Notes on Christian Warfare (4)

“Fighting the Good Fight”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Streams of Grace   (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)

It is only as we act faith that the streams of God’s grace open up to us and supply us with our needs, especially so in this spiritual warfare (Ephesians 3:14). That prayer is Paul’s but it is in the first place inspired by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit’s desire that we are strengthened. And that by the self-same Spirit who indwells us, “for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The Christian man or woman is in the Lord and the Lord is in them. He is the source of our spiritual energy from whom we draw the needed grace and strength to fight the good fight of faith. He who is in the world is the enemy of God and us his people. He is the cause of the warfare we are having to fight. The Devil, and Satan, his domain is in the earth. He has been cast out of heaven. The apostle John tells us, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). The entirety of an unregenerate world is under his sway, his influence. The Devil uses this world of unbelief to rise against the people of God. They are God’s enemies too and ours. Now you begin to see what we are up against. Not just flesh and blood, “but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). But flesh and blood too, influenced by these powers of darkness. But if it is the will of God the Holy Spirit that we are strengthened with his might in the inner man (3:14), what hinders us from beings so? Up! About your business, on your knees. For he cares for you. Do you recall in the gospels Jesus’ disciples are in the boat with the Lord? There’s a storm and they’re petrified. The awaken the sleeping Jesus asking him doesn’t he care that they perish?  What does he same to them? Where is your faith? He doesn’t say they haven’t got any, but where is it? Where is your faith, are you engaging in this warfare in faith or just letting the enemy ride roughshod all over you? Are you allowing the Devil to scare the living daylights out you just like the disciples in the storm? “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36). “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).

A Christian has no right to be running scared. There is a time when faith must fall away and give place to trust. We are continually with him and he with us, he holds us by the hand, guides us with his counsel, and when our time’s done takes us to glory (Psalm 73:23-24). Can we not trust him, has he ever lied to us? “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1Peter 5:7). Yes, in the midst of this anti-Christian warfare, he cares for us, he will not fail us. So we ought not to be agitated with fear, disturbed by the circumstances, the cares of this world. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). We have the victory in Christ. Many enter the field of battle against Satan but few conquer. Because few have the courage and the resolution to wrestle with the difficulties. Note, “we wrestle” (v12). It is a wrestling match, but it’s to the death. They come joyfully out of Egypt but as soon as their bellies begin to grumble, instead food and plenty, they’re face with war and poverty. And they want go back to Egypt. Is that you? Will you turn back and flee in the face of the enemy? Or will you stand and fight? Will you prove the Lord, will you trust in him and what he has promised? Are you willing to endure hardship for Christ and his cause? Many there are who loathe the idea of losing heaven. But they loathe even more the cost of getting there, the warfare, the fight they find themselves in. They want heaven but at no cost to them. They want to get there on the wings of ease, dressed in fine raiment and bellies full. No, it takes another spirit than the spirit of the world in order to follow Christ fully. It takes the spirit of Caleb. “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it” (Numbers 14:24).

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2014)
Sermon Audio

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