Summary: Spiritual warfare in the Church can be won by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony and not loving life more than the cause. Some insights on the Battle of the Church and the need for unity.
The Battle of the Church
Satan attacks the Christian, the family, and the Church. Efforts to defeat Satan in the family and Church will have little effect unless the battle of the mind is experiencing victory. However, when God’s people walk with Him, we find peace in our lives, families and the Church.
I. The Asset of the Church
Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my Church” Matthew 16:18. The mystery of redemption of all ages is the Church, Ephesians 3:3-10. Christ came for the Church, lived and died for the Church, to redeem man and include us in His kingdom through the Church, Ephesians 5:25-33. God expects us to live the successful life in community through the Church. He requires that our growing involvement with Him be through greater involvement in the Church (Ephesians 3:21). You see, the glorious bride of Christ is the Church 2 Corinthians 11:1-3. This bride of the Lamb will be no less than the New Jerusalem that will be our eternal dwelling. Revelation 21, 22:17.
I could spend the entire sermon on the importance and significance of the Church. But I must move on. Surely you can see the importance of the Church if God says it is. That is why unity is so important. That is why Paul told the Ephesians and the Corinthians, “if you are going to fight, fight for unity.”
Satan wants to divide us so he can destroy us. Satan will first try to cause you to pull away from the church and justify it. In the early days of the Church, he tried external pressure. When he realized external pressure only strengthened us, he switched to internal pressures. Division, arguments, hurt feelings, anger and bitterness, unforgiveness and conflict from within have served more effective than Emperors setting us on fire or cutting off our heads. We see several issues adversaries of the Church because they are the agents of division.
II. The adversaries of the church
Matthew 24:10-12.” And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
Attacks on the Church from within:
A. Gossip – the Bible demands that we speak as if speaking the oracles of God.
1Pe 4:10-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; …--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
B. Picking up an offense.
Gossip… anything said that causes the hearer to think less of the one being spoken about, and is giving someone the opportunity to pick up an offense. Picking up an offense is picking sides in an offense in which I am not involved. It is the most difficult thing to overcome.
Psalm 15 addresses this. Asking who stays right with God, it is excluded with those who do not gossip or slander. It is describe as those who pick up an offense against a brother.
Picking up an offense is being angry with me about how I offended someone else. The problem is, if I do the right thing and correct the offense with the person I actually offended, I cannot address it with you, and Satan will use that to destroy our relationship. There is no cure for picking up an offense. That is why it is so wrong.
Sometimes we see the things that others do to the ones we love as worse than the things we do. We know our intent and therefore we make allowances for that. But I cannot know your intent, so I should not take up offenses.
C. Unforgiveness and bitterness (unfulfilled revenge) Hebrews 12:15.
Heb. 12:14-15 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;”
Let’s not dress this up: Unforgiveness and bitterness are failures to learn to love enemies and fail the test of loving God. 1 John 4:20 – “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” If that verse is true, the test of measure of how much you truly love God is how much you love the least loved person in your life. When you embrace God’s love, you walk in forgiveness.