Breaking Strongholds

January 20, 2017

My sermon initially tonight comes out of Matthew 17:14-21, but primarily Daniel 10. I am going to begin in Matthew, as this is what started the whole thing. 

 

We are going to read where Jesus healed a boy with a demon. 

 

14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and grievously vexed; for oftentimes he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him here to Me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and he departed out of him. And the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, why could we not cast him out? 20 And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief. For truly I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. 

 

The Lord has been impressing on me to begin regular fasting of food again, as well as extended fasting of food for breakthrough.  Individual breakthrough, family breakthrough, church breakthrough, as well as for this city to have a breakthrough.

 

And speaking about the city and surrounding areas, this church was created to make an impact on them, and we have prayed for regularly for that since our inception.  And because of that, the Lord has impressed on me to take it to the next level as well as calling our church too.  He wants to shatter strongholds on people individually and as a whole in this City because it is a key to the region.

 

In the verses in Matthew, a man comes up to Jesus and says, “I brought him, (the man’s son) to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.”  Jesus heals the boy, then says, “, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And nothing shall be impossible to you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

 

The boy in Matthew 17 had a strong hold on him by a demonic force, and we can see by what Jesus said, that extra steps have to be taken to move something that is entrenched, or looks like a mountain, or appears to be a stronghold.  Stronghold’s are deeply imbedded fortifications that take more than words to break through them.

 

We know that in Kenosha there is a stronghold over the city, with the deepest roots here east of Sheridan Road.  These roots have been in place for some time.  Possibly going back to the first white settlers of Kenosha, and maybe even earlier back to the Potawatomi tribe who lived here on its shores. 

 

For the city to see breakthrough, the deep roots need to be destroyed. 

 

It will not be an easy task.  But if we are going to see a spiritual awakening here, confrontation must take place.  Confrontation will take patience, resilience, and sacrifice, with knowledge that resistance will be strong.  That’s probably why only few individuals purpose to get in the fight, because it is a battle, and you may get nicked in the fight, it happens, but truthfully in the end the fight is one sided when you persevere in faith.

 

The force behind all the warfare against the stronghold will be love, because God wants His creation free.  His Word will go forth in triumph, if someone will just speak it forth with humility.  Humility comes when we lay our physical life down by fasting and spending extra time in prayer, cutting off things of this world that take our time and our minds.

 

When I was praying about the subject, I was sitting in our family room tired, I opened my Bible, and it opened right up to Daniel Chapter 10.  It was like the Lord said to me, “Read this”.  I did, and for about 20 or 30 minutes I saw a vision about what was going on.  It was there in the scriptures, but God showed me what persevering prayer and fasting will accomplish, and if we do it, what He will do.  Let’s read starting with verse 1 of chapter 10.

 

“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The message was true and was about a great conflict. He understood the message and had understanding of the vision.

In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three full weeks. I didn’t eat any rich food, no meat or wine entered my mouth, and I didn’t put any oil on my body until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up, and there was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like the brilliance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. Only I, Daniel, saw the vision. The men who were with me did not see it, but a great terror fell on them, and they ran and hid. I was left alone, looking at this great vision. No strength was left in me; my face grew deathly pale, and I was powerless. I heard the words he said, and when I heard them I fell into a deep sleep, with my face to the ground.  Suddenly, a hand touched me and raised me to my hands and knees. He said to me, “Daniel, you are a man treasured by God. Understand the words that I’m saying to you. Stand on your feet, for I have now been sent to you.” After he said this to me, I stood trembling. “Don’t be afraid, Daniel,” he said to me, “for from the first day that you purposed to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your prayers were heard. I have come because of your prayers. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me for 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me after I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to help you understand what will happen to your people in the last days, for the vision refers to those days.”  While he was saying these words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and was speechless. Suddenly one with human likeness touched my lips. I opened my mouth and said to the one standing in front of me, “My lord, because of the vision, anguish overwhelms me and I am powerless. How can someone like me, your servant, speak with someone like you, my lord? Now I have no strength, and there is no breath in me.” Then the one with human likeness touched me again and strengthened me. He said, “Don’t be afraid, you who are treasured by God. Peace to you; be very strong!” As he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” He said, “Do you know why I’ve come to you? I must return at once to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I leave, the prince of Greece will come. No one has the courage to support me against them except Michael, your prince. However, I will tell you what is recorded in the book of truth.”

 

So basically in the beginning of these verses in chapter 10, it states, “a message was revealed to Daniel, who was named Belteshazzar. The message was true and was about a great conflict. He understood the message and had understanding of the vision.  

 

Daniel had a vision about a great conflict that drove him to pray and fast.  Strongholds are conflict.

 

“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three full weeks. I didn’t eat any rich food, no meat or wine entered my mouth, and I didn’t put any oil on my body until the three weeks were over.”  Verses 2-3.

 

The mourning Daniel was doing was humble prayer with fasting.  After 21 Days, Daniel was on the bank of the Tigris River, and the message to his prayers was revealed.

 

 “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up.”  

 

The Lord then showed me through this scripture, what will take place if we bring conflict to the underlying spirits in Kenosha that is the stronghold over the city. 

 

It states that Daniel received a vision, a Word from God, and he understood it.

 

“The message was true and was about a great conflict. He understood the message and had understanding of the vision.”  

 

Just as we have received a Word about Kenosha, and it has been from more than one source, so we perceive that the message is true.  God wants to break something here.

 

Daniel went into a fast, upon knowledge of the truth.  He could have hung back after hearing it and done nothing.  He may have thought, “I know that it will take effort, and what he states “mourning” or a physical pouring of one’s self out  to see the vision through. I don’t want to go there because what it may cause me to go through. Which I believe that is a natural human response to something when conflict may be in front of us.  What will be the cost?  Do I have it in me to be in the conflict?

 

I believe Daniel weighed the cost, and knew in his heart he needed to up his game.  He needed to take next steps to see this vision through.

 

So Daniel prays and fasts for 21 days.  An example to the church today, for breakthrough.  Churches in January and February, now call fasts for 21 days, I believe in response to what Daniel did thousands of years ago.  Daniel stayed the course, then it brings us to verse 5, where Daniel sees the messenger with an answer.  And the answer was about future conflict, and the removal of a satanic prince, or a ruler from a heavenly realm.

 

The Lord spoke to me about this.  Friday morning @ 5:25am. 

 

"if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14

 

There will be conflict.  Conflict in the heavens just as was spoken by the messenger to Daniel.  But just as Daniel, we must humble ourselves and mourn through prayer and fasting.  Giving this up to the Lord so He will move His gaze and His hand on Kenosha.  He will move the mountain.  He will cast down vain arguments against His Word. 

 

We pray, He moves.  Just as Daniel was physically weak from the presence, we may be weak in mourning or through attack, but God will raise us up as He did Daniel.  We are not to be afraid.  He will revive us.  Daniel was not in the physical battle except to his flesh, hunger, he was on his knees praying to God, so God was in the battle.  God was directing the heavenly movements, because we wrestle not against flesh and blood.  Yes, there will be times when physical things come against us and we feel the spirit of it, but when God calls us out to be His voice, because of obedience, God will always cover us.  Always be before us, we just need to do at any cost what he has desired us to do.  Don’t give into fear, nor laziness.

 

Concerning this confrontation, we may be in, how we direct our prayers to the situation may not be as you think.

 

In years past the Pentecostal church was all into casting this out and casting that out. 

Jesus taught us as He directed His disciples that they only had direct confrontation with the demoniac when it was a person who needed to be free from some type of bondage.  They never directly went up against a ruler or a principality, a higher authority. 

 

From Daniel, you see that the messenger, who was an Angel, went up against a ruler, the Prince of Persia.  Daniel did not, and in the New Testament model, we do not either.  These satanic authorities should not be tangled with.  We let God and His elect in Heaven take care of that task.  We know from scripture, that Michael who is mentioned by the Angelic messenger in Daniel when he came in conflict with Satan in Jude 1, would not even as it reads “did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, "The Lord rebuke you!” because of the rank and authority he held even though they were equal.

 

So if a governing angel of the highest authority won’t speak against another ruler, or principality in the satanic realm neither should we.  Michael said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you,”  because he wasn’t going to.

 

Daniels prayer or as he called mourning, is basic spiritual warfare, and it is not calling out a power or principality to cast it out.  I believe we are in conflict with a ruler over Kenosha, and he knows we are in conflict with him, because of this new prayer ministry and church that has been created.  But to remove him like Daniel removed the Prince of Persia, we take the fight to God.  And we do this by:

 

1. Proclaim God's victory by agreeing with the supremacy of Jesus, His power, promises and will. We pray the prayers of the Bible, remind God of His promises and make prophetic decrees related to the certainty of God's supremacy and His kingdom purposes.

2.   We confess sin and renounce the works of darkness (i.e., we break our agreement with the enemy). In this way, we resist Satan: "Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).  14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:1.

 

3. We do the works of the kingdom, acting in the opposite spirit of the evil characteristics that permeate the city.  Through us, God changes the heart of the people because of our actions and lifestyle.

 

I agree with Mike Bickle when he said:

 

“Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule, in which case we address our proclamations directly to the enemy. On specific occasions the Spirit may lead someone to speak directly in intercession to a demonic principality. But this is not the primary prayer model presented by the New Testament apostles.”

 

Lets look at strongholds, what are they?

 

“A stronghold is a collection of ideas that are in agreement with Satan's lies and accusations against the truth of God. They are lies about God, who He is and what He says He will do, and when we receive them, they bind our hearts in darkness.

 

Whole geographic regions can be affected by the same lies and assaulted by the same demonic darkness that is manifest. We are to pull down and dismantle spiritual strongholds by agreeing with God and His Word and by "casting down arguments"—renouncing the lies—that are against the knowledge of God, His Word and His will. In this way we break any agreement with Satan.”

 

There are three types of spiritual strongholds:

 

1.  Personal strongholds of the mind that bind people in sinful mindsets and lifestyles. 

 

2.  Cultural strongholds, or values in our society, that are in agreement with darkness.

 

3. Cosmic strongholds, which are demonic powers and principalities in the air, are demonic angels or demonic hosts. Paul describes them in his letter to the Ephesians:

 

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12).

 

We dismantle these strongholds by agreeing with God and renouncing Satan's lies through our prayers and actions, not by direct verbal conflict with higher authorities.

 

To break the stronghold here, we as the church here in Kenosha, must bind together in one Spirit and together agree with God and renounce Satan’s lies together so these vain arguments will be cast down. And just like Daniel, move God to remove the stronghold over this city so there will be an open heaven above Kenosha and we see the grace and love of God move over our city and set people free.  Amen?

 

I am going to continue speaking on this subject next week, with other revelation on the subject.  I am praying that more will come out and allow God to align us to His purposes in Kenosha.

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