Summary: When Jesus Christ organised His church, He equiped her for battle, He did not leave her powerless.
When the sun rose over Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, it seemed like the most unlikely place to start a war. The weather was perfect. Light winds. Cool temperatures. Blue skies dotted with puffy clouds. The birds had begun to fill the morning air with the songs given them by their Creator. Families had begun to get ready for morning church services. Sailors had prepared for what they believed would be another day of routine tasks. But abruptly at 7:55, 190 attacking Japanese warplanes shattered the picturesque morning calm. Using the art of surprise to perfection, six aircraft carriers had moved within striking distance of America’s South Pacific fleet. In a superbly coordinated attack, wave after wave of Japanese planes strafed and bombed the harbor and airfield. Supporting them were a number of two-man subs that had silently entered the harbor. When the attack was completed, 2,330 American servicemen lay dead or dying. Another 1,145 had been wounded. Five battleships lay on the bottom of the harbor. Two destroyers had been reduced to gutted hulks. A third was badly crippled. Many other warships were severely damaged and the airfield was virtually destroyed. The Japanese had found a people unprepared for battle. By the time the American forces realized that they were under attack, their defenses had been crippled. As the last Japanese plane disappeared over the horizon, they left behind a fleet that had been effectively destroyed.
CHRISTIANS PEARL HARBOUR
As Christians, we have an enemy that is no less ruthless or cunning. Every day, he executes carefully crafted plans aimed at our destruction. Throughout the centuries, he has launched countless Pearl Harbor style attacks aimed at crippling the churches of Christ. 2 Corinthians 2:11 states, "We are not ignorant of his devices."
I believe there are at least four strategies that Satan employs in his attack against Christianity. He will try to:
Disarm us – to strip us of our power.
Distract us – to lead us from our purpose.
Disable us – to impair our productivity.
Destroy us – to completely neutralize our potential.
The first is illustrated by our text. 1Samuel 13:17-23
As we pick up the story, Saul is in his second year as king over Israel. Things could not be going much worse. The Philistines were camped just four miles from Saul’s capital in Gibeah. According to verse 5, their army included 30,000 chariots, 6000 mounted cavalry, and a large host of infantry. Saul had only been able to gather together 3000 men, and when they began counting tents in the Philistine camp, over two-thirds of Saul’s force deserted. Saul was vastly outnumbered. To make matters worse, Saul’s army was also absurdly outgunned. In the entire Israeli Army there were only two swords – one each for Saul and Jonathon. The remainder of the army was armed with clubs and farming tools. The reason for this, we are told, is that the Philistines had disarmed the people of God. They had stripped the land of Israel of her weapons and denied her an effective fighting force.
I am convinced that Satan has used the same strategy against the church. In 2 Corinthians 10:4, Paul mentions the weapons of our warfare. When Jesus Christ organized His church, he equipped her for battle. He did not leave us powerless. He armed us for conflict. But many today have allowed the devil to strip them of their weapons, leaving them to fight their spiritual battles
with inferior arms.
I. To Disarm us – to strip us of our power
Paul’s aim in each text is to show that in both the Old and New Testament the requirement for salvation is the same – simple faith. When we replace the element of believing with any other condition or combination, our witness becomes powerless.
II. To Distract us – to lead us from our purpose
He has neutralized the church. Ephesians 4:11-16 The purpose of church ministry is: (Verse 12)
a.To mature the saints
b.Mobilize them in service
c.So that the we can multiply our outreach
Through the teaching of the Word of God, we can:
a.Help people solve their problems
b.Help families build stronger homes
c.Confront the problems of society
Through our fellowship we can build relationships and enjoy our worship of God.
These things (#2 & #3) aid us in achieving our purpose, but they are not the primary purpose of the church.
Today there is widespread confusion over the purpose of ministry.
I want to ask a second question, "Why does this church exist in our community?" Why do we meet together as a local body of believers? It is not so that we can be entertained. It is not so that we can establish friendships. These things are by-products. The reason God established the local church is so that we can come together to be matured in our faith and equipped to serve God for the building up this body through evangelism. Maturity must lead to service and service to evangelism. We have