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Spiritual Warfare Part 12

Tactical Maneuvers

On previous post I described how the enemy employs a variety of tactical lies to achieve his primary objective, which is to demoralize and discourage the Church. As I discussed briefly, discouragement represent the greatest threat against the sustainment and spiritual development of the Church. A discouraged Church has at least three identifiable characteristics. Let me discuss each one briefly.

First, a discouraged Church becomes compliant with worldly philosophies to “feel” accepted and relevant by the predominant fad of the day. The need for acceptance is a long-range strategy that begins with a demonic attack on the Church’s traditional views of God and of the human condition. The initial disinformation is subtle, but persistent. The world begins by mocking some of the most basic doctrinal beliefs like Jesus's death and resurrection, the roles of the two sexes and family structure, and the biblical emphasis on God’s grace and mercy. The world would insist that it is passé to believe in marriage, for instance. The "experts" encourage young people to engage in premarital sexual behaviors to “find out” if the couple is compatible. This approach ensures that, even before the couple has decided to marry, they would “become one” with someone to whom they do not intend to make a life-long commitment. This little trick has redefined the biblical mandate for marital relationships from being an unbreakable covenant “until death do them part,” to a sexual relationship until they find a more sexually satisfying partner. This lie has resulted in countless divorces with all the heartaches that brings to the couple and the dysfunctions the children must endure, including the losing of faith in God, the Church, and marriage.

Second, a discouraged Church has the tendency to redefine the meaning of the word “ecclesia.” The redefinition of the biblical meaning of the Church can be seen as many people begin to use phrases like, “I don’t need to attend church to be a good Christian,” or “I don’t believe in organized religion,” or “there are many roads that lead to God,” or “we can find God in all religions,” or “a loving God would not limit salvation to Christians only,” and so forth. Each one of these phrases reveals an arrogant attitude that declares they know better than God. When Jesus said that he would build his church, he did not mean to say that individual Christians were a substitute for the corporate gathering or that any one Christian was “the church” by himself. As individuals we are Christians, which means we have accepted Jesus’s teaching and have submitted to his authority. But as individuals we are not “the Church.” The Church is a single entity, a Body as the apostle Paul described it, in which each individual member represents a part that have joined together to become the whole. Allow me a simple illustration.

A car has thousands of parts. All the parts are needed to form the final product we identify as the car. While each part plays a significant role in the final make-up of the car, none of the individual parts is the car. If the parts could speak, they could only refer to themselves by the name of the part they represent or their unique function. The tire would not say, “I am the car.” The tire would say, “I am a tire.” Conversely, I cannot say, “I am the church.” All I am allowed to say is that “I am a follower of Jesus who defines his function in relationship to the rest of the Body.” I only represent the giftedness God has bestowed upon me. I believe the Church has lost most of its power because individual Christians have assumed for themselves roles they are incapable of performing. These Christians have convinced themselves that each one of them has the authority that Jesus delegated to the Church. As a result they have conflated the role of the Body with the role of the members of the Body. This confusion of roles is a false doctrine that has eroded Jesus’s purpose for the Church, and the Church's ability to accomplish the mission. The totality of believers form the ecclesia, but the individual by himself, is not the ecclesia.

Third, a discouraged church ceases to evangelize because “all of us” will eventually end up in heaven. This is the teaching that says that heaven is real, but hell cannot be real because a loving God would not confine his creation to an eternal damnation. While this type of teaching may soothe a troubled and rebellious soul, it does not represent God’s revelation. God’s revelation is simple and complicated at the same time. God’s word is simple in that we know the eternal state, or life after the grave, will be divided into two different realms. A group of people will exist in God’s presence, and we call this heaven. And a second group of people will exist without the enjoyment of God’s presence, and we call this hell. It is difficult for us to define life after the grave, or eternity, because we do not know how God will achieve this final state of existence for human beings.

As a Christian, it is not up to me to define who God is or how he exercises his judicial authority as it relates to salvation and damnation. If I am a Christian, I must endeavor to understand the significance of my confession of faith, and proclaim that confession according to biblical revelation, and not according to my personal needs and desires. The fact that someone may dislike God’s method of salvation or of judgments, it’s absolutely irrelevant . If someone disapproves of the teaching that Jesus is the only way to the Father, their disapproval is not an argument against the truth of the doctrine. It is irrelevant to God that someone may consider that there are other truths outside of Christ. All these positions are irrelevant because if Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of God,” then, whatever He revealed about Himself, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Church, salvation, and condemnation are the only things that matter. Our job is not to apiece the conscience of unbelievers, heathens, pagans, and atheists by making false promises. Our job is to tell them what Jesus said. The main reason many sectors in the Church has ceased their evangelistic message that Jesus is the Savior of the world is directly connected to the water down and adulterated message they continue to preach. In light of our discussion, the reader may ask, “what are the church’s tactical maneuvers? I will present two with very brief descriptions.

The first tactical maneuver is the most obvious: the Church must return to the teaching that the Body of Christ is formed by the collective commitment of each individual member to build a community around the principle of loving one another. Jesus said that the world would know we are his disciples in that we love one another. A loving community is the evidence that Jesus is our Savior. While we will encounter opposition, strife, and even divisions within the Body of Christ, the goal is to struggle through those issues to reach the point of a loving community.

The second tactical maneuver for the Church is to reject every wind of doctrine that is contrary to the whole of God’s revelation of his character. We cannot exclude God’s justice, and judgments, based on the truth that God is love. It is true that God is love, but it is also true that God is a righteous judge. The problem for the modern man is that they have distorted the meaning of agape love and have applied it to all forms of sexual deviancy. Once we accept a distorted definition of a biblical concept, we have abandoned the biblical concept and have entered into false teaching. Allow me to share an example.

God loves sinners. We know God loves sinners because he sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins so that we could be reconciled with God and be restored to God’s purpose for our lives. God’s love for humanity is defined through what God was willing and able to do to bring people back into fellowship with Him. God’s love is not a random feeling that accepts anything and everything in the name of love. God loves men and women who have been unfaithful in their marriages because Jesus also died so that they could be redeemed and reconciled with God. But God’s love as expressed in Jesus’s sacrifice on behalf of the sinner does not accept, in any way, shape, or form, all the expressions of sexual behaviors. He does not. In fact, the opposite is true. If God sent Jesus to make the ultimate sacrifice for humanity, he reserves for himself the right and authority to reject the sinful behavior that became the reason for which it was necessary for Jesus to die in the first place. Thus, God loves the men and women who have been damaged by infidelity, and all other sins, but God’s love does not approve, encourages, or accepts what he has already condemned. It is not up to the Church to give these individuals a false gospel that will lead them to more suffering.

The Church’s primary tactical maneuver is to stay within the parameters God’s character has established for spiritual warfare. As a Christian, I don’t have the freedom or the authority to readjust, redefine, or change God’s revelation. To do so, I would run the risk of engaging the enemy without properly calibrated weapons designed by God for spiritual war. Allow me one final point as a conclusion of this series. The purpose we engage in spiritual warfare is to reconcile and restore sinners to a healthy and spiritual intimacy with God.

The Church represents Jesus on this world for the sole purpose to be the vehicle for reconciling the world back to God. If we find ourselves being relevant to the world, transforming the culture, changing politics, or becoming incarnate to the world, we have lost our mission and our tactical maneuvers are more aligned with the devil’s tactics than with God’s tactics. We must remember that the enemy's tactic is to discourage the Church to distract us from the mission of reconciling the world to God. We must also keep in mind that God’s strategy is for the Church to focus on the salvation of men’s souls through the preaching of the good news that Jesus died for the sins of all mankind, and that he was raised from the dead on the third day. These good news have been the Church’s message from the beginning. This message has not changed, and it will not change until Jesus returns for his people.

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