Summary: We're fighting an enemy we can't see... but then we can't see Covid either. World rulers have geared up to fight Covid and will not be satisfied until that enemy is defeated. Are we as committed to defeating our enemy?
OPEN: It was an early morning in Los Angeles, CA several years ago. A motorcycle policeman named Bob Vernon saw a red pickup truck speeding through a stop sign, and he turned on his siren and gave chase. When the pickup pulled over, and Vernon approached the driver’s side door to ask for ID. But what the police officer didn’t know was that driver had just engaged in an armed robbery at a convenience store and had a sack of stolen money on the seat beside him.
No sooner had Vernon approached the driver and said “Good morning, sir, may I see your …” than the driver pulled his gun and fired into the policeman’s chest from just 4 inches away. The force of the blast pushed the policeman backwards 7 feet where he fell to the ground.
Believing that the officer was dead, the driver prepared to drive away… but then, Vernon stood up, pulled his service revolver, and fired twice. The 1st bullet went through the open window and smashed the windshield. The 2nd tore through the door and ripped into the driver’s leg. The driver began to scream “Don’t shoot!” and he threw his gun and the money out the pickup window and was placed under arrest.
But now, wait a minute! That robber had just shot Vernon in the chest from 4 inches away. There was no way that police officer should have been able to recover from that. Except that Vernon was wearing a Kevlar vest. It was only 3/8 of an inch thick… but strong enough to stop a bullet.
In our text today Paul tells us to put on our Kevlar - “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND FIRM.” Ephesians 6:13
The policeman in our story had put on HIS armor, and that allowed him to stand up and stand firm. And Scripture says we have armor that allows us to stand up and stand firm.
The problem for a lot of church-goers, is that there’s kind of a “disconnect” going on. This passage seems to imply that there’s a fight going on - that we are engaged in something of a holy war - and that whether we win or lose may depend on how prepared we are. But a lot of church-goers seem ignorant of that reality.
ILLUS: I just read a report from Barna Research that warns that as many as 20% of the churches in America may end up closing their doors because of this virus.
WHAT? Why? Well too many churches have NOT taken their faith seriously. They’ve forgotten why they exist. And they have forgotten (or never realized) that there was a war going on. And so too many of their people have thought of their Christianity as being a PART TIME THING.
ILLUS: A mother told of calling her son – who was deployed to Iraq, to say hello one weekend. She asked if he had to work on Sundays and he replied: “Mom, we have to work every day… it’s a war.” (Jeanice Shelley, Reader’s Digest 2/08 p. 50)
WE ARE AT WAR! We are called to be prepared to engage our enemy every day of the week – not just on Sundays. And - if ever WE forget that we are at war with our enemy - there will come a time when we’re not going to be wearing our armor and we – or our church - are gonna get hurt! So, don’t forget – you are at war, and you have an enemy!
But, who is our enemy? Who are we fighting? In our day and age, many Christians believe that their enemies are the folks in some “other” political party. Or that their enemies are folks in some “other” church down the street. Or that the enemy are folks who don’t agree with them about Jesus and the Bible. Sometimes their enemies are the folks sitting in church with them.
Well, what do you do with an enemy? Well, you attack them! You wage war. And so, you’ll see Christians going after those OTHER FOLKS trying to take them out, tear them down, and destroy their reputations.
But in reality, God tells us that those OTHER FOLKS are not our enemies. They may be really annoying, but they are not our enemies. Paul writes: “… we are NOT contending against FLESH AND BLOOD (mortal people), but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
You’re fighting “Spiritual hosts of wickedness!” You can’t even SEE who you’re fighting!!! But then – you can’t see this Covid virus thing either. You can see (and even experience) the damage and death it inflicts - but you can’t see the virus. And leaders across the world are gearing up to fight this virus they can’t see, and they’re committed not to give up the fight until THAT enemy is defeated.