Summary: Fourth in a series on spiritual warfare. This message explores the mighty weapon of worship. Incorporates music interwoven to apply the message points.
We have reached week four in our series “Operation Enduring Freedom.” We are learning that freedom starts with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is completed with the nature of Jesus in our hearts. Let’s say that together – Freedom starts with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is completed with the nature of Jesus in our hearts.
We have looked at our need to keep our focus on Christ in the midst of the battle. We have explored the reality of times in our lives when God will call us to engage the enemy in battle. Even times when we would rather not, but God will nudge. . .or even push us to that place of spiritual warfare.
Last Sunday we scoped out common strongholds that can settle into our minds. Those places of protection for the enemy built by the constant inflow of influence from the world, and from our experiences, and from wrong doctrines or beliefs that we have established in our minds. Five common strongholds that we struggle with: pride, unbelief, failure, fear, and love that can grow cold towards God or others.
So how do we combat these strongholds? How do we actively fight for our lasting freedom? Today I want to introduce the most powerful weapon available to us as Christians in our Operation Enduring Freedom. This one is the key. With this weapon firmly in place, victory is guaranteed. Without it, failure is inevitable. The weapon is. . . worship.
Turn to the book of Revelation, and look at a few contrasting pictures of worship with me. The first one is in Revelation 7:9 (read through verse 17). What an awesome picture. By contrast, turn back a few chapters to Revelation 13:1 (read through verse 10). What a contrast! Look at them together in Revelation 14:6 (read through verse 11).
The picture that is painted for us here is the end time battle of, and ongoing battle for worshipers. In the heavenlies and in your life, there is a battle raging between two parties that desire your worship: God. . .and Satan.
And something that is important to understand about spiritual warfare is that “The essence of this battle is the central issue in our warfare today.” Often when you look at a battle, and you look at the essence of it. The real reason for it. It’s true meaning. And when you look there, you will find the central place of warfare.
Battle – Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq
Essence: Democracy & freedom for the people of Iraq
Warfare: Terror and disruption of a free lifestyle(bombing market places, restaurants, daily life)
The warfare is focused on the essence of the battle. The methods of warfare are focused on disrupting the ultimate purpose and reason for the battle. Another example -
Battle – World War II in Germany
Essence: The uprising of a superior race, as Hitler saw it
Warfare: Elimination of Jews, Concentration Camps.
The warfare methodologies directly addressed and attacked the essence of the battle. The warfare that is utilized in a battle is always designed to effectively attack the essence of the battle. To directly unsettle that reason, and heart of the conflict.
Make no mistake about it. This battle, this spiritual war that we find ourselves in, is for our worship. The essence of it is where we will spend our eternity worshiping, and who we will be worshiping when we get there. So if that is the essence of the battle, the warfare of the battle is going to take place on the battleground of worship. This is. . .
THE WAR FOR WORSHIPERS
Have you ever wondered why people get so upset in the church about worship? I do not think it is simply an ironic coincidence that more churches have probably fought, expended countless hours and energy, and even split over the issue of “worship” styles than probably any other issue.
That’s because it is the essence of the battle. This is a war that is raging for worshipers. John 4:23 says, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship Him.” God is seeking for worshipers. True, authentic, spirit filled worshipers.
It has always been this way. Look back at the end of the book of Joshua. His closing challenge to the people of God is “choose this day whom you will serve.” You have wavered between God, and the gods of this world. Stop waffling. Decide once and for all who will be the object of your worship.
Elijah on Mount Carmel. A mighty battle of worship. In your One Year Bible readings through I Kings during June, what did you read over and over again? It is a documentation of kings who turned to other objects of worship. Who wouldn’t tear down temples built to other gods. Kings who worshiped idols, and provoked God to anger because of their ill-focused worship.