Under Attack

Under Attack

Dear Friends,

We have a wonderful church!  I’m not talking about the buildings, though I like ours.  I’m talking about you!  I truly believe that the people of Frederica Baptist (in general) want to follow the Lord, do His will and remain faithful to His Word.  There is a desire to see more people encounter God’s saving grace and to serve as effective ambassadors for His kingdom.  These are my desires and I believe that they are yours as well.  That desire and the positive actions that accompany it make us individual and corporate targets of Satan’s ire.  In contemplating the last two years, I realized that while I have been abundantly blessed by God, I have also been pushing through many spiritual attacks on my person, my family and my spirit.  It also occurred to me that I am not alone in being attacked.  Understanding the nature of spiritual attacks, I think, often helps in defending ourselves against them.

I read a wonderful article by Dave Butts, the founder of Harvest Prayer.  The article, “Why the Devil is Interested in Your Church,” is an excerpt from his book, The Devil Goes to Church, (PrayerShop Publishing, 2009).  Following is my summary of that article.  I hope you find it enlightening.

The church, our church, is under Satanic attack.  The Bible tells us that there is a great cosmic war raging between the forces of God and the forces of Satan. Christians are those who have changed sides in the battle. Paul writes about this changing of sides in Ephesians 2:2-5 (NLT2); “You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!).”

The enemy of our God has now become our enemy. We cannot be neutral. When Christians gather as the church, we become a real threat to Satan. We gather to worship, to pray, to teach and to encourage one another to live and proclaim the Kingdom of God.  The establishment of the Kingdom of God means the defeat of the kingdom of this world, of which Satan is prince. Satan will do all he can to prevent that from happening.

The real danger for the church is being unaware of the enemy’s schemes. We approach every difficulty, disagreement and division in the church as though it is just a natural thing when in truth, they are unnatural things.  When churches divide over whether or not to use hymns or contemporary choruses, it is not natural. When the flock turns on the shepherd, it is not natural. When the saints, called to live in love, spend their time criticizing and accusing or gossiping about one another, it is not natural.  We forget that our natural state is not one contaminated by sin.  We were created to live in relationship and harmony with God who is without sin as we were meant to be.

If nothing else, Satan’s attacks are consistent. He does basically the same thing over and over again in church after church, down through the ages. He sows doubt, deceit, discouragement, and division.  He uses these weapons to destroy the effectiveness of the church and its message.

Doubt is a favorite weapon that has been used since the garden and it comes in many different forms.  It may be an attack on the veracity of the Bible.  “Can we really trust what this old book says?”  Perhaps the attack is made against the nature of God. “How could a loving God allow this to happen?”  Doubt may also be used to attack an individual believer in regards to his position in Christ. The enemy doesn’t have the power to separate us from Christ but he can make us doubt our relationship with Him.

Deceit is a second weapon Satan uses against the church.  Jesus did, after all, call him a “liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44).  The enemy delights in twisting the truth.  Look at the mutilated state of theology across the spectrum of denominations in the church today!  This deception concerning the Word of God leaves the Church powerless and unable to function as God has intended.

Discouragement is one of the most effective weapons of Satan because it is so subtle.  A believer or even a church body may well stand up against the frontal attacks of the enemy only to be blindsided by discouragement.  A few words of criticism here and there, a “down” day, a little loss of fresh vision, a program that didn’t go according to plan, and suddenly we find ourselves discouraged and wondering if we can go on.  Discouragement can quickly take us out of the fight and move us to the sidelines.

Finally, one of the most effective strategies of Satan has been to bring about division in the Body of Christ. It makes sense that the enemy would push for a splintered, divided Church, since Jesus desired exactly the opposite. The main focus of Jesus’ great high priestly prayer of John 17 was that His followers would be united. A strong, united Church is a testimony to the world of the love of God. Satan is doing all he can to destroy that testimony.  Today, he is using the divisions in our society at large to create cracks and splits within our family of faith.

Friends, as long as we stand united for God and His Kingdom, we stand opposed to Satan.  The Devil is no match for Almighty God so he picks on us, the weaker links.   Unfortunately, we often fail to use the spiritual weapons that God has provided for us to counter or withstand these spiritual attacks (see Eph. 6:10-18).  We must stand firm against the attacks of Satan lest we be swept away and relegated as irrelevant and ineffective.  The church of Laodicea in Revelation 3 was neither hot nor cold, they just were…  They kept one foot in the church and one foot in the world.  That makes the Lord sick but certainly thrills the enemy.  We must not allow ourselves or our church to be infected by the luke warm “Laodicean Syndrome” that is so widespread in the worldwide church today.  I, for one, am glad that we can stand together, united against the attacks that are sent our way!

Only by Grace,

Pastor Mike