Title: 4 Ways to Wage Warfare Script: various passages
Type: Spiritual Warfare V Where: GNBC 6-9-19
Intro: On the evening of June 4th, 1940 PM W. Churchill faced the Parliament at one of the darkest moments in the history of mankind. The French Army, purported to be the greatest in the world lay shattered in pieces, the BEF, which only by the grace of God had escaped total annihilation at Normandy, leaving nearly all of their artillery on the beaches, was washing back up on England’s unarmed shores. All the nations from Poland to France lay crushed under the boots of the Nazi war machine. And on that evening, it was that rather plump old man’s duty to make the case how Britain could not only fight, but win a war few thought they could. In his memoirs Sir Winston write about how the greatest battle that had to be won that night was the battle against fear and doubt. And in his ensuing speech he instilled confidence in a nation and people who were sadly lacking at that moment. In the simple speech every citizen could understand Churchill laid out the plan for which Britain would wage war and win.
Prop: Today we will examine 4 ways every Christian can effectively wage spirit. Warfare.
BG:1. To “wage” warfare is active, not passive. To wage a campaign means to take action.
2. Most conservative evangelical Christians feel as though spiritual warfare is either for fringe nutters or the super spiritual. Yet the truth is that each of us faces more frequently than either we discern or care to discuss.
Prop. Trans. – You might ask self: “How can I successfully wage spirit. Warfare?”
Prop: Today we will examine 4 ways every Christian can successfully wage warfare.
I. Wage Warfare Through Fasting- Is. 58:6
A. Christians need to be reminded of the importance of fasting.
1. What should we understand about fasting
a. Is. 58:3-12 offers Christians one of the finest polemics against false fasting and description of what true fasting involves. The Jewish people during the time of Isaiah asked the question of why it is that God didn’t pay attention to their endless prayers (v.3a). God’s simple answer is that they are not fasting for the right purpose, but rather instead of seeking the Lord in a time of fasting, they only seek their own means all the more!
b. God is more concerned about our mentality while fasting than the number of meals we miss while fasting! We don’t impress God because we skip a dessert of breakfast if we are harboring ill-will toward others. In a very effective series of rhetorical questions (v.5) God points out that this in not the kind of fast He desires or is pleased with. Israel was fasting from food while they should have been desisting from their lust of money. Whereas they should have been helping their neighbors, yet instead they were robbing them. If they would follow God in this He would send light and healing and righteousness (v.8).
2. What was the point Isaiah was making in this passage?
a.Now don’t miss the point. Neither Isaiah nor any other prophet was opposed to fasting, but they were opposed to any kind of religious ceremony that was not accompanied by righteous living and practical good works. It does not negate the practice, but rather, the value of the practice is negated if we don’t live consistent righteousness.
b. Many of our African brothers and sisters could teach us Westerners a few things about the importance and discipline of fasting.
B. How is Biblical Fasting a Part of Spiritual Warfare (This type only comes out thru p&f)
1. Look again at the passage in Is. 58:6 – What is the purpose for which this fast is called?
a. Notice that this type of fasting had a purpose: “loosen bonds of wickedness”, “undo the bands of the yoke”, “let the oppressed go free”, “break every yoke”. Now a yoke here doesn’t refer to eggs! Rather, it was a farm implement in which you would harness two animals together for the purpose of pulling. You see people are in bondage and need to be set free. Non-Christians, even Christians can become enslaved and bound to things not proper. No, we are not to assume that every problem an individual has is at it’s core a problem due to demonic influence, however, probably more than we give credence to.
b. Is there a situation you know of where this needs to take place? Family member? Loved one? Work place? Need in the church? On the mission field? It takes warfare and yet God has given us a valuable tool in the ministry of fasting. Jesus’ statement when you fast (cf. Matt. 6:16) indicates that fasting is normal and acceptable in the Christian life. He assumes His followers will fast on certain occasions, but He does not give a command or specify a particular time, place, or method.
2. Fasting is an important implement in the weapons of our warfare in the Christian life.
a. Illust – Remember back in Mt. 17:21 – In that instance a man came to Jesus whose son would become upset and fall into the fire and water. Had brought him to disciples, yet, were unable to cure him. Disciples were feeling a bit rebuked by the incident and privately came to Jesus and asked why they were unable to cast out the demons in him. Jesus give two reasons: 1. because of the littleness of your faith, b. “Because this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (What does this tell us but that some will never find total deliverance w/o fasting.)
b. Illust: Overwhelming danger often prompted fasting. King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a national fast in Judah when they were threatened with attack from the Moabites and Ammonites (2 Chron. 20:3). From a human standpoint they could not possibly win, and they cried out to God for help, forsaking food as they did so. Queen Esther, her servants, and all the Jews in the capital city of Susa fasted for three full days before she went before the king to plead for the Jews to be spared from Haman’s wicked scheme against her people (Esther 4:16). As the exiles were about to leave Babylon for the adventurous return to Jerusalem, Ezra declared a fast, “that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our little ones, and all our possessions” (Ezra 8:21). Ezra continues, “For I was ashamed to request from the king troops and horsemen to protect us from the enemy on the way, because we had said to the king, ‘The hand of our God is favorably disposed to all those who seek Him, but His power and His anger are against all those who forsake Him.’ So we fasted and sought our God concerning this matter, and He listened to our entreaty” (vv. 22–23).
C. Applic: I want to encourage some of you to consider fasting for the Poland Team as they leave in a couple of weeks.
II. Wage Warfare Through Giving – Mal 3:10-11; Rev. 13:17; I Tim. 6:10
A. Do you know that Satan is interested in Finances? Your finances? My finances?
1. I think it’s safe to say that Satan is interested in the economy.
a. Illust – The economy is of as much interest to the devil as it is to Alan Greenspan , Jay Powell, Warren Buffett, or you and me. This interest of his will only increase towards the end times. How do you know, Chris? Well, in Rev. 13:17 we see that part of his plan, his goal is to direct financial powers throughout the earth. The very “mark of the beast” spoken of in Rev. directly relates to the ability to buy and sell in that time. So, don’t think that only what we classify as “spiritual” is of interest to Satan. Possibly much more.
b. I am convinced that one of the last parts of a man or woman to get converted, and yet the one area that is probably most telling of his or her conversion, is the conversion of one’s wallet or purse! Didn’t Jesus say this in Mt. 6:21? “Where your treasure is your heart will also be.” We live in a world in which success is measured by the size of one’s wealth or possessions, by one’s accomplishments or fame, and in terms of one’s IQ, grades or GPA, educational degrees, talent, position or power. - Regrettably, Christians are also often tempted to view success in terms of these temporal realities. They forget that whereas fame, education, wealth, beauty, athletic prowess, talent, and power can easily be lost, there are some things that are of enduring value—such things as compassion, love, generosity, kindness, sympathy, humility, etc. Jesus wants us to invest in these things.
2. Satan is interested in our finances. (#1 cause of marital strife in America)
a. Satan knows that man is by nature a selfish creature. He knows that his selfishness is often fanned into full flame by money. According to the Bible in I Tim. 6:10 the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. That misappropriated love can negatively affect every aspect of human existence. That’s why greed is foundational to Satan’s economic plans.
b. What is the Christian’s antidote to Satan’s snare of greed? A giving heart! Why? When people give it totally frustrates the enemy’s plan of influencing people towards selfishness. Selfishness can be seen in any socio-economic setting. I have seen very wealthy people as well as very poor who were incredibly selfish and I have seen the converse of that to also be true. Giving is contagious and the effects of even a single effect can, like a stone thrown into a pond, ripple outward. With every gift comes a more grateful heart and a greater wiliness to trust God in giving in the future. (II Cor. 9:7 – “for God loves a cheerful giver”).
B. Generosity in Giving Can Result in a Powerful Out-Pouring of the HS.
1. You might ask: “How can my giving result in the out-pouring of the HS?”
a. Illust – Acts 4:32-37 – Takes place in the early church. God is at work powerfully in the midst of the church. The believers sense the unity they have in Christ and sell their extra property and give away to meet the needs of the church. What was the result? v.33 right in the midst of this passage says: “And with great power (dunamis) the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and abundant grace was upon them all.” Did you notice that? When believers quit being stingy with their time and resources God is willing to pour out His grace in abundance! Think of the effect your giving can have on defeating the works of the enemy? Missions! New Construction! Bible Translation! TEE! Etc
b. Illust- Operation Christmas Child reported 157 million shoeboxes of toys delivered this year! Not counting the cost of the gifts enclosed, at least $500 million in postage alone! That’s a lot of money. Yet, how many of those children spread over the 2/3rds world have a better or good impression of Christians? You bet ya!
2. If an outpouring of the HS it take place if it was dependent on your and my generosity,?
-Let me ask you Christian, when was the last time you took an accounting of all that you spent on yourself as opposed to all you gave away to others? There is nothing wrong with having things or making money. However, each of us must ask if that has become our “god”. Do you do the absolute base of what is required of the Chritsian? Tithe? If not, why not? My father was born in 1935, so was a little boy during WWII. He told me that even though he was only 6-10 yrs of age during the war, he and his brother and sisters would collect rubber, tin/metal, etc. to turn in so as to raise money and raw materials for the war effort. What was one used tire worth? How about a bag of cushed soup cans? I don’t know. Not much. But when thousands of people give a little, it’s a whole lot!
C. Applic: Dozens of people have given small and large amounts so 12 people can do evangelism in Poland. Could not do it without your financial support. Thank you.
III. Wage Warfare Through Unity- Mt. 18:19; Jn. 17:15
A. The Christian’s Warfare is Aided though Unity.
1. Unity is a Powerful Offensive Weapon.
a. Mt. 18:19 - What is the context of this verse? Well, must go back to v.15 – Church discipline. Whenever there is sin and offense between brothers or sisters, someone is allowing the devil a foothold in the body of Christ. Vv.18-19 - We are required to reflect every time we take communion. Why? Preserve unity.
b. The devil hates unity. Illust: Winston Churchill once said: “When there is no enemy within the enemies without cannot hurt you!’
2. Unity is a powerful defensive weapon.
a. Illust – About 10 years ago I saw a portion of a Frontline Report on a US Army mechanized cavalry unit in Iraq. The nickname of the unit was “The Misfits”. Allowed an inside account of the men of the unit. Dangerous convoy missions. During one operation the convoy was ambushed and one of their members, Spec. Babbit from Texas, was killed. As the Captain of the unit addressed the men to inform them of Babbit’s death, you could see the unity and comradery. In fact at his memorial service his sergeant spoke through tears, telling those in attendance that Babbitt had promised him he wouldn’t let anything happen to the sergeant, because “I have your back.” Well there on a road in Baghdad, in the heat of the ambush, after being mortally wounded, the soldier, stood back up, emptying his rifle into the sniper that was about to kill his sergeant!
b. Spiritually speaking do you have that type of unity with anyone in the body of Christ? Do you have someone’s back? Does someone have yours? Is there anyone with whom you are open enough and committed enough to tell: “I don’t care when or where, whenever you need me, I’ll be there for you?” Church isn’t just about type of songs sung or whether or not activities for my teens or a nursery (although all are good). Rather, it is about a commitment to a body of brothers and sisters that requires loyalty even in the face of difficulty. (I know I have that with several men in this congregation.)
B. Jesus Taught about the Critical Importance of Unity.
1. Illust- Jn. 17:23 – Jn. 17 is what scholars call Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer”. Takes place before the betrayal of Judas. Hours before His own arrest, trial, and death. He knows what is about to happen. He knows of His coming death. He knows the plan for the salvation of the world, the drama of redemption is going to come down to whether or not these 11 men will be able to get along and fulfill the task for which they were predestined. Would not be easy.
2. So in the midst of this I find it interesting what Jesus prays. In v. 23 Jesus prays that the disciples might be perfected in unity. Yet there is a reason for this: “that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.” Do you realize what He is saying here? Our ability to demonstrate unity in Christ validates the message of the Gospel. Sadly, the converse of that is also true. When we do not demonstrate unity we give a bad report to the world and they are given a right to be skeptical about the gospel and its validity.
C. Applic: Unity in the gospel is the prerequisite for the unity of the church. Christians who affirm the essentials of the gospel are even now united invisibly, enjoying a special communion with one another across denominational lines. Today the invisible church, consisting of all those who have true faith in Christ Jesus, is united in the Savior. In time, the visible church may be united once again as well, but true visible unity will occur only as professing believers study the Word of God together and refuse to compromise on the gospel. We should seek to build bridges with other professing believers where we can, but never at the expense of God’s truth. Make sure when we are in Poland you keep unity in the body.
IV. Wage Warfare Through Praise - II Chron. 20:21-22; Ps. 149:5-6
A. Praising God is a form of Spiritual Warfare
1. The Scripture instructs us that giving Praise to God is part of how we defeat the enemies of God’s people. . Illust – Ps. 149:5-6 “Let the godly ones exult in glory; Let them sing for joy on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth. And a two-edged sword in their hand.” What is the Christian’s two-edged sword? The Word of God. Heb. 4:12 – What do you use a sword for? Farming? No! Warfare. The Psalmist is saying glory in God, even in the loneliness of the night praise God. And be ready for battle. We are to be ready for battle. And the proper attitude for spiritual warfare is nurtured when we praise the Lord.
2. Illust – II Chron. 20: 21-22 – See the priest of God went out before the army of Israel saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Vv.22 – “And when they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir who had come against Judah and were so routed.” Again in this passage Israel did not follow the manual for warfare. Priest went ahead. Was a sign of God’s Glory going before the nation. The result was singing and praise filled the air and the Lord fought the battle, setting ambushes for Israel’s enemy. Christian, in the midst of spiritual warfare, the enemy will attempt to attack you on all sides, yet through praising God in the midst, He will deliver you.
B. Waging Spirit. Warfare Through Praise is Often Difficult for the Christian to Understand.
1. There is a divine dynamic that takes place when you and I begin to praise the Lord. It is almost like a cynergistic experience where the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. We are in constant spiritual warfare against Satan. He tries to enslave our bodies with addictions and excesses, our minds with heresies and paralyzing doubts, our spirits with guilt and shame. He seeks to take away our joy, rip apart our families, and wreck our relationships with Jesus Christ and His church. When you face trying times and temptations, those are the moments when you need to praise God the most. Praising God empowers us to defeat the devil. How? When we praise God, we proclaim the Truth about God, which the devil cannot stand to hear. The great strength of our praise in spiritual warfare is that in praise we exercise faith in God's love and His victory over Satan. God loves and God wins. Period.
2. Illust- One very practical application. Do you realize that your singing is one way you individually and corporately praise God? Do you think God is very impressed with how you are doing? Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that to impress God you have to have a find voice like Carol or Rachel or Rhonda or Scott or Jim, etc. Nope! God gets to listen to angel choir all the time, I doubt He’s impressed with our best abilities. Rather, I believe He is impressed or better stated, honored, by the intent and interest we put into it. That’s why we are told to make a “Joyful noise unto the Lord.” Let me state this as gently as I can: It is utterly shameful for you and me to rob God of the glory He deserves because “I don’t feel like singing.”
C. Applic: On May 27, 2001, Islamic terrorists kidnapped Gracia and Martin Burnham on Palawan Island in the Philippines. The couple was from Wichita, Kansas, and was serving with New Tribes Mission in the Philippines. For 376 days, the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group held the missionary couple captive. Then on June 7, 2002, Philippine troops located the captors and their hostages and attempted a rescue operation. During the operation Martin was killed and Gracia received a wound to her leg. Just before the raid, Martin and Gracia huddled together in a hammock under a makeshift tent. "Martin and Gracia had really been thinking that there would be a chance that they would not make it out alive," said Martin's brother, Doug, relying on a phone conversation with Gracia. "Martin said to Gracia, 'The Bible says to serve the Lord with gladness. Let's go out all the way. Let's serve him all the way with gladness.'" The two then prayed in their hammock, recited Scripture verses to each other, and sang. They laid down to rest. Then the rescue assault began and bullets began to fly. At Martin's memorial service in Wichita, his brother Doug chose songs of joy for congregational singing, explaining, "Joy does not change. It's not based on circumstances..There's no reason why we can't express that joy this morning."
During your darkest moments, do you look up to your Heavenly Father in praise? Today in prayer, praise the Lord for all that He is and let your joy be in Christ throughout all circumstances.God's Word: "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." - Psalm 42:11