Summary: Too many Christians believe it’s easier to pay off the bully than learn how to defeat him. Too many don’t even realize we are living on a battlefield not a playground!
Life is a Battlefield
Text: Ephesians 6:10-14
Introduction: A man wrote: "There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson. That was a lot of money. I found that it was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate."
Too many Christians believe it’s easier to pay off the bully than learn how to defeat him. Too many don’t even realize we are living on a battlefield not a playground!
Consider the words to the old hymn Onward Christian Soldiers. "Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before. Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle see his banners go! At the sign of triumph, Satan’s host doth flee; on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise. Like a mighty army moves the church of God; brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided, all one body we, one in hope and doctrine, one in charity."
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are soldiers in His army. We have before us the task of demolishing the strongholds. Remember what Paul said in II Co 10:3-4:
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."
Considering the task before us, we come to the next step. Exactly who is this enemy we are warring against? Actually there is a 3-fold assault going on against us: the world, the flesh, and the Devil. We have our own flesh wanting our old life back. We have the world trying to drag us back. And we have the Devil making sure it all goes according to plan!
Perhaps one of the biggest struggles we face is the flesh itself. It’s incredible, but our flesh, our old nature, fights against the Spirit of God, against the things of God in our life! Paul said in Ro 7:18:
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing."
Ga 5:17 says:
"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."
This carnal shell that gets exhausted and sick, that battles fears and insecurities, that lacks faith and physical strength can actually be like an anchor dragging us down and away. Some of you didn’t want to be in church today. You woke up, thought about it, and actually considered skipping out. Some of you didn’t feel like reading your Bible this week. Some of you didn’t feel like praying. WHY? Your old person (your flesh) was pulling you down. Ro 8:22-23 says:
"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
The fight rages on. If it’s not your flesh, it’s this world system. We are fighting against our old nature and this world - not the physical globe but this society that is separated from God. The world system and all it’s trappings are our enemies. I Jn 2:16 says:
"For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."
This world system is one big distracting temptation! We’re bombarded with pictures and products, advertisements and enticements, no rules, anything goes, satisfy yourself, don’t worry about the consequences. They make it look so good: The beer ads show the happy men and women on the beach playing volleyball rather than the 1000’s of families affected by the drunken drivers. Free sex is glorified - it’s ok, have sex with anyone you want. What they fail to tell us about is the millions of babies being aborted, the guilt, the pain, the 40 new STD’s that pop up each year, the AIDS epidemic. This world is so tempting - so anti-God.
If our battle with the flesh and the world aren’t bad enough, there’s still Satan himself pulling all the strings - distracting, disrupting, and ultimately destroying everyone he possibly can. He wants Christians to feel weak, feeble, and ineffective. He doesn’t want them relying on Jesus or in church or reading your Bible or reaching others with the gospel. He wants your marriages ruined, your kids shattered, and you feeling as miserable and depressed as is possible.