Wars have been fought ever since Cain slew Abel. After that mono e mono, they've become more sophisticated and deadlier, but reasons for such conflicts haven't changed all that much. Wars have been fought for possession of land, for political and religious reasons, for resources.
The church, the ecclesia of the LORD Jesus Christ are also called upon to wage a war, but for entirely different reasons:
Incidentally, if you are a Christian, yet believe you are NOT in any sort of conflict with Satan's kingdom, or do not wish to be engaged in such, a word to the wise is in order . . .
When Jesus was tempted by Satan during his 40 days of prayer and fasting, one of the temptations he hit our LORD with was "All these kingdoms and the glory of them will I give to you, for they are mine to give to whoever I will, if you will bow down and worship me." Interesting to note, the LORD Jesus never disputed Satan's claim of ownership over this world. Later on, Jesus refers to Satan as "the prince of this world" LUKE 4:5-8; JOHN 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Paul refers to Satan similarly in EPH 2:2 and later he speaks of him as "the god of this world" in 2 COR 4:4.
There is no doubt that we, the church of the LORD Jesus Christ, the saints, the body of Christ, are on enemy turf! We are the light of the world, opposing the darkness of this age, and Satan will not take such an invasion lying down! Indeed, Peter tells us that he is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 PETER 5:8).
So, like it or not, if you are saved, you ARE in the very midst of a great spiritual battlefield: you have two options: become a casualty or get in the fight!
There are no neutralities on a battle field!
But going on, about the obejectives that's been passed down to us from HQ - the very THRONE ROOM OF GOD! -
Our objectives in this war are three fold:
1) The salvation of enslaved souls, chained in sin and death.
2) The sanctification of our own souls, allowing God's kingdom to reign more fully in our lives.
3) That God would be glorified as the only God above all powers, including Satan's.
In this First Objective, we who are the soldiers of the Cross and guardians of the Gospel, desire the deliverance of souls that are presently bound and blind in the kingdom of darkness.
Due to the fact that they are now children of disobedience, children of wrath, children of the devil (some might object to this statement and insist that we are ALL children of God as is commonly believed, and yet JOHN 1:12 states clearly that "...as many as received Him (Christ) to them He gave the power [ability, right, privilege, authority] to BECOME the children of God, even to them that believe ON His Name." emph. mine), Satan himself rightfully claims ownership over them, and their release is certainly something that he objects to with the greatest of vehemence!
Any time you share the Gospel with a lost soul, you are threatening to diminish the citizenship of Satan's kingdom by a factor of 'one'. If you don't think THIS is spiritual battle, you better re-examine the issue!
The souls of men are precious in the eyes of the LORD, for He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance! See 2 PETER 3:9
To what extent has the LORD gone to in order that these souls would be secured, safely delivered from hell, and granted all preparations for heaven?
The most beloved verse in all of scripture -
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For all the lost souls that have ever been born, every single one of the trillions that have existed on this wayward planet, including those who are now alive, and even those who've yet to be born: the LORD Jesus Christ came down from the glorious perfections of purity and heavenly bliss and blessing . . . and purchased our salvation with His own blood!
And this gospel is our primary weapon in the arsenal of the Almighty, which He has entrusted to us, in this Christ-centered campaign of war!
To declare God's TRUTH and LOVE in His plan of redemption, and shining the glorious light of His Gospel in this fallen world, burdened with oppresive darkness, remember the G.O.S.P.E.L.
O.MNIPOTENT (All powerful)
The Omnipotence of God is His means and abilities to see that His will is accomplished.
The Love of God is His motive and heart's desire in the salvation of souls snared under the overwhelming power of blinding sin.
And so we must likewise arm ourselves with these; that is, we must by the power of the Spirit of God obey His will in all things, and acquire God's heart of love for the unloveable sinner (which we once were ourselves and would remain so, but by the grace of God).
Not by our power, but His; not by our own human love, but by God's own love, must we so engage in this warfare for mankind, against the great enemy that surrounds us in this world.
The Second Objective in this war is to keep ourselves in the love of God, and respond in kind by keeping His commandments, and fulfilling His will.
I personally believe that once a person genuinely receives Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit is granted as an earnest (EPH 1:14), one can never lose that salvation. I believe Satan realizes this as well, so he cannot rob a saint of his eternal life. What he can do is attempt to make a child of God ineffective, essentially making him an unviable worker and warrior in the Kingdom of God.
The enemy can accomplish this by getting us to live our lives dominated by the flesh, and disobedient to the LORD by not yielding to the Holy Spirit; walking in the flesh* (living for and gratifying self). Thus by not fulfilling the will of the Spirit, we are in opposition to how we are to conduct ourselves as in . . .
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Thus some saints are shipwrecked, or made castaways (1 TIM 1:19; 1 COR 9:27).
* Remember to spell flesh backwards and set aside the 'h'; you get the word 'self'. Now add the 'h' which stands for 'human' and you get a good picture of what 'flesh' means primarily, in the scriptures.
I also happen to believe that God is NOT a God of second chances! He is a God of innumerable chances, that is, He is abundantly willing to forgive and wipe the slate clean, and begin again with the repentant sinner. What we have to remember, if and (more likely) when the enemy ensnares us into a compromised situation, is 1 JOHN 1:9: Lets read that one now: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Thus the admonition that we hear so regularly by our pastors, teachers, counselors: "Keep short accounts with God!" When you fall into sin and transgression, don't wallow in the guilt for this is what Satan would have you do; by this means he is able to beat you down, condemn you, keep you from the grace and forgiveness, from the opportunity by which God can and will forgive you! Anytime I feel condemned, even after I confess my sins, I like to read ROMANS 8, particularly from vs 32 on, but really the entire chapter is spiritual dynamite for demolishing demonic condemnation!
The Third Objective: Is the Glory of God! God is worthy to be extolled, worshipped, exalted, revered, honored and submitted to not only because of what He has done for us (the CROSS), but also for Who He is: that is, His integral nature of love, holiness, purity, justice, mercy and grace, all knowing and all powerful.
Satan hates God and resents that He is so worshipped, and craves such worship for himself. Its seldom seen as a form of spiritual warfare, but worship certainly is, as this is something our enemy is oppossed to, and desires to draw us, the church, away from.
Therefore it behooves every saint to make one's life one that is God-centered in worship according to the Spirit, and to the Truth, to be engaged in, not just in assembly, but privately as well!
God inhabits the praises of His people, and His people obtain a clearer view of God and all His ways through worship. Worship is a kind of window, a 'portal into the very domain of heaven', and we commune with God during such sanctified activity.
The glory of GOD is further revealed when a soul is regenerated and the Spirit of the KING sets up His throne, in residence upon that soul's heart! Its been said before, that "God doesn't save us, merely to get us into heaven, but also so that He might get heaven into us", that is Christ in you, the hope of glory COL 1:27.
The last entry I made entitled MARCHING ORDERS, I addressed issues of spiritual warfare, and the armor of God. With that and with whats written above, the Christian warrior can be fully equipped to handle the battle: for the battle is the LORD's and by none other than the Holy Spirit and His power (ZECH. 4:6)!
On the issue of prayer: one other thing: there can be no victory in any military engagement without proper coordination of the forces to bear, and this can only be accomplished by efficient communication with HQ; in other words at no time whatsoever before, during, and after engagements are we to lose contact with the Captain of the LORD's hosts (The LORD Jesus Christ) through prayer. We are to consult Him in every regard, concerning all aspects.
Once the smoke clears, and it's seen that the enemy is indeed defeated, the need to remain in touch is even greater: for we are at our most vulnerable when we have attained the pinnacles of victory. Satan will have one ace in the hole to throw at us when we achieve victory: spiritual pride!
Next time, I want to talk about the preciousness of GOD's Word and the Blood of the Lamb in this warfare we are engaged in!
NIKAEO AIONIOS AVRAS!