Monday, November 3, 2008

Total War

Sermon given 11-2-08

This not actually how it came out but this is what I was working from for the actual sermon.


Have you ever heard the phrase “We’ve won the battle but not the war”? For instance, the Confederates won several battles during the Civil War but ultimately lost the war. The Germans and Japanese and Italians won many battles in World War Two but they ultimately lost the war. The same goes for nearly every conflict that has ever taken place in the history of mankind, even the losers win once in a while. I believe the same thing happens to Christians many, many times. We claim victory over death and Hell but we don’t claim the same victory over this life. It is as if we don’t seem to understand that Christ came to give us, not only salvation, but a “new life” in Him. That is, a total transformation of every part of our life. It’s not just that we get to go to Heaven now but that He has won us victory over the everyday stuff.

I don’t know if this type of victory is something that Christian’s don’t want, just like the Pharisees didn’t want the kind of Messiah that Jesus was, or if Christian’s don’t realize Christ gives this kind of victory. It was around the time of the Civil War, and certainly any conflict afterwards, that the idea of “Total War” came about. Up until that time war was confined to specific battlefields and when the fight was over, it was over and the civilians weren’t involved in the fighting. This can be seen especially in the fighting of World War Two in Europe where entire towns and cities were destroyed in an effort to achieve victory.

Jesus Christ waged total war on the devil. Here me clearly, JESUS CHRIST WAGED TOTAL WAR ON THE DEVIL!! He didn’t come to take back part of what Satan stole; He came to take all of it back! Just as God has every hair on your head numbered, He came to reclaim every aspect of your life. Let’s look at the first chapter of Colossians for a moment, starting with verse 15.

READ COLOSSIANS 1:15-23

· V. 18- that in everything He might be preeminent.

· V. 20- and through Him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of the cross.

“In everything He might be preeminent…” and “reconcile to Himself all things…” There is more. Paul repeatedly called the believers of the churches to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel. In Ephesians 4:1 he says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” and in Philippians 1:27 “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” In another translation there phrase reads like this, “Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” Just one thing! He didn’t tell the Ephesians to die like they were going to heaven he told them to live like they had been redeemed. LIVE! Christ has come to invade our lives!!

Thankfully Paul does not leave the Ephesians, or us, without some further direction in the matter. If we look, still in the fourth chapter, starting at the seventeenth verse we find some more directions.

BEGIN READING EPH. 4:17-32

· No longer walk as the Gentiles walk, b/c they are callous, greedy, sensual, impure.

· V. 22- put off our old self which is corrupt, deceitful

· Put on the new self, “created in the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”

How does this look for us in the twenty-first century? How does living a life worthy of the Gospel look, today? Do we live a life worthy of Christ by coming to church on Sunday? Yes. Do we live a life worthy of Christ by helping with church activities? Yes. Do we live a life worthy of Christ by praying for our brothers and sisters? Yes. But does it end there? Does it end at 12:01 on Sunday afternoon? NO! We “put off our former self” all the time, not just on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:16 that we are to make “the best use of the time because the days are evil.” Have we done that? Do we make the best use of the time? Have we allowed Christ to invade our entire lives from church, to our work, to our relationships, to our play? Do we allow our business practices to glorify God? Or do we set our “religion” aside and separate it from the “rest of our lives.”

The second we begin applying the redemptive work of Christ to every aspect of our lives we begin to understand the true meaning of the cross. The moment that we understand that Christ came to “reconcile all things” to Him we start to have the true picture of His mission. We don’t do this so we can have happier more fulfilling lives, we do it because that is what God has called us to do. We do it because that is what He wants from us. He declared total war and He will settle for nothing less than total victory. Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven, that is part of the beauty of the Gospel.

There is more to the story though. Every person He came in contact with that would follow Him, He asked to leave everything behind and trust Him completely. You don’t believe that Jesus wants your whole life? Look at Zaacheus, his business practices changed after meeting the Lord. On the other hand, look at the rich young ruler who had all the right answers but couldn’t part with his wealth. Am I telling you to go home and sell all you have? No, only God can do that and only He can tell you what He wants you to give up for Him. But know this, Christ came for all of us. Not just all of us, as in every one of us, but all of us, as in every part of us.

The greatest amphibious invasion of all time happened on June 6th, 1944 when the Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. At 0630 hours 130,000 troops hit the beaches in the face of Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall.” Over 10,000 American, British and Canadian troops were killed, wounded or captured in the invasion. This was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany.

Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection was the beginning of the end for Satan. When Jesus proclaimed on the cross, “It is finished,” the fate of Satan was sealed. The war was not over though it was won. However, Christ did not come only to defeat Satan in Hell but to defeat Satan in the world, in my life and in your life. So, will you let Christ claim total victory over your life or will you only allow Him to have you once you die?

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