The Weapons Of Our Warfare

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  10 : 1-6
Subject: Spiritual Warfare

"Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ-who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according   to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled."

There is a battle raging, and that battle is not with one another person, it's not with your boss, it's not with your neighbor, and it's not with your spouse. It's not with your parents, it's not with your children, and it's not even with the government. The battle is not even with other governments.

For the Christian there is a battle going on, and it is a spiritual battle. Now, I mentioned strongholds last week. I mentioned that Satan builds up strongholds, and scripture says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but they are mighty to the pulling down of those strongholds.

God Bless you, Thank you, you may be seated. Many people go to seed on this issue of warfare or the weapons of our warfare. I think that one can become too pre-occupied with confronting the enemy. One man spoke of people getting caught up in silly superstitions, that just sort of swallow them up in empty incantations, worthless recitations, and fables mistaken for life principles. While others indulge in skepticism, and are deceived by their intellectualism as they seem to ignore completely the spiritual realm.

In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul repudiates both these courses while proclaiming that there is a way to attack the strongholds, that Satan sets up in one's life. Intellectualism and other approaches are not necessarily set aside because they are bad, in fact, no qualitative statements are made here at all concerning approaches. Here Paul simply tells the approach which is effective at accomplishing the task. Some alternative approaches might do so temporary good in dealing with the symptoms of the problems, and might even help individuals cope more successfully with those symptoms. But they don't really solve the whole problem.

The problem, you see, is spiritual warfare. Paul doesn't try to argue the case for such, but states the problem and explains that we have different kinds of weapons, our weapons are not diplomacy, our weapons are not our intellect, our weapons are not those people sitting around in a circle holding hands and mouthing incantations, or chanting, or even offering sacrifices. Those not our weapons, our weapons are spiritual.

So exactly what are these spiritual weapons? Paul says they are mighty, they are powerful, in fact they are "dunamis." I don't know if you know what we get from that, but we get the word "dynamite" from the word "dunamis". It means powerful, explosive, something that can create a difference. I'm going to tell you something, if we take enough dynamite, dig a hole under this building, set it off, it's gonna make a difference. It's going to make a difference. You take a stick of dynamite and hold it in your hand, light it, it's gonna make a difference. This is power that makes a difference. It's power that is noticeable. I mean, if you're walking around all the time without an arm, it is noticeable. Dynamite is powerful, this power that Paul is talking about is a powerful force, it's a force that's able to change us.

I had somebody tell me recently that they were thinking about becoming a part of this church, but they want to get their priorities straight first, they want to get our commitments straight first. I said, "It doesn't work that way. The thing you have to do is commit yourself to Christ and His way first. After  you make the commitment, the power of God begins to work in your life, and you change your priorities. You don't change yourself, and get yourself straightened out and then present yourself to the Lord and say, 'Lord I'm a better person now, I'm usable, now I'm ready to be used.'" God says that the very best you can do is as filthy rags in His eyes. We need a profound, noticeable, powerful change.

So what are these weapons that are so powerful that they make a noticeable change? Now first, and I want to tell you that, these are not original with me. I've seen them placed in this context by several popular writers over the years. Now these four weapons, should they be utilized consistently in our lives, will make a difference that is noticeable.

I. Truth

The first weapon that we find, is truth. Truth is the chief weapon, of the Christian. Now, folks listen, I'm not talking about education. I'm not talking about the truths we learn in the academic environment. Education is often seized upon by individuals as the way to change society. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to hear professing believers speak as if education will eradicate the world's problems. Listen, when you educate lost, you just have smart lost people. I mean, that's all it does. It just makes them more knowledgeable about the physical universe. In fact, it often seems to serve as an argument for their lostness.

Lost people often convey error as powerfully as truth. Just look at the political positions already being staked out for the upcoming Presidential election. People will argue the merits of abortion on the basis that is a woman's choice to do with her body as she pleases. They frame the argument as a woman's right to choose. Sounds good on the face of it. But the truth is that such a choice is actually the premeditated killing of a helpless and totally dependent human being. People learn responses, and they learn those responses, based upon what they are being taught. One can teach error or truth.

Up in Utah there are a bunch of folks, who live together in a compound and believe in and promote polygamy. They teach these young girls to take husbands and have babies very early in life. They teach that the world is against them and is seeking to destroy them and they have armed guards around their compounds. Somebody has taught them that, somebody has taught them. Listen somebody taught the Branch Davidians to follow David Koresh. Someone taught Jim Jones' group to follow him. They believed error, our number one tool is the truth.

The bible says, that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, free, free from the bondage of Satan, what is the truth, the truth is, is that Jesus Christ is the only way, that people can come to God by faith in Jesus Christ. The truth is that there's no other way to God except through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The truth is that he was coexistant forever in eternity, that he lived, and that he was the agent of creation, that is the truth. The truth is that Jesus came to earth super naturally, born of a physical virgin, lived without sin on this earth, was crucified, went to the grave, and was supernaturally raised up out of the grave by the power of Almighty God. The truth is that He walked this earth for about 40 days after His defeat of death's dread hold, that He met with numerous groups and individuals, and then ascended to the father. The truth is that He sent His Holy Spirit 10 days later to live in the life of believers. And finally the truth is that He promised that He Himself will return at a point to gather His followers both the living and the dead to Himself. That, dear friends, is truth.

Truth is our number one weapon. We need to teach truth to people. Rather than just nonchalantly accept men's philosophies and by our actions and lack of words treat them as if we agree with their error. We need to proclaim that we're not all just taking different paths to the same destination. We need to proclaim that there is only one path to God and heaven, that all other paths lead to damnation and hell. Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the father, but by me."

The truth is our number one weapon. Oh how we need to use the truth, listen, Jesus Christ, came using contemporary language, to tell it like it is. He didn't mince words, scripture says that a lot of people made superficial commitments to Him, but He wouldn't commit himself back, because He knew their hearts. Believing that Jesus Christ is a good teacher, that He is a good person, one worthy of emulation is not enough. The truth is that one must receive Him as both Savior and Lord. That means that Jesus Christ becomes the boss of one's life.

Now, let me quote a paragraph from an article that I have in my archives and I'm sorry but I don't know the source. It reads, "There is a potency and wholesomeness to living life transparently, rather then endlessly erecting poses and postures and fraudulent pieties." Do you realize that the problem with the church often has been that we're willing to proclaim truth but we are not willing to give ourselves as a demonstration of that truth. The world needs more than just the proclamation of truth, it cries out for demonstrations of that truth. We who claim to know Christ personally and intimately need to begin demonstrating that truth in our lives. That's where we run into trouble isn't it? It's easy to sit out here and say, "Amen, yeah preacher, preach it, I agree." The world needs to see more than our slogans, the world needs to see us living our belief.

Wow!! The modern world is well supplied with promoters and con artists I mean, you turn on a television set and it's full of people pushing this product or that product, that throw this idea, or that idea, even the weather channel has begun pushing a political agenda. We're told that people who don't believe man is the number one cause of global warming should be shut up. One man said there should be an international trial for crimes against humanity for those don't believe as they do about global warming. I'm telling people are everywhere pitching their agenda.

Listen, we need to realize that Christianity is not just a bunch of slogans and platitudes, it is acting out the truth of God in the world. It is not threatening or trying to get a temporary emotional commitment. Scripture says that Believers are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Truth casts out fears because when the light of God's love shines in the darkness the shadows become mere wisps. I remember, as a very young boy, going out at night to that little bitty house we had out behind our house. As I walked along the path with weeds on either side with a flashlight or lantern, I would become frightened by the shadows in the darkness ahead. I was sure the monsters lurking there, snakes, tigers, bears, to a child it could be anything, were ready to pounce on me. However, inevitably the light proved time and again that my fears were baseless.

Believers need to be a light brightening the path which leads to God. Punching holes in the darkness that what truth does. In today's age there are people who are continually presenting us with lie after lie. And then we get these post modernists for whom everything is relative. Nothing is absolute. It's such a refreshing experience to meet people for whom truth is truth. And it has an impact on society. Let me ask you something, when people in the world meet you, are they arrested by the fact, that you stand for something that is unchanging. They may not agree with you, but they know where you stand. Do people feel that way about you, or are you so wishy-washy that people don't know which way you feel or what you believe? Are you so afraid of alienating someone that your position changes with the wind? What do you believe, do people know what you believe and do you really believe it?

II. Love

Second weapon is love. I know the word "love" is overworked. I'm not talking about sugary Hollywood type of love. I'm not talking about the bleeding heart tolerance of anything that comes along which is often substituted for love. I'm talking about biblical love, the kind of love that requires no return for the individual who is loved, You know the bible said, that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, it doesn't say that He gave His only begotten son because we loved Him back. He gave His son because of His love for us. His love for us came before our love for Him. 1 Corinthians 13 is all about love, 1 John is all about love.

We talk about love often, don't we? But exactly what is love? Have you learned yet that love is not always easy, but is sometimes tough? You see love requires discipline. Love is not just passing out platitudes and saying everything is alright. Sometimes love requires that we run the risk of alienating those we love by warning them that they're heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes we have to tell people about the dangers which lie ahead.

Love is a mighty weapon, indeed. When Christ's church begins to teach truth, proclaim truth and proclaim it with genuine love, the kind of love which does not require a reciprocation as a condition of that love; the world will begin to sit up and take notice. If God is in one's heart, he can learn to love the unlovely.

Now let me add a caution here. Loving the unlovely does not mean that we accommodate or facilitate them in their error. We've had folks attend this church who were living together without benefit of marriage, and so revel in the love shown to them that they wanted to become a member of the church. However, though we love them, though we demonstrate by myriad ways our care for them, we cannot appear to approve of their chosen lifestyle by bringing them into the full fellowship of the body. The prostitute, the homosexual, the murderer, the drunkard, the liar are people who need to            see the love of God demonstrated through His people. But we must be careful, lest we undergird their error. We must show love while making sure they understand the consequences of their         lifestyle.

In the first and second centuries the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ was persecuted severely. We're told by historians of those terrible times that one reason Christianity got a great was the response of those persecuted to their persecutors. Governors, emperors, politicians, and intellectuals were astounded at the love those early Believers demonstrated. That's something we have trouble with isn't it, when people persecute us, we want to get them, and hit them quick and hard, but the testimony of numerous Christians of the first century is they were converted because people loved them and demonstrated their love in tangible ways, they loved them and demonstrated that love, and while people were being placed in the lion's den and while they were hung on trees and while they were being crucified, while they were being burned at the stake, they didn't rant and rave and curse, but they prayed for God to have mercy on those who perpetrated such acts. They prayed that they, too, would come to know God, personally, intimately, that's the kind of love we're talking about the kind of love that passes all understanding.

III. Righteousness

The third weapon we're going to talk about is righteousness. Righteousness, basically means obedience to truth and love, it's what we call integrity, it's what we call saying what you mean and meaning what you say. You know one of the important things of life, is that we need to learn to live not as the world lives, Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus and he said you must not continue to live as the gentiles lived. You cannot go on excusing your weakness because of your humanity. You cannot excuse your sin on the basis that everybody sins.

If we want to see strongholds torn down in the lives of our loved ones, we must stop excusing our error and our lifestyles which are contrary to Scripture. That's an exccedingly big problem among contemporary Christians. We justify this, and we justify that which we know to be ungodly. It is not unusual for a parent who believes in Scripture Truth to justify a son or daughter living together because one or the other will lose some perceived benefit if they marry.

Righteousness, Paul is saying look, you need to stop justifying your failures. You need to stop your lying. You need to stop your stealing. You need to stop your cursing, your immorality, your harshness towards one another. You must stop your unforgiveness, your pouting. In place of those things, you need learn to be tenderhearted, to accept and give forgiveness. Listen, it's one thing to say, "I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't chew, I don't go with the girls that do." That's one thing, it's quite another to say, I have a commitment toward righteousness and to live a righteous life.

We all have those "sins which so easily beset us". Those sins which seem so easy for us to get caught up in. We have to learn, by faith, to confess them a sin, and allow God to so change our heart that we don't want to give in to those sins. Though we are tempted, we take the way of escape that God offers for He says, "there is no temptation taken you, but such as is common among all men, but God is faithful in that He will not allow you to be tempted more than you are able to bear, but will with every temptation provide a way of escape."

It is not enough to avoid questionable activities, We must learn to have hearts which are tender toward those who fail. We must learn to have the very "mind of Christ" in these matters. Jesus Christ offered hope to the woman caught in adultery. He didn't accept her error, He didn't say, you're ok, you just need to grow out of what you're doing. No! A thousand times, No! He said, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more." He offered her an avenue of hope so that her lifestyle could be changes.

We've got to learn to live righteousness lives. We don't have to give in to temptation. If you're a Christian, there needs to be a quality about your life, that can't be explained by your personality, by your education, by your training, there needs to be something about you that can only be explained as through God working in your life.

IV. Faith

The fourth weapon is the prayer of faith. The late Manley Beasley was fond of quoting Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Then he would say "faith is substance". I think he really captured the essence of the prayer of faith in that thought. I've often heard people say that they really need some of the substance right now. Well faith is that substance. When we pray in faith expecting God to not only hear, but to respond we demonstrate our faith through our actions.

God seems to delight in our approaching Him for our sustenance and guidance. Our prayers of faith are to God, like the overwhelming sweetness of honeysuckle blossoms in the spring are to us. God seems to revel in them and He seems to breathe them in because they are entirely delectable to Him.

The world doesn't understand our faith in The Living God who we cannot see. The world places its faith in its accomplishments, its expertise, its education, its commitment to the task. Believers believe that our provision is His responsibility, and that our attainment is for His glory. The world understands little of that.

Prayer and faith go hand in hand, one is no good without the other. Believers pray in expectation of God's deliverance. Let me tell you, prayer and faith go hand in hand. One is no good without the other.