Sunday, April 23, 2023

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Spiritual Warfare

Each and every day, we all face a war. Each battle of this war is fierce and the outcome of each battle means spiritual life or death for each of us. I’m not talking about the war in Ukraine or possible war over Taiwan. I am talking about a spiritual war a lot closer to home. This war’s casualties can be our immortal souls. We need to be prepared to fight for our souls on a daily basis and be victorious in each battle. If we are not, our souls will be given over as a prize to Satan.

Over the last couple of decades, our society has changed. There are days when I barely recognize it. Growing up in a small agriculture and ranching community deep in the heart of Texas, I learned very early that communities were made of good, upstanding Christians who would give you the shirt off their back or the last morsel of food they could spare. If there was a tragedy in the community, everyone rallied and provided not only physical support but also spiritual support. Prayer groups would spread the word like wildfire and people would come to the rescue. We didn’t have to worry about things. The times, however, have changed.

Now, we see all sorts of things that a few years ago would be unthinkable. Violent crime is on the rapid climb as well as all sorts of other things that I will not go into. Communities have to worry about individuals going to their schools and killing their children. Drug use is up. Violent crime is up. Sexual crimes are up. About the only thing that is going down is church attendance and the belief in God. I see the legacy of Sodom and Gomorrah is alive and well. 

Instead of banding together and speaking out, we are terrified by the mob who threaten our lives or of being doxxed. We are not safe at work or at play for fear of someone pointing us out. The freedom of religion is considered some weird thing of the past. Those in the media call Christians “idiots and morons” for believing in some spirit in the sky. Television, radio and film are filled with filth and disgusting things. All of those things are the barrage before the battle.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I’m here to tell you that Satan is waging an all-out assault for our souls and the souls of everyone in the world. He and his demons will stop at nothing to win this war and declare victory over all that is good. He wants nothing more than to reign supreme over all of us, but that is where he is wrong. As long as we have a breath in our body and the ability to rally to the aid of each other, we can defeat him with God’s strength. Satan, for all of his bustling and bristling, is powerless. As Christians, all we have to do is believe and invoke the name of Jesus. Satan and his demons cannot overcome God and His son, Jesus.

Peter, in his first letter, wrote, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 NLT)

For all their power, lions are lazy hunters. They don’t go after the strongest in the herd and risk coming up short and facing a night of hunger. They go after the weaker in the herd. They seek out the ones that follow behind and are slow. However, the lion still may come up short on getting something to eat. Herds work together to protect the young and the infirm. They will circle around the young and frail ones and use their bodies as shields.

God has given us the power through His very name to send Satan and his stooges running for cover. All we have to do is to stand firm and resist temptation and know that God is with us. His son, Jesus, showed us how we can have victory over Satan. Faith keeps us strong and safe. Through faith, we can achieve many things.

The Bible is filled with stories of people who faced spiritual battles and emerged victorious. One such story is that of David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17, we read about how the Philistines were at war with Israel. Goliath, a giant of a man, taunted the Israelites, challenging them to send out a champion to fight him. None of the Israelites were brave enough to face him, until David stepped forward.

David was just a young shepherd boy, but he had faith in God. He knew that with God on his side, he could defeat Goliath. David refused to be intimidated by the giant's size and strength. He stood firm in his faith and trusted in God to give him victory. And God did. David defeated Goliath with a single stone from his sling.

We may feel small and weak, like David did when facing Goliath, but with God on our side, we can overcome any obstacle. Faith is the one thing that those in the world cannot take from us as long as we are true believers and followers of Christ Jesus.

Another important aspect of spiritual warfare is the importance of community. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, we are reminded that we are all part of one body in Christ. We need each other to function properly. Just as each part of the body has a unique function, so too do each of us have a unique role to play in the body of Christ. We need to support one another, encourage one another, and bear one another's burdens.

Like the small community I grew up in, we have the ability to come to the aid of one another and support each other in time of need. We do this, because we love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Jesus showed his love for us by dying on a cross and being our atonement sacrifice.
Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, let us heed the words of Peter and stay alert. Let us be on guard against the attacks of the enemy and stand firm in our faith. Let us remember that we are not alone in our struggles, and that we have a community of believers all over the world who are going through the same kind of suffering that we are. And let us trust in God's power to give us victory in our spiritual battles.

When we do those things in love and in faith, we can overcome our arch foe and stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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