Presentation on theme: "We are at War!. At the outset of World War II, when did the war with Japan actually begin? A Question… With the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941."— Presentation transcript:
At the outset of World War II, when did the war with Japan actually begin? A Question… With the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 (That’s what people usually think.)
When did did the war with al-Qaeda actually begin? A Question… With the attack on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 (That’s what people usually think, too.)
But is that when these wars actually started? Didn’t Japan plan their attack months, even years in advance? And didn’t al-Qaeda do the same thing? Weren’t their attacks something they had planned for years?
Weren’t we at war with Japan long before December 7 th and weren’t we at war with al- Qaeda long before September 11 th ? But we just didn’t realize it?
When thought of in these terms, doesn’t it seem rather odd - even frightening - to realize… That we could be at war and not even know it!?
But that’s precisely what IS happening for so many of us - right now! We ARE at war! And a lot of us haven’t noticed!
This weekend we begin a new Sermon series. The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-18
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18
Notice how Paul uses combat terminology and the imagery of warfare. He uses words like struggle and armor. He is trying to make his point very clear. Ephesians 6:10-18
We are at war It is a war that is spiritual It is a war that is against Satan and all that is evil It is a war that is fought on many different fronts And it is a war that we must constantly be engaged in
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil Notice how very real and very present this war is: Paul puts it: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. “
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil Paul uses the present tense when he describes this struggle. He wants to make sure that we know that it IS happening right now! He wants us to know that it IS happening all around us! And he wants us to know that it IS happening to us! It IS OUR struggle!
And since it IS OUR struggle, that means that WE have to FIGHT!
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil Notice who our enemy is ( and who our enemy isn’t ): As Paul puts it: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. “
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil We usually think of war this way As a clash between people of opposing sides
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil We think in terms of enemies and opponents And all of them are people
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil As we fight for such things as the sanctity of marriage and the rights of the unborn or against such things as pornography and drug abuse… We often think of the enemy as being human.
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil We identify the enemy as the liberal left, the radical right, Hollywood, the press corps, politicians, federal court judges, etc.
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil We do this in the Church and in this congregation as though they’re the enemy! We get into a disagreement about finances Things get hot and heavy at a Voters’ meeting Boards clash against boards; people clash against people; and pretty soon we treat each other…
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil Why… we can even do this in all of our human relationships In all human relations, when things get bad, we can mistake each other for the enemy At work with our co-workers and bosses At home with our spouses, children and parents At school with teachers and with students
But we’re not the enemy… Satan is! Satan who tempts us to sin and disobey God Satan who seeks to snare people away from God Satan who entices entire nations away from what God commands Satan who would like nothing better than to divide Christians, thus making us ineffective for the work God has called us to do
We are engaged in spiritual warfare against Satan and his evil Look at it this way: Failing to recognize Satan as our ultimate enemy is like the United States fighting a war without really knowing who it’s real enemy is.
Can you imagine? That when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the United States thought their only opponents were the pilots who actually dropped the bombs - and not the Japanese themselves?
Can you imagine? That after September 11 th, we thought that our only enemy was Osama bin Laden and not the rest of the terrorist network?
That’s ridiculous, right? But we do the very same thing. For example, when we take a stand concerning same-sex marriage: instead of dealing with the deeper issues and seeing that it is Satan who is promoting this lie, we make gay people the enemy.
That’s ridiculous, right? When some hot-button issue explodes within the congregation, we get mad at each other and we point fingers instead of actually recognizing how Satan is using people on both sides of the issue (ourselves included) to damage relationships among fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!
That’s ridiculous, right? And when there’s tension at home, disobedience of children, fighting between spouses - the constant temptation that we give into (sometimes consciously and sometimes subconsciously) is to view each other as the enemy.
But we are not the enemy. They are not the enemy. But we are not the enemy. They are not the enemy. Satan is! Satan is the enemy who is using whatever the situation is at hand to wreak havoc in our lives and draw us away from God!
Your enemy is Satan He IS doing everything he can to take us away from God. He IS doing everything he can to continue the moral downward spiral of our nation. He IS doing everything he can to divide Christians & Christian congregations. He IS the one attacking us! And, by the way,we are the ones attacking him!
The apostle Peter put it this way: “Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9) “Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up…” (The Message version)
Satan won’t catch us napping… As we continue to realize that we are at war with him As we continue to realize that, though it might appear otherwise, our enemy is NOT each other or other human beings As we take seriously the need to put on the full armor of God As we remember one other thing…
Paul puts it this way: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (Romans 16:20) “Before you know it the God of peace will come down on Satan with both feet, stomping him into the dirt. Enjoy the best of Jesus!” (The Message version)
The ultimate defeat of Satan is assured! His defeat is a done deal because Jesus died on the cross to remove Satan’s number one weapon: sin! His defeat is a done deal because Jesus rose from the dead, thus taking away the ultimate desire Satan has for all: eternal death And the defeat of Satan is something we share in through faith in Christ!
The apostle John puts it this way: “Because God’s word remains in you… you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:14) Or, as James puts it: “Therefore, submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.” (James 4:7) “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud ‘NO’ to the Devil and watch him scamper.” (The Message version)
Or… as Martin Luther wrote: Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us, We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not overpow’r us. This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none, He’s judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him. Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us, We tremble not, we fear no ill, They shall not overpow’r us. This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none, He’s judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him.
So… we ARE at War! A spiritual war against Satan A war that’s already WON But a war in which the fighting will continue until Jesus comes again
We have armor to put on for this war Armor and weaponry that we will talk about over the next few weeks But for now, let us be perfectly clear on this:
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