In light of our national discussion taking place in the media, spiritual warfare in the life of the Christian is worth discussing. As believers we must not forget that we live in a fallen world, where sin abounds and sinful-natures are out of control. The world’s hostile attitude towards the Church as a whole, as well as the individual believer, is really on display in the comments and attitudes of both sides of this argument. This is warfare. The world opposes, stands against, and tries to thwart the advancement of the gospel. It rejects Christ, his word, his bride, and uplifts all those who stand in opposition to Christianity. The Bible says the following things about the world and opposition against the believer:
- Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever (I Jn. 2:15-17).
- You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore, they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this, we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (I Jn. 5:4-5).
- We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (I Jn. 5:19).
- I have given them your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one (Jn.17: 14-16).
- These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33).
- If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (Jn. 15:18-20).
The Scriptures are clear that the world is in warfare with the believer, and that the enemies of Christ stand in juxtaposition against Christ. This validates the doctrine that the world is a spiritual enemy of the Church. Identifying the Devil as the chief leader of spiritual warfare is not enough; the Church must observe the world, the sinful nature, broken systems overseen by fallen men, and the Devil, in order to properly understand the condition of Ferguson Missouri and the Nation.
What’s the Proper Response from the church in Light of these discussions?
Preaching the gospel and saving lost souls is the proper response for the church to those on both sides of the issues. Only the Christian can make sense of injustice and in evil society. We have a great work to do as members of the Church. Because all humanity is lost and separated from God, the gospel was given to believers to proclaim that all men may be saved. Satan, the world, and the sinful nature all oppose the gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ. Therefore, when the gospel is proclaimed, it becomes an act of warfare against these enemies.
Those who conspire to keep men in darkness have declared war on God and the Church. It can then be presumed that the Gospel is a problem for its enemies. The saving message rescues, liberates, and changes lives. “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, for the Jew first, then the Greek” (Rom 1:16). It is God’s plan and power used on earth to oppose and to break the strongholds of Satan, the world, and the sinful nature of the flesh. Preaching the gospel is what this researcher defines as warfare preaching. It is God’s Word proclaimed by God’s messenger to reach those who are held captive against their will by God’s enemies. A definition of warfare preaching is proclaiming the joyous Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated as gospel means “a reward for bringing Good News.”
In Isaiah 40:9, the prophet proclaimed the “good tidings” that God would rescue His people from captivity. In His first sermon in Nazareth, Jesus used a passage from the Old Testament to characterize the spirit of His ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). The preaching of the gospel is God’s plan of salvation; it began in Israel, was completed in Jesus Christ, and is made known by the Church. The preaching of the gospel is the saving work of God in His Son and a call to faith in Him (Romans 1:16 17). When we preach, we must always preach about Jesus, who was more than a messenger of the gospel; He is the gospel. This is what will turn the human heart from hatred to Love for their fellow-men.
This is why the gospel is unstoppable; demons cannot stop the activity of God on earth when we preach in this manner. The world cannot stop the proclamation of the gospel. The fallen nature of men may resist it; but they cannot stop it. This Good News of God is spoken of in Jesus’ life, teaching, and atoning death. Warfare preaching is gospel preaching; it calls for hearers to believe in Jesus and to place their trust and faith in Christ for salvation. This form of preaching calls for one to put their faith in God for deliverance and salvation. It is more than an intellectual agreement to a theoretical truth; it is a call of faith and action to trust in Christ. In gospel preaching, this is what the preacher must preach, and this is what opposes Satan, the world, and the sinful nature of the flesh.
Once again, when hearers believe this message and repent, they come from out of the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of God. Only gospel preaching can do this. There is but one gospel of truth; when we preach it, we must declare which gospel it is. It is the gospel of suffering, surrender, and of sacrifice. It is not the gospel of easy believism, health, wealth, and prosperity. However, it is the Good News of salvation by grace through faith in the one and only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. This gospel is the gospel of unconditional love, grace, peace, joy, complete forgiveness, and hope in eternal life in the life to come.
When the Apostle Paul warned Christians of the dangers of following “another gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4), he was reminding them that any gospel different than the one he preached was no gospel at all. This is why we preach the gospel: it is the only hope for a dying world. Nothing but the gospel message can save a dying man. It is God’s plan for saving the world. According to these texts and other New Testaments commands, we must preach the gospel, we must read the gospel, live the gospel, share the gospel, hold on to the gospel, and never change or discard the gospel because the Word of God is true, holy, alive, and able to save men from their sins. Nothing the enemy has can stop this power of God given to men. This is why Jesus commanded in Mark 16 to go into the entire world and preach it to every creature. He knew it would shatter the lies of the underworld, break the strongholds of the wicked one, and set the captives free to come unto Him for salvation; Paul said in Romans 1:16 that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, without it, no one can be saved. Once a life is saved, Satan has no more dominion over them. This reveals why warfare preaching is the biblical preaching of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The answer to the problem plaguing the Nation is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church must not be distracted or deceived with the world’s sinful-issues and social and cultural dilemmas. We are called to pay attention to the crisis that the world is facing and speak to them with the truth of scripture, loving them, forgiving them, teaching them, sharing with them, rebuking them and standing against social injustice by preaching the gospel.
Let’s engage this week with those who are confused, discouraged and ignorant to the good news of Jesus Christ. Only the gospel can make sense out of sense-less activities in a fallen world.
“Sin is still at play in the hearts of men…killing, looting, racism, imbalance of power… Spiritual warfare exist in the hearts of men …Only the gospel can change the heart!”