If we are, as I believe, very near the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are even nearer a time of darkness such as the world has never seen.
MATTHEW 24:21 (NKJ)
“FOR THEN THERE WILL BE A GREAT TRIBULATION SUCH AS HAS NOT BEEN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF TIME, NO, NOR EVER SHALL BE.”
In such a social climate many will turn away from the faith and betray those who remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His Word (Matthew 24:10). How will you avoid being one of the spiritual casualties of this dangerous age? Is your faith strong enough to prevent you from turning away from Jesus Christ to save yourself from persecution?
Jesus put a great importance on counting the cost of being one of His disciples. In Luke 14:25-35 Jesus told His followers that they could not be His disciples unless they were willing to value the lives of their family or even their own lives far below His life and work. In verse 33 Jesus declares that to be His disciple we must forsake all.
Christians have had it easy in the Western world, but the time appears to be coming to an end. As a rule we have not been required to “forsake all” as an acknowledgement of our devotion to Jesus Christ. While others, in many other countries have faced persecution, imprisonment, and even death, we have lounged in the lap of luxury. But, the more the world races forward to embrace the gods of this age, the more hostile it will become to those who follow the One True God.
As the Apostle Paul wrote Timothy concerning the last days,
“…ALL WHO DESIRE TO LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION” (I TIMOTHY 3:1, 12)
Paul considered persecution to be one of the costs of being a Christian. Maybe we should also.
As this end-time war against you and your God heats up, how will you avoid being a casualty? How will you guarantee that your name will be written in the Book of Life when Jesus returns to put down man’s Satan led rebellion against the Lord God?
In I Timothy 4:15, 16 the Apostle Paul reveals to us one of the keys to our gaining victory in this war: KNOW THE SCRIPTURE INSIDE AND OUT. The better we know the Scripture, the better we know our Heavenly Fathers mind and will. To know the Scripture is to gather our armour and armaments for battle. This knowledge is very important if we want to be standing (spiritually after the enemy has thrown everything in his arsenal at us.
But, having armour and weapons is a far cry from being prepared to win the battle. Our weapons are spiritual, and we must be trained to war after the spirit, and not after the flesh. We must be trained to wield the sword of God’s warfare with skill and accuracy. We can be assured that our enemy and his soldiers will come at us to cripple or destroy us if possible.
Let’s not be frozen with fear at this possibility, we do need to remember that we are not alone and that we do not have to face the enemy alone. Even though we live in enemy territory, we are not helplessly stranded. Our captain, the most skillful and successful warrior in the history of the world, is with us. He is more than willing to teach us to fight skillfully and successfully against our enemy and his forces. Yielding ourselves to His command, we can learn not only to fight for the faith and hold our own, but actually to take ground from the enemy.
Jesus not only willingly purchased our lives with His own blood as the purchase price, He also returned to this earth in the Spirit to fight to free us from the hands of the devil. Through His body, the Church, (us), He is warring to take away from the devil those that the enemy refused to let go. Because we now belong to Jesus Christ, the devil will stop at nothing to neutralize us or even destroy us if possible. He intends to give no ground to any Christian or to the Body of Christ. He would desire nothing more than to kill, steal, or destroy any or all who have been torn from his grip and given to our Saviour.
With so much at stake how can we learn to fight through the Spirit so that we might free ourselves and others from every bit of attachment that the devil pulls us with in his direction?
Often, when we see condition and how our enemy uses others and circumstances in our lives to influence and control others, we lash out in anger and hostility against those we perceive a “working for the enemy.” But this is only using the devils tools and the devil’s tactics to excuse ourselves from the devil’s control.
There is another way – a way to use the weapons of God in a godly manner. To use God’s weapons God’s way means to be trained by God’s best – the Captain of the armies of the living God, Jesus Christ – in the art of spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare is a special way of taking on the issues of life, whether their source is the normal issues of everyday living in this flesh or pure evil in one of its many forms. We can confront our circumstances with success if, and only if, we are willing to be trained by the master. Our training will start in seriousness when we can say with the Apostle Paul that we desire above all else to:
KNOW HIM AND THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION…” (PHILIPPIANS 3:10)
[End of Part One of the Introduction]