Central Command

The Art Of War

Pastor Jerry Gillis - March 29, 2020

Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
  2. Read Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2, and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. What do these verses teach us about prayer?
  3. What were the aspects of praying in the Spirit that were given in Sunday’s message? Which component of prayer from that list is most applicable to your life right now? In other words, which one do you need to emphasize the most today?
  4. Read Ephesians 6:19-20. The Enemy would love to try and silence the message of the Gospel through this unusual season. How does this secret weapon of prayer play into the spread of the Gospel?
  5. Take time to pray for one another in your group, noting specific needs and also praying the very words of Ephesians 6:19-20 for each other.


Sermon Transcript

Remember who you are and who's you are so that you can stand your ground. Who are you as a Christian, you are forgiven, accepted, totally, passionately, eternally, perfectly, unconditionally loved child of the all-powerful, all-victorious reigning King of Kings. That's who you belong to. When Satan comes in along and lies to you, and says, "Give up," don't do it. Don't do it. Don't be a reason for Satan to celebrate. Don't do it. Listen. Listen to the truth, what your King is telling you.

The belt of truth is letting the one who is truth have the final say on everything we do. When we buckle up with the belt of truth, we are saying, "Jesus, whatever you want, I submit to because you are truth." Faith is belief in what God has said and done in Jesus, with actions that give evidence of that belief. And so maybe you're in a scenario today, you're sitting in your house and you're concerned and you've struggled with fear, but you're hearing the word of God and what it's doing is it's bringing faith up in your heart.

You feel faith rising in you. You know why? Because you're hearing the word and because you've got brothers and sisters whose faith is strong, even maybe when yours right now might be weak. And by the way, that doesn't make you lesser. We all go through those seasons. Sometimes our faith is strong, sometimes our faith feels a little weak. That's why we need one another. And we need each other to pick up our shields so that we can face off with this enemy. The battle is real but God is our shield and faith is the vehicle to be able to engage it.

Ladies and gentleman, let's frustrate the tactics of the enemy by believing what God has said and what God has done in Jesus, and acting on it. A mind guided and shielded by the gospel, that's what we're talking about when we talk about the helmet of salvation. A mind that's guided and shielded by the gospel and a life that's ordered by the word, that's what we're talking about when we talk about the sword of the Spirit. When those two things are in place, it allows us to move forward in the chaos of battle. Or maybe we could say, it allows us to be able to keep going in the fog of war.

We live in an age of spiritual turbulence, so ladies and gentlemen, listen carefully, buckle up, put on Jesus and allow him, listen to this, allow him to evaluate your own heart and places where you may have slipped in to believing a lie or putting preference and emotion ahead of objective truth. He wants to reshape us, he wants to sanctify us, by the truth. His word is truth. His person is truth. Jesus can be trusted when nothing else seems sure.

When we use the phrase, central command, in our culture, it has a cultural connotation. It's basically talking about somebody who's in charge or the place where the people who are in charge are. Sometimes we reverse it and we call it command central or... But that phrase, central command, is a cultural phrase that we use. We use it in business. You'll have to check in with them at central command or command central. We use it in education. Sometimes we use it in our home when we have to talk to our kids when they are thinking that they're in charge. And we have to tell them where command central actually is or central command.

Some people, even in the midst of a pandemic, maybe you have friends that think that they are now the source of all information. Somehow in the middle of this pandemic, they've become virologists and epidemiologists and doctors, even though they're not. And all of a sudden they're telling everybody about everything. And so they've become a self-employed central command.

Well, however we use that, and by the way, if you're not laughing at that, it's because you're the one that's doing that. So please stop, nonetheless. You have those friends, Steven? Yeah, we all have those friends. There's a real central command. It's actually at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. And when you... You could see the crest of it. I think we'll put it up on the screen for you. It's the United States Central Command. It's a military operation. They actually refer to themselves as a unified combatant command. Here's what that means.

It means that the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines are really under one command. There's a big picture of all of those things that they're working together in the direction of a particular mission. Now, central command actually has all of these forces that are engaged in the Middle East, in North Africa, and in Central Asia. That's where central command is. Even though it's located in the United States in Tampa, it's commanding all of these forces from all of the branches of the military in these areas. And so even though they are different forces, they are really structured around the same mission. Different branches, but the same command that they're experiencing.

Now, you may have remembered back in January of this year that Iran dropped some bombs on some US military bases that are located in Iraq. Well, the reason that there were no casualties and the reason that this didn't have to escalate is because of central command. Central command based on the technologies that they have that they're not revealing completely, and based upon an extraordinary amount of intelligence, knew that these bombs were coming in, got word to all of the people there so that they could go find proper shelter and there were no casualties and we didn't have to escalate. And it was because central command had all of the understanding of what was transpiring and gave that word to the US troops that were there on the ground and got them out of there.

The same kinds of things have happened in Afghanistan as well, where we've had troops that have been maybe pinned down or pressed down or tied up and central command realized what was happening and called in air support and as a result of having air support, they were able to get out of the situation that they were in.

I find this intriguing because when we're studying what we're studying in Ephesians chapter six, when Paul is talking about this battle that we find ourselves in, it's not a flesh and blood battle, we were clear on that in Ephesians six. We're not fighting against flesh and blood, but instead we're fighting against spiritual forces of evil or wickedness in the heavenly realms. This makes it interesting and challenging because this is a spiritual battle, it's not a physical battle. It has physical consequences in the way that we act, in what we do, but it's a spiritual battle.

Well, since it's a spiritual battle, we should expect that the Spirit of God is central command, shouldn't we? Of course, we should. This is a spiritual battle and the Spirit of God is actually central command in this battle that we find ourselves in. And so what Paul does in our text today, in Ephesians six, is after he describes all of the elements of the armor that we have walked through, beginning with the belt of truth and walked all the way down, all the way through talking about shield of faith and the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, and then he talks about one final weapon that's in our arsenal. And I want you to see, if you pick it up here, beginning in verse 18.

He says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Now, all of my kids that are watching, all of the children that are watching right now, I'm going to ask you a question and I want you to get the answer. You can tell your mom or your dad or your parents, whoever's in there, what do you think Paul was trying to highlight in this text? I highlighted it for you. That's a little clue. Yup. You're exactly right. Prayer. Praying. You got it exactly right. Good for you.

That's exactly what Paul is actually trying to talk to us about right here. Prayer here is not an afterthought. After he's talked about these elements of the armor, prayer is not an afterthought, it's actually part of the arsenal. You see, what happens is sometimes people end after verse 17, "Helmet of salvation and sword of Spirit, which is the word of God," and then Paul gives these like religious platitudes about praying right after that. No, not at all. Paul is not making this an afterthought, this is actually a part of the arsenal.

We forget sometimes about the real spiritual battle because it's invisible. And because it's invisible, it's out of sight, out of mind. But we have to remember, ladies and gentlemen, we right now are living in a battle theater. This is what we find ourselves in. Even though the forces that we are standing against are invisible to us, they are spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. And Paul knew this from experience. Paul also knew it from the scripture. Paul knew it from experience because he was dealing with the demonic. He had to deal with that from time to time. He was casting out demons at times, so he understood this invisible battle that still had physical manifestations and implications.

But Paul also knew the truth of the Old Testament. In fact, Paul knew this really well. And by the way, in our ability to look back at the Hebrew scriptures, we can remember places like in Daniel where, when Daniel has this incredible vision that absolutely brings him to his knees, this vision that he's given, and he spends 21 days in prayer and fasting and he is seeking the Lord. He's asking the Lord's help in giving him clarity as to what the relationship of this vision is and what that means for him and all of that, and he spends 21 days doing that.

Listen to what is said when Daniel is confronted with a heavenly being, maybe two, depending on how we read the text. When he's confronted with this heavenly being, listen to what this heavenly being says to Daniel, in Daniel chapter 10. "He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up."" Listen to this. ""For I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God,"" listen to this, ""Your words or your prayers were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.""

Now, what Daniel is talking about there is not just about the two different kings that are real kings, he's talking about the spiritual forces behind those kings, but what we realize when we see a passage of scripture like this is this, that Daniel's prayers engaged the heavenly realms to action. Think about that. His prayers engaged the heavenly realms to action. The heavenly being said, "I have come because I've been sent and your words were heard and therefore I've come."

Now, he says, "I was resisted for a time because there is a battle going on in the heavenly realms." See, ladies and gentlemen, we need to realize that what Paul is saying here when he says that he wants us to pray, he's not talking about an afterthought, he's talking about something that's a part of our arsenal. It is a weapon. Maybe jot this down. This is the big idea for what we're talking about and it's this. Prayer is our secret weapon against the enemy. Prayer is our secret weapon against the enemy.

Now, what I want to do is just take a couple of pieces of our text and I want to show us the nature of this secret weapon that we have against the enemy. And here's the first. Prayer is an accessible weapon. Don't miss this. Prayer is an accessible weapon. Now, I'm taking that from our text exactly because listen to what Paul says in verse number 18. He says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." See, the beautiful thing that Paul is encouraging us to do right here is this, is that any time, anywhere, we have the freedom to be able to communicate the reality of our prayers to God. He says, "On all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests, go ahead and bring them."

We have the freedom. And do you know why we have the freedom? We have the freedom to come into the throne room of the King, the one who leads the entire army of God. We have the freedom to come in there because of what Jesus has done on our behalf. Because Jesus gave himself. His body was torn for us as a curtain that opened up the Holy of Holies that we may now go in. He was our great high priest who was not only the high priest but himself was the offering. He was both the priest and the offering. And because of what he has done in reconciling us to the Father, we now have a new and living way to enter into the throne room of God.

Listen to how the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter four. "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess for we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Paul tells us that we can have confidence to enter in. He says, "Pray with all requests and all prayers at all times." This is what Paul has encouraged us to do. You know what that does? It puts away some of the excuses that we have and that we hide behind for praying. Like this one for instance. "I don't pray because I just don't really want to bother God. I know he's got a lot on his plate, he's got a lot going on and I don't know that he really cares about what I'm talking to him about." Except for what Paul said, "At all times on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests," know that you can come confidently. Or maybe we think along this line. "I can't ask God that. It's too big. You know, I just, I can't ask God that." Let me pause here for a second.

Number one, there is no request that's too small that God doesn't care to listen to. Because not only is he King, but he's Father, and he cares about his children. And by the way, there's also no request that's too big. You know why? Because he's God. There's nothing bigger than God. God is the maker of everything. You can't possibly ask something that's too big for God. Now, is the Bible very clear in the New Testament about how we're supposed to pray? Of course, it is. Are there volumes of passages of scripture where the apostles are talking to us and Jesus himself is talking to us about prayer, where it talks about our motive and praying that's not supposed to be selfish, where it's talking about how to pray in Jesus's name, praying in accordance with the will of God, where we're supposed to be praying in faith not... Yes, obviously prayer is not to serve ourselves, it's not any of those things, but remember we've been invited. Every believer has the same access because of Jesus Christ into the throne room of God.

And I know in the time that we're living in, some people in some places have been labeled non-essential workers and the government doesn't mean to sound as if that other people aren't unimportant and these people are important, it's just talking about the function of what's going on, and I realize it's not meant to be a criticism in any way, but I just want to remind you of something. There is 100% employment for believers in prayer. Every single person is needed in the battle utilizing this secret weapon. So prayer is an accessible weapon, but let me tell you a second thing. Prayer is a specific weapon. Again, I'm borrowing this straight from our text that it's a specific weapon.

Now, what Paul does when he continues on in talking about prayer, he talks about something general praying for the Lord's people, but then he also talks about something specific. Look in the second half of verse 18 into verse 19. He says, "With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people. Pray also for me that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel." You see it there, right? He talked generally for just a moment, "Pray on all occasions, be alert, always keep on praying for the Lord's people," but then he says, "Pray also for me," and then he gets really specific, That whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I may fearlessly proclaim the mystery of the gospel."

Now, you've got to remember this, Paul's writing from jail. Now, whether it was a house arrest or whether it was kind of locked up, it's difficult to know at this time, but he's writing from jail. Now, think about this. You do know that Paul was a tentmaker. He actually had stuff that he did that helped support his ministry. He worked so that he could support what he was doing for the sake of the gospel, at least in some parts of his missionary journeys that he was on. Which makes it interesting because now he's in a place where he can't work and he's confined to one space.

Does that sound familiar to anybody? Can't work confined to one space. Some of you are going, "You're speaking my language right now, Jerry." And what does Paul do? He asks believers not to... Listen to this. He doesn't ask them to write to their politicians, he doesn't ask them to try and get him out, he asked them to pray. That's what Paul said, "I want you to pray." And notice what he said. He didn't ask them to pray for his health, he didn't ask them to pray for his emotional well-being. By the way, those would have been justifiable prayer requests. There's nothing wrong with asking people to pray for your health and pray for your emotional well-being. Those are certainly right. Paul didn't ask those things. Do you know what he asked? "Would you pray that I would magnify Christ. Would you pray that I would proclaim the gospel fearlessly as I should."

Do you know what Paul wanted more than anything in this difficult circumstance that he found himself in, not able to work and confined to a space? Do you know what he prayed? That Jesus would be magnified in his life. That's what he prayed. What if we were people who were praying that kind of prayer in this kind of time? What if we were saying, "We want to use this weapon, this secret weapon of prayer, and we want to pray for other people and that our prayers for other people we are not focused on ourselves, we are praying for others and when we are asking people to pray for us, what we're asking them to pray for is that Christ would be magnified in us."? That Jesus would be made much of in our lives, that in this circumstance that we find ourselves in, pray that I might magnify Christ in what I do and that I would fearlessly proclaim the gospel to every person that I have the opportunity to do it with. What if we prayed like that, church?

I encourage you to do that just like Paul did. He's praying... Listen, "Prayer is a weapon and it's an accessible weapon any time, anyplace, anybody who believes." It's also a specific weapon. Paul doesn't just say, "Generally," he does say, "Generally, pray for all the Lord's people," but then he says, "You can pray specifically." And what's that specific prayer? That Christ would be magnified in him. That he would proclaim and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus Christ. But let me give you a third thing about this from our text and it's this, prayer is a Spirit given weapon.

You see, we're talking about prayer being our secret weapon against the enemy and we need to know that prayer is a Spirit given weapon. Look with me again in verse 18. At the very beginning, here's what Paul's words are. "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests." Now, the question is, what does that mean? That's what we're wondering. What exactly does that mean? Well, there's only one other clear use of this, this phrase, "Praying in the Spirit," and that's in Jude verses 20 and 21. 1 Corinthians 14, may or may not be exactly about this same thing, but it could be.

What does this mean? Well, let me tell you this. I can tell you what it doesn't mean. If we want to start to help to clarify this, let me tell you what it doesn't mean. What praying in the Spirit doesn't mean is that it's something so mysterious that it requires password, encrypted puzzles, and a decoder ring that you got to have out of a Cracker Jack box to figure out, it's not that. Paul was not going to put up with that foolishness that this is some mysterious thing that can only be accessed by the elite. That sounds more like ancient Gnosticism, which was a heresy of Paul's day than it does the Christian faith.

It's not something so mysterious that nobody could gain access to, there's like there's, praying in the Spirit, oh, I can never pray in the Spirit. Paul's saying something that should be simple for us, it should be normal for us, it should be common for us, so it's not some mysterious thing. I can tell you what also it's not. Praying in the Spirit means that you're not praying in the flesh. Praying in the Spirit is actually the opposite of what it means to pray in the flesh. And by flesh, I don't mean our skin that's really, really ashy and dry because I've washed my hands like my life depended on it, he's not talking just about our skin in terms of flesh, that's not what Paul's referring to, he's referring to that humanity that makes us up, that sinful humanity that makes us up. In other words, we're talking about praying with human ability and human personality and human energy as opposed to the energy of the Spirit.

This is a different thing that we have to think about. What we're doing when we pray in the flesh is those are human attempts to solve human problems under the guise of prayer, and that won't get us anywhere, ladies and gentlemen. Jesus talked about that very thing. He talked about what prayer in the flesh looked like. You think you're so spiritual because you're praying so many words and so loudly and so in public and all of us... Jesus is saying, "That's not how you go about this. That is not what it looks like to pray."

You see, sometimes praying in the flesh, even though it's actually superficial, sometimes it looks outwardly really impressive and sometimes it also can be legalistic. Let me see if I can explain. For instance, you pray sometimes, but you say to yourself, "You know what? I feel tongue-tied when I pray, so here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to take a speech class so I can get better at this." Or you compensate because you're a little tongue-tied when you pray, and you compensate by just exploding out this word salad. It doesn't really mean a whole lot, but you just figure you'll throw a whole lot of words in there as if prayer was merely about words.

Or maybe you're concerned because your praying is too short. You're like, "You know, I know some other people, man, they pray, they pray all the time, they pray a lot. You know, my prayer is too short." So what you do is you now start to pray with a timer as if prayer was merely about length. Or maybe you think to yourself, "My prayer time's been a little dry," so you decided to raise your voice and sweat and emote as if prayer was about volume or energy or just our feelings. Praying in the flesh is something that starts to reel a bunch of us in if we're not careful and that's not what it means to pray in the Spirit. Praying in the Spirit is the opposite of this.

How do you engage actually praying in the Spirit? What do you do to engage that? It's not supposed to be a mystery to us. How do you actually engage this weapon, this secret weapon, that Paul talks about as a part of our arsenal? Let me give you a first thing to think about. You need to confess your need. I need to confess my need. You see, if in fact we are praying in the Spirit, then what we are doing from the outset is we are saying, "We do not want to pray in the flesh." And so the very first thing we need to do probably in our hearts, even if we don't articulate this, is that in our hearts we recognize, I can't do this on my own in a way that's pleasing to you, God. I need to make sure that I am dependent upon you even for my praying because I don't want to pray selfishly, I don't want to pray led by the flesh, I want to pray in the Spirit, so we confess and acknowledge our need. That's one way to begin.

Let me give you a second thing to think about. You've got to practice his presence. If you want to talk about what it looks like to converse with God in the Spirit, to pray in the Spirit, as Paul's talking about here, we've got to practice his presence. Here's what I mean by that. We have to get into such a place that we are pausing ourself to get into a place of adoration of God in who he is. I can tell you this, I didn't say this originally, I heard it long, long time ago, but this phrase never left me. If we practice his presence, his presence will change our practice. If we practice the presence of God, his presence will change our practice.

I'm telling you, ladies and gentlemen, there is a tremendous difference in the way that you pray, when you sense that you are in the manifest presence of God and when you don't. There is a tremendous difference in those two things because what happens when we experience the presence of God, listen to this, your bedroom becomes the throne room. That's what can happen, is that all of a sudden while you were just praying in your bedroom, you were transported into the throne room of Almighty God, and your praying changes as a result when you realize and sense and know, you are in the presence of Almighty God. It changes everything. You don't pray weak prayers, you don't pray prayers that are selfish, you don't pray prayers in the flesh, you are talking to the one who is above all things and is listening to you and it changes the way that you pray.

But let me give you a third thing to be reminded of. To pray in the Spirit, we need to pray out of the word. As you heard so many of our church members that were doing in our prayer time together, they were praying many of them out of the word. Here's why. As we say many, many times here, if we want to see our prayers be spirit-led, they need to be scripture fed. Daniel Henderson is the first person I heard say that, Dr. Henderson. Spirit-led, scripture fed. And see, Paul actually links these things together, ladies and gentlemen, he puts these two things, the idea of the word of God and praying in the Spirit. He puts them together in our text.

Look again, if we were reading verse 17 and 18 together, notice what it says. He talks about the helmet of salvation and the sword the Spirit, which is the word of God. His next words are, "And pray in the Spirit." Did you catch that? The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, pray in the Spirit. What do you think Paul is trying to say to us? Paul is saying that we need to be people who pray the word of God. I'm telling you this, ladies and gentlemen, that the best place we can be, the firmest foundation to stand upon in our praying, is prayer upon the word. That God has said he would do this and we stand upon that and we say that back to God in faith and we say, "God, we believe what you said and we're going to begin to act like that." That's what it means to pray in the Spirit.

It's not a mystery that Paul is saying here, "That the sword of the Spirit is the word of God," and then says, "Pray in the Spirit." How could those two things be disconnected? They can't be. This is part of the weapon that we have been given, praying out of the word of God. And then let me give you a last thing here to be reminded of. This last truth about what it means to pray in the Spirit, obey the Spirit's promptings.

If we want to pray in the Spirit, we need to obey the Spirit's promptings. You see, the idea here is what Paul actually referred to when he talked about not quenching the Spirit or not putting out the Spirit's fire. You see, the Spirit's role is to magnify Jesus and so what we do is we pray and then the Spirit prompts our lives, prompts our minds, prompts our hearts, and prompts the life of Jesus in us. See, this is what happens when we get into the presence of God. We've confessed our need that we need this to be led of him, not of ourselves. We don't want this to be of the flesh, we want this to be of the Spirit, and we begin to adore him and we find ourselves going from bedroom to throne room and now as we are there, we are now conversing with him in the language he has given us, which is his very word, the sword of the Spirit.

And as we converse with him in the language that he has given us, now the Spirit of God is prompting the life and the mind of Jesus in us. And when he does, don't extinguish the flame of God, obey the Spirit's prompting. See what he may be doing is he may be prompting us to pray for someone specifically. He may bring someone to mind as we're praying, we haven't even thought about them. They're not even really somebody maybe we talked to in awhile, and all of a sudden he brings them to mind that we'd pray for them specifically because he knows what he's doing. Central command knows what's up. And we just need to say, "Okay, we're going to obey your prompting and we're going to pray." Or maybe he's said to our hearts, "I'm going to prompt your heart to give." Maybe it's to meet a specific need, maybe it's not to meet any need that you know of, he's just prompted you to do that.

Listen to what he says. Maybe it's to encourage somebody specifically. Maybe it's to serve somebody specifically. Maybe it's to sacrifice for the glory of God. Maybe it's to say you're sorry. Maybe it's to ask forgiveness. Maybe it's to offer forgiveness. See, part of the reason, ladies and gentlemen, that we find ourselves living in the flesh is because we're so dead to the promptings of the Spirit. And that's what it talks about, when Paul's talking about praying in the Spirit, we've got to be people who are so connected to God that when the prompting of the Spirit happens in our life, we don't put out the Spirit's fire, we don't quench the Spirit, we don't turn off the spout, that we allow the Spirit of God to use his word to speak to us and to call out, listen to this, to call out the life of Jesus in us, to call out the mind of Jesus in us, and to act in those ways.

Prayer is not just to make us feel better, ladies and gentlemen, is to conform us into the image of Christ. That's what God has given this to us for. See, our secret weapon is prayer. The enemy wants to discourage us, and I bet he's tried to do that in your life this week. He wants to discourage you, he wants to bring fear into your life, he wants to bring panic into your life, he wants to bring anxiousness into your life, he wants to make you feel depressed, he wants to, as Jesus said, he wants to steal and to kill and destroy, but ladies and gentlemen, we have a weapon that he has no defense against.

When he starts firing all these things at us, do you know what we can do? We can call for air support. We call central command. You know why? Because the Spirit of God is central command. And you know what he does? He sees everything at the same time. He knows everything at the same time. And he is always available to us. I mean, think about how incredible that is. He helps us to bring glory to Jesus in everything that we do and everything that we are. Can't we pray in that direction? That in the midst of whatever circumstance that we're in right now, that Christ would be magnified in our lives right now.

In fact, what I want us to do right now, I've got a couple of more things to say as a matter of application, but our worship team actually has a song that they want to sing to us and over us about this very idea. As they're getting themselves ready, as I'm finishing up talking, I want you to listen to this. The Spirit of God has a role, has a ministry, and that ministry is to magnify Christ. That's what the Spirit does. The Spirit magnifies Christ.

When we pray in the Spirit, here's what happens. When we use this weapon, Christ begins to be magnified in our lives. He begins to be seen in our lives, not only in what we do, but also in what we say. And what I'm hoping is that we'll take a moment right now to pause and ask Christ to be magnified in us because that's really where we're going with all this. Christ would you be magnified in us? Let them lead us in this opportunity to be able to worship. You can sing along if you know the song. If not, let it be sung over you, and I want you to reflect and spend time in the presence of God even right now. And then I'm going to come back and I want to say a couple of more words to us about matters of application before we're gone.

Listen, as they sing. That's what we're praying that Christ would be magnified in us. How can you act on that? Well, a couple of things. One, as you heard earlier, you can go to the chapel.com/armorproject and get involved. Find out what we're going to be doing, and John will tell you about that in just a moment. But I would remind you we have 400 Prayer Warriors already registered, why not a 1000 or 2000? Go ahead and get on there so that you can intercede, so that you can pray that Christ will be magnified in other people's lives and help to meet their needs with this secret weapon that we have against the enemy. Get on there so that you can be someone who stands in the gap for somebody else. I encourage you to do that.

We've also got some things coming after Easter related to prayer, a podcast that's going to be coming on a daily basis. I'm not going to tell you too much right now, but it's going to be a great opportunity for us to be praying for that timeframe between Easter and Pentecost. We had already planned this before all of this craziness happened. This was already on our minds. This was just God's leading us all the way through, and we're grateful for his sovereignty, so that's coming in. Let me remind you of one last thing.

If you go to the chapel.com/loveyourneighbor, what we have there is we've got a printable card for you, it's just an idea, but you could actually download the card and use it to show prayer and care to your neighbors. The card is simply this. You just take it and maybe if you go for a walk, which a lot of people are trying to do, keeping proper spacing and all that stuff, but you could just maybe put this in your neighbor's mailbox and it says something like, "Hey, this is your neighbor, Jerry. I just wanted to let you know that if you've got anything that you have need of, here's my number. Feel free to call me. I'd love to be praying for you specifically. Be glad to run out and get something for you if you need it."

It's just an opportunity to be able to say, "We want to play offense." And so it's right there, the chapel.com/loveyourneighbor, or you can go to the landing page and scroll down and you'll see, Love Your Neighbor, and you can just click on there and it's just a downloadable, printable little piece that you can write on if you want to, or if you want to make your own you can do that, that's perfectly fine, but we just wanted to help you with that.

But lastly, could I talk to those of you maybe who are right now just streaming with us because you're just looking for hope, you're actually looking to figure out what's this whole deal with God? What's this whole deal with Jesus? Let me say this to you. The Bible teaches that all of us ascend and come short of the glory of God. That's me. That's you. That's everybody. Nobody has to convince us of that. We know we've all made mistakes and that God is Holy. If he's not Holy, if he's not perfect, then why would we even call him a God? That would be weird. He's Holy, we're not. It leaves this huge bridge between us that we can never work our way to God. God is infinitely more worthy than we could ever imagine and our sin has made us infinitely less worthy than we should be. And so what God has done is he has solved this bridge by sending his own son, Jesus, who came willingly, he didn't come begrudgingly.

He put on flesh and he dwelt among us, God with skin on. Born of a Virgin, who lived a sinless life, who went to a cross to die to satisfy the justice of God against sin, because God who's Holy is not just going to wink at sin or sweep it under the rug, he's not doing that. And so Jesus came and took our sin upon himself, the perfect sacrifice, he took it upon himself that now through Jesus's death and the judgment of sin upon Jesus, Jesus died in our place and rose from the grave conquering our sin and death and hell in the judgment on our behalf, to the glory of God. And now by faith in him, we now can be reconciled to the Father and have new life, new hope, our sins forgiven, our lives made new.

If you want to know what that looks like in your life, if you've never before entrusted your life to Jesus and had your life transformed, had Christ living in you, then two options for you. One is to go to the chapel.com/knowingjesus. Very simply, you can just go to the chapel.com/knowingjesus or you can call. If you want to speak to a human being, you can call 716 631 2636. If it helps you remember, that's 631-AMEN, like it's an answer to prayer. All right? If that helps you to remember. Either way, chapel.com/knowingjesus or 631 2636 to talk to somebody about what it means to know Christ.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray you would draw people to yourself and that you'd shape us more into the image of Jesus for your glory. I pray now in Christ's name. Amen.

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