Series Church Renewal
Thesis: For revival and renewal to happen in us, or in the church and in this world will require us to tap into the teachings of the Word which ignite revival.
Scripture: Romans 12:1-2: Living Sacrifices
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Our theme for 2021 is Re-new - we accomplish this by:
1. Renewing the mind
2. Refreshing the soul
3. Reigniting a passion for Jesus
Summary: Sermon 1: The Church Renewed
First step: to a renewed church is learning to tune God in and not tuning God out! We need to imitate Samuel and not Eli and his sons. We need to hear the voice of God today!
Summary: Sermon 2: The Church Renewal pt. 2
Thesis: The second step to embrace for church renewal: is understanding that each of us are a piece of the puzzle to the Great Commission and to fulfilling Jesus’ mission. We must believe that we are to complete this mission for Jesus because it will require us to understand the gifts of the Spirit and be willing to use the gifts of The Holy Spirit to build up the church.
Illustration: Puzzle pieces handed out – highlight Puzzle in front with missing pieces – then highlight why we have the church logo we do.
Sermon - Church Renewal pt 3
Thesis: The church needs to understand that we are in a spiritual war. We are all born into a battlefield between Good and Evil. This war is for our souls, and other souls who are all around us. We all need to be rescued from the enemy through Jesus. The enemy is made up of spiritual forces of evil. It’s our job as Christian warriors to fight for their release and to fight for the truth to prevail to see people set free.
Our country is at war even though most would deny it today! This war is spoken of in the Bible and it’s between Good and Evil. This world has seen and been ravaged by many wars and especially through the 2 World Wars. War is nothing new for this world in which we live. Just read last week’s news and we had the war going on between Hamas and Israel. Wars have been happening since mankind fell in the Garden of Eden and will continue until Jesus comes back.
No nation is exempt from War! Wars with outsiders and even war from within called “Civil Wars.” Our nation has experienced both!
War brings out the worst and the best in people – historians say! There have been books written about war – books like, “There are no atheist in fox holes”, “Band of Brothers”, “The Pacific” and 10,000 of thousands of other books covering the history of wars.
Christian History magazine did an issue on War. Issue 121 called “Faith in fox holes seeking hope in the midst of wars despair!”
Here are some of the quotes from this edition:
“Some soldiers found God on the battlefield and some lost faith in Him there.” Woodruff Tait
J. R. R. Tolkien author of “The Lord and of the Rings,” “The Hobbit” and C.S. Lewis author Chronicles of Narnia – like: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, also his classic “Mere Christianity”, and “Screw Tape Letters” plus many more books - both of these authors experienced war first hand, they knew the despair, horror, destruction of War as they fought for Great Britain in World War I. Both lost many of their friends from the War and Lewis was severely wounded. Their writings reflected battles, wars being fought, but it was always between Good and Evil – Right and Wrong. Their novels or stories give insight into spiritual dimensions and the spiritual battle we all find ourselves in everyday.
These two men were deeply influenced personally, philosophically, and literarily by their experiences in the “animal horror” of the trenches of World War 1.
Both men were changed by war – for the good believe it not - One was a Christian going into war which was Tolkien and Lewis was an atheist who found God through his war experience. They both noted that man is inherently evil and needs to experience the grace and mercy of God. Both also noted in their writings that there is another war which rage’s around the physical realm of wars and around life itself – it’s called the spiritual war and it is between “Good – God” and “Evil – Satan.” This war is costly and has been deadly and we need to be aware of it as Christians.
We may not literally see the war raging – bombs exploding- tanks and planes bombing cities but they are spiritually – if we open our spiritual eye’s we can see the casualties of this spiritual war:
• Aborted babies die every day in this war! It is a holocaust!
• Young people are being deceived into thinking they are not what God created them to be male and female – Yet Genesis is clear God created them male and female and Isaiah says “I formed you in the womb.” But the enemy is deceiving our young people today into confusion and destruction!
• We have the onslaught of the myth of Safe Sex promoted by Planned Parenthood and many public schools setting our kids up to play Russian Roulette – destroying their lives – spreading STDS and HIV and Aids – But the black web of media hides these stories of death and destruction.
• Suicide occurring today is at record numbers because people feel hopeless and that there is no way to win the war of life.
• Sex trafficking is at an all time high like never before.
• Drug abuse claiming 100,000 of lives on the rise.
• Alcoholism destroying families, marriages and lives.
• 100’s of young people murder each other every weekend in the US and the Black Web of the media hide the dead from the public eye.
• I could add more but the Black Web of Media is doing propaganda - deception to hide all the casualties of this war to deceive you into thinking everything is okay.
Throughout the Bible and Church History voices have been alerting us to this war and it’s casualties and to their propaganda. Warning us and challenging us to not ignore it or be apathetic toward it but to stand and fight for freedom.
William and Catherin Booth founders of the “Salvation Army” named their organization as an Army of the Lord to highlight the reality of this war for the souls of mankind. They set it up with military structure with officers and Generals and such to highlight the serious of this war. The organization still fights on everyday saving lives from then enemy!
William booth stated: “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, I’LL fight; while men go to prison, in and out, as they do now, I’LL fight-while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, where there remains one dark soul without the light of God- I’LL fight! I’ll fight to very end!”
Catherine Booth stated, “Satan has got men fast asleep in sin, and that is his great device to keep them so. He does not care what we do, if he can do that.”
When Catherine died 23,000 people attended her funeral and when William died it is said that over a 150,000 attended his funeral.
The Church of Jesus cannot keep their heads in the sand, nor sleep in this day and hour of war or we will be like the German church which put it heads in the sand as bystanders allowing Hitler to kill millions and turned their back to his atrocities committed by him and Germany, so we need to stand up and fight for justice, for the right to life, for truth and for Biblical principles of morality.
The Bible has a lot to say about war. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 it says there is a time for everything under heaven. Listen to King Solomon’s words:
There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under Heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to rebuild. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to lose. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak up. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
Yes, the Bible says there is a time for war. Webster’s Dictionary tells us that war is defined the following way, “It is a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism which causes a struggle or competition between two opposing forces with each one fighting to get their particular way.”
There is another realm out there that is involved in this war which most do not see – they experience it but don’t know it’s from this spiritual battle. There is a demonic world. For example: In the Iraq war there were car bombers who were demonically inspired. These bombers were deceived into thinking that they are going to go to Heaven if they blow themselves up and kill American soldiers. I notice in reading about the Iraq war how they played on the sympathy of the soldiers to get a chance to kill them. I read a story about a pregnant women who motions for help from some American soldiers. They respond and go over to help her and the car blows up. The soldiers along with other innocent bystanders are killed. These terrorists focus on the caring and kindness of the soldiers to kill them. Radical Islam is a religion based on hate and tactics that are not of God. Here me on this the Bible is very clear on what is of God and what is not of God. But many are deceived by the leader of the evil army.
The war in the middle east is a spiritual war too – not just physical – there are spiritual forces at work in this region.
Radical Islam has been at war with Israel and then Christianity since Abrahams day.
Islam origin is a religion which is birthed out of the lineage of Ishmael and is a religion of bondage not freedom according to the Bible Text. Galatians 4:21-31 explains the condition of someone living under Islamic spiritual control and someone living under Jesus spiritual control:
Hagar and Sarah
21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written:
“Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”
28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
29At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.
30But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”
31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
I want to make it clear that you and I understand that God does not delight or rejoice in war. It says in Psalm 68:30 “Scatter the nations who delight in war.” It is clear from this passage that no one should delight in war. If you do God will scatter you. We should not rejoice or delight in war either. War is ugly and many innocent people get hurt and killed. The word of God tells us to make sure we seek guidance before going to war Proverbs 24:6 “Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.” I want us to ponder our current situation and to seek guidance from the Lord about war. I believe our leadership in this country has seriously sought God’s guidance about this war. I have read how President Bush and his wife prayed about what to do with Irag. President Busch felt “It was time for war.” You see we are at war when we are born into this world. Especially when we become Christian’s we are told we become a part of the army of the Lord.
Let’s read Paul’s thoughts on this spiritual war.
Main Scripture Text:
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Paul in our passage today warns us that we are in a war and we must know how to defend ourselves and how to use the weapons of spiritual warfare that the Lord has provided for us. We need to understand that this war is for the eternal lives of the people around us including our families. It’s a war for control of the spiritual condition of mankind. We are on the side of good and on the other side is evil. One side represents freedom and life the other side represents bondage and death. Good will follow the rules of godly combat the other side will use any means possible to win. They will lie, cheat, deceive, use terrorist attacks, chemical weapons, they will use innocent humans to protect their cause, they will sacrifice their babies to win, they will use torture because their leader is called destroyer. He roams around seeking to kill steal and destroy and the only force holding back his attacks is us His Christian army and the power of the Holy Spirit.
This last week the Lord has taken me on a spiritual journey – I have been awakened at night with His thoughts and insights flooding my mind and heart. Things in books have been highlighted to me with more clarity than before. Insights from the Word of God are jumping out at me. I see the raging spiritual war on the news – on TV – in newspapers, movies and driving around the Chicago land area. It’s obvious we are in a war but most people walk around like robot zombies – told what to say and do and mind their own business! The watch or read the Black Web of deception and believe the lies.
One of my spiritual insights came from a book I read this week: Illustration from Randy Alcorn’s book “Deadline.”
The book is a novel written about three friends One a devout Christian (Finney), One an atheist abortion doctor (Dr. Greg Lowell), and the third one a newspaper reporter (Mr. Jake Woods) who is searching for the truth as to why someone would cut the tie rods of the Doc’s Suv and as a result cause an accident. The accident injured the Doctor who died later, but it did kill Finney the devout Christian and it also injured Jake the reporter. Jake recovers is searching for answers – for truth – and he discovers in his investigation a lot of lies about things like the LGBT movement, Aids and the Gay community, Abortion, Racial tensions, Safe Sex myths and a whole lot more current subjects of our day. The novel was written back in the early 90’s but it is very prophetic filled with spiritual truths and reveals many evil lies being circulated today. The book follows the investigation of Mr. Jake Woods into who could have sabotaged Docs SUV and the book also follows Finney as He arrives into Heaven and what happens as He explores the glory of Heaven – He meets Jesus and is greeted at the Heavenly Gates by his daughter who had passed away from a terminal illness (very moving scene). The book also gives you a glimpse in to what Doc experiences in Hell.
One scene in the book is between Mr. Jake Woods and a doctor who got saved and was delivered from doing abortions - He gives him the gruesome details of what abortions do to people, to workers, why abortions are being performed and who is involved in this multi-million dollar enterprise. The scene is very unveiling of all the lies and deceptions surrounding the justification of abortion today.
He notes “…. Abortion is presented as a medical procedure because the baby is not alive but a mass of tissue – your surgery is like getting your tonsil’s out no big deal… Abortion is presented (by groups like “Planned Parenthood”) to you that it’s easy to do. It doesn’t take very long. It doesn’t cost very much money nowadays, for middle class person. You say, “Well, it’s okay.” But it wasn’t okay. It left a scar, and that scar had to be treated tenderly and worked on in order for us to get on with our lives. I don’t think abortion is easy for anybody. The people who say it’s easy either don’t want to face the pain of it or haven’t been through it, because it’s really a tough experience…”
Many parents suffer realizing they killed their babies afterwards – some did it being deceived by the medical staff into doing it as it’s no big deal – others oblivious to the consequences of it – But the book makes it clear it was not a medical procedure!
Dr. says, “Have you ever heard of Women Exploited by Abortion? …It’s an organization with over thirty thousand members in more than one hundred chapters across the United States, with affiliate groups in at least nine other countries. I’m familiar with a half dozen other post-abortion support and recovery groups, but I’ve never come across support groups for those who’ve had tonsillectomies and root canals. Why? Abortion takes a toll that normal surgeries don’t. People don’t suffer a sense of loss at tonsils they no longer have. People do suffer a sense of loss at a child they no longer have. If they don’t come to terms with that loss, Mr. Woods, it will haunt them, interfere with their relationships, desensitize them. It’ll do all kinds of destructive things that people like myself have to show them in a mirror to help bring them healing…Let’s begin with women. Those who’ve had abortions are nine times more likely to attempt suicide than women in the general population. Many women are incapacitated by grief following their abortions. Some are very angry at the doctor.” … “Even the men suffer – more than you think they do!”
Randy Alcorn, Deadline pages 150-255
The book is written as a novel revealing spiritual truths and unveiling many lies associated with safe sex, racism, abortion, LGBT movement, liberalism, violence and much -much more. It’s written the same way CS Lewis wrote and Tolkien wrote weaving spiritual truth into stories of make believe people. But the book makes it clear we are in a spiritual war for the lives of our children, our families, our friends and our society. Behind all the lies is a sinister being called Satan who is killing, stealing and destroying:
Scripture Verse: Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
He Satan and his demonic minions are behind the killing of babies – families – people – societies!
He is stealing people’s God given identities and destinies away!
He is destroying family units, churches, schools, governments, and nations.
Jesus wanted us aware of the Devil’s mission in opposition to His mission and we must wake up and see the Great war we are in today!
Video Illustration: Ghost – Toward the end of the movie Sam the departed soul battles his friend who is trying to kill his wife. The man ends up killing himself in the battle and discovers he has made a wrong choice and he is hauled away into torment and darkness by demonic spirits. Sam tells his love when the Light of Heaven appears that the Love inside is what you take with you when you go to Heaven. This scene paints the picture that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but principalities and powers.
The truth is we need to put on the full armor of God to fight in this spiritual battle. I would like to make some comparisons between War and the equipment used in it today and the spiritual weapons that the Christian should be using to win the war in the spiritual realm for the souls of those around us.
I. The first thing our text tells us is we need to be strong in the Lord not in our strength – ability – or knowledge (Verse 10-13).
a. We do not have the weapons to defeat this spiritual enemy we are warring with.
i. We must use the equipment provided by the Lord to us so that we can win this war.
1. The Bible, prayer, spiritual weapons, protective gear and the authority of Jesus name.
2. We are fighting against spiritual forces of evil and they are not defeated by conventional natural means. We must use spiritual weapons of warfare made available to us by Jesus Christ.
ii. You have no man-made weapon that will take down Satan and His demons!
b. The Bible warns us to make sure we understand who we are fighting. We need to know our enemy Satan.
i. Ephesians 6:12: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
ii. Good generals will tell you to understand your enemy. Learn their tactics and their strategies for doing battle.
1. If you have ever seen the story of Patton. You may recall that when Patton’s armor meet Rommel’s army he defeated him because Patton had read Rommel’s book on how to fight.
2. Patton yelled out after the defeat “I read your book Rommel!”
3. He was able to defeat the enemy because he knew his tactics and strategies.
4. The same is true of the Generals in War they study their enemies’ and they anticipate their tactics and strategies and use the counter measures to defeat the enemy.
c. We should learn this lesson well because Ephesians tells us to take our stand and fight against “The Devil’s Schemes”.
i. But to be able to stand you must know how your enemy operates.
1. Satan is a deceiver, a liar (He does not tell the truth).
a. He seeks to kill, steal and destroy as I said earlier.
b. He will come even as an Angel of light to deceive people into thinking he is speaking from God and give direction contrary to the word of God – pretending to be from God.
c. Saddam was used by the enemy this way saying people who commit terrorists acts will be guaranteed a place in heaven,.
i. The Islamic radicals have promoted that they will die and go to heaven and be honored by God. This is a lie from the pit of Hell.
ii. So therefore, we need to understand that if the enemy can deceive others like this - he can you to. And he did years ago with the Crusades to the Middle East.
iii. So much was done under the name of God – it was evil the enemy which appeared to Christians and deceived them into thinking they were speaking for God.
1. Listen to me Deception of any kind comes from the enemy.
2. Lies and putting on Charades will get you into a lot of hot water with the Lord.
3. The Crusades got so bad they believed that the Lord told the religious leaders that if they sent children into battle against the Muslims because they would win – but they were annihilated in combat and on the way to fight.
a. See story from Christian History!
2. The Devils scheme’s and tactics are revealed in the Bible – one reason you should read it and study it.
a. Satan is the master of deception and this is the scheme he uses the most in this spiritual war.
i. He spills lies consistently and uses others to promote his lies.
ii. He will twist the Truth to make it corrupt.
iii. He lurks in the shadowlands controlling people and using people for his sinister ways.
1. I discovered if you really ask the Lord for discernment and look into people’s eyes he will reveal whether they are being controlled by the evil one.
b. He will use distractions to get people off the war – luring them to sleep with the so called good life – keeping them from seeing the danger!
T.S. – The first step in Spiritual warfare is to know your enemy’s plans and tactics so you can counter them. The next thing is we must do is have our spiritual warfare equipment on.
II. The warrior Paul in Ephesians tells us to make sure we put on God’s Armor for this war we are in because it will save our lives for eternity (verses 14-20).
a. These are the weapons and protective gear given to us from the Lord to use for this Spiritual war we are in.
i. The Belt of truth- This is the support system that holds you pants up in battle and keeps you from being deceived in battle.
1. For the Soldiers in the Gulf they have belts that hold up their pants while in combat.
a. Seems basic but your belt is essential in a firefight! Lose your pants stumble and fall and you are taken out.
2. For us the belt of truth is the Word of God and Gospel of Jesus Christ. Without the belt of truth we are vulnerable on the battlefield to deception and lies.
a. The sons of Sceva discovered this when they tried to take on the spiritual forces of evil without the truth Acts 19:11-20:
i. 11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,
12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. 13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon–possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15‹One day› the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
17When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
3. They lost their clothes in battle and were defeated and humiliated!
a. Same is true today if you try to fight the enemy without the belt of truth you will lose your pants and be shamefully exposed and destroyed.
b. There are many dropping their pants in battle because they don’t have the belt of truth keeping them on.
i. Story with Casting out demon in women at Outreach Church! This dimension is real! I have seen and dealt with it/
ii. Jill Jackson story!
ii. The second protective gear is the breast plate of righteousness.
1. This is like the flak jackets and bullet proof vests that the soldiers use in War to protect their vital organs.
2. It is positioned over their vital organs to given them protection in the fire fights.
3. The spiritual implication here is the same - the breastplate of righteousness is there to protect your heart from the devil’s bullets.
4. If you expose your heart in battle by taking off the breastplate of righteousness -you can and will eventually be killed in battle.
a. Your righteousness is the armor that lets you live for eternity. If you lose it or take it off your open yourself up to eternal death.
iii. The third element needed in warfare is that your feet are fit with the readiness.
iv. In other word’s it reflects back to what Revelation says “Be ready now” Jesus said that He will come back like a thief in the night and soldiers need to always be ready to go with Him into battle.
1. But are you alert and ready if the Devil attacks you?
v. We need to be ready to fight for Jesus at a moment’s notice.
1. But sadly, many people are a sleep on the frontline because they have been told everything’s okay!
2. Share the failure of the radar station in Hawaii to alert the fleet of the Japanese planes.
vi. He’s coming back and the question is “Are you ready?” Do you have Jesus - are you ready to wage war on the enemy of your souls if he attacks you or your family.
1. Or are you fat, out of shape, spiritually sluggish, distracted by the lies, spiritually empty, are your weapons loaded and ready or are you sleeping like the church in Revelation was - not ready not prepared for war – they were a sleep at the frontline of the war which will only get you ambushed and killed in times of war.
a. Revelation 3:1-6:
i. To the Church in Sardis
1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 4Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. 5He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
2. You must be ready.
3. A convoy that varies of course in war will be ambushed and destroyed – we as Christians need to stay awake and on the right road for victory in this war.
vii. The next item we need for battle is the shield of faith.
1. Faith is your shield in the mist of war. When your superior officer tells you to do something you have to trust have faith that what he says to do will make the difference between life and death for someone in your outfit and for your life.
a. You have to learn to raise the shield in battle!
2. But in spiritual warfare the shield of faith is like the patriot missile it knocks out the enemy’s missiles from hitting you its target.
a. Quote and teaching on faith: A key verse in the study of faith is the familiar one found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Moffatt’s translation of this verse reads, “Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.” Another translation says, “Faith is giving substance to things hoped for.” Still another translation reads, “Faith is the warranty deed, the thing for which we have finally hoped is at last ours.” Here God is telling us what faith is.There are a number of kinds of faith. Everyone, saved and unsaved alike, has a natural, human faith. The above Scripture, however, is talking about a supernatural faith – a faith that believes with the heart rather than believing what our physical senses may tell us. Faith, in other words, is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality. And faith grows out of the Word of God. Our text describes faith as “the evidence of things not seen.” For example, you hope for finances to meet the obligations that you have to pay. Faith gives the assurance that you will have the money when you need it. You hope for physical strength to do the work that you must do. Faith says, “The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Faith will say about itself everything that the Word says, for faith in God is simply faith in His Word (From https://www.hopefaithprayer.com/faith/kenneth-hagin-faith-lesson-no-2-what-is-faith/)
viii. When we are in spiritual combat we must have the helmet of salvation on.
1. The helmet and the uniform in war designates whose side you are on. It’s the uniform an d helmet that allows you the ability the ability to be in the war
2. The helmet is also there to protect your head and mind. To survive in this battle you must have the mind of Christ and that is the mind of salvation.
3. Salvation the helmet allows you the right to be in the war and it protects in the fire fights.
4. It’s there to protect your mind and designate what side you are on.
5. It’s either life or death-blessings or curses.
ix. The sword of the spirit is the next weapon in the arsenal of God for us.
1. We are to use the sword of the spirit against the enemy.
2. Jesus used in Matthew 4 in the temptation and it drove the enemy away.
a. Use cross – sword/ Cross prop to make point.
b. I want you to know that this is an offensive weapon.
c. The problem in the church is no one uses this weapon to go after the enemy
i. We think Jesus just wants us to leave sin alone and no make war.
ii. Wrong O!
x. The next weapon is prayer I call it the stealth fighter - bomber.
1. Share about the movie “Harriet” and about the life of Harriet Tubman.
2. The enemy cannot see prayer coming but when it hits him he knows it.
3. We need to have more stealth bombers in the army of the Lord. Prayer is the force that creates miracles and allows God the opportunity to meet a threat head on with his power and insight.
a. “Gulf War Miracle.” Desert Storm's most incredible story, says Marine Maj. Gen. Charles Krulak, was the "miracle well" that appeared out of nowhere to supply 100,000 gallons of water a day for U.S. soldiers… Repeated attempts to dig for water produced nothing but desert dust. Krulak consulted oil company engineers and Saudi Bedouins familiar with the area. Still dry holes. Krulak had exhausted all resources except one he consults every morning. Since 1977, Krulak has made a habit of praying with any staff members who wish to join him at 7:15 a.m. "I was on my knees every day praying for water," Krulak said. On Sunday before church with only a few days remaining before the ground attack, a colonel interrupted the early morning prayer with a request for Krulak to accompany him. When Krulak asked what it was the officer wanted him to see, the colonel said, "I don't want to tell you, I want to show you." As the two traveled down a road built by the Marine Corps, they came upon a sight that could have been lifted from a script for the Twilight Zone. They saw what looked like a pipe rising out of the ground. "As it came up, a cross was formed by crossbar protruding from the pipe," Krulak said. What they saw next left one general and one colonel incredulous: a brightly painted red pump at the base of the pipe, a green diesel generator, four new batteries still wrapped in plastic and 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel stored in a tank above the ground. Krulak pushed the start button and the new German-made generator turned over and water started to flow. The well flowed within 10 gallons of the 100,000 a day needed for the assault. Krulak can't even recall how many times he had traveled down the road that ran by the pipe. And he wasn't the only one. A division of men, 20,000 troops, had also traveled it. "There was no way anyone could have driven down that road and not seen that well and equipment painted in multiple colors," said Krulak, who firmly believes that the well appeared as an answer to prayer.
i. From https://www.tampabay.com/archive/1992/08/15/u-s-desert-storm-leader-tells-of-miracle-well/
b. Revolutionary War Miracle:
i. DENSE FOG, SNOWSTORM & FREEZE:
1. In the summer of 1776, General Howe had a British force of more than 400 ships and 32,000 troops stationed around Staten Island in New York Harbor. George Washington gathered about 8,000 American troops to Brooklyn Heights on the western edge of Long Island. The British were able to land about 15,000 troops behind Washington’s lines and inflict heavy losses on the Americans, who were encircled on Brooklyn heights with their backs to the East River. However, the weather again proved to be a deciding factor. Strong winds, an ebbing tide, and incessant rain kept the British from further attacks on the American position, and from moving their warships into the East River to cut off an escape route. Washington, realizing the danger of his position, ordered a nighttime evacuation of Long Island. That evening, at about 11:00 p.m., the wind died down and a thick fog developed, shrouding the American evacuation—and when the fog lifted later the next morning, the British were surprised to find that the American soldiers were nowhere to be found (Seven Miracles That Saved America, pp. 9–11)! One American soldier wrote, “Providentially for us, a great fog arose, which prevented the enemy from seeing our retreat” (The Weather Factor, pp. 36–37). The outcome of this battle has been described as “so astonishing that many (including General Washington) attributed the safe retreat of the American army to the hand of God” (America’s Providential History, Mark A. Beliles & Stephen K. McDowell, pp. 158–161). If the wind, rain, and the fog—termed the “heavenly messenger”—had not intervened for the Americans, they would have been captured, Washington would have been hanged, and the Revolution would have come to an early end.
a. From https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/2017/july-august/miracles-of-the-american-revolution
4. By the way it’s important to note that the stealth planes are first in battle. Is prayer paving the way for you in battle?
xi. I want to add one more for our list of spiritual weapons which is found in Luke 10:17-20.
1. 17The seventy–two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
a. We need to make sure we use the power of the name in battle. Just this name alone terrifies the enemy and the demons and the enemy runs for cover.
Today we have discovered that we have been in a war for years with spiritual forces of evil in this world. The reality is you were born into this war.
We have also discovered that the Lord has given us specific insight into how to defeat this force trying to impose its way on this dark – shadowy world.
We have also discovered that the Lord has provided us with the uniforms, the protective gear, the offensive weapons necessary to win this war and defeat the powers of darkness in our lives and in other’s lives.
1. But it all comes down to us acknowledging first that we are in a war.
2. The second thing we must do is we must be willing to fight in this war.
3. The third action is we must learn about our enemy.
4. The fourth action is we need to put on the armor of God to wage war with our enemy.
Once we have taken these 4 steps of action, we will see the enemy driven back in our lives and in others lives. We will see that we have the stronger force on our side and that the battle is ours to be won in the power of Jesus’ name.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go to war!