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Garden City Christian Union Church

The Weapons of Our Warfare

Background - ancient Greece’s most important trade city . Ideally situated on the Isthmus of Corinth between the Ionian Sea and the Aegean Sea , Corinth was the connecting link between Rome, the capital of the world, and the East. (its coffer) At Corinth the apostle Paul established a flourishing church, made up of a cross section of the worldly minded people who had flocked to Corinth to participate in the gambling, legalized temple prostitution, business adventures, and amusements available in a first-century navy town

The city became a melting pot for the approximately 500,000 people who lived there at the time of Paul’s arrival. Merchants and sailors, anxious to work the docks, migrated to Corinth. Professional gamblers and athletes, betting on the Isthmian games, took up residence. Slaves, sometimes freed but with no place to go, roamed the streets day and night. And prostitutes (both male and female) were abundant. People from Rome, the rest of Greece, Egypt, Asia Minor—indeed, all of the Mediterranean world—relished the lack of standards and freedom of thought that prevailed in the city.

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Some have called Corinth the Las Vegas of the ancient world, I think I would take in a step further and relate it to Amsterdam including the legalization of not only gambling and prostitution, but drugs and virtually any other vice that can be imagined.

 

 

In the same breath, we can imagine our own culture in this light as it descends into moral chaos and we see the Church being drawn into its darkness.

 

Statistically the Church in America is on virtually the same level as the culture, Infidelity, Divorce, Abortion, Pornography, Homosexuality are so much a part of our culture that some are attempting to make room for them in the Church.

  • ELCA right here in Lima

This was the issue at Corinth and it was the issue that Paul was dealing with when he wrote the verses that we previously read.

 

  • Our culture has been so overcome by itself that much of the Church is being influenced by it more than it is by Christ and His Word.

  • Striving to be culturally relevant can make us Biblically irrelevant.

  • I am not here to cheer for the faithful who may hide in the four walls and I am not here to Criticize those who are pushing the limits of propriety in reaching out to the culture.

  • I am here to examine how the Apostle Paul dealt with the issue of a worldly church and to see what his solution was focused upon.

  • Then I would challenge each of us and all of us to follow the Biblical example and engage the Church in our culture to live by those Biblical concepts.

 

This is Paul's Second letter to the Church at Corinth. After spending a year and a half there and establishing church there and departing to Ephesus to resume his missionary adventures, he began getting distressing reports of their conduct and from people within and without the church. 1 Corinthians was a response to these and a letter that was written outlining the corrupt practices in the church.

  • Paul's stay at Ephesus was cut short by a riot. He departed to Troas, and then to Macedonia (Acts 20), where he met Titus, for whose arrival he had anxiously waited in order to learn the effect of his letter. Titus' report was both gratifying and disheartening. He had been cordially received, and the epistle had caused penitence and amendment; but the influence of the anti-Pauline parties had increased, and they were openly assailing Paul's character and insisting on their own superior apostolic claims. Accordingly Titus was again sent to Corinth with a second epistle, written from some point in Macedonia.

 

I am going to make a statement here that you may or may not agree with, but either way I want you to hear me out and then decide.

 

This is real spiritual warfare, the battle of ideas, the battle for Truth with a capital T.

  • The Church at Corinth was missing the truth because of their cultural baggage.

  • Though the Spirit of God was indeed there, many of them were not maturing in the faith because they were looking for outward evidences like the gifts of the Spirit and not holiness of life.

  • Satan's tactics have not changed since the Garden of Eden when the Serpent caused Eve to doubt the Word of God

  • He did the same thing with Christ in the wilderness and tries to do the same with us.

  • He wants us to either doubt, disregard or deny the Truth.

  • Paul reiterated the Gospel to them as he assured them of his love for them and as he seems to be defending himself from some who must have accused him of twisting the Scriptures he says to them, “ 2 Corinthians 4:2 But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

  • Do you see the spiritual Warfare that the Apostle is engaged in here?

  • Not just defending himself, but the message of the Gospel!

  • He turns from mostly teaching and encouragement to a hard line defense in chapter 10 defending his ministry and message and takes the idea of warfare to the next level.

  • 2 Corinthians 11: 3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

  • You guys are looking too hard at this!

  • You are looking with earthly eyes and since we are not approaching this in an earthly manner you are not seeing it for what it is!

  • Here Paul is showing the battle lines.

  • Speaking of those trying to undermine his apostolic authority, Paul says 2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

  • And again defining the enemy.

  • In 1 John many of the verses that in our day are said to be “warfare verses” are actually dealing with false teachers!

  • OH, that we would understand this!

     

  • 1Jonh 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

  • 1John 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

  • The Spirits we test, the ones we overcome are the false teachers. The weapons of are warfare are God's Truths! The enemies we fight are Satan's ministers who appear as angels (messengers) of light!

 

This brings us to our text. The culture taught the Corinthians to look for someone who looked like and Apostle.

1 Corinthians 10:1 Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

  • You don't hear my teaching or trust in my encounter with the Risen Christ! You want someone that looks good, according to the flesh.

  • Me as a bouncer.....

  • A preacher who has a certain look!

  • My weapons against this false idea are not according to the dictates of that false idea,

  • He goes on...

  • This is the NATURAL tendency even of us as Believers

  • Whether we are conservative and want a preacher that looks conservative or are Generation X and want someone who looks cool.

  • FORGET THE MAN – LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE!

  • Paul says, I am trying to be gentle with you. I want you to hear what I say, not how I say it!

  • I don't have to have a gimmick to be heard, the power is in the message!

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.

  • We are flesh and blood people, but that is not where our power lies!

  • No doubt that the false apostles had made this accusation against Paul that he “walked according to the flesh.”

  • He is just a little ugly man who has the power of a little ugly man.

  • I can't help but think of Martin Luther, a little monk from Saxony, a nobody from nowhere taking on the Pope and the World.

  • Or even our Lord, John 1: 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

  • Polished men with seminary degrees can teach heresy as easily or maybe more so than you or I.

2 Corinthians 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,

  • I is not our pedigree nor our polish nor our prowess that gets the job done!

  • God empowers His Word.

  • It pulls down Strongholds! Look at the Reformation!

  • Cannon Law and Church Tradition had replaced the Bible as the authority.

  • The five Solas of the Reformation,

  • Sola Scriptura

  • Sola Gratia

  • Sola Fide

  • Solo Christos

  • Soli Deo Gloria

With the Word of God as their standard they overthrew the most corrupt and powerful entity in the world!

  • Isaiah 55:11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

  • Our strongholds are false ideas as Paul points out in the next verse.

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

  • God's Word destroys,

  • Arguments, logismos, logic, man's reasoning.

  • How many verses we have taken out of context and given our own meaning to!

  • Proverbs 31:15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants.

  • I actually spoke to a woman who claimed based on this verse that all women can get up early because God's Word says so.

  • Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

  • So touch the radio or the TV screen, Trace your hand on a piece of paper and send me some money....

  • Peri: around, a general preposition, in relation to...

  • Every high thing.... a bulwark or battlement

  • This was poignant to Corinth since it was on an Isthmus where there was a natural cliff about 1,500 feet high. This was where the citadel was for the city that was never conquered by an opposing army but it was devastated by an earthquake about 200 years previous to the time of this letter.

  • Paul's detractors, the watchtower, the book of mormon, evolution, post-modernism, seeker sensitivity, church growth movement....... It is all cast down by the Truth of God's Word!

  • If we are to overcome the lies of our day, the deceptions that corrupt the Church and send people to hell, we first have to be living the Truth! -

  • We will look more closely at this next week. Ephesians 6

  • Apologetics are great, we had better know what we believe and it had better be based solidly upon the Word of God!

  • The Word of Christ has to dwell in us richly in all wisdom before we can teach or admonish with it! Colossians 3:10

  • 1John 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

  • We hold to a doctrine called, “The sufficiency of Scripture.”

  • Most of the Church does and yet we continually conceive gimmicks and trends and the 40 day book of the month club

  • This is serious stuff and it goes as far as Church Discipline for those who continue to oppose the Truth of God's Word.

2 Corinthians 10:6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.

  • What is the battle? Where is the Battlefield?

  • Are there demons out there that want to get you? YES

  • Are they going to tempt you to live an ungodly life? To doubt, disregard or deny God's Truth so that you will live that way? YES

  • More times than not they will deceive and not just try to destroy you.

  • I am not denying possession or oppression, I am merely saying that it is not the common form of the Devil's tactics.

  • He will tempt you based upon your constitution and you will resist him steadfastly in the faith if you know what to believe!

  • We will get practical with this next week

 

The devil's chief weapon is deceit

God chief weapon is Truth

Paul tells the Corinthians what our chief weakness is

 

2 Corinthians 6:11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.

  • That is to say, God's word is not confining us it is liberating us.

  • We are either slaves to sin or righteousness

  • our affections, are either too small toward the things of God or we are bound by what we love and doubt , disregard or deny God's truth.

  • DON'T LET THAT BE YOUR CASE TODAY!

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