The battle for society is the next in our spiritual battlefields in this modern age. You remember last week we looked at spiritual battlefields, and we saw that beyond what we can see and feel there is a battlefield that is ferocious, in the heavenlies.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV Strong's)
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
As we saw with the federal election last week, there is a spiritual battle happening over our nation, and our people, and this week I want to develop that as we look at the battlefield of society.
Ezekiel 22:30 (ESV Strong's)
And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.
God is looking throughout the earth for those who will stand in the gap in the battle for society for our nation, for our people. Are you that person? If God asks you, and I believe He is asking you, will you say , “Here am I Lord, send me!” At this pivotal time in history for our nation, I believe God is raising up men and women of faith, and you and I have the chance to fight in this battle… and win!
THE BATTLE FOR SOCIETY STRATEGY… LINES ARE DRAWN
The battle lines are drawn in the battle for society, and the two opposing armies are in position. What we have seen over the last year or so are the opening skirmishes, but they are not the true battle, they are probes, reconnaissance missions by the enemy to find our weakest point so they can attack in force.
What we saw in this election was the people of God finally uniting in prayer and starting to push back against a previously largely unchallenged enemy. It was a victory for righteousness of sorts, but it is just the first of many battles to come in this battle for society.
Peter offers a promise that could have been written to our people in our generation…
1 Peter 5:8-10 (ESV Strong's)
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Christ will indeed restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us, but there will also be suffering and fighting before then. The most persecuted people in Australia today are not the gays, or transgenders, the Muslims or sex workers. No, our society bends over backwards to accommodate these and not offend them. The most persecuted part of Australian society today is Christians!
So where is this battle taking place? Let’s get a bird’s eye view of the battlefield we face, and recognise where the key strategic areas in the battle for society we must defend and fight for.
Morality is clearly the primary battlefront. The moral corruption and degradation in our society has certainly been ramped up, and this is clearly a front line, where the enemy has taken real ground over the last few years. Paul describes it like this…
Romans 1:28-32 (ESV Strong's)
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness (etc.). …foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
That’s what we are seeing… even those not practicing these behaviours approve of it! The rise of militant gay and lesbian action is unprecedented in history. Transgenderism is heavily promoted in schools and colleges, and abortion has become legal up until birth in this state. It’s not advance Australia fair but advance Australia wherever vocal minorities want.
And the crazy thing is that our society is tying themselves in knots over this! The logic simply makes no sense! After 2 or 3 centuries of being told that science is king, that it is the ultimate authority, after elevating the views of science in areas like climate change and evolution, none of which can actually be proven, we are now told that emotions and feelings trump science.
So despite scientifically having an X and a Y chromosome, if you feel like you want to be a woman, well forget science and facts and stuff, just change to what you feel! So we have situations like Hannah Mouncey, a 6 ‘4” muscle bound transgender whom society will let change into a woman, but whom the AFL won’t let play women’s football because he/she is destroying others.
Make no mistake… the lines are drawn, the battle is on and to the eyes of these lobby groups Christians are the enemy. Muslim leaders whose countries preach death to homosexuals are welcomed by politicians, but footballers who post an opinion on Instagram are sacked and viciously attacked. Other footballers are not fired for domestic abuse, gang raping girls or drunken rampages, but one is fired for having an opinion! It’s an utter disgrace!
The second battlefield is in the minds of Australians. And the enemy is not targeting the old, the devil is targeting the minds of the young, using school, social media and peer pressure. In the minds of Australians, especially young Australians, the Church represents old fashioned, antiquated, prejudicial and offensive morality, preventing people from exercising the right to express their true selves.
I cannot remember a time in history where people are so easily offended. For all of our intelligence and scientific minds, we are currently so fragile and easily offended. A sign of maturity is the ability to not be easily offended, and to respond in a measured way, but look at the explosions, accusations and rants on social media. Not only do people’s opinions change every 5 minutes, but they will defend said opinions to the death, even if it doesn’t affect them! How strange the modern Australian mind is, but remember our fight is not against these people we differ with, it is against the spirit of the age behind it.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (ESV Strong's)
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
We will look in a separate message at the battlefield of the mind, but with record levels of mental health problems, constantly changing opinions and infinite offences being taken, the minds of Australians represent a massive area in the battle between good and evil in our society.
This could be the most selfish, self absorbed generation in history. This is the age of the selfie, and never before have so many photos been taken of so many people doing so little!
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (ESV Strong's)
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Why do we have family breakdowns? Why do we have abuse? Why do we have broken lives? Because at the heart of it, people are selfish. They want what they want over and above anyone else. And what’s more, they believe their opinion is superior to anyone else’s, so they fight and claw to destroy anyone whose opinion is different… look at Israel Folau.
The forces for evil in our society clearly have an agenda, a strategy that they are working to destroy the church. Australians were told that same sex marriage was the end in itself for that lobby group, but clearly it was only the opening salvo… trangenderism, abortion, euthanasia, and who knows what follows hot on its heels.
Proverbs 28:12 (ESV Strong's)
When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.
The overall strategy and agenda for these lobby groups is moral anarchy, not just in one area but across the board, where in the name of freedom everyone is allowed to do whatever they want and God’s rule, the laws upon which our society stands, is relegated to a bygone era.
Judges 21:25 (ESV Strong's)
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
If you read the book of Judges you will see the result of this… moral and social destruction on a scale rarely seen. Edmund Burke, “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
A great strategic battlefield where the enemy is triumphing right now is the media. While social media has become a cesspool of human emotions, opinions and aggressive attacks on anyone who differs in any way on any subject, especially morality, main stream media is totally dominated by evil agenda and anti Christian sentiment.
Last year I was crowned Qld Father of the Year, and rushed out to a waiting media contingent. I was interviewed by all TV stations, radio and print, and I spoke about how being a father is loving your children unconditionally, just like God loves us. The early edition on channel 7 went straight to air with my comments in tack, but the later editions sliced all references to God out of the coverage. Channel 9 heard what I said, and decided on the fly that instead of interviewing me their reporter will speak and I will just be in the background. Clearly anti Christian bias, that is evidenced everywhere!
This should not surprise us…
2 Timothy 3:12-13 (ESV Strong's)
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Sure, the media and polls got it wrong on Election Day, but interestingly in the aftermath they are all scratching their heads wondering if it was economics or climate change where Labor policies came undone. I know, and you know, that the silent majority of people who love righteousness was the force behind their defeat, but in their minds they simply cannot see it.
The media is very powerful, but after last Saturday we can see it is not all powerful.. God is!
But they keep plugging away, and this is a battle of attrition… they are trying to wear us down. Don’t you wonder why according to statistics <3% of America is homosexual, yet 100% of American TV shows feature at least one homosexual, always in a positive way. Yet according to a 2017 Gallop survey, 71.2% identify as Christian, Catholic and Protestant, but they rarely if ever appear in TV shows, and almost always are portrayed as negative.
In movies, TV, music, social media and print, Christians are the most persecuted group, and even though the enemy is winning on this battlefield, he ain’t letting up any time soon. Listen, a setback is just a set up for a come back, and it’s time we started fighting back like we did last Saturday!
We are going to look at money in a separate message, and you are not going to want to miss that Sunday. I’m going to pull back the curtain and reveal the spirit behind money and how you can start to fight and win in your personal finances, your investments and your giving.
1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV Strong's)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Money is not evil, but the spirit behind it, the love of money is a constant source of evil in not only our lives, but in and throughout our society.
IT’S TIME TO FIGHT BACK!
So these are just some of the battlefields within our society. There are more, but these are some of the bigger ones. We’ve had an arial view of the battlefield, so let’s look at how we can fight back.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (ESV Strong's)
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
They attack us with hate in this battle for society, they attack us with what looks like overwhelming criticism and aggression, but we cannot win our nation by hating them more than they hate us! So what are our strategies to fight back on the battlefield of society and morality?
If the election taught Christians one thing it surely was that corporate prayer is powerful. I cannot recall an election so keenly prayed over in this nation, and the come from behind, against all odds result is evidence of that.
James 5:16-18 (ESV Strong's)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
For too long the prayers of believers have been lifeless, selfish shopping lists, lacking zeal, lacking power and lacking results. But now is not a time for selfishness, it is a time for selflessness, starting in the prayer closet. As Moody said, “Most prayers should be cut short at either end and set on fire in the middle!”
As a church, as individuals, as families, it’s time to commit ourselves to praying. Pray for everything, your homes, your businesses, your own hearts, and pray for our nation, that we might move into our destiny as the Greats Southland of the Holy Spirit.
2. GUARDING OUR MINDS AND HEARTS
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV-WS)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
We are at risk in this battle of a fifth column, a subversive element entering the church and turning our hearts away from the truths of God’s Word. The voice of compromise is everywhere, and the media tell us that we either compromise and accept their agenda, or we are hypocritical, racial, sexist, fundamentalist, hate speech sprouting bigots. That’s the choice they offer!
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV Strong's)
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So we need to make sure we know God’s standards, and stick to them, without compromise in this battle for society. If we bend, if we water down truth, we lose and the enemy gains ground. So my strong advice is to keep your heart and mind pure…
Romans 16:19 (ESV Strong's)
I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
3. FILLING OUR MINDS WITH PURE THINGS
Philippians 4:8 (ESV Strong's)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
If we are corrupted we cannot possibly hope to stem the flow of corruption in our nation. Therefore, we have to be careful about what we allow into our minds, especially with such a biased, anti Christian media and social media. Let me put it this way… if your mind is filled with the things of God, you cannot fit evil in there. This is why you need to come to church, and you need to read His Word every day. Do our reading plan and watch your thought life change and be secure.
The Word reveals God’s mind, so we should learn it; God’s heart, so we should love it; and God’s will, so we should live it. Our whole being—mind, will, and heart—should be controlled by the Word of God.
The devil, knows if he can divide us, he can defeat us. Jesus told him that in Matthew…
Matthew 12:25 (ESV Strong's)
Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.
Frankly, the enemy is doing a great job implementing this battle strategy in the battle for society. While Christians argue about doctrine, worship styles, tongues, prophecy, methods of evangelism, dunking vs sprinkling and a whole lot more we are powerless on the battlefield for Jesus. Paul addressed the church at Corinth, who had descended so far as to actually suing each other, in this way…
1 Corinthians 6:7-8 (ESV Strong's)
To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
Psalm 133 talks about unity, “for there the Lord bestows a blessing even life forevermore.” Any time your doctrine, your belief, your firm conviction, or your opinion exceeds your love for your brother, we are going to have disunity.
Ignite is a church in unity, and I will not forsake unity for the pet doctrines and opinions some people have. I know some of you don’t want tongues or prophecy, and I know some of you want tongues and prophecy publicly in every service. I know some want me to preach through books of the Bible, and others prefer topical. Let me say I appreciate that in these things you prefer your brothers and love them more than your doctrine or opinion. That’s unity.
Unity doesn’t mean we see eye to eye on everything, but it does mean we can walk hand in hand. And the great strength of Ignite is unity, and we must not forsake this even if we truly believe we are right on an area of doctrine or style of worship. Better to be wronged than to cause offence and disunity.
Our superpower in this battle for society as we stand for Jesus in this battle for the hearts and minds of our society is LOVE!
We can pray, we can stand for righteousness, we can be in unity, but without love we are nothing, a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. Jesus sets the bar high when it comes to loving others…
Matthew 5:43-44 (ESV Strong's)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
And they are persecuting us in this battle for society. I’ve never seen such anti Christian sentiment in the media and on social media, but you cannot win people to Christ by hating them more than they hate you. Only love will win people to Jesus.
Love doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, with the perversion, with the wickedness, with the unbiblical teaching. But you can disagree and still love them. The media says if you love the, you will give them what they demand, but I love my kids, and they never got everything they wanted. Love is not giving in to people, love is accepting and treating them with honour, even if we disagree with them.
IT’S TIME TO SHINE IN THE BATTLE FOR SOCIETY
We can win this battle, in the power of Jesus, and in His love, and our nation needs us to shine like never before, and if you leave the city lights for the country, you will recognise that the stars shine brightest when it is darkest. Notice that it starts with unity…
Philippians 2:14-15 (ESV Strong's)
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
We have to love our people, agree with them or not, attacked by the, or not, we have to love. Because Christ loves us.
Yes we have difficult fights ahead on the battlefield of our society, but we need to see ours lives as voters, not victim. Let’s pledge to stand in love and unity. I am going to ask you to make this practical commitment with me today… Will you
- Commit to getting closer to God by reading His Word daily
- Commit to standing up for righteousness, but loving unconditionally those who persecute you, no matter how vile or venomous the slander.
- Commit to standing with us in unity in this church, as we reach our community for Jesus.