Sermons

Summary: A "behind-the-scenes" look at the cosmic battle over planet earth, and how we can be sure to overcome in the end.

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I’m sure you all remember how, just a couple of weeks ago, the world watched with anxious attention, awaiting news of the fates of 15 members of the British Royal Navy who were captured after supposedly entering Iranian waters. The crew of the HMS Cornwall were taken into Iranian custody and held for nearly 3 weeks, when they were finally released by the president of Iran.

Beyond the obvious human interest story generated by the 15 captured Brits, however, are the questions that remain unanswered as to what prompted their release. You see, what prolonged the sailors’ detainment were the political discussions between the two countries involved. Iran, who insisted that the crew had strayed into Iranian waters, and extracted confessions from several of the sailors to that effect, insisted that Britain give a formal apology for their actions. The UK, on the other hand, insisted that the ship was in fact in Iraqi – not Iranian – territory, and that the Iranians were holding the British crew illegally. Furthermore, it was declared that the British Parliament would not negotiate with the Iranian government for the release of the captives. In light of all of the political intrigue, then, you can imagine how surprising it was to hear that out of nowhere all 15 of the British crew were released from Iranian custody and flown back to England. And so amid the celebrations of the families being reunited with their loved ones, the commentators were debating – what happened that caused their release, and (perhaps more specifically) who should get the credit? For you see, while some strategists are seeing this event as a diplomatic triumph for the UK, others are seeing it as a public relations coup for the President of Iran, who both showed the country’s political capabilities as well as dominated the world stage as a power not to be taken lightly.

As I’ve watched the news and heard the reports about the numerous conflicts going on around the world, I’ve paid attention from time to time as well to the political pundits as they’ve analysed the events and made their speculations about what’s going on “behind the scenes” in the various wars of this day and age. Of course, for all of their discussion, the truth is that we may never really know the background events of these terrible conflicts. We may never know what actually goes on behind the scenes of war and terror – about what prompted the leaders of this world to go to war in the first place, or who did what to gain victory in the end. But the fact remains that so long as there is a war going on somewhere in the world, there is a “war behind the war” that few every get the chance to see, much less to understand. And I’m not just talking about the ones watching the events from a distance; oh no, I’m talking about even those in the midst of the battle not always being entirely sure of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

(BEAT)

Friends, I don’t know if you realise it, but you and I are in a war, too. It’s not a war over oil or land; it’s not a war over political freedom or social justice for an oppressed minority; it’s not even a war over ideologies. It’s not a war going on in some foreign land, but it’s being fought right here, right now. You won’t read about it in the papers; you won’t hear about it on CNN or the BBC; you won’t hear political commentators expound their theories as to its cause or speculate as to its outcome. But don’t let that fool you: the war I’m talking about is the war to end all wars – the real war behind every war that’s ever gone on in earth’s history. And unlike the wars of this world, we have been given special access to a “behind the scenes” look at what’s really going on, as well as a sure and certain guarantee about who’s going to win in the end.

We find this war talked about in the book of Revelation, chapter 12. If you’ll turn with me there, we’ll get an insider’s look at what’s really going on in this world today. Now, we’re going to jump around a bit, but we’ll be putting the picture together as we do so.

Look first with me at verse 12 of chapter 12 of the book of Revelation. Here at Revelation 12:12 we read (read v. 12…). You know, I found this verse particularly interesting in light of the Iran-UK skirmish which began in open sea; for even those at sea, we are told right here, have had woe pronounced against them. And why? Not because of some international boundary placed on the waters which had been crossed; not because of the sabre-rattling between some earthly political entities; but because an enemy – the devil – has come down to earth, and has unleashed his wrath against our planet. Friends, we have here a “behind-the-scenes” look at what’s really going on in the world today. Every war in the history of war on earth – be it by land, by air or by sea – has had at its source, not the clash of earthly heads of state, not the battling between earthly armies and powers, but has had its source in the wrath of one who has set up his headquarters here on our planet, and is (quite literally) hell-bent on seeing its destruction.

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