Robert Morris - The Foundation of War
So this is our fourth message, final message in the series, The Four Living Creatures. And I know that when we started, you had no clue where I was going and now you're just loving it. It's one of your favorite series of all times. So we talked about the four faces, four creatures. Each creature has four faces. It doesn't turn. It goes in the direction that the face is going, following the Spirit. And the Spirit is in the wheel. The wheel goes higher and higher, and so what God is doing is taking us higher in these four what I'm calling foundations of the church and of our lives. We talked about the lion. We're going to talk about the lion this week. We talked about the man representing Jesus, and we zeroed in on grace. We talked about the ox representing servanthood, the lowly ox, the serving ox, and we zeroed in on humility. We talked last week about the eagle representing worship, and we zeroed in on abandonment.
So this week we're going to talk about the lion. The lion represents prayer, but we're going to zero in own war because you've got the warring lion. I just want you to understand that we are in a war and we don't want to be in a war, but we're in a war. It's a spiritual war, and it's happening whether you show up or not. And if you don't show up in prayer, you're gonna lose the war. You're gonna lose battles with the enemy because he's showing up. There's a verse in the Bible that when you show Christians this verse, many of them have never seen this verse. But there was a shorter route to the promised land that God did not take his children by for one reason. Let me read it to you.
Exodus 13:17 "...it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people..." It's Exodus 13:17. "...that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, 'Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.'" In other words, God has always known that his people had an aversion to war, but we're in a war. Ephesians 6 says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers. Many of us would rather it just say, "...wrestle not". We just don't have to wrestle in the kingdom, but we do. So this week is the foundation of war. And I'm doing something a little differently.
I have five points for you instead of three. Yeah. Yeah. So, alright. Five points. Here's number one: Pursuit. This is a principle of prayer, which is a principle to win the war. Pursuit. Now I wrote, the Lord gave me these points and then I wrote much of the message on Thursday, and Thursday night when I was going to bed. I thought, you know, these five are in the Lord's Prayer, duh. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna use the Lord's prayer for every point and show you, but I'll show you other scriptures too. Luke 11 verse one, "...it came to pass as he was praying [Jesus] in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.' So He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Our Father...'" Alright, we're going to stop right there.
Here's the greatest thing about prayer. You get to pursue the Father. You get to have a relationship with the Father that you never could have had without the Son. Here's the way Jesus said it to his disciples right before he goes to the cross, John 16 verse 23. "...in that day you will ask Me nothing". He didn't say a few things. Nothing. "Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name". In other words, you've asked the Father. Because see, that's what's the context. "...nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full". Do you know what the joy is? It's not asking. It's whom you get to ask. You get to ask the Father. Now I've done a lot of study on the Father, and most of the time in the Old Testament, when you think that the person is talking to the Father, the person is actually talking to the Son. The Father is very elusive in scripture.
Daniel gets a glimpse of him in Daniel 7, and says, I saw thrones put in place, and the Ancient of Days came in. That's the Father. But all these places where all these great men and women of God had a conversation with God, it was the Son. And you can go back and look at it, but I'm just going to read you a few of the names. In every one of these it says the Angel of the Lord was talking to that person. And we know the angel, the Angel of the Lord, the messenger is Jesus. Here are a few. Abraham. When he talked, he wasn't talking to the Father. He was talking to the Son. And it says it, just go back and read it. Sarah, Hagar, Moses. In the burning bush, it says the Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning Bush. That's the Son. Balaam, Joshua. We saw that last week. Gideon, Samson's parents, Elijah, David, and Zachariah. Until now. That's what Jesus said, until now you've not asked the Father anything. But now, I made a way you can talk to the Father. You're the greatest thing about prayer is you can talk to the Father. We miss that.
There's a pursuit of relationship in prayer. And if you want to win the battle, talk to the big guy, Talk to the Ancient of Days. Many of you know my father, who's in the service, owned a company when I was growing up. And he had an office. He had two big office buildings and his office was in the corner, you know, the assistant outside, but I could walk into that office anytime I wanted. I never once had the assistant say to me, Your dad's in a meeting. Not one time. She would just say, Hi Robert. And I would walk in. And if he was in a meeting, he would stop the meeting and say, Have y'all met my son? This is my son. Hebrews says we can walk right in boldly, boldly into the Holy of Holies because of what Jesus has done. So the best thing about prayer is the pursuit, that we get to pursue the Father.
Here's the second thing about prayer: praise. This is how you win the war. If you're going to win the war. I'm trying to take us to a higher level in prayer. The second one is praise. Again, back to the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:9, "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name". Winning the war is about praise. Prayer is about praise. If you leave praise out of your prayer, you never got to prayer. The first thing you do is, you know, you're telling the Father, but the first thing you say to him is you praise him. In second Chronicles, there are two scriptures that probably all of you have heard a phrase in these two scriptures. But you might not, if I said, where is this phrase in the Bible, you might not have been able to tell me.
So let me read the two scriptures, and you tell me if you've heard these phrases 2 Chronicles 20:15, "Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.'" You ever heard that phrase? The battle is not yours, but God's. Let me tell you the other phrase. Verse 17, "...will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord," You ever heard that phrase? Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Okay. So how, in the battle that I'm fighting right now and that you're fighting, how can I get that battle to be God's, And how can I just stand there and watch God win the battle for me? Well, just go on down. 2 Chronicles 20:21, "...when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army..."
In other words, before you pray, the first thing you do is praise. "...were saying: 'Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.' Now, when they began to sing and to praise. The Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another". All Israel was doing was singing, just praising God, and the battle became the Lord's. Let me give you another scripture on how praise is a weapon. Psalm 149:6, "...the high praises of God be in their mouth, and..."
Now remember the subject is the high praise of God, and the high praise is a two-edged sword in their hand. "To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; To bind their kings..." We war against principalities and powers. "...with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute on them the written judgment". There is a written judgement against Satan and the demonic forces. "This honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord"! It's an honor to praise God, and it's a weapon against the enemy. So, a very simple question, are you taking advantage of this honor that God's given you, and are you using this weapon? A while back, I was going through something and I kept replaying it in my mind...
Now, I'm sure none of you have ever done that. But I just kept replaying it and replaying it and replaying it. And I finally thought, I need to pray. And I was actually driving down the road, driving down Highway 26 in Grapevine. And I thought, Well, I just got to pray. And all of a sudden, without really any warning, I just said, Praise you, Lord! It's like I was just, I'd had all I could take. And I just said, Praise the Lord! And then I said, I praise you for my wife. I praise you for my family. I praise you for Gateway Church. I praise you for my kids, and I praise you for my grandkids. And I praise you for my health, and I praise you for... And I just started, and I went about 10 minutes just praising God, and I won the war and never even prayed about what I was going to pray about. 'Cause it was gone at that point, because I just praised the Lord. So praise is a weapon. It's one of the ways you win the war.
Here's number three: Petition. Petition. Matthew 6:10, "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". In other words, we're petitioning God for this, for his kingdom to come and his will to be done. "Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors". I have a couple of things I want you to notice. Isn't it wonderful that when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray, He said, Oh yeah, you can ask for the needs that you have. It's okay. Daily provision and good relationships are something Jesus said is the Father's will for you. That's what he said in this prayer. It's okay. You can pray about that. So you can petition God. 1 John 5:14, "...this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears..."
Now, let me just say, that goes along with the Lord's Prayer because we're praying your kingdom come, your will be done. So if we ask anything according to his kingdom and his will, it'll be done. We know he hears us, verse 15, And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, according to his will and kingdom, we know that we will have the petitions that we have asked for. Now, I just need to make one simple little statement here about this. It's not for your will and your kingdom. Those petitions don't get granted. I pray Lord that everybody will let me be the boss. That's not it. It's amazing. I don't know if you've ever watched this, but when you have children in the home, if you have a pet, the youngest one gets to be the boss of the pet because she needs somebody to boss. She gets bossed around all day, and everybody bosses the child younger. So the younger one will boss the dog around. Just watch it. It happens. But that's not what he's saying. He said, no, no, I'm not hearing you if you're praying according to your will and your kingdom. But if you're praying according to my will and my kingdom, not only do I hear you, but I grant your petitions. But this is a good thing.
I can get so stressed out If I keep my petitions. If I don't unload my burden to God, I get stressed out. I carry around. Like I said, I replay it in my mind, but if I just give him my petitions and say, your will be done, I can relax. Now I'm going to tell you something else that you're going to find hard to believe. Sometimes I get so stressed out, I get grumpy. Can I get an amen? Amen. It didn't take her long. She didn't even have to think about it. Amen. And she'll remind me, You need to pray. Now she does it sweetly 'cause she's sweet. But I just want to remind you if you're grumpy right now, I was looking to see for nudges. You need to pray. You need to pray. You know why you're grumpy? Because you're carrying burdens that you weren't designed to carry. And in prayer, you get to give him the burdens, and you let the battle become the Lord's and you get to stand still and see the salvation of God. But you've got to give him the battle. You've got to put your petition.
So here's number four: Protection Matthew 6:13, "...do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one". It's part of our daily prayer. Daily bread, daily deliverance, daily protection from the evil one. So some versions says, in the Greek, it literally "evil one". Lucifer, Satan, the devil. Now I have a question because we're talking about the face of the lion. There was a face of a man, an ox, an eagle, and a lion. So I have a question that I don't want you to answer out loud because sometimes I say questions in such a way that I'm tricking you, and you get it wrong then. So don't answer out loud, but is the lion Jesus or the devil? Don't answer out loud. Let me just tell you something. The Bible never says that Satan is a lion. Oh, this is so much fun because you're thinking of the verse, but you're thinking, I don't know where it is, but there's a verse says he is a roaring lion. No it doesn't. Let me read it to you.
1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about..." What? "...like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour". It doesn't say he's a lion. He says he walks about like, and grammatically, like is a simile, right? I thought you'd say it first. Okay. Thomas and I catch each other grammatically all the time and have fun with it. It's a simile. In other words, it's similar. He's similar. He acts like. 2 Corinthians tells us that he masquerades as an angel of light, that he pretends to be a good person, but he's not. I'm telling you, he pretends to be. Let me tell you who the lion is. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and he has prevailed. That's what Revelation says. He's the lion. Jesus is the lion. You want to defeat the one who pretends to be the lion? Talk to the real Lion, 'cause he's the one who protects us.
Now, we're talking about protection. Let me just show you something that happens in prayer. It's happened to all of you before. 2 Kings 6:8, "...the king of Syria was making war against Israel;" There it is right there. It's a war. It's against the people of God. "...and he consulted with his servants, saying, 'My camp will be in such and such a place.' And the man of God sent to the king of Israel," Now, the man of God here is Elisha. Not Elijah with J, Elisha with S-H. Elisha. "...the man of God [Elisha] sent to the king of Israel, saying", watch, "'Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.' Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice".
So more than two times this happened. Elisha said, let me tell you where he's going to be. "Therefore," verse 11, "heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, 'Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?'" In other words, who's the traitor among us. "...one of his servants said, 'None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.'" Here's what I want to tell you about that. God will not only tell you how to defeat the enemy. He'll tell you how he's going to come against you next because God knows the future. God, remember we said he's all powerful? He's all knowledgeable. He knows everything. and he's all present. By the way, did you notice that Satan is not omnipresent, in the last verse we read, 1 Peter 5:8? He walks around. I just wanted to just give you a little theology there. Satan is not everywhere. He goes from place to place. He walks around. God's everywhere.
So God will tell you, this is how the enemy is about to come against you. I remember one time the Lord woke me up about 3:00 AM. Well, that's not entirely accurate. My bladder woke me up at 3:00 AM. And while I was up the Lord spoke to me, and he told me how the enemy was trying to come against me. In just the middle night. I'm just telling you guys, the way you do war is you develop your relationship in prayer with God. The higher ... See, God wants to take Gateway Church, higher in grace. That was the first week. Higher in humility. That was the second week. Higher in worship and abandonment. That was last week, and higher in prayer and warfare. And I'm just trying to help you understand how you can go higher. You need to understand there is a war, and if you don't show up in prayer, you're going to lose the war. We've got to show up, and he'll protect us.
Here's number five: Proclamation. Matthew 6:13, "...Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen". You end proclaiming how great God is. It matters what you say. People have taken this teaching too far and, you know, words this and you can say this, and you can make things appear, and no, no, no, no. I'm not saying that, but let me show you a couple of scriptures in Proverbs. Proverbs 6:2, "...are snared by the words of your mouth". And Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue". It's real simple. Are you agreeing with God's Word over your life, or are you agreeing with Satan's words? What's coming out of your mouth? You need to be proclaiming the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. that's 1 Peter 2:9. "...you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim [that you may speak out loud] the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light".
So were to proclaim. I'll tell you something else you can do. You can, when Satan's lying to you, why don't you tell him his future? When he's telling you your future, you can tell him Revelation 20 verse 10, "...devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone". You can say, you're telling me my future. I'll tell you what my future is. My future is heaven. Your future's hell, And you can just go to hell right now. You can just go ahead and go. You need to proclaim it. You need to speak what God has said in his Word. Now we're going to get to communion. I'm going to show you something about communion maybe you've never seen. 1 Corinthians 11:26, "...as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes". You proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Now first of all, let me show you the GreeK word for proclaim, because there's a reason I'm going to show it to you. This is the Greek word: katangello. I know it didn't mean anything to you other than that some of you might've said, you know, we ought to get some Kit-Kat bars on the way home. Okay. But let me just show you, it's very important the root of a word. Let me divide the word up and look at the root. Look right in the middle. What's that word? Angel. See an angel is a messenger. That's a noun. Katangello is the verb. It means to proclaim the message. It means to speak the message. It actually means, one version is to herald the message. You remember herald, the word that, you remember that? "Hark! The herald angels sing..." You ever heard of that song?
I remember I heard about a kid low boy that was at the Christmas pageant with his parents and the angels were up there and she said, see the angels. And he said, Uh huh. Which one's Harold? So angels are messengers. This word means to proclaim the message. Okay. So this is what that verse just said, when you receive the Eucharist, and that's not a Catholic word, by the way, it's a biblical word. Eucharistia, all it means is give thanks. So maybe you never even thought about that. When we partake of communion, we're giving thanks. That's what the word means. Give thanks. But what are we giving thanks for? Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Well, why do we want to proclaim his death?
Let me tell you why? Because his death changed everything. His death is why we're forgiven of all of our sins. His death is why we can walk into the Holy of Holies and meet with the Father. His death is why, until now, you couldn't talk to the Father, but now you can have a relationship with the Father. It's because of his death on the cross, it's because his body was broken and his blood was shed. And every time we receive communion, we're telling the message that Jesus died for the sins of the world, every time. That's what communion is. That's the Eucharist. So I want you to get your elements, and if you don't have the elements if you're at home, if you've got time and you can pause it, you can probably pause it. I think you can. Ask the young people. Ask your grandchildren, if you can pause it. Alright. But you could go to the kitchen and get something and partake with us. Alright. And just go ahead and start, get that top part off because it took me about 30 minutes last time to get that top part off. And then at every campus, we want to receive communion together.
And I'm so grateful for everyone who watches online. Oh, if you didn't get the elements, raise your hand and someone to bring you the elements. So right down here, here. So you, because we gave them out when you came in, and some of you might've come in a different way. I see some people who serve, and so they came a different way. So at every campus, just raise your hand. If you don't have the elements raise your hand up and we'll get it to you. Alright? So as they're doing that, keep your hand up until you get it. But let me explain something to you. The bread represents his body, and here's what Jesus said. He said, this bread represents my body, which is broken for you. He saying this in the upper room to the disciples right before he goes to the cross. Here's what he's saying. It's broken. My body's broken, so yours could be put back together.
So the body of Christ can be put back together. Jew and Gentile can be put back together. Ethnicities that were divided in Genesis 11 at the Tower of Babel by language can be put back together. I'm dying so that every one in the world could be made one. And that was his prayer. He leaves from communion and he goes to the garden and he prays John 17. And he says, here's my prayer. I'm praying they'll all be one like the Father and I are one. So when we do this, we're proclaiming the victory that happened at the cross. He said you proclaim the Lord's death. We're proclaiming the victory. So let's give thanks.
Lord, we give thanks for what you did on the cross for us. We tell you, thank you that you became a human, that you lived the life that we couldn't live, that you died the death we should have died, and that your body was broken so we could receive a new, resurrected, glorified body one day and live forever with you and the Father in heaven. So Lord, we do this today in remembrance of you. Let's take the bread. Then let's give thanks for the cup. It says in the same way, he lifted up the cup. He said, this is the cup of the New Testament, the new covenant. It's my blood that shed for you. So Lord, we give you thanks. Without the shedding of blood there's no remission of sins. And so we thank you that you shed your blood so that we could be forgiven of all of our sins and we can have a relationship with you and the Father for all eternity. We do this in remembrance of you.
Let's receive the cup. Now, I want you just to close your eyes and just do like we do every weekend. Holy Spirit, what are you saying to me through this message? I can tell you exactly what God was saying to me through this message. "I want to take you to a higher level of prayer. I want to take you to a place where you're pursuing me, where you're praising me, where you're presenting your petitions, where you receive my protection from the enemy, and where you proclaim how great I am in your life, And you walk out of that prayer closet without the burden that you are not meant to carry, but I can carry. The battle is mine. You can stand on and see the salvation of the Lord". So just like we do every weekend:
Lord, what are you saying to me through this message? And Lord, I want to tell you, thank you. Thank you, God that you have taken Gateway Church now in four weeks to a higher level of grace, a higher level of humility, a higher level of worship, and a higher level of prayer in Jesus' name, amen.