Is It A Winnable War? (Part 2)
Well, suffice it to say that a lot has transpired since part 1 of this particular blog article! Whew! It seems like almost every hour the Church, Christianity and our nation is being relentlessly bombarded! It seems like a good time to bring back the old song, "I Need Thee Every Hour".
Of course, by now we all are very acutely aware of the decision that the Supreme Court handed down regarding same-sex marriage. An issue that the SC had no business even deliberating over, since it is not a constitutional matter, but a moral and Biblical one. The "ruling" they handed down is also, unconstitutional and UN-Biblical. And, since God is the One who designed, established, instituted and indeed, DEFINED it, the Supreme Court has shown it's ignorance indeed in attempting to redefine it. To reiterat e what many others have said, the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being!
Some may ask, "do you still think it is a winnable war?" To which I answer with a resounding, "YES"! In fact, I know it is ultimately, because once again, I read the back of THE BOOK, and we win! Am I disappointed that the United States of America has now been officially declared (by the SC) to no longer be a democracy or actually a republic, but now a tyrannical government? Yes, as millions of others, but I am not discouraged. I have a fire in my bones as many other pastors and leaders in the Body of Christ, and we will not stop!
However, I don't believe that we have to wait until the end to win. I believe if the Church will rise up and be the Church, in other words; if we can get the troops to show up and follow the real Commander and Chief (Christ the Lord) we can turn the tide of this and other battles and have victory in this day!
As we continue to engage in this battle of spiritual warfare, we must stay focused on th e target and the prize, and mostly on our Leader, the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ! With that foundation laid, let us continue to look at this war that I believe is indeed, winnable!
We just need to regain a firm understanding of some fundamental items of importance. First, understand that:
While living in this world, this world is not our true home. I am a citizen of the kingdom of God, not the kingdoms of this world. He has defeated this evil world in my behalf and brought me into His kingdom. Never in the world will I find true peace, but only in Him. In Him I can, daily, win the war with the world.
The World Is Passing Away
In part one of this article, I made several references to that remarkable little epistle of 1 John. I want to pick up again from chapter 2 and verse 17 as we continue to look further at this "winnable war".
John affirms that “the things in the world” are transitory. He writes, “And the world is p assing away, and also its lusts” (v. 17a). If the world itself is passing away it is obvious that the things in the world will go the way of the world. Again he sums up the world and all it has to offer in one word, “lusts.”
We know the world is “passing away” because we see its values destroying goodness, freedom, and even life itself. The basic principles founded upon the Word of God, on which this nation was established.
Well-known Christian writer, Michael Novak, uses a term for some of this present day world view pragmatism that he calls “vulgar relativism”. Novak asserts that this world view “undermines the culture of liberty. If it triumphs, free institutions may not survive the twenty-first century.” His reasoning? “An age wrong about God is almost certain to be wrong about man.” Ours is an age which is certainly wrong about God. It is increasingly and painfully obvious that it is an age which is clearly wrong about man.
The late General Omar Bradley, one of the great heroes of World War II, said it like this: “ We have grasped the mystery of the atom, but we have rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants, but we are ethical infants. We know more about war than we do about peace, [more about] killing than living.”
The lie about both God and man that saturates Western society—and the entire world for that matter—must be challenged by truth. Truth is not simply facts and statements, but truth is a Person: Jesus Himself is the truth personified (John 14:6). He came to bear witness to the truth. His Word is truth. It is this truth that sets man-kind free. But to bear witness to the truth in a world which has strayed from the path of truth, indeed, is even hostile to it, the Church must overcome the world as Jesus overcame the world. Too many of us have become so much like the world we have lost the right to speak of truth. Author John White states, “the world at present influences the Church more than the Church influences the world.”
For a Christian to be overcome by “the world and the things in the world” is one of the sad dest of all tragedies. He will wake up one day to discover he has lived for that which is only temporary. In the best scenario, when his life's work is tried by fire, as the apostle Paul affirms it will be, he will find that his work will “be burned up.” True, “he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:13–15). However, I can't help but wonder, who wants to be saved that way?
The world system with which we are at war with, is our enemy just as it is God’s enemy. We must choose to be obedient to God and reject the deceptions of the world. We must also never forget that the world’s god is the devil (2 Cor. 4:4). This is a thoroughly demonized world.
But, there is good news! Jesus says in John 16:33 - " 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.”
Notice the phrase "in me … peace." They had peace in Christ, but in the world they would have "tribulation". Be of good cheer (be courageous). Even though we will be opposed by the world, we should remember that Christ has overcome the world.
Even in the midst of persecution there is joyful peace in the certainty of Christ’s victory!
When Jesus spoke this to them, it would be in the next few hours that followed, that the disciples would watch their world fall apart; and yet Jesus assured them that He was the winner. “I have overcome the world” is a fact, not a promise, and it applies to us today. We are over-comers through Him according to 1 John 5:1–5 - "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
The world represents the earthly system that is opposed to Jesus. John describes the world and Christ as direct opposites. Through Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection, He overcame the world. In His life,He overcame the temptation to sin directed at Him by the devil. In His d eath, He became sin for each of us and thus overcame the power of sin. In His Resurrection, He overcame death and arose victoriously from its stronghold. Jesus told the disciples and, I believe it applies to all believers, that the world would bring them tribulation but that He would bring us peace.
The same John who penned the Book of Revelation as Jesus dictated it to him by the Holy Spirit, gives us another powerfully encouraging word!
Revelation 12:11 - " And they overcame him [the accuser of our brethren, verse 10] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."Believers can and will overcome him through the blood of Christ and their witness (testimony) about Christ. And I want to emphasize again, I do not believe that this is only a yet-to-come, future victory, but I believe it is also a here-and-now victory!
Several promises in the book focus on those who overcome. The method of “overcoming” is the atonement of Christ and the testimony concerning His sacrifice. Only He is sufficient to expel Satan. And as one of the great song writers of the 20th century, Andrea Crouch, penned it, "the blood will never lose it's power"!
They overcame him by appropriating the victory of the finished work of Christ, by the public confession of their faith and patient endurance, even in the face of martyrdom.
The method of the victory of the godly over Satan, unlike the victory of Michael and his angels, will be threefold: 1) The blood of the Lamb (their justification before God on that basis), the word of their testimony (faithful witness) to the work and grace of God, and their willingness to be martyred (loved not their lives) for their faith. No wonder heaven is called upon to rejoice.
One of the key components in winning a war is perseverance! Most of the time it takes several, sometimes many, battles to win a war.
In the war to have First Amendment rights restored to public school students, teachers and faculty, we already have and will continue to confront opposing forces, sometimes from some very surprising sources.
Some of the opposition even comes from pastors and churches. Although, some give what sounds like sensible and legitimate "reasons", and I strongly disagree with them, I am not painting them up to be wicked people or churches in all cases, just misguided and misinformed. And some are just cowards.
Just this afternoon before sitting down at the computer to begin completing part 2 of this blog, I had a pastor, who I greatly respect who took issue with the PPB Initiative and gave the reasons why he opposed it. I respect him, but I also respectfully disagree with him, and explained to him the reasons why.
In any event, whether it is the Put Prayer Back Initiative, the same-sex marriage issues, the abortion travesty, or any other Biblical and moral issues, rest assured I will not stop! We will not go away! Some of the parting words I had recently for one of our state representatives, who was giving excuses as to why we couldn't succeed and started with the "incremental-ism" theory was, "We will not quit; this isn't going away."
I mean no disrespect to anyone, but I told this representative and others as well, we have been doing political incremental-ism since 1962, and yet prayer and the Bible are still outlawed in school! We have been doing political incremental-ism since 1973, and yet Roe v Wade is still in full force, taking the lives of millions of helpless babies!
Someone said to me that doing things incrementally can be a good thing and that the civil rights movement was successful because of people working on it in increments. My answer to that is: 1) Very rarely is incremental-ism successful in the spiritual or political realm and, 2) the civil rights movement was successful, not because of working it in increments, but because of perseverance! There is a vast difference in the two!
Yes, we will stay in the fight! Yes, we will keep trying to win the battles until we win the war! However, we will not do it incrementally, but we will persevere until we overcome by the "blood of the Lamb" and by "the word of [our] testimony!
YES, IT IS A WINNABLE WAR!!!
Michael Parnell, B.Th.
Pastor, Call To Life Family Worship Center
Chairman, "Put Prayer Back" Initiative
Pee Dee Director, S.C. Pastors Alliance
"It is all about Christ and His Kingdom!"