Luke 11:21-26 “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
For some reason, today, the idea of occupation is offensive.
In WWII, half of Berlin became occupied by the Allied forces. The idea of maintaining a force and the peace had to do with military occupation.
Today, in Iraq, ISIS has taken over almost half of Iraq. ISIS also occupies almost half of Syria. If you ever see a tumor or cancer that spreads, it looks like fingers growing into various parts of the body. ISIS looks like a cancer in the Middle East.
Why was ISIS allowed to do this?
General Petraeus had the idea of a surge. Instead of going in and withdrawing, he wanted to occupy. He mapped it out and sent a bunch of special ops forces and put people in strategic locations, five in a group. Their assignment was to keep the peace in one specific corner of the city. They sacrificed much to do this. They stayed in a room for 35-40 days, 120 degrees with a single pipe in the middle of the room for a toilet.
In Anbar, a sniper tried to shoot our guys every day. They got to know the sniper’s abilities and waited him out and got rid of him. Eventually, the place was so peaceful, soldiers could walk around and hand out candy to children. Then, we left. Now Anbar has been overrun by ISIS.
It is time for the church of the living God to occupy and stay and give no ground to the devil or distractions or things not of His Kingdom. It’s time to occupy. Evict the devil and keep him out.
Eviction must take place. The church must get rid of some things in their lives.
A strong man must come in—Jesus. Let Him occupy.
Demons tremble at the Name of Jesus. There is none higher, none greater! There is no situation that is greater, no sickness, nothing. Jesus is Alpha and Omega. We need that Strong Man to come into our lives and sit on the throne of our hearts.
Ephesians 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”
Exchange that spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise. Jesus is on the throne. He must remain on the throne in our hearts and we must stay on the cross, not the other way round. We have the right to claim His promises.
Ephesians 4:22 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;”
Put off the old man. Don’t put it on again! Get rid of it forever!
Eh 4:23-27 “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”
It’s okay to tell the devil to shut up sometimes!
Eph 4:28-29 “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
The ‘wow’ moment that needs to hit you now is ‘Let everything you say build the other person up.’ If you practice this, you will turn heads.
Eph 4:30-32 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
This practice will change your life and bless everyone around you.
We need that Strong Man in our lives. We need Him to sit on the throne in our hearts. God’s final destination wasn’t Father of all creation. It was not even to become the Son of God, born of a woman, under the law, to give Himself as a sacrifice, to take our place on the cross. His final destination was to be in the hearts of men as the Holy Ghost, to set up His Kingdom here on earth. We are His body, the seat of all power and all authority while we are here on earth.
God ruled the earth through the nation of Israel from the mercy-seat in His tabernacle.
I Cor 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
Col 2:10 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”
Eph 1:19-23 “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
We were meant to be the seat of His power. We need to maintain this relationship to Him, the proper relationship.
I Cor 15:31 “ I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
When you receive a commission, you are not your own anymore. You have to work with Him and walk with Him. He will always be there for you. We have to do it with Him.
This isn’t a one-time thing. It’s every day walking. My words are not my own, my mouth is not my own. My job isn’t my own. You were created for a purpose and a destiny. A Toyota wasn’t created to be its own. It was created to go places it had never dreamed of. You were created for such a time as this to transform this world and occupy until He comes.
Titus 3:5-6 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;”
Washing of regeneration, renewing means ‘renovation’, a continuing process, routine maintenance, renewed every day.
It doesn’t matter how urgent the call or how persistent the knock if it’s locked and the person inside isn’t coming out, you’re not going to get in there. You need to keep the devil out.
There are two kinds of people, the person who is occupied or preoccupied with Holy living and those who are not. We can always get closer to God, always become more godly. It is about walking with God, seeking Him and not getting distracted, being separated unto the Lord and learning to be a conduit of the Spirit, His Spirit and power. Keep that door locked! Occupy!
Put on that new man! Righteousness doesn’t mean ‘holier-than-thou’. It means ‘staying with the Lord and obeying Him.’
Other people are occupied or preoccupied with things of this world, distractions, sins, fighting for your own ways, rather than going His way, seeking His will. You need to cooperate with Him.
2 Cor 10:4-6 “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
What if your occupation was to be a pastor? How would you live? Would you talk differently? Would the things you buy change? The way you use your free time? What if prayer were your occupation?
Every one of you has a different occupation. If you were called to prayer full-time, what would you do? You are called to be a Christian full-time, 24/7.
Do you seek oneness with God all the time? Do you pray until burdens are exchanged from your shoulders to His? What if you were preoccupied with seeking the well-being of others?
Occupy until He comes.
Luke 19:13 “And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.”
Luke 19:15-19 “And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.”
God has given you talents that affect other people. Smile. Encourage. Serve. Love. As you learn to take jurisdiction over your own talents, God will give you greater responsibilities. Connect with Him. Seek oneness with Him. Occupy!
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Charles Li.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!