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Warring in the Spirit - 5

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
April 7, 2021 8:00 am

Warring in the Spirit - 5

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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April 7, 2021 8:00 am

Pastor Mark Webb speaks from the book of Ephesians in the last of five messages of the 2021 Spring Bible Conference.

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Well, good evening. It is great to be here once again and let me express for myself and for my wife of just how much we have enjoyed ourselves in your midst and fellowshipping and studying the Word of God with you and thank you for all the kindnesses. We have been just so comfortable. The Missionary House is wonderful and that little ravineer.

Well, if that thing turns up missing, you might want to look for it down in Mississippi. It's just all I'm saying. Anyway, nice little ride to scoot around town in and then thanks to all of you who have taken us out and fed us and got us prepared for our diet that we're going to go on first thing when we get home. So thank you for that. It was terrible suffering, but we smiled all the way through it. So appreciate all of you who have been such. You've been such gracious hosts for us and the joy of being here again. I've always said that this is probably the easiest group of people I think I encounter to preach to because of your just rapt attention.

I'm really impressed. You understand this is a two-way street. This isn't just about us standing up here and talking. There's a give and take.

There's an ebb and flow and you have a part. Good hearing. Good viewers make good preaching and I appreciate you for being such good hearers of the Word of God and hungry hearers.

And I hope you have found this study practical. I got through last night and I was telling my wife on the way back over to the house that I was not really happy with how things had gone. I think I gave you the material I wanted to, but I was just not pleased. And in that I felt like it was somewhat disjointed and loosely connected and I felt tonight I want to try to tie some loose ends together and connect some dots. If you go back to where we have the abrupt switch from doctrine and this revelation of this mystery of God in salvation and the mystery of this universal body of Christ that Paul sets before us in the first three chapters. In chapter 4 it's all about your walk, how you live as a Christian. And fundamental to that walk is what we talked about last night over in Ephesians 5 verse 18 being filled with the Spirit. And we saw that that is a continuous duty.

There's a problem. It's like we leak. There are times we saw it in the book of Acts. They were filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost and then in a few chapters later they're being filled with the Spirit again.

And so forth. What this is showing us is that what this means is that there is a continual need to be tanked up, to top off your tank with the Spirit because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. It's like filling up your tank on Jesus.

That's really what we're talking about. He that has seen me has seen the Father. So it is the Spirit of Christ. I mean Jesus, do you see Him with your physical eyes? Where is He?

He's in glory. But it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ who mediates to us the presence of our Savior. And so in the same sense to be filled with the Spirit is to be filled up on Christ. And if you remember the reason for going over to Colossians 3 where we looked at the parallelism that what Paul says here in Ephesians, be filled with the Spirit, over there this parallel passage which helps us slow folks. You know if he'll say it twice and use different words maybe we'll just catch on. Over there he says, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

In other words he's saying the same thing. And we saw that real intricate, intimate connection between the Spirit of Christ and the word of Christ. And by the word of Christ, whenever you find the phrase word of God in the New Testament, most of the time, I haven't checked this universally, I can't say it's universal, but most of the time that phrase is not talking about in the beginning God created the heavens and earth. Now that's the word of God, okay? But most of the time it is a nickname for what we call the gospel or maybe the gospel is a nickname for it. It's talking about this particular word, the message of salvation that has come to us in Jesus Christ. Now that's going to be important as we go on tonight into this study about warring in the Spirit. Last night more or less we were talking about our duty to walk in the Spirit. Now we're going to make war in the Spirit. Now why do we have to do that? Well because we are behind enemy lines. Jesus Himself as He is departing from His disciples and His earthly ministry warned them that the world hated me and the world is going to hate you. You love me, you become a target. You become the enemy of this present world.

And that raises a question how then are we supposed to fight in this war? And that's a much misunderstood topic. I'm thinking, you know I was talking about the hula hoop, Steve has some hula hoops out on the tree today for me. The fads that we've seen come through our pop culture you know, my earliest memories Davy Crockett hats and that kind of thing. But Christianity has its fads, Evangelicalism. Anybody remember power evangelism a few years ago?

Maybe you didn't get it, it would be just as well as you didn't get it when you were exposed to that. But the idea behind power evangelism is when you take the Gospel into a new area the first thing you've got to do is bind all those demons. And they were finding demons behind every bush, up in your coffee cups, in your counter and you've got to bind Satan and you've got to plead the blood. It's like smearing the blood of Jesus on every wall and the ceiling and everything in the room. You've got to do that first before the Gospel has any power possibility of coming in. You've got to first do this warfare you see to get rid of all these spiritual entities before the Gospel can have an effect. And that really begins to sound more like paganism than Christianity. It's like using the blood of Jesus as some sort of magical incantation. Now I certainly believe that there are demonic forces out there. I've had encounters a few times in the past years of my ministry with things that I don't know how else to express them than to say it certainly looked like demonic influence. However, what we're talking about tonight is not that. This is not teaching you how to cast out demons.

That's dangerous business. Just go talk to the seven sons of Seva that got their clothes ripped off of them. They were the first you don't hear that word anymore. You young people know what it means to be a streaker? You know run naked. Well those are the first streakers.

They ran naked through the streets of this city, Ephesus to where this letter was written. So messing around with demonic forces is dangerous business. But we're not talking about that. We are talking about something far broader and something that impacts every single believer. A spiritual warfare that it is our duty to fight as believers. And it is intricately connected with being filled with the Spirit. To us the text that we read tonight seemed to be disjointed.

You know we were talking last night about the effects of that filling and its music in the heart, joy and thanksgiving and then submitting you remember. And we have just ended that. This whole topic of submission in verse 9 where Brother made up in verse 10 on this subject of spiritual warfare. So it sort of seems like all of a sudden here at the end of this letter Paul is just injecting something from out of left field. Well what I'm trying to say is no this is the natural progression. That you need to be filled with the Spirit and now there needs to be preparation for a war, for a battle because you who are filled with the Spirit of Christ are placed in a world that is being filled with another Spirit.

Let's put our thinking caps on. Have we had mention of another Spirit? You remember you who were dead in trespasses and sin. You remember the zombie walk?

What was it? They walked according to the course of the world and secondly they walked according to the Spirit, the power of the air that now were works in the children of disobedience. Remember Paul is describing the Ephesian Saints prior life to their salvation. You were possessed by the devil. You walked according to the Spirit of the God of this world, the power of the air. What we're saying is that if a man is in this world and lost, this is his description. He's being influenced by the Spirit of Satan.

He doesn't know it. You and I when you were lost we were under that dominion, that Spirit as well. Did you feel like it? Did you feel like a puppet that Satan was somehow pulling your strings? But you see this is spiritual. This is unseen.

It's unfair. You say well if I, you know every time I feel the Spirit, if you can feel it it's probably not the Spirit. It's probably that Spirit that I ate last night.

Okay? Spirits influence from a level that we do not perceive. We're not conscious. We don't feel like we are being moved like a puppet on the end of the stream. We don't feel like we're being manipulated. We think we're doing it. And nevertheless what we begin to understand here is there is other things going on in this world.

Besides what we can see with our eyes. There is a warfare that must be fought. We are to stand strong as soldiers of Jesus Christ.

So I want to try once again to demythalize this if I can say the word. We are not talking about literally putting on armor and going fighting a physical battle. Much harm has been done to the cause of the church and of Jesus Christ by employing the tactics of our enemy to try to advance the kingdom of God. Exercising physical power, political power, any other power. In other words it has nothing to do with coercing or forcing this upon someone else.

It is a different kind of fight. Let me have you turn over to 1 Corinthians 10. Here Paul just sort of throws it out here. Did I say first?

Second. 2 Corinthians 10. Paul is coming back to Corinth and he's got some opposition there and he says I don't want them to think of me as if they're just dealing with somebody in the flesh. Look at verse 2, as if we walked in the flesh. I told the guys on Monday that tradition has it that Paul was 4 foot 11 and bald headed.

I told them I find that strangely attractive myself. But anyway the point being that physically he was not much of an opponent. In other words Paul is saying, fellas don't underestimate me. Don't underestimate who you are dealing with here. I may not look like much in the flesh. They say his letters are pretty weighty and powerful but his bodily presence is contemptible. We were expecting some powerful man and instead we get this strength. Okay?

Don't underestimate. Notice in verse 3, 2 Corinthians 10 verse 3, for though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh. This is not a fleshly battle. That's not the nature of this warfare. And then he has a little parenthetical statement here, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.

It has nothing to do with my muscles or my guns or my tanks. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but they are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Now in his day usually an enemy is going to be up on a high place, a fort, some sort of stronghold. And to defeat them you've got to pull that thing down. You've got to break through the walls. You've got to have these sappers that would undermine a wall so that it would fall in. Well he says our God has given us weapons that will conquer strongholds.

Well you say what kind of strongholds? What are we talking about here? Listen to the three descriptions of them here in verse 5, casting down imaginations.

And every high thing that exhausts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity, we're going to take some captives here, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Three words, imaginations, knowledge and thoughts. Now tell me where do you have imaginations, knowledge and thoughts?

Right between your ears. Do you see what he's describing? The battlefield in this battle is not out on yonder plain. The battle is right here between your ears.

It has to do with how you think. In other words we would call this ideological warfare. And that's the nature of spiritual warfare. It is a battle not of might, of fleshly might. It is a battle of ideas, of truths, ideologies, philosophies, world views. That's the kind of battle that we are fighting.

You with me? And so we go and we take a look then what is the instruction for us as far as we are to fight this battle. He starts out by saying, I'm back at my text here, to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. First lesson, and this was a lesson that was taught Israel long ago that if you are going to win the battle you better do it trusting, resting in God. Now remember God used physical Israel in physical battles against physical enemies.

We call them types and shadows, physical representations of spiritual truth. So the fact that David went out and cut off Goliath's head doesn't mean you are supposed to go out and cut off somebody's head in the name of the Lord. You have to understand that God was using them as an illustration of a principle. And perhaps you will understand what I mean by that as I describe their first battle. You remember God didn't take them out of Egypt by the way of the Philistines because they weren't prepared for war. They had to learn how to fight.

You have to learn how to fight God's way. The first battle they fought was with a bunch of raiders called Amalek. He was their leader, the Amalekites. We see them later on.

And you remember how it worked? God told Moses to send Joshua and the army down in the valley below and remember Moses goes up on the mountain above with the rod of God and Aaron and Hur are up there with him and he's told to stretch that rod out over the battlefield. And so as the battle rages, as long as he would hold the rod out, Joshua would start winning. But as soon as his arm got tired and he lowered the rod, Amalek started winning. Now what is that telling you? What's the spiritual principle here?

That victory is not going to be found in how skillful you are in battle, how many men you've got against how many the enemy has, or what weapons you've got as they are. That didn't make a difference. What made the difference? Moses is up there on the mountain with the rod of God. That's what made the difference. And you remember finally after Moses' arm got so tired, Aaron and Hur held up his arm and Joshua won the battle. That's the first lesson. That's if the battle is to be won, it's got to be won in the power of God. Yes, we've got to fight the battle. But put yourself in Joshua's shoes, sandals.

Put yourself down there in the valley. And who you are fighting, the Amalekites. But you know that no matter how hard you fight, if the rod of God is not held up representing God's blessing, God's power, you're not going to win.

Right? No matter how skillful you are, how brave you are, it doesn't matter. Victory lies up there, not down here on the battlefield.

And that's how Paul is starting this. Be strong in the Lord. Remember who's God. He's not the victory in His hand.

It's all about Him. He's the one who is able to have you prevail in this battle. And then he goes and reminds us that we have to put on armor. Armor, of course, is to protect you from your enemy. Most of this armor, as you probably know, is defensive. It is to protect you from the assaults of the evil one. Ephesians 11 put on the whole armor of God. In other words, you need armor from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.

Because if you leave any part unprotected, that will be the part that the enemy will try to exploit. This is sort of like being filled with the Spirit back there in Ephesians 5. Now he's put on the whole armor of God, the whole spiritual armor to protect from the assaults.

He calls them here the wiles, the tricks of the devil. I was telling some folks this afternoon my son was shot over in Afghanistan. He's a long story.

He's in the Air Force, a special ops guy in the Air Force and medical guy. And they had landed to pick up an Afghan national soldier in a Black Hawk helicopter. And it was apparently a trap.

It was a trick. They had found videotapes of where the Taliban had taped these Red Cross helicopters coming in so that they would know how to ambush them. And that's what happened. They flew right into an ambush. He was shot through the upper thigh. Thank the Lord he survived and missed the bone, missed the femoral artery that they were shooting for. But it was a reminder. They, in fact, once they lifted off the ground, got the medic back on board and my son back on board and took off. And the RPG hit right where they had been sitting.

So it was just God's grace that they didn't lose the whole shebang. But the point is they had been lured into a trap. Well that's how Satan works. He lures us. He seduces us. He ambushes us.

We don't see it coming. And so what he's saying is you need this armor to protect you from these traps. Satan is the tempter. He's the seducer. He's the one who would draw you into sin.

Okay, so how does this work exactly? Most of the time when you hear preaching on the armor of God, the preacher goes through each part piece by piece and tries to sort of apply that. I'm going to just make a fast pass through it because I've got other business with you.

But I do want to touch on it. What I've mentioned here is a figurative, illustrative way of speaking of the gospel. Our armor is the truths of the gospel. And they're applied to different areas of our life.

That's what's going on. So for you folks, you know, we just cut right to the chase. It is to put on Christ, put on gospel the truth. And it is that which protects us from the onslaught of Satan. It is that which enables us to stand.

And that is something that is emphasized in this text. To fall on the battlefield in that day meant probably you're not getting up. Because the warrior who is out there fighting with you when you go down he goes to the next guy and the guy behind him comes behind him with a spear and runs you through. You don't want to fall on the battlefield. And so the instruction is that you need to do everything to enable you to stand in this battle. Look at verse 13, to sin. You see what Satan is trying to do is to seduce you away from Christ-like Spirit-led conduct into satanic conduct. That's his goal. That's what he's doing in this battle.

Now let's get a quick idea of what is involved there. Verse 14, Therefore with your loins girded about with truth. This speaks of a girdle. Now we don't normally talk about men wearing girdles.

If you do I don't want to hear about it anyway. But it's the belt. It's the sash. In their day when they got ready for battle they would tie up their robes and put this sash around it to hold the whole thing together. When you went to battle, when you go to do hard work you've got this long robe on so they would wrap it between their legs and tie it up and in other words to put on the girdle meant that you are preparing for battle.

You're making preparation for the fight. Then you go a little further, put on the breastplate of righteousness, the breastplate of corda over the heart. And the question is well what kind of righteousness are we talking about? Imputed righteousness? Imputed righteousness of Christ? Or the actual righteousness, the works of righteousness that we do?

I don't know. I don't know if it's an either or situation but I think especially it is the imputed righteousness of Christ that is given to us in the Gospel. That is something Satan constantly attacks. He's trying to get you away from Gospel righteousness to another kind of righteousness we call self-righteousness. That's the battle. He wants you to operate on a principle of self-righteousness.

Rather than that righteousness that comes to us in the Gospel or the righteousness we exhibit that is the fruit of the Gospel. Then notice in verse 15 your feet shod. Now what do you do with your feet? In fact you know when I was thinking about armor I never even crossed my mind about your feet.

You know we don't normally think well I need some armor for my feet. But what do you do with your feet? You walk.

What have we been talking about? The Christians walk. Walk in love. Walk in the light. Walk in the Spirit.

So what do you need on your feet so that you walk? Well you need the Gospel. In other words he's talking about walking exhibiting a lifestyle that is compatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You live a life that is congruent, harmonious with the walk. And Satan is doing everything he can get you to do to leave behind, to go back to that zombie walk. Because I don't like this.

I don't even like having to tell you about it. But all of that old zombie is not gone. There is the remnants of sin still in us. You do know about that?

The old man still rears his ugly head. There is something in me that does respond to this spirit that moves the children of disobedience. I've still got some of that in me. Do I need to elaborate? I'm thinking surely you know that in your own experience right? That there is this thing called the flesh. Walk in the Spirit so that you'll not walk in the flesh Paul says. And if walking in the flesh wasn't a possibility you wouldn't have to say that. The moment you get saved, you're filled with the Spirit and you never have to worry about the flesh again he wouldn't have to write that. But it is our constant duty just like our duty to be filled with the Spirit so that we don't walk in the flesh.

So the flesh is always there and guess what? The flesh loves Satan's suggestions. And so we need to put the Gospel as it were on our walk.

Let's go a little further. Taking the shield of faith with which it shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked. What are the fiery darts of the wicked do you suppose? Well it's the satanic lies. The assaults on what we say we believe. You ever have your faith attacked? Maybe you haven't been a Christian very long but let me assure you you're a Christian very long your faith will be attacked.

Assaults, doubts. Those are those fiery darts and what will fend them off is faith. Faith in what? Faith in Gospel truth. That's how we hold fast in this battle. I'm just sort of running through these.

I didn't want to ignore them at all. And then verse 17 take the helmet of salvation. Again salvation as a helmet over your head, over your mind so that your mind as we said a moment ago that's the real battlefield here is protected from the assaults of the evil one. And finally the one offensive weapon the sword of the Spirit which is what? The Word of God. And as I said when you find the phrase Word of God in the New Testament most of the time it's referring to what we call Gospel truth, the Word of Christ, the message of salvation. So notice again I said last night there's an affinity between the Spirit and the Word.

See it here? It's the sword of the Spirit, a spiritual sword that employs the Word of God. That's the only weapon that we are given. Now we sort of skipped over the fact back in verse 12 that we have a variety of enemies. Paul is saying our battle is not against flesh and blood.

Bullets, knives are not going to suffice in this battle. We have an array, a multitude of enemies. You'll notice the terms principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and so forth.

Notice they are all plural. If we were to characterize Satan's kingdom it is a unit, a united kingdom but it is disorganized, it's disjointed. The world, what we call the world is merely the fleshing out of Satan's kingdom. You want to see a visible expression of Satan's kingdom? You say, well it's an invisible spirit. Yeah, that's true.

But you want to see it fleshed out? Take a look at the world. All that is in the world says John is it's the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. We say love makes the world go round, hogwash, those three things.

What makes the world go round? And you see it all around you. You want to know why there is so much crime? You want to know why there is so much violence? Why there is so much war?

It's because of those three things. Those are the principles that rule this world. These are angelic powers that are being listed here. The Jews had this notion, it may be true, I can't say it's true or not from the Word, but they had a notion that each nation had an angel ruling over it.

You remember in the book of Daniel, we see the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece. These are angelic beings that are apparently over those nations. Well the Jews looked at those verses and said apparently every nation has an angelic being over it. You want to know why one nation goes to war against another nation? In their view, it was very interesting.

It was very easy. The angel of this nation stirs up this nation to attack that nation and their angel. In other words, Satan's kingdom works a whole lot like king of the hill.

You all play that when you were kids? King of the mountain? You got one guy, he's up there on the sand pile. How did he get up there? Well he pushed somebody else off. And what's going to happen to him?

Somebody else is going to push him off. And indeed, we see that in the world, you've got one kingdom, Babylon is raised up that bumps off everybody else and then comes along another kingdom, Persia that bumps off Babylon and then you've got Greece rises up and bumps off Persia and then you've got Rome that rises up and bumps off Greece. Do you see what's going on here?

It's king of the mountain. And so there is this disorder and yet at the same time as we'll see a little later tonight, there is a common theme that binds them all together and it's this spirit. It's the constitution of Satan's kingdom. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. That's what drives them all.

They all have common ground. And that's what causes the lack of peace and will cause the lack of peace until our Lord comes back, the prince of peace. So if you're looking for peace in this war, if you're looking for, I'm thinking back to the flower children, I'm dating myself here, the flower children of the 60's. I'd like to buy the world a Coke. What was the song? Peace and love and happiness.

How long did that last? You want that? We all do, but you're not going to see it until Christ comes back because until then, the world is under. The whole world lies in darkness.

See? The spirit, the power of the air that works in the children of disobedience. There is a spirit that will not allow there to be peace. It is a kingdom in conflict all the time.

That's who we're wrestling with. Principalities is an interesting word because it tends to speak of an angelic power over a given region, an area. And the reason that has such an effect on me is for my first 10 years of ministry, I told you I was out in southwest Wyoming where we were under the dominion, I don't know how else to state it, of Mormonism. If you'll show me a map of the western United States, I can take a pencil and draw a circle through western Wyoming, southern Idaho, over through Nevada, northern Arizona and complete that circle and inside that circle Mormonism dominates. Now you may have some Mormons here, but you're not influenced. You're not under their thumb. In that circle, everything is influenced by Mormonism. I would suggest that there's a reason for that, that there is an angelic power involved in Mormonism and the cults and places like the Middle East with Islam, Buddha, Hinduism.

Each of those things are different flavors of satanic deception, right? You say, well how do you have that? Why don't you just have one? Let me put it to you this way. One and one equals how many wrong answers can you give me? How many right answers can you give me?

Just one. You see era by its very definition is broad. Truth by its very definition is narrow, ok? And so when we answer, you see the devil really doesn't care whether you're a Mormon or a Hindu. He doesn't care which lie you believe as long as you believe the lie. And oh my, there's thousands of lies religiously speaking floating around out there. How many truths are there? You see Satan has no united body.

The body is all in conflict with itself. The kingdom of Christ is very different. It's just one body. And how many truths does that body believe? How many faiths? One faith says Paul.

Do you understand? The body of Christ is united in what it believes. Satan's kingdom is not that way and Satan could care less. The one uniting factor is that you all believe a lie. He doesn't care which lie.

It really makes no difference as long as you don't believe the truth because that's the one thing he hates and must attack. We'll talk about that as we close, if we ever close. This is my last shot at you folks.

Come on. In other words, spiritually speaking there's just two kingdoms on this planet. Just two spiritually speaking.

Oh I know we've got hundreds, you've got 200 and something nations in the United Nations. But spiritually there's just two. There's the one based on lies and there's the one based on truth. There's the kingdom of Satan. There's the kingdom of Christ. There's just two kings, aren't they? Just Satan and his angels as it's described or the Christ and our king.

There's then two armies. You remember the spirit of Satan, that's what we were told back in chapter 2, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. That means grandma that's not saved, she's under that spirit. Your next door neighbor that's not saved, he's under that spirit.

We're not talking about some radical. We're talking about common, ordinary, lost people who are under the dominion of the spirit of Satan. Go to 1 John, you can see there's only two kinds of spiritual kids. There's the children of the devil and there's the children of God. There's no intermediary. There's nothing in the middle.

You're either in one category or in the other. And so what's happened is we've got a world that is dominated by satanic spirit. Into that world Christ has poured out His spirit on His people and the invasion of Satan's kingdom has begun. You see what's happening? Coming into this kingdom of darkness is the light of the world and people who are the light of the world and now walk in the light, they don't walk in darkness. They believe the truth, they don't believe the lie.

Do you get the picture? Do you understand then why the conflict arises? Where the hostility comes from, from Satan? This is a fight to the finish.

It's do or die. And so a battle has begun between as it were two spirits, two ideologies, two ways of thinking. And especially you say, well how would I recognize this spirit of Satan? How do I recognize a false religion?

I mean there's thousands of them. There was a group of men sitting over in England one day and the scholars discussing what is peculiar about Christianity. And they said, well it's that the gods came down to earth as a man. They said, no there's other religions that teach something like that. And one said, well it's the idea of a resurrection from the dead. And they said, no there's other religions out there that talk about a resurrection.

You know they have a resurrection motif. C.S. Lewis walked into the room. He said, what are you all discussing? And they told him, we're trying to figure out what is so peculiar about Christianity and he said, it's easy. It's grace.

And he hit the nail right on the head. You want to know what makes Christianity unique from all the other religions in the world? It is this idea that we saw back in the first three chapters of this letter, this idea of sovereign, free, pure, electing grace. There is no other religion on the face of the earth that believes in such. All other religions are based on, and this is about 12 years ago I came.

You all have slept since then. Preached on Job. You all remember the series on Job? And I said that in that second chapter Satan tips his hand. He shows us his cards. He uses a phrase called skin for skin. He's telling you what he thinks he's going to be able to, why he's going to be able to manipulate Job. Skin for skin.

A man will do anything you want to save his own life. Skin for skin, it's a trading metaphor. I give you this, you give me that.

That's how trading works. I defined it back then by the phrase quid pro quo. Back then nobody had ever heard of that phrase. Since the impeachment thing everybody's heard of quid pro quo, right? It's Latin. It means something for something. It is the principle that lies at the bottom of contractual law. If you're going to buy something they agree to give you this, you agree to give them that. Something for something, quid pro quo. My point is that every religion on the face of the earth with the exception of one operates by quid pro quo. Now just take a look, I don't know what you know about Mormonism but my lands. It is a system of works and merit all the way from your preexistence.

They would tell you the reason you and I are born white because we were good in our preexistence. It's like salvation to them is like working your way up the rungs of a ladder. And damnation to be damned is like damned up a river. You get stuck on a rung so that's about as close a thing to damnation you're going to find in Mormonism.

But it is a work system from beginning to end. Now that's the obvious example of it but you have other examples. You have the attacks of Satan trying to work quid pro quo into the gospel of grace. Just read what was going on in Galatia. That's what's happening in Galatians and why Paul is so upset because just some seemingly minor detail. We think you need to be circumcised. You Gentiles, you need to be circumcised in order to be saved. Paul immediately saw this is quid pro quo. This is you doing something to earn God's favor.

And he had nothing good. These guys, let them be anathema. Let them be damned is what he's saying. In other words, the moment that you let a little quid pro quo into the picture, you have destroyed the gospel. And so Satan constantly attempts and he does it not only in churches but he does it in our own mind that if I'll just get up and work, if I'll just do a little better today, God will be pleased with me. You ever have those, Jerry Bridges talks about the difference in one day getting up and having a time of devotion and it's sort of like you had a wonderful prayer time and you sort of feel like well I deserve good things today. And then the next day you get up and you get up late and you sleep in and the alarm doesn't go off and you're ragged and well nothing good is going to happen today.

And he said, what are you doing? You're living by this principle of works that if I'll just do the good things that God wants me to do, He'll pay me, He'll reward me. Do you realize how ingrained that is in the heart of man? And as I say, that's the basis of all false religion and there's just one exception.

It's this gospel of grace. There's just two religions, do and done. And then there is the attacks on our behavior. One of these systems says hate your enemy. The other says love your enemy.

Now does anybody here besides me have a problem with that? Love your enemy. Hate your enemy, I'm right there with you.

Okay? But love your enemy. You think Satan plays around with that one in your heart?

How about the guy that cuts you off in traffic and you say a few cuss words, you know, a little curse. What does Jesus say? Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who persecute you and mistreat you and say all manner of evil again.

Anybody have a problem? You see what He's describing? It's the kingdom of heaven. This is how His kingdom works. This is gospel conduct. You say, but yeah, they got it coming. So did you.

We all got it coming. And a Savior went to the cross and took it in our place. Do you see the point? We are expected to render better things, not just being righteous, but be good. Go beyond. Not just do what they did to you back to them, do as you would have them do unto you.

Let me just put it in terms I hope you can understand. I am so disappointed in the evangelical church over the events of the last year or so because it seems like that we've got this notion that whatever our opponents does, then we do it back to them in spades. If they yell at us, we yell at them. If they demonstrate, then we're going to get a bigger demonstration. If they're going to riot, we're going to riot.

You get the picture? The idea is we're going to overcome this evil. But the problem is Paul has instructed us, do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good. You see we have the idea you've got to fight fire with fire. You don't fight fire with fire, you fight fire with water. See the difference? I'm thinking old Polycarp, the old man, the Roman soldiers came to arrest him and take him to his martyrdom and before he let them leave, he set them down and fixed them a meal.

Examples of kindness and examples of love and examples of mercy. I've had Christian people in the last few months tell me that they were ready to take their guns and just go shoot some liberals. Am I talking to anybody here? And what I'm trying to tell you is if that's the way you feel, you're already defeated. You say, I'm going to go whip Satan. No, you've already been whipped. You've already caved in to the way of satanic spirit, satanic philosophy, satanic ideology.

Christianity is antithetical to the works, the philosophy, the world view of Satan. And so that's why I need armor. I need armor on my mind, I need armor on my heart, I need armor on my feet. I need to be on guard for these attacks. My flesh is only too ready to respond to these satanic suggestions.

One final thing and I'll let you go. Revelation chapter 12. We get into a little eschatology here.

I knew you was waiting on that. Revelation chapter 12. I used to be an eschatological expert and now I'm an eschatological agnostic.

The more I've studied, the less I think I know. But there is this scene in Revelation 12, you're probably familiar with it, the dragon about ready to devour the woman that's about to give birth to a child that's going to be caught up and rule the nation. Seems to be a real condensed version of the gospel. Well it sounds like this is Christ being caught up. And then there's this war in heaven in verse 7 and the angels kicked out Satan. Satan get kicked out. He's thrown down to the world in verse 9. In verse 10 it says, Now there's this loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation and strength, the kingdom of our God, the power of his Christ. For the accuser of our brethren is cast down who accused them before our God day and night. Now it seems something's changed. I personally believe this is happening at the ascension of Christ to the throne.

I don't know. It seems like Satan may have had the, he had lawyer rights. He was able to go past the bar till that and now he's gotten thrown out. His case got thrown out of heaven.

Good way of putting it. Doesn't have a leg to stand on anymore. So the only thing he's got left is just to attack you and I down here on earth. He can't make any charges stick in heaven anymore because of the death of Christ. Now that's my theory as far as it goes.

Okay. But look at verse 11, And they overcame him. This is spiritual warfare. This is the saints overcoming Satan.

How do they do it? By the blood of the lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they love not their lives until the death. There's your cue. There's your, there's gospel truth there, the blood of the lamb. That's gospel. That's our armor. Satan comes to me and condemns me, accuses me of something.

The best thing you and I can do is agree with him. Satan, you're exactly right. In fact, it's a whole lot worse than you've got, you're making it out to be.

You don't know the half. But there's a savior who went to a cross and shed his blood to wash me from my sin. And there is nothing that you can lay against me and make it stick. Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? God has justified me. There's the word of their testimony. There's that sword of the Spirit, gospel proclamation that puts Satan in his place, that he has no other weapon left, and then they love not their lives to the death.

They're willing to lay down their life for these truths. And against that, Satan is absolutely powerless. Oh, may God preserve us from ourselves.

May he keep us from conduct that no matter how loudly we proclaim salvation by grace and mercy alone, may he keep us from a lifestyle that negates everything that comes out of our mouth, that somehow we live by another principle than what we say we believe. Jesus was going through Samaria on a trip to Jerusalem there in Luke 9, and they were going to go into the Samaritan village for the evening, and the Samaritans wouldn't receive him. And you've got those two boys, sons of Boanerges, James and John, sons of Thunder. He says, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and destroy them?

Anybody want to do that to the liberals? Do you want us to call down fire from heaven and destroy them? Do you remember what Jesus said? Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

Well, what's he saying? Is he saying they're demoniacs, that they've got demons? No, he's just saying what you're speaking is Satan's way.

That's what Satan does. You know not what manner of spirit you are of. The Son of Man didn't come to destroy men's lives. He came to save them.

Oh, let us never lose sight of our mission, and then never let us be like that elder son in the story of the prodigal son. How dare you? How dare you receive somebody? He blew it.

He wasted. You know, I've got things coming to me. There's things I deserve.

Do you see the quid pro quo? He's getting stuff he didn't earn, and I've got stuff coming to me, and it's not me. You never gave me a feast. You never killed the fatty calf for me.

You never did anything for my friends. Do you see the whining and complaining? All based on this principle of quid pro quo. The younger son was probably just like that when he left the farm, but slopping pigs sort of made a little change, a little attitude adjustment, just happy to be back and welcomed back by his father. You see, that is such an intriguing parable because it sort of brings out in us which of those two sons do we identify with, the one who's always been there towing the line day in, day out, and we've earned it, we've got it coming, or somebody that has just blown it, and when I say blew it, blown it, they've blown it.

They have no right, and they simply come back on the principle of grace, and they find grace. I don't know about you. That's me.

That's me. Thank you for giving me the privilege of sharing these things with you. I do hope, especially these last messages, that the dots are being connected a little bit, loose ends being tied, of why we need that feeling of the Spirit to be tanked up on gospel to the extent that you cut us, we bleed gospel. Be so full of the Spirit of Christ that we start acting like Him, talking like Him, behaving like Him, so that we might have armor, gospel armor, that enables us to stand against these attacks, the wiles of the devil.

Let's pray. Father, enable us for the day in which we live. We live in difficult, strange times, but, Father, this world has never, ever been a friend to grace. Why are we surprised that it seems like the whole world has gone crazy?

Why are we surprised that the world seems to be plunging headlong into darkness? Father, our duty is to stand firm in this evil day, that we might put on armor to protect ourselves against the wiles of Satan, his lies, his tricks, his deceits, and then that we might wield the sword of the Spirit and proclaim this gospel. And, Father, our hope, our trust of winning the battle lies in Thee.

It lies in your sovereign power to do mighty things through the weakest of vessels. Father, astound us once again with your mercy and grace, and may you use us as you see fit in your kingdom's work. I thank you for this church, for its pastors and their families. Continue to use this place is indeed not only as their name, but in truth a beacon of the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in this area. Thank you for them, for the blessing they have been to me.

Continue to use them. Help us through this difficult time of COVID. May we see that even in this, your purpose is going forward. For it's in the name of our great Savior, we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-03 22:58:55 / 2023-12-03 23:17:53 / 19

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