De Witt Tabernacle Teaching Series
"Our Duties and our Privileges in Connection with Suffering and Trials"
C.W. Wood April 2002
In I John 5:4 we read, "For whatsoever is born of God overcommeth the world, and this is the victory that overcommeth the world, EVEN OUR FAITH." We thank our God that there is a God sent Faith that overcommeth all things of the world. But, we wonder if the Bride of Christ has paid enough attention to the teaching of our Prophet, and the scriptures, concerning what true VICTORY is? It goes without question, that Born-Again People should have constant victory, but the pertinent question is, "What is VICTORY?" If Faith is our victory, does this faith raise us to a spiritual plane from which we look down into the lowly valleys of failure, pride, sin, suffering and sickness, yet never having to tread these deep ruts ourselves? May I hurry on to say that if any of our readers have supposed that this is the meaning of Spiritual Victory, and if you have been waiting to climb to such a high spiritual plane before you dare to claim VICTORY, then your quest has been in vain, and will continue to be in vain. Victory in Christ Jesus is not a place ABOVE the trials and failures of life, but rather it is a stand we take on the Word of God while the storms of life are raging. Victory is trusting our God in the midst of daily failures. It is trusting Him to remain faithful while facing the impossiblity of ourselves being always so. It is holding to our trust in Him when our health has failed us and we are suffering on a bed of affliction.
Victory, that the Bible teaches, is a positive KNOWING that our Christ has not forsaken us when our days and nights are filled with pain and suffering because our God has seen fit to move His Hand back a fraction from over us! It is to be feared that an unbalanced fanaticism has moved from the worldly churches into our Message concerning what true victory is. We must never, never accept the false teaching that there is a faith that can lift us above the trials of this Life. We must never believe that the presence of trials means the absence of the faith which is our victory. No! We can be wrapped in the "Robe of Righteousness" (Romans 5: 17) with all our sins dropped into the precious Blood of God, our faith can be perfect in our perfect God and still He will lead us through suffering that is meant to perfect are character. Do we understand that to have perfect faith does not mean that our character is as yet perfect?
We are given Perfect Faith that will hold us steady while He leads us through those things geared to perfect our character. Our God is constantly requiring of us that we humble ourselves. A spirit of Selfishness, the allowing of Pride, the workings of Self-will, the stirrings of Rebellion when Divine Providence crosses our will, and the exercise of Self-righteousness, these are the dark spots in our character that need purging. Our Faithful Father will never fail in His responsibility to chasten us and purge us from such. No amount of praying will change His mind, He will finish His work in us! When we become careless, which it is the nature of our flesh to do, then we must not be surprised if we are placed on our backs for a season, that there may be time for reflection in prayer, and an opportunity for deeper dealings between the soul and God, that the hidden things of darkness may be brought to light and faithfully dealt with. II Chron. 7: 14, "If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal all their land."
The above scripture has much bearing on our subject at hand, and contains important instructions for us. First, it shows that God sends physical judgments on us because of our transgressions. Next, it shows what we are to do when the divine chastening rod falls. Third, it holds a precious promise for faith to lay hold of, "I will heal their land." (And their bodies) First, we must humble ourselves. And what is meant by that? The same as in I Cor.11: 31, "Judge ourselves." A word in Lev. 26:41 helps us to understand, "If then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishments of their iniquity, then will I remember my covenant." To humble ourselves beneath the rod of God is to stop asking, "What have I done to deserve this?" It is to stop giving the devil credit for what is happening to us and believe with all our hearts that the chastening is meant unto us for good. Pro. 16:4, "The Lord has made all things for Himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." Isa. 45: 7, "I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." Victory is the revealed knowledge that the enemy of our soul has been forever defeated, and remains only a tool in the hands of our all powerful God. True victory has nothing at all to do with the circumstances of our lives. It does not depend on continuous health, neither does it falter when one of the "Many afflictions of the righteous" is directed our way. Neither poverty or wealth moves it from its foundation, and persecution only provides an opportunity for victory to prove itself.
The "Peacable Fruit of righteousness" only comes as we submit to divine chastisement, it comes to those who are exercised thereby. (Heb. 12:11) King David humbled himself when he admitted, "I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, And that Thou in Faithfulness hast afflicted me." (Ps. 119: 75) To judge ourselves is to take sides with God against ourselves, and not until we do so does His rod of correction begin to have its desired affect. When we have heard the rebuke of our Lord, we must declare the righteousness of his voice to us. God will not gloss over our sin; neither will He allow us to do so.
We must pray for a deeper sense of His holiness, which will in turn result in a deeper sense of our own vileness. Victory is a deep revelation of Faith in His Mercy and Grace. We must pray for a contrite and broken spirit, for more faith in His grace, for constant cleansing that never allows for a break in our fellowship with Christ Jesus. Such prayers do not come from the Pharisee, but they are the breathings of humility that issue from the Elect Bride. The Omniscient One cannot be imposed upon by mere lip service, He requires the heart. He requires a true repentance, which is something more than sorrowing over the past. It includes the resolution that, by His grace, there will be no repetition of our sins in the future. Our idols must be destroyed, not put away in a closet from which they may be taken out again. Then He has promised, "I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
The natural man always wants everything to be made smooth and easy for him. But, Godís way is to stain our human pride, pluck from us are proud peacock feathers, to make us very aware of our insufficiency, and to drive us to our knees. He will not abide our pride, but He will exercise us through the use of His chastening rod.
QUOTE: POSSESSING THE ENEMIES GATES, PAGE 6, "It was Moses, after being also in the line of this Royal Seed, the Seed of Abraham, that when he was sent down into Egypt to deliver the children of Israel, and God had give him signs and wonders to performÖ.Yet when he led them out by the hand of Jehovah there came a time when he met the gate between him and the Promised Land, there was the Red Sea, a bar across the way. But Moses stepped forward and possessed the gate of the enemyÖ.It was a only a few years later when the trials come, and the church got all shook up, as is so easy for a congregation of people to do when something just donít seem to happen the way that is supposed to be. (In our minds) GOD MAKES IT THAT WAY. GOD BRINGS TENSIONS IN TO THE CHURCH, FOR EVERY SON THAT COMMETH TO GOD MUST BE TRIED AND PROVEN, AND TESTED. He lets sickness strike you. He lets diseases come on you, to test you and to prove you, to show the world that youíre truly the Seed of Abraham. He permits it by His own will. He permits disasters; He permits friends to turn against you. He permits all these things and turns the devil loose to tempt you, and heíll do all but take your life. He could throw you on a bed of affliction, he could turn your neighbors against you, he could turn the church against you. He can do most anything and itís Godís will for him to do it. We are taught that it is more precious than gold to us."
CONT. QUOTE: PAGE 6-7, "What about Abraham with Isaac, on the mountain, the one the promise was given to, and by his loyalty and his knowing, and his faith in Jehovah, itís through that and that alone that God looked down and said, "His seed shall possess the gates. Iíve sworn by Myself that Iíll do these thingsÖ.then if He let Abraham be tested to that final point, Heís got to test you and me to that final moment, that time of decision when everything is away from you, you have to stand alone there. Hallelujah, thatís it!" (End quote)
Weíre waiting for a full-blown Bride revival, but I wonder if we realize all that is involved in preparing our hearts for it? As we look into the scriptures in Actís chapter nine, we see God calling a man named Saul into His kingdom. His name would be changed to Paul and the Lord was going to use him to spearhead a mighty revival in the Ephesian Church Age. In speaking to one of his disciples at Damascus concerning this new convert, the Lord told Ananias not to be afraid to meet him and pray for him because, "He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the Children of Israel; For I will show him how great things He must suffer for my namesake."
We often read about the powerful ministry that the Apostle Paul had, but, do we consider the paths down which God ordered the steps of this man in order that the power of Christ could rest upon him? It was a way that involved much suffering, and in the beginning of his ministry, the apostle did not understand why he was being subjected to a messenger of Satan who constantly buffeted him, causing infirmities (sicknesses), reproaches, necessities, persecutions and distresses. But after he prayed three times to be delivered from such sufferings, and had been denied his request three times, then he was given a revelation and shown that the suffering in his flesh was a must in order to keep him from being exalted above measure. God will not suffer His Elect to be ruined by pride; it is a thing He hates.
Paul was told that the suffering would not be taken away, the trials would continue, but that the Lord would send more and more grace as it was needed. When the full revelation of what God was doing for him struck, Paul cried out, "Most gladly will I therefore Glory in my infirmities, THAT THE POWER OF CHRIST MAY REST UPON ME." Only when our flesh has been struck blow after blow and actually crucified, will our pride be subdued. Only after all our own "knowing" has been proven wrong, and after our own "strength" has failed, will we fall at His feet and await His orders. Out of this kind of weakness comes the strength and power of God upon us. (IICor. 12:10) Then will come to pass in our lives this scripture, "My soul wait thou only upon God for my expectation is from Him." (Ps. 62: 5)
No doubt, this teaching on suffering is confusing to the carnal mind, but we write not to those who would be spared all trials and suffering, but rather to those who would partake in a Bride revival by having the power of Christ to rest upon them! It is a very scriptural teaching that this power only comes after the flesh has been subdued through suffering. We must all ask ourselves, "Do I really want to pay the price of having personal revival?" Jesus spoke of this when He advised every man to "Count the cost" before he starts to build a house.
Suffering marked the lives of every person in the scriptures who was used of God. Our prophet, William Branham, whose power with God cannot be questioned by the honest investigator, lived a life that was marked by much suffering. In his teenage years, his legs were severely damaged by a shotgun blast. He had a stomach ailment that was only healed the last few years of his life. A rifle blew up in his face imbedding pieces of steel behind his eyes and into his skull. He once suffered near to the point of death for six months for following preachers rather than the Lord. He suffered the want of material things, being in poverty for years. Brother Branham taught that suffering in the flesh is to be a part of our Christian walk.
QUOTE: IDENTIFIED WITH CHRIST, PAGE 19, "Identify yourself with some movie queen and see where you will be. Identify yourself with some cowboy or some teenager and see where youíll be. But, I challenge you tonight, identify yourself with Jesus Christ in His death and in His Resurrection and see where youíll be at the resurrection. For if we SUFFER with Him, we shall reign with Him. God has made us this promise. Take me O Lord, and mold me and make me, shape me over again. And like the prophet that went down to the potterís house, BREAK ME UP AND REMOLD ME." (End quote)
Dear friends, to be broken up and remolded, involves much suffering in the flesh.
QUOTE: WORKS IS FAITH EXPRESSED, PAGE 2, "One of our precious brothers, so dear to us all, he just crossed over in that land. And, every time I come to this platform, Iíll think of Brother Lyle. I looked over there last night and saw little Judy sitting over there, and my heart was just pounding, I was just thinking of how she felt. And, I know when Dad died how (I felt). But we only have to go through those schools of sufferings to know how the other fellow feels." (End quote)
QUOTE: HE CARES, DO YOU CARE? PAGE 33, "God I pray today that each one of us would take the sorrows of Christ into our own heart, Take His suffering upon us, to realize that we must suffer also, the reproach of His name, that we must suffer. (End quote)
Some may ask, are you teaching that we must give in to our infirmities? No! But, we must remember that it is our God that is sovereign and not the enemy of our soul.
We must have a revelation that weíre not in the hands of the evil one, but in the hands of Him who controls all evil. Jesus came and destroyed the works of Satan (I John 3: 8). More and more this writer sees the meaning of James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." How do we resist the devil? Is it by shouting and repeating orders to him? This was the general teaching in Pentecost, but wisdom began to teach some that shouting verbal commands at the devil was not the full meaning of how to resist him. Now the revelation is coming forth to the Bride that we resist Satan by, "Submitting ourselves into the hands of almighty God." We use our faith in Godís sovereign control and declare that all things that come to us have come by His own hand. I Thess. 5:18, "In everything give thanks, for this (Circumstance) is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." By faith, we take ourselves completely out of Satanís hands and place ourselves in the loving hands of our Father. In this way then, we resist all lies from the devil concerning what he is doing to us.
We declare to this liar that he is only a tool in the hands of the one who has total power, wisdom, knowledge and love, and that He is using all his great resources to order our steps through the exact things needed to prepare us for Rapture. How the enemy hates the revelation that is being given to the Bride, the truth that he is only a defeated, bluffing lion, roaring out threats that he canít back up.
QUOTE: JUST ONE MORE TIME LORD, PAGE 3, "And the devil that put you in the pawnshop, Jesus came and redeemed you and opened up the doors, and the only thing you have to do is walk out and claim your liberty. Thatís all. You have a receipt from God that the debt is paid. Jesus said in His last words, "It is finished." Every redemptive blessing was completely finished. Godís great wrath, when He became sin for us, it was, the debt was settled. Satan has no more power, only as he can bluff with it. If he can bluff you into it, all right, youíll have to have it. But, legally he has no power at all, every power he had was taken from him at Calvary. Thatís where the price was paid. HE IS NOTHING BUT A BLUFF. If you want to listen to his bluff, well all right. But, you donít have to. You are free to night, He has made you free." (End quote)
This then is how we scripturally resist the devil: we rule him totally and completely out of our lives by submitting that life into the hands of God. We believe that Satan cannot move against us except it be ordained of God, and if it be ordained of God it must, in its final end, work together for our good. (Rom. 8: 28)
Resisting the devil in this manner must become a way of life with the Bride, and this is a far cry from believing the devil is still a free moral agent, and that we must exert some power of our own to try and stop him. To resist the devil is to have the revelation of his total defeat, of his helplessness before his Creator to do other than follow orders. To resist the devil is to stop giving him credit of any kind, it is to believe that our God has stripped him of all his power, it is to believe that our Father rules over this evil one, causing his wrath to end up praising God. (Ps. 76: 10)
FOOTNOTE: INFORMATION FOR OUR READERS
The sovereign Lord has seen fit to lead the author through another time of sickness, the duration of which has been almost four weeks now. During this time, I have not been able to work at my desk, and the orders for the books and sermons have stacked up. I would ask those who have written in requests to be patient with me and to pray with me that I may learn all that the Lord has wanted to teach me through this affliction.
Also, may those who have sent offerings to support the printing and mailing costs accept this opportunity I am taking to thank you with all my heart. I have not been able to write personal letters as usual, but the Lord knows how much we appreciate each one of you, and may He reveal this to you. God bless you. We believe we are being returned to our full strength, and will soon be keeping the postman busy as usual.
In Christian Love,
Brother C.W. Wood