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The Great Commission

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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Battlefront

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done ? And the woman said , The serpent beguiled me , and I did eat . And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go , and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:14-15).

The war instigated by Satan in heaven was declared by God in the first book of the Bible. Addressing Satan after the Fall in the Garden, God said, "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). This war continues today, but the battlefront shifts in every generation. It is the same God, the same devil, same truth, same lie, and same heaven and hell, yet the front shifts.

For instance, if you were born 150 years ago, whether you liked it or not, believed in it or not, or participated in it or not, the battlefront of this war was slavery. God used a legal issue, state's rights versus federal power, to judge our nation concerning this grave moral evil. It cost America over six hundred thousand lives before we finally relented and and let the slaves go free. The battlefront was slavery.

The same holds true if you lived 232 years ago. Whether you liked it or not, believed in it or not, or participated in it or not, the battlefront of the war was tyranny versus liberty. Americans longed to be free from the despotism of England.

The battlefronts in America today are abortion and homosexuality. These are the roots of our trouble. Islam is the dangerous fruit. As evidenced in the Bible, God uses our enemies to chastise us and bring His judgment. No nation that ever killed its own babies and allowed homosexuality to flourish has survived to brag about it. These two sins threaten our national security.

It is imperative the people of God discern the battlefront in our generation. We must not only recognize it, we must run to the roar that proceeds from it. As the great reformer, Martin Luther wrote:
If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.

As Christians, we flinch at abortion. We flinch at homosexuality. We flinch at the lie of Islam. We flinch at political correctness. We disgrace ourselves, our nation, and our God through our inaction. And our failure to engage the enemy on these fronts has caused God to unleash His judgment from heaven.

We have retreated from these battlefronts far to long. Church of God, gather your spiritual weapons and muster beneath the cross. Engage the enemy where the battle is fiercest and the fighting is heaviest. Fight this spiritual battle to give God a reason to show us mercy, even as our nation begs for His judgment. Arise to stop the advancement of lawlessness, lest God arise with flaming fire to take complete vengeance against our spoiled, wicked nation.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Birthed in Battle

And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor : therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence (Isaiah 59:16-18).

In his classic sermon on the role of the church in society, The Church-Conservative and Aggressive, Charles Spurgeon compared the church to a city in need of defense. Rather then hire mercenaries from the world to fight her battles, Spurgeon exhorts, "In the name of the living God let the Church of Christ train her own citizens for the battle of Christ. Let her bring up her own young warriors for the defense and maintenance of the Truth."

The early church was birthed in battle. There were heresies from within and great persecutions from without. Their faith came at great cost. Yet still they persevered. These former Christians were very much "warriors for the defense and maintenance of the Truth."

In contrast, most modern Christians weren't told by the preacher that when they made peace with God through the merits of Jesus Christ, they declared war on an enemy. Most didn't sign up for a spiritual war when they gave their life to Christ. Many signed up to be blessed or to go to heaven when they die. Some signed up to be a better husband and father or wife and mother. Others signed up to obtain peace and prosperity. These are not bad things; just incomplete apart from the larger picture of God's redeeming work in and through mankind.

In my case, it didn't take long after tasting the goodness of God's salvation for me to realize that something or someone out there didn't like me. The war was on, as God began to call me from the playground of modern Christianity to the battleground of biblical Christianity.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon: and the dragon and his angels fought. But they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him(Revelation 12:7-9).

From this passage of scripture, we glean the first sin was actually committed, not in the garden with Adam and Eve, but in heaven by Lucifer. It was there that the kingdom of God suffered the initial split. As a result, God banished Satan and his imps from heaven and confined them to planet Earth.

Don't you find it strange that God created and strategically placed innocent man in the same neighborhood with this sick, perverted, lying, murderer? Was God subjecting man to the wiles of this fallen angel as a cruel joke?

This mystery is revealed in the vision and mission of Jesus Christ. God became flesh and dwelt among us to defeat Satan. Isaiah tells us, it "displeased him that there was no judgment" (Isaiah 59:15).

Based upon this truth, I believe God chose to redeem man so that man could take the victory of Christ and defeat the enemy. The earth is the battleground and man upon it has a God-ordained destiny to repair the breach in God's kingdom in heaven before the world began.

Matthew 11:12 reads, "And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force"(Matthew 11:12). The violent take it by force.

The Church needs to remember we are in the battle of Christ. Then we must train our young men to be warriors again. Finally, we have no choice but to take the kingdom of heaven by force, through the power of Christ.

As Spurgeon said:

Let the Church of God, when her young men go forth to her battles, put her hand upon their shoulders and say, "Be strong, young man, be strong. Dishonor not the mother [Church] that bare you. But go forth and like the son of a Spartan mother, return not but in glory. Go forth to conquer or to die. Come back on your shield, or with it-a hero or a martyr."

You have been birthed for battle. Yet the weapons of your warfare are not carnal. They are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Wield the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God. Unsheathe your glorious Bible in the sin centers of America. Let the clash of blades, the furor of opposing worldviews, ring in your ear. Don't shrink back. You are mightier than the enemy arrayed against you, because you fight under the banner of the King of Kings. Go forth, gentle Christian. Conquer or die.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Your Turn Now

Through the years, Elijah Ministries, the umbrella ministry for the Kingdom Leadership Institute, has been on the frontline and in the trenches in the spiritual and cultural battle for the souls of men and the destiny of America. It's an honor to serve the King of Kings. Yet suffering for the Lord is an honor no longer sought or recognized.

The idea of a church militant, of a conquering, battling church advancing the cause of Christ, has become a faded memory for most American Christians. Too often we compromise, concede, cater, and coddle in hopes of winning souls to Christ, instead of conquering evil that enslaves them. In America's present backslidden condition, it's prudent to recall the necessity of conflict.

Dr. Augustus Neander, in Memorial of a Christian Life wrote:
Christians [in history] rejoiced to consider themselves as the soldiers of God and Christ (milites Dei et Christi), against the hostile powers of darkness, against everything which appeared to them as belonging to the kingdom of Satan, against the services of sin and of false gods.

Dr. Neander was a church historian born in 1789. His works include the six volume classic, A General History of the Christian Religion and Church (first published in 1826) and History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church by the Apostles (1832-1833). He also wrote the famous apologetic, Life of Christ (1837). His understanding of church history makes his remarks all the more compelling.

Dr. Neander wrote:
As the whole of life of the Christian, from the beginning to the end, is a conflict with the world and the powers of darkness, a conflict within and without, the kingdom of God in this world must appear as militant, and must make its way by conflict; so that often, in Holy Writ, the calling of the Christian is compared to that of the military life, and the Christian is represented as the soldier of his LORD.
This image was very clear and familiar to the first Christians. Though Christians, in later ages, may have been led to forget the nature of their calling as one of conflict, amidst the external tranquility and prosperity, yet in primitive times their entire outward condition served to remind them of the spiritual warfare; for the church found itself on all sides in conflict with the heathen world, and the public profession made by Christians compelled them to take a share in this conflict.

Christian men, it's time you took your share in this spiritual conflict. In World War I, when soldiers heard the whistle they knew it was time to rush over the top of the trench and charge the enemy. They knew it was time to die. Young men, The whistle has blown. It's time to die, so Christ can live and reign through you. Run to the roar of battle! The warrior's sword and shield has passed to you. It's your turn now.

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