How God Uses the Church to Dismantle the Demonic Empire that Deludes the World

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this … I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” — Genesis 3:14-15

By Brad Hicks

God’s intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Ephesians 3:10-11

Nothing happens in our world, in nations, in monetary and economic systems, in governments, in our neighborhoods, in our families, or in our interpersonal relationships that are not influenced by our receptivity to unseen spiritual forces.

Without humble obedience to the Holy Spirit of God, every one of these human institutions is influenced and deluded by what Paul refers to as the “ruler of the kingdom of the air.” Without a yielded, circumcised heart and a bowed knee to God and his Word, all human institutions will continue to be mired in greed and self-promotion, lust for power and pleasure, war and infighting, mental and emotional illness, and spiritual deception.

It has always been so. Since Adam and Eve in the Garden, through the risings and falls of every human civilization — from Mesopotamia and Egypt to the Indus Valley and the Shang Dynasty, to the short-lived Davidic kingdom of Israel, to Assyria and Babylon, to Greece and Rome, to the so-called Christian empires of Europe, to the civilizations built on the religions of Muhammed, Buddha, and the many thousands of Hindu gods, to the present day world powers of the United States, Russia, and China — all of them have fallen or are doomed to destruction before the prophesied Second Coming of Christ to earth.

You see, there is no righteous nation, no godly or Christian government, no just economic system, no wars that are holy, no global peace, no humanitarian Utopia without human submission and allegiance to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

There is only one earthly government that will remain till the End: The Church comprised of the obedient people of God. God’s Church is currently a hybrid of both earth and heaven. It’s a government of a very real nation, but it has no geographic boundaries. Though its citizenship is a bit foggy to the natural eye, its people dwell among all nations. This dual earthly/heavenly kingdom is also a family, each member eternally related to one another by the purest of blood and the holiest of Spirit. The Church is also an economic system, one that doesn’t require money to exist and whose currency is faith, obedience, servanthood, and exaltation of its Head, its indisputable sovereign Ruler and King: The living Son of God, Jesus Christ.

This holy nation was in the mind of God from before the creation of the world, and its construct was revealed by Jesus to his twelve closest followers during the days that he lived as a man on earth over 2,000 years ago. Jesus even confided to the Twelve that this new nation, this ekklésia or congregation of God, would be built on the faith of his followers and that the gates of hell (the kingdom of the air and its ruler) can never prevail against it or overcome it.

In other words, God has always intended his Church, his called-out and set-apart people, to be the earthly vehicle by which all the world’s inhabitants — their governments and nations and the demonic dominion that rules them — bring glory, honor, and praise to himself, and recognition of his Son as righteous and just Ruler of all.

Shortly after Jesus provided this insight about the Church to the Twelve, he proceeded to give himself over to his enemies to be bled out and murdered. He was left for dead but three days hence he completed his mission on the cross by scornfully exiting his stonewalled grave through an all-powerful and all-perfect resurrection. By these two acts, we are told, Jesus defeated death and the works of the devil.

For the next couple of weeks, Jesus visited his closest friends in and around Jerusalem, and on one occasion instructed them to gather a few weeks later at the Jews’ Feast of Firstfruits, also known as Pentecost, and that he would visit their gathering in a unique way that they’d never experienced before. The disciples did just that in the month of May in 33 AD, and Jesus, true to his word, visited them indeed, more powerfully and wonderfully than they could have ever imagined. He filled them with his Spirit, literally indwelt them, empowering and equipping them to become and to do what men and women were never able to become and do before: “To make known the manifold wisdom of God to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms.”

It was on that day that the Church of God was birthed! The cross and the resurrection pointed to an even more intimate and farther-reaching purpose — the gift of the Holy Spirit given to all who would believe and receive him. It was only through Christ’s death and resurrection that his Spirit was able to be “poured out on all flesh,” as foretold by the prophet Joel. On that Pentecost, God created a new race of humanity, a holy nation, a new family of sons and daughters for himself by indwelling them with his Spirit.

Consequently, it has been these Spirit-filled ones, these obedient-to-Christ ones, whom God has used since the Spring of the year 33 to radically change the course of redemptive history on earth. God continues to purpose those of us who believe today for his good pleasure, and he will use the Church in like manner until the return of the Son of God and we’re united with him in his perfected kingdom.

Since the Church’s inception, the world and even some within the Church have mistakenly identified the Church or Christianity or the Christian religion by its infamous injustices, schisms, atrocities, and violence that human history records. The Crusades, the Inquisition, forced conversions, the arrogance of imperialistic missionaries imposing Western culture on indigenous peoples around the globe, support of slavery, violence against Jews, hatred of women, abuse of children, and on and on … all in the name of Christ.

But, friends, just because sinful, evil deeds are done by men and women in the name of Christ does not mean that these were the works of Christ or of his true Church. The enemies of God and the Church love to make a mockery of him and his people. The forces of evil always discredit and blaspheme the Word of God and its messengers.

Yet, God has no need to defend himself against his enemies. He scoffs at them and remains steadfast in his good work through his true Church amongst the peoples of the earth. He is perfectly content accomplishing his will in secret apart from the false narratives about him or Christians or the Church in history books, in classrooms, and on YouTube. His truth marches forth in redemptive history through his Spirit-filled, obedient people, his flock who know his voice and flee the voice of the intruder.

Paul gives a description of what we, the Church, should look like and how we’re to show up in the world. His letter to the Ephesians is a manifesto for God’s glorious purpose and gracious plan for the Church. Hear what the Apostle says.

Chapter 1

18-23 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Chapter 2

6-7 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Chapter 3 – The scripture on which the idea of this message is based …

10-11 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I’ve started these last few passages with the words “We, the church” or “We, the Church, do our best to”, to personalize Paul’s instructions for Christian behavior to the Ephesians. This section of the letter is Paul’s practical instruction manual for how we must first eradicate the worldliness in ourselves and how, thus, we, the Church, become God’s agency for changing the world.

Chapter 4

1-2 (We, the Church, do our best to) live our lives worthy of the calling we have received, to be completely humble, gentle, and patient, and to bear with one another in love.

17 (We, the Church) no longer live as (disobedient non-believers) do, in the futility of their thinking.

25 (We, the Church) put off falsehood and speak truthfully to our neighbor.

28 (We, the church) no longer steal, but (we) work, doing something useful with our own hands, that (we) may have something to share with those in need.

29 (We, the Church, do our best to) not let any unwholesome talk come out of (our) mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

31 (We, the Church) get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

32 (We, the Church) are kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave (us).

Chapter 5

3 (Among us, the Church, there is) not even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity or greed.

10 (We, the Church) find out what pleases the Lord.

11 (We, the Church) have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

19 (We, the Church) speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. (We) sing and make music from (our) hearts to the Lord.

20 (We, the Church) always (give) thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 (We, the Church, do our best to) submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Paul wrote more instructions for the Church in his letter than what I’ve included here. But just using this sample size, it’s pretty clear what Paul considered the most essential thing for which the Church must strive — Unity in love. Without solidarity with one another, the body of Christ on earth is useless. Paul never made a big deal about evangelism, about large numbers of church attendees, or about building a Christian empire. He was concerned about the true Church doing what was necessary to stay fit and useful.

For what purpose? And here we’ve come full circle.

God’s intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Ephesians 3:10-11

The Greek word for manifold in this passage is polupoikilos and it literally means, of differing colors. What has been revealed to Paul in this passage is that, in every generation, God puts on proud display his infinite wisdom through the unique personalities of his chosen, obedient human sons and daughters. On display to whom? To the disobedient on earth who are under the power of the prince of this world, the devil, and to the unseen disobedient demonic spirits awaiting their judgment.

This I call God’s Big Picture, and it is how God uses the Church to demoralize, disempower, and dismantle the demonic empire that rules the world until its future final destruction, which is foretold in Revelation 20. The evil one is frustrated by the Church at its every foul turn by our love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and not least of all, our unity. This is why the devil unceasingly seeks to underscore, thwart, and destroy the Church. He is filled with fury because he knows his time is short.

Published by Louder For Malchus

Hi! Brad here. Avid learner, nature nerd, sports-stats geek, publisher, writer, editor, and a Christian. I try to pay attention ... for a word that God might be saying to me. I keep my inner sense attuned for something "prophetic" or "numinous" in good writing, film, music, art of any kind, in all created nature, in spirited conversation, in prayer, or simply in my quiet thoughts. "Louder For Malchus" is about paying attention so we might truly hear. I believe that we only really live "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God," wrote the Deuteronomist whom Jesus quoted. Then, once heard, obey, become, and do. He doesn't speak to amuse and entertain.

One thought on “How God Uses the Church to Dismantle the Demonic Empire that Deludes the World

  1. Funny I just started watching the passion and I’m thinking what ever happened to Brad‘s blog after watching poor Malchus get his ear chopped off.

    Sent from my iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

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