. And we keep switching frequencies and wonder why we don't experience the power of prayer. God says, don't you switch me off because when you switch me off, you won't get what Google's trying to pull up. That's why he says, be on the alert.
Why does he tell you to be on the alert? Because you don't want to miss it when it shows up. You don't want to miss God when he's moving. You don't want to miss God when he wants to show you something you've never thought of before, never heard before. You don't want to miss God when he wants to bring somebody in your life who you didn't expect who has an answer that you were looking for. So you better stay in contact with me so that I can reveal through your praying and activating this dress code so you're not walking around spiritually nude because you put on Jesus Christ.
And Jesus Christ is ruling so you're operating in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Dr. Evans will share a story about how not to treat prayer when he comes back in a moment with more of this lesson from his current series, Igniting Kingdom Prayer. This two-volume, 12-message collection will teach you to take your prayer life to the next level and experience more of the intimate connection and two-way communication it's intended to provide.
We'd like to send you a copy of this powerful series as our gift so you can review it on your own or share it with your family, small group, or Bible study class. All we ask is that you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. Just request the Igniting Kingdom Prayer series when you visit TonyEvans.org. Again, that's TonyEvans.org. Or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 to let one of our helpful team members assist with your request.
That's 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans will return with part two of our message right after this. The biblical roles of husbands and wives, the source of our authority as believers, understanding the concept of grace, winning spiritual battles, they're all important subjects but seem as different as night and day.
Would it surprise you to know there's a common thread running through all four? You can discover what it is by taking the course on Ephesians in the Tony Evans Training Center. One by one, you'll dig into the powerful themes of this book and make new discoveries about what Jesus' death accomplished, how to maintain unity at home and at church, what spiritual armor is all about. The course includes custom content from Tony not available anywhere else. Work through it at your own pace. Collaborate with other students. Get your specific questions answered through our online forum. Connect with the Tony Evans Training Center at tonyevans.org. It's like having a seminary on your smartphone or other device.
Start today, tonyevans.org. You know, I drive on fumes. I wait till the last minute to get gas. Far too many of us live on fumes, spiritually. Prayer is an afterthought or an emergency thought.
It's not a lifestyle of how we roll. So I want to show you again Galatians 5. Galatians 5 says this about the Spirit. Verse 16, But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh, for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
He says there is a battle, and it's a battle between the Spirit and the flesh. Let me define the flesh. The flesh is the desire to please self independently of God. The flesh is the desire to please yourself as opposed to pleasing God. We all battle with the flesh. The desire, this is what I want, and God, I know you want this over here, but I don't want what you want. I want what I want. That is the craving of the flesh.
Now let me clarify something. Being in the Spirit is not necessarily an emotional experience. You get that at football games, baseball games, basketball games, concerts. You get emotional highs. Nothing wrong with an emotional high, but if that emotional high is not connected with the mind of Christ, it is purely emotional-ism.
It is not spirituality. He says walk in the Spirit. So let's follow that. You're walking. What are you doing? You're moving. You're moving.
So to be in the Spirit is not a passive thing. You are operating on what God says. You're acting like God is telling the truth.
You are moving. The euphemism of walking in the Bible means to live according to. So this is how you roll, because you're moving with the mind of Christ.
You're not just doing that on Sunday morning when it's church time. When you go to work, you're working with the mind of Christ. When you're being a husband or wife, you're doing that with the mind of Christ. When you are dealing with friends, you're doing that with the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ puts you in the realm of the Spirit. And when you're operating, when you're operating that way, He says it will overrule the flesh.
Now many times people will say, I'm praying, but nothing is happening. Well, let me explain. You catch a fish. You pull the fish out the water. This is what that fish is going to be doing. Its mouth is going to be opening and closing, and its gills are going to be flexing. You know what that fish is trying to do?
Survive. But that fish is going to die. And the reason that fish is going to die is he's trying to do it in the wrong environment. He's doing the right thing in the wrong environment. And when you're doing the right thing, but you're doing it in the wrong environment, the right thing won't work. Or if we as humans went into the water and tried to breathe and started to inhale and exhale, you're doing the right thing, but you're doing it in the wrong environment. Many Christians pray they're doing the right thing, but they're doing it in the flesh. They're doing it in the wrong environment. And if you're doing the right thing in the wrong environment, the right thing won't work.
So just because you say your prayers in the morning, say grace at dinner, and say your bedtime prayer, that's the right thing. But the question is, have you been walking in the right environment? Because if you're not walking in the right environment, doing the right thing won't work.
And in fact, it can help kill you quicker. So he says, all, all, all, all, I want you to be consumed with being in my presence. Walking in the flesh, he says, will put you in a spiritual graveyard. But walking by the Spirit, and here's how you know, because you're no longer having to force things.
When you're in the Spirit, but the Bible calls the Spirit a wind, a wind, it blows. You know, you're at the airport, and you're walking to your gate, but then right next to you is a moving sidewalk. So when you're walking to your gate, but you're not on the moving sidewalk, it's all your human effort.
It's all your energy, your legs, your arms. But when you step on the moving sidewalk, you can still walk. You still walk, but you are gliding as you walk. It ain't the same effort, it ain't the same, because you got something underneath you, pulling you along. The Bible says the Holy Spirit guides us, he pulls us. Now you can walk, you should walk, but you're walking on some power. You're walking on some undergirding. You're walking on some strength, because you're walking with the mind of the Spirit, consistent with the revelation and Word of God, so that he can override.
And so you begin to flow in it, even though you still have to walk, and even though you may have a ways to go. He says, pray always in the Spirit, spiritually, because he's my only out. And so we cry out to God and trust God, but you have your evil day, or you will. And if we make prayer a lifestyle, walking in the Spirit a lifestyle and not a visit, don't treat the Spirit like you treat church, don't just come for a visit. No, he says, you roll with me, and you stay in contact with me all day, every day, short, long, fast, slow. When we contact God, if the timing is wrong, he'll say slow. If the request is wrong, he'll say no.
If we are wrong, he'll say grow. But if the request is right, the time is right, and we are right, sooner or later, he'll say go. So I want this to be known as a house of prayer. Praise God for great music, praise God for preaching, all of that's critical to worship, but if we don't make contact with heaven, all we did was come to an event, a religious event. But if we as a church will cry out to God, and when God meets you in your evil day, however that happens, sometimes he takes you through it, sometimes he delivers you out of it, and sometimes he just gives you the strength to deal with it. He does it in all kind of ways, but however he decides to do it, you'll know he's right there in the midst. He changes your perspective in the midst of your evil day.
And you know you can go a long way with a change of perspective. to make the arrangements, or get some in-person help from one of our friendly resource team members by calling 1-800-800-3222 day or night. That's 1-800-800-3222, or online at tonyevans.org. And tonyevans.org is also the place where you can find out how to stream the powerful film Journey with Jesus. You know, Jesus never traveled more than 300 miles from the place he was born, yet his life changed the world.
He never wrote a song, yet more songs have been written about him than any other person in the world. And in the feature-length Journey with Jesus, Dr. Evans and his family take you to the Holy Land to explore just what made Jesus' life so remarkable and so impactful. Make Journey with Jesus part of your Easter Reflection this year. Find out more at tonyevans.org. When we're facing a crisis, big or small, we have two choices, listen to our feelings or listen to our faith. On Monday, Dr. Evans will explain how our choice affects how we pray and how God answers. I hope you'll join us. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-13 15:23:08 / 2023-05-13 15:31:53 / 9