War? What War?

by Mike Ratliff

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2 ESV)

About a week ago or so a fellow writer for CRN gave me access to a preview of the video of Bill Clinton speaking at the Liberal Baptist conference in Atlanta. When I first watched it I had to stop. I just couldn’t take his deceptive handling of his version of Christianity. I made a comment along those lines and my friend wrote back that I should watch it all. Why? It is imperative to know the enemy and how he works. To have an enemy implies that there is a conflict of some kind. Is there a war going on between God and His forces on one side and Satan and his forces on the other?

First let us take a look at Satan, our enemy. Who is he? Should we fear him? Satan is not God nor is equal with God in any way for he was created.

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:13,15 ESV)

God created him as the model of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

“Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (Ezekiel 28:12 ESV)

He was in the garden of Eden and every precious stone adorned him.

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. (Ezekiel 28:13 ESV)

He was anointed and ordained by God as a guardian cherub who was blameless in his ways.

You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:14-15 ESV)

That described Satan before his fall. However, something went terribly wrong. His heart became proud on account of his beauty, and he corrupted his wisdom because of his splendor.

Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. (Ezekiel 28:17 ESV)

He became filled with violence.

In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:16 ESV)

He led many of the angels in a war against God and his angels.

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9 ESV)

He tried to take God’s place.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15 ESV)

Satan sinned. He is therefore credited with sinning since the beginning.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 ESV)

Because of his actions, he was a murderer from the beginning.

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44 ESV)

According to Jude 6 he abandoned his home in heaven. He was driven in disgrace from the mount of God and expelled (Ezekiel 28:16). He lost his place in heaven (Revelation 12:8), was thrown or hurled from heaven (Ezekiel 28:16; Revelation 12:9-12), fell like lightning from heaven to the earth (Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18), and was made a spectacle before kings (Ezekiel 28:17).

That is how Satan came to be where he is now and explains why he is the way he is. What is he up to now? He is kept in darkness and is bound with everlasting chains.

And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day– (Jude 1:6 ESV)

He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). Not only does he have power (Acts 10:38), but he is the power of this dark world and is the spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12). The whole world is under his control (1 John 5:19), and he leads it astray (Revelation 12:9). He roams the earth (Job 1:7; Job 2:2), and prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Needless to say, he is earthly and unspiritual (James 3:15).

Not only is Satan our enemy (1 Peter 5:8), but he is also an enemy of everything that is right (Acts 13:10). He can present himself before the Lord and make petition against us (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7). Satan asks God for permission to “sift” us (Luke 22:31), and he accuses us day and night before God (Zechariah 3:1; Revelation 12:10). He lies and slanders; in fact, there is no truth in him (John 8:44; Revelation 2:9).

The devil twists the scriptures for his purposes and perverts the right ways of the Lord (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:2-13; Acts 13:10). He is cunning and deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3). He schemes and tries to outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11), and is full of all kinds of deceit and trickery (Acts 13:10). He takes the Word away from hearts (Luke 8:12), and blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). He traps and takes captive (2 Timothy 2:26), binds (Luke 13:16), incites (1 Chronicles 21:1) and, in general, is a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23). He can fill one’s heart (Acts 5:3) and lead minds astray from Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He is at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:2). He sows “weeds” (Matthew 13:38-39), and can work through anyone (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33). He can even display counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

No one is immune to Satan’s temptations; he even tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:2-13). But Satan could not prevail; he had no hold on Christ (John 14:30)!

Satan will put some Christians in prison to test them (Revelation 2:10), and he holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). But Christians are not powerless against him. The Bible tells us that faith extinguishes his flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16), and if resisted, Satan will flee (James 4:7). He has been overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of Christian martyrs (Revelation 2:11). Christians have overcome him (1 John 2:13)!

Now, with all of that in mind, could we agree that there is a war still going on between God and His Kingdom on one side and our enemy Satan and his powers on the other? Yes, and it is very real. The more I get involved in this struggle the more it has become apparent to me that our enemy can and does use other professing Christians against us. They may very well believe they are not serving him but God, however, their actions reveal that they are deceived. I have learned in a very painful way to discern that I am dealing with one of these. There will always be a few characteristics that give them away. Remember, our enemy’s “people” operate as he does. How is that? It is through lies and deceit. He is the devil and that means he is a slanderer. He twists the truth in order to build doubt in the heart. This is what we must look for in those who come to us as angels of light, but inwardly are nothing more than Satan’s pawns.

They will often have a very convincing appearance of godliness. They use the right words and know a lot of Biblical jargon. However, when those points of contention come to bear such as The Gospel, Justification, Sanctification, the Nature of God, the Nature of a genuine Christian, Doctrine, humility, pride, spiritual warfare, etc. you will find at least one hot button in there where their true nature will be revealed. This can be one of myriads of things, but if we pray for discernment and wisdom, we will be able to spot them. One very telling thing I have found that differentiates these “folks” is the mention of “compromise” and “unity” and “experience” and “Biblical doctrine.” Their reaction to these things are very telling. Also, these people tend to be “universalists” to some degree. If the discussion leads to Spiritual warfare or Spiritual maturity, if they are a pawn of the Devil, they will respond with scorn against the need for either.

They will accuse all who are certain as being prideful. If these who are certain refuse to compromise then they are accused of being so prideful that they must be Satan himself. The cry is unity, unity, unity, at all costs! Compromise, compromise, compromise! To them the truly humble are compromisers who are totally uncertain about anything.

For those reading this who were upset by those last two paragraphs I have some reading for you to do. Start at Ephesians 6:10 and read through 6:20. If we weren’t supposed to stand and not give in to the lies of the enemy then why did Paul give us this passage? To stand means we are standing on something substantial. That is the truth of which we are certain. Our example on how to stand is found in Matthew 4.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Matthew 4:1-11 ESV)

This is why we must become totally immersed in the Word of God. We must know it. We must always be in prayer with a constant God focus. When we do this much of what calls itself the Church will hate us because we will not be all about unity at all costs, but will be all about the truth and God’s glory. This does not make anyone popular. John MacArthur has said that it is impossible for men to be obedient to God and be popular with the majority. He is right.

To those called to his level of discernment, the way is rugged. It can be confusing and treacherous. Our enemy is a wordsmith and is a deceiver at heart. He knows how to create chaos in our lives to the point that we become disoriented at times. At these times the words of whoever is being used by Satan to attack us will cut like a surgeon’s scalpel. We will believe that our entire being is being exposed in a way to cause us shame. What we hold as right will be twisted in our presence by our enemy to be made to resemble the worst evil and what we know to be evil will appear to be the greatest good. This is why we must NEVER respond to these things emotionally nor from any fleshly position. We must pray and respond with the Word of God for it is the only weapon we have that will make our enemy flee as we resist Him.

As we deal with these people we must also beware of a backlash of “guilt” that we are made to feel because we were “so harsh.” We must be careful here. This is the time to get to a quiet place to pour out our hearts to God. We must repent of what He shows us, but also praise Him and thank Him for helping us stand and not fall. When we do this, more than likely, we will find that those feeling of “guilt” were more fiery darts from our foe as he fled. Never be above asking for forgiveness of these fellows, but do not be surprised when they respond with Satan’s vileness.

God knows that we are fragile creatures who are subject to great emotional stress. He knows that we cannot remain in the front lines indefinitely without some relief. What we must be wary of, however, is to not become complacent during the quieter times. I have found that being in unrelenting battles can wear upon me. I become weary. However, there are times that that is the very moment when the most deceiving of our enemy’s pawns will appear like an angel of light. We must seek the Lord’s face here and plead for help because it is when we are weary that we can make huge mistakes by reacting emotionally in the flesh. This only creates fruitless arguing and hurt feelings that will eventually lead to a very long time on our knees confessing all of this to God, seeking forgiveness, strength, wisdom, and discernment.

Is there a war going on between God and His Kingdom on one side and Satan and his forces on the other? Yes! Sadly, most believers interpret the warnings in God’s Word about this war as it only being Satan trying to tempt Christians to sin. That is only a small part of this war. Satan also attacks the Church. He attacks the Gospel. He attacks the leadership of the Church. Not every Christian is equipped to fight this battle because most are not very mature and are enslaved to their flesh. These are no threat to Satan so they are not attacked. However, those who are maturing and are equipped with God’s armor are a huge threat to our enemy and his kingdom. Therefore, he attacks them. We must do as Paul instructs in Ephesians 6:10-20. We must take up the armor of God and put it on and use it as we bathe our lives in prayer and immerse ourselves in God’s Word. Then when the fiery darts come we will be ready.

SDG

46 thoughts on “War? What War?

  1. Thank you Brother Mike for this most discerning write up. It does appear that the battle is becoming even more intense as more “professing Christians” (I tend refer to them as members of Christendom at Large) are being brought into the discerning light of God’s word, by the Lord Himself. It is like the “calm before the storm” (a Sister in Christ and I were just mentioning this today). We have been studying the book of Daniel this past few weeks and have been greatly blessed by the many examples of not fearing man and his decrees, but staying true to the Lord (not by activism, not protest) by obedience. I pray for the strength that the Lord promises is ours, and that we are able to do His will and stay strong. For His glory.

  2. Renee,

    You are very welcome my sister. I often wonder what the point is for having to “experience” the battle, but I believe it is so God can use that to help prepare others for what is coming.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. I just re-read Kim R. book The Man of Sin. We have got to be ‘there’. Things are just ripe all over the world for all hell to break loose. Kim said, when God removes the restrainer, thats when it’ll all happen. The restrainer being the true gospel being preached. Well if that ain’t happening now then what is?? They are snuffing out the true gospel all over the world aren’t they??? Look at what we are heariing from pulpits everywhere. Nothing but garbage. Very few teach it right anymore.

  4. You are right about the state of the Gospel Paul. It is getting very disturbing out there, but we have to stay focused on our Lord. We are in a storm and it is probably going to get much worse soon. I doubt if the majority of professing Christians are ready for it. Let us pray that we will be.

  5. “. John MacArthur has said that it is impossible for men to be obedient to God and be popular with the majority. He is right.”

    God warned us of this: Luke 6:26
    Woe unto you, when men speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

    “The devil twists the scriptures for his purposes and perverts the right ways of the Lord ” – A few names come to mind – Warren, Hybels, Schuller, Dolllar, Hinn and etc. You will not find Satan in the bar or brothel, he already has won those that are found there. Satan is busy throwing stumbling blocks and snares into churches.

    Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully,
    Jer 48:10 (Although taken out of context, the Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever and this warning holds true for all and all time.) Many of the teachers and religious leaders today will answer to this curse from the Lord.

    Mike, I certainly have not spent as much time in the Word as you have but the false teachings of many TV prophets and book writers flash in bright lights for me when they are not in line with God’s Word. I’m greatful that you, Mike, are in line with the scripture and share your insight with us.

  6. Don’t forget that it is the US who is responsible for dividing the land (Clinton). I guess Bush is going to top it off with dividing Jerusalem. This burdensome stone is a millstone. Anyone who attempts to move her will be injured. We have been brought into Iraq and we control the land up to the river Euphrates. This is the physical land promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18). This shadowing over the land (like an eagle) indicates that America fulfills Isaiah 18. The reference point for this prophecy is the Biblical land of Israel, so I guess if you were standing anywhere in land up to the river Euphrates, then you would see the shadow being cast from above… That shadow coming from the eagles which may be circling above. Unfortunately, the end time Babylon ( which is most likely America) will endure a judgment at the same time that Israel is being divided and partitioned. She is ordered to work, and make her own bread (this would require a millstone for grinding). A queen is no longer a queen when she is forced to toil and labor and to carry a burden. Iraq is now a burden to us thanks to Clinton and Bush. We cannot ignore the mistake that Clinton made. Bush now wants to do something similiar, possibly even worse. Jerusalem is certainly a cup of trembling. The Palestinians got Gaza and Eastern Israel. They have already written that Jerusalem is their capitol according to Palestinian law.

    End-times Babylon will be nation which dwells carelessly, believes that she will be a queen forever, she will have the greatest military power on the face of the earth, and she will dictate what natural Israel does. She will be used to judge the Lord’s enemies until she has fulfilled God’s purpose. Then she will be judged by the Lord himself at a time when she is full of pride and when she is unaware. Oh I know, God would never judge America you say………. Rome thought she was destined to exist forever too.

  7. Excellent thesis, Mike.

    Like you said, we are in a storm and it will get worse. Like Peter on the turbulent seas, we must keep our focus on Jesus and the things of the Spirit, so that we will not succumb to doubt, weariness or fear.

    And we always remember that God is completely, totally, fully, altogether entirely, wholly in control. His will work all things to His glory, which is to the ultimate unspeakable good of His children.

  8. GREAT post, Mike!

    I cannot help but think of this great quote from a friend in Christ that so fits your post;

    “The pretenders claim that, being the “sword of the Spirit”, that means they need to be “spirit-filled”. That they need “Holy Spirit power”. That if they are thus filled, ‘they’ can defeat satan. But notice that the passage defines itself… “sword of the Spirit -WHICH-IS- the Word of God”. When God’s Word goes out, it does so without returning “void”. Without accomplishing what it was sent to do. (Is55:11) And so you see, even when we “wield” this ‘sword’, it is not ‘us’ fighting. It is Christ. It is -God’s- Word.

    You see, if we want to be successful in resisting satan and standing firm for Christ, we do not need worship music to help us be “spirit-filled”. What we need is a firm foundation of God’s Word. Yes, -DOCTRINE-, the very thing the pretenders are tearing down in favor of their own agenda. Notice that there is not one word in this passage about “worship”. The “cost” to follow Christ does not always “feel good”. We will not always -feel- “blessed”. We will not always -feel- “charged up”. We will often be tortured, mocked, flogged, imprisoned, destitute, afflicted, oppressed. But notice that of this sort, “the world [is] not worthy”. (Heb11:37-38)

    Again, thanks for a great post, Mike.

    “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Cor15:57-58)

  9. Mike, I hope you do not mind me leaving another comment. but this post ignited an already existing spark within me that I cannot help but want to keep expanding. Though I realize that I am not necessarily providing anything new to you or the readers, but I still want to share these quotes/comments that I have saved from different resources, for they do encourage, warn, and edify.

    “NOTE THIS WELL, dear Believer! Our greatest struggle is against that which ‘looks like’ it is “Christian”. Those who do the most complaining that you are being “divisive AGAINST BROTHERS” are the ‘very ones’ through whom our spiritual warfare comes.

    Let’s repeat this point: The people who are tearing down walls of doctrine, mushing everybody all together, and complaining that you keep separate from them and expose them through God’s Word, accusing you of being “divisive” because of your Godly separation… -THEY- ARE the enemy. -They- are unregenerate. -They- are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. -They- are of the “spirit of antichrist” that is already in the world. (1Jn4:3) Don’t pay any mind to the “Rev” in front of their name, or be impressed/intimidated by the digress behind it, or the thousands who flock to their meetings. Remember that the “broad way” that contains “many” leads to “destruction”. (Mt7:13) And also remember that Jesus promised that persecution would originate from out of the “synagogues” (churches) (Jn16:2-3) But as Jesus says of them, “..they do not know the Father nor Me”.

    The Greatest Fight in the World

    [God] makes no promise to cowardice. If you allow the fear of man to rule you, and wish to save self from suffering or ridicule, you will find small comfort in the promise of God. “He that saveth his life shall lose it.” The promises of the Holy Spirit to us in our warfare are to those who quit themselves like men, and by faith are made brave in the hour of conflict….

    Brethren, if you trim a little, if you try to save a little of your repute with the men of the apostasy, it will go ill with you. He that is ashamed of Christ and His Word in this evil generation shall find that Christ is ashamed of him at the last.

    Remember, that the Holy Ghost will never set His seal to falsehood. Never! If what you preach is not the truth, God will not own it. See ye well to this….The Holy Ghost sends no one into the harvest to sleep among the sheaves, but to bear the burden and heat of the day…the Spirit will be with the strength of labourers, but He will not be the friend of loiterers.

    But now, brethren…believing this, we accept the obligation to preach everything which we see to be in the Word of God, as far as we see it. We shall not wilfully leave out any portion of the whole revelation of God, but we long to be able to say at the last, “We have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God.” What mischief may come of leaving out any portion of the truth, or putting in an alien element! –C.H. Spurgeon

    You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. (2Tim2:3-4)

    Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. (1Cor4:2)

    You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God. (Deut 4:2) “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal1:8)

    “But you have carefully followed my doctrine…yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution…but as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, that..you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (~2Tim3:10-15)

  10. Why does god let satan exist? If god created all the angels, then why does god not stop satan from trying to destroy what god created?

  11. rational,

    I don’t draw any line. All have sinned. Some will repent some won’t. I pray that all will. In this war Satan uses people as pawns. I do not attack them, I stand against what they say and do. I use the truth from God’s Word along with several defensive weapons to withstand them.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  12. Daryl,

    Satan’s judgment awaits. In the meantime God uses him for his purposes. It is through resisting him in the power of God that believers are matured and completed. This temporal existence here is only the proving ground. Eternity awaits us.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. Almighty God could at any time of His chosing annihilate Satan with just one Word. But God gives us an isight into His reason for extending history as we know it. He is not willing that any should perish and His compassion dictates His patience.

    From my perspective, this is not some spiritual game without consequences, this is a battle that has and will continue to have eternal consequences for millions. It affects missions, evangelism, and is transforming the very core of the church more rapidly than anyone could have predicted. Sinners cannot believe the gospel and be saved if the saving gospel is not preached and many are believing what men have presented and not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    The gospel can be presented and preached in many different ways or words while still being the authentic gospel. It must include the teaching of man’s sin, God’s judgment, Christ’s atonement, Christ’s resurrection, repentance, and faith alone are the ingredients of the gospel and can be explained and preached through varying words. However that is not what is happening in much of today’s evangelical world. It is man centered and void of sin and the atonement.

    Christ is presented as a helper to your life, not a Savior for your sin and a Lord for your life. But there must be something extremely important to God going on here or He would rise up and destroy the blasphemers and indeed Satan and all his demons. And from my perspective it is the same important issue that drew Christ to earth, the salvation of eternal souls.

    I do not claim to own the full knowledge of all the implications of what the falling away will mean to eternity, but no one who is listening to the Spirit can deny that we are in the midst of the colossal end time battle. There are many different theological perspectives that are in this battle and are being used by God in different ways. The reformed brethren hold our feet to the fire about God’s awesome sovereignty, the Arminian brethren hold our feet to the fire about evangelistic passion, the Wesleyan brethren teach us sacrificial obedience, and all the true brethren from all perspectives contibute to the benefit of us all.

    The battle is the Lord’s and not ours. And in a glorious mystery the victory has already been won by Christ. Let us engage the enemy with that truth in our hearts so we can war in the Spirit and never the flesh!

  14. Rick,

    I accidentally deleted your comment, but I have the text. You said:

    “God’s people are not pawns.”

    Yes, Mike, but some of them are Bishops!

    =)

    My response to that is: :-) :-) :-)

    Which should explain what was going on when I hit the wrong button. :-)

  15. This was another good post. We are in the midst of but one tiny skirmish, but keeping in mind that the battle is already won! We just need to rest in Him. I’m reminded of Ps. 103 (particularly v. 6): For He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. If we try to live this Christian life and fight the skirmishes by our own strength, we’ll fail. We are simply crummy earthen vessels (to borrow my dad’s paraphrase of II Cor. 4:7) who by God’s grace and because of His mercy carry the treasure of the gospel to the world around us. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Ps. 103:2)!

  16. Carrie,

    Amen! Yes, our Lord’s victory at the Cross defeated our enemy. He has no power over our eternal destination and can only affect us temporally as God allows. God uses these skirmishes to complete us spiritually. We learn to never try to fight without armor and prayer and His presence. To attempt to go it alone is more than stupid. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  17. Mike, I find words of comfort and encouragement here; excellent post. The deception seems to be coming in waves, from every direction. It is important to keep in mind what the word says about all this apostasy and deception { 1st Timothy 4:1-2, also 2nd Timothy 3:1-5}. Paul warns us in advance what we are now witnessing throughout the world, ‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.’
    It is essential that we not ‘come unglued’ by everything that is happening and the rapid pace with which it is coming. It is so true, we need to stay focused, be in constant prayer, and absorb God’s word like a sponge. After all, we know the outcome! God bless you, and all who post here, as we stand firm, steadfast, unwavering in the faith.

  18. Thank you Laruie and Amen! We have God’s armor and His promises and His presence. We are more than conquerors in Him! Our shield of faith is stronger than argument these folks have, but we must still wear the helmet and use the sword of the spirit. God uses all of this to prepare us for what is coming. Yes, to God be the glory!

  19. Mike,

    Great post, brother! Indeed there is a serious war going on. The question is: “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Stand strong, brothers and sisters! Keep Christ’s flag flying.

  20. Pingback: War? What War? « Sola Dei Gloria

  21. Josh,

    Ecumenism (also oecumenism, œcumenism) refers to initiatives aimed at greater religious unity or cooperation.

    This unity or cooperation is just one of the Emergent initiatives. The Emergents are really just liberals who are all about intellectualizing Christianity. They are anti faith and anti doctrine. They hate the Bible or at least ignore it. What has always puzzled me about liberals is why they want to be called or be seen as Christians at all. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  22. ok, so Ecumenism believes that God is all religions pretty much. Kind of like unitarians with a little bit of pantheism. I guess that it is hard to tell them apart sometimes.

  23. Mike,

    Like sweeping generalizations much? Several leaders of the “emerging” type have led me deeper into the Scriptures in all their color and depth and beauty, Brian McLaren being the prominent one. And just to preempt what I assume will be kneejerk comment on McLaren, have you read any of his work (or that of any “Emergent”)? If you haven’t, I’d encourage you to refrain from comment until you do. Spoon-fed “beliefs” from others who claim to understand won’t suffice, I’m afraid.

    Nate

  24. gwh,

    I assume you are referring to my comment to Josh above since this post had nothing to do with emergent stuff. Did you read the article? Can you explain it to me? It had an awful lot of scripture in it. Did you understand the part about Satan lying and deceiving people and those lies and deceptions fooling people into believing false teachers, like McClaren who has denied the the doctrine of Justification by Faith and has made utterly stupid comments that all religions lead to God. You have read those from his book A Generous Orthodoxy haven’t you? The man is a heretic and you are trying to sell him as some great Bible teacher.

    If you wish to comment here further then you will have to follow the rules like everyone else. This is the challenge. you must prove that I am wrong from the Bible. You cannot use any other sources. Just the Bible. So, if you want to attack my comment to my friend then show me where I am wrong you had better be ready to really get into your Bible instead of being spoon-fed excerpts from Mclaren. :-)

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  25. Luke 6

    22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

  26. Mike, you said, “What has always puzzled me about liberals is why they want to be called or be seen as Christians at all.”

    That has puzzled me for a while, too, but I’m realizing now why it must be so. It is something that you’ve touched on the last couple of days.

    The battle at this time is within the professing church. Satan doesn’t really battle against those who are lost and are already his. Instead, he battles against those who are saved. It is relatively easy for him to get the weak and/or immature believers to doubt God and His Word. What better way for Satan to bring division and destruction into the Church than to get a bunch of unregenerates to identify themselves as Christians, thus confusing the weaker Christians.

    I think these liberals are pawns, and, as such, they are blinded and deluded. They are servants of Satan who present themselves as Christians or Christ followers, yet deny Christ in word and deed.

    Having observed the reaction of the world to the current emergent agenda, I have to say that the world is, generally, not fooled. They are confused as to why “Christians” are looking and acting like the world. No, the ones who are being fooled are the weak Christians who have had little discipleship, who have not been taught the Word of God, and have little to no discernment. They are the ones that Satan is after. That is why Satan is able to get these liberals to call themselves Christians. It is part of his attempt to pick off the weak ones by confusing them and bringing doubt.

    Why does God allow the weak ones to be confused? We will soon see who is saved and who is not. And the ones who are saved, but are weak, must endure these trials as part of their sanctification. God will be glorified.

  27. Brian MacLaren is a heretic. Well mannered, humble, and seemingly a nice guy and yet a heretic nonetheless. We do not judge him personally, but his teachings are heretical. I have no personal knowledge of his standing before God, I am even persuaded he is a believer who has strayed, but “unless you can convince me from Scripture” we cannot compromise.

    I do not use the word heretic lightly, but when someone says what MacLaren does and even recommends an apostate like Marcus Borg who isn’t a believer, than we must obey the Word and reject such an one. I know Mike and I get no satisfaction or glee from these things, as a mattaer of fact, it grieves us deeply.

  28. Yes Rick you are right. It does grieve me deeply. It is sweet as honey in the mouth to proclaim the truth, but it does make the stomach bitter. I believe I would rather have a root canal than do this sort of thing. However, like Ezekiel, those who proclaim these things are lifted up by the Spirit who takes them away, going in the bitterness in the heart of their spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon them. (Ezekiel 3:14)

  29. Thank you so much for this post, Mike! It describes perfectly so much of what has happened in my life with the professing Christians that are closest to me…especially towards the end when you talked about how satan will take what you’ve said in truth and in love and make it look like the harshest thing to ever exist, which follows with great guilt. I would like to post this article on my blog if you don’t mind. I asked Lane (one of my good friends), who knows you pretty well and he said you wouldn’t mind at all. But I wanted to thank you personally for your contending for the faith…all the glory and praise be to God for continuing to complete His work in us!

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