Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Under Assault

Currently I am preaching a series of sermons from Revelation 1-3. Those chapters speak directly to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia as they faced persecution, false teaching, and seduction by the world. As I have studied and prepared I keep wondering: are we aware of how Satan is assaulting us?

We aren’t faced with death so we tell ourselves that we aren’t being persecuted. We tolerate false teaching by telling ourselves, “Who am I to judge?”. We justify giving into the siren song of the world as we watch hour after hour of television. We are being assaulted, but we don’t take the time to recognize it.

I want to share with you an extended quote by John Stott from his book What Christ Thinks of the Church. Stott writes:
“Persecution, error, and sin, These were not inexplicable phenomena. John recognized their source with a clarity and insight which we badly need to recapture today. The devil was at work. Behind the outward situation in the Asian Churches an invisible conflict raged between Christ and Antichrist, between the Lamb and the Dragon, between ‘the holy city’ Jerusalem (the church) and ‘the great city’ Babylon (the world). The devil’s assault upon Christ’s church was a multiple movement. He attacked from several directions. Now the onslaught was physical, through a persecuting emperor and his deputies. Now it was intellectual, through false cults, and now moral, through sub-Christian ethical standards. These were the devil’s three strategies, symbolically represented in the Revelation as the dragon’s three allies: the beast from the sea, the beast from the earth (or the false prophet) and the harlot.


“In every age it has been the same. The devil’s tactics do no change. As we look round the world today, the same pressures are harassing different churches. In some areas of the world open hostility to the gospel is accompanied by physical violence. In others, the church is wrestling in intellectual combat with an insidious ideology or a materialistic philosophy with which it cannot come to terms. Elsewhere the struggle is in the moral field, as the world seeks to cajole the church into conformity to its own ways.” (p. 13)

We are under assault, as individuals and as church families, and we desperately need to wake up to that reality. Until we do Satan will continue to wreck havoc in the Church. How is your church family being assaulted? What can you do to stand against it?

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