Neither Give Place to the Devil (continued)
Nevertheless, even though Abraham continued his walk in faith before God for at least 20 years; even though he became a mighty warrior before God, who could deliver many people out of the hands of the enemy (Genesis 14); even though he was a mighty intercessor for the Lord's interest (Genesis 18); and even though Abraham had allowed God to deal with his natural man in many ways, he still had not allowed the Lord to deal with an almost hidden self-centeredness in his natural man. Abraham had not allowed God to deal with his desire to preserve his natural life. It is true that Abraham feared for his physical life, but even more significant, he wanted to preserve that which his natural man could produce, he wanted his natural man to accomplish that which God had promised. Abraham had not submitted the religious part of his natural man to the work of the Cross, neither had Sarah. Remember his cry to the Lord, when after Ishmael was born, and Abraham cried: "Oh that Ishmael might live before Thee!" (Genesis 17:18) - of that Ishmael may be "The Seed," in other words, "Oh that what I have produced may live before Thee."
So in not allowing God to deal with the religiousness of the natural man, the natural man of Abraham became stronger. Sarah had a similar problem with the religiousness of her natural man, for she joined with Abraham to produce Ishmael; and through Hagar they produced that which they desired to live before the Lord. So after 20 years of serving the Lord, neither Abraham nor Sarah could discern that the Philistines were being used as the agents of satan's antichrist spirit, no more than they discerned the same thing about the Egyptians 20 years before. Remember, the antichrist spirit is always religious, it always wants worship, it is always blaspheming Christ, by using the natural man to take away or add to the Fullness of all that Christ is, and all that He accomplished. Remember, the antichrist spirit becomes increasingly stronger through the efforts of the Christian's natural man!
Some of us may say, "Well, maybe Abraham and Sarah should have discerned the antichrist spirit in the Philistines because they were much more mature in the Lord. But we could not expect them to discern that the Egyptians were agents of satan's antichrist spirit, for they had only begun to walk with the Lord." Beloved, this is not true because 1 John 2:13-27 instructs us that it is the "little children" who have received the anointing of the Father in them to discern that which is of Christ, and that which is antichrist.
In 1 John, the phrase "little children" is used nine times; seven times the Spirit of God breathes the words "little children" (teknion) in order to express the utmost tenderness and love of the Lord for those who are His. And at the same time, the Lord is expressing His Full Authority in the lives of His "little children" as He instructs them how they must walk before Him, and as He warns them of the works of the enemy (1 John 2:1, 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21).
Then, in 1 John 2:13 and 18, the Holy Spirit uses a different Greek word "paidion," when He uses the phrase "little children"; and this word implies a child's dependency upon his father. In Matthew 18:1-4, the Lord Jesus Himself gives us the meaning of this phrase "little children" (paidion), when His disciples asked Him, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child (paidion)unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, 'Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children (paidion), ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child (paidion), the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.' ".
(continued with # 40)