SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN THE FAMILY by Bob Porter

November 17, 2008 · Print This Article

SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN THE FAMILY

SERMON

Old Testament reading:

Judges 2:10-14

10 When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the LORD nor the work which He had done for Israel.    
11 Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. 13 They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel.

New Testament reading

Mark 8:35-37 (New King James Version)

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

“You can’t take it with you”

That is what they say. But it is true? What is meant by this statement is that all your wealth, property and material possessions are not going to go with you into the hereafter. However, I’d like to point out that there are a couple of things, much more precious than all the wealth, property and possessions you may ever acquire in this life, which you can take with you!

My Brother is a retired Marine Lt. Colonel. During the Vietnam war he was a company commander. His company was stationed on a hill outside DaNang and charged with protecting a village at the base of his hill, against attack by a company of the North Vietnamese Army stationed on a hill across, the river from the village. During his tour of 6 months, he spent 4 months in combat!

This would take toll on anyone and my brother was no exception. He told me, he kept promising himself and God, “If I get out of this alive, I will dedicate the rest of my life to my family!” He explained, “When you are a hair’s breadth from death 24 hours a day, you come to realize what it truly important, and why you want to live!”

He has kept this promise! His children could not have had a better father than my brother if they could have chosen from the whole world!

This is what is more precious than wealth, or possessions, or power or any accumulation of property.

The two things you can take with you are your own soul, and, in time, your family! These are treasures you can keep in the kingdom of God and they are the ones that are most precious!

But Satan doesn’t want you to do that! He wants to drive a wedge between you and your wife, your children, your parents and everyone who is dear to you!

This is war!  In any war, the Generals must be accomplished strategists. Two basic strategies taught to military cadets are:

1. Surprise gives you a huge tactical advantage. And

2. Always throw strength against your enemy’s weakness, never the other way around.

Satan understands this. As the commander, of an army of demons he will seek to use surprise and throw strength against your weakest defenses. Often we are most vulnerable in our families and relationships! Satan knows, If he can hit us there, even the strongest warriors can be driven into retreat!

Satan didn’t waste any time to begin his attacks on the family. His first attack was on the family of Adam and Eve!

Genesis 4:8-12

8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
9 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”

Oh how Adam and Eve must have grieved! One son slain and the other driven away forever! Satan was pleased to have turned sibling rivalry into murder in his attack on the first family of mankind!

There are many other instances of strife in the family throughout the Bible.

In Genesis 16:1-16 we have the story of Sari and Hagar, wherein Sari, unable to bear a son to Abram, gave her slave Hagar to Abram as a surrogate mother. When Hagar became pregnant she was hateful to Sari and Sari went to Abram and said.

“It’s all your fault! I gave you my slave woman, but she has been hateful to me ever since she found out she was pregnant. You have done me wrong, and you will have to answer to the LORD for this.” !!!!

I have to wonder why Abram didn’t reply, as I suppose I would have, “b,, b ,,, but, It was YOUR idea to send Hagar to me! Wasn’t it? Why are you yelling at me about this? Why are you blaming me?”

Abram didn’t do that though; he just gave in to Sari and said.

 “All right!…. She’s your slave, and you can do whatever you want with her.”

 

 Then Sarai began treating Hagar so harshly that she ran away

from Sari. However, Hagar encountered an Angel, at a desert well, who had mercy on her and told her:

9 “Go back to Sarai and be her slave. 10-11I will give you a son, who will be called Ishmael, because I have heard your cry for help. And later I will give you so many descendants that no one will be able to count them all. 12But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.”

The Muslims today claim to be the descendants of Ishmael and it is chilling to consider the wars, throughout history, as well as the events of today, regarding the sons of Ishmael.

In 2 Samuel Chapter 16:
we read of the treachery and treason of King David’s son Absalom, who sought to overthrow and disgrace his father David. At the advice of King David’s own high counselor, Ahithophel, Absalom slept with 10 of David’s wives after forcing David to flee from Jerusalem.
Absalom wanted first to disgrace David, then to kill him! He sent his army out to destroy David’s army and capture David. But, at the battle in Ephraim Forest Absalom’s army was defeated and Absalom’s hair became entangled the branches of a tree. This allowed David’s general Joab to find and kill Absalom. When David learned of his son’s death, we read, with wonder, how he was sorely grieved, for even though Absalom had committed the worst offenses against David, he was, after all, David’s son and David loved him

Then there is the story of Jacob and Esau, and how, with Rebekah’s  scheming, Jacob cheated Esau out of his father, Isaac’s, blessing. This story ends with reconciliation for the two brothers but here is the passage which, for me, demonstrates consequences of Rebekah scheme when she learned that Esau planned to kill Jacob! She tells Jacob:

Genesis 27:43-45

43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. 44 And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, 45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?”

There are many more stories in the Bible about warfare within the family many of them are tragic. But many others have a happy ending.

Perhaps the most tragic is the story of the conflict in the Family of God, between God the Father and his children, the Israelites.

Satan delights in causing God pain as he works with subtle and ancient persuasions to lead Gods children away from God, cheating them out of the abundant life God has planned for them.

Satan’s key strategy is to turn God’s children to false worship and doctrine.

God despises Idol worship! Idol worship is the outward expression of false doctrine, which God also hates. To God the worship of Idol’s is tantamount to Prostitution! It is the ultimate in unfaithfulness!! Again, Satan finds these distortions very effective in leading God’s children to err and invoke the anger of God!

In Ezekiel Chapter 23:4-48 God tells Ezekiel to relate a very harsh account of two sisters, who came out of Egypt. This is a prophetic message from Ezekiel and is an allegory in which these two sisters are personifications of the city states of Samaria and Jerusalem.

Verse 4. The older one was named Oholah, which stands for Samaria; the younger one was Oholibah, which stands for Jerusalem.

These sisters became “God’s wives” and bore children (the Israelites)  but then returned to their former lives as prostitutes! They turned away from God and “got in bed” with Assyrian officials and worshiped their “disgusting Idols.”

This prophesy, is very graphic in describing the whoredom of Samaria and Jerusalem (Oholah and Oholibah) and ends with Gods judgment upon these two unfaithful sisters.

  46 I will call together an angry mob that will abuse and rob you. 47They will stone you to death and cut you to pieces; they will kill your children and burn down your houses. 48I will get rid of sinful prostitution in this country, so that women everywhere will be warned not to act as you have. 49You will be punished for becoming prostitutes and for worshiping idols, and you will know that I am the LORD God.
But, even with such harsh warnings the remnant of Israel, continued to fall away, victims of Satan’s schemes; worshiping Idols and following false doctrine.  
It is a sad fact, that the people of God were taken out of Eqypt, but Egypt was not taken out of them. The same is true when they were released from Babylon. They brought their pagan wives and their idols with them, and as you might expect, Satan found they were easily persuaded to regress into the “Prostitution” they had practiced in Egypt, worshiping Egyptian idols and rejecting God.
However, God is merciful to His people, releasing them from captivity and oppression and delivering them from their enemies time and again. He pleads with them to be faithful to Him over and over,  only to see them turning back to the worship of pagan idols and engaging in immoral practices and rituals they learned during their captivity. 
You may now be thinking, what hope is there? How can I protect my family against Satan if God’s own people repeatedly fell into his traps.
Not all of these stories end in tragedy. Perhaps we can learn something from those, where Satan’s schemes are defeated, as with Esau and Jacob.

We read in Genesis 33:1-4

 1 Now Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants. 2 And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

Another story we can draw inspiration from is the story of Ruth and Naomi.
Naomi was a widow, and she had two daughters in law, who were widows. They lived in the land of Moab, when a terrible famine struck. Naomi had learned that Juda, had been spared the famine and decided to go home, but she didn’t want her daughters in law, to suffer with her and not find husbands in their homeland. She told them to go back to their mother’s homes in Moab, with their own people, find husbands, and worship the gods of Moab. One, Orpah, did leave Naomi, but the other, Ruth, clung to her and uttered these wonderful words.
Ruth 1:16

      “ Entreat me not to leave you,
      Or to turn back from following after you;
      For wherever you go, I will go;
      And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
      Your people shall be my people,
      And your God, my God.

 In Luke 15:11-32 Jesus gave us the parable of the Prodigal Son, who squandered his inheritance. Then, when he had suffered poverty and humiliation returned home to his father, expecting no more, than to serve his father as a slave.
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.
Are you beginning to see a pattern? These are examples of what Pastor Bob has said about the Power of repentance and The heart of forgiveness! The first two of the seven ways he said we could resist the devil! But there is something else at work here. In each of these stories the most powerful factor is LOVE!  Repentance and forgiveness come out of love! It is strange, but we often love family members, even when they are driving us nuts!
Esau repented of his anger and embraced Jacob, forgiving him, out of love. David longed for reconciliation with Absalom, out of love. Ruth clung to Naomi out of love. Ruth clung to Naomi, out of love. The father of the prodigal son, forgave him and took him into his arms and into his family again, out of love! God still strives to be reconciled with his rebellious Children, forgiving them again and again out of love. Jesus died on the cross to bring forgiveness and salvation to God’s children. It was not because of the nails in His hands and feet he hung there, suffering death, but because love held Him there.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:1-14 without love, we are ineffective and impotent. In verse 1; he says:

1What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. In verse 7-8 he tells us:  7Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful and trusting. 8Love never fails! and in verse 13 he says: 13For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love.

In his attacks on our families Satan is often stymied by our stubborn insistence to love our “Loved ones” with a love that “passeth understanding”
When Satan comes up against this kind of love he knows he is in for a fight! Unconditional love is the absolute opposite of everything Satan and his demons are and what they do!  
Now a word of caution! It may seem valiant and exciting to go on the offensive against Satan, but every wise and experienced warrior knows you must never underestimate the enemy! The best way to win a battle is to prevent it!
 We would do far better, deflecting the attacks of Satan on our families, than striving to defeat him, once he has gained a foothold.
Paul helps us with directions on some things we should do to prevent attacks on the family.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16

14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.

But what if you already are in such a relationship? What do you do then? What if several members of your family simply are not believers or profess to be atheist or Wican or agnostic or worshipers of Zoroaster? Paul was speaking to such when he uttered these words.

1 Corinthians 7:12-17 

12 But to the rest (of you) I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Paul is telling us we are to persevere! Continuing to love our spouses, always striving to live as an example and as a witness of our faith to our wives, children and relatives.  We are to be living sacrifices for Christ, showing by our conduct, day after day, that we are consecrated and faithful to Jesus Christ. In this way we may lead our unbelieving family member to salvation!
What if your relationship is so badly damaged, after many painful experiences, you feel no inclination to love a member of your family?
Go back to step one and repent! Get this cleared out of the way, first, then you will be able to proceed with far greater effect. Remember the power of intercessory prayer! But don’t be surprised, if while you are praying for God to fix them, He decides to fix you as well!
Love is the driving force behind the spiritual warrior! Without love, you would have little reason to care, and even less, to confront an enemy like Satan!
When you are motivated by the love you have for your family you can become formidable! When such a warrior takes up the Shield of Faith, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Helmet of Salvation and the Sword of the Word of God, Satan knows he is in trouble! When our feet are shod with the desire to teach our children the gospel of Christ and raise them in the word of God, Satan is stricken, stunned, and reeling! Whenever we call upon our Lord, the general of the army of heaven, relying on His power, to give us victory, in the name of Jesus, we can deliver a death blow to Satan!  
Our families are under attack! As spiritual warriors inlisted in the army of God, we are to put on the whole armor of God, and with Prayer, appeal to God to send His Holy Spirit to build a shield around our loved ones. Then in the name of Jesus and with His praises on our lips we are to wield the sword of the Word of God to drive Satan and his demons back! We are to call upon God to destroy Satan’s offensive and scatter his demons in defeat! We can do this with confidence, as Children of God saved by the blood of Christ. We have power, through Jesus victory over Satan, on the cross!
Remember when the battle is raging, we are to sing praises to God, and when it is won, we are to continue to sing our praises, as we celebrate the victory!
3212 words 25.7 min.  
 
 
Invitation:
The greatest treasure we can possess is our own families. Our children, husbands, wives, parents, brothers, and sisters. The Kingdom of God awaits to receive us and our loved ones. There our joy will be complete.There we can, be reunited with our loved ones in perfect harmony, joy and peace.
 
 It is with great compassion I now must say, this can only happen, if we and our loved ones know the Lord and our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
 
If you believe in Jesus, but have not publically confessed that Jesus is the son of God, with all the power, authority and mercy to make you one of his own children, I ask you to come forward now and do so. Jesus is eager to welcome you into His own family; the family of God!

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