Summary: They have been here and many people who lived before us didn’t know. They are here now attacking us and many of us don’t recognize it. We are in a war. But we are often unaware. We could call it, not the War of the Worlds, but the War of the Words.
I remember a time when I was hit hard with criticism. Three times in a row. A letter. A phone call. A conversation. Three punches to the gut. I heard things like:
“You’re not honoring God. You’re just trying to entertain people. You’re too tolerant. You don’t give seasoned Christians anything challenging. The direction of the church isn’t right. Your teaching isn’t consistent.”
Now, usually when I receive criticism, I ask God to show me what I need to hear. More often than not, some truth is there. And I don’t want to miss the lessons God wants me to learn. Then after I learn what I need to learn, I try to forget the negative, critical, judgmental stuff.
But this time, I couldn’t shake some thoughts. I threw the world’s largest pity party for myself. You can ask Maryanne: I was not fun to be around. I ended up thinking, “No one likes me. Everyone hates me. It’s not worth it. You can have this job. I’ve given the best years of my life to build the kingdom of God here in NE Ohio only to have my life’s work criticized and devalued. I just don’t know if I want to keep doing this anymore.”
I was no longer a soldier at war; I had become a prisoner of war.
Question: Were those words coming from God? Does God want us defeated and depressed and discouraged and ready to quit? I don’t think so! If the words running through my mind weren’t coming from God, then where could those words be coming from?
Have you ever been there? It might be where some of you are right now. Defeated. Depressed. Discouraged. Ready to quit on your marriage, your kids, or your career? Ready to walk away from a ministry, a relationship, or a dream because of a bunch of depressing words running through your head? Are those words you are thinking words from God?
The big box office hit right now is War of the Worlds. Promo pieces say, “They’re already here.” Who? The aliens. But that’s Hollywood make-believe. They are already here all right. The Bible calls them “cosmic powers over this present darkness” and “spiritual forces of evil.” They have been here and many people who lived before us didn’t know. They are here now attacking us and many of us don’t recognize it.
We are in a war. But we are often unaware. We could call it, not the War of the Worlds, but the...
War of the Words
To help us learn more during this series, at the welcome table in the foyer are 2 resources today. A little book called The Covering. $6. A great read on this topic. Get it and read it and read it this summer. We also have a paper written by our elders answering the question: Can a Christian be demon possessed? The Bible says, “No.” This paper will tell you why… and what’s dangerous about the deliverance ministry movement in the church. Two good resources for you to pick up after the service.
My former pastor, Adrian Rogers, says…
We have an internal enemy – the flesh. (Gal 5:16-17)
We have an external enemy – the world. (I Jn 2:15-17)
We have an infernal enemy – the devil. (Eph 6:12)
You say, “Rick you don’t believe in the devil and in demons do you?” Well, around here we call ourselves followers of Jesus. And we seek to do what Jesus did and believe what Jesus says. And when you read the Bible, it’s clear that Jesus believed in the devil. One of His followers wrote these words:
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
Do we get it – that we are in an invisible war? That we have an enemy who wants to steal and kill and destroy our families our future our faith?
Kanye West gets it. He’s a rapper who won a Grammy for “Jesus Walks.” Listen to the words:
“We need to recruit all the soldiers, all of God’s soldiers. We at war.” Then he says, “God show me a way because the Devil’s trying to break me down.” Even the rap world gets the fact that we have an infernal enemy. Do you get it?
Are you a soldier at war or a prisoner of war?
To win this war of the words, I must…
1. Anticipate the fight.
We miss the fact that it is God who actually wants us to engage with the enemy because it gives Him great glory when we depend on Him for the win. God gives the enemy freedom – a length of leash – to operate in our lives.