In Part 1 – Overview of Battlefield Earth, I laid out a bird’s eye view of the war we are facing right now. While this war has raged for centuries, the battlefield has spread to nearly every corner of the earth. Why? Because man has spread to every corner of the earth.
We humans do not see many of these battles happening around us as warlike. Instead we point to armed combatants facing off to kill each other. That’s war… isn’t it? Is it? What about the invasion of our southern borders? What about the millions struggling with addiction? What about those little battles at your office? Lives are at stake. Even the most imperceptible disagreement can start a ripple that fuels a Tsunami. Asked the relatives of those employees killed by a crazed co-worker. The trouble is, you may never know until you are looking certain death in the face.
From up on high, we can see how evil invades every aspect of our lives, from the White House and the Halls of Congress to the break room at work. Even, or maybe especially, churches are lulled into false doctrines. From the books of Acts, Corinthians, and Galatians in particular, we learn the body of Christ was attacked and divided early on. Today the body of Christ is splintered into thousands of sects or denominations. Is this what God wanted for Christians? I’m not buying it. Rather, this is the result of endless attacks on the truth by the devil himself.
While this spiritual war encompasses the entire planet and invades our lives at every level, we need not feel overwhelmed. Nor should we despair. We know how it all turns out. God has revealed this to us. He wins. WE win. All we need to do is win the territory we stand on.
As I write this, the conflict in Ukraine rages on while China threatens Taiwan. How do these faraway conflicts threaten you personally? Unless your boots are on the ground in these or some other hot spot, chances are your life is not likely to be directly affected. You’ve got other things to worry about… right? Of course you do, that’s the point. Those crime waves in Chicago or New York only matter if you live in or near the affected areas. For those of us blessed to be insulated from such troubles, we still are never immune from attacks from the dark side. Like it or not, the spiritual world war is at your own doorstep. Actually, as you are reading this, the war has invaded your living space. Turn on your television or radio, open your mail, open any web page and you are sure to find an evil influence somewhere. What about this blog? You are not inundated with ads. I don’t do “click bait”. You aren’t even asked to “subscribe” to anything. It is about as clean a website as you’ll find anywhere. Am I immune from deception? I doubt it. While I will never, EVER knowingly post or allow any overt or covert ungodly material, I cannot guarantee you won’t ever find any here. Nor can I explicitly say I never have, or ever will post anything that is inaccurate or untrue. I do my very best but I am human and therefore fallible. And I’m sure some of my Christian brethren would point out (some gleefully) some doctrinal “heresies” I’ve posted. For one thing, I do not believe in a trinity. This alone separates me from, I’d say, 90+ percent of Christianity. I will stand by my understanding until God sees fit to change it.
My point in the above paragraph is nobody can escape this war. You cannot hide from it. It is invasive. Of course you can passively resist or refuse to participate. As the quote often attributed to Edmund Burke states:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Of course evil will never triumph in the long run, but are you willing to allow it to rampage? It’s easy enough to nod your head or shake it and click your way to a more comfortable topic. If you are still reading, chances are you at least want to know what you can do. That’s the easy part. Paradoxically, it is also the most difficult. Easy as in, you need not quit work, pack your bags, or buy a ticket to ride. In fact, you already have everything you need if you have accepted Christ as your savior.
2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
4 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;
Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
What about gear? Don’t we need gear?
Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Fact is, we have it all. We are battle ready right now.
Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
What about training? It’s one thing to “have it all” it is quite another to know what to do with it. Quite right. That is the hard part. You see, we have it all. In fact, if you think about it, we have far more than those brethren in Christ the Apostle Paul was writing to. In order to get a really good handle on this, you’ll need to imagine those times. They had no internet, no telephones or any of the speedy advantages we enjoy today. Travel was slow, often taking days, weeks or months. Communication was by word of mouth and/or hand-delivered letters (epistles).
Take the epistle to the Ephesians for example. It was hand-delivered. According to my understanding, it was delivered by two of Paul’s appointees who also were able to clarify any difficult parts. Other than living in a culture we barely understand, this was one of their few advantages. Of course they spoke the language and no doubt at least some of them could read the epistle themselves. Not to mention, they were blessed with the original letter itself or at least an exact copy. One other thing, it seems many of these letters were “circular epistles”, meaning they were shared with other groups.
2 Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
This letter from Peter was written to “to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. Who were these believers? It’s hard to say for sure but what we can derive from the passage above is some churches had more the one of Paul’s epistles, as well as this letter of Peter’s. Thus the Ephesians may have also seen the epistles to the Corinthians or the Thessalonians and such. We do not know. What we can be confident in the understanding that the Ephesians had, at the very least, the letter addressed to them. Other than direct teaching by the Apostle Paul and others taught directly by him, their advantages were few.
Fast forward to the present. We have seven church epistles, the gospels, as well as other instruction. Plus we have the “Old Testament”, the Hebrew bible, so to speak. We also enjoy a host of luxurious resources the early church could never even imagine. The downside is, we’ve had centuries of wrong teaching. From the very first, the devil has worked hard to corrupt God’s truth. By the time the Nicene Creed was first accepted in the third century, our understanding was almost hopelessly scrambled to the end that, even today, the Nicene Creed, is considered a standard by many – so much so that any Christian who dares question it is considered a heretic. For the recorded, I not only question it, but I reject it, or at least the parts referring to trinitarian doctrine – “one God in three persons” and “God the Son”, as neither of these terms are found anywhere in scripture. For anyone who cares to seek out a better understanding of that period in history…
One fascinating little book “When Jesus Became God” is an excellent read. It is authored by a non-practicing Jewish historian who delved into the events of the third century. Naturally, as a non-trinitarian, I eagerly devoured the book in hopes of finding vindication of my beliefs from a neutral source. In that I was disappointed. The author remained neutral on the topic and presented no evidence to shore up either side of the debate. What he did demonstrate was how utterly confused both sides were on the topic. My own conclusion could be summed up as, “they were all nuts!”. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but seriously, I came away thinking both sides had abandoned any real study of the scriptures/letters/resources they had and instead built their spiritual houses on sandy beaches. The really sad thing is, they were far more likely to have enjoyed access to much earlier copies of the letters we have now, if not the originals.
Coming back to the present, we should at least recognize the differences and the challenges we face today, as well as what Christians in the early church dealt with. Most importantly, we should recognize the great gift of “The Holy Bible” we now enjoy, not to mention the study aids we have to dig in. What good is that?
It is the counter to the devil’s propaganda campaign. ALL of the devil’s lies can be dealt with using this one, easy to access, collection of truth. It is a training manual and reference guide all in one. It is the “sword of the spirit”. It is readily available in several formats and languages. We can even access these truths from a cell phone almost anywhere in the world.
BUT! I’M NO EVANGELIST! You say
Neither am I. At least, at this point, I am reasonably certain God has not tapped me to evangelize in the traditional sense of the word. Scripturally, God identifies five of what some term “gift ministries” – apostles, preachers, teachers, prophets and evangelists for certain. (Ephesians 4:11) Are there more? Probably. If I have any calling at all, it is to write. At least writing is something that I am inclined to do and I’ve done a great deal of it. While some cringe at the thought of a keyboard, I itch to sit down and start typing. The fact is, “gift ministry” or not, God has called each of us for a purpose.
Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
God knew who and what we were before the world began. He had already made a place for us, called us and did so for a reason. God does nothing haphazardly. Why should He? He knows exactly how each action will affect every other action. That is part of what makes Him God. He knew before the foundation of the world you would read this now and what you will do with what you read. So… what is your place? What are you suppose to do?
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
We are all members of the body of Christ. I have never seen myself as some “great one”. (Okay, so I have dreamed a bit but we’re talking realistically here. I also dream of winning a big lottery now and then.) Sometimes I wonder if anyone ever reads what I write. I certainly never made enough to live, must less retire on. Still I write. Some of my siblings in Christ not only write, but they preach, have huge ministries and/or make big bucks with their works. One thing I can tell you for sure, they do not do what I do. They have their place, I have mine. So be it. If I’ve been so dull all these years as to miss opportunities God as laid right out in front of me, then one day I’ll know. Meanwhile I’m content to understand that if God REALLY wanted me to do something else, He’d find a way. Ask Moses or Jonah.
One thing is for sure, it is not my job to tell you what to do with your life. I can only bring you so far. You’ll need to check with the Boss for further instructions. Oh, I’m not through with you yet, but I’m just saying, my offerings are more general in nature. Speaking of that…
On to Part 3. Now here’s some godly insight, when I first started typing this series of posts, I had no idea there would be anything beyond the first post. In fact that first post is not even the first draft. I wrote half a book before I stopped (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little here), outlined the important parts, and started from scratch. So Part 3 will offer some more specifics (generally speaking 🙂 on how to put all this together and jump into the battle. A hint here, you’ve already started, or at least you have enough to get started. I expect some of you are way ahead of me and are moving ahead. If this is you I can only advise you to go where God leads you. It’s not my place to hold anyone back.