Summary: In this sermon series, we’re going to be talking about the unseen enemy and the dangers of living for Jesus. We’re caught up in the spiritual battle between good and evil, and so it’s important to take proactive measures in regard to the unseen opposition
The Battle of Heart and Mind
Read Romans 7:14-25 at the beginning of service
A number of years ago, I was invited to preach a revival in Zwolle, LA. Anybody know where that is? It’s right by Many, LA. Hope that clarifies it for you. I had to leave right after church to make it there before the Sunday night service. When I got there, I realized I had left with my Bible. Now who goes to preach a revival without their Bible! This is the Bible I have preached from for 23 years so it’s kind of like a security blanket for me. I regained my composure and preached that night from a loaner. The second day, I was getting ready in the morning and rubbed my eye and my contact disappeared. I searched and searched but couldn’t find it. So then I had to wear an old pair of glasses, another unnerving thing. We got to the church that night and just as I stood up to preach, there was a huge explosion and the power went out because a transformer had blown. I had never experienced anything like this. If you think these were three coincidences, as I was driving out of the pastor’s driveway to head home on Wednesday, my right eye got blurry. I took my glasses off only to be able to see perfectly out of that eye. My contact had been up above my eyelid the whole time. I learned a lesson that week: any time we try to advance the kingdom of God, there will be pushback, roadblocks and issues that arise seeking to derail our efforts or at least sidetrack us. There is a much larger spiritual battle going on around us and you and I, whether we believe it or not, are caught up in it.
The enemy's strategy is to be invisible, so we have to always be on guard. Mike Slaughter tells the story of his mission trip back to Darfur and traveling from their compound in Ed Daein to Adilla Town, which is a six-hour round trip over rough desert terrain. On this particular road, there are frequent bandit and rebel attacks. In fact, one of the local staff was kidnapped on that road and in another incident, one was shot and two vehicles were lost. Because of the threat of attacks from bandits or rebels, there are no potty breaks or rest stops. Mike asked a UN security officer about the area, and he said, "Do not trust your eyes. What you see with your eyes can be deceiving. It will look like calm, but the real danger lies in what you can't see. It is the unseen enemy lurking in the barren brush that blends in with the crowd, who represents the grave danger."
In this sermon series, we’re going to be talking about the unseen enemy and the dangers of living for Jesus. We’re caught up in the spiritual battle between good and evil, and so it’s important to take proactive measures in regard to the unseen opposition. That starts with the battle of the mind. Your mind is what determines everything else in life. The mind is the doorway to the heart. So you need to guard and protect your mind. The force that is working against us is not the Taliban. There is a deeper force, a stealth force we can't see or defeat but God can. It's in God's mighty power that we will win this battle. Make no mistake, this is a war.
How do we deal with this unseen reality, especially intellectually? Through our worldview. A worldview is like a set of lenses which influences the way we understand and perceive the world around us. Our worldview is formed by our education, our upbringing, the culture we live in, the books we read, the media and movies we absorb, etc. For many people, their worldview is simply something they have absorbed by osmosis from their surrounding cultural influences. The problem is that in the West, our world view has been influenced by the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a move by intellectuals in 18th century Europe and the American colonies to reform society using reason rather than tradition, faith and revelation. It’s goal is to advance knowledge, life and society through science. It promoted science and intellectual interchange and opposed faith and revelation. As a result, in the world today, there are two worldviews. We've been raised and immersed with a rationalistic worldview that rejects a spiritual interpretation of life. A rational worldview sees reality as only what can be measured scientifically. If you can't measure it, it's not real.
Much of the rest of the world does not have a rational view of the universe. Their worldview is an open world view and says reality cannot be determined just by science and the material dimension. There's also another dimension to life, and it's the spiritual. In an open worldview, people believe what you see, experience and measure scientifically isn't enough. There is a spiritual side of life that cannot be measured which accounts for much of what science cannot test, prove or explain. There is this material dimension, made up of matter, that you and I are a part of, but there is also a spiritual realm.