Cultural warfare and the full armor of God by Pastor Don
Last Sunday Pastor Don pointed out there are prerequisites for what God has promised in covenant. There are false teachings in the Church today, teachings based on truth with a lie thrown in. satan is a liar and he is a smart liar. He will tell us partial truths to pull us off of God’s plan for our lives to get us to think wrongly. When we accept the lie, we are no longer in obedience to God.
For example, some people use the fact that God’s love is unconditional to think they can do anything they want, sin, and not obey God because His love is unconditional. It is true His love is unconditional, but that does not mean God won’t permit us to face repercussions for our sins. He will love us, much like a parent loves their child, but will still correct the child. The love of the parent does not diminish, but the child will not like the correction. There is a fruit to sin and, if we persist in sinning, there will be repercussions – God will love us, but we will have the repercussions for our sins. And, while God loves us unconditionally, His blessings are conditional..
God is good, He is righteous, has a sweet anointing, but that does not mean He will bless you if you are disobedient. His blessings are based on conditions, and the conditions are based on obedience to God, to fully living within His Word.
For example, a person cannot claim prosperity from God and then take the money and gamble it away at Mohegan Sun, for even if you won – another person lost, and it is ill gotten gain. And worse, if you walked in with money and lost it, you are throwing away your blessing. God cannot honor that. Gambling makes slaves of people – there are 17 million members of Gamblers Anonymous. God is for creating liberty in our lives, not bondage.
The end of prohibition created a lot of alcoholics. People began to drink more and more. Alcohol for the alcoholics is also a bondage.
Just because society says an activity is okay doesn’t mean it is okay. If we accept evil into our lives it paves the way for new evils. We are in the midst of cultural warfare.
As a kid Pastor Don grew up in the Bronx. He never, in his wildest imagination, thought metal detectors would be needed in his school because of all the weapons today’s kids try to smuggle into the school.
There are certain limits we don’t think about, and all of a sudden we find ourselves where we never thought we would be. Today our society wants us to tolerate and accept anything and everything. Where we went wrong was accepting the first thing.
Pastor Don gave an illustration using the praise teams’ equipment. He pretended to be satan (meaning anything culturally shady) and walked up to our music minister, Joy, and asked her if he could borrow the microphone for a few minutes. She said, “No.” He said, “It is only for a few minutes.” Then he went on to point out how INTOLERANT, BIASED, PREJUDICED she was because she would not let him borrow the microphone for a few minutes. So she relents.
He then asks, “Can I keep the microphone for a few weeks.” Pointing out that she let me have it for a few minutes, and nothing bad happened, what is a few weeks. Uses those emotionally charged words again about intolerance, prejudice, etc. She relents and gives permission. Then he moves to the keyboard, which goes nicely with the microphone, and after all nothing happened when you loaned me the microphone, so what about the piano. Moved to the drums, etc, until he had in his possession all the instruments on the stage. Then refused to let her use them because she was not politically correct.
Where our society went wrong was when they gave in to the first demand – had they held on to the values mentioned in the Bible, our society would not have gone into the downward spiral it going on. If we let cultural values move us, then we move further and further away from the truth of God.
Everyone today is doing their own thing, violent crimes are increasing. Violent crimes among women are on the rise. Today the focus is on individual faith. People decide, “What is the moral code for ME.” That moves us further and further away from God. The Church has to ask, “What will we tolerate and accept?” We are, as a society, being asked to tolerate more and more unacceptable behavior.
Where do we draw the line? Permitting one form of sexual immorality leads to another group demanding their form of sexual immorality is acceptable. Remember, the hand that rocks the cradle determines the next generation.
To determine what the next generation will be like, we have to be sure of our position of faith, be sure what is morally acceptable and ethically correct. What you believe and do not believe will determine if you decide something is godly or ungodly. We want to hold to what the Word of God says is morally acceptable.
Politicians and political forces are attempting to re-write values. We have to make sure of what we believe and make sure we line up with the truth of God. We have to know for sure what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. It is a battle. Pastor Don then brought us to Ephesians 6 and the whole armor of God.
Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Remember, satan will use all his wiles to pull us away from God. Pastor Don asked us if we ever wake up in the morning in a great mood and then something dark seems to drop on us from out of the blue and our mood becomes nasty. Or if you have been driving along the road and a stray thought comes into your mind to drive into a telephone pole. The devil puts thoughts into our mind, and we have to discern where these thoughts come from. Are they thoughts from God or thoughts from satan? Not all thoughts that cross our mind come from us or come from God. satan is the master of tiny little thoughts that pull us just a little bit away from the truth, and then over time that little way becomes much larger.
Have you ever listened to that little voice that keeps you from coming to church? satan will give you many excuses, for he knows, if you come to church, you will get better and feel better.
We fight against change, not wanting to change our lives, to get out of our comfort zone. We want things to stay the same. (Heather’s note, one time Pastor Don defined insanity as keeping on doing the same thing the same way and expecting it to produce a change when it hasn’t changed in the past.)
In the last days we are going to see many more attacks from the enemy, for he knows his time is short.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The first heaven is the air we breathe, the second heaven is from the top of our head and upward towards the third heaven. It is in the second heaven that satan has dominion. (Heather’s note, air waves, TV waves, etc are in this second heaven.) Adam and Eve gave dominion to satan by listening to him and disobeying God. Whenever we listen and obey anything other than God we are in disobedience. When we listen to hate, we produce hate. If we listen to the love of God, we produce love of God. What is it that we make an idol in our lives? Is it porn, the computer, hanging out with friends, our body, the shopping network, bad temper – whatever we put in the most important place in our lives is what becomes our idol.
People of faith throw off the devil, who wants to be our god. We do not want his ethics or morals. We want to let the Word guide us, and accept faith as a lifestyle, permitting God to direct our steps, even if we don’t know where God is taking us.
Come back to God. If we have listened to words that got us in trouble, if we have sinned, not obeyed God, do not run from God, run to God. The battle is not of flesh and blood. We get caught into thinking the problem is other people, but it isn’t. It is the forces behind others, in the heavenlies, that causes them to do what they do. When we wake up and get right with God, we do not react to circumstances but we act as God directs us to act.
So often we act without thinking and then ask ourselves, “Why did we do this?” We need to walk the Walk, and learn to discern the spirits in the world. Then we will not let those lying spirits in the heavenlies cause us to take wrong steps. When we get a thought or plan an action, discern, is it of God or is it a spirit sending a wrong message to us?
If you know a person who is ruled by ungodly thoughts, who will not bring out the best in us, unless directed by God to be in their lives, stay away from them. Find someone you can get together with in the Word, and who can lead you in a godly direction.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The day of the Lord is fast approaching, and we need to have the whole armor. Each piece is important and if there is one missing, we leave ourselves open to satan. Notice that the Word says that we are to “STAND.” Not run, not turn around. (Heather’s note, you will see that the whole armor of God covers the front of the person, if they turn around, their backs are exposed. If we stand or advance, then Jesus has our backs.)
Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
No matter how the test is going, STAND. The Church is missing the evil, we don’t do real battle against the cultural war. Our standards are being changed, we are trying to go with the flow. We are getting caught up in certain sexual sins such as homosexuality, and not making much ado about adultery or divorce. What is at stake is not the individual sin, but SEXUAL PURITY. We allow ourselves to get off course, to stray a bit, and then when we look around and realize how far we have gone from God’s truth. We find ourselves where we don’t want to be.
Pastor Don pointed out we can see the change even in the music. In the 50’s it was “Baby I love you.” In the 60’s it was “I love everybody and sleep with everybody, sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” This thinking crisscrosses into all music. And now people look at us and tell us that we didn’t stop promiscuity in the 50’s, so what is so wrong with the way sex is viewed in the 60’s, so why not same sex in the 80’s? Now in 2000 there is perversion on every level and people are now trying to make it legal to have sex with children. Where is it going to stop?
We are losing the cultural war. The New York State Assembly passed a bill for same sex marriage, urged on by Eliott Spitzer. We were not given a chance to vote on it, the majority of New York State residents would not vote yes to this. We are now praying that the New York State Senate will not pass the bill.
What is happening is politicians today are trying to unseat God. They are making themselves the heads of a political theocracy, and trying to legislate morality. If Christians protest, if they state they do not agree, they are branded as “YOU PEOPLE are intolerant, closed minded and bigoted.” (Heather’s note, tolerance has taken on a new definition – Christians are not to be tolerated for their beliefs, but all are supposed to accept as true and right anything anyone else but a Christian believes, and if you don’t then you are branded intolerant. Those who accuse Christians of being intolerant are not tolerant towards Christians – it is a double standard.)
Ephesians 6:15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
The truth is an immoral society breeds more problems without solutions than a moral society. How does one shod our feet? We do it thorough prayer, having fellowship with other believers, and having time in the Word. In the 50’s and 60’s the problems we face today would be unimaginable. We sought peace and love in our own power, not realizing that true peace comes from Christ.
Ephesians 6:16 above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Heather’s note, they are fiery darts, not atom bombs. Many times it is the little annoyances that get to us, not the major concerns). But we use our shield of faith in Christ Jesus to help us get through all of our problems. We cannot do it alone. We protect ourself with the Word of God, the positive word of faith. When a person speaks a word of doubt and unbelief, say, “My Bible says….” Don’t accept any words spoken over you that do not agree with the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God; We need to remember we are God’s child and He cares. The helmet of salvation protects our thoughts and the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God The best time to remember you are saved is when you are sinning, for that will stop you from doing what you are doing.
Ephesians 6:18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. How often do we pray? ALWAYS. And with all types of praise, supplication for all saints, not just the ones we like today, but ALL saints.
We do not give up no matter our circumstances. Remember that God loves us. He is crazy about us, and will keep loving us unconditionally, but his promises are conditional.
Have a great Sunday!
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