Calvary Road Baptist Church

“WAR” 

On July 4th, almost 245 years ago, the Continental Congress issued the Declaration Of Independence. Not only was that famous document a declaration of independence from Great Britain, but it was also effectively a declaration of war against that same country, the only superpower in existence anywhere in the world.

On Dec 7, 1941, the Japanese navy simultaneously attacked, by surprise, the forces of the U. S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands. The next day, Congress enacted a formal declaration of war at the behest of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

In both cases, an actual state of war existed before the formal declarations of war were issued. The formal issuance of a declaration of war served to make our country’s position very clear regarding the whole situation.

I am a child of God by the new birth. That is the only way anyone becomes a child of God. My new birth into the family of God took place on March 31, 1974. Soon after my rebirth, I discovered that I had been born into a state of war. As I began to mature and grow, I learned that this war, too, was, at first, undeclared. But shortly after the battles had started, the Declaration of War was formally issued.

The battles of this spiritual conflict originated in heaven with Satan’s rebellion and recruitment of one-third of the angelic host. They spread to the human race in the Garden of Eden, where Satan, making use of a serpent, outflanked Adam and won the opening battle in the human realm, which ended with Eve’s beguilement and the fall of the human race when Adam turned traitor.

The declaration of war between God and His forces and Satan and his forces can be found in Genesis 3.15. The unique thing about God’s declaration of war is that He sovereignly ordained the outcome of the war and declaring the formal state of war existing. The head of the serpent would be crushed, and Satan would be defeated. God made that prediction. And Satan was defeated. He was soundly defeated on the cross of Calvary.

Do you want to know something else interesting? Even though the war has been won by my side, which is to say God’s side, there are still battles raging, and losses on our side are frequently heavy.

Do you want to know something even more strange? Most of the soldiers who are supposed to be fighting on God’s side, His children, lose sight of the fact that there is a war on, sometimes acts as though they think they are at a picnic, and frequently can be found eating snow cones with the enemy.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, I want you to realize, in no uncertain terms, that there is a war on, and you are in the battle, if you wish to be or not. There are three ways you can tell that you are involved in this war: 

The first way you can tell that you are at war is because you have, according to the Word of God, an enemy called “the world.” 

What is the world? The Greek word for world, in this instance, is kόsmoV. This is very similar to the Russian term for what we refer to in English as an Astronaut, Cosmonaut if you care to recall such trivia. The Greeks used this word to describe the universe as they saw it. The term generally means order or arrangement. The New Testament uses of the word takes on a variety of meanings. 

Kόsmos = universe as a whole, Acts 17.24

Kόsmos = earth, John 13.1; Ephesians 1.4

Kόsmos = evil world system, Matthew 4.8; John 12.31; First John 5.19

Kόsmos = human race, Romans 3.19

Kόsmos = humanity minus believers, John 15.18; Romans 3.6

Kόsmos = Gentiles in contrast to Jews, Romans 11.12

Kόsmos = believers only, John 1.29; 3.16-17; 6.33; 12.47; First Corinthians 4.9; Second Corinthians 5.19 

What I refer to in this message is the vast worldwide system over which Satan is the prince. All of unsaved mankind is a part of this “world” and is united in their opposition to Almighty God’s purposes. That would include, to painfully remind you, the non-Christians you might have celebrated Christmas with, Christmas being the observation and remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. Back to the “world.” It is referred to by the Apostle John in First John 5.19: 

And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 

Let me give you an example of this “world” at work. After the worldwide Flood, in which only Noah’s family were saved of all mankind, God ordered the eight survivors, four couples and in time their heirs, to disperse and replenish the earth. What did they do instead of obey God? They gathered together into the city of Babel. They rebelled against the purposes of God. Is it not ironic that unsaved people, the “world,” typically gathers when God has directed them to scatter, while God’s people are told to gather and, instead, remain ungathered?

Here is a second example. Among the first-century Jewish people, the Sadducees and Pharisees despised each other and the Herodians, who returned the favor. Sadducees were first-century modernists. Pharisees were first-century legalists. Herodians were first-century collaborators with the Romans. Yet all three groups united in their opposition to the Savior.

How about a third example? Except to oppose God, what other reason could be given to explain the people of Jerusalem acting the way they did, when they demanded death for this man Who had healed their sick and fed their hungry, His death on the cross, by crying out “Crucify Him, crucify Him”?[1]

No, there is no denying that all mankind unites in opposition to God. Our latest examples are the nationwide attempts to stifle Christian worship under the guise of protecting people’s health. You will remember my heartbreaking example that I mentioned during our watch night service.

“Okay, okay, I’m convinced the world is evil. What has that got to do with me?” The believer is definitely in the very midst of the “world,” as we see in John 17.15-16: 

15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 

Christ was praying just before His arrest and subsequent crucifixion, urging His Father to leave the believers in the “world,” but “Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” How can the believer be in the “world” but have any hope of being kept from the evil? Read the next verse: 

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” 

Just as Christ was separate from the wicked world-system, so we are. Even Peter, in First Peter 1.17, uses the word sojourner to describe the believer. A sojourner is just just a passin’ through and is not a citizen. Our job here in this “world” is to treat it as an enemy-held territory because it is. The only reason we have been left behind is that we have a mission to accomplish. What is that mission? We are to engage in spiritual warfare. Listen to the words of the commander: 

“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” 

Ye means you all, all of you, all of us.

What does the “world” do if they’re our enemy? Before I tell you what they do, let me tell you what their motive is. Read John 17.14: 

“I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” 

The motive is hatred. If you are a believer, they hate you. They will only tolerate you if you will act like them or not talk about Jesus at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter. Act like a child of God, and you will soon see the hatred. The main lure of the “world” is described in First John 2.16: 

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 

What means are used? Since the “world” is dominated by Satan, you would be correct in surmising that what the “world” accomplishes is the same as what demons seek to accomplish. Diversion. Almost without exception, the “world” works to lure the child of God away from God and the things of God. Usually, it is an enticement to “be one of us.” “Go ahead and compromise, just a little.” The lure is to be like your friends, to run with the pack, to yield to the constant barrage of comments, facial expressions, and body language urging you to be like them.

We are in a war because we have an enemy called the “world,” which is out to destroy our effectiveness for God. 

A second way I can tell I’m in a war is because I am under constant attack by an enemy called “the flesh.” 

The flesh is a concept developed most fully in the letter to the Romans written by the Apostle Paul. As Paul referred to the flesh, he meant that sinful nature abides in every human being even after conversion. It is that inherent tendency to oppose and rebel against God and the things of God so long as we live with our redeemed souls in unredeemed physical bodies. Everyone has this thing called the flesh or the sinful nature. That individual who denies the presence of indwelling sinfulness is declared by the Apostle John to be lost, First John 1.8: 

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 

The believer’s relationship to the flesh is frequently misunderstood: By flesh, Paul does not refer to your physical body’s meat and bones. Thinking your body is evil reflects a Gnostic heresy of believing that material substance was inherently evil. Not true. Paul refers to a spiritual problem when he uses the term flesh. Romans 7.5 shows what the flesh does in the unbeliever, who is completely dominated by the flesh: 

“For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.” 

Even after our salvation, the flesh presents an ongoing problem. Romans 7.18 shows where Paul stood regarding his own relationship to his flesh: 

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” 

Praise God that He has given us the victory over the flesh and works in our lives to claim it and experience it: 

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts,” 

Galatians 5.24.

But what does the flesh do in the life of the believer? The flesh wars against the Spirit of God according to Galatians 5.17, where Paul said, 

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit.” 

The flesh also leads the believer into committing the kinds of sins that are characteristic of unsaved people, according to Paul’s warning. Those who do not resist these fleshly enticements to sin patterns are lost, according to Galatians 5.19-21. The flesh is the constant companion of every person in this room today. If you have no battle with the flesh, it is because you are not attempting to live a life of service to God, for then the fight against the flesh will rage. “But I have never experienced any battle with the flesh,” one might say. If you can say that, shame on you. Only when sin or slothfulness is the order of the day in your life is there a ceasefire against the flesh.

There is a war on. It is Satan in opposition to God and to God’s Own. His very effective weapons are the “world” and its enticements, and our own flesh and naturally occurring rebelliousness against God. These are two very powerful enemies of the child of God, to personify them. 

The third and most powerful enemy of all has been saved for last. This enemy is not a wicked world system, and is not a sinful tendency called the flesh. The third enemy is the intelligence behind the previous two, Satan. 

Defined, Satan is a real supernatural person. The highest creation of God, Satan, is the spiritual intelligence behind all opposition to God’s people and plan of the ages. He was the Afflicter of Job, the Tempter of King David to number the people, and the Tempter of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness.[2] He is the driving force behind the “mystery of iniquity which doth already work,” Second Thessalonians 2.7.

Before I came to Christ, I had an interesting relationship with Satan about which I am not proud. He was my spiritual father.[3] Satan is also your spiritual father, if you aren’t saved. The Lord Jesus once said, 

“He that is not with me is against me and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.”[4] 

So, you are either for Christ or against Him, and He told His enemies one day, 

“Ye are of your father the devil.”[5] 

It only makes sense. We take after our spiritual father. We like what he likes, and we generally oppose that which he opposes. Whether the unsaved know it or not, the fact is not altered. The lost are in league with Satan himself.

After Christ saved me, my relationship with Satan was radically altered. I had become a child of God. In Romans 5.10, I am among those described as one who formerly was an enemy of God. By the time Paul arrives at Romans 8.17 in his letter, I cry “Abba Father” to God. What happened in the interim? Salvation. Justified by faith in Christ. Now that I am saved, notice my new stance toward Satan, Ephesians 6.11-12: 

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 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

Now that I am saved, look at Satan’s new stance toward me, First Peter 5.8: 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 

When do you think Christians will wake up to the reality of this spiritual war? When will they wake up to the fact that defections from Satan’s forces to Christ’s cause do not result from spiritual compromise but spiritual conduct and Spirit-filled obedience? 

I love every one of you folks. I want you to know that my motives toward you are not deceitful. The great thing about the Christian ministry that I have always appreciated is the reality is that what is good for me is good for you, and what is good for you is also good for me. The Gospel ministry is the original win-win scenario. Therefore, it is in my best interest and yours to recognize that there is an authentic war going on. It is a spiritual war.

Casualties are very heavy on our side. No one receives a fatal wound, but many fall by the wayside and never engage in effective ministry again, to the detriment of their families and friends. Yet, there is no reason valid for it. After all, God has won the war, Jesus Christ has triumphed, and we have been left here to glorify God by completing some of the spiritual fightings and reach some lost people with the Gospel. We do not accomplish any of that by warming our cold hands at the enemy’s campfire.

We have the key to victory for each of our enemies: 

If you want a life that has no purpose, ignore these powerful enemies in your life if you want a life of frustration and guilt. If you want to share in the victory, if you want joy in your life, fight this battle into which you have been called. And how do you fight spiritual battles? By standing up for Jesus. By predictably and resolutely shining your light. By kindly, courteously, lovingly, refusing to cower before their threats and intimidation, waiting for God to answer your prayers to prepare them to receive the Gospel message.

You don’t know what God is doing in anyone else’s life. You have no idea what thoughts are being considered. All we know is that we’d best be about the Master’s business when God deals with someone about their sins and their need for Christ.

Those of you who served in the military might appreciate that not only is Satan a master strategist, but he is a profoundly successful tactician. If he can employ effective tactics to shut you up or keep you home, he has effectively neutralized you as a threat to his intentions.

He will use the “world” to do it, he will use the flesh to do it, and he and his minions will sometimes engage in personal assaults against you to do it. Remember, all is fair in war. Do not make the mistake of taking yourself out by making unwise choices.

Turning now to you who are without Christ. You have not been called into any battle against Satan. Do you know why? The reason is that you are an enemy of God. God calls only allies to fight with Him and for Him. If you are tired of being an enemy of God, come to Christ. Let me introduce you to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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[1] Mark 15.13-14

[2] Job 1 and 2; 1 Chronicles 21.1; Matthew 4.1-11

[3] Ephesians 2.2

[4] Matthew 12.30

[5] John 8.44

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

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