- Clean water under attack in the U.S. Congress
- Man faces charges following attempted armed robbery
- Discovery Center experiences record public attendance
- Pet Talk: Probiotics for your pets
- Illinois home prices climb 3.7 percent in December
- Supreme Court and gay marriage — U of I expert weighs in
- More than 6,100 residents of Winnebago County enrolled in Marketplace
- First large U.S. delegation to visit Cuba since opening of relations
- Merger complete for Illinois Bank & Trust, Galena State Bank
- Crusader welcomes Dr. Maria Lozano Vazquez
Guest Column: Battle gear for the real enemy
Guest Column: Battle gear for the real enemy
By By Dr. Robert R. Kopp
Everything seems so out of control.
Devolution of the species from a Shakespearean esteem as the paragon of animals imbued with culture and compassion to a Hestonian planet of the apes in savagely selfish pursuit of carnal lusts has caused secular and sacred constituencies to project the end of human history as sooner than later.
Even Christendom with its heretofore celebrated optimism invigorated by hope built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness has become a fragmented family of dissipating faith with no tie to bind as so lamentably betrayed by Christological confusion and moral relativism as by-products of biblical principles having the authority of Southern Baptists in Baghdad.
Indeed, competing ministries coupled with confessional uncertainties render ecumenism as probable as fan appreciation in Major League baseball.
Especially in their mainline expressions, todays churches fulfill Laodicean prophecy (Revelation 3:14-22): You are neither cold nor hot…So, because you are lukewarm,…I will spit you out of my mouth (For some fun, go to www.netbible.com and click on Bits and Pieces for Hymns of the Lukewarm Church).
Whos to blame?
Certainly, every generation accuses its predecessors; though the young repeat the old in abrogating responsibility for less-than-noble influence on current events.
Yet Paul cuts a break to no one in observing, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). In other words, everybody has done their worst on too many occasions to mess up the goodness of divine intent.
But just as one must dig deeper than the hands of a broken watch to find out whats wrong, Paul digs deeper to identify the source of all dark energy: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12).
Jesus fingered the real enemy in prayer as the evil one (Matthew 6:13). He said, He was a murderer from the beginning; and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him…he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
Clearly, we have a formidable foe.
John Calvin commented on his schemes: He opposes the truth of God with falsehoods, he obscures the light with darkness, he entangles minds in errors, he stirs up hatred, he kindles contentions and combats, everything to the end that he may overturn Gods kingdom and plunge men with himself into eternal death.
The attacks come at our moments of vulnerability.
If your marriage is weak, hell send a Jezebeland they come in both gendersto seduce you into sin. If youre low on money, hell provide an opportunity to steal. If youre being abused at work, hell push you to abuse at home. If youve been hurt, hell give you somebody to hit. If youve got any kind of problems from the past, hell present occasions to repeat them.
His goal is to beat up and break down Gods people; distracting them from knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior better and getting better at making Him known to people who need Him so desperately.
Fortunately, theres good news from James: Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (4:7-8).
Using the metaphor of a Roman soldier preparing for battle, Paul outlines the saving strategy to stymie Satan (Ephesians 6:10-20). And guided by this prophecy, heres a victory prayer for anyone who uses biblical battle gear to defeat the real enemy:
Father, I thank You for providing all I need to
overcome the attacks of darkness in my life and
to live triumphantly amid the meanness, madness,
and misery of life in the modern world. With the
assist of Your Holy Spirit, I put on the battle gear for the real enemy:
The Belt of Truth – Your will as exemplified in Jesus and explained in the Bible.
The Breastplate of RighteousnessThe covering of
Christs righteousness which makes up for my sins
even as I pray and labor to live a holy life.
Gospel Shoes – The firm foundation of faith in Jesus
as Lord and Savior; cultivating my relationship with
Him through worship, prayer, Bible study, fasting,
sacrament, silence, stewardship, and fellowship.
The Shield of Faith – I trust Your care with the
psalmist, I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25).
The Helmet of Salvation – With Jesus as my Lord
and Savior, I know where Im headed in the end
and how to live in the meantime.
The Sword of the Spirit – Your Holy Bible is a lamp
to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
PrayerCommunion with You is the pulse of my life.
Begging Your assistance in putting on Your armor
and keeping it on, I want to be a salt-shaker and
light-bearer for Christs sake; preserving the good,
purifying the bad, and bringing the joy of Jesus into
all relationships as I shine for Him in all things at all times.
Again, thank You, Lord, for providing weapons to
defeat darkness; reserving my highest praise and
thanks for Jesus whose name alone exorcises
anyone and anything allied with the evil one.
I pray as I seek to live in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Now let me remind you of our greatest defense and offense against darkness in one Word.
Francis Frangipane wrote in The Three Battlegrounds (1989), How do we defeat the enemy? Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips; it is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.
Or as a friend told me, When Satan comes knocking at your door, all you have to do is say, Jesus, please get that for me.
Jesus is the answer to all of our struggles here and now and hereafter.
Thats why weve been calling Him our Lord and Savior for so long.
l l l
If you are interested in receiving an expanded expositon of Ephesians 6:10-20, please send a SASE to Bethany Presbyterian Church, 5403 North Second Street, Loves Park, Illinois 61111***
Dr. Robert Kopp is the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Loves Park.