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.
Revelation 12 makes perfectly clear that the invisible war will break out in a visible form. In other words, the hidden will be revealed, the unseen will be seen. The fear will become the reality. We see the reality of this war in the chaos it has caused in our personal life, in our families, in our communities, and in our Church.
Let me tell you something about the devil. The devil will do whatever it takes to rob you of your peace of mind, the devil will do whatever it takes to rob you of your health. Satan endeavors to steal, kill and destroy anyone that gets in his way, and he'll do it by any means necessary.
Satan is a by any means necessary kind of devil. Satan tells us we are sick and we're not going to get well. Jesus tells us through His stripes we are healed. Satan tells us we will live in poverty. God tells us He will open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Satan tells us we will not have peace in our life, Jesus says, "my peace I give to you." Satan doesn't want you to hear what sayeth the Lord. If he can get us to doubt God, he has been victorious in causing us to be bound by our doubts, -- to be held hostage by our lack of faith. It is when we put our faith in God, that the strongholds of the devil are loosed, and the chains of bondage broken. As long as we doubt God, the devil will have a hold on our life. [SLOW] Satan wants, and he will cause chaos in your life.