By T. W. Barnes
This chapter is not dealing with the local church; however, I thank God for a local church. I could not imagine living without church—a place to gather where we have a pastor and good saints who know how to pray. A church that always has its doors open to whosoever will come. The church seeks to bring out the best in us. Many people are successful and blessed today because they found the Lord in the local church. The church is a place for your children to grow up. What kind of children would our children be had they never entered a church house door. Thank God we have a local church to come to where we can pray for one another.
In this chapter I will deal with the worldwide church.
Matthew 16: 13-19: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The Lord planned the church from the foundation of the world. He planned how to build it and how to run it. He has made this very plain to us. The Lord did not give the keys to Peter only, but He gave the keys to the kingdom to the church. We read in Matthew 1 8 if your brother sin against you, bring him before the church. The 118th verses of this chapter: Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be hound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven is proof that the keys were not given to Peter only, but to the church of the Living God. It is so important for the church to learn to pray. Evil powers raging in our nation and around the world need to be subdued. This can only happen through prayer. Nothing can take the place of Holy Ghost praying. When we pray in the Holy Ghost we build ourselves up in the most holy faith.
The United Pentecostal Church realizes this principle. The World Network of Prayer is doing much to bring the church worldwide together in prayer. Only through prayer can the church subdue these evil powers and spirits that rule over the nations of our world. God is beginning to work great and mighty miracles. You watch as the church worldwide prays for revival. Revival will break out everywhere.
Before the flood the people were eating and drinking and marrying. I wonder on their last night upon this earth what they were thinking? What were they feeling? What were they talking about on this last night? Millions would soon drown. Only eight souls upon the earth would be alive. Yet, they ate and they drank; they didn’t know until it was too late. I don’t know what Mom said to her baby that night. I don’t know what the people in Sodom and Gomorrah were talking about that last night when angels were in the city at Lot’s house where sodomy was trying to take over. The people there were eating and drinking and given in marriage; they did not have the slightest idea that tomorrow fire and brimstone would wipe them out. I don’t know what people were thinking in Babylon when Belshazzar gathered the great crowd together for a banquet. He took the vessels out of the house of God and defiled them by drinking wine from them and offering up to idols. Everyone was happy; the music played, the people danced. Suddenly, a hand appeared and began to write on the walls of that huge building: thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting. Fear gripped the crowd. One minute they were “living it up” and the next minute the party is over. The army marched in under the gates of the city and soon blood would be spilled and the king would die.
I don’t know why we can’t sense something is in the air right now. We are approaching the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is upon us, even at the door. He is coming back after his church. I said to Him last night: Oh, Lord, there are some things we need to know. Where we are and what we need to do. We need to know your holy and divine will for now. Remember, Lord, when a couple is engaged on earth they get together every once in a while; they make telephone calls to one another; they write letters. We need to hear what the Spirit is saying to us right now—this day. Let us hear.”
I believe He is talking to us: “Be ye therefore ready, for in an hour when ye think not, the son of man cometh.” He has told us this over and over—be ready. You know, ministers everywhere are asking the same question. What next?
There is a great move against spiritual Israel and natural Israel. Both are in the focus of Satan. Satan would like to wipe natural Israel off the face of the earth. We are spiritual Israel, the seed of Abraham; therefore, we have the blessings of Abraham flowing to us. The spiritual prayer warriors can pray blessings upon those that need to be blessed and a curse upon the enemy that works to destroy the church. We can pray to confuse him and to bind him.
In prayer I don’t always rebuke the devil. At times I talk to him. The only way I can talk to him is to command him in Jesus Name to stand still and let me talk. He does not have to sten until you say in Jesus Name.
Just the other day I said, “Satan, do you remember when you were Lucifer? The good ole days when you loved God and God loved you. You were the apple of His eye. Don’t you remember when you and the angels with you would sing and worship and the heavens would rejoice. What a day! Do you ever get lonely; do you ever reminisce just a little bit? I fell once when I was a young fellow—a teenager. I was never happy another day. The natural flow was gone. I had to have substitutes of some kind. The real thing was gone. You know that, Satan, the real thing is gone. You have to work it up. As you look into the eyes of your angels that followed you, you can also see that haunted look—remembering the days of yesterday with no war and no sin, no hell, and no death. Everything was beautiful and lovely; with peace in the heavens and everywhere. You caused this. You can deny it if you want to, but I know you still remember when you were God’s best man.” I know Satan does not like to hear this kind of talk from me.
The church began on the day of Pentecost, two thousand years ago. It came with a sound of a rushing mighty wind. The revival started in the upper room, but they didn’t keep it there; they went out into the streets and had revival. Three thousand souls were saved in the streets the first day. The church began with revival, and it has never stopped. Since then somewhere on earth there has been a move of the Holy Ghost. And now, revival is spreading around the world. The greatest revival the world has ever seen is in progress right now. This revival started in 1900 and it keeps growing.
This revival came to me in 1925 when I was twelve years old. The Lord had spoken to me when I was eight years old, “When you reach the age of twelve, something great is going to happen to you and you are going to do great things.” I told my mother about it. She just looked at me. I was used to a little church; it was quite as a mouse. The preacher seldom ever moved. Nobody was stirred much.
Some strange people came to our town. Pentecost came to Springhill, Louisiana. We went. Herbert Wingate was the evangelist. Never in all my life had I seen anything like this. This preacher didn’t stay in one place; he walked the platform; he walked the aisles; he talked to people. He preached; conviction fell; people ran to the altar and fell on their knees and cried out to God in repentance. He told us we could have the same thing the 120 received on the day of Pentecost. Soon that old building was shaking with the power of God. People were receiving the Holy Ghost, speaking in tongues. They also shouted and ran the aisles praising God. We had never seen anything like that in all of our life. God was moving.
There was more to it than the shout. He told us to go out and invite people. They called all night prayer meetings. Strange—to pray all night. They also preached against sin. We had never heard that. We were always told we were born to sin as the sparks do upward fly. One preacher said, “I sin every breath I breathe.”
Dad said, “I don’t believe the devil can beat that.”
But this Pentecostal preacher said this sinning business has to stop and you can receive the power to stop it. The Holy Ghost can stop it. They also said, “No more tobacco.” Did that blow our minds! Everybody chewed or dipped or smoked in our community. Doctors said it was healthy then. But the Holy Ghost knew long before medical science that tobacco is destructive to our bodies. They also preached if you drink whiskey you will die and go to hell. The whole community was wrapped up with bootleggers. They made whiskey out in the woods. Some of my relatives were in on it. You can’t curse. Cursing is of the devil; don’t you ever dare use God’s name in vain and then get down to pray without repenting. Don’t use His name in vain. Strange!
My mother received the Holy Ghost in February, 1925, and I received it a little later.
This helped us face the devil. Spiritual warfare. If you are not spirit filled you have no power against the devil. The devil will defeat you. After the Holy Ghost is come upon you, you shall receive power. This is the power that we use against the devil. In My Name you (the church) will cast out devils.
A lady brought her daughter to me for prayer. They were not Pentecostal. She said, “My daughter is a lesbian, but I want you to pray for her that God will deliver her.”
I had already heard that someone else had tried to pray for her. She just wrapped herself around him in ways that shouldn’t he. He finally got loose from her. I prayed, “Now, Lord, I don’t want that woman grabbing me around the neck. I am asking you to send help now.”
Well, here she came; she got within a few feet of me and she couldn’t come any further. So she went back to the far end of the church and got a running start. She ran toward me. She got to the same few feet from me and folded over just like she hit a rope. She went back again and came back running. The same thing happened. She did this three times. The last time she really got a running start and stopped at the same place. (I know what was there-an angel.) She turned and ran out the door.
I told her mother, “I am sorry, she doesn’t want deliverance. There is nothing I can do for anyone who doesn’t want deliverance. All I can do is pray that she will someday want it.”
We are protected against spiritual wickedness in high places by this great power that dwells within us. Don’t ever forget that. The power within you—when you release it—puts a wall around you.
I remember once when I was preaching a revival a man told his wife, “If you go to the altar, I will whip the evangelist.” I did not know he had told her that. I knew she was under conviction. I was preaching—almost pointing her out. Finally she couldn’t stand it any longer; here she came and he was with her. She got ahead of him and down he went to the floor.
I didn’t know what was going on. He got up and came to the edge of the front pew and down he went again. I thought, “I wonder what is going on. He is trying to get to the altar, I guess.” I went down and got him by the arm and dragged him to the altar. Someone said, “No, Bro. Barnes, he wasn’t coming to the altar; he was coming to whip you.”
I said, “Well, the Lord knew what was going on; he took care of it.”
This is about the church and spiritual warfare. For 2000 years the church has rolled through the earth. She has been persecuted; she has gone through wars and rumors of wars; she has gone through martyrdom, starvation, her people wandering about in sheep clothing and goatskins, but she is still here. She has gone through false doctrine of every kind you can think of under the sun. Satan has sent all kinds of evil men into her midst to destroy her, but she is still here growing stronger day by day.
We are living in a time when there is more worldliness and more sin than ever before. The world network, television, radio, movies, printed page—the devil is coming at us in full force through all these things. He has advantage of most of the media. Satan has control for the moment. But in spite of all the evil, the church is still growing. She will continue to grow until He comes. He is coming after a church without spot or without wrinkle.
These are great days. It must have been a great day when the old ark was finished—the last board was nailed on. God found a preacher that would build it right. One door, one window—he followed the blueprint perfectly. The width and the length and height—he didn’t deviate one bit.
I want you to know, my friend, the church is not something you can build the way you want to build it; it has one door. Jesus Christ said I am the door; and no man can come in but by me. That doesn’t mean to just believe He is the Son of God. A lot of sinners believe that much. But to walk through the door means to believe everything He taught. Not just part of it—all of it. Whatsoever we bind on earth will be bound in Heaven.
Look in the mirror; you are the church. I don’t know who got the Holy Ghost first on the Day of Pentecost, but who ever got it first was the church. The second one got it—that is the church. When you look at finally the 120—that is the church. So if you have repented, been baptized in His Name and filled with the Holy Ghost and living a holy life, you are the church. You are a part of the church world wide. You can represent the church if you were alone somewhere in a wilderness and you met one person in the wilderness—you are the church; you can talk to him and pray him through to the Holy Ghost.
These signs will follow them that believe. That is talking to us—the church folks. In my name you will cast out devils. That doesn’t mean you will be called to go all over the world to do it like a preacher. But where ever the devil bothers you, you have the authority to cast him out. You have the authority, if you are Holy Ghost filled, to cast him out of your house. You have the authority to take that little boy or girl and pray over him or her and say, “In Jesus Name I bind every devil that will come close to this child. You have that authority. Exercise it. Plead the blood and watch it happen.
I have watched the church grow through the ’30’s during the great depression that began in 1929. It didn’t kill us. We didn’t have a whole lot. In 1929 we bought our first T Model. We got out of the wagon and into the T Model. During this time we begin to get electricity. We had a few little bulbs hanging around. We watched the church during the 30’s grow. It was hard times, but we grew in the Lord. We had no where else to go but to church. In the ’40’s we were in war; the church went right on through still growing. It grew during depression; it grew during war times. We went into the ’50’s—recession again, but we grew right on. We went on into the 60’s—times of prosperity and we grew. We grew when we had plenty and we grew when we didn’t. Something about the church! The floods came; the winds blew and beat upon it, but it fell not. It was built to stay. Into the ’70’s—recession. We made it. We had revival in the 70’s. Some of the great visions of the endtime came to me.
One I must tell because it tells of a world wide move of the Holy Ghost. In the vision I was standing in a field. I could not see any timber anywhere. All of a sudden I looked up and saw a ball of fire falling from heaven. As it fell, it grew bigger and bigger until it looked like it was half the size of the earth. Then a wind seemed to rent it and it began to break open. And out of that huge ball of fire began to fall diamonds and pearls as big as golf balls. Gifts of the Spirit. Ministers began to take them up. Suddenly the Holy Spirit changed the scene, and
over the horizon I saw a multitude of people. They were from one side of the world to the other—marching. I saw them from Japan, China, Africa, America. I could tell the countries by the way they were dressed. They were all together marching. Keeping step as far over the horizon as I could see. A voice from heaven said, “There are one hundred million there.” This was not the rapture; this was an army from every nation under the sun invading the earth—walking in Jesus Name. One hundred million strong. I knew I was looking at the church world wide. What a feeling swept over me.
Now here we are at the closing of time. The Lord lets us know one thing—man cannot rule the world. They have tried it. Dictators have come and gone; things have come and gone; presidents have come and gone. And the further we get toward the end, the worse the world is getting. But the church is shining brighter and brighter. The world is in darkness, but the church is like a city set on a hill and cannot be hid. She is shining out her glory which is the spirit of Jesus Christ. The world is getting a view of the greatest thing that has ever happened on this planet earth.
Jesus Christ alone will rule the earth. The anti-Christ will never rule every nation under the sun. No one but Jesus will ever rule all nations.
Bro. Urshan said in a sermon in San Antonio that history reports while Jesus Christ was on earth—from the night he was born and the angels sang peace on earth and good will to men, there was not one war on earth until he was crucified and \vent hack to heaven. Peace on earth lasted as long as He was here. And when he puts His foot on the Mount of Olives, there will be peace on earth and war will be over. What a day!
Thank God for the church that he built and purchased with His own precious blood. Aren’t you glad you are in it? I am glad I am in the church of the living God today.
The above article, “The Church and Spiritual Warfare” was written by T. W. Barnes. The article was excerpted from chapter 3 in Barnes’ book, Spiritual Warfare.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.