Friday, June 19, 2015

Fighting the Wrong Enemy

But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” – Mark 13:12

Is there anything sadder than the death of nine people who were in conversation with God when shot to death by a 21 year old?  To be in a place where you feel safe, a place of intimacy where you can be yourself with others, and be at peace with God, and have that stolen from you by one person is horrifying.  It hurts my very heart to think of what these nine brothers and sisters in Christ endured. But none of our pain and grief will bring them back, and they wouldn’t come back if they could.  Their lives have ended and their coronation day has come.
And now they come out of the woodwork.  It happens every time, and yet the situation never changes.  They want to spout their gun law opinions, whether it is to keep people armed – and even armed at church, or to have all guns removed from civilians.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please don’t fight the wrong enemy.  It matters not if evil holds a gun, a knife, or a flaming torch – evil is still controlling the situation, not what is in their hands. 

We are told that a day is coming, and even now is, when we will be hated for believing in Christ.  We’ve sat and worried about Isis, and read all the propaganda about them being in our states and in foreign lands killing children and old alike.  We sit and wring our hands in worry, wondering what we will do “if” we are faced with them and will we be strong enough to not deny Christ.  We argue over sending troops to defend the defenseless against them.  Meanwhile, evil grows under many names other than Isis. 
For years now I’ve not watched the news.  I refuse to.  When God says to protect our minds, to think on the things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good, and virtuous, the news reports don’t seem to meet His standards.  I think what He was saying was to think on His word, and there you can find peace in a broken society.  It is possible to live without watching the news and be very happy, and even live without fear of the future.  Sitting and worrying over all that is going wrong in this world is a fine way to depress yourself and miss all the good in this world!

But even when not watching the news reports I have heard and seen the evil that abounds.  Children being killed, old people abused, animals being maimed for sport, wives treated as punching bags, young girls sold into slavery, and the list goes on.  The enemy my friends is not a gun or a knife or drugs or even the fall of society.  The enemy is evil itself, and he has a name.  You can fight for the right to carry a weapon, fight against drugs, fight against child pornography and a dozen other symptoms of evil, but evil will continue to thrive in a world that is without God. 
So how do we fight against evil when those without God do not want God?  There is only one way to win against evil, and that is to overcome it with good.  People may doubt your faith, but when your actions prove what is within you they cannot argue with the presence of good in your life.  The absence of living out our faith is hypocrisy at its very core, and friends, the lost don’t care much for hypocrites. 

We’re not told to try to witness to the entire world a check drawn from our church treasury, but to “GO” and make disciples.  We are not told to reach them with questions like “Have you received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior?” or “If you were to die tonight, where would you go?” or theatrical events aimed at producing fear of death in them.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, please understand that these types of conversations and events are an immediate turn off to anyone who is evil, for evil has not fellowship with light, and they do not want to hear about Him!  And how do you expect to “win” a soul to Christ based on fear when you KNOW it is necessary for them to believe in Him through faith to be saved, and yet they’ve never gotten to know Him?   
We must stop taking the easy way out of ministry!  Handing out a track is the easiest thing you can do to alieve yourself of the guilt of not serving God with your hands and feet.  Knocking on doors, inviting people to your church, holding “high attendance Sunday” and “bring a friend” events to pull people in to hear a salvation message hasn’t been doing the job.  How many do you know that were brought to the salvation of Christ through these actions?  And you cannot count the baptisms that resulted if those that said they receive him are not abiding in Him now.  Many are being deceived into believing they have Christ because they recited a prayer, and got dunked.  And when their lives are falling apart they cannot understand why Christianity doesn’t work for them.   

We have to stop taking the easy route to ministry and do what God’s word teaches.  Jesus commanded us to “go”, to “make” disciples, to “teach” them.  These are actions that we have omitted from ministry for the easy route of writing a check, holding an event, or handing out a track. 
Paul said in Romans 12:20-21 “Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  That is the recipe for success in ministry. We SHOW other the Christ in us by doing what Christ did.

Now, before anyone gets the crazy idea that “Oh boy, I’m gonna go get some coals of kindness to heap on old Joe’s head! He did me wrong and now I have a Biblical way to get even!” let’s talk about that part of this passage.  To “heap cols of fire on his head” refers to how they would share coals from their cooking and warming fire that had not gone out overnight with those whose fire had gone out.  The person needing the coals carried a basket on his head, and the neighbors would take tongs and put their hot coals into the basket to share their fire.  You see, it’s not about vengeance, it’s about kindness.  So find a way to be kind to old Joe by sharing your fire.
The only way to win against evil, is to “overcome evil with good”.  The only way to not be overcome yourself by evil, to fear it, to worry about it, to create a complete panic attack in your soul over it, to become part of it, is to do good to those who need to know Christ. 

Friends, a 21 year old boy is not your enemy.  Racism is not your enemy.  Guns are not your enemy. EVIL is the enemy.
If evil is hungry – feed it the bread of life (John 6:35).

If evil is thirsty – show it the one who will cause them to never thirst again (John 4:14).

If evil needs clothing – show him how to be clothed in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
If you share the Holy Spirit within you, the Holy Spirit will do the rest (Mark 13:11).

Evil doesn’t need gun laws or regulations, stricter judicial systems, stronger parenting, or rehabilitating prison systems.  Evil needs Christ.

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