The battle between good and evilBro. David Chancellor
9/12/2010 6:00 PM
So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things/ The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
The disciples refer to the psalm we read this morning (Psalm 2). They were beginning to suffer for following Christ. It was hard to punish them because the people recognized the work of God in their lives. The disciples went to prayer about it.
"And now, Lord, behold their threatening; and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word," We need this same boldness. The forces of evil haven’t changed. There is a war going on that won’t end until Jesus returns. Good and evil will be locked in battle as long as God allows time to continue. There is a battle going on and no one is left out. We are all affected by it.
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division. For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
We encourage people to build strong families, but we still have to choose who we’ll live for: God, or the devil. You’re either a Christian or you’re anti-Christ. You will either be on one side or the other in this battle. Those who aren’t for him are against him. We have to make a choice. There is a part for us to take.
"I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?" Jesus knew the fire would take him to the cross. The fire may take us to the cross, but Jesus has already been there for us. The battle may hit close to home. The battle will continue until Christ returns. He will win the battle. Everyone will face him in the end. The outcome is already decided. You have to choose whether to be on the winning side, or to be a loser.
And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me. And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
Two swords don’t sound like much in the way of weapons. Jesus had sent them out before with nothing and they were provided for. Jesus was getting ready to go to the cross. So why a sword? They were getting ready to learn a valuable lesson.
And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scripture be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
They took a sword and when they began to use it, Jesus told them to put it away. Jesus wanted them to see that the weapons of this world weren’t going to win the battle. He could have taught them this from the Old Testament. God helped Israel to win battles in the most unconventional ways. The battles were still won. Jesus reached out and healed the one who was struck. The lesson was that the battle was fought a different way with different goals and objectives. Jesus was focused on the scriptures being fulfilled.
Desire to bring forth what Jesus would have you bring forth. Fight according to scripture. The battle will go on. Have God fulfill the plan for your life.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And taking the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
You could trade your garment for a sword, but you won’t be helping your cause. It is a spiritual battle that works through people. We’re against wrong spirits in people. God is our strength. The armor listed here makes clear it is a spiritual battle. The battle is not all internal. There is also an external battle that we have a part in. Jesus expects us to go out and confront these things and to lift Christ up. To win in this battle, your life must have an effect for Christ.
God wants us to be aggressors and influence the world in the right direction. Winning requires action. We may be hurt and strongly opposed. Avail yourself of the weapons and fight. None of the weapons are carnal, but we’re still expected to have a part in the battle. The truth needs to be made known to the world around us. Have a positive influence regardless of what comes. The devil has tricks, but God has grace. Be willing to carry things forward. Live to accomplish God’s purpose where he puts you.
2 Corinthians 10:1-6
Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
We’re not in an outward fight, but we will encounter things contrary to God. There are times when speaking up makes a difference. Our obedience needs to be complete where God is concerned. As God shows us things, be ready for the work. False things are making inroads in our land. Stand up and be a light for God. It isn’t our strength or wisdom we’re counting on. We know some things are right. Be strong to stand for the right.
Jesus is the only one. Feel free to speak up and say so. Exalt him above all others. Study and speak God’s word with confidence. It has to be personal to us. Go to the word of God for answers. We need the values of the Bible. Be true to those values. Focus on what the word of God says.
Physical violence isn’t the solution to this battle. What other religion forgives everything (except blasphemy against the Holy Ghost)? God’s message is one of deliverance. Christ came down so that all mankind would be saved. He drew a line: you’re either with him or scattered abroad.
Our weapons are against anything that would point another way to God besides Christ.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
Our weapons aren’t carnal and won’t effectively win this battle. Christ is our defense. Don’t fight evil with evil. There’s nothing to be gained from fighting that way. Fight evil with good. God will take care of it. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." We won’t be out being provocative, but we won’t back down from what’s wrong. The changing of society’s ideas won’t alter that some things are wrong. We can interact with people, but we don’t have to do what’s wrong. Live peaceably where you can. The battle goes on. Stand firm for what is right. "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." You could read this and apply it reactively, but it is really the strategy for the battle. Have the grace of God to deal with people. Overcome the evil. Live as God would have you to live. Look for ways to do good so you can be active in the battle. Seek out the good you can do to make a difference. Destroy the wrong with good. Consider how Elisha dealt with the king of Syria. He was telling the king of Israel what God had told him the king of Syria would do, to the point where the king of Syria thought there was a traitor in their midst. When they came against the Israelites and were blinded by God, Elisha took them to the king of Israel… who asked what he was supposed to do with them. Elisha advised him to feed them and then let them go. It’s hard to fight against someone who feeds and cares for you when you were blind. The enemy is blind. Be good to them and it will make a difference. This is God’s strategy to win. Do good things in the name of Jesus and draw people to him. Get settled on Christ and do what he’d have you to do. Be out doing good. Seek out opportunities to touch the lives of others with the gospel. If the devil would be defeated, we have to be a light, do good ,and make a difference. The battle won’t go away. Let the grace of God be on full display to the world. Defeat the enemy by recruiting his soldiers to your side. Win souls to Christ. People need to choose Christ. Draw people to choose to give their lives to Christ’s cause. Get in the battle and stand for Christ.