Friday, November 20, 2015

BIBLE STUDY: WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: WEEK # 6

Galatians 5:16-23)


Prayer:

"Father, we hear You say, 'I have made you a watchman unto your people.' Father, help us to identify Your activity in our life. Help us to feel the weight of giving a warning when the enemy seems to be so active. When Your people are under the strain and the stress, they need to know what it is that has come against them. Lord, You may have given us unusual insight or You are about to because You are about to set us on the walls of our family afresh or our church or our city and You are stirring in our heart. Father, help us to know it is You and to remember that You have done that in other days, and that You will not let this generation go by without many watchmen. You will not let this generation go without warnings so that we can adjust our lives. "Father, even now You are putting Your hand on many who will make a decision about their life as spiritual watchmen on the walls of Your people or their homes. May You do a great work in our heart, and don't let us ever be afraid to blow the trumpet. So Father, along with the others, I wait for and watch for and expect Your anointing on my life to fulfill such an assignment. "And You have made me aware of what could happen if they never hear the warning. Enable us in these moments of worship to respond to Your invitation which is so critical for the lives of Your people and our families in the days and months that lie before us. We ask it in the Name of Jesus our Lord."         

Study 6            Watching in the Spirit:

Let's Walk:

Scripture Reading:     (Matthew 26:41)

 

I           Watchfulness:

We must be watchful for the coming of Christ because we know not the time of His coming as said in (Matthew 25:13; Luke 12:37; I Thessalonians 5:5, 6; Revelation 3:11; 16:15).

The Watchful Christian:

Scriptural watchfulness has three directions to it--upward to God, inward to our spiritual condition, and outward to our environment. It is to watch for God as David did when he said he watched for God in prayer more than they that watch for the morning (Psa. 130:6). It is to look with patient, loving attention for fresh revelations of the character of God, of new openings of His Word, of clear intimation of His will.  It is also a devout, intelligent outlook for the fulfillment of prophecy, for occasions of Divine intelligence in the affairs of men. It is to keep the telescope of holy vigilance sweeping the heavens of God's grace and providence like the wise men who were on the lookout for the star of Bethlehem. It has been said, "He that notes a special providence will never lack a special providence to note." It is wonderful how people find what they look for, and holy watchfulness toward God will find Him where foolish indifference sees only blank space.
A watchful Christian will keep guard over his own inner spirit. He will notice the uprising of every disposition, of the trend of his thoughts, and of the choice of his will, and of his words, and the tones of his voice, and of his manners. He will not only watch his actions, but under the swift and beautiful guidance of the Holy Spirit he will perceive the very essence and spirit that flow out in the actions and words. This is what the Lord means when saying, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23).
Holy vigilance must also guard our environment and be on the lookout for the approaches of Satan in multiplied forms, and keep on the alert for escaping all evil, and doing all the good we can, to see and seize the golden opportunities that an infinite providence brings to us. This is the range of a Bible sentinel. It may seem like a tiresome task, but if the soul is flooded with divine love it will not only be easy but a chosen occupation of the chastened and sanctified intellect.
The condition for watchfulness is that of great quietness of spirit. Flurry of heart, agitation of spirit, or gloomy, despondent foreboding, or terrified feelings of alarm, or a fatigued spirit of legalism that drags itself in the service of God--all unfit a soul for watchfulness.
Quietness of Spirit:
God's watchers in the darkness of this present age need great stillness of spirit, or they will fail to see the things they are appointed to observe. Many Christians are so filled with bustle and noise and hurry and excitement and fret and criticism and scheming and everlasting talkativeness--they cannot detect the gentle voice of God or the soft cooing of the Heavenly dove or the footsteps of the coming King. Neither can they know what is going on in their own hearts.
(Quoted) . . . . "Once I was praying with a congregation, and I was just about to utter a certain word in prayer. But as I was in a calm state of mind, quick as thought the Holy Spirit flashed into my mind that such a word might sound severe or inappropriate, and He gave me another word. He also prompted me to slightly drop and soften the tone of my voice as I led the prayer. Almost immediately I felt a strong sense of God's presence, and when the "Amen" was said, and the congregation arose, I found scores of people had been melted to tears during the prayer. I learned from this that if we are still in our hearts before God and our minds are thoughtful and calm, it is the most favorable condition for receiving gentle intimations from God, and also the best conditions for being channels of grace to others." WOW!
Watchfulness is to become a heavenly habit of mind. It is not an instantaneous blessing like pardon or cleansing. It is a habitual attitude of the mind which we must choose and cultivate. It is that state of the spiritual understanding referred to by Paul (Philippians 1:9-10) where he prays that the love of God may so abound in us that our knowledge and judgment and mental senses may be flooded with holy love that we may be able to discern the things that are excellent. It is to have a mind soaked in Divine grace.
Watching for Jesus to Come:
This habit of Heavenly watchfulness is the attitude of the soul for meeting Jesus when He comes. It is to a real watchful believer that Christ reveals the things concerning His second coming and millennial reign. It is watchfulness of spirit that fills its vessel with oil and trims its lamp, and keeps ready for that long expected but swiftly hastening hour, when the cry shall ring through the earth, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Him!" (Matt. 25:6).

II         Watchmen:

(II Samuel 18:25; II Kings 9:18; Psalm 127:1; Jeremiah 31:6)

God said to the prophet Ezekiel, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me" (Ezekiel 3:17).

Here is one of the most intriguing metaphors used by God in all of prophecy. It is repeated in chapter 33 for emphasis, and sets the stage for the prophet's ministry to the divided houses of Judah and Israel.

Just what was the role of a watchman to an ancient city? How does God use the role of a watchman to warn and teach? What does it mean for the work of God today as this world comes to a prophetic crossroads? It's vital you understand the answer to these questions as events grow increasingly tense in a rapidly changing world order.

A key figure:

In the ancient world of agrarian societies, large watchtowers were placed overlooking the fields. There, in the weeks the crops were ripening toward harvest, men would stand watch, guarding the fields from animals or from thieves who would make off with the crops. With the community's basic food stores at stake, the watchman's role was critical to the townspeople. We also find several references in Scripture to a watcher mounting the city walls in times of stress to survey the scene outside the fortifications. He was situated on a spot from which he could monitor the approaches to the town. If a threat appeared, he would sound a warning and the town would shut its gates and prepare for battle.

You can also imagine the watcher standing vigil at other times, observing the daily life of the city. He could see much of the activity in the streets and markets. He knew the people, their work, their habits and their lifestyles. If his position was near the city gate, he could also observe the business of the city transacted by its officials (see Ruth 4:1-12). No wonder God uses this role to illustrate the job of the prophets He sent to comment on society's behavior, as well as to deliver messages of warning and instruction.

Prophets set as watchmen:

Focusing on the Old Testament prophets helps us understand the full meaning of the symbolism of a watchman. There may be more than you have noticed before. We noted at the outset Ezekiel 3:17, where God told the prophet to warn Israel of its sins and His impending punishment, saying, "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me." Notice it is God's message, not Ezekiel's message or any other prophet's message. It is always God's message delivered through the human instrument. The warning comes from God in language phrased to fit the situation and designed to bring people to repentance. Let's keep this point firmly in mind. Continuing: "When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 3:18-19). The prophet had the duty to deliver the sobering message: Unless the citizens of Israel and Judah acknowledged their sins, turned from them, repented and began again to obey God's law, they would die in their sins. Regardless of how individuals responded to the warning, if they heard the message, the prophet had done his job and was no longer responsible. Only if the prophet did not deliver the admonition would he be judged along with the wicked. (Ezekiel 3:20-21) explain another aspect. If a righteous person turned to sin, he would suffer the penalty, but the prophet would also be held liable for not giving him instruction. If the prophet gave adequate warning, instruction and positive teaching, the righteous could understand the consequences of turning from the right path. This could help motivate him to stay firm to the faith, a choice that would vindicate the prophet's work. You get the sense here that a part of the prophet's message was showing the people how to live and maintain their faith. It was not just a strident message focused only on pointing out their problems. If the goal is to get people to turn back to the Word of God, then the message must also show the benefits of doing so. It must show the positive better way of life God desires His people to live.

III        Spiritual Watchmen:

(Isaiah 62:6; Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17; Hebrews 13:17)

Every believer is called to be a spiritual watchman to some degree in his or her prayer life. It may be a watchman upon the walls of your family, or the walls of your church or your city, or God may entrust you with being a spiritual watchman on the walls of the nation. Some may have a more advanced calling in this aspect of their prayer life.
A spiritual watchman is one who has been uniquely equipped by God to see. In Matthew 13 God says that every believer has been given eyes to see and ears to hear. But a watchman has to be equipped by God to see what others do not see and he has a unique capacity to see when the enemy is invading. The enemy comes disguised, but a spiritual watchman is very alert and blows the trumpet and gives a sound so that family members can be quickly warned and not destroyed. Or he may be given spiritual eyes to see something that is happening in the life of the church. The watchman suddenly realizes that something has come in and there is turmoil and dissension and conflict.
A watchman doesn't just see and observe or hear. A watchman blows the trumpet. The watchman sounds the note: the enemy is approaching! or the enemy has slipped in! In history, the watchman on the walls carried with him the safety of the entire city. The city could sleep at night knowing the watchman was on the wall. If they, with the uniqueness of their sight and hearing, noticed that the enemy was creeping up to the wall, they could blow the trumpet, or the Scripture in Joel says, "lift up the ram's horn" and let the sound go out and give the warning so the people could ready themselves and not be taken unawares
.

 What About Your Role?

When you go to pray, God may lift you up to a level that you've never been before, and He will say to you, "I've set you as a watchman," and He will tell you what the parameters are of your assignment. Are you watching over your grandchildren? Are you watching over your church family? Are you watching over your city or the group of churches that make up your denomination in the city? Where has God placed you in your prayer life? This conference theme is "Praying for a Change." I believe one of those moments when God initiates a change is when He calls you and me to be a watchman on the walls of His people somewhere. Do not take that lightly.  The enemy will come, but God wants someone to blow the trumpet. Have you said, "I'm too old," or "Nobody will listen to me"? They may not listen to you, but they may listen to the trumpet sound. When you blow the warning, then they may listen. My prayer is that you will never again be a watchman on the walls of God's family and see the enemy come and fail to blow the trumpet or sound the alarm. You must sound the alarm or they will never know that they ought to take warning or that there is an enemy. God may give you an insight that they do not have. The Bible simply says that God places watchmen on the walls of His people. Would you let God assign you? Would you open your heart to God to be a spiritual watchman to hear and see what others may not, and will you say to God, "Whatever You show me that is putting Your people in any danger, Lord, give me the spiritual boldness and courage to put the trumpet to my lips and blow the warning so that nobody will be where the enemy is destroying and not realize what is going on and that we need to pay attention.  (Quoted) . . . " My dad was a deacon all my life. He was a businessman and a very committed Christian. He probably influenced me as much as anyone. In the front of my Bible I have a picture of my dad in his typical hat and suit holding my hand as a little 11-year-old boy, walking down the street. That is a symbol to me of how God gave me a precious father who held my hand through the growing times and put in my heart what God would be saying to me. He was a spiritual watchman for my life and he warned me and shared with me. Part of what I am today is because he was faithful to warn.  Again and again I make my way to an altar. God raises new things in my life and He wants to meet me for these things as well.  I pray, "God, You've laid on my heart some things I've not thought about but I have now, and I want You to know that here's my life. Do with me whatever You choose and, Lord, I'm willing to let You do it in the midst of Your people because You are deeply concerned about every level of what's happening to my people and every aspect of their life. If you call me to be a watchman for the children or the youth or the college students or the senior adults in my church or my city or even to a larger fellowship of Your people, Lord, I want You to know I will be that watchman and I will blow that trumpet as You enable me in this Your assignment to my life." The life and destiny of God's people may well rest in your faithfulness to be a spiritual watchman, especially when you pray. Let's pray together and personally respond to God.
Questions:

 

1).        Explain watchfulness in the Spirit.

2).        What is the three directions of spiritual watchfulness?        

3).        Keeping guard over your own spirit is what?

4).        What do Proverbs 4:23 means?

5).        Explain quietness of the Spirit.

6).        What was Paul saying concerning watchfulness in Philippians 1:9-10?

7).        What is the habit of heavenly watchfulness?

8).        What is a watchmen?

9).        What is a key figure of a watchman?

10).      Who was set as watchmen on the wall?

11).      If a watchman does not do his job, what will happen to him?

12).      Who is called to be a spiritual watchman?

13).      Where has God placed you in your prayer life?

14).      Can you pray a prayer as a watchman (prayer warrior)?

15).      What have you learn from reading Philippians 2- Colossians 2?

 

Exercise:         Week # 6         Walking in the Spirit today:

What did you do to know you were walking in the Spirit today?

Extra: Patience (Longsuffering)

I choose patience . . . I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignment, I will face them with joy and courage.

 Personal Prayer:

Lord, thank You for loving me enough to allow me to be perfected through the molding process of fire.  Thank You for having a perfect plan and purpose for my life even if I do not always understand it.  Help me to see Your hand in everything.  Help me to overcome the trials and pains of this life.  Help me to rely on You and reach out for YOUR strength. Help me to cultivate the fruit of longsuffering.  THANK YOU for making available to me as I wait on You and trust you through my struggles.  I love you, Daddy.  Thank You for loving me.  In Jesus' Mighty Name, amen.

 

Weekly Reading:        Week # 6         (I Thessalonians 1-II Thessalonians 2) Monday through Sunday

Prayer Time

Prayer Time
Praying for Peace