Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 6, 2013

Christian Children at War, by David Bower

Which War, What are you Talking About?

I can immediately see questions in the minds of many who read the title of this article; what is David talking about, we’re not at war with anyone right now are we, you may ask? The answer to that question must be yes, we are at war and in fact we were born into a war that has been going on for thousands of years.

When you received Christ as your Savior you chose sides in that war, you joined the armies of the Living God and declared yourself an enemy of Satan. As a Christian you are a fully fledged soldier of the cross whether you realize it or not, whether you like it or not. There are no conscientious objectors, fence straddler’s or draft dodgers in this war; you are either on one side or the other.

In my last blog I spoke of this war and the preparations that should be made for combat readiness; you of course realize that the combat is raging all around you, don’t you? Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not real.

The Historic Spiritual War

In Ephesians 6:10-17 we are cautioned to prepare ourselves for combat, “10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Does the Bible really mean all that talk about a spiritual war, what do you think? I think the Bible is deadly serious about the spiritual war and is urging Christians to prepare themselves for the battle which is already in progress all around them. We ignore the Bible’s advice at our own peril and may well wind up flat on our spiritual backs rather than standing our ground.

Preparing for Spiritual Warfare

I find it easy to believe the Bible and I suspect you do too; so accepting the reality of the spiritual war let’s consider what we, as the church, are doing to prepare ourselves for this war. When was the last time you heard anything about the spiritual war in church? If you asked a typical Christian young person about the spiritual war what kind of answer would you expect? I would guess you can’t even remember the last time you heard a reference to the spiritual war from the pulpit and I suspect a young Christian might respond, “what’s a spiritual war?”

The Casualties of War

It may be good to consider the nature of the spiritual war and the types of casualties such a war would produce. In verse 12 above we are told, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” These spiritual forces of evil do have human representation on earth; all those who have rejected Christ as Savior have identified themselves with Satan and effectually declared the Living God to be their enemy.

The culminating expression of this conflict will take place at the Battle of Armageddon where the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth at His Second Advent. In the meantime we must serve as soldiers of the cross, the army of the Living God and we have a responsibility to faithfully serve as we are called to serve in this spiritual war.

A Traitor in the Camp

Our personal situation as soldiers of the cross is compromised by the presence of a traitor in the camp. Whereas our old sin nature was crucified with Christ and we are no longer obligated to serve it, unconfessed sin can put it back in control of our lives and seriously compromise our effectiveness as a soldier in God’s army. God has provided an immediate solution to that problem which is explained in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

What then will the casualties of war look like? They will look like sin; they will look like everything that is not of faith. They are summarized in Galatians 5:19-21a, “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Do you know anyone who has been injured in the spiritual war, or should I say do you know anyone who has not suffered an injury?

Where do the Children Fit in to All This?

As I mentioned above we are born into this spiritual war which has been in progress since before the creation of the earth. At salvation we identify ourselves as a soldier in God’s army and declare Satan to be our enemy. This means that Christian children become soldiers in God’s army and are exposed to the dangers implicit in this spiritual battle.

What is our responsibility to alert them to the dangers of this conflict and help them learn to put on the full armor of God appropriate to their age? My concern is that we, both individually and collectively as the church, are not preparing them for what they must face; we are sending them forth uninformed and unprepared for the spiritual battle they will be required to wage as soldiers of the cross. They are being assaulted by attacks from the enemy and falling by the side of the road, flat on their backs.

The symptoms of injury in this spiritual battle can include turning their backs on the church when they get to college, displaying the symptoms described above in Galatians 5:19-21a or a general “backsliding” as it is sometimes called. I’m sure we all know of instances where our young people have suffered these injuries but fortunately many of them recover with treatment.

Our Responsibility as Christian Adults

The Christian community has a responsibility to its young people to make sure they are adequately protected by the full armor of God. It is apparent to me that the intensity of this spiritual battle is increasing and will continue to increase as we approach the final conflict between good and evil.

It must no longer be business as usual, the time has come for a change; it is imperative that we all prepare for the increasing intensity of the spiritual warfare that is raging around us so that having done all we may stand our ground!

The Battle of Armageddon

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.”[a] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and the mighty, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, great and small.”

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

Rest Assured this Time is Coming and You Will be There to Witness it!


Responses

  1. Amen! We do need to do a better job of preparing the youth for the days to come. Thank you David for the well-written reminder.

    Like


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