Sunday Sermon: ‘Fighting for Our Families’

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Happy Father’s Day to all of our dads.

One child said about Father’s Day – “It’s just like Mother’s Day, only you don’t have to spend as much money on a gift.”

Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to the 21, I was astonished at how much the old man learned in 7 years.”

Someone recorded the most famous statements made by dads:

This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.
Quiet. I’m watching the ball game.
When I was your age I walked 5 miles back and forth to school and it was uphill both ways.
You are going and you will have fun!
Why? Because I said so!
Do you think money grows on trees?
If you break your leg don’t come running to me.
How should I know? Ask your mother.

In all honesty, we appreciate our dads very much. I know that my dad was my hero. He was a jack of all trades and I thought that he could fix anything. The truth is – he could. My dad made a tremendous impact upon my life. One of the ways he influenced me was through his walk with God. There was a time when I rebelled against his spiritual walk, yet at the same time I was glad that he was sincere about his relationship with Christ. Every time I saw my dad reading his Bible it brought a smile to my heart.

Today more than ever we need men who walk with God and who seek to pass down their faith to their children and grandchildren. We need men who are – ‘Fighting for Our Families.’

Today’s message is pretty simple:

There’s a Spiritual Power Against Us – BEWARE!
There’s a Spiritual Power For Us – BE PREPARED!

I. There’s a Spiritual Power Against Us – BEWARE!

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

It should be no surprise to you today for me to tell you that we are in a great spiritual battle. Almost every day I have a conversation with someone about how crazy this world is becoming. Often I hear someone say that it seems that Satan is doing everything he can to destroy what is good and right. I am sure he is.

In the passage we just read, Paul tells us two important truths about our spiritual battle.

A. Truth About Our Spiritual Enemies

The Bible teaches us that as believers we have three great spiritual enemies: the world, our flesh, and the devil.

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

1. The World

‘The world’ is not referring to nature. It is referring to the world’s system and philosophy of thinking. It seems that almost daily the world is getting a little bit crazier. Not only do those of us who are older think this, so do many of our young people as well. In our world today, right is no longer right and wrong is no longer wrong. There are many in our world today who do not believe that there is right and wrong. To them right is whatever works for you. I would warn those who think that way that the Bible says – “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14;12 NIV) Just because we want to do it doesn’t make it right. It’s not right unless God says it’s right and if God doesn’t say it’s right – it’s wrong.

We all realize that the world is going crazy, but what we fail to realize is the impact the world is having upon us; and especially upon our children. One day I was talking with a Christian parent whose teenager thought that it was normal for a boy and a girl to live together before they get married. Though this teen has been raised in a Christian home and environment, the world is still influencing them and causing them to think that men and women living together is OK.

2. Our Flesh

Not only are we as Christians in conflict with the way the world thinks, we are sometimes in conflict with ourselves. Paul refers to – “…the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind…” We all have a fallen nature which we struggle with. We do and so do our children. If we would be honest, what the world says sometimes appeals to us. It’s especially hard for our children and young people to navigate their way through all of this. Often we fill our children’s heads with spiritual knowledge but forget that knowledge is not necessarily the same thing as wisdom. We can’t just tell our children a few Bible stories and get them to memorize a few verses of scripture and think that they’re ready to survive the world. How many of us have done things that we knew deep in our hearts was wrong? Why do we do that? It’s because our flesh has a tremendous pull upon us.

3. The Devil

Then there is that spiritual creature the Bible calls the Devil. Paul says –

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience…”

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 –

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The Bible calls Satan the ‘god of this world.’ By referring to him as god, Paul is not suggesting that Satan created the world or that he owns the world. By calling him the ‘god of this world’ Paul is saying that for the most part, this world is under his power and control. And if ever there was a day when that seems to be true – it’s today.

B. Truth About Our Spiritual Battle

Paul tells us that we are in spiritual conflict with the highest ranking forces of evil. The word ‘wrestle’ refers to a conflict where one opponent tries to pin his opponent’s neck to the ground. Satan is not just trying to harass us. He wants to destroy us.

1. Satan is Real

Is Satan real? Many people do not think so. They believe that he is something some radical Christians have made up to scare people and maybe at most, Satan is only a symbol of evil.

Yet the Bible tells us very plainly that Satan is real and that he is active. Jesus said to His disciples: “Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat…” (Luke 22:31) Jesus recognized that Satan was not only real, he was a real enemy. Jesus said, “Behold, Satan hath desired to have you…” The word ‘behold’ could mean – ‘Wake up and beware!’

2. His Forces are Powerful

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The Bible teaches us that Satan was once an angel named Lucifer. (Isaiah 14)  Though we’re not exactly sure what his position was in heaven, the Bible seems to indicate that he was stationed at the throne of God. Perhaps Lucifer was the most power angel God ever created. But then Lucifer decided that he no longer wanted to worship God; he wanted to be worshiped as God and so he led a revolt against God. The Bible also seems to indicate that when he fell, he took with him 1/3 of the angels which means that he has an unbelievable army of demons following him. Paul describes these demons as: ‘principalities, powers, and the rulers of darkness of this world.’ All of these are terms referring to high-ranking angels or demons. We’re not just in a spiritual battle; we’re in a great spiritual battle.

3. His Tactics are Appealing

Satan is real, his army is powerful, and worst of all – his tactics are very appealing. Notice in verse 11 that Paul speaks of the ‘wiles of the devil.’ The word ‘wiles’ can mean a couple of things:

a. Methods 

It’s the Greek word from which we get the English word ‘method’ or ‘methodology.’

Satan doesn’t attack us in a haphazard way. He is very methodical in his approach. No doubt he studies us to determine our weaknesses and often at a moment we least expect, he goes after us. He used lust to bring down David, anger to bring down Moses, pride to bring down Peter, and greed to bring down Ananias and Sapphira.

b. Craftiness

The word ‘wiles’ can also refer to something that is cunning or crafty. It can mean trickery.

Paul uses this word in chapter 4 to refer to evil men who use cunning craftiness to deceive us.

The battle is real. Our enemy is real. The possibility of us being deceived and destroyed is real. It’s all real brethren. Therefore we need to beware.

II. There’s a Spiritual Power For Us – BE PREPARED!

Paul not only tells us to beware. He also tells us to be prepared.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Men, this is where we come in. Many of us go to great extents to protect our families for physical invaders, but we do very little to protect our families from spiritual invaders. I’m all for protecting your family physically; yet the likelihood of them being attacked spiritually is about one thousand to one of them being attacked physically. Most of us will never be attacked physically, but every one of us will be attacked spiritually and the spiritual attack of Satan upon the home today is destroying many of us. Therefore we must be prepared.

A. Job Was a Man Who Fought for His Family

As I was preparing this message, the Lord laid upon my heart the story of a man named Job.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Everyone knows about the patience of Job. The book of James refers to his patience which actually means his endurance. Satan threw everything but the kitchen sink at Job, and yet Job never turned his back on God. The verses we just read also talk about his prosperity. Verse 2 says that Job was the greatest of all the men of the east. He was the wealthiest man and the most powerful man of his day. Job was an outstanding leader in his community.

But there’s another aspect of Job that we often overlook.

Job 1:4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, everyone his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. 5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job himself was a man of God, and therefore his children’s spiritual well-being was very important to him. It appears that his sons and daughters would get together often to celebrate various occasions. Some think this passage is talking about when they would get together to celebrate each others birthday.

After each celebration, Job would offer up a burnt offering for them. A burnt offering is a sin offering. You have to keep in mind that this was before the time of Moses and when he built the temple and established the Jewish priest. In this time and age, the father of the family would serve as a priest to his family. These individuals are often referred to as the ‘patriarchs.’ The title patriarch means: chief father. (pater = father and arche means chief of one who rules) An archangel is a ruling angel. A patri-arch is a father who presides of his family. Abraham was a patriarch and so was his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob.

Oftentimes the patriarch of the family acted kind of like a priest to the family. They were not only the leader, they were the spiritual leader. Many of you are familiar with a man in the Bible called Jacob. The name Jacob means scoundrel and for a long time that’s who Jacob was. But then Jacob had an encounter with the Lord and during that encounter the Lord changed him. His name was changed for Jacob to Israel. The name Israel means one who prevails with God. Jacob became a man of God.

A few chapters later we read –

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

God told Jacob to go to Bethel which means ‘house of God.’ Jacob then instructed his family – “Get up and get ready. We’re going to church.”

The Bible says that Job offered up an offering for his family on a regular basis. Today we do not offer up burnt offerings. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He offered up the supreme and final sacrifice for sins. The Bible says that today Jesus is at His Father’s right hand, constantly praying and interceding for us. (see Hebrews 7:25) But though we do not offer up burnt offerings for our families, we should be offering up our prayers for them. One of the greatest things a man can do for his family is to pray regularly for them. Gentlemen, I believe this is one of our God-given duties as husbands and fathers. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 2 that we all are now a part of Christ’s kingdom of priests. Every believer is a priest before God today. Every believer has direct access to God and every believer is called upon to serve God. One of the greatest things we can do is to serve God through our prayers.

B. We Need to be Men of God Who Will Fight for Our Families

What should we as men be praying for with our families? It’s good to pray for their health and safety. It’s good to pray for their prosperity. But most of all, it is good to pray for their relationship with God. What our children need more than anything else is to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Our families need to be clothed in God’s spiritual armor of protection.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Paul tells us that God has prepared for each of us a spiritual armor that can help protect us from Satan’s attack. Let’s do a quick scan through the various pieces of our armor.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Time will not allow us to do a thorough study of each of these pieces of our armor, therefore I will just point out some of the key words:

Truth
Righteousness
The Gospel
Faith
Salvation
Word of God

In order to help you remember this and in order to help encourage you to pray, I have prepared a little card that you can carry in your wallet. On one side it’s the reminder to be ‘strong in the Lord and in His might power.’ On the other side is a brief description of our various pieces of spiritual armor.

Gentlemen, on this Father’s Day, I would like to encourage you to take your priestly duties seriously and to begin praying fervently for your family’s spiritual well-being. The Bible says that the sincere prayer of a righteous man has great power. Let’s claim that promise and fight for our families

I would like to close with this very powerful video.

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