Summary: We, as Christians, need to remember that we are in a war, and we need to know who our true enemy is and how we can overcome him.
September 15, 2002 Ephesians 6:10-19
¡§The Great Satan¡¨
A little girl had misbehaved, and as a punishment, at supper time, her parents sat her down at a small table by herself in the corner of the dining room. The rest of the family paid no notice to her, until suddenly they heard her praying over her meal with these words: "I thank You, Dear Lord, for preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies!"
It is all too easy to get confused about who your real enemy is. I believe that is what happened when Osama ben Laden and others like him turned against the United States. At some unknown point, our nation became the ¡§great Satan¡¨ in their eyes. They determined that we were the enemy because our philosophies were too different, or our lifestyles were too rich, or because we contaminated the holy ground of Saudi Arabia with our dirty American presence. We may never know the reasons for the animosity that caused Osama ben Laden and others to make us into their enemy.
But whatever the reason, they attacked us. And then, they became our enemy, so we attacked them. That¡¦s what enemies do ¡V they attack each other. And when enemies attack each other, you call that a war.
Historians tell us that war is nothing new. In all the years of recorded human history, there have only been 227 years when there was no war going on somewhere in the world. We helped to make sure that streak doesn¡¦t end by declaring our war on terrorism. And now, it looks like we are getting ready to enter into a new war against the nation of Iraq.
Where did all this war come from? It began way back in the Garden of Eden. It began with sin. It was sin that caused people to begin battling with each other while their real enemy was sitting back and laughing. On the day that sin entered the world, a war began. It is a war that affects all of us because all of us have a common enemy.
This morning, we¡¦re going to examine this war and the enemy that we face. We¡¦re going to learn 5 steps that we can take to make sure that we will not become casualties of this war.
1. Identify the enemy.
„X Not other people - ¡§not against flesh and blood¡¨
Long before the events of 9/11, we have often thought as other people as the enemy, especially if they were different from us. If they were black, white people considered them the enemy. If they were white, black people considered them the enemy. If they were men, women considered them the enemy. The list could go on and on. When we think of other people as our enemy, we put barriers between ourselves, and we cut ourselves off from the wonderful impact that they can have on our lives.
This thought provoking poem was written in the 1920¡¦s by James Patrick Kinney. It is called ¡§The Cold Within¡¨.
Six humans trapped by happenstance in black and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood (or so the story¡¦s told).
Their dying fire, in need of logs, the first woman held hers back,
For on the faces around the fire, she noticed one was black.
The second, looking across the way, saw one not of his church,
And couldn¡¦t bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.
The poor man sat in tattered clothes, he gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor.
The black man¡¦s face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white.
And the last of this forlorn group did not accept for gain:
Giving only to those who gave was how he played the game.
The logs held tight in deaths¡¦ still hands was proof of human sin.
They didn¡¦t die from the cold without, They died from the cold within.
One year ago, when angry men became responsible for the death of 1000¡¦s of civilians, we added a new classification to those physical characteristics that deem someone our enemy. Now, if someone is of Arab descent, they are suspect. This proved true even this week. The incident that happened in Florida, depending on who you believe, apparently could have been the result of a 9/11 prejudice. Just because someone is Arab in descent, it does not make them our enemy. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1000¡¦s of loyal Americans of Japanese descent were rounded up and held in confinement just because of their nationality. Have we learned nothing from the mistakes of history?