In the last 4000 years of history, we have had less than 300 years of peace. Countries such as Iran, Iraq and Jerusalem are at war. Unlike the wars of World War I and World War II, they are involved in a Holy War. Paul tells us we are in a war of a different kind right now. We tell ourselves, I'm on the battlefield for my Lord. Tell your neighbor that right now. "I'm on the battle field for my Lord." Our scripture comes from Ephesians 6:10-18. Our sermon topic is "THE MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES."
You and I are at war! In fact, we are engaged in the mother of all battles. No war in history can compare with the battle you and I am fighting right now. This war can be the cause of your greatest joy as a Christian, or your deepest pain.
Paul tells you and me that we have become soldiers on the battlefield, the day we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior. That's when the enemy Satan got busy. That's when the bullets started flying. That's when your neighborhood became a battlefield instead of a place of residency, and a place of peace. That's when chaos came into your world and turned it up side down. No matter what you do, you can't run from it; you can't hide from it; wherever you go, it's right behind you. You run, and you run, and you run, but no matter how fast and how far you run, there is no where to hide. There is no bunker or foxhole you can crawl into that will shield you from the effects of this cosmic battle between the forces of God and the forces of Satan.
Most of us don't know we are at war. Others can feel their scars and know they have become casualties of spiritual warfare. Do you have scars this morning? Can you hold up your hands like Jesus and say "See my hands, see my scars. I'm on the battle field for my Lord."
As a result of this war, some of us are emotional causalities some of us are physical causalities, of spiritual warfare. Like many Vietnam veterans, we have post-traumatic shock syndrome. We are discouraged, depressed, downtrodden, defeated. In the family, divorce, conflict, and abuse are some of the battle scars we bear.
The essence of the war Paul is talking about is spiritual. The cause of the war is something you and I can't see; we don't know why all of this is happening to us - the cause we can't see, but the effects we can feel.
In order to fight a spiritual war effectively, we have to decipher who is involved in the war, why we are fighting this war, and what we can do to win the war.
In Paul's classic statement on spiritual warfare, Paul writes: "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." This verse identifies the enemy as Satan and his demons.
Paul wants us to see here that we make a grand mistake, if we think people are the real enemy. People can be bad, no doubt. But as bad as people can be, they are merely conduits for this greater battle -- the battle against Satan.
Satan is Mr. Slick. Slick Satan does what racists have done for four centuries in America. They make us, fight us. They make us, hate us. They make us, kill us. Satan divides and conquers. Slick Satan is so slick, he gets us to fighting people rather than getting people to fight problems.