The War

As you read and study what has been written here, do not just blindly accept it. Please check the Scriptures and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you His truth. The Scriptures quoted here are from the King James' version with the words of Jesus in red.

Are you born again? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior? If so then you are in the middle of a spiritual war zone. It is the war between satan and God that has been going on for a very long time. That war was started when the angel Lucifer (satan) decided he wanted to be equal with God. It resulted in God throwing satan down to earth. That act is described in Isaiah chapter 14 and verses 11 through 15.

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isaiah 14:11-15)

There only two sides to that spiritual conflict; satan's or God's. Satan's side, which is called the kingdom of darkness and God's, called the Kingdom of light. We are on one side or the other but never both! Every human being is born into the kingdom of darkness through the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Eve believed the lie satan fed her in the garden of Eden and after eating of the forbidden fruit she then convinced Adam to also eat of it.

Satan had taken on the form of a serpent and he employed his most often used weapon to convince her to disobey God. That weapon is the half-truth which is so believable but is not the truth. Verses 1 through 6 of the third chapter of Genesis describes the subtle half-truth lie he used to convince Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Because of this, God banished them from the garden.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. (Genesis 3:1-6)

This act of disobedience caused God to banish Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden. God is not able to look upon sin so it also caused a separation in, or death of, the relationship between them and God. It was not until the death, burial, and ascension of Christ that the full restoration of that relationship would be possible. We are told in Romans 5:10-15 that God provided the means for that restoration while we were still enemies (sinners).

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (Romans 5:10-15)

The wording of the Message translation does a much better job of providing a clearer understanding of that passage in Romans.

If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we're at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah! You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we're in--first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn't sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it. Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do!

Our being "born again of the spirit" allows us to leave the kingdom of darkness and enter the kingdom of light as we are told in 1 Peter 2:9.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar {purchased} people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: (1 Peter 2:9)

When you were first saved, or born again, you were probably told that once you accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior life will be great. And that Jesus is the answer to all your problems. What you should have been told is you just enlisted in the army of God.

Now that you are part of God's army, you have a mortal enemy who wants you dead. It is stated quite plainly in 1Peter 5:8 that he wants to devour you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8)

The words of Jesus are recorded in John 10:10 where He said "satan is out to steal, kill and destroy." He also said that He, Jesus, "came to give us life more abundantly."  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

Satan's desire and goal is to rule everything he can, including your life. It is a battle for your life and destiny. He will use every weapon he has to distract you from the destiny that God has provided for you with the death and resurrection of His son Jesus. Make no mistake about the intentions of the evil one. He wants to prevent you from becoming an effective Christian. He has declared all-out war and you are the object he is seeking to destroy.

You my not realize that you are involved in a war but you are. It might be you just don't recognize the attacks of the enemy because he uses the lies he has whispered to you. These lies contain enough truth to be quite believable. It requires you to have your spiritual discernment active to determine if they are completely true or merely cleverly disguised half-truths.

If you don't think you are engaged in warfare it could be because you are not experiencing any attacks by the enemy. There are a several reasons why this might be so. You might not recognize what an attack of the enemy looks and feels like because it is spiritual.

Many of those attacks have taken the form of half-truths the world has been told about the realm of magic. It has been portrayed as an exciting world of fantasy that is nothing more than harmless fun. One of the recent examples is the Harry Potter series of books by JK Rowling which are filled with witchcraft, sorcery, and wizards. (Note: 2 Chronicles 33:6 tells us that God was angered when King Manessah engaged in witchcraft. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. (2 Chronicles 33:6)

That verse clearly tells us God is not pleased when His people engage in witchcraft, familiar spirits and wizards.)

Each installment of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series gets increasingly deeper into this realm of evil. Her books, and the movies made based on them, have poisoned the minds of countless thousands of children with this spiritual garbage.

Now there is a new similar series written by Phillip Pullman on the scene. He is reported to have told the Washington Post in 2001 that, ''I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief.''

The first of his books is "The Golden Compass" and it has already been made into a movie. Unfortunately, the movie has been cleansed of most of the overtly anti-religious material and will therefore not hit the radar screen of parents who want to protect their children from this type of menace.  The subtleness of this form of spiritual pollution is such that even the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has recently endorsed the movie saying it is "lavish, well-acted and fast paced." I repeat my earlier statement that a very active spiritual discernment is vital to protecting ourselves from accepting and believing these half-truth lies of the evil one. That spiritual discernment comes only by a close relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Your protection comes from learning about, and wearing, the defensive clothing God has provided for us. Be prepared by putting on the whole protective clothing of God. This clothing is spiritual, not physical. It is not something you can see with your natural eyes but only with your spiritual eyes. He has provided it but, we must put it on and use it for it to be of any benefit. This clothing is described as armor in verses 10 through 18 of the sixth chapter of Ephesians.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:10-18)

The Message Bible states it somewhat differently but perhaps a little more clearly for us.

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

The wording of the Message bible in this passage makes it quite clear we are engaged in a very real fight with important effects for not giving serious attention to it. Our very life depends upon us using all the weaponry and protective clothing God has made available for our use.

God has also provided us with all the weaponry necessary to be successful in this battle. These weapons are spiritual, not physical ones that we can see with our natural eyes. We must use our spiritual eyes to see these spiritual weapons.  As you mature in the Christian faith you should also become more knowledgeable of the scriptures. You will then naturally become more aware of the fact there is indeed a spiritual war going on.

The primary battlefield where this war is fought is your mind. This is where the flaming darts the evil one sends your way in the form of lies enter your awareness. It is also here that you must rebuke those lies by using the word of God in the same manner Jesus did when tempted by satan after the 40 days in the wilderness.

And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:3-10)

Sometimes the lies satan tells us are half-truths about other people or what other people think about us. And often the enemy will use another person to feed us his lies. These lies seem so believable that our natural man wants to take the bait of offence and react in the flesh. It is often difficult to discern these are just the lies of the enemy. I state again, the battleground is your mind. It is where the devil will send his lies to derail you from the path of the Lord. Another of his methods is to convince us to have a bad attitude about the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

We indeed are in the midst of a war! The nature of our natural man is to think the war is one of worldly flesh rather than in the heavenlies. We must remember that it is a spiritual war and it must be fought with spiritual weapons.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 instructs us: For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;

Our response should not be to fight this enemy in the natural because it is a spiritual conflict. Earthly weapons are of no use in a spiritual war. They will only cause additional conflict and anguish. People are not the enemy. The enemy is a murderous spirit being with the intention of destroying you. Our spouse, neighbor, workmate, or the person we encounter on the street is not the enemy. The evil one may use them in an attempt to make it appear they are our enemy but it is satan who is the real enemy. Even though the conflict might appear on the surface to be physical it is really spiritual. The spiritual conflict being manifested in the physical is one of the many subtle disguises used by the evil one to distract us from God's plan. The enemy is satan and his hired demons and not our fellow man.

Our natural man is not well enough equipped to survive the battle. Every one of us need all the help that God has for us in the way of protective clothing and weaponry to withstand the onslaughts sent by the enemy of our soul. Even someone like Peter was told by Jesus that satan would "sift him like wheat" so why do we think we don't need God's help in this war. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (Luke 22:31)

We do have protection in this battle and we can survive! Our defense and protection is having a close relationship with Jesus and continuing to meditate upon God's word. We can take much comfort from the words of the first ten verses of Psalm 91 where we are told that if we stay in the secret place of God He will protect us from the acts of the evil one.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (Psalms 91:1-10)

T. Austin Sparks (1888- 1971) wrote an article that he titled "Stripping Down to Christ Alone." In that article he speaks of both "the forces of satan and the power of the resurrection of Jesus as a present reality being our only hope." I have included two paragraphs from that article.

"As we get nearer the close of this age, the contact with... and impact of... the forces of Satan are going to be such that only those who know the full testimony of Jesus and stand experimentally in it will be able to go through without being paralyzed. The aspect of things is fast changing. The past twenty years has seen a movement into a realm where the old methods and means no longer prove effectual. We shall soon find a tremendous pressing down of the powers of darkness upon this earth, using the world-powers to such a degree and in such ways as to eclipse anything which has hitherto been. This is in full accord with the Word of God.  There will be one, and only one, hope for God's people: their knowledge of Him in Christ... and the power of His resurrection as a present spiritual reality. Not their activities, enthusiasms, organizations, enterprises, creeds, "churches," orthodoxy, etc., but HIMSELF. That time, which is now coming upon us - though imperceptible to so many who are preoccupied with plans and programs - will make manifest the principle of the "one Body," for each of the Lord's children will feel keenly the need of the fellowship of another, no matter of what connection, so long as that other knows Him."

He wrote that article in 1930 and now nearly 80 years later we are so much closer to the return of Christ. The evil one knows his reign is almost over and is even more intent on creating as much destruction as he can to the kingdom of God. A large part of that destruction is persecution taking the form of hatred displayed towards the people of God. We must remember the words of Jesus when He warned of the possibility of our being hated by the world as recorded in John chapter 15, verses 18 through 21.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. (John 15:18-21)

Jesus indicates it will come from the world. It will be the work of evil one in his attempt to rule the world and distract believers from following Jesus. As the day of Christ's return draws nearer we will see the escalation of this persecution.

It is my personal belief that we will see this persecution from within the institutional or organized church system. There are a great many within the institutional church system who are still of the world. There are several studies indicating that over half of those attending church services are not born again.

These same studies also state a large percentage of those who pastor don't believe the Bible to be the Word of God. These pastors and church members may know about Christ but they obviously do not know Him! They have not yet had a personal encounter with Him. These are the ones I personally think will be the main ones to hate and persecute those of us who are desirous of a close walk with the Lord. Remember, it was none other than the pharisees and Sadducees that fought against Jesus.

The evil one will try hard to use this mixture of clean and unclean in his attempt to destroy the church. It is my belief however, that ultimately it will begin the separation of the tares from the wheat. There are two passages of scripture that I feel that references this mixture of the harlot and the bride.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Many have said these two verses are a call to physically come out of the organized church system. My position is these verses are a call to holiness. That we are being called to refrain from participation in those non-scriptural activities of the church, but not necessarily to physically withdraw from it. However, for some people that may become necessary. I think some may even be asked to leave because of their refusal to support the non-scriptural activities.

In Ephesians, verse 27 of chapter 5, we are told that Jesus is expecting to find a glorious, spotless and wrinkle-free church without blemishes when He returns.  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)

These scriptures in 2 Corinthians 6:17, Revelation 18:4 and Ephesians 5:27 instruct us to be careful about how we think and the actions we engage in. As part of His church we have good reason to be completely clean of thought and deed. This is reinforced by what Jesus said, in Matthew 16, verse 18, that I will build my church and that it shall remain. Knowing it is Jesus who will build the church, not man, and that it will not fail should give us great comfort. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Yes my brothers and sisters, we are in the middle of a war zone but it is not our fight. The fight is the Lord's and our job is to be obedient to His command. He is the commander-in-chief and we are His army. As we clothe ourselves in His armor trusting in His ability, and completely put on His robe of righteousness while listening intently to His instructions we will become that spotless and wrinkle free church He expects to find on His return.

It is vital we obey the words of Jesus in the first part of verse 33 of Matthew chapter 6. But seek ye first the kingdom of God. Our next action should be to pray without ceasing these additional words spoken by of Jesus in Matthew 6:10. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. While doing that we should also do as recorded in 1 Peter 1:13-16.  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

This all seems to be a very tall order for us to fulfill. And it is because we are not able to do it by ourselves. It can only happen as we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. Abiding in Christ is the key to us allowing the Holy Spirit to accomplish this important work.  Be encouraged for the fight is not ours but God's. Be strengthened through mediation on His word and stay connected by abiding in Christ for these will provide you the protective clothing and weaponry necessary for survival.

Bill Liddle
December 16, 2007

 If you desire additional information you may contact me:  Bill


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