By: Pastor Scott Brodd
Just imagine this for a minute: you're behind enemy lines, in territory held captive to a ruthless, malicious adversary bent on your destruction. His ways are cunning, his tactics are plentiful, and he will not relent until you lay in ruins. He sets before you lethal traps and pits and lures you into them with those things that entice your heart. He seeks not just to capture you, but to control you and enslave you to his merciless rule. He is seeking to end you.
Who is this enemy? You might be thinking of Satan, but I'm not (though the same could be said of him too). No, this enemy is Sin, who disguises himself as your friend seeking your good but is truly your enemy seeking your demise. Just as God warns and exhorts Cain in Genesis 4:7, "sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it" (ESV), He also warns us that "when [we] want to do right, evil lies close at hand" (Rom. 7:21 ESV) and exhorts us to, "by the Spirit... put to death the deeds of the body (sin)" (Rom. 8:13 ESV).
Unfortunately, when it comes to this front of the war we won't ever step out of this enemy's territory; on this side of eternity, we will never meander into a safe zone where we can lower our defenses and enjoy our surroundings rather than examine them for enemy advances. Why won't we ever find rest from war in this life? Because...
This enemy dwells within us!
Paul candidly confessed in Romans 7:23, "I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members" (ESV). Our greatest enemy, the enemy that condemns us to judgment, still lives within us. Though we've been set free from the tyranny of sin (Rom. 6:6-7), sin hasn't been fully removed and will not be until Christ resurrects our bodies to new life. Therefore, we're in a constant war, from sun up till sun down. The moment our feet touch the bedroom floor we're in enemy territory. So how do we make war with this enemy within? How do we kill this savage tyrant?
Look to Jesus as our example. Yes, you know the story well. In Matthew 4:1-11 we read Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted into sin by Satan, the greatest tempter of all. In Satan's three hostile advances, Jesus countered the attack with the only defense we have against sin: The Word of God. I guarantee you know fully well the fact that Jesus used passages of scripture like a sword to parry the enemy's advances. My point is not to show you something new, but rather something lacking. What I mean is, do you give weight to His example? Do you give this fact enough credibility to the point where you regularly equip yourself by memorizing strategic passages of scripture (War Verses) to help you make war against the enemy's advances? This is a discipline I've stepped in and out of throughout my life, but in the times when I am regularly memorizing war verses, I find I do not sin as much and I walk in greater joy.
To help me in this war against sin, I've gathered and memorized various passages of scripture I've chosen to help me put to death the various ways sin raises its ugly head. To help you in your war against sin, below is a chart of the transgressions listed in Colossians chapter three along with corresponding War Verses, each of which I encourage you to memorize and arm yourself for the day of war. Sin is looking to destroy you. Rule over it!
From the first Sunday of the month of September our church has studied through the seven letters found in Revelation 2-3 written from Jesus to the seven churches in a sermon series called Dear Church. What we discovered was that these letters of commendations, rebukes, resolutions and rewards were in actuality love letters from Jesus to His bride. In Ephesians 5:25-33 Paul shows us how our earthly marriages are specifically designed to point us to something much greater and that is the marriage between Jesus and the Church. Jesus showed us the greatest love anyone could ever experience in eternity; this was displayed when He hung on the tree. In fact, Paul tells husbands that Jesus' example of love is the standard for which we're to love our wives ("Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." - Eph. 5:25 ESV). This is the foremost way anyone can love someone else: that he lay his own life down for someone else (Paraphrased from John 15:13).
While this is the greatest way spouses can love each other, I believe the second greatest way is by lifting one another up in prayer. Not only did Jesus give His life for our transgression and raise from the dead for our justification, He is still ministering to His bride. Romans 8:34 tells us, "Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us" (ESV). Jesus, in this very second, is still showing us great love by pleading to God on our behalf, by praying for us. Jesus loves His bride so much that He prays for her.
Because of this, to wrap up this sermon series, we used this past Sunday to join with Jesus in praying for His bride, the Church. We built our church gathering around three main levels of prayer for the church: the local church (in our case, Beach Lake FM Church), the National Church (American Church), and the global church (The worldwide Church). We looked to the seven letters from Jesus to guide our time in prayer and developed prayer points from the various exhortations and commendations Jesus gave each of the churches. It was an incredibly grace-filled and powerful time as our church family gathered for prayer.
I am convinced many still want to continue in prayer for churches all around the world, therefore I wanted to provide the prayer points we used on Sunday morning to guide our time. You can access them in the slideshow below, or feel free to download the prayer guide for your own uses. Please commit to saying with Jesus, "Dear Church, I'm praying for you!"