INTRO: Although I was too young to remember this speech which brought the United States of America into a war with the nation of Japan, I have heard these words many times since they were first spoken: "I ask that Congress declare that the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed..." We were at war. And no matter the politics of the matter, President Bush has reminded us numerous times that we are now at war. There is something of which you and I need to be reminded from time to time and it is this. We are at war! Oh, this is a very different war from those of which President Roosevelt and President Bush have spoken. But Christian people are engaged in the struggle of warfare.
I. THE ENEMY?
A. Unfortunately, not a flesh and blood enemy
1. 2 Cor 10:3 - note our warfare is in the flesh but not after the flesh
2. Eph 6:12 - "...against the rulers of the darkness of this world..."
3. it is a totally different kind of war with an unseen enemy - a visible enemy is more easily identified and remembered
B. The enemy is Satan
1. Rev 12:3,4,9,13,15 - the apocalyptic picture of Satan's opposition
2. 1 Chron 21:1 with Zech 3:1 - this has been Satan's history
3. Acts 13:10 - Elymas was a "child of the devil", and as such, he, like the Devil, was the "enemy of all righteousness" (see also Lk 8:12)
C. And Satan does not "fight fair"!
1. he is a liar; he is a deceiver; he is a murderer
2. Jno 8:44
3. would it be easier if he was visible and in the form we often portray him?
II. THE CAUSE?
A. The "broad" answer is Righteousness versus Evil
1. Job 2:3 - this little verse paints the picture so vividly
2. while there is much here beyond my understanding, the issue is clear
3. it is righteousness versus evil ... and Satan is the champion of evil
B. Acts 26:16-18 - To turn people from "the power of Satan unto God"
1. this is truly a struggle for souls!
2. the cause involves seeking the lost and telling them of the "option" of salvation through Jesus' atoning blood
3. people are captives under sentence of death if they remain with Satan!
C. Jude 1:22,23 - To rescue Christians who have fallen again to Satan
1. it is still a struggle for souls
2. Satan's influence and the world's appeal are so very strong - and saints too often find themselves again in Satan's camp
3. Jas 5:19,20 - save the lost ... keep the saved saved!
III. THE DANGERS?
A. War is dangerous!
1. when one enlists in the armed forces, he accepts this reality
2. you and I, Christians, have enlisted in the Lord's army
3. and there are very real dangers we need to acknowledge
B. Notice the following texts:
1. 2 Cor 2:10,11 - Eph 4:26,27 - 2 Cor 11:3
2. fact: Satan is not about to give up on you and me - he is not know as the "destroyer" for no good reason! (Rev 9:11)
3. thus, we must be disciplined, vigilant in the manner of our service and warfare
C. Where is this war being fought?
1. at your workplace, at the school, on the sports field, in your home
2. Satan does not honor any safe harbor - there are no "cease fires"
3. Satan wants your mind and heart ... and everywhere you go, he will be there enticing, opposing
IV. THE COST?
A. Consider2 Cor 10:3-6
1. how often have I read the last words of v. 5? more than I can count
2. the cost in such a warfare is obedience to Christ from our hearts
3. "every thought" must be under the control of our Lord
B. And think, too, of2 Tim 2:3,4
1. there are difficulties we must endure as good soldiers
2. and there are priorities we must never compromise
3. but the cost of this warfare is minuscule compared to the joy of victory
CLOSE: I remember so well the excitement of victory after WW II. The cost of victory was tremendous. But it was well worth it. Will you and I have fought a good fight? Will we have finished our course with joy? Surrender is not an option, my friends.
Cecil A. Hutson
06 June 1
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)