Quite some time ago, I saw a program with Joel Osteen that sparked something for me. Now, I am not a big follower of Osteen’s ministry. He is just too “sugary” for me, so I haven’t been drawn to follow him very closely. I do remember his father, John, because I would often travel to Lester Sumrall’s church in South Bend, to see him (and other teachers), but I haven’t been led to follow Joel.
However, the message I am thinking of from Joel was entitled, “Your Set Time.” I was thinking of that message this morning because I wanted to get real serious and look at a spiritual principle we could call immunity, or being sheltered from all evil and hindrances that are thrown on God’s plan.
If you turn to Revelation 11, you find a story of the two witnesses which is a perfect example of the principle I want to share with you. The elements of immunity in their experience are easy to see:
- The witnesses get their power from God (v. 3)
- When they are opposed, Yahweh defends them (v. 5)
- When they finished their testimony, the beast kills them (v.7)
But, I want you to notice that the enemy cannot kill the two witnesses until they have finished their testimony. Even at that, the Lord raises them from the dead and makes a mockery of their enemy (See Revelations 11:11-12).
Yes, I realize the prophecy of the two witnesses is far more dramatic than anything we face, but they do illustrate a principle God applies to us as well. For instance, Jesus said:
“My Father loves me because I give my life, to take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I give my life of my own free will. I have the authority to give my life, and I have the authority to take my life back again. This is what my Father ordered me to do” (John 10:17-18).
Now, you have to understand that I came to my Lord under the teaching of the “Word of Faith” movement. You know, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Saville, et al. So, don’t expect me to “bad mouth” my mother. It was their ministries that brought me to Christ, and their teachings were a great value to me. For instance, under their teachings, I learned that we could take Jesus’ words and apply them to our own life.
In other words, I would often say, “This is my life, I can pick it up, and I can lay down as I choose.” However, I distinctly remember the time that the Holy Spirit pulled me aside and asked, “Um, did you give your life to Jesus?” I was a little confused by that and answered, “You know that I have!” [The fact that I am hearing from Him, made that obvious].
But then suddenly, a light came on! I am no longer living my life! I gave it to Him and now He can pick it up and lay it down as He chooses. Oh, my!
Okay, here is where we get personal. As His messenger right now, let me ask if you are willing to lay down your life? Are you prepared to surrender all of it? You see, when you live under the umbrella of Yahweh’s authority and seek to obey His commands, the enemy may indeed oppose you and even oppress you, but he cannot stop the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life. For instance, Scripture tells us that when “David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, then fell asleep” (Acts 13:36). Oh! So, David received the position he had, and once he fulfilled the Lord’s purpose, he received his reward? Cool!
And, the moment the time comes for you, the Lord will say the same of your life. Any opposition brought against you during your life will only be for the greater victory of our Father. Death cannot come to obedient children of Yahweh until, [now underline that word], UNTIL they have finished their work. When you surrender your will to the will of our Father, you find a place of blessed immunity. Strengthened by His power and shielded by His protection.
You can find another beautiful illustration of this principle in Luke’s Gospel as Jesus cries out for the citizens of Jerusalem to come under His sheltering wings of protection. The Old Testament paints a similar portrait in the ninety-first Psalm. The words fall around us like a down comforter from heaven! The psalmist saw something in his own life and wrote:
“Whoever lives under the shelter of the Most High
will remain in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
He wasn’t presenting a philosophical platitude but declaring a reality that he had witnessed his entire life! He was saying that there is a place of safety — a certain level of immunity from evil attacks — that existed for those who choose to establish themselves there. The concept of dwelling in Psalm 91:1 is virtually synonymous with the idea of obeying or remaining that we see in John’s Gospel:
“If you obey my commandments, you will live in my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commandments, and in that way I live in his love” (John 15:10)
Jesus is telling us that we abide or remain in Him and His love through our obedience.
Obedience is the key to immunity from the enemy. Obedience is what positions us in the shadow of the Almighty. When we are living in obedience, any evil that comes against us will have to go through our Father first! Christ lived for one purpose: to do the will of the One who sent Him (read John 6:38). Because He was entirely surrendered to the will of His Father, Herod’s threat in Luke 13:31 had no power over Him. When the time came, the rulers and the chief priests could be used only as puppets by Yahweh in His pursuit of greater glory.
If you are familiar with the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you see this surrender graphically illustrated when Aslan allowed the minions of the Witch to beat and kick him–completed by the Witch executing him.
I am convinced that the same is true for us. We gain the place of immunity through obedience to His will. This explains why Christ longed to gather the children of Israel into His arms the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but He couldn’t. Why? Because they weren’t willing. They chose their own will over Christ’s, forfeiting the shelter of His wings. The result was desolation and defeat (see Luke 13:35; 19:43).
The same unwillingness can have similar results in our lives today. As believers in Christ, two different forms of immunity apply to us. Everyone who personally receives the Grace of God has the first kind of immunity: protection from eternal judgment. We stand in the shadow of the cross. The judgment that should have come to us came to Christ instead.
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I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.