Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 Kinds of Spiritual Warfare

~ The Tri-fold Christian Fight ~

The Christian soldier is unique in that every individual Christian soldier is fighting on three different front lines—actually fighting three different wars—at the same time. In other wars individual soldiers are only on one front line at a time!

We know that our military has different weapons for different wars. Even their uniforms change—for example there is a vast difference in the camouflage uniforms used in a jungle compared to the camouflage uniforms used in open desert. Fortunately we too have different provisions including three armors for our three wars.

Internal War ~ We have ongoing, everyday, skirmishes with our old nature which is called “the flesh.” Our sin nature which we inherited from the first Adam tries to take control of our lives. The Bible tells us that “our sinful nature fights against our spiritual nature” (Galatians 5:17). But this war can never be won by the old nature and its tactics, but only as the new man is possessed by the Spirit of God. To win this war we need to rethink our strategy (2 Corinthians 10:3). But we can win this war by putting on “the armor of light” (Romans 13:12).

External War ~ Meanwhile we are also waging a battle with the world around us which is constantly seeking to mold us into its pattern. As we fight this war it is easy to be stressed—almost to the breaking point—but in the midst of it all we can have peace (John 16:33). This war cannot be won by the brute force of our human resistance, but only by submission to the new nature which we received from our Savior, the Last Adam, and spiritual realities (James 4:7a). This war must be resisted and can be won with the “armor of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 6:7).

Infernal War ~ Simultaneously Christians are fighting on a third front in a war with the devil and his warriors (Ephesians 6:12). In one sense this infernal war is opposite of our external war in that this battle cannot be won by submission but rather by resistance through the aid of the Holy Spirit (James 4:7b). To win this most crucial war we must put on the “entire armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13) which we have been provided.

CONTEMPLATE: “You spiritual adulterer! Don't you realize that being a friend of the world and its lifestyle makes you an enemy of God? Let me say it another way: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Bible means when it says that the Spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy, greed, and all kinds of sin? But remember that God gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Bible says, ‘God opposes the proud but He favors the humble.’ So humble yourselves before God” (James 4:4-7).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Onward Christian Soldiers

~ Don’t Go AWOL ~

The Bible uses many word images of the Christian and the Christian life. One common image is that of a soldier. Consider what the Bible tells us about our life as Soldiers.

Our Captain ~ Jesus Christ is our Captain, actually our Commander-In-Chief, and He leads the way for us (Hebrews 2:10).

Our Equipment ~ We have been provided with all the provisions we need (Ephesians 6:10-18) but we must utilize them wisely. One of the most important aspects of equipment for a foot soldier is proper footwear—provisions for our feet are provided (Ephesians 6:15).

Our Armor (defense) ~ There is a secular saying, “that a strong defense is the best offense.” Armor, by its very nature is defensive and we have been given all the protection we need to endure the battle (Ephesians 6:11, Psalm 18:32).

Our Weapon (offense) ~ Our offensive weapon is truth and we find it in the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17b). Truth is the only weapon we have been given and the only weapon we need. When our Commander fought with our enemy He used the Word of God in each of His battles (Matthew 4:1- 11, note especially verses 4, 7, and 10).

Our Comrades ~ The battle has been raging for centuries. Other believers are fighting alongside us (Philippians 2:25). The battle may soon be over—but it is still intensely raging today.

Our War ~ We are in a very unusual battle—one against spiritual rather than physical forces (Ephesians 6:12).

Our Enemy ~ The commander of our opposition is the devil himself and with his multitude of soldiers is bent on our individual destruction along with obliteration of our cause (1 Peter 5:8).

Our Fight ~ We are on the right side of the battle. We are fighting the fight of faith. Our fight is for truth, right, justice, and the kingdom of God Himself (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

Our Requirements
~ We are to maintain our endurance—we must maintain our focus as soldiers and not become tourists (2 Timothy 2:3-4).

Our Discharge ~ Throughout most of history “no one is discharged in time of war” (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Our Responsibilities
~ Unfortunately during times of tough battles, some soldiers go “Absent Without Leave” and by so doing are actually traitors. The Scriptures urge us to continue fighting the faith in a strong and worthy way (1 Timothy 1:18).

Our Secret of Success ~ The Spirit of God who indwells the Christian has given us faith, continues to give us faith, and will complete our faith. Faith will give us the victory (1 John 5:4-5).

CONTEMPLATE: Sometimes being AWOL is simply hiding from the front lines. Have you remained on the front lines of the Christian battle?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The First War

~ A “Religious” War ~

There is one true World War! The longest war in history. The casualty count is truly staggering! This war consists of two major battles within the larger battle. Daily skirmishes, fighting, local battles including hand to hand fighting, continue today on front lines around the world.

The first ever declaration of war was made by God in Genesis 3:15 when He declared war on Satan. This small verse is full of content including the first promise of a coming Savior for sinful mankind.

Because it includes the first suggestion of a coming Savior and the opportunity for redemption, it is often referred to as the proto-evangelism. Fortunately, the verse not only declares war but also states the ultimate victory will go to Jesus Christ.

This great war named the “War between the Seeds” pits the seed of Mary, Christ, against the seed of the serpent, the antichrist. The declaration of war was spoken to the serpent, the evil one, soon after Adam and Eve fell into sin—it was not spoken to Adam or Eve. In His love God did not declare war on fallen man—but rather on behalf of fallen man!

Of the two most significant skirmishes or battles, one occurred in the past and the other will occur in the future. The past “Battle of the Heel” was not fatal. Christ died on the Cross in order to provide salvation for fallen man—Satan at first appeared to be victorious. However, Christ rose from the grave conquering death and Satan was wounded (but not destroyed). The future “Battle of the Head” (Revelation 20) will be fatal to Satan. Christ will then have complete victory! (Romans 16:20)

Between these two climactic battles is an unbroken series of wars and conflicts made up of greater and lesser battles, all of them but skirmishes in an effort to gain advantage for the final showdown. If you are a Christian, you are a soldier of the Cross engaged in this ongoing war.

The proto-evangelism is also interesting as it contains the first mention of the virgin birth. In Scripture the seed is always traced though the male line with this one exception. Jesus Christ is called the seed of the woman! It was by a woman that sin entered into the human race and it will be by a woman that a Savior will come.

An important implication of this verse is that since the seed of the woman is a real person, the antichrist by logical extension is also a real person!

The Word of God declares that all Christians are involved in this war and that there is no discharge from the war (Ecclesiastes 8:8). Fortunately we are provided with an offensive weapon (the Word of God) and all the defensive armor we need (Ephesians 6:10-20, 2 Corinthians 10:4).

The Battle of the Seeds began in Genesis 3:20 and will end in Revelation 20.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

EXTRA: Burn the Koran?

~ No One Can Change God’s Character—But They Sure Can Damage His Reputation! ~

The Situation ~ Two individual religious leaders have been at the center of recurring major news stories. First, the Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf who plans on building a Muslim mosque near ground zero in New York City. Second, a Christian pastor Terry Jones who plans on publicly burning copies of the Koran.

Both men claim to be religious leaders. Both plan to do something perfectly legal and allowable. Both men are correct! They both are holding to their principles. But are there actions right?

Since this blog is about Christian living, we will discuss the issue from the Christian perspective. What does the Bible say that is relevant to this situation?

On one side many will point to the fact that God is a God of love (1 John 4:8, 16). But others would point to Christ overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple (Mark 11:15) as evidence of Jesus taking strong in-your-face action.

Christians are to operate according to principles rather than methodically following a guidebook. To do this effectively two things are necessary. First, a grounded understanding of the entire Word of God, and secondly, sensitivity to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.

The key issue which seems to dominate the discussion is the concept that it is “my right” to move forward with my planned actions regardless of the counsel of others or the consequences of my planned actions. Both men talk of their “First Amendment Rights.”

One View ~ The book of 1 Corinthians was written to local Christians who were having trouble applying Christian principles in everyday situations. The book may be summed up as directions regarding Christian conduct. While the following passages are not about burning the Koran or where to build a mosque, the principles contained in these passages are quite relevant.

“I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you're doing” (1 Corinthians 6:5 The Message).

“All you're doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family” (1 Corinthians 6:8 The Message).

“Just because something is technically legal doesn't mean that it's spiritually appropriate” (1 Corinthians 6:12 The Message).

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 NKJV).

“…do everything that way, heartily and freely to God's glory. At the same time, don't be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren't as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone's feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 The Message).

“Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14 NKJV).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Divine 2+2

~ Two Down & Two To Go ~

Consider four major divine accomplishments—two which have occurred and two which will yet happen.


(1) Creation ~ “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).

(2) Redemption ~ “Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:29-30).


(3) The End of Sin ~ “Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ ” (Revelation 16:17-18).

(4) The End of Pain and Physical Death ~ “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’ ” (Revelation 21:3-8).


The first two of these divine works are done—creation and redemption—they have been accomplished. When the final two divine works—sin and death—are fulfilled, Christians will be enjoying their Savior forever without the complications of sin and failures. What a glorious future, “blessed hope,” and absolute certainty awaits those who truly belong to God!