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OPENING FUNNY STORY: As the coals from our barbecue burned down, our hosts passed out marshmallows and long roasting forks. Just then, two fire trucks roared by, sirens blaring, lights flashing. They stopped at a house right down the block. All twelve of us raced out of the back yard, down the street, where we found the owners of the blazing house standing by helplessly. They glared at us with looks of disgust. Suddenly, we realized why… we were all still holding our roasting forks with marshmallows on them.
OPENING QUOTE: “Has God abandoned us? Did we not pray enough? Is this just something we accept as ‘part of life,’ suck it up, even though it breaks our hearts? After a while, the accumulation of event after event that we do not understand erodes our confidence that we are part of something grand and good, and reduces us to a survivalist mind-set. I know, I know – we’ve been told that we matter to God. And part of us partly believes it. But life has a way of chipping away at that conviction, undermining our settled belief that He means us well. I mean, if that’s true, then why didn’t he ___? Fill in the blank… What is really going on here? Good grief – life is brutal. Day after day it hammers at us, till we lose sight of what God intends toward us, and we haven’t the foggiest idea why the things that are happening to us are happening to us.” (John Eldredge, Waking the Dead).
VIDEO CLIP: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: Play until 1:11
In The Two Towers there is a king who is reluctant to go to war. Theoden is fearful and timid. An army is marching through his lands, an army bred for a single purpose: to destroy the world of men. Villages fall; women and children are slain. Still Theoden balks: "I will not risk open war." Aragon says, "Open war is upon you… whether you would risk it nor not."
QUOTE: Leif Enger said, “We and the world, my children, will always be at war. Retreat is impossible. Arm yourselves.”
This Bible verse is one of the most powerful but perplexing ones in the Scriptures!
Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10).
“God intends life for you. But right now that life is opposed… There is a thief… In other words, the offer is life, but you’re going to have to fight for it because there’s an Enemy in your life with a different agenda. There is something set against us.” (John Eldredge).
ILLUSTRATION: Look at all of the movies that are most popular: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Braveheart and Gladiator. These stories are all about a great cosmic battle between good and evil, and are a reflection of the true story – the story of God and the Bible!
• Paraphrase the story from the creation of man in the image of God to the fall of man through Satan’s temptation, to our role in the battle today.
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus came to give us life, but we are at war. Therefore, we must wake up and fight for our life.
1. WE NEED TO WAKE UP:
“Therefore He says: "Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:14-16).
We need to wake up to the fact that Christianity is
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