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Time for War

This sermon comes out of Psalms 144:1-5. Glenn addresses the fact that every Christian is in a spiritual war whether they like it or not. We will either live the victorious Christian life or that of a defeated individual. In this message you will learn how to walk in the victory Jesus purchased for us and that David poetically portrays.

A Culture of Violence

What a hypocritical nation America has become. We have developed a culture that loves violence while simultaneously condemning it. Violence permeates the very fabric of our nation and the entertainment industry is one of its primary propagators. What hypocrisy! The celebrities that act out the violence Americans are obsessed with often claim to be proponents of nonviolence. What about the citizenry itself? Though they may state with political correctness that violence is wrong, they have, so to speak, an umbilical cord attached to the secular media that feeds them the violence and moral decadence they crave. If we did not love violence then the entertainment industry would not be producing such evil.

This fallen world is an incubator of rebellion against the Lord and His kingdom. We have created a spiritual and moral environment that has caused us to grow numb to the culture of violence we made. Yes, this includes the church. Christians must shoulder the greater guilt in creating this problem because we should be the guardians of truth and biblical morality. To our shame, we have become proponents of evil. A vast number of Christians support the culture of violence with their time and money. Just look in the average self-proclaimed Christian’s video cabinet, examine their cable bill, peruse their video games or search their computer’s history for the internet porn they watch. It will not take long to find just a few ways that supposedly “good” people actively advance evil.

The news media loves to exploit acts of violence for their own profit and we Americans just love to be exploited. In those cases of violence that the media uses to capture the attention of the nation our consciences may be awakened to a small degree. These news blitzes excite the feeble sympathies of our hearts or may enrage our thoughts to some kind of anemic response. Yet a few days after the tragedy we once again fall asleep to the evils we have breed of our own free will. Of course, we foolishly trust that our elected officials will run with the political tide created by the most recent media feeding frenzy. Out of self-love and self-preservation these mercenary politicians pass laws in the heat of the moment that, more often than not, do more harm than good.

The culture of violence in which we find ourselves today had its origin in Adam’s sin. In the Garden of Eden violence was nonexistent. Scripture records that the first act of violence was the sacrifice Adam and Eve offered up to God as atonement for their sin (Genesis 3:21). From that point on violence became an integral part of this fallen world. Every act of violence this world has ever known or will experience is the consequence of Adam and Eve’s deliberate act of rebellion against God. What they set in motion we now continue through our own conscious acts of breaking God commands. The wages of sin always produces death and separation from God (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Romans 6:23).

The violence that mankind perpetrates one upon one another is inspired by hell. At times, the evil people inflict upon others is so heinous that our minds cannot fathom the horror nor words express the depths of their malevolence. It seems like devils inspired with hellish hatred motivate weak people to abuse, mutilate and ruin the very creatures God created His own image.

Through the authority of Scripture we can say that mankind created violence, not God. However, in our present situation the Lord uses violence to advance His kingdom. Now please do not misunderstand me here. The violence God uses is diametrically opposed to that which came through the Adam’s rebellion. Terrorism, murder, natural war and all the other expressions of violence and hatred are not part of God’s kingdom.

Jesus taught the correct means by which violence is used to advance the Kingdom of Heaven, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (NKJV; Mt. 11:12). The violence the Savior refers to incorporates two ideas. First, it speaks of people entering Christ’s kingdom. The Lord relentlessly labors to bring people to the place where they comprehend their desperate need of salvation and are willing to flee into Christ’s loving embrace. When they reach that imperative condition to salvation they will violently (forcefully) strive to enter the kingdom of God at any cost. The Lord, through His infinitely astounding abilities, uses the evil we created, practice and promote to drive us to Himself. The greatest example of this is demonstrated when God, who did not create violence, allowed the most horrendous act of violence to be preformed against Himself—crucifixion. Why did He allow this? So that mankind could be saved from the eternal violence of hell.

The second way that the Lord uses violence to advance His kingdom deals with the way true disciples are called to aggressively expand the Kingdom of God. This is accomplished in the same manner that Jesus advanced the Kingdom of God when He walked this earth, through the laying down of His life. Let me use a story Duncan Campbell told about a soldier during WWI to illustrate this point. During an attack at Passchendaele Ridge, Belgium, Campbell stated, “I saw on my right a young 42nd Highlander. He was wounded in his arm and trying to tear the tail of his shirt to bind it. Another soldier in front of us lay wounded beckoning for help. I heard that 42nd Highlander say, ‘I’m sure that’s Jock!’ I saw him spring to his feet with that wounded arm lying beside him as he climbed out of the trench saying, ‘Yes, that’s poor Jock and I’ll save him or die in the attempt.’” In like manner, through the love of God we are to lay siege to people, families, communities and nations until we see them saved or die in the attempt to rescue them. That is what Jesus was talking about—aggressive, loving evangelism.

There is a violence ordained of God. Not the heartless brutality that flows out of hell through susceptible humans, but that which our Lord and Master modeled. This is a high calling, the obligation placed upon the shoulders of every true believer to be like Jesus in both life and death. What does this privilege of infinitesimal value include, even demand? That out of love for Christ we lay down our wealth, reputations, comforts and lives for His glory and the salvation of the lost.

Walter Henley, a former White House staff member that turned pastor said it this way: “Militant love is life attacking death, light coming against darkness, truth colliding with lies. . . . Militant Islam, for example, may call for the death of the ‘infidel,’ and may issue death warrants against its enemies, but Jesus of Nazareth will not allow His followers to call down the fire . . . His militant love will minister healing, deliverance and hope. Jesus shows that militant love does not inflict suffering on others, but is willing to receive it on itself for the sake of others. Militant love does not nail its enemies to the cross, but goes to the cross on behalf of the enemy. . . . Militant love does aggressive acts of kindness towards those who would cause it hurt. It washes the feet of those who would betray it.”

True love demands that we respond to the desperate needs of others that are within our ability to meet. How can we say we love family, friends and community while remaining indifferent to the reality that the majority of people we know are rushing to a literal hell? How can we say we are part of a kingdom whose Lord and King was crucified so we could be saved and be senseless about the multitudes of perishing immortal souls? And how can we live in the selfish pursuit of pleasure while hell grows larger by the second? The existence of hell demands our response.

Violence rages around us, incessant and unmerciful. We cannot get away from it. Try to run if you will, but the violence of hell will only pursue you. Either stand and fight or cower and hide. To the one is a victor’s crown, to the other shame and disgrace. But if you think that you can act like the proverbial ostrich that sticks its head in the sand know that the vicious predators of hell which are seeking to devour your mother and father, children and siblings, friends and acquaintances are also coming after you. This moment, this day and age demands that God’s people respond to the violence of hell with the good, holy and compassionate violence of God’s love operating through His genuine followers even if it costs us our reputations, comforts, wealth or lives.

Glenn Meldrum has been a national evangelist since 1997. Prior to his calling as an evangelist he pastored for 15 years. He is ordained and holds an M.A. in theology and church history from Ashland Theological Seminary. Visit www.ihpministry.com for articles, sermons, books and information on Glenn Meldrum and In His Presence Ministries.

Everyman’s War

Whether we like it or not, or for that matter, even acknowledge it or not, there is a spiritual war raging all around us at this very moment. This war is no less real then those that nations fight. The implications of natural war are temporal, nations either rise or fall. However, the consequences of this spiritual war are eternal. Given that we cannot see the invading armies or the relentless violent skirmishes that surround us does not diminish the fact that this war exists. To comprehend the validity of this fully engaged war all we have to do is look at the ravages of sin that engulfs this world.

To conquer an individual or nation the archenemy of mankind does not issue a surprise attack to overwhelm his opponent like a horde of barbarians or crazed terrorists. Otherwise, we could easily identify him and stand against the flagrant assault in open battle. No, with subtlety our adversary creeps into our ranks, infiltrating families and culture, striving to look like friends rather than fiends. As the hordes of hell slowly gain access to our minds, hearts and culture they begin to define the way we think and how we live. Once the enemy of our soul gains enough control over the minds and hearts of people they begin to show themselves more openly and in greater force. This is where the moral decline of a people becomes blatant, defiant and rapid.

Since the greatest warfare this world will ever know is spiritual, it can be hard for the majority of people to discern unless they have spiritual eyes to see. Those who strive to warn the populous about this demonically inspired invasion are often called alarmists, fanatics or lunatics. “But wisdom is justified of her children” (Luke 7:35). Whether it was during the Old Testament era or down to our present day, the people of God have always desperately needed true prophets and evangelists to help them see what they cannot naturally see.

History abounds with stories of how armies pit weapon against weapon and whoever had the latest, greatest instrument of war most often won. This principle stands true in this spiritual war as well. On God’s side is the weapon of truth empowered by the work of the Holy Spirit. In the end, this weapon will prove itself invincible. The opposing side is armed with half-truths, illusions, deceptions, outright lies and the means to tantalize mankind’s fallen nature is a host of devious ways. The battle is fought in the minds and hearts of humanity and the prize each side seeks to claim as the spoils of war are the souls of men. Whoever captures the hearts and minds of the populous gains control over the culture at large and of individuals specifically.

The war is at a crisis level! Much of the professing church is either in denial that this war exists or refuses to engage in the conflict. The once mighty Bride of Christ has fallen into a deep, spiritual sleep, mesmerized by the same lying devils that have gained control of our world, country, government and media. Truth is fighting against lies and the life and identity of the church is at stake. The combined forces of hell, which is “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Eph. 2:2), are striving to defeat the true church by redefining her spiritual and moral character. Satan and his minions do not want authentic believers to be like the radical Jesus, for all the forces of hell cannot stand against a holy, Spirit empowered church.

At first glance it outwardly appears that Christ and the truth are losing the present day battle. It seems that as the world grows in wickedness that the church is endeavoring to keep the same pace of worldliness. What may actually be happening is that a vast number of people that where living on the fence between the two opposing kingdoms are being forced to make a decision and most are joining the ranks of God’s enemies. The Scriptures promise that all who choose to remain true to Christ will be refined with holy fire so that they look and act more like Jesus.

This war stops for no one, passes no one, spares no one. We will either swear loyalty to Christ or become His enemy—there is no neutral ground. If we become loyalists to Christ then Christ must be the standard by which we live and the Scriptures our sole authority for faith and life. Oh, that the old reformation battle cry Sola Scripture would once again be fearlessly declared in our churches—that Scripture alone would define our faith. Tradition, morals and cultural norms are as changeable as man, but the Word of the Lord stands forever true.

Devils and men have a better chance of stopping a tornado then of defeating Christ and His Word. They violently attack the truth because they hate Jesus and refuse to bow to His rule. Their God hatred drives them to relentlessly assault true believers. If our spiritual enemy can manipulate professing believers into abandoning the truth then these devils have affectively hindered believers from being conformed to Christ’s likeness. Whenever Christians cease to be true radicals like Jesus they also cease to authentically build Christ’s kingdom by bringing men, women and children to genuine faith in Christ. Our compromise leaves the world to the ruination of hell, where godless philosophies and ambitions spread like a noxious plague; where the brute appetites of the flesh are gorged without restraint. Withhold the convicting influence that the true church brings upon the world as bearers of the Holy Spirit and evil will prosper with seeming impunity.

In spite of all this, each of us will stand before the Judge of all the Earth. Will we be hailed as heroes, condemned to the pit as traitors or damned as enemy combatants against Christ the King? What will you and I say to Him at that moment? If He damns you as a traitor to His person and kingdom, what defense will you offer for living like the enemy while claiming to be Christian? Every deserter from God’s army will not find a single excuse to hide behind for running away from the divine command to fight this spiritual war to the death. And what of those who went AWOL, who left their required duties without permission, but never intended on fully deserting? These church attendees that never fulfilled their required duties due to cowardice, laziness or love of pleasure will find this judgment most terrifying.

The rewards of battle belong to those who fight on the front lines, not to those who seek to live in safety, comfort and ease. Mere mortal armies of every nation, stripe and era have always despised cowardice, laziness and the self-preservation that makes people run from the battle or never engage in it. So why do we applaud such behavior in the church when it has always been the downfall of every military that suffered its devastating influence?

Life is too short to squander and eternity too long to neglect. To hear from Christ’s lips that we were good and faithful followers will produce a joy that will sweetly linger in our hearts throughout eternity. Eons from now we will still rejoice over what Christ did for us. We will joyously declare that everything we suffered for Him on earth was worth it all, even to the laying down of our lives. If regrets had any place in heaven, they would consist of the fact that we did not give Him enough, that we did not honor Him all that He deserves. On the contrary are those that hear the voice of the Great I Am declare, “Depart from Me”. The perpetual haunting of those words will be a never-ending nightmare echoing through their conscience because they refused to bow their will to the Lord of Heaven and Earth.

We are actively in Everyman’s War where no one is exempt. Either we fight for the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Hell—but fight we will. Many that claim to be Christian are enemies of God because they have not truly surrendered to Christ; they live for themselves which is a state of being antagonistic to God. To be victorious in Everyman’s War we must be fully engaged in it for the glory of Christ alone.

Outside the Kingdom of God are only rebels; inside only true followers of Christ. Seemingly between these two kingdoms is a fence that many people sit upon, thinking it is safe in spite of the fact that they are sitting in the midst of a raging battlefield. What these fence sitters fail to realize is that the fence actually sits in enemy territory—they are on the wrong side.

Glenn Meldrum has been a national evangelist since 1997. Prior to his calling as an evangelist he pastored for 15 years. He is ordained and holds an M.A. in theology and church history from Ashland Theological Seminary. Visit www.ihpministry.com for articles, sermons, books and information on Glenn Meldrum and In His Presence Ministries.

Voices

In each of our lives there are voices calling to us; demanding our attention, competing for our interests, luring our affections.  These voices come from within and without.  They are everywhere—in the city and country, among the rich and poor, the educated and uneducated, the young and old.  Relentlessly they tug and pull at us, compelling us to follow, to yield to their desires, to love what they love and hate what they hate.  The voices of the past haunt us with regrets, stir up past offenses, consume us with despair, fill us with pride or awaken deep desires.  The voices of the present battle for our attention, our affections, our very lives.  Whether good or evil, from heaven or hell, these voices yearn to shape our present, future and eternity.  They are a reality we must deal with.

The voices within are our thoughts, emotions, desires, hurts, joys, and conscience.  They are the byproduct of our personal history that has shaped our character and determined our destiny.  The voices from without are the social influences of family, friends, school, career, religion, TV, music and more.  We can willfully silence many of these voices.  With others we are forced to listen.  Nevertheless, whatever enters into us will mold us into the people we are and will be.

In the end, all these voices, both internal and external are rooted in spiritual realities.  They either come from Satan and his worldly kingdom or from God and the kingdom of heaven.  The spiritual prince of this world is Satan (2 Cor. 4:14).  He fluently speaks our language and knows how to manipulate our desires, emotions and intellect.  He can whisper in our ears, speak through men (Mt. 16:23), and use our kingdoms, inventions, intellect and passions to advance his wicked schemes.  Though he offers freedom, he makes men slaves to sin in all of its hideous forms.  His is the voice of pain, suffering and damnation.

The ultimate voice of authority is God.  His voice can pierce the thickest darkness and penetrate the hardest heart.  Heaven and earth tremble when He speaks but a whisper.  Creation will be remade when He roars.  Life is in His words and healing in His touch.  He is the only lasting answer to our problems. 

Far too often, when the Almighty speaks, we choose not to listen or selectively hear what we want.  What causes us to ignore God’s voice and yet be in tune with the voices of this world?  We have immersed ourselves in the language and love of this world—what they are we have become. 

LONGINGS OF THE HEART

Imagine how terrifying it was for Lot and his family to flee Sodom (Gen. 19).  Warned by two angels that the godless city would be divinely destroyed they reluctantly fled to the mountains.  Before leaving the angels warned them not to look back, but ahead to their deliverance.    

Mrs. Lot would not have agreed with most of Sodom’s sinful practices. Nonetheless, Sodom had supplied her with those possessions that became so precious to her. It also had a culture that freely allowed her to pursue the love of pleasure she had come to expect out of life. Without realizing it her constant association with the world had caused her to grow numb to its wicked environment.  In her mind the loss of her beloved worldly lifestyle was more than she could bear, more important then even Sodom’s destruction.  So Mrs. Lot looked back with longing desire and judgment came on her too. That is why Jesus commanded us to “Remember Lot’s wife” so we would not suffer her same fate (Lk. 17:32).  

As Mrs. Lot fled the voices of Sodom called out to her: “Why are you fleeing?  Sodom is not that evil.  Hasn’t God prospered her?  She will not be destroyed.  You can serve God and enjoy the pleasures of Sodom too.  If you leave you will surely suffer.  Consider all that you will loose.”  Her ears were in tune with the voices she loved. When she harkened to those lying voices she received the reward of what they truly have to offer—death. 

The question must be asked: are we the spiritual citizens of Sodom or of heaven?  If we yield to the voices of Sodom, which is an emblem of wickedness and worldliness, we will be formed into worldly people whether-or-not we call ourselves Christians.  Those who are molded by this world have their minds and hearts set on worldly things because they have become “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4).

Worldly minded people live for the moment, for the satisfying of their desires, lusts and pride.  They do not want to be burdened with Biblical Christianity that demands their entire abandonment.  Many will accept a watered-down version of the Gospel that does not upset their selfish way of life even though it is powerless to save.  Their love self and sin has blinded their hearts and minds to the temporal and eternal consequences of worldliness and compromise.

THERE IS VICTORY

We cannot overcome our natural propensity to worldliness by just claiming to be Christian or attending a local church.  True citizens of heaven have heard God’s voice commanding them to flee Sodom and not look back.  Through loving obedience they have broken Sodom’s control over their lives by setting their “minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Col. 3:2).  Like Paul, they have counted this world as dung “compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8).  

We will never be victorious Christians as long as our minds are fixed on the passions and pursuits of earthly things.  Worldly thoughts are the result of worldly hearts, for whatever our hearts love our minds will dwell upon.  Jesus taught that, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Mt. 15:19).  Our lifestyles are worldly and self-centered because we love ourselves and this world more than God. 

To change our thoughts we must have a radical change of heart.  We are commanded to set our “hearts on things above” (Col. 3:1).  If our hearts are consumed with Jesus there will be no room for worldly loves.  God has promised to give His people a new heart and mind if we will thoroughly repent of our sins (Ezk. 36:26).  True repentance incorporates the turning from our sin and our absolute surrender to God.  We are then to zealously pursue God in everything we say and do until our dying day. 

We have believed the lies of a multitude of voices that have told us happiness and purpose comes through the pursuit of pleasure and possessions.  As a result, many professing Christians are willful captives of Satan and are now slaves of Sodom through their passions, lusts, greed and pride.  Its time we silence in our hearts and minds these evil, lying voices, for they have done us great harm. 

Jesus taught us to aggressively deal with our sins by cutting them off (Mk. 9:47).  We must have the courage and honesty to examine our lives by God’s Word so we can comprehend how our worldliness has offended a holy God and hurt our family and friends.  Only then will we truly repent of our sins. 

This is war in the inward parts of man. The heart and mind is the battlefield for the soul.  Whoever possesses the heart will control the mind and own the soul.  It is our choice who possesses the deed to our souls, whether it is God or Satan.  There is no middle ground, no demilitarized zone and no place for compromise.   

Glenn Meldrum has been a national evangelist since 1997. Prior to his calling as an evangelist he pastored for 15 years. He is ordained and holds an M.A. in theology and church history from Ashland Theological Seminary. Visit www.ihpministry.com for articles, sermons, books and information on Glenn Meldrum and In His Presence Ministries.