Sunday, 15 May 2011

Life is war..

That’s not all it is, but for the Christian it certainly is that, as was made clear from the next vision in our series on the Book of Revelation that we studied this morning. Satan has declared war on the church and is angry. He is angry because of the triumph of the Cross, his having been thrown down, and in the sure knowledge of his impending doom (Rev 12v12 &13).
As I Twittered earlier in the week - Satan troubles us, not because he is strong, but because he has been defeated and knows that his time is short. But he is still angry and seeks to intimidate and deceive God’s people. That’s why Peter says in his letter written to Christians facing persecution: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. ” 1 Pet 4:12.

Having been thrown down, Satan presently seeks to work, as it were, hand in glove with as many authorities and world powers as will give him room to pull their strings. (apologies for mixing the metaphors of glove & string puppets!). 666 is the number of humanity (man was created on Day 6) and can refer to worldly authorities in Nero’s Rome or London, New York, Beijing - anywhere and everywhere that satan finds opportunity to targets his anti Christ agenda.

So how are Christians to respond to this? Well that same vision, as well as telling us that the accuser has been thrown down and that his time is short, also tells of Christ’s care and love for his church, so we should be very encouraged! But in that same passage the Holy Spirit twice says to us: ‘Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints’ (ch13v10, ch14v12). We’re not to fear or be intimidated, but we are to wake up to the fact that we are at war, that we have an enemy whose is scheming against us, that we are wrestling against principalities & powers, and that we are called to stand firm, endure and not drift with the spirit of the age.

John Piper in his book ‘Don’t Waste your Life’ writes about the peacetime mindset: ‘In peacetime we tend to ask, What can I do to be more comfortable? To have more fun? To avoid trouble and, possible, avoid sin?... This way of life is utterly inadequate to awaken people to the beauty of Christ. In wartime we ask different questions. We ask: What can I do to advance the cause? What can I do to bring the victory? What sacrifice can I make or what risk can I take to ensure the joy of triumph?

And what promises there are throughout the Book of Revelation for those who will adopt a wartime mindset, resist the ‘spirit of the age’, take their stand against satan’s taunts & temptations and conquer in Jesus’ name:
“Conquerors will march in the victory parade, their names indelible in the Book of Life. I’ll lead them up and present them by name to my Father and his Angels. Rev 3:5 (The Message)