Acts 19-20 (19:11-20)
The War is Real
September 27, 2015
Things are continuing to get “interesting” in our country and in our world. One of the great religious leaders in the world has been in the US, the pope, and in my estimation, he failed. He talked more about global warming that the value of life and the need to protect it or the stance of the Roman Catholic Church on marriage. I am constantly reminded when I think of what we read in the paper, on the internet, and what we see on TV, that the war is real. Gandalf said, “The enemy is strong beyond our reckoning, yet we have a hope at which he has not guessed.” When we think of war I first think of winners and losers. I think of soldiers and battles, wounds, death, and family. In our text Paul is on his third and final missionary journey. He too is a soldier. He too has many battles to fight, the war is real and it rages around him. Satan is trying to stop Paul, destroy the church, and prevent people from being saved. Living as a disciple of Jesus in not easy. The reason is that to be a disciple of Jesus means you are constantly engaged in spiritual war. There is an increasingly common misrepresentation coming from preachers, especially on TV (Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Jessie Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Myers, Paula White, and others), that the Christian life will be easy (life on vacation at the beach). The Bible says the Christian life looks more like this (picture of soldiers moving out).
I Peter 5:8-10, James 1:2-4, Ephesians 6:10-18
READ TEXT Discuss the battles we see in these 2 chapters.
- The losing side of the war. v. 11-12, 13-16
- Satan and the demons are on the losing side of the war eternally but also now. Jm. 4:7-8
- 7 Sons of Sceva were on the losing side. v.13-17. No relationship with Jesus. Guaranteed to lose. Eternal losers are outside the umbrella of God’s grace. Their attitudes and actions reveal their rebellious hearts. Proc. 27:19
- The winning side of the war. v. 11-12, 17, 20
- God wins. Jesus is triumphant. The Holy Spirit is victorious. The gospel advances. Every time someone gets saved God wins and Satan loses. Every time a Christian grows in his faith God wins and Satan loses.
- God’s soldiers win. II Cor. 10:4-5, 11:16-12:10
- What do you need to do to win? v. 18-20 Take only what you need to fight, to win, into the battle with you. Remember the pic of the soldiers, they didn’t have beach chairs and volleyballs, they had their armor on, their weapons in hand. The disciples in Ephesus destroyed the things, the books of magic, because of the destructive nature of those things to their new lives and their new mission. What do you need to lose now? Is there anything in your life that you need to choose to destroy so that it doesn't destroy you?
1 Peter 5:8-10(ESV) 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
James 1:2-4 (ESV) 2 Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV) 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 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 firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.