The Sword of the Spirit Killing Offenses

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Normally I save my blog for discussions of technology related projects and not for spiritual observations. But as a rare exception I will post something if there is a good reason to do so. A friend called me and said he was going to get a divorce, that he couldn’t deal with his spouse. I conveyed this portion to him using my own personal experience. After a two hour long phone conversation I can tell that his realization about how to overcome the offense changed. His offense was killed once he applied this truth in an experiential way. That was a truly remarkable thing. If every self proclaimed christian experienced the reality in these messages there would be no more offenses damaging relationships among believers.

All materials were originally published by LSM from the spoken ministry of brother Witness Lee. Proper citation given at the end of each section.

Understanding Ephesians 6:17 Experientially

At this juncture I would ask you to consider how, in a practical way, the word of the Bible can become the sword of the Spirit for fighting against the enemy. Can you give an illustration of this or a testimony concerning it? Ephesians 6:12 reveals that our enemies are the evil spirits, “the world-rulers of this darkness,” “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenlies.” Can you testify from your experience how you have slain these enemies by taking the word as the sword? In order to give such a testimony, we need to understand Ephesians 6:17 experientially by handling the Bible in the way of the Spirit and not merely in a mental way. I am concerned that in the Summer School of Truth you will teach the young people merely in a mental way, as if you were teaching in a secular school. We all have to learn to teach the Bible in the way of the Spirit.

Ephesians, a book on the church as the Body of Christ, talks about the Body life, the oneness of the Body (4:4), and the Body being the fullness of the One who fills all in all (1:23). We need to realize that things such as our opinion, thought, temper, emotion, natural life, and point of view are often used by the powers of darkness in the air to damage the Body life. As brothers and sisters in the church, we all have our emotion, thought, opinion, and natural life, and we all have our own point of view. Quite often we are offended, not due to the wrongdoings of others but simply due to our emotion or opinion. A chair cannot be offended, because it does not have feelings. No matter how you treat a chair, it will not be offended. However, it is easy for brothers and sisters in the church to be offended.

Due to their emotion, sisters are easily offended. Suppose an older brother speaks a word to a particular sister and she is offended because of her emotion. Then the evil power in the air comes in to take advantage of her emotion, and she determines not to forget that she has been offended. Apparently the problem is her emotion. Actually the problem is that her emotion has been taken over by the evil force in the air. This means that the real enemy is not this sister’s emotion but the evil spirit in the air that takes advantage of her emotion in order to damage the church life. Because of the enemy’s use of her emotion, this sister first has a negative effect on her husband, and then she goes on to have a negative effect on several others. As a result, part of the Body is poisoned. If the enemy is to be defeated in this situation, the sister must learn to receive the word as the Spirit, which becomes the sword to deal with the enemy.

Being Preserved in the Church Life and in the Ministry by Receiving the Word as the Spirit

This is something I have learned through many years of experience. I am not a “marble” person who cannot be offended. I have often been offended by others in the church life or in my family life. How have I been able to get through all the offenses? I get through by receiving the word as the Spirit. The word I receive as the Spirit then becomes the sword to slay the enemy. Apparently the sword of the Spirit kills my emotion; actually it kills the evil spirit in the air who takes advantage of my emotion. Whereas my emotion is killed directly, the evil spirit is killed indirectly. In this way I have been able to get through the offenses.

When some hear this they might say, “Brother Lee, show me a verse that can kill your emotion directly and kill the evil power in the air indirectly.” This is not a matter of a particular verse that touches our emotion but a matter of applying Ephesians 6:17 in an experiential way. Suppose in the evening I am offended by one of the elders. Because I fear the Lord, I do not dare to talk about this with others. The next morning I rise up to contact the Lord in the Word. I do not read any verses that touch the matter of my emotion. Instead, I simply begin to read the Bible with the exercise of the spirit. I may read Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” As I read this verse, I receive the word in a living way as the Spirit, and the Spirit, which is the word, becomes the sword that kills my emotion directly and kills the evil force indirectly. Spontaneously, the offense is gone, and no damage is done to the church. However, if the offense were allowed to remain, it would cause serious damage to the church life. I believe that many of us have experienced receiving the word of God in this way.

Without the word as the Spirit to be the killing sword, there would be no way for us to be kept in the church life over the years. For more than half a century, I have been traveling, visiting the churches, and contacting thousands of saints. Without the word as the Spirit to kill all the enemies, I would not still be here ministering. If I had allowed myself to remain offended with a certain church or saint, I would have been finished with the ministry. I have been kept in the church life and in the ministry through the killing of the word as the Spirit.

(Teachers’ Training, Chapter 2, Section 3)
(Raising Up the Next Generation for the Church Life, Chapter 23, Section 7)
***

The ​Sword​ of the ​Spirit​ Killing the Enemy

Let us now turn to Ephesians 6:17. Here Paul charges us to receive “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God.” When I was a young Christian, I did not understand how the word of God could be a sword. I understood what it means to be enlightened by the Bible, for by reading the Bible I was enlightened. To some extent, by the Bible I was also rebuked, corrected, and instructed to be right with God and man. But I did not know how the Bible could become a sword, an offensive weapon to deal with the enemy. To understand this requires spiritual experience.

It is common for Christians to be enlightened, rebuked, corrected, and instructed by the Bible, but not many experience the word of the Bible as a sword that kills the enemy. The reason for this lack of experience is that we may receive the word of the Bible for teaching, rebuke, correction, and instruction without touching the Spirit. Even unbelievers may be enlightened by what they read in the Scriptures. Also, they may be rebuked, corrected, and instructed by what the Bible says concerning honor, love, humility, and honesty. However, in their reading of the Scriptures there is nothing of the Spirit. However, if we would take the word of the Bible as a sword for fighting the enemy, we must touch the Bible in a way that is full of the Spirit.

The Word of God Being the Sword Indirectly

According to Paul’s word in Ephesians 6:17, the word of God is the sword not directly but indirectly. Paul speaks of “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God.” Here we have indirectness. The sword is not the word directly. Rather, the sword is the Spirit directly, and then the Spirit is the word. This indicates that if we would deal with the enemy Satan, the Bible must become the Spirit. Without the Spirit it may be possible for us to teach from the Bible that the young people should honor their parents and ask for forgiveness for what they have done wrong. But if we would use the word of the Bible as a sword to kill the enemy, in our experience the word must be the Spirit.

(Raising Up the Next Generation for the Church Life, Chapter 23, Section 6)
***

A Spiritual Antibiotic

Suppose a particular brother is not happy with the church in his locality. He moves to another city, supposing that he will like the church there. However, after a short period of time, he becomes unhappy with this local church, so he moves to another place. But soon he is offended by something or someone in this church and he moves to yet another locality. Such a person cannot participate in the building up of the church. On the contrary, because there is no killing of the enemy within him, he causes the church to suffer damage.

According to Paul’s word toward the end of Ephesians, a book concerning the church, we need to receive the word of God in a living way, that is, receive the word as the Spirit. The Spirit will then become the killing sword. This sword first kills us directly and then kills the power of darkness in the air indirectly. We may compare this kind of killing to the effect of an antibiotic on the germs that cause illness in our body. In order for our body to be saved, the germs need to be killed by an antibiotic. The word that we receive in a living way as the Spirit is a spiritual antibiotic that kills the “germs” within us. When the germs are killed, the evil forces in the air have no way to take advantage of us. Then we can live a healthy Body life, a healthy church life.

This is the way I have been preserved in the church life and in my ministry for so many years. Apart from the killing through the word as the Spirit, my ministry would have been terminated. Once again I would emphasize that we need to receive the word of God in a living way, so that in our experience the Spirit becomes the killing sword. When the word becomes the Spirit, the Spirit becomes the sword — the sword of the Spirit that kills the germs in us and the evil spirits in the air. In this way the Body, the church life, and our ministry are saved. This will enable our ministry to have a long life. However, the ministry of certain brothers has not lasted long. In their situation it was their ministry and not the enemy that was killed.

Let us all receive the word of God in a living way! As long as in our experience the word becomes the Spirit, the word will not only heal us but also kill the enemy.

All those who teach in the Summer School of Truth should help the young ones not merely to receive the word for the learning of certain biblical truths but to receive the word as the living Spirit. When they receive the word as the living Spirit, in their experience the Spirit will become the sword. Receiving the word in this way requires much prayer. This is why we need to have the proper pray-reading. Through pray-reading the Bible, we receive the word in a living way as the Spirit.

(Teachers’ Training, Chapter 2, Section 4)
***

Among the various items of the armor, only the sword is for offensive warfare; that is, it is the only item of God’s armor used for attacking the enemy. In spiritual warfare we must deal not only with the objective enemy but even more with the subjective adversary. Satan is not only the enemy outside of us; he is also the adversary within us. Today we face a greater problem with the inward adversary than with the outward enemy. The attacks of the enemy from without are not as serious as those of the adversary from within. To deal with this inward adversary, we need to experience the killing power of the word. Yes, the enemy is outside of us, but his elements are within our being. Because the enemy’s elements are within us, we need the killing power of the word to be applied to our being subjectively.

In Ephesians 5 the word is for nourishment that leads to the beautifying of the bride, but in Ephesians 6 the word is for killing that enables the church as the corporate warrior to engage in spiritual warfare. Pray-reading the Word of God is the way to kill the adversary within us. Every day and in every kind of situation, we should pray-read. Whenever we are troubled by something negative within us, we should take the Word of God by means of prayer in spirit. As we do this, the negative element will be killed.

In Ephesians 6:17 Paul charges us to receive “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God.” This means that we need to take the word of the Bible as a sword for fighting the enemy. According to Paul’s word in this verse, the word of God is the sword not directly but indirectly. Paul speaks of “the sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God.” Here we have indirectness. The sword is not the word directly. Rather, the sword is the Spirit directly, and then the Spirit is the word. This indicates that if we would deal with the enemy Satan, the word of the Bible must become the Spirit. If we would use the word of the Bible as a sword to kill the enemy, in our experience the word must be the Spirit.

We need to realize that things such as our opinion, thought, temper, emotion, natural life, and point of view are often used by the powers of darkness in the air to damage the Body life. As brothers and sisters in the church, we all have our emotion, thought, opinion, and natural life, and we all have our own point of view. Quite often we are offended, not due to the wrongdoings of others but simply due to our emotion or opinion.

Due to their emotion, sisters are easily offended. Suppose an older brother speaks a word to a particular sister, and she is offended because of her emotion. Then the evil power in the air comes in to take advantage of her emotion, and she determines not to forget that she has been offended. Apparently the problem is her emotion. Actually the problem is that her emotion has been taken over by the evil force in the air. This means that the real enemy is not this sister’s emotion but the evil spirit in the air that takes advantage of her emotion in order to damage the church life. If the enemy is to be defeated in this situation, the sister must learn to receive the word as the Spirit, which becomes the sword to deal with the enemy.

As we read the Word of God, we receive the word in a living way as the Spirit, and the Spirit, which is the word, becomes the sword that kills our emotion directly and kills the evil force indirectly. The word that we receive as the Spirit then becomes the sword to slay the enemy. Apparently the sword of the Spirit kills our emotion; actually it kills the evil spirit in the air who takes advantage of our emotion.

(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 415–436), Chap. 12, Sect. 1)
***

The sword of the Spirit, which Spirit is the word of God, is our offensive weapon with which we cut the enemy to pieces Eph. 6:17b.

(Crystallization-Study Outlines — Ephesians, Chapter 1, Section 11)

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