Summary: We are at war with spiritual wickedness. However, God has equipped us for victory. We need but draw on what He has already provided to be assured of victory.
“Take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
"If you don’t want trouble, don’t say anything, don’t do anything, don’t be anything.” This sage advice was offered by a man who frequently stood in the midst of battle. Preachers seek to cast the Christian Faith in the most positive light possible—no one wants to be thought negative; however, the Word of God is quite clear that you will have conflict */because/* you are a Christian. Think of the times Jesus spoke of such conflict because of faith.
Jesus said, “I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves” [*Matthew** 10:16*], indicating the conditions those who follow Him can expect. The words that follow are especially stunning. The Master warned, “Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” [*Matthew 10:17-19*]. He did not say that men */might/* deliver His people over to courts, but rather He said “they */will/* deliver you over to courts.” He did not say “*/If/* they deliver you over,” but rather He said “*/When/* they deliver you over.” After cautioning that family members will be the adversary of the child of God, He warned, “You will be hated by all for My Name’s sake” [*Matthew** 10:22*].
Shortly after this, Jesus warned those who wished to follow Him, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” [*Matthew** 10:34-39*]. These words do not match the expectation of most professing Christians—they seek peace and prosperity, quietness and security, whereas the Master offers conflict and opposition.
Immediately before His exodus, the Master warned His disciples. “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause’” [*John** 15:18-25*].
The Lord warned those who would follow Him, “In the world you will have tribulation.” However, He followed that sobering warning with a word of richest encouragement for His people: “Take heart, I have overcome the world” [*John** 16:33*]. When engaged in conflict, struggling to maintain righteousness in the face of spiritual assault, where does one find strength? How can a mere mortal stand when receiving the attention of the enemy? The answer to these questions is found in turning to the Lord. Precisely what is entailed in turning to the Lord? These are the sort of questions we will explore today, God being our guide.
*God Equips His People for War* — In a future message I propose to explore more fully the armour God supplies His people. However, for the purpose of the message for this day, I am restricting my focus to the fact that God supplies all that is necessary to conduct spiritual warfare. Moreover, I want to stress the truth that each of God’s saints—each Christian—has the identical armour and armaments available. There are no super saints, neither are there any inferior saints. We each stand complete in the Son of God.