The Biggest Battle of All
Sunday, January 15, 2017
The Battle Hymn of the Republic: Is this a patriotic song for our nation? Or is it a call to arms for the church?
The primary truth about this life is this: God loves His creation. He loves me. He loves you. Because He loves us He insists that we submit to Him as Lord of our lives and walk in obedience, in fellowship with Him. If we are living for anything less than this we have some changing to do. If this is not the primary focus of our lives, we are cheating ourselves out of the good that God wants for us.
We have an enemy who is out to destroy us, to keep us away from God and the good that He wants for us. When we walk in fellowship with God, this enemy has no power over us. If we do not walk in fellowship with God, we will fall prey to the enemy's lies and deceit, his slanderous attempts to get us to believe that God does not love us and that God does not want what is best for us. Let's read what Paul has to say about this enemy in Ephesians 6:10-12:
6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12 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. NIV
Devil – it means false accuser, slanderer, one who lowers the reputation of another. He is the father of lies. He is the enemy of the One True God. He seeks to lessen the value of all that God has created.
Paul told the Ephesians, and therefore he tells us, that we need to be able to take a stand against this enemy and his schemes. We do so by being strong in the Lord and relying on God's mighty power.
What are the devil's schemes? His methods of accomplishing his purpose. His lies; his deceit; his trickery. He appeals to our human desire to be the master of our own fate. He appeals to our desire to be good within ourselves, when our only true goodness comes from our connection to, our submission to our true Lord and Master, God, Our Creator.
He uses our flesh, our selfish nature, our old man, who we were before we put our trust in God, to draw us back into those ways of the flesh. He lies to us to lower God's reputation in our eyes. He lies to us to lower our own value in our eyes. He slanders God and deceives us into believing that God only loves us when we perfectly obey Him in our own power.
Paul said to be strong on our own, in our own strength, in our own abilities. Right? No, NO, NO, a thousand times NO!!!! We are to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Only as we are walking in fellowship with Him, using the resources that He provides can we hope to win against the enemy of our souls. The Biggest Battle of All is the battle against the lie that God does not love us.
The battle we face is not a physical battle but is a battle for truth: God's truth. Our Creator loves us and wants to give us what is best for us. The enemy, the devil, the accuser wants us to believe a lie. The biggest lie is that God does not love us and He does not really want what is best for us.
When we believe these lies, we cannot love God. We cannot obey the greatest commandment. We can only live for Him if we believe He loves us. We will not have the strength to love and obey Him if we are not putting our faith in Him, and not in our own abilities, or our own goodness apart from a relationship with Him.
The Biggest Battle of All is the battle against those who would set themselves up against God.
Other people are not the enemy. They are the victims, the prisoners of the enemies of God.
They are the deceived, those who have not understood the truth about God. They do not know that God loves them and that He is the Lord of their lives. They live in darkness. They need to hear about the light of God. They need to know that God loves them and that it is a good thing that He is Lord of their lives.
When you find yourself battling with other people, you need to refocus on the true battle that we are waging.
We must also remember that the battle is the Lord's. We are not fighting in our own strength or wisdom. We are servants of the Most High God. The battle is the Lord's. We are to put on Christ.
Back in the first chapter, Paul introduced us to God's power. Look with me again at that passage beginning in verse 18 of chapter 1:
18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. NIV
The power that will defeat the enemies of God is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. God has given His Only Begotten Son His power to enable us to stand against all the powers and authorities, and dominions that would set themselves up against the Heavenly Father. He brings that power into our lives when we accept the truth about Him. Whoever believes in, accepts the truth about, trusts in Jesus Christ as having been given God's full authority to rule in the hearts and lives of people are redeemed, saved.
Whoever refuses to believe in God and His Son, Jesus the Messiah or Christ. . . whoever refuses to accept this truth, joins the forces of evil in this dark world, they join with those who lie about God and His love for His Creation, His love for us. They seek to diminish God's reputation. This is what it means to be lost, to be condemned to eternal separation from God. Without our connection to God we are without hope and have fallen prey to the enemy of our souls. It is only God's great love and power that can save us.
What we are talking about is the very nature of what good and evil mean. In a parallel passage from Romans, Paul tells us it is time to wake up, to put on the armor of light, to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. Read with me:
11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. NIV
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Earlier in Romans Paul says: (Romans 8:37-39)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NIV
The biggest Battle of All is the battle for our souls, the battle for our eternal destiny. We will either spend eternity in the presence of the God who created us and loves us, or we will join with those who refuse to accept Him as Savior and Lord, who put their trust in something other than God.
To win this battle, put your trust in God. He loves you and He is your Lord!
Whose side are you on? The side of the One True God? Or the side of His enemies?