Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is Spiritual Warfare Real?


Rev. 19:11-16 King of Kings
Since the sixties, a battle for sexual purity and sexual identity has increasingly ravaged the western world. Its origin is spiritual. What we see on earth refects a conflict in heaven.

I was speaking to a group of Christian adults about sexual purity and the importance of biblical men and women's roles. I had just made the statement that the prophet Elijah epitomized true masculinity, and that his nemesis, Jezebel, represented a perversion of femininity when suddenly a man stood up, raised his hands, and turned slowly to the audience, “Stop this man. He is preaching heresy. I can’t believe we are listening to this?”

My first response was panic. What should I do? Should I defend myself? How will I restore order? Not knowing what else to do, I prayed, “God help me. Show me what to do.”

Immediately a supernatural peace blanketed me. With it came a certainty that God was in control, that he would restore order to the meeting, and that he would take care of me.

My antagonist spoke for a few more minutes and then sat down. An anxious quiet settled over the crowd. We all wondered what would happen next.

Then the pastor of the church, who was in the audience,  rose and defended  my thesis. Finally, I was able to resume where I had left off.

I was naïve. This resistance surprised me. Given my subject matter it should not have. Although I have been teaching the Bible for almost thirty five years, this is the only time this has happened. It happened because my subject threatened the devil’s jurisdiction.

I had just experienced a minor case of spiritual warfare.

Paul reminds us that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. It is but against the “rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). It is easy for we Evangelicals to be naïve about spiritual warfare, but it is all around us, and when evidence of it surfaces it can be intimidating. The Devil will speak through anyone, believer or unbeliever, that either through ignorance or malice, will allow themselves to be used.

Satan actively disseminates rebellion. We fight the same enemy today that Jesus and Paul fought. The conflict is over the same issues, but it often looks s different in each generation. For example we have moved from the worship of Asherah in the 8th century BC, to the worship of Diana in 100 AD, to Mary worship in Catholicism today. All three are forms of female idolatry. In terms of parent/child relationshipsm the battle has morphed from infant sacrifice in the 8th century BC, to “exposing” children under bridges in first century Rome, to today's culture of abortion.

Brothers and sisters. Let us not be naive. Let us walk dialed into the spiritual world. Unless God intervenes Christians will experience more, not less spiritual oppression in the years ahead. But this need not be a cause of fear. Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lord. He will conquer! We may lose an occaissional battle, but we will never lose the ultimate war...

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