Captive Thoughts
September 1, 2013

C. R. Oliver

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September 1, 2013

Captive Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:3-6
We do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.


In today's world, thought captivity is a must!!

Flashed on screens and inundated through media, our minds are subjected to outrageous projections and ideas. Before long, their (the world's) thoughts become ours and we find ourselves playing "their game."

Such is not unique to our day, however. When one considers Paul, who lived over 2,000 years ago and was a graduate of Gamaliel's highest learning academy, it becomes clear why he would teach thought control. He was steeped in religious thinking and a master of the Law. As a Pharisee, he revered angels, believed in the resurrection, miracles, and the supernatural. He maintained all his doctrinal points in order to satisfy the Sanhedrin who persecuted Christians and called for the death of Jesus (while thinking they were doing God's work in keeping their traditions). No doubt also, Paul was subjected to the propaganda campaigns of the Roman's as well. Every thought pattern operating in his day had to be caught, wrestled to the ground and brought to the feet of Christ. ("To the obedience of Christ," is not selective; Christ must scrutinize and approve all our considerations.)

Proverbs is correct in saying, "As he (man) thinks in his heart so is he, Proverbs 23:7." This being true, most of us are in trouble and need to learn to incarcerate our thinking. The word "thought" used here is a larger field than just our conjectures.
Thought: NT: 3540 noema (no'-ay-mah); from NT: 3539; a perception, i.e. purpose, or (by implication) the intellect, disposition, itself: device, mind, thought.

Obedience: NT: 5218 hupakoe (hoop-ak-o-ay'); from NT: 5219; attentive hearkening, i.e. (by implication) compliance or submission:
KJV - obedience, (make) obedient, obey (-ing).

Captivity: NT: 163 aichmalotizo (aheekh-mal-o-tid'-zo); from NT: 164; to make captive: KJV - lead away captive, bring into captivity.
Recently, in preparation for a medical treatment, I was advised to cease any fish oil or flax supplements because free radicals are released from higher dosages of these elements. The nurse said, "Everyone of us have free radicals in our bodies, but certain ingestibles cause them to react and spread, forming cancer cells in certain organs." In deference to the topic passage, I considered how similar are areas of "free radical" thought which release destructive formations within the mind and heart. (I believe we are witnessing, in these days of adversity, such thought patterns in their freest radical forms.)

Paul practiced what he preached.

Imagine the injected thoughts satan used on him. Experiencing dungeons and prisons, while receiving severe beatings, no doubt the accuser brought discouragement and fear. In constant danger from a variety of publics and remembering an awesome past (when he was zealous for Jewish causes), these became triggers for mental oppression. Flooding his mind with doubt, fear and undeniable quandary-the voices of his past and present sought to bring him down. They did not bring him down, however! Though a thorn in the flesh did cause him consternation, he overcame it with assurance from the Lord. He knew what to do with such thoughts and pressures---capture them and bring them into obedience to Christ!

Instead of the counselor's craft, there is a great need in the body for those who will dare teach believers how to conquer thoughts. Paul actually compartmentalized his past, sealing it away from his present by the blood. (Yes, psychology prescribes the opposite. However, what worked for Paul must be safe for us.) No, he did not vacate his mind regarding reality, but put his circumstances in proper perspective--under the blood.
Acts 26:9-11
9 "Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
Paul brought these facts under the blood and made his past sins and errors subject to the greater power of grace. From his new heart flowed rivers of doctrine and truth that now must stand higher than these former mind sets and greater than the world's suggestions. This is a pattern for all of us.

Sometimes it is necessary to "man-handle" our thoughts.

(I have even gone through a mental scenario where I conceptualize a rogue thought as a villain. I address it roughly and say, "Come here." Then I mentally handcuff and gag it and say, "You may no longer speak until you speak only what Christ and His Word says about this situation." Then I abandon it. I mentally and verbally emphasize what the Scriptures say and rehearse what the Lord has declared about the issue. If I again think the rogue thought, I remind it where it belongs and will not receive its message, but see it as a captured figure. Perhaps this is primary and child like, but it works for me.)

As Paul, we are to possess the mind of the Spirit.

We must boldly declare God's truths to principalities and high places and to anything else which seeks to exalt itself in our thoughts and minds. (Do we not need to rehearse: "I have the mind of Christ.")

The topic text says: "casting down arguments (reasoning) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. "

How must we do this? Look at this Romans passage.
Romans 8:26-27
6 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
(Jesus, in the temptation, was not tempted just in three areas, but those three areas served as summative statements. Satan would have treated Him as he does us. He would hammer incessantly many contrary doubts and fears and couple them with mind projections of failure, lust and whatever else drives the thought processes of mortals. Jesus overcame the "lead ups" to each area and defeated satan by bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of God, the Father.
Luke 4:1-2
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil.
Please note the temptation was not just three segments, but the entire forty days with increasing dimension and depth. There is a progressive nature to temptation. Concepts begin in the brain after a suggestion is made. Satan used this method with Eve. This is why every thought must be in obedience to Christ. If the progression is allowed to begin by accepting the first premise, the second one will follow. Jesus took satan to task over the principles of God behind each major juncture, and he stopped it at the first hint of departure. Satan was not allowed to build his base. The three areas recorded (I believe) were the ending segments of the temptation. (Many sermons have been made using these target scriptures. One that sticks out broadly is, "What does it take to buy your soul?")

Satan moved from a simple loaf of bread, through the world's wealth and prestige appeals to the ultimate, "Prove that you are who you say you are." The latter area is being used daily in religious circles. Many are trying to prove who they are to a world that doubts their every move. Jesus answered not a word to a quizzing magistrate.

If the devil never has a chance to plant the seeds of doubt, fear and mistrust into the mix, there won't be a mixture. He understands the power of the believer under the direction of the Spirit. He knows the first portion of the topic passage, which is:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
... our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (Fortifications or castles), casting down arguments (reasonings) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God ...
Jesus used this power in the wilderness. Notice every answer He gave was also a rebuke and a judgment on the "offerer." The evil one's words were not from God. The kingdoms of this world are not the devil's domain, for Jesus was slain before the worlds were made. Jesus did not have to prove anything to anyone, for the Lord's judgments are reliable and His Word is enough. Jesus' indictments brought punishment to the disobedience of satan ("... ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled ...").

Jesus marked the difference between Himself and the world. So must we.
Note Tozer's statements:
The Church: Different From the World

Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate," says the Lord. "Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." -2 Corinthians 6:17

The church's mightiest influence is felt when she is different from the world in which she lives. Her power lies in her being different, rises with the degree in which she differs and sinks as the difference diminishes.

... The cross is the symbol of Christianity, and the cross speaks of death and separation, never of compromise. No one ever compromised with a cross. The cross separated between the dead and the living ... .

... The message of Christ is a call across a gulf from death to life, from sin to righteousness and from satan to God. (Tozer, The Set of the Sail, 35, 36)
A death principle cannot rule in a life spirit (see: verse 10, below).

The great issue of the church is we have those operating with death thinking while trying to battle spiritual issues.
Romans 8:4-11
4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Throne thinking vs. gutter utterance.

Notice in the Romans 8 passage that we are to "set our minds on the things of the Spirit." Absolutely, we are to capture every thought that is not of the Spirit and speak those things prompted by the Spirit. Let the Spirit paint the pictures. Let the Spirit conceptualize. Let the Spirit enter into your spirit man and build the Temple and bear the glory. (We must sit in heavenly places, speak the heavenly language, think the heavenly thoughts and separate ourselves from the commonly accepted practices of a body of people who think carnally, pray carnally and are separated from God though in the church.)

Notice also, that I have underlined and bold faced the Romans 8 passage to emphasize the positive aspects of Spirit dominion. The word "mind" is juxtaposed at various places between the carnal and the spiritual mindset. (Herein is a prime method of choosing relationships. How can fellowship occur between those of separated mindsets? There really is a "fellowship of the Holiness Ones." This is the fellowship of the "same mind.)"

Notice further in the Romans 8 Passage:
He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God
Philip Gayle, a friend, asked a question of me recently, "How long did it take the Spirit to prepare for God to say, 'Let there be light?'" He conjectured that we are not told the number of days or months or years, because time was not a factor. He concluded that the human heart is similar in preparation for revelation. It might just be a longer process for some than others, but still it is preparation. The development of "Spirit mindedness" may not be an instantaneous transformation, but rather a continued "bringing into captivity" of those thoughts and mental pictures provided by the world and replacing them with transmissions from the Spirit (Incorporating His promptings and concerns).
1 Peter 1:13-14
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children ... .
Our cooperation is needed in this effort of renewing our minds; we are to yield to the Spirit and stand on His Word. Paul proffers: "Whatever runs counter to this covenant relationship must be brought under the Spirit's control (paraphrased)."
Romans 12:2
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Ephesians 4:23-24
be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul declared there is a day, in the last days, when we will not have to even teach this truth, but it will be universally known among the people of God. That day is now. You are that people! Your companions and fellow laborers are already of the same mind. Those who walk counter to these doctrines are not your brothers and sisters; they are not of the Spirit, but are of the flesh.
Hebrews 8:10
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The same Spirit of God moving in China is also moving in power in Latin America. These immense populations-one under Communism's suppression and the other under domination by Papal authorities--must hear the Spirit and be of the same mind as you. Globally, the Spirit is moving to create and perpetuate His Kingdom, and as each Kingdom citizen submits to His will and hears His voice, there is formed a deeply arranged fellowship.

The participants of true fellowship have already learned to bring every thought captive. They already are deeply committed to being subject to Christ and have submitted their lives to the leadership of the Spirit. One can see it in their eyes, their demeanor or their manner of life. Sensitivity to the walk of the Spirit is written all over them and to them we are drawn and gravitate. A communion is formed of those with the same mind. This is what Paul meant when he commanded his followers to be "of the same mind." Of such are you!

(Next month: we will examine what it means to be of the Same Mind.)

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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Sons of Zadok Double Grace HR The Regal Pair Consumed By His Fire

Called to be Saints Solomon's Secret En Punto A Study in Isaiah

The Road to Captivity Exact Ezekiel

In Spanish:

Called to be Saints El Secreto de Salomon Los Hijos Sadoc

In German:

Die Sohn Zadoks

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