Episode 161

Disciple Up # 161
Fighting the Good Fight
By Louie Marsh, 5-27-2020


What caused me to change what I had planned, John Stott, Christ the Controversialist Introductory Essay A may come later.

Suicide last night, others from my past.

What is real spiritual warfare?

 I’m preaching on this topic this coming Sunday, so won’t be referencing the Ephesians 6 passage much.

  • Spiritual warfare is NOT what most of you think it is and it’s NOT what many if not most of you probably what you were taught that it is.
  • This topic is Kooksville, and attracts lots and lots of kooks from all different sides of the church.
  • The Bible is very limited in what it says on this topic. But the topic is fascinating and people read it and say, I’m going to study and figure this out. Then they do study the Bible and discover they aren’t going to figure this out because there’s not much there.
  • How do I go past this? Easy, I take the train to Kooksville. It’s quick and easy to take that train because it’s running all the time. You get on that train by deciding that you are going to figure out what Scripture doesn’t tell you. This is variously done by reading and listen to what others are saying from their homes in Kooksville. Then you begin to pray and ask for “revelations” and then you get them in the form of emotional impressions, stories and experiences all mixed together. In the end what you’ve got is an ego/emotion driven nightmare that has little to nothing to do with what Scripture actually says.
  • You could call this a form of Gnosticism, a label that can be applied to a lot of teaching and beliefs both in and out of the church.

Short Definition of Spiritual Warfare: Growing the Fruit of the Spirit.

I close almost every episode of this podcast by saying, “Remember every time is a good time to Disciple Up.”  What does that mean? It means to get up and grow and move and fight and win. Living the Christian life, growing spiritually, keeping your heart open and soft and being open to others. In other words becoming spiritually mature IS SPIRITUAL WARFARE.

Biblical Background for viewing life as Spiritual Warfare

4  but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5  Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. Isaiah 11:4-5 (ESV)

 15  Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16  He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17  He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. Isaiah 59:15-17 (ESV)

The New Testament:

11  But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (ESV)

Forlorn hope – group left behind to cover an Army’s retreat.

4  And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” Revelation 13:4 (ESV)

3  For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6  being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV)

12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

32  What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 1 Corinthians 15:32 (ESV)

8  But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 (ESV)

10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

14  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)

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Episode 160

Disciple Up #160
Colossians, Pt. 6: Keep Looking Up, Col. 3:1-11
By Louie Marsh, 5-20-2020

Intro.  This is a major turning point in the book, Paul now turns to practical matters having laid the doctrinal foundational – something he does regularly in his writings.

  1. I) GETTING SET (vs. 1-2)

1  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2 (ESV)

  1. A) Raised with Christ 1

1, raised = “co-raised” in Greek

2, Through Christ we are in the new, resurrection, life.

3, This sets the tone for our entire life.

  1. B) Setting our Minds & Hearts 1-2

1, “set your hearts” = seek with a direct reference to the orientation of the will.

a, It’s in the present tense showing a continual effort is needed.

2, “Set your minds”= a stronger word, means using all our thoughts and will.

3, We must continually set ourselves with everything within us!


  1. C) On Christ Above

1, “Where Christ is” spells out the place and character of above.

2) The Christian and “positivity”

a, I’m concerned because the church today is doing what’s done before, borrowing from the world.

1, In our day, everywhere you go, you constantly hear about how vital it is to have a positive attitude!  It’s an idol before the world worships daily!

b, I’m NOT saying we should have negative attitudes – God forbid!

c, I AM saying that for the Christian there is a reason for being positive.  We should look upwards because that’s where Christ is!

3) And for the Christian the very idea of what’s positive is different from the what the world thinks!  Malcolm Murreridge quote –

a, “It is a curious fact that today…one is called a pessimist if one ventures to express a certain contempt for the things of this world and dares to entertain the truly extraordinary hopes…that buoyed up the first Christians…I wonder whether, in the history of all the civilizations that have ever been, a more insanely optimistic notion has ever been entertained than that you and I, mortal, puny creatures, may yet aspire, with God’s Grace and Christ’s help, to be reborn into what St. Paul calls the glorious liberty of the Children of God.”  Jesus Rediscovered, 1969, pgs 76-77


  1. II) CHRIST OUR LIFE (vs. 3-4)


3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4  When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4 (ESV)


  1. A) Two Reasons to Keep Looking Up

1, We’ve died to the world

a, died = separated

b, We’ve died a spiritual death – through baptism

2, Our New Life is hidden in Christ

a, Perfect tense – it’s hidden and will remain that way!


  1. B) Hidden in Christ

1, Hidden from the world – because it’s spiritual

2, Hidden even from ourselves –

a, “The world knows neither Christ nor Christians, and Christians do not even fully know themselves.” – J. A. Bengel

b, Col. 2:3 – none of us fully understands this resurrection life.

c, That’s why we must continually set ourselves on the hidden life above.


  1. C) Christ Our Life (vs. 4)

1, When He appears – the secret’s out!

2, Christ is our spiritual life (zoe)

a, The closer you get to Him the more alive you are.

b, The farther away from Him you get – the less alive you are.

3, We will share His glory!!

a, Is that Grace or what??




5  Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6  On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7  In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10  and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:5-11 (ESV)


  1. A) Putting Old Things to Death 5-6

1, We’re not to kill the old nature – it’s already dead! (Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:1-12)


2  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:2-4 (ESV)


a, Written in aorist tense = “a decisive initial act which introduces a settled attitude.”

B, Dead = “separated” in Scripture – not nonexistent.

2, We are to kill the things that belong to it.

a, Like our old behavior patterns.

3, Notice that this list of acts moves from the outward to the inward

a, “Sexual immorality” = porneia in Gk.  Used of adultery, fornication, prostitution, and every unlawful act.  It’s the word from which we get pornography.

b, The first four words in this list all deal with sexual issues, and show us God wants, but seldom gets, purity from His people.

c, Greed is Idolatry – another great sin of our nation.


  1. B) Putting Off and On 6-10

1, Paul uses this clothing metaphor to show our changed nature

22  to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23  and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)



a, Don’t just stop doing something bad!

b, But substitute something good for the bad!

c, Vacuum and straw illustration.

3, New Nature is constantly renewed

a, Through Knowledge – which is why we study the Word.

b, To transform us into the image of God.

  1. C) ALL ABOARD! (vs. 11)

1, No prejudice in Christ!! – Gal. 3:28


28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 (ESV)

a, no male/female, cultural or racial walls!

2, The New Creation is equally open to all.

3, So whoever you are, whatever you are, we urge you to come to Christ!

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Episode 159

Disciple Up #159
Freedom & Control
By Louie Marsh, 5-13-2020

Intro. Where the idea for this episode came from.

1) The Article: http://www.parkerliveonline.com/2020/05/08/theres-something-happening/


I’ve been noticing something lately with a lot of the people I interact with and that I see and hear online. There seems to be a certain feeling they are projecting that I’ve had a hard time putting my finger on. It’s there, it’s real, but what is it?


Yesterday I remembered a song from my youth that seems to sum up very well what I’m sensing. It was written in a different time and place and about a different situation, but the words still work (by the way if you haven’t heard this song find it online and listen to it as soon as your done reading this article!)


There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down


  • Written by Stephen Stills, 1966. Performed by Buffalo Springfield, it was recorded on December 5, 1966; released as a single on Atco Records on December 23, 1966;


Clearly COVID-19 and our response to it is oppressing if not downright depressing people. I’ve seen people exhibiting some of the classic signs of depression, being tired all the time, not sleeping well, finding it hard to get motivated, etc.


Once this clicked with me I began to wonder why. Now if you’ve lost your job then it’s completely understandable that you’d be down about that. But I know lots of people who haven’t lost their job but they are still showing clear signs of what I’ll call COVID-19 Syndrome.


To tell the truth I’ve felt some of it myself. But why? I don’t know anyone who’s starving, or being kicked out of their home, or who don’t have clothes to wear, etc.  Most of us are doing ok, if not great in terms of survival. Things could be a lot worse that’s for sure. So what’s going on here?


And then something hit me. What I’ve found frustrating about this, and many people throughout the country seem to be pushing back against, is the lack of control. All of a sudden the government is telling us what we can and can’t do, how we can do it and even when by setting up curfews. As Americans we value our rights to control our lives.


But now we are not in control.


Leaving the law aside for the purposes of this column, we are not in control of the virus itself. There’s nothing any of us regular people can do directly to effect either the virus itself or what it does. We can try and avoid it, but we have absolutely zero control over it and what it’s done to our culture.


I had to smile when this popped into my little mind because it took me straight back to Spiritual Kindergarten. And I mean that literally because currently in our Wednesday night Bible study we’re going through a book with that title, it’s a look at the 12 Steps from a Christian Perspective. So far we’ve done the first two steps.


You’ve probably heard the first two steps, here they are as a reminder:

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


If you substitute the phrase our powerlessness over our life in general for “alcohol” it begins to make some sense doesn’t it? Kinda sounds like what many of us are living, but perhaps not admitting, right now.


I really believe that much if not most of our current malaise is directly connected to that feeling of helplessness that stems from not being able to control what’s happening in our lives. It’s a terrible feeling because people desperately want to be in control. That makes us feel both powerful and safe and both feelings have a huge appeal to the human ego.


But the truth is neither you nor I have control over much of anything at all. The only thing I really have control of in my life is what I say and do, and at least half the time I’m not doing such a great job of controlling that.


Control is an illusion. It is a comforting, desirable, and seductive illusion to be sure. But it is an illusion none the less.


So, if you’re feeling that COVID-19 Syndrome take those first two steps, realize that you aren’t in control, and then rejoice in the freedom that recognizing and living in the truth can bring.


2) The Response:


Had one response saying it was the lack of freedom that bothered them more than control.


Is that true? What is freedom and control anyway?



  • the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint
  • exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
  • the power to determine action without restraint.
  • political or national independence.
  • personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery:




  • to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command:
  • to hold in check; curb:
  • to control a horse; to control one’s emotions.


  • the act or power of controlling; regulation; domination or command:
  • Who’s in control here?


  • My realization – being in control IS being free!


What else is freedom but the ability and license to make choices and do what you choose to do or not do what you choose not to do? You can’t be free without control of your choices and, to a certain extent, your circumstances.


So this feeling I’m getting from people really IS about control. Although that feeling is often misunderstood as a lack of freedom. They don’t understand the real relationship between these two states of being.


We see this here now all the time and especially on the weekends when we have hundreds of Californians flock to the river where they are FREE – i.e. have the ability to control their choices – to play on the river and beaches, something not allowed right now in CA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The only way you know they are free is because they are in control of their situation enough to carry out their wishes – that is to bring their boats and play on the river. If they weren’t able to do that then they wouldn’t really be free.


So – Control Is Freedom! Or control is the application of freedom.


But wait! Now I’m going to throw a wrench into all of this by looking at the teachings of Jesus!


11  The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12 (ESV)


32  and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (ESV)


So Truth Brings Freedom!


Whose really in charge here? The free Pilate or the Prisoner Jesus?


37  Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38  Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. John 18:37-38 (ESV)


10  So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11  Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” John 19:10-11 (ESV)


Jesus isn’t free, yet he is in control. We see the same thing with Paul


25  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26  and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27  When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28  But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29  And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30  Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31  And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34  Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. Acts 16:25-34 (ESV)


So, spiritually speaking, being free and exerting control is found in the spirit not in the physical world. They can imprison your body but not your soul.


So it seems that from a Biblical perspective the main concern we should be having is our spiritual freedom, that would include our intellectual and emotional freedom as well.


This can’t be taken from us because we are always free to choose to follow Jesus. Even locked in a cell no one can take that choice and that reality from me. So yes, freedom and control are the same thing but you can’t have either one without the truth that only Jesus brings.

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Wrestling with Change

Disciple Up # 158
Wrestling with Change
By Louie Marsh, 5-6-2020

12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

People, other people that is, are the least of our problems most of the time.  Paul focuses here on spiritual struggling but there are other kinds. We are surrounded by and living in a veritable ocean of change. Everything changes all the time and this change never stops!


Culture changes, beliefs change, knowledge changes and increases so quickly that no one can keep up with it. The weather changes all the time, your mind changes constantly, your body is going through change until the day you die and even after you die it changes. Everything changes and every change, no matter how small, adds a certain amount of strain and stress to our lives. Some of this is good stress, much of it is bad stress, most of it is hidden stress, that is we don’t recognize we have it, but it’s there none the less.


More About Change: https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-7-stages-of-human-development


This classification system is somewhat arbitrary, and there is one system which includes conception to birth as the first stage.

However, most agree that the first stage is infancy, representing birth to the age at which speech is in its primary phase, or about the age of 2. The child explores communication and the expansion of emotions.

The next stage is early childhood, extending to about the age of 6 – learning basic skills, including using basic and early interpersonal skills.

Middle childhood expands social skills and learning skills in school, and physical and athletic activities.

Adolescents begins to recognize special relationships and bonding, such as recognizing the basis of significant emotional relationships; selecting other areas of interest to hone one’s skills in these.

Early adulthood includes mating and possible procreation / propagation, selecting career pursuits, expanding recreational pursuits; this lasts from age 20 to 45 years of age.

Middle adulthood lasts from 45 to 65, and completes what is often the most productive years in both work and recreational pursuits, and preparing for the senior years.

The senior years begin at age 65 until death it is thought that in this stage, one works less, enjoys benefits including retirement, greater ability to direct one’s schedule (without working, hopefully) enjoying younger family members, but begins to confront the deterioration of health inevitably associated with advancing age.

Some Examples Of Dealing with Great Change From the Bible


18  The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) 19  These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed. 20  Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. 21  He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. 22  And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. 23  Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness. Genesis 9:18-23 (ESV)


Noah did this to return to the world before sin entered it? He sinned to return to innocence?




1  Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3 (ESV)


26  In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29  But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33  and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34  And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35  And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36  And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37  For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38  And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:26-38 (ESV)


Churches Dealing with COVID-19 CHANGES




Wrestling with Change


  1. If you can’t beat ‘em – join ‘em!


  1. Use changes momentum to propel yourself in the right direction.


  1. Recognize what needs to be and must be changed in your life.


  1. Recognize what cannot and must not be changed in your life.


  1. Stand tall and don’t let anything or anyone move you off of God’s will and Word – 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Psalm 1:3-4 (ESV)

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