GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURESTearing Down Strongholds
By Keith L. Estes
Powers of evil that afflict our souls -
When the servant who had been forgiven the huge debt refused to forgive one who owed him a little debt, he was rebuked by his lord and delivered over “…to the tormentors” (Matthew 18:34).
The verb form of the Greek word for tormentors in this passage means “to torture.” Its root word means “to cause pain and toil; to produce anguish and vexation of soul.”
In the parable of the unjust steward, the lord rebuked the servant who refused to forgive an offender: “…I forgave thee all that debt…Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?
“And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him”(Matthew 18:32-34).
A bitter person becomes a prisoner of his own making; he is angry, discouraged, depressed, disillusioned, and unable to concentrate on his responsibilities or enjoy the relationships, which God designed for him to have.
The Solution- Understand the meaning of mercy.
In the parable of the unjust steward, the debtor did not plead for mercy; he simply asked for an extension of time. “…Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all” (Matthew 18:26).
The lord delivered him to the tormentors so he could come to the realization that he would never be able to pay back his debt. If he would then plead for mercy, the lord would forgive him the entire debt. Then, having experienced mercy, he would be able to show mercy to his offenders.
Understand your weapons…to Tear Down the Strongholds of Bitterness.
Preparation- If we have given “ground” to Satan, we are under the influence of his principalities, powers of evil, and rulers of darkness.
The Book that warns us not to “give place to the devil” by bitterness also tells us, “…We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6”12)
Scriptural steps by which we are able to conquer Satan and destroy his strongholds are given in the following passage. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony…”(Revelation 12:11).
The Blood Of The Lamb - Satan and all his hosts were present at the crucifixion of Christ. At the time Jesus was nailed to the cross, He snatched the legal document that Satan held in his hand.
That document had given Satan authority over every person in the world. Jesus nailed the document to the cross and blotted out the handwriting on the document with His own blood.
Then He made an “open show” of Satan in the heavens. This expression refers to the practice of triumphant generals from Rome parading their conquered enemies through the city streets, in order to demonstrate that these foes no longer had any authority or power over the people because they had been conquered and disarmed.
Based on what Christ did on the cross, the only authority Satan has today over us is that which we give him through rejection of what Christ accomplished or disobedience to His Word. These powerful truths are presented in the following passages:
“And you, being dead in your sins and the un-circumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; “and having spoiled principalities and power, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:13-15)
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5)
The Word Of Their Testimony - We appropriate the powerful word of Christ by placing our faith in Him and repenting from the words of the flesh that have dominated our lives. (Col. 2:6-12)
Our way of giving testimony to this truth is by confessing our sin of bitterness, by asking God to regain the ground we gave Satan, by tearing down strongholds of unscriptural ideas, and by showing mercy to those who offend us.
We forgive others because God for Christ’s sake has forgiven us.
Reference: The Basic Life Principles Seminar by Bill Gothard, Box 1 Oak Brook, Ill. 60522 Used by permission.