Army of the Lord
OK, it HAS been awhile sense I've posted anything here. I'm still mourning the end of a summer that ended abruptly with VBS, vacation and Hurricane Irene. Lynn and the girls are back in school (Angelynn as a brand new teacher at Warwick High). Summer's gone; I have to deal with it. So it's back to the old routine... which I plan on including a blog post or two or three each week.
We just ended a short sermon series on Spiritual Warfare Sunday. When many people hear "Spriitual Warfare," they think of angels, demons and exorcism. So... do demons possess people today like they did in Jesus’ day? I really don’t know. I doubt Satan would want top do that much our modern world where most people don’t believe that Satan even exists; it would be silly for him to disabuse them of that notion. What I do know is that the Bible never commands us to exorcise demons. There is no passage that outlines an exorcism. Jesus told them to go away, and they went away. It didn’t always work that way for the apostles (Matt 17:14), which probably is why they were so hacked off when they came across the unknown exorcist (Mark 9:38). Of course, it really turned out badly for the sons of Sceva when they tried to cast out demons in the name of Jesus (Acts 19:14).
No, we are not told to cast our demons or how to go about casting them out. But we are told some specific things that we are to do concerning spiritual warfare.
- We are told to “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)
- We are told not to “give the devil a foothold” through our anger (Eph 4:27)
- We are told to “Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Pet 5:9)
The emphasis on our participation in spiritual warfare is not on how to get the devil out of others; it is rather the necessity of resisting the devil’s hold on us.
The problem is that many of us have come to believe that sin really doesn’t matter that much anyway. After all, how many were brought up thinking that a lot of things were sinful (dancing, drinking, going to movies, mixed-swimming, and the beat goes on) that they now believe to be no big deal. In fact, the whole idea of sin is pretty much no big deal any more, which is a bit awkward on Sunday morning when we remember the price Jesus paid for our sin, a price that makes no sense if sin isn’t that big of a deal any more. You really do get the idea that sin isn’t nearly as gnarly as we once thought it was when you consider the following factoids:
- Christians vote against abortion, but we get as many abortions as others
- We say we believe in sanctity of marriage, but divorce at higher than culture
- We can fuss over social drinking, but we are alcoholics at rate as culture
- Polls say as about 50% of our men and 20% of women use pornography
- Barna suggests as many Christians as non-Christians cheat on marriage
- 51% of Christians admitted on one poll they lie (were they being truthful?)
What’s going on? We can defend the reasonableness of faith with philosophic and scientific evidence, but if make no difference in how we live our lives, then why would anyone want it? When we become just like the world around us in every recognizable way, then why would they want to become like us. In fact, HOW can they become likes us—they already are like us?
The old Acappella song “Army of the Lord” asks the question, “Are we walking into the enemy camp laying our weapons down?” More and more of us don’t even know there’s a way going on!