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Open the Heavens

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Open the Heavens

Psalm 18

Introduction

> Last week we looked at the power of prayer and the effect that sin (disobedience) has in God hearing our prayers.

* Deuteronomy 28:23 “And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron.

> We need our prayers to be effective.

> Many times we think that we can't seem to get a breakthrough.

> But God is more powerful and

Proposition

> You can walk in victory because Christ walked in victory.

Interrogative Sentence

> How many of you live your lives just battling for a daily victory in your own life?

> How many of you want to get beyond that and live your life assaulting the powers of darkness and claiming lives for the kingdom of God?

Transitional Sentence

> No doubt we are in a battle!

* Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

> Yet where is the battle?

> We battle strongholds.

* 2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

> Robert Murray McCheyne said:

"According to your holiness, so shall be your success. A holy man is an awesome weapon in the hands of God."

I. We have to let God's authority reign!

A. Walk according to His authority in faith.

1. 2 Chronicles 20:1-17.

a) Note the fear in v. 3

(1) They sought the Lord!

b) The word and instruction of the Lord.

(1) What if Jahaziel had not spoke out with the prophet word?

(2) What if Jehoshaphat had not been obedient to the Lord?

(3) Where was Jehoshaphat's mind?

(a) Fear!

2. The power of strongholds.

a) Ammon, Moab & Mt. Seir were coming against Israel VS the devil's strongholds in our lives.

(1) Operate in fear or in God's authority.

* 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NKJV) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. NKJV

* 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (NASB) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

B.

Obedience is of utmost importance to God.

1. Samson VS Joseph in sexual temptations.

a) Both rose from obscurity to become deliverers of Israel.

(1) One by supernatural strength, the other by depending completely on God.

b) Samson.

(1) Ignoring the direct command of God not to marry, and definitely not to fornicate with, women who served other gods, Samson panted after Delilah.

(2) He failed the test. He pursued his own lusts, using God's supernatural strength to do so.

c) Joseph.

(1) In his time of temptation, completely resisted both his own youthful lusts and the advances of Potiphar's lustful wife.

(2) Listening to the command of God, he immediately fled from this woman's grasp.

* 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

(3) He passed the test. The purpose for which he had been born was safeguarded and released by his obedience.

2. Saul and David.

a) Saul.

(1) Born with abilities to lead.

(2) The river of God did not flow in his life because of disobedience. He cared for the praise of man more than the approval of God.

* 1 Samuel 15:22-23 Then Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

b) David.

(1) He was a man after God's own heart.

* Acts 13:22 “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’

(2) There were two kings in the room (Saul and David). David carried the anointing under an open heaven to rule Israel. King Saul forfeited his anointing under a heaven of bronze.

(a) David ministered to Saul with the anointing of the Lord.

* 1 Samuel 16:23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.

C. The river of God will not flow in a bed of disobedience.

1. God still hates iniquity and rebellion. Jesus was direct and blunt about His opinion of our excuses, justifications, and explanations for disobedience.

* Matthew 7:22-23,26 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

II. Open the Heavens, Walk in Obedience

A. Jesus did.

* John 14:10-11 “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.11 “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

* John 5:19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

1. If Jesus walked in obedience can you?

* Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

2. Would He have asked us to do something if it was not possible?

* Matthew 4:19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

B. God commanded Jeremiah to pray (call out!)

1.

C. Obedience to God always produces a supernatural flow of His anointing.

1. This ministry from God's throne ensures that His will is done on earth as in Heaven.

2. Today we have the living Spirit of God dwelling within us.

a) We have the wealth of God's Word.

(1) The knowledge and ability to read the Scriptures.

b) We have the authority of His name and His shed blood in our arsenal of lethal spiritual weapons.

c) Walk in the miraculous!!!!

(1) Don't get "spiritual" or "religious" and stick these things into some "nice Bible story."

(2) God will come through every time as we walk in obedience.

(3) Jesus never meant for the miraculous life to be limited only to Himself.

* Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;18 “they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

III. Effects of Disobedience

A. It causes the skies to thicken over our heads.

* Deuteronomy 28:23 “And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron.

B. The earth becomes iron.

1. Dryness, drought, and famine.

a) This is where the devil roams, in dry places.

* Matthew 12:43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.

b) That is because he cannot co-exist with the manifest presence of the river of God.

c) Any area of our life (personal or corporate) that lacks the life-giving flow of God's Spirit is ripe for occupation by our most spiteful enemy.

2. Sin of disobedience robs you of the ability to prosper, it steals your health.

a) It affects your productivity.

b) It cuts off your means of survival.

c) Repentance is a job you alone can do!

C. Let the river flow.

1. God said through the Psalmist that the one who keeps His Word:

* Psalm 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.

2. Satan is powerless when you walk in unbroken fellowship with the Lord.

3. He has the ability to do evil but not the authority—unless you give it to him.

IV. What are we to do?

A. Call to the Lord.

* Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) 3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

1. What an absolutely incredible promise!

a) If Jeremiah prays, God promises that He will not only answer him, but reveal “great and mighty things.”

b) These are things that could not possibly be known any other way.

(1) Wisdom in living.

(2) The idea of the word “mighty” in Hebrew would be better rendered “isolated” or “inaccessible.”

(3) God is offering revelation insight based upon a pursuit of Him in prayer.

B.

All successful, spiritual enterprise is based upon clear understanding of the forces which oppose us and direction for dealing with these influences.

1. The carnal mind is unfit for spiritual warfare.

a) Our natural human perception can at best only lead us to the doorway of understanding and never through it.

b) Even former spiritual victories and the experience of walking with Christ for years cannot substitute for fresh spiritual insight that comes from our daily walk with Him in prayer.

C. How is your prayer life today?

1. Turn to the Lord now and He will provide all that we need: guidance, insight, strength … and “great and mighty things.”(this section, from IV1)

Conclusion

> Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray!

* Matthew 21:13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

> Pray daily for your brothers and sisters this next week to live victoriously in Christ.

> Pray for them to gain a daily victory over the strongholds in their lives.

* 2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

1Hayford, J. W., Middlebrook, Sam. (1997, c1992). Living the Spirit Filled Life: Daily Devotions for Personal Application (electronic ed.) (Pages 253-254). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publisher.

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