Summary: The Bible declares that our enemy is evil, violent and more than willing to see us finished! With him, there is no treaty or truce. So we have no other option than to fight him. But in order to fight him effectively, we must understand his mission. Ar
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Any time a war is declared, many things need to be handled: Strategies, resources, strategic locations, plans of attack, etc. But any experienced war general can tell you that the one important thing he has to observe with great caution is his enemy’s mission. Without this information, any army is in great danger of losing. Today, as we look at the news, we find that Al Qaeda and its armies have one single mission to accomplish: To bring the civilized world to its knees by means of terrorist attacks. Though you and I may not chose to battle against this enemy, we must understand that to simply stand around could and will cost us dearly. Thus, whether we like war or not, we must support our troops in hopes that they can soon defeat this violent and cruel enemy.
In the same manner you and I must understand that we wage war against a spiritual enemy. The dictionary defines an enemy as “one who seeks to injure, overthrow or confound an opponent. A military adversary. A hostile force.” The Bible declares that our enemy is evil, violent and more than willing to see us finished! With him, there is no treaty or truce. So we have no other option than to fight him. But in order to fight him effectively, we must understand his mission. Aristophanes, an ancient Greek poet, wrote: “The wise learn many things from their foes.” Today, we will follow his counsel and find out our enemy’s mission. What is our enemy’s mission?
I. OUR ENEMY’S MISSION IS TO STEAL
“The thief comes only to steal…” (John 10:10)
A. Definition of stealing: “To take the property of another wrongfully and especially as an habitual or regular practice”
B. What is it that your enemy is looking to steal from you?
1. He is out to steal your first love for God
“But I do have something against you! And it is this: You don’t have as much love as you used to.” (Revelation 2:4) – Contemporary English Version
a. These words were spoken by Jesus to the church in Ephesus
i. Ephesus means desired one
ii. This was a church that worked hard and diligently
iii. It was a church that did not approve of false teachings
iv. Still, it had allowed the devil to steal away its first love
b. What was so important about that first love?
“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut. Doesn’t have a swelled head. Doesn’t force itself on others. Isn’t always ‘me first.’ Doesn’t fly off the handle. Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. Doesn’t revel when others grovel. Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. Puts up with anything. Trusts God always. Always looks for the best. Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
c. It’s the perfect love that’s capable of conquering the world for Christ!
“But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: ‘These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here.’” (Acts 17:6)
d. That’s why the enemy is so bent on stealing your first love
2. He is out to steal our joy
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
a. Definition: “Happiness humans desire and seek, but can only find in God.”
i. Simple happiness is found in the pleasures of acquiring something or someone
ii. But joy is granted by God even in the midst of the greatest losses or defeats of our life
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakuk 3:17, 18)
b. The prophet Habakuk had witnessed the loss of all he held dear
i. Figs, olives and grapes were very important items in the diet of the Israelites
ii. Those same items served as medicines
iii. Fields and cattle were critical to the support of a family
iv. They were representative of prosperity and well-being
c. Joy will help us withstand any trial and all tribulations
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
d. Joy is more than a simple feeling, it’s action!
i. It involves smiling
ii. It involves singing
iii. It involves helping others