New Wine for New Wineskins June 2014

By , June 1, 2014 8:05 am

Two Edged SwordSinner Killer

1 Samuel 15: 18

18 Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are exterminated.’

Wow! How would you like to be sent on a mission like that?  Actually, that is exactly the mission that we have been sent on!

Mark 16: 15

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

What did Paul say?

Romans 1: 16 (AMP)

16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

The mission hasn’t changed – its just the scope of the mission and the weapons that we employ in carrying out our mission that have changed!

We have been sent out into the world with a sinner-killing message, and so we are to proclaim that message until there are no sinners left alive!  I should probably clarify that statement before going any further.  When people are born again in response to the good news that we are commissioned to preach their old identity as sinners is killed and they are resurrected as saints – the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

When the LORD told Saul through Samuel to ensure that all of the Amalekites were killed he was giving us a very clear picture of how he deals with sin.  He knew that if one sinner was left that the same sin would rise again.

We struggle sometimes to deal with sin when all the time the word of God is clear – kill the sinner and the sin will end!

That is how God commanded his people to stay clean under the Old Covenant and that is how he commands us to stay clean under the New Covenant!  Kill the sinner and sin will lose its power!

We need to learn from what happened with Saul!. His failure to follow through completely on the word of the LORD signaled the beginning of the end of his reign as king over God’s people!  There is only one thing that we are to be merciless with and that is sin and anything that represents a temptation to sin in our lives – whether that is in our relationship with people or with stuff!

1 Samuel 15: 7 – 35

7 And Saul attacked the Amalekites, from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.

They were unwilling to destroy what they perceived to be the best even though the LORD had told them to!  How many of us hang onto stuff that we know deep down is a token of our disobedience just because we foolishly continue to place value upon it.  The reason that the LORD told them to kill even the livestock was because of its association with sin.  We should never hold on to anything from the old life or from the recent or distant past that has associations with sin.  For example, some of the music we used to listen to can keep memories alive in us that need to be put to the sword.  If we are not diligent in dealing with these things we will inevitably return to bondage.  Living sinners sin – only dead sinners have stopped sinning!  It is important that we lay everything down!  Like the person who asked how much a rich man who died had left.  “Everything!” was the reply!

10 Now the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments.” And it grieved Samuel, and he cried out to the LORD all night. 12 So when Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul, it was told Samuel, saying, “Saul went to Carmel, and indeed, he set up a monument for himself; and he has gone on around, passed by, and gone down to Gilgal.” 13 Then Samuel went to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed are you of the LORD! I have performed the commandment of the LORD.”

Saul knew that he had not fully obeyed the LORD’s commandment and yet he claimed that he had.  How many people are in the same boat?  They know that there is something that they have failed to be obedient in and yet they claim to be following the LORD wholeheartedly.  Do we have anything that we know should have been put to death but we are keeping it alive?

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”

It soon becomes apparent to the discerning that something doesn’t quite add up!  Do we really just want to put on a show and live in a sham when the reality is that there is a day fast approaching when the true nature of everyone’s work will be revealed.

15 And Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the LORD your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

How is it that we always seem to be able to blame someone else for our sin?  Does God accept that as an excuse?  No!

16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Be quiet! And I will tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”
And he said to him, “Speak on.”
17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? 18 Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.”

Saul is still not willing to accept personal responsibility for his sin.  Why did Saul keep Agag alive?  Because sin likes company!  But sin is also rooted in selfishness (self-interest / self-indulgence) and so Saul obviously wasn’t just being merciful but he saw some future advantage for himself in keeping Agag alive.  That is often the same with wrong relationships that God has said to put to death!  We are not being merciful to the other person – we are trying to hold onto some future advantage from a selfish motive!

22 So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

The word of the LORD is clear!  Anything that we stubbornly hold on to is an idol!

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.”

At last Saul is beginning to acknowledge his sin but he’s not there yet because he still wants to apportion some of the blame to the people.

26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
27 And as Samuel turned around to go away, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent.”
30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD.

It is better to die than to live a lie!  Even if it means laying everything down and coming up fruitful in a different role or function.  That is always preferable to continuing a pretense in order to save face  temporarily when everything will be exposed eventually anyway when it is too late!

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.” So Agag came to him cautiously.
And Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”
33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel went no more to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul, and the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.

There is only one way to deal a fatal blow to sin and that is to put the sinner to death!  The new life that we have as believers is resurrection life but you can’t live in resurrection life if you have never died!  The abundant life that Jesus came to give us in all of its fullness can only be enjoyed by those who have died to sin and are alive unto God!

The LORD had commanded Saul to destroy everything associated with the Amalekites but he chose to ignore God’s command thinking he could still retain his position.  We need to understand that titles are irrelevant when obedience and submission to the LORD’s authority is absent!

So what does all this mean for us as New Covenant people?  Well, Jesus said it this way!

Luke 9: 23 – 24

23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

You have to kill the sinner – the sinner must be put to death!  We must kill the sinners if the righteous are going to live!  Listen to Paul!

Galatians 2: 20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

He also said this!

1 Corinthians 15: 31

31 …I die daily.

We have to kill the sinners so the righteous can live!

Romans 6: 2 – 14

2 …How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died,
He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

So how do we kill the sinner?  With the sword of the Spirit!  The sword of the Spirit is the Sinner Killer!

Ephesians 6: 17

17 And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

Hebrews 4: 12 (NLT, NIV, AMP)

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires…it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart…exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

We should be so thankful for the New Covenant!  But the New Covenant is no softer on sin than the Old!  The remedy for sin is the same – kill the sinners!  However, the miracle of the New Covenant is that there is life after death!

John 12: 24 – 25

24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Listen up!

2 Corinthians 10: 4 – 6

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

How do we pull down strongholds?  With the sword of the Spirit!  Chop, chop, chop, chop…into little pieces!

How do we cast down arguments?  With the sword of the Spirit!  Chop, chop, chop, chop…into little pieces!

And how do we deal with every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God? With the sword of the Spirit!  Chop, chop, chop, chop…into little pieces!

We punish disobedience with unswerving obedience to the word, the word, the word!

Everything that is a stumbling block or a hindrance to our complete obedience to the commission we have been given must be handled in the same way!  With the sword of the Spirit!  Chop, chop, chop, chop…into little pieces!

Remember – free people free people!  You can’t go easy on sin if you are going to set the captives free!  You have to kill the sinner in order to set the righteous free!  Sin has not been dealt with effectively until the sinner is dead!

Colossians 2: 6 – 15

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

There was no true victory over the Amalekites as long as any of them were left alive.  Only complete obedience to the command could bring victory.  Likewise, there is no true victory over sin until there are no sinners left!  Only complete obedience to the command can bring victory!

Jesus’ perfect obedience separated us from our sin and qualified us to be righteous!  Although we might still sin it is no longer because we are sinners – it doesn’t cause us to revert to sinner status!  Sinners sin because they are sinners and that is what sinners do!  If the righteous sin it is a painful experience for them but they don’t hide their sin away or try and justify it.  Nor do they allow the shame and condemnation attached to their sin to immobilise them.  Instead, they immediately punish sin by cutting it up into little pieces before the LORD through repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus!

1 John 1: 5 – 10

5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

We have a commission to reach the world with the glorious gospel – the good news of freedom – that the Cross has made possible!  We must present the good news in all of its fullness if we are going to kill the sinners and release the righteous!

We must make it very clear to people that you cannot simply add Jesus to who you are and go on living like nothing much has changed!  The sinners must be killed – the old nature must be put to death so that the new nature can live!

It is time for the Sword of the LORD to be wielded in the hands, and yielded to in the hearts of his people so that the righteous can inherit the land!

There is one other important thing that we need to be aware of as we deal with this issue of killing the sinners.  The reason that the LORD commanded Saul to exterminate the Amalekites was because they had ambushed Israel as they were coming out of Egypt.  God, who is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish had obviously given the Amalekites a lot of space to repent but they had hardened their hearts to a point where there was no turning back.  Listen to what Saul does before he attacks the Amalekites.

1 Samuel 15 : 4 – 6

4 So Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and lay in wait in the valley.
6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, depart, get down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.

There were Kenites among the Amalekites.  The Kenites had showed kindness to God’s people when they came up out of Egypt.  The word of God is clear that those who live by the sword will die by the sword and that those who show mercy will receive mercy.  As we wield the sword in our lives we need to be aware that not every relationship and not every part of our past lives was sinful or unhelpful.

Wielding the sword is not about legalistically and indiscriminately wiping out everything from our past!  The Holy Spirit will help us to discern between what should remain and the things that could become unhelpful hindrances and ambush us when we least expect it.

The final tragedy in Saul’s life is that he died by falling on his own sword (1 Samuel 31).  If he had been willing to obediently wield the sword of the LORD earlier in his life his fate could have been a lot different.  The sword of the Spirit is the Sinner Killer that will keep us alive by faith!

Remember – the word of God is the sword of the Spirit!  Where the Spirit of the LORD is there is liberty and so he will always lead us into freedom!  He will never ask us to put to death anything that is helpful and a source of blessing – only what is unhelpful and could cause pain and loss!  All we need to do is let him lead us and follow his direction!

1 Samuel 15: 18

18 Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners…and fight against them until they are exterminated.’

Mark 16: 15

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” 19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

Have fun!

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