One of the most profound statements ever made to me was by a deaconess in Africa that was anxious to partner with us in mercy work. She said “remember that it will cause us trouble. When we preach the Gospel and do works of mercy the devil goes crazy”. The devil is by definition “crazy”. He wants to “disorder” everything that God has ordered. That is madness. When one seeks to order a partnership based upon mercy and true “charity” one encounters amazing difficulties. Try it sometime. Project 24 has had unbelievable difficulties and we will be talking about some of them in the days ahead. The troubles I believe, are defined by Ephesians 6.
The quote – “”It is better to give than too receive” (Acts 20:35) has become a pious platitude for many and an aphorism for others. It is not a moralism. It is a weapon in the arsenal of the church given by the Holy Spirit by which we stand in the struggle that is not against flesh and blood. When we sacrifice even a little bit and tale a stand for a cause to help the “least of these” ,we are witnessing to the principalities and powers that Christ’s sacrifice that has defeated them, is the inspiration for our activity and we are granting them no victory.
In a study on Ephesians called “The Secret of God’s Plan” Martin Scharlemann wrote,
“If we are to resist this evil and drive out the devil, we can wage this struggle by denying ourselves and choosing to abide in truth, justice, peace, and hope. This is not simple moralism. The apostle intended to indicate the actual place of sin in life as a power which disrupts and destroys. The struggle is hard precisely because it is a fight against sin. One weapon is particularly effective, namely, sacrifice. In every little sacrifice by which we yield to the justice and truth manifested in Christ we imitate Him in bringing to God a sweet smelling oder (see E ph. 5: 2 ). Against such sacrifices the enemy is powerless. He has no foothold for his own self-willed intent and ambition.”
CTM volume XLI no 6 1970