Wednesday, 11/10/21 – Pressing on… Enemies!

Enemies!

Enemies are why people go to war. Enemies seek to plunder their targets, to take them or take from them all for spite, sport, or personal gain. Enemies come to steal and to kill and to destroy. You do not want to sleep when you see an enemy coming.

Every Christian has at least one enemy. He is the primary enemy, and he comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. He speaks lies… only lies. He is an infiltrator and a master of disguise. He has studied human nature for centuries and he knows you very well. He has been watching you, knows your triggers, your weaknesses, what buttons to push, and when.

Jesus gave us full forewarning…

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10). “…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). ”Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14). “…false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15).

Peter knew what is was to fall… to allow rashness  and passion to predominate. Minutes after his great profession of faith, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” (Matt. 16:16) Peter’s rashness earned him Christ’s rebuke, “…he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (v. 23).

He fell again, far worse… he denied knowing his Lord three times. He wept bitterly (Luke 2:62). But, upheld by the prayers of Christ Himself (Luke 22:32), filled and emboldened by the Spirit of God (Act 2), now he spoke, he testified, he wrote…

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith …” (1 Pet. 5:8-9). / “…I will always remind you of these things,” he wrote… I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body… And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.” (2 Pet. 1:12-13, 15).

Every Christian must remember that he is in a war, and must realize who is the true enemy, “[We wrestle]… 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). Each must accept one’s share of suffering, must exercise discipline to duty, and seek to please the Lord. “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus,” wrote Paul. “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” (2 Tim. 2:3-4).

He has taught us how to fight: “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). “…the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19). “…give no opportunity [foothold] to the devil.” (Eph. 4:27). “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). And ultimate victory is assured: “And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:2).

Know you have an enemy; know who he is; know how in Christ to do battle against him, and…

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 9/22/21 – Pressing on… God rules all things!

God rules all things!

Pixabay

“God rules all things by His power,” wrote Cyril of Jerusalem (310-386 AD). “He rules over the idolaters… rules over the heretics… He even rules over the devil…”

God has this astonishing knack of contorting evil into good. Take, for example, the life of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his envious brothers God twists it into good as Joseph remains faithful. He raises Joseph to great power and by his management of a great famine saves the lives of many including his evil-plotting brothers. Joseph, trusting the hand of God through all this, in the end assured them,

You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20, NKJV).

In these days we face great opposition from our true enemy, the devil. He hopes to sow discord among us. Our job is to shun him as Joseph shunned the temptation to vengeance against his brothers. It is for victory that this foe exists.

Cyril elaborates,

“God has allowed the devil to exist, for two reasons: first, that he might shame himself all the more in being overcome; and second, that humanity might be crowned with victory over him… God allowed the devil to make war, that we might be crowned victors! When our victory is gained, the devil is even more shamed, conquered by the weaker party; mortal humans are mightily honoured, having defeated a fallen archangel!”

The psalmist David praised, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve You. (Ps. 119:90, 91).

All things serve God. His end purposes will prevail. Our job — your job as a Christian — is to hold steady against the devils wiles, to maintain unity and harmony amongst your brothers and sisters in Christ and “as far as it depends on you… with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18). God is in control and His purposes will prevail!

I like the way Max Lucado puts it:

“Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” – Max Lucado

Press on…