God's truth for today's world

Today, we begin a new message series called “Basic Training.” Basic training in the US Army is a 10 week journey from being a civilian to a soldier. In Basic Training you learn basic tactical and survival skills. You learn the basics of the army life and 7 core army values. The 7 core army values are: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Pretty good list, isn’t it. All are basic biblical values as well.

So, why name this message series “Basic Training?” Just a basic training equips a civilian for service as a soldier in the US Army, so spiritual basic training equips a believer to be an effective soldier in Jesus’ army. In the last message series, we spoke of the spiritual warfare that every believer is involved in. What happens to untrained civilians in the middle of a war? They are soon wounded or killed. Same thing happens in spiritual warfare. Many believers are casualties in spiritual warfare because they have not received basic training or have not put it into practice.

2 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIV)  Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.

God wants you to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus. You learn to endure hardship. You seek only to please your commanding officer, Jesus Christ, so you don’t get involved in civilian affairs. You lay down your rights for the advance of the kingdom of God.

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Today, we conclude our message series on Spiritual Warfare. Next week, we begin a new message series called “Basic Training.” If you and I are to engage in spiritual warfare, we need Basic Training as soldiers in the Lord’s army. Invite a friend to our new Basic Training series beginning next week.

Our message today is entitled “Standing Firm.” The Bible teaches that spiritual warfare will intensify as the return of Jesus Christ draws nearer. Although, there have certainly been instances of difficult spiritual warfare down through the centuries, I believe that it is safe to say that world-wide, we are currently in the most intense spiritual warfare in the history of the world.

Today, as never before, the world is connected into a common culture via the communication channels of the internet. The spread of both good and evil through the networks of the world occurs at light speed. The opportunity to influence myriads of people now is available to anyone with a message to send, whether for God or for Satan. So, what can we expect regarding Spiritual Warfare in the last days? I just want to remind you that the Bible teaches that the last days are the time from Jesus’ resurrection until His return, so we are now currently living in the last days.

2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV)  But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

Terrible times means troublesome, hard and violent times. So, no the last days will not bring in a state of paradise and peace on earth, until Jesus Himself returns. These terrible times will mean times of increasing spiritual warfare for those who are alert and following their commander in chief, Jesus Christ.

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We’re talking about Spiritual Warfare in our current message series. Spiritual warfare is warfare between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. As every person on this earth is either a citizen of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Satan, we are all involved in this warfare.

Every believer is part of the kingdom of God. However, did you know that you can actually aid the enemy by the things you do or the things that you say? When we aid the enemy’s cause, its treason. Everything that you do or say either aids God’s kingdom or Satan’s kingdom. As a believer everything that you do or say should be for the glory of God and His kingdom.

Today, my message is entitled “Surviving Satan’s Attacks.” War is brutal and when you’re engaged in spiritual warfare, you will be the target of Satan’s attacks. In fact, the more that God is using you, the more that Satan will attack you.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV2011)  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, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

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Today, the next message in our Spiritual Warfare message series is entitled “Overcoming Our Accuser.” As we’ll see today, our accuser is Satan and his demons. Satan accuses us before God and he accuses us directly, in our own minds and hearts. He seeks to discourage believers, by magnifying their faults and minimizing God’s grace working in their lives.

Today, we’re going to learn how to overcome Satan, our accuser and live our lives in the victory won by Jesus Christ on the cross. In the Old Testament, there’s not much said about Satan and his demons. They were present, but hidden, as it were in the shadows. But when Jesus came to this earth and began His ministry, everything changed. Jesus began to confront both Satan and his demons. We see the stories of those battles which Jesus always won in the pages of the Gospels.

1 John 3:8b (NIV)  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

Jesus came to this earth to destroy the devil’s work in the lives of people and set them free. We see Jesus destroying the devil’s work in healing the sick, casting out demons and spreading the truth of God’s kingdom. Jesus definitively defeated Satan by his death and resurrection.

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We are currently in a message series on Spiritual Warfare. Jesus’ ministry on this earth was all about spiritual warfare. When you read the Gospel accounts, you find Jesus confronting demons and evil spirits on every other page.

Acts 10:38 (NIV2011)  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.

In this verse, Jesus’ ministry is summarized as “healing all who were under the power of the devil.” In Jesus’ ministry healing of the sick and casting out of demons were often intertwined. When Jesus set someone free from the power of Satan, they were healed. Jesus’ ministry of spiritual warfare was continued by the early church as recorded in the book of Acts. Yet, today, churches seldom speak of demons and setting people free from the power of the devil. In fact, most people today do not believe that Satan and his demons are real.

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