While scanning the newscasts about the latest brouhaha between President Trump and those who wish him gone, I thought of his candidacy slogan – the one that’s become a household term: “Make America Great Again.”
the last two years, entrepreneurs have created MAGA hats, MAGA T-shirts, MAGA
coffee mugs, and a dozen other items for the Trump faithful.
I mused about that slogan – which I think of as more a ‘goal’ than a simple
slogan – another dropped into my mind, formed with the same letters. And the
more I thought about THAT new slogan – that NEW goal – the more I realized it’s far better than the first:
America Godly Again.
we could Make America Godly Again, all our current social and political dramas
would melt away.
how might Christians help bring such a thing to fruition? Here are some ideas
off the top of my head. You can probably think of additional ones. And maybe if
enough of us who are bought with the blood of Jesus do what we can do, God will
send a spiritual revival to our great nation, the likes of which we haven’t
seen in generations.
You want a godly nation? Be godly yourself. Can your relationship with Jesus be
better? More obedient? More devoted to His truth? Then make it a concentrated
matter of daily prayer during which you seek – and determine to follow – His
guidance toward becoming yourself more godly.
Tell others the true story of Jesus as found in Scripture and proclaimed
through historic Church teaching. The Jesus of Scripture said of Himself, “I
am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.”
(John 14:6) A few chapters earlier Jesus said, “I am the
resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will
never die.” (John 11:25-26)
there are many other examples in Scripture which demonstrate Jesus is
humanity’s ONLY hope for peace, justice, and eternal life. And yes, I know, such a narrow and exclusionary declaration flies
in the face of our pluralistic culture.
Jesus is Almighty God-in-the-flesh or He was a madman. Those are our only two
choices. And if He is God, then everyone who hopes for eternal life must fall
only at His feet in obedience and worship. To Make America Godly Again,
Christians must redevelop a laser-like focus on the life, death, resurrection
and soon return of Christ.
If we want to Make America Godly Again, then those who name Jesus as their LORD
must implore Him for a holiness revival in our nation. Every spiritual renewal
that has EVER occurred anywhere in all of history began when men and women went
to their knees and begged God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit across the
length and breadth of their land.
often quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 – especially around an election cycle: "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and
pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from
heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
that text again. The critical verbs within that promise are “humble themselves”
and “pray’ and “turn from their wicked ways.” God’s promise to heal the land is
contingent on what we as His people do to bring His healing. The ninth chapters of the Biblical books of Daniel, Ezra,
and Nehemiah form a Biblical template for such a nation-wide prayer.
If we want to Make America Godly Again, Christians must vote according to godly
principles. We get what we vote for.
will always be problems that face Americans, problems such as immigration and
healthcare reform – problems about which godly lawmakers can reach negotiated
agreements based on God’s word.
in virtually every election cycle, candidates appear on the ballot who support
and promote Biblically non-negotiable issues, as abortion and the redefining of
shalt not murder” is one of the clearest of God’s commandments repeated
throughout the length and breadth of God’s word. Any high school biology
textbook will tell the reader that what is growing in the womb is a human
being. The fetus is simply a person in an early stage of development, just as a
neonate is in an early stage of development before becoming a toddler. A
toddler is in an early stage of development before becoming an adolescent, and
so forth. Another non-negotiable has to do with same-sex marriage. Both testaments
warn against such sins that are a stench in God’s nostrils.
we are to Make America Godly Again, then those who call Jesus their Lord must
vote against politicians who promote and support godless and evil practices. To
vote for them is to tell God He is wrong, and our culture is right.
Trump and those who support him want to Make America Great Again. That’s a
wonderful and worthwhile goal. But a greater goal, a higher goal, a goal that
must again be the foundation of this great nation is to Make America Godly
three millennia ago, the psalmist wrote words that ring as true today as when
they were first penned: “Blessed is
the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm
God help us do a better job at being ourselves godly, to do a better job
telling others about the only One who opens for us heaven’s door, to do a
better job in turning from our own sins, and do a better job voting according
to godly principles.
the matchless name of Jesus, Oh, Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
Monday, July 22, 2019
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints . . . . (Eph 6:12-18)
In the first of this series on spiritual warfare, we looked at the evidence of the growing supernatural evil all around us and the supernatural protection God gives us by His presence within each Christian, and the protection provided us by His angels. In the next essay we focused on ‘girding our loins’ with the belt of truth.’ The Roman soldier’s belt was an essential piece of his armor. It held in place not only his short sword, but it also securely held the breastplate that covered his vital organs.
“Gird your loins with truth,” Paul warned. If Christians don’t securely hold on to truth, if we compromise and dilute His truth, then we open ourselves to devastating attack by our enemy. So, let’s now look at that breastplate armor held securely by the belt of truth: Paul calls it for the Christian the breastplate of righteousness.
The word ‘righteousness’ in Scripture often carries the idea of ‘thinking and acting according to God’s commandments.’ Virtue, integrity, and moral purity are always considered godly principles.
Seems simple enough. Obey God’s laws – the more scrupulous the better – and you’ve got nothing to worry about. But Scripture tells us God has something deeper in mind when it comes to Biblical righteousness. The former Pharisee and strict teacher of the law we now know as the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi what surely confused and angered his former colleagues. Paul said he longed to be found in Christ, “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith . . . (Philippians 3:9)
It seems he must have been paying attention to Jesus when the Lord said to the crowd of disciples, curious onlookers, and some religious leaders during His Sermon on the Mount: “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom.” (Matthew 5:20)
The scribes and Pharisees were meticulous in their observance of the Law of Moses, as well as the multiple oral interpretations of those laws. According to the two major theological schools of the time, oral traditions were as authoritative as the written laws handed down by Moses and the prophets. Those same oral traditions informed them that if they rigorously followed their traditions, God would consider them ‘righteous.’
Yet, can you imagine what the crowd thought to themselves when the Lord Jesus told His disciples that unless their righteousness surpassed that of their religious leaders, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven! If the holy religious teachers of the Temple will not enter heaven, then who can ever be saved?
The New Testament writers repeatedly inform us, Biblical righteousness is not defined so much by what we DO, but by what we ARE. And when our breastplate of righteousness is held securely by the belt of truth, our lifestyle will change to reflect the works and words and attitudes of our Lord Jesus Christ.Righteousness becomes imputed to us – accredited to us by God – not on the basis of works, so no one could boast. It is imputed to us on the basis of our faith (Ephesians 2:8).
That’s why painstaking observance of religious rituals and good works by themselves save no one. Why? Because sin is so much a part of our inherited nature, written like some genetic code into our souls – which is why sin invariably leads us away from the Savior.That was St. Paul’s lament. Feel this man’s passion as he cries out about his sin nature: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. . . . For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want . . . I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good . . . Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:15-24)
Yet, Paul also recognized the good news that God calls us righteous because of our faith. Here is Paul again, this time from Romans 3: “But now apart from the Law, the righteousness of God has been manifested . . . even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe . . ..” (Romans 3:21-22). And once again he writes, “[N]ot having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith . . . (Philippians 3:9)Did you catch that? The righteousness that God gives to us is based soley on our faith. No wonder Paul didn’t stop with the bad news of Romans 7. He moved directly into chapter eight this way: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Why? It’s all about our faith in the finished work of Jesus on that Calvary cross. It’s all our faith in God’s gracious gift to those who believe that Christ’s blood atoned for their sins.
Let me repeat myself for emphasis: It is not so much what we do as what we ARE that imputes or credits to us God’s righteousness. It’s about what God already did the moment we are born again. Just as God calls us ‘saints’ – meaning ‘holy ones’ (e.g. Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1) because of our relationship with Him through His Son, God calls us ‘righteous’ for the same reason. Our righteousness, our ‘saintliness’ in God’s eyes is a fait accompli.That’s God’s view of us; Holy and righteous. But if the enemy can create doubt in your mind about God’s truth concerning what we already ARE in Christ, if he can insinuate uncertainty in the unalterable promises of God, then he will have created a critical chink in your breastplate – and he will go in for the kill.
That is why girding ourselves securely with Biblical truth is so important to the Christian. God’s truth alone produces the kind of faith that sets us FREE from fear that God lied to us about of His promises, or that His promises don’t apply to us because of our past sins.
A few days before I presented this message to the people I regularly meet with at a 55+ community, I had a sad conversation with an elderly woman in another facility. I asked her if she loved Jesus. She said she did not. I asked her why. She said, “Because He doesn’t love me.”
Her matter-of-fact statement startled me, and I tried to reassure her of His love for her, of His willingness to forgive whatever it is she thought Christ would not forgive. But I could tell she wasn’t buying any of it. She’d been made a prisoner of war in this supernatural battle.
I implore you. Take this danger seriously. Don’t let it happen that you or those you love be taken captive by Satan’s lies.
None of the Roman soldier’s armor was superfluous. Each piece was vital to his safety, and to his ability to successfully battle the enemy. In the same way, none of our spiritual armor is superfluous. Each piece Paul mentions in this sixth chapter of Ephesians is rooted in God’s truth and is vital to our safety – and the safety of others. Our armor, all of it, is vital to our ability to successfully wage battle against our supernatural enemy.
Gird your loins with God’s inerrant and infallible truth. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Then put on the breastplate of righteousness which God credits to you through your faith in the sacrificial atonement of Christ.
Next time we’ll look at the shield of faith, another important piece of our supernatural armor.
Saturday, July 20, 2019
“As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.
Yup. God is punishing either the man’s parents, or the man himself, for their sins. That is why the guy was born blind.
That’s what the disciples believed.
Have you ever noticed how often we blame God for pain, for evil, for troubles, and never the devil who is behind it all? How often we forget Job and the conversation in heaven described for us in the first chapters of that Biblical book.
Of course, if the disciples had thought about their theology longer than a nanosecond, they’d have remembered Job – and they’d have also realized the blind man couldn’t possibly have sinned while in the womb!
But as is true with most of us, when we don’t understand life’s tragic or troublesome turns, we look to blame someone for it all.
And typically, even among Christ’s disciples today, God is at fault.
But come back to Jesus’ response: “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:1-3)
Storms come to all of us. Sometimes so devastating, we can’t catch our breath. And each time – each time – the winds howl, and waves smash against our lives, we face two choices: Blame God, or trust Him in our suffering.
Jesus’ answer to His disciples assures me that storms come to His children born through faith in the atonement of Christ – storms come for His honor and for the strengthening of our faith – if we let the storms have their perfect work.
Isn’t that what James tells us? “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. o, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:2-4, NLT)
Paul says the same thing: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. ” (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)
Christian, please hear this. Please believe this: God loves you. It is Satan who wants you to believe otherwise. But never forget what Jesus said of your enemy: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NASB)
What is your heartache and struggle and confusion and loneliness and pain today?
Please, Oh God, help us to TRUST you to work within it all for your honor – and for our good. Amen.
Sunday, July 14, 2019
You can find part one of this series at this link (click here).
Last week we looked at the supernatural evil that should be obvious from the evidence all around us. Now we turn our attention to supernatural protection, the supernatural armor and weapons given to us by the creator of things seen and unseen.
Last week we looked at the supernatural evil that should be obvious from the evidence all around us. Now we turn our attention to supernatural protection, the supernatural armor and weapons given to us by the creator of things seen and unseen.
The Lord of Creation told His first century disciples something His 21st century disciples must forever embrace: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
It is in God alone – whom we know as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit –where all supernatural authority and power reside. It is from God alone that His matchless love and mercy and grace emanate toward us.
Perhaps one of the best-known passages of the New Testament dealing with this subject of the supernatural is in the sixth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. It is here where the Holy Spirit makes clearest to us what are the defensive gear and offensive weapons God supplies to us.
It is the wisest and the safest followers of Christ who not only know about the armor, but who also practices with them.
Starting with verse 10 of chapter six, Paul writes: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth . . . .”
Look back at that first sentence: “Be strong in the Lord.”
Remember: We are not alone in our battle. Like the undetectable radio waves that surround us, we are also surrounded by undetectable supernatural and godly forces. Not only does the Holy Spirit live inside each follower of Christ, but unseen angels never leave our side.
Don’t gloss over that truth.
The psalmist tells us: “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and rescues them (Psalm 34:7). Hebrews 1:14 assures us God’s angels are “ministering spirits sent out to render service to those who will inherit salvation” And again, Psalm 91:11 “For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways.”
Angels surround you. Right now, as you read this essay. As you walk through your day. As you sleep through the night. God’s supernatural angels never leave your side, their swords unsheathed, their eyes watchful, their ears attentive, each sent by our Father and creator of all things visible and invisible to protect us.
You might remember the story of Elisha and his servant in Dothan. The Syrian king was at war with Israel, and Elisha – the protégé of Elijah – was at the top of his list of enemies. When the king learned Elisha was staying in Dothan, he sent his army to surround the city. We pick up the story in 2 Kings 6:15 --
“Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
You are NOT ever alone. Despite your struggles and heartaches, God is in absolute control over your circumstances and mine. You never walk that so-called lonesome valley all by yourself.
So, trust Him. Carry your cross faithfully. Jesus suffered for you. Now He suffers with you in your trials.
Next, Paul tells us about the armor.
Just as no soldier approaches a field of battle in gym clothes, we dare not enter this battle thinking ANY of our own abilities and talents can ever prevail in this supernatural battle. Many of you will recognize these lyrics of Martin Luther’s hymn:
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing, Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing: Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.
Christian, never rely on your own skills and talents to protect you in the supernatural battle. They will always prove useless and fruitless. And so Paul continues: “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth.”
The belt worn by the Roman soldier securely held in place his dagger and his breastplate – the leather or bronze cover that protected his vital organs. If he did not secure the belt close against his body, his weapon and the breastplate would fall away – leaving him defenseless against an aggressor.
That’s why Paul’s analogy of ‘girding our loins with truth’ is so instructive for us. Truth is the foundation of our faith. Truth – not philosophical truth. Not psychological truth. Not my truth. Not your truth.
God’s truth is the only foundation of our Christian faith. If we let truth slip away, if we compromise it, rationalize it, we open ourselves to deadly attack by our enemy.
I can’t tell you how many times during our lives together when I was under some sort of spiritual attack that Nancy helped me through the battle by quoting to me some relevant text of Scripture. Likewise, how often I helped her wend her way through her own spiritual battles by quoting to her God’s infallible and inerrant word.
Without the belt of truth that undergirds our faith we remain in mortal danger of the lurking evil. That’s why Paul wrote to the church at Colossae: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form . . .
The Greek word Paul used here for captive has the idea of being carried off as a prisoner of war. And that is what happens to anyone who is seduced by humanistic explanations of the supernatural. They become a prisoner of war and lose their ability to stay in the fight.
It has been wisely repeated many times over: The Bible will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from the Bible. St. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate, exhorted those with ears to hear: Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ. In other words, we can know Jesus only in so far as we know what the Scriptures and the historic teaching of the Church tell us about Jesus – and in so far as we humbly receive His truth.
The equation is so simple, a child can grasp it. The better you know the Scriptures, the better you know the truth. And that truth will set us free – free from fears and doubts and seductions – and yes, free from sin.
Don’t let anyone seduce you into thinking we can accurately know Jesus apart of His word. The heavens declare God’s glory, but only through His word can we ever accurately know the Word-Made-Flesh. That’s why the Holy Spirit, again speaking through the great apostle, tells us “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17).
As I close this first of several essays about our supernatural armor, I hope you will remember at least these four important points:
First: God is in absolute control of the battle AND the battlefield. God reigns with absolute authority over every created thing, seen and unseen.
Second: We are never, ever alone in this battle. The Holy Spirit lives within each believer, and His angels surround us. We are never alone – regardless of how it seems when life’s storms pummel us. Trust God to be true to His promises.
Third: Never rely on your own natural strengths, abilities, talents, wealth, or anything else of this world. There is nothing of this creation that can be effective against the supernatural. Put on God’s supernatural armor every day and keep it on throughout the day.
Fourth: Don’t be seduced into thinking we can accurately know Jesus apart of His word. Purposefully, intentionally, seek truth about God. Learn to love truth about God. And set yourself to live what God says is truth.
Next time we will continue our examination of the other parts of the Christian’s supernatural armor.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
I just found this in my old essay files. I wrote it nearly 20 years ago. The message, though, is timeless.
So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Most times when I read this verse, I think about myself.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at me. In my dress shirt and pants I appear trim and athletic. But you’ll not catch me wearing a bathing suit. Age has taken its pound of flesh from my self-image and molded several around my midsection. Love handles, they’re called.
I hate them.
But at 50 years old, I’ve learned to compensate. I never take my shirt off in public.
Hiding behind clothes reminds me of my younger days when I didn’t need to conceal bulging flesh. I weighed 150 pounds of muscle and proudly strutted shirtless along the beach. But even while I exposed my physique, I hid a lot of other things behind a wardrobe of my own making.
For a while I wore intellectualism and various self-centered philosophies like a suit of armor. My two favorite outfits were: “All religions lead to the same place,” and “as long as no one gets hurt, it doesn’t matter how we live.”
Then for a time I clothed myself with atheism -- and for good reason. If God didn’t exist, then I had no one to whom I would ultimately answer. I could do what I pleased -- so long as I didn’t get caught.
A few years later, when I accepted the likelihood of God’s existence, I wrapped myself in a robe of religion. I memorized the Ten Commandments (to show God I was serious) and performed good deeds as often as it was convenient to do so.
I cringed at what I saw.
My reflection sagged under the weight of every fold and crease of my sins - thefts, immorality, pride, blasphemy, drunkenness, and my baby whom I killed by abortion.
I wanted to cover myself, to do anything to hide my hideous appearance. But there was nowhere to go. Nothing to wear. At the time I didn’t know the Biblical term, but I needed a conversion of heart, a rebirth (St. John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3). I needed to become a new creation, (2 Corinthians 5:17), to exchange my filthy clothes for Christ’s robes of righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
But . . . enough about myself.
Are you like me? If you're trying to hide something from God, I can tell you from experience, you may as well give up. He sees through every fabric and every layer of excuse you slip on to cover your sins. "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight," Scripture tells us. “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
So, since He sees it all anyway, why continue the charade? Why not just unload all that burdensome weight and let God embrace you in His incomprehensible and warmly intimate love? “If anyone is in Christ,” St. Paul wrote, “he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). That means God offers us a new heart and a new life. And Isaiah urged, be clothed "with garments of salvation and arrayed . . . in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). That means no one has to live with the old clothes, because God spread His arms on a cross to offer us spotless garments, an eternal and flawless remedy available only in Jesus Christ.
All we have to do is stop our cover-ups, make an honest and humble confession . . . .
And then start obeying Him.
Sunday, July 7, 2019
In my last essay I told the story of my encounter with a spider’s web. I’d have walked right into it if at the last moment the sunlight had not glistened off its nearly invisible strands. I then made application to the supernatural web Satan creates to trap each one of us. And because his web is supernatural, many people are easily caught in it when they insist what can be known is knowable only with our natural senses.
The following analogy is not perfect. I admit that. But I use it as an example of how we are surrounded by things we cannot discern with our natural senses, but we can infer their existence, often (but not always) by using instruments that bring the unseen and unfelt into the natural world of our five senses.
Most of you reading this own a cell phone. With it we can call anyone anywhere in the world by simply dialing the correct number. Our phones are unlike the old rotary phones with which we are all familiar. Our rotary phones were attached to a chord that was connected to wires in the wall. Those wires connected a pole not far from the house. Our voice was converted into electronic waves that electronically along wires to a central switchboard and from there to another phone across the city, across the country, even across the world.
But today, without wires or cables, we tap the correct numbers onto our phone’s screen and invisible and inaudible electronic waves transmit signals to a cell tower somewhere in the area, which then transmits those invisible waves to a satellite in stationary orbit above the country Ultimately, those invisible and inaudible electronic waves cause the phone on the other end to ring.
What’s my point? You and I live in a natural world surrounded by radio waves and solar rays. We’ve never SEEN those waves, but we infer their existence because of how those waves behave when we use the proper equipment.
Since that’s what happens in the natural world around us, then why is it so inconceivable, so fairy tale-ish to believe in the existence of an unseen and intangible supernatural world all around us – ESPECIALLY since we can infer it by the evidence of a supernatural evil all around us?
And this is important: Since there is a supernatural evil, then it logically follows that there is a supernatural evil ONE who orchestrates that evil.
The famous Chinese general and strategist, Sung Szu, wrote in his classic, The Art of War: Knowing the enemy enables you to take the offensive. Knowing yourself enables you to stand on the defensive.
Perhaps one of the best-known passages of the New Testament dealing with supernatural warfare is in the sixth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”
“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” (6:12ff)
Listen! People are not our enemy, although clearly, in the supernatural battle we’re in, Satan uses people to do what he by himself cannot do without human help. That’s why he seduces and manipulates people to murder, ravage, destroy, and ruin others. And we can expect such malevolent evil to grow steadily worse as we move toward the second coming of Christ.
Although unseen by the natural eye, the eye focused on the supernatural can see his activities nearly everywhere – including in many churches. So, what evidence is there by which we can infer his foul supernatural existence?
Consider the epic and gravely serious cultural changes anyone over the age of 60 has witnessed just in their lifetime – cultural changes that have resulted in the ruin of homes, families, nations, and individuals.
For example, in the 1950s it would have been unthinkable by virtually every American that in 2019 we would nonchalantly kill 3,000 babies every day in American abortion clinics. And not just kill them, but also sell their body parts for experimentation and research.
Think of it! None of us in the 1950s – just a few years from learning of the experiments the Nazis performed on men, women, and children in their concentration camps – none of us would have ever imagined Americans would do the same thing in our lifetime.
Did you know that since 1973 when the Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to kill their children in the womb (and now, in states like New York, even after they are born) we have killed more than 56 million pre-born children?
Let that number sink in a moment. 56 million.
That’s the combined populations of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and New York! In your mind’s eye, wipe those states off the map. They no longer exist. We’ve slaughtered their populations in the womb.
Our deviant culture is now so upside-down that if you mistreat a dog, you can go to jail. But if you kill your baby in an abortion clinic, you can get invited to some television show to brag about it.
What else do we know of the supernatural carnage triggered by the devil in our lifetime? In 1950 who would have imagined the US Supreme Court would give same-sex marriages legal status in our country – and that a growing number of lower courts throughout the nation would call it ‘hate speech’ to argue against same-sex unions?
In the 1950s who would have believed that unmarried couples living and sleeping together would be the stuff of television sitcoms and Hollywood movies? Yet the supernatural enemy of the family unit has convinced most Americans that living together outside of marriage is as innocent a thing as strolling through the park on a Saturday afternoon.
And if we still need evidence of a supernatural unseen enemy, consider this. Only a few years after we defeated Nazism – NAZI, as some of you might know, is an acronym for the German phrase: National ‘Socialist’ German Workers Party – in 1950, just after we defeated Nazism and were about to be embroiled in a decades-long cold war with the Union of Soviet ‘Socialist’ Republics (USSR), would any of us over the age of 60 believed it possible that in our lifetime we would actually VOTE socialists into our congress and state houses?
I could go on and on with evidence of the supernatural blindness that has enveloped our nation, our churches, our neighbors, but the point should by now be clear. We are engaged in a fierce and lethal supernatural battle for our eternal souls.
We might not want to be engaged in it. We might rather pretend none of it is happening. But if anyone thinks we can avoid the conflict by pretending it’s not there then – listen! Wake up!
Jesus said to the Church at Sardis what He ALSO says it to the Church in 2019: “‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So, remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Revelation 3:1-3)
Don’t miss this point! Life, freedom, safety – and most important, our eternal destiny – is at stake here. Satan will continue deceiving as many as he can to do his will – and his evil will only increase as we draw closer to the second coming of Christ.
That is why it is absolutely crucial that you and I focus our attention on what the Holy Spirit tells us regarding how to protect ourselves and those we love – and also how to successfully stand against our supernatural enemy.
We look at those things next time.