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This Means War!

August 11, 2013

The Reality of Spiritual Warfare:
1Peter 5:8-11
The reality of our enemies efforts to defeat us, to rob us of the hope and joy that are ours in Christ is more real than any threat from Al Qaeda; it is more pervasive, a more intimate threat than any terrorist or foreign government ever thought of holding over us.
Jay commented that while the devil does roam, the Lord will prevail! “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:8-11 CEV
We are admonished, however, to be aware of the ongoing nature of our warfare; that though Christ has won the victory for all the whosoevers of all time, which the enemy of our souls is ever roaming and looking for an opportunity to attack. Should we then be afraid of him? No, but in Peter’s concluding of his first epistle, we see some instructions for those in the battle (and that means you!).
Be Watchful
 As during the Cold War, our military were always watchful for the possibility of attack from the Soviet Union
o The Air Force’s constant patrolling B-52s or crews manning the missile silos across the northern Great Plains of this country
o The Navy’s ballistic missile submarines on deterrent patrols
 The Church as well is under an attack that is no less real than nuclear warheads inbound to our nation and those who ignore that are doomed to a shipwrecked faith
Be aware of how our enemy prowls and attacks
 Our enemy loves to plant seeds of doubt to make us question God’s plan (Genesis 3)
 He also attacks through his power to affect the physical and material plane of existence via illness, injury and the like (Job 1; 2)
 As in the case of Judas, he can influence the thoughts and intents, seeking to harm the individual so influenced and others through their actions (or inaction)
 He also likes to plant hostile unbeliever within a church body to create strife and prevent the unity of purpose God desires in us (Matthew 13)
 Our enemy also seeks to steal the word and/or harden the heart to make us unreceptive to what is being taught (2 Corinthians 4)
 Satan is the father of lies and loves to speak those lies into our minds (John 8)
The Reality of Spiritual Warfare:
1Peter 5:8-11
 He is also the spirit behind any and all heretical teaching (2 Corinthians 11)
 He is adept at taking advantage of any situation (open door) we give him (1 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Timothy 2:26)
 While we are in this world so influenced by Satan, we are always under the threat of facing suffering/persecution for our stand in Christ (Revelation 2:10)
Resist the enemy, firm in faith
 Any building without a strong foundation will fall; so the Church without a strong faith in the facts of the Gospel, will not prevail against the attacks of the adversary
 Gospel Conviction (Zechariah 3:1-5)
o In and of ourselves, we ARE filthy and wretched, beyond redemption
o In Christ we are clothed with His righteousness and nothing the enemy does can or ever will affect this
 Preaching of the Scripture (Luke 10)
o Just as soldiers (or sailors and marines) training for combat, we are to sit under the teaching of those knowledgeable in such matters
o Avoid those who teach (as Paul put it) what we want to hear, feel good messages that avoid the core of the Gospel message
 Resist with obedience to the Word (Ephesians 4:26, 27)
o Anyone in combat who questions an order will soon be KIA and those with him as well
o We cannot resist in our own strength, but by being obedient to the Word, to the command of our King, we will overcome any attack
o Jay pointed out this is not calling for moral perfection
 David, someone Scripture calls a man after God’s own heart, was anything but at times in his life
 Our journey Home will have its own share of failures and outright rebellion, but Grace ushers us back into the Presence of the one who loves us
 Resist by refusing to indulge in self-pity (1 Peter 5:9b)
o When in the midst of some tragedy or trial that seems unfair, Jay cautioned us to resist feeling sorry for ourselves (the poor baby syndrome)
o Others in the Church also face such daily, we are not alone (1 Corinthians 10:13)
 Resist with prayer
o Speaking to the Father as with a friend who cares for you, as He does far better than any friend you can see
o Sharing a burden eases that burden; sharing it with God is a good way or removing it
 Resist with the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
The Reality of Spiritual Warfare:
1Peter 5:8-11
Why this battle?
It does seem kind of ridiculous when you think about it; from the beginning God knew all that was to happen and He let it happen! Why? Why tragedy and trials, suffering and pain; why not just erase it all by destroying the rebellious angels led by Lucifer at the time of their rebellion? “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” The trials that we face, the failures and successes, are all working toward accomplishing two things (both for our knowledge and for a lost world that watches so intently how we in the Church respond); that His Grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) and to bring Him glory.
An interesting aside that relates to today’s lesson; after arriving home, as I prepared to record these notes, several things happened:
1. Something (someone?) seemed to be keeping me from being able to create and save a document in which to do these notes
2. Frustration began to create anger within me and I sought a target…then that “…still, small voice…” seemed to say ‘remember’ and I had to smile.

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